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.
Somebody at the Columbus Dispatch has a bit of explaining to do.
You see, Ohio Governor's former Director of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives, one Robert "Eric" McFadden, after "years" of not getting caught, pleaded guilty last Thursday of two felonies for trying to market the "services" of a 17 year-old prostitute. Yes, a 17 year-old.
In his original report late Thursday morning on McFadden's plea -- a report no longer available at the paper's web site even though it is listed at a relevant site search (last item listed; screen cap is here for later reference) -- the Dispatch's Bruce Cadwallader gave a barely adequate description of the facts and circumstances surrounding both McFadden's day job and the double life that he had been leading "for years" up to his arrest in January.
But in his early-AM Friday report, which I have confirmed with a Dispatch representative is the one that went into the paper's July 10 print edition, Cadwallader "somehow" left out the "for years" reference, giving readers a clear and incorrect impression that McFadden had only recently begun his illicit activities.
While many on the left are reveling in the downfall of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford after he disclosed his affair with a woman in Argentina, there's a sympathetic figure being overlooked that might have the necessary background to fill the void left by the governor should he resign.
On CNBC's June 30 "The Kudlow Report," Wall Street Journal senior economics writer Steve Moore explained his close relationship with the Sanfords and raised a new political possibility.
"This is such a tough thing for me Larry, because as you know Mark Sanford has been a long-time friend of mine," Moore said. "This story truly breaks my heart." Moore suggested that South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford run for her husband's seat - as he called her "the brains of the operation."
In an interview with Republican Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Sunday, CBS’s Bob Schieffer wondered: "Do you think that Republicans now should sort of shift the emphasis, though, from stressing social and family values and shift to more – to economic issues and be a party of economic conservatives rather than putting so much emphasis on these social issues?"
Schieffer began the Face the Nation interview by asking Barbour about the sex scandal involving South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford: "How much damage has it done to a Republican Party that is already on the ropes?...Your chances in 2012? This is the party that’s called itself the party of family values and so on and so forth. You’re going through a series of scandals now. This is not the first. Just like in the past, Democrats – we have seen Democrats involved in things like this. What does this do to the image of the party and how you try to project yourself and present yourself as a party, Governor?"
MSNBC's Carlos Watson on Monday provided a friendly forum for New York Times opinion writer Charles Blow to link red states and social conservatism with the hypocrisy of sex scandal-ridden politicians like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. In his June 26 column, Blow attacked right-leaning voters, "And this kind of hypocrisy isn’t confined to the politicians. It permeates the electorate."
Talking with Blow on MSNBC Live, Watson cited a questionable study finding the highest rates of online pornography correlate with Republican states. The cable host highlighted this connection and Census data finding that eight of the ten states with the highest divorce voted GOP in 2008. He asked the columnist to explain how one could be pro-family values in light of "seeing these other statistics." Blow attacked, "Well, I mean, I think you have to put Republicans to the side for a minute. It is social conservatism. And that is highly correlated to religiosity. The more religious people are, the more socially conservative they are, particularly on these sexual issues."
When Sam Tanenhaus came on board the New York Times Book Review in 2004 he was accused of being conservative, but one would be hard-pressed to convict him based on the available evidence during his tenure -- "the emptiness of free-market liturgy," anyone?
Besides having a thin, forced, and familiar feel, Tanenhaus's latest essay for the Times Week in Review, "Sound of Silence: The Culture Wars Take a Break," managed to portray Obama's opposition to gay marriage (which would normally make him a villain or at least hypocritical in the Times's eyes) as a Clintonian-style tactical victory against conservatives, absent of any the usual anti-gay taint the paper brings to bear on the matter.
The culture wars may not have ended, but on some fronts the combat has gotten rather quiet. For instance, family values.
True, David Letterman's awkward joke about a daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska prompted denunciations of the "media elite" (though it also boosted Mr. Letterman's ratings).
While much of the country has been captivated by the passing of pop star Michael Jackson, the scandal of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and turmoil in Iran and Iraq, business news has fallen off the front pages.
"Remember when business was on the front page?" Cramer said. "We were on the front page for awhile. It was really frightening. It's still off - our whole, our whole - the whole stock market, the economy, we're all off the front page. We're no longer important because lovers, this guy Sanford - I'm not that familiar with his story. Those two people in Pennsylvania that were on the ‘Today' show and all those others."
The three network morning shows on Thursday devoted a staggering 18 segments to the revelation that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was having an affair with a woman from Argentina, adding up to over 54 minutes of coverage. NBC's Today show spent the most time on the subject, highlighting the infidelity with six segments and 25 minutes of air time.
Co-host Matt Lauer even talked to disgraced former Governor Jim McGreevey to get his thoughts on the matter. (However, while NBC made sure to label Sanford a Republican, the Today anchors failed to do so for the Democratic ex-New Jersey governor who resigned under a cloud of scandal.)
ABC's Good Morning America touted the sex scandal for 17 minutes and 26 seconds, featuring seven stories on Sanford. (It should also be pointed out that GMA came within seven minutes of Today's total, despite the fact that the NBC program is four hours, double the time of ABC's show.) During one such segment, Sam Donaldson insisted that it's hard to forgive Republicans who get involved in sex scandals: "They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they- human- they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness."
In the wake of political sex scandals including South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Nevada Sen. John Ensign, ABC's Cokie Roberts took the opportunity on June 25 to suggest that the fundamental flaw in each case was the male gender.
"World News with Charles Gibson" anchor asked question of why such affairs ever begin.
"It's an admission that can doom the most promising political career," Gibson said. "So, why do politicians tempt fate and cheat on their wives? Why do so many think they can get away it?"
ABC correspondent John Berman's report tried to rationalize marital infidelity as "politics as usual" and part of the narcissism that comes with being a politician. Berman explained the recent rash of infidelity scandals weren't bound by geography, political party or sexual orientation.
CNN’s Ali Velshi, during a segment on Thursday’s Newsroom program, ignored all the past sex scandals involving Democrats in recent years as he focused on “another sex scandal involving a leading Republican.” When his guest, Tony Blankley, tried to counter with how these scandals are being used to try to get the GOP to abandon social issues, Velshi tried hard to brush this aside.
The segment with Blankley, which aired at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with Velshi recapping the details about the most recent Republican sex scandal involving South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, and how legislators in the state were proceeding with possible impeachment of the executive. He then introduced his main point for the segment: “Okay, I’m going to say it- another sex scandal involving a leading Republican- this is the second in two weeks. It’s hardly helping the party to resurrect its image.”
After introducing his guest, Velshi referred to his point and asked, “I wasn’t the first guy to say that. You’ve heard this a lot in the last few days. You heard it before Mark Sanford. What’s going on with the Republicans and scandals?” Blankley first rebuked Sanford and any Republican who had been caught in marital infidelity. He continued by making his point about the push to give up on family values: “As far as the party is concerned, although there’s hypocrisy when one of its members or two or seven of its members breach the standards it advocates, you can’t give up your values. The party believes in supporting families. You have programs that do that.”
Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina confessed to adultery with a woman in Buenos Aires Wednesday, after raising eyebrows by disappearing over the weekend, and then misleading the public about his whereabouts.
But for the New York Times, there was more to the tale than the political meltdown of a promising Republican presidential candidate for 2012. Sanford's affair gave the paper another chance to round up recent (and not so recent) stories of Republican misdeeds and controversies and suggest they (once again) spelled doom for the party. Enter reporter Jim Rutenberg's Thursday story, "Sanford Case A New Dose Of Bad News For G.O.P."
ABC's Sam Donaldson appeared on Thursday's Good Morning America to talk about the developing Mark Sanford scandal and loudly assert that it's hard to forgive Bible-thumping Republicans for their sexual transgressions. He began by deriding, "The problem Republicans have, so many of them are sanctimonious." [audio available here]
The longtime contributor continued his attack on members of the GOP who get caught up in sex scandals: "They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they- human- they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness."
In the wake of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s admission to having an affair, evening and morning newscasts on NBC, CBS, and ABC all immediately identified him as a Republican. In contrast, in March of last year, the networks rarely identified disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat in the wake of his affair with a prostitute.
In a 2008 study of evening and morning network newscasts following the Spitzer scandal, NewsBusters’ Rich Noyes found that within the first week of news coverage Spitzer was only identified as a Democrat 20% of the time. However, within the first 24 hours of Sanford’s confession to having an affair, he was identified as a Republican 100% of the time, during coverage on all the networks.
On Wednesday, the NBC Nightly News, which failed to give Spitzer’s party affiliation for three days following his scandal, immediately focused on Sanford’s national role in the Republican Party as anchor Brian Williams declared: "In a Republican Party hungry for young stars, he was one of them: Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina...Tonight his political career is in tatters. His state, his party are in some turmoil. And Mark Sanford is no longer being mentioned as a possible GOP nominee for the White House."
Former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos appeared on Thursday's Good Morning America to bizarrely assert that Democrats have a harder times surviving sex scandals than Republicans. While discussing South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, he breathlessly claimed, "We've never seen anything like this before"and never mentioned his former boss, Bill Clinton, who escaped impeachment conviction after being caught in a sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky.
GMA co-host Diane Sawyer informed viewers that Stephanopoulos had been "looking back at this roll call of apologies for indiscretions, Republicans and Democrats." The "This Week" host spun, "Democrats have had a harder time holding on to office after scandals, recently, than Republicans." Stephanopoulos also appeared on Wednesday night's "World News" and told anchor Charlie Gibson virtually the same thing. And, once again, he failed to cite Bill Clinton, certainly one of the most famous examples of a Democrat retaining office after a sex scandal.
Should be interesting next time Joe Scarborough runs into the likes of Ed Schultz . . .
The Morning Joe host today slammed the hypocrisy of cable news hosts, specifically including some at MSNBC, for taking "unbridled glee" in Mark Sanford's disgrace.
Scarborough didn't name names, but he almost surely had Schultz, among others, in mind. As I reported here, on his show last evening Schultz absolutely revelled in Sanford's distress, boasting "I have no mercy here" and using the most mocking of tones to describe the circumstances. Was Joe also alluding to Keith Olbermann, who had considerable fun at Sanford's expense last night?
CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez wondered on Friday: "Lots of politicians get caught having affairs, as you know. The trick, though, is making a comeback. It’s happened before, but the question is does John Edwards have a political future?"
Rodriguez later introduced the segment by citing Edwards’ recent comments about his political future in a Washington Post interview: "Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, just two of the high profile politicians who’ve survived the scandal of having an extramarital affair. Now John Edwards is speaking out for the first time, since his affair, about testing the waters for a possible political comeback. But is it too late? Is the damage done?"
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes quoted Kenneth Vogel of Politico on the topic: "His cancer-stricken wife knew about the affair, asked him not to run for president. He did anyway. He kept it from his staffers. His political committees may have paid hush money. All of these things put together just make it that much more difficult for him to find a way to rehabilitate himself in the public eye." Cordes responded to that seeming political obituary by declaring: "Not so fast. Lots of politicians, after all, have had affairs and gone on to successful careers. Crisis management experts say Edwards may be testing the waters and could still have a political future."
In his Wednesday brief, "Senator Says He Had Affair With An Aide," New York Times reporter David Herszenhorn let us know by the fourth word that U.S. Senator John Ensign of Nevada, the senator who confessed to the extramarital affair, is a Republican. In paragraph four, Herszenhorn poured on the salt, bringing up Ensign's former membership in Promise Keepers, a Christian ministry that promotes marriage.
Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, admitted Tuesday that he had an extramarital affair with a member of his campaign staff.
All three broadcast network morning shows on Wednesday made a point of labeling Nevada Senator John Ensign as a “Republican” after the Senator came forward last night to admit having an extramarital affair last year. NBC, which refrained for days from calling New York Governor Eliot Spitzer a “Democrat” after his relationship with a prostitute was exposed, called Ensign a “conservative Republican,” while CBS made a point of reciting Ensign’s associations with Christian groups.
ABC’s Good Morning America provided the only full report, with the on-screen headline declaring “Leading GOP Senator Admits Affair.” News anchor Chris Cuomo and correspondent Jonathan Karl noted Ensign’s Republican affiliation three times: “A rising star in the Republican Party is coming forward....” “John Ensign is a member of the Republican leadership....” and “The Republican from Nevada admits cheating on his wife...”
Last year, NewsBusters noted how the networks always added the “Republican” label to GOP politicians caught in sex scandals, but not Democrats; with their coverage of the Ensign scandal this morning, the networks are maintaining their perfectly slanted approach.