As regular readers of NewsBusters are well aware, the Washington Post's Style section has a habit of frequently ginning up puffy human-interest stories about all kinds of liberal politicians and celebrities. It's rare that they do a positive profile of a conservative or libertarian.
So it's worth pointing out when they do just that. In a 26-paragraph profile, Post staff writer Megan McDonough highlighted Arlington, Va., resident Remy Munasifi, a libertarian conservative YouTube sensation, whose most recent parody video "Blurred Junk" takes a swipe at Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner (that video embedded below). Here's a taste of McDonough's article. For the full thing, go here.
In one fell swoop, Howard Dean has managed to expose his ignorance of libertarianism while making a stale and insulting joke about New Jerseyites.
Discussing on today's Morning Joe the dust-up between Rand Paul and Chris Christie and the broader issue of the philosophical rifts within the GOP, Dean declared that "Rand Paul is not a libertarian" because he is pro-life. Dean is apparently unaware of the lively debate over abortion within libertarian circles, with a reported 30% of libertarians being pro-life. Dean also warned Paul: "do not take on a guy from Jersey. Obviously this guy does not watch HBO." That was presumably an allusion to The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, two HBO shows featuring Garden State criminals. View the video after the jump.
Pretty much all you need to know about the current negligent media culture in Washington is summed up in two items involving the Politico's home page this morning -- one which is there, and one which isn't.
The featured story at top of the home page by Byron Tau is about infighting between "Big Marijuana" -- it seems like "Big Pot" would be a more succinct nickname -- and those who want to extend recent electoral victories in legalizing the drug. What isn't there on the home page, as confirmed in a word search, is any story with a headline or tease containing "IRS."
On Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR's Rachel Martin helped Daily Beast editor Reza Aslan promote his new biography of Jesus, who posited that there is a "chasm between the historical Jesus and the Jesus...taught about in church." As proof of this supposed gap, Aslan claimed that "there is actually no statement of messianic identity from Jesus" in the Gospel of Mark.
Aslan has it wrong. Jesus actually affirmed that he was the Christ (the Greek word for Messiah) in Mark 14: 61-62: "Again the high priest asked him...Art thou the Christ the Son of the blessed God? And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven." Even NPR pointed out Aslan's false statement in a correction on Monday, but Martin, a former religion correspondent for the public radio network, didn't catch his error during the segment.
The Big Three networks coverage so far of the Justice Department's questionable investigation of Fox News' James Rosen has followed a similar pattern to that of their coverage of the Kermit Gosnell case. Jan Crawford's report on Thursday's CBS This Morning was the first full report on growing controversy on ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts. NBC briefly covered the investigation on Tuesday's Today, and ABC has yet to mention it.
Crawford pointed out how the DOJ's "unprecedented" surveillance of Rosen has "really just set off a firestorm of criticism from the left and right. For the first time ever, a presidential administration is treating news reporting like a crime, and a reporter like a criminal suspect." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Jesse L. Jackson Jr. was indicted on Friday, February 15, the final day before a three-day weekend, even though the information necessary to indict appears to have been in place for some time. Though it may be out there and I'm certainly willing to stand corrected, from what I can tell, the U.S. Department of Justice made no formal announcement when it filed its charges (10-page PDF). Based on the 12:55 p.m. ET time stamp at a Politico story reporting what "the government will allege" and the 1:03 p.m. Pacific Time (i.e., 4:03 p.m. ET) of what appears to have been the first breaking news story from the Associated Press, the government appears to have waited until well into the afternoon to file its charges.
The reporting on Jackson's indictment mostly deferred identifying his party affiliation for several paragraphs, and in some instances, including the aforementioned AP breaking news item, omitted it entirely.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has been nominated for a Grammy Award for her book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. The extremely liberal MSNBC host was recognized in the spoken-word category for the audiobook version of her New York Times bestseller.
Maddow's nomination is an apt opportunity to remind our readers that an assortment of reviewers have critically panned the progressive commentator's polemic about the military-industrial complex for its blatant misrepresentation of history and glaring omissions.
Using the Trayvon Martin tragedy as their hook, liberal lobby groups have set their sights on the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its corporate donors, blaming the Sanford, Fla., shooting on the Sunshine State's Stand Your Ground law. ALEC supports conservative legislative efforts at the state level such as Stand Your Ground, as well as pro-business legislative priorities of interest to many food and drink companies.
But in reporting on recent victories by liberal groups in pushing companies like PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and McDonalds to drop their support of ALEC, the Washington Post's Tom Hamburger failed to clue readers into the liberal allegiances of "advocacy groups" attacking ALEC and its corporate donors.
CNN asked Wednesday if a person can follow "both Ayn Rand and Jesus," pulling quotes from both a Democrat and a fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights to answer that Christianity and Rand's philosophy oppose each other. Buried deep within the post on CNN's Belief Blog was the contrary view that Christians can adopt certain tenants of Rand's philosophy while rejecting others contrary to their faith.
The question is popular among Christians at odds with the Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), a Catholic, who is a fan of Rand and her defense of capitalism and individualism. The American Values Network (AVN) in particular has tried to make known his endorsement of Rand and pitch it side-by-side with her anti-religious beliefs.
NPR's Ari Shapiro leaned towards supporters of the Obama administration's new "voluntary principles" to limit junk food ads to kids on Thursday's All Things Considered. Shapiro played three sound bites from backers, versus only one from a critic who blasted the proposal: "If the federal government decided to issue voluntary guidelines about what newsmen should say to avoid inflaming the public, I think you guys would be pretty upset."
Host Melissa Block did acknowledge opponents' concerns about the proposed guidelines in her introduction for the correspondent's report: "The Obama administration wants to limit the amount of advertising kids see for junk food. It's part of a broader push to improve child nutrition, and, as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, it's part of what critics see as a growing nanny state."
On Thursday's All Things Considered, NPR's Jim Zarroli vouched for continuing federal funding of public broadcasting by lining up seven sound bites from three supporters of the medium, versus only two from opponents. The supporters all hyped the dire effects if tax dollars no longer went to public TV and radio. Zarroli also completely avoided any mention of NPR's longstanding reputation for liberal bias.
Host Robert Siegel introduced the correspondent's report by playing up how "Congress gave $430 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Roughly three-quarters went to public TV stations, and a quarter or so to public radio stations. With Republicans again calling for CPB funding to be cut, NPR's Jim Zarroli looks at how that money is spent and what might happen if it's eliminated."
Zaroli picked up where Siegel left off: "Over the years, conservatives have often tried to eliminate money for public broadcasting without succeeding. In 1995, for instance, congressional Republicans tried to zero out CPB funds. Within a few years, CPB's budget was bigger than ever." He continued by introducing his first supporter of public broadcasting: "Pat Butler of the Public Media Association, which lobbies for PBS and public radio, says the odds against public broadcasting are greater this time."
HBO's Bill Maher spouted his usual anti-conservative and anti-Fox News rhetoric on Monday's Situation Room on CNN, attacking the Tea Party movement as "teabaggers [who] are all carrying the banner...of corporatist America" and accusing CNN's competitor of "filling people with misinformation." Maher also labeled Republican voters "far right" and a "fringe group of people who are very forceful."
The left-wing HBO host appeared for two segments starting at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour. Anchor Wolf Blitzer began with an election-related question: "Let's talk a little bit about what's going to happen tomorrow. A lot of Democrats are worried. They're sitting on a potential political disaster tomorrow. Here's the question to you: why? What happened?"
Maher actually first blamed the Democrats: "Well- I mean, partly, it is the Democrats' fault. They don't do very good at bragging about their achievements. This Congress, which I'm sure is going to be tarred as a do-nothing Congress, actually was one of the more successful congresses in recent memory, probably not since Lyndon Johnson in 1965 has a Congress achieved so much." The guest predictably cited health care "reform" and financial reforms as his examples.
Blitzer followed-up by asking, "So is it just a matter of communications?" Maher launched his attack on Fox News in his reply:
Tucker Carlson is now the proud owner of a slightly used Keith Olbermann.
With a large-print headline announcing "We own you" and a picture of ol' Keith looking bemused whilst he adjusts he glasses, The Daily Caller promoted their newest acquisition: http://keitholbermann.com/.
It's just the latest shot across the bow in the escalating feud between Olbermann and Carlson, which will one day be featured on a Cracked.com list of the top eight inconsequential personal feuds the media chose to cover instead of events that were actually newsworthy.
Since I've been accused of leading "something of a crusade" against former Post blogger Dave Weigel, how could I resist this announcement? Weigel, who left the Post amidst a controversy where he bashed tons of conservatives, has joined the leftwing convention at MSNBC (video right).
According to a Tweet from "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann, Weigel has come on board as a contributor. "And confirming, @DaveWeigel is now MSNBC contributor @DaveWeigel Welcome aboard and my condolences, uh, congratulations!" wrote Olbermann.
Now Weigel has joined the team of Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz. This from the guy who just today told the world of his wonderful career saga that started out as editor of a campus conservative paper at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. "Was I really that conservative? Yes," he wrote, somehow expecting readers to believe him. While he admitted some of his troubles came from "hubris," much of what he wrote most already knew, that he was no friend to the right. "At Reason, I'd become a little less favorable to Republicans, and I'd never been shy about the fact that I was pro-gay marriage and pro-open borders."
Throw in Weigel's parade of assault on conservatives, prominent figures on the right from Rush Limbaugh to Matt Drudge and Newt Gingrich and the bigger question becomes, does he agree with the right on anything? The answer is: it doesn't matter anymore. He's gone from an organization fighting to keep its credibility to one fighting to lose what little it has.
We’re entering the summer vacation season and conservatives continue feeling confident that an electoral wave is going to wash over the opposition come November. Polls show there is a great and growing dissatisfaction with Washington, which is not new, except the face this time around is that of Barack Obama, and the public is revolting over his administration’s incessant attempts to grant the federal government ever more power and resources.
But success in the fall is not guaranteed, and even if it ends in a GOP takeover of the House, as many predict, questions remain. Have Republicans learned anything from the disasters of ’06 and ’08? Will Republicans embrace real conservatism and put some real restraints on Obama’s lust for power? Will conservatives be able to make a mark on the country, or will they return to their fecklessness during the Bush years?
One disturbing tendency of the old regime is coming back: fiscal conservatives are already selling out social conservatives in an attempt to build winning coalitions without them. How many times must the GOP learn this is suicide? To win, conservatives must have not a “truce” between fiscal and social conservatives, as Gov. Mitch Daniels has unfortunately called for, but a strong, healthy alliance, with the common goal of victory.
On February 19, 2009, Rick Santelli helped create a movement whose political impact has not yet been fully realized. The "Rant Heard 'Round the World," as it has become known, was a profound, if hardly isolated example of the power of conservative pundits to enact political change.
That power has grown as Americans have become more sympathetic to the economic conservative argument--both the moral/spiritual element of it, and the strictly economic one. The American people have by and large come full circle in a short time, and the pundits that retain the most influence in our society have changed accordingly.
Santelli is the perfect example, as he was certainly not the prominent name he is now before he let loose on the floor of the Chicago exchange. Michael Barone explains the essential appeal of the rant. He wrote Wednesday that it "was both an economic and a moral argument."
A persistent meme of the liberal mainstream media this election year is that the Tea Party is steeped (pun not intended) in racism and/or neo-Confederate sympathies. Howard Fineman is more than happy to breathe new life in that storyline in yesterday's attack leveled at Kentucky Republican senatorial nominee Dr. Rand Paul in particular and Bluegrass State conservatives in general.
In his May 20 "Rand Paul and D.W. Griffith," blog post, the Newsweek staffer not-too-subtly compared Kentucky's Tea Party contingent of 2010 with the more racially-charged elements he perceived among some anti-busing opponents in the 1970s:
If Americans think of Kentucky at all, they tend not to regard it as part of the Deep South on racial matters: no history of water cannons fired at civil-rights demonstrators; the kind of place that gave the world a proud and defiant Muhammad Ali, not a brutal and racist Bull Connor.
But there is another Kentucky, one I witnessed as a reporter starting out there when court-ordered busing began in the 1970s. It is a border state with a comparatively tiny black population, and which, as a result, is way behind the times in accommodating itself to the racial realities of modern America.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews today jumped on a statistic regarding Census participation in Texas to argue that anti-government sentiment from TEA Parties is hurting the Lone Star State in the decennial head count and hence could shortchange the state in congressional reapportionment and redistricting:
CHRIS MATTHEWS, "Hardball" host: Time for the "Big Number" tonight. It speaks to the unintended effects of sowing distrust about the federal government. Thirty-four percent of Americans nationwide have filled out and returned their U.S. Census forms. But what's the number like in Texas, one of the more conservative states out there? According to the Houston Chronicle, just 27 percent. Well below the national average...
According to actor and comedian Drew Carey, Hollywood is not the intolerant blackballing liberal utopia many deem it to be. In fact, Hollywood is very accepting of the right-wing crowd - except for that fringe, radical segment known as conservatives.
"In Hollywood, you can pretty much get away with being a libertarian," Carey told John Stossel on the Fox Business Network. "Butif you're a conservative you're kind of doomed."
Carey was a featured guest on "Stossel" March 18, dissecting the economic calamities surrounding his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio (anointed Forbes' new “Most Miserable City” ), and to provide the perspective of an aspiring businessman.
"Now you're a libertarian right?" Stossel asked. "Has that slowed your career?"
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs put the New York Times at the center of the ceremonious unveiling of his company's iPad tablet device, the implication was clear: this is the future of the news--or at least Jobs wants us to think it is. He stands to gain not only financially but politically as Apple becomes a major gatekeeper for information.
The news media industry itself is divided on whether e-readers like the iPad and the Amazon Kindle can revitalize the news business. Newspaper sales are, after all, at historial lows. Over 90 newspapers failed last year.
While there are scores of competing theories for why newspapers (and books to a lesser extent) are seemingly on the decline, a prominent and plausible one seems to be that they have lost control of their content. Aggregators like Google News have provided news consumers with faster, more reliable sources for news. The proliferation of the blogosphere has loosened Old Media's grip on that news.
CNN’s Larry King equated efforts against further regulation of the banking industry to letting the mentally ill run their psych wards on his program on Monday. King pressed conservative columnist S. E. Cupp: “Banks are lobbying against a bill to tighten regulatory controls. Are you going to let the inmates run the asylum? You don’t think we should regulate banks?” [audio clips from the segment available here]
The CNN host moderated a panel discussion on the economy during the first segments of the program. The panel surprisingly leaned to the right on economic issues. Besides Cupp, King had Penn Gilette and Larry Elder, both libertarians, and liberal former Clinton administration official Robert Reich. After the host used the “inmates run the asylum” idiom in his question, the columnist first answered that “we do need regulation, but it’s putting them in a really tough spot.” King interrupted with a blunt one-word question: “So?”
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and guest Mark Potok of the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center concluded that there was a “disconcerting” infiltration of militia groups into tea party and health care town hall protests during a segment on Thursday’s Newsroom. The two focused on the appearance of armed people at these events, and one individual’s apparent connection to a militia which plotted violence.
Sanchez interviewed Potok at the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour on how Ernest Hancock, a Ron Paul supporter and online radio host, reportedly defended the members of a militia called the Viper Team. Hancock also interviewed an acquaintance of his who openly-carried an AR-15 near a venue where President Obama was speaking. Before introducing Potok, the CNN anchor used a clip from a former Secret Service agent he interviewed to hint that Hancock and his acquaintance were “gun nuts.” He then played a clip of the rifle-carrying individual himself, who railed against taxation which redistributed wealth and a tyranny of the majority: “I want this and that, this and that, and I’ll just vote and take it from you. The burden of all this thievery gets too thick.....we will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority with a vote.” Sanchez then implied that these words were a threat of violence: “Somehow, the words ‘forcefully resist’ coming from a man with an AR-15 outside a presidential event is just a little unsettling.”
ABC’s Chris Cuomo and Claire Shipman on Thursday marked the tenth anniversary of the death of "the prince of Camelot," John F. Kennedy Jr., lamenting the loss of such strong presidential talent. Reporter Claire Shipman mournfully proclaimed that JFK Jr.’s "very existence had somehow come to represent a critical link to our fairy tale past. And always, always the possibility of another chapter." [audio available here]
And yet, this seems to be a case of selective anniversary journalism. July 18, 2009 will be the 40th anniversary of the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick, who drowned after Ted Kennedy drove the car she was in off a bridge. Kennedy swam to safety and then failed to call the police until the following day. Will ABC and other networks reminisce about the things the 29-year-old might have accomplished?
Recycling the mid-1990s liberal smear campaign against grassroots conservatism, CNN has posted an article on the new DHS threat report complete with a Getty Images photo (shown at right) of neo-Nazi and white supremacist flags.
If the report were about Nazi extremists, that picture would be warranted. However, the DHS report warns against an amorphous “right-wing extremism,” failing to mention by name any particular threatening group or intelligence of any planned attacks.
The DHS report did cite returning war veterans as at-risk for recruitment by right-wing extremist groups. It seems strange to think that those men and women who risked their lives to protect this country and their government could be or become Nazis, but that seems to be the implication.
Moreover, one wonders where exactly the CNN report on the other extremism report was.
Now for something completely different, or at least something pretty rare on network TV. ABC’s John Stossel has paired up with Drew Carey and the libertarian Reason TV for tonight’s 20/20 special headlined “Bailouts and Bull,” on the limits and unintended consequences of government involvement in the economy and in our lives.
While Stossel is known for his skepticism of big government solutions, most journalists at the big networks have been accepting of the premises of President Obama’s interventionist approach, not challenging his assertions the way President Bush’s economic policies were frequently challenged.
Stossel will tackle the idea that all economists support Obama’s government-spending-as-stimulus policies, liberal claims that the American Dream is now out of reach for most workers, and the idea that a fence along the Mexican border will really stem the tide of illegal immigrants.