MEXICO CITY, Feb. 20 -- They've traveled the world. Surfed the Web. Zinged text messages. And watched news direct from the BBC and CNN, rather than filtered through a government censor.
Bombarded by ideas from abroad, a generation of Cuban political leaders who came of age after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution is preparing to inherit it. Many of them, now in their 40s and 50s, have developed a more open political outlook than their fathers, partly because of the thriving black market in outlawed Internet connections that in Cuba have cracked open a window on the world.
Los Angeles Times's L.A. Now blog today picked up on reporter/former L.A. mayoral mistress Mirthala Salinas:
Her rise through the ranks at Telemundo was swift. Her fall following the disclosure of an affair with Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of our fair city, was a spectacle. And now she's back - on the radio this time. Hoyinternet.com is the first with the news:
Update 14:16 | Matthew Sheffield. The level of excusing and tip-toeing around the truth about Castro is staggering. As of 2:13 ET when you do a Google News search for "Fidel Castro" you come up with 7,520 results. Add the word dictator after it and you come back with 1,417. That's 81 percent less.
Just a few headlines from major newspapers as Fidel Castro has called it quits as dictator:
Castro resigns, ending era in Cuba (LATimes.com front page)
None of those articles directly referred to Castro as a dictator. Here's how AP's Anita Snow danced around the matter of Fidel's autocracy, conceding that "detractors called him a dictator" while throwing in the favored defense leftists often throw up for Castro (emphasis mine):
Fans of NewsBusters are quite familiar with how we track instances of labeling bias: where the media don't label liberal activists or employ double standards in labeling conservatives vs. liberals, Republicans vs. Democrats, etc.
Remember the former governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey? What political party did he belong to? Can't remember? Well, don't rely on the Associated Press to assist you in its article yesterday about him and his continuing marital woes:
They've bickered over whether she knew he was gay, whose tell-all book would sell better, whether a poster of a nude man hanging over his new lover's bed had to come down before she'd allow their 6-year-old to visit.
Sure, it's garden variety AP labeling/double-standard bias, but it bears busting anyway.
At KnoxNews.com (h/t NB reader coffee260), one can read the tale of Nashville, Tennessee, state representative Rob Briley, who "has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and property damage prior to leading authorities on a high-speed chase last September." Briley is a Democrat, but his party affiliation was not mentioned in the 6-paragraph story.
Yet another AP dispatch on another state politician, this one from Maryland, had a quite different treatment of that legislator's political affiliation.
Democratic state legislators in Washington State are taking aim at changing the state ballot initiative process, all because of numerous successes of perennial anti-tax advocate Tim Eyman, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported today.
While P-I reporter Brian Slodysko did an overall good job reporting the controversy, including how critics think the legislature could be overreaching in their "reform" efforts, this portion proved a bit vexing (emphasis mine):
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, has the backing of a coalition of organized labor, business interests and environmental groups, who say special interest groups have co-opted the state's initiative and referendum process from its populist origins.
"Up until the late '80s, almost into the start of the '90s, (the initiative process) was a populist grass-roots effort. At this point in time, it became professionalized. We felt obligated to defend the Legislature," Jim Bricker, a spokesman for the coalition, said.
A Yahoo photo slideshow of Ground Zero perfectly demonstrates the bias news agencies frequently insert into captions. Instead of just describing the photo, Yahoo included captions with partisan cheap shots unrelated to the image to score typical anti-War On Terror points (h/t NB reader Larry Jordan).
Out-of-place comments about waterboarding, the downturn in the economy and a criticism of Rudy Giuliani were captioned under photos of a smoking World Trade Center and Ground Zero rubble (bold mine throughout):
Slide 1: Early morning light illuminates the wreckage of the World Trade Center on September 25, 2001 in New York. The head of the CIA said Thursday it is uncertain whether the use of waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning widely condemned as torture, would be lawful if used today against Al-Qaeda detainees.
Implying those on the right opposed to John McCain's Republican presidential bid are extremists beyond the politically acceptable, fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Harry Smith on Thursday night warned that McCain “still faces a tough battle to win the support of hard-line GOP conservatives.” Smith's characterization came a day after Time magazine's Web site headlined a Wednesday posting by Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney, “McCain: Frail with the Far Right.” In the Thursday night CBS story in which Jeff Greenfield avoided pejorative labeling, Nicole Wallace, a CBS News political analyst who was Director of Communications for the Bush White House in 2005-2006, discounted those troubled by McCain -- whom she called “ABM Voters: Anybody But McCain” -- as “a smaller sliver of the party than we give them credit for being.”
That's the second time in eight days a former Bush operative turned network television analyst has dismissed or denigrated conservative concerns about McCain.
Opposition to John McCain from conservatives is clearly a proper topic of news analysis on an election night, but during its two hours of EST/CST prime time coverage of Super Tuesday, the CBS News team managed to apply the “conservative” label at least 44 times -- in several instances beyond anything about the conservative split with McCain -- yet never once uttered the term “liberal” during a night when two liberals faced off on the Democratic side. Jeff Greenfield and Bob Schieffer each tagged the same Senator, 25 minutes apart, with Greenfield calling Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn the “most conservative Senator” and Schieffer referring to him as “very conservative.” Schieffer characterized the fissure between conservative activists/talk show hosts and McCain as a “split between...the very conservative establishment and the Republican Party.” Schieffer later warned that McCain must “put out this fire” the “very conservative Republicans are waging.”
No state, not even Massachusetts or New York, was liberal to the CBS crew, but shortly before 10 PM EST Couric announced “John McCain has won the deeply conservative state of Oklahoma” and she later listed McCain's win in the “very conservative state.” In the next hour, Greenfield described California as “a conservative state for Republicans.” (Announcing Obama's win in Connecticut a little past 10 PM EST, Couric simply said the state “has a strong anti-war sentiment.”)
As Mitt Romney tries to close the gap with John McCain before the voting on Super Duper Tuesday, New York Times reporter Michael Luo took an unsympathetic look at Romney's political makeover in Tuesday's "Meet the New Mitt Romney, The Anti-Insider Populist."
There’s one little three-syllable word that has been left out of most of the Democratic primary coverage on the TV: "liberal." We’re constantly told by anchors and reporters how the Republican contenders are fighting over the "conservative" vote and who’s more "conservative," and that’s true. But exactly the same fight is taking place on the left side, with the Clintons trying to suggest Barack Obama’s not sufficiently liberal (he praised Ronald Reagan!) and Obama trying to take Hillary’s Iraq war vote and turn her into Rumsfeld in a black pantsuit.
But the news media cannot routinely bring themselves to say that word, "liberal." Obama landed a major victory in the who’s-more-liberal sweepstakes. He’s been endorsed by MoveOn.org, the screechy hard-left group that distinguished itself last year by taking out newspaper ads denouncing our commander in Iraq as "General Betray Us."
ABC anchor David Muir asked Barack Obama about some of his liberal positions in a pre-recorded interview, which was shown on World News Saturday, in which Muir asked about the Democratic Senator's support for drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, and about being endorsed by "liberal legend" Ted Kennedy and MoveOn.org. The ABC anchor also brought up the New York Times' evaluation of Obama's economic policies as being "more left than the Clinton administration's." Muir: "Does that offer red meat for the Republicans, that you could possibly be more left than Hillary Clinton?" (Transcript follows)
Imagine this! We get to play our favorite game twice in the same day! Yes, it's time once again for "Democrats or Not," where we read an MSM story about corruption in politics and try to determine which party the perp is from... because the MSM won't tell us -- usually, that is.
This is a very special edition of "Democrats or Not," because this time we don't have to guess which party the violator in question is from. Amazingly, unexpectedly, we have finally found a story where the AP has found the temerity to list the perp's party affiliation. Yes, we can thank the AP for their bravery in, "Judge Grills E-Mail-Deleting Texas DA."
Yes, ladies and gentlemen thanks for tuning in to our next episode of "Democrats or Not?" Our favorite game where we read a story highlighting corruption, fraud, and crime by a public official or party member and then we try to guess which Party the perps are from... because the MSM won't tell us.
Today's tale come from the Associated Press and concerns charges laid against 4 Duval County, Texas residents who are charged with making up fake mail-in ballots during the 2006 primary. It appears that Lydia Molina, Maria "Kena" Soriano, Elva Lazo, and Maria Trigo are charged with a Class B misdemeanor for possession and handling of ballots assigned to another person.
Weisberg linked it back to a pattern of dyslexia in the Bush family.
"I agree with that," Weisberg said when presented the possibility that Bush has a "learning disability." "The other thing I've done is collect ‘Bushisms' over the years and I sort of joke this book is my penance for doing that, because one of the things ‘Bushisms' do is I think they make Bush sound stupider than he is, or stupid in a way he isn't. And I do think he does have some sort of language processing impairment that is probably akin to dyslexia, and dyslexia does run in the family. But, I don't think it is dyslexia because if you watched the State of the Union, you could see he has no trouble reading a teleprompter."
In a January 29 article for the Associated Press, reporter Rachel Zoll lambasted conservative Southern Baptists as "vicious" partisans who sought to "wipe out" any trace of liberals or moderates from the denomination. What's more, this characterization came while reporting on a gathering of "moderate" Southern Baptists set to convene tomorrow and featuring ex-presidents (and liberal Democrats) Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. (h/t Steve Barrett)
Both Clinton and Carter were raised Southern Baptist, but Carter has since cut ties to the Southern Baptist Convention and Clinton frequently attended the liberal Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., with his wife while president.
Here's Zoll's first two paragraphs:
Weary of Southern Baptists' dominance in American Protestantism, a new push is starting by other Baptist groups aimed at working on social justice issues, and showing their religious tradition is broader than the conservative SBC. Former President Jimmy Carter is leading the effort.
Heaping praise on moderate Republican Rep. Tom Davis (Va.), the Washington Post devoted not one but two articles in the January 31 paper to the congressman. The Post lauded Davis for his centrism, but particularly for angering the Virginia GOP's conservative base. Yet left unmentioned was any analysis suggesting moderation was what felled his wife's 2007 state senate reelection campaign.
Staff writer Bill Turque penned a Metro section front pager ("In Va., Congress, Davis Has Ruled From the Center") that began by noting Davis's Republican Party family pedigree before adding that Davis "crushed" his first political opponent in a 1979 election "by placing himself firmly in the center."
The presidential field has winnowed down further, with Democrat John Edwards and Republican Rudy Giuliani announcing their withdrawal from the presidential race on the same day. But while the left-wing Democrat was serenaded as a trailblazer, the moderate Republican was mocked for "living an illusion."
While few were surprised by Giuliani's announcement (and subsequent endorsement of fellow moderate John McCain) after his distant third-place finish in Florida, Edwards' decision must have shocked at least one person -- New York Times reporter Julie Bosman, who must be feeling snake-bit after her Tuesday story portraying Edwards as the Energizer Bunny, motoring on and becoming a possible kingmaker at the Democratic convention.
"Whose side is Joe Lieberman On?" demands the subheading for "The Demublican," a January 24 Newsweek Web Exclusive centered on Sen. Joseph Lieberman's (I-Conn.) endorsement of John McCain for President. In the interview, reporter Jeffrey Bartholet presses Lieberman from the left on a host of policy issues and questions and on his loyalty to the Democratic Party. For his part Lieberman often points to issues where McCain has left the conservative fold, such as climate change and the Gang of Fourteen.
At no point, however, does Bartholet ask Lieberman if he feels the "party has left him" on national security/war on terror issues.
Below are the agenda of questions. I've bolded the ones that skew leftward or suggest Lieberman is disloyal or has no good reason to back a Republican over his party's standard bearers. For the full interview, click here.
The Establishment Media hailed the study's lead "finding" -- 935 false statements by Bush Administration officials in the two-year period leading up to the launch of the War. The Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and -- of course -- the New York Times were all exhilarated to once again climb aboard the "Bush Lied - People Died" Express.
It's a sad and horrifying story enough as it is, yet the Associated Press surely has compounded the grief for a Texas couple with its January 23 story, "Lawsuit: Stillborn Was Put in Laundry," excerpted below (h/t NB reader Tracy Zeeb):
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A couple filed a lawsuit against a hospital alleging that it sent their stillborn fetus's body with dirty laundry to the cleaners.
Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick was at age 31 the youngest elected Mayor in the history of Detroit, the Motor City. Now, at 38, he is also the Vice President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors as well as that organization's representative to the Democratic National Committee. He also seems to have a problem with appropriate behavior... then lies about it to try to cover it up. But one thing he doesn't seem to have to worry about is the MSM telling people he's a Democrat!
In a series of articles with ongoing coverage the Detroit Free Press reveals the attempted cover-up of an affair between Mayor Kilpatrick and his chief of staff, Christine Beatty.
Meacham appeared on Comedy Central's January 21 "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and told viewers the media gear reporting toward conflict.
"I absolutely believe that the media is not ideologically driven, but conflict driven," Meacham said. "If we have a bias it's not that people are socially liberal, fiscally conservative or vice versa. It is that we are engaged in the storytelling business. And if you tell the same story again and again and again - it's kind of boring."
Of course, Cramer is a regular on NBC's "Today" and "Nightly News" as an expert on the economy. On December 19, Cramer appeared on "Today" and was very critical of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke for not cutting interest rates more than a quarter point. In another "Today" appearance on January 17, he declared the economy was in a recession, a 180-degree change from his comments earlier in the month when he declared "sunny skies" were ahead for the economy.
*Update/Correction (15:28 | January 11): Grasmick has donated to Republicans running for statewide office (OpenSecrets tracks only federal contributions), as Mark Newgent of the RedMaryland blog notes, yet all told her state and federal contributions to the GOP are quite smaller than that of those to the Democratic Party. See Newgent's item here.
The January 10 Baltimore Sun, reporting on an escalating personnel struggle in Annapolis, dutifully noted liberal Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) charge that state school superintendent Nancy Grasmick is a "pawn" of the GOP. Grasmick has served under three governors, two Democrats (Govs. Schaefer and Glendening), and Republican Robert Ehrlich.
Yet completely missing from reporter Liz Bowie's article was any mention of Grasmick's historic political ties to Democrats. Indeed, 30 seconds in an online would yield campaign contribution data showing Grasmick has only given money to Democrats.
According to OpenSecrets.org, in the past seven years Grasmick has given money to incumbent Democratic congressmen or congressional candidates such as Elijah Cummings, Dutch Ruppersburger, and John Sarbanes. Grasmick also gave $500 to the state Democratic Party in 1999, the first year of liberal Gov. Glendening's second term. Not once during her tenure was a contribution to a Republican* listed.
It's one of the great MSM rituals of presidential politics: the labeling of leading Dems as "moderates" or "centrists." Gail Collins honors the tradition in her New York Times column of today. Now it's true that Collins ostensibly speaks more of Obama's tone than of his politics. But, ultimately, as you'll see, she melds the two to portray a thoroughly moderate man. We'll do a reality check, but first let's look at the excerpt from Collins's column [emphasis added]:
Barack Obama turns out to have a positive genius for making moderation sound exciting and is perhaps the only politician in American history who can get a crowd all worked up with a call to politeness. “We can disagree without being disagreeable,” he said in his New Hampshire farewell, drawing a roar of approval.
In a country where the spoils go to the loudest shrieker, this is absolutely revolutionary and very important. Most Americans want a moderate government, but nobody has ever before been able to make moderate seem interesting, let alone sexy. (Remember Joseph Lieberman.)
Reuters, in its headline for a story reporting the death of Philip Agee, a former CIA agent turned traitor, labeled Agee a "CIA whistle-blower" ("CIA whistle-blower Philip Agee dies in Cuba"). As the blog Little Green Footballs put it, Agee was "the traitor who exposed fellow CIA agents to violence and murder by revealing their names" in his 1975 book "Inside the Company: A CIA Diary."
Agee, who had worked for the CIA for 12 years both in the United States and in Latin America, resigned from the Agency in 1968 after expressing "disagreement with U.S. support for military dictatorships in Latin America." Reuters then went on to say that Agee "became one of the first to blow the whistle on the CIA's activities around the world." He died on Monday in Havana, Cuba, where he had settled in the 1980s.
After his surprisingly easy victory in the Iowa Caucuses, the New York Times is joining the rest of the media in promoting the historic candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. Check how the Times flooded the country to get favorable Obama soundbites for Saturday's front-page story by Diane Cardwell, "Daring to Believe, Blacks Savor Obama Victory."The full byline:
"Reporting was contributed by James Barron, Timothy Williams and John Eligon from New York; Lakiesha R. Carr and Holli Chmela from Washington; Rebecca Cathcart from Los Angeles; Brenda Goodman from Birmingham, Ala.; Rachel Mosteller from Houston; Susan Saulny from Chicago; Kirk Semple from Miami; and Katie Zezima from Boston."
"For Sadou Brown in a Los Angeles suburb, the decisive victory of Senator Barack Obama in Iowa was a moment to show his 14-year-old son what is possible.