The Associated Press has done it again, even beyond what Ken Shepherd of NewsBusters noted in a related post on June 4.
In that post, Ken cited an AP report that did not identify the political party of Democratic Massachusetts State Senator and alleged serial sexual assaulter James Marzilli until the eleventh and final paragraph.
AP Writer Denise Lavoie went one step further in her 300-word July 30 report on criminal complaint charges that have been filed against Marzilli. She completely failed to disclose his party, even though she noted his previous withdrawal from an upcoming election, and even though there is another prosecution in progress involving similar charges:
"McCain Goes Negative, Worrying Some in G.O.P.," the New York Times fretted Wednesday in a headline over a story by reporter Michael Cooper. Times readers learned that while it's perfectly acceptable for the Times to call conservative Sen. Tom Coburn "Dr. No" in a front-page headline, it's bad for John McCain to call Barack Obama the same thing.
Cooper opened his story:
In recent days Senator John McCain has charged that Senator Barack Obama "would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign," tarred him as "Dr. No" on energy policy and run advertisements calling him responsible for high gas prices.
(The headline to Monday's front-page story about Sen. Tom Coburn: "Democrats Try to Break Grip Of the Senate's Flinty Dr. No.")
Pitching a mix of softballs and loaded questions, US News & World Report writer Jay Tolson failed to press Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson with any queries from a conservative, orthodox Christian perspective in his July 30 interview with "The Gay Bishop at the Center of the Anglican Storm."
Indeed, at one point Tolson prodded Robinson to criticize the worldwide Anglican Communion for doing little to stop conservative breakaways from the increasingly liberal Episcopal Church USA:
You wouldn't even want the communion to bring an end to conservatives' efforts to create new jurisdictions or allow conservative jurisdictions (such as the Church of Nigeria) to bring breakaway congregations in other provinces under their authority?
When he wasn't asking "how does this make you feel" type questions about his treatment by conservative clergy, Tolson presented conservative Episcopals and Anglicans as "unyielding" on "hot-button issues," forgetting perhaps that religious faith is predicated on beliefs about eternal truths that are non-negotiable:
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows on Tuesday night properly identified indicted Senator Ted Stevens as a Republican -- though not very creatively as they all employed the identical language in describing Stevens as “the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate” -- but they weren't so eager to name the party of Democrats in trouble in recent years.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased World News: “Indicted. The longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate is charged with lying about a quarter million dollars' worth of gifts and renovations for his home.” Setting up the story from Jake Tapper, with “(R)” in an on-screen graphic, Gibson repeated his “the longest-serving Republican in the Senate” line.
CBS's Katie Couric referred to Stevens as “a senior Republican” before reporter Jim Axelrod recited “the longest-serving Republican Senator ever” mantra. On NBC, anchor Brian Williams announced: “Tonight, Senator Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in U.S. Senate history is under federal indictment.”
A new Virginia law that seeks to uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States is dismissed as "unwelcoming" to illegal immigrants by the Washington Post's Bill Brubaker.
The editorial comment comes two paragraphs into his July 28 front page article:
A year after Prince William County launched a crackdown on illegal immigrants, Virginia has implemented a law that requires something similar for every jurisdiction in the state. Jail officials are now required to notify federal authorities of all foreign-born inmates regardless of their immigration status.
The little-noticed law went into effect July 1 and aims to make every corner of the state as unwelcoming as Prince William for illegal immigrants charged with crimes.
Barack Obama's overseas trip this past week proved “he's not a left-wing ideologue” or a “dove” and, “if anything, he's center, even center-right, on foreign policy issues,”Bloomberg News world affairs columnist Fred Kempe, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal, declared on this weekend's Political Capital show which airs several times Friday night and Saturday on Bloomberg TV.
Host Al Hunt, formerly Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, opened the segment with Kempe by showing video of Obama shooting a basketball as he enthused, “You might call it the shot heard 'round the world: Barack Obama, at a military base in Kuwait, meeting with the troops and sinking a three-pointer.” Asked his assessment of Obama's trip, Kempe echoed: “If it weren't a three-point shot, I would have called it a slam dunk. In any case, wherever he went he had perfect pitch.” Hunt concluded the segment: “From a three-point shot to 200,000 people in Berlin, it was an extraordinarily memorable week.”
It's bad enough that Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East is getting an insane amount of MSM coverage (the three big network news anchors? Whoa!); now, NBC News believes it apt to compare Obama's sojourn to ... an actual military tour of duty. Yes indeed. Check out at right how anchor Lester Holt introduces last evening's Nightly News.
HOLT: "Tour of Duty" as Obama visits the war zone: The fight over where to send combat troops next.
I never served in the military and I find it quite grating that a major news organization would refer to a presidential candidate's foreign trip to a combat zone -- a candidate who never served, incidentally -- as a "tour of duty." Does anyone else recall former President Bill Clinton's claims that he was on "active duty" as Commander-in-Chief, and therefore immune from any prosecution during the Paula Jones matter? After protests by some veterans' groups, Clinton withdrew his claim (although it's unclear if it was due to these protests or because it was a lousy legal argument).
I wonder if NBC will similarly withdraw its specious headline.
Retiring New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse has answered some more questions from readers at nytimes.com. After an earlier revelation that she considers the former ACLU lawyer Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg a centrist comes details of her deep affection for late ultra-liberal Justice William Brennan, whose decisions favored explicit racial quotas, no limits on abortion, mandatory school busing, opposition to the death penalty, and the strict separation of church and state:
Obviously, not every opinion Justice Brennan put his name to will stand the test of time. But many will. A personal note -- I took some time off from the court beat in the mid-1980's to have a baby and cover Congress for a couple of years. When I came back in 1988, Justice Brennan was 82 and the end of his tenure was in sight. He was one of the first people I ran into, in a court corridor. "I'm glad you're back," he said to me. I replied, "I'm glad you're still here."
The New York Times sent veteran Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse into retirement in grand style on Sunday, turning over to her the front page of the Week in Review for "2,691 Decisions," a title marking the number of court cases she had covered during her tenure.
Unmentioned were her off-the-clock denunciations of conservatives, such as her infamous speech at Harvard in June 2006 when she tore into the Bush administration. What was included: Her clear belief that the world is a better place with Anthony Kennedy on the Court and Robert Bork not.
First, some of what Greenhouse told Harvard students in 2006:
...our government had turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and other places around the world. And let's not forget the sustained assault on women's reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism."
They were a little slow on the pick up but “CBS Evening News” gets credit for finally acknowledging a report that shows serious side effects associated with the vaccine Gardasil, which protects against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease the can cause cancer.
The report, by Sharyll Attkisson, aired July 7 a full week after WorldNet Daily reported the findings. As CMI’s wonderful intern Julia Seward reported, earlier in the day both the “Early Show” and NBC’s “Today” reported on Gardasil but glossed over the serious side effects contained in the report.
Rounding another turn in the race to November 4, The New York Times's "Election Guide -- Potential Running Mates," compiled by Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny and posted to nytimes.com Monday, handicapped various potential vice presidents for Barack Obama and John McCain.
The Times first counted up twenty-one potential nominees, 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans (Democratic Sen. Jim Webb was removed after he took himself out of consideration).
From the Times, we learned South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham "has occasionally rankled some conservatives by not being conservative enough," that former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge might not help with "McCain's already uneasy relations with conservatives," and that South Dakota Sen. John Thune "has strong credentials with social conservatives." In all, there were seven "conservative" labels applied to either politicians or their supporters.
While the Sun's reporters should be commended for following the unfolding story -- today's article by staffer John Fritze made the front page of the print edition and was featured prominently on the Web site -- more often than not the Sun's coverage has omited Dixon's party label. There has been to my knowledge just one exception, a June 25 article on which Fritze shared the byline with reporters Lynn Anderson and Doug Donovan.
London-based broadsheet the Financial Times spilled vials of poisonous ink in a July 5 obituary marking the death of former North Carolina senator Jesse Helms, going strong out the gate by charging that Helms was "little less than a monster" to "many around the world."
Writer Jurek Martin boiled down the political career of Helms, "The reviled Republican courted by his adversaries," as nothing more than that of "a man who never bothered to disguise his dislike for his enemies and his determination to frustrate them."
Martin listed the former Soviet Union, Fidel Castro's regime, and China among Helms's enemies, while failing to acknowledge the systemic human rights abuses from these regimes that a broad swath of liberals and conservatives alike shared (and share) a strong aversion for.
As for the United Nations, another target of the late senator's criticism, Martin glossed over Helms's bipartisan cooperation with the very liberal Democratic Sen. Joe Biden (Del.). Helms and Biden co-sponsored legislation in 1999 that held up U.S. dues to the international body in order to spur it to enact reforms. Martin chalked up the success of the dues-withholding policy to Clinton administration officials:
Federal investigators have electronic surveillance evidence that allegedly links Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers with receiving a payment or payments in connection with a city-approved sludge contract.
Ruh-roh. Conyers is the wife of John Conyers, the Dem Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who continues to toy with the notion of seeking to impeach President Bush. So how did this morning's Today show report the story?
When far-left former Democratic Senator Howard Metzenbaum passed away in March, the NBC Nightly News didn't identify his party or apply any ideological label as fill-in anchor Ann Curry hailed his life as “the classic American success story” of a man who “always fought for the little guy, taking on the oil and insurance industries” while he “stuck to his populist principles.”
But on Friday night, Independence Day holiday fill-in anchor Lester Holt accurately described former Senator Jesse Helms, who passed away earlier in the day at age 86, as “a Republican and staunch conservative” as well as “a champion to the right and a lighting rod to the left.” NBC reporter Martin Savidge, however, tagged Helms as “an ultra-rightist” when he won his Senate seat in1972, though Savidge concluded his review of Helms' career by portraying the late Senator's ideology in a positive light: “Helms finally left the Senate in 2003 at the age of 81, and for the rest of his life would proudly wear the unofficial title of the Senate's most conservative Senator.”
Holt painted Helms from the negative, what he was against as opposed to what he favored: “He staked out firm positions against everything from communism and foreign aid to civil rights and modern art.”
The Associated Press has shown it has difficulty stating just what a terrorist is -- a terrorist. In an article today at MSNBC.com (which may or may not have created/edited the headline) titled "Palestinian 'terrorist' in earth-mover rampage," we see how the term "terrorist" has quotes around it -- which signifies, in this case, the loathsome notion that "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter." Not only are said quotes used in the headline, but in the article as well:
A Palestinian man plowed an enormous construction vehicle into cars, buses and pedestrians on a busy street Wednesday, killing at least three people and wounding at least 45 before he was shot dead by an off-duty soldier.
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, during a report on the importance of Colorado in the upcoming presidential election on Monday’s "American Morning," labeled Colorado Governor Bill Ritter a "self-styled cowboy centrist," despite his liberal record on issues such as abortion and special rights for "trans-gendered" people.
Acosta’s label is puzzling, since Governor Ritter hasn’t specifically refer to himself as a "cowboy centrist," neither during the interview or elsewhere. The exact term doesn’t even come up in a Google search. During the report, the CNN correspondent did run video of Ritter wearing cowboy boots, and the Governor claimed how his state had started to "trend to leaders who are pragmatic, who are centrist," a reference to himself. But the governor’s own proposals and some of bills he has signed since beginning his term in January 2007 point to a politician who is anything but centrist.
The New York Times editorial board reacted badly to Thursday's 5-4 Supreme Court ruling endorsing a personal right to own a gun, in today's lead editorial, "Lock and Load."
Thirty-thousand Americans are killed by guns every year -- on the job, walking to school, at the shopping mall. The Supreme Court on Thursday all but ensured that even more Americans will die senselessly with its wrongheaded and dangerous ruling striking down key parts of the District of Columbia's gun-control law.
The Times didn't bother noting that slightly more than half of those 30,000 deaths are suicides -- most of which would presumably have happened eventually whether or not there was a gun around. Nor did the paper break down how many of those homicides were in self-defense.
In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of DC handgun ban on Thursday, CNN’s "Newsroom" program ran a report on both the sides of the gun case, in which the pro-gun control advocate was given twice the amount of air time as the gun rights advocate. The report, by CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena, ran twice within 20 minutes; first, at the top of the 10 am hour of "Newsroom," minutes before the decision was released, and then immediately after the news of the decision broke.
In addition to this, when the 5-4 decision upholding the lower court’s finding that the ban was unconstitutional, the "Newsroom" program initially ran a graphic that read, "Supreme Ct. Kills Handgun Ban: Overrules DC Law." The graphic ran for just under a minute until being replaced by another that read, "Supreme Ct. Overrules Gun Ban: Overrules DC Law Forbidding Handguns."
Just over an hour after the Supreme Court’s ruling came down, near the bottom half of the 11 am Eastern hour of "Newsroom," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, when asked about the local impact of the decision, snarked that "the communities that care about safety and communities that don't want the bad effects of guns will try to rewrite their regulations in line with what they think the Court decided."
Yesterday I noted how the Baltimore Sun failed to note the party affiliation of Democratic Mayor Sheila Dixon, who is under investigation for corruption.
To be fair to the Sun, I thought I'd note that Dixon's party allegiance is referenced in a June 25 story in the second paragraph:
Companies linked to a developer questioned in the state investigation of Mayor Sheila Dixon have made nearly $500,000 in political contributions in the past decade, state campaign finance records show.
The 57 limited liability corporations named in court records as having possible ties to Doracon Contracting President Ronald H. Lipscomb gave $487,000, almost entirely to Democrats, including tens of thousands to Dixon and Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Once again, it's time to play "Name That Party." As the Massachusetts State Legislature debates "Jessica's Law" -- named after Jessica Lunsford who was raped and murdered in Florida by a repeat sex offender -- one representative who is against the law expressed his displeasure on the floor of the House. Really expressed his displeasure. The representative, one James Fagan, said he'd
“rip apart” 6-year-old victims on the witness stand and “make sure the rest of their life is ruined.”
In a fiery soliloquy on the House floor, Fagan said he’d grill victims so that, “when they’re 8 years old they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep; when they’re 19 years old, they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody.”
Another representative, Karyn Polito, "a Republican from Shrewsbury who supports Jessica’s Law," understated the case when she said about Fagan's comments, “The words speak for themselves. I think there’s a large part of the (House) membership that doesn’t agree with that.”
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, during a roundtable discussion of Barack Obama's running mate possibilities, correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that one of the "minuses" for Obama choosing former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn would be that Nunn is "anathema to the gay and lesbian community" as she seemed to portray the "young Bill Clinton" as a victim who had the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military "shoved down his throat" by Nunn and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell in 1993. Mitchell: "Minuses: He is anathema to the gay and lesbian community because of 'Don't ask, don't tell.' He's tried to moderate his position, but it was he and Colin Powell who shoved that down the young Bill Clinton's throat in 1993, as a new President. So there are large Democratic interest groups who would rebel at the convention if Sam Nunn were the nominee." (Transcript follows)
CNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, during a report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," must have thought it was a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama would give up on his pledge that he would accept public financing for his presidential campaign. "If you raised more than a quarter billion dollars in the primary season, would you limit yourself to $85 million in the fall campaign? Duh!" While she did point out Obama’s previous statements affirming his dedication to public financing, both she and Wolf Blitzer used subdued language to describe this broken promise, and tried to spin how this might be a potential issue in the campaign.
On the one hand, I have to give the Washington Post some credit for its biased June 16 story about a new pro-life pharmacy set to open in northern Virginia this summer. Even with its less-than-fair treatment, it informs pro-life readers of a new pharmacy they may wish to patronize. Of course the store opening is worthy of news coverage for a number of reasons, such as the intersection of faith and professional ethics in health care, but unfortunately, staffer Rob Stein started right off the bat slanting coverage in a way to disparage the enterprise.
When DMC Pharmacy opens this summer on Route 50 in Chantilly, the shelves will be stocked with allergy remedies, pain relievers, antiseptic ointments and almost everything else sold in any drugstore. But anyone who wants condoms, birth control pills or the Plan B emergency contraceptive will be turned away.
The first four paragraphs of the report were dedicated to an all out character assassination that chided Lieberman for straying from the Democrats in a betrayal that is ominously close to transforming him into "an attack dog for Republicans."
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Joe Lieberman is fast becoming the Democrats' public enemy No. 1.
The four-term Connecticut senator, who came tantalizingly close to being Al Gore's vice president in 2000, not only has been campaigning for his pal, presumed Republican nominee John McCain, now he's publicly criticizing the Democrats' standard-bearer, Barack Obama. Lieberman has strayed before, most notably switching from Democrat to independent in 2006 to hold onto his Senate seat after a Democratic primary loss.
But the latest betrayal has upset Democrats, who often answer in clipped but polite tones when asked about Lieberman. The reason: The independent still caucuses with the Democrats on most issues except the Iraq war, and he holds their slim political majority in his hands.
"There's a commonly held hope that he's not going to be transformed into an attack dog for Republicans," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., an Obama supporter.
ABC's Marcus Baram is reporting that Democratic Senators Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.) "had their home loans handled by [Countrywide Financial's] VIP desk, where a team of loan officers would work out favorable terms in conjunction with [CEO Angelo] Mozilo, according to two former Countrywide executives."
The story made the "top headlines" lineup for the afternoon of June 13, along with a headline tease for recent video from Fox News Channel where an onscreen graphic labeled the mother of two as Sen. Obama's "baby mama." Online slang lexicon urbandictionary.com defines a baby mama as "The mother of your child(ren), whom you did not marry and with whom you are not currently involved."
The "Michelle Obama 2.0" article begins by regaling readers with a look at life in the Obama household as given by Barack and Michelle on a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio. The Illinois senator joked about his wife speaking more endearingly of him on the campaign trail than she does behind closed doors:
"She never says such nice things about me at home!" he smiles. "I really enjoy listening to her praise me like that because when I get home she'll remind me that I didn't make the bed."
The article then continued by contrasting the domestic bliss of the young Obamas with those mean ol' conservatives dead-set on stopping the presumptive Democratic nominee by gunning for Mrs. O.:
In Wednesday's off-lead story by Michael Cooper and Larry Rohter, the New York Times found both McCain and Obama retreating to home base when it comes to economic solutions. But the Times' unconscious embrace of liberal conventional wisdom was evident in how it treated much-argued political terms like "windfall profits", "the death tax," and even "victory" in Iraq.
Bush's mild tax cuts were seen as only benefiting "the wealthy" (by whose definition?), an assertion the Times underlined by repeating it three times.
And look how the Times used quotation marks as warning flares or to suggest a conservative position was dubious. While "victory" and "death tax" were seen as partisan Republican terms and secured in protective quotes, Democrat-loaded terms like "windfall profits of oil companies" weren't put in quotes but stood unencumbered and presented as fact, even though the phrase "windfall" is calculated to make it appear oil company profits are somehow unjust or unearned.