In the appropriately-titled "Media Backtalk" chat on August 21, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz defended a fellow reporter's self-described "smart-assed" remark to President Bush about adviser Karl Rove's political acumen.
Kurtz defended CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante's August 13 question as "the Sam Donaldson technique of trying to get the president and top aides to say something, anything at a scripted event where they are determined not to respond to reporters."
Admitting it was "smart-assed," CBS White House correspondent nonetheless defended his now-infamous "If he's so smart, how come you lost Congress?" quip from Monday's White House South Lawn farewell for Rove. Interviewed by CBSNews.com blogger Matthew Felling, Plante did concede that he welcomes scrutiny of how the press functions, especially in live press conference settings.
I’m absolutely and totally in favor of openness, even if it makes us look bad. The public is entitled to see what we see – and, increasingly, they do because of live coverage. If that means they see me or hear me asking what they think is an impertinent question, that’s fine. I’ve got no problem with it.
When Nancy Pelosi rose to be the House Democrats’ leader in 2002, Katie Couric said to NBC colleague Ann Curry: "Is it okay to say, ‘You go girl!’?" That cheerleading spirit continued in her Monday "Katie Couric’s Notebook" commentary (featured at her blog Couric & Co.) lauding the new Democratic Congress: "this new crop worked much harder than the last. A big accomplishment was in challenging executive power with oversight hearings on Iraq, Medicare, the Department of Justice, and global warming." She concluded: "Promises, promises. Sometimes they are kept – even in Washington."
That was certainly not the tone of CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather took toward Speaker Gingrich and the new Republican Congress in 1995: "The new Republican majority in Congress took a big step today on its legislative agenda to demolish or damage government aid programs, many of them designed to help children and the poor." Their attempts at oversight were part of a "political carpet-bombing attack."
In his recent blog ("Making Headlines: The Law, Summer 2007"), CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen describes his midsummer night's dream of legal headlines he would "like to see, but probably won't." In the tradition of another more-famous CBS employee, Cohen lists his "top ten" legal headlines - a wish list with an obvious liberal slant.
Here are some of Cohen's headlines, along with the necessary translation.
Our friends at the MRC's Business & Media Institute (BMI) have documented the media's obsession with the so-called obesity epidemic in this country. [Update: BMI's Jeff Poor wrote about this today here.]
Of course, unlike real epidemics which involve communicable diseases, obesity is not a condition you "catch" from casual, or even intimate, contact.
But as true as that is and ever shall be, it can't hurt advancing the storyline to suggest that, yes, in a manner of speaking, fatness is catchable.
On his CBS News blog Public Eye (“Atwitter over Vitter” 7/10), editor Brian Montopoli slapped a self-congratulatory pat on the back to the mainstream media (yes, he used that term) for its “straight news” reporting of the sexual revelations involving Republican Louisiana Senator David Vitter.
Montopoli differentiated the mainstream media’s “straight” reporting to that of the “blogs and liberal sites” which focused on the hypocrisy of Vitter’s actions against his reputation as a “family-values conservative.”
The following was submitted by Jason Aslinger, a private practice attorney in Greenville, Ohio. Portions in bold below are the added emphasized of NB managing editor Ken Shepherd. It's a long post but it's worth the read:
In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court decision regarding racial
integration in public schools, the media have gone out of their way to
obscure the facts for the purpose of advancing its familiar political
agenda, not to mention skipped over giving readers a glimpse of the concurring opinions of Justices Thomas and Kennedy, both of which shed light on the case's significance to the average American.
In a prior NewsBusters post, I called out MSNBC's Keith
Olbermann for his false and race-baiting claim that the Supreme Court
had “overturned” the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education.
The subsequent commentary by the media has at least been more clever,
but no less false. Undoubtedly, the press and “expert commentators”
have calculated that the general public would not check their factual
(and political) conclusions by reading the Court’s 185-page opinion.
Without knowing the specific facts, the media distortions can not be
fully appreciated. Below we'll take a look at the facts of the case as well as the reasoning from the justices, reasoning that all too often is glossed over if not outright ignored in the media.
The following is submitted by Jason Aslinger, a NewsBusters reader and a private practice attorney from Greenville, Ohio. Cohen pictured at right (file photo).
In his June 28 "Court Watch" article, CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen laments the
conservative bent of the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John
Roberts. But rather than give readers sound legal critiques, Cohen sounds out a decidely political lament.
With a title like “Rightward Ho!” you might think that
Cohen would attack the Court’s conservative justices, and he
does, dismissing Justice Samuel Alito as a "rigid starboard-facing
ideologue" while he derides Chief Justice John Roberts as "silly and
Cohen lists several cases from the 2007 term in which, in Cohen’s
view, Justice Alito delivered the deciding vote. Cohen writes:
On her blog, CBS anchor Katie Couric is once again offering her love and kisses to Jimmy Carter. In a "Katie Couric's Notebook" video (which airs on some CBS affiliates as an Evening News promo), Couric used the occasion of Carter being awarded an honorary doctorate of civil law from Oxford to demand of viewers that "you have to respect him for sticking to his principles." Tell that to President Bush. She began by citing another Carter cheerleader:
"Historian Douglas Brinkley says he used the White House as a stepping stone for greater things. He intervened in civil wars around the globe, monitored elections, and confronted dictators. And Carter’s work for Habitat for Humanity shows that even for someone who was once the most powerful man on Earth there’s no higher calling than helping your neighbor. To cap it all in 2002, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Of course he’s been outspoken, criticizing President Bush and equating some Israeli policies with apartheid. And critics have accused of acting decidedly unpresidential. Agree with him or not, you have to respect him for sticking to his principles. At 82, Jimmy Carter is having an impact, still, perhaps even more than when he was president. That’s a page from my notebook."
A CBS article claims that a new gun control proposal in Congress will “require safe gun use”. Rufus Williams, Chicago Public Schools President, stated: “We’ve lost 31 children, 31 CPS students have died or have been murdered this school year and it's not OK.”1 This theme kicks off HB 2666, sponsored by Congressman Bobby Rush, who represents Illinois’ CongressionalDistrict 1, which includes Chicago.2
What CBS doesn’t mention is that Illinois already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Brady Campaign considers Illinois to be among the best states in the country for gun control laws, giving the state an A- grade in their 2005 report card. A Firearm Owners Identification card (FOID) is required for all gun sales, and the state prohibits all concealed carry.3
Rush bases his justification for this new federal law in part on a recent tragedy where a criminal boarded a Chicago Transit Authority bus and began shooting students at a local high school. The shooter obtained the gun illegally from another person who knew the shooter’s murderous intentions. As noted above, concealed carry and private, unregistered transfers of firearms are already illegal in Illinois. Willfully being an accessory to murder is already a felony.4
What is it about some news outlets that they can't report a story without trying to flavor it with their own biases? That they can't give "just the facts m'am" but have to throw in their snide asides and negative phraseology? And, it's bad enough when they do it in their normal attempts at "reporting" the news, but when they do it in between an upbeat report by one of our soldiers who's opinion is that the surge is working and our presence in Iraq is a good thing, it's all the more grating. But, then, they just can't leave their hatred for American foreign policy aside long enough to report this soldier's enthusiasm, now can they?
In this case, Boise, Idaho TV 2 News, in a story by Scott Logan, just can't leave the snide comments out of their story of Army First Sergeant Noah Edney's enthusiastic point of view on our efforts in Iraq. Even the title seems to take a swipe at policy: Boise Infantryman In Baghdad Shares Views On "Surge" -- notice the quotation marks around the word surge? Even as surge is a commonly acceptable term and not one to be questioning with quotations they cast doubt onto it by using the grammatical device.
But, if you might think the parenthesis around the word surge might not be suspect, they quickly set the record straight on how they feel about the policy with their very first line of the story.
The Secretary of Defense has decided to recommend a new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rather than re-nominate General Peter Pace. Reporting this development, this CBS/AP story noted that the Pentagon personnel move by Secretary Robert Gates was done to avoid a contentious Senate circus, more so than with dissatisfaction with Pace's performance.
"It would be a backward looking and very contentious process," the AP quoted Gates, noting that Gates insisted the personnel move had "nothing to do" with Pace's performance.
So why this teaser photo illustration on the CBSNews.com front page, done in a grainy black-and-white and preparing the Web site reader for a negative take on the outgoing 40-year Marine veteran? (picture below jump)
I know. The first thing you thought was, "well, DUH!" Of course Keith Olbermann "overstates". He is a raving lunatic, for Heaven's sake. But, it took long enough for the left leaning MSM to catch on and Public Eye is gently -- and I DO mean gently -- trying to get their truthiest of truthers back on track, apparently. After all, they don't want to hurt his widdle feelings, or nuthin'.
Public Eye's Matthew Felling starts by buttering up Olby's fragile ego with an estimate on how much "media capital" he's "earned" with his show, but soon wonders why he went to far into tin-foil hat territory with his rant that Bush was really responsible for the recent JFK Airport terror plot.
In April, NewsBusters contributor Dan Gainor criticized how the Washington Post puffed up a liberal secessionist movement in the state of Vermont. You know, the state that now has two very liberal independent senators, socialist professor Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy (D), and previously gave the nation RINO-turned-independent Jim Jeffords. [UPDATE: See "Little Green Footballs" for more on just how liberal the secessionist movement's leaders are]
Well, now the Associated Press is running with the story, and outlets like CBSNews.com are peddling the piece to readers. In CBS's case this morning, on the Web site's front page (see screencap at right).
Nowhere in the story does the AP describe the key players behind the secession movement as liberal or even as "progressive," (not to mention conspiracy nutjobs-- see bottom of post) nor is any pundit brought in to chalk up their rumblings about secession as hysteria driven by Bush Derangement Syndrome.
What's more, the AP doesn't address the unconstitutionality of secession until late in the article and even then in a misleading fashion:
[Update/related MRC study: Rich Noyes reminded me of his 2002 study of CNN's favorable coverage of the Cuban regime.]
My only complaint with Siegelbaum is her describing the Cuban state media as an "information service," that pedals "information" handed it by the Castro regime. When many biased, liberal journalists skeptically eye anything coming from the White House or Pentagon as "spin," it becomes all the more annoying that Cuban state media are seen as relaying "information."
Actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson is close to forming a presidential exploratory committee, according to numerous media outlets, citing people close to the TV star. Reporting that news, CBSNews.com ran with a less-than-flattering AP photo of Thompson, pictured at right.
"Former Sen. Fred Thompson attends the Prescott Bush Awards Dinner in Stamford Conn., on May 24, 2007," read the caption.
By contrast, ABCNews.com ran an AP photo that features a stern-looking Thompson. With skyscrapers in the background, it evokes his current TV character incarnation, New York County District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC's long-running court drama "Law & Order." You can see that screen cap pictured below:
Well, sports fans, it appears the media have figured out a clever way to report the events surrounding antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan this weekend without insulting the political party they are shilling for.
Looking at the major media outlets that have begun to cover this story, the strategy appears to be to report Sheehan’s Daily Kos post from Monday, wherein she stated that she was resigning “as the ‘face’ of the American anti-war movement,” while totally ignoring her Saturday post when she defiantly declared, “I am leaving the Democratic Party.”
Pretty sneaky, wouldn’t you agree?
However, this certainly appears to be the modus operandi as demonstrated by the following articles on the subject published Tuesday which included absolutely no reference to her statements Saturday:
On the CBS News website Public Eye, newly minted CBS man Jeff Greenfield saw no danger that the 2008 campaign will be drenched with a liberal bias, even though he admits that "most members of the so-called mainstream media, undoubtedly, in the voting booth, vote Democratic." He pulls out a familiar argument: when liberal losers lose, it’s easy to argue that they weren’t beneficiaries of liberal media bias: "But in my view the danger of bias does not lie in political coverage. I mean, ask Al Gore and John Kerry if they were the beneficiary of a poodle press. They were treated very critically – appropriately."
Before we address Gore and Kerry coverage, let’s make an obvious point: the Public Eye site was developed to help undo the damage that CBS’s horrendous and sloppy anti-Bush bias on the "draft dodging" charge in the fall of 2004. Greenfield ought to at least tip his skeptic’s hat toward that example before serving up his pooh-pooh platter.
Blogging at the "Couric & Co." blog, CBS producer Ward Sloane admitted that many journalists who covered the Gipper were wrong about the 40th President's political and policy acumen. Noting a new book that reveals entries from Reagan's journal, Sloane made it sound like the media were only echoing a large swath of the American electorate:
The fact is that many Americans and -- not surprisingly to some of you
reading this blog -- many members of the mainstream press believed that
Ronald Reagan was aloof and disconnected from the events that marked
his presidency. Historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited the diaries at
the invitation of Nancy Reagan, says they show Reagan to be exactly the
CBS News producer/blogger Greg Kandra opened the e-mailbag today to relay to "Couric & Co." readers some negative reaction to the network's coverage of Rev. Jerry Falwell's death. In particular, Kandra quoted from a female Liberty University graduate and vascular surgeon who took issue with historian/guest pundit Douglas Brinkley's assessment of Falwell's views on women.
In an appearance on the May 15 "Evening News," Brinkley dismissed Falwell as a reactionary who (emphasis mine) was "opposed to some of the
progressive liberal high watermarks of the 1960s, and certainly he
wanted--his returning to family values was returning to women being in
the kitchen, in many ways."
The CBSNews.com blog "Public Eye" reported today that a retired general who has appeared in anti-Bush TV ads has been dismissed as a CBS News military analyst due to his political activism. Yet the CBS executive who defended the move seemed to almost blame CBS's at-home audience for the personnel decision.
Maj. Gen. John Batiste (US Army, Retired) may still be quoted on CBS's newscasts, he just won't get paid for it.
"We might still go to the general to ask about things, but not as a consultant to CBS News," CBS News Senior Vice President for Standards Linda Mason was quoted by editor Brian Montopoli.
Montopoli quoted Mason's rationale for asking Batiste to leave (emphasis mine):
CBS's "Public Eye" editor Brian Montopoli punted yet another golden opportunity to press a CBS News executive (Linda Mason pictured at right*) on why the network won't name the producer it fired in early April for plagiarizing a Wall Street Journal column.
You will recall that the New York Sun reported on April 12 that Melissa McNamara, who also edited CBSNews.com's "Blogophile" blog, was fired for basing her script for a Katie Couric vlog entry on a Jeffrey Zaslow column.
On April 13, I wrote that Montopoli appeared "to have given up the fight with the execs in his network" after he failed to press CBS executives over their secrecy. Montopoli concluded an April 10 entry by merely accepting the company line:
Yahoo picked up a fluff AP article that distorted Democratic NJ Governor Jim McGreevey’s 2004 resignation. It perpetuated the success of what should have been a politician’s attempt to cover allegations of corruption by using his closeted sexuality to distract an incurious and complicit media. This puff piece kept alive McGreevey’s pattern of announcing something socially startling to draw attention away from the incredible graft, scandal and alleged sexual harassment that would have otherwise defined his administration. When threats to McGreevey's reputation arise, he uses his status as a gay man to deflect unwanted attention, and the AP went along with it by reporting this latest “shocker” and omitting his political affiliation while identifying his opponents’ party (emphasis mine throughout):
Jim McGreevey has gone from altar boy to mayor to the nation's first openly gay governor.
From the moment he stood at a podium in 2004 and announced he was a "gay American" who was resigning because of an affair with a male staffer, people wondered what McGreevey's next act would be.
Now we know: He wants to become a preacher and a teacher.
It's commencement speech time again at colleges and universities across America. Goshen College is one of the few to have already graduated its class of 2007, and CBS producer Greg Kandra took notice. Kandra plugged a speech by the Rev. Joy Carroll Wallis* at Goshen College:
In the days to come, we'll be reading a lot of snippets from
commencement speeches. 'Tis the season. Some will be hilarious. Some
dreadful. A few will actually say something that make you put down your
morning coffee and think. This speech is one of those.
Print it. Save it. Share it. It's worth it.
So I'm following Kandra's advice. I printed it (should I buy a tree-offset too?) and I'm sharing it with you. Unfortunately it contains the usual liberal platitudes you hear in a college commencement speech. Here's a sample:
Less than a week after Havana-based CBS News producer Portia Siegelbaum trumpeted on CBSNews.com how “thanks to the socialist island’s free health care system -- which emphasizes preventive medicine -- Cubans enjoy a very high life expectancy," Monday's CBS Evening News salivated over the anticipated May Day return of Fidel Castro as Lara Logan confidently relayed the views of “Cubans” and “people here” in the repressive totalitarian state supposedly “enraged” by the U.S. release of a man convicted of blowing up a Cuban airliner in 1976.
Anchor Katie Couric heralded: “In Cuba tonight, a lot of anticipation. Reports there say Fidel Castro may lead tomorrow's May Day celebration.” From Havana, Lara Logan asserted: “Just as Cubans are hoping that Fidel Castro will make his first public appearance since falling ill nine months ago, people here have been enraged by the re-emergence of one of his oldest and most hated enemies. Luis Posada Carriles is to Cubans their Osama bin Laden.” Speaking for all Cubans, Logan insisted that “Cubans want him to face terrorism charges. Outraged, they've taken to the streets here in silent protest day after day.” After video of those protesters of supposed free-will, Logan issued another generality: “People here accuse the U.S. of hypocrisy, asking how America can condemn countries who harbor terrorists while refusing to hand over Cuba's most wanted terrorist.” She offered no soundbites or names to support her assumption.
In an April 30 "Public Eye" entry, CBS ombudsblogger Brian Montopoli wrote about CBS's quandary over CIA director George Tenet has a faulty memory regarding an exchange with Richard Perle that supposedly happened the day after 9/11 at the White House. The problem, Perle was stuck in France. He returned to the country on Sept. 15, 2001. So what to do with Web site transcripts of the April 29 "60 Minutes" segment?
Although a quick search of the Web draws up the speech, available here (with video and audio links), rare is the online news service that links to President Bush's remarks on May 1, 2003, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Since the media don't reprint excerpts of the speech nor give readers the links to the original source material, here are some comments from May 1, 2003, that point to President Bush warning Americans of an ongoing struggle to establish Iraqi democracy and counter the threat of terrorism (portions in bold are my emphasis):
Yet a review of the questions to Craig betrays Couric's leanings towards Helmke's pro-gun control position as well as some ignorance of the modern history of gun control (see her 10th question, for example).
Below are the questions to Craig with my comments/snark included in italics. Portions in bold are my emphasis: