The 5th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, is clearly an event that needs to be marked and acknowledged. One can only imagine the furor that would arise if the President of the United States were to neglect observing and commenting on the day. On the other hand, if he were to choose this particular time to come out with partisan political attacks, to attempt to take advantage of the anniversary observances in purely political ways, I believe we can say, with some confidence, that the mainstream press would be vociferous in their condemnation. History suggests to us that the media in this country is on the lookout for any signs of partisanship from the President today. (It also suggests that that vigilance is, shall we say, one-sided. Attacks against the President for allowing the towers to be destroyed "on his watch," as it were, would be unlikely to arouse the same sense of outrage.)
Look no further than NewsBusters for complete coverage of Katie Couric’s debut as the anchor of the "CBS Evening News." The MRC’s Brent Baker began the week by noting a previous Couric claim that she’s not biased, but Fox is. Additionally, the new anchor has hired liberal Douglas Brinkley as the show’s historian. On September 5, Couric appeared on "The Early Show," only to apparently forget the program’s name! (Perhaps the perky anchor should do some homework on her new network.)
Ms. Couric wasn’t the week’s only big news. On September 6, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews talked to a Green Party candidate who called for President Bush’s execution. He later told the man, "I like you already." Somewhat ironically, this was only a day after Matthews wondered if Republicans would be using "fear tactics" and other extreme strategies to get elected. (Perhaps calling for the President’s execution could be an example?)
In another Chris Matthews story, NewsBusters Editor Matthew Sheffield talked to the host and was told the Valerie Plame story is now too complicated for coverage. In international news, Mr. Sheffield also noted the BBC’s continuing refusal to disclose the religious background of terror suspects.
This morning’s Wall Street Journal carries an editorial summarizing the findings of a new study from the Media Research Center that documents how the broadcast networks have skewed their coverage of the War on Terror in favor of those most concerned about civil liberties, not protecting the American people from another homeland attack. Here’s how it begins:
The title of a CBS special report Wednesday night posed the question that haunts us all after 9/11: "Five Years Later: Are We Safer?" Given the show's brevity--an hour minus commercials--and the complexity of the subject, CBS's treatment was predictably shallow. After host Katie Couric asked President Bush a few questions of the "your critics say . . . how do you respond?" sort, and we toured the federal antiterrorism command center, there was little time left for an in-depth examination of anything.
It's been natural for some to link the Clintonista campaign against ABC's "The Path to 9/11" with the efforts of MRC and other groups protesting CBS's flimsy biopic on "The Reagans." (Rich Noyes makes one obvious point of difference: Clinton is cogent enough to defend himself. In the fall of 2003, Reagan was deep into his Alzheimer's disease and dying.) Brent Bozell columns from that time are here and here. Brent still believes that if ABC corrects its docudrama if it doesn't have documentation for something being challenged, it's doing the right thing.
In the coming hours and days, my colleagues at MRC and NewsBusters are sure to provide comprehensive, in-depth analysis of Katie Couric's debut this evening as the anchor of the CBS Evening News. From the opening segment, whose message was that things are worse in Afghanistan than you realize, to an interview with MSM foreign policy fave Thomas Friedman decrying tax cuts, to anti-McDonald's hypster Morgan Spurlock, ahem, spuriously trying to pass himself off as an opponent of hype, it was all pretty predictable liberal stuff.
But Katie did - unintentionally no doubt - permit a telling moment of candor to slip through the MSM filter. Introducing a segment on Pres. Bush' speech today on matters of national security, Couric said:
"The war on terror began of course with the September 11th attacks on the United States."
In a serious indicator of approaching liberal bias on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Howard Kurtz noted yesterday:
The revamped program has just hired its own historian, author Douglas Brinkley, and has taped outside contributors delivering 20 possible commentaries for its new "Free Speech" segment (including a couple by Washington Post op-ed columnist Eugene Robinson).
As noted by Mark Finkelstein, CBS’s "Early Show" on Tuesday dedicated two segments, one in the 7:30 half hour and the other in the 8:00 half hour, to promote tonight’s debut of Katie Couric as the new anchor of "The CBS Evening News." Given that Couric is employed by CBS and had been in competition with the "Early Show" from 1999 when CBS renamed it’s morning news broadcast until her departure from NBC’s "Today Show" earlier this year, shouldn’t Couric at least know the name of the program on which she was appearing? Apparently she does not.
According to TVnewser.com, in behind the scenes video released by AOL, Couric refers to the "Early Show" as "CBS This Morning," the former name of the show (video available here). During the interview, Couric told "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith that she hoped viewers would find her broadcast “instructive” and spun the low ratings of the “CBS Evening News” as something positive:
Looks like CBS got itself a two-fer. Katie's not just an anchor - she's a comedian, too!
The highlight of her extended interview with Harry Smith on this morning's Early Show, touting her debut on tonight's CBS Evening News, was her claim that what the "old media" has to offer in contrast with the new media is . . . "integrity and standards."
Couric is apparently a jokester of the deadpan school, managing to get off the line without dissolving into guffaws. This from the woman about to take over the illustrious Dan Rather Forged Document Chair, named in honor of the hoax perpetrated by the old media and peremptorily exposed by that lacking-in-integrity new media. Is the irony lost on Katie that the opening for her job occured because Dan Rather was sacked over the exposure of his lack of integrity and standards?
With Katie Couric poised to take over the CBS Evening News anchor chair on Tuesday following his departure from the network this summer, Dan Rather's era at CBS News has come to a definitive end. The coda certainly came Friday night with CBS's send-off re-airing of its Dan Rather: A Reporter Remembers special first run in March of 2005 (NewsBusters item on it.) As a holiday weekend treat from the MRC's video archive, enjoy one of Rather's wackier moments -- from the June 22, 1994 Late Show with David Letterman -- when Rather sang his version of Johnny Cash's The Wreck of the Old 97.
This week, the MRC’s Megan McCormack brought us a second-by-second account of Kyra Phillip’s now infamous "bathroom chat." She also did a follow-up on FNC’s "Fox and Friends" parody of the event. Soon, the story became a full blown media sensation.
Tonight (Friday) at 9pm EDT/PDT, CBS will re-air its special, Dan Rather: A Reporter Remembers, that first ran on Wednesday March 9, 2005. The program showed the MRC's logo on screen at one point as Rather, dismissing a series of efforts to "intimidate" him, drew a line from being called "an 'N-lover'" during the civil rights movement to the Vietnam war years when critics tagged him with a "bad name: 'anti-military, anti-American, anti-war,'" and "then, when Watergate came into being was the first time I began to hear this word 'liberal' as an epithet thrown my way." Viewers then saw a montage of video clips and shots of Web sites with text accusing Rather and CBS of being "liberal," including the Media Research Center's logo and a headline over an MRC page on Rather. Without addressing evidence of his liberal tilt on policy, Rather charged that "people who have very strong biases of their own, they come at you with a story: 'If you won't report it the way I want it reported, then you're biased.'" On the Memogate affair, the CBS special touted how the review panel found "no political agenda."
Video clip with Rather's claims about "intimidation" with the MRC's Web site featured on screen (1:30): Real (2.6 MB), Windows Media (3 MB) plus MP3 audio (450 KB)
As Brent Baker noted, Thursday marked the end of Bob Schieffer’s reign as anchor of the CBS "Evening News." And like the "Evening News," the Friday "Early Show"played Katie Couric’s tribute video to Mr. Schieffer. After morning viewers watched the video, "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith sat down with Mr. Schieffer to discuss the future. Smith began this morning’s Schieffer tribute by taking a shot at the "Evening News" former anchor, Dan Rather:
"When Bob Schieffer stepped down as anchor fo the CBS "Evening News" on Thursday, he left the place in a lot better shape than he found it..."
The Wall Street Journal has a good editorial on CBS's latest ratings ploy, dividing contestants on its "Survivor" show up by race. The board argues, correctly in my view, that this isn't good for America:
Last week CBS revealed that its reality program "Survivor" would divide
competing teams (or "tribes") by race. Sometime this fall we could thus
be treated to an announcement like, "The white team has managed to vote
the black team off the island."
To more than a few people,
not surprisingly, this didn't exactly seem like a great idea. In fact,
it seemed like a very bad one, playing up identity-politics divisions
in a crude and potentially rancorous way. "This idea is so
ill-conceived that it would be funny--but for the fact that racism does
still sometimes rear its ugly head," New York City Councilman John Liu
Still, network executives have not backed down, even
when GM, a major "Survivor" sponsor, announced this week its decision
to pull its advertising from the program. (GM claims this had nothing
to do with the show's new season.) Mark Burnett, the producer of
"Survivor," has defended his race-based concept by noting that the show
has been criticized in the past for not having enough diversity. "We're
always hearing about how we only have two token blacks on the show."
surely Mr. Burnett and his colleagues realized that their new effort at
"diversity" would not pass without controversy. They probably welcomed
it, for the show's ratings are in need of a boost. And, like it or not,
the ploy will probably work. You don't have to survey every American
family, or even every Nielsen family, to find out that people like
watching people who look like themselves on TV. Many "Survivor"
watchers may well find themselves cheering on "their team." Mr. Burnett
suggests that his program is simply presenting life as it really is:
"Even though people may work together, they do tend in their private
lives to divide along social and ethnic lines."
CBS News veteran Harry Smith finally confessed something that the Business
& Media Institute (BMI) have reported for a while and his
colleagues elsewhere in the media have already picked up on: gas prices
are on a downward trend.
"It seems like a month ago we were all screaming with our hair on fire
about the price of gas going over $3, no end in sight. And now it looks
like it's dropping like a stone," CBS’s Harry Smith marveled on the
August 31 edition of "The Early Show."
This past Sunday on "60 Minutes," CBS correspondent Byron Pitts interviewed New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, about New Orleans’ recovery since hurricane Katrina. Pitts’ hit Nagin with statements full of hyperbole, claiming there are "few visible signs of recovery" in New Orleans, and that there is "tons of debris still scattered about," yet, Pitts offered little in the way of facts and figures to back up his claims. However, a anyone viewing Tuesday’s "NewsHour" on PBS would have heard hard facts that contradict Pitts’ gloomy assertions. For example, Pitts claimed:
"Today, in one of the few visible signs of recovery, the 220 miles of levees damaged by the storm have been repaired by the Army Corps of Engineers."
A couple of years ago, then-NBC anchor Tom Brokaw denounced me for seeking to do “as much damage, and I choose that word carefully, as he can do to the credibility of the news divisions,” and then he pleaded for Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, and himself: “These three aging white men are stuck somewhere in the middle trying, on a nightly basis, to give a fair and balanced picture of what’s going on in the world.”
If the credibility of the network news divisions is based on giving a “fair and balanced” picture of today’s world, then ABC, CBS, and NBC have done all the damage to themselves. To steal from Lincoln, it is beyond our poor power to add or detract. A case in point:
Unlike Tuesday’s "Today Show," where Matt Lauer advanced a conspiracy theory that the levees were blown up intentionally, on today’s "Early Show" on CBS, co-host Harry Smith pounded Ray Nagin with the notion that nobody has done enough to help the people of New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina. Smith challenged Nagin’s leadership abilities:
‘...And, quite frankly Mr. Mayor, a lot of folks in this town have lost faith in you. Can you lead this city to the future?"
Smith complained at the slow pace of cleaning up the city and rebuilding and suggested the city is unlivable:
"You know, as we walk around this city, we're in a neighborhood where there is one house that's been restored next to five houses that haven't been restored. There is still debris around. There have been so many tens of thousands of people displaced. They're making a new life in Atlanta or Houston or even Salt Lake City. What argument would you give to them to come back to a place like this?"
Faking news photos isn't just for Islamic propagandists any more.
A TVNewser reader has caught CBS in the act, altering a photo to make new anchor Katie Couric's waistline appear slimmer than it really is.
Question: Is CBS doing better now that it's only faking news to make its anchor look skinny, or is it doing worse now that it's making phony pictures instead of relying on nutjobs to do it?
UPDATE 11:21. Commenter 1sttofight correctly points out that Couric's face is also slimmer. It seems her arms are, too.
UPDATE 08:30 by Mark Finkelstein: CBS has now admitted that it "retouched" Katie's photo, but claims it was done "without the knowledge of Katie Couric or CBS news management," and Couric is quoted as claiming "she prefers the original photo 'because there's more of me to love.'"
Harry Smith, "Early Show" co-host, reported live from New Orleans today on the state of the city one year after Hurricane Katrina. Smith essentially had one type of question: Exactly how horrible is the situation today? The CBS journalist talked with Oliver Thomas, President of the New Orleans City Council. He lectured Mr. Thomas, telling him, "Folks feel abandoned. They feel forgotten. They feel desperate." This, despite the fact that more then $44 billion has been spent on rebuilding the Gulf Coast, with a total of $110 billion designated for the project.
Smith began the interview, which aired at 7:10AM EDT on August 28, by asking, "...Could the levees withstand Ernesto if Ernesto turned and came up this way?" Mr. Thomas told him that, while the situation isn’t perfect, the levees are much stronger and more reinforced then a year ago. Apparently this wasn’t the proper answer, because Smith then rephrased remarkably similar questions:
Smith: "If Ernesto came here two days from now, would the city be evacuated? Would we have the same horror story from a year ago?"
Again, the city councilman replied in the affirmative. Of course the city would be evacuated. The "Early Show" co-host interrupted quickly interrupted him with a gloomy scenario:
Read all about it: a new MRC special report called “Election in the Streets,” that demonstrates that ABC, CBS, and NBC behaved like protester publicists in late March, April, and May, in complete contradiction to public opinion polls showing America had a serious problem with the tide of illegal immigration. Gooey stories about illegal aliens “emerging from the shadows” to fight for their “rights” piled up the soundbites for amnesty, and the protest organizers somehow evaded ever being described as liberals or leftists, despite talking about the “fascist clauses” in the Sensenbrenner bill. Check it out before the next round of protests heats up next weekend. Here's a summary:
On Friday’s "Early Show," there were three stories worth noting here on NewsBusters. First, CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews painted the ruling by the FDA allowing the morning after pill, known as Plan B, to be sold without a prescription in many cases as an election year ploy by the Bush Administration and as a victory for women’s groups at the expense of conservatives. Next, correspondent Mark Strassmann, reporting from Baghdad, actually noted some progress in securing Iraq, "…But since then, U.S. and Iraqi forces have ratcheted up pressure in Baghdad's meanest neighborhoods. The results look promising. City-wide, murders are down 41%." Finally, viewers were given a preview of this Sunday’s "60 Minutes" interview with Ray Nagin, in which Nagin defended the slow pace of progress in New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina by comparing his cities recovery to New York’s after 9/11: "It's alright. You guys in New York City can't get a hole in the ground fixed, and it's five years later. So let's be fair." Further analysis of each of these stories follows.
On Thursday’s "Early Show" on CBS, co-host Hannah Storm promoted the leftist hype about the link between global warming and hurricanes in a segment with global warming enthusiast, and author of the new book "The Ravaging Tide," Mike Tidwell. Storm acted as more of a facilitator than interviewer, asking leading questions, questions that assumed Tidwell’s comments were accurate, and allowed her guest to make some ridiculous statements that went unchallenged.
Storm’s feelings on the matter can best be summed up by her statement, "…this dependence on fossil fuels needs to be addressed. So what’s your recommendation?"
The new season of CBS’ hit show "Survivor" was previewed on this morning’s "Early Show," and viewers learned that the show will have a segregationist beginning as contestants will be divided according to their race. In the past, tribes on the show have been determined by age or sex or by choosing sides, but this is the first time they have been determined by race, a fact which seemed to appall the co-hosts of "The Early Show."
At the top of the 8:00 hour, Harry Smith asked a random man gathered on the plaza for his reaction to this news, and the response was "it should be pretty interesting." Harry Smith, declared that a "safe" answer, which caused co-host Rene Syler to exclaim:
TV Newser reports that ABC has made it official that Chris Cuomo, the son of long-time liberal New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, will be the news anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America" starting September 5. Cuomo's been at ABC since 1999, just a little shorter than...
George Stephanopoulos, another Democrat in media clothing. George is a hot property at ABC that CBS wanted to steal, as TVNewser cited a report from Michele Greppi:
"CBS News courted but couldn't land George Stephanopoulos, who recently signed a new deal, with a nice raise, to stay at ABC News for four more years."
Stephanopoulos and his agent Alan Berger initiated the talks and "the conversation never turned into an actual offer." Sean McManus "made an aggressive pitch that included talk about multiple plum roles, including Washington bureau chief and chief political analyst, and a high-profile position as the chief on-air political foil for Ms. Couric. He is said to have been told that he would be able to contribute to '60 Minutes.'" But McManus couldn't offer a Sunday show "because Bob Schieffer is assured that he will be moderator of 'Face the Nation' for as long he wishes."
Near the end of the CBS broadcast of the PGA tournament Sunday night, CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz promoted the forthcoming "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric," with a very typical serving of historical boilerplate about the "CBS Evening News" tradition, starting with Douglas Edwards, and including Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Bob Schieffer, and now Couric.
The untrained viewer might think from the list that Egbert Murrow (sorry, that's the name he was born with) was an anchorman of the "CBS Evening News," which he never was. Too bad they didn't illustrate it with Katie standing next to Hillary in the sky-blue Mao suit.
When the New York Times originally broke the story of the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program, the rest of the media leapt to the bandwagon, and immediately began referring to President Bush's "Domestic Surveillance Program." One of the forums where this has been particularly egregious is CBS' The Early Show. Well, the last 7 months and all of the discussion has done nothing to change the view of the program held by CBS. There were two separate comments in a 30-second news snippet from Tracy Smith that were either inaccurate or incomplete, and, of course, they were inaccurate or incomplete in a manner that made the program sound worse than it is.
The first was the continued mis-labeling. The program is not, despite the mainstream press' continued insistence, a "domestic" surveillance program. The NSA is not monitoring American's domestic calls without warrants, or at least, if they are, that has not been made public. That's not what the program being talked about covers. The NSA is monitoring overseas communications of suspected terrorists and terrorism supporters. If some of those communications are into the United States, they're continuing to monitor. That doesn't make the conversations "domestic."
Surely with a story about skin care, Regan at least featured a dermatologist or two to back up the push for more FDA regulation of sunscreen lotions, right?
Regan highlighted calls for further FDA regulation of sunscreen lotions by liberal state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Consumer Union environmental health scientist and eco-labeling project director Urvashi Rangan.
Rangan's gripe was that SPF factor labeling misleads the consumer about protection from ultraviolet radiation. Rangan claimed most sunscreens don't in fact protect against UVA radiation. But by failing to look for more information or a dissenting view, Regan left out information which could cut against a pro-regulatory agenda.:
Friday’s morning shows largely preferred the JonBenet Ramsey case over yesterday’s district court ruling declaring the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program to be unconstitutional. NBC’s "Today" and CBS’ "The Early Show" limited their reporting on the issue to brief anchor reads, as did their evening news counterparts, as the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth previously reported.
"Good Morning America," however, did devote more than a few seconds on the topic, with ABC’s Jessica Yellin reporting from the White House. In her report, Yellin never acknowledged the liberal background of Judge Ann Diggs Taylor, who, Yellin pointed out, "accuses the President of acting like a king" and says the NSA program "blatantly disregards" the parameters established in the Bill of Rights. Yellin labeled the court’s decision a "stinging setback" for President Bush, and highlighted this warning to the President from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley :
Jonathan Turley: "He could be impeached. And people should not be underestimating that. It's true that this Congress does not want to--"
This past Sunday, on CBS’s morning show Sunday Morning, Nancy Giles offered commentary on the foiled terror plot in London, and noted that she takes no comfort that this plot was foiled. Additionally, she used her segment to opine that news of the terror plot is just a "distraction" from what she considers more important issues, and offers scathing criticism of the Department of Homeland Security.
"Thank God for Scotland Yard and the people of Great Britain, because I feel more protected by them than the agencies here at home..."
Scotland Yard indeed deserves credit for infiltrating this terror cell and disrupting the plot to blow up airplanes bound for the United States. But what about foiled terror plots here at home? Or the fact that there has not been a terrorist attack here in the U.S. since the tragedy of September 11, 2001? Giles never mentions the U.S. successes in the war on terrorism. Given these facts, it would seem the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, the CIA and the entire intelligence community, and all others charged with protecting America from terrorism are doing a remarkable job in keeping us safe and are just as deserving of praise as Scotland Yard.