Kristin Gore, daughter of former Vice President Al Gore and author of a new political satire set in Washington, appeared on the Tuesday editions of "Good Morning America" and "The Early Show." Both shows only gingerly addressed the subject of Kristin’s brother, Albert Gore III., and his arrest for marijuana and prescription-drug possession after being pulled over last week in California. GMA guest host George Stephanopoulos misleadingly characterized the incident as getting "in trouble speeding." "Early Show" host Harry Smith didn’t mention the drug angle at all.
Stephanopoulos, a former top Clinton aide who worked in the same White House as Al Gore, conducted an extraordinarily cozy interview with the former Vice President’s daughter. Apparently completely oblivious to any conflict of interest, he hyped "Sammy’s House," calling it "very funny." The ABC anchor even joked with Kristin Gore about whether the main character, Sammy Joyce, was based on him:
Kristin Gore: "Have you recognized yourself yet? ‘Cause I should come clean and let you know you’re Sammy."
However his bona fides when it comes to meteorology are such that when he suggests that “a [small] cadre of agenda-driven scientists and statesmen” inside the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provided a “more alarmist interpretation” of the facts concerning manmade global warming, and “the media took the most extreme of the messages to hype them further,” people should pay heed.
With that in mind, this former Director of Meteorology at The Weather Channel, and current Executive Director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, published an article at Energy Tribune Monday that should be required reading for all actually interested in the facts surrounding this controversial subject (emphasis added throughout):
Of late, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been arguing that the mainstream media persistently exercise the "management" of the news. That is to say, aside from slanted and biased reporting on the news of the day, they frame news developments in a way that manage events to fit a preconceived meme or storyline.
The media's coverage of Army recruiting numbers is no exception.
Bear in mind these facts included in some of the stories I cite below but usually well after the lede:
The Army is nonetheless ahead of its year-to-date recruiting goal
July, August, and September are traditionally the best months for recruiting
Many potential enlistees are turned away from being overweight or lacking a high school diploma
Some experts, such as former Defense undersecretary Edwin Dorn, marvel that "the big surprise is that Army recruiting has remained as healthy as it has been" given the Iraq war's falling support in the polls.
Nope, instead the lede is two straight months of numbers that aren't up to par and immediately Iraq is blamed.
Voila! A "trend" story waiting to happen for a media bent on managing the news.
That's less than 20 million (19,940,000) for all three combined, and a 5.4% drop from the low-water mark of a year ago. The 25-54 demo for all three nets was under 6 million (5,920,000), and their combined 25-54 demo ratings of 4.9/21 are down 14% and 19% from last year's 5.7/26. Ouch.
You don't suppose that almost 20 years of Media Research Center truth-telling about the relentless bias in the nets' evening news shows might have something to do with the ongoing decline? Nah, can't be (/sarcasm).
Previous related posts are here (NB), here (NB), and here (BizzyBlog).
Picking up where last night's Nightly News left off, NBC's Today show continued the "tipping point" line of attack on pushing for troop withdrawal from Iraq. Opening this morning's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer greeted viewers with the following question: "Good morning, if not now, when? The White House says it's not considering pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq right now but with sinking approval ratings and defections from his own party is it just a matter of time before the President changes course?" Then, teasing an interview with White House press secretary Tony Snow, Lauer all but declared defeat:
Dan Rather might have left CBS under a cloud, but his star still shines brightly -- at least among some on the distaff side of the NBC networks.
Rather was a scheduled guest on today's "Morning Joe," and neither Erin Burnett, reporting in from CNBC, nor MSNBC newsreader Mika Brzezinski, could curb her enthusiasm.
Burnett was first to confess.
CNBC'S ERIN BURNETT: You know who I had a crush on? . . . Don't you have Dan Rather coming on in a couple of minutes? Alright, so, when I was little, I thought I was going to marry Dan Rather. I watched the news every night, I blew him a kiss every night.
Rebecca Traister at left-wing Salon.com (yes, endure the leftists' commercial) brings the feminist scolding to Katie Couric for granting a whiny, bitter interview to New York magazine, including the odd detail that she slaps male producers for using medical terms for lung mucus. Traister wants to see a "mofo" in action:
Suddenly, the woman who used to refuse to talk to reporters about her astronomical salary and hard-bargaining skills, who unapologetically drove the high rate of turnover among "Today" show producers, and who radiated a steely self-confidence, cannot shut up about everything that's gone wrong since she left NBC for CBS! Oh, girlfriend: Get a grip....
Slam a table; grow a pair; be the mean motherf---er we know you can be.
Does NBC have some inside dope? Is John McCain, till now one of the staunchest supporters of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, about to bug out? An unusual question from Matt Lauer to Tony Snow this morning raised that possibility.
Here's the exchange that came on this morning's "Today" at 7:08 A.M. EDT, toward the end of Lauer's interview of White House press secretary Snow:
TODAY CO-HOST MATT LAUER: If, and you hate hypotheticals, I know, so hate me later, but if John McCain comes back [from his current Iraq trip] and joins the ranks of those other Republicans who say it's time to rethink this strategy, how big a blow is that to the President, considering how supportive John McCain has been to the strategy?
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY TONY SNOW: You've got to understand that for the President, although politics is clearly important in building public support, succeeding is the most important thing of all. If we fail in Iraq, and this is something [U.S. Ambassador to Iraq] Ryan Crocker was pointing out as well, if you have failure in Iraq, you are going to see consequences that are going to be extraordinarily dire in the region, throughout the world and for the United States.
In a striking contrast to his fellow reporters, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz took NBC to task for the extensive Live Earth coverage on NBC and its sister cable channels (earlier NewsBusters item on this very same column, with transcript of Kurtz's discussion on CNN's Reliable Sources.) Shockingly, Kurtz even used quotation marks when mentioning the global warming “crisis.” In his “Media Notes” column, Kurtz rightfully questioned the ethics of a network taking sides on a political issue (a General Electric senior VP said he doesn't “think climate change is a political issue”) and helping a “prominent Democrat” who potentially has presidential ambitions to raise money.
These are important points that most reporters have failed to raise, but Kurtz was not intimidated by the peer pressure and got down to the nuts and bolts (emphasis mine):
NBC and its cable networks devoted a total of 35 hours of air time Saturday to the Live Earth concerts, organized by Al Gore to call attention to what he calls a global warming "crisis."
Brent Bozell, President of the Media Research Center which publishes NewsBusters, appeared Monday night on the Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes. Topics: The liberal blogger who wants Rush Limbaugh and Ted Nugent killed, a posting reported by WorldNetDaily; and the New York magazine profile of CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric which reported that, frustrated with her low ratings, she had “slapped” a colleague: “Couric got angry with news editor Jerry Cipriano for using a word she detested -- 'sputum' -- and the staff grew tense when she began slapping him 'over and over and over again' on the arm...” On the blogger, Bozell pointed out how the media and liberals pounced on Ann Coulter, distorting her comment about John Edwards into how she advocated assassinating him when she said no such thing. NB's Coulter items. MRC CyberAlert on NBC's distortion. MRC's June 28 press release.
Like the old adage which says a stuck clock is accurate twice a day, on Monday another public figure broke with President Bush on Iraq and, for at least the fourth time in the past two years, the NBC Nightly News saw a “turning point” or a “tipping point” on the war. If NBC says it enough, eventually they may, indeed, be correct and consider themselves prescient.
“Tonight,” Brian Williams teased, “is Iraq policy at a tipping point?” With "Tipping Point?" on screen, he proceeded to lead his July 9 broadcast with how “there are signs and signals and indications that a turning point may be nearing on U.S. involvement in the Iraq war” because of defections by Republican Senators. Reporter David Gregory cited White House “high-level strategy sessions and meetings with Republican lawmakers whose criticism of the President's war policy has accelerated a push to withdraw troops.” Gregory then asked: “Is this the tipping point on Iraq? Tonight, another Republican Senator, Olympia Snowe of Maine, called on the President to set a timetable for troop withdrawal, saying the surge is not working.”
Two weeks ago, when Senator Richard Lugar “broke with the President on the Iraq war,” Williams proposed: “Tonight many are wondering if we're witnessing the beginning of some kind of turning point?” Williams earlier teased the newscast with the same formulation: “Is this a turning point in the war?” (June 26 NewsBusters item) NBC, however, has a poor record of picking Iraq war “turning” or “tipping points.” In 2005 the network hailed Cindy Sheehan's protest near Bush's ranch as a “turning point” and last October Williams heralded comments from Senator John Warner on Iraq as he asked: “Is this a new turning point?”
Jim Geraghty over at National Review Online is reporting on an interesting thing concerning this story that the L.A.Times printed last weekend claiming that some abortion advocates hired Fred Thompson to lobby the White House for them over a pro-abortion issue in 1991 (NewsBusters story here). It seems that the story as originally posted on the LAT website has been altered with no notice of the change, nor an explanation of why it was changed. Once the removed sentence is looked into, though, it becomes clear that it was removed in an attempt to clean up the story to remove items problematic to the veracity of the thing!
It turned out that Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the radical environmentalist, had some strong words for politicians who stand against climate change legislation.
“Get rid of all these rotten politicians that we have in Washington, who are nothing more than corporate toadies … This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors,” Kennedy said at the July 7 concert held in New Jersey, according to Newsday.
After a two week hiatus, the ladies of "The View" returned to discuss the political issues of the last couple of weeks. Guest co-host Whoopi Goldberg reacted harshly to the president commuting "Scooter" Libby’s 30 month prison sentence. Upon implying that Vice President Cheney has something to hide and Libby will not confess because strange things may happen to them. "look at the old man that went hunting with him," Goldberg said. What all of the co-hosts missed was that Richard Armitage was the source who outed Valerie Plame.
Although Elisabeth Hasselbeck missed the Armitage element, she did mention former President Clinton’s many pardons. Joy Behar dismissed those as "ancient history," but Hasselbeck noted that Clinton is now heavily criticizing President Bush’s actions when Clinton is short on the credibility himself.
Sting and his wife, environmental activist, Trudie Styler, were welcomed like old friends by Today co-host Ann Curry, on NBC's prime-time coverage of Live Earth. Curry, who has gushingly interviewed Styler before, implored the rock star and his wife to send a message to all those participating in the "rising fervor" for the environment. However, Curry worried that "fervor" would cool as she asked the 80s pop icon: "Well the iron is hot. People are listening. Irons cool, Sting. So what is the strongest thing you can say tonight to people listening?"
The following is the full interview as it occurred around 8:24pm on NBC's live July 7th coverage of the Live Earth concert:
For those whose gastrointestinal tracts couldn’t allow them to stomach the goings on during Saturday’s Live Earth concerts, conceivably one of the best moments was Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s rant at Giants Stadium.
Not only did Kennedy attack the politicians and the media as “corporate toadies” for the oil industry, but he also slammed conservative radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck as being lying “Flat Earthers.”
It seems not even Al Gore and his stable of celebrity talent could keep Live Earth at the top of the ratings this past weekend. Greg Pollowitz from The Corner has the breakdown from Nielsen Media Research:
Saturday 7/07/07 Note: The following results are based on the fast affiliate ratings (Live Plus Same Day data).
That's right; NBC had a total of 2.75 million viewers for their three-hour airing of the Live Earth concerts. As a small consolation, they had more viewers than this spot in Brisbane, Australia, where a large outdoor screen had been set up for the anticipated throng.
Appearing with Today co-host Ann Curry during NBC’s exhaustive coverage of his Live Earth concert, Gore gave a shout out to the network for its donation to his global warming cause, as Gore told Curry: "Thanks for what NBC has been doing." Curry, as expected, didn’t exactly deliver a hard-hitting interview and even pressed Gore about running for president.
Curry to Gore: "A lot of people want me to ask you tonight if you're running for President. And I know what you're answer is gonna be, believe me. I gotta ask you though. After fueling this grass roots movement if you become convinced that without you there will not be the political will in the White House to fight global warming to the level that is required, because the clock is ticking.Would you answer the call? Would you answer the call, yes or no?"
Last August, a federal judge ruled that it was unconstitutional to monitor overseas conversations with suspected terrorists. On August 18, 2006, ABC’s "Good Morning America" treated the decision as a monumental event. However, Saturday’s GMA greeted the overturning of that decision by a federal appeals judge with a solitary 13 second news brief.
In contrast, reporter Jessica Yellin described the original ruling last August as a "stinging setback" and the program highlighted a professor who said it could ultimately lead to President Bush’s impeachment. Yellin, who colorfully described the decision as "essentially accus[ing] the President of acting like a king,"also highlighted this comment about Bush from George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley:
Jonathan Turley: "He could be impeached. And people should not be underestimating that."
New York Times reporter Michael Luo's front-page Saturday story on Hillary Clinton's religious faith, "For Clinton, Faith Intersects With Political Life,” was a pretty transparent attempt to moderate the candidate's secular reputation by emphasizing her religiosity.
Meanwhile, Luo naively cast Hillary Clinton as a passive spouse betrayed by her husband during the Monica Lewinsky scandal -- as if Bill Clinton’s White House philandering came as a total shock after all the years in Arkansas.
"Long before her beliefs would be tested in the most wrenching of ways as first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton taught an adult Sunday school class on the importance of forgiveness. It is a lesson, she says, that she has harked back to often."
Through the long piece, Luo portrayed Hillary as a victim.
Regardless of your views on global warming and climate change, Live Earth’s use of school-aged children as political spokesmen was, by anyone’s standards, in poor taste. Bravo’s coverage of the Al Gore-produced musical festival began with several innocent, gapped-tooth children sharing their all-too-adult frustrations and concerns over the environment. One poor girl, clearly shaken by the doomsday philosophy of extreme environmentalism, actually burst into tears (pictured at right).
Unidentified girl: "I’m really afraid of my children growing up and not being able to see like a blue sky or green grass. [Crying] If I don’t do something who will, you know?"
With each passing day, more and more current and former members of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are stepping out of the shadows to suggest that this group’s alarmist conclusions concerning global warming are more based in myth than science.
Another member of this growing list of skeptics is Tom V. Segalstad who was an Expert Reviewer for the IPCC’s third assessment report.
As published in Canada’s National Post Saturday, conveniently coincident with Al Gore’s Live Earth concerts (emphasis added throughout):
On Sunday, New York Times economics columnist David Leonhardt reviewed the new book "More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics" by Steven Landsburg, a regular contributor to the liberal site Slate.com. Leonhardt panned the book as too cute and too far afield from the "dismal science" of economics, but the Times book editors gave the Landsburg thesis an excerpt on the Times website. According to Landsburg, people who are chaste and monogamous (who practice "extreme sexual conservatism") cause the spread of AIDS through the "sin of self-restraint." The excerpt begins:
It's true: AIDS is nature's awful retribution for our tolerance of immoderate and socially irresponsible sexual behavior. The epidemic is the price of our permissive attitudes toward monogamy, chastity, and other forms of extreme sexual conservatism. You've read elsewhere about the sin of promiscuity. Let me tell you about the sin of self-restraint.
Here's another sign that Al Gore's Live Earth was probably a bust. CNN entertainment correspondent Lola Ogunnaike (pictured at right) gave a great one-liner with regards to the celebrity component of Live Earth: "Frankly, I don't want to hear about environmental causes from the Pussycat Dolls."
Co-host John Roberts and Ogunnaike discussed the concert's lackluster ratings in the first hour of Monday's "American Morning." Ogunnaike blamed the ratings situation on "benefit fatigue" and people actually wanting to be out in the environment instead of sitting at home watching celebrities rant about saving it.