Former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert appeared on Thursday night on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC to discuss how the death penalty demonstrates how America is marred by “such a macho culture, such a violent culture” that we would actually execute murderers and politicians haven't completely banned it.
For her part, Maddow tried to imply that there’s race-baiting politics involved, which is like preaching to Herbert’s choir. She insisted a new resurgence of tough-on-crime politics is typified by how Fox News is “trying to hype the issue of urban crime with racial overtones.”
On Thursday’s Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, host Maddow devoted a considerable chunk of her show to the story of convicted murderer Humbarto Leal Garcia's execution in Texas, and Republican Governor Rick Perry’s refusal to delay the execution to give Congress more time to pass legislation to address how the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations should be applied to such cases.
Garcia, who in 1994 raped a 16-year-old girl and then strangled her and crushed her skull with a 35-pound piece of asphalt, was sent to prison in 1998 but did not discover until two years later that he was supposed to be legally entitled to ask for help from the Mexican consulate in his defense.
(Note: This article earlier erroneously claimed that the Vienna Convention does not seem to demand that authorities inform a foreign national of the rights contained in the treaty when, in reality, the treaty does contain text making this demand of authorities.)
ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to mention former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's affiliation with the Democratic Party on their Monday evening news broadcasts and the Tuesday morning shows. Blagojevich was convicted by a jury on Monday on 17 out of 20 charges, mainly related to the attempt to sell the Senate seat of President Obama. Only CBS's Early Show noted his party with a "D" on-screen.
NBC devoted the least amount of time to the breaking news, a total of 1 minute and 50 seconds between NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Brian Williams actually didn't mention the party of the new felon or his predecessor during his report on Monday, but noted that "Blagojevich will become the fourth Illinois governor in recent memory to go to jail. His predecessor, George Ryan, is still in federal prison, also for corruption." The following morning, news anchor Natalie Morales gave three news briefs on Blagojevich, all about 15 seconds long each.
Earlier today, a grand jury convicted former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, on 17 of 20 counts of corruption. 11 of of the guilty verdicts related to attempts to profit from the "sale" of the U.S. Senate seat Barack Obama vacated when he became president.
At USA Today's On Deadline blog (as of its 5:33 p.m. update), Michael Winter failed to identify Blagojevich or any other politician involved as a Democrat. Neither did the video found at Winter's article. This is not surprising, because the video came from the "see no evil Democrat" Associated Press.
In six items all carrying today's date found at the AP's main site in a search on the former governor's last name at 8:15 p.m. ET, the wire service not only failed to tag Blago as a Democrat, it failed to tag anyone as Democrat. Here's the list:
The ABC and NBC evening newscasts have focused stories on Billy Bulger, the long-time Massachusetts Democratic political hack who is the younger brother of just-captured reputed mass-murdering Mobster Whitey Bulger, but both refused to identify Billy Bulger’s party affiliation. (The CBS Evening News has, so far, not even mentioned Billy.)
“While Whitey Bulger was running a gang, his brother was a celebrated star of Massachusetts politics,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer trumpeted on Thursday night. On Friday night, NBC forwarded MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell to vouch that Billy had no information about the whereabouts of his fugitive brother while Jeff Rossen marveled: “Just as investigators say Whitey was ordering hits, his brother, Billy Bulger, was rising in state government, President of the Massachusetts state senate and later President of U Mass.”
NBC barely covered the Thursday arrests of two Islamists in a planned terrorist attack on a military facility in Seattle. The network didn't cover the breaking news at all on Thursday's Nightly News, and devoted only 17 seconds to it on Friday's Today Show. Thursday's CBS Evening News had a minute-long report on the arrests, while ABC had full reports on the arrests on World News and GMA.
CBS anchor Scott Pelley introduced correspondent Bob Orr's brief report on the terror plot: "It has been a busy 48 hours for the FBI. We learned today that agents have arrested two men in what the feds say was a terrorist plot to attack a military recruiting station in Seattle." Orr only made one indirect and vague reference to the suspects' religion: "The two men...somehow had become radicalized on their own." Actually, in an online report on Thursday, ABC referenced unnamed officials who stated that they are "believed to have met in prison and to have converted to Islam in prison."
Whitey Bulger is the alleged crime boss arrested Wednesday by FBI agents in Santa Monica, Calif., with his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig.
The basis for the Jack Nicholson character in "The Departed," Bulger is suspected of involvement in at least 19 murders and myriad other crimes. Until last month, only one other figure on the FBI's most wanted list was considered more dangerous -- Osama bin Laden.
On her MSNBC show Monday, Maddow described new FBI tactics in the agency's 16-year manhunt to bring the notorious fugitive to justice (video clip after page break) --
Last Wednesday as Rep. Peter King conducted hearings on Muslim inmate radicalization in America's prisons, MSNBC was busy attacking the proceeding as unnecessary and/or unfairly targeted to unfairly single out the Islamic faith.
It must be what's known in the military as "mission creep." Why else would an organization of professional librarians come out in support of the soldier alleged to be responsible for the largest security breach in U.S. military history?
When it meets for its annual conference in New Orleans June 23, the American Library Association will vote on a resolution calling on the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff to "release Pfc. Bradley Manning from pre-trial confinement and drop the charges against him." (Documents are available here.)
In the wake of the largest security breach in U.S. military history, the mainstream media have struggled to report all the facts about Bradley Manning, the Iraq war soldier in the middle of the Wikileaks scandal. In an effort to pursue political correctness over truthful journalism, ABC, CBS and NBC ignored uncomfortable facts about Manning's sexual orientation and history of "emotional fragility," choosing instead to describe him as an "outcast who tried desperately to fit in."
In a late Monday morning report, the Associated Press's Erica Werner wondered why "the White House has yet to take any new steps on gun violence" he supposedly promised in the wake of the January shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Either Werner or the headline writers at AP are getting extraordinarily impatient, as seen in the headline which follows the jump:
I bet you didn't know that federal law enforcement officers representing the Department of Education (DOE) can break down your front door if you are suspected of violating the law.
I was not aware of this until I heard what happened to Kenneth Wright of Stockton, Calif. On June 7, at 6 a.m., Wright was awakened by a knock on his door. According to his account, he came downstairs in his boxer shorts, but before he could reach the door, federal police officers stormed in. They were looking for his estranged wife, who was not in the house. Wright has no criminal record.
With Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) holding a hearing on the radicalization of Muslim inmates in U.S. prisons, MSNBC's Thomas Roberts this morning set out to discredit the premise of the proceedings by interviewing Minnesota Democrat and practicing Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison.
Ellison, Roberts reminded viewers of MSNBC's 11 a.m. Eastern hour of live news coverage, provided tearful testimony at a hearing in March on Islamic radicalization.
Roberts began his interview by practically holding Ellison forth as an expert when it comes to the data regarding prisoner radicalization (emphasis mine):
As has been the case virtually from the beginning, the Associated Press's Scott Bauer has been clearly unhappy with 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, commonly known even to the Wisconsin Supreme Court as the "Budget Repair Bill." Today, the court ruled that the law as enacted by the Badger State's legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker can go into effect on July 1.
Looking back at what's available of Bauer's body of work on the matter during the past four months, his consistent mischaracterization of the bill's contents, saying that it would "eliminate collective bargaining" when it doesn't (shown here and here), is truly striking. What's even more striking (pun intended) is how he and his employer described the law in the report's headline and first sentence in at least one early version this evening:
In the classic movie "The Great Escape," a cluster of Hollywood manly men from yesteryear (including my friend Steve McQueen) played Allied POWs who escape from a German camp during World War II.
Today the great escape may be played out by more than 33,000 incarcerated inmates in California who don't escape the state's 33 prisons but are released by a computer error and the U.S. Supreme Court itself.
On Friday's Hardball on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews proposed a GOP conspiracy behind the indictment of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards: "Do you think there's politics in this prosecution? Was it just a Republican U.S. attorney going after this guy, sticking around to do the dirty work for the 'R's?" [Audio available here]
Matthews posed that question to Democratic strategist and former Edwards spokesperson Karen Finney, even she wasn't buying it: "You know, I don't know." Undeterred, Matthews continued his bizarre rant: "But this looks like one of those things you read about in third world countries or in India or somewhere or Pakistan, where they get someone who's been out of office a couple of years, get them while they're down, hit them with some incredible charge with campaign funding that nobody's ever heard of before and put them away for a while. It just looks like revenge against the party – against somebody that lost an election."
At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted objections to the indictment of former Democratic Senator John Edwards: "Some critics blast the government's case against the former presidential candidate. Why they say what he did may not have been against the law."
Introducing a later report on the scandal, fellow co-host Meredith Vieira similarly proclaimed: "There are growing questions over the indictment of former presidential candidate John Edwards for allegedly using campaign funds to hide an affair. Did the government overreach?" The headline that appeared on screen read: "Bad Guy or Bad Case?; Legal Experts Question Indictment of John Edwards."
As news broke of Dr. Jack's Kevorkian death on Friday, MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing invited on defense attorney and friend Geoffrey Fieger to praise the convicted criminal known as 'Dr. Death': "Dr. Jack Kevorkian will be looked at as a hero, a true hero, and as a martyr for what they did to him for nine years. Putting him in prison..." [Audio available here]
Jansing began the interview by wondering about Kevorkian's legacy: "Was he a dying patient's savior or a cold-blooded killer?" As soon as she introduced Fieger, he immediately argued: "I doubt very many people will ever remember him as a cold-blooded killer. Obviously there's some on the fringe, but I think most of us would recognize his, not only his greatness and his kindness and his beneficence and his importance."
Joseph E. diGenova, former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said today it would be a crime for Rep. Anthony Weiner (D.-N.Y.) to file a complaint with the police claiming his Twitter account had been hacked if he knew it had not been hacked.
Last Friday, a Tweet that included a lewd photograph was sent from Weiner’s Twitter account to a 21-year-old woman in Seattle, whom the 46-year-old congressman followed on Twitter. Weiner issued a statement saying that his Twitter account had been hacked and that someone had sent the lewd photograph to the woman as a prank. Thus far, Weiner has not indicated that he has filed a complaint about the alleged hacking incident with any law enforcement agency.
“If he in fact filed a complaint claiming he had been hacked, when in fact he had not been, that would be making a false statement to either local police authorities or federal officials. That would be a crime,” diGenova told CNSNews.com, pointing to 18 U.S.C. 1001 as the relevant statute.
CBS's Jeff Glor failed to mention the Democratic Party affiliation of Rod Blagojevich, as well as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., during a news brief on Wednesday's Early Show. Glor's report was the only mention on the Big Three network morning shows of the former Illinois governor's lawyers calling the former Obama aide and the congressman to testify in his retrial for corruption.
The news anchor noted during his brief that "some big names could be on the stand" and specified that Blagojevich's attorneys would call Emanuel and Jackson, Jr. He then explained that the former governor is "accused of trying to sell the seat of then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama. His first trial ended in a hung jury."
UPDATE:As seen here, the very earliest AP reports appear to have identified Edwards as a Democrat (the age of the item may not correspond with when the AP subscriber actually received it), but the latest ones, including this item found at AP's home site (as of 12:59 p.m.), do not. UPDATE 2: A mixed bag -- The 6:55 p.m. report from the same AP reporters (pic here) notes that Edwards was the "2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee," and waits until Paragraph 4 to note that the possible indictment stems from the 2007-2008 campaign.
In their 11:29 a.m. report (saved here in case it gets updated, and for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on the apparently imminent indictment of 2004 and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, Associated Press reporters Mike Baker and Gary D. Robertson did not identify Edwards as a Democrat, nor did they identify any of his campaign associates (e.g., Andrew Young, Fred Baron) as Democrats. No form of the word "Democrat" appears in the report as it was posted at 11:29 a.m.
Here are the first seven paragraphs of the AP pair's effort:
"Did someone or something fail Jared Loughner?" CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked recovering alcoholic and former congressman Patrick Kennedy Sunday. The question came after Kennedy described his alcoholic condition as a mental disease and not a moral failure, and attributed mental illness to Loughner, the Tuscon shooter who killed six and critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in January.
When Kennedy was asked about Loughner being "failed," he issued a sweeping indictment of society. "Clearly we all failed," he said, noting that the Giffords assassin was mentally ill and was not treated for his ailments. "We failed as society because every time we see someone who's – and we use the pejorative words 'crazy,' you know, 'psycho,' 'nuts,' we look the other way."
The War Powers Act is relevant in certain circumstances, including (Section 1543) "in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced ... into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat." This would clearly apply to the Libyan situation.
The Act requires timely presidential notification of the commencement of such operations. Though of dubious constitutionality, the Act further requires that (Section 1544) "Within sixty calendar days ... the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces" unless Congress has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization ..."
We're at Day 60, and the Obama administration isn't going to comply with any of this. Here is how the Associated Press is headlining and describing Barack Obama's failure to comply (copied in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):
CBS's Elaine Quijano filed a slanted report on Wednesday's Evening News about the new report on the Catholic priest child sex abuse scandal. All but one of the sound bites which Quijano played during the segment either leaned negative against the Catholic Church or completely slammed the religious body.
Anchor Katie Couric heralded the negative reaction about the report from some quarters in her teaser for Quijano's report at the very beginning of the half-hour program: "Tonight, a report commissioned by the Catholic Church claims to know why the child sex abuse scandal happened, but victims' groups aren't buying it." A minute later, the correspondent picked up where Couric left off in her introduction: "For survivors of clergy sexual abuse, today marks another deep disappointment."
UPDATE, May 18: NewsBusters commenter "dreamsincolor" has pointed out that CNN "somehow" forgot Democratic New York Congressman Eric Massa, who resigned in 2009 to avoid "an ethics investigation into alleged misconduct toward a male staff member."
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Chris Ariens filed a report today at MediaBistro's TVNewser that opened with a reader's Tweet, which plaintively asked: "Did CNN really exclude Spitzer from Malveaux package on Sex Scandals & Politics? Hmm.."
While reporting on the sexual assault case against International Monetary Fund Chairman Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday's Today, NBC correspondent Jeff Rossen noted how the would-be Socialist Party candidate for the French presidency had "worried his political opponent, current French President Nicolas Sarkozy, would try to frame him with a fake rape..."
Rossen further added that Strauss-Kahn once told a French newspaper that the rape victim would be "promised 500,000 or a million euros to invent this story" by Sarkozy. Following Rossen's report, correspondent Michelle Kosinski highlighted French outrage over Strauss-Kahn's arrest: "I would say that the reaction ranges from disbelief to outright disgust. To see their VIP paraded before cameras, the socialists are calling it 'inhumane'....they're saying that this looks like a humiliating public exhibition like something from ancient times."
The headline on screen during the segment read: "French Conspiracy Theories; Was Banker Set Up as Part of Political Plot?"
If there is one characteristic that has defined Wikileaks proprietor Julian Assange, it is utter hypocrisy - his complete and total unwillingness or inability to abide by his own principles.
The man was complicit in an theft on an epic scale, but had the gall to criticize the UK Guardian for publishing government cables obtained by Wikileaks without the organization's permission. The grounds for his complaint: "he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released." Assange is also not a fan of media outlets publishing leaked information about him. He lashed out at the Guardian late last year for "selectively publish[ing]" police reports about rape charges against him.
And now, despite his active efforts to literally render the American government unable to function, Assange is invoking rule of law to protect his "property" (you know, all the stolen documents in his possession). He has reportedly forced Wikileaks employees to sign a draconian confidentiality agreement that would put them on the hook for roughly $20 million if they release Wikileaks documents without permission.
Left-wing Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs, a frequent Morning Joe guest, has accused US special operations forces of committing "high-tech murder on a large scale" for their targeted campaign of killing or capturing Al Qaeda Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
Sachs made his contemptible accusation on today's Morning Joe in the course of a discussion of the PBS Frontline documentary "Kill/Capture" on the JSOC operations. Stephen Grey, a producer of the documentary, was a guest.