Nothing in American politics is quite so intriguing as the Central Intelligence Agency. There is a certain mystique surrounding this agency, almost wholly because it has proven to be quite good at keeping secrets.
Thus, whenever the actions of the CIA are widely reported in the media, the story typically becomes a fixation for many news outlets - and any former agent who is able to shed light on these actions are usually well-received. But even here, the media has limits.
But while Scheuer is an equal-opportunity critic of missteps by Democratic and Republican administrations, the broadcast news media seem to draw the line at allowing him on air to find fault with President Obama.
Scheuer wrote a column in Sunday’s Washington Post, daring to claim that the president’s actions in publishing the so-called CIA torture memos were morally reprehensible:
It's likely a tired story to many by now, nearly a week after the Miss USA pageant and the controversy that ensued over Miss USA runner-up, Miss California Carrie Prejean's answer to a question from same-sex marriage activist and gossip blogger Perez Hilton, who was judging the event. However, it took CNN host and Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz to ask Hilton some of the pertinent questions surrounding his curious rage over her answer.
Hilton appeared on CNN's April 26 "Reliable Sources" and justified some of his vitriolic insults hurled at Prejean by saying that was just part of the vernacular he uses on his Web site. He didn't address the point some have made that his use of misogynist language might have been as equally or more offensive than how he perceived Prejean's answer at the Miss USA pageant.
"I was very angry," Hilton said. "And it's almost insulting to me that people expect me not to be outraged, when I am told I am a second-class citizen and shouldn't deserve the same rights that heterosexuals get."
Is Donald Trump angry at Miss California Carrie Prejean? Or is it just another trumped up charge from the liberal media?
The April 22 episode of "Access Hollywood" teased viewers that Miss California was under a serious threat of losing her crown - since she was late for a meeting with Donald Trump, the organizer of the Miss USA pageant in which Prejean was the runner-up, and that her position on same-sex marriage somehow contradicted what Miss California's position was supposed to be.
"New and serious trouble for Miss California you will only find out here," "Access Hollywood" co-host Nancy O'Dell announced in the show's teaser.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
New York Times reporter Ashley Parker, who specializes in soft profiles of Obama's staff, certainly made the president look good in her Monday look at Mike Kelleher, director of the Office of Correspondence at the White House -- he reads letters sent to the White House and passes a fortunate few on to Obama himself.
The task of keeping a president in touch with his public is daunting, as Mike Kelleher well knows.
Tens of thousands of letters, e-mail messages and faxes arrive at the White House every day. A few hundred are culled and end up each weekday afternoon on a round wooden table in the office of Mr. Kelleher, the director of the White House Office of Correspondence.
He chooses 10 letters, which are slipped into a purple folder and put in the daily briefing book that is delivered to President Obama at the White House residence. Designed to offer a sampling of what Americans are thinking, the letters are read by the president, and he sometimes answers them by hand, in black ink on azure paper.
"We pick messages that are compelling, things people say that, when you read it, you get a chill," said Mr. Kelleher, 47. "I send him letters that are uncomfortable messages."
Remember when NewsBusters told you about CNN ignoring a report on left-wing extremism? Perhaps you have heard a reference to Timothy McVeigh recently, as an example of right-wing extremism? Well, as it turns out, McVeigh isn’t the only extremist to bomb a building.
Please welcome Daniel Andreas San Diego (shown at right in photos via FBI.gov) to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted Terrorists list – notably, the only domestic terrorist on that list. San Diego is wanted by the FBI for “his alleged involvement in the bombing of two office buildings in the San Francisco, California, area.” Apparently, San Diego is suspected of being involved with two explosions at the Chiron Corporation in Emeryville – a corporation which the FBI says has had business ties to Huntingdon Life Sciences. If you’ve read the report on left-wing extremism, that company is a top priority for left-wing extremists.
But the fun doesn’t stop there.
How much damage have these groups caused? According to the FBI’s press release:
Despite all the criticisms of the Fox News Channel broadcasted on MSNBC for promoting tea party coverage, one thing hasn't been pointed out - how the NBC networks, including CNBC and MSNBC are given a pass for their shameless promotion of their Green Week and Green is Universal network events.
Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large for National Review and author of "Liberal Fascism," appeared on Fox News Channel's April 18 "Fox News Watch" and commented on FNC's promotion of the tea parties, but the double standard of MSNBC's criticism of Fox News.
"I think that there's a perfectly legitimate criticism against Fox for not so much the coverage, but the commercials, you know - promoting the coverage, which was in effect advertisements for these things," Goldberg explained. "But, this was all transparent, people knew that's Fox was doing. But let's flashback to what GE, to pick up a point that Jim [Pinkerton] made - that GE basically issued a fatwa to NBC for Green Week, where they did hundreds of hours of environmental messaging in all of their dramas, news coverage, "Today" show - throughout the network and it was all hailed as a wonderful progressive thing. That is a much more pernicious promotion than anything Fox did."
CNN has displayed a double standard in its coverage of the difficulties involving the extended family of Sarah Palin versus that of President Barack Obama. Two programs on the network on Thursday evening used multiple soap opera references to describe recent occurrences in the “Palin family saga.” This contrasts with two incidents involving the aunt and half-brother of the president, which have received minimal coverage from the network.
Anchor Roland Martin began the soap opera imagery in his promo for a segment about Palin on the No Bias, No Bull program: “Folks, talk about ‘The Young and the Restless’ -- these days Governor Sarah Palin must be feeling like she’s living in a soap opera. It’s everything from her daughter’s unplanned pregnancy, to a family member ending up behind bars, and it’s not over yet. We’ll catch you up with all the real-life Palin family drama.” After a commercial break, a CNN graphic referenced another daytime TV title at the beginning of the segment: “Palin: The Days of Her Lives.” The anchor also used a similar line, speaking of the “days of the Palin lives.”
The New York Times finally noticed -- kind of -- the nationwide "tea party" protests against the bailouts, the stimulus plan, and President Obama's budget. Reporter Liz Robbins' story, "Tax Day Is Met With Tea Parties" is the first Times news report to deal with any of the conservative anti-spending protests, and does so in a predictably snide manner and in a relatively short article on Page 16 of Thursday's edition.
This paragraph from Robbins' initial version of the story, posted at nytimes.com Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 (no longer online), got a few facts about conservatives wrong:
Fox News was covering the events and streaming live video as its own commentators Neil Cavuto and Michelle Malkin were headlining the protests in Sacramento, Sean Hannity appeared in Atlanta, and Newt Gingrich showed up at City Hall Park in New York.
Oops. Neil Cavuto is a host at Fox News, not a commentator, and given that her story was filed Wednesday afternoon, Robbins couldn't have actually reported on Newt Gingrich's speech at City Hall Park, which didn't start until sometime past 7:30 p.m.
An attack from that first filing that didn't make it into the print version accused the protestors of "group therapy" and of "expressing their anger, but offering no solutions."
Of course, when the small band of colonists dressed as Indians and dumped tea in Boston Harbor in 1773 to protest King George's import tax and imperial government, that movement led to independence.
All of these tax day parties seemed less about revolution and more about group therapy. At least with the more widely known protest against government spending, people attending the rallies were dressed patriotically and held signs expressing their anger, but offering no solutions.
Recycling the mid-1990s liberal smear campaign against grassroots conservatism, CNN has posted an article on the new DHS threat report complete with a Getty Images photo (shown at right) of neo-Nazi and white supremacist flags.
If the report were about Nazi extremists, that picture would be warranted. However, the DHS report warns against an amorphous “right-wing extremism,” failing to mention by name any particular threatening group or intelligence of any planned attacks.
The DHS report did cite returning war veterans as at-risk for recruitment by right-wing extremist groups. It seems strange to think that those men and women who risked their lives to protect this country and their government could be or become Nazis, but that seems to be the implication.
Moreover, one wonders where exactly the CNN report on the other extremism report was.
For the first year ever, the annual White House Easter Egg Roll tickets were dispersed via the Internet, as opposed to an in-person, first-come, first-served basis that the White House has used for years for the general public. This year the Obama White House tried out another first: setting aside a few tickets for same-sex marriage activists.
President Obama's White House saved Easter Egg Roll tickets for gay and lesbian parents, reaching out to groups that felt ostracized by previous administrations.
The White House would not say how many tickets were set aside for the group for Monday's annual celebration, only noting that it was far fewer than the large block set aside for military families and the 2,000 saved for D.C. public schools. There also is a batch for administration employees and their children.
The White House Office of Public Liaison coordinated with several groups representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues and saved a group of tickets for those families.
Last Friday, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer expressed her shock and disbelief that Arizona State University would not award President Barack Obama an honorary degree since he was their commencement speaker.
However, over the weekend, the University announced it would instead name "their most important scholarship" after Obama - instead of awarding the president an honorary degree.
"Here's the statement from ASU President Michael Crow: ‘We never felt an honorary degree was the only or event the best means of honoring his tremendous service to our country,'" Brewer said. "‘Naming the scholarship program after President Obama that will affect the lives of thousands of students is an honor befitting, not only the president's exceptional achievements, but also his value as an individual.'"
That didn't impress Brewer, responding on MSNBC in a segment on April 13. "Whoop-dee-do! That's my reaction," Brewer said
President Barack Obama was "crisp and decisive" but also lucky in his handling of the Maersk Alabama hostage crisis, exults Time magazine's Joe Klein [depicted in NewsBusters screen cap/file photo at right] in an April 13 Swampland blog post.
Klein added that had the Navy SEAL snipers failed in hitting their targets, Republicans and second-guessing journalists would probably push the Obama administration to escalate matters to tackle a non-existent pirate "threat":
But it could easily have gone wrong, through no fault of the President and the SEALs--a gust of wind, whatever...and then the Administration would have had to waste all sorts of energy on damage control, fending off the second-guessers--Republicans and, all too often, people like me--and perhaps overreacting to the pirate "threat" as a result. Presidencies are, sadly, built or crippled on such quirks of fate.
"In Unexpected Visit to Iraq, Obama Wins Troops' Cheers -- Military personnel at Camp Victory in Baghdad applauded President Obama on Tuesday when he said 'It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis.'" -- Front-page photo caption over an enormous photo of Obama meeting troops on his first trip to Iraq as president, April 8, 2009.
"President Bush with American troops yesterday at the mess hall at Baghdad International Airport." -- Front-page photo caption to medium-sized photo of Bush's dramatic, secret Thanksgiving visit to Baghdad, November 28, 2003.
"President Bush posed for a photograph yesterday during his surprise visit to American troops at the airport in Baghdad, Iraq. Few journalists were told of the trip or allowed to cover it." -- Photo caption to a jump-page photo of Bush's Thanksgiving visit, November 28, 2003.
You could almost hear "How dare he!" being uttered by the left-wing establishment when Politico reported April 9 that a Republican congressman identified a specific number of "socialists" in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In a speech he gave at his home district, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the ranking Republican, Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) counterpart, on the House Banking Committee, said there were 17 socialists among him and his colleagues in the House.
Some in the media were also disturbed by Bachus' remarks and expressed dismay on MSNBC April 10. Emily Heil, a frequent guest on MSNBC and "Heard on the Hill" columnist for Roll Call, expressed her shock that Bachus would use "socialist" for a description of some members of Congress. MSNBC's Peter Alexander asked Heil what sort of backlash Bachus might face.
"Sure, well I think people are going to be pressing him on this and I think it was really a surprising thing to say - to say something that sort of inflammatory with that level of specificity, with providing an actual number," Heil said.
Some groups on the left may have it out for anti-tax tea party movement, but according to one of the movement's biggest proponents - it is because they don't understand it from a hierarchical perspective.
Although there are reports that ACORN, The Huffington Post and the Daily Kos wanting to infiltrate the rallies, or crying foul for other reason - Beck, who appeared on Fox News Channel's April 9 "Your World with Neil Cavuto," explained that the left has difficulty understanding it's not a top-down movement, but a bottom-up one.
"It is a fundamental misunderstanding of the left," Beck said. "They don't get it. They think that these tax rallies - because they are so into their ‘.org's and their ACORN movements, where you have to have these coordinators. These are regular people and they are regular people that were hacked off at George W. Bush. They were angry at the spending of the Republicans."
The front page of Wednesday's New York Times featured a huge Associated Press photo of President Obama greeting troops on his surprise trip to Baghdad. The caption (from the print edition, emphasis in original):
In Unexpected Visit to Iraq, Obama Wins Troops' Cheers -- Military personnel at Camp Victory in Baghdad applauded President Obama on Tuesday when he said "It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis."
That teased a favorable story about Obama's visit on Page 11, which included another photo of Obama and the troops, with a more straightforward caption (again from the print):
President Obama spoke to American troops at Camp Victory, Iraq, on Tuesday. The president said that it was time for Iraqis "to take responsibility for their country and for their sovereignty."
Compare the photographic enthusiasm the Times showed over Obama's first trip as president to Iraq to the coolness with which the paper's photo-caption writers greeted President George W. Bush's dramatic first, secret visit to Iraq on Thanksgiving Day 2003, which occurred during intense wartime hostilities.
The University of Maryland recently decided that prayer is not allowed during commencement addresses, but pornographic films are allowed on campus. University officials cited “academic free speech” as the reason to allow the film. Occurring nearly simultaneously, both incidents have garnered extensive media coverage. The question is, will the media question the University’s inconsistency in applying First Amendment principles?
In an arbitrary sweep of political power, the University of Maryland Senate voted to eradicate the practice of prayer at graduation ceremonies. According to the university paper The Diamondback, “The senate approved a proposal that eliminates a prayer invocation at the university's annual commencement ceremony in a 32-14 vote after a lengthy debate that touched on the controversial issue of the separation of church and state.”
The university has a tradition of allowing an “all-inclusive” invocation to be given at the beginning of each commencement address by any one of the fourteen university chaplains.
The University of Maryland -- my alma mater, for full disclosure -- has made national headlines this week with a pirate-themed porn flick originally scheduled for a full-length screening last Saturday at the campus theater. Under pressure from state legislators, campus officials backed down, yet a student group stepped in the gap, pledging to screen the film in a lecture hall yesterday evening.
Only 30 minutes of the feature-length "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge" were screened last night by a group of students running for election in the school's student government, but it was coupled with a panel discussion on freedom of speech, featuring an ACLU representative and some campus college professors.
Covering the story, Tirza Austin of the student newspaper The Diamondback noted that even in the "fraction of the film" screened, "the segment was still explicit and included two different sets of threesomes - one with 'Devil Stick Willy' and two blondes in corsets."
But that wasn't enough for the Diamondback's editors, who included a link to video of the panel discussion AND film screening.
Liberal double standards ahoy! The New York Times news pages have virtually ignored the grass-roots "tea party" protests held in various towns across the country opposing Obama's big-spending and supporting free markets. The paper has run not a single story on a protest, even when one happened in the paper's own backyard of Ridgefield, Conn.
By contrast, a much smaller "bus tour" protest organized by a left-wing group of the homes of AIG executives received prominent and sympathetic coverage in the paper's National section, a protest where the media (50) outnumbered the protestors (40).
On Tuesday, Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes took the plunge and covered a genuine "tea party" in Northport, N.Y., a hamlet on Long Island Sound, complete with costumes and wooden crates for the dumping.
The only question is: Why did he bother?
From the start of his signed editorial, "Don't Tread on Them," it's clear Downes considers the movement a patchwork of right-wing kooks, snottily caricaturizing the protestors as silly, lazy, and greedy ("mostly, it was about tax cuts"). The text box: "Long Island patriots strike a blow against tyranny and whatever."
At an April 4 news conference in Strasbourg, France (White House transcript here), President Obama referred to a language that doesn't exist (bold is mine; HT to DrewM at Ace of Spades):
It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There's a lot of -- I don't know what the term is in Austrian -- wheeling and dealing -- and, you know, people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics.
Apparently none of Obama's 12 teleprompters (their existence was cited a week ago at the UK's Evening Standard, and noted yesterday at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog) were able to guide Obama's dialect-challenged utterance in time.
Amazingly, Tom Raum of the Associated Press in effect made the same mistake (HT to an e-mailer) when he cited the above Obama quote and failed to note that there isn't an Austrian language. Raum and who knows how many editors surely had several hours to get it right, and didn't.
For over two and a half months, MSNBC host David Shuster featured a segment called "Hypocrisy Watch" on his program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" that overwhelmingly singled out conservatives and Republicans as hypocrites, while ignoring Democratic offenders. An analysis by the Media Research Center finds that of the 48 "Hypocrisy Watch" segments, 34 went after conservatives or Republicans. Only four (or just under nine percent) attacked liberals or Democrats. (Only two editions could be described as bipartisan. Another wasn't political. The remaining seven segments all hit business and corporate-related targets.)
Amazingly, despite the fact that Republicans are completely out of power in Washington, 20 (or 40 percent) of the "Hypocrisy Watch" designations were given to congressional Republicans, either individually or to the GOP minority in general. The daily feature began on January 14 and Shuster asserted on that day, "...We will focus on an organization or person who clearly seems to be doing something that makes the term appropriate." Liberal hypocrisies, such as President Barack Obama signing a $410 billion spending bill loaded with thousands of earmarks despite decrying them during the campaign, have gone unnoticed. More often, the targets are conservatives such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Karl Rove or Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
On Monday, the UK's Evening Standard, at its "This Is London" site, matter-of-factly noted the following in the final sentence of its report about President Obama's upcoming European trip (bold is mine):
Accompanying the party will be a total of 500 officials including kitchen staff, 35 vehicles in all, four speech writers and 12 teleprompters.
This more than vindicates yours truly's "President 'Prompter" appellation.
They could even tell good jokes and break news at the same time. As has so often been the case with Obama's gaffes and myriad foibles, the US media establishment has been nearly unanimous in ignoring the Standard's teleprompter tidbit.
“People are looking for something to criticize.” Yes, Barbara they are. And you were once among them.
Barbara Walters took exception to complaints from some that the Obamas made a royal mess of British protocol when meeting the queen of England. However, just over a year ago, Walters herself sniffed at the Bush White House for sending her a Christmas card containing [gasp!] “Scripture.”
On the April 2 episode of “The View,” the co-hosts discussed the murmurings that the president and first lady broke protocol when meeting the queen of England. Walters got visibly upset, waving her hands and speaking in a high, mocking tone saying, “And then people criticize because you know people are looking for something to criticize,” she said. “It makes me unhappy we are always looking for something to criticize, ‘Why did she put her arm around the queen?’.”
Throughout George W. Bush's presidency, insults were doled out repeatedly about the commander-in-chief and that was just a fact of life for the highest-ranking public official in the land. However, now there's a new president, there seems to be a different standard on how you talk about a president.
CNN's Rick Sanchez, the host of the 3 p.m. hour of "CNN Newsroom" on April 2 took offense to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh described a flowery praise of President Barack Obama by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"Well, some folks are naturally graceful, some not so much," Sanchez said. "By that measure alone, radio yacker Rush Limbaugh is the polar opposite of our Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama. Now, you can just disagree with Barack Obama on his leadership, perhaps his policies. But it's hard not to at least acknowledge the ease with which America's 44th president handled himself in London on a global stage, even among royalty."
New York Times political personality reporter Mark Leibovich, whose mission is delivering profiles with attitude, mostly laid off the jabs in his Sunday front-page profile of what would seem to be an easy target -- the garrulous, gaffe-prone Vice President Joe Biden -- in "Speaking Freely, Sometimes, Biden Finds Influential Role."
Biden's history of colorful statements should have made him a prime target for a Leibovich fillet. But Leibovich has a habit of only bringing out his carving knife against conservative Republicans, while flattering Democrats. He didn't call Biden "a bit of a screwball," as he did conservative Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning.
To the contrary, Leibovich buttered up Biden, trying to convince readers that, appearances aside, Biden really is an active player in the Obama administration. The front-page photo caption read: "The influence Vice President Biden wielded in the debate on Afghan war policy is a signal of his stature in the administration."
There's a clear difference between how conservative news hosts and left-wingers are greeted by the New York Times. Check out Monday's front-page profile of radio host turned FOX News Channel phenom Glenn Beck by media reporters Brian Stelter and Bill Carter, "He's Mad, Apocalyptic, Tearful, And a Rising Star on Fox News."
The Beck profile read nothing like the warm greetings extended in the Times to MSNBC's latest leftist star, former Air America host Rachel Maddow, or even the rabidly anti-Republican conspiracy-monger Keith Olbermann.
"You are not alone," Glenn Beck likes to say. For the disaffected and aggrieved Americans of the Obama era, he could not have picked a better rallying cry.
Mr. Beck, an early-evening host on the Fox News Channel, is suddenly one of the most powerful media voices for the nation's conservative populist anger. Barely two months into his job at Fox, his program is a phenomenon: it typically draws about 2.3 million viewers, more than any other cable news host except Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity, despite being on at 5 p.m., a slow shift for cable news.
With a mix of moral lessons, outrage and an apocalyptic view of the future, Mr. Beck, a longtime radio host who jumped to Fox from CNN's Headline News channel this year, is capturing the feelings of an alienated class of Americans.
President Obama’s pace in making nominations — rather than occasional Republican opposition — is responsible for vacancies in key administration posts at a critical time, senators from both parties say. But Obama is still sending the Senate more names and winning confirmations faster than his predecessor...
...But the problem may be one of perception. Obama has sent more nominees to the Senate and had more confirmed than George W. Bush had by the same point in his first term as president, according to the White House Transition Project, a nonpartisan effort by scholars, universities and think tanks to smooth transitions.