The New York Times is poised to stop charging readers for online access to its Op-Ed columnists and other content, The Post has learned.
..... The number of Web-only subscribers who pay $7.95 a month or $49.95 a year fell to just over 221,000 in June, down from more than 224,000 in April.
Not that it was a particularly insightful prediction, but yours truly wrote the following in November 2005 (first item at link), when the Times announced it had reached 135,000 online TimeSelect subscribers (current print subscribers get TimeSelect access free of charge):
Willie Geist's genius as an observer of the political and pop-cultural scenes has been his ability to stay largely above the fray. But guest-hosting for Joe Scarborough on today's "Morning Joe," Geist let the curtain down enough to make clear his pessimism about the Iraq war and desire to have the US exit post-haste. At the same time, retired General Barry McCaffrey made no effort to hide his contempt for Barack Obama's foray into foreign policy regarding Pakistan.
Geist interviewed MSNBC commentator McCaffrey at 6:30 A.M. EDT this morning. McCaffrey at one point opined that he could envision the possibility of reconciliation between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis. Geist was not so sanguine.
MSNBC'S WILLIE GEIST: Could we possibly stay there long enough, though, to see a reconciliation between Sunni and Shia? We're talking years, possibly generations for that to change, aren't we?
Later, looking ahead to tonight's Dem debate, Geist's focus was on which candidate could extricate us from Iraq fastest.
GEIST: Which [candidate] gives you the best sense that they will help us end this war, get us out of there?
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," reporter Jake Tapper used the story that Rudy Giuliani’s daughter had joined a pro-Barack Obama Facebook group as a segue to recount the travails of other presidential children. Somehow, his list of wayward youths included only the offspring of famous Republican politicians, while ignoring Democratic embarrassments, such as the recent drug arrest of Al Gore III.
Additionally, GMA anchor Diane Sawyer closed the segment by discussing parent/child relationships with guest host George Stephanopoulos. Sawyer mentioned how she fought with her father, a Republican judge, over politics:
Diane Sawyer: "...I remember what a hard time I gave my father about politics."
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," guest host George Stephanopoulos pressed 2008 Republican candidate Mitt Romney over whether he will "do more to address" the issue of his Mormon faith.
This is the same ABC program that has repeatedly raised questions about whether the former Massachusetts governor’s religion could damage his ‘08 chances. In June, reporter Dan Harris speculated on how "uncomfortable questions" about Mormonism could harm the campaign.
In contrast, GMA gushed over a CNN sponsored event in June where Democratic candidates discussed their faith. An onscreen graphic wondered, "Are evangelicals embracing Democrats? New party of God?" For that segment, co-host Robin Roberts marveled, "...Senator Obama out on the campaign trail has, has freely talked about his faith." She also played an extended clip of Hillary Clinton discussing the important role faith played in her life.
Slate magazine found out that Rudy Giuliani's daughter Caroline has a crush on Obama.
Well, maybe not a crush, but she had joined a pro-Obama Facebook group and describes herself as "liberal" (but then that's also how many Republican voters would describe Caroline's father).
The article, complete with evidentiary screen grab, was written this morning by Lucy Morrow Caldwell, like Caroline Giuliani also a student at Harvard University. Caldwell has a profile on Facebook in the Harvard and Washington, DC networks, and has poor taste in sunglasses, as the screencap below shows:
Republicans held a debate on Sunday, but CBS’s Hannah Storm seemed more interested in Rudy Giuliani’s personal life and then Mitt Romney’s crankiness. On the August 6 edition of "The Early Show," at 7:19 AM, Storm kicked off the segment noting there was a Republican debate the previous day but, "they did not talk about an issue hanging over front-runner Rudy Giuliani and that is his wife, Judith, who has become a controversial topic in his campaign."
Newsweek political reporter Jonathan Darman provided a preview of sorts to the August 9 Democratic debate on the gay Logo cable channel with an article on Democrats seeking votes on the gay left playfully titled "Show ‘Em Whatcha Got: Conscious of their community's financial clout, gay activists want action on equality issues, not just talk." Nowhere in Darman’s story is there a single ideological label that would place gay supporters of the Democrats on the left. But a June story on the state of the Republican presidential race after Jerry Falwell’s funeral was studded with 12 uses of "conservative" or shifting "rightward" or "religious right."
Darman’s story in the August 13 edition began by touting how progressive Hillary’s been on the gay issues and has been "eager to bask in the gay love," but how gay activists are demanding more of a revolution:
The high-tech giants of search are attempting to position themselves as successors (or is it heirs?) to Old Media.
Hold the pompoms.
Given the political proclivities and selective indifference to human rights on the part of many of those who run the search giants, it behooves bias-watchers to pay close attention to what these companies are up to, and how they play the news they carry. It appears that The Who's 1970s warning ("Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss") about the results of most "revolutions" applies.
You doubt? Take a look at the disgraceful treatment blogger and syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin received at the hands of Google News in a supposedly "objective, informative" early 2006 report. The sneering condescension is palpable.
If in the run-up to last year's elections a poll identified a three percent approval rating for the way Congress - which was controlled by Republicans at the time in case you forgot - was handling the war in Iraq, do you think you would have heard about it?
Maybe on every morning and evening news program for days, and on the front pages of every newspaper, correct?
Well, on Wednesday, Zogby International released the results of a stunning new poll that got virtually no attention.
Because it identified that virtually nobody in America thinks Congress - which is now currently controlled by Democrats in case you forgot - is doing a good job concerning Iraq (emphasis added throughout, h/t Glenn Reynolds):
Larry King, best known recently for his scintillating interviews with thinkers such as Paris Hilton, proved that he can still ask tough questions, to conservatives that is. In an interview with Vice President Cheney about Guantanamo, he wondered, "You have to torture them when they’re there?" Former VP Al Gore, on the other hand, received puff questions about Madonna and penguins.
Speaking of media coddling, "Good Morning America" anchors Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts appeared to be infatuated with the story that 2008 Democratic candidate John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth spend their wedding anniversaries at Wendy’s. Roberts even promoted the former senator by referring to him as "Presidential nominee" John Edwards.
On Friday night’s "Inside Washington," panelists trashed Ross Buettner’s story in the New York Times playing up a close relationship between Fox News boss Roger Ailes and GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. Newsweek’s Evan Thomas said "I think this was the New York Times thinking that Ailes is Darth Vader, because they made him out to be this monster who’s given all this time to Giuliani, but the story itself and the graphics supporting it didn’t support the story." Others agreed. "There’s nothing in this story," said columnist Charles Krauthammer. Colby King of the Washington Post scornfully added, "This is exactly why newspapers in trouble," and said they acted like a tabloid. Thomas concluded, "It says more about the paranoia of the New York Times than anything else."
Are Barbara Walters and Anderson Cooper really objective journalists? Ask them, and they will answer in the affirmative, even though Walters did not bother to find a Republican to fill in for the vacationing token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
With Hasselbeck’s absence, Caroline Rhea and Melissa Claire Egan filled in as guests co-hosts. After the "Hot Topics" segments, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper previewed the upcoming presidential election. Walters noted this observation.
BARBARA WALTERS: It’s very difficult. We don't seem to have a Republican on this panel except that nobody knows your opinion or my opinion Anderson [Cooper]. That’s the only saving-
It's hard to write a blog aimed at being both red meat for Fox News haters and Reagan conservatives. That didn't stop Keith Olbermann's staff from trying yesterday in a blog that highlighted Giuliani's friendship with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.
Implying that Ronald Reagan would have something damning to say about Giuliani "from the grave," Keith Olbermann's "NewsHole" blog picked up an item run on HuffPo and American Spectator that cited one brief reference from the Gipper's diaries that called the then-federal prosecutor "crazy."
It appears Daily Kos proprietor Markos Moulitsas is drinking the same Kool-Aid as NPR's Juan Williams.
During the opening address of his third annual YearlyKos convention, Moulitsas actually said (please get fluids out of your mouth and away from your computer):
There is no Jesse Jackson wing of the Democratic party anymore. We are the center.
How'd you like to ask him for directions?
Fortunately, as reported by Rick Moran at Pajamas Media Friday, this wasn't the most ridiculous statement coming out of Markos' mouth last night. Not even close (emphasis added throughout, h/t Glenn Reynolds):
On Friday, the network morning shows downplayed or ignored 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s muddled comment that nuclear weapons shouldn’t be used in "any circumstances" in Afghanistan or Pakistan. On CBS, the "Early Show" didn’t cover the story at all. During the three hour broadcast of the "Today" show, NBC found time for only one brief anchor read.
ABC’s "Good Morning America" provided the most coverage, but that simply amounted to a solitary anchor brief and then a quick, defensive summery of Obama’s statement by "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos:
George Stephanopoulos: "...Barack Obama, appearing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in going after al Qaeda or the Taliban in Pakistan....What he's drawing fire for though is talking about it. A lot of nuclear strategists say you should never talk about how or when you're going to use nuclear weapons. The Barack Obama people though say they make no apologies. They're not going to back down at all and that they’re saying, uh, the correct policy that people need to hear."
Less than 24 hours after the Senate passed a supposedly sweeping ethics bill designed to end corruption in Washington, some astounding earmark and pork totals for leading Congressmen were reported by The Hill (emphasis added throughout):
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations defense panel, has secured the most earmarked dollars in the 2008 military spending bill, followed closely by the panel's ranking member Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.).
Even though Young secured 52 earmarks, worth $117.2 million - and co-sponsored at least $27 million worth of others - Murtha's 48 earmarks amount to a total of $150.5 million, according to a database compiled by the watchdog organization Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS).
Please bear in mind that nothing in the just-passed bill sitting on the President's desk would in any way prevent those earmarks, or these:
It's no wonder that sensible people just shake their heads and wonder what's wrong with the extremists of the far left when they come up with such off the wall nonsense and then try to pass it off as real political analysis. It just makes people who have even the slightest clue about what is really going on in the world double over with laughter. Such is the case with today's comedic attempt at political forecasting by nut in residence Ed Garvey of the Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times.
Columnist Garvey, in true nutroots fashion, thinks he has hit on the perfect Neocon conspiracy. The Neocons don't want any of the current candidates for president. No, sir, they are trying to angle for General Petraeus to take up their Neocon banner!
I know that you're scratching your head wondering how in Heaven's name he came up with this one. I did too.
In Friday's Washington Post, Howard Kurtz reports that the new John Edwards campaign against any Democrat accepting Rupert Murdoch contributions has a slight flaw:
"John Edwards will never ask Rupert Murdoch for money -- he won't accept his money," said a statement e-mailed to supporters. Not so fast, Murdoch's people say. His publishing unit, HarperCollins, paid Edwards a $500,000 advance -- and $300,000 in expenses -- for his 2006 book "Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives."
"We assume the senator is going to give back the money from his advance," News Corp. spokesman Brian Lewis said.
Here's a bold prediction: Joe Scarborough won't be switching registration to vote for John Edwards in the Florida primary. The Pensacola-area Republican congressman-turned-MSNBC-host unloaded on the Dem contender on today's "Morning Joe," accusing Edwards of opportunistic flip-flopping when it comes to dealing with Fox News.
"MORNING JOE" HOST JOE SCARBOROUGH: John Edwards, demanding that Hillary Clinton return money she got from News Corp. [the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company that is Fox News' parent] because News Corp. is such a corrupt, terrible outfit. Of course John Edwards got $1,000 from News Corp. himself, so it's sort of like being half-pregnant. You can't be half-pregnant. You either take the money from the corrupt source or you don't. And of course this is the same John Edwards who won't go on Fox News, but before he decided this would resonate with primary voters, you couldn't keep the guy off of Fox News. I mean, he was like in Sean Hannity's lap every other night. Now, he is shocked and stunned. Shocked and stunned! -- that anybody would go on Fox News. Here's a guy who wants to take on the Taliban and he can't even handle [Fox News president] Roger Ailes. How sad, how sad.
Jebediah Reed at Radar Online interviewed Cindy Sheehan about, among other topics, her treatment on CNN. The woman CNN hailed and promoted as the "Peace Mom" was outraged that anchor Anderson Cooper had the audacity to bring on two men who disagreed with her after an interview: "I just thought that was really uncalled for." Apparently, what’s called for is Cindy Sheehan being awarded an unopposed platform to spew against the Iraq War and President Bush. Here’s an excerpt:
You're also not a fan of Anderson Cooper. What did he do? He came down to Camp Casey to do a hit piece on me. It was just handled very badly. He had me on, and then he brought on some people right afterwards—a father whose son died in Iraq and a Dallas talk-show host—who just said some despicable things about me. I just thought that was really uncalled for.
If the Ethics Bill just approved by Congress had passed this time last year, a media hell-bent on giving Democrats control of that governmental branch would have lambasted the legislation as an election year stunt by Republicans desperately trying to distance themselves from their own culture of corruption.
Yet, twelve months later, with Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) at the helm, it seems a metaphysical certitude Katie, Charlie, and Brian will hail this bill's passage as a crowning achievement of Democrats that vowed to clean up Washington.
In fact, you can already see the self-congratulations in the Associated Press article written shortly after the votes were counted (emphasis added throughout):
If you have trouble imagining the establishment media speaking at CPAC -- although I do remember a slick Tim Russert and a prickly Ted Koppel attending one at the invitation of Accuracy in Media ten years ago -- it's not as hard to imagine "objective" reporters at the second annual lefty-blogger Yearly Kos convention, this year in Chicago. Mike Allen of the Politico (formerly of Time), Matt Bai of the New York Times Magazine (formerly of Newsweek) and Time deputy Washington bureau chief Jay Carney will all be speaking at the Chicago event. At the Huffington Post, blogger Ari Melber explains he will be moderating a let's-kiss-and-make-up panel on Friday between the media and bloggers featuring Allen and Carney:
I'm moderating a panel that will pair bloggers Glenn Greenwald and Jill Filipovic with The Politico's Mike Allen and Time magazine's Jay Carney, to discuss whether media-blog relations can evolve towards more constructive interactions. We're calling it "Blogs and the MSM: From Clash to Civilization."
What follows are Klein's complaints from his August 1 "Swampland" blog post, followed by my snarky translation:
--it doesn't mandate that insurance companies cover everyone at the same rate, regardless of pre-existing conditions (community rating).
Who cares if you're a chain-smoking, trans fat-loving, Burger King-is-your-second home kinda guy with diabetes, high cholesterol and a coronary bypass under your belt? Health insurance companies shouldn't charge you a penny more than the marathon-running vegan next door whose idea of splurging is a little extra sugar in his mango strawberry soy milk smoothie.
Video (0:55):Real (1.51 MB) or Windows (1.74 MB), plus MP3 audio (305 kB)
As part of a new segment on the "Today" show called "Candidate Cribs," NBC's Jonathan Alter went on a cab ride, with Democratic candidate Mike Gravel behind the wheel. However, Alter received more than a calm cruise through the city from the former Alaskan senator. In a gimmicky stunt, meant to showcase the candidate's past life as a New York City cabbie, Alter slid into the back seat for a ride but just after Gravel started griping about Iraq he crashed the taxi.
Alter: "Gravel is best remembered for helping end the Vietnam era draft with a filibuster and for reading the Pentagon Papers in the Senate. Now, after a quarter-century out of politics, he's an angry Rip Van Winkle."
Gravel: "I know how to get out of Iraq. I know how to affect the solution, it's a diplomatic solution."
Don't look for Arianna Huffington to be sitting down to a chummy luncheon with Hillary Clinton anytime soon. Huffington has been no fan of Clinton for some time, considering her insufficiently, and inauthentically, anti-war. But on today's "Morning Joe," Huffington took her animus to another level, accusing Hillary of an ultimate Dem sin: "swiftboating" an opponent, namely Barack Obama.
HUFFINGTON POST FOUNDER ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: After the CNN debate, I think it was ridiculous the way she and her campaign attacked Obama for saying he would engage in diplomatic talks with dictators. That is sort of a classic example of swiftboating your opponent. Like the equivalent of what Republicans do anytime Democrats call for troop withdrawal and they are talking about "cutting and running" or "precipitous withdrawal" or any of the clever little phrases.
Bush hatred has taken on a new, virulent mutation: animus towards First Lady Laura Bush. Witness today's New York Times column by Judith Warner, ‘24’ as Reality Show [subscripton required].
Warner's jumping off point is Kiefer Sutherland's response to a question about the advent in this coming season's "24" of a woman president. Observed the actor who plays Jack Bauer: “I can tell you one thing. We had the first African-American president on television, and now Barack Obama is a serious candidate. That wasn’t going to happen eight years ago. Television is an incredibly powerful medium, and it can be the first step in showing people what is possible.”
That prompted Warner to write:
I giggled a bit nastily over this at first. What was next — claims that fingering China as a one-nation axis of evil on “24” had presaged the country’s exposure this spring as the source of all perishables tainted and fatal? That screen first lady Martha Logan’s descent into minimadness anticipated Laura Bush’s increasingly beleaguered late-term demeanor? (Has anyone but me noticed her astounding resemblance to Dolores Umbridge in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”?)
As noted here at NB yesterday, Kansas Congresswoman Nancy Boyda walked out of a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Friday after hearing General Jack Keane testify about the potential impact of a bill meant to micromanage troop deployment. Keane also testified about progress being made in the counteroffensive that has come to be known as "the surge."
Boyda walked out because the objections to that bill, and the descriptions of an improving situation in Iraq, were apparently too much to bear. She said as much when she returned. Boyda and the fly in her pocket (based on her several references to "we") went into full-rant mode (painfully long and slow-loading audio is here; scroll down to July 27's entry and click on "Audio Transcript"; Boyda's tantrum is about 60% of the way through it; also note that at least a half-dozen hecklers and demonstrators had to be removed during the hearing):
"..... As many of us, there was only so much that you could take until we, in fact, had to leave the room for a while, and so I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things that after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to."
"But let me just first say that the description of Iraq as if some way or another that it's a place that I might take the family for a vacation, things are going so well, those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying here’s the reality of the problem and people, we have to come together and deal with the reality of this issue."
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.