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.
Pat Robertson has no one to blame but himself for the criticism he's attracted in reaction to his latest looniness, in which he suggested that Ariel Sharon's recent stroke was divine retribution for dividing the land of Israel. For that matter, on the all-publicity-is-good-publicity theory, Robertson might be reveling in the notoriety.
So while the Today show can hardly be faulted for reporting Robertson's outrageous comment, was it necessary in doing so to take a gratuitous swipe at the beliefs of millions of Americans?
In its segment, Today catalogued a number of Robertson's controversial statements, from his suggestion that the United States should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to calling Islam a "scam," to predicting that Orlando could be hit with earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor for flying gay pride flags.
Here we go again, the liberal media leftist elite have nothing better to do with their time than to attack Pat Robertson again. This time they are taking issue with Robertson's comments regarding Ariel Sharon's health and how Sharon has given away part of the holy land for "peace".
"God considers this land to be his," Robertson said on his TV program "The 700 Club." "You read the Bible and he says `This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, `No, this is mine."'
On this morning’s Early Show on CBS, co-host Julie Chen teased a segment on the Abramoff situation by claiming there was "major fallout in Washington" surrounding the "Capitol Hill Corruption Scandal." What was she referring to? To me, major fallout would mean there were indictments or resignations or a slew of Congressmen announcing they would not seek reelection. But no, she was referring to the fact that President Bush and other senior Republicans were going to rid themselves of donations that came from Jack Abramoff. It began:
"I'm Julie Chen. Major fallout in Washington in the wake of the Capitol Hill corruption scandal. President Bush and senior Republican lawmakers plan to dump thousands of dollars in campaign donations from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff; we'll have that story."
Howard Kurtz, in his Thursday Washington Post story on Ted Koppel’s decision to join the Discovery Channel, revealed a tantalizing tidbit in his tenth paragraph about who first reached out to Tom Bettag, the Executive Producer of Nightline until Koppel’s departure from ABC in November: “The first contact came on Dec. 1, the week after Koppel's last Nightline broadcast, when Don Baer, a Discovery executive vice president who previously worked in the Clinton White House, e-mailed and then called Bettag.” (Bettag and several others from Koppel's ABC crew will follow Koppel to Discovery.)
Indeed, after nine years at U.S. News & World Report, where he rose to Assistant Managing Editor, in 1994 Baer jumped to the Clinton White House to become the chief speechwriter for President Clinton, and was later elevated to Communications Director for the Clinton White House. Baer reportedly so admired Bill Clinton that he effused about how Clinton was “the moral leader of the Universe.” (Details follow.)
First, state the obvious -- The 12 deaths are an unspeakable tragedy, the families of the victims should be in everyone's prayers, and any employer negligence that is found deserves swift and harsh punishment.
The blindly partisan blame-gaming without regard to the facts in this morning's New York Times editorial is irresponsible. Here's the worst paragraph (bold is mine):
Political figures from both parties have long defended and profited from ties to the coal industry. Whether or not that was a factor in the Sago mine's history, the Bush administration's cramming of important posts in the Department of the Interior with biased operatives from the coal, oil and gas industry is not reassuring about general safety in the mines. Steven Griles, a mining lobbyist before being appointed deputy secretary of the interior, devoted four years to rolling back mine regulations and then went back to lobbying for the industry.
How about the truth? Here is relevant data The Times could have easily accessed from the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration Coal Mine Fatalities page (chart can be found here):
The heartbreaking story of the 12 miners who died in a West Virginia mine collapse on Monday, January 2, is now common knowledge. The lone survivor remains in the hospital in critical condition. But if viewers were tuned into CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees on Tuesday night, they were in for a surprise.
Anderson was on the scene when he breathlessly delivered the breaking news that 12 out of 13 miners had in fact survived the accident. The chances of these men surviving for days on end without oxygen were nil, but sometimes audiences want to believe in miracles. The families of the deceased certainly did and they acted accordingly, taking part in a spirited celebration at the local church. But several hours later they were faced with a cruel blow. They were told that their family members had died after all.