What do Bill Maher slamming Pope Benedict XVI as the criminal head of a pedophilia ring, Washington Post's Sally Quinn defending anti-American Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and Ted Turner founder prophesying environmental apocalypse have in common?
They are just three of the most outrageous quotes from the mainstream media in 2008 and were featured on the December 23 "O'Reilly Factor" in a segment with MRC's Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham.
You can view the segment in the embedded video at right.
History will tell that the New York Times actually endorsed John McCain as its preferred Republican nominee, albeit in a hold-your-nose fashion. History will also tell that the paper began souring on its former favorite "maverick" and moderate Republican almost immediately after he clinched the nomination and becoming the only thing standing between the White House and a historic Democratic victory for either the first woman or first black president.
Even before the presidential race narrowed down to an Obama-McCain matchup, the Times did its best to kneecap GOP candidates, reserving special hostility to its hometown Republican, New York Gov. Rudy Giuliani, portraying him as a racist mayor who exaggerated his post 9-11 herosim.
Times Watch has put together the 10 absolute worst stories that appeared in the Times during Campaign 2008, pitting that historic beacon of hope, Democrat Barack Obama, versus the temperamental, inarticulate appeaser of right-wing racists, Republican John McCain.
In 2005, I sensed that journalists in general prefer to call this time of the year in commerce that of “holiday shopping” instead of “Christmas shopping,” but that when it came to people losing their jobs, they preferred to describe layoffs as relating to “Christmas.” My instincts have been proven correct during the past three years.
So did anything change in 2008?
Not that much, but slightly in the secular direction. Here are the overall results of various relevant Google News searches for the past four years (searches have been done three times each year -- just before Thanksgiving, about weeks later, and shortly before Christmas Day; this years Parts 1 and 2 are here and here, respectively; image courtesy of commenter "siouxcityranch" at Dr. BLT's Blog n Roll Studio):
You would think from reading yesterday afternoon's report by the Associated Press's Tom Murphy that companies like Toyota, Nissan, and Honda are not that far from finding themselves in the situations US taxpayer bailout recipients General Motors and Chrysler are in.
Murphy tries mightily to make the foreign-owned companies' situations look serious, at one point even putting out the howler that they are "not quite" as bad off as Detroit's Big Three.
You've got to be kidding me.
Murphy's "Meltdown 101: Foreign automakers struggle too" apparently just arrived from the School of Hard Laughs. It is mostly written in a Q&A format. Here are some excerpts (bolds are mine):
In its year-ending double issue Newsweek couldn't resist injecting liberal media bias into its mini obituaries entitled "Remember Them Well."
Yet the newsmagazine seemed to forget, perhaps intentionally, the left-of-center politics of prominent liberals profiled while using terms like "far-right" to describe the politics of deceased conservatives such as Paul Weyrich.
But wait, there's more, Newsweek used the occasion to link the civil rights struggles of the 1960s with the fight for same-sex marriage and to approve the first President Bush's breaking of the "no new taxes" pledge.
Take Studs Terkel, the hard-left Communist journalist who passed away at age 96. Newsweek ignored his political leanings, euphemizing them by referencing his "working-class empathy and patient, guileless style [that] helped a confused nation speak its mind."
CJR's Trudy Lieberman announced it was "ominous news" that a government health insurance plan might be delayed:
"Ezra Klein over at The American Prospect’s blog was right on point last week when he sent along some ominous news. Klein, quoting a story in Congressional Quarterly, said that John McDonough, the former head of a Massachusetts advocacy group who now works for Ted Kennedy, seemed to be backpedaling on the public option..."
On the other side, Lieberman warned, "right-wing think tanks" are "on the march," illuminating problems with a government-controlled approach to medicine. She noted The Heritage Foundation's criticism of a federal health board, a top idea of Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Tom Daschle. Lieberman's warning:
CNN, which long ago abandoned the concept of credible journalism, ran a story today regarding the attack by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi on our nation's President as a feel good story about the shoe industry.
The title itself reveals that CNN reporters simply can't contain their giddiness when it comes to covering someone attacking the President:
Bush assailant kick-starts sales for shoemaker
The media are simply tripping over themselves in their attempt to uncover even the most loosely associated positive aspects of a physical attack on our President.
The piece reiterates the theme throughout the MSM in their attempts to glorify the incident and the reporter involved. In fact, the following statement seems to be mandatory in every article which covers the topic:
As NewsBuster Dan Gainor has noted, Playboy Mexico thought it could make some pesos by peddling an issue with a scantily-clad Virgin Mary on the cover—just in time for Christmas. Today's Los Angeles Times contains an editorial denouncing the tasteless stunt. All well and good. But it set me to wondering. Did the LAT protest similar outrages against religous symbols when they appeared in the US?
The infamous "Piss Christ" comes to mind. Even more on point is the portrait of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by lacquered elephant dung and cutouts from pornographic magazines, that the Brooklyn Museum found worthy of display.
Associated Press writer Glen Johnson's story on the indictment of a close friend of Salvatore DiMasi, Massachusetts's Democratic Speaker of the House, is the latest in a long line of fairly long stories about Democratic politicians in trouble that fails to identify their party affiliation.
The story names a half-dozen politicians, all of whom are Democrats, without identifying the party of any of them. No variation of the word "Democrat" appears anywhere.
When It's the Democrats, the Media Falls SilentWe are now a week into the wall-to-wall coverage of the tape recorded fall of Senate seat auctioneer and sometime Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. But there has always been a distinctly different tenor from the media in stories involving scandalized Democrats compared to their reports on corrupt Republicans.
During the 2006 mid-term elections, the news world was saturated with talk of a GOP "Culture of Corruption," a Democratic slogan repeated incessantly by the traditional media. The press cast three bad Congressmen and a single scamming lobbyist as representative of an entire Party gone bad, and their incessant drumbeat helped drive the GOP out of power.
Meanwhile, one prominent Democrat after another has been tinged with scandal, but the media has yet to stamp their Party as "Culturally Corrupt."
"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism," the Left was found of reminding us again and again during the Bush administration, particularly after the commencement of hostilities in Iraq. So now that Barack Obama is assuming office on January 20, surely patriotic liberal newspapers like the Washington Post will publish paid classified advertisements by conservatives that are critical of the soon-to-be-inaugurated President Obama, right?
Eh, not so much, reports FishbowlDC, noting that the fine print for the Washington Post's inaugural congratulations classifieds holds that "all ads must be congratulatory in nature" and that the Post "reserves the right to reject any notice."
The notices will appear in the January 20 dead tree edition as well as "online until President's Day."
What a difference an administration makes. During the Bush years, if a spokesman or the president himself attempted to dodge a tough question, the media would go into their Sam Donaldson impressions and pundits would see a conspiracy of silence.
But now that it's Obama, the dodging that was once denounced is suddenly celebrated. Thus, appearing on today's Morning Joe, Larry O'Donnell declared "impressive" Pres.-elect Obama's stiff-arming yesterday of a reporter who dared asked Blago-related questions.
The video clip also includes a gratuitous bit of nastiness from Obama adviser David Axelrod aimed at Mika Brzezinski.
The Chicago company that was the site of a six-day worker sit-in has filed for bankruptcy. Though this appears to have been expected, it seems that many aspects of this story went under-reported or unreported.
The Chicago Sun Times story written by Francine Knowles and Sandra Guy makes it appear that Bank of America, the lender whose refusal to extend a credit line allegedly caused the company's failure, ended up "lending" over $1 million to fired workers (bolds are mine):
President-elect Barack Obama said Monday a review by his own lawyer shows he had no direct contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about the appointment of a Senate replacement, and transition aides did nothing inappropriate.
Obama pledged to make the review public, but said he decided to hold off because prosecutors asked for a delay and "I don't want to interfere with an ongoing investigation." U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald released a statement confirming the request.
By contrast, back in October when Gov. Sarah Palin (R) released her own report denying impropriety in her firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner, the AP noted that "Palin Pre-Empts State Report, Clears Self in Probe." As e-mail tipster Matt Healy observed in his e-mail:
There was a fire Friday at Wasilla Bible Church, where GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family are members. The fire did $1 million in damage. The photo at the right is among three that are in a slide show at Wasilla's local paper, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, whose story is here.
The Washington Post has a short AP story at Page A02 (more on that shortly). The New York Times has nothing about it on its home page. A Times search on "Palin Church" (without quotes) leads to the same AP story; a review of today's print edition shows that the story appears on Page A41.
Does anyone think a similar fire at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, which Barack Obama attended for almost two decades until earlier this year, would have been as quietly covered -- even if Obama had lost?
Maybe it's just as well that the AP's coverage isn't too prominent yet, because Rachel D'Oro's story added an agenda-driven undercurrent in the last excerpted paragraph:
A collection of "The Faces of Political Scandal," assembled by ABC News yesterday (HT to an e-mailer), once again demonstrates the media's relative reluctance to identify the membership of Democrats involved in scandal.
Of the 14 politicians identified, seven are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Five of the seven GOP members are identified as such, while only two of the seven Democrats were flagged. The montage also has a couple of surprising factual errors.
Here's the detail, slide by slide:
Current Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- Party not ID'd, while containing a quote with a Republican frame of reference ("Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low," U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. "This conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.").
More Than Mere Shouting Distance From ObjectivityTom Brokaw's last performance as fill-in moderator of NBC's premier news show, Meet the Press, included a pretty blatant Leftist query. Interviewing President-elect Barack Obama, southpaw Brokaw uncorked a wild one on energy:
"Let's talk for a moment about consumer responsibility when it comes to the auto industry. As soon as gas prices began to drop, consumers moved back to the larger cars once again, the SUVs and the big gas consumers. Why not take this opportunity to put a tax on gasoline, bump it back up to $4.00 a gallon -where people are prepared to pay for that - and use that revenue for alternative energy and as a signal to consumers that these days are gone. We're not going to have gasoline that you can just fill-up for $20 anymore."
Brokaw's last stand as MTP host served as the perfect lead-in to his final official MTP duty -- introducing his permanent successor, longtime NBC and MSNBC White House reporter David Gregory.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested today. The Associated Press's Mike Robinson actually identified "Blago's" party in the third paragraph of his 10:27 a.m. report (link is dynamic; cited report is also here for future reference; underlying news HTs to an e-mailer):
Condensing a December 7 story by Des Moines Register's Grant Schulte on a lawsuit in Iowa that may create same-sex marriage in the Hawkeye State, USA Today's left out the meat of conservative critiques of the lawsuit, citing three supporters of the lawsuit to one conservative critic.
Jonathan Alter was an early accuser of new President George W. Bush when he and VP Cheney began to try to warn the country that an economic downturn was well underway as he was taking office. As Bush tried to warn the nation, the media jumped all over him for "talking down the economy." Yet, as we watch the reporting of Obama's current down talking of the economy, the media has said nothing similar to the condemnation reigned upon Bush.
The myth that people like Alter was pushing in 2001 was that Clinton bequeathed a good economy to Bush, but the reality was that the spiral had already begun to fall into negative territory months before Bush took office. Despite that obvious downturn, the media formed a chorus of attacking Bush for being too negative in the face of the American people. On March 26, Alter unleashed his Newsweek piece headlined "Thanks Ever So Much, President Poor-Mouth." Alter called Bush's warnings "risky and unusual," and made the pronouncement that Bush was wrong to do so. "Even if Bush turns out to be right in his predictions of gloom," Alter wrote, "that doesn't mean he was right to make them."
Attention, y'all in the South: Urban crime is partly your fault.
You see, if you didn't own so many guns, you wouldn't have so many of them stolen or sold at gun shows. Right now, those evil guns cross state lines and get used to commit crimes in urban areas.
I know all of this because the Associated Press's Seanna Adcox, acting as a mouthpiece for the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has told me so (link is dynamic; 2 AM version saved here for future reference):
Report: South a big exporter of guns used in crime
The Columbus Dispatch has done some impressive work exposing the unauthorized and arguably illegal database diving done by State of Ohio employees into the records of Joe the Plumber in October. The rest of Ohio's and the nation's media have been virtually asleep.
In a previous post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Vanessa Niekamp, the state employee who blew the lid off the underhanded undertaking, was virtually unknown, while many other past government whistleblowers have been treated as media heroes.
A story in the Dispatch this morning that should be read in full (HT Michelle Malkin) about Ms. Niekamp's testimony before the Ohio House's Government and Elections Committee reveals just how imperiled she was.
While carrying out a personal order from a superior who was trying to cover his tracks, she was reminded that she was an "unclassified" employee. In plain English, she was threatened with her job if she didn't do what she was told (bolds are mine):
The party-ID treatment of Fabian Nuñez, whose term as California Assemly Speaker ended on May 13, but whose term in the Assembly ended just this past Sunday, was barely better than what Kerry observed in the articles she reviewed yesterday.
Here's the rundown, which I will follow with past examples of obviously disparate treatment of Republican politicians whose sons got into much less trouble with the law:
As we saw on Tuesday, when Chris the Contender gleefully reported on another potential Senate challenge, of current Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski by her Governor, Sarah Palin. There was just so much wrong with this segment; it was a rich pageantry of ridiculous bias, rank hypocrisy and Matthews's snarkiness and adolescent boy sexual frustration.
I will let the video (located, with the audio, below the fold) speak for and to the entirety of the patheticness, and write further merely to point out some of the more ludicrous highlights.
At first glance, it's hard to figure out who is the bigger buffoon:
Is it Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, for suggesting that Arizona Governor and Obama Homeland Security Secretary-Designate Janet Napolitano is perfect for her presumptive position because she's single and can therefore "have no life"?
Or is it CNN's Campbell Brown, for criticizing Rendell's sexism and bias against employees who don't have families -- after Brown herself suggested in September that Sarah Palin shouldn't have accepted John McCain's vice-presidential nomination because of her daughter's pregnancy?
If Britney Spears wants to launch her grand return with a trite and tacky rough-sex pantomime, I suppose that's her business. She's not known as a pop tart for nothing. What I do find noteworthy is the way GMA celebrated that bit of rough stuff, featuring it in its opening minutes. Even there, it's not ABC's descent into schlock that jumps out so much as the double standard. Can you imagine the dutifully feminist ABC applauding such junk if the gender tables had been turned? Me neither.
Diane Sawyer, uh, teased things during the show opening.
Note to Chris Matthews: when mocking someone for using a ghostwriter, it's best to avoid doing so on a day when Hillary Clinton is prominently in the news . . .
On this evening's Hardball, Matthews went out of his way to mock Joe The Plumber for his use of a ghostwriter on his just-released book. This on the day Hillary Clinton was in the headlines, having been named Barack Obama's Secretary of State. You know, Hillary Clinton. The woman famous, in writing "It Takes A Village," for failing to credit her . . . ghostwriter.