Brent Bozell's culture column this week took one last bite out of the Imus apple, taking exception to CBS chief Les Moonves claiming he was so glad to listen to the public and dismiss Don Imus from his CBS Radio gig, because he is all about being sensitive to the public's wishes. Baloney, says Brent:
In his press statement on the Imus firing, the strangest part was Moonves touting how he enjoyed listening to the public. "Many of you have come forward during this past week to share your thoughts and feelings. I thank you for that. At the end of the day, the integrity of our Company and the respect that you feel for CBS becomes the most important consideration."
Integrity and respect for CBS? Thanking the public for sharing its thoughts? Moonves & Co. at CBS have stubbornly fought against the public on other matters of broadcast decency. They’ve consistently looked protests in the eye and declared their contempt for the opinions of the majority of Americans.
ABC’s weatherman, Sam Champion, continued his crusade to get every American to adopt liberal environmental polices. While standing in front of a massive bank of televisions, he lectured viewers on their contribution to global warming: "If you think you have nothing to do with global warming, think again. From the car you drive, to the house you live in, it all contributes to the problem."
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman appeared on the "Today" show to announce that America’s best shot at winning the war on terrorism is by going green. NBC, of course, promoted the segment as "save energy, save the world."
On her "Couric & Co." blog today, the CBS "Evening News" anchor posted a 10-question interview with gun control activist Paul Helmke. Couric's questions largely lobbed softballs for the Brady Campaign's Helmke to hit out of the park. But beyond that, she let slip a suggestion a keener ear might have caught and followed up on.
Helmke suggested he'd prefer a law making law-abiding citizens have to show references for purchasing a gun.
That's right, references, as in asking friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. if they think you should have the right to own a gun. References for the government to pry into your life (well beyond any criminal record) before you, a law-abiding citizen, to purchase a gun, something you have the right to do under the Constitution.
Al Gore has complained that the media are biased against the inconvenient truth of global warming. "I believe that is one of the principal reasons why political leaders around the world have not yet taken action," Gore told a "Media Ethics Summit" at Middle Tennessee State University back in February. Gore lectured journalists that any coverage of views opposed to his own was irresponsible, calling it "balance as bias."
It's impossible to imagine the big TV networks actually accepting an edict from a conservative politician to report only their side of a major public policy issue, but a new Media Research Center study of ABC, CBS and NBC's global warming coverage finds the networks are giving Gore practically everything he demanded. Not only does nearly every global warming story exclude any contrary voices, but the coverage of Al Gore personally has been exceptionally positive as well.
CBS "Public Eye" editor Brian Montopoli explained in an April 18 post that when covering today's Supreme Court ruling upholding an abortion ban, "CBSNews.com has decided to go with this phrasing whenever possible: 'what the law calls a partial birth abortion.'"
And the reason?
"Both 'late term abortion' and 'partial birth abortion' are now phrases
that signify a position, so we will use this phrasing though it is
cumbersome," CBS editorial director Dick Meyer noted in an e-mail to CBS staffers.
Of course, it's cumbersome and ridiculous to imagine that language being used to describe a number of other things defined under federal law, but on a more basic level, "partial-birth abortion" is not political invective, it's descriptive layman's language to describe a medical procedure.
On the last half hour of Tuesday's Early Show, guest co-host Maggie Rodriguez moderated a debate on gun control between gun control advocate Paul Helmke and gun rights advocate Suzanna Hupp. Rodriguez threw softballs to Helmke. For example, if tragedies such as the Virginia Tech shooting "are happening because there are too many guns in the United States?"and very bland questions like "what do you think about that?"
On the other hand, she asked much tougher and very biased questions to the gun rights advocate, Suzanna Hupp. Rodriguez noted that her parents were killed in a cafeteria shooting and commented that "some would that, that would make you a bigger gun opponent." When Suzanna Hupp noted that the scenario may have been different had Virginia Tech students been able to defend themselves, Rodriguez returned to Paul Helmke and called Hupp’s comments "controversial." Rodriguez’s final question to Hupp summarized her stance on gun control.
Proof that even broken clocks are correct twice a day, CNN’s populist anchor and "Early Show" contributor Lou Dobbs appeared on the April 17 edition of the CBS show to provide some perspective on the recent Virginia Tech massacre. Dobbs stated that although the shooting at Virginia Tech was a terrible tragedy, it pales in comparison to some of the horrific tragedies that happen on college campuses every day. Suicide and binge drinking kill far more college students than these terrible but very rare incidents, yet the media rarely focuses on them. The transcript is below.
LOU DOBBS: Good morning, Russ, thank you. And good morning to all of you. This morning, we're grieving for the victims of what has turned out to be the deadliest shooting in this country's history and the senseless deaths, the shock of those death, of more than 30 people and the wounding of dozens more on Virginia Tech's campus won't diminish for us soon. My heart goes out to the families and the victims and all those touched by this tragedy. As we try to make sense of this madness, you and I know that in the days and weeks ahead, these horrible murders will dominate our news coverage and our national conversation. And we in the media will most likely lose some perspective and some sense of proportion. We'll be reporting on the worst shooting rampage ever in this country.
The April 13 edition of "The Early Show" reported on CBS firing Don Imus from the radio for bigoted remarks. To react to the news, anchor Harry Smith interviewed the Reverend Al Sharpton. After hard hitting interviews with Alberto Gonzales and Tony Snow, the CBS anchor seemed disinterested in throwing hard balls to the left wing activist. Smith asked standard questions like what "made it necessary for him not to be on the air," "did he seem like a person who was sorry for what he did," and even asked if Smith’s boss, Les Moonves "gets it."
Although he asked a very mildly worded question about what Sharpton would do about similar language in hip hop music, Smith did not bother to mention his past anti-Semitic comments and the Tawana Brawley case that even the ladies of "The View" discussed. Harry Smith, who covered the Duke lacrosse case dismissal the previous day, did not even see it fit to ask if Sharpton had any regrets from his rush to judgement in Durham. The entire transcript is below.
Yesterday I noted that the New York Sun reported Melissa McNamara to be the producer CBS fired for plagiarizing the Wall Street Journal in a script she wrote for Katie Couric's April 4 "Notebook" vlog. For its part, CBS News refused to publicly release the name of the fired producer. As of publication of this blog post, CBS's ombudsblog "Public Eye" has not addressed the Sun's reporting. Now there's another development in the story.
Yesterday, the New York Observer reported that McNamara was slated to teach journalism courses offered by Media Bistro.
I checked the course Web site today and it notes that the course has been postponed with a new start date to be announced. These development have not been covered by CBS's "Public Eye" blog.
Yet here's how "Public Eye" envisions its mission within CBS News and as a service to CBSNews.com readers:
The New York Sun is reporting today that CBS "Blogophile" Melissa McNamara is the producer that was fired for plagiarizing from a Wall Street Journal column. The fired producer recycled language from a Jeffrey Zaslow column in the script she wrote for a Katie Couric "Notebook" entry published to the CBS Web site on April 4. CBS has refused to name the fired producer, but I'll update this post should CBS News address the matter on the network's "PublicEye" blog.
Regardless of the identity of the fired producer, Couric's "Notebook" lives on. Yesterday the "Evening News" anchor vlogged about the religious background of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
I critiqued McNamara once on NewsBusters on an unrelated matter:
A week ago, I posted a snarky item about a Katie Couric vlog entry at CBSNews.com. In an April 4 page from her "Notebook," the "Evening News" anchor worried that kids entering college were unable to use a library for something as basic as locating a book needed for class. In doing so, she erroneously suggested colleges use the Dewey decimal system, when in fact most use Library of Congress Classification to arrange the bookshelves.
Now it turns out that not only did Couric not exactly do her homework, but that the producer who did it for her lifted some of the script from a Wall Street Journal column. That producer has since been fired.
CBS's Brian Montopoli explained how the vlogs are written and produced in a post today at CBS's "Public Eye" blog:
Jeff Greenfield has called it "the ultimate act of hypocrisy and cowardice" for long-time guests of the Imus show [file photo] to stay away now. Greenfield, who is leaving CNN to return to CBS as Senior Political Correspondent, appeared on this morning's "Early Show" and was interviewed by co-host Julie Chen.
CHEN: Did you hesitate to go on the show yesterday?
GREENFIELD: No. If you have the benefit of being on his show for 15 years -- and there is a benefit -- there's visibility, if you have a book [you can promote it], and also, to be blunt, it's a great deal of fun -- the banter. To stay away from the show when he gets in serious and deserved trouble, seems to me the ultimate act of hypocrisy and cowardice. But I went on the show and told him, I think quite bluntly, where things stood and where they have to go. All of us, he and some of us as guests, have not really stepped up to the plate in looking at the way race has been used on that show as humor.
In a front-page article in the Washington Post in 1993, reporter Michael Weisskopf quipped that Christian conservatives were "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command."
Of course, that's utter malarkey, but even when well-educated Christian conservatives serve in high offices in the federal government, they don't fare much better in the liberally biased media, particularly if they graduated from Regent University, an accredited private graduate school founded by [gasp] Pat Robertson.
Take CBS's Andrew Cohen. The legal analyst/blogger who recently argued that Alberto Gonzales may well be the nation's worst Attorney General ever, picked up on a Boston Globe article to turn his anti-Gonzales drumbeat into a swipe at Bush political appointees who hail from evangelical Christian circles:
One week apart, "The Early Show" provided very different segments about 2008 presidential contenders. The April 2 edition provided a very glowing, positive review of the candidates. The April 9 edition was far more critical of the contenders. Why the difference? The former reviewed the Democrats. The latter reviewed the Republicans.
On April 2 Hannah Storm discussed Hillary Clinton’s "amazing [fund raising] numbers." John Harris of Politico.com agreed noting "they are incredibly impressive numbers." Though Democratic rival John Edwards raised a much smaller $14 million, Storm wanted to know if the former vice presidential nominee saw a "spike in donations" after his wife announced her breast cancer is not curable.
The Media Research Center's Gala has only recently concluded. It will be almost a full year until the DisHonors Awards are again distributed. Even so, Scott Pelley's query to John McCain, aired on this evening's 60 Minutes, has to be considered a strong, early contender for Most Inane Question in next year's running.
Let's set the stage. 60 Minutes had devoted extensive time to McCain's recent trip to Iraq. Particular attention was paid to his visit to a Baghdad market, which, as it turned out, was carried out with very considerable security surrounding him. Even so, McCain acknowledged during the course of the interview that he was in large measure staking his candidacy on the success of the surge.
Immediately preceding his question, Pelley had noted that five generations of McCain's family had attended West Point or Annapolis. McCain was shown in his Senate office pointing out a picture of his father in Vietnam when he was commander of US forces in the Pacific.
Observed Pelley: "Now McCain's family is serving again. He has a son in the Naval Academy and another son 18 years old, headed toward Iraq."
Members of the media are working environmental bias into the oddest segments. "Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion reported this week on the trendy new concept of "green weddings." According to Mr. Champion, "more and more Americans" are embracing ideas such as not using electricity during their wedding and holding the reception in a barn. Sounds great, right ladies?
On the same topic, the "Today" show’s Martin Savidge worried that climate change could have a negative effect on the nation’s pets. (Presumably, this includes Savidge’s dog "Girlfriend.") On Friday, the aforementioned Mr. Champion plugged a global warming study that predicted overly warm spring temperatures. This was right after his early April forecast of brutal cold for the Northeast.
[This first posted on March 15. CBS will re-run this episode tonight, Friday April 6] Appearing on Wednesday's (March 14) Late Show with David Letterman, actor Richard Gere declared: “We have a President right now who lies constantly and gets away with it apparently.” Gere's comment, which drew applause from the audience in Manhattan, came in response to Letterman asking Gere, who was on the show to promote The Hoax, a movie opening in April in which he stars as Clifford Irving who wrote and sold a bogus autobiography of the reclusive Howard Hughes: “Is this the kind of thing that can happen now?”
Gere also contended that “the second Watergate where they got caught actually had a lot to do with the material that's in this book, in the fake autobiography, because Clifford made up a lot of things about Hughes and Richard Nixon and they ended up being true. But Nixon was the only one that knew they were true and so the break-in was actually to find out how much the Democratic Party knew.”
A new report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds the public has relatively little confidence in what the military and the media are telling them about the war in Iraq, although the press has less credibility than the Pentagon.
Interestingly, a majority of self-described Democrats say they are putting their confidence in the media, while Republicans have generally opted to trust the military. In 2005, a major study by the Media Research Center found the vast majority of network news reports highlighted the bad news coming out of Iraq, with few reports detailing the accomplishments or personal bravery of U.S. troops.
If I had a $100 for every time the media fret that liberal Republicans will be seen as too "moderate" for their party base, I'd be blogging this from my vacation home in St. Kitts.
This CBS "Pure Horserace" article took the occasion of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani reaffirming his support of taxpayer-funded abortions to ask, "Is Rudy Too Moderate?"
The belief that abortion is not only a constitutional right but one deserving of subsidy by tax dollars is hardly a moderate position, it's a policy position grounded in advocacy of the exercise of the right to obtain an abortion.
It may arguably be "moderate" for a candidate to favor abortion rights but with some restrictions, such as a ban on partial-birth abortion, parental consent laws, a ban on public financing, etc. But to defend taxpayer funding of abortion and/or to balk at banning partial-birth abortion moves solidly into the "liberal" edge of the spectrum on the abortion issue.
CBS’s website’s feature "The Public Eye Chat" interviewed correspondent Allen Pizzey, who completely ignored some positive signs in Iraq in his grim report last month. Interviewer Brian Montopoli asked if John McCain’s optimistic statements on Iraqi progress "really sort of bothered reporters." Pizzey scuffed: "It’s disgraceful for a man seeking highest office, I think to talk utter rubbish." Pizzey claimed, that "no one in his right mind who has been to Baghdad believes that story," but he must not have checked the recent ABC story citing some improvement.
Montopoli followed up with a question of liberal bias, and quickly added that, that charge "has died down alittle bit of late." Pizzey, of course denied that charge and accused the Bush administration of thinking "that anything that doesn’t wholly support everything they say is against them." The transcript of the relevant portion is below.
If it wouldn’t cause death, the Center for Science in the Public Interest would probably try to ban eating and drinking altogether, but when the media report on CSPI rarely are its extreme positions emphasized.
According to CSPI, "it takes more than willpower" to make decisions about what to eat, so it's here to help by promoting bans, more regulations and higher taxes on what it considers "unhealthy."
“[A] new study says that if you’re out for Chinese, even the good stuff could be bad for you,” said ABC’s Terry Moran on “Nightline” March 21.
In that same report, Jessica Yellin and CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson bantered happily about the problems with Chinese food: fat and sodium. Of course "Nightline" was reporting CSPI's latest study, the same day the food police released "Wok Carefully: CSPI Takes a (Second) Look at Chinese Restaurant Food."
The April 4 edition of CBS’s "The Early Show" covered Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain’s visit to Iraq implying he has a skewed sense of reality. Anchor Russ Mitchell introduced the segment that the Arizona Senator "seems to be stumbling a bit of late" because he "went to Iraq" and "said he saw some progress."
Before playing McCain’s optimistic sound bite, correspondent Martin Seemungal reported that McCain had been in Baghdad for "just a few hours." After playing another positive word from Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind), Seemungal responded that "the reality on the ground is anything but peaceful" and some residents claimed "it took a massive military operation to give the congressmen that sense of security."
In an April 4 blog post to "Couric & Co.," the University of Virginia alumna (Class of 1979) worries that kids these days don't know their way around the library, and hence will be up a creek when they drift into the college library cramming for term papers:
Many kids skip the library altogether and head for the store. Sales of
juvenile books rose 60 percent from 2002 to 2005. It's an encouraging
sign that kids value reading, but many tech-savvy kids never experience
the joy of using the library's shelves as a place to discover new
worlds. And students are arriving in college unable to navigate
libraries with a Dewey decimal system many have never used.
Of course, kids love books, they just need authors that know how to capture their attention. Katie knows this well, having plugged the heck out of Harry Potter novels repeatedly over the years. But it's the last line in the above excerpt that caught my eye about students being unfamiliar with "a Dewey decimal system many have never used."
He's "America's best-known forecaster" according to CBS's Mark Strassman and a "veteran forecaster" to ABC's Ned Potter.
Bill Gray the well-known and well-respected hurricane forecaster is revered by journalists when he's predicting hurricanes, but as soon as Gray starts talking about global warming, the media for the most part stop listening.
"At today's national hurricane conference in New Orleans, 700 weather watchers talked about one man ... Bill Gray, America's best-known forecaster. And his prediction for this hurricane season, watch out," said Strassman on CBS "Evening News" April 3.
According to Charles Gibson of ABC, Gray is "something of a renegade." Yes, when it comes to the media's collective opinion on global warming, he is.
The April 3 edition of "The Early Show" reported on the fallout from the Supreme Court decision regarding EPA regulatory policies. Business correspondent Anthony Mason featured auto industry analyst John Casesa who claimed it "will force Detroit auto companies to radically change their business model," but there was no mention of the potential cost to the consumer.
The story also uncritically aired a sound bite from David Hawkins of the left wing Natural Resources Defense Council, but aired nothing from organizations opposed to the ruling. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, for example, issued a press release stating experts are "available to comment" on the decision. CBS must have missed it. The transcript is below.
CHRIS WRAGGE: The Supreme Court ruled Monday that so-called greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide can be considered air pollution. And the federal government has the duty to regulate them. As CBS News business correspondent Anthony Mason reports, it's likely to mean big changes and big problems for the U.S. car industry.
Would someone please let Andrea Mitchell know that John McCain is competing for the Republican presidential nomination? He's not going up against Obama, Hillary et al. in a race to determine who can surrender fastest in Iraq.
Giving her expert analysis on this morning's "Today" of John McCain's lackluster fundraising results, Mitchell claimed that John McCain is "hurt by his support for the Iraq war."
Could Andrea possibly be more wrong? McCain's support for President Bush's Iraq policy is the only thing keeping him alive, if barely, in the GOP race. Opposition to the war would put McCain in Chuck Hagel territory -- so unpopular among Republican voters that he dare not even throw his hat into the ring.
The National Center for Public Policy Research's health care senior policy analyst, David Hogberg, contacted
the CBS television show "60 Minutes" five times last week -- by telephone, fax and e-mail -- to warn the show's producers that a report by the leftie big-government health care lobby group Families USA, which "60 Minutes" planned to highlight in Sunday's show, rested on faulty data.
The Families USA report made certain claims in support of calls that Medicare be permitted to "negotiate (read: dictate) drug prices to drug companies. An analysis David completed for the National Center in January, and which he made available to "60 Minutes," called the Families USA study "nonsense."
As David explained in a National Center press release today:
"60 Minutes" resident global warming alarmist Scott Pelley, who compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers, reported on another piece on the April 1 edition. Pelley featured a scientist and self proclaimed former skeptic, and a University of Maine scientist without telling his full story.
First, Pelley toured a receding glacier with glaciologist Gino Casassa. Casassa claimed to be a former skeptic, and Pelley came to the conclusion that he changed his ways after witnessing this glacier. Apparently, when watching a glacier recede, one can jump to the conclusion that SUV driving soccer moms are causing it.
Conservative college journalism students might want to consider a summer internship with Katie Couric and the CBS "Evening News." Aspiring journalists are invited to submit print or video entries bringing a local perspective to a global issue. CBS lists three categories: climate change, "social entrepreneurs," and Iraq War veterans. Will the most compelling presentation of liberal bias win the internship, or could a conservative effort start someone's career? You'll be able to see the results online. The online ad (with a big pic of Katie) says:
Launch your journalism career -- while earning course credit -- with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work directly with Katie Couric and the staff of CBS News. It's all part of SPRINGBOARD, an exciting new journalism program sponsored by CBS News and U-Wire.
SPRINGBOARD invites aspiring print and broadcast journalists to provide a unique local perspective to a global topic, and submit the print or video result for consideration by the journalists of CBSNews.com and CBS News. We'll post the best submissions online, and award one entrant with a summer internship at CBS News in New York City.