The Pew Research Center conducted a survey to see what the audiences of the various political shows knew about politics, and what they found goes against the conventional wisdom about whose audience is better informed about current events. With a simple three-question survey about politicians in high office, it turned out that the audiences of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity answered more questions correctly than fans of the "Colbert Report," "The Daily Show," and CNN.
The quiz asked the names of two of the world's leaders and one party in power to determine what audience is most well informed. Survey participants were asked the names of the Secretary of State, the British Prime Minister, and the name of the party currently controlling the House of Representatives.
On Monday, NewsBusters wondered how much coverage the sex scandal involving Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fl.) -- the Democrat Congressman who in 2006 won the seat previously held by the disgraced Mark Foley -- would get.
Early indications suggest that as far as the television news outlets are concerned, the answer is "not much."
In fact, though all three broadcast network evening news programs covered the Foley sex scandal when it was first revealed on September 29, 2006, not one of them felt that the man who replaced him admitting to having an affair with a former campaign staffer was at all newsworthy.
Long-time PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, the first host of the 2008 fall presidential debates, is dead serious about his utter lack of bias. Appearing November 27, 2006 on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, Lehrer insisted with a very straight face that “I am bias-free....Bias is what people who hear or read the news bring to the story, not what the journalist brings to the reporting.” When Colbert insisted Lehrer must add some flavor, straight-faced Lehrer declared his contribution was “the flavor of neutrality.”
Lehrer can offer a different flavor. During live coverage of the Democratic convention on August 25, he gauzily reacted to Jimmy Carter’s florid praise of Barack Obama’s race speech in March: “If it happens that he is elected, or even his just being nominated, will send positive ripple effects throughout the country on the race issue.”
On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
As Culture and Media Institute Director Robert Knight has noted, the media are still presenting Obama campaign spin on the McCain sex ed ad as hard facts.
Last week the McCain campaign released an ad charging Senator Obama with supporting sex education for kindergarten children when he was an Illinois state senator.
According to the Obama campaign and the media the legislation in question "was written to protect young children from sexual predators."
That's a line that Obama himself used during last year's CNN/YouTube debate:
I've got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter. And I want them to know if somebody is doing something wrong to them, encroaching on their privacy, that they should come talk to me or my wife. And we've had that conversation, but not every parent is going to have that conversation with their child, and I think it's important that every child does, to make sure that they're not subject to the sexual predators (emphasis mine).
The only problem is that the goal of the bill wasn't to stop sexual predators, but to revamp the Illinois sex ed curriculum.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
Barack Obama’s overseas trip has garnered an incredibly large amount of media attention, especially with the three broadcast network anchors going along for the ride. But lately, some are beginning to recognize the “Obamania” present within the mainstream media, including members of the media themselves.
On the July 25 edition of “News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” PBS joined in on the acknowledgement that media coverage of Obama has been unprecedented and overwhelming as Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff discussed the media coverage of John McCain and Barack Obama with Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the Tyndall Report, and Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Before the guests appeared, Woodruff recounted the media attention given to Obama’s overseas trip, noting that the press corps following Obama was “larger than usual” and that late night comics had even poked fun at the adoration members of the media have shown for Obama.
Is Barack Obama beginning to wear out his welcome with some of the mainstream media's old guard, or are the nation's more seasoned journalists just getting fed up with the obvious love affair most press members are having with the Democrat presidential nominee?
Before accusing me of drinking the Kool-Aid, consider that two of the country's most venerable and high-profile liberal pundits -- the Washington Post's David Broder and syndicated columnist Mark Shields -- turned on the junior senator from Illinois in a fashion that would have been unthinkable before Hillary Clinton dropped out of the race.
For instance, here's what Shields said on Friday's "News Hour" (video embedded right, h/t Hot Air):
For conservatives who would like to think the whole government should be handed over to the liberals for a few years until the Reagan wing of the Republican Party can get its act together, a quick look at a monstrosity under consideration by Congress is in order. Liberal Democrats and "green" Republicans are proposing a massive reorganization of the American economy to fight so-called global warming. Worse yet, proponents of this bill are attempting to sell this eco-socialism as a "market-based" policy, and their allies in the national media are going along with the charade.
For decades now, the media have shoved down our throats the idea that Planet Earth is in grave peril of catastrophic global warming. Now that Washington’s elites feel confident that everyone from McCain to Obama agrees that doom is imminent, it’s time to push something they call "cap and trade." Put an emphasis on the "cap." That means that the federal government is aspiring to dictate for every individual and business in America the absolutely perfect level of carbon-dioxide emissions. Once the government mandates how much emission will be allowed, then it will allow the public to "trade" on the rights that remain.
For several weeks, NewsBusters has been reporting the changing media tide concerning ethanol.
On Thursday, PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" joined the growing chorus of press outlets pointing fingers at biofuels as being partially responsible for the growing international food crisis:
The cost of food has soared as more and more corn is being produced for fuel, not food...[I]t is the government's mandate for ethanol that has doubled the demand for corn and sent prices soaring.
Sadly, the segment ignored Nobel Laureate Al Gore's involvement in this matter, as well as his biofuel investments, but still went where few mainstream media outlets would have gone just two months ago (video available here):
A liberal bias is always easy to discern in newspaper writers when they tout liberal programs as informative and more conservative programs as deceptive. Take, for example, Kevin McDonough, a TV critic for the United Feature Syndicate (photo from UFS), touted by his bosses as lively and comprehensive in previewing TV seven nights a week with his "witty, insightful and occasionally offbeat approach to TV commentary." On Monday, he began:
Television has many powers. Its ability to distract (VH1), enter tain (“The Office”), inform (“The NewsHour”), deceive (“The O’Reilly Factor”), anger (ditto) and sell (QVC) are well documented.
But the moments when television reaches for the sublime, the beautiful, the poetic and transporting are few indeed.
Never mind nightly TV newscasts are geared toward older generation. Never mind scandals like Dan Rather and the falsified National Guard documents leading up to the 2004 presidential elections have caused people to look for their news from other sources like the Internet and talk radio.
"[B]ut there were so few [good TV news writers] because we became dependent on pictures and that coupled with deregulation of television, when you had three, four networks - and suddenly, there are 20, then there are 50 and now there are 300 and however many - 500," he said. "And as a consequence, the pie that used to be sliced three or four ways is now slivers and as a consequence, everybody is trying to hold on to their little audience and to do that, you got to entertain."
The liberal-media establishment at the Poynter Institute delights in the supposedly scandalous appearances of conservatives in the media, as its Romenesko website featured liberal PBS complainers on Wednesday:
National Review editor Rich Lowry recently filled in for David Brooks on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" during the Friday week-in-review segment. Some viewer reactions:
"Please rethink having such a callous, offensive 'reporter' on PBS again."
"He gives journalism an ugly face not to mention the total disregard this young man has for democracy."
"The remarks of Rich Lowry were shameful and deeply disturbing."
PBS personalities can certainly come across as full of themselves, even boasting of how they can dare to do news programming that almost nobody wants to watch. Take Jim Lehrer’s recent speech at the University of Texas, as reported by the Austin American-Statesman:
He warned against the "spicing up" of news with entertainment programming and partisan commentary. "You want to be entertained? Go to the circus, please. Do not watch 'The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,' " he said.
The typically straightforward face of "NewsHour" relayed humorous tales from his education at Victoria College and the early days at his 32-year-old show, which took a while to hit its stride.
"We did 30 minutes comparing naturally grown tomatoes to unnaturally grown tomatoes," Lehrer said. "Don't ask me why we did it.
"We did 30 minutes on the Portuguese elections that not even the Portuguese cared about."
You better put down your drinks, and make sure there's nothing in your mouths, for the New York Times's David Brooks made a comment on Friday's News Hour that is guaranteed to evoke uncontrollable fits of laughter from those on the right side of the aisle.
*****Updates at end of post include similar opinions from conservative bloggers, as well as a video of a CNN correspondent saying roughly the same thing, and a response from the Kos Kidz.
After introducing regular guests Brooks and Mark Shields, host Jim Lehrer asked their opinions concerning the just-released Osama bin Laden video.
Brooks was second up with this absolutely marvelous observation (final warning to put down your drinks, video available here):