Closing out the "Media Mash" segment on the September 16 edition of his eponymous "Hannity" program, the Fox News host asked for NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell's reaction to NBC's Meredith Vieira telling House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that the Bush tax cuts "didn't succeed" and asking him "what's so good about them?":
Memo to Meredith [Vieira]: You can have a debate about what future tax cuts might or might not result in but a record is a record. Under George Bush, 8 million jobs were created with his tax cuts. With Ronald Reagan's tax cuts there were 20 million jobs created. We've done nothing but lose jobs with Barack Obama with the stimulus package. Truth is truth, facts are facts. Don't go on television saying it didn't work. It did work!
The economy-boosting, jobs-creating benefits of across-the-board tax cuts are not all the media are not telling the truth about. The Media Research Center founder and president also addressed how the media, particularly ABC's Christiane Amanpour are smearing everyday Americans as "Islamophobic" [Listen to MP3 audio here or download WMV video here]:
On Sunday, NewsBusters contributor and Media Research Center video producer Bob Parks attended the 9/12 rally in Washington, D.C., where he interviewed some black attendees to bust the liberal media meme that the Tea Party movement is a practically all-white affair.
Last Friday Mika Brzezinski and Morning Joe engaged in some strange and possibly unprecedented TV "journalism." They invited Terry Jones—the potentially Koran-burning pastor—on the show via live feed, gave former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham the chance to lecture him about Christianity and implore him not to proceed with his plan . . . then summarily cut the feed without giving Jones the chance to say word one in response.
"We don't really need to hear anything else" declared Mika, as she shut down the pastor's microphone.
A number of bloggers, including NB's own Matt Hadro and me, noted and criticized Mika's bizarre move. But there was Joe Scarborough on the show today, mockingly writing off Mika's critics as "crazy people."
Washington Post staff writer Anne Kornblut used her question at a White House press conference on Friday to worry that, despite Barack Obama making it a "priority," anti-Muslim "suspicion" still existed in America.
She queried the President, "Nine years after the September 11th attacks, why do you think it is that we are now seeing such an increase in suspicion and outright resentment of Islam, especially given that it has been one of your priorities to improve relations with the Muslim world?" [MP3 audio here.]
Obama's response seemed to echo his infamous 2008 comment about Americans being "bitter" and "clinging" to their guns. He proclaimed, "You know, I think that at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then, you know, fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society. And, so, I think that plays a role in it."
Snatching the proverbial low-hanging fruit off the branch, Arianna Huffington compared the vast majority of Americans who oppose the construction of a mosque close to Ground Zero to the thirty members of a Florida church who plan to burn copies of the Koran on 9/11. Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" today, the liberal publisher criticized the president for not echoing her logical fallacy.
"I think the point [President Barack Obama] could have made is to connect [Koran burning] with the opposition of the mosque," asserted Huffington, publisher of The Huffington Post. "You can't really completely separate these things."
Huffington then attempted to pass off circular logic as a "teachable moment:"
Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggested continued growth in national economic activity during the reporting period of mid-July through the end of August, but with widespread signs of a deceleration compared with preceding periods.
... However, the remaining Districts of New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, and Chicago all highlighted mixed conditions or deceleration in overall economic activity.
It may be fair to describe the detail in Atlanta's section of the report as "mixed" (it's a borderline call; the opening paragraph from that District's report will appear later). But Richmond's section is clearly one of deceleration, which brings us to today's clearly needed geography lesson for Jeannine Aversa and/or a headline writer at the Associated Press.
What follows is a graphic containing the headline at Aversa's 2:45 p.m. story (since updated here), and her first few paragraphs:
UK Telegraph columnist Janet Daley blasted the BBC on Tuesday for treating the tea party movement "as if it were a cross between the Klu [sic] Klux Klan and the German neo-fascist brigade."
While Daley's piece is a stirring and hard-hitting indictment of the BBC's coverage, she seems to believe that its disdainful approach to the tea party movement stems from a failure to understand the American political tradition. But by that logic, American reporters, who presumably do understand that tradition, would refrain from such coverage.
Let's see: Nazi comparisons? Check. KKK comparisons? Check. The fact is the American media elite are more akin to their British counterparts than to the tea party protesters they all cover. Liberal elitism knows no borders.
One failure of logic is to generalize from the anecdotal to the whole. Conservatives, who know rules of logic -- we have Thomas Sowell after all (see what I did there?) -- understand this. So, when it comes to rhetorical arguments or situations where some weirdo commits some random badness, they tend to blame...well, the perpetrator. It's also just fundamental fairness.
The left, in contrast, has spent the last year and half trying to pin every act of terrorism and evil on the vast, white, racist, homophobic, bigoted Tea Party. They do it without shame. They impugn, malign and besmirch repeatedly. Best Tea Party sign? "You'll say I'm racist anyway."
Lefties generalize from anecdotes unless the crazy person is one of their own (and yes, that was just a generalization). Then, of course, the crazy is an "outlier". He's a depraved individual. And often, there are compelling reasons for the outburst. Those compelling reasons demand more examination. And upon examination, well, it turns out the context is complex and nuanced.
Enter the Discovery Building bomber-hostage taker-gun nut. The blogger Atrios was quick to point out that the guy with a clear eco-terrorist bent was just a "crazy individual".
NBC's Richard Engel has done some good reporting from Iraq. But scratch the reporter's surface, and you find a political partisan eager to echo the anti-Bush party line. Witness his exchange with Ari Fleischer on Morning Joe today. Engel twisted the former Bush press secretary's words, accusing him of alleging an Osama Bin Laden connection with Iraq. Fleischer had palpably said no such thing.
The springboard was Fleischer's citation of a 1998 OBL interview in which the terrorist boss said America was weak because it is unable to see through long wars. Fleischer went on to argue that America's resolve will be tested should things go badly wrong in Iraq or Afghanistan, thus putting under pressure the arbitrary dates that have been set for US withdrawal from those countries.
Engel jumped in to accuse Fleischer of claiming an OBL tie with Iraq. Even after Fleischer made explicitly clear he was alleging no such connection, Engel obdurately pressed his point.
Could Scott Pelley possibly be this naive, or was he willingly playing the role of MSM cheerleader for the developer of the Ground Zero Mosque?
In the course of a chummy interview of GZM developer Sharif El-Gamal aired on Sunday's 60 Minutes, Pelley produced a pearl. Instead of asking a probing question, the CBS "reporter" served as an advocate for El-Gamal's position when it came to the siting of the mosque.
Pelley, on his own initiative, asserted:
"You don't have your choice of putting this anywhere you want to. There aren't many spots."
Five years ago on Sunday, Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf coast, devastating much of the region, and most memorably New Orleans. Yesterday was an occasion to look back at what went wrong in the city, and hope that the same mistakes are not made again.
One of the most notorious failures surrounding Katrina was the media's coverage of the situation in New Orleans. One "well-known [television] anchor," actor and filmmaker Harry Shearer recalled in an interview with Daily Finance's Jeff Bercovici, claimed the "the emotional stories are more compelling for our audience." Hence, the media mostly ignored the larger issues facing the city - survivors still stranded on rooftops, the reasons for the levy's failures - in favor of more sensationalistic, occasionally outright false stories.
Shearer gives the media's coverage - with the notable exceptions of only a couple outlets - a D-minus.
This past weekend, intrepid journalists at the New York Post and NorthJersey.com released information they unearthed about proposed Ground Zero Mosque "organizer" Sharif El-Gamal and frontman Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, respectively, that the wire services, the New York Times and the national TV networks would likely have run with by now had the items related to a major church or synagogue.
But since the news has to do with what has turned into the PC crowd's cause celebre and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's personal pet project, you may not see the stories covered anywhere else.
The arguably more important story of the two concerns the tax problems of Mr. El-Gamal (pictured above via the Post) and his company, because they directly related to the GZM's property. The story by Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein went up early Sunday morning:
A reporter for the St. Louis paper the Riverfront Times has a message for all the members of the Tea Party movement he smeared with false accusations of political violence: "I have no regrets."
Chad Garrison penned a blog post last week speculating that a member of the Tea Party had firebombed the office of Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo. "Given what we know of [the perpatrator] - 50, white, angry - he certainly fits the demographics of a Tea Party member," Garrison wrote. " "On second thought," he added, "maybe he's not a Tea Party member. Firebombing your opponent's office seems a little too, um, sane for that group."
But it turns out the man was actually a disgruntled former Carnahan staffer and blogger for the left-wing site Talking Points Memo, not a member of the Tea Party. Members of the movement asked Garrison to retract. His response: lighten up, wingnuts.
"Protesters use 'sharia' as a slur and rallying cry against Islam," reads the dismissive print edition headline for Michelle Boorstein's page A5 August 27 story. The Washington Post's online edition used different wording: "For critics of Islam, 'sharia' a loaded word."
Boorstein cited "controversial" conservative scholar Daniel Pipes warning that pro-sharia Muslims "want to implement sharia in every detail on everyone in a stringest way." For an opposing view, the Post religion writer also cited Imam Yahya Hendi, a Muslim chaplain for Georgetown University and "spokesman of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America," who argued that more moderate Muslims see sharia as more like a set of guidelines to guide personal and family life than a rigid code of law which must supplant secular governance.
Fair enough, yet Boorstein put her thumb on the scale by lamenting that "the word has become akin to a slur in some camps... an alarming development to many religious and political leaders."
"This is one of those ever more obnoxious teaching moments that we're getting from the left-wing press," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell complained on last night's "Hannity" after watching a clip of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell lament that Americans need to be more sensitive to minorities, not for the "burden" to be on Imam Feisal Rauf to assauge concerns about the planned Ground Zero mosque.
Noting that polls show 70 percent of the American people oppose the Park 51 project planned just two blocks from Ground Zero, Bozell argued Mitchell's complaint is just more evidence of the liberal media's "worldview that is completely contrary" and out-of-touch with the American public.
Besides Ground Zero mosque bias, The Media Research Center founder also reacted to NBC's Chuck Todd passing along an unnamed "observer" who told him the 2010 midterms would be the "fear" election in contrast to the 2008 "hope" election:
Newly uncovered audio recorded at a forum in 2006 shows Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Ground Zero mosque, reaffirming his belief that U.S. 'terrorism' fostered Islamic terrorism. (h/t Ace)
Picking up where she left off last week, MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski on Tuesday and Wednesday cast opponents of the Ground Zero mosque as a "destructive" force, "demonizing" Muslims and "promoting ignorance."
Yet Brzezinski advocated Wednesday for a compromise between the two sides to be spearheaded by President Obama. When Joe Scarborough opined that President Obama, along with former presidents, needs to get involved in a compromise, Mika blurted out that "if [Obama] can have a summit in Boston between a professor and a cop, I think he can do this."
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" panels largely supported the proposed Ground Zero mosque on both Tuesday and Wednesday, although they did show sympathy toward families of 9/11 victims. But the talking heads still would not give full credence to opponents of the mosque.
Perhaps the climax of the struggle came toward the end of Tuesday's 7 a.m. hour, where Mika faced off against the vice president of America's 911 Foundation, Nick Leischen. The organization supports active first responders nationwide in memory of the 9/11 attacks.
After Leischen, speaking for families of 9/11 victims, said that the mosque within sight of Ground Zero would be an affront to grieving persons returning to the site, Mika unleashed her tirade.
They'll have all sorts of excuses (but only if asked) about why it happened: It's because they had a lot of guest anchors last week, it was hot, summer vacation season is still on (though lots of kids around in Greater Cincinnati were already back in school by last Wednesday), cable is killing us, blah-blah, etc., etc.
But the Big Three networks won't be able to avoid the fact that their ongoing decline reached a painful low last week of 18.82 million average viewers. Here is the graphic that appeared this morning at ABC's lipstick-on-a-pig blog post:
I don't know whether that's an all-time low, but Kevin Allocca at Media Bistro, who hadn't posted the full numbers as of the time of this post, has noted that one of those networks indeed scraped bottom last week:
Time magazine's Joe Klein yesterday did what he does best: take one paragraph from a neoconservative's column and blow it out of proportion and out of context in order to go on an extended screed bashing conservatives in general and neocons in particular.
Writing for his magazine's Swampland blog yesterday, Klein addressed Bill Kristol's editorial for the August 30 Weekly Standard print edition entitled, "He's No Muslim, He's a Progressive."
Klein started off with a backhanded compliment:
Well, it's good to learn that there are limits to Bill Kristol's tactical skeevery. He clearly states here that Barack Obama is not a Muslim. No winks, no nods, no gratuitous McConnellesque "If he says he's not, that's okay with me."
With that out of the way, Klein dove into his screed:
"There is a debate to be had about the sensitivity of building this center so close to Ground Zero. But we can not let fear and rage tear down the towers of our core American values." -- Katie Couric's Notebook, 8-23-10 [emphasis added]
Hey Norah: Katie's stealin' yer lines!
As I noted here, last week Norah O'Donnell accusedmosque opponents of acting "like the people who attacked America and killed 3,000 people."
In her "Notebook" of yesterday, Katie Couric sounded the same theme. Couric employed WTC imagery to claim that "fear and rage" [translation: animated mosque opponents] were threatening "to tear down the towers" of our core American values.
"Nowhere near Ground Zero, but no more welcome: Outcry over mosque proposals in Tennessee and elsewhere could be a sign of rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the country."
With those words, the front page headline* and subheader for an August 23 Washington Post story by Annie Gowen conflated the controversy over the Ground Zero mosque with opposition to other mosques across the fruited plain, namely one planned for Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from where Gowen filed her story.
Gowen waited until 27th pragraph in the 41-paragraph story to introduce the man spearheading the opposition, "a stocky 44-year-old correctional officer named Kevin Fisher" who "spent his formative years in Buffalo, where a home-grown terrorist cell of Yemeni Americans was uncovered in 2002."
Yet long before she ever got around to quoting Fisher, Gowen set out to portray the opposition to the mosque as the work of intolerant, ignorant rednecks.
The mainstream media are telling us that "it's the fringe that's upset" about the Ground Zero mosque, but polling data show "it's 70 percent of the American people," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on Friday's "Hannity" program.
"That means every conservative, every moderate, and some liberals too" think the Ground Zero mosque is in extremely poor taste, leaving only "the far left and people still dropping acid," who fail to see why it's controversial, the Media Research Center founder quipped.
"If Barack Obama runs on this in 2012, he will make Jimmy Carter look good by comparison.... This is how bad this position is, and everybody understands it except for the press," Bozell argued later in the "Media Mash" segment.
For the segment's audio, click here to download the MP3. Click the play button on the embed above for video, or click here to download the WMV video file.
File this under "Fascinating Things You Learn When Researching Other Things."
The Associated Press's infamous memo huffing and puffing about how it will henceforth describe the 13-story mosque/community center/kumbaya center that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf would like to have built on a site two blocks away from where the World Trade Center Towers once stood opened with this sentence:
We should continue to avoid the phrase "ground zero mosque" or "mosque at ground zero" on all platforms.
Obviously the publicly announced editorial decision was news, but how about the lack of uppercase letters in "Ground Zero"?
It turns out that both the AP and the New York Times routinely do not capitalize "Ground Zero," making them grammar outliers. Here was one grammarian's take on the matter in 2007 (bolded in final sentence is mine):
Talk about your teachable moments, the Ground Zero mosque controversy has taught us in just what contempt some in the liberal media hold their fellow Americans.
As I noted here, last week on MSNBC, Cenk Uygur accused Americans who oppose the mosque of being "ignorant." Washington Post blogger Joel Achenbach upped the ante, calling Americans "numbskulls, dumb, ill-informed, paranoid, gullible and goofy." This weekend on Fox News Watch, Ellis Henican also used the i-word, saying that when it comes to the mosque, pundits shouldn't be as "ignorant" as other Americans. Jim Pinkerton pounced, pointing out the MSM's preening moral superiority that Henican had illustrated.
Henican had opened the mosque segment by saying that those such as himself who live in lower Manhattan are more receptive to the mosque than people who live farther away, speculating that in Idaho are 99% against it. Later came this exchange . . .
Yesterday Eyeblast.tv went up to New York City to interview people about the proposed Ground Zero mosque. While there, we were able to interview a security guard outside of the mosque location who said he was a long-time friend and follower of the Ground Zero imam.
On Thursday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty questioned the motives of the planners behind the proposed New York City mosque near Ground Zero: "The developer... has said the proximity of the planned mosque and center is not an issue. Really?...It's simply unrealistic to think you can build a Muslim house of worship two blocks from where this awful thing happened, and not get a negative reaction."
Cafferty raised the mosque controversy during his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary: "Sometimes no answer can be an answer. When asked if a portion of the $100 million needed to build the mosque and Islamic community center near Ground Zero here in New York City might come from either Saudi Arabia or Iran, the developers refused to comment. This only adds to the already heated controversy surrounding this project."
The CNN personality, after noting that "15 of the 19 hijackers responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 people, and the destruction of the World Trade Center on September the 11th, came from Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. considers Iran to be a sponsor of terrorism," applauded New York Governor David Paterson's effort to find a compromise over the planned mosque's site, labeling him "one of the few rational voices in the conversation."
In an unusual move, the Associated Press has publicly released an advisory memo to its reporters on how to cover the Ground Zero mosque story - and the first rule is that journalists must immediately stop calling it the "Ground Zero mosque" story.
"We should continue to avoid the phrase ‘Ground zero mosque' or ‘mosque at ground zero' on all platforms," reads the advisory, which was issued by the AP's Standards Center.
Instead of the "Ground Zero mosque," AP recommends that reporters use the terms "mosque 2 blocks from WTC site," "Muslim (or Islamic) center near WTC site," "mosque near ground zero," or "mosque near WTC site."
The AP suggests that it might "useful in some stories to note that Muslim prayer services have been held since 2009 in the building that the new project will replace." In addition, the news service offers a "succinct summary of President Obama's position" on the mosque, but doesn't include the positions of any other politicians.
On December 8 of last year, at some point before hitting the "print" button, someone at the New York Times decided that a story about what has since become known as the Ground Zero Mosque needed to be reworked.
Earlier that day, the Times published an online powder-puff piece by reporters Ralph Blumenthal and Sharaf Mowjood about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's GZM plans. The pair's story was revised before it went to print, and the online version was changed ("Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero," with a web page title bar that reads "Muslim Prayers Fuel Spiritual Rebuilding Project Near Ground Zero") to mirror it. It's even puffier.
Several bloggers posted about the pair's online original when it appeared. A few, including Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs and Ben Muessig at The Gothamist, excerpted some or all of the key paragraphs shown on the left below (bold in the third paragraph is mine). On the right is how that segment went to print on December 9 (link is to hard-to-read enlarged scan of that day's front page, where the story's opening paragraphs appeared near its bottom right), and how it currently appears online:
Grossman explained that the comparison stems from conservatives who pointed out an incident in the early 1990s when Pope John Paul II halted a planned convent near the Auschwitz concentration camp. The nuns had every right to build the convent, but it was unwise and insensitive to do so, leading the pontiff to scrap the plan. By way of analogy, Muslims have every right to build a mosque near Ground Zero, but the insensitivity of doing so blocks from the site of the deadliest radical Islamic terror attack in U.S. history should lead Muslim leaders to call for the project to be scrapped.
But Grossman then went on to quote two liberals who reject the Auschwitz analogy as invalid before she conflated the Ground Zero mosque issue with isolated incidents across the country where other folks are raising NIMBY objections to mosques in their hometowns (emphasis Grossman's):