Seemingly lost in the media controversy of the comments from both NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin and Senator Hilary Clinton is the issue of the religious nature and/or setting of their comments.
Cathy Young covers that ground on Nagin today and concludes:
When a conservative minister says this kind of thing about George W. Bush, it's widely taken as a sign that America is sinking into a Dark Age of religious fanaticism. Somehow, the rhetoric of the "religious left" -- aside from an over-the-top rant like Nagin's -- is not met with the same condemnation.
Just as our intelligence experts' parsing of the OBL tape may uncover hidden clues, so does a careful deconstruction of comments this morning by Katie Couric yield important insights into her MSM mindset.
Couric was interviewing Peter Bergen, British author of "The Osama Bin Laden I Know." At one point, Katie had this to say:
"He talks about President Bush in the tape and he says he's foolish for ignoring the poll numbers that indicate the American people want him to pull out of Iraq. How do you think he's keeping abreast of all this. It's sort of odd, isn't it? Is he just paying attention to Al-Jazeera? It's not as if he's reading the New York Times, is it?"
Via Gateway Pundit, I learned WCBS political reporter Marcia Kramer added some local color to the Canaan Baptist Church event where Hillary Clinton pandered to Al Sharpton's crowd on MLK Day. The national media obviously didn't give their audience the radical flavor of this gathering. Pat Robertson isn't half the GOP power broker he was 15 years ago, but Sharpton's standing right next to Hillary and no one's noting the agenda of his camp and wondering how it will affect Hillary's supposed "centrist" image:
But Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who like Suozzi, wants to be governor, didn't get off any easier. He was asked to support the reinstatement of Tawana Brawley lawyer Alton Maddox's law license. And there was this question: “There are at least 12 political prisoners in New York State who were members of the black liberation army and the black party for 30 years...Are you open to reviewing their cases?"
There were tough questions to politicians who feel they must attend the event as much to pay homage to Sharpton as to celebrate Dr. King's legacy. Sen. Hillary Clinton, who had launched into an impassioned attack on the Bush administration...actually got an easy question. “I need you to tell us what distinguishes Democrats from Republicans right now,” she was asked.
The Washington Post gossip columnists Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger report today that Air America night-time radio host Mike Malloy sent a nasty response to an invitation to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference -- which Air America colleague Al Franken attended for a debate last year:
"Um . . . you're kidding, right? Why would I have any desire whatsoever to attend or participate in a convocation of neo-Nazis????? I had two uncles fight against you [expletive] in WW2. And, now, surprise! surprise! here you all are on US soil. Kindly get the [expletive] off my email. Thanks."
[CPAC Media Director Andrea] Saul said she was stunned by his response. "I'm all for a difference of opinion, but this is entirely uncalled-for, and all the more offensive when you consider that I'm Jewish, lost family in the Holocaust and had a grandfather almost killed during WWII." Her complaints to Air America execs have gone unanswered. A spokeswoman said the network would have no comment.
Just before reading e-mailed responses to his “Cafferty Files” question of the 4pm EST hour on Thursday afternoon's The Situation Room on CNN, “How important is the new Osama bin Laden tape?", Jack Cafferty proposed a conspiracy existed in the timing, one meant to help Bush justify his NSA wiretapping: “The last time we got a tape from Osama bin Laden was right before the 2004 presidential election. Now here we are, four days away from hearings starting in Washington into the wiretapping of America's telephones without bothering to get a court order or a warrant, and up pops another tape from Osama bin Laden. Coincidence? Who knows.” One viewer endorsed Cafferty's conspiracy theory: “It seems suspicious. Every time the Republicans get into trouble, bin Laden sends a tape. Is it possible bin Laden's working out of the White House?” Earlier, Cafferty took a shot at President Bush's decision to invade Iraq: “The thought of this mutant hanging out in a cave somewhere and sending taped threats to the American people makes me angry. Why wasn't this guy taken care of before we went wandering off into Iraq?” (Transcripts follow.)
On Thursday, angry liberal readers of the Washington Post forced the ombudsmen of the paper, Deborah Howell, to shut it down. In her Sunday column, written on 1/15, Howell wrote that Abramoff "had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties," prompting a wave of nasty reader postings on post.blog.
So much for our open-minded, elitist friends on the left, who are all to glad to once again enact another episode of "Do as I say, and not as I do." This is the same bunch that screams for openness and truth in media reporting, but only IF it hurts the GOP.
In his report released Thursday on Henry Cisneros, Clinton's HUD Secretary for several years who had pled guilty in 1999 to some charges, Independent Counsel David Barrett asserted that his probe was hindered by Clinton administration officials, even after they left office. But the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, which had time for some hardly hot news stories, such as a popular restaurant in New Orleans, didn't utter a word about Barrett's complaint. ABC's World News Tonight allocated 35 seconds to Barrett and Cisneros. Anchor Bob Woodruff pointed out how “Barrett accused Clinton officials of using their power to quote, 'blunt any effort to bring about a full and independent examination.'” Woodruff added: “Critics called Barrett's investigation 'incompetent,' 'wasteful' and 'without merit.'"
Barrett maintained in his report: "Beginning in the summer of 1997, the OIC developed, to the extent it could, evidence concerning efforts by officials of DOJ and the IRS to contain and limit the investigation of Cisneros's actions.” Barrett specifically cited Janet Reno and rued: “In the end enough high-ranking officials with enough power were able to blunt any effort to bring about a full and independent examination of Cisneros' possible tax offenses in the face of what seemed to many to be obvious grounds for such an inquiry." (What CBS and NBC covered instead, the ABC item in full and links to stories on Barrett's report, follow.)
On last night's edition of Hardball, Chris Matthews made up a quote that First Lady Laura Bush did not say. Matthews claims that Bush said "God wants us to rebuild New Orleans", when no such words came out of her mouth. However, Bush did say "she didn't really think she could speak for God" and then added that she "believes Nagin wants New Orleans to be rebuilt".
On a various segments, Matthews claimed that Bush said "God wants us to rebuild New Orleans" and questioned several guests about it. One of those guests, adviser of Former President George H. W. Bush's Strategist Ed Rogers, was called "ignorant" for not knowing this and not commenting on it. Matthews later brought it up when interviewing Mike Allen of Time Magazine, saying that she said the "same thing" as Mayor Ray Nagin did.
In today's entry on his blog, Eric Alterman writes, apropos of his recent media-bias debate with Tucker Carlson, that he and Carlson "seem to have started a useful argument over [on the letters page of] Romenesko...with this one making...the clearest argument, methinks."
"This one," in case you don't feel like following the link, is a missive from John Martellaro, who contrasts two of Alterman's statements from the debate with two of Carlson's, then comments, "OK, so we have verifiable facts coming from the left, vs. unsourced blather and empty talking points coming from the right."
Gee, I wonder why Alterman liked the letter so much?
Nearly three days after Sen. Hillary Clinton spoke her debated "plantation" remark, the Los Angeles Times has finally printed its first word about the controversy today (Thursday January 20, 2006).
Tucked on page A8 of today's edition is "Clinton's Remark Criticized," a 495-word piece by Times staff writer Edwin Chen. The article begins with the eye-opening observation that Hillary's comment "continued making political waves Wednesday."
Congratulations to the Times on such swift, cutting-edge news coverage... (roll eyes) ...
Harry Belafonte recently compared George W. Bush and the architects of the Iraq war to those who planned the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In a speech on Sunday, January 15, he said:
"Killing is our easiest tool....It is an act that has driven fear and terror into the hearts of the American people. What is the essential difference in quality of our humanity for those who would do the cruel and tragic deed of flying an airplane into a building and killing 3,000 innocent Americans and those who would lie and lead the nation into a war that has killed hundreds of thousands? Excuse me, fellow citizens, if the line for me becomes a little blurred."
In November 2002, The New York Times latched its iron journalistic jaws onto a story which it considered to be of extreme national import: feminist Martha Burk's crusade to blackmail Augusta National Golf Club, the host of the Masters Tournament, into ending its men-only membership policy by pressuring CBS to drop its coverage of the storied golf championship. Burk's crusade eventually failed, but only after an almost obsessive focus by the New York Times about the quixotic mission.
Fast forward to January 2006 and the Alito hearings, and the revelation that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) once belonged to, and as recently as October donated $100 to, the Owl Club, a male-only social organization which was booted from Harvard for refusing to admit women as members.
No liberal conventional wisdom here! The back page of Sunday’s special Academy Awards section lists the “ideal slate of Oscar candidates” from the top three movie critics at the Times, Manohla Dargis, A.O. Scott and Stephen Holden, each of whom have revealed liberal sympathies in their film critiques.
The only movie that makes all three lists for Best Picture? The GLAAD-approved “Brokeback Mountain,” which tops all three lists, presumably being each critic’s favorite flick.
“Brokeback” actor Heath Ledger also tops each list for Best Actor nominee, and actress Michelle Williams is nominated by the Times trio as Best Supporting Actress. The movie also gets the top nod from all three for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Apparently, not even the communists are socialistic enough for the New York Times. Cleaning up my office this morning, I noticed the front-page of Saturday’s Times featured a large photo of an ill Chinese man with the headline “Wealth Grows, but Health Care Withers in China.” The subheadline explained, “Rural Areas Lag With Fall of Socialized Medicine.”
Reporter Howard W. French rued the fact that Chinese communist leaders are discarding elements of Mao’s system: “Until the beginning of the reform period in the early 1980's, China's socialized medical system, with ‘barefoot doctors’ at its core, worked public health wonders. From 1952 to 1982 infant mortality fell from 200 per 1,000 live births to 34, and life expectancy increased from about 35 years to 68, according to a recent study published by The New England Journal of Medicine.”
As for the purported health benefits of Mao’s version of communism, estimates of the number of deaths vary widely, but most are in the tens of millions.
In an effort to continue the ongoing cover-up that the NYT admits the Clinton Justice Department (via Janet Reno) was responsible for, the results of the anticipated Barrett Report by an independent council David Barrett released this week are presented in a biased manner (just look at that headline) that differs from the paper’s overblown coverage of Tom DeLay’s laughable indictments by Ronnie Earl. Here are some background explanations by other media outlets and pundits besides the NYT.
Over at Romenesko Letters, the liberals are trying to dismiss the conservative case against the liberal media, but they’re shooting blanks again. A man named John Martellaro, clearly moony over Eric Alterman’s questionable grasp on media reality, writes in to suggest the media account of the Alterman vs. Carlson media-bias debate revealed that Alterman offered "verifiable facts," while Tucker Carlson offered only "unsourced blather." Unfortunately, his lame arguments considers polls about Iraq and the names of newspaper sections as the "verifiable facts" of a conservative media bias. I'll rebut this after a peek at Martellaro's letter:
Where's the real bias in the U.S. media, leaning left or leaning right? The "debate" between Tucker Carlson and Eric Alterman is hardly the last word on the subject, but let's start there.
Editor and Publisher reports that the New York Times has "decided that only TimesSelect subscribers should be allowed to e-mail Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, et al."
Back in September the Times asked the hundreds of papers who publish the Op-Ed contributors through The New York Times News Service (NYTNS) to stop printing the writers' e-mail addresses with the columns (and to take the columns off their Web sites, too). Apparently not everyone got the message, because last week the Times' syndication service sent out an advisory reminding its client papers to remove the e-mail addresses.
There is another line of defense against unwanted email.
The President met at the White House today with Iraqi victims of the regime of Saddam Hussein. After spending an hour or so with the victims, and families of victims, he allowed the press in for a couple of minutes. The AP decided that the most worthy piece of information on the day, the thing that belonged in the headline, was the fact that the President either mispronounced or stumbled on the word 'butcher.' They highlighted that fact in their headline, Bush Meets Victims of 'Butcherer' Saddam.
The appropriately named Noah T. Winer has sent an e-mail to his MoveOn.Org Media Action team urging them to fulminate against CNN's plans to use conservative radio host Glenn Beck, complete with the panic-stricken headline "Stop CNN from Becoming Fox News." Winer pleads:
We recently alerted you to CNN's decision to hire right-winger Bill Bennett as a talking head. Yesterday, it got even worse: CNN Headline News announced plans to attract Fox News viewers by giving an hour of airtime every day to right-wing talk radio host Glenn Beck.
Variety magazine reports CNN "will look to build Beck into the type of TV personality that could siphon viewers from Bill O'Reilly, Joe Scarborough and other conservative hosts." There's not a single progressive host on CNN. Why is CNN trying to imitate Fox News? CNN's president thinks progressives don't really care, saying "they don't get too worked up about anything."
Ted Rall, the cartoonist that hates President Bush and the military, decries the January 13 “massacre” in Pakistan while claiming that the United States is committing “murder by mistake”. In his Jan 17 op-ed, “Death From Above: US Drone Planes Have a Nearly Perfect Record of Failure”, Rall states that the Hellfire Missiles “slammed into three local jewelers’ houses” and killed “at least 22 innocent civilians, including five women and five children.” He neglects to mention that the #2 Al Qaeda terrorist was supposed to be dining with the “jewelers”. He also neglects to mention that stories are now coming out that 3, possibly more, Al Qaeda terrorists are believed to have been killed in the air strike, including the bomb making mastermind, Abu Khabab al-Masri.
After NBC's Andrea Mitchell attacked Laura Bush when she called her a "potent political weapon" and says that Bush can say "partisan things without appearing partisan", she defends Hillary Clinton's recent comparison of the House with a slave plantation. Mitchell says that Republicans, specifically Newt Gingrich, can "get away with it", while Clinton "can say the same thing" and anything "controversial" will be used to "bludgeon her". She also notes that Clinton "has to be extra special careful" because she is "the opposite of the Teflon first lady".
She adds that Hillary was "with a friendly audience" and speaking to an "audience that wanted to hear that", which apparently makes it okay to make the comments according to Mitchell.
MRC's Mike Rule reports that CBS's "Early Show" had a typical breakdown of the debate over Oregon's assisted-suicide law. It's "patients" vs. "conservatives."
As Wyatt Andrews reported: "The ruling legalizes the right of terminally ill Oregon patients, patients like Jack Newbold, to end their lives when they choose with a doctor prescribed dose of barbiturates. Newbold died of his bone cancer but felt that his lethal prescription gave him power to the end...(Followed by old Newbold soundbite)...Patient groups in Oregon cheered the decision, and they predicted that other states will pass laws like Oregon's. Conservatives, however, will ask Congress to ban assisted suicide." (Introducting a soundbite from pro-life lawyer James Bopp.)
Last Saturday, the University of California, Santa Barbara hosted a media-bias debate between the moderately conservative Tucker Carlson and the distinctly leftist Eric Alterman, and the UCSB student newspaper, the Daily Nexus, was on the scene. (Hat tip: Romenesko.)
Highlights from Devon Claire Flannery's piece:
Carlson opened the debate with the assertion that America’s poorly informed electorate is the result of a badly biased press. He attributed low levels of political awareness among Americans to a liberal bias in the media and expressed disapproval of the way the media portrays politics in the United States.
Two days after Sen. Hillary Clinton stood in front of a black church audience on Martin Luther King Day to claim Republicans were running Congress like a “plantation,” the Times devotes a large front-page story to her by Hillary-beat reporter Raymond Hernandez.
Does the Times use the quote as a jumping-off point for an investigation to unmask the liberal agenda behind Clinton’s careful centrist public persona? Does it use the inflammatory remark to round up past controversial statements from Clinton, to suggest she’s not ready for her seemingly inevitable presidential run in 2008?
Not quite. Although a Republican would no doubt get that treatment, the “plantation” controversy is disposed of in a single sentence in “Senator Clinton Makes Her Run While Tiptoeing Around 2008.”
Trying to put out the fire that Hillary's "plantation" remark started, Dem strategist and Harvard Kennedy School lecturer Elaine Kamarck might unintentionally have added fuel to it in a just-completed Fox News interview with host Bob Sellers.
In fairness, Kamarck, pictured here, an advisor on the Gore 2000 campaign, did not unequivocally defend Hillary's comments, even saying that she personally would not have used the 'p' word.
But in defending the thrust of Clinton's remarks, Kamarck stuck her foot in it. She said:
"Plantations were terrible places where people were forced into doing certain jobs. But at least they were doing jobs."
When Republican leader Trent Lott made racially insensitive remarks, the MSM was immediately flooded with speculation as to whether he could survive in his political leadership post.
But when Hillary Clinton did the same, the Today show portrayed her as going on the offense, not being on the defense.
You might have imagined Today's graphic for this morning's segment would have read along the lines "Hillary Feeling the Heat". Imagine again. In fact it read "Off and Running? Hillary Attacks GOP." Offense, not defense.
Today also conveniently failed to mention that her 'plantation' comment was made in church. Even the New York Times was constrained to acknowledge that her remarks came at "the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem."
The piece begins by painting the poignant image of a Palestinian killed by Israelis and his bereaved family member who "choked back tears and wiped his red, swollen eyes." It ends with this slogan: ''When you have no hope, you vote Hamas."
"So what?", you ask. Palestinians are permitted to distribute campaign literature in preparation for their legislative elections on Jan. 25th. What's the big deal? Well, true. Except this wasn't a Hamas campaign flyer. It was an article in this morning's Boston Globe: A Death Hardens Support for Hamas.
One wonders whether the author, Thanassis Cambanis, wasn't smoking cannabis when composing his one-sided piece. The image he paints is of repressive Israelis hounding the innocent Hamas. But in fact, the dead man in question was the leader of a Hamas terrorist cell, according to the Israeli Defense Forces,. who was killed in a shootout with Israel forces during a raid in which Israel arrested 18 suspected "militants."
Since November, the media have carried around Rep. John Murtha around on their shoulders like a conquering hero for his opposition to the war in Iraq. They’ve thrown around the words “war hero” like clowns throwing candy at a parade. Murtha was broadcast far and wide attacking Vice President Cheney for his five deferments from Vietnam, suggesting these chicken hawks don’t like any suggestions about how to fight a war.
If Murtha were a Republican accusing a Democrat like this, we know what would happen. The so-called nonpartisan, objective, “mainstream” media would either (a) totally ignore him as an irrelevant, obscure House wacko, or (b) investigate his own military record to see if he earned all the “war hero” talk. And if discrepancies were found, all hell would break loose. And if you don’t believe me, just ask John O’Neill and the Swift Boat Vets for Truth, who underwent first (a) and then (b) when they challenged John Kerry.
Leave it to Keith Olbermann to rationalize Hillary Clinton's comparison of the Republican-controlled Congress to a plantation, a comparison she made during what should have been a celebration of the civil rights movement. On his January 17 Countdown show, the MSNBC host argued that because former House Speaker Newt Gingrich once compared the Democratic-controlled Congress to a plantation, a comment that had nothing to do with any racial issue, that reaction from the GOP in criticizing Clinton was perhaps "too swift," as he implied that the Republicans live in a "glass house." Olbermann asked Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne if there was "a rush to be holier-than-thou" by Republicans.
Writing in the January 18 Washington Post, staff writer Manuel Roig-Franzia begins a story about New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's apology with a reference to talk radio:
NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 17 -- An avalanche of criticism, stoked by heated talk-radio rants, forced Mayor C. Ray Nagin to apologize Tuesday for declaring that God wants New Orleans to be a "chocolate city."
Nagin, who is black, had said during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech that "this city will be an African American majority city. It's the way God wants it to be." He also said "God is mad at America" and "is sending hurricane after hurricane" because He disapproves of the United States invading Iraq "under false pretenses."