We've seen the phenomena of the media forgetting to identify political parties when a Democrat is portrayed negatively and at times, when a Republican is portrayed positively, as during Rep. William Jefferson's (D-LA) corruption and bribery scandal. Conversely, an AP article about Sen. David Vitter's (R-LA) link to the “D.C. Madam” included his party in the first four words.
Since everyone doesn't read every article, it's important to pack the major facts into the initial paragraphs. The first several paragraphs offered many perfect spots to disclose Black's party, but they were not used. Also, the seriousness and details of the charges were minimized by vague descriptions. Between the vagueness of the charges and the lack of identification, the reader is left with questions (emphasis mine throughout):
I received an e-mail tip from a member of the news media who enjoys our work, pointing out some shenanigans at the Associated Press. The matter at hand was President Bush answering a question about Plamegate at today's White House news conference.
Here's an excerpt of his e-mail (emphasis mine):
If you haven't already, check out the AP Stories on the President's
press conference this morning (7/12). The item: BC-Bush 4th Lead by
Headline: Bush acknowledges administration leaked CIA operative's name.
However... quote in paragraph 6 contradicts headline: "I'm aware of the fact that PERHAPS somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person.
There's surely some deeper lesson to be drawn from the tantrum liberal activist Michael Rectenwald threw on yesterday's "Tucker." But in the meantime, for sheer entertainment value it's hard to beat Rectenwald's display of purple-faced apoplexy.
Rectenwald is the man behind the left-wing "Citizens for Legitimate Government," whose mission, according to its website, is "Exposing the Coup" and "Ending the Occupation." Its current pastime is exposing the names of people, including Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), on the DC Madam's client list.
Tucker brought him onto his MSNBC show to discuss "whether the sex lives of elected officials should be dissected, judged and discussed in the first place."
Here's the video, from the MSNBC site. The fireworks begin about 2:30 in, after the libertarian-leaning Carlson tells Rectenwald he ought to be ashamed of himself. Excerpts from Rectenwald's rant:
You are despicable . . . you're an unapologetic Republican partisan . . . you only turned against Bush when everything went down the toilet . . . you're a preppy punk, parading your bow-tie [NB: Tucker wasn't wearing one] . . . once you got done destroying our candidates, you wanted [politicians' sex lives] to be off limits . . . you are nothing . . . you worked for the National Review!
After a two week hiatus, the ladies of "The View" returned to discuss the political issues of the last couple of weeks. Guest co-host Whoopi Goldberg reacted harshly to the president commuting "Scooter" Libby’s 30 month prison sentence. Upon implying that Vice President Cheney has something to hide and Libby will not confess because strange things may happen to them. "look at the old man that went hunting with him," Goldberg said. What all of the co-hosts missed was that Richard Armitage was the source who outed Valerie Plame.
Although Elisabeth Hasselbeck missed the Armitage element, she did mention former President Clinton’s many pardons. Joy Behar dismissed those as "ancient history," but Hasselbeck noted that Clinton is now heavily criticizing President Bush’s actions when Clinton is short on the credibility himself.
Writing on the recently disclosed affair of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, the Times ridiculously opines that "it seems that Democrats' sexual shenanigans do more damage to their political careers than Republicans' do." The Times cheekily writes that the "political bible" states, "Thou shalt not commit adultery, unless you're a Republican." (All emphasis mine.)
Oh, really? Just looking at the Villaraigosa affair, the Times' editorial conveniently fails to consider a few things:
Just today (Sat. 7/7/07), the Times wrote, "[V]oters can be very forgiving, as Villaraigosa himself proved by winning election [as mayor in 2005] despite admitting a separate affair in 1994 that nearly ended his marriage." So ... Where was the "damage" there, LA Times?
In all the time I've been monitoring the liberal media, rarely have I seen a host assail a guest with the ferocity David Shuster displayed in going after Fouad Ajami today. Shuster, guest-hosting for Chris Matthews on this afternoon's Hardball, was seemingly infuriated by a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece Ajami had written that analogized Scooter Libby to a fallen comrade who, pursuant to the Soldier's Creed, should not be left behind.
Set forth below are excerpts from Shuster's diatribe against Ajami, the Lebanese-born Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Johns Hopkins. But words alone don't do justice to the vituperation with which Shuster expressed himself. I urge readers to view the video. I might note that Ajami, perhaps inured to hyperbole by his many years in the Middle East, reacted to Shuster's verbal assaultswith equanimity.
SHUSTER: Mr. Ajami [never does Shuster refer to him by the honorific "Professor"], do you really believe Scooter Libby is like the 3,600 soldiers killed in Iraq?
AJAMI: I really don't need to be lectured on the soldiers killed in Iraq. I spent an enormous amount of time in Iraq. I've spent an enormous amount of time with the American soldiers in Iraq . . . I have a nephew serving with the American military as a lieutentant . . .
SHUSTER, interrupting: Which makes all this even more puzzling, with all due respect Mr. Ajami [translation: with no respect at all], to take someone like Scooter Libby and to compare him with somebody like your nephew or somebody who's actually wearing the uniform raises an awful lot of questions, and we're just trying to get at those questions [right].
AJAMI: You're following in the footsteps of Paul Krugman, who had a column in the New York Times. You have to be able to handle a metaphor. This really was a metaphor . . .
SHUSTER: Mr. Ajami, if it was a metaphor, why didn't you point out that it was a metaphor in your column? "Metaphor" is never in your column.
So there was Elizabeth Edwards, wife of the Blow-Dried One, berating
Ann Coulter on the art of civil discourse last week. After her phone-in
appearance on the Chris Matthews show, St. Elizabeth was the toast of
the media town, making the rounds from one network to the next, with
rose pedals strewn in her path to guide her to her seat, denouncing the
“hatefulness” and “ugliness” of conservative commentators. “We can't
have a debate about issues if you're using this kind of language,” she
It’s a good thing none of her interviewers pretended
to be objective. It’s a good thing she wasn’t asked about hatefulness
and ugliness on the left. It would have been painful.
instance, what if she’d been asked to denounce a quote from a leading
liberal who favors rage as a necessary ingredient in fighting for a
rapid timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, and who attacked
congressional Democrats as weaklings: “We needed uncompromising rage,
and we got silence. We needed courage, and we got silence. And that
silence was, have no doubt about it, a betrayal: of the soldiers, of
the voters in 2006, of humanity and morality.”
[Update at bottom of post] On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program featured two segments on President Bush’s commutation of Dick Cheney aide Lewis Libby. Substitute co-host David Muir opened the program by wondering, "This morning, above the law?" and GMA glossed over Bill Clinton's infamous pardon of Marc Rich. Instead, various anchors found time to twice highlight Senator Dick Durbin’s comment that "even Paris Hilton had to go to jail."
Although reporter David Kerley's segment did feature a quote from Republican strategist Rich Galen, both pieces seemed more interested in Democratic outrage. Kerley and Muir seemed taken with Senator Dick Durbin’s comparison to Paris Hilton:
Kerley: "But one of the most stinging statements came from Senator Dick Durbin, who said, quote, ‘Even Paris Hilton had to go to jail. No one in this administration should be above the law.’"
David Muir: "Not surprisingly, the Democrats are jumping on this. We heard from the Democratic candidates there. Senator Durbin saying even Paris Hilton went to jail. Some real red meat for the other party."
After immediately jumping on the news that then-House majority leader Tom DeLay was indicted by a Democratic Texas prosecutor, the big three networks refused to mention the Wednesday news that the Texas supreme court has approved the dismissal of one of the charges against him.
The charges were originally dismissed by a lower court judge (an event which the big three just barely covered) who ruled that the laws under which the former congressman was indicted did not exist during the time he was alleged to have violated them.
DeLay's indictments at the hand of a partisan Democratic prosecutor (the "Mike Nifong of Texas" as DeLay's blog calls him) were one of several charges of "corruption" leveled by the media and Democrats that helped turn the electoral tide against the GOP in the 2006 elections. After DeLay's indictment by Ronnie Earle, the press even went so far as to obscure Earle's political party, barely mentioning it or declining to do so at all.
That was a stark contrast to Wednesday night's coverage where DeLay's vindication was not mentioned at all.
It'll be busy at MRC this morning, as both ABC and NBC played up Elizabeth Edwards dressing down Ann Coulter by phone on "Hardball" last night. (Matthews trashed Coulter as a "Today" guest this morning. More to come.) Wire services like AP and newspapers like The Washington Post are on the story today, but several important elements are missing from this story. None seem to question the ethics of MSNBC staging this unusual telephone sneak attack on Coulter.
More importantly, no one seems to be questioning Elizabeth Edwards attacking Coulter for the "language of hate" when the Edwards campaign hired Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan as official bloggers, who attacked "Christofascists," smeared Pope Benedict as a dictator, and mocked the core doctrines of Christianity as excuses for misogyny. Mrs. Edwards was a player in hiring those feminist bloggers and their language of hate. Why is the liberal media ignoring the pot calling the kettle black?
On Sunday, film director/producer Michael Moore gave a special sneak preview of his new schlockumentary “Sicko” at the Regal Theatre in Times Square, New York.
After the screening, he was approached by two brothers who run a website called We Are Change, which appears to be largely another “9/11 Truth” organization.
At first, Moore was trying to elude the pair, but finally answered a few of their questions surrounding the events of September 11, 2001.
Whether intentional or caught off guard, Moore indicated he believes the worst attack on American soil in decades could quite possibly be an inside job (video available here, h/t NB reader M.R., relevant section begins at minute 6:00):
As we've documented at NewsBusters, last year the media, particularly the Washington Post, raked then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) over the coals for his infamous "macaca" insult, and his ensuing profuse apologies for same. We've also documented that Democratic politicians' jokes about India and Indian-Americans have been largely ignored (see below the jump).
The latest racial incident kicking up dust on the 2008 campaign trail is yet another Democratic gaffe, dubbed by some, "Punjab-gate," after an Obama presidential campaign research memo cheekily described rival Hillary Clinton as a Democrat from Punjab, a province in India.
Of course, as the oppo memo itself notes, and as John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune reported in the Trib's "The Swamp" blog, Obama's staff were referring to another "lame attempt at humor" (my emphasis, see below jump) by the junior senator from the Empire State about her electoral chances were she to decide to relocate to India:
Valerie Plame Wilson claims her life was ruined, her career ended, and national security possibly compromised because her CIA employ was made public, but of course she now wants to cash in with a memoir.
The CIA, for good reason, wants to make sure nothing that compromises national security gets published, and now Plame is literally making a federal case out of that, suing over CIA objections that her dates of employ are and should remain classified.
Is the Los Angeles Times being stubborn its refusal to correct a major mistake in its reporting in the fired U.S. attorney "scandal," or does the paper have more partisan motivations?
In March, the Times filed a story claiming that Bud Cummins, a former U.S. attorney, thought his firing was related to an investigation he launched in Missouri into allegedly improperly awarded contracts to run that state's DMV. Trouble is, Cummins did not believe this at all. Not only that, contrary to fact, the Times asserted that Cummins's investigation was probing to see the involvement of Missouri governor Matt Blunt.
After the Times's story came out, Cummins fired off an email, saying he "did not know of ANY connection between the Missouri investigation (which actually had nothing to do with Governor Blunt) and my termination."
Imagine for a moment that one of the leading Republican presidential candidates said that 10,000 people had been killed by the recent tornado that destroyed Greensburg, Kansas, Saturday.
Do you think this would have been easy fodder for the broadcast television news divisions that always seem fascinated with gaffes made by folks on the right?
If your answer is an unequivocal “Yes,” then why did ABC, CBS, and NBC completely ignore Sen. Barack Obama’s statement Tuesday wherein he accidentally exaggerated the death toll from the Greensburg tornado by 9,988?
If Democrats had accused former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) last year of earmarking funds that could help real estate investments owned by his wife, would the media have reported it?
Probably on the front pages of every newspaper, and as the lead story of all of the evening news programs, right?
Well, the Associated Press published a story Monday about current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) possibly earmarking funds that would benefit her husband's investments around the San Francisco Bay. Yet, the media showed virtually no interest (emphasis added):
For two straight days, "Good Morning America" featured interviews with Dina Matos-McGreevey, the ex-wife of former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey. For both segments, co-host Diane Sawyer peppered Mrs. McGreevey with questions about homophobia and whether people should feel sorry for her former, now publically gay, spouse.
During Wednesday’s interview, Sawyer mentioned a subject that arose in custody hearings for the couple’s children. Apparently Jim McGreevey, who resigned after his homosexual affairs and hiring of grossly unqualified individuals became public, kept a rather large photograph of a naked man in his apartment where the children could see, much to the horror of his ex-wife. Sawyer prefaced this by calling the issue one where people "will come down, maybe, on two sides of it." She also wondered if homophobia could be a reason the governor’s wife reacted so negatively:
Tucker Carlson is a self-described libertarian who mentioned more than once this morning that in he has in the past supported fellow libertarian Ron Paul for president. Little wonder, then, that Carlson takes a live-and-let-love attitude toward the escort-service scandal that is threatening to rock Washington.
For those who have not been following the case, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called "DC Madam," owner of an escort agency, turned her clients' phone numbers over to ABC. On tomorrow's "20/20," ABC is apparently planning to disclose the names of some of those clients, who are reported to include Bush administration officials, prominent lobbyists, CEOs and the head of a conservative think tank.
To discuss the ethical issues involved, Carlson had as guests on the early-morning version of his show today the owner of the legal-in-Nevada Moonlight Bunny Ranch, Dennis Hof, and two of his employees, Audrey and Brooke. MSNBC has shaken up its lineup today to provide all-day pre-game coverage of tonight's GOP debate.
The highlight of the segment was this exchange between Carlson and the two women.
On the heels of his award-winning destruction of Congressman Mark Foley over inappropriate instant messages to teenaged House pages, ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross is on the sex beat again. On Monday's Good Morning America, Ross highlighted ABC’s plans to rummage through a D.C. madam’s list of prostitution clients for "people in the Bush administration." But in 1996, when the tabloid newspaper The Star found Bill Clinton’s chief political guru Dick Morris had a relationship with a prostitute, ABC News (and especially anchor Peter Jennings) found it ugly, distasteful business. On the August 26, 1996 World News Tonight, as President Clinton prepared for his convention’s acceptance speech, Jennings began with a complaining tone:
Good evening, we begin tonight with the sweet and the sour of the Presidential campaign. Here in Chicago today the President has been fine tuning as they say, the speech he will be giving to this convention and to the country tonight. And he has a lot to be pleased about. A very upbeat convention. A very successful train trip here with rising poll numbers to accompany it. And very important set of statistics about the economy today, which he will certainly point to as evidence that the country should re-elect him. And then along comes a nasty little scandal to take the edge off the good news at least for the day. The President’s chief political strategist, a man named Dick Morris, resigned from the campaign today, after a story in a supermarket tabloid that he has been having, he’s a married man, a lengthy relationship with a prostitute and talking about his job.
Assume for a moment that a prominent Republican’s uncle that happened to be a former state senator was convicted of accepting bribes. Do you think:
This would have been headline/front-page news
The family relationship would have been in the lede and/or headline
His party affiliation would have been in the lede and/or headline?
Well, on Friday, the uncle of former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. (D), former Tennessee State Sen. John Ford (D), was convicted of accepting bribes totaling $55,000. Yet, many media outlets buried the connection to his much more popular nephew, as well as the fact that he was a Democrat.
For instance, this is how the New York Times handled the story Saturday coincidentally on page A14 (h/t NB reader Joe Easley):
During the latter part of the Clinton admin, the left media often tossed around the phrase "scandal fatigue," a term of art to explain that certain portions of the public had become upset at the Republican party for going after then-president Clinton over trivial things.
Politicians and their allies do have this tendency. But it's not just Republicans who have it. Democrats do as well.
Since President Bush came into office, Democrats have continued this tradition, cooking up a host of psuedo-scandals on everything from spying on China to Valerie Plame. None of it's stuck. Yet instead of speaking wishfully about "scandal fatigue," the left media has instead been doing the very opposite as John Hinderaker at Powerline points out:
Assume for a moment that you were the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2008, and that one of your competitors had recently created a bit of a brouhaha for having hired a couple of liberal bloggers with "tainted" records.
Would you want to post an article at a website that got itself in some trouble of its own last year when it featured an offensive, Photoshopped picture of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) in blackface?
Well, on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) posted an article at Firedoglake, the very website guilty of publishing the offensive picture of Lieberman as reported by NewsBusters.
The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers reported that some Democrats are quite concerned this decision could come back to haunt the junior senator from New York (h/t Glenn Reynolds and Beltway Blogroll):
Paul Schneider, a contributor to the Times' Friday Travel section, visits the quaint Southern town of Flippin, Ark., the center of the first of many Clinton administration scandals, in "Remember Whitewater? The Place Is Still There."
Though his story is mostly concerned with hiking, fishing and caving (and occasional cracks about the South), Schneider opened with liberal conventional wisdom:
"It's hard now to remember those shiny days before 9/11 when Congress seemed to believe that the greatest threat to the republic lay in an obscure land deal in northwestern Arkansas called Whitewater. Given all that has passed under the bridge, there’s something quaint and nostalgic about so much froth and fury over something that in the end went nowhere, like a slightly gonzo Norman Rockwell cover showing democracy in action.
For the last few weeks I have been watching two stories that, were they about Conservatives or Republicans, would have been scandals that would have shaken the rafters of the MSM. But, since these stories are about two favored Liberals, one old and one newly minted, we have seen no faux outrage, no shocked commentary, no calls for heads on pikes to be posted at the entrance to Congress, and no calls for resignations. Oh, the stories were reported all right, but all sensationalism was eschewed with the usual extrapolation to the level of a “culture of corruption” cast aside for a straight, newsy style atypical to their normal means against Republicans.
These two stories and the lack of passionate coverage of them by the MSM shows that the MSM employs as much liberal bias in what they chose not to cover as they do in what they chose to go ahead and focus upon.
In 1998, CNN was convinced that congressional oversight of the Clinton administration was a problem, and congressman Dan Burton was a harsh zealot with an unglued personality. Fast forward to 2007, and Jack Cafferty finds the president is the zealot, and the investigating congressmen and journalists are heroes.
On Friday’s Situation Room, CNN commentator Cafferty was doing publicity for the Bush-hating site Salon.com, reciting some of the many quotes blogger Glenn Greenwald collected from a variety of liberal media sources, such as the New York Times, Newsweek, NPR, and the Associated Press. These quotes from news articles "tend to suggest a pattern," as Cafferty put it, of missing documents and e-mails with the Bush administration. Among the circumstances which Greenwald pulled up quotes for are the Abu Ghraib controversy, the case of suspected terrorist Jose Padilla (pronounced "Patilla" by Cafferty), the supposed gaps in President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard record, and Hurricane Katrina. After presenting many of Greenwald’s collected quotes, Cafferty asked viewers if they think there’s a pattern, and compared it to a "compost heap... the more stuff you pile on it, the greater the odor that emanates from it."
On Wednesday (March 28, 2007), Sen. Diane Feinstein resigned as chairperson and ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON) after serving on it for six years. Beginning in January, Metro, a weekly newspaper serving California's Silicon Valley, reported that Feinstein "voted for appropriations worth billions to her husband's firms." Her husband is Richard C. Blum. Conflict of interest, anyone?
So, exactly how many syllables has the Los Angeles Times dedicated the past week to this potentially explosive ethical problem that Feinstein appears to have? Choose one: A. Zero, B. Zilch, C. Nada, D. Nil. (Hint: Feinstein is a Democrat.)
Over at Opinion Journal, Mark Lasswell has an article about how ABC seems to be competing with The Daily Show for political comedy, at least when George Stephanopoulos talks about U.S. Attorney firings:
How else to explain those hilarious skits when Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos reports on the brouhaha over the Justice Department's firing of eight U.S. attorneys while the proverbial elephant in the room is lurking just off-camera?
Mr. Stephanopoulos doesn't mention his own valuable expertise on the subject of fired federal prosecutors, the kind of expertise that might help place the current mess in context. Mr. Stephanopoulos was the Clinton White House communications director in 1993 when the Justice Department cleaned its slate of all 93 U.S. attorneys, and he was central to the administration's finessing of the episode--just the sort of insider experience, presumably, that prompted ABC News to hire Mr. Stephanopoulos fresh out of the White House in 1996.
With the Democrats back in
power, network anchors are dwelling lovingly on congressional hearings
now with liberal stars like Al Gore and Valerie Plame. They've shown no
loss of appetite for hearings on the U.S. Attorney-firings scandal,
deemed a “constitutional crisis” by NBC Wednesday night. But ten years
ago, when a Republican Congress prepared subpoenas for the Clinton
White House on receiving political contributions from China, viewers
heard the networks sing a very different tune.
wondered whether subpoenas and hearings weren't democracy in action,
but a waste of America's resources. On the April 10, 1997 World News
Tonight, anchor Peter Jennings promoted a story: “When we come back,
two investigations of fundraising abuse, two of them on Capitol Hill.
Is it a waste of time and money?” Reporter John Cochran underlined the
problem of GOP partisanship: “Dan Burton is a hard-charging partisan
and has resisted investigating anyone but Democrats.”