In Time's 'Verbatim' section on page 21 this week, our democratically elected government is scolded by a former dictator of the former Soviet Union as he visited post-Katrina New Orleans:
'If things haven't changed by our next visit, we may have to announce a revolution.'
-- MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, former Soviet leader, on the slow recovery efforts in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward
Time left out a quote that followed, according to AP: "No matter the flooding and the hurricane, the red tape and bureaucracy survive," he said. Time doesn't ponder how long it might take the Russian government (or took the old U.S.S.R.) to dig out of disasters -- like Chernobyl. But they were always deeply impressed by Gorbachev, who they named "Man of the Decade" at the end of the 1980s, in an oh-so-obvious snub of Ronald Reagan.
CNN viewers on Friday saw a relatively rare acknowledgement of those who are skeptical of Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth," including a British judge who recently ruled that there are nine inaccuracies in the movie. But CNN's Miles O'Brien dismissed the views of dissenters, and downplayed the importance of the errors cited by the judge.
As he made several appearances on various CNN shows on Friday, O'Brien tagged dissenters with such labels as "dead-enders," a "tiny fraction of a minority," and a "very small fringe," as he linked skeptics to fossil fuel companies. He also repeatedly declared that the scientific debate on global warming is over. Notably, on the July 20 "The Situation Room," O'Brien had curtly lectured former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts with similar comments on the subject. O'Brien: "You're not paying attention to the science, J.C. You're definitely not paying attention. ... The scientific debate is over, J.C., we're done." (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann questioned why Democrats are not accusing Republicans of racism because of the decision by GOP presidential candidates to reject invitations to debate at black and Hispanic events, as he asked: "When the Republican presidential candidates refuse to debate at black or Hispanic venues, why are they not being asked if they're as racist as that seems?" As he discussed the issue with liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, during which the words "White Wingers" were displayed at the bottom of the screen, the Countdown host raised the possibility Republicans are interested in re-segregating schools by overturning Brown versus Topeka Board of Education. Olbermann: "Is it possible they're actually hoping to move backwards in this, that there is some part of the Republican party that says, you know, we got to roll back, those activist judges in Brown versus Board of Education, we got to get rid of them?" (Transcript follows)
While media carped and whined about the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans, a judge in Gulfport, Mississippi, ruled on a lawsuit filed against oil, coal, and electric utility companies that could have significant implications on future litigation involving greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.
Unfortunately, from what I can tell, not one press outlet found the judge's decision at all newsworthy. Not one!
To set this up, NewsBusters reported on August 15 a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of a number of Mississippians claiming that the greenhouse gas emissions of a very long list of companies doing business in the Gulf exacerbated the strength of Hurricane Katrina thereby making them responsible for the citizens' financial losses.
On Friday, LexisNexis Mealey's Legal News reported (very grateful h/t NBer Par for the Course):
On the eve of the August 29 second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina striking the Mississippi-Louisiana Gulf Coast, as the American news media prepared to do a slew of anniversary-update stories, the non-partisan Political and Economic Research Council released a hefty study of how the region's small-business sector is doing.
On the Wednesday night edition of MSNBC's "Hardball" Chris Matthews and David Shuster continued to use the Larry Craig scandal to bury the GOP and while Matthews declared "the downfall of" Bush's party was "driven by every movement of the body politic" it was his colleague Shuster who outdid him when, after running down a litany of GOP troubles ranging from Craig to the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, charged: "It all adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
CNN apparently wants to milk all it can out of the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s strike on the Gulf Coast for the benefit of the Democrats. On Monday’s "The Situation Room," CNN special correspondent Soledad O’Brien’s report juxtaposed a clip of a recent speech by Barack Obama with stock footage of the hurricane’s aftermath. On Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," O’Brien upped the ante in another segment. This time, more footage of damage from Hurricane Katrina ran at the same time an audio clip from President Bush’s first post-Katrina speech in New Orleans began. The video then cut to the President speaking in Jackson Square, and as the clip ended, the picture froze and went to black-and-white, as you might expect in an election campaign commercial.
O’Brien, on-location in New Orleans, appeared during the 5 pm hour of "The Situation Room." Host Wolf Blitzer asked her what people along the Gulf Coast were saying about the rebuilding effort. O’Brien’s reply: "You know, Wolf, if you had to pick on a single word, then I think that word would be they're very, very frustrated." She went on to say that people there also "feel let down by their local leaders, the state leaders, and the federal government, too." O’Brien mentioned the local and state leaders first, but they were not to be mentioned in her report. It focused entirely on the response of the Bush administration, and Democrats’ criticism. In addition to this "frustration" she cited, O’Brien would go on to talk about a conspiracy theory about why the federal aid to the region has been so slow.
Brian Williams has defended armed looting during Katrina as the work of heads of family providing for their own.
The NBC Nightly News anchor is in New Orleans on the second Katrina anniversary. He appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" at 7:30 A.M. EDT. Williams first passed along a predictable race-and-classed based explanation of the mismanaged relief efforts.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: That's when human life started to degrade. That's when people ran out of of bathroom facilities and started having to use the entire [Superdome]: no power, no circulating air, and worse, no information from the outside world. Somebody said "they [the victims] just weren't worth it."
A bit later, Williams offered up this defense of armed looting.
WILLIAMS: The looting we witnessed downtown, you could hear gunfire in the streets of the 25th-largest city in the United States. We keep saying human behavior degraded that week. There was a desperation that you can only get when you're the head of a family. You don't know where a meal is going to come from, you can't find bottled water. You don't know how you're going to get your family to high ground.
Soledad O’Brien’s segment on "some of the leading White House hopefuls" and their recent visits to New Orleans on Monday’s "The Situation Room" might leave one wondering where the "Paid for by the DNC" caption in small font was hiding. O’Brien’s report juxtaposed a clip from a recent speech by Barack Obama with stock footage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and featured only the three Democrat frontrunners. Clearly, other "White House hopefuls" have visited the hurricane-damaged area in and around New Orleans, but CNN chose to focus on Clinton, Obama, and Edwards.
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts interviewed Barack Obama in New Orleans and asserted that politicians from "both parties" would be coming to the formerly hurricane ravaged region to "point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers." While the ABC co-host didn’t explain who was forcing the residents to live in trailers, she did offer the 2008 Democratic candidate a softball interview where the only tough questions came from the left.
GMA guest co-host Bill Weir teased the segment by optimistically spinning Obama’s "plan to bring New Orleans back." Roberts proceeded to ask the senator about friendly topics, such as his desire to "reach out to Republicans." In fact, the only time she challenged the candidate was with a query from the left. Responding to Obama’s goal of forcing insurance companies to pay into a national disaster reserve, Roberts complained, "A lot of people are going to say, ‘Senator Obama, the insurance company, they have laid many roadblocks, many people think, in this recovery role.’ Is it realistic to think that they would be a part of something like this?" The GMA co-anchor pressed with a follow-up, claiming, "But that's how it's been. How can you change that?"
If anyone in the media blames the Minnesota bridge collapse on "cheap Republicans" who like tax cuts, it would not be the first time. In 1989, after a memorable San Francisco earthquake, an interstate highway bridge collapsed and killed hundreds. Media figures demanded new taxes, and some even suggested the Proposition 13 ballot initiative may have caused unnecessary deaths. We reported in the November 1989 MediaWatch:
As aftershocks rumbled through the San Francisco Bay area, media figures began calling for more taxes. On the October 18 Nightline, Ted Koppel asked an agreeable Democratic politician from California: "We all remember a few years ago Proposition 13 which rolled back taxes. And at the same time the point was made you roll back the taxes, that's fine, but that means there are going to be fewer funds available for necessary projects. Any instances where the money that was not spent because of the rollback of Proposition 13 where money would have made a difference?"
In May, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an above average hurricane season, the media reported the announcement with a vigor.
Two months later, with no serious hurricanes yet hitting the mainland, a private forecaster has reduced its tropical storm expectations.
Less hurricanes should be good news, especially for folks along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, right? Shouldn't this get aggressively disseminated by media outlets that certainly have a public service responsibility?
Before we get there, the following was reported by Reuters Tuesday evening (emphasis added):
In the lead-up to Monday night’s YouTube debate with the Democrat presidential candidates, CNN ran prime-time specials previewing videos that might be featured during the debate, and most of those featured came from the liberal side. It should be no surprise then that video clips featured left-wing clips by almost a 3 to 1 margin versus the conservative clips - 17 liberal clips to 6 conservative clips, out of a total of 38 video question clips.
Video of 10 of the liberal questions (6:20): Real (4.53 MB) or Windows (3.79 MB), plus MP3 audio (2.15 MB).
As if allowing this anti-American Bush-hater to have his own series wasn't enough, the brilliant folks at HBO decided to give Bill Maher another comedy special to rail against all things conservative.
For those on the left hoping for some truly vile attacks on the GOP, Saturday's "Bill Maher: The Decider" surely must have hit the spot.
In fact, of the 60 minutes Maher was given, upwards of 40 were spent eviscerating the President, his staff, Republican presidential candidates, and religious figures. In reality, this was a virtual campaign video for Democrats.
With that in mind, what follows are some of the lowlights in no particular order. However, the reader is cautioned that this is not edited for content, and contains some truly vulgar language.
Call it killing two birds with one stone. The mainstream media tries to keep the recovery from Hurricane Katrina in the public consciousness, while highlighting one of their favorite sons. That was the gist of a segment on Monday's "Anderson Cooper 360" on CNN. Host Anderson Cooper has consistently played-up the government's poor response to Hurricane Katrina (his appearance on ‘Oprah' as a prime example). At the same time, he gave John Edwards the silk glove treatment. Cooper, who at one point, labeled Edwards's stop in New Orleans a "political photo-op," went on to report, "Edwards insists this not a campaign swing. There are no rallies, no cheering crowds. A small gaggle of reporters follows him from stop to stop as he struggles for traction." Overall, his segment follows ABC's "heaping helping" of Edwards's townhall meeting in New Orleans.
Two parts involving Elizabeth Edwards highlighted the absurdity of the segment. Cooper gave this syrupy-sweet take on her involvement in her husband's campaign.
COOPER (voice-over): With him much of the time, his wife, Elizabeth, a celebrity in her own right, fighting a personal and public battle with cancer. She's a top adviser and her husband's chief defender.
COOPER (on camera): How angry do you get when you read about his $400 haircut or criticism of the house you guys are building?
In his Monday "Media Notes" column in The Washington Post -- for some reason, the whole column was demoted to page C-7 -- Howard Kurtz reported (in his second item) that National Public Radio's FBI reporter, Dina Temple-Raston, recently did a report quoting the American Civil Liberties Union. That wouldn't be shocking, except that Temple-Raston is also co-author of a new book with the executive director of the ACLU on "the dangerous erosion of the Bill of Rights in the age of terror."
Temple-Raston claimed she's aware of the "perception issue," but will try to be "really, really balanced." (So is NPR, which includes the data in her online bio.) This hire is a complete insult to the idea of creating an impression of a fair, nonpartisan public-radio news network. It would be bad enough if an NPR reporter gave money to the ACLU, or attended their fundraising dinners. But this reporter has written a book, cheek and jowl, with the leader of the ACLU, endorsing their leftist worldview on a blooming Bush dictatorship. How on Earth can NPR think it doesn't look transparently partisan from the first broadcast word?
Even when the Washington Post is covering a Marxist, they have trouble putting an ideological label in the headline. On the front page of Monday’s Style section is a profile of Marxist rock guitarist Tom Morello, but the headline was bland: "Tom Morello, on Tour and on Message: Folk-Rock’s Nightwatchman Plays True to His Roots." Inside, the headline was simply "Tom Morello, Refocusing His Political Rage." Neither headline reflected that he prayed for President Bush’s death:
Onstage, when the Nightwatchman sang, "I pray that God himself will come and drown the president if the levees break again," the Jammin' Java crowd's attitude was chilling. People were praying.
So why isn’t that death-wish directly reflected in the headline, instead of simply being vaguely "On Message" with "Rage"?
Remember all the false reports coming out of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina? Don't try to relive them at CNN. The network has gone back and corrected a report that originally talked about snipers on the rooftops without any sort of retraction.
Remember in 1984, where
Winston's job was to revise newspapers of the past to keep up with the
ever changing present? This is very interesting. A couple years ago,
during the Katrina disaster, I linked to a CNN report and quoted it [...]
of my readers ran into that posting of mine--and noticed that the CNN
report at that link no longer said anything like that. It was much,
much more upbeat. Nothing about the police snipers on the roof. Did I
copy the wrong link? Did I have a brief attack of delusion, and make
While the liberal media tries to make over a Kansas tornado to resemble their perfect media bias storm over Hurricane Katrina, the floods in Missouri may be a more analogous comparison. But the CBS Evening News wasn't going to allow local residents to blame the federal government without a rebuttal -- if the president was Bill Clinton.
On Wednesday night's newscast, CBS reporter Cynthia Bowers reported that residents were upset the feds didn't shore up the levees, as they failed to do after "the historic flood of 1993, which killed 48 people and did nearly $20 billion worth of damage to nine waterlogged states." But that shouldn't be associated with Clinton, Bowers implied: "Actually, it's not the federal government's responsibility to maintain every levee. Most of the hundreds of levees along the Missouri and Mississippi River are built and kept up by the people who live next to them."
Back in 1993, CBS Evening News reporter Vicki Mabrey didn't use the words "Clinton" or "Democrats" when locals began complaining about the government response, but ended the story on a sad note: "But the government has no way of keeping towns from asking for federal assistance, just like there's no way to guarantee the Mississippi will never flood again."
It had to happen sooner or later. A natural disaster was destined to hit a town in another state led by a Democrat governor who was willing to feed the waiting media activists with a swipe against President Bush and the War in Iraq. Such a tragedy happened over the weekend when a category five tornado hit Greensburg, Kansas and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius immediately blamed the war in Iraq for a lack of response by depleted National Guard units. The situation was so politically opportunistic that even Presidential candidate Barack Obama stated while on a campaign stop that 10,000 residents had been killed in the devastation.
This morning, co-host John Roberts interviewed Sebelius on "American Morning." In one of his questions, Roberts gave the governor an opportunity to repeat her opinion on the National Guard equipment from Kansas that was sent to Iraq. "You have illuminated a problem that you've got here, in terms of the National Guard's ability to be able to react to this crisis because of the Iraq war. What's going on?"
For several years as oil and gas prices have exploded, a frequent media commentary has been to blame the problem on President Bush.
Either he didn’t do enough to stop a hurricane from hitting New Orleans, or it’s due to the war in Iraq, or he should talk to Iran, or it’s due to Cheney’s having run Halliburton – whatever the specious connection, the White House has been routinely at fault.
Yet, along comes Reuters on Wednesday cautioning drivers about upcoming record-high gas prices with a cause that, mysteriously and quite remarkably, had nothing to do with President Bush.
Over at The Hillary Spot on NRO, a great spot for keeping up with the presidential campaign, Jim Geraghty found that Chris Matthews wasn't exactly playing "Hardball" before the Democratic debate. But he did imply that Bush was a little racist because he was faster to arrive on the scene at Virginia Tech than in New Orleans after Katrina. (Question to Chris: Do you think no blacks were gunned down at Virginia Tech?) Geraghty thought Matthews sounded like a DNC press aide:
Chris Matthews' first question to Elizabeth Edwards on Hardball: "What's the difference between having a Democratic President and a Republican President?"
If you’re a leftwing journalist with a new television special about to air on PBS accusing the Bush administration of using the media to sell the Iraq war in 2003, is there any place better to promote the event than HBO’s “Real Time?”
Bill Moyers must have felt this was the perfect venue to market his upcoming “Buying the War” program, as he discussed its contents and his views of the incursion and the media with Bill Maher on Friday (video available here).
As so often happens when Maher has such an outspoken critic of the Administration as his guest, the host set up the discussion in a manner seemingly designed to create an environment condusive to bashing the president:
A few weeks ago as the world awaited the release of the most recent report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, some well-known scientists were quoted as saying that the media’s sensationalistic coverage of the issue was interfering with a reasoned discussion on the topic.
Their thinking was that the more the press and Hollywoodans suggest that the problem is so dire that the world is coming to an end, the more likely the public will develop a sense of futility about the issue, and just begin to ignore it.
A fine example of exactly what these scientists were talking about was published in the most recent issue of New York magazine (h/t radio host Mike Church). In fact, Kurt Andersen’s article sounded such hyperbolic alarm that he had the gall to suggest that “fat, spoiled, 21st-century Americans” only have a 50-50 chance of possessing the “requisite gumption and discipline” to solve the problem (emphasis added throughout, apologies in advance for Andersen’s vulgarity):
Talk about your really inconvenient truths, a new study to be released on Wednesday refutes one of the major cataclysmic claims of soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore and his band of not so merry global warming alarmists.
For those that have forgotten – or just intentionally blocked it out -- in the schlockumentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore contended that global warming was responsible for increased hurricane activity with ominous portent for the future of such storms. In fact, this was a common media meme in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.
Yet, according to an article by Reuters Tuesday, not only does this appear not to be the case, but global warming actual reduces tropical cyclone frequency and intensity (emphasis added throughout):
Leave it to a liberal to claim that Americans are "cheapskates" because our government does not spend enough money on foreign aid. In the L.A.Times for April 13th, that is just what we are treated to with Rosa Brooks' screed titled, "To the rest of the world, we're cheapskates" and subtitled, "The U.S. international affairs budget -- which helps fight AIDS, poverty and more -- is just 1% of total spending." But, by attacking our country over its record on charity and foreign aid spending, Brooks proves that she neither understands the nature of American generosity, nor the American character.
Agence France Presse has published a whopper about Global Warming, titled "Climate refugees -- the growing army without a name", in which we get the claims of a UN Climate Committee that "50 million" will be homeless because of Global Warming "by 2010". But the report is so filled with could be's, might be's and the ever popular "some experts say" that it is hard to take the claims seriously. It is, in fact, downright impossible to believe a word in the report unless you suspend all faculties of disbelief and merely accept as a matter of faith that they "could be" right. Of course, that is the nub of the Globaloney debate in the first place; the willing suspension of disbelief.
The first paragraph of this report sets a dichotomy that the rest of the report tries hard to refute with their "expert" testimony.
If you can survive reading Time magazine, then you should be able to handle all 44 pages of “The Global Warming Survival Guide.” It’s chock full of diatribes, calls for increased regulation and “51 Things You Can Do to Make a Difference.” Unfortunately, recycling your Time magazine before reading it didn’t make the list.
Time has a bit of a bias – for Mother Earth and against all the rest of us. According to the lead story, “we can also be shortsighted and brutish, hungry for food, resources, land – and heedless of the mess we leave behind trying to get them.”
I could go into detail about all the craziness and discussion of our “250-year industrial bacchanal,” and I do, but let’s explore the fun stuff – the crazy 51 ideas. Readers were supposed to ride the bus, move to a high-rise, pay the carbon tax, skip the steak and only make right turns. (UPS found that its trucks idled more waiting for left turns.)