Opposition to John McCain from conservatives is clearly a proper topic of news analysis on an election night, but during its two hours of EST/CST prime time coverage of Super Tuesday, the CBS News team managed to apply the “conservative” label at least 44 times -- in several instances beyond anything about the conservative split with McCain -- yet never once uttered the term “liberal” during a night when two liberals faced off on the Democratic side. Jeff Greenfield and Bob Schieffer each tagged the same Senator, 25 minutes apart, with Greenfield calling Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn the “most conservative Senator” and Schieffer referring to him as “very conservative.” Schieffer characterized the fissure between conservative activists/talk show hosts and McCain as a “split between...the very conservative establishment and the Republican Party.” Schieffer later warned that McCain must “put out this fire” the “very conservative Republicans are waging.”
No state, not even Massachusetts or New York, was liberal to the CBS crew, but shortly before 10 PM EST Couric announced “John McCain has won the deeply conservative state of Oklahoma” and she later listed McCain's win in the “very conservative state.” In the next hour, Greenfield described California as “a conservative state for Republicans.” (Announcing Obama's win in Connecticut a little past 10 PM EST, Couric simply said the state “has a strong anti-war sentiment.”)
Opening for Hillary? Obama has spoken some sense on the surge . . .
Whereas Obama's claim to foreign policy fame among Dems has been his opposition from day one to the Iraq war, it appears he may have now put himself to the right of Hillary Clinton on the issue of sustaining the surge.
Readers will recall that when Tim Russert asked Clinton on Meet the Press of January 13th whether she would be open to sustaining the surge through the end of the year if General Petraeus requested it, Hillary tersely answered "No, and here's why, Tim."
But confronted with a similar hypothetical on this morning's Early Show, Obama evinced more flexibility.
Yesterday, NewsBusters' Kyle Drennan noted how CBS used the news of two coordinated and related suicide bombings in Baghdad to declare that "the new Baghdad feels a lot like the old Baghdad," and as a platform for a far-left guest to declare that "the surge isn't working."
Drennan's first commenter noted the mentally impaired state of the women who blew themselves up -- something CBS "somehow" failed to report.
CBS was not alone in ignoring or downplaying that important aspect of the story, as blogger Confederate Yankee reports (links are in his original; bold is mine):
Two suicide attacks on pet markets in Baghdad today have left approximately 100 killed and twice as many wounded. Both attacks used women "with Down's syndrome" according the the Daily Mail and less specifically, they were described as "mentally disabled" according to CNN.
Both bombs appear to have been remote detonated. These women probably did not know they were carrying explosives at all, and it would probably be fair to include them among the victims.
After months of improving security in Iraq, the big network morning shows on Friday cited one horrific suicide bombing as proof that “mayhem and misery are back in Baghdad,” as CBS correspondent Mark Strassmann put it. But over the last five months, the broadcast networks have consistently reduced their coverage of Iraq, as if the story of American success in Iraq is less worthy of attention than their old mantra of American failure in Iraq.
Media Research Center analysts tracked all coverage of the Iraq war on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from September 1 through January 31, and we documented a steady decline in TV coverage of Iraq that has coincided with the improving situation in Iraq. Back in September, the three evening newscasts together broadcast 178 stories about the war in Iraq; in January, that number fell to just 47, a nearly fourfold decrease. (See chart.)
ABC and NBC pivoted almost immediately from President Bush's State of the Union address to the 2008 presidential campaign, but CBS stuck to Bush's speech in its post-coverage in which Katie Couric complained “a lot of it was Bush redux,” Bob Schieffer kvetched that Bush “did not say what his assessment of the state of the union was until the next to the last sentence” and historian Douglas Brinkley declared: “It's not looking good for his legacy. I mean it's hard to point to any big accomplishments.” Schieffer, however, cautioned it's too soon to assess Bush, noting: “We're only beginning now to understand completely the impact of Ronald Reagan. When he left office, we didn't know that the Soviet Union was going to collapse.”
Meanwhile, on CNN between Bush's address and the Democratic response, Jeffrey Toobin used Bush to condemn all the Republican candidates for lacking “humanity” in their approach to immigration. The MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me to this from Toobin at 10:12 PM EST:
Harry Smith won't be up on the platform with Ted Kennedy today endorsing Barack Obama. But he might be there in spirit, after having absolutely unloaded on Bill Clinton's on this morning's Early Show. The CBS anchor made the stunning suggestion that when it comes to matters racial, Bill Clinton may have perpetrated a fraud on African-Americans.
Smith's guest was "diversity expert" Joe Watson and you might have expected Watson [who FWIW impressed me favorably] to carry the anti-Bill ball. But ultimately it was Smith who offered the single most damning suggestion. The CBS host began by playing the clip of Bill's by-now infamous words from the weekend, writing off the Obama victory in South Carolina by pointing out that Jesse Jackson had won there twice in the 80s.
Have the recent race baiting antics of the Clintons left you wondering whether the former first couple has lost its collective mind, especially now that this tactic seems to be at least partially responsible for Barack Obama's landslide victory in Saturday's South Carolina primary?
Or, like most conservatives, do you believe that nothing this pair ever does is spontaneous and without advanced political calculus, and that South Carolina went exactly as Bill and Hill planned?
For those undecided, a conversation I had on Friday with a very liberal albeit astute friend of mine might shed some light.
As the subject of the current presidential race surfaced, my friend indicated that he was supporting Hillary. Knowing him to be very concerned about civil rights, I asked why he wasn't backing Obama.
In contrast to Robin Roberts’s fawning interview on "Good Morning America," CBS’s Harry Smith directed some tough questions to Hillary Clinton during her appearance on Friday’s "The Early Show." In his first question, Smith referenced The New York Times’s endorsement of the former First Lady, and their advise for her to "take the lead and changing the tone of the campaign."
In her response, Clinton brushed off the reference to the continuing war of words between her campaign and Barack Obama’s campaign, and emphasized that she has been "trying to keep us focused on the real differences between the Democrats and the Republicans [and] the legitimate contrast between me and my opponents."
Smith did not miss a beat and pressed her on the tone of her campaign, essentially endorsing the advise of the New York Times. "But Senator, would you at least then take responsibility for the ugly tone that has turned here in the last couple of weeks?... [I]t's gotten to the point where there's almost a black backlash against this, especially your husband's tactics."
Exactly 20 years ago tonight, January 25, 1988, millions of Americans saw one newsman’s liberal agenda laid bare, as CBS anchor Dan Rather attempted to ambush then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, in a live TV interview on his CBS Evening News. But Bush held his own during the on-air confrontation, and the lasting effect was to reveal how Rather was driven by his personal biases, at one point lecturing the Vice President: “You’ve made us hypocrites in the face of the world.”
"I like how you think, senator," cooed "Late Show" host David Letterman in agreement with John Edwards's charge that "most of what" Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly says "is crap."
Letterman had asked the former senator about his "feud" with O'Reilly over Edwards's charge that the Bush administration is failing to care for military veterans to the extent that hundreds of thousands are winding up homeless.
The exchange came in a jovial January 22 interview in which Edwards joked about having Letterman as his running mate, or at the very least as a celebrity endorser a la Oprah Winfrey.
In a "Notebook" entry at her blog on the CBS News Web site Wednesday, "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric boasted of the media's ability to predict a recession.
In spite of the fact that no one knows for sure if the U.S. economy is in a recession, Couric seemed sure the nation is facing economic hard times, and she's proud to say the media called it.
"The economy's going through one of its roughest patches in years," Couric said. "Stocks are plummeting, the Fed is slashing interest rates and the president is looking for ways to fight off a recession. But are we already in a recession?"
ABC correspondent Nick Watt conducted a softball interview with the son of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" and he credulously repeated Omar bin Laden's goals of being an "ambassador for peace." Host Diane Sawyer called the idea a "very curious proposal," while Watt announced that the younger bin Laden "wants to meet with President George W. Bush" and labeled the idea "astounding."
Watt expressed no skepticism over the proposed meeting. This, despite the fact that bin Laden lauded his father, responsible for countless thousands of deaths, as a "very kind man" and stated that he would not turn his dad over to American authorities, were he to know the location. Apparently, it didn't occur to Watt that this might not be the kind of person who would be best qualified to be an ambassador for peace or someone that President Bush would meet with. However, the GMA correspondent did find time to notice bin Laden's "glamorous, English wife."
It's no longer enough to say the economy is heading into or already is in a recession. Invoking the memory of the Great Depression has become the latest way to dramatize the economic turmoil caused by the credit markets.
Zuckerman told viewers we're heading into uncharted territory with this current credit freeze-up.
"You have the entire banking system now that is virtually frozen. And there are, not just this subprime mortgage thing, there are other things called credit default swaps where they will lose as much money, $250 billion on. The banks are frozen. They are not making loans because they have such huge debts that they have to take on to their balance sheets and nobody knows how to deal with that," he continued.
The January 20 CBS special attacked the Bush White House for not being willing to sign the Kyoto Protocol after he was elected - furthering the common misconception that Bush has been alone in his opposition to it, as the Senate actually voted 95 to 0 to reject Kyoto earlier.
The results aren't in yet, but most Cubans agree; the most famous candidate in Sunday's parliamentary election - Fidel Castro - has won overwhelmingly.
If that is true, and there is little reason to doubt it, the Cuban leader sidelined by emergency intestinal surgery nearly 18 months ago is now eligible for election to the Council of State, which in turn elects the nation's president from among its members.
It's the biggest question in Cuba: Will Fidel Castro return - if not as before, at least in title? Or, will his younger brother, First Vice President Raul Castro, who "temporarily" assumed the presidency as provided for by the Cuban Constitution, officially fill the post?
I don't know about you, but the suspense is killing me.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to two liberal politicians, the black Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, and black mayor of Washington D.C., Adrian Fenty, about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and asked Fenty:
You know, if we look at this statistically, it's not a particularly bright picture. I want to just put up a couple of statistics very quickly here. The frequency blacks feel discrimination in America. So high. Applying for jobs, renting or buying a house, dining out or shopping. This is a pretty bleak picture. Mayor Fenty, is this -- is this the America we live in?
This is not the first time Smith has seen America as a racist country, as he did in the wake of the Jena 6 controversy. One wonders where prominent conservative black leaders were for this segment, like former Maryland Lieutenant Governor, Michael Steele. Also, not even Smith’s liberal guests were willing to go as far as Smith. Fenty replied to Smith in a way beyond any particular race:
The concept of "sex education" has been a stomping ground for controversy for at least fifty years, probably as long as the apostles of "openness" have argued that parents in general do a terrible job of talking birds and bees with their offspring, and the public schools needed to expose children to a "frank" and "comprehensive" curriculum on How to Have Sex, complete with the pessimistic (or in their case, neutral) assumption that children will be irreversibly aggressive sexual beings.
All of which pales in comparison to what is not being taught on the Internet, where some outrageous amateurs have figured out how to outdo the bureaucratic "sex education" lobby. One new website calls itself "The Midwest Teen Sex Show." Its logo is a silhouette of two cows copulating. It is a series of infomercials for "comprehensive" adolescent indulgence.
ABC, CBS and NBC reported "more signs of a looming recession," "deepening troubles," "new fuel for recession fears," "rattled consumers," "an economy on edge" and "bracing for recession," or some scary variation a total of 32 times just in the first two weeks of 2008.
The segments predicted a recession or reported fears of a looming recession four times as often as they reported optimism about the New Year, even though recent surveys of economists put the chance of recession at 40 percent to 42 percent.
"And the major concern heading into 2008 is that big ‘R' word, recession," David Muir ominously reported on January 1. "When does the mortgage mess, the housing market, lead to that?" he asked, assuming that a mortgage "mess" inevitably leads to recession.
ABC reported "growing concerns the economy may be heading toward recession." CBS mentioned that "when companies stop hiring, it's often a sign we're slipping into a recession." NBC noticed that in a speech about the economy, President Bush
From MyDamnChannel.com comes a gem: Katie Couric yukking it up with CBS News production staff off-the-air on primary election night in New Hampshire. (Warning: There is some profanity in the video).
Some of my favorites 1) Couric admitting she doesn't know much about Huckabee 2) Couric talking about how she thinks she creeped out Cindy McCain because she couldn't stop staring at her eyes. 3) "I'm always like oh sh*t, oh sh*t, oh sh*t, oh sh*t, oh sh*t" 4) "Give me one interesting exit poll, please!" 6) "Oh sh*t, I have seven seconds. [shrieks]"
By omitting key facts of the original "Rathergate" story from his report Thursday, Associated Press Writer Samuel Maull managed to give the former CBS news anchor's contentions an appearance of credibility.
A judge said Wednesday that he was leaning toward allowing Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit over his being fired by CBS to proceed.
"I concluded there was enough in the complaint (by Rather) to continue with discovery (pretrial research)," state Judicial Hearing Officer Ira Gammerman said at a hearing on CBS' motion to dismiss the case.
In fact, by Tuesday night, there were a total of 74 nationally televised media reports concerning Hillary's weepy moment (un-audited LexisNexis count), with CNN leading the way with 28, Fox News with fifteen, MSNBC and ABC News tied at eleven, NBC News with seven, and CBS News with two (all also un-audited).
Here's one of the first reports concerning the matter from the 3PM EST installment of "CNN Newsroom" Monday:
The Clinton and McCain victories in New Hampshire were topic A on the network morning shows today, so I thought we'd compile a montage video of the teases that the "Early Show," "Good Morning America," and "Today" ran.
It’s better late than never, might be what vaccine manufacturers are thinking right now.
The pharmaceutical industry had maintained all along that there’s no proven link between a vaccine preservative called thimerosal and autism. CBS had been unwilling to concede that notion until last night.
“In health news tonight, new research finds no link between mercury in vaccines and autism in children,” Katie Couric said on the January 7 “Evening News.” “Suspicion had focused on a vaccine preservative called thimerosal, which contains mercury. Thimerosal was eliminated from most vaccines in 2001, but since then a study in California showed that, instead of going down, autism cases there continued to climb.”
Of all the ways Harry Smith could have opened this morning's historic Early Show, he chose to do so by waving today's Boston Herald with its one-word front page "Shazam!" above a photo of Mike Huckabee. Smith described Barack Obama simply as the "big winner" on the Democratic side.
View video here [with apologies for low audio level].
TVNewser has learned the CBS News blog PublicEye, once described as a "de facto ombudsman" of CBS News, has ceased operations. CBS Interactive cut several staff members last month, including Matthew Felling who was editor of the site.
A spokesperson for CBS Interactive tells TVNewser, "We weren't able to find a sustainable business model for Public Eye. We are exploring ways to maintain a similar spirit of public discourse by engaging the CBSNews.com audience and building a community around multiple voices."
Launched July 12, 2005, PublicEye stated its "fundamental mission" was "to bring transparency to the editorial operations of CBS News."
The return to opacity is unfortunate just as election '08 heats up. After all, it was former anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes and their obsessive adherence to discredited phony National Guard memos in 2004 that set the wheels in motion to provide CBS News consumers an advocate and watchdog in the form of PublicEye.
That's not to say, however, that Public Eye has exactly lived up to its defined mission. A review of NewsBusters archives yields evidence of that:
If things don't work out for Hillary with this presidential thing, she can always do stand-up out in LA. Or not. If you didn't catch her side-splitter on last night's Letterman, you can view it here, as rebroadcast on MSNBC this morning.
For those taking nitrates who might not want to risk a sudden drop in blood pressure by watching the clip, here's the text of Hillary's rib tickler:
Dave has been off the air for eight long weeks because of the writers' strike. Tonight he's back. Oh well. All good things come to an end.
As you’ve already been told a thousand times, with only a day to go before the Iowa caucuses, the polls are showing a statistical three-way tie between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards atop the Democratic field, and a similarly close two-way race between Republicans Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.
But the polls are probably wrong. Or maybe they’re right -- we won’t really know until Thursday night when the actual results are announced. And that’s the problem -- the media have given the polls so much emphasis that the actual results will only matter to the extent that they differ from the media’s pre-election expectations, i.e., only to the extent that this week’s polls are inaccurate.
In just the last month, RealClearPolitics has posted the results of 55 pre-Iowa caucus polls (27 for the Republicans, 28 for the Democrats). These are mostly media-generated polls, with a few conducted by universities. It’s because of these polls that reporters think they know who is and is not a frontrunner, who is and is not rising and/or falling, and who is and is not hopelessly behind.
On Monday's "The Early Show," CBS anchor Harry Smith charged that the leading Republican presidential candidates are "mudslinging," contending that their campaigns have "turned nasty," but then suggested that Democrats are "playing nice." While the ABC and NBC morning shows portrayed candidates in both parties as "going negative," CBS's Smith hinted that Democrats were "playing nice" even after CBS correspondents had just referred to Obama as "attacking" other Democrats, and to John Edwards as portraying "corporate powers and Washington lobbyists" as "enemies of ordinary people." (Transcript follows)
Smith teased Monday's "The Early Show": "Pick me: It's a dead heat in the Iowa polls as Democrats fall into a virtual tie, and Republican leaders sling more mud."