NewsBusters readers are likely aware that Congress has for months been debating an amendment to 1978's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to bring it up to date with technological and geopolitical changes in the past three decades.
Folks on the left view this modernization as an onerous intrusion on privacy rights, and have been preventing this bill -- which was originally signed into law on August 5, 2007, but expired in February -- from being renewed and made permanent.
On Wednesday, with Congress scheduled to adjourn for the Fourth of July recess, Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.) told his fellow Senators that the scare tactics being used by the left concerning this matter "feed the delusions of those who wear tinfoil hats around their house and think that 9/11 was an inside job" (video embedded right):
Over at HumanEvents.com, John Gizzi has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the record saying that the Democratic caucus, far from being agnostic on the so-called Fairness Doctrine, is actually interested in resurrecting it. What's more, Pelosi herself wants to bring back the policy that could literally silence conservative talk radio. [Sign the MRCAction.org petition for broadcaster freedom.]
At a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor yesterday, I asked Pelosi if Pence failed to get the required signatures on a discharge petition to get his anti-Fairness Doctrine bill out of committee, would she permit the Pence measure to get a floor vote this year.
"No," the Speaker replied, without hesitation. She added that "the interest in my caucus is the reverse" and that New York Democratic Rep. "Louise Slaughter has been active behind this [revival of the Fairness Doctrine] for a while now."
Mass murder in real concentration camps in the Soviet Union are ancient history to National Public Radio, but the cause of poor, blacklisted communists in Hollywood charging America was a concentration camp is still a fresh and poignant soundbite. On the June 17 edition of All Things Considered, anchor Melissa Block championed a forthcoming new documentary about communist screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, made by Peter Askin and Trumbo’s son Christopher and featuring big celebrities like Michael Douglas. Block made no mention of Trumbo’s actual Communist Party membership in the age of Stalin, and nowhere in the interview was there even a whisper of an alternative historical point of view, from Ronald Radosh to Kenneth Billingsley.
Block could only lament once again this alleged persecution of communists, once again utterly free of the irony that communists specialized in persecution everywhere they came to power:
The network news outlets - ABC, CBS and NBC - have missed a great opportunity to cover actual political news in the last week by failing to report on the loan scandal surrounding two Democratic senators, Business & Media Institute Managing Editor Amy Menefee told "Fox & Friends Weekend" June 21.
"This story has everything," Menefee said. "It has a former presidential candidate, Chris Dodd. It has two senators who are getting, like you said, sweetheart loans. It has Kent Conrad, another senator, who called the CEO of the lender to get his loan, which is not what we normally do, and then said, ‘Oh, I didn't get any preferential treatment and I didn't do anything wrong, but I'm going to give a charitable donation to remedy the fact that I didn't do anything wrong.'"
Menefee said it was "very sad" that the networks failed to report the scandal - not just because they refused to go after two Democrats, but because they missed an opportunity to expose the bailout plan Dodd has been defending.
As we've noted at NewsBusters, there's been scant coverage of a new scandal involving Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.). Both senators chair committees with oversight of the financial industry and Dodd is behind a bailout package for mortgage lender Countrywide. Both senators got "VIP" treatment from Countrywide Financial for refinancing agreements on their respective mortgages.
So today I thought I'd check our internal records at the MRC and the transcripts at Nexis to see what sort of coverage the three broadcast networks have devoted to this story.
What I found was a big fat zero.
Countrywide did, however, pop up three times on NBC newscasts between the beginning of June and today. All three stories were about celebrity Ed McMahon's foreclosure woes.
Townhall.com's Amanda Carpenter rips into the Washington Post today over its editorial about Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Chris Dodd (Conn.) and their cozy arrangement for mortgage refinances with Countrywide.
James Kirchick, assistant editor of The New Republic, has come under NewsBusters scrutiny for his bias before, of course. Our job is, we all know, to document and analyze that bias. But while we naturally focus on when the media get it wrong, we should have the maturity to point out when those who we criticize get it right. Here is a case when a member of the media that we usually criticize did, indeed, get it right and this time it might get him in Dutch with his lefty pals in the nutroots. After all, the surest way to get the nutroots upset at you is to say Bush did not lie about the war. But that is exactly what Kirchick just did and he did an admirable job chronicling it, too.
In an editorial in the L.A. Times on the 16th, Kirchick said that "Bush never lied to us about Iraq" and then went on to substantiate his claim in a style that runs contrary to the Media and nutroots meme that "Bush lied and people died."
Media Research Center (MRC) President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell joined lawmakers and a conservative radio host today in calling for an up-or-down vote on the Broadcast Freedom Act, which would drive a stake through the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which, if resurrected, would threaten conservative talk radio.
ALEXANDRIA, VA - Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell joined with House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), Congressmen Mike Pence (R-IN), Greg Walden (R-OR) and Trent Franks (R-AZ), syndicated radio talk show host Laura Ingraham and President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist in declaring this July 4th to be Radio Independence Day, and called for Congress to allow a full up or down vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act (BFA).
The BFA will kill once and for all the Fairness Doctrine, the onerous governmental policy that served to stifle free speech on the radio airwaves for four decades. Twenty-one years since its repeal, conservatives have flourished on the air, and liberals have been seeking to again silence them with the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.
The BFA is currently stuck in committee. A discharge petition has been started to allow it to the floor for a full vote, but it has only 194 of the needed 218 signatures.
Blame do-nothing Republicans for high gas prices. That was the impression visitors to ABCNews.com got this afternoon.
Among the "top headlines" lineup Web site editors included a story on "Fueling Anger" with the teaser headline: "Rejected! Big Oil Tax Gets Shelved." [see related post about CBSNews.com's bias here]
The accompanying caption to the ABC photo illustration read, "With prices soaring, GOP halts Democrats' wide-ranging energy plan."
The article itself, by writer Z. Byron Wolf, was front-loaded with bias, slamming Republicans for their filibuster of a new windfall profits tax measure while dismissing the GOP's energy plan as ineffective in the short term (emphases mine):
The Miami (FL) Herald let lose with another propagandistic broadside against the 2nd Amendment on Thursday featuring some more moaning and false statements about how horrible it is for America that the misnamed "assault weapons ban" has lapsed. There is much wringing of hands, waterworks, histrionics and over dramatics by the aptly named Fred Grimm here. In "What's a few dead cops to the gun lobby?" Grimm's final pronouncement is that the 2nd Amendment is a "mythical right" but in between there are many misstatements and out right lies.
Grimm starts out putting on some faux "shock" that a modern "semiautomatic assault rifle" he had the occasion to handle was so light. "The shock was in the weight of the thing. Less than six pounds," Grimm writes. And, what exactly does this mean? A butcher knife weighs less then a pound and can kill, too. What does weight have to do with anything?
If a new poll identified an overwhelming majority of Americans favored increased energy costs associated with a global warming bill currently before Congress, do you think media would report it?
Probably 24 hours a day, seven days a week until every citizen had heard about it, correct?
Well, on Wednesday, the National Center for Public Policy Research, an admittedly conservative think tank, released a poll conducted by Wilson Research Strategies which found "65% of Americans reject spending even a penny more for gasoline in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" (emphasis added throughout):
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to mock John McCain's military service as he quipped that McCain was "awol" for not showing up for a Senate vote on providing college tuition to American troops, and further accused McCain, whom he called "Senator 'I Support the Troops,'" of "supporting himself instead of the troops." The MSNBC host also mocked McCain as being at the "front lines" of a fund-raiser in California. Notably, just a few weeks ago, Olbermann thought it was amusing to scold Ann Coulter for making a crack about Barack Obama being a "Manchurian candidate" because it might remind people of McCain, even though it was Olbermann, not Coulter, who drew a connection as he observed that the film The Manchurian Candidate was about a "presidential election and an American war hero POW who'd been brainwashed in Southeast Asia." (Video of Olbermann's "Manchurian Candidate" comments can be found here.) (Transcripts follow)
New York Times Congressional reporter Carl Hulse on Thursday paid tribute to Sen. Ted Kennedy, diagnosed earlier this week with an inoperable brain tumor, in "Kennedy: A Little Like Everyone, a Lot Like No One Else." But Hulse went beyond acknowledging Kennedy's influence as a legislator to push the famous Massachusetts' senator's big-government worldview: "And if some of his solutions cost the government some money, well, that is what the government is for." Doesn't he mean "that is what taxpayers are for"?
Congress is rife with types: the Serious Legislator, the Bomb Thrower, the Show Horse, the Workhorse, the Blowhard, the Orator, the Partisan, the Statesman, the Prima Donna, the Mentor, the Old-fashioned Pol and the Visionary.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy is the rare man who shows flashes of them all, making him a singular senator, one of the last towering figures on a stage where the players and the performances seem to be shrinking even as the problems expand.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed Democratic Senator from Virginia, Jim Webb, about the Senator’s new book and began by declaring that: "...you seem to me the least political person I know who's ever run for political office." [Audio available here] Of course this is the same non-political Jim Webb that said he "wanted to slug" President Bush after a White House meeting in which the President asked how Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq, was doing.
Smith went on to ask Webb: "What was that like? Talk about your experience of running for the Senate and were you really prepared for the rough and tumble of what it was really like?" Webb proceeded to give his resume, perhaps in preparation for a vice-presidential nomination: "I've been involved in political debate for my entire adult life. You know, I've got four years as a committee counsel in the Congress, five years in the Pentagon, was Secretary of the Navy, journalist, written a lot of – " Smith then interjected: "Phenomenal novels."Later in the interview, Smith also described Webb’s novels as "amazing."
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to Democratic strategist Bob Shrum about Senator Ted Kennedy being hospitalized over the weekend and asked: "How important -- is there a way to measure this? Because everybody took a deep breath on Saturday and took a second to say, ‘oh, my gosh.’" Shrum responded: "I thought it was an incredible acknowledgment of the fact that this is probably the most effective and significant Senator in the last 50 years, one of the most significant in American history."
Shrum continued to lionize Kennedy: "...this is someone who literally has touched almost everybody's life in America. There isn't a bill for economic or social justice that doesn't bear his imprint. He's lived the Kennedy legacy, which we're all fascinated with, but he's vastly enlarged it." Smith followed up by describing how Kennedy even garnered respect from the Republican nominee:
We put a little bit of John McCain's statement up just a second ago. I want to put it up in full because this is really important. Here's a guy who should be his ideological opposite theoretically and this is what John McCain says: 'Senator Kennedy's role in the U.S. Senate cannot be overstated. He is a legendary lawmaker, and I have the highest respect for him.’
Dan Abrams, apparently still smarting from the castigation he received in April from Karl Rove, just cannot let go. Despite the fact that the "high level" Republican operative, Jill Simpson, who accused Rove of orchestrating the prosecution of convicted Democrat former Alabama governor, Dan Siegelman, never actually met nor talked to Karl Rove and whose "high level" operative activities in her own words never rose above typical volunteer work, Abrams continues to wander into the swamp created by this much less than credible source. On Thursday, Abrams and Catherine Crier were salivating with glee on MSNBC's Verdict over the prospect that the House Judiciary Committee might issue something called an 'inherent contempt' arrest for Karl Rove (emphasis mine):
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, during a panel discussion on Monday’s "The Situation Room," reacted sarcastically to John McCain’s recent campaign speech on climate change. "Well, you know, this story illustrates just how low the bar is for Republicans on the environment.You know, the fact that he acknowledges global warming is seen as a big advantage for him, but it's like acknowledging gravity. It is a scientific fact." Toobin then compared McCain to President Bush on the issue, stating that "the real issue is not whether it [global warming] exists. The question is what to do about it, and, in that area, he's not as far as to the right as Bush is, but he's pretty close." [audio available here]
An historic hearing will be conducted on Tuesday to determine whether House Democrats in August 2007 violated parliamentary procedure in defeating a motion to deny illegal aliens welfare benefits.
Readers likely remember the brouhaha this disgraceful display created at the time (video embedded right).
With high-ranking Democrats such as Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Michael McNulty (D-N.Y.) scheduled to testify, one has to wonder whether this unprecedented event, especially in a critical election year, will get much coverage from media doing everything in their power to take back the White House.
As reported Monday by Jed Babbin of Human Events (emphasis added):
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Barack Obama took some time off from campaigning to go back to Washington, where he got the royal treatment yesterday." Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report: "Officially this place, Capitol Hill, is Barack Obama's place of employment, but he doesn't come here very often. When he did make a rare visit yesterday he was treated like a rock star."
Reid went on to describe Obama’s "rock star" tour of Congress: "Swarmed by tourists and reporters, Barack Obama slowly wound his way through the U.S. Capitol, visiting the House floor where observers say even some members of Congress appeared star struck."
At one point, Reid explained how Obama reached across the aisle: "Even saying hello to House Republicans." However, Reid pointed out that: "the conversation apparently was less than profound," and played a clp of Obama joking: "They said they were impressed with my jump shot."
After Reid’s report, Smith talked to Democratic strategist Joe Trippi about when Hillary Clinton would get out of the race. Smith began by asking about Clinton’s recent comments in an interview: "First about Hillary Rodham Clinton, gives an interview to USA Today yesterday talking about how well she does with white voters, listening to her husband last night, are the wheels finally coming off this bus?"
My two cents say George Stephanopoulos gave Hillary a harder time than Tim Russert did Obama during their respective appearances on This Week and Meet the Press today. Russert never pinned Obama down on exactly what he knew of Rev. Wright's most controversial assertions and when he knew it.
Over on ABC, Stephanopoulos twice challenged Hillary to name a single economist who supported her proposal for a gas-tax holiday, and threw in her face the fact that even her big admirer in economist ranks, Paul Krugman of the NY Times, has criticized her over it. In exposing her inability to name a single practitioner of the dismal science who supported her plan [McCain, who's also called for a gas-tax holiday would presumably be similarly hard-pressed], Stephanopoulos left Clinton looking like a panderer. Stephanopoulos raised the issue right out of the box.
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter, also of Newsweek, suggested that voters who support Hillary Clinton's call for a temporary suspension of the federal gasoline tax are "stupid" as he contended that the Clinton campaign team are "assuming that people are too stupid to realize that this is a bad idea that won't save them any money at the pump." Alter later argued that the tax cut strategy may end up succeeding politically for Clinton because "there are a lot of what are called 'low information' voters" who are "not reading the unanimous, unanimous newspaper editorials against this. They're not talking to the environmentalists, the economists, everybody who unanimously believes this is a bad idea. They're, you know, understandably struggling, and at the pump, they're paying a lot for gas, and they want some relief." (Transcript follows)
A real-life secessionist movement seizes a historic American landmark and major media outlets treat the uprising as a curiosity of mere passing interest. Meanwhile, that same media gives a thumbs-up to a seditious, balkanizing plan for Aloha State apartheid.
AP's Mark Niesse reported yesterday, "Native Hawaiian sovereignty advocates" who are members of the group known as the Hawaiian Kingdom Government occupied the grounds of the palace of Hawaii's final monarch, Queen Lili`uokalani. "Hawaiian activists have long used the palace as the site for protests of what they call the United States' occupation of the islands, but never before had they physically taken control," wrote Niesse.
Pacific Business News reported that the "protesters" surrounded the Iolani Palace in Honolulu, chained palace gates, posted no-trespassing signs, and told "palace officials that the palace is their rightful seat of government." The PBN story noted that "Only those with Hawaiian blood, as well as news media, were initially allowed onto palace grounds."
The Honolulu Advertiser reported that the "sovereignty group" claimed its actions were "not a protest or demonstration but a reoccupying of its legitimate seat of government." CNN called the occupiers simply a "group of native Hawaiians."
Two segments that aired on two days straight on CNN underscored the network’s alignment with those who stand against a gasoline tax holiday during the summer driving season. First, Carol Costello’s segment on Wednesday’s "Newsroom" program used last year’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis to advance the idea that "things like road construction and bridge repair" would suffer as a result of the lost revenues. The following day, on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer pressed McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, on McCain’s proposal, asking, "So when you say that he would take the money from reserves, in other words, we would go further into debt to pay for this tax break?" During the interview, a chyron or graphic on the screen claimed, "Saving on Gas Could Cost You: Whether to Suspend Fed Gas Taxes."
On Monday’s CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric hyped a new potential scandal for the Bush administration as she declared: "Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, a report due out tomorrow raises some serious questions about one of the most influential government agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency...It even suggests political pressure may be putting the health of Americans at risk."
Correspondent Chip Reid followed up by explaining that the new report "...also points a big finger of blame at the White House, and in particular the Budget Office at the White House, saying that they're interfering in this process." Reid went on: " The bottom line, they say, is that the administration is dragging its feet on review of toxic chemicals to the point that the health of millions of Americans could be in danger."
Reid highlighted White House critics, like liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and an anonymous EPA scientist during the segment:
REID: A new government report by the investigative arm of Congress concludes that the process for analyzing health effects of toxic chemicals "is at serious risk of becoming obsolete" because of endless delays and secrecy. Behind it all, critics say, is the White House.
My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.
The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:
During a taped interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which aired on Thursday’s "Larry King Live," Larry King did not bring up the California Democrat’s longstanding use of a fictional quote from the Bible, which CNSNews.com chronicled in a report on April 23.
During the interview, which totaled just under 19 minutes, King asked Pelosi about a variety of topics, such as the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the congressional Democrats’ failure to end the war in Iraq, and the proposed free trade agreement with Colombia. But Pelosi’s quote, "To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us," which she has used on at least seven occasions since 2005, did not come up.
A Bible quote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi often uses to justify her environmental agenda doesn't exist, biblical scholars tell CNSNews.com reporter Pete Winn. Pelosi last cited the fictional Bible passage two days ago to commemorate Earth Day. In her April 22 news release, Pelosi said, "The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, 'To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.'"
A professor at Yale Divinity School tells Winn it’s not even a close paraphrase of anything in the Bible, and a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary says Pelosi’s Bible quote is completely "fictional." A Roman Catholic doctor of scripture adds that it can’t be found "even in pieces or bits." In addition to her recent news release, Pelosi’s "verbatim" citing of the quote goes back to at least 2005, Winn’s research shows the mistake repeating:
– A 2005 Christmas message to the U.S. House.
– A 2007 speech to U.S. House Science and Technology Committee.
Should Hillary make it to the White House, don't look for Bill to be taking an early twirl on the Inauguration Ball dance floor with Nancy Pelosi. Appearing on today's Face the Nation, Madame Speaker made a nasty joke at the former president's expense.
Host Bob Schieffer [who might have experienced some schadenfreude this week with all the talk of Katie Couric being pushed out of the Evening News anchor chair he kept warm for her], asked Pelosi what might have prompted Bill Clinton to resurrect the issue of Hillary's tussle with the Tuzla truth. He had famously chalked it up to the tribulations of a tired 60-year old late at night. In answer, Pelosi sardonically suggested Bill might have had a senior moment of his own.