Columbus Bureau Chief Jim Provance at the Toledo Blade is a one-man "Name That Party" creativity machine:
In March of last year (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in a story about late financial reports from Ohio's state government, Provance identified State Auditor Mary Taylor, who criticized Governor Ted Strickland's administration for being so tardy with the numbers that they could not be audited in time for biennial budget deliberations -- but never identified Strickland or anyone else involved in the snafu as a Democrat. NewsBusters commenter "Hoosierem reported that Provance, in response to a subsequent e-mail, had stated that "I should have taken the next step of noting the governor’s party."
Then in May (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the slow-learning Blade reporter, in a story about the indictment of Anthony Gutierrez, a former aide to disgraced Democrat and former Attorney General Marc Dann (pictured at top right in a Blade photo), never named Guttierez's party -- but did name the party of the county prosecutor who indicted him.
Provance's latest exercise in Name That Party creativity (HT to Maggie Thurber in an e-mail) revolves around Dann's guilty pleas on Thursday to ethics violations. This time, he got in a "clever" dig about Republican scandals going back a half-decade in his opening sentence, but never specifically ID'd Dann as a Democrat, referring only to "a Democratic wave" and "fellow Democrats" -- in Paragraph 11.
Meanwhile, the local Columbus Dispatch, which would be less obligated to reveal Dann's party affiliation because its readership is more likely to already know it, told readers Dann is a Democrat in the second paragraph of its coverage.
The name of Ohio's governor, Ted Strickland, doesn't show up anywhere in either entity's coverage.
Last August, Maryland state delegate Jon Cardin (D-Baltimore County), nephew of the state's junior U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin (D), proposed marriage to his girlfriend. But unlike normal folks who might propose via the jumbotron at the ball park or by having a waiter slip the diamond ring in a champagne flute, Del. Cardin decided to get the local cops to help arrest his woman's heart -- by staging a "boat raid" complete with a police helicopter.
Unfortunately for the reader, nowhere in Hermann's 18-paragraph story was Cardin's party affiliation disclosed, even though Cardin is up for reelection this fall. Meanwhile, the young state delegate's stunt has hurt the career of a Baltimore police sergeant that foolishly complied with the delegate's request:
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."
Ann Coulter for one has refused to pour gasoline on the Voyeur fire - pledging her full support and offering praise for RNC Chairman Michael Steele.
As Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos so touchingly pointed out to Steele, a few Republican leaders have been publicly highly critical of Steele and according to a "poll of insiders" only 20 percent consider him an asset to the party.
"Everyone seemed to like him and recently it's like story after story after story - is this guy being villainized?" Fox Business Channel's Eric Bolling asked Coulter on the April 5 "Happy Hour."
"I think so, I think he's being attacked because he's very effective," Coulter replied.
She made note how Ken Blackwell had been her original choice for chairman, but said Steele had been more than adequate. "[S]ince Michael Steele got the job, I see him on TV and I think he's very effective on TV. He's smooth, he's cool, he's hip, he always makes solid arguments."
"He was on a plane during this incident at this voyeur club," Coulter reminded Bolling. "But you know the Democrats have the audacity to complain about some low-level staffer doing something stupid by taking ...Young Republican Eagles or whatever to a sleazy club in LA - excuse me! Loretta Sanchez - an actual Democratic Congresswoman who was co-chair of the DNC - had a Democratic gala event...at the Playboy Mansion - which finally had to be cancelled."
ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday showed little interest in grilling Robert Gibbs over serious allegations made by a Democratic Congressman. Talking to the White House press secretary, the Good Morning America host could only manage a single question: "[Representative Massa has] made very specific and pointed charges against Rahm Emanuel, Democratic leaders in the House. What's the White House response?"
And that was it. Stephanopoulos simply moved on to health care. He didn't ask about allegations that a naked Emanuel once approached Massa in the shower of the House gym and screamed at him. Further, wondering about "the White House response" is a very weak question. How about, "Are the charges true?" or "Did the White House pressure Massa to resign?"
Later in the piece, the GMA anchor asked if President Obama would be "willing to negotiate new language" with Congressman Bart Stupak over the issue of abortion and the health care bill. When Gibbs asserted, "This is not a bill about abortion," Stephanopoulos again offered no challenge. He simply accepted the declaration and moved on.
MSNBC's David Shuster on Monday attacked Republicans as racist for calling embattled Congressman Charlie Rangel a "crooked, Harlem Democrat." Talking to ex-Virginia Governor Doug Wilder, the host complained about a press release by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC): "They could have called him the crooked New York Democrat. They could have called him a crooked Democrat." [Audio available here.]
Shuster continued, "Why crooked Harlem Democrat? And did you see that as being racially tinged?" Clearly, the provocative part of the NRCC's press release was labeling Rangel corrupt. How is it inaccurate to refer to the Representative as a "Harlem Democrat?" Harlem is in his district.
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, FNC contributor and panel member Jim Pinkerton of the New America Foundation twice cited the Media Research Center – parent organization to NewsBusters – the first time as he pointed out that ABC News had given six times as much attention to attacking Republican Senator Jim Bunning’s efforts to delay the extension of unemployment benefits – as if doing so were a scandal – as opposed to covering the actual scandal of Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel’s unethical activities. Pinkerton recounted:
Striking, as Scott Whitlock at MRC pointed out, ABC News devoted six times more coverage to trashing Bunning where Jonathan Karl, the reporter, went all Jesse Watters on Bunning, following him around in the Senate and trying to barge into the elevator, than they did on Chairman Rangel's, of the Ways and Means Committee's, forced resignation in a scandal. So a two-day procedural thing was six times bigger news to ABC than a genuine corrupt scandal. [Audio available here.]
The FNC contributor cited the MRC a second time during a discussion of the media’s coverage of Iraq as he noted that the mainstream media have lost interest in the subject and have not asked a question at a White House press conference since June 26. Host Jon Scott brought in Pinkerton by bringing up a recent article in the Daily Beast about positive developments in Iraq which did not mention former President Bush:
In a week where several news outlets recognized significant happenings involving the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the Associated Press seems to have decided that none of them merit mention. A search on "acorn" at the AP's main site returns the following:
This search doesn't completely eliminate the possibility that AP ran local or regional stories, but I didn't locate any in a Google News search on "ACORN."
What follows is a small sample of other coverage generated as a result of goings-on at ACORN during the past week. Readers can decide whether the wire service has decided that recognizing negative news about a scandal-ridden "progressive" organization is a bad idea:
Remember Van Jones? He's trying to make a comeback, and the mainstream media seems to be lending him a helping hand in getting back into the Washington power structure. Jones, in case you don't remember, was the administration's Green Jobs Czar. He resigned after it came to light that his name appeared on a 9/11 Truther petition.
That, it turned out, was not the extent of his wackiness. He led a vigil mourning "the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world." He was an admitted communist and black nationalist. Now, it turns out, he considered Americans who shipped off to Iraq to be human shields for Saddam Hussein "heroes."
He said just that on MSNBC's "The Abrams Report" in 2003, according to a transcript of the show (relevant portion below the fold). I would post video here, but MSNBC refuses to release it:
Near the end of the Tuesday 3 p.m. EST hour on MSNBC, anchor David Shuster invoked the riveting “Toyota hearings” currently taking place on Capitol Hill as an excuse to compile a grab-bag of liberal gotcha moments – consisting of Joe McCarthy, Iran-Contra, and Watergate – and ignore historical events unfavorable to liberals.
He also seized upon the opportunity to chide Fox News in the context of Oliver North, who was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal and currently works for the network. “North was convicted of criminal charges, but the conviction was vacated on appeal. Wonder what he’s doing now. Hmmm…” said Shuster.
The Washington Post was curiously silent about the ideological and/or partisan bent of blogs that prompted its coverage of a controversial statement made last Thursday by Virginia Delegate Robert Marshall (R), who suggested, the Post reports, "that women who have abortions risk having later children with birth defects as a punishment from God."
Kunkle noted that Marshall couched his controversial comments in reference to a study by Virginia Commonwealth University that "was published in 2008 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health and suggested that there is a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight in children born to women who have had an abortion."
"Few seized on the remarks at the time Marshall made them," the Post's Fredrick Kunkle noted in his page B2 February 23 story, "[b]ut outrage built on social networking sites and political blogs after some Virginia newspapers picked up the story from Capital News Service, a program at VCU's School of Mass Communications."
But which blogs, exactly? It's not a stretch to imagine it was mostly left-wing or Democratic blogs seeking to hype a controversy to make Virginia Republicans -- who control the House of Delegates -- look bad, particularly in an election year in which the Democratic majority in the state senate is in jeopardy.
Yet Kunkle failed to inform readers which blogs tipped him off to the story and what political axes they have to grind.
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, during the show’s regular "Reality Check" segment, host Bill O’Reilly highlighted video of President Obama from 2007 in which he bragged about having a close association with the recently discredited left-wing group ACORN. O’Reilly introduced the clip, which can be viewed at HotAirPundit, by crediting California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa with finding the video: "President Obama has avoided the subject of ACORN ever since that activist group got into a lot of trouble. But there is a new tape, recorded in 2007, and discovered by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa’s office. The tape is heavily edited, so keep that in mind."
The FNC host then played clips of Obama in which the then-Senator declared himself to be a "friend" of ACORN, and, as he invited the group’s "input," he promised that "You don’t have to ask me about that. I’m going to call you even if you didn’t ask me." Obama also asserted that when he ran a voter registration drive in Ilinois, "ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it," and declared that he had "been always a partner" with the liberal group while he was in the Senate.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, February 22, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC:
The top United Nations climate change official said today that he has made the “difficult decision” to step down from his position, citing his desire to pursue new opportunities to advance progress on the issue in both the private sector and academia.
.... Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that he was informed by Mr. de Boer of his decision two days ago and respected his decision, but “with regret.”
“Developing countries need to move as quickly as possible toward a future of low-emissions growth and prosperity,” he stressed, noting that millions of people in Africa and around the world are suffering from climate change’s effects.
These people are still living in the fantasy world they have constructed over the past two decades.
Since the AP science reporter wrote his December 12, 2009 defense of the alleged scientists who have promoted the alleged perils of human-caused global warming, the scandal known as ClimateGate has inexorably widened. It has deeply tarnished never-deserved reputations; revealed the entire premise to be based on fraudulent, corrupted, manipulated and/or nonexistent data; and taken the entire enterprise to the point where it is utterly without objective credibility.
Thus, it would be understandable if poor Seth might be looking for some way, any way, to inject in his two cents yet again without being forced to defend the indefensible.
He found a bit of an outlet on Friday in his coverage of this year's virtually unprecedented U.S. snowfalls. How unprecedented? This may be the first time 49 out of 50 states have snow on the ground at the same time.
Here are key factual paragraphs relating to the U.S. situation in Borenstein's report, followed by his veer-off into global warming near its end (bolded by me):
East Anglia University, which came under fire a few months ago for the now infamous ClimateGate email scandal, announced yesterday that it is launching an independent probe into the work of its Climate Research Unit (CRU).
Wall Street Journal's Guy Chazan reports the story today -- found on page A15 of the print edition -- noting that the independent review led by Sir Muir Russell will "reappraise the CRU's scientific conclusions."
But Chazan noted that some critics argue that a deeper problem underpinning ClimateGate is not addressed by the probe:
Since Friday, ABC has devoted 60 minutes and 23 seconds to interviews covering the most salacious details of John Edwards' sex scandal. Yet, the network's anchors have refrained from referring to him as a Democrat. 20/20 on Friday spent the entire hour talking to Andrew Young, a former top Edwards aide who allegedly holds a sex tape involving the politician. The D-word was never used by reporter Bob Woodruff.
Good Morning America again featured the story on Saturday. On Monday’s GMA, former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos interviewed Young about his role in covering for Edwards. Over two segments that lasted 14 minutes and 50 segments, Stephanopoulos never highlighted Edwards’ party affiliation.
The only time it came up is when Young, who has written a tell-all book about Edwards, tried to justify covering for the candidate: "At that point, I genuinely- genuinely believed that he was the only Democrat that could beat McCain or any other opponent."
When the ACORN scandal broke, the New York Times dragged its feet for six days before issuing a story on the devastating footage from conservative activist and guerilla film-maker James O'Keefe, who caught on video the left-wing housing group giving advice to a "prostitute" and "pimp" on how to shelter illegal income from taxes.
But following Tuesday afternoon reports of the Monday arrest of O'Keefe for attempting to tamper with the phones of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, the Times wasted no time issuing a story for Wednesday's print edition.
BigGovernment.com caused a web sensation September 10 posting hidden camera footage from conservative activist and guerilla film-maker O'Keefe, who along with "prostitute" Hannah Giles visited several branches of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now and received advice on how to shelter their illegal income from taxes.
But the first story from a Times reporter on ACORN to see print came six days later, with Scott Shane portraying the scandal in purely political terms, with no outrage over a tax-funded leftist organization with connections to the Census Bureau and IRS encouraging tax evasion and child prostitution.
The Associated Press on Wednesday insinuated there might be a wider conservative plot behind James O’Keefe’s alleged misdeeds at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, and invoked the Watergate scandal in their lede: “Was it an attempt at political espionage? Or just a third-rate prank? How high did it go? And what did the right wing know and when did they know it?”
In what some Democrats are calling the “Louisiana Watergate,” four young conservative activists — one of them a known political prankster — were arrested this week and accused of trying to tamper with the telephones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office.
But two days after their arrest, neither the FBI nor federal prosecutors would say what the defendants were up to or whether they were part of some larger conspiracy....
Yesterday, Media Research Center (MRC) President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell sat down in the MRC studio for a Skype interview with Breitbart.tv's "B-cast." [see video embed below the page break]
The topic: the latest MRC special report, "Omitting for Obama," which is a study of four stories --- Van Jones, Anita Dunn, ACORN, and ClimateGate -- "highlighted by the New Media in 2009 that were damaging to the Obama 'brand'" but were avoided like the plague by the old guard mainstream media.
If you're totally reliant upon print media, some of the major newspapers that is, you might not have noticed the news about former Democratic Senator and 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards' admission that he was indeed the father of his campaign mistress's daughter.
That story couldn't so much as garner a single front-page story from any of the nation's top five major newspapers - USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times or The Washington Post. And only The Wall Street Journal, found the story worthy to print on its second page, not to mention the fact that it is a business journal.
Edwards admitted in a statement on Jan 21 that he was indeed the father of Frances Quinn Hunter, saying, "It was wrong for me to ever deny she was my daughter." The story of his affair with campaign staffer and videographer Rielle Hunter broke last summer when the National Enquirer busted Edwards in a Los Angeles hotel for cheating on his cancer-stricken wife.
The controversy over Harry Reid's crack about Barack Obama's lack of a "Negro dialect" is apparently over, at least according to the broadcast networks. Although the story only broke Saturday afternoon, the last network news story aired Tuesday night on Nightline.
An MRC analysis found that from Saturday to Tuesday the networks ran a combined 37 items on Reid's "Negro" remark, including interviews and panel discussions. Broadcast opinions were heavily skewed in Reid's favor: 71% of interview guests, soundbites or quoted sources were supportive of the Democrat, vs. 29% who were critical of Reid.
It's an excellent case study in how the liberal media aid in Democratic scandal control. Over four days, the networks morphed the story from one of an embarrassing racial gaffe by the Senate's top Democrat into one about Republican over-reach in going after Reid, with some journalists even crediting the Senator with keen insight on race relations:
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, during the show’s regular "Reality Check" segment, host Bill O’Reilly highlighted the double standard exhibited by President Barack Obama and other prominent Democrats in the way they reacted so strongly to former Republican Senator Trent Lott’s praise of former Senator Strom Thurmond at his birthday celebration in 2002, and the President's recent more forgiving words about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s "Negro dialect" remark. O’Reilly quoted Obama’s unforgiving statement from 2002 regarding Lott, and then showed his recent statement giving Reid a pass. The FNC host also showed quotes of Democratic Senators Mary Landrieu and Debbie Stabenow from the Lott episode and noted their current unwillingness to comment on Reid.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, January 11, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC:
But given that the incident in question is a Weekly Standard writer alleging an assault by an aide for Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley (Mass.), it's understandable, but not excusable, if you don't hear much about this from the broadcast or cable news networks.
For its part, the Associated Press -- in a story run on Boston.com -- all but dismissed the incident for the Coakley camp with a five-paragraph article blandly titled "Reporter takes stumble chasing Mass. candidate," wherein John McCormack of the Weekly Standard was said to have been "involved in a scuffle with one of [Coakley's] aides," a man by the name of Michael Meehan.
Yesterday, Fox News Channel's Bret Baier picked up on a statement NewsBusters Publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell made about "60 Minutes" failing to note Harry Reid's controversial "Negro dialect" remark, even as the news magazine program devoted plenty of time to other revelations from the just-published book "Game Change".
It's utterly shameless for CBS to cover this book, and ignore the scoops about the racially charged comments of Harry Reid and Bill Clinton, but devote a very slanted 10 minutes to more of the same old McCain aides slashing Sarah Palin.
The Los Angeles Times has been doing its best to dismiss Senator Harry Reid's racist remark about Preisdent Obama as a minor transgression while portraying Republicans calling for his resignation as political attack dogs. This coverage stands in stark contrast to the paper's coverage of the controversy surrounding former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in 2002 (h/t Patterico).
"GOP opens fire on Harry Reid," read a Los Angeles Times headline yesterday. The article said the Senator was "pummeled" by the GOP, that Republicans had "called for the senator's head," and that Reid was now "in [the GOP's] cross hairs." (The latest version of the story does not include the last quote.)
Contrast this Times story to the paper's own coverage of Trent Lott's remarks in 2002 and Democrats' calls for him to step down as Majority Leader. The Times portrayed the uproar over his remarks not as an attack, but rather as a spontaneous, impalpable furor. The uproar was a "spiraling controversy" or a "growing clamor." "Outrage Grows Over Lott Remarks" read one headline.
While a story on Sunday’s 60 Minutes about the new book, ‘Game Change,’ about the 2008 campaign, focused heavily on attacks against Sarah Palin by McCain staffers, it ignored numerous revelations of controversial statements by prominent Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid describing Barack Obama as “light skinned” and lacking a “negro dialect.”
Acting as a guest correspondent, CNN’s Anderson Cooper cited the book’s liberal authors, New York magazine’s John Heilemann and Time’s Mark Halperin, who claimed that Palin was picked by the McCain campaign out of “desperation” after manager Rick Davis found her name on Google. At one point, Halperin went so far as to declare that: “They said, ‘there’s one Sarah who you see in public’– upbeat. But the other Sarah was the one that frightened them. It was someone whose eyes were kind of glazed over, who was literally not responding to questions, who was keeping her head down.”
Cooper made sure to highlight CBS’s role in Palin’s supposed downfall with the Evening News Katie Couric interview: “In her book, Palin accuses CBS News of editing the interview to make her look bad. But [McCain campaign advisor] Steve Schmidt told us Palin did poorly because she didn’t do her homework.” Schmidt slammed Palin, claiming she was “focused that morning on answering ten written questions from a small newspaper in Alaska called the ‘Matsu Valley Frontiersman.’” After Cooper mentioned Palin’s criticism of Couric’s “gotcha questions,” Schmidt proclaimed: “I don’t think that Katie Couric asked a single unfair question in that interview.”
The one good thing you can say about Andrew Freedman's "Cold weather in a hot climate" entry at the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog (HT James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web) is that he's at least not hiding his bias.
Boiling it down, Freedman believes that weather broadcasters should use the occasions of heat waves and serious storms as global warming teachable moments, yet become strict info relayers when it's extraordinarily cold. In doing so, he advocates a continuation of what Julie Seymour at the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute has already observed:
The news media constantly misuse extreme weather examples to generate fear of global warming, but when record cold or record snow sets in journalists don’t mention the possibility of global cooling trends. While climatologists would say weather isn’t necessarily an indication of climate, it has been in the media, but only when the weather could be spun as part of global warming.