The "Today" show’s Kelly O’Donnell described President Bush’s discussion of the Iraq War at yesterday’s news conference as "a mix of campaign style rhetoric and crystal ball." O’Donnell, who seemed perturbed by the President’s determined attitude, also mentioned that Bush counseled against an early withdrawal "with a hammering repetition." (If President Bush repeated himself, it might be because the assembled media kept asking the same questions.)
The August 22 segment, which aired at 7:15AM EDT, featured downbeat assessments by Michael O’Hanlon, a Senior Fellow at the liberal Brookings Institute and political analyst Charlie Cook.
Michael O’Hanlon: "I think if the President insists on framing the choice as stay the course versus accept defeat, he will be, frankly, misleading the public and running the risk of undercutting his own support even more."
Charlie Cook: "I think the danger for Republicans is that we are nearing, or at the point, when people just give up and start tuning out on President Bush."
This week is shaping up as the MSM's kick-off of its Hillary for President campaign. Using Time Magazine's 10th cover of Hillary as a springboard, this morning's Today show convened a liberal coffee klatsch on Clinton's political future. Dem pollster Peter Hart summed up the segment's zeitgest nicely: "I think Americans are ready for a female president. I think they are definitely ready for Hillary Clinton."
Not a discouraging word was to be heard, as 'Today' found it unnecessary to invite to the party anyone who might have a negative view of Hillary
marketing to children is a $10-billion-a-year industry, and some
parents’ advocates and lawyers are saying it’s out of control,” noted
NBC reporter Stone Phillips as he opened his August 18 story.
lend scientific authority to these claims, Phillips turned to Harvard
psychologist Susan Linn, whom he merely described as “the author of
‘Consuming Kids.’ She says brand names are among toddlers’ first words
and logos among the first images they recognize.”
“Kids are requesting brands as soon as they can talk,” Linn told Phillips.
odd as it sounds that children would say “Cocoa Puffs” before “mommy,”
Phillips didn’t question Linn’s assertion. Instead, Phillips went on to
show clips of NBC’s Hoda Kotb conducting an experiment with a group of
preschoolers and toddlers as she asked them to identify corporate
Even then, Phillips conceded, “they didn’t get” every logo right, even though they “came pretty close.”
But Linn is a dispassionate researcher and neutral scientist, right?
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--"
Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s "Mad Money," appeared on the August 16th edition of "Today." Guest-host Lester Holt quizzed the always verbose financial adviser on which stocks are best in an age of terror. Holt prefaced the piece, which aired at 7:14AM EDT, by noting that Americans live in a volatile age and that he wasn’t advocating exploiting unrest in the Middle East, but that investors must react to such developments. Cramer agreed, saying that profiting from such pain "sounds ugly." A few minutes later, prompted by a question about buying stock in oil companies, he responded this way:
Cramer: "That's the profit area. You got to where I can talk about making money off of terror."
It's been 18 years but the media still can't get over Michael Dukakis' defeat to George Bush and the Willie Horton ad they blame for that Bush victory. On this morning's Today NBC's Ann Curry brought on psychologist Jeff Gardere to discuss a new study that showed how emotions can overtake logic in decision-making. Curry introduced the segment: "Have you ever been accused of thinking with your heart and not your head well if so a new study reports your just like everybody else....This is just the latest biological evidence to suggest that next time you make a bad choice maybe you really can blame it on your emotions." Just seconds later NBC's producers ran the Horton ad as Exhibit A of emotions leading to the "bad choice," of voting for Bush.
You wouldn't have known either their names or backgrounds had you relied on the Today show this morning for the information. According to the wife of one of the suspects, the men's families come from Jerusalem.
According to NBC reporter Janet Shamlian, who narrated a segment on the situation, those facing terrorism charges are "three Texas men."
On this morning's Today, NBC's Kevin Corke wondered how long the administration knew about the averted bombing plot and why they would withhold that information, asking: "If the administration has known about this potential plot what was the hold up in getting the word out, especially domestically?" Either this is a case of the media being overly-skeptical or just being clueless. Clearly the administration wouldn't want to release any information before any arrests were made so as not to tip off any suspects in the U.S. or Britain. The following is the full exchange between NBC's Ann Curry and Corke.
Ann Curry: "And British Prime Minister Tony Blair briefed the President overnight about this plot. Well NBC's Kevin Corke is in Crawford, Texas at the President's ranch this morning. Kevin, good morning. Any word from the President?"
That truth is the first casualty of war has been borne home by the proliferating 'fauxtography' scandal of photographs of the current Middle East crisis doctored or staged so as to portray Israel in the worst possible light. At this point, can we look at any image from the area without a good dose of doubt?
Take this morning's report on the Today show. NBC's Richard Engel, in Tyre, Lebanon, reported that:
"The fighting has made humanitarian relief efforts almost impossible. Israel has cut roads and attacked vehicles, isolating Hezbollah and everyone else."
This was followed by a clip of the unidentified individual pictured here. Judging by his words and accent, he might have been a Red Cross official. He asserted:
"Lots of people have died because they just couldn't make it to a hospital in time. Ambulances clearly marked with the Red Cross were hit right in the middle of the roof of the car. The Red Cross stands for protection and neutrality. This should not have happened."
There is a noteworthy MSM tendency to downplay the gravity of terrorist acts by suggesting that they are local, home-grown incidents rather than forming part of international conspiracies. A recent example was the MSM's treatment of the Seattle Jewish center shootings in which a Muslim-American killed one woman and injured several others.
To his credit, NBC terrorism expert Roger Cressey wouldn't let Matt Lauer sing that song when he tried it on this morning's Today show in connection with the just-disclosed plot to blow up in mid-Atlantic flights originating in the UK.
Matt Lauer, Diane Sawyer and Harry Smith aren't dumb, they know a potential roadblock to Democratic success when they see one, and that's why all three of them collectively told Sen. Joseph Lieberman to drop out. Lieberman appeared on all three network morning shows and received identical reactions from all three hosts.
NBC's Matt Lauer on this morning's Today show: "Senator is there any phone call you could receive, is there anyone in the Democratic Party who could call you today and ask you to drop out that you would listen to?" ABC's Diane Sawyer on this morning's Good Morning America: "Senator, I heard you say I'm a Democrat. But you're talking about running as an independent and there are members of the party who've already said, commentators, that this is a selfish decision. How can you run against the party? What will happen?" CBS's Harry Smith on The Early Show: "A final quick question. You will run as an independent at risk of losing the seat to the Republicans? You understand that risk? By splitting the Democratic vote."
Howard Dean's 2004 presidential primary run was largely fueled by internet-driven support orchestrated by campaign manager Joe Trippi. That campaign fell famously short in the echoes of Dean's Iowa caucus-night scream. But with Ned Lamont's win, the left wing blogosphere can this morning claim perhaps its first major victory . . . at least in a Democratic primary if not in a general election.
And that, in turn, raises the real question. Does the same left-wing blogosphere that can influence the outcome of Dem primaries foist on the party candidates so extreme that they stand little chance of winning in November? We are about to see a test case in CT, and indications are that by appealing to moderate Dems and Republicans, Joe Lieberman might well defeat Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger [perceived as a less-than-A-list candidate].
As more and more states recognize the basic right to defend yourself NBC’s Today, not surprisingly, took a dim view. On this morning’s Today, Ron Mott in a segment headlined by the graphic: "License To Kill, Self-Defense Gone Too Far," Mott slanted his story with alarmist rhetoric and unbalanced talking heads.
Matt Lauer introduced the story: "Now a debate. How far can you go in the name of self-defense? In a growing number of states people have much more leeway to use deadly force. Supporters say that's a good thing but critics argue it's a case of shoot first and ask questions later. We have more on this now from NBC's Ron Mott."
Bring back Katie! OK, perhaps that's not the solution, but the sycophantish display that Ann Curry put on for Queen Noor and her anti-Israel/pro-Hezbollah views was enough to make you pound the TV screen in frustration.
Noor is a Princeton-educated Arab-American who is the widow of the late King Hussein of Jordan. Curry's opening set the tone. Rather than asking a probing question, Ann invited Noor to lecture America: "what insights might you offer America about what Hezbollah wants and what it's willing to do to get it?"
Noor blamed the Jews and lauded Hezbollah: "Hezbollah was created as was Hamas in the Palestinian territories during a period of Israeli occupation which is on-going in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon. Hezbollah was largely responsible and credited by the Lebanese for having creating the pressure for having Israel withdraw from Lebanese territory."
Curry took Noor's notion a grotesque step further: "So it's almost seen as a savior."
A price spike 28 times larger than the proportion of global oil production lost? The loss of 0.4% of oil output leading to a 13% price increase?
It's what NBC's Ann Curry imagined on this morning's Today show. 'Soaring Gas Prices' is one of the Today show's longest-running hits. This morning's episode brought us Ann Curry trying to induce CNBC financial reporter Ron Insana to paint the gloomiest possible picture in the wake of the news that BP has shut down an Alaskan oilfield. BP shut the Prudhoe Bay field indefinitely due to the discovery of severe corrosion and a very small spill from a Prudhoe Bay oil transit line. The 400,000 represents 8% of US domestic oil output and about 2.6% of US supply, including imports.
Was Matt Lauer showing balance in criticizing Hillary Clinton along with Donald Rumsfeld this morning - or was his skepticism about Hillary simply voicing the view of the Murtha/Lamont wing of the Dem party?
Interviewing all-purpose commentator Howard Fineman, Lauer seemed insistent that it was time for Rumsfeld to go.
Lauer: "[Clinton] said the president should accept Rumsfeld's resignation. He lost credibility with Congress and the people. It's time for him to step down. This is not the first person to call for his resignation, but at some point, do you think it's a possibility especially in the near term?"
Fineman held his fire: "Well, the Democrats will try to make it that."
On yesterday's The Early Show, as noted by Michael Rule, CBS's Dave Price blamed the current heat wave on global warming but over on NBC's Today this morning, as noted by Mark Finklestein, Al Roker refused to take Matt Lauer's bait to do the same. While Roker hedged a bit and didn't completely rule out global warming as a cause, the fact that he expressed some reservations contrasted with Price who went as far to take time out of the weather update to cite his "experts." Still one can only assume Roker will be brought back in line by Lauer. After all it was Lauer who brought viewers this very serious and sober piece of journalism. The following is a quick recap of the different takes taken by the CBS and NBC morning weathermen:
As news organizations update their obituaries of ailing Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, it’s worth recalling how many liberal journalists have fallen under Castro’s spell over the years, sounding like paid Cuban government propagandists as they touted the “great success stories” of Castro’s decades of communist rule. A new report from the Media Research Center offers some of the most egregious pro-Castro quotes of the last couple of decades.
For example, back in 1988, then-NBC reporter Maria Shriver let Castro himself lead her on a tour of Havana. “The level of public services was remarkable: free education, medicine and heavily-subsidized housing,” Shriver marveled on Today. The following year, ABC’s Peter Jennings trumpeted how “health and education are the revolution’s great success stories.”
The uniformed Cuban military officer pictured here barks commands at a smallish crowd in Havana that responds with pro-Fidel chants. Imagine you're an objective journalist. How would you report it? "The Castro regime orchestrates a public show of support," perhaps? Not Andrea Mitchell. Appearing on this morning's Today show, here's how NBC News' Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent characterized what you have to imagine was a less-than-spontaneous event:
"In Havana,Cubans turn out to show support for their long-time leader."
Andrea managed to get through her segment without mentioning Communism, repression or anything else that would cast aspersions on Los Hermanos Castro. She even obligingly passed along this bit of Castro propaganda: "He [Fidel] is calling on Cubans to remain calm, and they seem to be." Despite all the conjecture as to the state of his health Fidel hasn't made any public appearances. How can Mitchell know that it was indeed the great leader who was 'calling on' the Cuban people? And was it Fidel's reassuring words, or living in a police state, that had that calming effect on the Cuban people?
Traditionally, the networks have loved a slow, strict, statist bent at the Food and Drug Administration. In the 1990s, they warned that the FDA might be too lax on the threat of milk and hailed FDA head David Kessler for seizing crates of dangerous orange juice. But when it comes to sex and abortion, all the rules change. Suddenly, the networks go libertarian.
NBC's Tom Brokaw once called Newt Gingrich's criticism of the FDA "very ominous." (Scroll up from the orange juice Newsbite, and you'll see.) But when Hillary Clinton's the corporation-loving deregulator, then NBC has a different view. The topic was "Plan B," the abortifacient pill. Social conservatives hope to at least keep the drug from being easily available to minors without parental permission. On Tuesday's Today, substitute news anchor David Gregory implied delay was anti-woman: "After years of delay, women may soon be able to get the morning-after pill without a prescription. The FDA indicates it may be open to the idea, but with restrictions."
Tim Russert used his Today show appearance this morning to paint a bleak tour d'horizon of Bush foreign policy, expressing the fond wish - in guise of a question - that the American people might come to their senses and throw the bums out at the mid-term elections.
Interviewed by co-host Campbell Brown, Russert first asked: "What's the end game? The concern among Republicans I've talked to is how are the American people viewing this? Is this blind allegiance to Israel or is this standing by the only ally we have in the region? They don't know how much longer there will be patience with the American people."
Russert later made the electoral connection, after casting matters in their darkest light. Rather than speaking of nascent democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the current opportunity to defang Hezbollah, Russert portrayed things this way:
Can you imagine the Today show or other MSM program airing a segment offering advice to men on how to train their wives to display better behavior . . . by treating them like zoo animals? A segment illustrated with footage of hyenas, baboons and other members of the wild kingdom undergoing training? Don't bother to answer.
Yet, incredibly, that's just what the Today show did this morning. Oh, with one small difference. It was a how-to . . . for wives who want to train their husbands.
'Today' introduced the segment this way: "One woman discovered she could train her husband the way they train animals at the zoo.Does your husband act like a sea lion, or a baboon, or a hyena?"
MRC's Brent Baker has noted ABC News' hyper-ventilation over Exxon's 'breathtaking' profits. This morning it was NBC's turn.
As everyone knows, the way to decrease the price of a product is . . . to raise taxes on it? As contradictory as the notion might sound, it appears to be the Today show's preferred solution to $3/gallon gas.
It was the news of Exxon's $10.3 billion second-quarter profit that gave Today an opening to air its n-th iteration of the 'soaring gas prices' story. In an innovative bit of demagoguery, Today even displayed a clock informing us that Exxon racked up profits at the rate of $1,317.66 per second.
'Today' never showed us just who was holding that placard. But judging from his comments this morning, just how surprised would we be to find it was NBC's David Gregory himself?
Did David perhaps rev up for his appearance by reading this all-out assault on Bush foreign policy from in the LA Times? In any case, he came loaded for Bush bear with a totally bleak tour d'horizon that included these gems:
"The president's foreign policy was designed to make the the Middle East safer. It's not."
"Crisis after crisis has undermined the Bush doctrine."
"A foreign policy that has yet to produce the promised results."
They laughed when I said, here and here, that wearing a Palestinian scarf has become a leftist fashion statement. It was just a cold day on Rockefeller Center, people explained. Well, what do you know? Looks like the cold of Rock Center has made its way all the way to Madrid - and in high summer, no less!
Heart-rending images of small children being lifted across a fence. Outraged American/Lebanese evacuees alleging indiscriminate Israeli bombing ["they are bombing streets, gas stations, food stores, ranches."] A crying Lebanese man with blood on his shirt after his brother was killed by an Israeli bomb. And the only two reporters on the scene reporting from . . . Beirut. That was the way the 'Today' largely saw fit to cover the Middle East conflict this morning.
While none of the words or images are necessarily inaccurate [and we were treated to one evacuee heartily thanking Pres. Bush], they utterly fail to tell the whole story. Yes, Israel is militarily superior to its immediate neighbors. So it is easy to portray it as the bully in this fight. But let's look at the larger picture - Israel, a small strip of land, with relatively few people or natural resources, surrounded by hundreds of millions of largely Muslim Arabs in more than a dozen states. Have a look at the map. Israel is a barely discernible dot in the Muslim sea. And just as it is geographically dwarfed so too is it overwhelmed when it comes to natural resources - oil
It's been a tough week for the MSM. You just know they'd like to find a way to spin events in Lebanon and Israel for purposes of criticizing the Bush administration. But one senses they've had a tough time getting traction. Even for our liberal media heroes, making common cause with Hezbollah might be a bridge too far.
When the MSM is reduced to fixating on a mild four-letter word the president let fly, and to second-guessing tactics - as opposed to goals - you know the media's Bush-bashing cupboard is alarmingly bare.
The last best hope for the MSM seemed to be the alleged slowness of the evacuation of Americans in Lebanon. There was Tucker Carlson accusing Israel of 'doing nothing' to help stranded Americans. And the MSM widely reported the number of Americans in Lebanon at 25,000, downplaying the fact that the great majority have dual Lebanese citizenship and are not looking to leave. The actual number of those wishing to get out is apparently in the 5-8,000 range.
If you are a celebrity, businessman or ex-president with a liberal persuasion and you have a cause to promote chances are someone from NBC's Today will traverse many miles to place a microphone in front of your face. On this morning's Today show Brad Pitt, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates all got face-time to promote their causes. However it was Pitt who stole the show with this piece of Greenie hyperbole: "We just can't keep consuming ourselves into extinction."
In the first half-hour of Today NBC's Campbell Brown highlighted Bill and Melinda Gates and Clinton's efforts to combat disease in Africa and in the 8:30 half-hour Ann Curry trudged through flood-ravaged New Orleans to promote Brad Pitt's effort to rebuild the city. On the surface one has to applaud any charitable effort to fight disease in Africa or reconstruct New Orleans but it would be nice if viewers were spared the liberal hero worship such as Brown calling Gates and Clinton, "two of the most fascinating people in the world."
I don't know about you, but whenever I have to choose whose military strategy to rely on - the Israeli IDF's or a member of the MSM - I'm going to go with the American media guy every time - particularly when the fellow in question is NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams. After all, what battles or wars has Israel ever won? In contrast, those fraternity parties back at Catholic University were an absolute minefield, not to mention the internecine battle scars Brian earned while working in Jimmy Carter's White House.
So it was that I listened with rapt attention to Brian's report from Tel Aviv this morning, and learned - to my horror - that the Israeli battle plan didn't meet muster with General Williams.