CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, whom President-elect Barack Obama has reportedly asked to take an administration post as Surgeon General and top health policy adviser, last year thought it noteworthy that the release of John McCain's medical records ignored the Senator's “mental health,” any “mention of post-traumatic stress disorder” or of “substance abuse.” Back in 2004, upon Ronald Reagan's passing, Gupta took to CNN to give legitimacy to claims of how throughout his presidency “many would accuse President Reagan of ignoring AIDS.” Gupta falsely charged that “the first time President Reagan would utter the word AIDS in public would be well into his second term, six years after the virus was discovered.”
The jump would take Gupta full circle back to activist liberal politics and policy-making. “He was a White House fellow in the late 1990s, writing speeches and crafting policy for then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton,” the Washington Post's Ceci Connolly and Howard Kurtz recalled in a story for Wednesday's paper (“Obama Picks TV's Gupta for Medical Post”) which relayed that in addition to the Surgeon General slot “he has also been offered a top post in the new White House Office of Health Reform, twin duties that could make him the most influential Surgeon General in history.” The Post article also noted that Gupta, who joined CNN in 2001 and has since also reported for CBS News, “met for more than two hours with Obama in Chicago on Nov. 25.”
Ben Smith at Politico reports that The Washington Post website is displaying a new Internet version of the revolving door between the mainstream media and the leftist barricades: hiring bloggers. Greg Sargent, who worked for the Bush-bashing blog Talking Points Memo and for a time wrote a poor-man’s-Media-Matters blog called "The Horse’s Mouth" attacking the idea of liberal media bias, will work on a new Post website:
Greg's move is both a reminder of how the new liberal reporting infrastructure --TPM and Huffpo, in particular -- were as much competitors as any newspaper in breaking news this cycle; and a sign of how porous the barriers, which used to be fairly substantial, between "MSM" and "blogosphere" (and, for that matter, political campaigns and advocacy groups) have become.
PBS Washington Week host Gwen Ifill participated in her monthly Internet chat at washingtonpost.com on Thursday, and committed at least one noticeable error. When someone asked Ifill about the "revolving door" between the media and politics – now symbolized by Time Deputy Washington Bureau Chief James Carney working for Vice President-elect Biden – she claimed that it’s "more often the other way" – more often between Republicans and the media.
For many years, MRC’s Brent Baker chronicled the Revolving Door, and it was dominated by Democrats, about three Democrats for each Republican – and that included liberal Republicans like Sen. John Chafee.
Ifill also mysteriously suggested Illinois qualified as the South when one chatter complained Obama had no cabinet picks from the South:
Breaking News: WaPo says Ron Kirk (Dallas) for USTR -- does that satisfy the South?
Gwen Ifill: Texas works for me. And some parts of Illinois(Ray LaHood) might too.
Ray LaHood represents Peoria, which doesn’t exactly border Kentucky.
Here's the question about Jay Carney and the Revolving Door:
Time's Washington bureau chief Jay Carney is quitting his magazine post to take the fearsome task of managing the communications problems of incoming vice president Joe Biden.
This hardly comes as a surprise. During his tenure at Time, Carney accrued a reputation for bashing Republicans. In March, he urged President Bush to give a speech on the economy and say that he is "a Republican who actually cares about people that are suffering."
In a November 2007 blog post, Carney slammed the Bush administration for "los[ing] touch with reality" for insisting that the situation in Iraq was improving, despite many indicators that the surge strategy was working.
There's a heartwarming story in today's Times of Northwest Indiana. Jane Pauley, one-time co-host of NBC's Today and Dateline NBC programs, made an appearance yesterday for Barack Obama. Joining her was Steve Skvara, the retired steelworker who in August of last year tearfully asked Democratic presidential candidates at a debate, "What's wrong with America? And what will you do to change it?" The Times reported:
PORTAGE Former television news anchor and Hoosier native Jane Pauley returned to her professional roots Monday during a local appearance on behalf of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
Pauley, who said she worked for the state Democratic Party before launching her successful news career, took part in a panel discussion aimed at touting the benefits of Obama's economic plans for Hoosiers over that of his Republican challenger John McCain.
Chris Matthews is apparently not the only one who gets "inspired" by Barack Obama.
Blogging from the convention floor, a reporter for the Hill, a DC political newspaper observed "dozens of men and women wearing green media floor passes chanted along with the crowd" at Obama's speech last night.
Is it any surprise given how many elite media journalists are registered Democrats or how Obama's speech was almost universally hailed by TV reporters?
We'll be sending several NB bloggers to the RNC next week to keep an eye out for similar applauding. Don't worry, we won't be holding our breaths.
Kate Albright-Hanna, who runs the Obama campaign's online video operations, got the job after she pitched the campaign “a proposal on video strategy” -- while she was still a CNN producer. A Wednesday Washington Post “Style” section feature on the key members of the “Triple O: Obama's online operation,” recounted the how and when of her pitch to Joe Rospars, a Howard Dean campaign veteran in charge of the so-called Triple O:
An Emmy winner, she joined CNN's political unit in 1999 and met Rospars while filming a documentary on Dean. When she heard that Rospars was working for Obama, Albright-Hanna called and said she wanted to produce a doc on Obama. The campaign planned to develop its own video content, Rospars said. Intrigued, Albright-Hanna sent him a proposal on video strategy. Weeks later, she left CNN and moved with her husband and 3-year-old son to Chicago.
The key phrase: “weeks later, she left CNN...” So while working at CNN she was simultaneously developing a plan for Obama which, given their decision to hire her, they liked and she's implementing.
Before CNN, she was an intern in the Clinton White House and, in a Dateline NBC story days after the Monica Lewinsky story broke, she was featured by reporter Dawn Fratangelo as one of a group of former interns who “simply don't find it plausible the President of the United States could have an affair with an intern.” In a soundbite (see slightly snowy screen shot from the MRC's archive), Albright-Hanna asserted: “I can't imagine how that would happen.”
Howard Wolfson has become the latest prominent Democrat to join forces with Fox News Channel during the general election, hailing it for its "comprehensive and fair and evenhanded" coverage during the primaries.
That's quite an endorsement coming from one of the Democratic party's biggest communications mavens, and not one known for being especially soft-gloved. It's the equivalent of MSNBC suddenly getting endorsed by the likes of Mary Matalin or Ari Fleischer, something which is far less likely to happen. New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg broke the story:
Howard Wolfson, who was a top strategist for the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, is going where some Democrats were unwilling to go during the early days of the election season: the Fox News Channel. [...]
Mr. Wolfson is joining a network that Democrats shunned for a time, complaining that its coverage was unfair. But aides to Mrs. Clinton came to view Fox News as distinctly fair to her in a news media climate that they believed favored Senator Barack Obama.
Ex-journalist Linda Douglass, now a spokesman for Barack Obama, admitted in a piece in Monday's Washington Post that she "always" had "fundamental differences" with Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The former reporter, whose long history of liberal bias has been chronicled by NewsBusters, also announced to the Post's Howard Kurtz that she believes "reporters are constantly struggling with themselves to suppress their own opinions," but Douglass personally finds working for Obama to be "really liberating."
The former correspondent for both CBS and ABC denied claims of media bias by oddly citing other journalists as proof she was objective: "It was no secret to the reporters around me that I have Democratic-leaning views. But they said I was always fair." Despite the vouching of other reporters, it should be pointed out that this is the same person who insisted on calling liberal Senator Jim Jeffords a "moderate," knocked President Bush for not being inclusive and opined that although (then) Congressman Bob Dornan was "extreme," he fit in well with the "increasingly conservative Republican Party:"
Former journalist Linda Douglass returned to ABC and appeared on "Good Morning America" Wednesday in her new role as a strategist and spokesperson for Barack Obama. Expressing no surprise or conflict that a longtime reporter would segue from recounting the news to representing a Democratic presidential candidate, GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo breezily introduced, "We're going to begin with someone representing Obama, whom we know very well here at ABC News. Linda Douglass, a former, respected journalist, a longtime ABC News family member. But now Linda is an Obama campaign strategist and spokesperson."
Wednesday's GMA featured a gaggle of journalists turned Democrats, Democrats who became journalists and also those with famous liberal families. Cuomo is the son of a former Democratic governor of New York and the brother of the current Democratic Attorney General from that state. And his segment with Douglass followed one with "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton. Cuomo, provided some Democratic spin of his own when he asserted that Senator John McCain, by giving a tough speech on Tuesday, did not revel in Obama's history-making moment. In a tease early in the show, he lamented, "But on the Republican side, the nominee John McCain was all business. He was not basking in history last night." While interviewing Douglass, he reiterated, "On a night that was history-making for Obama, McCain did not dwell on history."
It's sort of like Linda Douglass but on the local level, I guess. I'll have to ask our Seattle-area readers to note in the comments section if KING's Robert Mak repeatedly displayed a penchant for gauzy coverage of liberal Mayor Greg Nickels (D).
The 10-time local Emmy-winning reporter is leaving TV news for a job that pays $10,000 more a year than his new boss.
Weeks before Linda Douglass announced she would be jumping aboard the Barack Obama presidential campaign as a senior strategist, the former CBS News and ABC News Washington correspondent was already aiding the Obama campaign. Back on the May 4 Reliable Sources on CNN, for instance, she became defensive: “I hate to keep being in the position of defending Barack Obama...” Yet that's exactly what she did on a panel with Amy Holmes and Joan Walsh. On that Sunday, the weekend after Obama held a press conference to denounce Jeremiah Wright, she pronounced media attention on Wright to have “been too much” and contended: “To make your judgments about how to cast a vote for President based upon the statements of this pastor seems to be a bridge too far.”
After host Howard Kurtz played a clip of Bill Moyers complaining that “white preachers are given leeway in politics that others aren't,” Douglass agreed: “That is actually a point that we should be discussing,” as she contended “Republican candidates have routinely associated themselves with white pastors who have made similarly incendiary statements.” As to attention to how Obama does not (at that time) wear a flag pin, a flustered Douglass countered:
I hate to keep being in the position of defending Barack Obama, but on this question, John McCain does not wear a flag pin. Hillary Clinton does not wear a flag pin. And yet questions about his patriotism come up all the time...
As noted earlier by Brad Wilmouth, Marc Ambinder revealed today, on his blog for The Atlantic, that his colleague at National Journal, Linda Douglass, a long-time CBS News and then ABC News Washington bureau reporter until 2006, “will join Barack Obama's presidential campaign as a senior strategist and as a senior campaign spokesperson on the roadshow, a newly created position.” Ambinder, a colleague at National Journal, reported:
Douglass confirmed her new position when I walked up to the ninth floor, knocked on her door, and asked her about it. She informed National Journal President Suzanne Clark this morning of her impending departure. "I see this as a moment of transformational change in the country and I have spent my lifetime sitting on the sidelines watching people attempt to make change. I just decided that I can't sit on the sidelines anymore."
“Over 34 years in journalism,” Douglass told Ambinder, “she grew disillusioned with the partisanship she saw first-hand.” So, now she's joining a partisan campaign?
The Time 100 list of the most influential people is out, and MSNBC on Friday afternoon was touting its own designated power broker, NBC Washington Bureau Chief and Meet the Press host Tim Russert. There’s only one problem. The gooey profile is written by former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. Russert worked for Cuomo as a counselor and media strategist in 1983 and 1984, but Time never mentioned that. Neither did MSNBC anchor Norah O’Donnell as she interviewed Time’s Adi Ignatius on the picks, and turned to ask him giddily which NBCer was honored. Ignatius replied:
It's Tim Russert. You know, I mean, part of the magic of this list is having interesting people write about the honorees. We had Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York, write the piece on Tim Russert. He said, whether you like Tim or not, whether you like his programming, the road to the White House goes through Tim Russert and his program. So he is, you know, practically a kingmaker in U.S. politics.
Shelley Ross, Executive Producer of The Early Show, has left the position and, the AP's David Bauder reported Thursday afternoon, Rick Kaplan, a long-time Friend of Bill, “will temporarily take over for Ross” while remaining Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News.
Kaplan, a former Executive Producer of ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline who later ran both CNN and MSNBC, has had a long record of friendly relations with former President Bill Clinton, advising Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers scandal in 1992 and blocking anti-Clinton stories from appearing on Nightline. Kaplan has also been hostile to conservatives and once even declared that disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather's “legacy” was “the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to.”
Standard-free journalism on parade all day on NBC's Sunday
Forgotten But Not GoneIt was another do-as-we-say, not-as-we-do day for the National Broadcast Company this past Sabbath.
Over the weekend NBC offered up their latest versions of Tim Russert's Meet the Press and the Chris Matthews Show -- the latter being political television's answer to Jerry Springer. In them we were treated to two more glittering examples of all that is wrong with the Jurassic Press.
That being the woeful lack of journalistic ethics demonstrated by those at the heights of the media mountain, and the utter shamelessness they and their colleagues exhibit upon their being outed as amoral hacks.
Andrea Koppel, who left CNN last July after 14 years as an on-air correspondent, has joined M+R Strategic Services, a Washington, DC-based public relations firm with a long list of left of center and solidly left-wing clients, as chief of its Communications Division. Amongst the clients listed on the firm's Web site: Environmental Defense, Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, Turner Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, People for the American Way, Campaign for America's Future, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, National Organization of Women - New York State, NARAL Pro-Choice New York, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as well as the radical left Center for Constitutional Rights and George Soros' Open Society Institute.
Koppel, the daughter of Ted Koppel, served as an international correspondent for CNN, then covered the State Department before spending her last months at CNN covering Capitol Hill. She proclaimed in the firm's press release that she wants to fight for “the voiceless in our society” as she embraced the “impressive roster of clients” and promised to help them “achieve their goals.”
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.
Terri Burke, former editor of the Abilene Reporter-News, has been named executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.
Burke, 56, will begin work at the ACLU of Texas on Tuesday. Her duties will include lobbying, fundraising, administering the organization and communicating with the public.
Burke said her new job seems like a continuation of her work in the newspaper business.
"I wanted to be a journalist because I thought journalism was a way to further the democratic process," Burke said. "At its heart, journalism is about the First Amendment. All my life, I've been interested in those kinds of issues."
I will suggest that no one in Old Media will think of Burke's move as the least bit odd.
Funny, that's not how they saw it in 1998 when the late David Brinkley retired and became a spokesman for a large corporation.
Back in the days of our MediaWatch newsletter, we used to have a feature called "Revolving Door" to note reporters swapping their jobs for political appointments or political appointees swapping their jobs for reporting gigs. (See the NB Revolving Door topic for more recent updates.) The Minneapolis Star Tribune announced that its editorial writer Dave Hage is leaving "to become communications director for first-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Hage, 52, will take over Klobuchar's fledgling press operation," which has already lost its top press aide. Hage, a Minneapolis native, was an economics correspondent for for U.S. News & World Report magazine in Washington from 1991 to 1995, where he drew our attention as he repeatedly attacked Reaganomics and boosted Clintonomics. So the new Democrat job isn’t a shocker.
From our Notable Quotables in March 1993, the myth that health socialism-pushing Clinton would have a "healthy respect" for free enterprise:
It took 15 years to become official, but Carole Simpson has now confirmed what we always suspected: she's a Clinton backer. Readers will recall that during the 1992 campaign, the then ABC News anchor moderated a presidential debate in which she made life uncomfortable for Bush 41, notably with her snide "who would like to begin, the 'education president?'" poke.
According to this Boston Globe article, back in 2003 Simpson was "eased out" of her anchor chair in favor of Elizabeth Vargas. Simpson has now taken a teaching position at Emerson College in Boston, and last night turned up at a Clinton campaign stop in Salem, New Hampshire, where she proceeded to endorse Hillary's presidential bid. Here's how "First Read," a frequently-updated analysis of the day's political news from the NBC News political unit, reported it [emphasis added]:
For the third time in less than a week, ABC anchor and former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos appeared on "Good Morning America" to dourly assess Republican Fred Thompson’s 2008 chances. On the Thursday edition of GMA, the host of "This Week" attempted to set an impossible bar for the former senator. "...He can't make a mistake,"Stephanopoulos breathlessly claimed.
Earlier in the segment, the ABC host negatively spun Thompson’s standings in the polls. Some might compliment the performance of a candidate who, upon entering the 2008 race, is only narrowly trailing the front-runner. Not Stephanopoulos. After claiming that many thought the former actor would surge into first place early in the summer, he critiqued, "That hasn't happened. Most of the latest polls show that he's in second place behind Rudy Giuliani....He hasn't quite rocketed out the way he expected."
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," guest host George Stephanopoulos’s close ties to the Clinton administration were again on display. The ABC anchor interviewed the ex-boyfriend of Chelsea Clinton about his new book on the subject of teaching American history in Iraq. Just last month, Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, gave a softball interview to Kristin Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore.
In that segment, the GMA substitute host misleadingly characterized the drug arrest of Albert Gore III as getting "in trouble speeding." The Vice President’s daughter also joked that she modeled a character in her new novel about Washington politics after Stephanopoulos. During the August 30 piece, the network anchor introduced author Ian Klaus by glowingly announcing, "...Some people might be watching today and saying, 'You know, I've seen him somewhere before. I've heard his name before.' And that's because you were actually dating Chelsea Clinton when you went to Iraq."
In his Monday "Media Notes" column in The Washington Post -- for some reason, the whole column was demoted to page C-7 -- Howard Kurtz reported (in his second item) that National Public Radio's FBI reporter, Dina Temple-Raston, recently did a report quoting the American Civil Liberties Union. That wouldn't be shocking, except that Temple-Raston is also co-author of a new book with the executive director of the ACLU on "the dangerous erosion of the Bill of Rights in the age of terror."
Temple-Raston claimed she's aware of the "perception issue," but will try to be "really, really balanced." (So is NPR, which includes the data in her online bio.) This hire is a complete insult to the idea of creating an impression of a fair, nonpartisan public-radio news network. It would be bad enough if an NPR reporter gave money to the ACLU, or attended their fundraising dinners. But this reporter has written a book, cheek and jowl, with the leader of the ACLU, endorsing their leftist worldview on a blooming Bush dictatorship. How on Earth can NPR think it doesn't look transparently partisan from the first broadcast word?
New Editorial Page Editor Cheryl L. Reed has been given marching orders from publisher John Cruickshank and head editor Michael Cooke to re-brand the editorial and opinion section of the Chicago Sun Times with an eye toward the future. Specifically she has been told not to be too conservative. (h/t Republic of Biloxi)
"Don't be conservative," Cruickshank urged me. "We don't want you to hold back."
One could take this statement in one of two ways. On the one hand you might assume that Cruickshank is telling Reed to think outside the box and come up with some really innovative ideas that might just involve a bit of risk.
On the other hand you could approach this challenge from the perspective of just about everyone else in the newspaper industry and take Cruickshank's words literally.
Kristin Gore, daughter of former Vice President Al Gore and author of a new political satire set in Washington, appeared on the Tuesday editions of "Good Morning America" and "The Early Show." Both shows only gingerly addressed the subject of Kristin’s brother, Albert Gore III., and his arrest for marijuana and prescription-drug possession after being pulled over last week in California. GMA guest host George Stephanopoulos misleadingly characterized the incident as getting "in trouble speeding." "Early Show" host Harry Smith didn’t mention the drug angle at all.
Stephanopoulos, a former top Clinton aide who worked in the same White House as Al Gore, conducted an extraordinarily cozy interview with the former Vice President’s daughter. Apparently completely oblivious to any conflict of interest, he hyped "Sammy’s House," calling it "very funny." The ABC anchor even joked with Kristin Gore about whether the main character, Sammy Joyce, was based on him:
Kristin Gore: "Have you recognized yourself yet? ‘Cause I should come clean and let you know you’re Sammy."
The Politico reports that former ABC News reporter Geoff Morrell is going to be named the new spokesman for the Pentagon. The Politico’s Mike Allen reports that the idea of picking a working journalist like Morrell was that of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, “in an effort to improve press relations at a time when the administration is under pressure to show progress in Iraq.”
Back in 1993, the Clinton administration also selected an ABC journalist, Kathleen deLaski, as its on-air Pentagon spokesman. At the time, an MRC review found deLaski’s reporting for ABC was “in step with Clintonite thinking that ‘tax and spend’ equals caring.” For more, see “deLaski’s Defensive Detail” in the August 1993 MediaWatch.
When President Bush wanted a media professional to boost his White House publicity machine, he hired Tony Snow, a polished performer with solid conservative credentials. Geoff Morrell is no Tony Snow.
It's taken a while but I think it's safe to say that blogging has now become pretty universal within the MSM. Despite the howls of crusty old liberals like Bill Moyers, the web has fractured the political audience and the elite media are out for a piece of it. Big Media outlets like ABC, NBC, Time, CBS, and the New York Times are all blogging up a storm. Unfortunately for their claims of political objectivity, all the blogging has revealed what the center-right has said all along: the elite media in this country are skewed left in both demographics and content.
The best way to tell what side of the aisle a media outlet is coming from is what sources they cite. It's rare that you'll see conservatives quoting from Dissent, Commonweal or the Nation. Similarly a liberal is not going to be regularly quoting from National Review, Commentary, or the Weekly Standard. The idea is fairly basic: You rarely quote people whose opinions you find unworthy of discussion.
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos grilled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys on Wednesday, telling him that “something does seem fishy here,” suggesting that the Bush White House was punishing U.S. Attorneys who were not pursuing a GOP-friendly agenda.
But as a White House spokesman back in 1993, Stephanopoulos faced exactly the same question over President Clinton’s decision to fire U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens along with the other 92 U.S. Attorneys. “There is also a tradition of permitting prosecutors to remain on cases until current cases are completed,” a reporter told Stephanopoulos in a March 25, 1993 briefing. Referring to the investigation into House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski for embezzling money from the House Post Office, a reporter asked, “Is there any intention to keep Jay Stephens until the Rostenkowski case is finished?”