Last month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caused quite a stir by violating every international agreement in existence when calling - at a government-sponsored conference - to "wipe Israel off the face of the map." (The Indispensible MEMRI has the full text of the President-Kidnapper's remarks here.)
The MSM continues peddle several myths about Iran. Essentially, they argue that Iran isn't all that dangerous because it doesn't mean what it says, couldn't do what it says even if it meant it, and anyway, its problem is with Israel, not with Jews in general.
Turns out that apparently nobody in the MSM has bothered to check out the website for the conference, despite the URL's prominent place on a banner behind Ahmadinejad while he was speaking.
On NBC’s “Meet The Press” this morning, host Tim Russert stocked his panel with three left-of-center journalists – Nina Totenberg of NPR, Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times, and David Gregory of NBC News – to discuss the events of the week. When they got to the nomination of Samuel Alito to replace retiring justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Russert mentioned that when Bill Clinton was president, both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, despite obvious Liberal leanings, were approved by a strong majority of both Democrats and Republicans. “And they say, ‘Why can't we have the same courtesy to conservative jurists under President Bush?’"
In response, Totenberg said: “If you look at the Ginsburg nomination, for example, she'd been a judge, I think, for 12 years. She'd been, actually, a pretty conservative liberal judge, if you can be such a thing.” This could be the first time that anyone has referred to the former general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union as being “pretty conservative.”
As the discussion ensued, Totenberg expressed frustration with the president’s second choice to replace Sandra Day O’Connor:
Rachel Sklar, an occasional New York Times writer who posts at Mediabistro's blog Fishbowl NY, goes over the deep end in rejoicing at the end of Kenneth Tomlinson's tenure opposing liberal bias (or more accurately, trying to bring on some conservative balance) on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting:
"The board does not believe that Mr. Tomlinson acted maliciously or with any intent to harm CPB or public broadcasting." I swear to God, this reminds me of a line at the end of "Cujo" by Stephen King, which I read as an eleven year old and made me cry; paraphrased it went something like this: "It must be remembered that Cujo never meant to kill all those people, biting and slashing at their jugulars. He always wanted to be a good dog." Stephen King said it better than me, but it amounts to the same thing: we can't all agree on what it means to be a good dog.
There has been a lot of outrage in the media concerning the burning of a couple of dead, Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in early October. Yet, the Australian journalist who videotaped the proceedings, Stephen Dupont, stated in an interview on National Public Radio yesterday (audio link to follow courtesy of Bareknucklepolitics.com) that he believed the bodies were burned purely for reasons of hygiene when the local villagers refused to retrieve them, and that the American soldiers didn't do anything wrong. (Video links to an SBS "Dateline" promo for Dupont's piece as well as an SBS interview with him on the subject also follow):
“I actually believe that the guys who were involved in the burning did it with honorable, you know, reasons. They did it through their orders, or they did if for hygiene. I had no doubt in my mind that they were telling me the truth. If they were doing something that was problematic or controversial, there’s no way they would have shown me this. There’s no way they would have let me go up there and film this.”
In his column for the Chicago Sun-Times, Mark Steyn notes that reporters seemed a bit allergic to mentioning that "militants" in Russia (after the latest violence in Nalchik) and elsewhere could be described more clearly as "Islamic militants," but that wasn't something they wanted to underline:
Ah, "Islamic militants." So that's what the rebels were insurging over. In the geopolitical Hogwart's, Islamic "militants" are the new Voldemort, the enemy whose name it's best never to utter. In fairness to the New York Times, they did use the I-word in paragraph seven. And Agence France Presse got around to mentioning Islam in paragraph 22. And NPR's "All Things Considered" had one of those bland interviews between one of its unperturbable anchorettes and some Russian geopolitical academic type in which they chitchatted through every conceivable aspect of the situation and finally got around to kinda sorta revealing the identity of the perpetrators in the very last word of the geopolitical expert's very last sentence.
George Clooney gave an interview to Village Voice critic J. Hoberman on his Murrow tribute film. Before Clooney passed on that esteemed film critic "Dan Rather loves, loves, loves this movie," he explained why he made it: "I was concerned about the lack of debate. The conception changed only in that a book came out about how great McCarthy was and how wrong Murrow was." Hoberman asked: "Ann Coulter’s 'Treason'?" Clooney said: "Yes. I realized that we had to be incredibly careful with the facts, because if we got any of them wrong, they could say it's all horse [poop]. So I had to double-source every scene."
But old CBS people who helped Clooney make the film (and who are portrayed in the film), Joe and Shirley Wershba, told NPR’s "On The Media" that Clooney didn’t get one scene right: the one where they worried that McCarthy could be right, and maybe the Soviets were penetrating the government. Heck no, they laughed:
Reuters reports PBS has named departing Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler as its first ombudsman, in an act which can only be seen as a defensive political strategy against conservatives. (The liberals are even upset at this tepid step.) The public broadcasting elite has been appalled at the naming of two ombudsmen at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- Ken Bode for liberals, Bill Schulz for conservatives. (Although that is a fairly quiet blog.) They prefer the NPR model (and the Washington Post model) -- one generally liberal ombudsman who rarely touches on conservative complaints, and usually finds them wanting when they're evaluated. This is Getler's record at the Washington Post. Liberal bias was not one of Getler's big issues.
For obvious reasons, the Left is typically very supportive of public broadcasting, since it's overwhelmingly liberal in its personnel and its political content. But Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, so far to the left that the average American liberal looks awfully conservative, is announcing a radical new solution: defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Why? Because the "corrupt" CPB board's idea that they should actually challenge PBS and NPR to attempt balanced news "compromises the independence" of pubcasters.
Oh, FAIR isn't calling for defunding public broadcasting. On the contrary, their pet idea is to RAISE taxes to provide an "independent" stream of taxpayer revenue. PBS types have tried to create legislative support for a massive endowment in the same vein. The key here is that the left wants nobody to be able to hold pubcasters accountable for the liberal (or hard-left) bias they spew with taxpayer money. They want you to put up -- and shut up. Already, Congress is deathly afraid of looking like they'd vote on the wrong side of Big Bird. The CPB Board is the only place in the federal government where someone might think liberal bias was an issue. So FAIR says, unplug it. Make the liberal bias blah-blah go away.
At a citizen journalism conference organized by The Media Center, Big Media institutions are quickly coming to the realization that they are no longer in control. Some are taking it better than others.
Richard Sambrook, director of the BBC World Service and Global News Division, told a conference the broadcaster's prominent use of video and other material contributed by ordinary citizens signaled that the BBC was evolving from being a broadcaster to a facilitator of news. "We don't own the news any more," Sambrook said. "This is a fundamental realignment of the relationship between large media companies and the public."
The good news for the BBC is that they won't have to produce all their own America-hating material, they'll be able to draw from the content of private America-hating contributors.
Another member of the opening panel, Farai Chideya, a correspondent for National Public Radio Inc. in Los Angeles expressed concern that many big stories may be affecting people who don't have broadband access to the Internet, resulting in a risk that they could be excluded from citizen-generated news. The big question, she said, was how to get people "in the caboose of the digital train" involved.
Well, I wouldn't worry too much about it. NPR has had no problem getting people in the caboose in the past.
Yesterday on All Things Considered, correspondent Nina Totenberg noted conservative division on the Harriet Miers nomination and in passing described the cautious, positive reactions of liberal Democrats, but failed to affix the liberal label to Senators Harry Reid and Charles Schumer, who both cast "nay" votes on installing John Roberts as the nation's 17th Chief Justice.
Totenberg began her report by noting that in announcing Miers at 8:00 a.m. on John Roberts’s first day as Chief Justice, the President was "stepping on" positive PR and refocusing the media's political lens on Miers:
Normally, the story of the day would have been Roberts investiture with pomp, ceremony, and pictures of rambunctious children at the Court, instead the story of day was the Miers announcement, a story that left many conservatives privately if not publicly disappointed and Democrats poised for a fight that they may in the end forego. David Frum worked with Miers at the Bush White House in the first term. He posted an entry on the conservative National Review blog today bemoaning the Miers appointment as an opportunity missed to name any one of several outstanding conservative jurists.
This morning on NPR, host Ed Gordon interviewed Jesse Jackson concerning comments made recently by former secretary of education Bill Bennett about aborting black babies. Helpfully, Gordon asked Jackson if what Bennett said represented "a pattern that we are seeing in terms of growth with the ability to say this kind of thing (emphasis in original) in public?"
Knowing a softball when he sees one, Jackson dutifully denounced a "certain ideology in our country that is unfortunately sick and racist and dangerous and violent."
Newshound Ed felt no need to follow up by asking more about this "sick and racist and dangerous and violent ideology," but ended the interview with a friendly, "Rev, thanks for joining us."
The Corner reports that Nina Totenberg, the legal reporter for National Public Radio, wants the next round of confirmation hearings scheduled around her vacation:
"Nearby, Nina Totenberg, the legal reporter for National Public Radio, cornered the chief of staff of Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee; Totenberg was lobbying to schedule the next round of Supreme Court hearings around her vacation plans, which she had scheduled to coincide with her wedding anniversary."
Don't worry, Nina. Just write something in opposition to the nominee and drop it off with your editor before you leave.
A week after NPR’s Nina Totenberg, on Inside Washington, urged imposition of a “Katrina tax,” on the same show this weekend she dismissed the idea of cancelling $24 billion of transportation bill earmarks as small change and suggested that “if you canceled the tax cuts, you'd get $225 billion." She rejected the contention that would hurt the economy and forwarded the standard liberal class warfare argument that “if people who are richer in this country don't pay more, we can't take it out of the hides of poor people, which is what the conservative group that is actually in Congress that's put out earmarks of what they think we ought to cut -- Medicaid, Medicare.”
Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek, soon chimed in to point out how “there's no law in the Bible that says a Republican can never raise taxes." He recalled how “Ronald Reagan raised taxes, you know, he cut taxes, but then he raised taxes. George Bush, the father, raised taxes.”
Complete transcript of the remarks by Totenberg and Thomas follow. UPDATE: On another weekend TV talk show, the McLaughlin Group, Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift also looked to undoing tax reductions to pay for Katrina.
On the Thursday, September 22, 2005, 4 pm PDT broadcast of the National Public Radio (NPR) news, newscaster Corey Flintoff appeared to give Cindy Sheehan's forthcoming anti-war demonstration a free plug. After playing an audio clip of President Bush from a press briefing at the Pentagon, Flintoff tagged the clip with the following (audiotape on file):
"The President spoke ahead of an anti-war protest planned in Washington on Saturday by activists, including Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan helped to coalesce opposition to the war by leading a month-long protest outside President Bush's ranch in Texas."
On the Inside Washington TV talk show aired on three Washington, DC stations over the weekend, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg, decked out in NewsBusters orange, suggested that President Bush’s Thursday night speech “would have been a great opportunity to say, 'look, I'm for tax cuts, but we need a Katrina tax, we need to really pay, to do this and to pay for it.’" Host Gordon Peterson repeated her point: "You want more taxes." Totenberg chuckled as she reiterated: "I want more taxes, yes." Two weeks ago, as recounted in this NewsBusters item with a video clip, Totenberg blamed tax cuts for the levee breakage: “For years, we have cut our taxes, cut our taxes and let the infrastructure throughout the country go and this is just the first of a number of other crumbling things that are going to happen to us.”
Criticism for budget deficits has been replaced by calls for big government
As quickly as the water started rising in New Orleans, America’s media began blaming Hurricane Katrina-related damages on the president’s 2001 and 2003 economic stimulus packages. The overriding theme the first week after Katrina hit was that the levees of Louisiana failed due to a lack of federal funding stemming from “tax cuts for the rich.” However, a closer look at the federal budget reveals that funding for departments and agencies administering U.S. “Physical Resources” – Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Transportation, Environmental Protection, etc. – increased by 35 percent during George W. Bush’s first term.
But the media have claimed that tax cuts reduced our nation’s ability to protect New Orleans from a natural disaster.
NPR's All Things Considered tonight carried a story from reporter Frank Langfitt focusing on how Wal-Mart brought their efficient distribution system to bear in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, particularly in Kenner, Louisiana, where their supplies arrived before federal or Red Cross help. He did conclude by noting that Wal-Mart is videotaping their charity for reporters. But hey, why not? Wal-Mart has been quite a whipping boy for negative media coverage.
The Free Market Project folks note a positive Washington Post story in the "Quoteworthy" box on their home page as well.
On NPR's Morning Edition on Tuesday, ABC reporter Judy Muller unleashed another of her occasional commentaries for public radio. (Listen here.) Some of them are light, but Tuesday's was tough. Muller was angry at the inattention poor black people get outside of natural disasters, saying "Hurricanes don't discriminate, but society does discriminate." Here's the transcript of what she said, beginning with mockery of the president:
"When President Bush first landed in the hurricane zone Friday, he offered this upbeat assessment: `The good news is, and it's hard for some to see it now, that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubble of Trent Lott's house--he's lost his entire house--there's going to be a fantastic house. And,' he added, `I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch.'
"What a relief. All those Americans who might have been agonizing over this issue, wondering, `How about Trent Lott? Will he ever rebuild?'--well, they can rest easy now. As for all those Americans who have been agonizing over the images of poor people, mostly poor black people, who never had their own homes to begin with and who couldn't even afford the bus fare to get their families out of town before disaster struck, well, the news isn't quite so rosy.
"In fact, the one question people keep asking, over and over, is: `I can't believe this is the United States of America! How can this be happening here?' And the answer isn't actually that complicated. It's happening here because the nation's poor are so often ignored--by the government, by the media, by wealthier Americans--until a disaster of major proportions washes those horrific images up on our collective doorstep.
"Conventional wisdom says natural disasters like hurricanes don't discriminate, but society does discriminate. And so when natural disasters do hit, if you live in the poor part of town, the infrastructure will be shaky; the cost of transportation, good housing and medical care prohibitive. The result is what we've all been watching: images that have forced us to wonder what we would do, faced with no food or water for our children. Would we steal from stores to survive?...
Sounding like a parody of a liberal, but in all seriousness, NPR and ABC reporter Nina Totenberg charged on Inside Washington, at the end of a discussion about how National Guard equipment deployed to Iraq is supposedly impairing rescue efforts, that “for years, we have cut our taxes, cut our taxes and let the infrastructure throughout the country go and this is just the first of a number of other crumbling things that are going to happen to us.” An astounded Charles Krauthammer pleaded: “You must be kidding here.” But Totenberg reaffirmed: “I’m not kidding.”
In fact, under the Bush administration domestic spending has soared much faster than inflation, a trend illustrated by the huge transportation bill this year packed with spending on infrastructure projects. And if infrastructure spending has suffered in some way, massive new spending on such things as a prescription entitlement program are just as responsible.
On NPR's Morning Edition today, co-anchor Renee Montagne was interviewing David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal on the hurricane's effects on the national economy. But she was a little over the top in her tone with her first question: "Is the hurricane the last straw for the economy?" (Hear it here.)
Last straw? Economic growth is strong, unemployment is low, and the liberal media is still pretending that Bush is presiding over the Great Depression. Unbelievable. Listening to NPR can really ruin a commute.
Another week, another opportunity for NPR's Nina Totenberg to discover that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts is conservative and to caution us about it anew. On Inside Washington over the weekend, she warned that "if he's as conservative as his papers reflect, his nomination will dramatically change the direction of the court." Seconds later she made clear she is sure that he's going to be a "very conservative" justice: "I have no idea what kind of justice he's going to end up being, except for the fact that I'm pretty sure he's going to be very conservative." A week earlier on the same show she declared that after reviewing memos he wrote while working in the Reagan White House counsel's office, "he is much more conservative than I ever would have guessed."
In recent weeks, Totenberg has tagged Roberts as "very conservative," "very, very conservative" and "very, very, very conservative," as well as "a really conservative guy," "a hardline conservative" and "a clear conservative," to say nothing of being "a conservative Catholic." Four weeks ago on Inside Washington she asserted that she "was actually quite surprised at how, how very, very conservative he was."
NPR’s Nina Totenberg is repeatedly surprised by how conservative Supreme Court nominee John Roberts really is, apparently not cognizant of all of her earlier pronouncements about his conservatism. On Inside Washington over the weekend, she declared that after reviewing memos he wrote while working in the Reagan White House counsel’s office, “he is much more conservative than I ever would have guessed. He is on the most conservative side of almost every issue within the Reagan administration." In recent weeks, Totenberg has tagged Roberts as “very conservative,” "very, very conservative" and "very, very, very conservative," as well as "a really conservative guy," "a hardline conservative" and "a clear conservative," to say nothing of being "a conservative Catholic." Three weeks ago on Inside Washington she asserted that she “was actually quite surprised at how, how very, very conservative he was.”