On Thursday's American Morning, CNN's John Roberts repeatedly decried the "troubling language" against pro-ObamaCare congressman which "violate any sense of common decency." But his own program over three years earlier helped promote a controversial 2006 movie which forwarded an imaginary assassination attempt against then-President George W. Bush.
Just after the top of the 6 am Eastern hour, Roberts responded to a report by correspondent Carol Costello on ten Democratic representatives' request for extra security after their reportedly received threatening messages: "Wow. It really is, as you said, at the top, it is troubling, some of the language out there."
An hour later, at the top of 7 am Eastern hour, the anchor expanded on his earlier thought as he introduced a report from correspondent Brianna Keilar: "The message from emotional voters to Capitol Hill this morning could not be clearer: 'Go to hell.' From profanity-laden voicemails to faxes with Nazi insignias on them, thousands of Americans are venting their anger, in some cases, extremely inappropriately. The shouting is not bound to the Beltway. At least ten members of Congress with home districts stretching all the way from New York to Arizona have reported either harassment, vandalism, or outright death threats."
CNN's Rick Sanchez repeatedly insinuated on his Rick's List program on Wednesday that Republican leaders and "crazy talk show hosts that are so right wing" were to blame for ten congressman requesting extra security earlier in the day: "Are some Republicans culpable of stirring this, to a certain degree?"
Sanchez led the 3 pm Eastern hour of his program with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announcing that ten of their Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives had requested additional security for their homes and offices due to reported threats of violence. The anchor brought on correspondent Jessica Yellin to give more details. After Yellin reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner had condemned such threats, Sanchez replied, "But Boehner himself has been one of the most critical. He's one of those who has used words like 'socialist' and 'government takeover' and the kinds of things that someone who, maybe, doesn't follow the situation so closely might be led to act in an incivil way. Is this is a chicken or an egg question, of which came first in this case?"
On Tuesday's Newsroom, CNN correspondent Ed Henry raved about one congressman's collection of pens that were used to sign Medicare and ObamaCare into law. Henry responded gushingly to how Rep. John Dingell received one of the pens used by President Obama on Tuesday, and how he also has one of President Johnson's pens from the 1965 signing: "So now John Dingell has two of the most amazing pens" [audio clip available here].
Henry brought up how the current President used 22 different pens to sign health care "reform" into law during a segment with anchor Ali Velshi: "These are great souvenirs, obviously, when you have a historic piece of legislation." After listing how Vice President Biden and other top Democratic leaders received some of the pens, the correspondent noted that Dingell, the seasoned liberal from Michigan, also received one of the pens.
While its March 22 front page was exulting over House Democrats "scor[ing] a historic victory in the century-long battle to reform the nation's health-care system," the Washington Post's Style section ginned up a human interest story for another cause dear to many liberals: immigration "reform."
Arrests like those of Oved Vigil, Edwin Mazariegos and Esvin Blanco, who, Montgomery informed viewers in his lead paragraph, were VIPs at yesterday's March for America rally. The Post added its own VIP touch with a large photograph of the trio on page C9 (shown above at right), where the three young men stand posed with an American flag draped over their shoulders. The accompanying caption titled the photo "SHOWING THEIR COLORS" and quoted a rally speaker insisting, "We are not criminals.... We are workers here to push this country forward!"
Montgomery later went on to describe one immigrant who escaped detection at a workplace raid by hiding at the restaurant's walk-in refrigerator. The Post staffer closed the story by presenting the unnamed individual, still on the lam, as a decent guy in search of an honest living:
Who knew that two brave twenty-somethings and a skilled mentor constituted America's entire right wing?
That's apparently how Ian Urbina at the New York Times sees it. In a subheadline employed in a front-page article in the paper's March 20 print edition (relevant portion shown at right) but not used in the online edition's version, the reporter told readers that the poor, put-upon Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is on the brink of bankruptcy because it was "ATTACKED BY" the streamrolling monolith known at "THE RIGHT" (cue the scare music and the blood-curdling scream).
Actually, it was filmmaker James O'Keefe, his investigative partner Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart, the pair's take-no-prisoners mentor. Three people, hardly "the right wing," basically did it all. What followed -- the de-fundings, the abandonments by former political and corporate friends, and now apparently its imminent financial demise -- was largely inevitable fallout from a brilliantly conceived series of stings followed by a savvily managed exposure campaign that ultimately forced holdout establishment media publications, including the Times itself, to play catch-up after days of embarrassing unprofessional silence.
Obviously, that's not how Urbina sees it, occasionally with barely concealed bitterness (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Following up on a post earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) -- a 16 year-old in southern New Jersey was arrested and charged with "harassment and bias intimidation" for getting onto an area Wal-Mart store's intercom and saying, "Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now."
Though the company had told the local press Friday evening that it believe that a non-employee had been responsible for the incident, the Associated Press did not report that critical fact (see picture of 7:03 a.m. report here) until mid-morning on Saturday, leaving its readers up to that point to infer that a company employee had perpetrated the act.
Now, even though the worst you could say about the company is that it didn't protect its public address system from customer access Associated Press writer Bruck Shipkowski is citing the incident as "the latest in a series of problems the retailer has had in its dealings with minorities and women." How disgusting.
[Update, 10:21 am Eastern on Monday: Knoller responded on Sunday on Twitter to the criticism he was receiving online, stating that 'I wasn't aware there was any slur or pejorative associated with that term. The moment it was pointed out, I stopped using it." (H/t: Clay Waters of TimesWatch, Stephen Gutowski of NewsBusters).]
CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller revived the use of a vulgar sexual term to refer to Tea Party protesters on Saturday afternoon via Twitter: "Obama's motorcade arrives at Capitol Hill. Boos and jeers passing tea bagger protests."
The Associated Press seems to have two unwritten rules on how and when to write stories about leftist controversies and setbacks:
Rule Number 1 -- Do little or nothing with the story until you can figure out a way to make center-right critics or victors look like the bad guys.
Rule Number 2 -- If you're thinking about covering the story any other way, refer to Rule Number 1.
On Thursday, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Columbus, Ohio, which describes itself as "an independent legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse," announced a significant legal victory for Buckeye State residents interested in clean elections:
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law achieved victory in its state RICO action against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN has agreed to settle the case and will cease all Ohio activity as a result. In its settlement with the 1851 Center, ACORN agreed to surrender all of its Ohio business licenses by June 1, 2010. Further, the organization cannot support or enable any individual or organization that seeks to engage in the same type of activity.
That seems like a pretty clear-cut result, doesn't it? Not if you're the Associated Press's JoAnne Viviano, whose brief item on Saturday followed the rules above, fabricated a supposed loophole in the settlement, and gave an unnamed spokesman an open mic to despicably play the race card:
It's incredible what you can learn from television these days. On Saturday, Brent Frazier of Nashville's CBS affiliate reported on a local Coffee Party. He made no mention of the attendance, but at about 2:06 of the video says:
The Coffee Party, though very much still in the organizing phase, is loosely based on smaller government and lower taxes.
I have to wonder how the newshound came to that conclusion. Was it because the group's founder, as noted by NewsBuster Matthew Balan, worked as a volunteer for Barack Obama's presidential campaign? Or maybe it was the Reuters acknowledgment that "America’s conservative Tea Party movement may be on the boil, but the left is brewing up its own version in The Coffee Party USA." Or perhaps it was the Coffee Party participant Frazier interviewed who volunteered for Obama but is now disillusioned because "they (Democrats) speak an agenda, but as soon as it's challenged they back down." Obama's just not pushing left hard enough.
With reporting skills like that, one thing is clear. Brent has a very bright future in the mainstream media.
April Castro and the headline writers at the supposedly "objective" Associated Press are obviously not pleased with changes the Texas State Board of Education made to the Lone Star State's social studies curriculum.
Castro's report (HT to an NB e-mailer) makes almost no attempt to hide her clear disdain. She includes references to a "far-right faction" (a "faction" that happened to constitute a two-thirds majority!) and "ultraconservatives," while uniformly describing leftists as mere Democrats, and generally comes across as a sore loser in solidarity with the poor, outvoted libs.
You'll also see in the excerpt that follows that the story's headline is disgracefully over the top:
CNN.com has an article on its website extolling the virtues of the Coffee Party. The glowing language the piece uses to describe the movement stands in stark contrast to the cable network's treatment of Tea Party groups over the past year.
It is plain now that CNN harbors no such ill will towards the Coffee Party, which reporter Jessica Ravitch described as just a bunch of everyday Americans gathering to express their dissatisfaction with the political status quo (gee, that sounds a lot like the Tea Party movement, but I digress).
Do you believe that extending unemployment compensation benefits encourages some people to remain out of work longer than necessary? Don't let CNN anchor Ali Velshi find out. He'll characterize you as unsavory.
On a segment of CNN Newsroom today, Velshi spoke with an economics professor who's examined multiple studies reporting that many people find work shortly before their unemployment checks lapse:
VELSHI: Hey, complicated, complicated question that is at the root of our recovery as a nation; it is about jobs. The average person on unemployment is on it for about six months. You can get up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, with the certain extensions that we have passed these days. But the average person is on for about six months.
The question here is are long-term jobless benefits actually leading people to stay unemployed longer? I have somebody here who has actually crunched a few numbers for us. Robert Shimer is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and inadvertently has gotten himself piled in with a bunch of unsavories who say -- who like to make the argument that people are choosing not to get jobs. And Robert, you have heard it said. This is the US Chamber -- not the US Chamber of Commerce. I'm sorry, the Club for Growth has said it on this show that it is causing people -- that it's a disincentive for people to go back to work because of unemployment benefits, which I think is a little bit insulting to the millions of people on unemployment. Your argument is it a little bit more nuanced than that.
The Media Institute, a Washington-based non-profit, has called on Keith Olbermann to apologize for comparing one of its Jewish staff members to a Nazi collaborator.
During a January 21 screed regarding the controversial Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission -- in which the Supreme Court granted all companies the same rights as MSNBC's parent company GE -- Olbermann called the Media Institute's Floyd Abrams, a Jew, "the Quisling of freedom of speech in this country."
Vidkun Quisling, for those who don't know, was a Norwegian Nazi collaborator who aided in the Third Reich's conquest of his country by disclosing vital defense information to the Nazis. If Benedict Arnold had been complicit in genocide, we might consider Quisling his Norwegian equivalent.
New York Times reporter James McKinley Jr. was in Austin to cover a controversy over school curriculum in Texas, with conservatives on the state Board of Education trying to soften the liberal tone of the state's textbooks and include more records of conservative accomplishments. His Thursday story, "Texas Conservatives Seek Deeper Stamp on Texts," was positively sodden with "conservative" labels, yet he managed to ignore a radical leftist group featured in an accompanying photo.
The article included two photos accompanied by a caption (including the one above, by Jack Plunkett of Associated Press): "Diana Gomez, center, and Garrett Mize, right, and other University of Texas students rallied against conservatives at a State Board of Education meeting Wednesday in Austin, Tex. The board's chairman, Gail Lowe, left, is one of the conservatives."
Though McKinley was sufficiently attuned to get the names of Gomez and Mize, he didn't bother to identify the group they were involved with, even thought a close look at the sign Gomez was holding makes it obvious. In the bottom right corner was the phrase "MEChA." As in the "Chicano" nationalist movement MEChA, the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, translates as the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan.
CNN is set to air a documentary titled "Her Name Was Steven" on March 13 and 14, which sympathetically follows the "gender reassignment" process of former Largo, Florida city manager Steven Stanton. The network has boldly advertised the documentary as being about "one person's struggle to live an authentic life."
CNN's Jim Acosta omitted the left-wing affiliation of pro-ObamaCare protesters during a report on Wednesday's American Morning, referring to them as only "health care advocates and labor groups." Acosta, like his colleague Nancy Cordes at CBS, also highlighted child protester Marcelas Owens, and labeled him a "brave young man."
Kiran Chetry and John Roberts introduced Acosta's report, and the anchors also failed to mention the political bent of the protest, which was organized by the Health Care for America Now coalition (HCAN's members include the AFL-CIO, NAACP, and Planned Parenthood). Chetry remarked that "thousands though rallied in Washington against what they call 'insurance industry bullying.'" Roberts stated that the demonstration was "one for the books."
In an event most likely coordinated with help from the White House, more than 1,000 protesters supporting Obama's radical health care agenda demonstrated in D.C. on March 9, going so far as to attempt a citizen-arrests of health insurance executives holding a conference at a hotel in Dupont Circle.
Covering the story on "Rick's List," CNN's Rick "Down the Middle" Sanchez assured viewers he would "continue to follow this ... and in many ways treat this the same way we treated some of the tea party manifestations. Folks get together, we want to let you know who they are, what their cause is, and who's behind it all."
Well, if so, Sanchez had a lot to live up - or down - to.
The New York Times published a scathing editorial Sunday condemning Americans who have the audacity to request that attorneys who represented terrorists not set national legal policy. The Times smeared them and their elected representatives as McCarthyites, and criticized them for noting that colossal conflict of interest.
"It is not the first time that the right has tried to distract Americans from the real issues surrounding detention policy by attacking lawyers," the Times states of controversy over Attorney General Eric Holder's reluctance to inform Congress who in the Justice Department has represented alleged terrorists, and in what capacity are they now serving.
But the left has done just that -- use nominees' records as means to block their appointments -- and the Times hasn't complained. So why the sudden outrage? Well, the paper's liberal editorial board doesn't mind when the left attacks. But when conservatives demand answers, they are evil McCarthyites on a political witch hunt.
Not the biggest deal, but emblematic of how the Washington press corps consider anyone to the right of center, no matter if barely so, to be a “conservative,” while anyone who strays at all from a perfect liberal line is not worthy of an ideological label.
Setting up Sunday’s Face the Nation, CBS's Bob Schieffer described guest Evan Bayh simply as “the Indiana Democrat” while tagging Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is every bit, if not more, off the conservative reservation as Bayh is off the liberal one, as a “conservative Republican.” Schieffer:
Today on Face the Nation: Is Washington broken? We'll talk to Evan Bayh, the Indiana Democrat. He's become so disillusioned with the Senate he's leaving, but he's still trying to find a way to ease the partisan rancor by teaming with conservative Republican Lindsey Graham who’s also here to talk about that...
Could Sen. Jim Bunning's desire to pay for extended unemployment benefits with stimulus funds be the result of a serious mental disorder? So suggested Rachel Maddow during her show last night. Maddow based her report on unfouded allegations from a liberal newspaper, and neglected to mention the numerous unstable congressional Democrats that have come unhinged from time to time.
Maddow noted that "even his hometown newspaper has at times questioned his mental fitness," and quoted the Louisville Courier Journal, which in October 2004 asked, "Is his increasing belligerence an indication of something worse? Has [he] drifted into territory that indicates a serious health concern?"
Of course Maddow neglected to mention that Bunning's doctor at the time said his health was "excellent". His campaign manager said the Courier-Journal was spreading false accusations to damage Bunning's election prospects "because he's not a liberal." A political press? Never! (Clips from Maddow's show below the fold - h/t Brian Maloney.)
When the networks get a story involving food, labeling and health, they know just how to cover it: get reaction from their favorite lefty advocacy group, and paint consumers as defenseless patsies. That's what CBS' "Early Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America" did on March 4.
In an alleged violation of the Federal Food Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the FDA has issued its biggest crackdowns in fifteen years, putting seventeen food manufacturers on notice for what they say are misleading product labels for consumers. The food companies have fifteen days to respond to the charges, either challenging the allegations or offering plans to change their labels.
Liberals who simply cannot understand why Sarah Palin is so popular often attribute her success to her looks. The excuse conveniently allows them to sidestep any discussion of the issues she raises, and allows them to maintain a feeling of intellectual superiority to Palin and her supporters.
Fox News contributor Juan Williams, also a reporter for NPR and the Washington Post, was at a complete loss when Sean Hannity told him last night that he would rather Palin be president than Barack Obama. "Your libido is getting in the way of your thinking," Williams told Hannity.
Hannity and another guest, S.E. Cupp, noted the utter sexism in Williams' remarks. But don't expect to see a press release from the National Organization for Women or any other feminist group. Palin doesn't serve the liberal agenda, so she's fair game for claims that she'd be nowhere without her looks.
Williams thinks his comments are complimentary -- could he really believe it is a compliment to say a woman would not be successful if she weren't a "centerfold"? (Video and transcript below the fold.)
"Gun rights advocates contend that the Chicago handgun ban is unconstitutional, that the Supreme Court already has held that the right to bear arms is an individual and fundamental right, and that means the Second Amendment limits apply to every jurisdiction in the nation," Totenberg said on "Morning Edition."
Some faulty memes get repeated so often they get burned in the media's collective memory as fact, even though they are myth. Perhaps the most notable example of that in 2009 was the myth that the New York 23rd congressional district had been solidly Republican since the Civil War until Doug Hoffman's third-party challenge of the liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava ensured a Democrat's victory in a special election. We've a lot of 2010 left to go, but perhaps history will record the greatest political myth of this year as Jim Bunning's "filibuster" that was anything but.
This isnot a filibuster, which is a specific procedure in which Senators force debate to continue indefinitely as a means to block a final vote, denying “cloture” to the majority party. Alternatively, and now somewhat archaically, it also describes an effort by one Senator to just continue talking to stall action. Bunning is using another mechanism altogether, one that won’t block a final vote, although it will delay it:
On Tuesday's Rick's List on CNN, Rick Sanchez again hinted that Texas Governor Rick Perry is a racist. Sanchez, reacting to the distinct possibility that Perry would win the Republican gubernatorial primary, referenced a comment he made at a tea party rally in 2009: "He was talking about states' rights. States' rights is, to most people of color, a racist term" [audio clip available here].
The CNN anchor discussed the Republican primary with Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News. He asked the journalist, "Perry's going to win this thing, right?" After Slater noted how Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison lost her early lead in the polls over Perry, Sanchez responded, with some shock, "Why? I mean- you know, when he came out with his comment. Remember, you and I talked about it when he said it. I mean, he was all about secession from the union. He was talking about states' rights. States' rights is, to most people of color, a racist term, and I thought he had hurt himself. Why wasn't she able to, kind of, jump on that and use it?"
Slater explained that the typical Republican primary voter in Texas is "very conservative," and that Perry had actually won the nomination race after he had made his "states' rights" remark at the tea party. This didn't calm Sanchez, however, and he followed up by asking, "Well, but shouldn't we be frightened by that?"
On Monday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the possibility of Democrats using reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill and noted how Republicans used the procedure when they were in the majority: "In the past it has helped the majority party push through some controversial legislation. In 2001, Republicans used it to pass a giant $1.3 trillion tax cut."
A Media Research Center special report conducted from January 20 to March 31 in 2001 found that out of 94 judgements of the size of the Bush tax cuts on ABC, NBC, and CBS, "84 percent...labeled it as 'big' or 'huge' or otherwise portrayed it as large." CBS was one of the worst offenders, with various reporters describing the cuts as large a total of 14 times in that ten-week period. Then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather alone used the word "big" 11 times to describe the tax cuts.
Meanwhile, on Monday's Early Show, Plante did not use the "giant" label to describe the massive ObamaCare legislation, simply referring to it as a "sweeping proposal." According to a Heritage Foundation study by James C. Capretta, the total cost of the bill could add up to $2.5 trillion over ten years.
The Washington Post issued a correction on Saturday in which it apologized for a mischaracterization of the House Republican Whip's use of a printout of the Senate-passed health care bill:
In a Feb. 26 editorial, we said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was "posturing" during the Thursday health-care summit by stacking the voluminous Senate bill before him. Mr. Cantor says that he had the bill with him, well-tabbed, not for show but so that Republicans could respond if specific provisions of the bill came up for discussion. That makes sense, and we should not have characterized his purpose as we did.