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.
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: