The midterm elections are approaching and some members of the media are revving up their bias. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann recently suggested that President Bush might be as big a threat as the terrorists. This was only a day after referring to conservative talk show hosts who visited the White House as the "Legion of Doom." CNN’s Jack Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove is planning an "October surprise" to salvage the Republicans’ chances in the midterm elections.
The print media have also offered unrestrained attacks from the left. A "Washington Post" report described House Speaker Dennis Hastert appearance as "a cross between Wildford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt." Nothing quite like objectivity, huh? A former "New York Times" bureau chief recently characterized the Christian right as "fascist." Perhaps he’d been chatting with "Newsweek" columnist Jonathan Alter. Alter told Don Imus he hoped the country has seen the last of "values voters."
The "Today" show fawned over Barack Obama, describing him as "electrifying" and a "rock star." This was on the same day that they giddily predicted a "perfect storm" to wipe out the Republicans in the midterms. Another early AM program, CNN’s "American Morning"encouraged author David Kuo to call for Christians to boycott the upcoming election.
This week’s cover story on "Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President" is really part of an enormous package offering hope to liberals about defeating the conservative movement, especially the religious right. There is a six-page article by Joe Klein about being dazzled by Obama the "political rocket," a six-page excerpt from Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope, explaining how "progressives" can neutralize religious conservatives, and, just to stay on point, a three-page excerpt from David Kuo’s book Tempting Faith titled "Why a Christian in the White House Felt Betrayed."
Klein's cover story, titled "The Fresh Face," tried to sound detached that Obama’s not "quite ready to answer the tough questions." (As you’ll see, Klein’s tough questions are pressing from the left, and he’s unhappy that Obama’s slow to commit.) Klein began in typical jaunty fashion about how Obama wows a Rockford audience with "sly hipster syncopation" and how his style is "quietly conversational, low in rhetoric-saturated fat; there is no harrumph to him."
One day after getting the celebrity treatment on "Today," Senator Barack Obama stopped by CNN’s "American Morning" to receive fawning questions from Soledad O’Brien. The big difference in the coverage is that while NBC's Meredith Vieira referred to Obama as a "rock star," O’Brien only mentioned that "some people say he is the brightest star in the Democratic Party." Isn’t it great when one media outlet differentiates itself from another? The morning host, who only mentioned Iraq and North Korea in passing, found time for particularly tough questions, including this hardball: "What’s your biggest fear?" Most of the anchor’s queries were of the short variety:
O’Brien: "Politics seems particularly mean these days."
O’Brien: "I think, we see partisanship that you see. And sort of, as you mentioned, in D.C. that you don't necessarily see in the American people. So why don't politicians get that?"
Tapper now patrols the political beat for ABC. But his lopsided report on congressional scandals on this morning's GMA reveals that he has lost none of his partisan edge. While Washington University prof Steven Smith was shown stating that 20 members of Congress are currently caught up in sex or money scandals, Tapper focused on seven: six Republicans and only one Democrat.
In Tapper's Republican Hall of Shame were:
George Allen, for 'macaca' and other allegations of racial insensitivity.
Don Sherwood, whose apolgetic TV ad Tapper described as standing for the proposition: "yes I had a mistress but I did not try to strangle her."
Despite the harsh headline: Hillary Hits Bottom, Hillary Clinton might actually welcome Rosa Brooks' LA Times column of this morning condemning her for supporting legislation allowing torture in ticking-bomb cases. Call it a 'Sistah Rosa' moment that Hillary can point to as proof she's not too soft on terror to be president.
But I wonder. Is Brooks aware - while bashing the presumptive presidential candidate for supporting legislation permitting torture in narrowly delineated cases - that Hillary is echoing her husband?
Has Brooks read this column by Alan Dershowitz? The Harvard law prof reports on Bill's recent NPR interview in which he said:
It wouldn't be election season without at least one member of the MSM associating Republicans with the Ku Klux Klan. And who better to oblige than the New York Times, in its editorial of this morning It’s Voter-Fooling Time in America. The Times presents its piece as a non-partisan hand-wringer over dirty or deceptive campaign tactics in the last weeks before Election Day. And the editorial does dutifully claim that Dems are "no less tempted to flash bare-knuckle mischief" than Republicans, and offers one example of a Connecticut Dem making a nasty claim about his opponent.
But when you get down into the details, you notice that the Times attributes every other dirty trick or hardball tactic described to Republicans and - sure enough - manages to work in an allusion to the KKK:
Wednesday’s Washington Post drew an uproar in rural Virginia when the Style section made unfunny jokes about rural Virginia being a place of drug labs, Cracker Barrel, the NRA, and "freshly killed venison," while Northern Virginia liked urbane things, like "Alfred, Lord Tennyson." Libby Copeland’s syrupy tribute to James Webb in that section Wednesday presented him as a wonderful match for lovers of both venison and Tennyson. The title was "Don’t Call Him Redneck: James Webb Hates the Expression, But Is Very Proud of the Culture."
The most notable part was Webb’s "towel-head" expression for Arabs. In describing screenwriting and typical movie villains to Copeland, Webb said: "Towel-heads and rednecks – of which I am one. If you write that word, please say that. I mean, I don’t use that pejoratively, I use it defensively. Towel-heads and rednecks became the easy villains in so many movies out there." Did someone step in Macaca? Not if the Post is judging.
Just who is David Kuo? For starters, he used to be the Deputy Director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Additionally, he has now written a book claiming the Bush White House is selling out evangelical Christians. But is he as conservative as the media would have Americans believe? The author appeared on the October 18 edition of "The Colbert Report" and seemed to fit right in with "pretend right-winger" Stephen Colbert:
Stephen Colbert: "Let's get Jesus in the Oval Office. You heard me at the top of the show. Why not do it? How does that hurt to equate God with the President? How does that- How does that hurt?"
Kuo: "Because it gives the impression that Jesus endorses a particular political agenda, you know, that Jesus is somehow, you know, pro-life, anti-homosexual, pro-Iraq war and pro-estate tax. You know, when Jesus actually wasn't about those things. You know, It's the good news. Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus comes to give life, give it in full. That's Jesus. One is politics. A big difference."
Viewers of Thursday’s edition of ‘The View’ were granted another glimpse into the liberal world view of co-host Rosie O’Donnell. Today, O’Donnell recounted her teary phone conversation with former President Bill Clinton, in which he apologized for the Monica Lewinsky affair. Later in the program, during an interview with Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former vice-presidential candidate John Edwards, O’Donnell slammed John Kerry, the Democratic nominee for President, for conceding the 2004 election before all the votes were counted and accused the Republicans of "cheating" by tinkering with the voting machines.
During the "Hot Topics" segment of the show, the ‘View’ women were discussing congressional sex scandals, which led Rosie to recount her phone call with the former president:
O’Donnell: "And I said to him, you know, to tell you the truth, sir, you broke my heart. I said, you know, I loved you like my mom loved Kennedy and, you know, I had faith in you, one of the few men I had real faith and hope in."
Rosie’s full tale of her presidential phone call behind the cut:
Republican Congressman James Saxton is not exactly an endangered incumbent, as CQ and C-SPAN rate him as safe. But, you wouldn’t know that from watching Thursday’s "Early Show" on CBS. Correspondent Randall Pinkston, who offered some wishful thinking, narrated a two and half minute piece on New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District where Congressman Saxton is being challenged by Democrat Richard Sexton. Apparently, the fact that the two men have similar sounding last names is enough to warrant a full story. Pinkston highlighted that the similarity in names could cause confusion at the polls, then proceeded to offer a shameless plug of another Viacom channel, Comedy Central, and its star of fake news, Stephen Colbert.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post endorsed James Webb’s “independent-minded challenge” running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate against Sen. George Allen. If ever an endorsement has seemed less necessary to identify a newspaper’s position on a federal election, I’m not sure what it is. To match the endorsement, Wednesday’s Post had a classic Webb-fanzine story on the front of the Metro section.
The Metro section article was titled “Webb Is Reluctant To Advertise Duty: Veteran Blasts Allen’s Public Comments.” In a typical display of utter shamelessness, Michael Shear and Tim Craig reported “Webb said it is improper to use military service in an overtly political way.” Webb’s quote: “I don’t think it’s right to use someone’s service directly for a political reason.” This article should have been laughed away from the Metro desk. Webb’s biography as a Vietnam veteran and eight-month Navy Secretary under Reagan has been his constant, everyday calling card in this race. The man with the motto "Born Fighting" on every bumper sticker and yard sign? Need we remind the Washington Post of the Webb campaign's first TV ad? It went like this:
Is Iraq a terrific issue for anti-war liberal Democrats? Which way is it?
A) "With three weeks until Election Day, Republican candidates are barely mentioning Iraq on the campaign trail and in their television advertisements....It is the Democrats who have seized on Iraq as a central issue. In debates and in speeches, candidates are pummeling Republicans with accusations of a failed war." -- Adam Nagourney and Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times, October 19.
B) "After months of fighting over Iraq, the candidates for Senate barely mentioned the war in their first general-election debate here on Monday, instead arguing over Social Security, health care and the national deficit." -- Jennifer Medina on the Connecticut Senate debate, October 17.
Amidst all the MSM reports about this being the deadliest month for US troops in Iraq in a long time, there was a stunning bit of candor today from NBC reporter Richard Engel suggesting this is not mere coincidence, but a conscious effort by the terrorists to elect Democrats.
At the end of his report on this morning's 'Today' on the situation in Iraq, having spoken with US soliders, Engel reported:
"They believe insurgents are intensifying attacks against American soldiers now in an attempt to influence November's mid-term elections."
The NY Times editorializes this morning against the proposal by California congressman Richard Pombo to lower the federal royalty on oil-bearing shale, condemning it as "an extraordinary giveaway of federal revenue . . . and a huge incentive to wreak environmental damage." The Times apparently can't stand the thought of oil companies making a profit, even if in return we can significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil. As the paper acknowledges, "the estimate of the petroleum locked up in these deposits is enormous: perhaps 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil."
On the October 18 edition of "The Situation Room," CNN host Jack Cafferty wondered about the possibility of an October surprise to save the Republicans in the midterm elections. He noted that "many people think Karl Rove would be the architect" behind such an event. Cafferty, who made the comments during the 5:15p.m. segment of ‘The Cafferty File,’ speculated that such a surprise could include finding Osama bin Laden. The CNN host then noted ominously:
Jack Cafferty: "It just so happens, Rove told ‘The Washington Times’ he’s confident the Republicans will keep control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. He says, ‘the Foley matter,’ his words, will have impact in some limited districts, but not overall. Perhaps Mr. Rove knows something we don’t."
What a difference a day makes! Just yesterday, as I reported here, pollster John Zogby was boasting of his affiliation with Nova M, the new liberal radio network, heir to the moribund Air America. The headline of the mass email he sent out proclaimed: "Air America Co-Founders Start New Liberal Talk Network: Mike Malloy, Joe Trippi and John Zogby join Nova M Radio."
As he breathlessly announced the "formation of [the] new progressive talk radio network" by a couple of Air America's original founders, Zogby touted his own connection, letting us know that he will be co-hosting a weekly one hour show, “The Pulse of the Nation.” The idea will be for Zogby to "poll particular hot button issues from politics and pop culture to the War in Iraq and stem cell research. Each program will include expert guests and audience participation. At the end of each show John will reveal the secret results of the poll and each listener will then know whether or not they have their finger on 'The Pulse of the Nation!'"
After nearly three weeks of covering every aspect of the Mark Foley scandal, CNN’s "American Morning" still hasn’t tired of the story. Wednesday’s edition of the program featured over 18 minutes of coverage. This encompassed seven full reports on the disgraced Congressman and one anchor read. In contrast, there were no reports on the unfolding controversy of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his questionable land deal. Additionally, the October 18 "American Morning" featured only two brief anchor reads on a racially charged remark made by Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
"American Morning" has actually increased their Foley coverage over a similar analysis last week. On October 12, the program devoted 18 minutes and 4 seconds to the story. Today, the scandal received 18 minutes and 19 seconds. There’s an important difference however: Starting October 16, "American Morning" shrank from four hours to three. In other words, the show allocated more time to the story, and they did it with a shorter program.
As reported earlier here on Newsbusters, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly appeared on Wednesday’s edition of 'The View' to promote his new book Culture Warrior. As one would expect, O’Reilly and liberal 'View' co-host Rosie O’Donnell clashed at several points during the segment, particularly in their discussion of the war in Iraq. O’Donnell would go on in the interview to praise the ACLU as a "fantastic organization" and express her appreciation for liberal Phil Donahue:
Barbara Walters: "Name some well-known secular progressives."
Bill O’Reilly: "All right. George Soros is the money man...The ACLU is the vanguard–"
Rosie O’Donnell: "The American Civil Liberties Union, a fantastic organization."
It is Wednesday, which means it was time for another installment of "Capitol Bob," Bob Schieffer; on CBS’ "Early Show." Today’s segment dealt with the midterm elections and Schieffer’s predictions. Schieffer still believes the Democrats will win control of the House, but cautioned Democrats not to get too over confident, as there are three weeks to go and the Republicans have a tremendous fund-raising edge. And in fact, the cash advantage was the only positive sign Schieffer could see for Republicans. Co-host Rene Syler, however, highlighted that with the Mark Foley coverage subsiding, experts were a little more skeptical of the Democrats chances. Syler introduced the segment:
"For weeks now, negative news from Washington left the Republican party sagging. But, now that it's gotten quieter, the GOP is ready to fight for control of the next Congress. And of course, for the inside scoop from Washington we turn to 'Capitol Bob,' CBS News Chief Washington correspondent and host of 'Face the Nation,' Bob Schieffer. Bob, good morning."
The Washington Post noticed today that Rep. Steny Hoyer made a racial boo-boo on Sunday, that black Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele has "a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party." In 2002, Hoyer denounced Steele as a "token." Did the Post paste it at the top of the front page? No, it’s on B-2. It’s a lot different than the long-running, transparently partisan "Macaca" campaign waged by Michael Shear, Tim Craig and the rest of the Post against Sen. George Allen. (Today’s Nexis count: 92 Post articles, news and editorial, with the word "Macaca." Four of them were news accounts on the front page.)
Ann Marimow’s story couldn’t match the Shear & Craig treatment. Where they dropped "Macaca" in every story they could work it in, Marimow did not remind the Post reader that Steele’s Democratic Senate opponent, Rep. Ben Cardin, fired a junior staffer for blogging about being a "sex object" for Cardin's Jewish friends and alleged that the attempted discipline of a black campaign staffer failed because "he plays the racism card, the magic passport to a different chain of command." (The Post reported the firing on September 15, and Marimow mentioned it vaguely on October 4. That’s about 92 to 2.)
Aren’t reporters supposed to nail facts down for the public? On Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, reporter Chip Reid explored the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey, but could not explain to viewers whether or not Sen. Bob Menendez is under federal investigation. "It’s not entirely clear who’s right," Reid claimed. As Menendez denounced Republican opponent Tom Kean Jr. for "the politics of smear," Reid seemed unable to declare a basic fact local media outlets have repeated for weeks: federal investigators subpoenaed a Menendez tenant’s leasing agreement with Menendez. NBC doesn’t even seem to trust its own New York affiliate WNBC to locate the facts, even though it broke the subpoena story in September.
There's nothing the MSM loves more than a renegade Republican. The GOP maverick-of-the-MSM-week is David Kuo. He is the former #2 man in the Bush administration's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, and has written a book, Tempting Faith, claiming that the operation was a cynical attempt to woo faith-based voters whom top aides including Karl Rove looked at contemptuously.
Chris Matthews predictably had Kuo on this afternoon's Hardball. At one point, Matthews asked whether President Bush has "used faith to get votes" and then "how about the issues like stem cell - do you think he's using them politically?"
"I think you're conflagrating a couple of different things here."
For the second time in less then 24 hours, CNN featured David Kuo, a vocal Bush critic and the former deputy director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Kuo, who appeared on Tuesday’s "American Morning," has written a book that accuses the White House of using Christian conservatives for political gain and ignoring the issues they care about. Co-Anchor Soledad O’Brien interviewed the author and seemed perturbed that Kuo wouldn’t call for conservatives to boycott the midterm elections:
Soledad O’Brien: "Here's what you write -- you say, 'Christians vote our money, our energy. Every politician needs evangelicals. 'You go on to say, 'It's like a teenaged boy out on a date with a beautiful girl; they'll say anything and everything to get what they want. Let's not give it to them. Let's tell them we are fasting from politics for a season.' Are you saying, stay away from the polls? Three weeks, when we go to the midterm elections, don't vote?"
David Kuo: "Absolutely not."
O’Brien: "What's fasting mean?"
Kuo: "When I'm talking about the fast, I'm talking after the election."
O’Brien: "What kind of a fast is it if you stuff yourself silly and then you go on a fast?"
Check out the email below I just received from the Zogby polling group. Anita Drobny and Sheldon Drobny, co-founders of the Air America Radio Network, along with a couple others, are starting a new liberal talk radio network to pick up where Air America is presumably about to leave off. What does it say about the objectivity of Zogby's polling that John Zogby will be a regular contributor?
Air America Co-Founders Start New Liberal Talk Network: Mike Malloy, Joe Trippi and John Zogby join Nova M Radio
Nova M Radio, Inc. based in Phoenix, Arizona officially announced the formation of its new progressive talk radio network. Debuting on the network will be the long awaited return to the airwaves of America’s original “truth-seeker” Mike Malloy. The Mike Malloy Show will initially broadcast live, from 9PM -12 Midnight (EST) beginning October 30,2006 on Nova M Radio affiliate 1480-AM KPHX Phoenix. The Mike Malloy Show will be made available to affiliates across the nation and will also stream live on www.novamradio.com. Malloy on his return to the radio quipped “Yikes! That was close. To not be on the air during perhaps the most critical election in modern U-S history would have been a real bummer. But, we're back and here it is: The Nova M Radio network. Another crack in the wall of right-wing drivel that saturates the airwaves. Join me nightly, truth-seekers and goodbye Air America - hello Nova M!”
Never play poker against Claire Shipman. Anyone who can keep a straight face while claiming that 'Women's Voices. Women Vote' is "non-partisan" could surely bluff you out of a pot while sitting on a busted flush.
On this morning's Good Morning America, Shipman [or shall we call her 'DC Slim'?] narrated a segment spotlighting WVWV's efforts to get single women voters to the polls. Since it is obvious that single women lean heavily Dem, voting for Democrats by a more than 2/3 margin as Dem pollster Celinda Lake acknowledged, my BS-detector started screeching when I saw a straight-faced Shipman slip in her claim that WVWB is "non-partisan."
"General Pelosi, I'm Matt Lauer, and I'm reporting for duty!"
OK, Matt didn't quite say that as 'Today' kicked off its 'The War at Home' three-part series this morning on the lives of American veterans once they return home from war. But judging from the opening episode and the tease for what's to come tomorrow, he might just as well. NBC is clearly doing its part to tend the Dems' Victory Garden.
Of all the reporters in the NBC News stable, 'Today' tapped for this segment Jonathan Alter, a regular guest on Al Franken's Air America show and a consistently liberal columnist at Newsweek. And of all the hundreds of thousands of veterans, Today just happened to choose Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs while co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq, and who now just happens to be . . . running for Congress as a - give me a sec here, OK, got it - Democrat.
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers asked "Is God Green?" in his liberal campaign trilogy "Moyers in America" last week. Over at Businessandmedia.org, Rachel Waters noted that Moyers insisted that conservatives were only "mildly joking" with the hang-em-high bumper sticker "Support Environmentalists With a Rope." Catholic blogger Jimmy Akin tipped me off to another angle. One Christian expert Moyers used who was not bowing before Greenpeace, Calvin Beisner of the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, reported Moyers was very frank about his intention to boost Democrats into majority status:
The bias of Moyers’s program is not surprising. He forthrightly told me before our interviews that he, as a liberal Democrat, hoped to use this program to divide the evangelical vote and return control of Congress to the Democrats in November's elections. The timing of the program’s release, therefore, is not surprising.
On this afternoon's 'Hardball,' interviewing James Baker about his new book on a life in politics, Matthews alluded to the risk of a political party fracturing in the course of a presidential primary campaign:
"How do you hold your party together when you have people, secular candidates like John McCain who's often in that [guest] chair, and Rudy Giuliani running against Brownback, and people like that, Frist and George Allen perhaps, who are real cultural conservatives?"
Riposted Baker: "We hold it together the same way that you hold your party together."
Interjected Matthews: "Well, it's not my party anymore."
There was more bad news for the White House on ABC Monday morning. Three weeks before the mid-term congressional elections, 'Good Morning America' chose to highlight the claims of a former White House staffer that Bush administration officials had "mocked" evangelical Christian leaders. Former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, David Kuo, wrote a book, released today, in which he asserts that administration officials have referred to evangelical leaders as "nuts" and that his office was used to curry favor with "Republican base voters," evangelical Christians, rather than to help the poor.
Co-anchor Robin Roberts and substitute host Chris Cuomo teased the 7:40AM segment, which included a report from Jake Tapper and an interview with Kuo:
Chris Cuomo: "Also this half hour, we have new questions about the White House and the religious right. The faithful helped put Bush in the White House, but did the administration mock evangelicals behind their backs?"
Robin Roberts: "Coming up next, a White House insider blows the whistle, accusing the Bush administration of taking advantage of Christian conservatives."
What does the "N-word" racial epithet and the pollster term "values voter" have in common? According to Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, by some elastic calisthenics of the brain, the word "values" needs to be drained of its poison, deprived of its "sting" against liberals, deflated of any political advantage, so that liberals can be seen as just as morality-oriented as conservatives. In describing his column on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning program on Monday, Alter said this "values voter" term is "driving me nuts," that certain people have a "monopoly" on "so-called traditional values." Alter also displayed an intense desire for the "demise" of "values voters" in the fall election. In his phone interview with Imus in the 6:30 am half hour, Alter told Imus: