Instead of focusing on how the Obama administration found it appropriate to hire a man who added his name to a petition asserting the Bush administration deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur -- or the incompetence displayed in not knowing about it -- ABC and NBC on Sunday night painted Van Jones as a victim, “a target for conservatives,” while “the Republican Right” claimed “its first scalp in this administration.” [audio available here]
With “Under Fire” on screen by a picture of Jones, as if he's the aggrieved party, World News anchor Dan Harris fretted that “at this crucial moment,” with President Obama planning to take up health care, “the White House is now dealing with a sudden overnight resignation of a controversial adviser.” Reporter Stephanie Sy stressed how Jones' remarks on various topics “were all made before he joined the Obama administration, but made him an easy target for conservatives.” She acknowledged Jones “in fact did describe himself as an aspiring communist revolutionary in his youth,” but, she highlighted, “he said he is the victim of a 'vicious smear campaign of lies and distortion.'” Sy featured Howard Dean lamenting Jones will no longer be able “to help this country,” before she concluded: “Democrats worry that Van Jones is only the first of Mr. Obama's so-called policy czars...that will be targeted by Republicans.”
Inadvertently, presumably, NBC anchor Lester Holt conceded the mainstream media's malfeasance: “I don't think most Americans had heard of him before this.” Holt then asked John Harwood: “Can the Republican Right claim its first scalp in this administration?” Harwood pointed to how Obama “lost” Tom Dashle, and proceeded to agree that “yes, it is a victory for the Republican Right,” though he insisted “Jones was not an especially important figure within the administration. His job wasn't that big.”
Instead of taking up how five years ago Jones signed the 911truth.org petition calling for an “immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur,” a revelation to which FNC's Special Report devoted a full story on Thursday, on ABC's World News fill-in anchor George Stephanopoulos trumpeted the Obama White House “transparency” in the “unprecedented” decision to release visitor logs, which Jake Tapper described as an “historic” move before Stephanopoulos fretted over how Obama “is facing this liberal revolt over the public health insurance option, and the President decided to take it head-on today.”
Over on NBC, Brian Williams bemoaned: “A back to school speech by the President. How did it get branded as an attempt to brainwash America's children?” He also conveyed liberal disappointment Obama-defenders aren't tough enough: “Some are asking how the White House message got hijacked before the speech was delivered and why more people aren't pushing back.” Andrea Mitchell asserted that “it's only the latest example of what the White House calls the silly season -- town halls where disabled speakers are shouted down....From charges of death panels to the birthers...”
Just in case you somehow haven't heard about it in the past couple of months, the Associated Press wanted to remind everyone this morning that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (who, to be clear, I believe should resign), who had AN AFFAIR(!!), went back to work today -- and that this really, really deserved to be a national story, as shown in the mini-pic of the AP's raw feed:
The unbylined AP item also reminded readers that Sanford "had been a GOP darling" earlier this year. Of course, there's no bias in that dubious statement.
Here's a picture of most of the short AP report, produced for the purposes of fair use, discussion, and ridicule:
Wednesday's NBC Nightly News devoted a full minute to the guilty convictions for bribery, racketeering and wire fraud against former nine-term Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson, but failed to name his political party.
ABC's Charles Gibson mentioned Jefferson's party in a brief World News item. The CBS Evening News didn't air anything about Jefferson's convictions which were announced just under an hour before the 6:30 PM EDT feeds of the newscasts shown in the eastern and central time zones, though Couric did manage to highlight how “Giants quarterback Eli Manning agreed today to a six-year deal for $97 million, making him the highest-paid player ever in the NFL.”
NBC considered the case important enough to send Pete Williams to the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia (just a few blocks from MRC HQ), but he didn't cite Jefferson's party and while anchor Brian Williams set up his colleague by referring to the “case of the cold, hard cash, money that was famously found in the freezer at the home of William Jefferson,” he identified Jefferson only as “a former Congressman from Louisiana.”
Here's a particularly noteworthy "Name That Party" follow-up.
In a February post ("AP’s ‘Name That Party’ Twist: Disgraced PA Judges’ Dem Party ID Disappears After Initial Inclusion"; at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the Associated Press had originally identified the party of two Democratic judges involved in a shocking scheme that pushed thousands of juvenile offenders into detention centers for minor offenses in return for millions in kickbacks.
However, in longer subsequent reports, the AP dropped the party affiliation of Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella (pictured at left) and Michael Conahan.
This evening, in a 5-paragraph story (as of 7:47 p.m.; story could change over time) about a federal judge's refusal to accept plea agreements from the pair, AP Writer MaryClaire Dale stayed consistent with the wire service's see-no-Democrats approach to developments in this grisly story:
On Friday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson filed a report recounting mortgage company Countrywide Financial’s history of offering special deals on loans to government officials – including figures with connections to President Clinton, President Bush, and President Obama. But, while the two most prominent figures currently still in government who are implicated in the scandal are Democratic Senators Christopher Dodd and Kent Conrad, neither Senator was identified by Attkisson as a Democrat. Even while soundbites of the two Senators were shown, there was not even an on-screen label showing the party of either Senator. Until the end of the story, the only clue viewers had as to either Senator’s party was when Attkisson identified Dodd as being the "head" of a Senate committee.
But later, the CBS correspondent did more directly link one other figure to Republican members of Congress as she read documentation citing Countrywide’s interest in a former House committee counsel, Clinton Jones. Quoting an "internal Countrywide email," Attkisson described him as "‘an advisor to ranking Republican members of Congress responsible for legislation of interest [to Countrywide].’"
It was not until the end of the report, after a soundbite of Republican Congressman Darrell Issa – whose party was labeled on screen – complaining about Countrywide’s actions, that Attkisson finally hinted that Democrats may have more to fear from the scandal as she relayed that "Democrats are blocking a Republican effort to subpoena Countrywide documents."
This morning, some 30 people were arrested in New Jersey, the fruit of a two-year federal investigation into a international money laundering scandal. Among those arrested were Democratic Mayors Peter Cammarano III (Hoboken) and Dennis Elwell (Secaucus), as well as Democratic deputy mayor of Jersey City Leona Beldini and Republican state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt.
But if you only got your news of this mass arrest from the Associated Press, you would not learn the party affiliation of these politicians. To their credit, other news outlets readily accessible to New Jerseyans such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal noted the party affiliations of these allegedly crooked pols.
While the big liberal media usually find it hard to skip any news related to the Kennedy family, ABC, CBS and NBC breathed not a word about Saturday’s 40th anniversary of Chappaquiddick. On the night of July 18, 1969, Senator Edward Kennedy left a party with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne and later drove off a bridge. Kennedy left the scene with Kopechne still in the submerged vehicle; he did not call the police until the following morning.
The Saturday and Sunday New York Times and Washington Post also had nothing about Chappaquiddick. Several newspapers did carry a brief, if inadvertent, mention, since on Saturday the Associated Press made it the day’s “Highlight in History” in their re-cap of big news events that happened on a July 18, beating out the start of the Great Fire of Rome in A.D. 64 and the death of naval hero John Paul Jones in 1792.
Perhaps inadvertently, the text of the Associated Press's earliest video coverage (scroll down the right frame at the link) of Walter Cronkite's death would appear to say a lot about how journalists see themselves -- and it's not as objective communicators of what is occurring in the world:
Cronkite: "Hello, I'm Walter Cronkite."
AP's Diane Kepler, narrator: He was the most trusted man in America.
Cronkite (November 22, 1963): From Dallas, Texas, the flash apparently official. President Kennedy died at 1PM Central Standard Time, 2 o'clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.
DK: Walter Cronkite, for many the quintessential TV journalist, has died. For most Americans he was the man to turn to on everything from the assassination of President Kennedy to what to think about the war in Vietnam.
Earlier this week, ABC, CBS and NBC all noted the tenth anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy, Jr. That Kennedy was an “icon” according to CBS’s Harry Smith, and “the Prince of Camelot” to ABC’s Chris Cuomo, a former cousin-in-law. Today marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, killed July 18, 1969 after leaving a party with Senator Edward Kennedy. That night, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge, and left the scene with Kopechne still in the submerged vehicle; he did not call the police until the following morning.
Over the course of the past four decades, the media elite have touted Kennedy as a “liberal lion,” spending far more time celebrating his ideological agenda than reminding people of his behavior that night in 1969. As my colleague Brent Baker noted in an op-ed back in 1999, the media have come to refer to Chappaquiddick as a “Kennedy tragedy,” not a “Kopechne tragedy.”
Somebody at the Columbus Dispatch has a bit of explaining to do.
You see, Ohio Governor's former Director of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives, one Robert "Eric" McFadden, after "years" of not getting caught, pleaded guilty last Thursday of two felonies for trying to market the "services" of a 17 year-old prostitute. Yes, a 17 year-old.
In his original report late Thursday morning on McFadden's plea -- a report no longer available at the paper's web site even though it is listed at a relevant site search (last item listed; screen cap is here for later reference) -- the Dispatch's Bruce Cadwallader gave a barely adequate description of the facts and circumstances surrounding both McFadden's day job and the double life that he had been leading "for years" up to his arrest in January.
But in his early-AM Friday report, which I have confirmed with a Dispatch representative is the one that went into the paper's July 10 print edition, Cadwallader "somehow" left out the "for years" reference, giving readers a clear and incorrect impression that McFadden had only recently begun his illicit activities.
In the week since South Carolina’s Republican Governor announced he had flown to Argentina to carry on an extra-marital affair, the broadcast morning and evening news shows have gone full bore on the scandal, cranking out 49 stories even in the midst of other major stories like Michael Jackson’s death and the continuing repression in Iran.
The morning after Sanford announced his affair, on the June 25 Good Morning America, longtime correspondent Sam Donaldson used the scandal to broadly charge Republicans with being “sanctimonious. They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they [act] human, they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness.” Unlike when New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught consorting with a prostitute in March 2008, all three broadcast networks immediately identified Sanford’s party ID.
A number of top Democrats are enmeshed in embarrassment or facing allegations of wrongdoing, but the networks have far less interest in publicizing those cases. A rundown of ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening coverage so far this year:
While many on the left are reveling in the downfall of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford after he disclosed his affair with a woman in Argentina, there's a sympathetic figure being overlooked that might have the necessary background to fill the void left by the governor should he resign.
On CNBC's June 30 "The Kudlow Report," Wall Street Journal senior economics writer Steve Moore explained his close relationship with the Sanfords and raised a new political possibility.
"This is such a tough thing for me Larry, because as you know Mark Sanford has been a long-time friend of mine," Moore said. "This story truly breaks my heart." Moore suggested that South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford run for her husband's seat - as he called her "the brains of the operation."
Apart from several reports on FNC, and a few on CNN, the mainstream television news media have ignored the controversial firing of former Inspector General Gerald Walpin, who had recently battled for tougher penalties against Obama friend and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson after an investigation by Walpin found Johnson had misused hundreds of thousands of tax dollars granted by the AmeriCorps program to the Johnson-founded St. Hope charity. Over the past weeks, there have been a number of developments, including the opening of an FBI investigation into the St. Hope charity, further casting doubt on the White House's decisions and bolstering Walpin's case that he was wrongfully booted.
While much of the country has been captivated by the passing of pop star Michael Jackson, the scandal of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and turmoil in Iran and Iraq, business news has fallen off the front pages.
"Remember when business was on the front page?" Cramer said. "We were on the front page for awhile. It was really frightening. It's still off - our whole, our whole - the whole stock market, the economy, we're all off the front page. We're no longer important because lovers, this guy Sanford - I'm not that familiar with his story. Those two people in Pennsylvania that were on the ‘Today' show and all those others."
In the wake of political sex scandals including South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Nevada Sen. John Ensign, ABC's Cokie Roberts took the opportunity on June 25 to suggest that the fundamental flaw in each case was the male gender.
"World News with Charles Gibson" anchor asked question of why such affairs ever begin.
"It's an admission that can doom the most promising political career," Gibson said. "So, why do politicians tempt fate and cheat on their wives? Why do so many think they can get away it?"
ABC correspondent John Berman's report tried to rationalize marital infidelity as "politics as usual" and part of the narcissism that comes with being a politician. Berman explained the recent rash of infidelity scandals weren't bound by geography, political party or sexual orientation.
CNN’s Ali Velshi, during a segment on Thursday’s Newsroom program, ignored all the past sex scandals involving Democrats in recent years as he focused on “another sex scandal involving a leading Republican.” When his guest, Tony Blankley, tried to counter with how these scandals are being used to try to get the GOP to abandon social issues, Velshi tried hard to brush this aside.
The segment with Blankley, which aired at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with Velshi recapping the details about the most recent Republican sex scandal involving South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, and how legislators in the state were proceeding with possible impeachment of the executive. He then introduced his main point for the segment: “Okay, I’m going to say it- another sex scandal involving a leading Republican- this is the second in two weeks. It’s hardly helping the party to resurrect its image.”
After introducing his guest, Velshi referred to his point and asked, “I wasn’t the first guy to say that. You’ve heard this a lot in the last few days. You heard it before Mark Sanford. What’s going on with the Republicans and scandals?” Blankley first rebuked Sanford and any Republican who had been caught in marital infidelity. He continued by making his point about the push to give up on family values: “As far as the party is concerned, although there’s hypocrisy when one of its members or two or seven of its members breach the standards it advocates, you can’t give up your values. The party believes in supporting families. You have programs that do that.”
ABC's Sam Donaldson appeared on Thursday's Good Morning America to talk about the developing Mark Sanford scandal and loudly assert that it's hard to forgive Bible-thumping Republicans for their sexual transgressions. He began by deriding, "The problem Republicans have, so many of them are sanctimonious." [audio available here]
The longtime contributor continued his attack on members of the GOP who get caught up in sex scandals: "They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they- human- they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness."
Former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos appeared on Thursday's Good Morning America to bizarrely assert that Democrats have a harder times surviving sex scandals than Republicans. While discussing South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, he breathlessly claimed, "We've never seen anything like this before"and never mentioned his former boss, Bill Clinton, who escaped impeachment conviction after being caught in a sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky.
GMA co-host Diane Sawyer informed viewers that Stephanopoulos had been "looking back at this roll call of apologies for indiscretions, Republicans and Democrats." The "This Week" host spun, "Democrats have had a harder time holding on to office after scandals, recently, than Republicans." Stephanopoulos also appeared on Wednesday night's "World News" and told anchor Charlie Gibson virtually the same thing. And, once again, he failed to cite Bill Clinton, certainly one of the most famous examples of a Democrat retaining office after a sex scandal.
Should be interesting next time Joe Scarborough runs into the likes of Ed Schultz . . .
The Morning Joe host today slammed the hypocrisy of cable news hosts, specifically including some at MSNBC, for taking "unbridled glee" in Mark Sanford's disgrace.
Scarborough didn't name names, but he almost surely had Schultz, among others, in mind. As I reported here, on his show last evening Schultz absolutely revelled in Sanford's distress, boasting "I have no mercy here" and using the most mocking of tones to describe the circumstances. Was Joe also alluding to Keith Olbermann, who had considerable fun at Sanford's expense last night?
In their latest article analyzing the extramarital affairs of the deplorable Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, the Associated Press demonstrates once again that the word ‘logic’ has somehow become lost in translation.
In a piece entitled, Sanford’s extramarital affair a problem for GOP,the AP gleefully discusses the topic of Sanford’s misdeeds and their potential effect on the Republican Party – a valid analysis. However, it takes no more than two paragraphs before the author dispenses with the aforementioned term ‘logic’, and decides instead to inexplicably link and attack several other GOP governors who have nothing to do with this affair.
CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez wondered on Friday: "Lots of politicians get caught having affairs, as you know. The trick, though, is making a comeback. It’s happened before, but the question is does John Edwards have a political future?"
Rodriguez later introduced the segment by citing Edwards’ recent comments about his political future in a Washington Post interview: "Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, just two of the high profile politicians who’ve survived the scandal of having an extramarital affair. Now John Edwards is speaking out for the first time, since his affair, about testing the waters for a possible political comeback. But is it too late? Is the damage done?"
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes quoted Kenneth Vogel of Politico on the topic: "His cancer-stricken wife knew about the affair, asked him not to run for president. He did anyway. He kept it from his staffers. His political committees may have paid hush money. All of these things put together just make it that much more difficult for him to find a way to rehabilitate himself in the public eye." Cordes responded to that seeming political obituary by declaring: "Not so fast. Lots of politicians, after all, have had affairs and gone on to successful careers. Crisis management experts say Edwards may be testing the waters and could still have a political future."
On Wednesday, several FNC shows recounted the latest developments in the case of President Obama's suspicious, and possibly illegal, firing of former inspector general Gerald Walpin, after an investigation headed by Walpin found Obama friend and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson guilty of misusing over $800,000 in funding intended for the AmeriCorps program. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity pointed to apparent inconsistencies in the story so far.
Beck, who had previously interviewed Walpin on Monday, interviewed him again on Wednesday, and informed viewers of a claim by the White House that Walpin had shown up at a meeting "disoriented," leading the President to dismiss him. Walpin charged that the administration was engaging in "an amazing slinging of mud" against him, and later added:
Tuesday's Fox and Friends on FNC gave attention to the case of former inspector general Jerry Walpin, of the Corporation for National and Community Service, who was abruptly dismissed from his position, after he headed up an investigation of one of President Obama's political allies for misuse of AmeriCorps funds, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. Co-anchor Steve Doocy also brought up the possibility that Obama had broken the law in firing Walpin without just cause. As he was interviewed by co-hosts Gretchen Carlson and Doocy, Walpin summed up his agency's findings against Johnson:
We found out that Johnson had misused the members of the AmeriCorps volunteers for his own personal purposes, had used them in political campaigns, had used them to wash his car, and had even taken them to New York to lobby for him, and they're supposed to be working tutoring students in Sacramento. He took them to New York to lobby for him to get a charter school charter here in New York.
Walpin also charged that Johnson was never required by the Obama administration to reimburse the $800,000 he owed the government:
Blago and Burris, Sitting in a tree, But they'd rather we not know their political party.
There has been yet another revelation about contacts between Democratic President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate successor, Democrat Roland Burris and former Illinois Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich over Blago's pre-Senate appointment, uh, deliberations. A released FBI audio recording reveals that Burris offered to make a campaign contribution to Blago as he lobbied to be selected.
This news has brought on yet another wave of stories that fail to tell us what party Blago and Burris belong to.
The Washington Post is the only publication that identified the party of both men in the course of reporting their story. The Post's Peter Slevin and Perry Bacon Jr. also identified the Democratic Party affiliation of the Senate Ethics Committee's Barbara Boxer:
In early March (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Toledo Blade Columbus Bureau reporter Jim Provance named the party of Ohio's Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor, who sharply criticized Democratic Governor Ted Strickland's serious lateness with the state's financial statements -- so late that they couldn't possibly be audited until after the Ohio General Assembly passes the budget for the two-year fiscal period that will begin on July 1.
Provance never named Strickland's or any other Democrat's party.
I should have mentioned that the governor is a Democrat. I mentioned Ms. Taylor's party affiliation because she is of the opposite party of the person she is criticizing. Just a fact that should be put out there. I should have taken the next step of noting the governor's party."
While a segment on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show reported on an upcoming book by Elizabeth Edwards in which she discusses her reaction to husband John Edwards having an affair, at no time was Edwards’ Democratic Party affiliation mentioned. Co-host Maggie Rodriguez began the story: "But first, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former presidential candidate, John Edwards, is about to release a memoir called 'Resilience.' Mrs. Edwards, who has cancer, speaks out about her husband's very public betrayal of her, an affair with a former campaign worker."
In a report by correspondent Bianca Soloranzo, past infidelities of Democratic politicians were mentioned, but no party affiliations were given: "Elizabeth Edwards joins a long line of political wives who have stood by their cheating spouses." A clip of former President Bill Clinton was played: "I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate." A clip was also played of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer: "I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family." Beth Frerking of Politico was quoted downplaying such affairs: " I think when people marry people that go into politics or have ambitions to go into politics, they know that this is part of the package. And I think really it's the exception when that spouse leaves."
Following the report, Rodriguez spoke with psychologist Robi Ludwig about the frequency of politicians cheating on their spouses, but prefaced the discussion by exclaiming: "First of all, we should say we're not in their house, we're not in their shoes, we don't know why they made the decision they made...Very important, I think, to point out." Rodriguez never made that disclaimer when making personal judgments about Bristol Palin or Miss California Carrie Prejean.
"Good Morning America" weekend anchor Kate Snow on Friday filed a report on Elizabeth Edwards' new book about her husband's infidelity. The ABC journalist ignored the media's role in creating a "myth" about the marriage between Elizabeth and John Edwards, the former senator. Snow noted that Mrs. Edwards knew of her husband's affair prior to his 2008 Democratic presidential campaign and discouraged him from running. She explained, "Last fall in a rare interview, Elizabeth Edwards told the Detroit Free Press the idea the Edwards were a perfect couple was a myth."
However, in 2007, as the Democratic primary race began to heat up, GMA hosts were only two happy to tout the happy marriage of the Edwards. On August 9, reporter David Muir cooed, "...We have the very first photos of a very personal backyard ceremony for John Edwards and his wife." He then proceeded to show pictures of the couple renewing their wedding vows. Muir was wowed by "an incredibly personal photograph" that somehow ended up in People magazine. On July 31, 2007, only nine days earlier, co-hosts Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer featured pictures of the two as they celebrated their wedding anniversary at Wendy's. (The above photo is from the visit to the fast food restaurant.)