Spreading the WordAs we reported earlier, former Newsweek reporter Michael Hastings drops one rhetorical bomb after another on the media in a new article for GQ magazine. All of them reinforcing what we already knew, best summarized by Hastings himself: the press's "objectivity is a fallacy."
It has been a horrendous year for the media's credibility, and Hastings's statements only make it worse. "If (it) sounds like I had some trouble being ‘objective,' I did. Objectivity is a fallacy. In campaign reporting more than any other kind of press coverage, reporters aren't just covering a story, they're a part of it-influencing outcomes, setting expectations, framing candidates-and despite what they tell themselves, it's impossible to both be a part of the action and report on it objectively."
Hastings is utterly derisive of both former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator and Presidential nominee John McCain, both of whom he covered during the Republican primary. He in fact dreamed repeatedly of doing Giuliani harm as some sort of warped civic duty.
Regular CNN commentator Jack Cafferty may be "on the mend" after a three-week break for a "unanticipated encounter with a surgeon’s scalpel," as he put it, but he certainly hasn’t recovered from his Palin Derangement Syndrome. He launched a new attack on the Alaska governor on Wednesday’s Situation Room. This time, Cafferty returned to the issue of Trooper/Taser-gate and brought up two additional issues that came up this week -- how the RNC spent $150,000 on Palin for new clothing, make-up, and hair care for Palin, and how she used taxpayer’s money to pay for her children to travel with her to official functions. He then came to the following conclusion about the Republican vice-presidential candidate: "How do you present yourself as any kind of candidate of reform when the practices you employ put you in the very same category as every other two-bit, sleazy, opportunistic politician that has come before you?"
Cafferty then asked as his hourly question, "Should Sarah Palin reimburse Alaska taxpayers for her children’s travel and entertainment expenses?" Of course, when Cafferty read some of the viewer responses to this question, he lined up nothing but anti-Palin comments.
CNN contributor Roland Martin’s Wednesday column on CNN.com bluntly accused Republicans of exhibiting "fear and desperation" in their criticism of Barack Obama: "McCain's campaign is no longer about issues. He and his supporters want to bring up anything and everything to derail Obama, and nothing is sticking, so they just keep returning to their old bag of tricks." This "bag" apparently includes bringing up issues like Obama’s 20-year relationship with left-wing firebrand Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the socialist labeling of the Democratic presidential candidate, and his associations with terrorist Bill Ayers and ACORN.
Martin first labeled McCain an "old fighter," but not as a compliment: "Watching Sen. John McCain and top Republicans swing wildly in their attempts to slam Sen. Barack Obama, with less than two weeks ago to go before Election Day, is like watching an old fighter -- clearly out of gas, his legs turned to rubber, and all he can do is grab, hold, punch behind the back, just anything to try to win." He then used his "old bag of tricks" line.
During an interview with Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Drew Griffin ripped a phrase out of a recent article by National Review’s Byron York which criticized the media’s coverage of Palin and characterized it as an attack on the Alaska governor. Griffin pointed out how "[t]he press has been pretty hard on you. The Democrats have been pretty hard on you, but also some conservatives have been pretty hard on you as well. The National Review had a story saying that, you know, ‘I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above.’" In the original article, which was originally only in the print version of National Review, York used the "incompetent" phrase to attack the media: "Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for vice president, it's sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward or - well, all of the above."
CNN contributor Roland Martin used an unoriginal line to attack Rush Limbaugh on Monday’s Election Center program. Host Campbell Brown wanted Martin, a Barack Obama supporter, to comment on something the talk radio host had said about Colin Powell’s endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate: "Rush Limbaugh said today, this is about race. That's all it's about." Martin’s response: "I think I will quote Al Franken when talking about Rush Limbaugh -- is a stupid, fat idiot."
Martin made the comment during a panel discussion with Brown, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and Kevin Madden, the former spokesman for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, in which the four of them discussed the Powell endorsement of Obama. After his cliched attack, the CNN contributor accused Limbaugh, as well as Pat Buchanan and George Will, of disregarding Powell’s record and simplifying his endorsement to a matter of skin color: "Colin Powell gave one of the most thoughtful, meticulous endorsements of any candidate, and laid it all out very methodically, and it is an insult for people like Rush Limbaugh and Buchanan and Will and others to somehow say, oh, it's only because he's black."
On Thursday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen followed the liberal talking points about how Joe the Plumber’s real first name is Samuel and how he doesn’t have a plumbing license. When host Anderson Cooper asked if John McCain benefitted from the attention on the Ohio laborer, Gergen replied, "Well, I think he was for a while. But I -- when we found out he was Sam the non-plumber, it changed a little bit." Gergen went on to treat Joe Wurzelbacher, who works with plumbing, as if he worked as a McCain campaign surrogate: "...I don't understand why the McCain team didn't vet the guy before they made such a -- you know, made such a focus on him on national television. I can guarantee you that the George W. Bush campaign, you know, which ran a highly disciplined campaign, would have vetted and would have known before he went out there about... his personal status."
The son of an 8-term Democratic congressman from Illinois has pleaded guilty to having sex with jail inmates under his charge, the Chicago Sun-Times News Group reported today. Yet the congressman's Democratic Party affiliation was left out of the story altogether:
The son of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush will spend six months in jail after pleading guilty to having sexual encounters with two female inmates and arranging encounters with another while serving as a state prison official.
Jeffrey M. Rush, 42, of the 700 block of Brookfield Court in Lake Zurich, pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of official misconduct and agreed to a sentence of 180 days in the Kane County Jail and three years probation, according to a release from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office.
Two of the charges stem from sexual relationships Rush had with two female prison inmates between Feb. 1 and June 18, 2007, while he was serving as head of security at the Fox Valley Adult Transition Center at 1329 Lake St. in Aurora, the release said.
Washington Post staffer and chief "Macaca-gate" peddler Michael D. Shear filed an October 9 story from Waukesha, Wisconsin, on the McCain rally there. Joined by fellow reporter Perry Bacon Jr., Shear focused on the "anger" in the crowd at the liberal media. Their lead paragraph:
WAUKESHA, Wis., Oct. 9 -- There were shouts of "Nobama" and "Socialist" at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin.
While Shear and Bacon did eventually quote some attendees who explained their concerns, they were buried deep in the page A4 article in the October 10 paper, along with a references to less-than-civil rhetoric by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at the tail-end of the 32-paragraph article, "Anger Is Crowd's Overarching Emotion at McCain Rally":
First we see their selective editing of quotes from last night's debate. Regarding John McCain's plan for the economic crisis, they "quote" McCain as saying, "It's my proposal. It's not Sen. Obama's proposal." The AP goes on to note
Obama charged that the current crisis was the "final verdict on the failed economic policies of the last eight years" that President Bush pursued and were "supported by Sen. McCain." He contended that Bush, McCain and others had favored deregulation of the financial industry, predicting that would "let markets run wild and prosperity would rain down on all of us. It didn't happen."
But McCain's full quote -- which the AP edits above -- reads as follows: "It's my proposal. It's not Sen. Obama's proposal, it's not President Bush's proposal." Why would the AP leave this quite important nugget out of McCain's full quote?
Liberal Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn argued today that while Bill Ayers violent past must be condemned, it is improper to label him as a domestic terrorist (emphases mine):
My view is that one can unequivocally condemn the campaign of destruction and bomb-setting waged by the Weather Underground and still ask whether "terrorism" is or was the right word to describe that form of violent guerrilla protest.
To me, a terrorist is one who attempts to create malleable fear in a population through random acts of mayhem; someone who uses his own amoral unpredictability to magnify the power he is attempting to exert in an effort to create change.
The Dow may be tanking and we could be heading into a global recession in the near future, but there's a green lining to it all, according to Reuters. Mother Earth might get a breather from those dastardly carbon emissions, what with shuttered factories and all.
Here's how the financial news wire teased a story on the afternoon of October 7, a day after the Dow closed below 10,000 for the first time since October 2004:
Economic silver lining? The slowdown in the world economy may give the planet a breather from high carbon dioxide emissions, a leading scientist says.
The October 7 story by Reuters staffer Michele Kambas focused on the recent remarks by Nobel winner Paul Crutzen:
CNN’s so-called Truth Squad, in two reports on Sunday and Monday by two different correspondents, labeled Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin "false" for stating that Barack Obama "sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country." The Squad, in their "fact-checking" of the Alaska governor, who was making a reference to left-wing terrorist William Ayers, obfuscated Obama’s past connections to the former leader of the Weather Underground. The Squad’s reports, which aired on CNN’s Sunday Morning program and on Monday’s American Morning, also left out key details about the Democratic presidential candidate’s past with Ayers.
The network first made an attempt at "fact-checking" Palin’s statement, which she made at a campaign rally in Carson, California, near the beginning of the 7 am hour of their Sunday Morning program. Anchor T.J. Holmes, after a report by Don Lemon on the Alaska governor’s claim, gave a brief look at the Obama/Ayers connection. "Well, nobody's exactly sure how well Bill Ayers and Barack Obama know each other. The New York Times, CNN, other news organizations have looked into this, found that they apparently did not have a very close relationship, it appears." Well, that’s about as clear as Mississippi River mud, and one might guess that Holmes was asking his audience to take the word of two liberal media outlets.
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty, true to his form over the past several weeks, launched another attack on Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Tuesday’s The Situation Room. During his regular "Cafferty File" segment during the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program,he played a clip from the latest interview the Alaska governor did with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, in which she partially answered her critics’ questioning of her readiness to be vice president by repeating the list of offices that she has held over the years. After she concluded with her past position of Alaska oil and gas commissioner/regulator, the CNN veteran condescended, "A regulator of oil and gas. How can -- how can anybody, including John McCain, take this woman seriously?... When this is over they all write books. Hers will be titled, ‘How I Committed Political Suicide on the CBS Evening News.’"
When he returned at the end of the hour to read some of the viewer responses to the question, Cafferty read nothing but negative responses to the question, with one exception, and he continued his condescension after reading it. A woman named Trudy wrote, "Within three minutes, you remind me why I don't watch the opinionated news on CNN.... Your condescending attitude towards Sarah Palin is another example of the lock-step Left trying to portray a Republican as less intelligent." Caffery then replied, "Trudy, when it comes to Sarah Palin, that's not much of a reach."
In his look at the "McCain campaign's end-run around media," San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Joe Garofoli pitted one media insider's defense of McCain campaign strategy on the matter of Gov. Palin's press availability, and that at the end of his 20-paragraph story:
"All politicians go through a stage where they want to minimize how much they are exposed to the media," said Paul Friedman, vice president of news at CBS, the network that scored one of the three major Palin interviews. He shrugged at what could be learned in a news conference that couldn't in a one-on-one interview. "I just don't think it is that cosmic of an issue. We'll see more of the candidates soon. Just wait for the debates."
To counter Friedman, Garofoli cited female journalists and pundits who complain that Palin is being overly sheltered. Aside from PBS's Judy Woodruff and CNN's Campbell Brown, Garofoli noted the complaints of conservative Kathleen Parker, labeling the syndicated columnist, and rightfully so, by her ideological label.
But when it came to labeling a liberal critic of Palin, the chief of a liberal feminist organization was treated as a non-partisan observer, even though her organization was co-founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem:
On Thursday night, CBS anchor Katie Couric began a short news update on Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska by immediately highlighting his party affiliation: “The senior Republican in the U.S. Senate went on trial today for corruption...” Stevens was appointed to his seat in 1968. But the night before, in an item on ethical questions surrounding Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, a House veteran elected in 1970 who is Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Couric failed to inform viewers he's a Democrat. Though, as his bio recites, he's “Chairman of the Board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,” sans any party ID Couric announced on Wednesday's CBS Evening News:
The House also plans to investigate one of its own: New York Congressman Charles Rangel. He's come under fire for, among other things, failure to pay taxes on a luxury villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. Rangel has rejected calls that he step down as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rocky Mountain News staffer Ed Sealover offered readers a 12-paragraph article on how Planned Parenthood is making a killing off of John McCain's choice of running mate. Too bad he downplayed that they're literal killings.
In his September 23 article, "Planned Parenthood gains from Palin e-mail campaign," Sealover noted that the "staunch abortion-rights opponent" is inspiring pro-choice women to give donations to the organization in Palin's name, meaning that John McCain's campaign headquarters will soon be "receiving tens of thousands of thank-you notes."
Sealover briefly noted that Planned Parenthood provides abortion services, although he failed to mention that, although technically a not-for-profit entity, it earns windfall profits by selling abortion services. Reported Penny Starr of CNSNews.com* earlier this year:
A 60-year-old white woman from Spring Hill, Florida is quoted as saying that there is no chance a black man can win the White House. This same woman, Sandra Cichon, is quoted in a total of three St. Petersburg Times stories, the latest being from September 15. But in a follow up interview, Barbara Sowell of digitaljournal.com finds that Cichon claims she was never called by a pollster, as the paper claims, and never told any reporter that she wouldn't vote for a black man.
So who is right? Did the St. Petersburg Times merely make up racist quotes out of whole cloth and put words in the mouth of this woman or is she suddenly trying to take back what she said by claiming not to have been interviewed about Obama? Here's the story and you can decide.
We've covered it here before. It's akin to that old child's game where one person whispers something into another's ear, passes it on to several others, until the final statement is no longer vaguely recognizable as being related to the first.
So, here we go again with Anatomy of a Biased Headline...
Writing Sen. Joe Biden's (D-Del.) recent suggestion that it's "patriotic" to pay higher taxes, Associated Press reporter Douglass K. Daniel provided a bit of cover for the Obama running mate by citing a left-leaning tax group and ignoring Obama's plans to hike capital gains taxes.:
Although Republican John McCain claims that Obama would raise taxes, the independent Tax Policy Center and other groups conclude that four out of five U.S. households would receive tax cuts under Obama's proposals.
"We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people," Biden said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."
The Tax Policy Center may be independent of a political party apparatus, but it is decidedly liberal in orientation, a joint venture of two liberal think tanks, the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.
CNN pressed Senators John McCain and Joe Biden about their campaigns’ respective tax plans on Tuesday’s American Morning during back-to-back interviews. Co-host Kiran Chetry questioned McCain from the left, citing the supposedly "non-partisan" Tax Policy Center run by two liberal organizations, the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, while her colleague John Roberts asked Biden about the "income redistribution" that is part of the Obama/Biden campaign’s tax proposal.
Chetry interviewed McCain first, starting 24 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, and first asked the Arizona senator to explain what he meant by saying that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" and about regulation of businesses. She then brought up the issue of taxes: "I want to ask you about this, though, when it comes to tax policy -- the non-partisan Tax Policy Center calculated the middle class would actually save significantly more under Barack Obama's tax plan than yours. How will your tax cuts, as it breaks down on income level, benefit the working class and the middle class?"
The racist Reverend Wright wanted God to "damn America." Jesse Jackson called New York City "hymie town." Various Evangelical preachers have been heard to utter some pretty nasty comments here and there, as well. So, flawed as we are, apparently being religious doesn't preclude a venomous diatribe now and again. And now comes hate wrapped as political commentary from another supposed person of faith, this time in Newsweek. Wendy Doniger is a columnist for Newsweek's "On Faith" beat and is also the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. But that doesn't seem to have made her less of a venom spewing, wiled-eyed Republican hater, unfortunately. Naturally, like all women such as herself, all her hate is directed at Governor Sarah Palin -- also showing that these sorts of women aren't interested in helping strong women to public influence but only their kind of mindless ideologue is acceptable.
Doniger starts her hate-filled rant in All Beliefs Welcome, Unless They are Forced on Others with what will shortly turn out to be a lie compounded by a blind assumption based on no proof to shore up her claims that Sarah Palin's exclusively allows her religious beliefs to direct her public actions.
Here at Newsbusters we are not surprised to see liberal bias in the media. In fact it is to be expected. But there are degrees of bias; typically falling somewhere in between the subtle undertones of contextually stretched reporting to the overtly blatant thrill up the leg sort.
But there is another type of bias that is so mean spirited and over the top that you have to wonder if we aren’t observing a nervous breakdown on a mass scale. It seems that many in the media are becoming unglued over the concept of a McCain-Palin ticket.
On August 31 at Newsbusters, Warner Todd Huston caught NBC political correspondent Andrea Mitchell's assessment about the kind of women who would be supporting the McCain-Palin ticket:
..... they (McCain-Palin) think that they can peel off some of these working class women, not college educated, who, the blue collar women who were voting for Hillary Clinton and may be more conservative on social causes.
Combining Mitchell's take with the statement by Eleanor Clift (noted by NB's Brent Baker) that "in many newsrooms" McCain's pick of Sarah Palin was "greeted by "laughter," you get the distinct impression that the media believe that women who are supporting McCain-Palin aren't very smart.
The Mitchell-Clift Maxim isn't passing the smell test in Ohio, at least if the results of the University of Cincinnati's Ohio Poll released earlier today (a PDF can be retrieved at this link; HT to NB commenter Dee Bunk) are to be believed.
CNN correspondent Gary Tuchman’s report detailing the abortion stances of the four major presidential and vice-presidential candidates on Wednesday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program gave a fairly neutral portrayal of how "Biden and Obama both favor abortion rights" and how "Palin and McCain are both anti-abortion," despite Tuchman describing how Palin is "considered fervently anti-abortion." However, host Anderson Cooper, in his introduction to Tuchman’s report, gave no reaction or labeling as he mentioned South Carolina Democratic Chairwoman Carol Fowler’s slam against Palin, that John McCain picked her because she "hadn’t had an abortion," other than stating, "Just the mention of that word [abortion] stirs up intense emotions for a lot of voters."
"Former GOP senator calls Palin a 'cocky wacko'" teased the Chicago Tribune on its online front page. Curious as to who that might be, I clicked the link to find out who.
Let's just say I didn't exactly spit out my coffee when I read the Associated Press story only to find out the culprit is none other than former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (RINO-R.I.).
Of course, for those like NewsBusters readers who are well-informed and politically engaged, the only thing Republican about Linc's name is, well, his first name. But your average newspaper reader is likely unfamiliar with Chafee, particularly in a story carried over a national news wire.
Yet the reader doesn't get any hint of his leftist voting record in today's five-paragraph Associated Press article:
CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin criticized Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Tuesday’s Election Center program for having a "very extreme" position on the issue of embryonic stem cell research: "By excluding that entire scientific method, it seems like you're an extremist, and frankly, her position is very extreme in the American spectrum. And I think that is the real problem here." Toobin later used the same phrase to label Palin’s stance on global warming near the end of the program.
Toobin’s comment came as host Campbell Brown began the program with the controversy over remarks made by Palin’s Democratic opponent, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, who made an indirect reference to the Alaska governor’s developmentally-disabled son during a campaign stop in Columbia, Missouri earlier that day: "I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both...the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect. Well, guess what folks? If you care about it, why don't you support stem-cell research?"
Two segments on Tuesday’s Election Center program, which were promoted by host Campbell Brown as having ‘no bias, no bull,’ actually tried to paint Republican vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin as having a "very extreme" and "outside-the-mainstream" viewpoint on environmental issues, since on the issue of global warming, she’s "not one... who would attribute it to being man-made." Brown herself suggested during the second segment that the debate over the cause of global warming was already over [see video at right].
Correspondent Randi Kaye interviewed University of Alaska professor Rick Steiner during the first segment, a report on Palin’s environmental record. She asked, " In a word, if you can sum up Sarah Palin's record on the environment here, what would it be?" Steiner answered, "Abysmal." Anderson Cooper’s blog on CNN.com republished the professor’s September 7 editorial from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in which he railed against Governor Palin: "In addition to her frightening lack of qualification to be vice president (much less president) of the United States, Palin is an evangelical, anti-choice, pro-gun, right-wing conservative who wants creationism taught in schools." When a shorter version of her report aired on Wednesday’s The Situation Room, Kaye added that Steiner "says he’s not a Republican or a Democrat." Despite this clarification, it is clear from his editorial that Steiner is a liberal.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about John McCain taking the lead in recent polls following the Republican convention and the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate: "Sarah Palin is his Geritol...That's – I mean it really has -- because I wrote in my notes this morning, she not only energized the base,she seems to have energized him." While seemingly a compliment, such a statement conveniently reminded viewers of McCain's age.
In addition, the segment featured a total of four references to the "social conservative" base of the party that Palin has attracted. Schieffer observed: "But, you know, the interesting thing about this is that John McCain, the maverick that he is, has never been popular with one part of the Republican Party, especially the social conservatives...Now the people who were against him in the Republican Party seem to like him just fine." Smith added: "These are the Rove-cultivated religious right, so important to George Bush." Schieffer concluded: "Evangelicals, social conservatives. Now, John McCain has suddenly become their favorite and he was never that before. That can only be good for him in a political sense...And I think what we've seen here, she has gotten those social conservatives in the Republican Party who were never for him. How are independents going to feel on this down the road?"
Just after the bottom half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of CNN’s coverage of the Republican convention, as Oklahoma Congresswoman Mary Fallin began an introduction of a video presentation about Islamist attacks on the U.S. over the past decades, host Wolf Blitzer gave a bit of a warning about the content of the video: "Let's listen to Congresswoman Mary Fallin of Oklahoma. She's going to make the case why Republicans are better in protecting us than Democrats, and that will lead into a video. It's provocative. There will be images of 9/11 and towers going down. It will raise controversy. We're going to show to it you because it's part of this convention. But let's listen to this Congresswoman from Oklahoma speak first."
Nine minutes later, after Fallin had finished her introduction and the video concluded, Blitzer began a short discussion with correspondent John King, co-host Campbell Brown, and Republican strategist Alex Castellanos about the video’s content. Brown charged that Republicans were playing on fear: "But that message though, has been fear, I mean, as a message at this convention."
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani faced liberal lines of questioning from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Gloria Borger during the 6 PM EDT hour of The Situation Room before the network’s Thursday night coverage of the Republican convention. In particular, Borger pressed Giuliani on his differences with Sarah Palin on social issues: "Last night, you spoke before Sarah Palin, a woman who -- with whom you have very little in common on the social issues, right? She's pro-life.... [L]et's just say she's a heroine to the right wing of this party, and you're not their hero, okay?... [M]y question is, has the big tent of the Republican Party, which you always talk about -- has that gotten a little narrower?"