A few years back, I interviewed Michael Moore and asked him if Fahrenheit 9/11 should be considered a political advertisement, and if so, whether campaign finance laws should apply. Moore admitted the film contained his opinions, but that his film should be treated like an op-ed in the paper.
During the 2004 election, neither ads for the Bush-bashing Fahrenheit 9/11, nor the film itself were regulated under campaign finance laws.
What is not reported is often far more important than what is
The Media, Their Mouths and Their Minds
And you thought the media made it tough with their mouths open. They make things far more difficult when they choose to keep them shut.
Consuming news as a conservative is always an unappetizing proposition, given the Leftist slant to nearly everything on the menu. Being fed a steady diet of what collectively amounts to "You are wrong, and an ass (to boot) for what you think" leaves the average diner unsatisfied.
We are delivered so many servings of these media bias sins of commission we have been forced to make antacids the fifth food group. Here at the Media Research Center we find ourselves perpetually understaffed and overwhelmed in our efforts to chronicle it all. (We were going to address this by conducting a hostile takeover of the New York Times, but we found them to be too hostile and with too little left to take over.)
Far too often, the media folds under pressure from Hillary and Bill
Editor's Note: Originally published December 12th, 2007 byHuman Events.
The latest edition of Gentleman's Quarterly -- GQ for short -- has just hit the stands. On its cover is an in your face photograph of former President Bill Clinton, as he "Leads (Their) Men of the Year Issue".
"Bill Clinton - Public Citizen" is the fawning Clinton tosh we have all come to expect. It is thirteen magazine pages with small type and large pictures, and authors George Saunders (in word) and Brigitte Lacombe (on camera) could not be any more in thrall to the man from Hot Springs (not Hope).
Behold some of the many extraordinary excerpts therefrom:
In the book "Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will," by L. Brent Bozell and Tim Graham, the inside cover asks, Why Hillary? "How did the first lady to a disgraced impeached president become a presidential front-runner despite never having held elective office before 2001; her staggering number of personal political and financial scandals and her leftist political agenda?"
The authors have a ready answer: a media so enamored of Hillary Clinton that they have no problem shamefully protecting, defending, promoting, covering up her numerous scandals, and relentlessly advancing her presidential ambitions.
It must be wonderful to be a Democrat and know that your indiscretions are very unlikely to get much attention by media minions only willing to cover the crimes and shortcomings of folks on the opposite side of the aisle.
Take for example James Michael McHaney, an aide to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) who NewsBusters reported had been arrested last Friday for trying to lure a thirteen-year-old boy into a sexual encounter.
Not only did this get buried on Friday so as likely not to take focus away from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) looking regal and presidential during that day's hostage crisis in New Hampshire, but also once the Associated Press deigned to actually inform subscribers on Monday that something potentially nefarious had occurred, press outlets either continued to ignore the subject, or buried it nicely so that precious few would be made aware of it.
On the television side, according to LexisNexis, the only outlet which felt this newsworthy was CNN which aired its only report on this matter during the 6:00 AM EST "American Morning" Tuesday:
Returning to the airwaves this morning after a seven-month exile, Don Imus seemed intent on demonstrating two things. First, that he was unequivocally contrite concerning the comments he had made about the Rutgers University women's basketball players that resulted in his firing. Second, his contrition notwithstanding, he wasn't going to change his irreverent ways when it came to the country's political leaders.
To prove his iconoclastic bona fides, Imus concluded his monologue by observing "Dick Cheney is still a war criminal, and Hillary Clinton is still Satan."
Listen to audio here [with apologies for the mediocre sound quality.]
But before ending on that defiant note, he took several minutes to describe his meeting with the women of the Rutgers team, and the way the entire experience had changed him.
Dictator-groupies Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover are at it again. They are among the “artists, scholars and performers” calling themselves “representatives of the cultural sphere in the US,” who sent a letter to President Bush asking him to “end the travel ban,” allowing a cultural exchange between nations.
Most troubling is the group did not address Cuba's lack of freedom and limited their travel demands to Cuba's “artists and scholars.” That wasn't a mistake. As faithful fans of the Cubano Dear Leader, they don't care about all Cubans' ability to travel, just those carefully-selected Party-approved “artists and scholars." Under heavy guard, of course, to avoid more embarrassing defections.
As YouTube is gearing up with CNN to host a Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, the video-sharing service is finding itself embroiled in another censorship controversy with an Egyptian blogger named Wael Abbas:
The video-sharing Web site YouTube has suspended the account of a prominent Egyptian anti-torture activist who posted videos of what he said was brutal behaviour by some Egyptian policemen, the activist said.
Wael Abbas said close to 100 images he had sent to YouTube were no longer accessible, including clips depicting purported police brutality, voting irregularities and anti-government demonstrations. YouTube, owned by search engine giant Google Inc, did not respond to a written request for comment. A message on Abbas's YouTube user page, http://youtube.com/user/waelabbas, read: "This account is suspended."
"They closed it (the account) and they sent me an e-mail saying that it will be suspended because there were lots of complaints about the content, especially the content of torture," Abbas told Reuters in a telephone interview. Abbas, who won an international journalism award for his work this year, said that of the images he had posted to YouTube, 12 or 13 depicted violence in Egyptian police stations.
Wash, spin, rinse, spin. Phone, spin, report, spin, poll, spin. The similarities between the work of the mainstream media and a laundry machine are striking. Yet there is nothing about the cycle -- the spin-report-poll-spin cycle -- that does for political events what detergent does for your boxers or briefs.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.
Update | 10:25 AM -- Zogby says Penn should know better . . . Clinton campaign #1 user of Zogby results. See entire Zogby response at foot.
Presaging the kind of press control a President Hillary Clinton might try to impose, a member of her inner circle scolded Joe Scarborough today for having the audacity to mention a poll with results unfavorable to Clinton.
Yesterday, Zogby International released a new poll indicating that in a general election head-to-head match-up, Hillary Clinton would lose to all of the leading Republican contenders by a 3-5% margin. Even worse from the perspective of Clinton heading into the Dem primaries, the same poll shows Barack Obama beating each of the Republicans by 5-7%.
Chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn was a guest on "Morning Joe" during today's 7:30 ET half-hour. Nothing could be more natural than for Scarborough to raise these newsworthy results. But Penn wasn't pleased.
Team Edwards, both eminently coiffed candidate John and his designated political hitter bride Elizabeth, on Wednesday, Novemeber 21st cancelled their scheduled appearance on The View, doing so, according to the UnDynamic Duo, to “honor the members of the Writers Guild of America”, who are currently on strike.
Not to be outpandered, Michelle Obama, wife of the incredibly audacious Barack, later that same day pulled out of her December 5th guest co-hosting duties.
Obviously, sucking up is more important than being sucked up to in Democratic presidential politics.
This is related to nearly every Donkey candidate promising to not participate in a scheduled December 10th CBS debate (moderated by the ratings Juggernaut Katie Couric) should their news writers decide to join their union brethren and sistren (one must be, in this age of PC, all-inclusive) and abandon that foundering network vessel to the waves unscribed.
It seems that no bad Hillary Clinton deed goes unresponded to.
As we are in the midst of a presidential campaign, this by itself is not an issue. That it is the national media that is leading this charge is. One need focus on but the latest corners of the Clinton pantheon to come to light to see the full court press the press puts on when their girl needs them.
In an October 10 Boston Globe interview, Senator Clinton let her socialism slip a bit, saying "I have a million ideas. I can't do all of them. I happen to think in running a disciplined campaign - especially when it comes to fiscal responsibility, which is what I'm trying to do - everything I propose I have to pay for. You know, you go to my website, you'll see what I would use to pay for what I've proposed. So I've got a lot of ideas, I just obviously can't propose them all. I can't afford them all. The country can't afford them all." (Emphasis ours.)
As Islamic scholar Robert Spencer can tell you, the mainstream media has barely noticed that Google, the Internet search engine giant, is now deciding for its users which ideas are acceptable and which are not. It’s never been a secret that Google leans left and won’t tolerate ideas it doesn’t agree with. The company hired global warming profiteer Al Gore as senior advisor and has a history of purging content based on ideology. More evidence of the company’s thinly-veiled, warm and fuzzy politically correct authoritarianism keeps popping up.
Now Google Video has suppressed a video of a speech that Spencer, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), made at Dartmouth College. Spencer, whose family comes from the Muslim world, sees his work as “calling attention to the roots and goals of jihad violence.” He carefully explains his belief that “Islam is not a monolith,” and says that he has “never” characterized all Muslims “as terrorist or given to violence.”
Google de-listed several conservative e-zines and blogs from its news crawl last year, banned anti-MoveOn.org ads, and is complicit in state censorship in communist China.
In schools and colleges across America, teachers and professors recall the "Free Speech Movement" of the hard left at Berkeley in the 1960s. But today's left often shreds that idea in its own intolerant behavior. At Michigan State University, British Nationalist Nick Griffin was shouted down from a speech on the danger of radical Islam. The Lansing State Journal reported: "Hurling obscenities and using chants to interrupt his address, rambunctious student organizations forced Griffin to abandon his speech and allow an informal question and answer session." This liberal quote is a classic:
"We have all come from different backgrounds," said Authra Khreis, 17, a pre-med student and a protester. "We should accept one another. I don't think he should be allowed to speak. You can use free speech until you hurt another person."
Today I'm pleased to announce a new feature: The NewsBusters Interview. These will be a series of lengthy, candid conversations we'll be conducting with prominent individuals in the media and political worlds.
Recently I had the privilege of attending the premier of the "Indoctrinate U," a documentary that exposes the widespread suppression of conservative and libertarian opinions on America's college campuses. Turns out, the same 60s and 70s radicals who marched for free speech back then aren't so interested in the concept now that they're running academia.
This is a great film and a very necessary one as well. I was so impressed by it that I wanted to interview its creator, Evan Coyne Maloney. We had an in-depth and candid discussion about a variety of things including how he got interested in film, getting funding for it, the background behind campus speech codes, how the media covers academic censorship and much more.
The most interesting aspect of the interview was his discussion of why there are so few conservatives and libertarians in the entertainment media. Read past the fold for excerpts and the full transcript.
Americans on both sides of the aisle should be bitterly angry today.
A United States Congressman stood on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday and said that kids are being sent "to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president`s amusement."
As if that wasn't bad enough, the three evening news programs of America's top broadcast networks didn't feel this despicable act was important enough to share with the citizens of our nation.
Frankly, I'm not sure which should anger you more.
Here is a partial transcript of Rep. Pete Stark's (D-Cal.) abysmal statements made on the House floor on October 18, 2007, that America's leading news agencies didn't want you to see (video available here):
The October 16 edition of "Fox and Friends" featured conservative talk trailblazer Rush Limbaugh to discuss Harry Reid’s and 40 other Senate Democrats’ smear of Limbaugh. The radio talk show host called the letter "the smear of a private citizen...based on a total lie."
In response, Rush is now auctioning the letter on E-Bay to raise money for the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, which provides scholarships for children of Marines and federal law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty. Rush noted he will match the final bid to go to the same charity. He asked Reid and the other 40 Democrats to do the same. As of this morning, he has "not heard from them."
If the increasingly conventional wisdom that the Netroots movement is now the driving force behind today's Democrat Party is true, than a look into their actual agenda for America is something voters considering supporting Democrat politicians in 2008 might want to take a very close look at. It's posted by Chris Bowers at Open Left and looked at in plain terms, is substantial and should give conservatives and Libertarians cause for concern.
Below are just some bullet points from the larger plan.
You think the "Fairness Doctrine" is bad, you haven't seen anything yet:
Reversing Corporate Media Consolidation. Using improved ownership regulation of American media to help destabilize the impact of the Republican Noise Machine, and create a more diverse, responsive national media, is another key progressive feedback loop.
It did not take long after the infamous Rush Limbaugh smear for Democrats to call for a return of the Fairness Doctrine. On the October 3 edition of "Fox and Friends" at 7:33 AM, Congressmen Joe Sestak (D-PA) and Mike Pence (R-IN) discussed Rush Limbaugh’s "phony soldiers" remark. When Congressman Pence asserted that this is an excuse for the Democrats to re-insert the Fairness Doctrine, Congressman Sestak called for a return to "ensure the tone changes if we are to approach this war correctly."
SESTAK: We should be talking about the Fairness Doctrine. And what we should be doing is saying, Mike, this war is it hurting or helping our security? How can we bring about a better end to this? And that's what I believe needs to be done. Do I think both sides' words are wrong? The tone is absolutely wrong. So let's not defend either side and say whether we think or don't think.
Ah, those diversity-loving liberals. You know, the kind who would stifle free speech with their Orwellian "Fairness Doctrine," who threaten legal action against mom-and-pop T-shirt makers who criticize MoveOn.org. Wesley Clark would now take things one step further, whacking Rush Limbaugh off the Armed Forces Network radio airwaves.
"Today" co-anchor Meredith Vieira interviewed the retired general and former Dem presidential candidate on this morning's show.
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," ABC host Diane Sawyer interviewed actress Sally Field and again indicated that the TV star's edited anti-war tirade at the September 16 Emmys was simply no big deal. The GMA anchor dismissively observed, "Again, we were saying at the time, everybody in Canada heard the whole thing, sat at home and watched it." Agreeing with the implication of American provincialism, the "Brothers and Sisters" star fragmentedly noted, "And in London. A friend of mine in London." Sawyer added that the cultured British must have been "thinking probably nothing much of it."
Field also furthered the idea that Fox censored her as part of some pro-war agenda. According to the "Flying Nun" star, "...When it has to do with war at all on Fox, I think they all ran around like a bunch of chickens and started pulling wires, you know, ‘Get her off the air!’" Of course, the actual reason her comments were edited was because Fox feared being fined by the FCC. Other edits that night included a profanity and a Ray Romano’s use of the word "screwing." In fact, Fox allowed several conservative-slamming, non-vulgar jokes to air unimpeded.
On August 26 and September 2, the Washington Post refused to run the weekly "Opus" comic strip by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed out of concerns of insensitivity to Muslims. NewsBusters associate editor wrote about the controversy here and here, and MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell discussed the Post's double standard on religious sensibilities on Glenn Beck's CNN Headline News program.
Weeks after the controversy has subsided, NewsBusters reader Rusty Weiss shot me a message informing me that a classic "Bloom County" strip from Breathed in the September 28 edition of Yahoo Comics is quite appropriate coming on the heels of the controversy (see below fold for the comic strip). Writes Weiss:
Is the media hypocritical on censorship when conducted by Democrats versus Republicans? It would seem that this may indeed be the case. The media likes to claim that President George Bush's Administration is clamping down on civil rights, although they have a difficult time citing any actual examples of such. However, when the Clinton campaign really does exercise press censorship, the media is largely silent. According to the Politico online magazine, GQ magazine was poised to run a story that would have been critical of the Hillary Clinton campaign. This in itself is a relative rarity in the current media. However, by threatening to withold access to former President Bill Clinton, the campaign managed to force GQ to pull the planned story. Editor Jim Nelson then tried to claim that this was normal procedure,
“I don’t really get into the inner workings of the magazine, but I can tell you that yes, we did kill a Hillary piece. We kill pieces all the time for a variety of reasons,” Nelson said in an e-mail to Politico. He did not respond to follow-up questions. A Clinton campaign spokesman declined to comment.
Washington Post journalist Howard Kurtz analyzes media issues on his CNN show “Reliable Sources.” But he created a media issue of his own by propping up the false story pushed by the many in the media that Fox censored actress Sally Field during her Emmy acceptance speech for making an anti-war statement.
However, that's not what happened. Instead, as the orchestra signaled her time was up, Fox cut Field's sound after she uttered “G******.” Fox also censored two other speakers for obscenity.
Kurtz was a guest on the September 18 Glenn Beck show to discuss infotainment drowning out hard news in the media. Then Kurtz claimed the story became legitimate once Fox censored what he falsely labeled as Fox silencing Field's anti-war comment (my emphasis):
KURTZ: Well, it's a non-story that became a story because of FOX pulling the plug on her anti-war sentiment. But look, the...
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," ABC anchors and reporters spun the editing of Sally Field’s profanity laced anti-war rant at Sunday’s Emmys as an example of political censorship by Fox, a right-wing network. Reporter Dan Harris ominously observed, "Some saythe Fox network, owned by well known conservative Rupert Murdoch, was engaged in political censorship."
However, during the ceremony, "Sopranos" creator David Chase, extolled the values of gangsters. In a halting speech, he asserted, "And hell, let’s face it, if the world and this nation was run by gangsters-- [Pause] Maybe it is." Mr. Chase’s political statement was not censored, nor were any of the numerous anti-Bush and Republican-slamming jokes that aired on the awards show. But rather than accept the explanation that Field’s comments were cut because she used an expletive, Harris claimed, "...It’s the Sally Field case that is provoking the real cries of political censorship because Fox cut off not only her expletive but also her entire thought." The argument is somewhat self defeating because, as Harris noted, Fox also censored comedian Ray Romano’s off-color joke. In fact, the ACLU is attacking the edit on the grounds of vulgarity, not politics.
Today's Chicago Tribune includes the editorial, "Protect us from Sally Field?" The Tribune is displeased that Ms. Field, who pretty much exhausted her acting ability 40 years ago with "The Flying Nun," was censored by the Fox Network.
In an acceptance speech on Sunday's Emmy Awards program, Sally shared her wisdom: "If the mothers ruled the world, there would be no god-damned wars in the first place." Fox cut out the last half of her sentence. Concluded the editorial:
Some would have been offended by Field's choice of words. Some would have been offended by her political sentiment. But everyone ought to feel a chill over the fact that they didn't get to hear the end of her sentence at all.
So, OK, the Chicago Tribune opposes that chilling effect. Hurrah.
The Trib's outrage might be more persuasive if it didn't selectively edit a story in the same day's paper.
Apparently, the world's largest Internet search business believes it has little to fear from those who object to its continued involvement with government censorship in communist China. Google agreed to censor its search-engine results in accordance with government wishes in January 2006. That control regime is still in place, as comparative searches on "Tiananmen" at Google.com and Google.cn readily show.
Oh, company co-founders Sergei Brin and Larry Page have said that what they agreed to do in Mainland China was a "mistake." But that's only because of the fallout, not the cooperation decision itself, as this January excerpt from the UK Guardian shows:
Editor & Publisher reported Friday that 25 out of 200 newspapers that regularly publish the "Opus" comic strip will not run back-to-back Sunday episodes that include Muslim references and a sex joke (h/t Dan Gainor, emphasis added throughout):
Berkeley Breathed's Aug. 26 and Sept. 2 strips -- which comprise sort of a two-part series -- show the Lola Granola character wanting to become an Islamic radicalist (and wear traditional Muslim clothing) because it's a "hot new fad on the planet." Content also includes what Shearer described as "a sex joke a little stronger than we normally see."
Think this would have been a problem if Lola was doing something that involved Judaism or Christianity? No, I don't either.
In fact, as you'll see from Sunday's strip which I include near the end of the post, the paranoia exhibited by papers afraid to publish this is almost offensive given the accepted level of atheism, agnosticism, and anti-theism -- aka secular progressiveness -- prominently and almost proudly displayed by most media outlets today. But I digress: