With the symbolic passing of the torch - from Fidel Castro to Raul Castro - comes hope of changes in Cuba, well at least among some in the media.
Even though no one is predicting Cuba to usher in a new wave of Adam Smith-style capitalism, there might be some changes according to ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson."
"[H]e's talking about significant reforms - liberalizing trade, economic reforms designed to ease poverty in a country where the average person earned $19 a month in the hope of consolidating his own power," ABC correspondent Jeffrey Kofman said on the Feb.19, 2008, ABC "World News with Charles Gibson."
‘View’ co-host Joy Behar followed up her anti-Catholic "saints are crazy" line, noting she "got in trouble with the Catholic Church." Though she emphasized it was "not all but some," she still called them "nuts" and "psychotic," and added that "not all of them deserved to be saints." Behar also added her opinions how crazy people in medieval Europe would be able to escape punishment by saying they were saints.
"I mean, let’s say that you were a person in those days, right? And you were hearing voices, and maybe you were mentally ill, but you were not stupid. As they say ‘I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid.’ So you said to yourself, ‘let’s see, if people think I’m crazy they’re going to put me in a dungeon. If I pretend to be a saint, they’ll name a church after me.’"
While covering the breaking story on Tuesday of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's decision to step down from power, various "Good Morning America" anchors and reporters soft peddled the communist leader's crimes. In a profile piece that narrated a brief history of his life, co-host Diane sawyer enthused, "Castro knew life is a stage and played the part of the dashing revolutionary coming to New York, getting rock star treatment."
Now, she did add that many people overlooked the "ferocity of his communism, even as he bankrupted his country and history passed him by." But over the course of five segments, GMA managed to completely ignore Castro's record of firing squads, jailing dissidents, imprisoning AIDS patients and other crimes. Instead, Sawyer found time to romantically state, "The world'slongest-serving political leaderis leaving on his own terms, having survived efforts by ten different U.S. presidents to bring him down..." Note the use of the term "political leader" rather than dictator.
Bill Clinton’s yelling at pro-life protesters in Steubenville, Ohio didn’t get processed by the networks as a sign of bad temper, or of sour and hyperbolic attacks on pro-lifers. On Monday’s Good Morning America, reporter Jake Tapper’s quick summary of what was going on with the top presidential candidates only noted he "took on some anti-abortion protesters" and ran this soundbite: "We disagree with you. You want to criminalize women and their doctors and we disagree!"
That is clearly a sentiment that media liberals support, but it’s only a fraction of what he yelled. ABC’s Political Radar blog carried more detail, but in neither report did ABC seem to ponder the the political oddity of Clinton’s angry retort: that he and Hillary were in effect more pro-life than the pro-lifers – not to mention it’s always odd to hear Clinton yelling at others to "Tell the truth! Tell the truth!" Over a cheering liberal crowd, Clinton said:
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo presented a decidedly one-sided segment on Monday about the "gender discrimination" expressed by a private religious school in Kansas that refused to allow a female basketball referee the chance to call a boy's varsity game. Cuomo announced, "many" think that "religious belief does not give the school the right to discriminate."
The ABC host offered almost no consideration to the argument, made by St. Mary's Academy, that men are best equipped to guide boys and prepare them for future life endeavors. (The referee in question, Michelle Campbell, asserted that she was not allowed to call the game because the school believes women shouldn't have authority over men.) Instead, he offered loaded questions to Campbell, who appeared on the show: "Gender discrimination is not something new. We know about it. But were you surprised that something this obvious still confronted you today....Were you surprised?"
Rush Limbaugh read the first two paras of this item during his first half-hour today, citing "our buddies at NewsBusters." Thanks, Rush! Audio here.
If a supremely prominent Republican who was John McCain's chief surrogate had gotten into an angry confrontation at a campaign event, do you think the broadcast networks would have promptly let us know his interlocutor was African-American?
I do. But none of the broadcast network's morning news shows, at least during this morning's crucial first half-hour, disclosed the African-American identity of the man with whom Bill Clinton got into just such an argument yesterday in Ohio.
Not a word of any incident whatsoever at GMA or the Early Show, at least during the first half-hour. Today did mention that Clinton "showed his temper . . . after an Obama supporter tried to disrupt his speech in Canton," but nothing about the man's identity.
This is too perfect! Barely an hour after Pat Buchanan proclaimed on NBC that the MSM is full of "out-of-the-closet Obamacans," ABC's David Wright provided a perfect illustration of the genre.
In fact, I'm nominating the GMA segment Wright narrated this morning as the single most slanted episode of the MSM primary season. The screen graphic "On the Attack," set the theme: Hillary is unfairly attacking Obama, and to the extent Barack's gone negative, it's only to rebut Clinton's unfair criticism. Oh, and Hillary's demographic is crumbling. And by the way, Bill's dissing Obama supporters.
How slowly do the regulatory agencies move? A few weeks ago, the FCC decided to fine ABC for airing nudity in prime time -- in a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue." (It was still on the air in 2003? And why was Charlotte Ross's police babe hanging around with schlubby Sipowicz?) In his culture column this week, Brent Bozell looks at how Disney, formerly a brand name for family entertainment, filed lawyerly briefs against the FCC ruling that no one can defend on the grounds of common sense.
When it was finally rapped on the knuckles, Disney-owned ABC was petulant. It responded first by joining the crowd in Tinseltown now asserting in federal court the “right” to drop the F-bomb on millions of children. Then the lawyers insisted to the FCC that there’s nothing inappropriate in an ABC show lovingly fixating the viewer on the young woman’s bare behind several times. It was only seven seconds, they protested.
ABC's "Good Morning America" should be commended for a segment on Thursday's show that actually turned attention to the face of radical Islamic fundamentalism on Arab television. GMA correspondent Lama Hasan reported on a Hamas children's program entitled "Tomorrow's Pioneers" that routinely "murders" cartoon look-alikes of Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse and blames their deaths on Jews.
Co-host Robin Roberts introduced the subject of "using cartoons to teach children to hate" and Hasan explained how the show features a vile-spewing Bugs Bunny character that threatening to kill Jews. She also noted that a previous episode featured a bumblebee who the series asserted "couldn't get to the hospital because it was blocked by the Israelis." This particular episode followed one in which a Mickey Mouse look-alike is stabbed to death by a Jew trying to buy his land. Hasan didn't mince words, labeling "Tomorrow's Pioneers" "Hamas's latest attempt to brainwash kids."
Three voices of the Clinton campaign, three distinctly different takes on its fortunes. James Carville is candid about the pickle Hillary's in. Hillary, true to form, utterly evades the question. Ah, but there's always Terry McAuliffe. The proud graduate of the Baghdad Bob School of Flackery this morning declared that he's "more confident than he's ever been" about winning the nomination.
Carville, appearing on last night's Larry King, couldn't have been more succinct.
LARRY KING: If Hillary loses Texas or Ohio, is it over?
The media loves campaign metaphors. Yesterday, some MSM wag delighted in pointing out that Mike Huckabee's campaign van had twice run out of gas. Today, it was Hillary Clinton's turn. In the wake of her devastating defeats in the Potomac primaries, Good Morning America rolled an extended clip of her struggling up an airplane stairway.
Speaking with Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos had just finished opining that if in Texas Obama cuts into Hillary's coalition of women and Hispanics the way he did last night, he will be the nominee.
Joy Behar warned of the imminent "Republican attack machine" and of course it’s "lethal." On the February 12 edition of "The View," the co-hosts discussed, surprisingly, that Obama has been getting excellent press. They must have gotten the permission from the Clinton campaign to say that. Sherri Shepherd then noted, if Obama wins the Democratic nomination "it’s going to be unleashed with force."
Joy Behar then jumped in on the "Republican attack machine" and alluded to some attacks against Vietnam veterans such as Max Cleland and John Kerry and promised Obama will get "swift boated." Behar maybe missed the point that John McCain is the Vietnam veteran in the race and Barack Obama has no military service. Who could literally get "swift boated?"
Putting all those things together, it does seem to suggest that your industry is looking to make more money off its credit card holders. Do you deny that? -- Chris Cuomo to banking industry representative, GMA, Feb. 12, 2008.
This year's Media Research Center DisHonor Awards haven't been distributed yet, but we might already have a candidate for next year's competition . . .
Give banking industry representative Nessa Feddis, um, credit for not bursting out in laughter in response to Chris Cuomo's question. Yes, Chris, businesses are, well, in business. And the people from whom they make their money do tend to be their customers.
David Shuster’s suspension was a topic of discussion on the February 11 edition of "The View," as at least Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg disagreed with the Clinton campaign for demanding an even harsher punishment for Shuster. Walters first expressed mixed feelings that many people rely on "The View" for news adding "sometimes we’re very wonderful and very accurate and sometimes we’re not."
An offended Joy Behar chimed "I don’t think we’re less accurate than a lot of the shows that I watch, because I watch all of them," adding "we do our research here." Barbara Walters apologetically replied "I shouldn’t have said that."
In light of recent high-profile shootings, Friday's World News with Charles Gibson featured a report that seemed to lament the absence of public calls for additional gun control. While not directly advocating new gun laws, the report cited statistics often used by those who support gun control. Before correspondent Pierre Thomas cited a poll showing 60 percent of Americans "favor stricter gun control laws," Gibson introduced the piece: "Well, there are 230 million guns in America. There are more guns than there are adults. In the past incidents, like the one in Kirkwood, would rekindle debate over gun control. But as ABC's Pierre Thomas reports, gun control advocates are now mostly silent." (Transcript follows)
Joy Behar’s fact-free analysis continued on the February 8 edition of "The View" as she claimed the Bush administration raised taxes on the American people. Perhaps she was too overwhelmed with rage when Elisabeth Hasselbeck dared to take a shot at Hillary Clinton’s fiscal policy.
Hasselbeck joked about taxes on earned income, "just wait until Hillary is in office, you’re going to give it all back." Behar fought back: "That is so not true. Your president has raised taxes! Please! Ridiculous!"
The spat began when the View co-hosts were discussing a recent survey where the majority of women said they would prefer $1 million over a slimmer waistline. Co-host Whoopi Goldberg reminded the audience that in reality that a million dollars would be a lot less because much of that money is taxed.
GOLDBERG: Okay, let me ask you something because you think it’s a million dollars. 50 percent of that goes to the government-
"Good Morning America" weatherman and resident environmental alarmist Sam Champion wondered on Friday if global warming could cause "the ultimate climate disaster" and force humanity to abandon Earth and live in space. (Throughout the day's themed program, various GMA hosts filed reports on space and astronauts.)
So, as a transition to a piece on liberal environmental issues, Champion segued, "And now to our series 'Global Warming: Global Warning.' Could global warming one day force us into space to live?" (The ABC weatherman appeared in a pool as part of a previous space segment on weightlessness.) Champion used the segment to preview a new documentary called "Six Degrees" that will air on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday. He failed to inform viewers that the author upon which the special is based on, Mark Lynas, is a hard-left environmentalist who once threw a pie in the face of Bjorn Lomborg at a reading of Lomborg's book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist."
I'm not talking about endorsing Hillary. I'm talking about raising money for her because apparently the Republican 'strategery' is relying on fear and loathing of Hillary to unite everybody.-- Rush Limbaugh, Feb. 7, 2008
There's nothing the MSM loves more than Republican in-fighting. And of late, conservatives have concededly given the liberal media plenty to gloat about in that regard. Well-founded concerns about John McCain's unconservative positions on a host of issues have famously led to much heartburn in conservative circles. And yes, Rush Limbaugh has been leading the charge in raising the red flag about McCain.
But that doesn't justify Diane Sawyer's utter, complete, 180-degrees-wrong distortion and misrepresentation of what Rush said yesterday about possibly raising funds for Hillary. Sawyer portrayed Rush's comments as evidence of continuing conservative discontent. In fact, they were precisely the opposite. Here are the facts.
Appearing on Tucker Carlson's show a few days ago, Hillary fan Lanny Davis observed that Tucker's is "about the only show on MSNBC that consistently allows a Clinton perspective to be expressed." But maybe not so much when, as this evening, David Shuster is the guest host. Employing one of the more graphic metaphors to be heard about a Clinton from the MSM, Shuster tonight claimed that Chelsea Clinton is being "pimped out" by her mother's campaign.
The jumping off point was a clip in which three members of The View mentioned having been called by Chelsea on behalf of her mother. Shuster's guests were Dem pundit Bill Press and columnist Bob Franken.
Is ABC "View" co-host Joy Behar so far out of the political mainstream that she has a skewed sense of what entails a "liberal" and a "conservative?" The same woman who called Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "very moderate" on the February 7 show, John McCain has "been very conservative in all his policies." Apparently anyone who does not march lockstep with NARAL is an arch-conservative, as Behar explained that McCain is "so conservative because he’s against choice."
Very conservative in all of his policies? John McCain’s 2006 rating with the American Conservative Union was 65. While he certainly votes for the conservative position more often than not, he has far from a solid conservative record. The Club for Growth assailed McCain’s vote against the 2001 tax cuts and his class warfare reasoning for opposing it.
Here's a belated item for your media-bias talking points: after rummaging through the media coverage of the typically large March for Life on Tuesday, January 22, I have the following scorecard:
-- ABC, CBS, and NBC had absolutely nothing on the March, and absolutely nothing on the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Put the word "abortion" into Nexis and you get a black hole for that day, and the next day.
-- By contrast, Fox News Channel at least had a fair-and-balanced report on the March (complete with abortion advocates like Vicki Saporta of the National Abortion Federation) on Tuesday night's Special Report with Brit Hume.
-- National Public Radio offered several segments on the Roe anniversary, but no mention of the March for Life (with the asterisk that news breaks on the hour are not loaded into Nexis.)
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Cynthia McFadden suggested that the aging, liberal singer Cher might want to think about running for office. After discussing the performer's new Las Vegas show, McFadden asked Cher about politics.
Explaining why she's pro-Hillary Clinton and not supporting Barack Obama, the performer segued into discussing the "saint" known as Jimmy Carter and how "all he talked about was what he wanted to do for this country. And because of his inexperience, they cut him off at the knees." McFadden's response to this glowing assessment of the one term president was to assert, "Maybe you should run for office."
Continuing the trend of focusing on Democrats and issues important to Democratic voters, "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman delved into the psyche of women voters on Wednesday. Of course, this meant exclusively examining female voters who are choosing between liberal presidential candidates.
Describing the dilemma of a group of women in California, she enthused, "For many of these Democratic women, it was a struggle between two extremely appealing candidates." Such flowery language about two liberals White House contenders shouldn't be surprising. In January of 2007, Shipman famously depicted the battle between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as a contest of "fluid poetry" versus "hot factor."
Does Chelsea Clinton have the ears of three of "The View" co-hosts? According to Joy Behar’s, Whoopi Goldberg’s, and Sherri Shepherd’s accounts, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s daughter canvassed them for her mother’s vote. Unfortunately for Clinton campaign, it was too late as all three of them voted before the call. However, Whoopi Goldberg did say that she voted for Hillary Clinton and Joy Behar told Chelsea she has been a "big champion" for Hillary Clinton. The exchange from February 6 follows.
Mike Huckabee won five races last night. Mitt Romney won seven. Mike Huckabee has 190 delegates. Mitt Romney has 269 [see results here]. The only closed Deep South state left on the primary calendar is Mississippi. Romney has the message and money to compete across the USA.
So when Huckabee claims it's now a two-man race between McCain and himself, a journalist would surely challenge him on it, no? No. Not Robin Roberts, at least. To the contrary, she bought into his logic to the extent of asking only about his strategy going forward.
There were also some intriguing comments from Huckabee about allegations of backroom West Virginia deals and the importance of politesse . . .
Standing outside "Good Morning America's" New York studio on Tuesday, Democratic supporters waved signs backing Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and, fittingly, weatherman Sam Champion. GMA viewers have long known that the ABC forecaster is an avid promoter of left-wing environmental causes, but to celebrate "National Weatherman's Day," Champion got a boost from fans of two other liberals.
Taking a break from chanting slogans for Obama and Clinton, the crowd momentarily held signs, given to them by ABC, reading "In Sam We Trust" and "Sam's Our Man." Co-host Diane Sawyer couldn't have been more pleased at the synergy. She extolled, "It's the Sam surge, taking over the race to '08!"
None of the Republican presidential candidates have a health care plan, according to “The View’s” Joy Behar, known for putting ideology over facts. On the February 5 edition, where Super Tuesday was the dominant subject, Elisabeth Hasselbeck told her struggles voting as a Republican in New York City. First, Joy Behar charged that Republicans “never mention health care.” After Hasselbeck noted the media just does not promote their plan, Behar responded in a mocking tone.
BEHAR: Your party never mentions health care. The Republicans never bring up the subject. I’ve been watching them. I watched every single debate.
SHEPHERD: Because they’re more on the spending on the war.
BEHAR: Why not even bring it up as a possible solution? Come up with- Republicans have their own ideas. What is their idea on health care? Nothing! Zero!
Is it just me, or was there a defiant tone in George Stephanopoulos's voice this morning as he declared that Rush Limbaugh can't stop John McCain? The "This Week" host was a guest commentator on today's Good Morning America, and co-anchor Robin Roberts began by playing a clip of a recent Rush comment.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Let's start with the Republicans. Of course John McCain, the big lead over Romney, but not everyone is rallying around McCain. Let's listen to this for a moment.
Newsweek interviewed right-leaning Elisabeth Hasselbeck from ABC's The View, noting her new venture, a baby blog (for Dreft.com). Interviewer Ramin Setoodeh asked why she took only six weeks of maternity leave. "I can't leave that table too long. Are you kidding me? How would my side ever get told?" The interview strangely ended with Newsweek professing surprise this Republican wasn't a meanie:
Thank you for not being mean. It's bizarre. People are, like, she must be witchy. I think it's the liberal bias in the media that I'm the one who's argumentative.
Hasselbeck's current main liberal foil on The View, Joy Behar, gave an interview to the Hartford Courant, and this exchange was interesting: