The Media Research Center's Gala has only recently concluded. It will be almost a full year until the DisHonors Awards are again distributed. Even so, Scott Pelley's query to John McCain, aired on this evening's 60 Minutes, has to be considered a strong, early contender for Most Inane Question in next year's running.
Let's set the stage. 60 Minutes had devoted extensive time to McCain's recent trip to Iraq. Particular attention was paid to his visit to a Baghdad market, which, as it turned out, was carried out with very considerable security surrounding him. Even so, McCain acknowledged during the course of the interview that he was in large measure staking his candidacy on the success of the surge.
Immediately preceding his question, Pelley had noted that five generations of McCain's family had attended West Point or Annapolis. McCain was shown in his Senate office pointing out a picture of his father in Vietnam when he was commander of US forces in the Pacific.
Observed Pelley: "Now McCain's family is serving again. He has a son in the Naval Academy and another son 18 years old, headed toward Iraq."
Members of the media are working environmental bias into the oddest segments. "Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion reported this week on the trendy new concept of "green weddings." According to Mr. Champion, "more and more Americans" are embracing ideas such as not using electricity during their wedding and holding the reception in a barn. Sounds great, right ladies?
On the same topic, the "Today" show’s Martin Savidge worried that climate change could have a negative effect on the nation’s pets. (Presumably, this includes Savidge’s dog "Girlfriend.") On Friday, the aforementioned Mr. Champion plugged a global warming study that predicted overly warm spring temperatures. This was right after his early April forecast of brutal cold for the Northeast.
[This first posted on March 15. CBS will re-run this episode tonight, Friday April 6] Appearing on Wednesday's (March 14) Late Show with David Letterman, actor Richard Gere declared: “We have a President right now who lies constantly and gets away with it apparently.” Gere's comment, which drew applause from the audience in Manhattan, came in response to Letterman asking Gere, who was on the show to promote The Hoax, a movie opening in April in which he stars as Clifford Irving who wrote and sold a bogus autobiography of the reclusive Howard Hughes: “Is this the kind of thing that can happen now?”
Gere also contended that “the second Watergate where they got caught actually had a lot to do with the material that's in this book, in the fake autobiography, because Clifford made up a lot of things about Hughes and Richard Nixon and they ended up being true. But Nixon was the only one that knew they were true and so the break-in was actually to find out how much the Democratic Party knew.”
A new report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds the public has relatively little confidence in what the military and the media are telling them about the war in Iraq, although the press has less credibility than the Pentagon.
Interestingly, a majority of self-described Democrats say they are putting their confidence in the media, while Republicans have generally opted to trust the military. In 2005, a major study by the Media Research Center found the vast majority of network news reports highlighted the bad news coming out of Iraq, with few reports detailing the accomplishments or personal bravery of U.S. troops.
If I had a $100 for every time the media fret that liberal Republicans will be seen as too "moderate" for their party base, I'd be blogging this from my vacation home in St. Kitts.
This CBS "Pure Horserace" article took the occasion of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani reaffirming his support of taxpayer-funded abortions to ask, "Is Rudy Too Moderate?"
The belief that abortion is not only a constitutional right but one deserving of subsidy by tax dollars is hardly a moderate position, it's a policy position grounded in advocacy of the exercise of the right to obtain an abortion.
It may arguably be "moderate" for a candidate to favor abortion rights but with some restrictions, such as a ban on partial-birth abortion, parental consent laws, a ban on public financing, etc. But to defend taxpayer funding of abortion and/or to balk at banning partial-birth abortion moves solidly into the "liberal" edge of the spectrum on the abortion issue.
CBS’s website’s feature "The Public Eye Chat" interviewed correspondent Allen Pizzey, who completely ignored some positive signs in Iraq in his grim report last month. Interviewer Brian Montopoli asked if John McCain’s optimistic statements on Iraqi progress "really sort of bothered reporters." Pizzey scuffed: "It’s disgraceful for a man seeking highest office, I think to talk utter rubbish." Pizzey claimed, that "no one in his right mind who has been to Baghdad believes that story," but he must not have checked the recent ABC story citing some improvement.
Montopoli followed up with a question of liberal bias, and quickly added that, that charge "has died down alittle bit of late." Pizzey, of course denied that charge and accused the Bush administration of thinking "that anything that doesn’t wholly support everything they say is against them." The transcript of the relevant portion is below.
If it wouldn’t cause death, the Center for Science in the Public Interest would probably try to ban eating and drinking altogether, but when the media report on CSPI rarely are its extreme positions emphasized.
According to CSPI, "it takes more than willpower" to make decisions about what to eat, so it's here to help by promoting bans, more regulations and higher taxes on what it considers "unhealthy."
“[A] new study says that if you’re out for Chinese, even the good stuff could be bad for you,” said ABC’s Terry Moran on “Nightline” March 21.
In that same report, Jessica Yellin and CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson bantered happily about the problems with Chinese food: fat and sodium. Of course "Nightline" was reporting CSPI's latest study, the same day the food police released "Wok Carefully: CSPI Takes a (Second) Look at Chinese Restaurant Food."
The April 4 edition of CBS’s "The Early Show" covered Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain’s visit to Iraq implying he has a skewed sense of reality. Anchor Russ Mitchell introduced the segment that the Arizona Senator "seems to be stumbling a bit of late" because he "went to Iraq" and "said he saw some progress."
Before playing McCain’s optimistic sound bite, correspondent Martin Seemungal reported that McCain had been in Baghdad for "just a few hours." After playing another positive word from Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind), Seemungal responded that "the reality on the ground is anything but peaceful" and some residents claimed "it took a massive military operation to give the congressmen that sense of security."
In an April 4 blog post to "Couric & Co.," the University of Virginia alumna (Class of 1979) worries that kids these days don't know their way around the library, and hence will be up a creek when they drift into the college library cramming for term papers:
Many kids skip the library altogether and head for the store. Sales of
juvenile books rose 60 percent from 2002 to 2005. It's an encouraging
sign that kids value reading, but many tech-savvy kids never experience
the joy of using the library's shelves as a place to discover new
worlds. And students are arriving in college unable to navigate
libraries with a Dewey decimal system many have never used.
Of course, kids love books, they just need authors that know how to capture their attention. Katie knows this well, having plugged the heck out of Harry Potter novels repeatedly over the years. But it's the last line in the above excerpt that caught my eye about students being unfamiliar with "a Dewey decimal system many have never used."
He's "America's best-known forecaster" according to CBS's Mark Strassman and a "veteran forecaster" to ABC's Ned Potter.
Bill Gray the well-known and well-respected hurricane forecaster is revered by journalists when he's predicting hurricanes, but as soon as Gray starts talking about global warming, the media for the most part stop listening.
"At today's national hurricane conference in New Orleans, 700 weather watchers talked about one man ... Bill Gray, America's best-known forecaster. And his prediction for this hurricane season, watch out," said Strassman on CBS "Evening News" April 3.
According to Charles Gibson of ABC, Gray is "something of a renegade." Yes, when it comes to the media's collective opinion on global warming, he is.
The April 3 edition of "The Early Show" reported on the fallout from the Supreme Court decision regarding EPA regulatory policies. Business correspondent Anthony Mason featured auto industry analyst John Casesa who claimed it "will force Detroit auto companies to radically change their business model," but there was no mention of the potential cost to the consumer.
The story also uncritically aired a sound bite from David Hawkins of the left wing Natural Resources Defense Council, but aired nothing from organizations opposed to the ruling. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, for example, issued a press release stating experts are "available to comment" on the decision. CBS must have missed it. The transcript is below.
CHRIS WRAGGE: The Supreme Court ruled Monday that so-called greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide can be considered air pollution. And the federal government has the duty to regulate them. As CBS News business correspondent Anthony Mason reports, it's likely to mean big changes and big problems for the U.S. car industry.
Would someone please let Andrea Mitchell know that John McCain is competing for the Republican presidential nomination? He's not going up against Obama, Hillary et al. in a race to determine who can surrender fastest in Iraq.
Giving her expert analysis on this morning's "Today" of John McCain's lackluster fundraising results, Mitchell claimed that John McCain is "hurt by his support for the Iraq war."
Could Andrea possibly be more wrong? McCain's support for President Bush's Iraq policy is the only thing keeping him alive, if barely, in the GOP race. Opposition to the war would put McCain in Chuck Hagel territory -- so unpopular among Republican voters that he dare not even throw his hat into the ring.
The National Center for Public Policy Research's health care senior policy analyst, David Hogberg, contacted
the CBS television show "60 Minutes" five times last week -- by telephone, fax and e-mail -- to warn the show's producers that a report by the leftie big-government health care lobby group Families USA, which "60 Minutes" planned to highlight in Sunday's show, rested on faulty data.
The Families USA report made certain claims in support of calls that Medicare be permitted to "negotiate (read: dictate) drug prices to drug companies. An analysis David completed for the National Center in January, and which he made available to "60 Minutes," called the Families USA study "nonsense."
As David explained in a National Center press release today:
"60 Minutes" resident global warming alarmist Scott Pelley, who compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers, reported on another piece on the April 1 edition. Pelley featured a scientist and self proclaimed former skeptic, and a University of Maine scientist without telling his full story.
First, Pelley toured a receding glacier with glaciologist Gino Casassa. Casassa claimed to be a former skeptic, and Pelley came to the conclusion that he changed his ways after witnessing this glacier. Apparently, when watching a glacier recede, one can jump to the conclusion that SUV driving soccer moms are causing it.
Conservative college journalism students might want to consider a summer internship with Katie Couric and the CBS "Evening News." Aspiring journalists are invited to submit print or video entries bringing a local perspective to a global issue. CBS lists three categories: climate change, "social entrepreneurs," and Iraq War veterans. Will the most compelling presentation of liberal bias win the internship, or could a conservative effort start someone's career? You'll be able to see the results online. The online ad (with a big pic of Katie) says:
Launch your journalism career -- while earning course credit -- with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work directly with Katie Couric and the staff of CBS News. It's all part of SPRINGBOARD, an exciting new journalism program sponsored by CBS News and U-Wire.
SPRINGBOARD invites aspiring print and broadcast journalists to provide a unique local perspective to a global topic, and submit the print or video result for consideration by the journalists of CBSNews.com and CBS News. We'll post the best submissions online, and award one entrant with a summer internship at CBS News in New York City.
This week, the Media Research Center celebrated 20 years of busting news bias. At the annual MRC 20th Anniversary Gala, Conservative legend Rush Limbaugh brought down the house with his closing speech on the success of the alternative media.
On Monday, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received a gift from "Good Morning America": A 30 minute "town hall" infomercial where a GMA host lauded the New York Senator for being ahead of her time.
On Friday morning's "Early Show," CBS co-host Harry Smith was hot on the tornado beat. "As we've reported, a huge storm in the middle of the country is blamed for four deaths in three states. The storm caused 65 tornadoes in just one day. It's just the beginning of tornado season, but we have already seen more than 300 of them and it is likely to get even worse as we get into April and May, the prime tornado months."
He brought on Warren Faidley, who he said "calls himself an extreme weather journalist. He's been chasing tornadoes for some 20 years now and he joins us this morning." Smith asked vaguely why the increased tornadoes, but when the answer he wanted wasn't obvious enough, he pounced: "You talked about El Nino. It's hard to talk about climate and not talk about global warming. Do you think that has anything to do with it?
Last Night the MRC hosted its 20th Anniversary Gala, featuring the ever-popular
DisHonors Awards. The DisHonors mockingly award liberal media fixtures for the worst incidents of bias or buffoonery in the mainstream media from the year prior. This year was no exception.
Below are a list of the award categories and
their winners. They link to the MRC pages containing the worst of the
worst in media bias from 2006.
God, I Hate America Award
Sulzberger, Jr., New York Times publisher, for his May 21, 2006
graduation address in which he apologized to SUNY-New Paltz graduates
that they were "graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war
in a foreign land."
Wednesday's CBS Evening News with Katie Couric featured another "The federal government is our only hope" segment, this time focusing on the "war on cancer." Couric introduced the segment by arguing that cancer therapies were being thwarted because of "funding cuts that could delay or completely derail promising advances in the war of cancer."
The story, by CBS correspondent Wyatt Andrews, featured only one member of Congress, Iowa's Senator Tom Harkin, who echoed Couric and claimed that the "war on cancer" is in jeopardy due to war in Iraq. The "money" quote:
HARKIN: When you're spending $8 billion a month in Iraq, it's very tough to get the money for cancer research.
Eating up calls for more regulation, CBS "Evening News" attacked kid's cereal makers for television advertising in last night's broadcast.
The nanny-staters were at it again, warning on March 28 that children who like sugary cereals are "setting off alarms." Really? Is it any sort of surprise that children prefer sweet cereals to bran flakes? It doesn't surprise me, I still hate bran flakes.
Bill Whitaker's brought on Susan Linn "one of a chorus of critics calling for the government to ban the ads," but Whitaker didn't mention that Linn is the co-founder of the liberal Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Linn declared that "self-regulation has failed."
The top Washington story on Monday, March 26 came straight from the Sunday morning chat shows: the support for embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was slipping, even among Republicans.
Which Republicans? There are conservatives who are not big fans of Gonzales, who would have preferred the President had chosen someone bolder, more confrontational, someone willing to make a case for conservatism. But none of those people were seen on ABC, CBS, or NBC. Viewers saw instead the "even Republicans," the ones who specialize in ratifying the conventional liberal media wisdom, as in "Even Republicans say Gonzales is cooked." If the media think Gonzales is crippled and Bush is wretched, then it’s not that hard for them to find Republicans will spit that line back to them, for emphasis. They aren’t Republicans. They merely play them on TV.
"We should have went to the mob for a loan," said Bronx homeowner Ana Rosado on CNN's March 27 "American Morning."
Her statement, extreme as it was, rivaled network reporting in March about subprime loans and foreclosures.
Reporters called the situation a “meltdown,” an “epidemic” and a “crisis” that could potentially lead to recession, and blamed lenders while almost entirely ignoring personal responsibility for borrowers. Instead, media accounts portrayed borrowers as victims, many of whom seemed shocked when their adjustable-rate mortgages adjusted upward.
While lenders were painted as the bad guys, they were rarely allowed to give any perspective. The networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, have done at least 26 stories on subprime loans just in the month of March, but only six of those included a lender’s voice. That meant an overwhelming 77 percent of stories didn’t even try to explain the lenders’ position.
From the moment she participated in an anti-war march in NYC at the time of the 2004 GOP convention, there's been little doubt as to where Meredith Vieira stands on Iraq. Even so, it was something of a shock to hear the "Today" co-host express her opposition in the first person plural this morning.
Discussing the war with Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] at about 7:05 AM ET this morning, she said:
"Six out of ten Americans don't agree [with you]. They want a pull-out from Iraq. So what are we missing? When you say we are succeeding, based on what?"
"We?" Give Meredith credit for candor; but one more reason for NBC to stop pretending it doesn't lean left.
There’s been no shortage of flattering network stories about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. “You are the equivalent of a rock star in politics,” NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira told Obama in October. “You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You’re looking at an American political phenomenon,” ABC’s Terry Moran gushed on Nightline a few weeks later.
“Barack Obama, with his fairy tale family, has personal charisma to spare,” ABC’s Claire Shipman enthused in January. “He does draw on something deeply good about this country. And we will have to see whether he can really deliver,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews announced on Hardball in February.
This weekend, the Chicago Tribune published a long investigative story about Obama’s youth, discovering that the story of his own life that Obama presented in his memoir is sometimes at odds with the facts. “Several of his oft-recited stories may not have happened in the way he has recounted them,” the Tribune’s Kirsten Scharnberg and Kim Barker reported in Sunday’s article, “The not-so-simple story of Barack Obama’s youth.”
After grilling White House spokesman Tony Snow, the March 22 edition of CBS’s "The Early Show," followed with a fawning story on former Vice President Al Gore and his testimony on Capitol Hill. Anchor Russ Mitchell kicked it off calling Gore "a big celebrity with a message about global warming."
Correspondent Gloria Borger exclaimed the former vice president "looked like a winner." CBS then played a sound bite of Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) offering praise to Mr. Gore calling him "a role model for us all." After briefly playing a clip of Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) grilling Al Gore, Borger called him a "professor" and reminding the audience that "he could still run for president." The transcript is below.
UPDATES added at end of post with video link (11:08 EDT) and full transcript (12:17 EDT) as recorded by MRC/NB's Justin McCarthy.
Who needs Chuck Schumer, so long as you have Harry Smith [file photo]? Dems might well be asking themselves that this morning, after the Early Show host went after Tony Snow on the attorney firings in a manner that might have made the senior senator from New York look statesmanlike in contrast.
Things got so bad that at one point, the eminently affable Snow accused Smith of badgering him, and later suggested the CBS anchor was acting like a partisan, not a reporter. Things ended on the worst possible note, as Smith accused Snow of hiding the truth from him. See transcript below, which while complete can't convey the rancor of Smith's tone or his manifestly angry body language.
HARRY SMITH: The man out in front answering questions from the press
about this is White House spokesman Tony Snow. He's with us this
morning. Good morning, sir.
Perhaps channeling her youthful experience as a cheerleader, CBS's Katie Couric pumped her rhetorical pom poms for Al Gore in a "Couric & Co." blog today.
Below you can see how she lauded his "triumphant" return to Congress on her "Couric & Co." blog at CBSNews.com, all the while insisting "scientific consensus" is on Gore's side and that Congress should "act boldly" on the issue.
“Sixty bucks! That’s ridiculous,” said one woman filling up her gas tank, on ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” March 12.
Consumer complaints and frequent mentions of "the most expensive gasoline" in the country are used by the media to hype rising gas prices. And what state has the most expensive gasoline? California.
“Let me show you what is the most expensive gasoline location in the country. A gallon of unleaded in California right now going for $3.08 a gallon,” said NBC reporter Tom Costello during the March 12 “Nightly News.”
Costello's report, like many others on NBC, CBS and ABC left out the explanation for exorbitant prices at California pumps: higher taxes and excessive environmental regulation.
"The Early Show" continued its double standard treatment of Democrats and Republicans. "Capitol Bob" Schieffer added some analysis to the Alberto Gonzales situation. On the March 20 edition, Schieffer editorialized that Gonzales, who is not under any criminal investigation, "may not be a dead man walking right now, but he’s certainly a wounded man limping" and "there’s (sic) some very serious questions here to be answered."
In 1993, however, Schieffer interviewed then Democratic Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, who was under criminal investigation at the time, and later convicted. Schieffer only raised the concern in passing at the end of a long interview.