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.
Building on Brad Wilmouth's critique at NewsBusters of Keith Olbermann's disgraceful treatment of Scott Brown's U.S. Senate victory in Massachusetts, Johnny Dollar (HT Taxman Blog) measured the coverage of the victory/concession speeches of Brown and his opponent Martha (or is it Marcia?) Coakley.
Imagine my non-surprise when I saw the results (graph follows the jump):
During Tuesday night's coverage of the Massachusetts special election, CNN and MSNBC aired only a fraction of the Republican candidate's speech. Fox News Channel aired both candidates' speeches in their entirety.
.... CNN only ran 26% of Brown's speech, while MSNBC aired 37%. Fox News Channel carried 100% of both speeches:
A distinction is often made between the violent and non-violent members of this "movement." The government, the media, and the activists are careful to point out that the Scott Roeders and Paul Hills of the world are rare. Most of the activists just want to "inform" women about their options. Most of the activists care about preserving all life, including the lives of the providers and women.
Updated [14:30 EST, see bottom of post]: Nearly 6-out-of-10 young adults are pro-life a new survey finds.
Every January, hundreds if not thousands of busloads teeming with teenagers and college students, many of them young women, descend on the nation's capital for the annual March for Life.
But if one were to believe Newsweek's Krista Gesaman, the March is an aging senior citizen affair that is hurting for attendance by young women (emphasis mine):
Today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, and droves of women are prepared to face rainy weather to support their positions during the annual Washington, D.C., demonstrations. But there will be one major difference with the demonstration route this year—it’s shorter.
“The organizers are getting older, and it’s more difficult for them to walk a long distance,” says Stanley Radzilowski, an officer in the planning unit for the Washington, D.C., police department. A majority of the participants are in their 60s and were the original pioneers either for or against the case, he says.
So this raises the question: where are the young, vibrant women supporting their pro-life or pro-choice positions? Likely, they’re at home.
At this point, Gesaman turned to a feminist professor from the University of Maryland who sees an equal lack of energy among young pro-choice and pro-life women:
Air America, the progressive talk radio network, said Thursday that it would cease broadcasting immediately, bowing to what it called a “very difficult economic environment.”
“It is with the greatest regret, on behalf of our Board, that we must announce that Air America Media is ceasing its live programming operations as of this afternoon, and that the Company will file soon under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business,” the chair of Air America Media, Charlie Kireker, said in a memorandum.
As a probable Coakley loss became apparent over the past few days, the liberal excuse machine has been gearing up to spin away as much as it can to dismiss a Scott Brown victory as inconsequential to the national political climate, despite the crucial nature of the seat to a Democratic super-majority.
It is a strange paradigm among much of the mainstream media that plummeting poll numbers are of far greater import for Republicans than they are for Democrats. That, at least, is the logical conclusion of the relative silence of major media outlets on the steep decline in President Obama's poll numbers compared with the decline in President Bush's.
According to an Allstate/National Journal poll released Wednesday, 50 percent of Americans would vote against President Obama if the presidential elections were held today. Only 39 percent say they would vote to re-elect the president.
But so far, this stunning development--given the President's sky-high approval ratings upon entering office--has gone seemingly unnoticed by the major television networks and most prominent print publications. Aside from some prominent blogs (whose coverage is by no means substandard), the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Washington Examiner are so far the only major outlets to report on the poll, according to a google news search (as of 2:00 PM).
Today, Roger Alford and Bruce Schreiner of the Associated Press, reporting from Frankfort, KY, are giving leftist bloggers, columnists, journalists who assumed or gave the impression of assuming that the death of Census worker Bill Sparkman was some kind of right-wing hit job another chance to come clean with an unconditional "I was wrong, I amy sorry." The list of those needing to post corrections and apologies includes the Associated Press itself.
You see, not only is it crystal clear that Sparkman (may he rest in peace) indeed killed himself, Alford and Schreiner tell us that he told a friend of his plans:
Jan 15, 6:09 PM EST
Police: Ky. census worker had told of suicide plan
An eastern Kentucky census worker found naked, bound and hanging from a tree had told a friend he intended to kill himself and that he had chosen the time, place and method to do it, police records show.
Lamenting how Nancy Pelosi's archbishop has "slap[ped] her down," in an online statement addressing the House Speaker's excuse-making for her pro-abortion record, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift used a January 15 Gaggle blog post to praise Pelosi, no stranger to pastoral rebuke, as both a good pro-choice Democrat and a good Catholic:
It's anybody's guess whether in the new world of Internet media the archbishop's online commentary rebuking Pelosi falls under his pastoral duties, or public advocacy. Either way, Pelosi remains unshaken in her views, and in her Catholic faith.
"Free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom."
Yet Clift left out another key excerpt from Neiderauer's "archbishop's journal" column (emphasis mine):
Andy Barr at Politico shamelessly slanted the fuss over Haiti hot talk on Friday, insisting it was only about Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh, and slamming NewsBusters as one of the "very few" sites defending Rush’s Haiti commentary.
The story was featured on the Yahoo! home page on Friday with a picture of Limbaugh and the headline "Limbaugh criticized." Barr insisted:
John Amato from the left-leaning website Crooks and Liars added that "with thousands of people dead already and as the suffering continues in Haiti, Limbaugh and his ilk only care about one thing: destroying Obama."
The conservative media watchdog site Newsbusters stepped up to defend Limbaugh, saying his comments were not put in proper context, but very few others are backing the conservative firebrand’s latest controversial remarks.
Yet that's exactly how Huffington Post religion editor and ordained American Baptist minister Paul Raushenbush went off on Pat Robertson for his controversial "pact with the devil" remarks about this week's devastating Haitian earthquake in a January 13 blog post:
Haiti is suffering, and the only response from Christians and other decent human beings is compassion, love, and all the concrete support we can supply. [...] Instead, Pat Robertson opined on his TV show, the 700 Club that this happened because, in order to gain liberty from the French, Haiti (read: black people) made a pact with the Devil. [...] Go to Hell, Pat Robertson -- and the sooner the better. Your 'theological' nonsense is revolting. Don't speak for Haiti, and don't speak for God...
"Radical cleric" is a term many news outlets, including the Associated Press, have used to describe Islamic clerics who encourage and/or train radical Muslims for jihad against civilians in the West. Case in point: Anwar al Awlaki, who reportedly inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan's shooting spree.
But a commenter on Time magazine's Swampland blog seems to have convinced writer Karen Tumulty that the term is appropriate to apply to Pat Robertson, given his loopy pronouncement that a long-ago "pact with the devil" made by Haiti has cursed the Caribbean nation and resulted in yesterday's devastating earthquake:
Regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are accustomed by now to the verbal battles that ensue when Stewart brings conservative guests on his show. The guests usually leave with a bit of egg on their faces, and Stewart comes off as the hard hitting, divisive and sarcastic critic.
But viewers were treated to a rare dose of sincerity and intelligent debate on Monday, when Stewart hosted former legal counsel for the Bush Justice Department John Yoo. Following up on what was a meaningful and intelligent interview Monday night, Stewart apologized to his audience on Tuesday for not being his usual cutthroat self, and daring to discuss issues in a civilized tone.
Yoo and Stewart duked it out for almost 30 minutes (videos below the fold), but the host did not manage to get the better of Yoo, who is now infamous among liberal circles for writing the legal briefs justifying expanded executive powers to combat terrorism under the previous administration.
Stewart ended the segment with a very uncharacteristic--given his tendency to demonize conservatives--call for civility in the public discourse (brief partial transcript after videos):
What's up with Keith Olbermann's strange obsession with STDs? A few months ago, the Countdown host invoked "syphilis" in slurring Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Olbermann had venereal disease on the noggin again tonight . . .
Trying to trash Tucker Carlson for accepting sponsorship for his new Daily Caller website, Olbermann suggested that, for money, Carlson might consider endorsing "gonorrhea."
Olbermann indulged his odd obsession in the course of naming his quondam MSNBC colleague tonight's "Worser" person in the world.
In it, he clearly delineates the difference between "the news" as establishment media outlets want it dispensed and the "market for information" that technology has created. Its only shortcoming is that he gives Arianna Huffington a pass for "coming to the table as an honest broker." I'll point out glaring examples that will disprove that notion later.
First, though, behold the beauty of Breitbart's treatment of the issue of "objectivity" and his clear statement relating to the two types of information choices we have:
The launch of the Daily Caller is a necessary step toward creating ideological parity in the all-too-clearly biased mainstream media. It is a good thing that you, Tucker, are admitting that you come to the table with certain ideological baggage, and my new site Big Journalism will be there to watch your back when the well-funded, organized left’s knives come out to try to discredit and attempt to destroy you. Believe me, they will.
While he conceded that liberal labor unions, particularly "reactionary" teachers unions have had a role in California's fiscal mess, Time columnist and blogger Joe Klein placed the lion's share of the Golden State's woes on conservatives who have pushed for lower taxes.
Upset that conservative writer George Will had chalked up "all that is wrong in California at liberalism's doorstep," Klein used a January 10 Swampland blog post to slam the columnist for failing to assign any blame on the 1978 property tax-limiting Proposition 13 and the resulting "public pathology that we've inherited from the Reagan Era" whereby "the public wants a modified welfare state, excellent schools, a clean environment, low college tuitions...but it's not willing to pay for them."
On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office issued its Monthly Budget Review for December 2009. It estimates that December's federal deficit will be $92 billion when the Treasury Department releases its Monthly Treasury Statement on Wednesday, and that the deficit for the first fiscal quarter will be "about $390 billion." The CBO director's related blog post is here. The establishment press has virtually ignored it.
Here is the initial result of a Google News search on "CBO deficit" (not in quotes) for articles relating to the Congressional Budget Office's Thursday estimate of the federal government's deficit for the first quarter of its fiscal year:
Clicking on the "all 10 new articles" reveals that there are really only four results, that three of them are at blogs, and that only one of the blog posts is from an establishment media site:
On his radio show Friday, Rush Limbaugh expressed frustration with how the Obama administration’s economic policies are designed to squelch economic recovery: "This government is governing against its own citizens. This president and his party are governing against us. We are at war with our own President, we are at war with our own government. They’re the ones standing in the way of the private sector rebounding. They’re the ones standing in the way of job creation – purposely!"
But in the hyperbolic imaginations of the bloggers at Daily Kos, this is a call for violent revolution and harming President Obama. So wrote Lauren Monica:
Today, on his radio show, The Head of the Republican Party is officially asking His Dittoheads to harm the President of the United States and other Dems Leaders in Congress. He said "We are at war with our own President, we are at war with our own government". Translation, Mr Limbaugh just had committed treason by calling for a "violent" revolt (with the use of the word "War") against the President Of The United States.