A month or so ago I would have said that Neal Gabler and I inhabit different planets, but his apparent home has recently been demoted from planetary status. While I'm off searching for another metaphor, let me pass along the latest comment from the decidedly liberal denizen of Fox News Watch that made me reflect on just how distinct a world view we have. In the course of discussing on this evening's show the controversy that erupted this past week over Rush Limbaugh's comments about Michael Fox, Gabler had this to say:
"The media has tread lightly on Rush and his criticism of [Michael J.] Fox. To my mind, Rush is a cancer to America and hatemongers are marginalized, and why the media does not marginalize Rush, I don't know."
The national press corps is justifiably looked upon with suspicion by conservatives and in dire need of reform if it wishes to regain their confidence, especially since that's a sound business strategy.
Those are the words of ABC News political director Mark Halperin who on last night's "O'Reilly Factor" provided a resounding endorsement of the idea that the elite American media needs to stop being liberally biased. (Video available in WMV or Real. MP3 audio also available, transcript is after the jump.)
In a followup to an Oct. 19 internet posting in which he sarcastically implied that reporters take their cues from Democrats and liberal activists, Halperin stated that the press should use the 2006 elections as an opportunity to regain the public trust:
"In this country, we've got these old news organizations, the major networks, ABC, where you [O'Reilly] used to work, the New York Times, the Washington Post. These organizations have been around a long time, and for 40 years conservatives have looked with suspicion at them. I think we've got a chance in these last two weeks to prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances, we're going to try to do better, but these organizations still have incredible sway, and conservatives are certain that we're going to be out to get them. We've got to fix that."
On last night's Fox News Watch, Cal Thomas offered assessments of the way in which the independence of two of his fellow conservative commentators is viewed. While acknowledging that the two top-rated talkers have recently chided the administration, he suggested there is a perception that, by and large, the pair lack political autonomy.
In the context of a discussion of President Bush's efforts to shore up support among conservative radio talk show personalities, Thomas stated:
"Even Rush Limbaugh,whois seen as being in the pocket of the administration, has been critical of Republicans not being more like Republicans."
As reported Friday, a Democrat staffer was suspended last week over possibly being the source of the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate to the New York Times. New reports from the Los Angeles Times and Fox News identified the name of the staffer in question, and that he has ties to Rep. Jane Harman (D-California) who expressed such outrage over the incident (hat tip to Michelle Malkin):
The aide was identified by other congressional officials as Larry Hanauer. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of a pending investigation into the leak, said Hanauer had held positions with the departments of Defense and Homeland Security before joining the professional staff of Democrats on the House intelligence panel about two years ago.
The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) is apparently fed up with all the leaks coming out of Congress, and sent a letter to Harman’s office addressing such concerns:
Air America is grasping for straws in some mighty odd places. A mass email from Air America host Thom Hartmann today touts the parallels between the plight of the bankrupt left-wing radio network and, of all things, Fox News Channel [FNC] and the Washington Times.
"There are times when doing the profitable thing is also doing the right thing. That's certainly what Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch thought when they lost an average of $90 million a year for about five years before the Fox News Channel became profitable."
Cindy Sheehan became an instant liberal-media celebrity when she held a vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas and demanded to meet with him (a second time) over the death of her son Casey in Iraq. But is the liberal media only about creating the legend and leaving the negative details out? MRC's Justin McCarthy reported that on Wednesday's "Fox and Friends," Melanie Morgan and Catherine Moy, authors of the book American Mourning, said they found Sheehan was paid by John Kerry's campaign in 2004 to speak out against President Bush. Said Morgan:
"We have Federal Election Commission documents. I mean we went to an extensive research, we followed the money, that's how you always figure out what's going on...We found that John Kerry and Michael Moore personally recruited Gold Star family members just within days and sometimes even at the funerals of their sons to come and work for the campaign in order to undermine the candidacy of George W. Bush at the time. It was shocking and, and really offensive behavior and that's exactly what happened to Cindy Sheehan who we tracked down. She went on the payroll of John Kerry's campaign within days after her son's death as well as her daughter Carly. Ultimately, there was a split between the two because she felt that John Kerry wasn't radical enough and didn't have an anti-war agenda that matched hers."
I don’t know about you, but I love it when a liberal member of Congress tries to talk tough about terrorism. It’s kind of like watching my 13-year-old daughter try to bully my 18-year-old son. Such was the case on the “O’Reilly Factor” last night when Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) tried to look tough in front of Our Boy Bill – sorry for the “Carousel” pun to those who caught it (hat tip to Hot Air with video link to follow).
The scrum started early when O’Reilly brought up the Military Commissions Act just signed by the President, and the fact that Rangel voted against it. Charlie weakly replied: “Not only is the bill unconstitutional, but it was brought up on the eve of an election to give some type of feeling that Republicans were tough on terrorism.”
Rangel stepped into an uppercut with that offering, and O’Reilly didn’t miss the opportunity:
As reported by NewsBusters last Friday, famed television talk show host Oprah Winfrey recently had the New York Times’ Frank Rich on her program to hawk his new Bush-bashing book. On Monday’s “O’Reilly Factor,” the host and one of his guests, conservative writer and blogger Michelle Malkin, took Oprah to task for the amount of time Rich was given to spew his vitriol, and for the fact that Oprah rarely has conservatives on to push their books (hat tip to Hot Air). O’Reilly began (video link and full transcript to follow):
Her daytime talk program is a launch pad for books, movies, TV shows, and records. Most who appear on Ms. Winfrey's show benefit from the experience greatly. But an analysis of the programs shows that liberal guests far outnumber conservatives and traditionalists in the arena. We can only find four traditional guests in the past four years. Four. President Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson.
On the other side, there are literally dozens of liberal people who have been given a forum on Oprah's program. Just last week, Bush hater Frank Rich was given an hour to pontificate, one hour. I had no idea Mr. Rich was so popular among daytime viewers. Also on Oprah's show, Michael Moore, Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Al Gore, Barbara Streisand, Sean Penn, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Jon Stewart, George Clooney, Jim McGreevey, on and on and on. You got three weeks? I can keep listing them.
O’Reilly continued, and then brought Malkin into the discussion:
Fox News correspondent Steve Centanni logged his first report Wednesday after having been kidnapped and held hostage by Palestinians in Gaza back in August. Please join me in giving hearty congratulations and warmest wishes to Steve and his family.
Here is a video of Centanni's first report since being released by his captors on August 27 courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated.
Howard Kurtz profiled White House press secretary Tony Snow for Thursday's Washington Post. He emphasized his talk-radio style of combat with reporters, and his availablity for GOP fundraisers: "It's Gloves Off (and Pass the Hat) for Bush Spokesman." That sounds a little like he's taking a collection for his personal use. White House reporters asked for comment in the piece come across as, surprise, hard-bitten and cynical:
"He definitely likes the combat," says Martha Raddatz, ABC's White House correspondent. "One of his devices is he stops and smiles at you. The megawatt smile is supposed to punctuate his sentences, but it hasn't worked as well for him lately. It's a pretty tight-lipped administration, and that hasn't changed."
Asked at the National Press Club's luncheon on Monday “what do you see as the future vision for CNN now that Fox is gaining in market share and popularity?”, CNN founder Ted Turner leaned into the microphone and, prompting laughter and applause, produced a loud sputtering sound as he blew air through his lips with his tongue sticking out slightly -- aka "blowing a raspberry" or issuing a "Bronx cheer." Then, seemingly retreating from his apparent disparagement of CNN, Turner confusingly tried to clarify: “It's not the same. Fox is a different animal [pause]. Listen, you know, the right-wingers have every right to have a network of their own and they've got one.”
On FNC's two-hour Sunday special (8-10pm EDT) to mark the channel's tenth anniversary, former CBS News and MSNBC executive Erik Sorenson articulated what the AP's David Bauder last week paraphrased him as acknowledging: How New York-based news media executives were so out of touch that they did not recognize the depth of belief in liberal media bias into which FNC tapped. “There was a full-on commitment” to the “fair and balanced” premise, Sorenson proposed during FNC's special, Fox News at 10: Thank You America, in explaining FNC's success: “There were far more people in America who seemed to hold that opinion of the liberal media bias than anyone in New York City -- the media capital of the world -- had estimated."
As detailed in an October 2 NewsBusters posting, Bauder had reported: “Before Fox, many in the media scoffed at the notion of a liberal bias and figured only a handful of people really believed that, said Erik Sorenson, former MSNBC President. 'Fox proved it's a much larger group than anybody realized,' he said.”
Ann Coulter was interviewed Saturday on Fox News’ “Weekend Live,” and those who actually were out and about missed the outspoken conservative speaking her mind like few in America do while cameras are rolling. The subject was Mark Foley, and the somewhat hypocritical response to this sex “scandalette.” After all, this appears to be a sex scandal without a key ingredient – sex.
Early on, Coulter stated about the Democrats, “I’ve never seen them engage in such gay-bashing.” Since folks on the left typically have short memories, Coulter believes “we need to get it in writing.” After all, “this is going to rule out gay schoolteachers. Um, and I guess we can finally get [Democrats] on board for not allowing scoutmasters to take 14-year-olds in the woods if they’re gay.”
There are some other wonderful quotes which, due to their sensitive nature, will be left to the full transcript in the “Read More” section. However, Coulter fans are encouraged to strap on their seatbelts, watch the video here (courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated), and enjoy the wild ride.
In an article posted Friday on Time.com, the magazine’s critic James Poniewozik suggests the Fox News Channel, which he sees as tilted to the right, is also responsible for the multi-minute rants that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has lately been emitting. Time also dismisses the idea that the rest of the mainstream media (presumably including itself) is tilted to the left, with Poniewozik parenthetically noting that “the MSM really slant toward the institutional, establishmentarian center, which is a bias as dangerous as any other.”
Poniewozik’s theory on Olbermann is that Fox’s climb to the top of the ratings has led to changes at other TV news outlets, including at MSNBC, although he paints Olbermann as the party most likely to be embarrassed by the link to Fox News: “Keith Olbermann ranting at George W. Bush and O'Reilly on MSNBC's Countdown: that's Fox through and through, whether Olbermann would like to admit it or not.”
On last night's O'Reilly Factor, Bernard Goldberg, former CBS reporter and author of "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News," says the Foley scandal is nothing but an "October surprise." He also says the media ignored a similar story in 1994 about Democratic congressman Mel Reynolds, who "didn't just talk about sex with an underage person, he had sex with a 16-year-old girl."
Giving the opposing viewpoint was Jane Hall, professor of journalism at American University and a dedicated defender of the mainstream media on various Fox News programs.
It’s not often that a conservative has problems with the Washington Times and the New York Times on the same day concerning the same issue. But, there it was on Tuesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, as Ann Coulter took issue with statements made by both publications concerning embattled former Congressman Mark Foley of Florida.
When host Bill O’Reilly asked his guest what she thought of the Washington Times calling for House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s resignation, Coulter wasn’t shy about her disgust (video link and full transcript follow):
“Before Fox,” the AP's David Bauder relayed in a weekend article about the tenth anniversary of the Fox News Channel, “many in the media scoffed at the notion of a liberal bias and figured only a handful of people really believed that, said Erik Sorenson, former MSNBC President.” Sorenson, the President of the Secaucus, New Jersey-based MSNBC from 1999 through early 2004, where he re-hired Keith Olbermann in 2003 to replace Phil Donahue's show which he had created, told Bauder: "Fox proved it's a much larger group than anybody realized." Many realized it earlier, just not very many inside MSNBC -- or CBS News, where he served as Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News from 1991 to 1995. So he should know how Rush Limbaugh was banned from the newscast back then. Indeed, Bauder related how "the very idea that Rush Limbaugh would appear on a CBS Evening News segment called 'Free Speech,' heavily promoted on Katie Couric's first night as anchor, would have been unfathomable a decade ago, Sorenson said."
I must caution readers that the hypocrisy in the following is so delicious nothing on your desk or couch is safe from sudden hysterical outbursts: the New York Times published an article Monday (hat tip to TVNewser) analyzing a new Democrat strategy to appear on and attack the Fox News Channel. Deliciously, the writer, Lorne Manly, consistently suggested that FNC was a biased, propaganda arm of the Republican Party without recognizing that the overwhelming majority of Americans see the Times as a biased, propaganda arm of the Democrat Party.
The fun began early: “Though Fox News maintains that its reporting is down the middle, Democrats have long complained that the news channel operates like a public relations outpost of the Bush White House.” And, the fun came often:
Howard Kurtz has two notable stories on political bias in today's "Media Notes" column -- first, a spicy review of how all the liberal journalists loathe Fox News and its chieftain, Roger Ailes. Second, New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse spouted that her splenetic speech at Harvard in June saying Team Bush has created a "law-free zone" and decrying religious "fundamentalists" taking over our government were a "statement of facts," not opinion! The Ailes interview is entertaining:
Vanity Fair recently pegged Ailes as No. 44 on its New Establishment list, calling him "the most powerful news executive in America." But it also called him "the man who gives the Bush administration a major media outlet" and described Dick Cheney -- who demands that his hotel TVs be preset to Fox -- as his "big loyal friend."
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."
This one is pretty funny, sports fans. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) went on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” Saturday to discuss his recent statement regarding global warming and the press. Along the way, he complimented Fox News for being “really the exception” to all the hype by the media concerning this issue. He also bashed CNN for making “8 different [false] accusations or statements about” him.
For those that are interested, the video is here, and a rough transcript follows.
Well sports fans, technically this fight took place in the afternoon. But, regardless of the hour, a real barnburner took place on Fox News’ “Studio B” Friday between anchor Shepard Smith and contributor William Kristol (video link to follow).
This melee perfectly demonstrated just how wrong folks like Paul Begala and James Carville are when they suggest that Fox News is just a propaganda arm of the Republican Party. After all, if such was the case, would a high-profile anchor be asking the following questions of a high-profile conservative, while at the same time taking an anti-Administration position towards the Iraq war:
Smith: Can’t you say beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt that what’s happening in Iraq is not working as we had hoped it would happen? That the terrorism is getting worse? That they are feeding off it?
Sound like a conservative, or someone that easily could be working for CNN or MSNBC? In fact, the following could have been uttered by Keith Olbermann:
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that a TV host whose idea of a show-closer is tossing wadded-up balls of paper at the camera would indulge in middle-school-worthy taunts about someone's weight. And yet . . . I actually was surprised when on tonight's show, Keith Olbermann unleashed a string of jibes aimed at Roger Ailes' physique. So surprised that when Olbermann first began his barrage, with a comment about Ailes doing something "between pies," I truly wondered whether I had misheard him or perhaps misunderstood his intent. Fat jokes? Could my fellow Cornellian really be stooping that low?
He could. Olbermann's mean-spirited motive soon became manifest. Displaying what was presumably the least flattering photo of the Fox chief he could find [shown here], Olbermann followed that comment with this string of insults:
In today's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan sounds a
pessimistic note about today's media landscape. Sparked by former
president Bill Clinton's contentious interview with Fox's Chris
Wallace, she hails the demise of the liberal elites who monopolized
America's political agenda through control of the media but bemoans
what she believes to be the proliferation of cultural detritus. I'll
have more on this later but I thought it's worth putting out right now.
Do you think she's right or wrong?
The new media did not divide us.
The new media gave voice to our divisions. The result: more points of
view, more subjects discussed, more data presented. This, in a great
republic, a great democracy, a leader of the world in a dangerous time,
is not bad but good.
But nothing comes free. All big changes have unexpected
benefits and unanticipated drawbacks. Here is a loss: the man on the
Forty and 50 years ago, mainstream
liberal media executives--middle-aged men who fought in Tarawa or
Chosin, went to Cornell, and sat next to the man in the gray flannel
suit on the train to the city, who hoisted a few in the bar car, and
got off at Greenwich or Cos Cob, Conn.--those great old liberals had
some great things in them.
One was a high-minded interest in
imposing certain standards of culture on the American people. They
actually took it as part of their mission to elevate the country.
A night after slamming Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes as the “Worst Person in the World” for saying former President Clinton's reaction to Chris Wallace was “an assault on all journalists" (NewsBusters item), MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Thursday mocked “the circular gentleman” for telling the FNC staff on the tenth anniversary of the network that in the future they need “to focus more on taking audience away from broadcast networks, not the other cable news networks.”
“Not so fast, Sydney Greenstreet,” Olbermann fired back, in an apparent insulting reference to the rotund and bald actor who passed away in 1954. “Check out last night's ratings,” Olbermann directed his viewers, with viewership numbers on screen for four cable news channels. He proceeded to seriously tout as meaningful how, in the 25 to 54 years-old demographic, the midnight EDT repeat airing of Countdown the night before beat FNC's re-run of Brit Hume's show -- by a bare 16,000. Then, without noting how more than three times as many people watch FNC during Countdown's live airing, or how within the age demographic 50 percent more watch Hume at 6p EDT than Olbermann at 8pm EDT, Olbermann ridiculously suggested: “Mr. Ailes might want to focus back on keeping the other cable news networks from taking audience from his own network and leaving some food for Canada.” Whatever that means.
Last night Bill O'Reilly had on Democratic activists James Carville and Paul Begala. The two guests engaged in Fox News-bashing for the entire segment. The exchange got testy at one point when O'Reilly said "you're both stupid" for relying on left-wing blogs for conspiracy material.
O'REILLY: With us, two close Clinton confidants, James Carville and Paul Begala, the co-authors of the paperback book right now, "Take it Back: A Battle Plan for the Democratic Party". Look, you have been running around hot-shotting this FOX News and you're empowered or you're thrilled or whatever you are. We're fair to Bill Clinton here. Wallace worked for ABC for 25 years. He didn't turn into a werewolf when he was hired over here. OK? You want to pick on somebody, pick on me or pick on Hannity, but not Chris Wallace, OK? This is ridiculous. There were legitimate questions. Wallace grills Rumsfeld. I grilled Rumsfeld. And come on.
Fox News president Roger Ailes blasted former president Bill Clinton in an interview with AP reporter Dave Bauder:
Fox News chief Roger Ailes says former President Clinton's response
to Chris Wallace's question about going after Osama bin Laden
represents "an assault on all journalists."
Ailes said Clinton had a "wild overreaction" in the interview,
broadcast on "Fox News Sunday." Hundreds of thousands of people
subsequently watched clips over the Internet, with Fox foes rallying
"If you can't sit there and answer a question from a professional,
mild-mannered, respectful reporter like Chris Wallace, then the hatred
for journalists is showing," Ailes said in an interview with The
Associated Press on Wednesday. "All journalists need to raise their
eyebrows and say, `hold on a second.'"
This one is too funny, folks, and requires all drinking vessels to be placed at a safe distance from computers, keyboards, and monitors. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday (hat tip to TVNewser) that Fox News's tenth anniversary celebration will include live broadcasts in full view of CNN’s headquarter facility:
Fox, which actually turns 10 next week, plans to broadcast three shows Thursday at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce building on the edge of Centennial Olympic Park. The public can watch Fox stars Shepard Smith and Greta Van Susteren broadcast live at 3 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT as part of Fox's 10-city "Thank You America" tour.
Presumably, so can the folks working just across the park in the CNN Center on Marietta Street.
"We'll have this lovely view of the CNN building, and I'm sure they'll have a lovely view of us," said Thom Bird, Fox's executive producer of news specials.