As most of you know, I originally posted this story on Sunday under the headline CNN Places Sarah Palin With 2008's Criminals, Sex Addicts, and the Corrupt here at NewsBusters. It raged all day Sunday in the Blogosphere and into the night among Palin fans and center right bloggers. Greta Van Susteren even posted about it on her FoxNews blog (It garnered 4 pages of comments there, too). A quick Google of the title of my NewsBusters piece gives several pages of hits all across the web. FreeRepublic, Lucianne.com, dozens of blogs and message boards took CNN to task for their outrageous inclusion of Sarah Palin's name among the year's worst criminal politicians.
Well by the time Monday morning arrived, CNN quietly and without explanation or apology erased Sarah Palin from the article I describe earlier.
Showing they have no sense of morality, no grasp of corruption and no understanding of what defines a criminal, CNN gives us another one of those ubiquitous year in review stories, this one titled "Politicians who fell from grace in 2008." In this one, CNN has decided to reveal for us their top eight politicians that found 2008 to be a "career-buster" because of their "crimes and misdemeanors" or their outrageous controversies.
CNN features corruption mired Rod Blagojevich, the sex crazed Elliot Spitzer and John Edwards, and the criminal bribe taker Ted Stevens among four others. Each of these men in the CNN list have either been convicted of criminal actions, are indicted for corruption, lost their positions, been drummed out of their party, or are soon to face jail time. Among these eight criminals, however, is a name that doesn't belong among this class of serial abuser of the public trust. It won't be shocking to note that among the worst sex criminals, bribe takers, liars and thieves in politics for 2008, CNN ridiculously included the name of Governor Sarah Palin.
Palin, however, has done nothing remotely like what these other political ner-do-wells have done. She did not take bribes, she did not indulge in sexual dalliances with co-workers or call girls, she did not get booted from her party or lose her job as Governor. She is not under indictment nor does she face jail time, yet CNN includes her in a list with Rob Blagojevich, John Edwards, Kwame Kilpatrick, Larry Langford, Tim Maloney, Elliot Spitzer and Ted Stevens.
Christmastime is the time of giving. So we can thank Bernie Madoff for giving Americans some special gifts this holiday season.
Yes, I said thank him. OK, maybe not a lot. But the one-time financial wizard's downfall is a morality tale that provides so many lessons it's almost impossible to know where to start.
If you've been living under a rock, the former chairman of the Nasdaq has been charged with securities fraud. Not just ordinary securities fraud, either. Reportedly, Madoff's sons turned in their father, and who could blame them. He had allegedly confessed to them "that his investment business was a giant Ponzi scheme' that cost clients $50 billion, a lawyer for the brothers" told Bloomberg.
Two situations over the weekend illustrate that the Associated Press's habitual failure to identify the political party of Democrats in trouble is more than likely a conscious decision. This is despite the AP Stylebook's guidance (as of 2000, the latest free edition I can find; a PDF is here) that a reporter should "include party affiliation if readers need it for understanding or are likely to be curious about what it is."
In both of the instances I will cite, local papers decided that party affiliation was important enough to include. But AP reporters decided that they weren't, even though out-of-state readers are less likely to know the party affiliation of the politician(s) involved.
On December 18, in an item that appeared on Page C1 of its December 19 print edition (the graphic at the right is a scaled-down version of what appears at the top of the online version), the New York Times's Wendell Jamieson provided us his perspective on what has became a Christmas staple, Frank Capra Jr.'s "It's a Wonderful Life." I would suggest that the piece reveals a lot more about the author and Old Media's mindset than it tells us about the film.
Jamieson's title gives a preview of the awful attack that is on the way: "Wonderful? Sorry, George, It’s a Pitiful, Dreadful Life."
It turns out that Jamieson is the Times's city editor. I find it telling that the Times chose not to inform of this "little" fact at the end of the piece.
There is really no substitute for reading, or I should say enduring, the whole thing. But here are some samples of what the person who decides on a daily basis what Times readers and probably a large percentage of the country will learn about news and events in the nation's largest city thinks of Capra's classic, and of James Stewart's town:
Associated Press writer Glen Johnson's story on the indictment of a close friend of Salvatore DiMasi, Massachusetts's Democratic Speaker of the House, is the latest in a long line of fairly long stories about Democratic politicians in trouble that fails to identify their party affiliation.
The story names a half-dozen politicians, all of whom are Democrats, without identifying the party of any of them. No variation of the word "Democrat" appears anywhere.
**UPDATE** Kieth Olbermann kicks in a few lies of his own on this story. With video below fold.
The national news has found its newest way to slam Governor Sarah Palin and that is to report heavily on any untoward actions made by her relatives by marriage -- or even soon to be marriage, for that matter. Next the Old Media will be strenuously looking for Palin neighbors that are unruly, Palin hairdressers that have parking tickets, Palin dog groomers that steal pens from work, and Palin fans that talk too loudly on cell phones while in a theater.
Now, it is beyond me why a person who is not yet even an official in-law by marriage of a public official is a major news story for a low-level drug bust. I can see where it might interest local media for a brief minute, but for this story to have spread all across the wires and the Old Media with nearly 1,000 stories on the national scene... well, it is rather silly, really. Evidence of the worst in tabloid maneuvers.
It's silly, of course, until one realizes that it is just another lame attempt by the Old Media to slime Governor Palin, even if it does have to be guilt by association. And it isn't even association by color of official government business, either. It is family business. In its zeal to slam Sarah Palin, Reuters even initially misreported the story to be Palin's daughter getting arrested for drugs instead of the soon to be Mother-in-Law. (my bold)
Poor schlumps out there know how to get along with next to nothing. But these were multi-millionaires that Bernard Madoff wiped out: show some sympathy! That was The Donald's daffy drift in speaking to Wolf Blitzer on this afternoon's Situation Room on CNN.
DONALD TRUMP: They put 100% of their money with this character, this sleazebag. 100% and they're wiped out. And you know, it's one thing when you grow up and you don't have money or you get to a certain age and you don't: you learn to live. [But] these people have had hundreds of millions of dollars and one phone call on a Thursday night: they're wiped out, have nothing left.
If the definition of a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged, look for Mika Brzezinski to start sounding like Pat Buchanan. The big news on Morning Joe today is that Mika got mugged. Not mugged by reality. Mugged mugged. The MJ co-host was outside her Washington, DC hotel early this morning, waiting for the car to take her to the studio, when a man approached and told her to give him $20 "and you won't get hurt." Mika gave him everything she had–$6–and the man went away.
Mika didn't want the news to be mentioned, but Joe Scarborough insisted. Brzezinski was ever the good trouper, repeatedly insisting everything was fine and suggesting the panel move on to other matters. But Scarborough was furious that the hotel, pointedly unnamed but apparently prominent, provided no security for a guest waiting right outside its doors.
On CNN anchor Campbell Brown’s “No Bias, No Bull” program on Monday evening, New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis and Time magazine editor-at-large Mark Halperin agreed that there was no problem with the transition team of President-Elect Barack Obama delaying the release of their internal findings into their contacts with the office of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Louis saw “nothing but pluses” over this decision, as it would push the release into Christmas week, a time where there “won’t be a lot of viewership.” Halperin emphasized that as long as “there are no embarrassing contacts or politically-sensitive contacts, they’re fine.”
Louis and Halperin participated in a panel discussion, which began 18 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, along with Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard. Brown first posed the following question to Louis: “As we have been talking about, the U.S. attorney asked Barack Obama, the transition team, to delay releasing their internal findings for at least a week, until they have had a chance to do interviews of their own -- probably some pluses to that for Obama, as well as minuses. What do you think?”
The Chicago company that was the site of a six-day worker sit-in has filed for bankruptcy. Though this appears to have been expected, it seems that many aspects of this story went under-reported or unreported.
The Chicago Sun Times story written by Francine Knowles and Sandra Guy makes it appear that Bank of America, the lender whose refusal to extend a credit line allegedly caused the company's failure, ended up "lending" over $1 million to fired workers (bolds are mine):
Betcha didn't know that the elected office of Senator of the United States of America was a color coded position? Apparently, Laura Washington of the Chicago Sun-Times thinks it is, anyway, because she is warning that Obama's "black Senate seat" will be lost because of this mess with Governor Rod Blagojevich getting arrested for trying to sell that "black seat" to the highest bidder.
In hers headlined "Black leaders see Senate seat being hijacked," Washington is ostensibly reporting on what black community leaders and politicos in Chicago are saying about who should be appointed to fill Obama's vacant seat. Still, Washington injected quite a lot of her own feelings into the tale of this gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth over the fate of that same seat to the effect that she endorses the idea that Obama's position in the Senate is officially a "black seat" and should stay that way.
Washington is worried most that if the seat is left to be filled by an actual vote of the people of Illinois, instead of an appointment by the governor, it will spell the end of the "black seat." At one point, Washington even claims that "white voters" are uninterested in why they might "deserve" a black senator and so cannot be counted on to vote black. That despite the fact that when Obama ran he was overwhelmingly elected by those same white voters -- not to mention that the other party also put up a black senate candidate to face him. Wouldn't it seem obvious that voting black is not much of a problem for white voters in Illinois?
During a report on Monday morning’s Newsroom program, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta used a clip of Sean Hannity from Fox News Channel, along with clips from two of their resident Obama defenders, to outline how Blagojevich corruption scandal was a “distraction” for President-Elect Barack Obama. The graphic on-screen throughout the report even stated how the scandal was “Distracting Obama.”
Acosta began his report with an online ad from the Republican National Committee, which highlighted “Obama’s past ties to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and questioning the president-elect’s handling of the scandal” and how “[c]omplete with eerie music -- this...website video has the feel of a campaign attack ad.”
The CNN correspondent then noted how “not all Republicans approve the message,” including Senator John McCain, who suggested that Republicans “should try to be working constructively together” with the incoming administration instead of focusing on possible connections to Blagojevich. Acosta continued on this point by introducing the Hannity clip: “Even conservative Sean Hannity has noted what federal prosecutors have made clear, that there are no allegations of wrongdoing facing the next president.”
Looks like we can possibly thank our meddling media for another possibly bungled investigation, this time over the selling of Barack Obama's Senate seat by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojavich. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune was working with Fitzgerald's office on the investigation but decided to stop doing so in favor of printing the sensational story they were sitting on. This forced the arrest early so that the paper wouldn't blow the whole investigation.
The story everyone thought they knew was that Fitzgerald moved when he did to stop a crime about to be committed. But, the WSJ reports that this isn't the case. Apparently the WSJ found that members of Fitzgerald's team wanted to let things roll for a little while longer so that they could catch the actual selling of the Senate seat with Governor Blagojevich, his facilitators and who ever was going to try to buy the seat all on the tape at once. But, the Chicago Tribune informed the prosecutors that they wouldn't wait any longer to put off publishing their story on the investigation. Once the Trib reported on the investigation, it was over for Fitzgerald and his folks for the investigative phase of the case.
There was a fire Friday at Wasilla Bible Church, where GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family are members. The fire did $1 million in damage. The photo at the right is among three that are in a slide show at Wasilla's local paper, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, whose story is here.
The Washington Post has a short AP story at Page A02 (more on that shortly). The New York Times has nothing about it on its home page. A Times search on "Palin Church" (without quotes) leads to the same AP story; a review of today's print edition shows that the story appears on Page A41.
Does anyone think a similar fire at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, which Barack Obama attended for almost two decades until earlier this year, would have been as quietly covered -- even if Obama had lost?
Maybe it's just as well that the AP's coverage isn't too prominent yet, because Rachel D'Oro's story added an agenda-driven undercurrent in the last excerpted paragraph:
You can just see the scene from the Wizard of Oz, where the wizard says ‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.'
When it comes to diverting attention from a scandal plagued home state, don't worry Senator Obama, USA Today has your back.
In a bizarre demonstration of spinning numbers with the sole purpose of getting people to look away from the recent Blagojevich scandal, John Fritze and others at USA Today took statistics from the Department of Justice and the U.S. Census Bureau, crunched them in the liberal media calculator, and decided they had proof that North Dakota is actually the most corrupt state in the nation.
CNN correspondent Jessica Yellin reversed course concerning her take on President-Elect Barack Obama’s “transparency” on the issue of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and the appointment of his successor in the U.S. Senate. During a segment on Wednesday’s Situation Room, Yellin criticized the outgoing Illinois senator for “not starting off on the foot he promised he’d start off on, which is more transparency and more candor than we’ve seen before.” Just under 17 hour later, minutes after Obama stated that he was “absolutely certain” that no one in his camp was involved in the governor’s alleged scheme to sell his senate seat, the CNN correspondent praised the president-elect: “I should also highlight...that he’s also set down a marker for transparency. He promised a transparent government...and he has revealed now much more than we usually hear in these kind of investigations scandals from a politician.”
A collection of "The Faces of Political Scandal," assembled by ABC News yesterday (HT to an e-mailer), once again demonstrates the media's relative reluctance to identify the membership of Democrats involved in scandal.
Of the 14 politicians identified, seven are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Five of the seven GOP members are identified as such, while only two of the seven Democrats were flagged. The montage also has a couple of surprising factual errors.
Here's the detail, slide by slide:
Current Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- Party not ID'd, while containing a quote with a Republican frame of reference ("Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low," U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. "This conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.").
KHQA TV wishes to offer clarification regarding a story that appeared last month on our website ConnectTristates.com. The story, which discussed the appointment of a replacement for President Elect Obama in the U.S. Senate, became the subject of much discussion on talk radio and on blog sites Wednesday.
The story housed in our website archive was on the morning of November 5, 2008. It suggested that a meeting was scheduled later that day between President Elect Obama and Illinois Governor Blagojevich. KHQA has no knowledge that any meeting ever took place. Governor Blagojevich did appear at a news conference in Chicago on that date.
That's fine, except for the fact that the KHQA story in my NewsBusters/BizzyBlog post earlier today was from November 8 -- three days later (link again is to a file saved at my web host, obtained from Google cache shortly before it disappeared). It (obviously) talked about the meeting in the past tense (bold is mine):
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN host Wolf Blitzer tried to downplay the significance of the arrest of the Democratic governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich by making an unequivocal statement about Republicans: “You know, most of the scandals -- most of the political scandals...in recent years have involved Republicans...and they’re all pretty well-known.” He continued by labeling the Democrat’s apprehension a “huge embarrassment.”
Blitzer made the remark to Karen Finney, the communications director for the Democratic National Committee, during the regular “Strategy Session” segment. Finney appeared with Republican strategist John Feehery, and the three discussed the political implications of Blagojevich’s arrest. Besides this most recent development, the CNN host only mentioned the recent defeat of Louisiana Representative William Jefferson as an example of a political scandal involving a Democrat.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested today. The Associated Press's Mike Robinson actually identified "Blago's" party in the third paragraph of his 10:27 a.m. report (link is dynamic; cited report is also here for future reference; underlying news HTs to an e-mailer):
Updated below: CNN.com now noting Blago's Democratic affiliation
An unsigned CNN.com article on Tuesday which broke the news that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had been arrested by federal authorities omitted his Democratic party affiliation. Both Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris face conspiracy and bribery charges related to the appointment of Barack Obama’s successor to his Senate seat.
The article did describe the accusations against the Illinois governor and his aide in detail. Among other things, Blagojevich is accused of trying to obtain “a substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions; placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year; promises of campaign funds -- including cash up front; [and] a Cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.”
Attention, y'all in the South: Urban crime is partly your fault.
You see, if you didn't own so many guns, you wouldn't have so many of them stolen or sold at gun shows. Right now, those evil guns cross state lines and get used to commit crimes in urban areas.
I know all of this because the Associated Press's Seanna Adcox, acting as a mouthpiece for the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has told me so (link is dynamic; 2 AM version saved here for future reference):
Report: South a big exporter of guns used in crime
The Columbus Dispatch has done some impressive work exposing the unauthorized and arguably illegal database diving done by State of Ohio employees into the records of Joe the Plumber in October. The rest of Ohio's and the nation's media have been virtually asleep.
In a previous post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Vanessa Niekamp, the state employee who blew the lid off the underhanded undertaking, was virtually unknown, while many other past government whistleblowers have been treated as media heroes.
A story in the Dispatch this morning that should be read in full (HT Michelle Malkin) about Ms. Niekamp's testimony before the Ohio House's Government and Elections Committee reveals just how imperiled she was.
While carrying out a personal order from a superior who was trying to cover his tracks, she was reminded that she was an "unclassified" employee. In plain English, she was threatened with her job if she didn't do what she was told (bolds are mine):
The party-ID treatment of Fabian Nuñez, whose term as California Assemly Speaker ended on May 13, but whose term in the Assembly ended just this past Sunday, was barely better than what Kerry observed in the articles she reviewed yesterday.
Here's the rundown, which I will follow with past examples of obviously disparate treatment of Republican politicians whose sons got into much less trouble with the law:
A criminal without legal status deported by US immigration officials is the subject of the latest pity party thrown by The New York Times. The Times seems to find it lamentable that this gang member and armed robber was deported from "his homeland" -- that would be the USA -- to Cambodia, the land of his birth (one he left when he was a 3-year-old). Why does the NYTimes bemoan the deportation of this thug? Why would he make a fine American despite his criminal history? He can dance, man!
The Times waxed maudlin that their friend "K.K." was deported at 26-years of age ending up in Cambodia, a land with which he was quite unfamiliar. Apparently, the Times feels "K.K." is doing wonderful work there, though, by teaching Cambodian street kids how to street dance. Yes, despite that he is a "former gang member" and convicted felon, the Times thinks he's a swell fellow because he is bringing "a little slice of Long Beach, Calif." to street kids in Cambodia.
Admission: Lawrence O'Donnell is emerging as one of my favorite media liberals. On the one hand, almost exactly one year ago, his anti-Mormon rant spurred me to action. But lately, watching him as a frequent MSNBC guest, I've been impressed by his acumen and willingness to call them as he sees them.
Take O'Donnell's intervention on tonight's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," where he made the salient point that the scandal of the Marc Rich pardon is, ironically, being held against AG nominee Eric Holder . . . while Hillary Clinton skates.
In her story about pardon applications submitted to the Bush Justice Department before the President leaves office, the Associated Press's Lara Jakes Jordan made it seem as if pardon applicants appealing directly to the president is a new thing, and whitewashed the last-minute flurry of pardons granted by Bill Clinton in 2001.
Here are the key passages from Jordan's story:
Some high-profile convicts past and present are among more than 2,000 people asking President George W. Bush to pardon them or commute their prison sentences before he leaves office.
Junk-bond king Michael Milken, media mogul Conrad Black and American-born Taliban soldier John Walker Lindh have applied to the Justice Department seeking official forgiveness.
But with Bush's term ending Jan. 20, some lawyers are lobbying the White House directly to pardon their clients. That raises the possibility that the president could excuse scores of people, including some who have not been charged, to protect them from future accusations, such as former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales or star baseball pitcher Roger Clemens.
Of all the genres of interviews, those conducted by the media with family and friends of victims of tragedy are among the most difficult and often least successful.
A remarkable exception to that rule comes in the form of the interview David Gregory conducted on this morning's Today show with Rabbi Shalom Paltiel, who was a friend of the Chabad couple murdered in Mombai and is a fellow member of the Chabad movement.
Gregory demonstrates knowledge and sensitivity, and Rabbi Paltiel exhibits a faith and optimism in the face of tragedy that people of all faiths should find inspiring. I encourage people to watch.