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."
FNC's morning anchors highlighted a few of the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2007" on the Monday edition of "Fox and Friends." Included were a quote of MSNBC's Chris Matthews comparing Bill Clinton's speaking ability to that of "Jesus at the temple" when the former President spoke at Coretta King's funeral, and a quote of comedian Bill Maher commenting that if [Vice President Cheney] died, "more people would live." FNC co-anchor Alisyn Camerota joked that Matthews has a "man crush" on former President Clinton: "I think he has a man crush on Bill Clinton. He's using such rhapsodic language. I believe he has a crush on Bill."
At the end of the year, people always have, news outfits always have these "best of" lists and stuff like that. Over at the Media Research Center, what they did was they took a look at some of the outrageous things that people in the public eye said in the past year. And we're going to play this little game. Who do you think said this? We're going to do a quote, and then you try to figure out who said it.
Could it have been just a couple days ago that Chris Matthews claimed that the media had made a "mascot" out of Mike Huckabee? You wouldn't know it from this morning's Today show.
Weekend host Lester Holt kicked off the show's political segment by implying that among presidential candidates, Huckabee was the big loser in his handling of the Pakistani situation.
LESTER HOLT: The murder of Benazir Bhutto is having a big impact on the presidential race here in this country, where we now stand just five days from the first contest, in Iowa, and it's forcing Republican Mike Huckabee to do a bit of backtracking.
Now With Updates, Kristol Responds to critics and Steve Benen responds to me!
Washington Monthly has a blog called Political Animal that is also picked up by the CBS News website. It is written by Kevin Drum, but recently has been guest penned by a former Clinton intern and Internet gadfly named Steve Benen who makes no bones about the fact that he is an extreme leftist. Looking over his Wash. Monthly blog posts shows that he also makes no bones about the fact that his chief mode of political analysis is to name call his opponents. None of his recent work, though, goes nearly as far as the hatred he displayed for conservative Bill Kristol, newly minted New York Times columnist and Editor of the Weekly Standard magazine. It looks like someone forgot to administer Stevie's distemper shots or something, but it does go to show that the left is pretty comfortable with wild-eyed name calling in place of real political discourse.
According to MasterCard SpendingPulse, retail sales were up 3.6 percent during the holiday season - 2.4 percent excluding gas prices. But because it's not as big an increase as recent years have produced, the media reported it as bad news.
On NBC's "Nightly News," reporter Savannah Guthrie announced a "dramatic" 2.4 percent decrease in women's clothing sales. She didn't think the same percentage increase was "dramatic," however. Instead, she referred to the overall sales increase as "disappointing."
Other media labeled the figures "dismal," "small," "weak," "bleak" and "a clear sign that the economy is slowing down." Most made sure to point out, like "Good Morning America's" Ryan Owens, that the increase is "the smallest in four years."
Imagine for a moment that the FBI raided televangelist Pat Robertson's office for any reason whatsoever, much less say his 1988 presidential campaign. It'd be a story in the broadcast evening news programs, right?
So why the utter lack of interest in the December 12 federal probe into Al Sharpton's 2004 campaign? A review of Nexis for ABC, NBC, and CBS network news stories for December 12-18 yielded nothing on a December 13 FBI raid.
Here's an excerpt from the AP's reporting from December 13:
As a global warming skeptic, when I saw the headline "The Pope Condemns the Climate Change Prophets of Doom," it goes without saying I was as pleased as a child on Christmas Day that had gotten everything he asked Santa for and then some.
My glee accelerated after reading the marvelous beginning of this Daily Mail article (paragraph break removed for space considerations):
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology. The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.
See why I was so thrilled?
Unfortunately, as I reviewed the text of the Pontiff's message, defeat was stripped from the jaws of victory upon realizing the Mail's author had divined intent that might have been absent from the Pope's words:
The "Midwest Teen Sex Show" -- a video blog that advises teens to use abstinence (the condom, not the practice) -- is being praised by a blogger at CBSNews.com as "good for a laugh" while being informative.
"[T]he creativity and humor of these three young people really shines through," Irregularly Scheduled Programming (ISP) blog contributor Tony Maciulis enthused in his December 11 blog post. Elaborating on that point, Maciulis mused that "Sex and the City" was nothing more than a younger, urban spin on "The Golden Girls":
Better stow all potables and sharp objects, for the ratings of America's top four broadcast networks are so bad that one is giving refunds to advertisers while the other three are offering what is known in the industry as "make-goods."
Even better, the problem began before the writers strike.
Honestly, you can't make this stuff up.
As deliciously reported by Reuters moments ago (emphasis added):
The world of entertainment is in a world of hurt. With the massive diversification of entertainment offerings these days, older forms of media -- like movies, TV and newspapers -- are finding a dwindling number of customers as NBC is finding out this month. NBC has found itself in the lamentable position of giving their advertisers refunds because of poor performance in its ratings. The promised number of eyes that NBC promised that advertisers would reach didn't materialize, so NBC has to refund their advertisers for the over estimate of viewers that might see the ads placed on their airwaves. Of course, NBC is trying to keep a lid on this damaging story, but the Genie is out of that bottle. We can surely say that the network's News arms ain't helpin' sales a whole lot, in any case!
CBS This Morning co-host Harry Smith offered a typically sappy and supportive Bill Clinton interview in the 7:30 half hour on Monday. Our Kyle Drennen will have more on that later today. But bias aside, can we just suggest that viewers should expect a news anchor who does his homework? In reporting on Andrew Young's remarks that Clinton is as black as Barack Obama, Smith called him "your UN ambassador," and Clinton had to correct him: he was a UN ambassador for Jimmy Carter.
Then Smith turned to Clinton saying he always opposed the Gulf War. He said "I did a little Googling," and found that all Clinton said was we should let the inspectors do their work. Harry Smith has the resources and the tape library and the high-faluting Tiffany Network traditions of CBS News -- and he's Googling by the seat of his pants at 4 in the morning? He should have found what ABC's Jake Tapper found, and he could it have Googled it from NewsBusters:
Former "CBS Evening News" anchor Walter Cronkite, much like his former colleague Bob Schieffer, appears to be dead set against the war in Iraq regardless of how conditions have improved in the past several months.
In an op-ed published at the liberal website Common Dreams, Cronkite made his strongest surrender appeal to date, whilst of course castigating the Bush administration.
Readers are advised to proceed with caution, and keep a trash receptacle handy in case of unexpected reverse peristalsis (emphasis added, h/t Dan Gainor):
It must be wonderful to be a Democrat and know that your indiscretions are very unlikely to get much attention by media minions only willing to cover the crimes and shortcomings of folks on the opposite side of the aisle.
Take for example James Michael McHaney, an aide to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) who NewsBusters reported had been arrested last Friday for trying to lure a thirteen-year-old boy into a sexual encounter.
Not only did this get buried on Friday so as likely not to take focus away from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) looking regal and presidential during that day's hostage crisis in New Hampshire, but also once the Associated Press deigned to actually inform subscribers on Monday that something potentially nefarious had occurred, press outlets either continued to ignore the subject, or buried it nicely so that precious few would be made aware of it.
On the television side, according to LexisNexis, the only outlet which felt this newsworthy was CNN which aired its only report on this matter during the 6:00 AM EST "American Morning" Tuesday:
In the wake of the new National Intelligence Report which found that Iran apparently halted its nuclear weapons program, some in the media rallied around a single word to describe the revelation - "embarrassment"
‘Face the Nation’ anchor Bob Schieffer, in a conversation with anchor Russ Mitchell following President Bush’s press conference on Tuesday, thought the finding rose to a level higher than embarrassment.
Hi everybody! Thanks so much for all your well wishes and supportive comments. I sure will miss being with you every morning. I have thought often over the last week about how God's plan is different from my own... and how important it is to embrace that.
At that point Storm then quoted from Cardinal John Henry Newman:
I'll be live-blogging the press conference (mostly just the questions from the journalists as we're focused on the bias) and if a video update is warranted, we'll post one shortly after the conference concludes:
10:44 closes press conference, leaves podium.
10:41: Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, says reading Bush's body language he can tell he's "somewhat dispirited." Then he says "the facts have failed you" on things he's telling the American people. Quotes Harry Reid. "Are you feeling troubled... credibility gap?"
10:37: unid'd reporter "Wolf" asks about if Bush's personal relationship with the Democrats in Congress is affecting getting legislation through.
10:35: another unid'd reporter named "Wolf" asks Bush to react to 2008 U.S. presidential race
10:35: reporter asks if he discussed Russian elections with Putin
10:33: unidentified reporter asks Bush if in his conversation with Putin if he asked him to not sell uranium to Iran.
10:30: Baier, Fox News: "What does the vote in Venezuela mean for the U.S.? .... What's your reaction to Chavez opponents winning?"
Returning to the airwaves this morning after a seven-month exile, Don Imus seemed intent on demonstrating two things. First, that he was unequivocally contrite concerning the comments he had made about the Rutgers University women's basketball players that resulted in his firing. Second, his contrition notwithstanding, he wasn't going to change his irreverent ways when it came to the country's political leaders.
To prove his iconoclastic bona fides, Imus concluded his monologue by observing "Dick Cheney is still a war criminal, and Hillary Clinton is still Satan."
Listen to audio here [with apologies for the mediocre sound quality.]
But before ending on that defiant note, he took several minutes to describe his meeting with the women of the Rutgers team, and the way the entire experience had changed him.
Despite all the good news coming out of Iraq lately, it's perfectly clear that whatever happens there, CBS's Bob Schieffer isn't prepared to change his antiwar stripes any time soon.
In fact, as media outlet after media outlet - including even the liberal New York Times - admits that conditions in Iraq are improving, the host of "Face the Nation" wanted his viewers to know Sunday morning that he clearly is not willing to put down his white flag.
In fact, Schieffer's commentary is sure to make our troops putting their lives on the line for this country wonder why they are doing so (video available here):