After systematically ignoring the outrageous and offensive signs used by leftist protesters at anti-war demonstrations journalists and bloggers are now devoting an immense amount of attention to a small minority of Tea Party protesters carrying signs far outside of the mainstream.
Liberal bloggers were also incensed with what they claimed were the hateful (and racist) intentions of the protesters. Matt Yglesias at Think Progress noted the miniscule presence of Confederate Flags and pondered why demonstrators were "waving flags of treason and slavery". Other bloggers at TP complained of the "hate at the protest."
By now, most NewsBusters readers have seen the Drudge Report item alleging that President Obama called rapper Kanye West (he of the "George Bush doesn't care about black people" fame) a "jackass." This report originated with Terry Moran's rogue tweet to that effect, which later caused ABC to apologize to the White House for relaying off-the-record information to the public at large.
Gossip Web site TMZ.com, however, has no such qualms about relaying off-the-record statements made by celebrities -- even, or especially, when the celebrity in question is the President of the United States.
Looking for news on the Obama administration these days? Look anywhere but the mainstream media, including the pages of the New York Times.
One may have thought it impossible for the nation's largest and most influential newspaper to virtually ignore the scandals involving the left-wing housing activist group The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, more notoriously known as ACORN.
One would be wrong.
A brief rundown of ACORN's scroll of shame: A hidden camera sting, set up by conservative activist James O'Keefe of the website Big Government, showed ACORN workers in three separate offices (Baltimore, Washington, and the Times backyard of Brooklyn) giving out tax advice on child prostitution and human trafficking. Then the Census Bureau dropped its partnership agreement with ACORN for the 2010 collection effort. Finally, and most noteworthy from a national perspective, the U.S. Senate voted 83-7 to deny the group access to federal housing funds. Yet finding Times coverage of the controversies is like, well, finding an individual acorn in a forest.
Big liberal protests, such as the Million Mom March (for gun control), the 2006 demonstrations in favor of illegal immigrants’ “rights,” and numerous anti-war marches all garnered heavy play and adoring coverage from the broadcast networks, cable news outlets, and big papers like the New York Times. So how did those news outlets react to Saturday’s huge protest with conservative themes? MRC’s analysts scrutinized the coverage; here’s their report card:
■ ABC, CBS and NBC: The broadcast networks did not offer any pre-rally coverage before Saturday’s protests, but offered decent coverage of the event itself. ABC’s World News on Saturday was pre-empted by college football, but Good Morning America offered full reports on both Saturday and Sunday, as did NBC’s Today. Both the NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News led with the rally on Saturday night, although CBS’s morning news shows gave the protest almost no attention.
The tone of coverage, however, was largely antagonistic.
CNN’s Jim Spellman did his best to paint the participants of the Tea Party Express’s rallies across the nation in late August and early September as a bunch of extremists on Saturday’s Newsroom. Spellman played clips which zeroed-in on the protesters who called President Obama a Nazi, carried guns, or forwarded “outlandish conspiracy theories,” and labeled all of them “a dark undercurrent.”
The CNN journalist followed the Tea Party Express organization’s bus caravan during its 2 week journey across the United States, and the thirty-plus rallies held where it stopped. Spellman appeared just after the beginning of the 5 pm Eastern hour of Newsroom, and first played clips from seven men and six women who participated in these rallies. Six of the thirteen clips came from people who could be portrayed as “extreme,” as anchor Don Lemon put it, included one who referred to a “Gestapo-type tactic” and another who carried an AK-47:
There was a huge protest against Obama's big-government plans at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, but one was hard-pressed to find evidence of it on the New York Times home page Sunday morning: A small headline tucked under the Political subhead.
The print edition wasn't much more forthcoming. Although the Washington D.C. Fire Dept. estimated 60,000 to 70,000 people attended the 9/12 protest, and many estimates are higher, the Times made do with one medium-sized story buried on page A37 of the Sunday paper, "Thousands Attend Broad Protest of Government," teasing it on the front page in a below-the-fold photo from the march. A much smaller Obama rally got better placement, and so had a previous ACORN-led left-wing protest numbering...40 people.
Reporter Jeff Zeleny painted protesters as "angry" and "profane" and that the rally contained "no shortage of vitriol," as if there were never raised voices and obscene signage at left-wing anti-war rallies:
A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since he took office, a culmination of a summer-long season of protests that began with opposition to a health care overhaul and grew into a broader dissatisfaction with government.
On a cloudy and cool day, the demonstrators came from all corners of the country, waving American flags and handwritten signs explaining the root of their frustrations. Their anger stretched well beyond the health care legislation moving through Congress, with shouts of support for gun rights, lower taxes and a smaller government.
Video of Baltimore ACORN activists willing to help a pimp and prostitute work out a tax shelter for a brothel is a "devastating" indictment of the liberal activist group, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell pronounced on the September 11 "Hannity." [MP3 audio available here]
"It shows the power of the Internet. It doesn't matter anymore that [Big Three broadcast networks] ABC and NBC and CBS aren't covering it. The world now knows about it because people go in there and show them the truth," Bozell noted, adding that it proves what conservatives have been saying that ACORN "is a suspect organization [subsidized] with millions of taxpayer dollars."
Bozell also discussed the controversy involving Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who yelled "You lie!" at President Obama during last Wednesday's speech before Congress:
Not that any of this will surprise anyone, but it should go on the record nonetheless. The New York Times's home page as of its 10:15 a.m. update looked like this (click to enlarge in a separate window):
You'll note no mention of the D.C. rally yesterday that drew an estimated 1-2 million people.
Katie Couric’s CBS Evening News on Friday omitted any mention of the murder of pro-life activist Jim Pouillon in Michigan, despite having discussed the murder of abortionist George Tiller on the June 1, June 2 and June 9 newscasts (and then referencing the killing as a recent “hate crime” in a June 10 report on the shooting at Washington, D.C.’s Holocaust Museum).
Both ABC’s World News and the NBC Nightly News, in contrast, offered full reports on the killing of Pouillon and a local businessman, but offered different explanations. According to NBC’s John Yang, prosecutors said the killer, Harlan Drake, had grudges against his victims and another intended target but “none of them were specifically related to anti- or pro-abortion beliefs.”
Over on ABC, however, reporter Chris Bury showed a soundbite from the Owosso police chief that sure sounded like a grudge against Pouillon’s protests: “Mr. Drake did not believe the children should view the graphic material that was on the signs that Mr. Pouillon carried.”
And ABC’s Bury claimed Friday’s killing of the peaceful protester represented “the flip side of the troubling violence surrounding the abortion debate,” and equated the pro-life activist with the doctor who performed late-term abortions: “George Tiller and Jim Pouillon, on opposite sides of the abortion divide, but both victims of the hate that too often surrounds it.”
Early this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I posted on the Associated Press's treatment of the firing of two employees at ACORN's Baltimore office. These employees were successfully stung by undercover filmmaker James O'Keefe, who posed as a pimp (one who said he has plans to use the money from his "enterprise" to run for Congress), and Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute.
In a pair of videos (full script here) released on Thursday, viewers saw the two helpful ACORN Baltimore employees tell O'Keefe and Giles, among many jaw-dropping things, that:
Giles should call herself a “freelance performing artist” for tax purposes.
That they should claim three of 13 underage girls the pair planned to bring in from El Salvador to work as prostitutes as dependents.
That the prostitute should also claim child tax credits for those declared as "dependents."
O'Keefe and Giles piled on Friday morning by releasing a second pair of videos showing that they had pulled off a similar sting at ACORN's DC office.
But if we're to believe the Associated Press's Hope Yen, Friday's out of the blue decision by the Census Bureau to sever its ties with ACORN in connection with the 2010 census had nothing or at most very little to do with what O'Keefe and Giles pulled off. Instead, Yen portrayed the decision as a cave-in to the minority party in Washington known as Republicans. Uh-huh.
New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse ignored his own reporting yesterday when condemning Republican Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst during President Obama's speech to Congress, with Hulse insisting it was a wholly unprecedented outburst. Yet in a 2005 story Hulse admitted Democrats had "hollered" at Bush during the State of the Union when Bush brought up Social Security reform.
Hulse took another bite out of Wilson today, in a story co-written with regional reporter Robbie Brown, datelined Swansea, S.C., "Heckler's District Mostly Supports the Outburst." At least today's story provided a single sentence pointing out that President George W. Bush "drew derisive hoots from Democrats" in his 2005 State of the Union address, while insisting that Wilson's outburst was worse.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez conducted a softball interview of Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday’s Newsroom, during which the two railed against the influence of the wealthy in politics. Sanchez omitted the large donations Sanders has received from unions while taking other senators to task for receiving corporate money, and seemed to endorse the senator’s push for the public financing of elections.
The CNN anchor began the segment by lamenting how $375 million has apparently been spent “mostly by the health and insurance industry...to influence this important debate” on health care “reform,” barely mentioning the spending by “those who back the President.” He then introduced Senator Sanders as an “an independent from Vermont who is convinced that politics has become way too corporatized, if not controlled.” Sanchez did not mention how the Vermont Senator self-identifies as “democratic socialist” and has almost consistently supported left-wing causes throughout his political career.
Covering President Obama's health care address to Congress, congressional reporter Carl Hulse filed a full story on the outburst by Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, "In Lawmaker's Outburst, a Rare Breach of Protocol." Yet Hulse managed to ignore his own reporting from Bush's 2005 State of the Union Address to suggest the GOP had been uniquely disrespectful to President Obama.
Leon H. Wolf of RedState.com makes a great comparison today, calling out the Associated Press for their labeling bias. This post, found here, is hilariously entitled “AP Discovers GOP Republican Conservative Republican Member of the GOP (R) Involved In Scandal.”
Wolf pointed out the difference between this story and the AP’s coverage of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick:
For days, Scarborough had been lambasting Republicans for going after Pres. Obama on his speech to schoolchildren. Finkelstein argued that it was not so much the potential for indoctrination as the cult of personality which was objectionable. He pointed out that the Obama-centric study guide for the speech was of a piece with messianic image that the president has allowed to grow up around him, going back to the presidential campaign and his famous "this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal" speech.
Van Jones, Obama environmental adviser and "green jobs" czar, resigned late Saturday night, the culmination of days of controversy (ignored by the mainstream media) after the Gateway Pundit blog dug up evidence of Van Jones being a "Truther." He signed a 911Truth.org petition in 2004 questioning whether the Bush administration "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen." And the New York Times does its first story on the matter -- the day after Van Jones resigned his administration post.
Last month, the New York Times jumped on the conservative fringe of "Birthers" who question Obama's Hawaiian birthplace and thus his presidential eligibility, deriding the conspiracy theory as false and demanding prominent Republicans denounce the idea. Yet the Times maintained strict silence on the Van Jones controversy as it bubbled away for several days in the photosphere, with only the Washington Times and Fox News Channel willing to treat as a news story the fact that an influential member of the Obama administration thinks the government may have let 9-11 happen -- a far more incendiary charge than the question of Obama's birthplace.
Well, some in the media weren't ignoring avowed Communist and Barack Obama Administration "Green Jobs Czar" Van Jones after all.
The New York Times' Thomas Friedman was lauding him.
In print on October 17, 2007, Friedman offered up a Van Jones paean entitled "The Green-Collar Solution." In which Friedman offers nary a hint as to the radical nature of Jones' many ridiculous and disturbing positions and proclamations. (In addition to being an outspoken Marxist, Jones is amongst other bizarre things a 9-11 "Truther.")
Friedman was undoubtedly in at least the beginning stages of writing his September 2008-released book Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why we need a green revolution - and how it can renew America. (The title of which would indicate the ruminations of a man who has never stepped outside of Manhattan; Friedman should know better. There are vast expanses of abject nothing all over the planet, with elbow room aplenty there for the taking.)
Apparently, along the way towards his tome Friedman stumbled upon Jones. And was wowed from the outset.
On Thursday's Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC host Baier ran a report by correspondent James Rosen describing a "troubling pattern of behavior" by President Obama's Green Jobs Czar, Van Jones. The report noted some of the controversial statements and connections of Jones, who has not only described himself in the past with such words as "Marxist" and "radical," but has also been linked to 9/11 Truthers and radical groups such as one organization whose manifesto "equated those killed on 9/11 with, quote, 'the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world.'" The report also showed a clip of Jones from last year accusing "white polluters" of "steering poison" into minority communities.
Rosen ran a soundbite of University of Virginia Politics Professor Larry Sabato -- known for his willingness to criticize politicians of both parties -- who noted that such a controversial figure in the Bush administration would have ignited a "national hurrah of magnificent proportions." Sabato: "If a Bush official had made anything comparable to what Mr. Jones has said and done, no doubt there would have been a national hurrah of magnificent proportions."
He has been a voice in the wilderness for global warming realists, but now that he's taking on other issues put forth by President Barack Obama, some on the left's network, MSNBC, are suggesting Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., is putting the president's life at risk.
Throughout the day of Sept. 3 on MSNBC, the place for liberal politics, a report from the Sept. 2 Tulsa World by Randy Krehbiel was cited and it was suggested Inhofe had gone too far with his criticism of Obama. Both MSNBC hosts David Shuster and Ed Schultz condemned Inhofe's comments that were very unfavorable toward the president's policies.
"I have never seen so many things happening at one time so disheartening to America." Inhofe said, according to the World.
Katharine Seelye, a reporter on the Obama-care health overhaul beat for the New York Times, filed Monday from a town hall in Spartanburg, S.C., that featured conservative Republican Sen. Jim DeMint among supportive constituents who oppose Obama-care in ways Seelye finds unseemly blunt, misleading, and anti-Obama.
In "Fighting Health Care Overhaul, and Proud of It," Seelye looked askance at DeMint's "ideological purity," chided him for "stoking anger" and for not knocking down "misimpressions" about Obama-care -- even though the Times itself seems less convinced that those conservative "myths," like the outcry over "death panels," are totally without merit.
Senator Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who predicted that President Obama's effort to overhaul the health care system would become his "Waterloo," is doing his best to make that happen.
Taking questions from a friendly crowd of 500 people here the other day, Mr. DeMint did little to correct their misimpressions about health care legislation but rather reinforced their worst fears.
When one man said the major House bill would give the government electronic access to bank accounts, Mr. DeMint told him the bill was never about health care. "This is about more government control," he declared. "If it was about health care, we could get it done in a couple of weeks."
The text box reinforced DeMint's conservatism: "Gaining support by promoting ideological purity."
It’s not just liberal policy and charismatic personalities that the liberal media find alluring about the Kennedy clan, but also its decidedly upper-crust fashion sense. In Sunday’s Washington Post, fashion reporter Robin Givhan waxed eloquent about the “look of rich tradition” the patrician Kennedy clan brought to their oft-publicly photographed wardrobe.
Yet four years ago, Givhan derided as “syrupy nostalgia” similar classic preppy sensibilities when then-Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and his family were in the limelight.
On the August 30 Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace seemed to pick up on Clay Waters' NewsBusters item, earlier posted at TimesWatch, pointing out the blatant double standard between the New York Times obituary for conservative Republican Senator Jesse Helms and that of liberal Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy.
Near the end of Sunday's show, Wallace read from the first paragraph from each obituary, with the Kennedy version tagging the liberal Senator as "a son of one of the most storied families in American politics, a man who knew acclaim and tragedy in near equal measure, and who will be remembered as one of the most effective lawmakers in the history of the Senate."
By contrast, the Helms version omitted such positive causes as his legislative fight against the tyranny of communism, and instead portrayed his Senate career in a negative light, referring to him as the "Senator with the courtly manner and mossy drawl, who turned his hard-edged conservatism against civil rights, gay rights, foreign aid and modern art."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the August 30, Fox News Sunday:
Savannah Guthrie is apparently very smart. Guthrie was a member of the prestigious Order of the Coif (which has nothing to do with promoting good scalp health, nor with seventeenth-century headwear) while earning a J.D. from Georgetown Law, highlight her ability to learn dull and boring things very quickly.
Lost among the dusty tomes of Georgetown, however, was the fact that Ronald Reagan was a very nice guy.
On the Friday edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the Brew Crew was discussing the apparent Zen-like calm of the Obama White House. Guthrie, drawing on her spectacular knowledge of the Reagan era, noted the difference in temperament between the Reagan and Obama administrations:
News of Sen. Ted Kennedy's death late Tuesday night didn't make the Wednesday print edition of the New York Times, but a 6,000-word obituary by John Broder was posted on nytimes.com this morning: "Edward Kennedy, Senate Stalwart, Dies."
Broder's obituary left room for the lowlights of Kennedy's career, including Mary Jo Kopechne's death at Chappaquiddick and Kennedy's ruthless personal attack on conservative Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. But the opening paragraph offered a sharp contrast with another ideologically polarizing senator, Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who died on Independence Day last year. Broder's opening paragraph:
Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a son of one of the most storied families in American politics, a man who knew triumph and tragedy in near-equal measure and who will be remembered as one of the most effective lawmakers in the history of the Senate, died late Tuesday night. He was 77.
A well-known newspaper had this to say about writer Nat Hentoff upon his departure from the Villiage Voice at the end of 2008 after a 50-year run:
Across his 83 years, his three dozen books and his countless newspaper columns and magazine articles, Mr. Hentoff has championed free speech and opposed censorship of any kind, whether by liberals or conservatives. Few have more assiduously and consistently defended the right of people to express their views, no matter how objectionable.
The thing is that, agree with him or not, Nat Hentoff offers no opinion that isn’t supported by facts, diligently gathered.
Mr. Hentoff may not hear as well as he once did, or stand quite as straight. But he will not fade to silence.
According to the mainstream media, carrying a gun to a protest is just plain crazy, even if perfectly legal. What’s more, it’s indicative of the toxic, hate-filled atmosphere filling conservative protests of President Obama and his plans for health care reform.
“Hardball” host Chris Matthews and his daytime colleagues at MSNBC, for example, have their used air time to marvel at what would possess an average American citizen to go to a rally near where President Obama is speaking with a gun.
But the media reaction was markedly different nine years ago when a group of Black Panthers marched on the Texas Republican Party’s state convention on June 2000 brandishing AK-47s. Indeed, that incident itself was chalked up as then-Gov. Bush’s fault by none other than then-MSNBC "Equal Time" co-host Paul Begala.