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:
So, have you heard that Fox News' Bill O'Reilly isn't fond of liberal bloggers?
In case there was any confusion about this issue, the outspoken host made it quite clear on Thursday's "O'Reilly Factor" when he told political consultant Dick Morris:
I think it's a danger to have blackmailers, which is what these bloggers are, active in the political process.
Yet, that might not have been the best moment in this segment, which also included a lengthy discussion about why Democrat presidential candidates are spending so much time bashing Fox News (video available here):
If “significant changes” were not made, the NIAC threatened that the film would “generate serious backlash against the Iranian American community.”
After the complaint, the producer “immediately contacted” the NIAC and “agreed to take its concerns into consideration.” Even more surprising was how much access and influence the NIAC had over the Weinstein film starring Sean Penn and Harrison Ford (my emphasis throughout):
NIAC later submitted its analysis and suggestions to the production team, which changed elements of the script and even re-shot certain scenes. The final product, the director says, does not include any reference to "family honor" and does not depict an honor killing.
If summer heat and drought were jeopardizing crops in the Midwest, would a climate change obsessed media be having a field day (pun intended) reporting the news whilst connecting it to manmade global warming?
24 hours a day, seven days a week, right? CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC would likely have correspondents in the cornfields giving daily updates about the gravity of the situation.
Yet, further south in Texas, there's a crop very important to Americans in tremendous danger that has gotten almost no attention.
Why? Because abnormally cold summer temperatures are threatening it, and that just doesn't fit the current media agenda. As reported by the Associated Press Friday (h/t NB reader Phillip A. Smith):
The Young America's Foundation (YAF) is being threatened with legal action for including Robert Spencer, the author of several books on terrorism and Islam, in its line-up of speakers this week in Washington, D.C.
Spencer spoke Thursday afternoon at George Washington University as part of YAF's 29th National Conservative Student Conference. His topic was entitled "The Truth About the Council on American Islamic Relations." This same organization, CAIR, demanded that YAF either withdraw its invitation to Spencer or take alternative steps to prevent any false remarks from being made.
"We will not be intimidated by radical Islamic thugs," a YAF spokesman said. "Not only will we let Robert Spencer speak, but we will invite even more people to hear him. We are not going to fluctuate the conference just to suit their demands."
In his recent blog ("Making Headlines: The Law, Summer 2007"), CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen describes his midsummer night's dream of legal headlines he would "like to see, but probably won't." In the tradition of another more-famous CBS employee, Cohen lists his "top ten" legal headlines - a wish list with an obvious liberal slant.
Here are some of Cohen's headlines, along with the necessary translation.
This is why it's hard not to make slippery-slope arguments against the "reforms" the media in this country are constantly pushing, we can see the eventual result--politicians outlawing any kind of criticism of themselves with the media bearing the brunt of it:
New Zealand's Parliament has voted itself far-reaching powers to control satire and ridicule of MPs in Parliament, attracting a storm of media and academic criticism.
The new standing orders, voted in last month, concern the use of images of Parliamentary debates, and make it a contempt of Parliament for broadcasters or anyone else to use footage of the chamber for "satire, ridicule or denigration".
Ah to be a liberal, to proclaim my tolerance and open-mindedness with a few tacky bumperstickers and then turn around and try to silence any type of political divergence:
Liberal activists are stepping up their campaign against Fox News Channel by pressuring advertisers not to patronize the network.
MoveOn.org, the Campaign for America's Future and liberal blogs like DailyKos.com are asking thousands of supporters to monitor who is advertising on the network. Once a database is gathered, an organized phone-calling campaign will begin, said Jim Gilliam, vice president of media strategy for Brave New Films, a company that has made anti-Fox videos.
Americans interested in free speech got a boost Monday when the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Kevin J. Martin, came out strongly against any reimplementation of the Fairness Doctrine.
As reported by the Associated Press Thursday (emphasis added):
Martin, in a letter written this week to Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and made public Thursday, said the agency found no compelling reason to revisit its 1987 decision that enforcing the federal rule was not in the public interest.
This letter (PDF available here) quite supported the views concerning this issue being expressed by Congressional Republicans in the past few weeks since this matter took center stage (emphasis added):
As most media have unsurprisingly cheered the Democrats' recent moves to either bring back the Fairness Doctrine, or prevent its prohibition, the Los Angeles Times has presented itself as a beacon of sanity in the midst of a clear lack thereof.
In fact, instead of the prevalent, pointless, press pontifications about equal opportunity on the airwaves, and ensuring the public hears both sides of the debate, Tuesday's Times editorial - bravely entitled "The Unfairness Doctrine" - spoke the truth about the extraordinary access the citizenry currently have to diverse views on all subjects.
With that in mind, prepare yourself for an alternate media reality (emphasis added throughout):
Today FOX News Specials with E.D. Hill aired the film banned by PBS, "Muslims Against Jihad".
According to FOX: "It was commissioned as part of the PBS series "America at the Crossroads" about the post 9/11 world, but PBS executives rejected it."
Why? PBS said it was because the filmmakers were "alarmist, overreaching and unfair."
The filmmakers, which include Frank Gaffney, however say it was because of liberal bias at PBS. One of the filmmakers said he was asked by PBS, "Don't you screen the politics of those you use?" (specifically of Gaffney).
Apparently, MSNBC's Tucker Carlson is getting fed up with hearing Democrats talk about the need for reinstitutiing the Fariness Doctrine.
All those that agree say "aye."
With this in mind, on Thursday evening, Carlson absolutely demolished the absurd positions his guest, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-New York), was espousing for the need to bring back this archaic doctrine that was thrown out by a court back in 1987.
Unfortunately, Hinchey and his ilk live in the past concerning free speech on the airwaves, and Carlson adroitly exposed his many hypocrisies with this opening question (video available here, h/t Hot Air):
Without much fanfare, NBC made an interesting announcement Tuesday: if Fred Thompson becomes a presidential candidate, his episodes of "Law and Order" will no longer be rerun.
As reported by the New York Daily News Wednesday (emphasis added throughout):
"If Fred Thompson formally declares his intention to run for President, NBC will not schedule any further repeats of 'Law & Order' featuring Mr. Thompson beyond those already scheduled, which conclude on Saturday, Sept. 1," [executive producer Dick] Wolf said.
Wolf assured that NBC would take all "appropriate steps consistent with FCC regulations."
"Consistent with FCC regulations" appears to relate to the Equal Time rule:
If you had any questions about the political leanings of the
Associated Press, they were answered Tuesday when the wire service finally
noticed nine days after the fact that a Democrat Congressman had made some
despicable comments about President Bush, Adolf Hitler, and 9/11.
Of course, the AP getting around to this issue when the
Congressman apologized for his deplorable remarks is icing on the cake.
As NewsBusters reported Monday, Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota),
speaking in front of an atheists’ meeting in his home state, said (emphasis
As NewsBusters reported Monday, Bill O’Reilly
isn’t pleased about airliner JetBlue sponsoring the upcoming convention of Daily
Kos devotees and Democrat presidential candidates referred to by the netroots as YearlyKos.
In fact, Monday’s
“O’Reilly Factor” began with the host observing:
What do you think of someone who says the
following: the world would be better off without him? That after Tony Snow
announced his cancer had returned. The pope is a primate.Evangelicals
are nut cases. Better luck next time after an assassination plot against Vice
President Cheney in Afghanistan. And some attacks against coalition
forces in Iraq are legitimate.
A rather disturbing event occurred in a Minnesota library last Sunday: Freshman Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler, while implying that the White House was involved in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11.
Didn’t hear about this? Well, how could you? After all, no major, mainstream media outlet other than Fox News and CNN thought it was newsworthy.
It’s approaching two weeks since an Air Force Airman was shot by an anti-war protestor in Willingboro, New Jersey.
Yet, apart from an Associated Press article which conveniently ignored the apparent motives of the assailant, a New York Post op-ed by Michelle Malkin, and a mention by Glenn Beck on CNN's Headline News, not one major mainstream media outlet has reported the horrific event in print or on the air.
To set this up, the Associated Press reported the day after the shooting (h/t NB reader CSM Robert E. Wilson, currently serving in Iraq):