Is CBS’s new “freeSpeech” segment on the “Evening News” really free? Maybe not, as TVNewser reported Saturday (hat tip to Drudge) that Bill Maher – who had been invited on to be one of the free speakers – was told that he couldn’t discuss religion:
“On Friday's Real Time on HBO, Maher explained that CBS approached him to do a 'freeSpeech' segment on the new Evening News. He asked if he could talk about religion but was rejected and told that he would be provided with a list of 'approved' topics," an e-mailer says.
The actual transcript of what Maher said Friday night concerning this issue is as follows:
In national politics, most in the business will tell you that things don't get serious until after Labor Day. That's when many Americans who normally ignore politics will start tuning in.
That's true this year as always, but the '06 election cycle also brings a new problem: the political censorship of advertising which even peripherally dares to mention a politician. Jacob Sullum has more on this outrage (h/t: NB reader sarcasmo):
As of Friday, when the 60-day blackout period for "electioneering communications" by nonprofit interest groups begins, political speech will enjoy less protection than dirty movies. While a sexually explicit film is protected by the First Amendment if it has some socially redeeming value, an "electioneering communication" is forbidden even if it deals with important and timely public policy issues.
Supporters of this ban, imposed by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, say they want to eliminate "sham issue ads" that are aimed at electing or defeating a candidate and therefore should be funded only by political action committees subject to campaign contribution limits. But since the ban applies to any TV or radio spot that mentions a federal official who is up for re-election, it also prohibits genuine issue ads.
Latest dispatch from the MSM moral-relativism front.
MSNBC's Tony Maciulis appeared on the network's 'The Most' show this afternoon to report on a story dealing with Craigslist, the online classifed ad website. A man called Jason Fortuny had posted a fake personal on the Craigslist's Seattle page, posing as an attractive 27-year old woman seeking sex with men. The ad elicited numerous replies, many including explicit photos of the suitors.
Fortuny in turn posted the men's replies, including the photos, on another website, no doubt causing embarrassment if not more for many of them.
'Most' host Alison Stewart asked Maciulis whether the men who submitted the replies "were doing anything wrong?"
With many internet companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft knuckling under pressure from the rulers of China to censor their content, it's refreshing to see it when one takes a stand against political censorship (h/t: Caine Starfire):
The founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written by its
users, has defied the Chinese government by refusing to bow to
censorship of politically sensitive entries.
Jimmy Wales, one of the
100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine,
challenged other internet companies, including Google, to justify their
claim that they could do more good than harm by co-operating with
Wikipedia, a hugely popular reference tool in the West,
has been banned from China since last October. Whereas Google,
Microsoft and Yahoo went into the country accepting some restrictions
on their online content, Wales believes it must be all or nothing for
ABC's entertainment division refused to knuckle under to intense pressure from supporters of former President Bill Clinton, including the Democratic National Committee and MoveOn.org, and aired the first part of their miniseries, "The Path to 9/11", with some additional edits:
This is not a source I would normally search out, but I have to admit that actor Donnie Wahlberg gives one of the most thoughtful responses I've seen to the controversy over ABC's "The Path to 9/11" miniseries in this TV Guide interview:
TVGuide.com: What do you think of the brouhaha that's going on now? You had to know that this project could be a hot potato. Wahlberg: I didn't think it was a hot potato. I think there's a stink being made because certain people aren't happy with the way they're being portrayed, but the reality is that in most cases, the producers took a gentle hand with this stuff. The writers and the producers and the director tried to use as much integrity as possible.
Clinton pointedly refuted several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.
Item -- Philosophical sympathizer Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in her June 2004 column evaluating the Clinton presidency:
MRC president Brent Bozell appeared on Friday's "Fox and Friends" in the 8am hour beginning at 8am Eastern. The topic discussed was the censorship campaign mounted by Democrats against the ABC miniseries, "The Path to 9/11."
This is getting entirely out of hand. What a crock. This is disgusting.
New York, NY (September 7, 2006) -- Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today announced that it is removing from its website the materials originally created for classroom use in conjunction with the ABC Television Network docudrama, “The Path to 9/ll,” scheduled to air on the ABC Television Network on September 10 and 11, 2006. A new classroom discussion guide for high school students is being created and will focus more specifically on media literacy, critical thinking, and historical background.
“After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues,” said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic. “At the same time, we believe that developing critical thinking and media literacy skills is crucial for students in today’s society in order to participate fully in our democracy and that a program such as ‘The Path to 9/11’ provides a very ‘teachable moment’ for developing these skills at the high school level. We encourage teachers not to shy away from the controversy surrounding the program, but rather to engage their students in meaningful, in-depth discussion.”
Did you hear that sound Thursday afternoon? That was the Constitution weeping as one of the nation’s major political parties trampled all over the First Amendment. Remember what that is…that right bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers guaranteeing freedom of speech?
Well, if what was reported by NewsBusters here, and the Ostroy Report here (hat tip to Hot Air) are correct, and ABC really has caved into political pressure from Democrats – in particular, former President Clinton – to edit the miniseries “The Path to 9/11,” such rights have changed forever. At the very least, this would demonstrate that these rights – which Jefferson said were inalienable, by the way! – apply differently to Democrats and Republicans.
Four would-be committee chairmen, all Democrats in the House of Represenatives, just sent ABC a letter demanding that the network review its upcoming miniseries, "The Path to 9/11." No overtly threatening language is used in the letter (reprinted below the fold) but the implication seems pretty clear: If Dems take control of the House in November, ABC should expect hell from the various committees John Conyers, John Dingell, Jane Harman, Louise Slaughter head.
Which party was it that advocates censorship of "incorrect" speech again?
As regular readers of NewsBusters know, a fairly large number of
leftists in this country are convinced that George W. Bush is hell-bent
on destroying America and turning it into a dictatorship where
mandatory worship of "neocons" is required and media outlets are
censored. Liberal figures such as Al Gore, Keith Olbermann, and regulars at places like Democratic Underground and Daily Kos routinely make such statements.
exposing leftist paranoia for public ridicule is amusing, I think it's also
worth noting just how far from reality these claims really are. Last
month, we saw how real media repression occurs every day in Fidel Castro's Cuba. But Cuba is far from the only place where this happens. Over at PBS's MediaShift, Mark Glaser and Zimbabwean journalist Frank Chikowore talk about how that country's government imprisons and censors reporters who dare criticize it:
government shuts down independent newspapers. It jams radio signals
from outside the country. Internet access is sporadic. Inflation is out
of control. A bill is in Parliament that would allow the government to
censor private email communications.
Welcome to Zimbabwe,
the south African country born out of the former Rhodesia in 1980 and
led by strongman President Robert Mugabe every day since its
independence from British colonialism.
For all the false cries of censorship when the marketplace and not the government marginalizes a voice, or point of view, this is blatant censorship enacted by our government through McCain-Feingold. h/t Instapundit.
Bloggers should consider coming together from both sides to
challenge this un-democratic law by developing a series of podcast or
YouTube commercials pointing out what they see as negative
points regarding incumbents. Not only would it bring attention to a bad
law, it would force the very thing these career politicians don't want
heard to be featured in any coverage - that being the actual criticism
Something almost without precedent
in America will happen Thursday. That’s the day when McCain-Feingold —
aka the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 — will officially
silence broadcast advertising that contains criticism of members of
Congress seeking re-election in November. Before 2006, American
election campaigns traditionally began in earnest after Labor Day.
Unless McCain-Feingold is repealed, Labor Day will henceforth mark the
point in the campaign when congressional incumbents can sit back and
cruise, free of those pesky negative TV and radio spots. It is the most
effective incumbent protection act possible, short of abolishing the
As you may or may not know, this coming weekend, ABC is presenting a movie about the events that led up to the attacks on the WTC in 2001, called "The Path to 9/11".
It has leaked out by various critics and folks who have been offered an advanced screening of this flick that the Clinton administration does not come out looking too strong on National defense in the years prior to the attacks on that fateful day. In fact, it shows them as responsible for one misstep and failure after another in the face of plenty of forewarning that the situation was quickly escalating.
In light of that depiction, for the last week or so, there have been some pretty persistent rumors that, after these screenings, various members of the Clinton administration, including the ex-president himself, began a campaign of calls, meetings and efforts to cajole ABC into altering and editing the film to make the Clintons look better.
"Country music videos flashed on a television set at the Idle Hour, a Music Row bar where a Crock-Pot of beef stew simmered for hungry musicians.
"Sitting at a table in early August, Bobby Braddock, the longtime songwriter, lamented the conservatism of the country music industry that was demonstrated when the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks became a target of fury three years ago after saying she was ashamed that her band and President Bush shared the same home state.
Keith Olbermann's regular media critic guest, Michael Musto of the Village Voice, called Ann Coulter a 'bastard' on last night's Countdown.
The topic was the news that Vanity Fair has picked celeb photographer Annie Liebovitz to snap the first pics of Suri, newborn daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. There is controversy as to whether Suri actually exists, given that, months after her announced birth, there have been no photos or sightings of the child.
Musto is clearly a skeptic on the subject. When Olbermann asked him what we should expect from Liebovitz's images of Suri, Musto responded with this strained effort to draw a connection to the left's bête noire :
"We should expect an image of a pillow. An illegitimate pillow, mind you. A bastard pillow. What's the word for a female bastard? Ann Coulter! An Ann Coulter pillow!"
As many of you know the press room in the White House, the place where countless spokesmen for the President have held innumerable briefings on issues important and not so important, is being shut down and a new one is being built to better fulfill the needs of a more modern era. The creation of this new press room is Hirschman’s excuse to attack Karl Rove and the Administration who he imagines wishes to "weaken the press corps".
Mega-blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of the Daily Kos talking down the blogs' influence on the Connecticut Dem primary? John Fund of the good old Wall Street Journal talking it up?
The odd couple, guests on this evening's Hardball, engaged in some serious media gender-bending. With Mike Barnicle sitting in for host Chris Matthews, Fund went first, and overflowed with praise for the role the blogs have played in the race.
Fund: "I think [the blogs' impact has] been very significant. I offer a tip of the hat to them. They have taken the former vice-presidential candidate and created a single issue around the war, and this is is a man who opposed George Bush on tax cuts, and many things, and they have turned him into the perception as George Bush's lackey, and they are on the verge of knocking off a senator. That's happened only twice before. It's remarkable."
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as "pizzas" which will now be known as "elastic loaves," state media reported Saturday.
The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.
You may recall the past items I've posted about journalists who think they are exempt from the same behavior that they inflict on the rest of us. CBS News anchor Diann Burns is suing her contractors for skimping on her $3 million house because she is black. Of course the contracter gave her $92,000 in free perks, but she's still upset that they aren't going to fix the rain gutters on the neighboring house so they don't spill water in her yard. Obviously the neighbors are also doing this because she is black.
The punch line is this request to the court:
The filing asks that all attorneys, experts and court personnel involved in the case sign a "secrecy agreement," which would last up to five years after the suit has ended, barring them from talking about aspects of the case publicly or peddling pictures of the interior of the home.
The filing, which will be the subject of a Thursday court hearing, says that the luxury home is Burns' and Watts' "castle and refuge from the daily pressures of life," and that they "will suffer unreasonable annoyance and embarrassment if pictorial or verbal descriptions of the interior of their home" are made public and "may attract curiosity seekers, depriving them of the privacy and peace of the home to which every human being is entitled."
The filing specifically asks a judge to prevent information from being given "to the general public or the media" about the inside of their home...
Next time you see a reporter doing a live stand-up in front of an innocent victim's house, remember how this hypocritical CBS anchor believes that every human being is entitled to privacy and peace in their home.
Don't the press in general and the New York Times in particular take pride in portraying themselves as ever-the vigilant defenders of the First Amendment? But judging by an editorial in the paper this morning, the Times experiences a power loss worse than the one currently gripping Queens when it comes to defending the First Amendment rights of groups it disfavors, in this case the tobacco industry.
Entitled Take the Tobacco Pledge, the editorial urges ratification of The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, known colloquially as 'the tobacco treaty.' Here's how the Times describes its provisions:
Internet giants Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft have come under fire
today from Amnesty International for actively complying with the
authoritarian government of China's attempts to censor the internet
in that country.
These companies came in for withering criticism as part of
Amnesty's campaign to raise awareness of political censorship
throughout the world by highlighting its impact in China where
internet suppression is more widespread and effective largely because
American tech companies are "particularly willing to cooperate
with the Chinese government," the group said in a
"The internet can be a great tool for the promotion of human
rights -- activists can tell the world about abuses in their country
at the click of a mouse. People have unprecedented access to
information from the widest range of sources," the statement
continued. "But the internet's potential for change is being
undermined -- by governments unwilling to tolerate this free media
outlet, and by companies willing to help them repress free speech."
An excerpt from the devastating report (PDF) is after the jump. For a look at web censorship in India, read this from Michelle Malkin.
President Bush is an even greater threat to our civil liberties than that bête noire of the left, Richard Nixon. That's Morton Halperin's conclusion in a Los Angeles Times op-ed of today, Bush: Worse Than Nixon.
Halperin was once a name in the news. In 1969, then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger named Halperin to the NSA. But soon thereafter Kissinger suspected it was the dovish Halperin who leaked to the NY Times the fact that the US was secretly bombing Cambodia. The FBI began tapping his phone, and Halperin was soon gone from NSA. Perhaps Halperin's biggest claim to fame is the fact that Pres. Nixon put him on his 'Enemies List.' A red badge of courage, no pun intended, off which a person can no doubt eat for a lifetime in liberal circles.
Halperin remains active politically, serving as a senior fellow at the 'Center for American Progress.' As detailed by the invaluable Discoverthenetworks, CAP is a George Soros-funded organization founded on the risible notion that American colleges and universities are dominated by . . . conservatives."
"It's hard not to notice the clear similarities between then and now. Both the Nixon and Bush presidencies rely heavily on the use of national security as a pretext for the usurpation of unprecedented executive power.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone of the hit Comedy Central series “South Park” were recently interviewed during MTV Networks Television Critics Association tour as reported by Reuters, and the irreverent duo made some interesting statements about episodes of theirs that have been censored: “The creators of ‘South Park’ lambasted Comedy Central Thursday for removing an episode that lampooned Scientology and Tom Cruise from the network's repeat schedule and for blanking out the image of Muhammad during another.” Parker said, “‘So there are two things we can't do on Comedy Central: show Muhammad or Tom Cruise.’”
The Missoulian was caught cheating their carriers out of money rightfully owed. No one doubts that -- they have settled in the class action lawsuit. But don't bother asking by how much they cheated their own employees, the enforcers of transparency won't talk about it. One might then ask a carrier, but the terms of the settlement are confidential. A good reporter would then turn to the court documents but the newspaper "also took the unusual step of requesting that the entire court file be sealed, which request the court granted."
Bill Keller, editor of The New York Times, was on the PBS "NewsHour" last night to discuss the fallout over the fact that on June 23, The New York Times among other papers, revealed classified anti terrorism programs. Mr. Keller attempted to downplay the revelation as not a big deal because:
"We weighed very heavily and looked in excruciating detail at claims that this was not something that terrorists knew, that this would somehow be useful to terrorists. And the fact is, you know, you can find more useful detail about what the Treasury is doing in the Treasury's own public briefings."
If there is more useful detail on the public record, then why didn’t the Times print that instead? How does the Times know that the terrorists were already aware of the SWIFT program they wrote about? Did they talk to any terrorists to find out? The fact is, as Bill Keller goes on to mention:
Given NewsBusters' goal of exposing outrageous liberal media bias, perhaps I should switch focus from the Katie-less Today to Harry Smith & Co. at the Early Show. I rarely check in on the show, which has languished seemingly forever in last place. But, happening upon it this morning, Smith's bald-faced bias left me breathless.
Smith's guest was Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report. Talk was first of the proposed flag-burning amendment. A snide Smith observed:
"I'm just curious about this. Because somewhere I read in the last couple of days in the entire history of the republic there have only been 200 documented serious incidents of this in the entire history of the United States." Lotta history there, Harry.
Civil War re-enactor Tim VanRaemdonck said he was just staying in character when he wrote "slave" as the occupation of black children on fictitious enlistment papers during Civil War Days at Crossroads Village.
Word reached Crossroads Village manager Garry Pringle, who had two conversations with VanRaemdonck and asked him to leave.
Gosh! Imagine that! A black person being assumed a slave in 1860's Georgia?
There’s an old saying in business: money talks and, well, something that comes out of a male cow walks. In the case of Google, it appears that dollar signs, regardless of the foreign or domestic nature of the currency involved, have been more important than principle in some of its business dealings.
To be more specific, one of Google’s co-founders has admitted that his company caved in to demands from Chinese leaders to censor information available through its search engine to Chinese citizens in exchange for, well, yuan…which is dollars to you and me. As reported by the Associated Press: “Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin acknowledged Tuesday the dominant Internet company has compromised its principles by accommodating Chinese censorship demands.”
As Dorfman said in “Animal House,” boy this is great!
The article continued: “Google's China-approved Web service omits politically sensitive information that might be retrieved during Internet searches, such as details about the 1989 suppression of political unrest in Tiananmen Square. Its agreement with China has provoked considerable criticism from human rights groups.”
Curiously, this seems to go against one of the “Ten things Google has found to be true” as expressed in its corporate philosophy statement: “You can make money without doing evil.”
As previously reported by NewsBusters here, here, and here, Google has been canceling its News relationship with conservative websites for what it has deemed as “hate speech.”
Well, let’s see what Google News doesn’t view as “hate speech,” shall we?
With a hat tip to a NewsBusters reader, Google News Saturday morning posted the following article from Capital Hill Blue: “Republicans Return to Their Homophobic, Right-Wing Base.”
Nice headline, huh? And, according to the reader that gave me this tip, this headline was at the Google News main page when he opened his browser this morning. Must have gone down real nicely with his Wheaties, dontcha think?
For those that don't believe Google News would really include such an article in its news crawl, please click here.
But, the best was yet to come, for the piece began: