Diane Sawyer and other "Good Morning America" journalists offered a surprisingly substantive look into religion on Thursday's edition of the ABC program. The show featured a three part, 12 minute-plus series of segments on Mitt Romney, Mormonism and his faith's relationship with evangelical voters.
The discussion wasn't perfect, certainly. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer simply couldn't let go of her discomfort in regards to Mike Huckabee's use of the phrase "Christian leader" in a recent Iowa campaign ad. On November 27, she wondered if the spot might have "crossed a line" and called it "heavy-handed." On Thursday's program, while talking to the Southern Baptist Convention's Dr. Richard Land, Sawyer pointedly noted that "many people thought [the ad's point] was unmistakable, what he was doing. Do you think that was fair?"
Pat Buchanan was very moved. Chris Matthews "heard greatness this morning." Joe Scarborough said Romney "hit it out the park." But with his speech on faith this morning, Mitt clearly didn't make a believer out of Sally Quinn, doyenne of the DC establishment and wife of former WaPo editor Ben Bradlee.
SALLY QUINN: I have to say that I'm really stunned because I think it was an obliteration of the idea of the separation of church and state. He eliminated anybody who was a doubter, an atheist, an agnostic, a seeker. It's like, if you believe in God or Christ, if not, you're not.
After the Venezuela referendum, I 'd been waiting for the first MSMer to make an invidious comparison between Hugo Chavez and George W. Bush.
Didn't take long:
"[D]emocracy was alive and vital in Venezuela on Sunday in a way foreign to President Bush’s America."
That's Roger Cohen writing in today's New York Times, reacting to Chavez's apparent acceptance of the referendum results that turned thumbs down on his "reforms" that would have effectively made him dictator.
The Times's "International Writer-at-Large" is careful to temper his praise of Chavez with some boilerplate criticism, calling him a "strongman" and a "menace." But, time and again, Cohen returns to his theme: that democracy is more alive and well in Venezuela than in the U.S. under President Bush.
Following the recent GOP debate in which CNN chose to air a YouTube question putting candidates on the spot as to their belief in the literal truth of the Bible, there was much breast-beating as to the inappropriateness of religious tests for office.
But that didn't stop Tucker Carlson's two liberal guests this evening from taking potshots on religious grounds at President Bush and Mitt Romney.
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Brian Ross's story on Mike Huckabee featured a misleading onscreen graphic that claimed the then-Arkansas governor pardoned a rapist who went on to murder two women in Missouri. In fact, Huckabee didn't pardon Wayne Dumond, the man in question. The ABC graphic read, "Huckabee's Pardon: Rapist Struck Again After Release." The inaccurate information appeared beneath the December 5 segment for two minutes and 50 seconds of a three minute plus segment. (Hat tip to NewsBusters reader TE.)
On "Fox and Friends," which got the story right, co-host Steve Doocy explained that the governor lobbied the Arkansas parole board to release Dumond. They did so. He then played a clip of Huckabee on FNC in November in which the governor pointed out, "I did originally support parole, but governors don't parole anybody." "The Early Show" on CBS also refrained from using the term "pardon." NBC's "Today" ignored the story completely.
Following two days of positive coverage of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and his front-runner status in Iowa, on Wednesday the CBS "Early Show" decided it was time to tear down the former governor’s campaign: "He's being dogged by new reports that he had a much bigger role in the parole of convicted rapist Wayne Dumond while he was Governor of Arkansas than he had previously been claiming."
Compare that statement by co-host Harry Smith, with Smith’s previous assessment of Huckabee when previewing an interview with the candidate two days ago:
When he announced he was running for the Republican nomination, many people said Mike who? Hucka what? But Evangelical Christians, a powerful force here, have rallied to his support. Pro-life, traditional marriage, they have found their champion. But they have found something more, a candidate who is good on his feet...His thoughtful debate performances have set him apart.
ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross on Wednesday continued his habit of offering up critical takes on Republican front-runners and ignoring Democratic scandals. So far this year, the correspondent has featured four hard-hitting segments on GOP candidates and only one on a Democrat.
During a piece on "Good Morning America," Ross investigated a developing story of whether then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee used his influence to secure the release of a convicted rapist who went on murder two women. The story has received major play on the left-wing blog site Huffington Post, a point Ross mentioned, but he left out any attribution of the web page's very liberal leanings.
I highly doubt that readers of the Washington Post enjoying the morning paper over a steaming cup of coffee deserve to flip to the Style section only to be greeted by a huge photo of Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich making out.
Of course the front page photo -- unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, I couldn't find it online -- wasn't the only sloppy wet one the Post planted on Kucinich in the page C1 article, "The Love Song of Dennis J. Kucinich." Staff writer Libby Copeland gave readers of the December 5 Post an article sopping wet with the magical fairy tale of the Kuciniches' unlikely romance, sprinkled with the Ohio congressman's political ramblings.
While Copeland did paint Kucinich as dopey and eccentric, in the process she puffed up Kucinich's far-left politics, as seen by the adoring eyes of equally left-wing better half Elizabeth, the statuesque redhead that joined Rep. Kucinich at the altar two years ago.
What's more, staff writer Libby Copeland spilled some ink to given ear to relay Kucinich's rant about "corporate media," and how he believes it's conspiratorially biased against him:
The Laura Ingraham radio show began Wednesday morning with a red-hot burst of outrage at yesterday's National Public Radio debate with the Democratic presidential candidates. She called it "an underreported treasure trove of idiocy" and said the broadcast completely lived up the boutique-liberal NPR stereotype -- which is why it was underreported by the rest of the media.
The show began with an NPR question on why America is so hated in the Muslim world, which couldn't be a bigger softball to Joe Biden, and the rest of the candidates, who quickly blamed the Bush administration for the unsettled Muslim world.
The lead-in to NPR's evening newscast All Things Considered last night was all ‘crazy neocon’ Iran quotes last night from the candidates. (They play the theme song, and then you get that featured soundbite or set of soundbites). Sadly, that’s not on the NPR website, but the two-hour debate is here.
Hillary Clinton, victim of an unfair press? Bill certainly thinks so. Associated Press writer Philip Elliott reported: "Bill Clinton said Tuesday that if reporters covered the candidates' public records better, his wife's presidential bid would be far ahead of her rivals. During a campaign stop on behalf of his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former president said he can't understand why so much of the media coverage of the campaign ignores her experience—and, without naming him, the relative lack of experience of her closest Democratic rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama."
Press coverage aside, if this Democratic race was really about experience, wouldn’t Joe Biden and Chris Dodd be the two front-runners? It is amazing and shameless that the Clintons can complain that the 89-percent pro-Clinton press isn’t pro-Clinton enough, that if the press did their job correctly, Hillary would have an enormous lead, as if media professionalism was defined by how well the media elite realized and established for the public that she is just what the country desperately needs. Elliott continued with Bill’s mighty whine about the media being rude to his wife (as if he’s never been):
Is CNN capable and professional enough to host presidential debates? After last week’s CNN-YouTube debate fiasco, even Tim Rutten, a media writer for the left-leaning Los Angeles Times, was giving CNN a big fat F for failure: "In fact, this most recent debacle masquerading as a presidential debate raises serious questions about whether CNN is ethically or professionally suitable" to host debates. CNN had the opportunity to perform a journalistic swan dive. Instead it produced an enormous belly flop. It’s far worse when you realize this mess of a production was the highest-rated primary presidential debate in history.
Back in May, after the Democrats stiff-armed the Fox News Channel invitation to debate, many conservatives believed the Republicans should return the favor with CNN and its proposed CNN-YouTube debate. I disagreed. I suggested in this space that Republicans should accept debates on CNN, but be more forceful in setting the terms and selecting the hosts. It seemed correct to assume at the time that CNN would attempt to be more fair and balanced simply because so much was riding on the outcome, namely CNN’s very credibility as an impartial observer of the political process.
I was wrong. We can’t expect CNN to be an honest broker.
"Is this anything more than the media building up a candidate, particularly a woman, and then tearing her down because it makes a good story?" Fox News Channel's Terry Keenan asked to open her December 4 interview with NewsBusters senior editor and "Whitewash" co-author Tim Graham.
Brought on "Your World w/Neil Cavuto" to discuss media coverage of Hillary Clinton's slippage in some recent polls, Graham dismissed Keenan's suggestion that Clinton is a victim of a soft form of sexism by the media:
Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul’s December 4 appearance on "The View" did not lead to the predictable agreement between Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg on Iraq, but a very strong disagreement over abortion. Whoopi Goldberg, who previously boasted about marching in a NARAL rally with Katie Couric, alluded to her confrontation with Elisabeth Hasselbeck asserted without doubt that "nobody makes this decision lightly."
Co-host Joy Behar occupied most of the segment attacking Paul’s abortion position. Though Behar admitted she believes killing a child immediately before birth is "murder" she asked "what about the first month?" and about the "mental state" or "health" line that many partial birth abortion apologists use.
Hillary Clinton fundraiser Norman Hsu was indicted earlier today in a $20 million Ponzi scheme. I received a text message e-mail alert to this effect shortly after 1:30 p.m. Eastern. Given the heated lead-up to Iowa and New Hampshire, it's major news. In a 24/7 media cycle, it's inconceivable that it major news organization Web sites could not or would not give it top billing shortly after the news broke.
Yet at 3 p.m. today, a review of some major media Web sites showed no prominence given to the story. MSNBC.com didn't have a teaser headline for it until its "local news" box for WNBC, the NBC network's East Coast flagship in New York City:
Fox News, by contrast, had this tease prominently displayed on it's front page:
While interviewing the young Clinton staffers who suffered through a hostage situation in New Hampshire last week, "Good Morning America" co-anchor Chris Cuomo used an interview on Tuesday's program to gush over their zeal for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Almost unable to contain himself, the ABC journalist extolled, "They come out of this experience lucky to have their lives, more dedicated than ever to Senator Hillary Clinton."
Now, most Americans would freely admire the calm and collected manner in which Graham, Katherine and Morgan (GMA provided no last names) handled the obviously stressful situation of having to deal with a disturbed man claiming to have a bomb. However, some of Cuomo's comments seemed to go over the top. He approvingly explained to co-host Diane Sawyer, "They said they want to campaign harder then ever, because of this experience. If she wins, they should go right into the cabinet."
That Hillary Clinton -- such a prankster! Yes, if there's one thing Hillary is known for, it's her great sense of humor and light touch. So when she included Barack Obama's statements as a third-grader and kindergartner in her press release for purposes of demonstrating he was lying when he said he hadn't long harbored presidential ambitions, we should have all realized it was just one more of Hillary's rib-ticklers. Too bad that gullible old MSM let itself get spun.
That in essence is what Mark Penn [file photo], Hillary's chief strategist, would have people believe about the press release Clinton put out two days ago. Penn appeared on today's Morning Joe, and talked soon turned to the release. No fewer than four times, Penn tried to pass off the to-all-appearances dead serious kindergarten citation as a "joke":
CNN Washington Bureau Chief David Bohrman appeared on Sunday’s Reliable Sources to defend the CNN selection of liberals and Hillary supporters in disguise as questioners at the CNN-YouTube debate. Bohrman made several odd claims. They Googled Gen. Keith Kerr, the gay endorser of Hillary Clinton, but didn’t find the Hillary campaign documents, which was allegedly new to Google when it was found in minutes during the debate. They stopped investigating Kerr because he had a "great question...regardless of where he was from." Bohrman took the same position with the Edwards supporter they used. CNN does not agree that investigating the backgrounds of alleged grass-roots questioners is important. And in the wake of the Kerr backlash, CNN wishes they’d decided on a different Victim of Social Conservatives: "Let's use the gay linguist from Guantanamo who was dismissed."
Did the New Hampshire man who took several Hillary Clinton staffers hostage on Friday do so because of a lack of health insurance? That's what "Good Morning America" reporter David Kerley seemed to imply during a segment on Monday's show. First, he pointed out that the individual, Leeland Eisenberg, was turned away from a mental health support due to a lack of "money or insurance."
Then, after playing a clip of a Clinton campaign ad in which a man lauds the New York senator for helping to save his son's life by absorbing medical costs, Kerley revealed that Eisenberg targeted Clinton "because he saw this Clinton ad in which a New Hampshire supporter says the candidate helped him get health insurance." Kerley closed the segment by observing that the hostage-taker stormed the office and demanded to see Senator Clinton. The GMA correspondent intoned, "That didn't happen, but he may finally get the help he was pleading for."
Update 12-03 | 1:55 PM: Barack fires back; claims Hillary becoming "more desperate and negative by the day." See complete update at foot.
Are Hillary's internal polling numbers telling her staffers that she's in big trouble? That's the provocative theory that Chris Matthews floated on today's Morning Joe.
Host Joe Scarborough asked what could have caused Hillary and her senior aide Howard Wolfson to go on the attack against Barack Obama this weekend, respectively questioning his character and accusing him of maintaining an improper political "slush fund." In response, Matthews conjectured that Hillary's helpers have looked at the polling data . . . and seen her support "crashing."
View video here [with apologies for mediocre video quality.]
Despite all the good news coming out of Iraq lately, it's perfectly clear that whatever happens there, CBS's Bob Schieffer isn't prepared to change his antiwar stripes any time soon.
In fact, as media outlet after media outlet - including even the liberal New York Times - admits that conditions in Iraq are improving, the host of "Face the Nation" wanted his viewers to know Sunday morning that he clearly is not willing to put down his white flag.
In fact, Schieffer's commentary is sure to make our troops putting their lives on the line for this country wonder why they are doing so (video available here):
There was a truly fascinating event on Sunday's "Meet the Press" that could definitely have lasting meaning on the 2008 presidential campaign.
Not only did host Tim Russert bring up former President Bill Clinton's flip-flop on his support of the Iraq war, but also NBC's David Gregory said, "It's a reminder of what some people who don't like Hillary Clinton don't like."
Maybe Bill shouldn't have complained about how his wife was treated by Russert and Gregory during the October debate in Philadelphia.
Possibly recalling the former president's criticism, Russert started this fascinating exchange (video available here courtesy Allah):
The Democrats are better at understanding the impact of globalization on working people in America. The wages that have been arrested and halted in their growth, while, you know the boys in investment banking are making 10 times the average income of an American. I think the Democrats understand the consequences of it more than the Republicans and, frankly, another disagreement I've got with Republicans is that they are compulsive interventionists. They seem to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing from what happened in Iraq when they are talking about doing the same thing in Iran. -- Pat Buchanan, November 29, 2007
The next time you hear the MSM defending itself against charges of a lack of balance by pointing to Pat Buchanan's presence on its panels, remember his statement above. On globalization, Pat echoes the Seattle street protesters, seasoned with some John Edwards "Two Americas" rhetoric about Wall Street fat cats. On foreign policy, Pat sounds like someone auditioning for Secretary of Peace in Pres. Kucinich's cabinet.
"A camel is a horse designed by committee." -- ascribed to Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis.
Perhaps the only thing more likely to yield ungainly results than a committee designing a horse is a Democrat designing a Republican presidential ticket. David Broder tries his hand at it in his WaPo column today, "Principles Amid the GOP Pack. The result is a double-humped dromedary known as McCain-Huckabee.
As Sen. Jim Webb prepares for his Sunday interview on Meet the Press, let's note the well-placed word that demonstrates that The Washington Post still relishes the moment that young S.R. Sidarth first launched the "Macaca" boat. In a small Wednesday item reporting Sidarth now works for Bill Richardson for President, reporter Michael Shear -- who with Tim Craig beat every bush to spread alleged racial bigotry all over George Allen's face -- displayed his opinion by saying "Alas," young Sidarth "is not reprising the role" of opposition camcorder agent.
Here's most of Shear's small item:
The young man whose video helped bring down former senator George Allen of Virginia has resurfaced in the presidential contest that Allen once hoped to be part of.
Here’s an update on the St. Petersburg Times report on CNN’s snarky response to conservative bloggers. Eric Deggans, one of the reporters on the CNN-YouTube debate, brought his own skepticism on Friday to CNN’s responses to the secret Hillary Campaign questioner on his blog The Feed. (Deggans is not a conservative, as my earlier Koulter Klan blog illustrates.)
Deggans mentions the anti-CNN complaints of bloggers on both sides, but suggests the liberals should consider how they would respond if the shoe was on their foot: "even though some liberal bloggers are saying the political background of questioners shouldn't matter, I have a hard time believing they would have tolerated seeing Hillary Clinton asked a tough question on an issue important to conservatives by someone with hidden ties to Rudolph Giuliani or George W. Bush."
Democrat Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton was hundreds of miles from a hostage crisis that occurred at a campaign facility in Rochester, New Hampshire, Friday, and had absolutely nothing to do with the matter's resolution.
Yet, the Associated Press - almost as if parroting talking points from one of Hillary's campaign workers - managed to not only give her credit for what local officials in the area did to quickly solve the takeover without any injury or loss of life, but also painted a picture of the junior senator as being presidential in the midst of a crisis.
NewsBuster Jason Aslinger reported earlier that Politico.com was similarly guilty of Clinton-sycophancy concerning this unfortunate event.
With that in mind, what follows is nothing less than sick-making, and I apologize for ruining your Saturday by sharing it with you (disgusted emphasis added because misery loves company, h/t to NB reader Damian G):