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?”
As noted Thursday morning on NewsBusters, CBS News has hired Rick Kaplan, a former Executive Producer of ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline who later ran both CNN and MSNBC, to serve as Executive Producer of the ratings-challenged CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
As documented in a Thursday MRC CyberAlert posting reprinted here, Kaplan 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."
My headings over excerpts, see below, from a 1998 Vanity Fair magazine profile of Kaplan: "Clinton Cries on Kaplan's Shoulder/Kaplan Hired Hillary," "Helped Clinton Play Media to Overcome Flowers," "Donaldson Says Kaplan's Pro-Clinton Bias Showed" and "Kaplan Called Hillary the Night Foster Died."
Aren’t liberals supposed to be the tolerant ones? On Wednesday’s "American Morning," co-anchor Miles O’Brien derided a plan by disgraced former minister Ted Haggard to seek spiritual counseling as a "reality show." Haggard resigned his positions as pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado and head of the National Association of Evangelicals after being accused of drug use and a gay affair. He has announced that he will undergo an intense form of religious counseling known as restoration. Reporter Ali Velshi and Mr. O’Brien seemed to find the whole concept laughable. Velshi, describing the individuals who would and wouldn’t be involved, began by talking about "fixing" Ted Haggard:
Ali Velshi: "But one of the godly men, theoretically, asked to be involved was James Dobson of the -- he was the founder of Focus on the Family, also a Colorado-based Christian ministry. He's already backed out. Apparently, this is so tough, James Dobson says that he backed out because 'emotionally and spiritually, I wanted to be of help, but the reality is, I don't have the time to devote to such a critical responsibility.' I think this is more than just a PR thing. They really -- these guys believe it's going to fix Ted Haggard."
Miles O’Brien: "Well, I think it could be a tremendous reality show."
Perpetually last placed news channel MSNBC is rumored to face massive layoffs and see its headquarters moved from New Jersey to New York, where the rest of NBC operates. Says Gawker:
It's that time again where we float a rumor currently making the rounds and ask you to do our work for us: We're hearing that NBC is about to get a lot lighter, employee-wise. Some of what we've been told involves massive layoffs at MSNBC, with the remaining crew moving from Secaucus to 30 Rock (which means, at least, that MSNBC head Dan Ambrams will be able to have lunch with his pal Dave Zinczenko a bit more often). Fishbowl DC reports that Jeff Zucker (who will surely keep his job, what with the excellent work he's been doing lately) will announce the firings tomorrow; let's see if we can't get a little more information before then. Confidential memos or scurrilous gossip here.
A New York Times editorial and an op-ed piece by one of its house columnists have something interesting in common this morning: stamp-your-feet frustration with the way the world is and an inability to suggest what should be done about it.
In The Falling Paycheck, the Times editorial board complains that real wages aren't keeping up with the economy's continued expansion. "American employees have not shared in the wealth they’ve helped to create," laments the Old Gray Lady. Sure sounds as if the Times subscribes to the 'surplus value' theory of labor. And we know who came up with that.
TV Newser reports that ABC has made it official that Chris Cuomo, the son of long-time liberal New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, will be the news anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America" starting September 5. Cuomo's been at ABC since 1999, just a little shorter than...
George Stephanopoulos, another Democrat in media clothing. George is a hot property at ABC that CBS wanted to steal, as TVNewser cited a report from Michele Greppi:
"CBS News courted but couldn't land George Stephanopoulos, who recently signed a new deal, with a nice raise, to stay at ABC News for four more years."
Stephanopoulos and his agent Alan Berger initiated the talks and "the conversation never turned into an actual offer." Sean McManus "made an aggressive pitch that included talk about multiple plum roles, including Washington bureau chief and chief political analyst, and a high-profile position as the chief on-air political foil for Ms. Couric. He is said to have been told that he would be able to contribute to '60 Minutes.'" But McManus couldn't offer a Sunday show "because Bob Schieffer is assured that he will be moderator of 'Face the Nation' for as long he wishes."
TVNewser broke the news that acting CNN political director Molly Levinson has been named the new political director at CBS News. But he did not note that she's newly married to Joshua Wachs, a recent executive of the Democratic National Committee, as The New York Times noted in its Weddings & Celebrations pages on July 9:
The bridegroom, 34, was until February 2005 the chief operating officer of the Democratic National Committee in Washington. This month he is to become the vice president for community relations for the National Basketball Association in New York. He graduated from Oberlin College.
Time magazine's online operation announced today that it has promoted former liberal blogger Ana Marie Cox to be its Washington editor. Previously, she was the founder of the airhead politics blog Wonkette. Before that, she worked for the liberal magazine Washington Monthly.
Thus far, Time's online stable includes not one conservative blogger. At present the self-described politically neutral magazine employs Joshua Marshall, Andrew Sullivan, Cox, and its White House correspondent Mike Allen, not one of whom is a conservative much less a Republican. So how is it that Time can get away with this?
UPDATE 07-28. Aww, how cute. The uberkewl Dave Weigel, one of the men who now run a site named after a woman, defends mommy:
The "revolving door" is a
term reporters often cynically use to talk about the close
relationships that political and lobbying people have with each
other. It's certainly true that in American politics, many people do
move readily between working in government posts to lobbying
But what many journos won't tell you is
that there's another revolving door that politicos use, from politics
to media. They also won't tell you that only Democrats seem to have
the key. The number of Republicans moving into positions of influence
inside the media is small enough you can almost count it on one hand.
And in many cases, the sheer audacity of a former Republican politico
daring to set foot in the press has caused left-wingers, journalist
and blogger alike. The recent Ben
Domenech fiasco or the disgraceful hounding that Susan
Molinari experienced after being hired as an anchor at CBS are
potent examples of this.
Time magazine has hired another liberal blogger in its ongoing effort to make the balance of its conservative vs. liberal bloggers as balanced as its news reporting. Not only that, their new blogger is a fan of Bush conspiracy theories.
This makes three bloggers writing for Time now: Marshall, Wonkette, and of course St. Andrew.
St. Andrew being the “conservative.”
Remember when WaPo hired Ben Domenech and the left wet its pants for days over the fact that they hadn’t hired a left-wing blogger to balance him out? When does Time sign Captain Ed or Josh Trevino to balance out Marshall?
ABC and NBC on Wednesday night delighted in showcasing how incoming White House Press Secretary Tony Snow last year wrote that President Bush had become “an embarrassment.” But in portraying the quote as a declarative accusation, neither ABC's Elizabeth Vargas or NBC's David Gregory put the remark into the context of how Snow was observing that Virginia Republicans not wishing to appear with Bush during the 2005 campaign suggested “Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” And neither bothered to let their viewers in on how they were just funneling quotes from a short list collected by the left-wing Center for American Progress. Vargas teased at the top of World News Tonight, “President Bush chooses a new spokesman: A conservative commentator who once called the President 'an embarrassment.'" Vargas managed to apply an ideological tag to Snow three times in under two minutes. She also ludicrously asserted that “Tony Snow is the first journalist to get this job.” Tell that to Pierre Salinger, Bill Moyers, Ron Nessen or Joe Lockhart -- who was a producer for Vargas' own ABC News.
NBC's David Gregory at least hinted at some context, though he still implied it was an accusation, as he related how Snow “has criticized his new boss, writing last year that, quote, 'George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.'” Gregory twice labeled Snow “conservative” before pointing out what eluded Vargas: “He is the first TV personality to be in the job since Gerald Ford hired away Ron Nessen from NBC News back in the 70s." (Transcripts follow.)
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2011—Karl Rove, the former Bush official
was named ABC's chief Washington correspondent, the network said Tuesday.
In a world where liberal press bias doesn't exist, such a
lede could, theoretically, exist. In the real world, ABC named former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos its chief Washington
correspondent Monday afternoon.
With former Mario Cuomo adviser Tim Russert heading NBC's
coverage, that means two of the three broadcast networks' political coverage
will be overseen by former Democratic officials. From Broadcasting and Cable: