At Media Bistro on Friday, Gail Shister transcribed Jonathan Klein's post-mortem spin on why he was let go from CNN/US. You see, Klein's problem was that he "was unable to stop the prime-time bleeding with non-partisan programming."
If there is an example of anyone who has overseen a bigger audience decline and loss of competitive position and survived so long, I don't know who he or she is. Fox News, which first passed CNN in total viewers in January 2002 (interesting how this basic factoid is not at Fox's Wiki entry), now routinely trounces CNN and CNN Headline combined by a factor of 1.5 to 1 or more. On Thursday, Fox's primetime audience of 574,000 was 75% greater than the CNN pair's combined total of 329,000.
But before he arrived at CNN to do his damage, Klein inadvertently did the nation a service.
When the Republican Party launched a new website in October of last year, they had some serious problems with the new site. The media ate it up.
Within a few days, media outlets ranging from Politico to "The Daily Show" to the Huffington Post to the Christian Science Monitor - and, of course, a host of liberal blogs - had weighed in on the website's problems. Their commentaries mostly took the form of mockery.
Last week, the Democratic Party launched a new site of its own. It too had some major bugs in the hours after it went live. The media's response: crickets.
The following clip aired on the Daily Show on October 15, two days after the GOP's site launched:
Newsweek's Ben Adler is decidedly cool to the newly-unveiled Republican "Pledge with America." No surprise there, coming from a liberal journalist. But among his criticisms, perhaps he's most off-base in his complaint about Republicans' promise to ensure that legislation must be constitutional before it is passed along to the president for his signature (emphasis mine):
Not so harmless, however, is the promise to require every bill to be certified as constitutional before it is voted on. We have a mechanism for assessing the constitutionality of legislation, which is the independent judiciary. An extraconstitutional attempt to limit the powers of Congress is dangerous even as a mere suggestion, and it constitutes an encroachment on the judiciary.
In those three sentences, Adler betrays both his ignorance of the U.S. Constitution and its imperative on all members of all three branches of government to uphold the Constitution's limits on federal power.
In his 7-question September 22 Q&A with Markos Moulitsas, Time magazine's Ishaan Tharoor timidly challenged the left-wing blogger on his extremist rhetoric about how conservative Americans, particularly religious ones, are the "American Taliban."
Moulitsas was interviewed as part of his publicity tour for his new book, "American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right" which "takes aim at what Moulitsas thinks is animating this right-wing revival," Tharoor noted. "You refer to a whole swath of U.S. conservatives as American Taliban. Is that really helpful?" Tharoor began meekly. Moulitsas, of course, cranked it up to eleven and let loose with a boilerplate screed about how evil and subversive American conservatives are:
After going through a litany of Levin's alleged indiscretions against O'Donnell detractors, Sullivan argues that his so-called "conservative" counterparts had it coming since Levin had been so critical of the pseudo-intellectuals that have masqueraded as conservatives over the years.
As liberals tumble over each other extending apologies to Muslims for any American that would even whisper idly about burning a Koran, they should start apologizing for the Daily Kos. On Friday night came a plea from the atheist blogger "qinkilla" to burn all the religious texts, to keep people warm:
I am fine with the Koran being burnt, but only if the Bible and the Torah and any other religious document is included in the prodigious torching. If you've watched the Denzel Washington movie "The Book of Eli" you'd probably think that a braille copy of the Bible could save humanity. Well, in this country, we've got one of 'em in just about every hotel and motel room - and things just aren't getting better.
I believe sans religion, we'll all be better off....So here's my plan. We spend the next month gathering up all the religious documents in the world -- after all, it's time to let the invisible man go - and we allocate them to cold places, so they can be burned for a good cause...heat.
Snatching the proverbial low-hanging fruit off the branch, Arianna Huffington compared the vast majority of Americans who oppose the construction of a mosque close to Ground Zero to the thirty members of a Florida church who plan to burn copies of the Koran on 9/11. Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" today, the liberal publisher criticized the president for not echoing her logical fallacy.
"I think the point [President Barack Obama] could have made is to connect [Koran burning] with the opposition of the mosque," asserted Huffington, publisher of The Huffington Post. "You can't really completely separate these things."
Huffington then attempted to pass off circular logic as a "teachable moment:"
Taking in the current furor over the tiny-church-of-Koran-bonfires story, The Washington Post front page today strangely suggested "Debate may drown out quite 9/11 reflections," with "post-attack unity lost." Does anyone remember any 9/11 anniversaries after the first one that were all about "unity" and were free of partisanship?
The blog Daily Kos was lobbing bombs at "right-wing white guys" Wednesday. In her praise of the new book-length rant "American Taliban" by top Kosmonaut Markos Moutlisas, "Hippie grandmother" Jane Stillwater pleaded, "Right-Wing white guys, it's time for you to stop acting like General Custer."
You have no idea how lucky we are that this tactic of "bringing the war home" has not happened in America except only once so far. We have been just plain LUCKY so far -- that Middle Easterners, Latin Americans, Africans and Asians haven't dragged any more of Eisenhower's or Johnson's or Nixon's or Reagan's or Bush's or Obama's wars out of the streets of cities like Saigon, Mogadishu, Gaza, San Salvador, East Timor, Santiago, Shanghai, Baghdad, Tehran, Brazzaville, Port-au-Prince and Kabul and into the streets of our American cities.
We have been very lucky that, so far, we have only suffered just one 9-11 -- when you consider the many past decades of America's habitual and continual shabby treatment of "Others" all over the world.
The folks at the far-left Nation Magazine have finally figured out the problem that continues to plague the American education system: it's dominated by right-wingers!
A spokesman for the Nation whined to the Daily Caller's Chris Moody about a supposed "tendency for classes to exclude progressive ideas and viewpoints." Most people who have ever set foot in a classroom are now scratching their heads in confusion.
"The real idea behind it is to bring the left perspective to issues to make sure students have both left and right available to them," the Nation's Vice President of Circulation Art Stupar told TheDC. "This is an opportunity for students to view what the progressive left thinks about a particular issue."
Looks like the Huffington Post is buying into the “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation” meme this election cycle, based on a story out today.
The HuffPo item is by Liz Sidoti. But Sidoti is a national politics writer for the Associated Press, and what Holt really read was what AP would like us to believe is a supposedly "objective" analysis of the electoral situation in Ohio right off the wire. Word for word, the item at HuffPo is the same dispatch as found at the AP's main site. The only clue as to its origin, which Holt missed (and it's easy to see how), is the teeny-tiny AP logo where Sidoti's byline appears.
In other words, Sidoti's stridency and Democrat-sympathetic viewpoint are so obvious that she passes the HuffPo zealotry test.
Here are some examples of how Sidoti "successfully" came off as a budding HuffPo pundit:
In a short item about a Democratic Governors Association election complaint about Ohio GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich, the Associated Press's Julie Carr Smyth showed that she is willfully ignoring Buckeye State reality, or has been living a hermit's existence for the past few months.
In describing Kasich's standing against Democratic incumbent governor Ted Strickland, Smyth claimed that Kasich "is keeping pace with Strickland in polls and fundraising" (a picture of the relevant paragraph is here).
As you can see, that's sort of like a baseball writer claiming that "The Cincinnati Reds are keeping pace with the Chicago Cubs this year":
One failure of logic is to generalize from the anecdotal to the whole. Conservatives, who know rules of logic -- we have Thomas Sowell after all (see what I did there?) -- understand this. So, when it comes to rhetorical arguments or situations where some weirdo commits some random badness, they tend to blame...well, the perpetrator. It's also just fundamental fairness.
The left, in contrast, has spent the last year and half trying to pin every act of terrorism and evil on the vast, white, racist, homophobic, bigoted Tea Party. They do it without shame. They impugn, malign and besmirch repeatedly. Best Tea Party sign? "You'll say I'm racist anyway."
Lefties generalize from anecdotes unless the crazy person is one of their own (and yes, that was just a generalization). Then, of course, the crazy is an "outlier". He's a depraved individual. And often, there are compelling reasons for the outburst. Those compelling reasons demand more examination. And upon examination, well, it turns out the context is complex and nuanced.
Enter the Discovery Building bomber-hostage taker-gun nut. The blogger Atrios was quick to point out that the guy with a clear eco-terrorist bent was just a "crazy individual".
In an August 28 online column, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter ripped into Fox News and conservative Republican leaders for painting Barack Obama as a closet Muslim and potentially a foreign-born person illegible to hold the office of the presidency.
But while he tarred the Left's usual bogeymen with the specious charges, Alter failed to produce documented evidence of any instance in which any mainstream conservative Republican leader or Fox News talent specifically charged that President Obama is either a Muslim or was not born in the United States.
Instead the Newsweek veteran resorted to an all-too-typical refuge: insisting that conservative opinion leaders speak in some sort of "coded language" which apparently their followers understand instinctively and only enlightened liberals like Alter can see through as a cleverly-deployed Jedi mind trick:
For centuries, theological seminaries minted trained and licensed ministers of their respective religious traditions. They took seriously their creedal and confessional commitments to their respective faiths and denominations. While comparative theology may have been taught, it was with a view to understand and critically evaluate them as rival truth claims, not equally valid truthful claims. But those dark, backwards days may be behind us if Claremont School of Theology successfully paves the way.
Dias's 10-paragraph-long August 22 article portrayed Claremont president Jerry Campbell as a "classic American" entrepreneur who took a novel approach to the school's "low enrollment and in-the-red" balance sheet: "end isolated clerical training" by "bring[ing] toegether Claremont, the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC) and the Academy for Jewish Religion California."
Of course, religious training deals in matters of eternal verities, not marketplace commodities, so that sort of approach is unwise, religious conservatives would argue. Yet Dias excluded any dissent from her examination into the newly inclusive Methodist seminary.
It was inevitable that someone with enough time on their hands would compile a list of the best viral campaign video ads of 2010. There sure have been some doozies this year, so I can't fault Time magazine for including hits like "Demon Sheep" and the Dale Peterson ad in their top 20 list.
That said, of the 15 Republican ads in the list, most were panned by Time staffers. By contrast, two Democrats' ads -- Rep. Tom Perreillo (Va.) and Sen. Pat Leahy (Vt.) primary opponent Dan Freilich -- were panned, yet neither candidate's Democratic affiliation was mentioned in the blurbs about the ads.
Time magazine's Joe Klein yesterday did what he does best: take one paragraph from a neoconservative's column and blow it out of proportion and out of context in order to go on an extended screed bashing conservatives in general and neocons in particular.
Writing for his magazine's Swampland blog yesterday, Klein addressed Bill Kristol's editorial for the August 30 Weekly Standard print edition entitled, "He's No Muslim, He's a Progressive."
Klein started off with a backhanded compliment:
Well, it's good to learn that there are limits to Bill Kristol's tactical skeevery. He clearly states here that Barack Obama is not a Muslim. No winks, no nods, no gratuitous McConnellesque "If he says he's not, that's okay with me."
With that out of the way, Klein dove into his screed:
Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod says she will meet Tuesday with agriculture secretary
Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA rural development director for Georgia, said today she plans to meet Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss a new job offer.
... Sherrod today spoke in the Sumter County town of Epes at an event hosted by the Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. Ben Jealous, executive director of the NAACP, shared the stage with Sherrod during a panel discussion.
Sherrod said she had no ill feelings toward the NAACP or President Barack Obama.
It the meeting does indeed occur, it will be an interesting test of establishment media credibility, given the accusations leveled at Ms. Sherrod and her husband Charles by Ron Wilkins at the leftist publication Counterpunch several weeks ago. Here are some of the specifics:
Back in September 2008, MSNBC's Chris Matthews floated a specious allegation that then-Governor Sarah Palin had ties to an advocate of Alaskan secession named Joe Vogler. Although the charge was roundly discredited, it was one of the many early attempts to smear Palin as a wacky extremist.
Two years later, it appears at least one writer for a liberal magazine thinks Alaskan secession would be a fun little topic to bat around the Web.
Grossman explained that the comparison stems from conservatives who pointed out an incident in the early 1990s when Pope John Paul II halted a planned convent near the Auschwitz concentration camp. The nuns had every right to build the convent, but it was unwise and insensitive to do so, leading the pontiff to scrap the plan. By way of analogy, Muslims have every right to build a mosque near Ground Zero, but the insensitivity of doing so blocks from the site of the deadliest radical Islamic terror attack in U.S. history should lead Muslim leaders to call for the project to be scrapped.
But Grossman then went on to quote two liberals who reject the Auschwitz analogy as invalid before she conflated the Ground Zero mosque issue with isolated incidents across the country where other folks are raising NIMBY objections to mosques in their hometowns (emphasis Grossman's):
In a Swampland blog post this morning entitled, "Something I Didn't Know," Time magazine's Joe Klein pointed to a New York Times article that noted the existence of two mosques "already within several blocks of the proposed [Islamic] center."
But while other folks might draw the conclusion that building an additional mosque just blocks from Ground Zero is a needless exercise in dividing New Yorkers over a highly sensitive matter, Klein ran in the exact opposite direction, suggesting that logical consistency would compel mosque opponent Newt Gingrich to want to "close those suckers down"?
"[T]his is further evidence of the true nature of this squabble: a particularly sleazy form of Nativist electoral politics," Klein insisted. [click here for a related post by Brent Baker]
How dense and forgetful does Newsweek think socially conservative voters are?
Apparently so much so that the magazine's Ben Adler predicts yesterday's stay on Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling permitting same-sex marriages in California will blunt the hopes Republicans have of social conservatives coming out in force on Election Day to help push the GOP to victory in the midterms on Election Day.
Social conservatives were set to use the images of gay couples getting married in California as grist to motivate their base to turn out in the midterm elections. Republicans look certain to gain seats in both Houses of Congress in November, as opposition parties typically do during midterms. Whether they will pull the inside straight they need to take over either, or both, the House and Senate, will depend on any number of factors, but turnout is sure to be one of them.
Further, Adler maintained, because "the Democrats have not done much to invite images of an American Gomorrah" what with President Obama moving "very gingerly" and tentatively on issues like repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," social conservatives need the visual impact of gay and lesbian couples at the altar this fall to incense social conservatives and drive them like angry hornets to the ballot box.
Numerous conservative radio talk show hosts across the fruited plain are dedicated fans of NewsBusters and mention our site or otherwise direct their listeners to our content day after day.
Some of them have told us that our site is invaluable to their show prep, which is quite the honor for us as the blogosphere and talk radio are the primary media outlets conservatives have to challenge the liberal bias of the mainstream media.
So today we thought we'd share the kind words and warm wishes of three local conservative radio hosts: Fred Grandy and Chris Plante of Washington, D.C.'s WMAL, 630-AM and Rob Port, a blogger from North Dakota who hosts the early morning show on Fargo's WZFG 1100-AM.
You can listen to the testimonials by clicking on the logos for the respective stations.
Here's another item for Bill Press and his ridiculous conceit that left-wingers are so much more civil than the "toxic talk" being emitted on right-wing radio. The Daily Kos blog now features a vicious, profanity-polluted blog post by "Brainspank" attacking Rush Limbaugh with the less-than-charming title the "Human S---smear." He attacks Limbaugh for spreading an idiocy infection to "oxygen-starved brains" in the Tea Party:
If you listen to this guy and you believe a single word he says, you’re an idiot. A lost cause. I’m not talking to you and I’m not writing this for your benefit. You are proof of the 1/4 paradigm. Common sense and logic are lost on you. The 1/4 paradigm are those that still supported Nixon after he was forced to resign. The 25% percent who still believed in the idiot Dumbya when he left office and the rest of us in a s--tstorm. You people are incurably stupid. You still think Jesus Christ will be here to save you personally before you die. I’m not talking to you. As far as I’m concerned, you people are worthless human stains who’s only potential contribution to anything at all would be polluting the gene pool.
While Newsweek's David Graham is hard at work defending President Obama's summertime leisure -- "A Short History of Presidential Vacation Outrage" -- by insisting that the press corps always complains about any president's vacation habits, it's instructive that he failed to indict his own magazine.
"War on terrorism stalled, economy on precipice, time for a month on the Crawford ranch."
Accompanied by a disapproving down arrow, that's how the August 5, 2002 Newsweek feature "Conventional Wisdom" derided President Bush's working vacation a mere three months before midterm elections in his first term.
Elsewhere in Newsweek's coverage at the time, writers put the term working vacation into derisive quote marks, and otherwise presented President Bush's time away from Washington, including a quasi-campaign swing called the "Heartland Tour," as a nakedly political move to bolster his sagging approval numbers.
From Martha Brant's August 7 "Web exclusive" entitled "Look Who's Back":
Matt brings up two pieces of evidence: Matt Yglesias saying that lying is okay was one distressing example. Well, duh. Yglesias is a liberal and I have yet to read a liberal blogger who doesn't believe the ends justify the means. There is no true objective truth, after all. And, really, lying is fine, if a greater truth is served yada yada. This is not new. Nor is it shocking. Everything from science (Al Gore and global warming) to social science (single mothering is as good as dual-parent families) to religion (Christianists!) to media coverage is manipulated to serve the statist i.e. Democratic good. And to make the arguments, lying isn't just recommended, it's necessary.
It's bad enough that the Daily Kos posts outrageous claims like “the 9/11 attacks were horrific, but they were more about optics than actual harm.” When bizarre sentences like these are exposed, then the exposers are accused of being enemies of “meaningful dialogue.” What is meaningful in telling the families of the victims of 9/11 that their losses were more “optics” than “actual harm”? But that's how the blogger "Something the Dog Said" tried to defend himself against my post on NewsBusters:
Mr. Graham is using the quotes from my posts that are most likely to confirm his readers prejudice against the Left and Daily Kos. By doing so he makes sure there can be no meaningful dialog between the Right and Left.