To hear the media tell it, Cuba is a great country to live in and visit. With propagandist Michael Moore’s “Sicko” soon to debut and glorify the Cuban health care system, NBC “Today host Matt Lauer broadcast from Havana, Cuba on June 5.
Lauer praised the “booming” economy and talked about the country’s stability.
“There’s stability here. Business is booming and tourists are flocking here, some two million a year.”
Lauer didn’t emphasize that those tourism dollars pay to keep Fidel Castro’s dictatorship in power, or that the Cuba seen by tourists is not the Cuba lived in by ordinary Cubans.
In what will surely be one of the largest ever, if not the largest, in-kind contributions to a presidential campaign if Al Gore decides to run, NBC Universal announced late last week that its networks will devote an incredible 75 hours of time on Saturday, July 7 to showing Gore's “Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis.”
In addition to the entirety of NBC's prime time that night hosted by Ann Curry of NBC News, CNBC will carry seven hours of coverage from 7pm to 2am EDT; Bravo will show the concerts around the world for 18 hours starting at 8am EDT; and both the Sundance channel and the Universal HD channel will showcase the concerts for 22 hours each beginning at 4am EDT.
Rounding out the 75 hours, mun2 will run a two-hour show at 5pm EDT and Telemundo will air a one-hour special at 7pm EDT. And that's not counting how NBC's press release touted that “MSNBC will broadcast special coverage of this global concert event throughout the day with live reports from the concerts in New York and London.”
No journalists in the last thirty years have built more of a legend than the old Washington Post pairing of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. As the Watergate wrecking crew that put Richard Nixon in the scrap yard, they are America’s most venerated “icons” of investigative reporting.
But since that event, the paths of Woodward and Bernstein have separated dramatically. Woodward is still considered the top-dog journalist in Washington, a titan no president can ignore if he cares about his historical legacy, or his short-term political standing. By contrast, Bernstein has bounced around to cushy media jobs, at ABC, and at Time magazine, rarely distinguishing himself, with a mere fraction of Woodward’s celebrity aura.
What's the matter with Cuba? Why is its economy a disaster, its people mired in poverty? Could it be . . . communism? Of course not. Cuba's dire straits are the fault of that hegemonistic entity just to the north of the Florida Straits. Oh, and Cuban youth could care less about being enslaved. Don't believe it? Ask Andrea Mitchell.
The NBC correspondent appeared this morning at 7:10 am EDT on a special live-from-Havana edition of "Today," anchored by Matt Lauer.
NBC CORRESPONDENT ANDREA MITCHELL: The island's infrastructure is crumbling, crippled by a U.S. trade embargo that has lasted nearly half a century.
That was the sum total of Mitchell's explanation of Cuba's economic woes. Although Cuba is free to trade with all the 180-or-so other countries in the world, she offered not a word suggesting the brutal communist dictatorship could be to blame for what Matt Lauer had earlier acknowledged is the 50-cents per day average wage. True, Mitchell was seen boldly inveighing for change to a government official . A U.S. official, that is. Interviewing Cuban-born U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Mitchell made her case for lifting the embargo.
If this morning's Today show segment on Cuba is any indication expect Matt Lauer's visit to the communist country tomorrow to gloss over much of Fidel Castro's brutal regime. Previewing the Today show anchor's trip, NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell reported on Castro's health and actually highlighted an unidentified Cuban citizen wishing Castro well as he exclaimed: "I care about him. I love him!"
Judging from Mitchell's report 'Today' viewers may also get more than their fair share of Cuban mouthpiece Ricardo Alarcon tomorrow, as the Cuban National Assembly president was featured as the go-to-guy for the latest on Castro's health. While Mitchell did air one soundbite from Condoleezza Rice criticizing the regime, she then went on to depict Cuban opinion on Castro as merely "divided." Neither Mitchell nor Lauer bothered to mention critics of Castro often end up being imprisoned or worse.
Away visiting friends the last few days, I've been using GoToMyPC.com to access the video-capture capabilities of my home desktop. While it works well [unpaid testimonial] and lets me view the video once I've moved it to an editing board, for some reason while tuning in live to a show, the screen-within-a-screen is black. Thus, in "watching" Today this morning live, I could only hear, but not see, the segment on last night's Dem debate in New Hampshire.
But the ears-only experience was actually edifying. It permitted me to focus entirely on Hillary's voice, undistracted by her image. It's no revelation to say that Clinton's tone is anything but mellifluous. And though this was not Hillary at her nails-on-chalkboard worst, even so one can imagine Americans sitting at home asking themselves "do I want to listen to this for the next four years?" The clip I've provided includes three instances of Hillary speaking seriously on various issues. What's worse in some ways, is that it is followed by two instances of Clinton laughter. There is something about her forced giggle that is every bit as grating as Hillary in hectoring mode. Judge for yourself.
In April, NewsBusters commended HBO for actually having a balanced panel on “Real Time”: “Maher ought to try this format of having two liberals (including himself) and two conservatives more often, for a much more balanced discussion ensued than normal, making for one of the most interesting 'Real Times' of the season so far.”
For a change, Tim Russert employed the same strategy on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” inviting on Democrat strategists James Carville and Bob Shrum, and Republican strategists Mary Matalin and Mike Murphy.
What ensued was an absolutely marvelous discussion largely centering on presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle without the normal vitriol and inflammatory rhetoric we observe when there are either only liberals on the panel or a sole conservative.
At least for the time being, the MSM seems stymied in finding an angle with which to take on the prospective candidacy of Fred Thompson. The MSM found it easy to tag each of the other frontrunners with a negative narrative: Romney the flip-flopping Mormon, Giuliani the social liberal with a dodgy personal past, McCain-the-aged, out of touch with the base on immigration and taxes.
The dilemma was apparent on this morning's "Today." After an anodyne set-up piece by Kelly O'Donnell, it was time for analysis in a segment hosted by Campbell Brown. You would normally expect the guest in these situations to be Tim Russert or Chris Matthews. If ever a conservative were to be on, you could be virtually certain that he would be balanced by a liberal. But, lo and behold, there was Stephen Hayes, who has a major piece on Thompson in the Weekly Standard. And nary a James Carville or facsimile thereof in sight. Nor were Brown's questions of the accentuating-the-negative variety. Among Hayes's observations:
This is something that must truly be seen to be believed. "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith concluded an interview with former Vice President Al Gore by attempting to pin a Gore ‘08 button on the politician. Why stop there, Harry? Why not slap a bumper sticker across your suit? (Be sure and check out the NB video clip.)
Sometimes the media make it very clear what they would like you to believe. On Tuesday’s "Today" show, various NBC reporters described senatorial candidate and former liberal radio host Al Franken, as "smart," "Harvard smart" and a "smart guy." Now, try and imagine if Ann Coulter ran for elected office. Think Meredith Vieira would laud her intellect?
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program featured an extensive segment on the root causes of why Rosie O’Donnell left "The View." They covered every angle of the story. Well, except for the fact that the comedienne insinuated that American troops are terrorists.
In the MSM world of NBC, the only "rights" groups are liberal ones. And Supreme Court justices, at least women ones, are there to serve as advocates for their sex.
That was evident from the segment "Today" ran this morning, focusing on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The gist was that with Sandra Day O'Connor gone, it's a lonely struggle for Ginsburg as the high court's sole woman. "Today" portrayed that struggle not between liberals and conservatives, but between conservatives and various "rights" groups.
Campbell Brown introduced the segment.
'TODAY' WEEKEND TODAY CO-HOST CAMPELL BROWN: One thing as clear as the Court moves into its final weeks of the current session, it is much different place with just one female place among nine high court justices."
(14:50 EDT) Video of Tim Russert misspelling "Iraq" at bottom of post.
When California homeschooler Evan O’Dorney, 13, won the National
Spelling Bee on Thursday night, the nation’s press reacted with a yawn.
of focusing on the winner, The New York Times ran a story about an
immigrant from India who lost in the second round of the competition.
That boy, Kunal Sah, 12, who is living in Utah, had hoped a victory
would secure his family’s legal status in the United States. Thus, the
Times managed to use the National Spelling Bee as one more forum for
pushing the plight of immigrants.
Not until the middle of the story
did The Times get around to announcing the winner, noting only his name
and hometown and the fact that the AP reported his victory.
If George W. Bush had gone to law school and later flunked the bar exam, you can imagine that fact would have become a virtual part of his name in the MSM, as in "George Bush, who failed the bar exam, today criticized a law that . . ."
But it came as news to me when Carl Bernstein mentioned on this morning's "Today" that Hillary flunked the Washington, DC bar exam back in the '70s. OK, I'm not the most knowledegable guy, and the fact of Hillary's failure is not news -- after years of hiding the embarrassment, she revealed it, en passant, in her ghostwritten 2003 "autobiography." Note: according to that book, during the same period Hillary took and passed the Arkansas bar exam. The pass rate in Arkansas was considerably higher than in DC.
On Thursday, all three network morning shows covered the announcement that former Senator Fred Thompson would be entering the 2008 race for the White House. And while CBS downplayed the news and NBC’s Chris Matthews wondered if Thompson "has the stuff" to run for the White House, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was the only individual to introduce what will apparently be a new Democratic talking point. Appearing on "Good Morning America," the "This Week" anchor claimed Thompson "can also expect questions about his one term in the Senate, whether it’s a thin record or not.Democrats are already raising questions about that."
Who would those Democrats be? Will Barack Obama, who, until 2004 was an Illinois state senator, broach the issue? Or perhaps Hillary Clinton, who only gained her Senate seat in 2000, will bring up the subject of experience. Thompson, despite Stephanopoulos’ claims, was not a one term Senator. He won a special election in 1994 and a full term in 1996. He served longer than both those candidates and also Republicans such as Mitt Romney, who can claim just one term as governor of Massachusetts. Perhaps Obama and Clinton assume that the media will simply ignore such facts.
Now, a week later, a press release from the Media Research Center answered the question:
To their credit, CNN and Fox News Channel ran stories on the declassified material. Yet nine days since the material was released, neither ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times nor The Washington Post has run a story with the photos of this shocking evidence of al-Qaeda’s barbarism.
MRC President Brent Bozell issued the following statement regarding this matter:
If there was one thing the 'Today' show wanted its viewers to know about comedian, turned failed Air America radio host, turned Senate candidate, Al Franken, it's that he's really "smart." Profiling his Minnesota Senate seat run, the Today show cast went out of their way to prove the Saturday Night Live alum's candidacy was serious by emphasizing Franken was, indeed, "smart."
Not once, not twice, but three times this morning's Today tagged Franken with the "smart" label. First up, 'Today' co-host Meredith Vieira, in her tease of the upcoming Franken piece proclaimed of the creator of Stuart Smalley: "He's a smart guy!" Then later, Franken impressed Today's national correspondent Jamie Gangel with his smartness as he doodled a map of the U.S. from memory:
Jamie Gangel: "What some people may not know, Franken is smart, Harvard smart. A math whiz who aced the SATs and it turns out not bad at geography, either."
Al Franken doodling: "It's a circus trick. I can draw all 48 contiguous states from memory in about two minutes."
Is Barack Obama really running for president, or is he not-so-subtly positioning himself to be Hillary's running mate? I seemed to sense that 'subliminable' message on 'Today' this morning. At about 7:10 am EDT, the NBC show kicked off its "Today on the Trail" series, which will join the leading presidential contenders out on the campaign trail, with a feature on Obama. Meredith Vieira spent time with Obama in New Hampshire over the weekend.
Most of the exchanges were predictable: Obama countered suggestions of a lack of experience by positioning himself as an outside-the-beltway candidate. He claimed that "retail" politicking -- talking with voters one-on-one -- was the most enjoyable aspect of the campaign. He let people at one campaign stop know that in deciding whether to run, he "prayed on it," then asked his wife.
But there was one moment that deviated from the typical script of someone considered to have a realistic shot at winning a nomination.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA [D-IL]: It may be at the end of this thing people conclude 'you know, it's not Barack,' and that's OK.
It’s been a full 48 hours since antiwar icon Cindy Sheehan publicly announced that she was leaving the Democrat Party due to Thursday’s bipartisan agreement on an Iraq war funding bill.
Yet, Google News and LexisNexis searches have identified that not one major media outlet has covered her announcement.
Given the media’s fascination with this woman since she traveled to Crawford, Texas, in August 2005 to picket near President Bush’s ranch, one must wonder why they have abandoned her now?
Does this suggest that the media’s antiwar proclivities are only important when they shed a negative light on the Administration and Republicans, but not when events such as this speak poorly about Democrats?
Before you answer, consider the following data. Since August 1, 2005:
Katie Couric may be many things (don’t call her perky), but she’s not subtle. The "CBS Evening News" anchor touted a new special on Walter Cronkite, a journalist who "stood up to the Commander in Chief" during an "unpopular war."
Former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, now the anchor of ABC’s "This Week," took time out of his interview with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to muse with the Democrat over what it would be like to stand at the House podium behind the first female President. Hmm, who might that be?
In case you somehow missed it elsewhere, NewsBusters has the complete transcript (and video) of the O’Donnell/Hasselbeck dust-up. Thrill as Rosie, who says the media portrays her as a "fat," "loud lesbian," faced off against the feisty token conservative. On Friday, the MRC's Justin McCarthy reported that O'Donnell will not be returning for her contract's final three weeks.
In fact, from what I can tell by looking at LexisNexis, Google News, and closed-captioning dumps, the only media outlet in the nation that covered this story was Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes.”
This is despite the fact that the Drudge Report broke the story at 10:27AM eastern time Thursday.
What’s potentially even more shocking is that all three network evening news broadcasts began with reports out of Iraq. For instance, here’s how CBS’ Katie Couric began Thursday’s “Evening News” (from closed-captioning):
You're Hillary Clinton [work with me here] tuning into "Today" the morning after you've voted against funding the Iraq war . What's the one image you dread seeing pop up? But there it was.
This isn't shaping up as Hillary's favorite day. As the Washington Post reports here, two books about Clinton have hit the shelves, and neither paint a flattering portrait of the former First Lady. What's more, Hillary won't be able to blame this one on the VRWC. The authors are, respectively, the very lefty Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, and a pair of New York Times reporters.
But while the Hillary camp is surely less than thrilled about those books, my sense is that in the long run, her candidacy has more to fear from being stuck with the dreaded Kerry flip-flop label. Imagine the paroxysms of pain for the Hillary camp while watching this morning's "Today." Discussing Hillary's 'no' vote on Iraq funding, the NBC show broke out the dreaded footage of Kerry's "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
On Thursday’s morning shows, all three networks covered the dust-up between Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck on "The View," but only ABC’s "Good Morning America" framed the shouting match as "a debate that is playing out over kitchen tables across the country."
Really? Americans are having spirited discussions during supper over "who are the terrorists?" Because that’s what "The View" co-hosts were debating, Ms. O’Donnell’s insinuations that the U.S. is responsible for the deaths of Iraqi civilians and, therefore, an enabler of terrorism, at the very least.
GMA co-host Robin Roberts began the May 24 segment by asserting that O’Donnell’s over-the-top comments had larger implications:
If you were planning on a backyard barbeque this Memorial Day weekend, the media want you to cancel it. Unless of course, boiled tofu is on the menu.
Grilling, steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, not to mention most of the other fixins’ are just too bad for you or the environment according to journalists.
We can’t broil and grill anymore?” replied “Today” co-host Ann Curry after a nutritionist said grilling is dangerous. She was talking to Joy Bauer, who said people need to avoid salty foods, grilling, frying and whole milk dairy products.
NBC's Matt Lauer spared no punches when he interviewed John Edwards on this morning's Today show, trouble is they were mostly left jabs. After a David Gregory report on the war funding bill, the Today co-host didn't waste any time launching into Edwards as he demanded to know why his fellow Democrats had to "cave-in."
Lauer: "David calls it a compromise, whatever we call it, let's talk about this deal that was struck in Congress. They, basically, the supplemental funding bill has 18 benchmarks the Iraqis have to hit on political progress, security, economic progress. Reports from the White House to Congress, July 15th, September 15th. But, and this is a big but, the headline here is no deadline for U.S. troops. Why did the Democrats cave-in?"
You don't believe me?! I thought you wouldn't. See screencaps below the fold. By comparison, the late Jerry Falwell, whose funeral was today, came in at only #10.
Keep in mind the trend doesn't mean Phillips is the hottest search on the Web, just the "fastest-rising." According to Google:
With Hot Trends, you can see a snapshot of what's on the public's
collective mind by viewing the fastest-rising searches for different
points of time. You can see a list of the current top 100 fastest
rising search queries in the U.S.
Last night the rhetorical attack on Avandia was fierce.
"We're starting with a story that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans because a new study out today says a drug they take increases their chances of having a heart attack and dying," warned CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.
The Today show’s very belated attack on Rush Limbaugh on Monday, complete with Hillary’s minions comparing the hilarious Al Sharpton parody to a "minstrel show" (complete with blackface film clip), reminds me: how did NBC cover the last blackface controversy? That would be leftist blogger Jane Hamsher Photo-shopping Joe Lieberman in blackface on The Huffington Post last August 2 as she claimed he was an "integral part of the GOP’s bully machine for the last six years."
NBC didn’t. A Nexis search for terms like "minstrel show" and "blackface" found no mention of the blogger who stepped over the line. On the August 6 edition of Meet the Press, in a segment featuring Lanny Davis for Lieberman and Jim (brother of Howard) Dean for Ned Lamont, host Tim Russert ended with a very weak tip to the bloggers in that race: