Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz takes up the left-wing brouhaha over ABC’s "trivial" questions to Barack Obama on Wednesday night. Here’s the weird part:
It is hardly unusual for debate moderators to draw partisan criticism, as NBC's Tim Russert did in October, when liberal commentators accused him of harassing Clinton over driver's licenses for illegal immigrants and other issues. But it is rare for ostensibly neutral media writers and television columnists to pile on with such fervor.
But Kurtz never quoted anyone "ostensibly neutral" -- they all came from the left. He began with Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post, Will Bunch of the "Attytood" blog, and Post TV critic Tom Shales. Later on he added Greg Mitchell, the socialist editor at Editor & Publisher, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, and Steve Benen of the Carpetbagger Report. He wrapped up with Keith Olbermann. Not an "ostensibly neutral" voice in the bunch.
Would it be fair to guess that inside the "ostensibly neutral" Washington Post there is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth?
Kurtz did pass some of the internal reaction and defense from ABC:
Vice President Dick Cheney spoke at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents dinner Wednesday evening, and poked fun at members of the news media, gave advice to Mitt Romney about getting himself on the list of potential Republican vice presidential candidates, chided Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his goofy ideas about global warming, and even made fun of himself being referred to by detractors as Darth Vader.
All in all, during his last vice presidential performance at this event, Cheney was quite a hit.
What follows are some of his best lines (video embedded upper right):
The cable network MSNBC has refused to air an advertisement from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group created by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg,on the grounds that the ad is too "controversial."
The ad, below, features each of the three leading presidential candidates pledging to make it harder to buy guns at gun shows, and images of three mayors urging viewers to call Congress and ask that a bill closing the "gun-show loophole" be passed.
The ad is airing on CNN and Fox, and on affiliates around the country, a Bloomberg aide said.
Never mind nightly TV newscasts are geared toward older generation. Never mind scandals like Dan Rather and the falsified National Guard documents leading up to the 2004 presidential elections have caused people to look for their news from other sources like the Internet and talk radio.
"[B]ut there were so few [good TV news writers] because we became dependent on pictures and that coupled with deregulation of television, when you had three, four networks - and suddenly, there are 20, then there are 50 and now there are 300 and however many - 500," he said. "And as a consequence, the pie that used to be sliced three or four ways is now slivers and as a consequence, everybody is trying to hold on to their little audience and to do that, you got to entertain."
Not too many commentators seem to have noticed that George Soros is slowly but surely becoming the mainstream media that is the focus of the analysis we do at NewsBusters. The liberal billionaire-turned-philanthropist has been buying up media properties for years in order to drive home his message to the American public that they are too materialistic, too wasteful, too selfish, and too stupid to decide for themselves how to run their own lives.
It continues. Days after NewsBusters reported that the BBC willingly censored its reporting to fit the agenda of a left-wing environmental activist comes news that reporters at an Australian paper have been forced company-wide to promote climate alarmism by their bosses.
In some positive news for journalistic independence though, it looks like the staffers at the Age newspaper have finally had enough. What's even more surprising is that the Age is a left-wing paper, similar to London's Guardian, that normally has no trouble pursuing agenda-driven coverage. The mandated bias is so ridiculous though, that it was too much for even them.
Our story begins late last month when the Age's parent company, Fairfax Media, teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund to help promote Earth Hour, a silly PR campaign to use less or no electricity as a way of "raising awareness" about "climate change."
The winner of the MRC's 2008 Dan Rather Memorial Award for Stupidest Analysis went to the editors of McClatchy Newspapers for an October 16 headline that spun the good news of the surge's success in Iraq into a tale of woe for Iraqi gravediggers. See, with the success of the surge and the corresponding drop in violence and death, Iraqi cemetery workers were "feel[ing] the pinch" to quote the headline.
Interesting news coming out of CBS today. First, the Wall Street Journal reporting that Katie Couric is "likely" to leave the network--before her contract expires, possibly after the inaguration of the next president:
After two years of record-low ratings, both CBS News executives and people close to Katie Couric say that the "CBS Evening News" anchor is likely to leave the network well before her contract expires in 2011 -- possibly soon after the presidential inauguration early next year.
Ms. Couric isn't even halfway through her five-year contract with CBS, which began in June 2006 and pays an annual salary of around $15 million. But CBS executives are under pressure to cut costs and improve ratings for the broadcast, which trails rival newscasts on ABC and NBC by wide margins. [...]
Our news analysts at the MRC have combed through the April 9 editions of ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today," and found zero mentions of the comments that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) made smearing McCain and military pilots past and present.
Yesterday I noted how news agencies were slow to cover the story, and certainly were not blowing up the incident into a major gaffe for Sen. Barack Obama, whom Rockefeller supports for president, to publicly and personally denounce.
It's no longer profitable for networks to have their own news organizations, according to CNBC's David Faber.
In the wake of the news that CBS is in negotiations to outsource its news division to CNN, Faber explained on CNBC's April 8 "Squawk on the Street" CBS's news division is a victim of an evolving business.
"The news that CBS is once again considering a deal under which it would outsource some of its newsgathering operations to CNN - certain to get those critics out there who say, ‘Oh, this is the end of news as we know it on television,'" Faber said.
"Well, if you haven't noticed, news on television ended a long time ago, other than '60 Minutes,' which is by the way a CBS program. I challenge you to come up with actual newsgathering that is taking place on the networks," he said. "That ship has sailed."
ABC White House reporter Martha Raddatz (file photo at right), formerly that network's Pentagon correspondent, is clueless when it comes to federal law regarding U.S. military personnel and what they can and cannot say publicly about their politics, bloggers Richard Gardner and James Joyner argue in an April 8 post at Outside the Beltway.
Why not “Government Employees Cannot Participate in Partisan Political Activity”? Or how about government employees are not allowed to state who they support politically? How about government employees are NOT allowed to vote? How about UNION government employees are not allowed to vote?
Gardner went on to quote an excerpt in which Raddatz equated servicemen expressing "their personal endorsements" -- that is telling people for whom they plan to vote -- to engaging "in partisan political activity" which "the military is not supposed" to do.
Gardner called Raddatz on the absurdity of her statement:
It's not often you'll hear a right-leaning media critic say this: I agree with the Pulitzer Prize committee this year, at least when it comes to the award the committee gave to Investor's Business Daily's Michael Ramirez for his excellent cartooning work.
Ramirez's win is the first time since 1998 that a Pulitzer has been given to a cartoonist with even moderately conservative opinions. The committee has similarly been biased against right-leaning columnists as Brent Bozell noted last year:
Any conservative student who aspires to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist should really try another line of work. Here’s the list since George Will won in 1977 and William Safire won in 1978: Charles Krauthammer in 1987, Paul Gigot in 2000, and Dorothy Rabinowitz in 2001. That’s five conservatives in 30 years.
CBS, the home of the most celebrated news division in broadcasting, has been in discussions with Time Warner about a deal to outsource some of its news-gathering operations to CNN, two executives briefed on the matter said Monday.
Over the last decade, CNN has held intermittent talks with both ABC News and CBS News about various joint ventures. But during the last several months, talks with CBS have been revived and lately intensified, according to the executives who were given anonymity because of the confidential nature of the negotiations.
On April 7, the Pulitzer Board announced the 2008 winners for perhaps the most coveted prize in journalism. At least one right-of-center recipient emerged among the Prize winners: cartoonist Michael Ramirez of Investor's Business Daily.
For a distinguished cartoon or portfolio of cartoons published during the year, characterized by originality, editorial effectiveness, quality of drawing and pictorial effect, in print or in print and online, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Awarded to Michael Ramirez of Investor's Business Daily for his provocative cartoons that rely on originality, humor and detailed artistry.
For a 20-cartoon portfolio of Ramirez's work from 2007 that impressed the Pulitzer Prize nominating jurors, click here. Ramirez and other Pulitzer winners will be recognized and awarded at a luncheon at Columbia University on May 29.
Fox News has canceled its long-running show "The Big Story:"
Fox News Channel, tinkering for the first time in eight years with its popular early evening lineup, is replacing its 5 p.m. news broadcast, "The Big Story," with an election-theme program for the foreseeable future. The network confirmed this week that "America's Election HQ," a program that displaced "The Big Story" temporarily last month, would continue indefinitely. The program's hosts, Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly, also anchor the network's mid-morning newscast and are seen as rising stars on the channel. The change was first reported by the blog TVNewser.com. John Gibson, the longtime host of "The Big Story," will continue to have a role on television, the network said, although it appears that his future for now lies mostly on radio.
A former MSNBC host, Gibson has become known for semi-frequently attacking his former employer, particularly its left-wing host Keith Olbermann, whom Gibson refers to as "Bathtub Boy." The reference is to Olbermann's extreme reluctance to cover the Monica Lewinsky scandal of then-president Bill Clinton. According to Gibson, Olbermann preferred to stay at home and sit in the bathtub rather than come in to work.
As a loyal Clinton campaign email subscriber, rarely a day goes by that I don't hear from Hillary or Bill. It's good to know they're thinking about me. But today brings some very troubling news: Hillary is WAY behind on her fundraising goal for TV airtime in Pennsylvania. [screencap below page break]
I had been torn between door hangers and yard signs, when I decided to check out some of the other options, and . . . YIKES! As you'll see from the image, the budget for TV airtime in Pennsylvania is $2.5 million, but Hillary has raised only $129,947. That works out to only 5.1% of the goal!
Taking the Reconquista concept all the way to the end, Absolut Vodka launched an ad campaign that appears on billboards and at least one magazine that features a map of the western U.S. and Mexico with nearly the entire west coast appearing as a part of Mexico. This ad appears in Quien Magazine, which is owned by Time Warner and also appears on billboards in Mexico. Quien claims a "total audience" of 513,000 readers in Mexico and the southwestern U.S.
The map covers what used to be Mexico's claimed borders before our 1846 war with them from which the U.S. took possession of California, Texas, New Mexico, etc. But, the ad shows those states as part of Mexico with the "Estados Unidos De America" situated to the north and east of the "Absolut World" Mexico.
In a day when immigration issues are incendiary between our two countries, Time Warner accepting ads that stirs Mexico's sentiments to "take back" parts of the U.S. (as the term Reconquista means) as their own territory is quite extraordinary.
Newsweek magazine is undergoing massive restructuring, buying out the contracts of over 100 employees and offering to buy out many more including its two liberal opinion-mongers Jonathan Alter and Howard Fineman:
The staff of Newsweek will shrink dramatically, after 111 staffers on its news and business sides accepted a buyout last week. [...] More staffers than expected accepted the offer, so at least some their jobs are likely to be filled by new hires. But dozens of positions will be eliminated permanently. [...]
Other longtime senior editors who accepted the buyout include Nancy Cooper, George Hackett and Alexis Gelber. Senior Editor Jerry Adler is reportedly still considering the offer.
The anti-American bias at Al Jazeera English became “so stereotypical, so reflexive” that former “Nightline” reporter David Marash quit his job with the Qatar-based channel, in part over that attitude. What was even more interesting was Marash's assertion that the anti-American attitude came more from the British administrators than the Arabs at AJE.
Former "Nightline" reporter Dave Marash has quit Al-Jazeera English, saying Thursday his exit was due in part to an anti-American bias at a network that is little seen in this country.
Marash said he felt that attitude more from British administrators than Arabs at the Qatar-based network.
Marash was the highest-profile American TV personality hired when the English language affiliate to Al-Jazeera was started two years ago in an attempt to compete with CNN and the BBC. He said there was a "reflexive adversarial editorial stance" against Americans at Al-Jazeera English.
"Given the global feelings about the Bush administration, it's not surprising," Marash said.
But he found it "became so stereotypical, so reflexive" that he got angry.
Interesting news today out of Los Angeles. Looks like CNN is going to try and tap the political entertainment market that was formerly served by the departed "Half Hour News Hour." My comments below the fold:
Headline News will be sacrificing newsmakers to the comedy gods with "Not Just Another Cable News Show," a half-hour skein set for the 7 p.m. timeslot Saturdays and Sundays starting April 5. It will re-air at 9 p.m. and midnight. [...]
"News Show" will pull footage from CNN's archives as well as from recent news.The first episode will feature commentators including Time.com's Washington editor Ana Marie Cox, L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein, Republican strategist Amy Holmes, Huffington Post media editor Rachel Sklar and comic Hugh Fink.
Hey MSM! Since all has been forgiven by most of you for Obama’s warm friendship with the radical racist and anti-American conspiracy nut Jeremiah Wright, and many of you are crowning him, once again, as the next JFK or Lincoln for “bringing the discussion of race to a higher plane…would it be utterly presumptuous of me to suggest that this should lead to opening a few more cans of worms? I mean, since most of you, with few exceptions, have decided to ignore the lies and contradictions revealed through Obama’s speech and instead trip over yourselves to focus on how “courageous” and “eloquent” his speech was…I’ll concede…let us move on, because there is plenty you have ignored that we can move on to. Jeremiah Wright is not the only radical company that Obama keeps.
Some have accused the media of trying to undermine the war effort by swaying public opinion with images of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, but the visuals are justified and important, according to Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley.
Curley was the keynote speaker of the Sunshine Week dinner at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on March 18. Curley defended the media's use of the controversial photographs as "moving and very unifying."
"Well, we've all tried and we've all been turned down, and I think your question is another reminder we should keep trying," Curley said when asked about the importance of those photographs. "We should never stop trying. I find those pictures very moving and very unifying. All of us really, really appreciate the sacrifices that are being made."
Is there something in the water at NBC that gives its TV talent restless leg?
MSNBC's Chris Matthews is the latest journo to bust a move, on the March 19 "Ellen DeGeneres" show.
Looks like colleague David Gregory has some fresh competition, but I'm confident the NBC White House correspondent has what it takes. After all, he can get down to anything from Hilary Duff to Mary J. Blige.
On Monday, the same morning that the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal broke, Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee posted an e-mail from the Associated Press which explained the newswire's policy against blogs using AP photos. The long and short of it: unless you have a license from AP, you're violating copyright to use an AP photo.
But today, blogger Jules Crittenden informed me, the AP is defending its policy of lifting from her MySpace page copyrighted photos of Spitzer call girl Ashley Alexandra Dupre:
Who's watching the watchers? Well, the Media Research Center, and Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz says he's "sort of like the internal affairs cop." But just how tough is he? You can be the judge reading his column.
"We try to hold them accountable, exactly what they do to politicians - why did you do that? Why did you make that mistake? Why did you jump the gun?" said Kurtz, who's also the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources," in a March 12 appearance on "The Colbert Report." Kurtz was on to plug his new book, "Reality Show," about television news.
Host Stephen Colbert baited him: "The three big anchors still really matter, and I agree. ...Who are they, again?"