Well if you can't win the propaganda war by twisting the content of something you don't like, you can at least plant a presumptive seed in the heads of those who will only see a story's headline.
That seems to be the logic behind an unbylined Associated Press report this morning. Its headline ("Report: No sanctions for lawyers who OK'd torture") would tend cause anyone not reading further to believe that what was under review is indisputably considered "torture." But that is not the case, and the underlying article itself proves it.
What follows is a graphic capture of the first few paragraphs of the AP report:
On HLN’s Joy Behar Show on Thursday, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg gave a racial explanation for Chris Matthews’ recent “I forgot he was black” remark about President Obama. Goldberg cracked that “this has been quite a year for the white man.” Behar replied, “Traumatic,” and Goldberg continued it was “traumatic in many ways because...you have to think before you speak” [audio clip from the segment are available here].
The HLN host brought up Matthews post-State of the Union comment during her interview of her colleague from The View. After playing the clip of the MSNBC host, Behar asked Goldberg, “What do you think he was driving at there? Because he’s a lefty- you know, he’s liberal, and he likes Obama. And yet, he says something stupid like that- you know, I forgot he was black. He would never say I forgot he was white if he was looking at Bush.”
Goldberg responded half-jokingly, “Well, white people- you know, this is- this has been quite a year for the white man.” After laughs both on and off-camera, Behar interjected, “Traumatic.” Her guest agreed and continued with her point:
The "Hardball" host today described the California Democratic senator as a "level-headed" "centrist," indeed the "true north of American politics" in a segment in which he showed Feinstein saying that President Obama reconsider the arrangements for the federal criminal trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in lower Manhattan:
A spokesperson for MSNBC told Politico today that the channel's brass has reprimanded David Shuster for derisive tweets he directed at James O'Keefe Tuesday. Within hours, he had retracted portions of his tweeted comments on air during an interview with Andrew Breitbart.
This humble blogger documented the Twitter exchange yesterday, and pointed out that Shuster was much quicker to assume O'Keefe's guilt than he was the guilt of Major Nidal Hasan, the shooter at Fort Hood.
“The comments were inappropriate. We have talked to David about them," said the MSNBC spokesperson, referring to a series of tweets that included this one: "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison."
Shuster retracted his accusation that O'Keefe had attempted to tap the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's office on his show this afternoon after Breitbart blasted Shuster for his false accusations.
Some in the liberal media continue to insist that James O'Keefe and his three cohorts were trying to "bug" or "tap" Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone lines when law enforcement officials have clearly said that they were not. Since the left doesn't like O'Keefe, the liberal media seems to think standard practices of journalistic integrity don't apply here.
According to MSNBC, one law enforcement official, who was not named, said "the four men arrested for attempting to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) were not trying to intercept or wiretap the calls." This statement comports with the affidavit filed in court after O'Keefe and company were arrested, which did not mention wiretapping or bugging, and only referred to the "tampering" of phone lines (h/t Patterico).
But the Boston Globe parroted this false accusation this morning in a gossip blog post about one of the alleged perpetrators, Joe Basel. The Globe--the same Globe that complained about ACORN's "trial-by-video"--called him a "political dirty trickster who was busted in a Watergate-style bugging operation earlier this week," and said again a couple paragraphs later that Basel was "bagged by the feds allegedly trying to bug the phones" in Landrieu's office. At least the Globe writers said "allegedly" the second time.
The Associated Press on Wednesday insinuated there might be a wider conservative plot behind James O’Keefe’s alleged misdeeds at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, and invoked the Watergate scandal in their lede: “Was it an attempt at political espionage? Or just a third-rate prank? How high did it go? And what did the right wing know and when did they know it?”
In what some Democrats are calling the “Louisiana Watergate,” four young conservative activists — one of them a known political prankster — were arrested this week and accused of trying to tamper with the telephones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office.
But two days after their arrest, neither the FBI nor federal prosecutors would say what the defendants were up to or whether they were part of some larger conspiracy....
Update - 1/28, 10:25 AM | Lachlan Markay: Law enforcement officials have clarified that O'Keefe is not being charged with an attempt to wiretap phones. Will Shuster issue a retraction?
It's often said that bias shows through in what journalists decide to cover or not cover. So it was telling when Politico's Michael Calderone tweeted today, "@DavidShuster just said he's off to New Orleans to report on the O'Keefe arrest." "He's giddy," added Mediaite's Steve Krakauer.
Shuster's Twitter account, meanwhile, was lighting up with scorn for activist filmmaker James O'Keefe, who was arrested yesterday after an alleged attempt to tamper with phone lines in an office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). After O'Keefe tweeted, "I am a journalist and the truth will set me free" yesterday, Shuster responded: "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison."
So Shuster is personally invested in O'Keefe's fate and convinced not only that he tried to tap Sen. Landrieau's phones--a contention that the affidavit does not support, not that that has stopped others in the mainstream media from reporting it as fact--but that he is, without a doubt, guilty.
Writing the cover story for the February issue of Newsweek magazine, editor Jon Meacham examined “The Trouble With Barack”, arguing the President: “is accused of being too radical, but he’s been governing from the middle for a year.” Meacham then wondered: “So why all the anger?” Answering his own question: “Because he’s leading with his head, not his heart.”
Meacham began the piece by assuring readers of his own political moderation: “I am a Southerner, a churchgoer, and a swing voter in presidential elections....I have no automatic faith in government’s capacity to solve problems. I share these details to make clear that I am not a reflexive lefty. Far from it.”
Having established his credentials as a “swing voter,” Meacham continued with his assertion that Obama is no liberal: “I hope President Obama does not take the conventional message from the Democrats’ drubbing in Massachusetts...go to the center, Mr. President. Turn right before it is too late....the evidence fails to support the contention that the Barack Obama...was a Chicago Che or even an unreconstructed Great Society liberal. Obama is essentially a centrist.”
The story behind Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow's arrival into this world is remarkable.
So-called "women's groups" would seem to prefer that as many Americans as possible not know the story about the courageous and faith-based decision Tebow's mother made to carry her pregnancy to term. That's the only plausible reason why they are opposing a 30-second Focus on the Family (FOTF) ad scheduled to air during the Super Bowl. So far, it seems that CBS, which will air the Super Bowl on February 7, seems disinclined to buckle.
David Crary's coverage of the story at the Associated Press (from which the photo at the top right was obtained) labels FOTF "conservative," but does not apply any descriptive label to the "women's groups" objecting to the ad.
As you'll see in the final excerpted paragraph, Crary's coverage included an over-the-top statement from the objectors:
Margery Eagan, a liberal columnist for the Boston Herald, ripped MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN over his “homophobic, racist, reactionary” label of Senator-elect Scott Brown on the night of the Massachusetts special election: “This is crazy...it’s sick.”
Eagan appeared during the lead segment of the CNN program with Jonathan Martin of Politico and conservative CNN contributor Amy Holmes. Anchor Howard Kurtz played Olbermann’s smear of Brown nine minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour, and after asking Holmes for her take, he played a sound bite of Glenn Beck’s recent dead intern crack against Brown. Though Kurtz asked Eagan for her response to the Beck sound bite, she primarily attacked the MSNBC host, lumping in the conservative talk show host in passing.
EAGAN: Listen, I think Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann have both taken leave of their senses. You know, I was a Martha Coakley fan. I thought she was a great D.A. But I know Scott Brown. He’s a great guy. You can’t help but like the guy. He strikes me as a wonderful family guy. He’s out there mowing the lawn. His wife, Gail Huff, has been a great reporter on Channel 5. Racist? A homophobe? Sexist? I mean, this is crazy. His politics are different than mine, but it’s sick.
It's amazing how Bernard Condon and Tim Paradis of the Associated Press managed to hang the same label on totally opposite political positions in their report on the situation in the stock market late this afternoon.
According to the AP pair, Scott Brown's U.S. Senate win in Massachusetts was due to a "wave of populism," at the same time as President Obama is supposedly planning to use "populist attacks" to save his party's congressional majority in the fall elections. One of those employments of "populism" has to be wrong.
Additionally, they write that it's Scott Brown's type of populism that caused investors to sell heavily in the middle of last week, but that it's Barack Obama's type of populism that caused it to plunge even further during its remainder.
Look at the bright side: As you'll see, the wire service at least got the headline right.
Rush Limbaugh is so reviled by the left, that even when he agrees with liberals and issues facts supporting their arguments, they criticize him and demand an apology.
The latest such group to deride Limbaugh for supposedly offensive comments that they themselves have supported is the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL has called on Limbaugh to apologize for suggesting that the Obama Administration's anti-banker populism has troubling anti-Semitic undertones. He did not suggest that Obama is an anti-Semite, nor that is policies specifically single out or target Jews. He did suggest that Jews who voted for Obama may be feeling "buyer's remorse" now that the administration is using language that has so often--historically--been used to demean and discriminate against the Jewish community.
Here is the quote in question: "To some people, banker is a code word for Jewish; and guess who Obama is assaulting? He's assaulting bankers. He's assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's - if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there."
A small group of liberal talking heads may be realizing that opposition to Obama is not, in fact, wholly irrational. Though it would be a bit too hasty to proclaim it a trend among the mainstream media, it has been a refreshing break from the smears usually hurled at the right by the nation's pundits.
First was Chris Matthews, who stunningly turned right and voiced his concern about an excessively large federal government, as Noel Sheppard reported this morning. NBC's David Gregory also came to his senses today, and admitted--his prior statements notwithstanding--that the Tea Party movement has been advocating the same principles that led to Scott Brown's victory yesterday (h/t Mary Katherine Ham).
Speaking on this morning's Morning Joe, Gregory characterized yesterday's special election as a sincere populist backlash against unpopular policies. The election was "about incumbency and whether government's working for you," he said. "That's what really cuts through all this is whether government is working for the people. That's what's fueling the Tea Party movement."
CNN’s Carol Costello reminisced enthusiastically about President Obama’s inauguration a year ago on Tuesday’s American Morning, highlighting how, at the time, “the hearts of millions of Americans were ready to burst- with a Woodstock kind of love.” Costello also took a shot at Republicans, stating that they “used the President’s strategy [on health care] to create fear and confusion among voters.” [audio available here]
Anchor Kiran Chetry set the gushing tone for the correspondent’s report, which aired at the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour: “It was a year ago that love was in the air. America seemed to come together behind the nation’s first African-American president.” Costello lead the segment with footage of the enthusiastic crowd at the inauguration and her reporting inside the crowd, accented with a graphic of President Obama’s head inside a beating Valentine’s heart and Cupid’s arrow: “Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2009....The hearts of millions of Americans were ready to burst- (unidentified women singing) with a Woodstock kind of love.”
The day after the Inauguration, during a January 21, 2009 report on CNN, Costello dubbed the festivity “a gigantic love fest,” and gave an enthusiastic account about her time with the masses on the National Mall: “Suddenly, someone would just come up and hug you. It was just amazing. It was -- it was like you were standing in the middle of these strangers, and all of a sudden, you had a million friends around you. That’s what it felt like yesterday.”
There are times when speaking in a stream of consciousness is a good and wholesome thing. None occur in front of a camera, as evidenced by the public escapades of MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch.
The former ad-man took to today’s “Morning Joe” set yesterday morning to offer the following wisdom in reference to the impending Massachusetts electorate:
He is a traditional-looking middle-aged white male. We’re going back to basics, we’ve obviously had our first African American president we’ve had the female candidates and what-not – you look at him, he looks like the candidate, the traditional view of the candidate, and is there a visceral comfort in that for people? I’m just curious from real kind of sociological point of view.
TVNewser has a transcriptpar excellence, for your reading pleasure. In sum, Mika Brzezinski has gone off the Big Media reservation again, in a good way. Let’s just say she unwittingly (?) offers praise for a cable news network with much better ratings.
In an interview for her new book, Brzezinski spoke with Julie Menin about the partisan nature of today’s American media:
BRZEZINSKI: "I've worked in the mainstream media for all the networks and I will say what people aren't saying. It's got a liberal world view. There are great people working at the networks, and they're mostly Democrats, ok? They try really hard to be objective, really hard and they do a great job at it, but the balance is not there within the objective mainstream media. It's not, it is not and I'm not sure how we fix that. I hate the polarizing extremes that we're seeing on cable where there's these sort of ‘Think my way or you’re evil’ kind of subliminal message or cartoonish type characters on the right and the left.
Interesting enough – but even more piquing is Brzezinski’s solution to the problem of a partisan media:
New York Times reporter Liz Robbins provided an excellent case study of liberal bias Tuesday, profiling both candidates on the eve of the special U.S. Senate election in the deep-blue state of Massachusetts. Robbins's stories appeared side-by-side on page A22 of Tuesday morning's newspaper, and Democrat candidate Martha Coakley clearly got the better of the deal.
The text to the Coakley story was highly flattering:
Even during a fierce campaign for Senate, Martha Coakley speaks with quiet fervor, a serious woman who has been arguing issues since she was a standout on her Western Massachusetts high school debate team.
Ms. Coakley, the state's attorney general, gained international recognition as a methodical county prosecutor during the 1997 trial of Louise Woodward, a British au pair convicted of killing a baby boy in her care. Her composed television appearances helped her become the first woman elected district attorney in Middlesex County, the state's most populous, a year later. In 2006, just as easily, she swept the race for attorney general. Since then, she has won settlements from Boston's Big Dig contractors and from Wall Street firms that engaged in deceptive practices.
On Monday’s AC360, CNN’s Jessica Yellin spun the rise of Republican candidate Scott Brown as coming from “folks here in Massachusetts [who] are feeling angry and scared. They’re angry and scared about the economy, about jobs...and especially in this state, about health-care reform....[Brown] has tapped into that fear and sold himself essentially as a man of the people who will fight big government” [audio clip from the segment available here].
Anchor Anderson Cooper, reporting on location from Haiti, brought on Yellin 41 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of his program to discuss the potential effect of the Massachusetts special election on the Democrats’ push for ObamaCare. He addressed the liberal conventional wisdom on the senate race in his first question to the CNN national political correspondent: “Jessica, you have a well-known, well-funded Democrat in Massachusetts, running to fill the seat held for nearly half a century by Ted Kennedy. At first glance, you’d assume she’d win that with a walk. What’s happened?”
Yellin pinpointed the apparent cause of Martha Coakley’s (the “well-known, well-funded Democrat”) difficulty as coming from voter discontent:
Last week, in his "analysis" of Barack Obama's proposed "bank responsibility fee," the Associated Press's Jim Kuhnhenn got one important thing right and two others very wrong.
The part he got right was describing the proposed fee as a "tax." The first thing he got wrong was identifying the proposed move as a legitimate form of "populism." The second is his claim that the idea is "straight out of 'It's a Wonderful Life,'" the classic Christmas movie.
Here are Kuhnhenn's first five paragraphs:
It's not just about bad banking.
President Barack Obama's biting criticism of big banks frames the problem as a struggle between jobless, suffering Americans and banks making big profits and paying "obscene" bonuses.
It's populism straight out of Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life," and it aims to score political points in the midst of a weak economic recovery that is fueling public doubts about the president's own economic policies.
Lamenting how Nancy Pelosi's archbishop has "slap[ped] her down," in an online statement addressing the House Speaker's excuse-making for her pro-abortion record, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift used a January 15 Gaggle blog post to praise Pelosi, no stranger to pastoral rebuke, as both a good pro-choice Democrat and a good Catholic:
It's anybody's guess whether in the new world of Internet media the archbishop's online commentary rebuking Pelosi falls under his pastoral duties, or public advocacy. Either way, Pelosi remains unshaken in her views, and in her Catholic faith.
"Free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom."
Yet Clift left out another key excerpt from Neiderauer's "archbishop's journal" column (emphasis mine):
CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom condemned the voter-approved Proposition 8 in California in an editorial on CNN.com on Tuesday, and labeled the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas decision in 2003 as “the gay community's Brown v. Board of Education.” Bloom would later imply that the supporters of Prop 8 were “lunatic-fringe bigots.”
The legal analyst began the January 12, 2010 editorial, titled “Prop 8 is simply unconstitutional,” by contrasting “reckless heterosexual nuptials,” such as the 23 marriages of a grandmother in Indiana, with her friends Wilbert and Carlos, “‘free men’ together 16 years and lovingly raising a son, [who] are shut out of the 1,100 federal and hundreds of state legal benefits that come with marriage.” She continued by dropping another personal anecdote, citing the “children in same-sex families: kids like my friends’ son Dorian, growing up with the sting of knowing that his parents are second-class citizens in their own country.”
A brief (and humorous) hypothetical: What would the reaction of the mainstream media be if Sean Hannity took the video of President Obama’s obeisant greeting of the Japanese Prime Minister, and turned it into a video loop to be played in the corner of the screen whenever Obama was the subject du jour?
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow did a very similar thing with Republican National Chairman Michael Steele on Friday’s edition of ‘The Rachel Maddow Show.’
You may remember the mildly irritating pop-up starring Steele that inhabited the redesigned GOP.com at its first launch. It would launch in the upper corner, helpfully explaining the features of the site like the infamous Microsoft Word paper-clip assistant. Maddow revived this animation for use as a ‘bug’ in the corner.
MADDOW: Also, I‘m very proud that for the first time ever, we had a little dancing Michael Steele as the bug in the corner of our segment there.
In this age of political correctness, using appropriate language can be challenging, even for those with the best PC intentions. So it was last week at the New York Times, which clarified an earlier article (h/t Regret the Error) :
An appraisal on Dec. 31 about David Levine, the caricaturist for The New York Review of Books who died on Dec. 29, may have left the incorrect impression that the Russian writer Aleksandr Pushkin, the subject of one of Mr. Levine’s drawings, was homosexual. The description of Pushkin as “a gay man” was a reference to his demeanor, not his sexual orientation.
No doubt some nitpickers will think the correction should have ended: Not that there would have been anything wrong if he were a homosexual.
Despite being convicted of stealing gift cards intended for poor Baltimore residents and using them for her own personal shopping spree, outgoing Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon (D) will still be able to collect a mayoral pension after she resigns from office early next month.
Reported Baltimore Sun's Julie Scharper:
Dixon pleaded guilty last week to one count of perjury for failing to disclose on city ethics forms the gifts she received from a developer. As part of a plea deal, she will keep her $83,000 pension. She will receive probation before judgment for the perjury count and the embezzlement conviction. She also must donate $45,000 to charity and is banned from seeking city funds to pay her legal bills or working for the city or state during her probationary period.
This development, understandably, has quite a few Baltimoreans outraged, so Sun editors gave Scharper 25 paragraphs to report on incoming interim mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's pledge to look into the pension system and sew up loopholes that allow for convicts like Dixon to benefit from taxpayers in their retirement from public service.
Yet nowhere in Scharper's January 12 article was Dixon's Democratic Party affiliation mentioned, nor the fact that Council President Rawlings-Blake and the rest of the city council are likewise all Democrats.
The Los Angeles Times has been doing its best to dismiss Senator Harry Reid's racist remark about Preisdent Obama as a minor transgression while portraying Republicans calling for his resignation as political attack dogs. This coverage stands in stark contrast to the paper's coverage of the controversy surrounding former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in 2002 (h/t Patterico).
"GOP opens fire on Harry Reid," read a Los Angeles Times headline yesterday. The article said the Senator was "pummeled" by the GOP, that Republicans had "called for the senator's head," and that Reid was now "in [the GOP's] cross hairs." (The latest version of the story does not include the last quote.)
Contrast this Times story to the paper's own coverage of Trent Lott's remarks in 2002 and Democrats' calls for him to step down as Majority Leader. The Times portrayed the uproar over his remarks not as an attack, but rather as a spontaneous, impalpable furor. The uproar was a "spiraling controversy" or a "growing clamor." "Outrage Grows Over Lott Remarks" read one headline.
CNN made no accommodation for balance during a panel discussion segment on ObamaCare on Monday’s American Morning, bringing on two leftists- New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Time magazine’s Karen Tumulty- who both dismissed the Democrats’ lack of transparency in the congressional negotiations over the health care “reform” bills, and both shilled for the legislation.
Anchor Kiran Chetry introduced Kristof as someone who merely “supports the health care bill as it stands now” during a panel discussion segment at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour. After introducing Kristof and his liberal colleague Tumulty, Chetry asked, “Does this hurt the President if indeed Congress goes forward with doing this behind the scenes?”
Kristof acknowledged that “to some degree it hurts him politically [and] I think he shouldn’t have actually made that promise,” but continued that, from his experience as a journalist, the lack of transparency was actually a good sign:
Left-wing talker Stephanie Miller inaccurately claimed on CNN’s Larry King Live on Thursday that former President Clinton “put the Cole bombers in jail.” Miller also predictably blasted former President Bush for not “taking responsibility for 9/11,” in contrast to President Obama’s recent acceptance of responsibility for intelligence failures prior to the attempted underwear bombing on Christmas [audio clip from the segment available here].
Host Larry King first turned to the leftist talk show host during a panel discussion which began 12 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour: “Stephanie, the President said the buck stops with him. Was that a good move today?” Miller immediately made her full Bush Derangement Syndrome apparent in her response:
MILLER: Well, it’s certainly a different move than we ever heard in the Bush administration. I never heard anybody taking responsibility for 9/11, for Katrina. I thought he stepped to the plate. And I couldn’t disagree with Paul Bremer [who appeared in the previous segment] more, Larry. I think he [Obama] is prosecuting the exact same way President Bush prosecuted the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, as a criminal. You don’t want to make them holy warriors. You want to prosecute them as what they are and that’s criminals, and that’s what Clinton did when he put the previous- you know, Cole bombers in jail, instead of letting them get away, like Osama bin Laden.
CNN continued its spin on the retirement of Senator Byron Dorgan on Wednesday. Anchor Campbell Brown one-upped Wolf Blitzer’s “moderate Democrat” tag of the senator, going so far to label the liberal a “conservative Democrat.” Correspondent Dana Bash also noted how the outgoing senator is apparently “popular” in his state, contrary to recent polls. Not once was Dorgan labeled “liberal” or “left.”
Brown’s interview of Dorgan aired at the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour. During the second half of the segment, the anchor expressed some of the left’s concerns over his decision to not run for reelection: “You know, this is that rare moment where Democrats have a supermajority and are able to get through what they wanted to accomplish. And so there are people- fairly or unfairly- who are saying, why are you doing this to us now?”