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!
All three broadcast networks on Tuesday led their evening news programs with Pope Benedict XVI’s arrival at Andrews Air Force Base to begin his visit to the U.S., as well as his comments during a press conference on the plane about the priest sex abuse scandal. ABC’s "World News" and CBS’ "Evening News" especially focused on the scandal. In addition to this, "World News" also highlighted what the Pope said about illegal immigration during the press conference and gave a false impression of what the Pope had said on the issue.
ABC correspondent Dan Harris gave the following spin on Benedict XVI’s comments on immigration. "Also on the plane, the Pope addressed another hot issue, immigration. Hispanics are the fastest-growing part of the American church right now, and the Pope said he would discuss this issue with the President, particularly the 'dangerous' impact of families of illegal immigrants being separated."
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, Katie Couric asked Father Thomas Williams (formerly an NBC expert) to comment on Pope Benedict's arrival in America. Couric, who fretted out loud in 2006 about Catholic orthodoxy "infringing on civil liberties" in a new Florida town, stressed to the priest that the Pope was "extremely conservative," and "very conservative," and at odds with "62 percent of Catholics" who say the church doesn't reflect their views. It's a little strange for an anchor to note someone else is "out of touch" with the public when their network is consistently dragging behind in third in the ratings.
After two generic questions about what the Pope is like, and whether succeeding John Paul II is a tough act to follow, like Gordon Brown replacing Tony Blair as British prime minister, Couric brought up Benedict's first two papal encyclicals, deep intellectual tracts that aren't easy to characterize for TV anchors:
Never mind nightly TV newscasts are geared toward older generation. Never mind scandals like Dan Rather and the falsified National Guard documents leading up to the 2004 presidential elections have caused people to look for their news from other sources like the Internet and talk radio.
"[B]ut there were so few [good TV news writers] because we became dependent on pictures and that coupled with deregulation of television, when you had three, four networks - and suddenly, there are 20, then there are 50 and now there are 300 and however many - 500," he said. "And as a consequence, the pie that used to be sliced three or four ways is now slivers and as a consequence, everybody is trying to hold on to their little audience and to do that, you got to entertain."
Should Hillary make it to the White House, don't look for Bill to be taking an early twirl on the Inauguration Ball dance floor with Nancy Pelosi. Appearing on today's Face the Nation, Madame Speaker made a nasty joke at the former president's expense.
Host Bob Schieffer [who might have experienced some schadenfreude this week with all the talk of Katie Couric being pushed out of the Evening News anchor chair he kept warm for her], asked Pelosi what might have prompted Bill Clinton to resurrect the issue of Hillary's tussle with the Tuzla truth. He had famously chalked it up to the tribulations of a tired 60-year old late at night. In answer, Pelosi sardonically suggested Bill might have had a senior moment of his own.
None of the April 11 editions of the network morning shows: ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today," noted the April 10 unanimous ruling of the California Supreme Court striking down a San Francisco handgun ban.
I mean, what other reasons could this possibly be newsworthy besides that:
The average American will receive a $2,500 tax refund this year, a statistic that left CBS “The Early Show” host Harry Smith “stunned” on the April 11 broadcast.
“I am stunned to know what the average refund is,” Smith said. “$2,200 [in 2007], that’s too much, right?”
“It is too much,” said Money magazine senior writer Janice Revell.
She explained that the checks actually represent an interest-free loan between the government and taxpayers.
“When you get your refund it feels like this big windfall, you’ve won the lottery, but in essence what you’ve done is you’ve loaned your money, interest-free, to Uncle Sam for the year,” Revell said. “It just makes no sense.”
Interesting news coming out of CBS today. First, the Wall Street Journal reporting that Katie Couric is "likely" to leave the network--before her contract expires, possibly after the inaguration of the next president:
After two years of record-low ratings, both CBS News executives and people close to Katie Couric say that the "CBS Evening News" anchor is likely to leave the network well before her contract expires in 2011 -- possibly soon after the presidential inauguration early next year.
Ms. Couric isn't even halfway through her five-year contract with CBS, which began in June 2006 and pays an annual salary of around $15 million. But CBS executives are under pressure to cut costs and improve ratings for the broadcast, which trails rival newscasts on ABC and NBC by wide margins. [...]
Our news analysts at the MRC have combed through the April 9 editions of ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today," and found zero mentions of the comments that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) made smearing McCain and military pilots past and present.
Yesterday I noted how news agencies were slow to cover the story, and certainly were not blowing up the incident into a major gaffe for Sen. Barack Obama, whom Rockefeller supports for president, to publicly and personally denounce.