CNN hosted three presidential debates last week, two for the Democrats and one for the Republicans. Democratic candidates were awarded twice as much airtime in a three-day period. CNN has its work cut out for it if it wants to be seen as impartial in the upcoming presidential election.
What tilted the schedule in the Democrats’ favor? Both Sunday’s and Tuesday’s two-hour traditional debates in New Hampshire with each party were hosted by Wolf Blitzer. But on Monday, CNN devoted an hour to the top three Democrat contenders, hosted by the religious-left group Sojourners. Each received 15 minutes of air time. When that hour was over, CNN awarded most of the "second tier" – four more Democratic contenders – more time to discuss their faith in individual interviews on "Paula Zahn Now." That’s almost another two hours for the Democrats.
Chicago Tribune “public editor” Timothy McNulty claimed on Friday that he has been sensitized to a gross indignity: stories referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton as merely “Hillary.” Prodded by feminists, he claimed that this indignity deserves exploring, even as he acknowledges that Hillary uses “Hillary!” as a first-person promotional tool in her own campaign. As Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post blew it off in his online chat today: “I used to have the same concern until HRC began running for office and promoting herself as "Hillary" on her Web site, in literature, etc. If it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me.”
The prodding feminist McNulty quotes in the piece is online Tribune editor Jane Fritsch, formerly of The New York Times, who wrote McNulty in an e-mail that "The simple fact is that Hillary Rodham Clinton is running in a field of men who are never referred to by their first names...The argument that we call her Hillary to avoid confusion is a weak one. There are easy alternatives. ... Certainly the problem created by the existence of two presidents named George Bush has been a difficult one, but we found ways to solve it without diminishing George W. Bush."
Time magazine's "Swampland" blog last week gave former Rep. Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Tex.) a platform as guest blogger and left-wing readers quickly pounced with all the juvenile invective they could muster. One commenter to Armey's valedictory post wished that Armey would eat sh*t and die, albeit saying so with more flowery language: "May you engage in coprophagy, then shuffle off this mortal coil."
Perhaps seeking to establish balance in the guest roster, this week "Swampland" invited John Edwards staffer David "Mudcat" Saunders into the electronic quagmire. Saunders is most notable for his role in guiding Mark Warner (D-Va.) to victory in the Old Dominion governor's race in 2001.
But the reception for Saunders is hardly any warmer than that of Armey, even though Saunders is far to the left of the former congressman's laissez faire economic preferences that were much-maligned by Joe Klein and company last week.
Although Saunders is an advocate of class warfare, the radically left-wing readers of "Swampland" aren't buying Saunders as a true liberal. In fact, crude and unfair stereotypes of Saunders and other white Southerners are frequently cropping up in the comments fields for today's posts:
On Sunday night’s “1/2 Hour News Hour,” comedian Dennis Miller gave Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) the on-air tongue-lashing that every conservative in America has longed for since Reid replaced Tom Daschle as the Democrats’ top guy in that chamber of Congress.
In a two and a half-minute evisceration, Miller referred to Reid as a “dim bulb” stating that he’s had it with the Senator’s “projectile naysaying” while deliciously presenting his views “with no due respect.”
The May 14 issue of Newsweek proclaimed that some descendants of famous Republicans--Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater--are thinking about changing parties and voting Blue. In an article titled, “Generational Tensions: Thesons and daughters of some iconic Republicans (Ike! T.R.!) are contemplating crossing the aisle,” reporter Michael Hirsch set up the improbable idea that the logical move by unhappy "fiscally conservative" Republicans is to the Democratic Party. According to Ike's granddaughter Susan Eisenhower, “moderate ‘Eisenhower Republicans’ “ are not content, but Newsweek did not fully explore the illogic of this proposed alternative (emphasis mine throughout):
Increasingly, however, she says that the partisanship and free spending of the Bush presidency—and the takeover of the party by single-issue voters, especially pro-lifers—is driving these pragmatic, fiscally conservative voters out of the GOP.
Debatably, the dissatisfaction of moderate Republicans with the Iraq war and with what the article categorized as religiously influenced issues surrounding topics like Terri Schiavo, abortion and homosexuality can be answered by the Democratic Party, but not the problems of bloated bureaucracies and out of control spending. The article did not state the obvious; a Big Government GOP is still smaller than the modern Democratic Party.
National Public Radio boasted an "evangelical Christian" commentary on Wednesday night's All Things Considered newscast – and that voice is conveniently trashing conservatives. Fresh from his last NPR commentary dancing on Jerry Falwell’s grave, turncoat former Bush aide David Kuo went at it again. Exploiting CNN’s biased decision to air a special with the leftist magazine Sojourners giving the Democrats an hour to proclaim their faith, Kuo declared that partisan lines are blurring on religion, that Democrats are conducting a "Jesus fair" and Republicans have "no compassion for anyone."
Last night in New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidates were long on conservatism and short on compassion. On immigration, on Iraq, on virtually every issue, the consensus was that America hasn't been tough enough. No compassion for anyone — particularly those 12 million Americans who got here illegally.
On Wednesday’s "Situation Room," liberal anchor Jack Cafferty argued that, perhaps, it's President Bush, not Vladimir Putin, who is attempting to reignite the Cold War. However, Cafferty might want to consider the fact that fewer pesky journalists seem to mysteriously disappear in the United States than they do in Russia.
During this week’s Republican debate, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer had a suggestion for the national GOP: Be more like liberal Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, this is an idea he’s peddled four times since the midterm elections. Isn’t it sweet when left-wing journalists offer advice to the Republican Party?
Speaking of liberal cable hosts, Keith Olbermann suggested this week that the unraveling of a terror plot at JFK airport was politically timed to help the Bush administration. Yes, Keith, and the Paris Hilton media soap opera is a cover by the White House to distract from the immigration debacle.
The new books by liberal-media stars investigating Hillary Clinton are already drawing the annoying accusation from the Clintonistas that they’re sexist, and then their media supporters are backing them up on the charge. The liberal media attacks their own. On last weekend’s chat shows, the trend was apparent. On The Chris Matthews Show, Chris adopted a confessional I-may-be-a-pig tone with Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this year’s (liberal) winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary:
MATTHEWS: Cynthia, the question, I think, somewhere in the middle of this--and this may be sexist, I don't deny it--but is the charge that she's calculating, that they're calculating together, a little too much planning, this two presidency following two presidencies, this 20-year plan, so-called, does this hurt?
TUCKER: I don't think it hurts with those people who would support Senator Hillary Clinton for president. They're--she's a very divisive figure. There are already a lot of Americans who would never vote for Senator Clinton, with or without a book being written, or books being written which rehash all the old assumptions about her.
Having said that, let me also point out that it is sexist to charge a woman with being ambitious.
What are the odds Ben Affleck would refer to Muslims who believe literally in the Koran as "Neanderthals?" But when it comes to Christians . . .
As NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens has noted, Affleck appeared on yesterday evening's edition of Hardball. And while it's true that the actor/director/Dem activist offered a generally innocuous analysis, he did manage to engage in a bit of religious bigotry.
Affleck's foul foray arose in the course of his discussion of the way the various Republican candidates have dealt with the issue of evolution and creationism. Talk turned to the former governor of Arkansas.
BEN AFFLECK: I think Huckabee actually framed his position in a much less dramatic way than had been made out. Which was he said it could be six days, or it could be six epochs, which I thought was much more along the kind of intelligent design lines than his position had been cast. In other words, he had been made out to a little bit of a kind of like a real sort of Neanderthal about it, a literalist.
Joshua Levy and Micah L. Sifry have a June 4 article at techPresident noting that among the major presidential candidates, only Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has taken advantage of new software on the Facebook social networking site to broaden his Web presence. (Portions in bold are my emphasis):
TechPresident’s Alan Rosenblatt took an early look at the new feature
and the Obama application, which allows Facebook members to see new
videos and messages from the campaign and share them with their
Facebook friends, on the day it went public, and he was impressed. As
Rick Klau of Feedburner pointed out in a contemporaneous post, the app
adds a significant amount of value to the Obama campaign. “If you’re
interested in exposing your network of friends to info about Barack,
the campaign is making it a one-click affair that greatly simplifies
the redistribution of campaign info,” he wrote.
Platform launched, Obama was the only candidate with an application.
Why didn’t John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Ron Paul, or
anyone else get in on the possibility of reaching 20 million or more
Facebook users and potential voters? [...]
During Tuesday night’s Republican debate, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer attempted to goad Representative Duncan Hunter into agreeing that the national GOP should be "following that Arnold Schwarzenegger example" in California. This is the fourth time since the 2006 midterms that Blitzer, host of CNN's "Situation Room," has lobbied for the GOP to adopt the liberal policies of the Republican governor.
During the preamble to his question, Blitzer noted how "popular" Schwarzenegger is with moderates and approved of how the former actor attempts to "forge a consensus."
CNN’s cheerleading for Schwarzenegger’s brand of Republicanism began shortly after the midterm election. On November 9, Bill Schneider, a reporter for Blitzer's "Situation Room," wondered about the GOP's future:
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough contacted NewsBusters a few moments ago with the relevant transcript from his June 1 "Morning Joe" program, lamenting in an e-mail that our "follow up blog on Newsbusters... actually omits fact that there was a long discussion started by female athlete re pole exercising. Transcript shows whole thing taken wildly out of context."
Here's the transcript, as forwarded by Scarborough to us after receiving same from Christopher Licht, executive producer of "Scarborough Country":
Carl Bernstein's new biography of Hillary Clinton has been attacked for being too "nasty" (according to Barbara Walters), but in an interview in the second half-hour of Tuesday's Early Show, he sounded more like a Hillary supporter, defending her "great love affair" with Bill and describing his book as the first whole portrait of "this epic life, this great American life," the story of "a huge persona." Early Show host Harry Smith had no interest in Hillary's role in policy-making, focusing Bernstein only on the messy Clinton marriage and why she stayed with the president.
Smith began: "The top three Democratic presidential candidates met last night at a forum on religion, a very familiar subject to Senator Hillary Clinton. Faith has always been a huge part of her life."
Not that there had been much doubt as to where MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski stands politically . . . . As we have noted before, today wasn't the first time that the daughter of Jimmy Carter's erstwhile National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski has expressed liberal views on air. Still, it was jarring to hear the ostensibly objective newsreader, appearing as a guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" [an occasional show hosted by Joe Scarborough in Imus's former time slot] at 6:24 am EDT today, spout criticism of President Bush with a passion worthy of an "out" Dem partisan.
The springboard was a discussion among Mika, Joe and NPR contributor John Ridley of the moment in last night's GOP presidential debate in which Rudy deftly dealt with a lightning strike just as he was explaining his pro-choice views. Ridley opined, to the agreement of the others, that Rudy handled the impromptu moment more smoothly than President Bush often does his scripted ones. Scarborough observed that "we do need elected leaders who can communicate effectively," noting that it was Tony Blair, not President Bush, who in a session with Congress had made the most effective case for the Iraq war.
That's when Mika pounced.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: We're looking for someone who is going to be able to communicate globally and sort of repair what some may believe is a huge problem in terms of our reputation and respect for ourselves around the world.
On Tuesday's edition of The View on ABC, comedienne Kathy Griffin really seemed to be auditioning for the Rosie O'Donnell Chair in Conservative-Bashing. ABC's Barbara Walters began by deploring how two new Hillary biographies are "both nasty," spurring Griffin to accuse the authors of "good, old-fashioned, garden variety sexism." She also accused men of "taking down" vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, growled about "women eating their own" over an anti-Hillary letter in Newsweek, and said Condoleezza Rice is "not a pro-woman woman" because she "follows everything white men say....Any African American woman who is a Republican does not understand that she's not a part of their agenda. Wake up!" Walters told Griffin she was "so bigoted." Joy Behar cracked that Margaret Thatcher was a "woman with a penis." Only token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck insisted that Hillary ought to endure scrutiny like any other presidential candidate.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program devoted two segments to promoting the religiosity of the 2008 Democratic contenders. At the same time, a graphic hopefully asked, "Are evangelicals embracing Democrats? New party of God?"
Recapping a CNN sponsored event on Monday night where '08 contenders talked about their faith, ABC featured two liberals who were making the Democratic case for Christian voters. GMA co-host Robin Roberts interviewed Jim Wallis, the left-wing editor of Sojourners magazine. Neither Roberts, nor the ABC graphic made any mention of his liberal slant. Additionally, a segment hosted by reporter Dan Harris featured this quote from one Mara Vanderslice:
Mara Vanderslice (Sr. Partner, Common Good Strategies): "This year, I think the Democrats are more comfortable talking about religion and values."
Vanderslice just happens to have strong ties to the Democratic Party, is the former Director of Religion for the 2004 John Kerry campaign and had past associations to extreme left wing groups. Perhaps GMA viewers should have been apprised of those facts in relation to Vanderslice’s contention that Democrats are "more comfortable" with religion.
No journalists in the last thirty years have built more of a legend than the old Washington Post pairing of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. As the Watergate wrecking crew that put Richard Nixon in the scrap yard, they are America’s most venerated “icons” of investigative reporting.
But since that event, the paths of Woodward and Bernstein have separated dramatically. Woodward is still considered the top-dog journalist in Washington, a titan no president can ignore if he cares about his historical legacy, or his short-term political standing. By contrast, Bernstein has bounced around to cushy media jobs, at ABC, and at Time magazine, rarely distinguishing himself, with a mere fraction of Woodward’s celebrity aura.
An update to my earlier post that I figured would do just as well as a fresh item.
USA Today's "On Politics" blog, "TV Newser," and The New Republic's "The Plank" contain explanations from Joe Scarborough's people of how they believe the Friday "Morning Joe" banter between the MSNBC host and guest Craig Crawford about potential GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson's wife was taken out of context.
Noted USA Today's Mark Memmott:
A spokesman for the news network said this afternoon, though, that the
comment has been taken out of context and that it is "irresponsible" to
suggest Scarborough was employing sexual innuendo. "Works the pole"
could have been a reference to poles that some strippers use in their
acts. MSNBC says it was a reference to an exercise routine that a
growing number of women are performing.
It's been eight weeks since Time magazine redesigned itself, and part of that refurbishment is handing over the "Ten Questions" interview inquiries to the readers instead of Time's reporters. In the June 11 edition, Time's interviewee was Rep. Tom Tancredo, a presidential contender and one of the nation's leading opponents of illegal immigration. Among the questions Time selected for Tancredo was a whopper from Ubaldo Padilla of Oroville, California: "Why do you hate Mexicans?" It wasn't the only snotty question Time picked. There was also James Smith of Phoenix, who asked: "I recently found out my family came from Holland without permission in the 1600s. Should we be sent back?"
Since Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel introduced the new format in the March 26 edition, there haven't been any Democrats interviewed. But in the March 12 edition, Time's Massimo Calabresi had ten (mostly softball) questions for Ted Kennedy, one of the nation's leading advocates of an amnesty for illegal immigrants. No one at Time asked him about immigration and why he supposedly hated Americans. Instead, Calabresi's list of questions included these soft touches:
Conservative blogs are abuzz with a controversial remark MSNBC's Joe Scarborough made on his Friday "Morning Joe" program about Jeri Thompson, the wife of former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who is mulling over a White House bid.
Sen. Barack Obama's new Web site geared to his presidential bid, faith.barackobama.com, includes official endorsements from notorious clergymen known for making fantastic, racially inflammatory claims---yet the liberal media aren't saying much about these endorsements or the controversial clergymen who Sen. Obama has officially embraced. It is doubtful the liberal media would be as silent if such people were publicly endorsing a Republican or conservative political candidate.
Update (15:40 EDT): Ana Marie Cox helpfully corrects/excuses Klein's error re: Kucinich.
Well, that didn't take long. Just a few hours after former Rep. Dick Armey's (R-Tex.) first guest blog post to Time's "Swampland," liberal journalist and author Joe Klein slammed Armey for "red-baiting" the audience on the Democrats' stances on issues like health care.
Socialized medicine is a right-wing scare trope. None of the Democrats
is proposing that. None of them is even proposing a "single-payer"
plan, like Canada, where the government collects the premiums and
people get to choose private providers. And now that we're at a point
where much of corporate America is hoping for some relief from the
burden of providing health insurance, ain't this kind of red-baiting
getting a little old?
But Klein is dead wrong. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is precisely pushing a single-payer universal coverage plan that the liberal Center for American Progress labels as "Medicare for All."
From Kucinich.us, the Ohio Democrat's campaign Web site (PDF file):
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," ABC co-anchor Chris Cuomo acted as lawyer for the defense when he interviewed the co-authors of a new book that contains critical revelations about 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Cuomo grilled Don Van Natta and Jeff Gerth, the New York Times investigative journalists behind "Her Way," asking if their book was a "sleeper" and an "Ambien substitute."
The ABC host, who didn’t appear comfortable even discussing a book critical of Senator Clinton, began the interview by derisively wondering, "...Do you think you have the silver bullet in this book? Is this is this the book that derails the campaign?" Then, Cuomo, the son of a Democratic governor and the brother of New York’s Democratic Attorney General, questioned the standards of the two authors with this loaded query:
Chris Cuomo: "The [Clinton] campaign said it is an Ambien substitute. They say the book is just a rehash. How do you respond to that, that your book is a sleeper? It’s all been done before. You only needed a library card to report this out. Your response?"
Jeff Gerth: "Well, The New York Times chose to put 8,000 words of our book on the cover of the Sunday magazine and we feel that their news judgement is better than that of Senator Clinton’s."
I've documented on NewsBusters numerous occasions where Time magazine's political news-oriented "Swampland" blog has skewed to the left, including when the blog allowed veteran liberal columnist/pundit Michael Kinsley to guest blog at the site in March.
In his first post, Armey tells readers that his primary concern is battling the growth of government under the watch of both Democrats and Republicans:
For those who read this column, you probably most know me as a an
architect of the Contract with America, House Majority Leader from
1994-2003, and more recently as Chairman grassroots powerhouse
In all of these endeavors I have been guided by my
highest political value: freedom. This is a good place for me to start.
While tyrannies work only for those at the top, the American tradition
demonstrates that all people are better off when their political and
economic freedoms are protected. Government can only expand its scope
of power and authority at the expense of the citizen. Barry Goldwater
and Ronald Reagan knew this.
Away visiting friends the last few days, I've been using GoToMyPC.com to access the video-capture capabilities of my home desktop. While it works well [unpaid testimonial] and lets me view the video once I've moved it to an editing board, for some reason while tuning in live to a show, the screen-within-a-screen is black. Thus, in "watching" Today this morning live, I could only hear, but not see, the segment on last night's Dem debate in New Hampshire.
But the ears-only experience was actually edifying. It permitted me to focus entirely on Hillary's voice, undistracted by her image. It's no revelation to say that Clinton's tone is anything but mellifluous. And though this was not Hillary at her nails-on-chalkboard worst, even so one can imagine Americans sitting at home asking themselves "do I want to listen to this for the next four years?" The clip I've provided includes three instances of Hillary speaking seriously on various issues. What's worse in some ways, is that it is followed by two instances of Clinton laughter. There is something about her forced giggle that is every bit as grating as Hillary in hectoring mode. Judge for yourself.
In answer to Mark Finkelstein's question here on Newsbusters, "How Will MSM Take on Thompson?", we may be seeing some possible angles of attack warming up. I won't claim to know the definitive answer, but Mark's question got me to taking an occasional look to see how the MSM is approaching Senator Fred Thompson and I think that we might be seeing a few trial balloons on that subject.
Balloon #1 - Thompson is a traitor
As I chronicled in my last Newsbusters piece about New York Times TV writer, Alessandra Stanley, who poked at the good Senator over his leaving the TV show upon which he played a part, one line of attack says that Fred Thompson is not to be trusted because he is letting down the producers of the TV show. Since the show is in ratings trouble, his leaving looks like some sort of traitorous move as far as Stanley is concerned... not that anyone ELSE sees it, of course.
In April, NewsBusters commended HBO for actually having a balanced panel on “Real Time”: “Maher ought to try this format of having two liberals (including himself) and two conservatives more often, for a much more balanced discussion ensued than normal, making for one of the most interesting 'Real Times' of the season so far.”
For a change, Tim Russert employed the same strategy on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” inviting on Democrat strategists James Carville and Bob Shrum, and Republican strategists Mary Matalin and Mike Murphy.
What ensued was an absolutely marvelous discussion largely centering on presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle without the normal vitriol and inflammatory rhetoric we observe when there are either only liberals on the panel or a sole conservative.
At least for the time being, the MSM seems stymied in finding an angle with which to take on the prospective candidacy of Fred Thompson. The MSM found it easy to tag each of the other frontrunners with a negative narrative: Romney the flip-flopping Mormon, Giuliani the social liberal with a dodgy personal past, McCain-the-aged, out of touch with the base on immigration and taxes.
The dilemma was apparent on this morning's "Today." After an anodyne set-up piece by Kelly O'Donnell, it was time for analysis in a segment hosted by Campbell Brown. You would normally expect the guest in these situations to be Tim Russert or Chris Matthews. If ever a conservative were to be on, you could be virtually certain that he would be balanced by a liberal. But, lo and behold, there was Stephen Hayes, who has a major piece on Thompson in the Weekly Standard. And nary a James Carville or facsimile thereof in sight. Nor were Brown's questions of the accentuating-the-negative variety. Among Hayes's observations:
Appearing on last Sunday’s "Reliable Sources," "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts provided a look into the secular world of America’s newsrooms. She told CNN host Howard Kurtz that although her faith is very important, she admitted to, in the past, being "very fearful" about discussing religion on GMA. Prompted to explain why, the ABC anchor elaborated:
Robin Roberts: "Because, because you don't do that. You don't let – You're not supposed to, we're not supposed to talk about faith. We're not supposed to let people-- I bought into that."
Mr. Kurtz also asked Roberts about a late March town hall meeting with Hillary Clinton that ABC televised. According to the GMA anchor, the reason there’s been no follow-up event with any of the Republican candidates is because Clinton has thus far been the only one to respond. She also explained why the ABC program allowed the New York Senator to pick the topic for discussion: