ABC News has just released this statement explaining how blogger Wild Bill of Passionate America was able to learn the real screen name of Mark Foley's Instant Message correspondent:
On Friday, ABC News published instant messages between a former page and Congressman Foley with the IM screen name of the teenage victim redacted. Immediately, we discovered that in one instance, the screen name of the teen on one IM exchange had not been properly redacted. ABC News immediately took down the posting [version 1], redacted the screen name and re-published the posting [version 2]. We certainly believed that we had taken care of the issue quickly. Last evening, after an inquiry from Matt Drudge, it came to our attention that a blogger was able to access our deleted file [version 1] by typing in a slightly modified web address. To be clear, no one visiting our website would have simply stumbled on the old version. We thank the blogger and Drudge for bringing this to our attention.
Talk about a double standard. On the one hand, ABC News breaks stories pushing disgust at Mark Foley's "X-rated emails" with teenagers, and suggests Dennis Hastert should resign for being unable to stop them. But wait: ABC Entertainment rolls out the adult-on-teen gay sex scenes on ABC's smutty "Desperate Housewives" for fun and profit. It wins awards for ABC as "Best Comedy." How serious is ABC and Disney about the sexual exploitation of teens by adults? Doesn't it make money presenting it as saucy?
Congressman Mel Reynolds, the Democrat convicted of 12 charges, including sex with 16-year-old Beverly Heard and asking her to take pornographic photographs of a 15-year old, was indicted on August 21, 1994. ABC, the current scourge of congressional teen-sex scandals, reported nothing – until Reynolds was convicted a year later, on August 23, 1995. In fact, on May 13, 1994, ABC featured Reynolds in a "Person of the Week" speaking out in favor of two Chicago ladies fighting child molesters:
Peter Jennings: " Their local congressman is certainly on their side. He also wants to make child molesting a federal offense."
Rep. Mel Reynolds (D), Illinois: "These ladies really illustrate how being active in your community can really make a difference."
ABC news mistakenly released the IM identity of the page who exchanged IM messages with former Rep. Mark Foley. Bloggers Wild Bill from Passionate America and Ms. Underestimated tracked the AOL profile from the unredacted IM message and are reporting that the person is a 21 year old Deputy Campaign Manager for Congressman Ernest Istook in Oklahoma.
The current age of the person would put him at 17 or 18 years of age at the time of the IM exchange although ABC released a statement saying that the messages took place before and after the man's 18th birthday.
On the "Foley fallout" beat on Day 3, ABC's Good Morning America turned to their sex-scandal expert (and oh, the sex scandals he's spun for Bill Clinton!) George Stephanopoulos. MRC's Justin McCarthy reports the Foley story was still a major hurricane headed to blow away Republicans, and was coming to shore:
Roberts: For more on the fallout on this we go to ABC chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos who is also the host, of course, of 'This Week.' George, when I talked to you earlier this week when this story broke, you said it was a category three political hurricane for Republicans. Has it intensified since then?"
Well known liberal Rosie O’Donnell used the shooting at an Amish school in Pennsylvania as a springboard to promote gun control. O’Donnell, who famously sparred with Tom Selleck (video), stated on Tuesday's edition of ABC's "The View" that the event should spur tighter restrictions:
O’Donnell: "I think the horror of imagining six to thirteen-year-old girls handcuffed together and shot execution style, one by one, is perhaps enough to awaken the nation that maybe we need some stricter gun control laws."
This quickly led to an exchange with the program’s token conservative, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, in which O’Donnell asserted that there is no right to own a gun:
Hasselbeck: "So you can’t- You can't take way the right to, to bear arms."
O’Donnell: "Well, it’s not really a right. There’s debate as to what that-"
Hasselbeck: "It is a right. It’s in our Constitution. It’s the Second Amendment."
Network morning shows stayed on the Mark Foley scandal on Tuesday. ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN all harped on the "conservative" Washington Times editorial calling for Speaker Dennis Hastert to resign. (The Times is conservative, but no one expects the networks to describe the liberal newspapers -- or themselves -- with an ideological label.) ABC's Brian Ross came on strong, suggesting the Republican problem was "one of hypocrisy, talking tough about going after pedophiles on the Internet but not doing much about it when it comes to one of their own." CBS's Hannah Storm wondered if the scandal would "take down the Republican leadership in the House." NBC's Tim Russert used a rare P-word quoting a panicked Republican: "If there's a perception that we overlooked perversion in order to hold on to power we are finished." And CNN brought on a braying Paul Begala and found Democrats were "particularly enjoying the fact" that House campaign chairman Thomas Reynolds was ensnared in the controversy.
In the wake of Rep. Mark Foley's sudden resignation over ABC finding his sexually charged electronic messages to teenage male House pages, Monday's broadcast network morning shows all began with Foley, and the networks presented doom-laden scenarios of a crumbling Republican majority and some demands for Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republican House leaders to resign. "But this is more than just one man's downfall," insisted Matt Lauer on NBC. "It could be a major blow to the Republican Party, desperately trying to hold on to control of Congress in the coming midterm elections." ABC's Robin Roberts wondered, "this morning, newly revealed e-mails, the denials, dealings of a Congress in chaos. Could the Foley scandal cost the Republicans the House? "
ABC's Chris Cuomo and CBS's Julie Chen each pushed Tony Snow to suggest Hastert and others should resign. Chen also asked if Republican leaders should be questioned "under oath." ABC's George Stephanopoulos dramatically called the scandal "a Category Three hurricane and it's picking up steam." When CNN's Soledad O'Brien then tried to suggest she was "certainly not rushing for anybody's resignation," Snow protested: "Sure you are." None made historical comparisons with Democrats caught in sexual relationships with House pages or other teenagers.
Day One: Suspicious-but-not-explict emails. Day Two: Explicit instant messages, but no evidence Foley met with boys. Day Four: Instant message indicating Foley was indeed seeking to meet and possibly had already met with a boy.
Foley deserves what he's gotten and what is likely to come. But it seems increasingly plausible that the timed release of information - of ever-escalating seriousness - is part of a calculated campaign to keep the story in the news and inflict maximum political damage on the GOP.
That would seem the logical inference in light of the latest information promulgated this afternoon by ABC News. An article written by Brian Ross and Maddy Sauer, E-mails Show Foley Sought to Rendezvous with Page, contains the text of an instant message session in which Foley expressly tells a boy "I want to see you." Foley also mentions "I miss you a lot since San Diego," suggesting that perhaps they had already met.
The October 1 edition of ABC’s “World News Sunday” preached that the 51 houses of worship in Stafford, Texas are a holy terror to the city’s finances, citing the mayor’s complaints about lack of tax revenue. But reporter Geoff Morrell left out that the city has already enacted more regulation to discourage churches and that at that beginning of the year, the mayor gave a very positive assessment of the city’s finances.
Far from the negative tone Scarcella took in his appearance in Morrell’s story, neither the mayor’s 2006 State of the City Address nor his Fiscal Year 2005-2006 Budget Message warned of dangers to city revenue from too many houses of worship.
Being a regular Fox News Watch viewer, there was nothing surprising, tuning into last evening's discussion of the Clinton-Chris Wallace dust-up, in hearing lefty panelist Neal Gabler take his employer and colleagues to task.
Among his moves, Gabler:
Claimed "this network's reputation [presumably as right-leaning] precedes it."
Asserted that Chris Wallace "did not frame the question properly. He asked 'why didn't you do more?' Which is like asking 'will you stop beating your wife?'"
Defended Wallace only at the expense of other Fox colleagues: "He is not a Hannity, he's not an O'Reilly he's not a Brit Hume, Cavuto, Gibson." Hume of course is not merely an on-air personality but also the powerful FNC managing editor.
Spurned host Eric Burns' entreaty to add someone from another network to his list of partisan TV personalities.
Later, amiable liberal Jane Hall chimed in - after smilingly mentioning that she was glad she had recently re-signed with FNC [and thus presumably was not vulerable to recriminations]. Claimed Jane: "this network's commentary beat up on him, beat up on Clinton, and did not beat up on Bush."
The feminist spirit was alive and well on Friday’s edition of "The View." The women were shocked by the concept of women with concealed weapons, and positively giddy over Ted Turner’s recent remarks that men should be banned from public office for a hundred years:
Barbara Walters: "We particularly like this quote, because we have this remarkable woman on with us today...Ted Turner, when he was talking about the United Nations, said, quote, ‘Men should be barred from public office for a hundred years in every part of the world. It would be a much kinder, gentler, more intelligently-run world. Men have had millions of years and we’ve screwed it up hopelessly. Let's give it to the women.’"
Rosie O’Donnell: "Yeah! I say bravo! Go, Ted."
The "remarkable" woman Walters was hyping was socialist Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, the first female in that country to be elected to that office. During their "Hot Topics" segment, the co-hosts marveled at how an agnostic woman could win the presidency in a "macho, Latin American country" while the United States had yet to elect a female president:
The latest "Media Myth" study from the MRC's Business & Media Institute is out. BMI deputy editor Amy Menefee and researcher Julia Seymour found that the media were quick to hype rising gas prices but slow to recognize the ground-rocketing they've been taking lately.
In 35 straight business days of falling gas prices, evening news shows emphasized “high” or “rising” gas prices more often than falling prices.
In half the stories where journalists mentioned falling gas prices, they undermined the news with warnings of future price increases.
It took NBC three weeks to report falling prices on the "Nightly News." By that time, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline had fallen 24 cents.
Just two weeks after Rosie O’Donnell made waves on ABC’s all-female chat show The View for proclaiming that "radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam," the Catholic League is protesting a conversation on Thursday’s show between O’Donnell and co-host Joy Behar about drunken priests and silly Eucharistic rules. (Don’t forget the obligatory Mel Gibson slam.) Sitting with glasses of red wine, the women were discussing a study showing drinking red wine helps preserve memory:
Behar: "Don’t you start losing your memory when you’re a drunk? I mean, that’s the first thing that goes."
O’Donnell: "Or you just start spouting anti-Semitic statements. [Crowd laughs, then oohs in shock] Mel Gibson! Mel Gibson! C’mon! Cause they say when you get drunk, the real person comes out. I don’t know about one glass of wine, though."
There is potentially no more deplorable aspect of politics in the new millennium than the backwards-looking blame game played by both Parties on a daily basis. Whether it’s the economy, taxes, budget deficits, or corruption, members on both sides of the aisle always have an extended finger ready to accuse the other for the problems in the world.
In the past four weeks, a new category for contestants has been created: The bin Laden’s-Still-Alive Blame Game.
When Doves Lie
It is certainly no great surprise that once all the faux hawks – the doves that felt so threatened by the 9/11 attacks that they actually wanted to respond militarily – started feeling less vulnerable, the country would return to its 9/10 divisions. However, nobody could possibly have envisioned that five years later, the political parties would actually be debating who was more responsible for the national tragedy that fateful day.
In a speech today on the floor of the Senate, James Inhofe (R-Okla.) blasted the news media for its bias on the subject of global warming. He also went after a completely one-sided report CNN aired on today's "American Morning" which portrayed him as a servant of the oil and gas companies with his out-of-the-mainstream views on the issue.
Below is a transcript of the CNN piece, filed by "Morning" anchor Miles O'Brien. Read on for Inhofe's remarks, including his disputation of O'Brien's assertion that the senator refused to be interviewed by CNN:
MILES O'BRIEN: In California, they're taking some tough action aimed at stopping global warming. The state imposing a cap on greenhouse gases. In the U.S., politicians have been slow to recognize global warming as a problem. Well, that is changing. An influential skeptic remains. No question, there is a political climate change inside the Republican Party. Arnold Schwarzenegger in San Francisco announcing with great fanfare, a California law to curb emissions of greenhouse gases at the root of global warming.
ABC hired reporter Jake Tapper from the partisan left-wing website Salon.com in 2001. On Wednesday night's World News, Tapper patted his old employers on the back by publicizing their unsubstantiated charges "by at least five" accusers that conservative Sen. George Allen used the word "nigger" in his college days at the University of Virginia. (He made no mention of the old signers of his paycheck.) Tapper let Allen deny it, but Allen's accusers weren't rebutted by Allen's first wife or college teammates. Mimicking all the other liberal reporters, Tapper recounted it as part of a weeks-long narrative about racial and ethnic gaffes, and professed that the best Republicans "can hope for is that he survives this November's election."
Yesterday, Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma took to the floor of the United States Senate and gave a passionate and informed speech about Global Warming and the American media's coverage of it. He noted that
During the past year, the American people have been served up an unprecedented parade of environmental alarmism by the media and entertainment industry, which link every possible weather event to global warming. The year 2006 saw many major organs of the media dismiss any pretense of balance and objectivity on climate change coverage and instead crossed squarely into global warming advocacy.
Well, ABC's Good Morning America addressed the Global Warming issue this morning. One might think that the entire point of this morning's report was to prove Inhofe right.
Bill Clinton’s diatribe against FNC’s Chris Wallace, who dared to question the ex-President about his failed efforts to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, reminded some of the last time Clinton exhibited such vitriol. Back on November 18, 2004, in the midst of a quite positive ABC News prime-time special, "Bill Clinton: A Place in History," about the dedication of the Clinton presidential library, Bill Clinton angrily wagged his finger at Peter Jennings, accusing ABC of conspiring with Ken Starr to “repeat every little sleazy thing he leaked” during the investigation into Clinton’s perjury and obstruction of justice.
The late Peter Jennings, who was never accused of being a conservative, had committed the grave offense of asking Clinton about a survey of historian that had ranked him 41 of 42 presidents on “moral authority.” As recounted by the MRC’s Brent Baker in a CyberAlert published the next morning, that set Clinton off on a self-indulgent discussion of how he and his supporters were supposedly victimized by Ken Starr — and the news media.
Video clip (4:10): Real (3.1 MB at 100 kbps) or Windows Media (2.5 MB at 81 kbps), plus MP3 audio (1.1 MB). Read on for transcript of the segment.
ABC's Jake Tapper interviewed Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the sleazy cartoon "South Park" for Friday's "Nightline." It's been "vilified as crude, disgusting, and nihilistic." Actually, it may be calmly, dispassionately, almost scientifically decribed as crude, disgusting, and nihilistic. But Tapper elicited some interesting commentary on how which religions can be mocked:
"That's where we kind of agree with some of the people who've criticized our show," Stone says. "Because it really is open season on Jesus. We can do whatever we want to Jesus, and we have. We've had him say bad words. We've had him shoot a gun. We've had him kill people. We can do whatever we want. But Mohammed, we couldn't just show a simple image."
As Mark Finkelstein reported earlier today, former Vice President Al Gore and billionaire CEO Richard Branson appeared together on Friday’s "Good Morning America" to discuss Branson’s decision to devote all the profits from his airline to combating global warming. Absent from the interview with Diane Sawyer was any mention of the scientific debate taking place over the cause of climate change, or whether, in fact, it actually exists.
While ABC ignored skeptics views of global warming, Fox’s "Special Report with Brit Hume" on Thursday highlighted one such doubter:
Brit Hume: "A leading climate expert from Colorado State University says the idea that humans are responsible for global warming is a fear perpetuated by the media, and by scientists trying to get grant money. Dr. William Gray is a noted global warming skeptic who says the current heating of the earth is part of a natural cycle."
This is shaping up as a day for lefty unilateralism. As noted here, liberal LA Times columnist Rosa Brooks saw no nuance in her Bush-hatred fueled tirade against any expansion of permitted techniques in interrogating terrorists.
Later, Good Morning America staged a global warming love-in, in which nary a dissenting voice was heard and the only question was whether it was too late to implement Al Gore's costly nostrums.
Diane Sawyer's guests were Gore and British magnate Richard Branson. The proximate cause was the announcement that over a recent breakfast, Gore managed to convince Branson to devote 100% of the profits from Virgin Airlines to the effort against global warming [someone check the OJ for Grey Goose].
Reaction against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ remarks to the United Nations, in which he referred to President George W. Bush as "the devil," has been strong. Liberal Democrat Charlie Rangel forcefully argued that the attack on the President was an attack on all Americans, while House minority leader Nancy Pelosi denounced Chavez as "an everyday thug." It’s interesting, though not surprising, that Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar of ABC’s "The View," were not able to do the same.
Rather than criticize Chavez for his outrageous comments, Behar and O’Donnell did what they do best: blame President Bush:
Behar: "Well, don't you think Bush threw in the gauntlet when he called people the 'axis of evil'?...What else did they -- they called -- there was another name, I can’t think of it, that they–"
O’Donnell: "Well, he, he would, he, President Bush is very fond of calling people who have different opinions than he 'evildoers.'"
A couple of snippets from this morning's "news" segments on ABC and CBS...
On The Early Show, Rene Syler interviewed the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, and former Bush administration official, Richard Haass. After having played the video of Chavez calling Bush "the devil," of crossing himself and saying that he could still smell the sulfur in the air, Syler's first question for Haass, her first question on this head-of-state behaving that way on the world's primary diplomatic stage?
"Let's start with those comments by Hugo Chavez yesterday. He makes this personal attack on the president calls him the devil a number of times. Is that appropriate?"
What, Rene -- you couldn't figure that one out for yourself?
Far be it from ABC to take sides in the fight against nuclear terrorism. As depicted by Good Morning America today, yesterday's UN speeches by Pres. Bush and Iran's Ahmadinejad were simply a battle of equals. And if anything, the guy who wants to wipe Israel off the map came off looking better in ABC's portrayal.
Host Chris Cuomo [son of Mario, brother of current New York AG candidate Andrew] set the tone: "We begin with the showdown at the United Nations, pitting President Bush against Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The philosophical battlefield: Iran's nuclear program. Senior national correspondent Claire Shipman is in Washington with more on two leaders, sharply divided."
Remember last year at this time when you couldn’t turn on your television set without coming across a story on rising gasoline prices? Well, a year later, gas is now $2.50 a gallon, down 50 cents in just one month, twenty-nine cents lower than last year, and the broadcast network news programs couldn’t care less. As reported by Reuters Monday:
The freefall in U.S. gasoline prices continued as the average pump price dropped 12 cents over the last week to $2.50 a gallon, the government said on Monday.
The fall comes on the heels of an 11-cent drop the previous week.
The national price for regular unleaded gasoline is down 29 cents from a year ago and the lowest since late March, according to the federal Energy Information Administration's weekly survey of service stations.
Last September, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast, the media regularly warned of rising natural gas prices and exploding heating bills. Yet, when these same energy costs plummeted a year later – and utility companies announced large reductions in charges to consumers – the networks paid little attention to the news.
On September 14, natural gas prices declined to their lowest point in two years. As reported by the Associated Press: “October natural gas futures fell 55.7 cents to settle at $4.892 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The last time front-month natural gas futures settled below $5 was Sept. 16, 2004.”
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Diane Sawyer spoke with "Newsweek" managing editor Jon Meacham about the controversy over a centuries-old quote employed by Pope Benedict XVI in a speech on faith and reason.
Protests, violence and threats against the Vatican and representatives of the Catholic Church have erupted since the Pope’s speech, where he used a quote from a Byzantine emperor, Manuel II. The Pope has since clarified his remarks, saying that it is not his own view that the prophet Muhammad’s contribution to the world has been “things only evil and inhuman.”
Sawyer found the use the quote “baffling,” and wondered if the Pope’s decision to insert it into his speech was “an attempt at provocation” with Muslims. Meacham, for his part, found the Pope’s speech to be a “heavy-handed” and “clumsy” attempt at starting a dialogue with the Islamic community. Meacham then brought up Pope Benedict’s reputation among some as “God’s Rottweiler” as head of the Vatican office charged with enforcing of Catholic doctrine during the papacy of John Paul. (ABCNews.com carried a story with the headline "'God's Rottweiler's' First Crisis.")
Cyrus Nowrasteh, the screenwriter behind ABC's "Path to 9/11" miniseries, has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal about his experience. Unsurprisingly, he has little good will for left-wing critics who tried to censor a film that portrayed Democrats in any kind of a bad light:
It would have been good to be able to report due diligence on the part of those who judged the film, the ones who held forth on it before watching a moment of it. Instead, in the rush to judgment, and the effort to portray the series as the work of a right-wing zealot, much was made of my "friendship" with Rush Limbaugh (a connection limited to two social encounters), but nothing of any acquaintance with well-known names on the other side of the political spectrum. No reference to Abby Mann, for instance, with whom I worked on "10,000 Black Men Named George" (whose hero is an African-American communist) or Oliver Stone, producer of "The Day Reagan Was Shot," a film I wrote and directed. Clearly, those enraged that a film would criticize the Clinton administration's antiterrorism policies--though critical of its successor as well--were willing to embrace only one scenario: The writer was a conservative hatchetman.