It has been over three weeks since the fundamental claim of the "Food Stamp Challenge" was debunked, first by Mona Charen in her syndicated column, then in more detail by yours truly (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). Yet the "Food Stamp Challenge" has spread.
As noted in this NPR report from April 23, it all started in Oregon. That state's governor, Ted Kulongoski, joined in and put on quite a show, getting plenty of Old Media attention (Associated Press; New York Times [may require free registration]) as he tried to buy a week's worth of groceries with $21, because that was said to be what "the state’s average food stamp recipient spends weekly on groceries."
The Challenge's claim that the average Food Stamp recipient's benefit of $21 per person per week is all that beneficiaries have available for purchasing food is incorrect, as anyone visiting the USDA's web site could have learned very easily.
As I noted in late April, the Food Stamp Program’s "Fact Sheet on Resources, Income and Benefits" provides a table of "Maximum Monthly Allotments" (i.e., benefits), and says the following about benefit levels (bold is mine; I converted the Monthly Allotments to weekly allotments per person by dividing by the average number of weeks in a month [4.345], and then by the number of people):
Yesterday, a friend from Los Angeles called. The person is successful, known, part of the entertainment industry. Jerry Falwell is, my friend said, the reason I can't call myself a Christian in Hollywood. He is what everyone thinks to that when they hear the word Christian. That may well be Jerry Falwell's most enduring and most troubling legacy. Jerry Falwell almost single-handedly blurred the line between Jesus and conservative politics to the detriment of both.
Here's another sign that public broadcasters aren't worried about the appearance of Democratic favoritism. National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg -- legendary (or infamous) for championing Anita Hill's unsubstantiated sexual harassment charges against Clarence Thomas, and then yawning at all harassment claims against Bill Clinton -- is hiring the daughter of liberal Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards as a summer intern, and her NPR bosses "gave the green light, since the election is still 18 months away."
The Washington Post gossip column that broke the story couldn't even get word from NPR as to whether Cate Edwards will stop making campaign appearances during the internship. Here's what the "Reliable Source" column by Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger passed along:
A truly extraordinary media event occurred Wednesday.
One news outlet reported: “Developing nations that are fast industrializing, such as China and India, have braked their rising greenhouse gas emissions by more than the total cuts demanded of rich nations by the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol.”
Practically at the same time, another reported: “Yet [China’s] coal habit means it will soon overtake the United States as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, some say as early as this year.”
Can’t be, right? Well, the first report by Reuters (h/t NB member dscott) dealt with a draft about to be released by the United Nations concerning CO2 emissions (emphasis added throughout):
A few years ago, the Left pulled several muscles exerting itself with the strange theory that the Public Broadcasting Service was lurching dangerously to the right. When Corporation for Public Broadcasting chairman Kenneth Tomlinson had the audacity not only to speak internal profanities (“fairness” and “balance”), but to try and build on them, it became clear to them that he was out of control and needed to be stopped.
Tomlinson made several small but significant steps toward balance on our taxpayer-subsidized airwaves, nudging the creation of two right-leaning talk programs – “Tucker Carlson Unfiltered” and “The Journal Editorial Report” – and both suffered from the TV equivalent of crib death. Liberals really erupted when they learned Tomlinson secretly hired someone to assess the political balance of some PBS and NPR programs. This initiative was doomed, not only because the internal bureaucracy would never tolerate it, but because proving liberal bias at PBS is beyond easy. It’s like proving Rosie O’Donnell has a liberal bias: is it really necessary to conduct a study?
Pham Xuan Am served on the staff of Time magazine during the Vietnam War – and he also served as a communist spy for the Viet Cong. This should have been the cause of great embarrassment for liberal media outlets like Time. Instead, in 1990, former Time reporter H.D.S. Greenway wasn’t irate at his colleague, but expressed his anger in the Washington Post at the "right-wingers [who] seized on the An story to say that the press had fallen victim to a fiendish disinformation plot."
On Saturday’s Weekend Edition, NPR anchor Scott Simon interviewed Larry Berman, author of a new book on Pham Xuan Am called "Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent." Simon might have been trying to help the author out, but the question he asked seemed like a no-brainer: "Did he give information that resulted in the deaths of South Vietnamese or American soldiers?"
Your tax dollars at work, paying public radio hosts to ask if "black folks" are into iPods.
NPR's taxpayer-funded "News & Notes" program for April 17 tried to introduce a story on demographic advertising by awkwardly asking in a caption on their website, "Do national technology trends play the same way in the Black community?"
Or as host Farai Chideya asked, "Do black folks really use stuff like iPods as much?"
Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot…while prisons filled and bodies piled up in Communist-ruled paradises around the globe, members of the America Communist Party partied on.
The Tamiment Library at New York University recently received the complete records of the American Communist Party, including 20,000 books and every pamphlet the party ever published -- and National Public Radio is positively giddy.
Over at the liberal website Slate.com, Jack Shafer mocks former ABC personage Ted Koppel his latest commentary for National Public Radio on Iran's British hostages, claiming "If history is any guide, Iran may wait until Tony Blair's tenure as prime minister comes to an end in a few months." Oops. Shafer also finds the subject of Iran is too close for Koppel to ignore himself:
Is there a more pompous egomaniac purring on the airwaves today than Ted Koppel?
Two days ago, the bouffanted one filed a commentary piece on NPR pegged to the seizure of 15 British sailors and marines by the Iranians. For self-obsessives like Koppel, all journalism is autobiography, so the story doesn't seem new to him. Instead, it echoes the hostage-taking of American diplomats 28 years ago in Tehran because, as Koppel doesn't have to remind listeners, it was the news event that started the show America Held Hostage that became Nightline and made his career!
Tom Tancredo has become well-known as the country’s most energetic Congressman against illegal immigration. He’s now running for president on that issue. National Public Radio also has a deeply ingrained reputation – as a taxpayer-subsidized network of gooey liberals. They speak in tones so sleep-inducing that their programs should be regarded as a potential traffic hazard.
On April 1, these two legends met, and sparks flew. The program was Sunday’s "All Things Considered" broadcast, hosted by Debbie Elliott. The trouble began at hello: Elliott introduced Tancredo as a man who "gained national prominence with his fierce opposition to allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens."
Although it didn’t get a lot of publicity – conceivably for what will end up being obvious reasons – there was a conference held last weekend by a bunch of “environmental lawyers.” Not so surprisingly, the topic of global warming was – forgive the pun – a hot one.
Yet, maybe most fascinating was that the conference’s sponsor, the American Bar Association, actually invited members of the press – mostly believers with apparently only one skeptic I might add – to address how the views of global warming alarmists need to “percolate through the media pipeline and into general public awareness.”
One such media member seemed so disappointed about the public's lack of concern about this issue that she actually stated:
As the Managing Editor of Fox News Channel's Washington, DC bureau, you might have thought Brit Hume would have taken great umbrage at John Edwards' high-profile decision to spurn a debate of Dem presidential contenders that Fox had organized for August in Nevada. The Edwards pull-out ultimately led to a cancellation of the debate by the Nevada state Democratic party. Edwards had come under pressure from liberal netroots and organizations such as Move.on, which had organized a petition drive calling for cancellation of the debate.
But in a fair-and-balanced comment reflecting an appreciation of real politik, Hume has praised Edwards' move as "shrewd" -- at least in the short run. During the panel discussion on this morning's Fox News Sunday, Hume observed:
When liberals try to deny that National Public Radio is a taxpayer-funded media sandbox for liberals, there’s nothing like reading liberals writing about NPR to rebut it. Michael Tomasky, a leading liberal and editor-at-large of The American Prospect, recently wrote in anguished protest when WETA-FM in Washington dropped its relatively new news-talk format to return to its classical-music roots. This left him without "Weekend Edition Sunday," anchored by Liane Hansen.
Tomasky writes of how NPR is always on in the background at his place on weekend mornings, and he can recognized that the tone can be soporific, the hosts can sound self-satisfied, and – "there's that air of genteel, tea-service liberalism suffusing the whole enterprise." He later added, when talking about a vice president at WETA, that "He's the kind of guy you'd like to have a (remembering the medium) chardonnay with."
Despite growing into a massive network, National Public Radio still demonstrates signs of being the same countercultural liberal listening post that came of age in the Vietnam era. On Thursday’s Morning Edition, NPR covered war and post-traumatic stress disorder in a trendy liberal way: as an opportunity to sell combat veterans on the mystical healing power of yoga.
Government-subsidized yoga for veterans? NPR reporter Allan Coukell (sounded like "Cockle") suggested it’s the government-funded wave of the future: "So far, most of the veterans have been paying for the sessions themselves, but [Tom] Boyle hopes the Veterans Affairs system will start to offer yoga nationwide. He already sees PTSD and other symptoms of battle stress in troops back from Iraq — and he knows thousands more are still to come."
The vicious anti-Catholic (and in general, anti-religious) bloggers hired by the John Edwards campaign came under surprising condemnation from liberal columnist (and PBS NewsHour pundit) Mark Shields and liberal NPR reporter Nina Totenberg on the Friday night TV talk show "Inside Washington." Shields said he hesitated to agree with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, but he was "right." Shields dared go where media accounts have not, explicitly reading Amanda Marcotte’s sleazy joke about the sperm of the Holy Spirit and Mary aborting Jesus with the Plan B pill, saying "if she had written similarly about a Jewish person, an Islamic person, a gay or a lesbian, she would be banished to the outer darkness." Totenberg called it "disgusting."
Only Newsweek’s Evan Thomas seemed to try and make excuses for Edwards by slamming bloggers in general: "Read blogs. They're full of that kind of stuff."
In response to my earlier post today on NPR reporter David Folkenflik's report featuring Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, Beck e-mailed me a statement late this afternoon to clarify that he in no way was criticizing Limbaugh in his interview:
"After conducting a 30 minute interview with me on the supposed topic of 'does conservative talk radio reach across party lines, and if so, how?' NPR chose to take a quote from me and use it completely out of context. The quote was not about Rush Limbaugh, which is how it was made to look in the story, it was in response to how the country is dangerously divided along party lines and how that division may be the death of us all. I was also commenting about my disdain for the breed of talk radio hosts whose sole AGENDA is get people elected; they are contributing to this division.
"As Rush said in the story, his goal is to attract the largest possible audience, and that's my goal as well. Rush and I are not "rival" talk hosts, as the story states, since my show precedes him on the same network, and we both work for the same company. I was disappointed to see how NPR chose to make it look like I was insulting Rush, which is something I would never do.”
With Democrats returning to power in the House and Senate, political reporters touched on how they felt abused and ignored during their time in the minority. But National Public Radio isn’t treating the Republicans now as a minority. They’re treating them as nonexistent in some stories. On Friday’s Morning Edition broadcast, reporter Elizabeth Shogren assembled an entire story on new Democratic proposals to halt global warming, but there were no Republicans, no energy industry representatives, and no warming skeptics. They only heard new socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders saying "one has got to be a moron" not to be concerned.
No one in the Shogren story was a "liberal" (not to mention a socialist – Sanders was merely described as "independent.") The proposed bills weren’t liberal either, just "aggressive." It was the Bernie Sanders-Barbara Boxer bill versus the Dianne Feinstein bill, which seemed conservative by comparison.
I'd say Bill Kristol nailed it on this morning's Fox News Sunday. And while his comments were directed at Democrats, they're equally applicable to the MSM IMHO, making them NB-worthy.
Kristol: "People are being too complacent or forgiving to the Democrats: 'Oh, it's politics; one of them has a non-binding resolution and another one has a cap.' It's all totally irresponsible. It's just unbelievable. The president is sending over a new commander, he's sending over troops, and the Democratic congress, either in a pseudo-binding way or a non-binding way is saying: 'it won't work -- forget it! You troops, you're going over there on a pointless missions. You Iraqis who might side with us, forget it, we're going to pull the plug." It's so irresponsible . . . You really wonder: do they want it to work or not? I really wonder that. . . Do they want this to succeed or not?"
Don’t go looking for balance on NPR. On their evening newscast All Things Considered on Tuesday, National Public Radio congressional reporter David Welna publicized an anti-war protest with six soundbites – and all six agreed that the Iraq War needed to end as quickly as possible. The protest was from a campaign called "Appeal for Redress," which claims more than 1,000 military people demanding the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. Welna was so easy on the left that he even described Rep. Dennis Kucinich in the story as a "presidential contender" -- which in sports terms, would be like calling the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a "World Series contender."
At least in AP's story on the protest, Kucinich was described as a "long-shot candidate for president." The Washington Post reported the forthcoming protest on the front page of Tuesday's Style section, but at least reporter Linton Weeks allowed some dissent from these self-styled dissidents:
As the religious holidays commence, people who preach tolerance worry that religious (or non-religious) minorities are left out. As Christmas approached and Hanukkah began on Friday night, National Public Radio’s "All Things Considered" devoted a story to atheists, but not just any story. It was a story about atheists who feel that ridicule and intolerance of religion is just what this country needs. The message was simple: atheists look forward to when "religious tolerance is no longer tolerated."
Co-anchor Robert Siegel began: "Atheism has never gained much of a foothold in the United States. Barely one percent of Americans describe themselves as atheists. Now, a small group on nonbelievers has a new approach to getting their message out, challenging the faithful with a fiery rhetorical blend of reason and ridicule, especially ridicule..."
Monday's first hour of National Public Radio's Diane Rehm show out of Washington focused on the health and political ramifications of Sen. Tim Johnson's brain surgery. Guests were Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Early in the show (about 7 and a half minutes in), Rehm grew a little crass, asking if Sen. Johnson's family could ruin the slender majority the Democrats hold in the upper chamber. Consider this through the lens of the Terri Schiavo debate, and see the liberal flip-flop coming:
Rehm: "What’s if Johnson’s family were to say ‘Tim Johnson can no longer serve’? Do they have the right to do that?"
National Public Radio oozes liberalism in nearly everything it does, especially when it starts tickling itself, like insisting Cheney lives in Rove's butt on its game shows. NPR's website advertises its "First Ever Holiday Craft Contest." Listeners are invited to design either a handmade menorah or a Christmas tree ornament. "We are looking for designs that reflect the news of 2006. We also welcome quirky, funny and/or offbeat designs. (See examples to the left.)" That would include a Christmas ornament with Scientology baby Suri Cruise, and some Mel Gibson mockery:
Sample Entry: Mel Gibson Mel-norah. This menorah works on two levels: It symbolizes a willingness to accept Gibson's apology for his anti-Semitic rant but also, for skeptics, offers the chance to watch hot wax drip down his punim (the Yiddish word for face). Materials: Mel Gibson cutouts and menorah.
Expect a pile of new-Congress stories extolling the historic highs for the number of women in Congress as part of the welcome wagon for Speaker Pelosi. I found one early indicator in a Nexis search, a public-radio show called "Weekend America," distributed on about 80 NPR stations via American Public Media. A report by correspondent Jill Morrison said the new high for women in the House (87 out of 435) is still a "small minority." That would seem to betray the feminist view that at least half of Congress should be female, if it were truly representative of America.
The females-are-superior-humans angle emerged. Democratic congresswomen-elect in the Morrison piece explained how "women tend to be a better part of the process" (Gabrielle Giffords) and "we get so much done because we make lists" and we'll get more government-mandated health care because "women are going to be less inclined to look at the politics of it and just say, you know, I need health care for my family." (Nancy Boyda)
If we were to believe liberals, the last several years could be dubbed the Age of Propaganda, what scandalized columnist Frank Rich, who knows quite a lot about this subject, calls the “decline and fall of truth.”
They complained when government agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services put out “video news releases” that some lax TV stations aired without editing. They complained when the Pentagon hired American P.R. companies like the Lincoln Group to place positive stories about American forces in the Iraqi newspapers. They complained when conservative P.R. man Armstrong Williams struck a deal with the Department of Education to promote the Bush “No Child Left Behind” policy.
But the same left-wing crowd that claims to hate propaganda seems to be offering nothing but flowers and best wishes for the November launch of al-Jazeera English.
Howard Kurtz concluded his Monday "Media Notes" column in the Washington Post with a story about much-hyped Democratic star Barack Obama, and how smooth he is at courting reporters, especially ones he's previously miffed. Obama recently relied on National Public Radio to sweeten the apology:
Nicklaus Lovelady says he tried to ask the Illinois senator a question at a news conference two years ago, only to have Obama say the event was for professional media only. When Lovelady protested that he worked for the local newspaper, Obama said: "I thought you were a college student. You have such a baby face." That putdown, writes Lovelady, caused a "pretty young thing" he'd been courting to give him the cold shoulder.
Commuting can be dangerous for a conservative if the car radio is tuned into National Public Radio. On Wednesday night’s "All Things Considered," NPR anchor Michele Norris interviewed ultraliberal Henry Waxman, now returning to his perch as chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. He claimed that his return meant an end to investigative politics: "And oversight ought to be done based on our responsibility, not our political point of view."
This is simply bizarre, and NPR should know it, and not let it go unchallenged. But Norris did.
I recall an example from 1997, when the Government Reform committee was investigating how the Clinton-Gore campaign and the Democratic National Committee accepted contributions from mysterious Asian donors. In the Weekly Standard, Matt Rees really captured how partisan Waxman was:
President Bush traveling to Vietnam was guaranteed to bring out the Iraq-Vietnam comparisons, especially on National Public Radio. On Wednesday's "Morning Edition," co-host Steve Inskeep interviewed liberal author David Halberstam, who reported on Vietnam for the New York Times. Halberstam warned that we needed to withdraw from Iraq because it wasn't worth the death of "some kid in the Ohio National Guard" for an "undoable" goal.
It's one thing for the liberal media to hail more liberal Hillary clones coming to Capitol Hill. But it's another thing to insist that women are a superior breed of politician, a much more caring, empathetic, and ethical breed. Driving home on Tuesday night, I heard this "women are seen as more ethical" line at least twice on the live coverage on National Public Radio. (No cattle-futures memories in the middle of Pom-Pom Night.) They even had a syrupy interview with Robin Gerber, author of "Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way," to cheer blatantly on the taxpayer-funded radio for incoming feminists like Senator McCaskill. On ABC Tuesday morning, Cokie Roberts opened up the latest can of Uterus-Empowered Superiority:
"But Nancy Pelosi will bring a style that is different to the speakership. Let me just tell you one little tidbit. Her daughter, Alexandra, is due to have a baby any minute and everybody knew that if that baby came, that Nancy Pelosi, regardless of the fact that she was about to take over the House and have the great night of her life, was ready to leave and just go to her daughter. I think you wouldn't necessarily see that with a male speaker."
On the weekend before the election, the NPR show "On The Media" brought their usual liberal criticism of the media to bear, with co-host Brooke Gladstone complaining how the national media was somehow an over-enthusiastic puppy in coverage of Kerry's don't-be-stupid-and-get-stuck-in-Iraq comment: "But the media can't stop masticating on this latest liberal gaffe like a Washington Monument-sized Snausage." (As in "scrumptious" doggie treat.)
Her guest was Washington Post national political editor John F. Harris, who boasted he succeeded in burying the Kerry story inside the paper, at least on the first day. But NPR's Gladstone hammered him for "playing right into the Administration's hands" by covering it, when Kerry wasn't even running: