In her Today show debut this morning, Meredith Vieira gave a flash of her ego - but not of her liberal politics. There was the obligatory opening love-in with co-host Matt Lauer in which Vieira claimed "I feel like it's the first day of school and I'm sitting next to the cutest guy." But then there was an interesting exchange that might presage conflicts to come. In what is apparently a Today show tradition, Matt had the crew replay the opening voice-over announcing "Meredith Vieira, live from Studio 1-A in Rockefeller Plaza."
Asked Matt: "Like the way it sounds?"
Vieira: "I do, but it's still 'Matt Lauer' and 'Meredith Vieira.'"
Lauer: "I don't think that's going to change - unless you bump me off."
Attendance at Thursday's pro-illegal alien rally fell way below even the latest low-balling protest organizer estimates. In Friday's Washington Post, reporters Darryl Fears and N.C. Aizenman estimated that "fewer than 5,000" attended the festivities yesterday. The first paragraph was a stunner:
A pro-immigration rally that promised to bring tens of thousands of marchers from across the nation to Washington yesterday managed to draw only a paltry number of demonstrators, raising questions about the movement's tactics and staying power.
Early reports on Thursday's planned Washington march for amnesty for illegal aliens said a million protesters were expected. At the top of the Metro section of Thursday's Washington Post, we learn lowering expectations is under way -- well, not at the top of the story, but in paragraph eighteen: "Organizers initially predicted a turnout of 1 million, but they now are projecting a crowd similar to the one at a rally on the National Mall on April 10. A police official estimated that the demonstration drew at least 100,000 people; organizers pegged attendance about 500,000."
The story's headline is "Rally May Gauge Future of Immigration Movement." The headline inside Metro after the jump is "Non-Latinos Taped To Bring New Energy And Serve As Allies." Neither headline says "Protest Leader Estimates of Attendance Collapsing." Despite the note of disappointing turnout, the Post is still giving prominent pre-protest publicity to what they call the "immigrant rights" movement, as reporters Darryl Fears and Karin Brulliard began the Thursday story:
Washington Post reporter Petula Dvorak (controversial chronicler of supposed rookie protesters) wrote up the beginning of hard-left protests dubbed "Camp Democracy" on Page A-5 Wednesday, even though Dvorak estimated the crowd at only "about 100" military family members and "peace activists." Perhaps the hype comes from its affiliation with Cindy Sheehan’s "Camp Casey" protests against Bush, but Sheehan was not present yesterday. The headline was "Antiwar Message Travels From Texas to Washington." (The story and accompanying photo also topped the Post home page on Tuesday night.)
CNSNews.com reporter Nathan Burchfiel also observed the protests yesterday, and found nowhere near 100 protesters there: "A few dozen anti-war activists faced light rain in Washington, D.C., Tuesday as they gathered to kick off a 17-day protest of the war in Iraq and other Bush administration policies...The opening ceremonies drew fewer than 50 protesters, who gathered under one of five large tents erected to protect a crowd of hundreds from the rain, which is forecast to continue for the first three days of the event."
Don't be too surprised if you start seeing Guy Fawkes masks popping up at leftist demonstrations and political events in the near future. The reason is that the leftists are now deriving their political inspiration from an incredibly simplistic fantasy movie called V For Vendetta which they take completely seriously as is indicated from this title of a recent thread at the Democratic Underground, "The answers to many of our questions can be found in the movie 'V'."
If you are not up to speed on V For Vendetta akaV For Vicodin,it is set in the near future where Britain is ruled by the fascistic regime of High Chancellor Adam Sutler (read "Adolf Hitler") whom the movie makes sure we know is a member of the Conservative Party. The characters of V have the one-dimensional subtlety of a sledge hammer with Sutler never speaking normally but with a vicious snarl. Muslims are portrayed in this movie as among the innocent victims of a hate campaign (also directed against lesbians) where even the ownership of a Koran results in quick execution by the EVIL regime.
Have you heard about the young Muslim man who was forced to change his shirt at JFK Airport because it said "We Will Not Be Silent" in English and Arabic? Here's a piece of the story from Newsday...
An Arab human rights activist says he was prevented from boarding a plane at Kennedy Airport while wearing a T-shirt that said "We will not be silent" in English and Arabic. The incident happened Aug. 12 when Raed Jarrar, 28, was preparing to board a JetBlue flight from Kennedy to Oakland, Calif. Four officials from JetBlue or from a government agency stopped him at the gate and told him he couldn't get on the plane wearing his shirt, Jarrar said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Cindy Sheehan’s latest Washington, D.C. protest is being sponsored by the International Socialist Organization. In "Camp Democracy," Sept. 5-21, Sheehan will broaden her scope from mere anti-war activism to advocating on behalf of other "progressive" movement causes like immigrants’ rights and organized labor, reports CNSNews.com Staff Writer Nathan Burchfiel:
After wrapping up the second annual "Camp Casey" protest in Crawford, Texas, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan will travel to Washington, D.C., to kick off a 17-day protest and conference aimed at ending the war and "righting injustices."
Washington Post reporter Peter Baker highlighted an estimated 700 anti-Bush protesters in Maine in the Sunday Post. The headline was "War Protesters Follow Bush to Maine," which is an odd headline, since the organizing groups were Maine locals from groups like "Seacoast Peace Response." But short of reporting the protest was encouraged by Cindy Sheehan, nowhere in the article could he locate the protesters on the left with any sort of liberal label, despite descriptions like these:
The protesters carried handmade signs with slogans such as "Stop Killing Our Children," "Bring Them Home Now," "We Have Nothing to Fear But Bush Himself," and "Liar, Liar, World's on Fire." In a school field where the group rallied after the march, speakers called for Bush's impeachment and sang specially written songs such as "Where is the Rage?"
Over the last five years, the resurgent radical left has found empowerment in the Democratic Party through what the political scribes antiseptically call the "Internet grass roots." When hawkish Sen. Joe Lieberman lost by four points in the Democratic primary in Connecticut to ultraliberal millionaire Ned Lamont, the media credited this hard left with the upset. In truth, however, the liberal media themselves were a major part of the equation.
"Thousands of people rallied near the White House on Saturday to protest what they described as Israeli aggression in Lebanon and the United States' unwavering support for Israel."
It may not be his normal beat, but Pear proves he has what it takes to cover political stories for the Times -- an apparent deep need to portray any group of Muslims, whether terrorist suspects or anti-war activists, as "diverse": "The diverse crowd included many Arab-Americans and Muslims, college students and families, as well as veterans of prior demonstrations against the war in Iraq."
So, Cindy Sheehan is back in Crawford, and the Associated Press is continuing to act as her publicity agents. They still haven't shown any inclination to address any comments of hers that might be controversial. They still treat her as the grieving mother of a marine, rather than a leftist peace activist.
A year after her first war protest in President Bush's adopted hometown attracted thousands and reinvigorated the nation's peace movement, Cindy Sheehan resumed her vigil Sunday....
"It doesn't say my new address, but I do live here now," said Sheehan, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., and recently bought land in Crawford for war protests. "My name is Cindy and Bush killed my son."
By 6:00 o’clock on Monday evening, an entertainingly motley crew of a hundred or so protestors had gathered across the street from New York Times headquarters at W. 43rd street in midtown Manhattan to protest the New York Times’ revelations of a secret, and successful, anti-terror program involving international bank transactions.
The stated goal of protest cosponsors Caucus for America/conservative message board Free Republic, according to a flier: "To show the New York Times that America has had enough of their irresponsible reporting of classified information that damages our country and helps our enemies!"
Rabbi Aryeh Spero of the Caucus for America did most of the talking (and chant-leading), stepping aside from time to time for others to speak. At one point he was joined on the cab of the Caucus truck by a Bin Laden impersonator cradling his precious copy of the Times.
Does Norah read NewsBusters? Could it be pure coincidence that Hardball's 'What'd You Say?' audio highlights of the week just happened to select the two items we had highlighted here and here? Who knows?
For the record, the two featured soundbites were Joe Biden's
Indian-7/11 slur, and Cindy Sheehan's pronouncement that she would
rather live under Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez than George Bush.
Panelist Tucker Carlson had the best line: "[Sheehan's] a
pathetic figure. It would be a hard moral call whether or not to have
her on. She's almost like a sideshow figure now." Too true.
As James Taranto suggested Monday in his WSJ 'Best of the Web' column, at some point you can question a person's patriotism. Cindy Sheehan surely crossed that Rubicon long ago. But just in case there was any doubt, Sheehan made things perfectly clear this evening, flatly stating that she'd rather live under Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez than George Bush.
Sheehan made her comments during a Hardball appearance, during which guest host Norah O'Donnell, sitting in for Chris Matthews, gave her a surprisingly rough ride. At one point, O'Donnell asked: "Why go stand by side by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela? Why do that? Would you rather live under him than George Bush?
Readers of these columns might have noticed that I occasionally include at the foot the fact that I live in 'the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY.' To give you a flavor for what I'm talking about, consider today's op-ed page in my hometown daily, the Ithaca Journal. The Journal is a Gannett newspaper. That's the chain [led by USA Today] that, as I've documented, chose as a news editor someonewho believes calling VP Cheney 'Satan' makes for the best commencement speech ever.
Since it was Memorial Day, the day on which America honors its war dead, it was natural that The Washington Post saw this as the perfect day for...a big profile of a hard-left "anti-war" activist, Stacy Bannerman of Military Families Speak Out. Reporter David Montgomery chronicled her marriage to a National Guard soldier, "the warrior and the antiwarrior," and she won. The husband, back from Iraq, asked: "Soldiers are dying for what reason again?"
The annual Memorial Day concert event on the mall (nationally televised by PBS) topped the left corner of the Style section, but much of the front Style page was devoted to Bannerman’s story, with a huge Post photographer's shot of Bannerman marching for "peace" in jeans and a T-shirt, complete with the www.mfso.org web address. The headline was: "Choose Your Battle: She's a Pacifist. He's A Warrior. But Even In the Shadow of Iraq, Their Love Soldiers On."
Some readers may have forgotten about this. Some may not have been alive at the time. However, thirty years ago this past April, as America was in the process of celebrating its bicentennial, Chicago Cubs centerfielder Rick Monday, a former Marine Corps Reservist, made one of the greatest plays in baseball history…but it didn’t involve a ball, a bat, or a glove.
As protestors were trying to set fire to an American flag in the centerfield of Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, Monday darted by, grabbed Old Glory, and saved her from a disturbing fate in front of a huge Chavez Ravine crowd.
According to Inside Baseball: “This moment and the symbol it represented – freedom, history and those who have lost their lives in battle to save Old Glory – had countless Americans talking; from politicians in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country to military veterans to everyday people. It was ranked as one of the top 100 classic moments in baseball history by the National Baseball Hall of Fame committee and third on Sporting News’ list as the most ‘unusual’ moment to occur on a major league baseball field.”
The following marvelous video (hat tip to reader Airforce_5_0) is a four-minute tribute to the event, including video footage, and interviews with Monday as well as then Dodger third-base coach Tommy Lasorda. Enjoy.
Update: A full transcript of this video along with another picture of the event follow courtesy of MLB.
Friday on CNN Headline News' Showbiz Tonight, a segment was devoted to celebrities getting political. Host Sibala Vargas began with, "From coast to coast and TV movies and music, stars are speaking out loud and clear." The Dixie Chicks, Jon Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Merle Haggard and Paul Simon all oppose the war and the President, the program noted.
Rocker Neil Young, whose recent musical contributions include the toe-tapping ditty "Let's Impeach the President," was asked by Miss Vargas: "Are you concerned that some might think that you`re unpatriotic?" He replied, "Oh, no, I`m not concerned about that in the least. I feel like I`m exercising my right of free speech which is what our boys are fighting for the Iraqi people to have."
With the Yankees fresh from taking two-out-of-three from the Red Sox, why not a Today show double-header this morning?
In the opener, with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Washington for talks with President Bush, Today did its best to rain out any good news emerging from Iraq.
NBC White House reporter David Gregory observed that "two leaders who have paid a heavy political price for launching the war in Iraq will stand together tonight before the country to argue there is new reason for hope."
A hope that Gregory was quick to seek dash. Whereas new Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said he expects Iraqi forces to be able to assume major responsibility for securing the country within 18 months, Gregory described it as a "tall order given Iraqi forces have been infiltrated by gangs fueling sectarian violence in the country."
Times music critic Jon Pareles thinks the anti-Bush country group The Dixie Chicks were right all along in Sunday’s front page Arts & Leisure feature, "The Dixie Chicks: America Catches Up With Them"
"The Dixie Chicks call it 'the Incident': the anti-Bush remark that Natalie Maines, their lead singer, made onstage in London in 2003. 'Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas,' said Ms. Maines, a Texan herself.
"It led to a partisan firestorm, a radio boycott, death threats and, now, to an album that's anything but repentant."
What Pareles doesn’t mention: It also got them cover stories on several news magazines and newspapers back then, and they’re still milking their profile in courage -- Time Magazine this week has them on the cover in a typically favorable article (they apparently have "The Biggest Balls In American Music," apparently because it's just so courageous to stand up in front of an anti-war audience and bash Bush).
You'd think that any reasonable person would be glad that we are not suffering the kind of turbulent times on American campuses experienced during the '60s and early '70s. Campus buildings sacked and put to the torch, student union buildings occupied by armed militants, academic careers and lives disrupted, and the ultimate tragedy of four young people killed at Kent State.
Could it be that Chris Matthews isn't reasonable? On this evening's Hardball, Matthews wasn't glad - he was galled, seeming to express nostalgia for that riotous past.
His guest was author Tom Wolfe, who back in the day had written of radical chic, and most recently wrote the disturbing tale of amoral campus life "I Am Charlotte Simmons". Wolfe spoke of having recently attended a reunion of 1969 Stanford campus radicals, recalling "that's when they blew up buildings and everything else."
America’s musicians sure are active lately putting their political opinions to song. Another is the alternative rock band Pearl Jam. In their song “World Wide Suicide,” lead singer Eddie Vedder speaks of a world where “war has taken over.” He suggests that the president takes for granted that soldiers will serve in our armed forces all financed by “checks that others pay.”
Vedder also mocks the president’s religious beliefs: “Tell you to pray, while the devil’s on their shoulder.”
What follows are the lyrics to this piece and a video link to a live performance on “Saturday Night Live.”
Yesterday's May Day protests for amnesty for illegal aliens received broad, prominent, and positive coverage in the Washington Post Tuesday morning -- a fraction, certainly, of the enormous coverage of April 11, but still signaling the issue's importance in the diversity-conscious Post newsroom. Once again, the liberal bias came through: there were no liberal labels for any activist at the protest, no use of the word "amnesty" in the coverage, and no mention of what speakers said at the protest rallies. One story noted protesters chanted in Spanish "Bush, listen, we are committed to the struggle!" And, perhaps, most importantly: critics of illegal immigration appeared almost nowhere in any of this coverage. (Correction: I originally claimed critics were nowhere, but Clay Waters noted Rep. Tom Tancredo is quoted via Reuters in paragraph 12 of the Fears-Williams overview. My apologies for the error.)
Amazing. The day after Anemona Hartocollis's puff piece on the court appearance of 18 anti-war 'grannies' accused of blocking an entrance to a military recruitment center in Times Square, the Times follows up with front-page coverage of their aquittal("New York Judge Tells Grannies To Go in Peace").
"They came, they shuffled, they conquered. "Eighteen 'grannies' who were swept up by the New York City police, handcuffed, loaded into police vans and jailed for four and a half hours were acquitted yesterday of charges that they blocked the entrance to the military recruitment center in Times Square when they tried to enlist.
The front of Thursday’s Metro section features Anemona Hartocollis’ soggy profile of a group of left-wing elderly protesters arrested last October for blocking a military recruiting center in Times Square.
The headline is sweet: "With ‘Grannies’ in the Dock, A Sitting Judge Will Squirm."
The text box is sickeningly sweet: "Who wants to rule against grandmotherhood, or apple pie, or Santa?"
Alongside the piece is a photo of the "Granny Peace Brigade" on the way back to court, complete with red vests, protest buttons, and walking sticks. It’s enough to send a diabetic into sugar shock.
Ironically, the avowedly left-wing Village Voice provides a more substantive and probing article on the group, led by activist Joan Wile, which is officially named "Grandmothers Against the War."
On Thursday's edition of CNN's The Situation Room, pundit commentator, Jack Cafferty called President Bush a hypocrite for "lecturing" Chinese President Hu about human rights. Cafferty blames President Bush for several human rights violations he has deemed, including the Patriot Act.
For those that haven’t heard, the female singer Pink (Alecia Moore) – who quite recently joined PETA in a protest against Kentucky Fried Chicken’s alleged cruelty to animals – has joined the ranks of musicians voicing their opinions against George W. Bush. In her song “Dear Mr. President,” Pink attacks, amongst other things, “No Child Left Behind,” his positions on abortion as well as same-sex marriage, his former drug and alcohol abuse, and, of course, the war in Iraq. Some of her more poignant lyrics include:
How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine
What follows are the complete lyrics of this piece along with a video link to a recent performance of the number courtesy of YouTube.
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann plugged the Rolling Stone cover story by historian Sean Wilentz which argued that George W. Bush may be the worst President ever, citing the opinions of over 400 historians. As he introduced his interview with Wilentz, Olbermann sympathetically referred to the recently fired CIA employee who leaked classified information on the agency's use of secret prisons in Europe in the War on Terrorism, calling her a "whistleblower," and asked the question: "President Bush, whose administration is now firing, perhaps prosecuting whistleblowers, is he simply the worst?"
While introducing the segment, Olbermann listed several of Wilentz's attacks against Bush without challenging their validity, including accusations of "fabricated evidence" of WMD, a "retro fiscal policy" of "massive tax cuts" for the wealthy that "racked up monstrous deficits," and a criticism citing an unnamed Republican strategist who claimed that the Republican Party is "the first religious party in U.S. history." Olbermann, who perennially makes comparisons between George Orwell's novel 1984 and the Bush administration, managed to work in yet another reference to Orwell as he ended the interview mocking the administration's use of the term "pre-9/11 thinking," charging that Bush would accuse Wilentz and the other historians of being "guilty of pre-9/11 thinking, as George Orwell might have said." (Transcript follows)
On Monday’s “Countdown,” host Keith Olbermann demonstrated, as he regularly does, why he should have stuck to being a sportscaster on ESPN (hat tip to Michelle Malkin with video link to follow). In his “Worst Person in the World” segment, Olbermann chose Michelle Malkin for posting the names and phone numbers of UC Santa Cruz students that recently forced military recruiters off the campus. In Olbermann’s words, the students, “as a result, have been inundated with death threats.”
What Keith conveniently failed to inform his viewers was that these phone numbers were actually part of a press release by the organization responsible for the protest, Students Against War. In addition, these names and phone numbers are still available at a number of left-wing websites including this one. I guess Olbermann didn’t think it was important to inform his viewers of this.
The Washington Post coverage of Monday's pro-illegal-immigration rally was so massive and positive, it took time to study it all. To get a sense of how massive, let’s begin by paying attention to the resources deployed for the Tuesday paper:
Number of Post reporters with immigration-rally by-lines: 19.
Number of other Post staff writers credited for contributions from across America: 20.
Number of Post staff photographers listed in photo credits: 7.
Number of stories (including the "Rally Voices" feature): 13.
Number of Post pages devoted to the rally, added together, visual estimate: 8.
Of those, number of full advertising-free Post pages devoted to the rally: 4 (3 in A section, one in Metro).