Hugh Hewitt thinks highly of Nicholas Lemann, dean of Columbia University's graduate school of journalism and a staff writer for the New Yorker. Last year, Lemann wrote a New Yorker profile of Hewitt which the subject considered “complete and fair.” Hewitt also was “impressed with [Lemann’s New Yorker] profiles of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. (The Cheney profile earned Lemann some animosity among colleagues, who thought him too gentle with the only man the left fears as much as Rove.)” Apparently, though, it’s possible to both write evenhandedly about right-of-center figures, and run one of the best journalism schools in the country, and still be clueless regarding basic conservative arguments on liberal media bias.
The Today show played a dangerous game this morning, floating the notion that President Bush manipulated the release of an OBL tape in 2004 to influence the outcome of the presidential election.
Today opened the segment by flashing the image to the right, which so closely juxtaposed photos of W and OBL you might have thought it was a campaign poster. And call me suspicious, but I can't help but wonder if the "Close Up" beneath the photos wasn't merely the title of the lead segment but also Today's 'subliminable' comment on the pair's relationship.
Just in case anyone missed the point, Lauer archly asked: "is OBL President Bush's not-so-secret weapon?" Lauer then suggested the WH is exploiting the latest OBL tape to conduct a "PR blitz" in support of the NSA surveillance program.
Lauer then handed the ball to NBC reporter David Gregory, who claimed that the White House has "politically seized" the moment "with the OBL tape still fresh" to "step up its campaign against its critics" on the surveillance issue.
Gregory then made a much more sinister suggestion, stating:
The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah McBride wrote an article in today’s edition addressing the increasing number of network news “stars” leaving television to become a part of National Public Radio. In an environment where ratings for most news programs are declining, and newspapers across the country are reducing staffs amid shrinking circulations, NPR’s audience is continuing to grow. As a result, as reported previously by NewsBusters, the largely government sponsored radio station has been attracting folks like former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite and former ABC “Nightline” host, Ted Koppel. Potentially the most fascinating aspect of this article is what it said about the current state of television media:
“Network news is increasingly generating prospects for NPR in part because some broadcast journalists think the networks are veering away from serious, in-depth reports. Many television journalists say they are fed up with the move toward consumer-friendly news-you-can-use and away from weightier subjects like foreign affairs and government. And many also see news of any sort as an increasingly low priority for their employers. For example, ‘Nightline’ came close to losing its perch in a humiliating 2002 episode when ABC brass unsuccessfully tried to lure in David Letterman's nightly comedy show to replace it.”
Driving home tonight (Friday), the MRC's Rich Noyes caught how ABC Radio talk show host Mark Levin, on Washington DC's WMAL, marked the 25th anniversary of the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan: By reciting, just past 6pm EST, from Reagan-bashing quotes spewed by journalists which were compiled by the Media Research Center. In June of 2004, just after Reagan passed away, the MRC produced a Special Report titled, “Ronald Reagan -- The 40th President and the Press: The Record.” (Levin's show is also carried by WABC in New York City, WJR in Detroit and WBAP in Ft. Worth/Dallas.)
Below is a reprint of the Executive Summary of the report from which Levin quoted, and direct links to all the sections of it.
Just as our intelligence experts' parsing of the OBL tape may uncover hidden clues, so does a careful deconstruction of comments this morning by Katie Couric yield important insights into her MSM mindset.
Couric was interviewing Peter Bergen, British author of "The Osama Bin Laden I Know." At one point, Katie had this to say:
"He talks about President Bush in the tape and he says he's foolish for ignoring the poll numbers that indicate the American people want him to pull out of Iraq. How do you think he's keeping abreast of all this. It's sort of odd, isn't it? Is he just paying attention to Al-Jazeera? It's not as if he's reading the New York Times, is it?"
In today's entry on his blog, Eric Alterman writes, apropos of his recent media-bias debate with Tucker Carlson, that he and Carlson "seem to have started a useful argument over [on the letters page of] Romenesko...with this one making...the clearest argument, methinks."
"This one," in case you don't feel like following the link, is a missive from John Martellaro, who contrasts two of Alterman's statements from the debate with two of Carlson's, then comments, "OK, so we have verifiable facts coming from the left, vs. unsourced blather and empty talking points coming from the right."
Gee, I wonder why Alterman liked the letter so much?
Nearly three days after Sen. Hillary Clinton spoke her debated "plantation" remark, the Los Angeles Times has finally printed its first word about the controversy today (Thursday January 20, 2006).
Tucked on page A8 of today's edition is "Clinton's Remark Criticized," a 495-word piece by Times staff writer Edwin Chen. The article begins with the eye-opening observation that Hillary's comment "continued making political waves Wednesday."
Congratulations to the Times on such swift, cutting-edge news coverage... (roll eyes) ...
In November 2002, The New York Times latched its iron journalistic jaws onto a story which it considered to be of extreme national import: feminist Martha Burk's crusade to blackmail Augusta National Golf Club, the host of the Masters Tournament, into ending its men-only membership policy by pressuring CBS to drop its coverage of the storied golf championship. Burk's crusade eventually failed, but only after an almost obsessive focus by the New York Times about the quixotic mission.
Fast forward to January 2006 and the Alito hearings, and the revelation that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) once belonged to, and as recently as October donated $100 to, the Owl Club, a male-only social organization which was booted from Harvard for refusing to admit women as members.
Over at Romenesko Letters, the liberals are trying to dismiss the conservative case against the liberal media, but they’re shooting blanks again. A man named John Martellaro, clearly moony over Eric Alterman’s questionable grasp on media reality, writes in to suggest the media account of the Alterman vs. Carlson media-bias debate revealed that Alterman offered "verifiable facts," while Tucker Carlson offered only "unsourced blather." Unfortunately, his lame arguments considers polls about Iraq and the names of newspaper sections as the "verifiable facts" of a conservative media bias. I'll rebut this after a peek at Martellaro's letter:
Where's the real bias in the U.S. media, leaning left or leaning right? The "debate" between Tucker Carlson and Eric Alterman is hardly the last word on the subject, but let's start there.
Last Saturday, the University of California, Santa Barbara hosted a media-bias debate between the moderately conservative Tucker Carlson and the distinctly leftist Eric Alterman, and the UCSB student newspaper, the Daily Nexus, was on the scene. (Hat tip: Romenesko.)
Highlights from Devon Claire Flannery's piece:
Carlson opened the debate with the assertion that America’s poorly informed electorate is the result of a badly biased press. He attributed low levels of political awareness among Americans to a liberal bias in the media and expressed disapproval of the way the media portrays politics in the United States.
When Republican leader Trent Lott made racially insensitive remarks, the MSM was immediately flooded with speculation as to whether he could survive in his political leadership post.
But when Hillary Clinton did the same, the Today show portrayed her as going on the offense, not being on the defense.
You might have imagined Today's graphic for this morning's segment would have read along the lines "Hillary Feeling the Heat". Imagine again. In fact it read "Off and Running? Hillary Attacks GOP." Offense, not defense.
Today also conveniently failed to mention that her 'plantation' comment was made in church. Even the New York Times was constrained to acknowledge that her remarks came at "the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem."
The piece begins by painting the poignant image of a Palestinian killed by Israelis and his bereaved family member who "choked back tears and wiped his red, swollen eyes." It ends with this slogan: ''When you have no hope, you vote Hamas."
"So what?", you ask. Palestinians are permitted to distribute campaign literature in preparation for their legislative elections on Jan. 25th. What's the big deal? Well, true. Except this wasn't a Hamas campaign flyer. It was an article in this morning's Boston Globe: A Death Hardens Support for Hamas.
One wonders whether the author, Thanassis Cambanis, wasn't smoking cannabis when composing his one-sided piece. The image he paints is of repressive Israelis hounding the innocent Hamas. But in fact, the dead man in question was the leader of a Hamas terrorist cell, according to the Israeli Defense Forces,. who was killed in a shootout with Israel forces during a raid in which Israel arrested 18 suspected "militants."
Since November, the media have carried around Rep. John Murtha around on their shoulders like a conquering hero for his opposition to the war in Iraq. They’ve thrown around the words “war hero” like clowns throwing candy at a parade. Murtha was broadcast far and wide attacking Vice President Cheney for his five deferments from Vietnam, suggesting these chicken hawks don’t like any suggestions about how to fight a war.
If Murtha were a Republican accusing a Democrat like this, we know what would happen. The so-called nonpartisan, objective, “mainstream” media would either (a) totally ignore him as an irrelevant, obscure House wacko, or (b) investigate his own military record to see if he earned all the “war hero” talk. And if discrepancies were found, all hell would break loose. And if you don’t believe me, just ask John O’Neill and the Swift Boat Vets for Truth, who underwent first (a) and then (b) when they challenged John Kerry.
Wishy washy mayor Ray Nagin said hurricanes are messages that God is mad at us for being in Iraq, and that New Orleans will be "chocolate" again (is that what you call it?) Don't worry, the media will only portray Pat Robertson as crazy for purporting to know what God is thinking.
Al Gore is on a rampage claiming that George Bush is a criminal for
Mr. In Denial himself, Eric Alterman, is set to debate with Tucker Carlson over media bias. Alterman's take: "There’s no question that television leans rightward rather than leftward" and that "liberal points of view are underrepresented on national and cable news television."
Some other comical quotes from Alterman about this "bias":
“I would say that right-wingers, like Bill O’Reilly, like Rush Limbaugh, like Sean Hannity, definitely dominate the discourse on television.”
While Bill and Sean may "dominate the discourse" on FOX News, I hardly doubt that they dominate the discourse on CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The A.P., Reuters, USA Today, and every other media outlet, which Alterman fails to find an example of conservative bias coming from them. And even then, Alterman is comparing political talk shows to the Media that is supposedly presented in an unbiased fashion. Also, I wonder how Rush Limbaugh dominates discourse on T.V., unless Alterman was taking Rush's "show prep for the media" really, really seriously.
At an event attended by Hillary Clinton, Harry Belafonte said that President Bush has begun to "suspend our Constitution" and that doing so is an "act of terror." The pop singer made these comments after giving a speech at a children’s charity dinner. The exchange was reported on the January 13th edition of Fox and Friends, at 7:08AM EST. Co-hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and E.D. Hill began by discussing Mr. Belafonte’s earlier comments, where he referred to the President as "the greatest terrorist in the world." (Noel Sheppard reported this story for Newsbusters.) Ms. Hill set up the new Belafonte statements by saying, "You know what we did? We sent someone from Fox News Channel to go find out if that’s what he really meant to say." Mr. Belafonte told FNC:
Does President Bush resemble Adolf Hitler and Satan? That seemed to be the implication during the 9am half hour of CNN's American Morning. A protester wearing a George W. Bush mask, complete with a colored in Hitler-esque mustache and red horns attached to the forehead was deemed a Bush "look-alike" by reporter Susan Roesgen. In her report on how the bureaucracy at FEMA is delaying federal funds for rebuilding New Orleans, Roesgen highlighted a group of female Catholic school students demonstrating for money to repair the city's levees. The students, as Roesgen noted, "hoped the President would stop by" the protest. It was then that the demonstrator wearing the Bush mask was highlighted on camera, while Roesgen narrated, "But while a look-alike showed up with a wad of cash, Mr. Bush did not." The "wad of cash" in the demonstrator's hand was actually several phony dollar bills mocking the Bush administration.
Susan Roesgen: "City officials aren’t the only ones wondering when federal money will materialize. Catholic school girls marched on Jackson Square. They and their teachers say more money is needed to fix the levees, and they hoped the President would stop by after his meeting with business leaders. But while a look-alike showed up with a wad of cash, Mr. Bush did not." Real Player or Windows Media
Readers will no doubt recall the hysteria from the mainstream media and anti-death penalty forces on the left over the execution of Stanley’s "Tookie" Williams last month.
Countless articles were written bemoaning Tookie’s loss and news anchors spoke glowingly of his supposed contributions to ending gang violence. That Tookie himself was the founder of the notorious "Crips" gang, responsible for so much murder and mayhem over the years, didn’t seem to enter into the equation. Neither did the four people he murdered in cold blood.
Now California’s next execution is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17, with multiple murderer Clarence Ray Allen doing the honors. As Allen’s execution approaches, one has to wonder when all the hoopla will commence? We're all waiting for the liberal glitterati to come out and show their support.
Discussing the Alito hearings on this morning's Today show, Matt Lauer and Tim Russert sounded less like host and analyst and more like two disappointed teenaged boys, griping as they exit the theater that the movie didn't deliver enough exploding cars and train wrecks.
Lauer's opening question sounded the theatrical theme: "did the event live up to its billing?"
Russert panned the paucity of pyrotechnics: "It sure didn't, Matt. People talked about a confrontation. It certainly wasn't that. It started off with a bang and ended with a whimper."
But to the extent things did get nasty, who was responsible? Lauer slyly suggested that it was . . . Alito's own fault.
According to Eric Alterman, conservative Christians don’t really like the Jews. The left-wing writer suggested this in the Thursday edition of his MSNBC blog, despite admitting that he knows "darn few" right-wing Christians. (Alterman is known for writing books such as "What Liberal Media?" and others.) He came to this conclusion while expounding on the perceived anti-Semitism of some Europeans:
"I wouldn’t argue that the French are not anti-Semitic and that American right-wing Christians are not philo-Semitic, but it’s not that simple. France had Jewish prime ministers in both the thirties and fifties and might get another one soon. No way that could happen in the United States even today. So what does that say? Here’s what I think, though it’s not provable. In France, they don’t like "the Jews" but they have no problem with Jews. I lived in Paris for a bit and it was never an issue and I’ve never heard of it being an issue for any of my friends. Among Christian right-wingers, however—of whom I know darn few, I’ll admit—I get the feeling they love "the Jews" but don’t have much use for Jews, as individuals. It’s just a thought." (Emphasis added)
As reported on tonight's O'Reilly Factor (January 10, 2006), Sunday's episode of NBC's Dateline (January 8, 2006) declared that recent attacks on the traditional meaning of Christmas were a "giant, laughable lie."
A segment on blogs narrated by Josh Mankiewicz also aired a snippet from Bill O'Reilly's recent appearance on Letterman's Late Show. Which snippet? The part where Letterman told Bill, "I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap." Real balanced, eh?
From the Dateline segment, as shown on the Factor tonight (available at foxnews.com) (emphasis mine):
MANKIEWICZ (voiceover): "That nutty war on Christmas thing got plenty of traction on the blogs before it ever hit your TV set. Now a lot of bloggers say it's finally been put to bed."
LETTERMAN (snipped from O'Reilly's guest spot): "I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap." (audience laughter)
You might think the mainstream media holds Pat Robertson in contempt, mocks him behind his back, and snickers at his every utterance. You're probably right, and for the most part they are right to do so. But as long as Robertson keeps his self-appointed position as God's spokesman, the mainstream media will try to keep him in the Christian mainstream. This was once again exemplified when he commented last week on the cause of Ariel Sharon's suffering:
"(Sharon) was dividing God's land, and I would say, 'Woe unto any prime
minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the [European
Union], the United Nations, or the United States,'" Robertson said on
his Christian Broadcasting Network program, The 700 Club, last week. "God says, 'This land belongs to me, and you'd better leave it alone.'"
after his embarrassing warning in November to the citizens of Dover,
Pa., whom Robertson said "had just rejected [God] from your city" when
voters threw out their school board, after they overreached in their
efforts to bring intelligent design into science classrooms.
like to say to the good citizens of Dover," Robertson said, "if there
is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God." He said in a later
clarifying statement, "If they have future problems in Dover, I
recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."
Sometimes, liberal media types just can't 'hep' themselves. This morning's Today show provided a prime example, as Matt Lauer, in a bolt from the blue, revealed what really lurks in liberal hearts.
By all appearances, Lauer was headed for a genial stroll in the park with affable former GOP Sen. Fred Thompson, in to discuss the Alito hearings. Thompson had been the successful 'sherpa' for John Roberts in his confirmation process.
Matt got off to an even-handed start, noting that from their opening statements it seemed clear that most senators had already made up their minds. Lauer asked whether the confirmation process was really all about giving senators a chance to make partisan speeches.
Howard Kurtz's "Media Notes" in The Washington Post, which is supposed to be a critique of media reporting, is very often closer to a whitewash. Today's Kurtz column is an example of just that.
After dissecting, and mostly defending, the "they're alive, they're dead" reporting calamity, Kurtz criticizes what he sees as media disinterest in on-the-job health and safety reporting:
The larger issue is that much of the press has abandoned reporting on health and safety regulation until disaster strikes. How many reporters have dug into the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration, which under the Bush administration was run by a former Utah mine manager until last year?
..... "I have tried to get the general press interested," says Ellen Smith, owner of the trade publication Mine Safety and Health News. "I just kind of gave up."
AP TV reporter David Bauder says that "if Bill O'Reilly truly loves a good fight, then he's had quite a week."
The Fox News Channel personality's confrontation with David Letterman Tuesday night made for some gripping television. The cranky "Late Show" host told his guest: "I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap."
That same night, nemesis Keith Olbermann on MSNBC once again named O'Reilly his "Worst Person in the World," this time for battling with two people at The New York Times. That's the 15th time O'Reilly has been cited since Olbermann began his half-facetious, half-serious nightly "award" to wag his finger at bad behavior.
What do you think the odds are that in the very first minute of its segment on Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the morning her confirmation hearings were set to begin, the Today show twice described Ginsburg - former chief counsel of the ACLU - as a "liberal" and spoke of her confirmation "moving the court to the left"?
Yet Andrea Mitchell managed the precise mirror image in the first 60 seconds of her story on Samuel Alito this morning, twice referring to him as a "conservative" and adding that his confirmation would "move the court to the right."
And when it came to outside advocates, Today chose two anti-Alito voices [former Clinton aide Joe Lockhart and a fellow from People for the American Way], versus a sole Alito supporter - former Solicitor General Ted Olson. Today did play a fleeting clip of former GOP Rep. Vin Weber, but only for purposes of describing lobbying efforts, not to endorse Alito.
Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press is one of AP's regular reporters covering Mr. Bush and The White House.
She also has an obvious conflict of interest, as her husband, Roger Ballentine, was a senior adviser to John Kerry on energy and environmental issues during the 2004 presidential campaign. Ballentine is currently president of Green Strategies, Inc., an environmental consulting and government relations (read: lobbying) firm. He also continues to be actively involved in the politics of energy and the environment, as this appearance at a renewable energy conference in December 2004 and the promotion for his October appearance on "E&E TV" show.
It has apparently never occurred to AP that her husband's point of view could affect the objectivity of Ms. Loven's reporting, though, as this post at Powerline supplied by me back in September 2004 shows, she went so far as to ridicule a 2002-2003 Bush Administration environmental initiative in one of her "objective" reports using language that parroted her husband's environmental advocacy statements.
Whether it's Iraq, the Joe Wilson charade (a report that led Powerline to call her a "Democrat Operative"), or the economy, Ms. Loven's reports on day-to-day happenings in the administration have been consistently negative and sometimes even hostile. In early December (go to end of post), Ms. Loven just had to respond to the report of 215,000 new jobs created in October by reminding us (as if it was relevant to the report) that Mr. Bush was " faced with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency." All in all, she may be as close to "Exhibit A" as exists as to why we can no longer trust The Associated Press to do the job it was designed to do: give us the news, straight up -- so spin, no shading.
NBC’s Tim Russert invited the New York Times reporter who broke the NSA eavesdropping story three weeks ago onto “Meet the Press” this morning. Despite the obvious controversial nature of the guest and the subject matter, Russert asked no truly compelling or interrogative questions of James Risen, and, as a result, produced an interview that not only didn’t challenge Risen about the fortuitous timing of the article’s release, but also offered the viewer no new information concerning this matter.
For instance, Russert chose to ask Risen:
MR. RUSSERT: Amid much speculation as to why the The New York Times held this story, you had written it, you had finished it, you knew it was—what reflected what your reporting had shown. It may have played a role in the election of 2004 if it had been published in October. Why was it held?
However, here’s a list of potentially more provocative and important questions that Russert chose not to ask his controversial guest:
The Associated Press was eager to publish the ties between Jack Abramoff, Tyco International and the Republican Party. According to the AP, Tyco is "Company A" in court documents describing the case against Abramoff.
In the article, Sharon Theimer wrote about Tyco's relationship with several other lobbying firms, including that of former Senator Majority Leader Bob Dole. She also cited Tyco attorney Timothy E. Flanigan's relationship to Abramoff, reminding readers that Flanigan withdrew his nomination to be President Bush's deputy attorney general in October. As usual, both Tom Delay and Bob Ney were listed as being investigated for their ties with Abramoff.