Media Business

By Lachlan Markay | May 20, 2010 | 12:43 PM EDT

The far-left Nation magazine is facing a $1,000,000 budget shortfall. Though it attributes it to a weak market for print journalism, conservative periodicals are doing quite well. In fact, the president the Nation worked so hard to elect could spell the magazine's downfall. The irony is delicious.

The magazine's Washington Editor Chris Hayes wrote a fundraising email saying that "newspapers and magazines are having a rough time." Well, not all magazines. National Review's circulation has increased by roughly 25,000 since 2008. It would have been more accurate to say that liberal magazines are having a rough time.

It's generally accepted that magazines do well when someone of the opposite ideological makeup is in the White House. During the Bush administration, liberal magazines thrived. Since Obama was elected, they've declined while conservative ones have flourished.

Here is the full text of the letter:

By Lachlan Markay | May 19, 2010 | 2:41 PM EDT
A far-left Democratic congressman is accusing conservative commentators of improperly -- perhaps illegally -- conspiring with advertisers to shill for their products under the guise of political opinion. The accusers, however, conveniently ignore liberal commentators that do virtually the same thing, only on a far larger scale.

Rep. Anthony Weiner released a report yesterday alleging that Goldline "has formed an unholy alliance with conservative pundits to drive a false narrative and play off public fears in order to sell its products," according to a release. Under "conservative pundits," read the Fox News Channel, and specifically Glenn Beck.

Weiner has this far neglected to criticize Fox's cable news competitor MSNBC and its parent network, which consistently shill for policies that would dramatically enrich their parent company, General Electric. GE's communications arm consistently further's Weiner's own political agenda, so a double standard seems to be afoot in his failure to call NBC out on its colossal conflict on interest.
By Lachlan Markay | May 19, 2010 | 1:34 PM EDT

Eight former Federal Elections Commissioners today blasted proponents of a Senate bill that would "blunt" the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, which allowed unions and corporations to spend freely on political advertisements.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the Commissioners called the bill "unnecessary, partially duplicative of existing law, and severely burdensome to the right to engage in political speech and advocacy." They also accused Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. -- sponsors of the Senate and House legislation, respectively -- of "partisan motives" designed to satiate the Democratic Party's labor union backers.

While some prominent news organizations, including the Washington Post, have raised serious concerns about the  legislation, other ostensibly (or at least presumably) pro-free speech news outlets are either silent or, in the case of the New York Times, simply parrot Democratic talking points and give critics of the bill a mention, though not a voice, and make sure to dub them "the business lobby."

By Ken Shepherd | May 18, 2010 | 5:28 PM EDT

Newsweek's Andrew Romano isn't really anti-Michelle Bachmann, he argues that he just sounds like one on Twitter.

In a May 17 "Web Exclusive," entitled "Tweet the Press," the Newsweek staffer explained to readers how an editor assigned him to write a "Twitter profile" of the Minnesota Republican:

My editor had just stepped into my office to discuss a new assignment. The NEWSWEEK brass is interested in Twitter, he told me, but they're looking for an original way to cover it—which is where you come in.... "I'm thinking you should write a 'Twitter profile' of Michele Bachmann," he said, referring to the outspoken, ultraconservative Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who has accused Barack Obama of being "anti-American" and asked her supporters to "slit their wrists" and be "blood brothers" to defeat health-care reform. "Fly up there, follow her around, tweet as you go. Then we'll publish an annotated version of your Twitter feed in the magazine. Could be kind of fun."

Later in his piece, Romano noted the drawbacks and advantages of live-tweeting a politician's stump speeches, concluding that the format made him sound like "knee jerk Bachmann hater." He denied that, of course, arguing that Twitter made him more of a "color commentator" that was looking for "bite-sized" vignettes that could go "viral" (emphasis mine):

By Lachlan Markay | May 18, 2010 | 3:29 PM EDT
CNN founder Ted Turner, who thinks Christianity is a "religion for losers," apparently believes that the Gulf oil spill could actually be God sending us a message that drilling for oil is bad. Will media liberals read him the riot act as they have Sarah Palin for making similar claims?

"I'm just wondering if God's telling us he doesn't want us to drill offshore," Turner told a CNN interviewer. Recent coal mine disasters, Turner said, may also be signs that "the Lord's tired of having the mountains of West Virginia  -- the tops knocked of of 'em so they can get more coal. Maybe we ought to just leave the coal in the ground and just use solar and wind power."

So far the legacy media have been completely silent on Turner's claims (shown in a video below the fold), in stark contrast to Sarah Palin's statement that the construction of an Alaska natural gas pipeline was God's will.
By John Nolte | May 18, 2010 | 1:03 PM EDT

Editor's Note: The following was originally published yesterday at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood blog.

After news broke of fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski’s second accuser, the L.A. Times’  Patrick Goldstein wrote the following:

As an admirer of his work, I’ve tried to see things from Polanski’s point of view in the past, but if these charges turn out to be true, it would be harder than ever to defend him. Once burned is twice shy. 

What a relief to know Goldstein draws the line somewhere. But he’s not alone. Here’s Jeff Wells:

By NB Staff | May 17, 2010 | 11:25 AM EDT
In 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama cast doubt on President Bush's pick of Harriet Miers in part because "her [legal] experience does not include serving as a judge" and as such "we have yet to know her views on many of the critical constitutional issues facing our country today."

Yet five years later, after President Obama named his solicitor general -- who has also never served as a judge -- to the Supreme Court, the media are not picking up on the parallels between the Miers pick and Obama's choice of Elena Kagan.

Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell discussed this on today's "Fox & Friends" program in an interview via satellite shortly before 8:30 a.m. EDT [MP3 audio available here].:

By Ken Shepherd | May 13, 2010 | 11:45 AM EDT

Yesterday the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released a poll finding "Broad Approval For New Arizona Immigration Law."

While Republicans were the most supportive, a full 45 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents polled supported the law. When broken down to the particulars of the bill, there was even broader support. For example, 65 percent of Democrats and and 73 percent of independents favored "requiring people to produce documents verifying legal status," the portion of the bill that has been derided as allowing the police to demand, "your papers please!"

These poll numbers are absolutely astounding, especially considering the media's non-stop campaign to denounce the law and paint it in an unfavorable light. Yet true to form, the media continue to downplay the results. A search this morning of the Web pages for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today found no links to articles about the poll numbers.

By Lachlan Markay | May 12, 2010 | 2:28 PM EDT
In the latest example of a pattern of opacity, the White House has cut off the press's access to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Kagan has extensive ties to journalists, which only serves as a testament to this administration's determination to control the message on its major initiatives, including Kagan's nomination.

"Tell her we're deeply frustrated," one reporter told White House press secretary Robert Gibbs of the administration's refusal to grant Kagan a traditional interview with the press. Kagan did do a short interview with a White House staff member released only online, in what CBS White House correspondent Peter Maer called "Kagan 'in her own words' without anyone else's words."

Washington Examiner White House correspondent Julie Mason was harsher in her criticism. The White House interview "doesn't count toward the administration's 'accountability' totals," she wrote on the paper's Beltway Confidential blog. "It's just another campaign commercial, masquerading as openness."
By Lachlan Markay | May 8, 2010 | 2:42 PM EDT

One of the worst ways that the lack of ideological diversity in America's newsrooms shows forth is in the media's treatment of sensational accusations against the current president.

Oftentimes, explosive allegations against presidents are either untrue or drastically overstated: George W. Bush deliberately lying to get the U.S. to war so he can cash in or deliberately ignoring Hurricaine Katrina due to his hatred of black people (a la Kanye West), Bill Clinton's supposed involvment in the drug trade, truthers, birthers, so on and so forth.

Journalists do the public a service by rebutting absurd conspiracy theories and wacko charges. In recent memory, though, they have taken a much greater zeal toward stamping out allegations against Democrats, particularly President Obama, a stark contrast to the kidglove or even promotional attitude they took toward books by liberal authors alleging all sorts of anti-Bush absurdities.

World Net Daily-affiliated author Aaron Klein recently discovered this when he sent his new book, "The Manchurian President," to members of the media he hoped would review it. He got some very angry responses. Here are some of the more colorful ones:

By Ken Shepherd | May 6, 2010 | 4:14 PM EDT
"Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but not his own facts," Daniel Patrick Moynihan is credited as having once said. MSNBC's Chris Matthews would do well to heed the counsel of the late liberal New York senator.

The "Hardball" host yesterday smeared former Bush FEMA Director Michael Brown as having this kooky notion that President Obama approved of offshore drilling in March only because he knew the BP oil rig disaster would happen.

But as the video embedded at right shows, this is Matthews's own warped misunderstanding of Brown's argument about how the Obama administration is poised to take advantage of a disaster for political ends. [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]

Matthews is certainly entitled to disagree with Brown's assessment about the Obama administration's motives behind its slow response to the BP oil spill, but not to lie to viewers about Brown's argument.

Below the page break you'll find a transcript excerpt:

By Lachlan Markay | May 5, 2010 | 12:47 PM EDT
The Washington Post is making the transition from a powerhouse liberal newspaper to a network of powerhouse liberal blogs. While the paper's Old Guard is worried that the move will tarnish the Post's supposed reputation for political neutrality, it should be seen more as a embrace of the agenda the Post has evinced for years.

"Traditionalists," wrote Politico today, "worry that the Post is sacrificing a hard-won brand and hallowed news values." One such "traditionalist," Rem Rieder of the American Journalism Review, said a more openly-liberal approach to reporting, mostly done online in the form of various blogs, would be "a danger to the brand."

To the extent that the Post still pretends to be objective -- and to the extent that its readers believe that claim -- then yes, an opinion blog-centric approach is tarnishing the brand. But for those who acknowledge the Post' consistently liberal approach to the news, the only change is the way that that news is delivered.