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:
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric couldn't possibly expect to be criticized by a fellow, female, liberal journalist when she went to Iraq last week to report firsthand what was going on in that embattled nation.
Yet, on Sunday's "Reliable Sources," Salon editor-in-chief Joan Walsh ripped the leading member of the media sisterhood for "lobbing kind of softball questions," and not "working terribly hard to go beyond that kind of puff piece drop in for a few days kind of journalism."
In fact, Walsh demonstrated what happens when a discernibly liberal press representative dares to do an impartial, balanced report which doesn't exclusively bash Republicans, the president, and the war:
Let's give Katie Couric (and her producer Rick Kaplan) some credit for doing a better job interviewing Syrian dictator Bashar Assad then Diane Sawyer's flippant what's-on-your-iPod interview back in February. On Friday's edition of The Early Show, Couric appeared live to introduce the taped piece. She pressed the Syrian leader on his support for insurgents going across his border into Iraq, and even aggressively pushed him with a quote from Sen. Joseph Lieberman arguing that "The notion that Al Qaeda recruits are slipping into and through the Damascus airport unbeknownst to you and others is totally unbelievable. It is therefore time to demand that the Syrian regime stop playing travel agent for Al Qaeda in Iraq."
Couric explained "during that interview, he denied that Syria was as big a feeding point for terrorists going into Iraq as the United States contends." MRC's Kyle Drennen captured the transcript:
CBS Public Eye blogger Matthew Felling has a message for those of us who complain about media bias. Don't expect the media to pursue balance. In fact, it's YOU who should balance your news diet, with slanted reporting from the opposing side of the political spectrum. Insisted Felling, "It’s one thing for an ideologue to cry bias over this story or another, but it’s far more productive to offer a solution or an alternative."
If you're a Rush listener, try Ed Schultz. If you like Keith Olbermann’s take, change channels afterwards and see what Sean Hannity has to say. Likewise, if you see something coming down the pipe that looks like the "Censored" list or Goldberg's liberal media smoking gun -- and you initially resist it -- don't dismiss it offhand.
Until we push ourselves out of our media comfort zone, we risk continuing to argue past each other -- us of the by-now-trite 'red' and 'blue' Americas --wearing blinders and not connecting at all. So even if you like your blinders and feel intellectually justified in wearing them, don’t be afraid to swivel your head once in awhile to get a fuller view.
The CBS ombudsblogger --Public Eye purports "to bring transparency to the editorial operations of CBS News"-- offered this advice after he tossed up a liberal and a conservative complaint about media bias, hoping to show that left and right-wing complaints have equal merit and/or that media bias is subjective according to the ideological lens of the beholder.
If CBS's Katie Couric is beginning to believe the surge is working, it seems that even the most liberal media member could be convinced.
With that in mind, Couric was Bob Schieffer's guest on Sunday's "Face the Nation," and after spending some time touring Iraq with Gen. David Petraeus, felt the General will be quite optimistic when he reports to Congress next week.
In fact, after Schieffer asked what Petraeus would say to lawmakers upon his return to Washington, Couric seemed quite impressed with what the General had showed her during her tour (video available here):
Mother Teresa died ten years ago this week, just days after Princess Diana perished in a car crash, displaying a very interesting comparison in media reactions. Princess Diana, molded by so much positive publicity over the years into a "secular saint" when she died, drew superior coverage, both in amount and in tone. Mother Teresa's publicity was also very positive over the years, of course, but the media seemed more willing to solicit harsh criticism of her life, even at the time of her death. Brent Bozell chronicled that story in his column ten years ago:
Several media outlets used the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to promote the 2008 Democratic candidates. On CNN, right after running a glowing piece on Democrats such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, anchor Soledad O’Brien sermonized that "no event has damaged the Bush White House more than Katrina." Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts claimed that candidates from "both parties" would travel to New Orleans to "point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers."
"Hardball" regular David Shuster managed to combine both the Katrina coverage with the scandal over Senator Larry Craig. He bizarrely claimed that the Craig incident "adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
The world's media are busy mourning the death of the Princess Diana ten years ago. But while they are mourning the fact that they lost a ready-made newsmaker who shared many of their goals, they have forgotten to remember the anniversary of a far more important event than the death of the former wife of Great Britain's heir to the throne. As I was reminded by Lead and Gold, today is the twenty-seventh anniversary of the Polish communist government agreeing to the demands of striking shipyard workers. This surrender by the Communist leadership of Poland presaged the breaking loose of the satellite nations of the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain and led directly to the fall of the U.S.S.R. As Lead and Gold writes,
The strike marked the beginning of the end of communist rule in Eastern Europe. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are, rightly, given the greatest share of credit for winning the Cold War. But Lech Walesa and John Paul II played indispensable roles. ...
As NewsBusters has recorded, Snow has tangled with biased journalists in his role as the White House's chief spokesman. Perhaps one of the most memorable was an episode in June 2007 reported by NewsBusters contributor Justin McCarthy:
Perhaps the first famous name that comes to mind when it comes to policeman arrests in a restroom is George Michael, the former Wham! singer, who was busted in April of 1998 for lewd conduct in a restroom at Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills. (The act was reportedly masturbation and some public nudity.) This story, with Michael's fame on the wane, drew almost no attention from the same national media outlets who are now pounding on the office door of Sen. Larry Craig and insisting he resign.
A quick Nexis search shows no George Michael arrest stories on ABC, or NBC. CBS offered this anchor brief from Russ Mitchell on the morning of April 11: "In other entertainment news, pop singer George Michael apologized to his fans in a CNN interview in LA last night. Michael was arrested Tuesday and charged with what police called a lewd act in a restroom in a public park in Beverly Hills. He is due in court next month."
As the networks dwell on the tenth anniversary of the death of a troubled British princess this week, it might be worth remembering that at the time, we noticed the tabloid tendencies toward celebrity deaths at the time were a much bigger media trend than investigations into the scandalous fundraising tactics the Clinton-Gore team used in 1996. Our MediaWatch study at the time noted:
MediaWatch analysts examined fundraising scandal stories in August and September on the Big Three morning shows and evening shows, plus CNN's The World Today. The networks broadcast 686 stories on Diana between August 31 and the end of September compared to just 113 stories about the fundraising scandal. That's a ratio of more than 6 to 1. Isolating the morning shows, collectively they aired 407 stories on Princess Diana's death, while devoting just 36 to the scandal. That's an astonishing ratio of 10 to 1.
Associated Press reporter David Bauder wrote a story on the new MRC study on the wide and deep disparity of morning TV news coverage of the presidential candidates in 2007. It's fair and balanced. But for us, obviously, the most entertaining part was hearing the network producers respond to the charges. They said it's all the Republicans' fault for being so shy with interview requests, and declared the Democratic race was so stuffed with historic firsts, it just demands blockbuster coverage:
You've got a former first lady and a black senator fighting for the nomination," said Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's "Today" show. "That's historic. We're not going to make apologies for covering that."
Stories about the cancer relapse of Democrat John Edwards' wife Elizabeth were also counted in the total. It's unfair to count a personal story like that in a tally that suggests bias, said Jim Murphy, executive producer of ABC's "Good Morning America."
On Tuesday, Jesse Jackson, the Brady bunch -- not the TV folk but the anti-gun lobby -- and other liberal activists rallied against “the national scourge of illegal guns” in cities around the nation.
The networks ignored the event, probably because turnout was so embarrassingly low. The Chicago Tribune reported that “about 200” piled out of three buses in Lake Barrington, Illinois, the Chicago-area protest keynoted by Jackson himself. The Philadelphia Inquirer said “about 200” showed up in Philly. The Dallas Morning News reported about 60 demonstrators in South Dallas, and AP said “about 100”attended the Washington, D.C. event held in nearby District Heights, Maryland.
Anti-gun activists were counting on good coverage if they had big turnouts, and no negative coverage if they didn’t. It’s the flip side of how the media cover pro-life rallies, downplaying enormous crowds and playing up the handful of counter demonstrators. In this case, the networks chose to look benignly in the other direction. The gun grabbers know that liberal journalists don’t like guns. Or, rather, they don’t like private citizens owning guns and taking personal responsibility for their own safety and that of their families and property.
How do we know? From the loaded coverage night after night on the networks and each day in major newspapers. A new CMI study, The Media Assault on the Second Amendment, documents seven months of media coverage of gun issues, and explains how the media are taking potshots at the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Watching network morning show anchors interview the Democratic presidential candidates often makes you wonder if you’ve seen tougher interviews on overnight acne-care infomercials. Their questions are often so simple and promotional that you wish they’d just go ahead and wear their "Hillary!" or "Obama ‘08" buttons on the set.
There is no pretense of political balance. They are actively rooting for a Democratic victory next year, and they have the power to make a real difference. Notwithstanding their overall loss of audience in the last decade, ABC, CBS, and NBC morning shows draw nine times the audience of their cable-news competitors and are geared toward the mostly apolitical mainstream, which makes them an important free-media showcase for presidential hopefuls. A new study shows that if this year’s campaign coverage on the TV morning shows were a primary election, the Democrats would win in a landslide of attention and hyperbole.
Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center assessed all morning-show coverage on the Big Three from January 1 through July 31.
That's what I thought when I received an e-mail from NewsBusters reader Lori Puente informing me that Yahoo News is listing an article about Katie Couric's upcoming trip to report from Iraq and Syria in the "entertainment news" section.
The Washington Post on Tuesday published a book review of Ed Klein’s critical Katie Couric biography by reviewer Louis Bayard, who found the entire exercise of writing a Katie book distasteful, unnecessary, and sexist: “You may also wonder if the same book would have been written about a male broadcaster,” Bayard argued early on. He suggested Klein was a female-bashing brute:
On Friday, National Review writer Myrna Blyth unwrapped some of the nuggets in the forthcoming Ed Klein biography of Katie Couric, the one the Katie camp is trying to squash, in very Hillaryesque fashion, as "old news." [Klein appeared Monday night on FNC's Hannity & Colmes.] Before she kindly noted that the MRC has piles and piles of examples of Katie's liberal bias, Blyth dished Klein's claims:
In fact, there is not much unexpected here including the portrait of the young Katie as wildly ambitious and manipulative when she was desperately trying to make her dream “of becoming the next Barbara Walters” come true. Though a bit surprising, Couric, who in her prime was always seen as a feminist icon, often relied on relationships with important men to help her in her climb. According to Klein, she had affairs with both a married CNN executive who saved her from being fired a couple of times, and a media spokesman for Metro Dade Police Department who tipped her off on big stories when she was a TV reporter in Miami.