For the second time in two days, "Good Morning America" co-anchor Diane Sawyer interviewed Al Gore about his thesis that the media are obsessed with celebrity, while "politicians are heard in sound bites." That point may be undercut by the fact that, by Tuesday, the ex Vice President has received 15 and a half minutes of air time to complain about the subject.
After prompting Gore to compare Americans to chickens on a farm, the co-host allowed herself to be interrogated and challenged over how the media operates. But first, Sawyer and GMA helped Gore along with his analogy that Americans are like frightened chickens in the way they allow themselves to be manipulated:
Sawyer: "You even talk about chickens when, when you were young and on the farm, that you could hypnotize chickens this way."
Clip of 50s instructional video: "It's no trick to keep a chicken from straying through the fence if you know how."
It has been over three weeks since the fundamental claim of the "Food Stamp Challenge" was debunked, first by Mona Charen in her syndicated column, then in more detail by yours truly (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). Yet the "Food Stamp Challenge" has spread.
As noted in this NPR report from April 23, it all started in Oregon. That state's governor, Ted Kulongoski, joined in and put on quite a show, getting plenty of Old Media attention (Associated Press; New York Times [may require free registration]) as he tried to buy a week's worth of groceries with $21, because that was said to be what "the state’s average food stamp recipient spends weekly on groceries."
The Challenge's claim that the average Food Stamp recipient's benefit of $21 per person per week is all that beneficiaries have available for purchasing food is incorrect, as anyone visiting the USDA's web site could have learned very easily.
As I noted in late April, the Food Stamp Program’s "Fact Sheet on Resources, Income and Benefits" provides a table of "Maximum Monthly Allotments" (i.e., benefits), and says the following about benefit levels (bold is mine; I converted the Monthly Allotments to weekly allotments per person by dividing by the average number of weeks in a month [4.345], and then by the number of people):
The left never ceases to amaze and confound an honest man. As we have seen reported on Newsbusters, Jimmy Carter called President George W. Bush the “worst” president in history then lied about it claiming that his words were "careless or misinterpreted.” Carter was seen on the "Today" show trying to get the nation to imagine he didn’t really say what he said attempting to make it seem as if the newspaper that first reported his outrageous, intemperate language had somehow gotten it wrong. In essence, Carter was trying to make it out as if the paper was doing the lying, not him.
The newspaper, however, can prove without the shadow of a doubt that it is Carter who is lying. He did say what was first reported and there is no “carelessness” or “misinterpretation” over his words.
The fact that a former president is caught in a bald faced lie should be big news. You’d think the MSM would be all over the lies of a man who lost his office in one of the biggest landslide elections in history. Yet, here we have Editor & Publisher compounding Carter’s lies by assisting him to avert the subject from his own culpability and to reinforce the “Bush is worst” theme Carter was trying to develop in the first place by obfuscating the fact that Carter was caught in a straight out lie.
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program extended its habit of offering copious amounts of time to Democratic political contenders. GMA devoted 10 and a half minutes of coverage to promote former Vice President Al Gore and his new book, "The Assault on Reason."
This is the same network that, in March, featured 30 minutes of softball questions with Senator Hillary Clinton in a "town hall" style meeting, a campaign gift that the network has yet to offer to a Republican presidential candidate.
The May 21 segment contained an odd disconnect as Gore proceeded to accuse the media of focusing on unserious, silly subjects and Diane Sawyer mostly accepted, or did not disagree with criticism of the medium. The ABC host prefaced a question about the former Vice President losing weight by saying, "But to dig not-very deep, once again, at my peril here-" Gore proceeded to interrupt and hector Ms. Sawyer over wondering about such things. "Well, listen to you. Listen to you," Gore began.He continued:
Trying to stir trouble for Rush Limbaugh this morning over his "Magic Negro" parody about Barack Obama, "Today" relied on misleading comments from a left-wing outfit without bothering to mention its highly-partisan orientation. NewsBuster Noel Sheppard had given readers a heads-up about the story on Saturday.
NBC's Michael Okwu narrated the segment, aired during the second half-hour of this morning's show. He began by harkening back to Don Imus's MSNBC career-ending comments about the Rutger's women's basketball team. Fretted Okwu: "which leads some to wonder: has Limbaugh been getting a free pass?" Okwu described the creator of the parody [Paul Shanklin] as a "white" political satirist.
Sometimes you read something by a member of the MSM that is just so elitist, someone whose arrogance is so amazing, that it is hard to believe it was written by a member of a democratic society.
We MSM watchdogs love to poke our fingers in the eyes of the homogeneously leftist elitists in the media establishment assailing them for their pervasive assumptions of their own superiority. We don’t often, however, get to see them come right out and say that they truly do think they are better and smarter then the rest of us mere commoners. Usually they are sly enough not to show their arrogance so obviously, leaving it unsaid but broadly hinted at. But, once in a while their egos get the better of them and they let that upturned nose snort just enough at the rest of us to let us know where our “place” in life is.
Well before the Media Research Center was conceived in 1987, the Gipper was watching the media's liberal biases and recording his "frustration with the press," Allen noted:
One of the dominant themes is his frustration with the press.
April 22, 1982: “Last night CBS did a special 1 hour documentary (Bill Moyers) on 4 cases of poverty and illness they laid to our ec. program. It was a thoroughly dishonest, demagogic, cheap shot.”
March 11, 1983: “Lou Cannon’s story in the Washington Post. It was a vicious series of falsehoods and I was mad as h—l.” (The lead of the front-page story, written with David Hoffman, was: “The resignation of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Anne M. Burford was carefully orchestrated by White House and other administration officials who had to persuade a ‘stubborn and defiant’ President Reagan, as well as Burford, that her departure was politically essential, administration sources said yesterday.”)
Oct. 30, 1983: “Watched the Sunday talk shows – subject Lebanon & Grenada. The press is trying to give this the Vietnam treatment but I don’t think the people will buy it. They’re still whining because we didn’t take them on a guided tour the 1st day we were on Grenada. No mention of the fact that we’ve flown 180 of them onto the Island today.”
The Fairness Doctrine, the law that effectively put the kibosh on political talk radio for a number of years, might be coming back if congressional Democrats have their way. According to Fred Thompson, this turn of events was prompted in part by the failure of Air America radio:
The real issue here is not what you “can” see or hear — which is what the Fairness Doctrine was about originally. It’s what you’re “choosing” to see or hear.
Insiders say it was the collapse of the radio station “Air America” that led to this attempt to retool the Fairness Doctrine as a form of de facto censorship. I guess the idea is that, if you can’t compete in the world of ideas, you pass a law that forces radio stations to air your views. In effect, it would force a lot of radio stations to drop some talk show hosts — because they would lose money providing equal airtime to people who can’t attract a market or advertisers.
In another sad example of self flagellation by western elitists, the Guardian Newspaper in England published a column on how we Americans (and our English cousins) should not celebrate the founding of Jamestown, the first Virginia colony, 400 years ago because of... you guessed it... slavery.
Here we have another elitist congratulating himself that he is "informed" enough to know that slavery makes the founding of the USA a blight on humanity instead of the great event it truly is. Another leftist who cannot bring himself to be proud of anything the west has been responsible for because there were some bad things mixed in with the good. In fact, the bad things make us such hypocrites, goes this type of thinking, that all the good should be discounted over it. (It is always in fashion for Europeans to look down on the US, isn't it?)
Dick Kreck of the Denver Post seems to think there is a good "point" to a suggestion that Christians should be suspected bombers because Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh was supposedly a Christian. In a column about local radio talk show host "Gunny Bob" of KOA, Kreck comments that a radio station detractor has "got a point" when he satirically said that, since McVeigh and Nichols were Christians, all Christians should be placed under surveillance because of the actions of the two bombers. The detractor was responding to talker "Gunny Bob's" idea that all Muslims in the USA should be forced to wear GPS tracking bracelets so the government could keep track of them all.
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.
In a commencement address to New England College, Democrat Party presidential candidate John Edwards has issued a call to turn Memorial Day from a day to celebrate our troops to a day pushing a political message that attacks them. He has also created a new website to further that goal and the Washington Post is helping him advertise it breaking their more common practice of not posting links taking the reader outside their own website.
How often do you see MSM sources giving direct links to websites outside their own site? How many times have you seen a story mentioning a website, maybe even including the name of the website somewhere within the story, yet the story won't give the full address? Also, how many times do you see a web posting that actually includes a hypertext link to any website outside any paper's site? Not very often. But today the Washington Post has given John Edward's anti-war website a big boost by not only writing a story about it, but creating a direct link to it at the end of their story.
I wonder how many conservative or pro-war websites they have helped advertise in the past with a direct link?
Discussing this week’s announcement that British Prime Minister Tony Blair will soon be resigning, all three morning shows managed to work in the insulting "Bush’s poodle" reference. "Good Morning America" was the most obnoxious, absurdly claiming that "Bill Clinton’s sidekick became Bush’s poodle."
Speaking of global warming, Diane Sawyer and "Good Morning America" have been promoting liberal environmentalism for quite some time. This week, however, GMA went even further and touted a New York liberal who wants to save the planet by not using toilet paper. Some things, you just can’t make up....
Looks like the folks at the much maligned CNN indulged in a little bit of wishful thinking on Friday during a report of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's resignation announcement.
In a video caption of Blair, CNN plastered the words "Bush Resigns" across the screen.
Media Bistro got the first capture of this absurdly Freudian slip.
"CNN International's CNN Today program, airing at midnight Eastern, led with the graphic 'Bush Resigns.' Of course, they meant 'Blair Resigns.' Freudian slip on the part of a network accused of anti-Americanism?"
The religion of the left seems to be environmentalism, and the everyone knows what happens when religious figures on the right are exposed as hypocrites. Ted Haggard, Jim Baker and others have claimed to stand for one thing and privately lived a life that conflicted with their stated beliefs, and the media covered it non-stop. In contrast, the media ignore that the darling of the Democratic presidential candidates has again been nailed as an environmental hypocrite.
Barack Obama was outed as an SUV driver in 2006, who said at the same time, "the blame for the world's higher temperature rests on gas guzzling vehicles." Now, a year later, the Detroit Free Press' on-line site Freep.com reported similar contradictory behavior today and stated, "his choice to drive a V8 Hemi-powered Chrysler 300C emits a whiff of hypocrisy along with its exhaust fumes." (emphasis mine throughout):
Nancy Pelosi, in the run up to the 2006 midterms, decried the Republican Congress' "culture of corruption" and triumphantly claimed she was going to bring back an "ethical" Congress upon the close of the elections. The Democrat Party delighted in the real ills of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the fictional ills of the evil genius Karl Rove and spared no expense to tout their warnings to the electorate. Their efforts seemed to succeed in gaining them a majority. So, what are the reforms this new, glorious era has produced now that the Democrat Party has retaken Congress?
For one thing, instead of decreasing junkets by Congressmen such trips have not abated at all in this new "ethical" Congress. As Examiner correspondent, Charles Hurt, reports, "Congress is keeping Andrews Air Force base plenty busy this year ferrying lawmakers all over the globe at taxpayers’ expense."
A curious editorial appeared on the Chicago Tribune website, written by their “senior correspondent”. In keeping with a classic anti-gun-rights gambit, the author claims to be speaking for everybody besides Texas when declaring that a new debate has begun about gun control due to the Virginia Tech shooting, while attempting to stigmatize and ostracize Texans:
HOUSTON -- Much of the rest of the nation might have begun debating whether new gun-control measures are in order in the wake of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history at Virginia Tech last month. But here in Texas, a place where guns seem a part of the state’s very DNA, folks have got some other ideas.1
George Tenet, the former CIA director who resigned a while ago has been out promoting a new book. Most of the media has spun the book as attacking the Bush administration, however, as Fred Thompson points out, much of what Tenet says is supportive of many of the claims made by Bush and his staff. Naturally, these aren't the kinds of facts you hear reported in the media:
My attention was drawn to Tenet’s statements that al Qaeda is here and
waiting and that they wish nothing more than to be able to see a
mushroom cloud above the United States.
Naturally, the media
emphasis is not on that. Its attention is on any differences Tenet had
with the administration. The media’s premise is that Iraq should not
have been considered a real threat to us and that the administration
basically misled the country into war. While one may take issue with
Tenet on several things, I was intrigued that on some very important
issues, Tenet did not follow the media script when answering Russert’s
If you've ever lived in Minnesota, chances are you've heard of one of the state's two major papers, the Star Tribune, often referred to as the Red Star Tribune. The paper is famous for its left-wing bias even to people who've never been to Minnesota. Well, it turns out things actually could have been worse.
In an interview, Jim Boyd, the outgoing deputy editorial page editor for the paper says that he was forced by his old corporate bosses to feature conservative columnists, something he absolutely detested. He hopes that under the new owners this policy will go away. The bias is thick enough to cut with a knife:
If you've ever heard the Star Tribune called the Red Star, you can
probably blame Jim Boyd, at least in part. As deputy editor of the
paper's editorial page, he's one of a handful of editorial writers who
plots out its official stance on issues from Iraq to a statewide
smoking ban to political endorsements. This morning, Minnesota Monitor
confirmed that Boyd will be taking a voluntary buyout and leaving the paper after nearly 27 years of service, and that the editorial page staff of 12.5 full-time positions will be trimmed by five.
Bush derangement syndrome strikes again, this time in Indianapolis, Indiana where the Indianapolis Star reports that students of the U of Indiana's Dentistry class have been caught in a massive cheating scandal. Naturally, it's all Bush's fault according to one of the so-called experts the paper interviewed for their article.
Apparently 16 students were suspended because they hacked their school computer system to get passwords that would open electronic teaching materials that contained the answers to upcoming tests. An additional 21 were given letters of reprimand for knowing of the cheating and not saying anything to school officials, a breach of the school's code of professional conduct.
So how is this all Bush's fault?
Because there's no WMDs in Iraq says Dr. Anne Koerber, an associate professor of dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
It had to happen sooner or later. A natural disaster was destined to hit a town in another state led by a Democrat governor who was willing to feed the waiting media activists with a swipe against President Bush and the War in Iraq. Such a tragedy happened over the weekend when a category five tornado hit Greensburg, Kansas and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius immediately blamed the war in Iraq for a lack of response by depleted National Guard units. The situation was so politically opportunistic that even Presidential candidate Barack Obama stated while on a campaign stop that 10,000 residents had been killed in the devastation.
While covering media mogul Rupert Murdoch's offer to buy The Wall Street Journal from, New York Times reporter Richard Perez-Pena uncovered a news organization with a political slant: Fox News Channel.
"Two members of the Ottaway family, a minority partner in Dow Jones & Company, released scathing statements yesterday saying that a takeover by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation would ruin Dow Jones and its crown jewel, The Wall Street Journal.
"The controlling Bancroft family said last week that family members representing 52 percent of shareholder votes opposed Mr. Murdoch’s $60-a-share bid, a steep premium for a stock that had recently traded around $36. But their statement was vague, leaving it unclear whether family members objected to the price, to Mr. Murdoch or to a sale on any terms.
Washington Post writers Tamara Jones and Roxanne Roberts (who co-writes the paper's "Reliable Source" gossip column) took just four paragraphs into their page A1 story on Queen Elizabeth's state visit to snark about a gaffe of President Bush's during the welcome ceremony.
The President was noting that the Queen had visited the United States for the bicentennial in 1976, but he started to say 1776 before catching himself.
Noting that the Queen "did not appear amused," Jones and Roberts described Bush's reaction as "sheepish" and that the Queen's disapproving glare was not his only "comeuppance of the day."
Set your TiVo to CNN Headline News at 9 p.m. EDT tonight. NewsBusters senior editor/MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham will be on the "Glenn Beck" program to discuss how PBS is politicizing a documentary about World War II.
The controversy centers around how documentary producer Ken Burns and PBS have dealt with pressure from activist groups to include more footage on Hispanic Americans' contributions to the war effort.
Rupert Murdoch, founder of the Fox network and Fox News Channel and CEO of media giant News Corp has the ability to make grown journalists cry. A quick survey of liberal media blogger Jim Romenesko's Media News page shows an industry in a panic over Murdoch's $5 billion offer to purchase Wall Street Journal parent company Dow Jones.
Why all the fear and loathing?
To put it simply, Rupert Murdoch is one of the few powerful individuals on the right who realizes the importance of the mainstream. Over the years, the right has had success building up an alternative infrastructure of think tanks, magazines, and web sites. Murdoch, however, has been one of the very few to understand that there is no need to "ghettoize" the libertarian and conservative viewpoints. That is why he is feared even though his committment to the right politically is often quite tenuous (he's hosted fund-raisers for Hillary Clinton and is uncompromising in his desire to do business with the Chinese commies).
CBS's Lesley Stahl, in a 60 Minutes profile of CNN's Lou Dobbs aired Sunday night, expressed indignation over how Dobbs violates the supposed “fair and balanced” rule of journalism by revealing his disdain for President Bush, but Stahl has a long history of announcing her personal political views, including scorn for President Reagan and adulation of Hillary Clinton.
When Dobbs confirmed he's “not a fan” of Bush -- “No, I'm not. Whether it’s outsourcing, the war in Iraq, just disregard for our middle class” -- Stahl jumped in: “I'm sitting here saying to myself, 'This man runs a news show?' And you can just tell me you don’t like the President. Woo.” Yes, she really said “woo.” Dobbs explained: “I, matter of fact, insist that the audience know where I come from.” To which Stahl, an advocacy journalist long before Dobbs (see this 1991 MediaWatch critique), wondered: “What about fair and balanced?”
Back in January of 1989, when Reagan was still in office, Stahl told NBC's Bob Costas: “I predict historians are going to be totally baffled by how the American people fell in love with this man [Ronald Reagan] and followed him the way we did.” Five years later, on the old America's Talking cable channel, in an interview with Roger Ailes, she was appalled by how people were fooled by Reagan: “Here's a guy who fooled most of the people most of the time....He was a person who didn't understand the issues at all, and we know that for a fact....It's scary, because he led us off in the wrong direction.”
Days after Reagan died in 2004, on CNN'sLarry King Live, her 60 Minutes colleague Mike Wallace was curious about “when was the last time we had a President Americans loved?” Stahl doused the admiration of Reagan: “And of course, not all Americans loved him, Mike.”
Yahoo picked up a fluff AP article that distorted Democratic NJ Governor Jim McGreevey’s 2004 resignation. It perpetuated the success of what should have been a politician’s attempt to cover allegations of corruption by using his closeted sexuality to distract an incurious and complicit media. This puff piece kept alive McGreevey’s pattern of announcing something socially startling to draw attention away from the incredible graft, scandal and alleged sexual harassment that would have otherwise defined his administration. When threats to McGreevey's reputation arise, he uses his status as a gay man to deflect unwanted attention, and the AP went along with it by reporting this latest “shocker” and omitting his political affiliation while identifying his opponents’ party (emphasis mine throughout):
Jim McGreevey has gone from altar boy to mayor to the nation's first openly gay governor.
From the moment he stood at a podium in 2004 and announced he was a "gay American" who was resigning because of an affair with a male staffer, people wondered what McGreevey's next act would be.
Now we know: He wants to become a preacher and a teacher.
According to a Rasmussen poll released today, just 39 percent of Democrats in this country say they are certain that President Bush did not know about the 9/11 attacks before they happened. Thirty-five percent of Democrats said they believe Bush did know, 26 percent are uncertain. Independents and Republicans are far more likely to disbelieve the conspiracy nonsense.
It's really sad to what degree the left-dominated media has allowed the "truther" movement to gain such wide currency in our marketplace of ideas. You can bet if a Democrat had been president, the left in this country would not be so similarly deluded about 9/11.
Yesterday, NewsBusters executive editor Matthew Sheffield passed along how bloggers had picked up on Virgin Airlines screening the 9/11 conspiracy documentary "Loose Change" as an in-flight movie selection.
Andersen reminds her readers that "one simple phone call" can make all the difference, as was the case with Wilkow's producer complaining to Virgin. I suspect, however, that a large, irate blog readership also had a role to play. Over 15,000 hits came up for my "loose change" search on Technorati, while over 600 hits came up when I looked for "Virgin Airlines" on the blog search site.
Hundreds of thousands of potential airline passengers are not worth messing with, after all.
In case you haven't heard, the entire Senate Democratic caucus sent a letter to the Washington Post complaining about a column that David Broder, the paper's respected moderate liberal columnist wrote criticizing Democratic leader Harry Reid for saying the Iraq war is "lost."
We've talked about it quite a bit here at NB (here and here for some of our coverage) but today's New York Sun makes a point worth posting today:
"The episode illuminates how thin-skinned and intolerant the left is in this country of a press corps that is anything less than completely pliant. It began with the Democratic presidential candidates refusing to participate in a presidential debate that would be aired on the Fox News Channel, a network so reflexively right-wing that its regular paid contributors include Michael Dukakis's campaign manager Susan Estrich, National Public Radio's Mara Liasson, and the 2006 Democratic candidate for Senate in Tennessee, Harold Ford Jr. First they came for Fox News Channel, then they came for David Broder."
That's exactly right. The problem Broder is encountering is that even though he is a liberal, the fact that he has crossed the far left on its most important agenda item (surrendering in Iraq) has made him anathema. Same with Joe Lieberman.