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By Lachlan Markay | May 14, 2010 | 3:12 PM EDT
Believe it or not, there are some who still fail to grasp the notion that the legacy media are overwhelmingly liberal. They act shocked when the media do what they usually do -- toe the liberal line -- and search in vain for some way to explain the apparent bias.

"Does the Media Care About Unemployment?" asked Kevin Drum, a writer for the liberal Mother Jones. Drum postulated that that "the media focused way more on economic hard luck stories in the early 80s than they do now."

While a liberal noting the double standard is refreshing, Drum went on to attribute it to a litany of possible reasons, all the while ignoring the obvious, and painfully simple answer right before his eyes: as B. Daniel Blatt writes, "Because a Republican’s Not in the White House."
By Tim Graham | May 14, 2010 | 2:25 PM EDT

Friday's "Yeas and Nays" gossip column in The Washington Examiner reported that despite his suspension by MSNBC, anchor David Shuster is still playing on the "Original Peacocks" softball team of WRC (NBC's local affiliate). An anonymous player claimed:

"One funny thing is he has his own uniform, while the rest of the teams play in shorts and T-shirts," a player from an opposing team told Yeas & Nays. "What a dork," the player added.

1)  I don't wear a "uniform." I wear shorts and the WRC/NBC t-shirt just like everybody else. There is one player on our team who wears softball pants. But he plays left field. I play center. And I've never EVER worn softball pants. So, your claim about me wearing a uniform is false. 

By Tim Graham | May 14, 2010 | 1:01 PM EDT

Liberal newspapers think alike. In Friday's Washington Post, film critic Michael O'Sullivan seconded the emotion of New York Times critic A.O. Scott that there were "tea party" elements in the new Russell Crowe version of "Robin Hood." O'Sullivan also lamented there was "precious little of the socialist stuff" that's usually associated with the Hood legend's rob-and-redistribute routine. O'Sullivan began:  

Dark and polemic, Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood" is less about a band of merry men than a whole country of really angry ones. At times, it feels like a political attack ad paid for by the tea party movement, circa 1199. Set in an England that has been bankrupted by years of war in the Middle East -- in this case, the Crusades -- it's the story of a people who are being taxed to death by a corrupt government, under an upstart ruler who's running the country into the ground. It asks: What's a man of principle to do?

If you said, "Steal from the rich, and give to the poor," you must be thinking of the old Robin Hood. The correct answer here is: "Don't retreat, reload." There are more arrows flying every which way than you've ever seen -- through the face, the neck, the chest, the back. It's a pincushion of a movie.
By Geoffrey Dickens | May 14, 2010 | 11:43 AM EDT

If Jonathan Alter's interview segment, on Friday's Today show with NBC's Meredith Vieira, is any indication of what to expect from his new book on the Obama presidency, readers should not look forward to an insightful, hard-hitting treatment of the President as the Newsweek columnist praised Obama as not "a phony" who has a "psychological health to him." On to plug his book, The Promise, Alter -- after being cued up by Vieira to explain why Obama's approval ratings remain "strong" in a new NBC News poll -- boiled it down to his bringing an "authenticity" and "thoughtfulness" to his presidency.

ALTER: He just doesn't seem like a phony and the people who deal with him every day feel this way. He's got a kind of psychological health to him and even if you don't like what he's doing, and I try to assess where he's succeeded and where he's failed, you have to respect the man. He, he brings a thoughtfulness to the process. And he does try to drill down into these decisions.

Alter also cited Obama's pick of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court as an example of him being a "conciliator" that harkens back to his days at Harvard University when he brought "liberals and conservatives together."

The following is the full interview as it was aired on the May 14 Today show:

By NB Staff | May 14, 2010 | 11:17 AM EDT
Appearing on the May 13 "Hannity" program for a "Media Mash" segment,  NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell tackled the media coverage of the Elena Kagan nomination. After the Fox News host played some clips of network anchors focusing on how the Obama Court nominee loves opera, softball, and poker, Bozell noted it was par for the course.

While "from the moment he was nominated, [Clarence Thomas] was savaged," whenever a liberal is nominated by a Democratic president, the media label him or her a moderate and focus on humanizing them, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell noted.

[MP3 audio available here]

Also of note, Bozell argued, was how the media have been largely quiet about a promotional video the White House produced to gin up positive PR for Kagan:

By Lachlan Markay | May 14, 2010 | 11:01 AM EDT
The birth control pill was invented 50 years ago this month. CBS Nightly News anchor Katie Couric was all set to "break out the cake and streamers." But first, she wanted to inform her viewers of a pressing national need: federal subsidies for the pill. Seriously.

Couric was distraught during her "Notebook" segment last night that, in her mind, not enough women have access to birth control. Her solution? Classify it as "preventive medicine" so that federal funds can be allocated to distributing it under the new health care law. Calling birth control "preventive medicine" seems to assume that pregnancy is a medical disorder of some sort, but I digress.

The segment runs like an infomercial for the liberal position on birth control. It lauds Planned Parenthood, the "need" for publicly funded birth control, and even throws in a dash of anti-insurance company populism. Couric caps the segment off by saying, "We've come a long way, baby, but not far enough." (Video and transcript below the fold - h/t Story Balloon)
By NB Staff | May 14, 2010 | 10:58 AM EDT

NewsBusters contributor, Rick Sanchez nemesis, and admitted "space travel geek" Matthew Balan is at the Kennedy Space Center today as one of a few lucky Twitter contestants selected by NASA to watch and live-tweet this afternoon's launch of Shuttle Atlantis.

By Clay Waters | May 14, 2010 | 10:22 AM EDT
New York Times movie critic (and Michael Moore fan) A. O. Scott is obsessed with the right-leaning politics and anti-French attitudes he glimpses in the new "Robin Hood" movie, starring Russell Crowe. His Arts section review is titled "Rob the Rich? Give to the Poor? Oh, Puh-leeze!"
You may have heard that Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but that was just liberal media propaganda. This Robin is no socialist bandit practicing freelance wealth redistribution, but rather a manly libertarian rebel striking out against high taxes and a big government scheme to trample the ancient liberties of property owners and provincial nobles. Don't tread on him!

So is "Robin Hood" one big medieval tea party?
Kind of, though that description makes the movie sound both more fun and more provocative than it actually is. The film's politics, in any case, are more implicit than overt, so that the filmmakers can plausibly deny any particular topical agenda. Which is fair enough: the fight of ragged warriors against sniveling and sadistic tyrants appeals across tastes and ideologies. In our own minds, at least at the movies, we are all embattled underdogs standing up for our rights against a bunch of overprivileged jerks who won't leave us alone.
Scott, always quick to sniff out political themes in unlikely places (he found references to imperialism and the Vietnam War in the science-fiction thriller "Aliens") continues his odd defense of all things French:
By P.J. Gladnick | May 14, 2010 | 9:35 AM EDT

The cactus in the photo at right planted along the Arizona border with California gives a pretty good indication of the reaction of that state to the boycott directed at them by the Los Angeles city council over the new immigration law. However, what is the opinion of folks in California? If a Los Angeles Times poll showed overwhelming support for the boycott, do you not think this would be front page news? Well, the results were overwhelming...97.6% of the respondents to this L.A. Times poll were opposed to the boycott of Arizona. The poll question: "Was the L.A. City Council right to pass a boycott of Arizona?" Here are the results:

By NB Staff | May 14, 2010 | 9:34 AM EDT

Possible talking point: Eric Holder is in denial, or as Andy McCarthy calls it, "the most painful two minutes of video you will ever watch."

By Tim Graham | May 14, 2010 | 8:40 AM EDT

On the Swampland blog, Time's Jay Newton-Small reports congressional Democrats are peeved at Newsweek pundit Jonathan Alter's Obama-polishing book on his first year, especially how he seems to give the president most of the credit for passing ObamaCare. Alter defended himself with more Barack-boosting:

Even though he did not draft the bill, it has come to be known as “Obamacare” and will be – for better or for worst – one of the crowning achievements that history will remember of Obama's first term. “On the idea of winning- it's always messy,” Alter tells me. “He has joined  [Franklin] Roosevelt and [Lyndon] Johnson as a President of great domestic accomplishment. He gets the credit, even though he may have screwed up here or there, but in the final analysis he won and if he'd lost nobody would've given him credit for good intentions.”

By Tim Graham | May 14, 2010 | 7:48 AM EDT

Pardon my harping, but it's perpetually amazing to me that tens of thousands of people can assemble every January in the nation's capital for the March for Life, and draw not a second of network TV attention. But 14 illegal-alien advocates blocked traffic in Los Angeles, and both ABC and NBC acknowledged them on the morning of May 7:

JUJU CHANG, ABC: Well, police in Los Angeles have arrested more than a dozen protesters, who chained themselves together on a downtown street, to protest the new immigration law in Arizona. 14 activists locked themselves in a circle in front of an immigration detention center, blocking traffic for about four hours.

ANN CURRY, NBC: And at least 14 people are under arrest in Los Angeles after blocking traffic for about four hours on Thursday. They chained themselves together to protest Arizona's new immigration law.

Do the networks understand that they're instructing protesters to get arrested before they get noticed, no matter how many thousands of them peacefully assemble? At the very least, ABC and NBC could have offered a few choice words from the drivers who were blocked by these protesters.

By Candance Moore | May 13, 2010 | 10:17 PM EDT

"Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional. Britain, you chose well."

Was that a British socialist speaking in Parliament? Nope. It was Dr. Donald Berwick, a Harvard professor about to face Senate confirmation as President Obama's nominee to head Medicare and Medicaid.

Dr. Berwick has spent the last few years gushing over the awesomeness of the UK's government healthcare, including the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) which has become little more than a rationing panel for British patients.

This apparently made him a perfect fit for President Obama's healthcare agenda. With Medicare set to lose hundreds of billions in funding, someone with a knack for "cost control"  needs to take the lead - and who better than a Harvard radical obsessed with Britain's socialized medicine program?

Just don't call him a radical. On Thursday, Time Magazine's Kate Pickert wrote a piece headlined "'Rationing' Is Back!" as a snarky rebuttal to Berwick's Republican critics. The fireworks took off in the very first paragraph:

By Mark Finkelstein | May 13, 2010 | 9:47 PM EDT
If  anyone in the liberal media has no business calling anyone a coward for refusing to take on people with opposing opinions, it's Keith Olbermann.  The fragile Countdown host is so defensive about his policy of inviting only yes-people on his show that, as noted here, he recently devoted an MSNBC promo to lamely explaining away his Bert Lahr imitation.

But that didn't stop Olbermann on this evening's Countdown from pummeling Sarah Palin for declining to come on MSNBC. For good measure, the vulgarist variously referred to the former vice-presidential candidate as an "idiot-woman" and twice as an "idiot." Here's how Olbermann teased his attack at the top of the show . . .
KEITH OLBERMANN: Idiot-woman speaks. In front of a big flag, sponsored by a sump-pump company, quote: "somebody told me, you know your [sic] going into enemy territory. I said, it's Chicago, it's not MSNBC." Yah, like you had the courage to come to MSNBC.

Note to Olbermann: when calling someone else an "idiot-woman," avoid misspelling "you're" as "your" in your show graphics [see screencap after the break].

By Brent Baker | May 13, 2010 | 9:34 PM EDT
The night after two major national polls confirmed overwhelming majorities support Arizona's impending immigration enforcement statute (59 percent per Pew and 64 percent per NBC/WSJ), CBS and ABC promoted the cause of activists in the minority. Both devoted full stories to the “uproar” and “emotional civil war” over the law and moves by a few liberal local government bodies to enact boycotts, only getting late in their stories to those who like the law.

The Thursday night stories were pegged to a boycott vote by the Democratic city council of Los Angeles, but CBS's Bill Whitaker and ABC's Barbara Pinto both also played a three-day old clip of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger mocking Arizona and pointed to the cancellation of a trip to Arizona by a suburban Chicago high school's girls basketball team – not to deride adults for using teens to grind a political axe, but to illustrate the supposed depth of opposition to Arizona's law.

“The boycott of Arizona is spreading,” Katie Couric trumpeted before Whitaker touted: “The city of Los Angeles, the latest to react strongly to Arizona's tough new anti-illegal immigration law.” He pushed how “a growing number of states and municipalities are boycotting or considering boycotting Arizona,” citing how “Highland Park High School in Chicago's suburbs is pulling its champion girls' basketball team from a tournament in Arizona because of the law.”