"Average gas prices set record at $3.72 a gallon" reads the teaser headline on the USAToday.com Web site. Yet the photo (by Justin Sullivan, Getty Images) accompanying the teaser on the front page shows a gas marquee with gasoline at $4.09-a-gallon.
Does the media treat hypocrites of differing political preferences similarly? The evidence would suggest not. When noted Christian televangelist Jim Bakker was found to have committed adultery and mail fraud back in 1986, the national media were beside themselves with glee, running hundreds of stories about Bakker's hypocrisy. The same pattern repeated itself with other Christian evangelists, including George W. Bush supporter Ted Haggard in 2006, a case that Wikipedia admits "may have affected voting patterns in the 2006 elections". The media made sure to feature the haggard case as a front-page story during the run-up[ to the election, probably hoping (correctly as it turned out) that it would help the Democrats take control of Congress. However, the shoe is now on the other foot.
Famed left-wing radio personality Bernie Ward of San Francisco, a former priest who had one of the loudest and most consistently anti-George W. Bush voices in the entire nation, was found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography on Friday and will serve at least five years in prison. ward tried to argue that he was "doing research" on child pornography, but as the San Francisco Chronicle reported:
In today's report on the disastrous cyclone that swept through the small Asian country of Myanmar (formerly Burma) it looks like ABC News is trying to start a new meme: The cyclone "was Asia's answer to Hurricane Katrina." How long do you think it will be before the idea takes hold and all manner of comparisons will be made between Katrina and the cyclone in Myanmar? If this idea takes hold it won't be long before the media's Bush Derangement Syndrome starts claiming that the military junta that is preventing relief supplies from reaching the Myanmarian people are just like Bush and FEMA's failures in New Orleans.
While he told EW “he had to speculate” about dialogue, “Stone insist[ed] that every scene in 'W' will be rooted in truth.” Instead, the movie is a hodge podge of supposed eyewitness accounts, third-hand gossip and fantastical guesswork mixed with “awkward and goofy” caricatures. EW pointed out that “some accounts” “may have come from disgruntled former staffers.”
If the left frothed over ABC's “Path to 9/11” and the media criticized “its invented scenes, fabricated dialogue and unsubstantiated accounts,” then surely they'll immediately knock Stone for these scenes that could come directly from Will Farrell's old “Saturday Night Live” Bush skits (all bold mine):
There's a scene of 26-year-old Bush peeling his car to a stop on his parents' front lawn and drunkenly hurling insults at his father (''Thank you, Mr. Perfect. Mr. War Hero. Mr. F---ing-God-Almighty!''), while another scene set a few years later finds Bush nearly crashing a small plane while flying under the influence.
Are "Totally in the Tank for Obama" media members focusing on Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" in order to force Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton out of the race?
Consider if you will all of the attention Limbaugh's months-old plan to keep the Democrat nomination process going as long as possible got Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning following Hillary's tough night in North Carolina and Indiana.
Critical update at end of post: El Rushbo sends NewsBusters German article on this subject!
For instance, ABC's Jake Tapper reported the following at his blog late Tuesday evening in a piece called "Is Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos Working?" (emphasis added, picture courtesy Rush Limbaugh.com):
Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and media hype about gasoline prices. On television that third item often takes place not just in your usual standup at a gas station interviewing outraged motorists. In Web-based media, however, the still shot is worth 1,000 barrels.
We've noted how CNN.com has done it. Today, it's ABCNews.com with its front-page teaser headline "Oil: Another Day, Another Record."
The photo accompanying the AP story filed from Vienna -- yes, as in Austria -- by writer George Jahn depicts a gas marquee from an American gas station showing regular unleaded at $4.419-a-gallon. Here's how the caption for the AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez that accompanies Jahn's article reads (emphasis mine):
Former President Bill Clinton pinged ABCNews.com's Political Radar on a pulpit-pounding campaign swing through the Tarheel State just two days before the North Carolina primary. But it appears the alphabet network's Web site not only got the name of an Asheville, N.C., church wrong, but it misspelled, three times, the name of a denomination within Protestant Christianity (emphasis mine) in this May 4 blog post (screencap below fold):
ABC News' Sarah Amos reports: Former President Bill Clinton spent time in two western North Carolina churches this morning, speaking more from his heart than any sort of political handbook.
"I didn't come here to ask you to vote for my wife," said Clinton, addressing the congregation at Church of the Pentacostal in Asheville, N.C. "I came here to ask you to pray for her. And to vote. Do whatever you want. Show up. Our country is in dire distress.
Four, count them, four ABCNews.com reporters hacked out a three-page April 30 article for the alphabet network's Web site that dealt with new steamy text messages between Democratic Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his then-chief-of-staff Christine Beatty. Kilpatrick, indicted on twelve criminal counts including perjury and obstruction of justice, could see time in prison thanks to these text messages which would prove he lied under oath about his affair with Beatty.
Here's how the Kwame Quartet of Vicki Mabrey, David W. Scott, Mary-Claude Foster and Katie Escherich opened their story:
More steamy text messages sent between Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff reveal intimate details about their relationship, and further indicate the mayor played a part in the dismissal of a police officer whose lawsuit brought their affair to light.
If you are a major network and want to 'target' gun owners and gun dealers in a story, what would you do? Why you would write a story about a gun dealer offering a steep discount on firearms for college students, and then only interview the dealer and those who oppose his business and his special offer.
According to an ABC News story covering Eric Thompson, owner of TGSCOM Inc., Thompson is "targeting students" whose limited income doesn't always allow for such high-dollar purchases.
The owner of TGSCOM, Eric Thompson, announced today that for the next two weeks he will sell firearms at cost in the hopes of targeting students who may be on a tight budget. Customers will have over 5,400 different kinds of firearms from which to choose.
"This offer allows students and people who might not have otherwise been able to afford a weapon to purchase one at a hefty discount and at a significant expense to myself," Thompson told ABCNews.com.
Thompson unknowingly sold firearms to the shooters at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. Because of this, he has determined he needs to turn these tragedies around by offering steeply discounted firearms for a limited time so that citizens can afford to protect themselves and their loved ones. He plans to visit the Virginia Tech campus to speak to students who support his efforts.
"The next news story I want to be involved in is how I sold a firearm to someone who helped stop a mass murderer. By forgoing a profit, I hope to help give law-abiding citizens the tools to prevent tragedy," he said.
Sounds great, doesn't it? However, ABC News and those they interviewed for this story don't seem to think so.
It was just a matter of time I suppose. What with Sen. Barack Obama's popularity with college students and the economy being the number one issue for voters, the media finally have an excuse to put a more youthful spin on the classic food vs. prescription drugs meme. A changing media environment, after all, calls for new angles at the same old bias. Someone had to give it the old college try.
Somewhere out there some college co-ed is making an agonizing decision: textbooks or birth control.
Fortunately for America's college-aged voters, ABCNews.com is picking up the banner on this issue:
Erin McKenna, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, admits that she sometimes has to choose between purchasing textbooks for school and paying for her birth-control prescription.
"I have two jobs and I still can't afford it," McKenna said.
The graphic (pictured at right) features a young woman holding the traditional Wii controller against a silhouette of a woman grasping a stripper pole. The link takes readers to an ABCNews.com story by Ashley Phillips.
The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Kentucky's lethal injection procedure for capital punishment. The decision will likely end self-imposed death penalty moratoriums in several states. As of writing this article, Virginia had already lifted its moratorium.
The decision had been long-awaited by advocates on both sides of the death penalty debate. Court prognosticators had mostly believed the court would uphold Kentucky's lethal injection program. But it was a surprise to many that the affirmance came with a 7-2 vote. The Roberts court has been known for a series of contentious 5-4 splits of any number of decisions, often with Justice Kennedy being the key swing vote.
In the Roberts court a 7-2 decision is a landslide, but that did not stop Associated Press writer Mark Sherman from describing that the "splintered Supreme Court cleared the way" for the resumption of capital punishment.
A woman in the throes of passion, a crucifix, and a book, presumably a Bible with a cross emblazoned on the cover. Those are the elements of a photo illustration (via PhotoDisc) gracing ABCNews.com's front page and teasing an article entitled "Christian Sex: Holy and Hot!"
Published the same day Pope Benedict XVI is set to arrive in Washington, D.C., the article's timing in and of itself might turn heads. Of course the subject matter -- how Christian ministers approach preaching and teaching on sex and romance in the context of marriage -- is in and of itself perfectly fine for a general news publication. But the illustration in question is, to say the least, uncalled for.
On Monday, ABC's World News with Charles Gibson highlighted and seemed to glorify anti-America comments made by a young Egyptian woman, whom the show interviewed as part of a regular series about young people in other countries, who compared the States to a dumb "jock" that in a few years will "die down and burn out, and what's left is a totally useless nation."
The young woman, named Ro'ya, charged: "In the past, if the States was a strong country, it was because it had thinkers, but right now, it's kind of like, it's kind of like a jock, okay -- very powerful, very athletic, in a couple of years, die down and burn out, and what's left is a totally useless nation." Without challenge, Weir added: "Ro'ya says she would only live in America if it would help Americans understand the Arab world. She'd much rather move to Italy..." (An online version of the story can be found at ABCNews.com.) (Transcript follows)
E-mail tipster Mike Huggins pointed out to NewsBusters that as of 4:30 p.m. EDT today, he found but one media mention of Obama backer Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-W.V.) smear of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) among the seven major online news sources he checked. Rockefeller's comment, which he now regrets, is also arguably a smear of U.S. military fighter pilots past and present.
"McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they (the missiles) get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues," Rockefeller said.
Huggins noted that while he searched the Web sites for the Washington Post, L.A. Times, New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABCNews.com, and CBSNews.com, he found but one story on the incident and that on ABC's Web site.
ABC White House reporter Martha Raddatz (file photo at right), formerly that network's Pentagon correspondent, is clueless when it comes to federal law regarding U.S. military personnel and what they can and cannot say publicly about their politics, bloggers Richard Gardner and James Joyner argue in an April 8 post at Outside the Beltway.
Why not “Government Employees Cannot Participate in Partisan Political Activity”? Or how about government employees are not allowed to state who they support politically? How about government employees are NOT allowed to vote? How about UNION government employees are not allowed to vote?
Gardner went on to quote an excerpt in which Raddatz equated servicemen expressing "their personal endorsements" -- that is telling people for whom they plan to vote -- to engaging "in partisan political activity" which "the military is not supposed" to do.
Gardner called Raddatz on the absurdity of her statement:
Are the Girl Scouts of America to blame for America’s "obesity epidemic"? An ABC News website article suggested that. On an article charging overweight Americans face widespread discrimination, the piece then moved on to blame the food producers, not the individual that buys them for America’s widening waistline. Targeting the Girl Scouts specifically for the problem, correspondent Lee Dye charged "that little angel standing at your door is offering you a one-way ticket to obesity."
The article focused on one researcher, Rebecca Puhl, who blamed the problem on not only the big food producers, but also "genetics and some diseases" and implicitly scorned those who mentioned personal responsibility. "If it were that easy we wouldn’t have this epidemic we have now," Puhl charges. She also blames the food companies for making less healthy options "more accessible."
"We live in a very toxic food environment. We make it very easy for people to be unhealthy. Unhealthy foods, or junk foods, are accessible, cheap and engineered to taste very, very good. Healthy foods, like produce, are not as accessible, and are more expensive."
Wall Street saw a 391-point rally on the Dow today, the first day of the second quarter. ABCNews.com saw the development worthy of a "Breaking News" tag towards the top of its Web page and put the story in the top headlines rotation.
But it appears that ABCNews.com was alone among its competitors in trumpeting the news. I checked numerous Web sites shortly after 5:30 and found ABC's to be the only one to give the rally top billing. [see the screencaps below the page break]
The Associated Press, reporting the indictment of Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila (pictured at right via AFP/Getty Images file photo) failed to note Vila is a Democrat, let alone that he is an Obama superdelegate.
But Vila's party affiliation is hardly a state secret. Indeed, ABC's Jake Tapper noted the Obama connection on his Political Punch blog this morning:
Until recently the most popular metaphor to describe the Hillary Clinton campaign was Scorched Earth. This metaphor implies that Hillary is willing to destroy the entire Democrat party in an effort to win the nomination. However, there is a new metaphor on the block which is a bit more precise in its description: the Tonya Harding Option. This new metaphor was supposedly introduced yesterday by Jake Tapper in his ABC News 'Political Punch' posting, Democratic Party Official: Clinton Pursuing 'The Tonya Harding Option':
l just spoke with a Democratic Party official, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly, who said we in the media are all missing the point of this Democratic fight.
The delegate math is difficult for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the official said. But it's not a question of CAN she achieve it. Of course she can, the official said.
The question is -- what will Clinton have to do in order to achieve it?
Freshly squeezed into his Political Punch blog this morning, ABC's Jake Tapper (pictured in NB file photo at right) calls the Clinton camp for denying that they are milking the Obama/Wright controversy when, in fact, they are:
Seriously, how can the Clinton campaign with a straight face claim it in no way is pushing the Rev. Wright story?
Former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who appeared with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, Tuesday in Philly writes in the Huffington Post of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, that "Claims of superior intuitive judgment by his campaign and by him are self-evidently disingenuous, especially in light of disclosures about his long associations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko."
On Wednesday, Fox News became the first news network to pick up on the contradiction between claims made by Senator Hillary Clinton about her 1996 trip to Bosnia and the reality reported by journalists at the time. In a speech on Monday, Clinton asserted that “I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”
But no news outlet mentioned sniper fire at the time, and TV news footage from the day of Clinton’s visit, which was first posted Tuesday on NewsBusters, shows Clinton and her daughter walking around without helmets, greeting various people including the acting President of Bosnia and a Bosnian child who read a little speech for the then-First Lady.
ABC News has a photo montage of political sex scandals, featuring both Republicans and Democrats. But a few bloggers have noted that the captions for these photos often ignore the Democratic Party affiliation of Democrats while highlighting the GOP affiliation of Republican.
Out of 13 pols featured, there were five Democrats, four of whom (80 percent) were unidentified by party. Of the eight Republicans, only two (25 percent) were unidentified by party. Jay Tea at Wizbang has the breakdown here:
Here's a rundown of the disgraced pols, with party affiliations as ABC notes:
A few days before Eliot Spitzer went down in flames, a highly-connected Barack Obama* [Update: Kilpatrick has not committed to Obama] superdelegate was mired in accusations of corruption, bid-rigging and a dead-stripper sex scandal. Usually the media love to report the downfall of party bigwigs, but not in the case of Detroit's youngest mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Much of the media downplayed the mayor's scandals and did not report his party, let alone his status as a Democratic power player who can influence the election.
Kwame, who is the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), is not just any mayor. He was a Democratic rising star, who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and is the superdelegate to the 2008 convention thanks to his position as Vice President of the Conference of Democratic Mayors.
But now “The First Hip Hop Mayor” is in serious trouble, with members of the city council calling for his resignation. Controversy has engulfed his two terms, and the latest bout involves a report that his wife assaulted a now-dead stripper whose shooting is still unsolved. At the same time, the mayor's longtime pal Bobby Ferguson won at least $45 million in city contracts while reportedly receiving inside information from Kilpatrick and his chief of staff.
NewsBusters posters have already given Old Media deserved grief about its reluctance to pin the Democratic Party label on Eliot Spitzer, who, as of this moment, is still governor of New York (Brent Baker on evening news show coverage; Ken Shepherd on the BBC; Shepherd on the AP).
But, as blogger Ace noted last night (warning: some profanity at Ace's link), ABC has outdone the other outlets one better.
ABC's "Political Sex Scandals Redux" popup slideshow has a series of 13 slides relating to current and past politicians. If Republicans are or were involved, the network, with one rare and minor exception, consistently applies the "R" label almost immediately. With Democrats, with one very old exception, the party label isn't there.
Apparently to prove that the US is filled with Muslim hating Yahoos, ABC went on the hunt to find "Islamophobia" in America and the result is "Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do?" Since they didn't really know where to find any, ABC News decided to create their own prejudice against Muslims by hiring an actress to put on Muslim dress and get "confronted" by a Muslim hating coffee store server -- also an actor hired by ABC. Then, they rolled the cameras, opened the doors to the public and, viola, ABC "found" prejudice in America. How hard is it to "find" something that you invented in the first place? Let's find out...
ABC is "shocked" to find that their little manufactured moments revealed how some customers reacted. "Bystanders Turn Away When Muslim Actor Hired By 'Primetime' Encounters Hostility," ABC proclaimed.
With the symbolic passing of the torch - from Fidel Castro to Raul Castro - comes hope of changes in Cuba, well at least among some in the media.
Even though no one is predicting Cuba to usher in a new wave of Adam Smith-style capitalism, there might be some changes according to ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson."
"[H]e's talking about significant reforms - liberalizing trade, economic reforms designed to ease poverty in a country where the average person earned $19 a month in the hope of consolidating his own power," ABC correspondent Jeffrey Kofman said on the Feb.19, 2008, ABC "World News with Charles Gibson."
I see that Bill Clinton is once again taking credit for the "good things" that happened in the 1990s, as Jack Tapper at ABC's Political Punch reports:
"There are two competing moods in America today," Clinton said. "People who want something fresh and new -- and they find it inspiring that we might elect a president who literally was not part of any of the good things that happened or any of the bad things that were stopped before. The explicit argument of the campaign against Hillary is that 'No one who was involved in the 1990s or this decade can possibly be an effective president because they had fights. We're not going to have any of those anymore.' Well, if you believe that, I got some land I wanna sell you."
I also see that Tapper is letting Mr. Clinton's claims pass as if they are undeniable facts, as others in Old Media have done for so many years:
Noting Sen. Barack Obama's recent statement that he considers the Second Amendment an individual right -- setting aside for a moment his pro-gun control record and defense of the D.C. handgun ban -- ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg dismissed private gun ownership as constitutionally protected, holding instead that the "orthodox" view defends only a state's right.
Here's the relevant portion from a February 15 entry at Greenburg's Legalities blog (emphasis mine):
Pop quiz, hotshot: If you win more states and more delegates than your competitor on Super Tuesday, is this a tie?
It is if media say so.
Consider if you will Barack Obama winning thirteen of the 22 states up for grabs Tuesday (New Mexico being still too close to call), and, according to multiple sources, taking home the most delegates. Isn't that a win?