Yes, it's unscientific and it is a Web poll, so it should be taken with a grain of salt, but a Time.com survey today finds 61 percent of respondents think that, yes, America is a nation of whiners.
The screen grab at right was taken shortly before 12:45 p.m. EDT. Around 12:30, when I first saw the poll, the numbers were similar: 60-40.
Here's how the question was worded: "As Phil Gramm suggests, is America a 'nation of whiners'?"
I'd suggest a follow up Web poll: "Is the mainstream media collectively a profession of whiners?" For more on that, see my colleague Scott Whitlock's post on how the media refuse to take responsibility for their role in hyping doom and gloom to make America's economic woes seem worse than they objectively are.
The hiring of Howard Wolfson as a political contributor to Fox News has resulted in the ritual outrage from blue blogs and Fox haters. When they aren't smearing Wolfson ("sell-out", "right-wing Zionist", etc) the alternate tactic is used: diminish Fox by lying about its influence and reach.
Howard Wolfson has become the latest prominent Democrat to join forces with Fox News Channel during the general election, hailing it for its "comprehensive and fair and evenhanded" coverage during the primaries.
That's quite an endorsement coming from one of the Democratic party's biggest communications mavens, and not one known for being especially soft-gloved. It's the equivalent of MSNBC suddenly getting endorsed by the likes of Mary Matalin or Ari Fleischer, something which is far less likely to happen. New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg broke the story:
Howard Wolfson, who was a top strategist for the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, is going where some Democrats were unwilling to go during the early days of the election season: the Fox News Channel. [...]
Mr. Wolfson is joining a network that Democrats shunned for a time, complaining that its coverage was unfair. But aides to Mrs. Clinton came to view Fox News as distinctly fair to her in a news media climate that they believed favored Senator Barack Obama.
Leave it to radio star Martha Zoller to sum up the need for radio independence this Independence Day. Zoller, writing a timely piece for the Business & Media Institute, gives a brief history of the rise of talk radio and a true free market of ideas.
Thanks to the left and people like Nancy Pelosi, our ability to have media outlets give other than the liberal party line is jeopardized. It is one of the greatest threats to our freedom this July 4th.
Rush Limbaugh's new deal with Clear Channel, as flashed by Drudge (also covered or addressed here and here at NewsBusters; here at the New York Times; and here in a very long New York Times magazine article), is north of $400 million for the next eight years.
Good tax planning too: Maharushie will get his reported nine-figure signing bonus this year before a possible President Obama does his hundreds of billions in damage. Limbaugh's tax savings, if the bonus is $100 million and Obama gets everything he wants, would be a hair under $17 mil (12.4% Social Security on all but $148,000, plus the 4.6% planned increase in the top rate).
One conclusion you can reach, based on what newspaper industry watcher Newsosaur told us earlier this week, is that Old Media covering the Limbaugh story is like zombies covering the living (link in excerpt was in original):
You can win in a court of law and still get attacked in the court of public opinion. That's what former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Dick Grasso would have learned from MSNBC's "Morning Joe" July 2.
Host Mika Brzezinski called Grasso a "poster child for Wall Street excess" in reporting a New York State Supreme Court ruling allowing Grasso to keep his $187.5 million pension payout.
"There you go, a little justice there," Brzezinski said. "Jack Welch calls it justice; I call it a very large pay package. It's a lot of money, Jack."
The Times clearly adores this theme, and is constantly checking for signs that the reign of right-wing news is over and that CNN and MSNBC, whose liberal leanings are never admitted to in the paper, have overtaken Fox among this or that particular viewer segment. The only problem is, those cable rivals never quite seem to stay ahead of Fox News.
When prime-time cable news ratings for the second quarter of 2008 are officially released next week, they will show that Fox News reclaimed the top spot among viewers in their mid-20s through mid-50s, those of greatest interest to news advertisers, according to estimates from Nielsen Media Research.
During the first three months of the year, by contrast, CNN drew so many viewers on big Democratic primary nights and for several presidential debates that it vaulted over Fox News for the first time in six years.
The Chicago Tribune has lurched to the left of Sen. Barack Obama, at least on gun rights, marking the latest point in its evolution from a historically moderate-to-conservative paper to a reliably left-wing broadsheet.
That's how MRC Director of Media Analysis characterized the Trib's decision to issue an editorial last Friday calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. The editorial board's writers whined that the Constitution's Framers "could have used an editor" in writing the Bill of Rights. [audio available here]
Below is a transcript -- h/t MRC intern Peter Sasso -- from Graham's appearance on the June 30 "O'Reilly Factor" with guest host John Kasich:
Exit poll after exit poll in election after election shows the Democratic Party is staunchly supported by an overwhelming majority of African-American voters, many of whom are much more socially conservative on issues like abortion than their party leadership. The Democratic Party is also staunchly supported in primary battles and in fundraising drives by hard-core pro-choice liberals -- we're talking the same people who fought tooth-and-nail the federal ban on Partial-Birth Abortion.
So when a group of black ministers conducted a protest march in Washington, D.C., last week to raise awareness of its criticism of Planned Parenthood, media outlets had the recipe, instantly, for stories about possible conflicts that could divide the Democratic Party coalition on substantive, hot-button issues.
To perhaps no one's surprise here at NewsBusters, while the media covered the much hyped "Unity" rally in New Hampshire, the cable networks failed to even show up to shoot B-roll of Thursday's pro-life march on the DNC and RNC headquarters. Washington Times staffer Julia Duin covered the march and found no TV cameras present to record it:
MRC President Brent Bozell appeared on the June 24 "Hannity & Colmes" to comment on a trend in Iraq reporting that conservatives have known for a while and the New York Times is only now catching on to: the media love to report negative developments from Iraq, while downplaying or ignoring positive developments such as the succeess of the surge or the exonerations of the Haditha "massacre" Marines.
Here's an excerpt of Bozell from the segment:
BRENT BOZELL, MRC President: There's a terrible adage in journalism: good news is no news, bad news is great news. And that's the coverage that we've seen in Iraq. Countless studies have been done, we've done studies on this, showing that as things got worse and worse, you had more and more coverage. But suddenly the surge came around and as the surge took off and was successful, the coverage went down. You see just the other day where the military announced that violence is down 89 percent, and yet NBC and CBS didn't think that was news. Now, they didn't need to send a reporter to Iraq to report that one, they could have done that from their bureaus.
Staffers for the Detroit Free Press are now in the clear when it comes to cutting campaign contributions for politicians, reports NewsGuild.org, the Web site for The Newspaper Guild, a print journalists union. (h/t Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor; emphasis mine):
An arbitrator's decision voiding a Detroit Free Press ban on political contributions by editorial employees has implications for other publishers attempting to control what their employees can do off the job-provided those employees are protected by an appropriately worded collective bargaining agreement.
In his May 27 decision, arbitrator Paul E. Glendon ruled that the Free Press cannot ban any particular activity of its editorial employees without documenting that the activity is compromising the paper or the employees' work. Without such documentation, Glendon wrote, the company could not justify its "unilateral incursion" against contractual safeguards.
Peter Boyer's profile of Keith Olbermann in the June 23 New Yorker magazine, “One Angry Man,” contained a bunch of noteworthy revelations, such as:
♦ Olbermann wanted to be more vulgar in his “shut the hell up” insult of President Bush than TV allows. Boyer on Olbermann's May 14 “Special Comment” rant: “Phil Griffin, the senior vice-president in charge of MSNBC raised the matter of tone. Why did Olbermann need to end his commentary by telling the President of the United States to 'shut the hell up'?” Answer: "Because I can't say, 'Shut the f**k up.'”
♦ A focus group for CNN found “audiences didn't like him.” Shortly after Olbermann returned to CNN in 2003, “Griffin ran into an old colleague at CNN, who told him that that network had considered hiring Olbermann, but focus-group tests showed that audiences didn't like him.” (In fact, Olbermann did fill-in work for CNN in late 2001 through 2002. See screen shot from January 24, 2002.)
♦ After Olbermann delivered his first Special Comment in August of 2006 denigrating Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a “quack” pushing “fascism,” Boyer learned: “His bosses loved it. 'I think we're onto something,' the President of NBC News, Steve Capus, told me. 'That's what we keep hearing from the audience, more and more, is that they appreciate that we have people who are actually speaking truth to power...'” Olbermann wrote his diatribe after “downing 'a couple of screwdrivers'” while waiting for a plane at LAX.
Like most media outlets, Broadcasting & Cable magazine is wowed by Barack Obama. Introducing its cover story/interview with the candidate/savior, reporter John Eggerton declared Obama earned his nomination with "a profound appreciation of the media’s great possibilities." Or Obama profoundly appreciates the way the media’s always making his great ascent to power more possible. Is it possible Obama could say something critical about a media that’s been so uncritical of him?
When B&C asked him about the negative effects of media consolidation, Obama whispered softly into the ears of left-wing activists at Free Press and Common Cause and the Media Access Project:
The ill effects of consolidation today and continued consolidation are well-documented -- less diversity of opinion, less local news coverage, replication of the same stories across multiple outlets, and others. We can do better.
Few candidates have ever benefited from "less diversity of opinion" in the media as much as Obama. The nation’s political reporters resembled a nearly unanimous pack of enthusiastic Obama super-delegates. Surely this isn’t the opinion Obama’s talking about.
I noticed this photo accompanying an unrelated and relatively straightforward AP story at MSNBC.com about Barack Obama's electoral strategy. As you can see, it falls into the Obama-as-messiah mold, albeit a little more subliminal and requiring more biblical literacy than previous still shots:
Photo by Alex Brandon/AP. Caption: "Sen. Barack Obama walks to the pulpit to speak at the Apostolic Church of God service about fatherhood in Chicago on Sunday."
As you can see from the photo, the background is a brick wall with the text "Jesus Christ Is Lord" emblazoned beneath a depiction of a descending dove. Depicting Obama beneath it evokes to the biblically literate reader the account of the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove upon Jesus after his baptism, as recorded in all four gospel accounts.
A few moments ago, NBC News reported that "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert passed away this afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Russert family and his extended family at NBC News.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell has issued the following statement:
Whenever I’ve been asked to give examples of a fair, balanced and honest journalist, Tim Russert’s name was the first name that came to mind. This was a view shared by everyone and the ultimate testimony to his professionalism. As a moderator he was in a league of his own, always knowing when to speak and when to let his guests do the talking. As an individual he was an absolute class act, and always a gentleman. The world of journalism is vastly diminished today.
Media Research Center (MRC) President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell joined lawmakers and a conservative radio host today in calling for an up-or-down vote on the Broadcast Freedom Act, which would drive a stake through the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which, if resurrected, would threaten conservative talk radio.
ALEXANDRIA, VA - Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell joined with House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), Congressmen Mike Pence (R-IN), Greg Walden (R-OR) and Trent Franks (R-AZ), syndicated radio talk show host Laura Ingraham and President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist in declaring this July 4th to be Radio Independence Day, and called for Congress to allow a full up or down vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act (BFA).
The BFA will kill once and for all the Fairness Doctrine, the onerous governmental policy that served to stifle free speech on the radio airwaves for four decades. Twenty-one years since its repeal, conservatives have flourished on the air, and liberals have been seeking to again silence them with the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.
The BFA is currently stuck in committee. A discharge petition has been started to allow it to the floor for a full vote, but it has only 194 of the needed 218 signatures.
But NBC/MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell has since apologized for her off-the-cuff remark from last Thursday. Reports TVNewser:
MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell apologized today for calling southwest Virginia, "real redneck" country. Toward the end of her 1pmET hour, she said, "I owe an apology to the good people of Bristol, Virginia for something stupid that I said."
Barack Obama’s plan for imposing unity on the nation after he takes office apparently entails a close look at war crimes trials for Bush administration officials. He has even said so in an interview with Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News.
This kind of change — putting your predecessors on trial for their conduct of policy — may not be what most Americans really want or expect from someone with Obama’s gauzy rhetoric of unity. But unity has a dark side in the hands of people who regard their opponents as criminals. America has two centuries-plus of history lacking the totalitarian practice of jailing the predecessors when a new president takes office.
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.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the June 2 "Fox & Friends" to discuss Sen. Barack Obama's decision to leave the controversial Trinity United Church of Christ and the fact that Obama has appeared on the cover of 11 news magazines since the beginning of the year.
Partial transcript below by MRC intern Peter Sasso [audio available here]:
STEVE DOOCY, "Fox & Friends" co-host: Brent, so things heated up when the Catholic priest a week ago said some crazy stuff there at the pulpit at Trinity United. But we should go back a little bit. Barack Obama initially joined that particular church because it had a huge power base and if he wanted to get established in Chicago politics, he had to join it.
BRENT BOZELL, Media Research Center President: That's right. I mean and it's now become the home for whack jobs. But, you know, you look at his resignation yesterday and you just ask yourself why does this man do things half way? Why can't he go all the way? Did he resign because there is something wrong with that church? No. In fact, in resigning, he said I'm not saying this. He said this. Very emphatically, that he absolutely refuses to denounce that church. If you absolutely refuse to denounce that church, why did you leave it?
With its talk of "change" and images of folks from the Dem demographic, was this an MSNBC promo . . . or an Obama ad? Check out this spot, aired today just before the start of Morning Joe.
VOICEOVER [which I believe is that of Joe Scarborough]: A revolution that happens for us every four years is a quiet revolution that begins and ends at the ballot box. It's the American voter that goes in, and makes a very simple choice that can change the country and change the world.
What is it with liberal pundits and taxes? MSNBC blowhard Keith Olbermann has become the latest liberal political figure to get in trouble for failing to pay his government dues, our friends at Olbermann Watch report:
New York State has issued a tax warrant against Keith Olbermann for failure to pay taxes on his humbly named personal corporation, Olbermann Broadcasting Empire, Inc. Olbermann is listed in legal records as the President of Olbermann Broadcasting Empire, Inc.
A call to the Albany County Clerk's Office in upstate New York confirmed that the warrant is still outstanding and that Olbermann has still failed to pay his back taxes. State records show that Olbermann's company failed to pay $2,269.50 in state taxes. A judgement was entered against Olbermann last summer (Docket Date: 8/21/2007), just weeks before Olbermann closed on a a luxurious $4.2 mm condo at Trump Palace, at 200 East 69th Street.
Olbermann also had some troubles California where he was held in judgment for failing to pay the state over $77,000 in back taxes.
Aside from President Bush, one of the left's favorite boogeymen is Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, owner of the Fox television networks and myriad newspapers around the globe. Murdoch, as the story goes, is deliberately foisting a far-right ideology upon the world, intent upon making it to support his personal political agenda.
In order for that to be true, however, paranoid lefties have to ignore a lot of evidence that Murdoch's words and deeds are hardly those of a consistently conservative person. The media exec demonstrated that once again today by heaping praise upon "rock star" Barack Obama while heavily criticizing his Republican rival John McCain as ignorant about economics, "unpredicable," and having "a lot of problems."
"I want to meet Obama. I want to know is he going to walk the walk. Have you read his education policy, what it is? It's just great. [...] I just hope that he's as good as he promises."
Was George Soros behind the publication of Scott McClellan's book? Meredith Vieira had the perfect opportunity this morning to find out—but chose to punt. The Today co-anchor certainly had the time: her much-touted exclusive interview with the author of What Happened ranged over the show's first two half-hours. But even when McClellan himself put the issue on the table—citing his publisher by name and alluding to its philosophy—Vieira failed to pursue a line of questioning that could have put matters in an explosive new light.
is part of the Perseus Books Group, which also owns Nation Books, “a project of The Nation Institute” which publishes the magazine of the same name, and Vanguard Press, whose home page now features The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, a new book by Vincent Bugliosi that “presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq.”
Baker also notes that PublicAffairs is the publisher of no fewer than six books by Soros himself, and that McClellan's editor, Peter Osnos, who acknowledges having "worked very closely" with the author, is a liberal pundit in his own right.
Finally, Little Green Footballs has documented that there are several Perseus companies that actually include "Soros" as part of their name, as in Perseus-Soros Management, LLC.
Put it all together, and there's every reason to wonder whether Soros isn't behind McClellan's manifesto. But given the golden opportunity to pursue the matter, Meredith chose to move on. Here's the relevant exchange, which came during the second half-hour of this morning's Today.
Demonstrating that he certainly has come full circle from Bush-advocate to Bush-basher, Scott McClellan has agreed to give his first cable television news interview, on Thursday night, to the most vitriolic left-wing host: Bush-hater Keith Olbermann. McClellan went with MSNBC over CNN, where he is scheduled to appear Friday on The Situation Room. His fist television appearance will be Thursday morning on NBC's Today show. Maybe Countdown came as part of the deal with NBC?
Olbermann announced on his Wednesday night show:
We will have the first cable interview with Scott McClellan, now scheduled for tomorrow night. Scott McClellan, at this desk with me, tomorrow night. And I can't imagine which of us is more surprised by that eventuality.
CNN has decided to give weekly, hour-long Sunday show to Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International, whose writings and media appearances over the last few years peg him as a pretty conventional liberal on foreign and domestic policy. The AP's David Bauder reported Monday that “'Fareed Zakaria -- GPS,' which stands for 'global public square,' will air Sundays at 1 p.m. EDT and be rebroadcast at a yet-to-be determined time on CNN International.” Bauder also noted that “Christiane Amanpour will be among the panelists to appear frequently.”
Zakaria, author earlier this year of the book, The Post-American World, which contends the “era” of “'American exceptionalism' is over,” snidely quipped in a 2005 Newsweek article: “As an Iraqi politician said to me, 'There are currently two Grand Ayatollahs running Iraq: Sistani and Bush. Most of us feel that Sistani is the more rational.'” A regular for several years on ABC's This Week, in 2006 Zakaria castigated an English as the official language bill as “nonsense” and “nativist populism that is distasteful.” Back in 2004, he ridiculed President Bush's promise to usher in a “new responsibility era” as he concluded: “Whether he wins or loses in November, George W. Bush's legacy is now clear: the creation of a poisonous atmosphere of anti-Americanism around the globe. I'm sure he takes full responsibility.”
"Average gas prices set record at $3.72 a gallon" reads the teaser headline on the USAToday.com Web site. Yet the photo (by Justin Sullivan, Getty Images) accompanying the teaser on the front page shows a gas marquee with gasoline at $4.09-a-gallon.
Interviewed for the "View from the Top" feature in the May 9 Financial Times, NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker praised CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric, formerly with NBC's "Today" show. Zucker also dismissed any notion that he regretted not buying the Wall Street Journal.
Here's an excerpt (portion in italics to denote questions by Financial Times):
You worked with Katie Couric [host of NBC's Today for 15 years, now CBS Evening News anchor] for a long time. Would you take her back?
I don't know that Katie's available so it's not really my place to say, but Katie remains one of the most talented journalists of her generation and somebody who would be an asset to whatever news division, whatever organisation she worked in. So we would always welcome somebody of Katie's ability and stature, but that's not . . . on the cards any time in the near future.
TVNewser is reporting this morning that a Fox News production assistant was fired for cheering on John McCain when she got close enough to the Arizona senator during the Time 100 Gala.:
Insiders tell us the assistant, identified as Jennifer Locke, was on assignment with a camera crew to cover the entertainment angle of the event. When Sen. John McCain walked by, the assistant said, "I voted for you in the primary, you're going to win."
A Fox News insider called it "journalistically unacceptable." An FNC spokesperson would not comment on the personnel matter but did confirm Locke is no longer with the company, where she'd worked for a couple of years.