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."
As part of Newsbusters’ thorough coverage of the Bill Clinton/Chris Wallace interview, the MRC’s Tim Graham noted that the shock should not have been over Wallace’s questions, but rather the softballs provided by "mainstream" journalists such as Tim Russert. The NBC host asked Clinton brief and not exactly hard hitting queries, including "what do you think is the biggest problem" in the world?
CBS anchor Harry Smith seemed perplexed by an "Early Show" guest who had the temerity to blame Clinton for failing to eliminate bin Laden. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked Roger Ailes, Chairman of Fox News, calling him "Ming the Merciless" for daring to criticize Clinton.
Over on CNN, the cable network joined in on the Fox bashing. "Situation Room" contributor Jack Cafferty described FNC as the "F-word network." (It should be noted that this isn’t the first time Cafferty has used the term, it’s sort of a go-to phrase for the liberal anchor.) CNN also featured yet another story over whether the GOP and "Big Oil" are conspiring to bring the price of gas down and, as a result, help the Republicans in the midterm elections
In other wide ranging bias, despite an underwhelming hurricane season, "Good Morning America" warned about Earth’s "soaring temperatures" and anchor Robin Roberts interviewed a parade of global warming cheerleaders.
After booting Rush Limbaugh over non-political remarks that
media favor Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb because he
is black, ESPN, the radio home of Keith Olbermann, allowed left-wing
director Spike Lee to go off on a rant about how New Orleans is not
rebuilt. Limbaugh touched on the topic in his show Tuesday:
must tell you, I watched the game a little bit last night. I had a very
important secret meeting and I didn't get to see the entire game,
missed some of the beginning, but as soon as I tuned in who do I see
but Spike Lee in the booth being asked questions as though he's an
expert on social policy and everything else. I listened to a little bit
of it, and I kept saying, "It's a football game! Couldn't you have done
this in the pregame show?" I find out they did, they devoted a lot of
time to the pregame show.
was pure politics in the booth at ESPN last night, and it was pure
liberal politics, disguised as social compassion. Give us the game,
guys! I'm getting sick of all these shots of the fans and the crowds
and the shots that take us away from the field. It's no different than
if you're at the game and a bunch of drunks in the row in front of you
stand up and you can't see what's going on on the field. That's what
these networks do. I don't want to hear Spike Lee when I'm watching the
Atlanta Falcons and the Saints. I don't care. He got his HBO
documentary. It doesn't matter to me. This ain't a social
welfare-concern show. Now, I know that there might have been some
pressure brought by the NFL. We gotta make New Orleans look good. We
gotta make people understand still a lot of work to do here and so
forth, but it got so syrupy and Milquetoast that I was about to puke.
It's a football game! And football announcers, I thought, were not
supposed to delve into politics. Where did I hear that once? Did
politics we get all over the place, and we got liberal politics, and
how rotten and horrible it is. "You may think Bourbon Street looks
good, but we had to go on a tour of all these areas of New Orleans that
are still dilapidated and un-repaired."
Rosie O’Donnell, the new host of "The View," restrained herself for exactly one week before letting fly with her extreme liberalism. On the September 12 edition, in response to fellow co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s comment that militant Islam is a grave threat, O’Donnell stated that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America." The comedienne also attacked America’s response to 9/11:
O’Donnell: "We were attacked not by a nation. And as a result of the attack and the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent people we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries."
I don't know about you, but by the end of the Bush-bashing festival that was the MSM's coverage of the one-year Katrina anniversary, I was about ready to climb up on my roof with a bedsheet message begging to be evacuated by helicopter.
Neal Gabler also has a complaint about the Katrina anniversary coverage: there wasn't enough of it.
On this evening's Fox News Watch, Gabler made his comment in the context of the panel's discussion of the John Mark Karr fiasco. Griped Gabler:
"The embarrassment isn't that he wasn't guilty, the embarrassment is the disproportionate amount of coverage he got even if he had been guilty. The problem is there [were] virtually no [TV news] minutes devoted to Katrina on the eve of the Katrina anniversary."
This week, the MRC’s Megan McCormack brought us a second-by-second account of Kyra Phillip’s now infamous "bathroom chat." She also did a follow-up on FNC’s "Fox and Friends" parody of the event. Soon, the story became a full blown media sensation.
To judge by the outraged defense of Democrats and the MSM that Matt Lauer and Tim Russert advanced on this morning's Today show, the Bush administration's arguments on fighting the war on terror are hitting home.
NBC reporter Kelly O'Donnell set the tone with this little shot at the president:
"While the president has cautioned not to politicize what he is talking about, he was greeted here in Salt Lake by 2,000 invited members of the public who carried signs, there was music playing - a campaign-style event - and we were told this was intended to counter some of the war demonstrations led by people like Cindy Sheehan."
Preliminaries over, it was on to the main event, the Lauer/Russert tag team.
Over at the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org Web site, I take a look at how CNN's Ali Velshi delivered a biased broadside against the insurance industry on today's "American Morning."
In between stories of frustrated insurance claimants, Velshi shared that “the insurance industry says that some in the media and CNN in particular haven’t given them a fair shake.” In response, Velshi added that he “invited the CEO of State Farm” and the president and CEO of Allstate were “unable to accommodate our request for an interview either.”
Yet elsewhere in his story, Velshi admitted that one insurance company was unable to talk to Velshi about individual cases, exactly the topic of Velshi’s story: individual cases of frustrated insurance claimants.
Near the end of Tuesday's "World News with Charles Gibson," ABC's "A Closer Look" segment explored racial tensions in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Reporter Steve Osunsami recycled wild black conspiracy theories about how the levees were blown up in a racist plot, complete with Spike Lee soundbites and documentary footage. Whites were said to be delighted that Katrina would make the city much whiter. Lance Hill, the Tulane University professor ABC selected to describe white opinion, claims the government ordered no food and water be distributed to Katrina victims, and spurred local Holocaust-survivor outrage by comparing the government's Katrina response to Hitler's Holocaust. ABC didn't explain any of that.
This past Sunday on "60 Minutes," CBS correspondent Byron Pitts interviewed New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, about New Orleans’ recovery since hurricane Katrina. Pitts’ hit Nagin with statements full of hyperbole, claiming there are "few visible signs of recovery" in New Orleans, and that there is "tons of debris still scattered about," yet, Pitts offered little in the way of facts and figures to back up his claims. However, a anyone viewing Tuesday’s "NewsHour" on PBS would have heard hard facts that contradict Pitts’ gloomy assertions. For example, Pitts claimed:
"Today, in one of the few visible signs of recovery, the 220 miles of levees damaged by the storm have been repaired by the Army Corps of Engineers."
On ABC's World News Tuesday night, a story on President Bush's day in New Orleans aggressively underlined the liberal theme that the response to Hurricane Katrina is a scandalous, indelible black mark on Bush's legacy. Reporter Martha Raddatz told viewers "the slow response was indeed a political disaster for the President, from which he is still trying to recover." Raddatz ended the story with an anecdote about a waitress joking to Bush that he wasn't going to turn his back on her, and Bush reportedly replied: "No, ma'am, not again."
Anchorman Charles Gibson began the segment, the second story after a general recounting of how New Orleanians commemorated the one-year anniversary, with a brief mention of responsibility at all levels of government. But as usual, ABC had no time for the Democratic mayor or governor and their failures, even as Raddatz highlighted the Democratic senator slamming the federal response. Gibson theorized:
One of Rush Limbaugh’s many pet peeves with the "drive-by" media’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina has been reporters nagging that the Bush administration wasn’t doling out money fast enough only to turn around and then complain that much of money has been wasted in various scams. A prime example of this was NBC’s Norah O’Donnell on last night’s Hardball. O’Donnell, determined to deny the administration any successes, asked the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson:
"A year later and less than half of New Orleans residents have moved back. There have been, according to government watchdog groups, at least $2 billion in fraud and waste, scams, et cetera. Can Bush claim that there's any success in what's happened in the Gulf Coast in the past year?"
Unlike Tuesday’s "Today Show," where Matt Lauer advanced a conspiracy theory that the levees were blown up intentionally, on today’s "Early Show" on CBS, co-host Harry Smith pounded Ray Nagin with the notion that nobody has done enough to help the people of New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina. Smith challenged Nagin’s leadership abilities:
‘...And, quite frankly Mr. Mayor, a lot of folks in this town have lost faith in you. Can you lead this city to the future?"
Smith complained at the slow pace of cleaning up the city and rebuilding and suggested the city is unlivable:
"You know, as we walk around this city, we're in a neighborhood where there is one house that's been restored next to five houses that haven't been restored. There is still debris around. There have been so many tens of thousands of people displaced. They're making a new life in Atlanta or Houston or even Salt Lake City. What argument would you give to them to come back to a place like this?"
On this morning's Today, NBC's Matt Lauer asked New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to address the conspiracy theory that the levees were intentionally blown up to protect white neighborhoods at the expense of African-Americans. Reciting a question Brian Williams posed in his special, Lauer asked Nagin: "And finally the elephant in the room, if you will, Mr. Nagin. There are still people in the black community, many people, and Brian Williams touched on this in a special last night on NBC, who believe that the day after Katrina struck New Orleans the levees were breached intentionally. That they were blown, if you will, to flood black and poor neighborhoods to spare middle-class white neighborhoods. It would seem very difficult for New Orleans to move forward until that's directly addressed. What do you say about it?"
Is it news to anyone that Michael Brown thinks he got a bum rap on Katrina? As shopworn as was his concatenation of complaint this morning, Matt Lauer treated it with the enthusiasm of a Live at Five reporter on the scene of a fresh accident out on county route 11.
You knew this was coming: Lauer got things off to a Bush-bashing start with the famous "you're doing a heck of a job, Brownie" clip of the president congratulating Brown for his work at the beginning of the relief effort.
Matt moved things along with a series of 'helpful' questions/comments:
Lauer: "You warned the president and no help arrived?"
Brown says he did.
Lauer: "The stupid talking points [defending the relief efforts] should be thrown out the window when people are dying."
Lauer: "Do you think that you have been handed all of the blame for this situation? Should the president share the blame?"
Looking back at Katrina a year later, NBC's Brian Williams decided to raise the issue of race and to showcase as his sole expert, on both Monday's NBC Nightly News and a prime time special, left-wing professor Michael Eric Dyson, author of Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster. Williams, from New Orleans, set up his Nightly News segment by arguing the disaster “destroyed” a lot and “it exposed a lot, too, including, some say, the dicey issues of race and class in our country.” Dyson, a regular on Bill Maher's HBO show and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, declared: "The people in New Orleans were left behind long before the vicious winds and violent waters of Hurricane Katrina came along to wash them away."
Williams asked: "What was your reaction when Barbara Bush said they're really better off?" Dyson retorted: "Yeah, I'm a Christian minister man, so I always try to give love as the first response. But I'll tell you, when Barbara Bush said that, it reinforced the reputation of the Bushes as clueless patricians, number one. Number two, inadvertently, let's be honest, she was right at a certain level...” Williams followed up: "Were they robbed of their dignity by the government?" (Transcript follows)
There was more bad news for President Bush during the 4pm EDT hour of Monday's "The Situation Room." In two separate reports from Bill Schneider and Dana Bash, the President was labeled "clueless" on his handling of Hurricane Katrina and Democratic talking points on the subject were repeated yet again.
Schneider’s piece focused on the toll Hurricane Katrina took on President Bush’s poll numbers. CNN’s senior political analyst argued that the President took two hits from Katrina:
Bill Schneider: "President Bush’s self-declared image as a compassionate conservative also took a hit. The public saw a remote, even clueless, President after Katrina struck."
Harry Smith, "Early Show" co-host, reported live from New Orleans today on the state of the city one year after Hurricane Katrina. Smith essentially had one type of question: Exactly how horrible is the situation today? The CBS journalist talked with Oliver Thomas, President of the New Orleans City Council. He lectured Mr. Thomas, telling him, "Folks feel abandoned. They feel forgotten. They feel desperate." This, despite the fact that more then $44 billion has been spent on rebuilding the Gulf Coast, with a total of $110 billion designated for the project.
Smith began the interview, which aired at 7:10AM EDT on August 28, by asking, "...Could the levees withstand Ernesto if Ernesto turned and came up this way?" Mr. Thomas told him that, while the situation isn’t perfect, the levees are much stronger and more reinforced then a year ago. Apparently this wasn’t the proper answer, because Smith then rephrased remarkably similar questions:
Smith: "If Ernesto came here two days from now, would the city be evacuated? Would we have the same horror story from a year ago?"
Again, the city councilman replied in the affirmative. Of course the city would be evacuated. The "Early Show" co-host interrupted quickly interrupted him with a gloomy scenario:
Over the weekend on NBC’s syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," Matthews and his media panel predicted the House would fall to the Democrats, prompting Matthews to wonder what sort of "scare tactic" Republicans would employ in the upcoming midterms. Matthews asked Time’s Michael Duffy if the Republicans were "gonna bring in the ethnic factor?"
Then later in the program Matthews honored the media’s Katrina coverage by highlighting this exaggerated report from an NBC cameraman: "Dead people around the walls of the Convention Center laying in the middle of the street."
Matthews and the panel began the show discussing the inevitability of the Democrats retaking Congress and what Republicans would stoop to, to prevent the takeover which led to this exchange between Matthews and Duffy:
It seems everyone's going to be getting in on the Katrina-exposed-racism extravaganza this week. Looking through Thursday night's BBC World rebroadcast that's shown locally here on PBS station WETA, MRC's Michelle Humphrey found something weird. As reporter Jim Fish narrated a story on racial cohesion in Britain and France, he then took a jolting turn to a one-sentence condemnation of America:
"And in the most renowned melting pot society of all, the United States, Hurricane Katrina exposed the grim reality that far too many black people remain at the bottom of the pile, too often ignored and cut off from the American Dream."
We all knew that the one-year Katrina anniversary was going to be a festival of MSM Bush-bashing. And while Good Morning America certainly fulfilled that expectation this morning, who could have guessed that they would have thrown in a two-fer - the beginnings of the beatification of Bill Clinton?
Check out the graphic. Move over, Jimmy Carter: ABC has proclaimed Bill Clinton the new Philanthropist-in-Chief! Interviewed by Robin Roberts, Clinton allowed as to how if he had been in charge during Katrina "I might have done something more just because I feel so close to the area." Darn that 22nd Amendment!
Earlier on, Charlie Gibson ensured that America wouldn't forget what was portrayed as a low point for Pres. Bush during Katrina. As the screen showed W peering down at the devastation from a plane window, Gibson told us that with regard to government plans to deal with future hurricanes:
"There's a certain doubt, even though it's all on paper, whether it would actually work. Because one of the sad parts of this is that there's been an erosion in confidence in government . . . I think everybody
It all started when CNN repoter Miles O'Brien announced that in Biloxi, Miss., 30 people had died in the St. Charles apartment complex. Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove immediately investigated, expecting a heavy workload. But he discovered that no one had died, and immediately announced the news to the media. This hardly stopped a news story that had already assumed a reality of its own.
The front page of today's Chicago Tribune carries the headline: "Bush's vows after Katrina go unfulfilled, Critics: Washington `all windup, no pitch.'"
The principal critic cited is the dependably liberal historian Douglas Brinkley of Tulane University. "'The Bush administration, post-Katrina, has been all windup and no pitch. It's a low point in Bush's tenure,' says Brinkley."
The professor's credentials as an impartial observer are questionable. Here, after all, is a man who claims that Jimmy Carter "is seen as a national treasure - even by people who didn't like him as president." A man who asserted: "I think he'd (John Kerry) make a first-rate president." A man who wants to see Bill Clinton's reputation rehabilitated and says, "Hopefully, we'll have a fuller view and also understand that he's had a great many important strengths."
On Friday’s "Early Show," there were three stories worth noting here on NewsBusters. First, CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews painted the ruling by the FDA allowing the morning after pill, known as Plan B, to be sold without a prescription in many cases as an election year ploy by the Bush Administration and as a victory for women’s groups at the expense of conservatives. Next, correspondent Mark Strassmann, reporting from Baghdad, actually noted some progress in securing Iraq, "…But since then, U.S. and Iraqi forces have ratcheted up pressure in Baghdad's meanest neighborhoods. The results look promising. City-wide, murders are down 41%." Finally, viewers were given a preview of this Sunday’s "60 Minutes" interview with Ray Nagin, in which Nagin defended the slow pace of progress in New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina by comparing his cities recovery to New York’s after 9/11: "It's alright. You guys in New York City can't get a hole in the ground fixed, and it's five years later. So let's be fair." Further analysis of each of these stories follows.
Last night NBC gave its August 24 "Nightly News" audience a one-sided story on Katrina insurance claims. Correspondent Ron Mott stacked three critics (a plaintiff, his attorney, and another woman filing suit) of insurance companies against a one-sentence statement by State Farm insurance.
What's more, NBC's Ron Mott left out some detail about one of his featured plaintiffs: Judy Guice of Biloxi.
It’s been noted on this site before that David Shuster’s reports for MSNBC’s Hardball read like DNC press releases and last night was no exception as he attacked the administration on Katrina and Iraq and even found time to slam Sen. George Allen. Shuster opened fire: "Almost a year since Hurricane Katrina swamped the Gulf Coast, left the country shocked at the Bush administration's ineptitude the Bush team is now engaged in damage control for the year after reminder."
During his report Shuster cited Nancy Pelosi to attack Bush on Katrina, Sen. John McCain to hit Bush on Iraq and Howard Dean to slam Allen. Then Shuster called the Democrat's "wise" and doomed the GOP with this sign-off: "Reminding voters of your opponent's mistakes is a wise political campaign strategy and between George Allen, the problems in Iraq and the anniversary of the Bush team's Katrina debacle Democrats are now having a field day. Republicans are simply trying to hang on just 75 days before the congressional elections. I'm David Shuster for Hardball in Washington."
Film director Spike Lee could have created a stirring tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina who lost everything. Instead, his documentary "When the Levees Broke" featured Republican/Bush-bashing, conspiracy-mongering, and a disregard for victims of other races
Spike Lee focused primarily on the Lower Ninth Ward and the African-American victims of Katrina. So, viewers were left with the clear indication that the New Orleans area is almost solely comprised of African-Americans and the victims of Katrina were almost all African-American. However, the metropolitan area of New Orleans was 63% white prior to Katrina and 47% of the storm fatalities were not African-Americans, and of that group the vast majority was white.
Katrina was an equal opportunity destroyer and the flood waters did not discriminate. Incredibly, Lee found no time to investigate the damage in Old Metairie or Lakeview, two primarily white areas that were decimated. Was that just an oversight or an example of racial discrimination? Lee also completely bypassed the devastated Mississippi Gulf Coast, another primarily white region, which bore the brunt of the high winds and the storm surge of Katrina...
On Thursday’s "Early Show" on CBS, co-host Hannah Storm promoted the leftist hype about the link between global warming and hurricanes in a segment with global warming enthusiast, and author of the new book "The Ravaging Tide," Mike Tidwell. Storm acted as more of a facilitator than interviewer, asking leading questions, questions that assumed Tidwell’s comments were accurate, and allowed her guest to make some ridiculous statements that went unchallenged.
Storm’s feelings on the matter can best be summed up by her statement, "…this dependence on fossil fuels needs to be addressed. So what’s your recommendation?"