Anyone who tunes into late-night comedy shows knows that many black comedians utter the n-word with rapid-fire frequency. Perhaps Michael Richards mistakenly thought that what was sauce for the goose was sauce for the white gander. In any case, in a Today show appearance this morning, Jesse Jackson declared that he would be working to "prohibit" the use of the word. He didn't offer specifics, but one question naturally arises. Would Jackson's n-word ban begin where the word is most frequently in use - the black community?
Interviewed by weekend host Lester Holt [one of my MSM favorites for his level-headedness, I might add] on the Michael Richards mess, Jackson floated his proposal in these terms:
PBS talk show host Charlie Rose, who spent the 1980s at CBS doing the overnight interview show "Nightwatch," is never a softer touch than when he has a network star on his show. Monday night’s interview with NBC anchor Brian Williams gave the anchor a platform to present his newscast as a "reasoned, serious" oasis from cable-news shouters, a "half hour of peace and tranquility" with "smart people" like David Gregory and Andrea Mitchell telling you about the world. Their discussion of Katrina coverage had no hint of regret that NBC misled people with Ray Nagin’s wild estimates of 10,000 dead. Williams said, "you remember people saying, well, the media have found their footing again and its name is New Orleans. They were asleep during WMD. But they're awake now."
The interview began with syrupy talk about Williams filling in for Rose during his heart-surgery break. Williams said it was his pleasure, since he was interviewing that genius who is the editor of Newsweek:
Wednesday’s Fox and Friends discussed the recent feud between Rosie O’Donnell and Kelly Ripa. Co-host Gretchen Carlson said what so many of us are thinking.
Kelly Ripa complaining about singer Clay Aiken covering her mouth on TV: "Regardless of whatever the sexual orientation is, it was outrageous, it was out of line, it was unprofessional, and he wouldn't have done it to you because there is respect there." (End Video)
Gretchen Carlson: "Maybe he should do it to Rosie O'Donnell. You know what? This really just upsets me. Just stay out of everyone else's business, Rosie. I mean, for goodness sake, Kelly Ripa is the host of this show. Clay Aiken made a mistake in putting his hand over her mouth. You just don't do that to the host of a show when you are a guest and by the way, according to Kelly Ripa, he did not even say thank you for being the co-host of her show that day. I don't think Kelly Ripa should get any blame for what she said. She says 'look, it's cold and flu season, when I said I don't know where that hand's been,' she did not mean-"
Just in time for Thanksgiving, my colleague Julia Seymour has a few rainclouds to open up on the media's parade.
This time it's the media's overblown fear of inflation. Yep, it's time to put away the disco ball and the polyester.
All bets are off if Nancy Pelosi urges everyone to put on a sweater and crank down the thermostat, however.
Journalists worked themselves into a fright this spring as inflation rose, scaremongering with cries of “stagflation” and “recession.” But when the news came last week that the inflation “monster” wasn’t “rearing its ugly head,” the media could only whisper.
“I just tend to think that inflation is not something that has been kicked yet,” said CNN’s Allen Wastler on the August 19 “In the Money.”
“It’s one of those monsters, you want to stay out in front of it. The moment it’s past you – boom, you’re dead.”
Attacking Fox News is not an unusual tactic of the mainstream media, but on Tuesday’s Today, Matt Lauer began the show with a false claim about Fox News.
Matt Lauer: "But we begin this morning with the controversial story out of Fox News: The O.J. Simpson case. Fox News Corporation deciding to cut its losses and cancel that highly controversial project where he speaks out about those notorious murders."
The problem here: the Fox broadcast network, not Fox News, almost aired the interview with O.J. Simpson. He did accurately call it Fox later in the broadcast but, never issued a correction. Meanwhile, on Fox and Friends, Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, and Gretchen Carlson questioned Bill O’Reilly on whether the mainstream media will tie Fox News in with the O.J. Simpson interview.
This morning, NBC’s Today led the broadcast by highlighting Fox’s decision not to air their smarmy interview with O. J. Simpson about how he “would” have killed his wife “if” he had committed the crime, which, of course, most Americans believe he did, only to escape a double-murder conviction in a circus of a trial. But while NBC seemed to be enjoying Fox’s pain today, back in the ’90s, their Today show was perhaps O.J.’s most sympathetic venue on TV.
This morning, co-host Matt Lauer talked to the late Nicole Brown’s sister Denise in both the 7am and 7:30am half-hours about the awfulness of Fox’s deal with O.J., which News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch scuttled on Monday, saying it was an “ill-considered project” — perhaps the understatement of the decade.
The network morning shows noticed Indonesian Muslims protesting President Bush, but sadly, once again, they tended to sanitize out the extremists. In this case, protest leaders called for the execution of Bush, but the networks mostly offered Americans quotes from protesters saying they loved America, just hated the president. They left out what Agence France-Presse reported: a protest leader declared through a loudspeaker: "Kill him, kill him...the blood of George Bush is halal," meaning it was not a sin under Islam to kill him. "Not only is it halal, it is obligatory to kill him."
The networks seem to want the American audience to bite on the Democratic line that conservative policies make us unpopular around the world, when people would be much more agreeable under the sorry-we-didn’t-mean-to-be-a-superpower poses of a Gore, Kerry, or Hillary Clinton. Showing protesters who want to execute our president tend to ruin the line of the day. On NBC’s Today on Monday, Matt Lauer led off the show with a plug for their "Hello, Go Home" segment on Bush's visit. MRC’s Justin McCarthy found reporter Kelly O’Donnell’s selected protesters who stressed their love for America, and their hatred for Bush:
An editorial in today’s (Monday's) Investor’s Business Daily points out how the big liberal media have conveniently only begun to focus on the downside of a hasty U.S. withdrawal from Iraq since the November elections. IBD’s editors correctly ask, “Why did they wait? Those ‘experts’ now exposing the Democrats’ exit strategy as a deadly fantasy were available to reporters before the election. A full airing of their views at that time might have helped voters make an informed choice.”
“But such pointed criticism of the winning party came too late. Why does that not surprise us?”
Here's an excerpt of the editorial in the November 20 issue, headlined: “Now They Tell Us.”
Okay, not really. Well, maybe it is, I don't follow the price of poultry and I'm sure the media doesn't have it that high in its pecking order either. But they do when it comes to gasoline, and it's up from two weeks ago.
The law of supply and demand be damned, it's up and it's screwing you just in time for the trip to grandma's house!
Up a whole nickel from two weeks ago! Man is that gonna gobble up your travel budget. Just ask Matt Lauer.
In 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned for president by promising tax cuts for the middle class. Fourteen years later, his Party ran on a similar “tell the people exactly what they want to hear” motif, this time the mantra being a speedy withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
Though separated by almost a decade and a half, these campaign strategies were quite similar to a now illegal marketing scheme called a bait and switch – whereby a company advertises a product for sale at a cheap price to lure in customers. Unfortunately, the organization’s retail outlets don’t actually have the item in stock forcing anxious shoppers to consider more expensive products that are available.
I Dig a Phony
Much like this advertising scam, the 1992 and 2006 political campaigns had three things in common:
In his culture column this week, Brent Bozell takes apart a Wall Street Journal op-ed by NBC chieftain Robert Wright, entitled "Federal Censorship Commission," warning that the threat of fines from the FCC has created a “climate of self-censorship,” an unmistakable “chill in the airwaves,” in which “the viewing public is the biggest loser.” In reality, the FCC moves extremely slowly (it's still puzzling over scenes on "NYPD Blue"), and the networks see them as a nuisance for their lawyers to bore to death with motions. Bozell writes of Wright:
He lauds his own talent at prediction, and how he warned in the same newspaper in 2004 that the titans of “creative integrity” in Hollywood would look less obscene than those who would urge the government to punish the broadcasting of obscenity. (How Orwellian: freedom is slavery, and opposing obscenity is obscene.)
NBC's Today carried a series on faith this week, and finished it Thursday morning with two liberal journalists about a new website Newsweek is setting up on faith. It all sounded very much like soft-soap Episcopalianism, no doubt because the preacher on the set was Newsweek editor and Episcopalian Jon Meacham, along with Sally Quinn, a writer best known as the wife of former top Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Ann Curry began by saying Meacham and Quinn "started a conversation about religion over lunch one day, and that discussion hasn't stopped." Curry continued:
"It's so interesting to think about how, just, what, 20 years ago, we would not speak about faith in America in any sort of big way. We talked about basically the separation of church and state meant that we didn't speak about church because we felt it was going to inflame and cause problems. What has changed? What has changed fundamentally about America that now lets us talk so much about it? In fact, have it influence policy in America. Sally."
Not content with news propaganda on global warming, now NBC has turned the idea into a sitcom plot. On the November 16 “My Name Is Earl,” Earl (Jason Lee) and his brother meet a commune of “hippie people” who convince them in their best Al Gore fashion “we got to keep reducing greenhouse gases and reverse global warming.”
The two regulars had entered the commune to give Earl a chance to make amends to a former stoner name Woody (played by Christian Slater). They (and the audience watching at home) ended up getting lectured about the evils of climate change complete with charts that looked like they came from Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”
In a surprising moment on Today this morning, NBC Middle East Bureau Chief and self proclaimed pacifist Richard Engel warned of the dangers of pulling out of Iraq too soon. In his reporting, Engel warned that a premature withdrawal could be dangerous on a global scale.
Richard Engel: "As the debate in the U.S. increasingly focuses on finding an exit strategy from Iraq after the Democrats gains in congress, 7,000 miles away, U.S. Troops and Iraqis face tough questions: What will happen on the ground if U.S. Forces leave? What are the options? Analysts say staying the course isn't one of them, but neither is pulling out too quickly."
It was yet another overblown fear that the media latched onto but have not revisited since Democrats won last week's election.
At the MRC's Business & Media Institute, we don't forget so easily.
Check out the story by my colleague Julia Seymour over at businessandmedia.org.
Now that the votes have been cast and counted, Republicans
lost, and the silence of the national media has been deafening.
The idea was that somehow the company Diebold had programmed the machines to let Republicans win. The theory, perpetuated by left-wingers posting on Daily Kos and The Huffington Post and Bev Harris’ book, “Black Box Voting,” was embraced by all three broadcast networks, as well as CNN and MSNBC.
NBC anchor Brian Williams didn't exactly strike a tone of toughness with new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she was elected, asking her softball questions on NBC Nightly News about what "drain the swamp" meant, and what she would say to the president, and how "history was riding along with her," and what her thoughts were on her family at the historic moment.
But twelve years ago tonight, one week after Newt Gingrich's big win, on November 15, 1994, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw hammered Gingrich in a snide and negative ten-minute "Dateline NBC" hit piece. Brokaw pushed every negative button. Gingrich had a "long streak" of "casually reckless" remarks. He admitted "he smoked pot" and "got a marriage deferment" to avoid service in Vietnam. He went to first wife Jackie's hospital room "the day after her cancer surgery" to discuss divorce terms. He made a "very ominous" charge that FDA chief David Kessler threatened to ruin businesses. And his "well-heeled admirers," called "Newt Incorporated," showed he was already ethically compromised, since voters would think donors "were trying to buy his heart if not his vote, at the least."
Chris Matthews is so blatantly anti-Iraq war that any time he's discussing it, he ought to be balanced out but that wasn't the case on this morning's Today show. NBC's Matt Lauer sat idly by as the host of Hardball compared Iraq to Vietnam and demanded the President relent to Democrats and withdraw troops as soon as possible. Matthews even was dismayed that the President still dared to use the word, "victory."
Matthews ranted to Lauer: "I mean the President lost the election. He, he still talks like he won the election. The Democrats who control both houses want to begin withdrawing our troops. It's all about numbers of troops and the timetable for getting them out and the President and Tony Snow right there said they don't, they don't go along with that thinking."
In his culture column earlier in the week, Brent Bozell looked at the new NBC hit "Heroes" and how it draws in youngsters, but might carry a few too many sleazy adult twists for a young-skewing superhero series:
People who do a lot of business travel find themselves killing time by watching a lot of airline movies. Since the flying public includes a lot of children, the movie studios courteously provide the airlines with the movies edited for sex, language, ultra violence, and the like. And here’s the curious thing: I’ve never watched one of these movies and concluded at the end that it was cheapened by a lack of “gritty” (and I’m being kind here) material. Never in my life have I met a fellow passenger who suggested as much.
On Thursday's O'Reilly Factor on FNC, Bill O'Reilly raised, with former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg and Fox Newswatch panelist Jane Hall, “all the softball interviews of Nancy Pelosi” which aired Wednesday night and that a NewsBusters item summarized. O'Reilly cautioned that “I'm not saying you should go after her throat, but surely when you have the person second in line for the presidency and she's the most liberal Speaker of the House in the history of the country, surely you might want to get into a little bit about how she formed her point of view -- or am I crazy?" Goldberg assured O'Reilly, "no, you're not crazy,” and proposed: “Do you think Newt Gingrich would have gotten the same treatment as Nancy Pelosi got? Look, I mean, the bias is never blatant, but they like Nancy Pelosi, they like the fact the Democrats won and she's a woman, the first woman who's going to be Speaker of the House, so they treat her with a certain respect, which they should, that they wouldn't treat a conservative Republican."
Indeed, as the MRC documented back in 1994, the mainstream media greeted Gingrich's victory with hostility. Days before the election, CBS's Eric Engberg treated as newsworthy how the “bombastic and ruthless” Gingrich “was attacked for McCarthyism" and has “a record filled with contradictions: the family values candidate who divorced his ailing first wife, the avowed enemy of dirty politics who bounced 22 checks at the House Bank...” Time magazine snidely declared: "His ideas, which don't often come to grips with the particulars of policymaking, may be less important than his signature mood of righteous belligerence." ABC's Sam Donaldson confronted Gingrich: "A lot of people are afraid of you, they think you're a bomb thrower. Worse, you're an intolerant bigot.”
If we rigidly applied truth-in-advertising laws to the national media in their coverage of the 2006 campaign, we would have first declared that the stuff between the commercials wasn’t "news" as much as a boatload of free infomercial advertising for the Democrats. The news reports should have led with the sentence, "I’m Nancy Pelosi, and I approved this newscast."
Republicans made a lot of mistakes, and caused themselves a pile of problems. Their house is a mess; it's time to tear down and start over. But I will say this unequivocally: In 25 years of looking at the national media, I have never seen a more one-sided, distorted, vicious presentation of news -- and non-news -- by the national media. They ought to be collectively ashamed. They have made a mockery out of the term "objective journalism" and a laughingstock of themselves at the idea that they should be considered objective journalists.
As the media crow about Democrats taking the reins of power on Capitol Hill, if you need a giggle, it's worth a rewind to the "Saturday Night Live" satire of MSNBC's "Hardball" on the October 28 show -- the same one with the fake Halloween GOP ads with Witchy Hillary and Count Obama. Chris Matthews (played as usual by Darrell Hammond) and Howard Dean (played by Jason Sudeikis) are expressing amazement at how pro-Democrat the polls are turning out:
Matthews: “Alright, I assume you've seen the latest poll, which has your party with an astonishing 55-point lead over the Republicans.”
Dean: “Life is good, Chris.”
Matthews: “But what amazes me is the internal numbers. I mean, the public now favors the Democrats in every issue. Even national defense.”
Dean: “I know, Chris. It's crazy. We can't be trusted on national defense.”
With Donald Rumsfeld now on his way out as Secretary of Defense, some liberal media types are undoubtedly grinning from ear to ear, for they have made their antipathy to Rumsfeld very well known. Just on Monday, for example, CNN’s Jack Cafferty blasted Rumsfeld as “an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal.” Back in August, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann slammed Rumsfeld as a fascist and a “quack.”
But reporters have been distressed by Rumsfeld since before the war in Iraq. A few examples of the liberal media’s anti-Rumsfeld attitude:
Upset by Talk of Old Europe. “Secretary Rumsfeld...has dismissively referred to France and Germany as ‘Old Europe,’ and today, Secretary Powell, who warned France not to be ‘afraid’ of its responsibilities. Is that the rhetoric of a great power, and is that really the most effective way of building alliances?”
During President Bush’s news conference Wednesday afternoon, New York Times writer Jim Rutenberg phrased his question to President Bush in terms utilized on the Times editorial page on Wednesday repudiating President Bush’s leadership. Earlier, David Gregory portrayed President Bush as out of touch with Americans and inquired as to whether now that the voters have spoken, is he "listening to the voters or the vice president."
During the press conference Jim Rutenberg questioned:
"But the results are being interpreted as a repudiation of your leadership style in some quarters. I wonder what your reaction is to that, and should we expect a very different White House? Should we expect a very different leadership style from you in these last two years given that you have a whole new set of partners."
In the giddy aftermath of a Democratic victory, the cheery tone of morning television can begin to look like excessive enthusiasm. On Wednesday morning's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira interviewed Montana's liberal Democratic Senate challenger, Jon Tester, who at the time was narrowly ahead and not yet declared the winner. Vieira noticed that despite the close call, "yet, you have a smile on your face, sir." When asked how he came this far, Tester said people came out to vote for honesty and integrity, about Iraq, and health care.
Vieira perkily concluded: "Well I hope you keep the smile on your face there Jon Tester. Thank you very much. Back to you, Matt."
In their coverage of the election returns, MSNBC posted a story this morning at the bottom of which was a brief run down of who won and who lost in Congressional races across the country.
Most of these listings were presented without comment of any kind. Like the race in Arizona:
Arizona: Incumbent Republican John Kyl over Democrat Jim Pederson.
That was pretty straightforward. No bias, no nonsense. Just a who-won/who-lost listing. Of the 23 races they list, only a few have any thing by way of extra commentary. Additionally, out of that few they offered further comment on, all were either benign or complimentary.
NBC's Today correspondents on Tuesday made sure to underline that Republicans were seen as racist in the Senate campaigns in Tennessee and Virginia. Reporter Tom Costello began his report:
"Matt, good morning. This has been a hard fought race. It's been injected with advertisements viewed by many as being racist by the Republican National Committee. The Corker campaign repudiated those ads, as did the Ford campaign, of course."
By many? Try "by many Democrats," at least. From there, David Shuster (usually assigned to Chris Matthews on MSNBC), also underlined the alleged-racist angle on the Virginia race:
"Meredith, good morning. A statistical dead heat is not at all where the incumbent Republican George Allen ever thought he would be. Allen had been talked about being a presidential contender in 2008 but his campaign has been set back by a series of missteps including his use of the term macaca and allegations about his use of the N-word to describe blacks, but the key issue in this race has been the Iraq war...
If your morning coffee isn't strong enough to jolt you awake, just watch the Today show. The scaremongering should get your heart skipping a few beats.
On today's edition, reporter Tom Costello picked up on a new study that urges seat belts be added to school buses. Among the findings of the study, 17,000 children a year are injured in school bus accidents.
Nevermind that statistically, school buses are safer for ferrying your kids to school than the family SUV or that seat belts on school buses do more harm than good, as studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have shown.
Oh, did I mention Costello left out that t he American Academy of Pediatrics study also calls for kids to not squirrel around on the bus so as to lessen injuries and for better supervision of kids on buses to prevent injury?
Chris Matthews just couldn't wipe that grin off his face. Interviewing him on this morning's 'Today,' Meredith Vieira began by suggesting that despite the tough electoral environment for Republicans, polls over the weekend were showing movement in their direction. She started to pose a question, but so distracting was Matthews' mugging that she couldn't continue, asking instead "why are you smiling?"
"Because I think it's going to be a wipe-out. I think the Democrats are going to carry the House by 20-some, high-20s and I think the Senate seats are perhaps not six, but five, and I can see a big victory for the Democrats."
In Monday's Media Notes column in the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz found the media are attracted to polls like crack cocaine, and they've "grown addicted to the GOP-in-trouble narrative." Kurtz says it isn't about liberal bias, but the desire for a change in story line. Riiight. Journalists confirm that Democrats have been boasting of a takeover:
"If you mention something enough times, you make it seem as if it must be so," says NBC's Williams. But, he says, "if the media are guilty of beating the Democratic House takeover drums, the media share that guilt with prominent Democrats, who in on- and off-the-record settings have indeed been all but measuring the drapes."
On this morning's Meet The Press, Tim Russert tried to pass off the editorial in the "Army Times" and sister publications calling for Donald Rumsfeld's noggin as having some special significance. RNCC Chairman Tom Reynolds didn't let him get away with it. Reynolds exposed those so-called "military newspapers" as nothing more than cogs in the Gannett chain, a member-in-good-standing of the MSM whose flagship paper is the reliably-liberal USA Today.
Russert flashed the panel of the editorial shown here, and asked Reynolds: