When CBS's "60 Minutes" did a puff piece about Al Sharpton in May, Lesley Stahl revealed the Reverend refuses to say anything bad about President Obama.
On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," former MSNBC contributor CenkUygur claimed he might have been replaced by Sharpton in the 6PM time slot because of the Reverend's undying devotion to the current White House resident (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CBS News has lately been running ads touting their new Evening News anchor Scott Pelley as bringing “the world class original reporting of 60 Minutes, now every weeknight.” If so, those who hoped CBS would finally shift towards a more fair-and-balanced approach to the news may again be disappointed.
Last year, MRC news analysts reviewed “the world class reporting” on 60 Minutes and found a lopsided agenda that strongly favored liberals. In the previous five years, 60 Minutes aired 35 interviews with liberal leaders and celebrities, most of which (69%) were friendly and unchallenging. In contrast, only five of the 17 conservative segments (29%) were soft, a huge tilt both in the amount and the tone of CBS’s coverage.
CBS's Lesley Stahl played up how Al Sharpton apparently "has gone through something of a metamorphosis" as she spotlighted the "street-protest agitator...now trusted White House adviser" on Sunday's 60 Minutes. Despite pressing Sharpton for his refusal to apologize for the Tawana Brawley hoax, Stahl gushed, "Take a look at Reverend Al...stately in his tailored suits, commanding a national stage."
The journalist front-loaded her superlatives about the liberal flamethrower during her 12-and-a-half minute report in the bottom half of the 8 pm Eastern hour, emphasizing how Sharpton has supposedly become a new man. She also set the tone of the entire segment of choosing to use non-ideological labels to describe her subject, only hinting at his left-of-center politics:
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft failed to bring up key issues related to the killing of Osama bin Laden during an interview of President Obama, such as the enhanced interrogation of captured al Qaeda leaders which provided the first intelligence that ultimately lead to the Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan.
The journalist set the overall tone of his interview, which he conducted on Wednesday, by tossing a softball in his lead question to Obama: "Mr. President, was this the most satisfying week of your presidency?" After the chief executive gave his initial answer, Kroft followed up by asking, "Was the decision to launch this attack the most difficult decision that you've made as commander-in-chief?
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS correspondent Morley Safer interviewed New York Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan and pressed him on the his commitment to traditional Church teachings: "No question that you're conciliatory, that you like to have dialog, but underneath that you're an old-fashioned conservative. I mean, in the sense of right-wing conservative."
Dolan turned Safer's characterization around: "I would bristle at being termed 'right-wing.' But if somebody means enthusiastically committed and grateful for the timeless heritage of the Church, and feeling that my best service is when I try to preserve that and pass that on in its fullness and beauty and radiance, I'm a conservative, no doubt."
On Sunday's 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent Bob Simon noted the eighth anniversary of the war in Iraq by describing how "questions still remain as to why the United States launched the war in the first place. The Bush administration said it was because of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. But there were no such weapons."
In the segment that followed, Simon interviewed Rafid Alwan – also know by his code-name 'Curve Ball' – a former Iraqi chemical engineer who claimed the Hussein regime was pursuing weapons of mass destruction. Before the interview Simon implored viewers to "ponder how anyone could ever have believed one word he [Alwan] said." After the interview, Simon concluded that the Bush administration had fallen for "one of the deadliest con jobs in history" by listening to Alwan and going to war in Iraq.
Howard Kurtz devoted a good part of "Reliable Sources" Sunday to the attack on CBS's Lara Logan when Egypt's Hosni Mubarak resigned as President.
As he addressed some disgraceful comments made about the incident by members of the media, Kurtz made it clear to viewers that Debbie Schlussel was a conservative, better never once depicted Nir Rosen as a liberal (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Introducing her interview with presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner on Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl proclaimed: "...which John Boehner will show up as speaker, the deal-maker he's been in the past or the more hardline conservative of late who's aligned himself with the tea party that helped bring him and his party back into power?"
Stahl noted how Boehner and President Obama "may have exchanged more words via television than in person. And most of them have been, shall we say, unfriendly." She lamented how Boehner "was the one who urged Republicans in the House to vote as a block....Against all of Mr. Obama's initiatives – health care, the stimulus, and on and on." She added that "he escalated the attacks during the campaign" and later dubbed him "Mr. Hell No."
On Thursday's "Morning Joe," "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl deplored the GOP stiff-arm to Democratic lame-duck legislation, complaining that it wiped out the conciliatory tone of the Republicans' meeting with President Obama. She referred to the GOP strategy as "the maneuvering that I think is such a turnoff."
"If you're up here after the White House meeting saying 'Yes, they can be civil to each other,' and it's just a tone. We know it's a tone. And then it's dashed," she mourned. "After the meeting with the President, everybody – I think, I think – in the country said this is great, this is what we want, we want that tone," she gushed of the GOP leadership's meeting with Obama.
Stahl then lamented the GOP's ensuing opposition to Democratic legislation until extending the Bush tax cuts is made a top priority.
America was founded on the principle of representative democracy: the government would make policy based on the consent of the governed. Liberal elitists have grown increasingly impatient with this unenlightened system, and more and more, they are relying on judicial activists to remake society in their desired image. Far from being tribunes of the people, these judges are honored by the media elite for going around public opinion – and the Constitution – whenever the liberal impulse beckons.
CBS’s “60 Minutes” earned the title “Syrupy Minutes” on November 28 with a thoroughly one-sided tribute to the “great” liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, with a focus on how this “great” man publicly suggested George W. Bush was a tyrant.
Pelley hailed how Stevens had “shaped more American history than any Supreme Court justice alive.” He especially underlined how liberals see Stevens’ opinions on the rights of terrorist suspects as “among the most important of his career.” The detention center at Guantanamo Bay is a legal and political mess. One could easily blame the “historic” Justice Stevens; CBS lauds him.
In a softball interview with retired liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on Sunday's 60 Minutes, correspondent Scott Pelley touted Stevens's opposition to the court ruling on the 2000 presidential election: "He thinks [Bush v. Gore] is one of the Court's greatest blunders....There were many people in this country who felt that the Supreme Court stole that election for President Bush."
Pelley introduced the segment by proclaiming that Stevens "has shaped more American history than any Supreme Court justice alive" and made "decisions that have changed our times." The decisions Pelley focused on were the Justice's most liberal: "It was Stevens who forced a showdown with President Bush over the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and Stevens who tried to stop the court from deciding the presidential election of 2000."
As he devoted his regular 60 Minutes segment on Sunday to complaining about surveys, CBS’s Andy Rooney declared his belief that President Obama is "doing the best job he knows how, and it’s good enough for me." Rooney, who has a history of openly admitting that his political views are liberal, also gave viewers some insight into his social circle as having like-minded views on politics as he relayed to viewers that eight out of nine friends he asked also like Obama. Rooney complained:
Gallup said that they surveyed over 90,000 Americans for this one poll. I mean, where was I when they were calling people about President Obama? The survey said that only 44 percent of us approve of President Obama’s performance. Well, I surveyed nine of my friends, and eight of them said they liked Obama but didn’t trust Gallup polls. As far as I’m concerned, Obama’s doing the best job he knows how, and it’s good enough for me.
On Friday, CBS's Early Show previewed President Obama's upcoming 60 Minutes interview by showing a clip of the softest moment of the exchange and skipping over a series of more challenging questions from correspondent Steve Kroft.
While the preview featured Kroft sympathetically asking the President if he hadn't "sold his successes well enough," the 60 Minutes correspondent began the interview by questioning Obama's policies: "At your news conference, you seemed unwilling to accept the idea that this was a rejection, in any way, of your agenda and your policies. Is this a defeat, a reflection on your leadership?" Obama responded by lamenting: "And people looked at that and they said, 'boy, this feels as if there's a huge expansion of government,' and-" Kroft interjected: "Well, it was a huge expansion of government."
In a preview of President Obama's upcoming 60 Minutes interview on Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Steve Kroft is shown commiserating with the commander-in-chief over midterm election losses: "People have made the argument you lost control of the narrative, you've let other people define you, that you haven't sold your successes well enough."
Kroft was understanding as he lamented Obama's political problems: "People who were among your most ardent supporters...feel a little disappointed, that they think that you've lost your mojo, that you lost your ability, that touch you had during the campaign to inspire and lead." He noted how "everybody in Washington writes about this sort of aloofness that you have. And I'm sure that drives you crazy."
Barely 36 hours before Washington State voters go to the polls, CBS News aired a 14-minute unregulated in-kind campaign expenditure on behalf of “Yes on 1098" and its chief cheerleader, Bill Gates Sr, sandwiched by Lesley Stahl hailing rogue Reagan adviser David Stockman as “brave” for advocating the end to the Bush tax rates and imposition of a 15 percent national income surtax. Stahl trumpeted:
One Republican brave enough to go public is David Stockman, President Reagan's budget director. He says all the Bush tax cuts should be eliminated -- even those on the middle class. And he says his own Republican Party has gone too far with its anti-tax religion.
She segued to how “many of the states are in the same boat, facing huge deficits with few prospects for cutting, which is why Washington State is joining the movement across the country to tax the rich,” championing how “Bill Gates Sr., has poured his own money into backing Initiative 1098. The tax would bring in $3 billion a year, to be spent mainly on education, which has suffered cutbacks as the state reels under a massive deficit.”
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl fretted over the possible expansion of Israeli settlements near an important archeological site in Jerusalem: "So archeology is being used as a political tool....indoctrination, almost." She claimed that "organizations that move Jewish settlers into Arab areas have infiltrated" the surrounding Arab neighborhood.
Stahl described the dig site: "...more and more Israeli settlers have moved east into the Arab-populated areas. One place where it's gotten especially complicated and volatile is the Arab neighborhood of Silwan. The complication in Silwan involves an Israeli archeological dig called the City of David." She worried about the religious implications: "It's controversial that the City of David uses discoveries to try to confirm what's in the Bible, particularly from the time of David, the king who made Jerusalem his capital....There's an implicit message that because David conquered the city for the Jews back then, Jerusalem belongs to the Jews today."
Conservative radio host Steve Malzberg on Monday called Steve Pelley a louse for his puff piece about the Ground Zero mosque aired on CBS's "60 Minutes."
As NewsBusters previously reported, "In a Sunday 60 Minutes story that gave a glowing portrayal of the real estate developer and imam behind the Ground Zero mosque, CBS anchor Scott Pelley also used the opportunity to smear opponents of the project."
"Scott Pelley has just earned the Bob Schieffer 'I Don't Give a Rat's About Anything' Journalism Award," scolded Malzberg on his WOR radio program the following day.
"Do you hear this louse?" he asked. "Take your journalism degree, Scott, and put it at the bottom of your dog the next time he crouches down because that's what your journalism degree is worth you pathetic fool" (audio follows with partial transcript and commentary):
In a Sunday 60 Minutes story that gave a glowing portrayal of the real estate developer and imam behind the Ground Zero mosque, CBS anchor Scott Pelley also used the opportunity to smear opponents of the project: "...a national controversy with anger, passion, and more than a little misinformation. Opponents whipped up a fury, calling the project a grotesque mega-mosque tied to terrorism."
Pelley began by touting how building developer Sharif El-Gamal was simply trying to improve a "dingy block in lower Manhattan" and that he "thought his project would be a step up for a seedy part of downtown." Pelley described how "the community enthusiastically agreed. The plan was endorsed by the Mayor, the borough president, and the community board." He then emphasized the distance from Ground Zero: "You can't see Ground Zero from here, but when you make the corner...you can see the cranes where the new World Trade Center buildings are going up....It took us another two minutes to walk to the edge of what the government officially designates as Ground Zero."
Pelley highlighted El-Gamal's multi-cultural background: "...you're a Muslim who married a Christian girl. Your mother is Catholic. And you joined the Jewish community center on the West Side of Manhattan." However, he then turned to mosque opponent Pamela Geller, whom he characterized as "a former New York media executive who writes a politically far Right blog that mixes news, opinion, and conspiracy theories."
If there is an example of anyone who has overseen a bigger audience decline and loss of competitive position and survived so long, I don't know who he or she is. Fox News, which first passed CNN in total viewers in January 2002 (interesting how this basic factoid is not at Fox's Wiki entry), now routinely trounces CNN and CNN Headline combined by a factor of 1.5 to 1 or more. On Thursday, Fox's primetime audience of 574,000 was 75% greater than the CNN pair's combined total of 329,000.
But before he arrived at CNN to do his damage, Klein inadvertently did the nation a service.
On Sunday, the season premiere of 60 Minutes will include an anticipated Scott Pelley report on the Ground Zero mosque. Will the story be pro-mosque, just like President Obama? The first clips displayed softballs of sympathy, that it should be seen as "a hub of culture, a hub of coexistence, a hub of bringing people together." To underline the overwhelming sympathetic tilt of this program in the Obama era -- especially all the Steve Kroft hope-and-change goo before the 2008 election -- the MRC has a new special report called "Syrupy Minutes." Here's my executive summary:
In the last five years, CBS’s 60 Minutes has become infamous for letting its left-wing ardor get way ahead of its journalistic mission. Dan Rather destroyed his own reputation in 2004 with a 60 Minutes II “expose” of President Bush’s incomplete Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard which relied on falsified documents. A CBS-appointed panel found “myopic zeal” in Rather’s professional demise, but no one would admit a political bias.
For more than 40 years, CBS has boasted of 60 Minutes as a hard-hitting news show, a weekly story of investigative gumshoes digging up dirt and accusing major business and government leaders of committing dastardly deeds against the public interest. But the history of 60 Minutes isn’t filled to the brim with brutal investigations. It has a much softer, syrupy side, and it isn’t just reserved for movie stars or rock musicians. When it comes to champions of liberalism and even the radical left, the CBS News program has rolled out a red carpet, asking softball questions and lionizing their policy stands and programs – whether they were actually “achievements” or disasters.
Jimmy Carter is out with his 26th book, so that means he is on his 26th round of slavish liberal-media interviews hailing him as a genius and a peacemaker. No wonder we’re so tired of him.
While the Bushes have remained dignified and largely silent as ex-presidents, Carter and Bill Clinton just cannot resist venomously attacking Republican presidents and conservative politicians, perhaps because whenever they do this, TV anchors bow and scrape before them and hail their “achievements” and compassion and generosity of spirit toward mankind.
CBS broke into summer re-runs of 60 Minutes to let Lesley Stahl promote Jimmy Carter’s new book, White House Diary, which he maintained delivers “absolute unadulterated frankness” and which she described as an “often harsh critique” of his presidential term. She, however, was far from harsh toward him.
Noting an “image of ‘a failed President’ haunts the Carters,” Stahl trumpeted: “Carter argues that despite the image of failure, he actually had a long list of successes, starting with bringing all the hostages home alive,” as if that wasn’t because of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration. Stahl proceeded to tout as a success his installation of “solar panels on the roof of the White House.”
Absolving Carter of responsibility, Stahl contended he “was cursed by a dismal economy, poor relations with Congress, and a nightmarish standoff over 52 Americans held hostage by Iran.” Yet, “when all is said and done, and many will be surprised to hear this,” Stahl insisted, “Jimmy Carter got more of his programs passed than Reagan and Nixon, Ford, Bush 1, Clinton or Bush 2.” She empathized with his treatment from an unappreciative public: “And yet, as I say, there's the sense that you were a failed President.”
Could Scott Pelley possibly be this naive, or was he willingly playing the role of MSM cheerleader for the developer of the Ground Zero Mosque?
In the course of a chummy interview of GZM developer Sharif El-Gamal aired on Sunday's 60 Minutes, Pelley produced a pearl. Instead of asking a probing question, the CBS "reporter" served as an advocate for El-Gamal's position when it came to the siting of the mosque.
Pelley, on his own initiative, asserted:
"You don't have your choice of putting this anywhere you want to. There aren't many spots."
As media members across the fruited plain try to convince skeptical Americans that Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Islamic Imam behind the Ground Zero mosque, is a moderate cleric, most have totally ignored an interview that he gave on CBS's "60 Minutes" less than three weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
To demonstrate just how wrong the press are about this man, Fox News's Bill O'Reilly played the relevant portions of that segment on Wednesday's "Factor."
As you watch this clip, it will be quite obvious why you likely have never seen it before (video follows with partial transcript):
James J. Kilpatrick, best known as the conservative-curmudgeon commentator on "60 Minutes" in its "Point-Counterpoint" segment in the 1970s, has died at the age of 89. Washingtonians also remember his years as a panelist on the local weekly political talk show "Agronsky & Company." His column "A Conservative View" was syndicated in hundreds of newspapers.
The Washington Post obituary on Tuesday focused heavily on his role in promoting segregationism in the 1960s at the Richmond News-Leader and concluded with his story that he was asked to "take the side of 'The Conservative's View of Watergate.' And I asked myself, 'Just what is a conservative's view of burglary?'"
Kilpatrick's "Point-Counterpoint" commentaries were satirized by "Saturday Night Live" in which Dan Aykroyd began his rebuttal of Jane Curtin with the phrase "Jane, you ignorant slut." Kilpatrick was also parodied in the movie "Airplane" where a balding, crusty conservative claims that people knew what they were getting into when they bought their plane tickets: "I say let 'em crash." In his book Tell Me A Story, Don Hewitt wrote that Saturday Night Live only prolonged the segment's tenure.
These are some of the outtakes that the Ecuadoran plaintiff lawyer Steve Donziger probably wished were left on the cutting room floor.
Back in May 2009, CBS's "60 Minutes" featured a story on the legal conflict between Chevron and an eco-group called the Amazon Defense Coalition for $27.4 billion in so-called environmental damage in Ecuador's rain forest from then-Texaco Petroleum's (Texpet) operation of oil well sites over a decade ago. However, in 1998, the government of Ecuador certified that Texpet, a minority partner in an exploration and production venture state-owned oil company PetroEcuador, had met Ecuadorian and international remediation standards and had released Texpet from future claims and obligations.
During that May 3 broadcast, Donziger was portrayed by CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley as a shining individual with a deeply rooted compassion for the indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
A journalist with a political agenda is not necessarily a dishonest one, and a journalist who claims to be objective is not necessarily honest. These are useful facts to bear in mind as media liberals call for Andrew Breitbart's head.
Breitbart posted video of recently-fired USDA official Shirley Sherrod claiming she considered race in allocating federal agriculture funds. The apparent racism was debunked when the entire video surfaced, showing that Sherrod had actually discouraged such actions. "This is what happens" wrote Eric Deggans for the St. Petersburg "when ideologically-focused noise machines are treated like real news outlets."
Conspicuously absent in Deggans's screed is any mention of the recently-discovered attempt by liberal commentators to maliciously - and falsely, by their own admission - brand their ideological opponents as racists. Also absent: any mention of the litany of instances of dishonest and counter-factual reporting from the purportedly "objective" media.
It seems that the vast majority of journalists who bemoan unaccountable, unabashedly opinionated digital reporting are the same ones who have, without challenge, pushed a liberal perspective through their own reporting.
The latest such journalist, Newsweek's Howard Fineman, is concerned that "nobody is cross-examining" the "position papers" that supposedly comprise a critical mass of new media journalism. Of course without new media, Fineman's position papers would be virtually immune from meaningful cross examination.
His position is common among the media's old guard: accountability for thee, but not for me. This view stems both from a sort of meta-double standard: Fineman and his ilk extrapolate a few bad apples among the new media crowd into a larger trend of malfeasance, while treating instances of journalistic malpractice among old media reporters as isolated incidents that have no real bearing on Old Media's accountability (or lack thereof).