On Friday’s "Good Morning America," for the fourth time this year, the ABC program skewered America for not being generous with paid leave and openly lobbied viewers to support a Democratic, big government initiative. After lumping the U.S. in with countries such as Liberia and Lesotho, as being one of only five countries that don’t provide paid maternity leave, GMA contributor Tory Johnson appeared with Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd to promote his legislation.
"First and most important is to make your voice heard, Johnson exclaimed. Openly advocating this government expansion, she added, "On the GMA website, we have links to all the senators’ and congressmen’s offices. Call them. E-mail them. Let them know where you stand." Would GMA promote legislation for family friendly television that a Republican presidential candidate was sponsoring? Also, there was almost no mention of the expensive cost of providing eight weeks of paid maternity leave and how that would effect the U.S. taxpayer. Instead, co-host Robin Roberts mentioned that unpaid leave is already available and wondered, "What's stopping the government from making the law truly family friendly?" Johnson alternatively described paid leave as "government’s relief" and "great benefits" without much consideration of where these "benefits" are coming from.
Cooper joins other members of the mainstream media who are "featured attendees" at this year’s "Clinton Global Initiative" annual meeting, including Daljit Dhaliwal of PBS; Nicholas Kristof and George Suroweicki of the New York Times; Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, and former (current?) Clinton lackey George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. Major media executives attending the meeting include Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks; Rupert Murdoch; and Ted Turner.
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," ABC host George Stephanopoulos provided another example of the close relationship that the "This Week" host has with Bill and Hillary Clinton. After playing a debate clip of the New York Senator publicly disagreeing with her husband over a question about torture, Stephanopoulos revealed to co-host Robin Roberts, "My e-mail started going off the minute after that exchange happened. All the Clinton people."
Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, explained that Mrs. Clinton’s operatives "were thrilled" with the retort and "they like any moment where she can show that, actually, she's the one in charge. He's not pulling the strings." In other words, the Clinton camp e-mailed the ABC anchor, told him the debate moment they most appreciated and Stephanopoulos dutifully highlighted it the next day on "Good Morning America." This isn’t the first time the veteran journalist has touted his continuing ties to the Clintons. In March of 2005, he boasted to (then) MSNBC host Don Imus that he talked with liberal political operative James Carville "every day."
On Monday’s "Nightline," co-anchor Terry Moran spent almost the entire 30 minute program gushing over Bush-bashing rapper Kanye West. The ABC host asserted that West’s 2005 comment that "George Bush doesn’t care about black people" turned West "into a cultural force to be reckoned with" and extolled the "complex and thoughtful pop star." Moran even opened the program by asking, "What went through [West's] mind when he blasted the President in the wake of Katrina?" The co-anchor breathlessly wondered, "Would he say it again?"
Moran could hardly be more effusive in his adulation for the rapper. During the course of the program, he rhapsodized that West "is more than merely popular. He's a very interesting figure on the cultural landscape, a complex icon of music and style." Dropping all pretext of objectivity, Moran lauded the performer, who essentially called President Bush a racist, as "a shrewd and self-reflective observer of America's racial politics" and someone who has "got a lot to say." The ABC host briefly played music critic and marveled at West’s "complex and intricate rap lyrics." It’s probably not surprising that, during a discussion over whether the rapper is boastful, Westcomplimented Moran as "definitely one of the better reporters who have interviewed me."
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program once again demonstrated the template for GOP figures to receive air time: Trash your fellow Republicans. GMA featured former Congressman J.C. Watts questioning whether top 2008 GOP presidential candidates are racist for skipping a PBS debate on minority issues. Continuing the theme, co-host Robin Roberts asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, "...Why are Republicans so reluctant to talk to minorities?"
In a piece setting up the Gingrich interview, Roberts intoned that the absence of Republican front-runners at the event is "raising questions about the message it sends to some voters." GMA co-host Diane Sawyer teased the segment by not-so-subtlety asking, "...Are the Republican candidates snubbing minority events?" Roberts and Sawyer never bothered to mention that Thursday’s PBS debate will be moderated by liberal host Tavis Smiley who, for instance, wondered in May, "Why shouldn’t we be outraged" at George Bush. Perhaps the Republican front-runners simply don’t want to go into a hostile, left-wing event. Would "Good Morning America" insist that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton attend a forum hosted by the NRA?
CORRECTION: 2007-09-25 14:20:00 -0400 [An earlier version misidentified Jake Tapper as saying the event is "raising questions about the message it sends to some voters." This was actually said by co-host Robin Roberts.]
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a mostly softball interview with Columbia University President Lee Bollinger about his decision to host Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the prestigious school. Rather than grill the University president about the unpopular decision, Cuomo offered friendly questions, such as when he wondered, "What value do you think Ahmadinejad's comments will add to the debate in this country?"
The ABC host also appeared to have left an actually compelling question on the cutting room floor. At the end of what was apparently a pre-taped piece, Cuomo observed to co-host Diane Sawyer that Bollinger would consider inviting Osama bin Laden. He claimed, "Even when we brought up Osama bin Laden for an invitation, it wasn't dismissed. No one was dismissed." And yet, that query isn’t actually in the segment at all. Wouldn’t such a shocking answer be big news? At the very least, one would assume, that quote would be included in the interview. It should also be noted that Sawyer responded defensively to Cuomo even referencing the missing bin Laden question. She quickly added, "Yes, but [Bollinger] says the invitation has not gone to Osama bin Laden."
There's a fabulous column by Ed Driscoll (HT to NixGuy in an e-mail) about the evolution of media and reporting from the invention of radio to our current circumstances.
It's the title of Driscoll's work, "Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media," that misses the mark a bit.
Ed has the "stranglehold" part nailed:
By the early 1970s, mass media had reached its zenith (if you’ll pardon the pun). Most Americans were getting their news from one of three TV networks’ half-hour nightly broadcasts. With the exception of New York, most big cities had only one or two primary newspapers. And no matter what a modern newspaper’s lineage, by and large its articles, except for local issues, came from global wire services like the Associated Press or Reuters; it took its editorial lead from the New York Times; and it claimed to be impartial (while usually failing miserably).
Sometimes, the truth is obvious to everyone. During a discussion with fellow MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann wondered why Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards found it necessary to buy commercial time following a speech by President Bush. Marveling at Edwards’s actions, he revealed, "I don't think I'm saying anything unknown to the audience, I don't think he would have gotten a hard time from this particular network."
Speaking of Chris Matthews, one has to admire the host’s creativity. On Tuesday, while discussing the tasering of a University of Florida student, the cable news anchor blamed it on, you guessed it, Iraq. Matthews also decried the "fascistic notion" of American troops "forcing" democracy on Iraqis. Only a day earlier, the MSNBC host wondered, "Should we put Exxon signs up over Arlington Cemetery and Mobil signs up there, like they have at baseball stadiums?"
When members of the Duke University lacrosse team were falsely accused of raping a black stripper last year, media focused great attention on the woman in the middle of the controversy, and the supposed crime.
Yet, as pointed out Thursday by NewsBuster Matthew Balan, as the press report activities in Jena, Louisiana, the name of the white boy who was beaten by the "Jena 6," Justin Barker, is rarely mentioned, and the assault which precipitated the arrest of the "6" is either ignored, or downplayed.
Such was certainly the case on Thursday's "Nightly News" which led with the day's civil rights protests in Jena, but, for all intents and purposes, ignored the assault which precipitated the arrests of the six students in question.
Ironically, NBC's Brian Williams began the broadcast:
On Thursday’s morning shows and Wednesday’s evening newscasts, CBS and ABC discussed a possible visit to Ground Zero by Iran’s President and, at the same time, ignored Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s connections to terror and also his statements about wiping out Israel. On "Good Morning America," Chris Cuomo briefly mentioned the upcoming U.S. trip and only cited construction at New York’s Ground Zero and "security concerns" as reasons to deny the man a visit. On CBS's "Early Show," reporter Russ Mitchell filed a similarly bland report. Neither mentioned that the Iranian leader in 2005 called for Israel to be wiped from the map and Iran is a state supporter of terrorism.
Only on NBC’s "Today," did Ahmadinejad’s extreme statements and actions warrant a reference. Reporter Andrea Mitchell labeled the attempted visit to Ground Zero a "PR stunt" and pointedly observed, "[Bush] Administration officials called it appalling. Presidential candidates condemned the visit and one 9/11 widow said it's like letting Osama Bin Laden visit Ground Zero." With a series of anchor briefs, Wednesday night’s news broadcasts featured a similar pattern. NBC’s "Nightly News" host Brian Williams proclaimed that the request had been rejected because of security and the fact that "Iran is, as the U.S. said today, among the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism." However, "World News" host Charles Gibson provided no reason at all. In a news brief, he simply asserted, "[Ahmadinejad] told New York police he’d like to visit Ground Zero. The New York City police department has said no." "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric didn’t cover the subject at all.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," ABC anchors and reporters spun the editing of Sally Field’s profanity laced anti-war rant at Sunday’s Emmys as an example of political censorship by Fox, a right-wing network. Reporter Dan Harris ominously observed, "Some saythe Fox network, owned by well known conservative Rupert Murdoch, was engaged in political censorship."
However, during the ceremony, "Sopranos" creator David Chase, extolled the values of gangsters. In a halting speech, he asserted, "And hell, let’s face it, if the world and this nation was run by gangsters-- [Pause] Maybe it is." Mr. Chase’s political statement was not censored, nor were any of the numerous anti-Bush and Republican-slamming jokes that aired on the awards show. But rather than accept the explanation that Field’s comments were cut because she used an expletive, Harris claimed, "...It’s the Sally Field case that is provoking the real cries of political censorship because Fox cut off not only her expletive but also her entire thought." The argument is somewhat self defeating because, as Harris noted, Fox also censored comedian Ray Romano’s off-color joke. In fact, the ACLU is attacking the edit on the grounds of vulgarity, not politics.
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," liberal weatherman Sam Champion featured actor/activist Ed Begley Jr. to promote the concept of carbon offsets. The ABC meteorologist gushed over the emotional benefits of this environmental program. He exclaimed, "And you, kind of, pay into them and they fund projects that are doing good work. So you feel better about your energy use by helping create greener energy, basically."
The segment featured no skepticism as to the validity of these offsets. Rather, the tone was set by Champion’s introduction. He lectured, "We just can't help it. But every time we flip on a light switch, we're making pollution..." Later, Mr. Begley excitedly asserted that if enough people purchase carbon offsets, "...Guess what? They're going to shut down power plants."
Susan Sarandon’s making the publicity rounds for her latest anti-war movie, titled In the Valley of Elah. In Friday’s Washington Post, staff writer Ellen McCarthy profiled Sarandon and this movie, "inspired by a 2004 Playboy magazine story about a returning soldier who was killed by his close friends and fellow Iraq war vets after a rowdy night of beers and strippers near their base in Fort Benning." Sarandon denounced the war as usual, but now she’s claiming to speak for returning soldiers, who she claimed are "asked to kill children and women in order to stay alive." Here’s how her Post quotes unfolded:
Three weeks ago, when Republican Senator John Warner suggested a withdrawal of about 5,000 U.S. forces from Iraq by Christmas, the networks trumpeted the idea as evidence of a major “turning point” in the war. Thursday night, President Bush announced he would, in fact, lower U.S. troop levels by 5,700 by Christmas, but those same networks were dissatisfied, with NBC’s Tim Russert grumbling that the President’s idea was really “U.S. military involvement in Iraq this year, next year, and well after I leave the presidency.”
As MRC’s Brent Baker noted back on August 23, Warner’s suggestion of a small withdrawal was met with giddy excitement: “CBS’s Katie Couric touted a ‘major blow tonight to President Bush’s Iraq policy’ and ABC’s Martha Raddatz saw a ‘stunning announcement that could have a powerful effect on the war’ as the NBC Nightly News, for the fifth time in two years, heralded a ‘turning point’ against the war.”
Looks like fauxtography isn't the only thing that the newswires and other media outlets get taken in by these days. Here we have the AP, ABC and other news agencies getting fooled by Alexis Debat, a "news consultant" who has not only faked interviewing various people in the news but has also faked his own education and background. And he's been doing it for years with his writing serving as the main source for some of the AP's and ABC's stories. He even somehow got a job with the Nixon Center, a political think tank in D.C. which is a foreign policy advisory organization with a leaning toward the "realpolitik" or pragmatist view of foreign relations.
Happy Rosh Hashanah, Jews! It's time to celebrate the new year, eat apples and honey, blow the shofar, and, if you're lucky, blow some cute single guy you hook up with in temple! Apparently, these holy days are the genesis of a two-week f&%kfest amongst desperate single Jews who want to get their nagging mothers off their backs.
The Democrats hit General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker with the results of an ABC/BBC poll of Iraqi citizens during the two days of testimony. Barbara Boxer was so immersed in the poll results that she couldn't even muster up a question for General Petraeus. Since the poll results were not released until Monday September 10, 2007, it left little time for an indepth look at the poll, the sampling size, the surveyors and the results from all the questions.
First of all - the sample size. The number of Iraqis questioned for the poll was approximately 2100 people. 2100 people in a country with an estimated population of 27,499,638 according to the CIA Factbook. That means the poll results were from 1/1000 of the population. How can a sample size that small even be considered partially representative of the population?
Reporting comedian Kathy Griffin's offensive remarks at an award show set to air on Saturday, MSNBC anchor Norah O'Donnell left out the harshest line. The effect was to make it sound like the liberal former "View" guest host was being unfairly "censored" by TV producers for making a mild joke about award recipients who thank Jesus for their success, rather than blaspheming Jesus Christ directly.
At the risk of giving third-rate left-wing comedian Kathy Griffin more than her due of publicity, I thought I'd pass along something I saw over at Brutally Honest. The one-time 'The View' co-host prospect making light of award winners who thank Jesus or thank God for their accomplishment at the podium:
Stop the presses! ABC's got a scoop: the situation in Iraq isn't ideal.
Trying to pave the way for the rejection of the Petraeus report, today's "Good Morning America" took the tack that the lack of complete calm is proof of the surge's failure.
Co-anchor Kate Snow set the negative tone by displaying a poll finding to the effect a majority of Americans believe the Petraeus report "will try to make things look better" in Iraq rather than portraying the situation "honestly."
Then it was on to a report from Iraq by ABC's Terry McCarthy. Don't miss the video of Snow and co-anchor Bill Weir walking in unison across the GMA stage, crossing a floor-map of Iraq to a video screen displaying McCarthy's report. Their studied maneuver reminded me of a bridesmaid and groom attendant doing their earnest best at a wedding rehearsal.
The leitmotif of McCarthy's report: yeah, things might be better in Iraq, but darn it, they're not perfect.
ABC News is reporting a new cast member to ABC's "The View," some gal named Sherri Shepherd. But that ho hum isn't the real news because buried at the tail of the piece is this little gem:
Meanwhile, preliminary Nielsen Media Research ratings found that 3.4 million people watched Goldberg's debut on Tuesday. That's one million shy of O'Donnell's audience for her first show last September. O'Donnell's stormy tenure on "The View" lasted less than a year.
Not the draw they thought you were going to be, Whoopster?
Let's keep a Newsbusters eye on this downward spiral.
For the third time in less than a week, ABC anchor and former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos appeared on "Good Morning America" to dourly assess Republican Fred Thompson’s 2008 chances. On the Thursday edition of GMA, the host of "This Week" attempted to set an impossible bar for the former senator. "...He can't make a mistake,"Stephanopoulos breathlessly claimed.
Earlier in the segment, the ABC host negatively spun Thompson’s standings in the polls. Some might compliment the performance of a candidate who, upon entering the 2008 race, is only narrowly trailing the front-runner. Not Stephanopoulos. After claiming that many thought the former actor would surge into first place early in the summer, he critiqued, "That hasn't happened. Most of the latest polls show that he's in second place behind Rudy Giuliani....He hasn't quite rocketed out the way he expected."
"The Path to 9/11," ABC's five-hour miniseries from earlier this year, is still not out on DVD and now the film's screenwriter is claiming that ABC is blocking the release of the DVD to save Hillary and Bill Clinton the embarrassment they suffered when the show originally aired on TV. Why would ABC do this? Because we are at the beginning of Hillary Clinton's run for president and ABC wants to keep the Clinton's failures against radical Islam from coming to the fore says series writer Cyrus Nowrasteh.
History seemed to repeat itself on Monday's World News with Charles Gibson, as substitute anchor Dan Harris introduced a story, filed by ABC correspondent John Berman, which highlighted the view of "some scientists" that global warming is responsible for an increase in the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes in recent decades. Not only did the same Harris/Berman team file a similar story over two years ago on the July 9, 2005 show, then known as World News Tonight, but Monday's report also recycled soundbites of two scientists from the earlier story. Berman, from Monday September 3: "Across the globe, the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled over the past 30 years.
Mother Teresa died ten years ago this week, just days after Princess Diana perished in a car crash, displaying a very interesting comparison in media reactions. Princess Diana, molded by so much positive publicity over the years into a "secular saint" when she died, drew superior coverage, both in amount and in tone. Mother Teresa's publicity was also very positive over the years, of course, but the media seemed more willing to solicit harsh criticism of her life, even at the time of her death. Brent Bozell chronicled that story in his column ten years ago:
Just last fall, as the networks exploded with coverage of Mark Foley's creepy instant messaging, we noted the networks (like ABC) had a very different way of covering Republican sex scandals -- especially the gay-themed ones -- than they did for Democrats. The best example is Barney Frank.
Notice how the networks define hypocrisy, and how liberals never seem to qualify. Frank was a lawmaker with a male-prostitution ring in his house, not to mention a lawmaker who kept getting the pimp's parking tickets waved off. Notice how they all mention "the voters" will decide, instead of going searching for legislators and party activists to underline his need to resign.
The people who manufacture the news in America are very persistent at writing the narrative exactly as it helps liberalism emerge victorious. On ethical scandals, they're very good at making sure Republicans force theirs to resign, and they're also very good at keeping Democrats shamelessly in power.
The world's media are busy mourning the death of the Princess Diana ten years ago. But while they are mourning the fact that they lost a ready-made newsmaker who shared many of their goals, they have forgotten to remember the anniversary of a far more important event than the death of the former wife of Great Britain's heir to the throne. As I was reminded by Lead and Gold, today is the twenty-seventh anniversary of the Polish communist government agreeing to the demands of striking shipyard workers. This surrender by the Communist leadership of Poland presaged the breaking loose of the satellite nations of the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain and led directly to the fall of the U.S.S.R. As Lead and Gold writes,
The strike marked the beginning of the end of communist rule in Eastern Europe. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are, rightly, given the greatest share of credit for winning the Cold War. But Lech Walesa and John Paul II played indispensable roles. ...
Perhaps the first famous name that comes to mind when it comes to policeman arrests in a restroom is George Michael, the former Wham! singer, who was busted in April of 1998 for lewd conduct in a restroom at Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills. (The act was reportedly masturbation and some public nudity.) This story, with Michael's fame on the wane, drew almost no attention from the same national media outlets who are now pounding on the office door of Sen. Larry Craig and insisting he resign.
A quick Nexis search shows no George Michael arrest stories on ABC, or NBC. CBS offered this anchor brief from Russ Mitchell on the morning of April 11: "In other entertainment news, pop singer George Michael apologized to his fans in a CNN interview in LA last night. Michael was arrested Tuesday and charged with what police called a lewd act in a restroom in a public park in Beverly Hills. He is due in court next month."