NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik arrived late to the story of former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson on Monday’s Morning Edition. He found former NBC reporter Lisa Myers to agree with Attkisson’s point about TV news in the Obama years: “Overall, the mainstream media has been less eager to hold this administration accountable than it was to hold the Bush administration accountable.”
But Folkenflik also turned to how "Detractors say she sees conspiracies too readily." Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple lashed out at Attkisson’s “act” of leaving CBS News:
Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple sat in the crowd at CNN’s “town hall” interview with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday and concluded: “If you’re a possible Democratic candidate, with or without a book to promote, and you want an experience that will elevate you, push for a CNN town hall in Washington. It’s hospitable turf.”
Wemple reported that to add “energy” to the Hillary event, the audience was coached to applaud Mrs. Clinton, which they did with great vigor, especially when Christiane Amanpour raised the prospect of Hillary running for president:
Media blogger Erik Wemple at The Washington Post relayed that Bill Clinton punished Jay Leno for cracking a good pile of Monica Lewinsky jokes, despite sending the former president an expensive bicycle as a make-amends gift.
That’s a revelation that comes from a New York Post roundup of a new book by Leno staffer Dave Berg (Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show).
On Friday, Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post (HT Hot Air) gave "Four Pinocchios" (i.e., a "Whopper") to a statement President Barack Obama made about Senate Republicans' filibuster track record on Wednesday in a speech at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dinner in Los Angeles.
In the process, Kessler essentially delivered a rebuke to reporters who cover Obama. Every one of them should have recognized that his DCCC claim that "since 2007, they (Republicans) have filibustered about 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class" is false. For it to be true, GOP senators would have had to average 68 filibusters per year only of middle-class relevant bills for the past 7-1/3 years. With the Senate being in session an average of just under 112 days per year during the time involved, that' an impossible frequency of more than one every other day. Excerpts from Kessler's critique follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Attorneys for NBC News are feverishly working to get a judge to toss out a defamation lawsuit filed by George Zimmerman, claiming, oddly enough, that Mr. Zimmerman's prior work seeking to get justice for a homeless black man made him a "limited purpose" public figure. Nevermind that that's a side of Zimmerman's community involvement which the peacock network didn't really care to report as its skewed reporting suggested he was a racist.
Thursday was a busy time for White House press secretary Jay Carney. First, he claimed that the toughest interview president Barack Obama had in 2012 was moderated by Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, he later stated that “there has never been a more transparent administration,” a situation that “creates headaches for us and ridiculous stories on Fox News.”
It didn't take long for Greta van Susteren, host of that channel's weeknight On the Record program, to come out swinging and post a message asking: ”White House delusional? Obsessed with Fox News Channel? Thinks we are the only ones that spotted this BS?”
On Friday, Erik Wemple -- a blogger for the Washington Post -- announced that the “renowned investigative reporter” Michael Isikoff was leaving the “Peacock Network” that day because “it was increasingly clear" that the news division “was moving in directions in which there were going to be fewer opportunities for my work,” Isikoff told the New York Times.
After 33 years, NBC investigative reporter Lisa Myers left the network in January. In a statement later on Friday, Richard Esposito -- the senior executive producer of the shrinking NBC News investigative unit -- praised Isikoff by asserting:
According to a new report released on Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, the liberalMSNBC channel's prime-time audience fell 24 percent to 619,500 during the last calendar year, more than the Cable News Network -- which dropped 13 percent to a viewership of 543,000 – and the Fox News Channel, which lost 6 percent but still easily held onto first place with 1.75 million viewers.
As if that weren't bad enough, the “Lean Forward” network's revenue in 2013 lost 2 percent to total only $475 million. During the same period, CNN's income grew 2 percent to reach $1.11 billion, and the revenue for Fox News increased 5 percent to a tidy sum of $1.89 billion.
Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple has cried foul against a New York Observer article titled “The Tyranny and Lethargy of the Times Editorial Page." Wemple is right that this article by Ken Kurson is loaded with negative attacks from anonymous Times “insiders,” but stops short of saying this is exactly what the Times (and the Post) do to politicians they don’t like. (See the Vicki Iseman debacle of 2008.)
But perhaps the funniest part is after finding “17 problems” with the Observer article, he writes he cannot find any problem with people finding columnist Thomas Friedman is a tiresome blowhard:
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo must surely know there is no easier way to avoid a conflict of interest than letting one of his "New Day" co-anchors interview his brother, New York Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Andrew Cuomo. But acting like a CNN bigfoot after just months at the network, Cuomo insists on interviewing Cuomo (repeatedly). On Monday, he had an e-mail fit with Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast after he interviewed Gov. Cuomo about the train derailment in New York. That's six days after he interviewed his brother for being named "Sexiest Fifty-something" by People magazine.
“Obviously I did the intv because it was non political, and frankly, I invite the criticism—because it exposes the hollowness of a lot of what is out there,” he began.
Eric Deggans of National Public Radio sat in the guest-host chair on CNN's "Reliable Sources" show on Sunday, and pressed Amy Holmes of TheBlaze TV several times on how she should be more forgiving of Martin Bashir's outrageous remarks about Sarah Palin. First, he suggested, "Martin Bashir apologized for his comments. He reached out to the Palin family.Is there really a problem here? Or are competitors and partisan people try to make an issue being made out of something that has already passed?"
One doesn't have to be a partisan to suggest an on-air apology might seem like a weak punishment. Holmes cited that MSNBC removed David Shuster from the air (never to return) for suggesting Hillary Clinton "pimped out" her daughter Chelsea on the campaign trail. So Deggans turned the issue to Glenn Beck, who Holmes works for: [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple read through a stack of books by cable-news hosts for a Sunday Outlook piece, and declared “MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is the clear winner of the cable-news-host literary prize” for her book “Drift.”
On Sunday’s front page, The Post called it a “blab lit review” and called it “A survey of the many cable big mouths who have stuffed it between hard covers." Wemple accurately captured the contempt the liberal media has for Fox hosts:
Media outlets see themselves as brave souls reporting on racial discrimination inside greedy corporations. On June 12, The Washington Post made a front-page story out of a suit against BMW and Dollar General by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for “indirectly discriminating against African Americans by using criminal background checks to screen out workers.”
At FrontPage magazine, conservative freelancer Evan Gahr reports the Post is “quieter than deaf mutes about a lawsuit alleging race discrimination at their own paper.” This is just like NPR's on-air silence when it was sued by correspondent Sunni Khalid for racial and anti-Muslim discrimination in 1997. The blog Fishbowl DC covered the contrast, and then said that contrast is interesting, but tried to underline just how totally understandable the Post blackout on itself was:
The announcement for Piers Morgan's new book, Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney, states that the liberal host of a Cable News Network weeknight program “is one of the most talked-about, controversial figures in the media today.”
Even though Morgan has been engaged in a years-long crusade to implement extreme gun-control laws, neither he nor his publisher, Simon & Schuster, apparently had any qualms about pushing the book on Wednesday, only two days after the Navy Yard shooting that left 13 people dead.
Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple recalled Daily Beast boss Tina Brown hate-tweeting her former Washington bureau chief Howard Kurtz: “am I forgetting something or didn’t I fire you for serial inaccuracy?”
“That was a bit of classlessness that simply wasn’t going to go unpunished,” Wemple wrote. “And now the journalism gods have spoken, via a correction that is available on NPR.” On a Thursday interview on Morning Edition, Brown made a very dramatic error, falsely claiming a pregnancy by rape of a journalist in Somalia, as anchor Renee Montagne announced on Friday's show:
Even the lefties at The New Yorker magazine know that Fox offers more space to liberals than MSNBC does to conservatives. Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple's headline was "MSNBC: Must-agree TV."
The New Yorker's Kelefa Sanneh (for eight years a music critic at The New York Times) profiled MSNBC and declared point blank that "Conservatives are far less visible on MSNBC than liberals are on Fox News." He absolutely nailed how Phil Griffin's shows prefer Republicans who trash the right-wingers as fanatics:
The Washington Post is a legend in the minds of the Washington elite, so its financial decline has caused quiet panic. As NPR media reporter David Folkenflik put it, “You think of stories like the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, these are all stories where The Washington Post led the nation's understanding, the world's understanding of some major issues.”
Outside the liberal media, you wonder how long Post fans can wallow in their Nixon-crumbling polyester “glory days” in the early 1970s. But nostalgia ruled as the Graham family sold the Post to Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com. “Now he is being credited as a white knight with deep pockets helping to save one of this country's great newspapers,” oozed NBC reporter Tom Costello.
When the New York Times Magazine published an 8,000-word puff piece in April about Anthony Weiner and wife Huma Abedin, the media predictably applauded with all three broadcast networks gleefully referring to the piece to assist in the sext-crazed politician's rehabilitation.
Adding insult to injury, the article's author Jonathan Van Meter - who is a contributing editor to Vogue and New York magazine - told the Washington Post's Erik Wemple Monday, "Never even occurred to me to ask" if Weiner was still sexting.
Updated below: Wemple doubles down | Are you genuinely offended and angered by Rolling Stone magazine putting a glamour-style photograph of Boston bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its August 1 edition, plugging its corresponding cover story, "The Bomber," by promising readers a look at "How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster"?
You are? Well, you're certainly not alone, but Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple thinks you're just another cog in "our country's tedious outrage machine." From his July 17 blog post filed shortly before 11 a.m. and headlined, "To Rolling Stone detractors: Please":
In a study finding that should be completely obvious to anyone who spends an hour with the media, the liberal-leaning Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has found media coverage “was tilted massively against those who favor traditional marriage.”
Pew’s study of more than 1,000 stories from March 18 to May 12 found what anyone could find. Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple noted the numbers back up the lament from Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage that even Fox News doesn’t want to hear their side of the argument:
Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple spends a lot of time picking apart Fox broadcasts, but he was stunned by a Thomas Roberts interview on MSNBC with the new leader of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ilyse Hogue. She claimed “we were the first out of the gate to call attention to this case.” Like a news butler, Roberts set her up to make that bizarre claim and then moved on to the next publicist's softball.
Wemple shot back: “Having done precisely 3,454 Nexis and Internet search on the Gosnell case, we missed the part where NARAL had led a charge to highlight the alleged atrocities in West Philadelphia.” He kept searching, and NARAL’s new boss kept looking sillier and sillier:
Politico’s Dylan Byers reported “The Daily Beast is dropping Howard Kurtz, the veteran media critic who made headlines this week for his erroneous report about NBA star Jason Collins.” Kurtz erred in suggesting Collins hadn’t been forthcoming about his fiancee, even though he discussed her on both ABC and in the Sports Illustrated cover story that made “history.” Kurtz’s story was retracted on Thursday.
On top of Kurtz losing his $300,000-a-year Beast gig (which started in October of 2010), TV Newser reported “A source at CNN tells TVNewser that Kurtz’s current deal with the cable channel will likely be his last.” The New York Times had a source claiming it wasn't just a Collins thing:
Under pressure from pro-life websites and writers, several national news outlets have reluctantly began covering the trial of ghastly abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Beyond that, a handful of liberal media figures are finally beginning to ask the important question of why such a sensational trial--if it bleeds, it supposedly leads--received almost no attention whatsoever in the national press.
In a scathing piece, Washington Post blogger Melinda Henneberger, a rare pro-life liberal journalist, rounds up some excuses from her colleagues about why they think the media ignored the Gosnell case. One of her co-workers responded that the story of the abortionist’s alleged crimes seemed more of a local news story than a national one. Of course, local crime stories such as the disappearance of Natalee Holloway or the case against Andrea Yates, are routinely covered by nationwide news outlets.
Over the past two days, MSNBC has been busy bashing pro-gun rights advocates as craven ghouls in light of a video they insist shows the father of a child slain in the Newtown massacre as being "heckled" during official testimony. But a review of the full videotape testimony shows that, in fact, Neil Heslin was not heckled, but that a few spectators in the hearing room answered a question Heslin posed. Both conservative sites like Twitchy and liberal outlets like Slate have come to the conclusion that there was in fact no heckling.
Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple jumped to the defense of Bob Costas in a Monday morning blog post entitled, "Bob Costas, please keep spouting off." While Wemple avoided stating whether he agreed with Costas and Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock on gun control per se, he made it perfectly clear he had a low view of the average Joe at home wanting to escape the world for three hours watching a football game.
This is "the mentality of the sports consumer," Wemple groused, "Give me the game, the X's and the O's, the instant replays, the halftime highlights and leave the rest of the world out of it." But, "NFL players live in our society and are bound by our laws. The things that they do affect the public beyond whether their teams cover the point spread," Wemple argued, concluding (emphasis mine):
It looks like Candy Crowley, her establishment press excuse-makers (for her and President Obama), and supporters of the President are going to have to resort to finding penumbras emanating from Obama's September 12 Rose Garden appearance -- y'know, the one during which the press and Democrats insist that the President really, really did call the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya a terrorist attack.
The reason they're going to have to do this is because the person who asked Obama the Libya question is saying that the President himself told him that he delayed calling Benghazi a terrorist attack. Erik Wemple at the Washington Post apparently doesn't grasp the damning significance of what the questioner, Kerry Ladka, relayed to him.
On Thursday, NB's Mark Finkelstein reported that MSNBC was airing an ad for The Ed Show and its obsession with recalling Gov. Scott Walker that said “Get Out The Vote!” Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple picked up the story and lamented that MSNBC would be so baldly partisan, except – MSNBC told him it was being scrubbed.
"No need to lecture too much here, because MSNBC told me yesterday evening that it has taken a critical look at the spot.” he reported. MSNBC spokeswoman Lauren Skowronski said “The spot is being revised. The original version is no longer airing.”
On Saturday, blogger Erik Wemple at The Washington Post reported NBC would investigate its shoddy editing of a George Zimmerman 9-1-1 call "As exposed by Fox News and media watchdog site NewsBusters." On Tuesday night, NBC apologized with a brief statement.
"During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers," the network said.
Spike Lee erroneously tweeting the address of an unrelated elderly couple, rather than George Zimmerman, was a "mean, boneheaded, thoughtless and harmful thing to do." But alas, he's shown, and tweeted contrition, Washington Post's Erik Wemple blogged approvingly yesterday. Heck, Lee even "repeated the apology in a phone call, a conversation that left the couple feeling better about the ordeal," Wemple gushed in his 8-paragraph March 30 blog post, "Spike Lee apologizes, atones for screwup."
Yet in the midst of effusively praising Lee for his apology and financial settlement with the McClains, he failed to consider what, if any, apology Lee was willing to extend to Zimmerman and his family for wishing to set him in harm's way. Isn't Lee's apology simply self-serving as it was extended to a party he never intended to harm in the first place?