On February 2nd, NBC correspondent Pete Williams announced Breaking News during the 5 PM ET edition of Hardball: the Christmas Day Bomber, Umar Abdul Mutallab, was giving fresh, actionable information to the FBI which the United States was in turn "aggressively chasing down."
Less than an hour later, this NewsBuster blogged on the matter, wondering whether by leaking the news, "the Obama administration compromised national security," in an attempt to deflect the criticism it had been receiving for mirandizing Mutallab rather than treating him like the enemy combatant he is.
On today's Fox News Watch, panelist Jim Pinkerton gave a "hats off" to this NewsBuster for being first to raise the issue.
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as FNC correspondent Douglas Kennedy appeared as a member of the show’s panel, after host Jon Scott’s introduction to the show’s first segment – which involved President Obama’s response to the underwear bomber – Kennedy characterized Scott’s introduction as sounding "like it's written by Dick Cheney in his bunker." Complaining that he was ideologically outnumbered on the panel after left-leaning panel member Judith Miller – formerly of the New York Times – was critical of Obama, Miller declared, "Now, wait a minute. I am very, very liberal on a lot of issues," prompting Kennedy to exclaim, "You went to jail to protect Dick Cheney! Come on!":
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, panel member and FNC correspondent Douglas Kennedy referred to Tea Party members as the "Tea Bag movement," prompting admonishment from host Jon Scott who pointed out that he was using the "pejorative" term. In the next segment, Kennedy went on to accuse Tea Party members of anti-Semitism and linked Obama/Hitler posters to Tea Party members, leading panel member Jim Pinkerton to remind viewers that an Obama/Hitler poster sometimes attributed in the media to conservative Tea Party members had actually been brought to a protest by left-wing supporters of Lyndon LaRouche – who ran for President in the past as a Democrat:
DOUGLAS KENNEDY: You know, just tell them to leave the swastikas home and the pictures of Hitler, and the, you know, they might gain a little more popularity.
JIM PINKERTON: The pictures of Hitler brought in by Lyndon LaRouche people, you know, who are actually, Lyndon LaRouche ran as a Democrat seven times.
KENNEDY: Yeah, but there's anti-Semitism and-
Panel member Judy Miller then jumped in and predicted that the Tea Party movement would help liberals by splitting the Republican party, prompting Kennedy to divulge some over-the-top wishful thinking:
Panelist Rich Lowry of National Review, picking up on Ellis Henican's description of both quotes as “icky,” soon observed they were hardly an aberration: “If you go to the Media Research Center Web site and look at every single video clip from the inauguration” you'll see “every single one of them is icky from every single major media outlet. They were in love with this guy and they still are -- most of them.”
Saturday’s Fox News Watch gave attention to a couple of entries in the MRC’s "Best Notable Quotables of 2009: The 22nd Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting." Returning from a commercial break, a clip of CBS’s Katie Couric began the segment as Couric was shown expressing awe at President Obama’s confidence as she interviewed him last July. Couric: "You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken? Do you ever wake up and say, ‘Damn, this is hard’?"
FNC host Jon Scott then jumped in to credit the MRC:
That’s Katie Couric earlier this year with President Obama. Her performance there garnered the Media Research Center’s "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Obsequious Obama Interviews." The MRC acknowledging more achievements in its annual awards for the year’s worst reporting. The "Master of His Domain Award for Obama Puffery" goes to Time’s Joe Klein for his May 4 cover story on Barack Obama’s first 100 days as President.
Even liberal panel member Ellis Henican of Newsday thought Couric’s words were "icky," and contended that "I wouldn’t want to be caught on tape saying either one of those things."
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch on FNC, regular panel member Jim Pinkerton of the conservative New America Foundation corrected fellow panel member Douglas Kennedy – an FNC correspondent and son of former New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy – as Kennedy asserted that "you don't have to be a scientist to know that the world is getting hotter," and that "that's objective reporting to say that the world is getting hotter."
Pinkerton responded: "Actually, it’s inaccurate reporting to say that. The world has been cooling since 1998."
Earlier, Pinkerton also seemed to pick up on a Newsbusters posting by the MRC’s Geoffrey Dickens as he cited a polar photographer who appeared as a guest on Thursday's Today show on NBC and declared that the debate over global warming is over. Pinkerton also alluded to a story by ABC's Jake Tapper which ran on Thursday's World News in which clips of drought and flooding were shown during a soundbite of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown talking about climate change.
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Saturday, December 19, Fox News Watch on FNC:
NewsBuster Rusty Weiss was praised on Saturday by "Fox News Watch" regular Jim Pinkerton.
The program began with host Jon Scott talking about President Obama's declining poll numbers, and how White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spun them last week claiming, "I don't put a lot of stake in, never have in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend."
Scott then passed the baton to Pinkerton who marvelously said, "[H]ats off to Rusty Weiss at NewsBusters who pointed out that back in February, when the Gallup poll showed enormous support for the stimulus package, the same guy, Robert Gibbs, was delighted to flap that as proof for what a great policy he had" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as the panel discussed media coverage of former Republican Governor – and current FNC host – Mike Huckabee’s involvement in commuting the prison sentence of Maurice Clemmons – who would later go on to murder four police officers in Washington state – panel members at first left the impression that Huckabee had commuted Clemmons's sentence after his child rape conviction. (Credit to NewsBusters reader Dana Christianson for emailing in a tip on the matter.) Conservative panelist Jim Pinkerton of New America Foundation had to point out that Huckabee commuted the sentence at a time when Clemmons serving time for the non-violent crime of committing burglary – which he did in 1989 while he was under age 18. Pinkerton even had to directly correct liberal FNC analyst Kirsten Powers, who seemed to convey that she thought Huckabee had commuted the sentence after the child rape conviction:
JIM PINKERTON, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: The kid was 17 years old and convicted of nonviolent – not – without a gun burglary and sentenced to 108 years. I think most people would see that as excessive. The real scandal is that he had at least three brushes with the law since the year 2000, and nobody then ever chose to revoke his clemency. That wasn't Mike Huckabee's fault. That was other people.
KIRSTEN POWERS, FNC ANALYST: What about the child rape?
And they say a woman scorned can be merciless. Eric Burns once served as the host of Fox News Watch. It's reasonable to assume he won't be working there again any time soon. In a December 2 Huffington Post article, "If I Still Worked at Fox News...," he describes it as "the right-wing partial-news-but-mostly-opinion network."
A great deal of his bile, however, is directed at Glenn Beck:
Actually, Beck is a problem of taste as well as ethics. He laughs and cries; he pouts and giggles; he makes funny faces and grins like a cartoon character; he makes earnest faces yet insists he is a clown; he cavorts like a victim of St. Vitus's Dance. His means of communicating are, in other words, so wide-ranging as to suggest derangement as much as versatility.
He is Huey Long without the political office.
He is Father Coughlin without the dour expression.
It's a night and day difference between the media's scrutiny of former President George W. Bush and the current command-in-chief, President Barack Obama. And the coverage of three Navy SEALs now facing a court martial that captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq, who allegedly was the mastermind of the murder of four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah in 2004, is proof.
John Scott, host of "Fox News Watch" noted this story on the show's Nov. 28 episode and asked why there hasn't been more coverage about it.
"Pretty outrageous story came out, in my view, this week," Scott said. "These three Navy SEALs who were involved in capturing one of the most wanted bad guys in Iraq - the guy supposedly responsible for planning the execution of those four Blackwater contractors. The SEALs are now facing charges because the guy somehow wound up with a bloody lip. Is the media paying attention?"
On Saturday, Fox News analyst Jim Pinkerton credited the Media Research Center for highlighting the lack of media outrage over the Obama administration’s fake congressional district scandal. After referencing the revelation that the Recovery.gov website claimed thousands of jobs had been saved in districts that don’t exist, Pinkerton suggested, "They [Obama officials] were embarrassed, but as the Media Research Center pointed out, the morning shows gave the story exactly 21 seconds."
Pinkerton was referencing a November 17 NewsBusters blog which noted that Tuesday’s Early Show on CBS and NBC’s Today show completely skipped the developing story. ABC’s Good Morning America devoted just 21 seconds to the topic. On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, Pinkerton concluded, "So, no, [the Obama administration will] get over it, because the media aren't going to turn this into another Watergate."
MSM polls may say a majority don't consider Sarah Palin qualified to be President (60 percent according to ABC News-Washington Post), but just as many people recognize the media's unfair hostility toward her. “About six in 10 Americans (61 percent) think Palin has been treated unfairly by the press,” a Fox News-Opinion Dynamics survey released on Friday -- and highlighted on Saturday's Fox Newswatch on FNC -- discovered. That's up from 58 percent in January. Half as many, 31 percent, said she's been covered “fairly,” with 8 percent answering “don't know.”
While an overwhelming 83 percent of Republicans consider media coverage unfair toward Palin, so do a solid 65 percent majority of independents -- and even a significant minority of Democrats: 37 percent. (PDF of the Palin portion of the poll of 900 registered voters taken November 17-19. Snip below the jump of the full results for the question: “Do you think Sarah Palin has been treated fairly or unfairly by the press?”)
On Nov. 19, Dan Gainor, Vice President of Business & Culture for the Media Research Center, appeared on FNC's "America's Newsroom" to debate with Julia Piscitelli, a Democratic Media Consultant, about how the media has treated Sarah Palin's new book.
FNC's Alisyn Camerota focused specifically on the Associated Press's decision to assign 11 reporters to fact check Palin's book "Going Rogue." Camerota noted that "similar books, by President Obama, Vice President Biden, even Bill and Hillary Clinton, did not get that same kind of scrutiny."
Gainor agreed with Camerota and said that "this isn't a fact check; it's a hack check." As proof, he pointed to the AP's history of fact checking books.
The Culture & Media Institute’s report on network coverage of Major Nidal Hasan and the Ft. Hood murders continues to gain media attention. On Nov. 14, Fox’s “News Watch” program led off with CMI’s findings.
“The Culture & Media Institute noticed something about the news coverage,” said host John Scott said of the Ft. Hood shooting. “Until President Obama spoke on Tuesday at a memorial service for the victims of the Ft. Hood attacks, 29 percent of evening news reports mentioned that Major Nical Malik Hasan was a Muslim. 93 percent of the stories ignored any terror connection. But after the president hinted at what ABC called ‘Islamic extremist views,” all three networks mentioned terrorism.”
On Friday, this NewsBuster noted how Pres. Obama, questioned at a news conference in Japan, twice refused to say whether he thought the United States' dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was "the right decision."
Yesterday on Fox News Watch, Jim Pinkerton noted the NewsBusters nugget. The Fox News contributor and New America Foundation fellow observed that PBO's failure had huge implications for America's nuclear deterrent.
Video after the jump of PBO's duck-and-cover at the Tokyo press conference.
Former Fox News contributor Jane Hall said Sunday that one of the reasons she left the cable network was because she was uncomfortable with host Glenn Beck who she believes "should be called out as somebody whose language is way over the top and scary."
Fox watchers know Hall as one of the regular liberal panelists on Saturday's "Fox News Watch" as well a frequent guest on "The O'Reilly Factor" where she was typically paired opposite former CBSer Bernard Goldberg.
On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," with the discussion centering on the White House's battle with Fox, Hall disclosed the decision behind her departure (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 8:20):
There's little doubt that at hand is an ongoing effort by the Obama White House to marginalize the Fox News Channel - especially after the administration attempted to leave Fox out of the White House pool last week. That is something conservative columnist Cal Thomas said is eerily comparable to Cold War tactics of the old Soviet Union.
On the Fox News Channel's Oct. 24 "Fox News Watch," Thomas alluded to an Oct. 21 column he wrote, which he compared what the Soviets did with radio signals that penetrated the Iron Curtain to deliver a message of freedom from Western Europe - they jammed them.
"I wrote a column on this, this week - if I can promote myself and my own column," Thomas said. "I likened it to what happened during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union especially tried to jam the signals of the Voice of America and Radio Europe, other entities that were trying to pump truth into the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries, the so-called captive nations."
When Pres. Obama did the Fox-less Full Ginsburg last week, his toughest moment came when George Stephanopoulos cited Merriam Webster to suggest that PBO's proposal to force people to buy health insurance amounts to a "tax."
Some were surprised that Stephanopoulos would put a Dem president on the spot that way. But appearing on today's Fox News Watch, Jim Pinkerton posited an intriguing provenance for the tough question—none other than . . . Hillary Clinton [video after the break].
As Dem pundits go, I normally find Kirsten Powers among the more reasonable. But on this afternoon's Fox News Watch, Powers propounded an incendiary theory of the Gates/Crowley incident: that the sergeant "lured" and "tricked" Gates into coming outside so he could arrest him.
Panelist Jim Pinkerton had just made the point that it was only the conservative media, by focusing attention on the matter, that saved Sgt. Crowley from a "miserable life in Cambridge" at the hands of Prof. Gates, Harvard, the NAACP et. al, when Powers jumped in . . .
There's no doubt about it. Celebrity is the media's top priority.
Michael Jackson's June 25 death overshadowed all other news for almost two weeks.
Nightly news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC featured at least one story each night about Jackson since his death. More than half of those broadcasts aired since June 25 lead with a story about Jackson. A Pew poll found cable news devoted 93 percent of its coverage to Jackson on June 25 and 26. The broadcast networks joined CNN, MSNBC and Fox News in airing Jackson's July 7 memorial from Los Angeles' Staples Center.
Despite a separate Pew poll that found 64 percent of people believe there was too much coverage of Jackson, the media continue to hit the story hard. CNN's Don Lemon even labeled critics of the coverage "elitist," and said, "Michael Jackson is an accidental civil rights leader, an accidental pioneer. He broke ground and barriers in so many different realms in artistry, in pictures, in movies, in music, you name it. So, no, I don't think it's overkill."
Picking up on how CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux hailed, as “a bold display of presidential concern,” President Obama hugging a woman at Wednesday's health care forum, Jim Pinkerton, on FNC's Fox Newswatch, pointed out that “in the middle of all of this Stalinesque fakery at this town hall meeting” Malveaux's characterization “is like Stalin putting Ukrainian family victims on his lap during the '30s.” To illustrate, FNC producers displayed a vintage poster showing Stalin hoisting a little child who held up a Soviet flag.
During a discussion on the program aired Saturday afternoon about how all the questions at the town hall with Obama were pre-selected from online postings or came from invited guests, Pinkerton, a Newsday columnist, raised what Malveax said which NewsBusters had recounted:
In the middle of all of this Stalinesque fakery at this town hall meeting -- when Obama hugged that woman who was a plant, her cancer was real enough, but her being there was a total artifact of planning -- she [Suzanne Malveaux] said, quote, this is a quote “bold display of presidential concern,” end quote. Again, this is like Stalin putting Ukrainian family victims on his lap during the '30s.
UPDATE: MRC's Times Watch site tackled the Times's strange omission of the Muslim extremism angle last week: TimesWatch.org
On Saturday's Fox Newswatch, host Jon Scott led the panel in a discussion of the New York Times's coverage of the terror plot against synagogues in New York City, as the paper downpayed the extreme Muslim beliefs of the plotters. Even liberal analyst Jane Hall took the New York Times to task, arguing that the conversion of the plotters to Islam while serving time in prison was "an important part of the story."
Scott opened discussion of the topic:
Coverage of the stories in the New York Times seemed to gloss over the group's openly expressed desire to commit jihad, even though the police commissioner mentioned it at a news conference. Why did the New York Times decide to shy away from mentioning the suspect's extreme Muslim beliefs?
Conservative analyst Andrea Tantaros complained about a trend toward oversensitivity in talking about Muslim extremism to the point of omitting key facts in a story:
Despite all the criticisms of the Fox News Channel broadcasted on MSNBC for promoting tea party coverage, one thing hasn't been pointed out - how the NBC networks, including CNBC and MSNBC are given a pass for their shameless promotion of their Green Week and Green is Universal network events.
Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large for National Review and author of "Liberal Fascism," appeared on Fox News Channel's April 18 "Fox News Watch" and commented on FNC's promotion of the tea parties, but the double standard of MSNBC's criticism of Fox News.
"I think that there's a perfectly legitimate criticism against Fox for not so much the coverage, but the commercials, you know - promoting the coverage, which was in effect advertisements for these things," Goldberg explained. "But, this was all transparent, people knew that's Fox was doing. But let's flashback to what GE, to pick up a point that Jim [Pinkerton] made - that GE basically issued a fatwa to NBC for Green Week, where they did hundreds of hours of environmental messaging in all of their dramas, news coverage, "Today" show - throughout the network and it was all hailed as a wonderful progressive thing. That is a much more pernicious promotion than anything Fox did."
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, FNC host Bill Hemmer brought up the media’s lack of interest in Barack Obama’s plans to exert control over the 2010 census from the White House, as the show’s panel discussed Republican Senator Judd Gregg’s decision not to accept appointment to the position of Commerce Secretary. Hemmer teased the show: "Is the White House effort to control the census a play to control the vote? And did most of the major media miss this major story?"
Conservative panelist Jim Pinkerton blamed Gregg’s decision on White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel’s planned involvement in the census: "What clearly got under his skin was the issue of the census and the clear realization, as Republicans were pointing out to him, that the census, the biggest thing the Commerce Department has to do... And for Gregg to be told that Rahm Emanuel is going to be running that from the White House and changing the numbers around, I think, was too humiliating for him..." On the February 9, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, correspondent Jim Angle had notably related: "Lawmakers such as Representative Barbara Lee reportedly yelled at a White House official until he agreed that Gregg would not be left in charge of [the census]."
Chinese divers won a record seven gold medals during the 2008 Olympics. But even they didn't leap as headlong into the Beijing tank as did NBC. That's how you might describe the collective verdict of the Fox News Watch panel this evening on NBC's regime-friendly coverage. The subject arose as part of the show's Year in Review, and began with a clip of Matt Lauer unctuously questioning a ChiCom official:
MATT LAUER: There's a recent poll that said some very high percentage of the people in China are happy with their lot in life. Something around 80%. You compare that with the polls in the United States that say only about 25% of Americans are. What's the root of their happiness here?
View video here. The panel lit into the network's coverage, with even the liberal-leaning Jane Hall and Kirsten Powers joining the NBC-scorching consensus.
To the extent the MSM has been willing to report on the disadvantage under which the Big Three automakers operate compared to their non-union competitors, the focus has been on the huge wage differential.
On this evening's Fox News Watch, conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton highlighted another issue which has gone largely unreported in the liberal media: the onerous union work rules that add literally thousands of positions to the job rolls compared to those of the foreign transplants.
Is MSNBC being rewarded for having backed Obama? That's what Jim Pinkerton suggests. On this evening's Fox News Watch, the columnist and New America Foundation fellow cited the news that GE Capital, a subsidiary of MSNBC's parent company GE, has received a $139 billion government loan guarantee.
Host Jon Scott opened this evening's show opened with a clip of Chris Matthews [in a story that NB was first to report], saying that he saw as his "job" making the Obama presidency a success. Pinkerton unloaded.
One of the finest examples of media bias this campaign season occurred last Sunday when Democrat vice presidential candidate Joe Biden guaranteed an international crisis would befall our nation in six months if Obama is in the White House, and the American press almost completely ignored his warning.
To give you an idea of just how absurd the lack of coverage concerning this event was, the entire panel on Saturday's "Fox News Watch" agreed that this shows just how in the tank the press are for the junior senator from Illinois.
Even the left-leaning Kirsten Powers said "if there's any doubt there was a double standard in this race, it is completely laid to rest by this because there is no way that this can be ignored."
Stunning Fox News Watch host Bill Hemmer, panelist Jim Pinkerton, picking up on a NewsBusters post with video (“Maher: Matthews and Olbermann 'Were Ready to Have Sex with' Obama”), from just hours before the FNC show aired live at 6:30 PM EDT Saturday from St. Paul, pointed out that MSNBC's Democratic convention coverage was so adulatory that it led to:
Bill Maher, who's no conservative, who hates Bush, to joke that he thinks that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews want to have sex with Obama. That's no slap at Obama, of course. He's innocent.
As the other panelists laughed, Hemmer was incredulous, interjecting “whoa, whoa” before pressing for corroboration: “Bill Maher said that?!” Pinkerton, Cal Thomas and Juan Williams all chimed in with confirmation and then Hemmer, putting his finger to his earpiece, informed viewers: “I'm hearing that we have a sound clip of that. Do we? Alright, roll it. Here's Bill Maher.” Viewers were treated to the video of Maher from his Friday night HBO show:
I think there is a problem, though, with the media gushing over him too much. I don't think he thinks that he's all that, but the media does. I mean, the coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him.
Audio: MP3 clip from FNC which matches video above (1:15, 450 Kb)