Two notes on Bill O'Reilly controversies today. First, Brian Maloney at the Radio Equalizer blog reports a forthcoming operatic work on the Andrea Mackris complaint of sexual harassment against O'Reilly, "an oratorio for 31-piece chamber orchestra, 32-voice chorus and three soloists." It debuts in Seattle, where Christmas trees are controversial, but not this?
Imagine for a moment that a sex scandal involving pages had forced a Democrat Congressman holding a safe seat to resign in disgrace weeks before crucial midterm elections, while also reflecting badly on other members of his Party in tight races across the country. A month after the votes had been tallied, and the Democrats had surrendered control of both chambers of Congress in a stunning defeat, a House ethics panel released a report on the subject containing the following information:
The leaks to the press concerning this matter had come from the communications director for the House Republican Caucus
A high-ranking staff member for the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee had been informed of the misdeeds of the Democrat Congressman almost twelve months before they were revealed by the press
Now assume that this head of the NRCC had declared four weeks prior to Election Day that nobody in his office was aware of the Democrat Congressman’s sexual indiscretions before they were revealed. Would the contradictory findings of this panel be headline news the day they were reported?
For those that missed it, a classic – and sometimes heated – debate about the Iraq War transpired on the most recent installment of “Fox News Sunday”. In the left corner was NPR’s Juan Williams. In the right corner, as a fabulous conservative tag team, were Fox News’ Brit Hume, and the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol. This one did not disappoint (video available here).
The fun really got going when Kristol made the following observation about recent changes in position regarding the war: “Some of the Republicans are going wet or squishy, or whatever one wants -- that was a shock. Sam Brownback said to you just a few minutes ago he has growing impatience with the war in Iraq. Senator Smith said he's at the end of his rope.”
Williams eventually took issue with this:
Let me just say this. Squishy, impatient, you know, they'll be in the land of milk and honey -- the insurgents will be? What do you imagine, that somehow there's -- an American administration is coming in, Republican or Democrat, after President Bush that's just going to lay down and run away like scared little...
And that’s when the party started (partial transcript follows, but it really should be read along with the video to capture the priceless expressions on the faces of the participants):
Those looking for a true conservative to enter the Republican presidential field might be feeling a bit perplexed in the wake of Sam Brownback's performance on this morning's Fox News Sunday. The senator from Kansas:
Endorsed the ISG report and appeared to strongly support negotiations with Iran and Syria.
Called for a timetable for US withdrawal.
Spoke approvingly of a Bidenesqe division of Iraq into three ethnic regions.
Declined to swing at the softball host Chris Wallace lobbed at him regarding Mitt Romney's flip-flops on abortion and gay rights.
Seemingly described himself as a "compassionate conservative."
Invited by Wallace to comment on the ISG report, Brownback was surprisingly supportive: "I think [Pres. Bush] really should look at these recommendations very seriously as well. And it seems to me that what Baker-Hamilton provides us is a chance to kind of reset the table and get a bi-partisan buy-in and not just a bipartisan buy-in, a global buy-in to what we can do to move forward in Iraq and get our troops out of harm's way and out of the sectarian violence. I think this is an important moment, like senator Dodd identifies as well"
The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct released its report concerning the Mark Foley page scandal on Friday, and the media banged the predictable drum about this all being a Republican cover-up. However, what was ignored or downplayed by virtually every press outlet was the revelation that the offensive e-mail messages between Foley and male pages were leaked to the media by the communications director for the House Democratic Caucus. Also absent from such reports was the possibility that high-ranking Democrat Rahm Emanuel of Illinois might have been aware of these electronic transmissions even though he told ABC News on October 8 that he hadn’t heard anything about them until the story broke (video available here, hat tip to Gateway Pundit).
How much did Rahm Emanuel know about disgraced Rep. Mark Foley's e-mails to a former House page? In an Oct. 8 interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Emanuel, a Democratic congressman from Illinois, was asked if he or his staff knew anything about the e-mails or instant messages between Foley and former pages "before they came out." "No - Never saw them," Emanuel said. Asked if he was "aware of them," Emanuel repeated, "We never saw them. No involvement." But on page 46 of the new House Ethics Committee report on the scandal is testimony that at least one senior member of Emanuel's staff did know about them.
Let's be generous and chalk it up to the early-morning hour. Otherwise we'd have to come down hard on radio host Mike Gallagher, who as a guest on this morning's Fox & Friends Weekend went ga-ga for Barack Obama. It's one thing to acknowledge as did Mike that Obama has appeal as a candidate. But, interviewed by Keran Chetry, it was Gallagher's praise for Obama's substance that shocked, coming as it did from a putative conservative. Said Gallagher:
"He's got some pretty solid ideas. He's a moderate."
Obama - moderate? If Mike would check Obama's record, as we did here, he'd find that in addition to having received a perfect 100% rating last year from the paleo-liberals at Americans for Democratic Action, a host of other ratings Barack has received screams "cookie-cutter left-wing Democrat":
Fox News correspondent and comedian Dennis Miller was at it again Friday night. In his “Real Free Speech” segment, Miller took on Iraq War defeatism, and wisely explained why winning over there is important for America’s future (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated). As always, this works best if you read along while watching or you will miss the marvelous sight gags:
Hey there, folks. Tonight I'm going to talk about defeatism about the war here on the home front. Ah, but what good would it do me to talk about defeatism? It's not like it's going to change anything. You see how whiney that tone sounds? You think our enemy loves hearing that? Of course they do.
I don’t know about you, but almost nothing can make my Friday evening better than a guest on Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” smacking around the loony liberal host. Such was the case on December 8 when California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher was invited on to discuss an interesting border patrol case. For a little background, Colmes set the segment up (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated):
Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were convicted of shooting an admitted drug smuggler in the buttocks as he ran away from them near the Rio Grande River in February of 2005. They're now both sentenced to up to 12 years in jail, in which they will begin to serve next month. And now, 48 lawmakers are asking President Bush to pardon the agents, because they believe their actions stopped more than $1 million in illegal drugs from being sold in the U.S. Joining us now, the lawmaker leading the campaign for the pardon of California -- for this particular pardon, California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
Sounds reasonable, right? However, after introducing the Congressman, Colmes chose to add the following thereby immediately turning what should have been an informative interview about this subject into an argument:
Outspoken author Mark Steyn was Bill O’Reilly’s guest on Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor” Thursday, and he slammed the Associated Press as being “semi-treasonous,” a “disgraceful organization” that is “colluding with the enemy and demoralizing America on the home front.” After some introductory pleasantries, Steyn let loose (video available here):
I believe that the majority of American newspapers which is full of Associated Press content on the central issue of our time they are either dupes at best or actually semi-treasonous and colluding with the enemy and demoralizing America on the home front, including having agents of the enemy on their payroll. This is a disgraceful organization.
Make yourselves comfortable, for Steyn was just getting warmed up:
Editors at the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post each used the reverential term "wisdom" to define the findings of the Baker-Hamilton commission -- suggesting that the current drift of Bush policy is the opposite, foolishness.
In Wednesday's press conference with James Baker and Lee Hamilton, MRC's Mike Rule noticed Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief of the Los Angeles Times, asked the commissioners: "All of you have considerable experience in helping presidents change course when they find themselves in a blind alley. What do you intend to do from now on to help President Bush embrace the wisdom of all of your recommendations?" McManus noted Bush had "already expressed discomfort with several of them, including engaging Syria and Iran," and threatening the Iraqi government with troop withdrawals.
Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Javad Zarif seemed to take the advice from Howard Dean: Whenever someone challenges you, blame the "Fox News propaganda machine." On Wednesday night, Zarif spoke at a forum at Columbia University. Several students challenged him on issues from support of Hezbollah, nuclear ambitions, suppressing dissent, and denial of the Holocaust. The frustrated Zarif retorted, "my friend don’t consume whatever is fed by Fox News." The crowd reacted with laughter and some scattered applause.
This was not the first time the Iranian government, like the Democrats, blasted Fox News. Back in March, Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Sotanieh attacked Fox News. A left wing blogger chose to side with the Ayatollahs. I thought liberals hate theocracy. I guess I was wrong. The entire transcript is below.
Regular viewers of Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” know that the two hosts rarely agree on anything, and that when they do, their guests better watch out, because they’re going to be blasted from both sides. Such was the case Tuesday evening when H&C invited the Reverend Paul Scott of the Messianic Afrikan Nation to discuss his bizarre views about race and Christmas (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated). Colmes began, “So, you have a beef with Christmas this year, or every year?” The Reverend replied:
Well, the problem that we have is with traditional Eurocentric Christmas, the lily white Christmas. Christmas is the whitest time of year. And in a situation and a climate when black men are being shot by police officers, black -- elderly black grandmothers are being shot by police officers, black men are being forced to dance their way out of traffic tickets, white comedians feel that they can make jokes about black men.
Colmes accurately inquired: “That has nothing to do with Christmas, though, as you well know. Do you think most people look at Christmas through the lens of race?” The Reverend amazingly answered: “I think that racism is so prevalent in our society you can't separate anything from race.” He said that. He really did. And that’s when the fun started:
As fellow news analyst Geoffrey Dickens blogged, Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio bonded with Matt Lauer on his global warming hype movie, Eleventh Hour. But before DiCaprio demands a host of new government regulations to clean up the environment, he should look at his own Hollywood pals. On Wednesday’s Fox and Friends First, hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Judge Andrew Napolitano hosted author and columnist James Hirsen to expose the hypocrisy of the Hollywood elite. Despite their constant preaching about the environment, they are in fact one of the largest polluters in metropolitan Los Angeles.
Gretchen Carlson asked the question, "why don’t we hear about this?" Good question. The entire transcript is below.
Judge Andrew Napolitano: "Is Hollywood a major contributor to air pollution? Our next guest says the film and TV industries on the west coast are a huge factor. Columnist James Hirsen joins us now from Santa Ana, California. He's also the author of Hollywood Nation. Good morning James and welcome here."
Cavuto elicited this stunningly out-of-touch statement from Krugman about the situation for the average person and the middle class that is obviously not true (excerpt is at the end of this Hot Air clip):
Cavuto: .... You're saying that it's somehow dramatically worse now than it was 10 years, 20 years ago? Krugman: It is dramatically worse now than it was 10 or 20 years ago.
Horse manure, Paul, and here's the proof. The figures below are from the Census Bureau, and show real (inflation-adjusted) income from 1985-2005 (bottom half of data at linked page):
This was just too delicious for words…but I’ll try. As many of you are aware, most conservatives who study the economy and the markets view the New York Times’ Paul Krugman as being one of the most disingenuous pols on the landscape. Krugman has regularly been shown to flat out lie about economic data in his articles to prove his specious points, and was accused by the Times’ former ombudsman Byron Calame of regularly doing exactly that.
Well, on Tuesday, Krugman got his well-deserved comeuppance as Fox News’ Neil Cavuto called him out for such errors in transmission, and actually called Krugman a liar (must-see video available here):
Here’s what I’m saying that you’re doing: You are lying to people. That’s what I think that you’re doing.
Krugman then actually had the nerve to respond: “I haven’t heard a lie yet.” He mustn’t proofread his work. Luckily, Neil was having none of this:
You know you're liberal if even a liberal media watchdog group calls you liberal -- that is, unless you're MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. While Olbermann denies displaying a liberal bias on his show, once describing himself politically as "correct" and "neutral," media analyst Paul Waldman of the far left Media Matters for America, a frequent source of material for Olbermann, sees it differently. On Tuesday's Scarborough Country on MSNBC, during a discussion of whether there is a "vast left-wing conspiracy" against Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, Waldman proclaimed that Olbermann's show is the "only liberal show" on cable news. Below is a complete transcript of Waldman's comment from the December 5 Scarborough Country:
Failing to report on the legal status has become a common practice of the mainstream media as was demonstrated by a recent report done by WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida. On Tuesday’s Fox and Friends First, hosts Brian Kilmeade, Gretchen Carlson, and Tiki Barber covered the story. The transcript is below.
Brian Kilmeade: "Let's talk about what's happening with, with illegals and soliciting funds for illegals. For example, what's happening in West Palm Beach in Florida."
Gretchen Carlson: "Well, you know, this is a really unusual story, because the TV station there, one of the affiliates in West Palm Beach, apparently did a story about how these immigrants needed help and that they had been giving back to the community, so now it was time for the rest of the community to step up an help them out. The only problem is is that usually television reports are supposed to be objective and they forgot to mention one major part of the story, which was the fact that these immigrants were illegal."
How do you know when you've gone overboard with political correctness? When even the liberal panelists of Fox News Watch chide you for it. Host Eric Burns normally stays above the fray. But for some reason, on this evening's show he chose to criticize US Airways for removing from one of its flights six imams whose actions had made other passengers uneasy.
Said Burns, introducing the segment: "There were two stories in the news this week about religion. First, Pope Benedict in Turkey tried to encourage tolerance between Catholics and Muslims. Second, a story of tolerance of U.S. Airways and Muslims - there wasn't any - as six Muslim religious leaders, or imams, were recently yanked off a US Airways flight for no apparent reason other than that a passenger thought they were behaving strangely. Jane, I wonder if the moral of these two stories is first that the media are not at all captivated by this Pope . . but they are captivated by stories that seem to show that anti-terrorist policies sometimes go too far."
Thanks to former President Clinton and victories in the recent midterm elections, Democrats are now launching a full out attack on Fox News, the only television news outlet that holds them accountable. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) appeared on Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor to explain his recent attack on Fox News and once again lashed out on Bill O’Reilly when he issued him challenging questions. O’Reilly asked Congressman Frank what his position is on income redistribution.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): "Bill, will you please stop interrupting if you want a serious discussion?"
Bill O’Reilly: "No. I'm not going to interrupt. When you say something dopey, I'm going point it out. What do you think you are, the czar of the interview?"
Yesterday John Gibson, host of "The Big Story" on Fox News, wondered if a national TV network, NBC, should make the country's foreign policy.
Let me introduce you to somebody. His name is Robert Wright. He is the chairman of the NBC television network, which is actually a few networks including CNBC and MSNBC. In essence, he runs those networks.
Since I used to work over there and know Mr. Wright and know how things work somewhat, I am confident I am right when I say Bob Wright decided, or at least approved, NBC's policy to refer to whatever it is that is now going on in Iraq as a civil war.
The Pentagon doesn't think so. The White House doesn't think so. Even CBS Evening News Executive Producer Rome Hartman said he thought NBC's decision wasn't so much a news judgment as a political judgment.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts" the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, something Congressman Charles Rangel seemingly never picked up. In the Fox News Sunday segment which featured Barney Frank attacking Fox News, host Chris Wallace presented to Congressman Rangel findings from a Heritage Foundation Study that the military are in fact from a healthier economic background and better educated than the general American public. Rangel, with the facts in front of him, reverted to his original talking points disputing those very facts. He even made a John Kerry-like claim implying those serving in the military are not particularly patriotic or even very smart. The question is, will the mainstream media pick up on it?
Putin's Russia poses a potentially serious threat to the United States. But America lacks the moral standing to confront it. That was the view expressed by Ellen Ratner on this morning's Fox & Friends. Ratner, the short, liberal side of 'The Long & the Short of It' duo [seen here in file photo], expressed little doubt that Putin's government was behind the murder of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.
Ratner: "I think that there's no question. If I were a betting woman it would be 100% Putin and Russia, it's just their operation and they have the means to do it."
She continued: "We have got to take a very good, careful look at Russia. We're in Iraq where you have sort of a ragtag group of insurgents. And we're not focusing on the Russians that have over 5,000 nukes [and other WMDs] . . . Unfortunately, we're in business with these guys, we need their oil."
That's when Ratner asserted that America's alleged moral failings limited its options:
"I don't know what we should do except that we are not in a great position because we don't have the moral standing given what we're doing in Iraq."
Fox News Watch led this week's show with Brent Bozell's condemnation of the press' coverage of the just-concluded congressional campaign. Host Eric Burns noted that Bozell is "head of an influential conservative media watchdog group called the Media Research Center" - which also happens to be the parent organization of NewsBusters.
FNW played a video clip of Bozell stating:
"In 25 years of looking at the national media I have never in my life seen a more one-sided, distorted, vicious presentation of news and non-news by the national press. The national press ought to be collectively ashamed of itself. They might as well take up membership in the Democratic national party. They were the simple microphones for the party. They need to be ashamed of themselves for what they did."
Wednesday’s Fox and Friends discussed the recent feud between Rosie O’Donnell and Kelly Ripa. Co-host Gretchen Carlson said what so many of us are thinking.
Kelly Ripa complaining about singer Clay Aiken covering her mouth on TV: "Regardless of whatever the sexual orientation is, it was outrageous, it was out of line, it was unprofessional, and he wouldn't have done it to you because there is respect there." (End Video)
Gretchen Carlson: "Maybe he should do it to Rosie O'Donnell. You know what? This really just upsets me. Just stay out of everyone else's business, Rosie. I mean, for goodness sake, Kelly Ripa is the host of this show. Clay Aiken made a mistake in putting his hand over her mouth. You just don't do that to the host of a show when you are a guest and by the way, according to Kelly Ripa, he did not even say thank you for being the co-host of her show that day. I don't think Kelly Ripa should get any blame for what she said. She says 'look, it's cold and flu season, when I said I don't know where that hand's been,' she did not mean-"
Attacking Fox News is not an unusual tactic of the mainstream media, but on Tuesday’s Today, Matt Lauer began the show with a false claim about Fox News.
Matt Lauer: "But we begin this morning with the controversial story out of Fox News: The O.J. Simpson case. Fox News Corporation deciding to cut its losses and cancel that highly controversial project where he speaks out about those notorious murders."
The problem here: the Fox broadcast network, not Fox News, almost aired the interview with O.J. Simpson. He did accurately call it Fox later in the broadcast but, never issued a correction. Meanwhile, on Fox and Friends, Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, and Gretchen Carlson questioned Bill O’Reilly on whether the mainstream media will tie Fox News in with the O.J. Simpson interview.
The success of the left-wing Jon Stewart at capturing the young news viewer hasn't gone unnoticed in the television business. Fox News Channel is prepping a show with a similar format, and with a non-liberal perspective, according to the Hollywood Reporter:
Fox News Channel might air two episodes of a "Daily Show"-like program
with a decidedly nonliberal bent on Saturday nights in late January,
with the possibility that it could become a weekly show for the channel.
The half-hour show is executive produced by "24's"
Joel Surnow and Manny Cota and creator Ned Rice, who previously wrote
for "Politically Incorrect" and "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson"
through This Just In Prods. It would take aim at what Surnow calls "the
sacred cows of the left" that don't get made as much fun of by other
"It's a satirical news format that would play more to
the Fox News audience than the Michael Moore channel," Surnow said. "It
would tip more right as 'The Daily Show' tips left."
The show was pitched as "This Just In" when it first
got life as a 20-minute pilot presentation for Fox Broadcasting Co.'s
late-night division. But when that network passed, Surnow said it
attracted the attention of Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes.
"I showed it to Roger, and he really liked it and
thought it could work on Fox News if we could make it conform to some
of the restraints" of a cable news channel. Fox News Channel confirmed
that talks were going on.
In a rare edition of our “Friday Night Fights” feature, the well-known duo from the Fox News hit “Hannity & Colmes” teamed together on Thursday to take on Rev. Al Sharpton (hat tip to our friend at Ms Underestimated). To set this melee up, a radio ad was played in Atlanta, Georgia, just before Election Day suggesting that a Republican-run America is like the United States before the civil rights movement (as reported by NewsBusters here):
You think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the Sixties was bad, imagine if we sit idly by and let the right-wing Republicans take control of the Fulton County Commission.
Rev. Al Sharpton was invited on H&C to discuss this outrage, and was met with punches from both sides when he didn’t condemn the message. Colmes began (video and full transcript follow): “I'll tell you, Reverend, I'm glad Democrats won, but I don't like ads that compare Republicans to Bill Connor. And you don't really believe that if Republicans got re-elected there that Bull Connor would -- his spirit would live on.”
A real barnburner occurred on Fox News Wednesday. Yet, strangely, the competitors were on the same side of the aisle. As “Hannity and Colmes” welcomed Tennessee Senatorial-hopeful Congressman Harold Ford (D-Tennessee), one would have expected the fireworks to be lit when Sean was doing the questioning. However, the liberal-minded Alan Colmes showed America the lack of tolerance the media and the left have for moderate members of their club. As a result, Colmes gave Ford the full Lieberman treatment, beginning by listing positions Ford holds which are verboten for the current Democrat party:
But, you say, in addition to the issues Sean brought up, the Ten Commandments should be posted in courtrooms around the state. You favor school prayer. You say you’re pro-life. You want an anti-flag burning constitutional amendment. Are you going to vote with the Democratic caucus if you get into the Senate?
Effectively toeing the “principles and issues are irrelevant” line of his party, Colmes tried banging into the head of his opponent the fact that voting with the caucus is all that matters. Ford tried placating his hostile host with issues that should have appealed to him:
At the MRC's Business & Media Institute (BMI), we've tracked CNN's war on the economy. Today, Fox News's Brenda Buttner took on the media's negative slant with some cold hard facts:
“If you listen to the Democrats or listen to much of our media, our economy is in dire straights, but pay attention just to the numbers, well they tell a very different story... Number one, Americans employed, there's essentially full employment in the U.S..."
Buttner added that despite media talk of the housing slowdown, the "bottom line [is that] more and more of us today are fortunate enough to enjoy a piece of the American Dream" as 70 percent of Americans own their home.
Vice President Dick Cheney was Neil Cavuto’s guest on Fox News Monday, and he responded to his wife’s stellar performance on CNN’s the Situation Room last week (hat tip to Ian at Hot Air). Cheney told Cavuto that they refer to the interview “around the house as the ‘slapdown.’” The Vice President said his wife “was very tough, but she was very accurate and very aggressive.” After she was done, Cheney told his wife he “thought it was a sterling performance.”
What follows is a full transcript of this segment. Those interested can watch the video here.