CNN correspondent Carol Costello, in a report on Monday’s "The Situation Room," tried to put the Eliot Spitzer scandal into a better light by focusing entirely on past Republican scandals, and only mentioned two examples of Democrats caught in scandal -- Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank -- in passing.
Other than Idaho Senator Larry Craig, Costello brought up Republicans who had been accused of misbehavior by pornographer Larry Flynt. She only mentioned Spitzer at the very beginning of her report, and then immediately went to her first example, Louisiana Senator David Vitter. "Maybe Larry Flynt would say of Eliot Spitzer, there will soon be one less known hypocrite in government. That's how he described Louisiana Senator David Vitter. Flynt accused him of having been a client of the alleged D.C. madam, Deborah Palfrey, after the senator's number was discovered in her phone records."
Costello then turned back the clock ten years, and instead of focusing on Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky affair, she brought up the Republicans that had been caught by Flynt.
A few days before Eliot Spitzer went down in flames, a highly-connected Barack Obama* [Update: Kilpatrick has not committed to Obama] superdelegate was mired in accusations of corruption, bid-rigging and a dead-stripper sex scandal. Usually the media love to report the downfall of party bigwigs, but not in the case of Detroit's youngest mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Much of the media downplayed the mayor's scandals and did not report his party, let alone his status as a Democratic power player who can influence the election.
Kwame, who is the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), is not just any mayor. He was a Democratic rising star, who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and is the superdelegate to the 2008 convention thanks to his position as Vice President of the Conference of Democratic Mayors.
But now “The First Hip Hop Mayor” is in serious trouble, with members of the city council calling for his resignation. Controversy has engulfed his two terms, and the latest bout involves a report that his wife assaulted a now-dead stripper whose shooting is still unsolved. At the same time, the mayor's longtime pal Bobby Ferguson won at least $45 million in city contracts while reportedly receiving inside information from Kilpatrick and his chief of staff.
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Scott Pelley interviewed Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, and the tone of the questions was this: "The United States is going to be in Iraq for years to come. Afghanistan is not going well. Osama bin Laden is at large. And the economy is slipping into recession...How do you make a case for a third Republican term?"
Compare that to how Steve Kroft described Barack Obama’s candidacy during a February 10 interview: "He's been helped by the media's lust for a good story and the electorate's hunger for change. What he lacks in executive experience, he has made up for with a grasp of the issues, an ability to read the public mood, and the gift of turning Democratic boilerplate into political poetry." Or to Katie Couric’s interview with Hillary Clinton during the same broadcast that featured girl talk such as: "What were you like in high school? Were you the girl in the front row taking meticulous notes and always raising your hand?...Someone told me your nickname in school was Miss Frigidaire. Is that true?"
In the 3 pm hour, in the first blush of the prostitution revelations against liberal Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York, MSNBC’s experts quickly described the scandal as a nothing-burger. Alan Dershowitz attacked America for being a "pandering society and hypocritical society," since this wouldn’t even make the back pages of a newspaper in sophisticated Europe. "Big deal, married man goes to prostitute!" Dershowitz also blamed "men" (as a group) for thinking with their private parts. Tucker Carlson agreed with that line, and said that Spitzer is sleazy, but this is "one of the least sleazy things he’s done."
About 13 minutes into the hour, Contessa Brewer brought on Dershowitz for his reaction, explaining at one point that Dershowitz taught Spitzer at Harvard. He sounded quivering and emotional:
I have two reactions. One, I feel terrible for Eliot and his family. But I feel that this is a America-only story that we have to put in perspective. You know, big deal, married man goes to prostitute! In Europe, this wouldn't even make the back pages of the newspaper. It's a uniquely American story. We’re a uniquely, you know, pandering society and hypocritical society, when it comes to sex.
Update (18:18 EDT): BBC has updated their article to note the Democratic party affiliation in the 3rd graf (link). Our tipster DB informs us that the BBC's North America editor Justin Webb replied to his e-mail with a promise to "try to get it changed."
The BBC initially noted Gov. Eliot Spitzer is a Democrat, in an early draft of an online news article. The mention was in the 6th paragraph. But that stuck for all of 37 minutes as NewsBusters reader DB informs us (screengrabs shown below page break):
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith did a segment on the effectiveness of television ads in presidential campaigns, in which he gave credit to Ronald Reagan’s ‘optimistic’ "Morning in America" ad, which he incorrectly said was run in the 1980 campaign rather than 1984, but he followed quickly by condemning more recent Republican ads: "There's a high road and a low road. Remember Willie Horton? The ads played to racial fears and portrayed Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis as soft on crime...And an ad showing John Kerry's wobbly windsurfing helped sink his presidential bid."
Prior to describing this "low road," Smith discussed Hillary Clinton’s recent 3 A.M. phone call ad and highlighted it’s effectiveness:
Most of the ads won't be remembered by anyone, but some of them are not only effective, they become part of our culture. And a new contender is this campaign ad for Hillary Clinton...But the tactics seem to work. Clinton did win Texas where the ad ran.
Update (16:50 EDT): Clay Waters of MRC's TimesWatch informs me the 3rd paragraph reference in a NYT article to Spitzer's Democratic Party affiliation has been removed. Only an oblique reference to his party remains in the 15th paragraph, notes Waters.
It's the first major political sex scandal of 2008 (aside from Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick) and it involves a Democrat. So of course the Associated Press failed to note Gov. Eliot Spitzer's (D-NY) party affiliation. Via the LATimes.com Web site, published at 2:28 p.m. EDT:
The New York Times is reporting that Gov. Eliot Spitzer has told senior advisers that he had been involved in a prostitution ring.
On its Web site, the newspaper cites an anonymous administration official as the source and says Spitzer was meeting with his top aides.
Spitzer officials wouldn't immediately comment on the story to The Associated Press. An announcement was scheduled for 2:15 p.m. at his Manhattan office.
The New York Times has more here, and that paper notes Spitzer's party affiliation in the third graf:
If Hillary Clinton's latest gambit--floating Obama as her VP--were a play not a ploy, and the Today crew the theater critics, they would have left at intermission to begin penning a blistering pan.
Interviewing Tim Russert, Matt Lauer kicked off the kicking around of Hillary's idea.
MATT LAUER: Let's talk about this idea. Is it being floated seriously? Is this light-hearted, and who's behind it?
TIM RUSSERT: Well the Clintons are behind it, and New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin said today that he talked to a Clintonista who said it's an attempt to belittle Barack Obama, that if they can suggest that he can be Vice-President, it's an indication that who should be President?
LAUER: Yeah, but couldn't it backfire? I mean, he's ahead in the delegate count, she needs a miracle. Might it not come off as ignorant, or arrogant, not to be too harsh?
In the lede, the Times described McLaughlin as the “former head of the nation’s biggest municipal labor council,” without noting his political office.
Continuing the whitewash, the NYT buried and downplayed the story's juicy details. While in office, McLaughlin stole a total of $2.2 million from little leaguers, labor unions, his political club and the state of New York. He used the funds to buy cars for his wife and mistress and, bizarrely, forced union members to kill rats in his basement, dog sit and hang Christmas lights without pay. The only mention of the Dem's political career was an unclear second paragraph (all bold mine):
While the news media concentrates almost all of its attention on the presidential races, one Senate challenger has gotten serious coverage – the silly one. Radio Equalizer, one of the Internet’s funniest Franken-bashing blogs, passes along the latest news of left-wing comedian/Senate aspirant Al Franken failing to live up to the basic government requirements of a businessman. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
DFL Senate candidate Al Franken owes a $25,000 penalty to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board for failing to carry workers' compensation insurance for employees of his namesake corporation from 2002 to 2005, state officials said.
New York officials have made numerous attempts to contact Franken about the matter since April 2005 but have gotten no reply.
It happens from time to time, believe me. You're going over your Web site and what do you see but a product or service advertised that, to be charitable, conflicts with your mission, or otherwise is just plain embarrassing. It's the nature of having third-party advertising arrangements, and usually you can get these things resolved with an e-mail or two to your Web ad provider.
So it struck us as humorous when anti-Fox News blog News Hounds -- slogan: We watch FOX so you don't have to. -- was caught with an ad for FoxBusiness.com. (h/t Tim Graham)
Oh, it gets better. On the right-hand sidebar, there's another Fox Biz ad and, wait for it, it comes above an "Advertise Liberally" logo:
With Hillary firmly in the race after her Texas and Ohio victories, the Dems are setting about forming that circular firing squad for which they're famous.
Evidence comes from this morning's Today show. First, goodbye Obambi, hello Rambo-ama. Then, DNC Chairman Howard Dean on the hot seat, snapping at David Gregory, calling his suggestion that a nominee decided by party elites would appear undemocratic "complete nonsense."
Wednesday’s "The Situation Room" brought on three Democratic operatives to denounce "controversial" remarks made by Rush Limbaugh on his radio show earlier in the day, with only one conservative/Republican, CNSNews.com’s Editor-in-Chief Terry Jeffrey, on to defend the top-rated radio talk show host. Limbaugh’s apparent offense was when he brushed aside talk of a possible joint ticket between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. "Let’s say put Hillary on top, that’s a position she is familiar with. Therefore you’ve got a woman and a black, first time ever on the Democrat ticket. They don’t have a prayer."
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile blasted Limbaugh during a segment about 50 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the program. "I think that comment is, as far as I can tell, a very un-American conversation.... [A]nd to suggest somehow or another that we are not capable of serving this country in the capacity of Commander-in-Chief is just, in my mind, mind-boggling."
Microsoft is taking all of that unnecessary thinking out of the process by pre-chewing your news and spitting it on your plate.
The software giant is developing a new kind of news-aggregator that doesn't just collect news; it determines news stories' ideological bias and “emotional charge.” No longer will you need to wonder if Maureen Dowd has a liberal bias or if NPR injects “emotional charge” into a story about gun control. BLEWS figures it out, so you don't have to!
While typical news-aggregation sites do a good job of clustering news stories according to topic, they leave the reader without information about which stories figure prominently in political discourse. BLEWS uses political blogs to categorize news stories according to their reception in the conservative and liberal blogospheres.
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Steve Kroft interviewed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, along with a small group of Ohio Democratic voters who, as Kroft explained: "told us that both race and gender would be hidden factors in southern Ohio, that many blue collar workers here won't vote for a woman, and others would never vote for a black." Kroft went on to focus on Obama: "And Senator Obama has another problem: a malicious campaign against him that surfaced in a number of our interviews."
This "malicious campaign" as Kroft sees it is the suggestion by some that Obama is a Muslim. Kroft was shocked to find this belief from one of the voters he talked to, Kenny Schoenholtz, who said:
I'm leaning towards Obama. There's a couple issues with him I'm not too clear on...Well, I'm hearing he doesn't even know the national anthem. He wouldn't use the Holy Bible. He's got his own beliefs, with the Muslim beliefs. And couple of issues that bothers me at heart.
Kroft was concerned that this one misinformed voter, who said he would probably vote for Obama anyway, was reflective of broader smear against the Illinois Senator:
Former Windy City alderman Dorothy Tillman (D) was recently arrested in Birmingham, Ala., for trespassing, yet in a 27-paragraph article reporting the story, Chicago Tribune's Tara Malone failed to mention Tillman's party affiliation.
Tillman's leftist politics were briefly alluded to in a passing reference to how she was bailed out of jail by a minister who worked with Tillman on the issue of slavery reparations:
Rev. Al Dixon, 79, said he awoke to an early morning call from Tillman. The pair had worked together to seek slave reparations and share a history of involvement with the civil rights movement. When Tillman realized she might be arrested, she called Dixon, who is pastor of Anderson Chapel Ministries.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell has proven that skin color is deeper than hate in her Sunday column as she scolded Barack Obama for distancing himself from the endorsement of the racist Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. Mitchell scoffed at Barack's denouncement of Farrakhan as merely a "game" to placate racist white people and tried to pump up the legitimacy of Farrakhan at the same time. Shockingly Mitchell excused every hateful thing ever said by Farrakhan and said that Barack should have "found a way" to accept Farrakhan's endorsement "without denigrating Farrakhan's legacy."
Mitchell scolded Barack Obama because he tried to make sure that voters don't think that he, Barack, supports the sort of racism evinced in the past by Louis Farrakhan. Saying that, "most black people understand the game," Mitchell seems to feel that the only reason Obama eschewed Farrakhan’s praise is because all those racist whites would pillory Barack for accepting such an endorsement and so, she feels, he had to trash Farrakhan. Sadly for Mitchell, Farrakhan is a worthy representative of the black community and she feels that Obama is somehow being an apostate to that community for dumping on Farrakhan.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed the Managing Editor of Time Magazine, Richard Stengel, about the publication’s latest cover story on the presidential campaign entitled "How Much Does Experience Matter?," with a clear picture of Barack Obama’s silhouette surrounded by a holy aura of light (see picture). Smith previewed the segment earlier in the show by wondering: "Still ahead, the question of experience dominating the Democratic campaign, does it really matter?"
In the segment that followed, the answer to that question was a resounding ‘no.’ Stengel began by using the anecdotal evidence of Abraham Lincoln to prove that experience does not matter: "I mean, the most famous example, of course, is Abraham Lincoln, who is probably our least experienced president, who was sandwiched between our two most experienced presidents, Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, both of whom were failures."
Stengel went on to defend JFK, claiming the young president was not responsible for the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, but rather that the more experienced, and Republican, Dwight Eisenhower was the reason for the invasion’s failure:
David's [Time writer, David Von Drehle] great piece starts out with John F. Kennedy who came in, the first 100 days, he's tested in the Bay of Pigs. He makes a terrible mistake. He says, man, 'if I'm going to learn something, at least I learned it early.' But then who got them into the Bay of Pigs originally? Dwight Eisenhower, the most experienced president.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper and "The Nation" editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel joined the attack on Bill Cunningham’s anti-Barack Obama comments at a rally for John McCain in Cincinnati, Ohio, comments that McCain himself repudiated. Cooper began his "Anderson Cooper 360" program on Tuesday by referring to Cunningham as a "talk show pit bull" and criticizing his use of Obama’s middle name. "Tonight: ugly words from a talk show pit bull about Barack Obama at a John McCain event, calling him a hack, using his middle name as a slander." Later, Cooper described Cunningham as a "a two-bit radio host." On Wednesday’s "Election Center" program on CNN, vanden Heuvel went even further than Cooper. "This talk radio guy is very unstable. He went from supporting McCain to Hillary and then Ralph Nader in one minute."
Three CNN talking heads - "The Situation Room’s" Jack Cafferty, senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and chief national correspondent John King - all denied that the mainstream media has a "double standard for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton," as "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer put it. Cafferty was the most adamant denier of the charge. "No, it's a vast left-wing conspiracy, Wolf. We all got together in the media and said okay, let's all decide collectively to beat up on Hillary and be nice to Barack Obama. That's nonsense."
Yesterday I blogged about photo selection bias on Newsweek.com's front page. The subjects in comparison were Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and newly-minted Cuban dictator Raul Castro. McCain makes another unflattering photographic appearance on the Newsweek home page today, but it's Barack Obama who gets the comparatively better image. The Democratic nomination frontrunner is shown in a Getty Images photo holding a young child. The headline caption reads, "First Woman President? Obama's campaign bends gender conventions."
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith teased upcoming coverage of a photo of Barack Obama in Somalian dress: "Heading into the final debate tonight. Obama, the target of a photographic smear." Compare that to how Smith introduced a New York Times hit piece against John McCain last week: "This bombshell report that Republican front-runner John McCain may have had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist who was a visitor to his office and traveled with him on a client's corporate jet."
Later on Tuesday’s segment, reporter Jim Axelrod described the Obama campaign’s reaction to the photo: "His campaign says Clinton staffers put it out and that that's shameful." Smith then asked Axelrod about the photo:
SMITH: Jim here's the thing though, because it ends up on the front page of so many papers all around the country. Here is this morning's New York Daily News. It's on the Post too. Why is the Obama campaign so upset about the picture?
CNN’s Jon Klein, in an internal memo obtained by the TVNewser blog, bragged about the strong ratings the network won during its recent debates and primary coverage, and spun the reason for this success. "CNN is proving that with innovation, execution, and passion, the sky's the limit. Our deep-seated commitment to independent coverage that is unbiased — without an agenda — is more powerful and popular than the partisan rants that permeate the airwaves." Klein might have had Keith Olbermann in mind when he referred to "partisan rants," but one would only need to look at the past three months to disprove such an outrageous claim by Klein.
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Scott Pelley interviewed former Alabama Republican attorney, Jill Simpson, about a supposed effort to smear the former Democratic governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman: "Now this woman tells us there was a covert campaign to ruin the governor, a campaign that she says involved Karl Rove, at the time the president's top political advisor." In a story that violated more journalistic ethics than last week’s New York Times hit piece on John McCain, Pelley went on to ask Simpson: "Karl Rove asked you to take pictures of Siegelman...In a compromising sexual position with one of his aides." Simpson responded: "Yes. If I could."
Siegelman, a Democrat who was governor of Alabama from 1998-2002, is currently in federal prison after being convicted of bribery in 2006. Simpson claimed that this conviction was part of a grand conspiracy led by Rove. Pelley introduced the story this way:
During the roundtable segment on Sunday's This Week, ABC's Cokie Roberts pointed out Barack Obama's rarely mentioned liberal voting record, calling him "squarely on the left of the Democratic party," and contended that the Illinois Senator, "oddly enough given the rhetoric, has not reached across the aisle and worked with people in the other party to get things done, which [Hillary Clinton] has done." Minutes earlier, sounding defensive of Clinton while raising the possibility that she could see a resurgence of support from white women a la New Hampshire, Roberts referred to Obama as "this cute young man" pushing Hillary aside with "sweet nothings" after all the New York Senator's years of hard work: "Here is this woman who's worked hard, she's done it all the way you're supposed to do it, and then this cute young man comes in and says a bunch of sweet, you know, nothings, and pushes you out of the way. And a lot of women are looking at that and saying, 'There goes my life.'" (Transcript follows)
Ahh, liberal "tolerance." I've written before (here and here) about how our "NewsBusted" comedy show just drives liberals nuts. Today I have another installment of anger and rage from the party of love and peace.
It's axiomatic. Whenever something even slightly conservative becomes popular, it simply incenses liberals--especially if they are the target of humor. The comments are often very similar in nature (the left is big on independent thought after all), especially in their heavy reliance on profanity, although the most recent batch appearing on the YouTube page of our most recent "NewsBusted" episode does bring in a few new themes this week.
First the stereotypical: All conservatives are evil and therefore can never be funny:
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, former CBS News correspondent and current FNC analyst Bernard Goldberg pointed out the New York Times has historically had a double standard of reporting allegations of sex scandals by Republicans while downplaying or delaying reports of sex scandals by Bill Clinton. Before Bill O'Reilly clarified that while the Times did cover Gennifer Flowers, but "years and years and years after the fact," Goldberg complained: "The New York Times showed virtually no interest in Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers. It showed absolutely no front page interest in allegations by a reputable businesswoman named Juanita Broaddrick, who said that, when Bill Clinton was attorney general of Arkansas, he raped her. ...
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed Hillary Clinton and wondered if she would step aside for the good of the Democratic Party: "More important for you to be elected, or for a Democrat to be in the White House a year from now?"
Smith began the interview by asking Clinton: "And you stopped, you paused, you drew a breath, and you said you were honored to be there with Barack Obama. And I whispered, as you said that, 'valedictory.' Was that the beginning of the end of your campaign?" Smith went on to wonder if a long drawn-out nomination fight was "worth it"given Obama’s lead:
And I thought I saw some of the fight leave your body last night. I thought I saw there was almost a sign of body language like this guy has won ten states in a row. He has a significant lead in delegates. You know, is it worth going after every single vote tooth and nail for the next two, three, four weeks?