Media Scandals

By Lachlan Markay | July 22, 2010 | 5:22 PM EDT
Tucker Carlson posted a piece on his website, the Daily Caller, Thursday evening in what he claims is an attempt to refute two key criticisms of the website's recent exposes involving the lefty reporter listserv JournoList.

The first, that the reporters are opinion commentators and not "straight news" journalists Carlson says is irrelevant. "What we object to is partisanship," Carlson stated, "which is by its nature dishonest, a species of intellectual corruption… Those who engage in it are not journalists. They should stop pretending to be."

The second line of attack taken on in the post is the notion, "familiar to anyone who has ever published a piece whose subject didn’t like the finished product," that excerpts of JournoList emails published at the Daily Caller were taken out of context. Carlson challenged the accusers to publish the full emails and refute his charges.
By Ken Shepherd | July 22, 2010 | 4:13 PM EDT

My colleagues Brad Wilmouth and Lachlan Markay have catalogued how Fox News hosts played no role in the forced resignation of former USDA bureaucrat Shirley Sherrod over perceived racist remarks.

But why let the truth get in the way of a good screed? Just ask Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, who published a postmortem yesterday to the magazine's The Gaggle blog on "[h]ow the administration mishandled a manufactured scandal":

How could the White House have screwed up so badly in the case of Shirley Sherrod, the Georgia USDA official who Wednesday received an apology from the Obama administration (through Robert Gibbs and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack)?

Sherrod was the victim of a smear by the right-wing agent provocateur Andrew Breitbart and his fellow travelers at Fox News. (Yes, that side has adopted some Leninist tactics, as conservative antitax activist Grover Norquist has admitted over the years.) They took a two-and-a-half-minute clip from Sherrod's address to the NAACP and used it to depict her as a black racist who discriminated years ago against a white farmer. It turns out the farmer thought Sherrod had been a terrific help, and a full review of Sherrod's speech suggests that, far from being a racist, she had honestly (and successfully) worked through the complex racial preconceptions we all carry around in our heads.

Later in his post, Alter added more spin and half-truths by noting that:

By Brent Bozell | July 22, 2010 | 12:18 PM EDT

Managing Editor's Note:  NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell today reprimanded members of the press in light of the recently exposed e-mails from the now-defunct JournoList that show a blatant, deliberate campaign to smear conservatives. That statement is published below. Click here for more background on JournoList.

The revelation of these e-mails simply proves that we have been right all along.  The liberal media have no interest in being fair or unbiased.  In fact, they are deliberately violating any sense of journalistic ethics.

There is no excuse – none- for the attitudes and lack of professionalism these so-called journalists displayed not only in these e-mails but in their reporting.  Any member of the media that was privy to these Journolist emails, and remained silent, is just as much to blame as the folks that crafted these e-mails. Their silence indicts them. 

We said in 2008 that the media were making excuses for Jeremiah Wright and now we have the proof. Just today we learned from the Daily Caller that these people went so far as to say that Rush Limbaugh ‘deserves’ their hate.  Sadly, I am not surprised, as this is what we have been exposing year after year about the media.  And it’s exactly why Americans refuse to trust them.

By Lachlan Markay | July 21, 2010 | 3:24 PM EDT
A journalist with a political agenda is not necessarily a dishonest one, and a journalist who claims to be objective is not necessarily honest. These are useful facts to bear in mind as media liberals call for Andrew Breitbart's head.

Breitbart posted video of recently-fired USDA official Shirley Sherrod claiming she considered race in allocating federal agriculture funds. The apparent racism was debunked when the entire video surfaced, showing that Sherrod had actually discouraged such actions. "This is what happens" wrote Eric Deggans for the St. Petersburg "when ideologically-focused noise machines are treated like real news outlets."

Conspicuously absent in Deggans's screed is any mention of the recently-discovered attempt by liberal commentators to maliciously - and falsely, by their own admission - brand their ideological opponents as racists. Also absent: any mention of the litany of instances of dishonest and counter-factual reporting from the purportedly "objective" media.
By Joshua Sharf | July 21, 2010 | 12:22 PM EDT

In this morning's Denver Post, Mike Littwin manages to display simultaneously the insularity and smugness of the One Party media, as well as one of the last tools left in the left's rather empty playbook.

Apparently, during a Senate debate at Channel 12, Jane Norton said, "We need a NASA budget that doesn't cater to making Muslims feel good but that is strong on science ..." This scandalized Littwin, who assumed it was a cheap shot at Muslims. Evidently, he hadn't seen the video of NASA head Charles Bolden that's been making the rounds on the conservative and libertarian blogosphere:

Remarkably, instead of conceding that we're paying all those scientists, engineers, and bureaucrats to actually achieve, or at least facilitate achievement, in space, Littwin uses his and the rest of the MSM reporters' ignorance of the interview as evidence that the argument was out of place, and then goes straight for the race card:

By Noel Sheppard | July 21, 2010 | 10:38 AM EDT
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has responded to reports that an NPR producer wrote gleefully about his death in an e-mail message to the now infamous JournoList.

As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, the Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong published some more of the liberal group's e-mail messages which included Sarah Spitz claiming that she would "Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out" as Limbaugh writhed in torment.

With this in mind, both the Washington Examiner's Byron York and myself asked Limbaugh for a response to this nonsense. 

First, here's what Limbaugh told York:

By Tim Graham | July 21, 2010 | 8:28 AM EDT

Jonathan Strong of the Daily Caller has more shocking e-mails from liberal journalists today. He starts with an NPR producer who admits flaming hatred for Rush Limbaugh:

If you were in the presence of a man having a heart attack, how would you respond? As he clutched his chest in desperation and pain, would you call 911? Would you try to save him from dying? Of course you would.But if that man was Rush Limbaugh, and you were Sarah Spitz, a producer for National Public Radio, that isn’t what you’d do at all.In a post to the list-serv Journolist, an online meeting place for liberal journalists, Spitz wrote that she would “Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out” as Limbaugh writhed in torment.In boasting that she would gleefully watch a man die in front of her eyes, Spitz seemed to shock even herself. “I never knew I had this much hate in me,” she wrote. “But he deserves it.”

So much for the idea that NPR is an oasis of civil discourse in a desert of vituperation. Spitz is a producer for trendy-hot NPR station KCRW and its nationally distributed talk show Left Right & Center (which could be called Three Leftists and Tony Blankley). But Spitz has also done stories for NPR's evening newscast All Things Considered.

By Tim Graham | July 20, 2010 | 8:14 AM EDT

The Daily Caller has another scoop on the leftist JournoList e-mails today, recalling when liberal scribes all wanted the Jeremiah Wright story to be dead and buried in the spring of 2008. Jonathan Strong explained "Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage."

Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”...The tough questioning from ABC left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”

In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

By NB Staff | July 9, 2010 | 11:05 AM EDT
The Obama/Holder Department of Justice closed down an investigation into voter intimidation on Election Day 2008 by the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. Yet the broadcast news media have been virtually silent on the matter, making it the first item in last night's "Media Mash" segment on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."

Noted NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell:

Here you had a whistleblower from the Department of Justice saying how Eric Holder, the Attorney General, and his office stepped in and stopped the prosecution of these Black Panther people. He claimed it was the easiest prosecution in his career. He said everything was on video, everything was on tape.... It was a slam dunk.... Look, the media are refusing to cover just how radical this attorney general is...

"You have people in paramilitary uniforms, you know, spewing racial epithets at voters as they go into the polling place... obviously a case of voter intimidation. Still no coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC, several major newspapers in this country," host Sean Hannity observed.

By Ken Shepherd | July 8, 2010 | 2:54 PM EDT

Reporting on CNN's firing of Octavia Nasr, AP's David Bauder buried the lede in his 7-paragraph July 8 story.

Here's Bauder's fourth paragraph wherein he described the Lebanese cleric that Nasr had praised as "[o]ne of Hezbollah's giants [she] respects a lot" (emphasis mine):

Lebanon's Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah died Sunday after a long illness. He was staunchly anti-American and linked to bombings that killed more than 260 Americans, a charge he denied. 

Here's Bauder's lead paragraph:

NEW YORK -- Octavia Nasr has been fired. CNN fired the editor responsible for Middle Eastern coverage after she posted a note  on Twitter expressing admiration for a late Lebanese cleric considered an inspiration for the Hezbollah militant movement. 

Wouldn't a better lede incorporate elements of the fourth paragraph? Something like:

By Brent Bozell | July 7, 2010 | 11:32 PM EDT

Editor's Note: What follows is a statement NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell released earlier this evening upon learning that CNN had fired its senior editor of Mideast affairs Octavia Nasr, who had expressed via her Twitter account sadness at the

By Dan Gainor | June 30, 2010 | 3:01 PM EDT

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a blogger. Millions of bloggers, actually. And they are taking back freedom of the press from journalists unwilling and unable to use it in a fair and responsible manner. A few weeks ago, we saw Helen Thomas confess her nutty anti-Semitism because a blogger caught her in an unusually candid moment. We found out what many have long suspected: that she's a disgusting bigot. Then there was the Gen. McChrystal controversy as our top general in Afghanistan reportedly criticized the Obama administration to a Rolling Stone reporter. Blogger critics argued "The Runaway General" showed the journalistic beat system prevents warts-and-all portrayals such as this one. Reporters are often too cozy with sources to make them look bad. Adding to that ethical issue, The Washington Post followed with a story saying the reporter in this case might have violated rules about what would be off the record. Rolling Stone denied it of course. But nothing got more press than the seemingly simple resignation of self-immolating Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel. Weigel was hired by the Post three months ago and continued his previous anti-conservative efforts with an attack on those "anti-gay marriage bigots" and making a joke about Matt Drudge "diddling" an 8-year-old boy. He was forced to apologize but remarkably kept his job.