Not all news insiders believe Katie Couric's disastrous stint as anchor for the CBS Evening News has anything to do with sexism or people having a thing against Couric. Steve Adubato of MSNBC simply believes Couric was the wrong person for the job. He tries to sweeten the criticism by making sure he compliments Couric on her strengths:
While I respect Katie Couric tremendously as a broadcaster who has had an impressive career doing personal profiles and engaging interviews, this CBS experiment was a really long shot right from the beginning. Simply put, Katie Couric is not a great news anchor or an even particularly good news anchor, at least not a network evening news anchor. That's not a crime. A lot of great football players can't play baseball or basketball, but they are still great athletes. That's how different Katie Couric's job on "The Today Show” was from what she was expected to do for CBS News.
New Editorial Page Editor Cheryl L. Reed has been given marching orders from publisher John Cruickshank and head editor Michael Cooke to re-brand the editorial and opinion section of the Chicago Sun Times with an eye toward the future. Specifically she has been told not to be too conservative. (h/t Republic of Biloxi)
"Don't be conservative," Cruickshank urged me. "We don't want you to hold back."
One could take this statement in one of two ways. On the one hand you might assume that Cruickshank is telling Reed to think outside the box and come up with some really innovative ideas that might just involve a bit of risk.
On the other hand you could approach this challenge from the perspective of just about everyone else in the newspaper industry and take Cruickshank's words literally.
Of late, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been arguing that the mainstream media persistently exercise the "management" of the news. That is to say, aside from slanted and biased reporting on the news of the day, they frame news developments in a way that manage events to fit a preconceived meme or storyline.
The media's coverage of Army recruiting numbers is no exception.
Bear in mind these facts included in some of the stories I cite below but usually well after the lede:
The Army is nonetheless ahead of its year-to-date recruiting goal
July, August, and September are traditionally the best months for recruiting
Many potential enlistees are turned away from being overweight or lacking a high school diploma
Some experts, such as former Defense undersecretary Edwin Dorn, marvel that "the big surprise is that Army recruiting has remained as healthy as it has been" given the Iraq war's falling support in the polls.
Nope, instead the lede is two straight months of numbers that aren't up to par and immediately Iraq is blamed.
Voila! A "trend" story waiting to happen for a media bent on managing the news.
I’m not sure what derangement syndrome Bill Moyers is currently suffering from, but on Friday’s “Bill Moyers Journal” broadcast on PBS, the outspoken host went into an invective-filled tirade about media tycoon Rupert Murdoch that frankly was one of the most disgraceful exhibitions of liberal bias so far this year.
In his closing monologue, Moyers compared Murdoch to the Marquis de Sade, Imelda Marcos, and Satan himself.
I kid you not.
For those that can stomach it, what follows is a full transcript of this piece of…detritus. Those with a healthier GI tract can watch the video available here. And, more information concerning the press' biased coverage of Murdoch is available at the MRC’s Business and Media Institute.
Without further ado (h/t Dan Gainor, emphasis added, better fasten your seatbelts!):
CNSNews.com staff writer Monisha Bansal has done something I've seen very little, if any of, in mainstream media coverage. Reporting on yesterday's Supreme Court ruling striking down two race-based preference structures that governed public school districts in Louisville, Ky. and Seattle, Ms. Bansal documented the reaction of the lawyers who won the lawsuits in question.
As NewsBusters has repeatedly noted, most of the media focus has been on the political dimensions of a "rightward" shift in the Court, in Kennedy as the new swing justice, etc.
Below is an excerpt of Bansal's June 29 article, portions in bold are my emphasis:
As a follow-up to my previous post, I thought I'd take a look at the inane headlines for coverage of the 5-4 ruling today that restricts school districts from using race to manage school populations. Time and the Los Angeles Times are real howlers:
In a landmark 5-4 case today, the U.S. Supreme Court found that two school systems had improperly used race as a consideration in managing the public school districts. Web sites for many newspapers have carried Associated Press coverage of the ruling, and the later the revision of the AP report, the more information tends to be packed in them.
As of 1:15 a.m. Eastern when I started this post*, the Los Angeles Times front page linked to an AP story published just before 11 a.m. Eastern. But in that version of the AP story, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, is not quoted at all. Yet a similar AP story (perhaps the same story but with fewer paragraphs edited out) was published just minutes later in the Washington Examiner.
Let's face the facts; newspapers are in trouble. Every morning, for a dwindling group of Americans, a newspaper blows its dying breath in their face. You and I know what the problem is, but when it comes to listening to the vast majority of traditional Americans, journalists are as deaf as politicians. So rather than following my previous advice, ("Why don't you get rid of the bias, the America-hating columnists, the socialist editorials, and the reporters pushing a gay/lesbian/transgendered/illegal alien/pro-abortion/anti-God/anti-gun agenda?") the newspapers have decided instead to redefine the number of readers they have.
Did you go to the paper's website just to read an asinine editorial that you heard about? You're now a "paying customer". Forget for the moment that you would never patronize the advertisers on that site, in fact you're more likely to boycott them. Leave a newspaper on a park bench? Hey, there were probably two or three more "paying customers" to count.
And these are the same people who are charged with protecting our elections.
The June 27 edition of "MSNBC Live" was sponsored by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore.
"'MSNBC Live' is brought to you by 'SiCKO', a Michael Moore film in theatres everywhere Friday," read the announcer dipping into a commercial break about 14 minutes into the 10 a.m. block of MSNBC programming.
The Dow Jones Company and News Corp reached a major milestone today, an agreement to preserve the independence of DJ's news publications. Looks like Rupert Murdoch just might get to buy the Wall Street Journal after all:
Dow Jones & Co. and News Corp. have agreed in principle on a set of editorial protections for Dow Jones, according to people familiar with the matter.
While there remained some "open items" to be resolved, the two sides had essentially finalized the last points on the agreement Tuesday morning, these people said. The accord paves the way for the sale of the publisher of The Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate for about $5 billion.
In its rush to paint yesterday's Supreme Court ruling that struck down an issue ad ban contained in the so-called McCain-Feingold Law, the Chicago Tribune described the case as a win for President Bush and the GOP, even though the Bush administration's lawyers lost the case in question and even though the case benefits liberal activist groups as much as it does conservatives. What's more, Bush's appointees to the court actually restrained the conservative majority from taking a bigger swipe at the campaign finance law.
Here's the lede from the Tribune staffer David Savage:
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court gave President Bush and Republican
leaders two important 5-4 victories Monday by clearing the way for
corporate-funded broadcast ads before next year's election and by
shielding the White House's "faith-based initiative" from challenge in
Oh really? President Bush signed the campaign finance bill into law, it was his Federal Election Commission that pleaded and lost the case, and he's not able to run again for reelection, yet somehow he won yesterday by virtue of his Federal Election Commission losing?
What's more, Republicans, conservatives, and business interests can certainly benefit from the change in the law, but so can Democrats, liberals, and labor unions, a point that the Washington Post's Robert Barnes picked up on in his reporting, which tracked favorable reaction from labor and business leaders:
Tim Graham appeared on "Live Desk w/Martha MacCallum" today to discuss what appears to be NBC paying for a post-incarceration interview with hotel heiress Paris Hilton. He joked: "It just sounds like a bad MTV reality show called Pimp My News."
I have been a huge fan of Michael Yon for years. He risks life and limb as an embedded reporter to report the news in Iraq from the soldiers' point of view and he is honest in his assessment. That honesty has often been met with scorn and resistance by some decision makers in the military who in my assessment have been their own worst enemy when it comes to getting the word out about progress as well as the hardships endured by our fine fighting men and women overseas.
But Michael knows the importance of giving a voice to the voiceless heroes that protect our shores so that we at home may tuck our children in to sleep peacefully at night. For this reason Michael provides us an alternative, more rounded message; a beacon in the darkness of the mainstream media's one sided narrative.
Coming back from a commercial break that included a plug for "the best reporting, the power of NBC News" on "Super Tuesdays," MSNBC's Chris Matthews was caught uttering an expletive, complaining about the content of the network's programming.
The "Hardball" host complained that "we're all reacting here and putting on shit" with the network's breaking news coverage pertaining to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg leaving the GOP to become an independent.
There's nothing biased here, just some industry news. Politico and Media Bistro's fishbowlDC are reporting that it looks like NBC/MSNBC will be giving up their Capitol Hill cubby hole digs and moving most if not all of their DC bureau operation out to Nebraska. Avenue that is.
For those unfamiliar with Washington, the NBC offices on Nebraska are considerably farther from Capitol Hill than the stone's throw from the Senate that NBC now enjoys.
The bottom line: this could make it harder to get congressmen and senators who need to stay close to the Hill for legislative votes to appear on camera on MSNBC.
As we've documented at NewsBusters, last year the media, particularly the Washington Post, raked then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) over the coals for his infamous "macaca" insult, and his ensuing profuse apologies for same. We've also documented that Democratic politicians' jokes about India and Indian-Americans have been largely ignored (see below the jump).
The latest racial incident kicking up dust on the 2008 campaign trail is yet another Democratic gaffe, dubbed by some, "Punjab-gate," after an Obama presidential campaign research memo cheekily described rival Hillary Clinton as a Democrat from Punjab, a province in India.
Of course, as the oppo memo itself notes, and as John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune reported in the Trib's "The Swamp" blog, Obama's staff were referring to another "lame attempt at humor" (my emphasis, see below jump) by the junior senator from the Empire State about her electoral chances were she to decide to relocate to India:
MRC intern Joe Steigerwald wrote the following post.
You've got to give credit to Al Gore, he certainly knows how to play the mass media like a fiddle, particularly NBC.
Eight days ago, NB editor Brent Baker picked up on an NBC Universal press release about how the peacock network and its sister networks will cover the upcoming Live Earth concerts a grand total of 75 hours.
That doesn't count the gratuitious promotional pitches for Live Earth that may be embedded within NBC programming. Take last night's (June 13) "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."
In a blatant and out-of-the-blue pitch, O’Brien conjured a Live Earth question for "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert.
For some context here, O'Brien and Russert had just finished talking about one time the Sunday talk show host interviewed Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky:
Fox News and Variety have reported that Larry Register, former longtime CNN producer, resigned Friday from Al Hurrah, which is a US government-funded TV station in the Mid-East that is supposed to be a type of Mid-East Voice of America combating the pervasive anti-US and anti-Israel rhetoric in on TV stations like Al Jazeera.
As I noted here at NewsBusters in March, “within weeks” of Register taking over in 2005, the station took a sharp turn toward the radical. Award-winning investigative journalist and columnist Joel Mowbray and the Wall Street Journal have been on top of this story, reporting the problems, which included Register reversing the Al Hurrah policy banning terrorists as guests, that resulted in the broadcast of most of an anti-US/anti-Israel rant by Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah and giving other terrorists and extremists air time. Al Hurrah later covered the Iranian conference that denied the Holocaust and hired Yasser Thabet, a well-known Al Jazeera editor who had a habit of “fawning over terrorists,” including broadcasting Osama Bin Ladin's unedited propaganda videos because “[i]t's important to hear [Bin Ladin's] opinions.”
Variety reported Register's resignation June 10 and printed a portion of the letter he submitted (bold mine throughout):
As the negotiations about whether to sell the Wall Street Journal's parent company appear to be moving along between Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and the Bancroft family, owners of a special class of stock which gives them control over Dow Jones.
Whenever Murdoch is going hard for a media asset, it inevitably sets off concerns among those on the left (such as the employee unions at Dow Jones) that the purchase of an outlet by News Corp. will somehow comprimise its editorial integrity since Murdoch is a very active manager in his properties. Those concerns seem to be less about editorial process and more about political considerations since Murdoch is far from the only active media mogul.
In an editorial today, the Journal pointed out that Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger is heavily involved in managing the New York Times:
[T]he Bancrofts are unique in their hands-off ownership. They are often compared as family newspaper proprietors to the Grahams at the Washington Post or the Sulzbergers at the New York Times. But members of those families run those newspapers, exerting influence over the news and opinion operations. In that sense, those newspapers are hardly "independent" of those families.
Earlier this morning on the Fox News Channel, MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell talked to the gang at "Fox & Friends" about the poor ratings at the "CBS Evening News" since Katie Couric took the helm. VideoReal (2.5 MB) or Windows (2 MB) plus MP3 (1 mb)
STEVE DOOCY, co-host: Katie Couric, who makes a lot of money, is just about 15 blocks from here. Her ratings have never been lower. What's going on?
BRENT BOZELL: Well, I mean, I wasn't Nostradamus when I said, as said others when she got the job, that she was going to fail. It's the wrong match. She's the queen, the master of morning talk shows with, because of her perky personality and the pop culture format. You put her on the "Evening News" where there's gravitas that is necessary. It's got to be far more serious. There wasn't a match there. And we knew there wasn't a match. It was going to be one of two things. Either they were going to change the whole format of the news to fit her, or it would fail because she doesn't fit in.
An update to my earlier post that I figured would do just as well as a fresh item.
USA Today's "On Politics" blog, "TV Newser," and The New Republic's "The Plank" contain explanations from Joe Scarborough's people of how they believe the Friday "Morning Joe" banter between the MSNBC host and guest Craig Crawford about potential GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson's wife was taken out of context.
Noted USA Today's Mark Memmott:
A spokesman for the news network said this afternoon, though, that the
comment has been taken out of context and that it is "irresponsible" to
suggest Scarborough was employing sexual innuendo. "Works the pole"
could have been a reference to poles that some strippers use in their
acts. MSNBC says it was a reference to an exercise routine that a
growing number of women are performing.
Conservative blogs are abuzz with a controversial remark MSNBC's Joe Scarborough made on his Friday "Morning Joe" program about Jeri Thompson, the wife of former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who is mulling over a White House bid.
It's generally bad for business to have a flippant employee who insults your loyal customers. Now if someone could just give that newsflash to the Associated Press.
The AP today picked
up on the plight of one David Noordeweir, who was fired in late
February from a Michigan Wal-Mart for an entry on his MySpace page that
insulted the intelligence of Wal-Mart shoppers. Here's the lede.:
A former Wal-Mart cashier says he was fired for joking on his MySpace
page that the average IQ would increase if a bomb were dropped on the
Gee, nothing insulting or inflammatory there.
The AP story stocked up reader's shopping cart with Noordeweir's fine whine:
[Update/related MRC study: Rich Noyes reminded me of his 2002 study of CNN's favorable coverage of the Cuban regime.]
My only complaint with Siegelbaum is her describing the Cuban state media as an "information service," that pedals "information" handed it by the Castro regime. When many biased, liberal journalists skeptically eye anything coming from the White House or Pentagon as "spin," it becomes all the more annoying that Cuban state media are seen as relaying "information."
Washington Times reporter Martin Arostegui has an excellent article in today's paper about the socialist leaders of two South American countries following Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's example by moving to restrict press freedoms in their respective countries. By contrast, the news didn't even meake the "World in Brief" digest on page A16 of today's Washington Post:
SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia -- The leaders of Bolivia and Ecuador are moving
with Cuban encouragement and in concert with their mentor, Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez, to restrict press freedom in their countries.
Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa
both announced steps to crack down on independent broadcasters within
days of Mr. Chavez's closure on Sunday of Venezuela's main independent
television station, RCTV.
In the new 40th Anniversary Edition of Rolling Stone magazine, Editor Jann Wenner asks rocker-icon Bob Dylan, "Do you worry about global warming?" and Dylan responds: "Where's the global warming? It's freezing here."
The point is that Dylan was half-serious and questioning Wenner's liberal assumptions, as were a number of other 1960s rock icons who gave some startlingly sober answers to the hyper-idealized drivel regurgitated by Wenner and other questioners. (Hat tip to Cincinnati.com.) When asked his views about the 1960s, Director Steven Spielberg replied, "Just narcissism, a collective and personal narcissism."