Today’s version of our exercise, in which we dissect the media’s attempts at interjecting bias into a simple headline, may stun some of you.
The shocking aspect? The Washington Post didn’t partake in the liberal doctoring of the headline. Let’s take a look…
The Pentagon just released a report entitled ‘Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq,’ which highlights a decline in violence in the country in 2008.
Surprisingly enough, the WaPo ran this headline:
Violence Declines Further in Iraq
While positive news in a Post headline is a bit hard to believe, they did include the following sub-headline, managing to interject that ol’ liberal pessimism we’re more accustomed to:
Pentagon Report Cites Factors That Could Rekindle Attacks
That said, we have to give them some credit for combining the positive and negative into one headline, making it less biased than their competitors. Observe…
In his look at the "McCain campaign's end-run around media," San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Joe Garofoli pitted one media insider's defense of McCain campaign strategy on the matter of Gov. Palin's press availability, and that at the end of his 20-paragraph story:
"All politicians go through a stage where they want to minimize how much they are exposed to the media," said Paul Friedman, vice president of news at CBS, the network that scored one of the three major Palin interviews. He shrugged at what could be learned in a news conference that couldn't in a one-on-one interview. "I just don't think it is that cosmic of an issue. We'll see more of the candidates soon. Just wait for the debates."
To counter Friedman, Garofoli cited female journalists and pundits who complain that Palin is being overly sheltered. Aside from PBS's Judy Woodruff and CNN's Campbell Brown, Garofoli noted the complaints of conservative Kathleen Parker, labeling the syndicated columnist, and rightfully so, by her ideological label.
But when it came to labeling a liberal critic of Palin, the chief of a liberal feminist organization was treated as a non-partisan observer, even though her organization was co-founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem:
An affinity for "strap on devices," "swallowing instead of spitting" and a preference for anal sex are some of the key elements San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford uses to identify what makes an "elitist." Loathing the Bible is on the list too.
Morford, whose columns regularly trash conservatives and Christians, weighed in on dumb American kids last October, and trashed evangelicals with the following line: "and if you think the hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country, just wait." His September 12 column, ‘Are You an Elitist? 18 Revealing Ways to Know for Sure' makes that attack look like playground fun.
Illegal immigration has all but disappeared as an issue on the MSM radar screen since the primaries wrapped up, and it's unlikely to be resurrected given the generally liberal immigration stances of both Sens. McCain and Obama.
Nonetheless, some credit is due to the San Francisco Chronicle for not one but two articlesin the Septmeber 17 paper on the city's so-called sanctuary policy and its problems.
For one thing, 3-out-of-10 juvenile offenders who were not reported to the feds as illegal immigrants under the sanctuary city policy were, well, actually adults, noted reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken:
The San Francisco Chronicle published an article on September 7 masterful for its underhanded back slapping of John McCain, Sarah Palin and anyone who would vote for them all while pretending to say how successful the McCain/Palin ticket is in garnering support since the end of the GOP Convention. Nearly every "positive" thing said about Republicans and anyone who would vote for McCain was framed as a negative and the way this article states its case proves as one of the most perfectly sly pieces of pro-Democrat propaganda I've seen in a long time. It's so good that you don't even realize your being manipulated until you sit back and think about the piece as a whole.
In this story by Chronicle writer Carolyn Lochhead, the headline properly elicits curiosity enough to draw the reader in: "Palin may woo blue-collar voters from Obama" it reads intriguingly. But think about this header. The headline assumes from the start that "blue-collar voters" are Obama's to lose, that McCain doesn't have any to start with but has to "woo" Obama's. Negative strike against McCain number one. There are many more to come
What do you do when you are the mayor of San Francisco and your poorly timed push for gay marriages is blamed for your party's loss in a presidential election, you get yourself involved in a sleazy sex scandal where you get caught sleeping with the wife of your campaign manager, and a much criticized policy of declaring the municipality you represent a "sanctuary city" results in a multiple murder by an illegal alien? Why you get the San Francisco Chronicle to write a glowing story about you enthusing about how you are a "hotshot to watch" with a bright political future on the horizon. Such is the case with San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, no stranger to other puff pieces such as this June story in Time magazine. San Francisco Chronicle political writers Joe Garofoli and Carla Marinucci use Newsom's appearance at the Democrat convention in San Francisco as a launch platform for gushing over their mayor's future:
As Bill Clinton and Joe Biden dominated center stage Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was presiding over "Unconventional '08," a street party held in an artsy warehouse corner of the city featuring indie bands and a knot of people young enough to be Biden's grandchildren. There, mingling beneath an art gallery facade full of iconic images of Sen. Barack Obama was the evening's host - the former Sen. Hillary Clinton delegate Newsom.
Before pouring sweet syrup over Newsom, Garofoli and Marinucci take us along on a brief but unpleasant trip down memory lane:
A San Francisco Chronicle article last Wednesday relating to growing concerns about Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's recent campaign performances "evolved" in a quite convenient way for the Illinois senator by the time it got to the paper's print edition and went through its final web revision. That article, among other things, addressed Obama's appearance at Rick Warren's Saddleback Values forum the previous weekend.
The current entry at Google News, obtained by searching "That's above my pay grade" (entered in quotes), reads as follows:
Although it's framed in a very biased way ("thoughtful but fuzzier"?), at least a reference to Obama's infamous "That's above my pay grade" comment is present (the original transcript segment containing that remark is here).
The shellfish are coming! The shellfish are coming!
In our previous episode of Global Warming Alarmist Theater, All Creatures Slithering and Slimy, we saw alarmist forecasts about how giant snakes would take over America. In the current episode, All Creatures Creepy and Crawly, writtenby San Francisco Chronicle "science" writer David Perlman, he relays a prediction of a Pacific Ocean shellfish invasion of the North Atlantic:
Pacific Ocean shellfish - the mussels and snails, the clams and cockles - are heading for a mass invasion into the North Atlantic that could alter the entire ecology of both oceans as sea ice vanishes from the warming high Arctic, two California scientists predict.
Starting off with the often ridiculed 1998 hyperbole from writer Toni Morrison who decided that Bill Clinton was the nation's first black president, "Asian Pop" writer,Jeff Yang of the San Francisco Chronicle, has decided that Barack Obama could be the first "Asian American president" if elected in November. Apparently Yang is unaware of how much ridicule has been heaped upon Morrison, and deservingly so, and he is lining up for some smacking around himself with this outlandish Chronicle piece.
We all remember that Morrison claimed that Clinton was some sort of honorary black man in the 90s. Apparently, because Clinton payed attention to -- and incessantly pandered to -- the black power establishment in the 90s, that was all that was required for a race-graft. At least that almost makes some sense, if only metaphorically. Now Yang takes Morrison's loose connections one better, though. Apparently, all Obama has to have done to become an "Asian" is to have known some during his lifetime. After all, Obama is not known for being a politician constantly pandering to the Asian community like Clinton pandered to the black power structure. Does anyone recall Barack Obama sitting in a church as an Asian minister "God D_mns" America? But, why heck, he did grow up with a few Asian-like folks. So maybe there's a little sumpthin' in this!
Apparently complacent about criticism from the Tennessee Center for Policy Research that his family's energy use at his Nashville home is more than 19 times greater than the average American household's, Al Gore has committed conspicious energy consumption once again.
In Washington D.C. Thursday to deliver yet another speech warning Americans about global warming caused, Gore believes, by excessive use of fossil fuels, Gore handed yet more evidence to critics who believe he's a hypocrite.
He did so by traveling to his speech in what almost certainly was an unnecessary entourage of three luxury gas-guzzling vehicles -- two Lincoln Town Cars and a Surburban SUV -- one of which was kept idling outside for twenty minutes, apparently to keep the interior cool for the driver, Mrs. Gore and the Gores' adult daughter.
Did you know that John F. Kennedy had a whole bunch of pets and now Barack Obama is planning on getting a pet dog too? JFK gave a speech in Berlin and now Obama is preparing to do the same. JFK also spoke at a stadium during the 1960 Democrat convention and guess what? Obama is also going to give a speech during the Democrat convention this August at Mile High Stadium in Denver. The parallels between Obama and JFK are unmistakable.
Okay, by now you are probably laughing out loud at the enormous stretch needed to draw the similarities between the two but the political writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Carla Marinucci, makes this case in all seriousness in "Obama, JFK parallels - real or media hype?" As you can see in her article, Marinucci comes down firmly on the side of real, not hype:
He's fired up youth with eloquent oratory and a message of change. He has the pearl-wearing wife and two adorable little kids. He's making plans for a huge speech in Berlin.
So ask - or ask not: Is Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama channeling John F. Kennedy?
San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci dutifully dusted off the same liberal talking points we hear every four years about Republican nominees: the women in their own party hate them.
In her front page article, Marinucci found no conservative Republican women to defend McCain or critique him from the right, but she found three Republican, including Obama backer Susan Eisenhower, and two Democratic women to slam McCain.
But as might be expected in the liberal media, the largest reason these liberal Republican women won’t vote for McCain was chalked up to "women’s rights," code words for abortion. The article devoted a special section to McCain's stance on abortion. Of course this ignores the fact that millions of socially conservative Republican women backed equally pro-life candidates such as Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney in the primaries.
Well, I have come to the conclusion that Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle just threw away the last tiny shred of credibility he might have had left by dreamily imagining that Barack Obama is so omniscient, so "ethereal" and so messiah-like that he isn't a "normal" human being. Maybe Mark thinks he might be an alien from another planet, some trans-dimensional traveler, or maybe an angel come down in human form to lead us sheep into the promised land? I'm not exaggerating either. In his latest piece he calls Obama a "Rare Kind of Attuned Being," a "Lightworker," he says he is "ethereal" and "magical" -- hello Rush Limbaugh -- and feels that Obama is "not really one of us" in the "normal way." Morford and those who feel like him have lost all touch with reality and the sickness is spreading.
I think that columnist Morford is off his medication, or maybe he's just drunk, or perhaps he fell on his head recently? Or perhaps Shirley MacLaine came down off the mothership and stole Mark's computer... something freaky is going on there in San Francisco, anyway. Or maybe what makes me think something weird is in the air out there is just that Morford's latest editorial is one of the most amazing examples of the wild eyed ranting of the most whacked out Obamessiah believers yet to show up in print instead of just on the nutrooter blogs. Instead of appearing in a purportedly legitimate newspaper, this is the fodder for the fantasy land of a Coast to Coast with George Noory. Instead of serious political discussion, this sort of thing belongs on Jerry Springer.
My husband David Ridenour shares his analysis of the spin coming from a sponsor of the late and unlamented Lieberman-Warner global warming cap and trade bill, and the media's response:
We've been hit with a fast-moving, spinning column of hot air - and it's not another midwestern tornado. It's Joe Lieberman.
After Senate Democrats fell 12 votes short of the number needed to invoke cloture to end debate over the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act and move to a vote earlier today, Senator Lieberman (I-CT) issued a press release boldly proclaiming victory.
"Today 54 members of the United States Senate, including 9 Republicans, demonstrated their desire to move forward with the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act," Lieberman's press statement said.
Oh really? There were, in fact, only 48 votes in favor of ending the debate. The Connecticut tornado - er, Senator - also counted five Senators who didn't attend the vote, but who indicated in letters that they would have voted in favor of cloture had it been important enough to them to show up. Lieberman's count also included Senator Edward Kennedy, recovering from surgery, who had also sent a letter.
But U.S. Senate doesn't operate by mail-in ballot - at least, not yet. Senator Lieberman used to know that when he was a Democrat.
The following is from an MRC press release calling out the liberal mainstream media for covering up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) recent remarks chalking up the success of the U.S. military in Iraq to the "goodwill of the Iranians." [audio of Pelosi's remarks available here]
Alexandria, VA-- Last Thursday, a collection of reporters and members of the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle sat down for a nearly 80-minute interview with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California.
At the 62-minute mark, Pelosi slandered and demeaned the hard-won successes of our armed forces in Iraq, saying "Whatever the military success and progress that may have been made, the surge didn't accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians -- they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians."
No one at the Chronicle reported the Speaker's vicious slander. Nor did NBC, ABC or CBS, CNN or MSNBC deem it fit for broadcast, either Thursday evening or at any point on Friday. The vaunted New York Times likewise did not deem this fit to print.
Conservative talk radio is covering Nancy Pelosi remarks that the liberal media would probably rather avoid. Mark Levin on Thursday night and Laura Ingraham on Friday morning both seized on this tidbit from Commentary magazine's Contentions blog. Deep in an interview the House Speaker granted to the editorial board of the hometown San Francisco Chronicle, Abe Greenwald found this eyebrow-raising passage:
Well, the purpose of the surge was to provide a secure space, a time for the political change to occur to accomplish the reconciliation. That didn’t happen. Whatever the military success, and progress that may have been made, the surge didn’t accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians -- they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians.
The San Francisco Chronicle and the various demagogue politicians of Berkeley and Oakland, California should really be ashamed of themselves for ginning up into sensational "raids" a few arrests by ICE agents and making of them actions designed to empty those community's schools of children. In reality a few routine U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations in those cities occurred yesterday that had nothing to do with school children. Yet, these politicians shamelessly ran about the countryside waving their arms, serving grave warnings to ICE about their supposed targeting of school children, and ginning up parents with the false bravado of standing athwart ICE's "harassment and fear." But, with all the running about like Chicken Little claiming the ICE is falling, no raids either occurred or were even planned. To top it off, the San Francisco Chronicle reports the incident as the "fear across the communities" being "real" instead of correctly noting that these pandering pols in office made much ado about nothing just to inflate their own importance.
Apparently ICE made a few arrests at some homes in Berkeley and Oakland and that somehow sent a "wave of panic among parents" who were fooled into believing that ICE officers were about to raid all the schools in the area to snap up illegals for deportation.
Old Media business reporters have a definitionally-incorrect habit of labeling single industries or economic sectors as being "in recession," when the term, as defined here, can only describe national economies or the world economy. Two examples of this are New York Times reporter David Leonhardt's description of manufacturing as being in recession in February 2007 (laughably incorrect, in any event), and the Times's employment of the term "housing recession" 25 times since October 2006, as seen in this Times search (with the phrase in quotes).
But if I wanted to be consistent with this routine form of journalistic malpractice, I would characterize the newspaper business -- at least in terms of the top 25 in the industry's food chain -- not as being in recession, but instead as going through a deep, dark, painful, protracted depression.
Yes, that was the headline and subhead for Mark Moford's column in the San Francisco Chronicle today. Not only does the very title of this screed of ignominious proportions rip into the first lady for no worthy reason, Moford also says that being a Catholic woman is "unfortunate." Shamefully, he also calls the Bush daughters their "twin Styrofoam peanut daughters," so it isn't just Laura Bush he unduly attacks. It's been a long time since a major newspaper has published a so-called editorial with this much vitriol contained within.
Moford tries to explain why conservative women find themselves raising an eyebrow at loudmouthed women like Teresa Heinz Kerry and Hillary Clinton (when she was first lady) but he completely mischaracterizes why people react to them the way they do as mere distaste of their gauche personalities as opposed to opposition to their ideologies and a feeling that such women overstep their boundaries.
...in the absolute number of subscriptions dropped over four years that is. The San Francisco Chronicle was actually worse in circulation hemorrhage in percentage terms.
All the same it's not exactly the accolade you want hanging on your wall if you're the publisher of the Times. From Editor & Publisher (h/t Patterico):
While the industry has lost about 10% of circulation overall in the past four years among the leading papers, some have bled much more than others during the same period, according to an E&P analysis of data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The Los Angles Times lost 20% of daily circulation or more than 200,000 copies over the past four years, for example, while up the coast the San Francisco Chronicle's daily circulation dropped almost 30%.
The American left claims to hate how Ann Coulter makes a fortune with calculated outrageousness. What will they say about Mark Morford? This San Francisco Chronicle columnist has been skewered by MRC's Culture and Media Institute for mourning how America may be taken over by a new generation of “easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings.” He described critics of the atheist movie The Golden Compass as “the creepy clowns in organized religion’s gloomy circus, all scrunched brows and gnarled hands and so much repressed sexuality it would make a porn star wince.”
Of course, he is a Barack Obama fan. Who in the San Francisco elite isn’t?
About a week ago, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested in a UK Telegraph column that allowing hospitals to harvest organs from dead patients without their prior consent or their families' post-mortem consent might be a good idea.
Mr. Brown's occasion for bringing up the topic was telling, and perhaps explains why Brown's proposal got very little coverage in the US:
This year will be the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service: a year to celebrate and thank all the staff who run our hospitals, clinics and GP practices; but also a year in which to renew the NHS for the 21st century, because I believe that only by renewal can we make the NHS even more relevant for future decades than it has been in the past.
..... we may need to do more to encourage more of us to donate (organs. In Britain we have 14.9 million people on the organ donor register - which is around 24 per cent of the population. In terms of actual donors (not just people willing to give, but those whose organs are actually used) we have a rate of about 13 donors per million in our population. This compares with about 22 per million in France, 25 per million in America and around 35 per million in Spain - the best in the world.
That is why I want to start a debate in this country about whether we should take steps to move towards a new system designed to enable far more of us to benefit from transplant surgery - one that better reflects survey findings that around 90 per cent of us are in favour of organ donation.
On January 9, a California appeals court struck down San Francisco's 2005 ban on handguns, citing that local governments lack authority under California law to enact such a ban (h/t NewsBusters reader John Kernkamp).
While this is a state law struck down on state constitutional grounds, not the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it is a major victory for gun rights advocates -- in a liberal Democratic state no less -- in a presidential election year in which the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing a 2nd Amendment case in March (District of Columbia v. Heller).
Yet while the San Francisco Chronicle's Bob Egelko covered the story on January 10, I'm having trouble finding any coverage elsewhere in the media. When searching Nexis, I found no coverage of the San Francisco gun ban story in the New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, nor broadcast networks ABC, CBS, or NBC.
Meanwhile, as the Chronicle's Egelko noted in a January 14 story, San Francisco's district attorney has filed a friend-of-the-court brief backing the District of Columbia in its appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the District's 1976 handgun ban:
That's because Californians relying on Old Media for their news about the Golden State's dire financial situation are being conditioned to believe that only a tax increase will solve the state's problems.
The latest offering in that regard is a Field poll covered at the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle, headlined "Many voters think deficit fix will require higher taxes" and "Voters resigned to higher taxes to solve budget crisis," respectively. Those headlines conveniently obscure the fact that the margin of those believing that tax increases are necessary vs. those who think that the answer is totally in spending cuts is only 48%-43%.
The San Francisco Chronicle decided to pat Californians on the back last week for how much "better informed" Golden Staters are on the supposed dire threat of global warming. With their headline joyously proclaiming, "Californians better informed on global warming threat, poll finds," the SF Chron handed out the party hats, blew their celebratory horns and lined up little Al Gore statuettes to hand out at the awards banquet. And how is it that their poll "found" this startling fact? Why it's because our friends in California believe, man! It's not because Californians are any better informed, that they know all the facts, it's just that they accept Al Gore's claim that the "debate is over" despite any evidence or lack thereof. They really, really believe man.
Californians are more likely than the rest of the nation to see global warming as a threat, but also are more optimistic that greenhouse gases can be cut while creating jobs and expanding the economy, according to a Field Poll released Friday.
See, they are "better informed" because they are "more likely" to see global warming "as a threat." It's not because they have any more facts or science backing up this "informed" position. It's cuz they "get it," baby.
It is understandable, but not forgivable, that business reporters at Old Media newspapers might think that the economy is in bad shape. They first have to get past how poorly most of their employers are doing. The industry as a whole has not been doing well, and it's been that way for quite some time.
This table illustrates that point (September 30, 2007 figures are at this post, which originally came from this Editor & Publisher article, which will soon disappear behind its firewall; March 31, 2005 figures were estimated in reverse using annual percentage changes reported as of March 31, 2006, because older data I thought would remain available no longer is):
The similarities are eerie. On Oct. 19, 1987, the day of the Black Monday stock market crash there was trouble from the Iranians, a two-term Republican president nearing the end of his term and a network TV news media voicing warnings the American economy might be doomed. Except this day in 1987, the stock market dropped 508 points.
“It’s a day that will be in bold print in history books – Black Monday, October 19th, 1987, when the stock market went into a freefall, losing more in one day than it did on Black Tuesday in 1929,” anchor Tom Brokaw said on the Oct. 19, 1987, NBC “Nightly News.” “And while conditions are much stronger now than they were then, today’s precipitous plunge struck fear in the hearts and pocketbooks of even Wall Street veterans.”
CNN even warned for the worst: “[N]ow some analysts argue that the stock market’s recent activity is heading for recession, if not depression in the 1990s,” said CNN correspondent Mark Left on the Oct. 19, 1987, CNN “PrimeNews.”
FNC's Brit Hume on Monday night picked up on a column by the San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders which discredited the media spin on an AP/Ipsos poll that found liberals read one more book a year than conservatives, a finding Pat Schroeder, President of the Association of American Publishers claimed illustrated how conservatives can't think beyond slogans. The AP and CNN's Jack Cafferty both jumped on Schroeder's slam. Hume noted that Saunders “says Ipsos told her the one book difference between liberals and conservatives is within the poll's margin of error and not statistically significant. The company also said that since the poll did not ask respondents if they read newspapers or magazines, it does not, therefore, say anything about their general level of knowledge or information.”
The San Francisco Chronicle joins the bandwagon of liberal newspapers that have addressed the "achievement gap" -- the difference between majority [white] student academic achievement and that of minority [black/Latino] pupils. Right from the headline of "Children of Color Being Left Behind," readers are clearly left with the impression that there has been some purposeful scheme to "shortchange" minority students.