On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," Steve Kroft suggested that the American-based Chiquita Banana company was in league with Colombian terrorist groups after paying extortion money to such groups to protect its employees: "It made millions growing bananas there, only to emerge with its reputation splattered in blood, after acknowledging that it had paid nearly $2 million in protection money to a murderous paramilitary group that's killed or massacred thousands of people."
Kroft went on to portray the situation with Chiquita as only one example of a larger pattern of U.S. companies funding terrorism: "Now the Colombian government is talking about extraditing Chiquita executives to Colombia, and investigators in Bogota and on Capitol Hill are looking at other US companies that may have done the same thing."
Kroft later highlighted the murder of a 12-year-old boy by the paramilitary group that Chiquita made payments to: "...the paramilitaries arrived and murdered a 12-year-old boy whose only crime had been to announce their presence." Kroft also explained: "As the atrocities piled up all across the country, Chiquita continued to make the payments to the paramilitaries, viewing itself as a victim of the violence, not a facilitator."
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Barack Obama took some time off from campaigning to go back to Washington, where he got the royal treatment yesterday." Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report: "Officially this place, Capitol Hill, is Barack Obama's place of employment, but he doesn't come here very often. When he did make a rare visit yesterday he was treated like a rock star."
Reid went on to describe Obama’s "rock star" tour of Congress: "Swarmed by tourists and reporters, Barack Obama slowly wound his way through the U.S. Capitol, visiting the House floor where observers say even some members of Congress appeared star struck."
At one point, Reid explained how Obama reached across the aisle: "Even saying hello to House Republicans." However, Reid pointed out that: "the conversation apparently was less than profound," and played a clp of Obama joking: "They said they were impressed with my jump shot."
After Reid’s report, Smith talked to Democratic strategist Joe Trippi about when Hillary Clinton would get out of the race. Smith began by asking about Clinton’s recent comments in an interview: "First about Hillary Rodham Clinton, gives an interview to USA Today yesterday talking about how well she does with white voters, listening to her husband last night, are the wheels finally coming off this bus?"
The bloodletting from Dan Rather's ongoing lawsuit at CBS continues, although this time, Rather is going after himself saying that no one wants to hire him after his forged document scandal:
Dan Rather has filed an amended lawsuit against CBS that says other TV networks refused to hire him because of the damage executives at his former company did to his reputation after a disputed 2004 report on President Bush.
Rather’s lawyer, Martin R. Gold, said new papers were filed because a judge said in April the initial lawsuit did not specify how CBS injured Rather in his occupation. The judge said the veteran newsman could submit an amended complaint. [...]
Rather says he met with CNN, ABC, and NBC in 2006 to talk about employment after his departure from CBS, but they refused to hire him because he brought “too much baggage.”
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith fretted over Hillary Clinton’s refusal to drop out of the presidential race and pressed Clinton campaign manager Terry McAuliffe on why she is still in the race: "Let me show you some headlines this morning. From this morning's Daily News, 'It's His Party,' with a picture of Barack Obama. From the New York Post, 'Over the Hill,' you know what they're talking about there. From The Wall Street Journal, 'Democrats Look to Life After Clinton.' Terry McAuliffe, why is your candidate still in this race?"
After that introduction, Smith went on to try to convince McAuliffe that the situation was futile:
SMITH: Can you formulate a scenario, though, in which she actually mathematically can get this nomination?
MCAULIFFE: Sure. She can move ahead in the popular vote. We're assuming we get Michigan and Florida resolved. Because there are --
SMITH: Excuse me. Everything Howard Dean has said so far as though that's all off the table. That is not going to happen. Those states took themselves out of the process.
Wednesday’s broadcast network morning shows sounded eager to drum Hillary Clinton out of the Democratic presidential race and turn all critical eyes on John McCain. NBC was most emphatic. Today ran MSNBC midnight footage of Tim Russert declaring Barack Obama the winner: "We now know who the Democratic nominee is gonna be and no one is gonna dispute it." Russert added live: "I cannot find an objective Democrat who does not think this race is over." On ABC, George Stephanopoulos endorsed the New York tabloid newspaper headlines: "Toast. Hil Needs a Miracle. That's exactly right....this nomination fight is over." On CBS, co-host Harry Smith suggested to Bob Schieffer: "Bob, this party needs a nominee and fast. What do you think? Will Hillary Clinton get out, and when?" Schieffer declared "This race is over."
The same message came through in the screen graphics. For example, ABC pictured Mrs. Clinton with the words "End of the Road?" as co-host Robin Roberts began the show: "This morning, is it over?" NBC’s Matt Lauer also asked "Is it over?" and so did the NBC screen. The segments to follow answered the question with an emphatic yes.
How far left do you have to be to make the networks' progressive candidates dream team? CBS News Senior Political Correspondent Jeff Greenfield twice referred to Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) as "relatively liberal senators" during a live interview on Washington, D.C.'s WTOP News this morning during drive time.
Discussing the Indiana and North Carolina Democratic primaries, Greenfield first described Obama and Clinton as "both relatively liberal senators," and then later as "relatively liberal senators from blue states."
Given that both have widely-recognized liberal voting records, with the National Journal naming Obama as "the most liberal" member of the U.S. Senate -- even to the left of Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and socialist Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) -- one wonders what an actual "liberal" would look like to Mr. Greenfield. Would it be Raul Castro? Ted Turner? Who?
“OMFG” is text-speak for the unspeakable. It's also the tag line for a new ad campaign aimed at teens and featuring a jumble of sexual situations, including teens undressing each other and two girls kissing. The campaign blitz is appearing in print and television, all aimed at drumming up eyeballs for the CW network's teen-themed soap "Gossip Girl."
For the uninitiated, “OMG” translates to “Oh My God” in the language of email and text messaging. The addition of the “F” means … well, it’s the word that can cost broadcasters a hefty government fine if someone actually says it on TV.
Now, of course, executives at the CW could never admit that they were actively targeting teens with such a "provocative" ad. Nor would they ever admit they were intentionally dodging an FCC fine by using the letter "F" instead of the unspeakable word. Nor would they ever consider that "F" used next to "G," which stands for "God" would be blasphemous. In fact they've gone out of their way on these subjects. But reality has a way of well, keeping it real.
It's amusing how far some people will go not to give someone credit for something they have done especially if that deserving someone happens to be an ostensible political enemy. In this case we find CBS discussing Republican crossover voters in these primaries, the network newser telling us how crossovers will "skew primary results," and then they tell us who is responsible for egging on these crossovers. Now, for those of you in the know, you'd automatically assume that CBS is talking about radio host Rush Limbaugh who has been carrying on his "operation chaos" program to encourage Republican voters to re-register as Dems to vote for Hillary, right?
Not to CBS. No, CBS has decided that the real story is that what we have here is "right-wing radio commentators" and "the bloggers" are who is responsible for "operation chaos." But, in truth, few other radio people are pushing their listeners to re-register and no high profile conservative blogger I know of is doing so either. The whole thing is the brainchild of Rush Limbaugh, not "right-wing radio commentators" -- commentators as in plural, more than one.
CBS is bending over backwards in order NOT to mention Limbaugh's name so as not to give him publicity, apparently. But, it simply is not factual to say that "right-wing radio commentators" are responsible for this crossover voting effort when it is basically ONE "right-wing radio commentator." This spiteful avoidance of naming Limbaugh makes their report factually incorrect.
The debate over a gas tax holiday has caught the attention of all three presidential candidates as well as the media. Last night, CBS "Evening News" said 150 economists had signed a petition against the cut and quoted one saying "it isn't sound economic policy."
But that list includes several prominent liberal economists, some who have also opposed the Bush tax cuts and pushed for a higher minimum wage in other petitions. The list featured economists from liberal groups such at the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, as well as several former Clinton staffers.
Reporter Priya David didn't mention any political affiliations or leanings for those opposed to the gas tax holiday. "But last week some 150 economists signed a petition saying it's a bad idea," she said.
How did the CBS Evening News explain away the much-smaller size of pro-immigration rallies around the country today? Fear and intimidation on the part of prospective participants. But fear of what? Physical threats or illegal reprisals? No. Of simple enforcement of US law. CBS singled out for praise one marcher who wouldn't be "intimidated."
CBS correspondent Sandra Hughes narrated the segment, which included these morsels.
CBS's "Early Show" gave a fairly glowing report from the May Day celebration in Havana, Cuba, May 1, on changes Cuban President Raúl Castro has made in the country. Reporter Elizabeth Palmer called the leader's brother, Fidel Castro, a "revolutionary hero."
Fidel Castro handed provisional power to Raúl Castro, his younger brother, in July 2006. Raúl Castro officially took over the presidency in February 2008 after Fidel Castro fell ill.
Anchor Russ Mitchell said the May Day celebrations in Cuba signaled a "new era" for the country, and Palmer touted reforms like "cell phones," "text-messaging," opening of "resort hotels" to Cuban citizens and "shiny new Chinese buses."
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Russ Mitchell thought it was news-worthy to remember the five year anniversary of when President Bush announced the end of "major combat operations in Iraq" under a banner reading "Mission Accomplished": "The Bush Administration is trying to explain its use exactly five years ago of the phrase ‘Mission Accomplished.’" However, no mention was made on April 9 of the anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Correspondent Bill Plante reported that: "As the war progressed and casualties mounted, the phrase became a symbol of all that had gone wrong." Plante then played a clip of David Mark of the Politico, who explained: "‘Mission Accomplished’ stands for what seems like endless occupation, five years plus, after the initial invasion. It means ongoing war with no end in sight."
Earlier in the report Plante remarked: "And Press Secretary Dana Perino says the Administration has certainly paid the price." He concluded the segment by declaring: "And no one around here ever uses the phrase. Instead, they say, as the president says, that we have to ‘continue doing the job.’"
To its credit, the May 1 CBS "Early Show" continued coverage of the Jeremiah Wright controversy, although the co-hosts also hoped for an Obama comeback, as co-host Julie Chen wondered: "A new CBS poll shows Barack Obama has been hurt by the Reverend Wright controversy. Does he have time to recover?"
Correspondent Dean Reynolds's field report went on to flesh out worrisome poll numbers: "Our new CBS News poll had more troubling news for Obama. At the beginning of April, 69% of Democrats thought the Illinois Senator would be their nominee. Now, only 51% do. While those who think Clinton will be nominated has gone up by 13 points."
But Reynolds held out a ray of hope for Chen and co-anchor Harry Smith, as he observed that:
An April 7 CBS Evening News report on the health care monetary burden of illegal aliens on American taxpayers has just now drawn the ire and the fire of the two largest Hispanic grievance groups -- the National Council of La Raza (translation: "The Race") and the Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund (MAL (not Mos) DEF).
Byron Pitts' piece is fairly mild and pretty much down the middle of the fairway, and CBS News and their (for now) flagship girl Katie Couric deserve kudos for at least addressing the issue.
But the Latino Intolerance Duo (LID -- as in flipped their's) can not let stand unchallenged the reporting of the costs of the invasion. Pitts pointing out that someone somewhere (that would of course be us) must pick up the tab -- when the likes of Fabiola (the illegal alien mother featured in the story) does not -- is to them an "anti-Latino falsehood". They do not offer how or why something so obvious as this is either "anti-Latino" or a "falsehood" -- we are left to assume that their asserting it empirically makes it so.
On our end, there was bit of a bone to be picked with the Tiffany Network's numbers.
Remember how the MSM swooned over Barack Obama's Philly speech on race after the Rev. Wright tapes pushed the story to the front pages? I expected the same kind of rapturous reaction to Obama's press conference of yesterday in which he definitively ditched the conspiracy-mongering minister.
But, surprisingly, that was not the case at all on CBS's Early Show this morning. To the contrary, the tone was set by the opening graphic shown here, which skeptically asked: "too little, too late?" And when Bob Schieffer and Juan Williams appeared a bit later, they were similarly cynical. Then again, there was one bit of perhaps unintentional candor on host Harry Smith's part, of which more later.
In a particularly dire analysis on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co- host Harry Smith reacted to the recent media tour of Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and declared: "He's being called the 'Pastor of Disaster' for the effect he's having on Barack Obama's campaign. Why is Reverend Jeremiah Wright taking his case to the public now?"
Smith began the segment on Wright by observing that: "Well, the month of April has probably been the longest month of Senator Barack Obama's life. He started off this month by distancing himself from comments made by his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Now he's doing it again."
Smith then talked to Democratic strategist, Joe Trippi, who said of Wright’s media appearances: "It's a nightmare for the Obama campaign. They can't like this at all and they've got no control." Smith went on to comment on Obama’s initial speech in Philadelphia that addressed Reverend Wright: "The speech on race that was so lauded, almost forgotten now." He followed up by asking Trippi: "...is this a campaign killer, can this be a campaign killer?"
Religion and the military shouldn't mix. That's the take away message that both CBS and ABC touted when their Sunday morning news programs publicized the plight of an atheist who is suing the Army for religious discrimination.
On April 27th CBS's Sunday Morning and ABC's Good Morning America Sunday each featured the story of Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist who claims he was denied promotion and persecuted because of his atheism. Both interviewed Hall and Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a co-plaintiff in Hall's lawsuit.
Weinstein was described as a loyal patriot (by CBS) and a defender of the religiously oppressed (ABC). Neither network bothered to mention that on the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Web site American military members are compared directly to Islamic jihadists. A video runs on the homepage of the site which juxtaposes a suicide bomber holding a rifle and Koran with a group of American soldiers holding rifles and Bibles.
My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.
The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:
CBS News journalist Richard Butler doesn't know who kidnapped him (for some two months), but he thinks it was some Iraqi policemen who are sympathetic to, of all folks, Hezbollah:
Butler, a British journalist kidnapped with his interpreter on Feb. 10, was rescued by Iraqi troops on April 14 when he was found with a sack over his head in a house in Basra.
He was taken from a hotel room in Basra, where he was on a trip to meet the chief of staff for anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Men wearing police fatigue uniforms and armed with AK-47's hustled him out of the room and into a car. He was first taken to a police station in Basra and then was held in different places — including three nights where he was sealed into a small room between two walls, he said.
While he was held, he heard a lot of Hezbollah propaganda video and Hezbollah ringtones on mobile phones, but he can't be sure his captors were affiliated with the organization.
High food prices may be affecting middle-income families, but an anecdotal report on CBS's "The Early Show" April 28 made the situation seem as if one family's use of a food bank was "the new face of hunger."
CBS reporter Priya David highlighted Pablo and Ada Melecio, a couple who recently lost their jobs and have elected to use a food bank to make ends meet. Ada Melecio said their "mortgage payments started falling behind and all the interest on that plus all the credit cards" were making their situation even worse.
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Bob Simon talked to members of the Israeli Air Force and asked one pilot, Captain Omri, about air strikes in the Gaza strip in which civilians occasionally are killed:
It's a classic guerilla war. Fifty dollar rockets made in the back alleys of Gaza against Israel's $50,000 missiles. The Israelis will tell you that kind of expense buys precise weapons which limit collateral damage. But it also gives the air force the capability of assassinating their enemy's leadership. The Israelis call this "targeted killings"; the Palestinians call it murder. Have you hit any targets?
Simon then went on to say to Omri: "But I must tell you, your face, your manners, your demeanor, you don't look like a killer. And yet what you do a lot of the time when you're over Gaza, you're killing." The pilot responded: "I agree. I don't think I'm a killer. When I look at my face in the mirror, I don't see a killer."
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed John McCain and asked about the recent ad put out by the North Carolina Republican Party that criticized Barack Obama’s relationship with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright: "The Republican Party of North Carolina is planning to run an ad bashing Senator Obama. I know that you oppose that ad, but they're running it anyway. So what does that say about you, that you haven't opposed it strongly enough or that your own party is blatantly disregarding your wishes?"
McCain replied by once again denouncing the ad:
It means that the Republican Party of the state of North Carolina is dead wrong. They are an independent organization. I'll do everything in my power to make sure not only they stop it but that kind of leadership is rejected. And the overwhelming majority of Republicans in North Carolina share my view.
However, that was still not enough for Rodriguez, who followed up with: "But as the Republican nominee for president, couldn't you pick up the phone and call the head of the North Carolina GOP and say, don't run it?"
Looking for a "carbon karma" guru? Didn't think so. But in case you were, you can always ask CBS's Hari Sreenivasan, who has anointed himself equal to the task. From an April 23 post to CBSNews.com's Couric & Co. blog:
The simple idea with carbon offsets is that you are trying to clean up the earth a bit for the damage you feel you might be doing – whether it be from the carbon emissions of driving your car, flying in a plane, leaving your plasma TV running all night or the mother of all barbeque pits smoking all day. Travel Web sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, and Expedia – as well as several major airlines – offer the chance to pay an additional fee right when you book a ticket with them. Companies like DrivingGreen offer opportunities to cleanse your travels on the road.
But I have yet to find a BBQ carbon offset calculator. I'm sure one will pop up if there isn't one.
At the end of Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith interviewed former CBS News anchor Roger Mudd about his new memoir, "The Place to Be: Washington, CBS and The Glory Days of Television News," and teased the upcoming interview by declaring: "And we're also joined this morning by one of the great legends of CBS News, Roger Mudd, who's covered every major story in Washington for decades and worked along some of the best reporters who ever lived." One of those "best reporters," Mudd later explained, was Dan Rather: "There was a front row, Harry. And in the front row was Dan Rather, Marvin Kalb, George Herman, Dan Schorr, Roger Mudd."
Mudd went on to describe Rather and his numerous other colleagues in these terms: "No, it was a -- it was just a great conjunction of very talented, very hard working, very honest, ethical men and women, linked up to 20 years of some of the greatest and most profound stories that could have happened." Of course after Rather’s controversial National Guard story about President Bush in 2004, based on forged documents, the terms "honest" and "ethical" do not exactly come to mind.
Near the end of the segment, Smith asked about Mudd’s famous interview with then Democratic presidential candidate Ted Kennedy in 1979 in which Mudd asked Kennedy why he was running for president. Mudd recalled to Smith: "And his answer was -- it wasn't incoherent, but it wasn't really coherent either. And I think the answer is, Harry, that he really hadn't thought very seriously about why he wanted to be. And that exposed a weakness. That interview was not helpful." Smith later commented that: "Wow and it ended his candidacy." However, that interview was in November 1979, just as Kennedy announced his candidacy and he did not drop out of the race until the Democratic convention in 1980.
Poor Katie Couric. She's been stuck in a ratings rut since taking over the "CBS Evening News" anchor slot and has been rumored to be departing the Eye network. Now comes more bad news for the former morning star: Barack Obama has begged off on CBS's North Carolina debate.
That leaves Couric as the sole broadcast news anchor who hasn't moderated a debate this cycle. That isn't likely to change either since general election debates are usually Jim Lehrer's province. Couric isn't the only CBSer who's disappointed:
"It's a shame because the debates have been interesting and appealing to the audience, and because I think Katie would have done a really good job," CBS senior vice president Paul Friedman told the New York Times.
It shouldn't come as a surprise, though. After Obama's dreadful performance in the most recent ABC debate it's no wonder he canceled. Still, you have to wonder how this makes Couric feel about her position at CBS. Will I have to make a CBS-Couric breakup image sometime soon?
The Media's Reaction to George and CharlieCall it the Audacity of Journalism.
ABC's Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos slipped and let a bit of actual reporting seep into their Democrat Presidential debate moderation efforts on April 16. They mistakenly engaged in fifty minutes worth of pertinent inquiry, largely regarding the patriotic perspectives and numerous troubling relationships of Illinois Senator Barack Obama -- and to a lesser extent examining the fact that New York Senator Hillary Clinton has a Herculean ability to create her Living History out of whole cloth.
The response from the Left has been withering and unremitting.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported results of a new poll it undertook with ABC News wherein Hillary Clinton's unfavorable rating skyrocketed to its highest point ever.
In the same poll, her husband Bill's unfavorable rating rose above 50 percent for the first time since August 1998 when he was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Although some media outlets other than the Post did report this news, given the ongoing Democrat presidential campaign, and the elections less than seven months away, this clearly didn't get the kind of attention one would have expected.
Just a puny personal pronoun, yet one that perhaps spoke volumes about MSM attitudes toward religion. On the occasion of the Mass that Pope Benedict XVI will be celebrating later day at DC's Nationals Park, Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Father Thomas Williams, a Roman Catholic priest who also serves as a CBS religion analyst.
For the liberal media, even a subject as seemingly innocuous as a nice spring day can suddenly turn into a PC minefield should it put an MSMer in the position of having to recognize God's work, as this exchange suggests.
Some of the toughest competition American businesses face comes not from other companies, but from the media. Journalists often exaggerate an issue to make a story sexier. Other times, "consumer groups" work with the media to advance an anti-business agenda.
All too often, those exaggerations or manipulations result in lost jobs, lost revenue, unfounded health scares, unnecessary government intervention or even the death of millions of innocent victims.
The Business & Media Institute has compiled a lit of the Nine Worst Business Stories. The list illustrates the lengths to which the media have gone in the last 50 years to attack agriculture, restaurants, the automobile industry, chemical manufacturers and health care.
It also details the ill effects of those stories, which range from "Oprah's Beef with Beef" to Connie Chung's silicone scare to Wendy's "Finger Food" to the infamous "Dateline" exploding trucks, to coverage that resulted in a ban on DDT. Relive foul Food Lion, rolling Jeeps, accelerating Audis and Alar on apples with video from most of the reports!
Check out the list, then come back to NewsBusters to add your comments and suggestions for other bad business coverage!