If you haven't gotten to check out the Business & Media Institute's new weekly video blog, The Biz Flog, this week's topic is the media's shift from reporting on "recession" to all-out "depression."
Complete with old-timey piano music and grainy film, this week BMI gives you our take on the many instances when reporters have compared the current economy to a time when soup lines and the Dust Bowl carried headlines.
Joy Behar once again scolded conservatives for inflammatory rhetoric without realizing her own hypocrisy. On the February 28 edition of "The View," the panel spoke highly of the late William F. Buckley before Behar jumped in to compare the conservative icon to modern day conservatives. Behar chastised those who "name call and yell about things." Perhaps she should chastise herself.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted that "we tend to high light those on the extremes." Hasselbeck pointed to Michael Moore as an example on the left, but could have mentioned former "View" panelist and September 11 conspiracy theorist Rosie O’Donnell.
One year ago, liberal journalists depicted the surge of U.S. troops to Iraq as a certain failure. “A lot of people are going to go to bed tonight terrified,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews opined just minutes after President Bush announced the policy on January 10, 2007. Other journalists were only slightly more subtle. “Many experts warn, it’s too little, too late,” NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski argued on the January 8, 2007 Nightly News. The next morning on NBC’s Today, the network’s graphic describing Iraq was “Lost Cause?”
At the same time, leading Democrats left themselves no wiggle room as they, too, denounced the surge. Senator Barack Obama called it “wrong-headed” and countered with a proposal to pull nearly all U.S. troops out of Iraq by March 2008. Senator Hillary Clinton came back from a quick trip to Iraq to declare: “I am opposed to this escalation,” while another Democratic candidate, Senator Joe Biden, blasted the troop surge as “a tragic mistake.”
Thursday's "Good Morning America" featured a group of liberals talking about whether the press favored one liberal over another liberal and several leftist journalists were cited as proof. Specifically, co-host Diane Sawyer continued the program's self flagellation over whether the media is biased in favor of Barack Obama and against Hillary Clinton.
The ABC anchor discussed the issue with Arianna Huffington, editor of the extremely liberal Huffington Post web page. But, in a perfect example of actual bias, the GMA host never mentioned either Ms. Huffington or her site's leftist affiliation. Instead, Sawyer breathlessly worried about the Clinton campaign's charges that the media have been unfair. In an intro, she fretted, "And we turn the tables on ourselves. Have all of us in the media used boxing gloves on Clinton and kid gloves on Obama? Have we been unfair?" Co-host Robin Roberts also teased the segment as a brave example of self examination: "The media. Too tough on Clinton? Not tough enough on Obama? We'll take up that debate."
According to "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts, Chelsea Clinton is so impressive, she just might be able mount a comeback for her presidential candidate-mother. On Wednesday's program, Roberts gushed over the first daughter and asserted, "[Hillary Clinton is]leaning more and more on Chelsea, who has taken on a new role as Clinton's biggest campaigner and, some say, her last, best hope for a comeback."
GMA reporter Kate Snow, who filed a segment on the topic, has a long history of rhapsodizing over the entire Clinton family. She marveled at Chelsea for being "there with a smile and hug" and also acting as "her mother's fiercest defender." Using fawning language, Snow commented, "Gone is the shy girl with frizzy hair and braces....Now she's spouting policy details, standing her ground against hecklers." It was only slightly more than a month ago that Snow narrated another piece about Chelsea's impressive campaigning. On January 18, she expounded on the "spotlight" shy Clinton. The ABC journalist claimed then, "To be honest, [Chelsea] doesn't like cameras much...She doesn't want to be in the spotlight."
Joy Behar accused conservative radio host Bill Cunningham of wanting "to put out lies" about Barack Obama, yet the "View" co-host struggles with the truth about the Bush administration. The February 27 edition of "The View" discussed Cunningham’s "Barack Hussein Obama" comments and McCain’s subsequent apology.
When Sherri Shepherd claimed to "know fully the intention" of Cunningham’s repetition of Senator Obama’s middle name, Behar added "he knows, he just doesn’t care. He wants to put out the big lies, you know."
"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer and ABC's George Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, discussed media bias on Wednesday's show. The topic, however, wasn't liberal spin. Instead, Sawyer wondered if "the media is, in general, easier on Barack Obama than they are on [Hillary Clinton]?"
After playing a clip of a February 23 "Saturday Night Live" sketch that mocked reporters for gushing over Senator Obama, Stephanopoulos came to the aid of the wife of his former boss, "I do think, though, Senator Clinton has a point. She's being treated like the front-runner, even though she's... the underdog in this race right now." Of course, while Sawyer and Stephanopoulos worried about unfairness to the former first lady, it should be pointed out, this is the same program that in early 2007 described the Clinton/Obama race as one between "hot factor" and "fluid poetry."
During Tuesday night’s presidential debate, NBC’s Tim Russert tried to test the Democratic candidates’ basic knowledge of foreign policy, asking what they knew about the man who will almost certainly be elected president of Russia in Sunday’s elections. After Hillary Clinton gave a general answer that kept referring to “Putin’s handpicked successor,” Russert pounced: “Do you know his name?”
But if the fact that Dmitry Medvedev will assume the Russian presidency is actually important, Russert and his co-moderator, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, have utterly ignored it as journalists. A Nexis search shows just one reference to Medvedev on NBC, an April 14, 2007 story about Russia’s giant energy company, Gazprom, of which Medvedev was chairman of the board. (The story aired on a weekend, when Lester Holt, not Brian Williams, was in the anchor chair.)
"Hmm, what's this?" I thought, so I clicked on the link to find a story by ABC's Martin Bashir teasing a February 26 "Nightline" story about N.T. Wright, an Anglican bishop and theologian. [It should be noted that Bashir referred to Wright by his middle name Thomas Wright rather than N.T. Wright, which is how you can search for his written works and Web site.]
Unfortunately in what was otherwise an informative and interesting article, I came across some passages that may illustrate how inaccurate Bashir's understanding of historic Christian doctrine is (emphasis mine):
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo used an interview with Geraldo Rivera on Tuesday to once again showcase his liberal views on illegal immigration. Touting the Fox News host's new book "His Panic," Cuomo gushed over the "beautiful" title and immediately accepted the premise of the book by stating, "But it is about why Americans fear Hispanics in the U.S.--You believe to be the case."
Later in the segment, he again dropped any objectivity and opined, "There is a lot of history, a lot of fact in this book. Interesting in a discussion that's usually fueled by passion--" In comparison, the host offered no such accolades to Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, a foe of illegal immigration. During a June 2007 interview with the then-presidential candidate, Cuomo asked if Tancredo, who fought for tough border security bills, was "driving anti-immigrant sentiment?" He also chided Tancredo for using "scary" words in regard to the contentious subject.
As my colleague Brent Baker reported on February 15, of the three evening news programs offered by the major broadcast networks, only ABC's "World News" addressed the one year anniversary of the troop surge in Iraq, and did so by sharing with viewers how successful the strategy has been.
Yet, not all press members agree with ABC. In fact, some, like Michael Kinsley in Slate last Thursday, parrot the Democrat talking point "No, the surge is not a success" because troops aren't being aggressively withdrawn from the region.
With that in mind, what follows are two charts depicting events in Iraq that media members like Kinsley won't dare show American citizens:
The worm has certainly turned when Bill Clinton's former press secretary goes on a local TV show, calls Hillary a b---- in so many words . . . and a national news show then chooses to air the footage. It happened on today's Good Morning America in the course of a conversation that co-anchor Robin Roberts conducted with Cokie Roberts and Matt Dowd.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Many are wondering how far she can go in attacking Barack Obama. Even President Clinton's former press secretary Dee Dee Myers made a comment about it being harder for a woman to walk that fine line. This is what she said.
Cut to clip of Myers in a recent appearance on NY1, the NYC cable news channel.
DEE DEE MYERS: I think so many women in positions of authority -- and she's certainly one of them -- have to walk that fine line between being authoratative and being a bitch [worded bleeped during GMA airing]. And she you know, she hasn't always succeeded. I think it's hard for a woman to succeed.
"View" co-host and reliable left winger Joy Behar, who previously exclaimed to have the "hots" for Bill Clinton, announced another political figure she is infatuated with: Ralph Nader. Discussing Nader’s announced presidential candidacy on the February 25 edition, Behar noted the 75 year old candidate "looks fantastic," and "I find him sexy."
All of the co-host appeared shocked that Joy would find Nader sexy. Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked "what is wrong with you?" with a bewildered expression, Whoopi Goldberg inquired "who?" Even normally mild mannered Barbara Walters joked "your eyes are going with your memory."
Behar also fawned over Nader’s "intelligence" and that he is "on the right side of the issues very, very, very often." Why? Nader called the Bush administration a "criminal and recidivistic regime," and "the most multipliable impeachable president in American history."
Barbara Walters was interviewing ABC "Ugly Betty" star Vanessa Williams in her pre-Oscar show last night and after discussing how she grew up as an overachiever because of her race, she asked:
WALTERS: Does the fact that Barack Obama is running for president have special meaning to you?
WILLIAMS: Uh, I'm very proud. I think it's such an exciting time, um, not only for Barack, but also for Hillary. I live in Chappaqua. She's my neighbor. The fact that she might be able to be the first female president – It's a no-lose situation, and I'm really, really excited that it's happening at this point.
Media watchers have been asking themselves since Barack Obama became the front-runner to win the Democrat nomination for president when the press will turn against him and start treating the junior senator from Illinois like a candidate instead of a rock star.
The worm might have turned on Sunday's "This Week," when, as my colleague Brad Wilmouth reported, Cokie Roberts actually used the feminist card to trash Obama for Hillary's sake.
Almost as tasty, about three minutes later, a discussion about how Obama is beatable as the Democrat candidate began with Cokie saying (video available here, relevant section begins at minute 12:30):
During the roundtable segment on Sunday's This Week, ABC's Cokie Roberts pointed out Barack Obama's rarely mentioned liberal voting record, calling him "squarely on the left of the Democratic party," and contended that the Illinois Senator, "oddly enough given the rhetoric, has not reached across the aisle and worked with people in the other party to get things done, which [Hillary Clinton] has done." Minutes earlier, sounding defensive of Clinton while raising the possibility that she could see a resurgence of support from white women a la New Hampshire, Roberts referred to Obama as "this cute young man" pushing Hillary aside with "sweet nothings" after all the New York Senator's years of hard work: "Here is this woman who's worked hard, she's done it all the way you're supposed to do it, and then this cute young man comes in and says a bunch of sweet, you know, nothings, and pushes you out of the way. And a lot of women are looking at that and saying, 'There goes my life.'" (Transcript follows)
If that sound isn't the fat lady clearing her throat, it might be the MSM humming Hillary's dirge. Consider, for example, ABC national political correspondent Jake Tapper's Good Morning America segment today on the differences in tone between the Obama and Clinton campaigns. After playing footage of an angry Hillary waving allegedly misleading Obama campaign literature and then of a relaxed Obama laughing it off, Tapper had this to say.
JAKE TAPPER: There's a difference between a winner's confident stride and the strained scurrying of the also-ran.
The network morning shows this year haven't always been tough questioners with the presidential candidates. But it bothered me on Wednesday when ABC's Good Morning America interviewed John McCain (the day before the New York Times unleashed its underbaked "romantic" hints-and-whispers story), and co-host Robin Roberts dragged out the old-age issue against McCain using late-night comedians to mock him. Can you imagine Hillary Clinton sitting still for that tactic?
ROBERTS: You brought up a number of good points in your speech last night. And it was well received. You got a lot of applause when you said you are clearly the most experienced, as you put it. You're 71. You would be 72 on Election Day and the late night comics have taken note of your age as well. I want to get your reaction to this.
JAY LENO (clip): Do you realize when Castro came to power in 1959, John McCain was only 61 years old?
"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer found an astoundingly gentle way to ask Hillary Clinton about the possibility of not being the Democratic nominee. On Friday's program, the ABC journalist wondered if such a victory was even necessary. She soothingly suggested, "The question is, are you in a new place about winning? Have you decided that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish, even if you don't win the presidency?"
Sawyer's question, in reference to a comment made at the debate in which Clinton claimed she would be "fine," whatever happens in the election, led to more softballs. The GMA host lauded the Democratic presidential contender for something as simple as having her daughter at the debate. "...We noticed that Chelsea came up and immediately slipped your hand into yours, last night. What was that about? What was going on between the two of you?"
On Friday, ABC correspondent David Wright continued to make it clear that his affection lies with Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Covering Thursday's Democratic debate for "Good Morning America," Wright slammed the New York senator for "an absolute clunker of an attack line." And, at one point, the journalist completely misstated a comment by Clinton about American military troops.
Discussing a question from CNN debate host Campbell Brown about overcoming crises, Wright asserted, "Clinton went on to compare her suffering to soldiers wounded in Iraq." In fact, she said quite the opposite. Wright only played a brief snippet of the former first lady's answer, in which she observed, "The hits I've taken in my life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country." But even that makes it clear that Clinton was not drawing a parallel between her life and wounded veterans. For context, here is Clinton's response to the query:
It's not a very long run. It'll be over by February 5th. -- Hillary Clinton, 'This Week,' Dec. 30, 2007.
That was Hillary less than two months ago. Here she was on this morning's Today.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: So no matter what happens in Texas and Ohio, you will go on.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well Meredith, I don't make predictions. I never have, I never will. I just get up every day and, you know, do the best I can to, you know, let people know what I have done and what I am doing and what I will do.
If it's true, as Hillary Clinton claimed during last night's debate, that Barack Obama needs Xerox to copy other's rhetoric, maybe Clinton could use another piece of 20th-century technology: Memorex.
The New York Times "scoop" strongly suggesting a romantic relationship between John McCain and a lobbyist drew heavy coverage from all three morning shows Thursday. All three featured interviews with McCain staff members on the defensive. Critical scrutiny of the Times story was mostly left to the McCain aides, as the networks presented the tone of a real crisis for McCain, not for the newspaper.
On NBC’s Today, at least its opening allowed the idea that an outrage had taken place: "Good morning, bombshell or hatchet job? A New York Times report out this morning raises questions about John McCain's relationship with a female lobbyist eight years ago. He is outraged and he is fighting back. Will it turn the presidential campaign upside down?"
There has been significant speculation in the MSM that an upshot of the NYT's McCain piece could be to rally support for McCain from conservatives like Rush Limbaugh who heretofore have been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about the Arizona senator.
Typical was this exchange from today's Good Morning America, which followed an appearance by McCain campaign advisor Charlie Black.
The reporters at ABC's "Nightline" continued to outdo themselves in their glowing adoration for Senator Barack Obama. Correspondent David Wright, filing a story on Tuesday about the swelling crowds at the Democratic presidential contender's rallies, advised viewers to think of the events as "Springsteen concerts, but the tickets are free."
Describing those who waited outside in the cold for such a rally, he bubbled, "...Everyone waited patiently, because inside...they felt the warm glow of hope." Wrighteven wondered if the candidate can "redeem politics from mere partisanship."
With the symbolic passing of the torch - from Fidel Castro to Raul Castro - comes hope of changes in Cuba, well at least among some in the media.
Even though no one is predicting Cuba to usher in a new wave of Adam Smith-style capitalism, there might be some changes according to ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson."
"[H]e's talking about significant reforms - liberalizing trade, economic reforms designed to ease poverty in a country where the average person earned $19 a month in the hope of consolidating his own power," ABC correspondent Jeffrey Kofman said on the Feb.19, 2008, ABC "World News with Charles Gibson."
‘View’ co-host Joy Behar followed up her anti-Catholic "saints are crazy" line, noting she "got in trouble with the Catholic Church." Though she emphasized it was "not all but some," she still called them "nuts" and "psychotic," and added that "not all of them deserved to be saints." Behar also added her opinions how crazy people in medieval Europe would be able to escape punishment by saying they were saints.
"I mean, let’s say that you were a person in those days, right? And you were hearing voices, and maybe you were mentally ill, but you were not stupid. As they say ‘I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid.’ So you said to yourself, ‘let’s see, if people think I’m crazy they’re going to put me in a dungeon. If I pretend to be a saint, they’ll name a church after me.’"
While covering the breaking story on Tuesday of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's decision to step down from power, various "Good Morning America" anchors and reporters soft peddled the communist leader's crimes. In a profile piece that narrated a brief history of his life, co-host Diane sawyer enthused, "Castro knew life is a stage and played the part of the dashing revolutionary coming to New York, getting rock star treatment."
Now, she did add that many people overlooked the "ferocity of his communism, even as he bankrupted his country and history passed him by." But over the course of five segments, GMA managed to completely ignore Castro's record of firing squads, jailing dissidents, imprisoning AIDS patients and other crimes. Instead, Sawyer found time to romantically state, "The world'slongest-serving political leaderis leaving on his own terms, having survived efforts by ten different U.S. presidents to bring him down..." Note the use of the term "political leader" rather than dictator.
Bill Clinton’s yelling at pro-life protesters in Steubenville, Ohio didn’t get processed by the networks as a sign of bad temper, or of sour and hyperbolic attacks on pro-lifers. On Monday’s Good Morning America, reporter Jake Tapper’s quick summary of what was going on with the top presidential candidates only noted he "took on some anti-abortion protesters" and ran this soundbite: "We disagree with you. You want to criminalize women and their doctors and we disagree!"
That is clearly a sentiment that media liberals support, but it’s only a fraction of what he yelled. ABC’s Political Radar blog carried more detail, but in neither report did ABC seem to ponder the the political oddity of Clinton’s angry retort: that he and Hillary were in effect more pro-life than the pro-lifers – not to mention it’s always odd to hear Clinton yelling at others to "Tell the truth! Tell the truth!" Over a cheering liberal crowd, Clinton said:
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo presented a decidedly one-sided segment on Monday about the "gender discrimination" expressed by a private religious school in Kansas that refused to allow a female basketball referee the chance to call a boy's varsity game. Cuomo announced, "many" think that "religious belief does not give the school the right to discriminate."
The ABC host offered almost no consideration to the argument, made by St. Mary's Academy, that men are best equipped to guide boys and prepare them for future life endeavors. (The referee in question, Michelle Campbell, asserted that she was not allowed to call the game because the school believes women shouldn't have authority over men.) Instead, he offered loaded questions to Campbell, who appeared on the show: "Gender discrimination is not something new. We know about it. But were you surprised that something this obvious still confronted you today....Were you surprised?"
Rush Limbaugh read the first two paras of this item during his first half-hour today, citing "our buddies at NewsBusters." Thanks, Rush! Audio here.
If a supremely prominent Republican who was John McCain's chief surrogate had gotten into an angry confrontation at a campaign event, do you think the broadcast networks would have promptly let us know his interlocutor was African-American?
I do. But none of the broadcast network's morning news shows, at least during this morning's crucial first half-hour, disclosed the African-American identity of the man with whom Bill Clinton got into just such an argument yesterday in Ohio.
Not a word of any incident whatsoever at GMA or the Early Show, at least during the first half-hour. Today did mention that Clinton "showed his temper . . . after an Obama supporter tried to disrupt his speech in Canton," but nothing about the man's identity.