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):
From CNN's perspective, what would be the perfect addition to its YouTube Republican debate? Why, someone who is on a steering committee for the Hillary Clinton campaign! Keith Kerr, a retired, gay general was in the audience for the November 28 debate and grilled the Republican candidates over the issue of homosexuals in the military. Somehow, CNN forgot to mention his connection to "LGBT Americans For Hillary Steering Committee." The next day, network anchors even tried to cover up their knowledge that the general was an "activist."
CNN's audience, however, probably shouldn't be surprised at the network's actions. Prior to the debate, anchor Anderson Cooper defended the usage of such plants by asserting, "Well, campaign operatives are people, too. We don’t investigate the background of people asking questions…that’s not our job..." The cable channel's tricky tactics marred an otherwise commendable debate. As noted on NewsBusters, a majority of the YouTube questions aired by CNN were from a conservative perspective.
"CBS is expanding its coverage of the environment," the ad reads. "We seek a talented reporter/host for Internet video broadcast. We are looking for smart, creative, hard working up and comers, who can bring great energy, creativity and a dash of humor to our coverage. A deep interest in the environment and sustainability issues will serve you well."
So you would think such a job would require a science background or years of covering environmental news? Not exactly.
"You are wicked smart, funny, irreverent and hip, oozing enthusiasm and creative energy," the ad reads. "This position requires strong people, reporting, story telling and writing skills. Managing tight deadlines should be second nature. Knowledge of the enviro beat is a big plus, but not a requirement."
Are U.S. journalists missing the news right in front of their eyes? Even as the violence ebbs and Iraqi refugees are returning home by the thousands, a new survey of Iraq war correspondents finds most are still deeply pessimistic about conditions in Iraq, with one in six (15%) saying that they believe news coverage "makes the situation look better than it is," compared to just three percent who think news reports have been inordinately negative.
The poll of 111 U.S.-based journalists who are now covering the Iraq war or who have been posted there over the past four-and-a-half years was conducted over the past several weeks by the Pew-funded Project for Excellence in Journalism, which promises to release a content analysis of the media's Iraq war coverage later in the year. At the same time, polls show the public is having growing faith in the success of the war effort.
Wednesday's editions of the CBS "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" show both ignored Bill Clinton's incredible assertion on Tuesday that he opposed the Iraq war from its inception. Only "Good Morning America" correspondent Jake Tapper pointed out the obvious fact that Clinton was no vocal critic of the military action. Filing a report on the subject, Tapper incredulously wondered, "Bill Clinton opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning?"
After acknowledging that the ex-President did call for the U.N. weapons inspectors to have more time, Tapper clarified the record: "...[Bill Clinton] was hardly, at least publicly, an opponent of going to war against Saddam Hussein." The ABC journalist then read from a 2003 speech on the Clinton Foundation's website that featured the former Commander in Chief asserting, "I supported the President when he asked the Congress for authority to stand up against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." So, despite the fact that ample information exists calling into question the validity of Clinton's recent statement, only GMA covered the story.
In a Blogcritics interview with Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz on his book Reality Show, Scott Butki asked if CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric really hated the P-word when applied to her:
I wanted you to elaborate on a paragraph on page 254 and whether you think it was fair for the media to caricature Katie Couric and whether she herself ever made that quote attributed to friends:
But she couldn’t stand the way the press invented a shorthand for you, a Velcro label that you could never peel off. The joke among her friends was that Katie had decided what she wanted chiseled on her tombstone, 'Don’t Call Me [expletive deleted] Perky.'
Also, how much of the criticism of Katie came because of her gender?
On the CBS "Early Show" on Nov. 13th, co-host Julie Chen claimed that there was "an alarming suicide rate among veterans" of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts. CBS then aired a report that went on to claim that the suicide rate for our troops had wildly climbed. Fellow NewsBuster Kyle Drennen had his doubts about the report when the show originally aired and now comes an editorial by oftentime military reporter Michael Fumento further casting large amounts of skepticism on the CBS report.
The CBS show specifically wanted to make it seem like Iraq war vets are the ones that have seen these outrageously rising suicide rates. Reporter Armen Keteyian included in his report this opener:
In the past couple of days, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting an hysterical press report concerning an excerpt of former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's soon to be released book seemingly implicating President George W. Bush in lying about the Valerie Plame Wilson affair.
Those guilty of premature emasculation will likely be distraught over statements by the book's publisher indicating the media overreacted to the 121 words posted at Public Affairs Books.com Monday which were part of a marketing campaign to rollout upcoming spring printings.
On Tuesday, "Good Morning America" reporter Bianna Golodryga hyperventilated about high gas prices and highlighted a man who alleged that the cost of fuel is keeping him from going to church and that it could ruin Christmas. Golodryga piled on, suggesting that some Americans would be forced to eat "cheaper foods" such as pasta and peanut butter instead of fruits and vegetables.
Only a few days later, Golodryga, who covers business and economic issues for GMA, proved her journalistic independence by gushing over liberal billionaire Warren Buffet, or "Robin Hood," as she called him. While Golodryga lobbied for holding on to the death tax (or, as she called it, the estate tax), co-host Diane Sawyer rhapsodized over how Buffet is battling "on behalf of fairness in taxes." (The leftist billionaire has claimed recently that he pays less taxes, percentage-wise, than his receptionist.)
L. Brent Bozell, founder of Media Research Center, NB's parent, made an appearance on today's "Morning Joe." Brent is the author, with MRC/NB's Tim Graham, of the recently-released "Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell you About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will."
Look for comprehensive coverage of Brent's appearance from my colleagues at MRC and NB during the day. But for present purposes, let's focus on one point Brent made that speaks volumes about the depth of the MSM's partisanship -- that for broadcast networks, promoting liberal ideology trumps even the bottom line.
Uh oh! America might have to do without CBS' usual standard of news reporting if the network's news writers vote to strike Thursday. Hmm, what production staffer will ghostwrite “Katie Couric's Notebook” now?
November 12, the AP reported that CBS' 500 radio and television news writers, who belong to the Writers Guild Association East, “are expected to overwhelmingly approve a strike authorization” during Thursday's upcoming vote. This strike would follow the WGA drama and comedy writers walk out, which has shut down much of television.
“Some news writers may be joining their entertainment industry colleagues,” Boorstin said. “Five hundred unionized CBS Television and Radio writers are expected to vote to authorize a strike this Thursday. They’ve been working without a contract since April of 2005.”