NewsBusters and affiliate The Business & Media Institute have been reporting for many months the continuous, bearish assessments of economic gloom and doom by America's press.
Of course, this all comes despite 24 straight quarters of Gross Domestic Product growth, 50 consecutive months of job gains, higher wages for virtually all Americans, and last month's consumer spending explosion.
Ignoring all this Sunday morning were panelists on "The Chris Matthews Show" who demonstrated such a deplorable lack of economic acumen that maybe they shouldn't be allowed to comment on such matters when cameras and microphones are on.
Nothing is deadlier to a campaign than a rumor that a candidate might be dropping out. But NBC has seen fit to suggest that Rudy Giuliani might be withdrawing from the presidential race based on what it itself calls "speculation" in the blogosphere.
NBC Nightly News weekend anchor Lester Holt interviewed John Harwood on this evening's edition.
LESTER HOLT: Let's turn to Rudy Giuliani. He's had a health scare, he's had a drop in the polls. You've seen it in the blogosphere: a lot of speculation as to whether he'll stay in this race. What do you think?
When David Gregory grilled Hillary Clinton on Today on December 17th, the challenges to her came from his own mouth. Not once was a statement by Barack Obama used to confront Clinton.
But when Barack Obama made back-to-back appearances this morning on Today and Morning Joe, again and again tough questions were posed not in the first person but as coming from Hillary Clinton or her surrogates.
Discussing the controversy surrounding his latest campaign ad and the broader issue of his invocation of religion in his political campaign, the normally good-natured Mike Huckabee turned . . . cross on this morning's Today. And while contending he wanted to promote a kinder tone at this time of year, the candidate came prepared to take some pointed shots at Mitt Romney.
Time magazine has named liberal icon Al Gore runner-up for 2007's Person of the Year, second only to the winner, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Richard Stengel, the publication's managing editor, appeared on Wednesday's edition of the "Today" show to announce the decision. Stengel, the man responsible for the final decision, also showed up on Monday's program and toyed with the possibility of choosing Gore, saying he'd be a "superb choice."
[Updated with transcript: December 19, 2007- 10:53 -0500]
Today co-host Meredith Vieira seemed shocked at the decision. Upon hearing the news that Gore had not won Time's prize, she stumbled, "Oh! He wasn't -- oh, interesting." In 2007, Stengel's news magazine repeatedly gushed over Gore. In May, Time writer Eric Pooley lamented the 2000 candidate's decision not to enter the current presidential race and lovingly labeled him a "improbably charismatic, Academy Award–winning, Nobel Prize–nominated environmental prophet."
As Eat the Press has reported, NBC Nightly News has a famous new voice pitching Brian Williams at the program's introduction every night. It’s the actor Michael Douglas, best known as Aaron Sorkin’s liberal "American President" and as the evil Gordon Gekko character in the Oliver Stone Decade of Greed movie "Wall Street."
Douglas announces: "From NBC News world headquarters in New York, this is NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams."
It seemed a little under modulated on Debut Night, or maybe it just doesn’t match up to the James Earl Jones "This....is CNN" sonorous standard. But it’s easy to remember how much all the networks loved the Gordon Gekko line to sum up those greed-head Ronald Reagan 1980s, as we wrote in our newsletter at the time:
Imagine for a moment that the FBI raided televangelist Pat Robertson's office for any reason whatsoever, much less say his 1988 presidential campaign. It'd be a story in the broadcast evening news programs, right?
So why the utter lack of interest in the December 12 federal probe into Al Sharpton's 2004 campaign? A review of Nexis for ABC, NBC, and CBS network news stories for December 12-18 yielded nothing on a December 13 FBI raid.
Here's an excerpt from the AP's reporting from December 13:
Is Hillary Clinton's campaign still communicating with Billy Shaheen? And does Hillary still consider Obama's youthful drug use a relevant campaign issue? Clinton wouldn't say this morning. Hillary sandwiched her evasions between two moments of mirth and hilarity on today's Morning Joe.
Earlier in the morning, Hillary began her Today interview with David Gregory with a smile. Perhaps it was an intervening cup or two of strong coffee, but by the time she chatted with the Morning Joe crowd a bit later, Clinton was downright manic. Hillary was in full cackle as she attempted to laugh off her slippage in the polls. She ended the interview with some guffaws about the trials of waking up early on the campaign trail.
But in between, when it was Mika Brzezinski's turn to ask about continued communication between her campaign and Billy Shaheen, and the relevance of his allegations to the campaign, Hillary turned suddenly grim-faced [see image below] and evasive.
Time magazine's managing editor hinted on Monday's "Today" show that Al Gore would be a "superb choice" for recipient of the publication's 2007 Person of the Year award. Richard Stengel agreed with co-host Meredith Vieira that the former vice president was on the "short list" and extolled, "He's had an extraordinary year. He's had an extraordinary influence. There was a real tipping point this year in terms of people being conscious of the environment. So, he would be a superb choice."
On Time's website, the magazine is currently ranking the potential of the seven "short list" candidates. Each person receives a pro and con as to why that individual might or might not win. And while General David Petraeus's "con" is that he can be seen as "excessively protective" of President Bush, Gore's negative is simply that much of his "green works" was completed in 2006. However, the "pro" touted impact: "The Nobel Prize ensures that a generation of children will envision his face while being scolded for leaving a room without turning off the lights." The winner of Time's "Person of the Year" will be announced live on Wednesday's "Today."
Clinton began her Today interview with David Gregory with the radiant smile on display here. But it wasn't long before an irate Hillary was demanding "no, wait a minute" when things didn't go to her liking.
That's what a few minutes of serious Gregory grilling did to Clinton this morning. It was by far the most intense -- dare-I-say aggressive -- examination of Clinton I've seen this campaign season.
Throughout, Hillary clung as if to a life preserver to the endorsement she received from the Des Moines Register, whose editor is that same mirthless Carolyn Washburn who moderated the past week's debates. Strict School Marms of the World, Unite!
But Gregory kicked off his questioning by discounting the endorsement's value and things went downhill from there. Add the rough ride Gregory gave Clinton to the battering she took yesterday as noted here, here and here, and it's hard to escape the conclusion that the MSM has had it with Hillary.
As NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein reported, Sunday's "This Week" wasn't a good omen for Hillary Clinton or her supporters.
Fortunately, for those of us that enjoy Hillary bashing as much as a Gershwin tune (how 'bout you?), dessert was served on "The Chris Matthews Show" as panelists including Dan Rather, Norah O'Donnell, Katty Kay, and Andrew Sullivan gave conservatives an early Clinton kicking Christmas present to savor.
Is this still payback for Bill and Hillary chastising Tim Russert for his behavior during October's debate in Philadelphia? Maybe more important, have press members decided that if they continue to pile on the supposedly inevitable one, the Democrats' only chance in 2008 is if Mike Huckabee is the Republican nominee?
Before we get there, here are some marvelous examples of Hillary bashing from seemingly unlikely sources to brighten your day:
Last week, NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens introduced readers to Maureen Faulkner, the wife of a Philadelphia police officer killed in 1981 by former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal.
As Dickens reported, Faulkner was rudely treated by NBC's Matt Lauer on last Thursday's "Today" show as the host seemed to take the side of Mumia supporters who to this day avow his innocence.
One week later, Faulkner was WOR radio host Steve Malzberg's guest, and took the opportunity to not only air her feelings about Lauer's performance, but also to address a reporter that spit on her leg outside of a courtroom in 1982, as well as others that shouted things out at her like "We're glad your pig husband is dead."
After an introduction and some background, Malzberg asked his guest (eleven-minute audio available here):
Last week, I noted here that two of Time's Top 10 Editorial Cartoons of 2007, including it's # 1 pick, took shots at the Vice-President. This morning, two Time editors turned up on the Today show to discuss more picks from Time's collection of 50 Top 10 lists. And speaking of taking shots . . . .
Today weekend anchor Amy Robach's guest was Time's Arts & Entertainment Editor Belinda Luscombe [pictured below]. After discussing the Top Song of the year ["Rehab" by defiant druggy Amy Winehouse] and Top Gadget [iPhone], talk turned to the Top Magazine Cover.
Is the MSM deciding that Hillary is irreparably-damaged goods and that it's time to move on to a Dem with a better shot at winning the White House? You might think so after the Today show's dismemberment of the Clinton campaign this morning.
Andrea Mitchell kicked things off with sharp stiletto heel.
When asked, by NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Thursday's "Today" show how the Hillary Clinton campaign can stop their current slide, Chris Matthews urged Clinton to remind voters that she really does care about the little guy as he declared that the Clintons: "Care about the regular person in this country, the regular middle-working class family with all their problems of health care and raising their kids. Hillary Clinton, especially, cares about those things. It's obvious she does. It's not a fraud."
The following is all of Matthews' strategic advice to the Clinton campaign, as he offered it on the December 13 edition of the "Today" show:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: On Hillary's side you have her husband Bill Clinton, who is very frustrated with the way the campaign is going. What can he do, right now, to help her turn things around? Is there anything he can do?
Claiming that someone is less popular than venereal disease is a quintessential hit below the belt. So if you were counseling a candidate to hit her opponent above the belt, the last person you'd suggest she hire is a guy who just compared someone to an STD . . . unless you're Chris Matthews.
Matthews's advice to Hillary Clinton is to hit Obama above the belt . . . by bringing in Paul Begala, the man who just this week used the VD comparison to slur President Bush.
The Hardball host was a guest on this morning's Today.
As a global warming skeptic, when I saw the headline "The Pope Condemns the Climate Change Prophets of Doom," it goes without saying I was as pleased as a child on Christmas Day that had gotten everything he asked Santa for and then some.
My glee accelerated after reading the marvelous beginning of this Daily Mail article (paragraph break removed for space considerations):
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology. The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.
See why I was so thrilled?
Unfortunately, as I reviewed the text of the Pontiff's message, defeat was stripped from the jaws of victory upon realizing the Mail's author had divined intent that might have been absent from the Pope's words:
Brian Williams Veteran journalist who became anchor of NBC Nightly News in 2004, replacing Tom Brokaw.
My nominee for 2007 Person of the Year is a woman--a woman with a history of abuse, a woman who has never run for elective office, someone we all know, someone who makes her presence known on a daily basis in all our lives and, for my money, is better than any male alternative. That woman is Mother Earth. I think the environment is the compelling issue of our time.
Yes, Time really felt the need to inform readers that Williams anchors the "Nightly News," although he's done so for three years now.
Better stow all potables and sharp objects, for the ratings of America's top four broadcast networks are so bad that one is giving refunds to advertisers while the other three are offering what is known in the industry as "make-goods."
Even better, the problem began before the writers strike.
Honestly, you can't make this stuff up.
As deliciously reported by Reuters moments ago (emphasis added):
Under some fire for pounding Rudy Giuliani on Sunday’s Meet the Press with questions about a New York City security detail for his mistress, and whether it would be "appropriate" for a president to provide Secret Service protection for his mistress, Tim Russert hit NBC and MSNBC on Monday morning to defend himself and suggest that it’s essential we know what skeletons presidential candidates have in their past. But did Russert ever ask Bill Clinton about Secret Service protection for his mistresses? Russert’s interviews with Bill Clinton (especially lately) are classified under C for Chummy. Here are Russert’s mistress questions to Giuliani, followed by his defenses on Monday:
The world of entertainment is in a world of hurt. With the massive diversification of entertainment offerings these days, older forms of media -- like movies, TV and newspapers -- are finding a dwindling number of customers as NBC is finding out this month. NBC has found itself in the lamentable position of giving their advertisers refunds because of poor performance in its ratings. The promised number of eyes that NBC promised that advertisers would reach didn't materialize, so NBC has to refund their advertisers for the over estimate of viewers that might see the ads placed on their airwaves. Of course, NBC is trying to keep a lid on this damaging story, but the Genie is out of that bottle. We can surely say that the network's News arms ain't helpin' sales a whole lot, in any case!
The Associated Press is reporting a second Hillary Clinton campaign volunteer has been shown the door for furthering rumors about rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) being a "Muslim possibly intent on destroying the United States.":
The Clinton campaign has decried the rumors as offensive and outrageous, and last week forced volunteer Jones County coordinator Judy Rose to resign after learning that she forwarded a such an e-mail on Nov. 21. But it turns out Rose wasn't the only one.
Linda Olson, a volunteer coordinator in Iowa County, had forwarded a similar version on Oct. 5, without comment, to 11 people. One of the recipients was Ben Young, a regional field director for Democrat Chris Dodd's campaign, who provided a copy to The Associated Press on Sunday.
As NewsBusters editor Brent Baker noted in an October 31 post, NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams tossed Obama a softball at an interview on the matter of the Illinois Democrat being subtly "swift-boated" about his religion.
Williams hinted that Republicans were most likely to unfairly smear Obama, but given the fact that TWO Hillary Clinton workers have been given the boot thus far, what are the chances Williams will apply the left-wing "swift-boating" canard to Hillary Clinton? (emphasis mine):
Looking to head off even more controversy, NBC announced Saturday that it has reversed its decision to not show ads supporting the troops during the holidays.
Yet, that didn't seem to please the Associated Press which in its article concerning this u-turn chose to depict Freedom's Watch as "a group backed by wealthy Republican fundraisers" that is "critical of liberals."
Was this the appropriate moment to so categorize this organization? If the situation was somewhat reversed, would the AP have characterized MoveOn.org or Media Matters for America as a group backed by wealthy Democrat fundraisers that is critical of conservatives?
Before we get there, AP reported Saturday (emphasis added throughout):
As NewsBusters reported Friday, television network NBC has decided not to run ads thanking and supporting America's troops stationed overseas during the holidays.
*****Update: Drudge is reporting that NBC has capitulated due to "pressure from outraged viewers." Stay tuned...
The sticking point according to NBC's head of standards and policies Alan Wurtzel was that Freedom's Watch "insisted that the spot contain the URL address of its Web site."
Yet, such didn't seem to be a problem a few years ago when MoveOn.org created an antiwar ad entitled "How Many More" that, according to the organization's website, ran during NBC's "Today" show (video available here, h/t NB reader Blair Lovern):
The mainstream media have been fawning over the atheist inspired film "The Goldan Compass" and ignoring the fact that the author (upon which the movie is based), Phillip Pullman, has bragged about killing God in his novels. Well, according to CNN, the real focus should be on the fact that the film raises "awareness" about the plight of polar bears. No, really.
In 2007, ABC's investigative reporter Brian Ross has provided hard-hitting looks at Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani. He's focused only one such segment on a Democrat, Hillary Clinton. And, unsurprisingly, each of his investigations into a GOP candidate has been accompanied by snarky, sarcastic comments.
When the widow of the slain police officer killed by Mumia Abu-Jamal appeared on the Thursday "Today" show to promote her new book, NBC's Matt Lauer seemed to take up the cause of the convicted cop killer as he asked Maureen Faulkner mostly skeptical questions like: "Do you ever allow yourself to consider the fact that perhaps he didn't do this?"
Appearing on the December 6, "Today" show, Faulkner, along with her co-author, conservative radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, were subjected to questions about the legitimacy of Abu-Jamal's guilt by the "Today" show host. Lauer repeatedly aired claims from the Abu-Jamal defense team as he displayed new photos meant to prove Abu-Jamal's innocence, repeated charges that Smerconish was helping Faulkner for "personal gain" and even took time out to show pro-Mumia supporters in the "Today" show crowd:
It must be wonderful to be a Democrat and know that your indiscretions are very unlikely to get much attention by media minions only willing to cover the crimes and shortcomings of folks on the opposite side of the aisle.
Take for example James Michael McHaney, an aide to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) who NewsBusters reported had been arrested last Friday for trying to lure a thirteen-year-old boy into a sexual encounter.
Not only did this get buried on Friday so as likely not to take focus away from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) looking regal and presidential during that day's hostage crisis in New Hampshire, but also once the Associated Press deigned to actually inform subscribers on Monday that something potentially nefarious had occurred, press outlets either continued to ignore the subject, or buried it nicely so that precious few would be made aware of it.
On the television side, according to LexisNexis, the only outlet which felt this newsworthy was CNN which aired its only report on this matter during the 6:00 AM EST "American Morning" Tuesday: