Thanks to former President Clinton and victories in the recent midterm elections, Democrats are now launching a full out attack on Fox News, the only television news outlet that holds them accountable. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) appeared on Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor to explain his recent attack on Fox News and once again lashed out on Bill O’Reilly when he issued him challenging questions. O’Reilly asked Congressman Frank what his position is on income redistribution.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): "Bill, will you please stop interrupting if you want a serious discussion?"
Bill O’Reilly: "No. I'm not going to interrupt. When you say something dopey, I'm going point it out. What do you think you are, the czar of the interview?"
The "police captain" that the Associated Press used as the source for their story about six Sunni men dragged from prayers and burned alive by Shiite militants is not a policeman and does not work for the Iraqi government in any capacity, according to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior.
CENTCOM had warned the AP about Hussein and other questionable sources they were using, but was rebuffed by the wire service organization. The AP's sensational story of the burning Sunnis was cited by NBC as a reason they decided to start calling violence in Iraq a "civil war." The source, "police captain Jamil Hussein," has been quoted in wire service stories since April of this year.
As reported on Newsbusters by Michelle Humphrey, actor Danny Devito was on ABC's "The View" today and went into a seemingly drunken tirade against President Bush and generally acted the fool on the show.
But, this "apology" is interesting in that ABCNews mentions all the wild statements and strange behavior by Devito on every subject except his Bush bashing. We are left wondering why it was "proper" reporting to mention Devito's seeming inebriation, his mention of partying with actor George Clooney, his slurred speech, his being bleeped, his Clinton White House story and then his "apology" to Barbra Walters.... yet not a single mention of his attack on president Bush.
In one of those "analysis" pieces reporters love to write, Washington Post White House reporter Peter Baker underlined on Wednesday one reason why NBC might have started using "civil war" to define Iraq: it severely undercuts the Iraq war in opinion polls.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, said Bush would rather frame it in the terrorism context to preserve public support. "If it's a civil war and only a small portion of it involves al-Qaeda operatives, then it's suddenly not the central front in the war on terror, it's a struggle by Iraqis for political power," he said. "That means the rationales for this are severely undercut."
Polls suggest that most Americans have already settled this debate in their minds -- 61 percent of those surveyed in September by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal described the situation in Iraq as a civil war, while 65 percent agreed in a CNN poll and 72 percent in a Gallup poll. Of those who described the conflict as "out of control" and a "civil war" in a later Gallup-USA Today poll, 84 percent called U.S. involvement a mistake, compared with 25 percent of those who did not view the situation that way.
Late on Tuesday night, National Review reporter Byron York provided some early grist to challenge strange claims by media critics like William Powers that "journalists are more aggressive under Democratic rule." Somehow, the nation's leading newspapers weren't hustling alongside York as he chased the story of whether Nancy Pelosi would give the reins of the House Intelligence Committee to Rep. Alcee Hastings, who was impeached as a federal judge:
Tomorrow the Washington Post, on its front page, reports the news that Alcee Hastings will not be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. For a story about Nancy Pelosi's decision, the Post piece gets into a number of details about the Hastings case itself. Why? One reason might be that, during the last few months when concerns about Hastings' impeachment and conviction were being raised, the Post never reported the basic facts of the case. A Nexis search for Hastings' name and that of William Borders, Hastings' co-conspirator in soliciting bribes, reveals exactly one recent story — a November 1 column by the Post's Ruth Marcus, who had covered the Hastings story years ago. As Congress buzzed, and Pelosi deliberated, the Post never bothered to tell its readers what the controversy was about.
By the way, if you do the same search for the New York Times, you'll find the same thing — just without the Ruth Marcus column. Which means that perhaps the most interesting so-far-unnoticed aspect of the story is that so much political pressure built up on Capitol Hill while the nation's two leading newspapers were looking the other way.
On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann included Fox News Watch as one of the nominees in his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment. Awarding the FNC show third place with the "bronze" distinction, the Countdown host relayed conservative columnist Cal Thomas' choice of Olbermann as "Turkey of the Year" during last Saturday's show. While Thomas had taken Olbermann to task generally for "inaccuracies" and "hot air," Olbermann only mentioned Thomas' joking comment about Olbermann accusing him of dying his hair as he made fun of the FNC show's misspelling of his name (Olberman) in its on-screen graphic. Olbermann also labeled Fox News Watch as "the only program on Fox News Channel that tries to live up to the network's otherwise ironic slogan 'Fair and Balanced.'" Notably, as documented here by NewsBusters, Olbermann last year posted on his Bloggermann Web site that Fox News Watch was one of "ten television shows worth watching," quipping that it was created by Roger Ailes "to fulfill some legal requirement that his network actually be at least .0005% 'fair and balanced.'" (Transcript follows)
Our friends over that the BBC can’t disguise their bias as they crudely misreport the context of President Bush’s speech at The Riga Conference in Riga, Latvia. It seems that Auntie may think she knows best but in reality her reporting is more of the same from a news media that increasingly views the United States as an adversary rather than an ally.
The report, Bush berates hesitant NATO allies, makes no attempt to employ objective professionalism as it attempts to deliver an underhanded invective under the guise of a news story.
This morning, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller announced the paper will follow NBC's lead and allow its reporters to refer to the conflict in Iraq as a "civil war."
Keller said in a statement to Editor & Publisher:
"After consulting with our reporters in the field and the editors who directly oversee this coverage, we have agreed that Times correspondents may describe the conflict in Iraq as a civil war when they and their editors believe it is appropriate. It's hard to argue that this war does not fit the generally accepted definition of civil war. We expect to use the phrase sparingly and carefully, not to the exclusion of other formulations, not for dramatic effect. The main shortcoming of 'civil war' is that, like other labels, it fails to capture the complexity of what is happening on the ground. The war in Iraq is, in addition to being a civil war, an occupation, a Baathist insurgency, a sectarian conflict, a front in a war against terrorists, a scene of criminal gangsterism and a cycle of vengeance. We believe 'civil war' should not become reductionist shorthand for a war that is colossally complicated."
Amid all of the media excitement of NBC’s choice to grandly pronounce the ongoing violence in Iraq a “civil war,” some (like MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann) are gleefully touting NBC’s editorializing as a “Walter Cronkite moment,” referring to the then-CBS Evening News anchor’s 1968 editorial declaring that the U.S. had become “mired in stalemate” in Vietnam.
In their desire for a U.S. retreat in Iraq, journalists had previously pronounced Cindy Sheehan’s protesting in Crawford, Texas and Democratic Congressman John Murtha’s calling for a withdrawal of troops to be “Cronkite moments” of the Iraq war, each time apparently hoping that the weight of the media's pessimism finally forces a change in U.S. policy.
Has it at long last begun to occur that John F. Kennedy is fading from the perennial lists of historian's picks of the "top most influential" historical Americans? If this latest survey of Historians is any indication, it just may be.
And it is about time, too… unless you are a hero worshipping journalist like Peter S. Canellos of the Boston Globe who is calling foul in his piece this morning titled, In pantheon, whither JFK?.
The Atlantic Monthly asked 10 eminent historians to rank the 100 most influential Americans of all time, and Kennedy did not make the cut. Worse, he was named on only two ballots.
Only TWO. Gosh, this is a calamity.
Canellos goes on to reveal others on the list, a list that includes the presidents before and after JFK, and informs us why these historians didn't put JFK on the list and why the two who did, did so.
A transcript posted at the blog Think Progress quotes NBC as factoring in a story from now-discredited source Jamil Hussein about Sunni worshippers being burned alive as a major factor in NBC's decision to declare a "civil war" in Iraq [emphasis added]:
The news from Iraq is becoming grimmer every day. Over the long holiday weekend bombings killed more than 200 people in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad. And six Sunni men were doused with kerosene and burned alive. Shiite muslims are the majority, but Sunnis like Saddam Hussein ruled that country until the war. Now, the battle between Shiites and Sunnis has created a civil war in Iraq. Beginning this morning, MSNBC will refer to the fighting in Iraq as a civil war — a phrase the White House continues to resist. But after careful thought, MSNBC and NBC News decided over the weekend, the terminology is appropriate, as armed militarized factions fight for their own political agendas. We’ll have a lots more on the situation in Iraq and the decision to use the phrase, civil war.
Brent Bozell, the President of the Media Research Center, the parent of NewsBusters, appeared alongside Democratic strategist Laura Schwartz on Monday night's Hannity & Colmes on FNC to discuss the decision by NBC News to call the situation in Iraq a “civil war.” (Earlier NewsBusters items by Mark Finkelstein and by Geoffrey Dickens on how on Today Matt Lauer insisted NBC made the decision “after careful consideration,” as well as an evening show update on NewsBusters from Brent Baker on how NBC admitted the “civil war” term would erode support for the war.) Bozell contended: “Of course it's a mess over there. That does not mean it's a civil war and that's what the question was. And when Matt Lauer and NBC make the editorial determination that it's a civil war that's an editorial and that's a biased judgment on their part.” [The segment is 40 minutes into the show which will re-run at 12 midnight EST, 11pm CST, 9pm PST]
At one point Bozell told Alan Colmes to “hush,” leading Sean Hannity to propose: "Brent, you get the award for the Phrase of the Year: 'Alan, hush.'" Bozell earlier recalled how back in August of 2005 Lauer repeatedly pressed soldiers in Iraq to admit they had low morale, prompting one to fire back: “If I got my news from the newspapers also I'd be pretty depressed as well." (Links to that incident, with video, below the break)
On FNC's Fox News Watch on Saturday, conservative columnist and FNC contributor Cal Thomas took to task MSNBC host Keith Olbermann for Olbermann's "inaccuracies" and "hot air" as the show's panelists got to voice their picks for the second annual "Turkey of the Year" award, which allows each panelist to dishonor media figures for disreputable behavior. Olbermann, who often uses his Countdown show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment to attack conservative public figures, was called out by Thomas as someone who "is the greatest contributor to global warming because he spews more hot air than any other cable television show host." (Transcript follows)
A man poured gasoline on himself on November 3rd and on the side of the road on Chicago's Kennedy Expressway he lit himself on fire. It caused a traffic jam, but little else. In fact, no one even knew who the suicide was for several days until a friend of his got a letter sent him by the dead man just before his final day.
And still, few cared.
It turns out this was supposed to be some kind of anti-war statement akin to a Buddhist monk's self-immolation in Saigon during Vietnam. Sadly, this protester didn't seem to know that statements don't mean very much unless someone actually hears them.
The man, an activist named Mark David "Malachi" Ritscher, left a rambling manifesto-like web page purportedly explaining his actions that does little but show his rather unbalanced mental state. As Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper put it, the web message "comes across as intelligent, passionate, bitter, angry, disoriented -- and disturbed".
Reports of burning mosques, like this one from Reuters remain unconfirmed, and may have been fabricated by Sunni militants.
Also, sensationalized accounts of Sunnis being dragged from prayer and burned alive by rampaging Shiites are unconfirmed, and all appear to come from the same source, police Captain Jamil Hussein, whose entire career appears to be issuing statements about Shia violence against Sunnis. Curt at Flopping Aces has researched Hussein and found a remarkable number of atrocity stories for which he is the source.
Fox News Watch led this week's show with Brent Bozell's condemnation of the press' coverage of the just-concluded congressional campaign. Host Eric Burns noted that Bozell is "head of an influential conservative media watchdog group called the Media Research Center" - which also happens to be the parent organization of NewsBusters.
FNW played a video clip of Bozell stating:
"In 25 years of looking at the national media I have never in my life seen a more one-sided, distorted, vicious presentation of news and non-news by the national press. The national press ought to be collectively ashamed of itself. They might as well take up membership in the Democratic national party. They were the simple microphones for the party. They need to be ashamed of themselves for what they did."
With the recent racial slur outburst from "Seinfeld" actor, Michael Richards, we will have to pay close attention to see if Richards gets a softer treatment than Mel Gibson did with his own racial slur laden rant earlier in the year.
But, if this AP report is any indication, it seems sure that "Kramer" won't be as maligned as Mel Gibson.
With a headline sure to confuse any reader and/or cause more hate for the U.S.A., Reuters has proclaimed the U.S. as "unfriendly to visitors". What is their "proof"? A survey of how "rude" immigration officials are!
Somehow, in Reuters' mind, a rude immigration official makes a whole country "unfriendly". Apparently, Reuters is only too happy to conflate a harried immigration department -- no doubt one over taxed because of concerns over terrorism -- to the relative "unfriendliness" of everyone in that country.
American paychecks are rising again at a pace not seen since the 1990s.
The pay increase amounts to 4 percent on average over the past 12 months, and it comes at a very helpful time for millions of households.
For three years, pay increases haven't kept pace with the rising cost of living. Then came this year's housing slowdown, which has further squeezed family finances.
Those setbacks, however, are now being offset by rising income. Four percent may not sound like much, but you have to look back to 1997 to find a calendar year with a gain that big.
First, a correction: Trumbull's statement about pay increases not keeping pace with inflation "for three years" is incorrect. Start with this chart from the Census Bureau (go to the bottom half of the link for the "real income" version):
Reading the Globe's Nov 18th piece about vice President Cheney, one can palpably feel their fingers being crossed, their wishes being cast into the wishing well, that Cheney is on the outs with this supposed "big demotion" the paper sees for his immediate future.
In short, will Rumsfeld's abrupt dismissal finally diminish Cheney's unprecedented dominance of Bush? Or did the always cunning vice president read the writing on the wall and decide that it was time for his good friend Rumsfeld to go?
And typically, as with every story about the VP, one quotient missing in the analysis is the president himself, prosaically fitting into the the Cheney-as-puppetmaster story line the MSM has created for him. (Though, now they want to cast James Baker in Cheney's puppeteering shoes)
They even want us to believe that Cheney somehow strong-armed Bush into the Iraq policy and the War on Terror as if 9/11 never occurred.
This past week saw The Washington Post ask a classically liberal question: Is America more racist or sexist?
Following the lead of this major paper, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked the same question, adding a surreptitious angle. She wondered, "Is the nation, secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
The "Good Morning America" host wasn’t through, however. On Tuesday, she offered the query again. This time, Sawyer added a new spin, "secret genderism." The recipient of the question, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, readily agreed. America is guilty, she asserted, it just isn’t "very secret."
Speaking of The Washington Post, ever wonder how many times the paper mentioned "macaca?" According to MRC President Brent Bozell, the paper featured the phrase no less then 112 times!
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann absurdly linked domestic terrorism to "right-wing blogs."
While Olbermann slimed conservatives, CNN labeled the current low gas prices "a recovery." Why, just a few weeks ago, the falling costs represented a link between "Big Oil" and the GOP. What a difference an election makes!
Now that the Democrats have picked their Majority Leader in the House the outcome gives us (and her) the first hint that Speaker Pelosi is not the powerhouse she thought she was. Her man, Murtha, lost in a landslide: 149 to 86... a thumpin' to say the least.
In my last report on how the MSM covered this little inter Dem fight I pointed out that they were ignoring how distant were the two positions on pulling out of Iraq that is held by the erstwhile candidates for Majority Leader.
I noted how they refused to portray Murtha's position as "extreme", even as he supports pulling out of Iraq immediately to Hoyer's, who does not. I noted that the MSM did not waste much breath contrasting Murtha's position with the far less volatile position held by Hoyer.
It seems strangely inconsistent that the MSM ignored the Iraq war issue in their stories since they made the entire recent election all about Iraq and how it is a mess and that our soldiers should come home. Yet, a guy who does not want an immediate pull out defeated Murtha and this fact went uncommented upon.
It has been interesting, to say the least, to watch the MSM twist itself into knots trying to report this story of Pelosi backing the extremist Murtha for Party leadership over the objections of the so-called "blue dog" Democrats who were recently elected to Congress.
Pelosi has decided to ardently back the extreme anti-war activist, John Murtha (Dem, PA), for the Democrat's Majority leader position in a move that has 'baffled" many Democrats, especially those incoming Democrats who ran as conservative alternatives to Republicans -- as well as other incumbent moderate Democrats -- who are instead backing Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer.
Hoyer is well known on the floor not to be quite as extreme as Murtha is on a pull out from Iraq (Hoyer voted to give Bush the OK to go into Iraq in 2002, but he IS for gradual withdraw to be sure), but few Americans will have even heard of Steny Hoyer, he not being much of a "national" figure. On the other hand, anyone who had paid politics much attention knows that Murtha is against the war and is a vocal critic of President Bush. Murtha is well known for his many extreme positions and statements.
The fauxtography scandal that characterized reporting of the Israeli-Hezbollah war continues. Charles Johnson at little green footballs reports that, according to the photographer who took a dramatic picture that ran in Time and US News & World Report, editors at Time deliberately changed the caption to slant the story against Israel. The caption claimed that the picture showed an Israeli plane burning after being shot down. It actually showed a fire at a Lebanese army base caused by a ground to ground missile that misfired after Israeli bombing.
What neither magazine chose to report is that the presence of the missile and launcher hidden in a civilian truck on the army base is a clear indication of collusion between the Lebanese army and the terrorist group Hezbollah.
Appearing on Monday's edition of the "The Colbert Report," Dan Rather promoted his new HDNet investigative series by touting an ability to report "quality news with integrity." The small cable channel will premiere "Dan Rather Reports" on November 14. The show will feature the ex-CBS anchor who famously left his network after overseeing a segment that included forged documents used to attack President Bush. Amazingly, when talking with Comedy Central's Colbert, Rather touted his reputation in Bob Dole-style third person:
Stephen Colbert: "Now, let me ask you something. Now, the show is called ‘Dan Rather Reports.’ Um, what is the show about? Like, what is Dan Rather reporting?"
Dan Rather: "Dan Rather is reporting, hopefully, quality news with integrity. I hope it will be news with guts and spine."
The Boston Globe's recent article on Dick Cheney's "fate" after the recent elections is an interesting, if not subtle, attempt to make it seem as if the Vice President were somehow on his way out just like Donald Rumsfeld was. Even painting Bush as "forgetting" the VP was in a recent meeting intimating that Cheney is not included in running the country anymore.(Cheney doesn't need Rumsfeld anymore)
Here is the lead paragraph of the story:
WASHINGTON -- When President Bush and the two top Democrats in the House met with reporters on Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney was largely silent, sitting impassively with his characteristic half-smile. "All three of us recognize that when you win, you have a responsibility to do the best you can for the country," declared Bush, apparently forgetting that the vice president was there to make it a foursome.
Half smile? Is that another way of saying smirk -- their favorite attack word against Bush himself?
Unsatisfied with American domination of the international news market, a French company is getting ready to launch a cable/satellite news channel.
The staff of France 24 insists they'll be different than CNNi, BBC, and others, but in one respect they're perfectly similar. Just like their American counterparts, they pretend they're objective. They also appear to have trouble perceiving reality. Regarding the Iraq war, managing director Gerard Saint-Paul says:
"Our image will be more panoramic as compared to other channels – but
that doesn’t mean that the other channels are bad at all. Let me give
you an example to better illustrate: Concerning coverage in Iraq, which
constitutes a cornerstone in media coverage, I find that CNN conveys an
American-directed message to a large extent, and more precisely one
that is in favor of President George Bush. What we will offer is a
wider vision that is different from what others present, and this of
course, will be affected by the historical and emotional relationship
between France and Lebanon, as well as the closeness of the relations
between France and the Arab world."
This is, of course, the news channel that actually is more anti-conservative and critical of the United States than its American counterpart. I guess Saint-Paul prefers a more Pravdaesque approach to covering international news.
I also can't help but note the hypocrisy in that France 24 has its country of origin in its name (and likely is benefiting from French subsidies as well) and talks about how its mission is to bring the French approach to news and culture to the world. Somehow this is OK but bringing an American approach is bad.
Jack Shafer writes in Slate that the media are trying to sweeten up their relationship with the presumed new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal are slathering "calculated praise" on the Democratic leader.
The Washington press is already ladling the sugar on Nancy Pelosi, and she's hasn't even been crowned speaker of the House yet. Yesterday's (Nov. 9) Page One story in the Wall Street Journal painted the presumptive speaker in such a thick coat of butter-cream frosting that I scarcely recognized her. Strategically placed after the jump to reduce professional embarrassment, Neil King Jr., Yochi J. Dreazen, and Greg Jaffe canonized their subject, writing:
Much as the president freely speaks of his conservative evangelical faith, Mrs. Pelosi reflects a Catholic sense of social justice when it comes to aiding the poor and disabled, and frets about missing Mass on hectic weekends.
Framing Pelosi's redistributionist views as an extension of her Catholic sense of social justice neatly removes her from the New Deal compost pile from which her political career blossomed. Pelosi's father, Thomas "Old Tommy" D'Alesandro, was a Baltimore political hack who held every office—state delegate, city council, member of Congress, mayor—but dogcatcher.
Acting "more like Pelosi's press secretary than a skeptical reporter," Washington Post reporter Lynne Duke says:
Theirs was the politics of the New Deal, of the hand up for those who were down.
"It was always about the progressive economic agenda for a fair economy, where many Americans, all Americans, could participate in the economic success of our country," Pelosi said yesterday when asked about the influence of her family's politics on her own.
I can see, I CAN SEE!! November 8th, 2006 brings us news of “stunning” breakthroughs involving non-embryonic stem cell research. And to think that it only took the completion of a United States election for the press to cover these stories.
The first study involves the transplantation of retinal cells into the eyes of animals that have damage similar to that found in humans with various eye diseases. The study “challenges conventional biological thinking” because it shows that cells that have stopped dividing are better suited for transplantation than earlier stage embryonic stem cells.