"The View’s" Joy Behar demonstrated again this week that the ladies of the ABC program are committed leftists, determined to spread propaganda. Co-host Behar made this point clear when she slandered the Bush administration as "murderers."
On the Al Gore front, "Today" co-anchor Meredith Vieira proclaimed the former Vice President to be the "coolest guy" at last Sunday’s Oscars. "The Washington Post," meanwhile, one-upped the NBC host and wondered if the potential 2008 candidate is "America’s coolest ex-Vice President ever." [Emphasis added]
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric blogged on the subject of Gore, referring to him as a "secular saint."
A Democratic senator has just announced his presidential candidacy. On the next morning's "Fox & Friends," a Fox News reporter who recently denied that Fox has any conservative leanings or that Sean Hannity is a conservative narrates a segment on the announcement. To analyze the Democrat's candidacy, she plays clips of two reporters, one from the National Review and the other from the Weekly Standard. Host Brian Kilmeade follows, schmoozing about the senator's prospects with a former senior aide to a conservative Republican governor.
Total lack of balance! Couldn't Fox News have found at least one Democrat to discuss a Democrat's candidacy? Outrageous, isn't it? Well, yes, it would be. Except it didn't happen. But the mirror-image did. Here's how this morning's "Today" covered John McCain's announcement of his candidacy on last night's Letterman:
Most people who tune in to morning TV "news" programs know the unbearable lightness of the product, full of celebrity cotton candy and tragic tales of tabloid woe, of climbers lost on mountains and teenagers lost in the tropics. So it was a little shocking to be diverted from that maudlin box of info-bon bons known as the Anna Nicole Smith deathmatch to questions on the grand and glorious subject of Biblical anthropology, and a "discovery" of the alleged bones of Jesus.
Why this whiplash-inducing change of subject? It's sad but true that the "Today" crew went into promotional hyperdrive for the Discovery Channel special on the alleged bones of Jesus because someone spread Hollywood glitter on it -- James Cameron, the director of "Titanic." (Christians are joking among themselves that Cameron doesn't seem to know who the real King of the World is.) The Cameron connection has been a constant attraction for The Discovery Channel.
The press releases of the Discovery Channel boast that its parent company, Discovery Communications, is the “number one nonfiction media company.” That identifier is now in shambles, and the paper it’s printed on fit only to be crumpled and thrown away. The folks at Discovery have rendered themselves carnival barkers peddling sensationalistic garbage, trashy money-making gimmicks dressed up as real journalism.
The Discovery Channel is hyping to the heavens its new documentary on “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of “Titanic,” has joined filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici in publicizing claims that a 2,000-year-old tomb containing 10 boxes of bones belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth. It also echoes the dopey “DaVinci Code” novel by asserting that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that the couple had a son. They claim the son was named Judah and that all three were buried together.
As noted in NewsBusters on Monday, NBC’s "Today" show breathlessly reported the claims, articulated by filmmaker James Cameron in a new Discovery Channel documentary, that the tomb of Jesus, with Christ buried inside, has been located. Co-anchor Matt Lauer hyped the network’s exclusive interview with Cameron by credulously repeating the documentary’s assertions and stating the film could "rock Christianity to its core."
In contrast, the other networks provided a more skeptical interpretation. On the February 26 edition of ABC’s "Nightline," anchor Terry Moran repeatedly noted that many archaeologists are skeptical of the claims that the tomb of Jesus and a reported family have been found. On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," reporter Dan Harris prefaced a segment on the subject by observing, "If the claims in this new documentary are true, and many people doubt that they are, they would challenge some of Christianity's central articles of faith..." Over on CBS, "Early Show" anchor Hannah Storm peppered the film’s director, Simcha Jacobovici, with a number of tough questions:
Hannah Storm: "Simcha, are you attacking the basic tenets of Christianity that Jesus indeed rose from the dead?"
Hannah Storm: "What about people who say this is nothing more than a publicity stunt, Simcha?"
In a press statement released today, MRC President Brent Bozell urged the Discovery Channel to table the misleading James Cameron documentary "The Lost Tomb of Jesus."
“If the Discovery Channel fails to
cancel this slanderous ‘documentary,’ it will have to explain why it is
intentionally misleading the public,” said L. Brent Bozell III,
president of the Media Research Center, referring to Sunday’s upcoming
airing of The Tomb of Jesus. “They should be embarrassed by this plunge
into sensational speculation masquerading as ‘science.’ To slander
Christianity at the start of the Lenten season is unconscionable.”
On this morning's Today show, NBC correspondent Jill Rappaport filed a post-Oscars report that included still more fawning over Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Rappaport cornered the former Vice President after the ceremony to ask him about his "eye-opening" documentary. The following encounter was aired on the February 26th Today show.
Jill Rappaport to Gore: "And as expected Best Documentary honors went to An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's eye-opening campaign to warn the world about global warming. The fact that for over three decades you have been trying to get the message out there and now the world is listening."
Brought to you by the same people who couldn't get enough of Ron Howard's Christian-bashing The Da Vinci Code, comes another promotional effort of yet another Hollywood director's take on Jesus Christ conspiracy theories. At the top of the show NBC Today host Matt Lauer greeted viewers with the following tease about James Cameron's new documentary: "A shocking new claim that an ancient burial place may have housed the bones of Christ and a son. This morning a Today exclusive that could rock Christianity to its core."
Today co-host Meredith Vieira conducted the interview and promoted the discovery this way: "There are so few 'wow' stories out there, this is one of them." While Today did air some contradictory statements for the most part the entire segment ran as a full blown infomercial for Cameron's documentary. The following are all the teases and then the full segment as it aired on the 7:30am half-hour of the February 26th Today show:
If NBC wants to support the effort of Joe Biden and Carl Levin to adopt a new resolution undercutting the 2002 version that authorized President Bush to go to war against Iraq, let it put Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann out there to make the case. But please don't misrepresent to the public what that 2002 resolution [full text here] said.
On this morning's "Today," NBC reporter John Yang asserted the following:
"That 2002 measure allowed the president to go after weapons of mass destruction and topple Saddam Hussein. There were no weapons and Saddam's been executed."
Whether intentionally or not, Yang misrepresented the scope of what the 2002 resolution authorized the president to do. Here is the verbatim text of the section of the 2002 resolution setting for the the authorization:
Are the "Clinton haters" mellowing? That’s the not-so-benign question NBC reporter David Gregory asked on the subject of whether conservative ire for Hillary Clinton has lessened. (Can you imagine a segment on "Bush haters?")
Fellow NBC alum Chris Matthews, perhaps offering an explanation for the media’s fawning over Barack Obama, explained that the Illinois Senator appeals to the "young at heart."
This week, CNN provided yet another example as to why "fair and balanced" wouldn’t be a good promotional phrase for them. Correspondent Bill Schneider asserted that African Americans don’t vote for the GOP because of a "perception of racism."
So if campaign staffers for a prominent presidential candidate make hateful and bigoted remarks about Christians that's big news right? Not according to NBC's Meredith Vieira. The Today show co-anchor failed to question John Edwards about his former bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan calling Christianity a "mythology" and depicting Bush supporters as his "wingnut Christofascist base." Instead Vieira focused her questions from the left on Iraq, as first noted here, and his opinion of the dust-up between rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The following are all of Vieira's questions to John Edwards on the February 22, Today show:
With Hillary and Barack flailing away at each other, third-man-out John Edwards turned up on this morning's "Today." But while claiming he wanted to stay above the fray, he certainly came close to calling Hillary dishonest, all the while laughing off the notion that he might be.
Norah O'Donnell played a clip of Edwards saying: "We need a leader who will be open and honest with you, and with the American people. Who will tell the truth. Who will tell the truth when they've made a mistake."
Wow. John pulls off a reverse "open and honest" with a double-twisting "tell the truth." Wonder whom he might have had in mind?
When Meredith Vieira interviewed the ex-senator from North Carolina a moment later, she wasted no time in putting the question to him: "in addition to the comments we heard from you criticizing Senator Clinton for not taking responsibility for her vote authorizing the war, you also said yesterday 'we need a leader who is honest, open and decent.' Are you suggesting at all that Senator Clinton is not honest, open or decent?"
If you make more money than I do is that anyone’s problem?
The news media made a big deal out of “income inequality” especially “out of control” CEO pay as NBC’s Carl Quintanilla called it on Oct. 20, 2006 during the “Today” show. Robin Roberts took aim at the same topic: “Now to the golden parachute that has a lot of people seeing red,” during “Good Morning America” on January 4.
But the reports on the income gap missed two alternative perspectives from economists: that the widening income gap is an illusion and that in either case the gap really doesn’t matter. Read the full Business & Media Institute report here.
You might have thought the sad soap opera that has been the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith would have offered a safe haven for those seeking respite from presidential politics. But Hillary cannot be pleased that echoes of a low point of her husband's presidency managed to work their way into the three-ring circus yesterday and onto this morning's "Today" show.
Lawyer Opri uttered her line outside the courthouse where Judge Larry Seidlin was auditioning for a TV show in the guise of conducting a trial. She was asserting that Howard K. Stern, Smith's companion, could not possibly be the father of her infant daughter.
Al Gore may not have won the presidency (thank God), but over the last two years, he’s been given an enormous consolation prize by his friends on the left. He’s been designated as the Savior of the Planet.
First came the warm wave of supportive publicity surrounding his slide-show documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Katie Couric and Harry Smith and Oprah Winfrey all touted Gore as so warm, so vulnerable and self-effacing, and his predictions so impossibly scary. Last May, Gore and Couric sat together on a sunny day in Central Park and unspooled the doom. Manhattan would be under deep water soon if we don’t take drastic measures, they warned.
Now comes another warm wave of media smooches and applause with the news of his plan for an international set of "Live Earth" concerts to promote massive government action to curb humanity’s excessive reliance on energy. Impending global doom has become such a hip cause it’s now pushed by Cameron Diaz, Jon Bon Jovi, and a flock of other Hollywood astrophysicists, the homelessness issue having become passe.
Wishfully thinking Hillary Clinton may have an easier than expected path to the White House, this morning's Today show asked are: "Conservatives Softening On Hillary?" Clearly lifting generously from David Kirkpatrick’s New York Times story, NBC's David Gregory examined the theory that "Clinton-haters are mellowing." Leading off the piece Gregory portrayed those who opposed the Clintons during the '90s in the kookiest light possible as he cast them as mere, "attention-seekers" and then ran a clip of the infamous Clinton Chronicles video. After the clip, Gregory ran a soundbite from a clearly bored with the topic- Christopher Ruddy, as he asserted that among conservatives: "There's a view now that Bill Clinton was not only not so bad, he was pretty good," and that they "don't have the same level of anger towards her that they once had towards him."
Are you a conservative? Someone who historically has harbored, shall we say, a decided aversion to the former First Lady turned senator and presidential candidate? Do you find that in recent times your feelings toward Hillary have undergone a change? Do you perhaps see her in a more kindly light?
'Today' ran an unusual segment this morning suggesting that, indeed, conservatives may be "softening on Hillary." With David Gregory narrating, we were first treated to the bad old days. Hillary, as shown here, making her infamous "vast right wing conspiracy" accusation to Matt Lauer back in 1998. A clip from The Clinton Chronicles, which spun the darkest theories about the Clintons.
When it came time to pass an anti-war resolution, the Democrats were no better than a bunch of timid pre-teens on Halloween. That was the view Matt Lauer expressed in a colloquy with Tim Russert on this morning's "Today."
Lauer: "The Democrats in the Senate failed to pass this vote so they could even debate this Iraq strategy and there's even some who are talking about possibly bringing up the idea of revoking the 2002 authorization to go to war. If they can't pass a kind of symbolic vote, how do they ever have the kind of strength to do something more serious?"
Russert agreed that "it's going to be very difficult."
Matt wasn't done: "Looking at what happened in the House . . . over the weekend, basically the House did pass this resolution saying they oppose the surge in troops, but put yourself in the position of Joe and Mary Smith, living somewhere across this country right now, and you've watched these politicians for more than a month talk about passing a symbolic vote. Does it amount to little more than them ringing someone's doorbell and running away?"
It didn't have much to do with liberal bias, but I found it interesting in Meredith Vieira's CNBC interview when Michael Eisner asked her in the first few minutes about how hard it was to referee the differing opinions on "The View" on ABC. He even asked about how Vieira would have handled Rosie:
Eisner: "How would you have done it if you had been in that same position and Rosie O'Donnell just came in to replace Star Jones. Could you control her?"
Vieira: (Laughs) "I was gonna say I would have gone out into the alley with a gun –" (Laughs more)
You would think an anchor for a network morning news show would relish the opportunity to tag Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton with hard-hitting questions but that wasn't the case for NBC's Meredith Vieira. On CNBC's Conversations with Michael Eisner, Vieira revealed that before her interview with the former First Lady she was "nervous." The Today co-host said "everybody" warned her she was a "tough" interview, so when Vieira first met Clinton backstage she felt the need to disarm the presidential contender with the following "tough" question: "My son probably will go to Georgetown are you prepared to take care of him when he's down there?"
A look back at the December 18th interview shows Vieira asked mostly softball questions like: "Why wouldn't you run for President? I mean, the polls indicate that if you did run, you're the front runner." However Vieira did manage to overcome her nervousness when it came to challenging Hillary from the left on her Iraq war vote: "You refuse to say it was a mistake. Why?"
What happens when a noted politician announces he’s running for President? Well, in the case of conservative Republican Mitt Romney, CBS’ "Early Show" gives the story a scant ten seconds. But what if that candidate is Democrat Barack Obama? Well, then the same program devotes over nine minutes of coverage! (For those keeping count: A 54: 1 advantage for the Democrat.)
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America’s" Diane Sawyer continued her Dictator ‘07 tour. She portrayed the authoritarian Syria as a pro family, welfare paradise.
Later in the week, Sawyer asked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, noted Holocaust denier, how often he cries.
A few moments ago on the February 16 "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," NBC's Natalie Morales shared a story with the late night host of actor Alec Baldwin's attempt to score a lunch date with the "Today" show talent.
I'll update later in the morning with video, but basically, a few years ago, according to Morales, Baldwin called her on the phone and told her he was working on a movie about cable news. Was Morales available for say, lunch sometime to help Baldwin with his, well, research.
Morales wasn't born yesterday, so she kindly told the "30 Rock" star that she's married.
NBC's Matt Lauer opened this morning's Today show with news of the Dixie Chicks' big win at last night's Grammy Awards and used the moment to take a dig at the President's expense. After Lauer teased segments on snow in the Midwest and a skydiver who survived a fall, Lauer took his shot via the big news that an outspoken liberal musical group was awarded a prize from their liberal peers in the music industry:
Lauer: "And Chicks rule! They were shunned after criticizing the President but after a big night at the Grammys the Dixie Chicks are getting the last laugh today, Monday, February 12th, 2007."
Later in the show, in the 9am hour, Natalie Morales declared it was "a big evening for some ladies who've endured some tough times," and West Coast contributor Maria Menenous scored a backstage interview with the Chicks along with Rolling Stone's Joe Levy who asked if the win was a "vindication."
Geoff Dickens noticed that last Thursday's Today show carried a remarkably docile debate between conservative commentator Ann Coulter and left-wing author and academic Michael Eric Dyson. Well, the chumminess even extends to Coulter offering a dust-cover blurb for Dyson's new book Debating Race, officially out today (it's not the first blurb on the actual cover, as it is on Dyson's website):
“I will protect both our reputations by saying Michael Eric Dyson and I often disagree—but one thing we do agree on is the importance of ideas. This book is an absolute delight to read. It contains a font of information, delivered with Dyson’s distinctive eloquence. I screamed or laughed on every page at memorable phrases (such as the comparison of Martin Luther King to Puff Daddy). As always, Dyson is fiercely honest, controversial, engaging, funny, and brimming with arguments and ideas.” -- Ann Coulter
This week, Chris Matthews' anti-Bush bigotry spilled over into a profanity laden rant. The "Hardball" host dropped the F-bomb during a live interview with Don Imus.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Paula Zahn connected opposition of illegal immigration to, you guessed it, the Ku Klux Klan. This is the same network, however, that tried to downplay proven religious bigotry by a blogger for the John Edwards campaign.
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spent the week in Syria. She let the despotism of President Bashar Assad go mostly unchallenged.
During other segments, Sawyer chose to ask him about video games and whether he uses an iPod.
On this morning's Today show, viewers were coyly teased of an Ann Coulter versus Michael Eric Dyson debate on race in the 9:30am half-hour. NBC's Natalie Morales tantalized viewers of the upcoming fight with sure to be expected fireworks: "Michael Eric Dyson and conservative commentator Ann Coulter are gonna square off right here. Should be a very good debate." However viewers and perhaps even Today's producers, had to be disappointed as Dyson and Coulter were surprisingly chummy. Morales even remarked: "You're being very civil this morning."
Not surprisingly, Morales did engage in the old habit of one-sided labeling, as she called Coulter a "conservative commentator," but refused to note Dyson's liberal leanings, as he was referred to as merely a "civil rights activist." Morales also called the liberal Dyson's book, Debating Race, "fascinating" and "great," but didn't apply the same superlative adjectives to the conservative Coulter's book, Godless.
After more than a week of ignoring the controversy over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request for access to an extravagant plane, the three network morning shows finally covered the subject on Thursday, albeit briefly. CBS and ABC both offered full reports during the 7AM hour of the February 8 shows, while only CBS included a quote from a Republican lawmaker who criticized the possible ethical issues raised by having the opportunity to fly friends home in a posh C-32 jet. NBC’s "Today" show mentioned the story only in a news brief and then co-host Matt Lauer briefly asked correspondent David Gregory about the plane controversy.
All three networks included snarky reports on this "hot controversy." Lauer wondered if the incident would make Pelosi "look bad from a PR standpoint," while Cuomo used the pithy term, "turbulence." One wonders why it took a week for the media to jump on such a "hot controversy." At 7:06am, "Good Morning America’s" Cuomo introduced Jake Tapper with a few quips about "plane envy:"
Chris Cuomo: "We begin with the turbulence over Speaker Nancy Pelosi request for a new plane. A request that has been quickly turned down. Senior national correspondent Jake Tapper has the latest on the controversy from Capitol Hill. Jake, is this about security or ego? Sounds like a case of jet envy."
Message to Nancy Pelosi: when NBC's Matt Lauer and David Gregory agree that your quest for a big plane is turning into a PR mess, and ABC's Chris Cuomo calls it a case of "jet envy," it's time to fold your wings.
Lauer raised the matter with David Gregory on this morning's "Today": "Let's talk about the size of the plane that Nancy Pelosi has requested from the Pentagon. Depending on the spin you want to believe here, either the Speaker says it's to travel efficiently back to her home district; Republicans are saying it's an abuse of power. Either way, does it just look bad from a PR standpoint?"
Gregory agreed: "I think that's the problem. This is a Democratic leader who's promising to clean up Washington. It's worth remembering, post-9/11, the House Speaker gets private air travel by the Air Force to get back to his or her home district. Dennis Hastert went back to Chicago [in the much smaller plane shown here], Nancy Pelosi is going back to San Francisco. She wants the ability to go direct and not have to refuel on the way and have some family members go with her, and none of that is untoward, but the Air Force is saying, the military is saying 'look, we can't guarantee you a 757' which is essentially what she wants, it depends on availability. Republicans are saying 'look, this is more than just efficiency, this is extravagance.'"
On Monday’s Today co-host Matt Lauer interviewed 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards about the Iraq War and his healthcare plan. Lauer did asks some tough questions such as challenging Edwards’s call for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq within the next 18 months. Lauer read the National Intelligence Estimate, which said that would be a disaster, and he asked "so why are you right and why is an intelligence estimate, that’s basically a compilation of the best ideas of 16 intelligence groups in this country, wrong?"
However, Lauer offered some praise for this liberal former Senator. When Edwards painted a grim situation in Iraq, Matt Lauer exclaimed "I applaud your honesty." At the end of the interview Lauer showed his love for Edwards when he stated, "you’re a superstar as well." The entire transcript is below.
Tom Friedman is at it again. Whenever a reporter asks him how to fix the Middle East, Friedman's response is increasingly the same - increase taxes! On this morning's Today show NBC's Meredith Vieira brought on the New York Times columnist to discuss the Iraq debate on Capitol Hill. Setting up Friedman with his own premise, Viera asked: "Well you've said, 'We need to reshape the game board.' What do you mean by that?" Friedman then gave a long-winded response that eventually revealed his solution: "Oil tax." Below is the conversation as it occurred in the 7am half hour of the February 6 Today show:
Meredith Vieira: "Well you've said, 'We need to reshape the game board. What do you mean by that?'"