As the Democrats begin to wind down their national convention, we at NewsBusters are revving a series of reports under the banner "Quick Study" that take an in-depth and quantitative look at the ways cable news anchors and correspondents use information and perspectives to frame the race to suit their liberal ideology. We especially intend to shine a bright light on pretentions of objectivity that fall short of this standard, such as CNN's new motto, "No bias. No bull."
The dispute between Joe Scarborough and his liberal MSNBC colleage David Shuster ("your party?") brought the issue of party registration among elite media to the forefront of cable news watchers' minds so we figured, why not check up on the actual party registration data of CNN, the self-styled "objective option" for cable viewers?
As it turns out, the idea of CNN's objectivity is difficult to square with the partisan leanings of many of the network's own anchors and correspondents. Many of the men and women covering the Democratic National Convention for CNN, including quite a few of their top tier reporters, are registered Democrats according to voter data.
Chris Redfern, the Democratic Party Chairman of Ohio, apparently thinks that Americans are so stingy and selfish that the only way charity work gets done is if government taxes the people to make it happen. In a recent radio interview, Redfern expressed the assumption that "unfortunately most Americans would not" help out the poor. Even worse, Redfern honestly believes that freebies and charity work is just as much the proper role of government as funding the "military, law enforcement, and fire protection," proving he hasn't a clue what the proper role should be of the government America's founders created.
In an interview with Toledo radio station 1370 WSPD, Redfern made the outrageous comments on how selfish Americans are and how we need government to force us all to care for, as he put it, "the least among us."
It's a bit early for politicians to be creating distance between themselves and their party's presidential candidate, is it not?
Whether it's because of a (cough, cough) "clerical error" or an exercise in political self-defense, Louisiana Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu has done that.
But in a report early this afternoon, Associated Press writer Melinda Deslatte was curiously incurious (saved at host for future reference) as to why Landrieu might be concerned about being tied too closely to the Illinois senator. Instead, Deslatte turned her report into an exercise in charge-trading between the incumbent and her Republican challenger, the deliciously named John Kennedy:
It doesn't matter if they talk about it on the evening news or not according to Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.
Pence, along with two of his Republican colleagues - Reps. Dan Burton. Ind., and Bob Goodlatte, Va., met with reporters about the protest they are waging against congressional Democratic leaders at the Capitol on Friday. Democrats, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have prevented an up-or-down vote on expanding offshore oil exploration and drilling.
"We don't need to be on the mainstream media," Pence said. "I think the switchboard at the Capitol is melting. Quite frankly, you know, I went home to the state fair and went to the ham breakfast, which starts at 6 a.m. There were 300 farmers from all 92 counties of Indiana. There was no mention made from the podium about our protest, but I stood up and simply said, ‘It's an honor to be here with the governor and the lieutenant governor.' And I said, ‘Quite frankly, it's just nice to be speaking where the lights are on and it brought the house down - people from all 92 counties.'"
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchors Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer touted the marital relationship between Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife. Co-host Robin Roberts recounted the often repeated story of how the Edwards couple spend their wedding anniversary, including their recent 30th, at the restaurant Wendy’s.
Roberts, perhaps in a Freudian slip, even referred to the former North Carolina Senator as "presidential nominee John Edwards." Sawyer gushed that the candidate and his wife "are going to renew their vows." "Happy anniversary," she added.
Yet, this is the same morning show that has vastly underplayed stories that aren’t quite so cute and endearing for the '08 contender. For instance, during a recent GMA town hall with John Edwards on the subject of poverty, Ms. Sawyer only managed to mention the trial lawyer’s 28,000 square-foot mansion once.
New York Times Southern-based reporter Adam Nossiter relayed a disturbing story about racism and anti-Semitism in a House primary in Memphis, "Race Takes Central Role in a Memphis Primary." But which party's primary? That's the one thing missing from Nossiter's Thursday piece -- the word "Democrat."
In the culmination of a racially fraught Congressional campaign in Memphis, a black candidate is linking her liberal-leaning white primary opponent in Thursday's contest, Representative Steve Cohen, to the Ku Klux Klan in a television advertisement.
Mr. Cohen's campaign said it was an unusually direct effort to inject race into the contest.
On Friday, NewsBusters wondered how much attention media would pay to the Republican revolt that occurred after Speaker Pelosi adjourned the House for a five week vacation without allowing a vote on offshore oil drilling.
It turns out that if you rely on the evening news programs of the three broadcast networks, you didn't hear about this extraordinary event at all (photo courtesy AP).
And, if you're one of the few people that still reads newspapers, the one thrown on your driveway Saturday morning likely also ignored this story, or buried it well off the front page.
Conceivably the worst of the network offenders was the "NBC Nightly News" which actually addressed the fact that Congress adjourned without a vote on drilling, but completely ignored the GOP revolt that ensued afterwards (from closed captioning):
After several media outlets discovered the Democratic congressman from Florida uses his in-laws' house in a Florida retirement community to meet residency requirements, he has sent out an e-mail (entire text here) asking for campaign donations - alleging it's his "strong and vocal stands in favor of impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney" that has made him a target of "ultra-conservative" media.
"In the eyes of the right wing, I am seen, along with Rep. Kucinich, as one of the symbols of the impeachment fight. They believe that if they defeat me - they defeat our cause," Wexler wrote. "For the last week, I've been relentlessly targeted by ultra-conservative radio and television hosts, as well as my local media. It has taken a toll. Now more than ever, I need your support to help me stay in Congress to represent your voice in Washington."
Is it okay to vote against a candidate because of his race? The answer to the question is no. It is, in fact, the only acceptable answer. But I ask the question because it raises an important point about the media, the Democrats, and Barack Obama himself.
We are, each year, treated to national media reports on race relations in this country and they invariably discuss white America coming to terms with other races in this country. Very, very rarely does the media ever report on other races coming to terms with white America.
It is not really relevant, frankly, to point out that most black voters are going to vote in droves for Barack Obama. Regardless of his race, black voters would vote for the Democrat. But when you read about Congressman Steve Cohen's race in Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District, you really are confronted by both racism and anti-Semitism in a way we rarely think about in this country. And the media is silent. Barack Obama is silent.
Steve Cohen just might lose his re-election not because he has been ineffective in representing his district, but because he is white. And a number of black members of Congress are happy about that.
For months, NewsBusters has been reporting media's desire to depict the economy as being significantly worse than it really is in order to assist the Democrats in taking back the White House this November.
In fact, it's been rather common for press members to talk about the economy as being absolutely Hooveresque.
Well, it appears the fashion industry might be aiding and abetting this deplorable effort.
The New York Post reported Monday a rather dreary clothing concept being introduced just in time for the upcoming elections (emphasis added):
No one should be surprised, but journalists -- you know, those fair, balanced and unbiased professionals -- give more of their political donations to Democrats than they do Republicans. Not by just a little, either. By a 15 to 1 margin.
Brit Hume has a small bit on his Political Grapevine about political donations and he mentions an IBD editorial on the money trail. The piece is by William Tate (a better version of Tate's piece is at Americanthinker.com) and it shows a whopping bias towards the Democrats in donations from our fourth estate (or is that fifth column?).
The dilemma of high gas prices might be addressed if congressional leaders would all just get along.
From CNN correspondent Kate Bolduan's perspective, the political differences on energy policy are little more than a "partisan standoff" between Democrats and Republicans.
"Even before the votes were counted on the latest energy proposal, the partisan standoff was clear," Bolduan said on the July 25 "American Morning." "[T]hat bill, a Democratic plan to release oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It failed - one more example of the deadlock over sky-high gas prices and one step closer to Congress going home for the summer without passing anything significant on energy."
According to the report, the primary conflict involved opening federal lands to offshore drilling.
Keith Olbermann is notorious for filching stories from the blue blogs, particularly ones that attack the eeevil Bill O'Reilly. But now his sloppy, unprofessional practices have come back to bite him. He aired an out-and-out falsehood tonight as fact, ripping and reading from the most unreliable source in existence.
On "Countdown" tonight Olbermann assailed O'Reilly over his segment on Rep. Robert Wexler. After some crack about altering the color of Wexler's lips (a confirming clue as will be seen), he then turned the indignation up to '11' and ridiculed Bill for not knowing that Florida doesn't have a state income tax:
OLBERMANN: The Frank Burns of News then speculated that Wexler was somehow trying to cheat Florida out of income tax. Fund had to inform him that Florida doesn't have an income tax. "No income tax? This is where my argument falls to the ground!"
Do they represent the people in their districts, or Nancy Pelosi?
The Spin Starts Here, or Do As I Say, Not As I DoCongressional Democrats remain silent, acquiescing in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's determination to prevent legislation to block the reimposition of the so-called Fairness Doctrine. For all their prattling about protecting civil liberties, none of them - not a single one - has so far signed the discharge petition to allow the Broadcasters' Freedom Act to be wrested from Pelosi's grip to protect our freedom of speech.
Where do they stand on the federal regulation that served for four decades to remove issues of import from the radio airwaves and left us with 24-hours a day of liberal dominance of the radio airwaves? (Ronald Reagan removed the restriction in 1987, and the rest has been Rush Limbaugh-led broadcasting history.)
These Ds have been this quiet because they are not at liberty to discuss it. What we have been witnessing is a remarkable exhibition of partisan discipline. Last summer Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a diktat that no Donkey was to talk about the Fairness Doctrine, nor meet with anyone who wanted to talk about it. All the while she was repeatedly denying any Democratic interest in its revival.
That must be some crystal ball Reuters reporters Jeremy Pelofsky and Tom Doggett have.
They somehow know that George W. Bush's Executive Order lifting an Executive Branch ban on offshore drilling will work out to be "largely symbolic" -- even though Congress's ban will expire on September 30 unless it's proactively renewed.
Further, Pelofsky and Doggett seem to almost know that since Barack Obama opposes any additional offshore drilling, not enough of his fellow party members will defect from that position between now and the Congressional ban's expiration, regardless of whether he remains competitive or sinks in the polls in the meantime.
The only thing that the mainstream media love more than liberal politicians are, well, Hollywood liberals turned politicians. So it’s not the least bit surprising that ABC’s "Good Morning America Weekend" aired a report this past Saturday exalting the merit of comedian Al Franken’s Senate run in Minnesota. The puff piece sounded more like an Al Franken commercial than a piece of objective journalism.
Reporter Bill Weir’s first objective was to recast the nomadic comedian as a proud Minnesotan. The report showed Franken bowling a strike at "At Texatonka Lanes where he learned to bowl" and then concluded with a tour of Franken’s "boyhood home". The report attempted to describe Franken’s childhood if it was ripped from the passages of the famous Minnesota-inspired novel, "Main Street." But Weir focused on Franken’s childhood in Minnesota because Franken has spent the vast majority of his adult life away from the very state he now hopes to represent in the U.S Senate. By trying to paint Franken as a proud Minnesotan, "GMA Weekend" was glossing over criticism that Franken is a celebrity carpetbagger.
Specifically, Cheney's 2000 statement was that "we may well be on the front edge of a recession here," while Bush's 2001 claim was a milder "You know better than me that our economy is slowing down."
So what will be the reaction be to the Sunday assertion by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama that there's "little doubt" the country is in a recession, when no negative growth has occurred?
A woman, calling into C-Span’s morning show Washington Journal used the c-word as part of her reasoning as to why John McCain shouldn’t be president. Apparently C-Span does not use the 7-second delay for its live programming, though the host of the show did immediately end the call after the obscene word was uttered.
The call came just before 9:00 a.m. on the July 7th broadcast during the show’s call in segment. The call in segment allows viewers to voice their opinions on any topic.
Female Caller: I have two points. McCain is really too old for this job. We need somebody that can keep up. And number two. He does not have respect for women. He even called his wife a c---.
Peter Slen: (ends call) Let’s move on.
For video of this click here, pertinent clip is at 2:54:36.
CNN carried KDKA footage showing that Murtha has grudgingly acknowledged the obvious: That the troop surge in Iraq has, in his words, "in the short-term ..... certainly reduced incidents," but that "I'm not sure whether it's because of the Iraqis are just worn out, but certainly the way they're doing it today makes a big difference."
What KDKA decided to keep from TV viewers is arguably at least as important as what the station showed.
In interview footage left on the cutting room floor, Murtha falsely claimed that less than 1/3 of the Iraqi benchmarks have been met, and that the majority of Americans "want us out" of Iraq as fast as possible. But most explosively, the Pennsylvania congressman claimed that a major reason why the troop surge has been successful is that before that time "we broke down doors, we went in and we killed people inadvertently."
Wha-h-h-h? This has to go down as one of the stranger non sequiturs from a pundit of national standing. Responding to a study that concludes that burgeoning multiculturalism threatens national unity, David Broder takes solace in the fact that 34 years ago, the American body politic booted Richard Nixon from office.
On Wednesday, NewsBusters reported the continued angst the Netroots are feeling about presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama's recent flip-flops while pointing out how few media outlets seem interested.
Surprisingly, the New York Times Wednesday not only addressed Markos Moulitsas's decision to withhold a campaign contribution to the junior senator from Illinois, but also reported the growing concern of many Obama supporters.
As my colleague Brent Baker previously reported, Wolf Blitzer opened Friday's "CNN Election Center" with Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama's disgusting warning that the Republicans will play the race card in order to defeat him in November:
We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. They're going to say you know what, "He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. Did I mention he's black?"
Blitzer played this soundbite a few hours earlier during the 6PM installment of "The Situation Room," and Jack Cafferty called Obama's comments "very shrewd" and "pretty much on the mark."
I kid you not.
Here's Cafferty's full statement concerning this matter (video embedded upper right):
Here's something you don't see every day: four people on MSNBC agreeing that an ad attacking Republican presidential nominee John McCain is a "cheap shot."
Yet, that's exactly what transpired Tuesday morning when Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Willie Geist, and John Ridley discussed the new ad just released by the far-left MoveOn.org suggesting that if McCain is elected president, the baby pictured will be fighting in Iraq eighteen years from now.
First up to criticize the piece was NPR's Ridley (video embedded right, use scrollbars to center):
The first four paragraphs of the report were dedicated to an all out character assassination that chided Lieberman for straying from the Democrats in a betrayal that is ominously close to transforming him into "an attack dog for Republicans."
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Joe Lieberman is fast becoming the Democrats' public enemy No. 1.
The four-term Connecticut senator, who came tantalizingly close to being Al Gore's vice president in 2000, not only has been campaigning for his pal, presumed Republican nominee John McCain, now he's publicly criticizing the Democrats' standard-bearer, Barack Obama. Lieberman has strayed before, most notably switching from Democrat to independent in 2006 to hold onto his Senate seat after a Democratic primary loss.
But the latest betrayal has upset Democrats, who often answer in clipped but polite tones when asked about Lieberman. The reason: The independent still caucuses with the Democrats on most issues except the Iraq war, and he holds their slim political majority in his hands.
"There's a commonly held hope that he's not going to be transformed into an attack dog for Republicans," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., an Obama supporter.
“These were obviously incredibly offensive remarks that the campaign was unaware of at the time it was scheduled,” said Brian Rogers, a spokesman for the McCain campaign. “It’s positive that he did apologize at the time, but the comments are nonetheless offensive.”
However, when The Hill and the Washington Post published the story, they published pushback from the RNC that included information about one of Barack Obama's fundraisers, Jodie Evans:
“While Obama and Democrats launch attacks on Republicans, their silence concerning fundraisers like [Code Pink co-founder] Jodie Evans and Jim Johnson is deafening,” said RNC spokesman Alex Conant. “Obama’s hypocritical attacks undermine everything his campaign is supposed to be about.”
Also see the compare-and-contrast example in the final paragraph.
A city councilman in Lorain, Ohio, a city of about 75,000 west of Cleveland, was arrested during a prostitution sting on Friday.
Of the six stories I found covering the event (the Google News search is for May 22-26), only one referred to the political party of councilman Dennis Flores, who is a Democrat (scroll down to "Second Ward Council;" HT to an e-mailer).
The Cleveland Plain Dealer set the tone for ignoring Flores's party ID, with a Saturday Breaking Metro Blog entry and Sunday story, which presumably made the print edition. Each story notes that Flores "serves as captain of his block watch."
While two others who gave the story attention without providing a party identification for Flores could perhaps be excused because they only gave it five or six paragraphs (specifically, Cleveland's WEWS and WKYC.com), writer Scott Allyn at the Morning Journal, whose main office is in Lorain, clearly had to go out of his way to avoid naming Flores's party. In the process, he also failed to identify the party affiliation of the mayor and two other city council members:
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said Sunday that Hillary Clinton blaming her campaign woes on gender bias is "poppycock" that is "very damaging to feminism," and that the former first lady "has a history of covering up her own mistakes behind sexism."
As this appears likely to be an important issue for Democrats to resolve in the months before Election Day, Sunday's "Meet the Press" devoted a great deal of time to the matter during its most recent installment (file photo right).
After showing some video clips of the Clintons separately discussing how sexism has been a part of the campaign, host Tim Russert said, "Maureen Dowd, misogynist, gender bias, it seems as though the Clintons are being, trying very hard to lay that out as a premise for Hillary Clinton's difficulties in this primary contest."