On Wednesday's American Morning, CNN's Ed Henry lauded former President Clinton as "one of the best politicians the Democrats have ever had...in the last quarter century" and touted his apparent credibility over current President Barack Obama. Henry also speculated that if "Al Gore...had used President Clinton more in 2000, he may have been president."
Substitute anchor Drew Griffin brought on the White House correspondent 26 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour to discuss the Obama White House's intention to "aggressively use the former president on the campaign trail over the next few months. One party official familiar with the plan calls it a- quote, 'no-brainer.'" During the second half of the segment, Griffin asked, "How can Bill Clinton do it all? I mean, he was picked by President Obama, basically, to rebuild Haiti. Now, they seem to be yanking him off of that and heading him out to the campaign trail, just to save the Democrats in the House in November."
Which is the bigger story: a few power companies out West have started a pilot program to promote solar panels, or . . . police announce they will investigate allegations of sexual assault against a Nobel prize winner and former Vice-President of the United States? I'd guess most people would go with 'B.' But when it came time to highlight a story from the front page of today's Oregonian, Morning Joe went with the solar panels and ignored Gore.
I was all set to play this as a plain-vanilla case of the MSM burying unwelcome news for a Dem, when another theory occurred to me: could the Morning Joe folks actually have found a cleverly subversive way of getting the Gore story out there, perhaps against the wishes of their network overlords?
Have a look at the video of the Oregonian front page as Morning Joe displayed it during the "Morning Papers" segment [screencap after the jump].
It's already been documented that the media have, at least initially, ignored the allegation that global warming alarmist-in-chief and former Vice President Al Gore faced a sexual assault charge in 2006. But why?
Although not know for its enlightening commentary, ABC's June 24 broadcast of "The View" offered an answer for that question. Subbing as a moderator for the show's panel was MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, who explained their decision to ignore it was based on "insufficient evidence" despite the police report documenting the allegation.
"This is an interesting story," Scarborough said. "A 2006 police report surfaced of a masseuse claiming former Vice President Al Gore repeatedly attempted, quote, ‘unwanted sexual contact with her during a hotel room massage which lasted for three hours.' Detectives found insufficient evidence to support the allegations, which leads to my question first, Joy. Should we be talking about it at all? This was in The Oregonian. We decided this morning not to talk about it on ‘Morning Joe' because there was insufficient evidence. The Oregonian picked it up, then the National Enquirer. Everybody's going to be talking about it. Should we?"
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer provided analysis of Tuesday's primary elections across the country, describing the South Carolina gubernatorial race "where they continue to draw their political plot lines from, you know, 'Desperate Housewives' or something" and how Nevada Democrats were "very happy" with the victory of tea party candidate Sharron Angle.
Speaking to Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez, Schieffer ran down the most watched races in Arkansas, California, South Carolina, and Nevada. When he got to South Carolina, he described gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley as "very conservative." After making the 'Desperate Housewives' comparison, he remarked how the GOP primary in the state was "providing some entertainment, as it were, for the rest of the country. I mean, you had Governor Sanford down there and his adventures. And now these allegations against Nikki Haley." He quickly added that the allegations of adultery against Haley were "without foundation" and that "Nobody has proven anything."
Rodriguez then asked if "Harry Reid is happy or fretting the fact" that tea party-backed Sharron Angle won the GOP senate primary in Nevada. Schieffer declared: "I suspect that Democrats in Nevada are very happy about this....I think the Reid people think that he would have a much better chance beating her than some of the other Republicans in the primaries."
Promoting his latest HBO special on Monday's CBS Early Show, comedian Robert Klein turned his attention to the Gulf oil spill and who's to blame: "...we're all to blame. We're pigs. It's a parable for us. American pre-eminence is not guaranteed and unless we learn that this stuff has dangers– where are all those 'drill, baby, drills' now?" [Audio available here]
Those comments were prompted by co-host Harry Smith remarking: "BP would be such a spectacular target for your lampooning." Klein went on to add: "...all that oil that's fouling everything, it probably wouldn't run the automobiles in Texas for one day." Smith chimed in: "An hour." Klein proclaimed: "...it's minuscule, that's how much we use of that stuff. So let's get off it. I mean, and it's coming back to us in bullets, everybody knows this. But Americans have a memory of about 12 seconds."
On CBS's Sunday Morning program, a 'Fast Draw' segment by cartoonists Mitch Butler and Josh Landis similarly scolded Americans for wasting energy. Landis warned: "Our hunger for energy is driving oil companies to drill deeper and more dangerous wells..." Butler remarked: "Thankfully, these days everyone's talking about going green and saving energy. We know to ride bicycles to work instead of driving a car, don't use that air conditioner on a hot summer day. Air travel uses way too much energy. So don't take that vacation." However, Landis lamented: "...most Americans don't make enough of these kinds of sacrifices to save a meaningful amount of energy."
Hell-bent to speed down its dead-end road to irrelevance, Newsweek's editors stubbornly cling to the self-delusion that their magazine is not a partisan rag. But any cursory look at the June 7 dead tree edition proves otherwise.
[No, I didn't get inspired to write this following a dentist's visit. Sadly, we still have a subscription here at the office.]
Take, for example The Index feature in the Scope section. Assigning a number score from zero (awful) to 100 (awesome), Newsweek writers snarked that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal [score of 15] has often "[railed] against big government" but is now complaining "big government isn't doing enough to protect his shorelines." Writers also smacked around conservative J.D. Hayworth, former Rep. Vito Fossella and failed Idaho congressional candidate Vaughn Ward while praising author Joe McGinniss [score of 74] for moving next door to Sarah Palin's Wasilla, Alaska, residence. No Democrats were ridiculed by name.
A quick flip to the Back Story on the last page asks "How Queer Is That?" with a look at how it's "[f]unny how prominent conservatives with antigay records are so often caught in gay sex scandals." For that feature, three former and one current Republican politician were featured, as were former evangelical pastor Ted Haggard and minister George Rekers.
Most Americans believe the concepts of fidelity and marriage go hand in hand. However, with the help of a former president, one married couple has set out to prove otherwise.
"It was Bill Clinton who first got Christopher Ryan thinking about monogamy," Washington Post Staff Writer Ellen McCarthy said of Ryan's new book "Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality."
Ryan was a doctoral student during the scandal surrounding Clinton's sexual affair with an intern, Monica Lewinsky, according to McCarthy. It made him wonder: "How is it that the most powerful man in the world is getting publicly humiliated for having a casual sexual relationship with someone?"
The book suggests that "we reevaluate the idea that monogamy comes naturally to men and women-and look at whether it should even be something we require of our spouses." Ryan wrote the book with his wife, psychiatrist Cacilda Jethá.
When I saw the Associated Press's headline ("Disgraced former Ohio congressman dies at 79"), I started thinking about whom the wire service might be referring to.
Of course I knew he would be a Republican, because the establishment media never treats Democrats, even those who leave women who aren't their wives to drown in a submerged car, as "disgraced."
But even I never thought that the AP would reach back 20 years and attempt to give the national spotlight (raw feed proof as of 6:30 p.m. ET is here) to a former Ohio politician whom even most Ohioans -- even most Southwestern Ohioans -- don't remember. I clearly underestimated AP's cravenness. I guess "The Essential Global News Network" needed to find something to offset the hurt coursing through liberal circles today from seeing the GOP gain a seat, however temporarily, in Hawaii.
No "Name That Party" post would be complete without referring to how Democratic politicians in somewhat analogous situations were handled by AP upon their death. That's coming up.
But first, here is most of the wire service's story (for fair use and discussion purposes, of course) about the former congressman's death, complete with multiple party and political philosophy references, as well as guilt by association:
Today, the Associated Press generally did what is supposed to do when reporting on scandal-plagued politicians. Here are the first five paragraphs of the AP's brief report on Indiana Congressman Mark Souder's resignation announcement (link is dynamic and will probably be updated; "where's the worst one we can find?" picture of Souder at top right is via AP):
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
A recent article from CBS Healthwatch contributor Kelli Stacy revealed new findings from a study done by University of Kentucky researchers indicating that less than 20 percent of young adults believe "Oral contract with partner's genitals" constitutes "sex."
In 1991 a similar survey found that approximately 40 percent of young adults considered oral sex as "sex," Stacy noted. Researchers attribute the shift in sex-conceptualization to the Monica Lewinsky affair.
"Researchers point to former President Clinton's infamous statement, ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman,' as the pivotal turning point in society's changing views about oral sex," Stacy said. "The attitude shift has been dubbed the ‘Clinton-Lewinsky' effect."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, news reader Betty Nguyen continued the media barrage against the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict as she proclaimed: "They are circling the wagons at the Vatican, defending the Pope amid new charges that he helped cover up cases of sexual abuse when he was a cardinal."
In the report that followed, correspondent Allen Pizzey treated the Holy Father like a corrupt politician: "The abuse scandal, highlighted with pictures of the Pope, glared from the front pages of every major newspaper in Italy today. And in a clear sign of just how much trouble Benedict is in, only two of them defended him." Later in the report, a headline appeared on screen that read: "Catholic Abuse Cover-up? New Allegations About Pope's Role."
Pizzey noted how the Pope recently "told a Vatican youth rally...that the word of God would show them how to prevent falling into what he called 'the abyss of drugs, of alcohol, of addiction to sex and to money.'" He then added: "But victims of abuse...say the Pope failed to heed his own advice."
On Friday's CBS Early Show correspondent Allen Pizzey made the over-the-top declaration that allegations of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church amounted to "a scandal that's threatening to become a plague of biblical proportions." A headline on-screen declared a "Catholic Crisis."
Pizzey was reporting on Pope Benedict XVI's efforts to address the scandal in a soon-to-be published Papal letter, but noted that such a statement "seems unlikely to assuage the anger of victims in parishes ranging from the U.S. to Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Brazil." Pizzey cited one victim of abuse, Andrew Madden, who argued: "I don't think a pastoral letter is the proper context in which to respond to a report about the cover-up of the rape of children."
Madden has made his opinions of the Catholic Church well-known on Twitter. One of his tweets reads: "Actual photo of the Devil at work in the Vatican," with a link to a picture of Pope. In response to another tweeter complimenting him on a recent television appearance, Madden replied: "do my best, but these really are the scum of the earth, I'd never have said that 6 months ago but I truly believe it today."
How much of a pickle is Pelosi potentially in? Enough that Dem loyalist Charles Blow had to resort to some truly twisted reasoning to explain away her delay in responding to allegations against Eric Massa.
Of all things, the New York Times columnist tried to excuse Pelosi's failure to act by blaming . . . "our crazy misogynistic culture." Huh?
Blow offered his odd opinion on today's Morning Joe . . .
Since Friday, ABC has devoted 60 minutes and 23 seconds to interviews covering the most salacious details of John Edwards' sex scandal. Yet, the network's anchors have refrained from referring to him as a Democrat. 20/20 on Friday spent the entire hour talking to Andrew Young, a former top Edwards aide who allegedly holds a sex tape involving the politician. The D-word was never used by reporter Bob Woodruff.
Good Morning America again featured the story on Saturday. On Monday’s GMA, former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos interviewed Young about his role in covering for Edwards. Over two segments that lasted 14 minutes and 50 segments, Stephanopoulos never highlighted Edwards’ party affiliation.
The only time it came up is when Young, who has written a tell-all book about Edwards, tried to justify covering for the candidate: "At that point, I genuinely- genuinely believed that he was the only Democrat that could beat McCain or any other opponent."
During the 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor David Shuster claimed that Fox News political analyst Brit Hume "denigrated Christianity" when suggesting that scandal-ridden golfer Tiger Woods convert to the faith.
Shuster made the comments while discussing the issue with MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, asking: "Doesn’t it also denigrate Christianity when you do that on a Sunday political talk show? This isn’t church, this isn’t some sort of holy setting, this is a political talk show....Doesn’t that minimize the significance of Christianity, when you bring a discussion of Christianity into a conversation about politics?"
Buchanan replied: "He’s not denigrating Christianity....A lot of us feel that there ought to be more discussion of religion in politics and religious beliefs and what’s moral and right and wrong." Shuster pressed him: "And you don’t think this diminishes Christianity in any way?" Buchanan shot back: "What do you think, the religion’s dropped a peg or two now?" Shuster sarcastically responded: "I do think it diminishes the discussion of Christianity....This wasn’t the ‘700 Club,’ this wasn’t ‘Theocracy Today.’"
An upcoming book, “The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr," deals with Ken Starr's investigation of the Clinton scandals of Whitewater and lying under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Politico got an early copy of the February 16 release by law professor Ken Gormley, and broke out some of the juiciest bits Thursday evening. The headline: “Monica’s Back -- Says Clinton Lied.” Among the findings: Bill Clinton had an affair with Whitewater figure Susan McDougal and lied under oath about his relationship with Lewinsky, as confirmed by Lewinsky herself.
But the New York Times’s Peter Baker on Saturday uniquely found a pro-Clinton angle, burying the sex scandal and perjury details and boring in on another facet, as indicated by the headline: “F.B.I. Accused of Abuse of Power in Clinton Case.”
"Saturday Night Live" opened yesterday's show by mocking media for supposedly under-reporting the extra-marital affairs of three politicians, but the sketch completely ignored how the press boycotted the philandering of Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards for nine months.
The program's producers also opted not to include disgraced former Democrat Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer in the group.
Instead, on stage were Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), played by Jason Sudeikis, Sen John Ensign (R-Nev.), played by Bill Hader, and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), played by Will Forte.
Despite the absurdity of suggesting that Ensign and Sanford's respective affairs were under-reported by the press, "SNL" writers completely avoided the fact that the news media, with the exception of the National Enquirer, boycotted Edwards' affair until after Barack Obama had been declared the Democratic presidential nominee (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Story Balloon):
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN's Howard Kurtz brought up the scarcity of media attention paid to the revelation that high-profile Democratic Senator Max Baucus nominated his girlfriend to be a U.S. attorney for his home state of Montana, as the CNN host even took to task CNN for ignoring the scandal, calling it a "stunning lapse in judgment," and recounted that he had monitored the news channel on Saturday and did not see Baucus mentioned. Kurtz: "Washington Post has it on page three, New York Times has it on page 33. I watched CNN all day yesterday. I didn’t see any mention of this story, which I thought was a stunning lapse in judgment."
When Kurtz questioned why there was so little media attention, guest Chip Reid of CBS News asserted there was "no scandal" in the story. Reid: "I don’t think it has legs because there’s no sex scandal, and it’s not like Vitter. It’s not like Ensign. There’s no scandal here."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: “...former Miss California, Carrie Prejean, almost walks off Larry King Live, saying his questions were inappropriate.” The headline on screen read: “Prejean Pouts.”
Co-host Russ Mitchell later reported in a news brief: “Prejean nearly walked out on CNN interviewer Larry King last night. Prejean had answered questions about a sex tape she made as a teenager....She then refused several times to discuss a settlement she reached with the Miss USA Pageant, but King persisted.” Mitchell failed to provide the context that Prejean had already completed a 30-minute interview with King and was strangly brought back for the final few minutes of the show.
Later in his report, Mitchell explained: “King tried to go to a caller from Detroit, but Prejean removed her mic and prepared to leave. She then changed her mind and completed the interview. She never did answer Mr. King’s question.” Co-host Harry Smith later noted: “And the fact is – is the reason she was pulling her mic is because she said ahead of time she wasn’t going to take questions from callers.”
Plenty of celebrities issued crazy statements in their efforts to defend director and rapist Roman Polanski but none went as far as author Gore Vidal did when he labeled Polanski's victim a "young hooker."
In an Oct. 28 interview with The Atlantic's John Meroney about a variety of topics, Vidal claimed he didn't "give a f---" about the Polanski case. "Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she's been taken advantage of?"
Poor David Letterman. Not only did blackmail force him to publicly admit unseemly workplace sexual trysts, as a simple talk show host, he's not in a position to buy off feminist condemnation with legislative goodies.
National Organization of Women released a statement on Oct. 6 about the recent Letterman sex scandal, condemning Letterman for creating an "awkward, confusing and demoralizing" work environment.
But back in 1998, when Bill Clinton was perjuring himself about Monica Lewinsky, NOW (along with other feminists) was strangely silent. Even Maureen Dowd noticed. She called them out in her Pulitzer Prize winning article "The Slander Strategy," saying, "Ms. Lewinsky must die so that the women of America can have better child care, longer maternity stays, toll-free domestic violence hot lines and bustling mutual funds."
Just to be ... fair to David Letterman, I figured it'd be only just to treat him to his very own Top Ten list dedicated to his current ... "situation." (The list was sent in by a loyal NB reader who didn't want attribution.) So, here it is -- "Top Ten Things About Letterman's Trysts With Staffers":
10. Learned everything he knows about interns from Bill Clinton. 9. Was jealous of A-Rod, if you know what I mean. 8. Well on the way to becoming the next ex-governor of New York. 7. Makes Mark Sanford look like a rank amateur. 6. Because he’s a liberal, endorsement from NOW was never in jeopardy. 5. Didn’t care about the book, but wanted the movie rights to ‘The Scarlet Letterman.’ 4. Is so glad he didn’t have a ‘morals’ clause in his contract. 3. Has great story for his support group, ‘Philanderer’s Anonymous.’ 2. If he had to do it over again, he’d collect cars like Jay Leno. 1. Gives company name “Worldwide Pants” a whole new meaning.
Just contrast the current David Letterman sex scandal against the 2004 Bill O'Reilly sex scandal.
Last night, left-leaning CBS Late Show Host David Letterman announced on his program that he had sex with female staffers. Letterman's announcement was spurred by the plot of a CBS producer to force the host to pay $2 million in exchange for his silence on the matter.
ABC, CBS and NBC largely portrayed Letterman as a victim on the morning shows.
CBS, Letterman's network, unsurprisingly went to bat for the comedian. "Early Show" guest host Chris Wragge even used it as way to plug Letterman's show.
A shocking announcement last night. The big headline today for the ‘Late Show' with David Letterman should have been that for the first time in over 15 years since the ‘94 winter games in Lillehammer his biggest ratings gap over ‘The Tonight Show,' but instead he wakes to headlines like this, ‘I had sex with staff' and other various papers here and around the country that are going to lead with this story today. It is big, shocking news.
Correspondent Kelly Wallace began her report by putting Letterman in the victim's spotlight.
NBC's Matt Lauer gave a "Today" show guest a free pass when she insisted that director/criminal/former fugitive Roman Polanski did not rape a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Debra Tate, sister of Polanski's late wife Sharon Tate, told Lauer, "There is, as I said, rape and there is rape. It was determined Roman did not forcibly have sex with this young woman. It was a consensual matter."
Lauer's response was simply, "Right."
Tate continued, "I am a victims' advocate, and I know the difference." Lauer agreed, saying "And I understand that, and yes, there is a difference."
Tate was the latest in a parade of Polanski defenders to appear on network television.
At no point in the interview did Lauer bring up the grand jury testimony of the 13-year-old girl which refuted the idea that Polanski's encounter was not "forcible" and that it was consensual. Only later did he note that Polanski did commit statutory rape.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith painted a glowing portrait of the Clinton administration while previewing a new book on the former president: "During Bill Clinton’s presidency, the nation prospered, he worked to broker peace in the Middle East and in the Balkans, championed welfare reform, and signed the NAFTA free trade agreement."
The book, entitled The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With The President was written by Clinton friend and historian Taylor Branch, who recorded a series of 79 conversations with the president while in office.
After listing Clinton’s supposed accomplishments, Smith lamented: "But his presidency was marred by numerous investigations, a lawsuit brought by Paula Jones charging sexual harassment, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal." Smith later asked Branch about the scandals: "What was he [Clinton] like during that time?" Branch responded sympathetically: "He talked about it seldom and painfully....He said ‘I cracked’....A little later he said he felt sorry for himself, that he thought he had beaten down all the scandals and then they would keep reviving and coming back....he just said this ‘it’s never going to stop.’" Smith repeated: "Never going to stop."
Roman Polanski may be an Oscar-winning brilliant film maker, but he’s also a fugitive from justice, an infamous child rapist who jumped bail and fled to France in 1978 to avoid the consequences of his 1977 rape of a 13-year-old in Los Angeles. Polanski was arrested on Saturday in Zurich on the grounds of the 31-year-old arrest warrant.
It didn’t take long for the Polanski defenders to crawl out of the woodwork. Take Patrick Goldstein, pop culture columnist for the Los Angeles Times, who quickly penned a piece published Sunday afternoon decrying Polanski’s arrest by Swiss authorities.
Apparently, Goldstein is of the opinion that Polanski has suffered enough for his crimes, and the Los Angeles prosecutors should not be spending precious taxpayer money (a phrase which, in reference to California, causes much mental angst) chasing a 76-year-old man around the globe.
Goldstein tugged at readers’ heartstrings by pointing out Polanski’s brushes with the most depraved of the 20th century’s murderers: Polanski was a fugitive from the Nazis as a child and wife was killed by followers of Charles Manson.
Just in case you somehow haven't heard about it in the past couple of months, the Associated Press wanted to remind everyone this morning that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (who, to be clear, I believe should resign), who had AN AFFAIR(!!), went back to work today -- and that this really, really deserved to be a national story, as shown in the mini-pic of the AP's raw feed:
The unbylined AP item also reminded readers that Sanford "had been a GOP darling" earlier this year. Of course, there's no bias in that dubious statement.
Here's a picture of most of the short AP report, produced for the purposes of fair use, discussion, and ridicule:
Over at Media Bistro, we find an odd story that has it all: foul language, boorish behavior, sexual harassment, a male U.S. Navy officer, and a female journalist. Only the story isn’t what you might think it would be considering the ingredients. In this case it is the naval officer filing a complaint against the female reporter for sexual harassment.
Media Bistro has learned that US Navy Commander Jeffrey D. Gordon has filed a sexual harassment complaint against the Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg with Gordon claiming that Rosenberg made comments about Gordon’s “sexual orientation,” repeatedly showered foul language upon him, and made comments of a sexual nature to him in the presence of others.