On Tuesday night's All Things Considered newscast, Michele Norris sadly relayed news of the Gore separation: "The Gores had a storybook romance: college sweethearts, four beautiful children. Their playful affection energized the campaign trail. The concession was you don't make that kind of stuff up. The Gores' union became a model of stability in a hard-charging town where partnerships, even romantic ones, are sometimes seen as a matter of convenience."
Norris discussed the matter with Rebecca Traister of the liberal website Salon.com, who said she felt "ashamed" and "sort of silly having an investment in a couple that you don't know," and that's when the inevitable secular-left analysis began: traditional, monogamous, heterosexual, reproducing marriage is an archaic social construct:
TRAISTER: And so it is a little bit like mom and dad breaking up out of the blue, except they're not really our mom and dad - and I am aware of that, I just want to make clear.(Laughter)
NORRIS: In some ways is the presidency and the requirements that presidents have solid marriages, is that a bit out of step with larger society, where almost half of all marriages end in divorce?
NPR's Juan Williams on Sunday spoke an astonishingly inconvenient truth about the Gulf Coast oil crisis: "[President Obama] just hasn't conveyed that he really cares about this issue, and that he's not off to the side watching."
This was in stark contrast to Time's Joe Klein who said this weekend, "This is more Bush's second Katrina than Obama's first," and New York Times columnist Frank Rich who on Sunday blamed the oil spill on George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and Rand Paul.
No, Williams, participating in bonus online coverage of "Fox News Sunday," made it crystal clear that unlike many of his colleagues in the Obama-loving media, he's not carrying the administration's water on this critical issue facing the nation (video follows with partial transcript and commentary, relevant section at 5:50):
Ken Cuccinelli, the conservative Attorney General of Virginia, came under attack on Friday night's All Things Considered on National Public Radio. This is one angle of Climategate the national media have noticed. But they pitch the battle as Cuccinelli vs. Science or Cuccinelli vs. Academic Freedom.
What's most infuriating is the notion that it's Cuccinelli who's "politicizing" science, and not Michael Mann's openly politicized e-mails explaining his data manipulations and plotting to censor his political opponents. Somehow, the Union of Concerned Scientists is painted as non-political.
Host Michele Norris began: "The University of Virginia says it will fight a demand from the state's attorney general. He wants the school to turn over private e-mails and documents related to a former professor's climate research. The case has sparked a national debate over academic freedom."
NPR’s All Things Considered aired a long report on Thursday night on nasty Internet commenters – but reporter Laura Sydell’s examples centered on anti-Obama and anti-Muslim commenters (including one who wanted Obama shot), and no one from the left (like the Huffington Post people regretting Cheney wasn't shot in Afghanistan). She began with a sympathetic sick family that favored ObamaCare:
LAURA SYDELL: If you want to know what it's like to get attacked online, just ask Miki Hsu Leavey. She wrote a thankful letter to the editor of the local paper when the health care bill passed. She has lupus. Her 24-year-old son can't get health care because of a preexisting heart condition and her husband was diagnosed with liver cancer.
Ms. MIKI HSU LEAVEY: So my thank you note was really about the relief I had mentally.
SYDELL: When Leavey looked at the site the morning it was posted, she got comments like this one.
Ms. LEAVEY: Oh, my poor baby is sick. Only the great Obama can save him. Makes me sick just reading it.
Sigh. Dionne tried to make the special elections sound like a great week for liberals:
DIONNE: I didn't know tea gave you a hangover, but I think Rand Paul's victory in Kentucky has already given Republicans --
SIEGEL: He won the Senate nomination.
DIONNE: -- he won the Senate nomination. And already, his rather pure strains of libertarianism is causing Republicans trouble. He seems to be against the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned discrimination at lunch counters and hotels and the like. So, that's going to be an interesting race to watch.
Novelist Marc Acito offered a perfect elocution of National Public Radio snobbery on Thursday's All Things Considered. In defending the defensible cause of proper English, Acito equated Palinesque populism with a complete lack of respect for the intellect. Acito even sang (badly) from My Fair Lady to illustrate his point:
You see, My Fair Lady is based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and both pieces explore the ramifications of learning how to speak properly at a time when elocution was valued as a symbol of education and upward mobility. Emphasis on the was.
Listen to Franklin Delano Roosevelt say the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and it's almost inconceivable that ordinary Americans trusted someone who sounded like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island. We are now in an age when Sarah Palin speaks to a quarter of the electorate even though she talks like she's translating into Korean and back again. Even the rhetorically gifted President Obama has felt compelled to drop his G's while trying to sell health care reform.
Liberal media outlets were quick to pounce on the new Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky about his views on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, not just Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, but NPR All Things Considered anchor Robert Siegel on Wednesday night. The sharp questioning of Paul is a contrast with NPR's interview with Joe Sestak, the new Democrat Senate nominee in Pennsylvania in the same newscast.
NPR anchor Michele Norris glanced right past an important, newsworthy, unresolved issue in Sestak's race, from much more recent history: did the Obama White House bribe him with a job offer to stay out of the primary, as he claimed last year?
NORRIS: It's been reported that the White House at one point tried to get you to back away from this race. Who told you to back down?
NORRIS: And did that continue even after you started to gain on Arlen Specter?
In February, Congressman Joe Sestak, D-Pa., alleged that the White House had offered him a "high-ranking" job in exchange for him refraining from challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in that state's primaries. Since Sestak defeated Specter on Tuesday, a number of media outlets have profiled him
The White House denies that it ever made such an offer, which means either the Obama administration or Sestak is lying. Either would be a huge story. Yet a number of major media players, including the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and the Associated Press, have ignored the potential controversy.
The Washington Post devoted 16 paragraphs to a glowing profile of Sestak. But at no point did the paper mention his allegations. The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes noted on Twitter that the piece in the Post "was about Sestak being difficult for estab/WH Dems. How do you leave out public charges he made about WH and job?" He also asserted that "If players/parties were different, it wld be at the top of the coverage."
Last Friday on TV, NPR legal reporter Nina Totenberg touted Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as "spectacularly successful" -- twice. But that was mellow compared to her Tuesday report for Morning Edition, where she enthusiastically pitched her record as dean of Harvard Law School as a Superman legend (The audio valentine is here):
NINA TOTENBERG: In some ways, the descriptions of Elena Kagan as dean sound a little bit like the beginning of the old "Superman" TV series.
INTRO TO OLD SUPERMAN TV SHOW: Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands!
TOTENBERG: Translate that to Harvard, and you can almost hear the music. (Superman music in background)
On Friday night's edition of Inside Washington, NPR legal reporter Nina Totenberg twice used the term "spectacularly successful" to define Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Host Gordon Peterson asked her what "we" know so far:
We know she was a spectacularly successful dean at Harvard Law School where she was the first female dean -- that she just moved the place, got it really moving again. Students loved her. She knocked heads on the faculty to get hires done. She was a spectacularly successful policy bureaucrat in the Clinton White House.
And what you see right now is a spectacular demonstration of hypocrisy where Republicans who loved the fact that Harriet Miers didn't have judicial experience, because that was kind of needed on the Supreme Court , now they say it's a serious deficit. And Democrats, who used to want to know about someone's ideology, now say 'oh, it's improper to ask.'
Brent Baker remembered NPR reporter Nina Totenberg found Judge John Roberts carried conservatism to wretched excess. On NPR's All Things Considered back in 2005, she prefaced “conservative” with three verys, describing him as “a very, very, very conservative man.” But in a taped soundbite on the next day's Good Morning America on ABC, she cut back to merely “a very, very conservative man.”
But Totenberg matched other media liberals in finding no measurable ideology in Elena Kagan when her nomination was announced. Within minutes (for the West Coast stations still in Morning Edition time), Totenberg could only exclaim Kagan was "was a star student at Princeton, at Oxford, at Harvard Law School -- then clerked for the man she calls her mentor, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who used to refer to her as Shorty."
NPR's All Things Considered devoted an entire one-sided story Tuesday night to the apparently heart-breaking news that illegal aliens are considering moving out of Arizona to more illegal-friendly states.
Reporter Ted Robbins spent his whole story talking to illegal aliens and their defenders about how they're misunderstood, and even touted how community organizers are "flexing their political muscle" by putting together "barrio defense committees" like "reverse neighborhood watches" to alert illegals that law enforcement is in the area.
On Sunday morning's Weekend Edition, National Public Radio anchor Liane Hansen claimed a huge turnout for amnesty rallies nationwide: "An estimated half million immigrants and their supporters turned out yesterday to rally for immigration reform and against Arizona's tough new immigration law."
NPR's Ted Robbins offered a story from Phoenix loaded with four opponents of Arizona's new immigration law, but he seemed stunned at story's end when he asked a Minuteman what should happen:
ROBBINS: Both [Reza] Romney and [Javier] Ojeda says they're tired of people lumping all immigrants together with drug smugglers and criminals.
One laudable practice at National Public Radio is reading listener reactions on the air. On Monday night's All Things Considered newscast, they noted several listeners objected to NPR media reporter David Folkenflik stating Fox offered "voracious conservatism" while MSNBC merely offered "leftward tilt." Anchor Michelle Norris relayed:
The Pew Research Center last year found that public trust in the media was at an historic low because of those perceived slants. Well, several listeners thought our story had a bit of a slant. Stan Henney of Longmont, Colorado, writes: The reporter described Fox News as voraciously conservative, and MSNBC as tilting to the left. Both are subjective, not objective descriptions. I personally think that while some Fox personalities can be aggressive, MSNBC does a lot more than just tilt.
With the release of the Department of Defense's report on the November Fort Hood massacre, two trends are becoming increasingly clear: the administration does not want to talk about Islam's violent elements, and the mainstream media is more than willing to play along.
The administration's position clear to anyone examining official documentation. The Fort Hood report, the FBI's counterterrorism lexicon, and the 2009 National Intelligence Strategy do not even use the words enemy, jihad, Muslim, or Islam. The original 9/11 Commission Report, in contrast, used those words a combined 632 times.
The media's attitude towards radical Islam's role in this particular attack is evident in its reluctance to attribute Maj. Nidal Hasan's motives to jihad. The members of the media who share this attitude obfuscate the threats facing the nation.
National Public Radio correspondent Nina Totenberg severely misquoted a conservative legal scholar to make it seems as if he considered Clarence Thomas a radical Supreme Court justice. An examination of his full statement clearly demonstrates that this was not what he actually said.
In an April 16 NPR segment, Totenberg, picture right in a file photo, sought to paint radical Berkeley law professor, and Obama nominee to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, as the left's equivalent to Justice Thomas. She quoted Curt Levey, executive director of the conservative Committee for Justice as saying "Goodwin Liu is not your typical liberal. He’s very far out on the left wing, even in academia. So I think you could think of Liu as the Democratic Clarence Thomas." (Audio embedded below the fold.)
But the spliced audio in Totenberg's segment actually mis-represented what Levey said. He was not comparing Liu's and Thomas's stances on constitutional law. Here is his full statement, according to Big Journalism's Matthew Vadum (italicized portions quoted by Totenberg):
Former ABC and NBC reporter John Hockenberry now hosts a New York public-radio morning show called The Takeaway, and he stunned listeners on Tuesday by channeling his inner Thomas Friedman. He yearned for a Chinese dictatorship in a segment lamenting how slowly the federal government is funding railroad projects:
JOHN HOCKENBERRY: You know, it makes you yearn for a Chinese dictatorship, essentially. I mean, they're putting up 30 billion dollars to create high-speed [rail] networks from Shanghai to Beijing and all the major cities in China, and there are a lot of them. But the federal government just isn't a dictatorship, and we're not going to get one any time soon. We missed our chance, I guess, during the George W. Bush -- okay, I'm going to get some e-mails for that.
CELESTE HEADLEE, co-host: Are you saying you want a Chinese dictatorship?
National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on Friday devoted its latest interview on DVDs worth watching to the picks of leftist filmmaker Michael Moore, although they used no pesky label for him. Moore began by snobbishly asserting to anchor Steve Inskeep that he doesn’t like DVDs. He likes going to theaters, even for old movies: “I keep a list on my computer of the various art houses and places that show old films. And I'll drive, literally, for hours to go see something from the 1940s, if I can see on a movie screen."
Don’t alert the people who think long drives are causing global warming.
Unsurprisingly, Moore liked leftist films. First he recommended a movie called Czech Dreams, which mocked how desperate people who were liberated from Soviet-imposed communism wanted to shop, shop, shop. The filmmakers promoted a phony mall opening just to mock the suckers who would celebrate it. In the same Moore-pleasing spirit was Borat:
Does NPR love Barack Obama? Look at how they reviewed an Obama book Tuesday night on All Things Considered:
In many ways, David Remnick's new book, "The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama," is very much like its subject: even-handed, eloquent, beautifully packaged.
The reviewer was Susan Jane Gilman, author of a book called Undress Me In the Temple of Heaven. She liked the Remnick book, but felt that much of it was already familiar and too recent to feel like history. She ended with this:
It might seem a little shocking to hear two NPR women standing up for Sarah Palin. But on Wednesday's Tell Me More talk show, host Michel Martin and analyst Cokie Roberts took offense at a weeks-old joke on the Imus show on Fox Business about Palin's first Sunday-show interview on Fox News Sunday:
DON IMUS: When you interview her, will she be sitting on your lap?
CHRIS WALLACE: One can only hope.
Roberts was "appalled" and Martin saw in this ribbing a "tool of social control" to put Palin in her place:
Liberals in the media have been busy parading around Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center to bash the right. As befits his organization's MO, Potok, pictured right in a file photo, has done the best he can to link recently-arrested militia members to the Tea Party movement and conservatism generally.
Potok's job may have just gotten a bit harder, and the liberal media may need to find another way to discredit their political opponents. It turns out most of the militiamen were active voters, and at least one was a registered Democrat. Party registrations for the rest are not yet known.
The new facts undermine Potok's thinly-veiled suggestions that Republican politicians and conservative pundits are at least indirectly responsible for militia activity. NPR, Keith Olbermann, and Chris Matthews may need to find a new issue with which to slander the right (h/t Prof. Reynolds).
The leftist Southern Poverty Law Center is a National Public Radio staple in analyzing right-wing militia groups -- and then connecting them to the Tea Party movement and conservative talk-show hosts.
Imagine a conservative group connecting liberal talk-show hosts and protesters to radical leftists like...Bill Ayers. Would they get a baldly promotional interview on NPR? No. But NPR Fresh Air hostess Terry Gross both aided the SPLC with a 37-minute promotional interview on March 25 -- and aided Bill Ayers in trashing Sarah Palin days after the 2008 election.
NPR promoted SPLC's Mark Potok and his narrative of "astounding" growth of militias in the Obama era thanks to "ostensibly mainstream" conservatives on All Things Considered on Tuesday night.
Williams made this preposterous claim during a panel discussion with the Weekly Standard's Mary Katharine Ham 25 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. O'Reilly asked the NPR analyst about a point made by Fox News's Brit Hume in an earlier segment, that there's double-standard in the mainstream media in the amount of coverage of extremist imagery and language found at tea party rallies has been given versus equivalent imagery and language used at left-wing protests (a point raised by the MRC's Rich Noyes in an August 2009 Media Reality Check): "There's no doubt that the media will seize upon any kind of misbehavior on the right...Whereas if it happens on the left, it will, as Mary Katharine [Ham] said, be de-emphasized or ignored entirely. So that's a corrupt media system, isn't it?"
The guest raised the militia issue at the end of his answer:
WILLIAMS: I think we're out of context here. If we're talking about- you know, somebody going after Ronald Reagan- you know, one guy who's in love with Jodie Foster, okay- if we're talking about that. You know, people who have a lot of hatred- hateful attitudes towards President Bush, and then somebody who is extremist on the fringe, yes. And if that was also to be then the case with the tea party, yes, that's too much and unfair. But, when you start to see militia groups start to associate with the tea party, when you see the flag-
Words matter. They speak volumes about issues. So when individuals or groups try to change the words associated with a heated political issue, take note and take care.
The folks at National Public Radio understand the power of words. Managing Editor David Sweeney announced yesterday that the station would no longer refer to people in the abortion debate as "pro-choice" and "pro-life." Instead, the station will say "abortion rights advocates" and "abortion rights opponents," according to a memo circulated to NPR staff.
In making this change, NPR is shifting the terms of the debate to make it more friendly to the pro-choice position.
In Friday's speech at George Mason University, President Obama slammed as one of the "crazy things" conservatives said about his health-care effort was that it would offer federal insurance coverage to illegal aliens. On Friday night's All Things Considered newscast on National Public Radio, reporter David Welna's story underlined that liberals like Rep. Luis Gutierrez expected exactly that, but are now hoping that an amnesty bill will make them eligible instead. But Welna sought out no opponents of illegal immigration for comment.
Worse, Welna predicted a large "pro-immigrant activist" protest turnout on Sunday, in advance:
The renewed effort to move immigration legislation comes as thousands of pro-immigrant activists plan to march on the Capitol this Sunday as the final showdown on health care begins in the House.
In the media's eyes, the Boy Scouts of America are on par with bubble wrap - unimportant, disposable and something largely ignored unless someone wants to stomp on them.
The Boy Scouts celebrated its 100th anniversary last month. And as an organization in which over 110 million Americans have participated, including film director Steven Spielberg, 211 current members of Congress and Presidents John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama - and given the positive characteristics often associated with Scouts - hard-working respectful and loyal - it's logical to think the media would love to celebrate along with them.
But for the media, the gay agenda trumps everything else. As the Boy Scouts do not allow open homosexuals to serve in leadership roles within the organization, the Scouts will have to look elsewhere for commemoration.
ABC was the sole broadcast network to air anything about the Boy Scouts in the five weeks since the organization's anniversary. Two other segments aired on NPR. But while NBC and CBS could highlight the 50th birthday of bubble wrap and the Etch-A-Sketch, the 80th birthday of Nancy Drew, and the 60th birthday of the FBI's Most Wanted List, they couldn't muster even a mention for the Boy Scouts.
Conservative authors rarely get interviewed on National Public Radio. (For example, there was no air time for Mark Levin's best-seller Liberty and Tyranny.) When they do, it can be like Bill O'Reilly's sour and hostile experience with Fresh Air interviewer Terry Gross. On Monday, Gross provided a much kinder 35-minute forum for someone apparently more respectable and noteworthy than conservative writers:
Melissa Febos' new memoir, Whip Smart, details the four years she spent working as a dominatrix. Febos enacted fantasy sequences, spanked grown men and verbally humiliated them for $75 an hour in a dungeon located somewhere in midtown Manhattan.
Febos, who writes that she got started in sex work to pay for a drug habit, tells Terry Gross that working in a dungeon felt like "being in a womb."
"Ah, the sound of angry white guys wafting its way through the airwaves," Moore said. "Obviously that was a pivotal moment for that, but if you notice what he's railing against is he's blaming the whole mortgage crisis on the little guy who took out a mortgage he shouldn't have taken out, living beyond his means, having a home with too many bathrooms, when in fact - as my movie points out - the FBI of all people, have stated clearly through their own investigation that 80 percent of this mortgage crisis that we've gone through has been caused by the banks and lending institutions, by the fraud committed by the banks and the lending institutions - not by the person who's living beyond their means."
As Brian Williams hailed Patrick Kennedy’s "gripping" attack on the media for ignoring yesterday’s House debate on Afghanistan, perhaps Kennedy should be offering an apology to his fellow liberals at National Public Radio. On Wednesday’s night’s All Things Considered, NPR reporter Andrea Seabrook hailed the debate, and even though Kennedy’s "anti-war" side lost by almost 6 to 1 (356 to 65), NPR’s soundbite count was far different: three for "peace," two for "war."
Seabrook seemed thrilled that Kucinich had pressed this rather pointless debate. She concluded that it was "elemental," where the peaceniks could just talk of peace:
The most striking thing about the debate today was that the House was having it at all. This is the first time since Congress voted to authorize the war in 2001 that there's been a clear debate about the policy. In previous debates, the war policy was always connected to its funding. So, if lawmakers didn't support the war, they would have to vote against a bill that included support for the troops. That's a tough position for an elected official whose charge, in part, is to deploy the armed forces responsibly.
Liberals who simply cannot understand why Sarah Palin is so popular often attribute her success to her looks. The excuse conveniently allows them to sidestep any discussion of the issues she raises, and allows them to maintain a feeling of intellectual superiority to Palin and her supporters.
Fox News contributor Juan Williams, also a reporter for NPR and the Washington Post, was at a complete loss when Sean Hannity told him last night that he would rather Palin be president than Barack Obama. "Your libido is getting in the way of your thinking," Williams told Hannity.
Hannity and another guest, S.E. Cupp, noted the utter sexism in Williams' remarks. But don't expect to see a press release from the National Organization for Women or any other feminist group. Palin doesn't serve the liberal agenda, so she's fair game for claims that she'd be nowhere without her looks.
Williams thinks his comments are complimentary -- could he really believe it is a compliment to say a woman would not be successful if she weren't a "centerfold"? (Video and transcript below the fold.)