The Washington Times is debuting a new weekly column today by NewsBusters editor Matthew Sheffield. His first piece is on the left-wing Netroots Nation conference and its new counterpart, RightOnline:
With the general election a long way off and much of the general public still tuning out the presidential race, you'd think the online activist corps that have injected unprecedented amounts of cash to fuel this campaign season might want to take a few weeks off.
You'd be wrong.
As I write this, thousands of political webheads are gathering in searing-hot Austin, Texas, with the intent to amplify their collective voices and influence their preferred candidates. Like moths to a flame, many of these candidates are here as well, trying to press the flesh but also to get a handle on what makes bloggers and their readers tick. Lots of political nonprofit types are there as well, each eager to start their own fires.
Erick Erickson and our friends at RedState are marking their fourth birthday today. We wish them all the best. They're celebrating by unwrapping a great new web site design so check it out when you get a chance.
The hiring of Howard Wolfson as a political contributor to Fox News has resulted in the ritual outrage from blue blogs and Fox haters. When they aren't smearing Wolfson ("sell-out", "right-wing Zionist", etc) the alternate tactic is used: diminish Fox by lying about its influence and reach.
Conservatives across America mourned at the news of the death of Senator Jesse Helms, a man credited with impeccable conservative credentials in the U.S. Senate, a conscience of a movement devoted to the defeat of communism abroad and the defense of liberty at home. He was the staunchest of social conservatives as well, unflinching in his opposition to the abortion lobby and the gay agenda.
To liberals he was "Senator No," which meant only that he would strongly oppose everything they wanted to impose on America. Their badly disguised loathing of Helms, well-expressed over the decades, only endeared him to conservatives all the more.
Jesse Helms relished that opposition. In 1990, the media declared him politically dead, his re-election an utter impossibility. On election night, a thousand cheering supporters were made to wait before their man finally emerged to declare victory, 20 minutes late. He opened his remarks by apologizing for his tardiness. "Ah was up in mah room," he explained, "ah had to watch the grievin’ face of Dan Rathuh when he had to say we’d won agin." The crowd went wild.
NewsBusters readers are likely aware of my frequent appeal for civility in our comments sections due to my unwavering belief that despite political differences, when the sun sets, we're all Americans.
Such reverence should be crucial on the day someone that has tirelessly served this nation for thirty years passes away.
Apparently devoid of such human decency, the folks in the Netroots, within minutes of Friday's announcement concerning the death of Jesse Helms, began publishing virulent and vulgar epithets directed at the former senator, with some actually voicing a desire to dance on his grave.
Here are but a few examples, beginning with some truly disgusting diaries posted at Daily Kos (readers are warned that the following contains possibly offensive graphic and vulgar content, h/t LGF):
The media might not be overly concerned with presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama's incessant campaign flip-flops, but the leader of the Netroots, Daily Kos proprietor Markos Moulitsas, is so disturbed by the junior senator's recent changes of heart that he has decided to hold back his financial contribution (file photo).
As NewsBusters has been reporting the past few weeks, this disillusionment with Obama from the ultra-left has been quite vocal of late, and growing.
However, such publicly expressed disheartenment from someone like Moulitsas, coming just weeks after Hillary Clinton's concession, could be quite a problem for the Democrat candidate that media seem to be ignoring; a Google news search identified very little coverage of Kos's 2:05PM post on Tuesday (emphasis added, h/t Hot Air):
Exit poll after exit poll in election after election shows the Democratic Party is staunchly supported by an overwhelming majority of African-American voters, many of whom are much more socially conservative on issues like abortion than their party leadership. The Democratic Party is also staunchly supported in primary battles and in fundraising drives by hard-core pro-choice liberals -- we're talking the same people who fought tooth-and-nail the federal ban on Partial-Birth Abortion.
So when a group of black ministers conducted a protest march in Washington, D.C., last week to raise awareness of its criticism of Planned Parenthood, media outlets had the recipe, instantly, for stories about possible conflicts that could divide the Democratic Party coalition on substantive, hot-button issues.
To perhaps no one's surprise here at NewsBusters, while the media covered the much hyped "Unity" rally in New Hampshire, the cable networks failed to even show up to shoot B-roll of Thursday's pro-life march on the DNC and RNC headquarters. Washington Times staffer Julia Duin covered the march and found no TV cameras present to record it:
It looks like Google has officially joined the Barack Obama campaign and decided that its contribution would be to shut down any blog on the Google owned Blogspot.com blogging system that has an anti-Obama message. Yes, it sure seems that Google has begun to go through its many thousands of blogs to lock out the owners of anti-Obama blogs so that the noObama message is effectively squelched. Thus far, Google has terminated the access by blog owners to 7 such sites and the list may be growing. Boy, it must be nice for Barack Obama to have an ally powerful enough to silence his opponents like that!
It isn't just conservative sites that Google's Blogger platform is eliminating. For instance, www.comealongway.blogspot.com has been frozen and this one is a Hillary supporting site. The operator of Come a Long Way has a mirror site off the Blogspot platform and has today posted this notice:
I'm still trying to figure out who died and made Joe "Anonymous" Klein Time magazine's foreign policy expert-in-residence. The sometime presidential primary fiction writer apparently thinks John McCain's statement on the Bush administration's nuclear deal with North Korea is too "grudging":
...Congratulations to George W. Bush for finally making the correct choice--diplomatic engagement, regional talks that enabled quiet unofficial contacts with the North Koreans, which then led to direct negotiations--in resolving this dispute. Wonder what John Bolton is thinking this morning?
Update: John McCain has just released this statement, which is a bit too grudging for my taste, but does raise the appropriate questions going forward
So let's see: Klein praises Bush but takes a mild swipe at Sen. McCain for having the gall to suggest that North Korea might not live up to its word, which it clearly has a history of doing.
It seems not everyone in the liberal blogosphere is smitten with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.
Take for example Huffington Post editor Rachel Sklar who on Thursday called out the insufferably arrogant and pompous "Countdown" host for naming CBS's Katie Couric his "Worst Person in the World" previously reported by NewsBuster Brad Wilmouth:
Olbermann accused Couric of taking out of "context" comments by NBC correspondent Lee Cowan, who, as he covers the Barack Obama campaign, has said he finds it "hard to be objective," as she, not naming him, suggested he "find another line of work." Olbermann, who has attacked Hillary Clinton on several occasions while being softer on Obama, declared Cowan's reporting to be "utterly objective and accurate," and castigated Couric for "her own promulgation of the nonsense that Senator Clinton was a victim of sexism."
Here's an interesting little experiment from Vanity Fair: A guide to the blogosphere that isn't broken down by left and right but by news/opinion and high/low-brow.
Click image above to view it. You'll find NewsBusters around the middle of the right side. The descriptions skew leftward as you might expect from VF, but the chart itself is pretty accurate. Your thoughts?
Called Fight the Smears, the website was apparently inspired by unfounded rumors that a recording exists of Obama's wife Michelle ranting about "Whitey" at the pulpit of the radical Trinity United Church of Christ, which the Obamas attended for 20 years until Barack Obama came under fire for the anti-American raving of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Showing early signs of a bad habit, the Times strongly implied that the rumor originated with conservative bloggers, even though all evidence suggests that it first broke in the blogosphere in mid-May at the blog of a Hillary Clinton supporter.
U.S. corn futures topped out at record highs on June 11 on the news that the impact of flooding in the Midwest would hurt this year's corn crop, but the June 11 "CBS Evening News" left out one significant detail in its reporting about the crisis.
"[A]gricultural disaster aid has been requested for Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan," CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers said on the June 11 "Evening News." "The federal government estimates that this year's corn crop will be 10 percent lower than last year's. That's down 1.4 billion bushels, and it's too late to do much about it."
According to a Reuters story, corn prices on the Chicago Board of Trade have shot up 80 percent in the last 12 months, with almost 17 percent of that just this month. But Bowers didn't explain how the prices got so high before the floods, which put consumers of corn products in this vulnerable position. Corn futures were already priced high because of a heightened demand - artificially stimulated by federal government subsidies for ethanol produced from corn.
Chicago Tribune religion reporter and blogger Manya Brachear echoed a familiar liberal media meme about orthodox Christianity in her latest "The Seeker" blog post, "Have Southern Baptists lost their way?" (emphases mine):
As a number of conservative Protestant denominations now face decline, leaders have chosen to batten down the hatches, endorse orthodoxy and herald the importance of sharing their faith with others.
But if these denominations narrow their theology at the same time they widen their outreach, is anybody going to listen?
Franklin, being one of the most influential founding fathers, had a powerful understanding of the ability to communicate persuasively to a wide audience Cook explained in an interview.
Although he was known worldwide for his inventions and experiments, Franklin's most enduring legacies may have been in the realm of philosophy and politics, Cook said.
"He would be one of the smartest, wittiest and clever writers on the blogosphere," she said. "The ability to instantaneously express his opinion would be irresistible to him. Blogging would thrill a man with his ability and creativity."
The overspending on Capitol Hill and the high consumption lifestyle of many contemporary Americans would probably figure into Franklin's commentary in light of his parsimonious lifestyle, the book suggests.
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz put Huffington Post blogger Mayhill Fowler on the front page Monday to illustrate how blogs are changing the nature of campaign coverage, but the funniest part came at the end, as Fowler explained she's much more skeptical and distanced now, like a traditional journalist.
Excuse me? Through exposing both Barack Obama's "bitter clingers" comment and last week's Bill Clinton "scumbag" rant against Todd Purdum, Fowler has shown much more skepticism and distance than the parade of Obama-maniacs in the "objective" media this cycle.
In an e-mail, Fowler says she has come to realize that her presence "flummoxes some longtime journalists -- because suddenly here I am, unpaid but as a consequence with much more freedom to find out what's going on out there, and writing for a new and encroaching media that is a Wild Wild West of lawlessness." But she has also had to reexamine her own beliefs.
"Over time, I've become more like a traditional journalist," Mayhill says. "I'm now much more skeptical and much more distanced."
Mary Katharine Ham, a friend and fan of NewsBusters and the Media Research Center, is working her last day at Townhall.com today. She starts her new job as online editor for the Washington Examiner on Tuesday.
On her way out the door, Ham is leaving her peeps with the last and perhaps funniest-ever edition of her "HamNation" vlog. Called "Obama on Your Shoulder," the music video mocks the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee as an all-wise angel-on-the-shoulder who knows how to live your life better than you do.
Freshly posted to Robert Cox's Olbermann Watch blog: news of a FIFTH tax warrant surfaces for MSNBC's bombastic uber-liberal Keith Olbermann.:
Olbermann Watch has confirmed that the New York State Department of Labor filed an Industrial Commission Warrant against Olbermann Broadcasting Empire on April 1, 2008 for $1,039.15 with the New York County Clerk's office.
An Industrial Commission warrant is a remedy available to the Labor Department after all administrative procedures have been exhausted - the employer had been given notice of the claim, had an opportunity to contest it, and the time for all appeals has lapsed. It creates a lien on all property of the corporation within the county and gives the county sheriff the right to execute the warrant by, among other things, attaching and selling the employer's property within the county. There are various procedures that the sheriff has to go through before selling the property.
CNN’s Veronica De La Cruz pulled her scoop on Thursday’s "American Morning" straight out of the left-wing blogosphere. The network’s Internet correspondent cited both the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos in her short segment on the brand-new changes on John McCain’s presidential campaign website.
De La Cruz first zeroed in on McCain’s new slogan. " His new slogan reads ‘a leader we can believe in,' 'a leader we can believe in.' If it sounds somewhat familiar, you probably know that Barack Obama always used the slogan 'change you can believe in.’" She then used an image from the Huffington Post to make her next point. "And if you take a look at this image, we are looking at this. This is found on huffingtonpost.com. You see that, when you put the two Web sites up next to each other. There's one on top, you see Barack is up there, McCain's new logo also looks similar to Barack Obama's as well."
With the traditional media admitting they find it hard to curb their enthusiasm for Barack Obama, John McCain demonstrated again today that he is reaching out to the new media, giving blogging critics from the right and left the opportunity to participate in the blogger conference calls he has been regularly conducting. The Washington Times noted the phenomenon in an article of May 16, McCain widens dialogue on blogs, reporting that three of the seven questions in the May 15 conference call were posed by liberal-leaning bloggers.
Of the half-dozen or so questions McCain took in today's blogger call [in which I participated], one was from a blogger from the left. James Kirchick, a New Republic assistant editor/blogger [and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association 2007 Journalist of the Year], quizzed McCain on his position on the proposed amendment to the California constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman [McCain expressed support for the amendment and for the ballot initiative giving citizens the right to vote on it].
The most barbed question actually came from the right. Quin Hillyer of the Washington Examiner began by expressing "all due respect," eliciting a wry "I always like that beginning" from the senator. Hillyer went on to describe what he characterized as "one of the most frequently aired complaints from conservatives," to wit, that "when you disagree with conservatives you seem to use the anger and the language of the left, and to question not just conservative positions but motive or integrity." Hillyer asked for assurances that McCain would "avoid that tendency" if he were elected President. McCain fundamentally disagreed with the premise, stating that he treated all people with respect.
In his tours at ABC (particularly the weekend versions of Good Morning America) and CNN, anchorman Aaron Brown was fond of liberal editorializing. So it's no shock that when New York magazine interviewed him as he takes on anchoring the PBS series Wide Angle, he declared he was a big fan of Keith Olbermann's show:
How about Keith Olbermann? It’s a good television program. No, it’s a very good television program. That’s how I want to put that.
This matches his shout-out earlier in the month to TV Newser: Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly "are both larger-than-life figures," he says, but Olbermann is "smarter, funnier, better read and eminently more talented."
Some suspect Brown would like an hour next to Keith's on MSNBC. They certainly sound alike. On November 10, 2004, for example, Brown lamented poor, losing John Kerry as he looked at pictures in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes:
Just as a quick follow-up to both Terry Trippany and Warner Todd Huston's posts, at least one major political reporter is chagrined by the MSM's penchant for selecting photographs of Sen. Barack Obama that make him appear rather, um, messianic.
What should the conservative movement do online? What issues and political battlegrounds should be our focus in the years ahead?
These questions are some of the things being discussed over at the Next Right, a new blog you should put into your daily rotation. They launched yesterday but I've been so busy with stuff that piled up following my wedding I wasn't able to give them the plug they deserve.
The Next Right is the brainchild of web veteran Patrick Ruffini, former Fred Thompson web outreach guy Jon Henke (who is also behind QandO), and Soren Dayton, the blogger unjustly fired by the John McCain campaign for daring to link Barack Obama to his leftist nutjob former pastor.
You're welcome to register and post your thoughts about the future. Anyone can sign up and blog so feel free to head over and check it out. I'm already signed up and will be contributing.
It's sort of like Linda Douglass but on the local level, I guess. I'll have to ask our Seattle-area readers to note in the comments section if KING's Robert Mak repeatedly displayed a penchant for gauzy coverage of liberal Mayor Greg Nickels (D).
The 10-time local Emmy-winning reporter is leaving TV news for a job that pays $10,000 more a year than his new boss.
The media have been quick to paint the slow-growing economy as though it's in recession. Indeed, as our friends at the Business & Media Institute discovered, the MSM now is painting the economy much worse than the print media reported the 1929 stock market crash that marked the beginning of the Great Depression.
But kudos are due U.S. News & World Report's Rick Newman for staking out a contrarian stand.
In his May 27 piece, "Why Consumers Are Underconfident," Newman lists five reasons why consumers are overly pessimistic and hence consumer confidence numbers misleading as far as being an accurate barometer of the economy. Here's an excerpt including one of those reasons, "the freak-out factor":
You pathetic little people of the blogosphere. You're nothing more than "nitwits at home with [your] computers" who've deluded yourselves into imagining you're "part of the news media." Just ask Mike Barnicle. The former Boston Globe columnist broke the tough truth to us on today's Morning Joe. WaPo editorial writer Jonathan Capehart was "so glad" to agree.
Capehart was in full courtier mode to Mika Brzezinski, anchoring the show during Joe Scarborough's extended absence awaiting the birth of a child home in Florida. When executive producer Chris Licht read a viewer email critical of Mika, Capehart leapt to her defense, and it was then that Barnicle and he sniffed at the pretenders of the pajamahadeen.
On tonight's broadcast of ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" reporter Ron Clairborne reiterated a popular term that liberal blogs often use to refer to Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz). The news story was on the fundraiser President Bush held for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee tonight. Clairborne stated in his report, "At every opportunity the Democrats label McCain "McSame," a virtual clone of George Bush. The strategy makes sense. Bush's approval ratings are at an all time low."
The only Democrats known for constantly calling Sen. McCain "McSame" are those who write in the progressive blogosphere. View video here.
When the national political conversation turns to excessive nastiness, will the media remember The Huffington Post? On Bush's last Memorial Day as Commander-in-Chief, Democratic activist Bob Geiger posted an article titled "Dead Troops Remembered by President Who Had Them Killed." Bush is a murderer? Geiger says yes: "Make no mistake about it, George W. Bush is as responsible for the deaths of those men and women as if he himself had fired the bullet or set the IEDs that ended their lives."
What's interesting is that your usual Huffington Post blogger doesn't have anywhere near the same amount of hatred for the people actually shooting our troops and setting the IEDs. Geiger kicks it up a notch to suggest that your usual murderer has more class than the President: "Even a garden-variety murderer would be unlikely to make an appearance when the victim's family is observing the anniversary of a loved one's death."
Yes, that's a harsh headline for this piece.
But I'll ask you to forgive me because, as a Veteran, there isn't a day on the calendar that causes my hatred -- and I do indeed mean hatred -- of George W. Bush to bubble over the top more than Memorial Day.