NBC News correspondent Luke Russert marveled at Code Pink's disruption of the National Rifle Association's press conference in a Friday post on Twitter: "That was probably the most effective code pink protestor I've ever seen."
Norah O'Donnell helped Bob Schieffer hype his upcoming segment with actor/director Ben Affleck on Thursday's CBS This Morning. O'Donnell played a clip of the soon-to-be aired interview and remarked, "He sure does sound like a politician. He won't give you a straight answer!"
Schieffer ballyhooed Affleck's supposed credentials to be a possible replacement for Senator John Kerry, who could be named the next Secretary of State [audio available here; video below the jump]:
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett tried to shoehorn Steven Spielberg's screening of his recent film "Lincoln" for the Senate into his report on President Obama's Wednesday press conference on the fiscal cliff and gun control. Garrett hyped how the movie "celebrates presidential power and crafty legislative strategy," and that Obama "may need the wisdom of Lincoln for his latest legislative battle - gun control."
The correspondent even played a clip from the film about the sixteenth President to hint at a parallel between the passage the 13th Amendment, which happened after the carnage of the Civil War, and possible new firearms regulations in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre [audio available here; video below the jump]:
At his news conference on Wednesday, President Obama opened with a statement of over 1,100 words, all of it on gun violence, including his announcement that "I’ve asked the Vice President to lead an effort that includes members of my Cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January -- proposals that I then intend to push without delay."
That should reasonably have been expected to put the gun control issue to bed for the rest of the day. How many meaningful questions could reporters possibly pose after all of that (other than the one Jake Tapper of ABC asked, which will be seen later in the post)? But as Ben Sisario at the New York Times's Media Decoder blog reported Wednesday afternoon, that didn't satisfy many media critics, who -- with Sisario seeming to agree -- expected and wanted to see an all-gun-control, all-the-time exercise, and were angry that it didn't unfold that way (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Bill Plante apparently couldn't be bothered to find more than one conservative/Republican for his report on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. Plante aired one soundbite from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, but followed it with three straight clips from liberals/gun control supporters - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the Brady Campaign's Dan Gross, and Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth, who attacked the NRA's leadership as "bullies".
The correspondent hyped supposed "public outrage over the massacre [that] has also emboldened members of Congress to challenge the power of the gun lobby." Plante also spotlighted the NRA's multi-million dollar lobbying campaign in 2012:
In his Sunday appearance on "Meet the Press" (HT The Blaze), New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg answered host David Gregory's first question relating to the Sandy Hook massacre by saying that "It's so unbelievable, and it only happens in America." That statement is so obviously false that I would have expected even a Bloomberg- and gun control-sympathetic press, including Gregory himself, to point out how wrong that statement is. Nope: A search on Bloomberg's name at the Associated Press at 1:45 p.m. returned four relevant articles containing Bloomberg's name; none reports that statement, let alone its erroneous nature.
Further, a Google News search on [Bloomberg "only happens in America"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets; sorted by date) returned 42 items, most of which were versions of a short, unbylined AP Sunday report containing the incorrect Bloomberg assertion. The AP clearly made it disappear in subsequent national site dispatches without identifying the statement's falsehood. To its credit, AP did issue a correction to an earlier "worst in U.S. history" statement in a different report:
Katie Zezima at the Associated Press is the latest in a long line of reporters sucked into the fundamental dishonesty of the "Food Stamp Challenges" which have been taking place around the country for more than five years.
Zezima's misdirection came at the direction of Newark, New Jersey's Democratic mayor Cory Booker, who challenged one of his Twitter followers several weeks ago to, in Zezima's words, "try to live on the monetary equivalent of food stamps for at least a week" in connection with "a debate about the role the government should play in school nutrition funding." Those two quoted characterizations expose the two main problems with the Food Stamp Challenge. I'll explain both after excerpting a bit more of Zezima's December 11 dispatch after the jump:
Stephen Colbert lent his Comedy Central television platform on Thursday to one of the left's favorite religious figures, Sister Simone Campbell, to promote her ongoing battle against Rep. Paul Ryan's fiscal ideas. Campbell slammed congressional conservatives to the extreme point of hinting that they would have treated the Holy Family worse than the innkeepers in Bethlehem [audio clips available here; video below the jump]:
Bill Plante slanted four-to-one in favor of gun control on Monday's CBS This Morning as he reported on congressional Democrats' efforts to introduce new firearms regulations. Plante played soundbites from Senator Dianne Feinstein, Carolyn McCarthy, and President Barack Obama. His sole pro-gun rights talking head was Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who came only after the clips from the liberals were played in succession.
Despite Obama's recent hint towards supporting more gun control laws, in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Plante's clip of Obama came from a 2008 campaign rally where the then-senator tried to reassure gun owners.
If certain aspects of stories relating to an incident of gun violence don't fit the template, they usually doesn't get reported at all. But if such things somehow get some local exposure, they rarely escape into the broader national news environment. What follows is an example of the latter.
As voting on Egypt's constitution begins, an Associated Press story this morning by Aya Batrawy and Sarah El Deeb typifies how the U.S. press is only nibbling around the edges of its content. The headline reads "EGYPTIANS VOTE ON ISLAMIST-BACKED CONSTITUTION." In the story's content, the pair found an 23 year-old Egyptian engineer who told them, in their words, that "he felt the proposed constitution needed more, not less, Islamic content," and expressed a belief that "All laws have to be in line with Shariah."
Nice misdirection there. As Andrew McCarthy, "arguably the most important prosecutor in the War on Terror" and "among the most authoritative writers anywhere on the dangers of Jihad," explained at PJ Media on Wednesday morning, and as much of the non-U.S. press accurately comprehends, the proposed constitution is about institutionalizing sharia in Egypt, and the last-minute splitting of the vote, originally scheduled for only today but now taking place today and next Saturday, is about ensuring its victory at the polls (bolds are mine throughout this post):
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman threw around hostile labels in his Thursday piece on the ongoing tactical fight in Washington, pitting the "far right" against responsible "pragmatists" in the tactical battle over fiscal policy in "Boehner Tries to Contain Defections on Fiscal Unity."
Speaker John A. Boehner moved Wednesday to maintain Republican unity on deficit reduction talks as lawmakers on the far right openly chafed at his leadership and some pragmatists pressed for quick accommodation on tax rate increases on the rich.
Today's news from the Department of Labor on initial weekly unemployment claims was supposedly good -- as long as one doesn't scratch beneath the surface. Journalists used to do that. Today they didn't.
All one had to do is reach the third paragraph of DOL's release to realize that today's seasonally adjusted claims number of 343,000, touted as the lowest in two months in several news reports, was suspect. That paragraph told us that the 428,814 actual claims filed during the week ended December 8 were barely lower than the 435,863 claims seen in the week ended December 10, 2011, last year's comparable week; today's result only occurred because this year's seasonal adjustment factor was significantly different from last year's. I believe that this year-over-year drop of less than 2% in raw claims is the smallest weekly difference in a week not affect by storms or holidays this year. In other words, it really is news -- but not in the business press, which runs with the government's seasonally adjusted data and almost never looks any further. Examples follow the jump.
Charlie Rose and Gayle King pressed outgoing Senator Jim DeMint on Thursday's CBS This Morning over congressional Republicans resistance to tax hikes. When DeMint stated that President Obama will "probably eventually get his tax increases one way or another", Rose replied, "So, if he will get them, why not get them now and compromise and avoid going off the fiscal cliff?"
Open Obama booster King added the bad polling numbers for Republicans into the mix as she tried to get the senator to surrender to the President's demand: "You released a statement...saying this is not rocket science...with that in mind, why can't we come to terms? The public is viewing the Republican Party very negatively. Are you concerned about that?" Rose later wondered why DeMint was leaving the Senate to head the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The word games in the press, especially at the Associated Press, concerning North Korea's nuclear capabilities are head-spinning.
In a June 16, 2009 dispatch, Ben Feller's story at the AP carried the following headline at the Huffington Post: "Obama, Lee: We Won't Allow North Korea To Have Nuclear Weapons" ("Lee" is Lee Myung-bak, then and still President of South Korea). Yet Feller's first paragraph referred to the North as a "nuclear-armed nation." If you're "armed," doesn't that mean you have a "weapon"? Additionally, a CNN report on the same day mentioned that President Obama would not be "allowing North Korea to develop nuclear weapons," though the country has claimed possession of them since early 2005. An exercise in excuse-making at the AP Wednesday evening by Bradley Klapper only adds to the confusion (bolds are mine throughout this post):
With a Republican newly elected as governor and a Republican-controlled legislature, North Carolina, long a politically moderate player in the South, will soon have its most conservative government in a century.
Back in the days when journalists practiced journalism, they would be on the alert for record-breaking news, whether positive or negative. These days, at least when it comes to the economy, it seems that they struggle to find positive records and ignore obvious negative ones right in front of their faces.
A case in point is today's Associated Press report on November's Monthly Treasury Statement. The government's report came in with a deficit of $172.1 billion, the highest November shortfall ever (the runner-up: last year's $137.3 billion). The AP's Christopher Rugaber either failed to recognize the reported amount as a record -- doubtful in my view given its size -- or didn't think its recordbreaking status was newsworthy. To be fair, unlike colleague Martin Crutsinger's typical monthly attempts, Rugaber got to almost all of the requisite monthly and year-to-date facts on receipts, spending, and the deficit itself, including comparisons to last year. Excerpts, including the all too familiar historical revisionism on how we got to where we are, follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In his Washington Secrets column in the December 12 Washington Examiner, columnist Paul Bedard disclosed for readers the thrust of a recent email that Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe sent supporters: McAuliffe is a "mainstream" candidate fighting for Virginians against the "extremist" Tea Party conservative Ken Cuccinelli.
That's par for the course for a liberal Democratic candidate in a swing state, of course, but its notable for our purposes at NewsBusters because, as I've been writing the past few weeks, that's exactly the narrative that the liberal Washington Post is putting in their ostensibly neutral news articles. You can find those pieces here, here, and here. As the 2013 off-year election season heats up, expect to see the liberal media generally, but the Washington Post in particular, do its best to help the McAuliffe campaign sell its narrative. It may be hard to tell where the campaign talking points end and the supposedly neutral news media begins.
On Wednesday, CBS This Morning shipwrecked its aim to be the hard-news alternative to ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today. Its only coverage of the passage of the right-to-work law in Michigan was a clip of Comedy Central's Jon Stewart ripping the legislation. Anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell laughed on air in reaction to Stewart's shtick, with O'Donnell adding, "That's pretty good."
The liberal Daily Show host poked fun of the "right-to-work" phrase as an Orwellian reversal of reality (audio available here; video below the jump):
Demonstrating his and his employer's pro-union bias, Jeff Karoub at the Associated Press, in compiling a list of "5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MICH. RIGHT-TO-WORK BILLS," made "The Name Is Misleading" his first item.
As an AP journalist, Karoub is likely a member of the Occupy Movement-supporting News Media Guild. Earlier this year, his employer's recently departed chairman, acting in an official capacity representing his supposedly objective, values-driven organization, praised President Obama in terms so effusive that Charles Hurt at the Washington Times wrote that it was "more like he proposed to him." In his five-item listing, the third of which has an inchoherent title, Karoub seemed to jump right in where Obama left off in a Monday Michigan speech (bolds and numbers in headings are mine):
Perhaps hoping that readers wouldn't scroll down to peruse what followed, a Tuesday evening Detroit Free Press report by David Jesse and Lori Higgins carried at USA Today featured a video taking up my entire computer screen which consisted entirely of union protesters chanting slogans for 49 seconds.
The pair's actual report carries a misleading headline ("Mich. governor signs anti-union bills after protests") directly contradicted in their dispatch's content ("The right-to-work legislation ... makes it illegal to require financial support of a labor union as a condition of employment"). But it's their description of Tuesday's incident involving Steven Crowder and Americans for Prosperity which is the report's biggest flaw (HT Instapundit):
There will be plenty of time later to look at how the Associated Press and other wires more than likely fail to report the violence that took place in connection with right-to-work legislative actions in Michigan's legislature today. For now, let's look at the reactions of Associated Press reporters John Flesher and Jeff Karoub on Friday in an item which is no longer at the AP's main national site.
Their dispatch's headline ("Michigan Republicans end part of union tradition") was from all appearances an attempt to make it seem uninteresting. The story itself didn't describe the law involved as "right to work" until its fourth paragraph. Both before and after that, the pair, who are more than likely members of the Occupy Movement-supporting News Media Guild, got bitter (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Tuesday's CBS This Morning played up the union-led protests against a proposed right-to-work law in Michigan. Elaine Quijano claimed "the protests here in Michigan...[will] likely only get bigger." Quijano added that "they're planning to return today in record numbers - protesters determined to defend one of the biggest union strongholds in the country."
The correspondent loaded her report with six soundbites from the anti-right-to-work protesters and their supporters, including President Obama. Quijano only played two from proponents of the Michigan bill, including "reluctant supporter" Governor Rick Snyder.
The first entirely post-election reading from the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer confidence survey came out on Friday. It was awful. As reported at MarketWatch, the overall index "fell to 74.5 from 82.7 in November," far below expectations of 82.0, representing "the biggest one-month drop since March 2011." Zero Hedge noted that it's the "biggest miss on record" compared to expectations.
Of course, in Establishment Medialand and with the analysts they chose to consult, the plunge has everything to do with the "fiscal cliff," and nothing to do with the reelection of President Obama to a second four-year term or his intensely partisan conduct since then. Sure, guys.
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell seemed unsure about the extent of Tea Party's political influence. During an interview of former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, O'Donnell first indicated that the movement was a potent force: "I want to ask you...about how powerful the Tea Party is. Is the Tea Party holding back House Republicans and Speaker Boehner from agreeing to additional revenues?"
The anchor later hinted the Tea Party's power was on the wane: "FreedomWorks spent $40 million in the last election, and you had less than one-in-four of a winning record on the candidates you backed. Was it the organization, or is the Tea Party weakened?"
As Colonel Kurtz said at the end of Apocalypse Now: “the horror, the horror.” That sentiment encapsulated New York Times Republican David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields’ reactions to the rejection of the UN treaty on the rights of the disabled in the Senate last week. Brooks called it “embarrassment for the country” – while Shields called it “a profile in cowardice.” Regardless, it seems that both men forget that we have a similar bill called The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed under George H.W. Bush.
During the segment, which aired on December 7, NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff decided to end her interview with Brooks and Shields on this point:
This one comes straight from the "There are none so blind as those who refuse to see" Department. On Wednesday, in an interview with talk show host Hugh Hewitt (HT Daily Caller), New York Times Cairo Bureau Chief David D. Kilpatrick characterized Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood as "not violent by nature," and as "a moderate, conservative but religious, but moderate, regular old political force." (Quick aside: There is nothing "conservative" about sharia law, persecution of Christians, and the subjugation of women, yet the press won't stop using that dishonest tag to describe radical Islamists.)
Just a few days later, in a pair of dispatches, one of which appeared in today's Times print edition, Kilpatrick reported that "the government of President Mohamed Morsi has approved legislation reimposing martial law," and that Morsi "is leaning more closely than ever on his Islamist allies in the Muslim Brotherhood." Imagine that. Excerpts from the Hewitt interview and each of Kirkpatrick's Friday reports follow the jump.
Nancy Cordes couldn't have made outgoing Senator Jim DeMint's conservative credentials clearer on Friday's CBS This Morning, labeling the South Carolina Republican "one of the most conservative members of the Senate." Cordes outlined that DeMint was a "Tea Party hero, who has raised more than $15 million...to help elect Tea Party senators...But he has also backed a series of losing far-right candidates."
However, the correspondent couldn't be bothered to identify Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert as a liberal, as she noted the comedian's efforts to get his fans to lobby South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to name him DeMint's replacement. She merely pointed out Colbert's persona as "one of the most conservative TV personalities out there - fake personalities, anyway." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
By comparison, the introduction of two liberal laws in Washington State, on gay marriage and marijuana legalization, were welcomed under the headline: "Two Laws Are Welcomed After Midnight in Seattle," with a single paragraph of dissent at the end. Legal reporter Charlie Savage did file a separate story on the Obama administration weighing legal action against Washington State and Colorado, but the issues there were technical and the sparse quotes were legalistic and neutral.
"Militantly non-partisan" Major Garrett sounded more like an Obama administration flack on Thursday's CBS This Morning as he spotlighted the President's latest P.R. stunt. Garrett noted Obama's plan to visit a northern Virginia middle-class family and claimed that the Democrat was underlining the "self-evident point that if the there is a deal and their taxes aren't raised by about $2,000, they'll be happier and spend more money."
The correspondent also uncritically pointed out how Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner signaled that the White House was willing to go over the fiscal cliff if their demand for higher taxes isn't satisfied.