The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has issued a non-apology apology to blogger Charles Johnson for an article in which a reporter inaccurately and unfairly attributed remarks in a blog comment thread to Johnson himself. Writing at Little Green Footballs, Johnson quotes an e-mail from a Post-Dispatch editor. The editor was informing Johnson of a correction to run in the paper, but closed with a non-apology apology (emphasis Johnson's):
That is also the reason that he did not feel compelled to get a response from you for this particular story. At issue here were the comments in question, not your blog posting. No one in the article was criticizing or questioning you or your blog or holding you responsible for those comments.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith teased upcoming coverage of accusations of John McCain having an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman: "And Republican front-runner John McCain blasted on the front pages of The New York Times...not exactly the coverage you may be looking for if you're running for president." Later, Smith introduced the segment by exclaiming: "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."
In a following report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, the New York Times article was quoted:
According to The Times, the aides warned him "he was risking his campaign and career" because Iseman's firm had telecom clients with business before his Senate committee. They say quote, "McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Iseman."
Sure, it's garden variety AP labeling/double-standard bias, but it bears busting anyway.
At KnoxNews.com (h/t NB reader coffee260), one can read the tale of Nashville, Tennessee, state representative Rob Briley, who "has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and property damage prior to leading authorities on a high-speed chase last September." Briley is a Democrat, but his party affiliation was not mentioned in the 6-paragraph story.
Yet another AP dispatch on another state politician, this one from Maryland, had a quite different treatment of that legislator's political affiliation.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," while covering Roger Clemens’ testimony before Congress, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to sports radio talk show host, Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, who said of the hearing: "I thought the panel for the most part did a pretty good job on the Democratic side. And I'm not really a party politic guy, but the Republicans did a terrible job." Russo went on to bash Republicans and praise Democrats "...they let Clemens off the hook. Waxman was great, Elijah Cummings was great from Maryland."
Without challenging that assessment, Rodriguez asked: "Why do you think, real quick, that they did a terrible job? There's some talk that maybe they were star struck?"
Russo then made this accusation:
I don't think they were star struck. I don't know why all of a sudden, maybe Clemens is friends with the Bush family, he's a Republican, whatever it might be, this came across on party lines. The Republican guys here did an atrocious job because they directed all their questions at Mcnamee and talked about his terrible job with credibility and laid -- let Clemens get off the hook. Terrible job.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith introduced a fawning segment on Barack Obama: "On the campaign trail, Barack Obama is often treated like a rock star. People wait hours just to hear him speak." The segment did not focus on campaign strategy or policy, but rather it focused entirely on Obama’s rhetoric as correspondent Tracy Smith touted MSNBC’s Chris Matthews being "thrilled" by a speech from the Senator from Illinois:
TRACY SMITH: They come in droves, by the tens of thousands at times, to hear Barack Obama speak...With soaring rhetoric, Obama is moving his audiences not just politically, but emotionally. Even some political commentators who've seen it all can't help but gush.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You hear Barack Obama's speech, my -- I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.
The February 13th New York Times online contained fifteen "Pictures of the Day". Their #1, lead photograph was what you see to the right, with the following description (emphasis added):
Security officials in Lebanon said Imad Mugniyah, 45, a senior Hezbollah military commander, was killed by a car bomb on Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria. Mr. Mugniyah had been accused in a series of bombings, hijackings and kidnappings during the 1980s and 1990s, including the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 American service members. Mr. Mugniyah's father, Fayez, left, and grandfather held each other during a wake in Beirut.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith discussed the ‘Potomac Primaries’ with Democratic Strategist Dee Dee Myers and Republican CBS Political Analyst Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush Administration Communications Director, who said of John McCain’s conservative critics: "The more that we see kind of the crazies like Ann Coulter out attacking John McCain, the better Republicans feel about their chances in the general election."
This attack upon conservatives critical of McCain, who include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, and others, was prompted by Harry Smith asking about Mike Huckabee’s continued support in the race:
SMITH: Nicolle, let's talk about the Republicans, because McCain, he said himself a week ago, now I'm the frontrunner. This lingering Huckabee thing. Huckabee got a lot of votes in Virginia. These conservatives they're -- they're still -- they're not happy. They're not happy about this guy.
NICOLLE WALLACE: And, you know what, Republicans are beginning to say that's okay.
Democratic state legislators in Washington State are taking aim at changing the state ballot initiative process, all because of numerous successes of perennial anti-tax advocate Tim Eyman, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported today.
While P-I reporter Brian Slodysko did an overall good job reporting the controversy, including how critics think the legislature could be overreaching in their "reform" efforts, this portion proved a bit vexing (emphasis mine):
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, has the backing of a coalition of organized labor, business interests and environmental groups, who say special interest groups have co-opted the state's initiative and referendum process from its populist origins.
"Up until the late '80s, almost into the start of the '90s, (the initiative process) was a populist grass-roots effort. At this point in time, it became professionalized. We felt obligated to defend the Legislature," Jim Bricker, a spokesman for the coalition, said.
Friday’s edition of Today on NBC had several conservative-denigrating moments over the ideological direction of presumptive GOP nominee John McCain. Matt Lauer interviewed columnist Ann Coulter. He threw a spitball about conservatives being babies: "Critics of conservative voices right now are saying for the first time in a very long time, the conservatives have lost. They haven't been able to choose their nominee and it's the political version now of a 3-year-old saying, ‘if you can't play the game the way I want to play, I'm taking my football and I'm going home.’ How do you respond to that?"
Tim Russert acknowledged in his pundit’s corner that conservatives must be assuaged, but that if McCain gives an inch to his right, "the Straight Talk Express will be derailed." For liberal media types, since 2000, Straight Talk was a way to equate talking liberal with talking "straight," that liberalism has all the straight answers. Here’s a fuller bite of Russert:
Joy Behar’s fact-free analysis continued on the February 8 edition of "The View" as she claimed the Bush administration raised taxes on the American people. Perhaps she was too overwhelmed with rage when Elisabeth Hasselbeck dared to take a shot at Hillary Clinton’s fiscal policy.
Hasselbeck joked about taxes on earned income, "just wait until Hillary is in office, you’re going to give it all back." Behar fought back: "That is so not true. Your president has raised taxes! Please! Ridiculous!"
The spat began when the View co-hosts were discussing a recent survey where the majority of women said they would prefer $1 million over a slimmer waistline. Co-host Whoopi Goldberg reminded the audience that in reality that a million dollars would be a lot less because much of that money is taxed.
GOLDBERG: Okay, let me ask you something because you think it’s a million dollars. 50 percent of that goes to the government-
Conservative bloggers embody the political and patriotic spirit of Ronald Reagan argued Ace, winner of the 2nd Annual CPAC Blogger of the Year Award (read his blog Ace of Spades HQ here), as he accepted the honor earlier this afternoon at the conservative gathering.
Heritage Foundation blogger Robert Bluey introduced Ace, who lamented that while it may take another generation for another Reagan to rise to the presidency, everyday Americans can and should work to hold the political classes to account no matter the political climate.
Ace offered the recent debate over immigration/amnesty as one issue where bloggers were crucial in derailing a legislative compromise worked out behind closed doors on Capitol Hill and being foisted on the American public without the details being fully disclosed to the American people.
I had the honor of attending the Presidential Banquet last evening at the 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference. Speakers included Bob Novak and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, as well as former ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson (who good naturedly needled Novak in a speech introducing and praising his career in journalism).
Blackburn spoke eloquently about having the "best district" in America and how faith, family, and a can-do volunteer spirit characterize her constituency. "Not once," Blackburn emphasized, did anyone she spoke to on Wednesday in the aftermath of devastating tornados, "ask where's FEMA?"
Blackburn, NewsBusters fans may recall was the target last September of an inaccurate and unfair ambush at the hands of MSNBC's David Shuster. For an archive of NewsBusters posts on that, check here.
See also Mark Finkelstein's Sept. 26 post complete with MSNBC's David Shuster apology for ambushing Blackburn:
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez reported on the importance of the youth vote in the 2008 election, but seemed unable to find any young people who supported Republican candidates: "Young voters are having a huge impact on this election. Exit polls show 14% of registered Democrats who voted on Super Tuesday were under 30. The majority went for Obama."
Rodriguez, who was on assignment in California, made a trip to UCLA and talked solely to young supporters of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: "22-year-old Natalie Gonzalez is a Clinton supporter. Why are you so excited about this?...Curtis Whatley is supporting Obama."
Rodriguez also discussed the importance of the internet in attracting young voters, once again something only Democrats seem to do:
Letting out a journalistic "Ha-ha!" a la Nelson Muntz, the Washington Post ran an article sure to remind disspirited conservative voters in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia of what might have been if former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) had been able to run a 2008 presidential campaign and unite the Republican Party:
RICHMOND -- As Virginia voters prepare to go to the polls Tuesday to help choose the Republican nominee for president, state and national party leaders are left wondering: What if former senator George Allen had never uttered the word "macaca"?
After years of preparing for a 2008 presidential run, including trips to Iowa and New Hampshire and formation of a national network of donors, Allen's use of the word on Aug. 11, 2006, changed the landscape of the GOP nominating contest.
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," CBS Correspondent Chip Reid began the day’s Super Tuesday election coverage with a report that described the Democratic race this way: "With more than 20 states on the line, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are locked in a neck-and-neck sprint, campaigning almost around the clock. Focused, like voters, on the economy." Reid then went on to describe the Republican race:
REID: Mitt Romney, now well behind McCain in the national polls and trying to hang on, spent Monday in a frantic race from Tennessee to Georgia to Oklahoma to the big prize, California. Then through the night to West Virginia. All the while continuing his bitter feud with Mike Huckabee. Fighting for the same pool of southern conservatives, Huckabee accused Romney of trying to manipulate the election. Romney hit back hard.
MITT ROMNEY: First, a couple of rules in politics. One, no whining. And number two, you get them to vote for you.
REID: No whining in politics, those are fighting words. And one reason it's so bitter between Romney and Huckabee is that today one or both of them could be knocked out of this race.
There’s one little three-syllable word that has been left out of most of the Democratic primary coverage on the TV: "liberal." We’re constantly told by anchors and reporters how the Republican contenders are fighting over the "conservative" vote and who’s more "conservative," and that’s true. But exactly the same fight is taking place on the left side, with the Clintons trying to suggest Barack Obama’s not sufficiently liberal (he praised Ronald Reagan!) and Obama trying to take Hillary’s Iraq war vote and turn her into Rumsfeld in a black pantsuit.
But the news media cannot routinely bring themselves to say that word, "liberal." Obama landed a major victory in the who’s-more-liberal sweepstakes. He’s been endorsed by MoveOn.org, the screechy hard-left group that distinguished itself last year by taking out newspaper ads denouncing our commander in Iraq as "General Betray Us."
Throughout Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-hosts Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez gushed over Obama and some of his recent famous female endorsements, beginning with Smith’s proclamation at the top of show: "With 24 hours to go, a CBS News poll shows Barack Obama has knocked down Hillary Clinton's lead going into Super Tuesday. Are the 'Obama Girls' making a difference as Oprah, Caroline, Michelle and now Maria hit the trail?"
In later segment, Rodriguez continued to look at the influence of these endorsements:
Ahead this morning, the power of 'O' in California. The Obama all-stars hit the campaign trail...You've probably seen 'Obama Girl' on the internet, and now you're seeing Obama's girls on the campaign trail. All powerful women recognized by their first names. We're talking about Oprah, Caroline, Michelle and now Maria.
I’m pretty sure that Oprah excluded, no one recognizes Caroline Kennedy, Michelle Obama, or Maria Shriver, solely by their first names.
ABC anchor David Muir asked Barack Obama about some of his liberal positions in a pre-recorded interview, which was shown on World News Saturday, in which Muir asked about the Democratic Senator's support for drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, and about being endorsed by "liberal legend" Ted Kennedy and MoveOn.org. The ABC anchor also brought up the New York Times' evaluation of Obama's economic policies as being "more left than the Clinton administration's." Muir: "Does that offer red meat for the Republicans, that you could possibly be more left than Hillary Clinton?" (Transcript follows)
During a news brief at the top of the 7am hour on Friday’s CBS "Early Show," CBS Correspondent Mark Strassmann reported on a suicide bombing in Baghdad:
So these twin attacks are devastating here, and not just to the families of the killed and wounded. To many people here, this morning's a frightening reminder that Baghdad may feel safer but is still a long way from safe.Mayhem and misery are back in Baghdad after a pair of similar mid-morning attacks.
Strassmann later concluded his report by proclaiming:
The attacks are the deadliest here since last spring when thousands of U.S. troops began a security surge in Baghdad. The city grew much quieter and safer. But today, at least, the new Baghdad feels a lot like the old Baghdad. For today's attackers, this morning was perfect, a sunny Friday, the holy day here, lots of people out and about feeling confident. Apparently the attacks are back.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith analyzed Thursday’s Democratic debate with Democratic strategist Joe Trippi and the left wing editor of "The Nation," Katrina Vanden Heuvel, who called the debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "a historic first,"while referring to Republicans as the "Grim Old Party" and "a restricted white men's club." Vanden Heuvel went to say that, "You also had a sheer -- the difference in policy knowledge and competence between Obama and Clinton and the Republican field to me was staggering."
This analysis of the Democratic debate followed Thursday’s analysis of Wednesday’s Republican debate, which featured Smith and CBS Political Correspondent and former Robert Kennedy speech writer, Jeff Greenfield, with no Republican guests.
Later in the Friday segment, Vanden Heuvel used a prior "Early Show" news brief about a suicide bomb attack in Iraq to claim "Yeah, I mean, you have a surge that isn't working. Look at the piece you just did." Smith made a feeble attempt at balance by replying, "Well that's arguable." Vanden Heuvel went on to shill for Obama "You have McCain of endless war -- of endless war without accountability and you have two candidates, Obama arguably wants to end this war and end the mind set that brought us into this war."
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith continued the media’s love affair with John and Elizabeth Edwards following the former Senator dropping out of the presidential race: "John Edwards says he is stepping aside so 'history can blaze its path.' And it will tonight. Also this morning, we're going to look at the amazing grace of Elizabeth Edwards who has campaigned passionately beside her husband all these months despite her diagnosis that she is terminally ill."
In a later segment, CBS Correspondent Tracy Smith began by exclaiming: "They've been a team since the start. And that's how they went out. Elizabeth by John's side. It's the end of a campaign made all the more difficult by a disease that would have made a lesser woman give up long ago."
While Harry Smith portrayed Elizabeth Edwards as graceful, reporter Tracy Smith referred to her as being an "attack dog" against the likes of Ann Coulter, whom Edwards ambushed on MSNBC’s "Hardball" on June 26 of last year:
Heaping praise on moderate Republican Rep. Tom Davis (Va.), the Washington Post devoted not one but two articles in the January 31 paper to the congressman. The Post lauded Davis for his centrism, but particularly for angering the Virginia GOP's conservative base. Yet left unmentioned was any analysis suggesting moderation was what felled his wife's 2007 state senate reelection campaign.
Staff writer Bill Turque penned a Metro section front pager ("In Va., Congress, Davis Has Ruled From the Center") that began by noting Davis's Republican Party family pedigree before adding that Davis "crushed" his first political opponent in a 1979 election "by placing himself firmly in the center."
The presidential campaigns of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) were both derailed yesterday in Florida. But in covering the story, the AP was considerably more morose about Edwards's train wreck than Giuliani's (h/t NB reader Joe Loiacono).
Let's look at the AP coverage. First the Edwards write-up by Nedra Pickler (emphasis mine):
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez reported from "Little Havana" in Miami, Florida at the top of the 7am hour, mentioning the tight Republican race only briefly before moving on to Hillary Clinton’s recent photo ops and fundraising efforts in the state:
This is the biggest state to vote to date with the most delegates up for grabs for the Republican winner, 57. This morning it is a dead heat between Mitt Romney and John McCain, with a fizzling Rudy Giuliani now saying that he'll make a decision tomorrow about whether to stay in the race. It is the Republicans who have been going after voters here most aggressively. But in recent days, a Democrat has been trying to steal the spotlight. Four Republicans and one Democrat in Florida ahead of the primary election. The Republican winner here will get 57 delegates. The Democratic winner will get none. Why is she here in Florida?
After these first few sentences, mention of the Republicans vanishes and the analysis focuses entirely on Clinton:
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith described Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama yesterday in biblical terms: "In the civic religion that is Democratic politics, the most treasured covenant was passed to the young Senator from Illinois."
Smith teased the segment by excitedly proclaiming that "Ted and Caroline set to hit the campaign trail after they announce the heir to Camelot." Smith went on to claim that "It feels like the '60s are back," to which co-host Julie Chen replied: "I think it's safe to say no matter what your party affiliation, you have to admit that no one gives a speech like a Kennedy."
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show" Senior Political Correspondent and former Robert Kennedy speech writer, Jeff Greenfield, discussed Obama gaining the endorsement of Patrick, Caroline, and Ted Kennedy: "It is, Harry, a family affair, and it is loaded with political significance and more than a little irony. At its center, one of the most significant legacies in American politics."
Greenfield went on to gush over the Kennedy legacy and how Obama is now its "legitimate heir":
They are iconic images. The youngest elected president ever, whose violent death made him a permanent symbol of youth and energy. And so when another young man sought the presidency 32 years after John Kennedy, the Clinton campaign showcased this image of a teenage Bill Clinton shaking hands with JFK. During his presidency, the images of the Clintons sailing off Cape Cod with the Kennedys burnished that connection. But now as Senator Hillary Clinton seeks the White House, key members of the Kennedy family have designated her principal opponent as their legitimate heir.
"Whose side is Joe Lieberman On?" demands the subheading for "The Demublican," a January 24 Newsweek Web Exclusive centered on Sen. Joseph Lieberman's (I-Conn.) endorsement of John McCain for President. In the interview, reporter Jeffrey Bartholet presses Lieberman from the left on a host of policy issues and questions and on his loyalty to the Democratic Party. For his part Lieberman often points to issues where McCain has left the conservative fold, such as climate change and the Gang of Fourteen.
At no point, however, does Bartholet ask Lieberman if he feels the "party has left him" on national security/war on terror issues.
Below are the agenda of questions. I've bolded the ones that skew leftward or suggest Lieberman is disloyal or has no good reason to back a Republican over his party's standard bearers. For the full interview, click here.
In an usually tough interview with Barack Obama on Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith asked the Illinois Senator about a financial scandal involving Tony Rezko, that Hillary Clinton brought up during Monday’s Democratic debate on CNN: "This is a guy that's facing federal charges of fraud and influence peddling next month. What is your real relationship with Tony Rezko?"
While such tough questioning of presidential candidates is certainly appropriate, one wonders why Harry Smith never asked Hillary Clinton about her involvement with convicted felon, Norman Hsu, who made significant financial contributions to the Clinton campaign. On September 18 of last year, while Clinton was asked about the Hsu scandal by co-host Matt Lauer on NBC’s "Today," Smith was busy touting her health care plan on CBS, ignoring Hsu completely:
In a post to his Change of Subject blog, Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn practically pressed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to go further than just stopping short of calling former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) liars:
Why stop short? The Clintons are lying about Obama's remarks on Reagan
(Barack) Obama stopped just short of calling (Hillary) Clinton and her husband liars... from the Swamp's live blog of last night's Democratic debate.
Hmm. I see no reason to stop short. Bill and Hillary Clinton have lied brazenly about Obama's recent statement about Ronald Reagan.
Zorn then turned to comments from both Clintons and an extended transcript of Obama's remarks to give readers a full and fair context for those remarks. Zorn got to the heart of the matter by concluding that the Clintons are hoping to tap residual left-wing hatred of Reagan even though they should and likely do know that the Gipper's political prowess offers lessons for Democrats, even if they lay asunder his policy goals (emphasis mine):
Liberal Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is in trouble with the voters who elected nearly 15 months ago. In a state that is deep blue in presidential elections and has a 2:1 Democratic registration advantage, the former local Irish rocker is getting a chorus of boos from voters with poll numbers in the mid to high 30s. One major factor: the tax-hiking special legislative session he called in fall 2007.
Not to worry, Governor, the Washington Post has got your back. Here's the headline for the top Metro section story in my January 23 Maryland Home Edition of the Post:
It becomes apparent, however, that rebuilding O'Malley's positive press is high on the Post's agenda. Reporter John Wagner wrote of O'Malley's plan to take "modest steps" towards fulfilling what O'Malley insists is "protecting our priorities." Wagner takes care to focus on how a slowing economy could prove an obstacle to O'Malley's policy goals, but fails to address concerns that O'Malley's tax hikes could be part of compounding the problem by disincentivizing business from expanding or moving to the state: