Media Scandals

By Ken Shepherd | October 26, 2010 | 6:31 PM EDT

Last night Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly aired an ambush interview that "O'Reilly Factor" producer Jesse Watters sprung on Vivian Schiller, National Public Radio's president.

Last week, Schiller fired Williams over the phone in reaction to a comment the Fox News contributor made on the October 18 edition of O'Reilly's eponymous program.

Schiller, no stranger to cable news -- she used to head up CNN's documentary division --  also put her foot in her mouth last week by flippantly dismissing Williams's comments on the "Factor" as something he should have kept between himself and his psychiatrist.

By NB Staff | October 22, 2010 | 9:03 AM EDT

Juan Williams's firing from National Public Radio (NPR) earlier this week was not only animated in part by the liberal George Soros-backed radio network's disdain of Fox News, it also reeks of a double standard, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told viewers of Friday's "Fox & Friends" program.

"If [Juan Williams] had said those words on the Charlie Rose show, it would have been seen as provocative or thoughtful.... This is the same network that featured Nina Totenberg hoping that Senator Jesse Helms would die or one of his grandchildren would die of AIDS because of his position on gay rights and nothing ever happened to her."

By Michelle Malkin | October 22, 2010 | 12:00 AM EDT

In the wake of commentator Juan Williams' feckless firing by National Public Radio, supporters on the Internet sounded a cheeky rallying cry: "Free Juan!" But Williams has now been liberated from the government-funded media's politically correct shackles. It's taxpayers who need to be untethered from NPR and other state-sponsored public broadcasting.

Public radio and public television are funded with your money to the tune of some $400 million in direct federal handouts and tax deductions for contributions made by individual viewers, not to mention untold state grants and subsidies. Supporters argue that this amounts to a tiny portion of state-sponsored media's overall budget, and an even tinier portion of the overall federal budget.

If it's so negligible, why do NPR's government-subsidized "journalists" cling so bitterly to the subsidies? Leverage. The government imprimatur gives NPR and PBS a competitive edge, favoritism with lawmakers and the phony appearance of being above the fray.

 

By Brent Bozell | October 21, 2010 | 11:57 AM EDT

Managing Editor's note: National Public Radio (NPR) has fired longtime analyst Juan Williams for admitting he gets nervous on a plane when he sees a person dressed in Muslim garb. What follows is a statement from NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell.

Juan Williams has done nothing wrong. What he said echoes what the vast majority of Americans believe. It’s their tax dollars that fund NPR. But NPR is ignoring them. Instead, they are kowtowing to the agenda of radical anti-Americans like CAIR, and doing the bidding of George Soros, who hates Fox News with a passion.

And since when did NPR have standards? Here are just three examples of left-wing statements 100 times more outrageous than what Juan Williams said, with no reaction from NPR:

By Ken Shepherd | October 14, 2010 | 1:41 PM EDT

Although experts from plenty of liberal-leaning news agencies agree that the Obama administration's complaint about the Chamber of Commerce allegedly spending foreign money on campaign issue ads is overblown, Time's Joe Klein is dead set on griping about the non-scandal.

From his Swampland blog post yesterday:

Karl Rove is a great American patriot, a genius, a statesman, even. And now he has proven his phenomenal, overflowing patriotism by setting up a secretive finance group, in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce--that's right, our very own, United States Chamber of Commerce--to run sleazy political ads, funded by foreign investors. I can't imagine why all these foreign companies are just itching to hook up with Rove and influence American politics...can you?

I'm sure Klein's die-hard groupies found that wickedly witty. But even writers further to the left of Klein and the center-left mainstream media, like the folks at Mother Jones magazine, think the complaint is just plain lame.

By Ken Shepherd | October 13, 2010 | 11:12 PM EDT

Lee Abrams, the eccentric chief innovation officer for Tribune newspapers -- and no stranger to NewsBusters criticism  -- has reportedly been suspended for sending co-workers a not-safe-for-work (NSFW) e-mail.

Phil Rosenthal and Michael Oneal of the Chicago Tribune reported the story this afternoon (story accessed here via the Los Angeles Times):

By NB Staff | October 2, 2010 | 11:56 PM EDT

Edward R. Murrow Award-winning radio journalist Howard Arenstein was arrested Friday by the Metropolitan Police Department for growing marijuana plants in his Georgetown backyard. 

Arenstein is the manager for the Washington, D.C. bureau of CBS Radio.

CBS network officials have declined to comment, but feel free to leave yours below.

By Tom Blumer | September 26, 2010 | 9:00 AM EDT
JON-KLEINAt Media Bistro on Friday, Gail Shister transcribed Jonathan Klein's post-mortem spin on why he was let go from CNN/US. You see, Klein's problem was that he "was unable to stop the prime-time bleeding with non-partisan programming."

In case any readers here might be tempted to take Klein's contention or Shister's transcription seriously, here are NewsBusters links to posts about Rick Sanchez, Larry King, CNN Headline's Joy Behar, Christiane Amanpour (before she went to ABC), and Aaron Brown, who left CNN in late 2005.

Here are several paragraphs of Shister's schtick (bolds are mine), which you'll see at least has an inadvertently accurate title:

CNN Shift: Jon Klein on his dismissal: ‘It came out of left field’

By Tom Blumer | September 25, 2010 | 10:20 AM EDT
Jonathan KleinNews consumers of America owe a debt of gratitude to Jonathan Klein. Really.

Yesterday, NB's Noel Sheppard noted the ignominious end of Klein's nearly six-year term as head of CNN/US.

If there is an example of anyone who has overseen a bigger audience decline and loss of competitive position and survived so long, I don't know who he or she is. Fox News, which first passed CNN in total viewers in January 2002 (interesting how this basic factoid is not at Fox's Wiki entry), now routinely trounces CNN and CNN Headline combined by a factor of 1.5 to 1 or more. On Thursday, Fox's primetime audience of 574,000 was 75% greater than the CNN pair's combined total of 329,000.

But before he arrived at CNN to do his damage, Klein inadvertently did the nation a service.

By Tom Blumer | September 19, 2010 | 10:22 PM EDT
MarcAmbinderIn a September 15 post-primary item at the Atlantic ("An Epic End to the Primaries: What It Means"), politics editor Marc Ambinder presented seven "different ways to look at the primaries of September 14, 2010."

His final item reads as follows (bold is mine):

7. The media is going to help the Democratic Party's national messaging, which is that the GOP is a party full of Christine O'Donnells, a party that wants to take away your Social Security and your right to masturbate. Well, maybe not that last part, but then again, the implicit message of the party is that the GOP is about to elect a slate of hard social rightists to Congress.

The bolded text is an obvious point to anyone with even the most rudimentary powers of observation, but it's a pretty interesting admission nonetheless. That's especially true because Ambinder is a bona fide member of the media. Indeed, he's a self-admitted Journolist member who despite (or perhaps because) of that involvement has a specific assignment involving covering this fall's elections.

On August 27, CBS announced its 2010 campaign coverage team. Marc Ambinder is on that team (HT Media Bistro):

By Tim Graham | September 13, 2010 | 8:04 AM EDT

The Washington Post has repeatedly featured a full-page ad in recent days for a Get Motivated! Business Seminar in Washington in October. One of the big names at the event (alongside Colin Powell, Steve Forbes, and Rudy Giuliani) is disgraced former CBS anchor Dan Rather, teaching "How to Communicate Effectively." Then the ad copy gets ridiculous:

Dan Rather, Legendary News Anchor and Journalist, has covered every major story of the last 50 years, with distinction and a fierce dedication to hard news. He is always ready to deliver the truth the way it is! [Emphasis mine.]

Hello, Better Business Bureau? Someone's misleading the public about Dan Rather's record of "distinction" in trying to sell fraudulent documents about President George W. Bush's military service in the fall of 2004. His "fierce dedication" wasn't to hard news. When his story was exposed as phony, he refused to admit he'd mangled the truth.

By Tom Blumer | September 4, 2010 | 10:18 AM EDT
APlogo0409What follows indicates that at least one limit has been found to the establishment press's willingness to serve as this government's official apologists.

Not surprisingly, it relates to Iraq. The press obviously and bitterly opposed the war from the start, to the point of doctoring photographs, making stuff up, pretending that its sources knew what they were talking about when they didn't, and ignoring enemy atrocities and Saddam Hussein's mass graves for years, while often having their journalistic failures and biases exposed by milbloggers and bloggers. So if one were to have guessed ahead of time where a clear break might occur, Iraq would have been a leading choice.

That break comes in an AP email to staff from "Standards Editor" Tom Kent. He must have or at least should have known that its contents would get out. Jim Romenesko at Poynter Online (HT Legal Insurrection) appears to have posted it first, about 16 hours after Kent hit the "send" button:

Subject: Standards Center guidance: The situation in Iraq

Colleagues,

... we should be correct and consistent in our description of what the situation in Iraq is. This guidance summarizes the situation and suggests wording to use and avoid.