Have we entered the Twilight Zone? A mainstream media outlet is going after Congress, particularly a Democrat Congress, for not living up to one of their promises?
CNN correspondent Drew Griffin and a team of two staffers and six interns all 435 members of the House of Representatives a simple question - if they get obtain a copy of each representative's earmark request. Even with the Democrats' campaign promise before the last election that they wanted a more "open" government, 330 members of the House never responded to the simple request. Another 67 refused the interns' request. Ultimately, they were only able to obtain the earmark requests from the offices of 31 representatives. Out of the 31, seven said they had no earmark requests in the fiscal year 2008 budget.
CNN aired two different reports about this, one on "Anderson Cooper 360" on June 18, and the other on the June 19 "American Morning." The report on "Anderson Cooper 360" aired the following excerpt from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
DREW GRIFFIN: ...Last week Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed a new open earmark process saying finally the American people will know where their money is going, and then she said this.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: If I just might direct the record to another place, why don't we just leave this room today forgetting the word earmark? This is legislatively directed spending as opposed to executive spending.
GRIFFIN: And Ms. Pelosi, for the record, a member of your staff told us you would not reveal your "legislatively directed spending requests."
NewsBusters reported Sunday that the BBC completed a year-long internal investigation of its policies and procedures concluding that it “has failed to promote proper debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff.”
The complete 81-page study has now been made available (h/t Benny Peiser), and should be required reading for media organizations here in America that clearly have similar bias problems.
What follows are some of the important highlights of this fabulous, must-read analysis.
After an introduction and forward, the Report set out twelve editorial guidelines, with the most compelling being (emphasis added throughout):
On Tuesday's The Situation Room on CNN, substitute host John King asked a question rarely asked by other journalists as he inquired whether the Democratic presidential candidates are moving too far left as they appeal to the anti-war movement, which King tagged the "juice of the left." During a discussion of the candidates' participation in the liberal Take Back America Conference and in an event for the labor union AFSCME, the CNN host asked Democratic strategist Paul Begala whether the push to withdraw from Iraq could "come back to haunt the party in a general election." King: "Anti-war is the theme, the energy, the juice of the left right now. ... Any concerns at all on your part that all of this, bring the troops home now, bring the troops home now, turn the page, close the door on Iraq, can come back to haunt the party in a general election?" (Transcript follows)
Only a few days later, Newsweek's latest issue chose to print a quote from the Republican governor of Alabama in their "Perspectives: Quotes in the News" section.
"In Alabama we have had experience turning corn into alcohol for years."
-Gov. Bob Riley, joking about the state's history of moonshining as he filled up a Chevrolet Impala with ethanol-based fuel. About 2,000 state vehicles will start using alternative fuel to save money and help the environment.
Here’s something a little more light for a Friday afternoon, but demonstrates the mainstream media’s biased view of the world.
Among the "Quick Hits" on CNN’s "American Morning" on Friday was a brief on how the drought in the Southeast is affecting the production of Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The water levels in the cave spring that supplies the Jack Daniels distillery are "dangerously low" according to the brief by co-host John Roberts.
After giving the brief, Roberts and substitute weather forecaster Reynolds Wolf began the weather report with the following exchange:
If conservatives win a primary, they can not go on to win a general election according to the Washington Post’s Tim Craig. In his post primary analysis, Craig cited two primary victories for conservative Republicans, and spun it as "troubling signs for the [Republican] party."
The two defeated incumbent moderates include Martin E. Williams of Newport News and J. Brandon Bell II of Roanoke. In fairness, it is defensible to suggest a moderate Republican would fare better in Newport News (John Kerry narrowly carried the city in 2004). However, George W. Bush carried Roanoke by 30 points that same year, and it would be ridiculous to suggest a conservative can not prevail there.
Updates below. (Close look at whiteboard in video calls Ann Coulter a "whore," etc.)
By now you may have heard about "Obama Girl," an attractive young woman dancing and singing a tune about having a "crush" on the Democratic presidential hopeful. It's all the rage on the cable news nets this afternoon. Doing some digging around the Internet, however, I was unable to find who exactly is behind the viral video phenomenon, but I did find it was registered through GoDaddy.com, the Web site registrar made a household name for its racy TV ads.
At any rate, "Obama Girl" Leah Kauffman (see update) doesn't appear to be a random young woman with a camcorder and Internet savvy. Her video "I Got a Crush on Obama" serves as the inaugural media stunt for BarelyPolitical.com, a Web site created on May 30 that has a skimpy "about us" section:
MSNBC was certainly the place to be Tuesday evening if you like watching a conservative take on a liberal about the value of the ACLU, and how tied into the Democrat Party that organization is. Also on the debate docket was the value of torture in terrorist interrogations.
What more could you ask for on a Tuesday evening?
Without further ado, in the left corner was Rosa Brooks of the Los Angeles Times; in the right corner was Tucker Carlson of MSNBC.
As this was scrappy and entertaining from the opening bell, I’m just going to let the tape role without any interruptions, and allow the reader to peruse the transcript that follows while watching this truly delicious segment (video available here, better fasten your seatbelts):
In the past, Washington Post music reviewers have made no secret of their disdain of country music star Toby Keith's patriotic homegrown quasi-conservatism. But now that Keith is shying away, almost apologizing for his political scuffles with the Dixie Chicks and the late Peter Jennings, the Post seems to have a new-found respect for Keith as a musician and artist. Below the fold you'll see what I'm talking about, but let's start with two prime examples of the Post's past personal swipes at Keith.
Take this November 5, 2003, review by Bill Friskics-Warren, which front-loads a begrudgingly positive review with the obligatory "I can't stand this guy's politics, but he's a damn fine musician" lede:
The May 14 issue of Newsweek proclaimed that some descendants of famous Republicans--Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater--are thinking about changing parties and voting Blue. In an article titled, “Generational Tensions: Thesons and daughters of some iconic Republicans (Ike! T.R.!) are contemplating crossing the aisle,” reporter Michael Hirsch set up the improbable idea that the logical move by unhappy "fiscally conservative" Republicans is to the Democratic Party. According to Ike's granddaughter Susan Eisenhower, “moderate ‘Eisenhower Republicans’ “ are not content, but Newsweek did not fully explore the illogic of this proposed alternative (emphasis mine throughout):
Increasingly, however, she says that the partisanship and free spending of the Bush presidency—and the takeover of the party by single-issue voters, especially pro-lifers—is driving these pragmatic, fiscally conservative voters out of the GOP.
Debatably, the dissatisfaction of moderate Republicans with the Iraq war and with what the article categorized as religiously influenced issues surrounding topics like Terri Schiavo, abortion and homosexuality can be answered by the Democratic Party, but not the problems of bloated bureaucracies and out of control spending. The article did not state the obvious; a Big Government GOP is still smaller than the modern Democratic Party.
Following a report on fisticuffs in the Alabama State Senate, CNN reporter T.J. Holmes cracked a joke about Sen. Lowell Barron (D) being on the receiving end of a punch to the face from Republican Senator Charles Bishop.
NewsBusters reader Paul Farmer (NoMoreClintons) sent along the following this morning a guest blog submission. Farmer touched on the decidedly vague guidance that the Associated Press gives reporters on when to include a politician's party affiliation.
Farmer has an older AP Stylebook than I have (I have the 2006 edition), but the portion on "party affiliation" he excerpts from his is nearly a word-for-word match with mine.
So in light of AP's pattern of obscuring the party affiliation of the recently indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) (as reported by NB's Lynn Davidson) and an initial lack of interest by some media in Jefferson's scandal (see this oldie but a goodie from 2005, the early days of NB), I'd thought I'd share Mr. Farmer's thoughts with you:
Former CBS host Bryant Gumbel, who was once infamously caught on camera calling a conservative activist a "f***ing idiot," defended and reaffirmed his comment while guest hosting on Tuesday’s "Live With Regis and Kelly." Discussing the possibility of inadvertently swearing on live television, Gumbel told co-host Kelly Ripa that he "was correct" when he used the F-word in reference to Robert Knight, then with the Family Research Council.
While explaining the 2000 event, Gumbel did announce that it was "wrong" to use profanity on the air, but added that he found Knight’s assertion, that gays should not be allowed in the Boy Scouts, "infuriating." He also derided Mr. Knight, now the director of MRC's Culture and Media Institute (CMI) saying, "I'm going to kindly describe him as a gentleman."
Video of the Gumbel’s original on-air vulgarity can be found here. Video of the June 5 "Regis and Kelly" can be found here: Video: Real (942 KB) or Windows (1 MB) plus MP3 (164 KB) [Warning: Discussion of the profanity follows]
Earlier this morning on the Fox News Channel, MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell talked to the gang at "Fox & Friends" about the poor ratings at the "CBS Evening News" since Katie Couric took the helm. VideoReal (2.5 MB) or Windows (2 MB) plus MP3 (1 mb)
STEVE DOOCY, co-host: Katie Couric, who makes a lot of money, is just about 15 blocks from here. Her ratings have never been lower. What's going on?
BRENT BOZELL: Well, I mean, I wasn't Nostradamus when I said, as said others when she got the job, that she was going to fail. It's the wrong match. She's the queen, the master of morning talk shows with, because of her perky personality and the pop culture format. You put her on the "Evening News" where there's gravitas that is necessary. It's got to be far more serious. There wasn't a match there. And we knew there wasn't a match. It was going to be one of two things. Either they were going to change the whole format of the news to fit her, or it would fail because she doesn't fit in.
An update to my earlier post that I figured would do just as well as a fresh item.
USA Today's "On Politics" blog, "TV Newser," and The New Republic's "The Plank" contain explanations from Joe Scarborough's people of how they believe the Friday "Morning Joe" banter between the MSNBC host and guest Craig Crawford about potential GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson's wife was taken out of context.
Noted USA Today's Mark Memmott:
A spokesman for the news network said this afternoon, though, that the
comment has been taken out of context and that it is "irresponsible" to
suggest Scarborough was employing sexual innuendo. "Works the pole"
could have been a reference to poles that some strippers use in their
acts. MSNBC says it was a reference to an exercise routine that a
growing number of women are performing.
I've documented on NewsBusters numerous occasions where Time magazine's political news-oriented "Swampland" blog has skewed to the left, including when the blog allowed veteran liberal columnist/pundit Michael Kinsley to guest blog at the site in March.
In his first post, Armey tells readers that his primary concern is battling the growth of government under the watch of both Democrats and Republicans:
For those who read this column, you probably most know me as a an
architect of the Contract with America, House Majority Leader from
1994-2003, and more recently as Chairman grassroots powerhouse
In all of these endeavors I have been guided by my
highest political value: freedom. This is a good place for me to start.
While tyrannies work only for those at the top, the American tradition
demonstrates that all people are better off when their political and
economic freedoms are protected. Government can only expand its scope
of power and authority at the expense of the citizen. Barry Goldwater
and Ronald Reagan knew this.
At least for the time being, the MSM seems stymied in finding an angle with which to take on the prospective candidacy of Fred Thompson. The MSM found it easy to tag each of the other frontrunners with a negative narrative: Romney the flip-flopping Mormon, Giuliani the social liberal with a dodgy personal past, McCain-the-aged, out of touch with the base on immigration and taxes.
The dilemma was apparent on this morning's "Today." After an anodyne set-up piece by Kelly O'Donnell, it was time for analysis in a segment hosted by Campbell Brown. You would normally expect the guest in these situations to be Tim Russert or Chris Matthews. If ever a conservative were to be on, you could be virtually certain that he would be balanced by a liberal. But, lo and behold, there was Stephen Hayes, who has a major piece on Thompson in the Weekly Standard. And nary a James Carville or facsimile thereof in sight. Nor were Brown's questions of the accentuating-the-negative variety. Among Hayes's observations:
The mainstream media has a tendency to turn to prominent conservatives whenever a significant portion of the conservative movement and President Bush have a policy disagreement. On Friday, it was Laura Ingraham's turn, when she was interviewed by John Roberts on CNN's "American Morning." When Roberts asked her about President Bush's recent slam of opponents of the immigration "reform bill," Ingraham turned the tables and took a shot at CNN itself.
On Thursday, all three network morning shows covered the announcement that former Senator Fred Thompson would be entering the 2008 race for the White House. And while CBS downplayed the news and NBC’s Chris Matthews wondered if Thompson "has the stuff" to run for the White House, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was the only individual to introduce what will apparently be a new Democratic talking point. Appearing on "Good Morning America," the "This Week" anchor claimed Thompson "can also expect questions about his one term in the Senate, whether it’s a thin record or not.Democrats are already raising questions about that."
Who would those Democrats be? Will Barack Obama, who, until 2004 was an Illinois state senator, broach the issue? Or perhaps Hillary Clinton, who only gained her Senate seat in 2000, will bring up the subject of experience. Thompson, despite Stephanopoulos’ claims, was not a one term Senator. He won a special election in 1994 and a full term in 1996. He served longer than both those candidates and also Republicans such as Mitt Romney, who can claim just one term as governor of Massachusetts. Perhaps Obama and Clinton assume that the media will simply ignore such facts.
Katie Couric may be many things (don’t call her perky), but she’s not subtle. The "CBS Evening News" anchor touted a new special on Walter Cronkite, a journalist who "stood up to the Commander in Chief" during an "unpopular war."
Former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, now the anchor of ABC’s "This Week," took time out of his interview with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to muse with the Democrat over what it would be like to stand at the House podium behind the first female President. Hmm, who might that be?
In case you somehow missed it elsewhere, NewsBusters has the complete transcript (and video) of the O’Donnell/Hasselbeck dust-up. Thrill as Rosie, who says the media portrays her as a "fat," "loud lesbian," faced off against the feisty token conservative. On Friday, the MRC's Justin McCarthy reported that O'Donnell will not be returning for her contract's final three weeks.
In an article honoring Dallas as "The Lavender Heart of Texas," Time writer John Cloud began with an unusually personal story of his political transformation, "trading movement conservatism for gay libertarianism." When you consider how he stereotypes conservatism as all about J.R. Ewing and an "air of profligacy," you could understand why it was easy to leave:
When I was a kid in Arkansas in the 1980s, we viewed Dallas with something approaching reverence. Mine was a fairly conservative family, aspirational. We passionately golfed and occasionally visited Neiman Marcus, the Dallas clothier that taught the South how to wear Versace and an air of profligacy. I wanted to drive a Mercedes and order bourbon and branch the way J.R. Ewing did. I wanted to go out with a Cowboys cheerleader with marcelled blond hair. The summer I was 13, Ronald Reagan was renominated in Dallas, and I signed up to be a young volunteer.
After Rosie O’Donnell leaves "The View" next month, where will Americans go for bizarre 9/11 conspiracy theories? On Monday, the comedienne reiterated her theory that fire couldn’t possibly melt steel. The ABC host also agreed that she has a "cult personality." A few days later, O’Donnell was at it again, comparing the United States to terrorists. Liberal co-host Joy Behar also found a Republican presidential candidate she can finally embrace...Congressman Ron Paul.
"This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos displayed his usual high level of objectivity when he assumed that the only racists who would have a problem with Obama are Republicans (and they wouldn’t vote for a Democrat anyway). Yes, it’s a good thing that liberals don’t use cheap generalizations.
On only his second day as a Don Imus-substitute, NBC reporter David Gregory proved that he can promote Democratic talking points in any medium. For the Thursday edition of "Gregory Live," which is simulcast on MSNBC and on radio, the veteran correspondent interviewed Illinois Senator and White House contender Barack Obama and asked him no tough questions.
He began by noting how the Democratic Senator has received "great media attention, great enthusiasm and crowds and people showering you with money." How absurd is it for Mr. Gregory to refer to Obama’s "great media attention" in the third person? After all, it was NBC’s "Today" show, where Gregory sometimes guest hosts, that labeled the Senator an "electrifying" "rock star."
After his fawning preface, Mr. Gregory did manage, finally, to segue into a question:
The sudden death of Rev. Jerry Falwell on Tuesday marked not just the passing of a television evangelist, but of a historic conservative leader and regular cable TV pundit. The mainstream media developed a strong distaste for him because he entered the political arena and helped establish a stronger conservative movement. For reporters, he was the definition of the far right, someone whose support made a Republican unacceptable, and any Republican who attacked him (like John McCain in 2000) quickly became a media hero. The Washington Post infamously described him as leading a flock that was "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command." Here's a selection of "Notable Quotables" capturing their attitudes:
"In 2000, John McCain ran for President as a different kind of politician....Straight talk included taking on powerful Christian conservatives like Jerry Falwell, whom he called an ‘agent of intolerance.’....McCain is [now] trying to repair relations with the religious right.... For McCain, doing so could jeopardize his reputation for being a different kind of politician." — Reporter Dan Harris on ABC’s World News Tonight, April 14.
The May 11 edition of "The Early Show" ran a relatively fair piece on Rudy Giuliani and his stance on abortion. However, there were clear issues of a labeling double standards. In the set up story Jeff Greenfield noted Giuliani’s stance on social issues "moderate to liberal" despite the former mayor’s support of partial birth abortions.
During the course of Harry Smith’s interview with CBS News political analyst Nicolle Wallace, Smith used the term "religious conservatives" to describe the voters who express concern over Giuliani’s abortion rights support. Smith then described California, a state that Kerry defeated Bush by nine percent, as "more moderate" than Iowa and New Hampshire, two states that were decided by about one percent of the vote.
Wedge issues, those subjects on which basically everyone has an opinion and those opinions are hard and fast, are generally something most politicians try to avoid if at all possible. Usually, it's because their party base takes a very strong stand on a subject that most Americans disagree with in part or in whole. If used properly, wedge issues can be used to separate a politician from the general public.
For Republicans the wedge issues tend to be abortion, creationism, and racial politics. Democrats have these issues too, however the left-dominated media almost never focus on them as Ace writes:
The media loves close questioning about abortion. And Bob
Jones University. And the Confederate flag. And etc., and etc., and
etc. -- every issue that cuts against Republicans, where the wedge
divides base from center, always gets an enormous amount of attention from the Washington press corps.
And what about Democrats' wedge issues? Not only does the media
refuse to ask such questions, except in the easiest softball way --
allowing candidates to give their carefully-vetted focus-group-tested
non-answers without having to survive the scrutiny of a follow-up --
the media is often insistent that even asking such questions is "divisive" and therefore unethical, if not unAmerican.
Apparently, CNN can't get enough of Kathleen Sebelius, the Democrat governor of Kansas. She made two appearances on CNN on Monday, once on "American Morning," and the other time on "The Situation Room." Both times, she tried to blame the Iraq war for any hampered reactions to the devastation caused by a tornado in Greensburg, Kansas. The same evening, the "Paula Zahn Now" program featured another segment on the supposed equipment shortages Governor Sibelius has highlighted in her media appearances. Even though the segment's sound bytes supported the governor's line, CNN Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre and Major General Tod Bunting of the Kansas National Guard made several points that reveal the truth of the situation.