When Sam Tanenhaus came on board the New York Times Book Review in 2004 he was accused of being conservative, but one would be hard-pressed to convict him based on the available evidence during his tenure -- "the emptiness of free-market liturgy," anyone?
Besides having a thin, forced, and familiar feel, Tanenhaus's latest essay for the Times Week in Review, "Sound of Silence: The Culture Wars Take a Break," managed to portray Obama's opposition to gay marriage (which would normally make him a villain or at least hypocritical in the Times's eyes) as a Clintonian-style tactical victory against conservatives, absent of any the usual anti-gay taint the paper brings to bear on the matter.
The culture wars may not have ended, but on some fronts the combat has gotten rather quiet. For instance, family values.
True, David Letterman's awkward joke about a daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska prompted denunciations of the "media elite" (though it also boosted Mr. Letterman's ratings).
Leave it to New York Times liberal movie critic Stephen Holden to come down on "The Stoning of Soraya M," for stereotyping a couple of murderous, misogynist Islamists as...murderous misogynist Islamists.
Holden generally likes politically activist movies, especially left-wing documentaries that take aim at politically correct targets like big business and heartland hicks. By contrast, he's not fond of Israel or the Catholic Church, or evidently, movies about injustices committed against women in the Muslim world, like "The Stoning of Soraya M." Conservatives have embraced the movie, which might also provide a clue as to why Holden hates it. In calling it "lurid torture-porn," Holden echoes columnist Frank Rich's smear against "The Passion of the Christ" as "a joyride for sadomasochists."
Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina confessed to adultery with a woman in Buenos Aires Wednesday, after raising eyebrows by disappearing over the weekend, and then misleading the public about his whereabouts.
But for the New York Times, there was more to the tale than the political meltdown of a promising Republican presidential candidate for 2012. Sanford's affair gave the paper another chance to round up recent (and not so recent) stories of Republican misdeeds and controversies and suggest they (once again) spelled doom for the party. Enter reporter Jim Rutenberg's Thursday story, "Sanford Case A New Dose Of Bad News For G.O.P."
In their latest article analyzing the extramarital affairs of the deplorable Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, the Associated Press demonstrates once again that the word ‘logic’ has somehow become lost in translation.
In a piece entitled, Sanford’s extramarital affair a problem for GOP,the AP gleefully discusses the topic of Sanford’s misdeeds and their potential effect on the Republican Party – a valid analysis. However, it takes no more than two paragraphs before the author dispenses with the aforementioned term ‘logic’, and decides instead to inexplicably link and attack several other GOP governors who have nothing to do with this affair.
There may be no limit to how far establishment media reporters will go in their attempt to prop up the public perception of failing state-run health care programs.
The latest example comes from Massachusetts. The Bay State's CommonwealthCare (aka RomneyCare, so nicknamed because Governor Mitt Romney, rumored to be a Republican and pictured at right, championed the legislation's passage and signed the bill in 2006) continues to implode -- as anyone with a brain could have predicted, and as many, including yours truly (fourth item at link), did predict.
Despite deep cuts, which essentially amount to large-scale rationing of care and cash-starving of providers, the Boston Globe's Kay Lazar, in an allegedly straight news story, felt compelled to describe the state's health care arrangement as "trailblazing," and to characterize a 12% budget cut as "trimming."
Here are key paragraphs from what amounts to Lazar's lament, with "rationing" tags added by yours truly for emphasis:
Mark Sanford can’t run for President in 2012, all because he went for a hike. [UPDATE: He went to Argentina.]
At least, that’s what Mike Allen of Politico would have you believe. On June 23, during his normal appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Allen was discussing the recent media snafu over the governor’s jaunt through the woodlands:
I think it might well be that he was just hiking. But the point is, he would have been a promising Republican for 2012. He's the rarest thing in the Republican party, which is a true conservative. There would have been a lot of momentum behind him. He threw out the idea very recently. But, you talk about the finger on the button – you want someone stable, someone you can trust. And this, as they were talking about yesterday on MSNBC right away, in a moment, diminished the brand.
Monday's New York Times Business section contained a favorable Bill Carter profile of Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, "Fox News Anchor Draws Ratings, and Ire of Conservative Critics." This marks the only positive view of Fox News I've seen in the Times, if only because Smith is portrayed as a brave, lonely counterpoint to the network's conservative orthodoxy.
Carter predictably portrayed Smith, host of the evening show "The Fox Report," as a lone balanced journalist under siege from hateful, conspiratorial conservatives, and traced his higher profile to statements he made on air during coverage of the Holocaust Museum shooting, without questioning their validity.
(Carter may find the liberal orthodoxy at MSNBC more to his liking; he wrote an approving profile of vitriolic leftist talk show host Keith Olbermann in June 2006.)
On Monday he wrote:
At various points on his Fox News program, the anchor Shepard Smith irritated Rush Limbaugh, teased Glenn Beck and grilled Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (a k a Joe the Plumber) over his attacks on President Obama. But it was not until he forcefully confronted the topic of hateful e-mail -- some from Fox's own viewers -- that he drew fire over his approach.
Imagine, if you can, that George W. Bush made a clearly and deliberately false statement (by the way, what the left claims are his five major lies weren't, and still aren't).
Now further imagine if the Bush administration's response to criticism of the statement, if not true, had been, "Oh, the president's rhetoric shouldn't be taken literally." The press uproar over such a dismissive response would have been justifiably immediate and furious.
In his address to the American Medical Association this past Monday, President Barack Obama promised that:
.... no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.
Well, Richard Alonzo-Zaldivar at the Associated Press at least noticed that Dear Leader's promises can't possibly be kept. But wait until you see his nonchalant reaction to what a conscientious press would immediately decry as a series of obvious falsehoods.
By now, you may have actually believed the typical NY Times line that they have to disclose everything, secret prisons, NSA tactics, interrogation tactics, because the public has the right to know everything and information has to be free, despite the risks it puts on our military or citizens.
What you probably didn't know is that David Rohde, a NY Times reporter, had been held by kidnappers in Kabul for the last seven months. Fortunately he was able to escape. Bill Keller wrote in a memo today "the consensus of experts we consulted -- and the judgment of the family -- was that a storm of publicity would at best prolong David's captivity by increasing his apparent value, and could well put him in imminent danger." Somehow I think that's a lesson that will be forgotten as soon as someone in a uniform faces the same fate. The Times withheld this information along with at least 40 other news outlets. No, the media never conspires together in the dark.
Keller continues: "I expect we will be besieged by understandable questions about who did what to make this happen. I hope that if any of you are probed on the subject you'll keep in mind that anything we say about our efforts to get David out -- whether authoritative or speculative -- risks becoming part of the playbook for future kidnappers." You've already given the terrorists every other playbook we have, Bill, why prude up now? Was the decision to keep quiet the right one? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. But how do the rest of us get the same treatment as journalists?
Maybe reporters Brian Faler or Nicholas Johnston at Bloomberg asked Barack Obama some really challenging questions when they had a chance to interview the President at the White House. Maybe they even did some basic fact-checking. If so, there's precious little evidence of either in their June 16 report.
They allowed the president to blame most of the current year's deficit on George W. Bush. They let him speak of "robust" growth when the best guesstimates they quoted for the second half of this calendar year and all of next year are anemic -- at least as the press benchmarked growth during the Bush 43 years.
The Bloomberg pair also ignored the alarming deterioration in federal receipts from economic activity that has continued into June, one of the four biggest collections months of the year.
Here are key paragraphs from Faler and Johnston's failed filing (bolds are mine):
Earlier today, Julia A. Seymour of the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute (BMI) pointed to a fact-check done by her group showing that "from January 20 to June 16 those quoted in health care stories on ABC's morning and evening news shows favored ObamaCare by a 3-to-1 margin (55 supporters to 18 critics)."
You think that margin is bad; wait until you see the ratio at ABC of Obama vs. McCain campaign contributions.
During the Bush administration, do you recall the MSM ever describing a gay rights group such as the Human Rights Campaign as "far-left"? Neither do I. To the contrary, such organizations were sympathetically portrayed as proponents of mainstream values.
But let such groups criticize Pres. Obama and—what do you know?—the MSM suddenly decides they're "far-left." That's Joe Solomnese, head of the Human Rights Campaign, in the screencap, branded as far-left by the Early Show this morning.
Last night's "apology" to Gov. Palin by comedian David Letterman "is slippery and Clintonian" but Gov. Sarah Palin "was right to rise above it and accept it," Media Research Center President Brent Bozell noted in a statement released today.
While the CBS "Late Show" host issued what many are calling a full and complete apology to Gov. Palin, Mr. Bozell argued it is far from an unequivocal apology:
Letterman's ‘apology' is slippery and Clintonian. He talked about the ‘perception' of his joke three times in his statement. He then goes on to say twice that he was ‘misunderstood.'
There's no perception, no misunderstanding. The public understood exactly what he said - joking about statutory rape - and was outraged. It was David Letterman who misunderstood who was in the audience, as if making a degrading joke about an 18-year-old girl is much more acceptable than taking the cheap shot at her 14-year-old sister.
Sometimes the numbers in a wire service report are so ridiculous, you just know that they're bogus.
On Wednesday, June 11, a duo of Associated Press reporters, Chris Kahn and Sandy Shore, with an assist from Tali Arbel, reported on a study "green jobs" study released by the Pew Charitable Trusts. In "The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses, and Investments Across America," Pew made the growth in "clean energy" appear more impressive than it is by vastly understating job growth in the rest of the economy during the past decade -- by a factor of three.
None of the three AP "journalists" involved, and none of the alleged layers of fact-checkers and editors at the wire service, had the intuitive sense to detect an error by Pew so pathetically obvious that anyone following the economy at all -- and that includes the folks at Pew -- should have known the figure involved was false.
Here are the first few paragraphs of the AP story (bold is mine):
This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough broke the news that – are you sitting down? – the media are biased against Sarah Palin.
The comic potential for this revelation is nearly unlimited.
The Morning Joe Brew Crew provided some very interesting insight, however. Scarborough led Brzezinski into talking about the insider’s view of the main-stream media attitude toward Palin after her introduction as the Republican VP candidate:
It's pretty hard to dress up a disaster as something less than that, but the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger gave it his best shot in his report yesterdayabout Uncle Sam's the May Monthly Treasury Statement, in effect understating the amount and significance of federal government's rapidly deteriorating financial situation.
With the help of dubious handling of last year's stimulus payments in May 2008's Treasury Statement, Crutsinger ignored serious declines in tax receipts from economic activity (over 30% in each of the past three months) that are, if anything, accelerating. I covered that problem in Part 1.
Additionally, after only briefly mentioning it last month (noted at the time at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog), Crutsinger grievously erred in his explanation of how a convenient "accounting change" Treasury implemented in April relating to accounting for its Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) has affected the reported year-to-date deficit. He claims that it contributed to it, while in reality the accounting change reduced it by about $180 billion. That is the subject of this post.
Here are key background and accounting change-related paragraphs from Crutsinger's report:
For example, Ann Coulter is responsible for yesterday’s tragic shooting at the Holocaust Museum.
Bill O’Reilly is responsible for the shooting of well-known abortion doctor George Tiller.
Oh, and the coup de grace: Sarah Palin and all of her supporters are raging racists.
That’s not to mention the implication that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and all of Fox News were the favorite news sources of James von Brunn, now-infamous shooter at the Holocaust museum.
Idiotic though these claims most certainly are, liberal bilge of this magnitude demands confrontation. First, examine what Rowe wrote on Ann Coulter:
You can't make this stuff up. The titled quote comes from a Bloomberg story today about new GM Chairman Ed Whitacre. You also can't make up most of the media's calm acceptance of yet another person heavily involved with running General Motors, aka Government Motors, who knows next to nothing about cars except as a consumer who drives them.
At least it's refreshing that this guy has experience running a business, which is more than you can say about the other two architects of the company as it currently subsists.
On May 31, the New York Times put out a fawning portrayal of the a Mr. Brian Deese, the guy who was the only full-timer on President-elect and then President Obama's car team from Election Night until mid-February.
Fasten your seat belts, this guy's lack of any kind of pedigree will have you death-gripping the steering wheel, as will the smug dismissiveness of a business system that has been the most successful in human history:
WARNING: Viewing the accompanying video could cause a dangerous rise in blood-sugar levels.
When Clarence Thomas was approaching his confirmation hearings, we all remember the touching, sentimental segments the networks ran on his challenging childhood. Or not.
On today's GMA, ABC's Claire Shipman took a sentimental stroll down memory lane with Dr. Juan Sotomayor, Sonia's likable younger brother. At one point, viewing a display about his sister in their old high school in the Bronx, Juan gets choked up. And there's Claire, shown not once but twice reaching out a comforting arm to console the Sotomayor sibling.
(I know; it almost doesn't count, because it's in the lefty-despised Wall Street Journal Opinion section.)
As yours truly noted a month after the presidential election (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Barack Obama's handlers and his teleprompter began telling the president-elect to begin using variations on the term "create and/or save" in speeches about jobs and the economy within days of his electoral victory. During the campaign, I found no example of where Obama used any variation on that phrase; it was always "we will create X number of jobs."
Until now, no one in the press of note has paid any attention to this "clever" abandonment of logic and accountability. After all, by the new "create and/or save" non-logic, Dear Leader has "saved" over 130 million jobs since his inauguration -- even though, on a seasonally adjusted basis, almost 2.2 million Americans lost theirs from February through May:
Finally, someone in the establishment media has done a serious call-out of Team Obama's risible ruse. Here are excerpts from William McGurn's hard-hitting column in today's Wall Street Journal:
In the ever-expanding aura of liberal hysteria surrounding MSNBC, Chris Matthews is regularly outpaced by the formerly coherent sportscaster, Keith Olbermann. But Matthews may have won the nightly laurel wreath last night, with his insight on Sarah Palin’s warning against federal bailouts.
The offending quote from Palin is not unlike many other things heard from other current leading Republicans:
GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN: We need to be aware of the creation of a fearful population and a fearful lawmakers being lead that believe that big government is the answer. To bail out the private sector because then government gets to get in there and control it and, mark my words, this is going to happen next I fear, bail out next debt-ridden states, then government gets to get in there and control the people.
Palin is referring to the possible federal use of forced funded mandates. It is conceivable that, if a Mark Sanford is legally required to use federal money, with all of its attached mandates, state governments could be forced to use more money to provide more services – possibly services that the voters in the states do not need or desire. That is conservatism du jour these days – and not rhetoric outside the norm, for the GOP.
Message: Obama cares about Muslims. And he's got Osama bin Laden on the run by wisely fighting the war not militarily, but ideologically, unlike George Bush.
That's the bottom-line finding in Rod Nordland's piece from Baghdad for the New York Times Sunday Week in Review story on Obama's speech to Muslims in Cairo, "Forceful Words and Fateful Realities." Nordland, a longtime Newsweek foreign correspondent, portrayed Osama bin Laden's taped rebuttal as a sign of his weakness.
Barack Obama's speech in Cairo last Thursday was "soft spoken and eloquent," said Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Iraqi cleric, grudgingly, since he also said he despised it. It was a speech that meant different things to different people, a quality that has been much noted in this president. He supported Israel, but reached out to the Muslim world in an unprecedented way. Some friends were troubled, others reassured. Some of America's enemies denounced it, but none dismissed it. Not even the arch-enemies at whom, in some important way, the speech was directed.
Given the paper's unfair treatment of his Fox News show, it comes as no surprise the New York Times didn't much approve of talk show host and provocateur Glenn Beck's recent simulcast comedy show, which aired from Kansas City and over 400 theatres around the country.
The criticism came in an Arts Beat blog post (hat tip Hot Air) by Times critic Mike Hale, "Glenn Beck, Simulcasting Discontent." Hale is clearly far more at home when praising left-wing Frontline documentaries for PBS, where he showed his eagerness for Euro-style socialized medicine to supplant the American system's "high-costs" and "failure."
Before starting his performance Thursday night at the Midland Theater in Kansas City, Mo., which was simulcast to more than 440 movie houses around the country, Glenn Beck walked over to the camera, waved, and acknowledged the critic for The New York Times. The poor guy was in a theater somewhere in New York, Mr. Beck said, "all by himself."
Actually, at that moment I was one of eight people watching at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema, a number that would grow to 14 and hold there until almost the end of the show. (More on that later.) Not for the last time that night, Mr. Beck -- the comedian, Fox News host and suddenly hot spokesman for American populist discontent -- was hazy on the specifics but shrewdly aware of where his listeners were.
The small group that braved West 23rd Street was audibly pro-Beck, laughing at the same times as the capacity audience in Kansas City and occasionally saying something in menacing tones about the Federal Reserve or the progressive income tax. Being the critic, I didn't cheer or heckle, but I did yell at the screen once, something I don't think I'd ever done in a movie theater. It was 50 minutes in, when Mr. Beck announced that he was taking a 15-minute break and coming back for the second half of the show. "You've got to be kidding me!" was out of my mouth before I knew what was happening.
Time magazine's Joe "Anonymous" Klein is at it again.
Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb yesterday picked up on how the journalist -- who as we've documented is harsher on Israel than Iran -- credited a terrorist with having a "good question" about what pressure the Obama administration will place on the Netanyahu government regarding settlements in Palestinian territories:
Joe Klein, who has in the past boldly declared himself "not a big fan" of Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, sits down with the terror group's commander in chief for an interview in the wake of Obama's speech:
According to this AFP report, "Most analysts expect employers to have cut 520,000 jobs, down from 539,000 in April. But the unemployment rate is still expected to have jumped to 9.2 percent, its highest since 1983." (UPDATE: 345,000 seasonally adjusted jobs were lost in May, but the unemployment rate rose sharply to 9.4%.)
"Down from April"? Given the vagaries in the governmnent's estimates, and that the figure will be revised in the following two months, how about "virtually the same as April"?
At least AFP gave us two numbers to compare. An e-mail I received on Wednesday morning from CNNMoney.com about ADP's monthly National Employment Report didn't even do that:
On May 22 of 2009, the Liberty University College Democrats were widely reported to have been shut down by the school’s administration. These reports came across a broad spectrum of media – a search of LexisNexis for the terms “College Democrats” and “Liberty University” from May 20 through today turns up 72 results. Among these results are 35 newspaper articles (among them, the Washington Post and L.A. Times),13 newswires or press releases (including one from the Associated Press), and even two mentions on MSNBC, a 24-hour cable news network.
Ratings aside, a local college club getting face time on a cable news network is quite a feat.
On June 4, 2009, FoxNews.com reported that a nascent Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) was banned from administration approval at a community college in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
According to LexisNexis, FoxNews.com is the only news entity to report on this so far.
On his FNC show Wednesday night, Bret Baier looked at how the murder of an abortion doctor on Sunday has earned much more media attention than Monday's murder by a politically-motivated killer of a serviceman in Arkansas, a disparity matched by the condemnation of the first killing by an Obama administration which has ignored the second. Baier reported:
In the media, [George] Tiller was a top story for almost three days. Several liberal analysts blamed pro-life groups for inciting the murder [video from MSNBC]. In contrast, there has been relatively little coverage about the killing of Army Private William Long and the wounding of Private Quinton Ezeagwula outside the recruiting center in Little Rock, despite the fact that the alleged shooter was a convert to Islam who police say probably had political and religious motives for the attack.
After outlining how the Obama administration has failed to condemn the murder of the Army private, Baier related how “conservative media analyst Brent Bozell says the different responses come down to politics.” Viewers then heard this soundbite from the President of the Media Research Center: “Politics dictated that they be outspoken on the murder of Doctor Tiller, but be silent when American servicemen are gunned down.” [audio available here]
In a video post dated June 2, 2009, Breitbart TV reporter Scott Baker reveals that – shocker – Whoopi Goldberg was lying about Glenn Beck’s lying. What’s more, Barbara Walters didn’t check her facts before the Baxter-esque duo ambushed Beck on his May 20 appearance on ABC’s “The View.”
The video – embedded at right – is quite long, but I’ve broken down below the information offered in it.
First up in Baker’s video is a recap of what was known before his investigation. Beck rode the Amtrak Acela from Connecticut to Washington D.C., and along the way, encountered Walters and Goldberg. The facts surrounding this encounter were hotly disputed in Beck’s appearance on “The View.” As it turns out, Beck’s version of the facts were incredibly accurate. For example, the main premise of the Viewettes’ accusations was that Walters called Beck over to their seats to speak with him – which Beck never claimed in the first place.
While the liberal Democratic mayor of Los Angeles has a thing for news babes, it seems his hometown paper has a penchant for leaving out the mayor's party affiliation from reporting on his liaisons.
"A Los Angeles television reporter is dating Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, about two years after his extramarital affair with another local newscaster led to the breakup of his 20-year marriage," Phil Willon of the Los Angeles Times informed readers in a June 2 article devoid of the mayor's Democratic party affiliation:
KTLA-TV Channel 5 reporter Lu Parker, a former Miss U.S.A., has been dating Villaraigosa since March, station officials confirmed Monday. On Sunday, while working as a weekend anchor, Parker announced a story about the likelihood of Villaraigosa running for governor in 2010.