Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts wondered about game-show bias in their Washington Post gossip column "The Reliable Source" on Tuesday, Drew Carey’s game show in prime time on CBS that asks contestants to guess about polling questions they’ve asked the public:
We always thought Drew Carey was a Republican, but the comedian took a potshot at Jenna Bush during CBS's "Power of 10" game show Sunday night. Carey, who performed at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in 2002, asked a contestant to guess what percentage of American men would not want to be the president's son-in-law. The upside, said Carey: Free rides on Air Force One, dinner at the White House, great networking. "But then, you have to be married to Jenna Bush," he snarked.
I’ve also seen the show’s pollsters ask a contestant to guess what percentage of respondents thought they would get shot by Dick Cheney in a duel, so this isn’t the first time they’ve tweaked the Bush administration.
Monday's Washington Post op-ed page has a debate of sorts between Post columnists on the Dan Rather lawsuit against CBS. Eugene Robinson takes up the pro-Rather side, barely acknowledging Rather's phony documents en route to suggesting Rather "makes a valid argument about the larger issue," that CBS was cowardly in defending the story because corporations don't challenge the government like they used to, as in the golden days of the "Pentagon Papers." Recent experience doesn't exactly suggest the media is unwilling to expose national-security programs the ACLU wants exposed.
The anti-Rather side is taken up by Charles Lane, who's not buying any of Rather's bluster. (For the record, Lane was editor of The New Republic when Stephen Glass loaded that magazine with phony quotes and stories, so that either makes him the voice of experience, or a strange scold.) But his fake letter of Rather's is definitely fun to read:
"Dear CBS News:
"My new career at HDNet is keeping me busier than a bordello at Mardis Gras.
In a Friday afternoon Newsweek web exclusive, reporter Johnnie Roberts talked to CBS insiders about Dan Rather’s lawsuit against his long-time employer. Don Hewitt, the founder and long-lasting executive producer of 60 Minutes, told the magazine he asked Rather the big bias question: "If this had been John Kerry, wouldn’t you have been more careful about the story?" It’s certainly true that 60 Minutes went easy on Kerry on 2004, with a soft-soap Ed Bradley interview in January, and a syrupy and supportive Lesley Stahl interview in July.
Another anonymous CBS insider says Rather looks "pathetic...the musing of an older man who can’t let go." Roberts reported that while the network wouldn’t comment beyond saying it was old news, others were more forthcoming:
There's a fabulous column by Ed Driscoll (HT to NixGuy in an e-mail) about the evolution of media and reporting from the invention of radio to our current circumstances.
It's the title of Driscoll's work, "Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media," that misses the mark a bit.
Ed has the "stranglehold" part nailed:
By the early 1970s, mass media had reached its zenith (if you’ll pardon the pun). Most Americans were getting their news from one of three TV networks’ half-hour nightly broadcasts. With the exception of New York, most big cities had only one or two primary newspapers. And no matter what a modern newspaper’s lineage, by and large its articles, except for local issues, came from global wire services like the Associated Press or Reuters; it took its editorial lead from the New York Times; and it claimed to be impartial (while usually failing miserably).
With her ratings in the basement, Katie Couric is trying to drive up her appeal by displaying her mastery of the content. But the gaffes can still happen – whether it’s the anchor’s fault or the CBS publicity staff. In the September issue of the promotional pamphlet "CBS News Report" – published locally with ads for the D.C. CBS affiliate WUSA – Couric has several "Katie Couric’s Notebook items." One of them complained that women’s magazines are still accepting ads for "light and luscious" cigarettes: "Congresswoman Lois Katz, who used to be a school nurse, has criticized the hypocrisy of magazines peddling the very health hazard their editorial pages rail against."
The only problem is there is no Rep. Lois Katz. There’s a Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara), who’s been in Congress since March 1998, when she replaced her husband Walter, who died of a heart attack the previous fall. She was a school nurse in Santa Barbara.
With a few notable exceptions such as Tom Shales, Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit against CBS is getting almost no support from his fellow journalists in the mainstream media. The MSM attitudes towards Rather and his lawsuit range from sad to downright brutal. In the category of brutal would be a column by Tim Rutten in today's Los Angeles Times with the less than friendly title of "Dan Rather's lawsuit is an act of ego."
Dan Rather took the best seat in the house that Murrow built and then left the place a ruin. Now he has returned to torch the rubble.
Sometimes, the truth is obvious to everyone. During a discussion with fellow MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann wondered why Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards found it necessary to buy commercial time following a speech by President Bush. Marveling at Edwards’s actions, he revealed, "I don't think I'm saying anything unknown to the audience, I don't think he would have gotten a hard time from this particular network."
Speaking of Chris Matthews, one has to admire the host’s creativity. On Tuesday, while discussing the tasering of a University of Florida student, the cable news anchor blamed it on, you guessed it, Iraq. Matthews also decried the "fascistic notion" of American troops "forcing" democracy on Iraqis. Only a day earlier, the MSNBC host wondered, "Should we put Exxon signs up over Arlington Cemetery and Mobil signs up there, like they have at baseball stadiums?"
As characteristically strange and bizarre as Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS is, chances are high that CBS is going to give him some kind of concession, monetary and otherwise.
Neil Cavuto, host of FNC's "Your World" made this point earlier this week stating that CBS has no real alternative other than a long, dragged out court case that will rehash its worst corporate moment. He's right:
Dan Rather is going to win.
I don't know if he's going to get the 70 million bucks he's demanding from CBS.
When members of the Duke University lacrosse team were falsely accused of raping a black stripper last year, media focused great attention on the woman in the middle of the controversy, and the supposed crime.
Yet, as pointed out Thursday by NewsBuster Matthew Balan, as the press report activities in Jena, Louisiana, the name of the white boy who was beaten by the "Jena 6," Justin Barker, is rarely mentioned, and the assault which precipitated the arrest of the "6" is either ignored, or downplayed.
Such was certainly the case on Thursday's "Nightly News" which led with the day's civil rights protests in Jena, but, for all intents and purposes, ignored the assault which precipitated the arrests of the six students in question.
Ironically, NBC's Brian Williams began the broadcast:
On CNN’s Larry King Live Thursday night, Dan Rather insisted that his $70 million lawsuit against CBS was an attempt to save “our democracy” from “big government interference and intimidation in news;” claimed once again that his 2004 60 Minutes story on President Bush’s National Guard service was correct “and I think most people know by now that it was correct;” and charged that CBS’s investigation was “a fraud. It was a setup.”
And when Larry King asked him about Peter Arnett — whose career at CNN ended over a fraudulent 1998 report alleging the U.S. murdered defectors and used nerve gas in Vietnam, and who was last seen making propaganda films for Saddam Hussein during the 2003 invasion of Iraq — Rather embraced him: “Peter Arnett is a great reporter. He was then and he is now.”
Earlier today I noted that in her HuffPo column, ex-CBS producer Mary Mapes continues to cling to the delusion that the Memogate documents were authentic. In an inteview on "Morning Joe," Dan Rather has now made a comparable reality-defying claim.
Mika Brzezinski, who, as was repeatedly pointed out, used to work at CBS and has friends on both sides of the issue, conducted the interview. Bubbles didn't have the gumption to challenge Rather regarding the forged documents at the heart of the story. Interestingly, Rather chose to raise the issue himself, and in doing so demonstrated his tenuous grip on reality and some twisted journalistic standards.
Reading the actual legal complaint in the Dan Rather lawsuit quickly (but repeatedly) reveals the extreme egotism of the disgraced CBS anchor. The first finding begins: "Plaintiff, Dan Rather, one of the foremost broadcast journalists of our time, seeks to recover damages from CBS, his employee of 44 years" for "CBS’s intentional mishandling of the aftermath" of the fake-documents story.
It added: "Throughout his career, Mr. Rather has promoted, championed, and been emblematic of journalistic independence and journalistic freedom from extraneous interference such as governmental, political, corporate, or personal interests. Defendants’ improper responses to the attacks on the Documents wrongfully damaged Mr. Rather and these values which he championed."
-- Did you notice no one asked President Bush at his press conference today about Dan Rather suing CBS? I wouldn’t argue that Bush should be asked to critique the liberal media in a routine press conference, but he WAS the target of Rather’s atrociously phony National Guard story.
Instead, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux was desperately attempting to fuse together the Jena 6 protests and the GOP candidates’ failure to accept debates in hostile liberal territory. Whenever race relations seep into the news, do reporters just have to jerk their knees like Kanye West and assume Republicans hate black people?
"As a public relations effort, I mean, this is like the litigation equivalent of a suicide bombing. It just doesn't make any sense," noted MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham about former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS. The NewsBusters senior editor was interviewed shortly after 5:30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday's "Big Story" by Fox News reporter Heather Nauert.
Video (3:04):Real (2.24 MB) and Windows (1.87 MB), plus MP3 audio (1.39 MB). [related links listed below fold]
On Thursday’s morning shows and Wednesday’s evening newscasts, CBS and ABC discussed a possible visit to Ground Zero by Iran’s President and, at the same time, ignored Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s connections to terror and also his statements about wiping out Israel. On "Good Morning America," Chris Cuomo briefly mentioned the upcoming U.S. trip and only cited construction at New York’s Ground Zero and "security concerns" as reasons to deny the man a visit. On CBS's "Early Show," reporter Russ Mitchell filed a similarly bland report. Neither mentioned that the Iranian leader in 2005 called for Israel to be wiped from the map and Iran is a state supporter of terrorism.
Only on NBC’s "Today," did Ahmadinejad’s extreme statements and actions warrant a reference. Reporter Andrea Mitchell labeled the attempted visit to Ground Zero a "PR stunt" and pointedly observed, "[Bush] Administration officials called it appalling. Presidential candidates condemned the visit and one 9/11 widow said it's like letting Osama Bin Laden visit Ground Zero." With a series of anchor briefs, Wednesday night’s news broadcasts featured a similar pattern. NBC’s "Nightly News" host Brian Williams proclaimed that the request had been rejected because of security and the fact that "Iran is, as the U.S. said today, among the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism." However, "World News" host Charles Gibson provided no reason at all. In a news brief, he simply asserted, "[Ahmadinejad] told New York police he’d like to visit Ground Zero. The New York City police department has said no." "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric didn’t cover the subject at all.
The statements in Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit, filed Wednesday against CBS for terminating him nearly two years after his discredited story on President Bush's National Guard service, reflect a conspiratorial paranoia about how he sees himself as a victim of Bush White House pressure and is unable to accept responsibility for his sloppy and politically-driven story.
The former network star charged that he was made a "scapegoat" for the 2004 story because CBS wished to "pacify the White House." CBS management "coerced" him, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz on Thursday quoted the lawsuit, "into publicly apologizing and taking personal blame for alleged journalistic errors in the broadcast." Josh Howard, the Executive Producer at the time of the weekday 60 Minutes who was forced to resign, rejected Rather's claim that he was just a passive narrator, telling Kurtz: "He did every interview. He worked the sources over the phone. He was there in the room with the so-called document experts. He argued over every line in the script. It's laughable."
Dan Rather (file photo from Memogate days) is now suing his former employer for a cool $70 million. Jacques Steinberg of the New York Times has more.
Although it's impossible to sue the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy itself, Rather makes clear conservative groups and bloggers are to blame for his allegedly unfair dismissal from the former Tiffany Network:
On Tuesday morning’s Early Show, CBS anchor Harry Smith led into a Hillary Clinton interview with a poll that sounded like it had been commissioned by the Clinton team: "In a new CBS News poll, 66 percent of voters said her health care experience in Bill Clinton’s administration is actually a strength for her. As we know, her efforts in the 1990s failed; 52 percent of those questioned said it wasn’t her fault."
But dig into the CBS poll, and see what Smith left out: when respondents asked if they were confident in "Hillary’s ability to make the right decisions about health care, or are you uneasy about her approach," more people (48 percent) said they were uneasy about Hillary’s health agenda, compared to 42 percent who said they were confident about her health care decision-making.
As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, wheat prices soared last week to their highest levels in history.
As many consumer products are made from this grain, and media love to carp and whine about inflation, one would have expected great focus to be given to this issue.
However, as some of the upward pressure on wheat prices is directly attributable to biofuels, a global warming obsessed media seemed concerned to address this inflationary issue for fear that it would bring negative attention on soon-to-be-to-Dr. Al Gore's beloved ethanol.
Bucking the wheat boycott trend was the Washington Post which published a very balanced article on this subject Saturday (emphasis added throughout):
Three weeks ago, when Republican Senator John Warner suggested a withdrawal of about 5,000 U.S. forces from Iraq by Christmas, the networks trumpeted the idea as evidence of a major “turning point” in the war. Thursday night, President Bush announced he would, in fact, lower U.S. troop levels by 5,700 by Christmas, but those same networks were dissatisfied, with NBC’s Tim Russert grumbling that the President’s idea was really “U.S. military involvement in Iraq this year, next year, and well after I leave the presidency.”
As MRC’s Brent Baker noted back on August 23, Warner’s suggestion of a small withdrawal was met with giddy excitement: “CBS’s Katie Couric touted a ‘major blow tonight to President Bush’s Iraq policy’ and ABC’s Martha Raddatz saw a ‘stunning announcement that could have a powerful effect on the war’ as the NBC Nightly News, for the fifth time in two years, heralded a ‘turning point’ against the war.”
Are the reporters on Capitol Hill as scrappy as the White House press corps? Apparently not. In the "Yeas and Nays" gossip column in the Washington Examiner, Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin report CBS's normally Bush-stalking Jim Axelrod threw a hardball at Nancy Pelosi and she was shocked, shocked that anyone could be so rude. (Axelrod, of course, came at the Speaker from the hard left.) It was so shocking a Pelosi spokesman suggested "I don't think she's ever accused a journalist of bias before."
CBS White House reporter Jim Axelrod mentioned to Pelosi that, come November 2008, the number of American troops in Iraq likely will be the same as in November 2006, when Democrats were swept into power. Then, he asked, "How do you view your stewardship of Congress as anything other than a failure to make the president change course?"
Pelosi was instantly taken aback. "What a lovely objective question on the part of the press!" she remarked.
Last fall, CBS granted Arianna Huffington two softball interviews promoting her book "Fearless," one on "Sunday Morning" with Rita Braver, and another two days later on "The Early Show" with Hannah Storm. Arianna counseled from her book that people need to "Identify the Obnoxious Roommate" in their own head to grow fearless. Our new MRC report on "Huffington's House of Horrors" demonstrates that Arianna’s blog the Huffington Post can be identified as the Obnoxious Roommate of the Liberal Media Elite. Here’s our summary:
When she founded her blog two years ago, Arianna Huffington made a pledge that was quoted by Newsweek: "If you’re looking for the usual flame-throwing, name-calling, and simplistic attack dog rhetoric....don’t bother coming to The Huffington Post." But an MRC review of the first two years of the HuffPost’s content reveals that flame-throwing, name-calling, and hate speech against conservatives are all on the Web site’s everyday menu.
We have seen it time and again; the MSM taking these relatively good economic times in which we live and spinning them into some sort of Depression era disaster as if things are really all bad. Well, the CBS station in New Rochelle, New York has decided that the so-called housing slump is now somehow "forcing" people to turn their homes into whorehouses! No kidding. Now, as far as this news report is concerned, economics takes away a Homeowner's sense of morality because times are supposedly so bad that prostitution is their only resort. Talk about hyperbole -- this one takes the cake.
As the headline blares, Housing Market Slump Forces Couple To Open Brothel, the article goes on to suppose that a New Rochelle couple could find no other way to keep their home in these apparently tough economic times but to become whores and pimps... and literally, not figuratively at that.
In the 1990s, Laura Ingraham was an exception to the rule, a conservative allowed into the rarefied air of network news. She was a Sunday night commentator on CBS Evening News -- matched on the left by Sen. Bill Bradley -- and then a host of a live morning show on MSNBC. In her brand spanking new book Power to the People, just out yesterday, Laura dishes on what it was like in the lion's den:
From Day One, I was a fish out of water in the television news business. I didn’t come from their world and I didn’t buy into their worldview. They knew it and I knew it. As a conservative lawyer who had worked for the Reagan administration and clerked on the Supreme Court for Clarence Thomas, I didn’t fit the CBS mold of the earnest, idealistic, liberal, "citizen-of-the-world" type attracted to the news business. I might as well have dropped in from a blinking spaceship from Saturn. One of the closet conservatives at the network told me that most of the producers and on-air talent thought the top brass’s decision to hire me was a "pathetic sell-out to the Right."
On Sunday, NewsBusters published an article about Salon editor-in-chief Joan Walsh voicing displeasure with CBS anchor Katie Couric's "softball," "puff piece" reports from Iraq last week.
Moments after the piece was published, I received an e-mail message from MoveOn civic communications director Adam Green providing me with a video posted hours prior at YouTube by his organization, and forwarded to me so that I could see "Katie Couric's lapdog journalism" I was "defending."
Tuesday morning, Walsh amazingly responded to my article, and defended her views of Couric by embedding in her piece - wait for it - the YouTube video MoveOn had created and sent to me on Sunday (emphasis added throughout):
Some people are hard to shop for, but when it comes to MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski it's going to be a breeze. Next to her name on my Chanukah list, I'm putting her down without hesitation . . . for a Roget's Thesaurus. Because when it comes to describing the performance of people across her political divide, Mika seems stuck on a solitary word: "underwhelming."
As noted here, reading the news of Fred Thompson's "Tonight Show" appearance last week, Mika editorialized that "it was sort of underwhelming, but . . . it's done."
At the top of today's "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough invited Mika to assess General Petraeus's performance before Congress yesterday, and . . . you guessed it.
Brian Montopoli's writing at CBS's Public Eye blog has been sparse of late. Now the co-ombudsblogger is announcing he's moving elsewhere within the network:
Starting today, I’m officially becoming a political reporter for the new CBSNews.com politics section, which will be relaunching in its shiny new form soon. And that means, after two years, I’m saying goodbye to Public Eye.
This should be fun. NewsBusters has taken Montopoli to task before for his work with Public Eye, including a January 17 post where he hit a network correspondent from the left for not being biased enough: