OVERVIEW: I believe that the sale of The Tribune Company last week to investor Sam Zell is an unrecognized low-water mark in the newspaper publishing business. In fact, after subtracting the value of the Tribune's non-newspaper properties from the deal, what little value remains indicates that the value of having access to a newspaper's readers is a mind-boggling 70% less than it was a mere seven years ago.
Is it possible that Tribune Company investors are paying the price of many years of relentless misreporting and biased reporting at its newspapers, especially those it acquired when it bought Times Mirror in 2000? While the numbers presented here of necessity involve a fair amount of approximation, it's hard to avoid concluding that the answer is "yes."
Earlier today, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham wrote about ABC's Tahman Bradley and his coverage of President Bush's recess appointment of Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium. The headline for Bradley's story read like that of a left-wing press release: "Bush Swift Boats Belgium, Congress."
The New York Times Co. has been taking a beating over their increasing steep decline in the company's share price, extravagant executive compensation and the dual roles of Class B shareholder Arthur Sulzberger Jr. who acts as both the Chairman and Publisher of the company. These factors have prompted influential wall street investment advisor Institutional Shareholder Services to advise Class A shareholders to withhold votes for 4 directors who are up for election this month. A virtual vote of no confidence by one of the most influential investment advisors in the business according to the Gawker Manhattan Media News and Gossip website.
Two days ago NewsBusters documented how ABC's "Good Morning America"
is hyping the "latest trend" for couples tying the knot this year,
so-called green weddings. Of course, weatherman/reporter Sam Champion
left out for his audience how the bride featured in his story, Anna
Swinson, is a Sierra Club official in Atlanta, but what's a covert
liberal agenda among friends?
ABC is not the only network pushing the phenomenon as a tactic to combating global warming. "Days of Our Lives"
addicts will be treated to the earth-friendly nuptials of characters
Sami and Lucas. Of course the NBC.com Web site doesn't just plug the
liberal-friendly story arc, it also insults the intelligence
of its readership by insisting that having a "green wedding" isn't just a matter of taste, it's a matter of life and death (yes, even if green is just not the bride's color):
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is publicly voicing its strong objections to two recent columns in the Los Angeles Times regarding the priest abuse scandal. Both articles contained substantial falsehoods, according to the Archdiocese.
1. A March 26, 2007, article in the Times claimed that Church officials and employees, when questioned in legal proceedings, could invoke something called "'mental reservation' — a 700-year-old doctrine by which clerics may avoid telling the truth to protect the Catholic Church." The article quoted Irwin Zalkin, a lawyer for abuse victims, as saying of church officials under oath, "You're never going to know the truth, one way or the other."
The truth? There is no such doctrine, and the term "mental reservation" is found nowhere in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
On Monday, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) got a "town hall" meeting with a hand-picked audience on "Good Morning America."
But the royal treatment Clinton receives in the mainstream media isn't shared by even some staunch liberals who make ink in the nation's newspapers everyday. Including at least one who pays the bills with the cartoonist's pen, generally liberal artist and blogger Darrin Bell, creator of "Candorville."
It's not the first time Bell has lampooned Clinton, but check out the March 30 installment, where he makes fun of Hillary's penchant for trying to be all things to all constituents, envisioning Clinton trying to pander to a Palestinian-American and an Israeli-American at the same time.
Bell's cartoon follows two days after the March 28 "'South Park," in which Clinton was portrayed unflatteringly, sporting rather large hips (calling to mind radio host Mark Levin's label "Her Thighness" ) and speaking in a faux Southern drawl.
This is a developing story, so there's room for it to play out a bit, but the law firm congressional Democrats are hiring to help plow through the U.S. attorney firings, Arnold & Porter, has a history of heavy donations towards Democrats.
No, it's not bias per se, but it is a bit of a pet peeve when the media are sloppy with terminology that relates to the military.
This morning, CNN has been reporting on how Iran may release the female sailor that was captured along with 14 of her comrades. But in doing so, the CNN chyron referred to her as a "troop."
"Troop" is not used in the singular to refer to a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. "Troop" traditionally refers to a unit of soldiers, although in modern usage "troops" may refer to soldiers collectively irrespective of a unit organization.
CNN would be correct to say that Iran has said it will release the female sailor among the 15 captured British military personnel, as the woman in question serves in the Royal Navy.
On Monday, a blogger had to cancel a speaking engagement at a tech conference because she was receiving death threats from people through her e-mail and at other websites.
On Tuesday, a radio personality and blogger at the Huffington Post suggested that White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has cancer because he lies and works for Fox News.
I kid you not.
His name is Charles Karel Bouley, and what follows are excerpts from this abomination intentionally placed after the break for those that would prefer to not read this kind of deplorable vitriol (h/t Allah at Hot Air, emphasis added throughout):
In much of the mainstream media reporting on the firing of eight U.S.
attorneys, the focus has been on stoking a political controversy from the story, ruminating on Alberto Gonzales's shelf life as attorney general, etc.
Largely left by the wayside in mainstream media reporting have been legitimate deviations the fired attorneys exhibited from Bush Justice Department priorities, such as immigration enforcement -- for instance, San Diego-based attorney Carol Lam's prosecution of immigration cases reportedly bothered the decidedly unconservative Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) -- and pushing for the death penalty in capital cases.
It took a while but at least one major media outlet is reporting that a reluctance to pursue the death penalty might have been a factor in at least three of the firings. [continued...]
Among the biggest possible conflicts of interest a newspaper can enter into is to have the same people involved in news coverage running opinion pages. I am proud of the fact that Jeff Johnson, Dean Baquet and I fully separated the opinion pages from the newsroom at the Times. I accept my share of the responsibility for placing the Times in this predicament, but I will not be lectured on ethics by some ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects, or who have suggested that our editorial page coordinate more closely with the newsroom's agenda, and I strongly urge the present and future leadership of the paper to resist the cries to revisit the separation between news and opinion that we have achieved.
What I don't get is why the Times' news reporters even feel the need to influence the paper's editorial page content. Based on Martinez's observation/acknowledgment that the newsroom has an "agenda," those reporters already have their own editorial pages, which just happen to be known as "the rest of the newspaper."
Here's how Rev. Randall Balmer yesterday blogged his decidedly unorthodox read of Scriptural texts:
fundamentalist, I spent a lot of my childhood thinking and worrying
about the end of time as predicted in the New Testament book of
Revelation. I was taught that history would come screeching to a halt
and the world as we know it would dissolve in some kind of apocalyptic
Today's Edwards announcement is an object lesson in how easy it is for us in the blogosphere to run with something juicy without double-checking the facts and/or being very, very careful to precisely word our posts so that we don't tell readers to take something to the bank that hasn't been confirmed.
It's also a lesson in how to promptly and gracefully face the music and admit error.
Earlier today, Politico's Ben Smith ran with a single anonymous source today at shortly past 11:00 a.m. saying that former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) would suspend his presidential campaign so he could tend to his wife, Elizabeth, as she battles breast cancer.
That source turned out to be wrong. Edwards will continue his campaign and Smith promptly admitted and apologized for his error (his blog post was submited at 12:34 EDT, just after the Edwards announcement). [continued...]
Something rather extraordinary occurred last December which had extremely ominous implications for stock investors around the world, but got totally ignored by the media.
In fact, if not for a recent video posting at YouTube, and a March 20 article in the New York Post, these spectacular revelations would still be well under the radar.
On December 22, CNBC’s James Cramer did a web interview for TheStreet.com TV. In it, he told TSC’s executive editor Aaron Task about how he used to manipulate stocks and the market when he was a hedge fund manager, and explained how such people today can’t “do anything remotely truthful” if they want to make money (video available here).
As TSC reported in a recap at its website the same day (emphasis added throughout):
What do you do when you're a liberal columnist and there's a pet issue of yours the media aren't being biased about (stem cells) because they haven't covered it, because, well, they're too busy being biased about other stories (Alberto Gonzales, Iraq)?
If you're Slate founding editor and former "Crossfire" host Michael Kinsley, you hack out a blog post about it.
Mucking around Time's "Swampland" political blog, Kinsley expressed frustration at a new development in the stem cell funding issue he thinks has gone underreported in the mainstream media:
Elias Zerhouni, the head of the National Institutes of Health,
testified to a Senate committee that he favors a lifting of Bush's
limit on stem cell research. It leaves us fighting disease (and foreign
competition) "with one hand tied behind our back," Zerhouni said.
Clearly prepared to say what he said, Zerhouni offered a vivid
metaphor: he called stem cells the "software of life."
story did not seem to make the paper editions of either the New York
Times or the Washington Post. (The Wall Street Journal had a very short
blurb on page one and no longer story.) All the papers had it on-line,
of course. But isn't this a pretty big deal?
Before I started as NewsBusters managing editor, I finished up a study of the media's bias when it comes to reporting on prescription drugs. The study was released on March 14.
After the page break are some findings from the executive summary. Here's a link to the PDF version of the study.
Even when one new drug was hailed as a “major advance in combating
breast cancer” and a “major medical breakthrough,” its manufacturer was
given only a passing mention on one network. BMI looked at 132 stories
on prescription or over-the-counter drugs from the ABC, CBS, and NBC
evening newscasts between January 1 and Sept. 30, 2006.
CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen seems to indirectly respond to my March 14 blog post with a March 15 salvo over at CBS's "Couric & Co." blog. [Scroll below for a NYT story from March 1993 that noted that it was unusual for the AG to be involved in the holdover resignation process]
Some cyber folks, trying to attack the credibility of eminent
professors Stanley Katz and Stanley Kutler, took the time to research
their campaign contributions. I do not know, and don’t necessarily
care, where the two professors I interviewed choose to spend their
Cohen may not care what their political leanings are, but the point is that he was citing these "eminent professors" to give an air of scholarly detachment to a decidedly antagonistic view of the attorney general. As such, it's legitimate to see if those sources are relatively non-partisan scholars dedicated solely to integrity and excellence in the legal profession, or if their political leanings might color their analysis. [continued...]
Video clip: Real (3.06 MB) or Windows (2.55 MB) plus MP3 (1.19 MB) Mr. Bozell should also be on FNC's Fox & Friends Thursday morning to discuss the same topic. He's scheduled for 6:13am EDT. That's 5:13am CDT, 4:13am MDT and 3:13am PDT.
CBS legal pundit Andrew Cohen is back at it again with a new blog post at Katie's e-sandbox, "Couric & Co.":
always, thank you for taking the time to read my post and to write a
response. The more dialogue and discussion and debate we have on this
topic the better. It is true that Janet Reno, as her predecessors
before her had done, asked for the resignations of U.S. Attorneys. This
is standard operating procedure designed to allow the President to have
in place his own federal prosecutors. What is different about this
current episode is that a Republican White House sought to replace
Republican-appointed federal prosecutors mid-stream who were by all
accounts doing precisely what they had been asked to do. We now know,
from last week’s testimony, why in some cases this was so and the
answers we got make it clear that the reasons were not high-minded or
What follows is the text of a Media Research Center press release issued this morning by MRC President Brent Bozell:
Alexandria, VA – The top liberal media are extensively reporting on
the Bush Administration’s replacement of eight federal attorneys in
2006, calling it a political scandal and relaying demands by Democrats
for the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. But this
same liberal media treated the firing of 93 U.S. prosecutors by
President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno in 1993 as largely
routine, and did not fuel demands for Reno’s resignation.
blatant double standard in coverage further confirms the fact that the
top media in America are liberally biased and committed to promoting
liberal Democrats and denigrating conservative Republicans. In
reference to this liberal media hypocrisy, Media Research Center
President Brent Bozell issued the following statement:
...among other format changes under the new Rick Kaplan era.
PublicEye editor Brian Montopoli passed along the usual talking points senior management in broadcast news outlets always give when they are trying to save a sinking ship. You know the drill. "This time, more hard news. We swear!"
Unfortunately Montopoli left out some hard news in his own March 12 blog post:
NewsBusters previously reported that the AP, NBC's "Today," and ABC's "Good Morning America" reported as a curiosity some Mayan priests who complain that President Bush brought evil spirits with him to Guatemala.
Well, CBS's Peter Maer didn't want to be left out apparently. He wrote up a little something at "Couric & Co.," Katie Couric's e-sandbox on CBS's Web site.
Maer's account, like the others mentioned, seems to leave out two key facts for their readers.
The new media revolution brought about by the Internet Age leaves a constant vacuum to be filled for the traditional entertainment cycle on broadcast TV. You'll notice a lot of broadcast Web sites doing what they can to fill that void with extra footage, behind-the-scenes stuff, bloopers, "webisodes," and the like.
But let's face it, when the new episodes are exhausted on the networks, we're not likely to stick around for reruns. There's too many other things to do, and we've probably already rewatched the best clips of those shows on YouTube. There goes millions in advertising revenue for the nets.
Trying to find a way around that, NBC is taking that to the airwaves with "newpeats" of "The Office." (h/t TVTattle.com)
Reuters has a cute little human interest story about funny people from Vermont holding "town meetings" where they call for President Bush's impeachment. What caught our eye was not the darling little Vermonters, though, but something in this paragraph:
Who says liberals lack a sense of humor? The new owner of Air America suggests that the original version of the radio network went bankrupt because . . . it was too even-handed.
Mark Green is a veteran New York pol, having served as NYC's Public Advocate and run unsuccessfuly for US senator, NYC mayor and state attorney general. His family business recently completed the acquisition of Air America out of bankruptcy. Details here.
In an email distributed today [yup, I subscribe to their list], Green described what "Air America 2.0" will be like:
"It'll be a business with a sharp point of view. The era of on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand liberalism is over -- or as Robert Frost once wrote, 'a liberal man is too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.
I know print publications tend to move slower than online outlets, but this is ridiculous.
On March 6, The Washington Post featured a story by staff writer Darryl Fears entitled "In Diversity Push, Top Universities Enrolling More Black Immigrants." Fears found critics who complain that some university admissions diversity policies end up drawing in more foreign black students at the expense of accepting more black American students for admission.
That's old news to Cybercast News Service correspondent Nathan Burchfiel, who beat Fears to the story not by a day or a week, but one month.
See for yourself. An excerpt is posted after the page break. [cont'd...]
Like the Tuesday evening shows, Wednesday’s network morning shows leaned heavily on the Democratic narrative toward the Scooter Libby convictions, highlighting the high dudgeon against the Bush administration by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Joe Wilson, and former reporter/juror Denis Collins, while ignoring any angle that would balance the story with any critique of Fitzgerald, the Wilsons, or State Department official Richard Armitage, who withheld the fact that he leaked to Robert Novak, which started the whole scandal train.
Reporters made no reference to how Fitzgerald, knowing Armitage was the leaker, could have cut his investigation short; or how the Wilsons, far from victims, have made two book deals and a movie deal, and how Joe Wilson shamelessly campaigned for a job with President-to-be John Kerry; or how the trial made the media look bad, since the memories of reporters were as bad or worse than Libby’s memory. Here’s how the three networks summed it all up:
Rich Noyes, Director of Research at the Media Research Center is scheduled to appear on this afternoon's The Big Story with John Gibson on the Fox News Channel. He should appear near the start of the 5pm EST program. That's 4pm CST, 3pm MST and 2pm PST. Topic: This New York Times controversy, as summarized by the AP: "The New York Times acknowledged Tuesday that a reporter who wrote an acclaimed 2005 article about a teenage Internet pornographer helped gain the boy's trust by sending him a $2,000 check. Former Times staff writer Kurt Eichenwald made the payment in June 2005 to Justin Berry, who at the time was an 18-year-old star in a seedy network of child-porn sites."