Standard-free journalism on parade all day on NBC's Sunday
Forgotten But Not GoneIt was another do-as-we-say, not-as-we-do day for the National Broadcast Company this past Sabbath.
Over the weekend NBC offered up their latest versions of Tim Russert's Meet the Press and the Chris Matthews Show -- the latter being political television's answer to Jerry Springer. In them we were treated to two more glittering examples of all that is wrong with the Jurassic Press.
That being the woeful lack of journalistic ethics demonstrated by those at the heights of the media mountain, and the utter shamelessness they and their colleagues exhibit upon their being outed as amoral hacks.
Not only does it represent the epitome of good-natured cool, it comes in stark contrast to the patented glare that Hillary aims at those who draw her ire. We've often illustrated the death-ray genre here at NB; you'll find a representative image after the jump from last night's debate.
Obama's gesture speaks largely for itself, but let's don our amateur body-language expert hat:
If you're the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg or Bill Keller the last person you probably want in your corner is Dan "National Guard Forgery Story" Rather. Yet on the syndicated "Chris Matthews Show," Rather jumped to their defense, on last week's McCain hit piece, by declaring them "outstanding journalists."
Now Rather did hedge a bit saying if the story wasn't true they could be "in a heap of trouble," but he concluded, that in the end, their reporting should be trusted because they were: "Very responsible journalists."
When Chris Matthews asked the former "CBS Evening News" anchor for his opinion on the Times story, Rather offered the following take on the February 24, edition of "The Chris Matthews Show:"
Here in Ithaca and no doubt in other liberal bastions across the land, you can still see cars festooned with those bitter bumper stickers: "Re-Defeat Bush!" and "Bush: Selected, Not Elected!" Those sentiments remain reflected in an MSM still smarting from Florida 2000. All of which made Ann Curry's words on this morning's Today, announcing the ascendancy of Raul Castro in Cuba, so ironic.
ANN CURRY: In the news this morning, we begin with Cuba and its [first] new president in nearly half a century. Raul Castro was officially chosen on Sunday to take over from his brother Fidel who announced his retirement last week.
Just weeks after MSNBC's David Shuster was suspended for suggesting the Clinton campaign had "pimped out" former first daughter Chelsea, a comedienne on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" called nuns "b****es."
Tina Fey, the star of NBC's "30 Rock," came back to her television launching pad last evening to make a strong appeal to women around the country to vote for Hillary Clinton in upcoming primaries.
As part of her stump speech, Fey said the following (readers are warned about mild vulgarity as well as sacrilege):
Might the MSM be miffed at the prospect of Ralph Nader making problems for the Dem candidate?
Ralph Nader will always have a place in Republicans' hearts for his yeoman work in Florida in 2000. But Democrats and the MSM apparently aren't looking so kindly on the hard-left crusader. Consider this comment from CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider [file photo] on this morning's Late Edition, commenting on Nader's announcement on today's Meet the Press that he was again running for president.
JOHN KING: Is there a niche for Ralph Nader that could actually have an impact on the race?
BILL SCHNEIDER: It's a disappearing niche. In 2000 when he ran, he got about 2.8 million votes. In 2004, he got fewer than half a million votes. I imagine anyone left who's going to vote for Ralph Nader are probably people who wouldn't vote if Ralph Nader weren't running. They're the real die-hard. He really has gone over the past eight years, back in 1996 as a green candidate. He's gone from being a revered, national icon to something of a public nuisance.
After a lengthy hiatus due to the Hollywood writers' strike, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" returned to the airwaves last evening, and began with a skit deliciously mocking CNN's recent debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
SNLer Kristen Wiig I believe, apparently impersonating CNN's Campbell Brown who hosted the debate -- although looking much more like Suzanne Malveaux -- introduced the festivities by comically and quite accurately stating (h/t Tim Graham):
Like nearly everyone in the news media, the three of us are totally in the tank for Senator Obama. Now let's meet the candidates. Just four years ago, Barack Obama was known only as a brilliant, charismatic and universally admired member of the Illinois State Senate. Today he is one of our nation's truly visionary leaders. And soon, knock on wood, the first black president of the United States.
It's not a very long run. It'll be over by February 5th. -- Hillary Clinton, 'This Week,' Dec. 30, 2007.
That was Hillary less than two months ago. Here she was on this morning's Today.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: So no matter what happens in Texas and Ohio, you will go on.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well Meredith, I don't make predictions. I never have, I never will. I just get up every day and, you know, do the best I can to, you know, let people know what I have done and what I am doing and what I will do.
If it's true, as Hillary Clinton claimed during last night's debate, that Barack Obama needs Xerox to copy other's rhetoric, maybe Clinton could use another piece of 20th-century technology: Memorex.
The New York Times "scoop" strongly suggesting a romantic relationship between John McCain and a lobbyist drew heavy coverage from all three morning shows Thursday. All three featured interviews with McCain staff members on the defensive. Critical scrutiny of the Times story was mostly left to the McCain aides, as the networks presented the tone of a real crisis for McCain, not for the newspaper.
On NBC’s Today, at least its opening allowed the idea that an outrage had taken place: "Good morning, bombshell or hatchet job? A New York Times report out this morning raises questions about John McCain's relationship with a female lobbyist eight years ago. He is outraged and he is fighting back. Will it turn the presidential campaign upside down?"
Are Americans dumber than we used to be? Susan Jacoby thinks so, and continually uses conservatives as her illustrations.
The "dumbing down" of American culture, as evidenced by America’s obsession with reality television and the barrage of celebrity "news" coverage, is a worthy topic of discussion. But it’s hard to have a reasoned discussion with an author who is contributing to the problem by gratuitously bashing conservatives and religious believers.
NBC’s Matt Lauer sat down with Jacoby to discuss her book, The Age of American Unreason, during the February 19 broadcast of the Today Show, and asked her about the role the media play in "dumbing down" Americans. Jacoby responded:
Dumbness is us. Yes I think the media has a lot to do with it. It’s not an original observation. This is the first time we've been able to have 24/7 entertainment coming into our ears if we want it. But just as politicians will say to voters, you were lied to, rather than -- the more fundamental question is why did we let ourselves be so stupid that we're so easy targets for lies?
In MSM circles, "swiftboating" is shorthand for false attacks on Democrats, even though John O'Neill and other members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth stand adamantly behind their allegations about John Kerry's war record.
In an interview of Barack Obama conducted yesterday and aired on this morning's Today, Matt Lauer employed the "swiftboating" code to ask whether the candidate is prepared for the Republican onslaught. For good measure the NBC anchor wondered if Obama is ready for Republican racism.
Lauer, introducing the issue, stated that "Senator Clinton has questioned whether he can withstand negative attacks from Republicans in the fall."
During a live interview with the President and the First Lady from Africa on Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Ann Curry pestered Bush about the Iraq war and its economic effect on Americans as she told the President: "I mean they say they're suffering because of this war."
ANN CURRY: But you're saying you're gonna have to carry that burden, you're saying you're gonna have to carry that burden. Some Americans believe, that they feel they're carrying the burden because of this economy.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah well-
CURRY: I mean they say they're suffering because of this war.
Rush Limbaugh read the first two paras of this item during his first half-hour today, citing "our buddies at NewsBusters." Thanks, Rush! Audio here.
If a supremely prominent Republican who was John McCain's chief surrogate had gotten into an angry confrontation at a campaign event, do you think the broadcast networks would have promptly let us know his interlocutor was African-American?
I do. But none of the broadcast network's morning news shows, at least during this morning's crucial first half-hour, disclosed the African-American identity of the man with whom Bill Clinton got into just such an argument yesterday in Ohio.
Not a word of any incident whatsoever at GMA or the Early Show, at least during the first half-hour. Today did mention that Clinton "showed his temper . . . after an Obama supporter tried to disrupt his speech in Canton," but nothing about the man's identity.
For a guy who's supposedly a savvy pol, Chuck Schumer has sure made a damning admission about the Dem presidential candidates. The senior senator from New York has suggested that their word is worthless.
On today's Meet the Press, Tim Russert quizzed Schumer about the change in heart of the Clinton campaign regarding seating delegates from Michigan. The DNC ruled last year that none of Michigan's delegates would be seated at the convention, in punishment for the state having moved up the date of its primary in violation of party rules. Hillary would now like those delegates to be seated since she "won" the primary -- in which Obama's name wasn't on the ballot.
TIM RUSSERT: Senator Schumer, Senator Clinton said in October "you know it's clear this election they're having in Michigan is not going to count for anything." Is that your position?
CHARLES SCHUMER: Well, no. Here's the bottom line once again, Tim. Each candidate of course takes the position that benefits them at the moment.
This is too perfect! Barely an hour after Pat Buchanan proclaimed on NBC that the MSM is full of "out-of-the-closet Obamacans," ABC's David Wright provided a perfect illustration of the genre.
In fact, I'm nominating the GMA segment Wright narrated this morning as the single most slanted episode of the MSM primary season. The screen graphic "On the Attack," set the theme: Hillary is unfairly attacking Obama, and to the extent Barack's gone negative, it's only to rebut Clinton's unfair criticism. Oh, and Hillary's demographic is crumbling. And by the way, Bill's dissing Obama supporters.
Amy Robach this morning asked the most rhetorical question in contemporary media: does the MSM have a thing for Barack Obama?
The weekend Today co-anchor didn't need guests Pat Buchanan or Rachel Maddow for the answer. She could have kept things in-house with NBC's own Lee Cowan, who has acknowledged “it's almost hard to remain objective” about Obama.
But pose the question Robach did, and Pat Buchanan gave her a colorful answer.
At least according to "Vagina Monologues" playwright Eve Ensler, and Jane Fonda.
Apparently the Today show had not had enough of this dynamic duo earlier in the program, when the fabulously classy Miss Fonda used another word for "vagina" that begins with the letter "c".
So they brought the pair back for the 10 o'clock hour, and America was again regaled with their brilliant and insightful perspective. A perspective, and a vernacular -- it must be noted -- that would get any man on the planet at the very least slapped silly.
The video, Miss Ensler's political genital declaration (which we think grossly underestimates the chronology and the total) and Miss Fonda's in-depth analysis of New Orleans' vagina-ness, follows below.
In another example of the belt-tightening of the old media, NBC has announced that they will be closing two of their long standing news bureaus. Gone will be the Chicago and Dallas bureaus to be replaced by "regional hubs."
Insiders tell TVNewser the current NBC News global news gathering system is in for an overhaul. Sources tell us a 9am ET conference call among News division execs and the bureau managers will announce that the current system will be replaced with regional hubs covering large areas of the U.S. and, in some cases, the world.
TVNewser reports that the Chicago office will now answer to the New York office and Dallas will report to Atlanta. No word on how many jobs are to be lost, but it is certain that some will go away.
Besides her left wing activism, famous North Vietnamese propagandist Jane Fonda spouts foul language on morning network television, when some children almost certainly saw it. Discussing the feminist play "The Vagina Monologues" on the February 14 edition of "Today," Fonda used the obscene term to describe part of the female anatomy.
Although it is only February, this is the second time this year that a celebrity used an obscene word on morning television. On the January 15 edition of "Good Morning America," Diane Keaton dropped the F-word. Unlike host Diane Sawyer, Meredith Vieira did not appear shocked.
MRC President Brent Bozell previously expressed concern about networks airing foul language and some networks’ stubborness.
Three voices of the Clinton campaign, three distinctly different takes on its fortunes. James Carville is candid about the pickle Hillary's in. Hillary, true to form, utterly evades the question. Ah, but there's always Terry McAuliffe. The proud graduate of the Baghdad Bob School of Flackery this morning declared that he's "more confident than he's ever been" about winning the nomination.
Carville, appearing on last night's Larry King, couldn't have been more succinct.
LARRY KING: If Hillary loses Texas or Ohio, is it over?
Is NBC News allergic to the use of "pimp" during its serious news broadcasts? In the wake of the scandal over MSNBC's David Shuster suggesting Chelsea Clinton had been "pimped out" by her mother's campaign, a quick look at the Nexis database shows that NBC News hosts and anchors have not been immune to the rising use of "pimp" in our pop culture as not only a noun, but as a verb or adjective, meaning to promote (either selling a product or the attributes of a person) or to improve or renovate (like the MTV show Pimp My Ride).
This is especially true of the Today show, where Al Roker, Natalie Morales, and Meredith Vieira (in her case by reading a quote) have all used the newfangled word. CNBC reporter Jane Wells also filed a story on the "Pimped Out John," a deluxe toilet with all kinds of amenities. Snippets of transcript follow.
Former CBS correspondent and best selling author Bernard Goldberg noted the clear double standard NBC and MSNBC has on liberal versus conservative commentators. On the February 11 edition of "The O’Reilly Factor," Goldberg discussed the corruption at NBC News after the fallout from the David Shuster "pimped out" comments.
Goldberg alluded to left wing partisan commentator Keith Olbermann, without mentioning him by name, and noted that has anchored the election night coverage and moderated a presidential debate. Goldberg posed the question "would NBC News have Rush Limbaugh anchoring their election night coverage on MSNBC? Would they have an angry, ideological right winger like Michael Savage anchor their election night coverage on MSNBC?" He then answered his own question "of course not!" And added that "they do have a left wing bomb thrower doing it."
The "pimped out" controversy surrounding MSNBC's David Shuster - destined to be called "Pimp Gate" - took a turn for the bizarre when Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sent a letter to Steve Capus, President of NBC News.
Published for all to see at the Washington Post's "The Trail" blog Saturday, the letter demonstrated a disturbing number of hypocrisies and double standards inherent in today's liberally biased media.
See if you can find them all (emphasis added to assist your search):
After publishing an astoundingly positive column about Republican presidential candidate John McCain Thursday, the Washington Post's David Broder must have felt the need to bash some conservatives or risk being excommunicated by his liberal friends.
Looking to make amends, Broder went on Sunday's "Meet the Press," and disparaged CPAC attendees as being "aginners" with "a limited constituency."
Yet, moments later, he returned to his McCain love-fest.
Call it Today's homage to John Lennon: imagine there're no conservatives. The NBC show so much enjoyed the conservative-free citizens panel it hosted back in November that it brought it back this morning.
As I wrote about at the time, two timid Republicans were pitted against two partisan Dems. In November, one of the "Republicans," Susie O'Neil, claimed that the country is in decline due to the war "and because corporations are totally influencing our Members of Congress and the Senate." Call Susie a Michael Moore Republican.
The other Republican on the panel back then, Sarah Hungerford, said she was thinking of voting for . . . a Democrat. The pair were back this morning, again matched against two partisan Dems who both had apparently become Obama supporters.
Here's a belated item for your media-bias talking points: after rummaging through the media coverage of the typically large March for Life on Tuesday, January 22, I have the following scorecard:
-- ABC, CBS, and NBC had absolutely nothing on the March, and absolutely nothing on the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Put the word "abortion" into Nexis and you get a black hole for that day, and the next day.
-- By contrast, Fox News Channel at least had a fair-and-balanced report on the March (complete with abortion advocates like Vicki Saporta of the National Abortion Federation) on Tuesday night's Special Report with Brit Hume.
-- National Public Radio offered several segments on the Roe anniversary, but no mention of the March for Life (with the asterisk that news breaks on the hour are not loaded into Nexis.)
Pop quiz, hotshot: If you win more states and more delegates than your competitor on Super Tuesday, is this a tie?
It is if media say so.
Consider if you will Barack Obama winning thirteen of the 22 states up for grabs Tuesday (New Mexico being still too close to call), and, according to multiple sources, taking home the most delegates. Isn't that a win?
He danced the complete Kabuki, right down to the mandatory move about considering John McCain for his VP slot. But at the end of the day, Mike Huckabee has admitted the obvious: he'll take the Veep nomination if John McCain offers it.
However, when a presidential candidate accuses one of the leading broadcast anchors of "getting too many memos from the Clinton camp," we at NewsBusters have to take notice...while we chuckle, of course.
Here's the setup: Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama was Brian Williams' guest on NBC's "Nightly News" Monday, and was asked: "Let's talk about the Latino vote. Could you admit now, as we are one day away from super Tuesday, you perhaps didn't take it -- the shot at it seriously enough?"
Obama offered viewers the following absolutely delicious response (video available here, relevant section at minute 1:29):