Imagine if you will that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was accused of taking gift cards donated to her office for redistribution to needy constituents and using them instead for a personal spending spree.
The media firestorm would swirl uncontrollably, of course, and certainly you couldn't fault the media for reporting on the ensuing criminal trial.
Well, this sort of this has happened, only to the Democratic mayor of Baltimore Sheila Dixon who was convicted yesterday on a misdemeanor charge of embezzling, yet the coverage from the broadcast networks has been non-existent until the trial's conclusion.
A search of "Sheila Dixon" among ABC, CBS, and NBC news transcripts catalogued on Nexis from January 1, 2007 to December 2, 2009 yielded only three hits. None of the stories were about Dixon's trial, and one, an April 30, 2008 "Nightline" story on predatory mortgage lending, cast Dixon in a favorable light as a champion of citizens who have been exploited by mortgage lenders.
A week after the explosion of the current Climategate scandal revealing that leading climate scientists engaged in ongoing email conversations about how to hide or obfuscate the real data on global warming (or lack thereof), the Washington Post on November 25 editorialized on the matter. Like other establishment media types, the Washington Post sought to make light of the shocking prospect of scientists acting wholly unethically. (Keep in mind that the panic over global warming and the Gore & friends call for massive energy taxes and rationing were based in large part on the work of these same scientists.)
To its credit, the Post did, today, print two letters to the editor critical of the editorial and the scandal. To its discredit, as Newsbuster Noel Sheppard aptly points out, the paper also published a letter from one of the scientists implicated in the scandal, a letter that directed readers to a "conversation" about the emails on...a leading global warming alarmist website. The paper could have published a letter written by leading global warming policy expert on the rational side of the debate (and submitted the same day the editoral ran), Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Globalwarming.org. That didn't happen. So, here is what Post readers would have learned about ClimateGate and how it was covered by the paper...but didn't.
New York Times environment reporter Andrew C. Revkin had a post yesterday that was primarily about an open letter from Judith Curry.
Revkin describes her as "a seasoned climate scientist at Georgia Tech .... (who) has no skepticism about a growing human influence on climate." Revkin writes that "Dr. Curry has written a fresh essay that’s essentially a message to young scientists potentially disheartened in various ways by recent events."
Here are some of the key paragraphs from Curry's letter that touch on that matter:
The ClimateGate email leak has demonstrated in full force a glaring double standard in the mainstream media's coverage of leaked information. Too often, liberal media outlets jump at the chance to damage conservative figures by publishing sensitive information, but refuse to publish such information if it discredits or hinders the left's efforts.
As Clay Waters reported yesterday, Andew Revkin, who writes for the New York Times's Dot Earth blog, refused to publish emails from Britain's East Anglia Climate Research Unit showing efforts to manipulate climate data and marginalize global warming skeptics.
Said Revkin, "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here."
Revkin is correct that the emails were never intended for the public eye, contained private communications, and were released by hackers who violated the law in obtaining them. But apparently this standard for publication of such documents does not apply to information about Sarah Palin.
Two months ago, there was the "Dog Ate My Global Warming Data" episode. As noted at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog (original source: National Review Online), we learned that important original information forming the underpinning of global warming alarmists' claims about the earth heating up has vanished. It is longer available and apparently can't be reverse engineered.
Today, e-mails hacked from a UK climate research facility appear at a minimum to indicate a willingness by scientists to fudge the data to make alleged warming trends more clear and convincing. At worst, the whole enterprise could be totally discredited.
Important and damming passages from certain of the e-mails have been acknowledged as authentic.
As noted earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yesterday's resignation from CNN by Lou Dobbs was his second during a storied career there. The first was at least partially driven by clear tensions between Dobbs and CNN head Rick Kaplan, a longtime friend of former president Bill Clinton who arrived at the network in 1997.
That Kaplan was driven to protect Clinton, and to risk journalistic integrity while doing so, is virtually beyond dispute. In 1997, as the Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz noted in a 1999 op-ed whose primary purpose was to comment the significance of "the demolition of CNN and Time's story charging that U.S. forces used the lethal gas sarin to attack American defectors in Laos," U.S. News reported that Kaplan "issued a warning to CNN journalists to limit the use of words like 'scandal' in relation to stories on the president's fund-raising ventures."
So you can imagine how beside himself Kaplan must have been when Dobbs, then the host of a business and finance show, went after the Chinese nuclear espionage story in 1999 while his other CNN colleagues and the Big 3 networks were attempting to downplay and ignore it. Brent Baker's CyberAlert from March 12 of that year has the details:
The Democratic mayor of Oakland, CA and his wife recently admitted to failing to pay $239,000 in taxes since 2005. The San Francisco Chronicle covered the story, but made no mention of the mayor's party, in striking contrast to coverage of recent ethics violations by Republicans in the state.
"We owe taxes," Mayor Ron Dellums, pictured right, bluntly said in a statement on Tuesday. "The matter is being dealt with and will be resolved in short order." The IRS imposed a tax lien on the couple's $1.4 million home in the Foxhall Crescent neighborhood in Washington, DC, and 3,200 square foot house in Oakland Hills.
There is no party identification in the story, however, only a statement in the second-to-last paragraph that Dellums is a "stalwart of progressive ideals." It seems the Chronicle could not bring itself to state the he is a Democrat.
There's little doubt that at hand is an ongoing effort by the Obama White House to marginalize the Fox News Channel - especially after the administration attempted to leave Fox out of the White House pool last week. That is something conservative columnist Cal Thomas said is eerily comparable to Cold War tactics of the old Soviet Union.
On the Fox News Channel's Oct. 24 "Fox News Watch," Thomas alluded to an Oct. 21 column he wrote, which he compared what the Soviets did with radio signals that penetrated the Iron Curtain to deliver a message of freedom from Western Europe - they jammed them.
"I wrote a column on this, this week - if I can promote myself and my own column," Thomas said. "I likened it to what happened during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union especially tried to jam the signals of the Voice of America and Radio Europe, other entities that were trying to pump truth into the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries, the so-called captive nations."
That video totally nuked claims by ACORN National and ACORN Philly that O'Keefe and Giles had been "shown the door" and "kicked out" after a "few minutes" in their Philly Office visit -- claims that establishment media outlets continued to repeat even, as shown in the excerpt that follows, after ACORN was proven to have lied about what happened in New York City and San Diego.
Billy Hallowell at BigGovernment.com has a great recap of the not well-known ACORN and media goofs that have occurred since James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles released their first two sting videos (links are in original):
The mainstream media were complicit in their coverage of the ACORN scandal. Their behavior was and continues to be an insult to democracy and journalistic responsibility as the Fourth Estate has ignored facts, engaged in one-sided sourcing, and avoided basic and inherently important journalistic questioning.
Just when you thought that activist filmmaker James O'Keefe, partner Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart at BigGovernment.com had run out of ammo to direct at ACORN, they have outdone themselves.
In September, BigGov aired videos showing O'Keefe and Giles, posing as a pimp and prostitute, asking for and getting cordial help in setting up their enterprise as a deliberately income-underrporting cash enterprise from ACORN representatives in Baltimore, Washington, New York City, San Bernardino, and San Diego. This help was provided even after Giles revealed her purported plans to import underage girls as part of the enterprise.
For a month, it has supposedly been the settled truth that a similar attempt by O'Keefe and Giles in Philadelphia had failed miserably, and that the pair were "thrown out" of ACORN's office there. ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis said so on CNN. The Philadelphia Daily News's David Gambacorta reported that "they were apparently shown the door." Others playing or parroting ACORN's assertions included the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post, NPR, and the New York Times.
The press should have suspected that another shoe might drop in Philly, as ACORN made similar assertions about the pair's visits in New York and San Diego after the Baltimore and Washington vids premiered that were quickly proven utterly false. But if there was any skepticism, it was well-hidden.
Now O'Keefe's and Giles's latest video (direct YouTube here) blows ACORN's Philadelphia story to smithereens. Here's what the Associated Press had to say about it this evening:
ABC, CBS and NBC on Tuesday night all aired stories on President Barack Obama hobnobbing with the wealthy during a recession, at Manhattan fundraisers to be attended by the very Wall Street players he's condemned. But only NBC's Chuck Todd served as a mouthpiece for self-serving rationale which painted Obama as a victim of an image of perfection susceptible to “any speck of mud,” as Todd relayed from outside a Manhattan hotel:
One Democratic strategist said that part of the President's problem is simply his own expectations. Some of the rhetoric he said on the campaign trail made it seem as if he was coming into office in a clean white suit. So now any speck of mud -- like raising money from Wall Street donors -- shows up a lot clearer than if he came in just as another politician wearing just another gray suit. [Audio: MP3 clip, video below jump]
Minutes after Todd, NBC Nightly News viewers learned Obama is also quite an expert on women since he's supposedly “perhaps the man who knows the most about what it's like to live in a women's nation, work in a women's nation, and get elected by a women's nation,” liberal activist Maria Shriver touted in plugging an interview with Obama for her “A Woman's Nation” series:
Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News aired a full report by correspondent Lisa Myers on the ongoing investigation into Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel’s failure to report income over several years to the IRS. Myers detailed some of the numbers:
The powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee recently revised six years of financial disclosure statements, revealing more than $600,000 in previously unreported assets and tens of thousands of dollars in unreported income. Among the holdings Rangel failed to report, an investment account and a checking account, each worth at least $250,000. Rangel also has admitted that he failed to report and pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income on this villa in the Dominican Republic.
As if the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Fan and Fred) crackups weren't bad enough, IBDeditorials.com noted on Thursday evening that another bad-mortgage shoe is about to drop. This time it's at the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).
First, let's revisit Fan and Fred to remind readers just how complete the disaster has been at these decades in the making Democratic crony-controlled entities.
A little-noticed CNNMoney.com item by Chris Isidore in late July told us what the original announced loss estimate had been a year earlier (bolds are mine throughout this post):
When Congress was debating the bailout of Fannie and Freddie last July (of 2008), the official estimate from the Congressional Budget Office was that a bailout would most likely cost taxpayers $25 billion, with only a 5% chance of the price tag reaching $100 billion between them.
Isidiore then noted that just one year later the loss estimate had doubled:
Poor David Letterman. Not only did blackmail force him to publicly admit unseemly workplace sexual trysts, as a simple talk show host, he's not in a position to buy off feminist condemnation with legislative goodies.
National Organization of Women released a statement on Oct. 6 about the recent Letterman sex scandal, condemning Letterman for creating an "awkward, confusing and demoralizing" work environment.
But back in 1998, when Bill Clinton was perjuring himself about Monica Lewinsky, NOW (along with other feminists) was strangely silent. Even Maureen Dowd noticed. She called them out in her Pulitzer Prize winning article "The Slander Strategy," saying, "Ms. Lewinsky must die so that the women of America can have better child care, longer maternity stays, toll-free domestic violence hot lines and bustling mutual funds."
And, on Fox News Channel's Oct. 5 "Glenn Beck" program, Beck addressed that and some of the gripes he had about the media for not doing their job.
"I tell you all the time, I'm not a journalist," Beck said "I'm not. I joked that I'm a rodeo clown, but you know what - I take that back. I no longer am a rodeo clown. I am a dad, and quite frankly, I'm a little pissed off right now. You can call me names. You can make fun of me, whatever. I'm doing what I believe is right. I am doing a job as a private citizen right now."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith painted a glowing portrait of the Clinton administration while previewing a new book on the former president: "During Bill Clinton’s presidency, the nation prospered, he worked to broker peace in the Middle East and in the Balkans, championed welfare reform, and signed the NAFTA free trade agreement."
The book, entitled The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With The President was written by Clinton friend and historian Taylor Branch, who recorded a series of 79 conversations with the president while in office.
After listing Clinton’s supposed accomplishments, Smith lamented: "But his presidency was marred by numerous investigations, a lawsuit brought by Paula Jones charging sexual harassment, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal." Smith later asked Branch about the scandals: "What was he [Clinton] like during that time?" Branch responded sympathetically: "He talked about it seldom and painfully....He said ‘I cracked’....A little later he said he felt sorry for himself, that he thought he had beaten down all the scandals and then they would keep reviving and coming back....he just said this ‘it’s never going to stop.’" Smith repeated: "Never going to stop."
In a great NewsBusters post early this morning, Rusty Weiss wondered how much local media coverage there has been of ACORN's suspension of services, and focused on potential vote fraud in Albany and Troy, New York.
Here's a question local reporters looking for an angle should be asking, even in the somewhat unlikely event they can't find anything corrupt or criminal at the ACORN office in their town: How effective is the organization's outreach?
Based on what little I've learned, a more legitimate question might be, "Is ACORN's so-called outreach really just a facade to conceal other not well-known activities it really considers more important"?
The issue first occurred to me when I read a September 18 report by WCPO in Cincinnati (WCPO apparently stands for "We Constantly Promote Obama") about the office's decision to suspend services (bolds are mine):
We've all been witness to the deft handling of the MSM by Andrew Breitbart and the investigative reporters James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. Their work has uncovered a level of corruption being perpetrated by members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), heretofore unknown; at least by those who derive their information solely from the likes of Big Media.
However, as diligent members of the conservative community, it is crucial that one keeps an eye out for lower levels of corruption stained by the fingerprints of ACORN. Will your local newspapers be able and willing to connect the dots?
One such scenario involves a massive voter fraud case in upstate New York. The allegations, which were brought to light by the Albany Times Union, involve absentee ballots forged by people associated with the city's Democratic Party for those registered to vote on the Working Families Party (WFP) line in Troy, NY. The ballots not only involve clearly forged signatures, but also, falsifying excuses for not being present on Election Day, and registering individuals who no longer live in the area.
Some interesting items not being covered in the investigative report are the links between the WFP and ACORN, and even certain names mentioned in the article which clearly show ties with the organization.
If you haven't been under a rock the last few weeks, or relying on the mainstream media as your sole source of news, you are likely aware of some of the questionable circumstances surrounding the organization Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
A pair of intrepid investigative reporters, James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, with the help of Andrew Breitbart, made it possible for the public to be aware of these practices by ACORN. However, the embattled organization, in a retaliatory maneuver, has filed a suit against O'Keefe, Giles and Breitbart. Breitbart appeared on Fox News Channel's Sept. 24 "The O'Reilly Factor" and responded to the suit.
"So, all I can see is that this lawsuit is an attempt to stifle free speech and the First Amendment and an attempt to make sure that the American people don't see the rest of the tapes and there are more tapes," Breitbart said.
Last Wednesday, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis promised that her organization would conduct a "total audit," and would name an independent auditor by Friday ("within 48 hours"). Later, it said it would do so yesterday.
The group finally acted today, in totally underwhelming fashion. We're not going to get a "total audit" after all. Instead, there's going to be an "internal investigation," and it will be conducted by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.
If this were a Republican group, or if the press were doing its job, this change in mission would be correctly labeled a watered-down cop-out. Instead, the Associated Press's Sharon Theimer played along with it and made no reference to ACORN's high-minded promises last week.
Last Wednesday, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, in the wake of James O'Keefe's and Hannah Giles's embarrassing video barrage, went into damage control mode:
As a result of the indefensible action of a handful of our employees, I am, in consultation with ACORN’s Executive Committee, immediately ordering a halt to any new intakes into ACORN’s service programs until completion of an independent review. I have also communicated with ACORN’s independent Advisory Council, and they will assist ACORN in naming an independent auditor and investigator to conduct a thorough review of all of the organization's relevant systems and processes.
The Politico entry from Ben Smith linked above reports that the (cough, cough) "Independent Advisory Council" consists of the following eight members:
Fair enough. But Breitbart asserted what I believe is a bigger point. It isn't just that the establishment media would have ignored the story if James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles had attempted to put it out there on their own. Breitbart believes that Big Media would have actively worked to bury it and to discredit its authors. There's little doubt that Andrew is absolutely correct.
That, and the Washington Post reports on how ACORN was just "playing along" with the sting artists who caught them on videotape. You knew that was coming, didn't you? You already know that the freelance sting artists who zapped ACORN are being -- and have been -- referred to as "racists" and puppets of conservative radio and Fox News. Now, ACORN is utilizing a tried and true (but not very successful) tactic: Explaining that they were just "playing along" with the "ridiculous scheme."
I'm old enough to remember the famous (or infamous) Abscam sting of the early 1980s. One of the representatives who was convicted of taking bribes -- Richard Kelly -- famously (and hilariously) defended his illegal actions by claiming he was "undertaking his own investigation" and "spent part of the [bribe] money to maintain his cover." It didn't work. Kelly spent thirteen months in the federal pen.
But more interestingly on their Two-Way news blog, NPR's Frank James blames not ACORN itself, but society:
Leave it to the Associated Press to drive the establishment media's attempt to portray ACORN's serious impairment as almost entirely the product of the Republican Party.
Never mind that Democrats control the Senate, which voted 83-7 to pull HUD funding from the group earlier this week, meaning that the vast majority of Democrats supported the measure. Never mind that the House, including about 70% of Democrats, yesterday voted to totally defund ACORN by 345-75.
In the world of Jim Abrams and the Associated Press, it must be almost all the GOP's fault that this happened. Check out the headline (frequently used elsewhere, as seen in this Google Web search on the exact title in quotes) at the reporter's story:
Early this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I posted on the Associated Press's treatment of the firing of two employees at ACORN's Baltimore office. These employees were successfully stung by undercover filmmaker James O'Keefe, who posed as a pimp (one who said he has plans to use the money from his "enterprise" to run for Congress), and Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute.
In a pair of videos (full script here) released on Thursday, viewers saw the two helpful ACORN Baltimore employees tell O'Keefe and Giles, among many jaw-dropping things, that:
Giles should call herself a “freelance performing artist” for tax purposes.
That they should claim three of 13 underage girls the pair planned to bring in from El Salvador to work as prostitutes as dependents.
That the prostitute should also claim child tax credits for those declared as "dependents."
O'Keefe and Giles piled on Friday morning by releasing a second pair of videos showing that they had pulled off a similar sting at ACORN's DC office.
But if we're to believe the Associated Press's Hope Yen, Friday's out of the blue decision by the Census Bureau to sever its ties with ACORN in connection with the 2010 census had nothing or at most very little to do with what O'Keefe and Giles pulled off. Instead, Yen portrayed the decision as a cave-in to the minority party in Washington known as Republicans. Uh-huh.
Thursday night, the Associated Press reported on the Baltimore ACORN sting carried out by James O'Keefe of Andrew Breitbart's new BigGovernment.com web site. A paragraph near the end of the report is virtually a de facto commercial for the controversial group.
As to the sting itself, in case you missed it -- in two devastating videos originally posted here that you must see, O'Keefe and Hannah Giles posed as a pimp and prostitute who, as summarized in original Fox News coverage, told officials at ACORN's Baltimore office that they "wanted to secure housing where the woman could continue to maintain a prostitution business."
ACORN said Thursday that it has fired the two employees who are seen on tape telling O'Keefe and Giles the following, among a host of sickening howlers:
During the 4PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC Thursday, co-host David Shuster denounced the behavior of Republicans at President Obama’s address to Congress, declaring: “You look at the image of the Republican Party, all white males with short haircuts. They look sort of angry. No women, no minorities, and it looks like they’ve sort of become unhinged.”
Shuster and co-host Tamron Hall moderated a debate between Democratic strategist Patrick Murphy and Republican strategist Alex Conant, over the impact of Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouting out ‘you lie!’ during the President’s speech. Shuster claimed: “The video of the Republican lawmakers was almost as striking as the speech itself....Did the Republican image change last night for the worse or was it something minor that may have only had an impact on the conservative base that was energized and wants to kill reform?”
Following the discussion, Hall observed: “...this pride in being an American and what it means to have class in this country and to see something like that. It is hurtful when you know that it is a prestigious place we have in this world and when we are reduced to behavior like that, it is very telling to all of us. We love this country and it is hurtful to see someone play out their – their emotions in such a loser way – I think I can say that.” Shuster replied: “Tamron you said it perfectly. I agree with you 100%.” Hall admitted: “I don’t think my mother would like I said loser, but oh well.”
Sadly, posts like this one about the continued refusal of the Associated Press to label disgraced and now-indicted Northeast Pennsylvania judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan are starting to sound like a broken record.
Fair enough, but someone has to track the record AP is apparently seeking, the one for "most failures to mention a Democratic Party affiliation after initially doing so."
You see, in an early report back in February when the story first broke, AP told readers (as noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), that "Both are Democrats." Shortly thereafter, revised and extended versions of that early report omitted the two judges' party affiliations.
No other AP story since issued that I am aware of has told readers that Ciavarella and Conahan are Democrats, even though the wire service's reports on case developments have gone over their national wire, as seen here today at AP's raw feed at about 2PM:
“It's a sad day to see a man of good work get so little credit,” CNN senior political analyst David Gergen regretted about Van Jones on Monday's Anderson Cooper 360, complaining about the coverage of the Obama “green jobs” czar who resigned late Saturday night after his radical views were exposed: “I mean, there's no balance to understanding just how many good things he's done.”
Jones signed a petition which charged Bush administration officials “may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war,” described himself as a “communist,” compared George W. Bush to a crack user, called Republicans “assholes” and made other incendiary race-based remarks, but Gergen saw a saint: “As he left Yale Law School, instead of going to a lucrative job, went out and worked with ex-prisoners, tried to create green jobs for them, has been featured in Time magazine, gotten all sorts of award for it.” (Audio: MP3 clip of Gergen)
Being championed in Time magazine is only a badge of honor for liberals. Back in November of 2007, in a profile of Jones, “Bring Eco-Power to the People,” the magazine hailed him as “magnetic” and a “visionary.”