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.)
It is safe to say after listening to Wednesday’s “Glenn Beck Program” that the host is not at all fond of ABC’s Rosie O’Donnell. In fact, one wouldn’t be out of line in stating that he loathes the co-host of “The View” who he disaffectionately referred to as a “fat witch.”
In an unbridled rant about a figure that is truly becoming one of the prime targets for conservatives due to her frequent ignorant and vitriolic diatribes about any Republican brought up during this idiotic program, Beck took on Rosie’s views with a vehemence that will surely put a smile on many faces.
After discussing the “double standard in the media” concerning opinions like his, and how he is called a hatemonger, Beck went after Rosie with both barrels blazing (audio available here, h/t Ian at Hot Air):
President Bush won't address the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention next week in Washington, but the journalists will hear from liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and Spike Lee, most recently infamous for spreading the theory that the government exploded the levees in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to drown the poor black folk. Last year, ABC promoted his conspiratorial vision, as Lee declared "As an African-American in this country, I don't put anything past the government."
As already noted on NewsBusters, "20/20" anchor Barbara Walters interviewed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for a segment airing on the March 16 edition of the program. And although she did occasionally challenge authoritarian leader, Walters spent much of the interview discussing important topics such as whether Chavez likes coffee, marriage, and generally regurgitating the Venezuelan President’s propaganda.
Walters, appearing on the Friday edition of "Good Morning America" to plug the interview, even touted a Chavez run for political office in the U.S.:
Robin Roberts: "Did he think he would do very well if he ran for office here in this country?"
Barbara Walters: "He said, ‘You know, if I came to this country, I would run, I could run an election if I changed my name to Nicky Chavez because I am for humanity. I am for disseminating the wealth. I am for helping people.’ He says, ‘I would win.’ So put his name down on the list."
On this morning's Today show, NBC correspondent Dawn Fratangelo visited country music singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter at her home in Virginia to promote her latest album that Today host Meredith Vieira declared was her "most personal and political so far." Fratangelo even let Carpenter serenade her with one of its tracks that Fratangelo described as: "A song of solidarity with the Dixie Chicks." As Chapin strummed along on the guitar Today viewers were treated to the following anti-Bush lyrics: "This isn't for the ones who blindly follow...this isn't for the man who can't count the bodies and comfort the families and can't say what he's wrong."
Washington Post reporter Lyndsey Layton reported Thursday that House Republicans will move for an unusual vote protesting the new committee assignment of Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana, the congressman still under investigation for the $90,000 in bribe money found in his home freezer. After removing Jefferson from the powerful Ways and Means Committee last year as the Democrats ran against a "culture of corruption," Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi now wants to place him on the Homeland Security Committee.
Layton's story highlights Jefferson's role as a "vocal critic of FEMA's performance" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as a rationale for his Homeland Security appointment. But the Post left out Jake Tapper's September 2005 scoop on Jefferson using the government to check on his personal property in the hurricane aftermath: "Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned."
Despite Hollywood and the media’s love affair with Al Gore, it seems that the smart money on Wall Street has turned cold to the concept of global warming.
As has been noted by many skeptical scientists, this current period of temperature rise that began in the ’70s may actually have peaked in 1998. Yet, the real hysteria surrounding this issue reached a zenith with the cataclysm of Hurricane Katrina, and the arrival of the equally disturbing schlockumentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”
As the world became more and more focused on climate change issues, shares of alternative energy companies skyrocketed like tech stocks in the late ’90s. Unfortunately, according to a Bloomberg article published Monday, the party might be coming to an end right around the time interest in this subject is skyrocketing (emphasis mine throughout):
Far left conspiracy theory rants are not enough to lose the praise of a CNN anchor. On the February 20th addition of American Morning, anchor Soledad O’Brien announced that Spike Lee won a Polk award for his film When the Levees Broke. The man who does not think it is "far fetched" that the levees in New Orleans were bombed, earned praise from O’Brien who editorialized, "if you haven’t seen it, you should really run out and get it" and added, "good work Spike!" Additionally, it is very telling that such conspiracy theories can win one a journalism award. The transcript is below.
Soledad O’Brien: "Director Spike Lee, who's been helping us on this project, helping hand out the cameras and giving the kids some tips for shooting, and becoming really film makers. We have a little congratulations in order for him today. His documentary, called When the Levees Broke, it won the George Polk award, which of course, is one of the top prizes in journalism. It showed the government's failed response to Katrina. If you haven't seen it you should really run out and get it. So a big congratulations to Spike Lee for this honor. Good work Spike!"
On the Tuesday edition of “Good Morning America,” host Robin Roberts slammed the insurance industry for daring to make a profit in the years since Hurricane Katrina. She also used the segment as a vehicle to call for more government regulations. The piece, combatively titled “GMA Gets It Done: Getting Answers” suggested the subjective, advocacy oriented slant that the program would take. (Additionally, last week, Diane Sawyer previewed the multi-day story, describing it as “a call to arms.”)
Roberts repeatedly took insurance company representative Bob Hartwig to task for the industry’s “record profits.” A sampling of Roberts’ hostile questioning can be found below:
Robin Roberts: “When people who have lost everything, who are in dispute with various insurance companies and they see the amount of money that-- the profit that is being made in such a year, these home owners scratch their heads a little bit. Do you understand?”
Roberts: “Though people find it hard to believe during such a devastating year, you still make a significant increase in your profit. And they’re saying, ‘Good grief, we trusted you.’”
Roberts: “You know that rings hollow, what you just said, to so many people. They don't believe that anymore.”
What happens when a noted politician announces he’s running for President? Well, in the case of conservative Republican Mitt Romney, CBS’ "Early Show" gives the story a scant ten seconds. But what if that candidate is Democrat Barack Obama? Well, then the same program devotes over nine minutes of coverage! (For those keeping count: A 54: 1 advantage for the Democrat.)
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America’s" Diane Sawyer continued her Dictator ‘07 tour. She portrayed the authoritarian Syria as a pro family, welfare paradise.
Later in the week, Sawyer asked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, noted Holocaust denier, how often he cries.
File this one under "MSM condemns ee-vil corporations." As you'll note from the screencap, ABC's Good Morning America today branded State Farm Insurance "not a good neighbor." What is State Farm's sin? Its decision not to write new homeowners and commercial policies in the state of Mississippi.
Did you note that? State Farm has decided not to write any new policies. This in no way affects the insurer's liability for existing policies. State Farm has made a simple business decision: given the legal environment there, Mississippi is not a good place for an insurer like it do to business.
"Mike Fernandez, vice president of public affairs for State Farm, said Mississippi's 'current legal and political environment is simply untenable. We're just not in a position to accept any additional risk in this homeowners' market.'"
That didn't stop Diane Sawyer from introducing a segment on the news by speaking of "outrage" over insurance companies and declaring that "some" call State Farm's decision "heartless and others call it plain greedy."
On last night's Hardball Chris Matthews, interviewing Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, was peeved that Democrats weren't pushing hard enough to have a vote on the surge. Citing polls in opposition to the surge a flustered Matthews worried Democrats were going to roll over for the President and demanded Hoyer not let the President ignore Democrats like he ignored Katrina. In the first segment of the February 14th, Hardball Matthews declared to Hoyer: "He is gonna treat you, the first branch of the Constitution, as if you're Katrina, not to be paid attention to."
The following is the full question from Matthews:
Chris Matthews: "Well, we have a new poll that shows that seven, seven out of 10 Americans are watching Congress to see how they vote on this and they say that they vote and they say that if they vote the wrong way, they're going to remember that come election time. You know, Mr. Leader, you and I were grew up in a country where presidents were very attune to Congress and respectful of it, especially those who came out of Congress like Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy and even Richard Nixon. They watched the Congress, they paid attention to it and they cared about its legislative duties. This President, and I know you respect him as we do, as President, but he came out and said the other day that he's not even gonna bother watching the floor debate. He doesn't even want to hear about it. He's got other things to do. He is gonna treat you, the first branch of the Constitution, as if you're Katrina, not to be paid attention to. Does that bother you constitutionally that the President doesn't think that this major debate on war is something he's not even gonna bother to watch on television?"
CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported Monday night from the Center for the Intrepid, the new rehabilitation facility for wounded soldiers in San Antonio, Texas. Cooper announced he had a problem that this facility was privately, not publicly funded, as if raising private funds for Iraq vets was outrageous and inappropriate. This prompted the CNN anchor to ask Hillary Clinton a softball question using a quote from partisan hack and unwavering Clinton supporter Paul Begala about how the government could fund Halliburton and tax cuts, but not its heroes. Hillary said: "And I say Amen." But Cooper unintentionally answered his own question later in the show as he fussed over bureaucracy stalling funds for Hurricane Katrina recovery.
Throughout the show, Anderson Cooper was horrified that this $50 million state of the art facility was funded through the generous donations of the American people rather than government funds. He inquired to Bill White, president of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund: "This center was $50 million in donations from corporations, and even individuals, school kids giving them dollars here and there. Why didn’t the government do it?"
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer and reporter Jake Tapper highlighted the Democrats’ strategy to "get tough on the White House." The ABC correspondent discussed plans to begin hearings on holding the Bush administration accountable for issues such as global warming, Hurricane Katrina, Darfur, and Iraq. Tapper indicated that the President would soon be assailed from all sides. A sampling of the report’s phrasing seems to indicate approval for these hard-nosed Democrats:
Diane Sawyer: "Well, global warming. We said that the Democrats had promised to get tough on the White House. They're doing it with hearings on all fronts. But up first, global warming, and the charge that scientists who warned about global warming were muzzled by the Bush administration."
Next, Jake Tapper apparently found a phrase that he enjoyed:
Jake Tapper: "It's just one of many Democratic investigations where they hope to hold the White House's feet to any number of fires. The White House is under attack from every angle. From global warming, to the rebuilding of New Orleans, to Darfur, to Iraq."
Later in the report, he discussed hearings on Hurricane Katrina and returned to the fire analogy:
Tapper: "This week, a Senate committee went to New Orleans to hold the President's feet to the fire on Katrina recovery."
A night after CNN anchors fretted about how Katrina and the recovering Gulf region were “thunderously missing” from President Bush's State of the Union address, CBS and NBC picked up the cause. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric regretted on Wednesday night how “there was not one mention of Katrina, though the suffering and hardship continue.” Noting that “there are still 13,000 people living in FEMA trailers,” Couric asserted: “Some who lost everything are asking, 'What about us?'” Reporter Armen Keteyian, a veteran of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, featured one New Orleans man who, “like many here, watched the President's speech, his rage rising with every word." Keteyian listed how “there were 5,596 words in the President's speech last night,” and insisted that “reaction to the fact that not a single one was either Katrina or Louisiana was felt...all across the Gulf." Kateyian concluded with how “words like 'relief' and 'recovery' now seem as empty to them as last night's presidential address.”
Leading into an image of a headline in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “New Orleans left out of president's script,” as if a local newspaper story should have national import, David Gregory highlighted on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News: “That focus on Iraq, and the political toll it's taken, has led the White House to divert its attention from other priorities -- like rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina. Last night, not a word. The omission was headline news.”
Just a couple of minutes before 9pm EST Tuesday night, as viewers awaited President Bush's State of the Union address, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer cued up Anderson Cooper to inform viewers of how there would be an “issue that’s presumably going to be thunderously missing from this speech.” Cooper explained: “Yeah, of course, you’re talking about Hurricane Katrina, you’re talking about the Gulf Coast states and Mississippi and the rebuilding of New Orleans. No mention of that in this speech tonight. That is certainly going to upset a lot of people in the Gulf Coast region who already feel that the country has moved on, that Washington has forgotten them. In the State of the Union, the President, as we have been told so far, will make no reference to New Orleans or to Mississippi, the rebuilding there. So much still needs to be done there, obviously, and we will not be hearing about that tonight from this President.” (Hat tip to MRC's Rich Noyes)
Gee, I wonder whom Hillary had in mind when she blamed her bad image on "radio and cable TV" this morning? She didn't quite name Rush, Hannity et al. as the "evildoers," but there was no mistaking the object of her disaffection.
The comment came in the course of a "Today" interview with Meredith Vieira. Meredith began with a slow-pitch softball, asking whether Hillary believes the public has stopped listening to President Bush. Hillary allowed that "there's a great discouragement about the president's leadership."
But Meredith maximized the MPH with her next question:
"Many voters still have this very negative opinion of you, and some of the words that are used to describe you are not very kind." As Vieira beginning ticking off the awful adjectives: "strident, cold, scripted, phony," Hillary burst into this political season's most insincere laughter.
Meredith took note of Clinton's feigned frivolity: "You're laughing at that. Advisors have said that they want to humanize you. Why do people seem to have that perception of you after knowing you for 15 years."
NBC’s Brian Williams quickly breezed through news of a court ruling in Mississippi pertaining to Hurricane Katrina insurance claims. But unlike coverage of the case in the Associated Press and The New York Times, the “Nightly News” anchor cast the ruling only as a victory for storm damage victims, without looking at how it could harm the insurance industry or gum up courts by encouraging lawsuits.
Williams told viewers of the January 11 program about “A big legal victory today for a Biloxi, Miss., couple who sued State Farm Insurance for refusing to pay” their Hurricane Katrina damage claim. The ruling could prove helpful to “hundreds of other victims in that region” who could “benefit as a result,” the anchor insisted. All told, Norman and Genevieve Broussard walked out of court with nearly $3 million, Williams added.
Liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich was among friends during his appearance on Wednesday’s edition of The View. While co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell were nowhere to be found during the segment, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters allowed Rich to promote his book, which Walters herself said "tears the Bush White House apart." While Walters did pose one challenge to the writer’s assertion that the Iraq war cannot be won, most of the questions directed to the columnist would not be considered so tough.
Walters began the interview with the Times columnist with this glowing introduction:
Barbara Walters: "Every Sunday, millions of people turn to New York Times columnist Frank Rich to hear his views on everything from politics to pop culture. That's how important his opinions are. Not everybody loves his opinions, and in his new book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, he absolutely tears the Bush White House apart. This is a book that is such fascinating reading."
As NewsBuster Matt Sheffield reported Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works held a hearing Wednesday to discuss the media’s role in causing global warming hysteria in the country. The committee’s website encapsulated the proceedings (emphasis mine throughout):
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, said today’s hearing about the media and climate change revealed that “Scare tactics should not drive public policy.” The hearing’s purpose was to examine the media’s presentation of climate science and featured scientists and media experts.
“As the Democrats rush to pass costly carbon cap legislation in the next Congress, today’s hearing showed that the so-called ‘scientific consensus’ does not exist. Leading scientists from the U.S. and Australia denounced much of the media for becoming advocates for alarmism rather than objectivity.” Senator James Inhofe said.
PBS talk show host Charlie Rose, who spent the 1980s at CBS doing the overnight interview show "Nightwatch," is never a softer touch than when he has a network star on his show. Monday night’s interview with NBC anchor Brian Williams gave the anchor a platform to present his newscast as a "reasoned, serious" oasis from cable-news shouters, a "half hour of peace and tranquility" with "smart people" like David Gregory and Andrea Mitchell telling you about the world. Their discussion of Katrina coverage had no hint of regret that NBC misled people with Ray Nagin’s wild estimates of 10,000 dead. Williams said, "you remember people saying, well, the media have found their footing again and its name is New Orleans. They were asleep during WMD. But they're awake now."
The interview began with syrupy talk about Williams filling in for Rose during his heart-surgery break. Williams said it was his pleasure, since he was interviewing that genius who is the editor of Newsweek:
Forgive the slowness of getting to this amazing exchange on Meet the Press, but with all the fuss that Chris Matthews and other national pundits have made over George Allen's "Macaca" salutation, it's amazing (and a testament to media Bush-loathing) that Missouri Democrat Senate challenger Claire McCaskill could completely copy rapper Kanye West and insist President Bush let people die in New Orleans because they were black, and nobody blinked. (Coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC? Zero.) At least Tim Russert brought it up last Sunday, late in the Missouri Senate debate on Meet the Press. But McCaskill wouldn't retract it. She was "acknowledging the feelings" of professional race-baiters and certain rappers who wear pink:
Russert: Let me turn to George W. Bush, because he’s become an issue in the campaign. Ms. McCaskill, you were quoted in the pubdef.net giving a speech which was blogged, saying, “She reminded people that ‘George Bush let people die on rooftops in New Orleans because they were poor and because they were black.’” One, why would you say that, and do you believe it?
Certainly, the New York Times’ Frank Rich is an easy target for conservatives, as he never has anything nice to say about President Bush or any politician with the letter “R” after his/her name. Yet, when such an obvious left-wing hatchet-man goes on “Oprah” to boost sales of his new, just-in-time-for-the-elections gotcha book, “The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina," about the current Administration’s supposed missteps in Iraq and New Orleans, it is certainly fair game.
After all, on this show humorously titled “Truth in America,” Rich described his view of a propaganda machine within the White House designed to misinform the public with what he states in his book is “a hidden and elaborate fake news factory, complete with its own fake news journalists, all of it paid for by taxpayers.” Yet, in the following video clips, notice that Rich never addressed the propaganda machine that he works for, the fake news his organization regularly disseminates to an unknowing public, and, maybe more importantly, nobody in the audience or the host ever challenged him about this obvious contradiction.
Back in January, Oprah Winfrey featured bombastic liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich in a show about James Frey's lying memoir, in which Rich quickly brought up Enron and Bush lying us into war. Mrs. Graham alerted me that Oprah's doing it again on Thursday, an October surprise: Frank Rich promoting his Bush-bashing book "The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina."
The on-air promo Tuesday and the online promo don't mention Rich's name, but do feature his face. The show's title is "Truth in America." The online promo is short, but matches Rich's book title: "An Oprah special...what is the truth? The war in Iraq, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, media reports....are we getting the real story? Do we really want to hear it? A controversial hour..." The on-air promo doesn't show another guest -- as in someone who would debate Rich, but we do see a female audience member insisting "I support the president...and what he did."