Katie Couric has not said one word on the CBS Evening News, but she's already more famous than her future competitors, NBC's Brian Williams and ABC's Charles Gibson. She's also perceived as more "liberal" and more "biased" by conservatives.
Reports USA Today:
Incoming CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric is more familiar to viewers than her competitors are: 66% of people have an opinion of the former Today star, compared with fewer than half for NBC's Brian Williams and ABC's Charles Gibson.
But a new Pew Research Center poll of 1,506 people also shows that although she's more widely known, Couric has more negatives.
NY Times theatre critic/playwright George Hunka's "A Sermon on Corporations, Neighborhoods and Loss" celebrates a left-wing performance artist for exposing the evils of large corporations. Hunka, of course, is writing this for the New York Times, part of a modest little enterprise known as the New York Times Co., which had revenues of a mere $3.4 billion in 2005.
"Reverend Billy -- the alter ego of the performance artist Bill Talen, bleach-blond pompadoured and an impressive presence at 6-foot-3 in his pale brown leisure suit -- struts, preaches and sings his way across the Spiegeltent stage at the South Street Seaport, bringing his anticorporatist, environmentalist message to the converted via a sermon and several songs, accompanied by the Church of Stop Shopping gospel choir and a seven-piece band."
Let us try, for a moment, to imagine a media figure. Let us assume that this figure has been a major media personality for more than 20 years, but has, on occasion, been known for making racially tinged comments. This media personality has built a reputation as an intellectual, so he's aware of what kind of comments can be mis-interpreted or mis-construed.
Now, let us a imagine a professional sports league which is in the process of changing commissioners. It has been an extremely successful league, with billions of dollars in revenue, and a long period of relative labor peace between ownership and the player's union. Let us suppose that the Commissioner in question (we'll call him "Paul Tagliabue") is a white man, and the President of the Players Association ("Gene Upshaw," for short) is a black man.
NEW YORK Traditional media brands like newspapers and television are far more trusted by the public than Web sites and blogs, accordign(sic) to a survey this week by British interactive marketing company Telecom Express.
1000 respondents were asked what percentage of the information they received fro mvarious(sic) sources was accurate, true and unbiased, according to Telecom Express.
Telecom Express? You mean that neutral polling organization that didn't put the polling data on line? Or the one that makes it's living off of .... newspapers, radio and TV? Below are two examples of their other recent press releases they don't want you to direct link.
Baltimore Sun reporter Nick Madigan says conservative politicians have discovered they can score easy political points by attacking the media, whose journalists are merely looking for the objective truth.
Reporters have long enjoyed front-row seats as politicians hurled volleys of abuse at each other. But with increasing frequency in recent years, the journalists have become targets.
In the quest for votes and allegiances, candidates have found the press to be a useful foil, whose ostensible prejudices are preventing the airing of higher truths. In many cases, it seems, reporters themselves are blamed for whatever shortcomings they might uncover in a candidate.
Editor and Publisher magazine sees one of its duties as protecting the reputation of the journalism profession, even if it means bringing up flimsy evidence against the famous WWII Iwo Jima flag-raising picture, saying that photo faced "the same charges heard today, concerning 'staging.'"
But the E&P staff admit that the evidence is "flimsy" and mere "speculation." So why bring up such charges against one the most memorable events from the war? To score a point: "But as with most of the allegations today, the theories about the Rosenthal photo were based on flimsy evidence or speculation."
Amazing what you can find with a little digging and an intense desire to find out what really happened...
Remember the AP congratulatory memo to the staff about the pictures taken at Qana? Here's a portion of that memo...
"Rumors surfaced early Sunday morning that an Israeli airstrike had flattened a house in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. The number of deaths wasn’t immediately known, but the seriousness of the incident was clear. Beirut-based photographer Hussein Malla immediately called AP photographers Nasser Nasser, Lefteris Pitarakis and stringer Mohammed Zaatari and advised them to rush to the scene."
The Palestinian kidnapping of Fox news correspondent Steve Centanni and camerman Olaf Wing is now in its fifth day, and it's interesting to note the flabby response from both the media and so-called journalism "protection" organizations -- which are usually quick to condemn Israel and the U.S. authorities in Iraq.
The usually garrulous Committee to Protect Journalists issued a tepid statement expressing "concern," and the media generally has kept its distance. The New York Times, typically, buried a tiny reference to the kidnapping in a news roundup two days later. Obviously the Times was hoping that Centanni would be swiftly released, and delayed mentioning the kidnapping in the hope that it could report news of his release at the same time. Mustn't upset the myth of Palestinian moderation!
When the New York Times originally broke the story of the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program, the rest of the media leapt to the bandwagon, and immediately began referring to President Bush's "Domestic Surveillance Program." One of the forums where this has been particularly egregious is CBS' The Early Show. Well, the last 7 months and all of the discussion has done nothing to change the view of the program held by CBS. There were two separate comments in a 30-second news snippet from Tracy Smith that were either inaccurate or incomplete, and, of course, they were inaccurate or incomplete in a manner that made the program sound worse than it is.
The first was the continued mis-labeling. The program is not, despite the mainstream press' continued insistence, a "domestic" surveillance program. The NSA is not monitoring American's domestic calls without warrants, or at least, if they are, that has not been made public. That's not what the program being talked about covers. The NSA is monitoring overseas communications of suspected terrorists and terrorism supporters. If some of those communications are into the United States, they're continuing to monitor. That doesn't make the conversations "domestic."
Have you heard the news of the latest celebrity political pronouncement?
For those living in a cave, Bernie Mac, Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas, Danny De Vito, Bruce Willis, and a host of other celebs recently signed an issue ad taking a stand…against terrorism.
Didn't hear about it? That's no surprise. According to Nexis, not a single American news organization other than Fox News Channel has covered it.
Say what you will about celebs "shutting up and singing," but the fact that this isn't getting nearly the coverage given to anti-Bush and anti-American rants of lesser lights like the Dixie Chicks or Michael Moore is a yet another nail in the coffin that the media in this country is sorely lacking in political diversity. (Full text and signers here.)
I first raised the question of a possible relationship between the two journalists who corroborated each others accounts of an Israeli drone attack on a civilian convoy fleeing Marjayoun in south Lebanon here. In separatestories for their respective new organizations the brothers, Lotfallah (AP) and Karamallah Daher (Reuters), corroborated each others' accounts of the attack, but neither Reuters nor AP mentioned that they are related, much less twin brothers.
Covering a speech by Lebanese political leader Saad Hariri, son of Rafik Hariri, whose assassination launched the Cedar Revolution resulting in the withdrawal of Syria from Lebanon, the Guardian Unlimited goes so far as to list Israel first as a target of Hariri's condemnation. Their story highlights Hariri's words about Israel, placing them on a par with his attack on Syria:
Hariri's son condemns Israel and Syria The son of Lebanon's assassinated former prime minister and leader of the largest faction in the Lebanese parliament today condemned the involvement of both Israel and Syria in the country's month-long war.
The Guardian finally mentions, in the eleventh paragraph, that Hariri's criticism of Israel was in response to a speech by Syrian leader Bashar Assad, in which he accused anti-Syrian factions of aligning themselves with Israel.
Libanoscopie, a Lebanese Christian website, quotes a military expert to dismiss Hezbollah's claims of victory over Israel (this is the site that accused Hizballah of putting handicapped children in the building at Qana, then drawing Israeli fire by firing rockets from the roof).
The site is published in French. I've translated below:
Hezbollah's Fictional Victory in Lebanon
After 34 days of fighting, Hezbollah's secretary general [Hasan Nasrallah] is claiming victory, his supporters strolling to their hearts' content on the still smoking ruins of what were, a month ago, a hamlet, a village, a city; now a district where multi-story buildings have been reduced to powder, devastated by a wind that destroyed the major part of its existence.
I just ran across an interesting photograph on the AP wire. It would appear that this is a photograph of a Pakistani protest in support of Hezbullah and Hamas (and most likely, therefore, a protest against Israel and the United States).
There is something strange about the photograph, though—notice the highlighted poster, prominently displaying what appears to be a dead child. Where did this photograph come from? It doesn't appear to match any of the civilians killed in combat so far, or at least, it doesn't match any that have come across the wires.
Are there any Arabic specialists out there able to enlighten us on what the text to the right of the picture says? Is this a poster which claims to be the result of an "evil Zionist" carpet-bombing?
We're left to guess, unfortunately.
Our photographer doesn't seem to keen on informing us about the contents of the posters, other than a blanket statement describing the protest exactly as I did above. If anyone else has any information about this photograph or poster, be sure to let me know about it.
Caption: Women activists of a Pakistani religious party chant slogans during a rally to show their support with Hezbollah and Hamas, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006 in Karachi, Pakistan. The protestors also condemned what they see as U.S. and Israeli aggression. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)
Ricks, The Washington Post’s Pentagon
correspondent, appeared on the August 14 edition of "The Daily
Show." Ricks, the author of the caustic new book "Fiasco:
The American Military Adventure in Iraq," told host
Jon Stewart that journalists report the situation in Iraq far too
"I actually think the media probably has been too easy on the
situation. I think it’s probably worse then the media says
Stewart helpfully demonstrated the media’s hopeful
tone when he replied, "You maybe believe this to be, maybe
the greatest debacle in the history of American foreign policy?" As
the MRC’s Tim Graham previously wondered,
shouldn’t Washington Post readers
question if Ricks’s daily coverage of Iraq will be colored by
extremely negative outlook? In the segment, which aired at 11:20PM, he
stated the following about Fiasco’s
Over the last five years, the resurgent radical left has found empowerment in the Democratic Party through what the political scribes antiseptically call the "Internet grass roots." When hawkish Sen. Joe Lieberman lost by four points in the Democratic primary in Connecticut to ultraliberal millionaire Ned Lamont, the media credited this hard left with the upset. In truth, however, the liberal media themselves were a major part of the equation.
President Bush spoke at the State Department this afternoon, and on MSNBC’s "The Most" the graphic on screen was very telling of how the media have covered Hezbollah as it read:
"Breaking News, President Bush: ‘Hezbollah hides behind innocent civilians.’"
It is common knowledge that one of the tactics used by terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, is to hide among civilian populations in order to either reduce the risk of reprisal or to ensure that if there are repercussions from their attacks, that innocent civilians are killed as well. This is a deplorable tactic but hardly breaking news.
of the photographer's comment (it appears that Denton's original is
gone, but that another commenter reposted it within his own comment;
scroll down to "Andy Levin Fri Aug 11 09:54:08")
i have been working in lebanon since all this started,
and seeing the behavior of many of the lebanese wire service
photographers has been a bit unsettling. while hajj has garnered a lot
of attention for his doctoring of images digitally, whether guilty or
not, i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one
case where a group of wire photogs were coreographing the unearthing of
bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to
position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put
in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms. these
photographers have come away with powerful shots, that required no
manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a human level, and
this itself is a bigger ethical problem.
From little green footballs; a person identifying himself as freelance photographer Bryan Denton claims to have witnessed the exhumation of bodies for use in staged photographs. The photographer made the claim in the photographer's web forum, Lightstalkers; excerpt of post [emphasis added]:
...one case where a group of wire photogs were choreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms.
The poster was challenged by other posters in the forum, but refused to back off from the original allegation and added that it was not an isolated incident.
In an article that, frankly, surprised me, the Los Angeles Times's Tim Rutten comes down hard on fellow journalists for failing to take the Reutersgate scandal seriously enough. Here, Rutten dismisses Reuters' explanations for why the altered photos were used:
There are, however, two problems here, and they're the reason this controversy shouldn't be allowed to sputter to its inglorious conclusion just yet: One of these has to do with the scope of what strongly appears to be wider fabrication in the photojournalism Reuters and other news agencies are obtaining from their freelancers in Lebanon. The other is the U.S. news media's grudging response to the revelation of Hajj's misconduct and its utter lack of interest in exploring whether his is a unique or representative case.
Then Rutten encourages readers to explore what the bloggers have discovered.
It is hard to overstate the importance of what Little Green Footballs' site operator Charles Johnson learned from a clearly knowledgeable person in the news business, and revealed in a post yesterday morning. Anyone who attempts to understand events in the Middle East but is unaware of what Johnson has exposed is being shortchanged, and very likely misled.
Now Johnson has expanded what began as a "narrow" photojournalism controversy into an expose of how, for decades, the news we receive from the most volatile region in the world has, in exchange for what looks an awful lot like bribery, been twisted and controlled to meet a pro-Arab, pro-terorist, anti-Israel agenda.
With the fauxtography/Reutersgate scandal widening, accounts of Israeli atrocities by wire service employees who are also local residents directly affected by the fighting need to be examined carefully. Especially when coincidences begin to stack up.
Two wire service employees, one an Associated Press photographer and the other a Reuters reporter, were in the same convoy fleeing Israeli-occupied Marjayoun when the convoy was attacked, killing several people.
At least one of them is a Marjayoun resident, as is Salam Daher, better known as Green Helmet. Green Helmet has been accused of stagingmedia events at Qana.
Putting aside more conspiratorially-minded critics of the mainstream
media, genuine practical concerns and mounting evidence suggest
Western media has been co-opted by Hezbollah in Lebanon to a
significant agree. So much so, in fact, that it may be unable to paint
an accurate picture of the current conflict.
The two year old image at right is from a Reuters video of
Palestinian terrorists escaping from an action in Israel with the aid
of a UN van. Video here.
The decision by America's MSM not to publish it at the time may
represent press bias, or that its concern for American's right to know
is somewhat selective. However, it also serves to make another
Service organizations like the UN and the Red Cross often rely on
local individuals to flesh out their staffs. Obviously, there are areas
of the world where it's difficult to tell the good guys from the bad
and sometimes the bad guys may represent the majority of the local
population. Such may be the case in Southern Lebanon and it invites the
kind of co-optation witnessed above.
With the MSM having decided to rely heavily on local stringers in
covering the Israeli Hezbollah conflict in Southern Lebanon, their
coverage appears to have fallen prey to manipulation by a terrorist
group, or at least its propaganda machine.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams ended his Wednesday newscast by reading a few e-mails from viewers, starting with one which matched an August 1 NewsBusters/August 2 MRC CyberAlert item I wrote, "NBC's Williams Ignores Declining U.S. Troop Deaths, Highlights Total Iraq 'Death Toll.'" With the text on screen, Williams read aloud the comment from the unidentified e-mailer (a NewsBusters reader?) who complained about how Williams was guilty of "sensationalizing U.S. deaths in Iraq with a huge body count number flashed on the screen," and asked: "Do you think it might also have been news worth noting that July's casualty count was the third lowest in the past 2 years and that they FELL in July for the third straight month? Of course not -- because that does not fit the template of your news program." (Transcript, and the matching NewsBusters item, follows)
It seems some in the legacy media are entering into that next phase
of narrative manipulation—a redefining of terms in order to 1) provide
revisionary cover for its ideological fellow travelers, and 2) to
fabricate and then facilitate a bandwagon effect. For instance, The New York Times this morning editorializes on the Lamont victory this way:
rebellion against Mr. Lieberman was actually an uprising by that rare
phenomenon, irate moderates. They are the voters who have been unnerved
over the last few years as the country has seemed to be galloping in a
deeply unmoderate direction.
An “uprising” of “moderates”? Come now. Lamonts’ supporters are to
moderates what Jeffrey Dahmer was to gourmands: just because they
believe themselves to be the arbiters of political taste doesn’t make
them anything more than simple partisan cannibals. And I doubt very
much many of his supporters would even identify themselves
as moderates—though if they believe adopting the label will help them
regain power or take control of the Democratic party, they’ll almost
certainly suck it up and wear it in the months and years to come. The
ends justify the means, after all—and the New York Times has
shown itself willing to equate the Kossacks with Bill Clinton
Democrats. That is, they’ve signaled their willingness to help the
netroots take control of the party (see the new Kossack directive for
completing the purge here)—and
the plan is to do so by massaging the narrative and finding labels for
the players that strike just the right chords with Americans who don’t
follow politics all too closely.
For the last decade or two, the Big Three network news ratings have declined and their once-iron grip on public opinion has loosened, prompting this debate: is this decline merely a sign of increasing 24-7 media availability (cable news, Internet sites) or is the liberal tilt of the networks driving conservative viewers away from these networks in favor of alternative outlets?
Network news executives have consistently chosen the former, denying a liberal bias and denying that the ratings decline means they should have to change their modus operandi in any way. They are in denial of the obvious. A new study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press proves the point. It shows a dramatic decline in nightly network news viewership in the last four years among the Republican viewers they polled. While the number of Democrats saying they regularly watch network news increased from 35 percent in 2002 to 38 percent in 2006, the number of Republicans who say they view major TV newscasts declined from 34 percent in 2002 to 24 percent in 2006.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a prominent organization that has been combatting anti-Semitism and bigotry for 90 years, has issued a letter to MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann. The letter, dated July 28, 2006, takes serious issue with Olbermann's repeated use of the Nazi salute while badgering Bill O'Reilly. The body of ADL's letter begins as follows:
We are deeply dismayed by your ongoing use of the Nazi "Sieg Heil" salute, both on your program and in public appearances -- including the recent Television Critics Association press tour -- while holding up a mask of Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly.
Today's Los Angeles Times includes an extended obituary on Dorothy Healey, described as "a onetime labor organizer, civil rights activist and Marxist radio commentator." The newspaper found nothing but praise for the old comrade. According to an acquaintance: "She was always so fiercely partisan for working people. Yes, of course, she cared about war and peace and women's issues, but she was always concerned about working people."
A college historian credits her union activism with leading "her to become an advocate of black and Chicano rights at a time when few other people were speaking out on such issues."
A week after a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey determined that a much higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans prefer to get their news from the broadcast networks, CNN, MSNBC and NPR, a new Gallup Poll released today provides additional evidence that Democrats look more favorably upon the "mainstream media" as Gallup showed how “Democrats are more favorable than Republicans in their views” of eleven of 17 news personalities respondents were asked to assess. Dan Rather had the greatest net difference -- 38 percent -- with 86 percent of Democrats viewing him favorably, compared to just 48 percent of Republicans. Only two of the 17 news personalities (Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera) got more favorable evaluations from Republicans than Democrats. (Hat tip to Romenesko)
Others with a significant Democratic versus Republican approval gap include the incoming CBS Evening News anchor and the new co-host of NBC's Today: 17 points for Katie Couric (68% vs. 51%) and 15 points for Meredith Vieira (45% vs. 30%). Some others: Anderson Cooper (49% vs. 36%); Matt Lauer (65% vs. 53%), Barbara Walters (71% vs. 59%), Diane Sawyer (86% vs. 74%), Larry King (62% vs. 53%) and Bob Schieffer (54% vs. 47%).