New York Times Berlin bureau chief Nicholas Kulish was harsh on his hosts in his “Memo From Germany” on Wednesday, “Success and Advice Cast a Giant as a Villain, Not a Model, in Europe.” Germany’s leadership has had the gall to fix work-force rules and institute pension reforms and are insisting that bailout help for free-spending, sclerotic Greece must be contingent on similar requirements, or as Kulish calls it, “austerity and suffering.”
Say, Al Sharpton: if Herman Cain lacks "intelligence" for colloquially referring to "Cuban" as a language, how about Barack Obama . . . who did precisely the same thing when it came to "Austrian"?
On his MSNBC show tonight, Sharpton mocked Cain for asking in an aside while munching on a Cuban delicacy during a campaign stop: "how do you say 'delicious' in Cuban?" Does Sharpton not know that Barack Obama, in a much more formal setting, addressing a NATO audience, said something virtually identical, wondering how a certain phrase was said "in Austrian"? Video after the jump.
New York Times correspondent Alan Cowell issued a moralistic “Memo from London” on Monday on the humble joys of post-World War II austerity compared to today, where the "have-nots" are tempted by things they cannot have: “As the riots in London and elsewhere in August seemed to show, the profound gulf between haves and have-nots has been magnified by the inequalities and envies of a society that has built its newest altars to consumption and greed.”
Are we supposed to believe standards of professional journalism are so different in France that when you hear something clearly newsworthy, you don't say or write about it when the government tells you not to because of "tradition"?
That's what Angela Charlton at the Associated Press, which admits to having had a reporter on hand when French President Nicolas Sarkozy told U.S. President Barack Obama that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "is a liar," would have us believe. Though she did note Obama's lack of objection to Sarkozy's assertion, Charlton downplayed Obama's actual and equally broad response -- "You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!" -- by holding it until the eighth paragraph of her report and keeping it out of the story's headline. The first six paragraphs of the report (9:45 a.m. version also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), which includes the excuse, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
At the tail end of the second hour of the Diane Rehm Show on many NPR stations Friday, defense reporter James Kitfield of the National Journal broke out his outrage about the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was firebombed this week. Like Time's Bruce Crumley, Kitfield saved his outrage for the "irresponsible" satirists and all his sensitivity for the Muslims of France.
In the Huffington Post, French journalist Romina Ruiz-Goiriena complained that while "For many, the publication has been an iconic soapbox for the far French left since its creation in 1960," it failed to achieve what freedom should: "The issue was not thought-provoking; it simply contributed to burgeoning anti-Muslim sentiment. What it should have been doing was pushing the conversation forward to confront the seemingly dormant but rampant institutional bigotry. After all, is that not the point of having a free press tradition in the first place?"
NPR's Philip Reeves slanted towards the Occupy Wall Street on Wednesday's All Things Considered as he played up the "huge outcry" over St. Paul Cathedral in London's dispute with the left-leaning movement, which has an encampment outside its doors. Reeves spotlighted a local official who "called St. Paul's a 'national laughing stock,'" and omitted sound bites from the opponents of the movement.
Host Guy Raz noted in his introduction to the correspondent's report how St. Paul's was a "national treasure" associated with Churchill's funeral and the wedding of Charles and Diana, and continued that it was now "the backdrop for another kind of drama: a protest camp modeled on the Occupy Wall Street movement. NPR's Philip Reeves says it's causing upheaval in the heart of British society."
Islamists firebombed a satirical newspaper in France named Charlie Hebdo. Time magazine, on its “Global Spin” blog, uncorked outrage – against the newspaper. Time’s Paris bureau chief Bruce Crumley blamed the “insolent” newspaper for the bombing. The headline was “Firebombed French Paper Is No Free Speech Martyr.” Ace of Spades says the URL suggests the original title may have been even worse: "Firebombed French Paper: A Victim of Islam, Or Its Own Obnoxious Islamaphobia?"
Don’t try telling Crumley that an omnidirectional print equivalent of South Park defines free speech: “As such, Charlie Hebdo has cultivated its insolence proudly as a kind of public duty—pushing the limits of freedom of speech, come what may. But that seems more self-indulgent and willfully injurious when it amounts to defending the right to scream ‘fire’ in an increasingly over-heated theater.”
While "Occupy Wall Street" is spreading to "more than a thousand countries," a key liberal supporter of the movement has been enjoying the past few days in the birthplace of the radical French Revolution, where she's expanding... her media empire.
Arianna Huffington is in Paris today announcing Le Huffington Post, a French-language version of The Huffington Post set to launch later this year in partnership with Le Monde:
Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.
Three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, what was the fourth-largest investment bank in the US, the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of England, and Japanese and Swiss central banks moved last week to avert a liquidity crisis in European banks struggling to deal with the failing Greek economy, leaving American investors with portfolios of Greek bonds worried. Do you think a Greek default is inevitable? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Fareed Zakaria's desire to give power to all countries except the one he currently resides - the United States! - is nothing less than appalling.
On the CNN program bearing his name Sunday, Zakaria actually said, "It might be necessary to make clear that Christine Lagarde would be the last non-Chinese head of the [International Monetary Fund]" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The headline to a New York Times editorial Saturday sounds like a conservative parody of liberal sanctimony: “The Enlightened Want to Be Taxed.” The content is no better, another boost of the paper's favorite multi-billionaire Warren “tax me more” Buffett, whose crusade was launched on the Times opinion page August 15, while offensively crediting the left-wing threat of property destruction as a reasonable response to “cuts to social welfare programs” in Europe.
Some of the world’s wealthiest people are calling for higher taxes on the rich. They seem to recognize that the burden of the economic downturn cannot be borne entirely by the poor and middle class.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria got more than he bargained for in his Sunday interview with guest Donald Rumsfeld.
As he pushed the former Secretary of Defense on America's need to cut military spending, the "GPS" host blushed when Rumsfeld smartly said, "There are people who think we're living in the post-American world, to coin a phrase. There are people who believe that we should step back and lead from behind" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Tuesday, NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos reached back to a July 26 story on the horrific shootings in Norway. Correspondent Sylvia Poggioli suggested the shooter, Anders Breivik “once belonged to the ultra-right Progress Party.” Schumacher-Matos lamented the “ultra-right” label, and asked Poggioli to explain herself. He called it "ultra-wrong."
It quickly became clear that Poggioli saw "ultra" extremism in the party's opposition to Islam and immigration. The ombudsman posting including just a few paragraphs of what Poggioli wrote in her own defense. But at the bottom of the page, he posted the whole reply, and her affinity for left-wing rags like the Nation and "far right" labels became really obvious:
Erlanger implied that Sarkozy’s standard political appeals for deficits and balanced budgets (i.e. “the right’s obsession”) were somehow unfair to the opposition Socialist Party. Taking sides, Erlanger lamented the Socialists may be right on the merits but that Sarkozy’s simplistic approach could well prevail: “They have some sensible arguments, but as often in politics, a simple idea often trumps a complicated one. The Socialists recognize the need for fiscal discipline."
On Thursday's All Things Considered, NPR's Lauren Frayer emphasized the trend towards secularization in Spain during a report on Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the country for World Youth Day. Just as she did almost a week earlier, Frayer couldn't find any local supporters of the Pope, and completely misreported how the Catholic Church extended pastoral support to women who had abortions.
Host Robert Spiegel noted in his introduction for the correspondent's report that "Spain and its view of the Catholic Church have changed radically in recent decades." Unlike her report on August 12, Frayer did play two sound bites of Catholic youth who were happy to see the pontiff, but only from two Americans. But after playing her first clip, she highlighted how "thousands of angry protesters forced their way through police barricades...shouting, 'out, out.'"
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Some of those caught looting stores last week in Britain were asked why they did it. Four teenagers explained to Sky News that they viewed it as "a shopping spree." One teen blamed the government: "They say (they) are going to help us but I don't see any of it. There has to be more opportunities and jobs. Help us at least and then maybe everyone will settle down."
This is the triumph of the entitlement mentality and the welfare state. Conservative MP Eric Pickles wasn't buying it: "I think that is them trying to justify being thieves, robbers and burglars."
NPR pretended that there wasn't a single supporter of Pope Benedict XVI in Spain on Friday's Morning Edition, choosing to devote an entire report on the "many people are grumbling at the cost" of the upcoming papal visit to the country. Correspondent Lauren Frayer not only failed to mention the 428,000 people from around the world who are registered for the World Youth Day event with the Pope, but also omitted the leftist bent of the protesters who are organizing a boycott.
Host Steve Inskeep, after delivering the "grumbling" line, highlighted how "local priests, though, have issued a rare complaint. The Pope's visit will cost Spain millions, at a time when the government is also slashing public salaries and public services." Frayer then explained at the beginning of her report that "more than 100 priests from Madrid's poorest barrios posted a letter online, saying they disagree with the cost and style of Pope Benedict's visit. Father Julio Saavedra says it's unfair how the Spanish government is giving tax breaks to companies like Coca-Cola and Santander Bank for sponsoring the visit."
As rioters in England set buildings aflame, hurl stones into local shops, and rip flat screen TVs off of store walls, Reuters editor-at-large Chrystia Freeland viewed Prime Minister David Cameron's fiscal policies as the "really radical" culprit.
"I think that this is the result of – directly the result of – the really radical austerity program that the Cameron government is imposing," accused Freeland on the August 10 edition of MSNBC's "Dylan Ratigan Show."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik "seemed to be heavily influenced by some people in this country who write and blog about the perceived threat from Islam."
In the report that followed, correspondent Michael Isikoff noted how writings of Robert Spencer, the associate director of Stop the Islamization of America, were cited several times in Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto and declared that "some analysts say words can be weapons themselves." A sound bite was featured of Heidi Beirich of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "When you push the demonization of populations, you often end up with violence."
After showing behind anchor Russ Mitchell an image of the sign "To Gaza with Love" from one of the flotilla boats planning to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, Saturday’s CBS Evening News showed a report highlighting the allegedly nonviolent intentions of American activists on board one of the ships - named "The Audacity of Hope" - without noting that, during last year’s anti-Israel flotilla trip, some activists attacked Israeli troops as they attempted to board. CBS correspondent Barry Peterson merely recounted that Israeli troops killed some of the activists without explaining why:
Last year, boats ran the blockade. Israeli commandos stormed one ship, killing nine. This time, politics was enough to have Greece ban any boats leaving in a new flotilla. Israel and Greece do more than half a billion dollars in trade, and Israel is planning a natural gas pipeline to Greece. The American activists knew getting to Gaza was a long shot, but still practiced to resist Israeli soldiers who might have boarded their ship.
A clip was shown of this year’s activists sitting on the floor in a circle as if practicing to nonviolently resist Israeli troops.
On Tuesday's All Things Considered, NPR's Philip Reeves lamented the supposedly "anti-Muslim" climate in Denmark, noting that the country was once "considered a model of tolerance," but now, "men...[with] beards and traditional Islamic robes....are no longer entirely welcome, because some Danes want them to leave." Reeves quoted one imam who feared "a spiral, in which anti-immigration nationalist extremists fuel Islamist extremists and vice versa."
Host Robert Siegel wasting little time in setting a slanted tone in his introduction to the correspondent's report, which referenced the recent legal victory of Dutch politician Geert Wilders:
On NBC's Sunday Meet the Press, host David Gregory took on an alarmist tone as he worried that any significant attempts to address the nation's enormous debt could lead to violence: "Look at the images that came out of Greece this week as you've got...big cuts in public spending. And this is the result, rioting in the streets....Could we have that kind of reaction here?"
Gregory posed that question to Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham early in the program, further fretting: "Are we headed in this direction with the kind of actions we're talking about in terms of cutting public spending?...Is there a risk...that these draconian cuts in spending that so many Americans think are necessary may actually halt what we're still...seeing as a very fragile, very weak economic recovery?"
I've seen Associated Press reporters make absurd assertions before, but a statement written by Julie Pace and Vanessa Gera, who covered President Barack Obama's trip to Poland yesterday, has to be at or near the top of the list of all-time humdingers.
Polish Solidarity hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa did not meet with Obama yesterday. Wait until you see the sheer speculation as to why there was no meeting in the bolded sentence in the fourth paragraph of the following excerpt from the AP pair's Friday evening report:
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Renee Montagne and Scott Horsley spotlighted the "warm welcome" President Obama received during his recent visit to Ireland. Horsley marveled at the "large crowds lining the street to welcome him," as well as the "enthusiasm with which they greeted the American president. This is something we really haven't seen in the U.S. for a couple of years."
Montagne turned to the White House correspondent, who is traveling with the President, to report on Mr. Obama's European visit. After devoting the bulk of the segment to the British portion of the trip, the NPR anchor asked about the commander-in-chief's stop in the Emerald Isle and set up Horsley's effusive reply:
On Monday's Today on NBC, correspondent Norah O'Donnell excitedly touted President Obama's stop in Ireland on his latest European trip as she proclaimed: "The Irish eyes are smiling today as this country welcomes President Obama. And I can tell you that the people here in Moneygall are overjoyed that Obama has Irish roots."
The report opened with a musical rendition of 'There's no one as Irish as Barack Obama,' as O'Donnell described how "Obama's ancestral hometown....got a face lift, a fresh coat of paint and an Obama Café." After discovering from a local priest that Obama's Irish ancestors were well-off shoemakers that may have provided charitable aid to others in the small town, O'Donnell wondered: "So you're telling me that his great, great, great, great grandfather and ancestors were community organizers?"
While reporting on the sexual assault case against International Monetary Fund Chairman Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday's Today, NBC correspondent Jeff Rossen noted how the would-be Socialist Party candidate for the French presidency had "worried his political opponent, current French President Nicolas Sarkozy, would try to frame him with a fake rape..."
Rossen further added that Strauss-Kahn once told a French newspaper that the rape victim would be "promised 500,000 or a million euros to invent this story" by Sarkozy. Following Rossen's report, correspondent Michelle Kosinski highlighted French outrage over Strauss-Kahn's arrest: "I would say that the reaction ranges from disbelief to outright disgust. To see their VIP paraded before cameras, the socialists are calling it 'inhumane'....they're saying that this looks like a humiliating public exhibition like something from ancient times."
The headline on screen during the segment read: "French Conspiracy Theories; Was Banker Set Up as Part of Political Plot?"
Eleanor Beardsley slanted towards opponents of France's ban on the niqab, or Islamic face veil, on two NPR programs on Monday. Beardsley played several sound bites from French Muslims during her Morning Edition report who forwarded the notion that the law contributes to an "anti-Muslim climate" in the country, and agreed with a guest on Tell Me More who labeled the ban "sinister."
The correspondent, who is based in France, led her report on Morning Edition with a clip from the imam of a mosque in Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris, who stated, "You know there is an Islamophobic climate right now and the police don't like to see us praying in the streets." She also turned to another Muslim man who singled out the niqab ban for contributing to this apparent climate: