“Huffington Post” and “religion” may sound like an oxymoron, but the two are attempting to go together. The liberal blogspot – which regularly features Bill “Religulus” Maher – announced on February 24 that the website was launching HuffPo Religion. Founder Arianna Huffington touted it as being, “a section featuring a wide-ranging discussion about religion, spirituality, and the ways they influence our lives.”
While that may have been the intention, in reality HuffPost Religion’s discussions are based on promoting the liberal agenda toward religion.
It's hardly news that black conservatives are reviled among much of the left. There seems to be a sense among much of the liberal media that they have betrayed their own interests through their conservative principles.
Few, however, would have the (dare I say it) audacity to lump prominent and accomplished African American political figures in with oppressive genocidal dictators and serial killers.
But TheRoot.com, a blog owned by the Washington Post, seems to have no qualms about doing so, as evidenced in its list of 21 "Black Folks We'd Like To Remove From Black History". Among the names are Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele.
Also included on the list: murderous Ugandan military dictator Idi Amin, the notorious "DC Sniper" John Allen Muhammad, Zimbabwean kleptocrat Robert Mugabe and the ruthless father-and-son Haitian dictators "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier.
The Washington Post was curiously silent about the ideological and/or partisan bent of blogs that prompted its coverage of a controversial statement made last Thursday by Virginia Delegate Robert Marshall (R), who suggested, the Post reports, "that women who have abortions risk having later children with birth defects as a punishment from God."
Kunkle noted that Marshall couched his controversial comments in reference to a study by Virginia Commonwealth University that "was published in 2008 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health and suggested that there is a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight in children born to women who have had an abortion."
"Few seized on the remarks at the time Marshall made them," the Post's Fredrick Kunkle noted in his page B2 February 23 story, "[b]ut outrage built on social networking sites and political blogs after some Virginia newspapers picked up the story from Capital News Service, a program at VCU's School of Mass Communications."
But which blogs, exactly? It's not a stretch to imagine it was mostly left-wing or Democratic blogs seeking to hype a controversy to make Virginia Republicans -- who control the House of Delegates -- look bad, particularly in an election year in which the Democratic majority in the state senate is in jeopardy.
Yet Kunkle failed to inform readers which blogs tipped him off to the story and what political axes they have to grind.
Roman Polanski, the once-fugitive movie director that raped a 13-year-old American girl in 1977 and then fled to France, has won an award while still under house arrest in his luxury Swiss Chalet. Last week, Polanski received the Silver Bear award as best director at the Berlin International film for "The Ghost Writer." His producer Alain Sarde accepted, because, as Polanski said, "The last time I traveled to accept an award I landed in jail."
The award was met with a chorus of approval from Polanski's apologists, including Bernard-Henri Levy, a French writer and philosopher.Writing in a Feb. 21 Huffington Post article "Salut, Roman Polanski," Levy celebrated the smack at justice.
Levy argued that the award proves two things. First, that there are still "men and women of honor," such as the jury of the Berlin Festival, who refuse to "be intimidated by the mob." And second, that Roman Polanski deserves to be applauded for refusing to be "cornered and defeated" by the "pack that snaps at [his] heels." Polanski, Levy wrote, is "indestructible," "courageous" and has a "spirit of resistance" - and to those "bastards" that tried to bring him down, Polanski has now proven to them that "the artist, not the mob, always has the last word."
Where would the world be without an independent, citizen-run type of media? It would be in a dark place, according to Media Research Center President and Founder Brent Bozell.
Bozell addressed CPAC on Feb. 20 about the state of the media. He cited how bloggers played a role in unearthing the former White House "green jobs czar" Van Jones past for signing a statement about the September 11 truthers and for stating he was a communist.
"Van Jones was a story that was broken by a blogger," Bozell said. "Say that after me - God bless bloggers, God bless bloggers, God bless bloggers. Now this blogger writes a story about one of the Obama czars. Now these czars, these guys are dangerous for all sorts of reasons. They're not elected. They're not confirmed. And they're not even announced. You just hear about them. They're like maggots. You pick up a rock and you find a czar."
As my colleague Tim Graham brought to my attention this morning, Newsweek is not content to let its advocacy for ObamaCare lie in the realm of biased writing. Nope, it appears the gang at Newsweek wants to help along President Obama by lampooning earnest Americans who expressed their displeasure last year at town hall meetings.
Why Newsweek chose now to roll out its photo gallery on "The Town Hall Face" now is anyone's guess, but I believe it's part of an effort by Newsweek to deride the skeptical American public as too deranged to understand how good ObamaCare will be for them.
Here's how the editors prefaced their 23-image slideshow, wherein most targets of derision were ObamaCare critics:
It’s getting tiresome that the liberal media will use the ramblings of any extremist on Twitter and try and associate them with the conservative movement. CBSNews.com [on their 48 Hours Mystery page] blogged the AP and the New York Daily News reporting that Austin suicide pilot Joe Stack has fan pages on the Internet:
"Finally an American man took a stand against our tyrannical government that no longer follows the Constitution," wrote Emily Walters of Louisville, Ky.
"Joe Stack, you are a true American Hero and we need more of you to make a stand," tweeted Greg Lenihan of San Diego, according to the paper.
...If they think that’s not a sop to the left, the Daily Kos rejoiced at the story:
John Fritze of USA Today noted in an On Politics blog post filed last night that "Sen. Brown's 'not one job' claim [has been] questioned."
But in relaying the attack on the Massachusetts Republican senator's claim that "not one job" has been created by the Obama stimulus package, Fritze only underscored the point that Brown was making in the context of his comments.
There is no real, net job creation from the stimulus bill (emphasis mine):
Inspired by a NewsBusters post, blogger Randy Haddock posted a video to his eponymous blog which refutes, in living color, as it were, a claim MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has made about the tea parties.
Haddock prefaced his response to Olbermann's question, "Where are people of color at Tea Parties?" with the case that in asking the question, Olbermann shows how race-obsessed he and other liberals are, whereas conservatives at the Tea Parties welcome any and all persons of any color who share a common belief in limited government:
[T]wo things in particular bother me about his question:
First, his choice of words. People of color? Who are these colored people he’s referring to? What does that mean? It may be because I’m not a native English speaker, but I find this “people of color” business to be really bizarre. So as a Boricua, am I colored? I guess I’m olive but if I hit the beach on a sunny day I can be golden brown. Is he referring strictly to skin color? Culture? Ethnicity? I mean, I’m not that much darker than Mr. Olbermann himself. Do I fall into his “people of color” category?
Or, as I suspect, are “people of color” just code for those who deviate too much from the skin color which Olbermann seems to deem as the standard? I mean, come on, Olbermann has no color, right? He’s white. That ain’t no color. That’s just how it’s supposed to be, right? So, all I can think of is that he means “black.” Black people are colored, and everyone else is just normal and a-OK. Man, this race and colors stuff is difficult to understand!
And secondly, the question is stupid, the premise terribly moronic and the insinuation totally insulting. The Tea Party protesters aren’t racist. Are there a few kooks with nefarious motivations? Sure, every movement has them. It’s nice how, during the Bush years, the MSM did everything they could to whitewash the fringe elements of the antiwar movement, but I digress. What’s Olbermann’s evidence that Tea Parties are overwhelmingly racist? Apparently, that there are no “people of color” at these rallies. That is so blatantly false as to induce uncontrollable laughter. There of people of all backgrounds at the Tea Parties. But even if an event is dominated by a certain race group, what does that prove? Similar to what Glenn Reynolds said earlier this month, if you look at a group of white folks and the first thought that pops into your head is “racists!” then you have some serious issues.
On Valentine’s Day, Reverend Billy Talen sponsored an “unMarriage event,” where he invited all couples to “unmarry” until everyone has the opportunity to marry whomever they want. As if that wasn’t enough, Talen wrote a charming article entitled, “Meditations Before the ‘UnMarriage Until Gay Marriage’” that was featured February 16 on The Huffington Post. His meditations included dividing people into categories such as “fear people,” “hate people,” and “the killer people.”
Talen attempted to equate opposition to gay marriage with violent behavior. He stated that, “Making marriage a gated community, is tantamount to violence. Marriage as a private club for heterosexuals – this is a kind of extortion. We should have long ago recognized the pain and suffering that comes from this social concoction. Reserving state-sanctioned love for certain approved citizens? This is the essential structure for racism, earth-death and war.”
If there was an award for the journalist least skeptical of the official reason Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has given for his decision to retire rather than seek reelection in November, I'd nominate Jonathan Alter for it.
For all you NBers looking for some uplifting morning comedy, head on over to Johnny Dollar's Place. He set some time aside yesterday to completely dismantle the rhetorical theater going on at News Hounds - a Fox News watchdog organization you've probably never heard of.
First came the Fox News Haters Week in Review at JD's Place. Then an incensed and factually-challenged response from News Hounds. Then followed a complete dissection and dismissal of the Fox haters' critiques and accusations. Dollar gives their truthfulness a 3.1 out of 10. Finally, the Hounds objected to some small point in the last paragraph of JD's retort (see update at link above), leading readers to believe that the rest was indisputable.
It's always fun to see the meta-watchdogs go at it. Keep up the great work, Johnny.
The liberal website Talking Points Memo continues to report on a bigoted individual who speciously claims to represent 6 million members of the Tea Party movement as a "leader."
In fact, he doesn't represent anyone but himself.
Readers can only infer from TPM's consistentcoverageofone Dale Robertson that the website is attempting to play up the most radical figure it can find who associates with the Tea Party movement. The website referred to Robertson today as a "prominent Tea Party leader" in the first sentence of a story headlined, "'Warning: Tea Party In Danger': Leader Slams Palin As 'Wolf In Sheep's Clothing.'"
But not only doesn't Robertson represent any faction of the movement, he has also been publicly and consistently rebuffed by a number of Tea Party groups who want nothing to do with his message. Even liberal blogs have noted the duplicity in associating him with the Tea Party movement.
The popular chain coffee shop, Starbucks, is known for a lot of things, but up until recently guns were not one of them. Some patrons of the Seattle-based coffee shop have recently started exercising their rights to carrying guns while they enjoy a cup of coffee. While the Starbucks customers have been expressing their right to bear arms, as allowed by the Second Amendment, there has been some resistant to Starbucks.
Liliana Segura, of AlterNet, painted a bleak picture and wrote, “So you're at your neighborhood Starbucks, maybe with your kids, and you notice a man sitting at the next table with a revolver strapped to his waist. The man next to him has a pistol. In fact, you realize as you look around, there's a table full of gun-toting customers just a few feet away, sipping coffee and doing nothing to conceal their deadly weapons. Aside from steering clear -- or else getting the hell out of there – what can an unarmed citizen do?”
Well, not much. (Except maybe relax and consider that the establishment you’re in is at the moment quite safe from armed robbery and other violent crime. Go ahead, buy Junior another triple mocha latte.) Thing is, Starbucks does “not have a corporate policy regarding customers and weapons,” according to a spokesman. Segura explained that some states, such as California, have an “open gun” policy and many people in California are gathering at Starbucks to openly exercise their rights.
Always beware when a liberal journalist praises a conservative. It's almost always for when said conservative (or in this case neoconservative Bill Kristol) says or does something that is or can be spun to be helpful to liberal Democrats.
Salon columnist Max Blumenthal continues to get flak for his slanderous, factually-challenged hit piece on conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe last week. The column, premised on a host of omissions and baseless assumptions, contended that O'Keefe's is a racist.
Blumenthal's latest critic is Columbia Journalism Review, Old Media's paragon of journalistic elitism. CJR has requested that he correct but one of the many errors that comprise his column.
But CJR really has a problem, it seems, that Blumenthal has given ammunition to critics who claim Old Media is rife with liberal bias. CJR contributor Greg Marx lamented that Blumenthal and other quasi-journalists, in ignoring facts to support their agendas,give "ready-made ammunition for that broader campaign."
Here's something you won't hear from the liberal media: that whole "birther" conspiracy movement? Yeah, that was started by a couple of Democrats, and neither is named Orly Taitz.
Their names, in fact, are Linda Starr and Philip Berg, according to John Avalon, author of the new book "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America" (just to clarify, he singles out "wingnuts" on both sides of the aisle). Both were die-hard supporters of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign.
Starr was cited as a source of the false documents that got disgraced CBS correspondent Dan Rather fired. Berg is an aggressive Pennsylvania attorney (and former Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General) who filed a lawsuit against former President George W. Bush in 2004 alleging he was complicit in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Does Arianna Huffington consider Glenn Beck more radical and dangerous than an advocate of Islamic Sharia law? She's let off a lot of hot air lately criticizing Fox News president Roger Ailes for employing Beck, but it turns out that on the Huffington Post's payroll is an envoy to the United States from the Somali Unity government, led by the Islamic Courts Union.
The ICU is a strong proponent of Sharia law, and an organization dubbed by some the Taliban of Africa for its radical interpretation of Islam and its support for some violent elements of the Islamic community (like Osama Bin Laden).
Abukar Arman, the Somali Unity government's envoy to the United States, is open about his advocacy of Sharia as long as it is "adapted to address contemporary political, social, economic, and spiritual challenges in a just way." He lays out a number conditions that would have to be satisfied for sharia to be effectively implemented in Somalia. These include respect for life, assembly, conscience, thought, rule of law, political freedom, and international peace. Considering the violent history of the Somali Unity government and he ICU, that is not likely.
Since Tea Party protests became an influential movement on the national scene last year, the left in general and the liberal media in particular have tried (unsuccessfully) to render it irrelevant in the eyes of the American people. By throwing around accusations of racism and dire warnings of impending violence, these pundits have tried, unsuccessfully to undermine the movement.
University of Virginia Professor Gerard Alexander explored this trend more generally in yesterday's Washington Post poses the question, pondering, "Why Are Liberals So Condescending?" In his column, Alexander details four types of condescension widespread among the far-left and omnipresent in its talking points. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all four have been employed by left-leaning journalists to bash the Tea Party movement.
"American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives," Alexander writes, "appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration."
Whatever your feelings about Sarah Palin or her politics, she literally represents the future of conservative messaging. She has shown the nation that a public figure who is absolutely reviled by the mainstream media can not only make a splash, but can dominate the public stage and attract the eyes and ears of the nation in ways almost no other figure can.
For the conservative movement, Palin represents a potential solution to the right's unending problem of a news media that consistently sides with the political opposition. She is the first public figure to utilize (and, in some cases, dominate) multiple media, including traditional (television, books) and new (Facebook, Twitter) media platforms. The sum of her efforts should be the model for conservative politicians and public figures going forward.
Palin reaches more Americans with a Facebook message (just under 1.3 million) than Keith Olbermann reaches during his 8 p.m. broadcast slot on MSNBC (roughly 1 million). Fox News now has plans to build a television studio in her home in Wasilla. Her recent book Going Rogue has spent 11 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list, and has netted her somewhere in the 8-figure range.
The sum of all this says a lot about Palin, but also about the tremendous power of the media platform she has built for herself (with the help of an intelligent and capable staff). She has gone from a political corpse to one of the most prolific and influential persons in the conservative movement in under a year.
While leftist networks like MSNBC try to associate the entire conservative movement with birthers and racists, liberals might want to ponder that consistent embarrassment known as the Daily Kos. On Saturday, "WinSmith" declared his outrage that the media would treat Republicans with civility, and the Stewarts and Colberts would merely mock them -- when they are destroying the country and want Obama dead (emphasis in the original):
Where are the pundits, the elected officials and the media voices to say one simple thing: the republican party has gone too far. That the primal scream of angry, hate filled, incoherent savagery on display is destroying the fabric of this country.
When the far-left finds a character to assassinate, it doesn't let facts get in the way. That, at least, is the lesson we can draw from the latest bout of liberal character assassination, this one aimed at James O'Keefe.
The slandering of his reputation has occurred mostly at Salon.com, the Village Voice, and an obscure hard-left organization called the One People's Project. Together, they have waged an all-out war on James O'Keefe's character by associating him with supposedly racist people and organizations. Just one problem: their claims are predicated on falsehoods, exaggerations, and assumptions (but mostly just falsehoods).
Max Blumenthal, who penned the Salon piece, and the stalwart non-journalists at OPP (the Village Voice, for its part, issued a mild retraction) alleged that O'Keefe had helped to organize a gathering of "anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism." They also claimed (and produced a cropped picture that could not possibly validate this claim) that O'Keefe had manned the literature table at the event.
Keith Olbermann's appeal has generally been his incendiary, attack-dog approach to the news. The approach paid off during the Bush administration when bashing the president was good business for a television host.
Since Obama's inauguration, Olbermann's ratings have been in free-fall, but MSNBC brass are still more than willing not only to keep him on the air, but to defend him against any and all critics.
Asked about Olbermann's plummeting ratings--they have declined 44 percent since last year--MSNBC President Phil Griffin cleverly invoked the cable network's slogan, saying MSNBC is still "the place for politics."
Griffin added, "there are times when politics does great, and there are times when it doesn't." Apparently there are also times when it does great on Fox, but not on MSNBC, like, say, right now. Ratings for the "O'Reilly Factor", Olbermann's 8 p.m. competition, have soared 55 percent during the past year, making it by far the most watched cable news show during that time slot. "Countdown", meanwhile, languishes just behind HLN's Nancy Grace in the coveted 25-54 demographic.
Rick Santelli is the star of perhaps the most politically consequential online video, viral to the extreme, of the past year (right). On February 19, 2009 he let loose on the Obama administration's economic policies on CNBC's "Squawk Box", calling for a "tea party", and inspiring millions of Americans to speak out against what he and many others see as collectivist economics policies pursued by the President and Congress..
“That was spontaneous, absolutely,” he said in an interview with the Daily Caller. “It was also from the heart, and I had no idea of the direction it would take or the response it would get.”
Almost a year later, Santelli is widely seen as the godfather of a large political coalition that, according to some polls, rivals the two major parties in popularity. The Tea Party protesters staged 48 simultaneous protests on tax day last year, a rally on the lawn of the Capitol with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of attendees, and will hold its own convention this week, with Sarah Palin giving the keynote address.
Update - 2/4, 11:46 AM | Lachlan Markay: CBS News President Sean McManus has denied that the network will cut Couric's pay. Details below.
Katie Couric may be getting a taste of her own populist medicine. When the Dow hit 10,000 last October, she (and other network news personalities) used the opportunity to bemoan massive payments to Wall Street bankers. But now the populist sentiment has turned on her. She faces dramatic pay cuts as CBS News downsizes.
Couric, shown in a, er, file photo at right, "makes enough to pay 200 news reporters $75,000 a year! It's complete insanity," one CBS News insider told the Drudge Report. "We report with great enthusiasm how much bankers are making, how it is out of step with reality during a recession. Well look at Katie!"
The employee was referring to Couric's roughly $14 million annual salary, the highest in network news. That salary may be cut dramatically in the face of massive layoffs at CBS News branches in Washington, San Francisco, Miami, London, Los Angeles and Moscow.
How can journalists possibly claim to be "objective" (in the Old Media, I-have-no-opinions sense of the term) when they get their news only from hyper-partisan sources on one side of the political spectrum? To do so should make any reporter blush.
But David Shuster, apparently, has no issue with undertaking such objective journalistic endeavors as "fact checking and analyzing", while gathering information from the left's most prominent online talking-point repositories.
Not content with simply relaying those talking points to his viewers, he makes sure to direct them (via Twitter) to websites where they can get their fills of the latest lefty banter. Johnny Dollar took the liberty of compiling a chart of the sites to which Shuster directed his Twitter followers throughout the month of January. The results are striking:
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs put the New York Times at the center of the ceremonious unveiling of his company's iPad tablet device, the implication was clear: this is the future of the news--or at least Jobs wants us to think it is. He stands to gain not only financially but politically as Apple becomes a major gatekeeper for information.
The news media industry itself is divided on whether e-readers like the iPad and the Amazon Kindle can revitalize the news business. Newspaper sales are, after all, at historial lows. Over 90 newspapers failed last year.
While there are scores of competing theories for why newspapers (and books to a lesser extent) are seemingly on the decline, a prominent and plausible one seems to be that they have lost control of their content. Aggregators like Google News have provided news consumers with faster, more reliable sources for news. The proliferation of the blogosphere has loosened Old Media's grip on that news.
A spokesperson for MSNBC told Politico today that the channel's brass has reprimanded David Shuster for derisive tweets he directed at James O'Keefe Tuesday. Within hours, he had retracted portions of his tweeted comments on air during an interview with Andrew Breitbart.
This humble blogger documented the Twitter exchange yesterday, and pointed out that Shuster was much quicker to assume O'Keefe's guilt than he was the guilt of Major Nidal Hasan, the shooter at Fort Hood.
“The comments were inappropriate. We have talked to David about them," said the MSNBC spokesperson, referring to a series of tweets that included this one: "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison."
Shuster retracted his accusation that O'Keefe had attempted to tap the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's office on his show this afternoon after Breitbart blasted Shuster for his false accusations.
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people.
Brad Smith at National Review Online has already delivered the definitive debunking of the president's statement, while offering two choices as to what that statement represents. Whichever it is (I pick "demagoguery"), the fact that Obama could even have the nerve to make such a statement exemplifies how establishment media-enabled negligence enables over-the-top political chutzpah.
Update - 1/28, 10:25 AM | Lachlan Markay: Law enforcement officials have clarified that O'Keefe is not being charged with an attempt to wiretap phones. Will Shuster issue a retraction?
It's often said that bias shows through in what journalists decide to cover or not cover. So it was telling when Politico's Michael Calderone tweeted today, "@DavidShuster just said he's off to New Orleans to report on the O'Keefe arrest." "He's giddy," added Mediaite's Steve Krakauer.
Shuster's Twitter account, meanwhile, was lighting up with scorn for activist filmmaker James O'Keefe, who was arrested yesterday after an alleged attempt to tamper with phone lines in an office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). After O'Keefe tweeted, "I am a journalist and the truth will set me free" yesterday, Shuster responded: "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison."
So Shuster is personally invested in O'Keefe's fate and convinced not only that he tried to tap Sen. Landrieau's phones--a contention that the affidavit does not support, not that that has stopped others in the mainstream media from reporting it as fact--but that he is, without a doubt, guilty.