CBS Public Eye blogger Matthew Felling has a message for those of us who complain about media bias. Don't expect the media to pursue balance. In fact, it's YOU who should balance your news diet, with slanted reporting from the opposing side of the political spectrum. Insisted Felling, "It’s one thing for an ideologue to cry bias over this story or another, but it’s far more productive to offer a solution or an alternative."
If you're a Rush listener, try Ed Schultz. If you like Keith Olbermann’s take, change channels afterwards and see what Sean Hannity has to say. Likewise, if you see something coming down the pipe that looks like the "Censored" list or Goldberg's liberal media smoking gun -- and you initially resist it -- don't dismiss it offhand.
Until we push ourselves out of our media comfort zone, we risk continuing to argue past each other -- us of the by-now-trite 'red' and 'blue' Americas --wearing blinders and not connecting at all. So even if you like your blinders and feel intellectually justified in wearing them, don’t be afraid to swivel your head once in awhile to get a fuller view.
The CBS ombudsblogger --Public Eye purports "to bring transparency to the editorial operations of CBS News"-- offered this advice after he tossed up a liberal and a conservative complaint about media bias, hoping to show that left and right-wing complaints have equal merit and/or that media bias is subjective according to the ideological lens of the beholder.
Bill Clinton’s appearance on Wednesday’s "Larry King Live" gave new life to the old nickname for CNN as the "Clinton News Network." Host Larry King fawned over Clinton during the 40-minute interview, asking the impeached former president questions on wide range of topics. King asked Clinton if Osama bin Laden was ever going to caught. After Clinton gave the standard Democrat line that not enough resources are being sent to Afghanistan in the hunt for the al Qaeda leader, King added, "You almost got him." Clinton answered affirmatively, and added that he "never had a chance to deploy large numbers of troops to Afghanistan."
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Chris Cuomo talked to the authors of a new book about how liberals in the media allowed their politically correct biases to color coverage of the accused students in the Duke lacrosse rape case. Critiquing the media, Cuomo acknowledged, "It was difficult to report on this story fairly because there was so much pressure about pushing the angle that something had to happen. Something had to happen. It couldn't be nothing." He even proclaimed a lesson of the case to be "what people have always suspected, which is be careful what you hear from the media."
Stuart Taylor, co-author of "Until Proven Innocent," indicted liberal journalists who hold an obsession with race and sex. He derided the media’s gleeful handing of the case, saying, "The New York Times loved it, or a lot of people at the New York Times loved it. USA Today loved it. Nancy Grace on CNN loved it." However, while Cuomo did engage Taylor and his co-author K.C. Johnson on the subject of the media’s failing, the GMA anchor ignored an example from his own network. In April of 2007, ABC reporter Terry Moran blogged on the network’s official site that Americans shouldn’t feel too bad for the Duke students because of their wealth. He also claimed that the women of Rutgers basketball team suffered more from Don Imus:
Whether senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was outed for political purposes remains a subject of pure speculation one thing, however, is clear: There is a very dedicated group of left-wing gay activists out there who have made it their goal to drag gay Republicans' sex lives out into the public eye unless they toe the line politically.
Regardless of whether you think the Republican party should be more accepting of homosexuality, this tactic of invading people's private lives and exposing them to the public is nothing short of blackmail. Instead of condemning it, however, the liberal press celebrates such efforts as Patterico points out in a blog entry debunking a fawning Washington Post profile of gay blogger Mike Rogers:
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos showcased a "quirky" poll indicating that Americans would like Hillary Clinton next to them for a multi-hour, cross country drive. Additionally, according to anchor Diane Sawyer, the poll also found a majority of citizens would choose the New York senator to run the company that employs them. Stephanopoulos, host of "This Week" and former top aide to Bill Clinton, spun the good news for Hillary as getting "at what people are looking for in a president."
The two ABC anchors also discussed Senator Clinton’s attempts to increase her likability ratings. Stephanopoulos repeated a talking point by parroting the former First Lady’s claim to be "the most famous person in the world that people don't know." Then, he helpfully played clips of Mrs. Clinton demonstrating warmth and humor on such venues as "The Late Show" and Ellen Degeneres’s program." Finally, what little time was left for the Republicans was spent bashing former Senator Fred Thompson for "fritter[ing]" the summer away and not exciting crowds.
NBC’s "Today" Show’s heart-touching feature on Geraldine Ferraro’s blood cancer survival on Friday morning gave a hint at the ulterior motive that they had for running it. Substitute host Ann Curry introduced the segment, a "Today’s Update" feature by gushing, "She’s always been a ground-breaker, and she is still at it."
In the segment which ran during the 8 am hour of "Today," NBC News national correspondent Jamie Gangel interviewed Ferraro about her nine-year-long struggle against a type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma. Gangel, in her retrospective look at Ferraro’s 1984 run for vice-president, which introduced the segment, reported, "In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro made history as the first woman picked to run for vice president.... Twenty-three years later, she's making history again, but this time, medical history."
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," guest host George Stephanopoulos’s close ties to the Clinton administration were again on display. The ABC anchor interviewed the ex-boyfriend of Chelsea Clinton about his new book on the subject of teaching American history in Iraq. Just last month, Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, gave a softball interview to Kristin Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore.
In that segment, the GMA substitute host misleadingly characterized the drug arrest of Albert Gore III as getting "in trouble speeding." The Vice President’s daughter also joked that she modeled a character in her new novel about Washington politics after Stephanopoulos. During the August 30 piece, the network anchor introduced author Ian Klaus by glowingly announcing, "...Some people might be watching today and saying, 'You know, I've seen him somewhere before. I've heard his name before.' And that's because you were actually dating Chelsea Clinton when you went to Iraq."
In this week's Weekly Standard, writer Noemie Emery gives an excellent look into the mindset of the fearful left, so angry at President Bush for "scaring" the public into Iraq and yet so eager to be scared itself:
"It Can Happen Here," says Joe Conason, in his book of the same name, and in fact it already has started: George W. Bush and his coterie are the very picture of the pious and scheming homegrown fascisti that Sinclair Lewis described in his 1935 novel "It Can't Happen Here." Similarities abound. In Lewis's novel, "Buzz Windrip" (Bush), an illiterate dweeb with sleazy charm and low animal cunning, backed by Lee Sarason (Karl Rove), a smooth and duplicitous political mastermind, becomes president, cooks up a fake war to extend his own power, cows Congress, corrupts the courts, bankrupts the country, and all but destroys the free press. The core of his power is a sinister nexus of theocrats joined at the hip to corporate interests, and you can tell how evil they are by their proclaimed love of country, and their incessant talk about God. In their endeavors, they are backed by the Hearst newspaper empire (Fox News), the only one left after all other outlets have been shut down.
Democrats in and out of the media are crying foul over what they see as a nefarious Bush White House plot to artificially bump up its standing by rewriting a report from general David Petraeus on the state of things in Iraq.
In the past few weeks we've heard that the White House won't let Petraeus speak. Then we've heard that he'll only provide input to the September 15th Benchmark report, and the White House will then spin that.
I had the opportunity today to talk with a DoD Legislative Affairs expert who went over the law itself.
CNN apparently wants to milk all it can out of the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s strike on the Gulf Coast for the benefit of the Democrats. On Monday’s "The Situation Room," CNN special correspondent Soledad O’Brien’s report juxtaposed a clip of a recent speech by Barack Obama with stock footage of the hurricane’s aftermath. On Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," O’Brien upped the ante in another segment. This time, more footage of damage from Hurricane Katrina ran at the same time an audio clip from President Bush’s first post-Katrina speech in New Orleans began. The video then cut to the President speaking in Jackson Square, and as the clip ended, the picture froze and went to black-and-white, as you might expect in an election campaign commercial.
O’Brien, on-location in New Orleans, appeared during the 5 pm hour of "The Situation Room." Host Wolf Blitzer asked her what people along the Gulf Coast were saying about the rebuilding effort. O’Brien’s reply: "You know, Wolf, if you had to pick on a single word, then I think that word would be they're very, very frustrated." She went on to say that people there also "feel let down by their local leaders, the state leaders, and the federal government, too." O’Brien mentioned the local and state leaders first, but they were not to be mentioned in her report. It focused entirely on the response of the Bush administration, and Democrats’ criticism. In addition to this "frustration" she cited, O’Brien would go on to talk about a conspiracy theory about why the federal aid to the region has been so slow.
Soledad O’Brien’s segment on "some of the leading White House hopefuls" and their recent visits to New Orleans on Monday’s "The Situation Room" might leave one wondering where the "Paid for by the DNC" caption in small font was hiding. O’Brien’s report juxtaposed a clip from a recent speech by Barack Obama with stock footage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and featured only the three Democrat frontrunners. Clearly, other "White House hopefuls" have visited the hurricane-damaged area in and around New Orleans, but CNN chose to focus on Clinton, Obama, and Edwards.
Campaigning for the loyalty of young voters can be tricky, so holding a fundraiser in a Miami night club can't hurt (although it didn't help then-Florida gubernatorial candidate Janet Reno in 2002). But holding one in a night club that hosts "Striptease Sundays" is just asking for media scrutiny, although I doubt it will be a big row for Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
But at least MSNBC noticed the gaffe (see screencap at right) at about 10:42 in the August 26 edition of MSNBC Live.
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," reporter David Wright sought out a socialist, a liberal activist and a Democrat to bash President Bush for failing, thus far, to visit Vermont during his two terms in office. However, he didn’t discuss how President Clinton similarly neglected Nebraska for nearly eight years. Following up on a CNN report about Bush’s "snub," co-host Robin Roberts began the segment by asking why the Commander in Chief was giving the state a "cold shoulder." An ABC graphic continued the complaining, it read, "Vermont Feeling Left Out: Why Won’t The President Visit?
While Wright found time to note that the northern state is "eco-smart and gay-friendly," he managed to ignore the fact that Bill Clinton didn’t visit Nebraska until a little over a month before his term ended. (In its report, CNN did mention this point.) The ABC correspondent spent much of his segment discussing Bush’s absence with Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, one a Democrat, the other a self-described socialist, and also Ben Cohen, a liberal activist and founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.
CNN used an old tactic in the mainstream media’s play book - a person overcome by emotion - to drive home the point they wanted to make - that the only state that hasn’t been visited by President Bush is Vermont. In a segment during the 4 pm hour of "The Situation Room" detailing this apparent "snub," CNN chief national correspondent John King played a clip from an interview of Regina Gilbert, the mother of Kyle Gilbert, who was killed serving in Iraq four years ago. Gilbert fought back tears as she made her plea for a visit from the President.
Liberal Democrats and their allies on the Left are eager to restore the "Fairness Doctrine," which would empower the FCC to regulate the content of broadcast media, including talk radio. Besides their addiction to government regulation, the Left may be remembering "the good old days" where they used the "Fairness Doctrine" for partisan advantage in the 1960s.
NonPartyPolitics has picked up on how the liberal ThinkProgress blog smells something fishy in presidential daughter Jenna Bush's engagement to beau Henry Hager. Basically the lefty blog suggests that first lady Laura Bush lied to the press -- in 2005.
That's right, there's got to be something sinister and mendacious in Laura Bush's 2005 prediction that Jenna and Henry were "not serious." I mean, it's not like true love can blossom in a courtship in two years. Not for someone that close to President Bush!
CNN’s "from the Left" commentator Paul Begala apparently doesn’t want people to forget that Rush Limbaugh dealt with OxyContin addiction. During a panel discussion of Rudy Giuliani and the possible factor of his family life in his presidential bid, Begala attacked the GOP, accusing that the party "has made a practice of going after people’s families," and then singled out Limbaugh for doing this (though Limbaugh has never officially worked for the Republicans). "Not just attacking Bill Clinton, we remember Rush Limbaugh attacking Chelsea Clinton. Maybe it was just the OxyContin talking."
In this second installment, we take a break from our usual program of pointing out the absurdity of liberal bias in the press to let you get to know some of the people who provide the news for public consumption.
Meet Mario Anthony Orlikoff, formerly a Daily Press Sports Editor, now an alleged bank robber. After being followed by a drive-through bank customer, Mario was pulled out of a river by police and his toy gun was taken away, which will no doubt lead to calls for a three day waiting period for toy guns. The big tip-off was that the note he handed the bank teller in the robbery was written in perfect AP Style.
In other news, Seattle Times staffers showed their true colors this week. Editor & Publisher reports that when news staffers at the Seattle Times learned of Karl Rove's resignation, they cheered. It led Executive Editor Dave Boardman to send a note to the staffers telling them to keep their politics to themselves, which apparently means keep doing what you're doing but don't cheer out loud about it.
Not surprising, but the Time magazine contributor and "Swampland" blogger slapped around President Bush for moving to empower the federal government to freeze assets held by the terrorist-sponsoring Revolutionary Guard Corps of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Yet two weeks ago, Joe Klein slammed President Bush for not confronting U.S. ally Pervez Musharraf about terrorist sympathizers that work covertly against U.S. interests from within the Pakistani military.
Here's Klein's August 15 post, after which I add more commentary:
According to ABC’s Terry Moran, Karl Rove’s brand of politics can be defined by a mixture of "divisiveness, anger" and "ruthlessness." During a segment on Monday's edition of "Nightline," the co-anchor derided the "era of Karl Rove" as one that exhibited "bitterly polarizing politics."
Moran also left the impression that it was Rove, the Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bush, who was behind the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans For Truth ads against John Kerry:
[File footage from 2004] George W. Bush: "The architect, Karl Rove."
Terry Moran: "That was back in 2004 and President Bush was thanking Rove for planning and executing his reelection strategy. But look around at American politics today and you see that there is much, much more that Karl Rove built."
Clip from Swift Boat Veterans ad: "John Kerry cannot be trusted."
On August 1, I wrote about how Time.com's "Swampland" blog was soliciting suggestions for guest bloggers on its 39-member Facebook group home page. I gave NewsBusters readers the address and sure enough some of you left suggestions in the topic thread.
As of publication of this blog post, there were but a few liberal suggestions (such as strategist James Carville) from members of the "Swampland" Facebook group, but the vast majority of suggestions leaned rightward and included such names as Ace, Mary Katharine Ham of TownHall, independent Iraq-based journalist Michael Yon, Patterico, and libertarian writer P.J. O'Rourke.
So given two weeks to digest input from Facebook, who have the editors at Time.com chosen as a guest blogger? None other than liberal activist Ralph Neas of the People for the American Way (PFAW), who is guesting on the site from August 13-17.
As the 2008 presidential campaign moves into high gear, a common conservative complaint has been that Democrat candidates have so far been largely asked softball questions by liberal moderators at their debates, while the Republicans have actually been vigorously challenged by media personalities in theirs.
On CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday morning, former Capitol Hill correspondent for ABC, and current contributing editor to the National Journal, Linda Douglass, made it quite clear that she agrees with such concerns.
Host Howard Kurtz, after playing a video clip of musician Melissa Etheridge asking Hillary Clinton (D-New York) a question at a recent debate, posed the following:
Linda Douglass, my question is with those kinds of personal, first-person, emotional queries, do we really need journalists at these debates? Aren't these questions sort of better than the kind of questions that reporters ask?
Candy Crowley, CNN’s senior political correspondent and an award winner for "excellence in journalism," might want to do a little more research on what science really says about the cause of homosexuality. In a report on the Logo/Human Right Campaign presidential candidates’ forum on "gay rights," Crowley claimed that "science has long-held that homosexuality is biological."
Come again? That claim would come to a surprise to even the homosexual-friendly American Psychological Association, whose web page on homosexuality states that "there are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people."
On August 3, NewsBusters contributor Scott Whitlock noticed the network morning shows largely ignored Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) dovish blanket assertion that he would rule out the use of nuclear weapons in "any circumstances" in dealing with terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the time, Sen. Hillary Clinton called the pronouncement unwise. But according to the Associated Press, it appears Clinton is contradicting a statement she made in April 2006 that aligns with Obama's stance.
On August 2, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) took the opportunity to disagree with Obama's dovish stance. As the Washington Post reported in the August 3 paper:
In the recent past, CNN, to its credit, has highlighted the Democrat-controlled Congress’s reluctance to reform the congressional earmark process. Co-host John Roberts on Tuesday’s "American Morning" brought up the issue of earmarks again during a sympathetic interview to Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense. But instead of bringing up the Democrat’s continuing lack of leadership on the issue, the segment instead began with a discussion on the pork-barrel spending project of the former Republican chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
Keith Olbermann a "fair and balanced" journalist for a day? Did the sweltering Chicago temperatures somehow get to him? The MSNBC host who is notorious for anti-Bush, anti-conservative rants employed a more balanced approach when he moderated Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, hosted by the AFL-CIO. While audience members posed numerous left-leaning questions to the candidates, Olbermann asked a number of challenging questions, a few even posed from the right. Olbermann not only asked "what should we not be funding" to find the money for repairs to infrastructure, without even suggesting a tax increase, but the MSNBC host also asked about the possibility of an al-Qaeda takeover in Iraq. Olbermann: "If you get us out of Iraq and somehow al-Qaeda takes over anyway, what will you do then?" (Transcripts follow)
Yesterday I wrote a piece about reporter Mika Brzezinski's handling of a story that reflected a political double standard on her part. While hosting MSNBC's "Morning Joe" for the vacationing Joe Scarborough, Brzezinski aired a video of a female reporter chasing after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Before she could catch up with the mayor however, the reporter was intercepted by a very large security guard and sent barreling into the side of what appeared to be a nearby dumpster. At the time Brzezinski brushed off the incident as "not that pressing," in stark contrast to the seemingly endless attention the David Vitter scandal received on "Morning Joe" throughout July. This morning however, Brzezinski seems to have changed her mind and now believes "That story's important."
For a little context, Villaraigosa, a Democrat, has been under scrutiny since he confessed to an affair with Spanish language reporter, Mirthala Salinas. Not surprisingly, Salinas received special access to the mayor during their affair.
Yesterday, after airing the video, Brzezinski gave her opinion as to the newsworthiness of the story. Here is her quote from the August 7 show:
Liberals can rest easier knowing that despite her outspoken views on newsworthiness and ethics, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski can still be counted on to go to bat for the Democrats. The reporter and "Morning Joe" regular showed off her famous sense of journalistic integrity while filling in for host Joe Scarborough on Monday morning. In the first half hour, Brzezinski played a video of a journalist trying desperately to get an interview with Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles. Villaraigosa has been surrounded by controversy since revelations that he had engaged in an extramarital affair with Spanish language reporter Mirthala Salinas.
The video clip showed one female reporter and at least two cameramen chasing the embattled mayor hoping for an interview. Before she could reach the mayor however, one of Villaraigosa’s hired thugs intercepted the reporter, sending the much smaller woman barreling into what appears to be a dumpster.