Catspawing for another candidate, or just solid journalistic probing? In either case, ABC's George Stephanopoulos gave John Edwards a rough go when the former NC senator appeared on Good Morning America today to announce his candidacy for president.
Steph was on the offense from the get-go: "Back in 2004, you criticized President Bush for exploiting the tragedy of 9/11 by having his convention in New York City. Aren't you exploiting Katrina by announcing your candidacy in New Orleans?"
Edwards didn't respond directly to the exploitation allegation, asserting only that he was seeking to draw attention to New Orleans's plight. And not to himself? At the risk of reading too much into every jot and tittle, I'd say that Steph's formulation "aren't you exploiting?" is considerably more accusatory than would have been "are you exploiting?"
Evening network broadcasts on the day after Christmas whined that a 6.5-percent increase in holiday spending for 2006 simply wasn’t enough. Ironically, only a month earlier CBS complained that Americans weren’t saving enough money. My colleague Julia Seymour wrote about the “humbug” attitudes of ABC, NBC and CBS here.
“Stores need more than returnees to turn this so-so Christmas shopping season into one to celebrate,” said Bill Whitaker during the CBS “Evening News.” Later Whitaker added that “in December the sizzle fizzled.”
But on Black Friday, CBS was singing a different Christmas tune:
As 2006 draws to a close, the MRC has once again ranked the most egregiously biased quotes from members of the media. So, who made the cut as "the best of the worst?" Click here to find out.
Christmas may be arriving soon, but NPR chose the week before December 25 as the appropriate time to broadcast an atheist message of holiday intolerance. Showing that radio can still compete with television for extreme examples of bias, the taxpayer-supported NPR also wondered if ailing Senator Tim Johnson’s family "has the right" to ruin the Democratic majority.
The media’s flirtation with Senator Barack Obama doesn’t seem to have lessened their love affair with Hillary Clinton. "Today" show co-host Meredith Vieira told Mrs. Clinton that it’s now "more imperative that we need a village to raise healthy, secure children." The New York Senator also received a very warm welcome on "The View."
This week, Dan Rather appeared on CNN’s "Reliable Source" and claimed that Saddam Hussein was more honest than President Bush. Rather also reiterated his attacks on the Fox News Channel.
Kudos to "Fox and Friends" as they were the only morning news program on Thursday to extensively cover the Sandy Berger story. Mr. Berger, former National Security Adviser to President Clinton, pled guilty in federal court for stealing classified documents from the National Archives, but a Wednesday AP story revealed that the details of Mr. Berger's offense were far more damning then we had previously known including that he hid the documents in a construction site before destroying them. CNN’s "American Morning" and ABC’s "Good Morning America" both offered brief news reads on the subject. CNN’s coverage totaled 24 seconds while ABC’s totaled 23 seconds. CBS’s "Early Show" and NBC’s "Today" both ignored the story completely.
When Santa came to Wall Street this year, the media cried and pouted.
With the Dow Jones Industrial Average at an all-time high and commodities markets experiencing one of their best years in decades, Wall Street firms were feeling especially merry this year. The media responded as if they had seen Jacob Marley’s ghost.
NBC’s John Seigenthaler gloomily downplayed Wall Streeters’ good fortunes by stating:
New York Senator Hillary Clinton appeared on Wednesday’s The View to discuss politics and the re-release of her book, It Takes a Village. While there was some cheerleading for the 2008 Democratic presidential frontrunner by co-hosts Joy Behar and Rosie O’Donnell, for the most part, there seemed to be a great deal of restraint on all sides during Clinton’s two segments. Asked about a potential run for the White House, Clinton again said she was thinking about it "trying to sort all this out." On the war in Iraq, Clinton only got one challenging question in regards to her support of a "phased redeployment," from co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck:
Senator Hillary Clinton: "....So, if it's not going to change the mission, if it's not going to be a different strategy, I don't see where putting more troops will make a difference."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "Do you think pulling them out too early will–would equate to–sometimes I think of it as, you know, not finishing all of your antibiotics. Okay, there’s a problem there."
Hasselbeck: "So if you pull out too early, will that create more chaos?"
...because you won't find it in Gigi Stone's December 18 "World News" story on teacher merit pay. (Or her write-up at ABCNews.com)
Stone, to her credit, did explain that teachers unions oppose merit pay for teachers because, well, they want more money for all teachers, regardless of how crappy a job they do. Okay, she didn't put it in those words exactly, but, let's face it, that's the reason teachers unions are against merit pay.
So why did Stone insist on presenting the vice-president of the Houston Federation of Teachers as merely a teacher who was concerned that the art of public school classroom instruction under incentive pay would devolve in a race to the bottom, an effort at merely "teaching to the test" or "drill and kill?
It has been widely speculated that President Bush will call for an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq as part of his new war strategy. Though no changes have been officially announced, ABC's Dan Harris on Good Morning America Monday predicted gloom and doom in terms of public support for the war. Introducing a live report from reporter Jonathan Karl at the Pentagon, Harris prognosticated that this new policy would be 'very unpopular':
Dan Harris: "And now to the expected surge of U.S. troops in Iraq. As Robert Gates is sworn in today as the new defense secretary, thousands more Americans may soon be headed into the war zone. This could be a very unpopular policy, and ABC's Jonathan Karl is standing by at the Pentagon this morning. Jonathan?"
ABC's Laura Marquez displayed last night how the media just don't get religion.
Introducing her story on a rift in the Episcopal Church as conservative parishes in Northern Virginia voted to leave the American branch of the Anglican Communion for greener theological pastures, Marquez blamed conservatives for troubling the church's still waters.
"Members of Virginia's Truro Church may have been singing the words "The Church's One Foundation," but the action they took today rocked that foundation to its core."
In other words, conservative, orthodox Episcopalians are the bad guys, prompting a "secession" as Marquez called it, from the Episcopal Church. But that just shows Marquez's confusion as to the church's true foundation.
It was such a cheap play to the left-wing peanut gallery that it doesn't even pay to be disgusted. Discussing the "Time" magazine person of the year choice on "The View" this morning, yenta-in-residence Joy Behar blurted out:
"You have to put like a Hitler type. Like you put Donald Rumsfeld there or something."
When some in the audience began to jeer, Behar broke into a huge, mock-surprised smile, as if to say "what's wrong with that?"
Imagine for a moment you were ABC’s Chief Washington Correspondent, as well as a former member of the Clinton administration who was currently quite opposed to the Iraq war. Further assume that in the months leading up to the recent midterm elections, the Democrat Senate minority leader had been aggressively advocating immediate troop withdrawals from the region, a position you agreed with. Contrary to his previous view of this incursion, when you interviewed this Senator after the elections, he stated that he could actually support an increase in troops.
Given his expressed positions before the elections, and the fact that he was about to be sworn in as the new Senate majority leader, would you aggressively challenge this high-ranking official about his sudden change of heart, or give him a pass? Well, on Sunday’s “This Week”, America got its answer as another pre-election myth was retired, and unceremoniously put out to pasture (must-see video available here, relevant section at minute three, transcript follows).
A bloody civil conflict between distinct Muslim factions that has left thousands dead and many more displaced. Should America be involved? For the MSM, the obvious answer is 'no' if you're talking about Iraq. None of our business. A quagmire. We can't referee a civil war. Get out now.
But Darfur, another bloody conflict between warring Muslim groups? Well, that's different. Not only can and should we be involved, but, we're blithely informed, "this is one we can fix."
What's the difference? As more than one commentator has observed, liberals are all in favor of American intervention - so long as we have no national security interest at stake.
In the hullaballoo over Sen. Tim Johnson's brain surgery, there are a few facts and examples that I'm not seeing, at least in the TV coverage:
1. In the sad case that Sen. Johnson cannot continue in office, some suggest it's outrageous that replacing Johnson with a Republican would deny the voice of the majority. Just remember how tight that Senate race was in 2002. Sen. Johnson was reelected by about 500 votes -- 167,481 to 166,954.
2. One of the recent examples of a death in office was Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell, who was re-elected to a second term in 1998, and died after a hemorrage and brain surgery in 2000, and was replaced in the Senate by former Gov. Zell Miller, a Democrat. This was one reason the Senate tipped to a 50-50 margin after the 2000 election. No one in the media fussed that the seat changed parties. (This was before Zell Miller became a thorn in the hide of the national Democrats.)
As the discussion moved to presidential hopefuls for 2008, Fox News’s Dari Alexander mentioned Condoleezza Rice. Rosie O’Donnell replied:
No. I don’t enjoy her. I don’t…No. No. No….I’m not a fan of the Condi. I’m not. I’m just telling you right now I don’t enjoy the Condi. I don’t know. Stop writing, because I’m not gonna enjoy her. And I’m not gonna apologize. (Huge audience applause.)
On Thursday’s edition of The View, the ladies, along with guest co-host Dari Alexander of Fox News, discussed Democratic Senator Tim Johnson’s emergency brain surgery and the potential political fallout. Alexander explained to the audience that if Johnson had to resign from the Senate, the Republican governor of South Dakota would pick an interim senator to fulfill the remainder of Johnson’s term, thereby creating the potential for an even split in the Senate between Democrats and Republicans. Joy Behar chimed in and put forth another tin foil hat worthy conspiracy theory:
Joy Behar: "Is there such a thing as a man-made stroke? In other words, did someone do this to him?" Video Clip: Real Player (2MB) or Windows Media (2.45MB) Plus MP3 (383KB)
Well, it certainly didn’t take long for a member of the media to suggest that there’s some kind of conspiracy involved with Sen. Tim Johnson’s (D-SD) medical condition. On Thursday’s “The View,” co-host Joy Behar questioned, “Is there such a thing as a man made stroke? In other words, did someone do this to him?”
Don't believe it? Well, those that can tolerate it can watch this disgraceful example of indecency here. Hat tip to Hot Air. A transcript is here.
Sadly, this wasn't the only disgrace, for when conservative co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck asked why liberals are always seeing a conspiracy in everything, Behar unashamedly responded:
Liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich was among friends during his appearance on Wednesday’s edition of The View. While co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell were nowhere to be found during the segment, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters allowed Rich to promote his book, which Walters herself said "tears the Bush White House apart." While Walters did pose one challenge to the writer’s assertion that the Iraq war cannot be won, most of the questions directed to the columnist would not be considered so tough.
Walters began the interview with the Times columnist with this glowing introduction:
Barbara Walters: "Every Sunday, millions of people turn to New York Times columnist Frank Rich to hear his views on everything from politics to pop culture. That's how important his opinions are. Not everybody loves his opinions, and in his new book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, he absolutely tears the Bush White House apart. This is a book that is such fascinating reading."
...but my colleague Julia Seymour has got the Airing of Grievances part down for those of us at the MRC's Business & Media Institute.
The camera pans across a sparkling Christmas tree, then zooms in on singer Clay Aiken, who begins to sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”: “... and ransom captive Israel … that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear …”
So which holiday is that about?
ABC’s Kate Snow tiptoed around that question on the November 26 “Good Morning America.”
“We have a special treat for you this morning to get you warmed up for the holiday season,” she said, touting Aiken’s new “holiday” record (title: “All is Well: Songs for Christmas”).
In a new Business & Media Institute analysis, “Good Morning America” was the least likely of the network morning shows to refer to Christmas, mentioning it only about 31 percent of the time.
Julia Roberts to Diane Sawyer on why she avoids killing spiders:
"You think, that’s a person, or somebody’s Mom or somebody’s best pal.”Good Morning America, 12-13-06
I trace the beginning of my evolution from pro-choice to pro-life to a comment I heard on the radio a decade or so ago. It might have been Rush Limbaugh who made the point that many of the people moved to tears at the thought of the killing of baby seals are the same ones who "celebrate" a woman's right to have an abortion.
Something clicked. What kind of moral compass is that?
Barbara Walters ended her Tuesday night ABC News countdown special, “The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006,” by touting, near the end of the 10pm EST/9pm CST hour, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the “most fascinating person of 2006.” ABC's Web page for the special listed the first nine profiled (list below), but not Pelosi, as its text ended with a plug: "Who is the Most Fascinating Person of 2006? Tune in Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET to find out."
Walters celebrated Pelosi's victory: "We picked our most fascinating person on election day this past November. Next month, Congress will get a Speaker of the House unlike any before. Our most fascinating person of 2006: Mother of five and Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi. In January, Nancy Pelosi will become the most powerful woman in America. She will assume office as the first-ever female Speaker of the House, two heartbeats from the presidency." Walters soon pleaded to Pelosi: "You've talked about sometimes using your mother-of-five voice. Now I sit here, and you're very gentle. Talk to me in the mother-of-five voice." She also asked Pelosi to confirm that she thinks President Bush is “incompetent and irresponsible and not a leader?"
Meredith Vieira stopped short of breaking out the pom-poms, but the 'Today' crew otherwise did its best to cheer Barack Obama and his appearance on last night's Monday Night Football. For those who missed MNF, the broadcast opened with a deadpan Obama seemingly on the verge of announcing his candidacy for president, before simply endorsing his home-state Chicago Bears.
Call me a grump, but watching it live last night my first reaction was "how's this for millions in free advertising, courtesy ABC-ESPN?"
But the folks at NBC clearly weren't troubled by a little politicking by their rivals at ABC. Nary a discouraging word was heard, and to the contrary, the Today cast tried to outdo each other with their praise for Barack and his performance:
Imagine for a moment that a sex scandal involving pages had forced a Democrat Congressman holding a safe seat to resign in disgrace weeks before crucial midterm elections, while also reflecting badly on other members of his Party in tight races across the country. A month after the votes had been tallied, and the Democrats had surrendered control of both chambers of Congress in a stunning defeat, a House ethics panel released a report on the subject containing the following information:
The leaks to the press concerning this matter had come from the communications director for the House Republican Caucus
A high-ranking staff member for the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee had been informed of the misdeeds of the Democrat Congressman almost twelve months before they were revealed by the press
Now assume that this head of the NRCC had declared four weeks prior to Election Day that nobody in his office was aware of the Democrat Congressman’s sexual indiscretions before they were revealed. Would the contradictory findings of this panel be headline news the day they were reported?
It was an all-Obama Monday as each of the three network morning shows highlighted the Illinois Senator’s weekend trip to New Hampshire. NBC, ABC and CBS all hyped the prospect of a potential Barack Obama presidential campaign as the senator made his rounds through the state, host of the first presidential primary. The trip was hailed as a successful venture by all the networks. ABC’s Jake Tapper on Good Morning America declared Obama’s appearance to be "very successful", while Norah O’Donnell over on Today, as the MRC’s Geoff Dickens noted, stated that Obama was "mobbed by supporters" and "ignited excitement," among New Hampshire Democrats. CBS’ Harry Smith on The Early Show went further, calling the buzz surrounding Obama’s trip a "sensation," during a question to political analyst Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report:
Harry Smith: "Front page USA Today, Barack Obama right there, front page, Washington Post, Barack Obama right there. I could go on and on and on and on and on. Why is this single appearance causing such a sensation?"
The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct released its report concerning the Mark Foley page scandal on Friday, and the media banged the predictable drum about this all being a Republican cover-up. However, what was ignored or downplayed by virtually every press outlet was the revelation that the offensive e-mail messages between Foley and male pages were leaked to the media by the communications director for the House Democratic Caucus. Also absent from such reports was the possibility that high-ranking Democrat Rahm Emanuel of Illinois might have been aware of these electronic transmissions even though he told ABC News on October 8 that he hadn’t heard anything about them until the story broke (video available here, hat tip to Gateway Pundit).
How much did Rahm Emanuel know about disgraced Rep. Mark Foley's e-mails to a former House page? In an Oct. 8 interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Emanuel, a Democratic congressman from Illinois, was asked if he or his staff knew anything about the e-mails or instant messages between Foley and former pages "before they came out." "No - Never saw them," Emanuel said. Asked if he was "aware of them," Emanuel repeated, "We never saw them. No involvement." But on page 46 of the new House Ethics Committee report on the scandal is testimony that at least one senior member of Emanuel's staff did know about them.
You can sense that when the liberal media covers the pregnancy of Mary Cheney, there’s a glee there, like when they find an evangelical preacher with a crystal meth problem (although it must be said that in their current glee, Mary is the heroine, and again, the religious right is wrong). Some conservatives have argued that Mary Cheney probably just wants her privacy, and it’s the activists who’ve hijacked the story. But do we know that to be true?
The story broke on Wednesday morning in the gossip column of the Washington Post, and gossips Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger don’t say who told them, but I think it’s fair to bet that Mary Cheney told them. She may have called them up. They might have heard about it, and called her up. But the idea that Mary Cheney doesn’t really want to be a crusader for gay marriage on this story doesn’t match her record of gay-left activism (albeit mixed with her support for the GOP and her terrorist-fighting dad).
What is it about leaving a network gig that makes news anchors even more biased? Ex-host Tom Brokaw told a "Harball" audience that Barack Obama is a "rock star," lavished praise on Jon Stewart, and claimed that Ronald Reagan neglected "Mother Earth."
Speaking of NBC stars who suck up to environmentalists, Matt Lauer recently encouraged Al Gore to run for president and "save the planet." Way to stay objective, Matt!
The "Today" anchor continued his global warming obsession in another segment, lauding actor Leonardo DiCaprio for "standing up to get people thinking" about the issue. (Funny, I don’t recall the "Today" host complimenting many pro-life activists for "standing up.")
Lobbying for global warming can be tiring work, as NewsBusters editor Matthew Sheffield noted when he pointed out that CNN host Miles O’Brien fell asleep during recent hearings on the subject.
This week, the "mainstream" media continued lobbying for a complete acknowledgment of total failure in Iraq. "Time" magazine likened the Iraq Study Report to a drug intervention. Discussing the same subject, "Hardball" guest host Mike Barnicle wondered if President Bush is "delusional," " isolated" or "stubborn." Those are certainly some great options to chose from!
When it comes to the defamation of gays and lesbians The View's Rosie O'Donnell is the first one to play sensitivity cop, most notably her patrolling of Kelly Ripa's bout with Clay Aiken, but apparently her hypersensitivity doesn't apply to those of Asian descent. On the December 5 edition of The View, O'Donnell universally mocked the Asian community when she attempted to feign a Chinese accent. Former Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato was tried and executed by the liberal media for similarly making fun of O.J. Simpson Judge Lance Ito. So the question has to be asked where is that same liberal media now when one of their own is accused of making fun of a minority group? Video Clip: Real (416KB) or Windows (465 KB) Plus MP3 (73 KB)
My latest article at the MRC's Businessandmedia.org touches on a $7-billion omission on last night's evening newscasts.
"Fannie Mae took another step toward resolving its accounting fiasco by announcing a restatement of results that reduced retained earnings as of June 30, 2004, by $6.3 billion," The Wall Street Journal’s James Hagerty reported on page A4 of the December 7 paper.
The same day, The Washington Post and The New York Times devoted business section stories to the mortgage broker’s accounting errors.
The Fannie Mae story is hardly Wall Street’s garden variety profit revision.
On Wednesday morning, the highly anticipated report from the Iraq Study Group [ISG] was released to the public. The ISG’s report contained seventy-nine recommendations for the United States in its effort to lessen the violence in Iraq and protect American forces. One of the major recommendations of the panel was a call for the withdrawal of most U.S. combat troops by early 2008.
During an 11am press conference Wednesday, Jonathan Karl, ABC’s senior national security correspondent asked the panel pointedly why their recommendations should outweigh the advice President Bush receives from military commanders on the ground:
Jonathan Karl, ABC News: "You're certainly a group of distinguished elder statesmen, but tell me why should the President give more weight to what you all have said, given that, as I understand, you went to Iraq once–with the exception of Senator Robb, none of you made it out of the Green Zone–why should he give your recommendations any more weight than what he’s hearing from his commanders on the ground in Iraq?"