Over the weekend, poor and biased media reporting, dysfunctional politics, blindly ambitious activism, and economic ignorance fed on each other to produce a phenomenally false narrative that went out to hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. The result not only doesn't pass the smell test; it fails the stench test from a mile away.
The first origins of the activist narrative burst forth during Friday's PBS News Hour, when the network's Betty Ann Bowser opened her report on health care costs with two sentences that belong in the Sloppy Statement Hall of Shame (bold is mine):
Health care spending devoured 17 percent of the entire economy last year, about $2.5 trillion. That's the biggest one-year growth since record-keeping began in 1960, according to projections from the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, this week.
If you don't mind my asking -- What exactly is the "that" to which Ms. Bowser referred?
But what does it mean, to replace capitalism with democracy? He sighs and tries to explain. In the old Soviet bloc, he says, communism was the political system and socialism the economic. But with capitalism, he complains, you get political and economic rolled in to one. Big business buys votes in Congress. Lobbyists write laws. The result is that the US political system is awash in capitalist money that has stripped the system of much of its democratic accountability.
On Monday’s Charlie Rose show on PBS, during a discussion of how the Obama administration might change course after the Democratic party’s loss of the Massachusetts Senate race, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham argued that President Obama has so far pursued “centrist” policies, even claiming that the bailouts could be described as “center right.” After the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut argued that, at the White House, they are not yet sure which ideological direction they will head next, prompting host Charlie Rose to ask whether they would move “to the center,” Meacham seemed to bristle as he insisted that President Obama is already “in the center,” and scoffed at Tea Party activists:
Want government to fund public media? Then PBS has a place for you. If you back giving news organizations tens of billions of dollars, that's good for nearly 25 minutes of air-time.
That's how the PBS weekly newsmagazine "NOW" addressed a left-wing solution to the decline of the news industry. On Jan. 15, "NOW," welcomed the founders of the left-wing media think tank Free Press - John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney - to tell how tax dollars can be the key component of "Saving American Journalism."
The duo recommended the United States pay $30 billion a year to fund media, what Nichols called a "pretty sane number." "This is sort of the number a free society pays to have credible journalism," he argued.
Driving through Chick-fil-A to get a kid’s meal for my daughter today, the "toy" that came with the chicken nuggets was a CD-Rom from the public-TV kids’ show Between the Lions. The logos for Boston PBS superstation WGBH and Mississippi Public Broadcasting were right on the CD case.
This underlines how blurry the line is between public television and private-sector merchandising. On Thursday, Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes reported from Pasadena that "PBS President Paula Kerger opened her Q&A at Winter TV Press Tour 2010 by blasting commercial broadcasters" for failing to educate children.
DeMoraes was skeptical enough to include how the PBS boss actually faced challenging questions from a troublesome "critic" on the incessant merchandising of public-broadcasting kids’ shows like Sesame Street (once estimated by the Licensing Letter to offer 1,000 licensed products.) This is terrific:
On Friday night’s Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Moyers ran anti-Obama clips from conservative talk show hosts and marveled that anyone would believe them, when they were responsible for what he called the "Decade of Conservative Failure." Moyers’ guest, leftist Wall Street Journal columnist Thomas Frank, cracked wise: "That is America for you. That is the demented logic of our politics."
Frank suggested (and not in a good way) that America is "pretty much unique" in having such a strong belief in free markets, or as Frank put it, half a political system "dedicated to the destruction of the government." Frank bizarrely claimed Democrats never stick up for the government, and need to explain that the present health-care bills are "a way of growing our freedom."
Moyers ran a montage of talk show hosts he can’t stand at the beginning, which was the closest the one-sided PBS showcase came to an opposing viewpoint:
MOYERS: How is it that the people who are responsible for the mess Obama inherited are getting away with demonizing him when he’s only had less than a year to clean it up? Let me show you just a sample of right-wing commentators railing against the president.
Here is the latest episode of NewsBusters’ Notables Quotables show, featuring the liberal media’s most outrageous sound bites.
In this week’s episode we have Chris Matthews wondering what’s wrong with a quick phone call to terrorists, Matt Lauer worried about America getting a big head, and Actor Scott Wolf revealing the inspiration behind his role as a sell-out journalist in a new TV series.
Enjoy the show and to see current and past episodes in a larger format, visit the ‘Notable Quotables Show’ channel on the Media Research Center’s video sharing website, Eyeblast.
"Sesame Street" producers are getting criticized for a parody that suggested Fox News was "trashy," and the ombudsman for PBS says that the criticism is justified.
Foxnews.com reported that in a two-year old episode that was rebroadcast on October 29, Oscar the Grouch starts the Grouch News Network, or GNN. The skit later featured CNN’s Anderson Cooper filling in for Oscar as he chats with "Walter Cranky" and "Dan Rather-Not."
But when another green grouch Muppet caller decides that the news is not grouchy enough, she says she is changing the channel to Pox News. "I am changing the channel," the irate muppet says. "From now on, I am watching Pox News. Now there is a trashy news show."
PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, like many viewers, thought he heard "Fox" instead of "Pox," but regardless, he suggested it wasn’t classy to suggest Fox was "trashy" in front of the little ones:
If Democrats get a spanking at the polls today, it's not because American voters are trending conservative or are frustrated with the direction liberal Democrats are leading the country, but because the electorate's disdain for the former Bush administration has abated.
That according to liberal PBS "To the Contrary" host and U.S. News contributing editor Bonnie Erbe.
Barack Obama is just as much a woman-hater as the late conservative North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms in the wild eyes of radical abortion-mongering feminist and PBS "To the Contrary" host Bonnie Erbe.
And just why is Ms. Erbe so steamed at President Obama? Because, and I kid you not, the commander-in-chief doesn't shoot hoops with women.
The liberals inside the taxpayer-funded PBS sandbox know how to keep looking down their noses at their competitors in conservative talk radio and TV. Once again, on Friday night’s NewsHour, the supposedly opposing duo of Mark Shields and David Brooks offered their shared revulsion of any Republican spokesman to the right of Sen. Lindsey Graham.
It started when NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff asked their reaction to former Vice President Dick Cheney accusing Obama of "dithering" on Afghanistan. Sheields called Cheney a "gift." Brooks lamented that the Republicans lack leaders that sound exactly as moderate as he is:
I always wish it was John McCain or Lindsey Graham or somebody of that nature who was leading the charge.
The Republican Party has a terrible problem of who its spokespeople are. It tends not to be the best voices in the party. Lamar Alexander, senator from Tennessee, said he completely understood why Obama was taking his time to make this decision. And instead of those voices getting prominence, you get Dick Cheney, you get Rush Limbaugh, you get Glenn Beck. That's part of a larger problem.
The White House has berated Fox News for days now for purportedly pushing an agenda and calling it news. So Americans may have been surprised when, as reported by Noel Sheppard, Obama invited two of MSNBC's most divisive liberal pundits--Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow--to the White House for an off-the-record briefing.
As it turns out, Maddow and Olbermann were only two of the left's heavyweights at the briefing. Yesterday, TVNewser received from the White House a complete list of names. Virtually all of them have their histories of shilling for the administration or Democrats generally, and of bashing conservatives.
Let us review the colorful histories of these pundits, and the reader can decide whether they "have a perspective," in the words of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (in the context of a Fox News attack).
However, will they be so eager to echo the sentiment of David Brooks in the wake of President Barack Obama's Nobel Prize announcement? On PBS's Oct. 9 "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," the Times columnist had some disparaging words for Obama's award - despite a sentiment from some liberals that those who question it were somehow un-American.
"Well, my first reaction is he should have won all the prizes because he has given speeches about peace, but also he's give economic speeches. He wrote a book - that's literature. He has biological elements within his body. He could win that prize. He could have swept the whole prizes," Brooks said tongue-in-cheek before delivering the knock-out blow. "Now - it's sort of a joke."
With President Obama seeking to nationalize more and more private industry, Michael Moore promoting his latest socialist agit-prop and the left gleefully proclaiming the death of capitalism, a documentary special airing tonight offers a welcome antidote.
“The Power of the Poor with Hernando de Soto” airs Oct. 8 at 10:00 pm ET on PBS. Produced by Free to Choose Media and funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the documentary posits – and proves – a simple, powerful hypothesis: fair, unfettered access to the market economy will lift millions of the world’s people out of poverty and inoculate them against extremism.
The hour-long special is hosted by renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, the founder of Peru’s Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD) and an advocate for property rights. In the film, he takes viewers on a tour of shanty towns around Lima, Peru the likes of which can be found across the developing world.
In Peru during the 1970s and 80s, millions left subsistence agriculture behind and migrated to Peru’s cities. Across the developing world, the migration continues and major cities grow by hundreds of thousands of people each year. “The poor are no longer isolated,” de Soto said. “They are here, knocking at the door, demanding to be let in.”
These vast squatter communities that ring the cities in poor countries are teeming with what de Soto called “candidates for capitalism.” Indeed, they are already engaged in their own “extralegal” market activity. The economist estimated that 98 percent of all business done in Peru is extralegal, initiated by entrepreneurs who operate outside the official legal and commercial system.
The public-broadcasting-insider newspaper Current passed along a survey from The Chronicle of Philanthropy on executive compensation at large nonprofits in 2008. The salaries can be higher than the current presidential salary of $400,000 (and the current congressional salary of $174,000). The list includes national executives and leaders at large stations like WNET (New York), WETA (Washington), WTTW (Chicago), and KCET (Los Angeles.)
Former NPR C.E.O. Kenneth Stern, who departed in 2008, is atop the pubcasting list, receiving $1,319,541 as part of his four-year contract. Another former exec, PBS C.O.O. Wayne Godwin, who served from 2000 to 2008, was paid $398,063. Current PBS C.E.O. Paula Kerger, $534,500, up from $424,209 at end of fiscal 2007.
In the first few moments after Barack Obama's speech to Congress on Wednesday night, PBS anchor Jim Lehrer turned to his allegedly liberal vs. conservative duo of pundits, Mark Shields and David Brooks. Shields said the speech was terrific, the best speech of his presidency. Brooks said....the speech was terrific, the best speech of his presidency. Without a Bob Dole flourish about deficits, a viewer would scarcely know there was any difference in opinion.
Shields hailed how Obama had put down the "the slanders and libels" about ObamaCare, and the first words out of the mouth of Brooks? "I agree with Mark." He may not have agreed with the "libels" line, but he never objected to it. He found Obama's exploitation of Ted Kennedy "moving" and then said the center was Obama's "natural milieu." It's too bad conservatives don't seem to have a spokesman on the tax-funded network:
LEHRER: Now we have some reaction to what the president said from Mark Shields and David Brooks. Mark? First, your overview.
The Charlie Rose show on PBS was a natural place to get the warmest, most exaggerated praise for Ted Kennedy on the night after his death was announced, on August 26. Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of the networks’ favorite pundits, declared he was "an unparalleled giant in history." Rose said his record was a "towering, towering achievement, far beyond many presidents." Newsweek editor Jon Meacham was placing him in a tiny Senate Hall of Fame: "Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Ted Kennedy." After that, he said, a huge dropoff in talent.
Al Hunt was the strangest, but at least he began to realize his exaggeration was too implausible to continue: "He didn't demonize people at all. He demonized positions, but not people. Bob Bork might have been a rare exception of that."
That's the advice PBS host Bill Moyers had for President Barack Obama in an appearance on HBO's August 28 "Real Time with Bill Maher." According to the former press secretary for President Lyndon B. Johnson, a defeat on health care/health insurance reform would do the left more good than crafting some sort of compromise.
"I mean, I would rather see Barack Obama go down fighting for vigorous, strong principled public insurance, than to lose with a bill - look, BusinessWeek had a cover story last week, ‘The Insurers are Winning,'" Moyers said.
Not one to disappoint her fans at NewsBusters, PBS "To the Contrary" host and U.S. News & World Report contributing editor Bonnie Erbe again shot from the hip with factually-challenged anti-gun rights bluster in an August 18 blog post.
Watching CNN between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Monday, I was treated to the sight of a young man with an automatic weapon strapped to his back across the street from a presidential rally in Arizona. This is not the first time armed persons have appeared outside a building where the president is making an appearance.
Of course the man she is referring to, who identified himself to the media only by his first name "Chris," was carrying a semi-automatic AR-15, not an automatic weapon. Yet in the next paragraph, perhaps thinking automatic and semi-automatic are as interchangeable as the terms flammable and inflammable, Erbe described the AR-15 as a "semiautomatic mass killing machine":
With the Obama administration and their friends in the media denouncing the sometimes loud dissent that liberals are facing in town hall meetings on health care, it’s worth recalling how some of those same journalists celebrated the anti-Bush dissenters and denounced what they claimed was the Republican administration’s attempts to stifle dissent.
Back in 2006, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann attacked what he called President Bush’s “portable public chorus” (does President Obama have one of those?) For telling “those who dissent...[that] we are somehow un-American.” PBS’s Bill Moyers in 2003 found it “galling” to see “all those moralistic ideologues in Washington...attacking dissenters as un-American.”
In 2003, Olbermann saluted protests: “It is political dissent that created this country and sustained it and improved it.” But on Friday’s Countdown, Olbermann called the anti-Obama protests “societal sabotage,” determined that the grassroots groups are “fake” and insisted that “the protestors are not interested in hearing any voices other than their own.” (But the anti-Bush protesters were open-minded?)
NPR legal reporter Nina Totenberg criticized conservative opposition to socialized medicine on Friday’s edition of the talk-show Inside Washington, distributed to PBS stations. She suggested that Republican delays are "mischief-making," proclaimed "the misinformation on what’s in the bill is astonishing," and even suggested she was about to use a crude metaphor for the overwhelming power of insurers: "The insurance companies have – unless there’s a very aggressive regulator, they have – I was about to use an expression one shouldn’t use on television."
First, she complained that Republican leaders are obstructing progress on health care:
And the reason that the Gang of Six, so-called, in the Senate Finance Committee didn’t produce something is that the Republican leadership intervened and said ‘Don’t do this. Leave us August to do what we can do.’ You can call it mischief-making, you can call it obstructionism, you can call it constructive criticism, but that’s what happened.
From there, the longtime NPR star went on the attack against the overwhelming power of insurers. I’d guess she was going to say insurers have Americans by the family jewels:
In the world according to U.S. News & World Report contributing editor Bonnie Erbe, voyeuristic video of a female sportscaster primping naked in a hotel mirror is ultimately, in part, the blame of female sportscasters and sports fans.
In Erbe's July 27 blog post, the PBS "To the Contrary" host notes that she wishes "women would stop propping up men's sports" and that this type of a perverted incident would not happen "if women didn't attend NFL games or NBA games, or even watch them on TV to help drive up ratings."
Erbe adds that if they do this, "they would be doing more to stop men from behaving badly than they could ever do otherwise." By that logic, women should just stay out of anything that is predominantly male, in order to keep men from fantasizing and becoming perverts. Erbe went on to explain the popularity of the story on the Internet by explaining, without any awareness of the irony that:
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers unleashed his anger at Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio hosts on Friday night’s Bill Moyers Journal, suggesting they "scream like martyrs being stretched on the rack" about the alleged Fairness Doctrine and they "earn millions inciting riots in the public mind." Limbaugh played a clip and responded that it was laughable that Moyers would pose as a "paragon of virtue on fairness."
MOYERS: Ronald Reagan abolished the [Fairness] doctrine in 1987, but mention it today and the Rush Limbaughs of the world still scream like martyrs being stretched on the rack. These people earn millions inciting riots in the public mind. If they were required to be fair, they would soon be penniless, out on the street, cup in hand. So when we first telecast our report on the killings in Knoxville last year, some of them threw a tantrum, as if our criticism of their malicious rhetoric was a call for government censorship.
PBS’s Jim Lehrer forwarded several questions with a clear leftward tilt during an interview with President Obama on his Newshour program on Monday. He urged the executive to “crack heads” to get his health care plan passed, and inquired if “taxing the wealthy” was an option to fund it. Lehrer later pressed Mr. Obama on the “huge profits” being made by “big Wall Street banks.”
The PBS anchor led the interview with a sympathetic question on the president’s slipping poll numbers: “Mr. President, it must have been a little unpleasant for you to wake up this morning to see this headline: ‘Washington Post poll shows Obama slipping on key issues, approval rating on health care falls below 50 percent.’ What’s that mean?”
After the president’s initial answer, Lehrer went right to health care, and hinted that the Democrat’s “reform” plan should be passed with little to no congressional input: “As you know, a lot of the commentary over the weekend was that nothing’s going to happen, getting from here to the final hurdle here, unless you really start cracking some heads, and really say, ‘Hey, this is the Obama plan, this is what I want. So much for what this committee wants and that- what that committee wants. Here’s what I want, and I'm going to push and go.’ Are you ready to do that?”
Struggling to sell a "public option" of socialized medicine on America, the left needs demons. So here comes, right on time, the focus on all the "lies" that free-market "front groups" are pushing on the failures of nationalized health care in countries like Canada and Great Britain.
These leftists are shameless. Their intellectual dishonesty is boundless. One wonders if socialized medicine might include treatment for this condition.
A man named Wendell Potter was the star of the hour on PBS’s "Bill Moyers Journal" on July 10. Potter used to be a spokesman for the insurance giant Cigna. He painted a picture of gilded excess. "I was served my lunch by a flight attendant who brought my lunch on a gold-rimmed plate. And she handed me gold-plated silverware to eat it with." Sitting in a spacious corporate jet, he said he was overcome by guilt at the gap between his creature comforts and the health struggles of the poor and uninsured.
NPR’s Nina Totenberg apparently needs to brush up on her knowledge of judicial philosophy and American jurisprudence. On the July 13 edition of “Charlie Rose,” Totenberg told Charlie Rose that Supreme Court nominee Sonya Sotomayor has “a pretty conservative record.” There are many words and phrases that could be used to accurately describe Sotamayor: intelligent, successful, to name a few. But conservative?
Totenberg went on to tell Rose that Sotomayor’s record is “very much in the mainstream,” and that “you could say that she's more conservative than some members of the Supreme Court, including Justice Scalia, perhaps.” Judge Sotomayor’s decision to uphold the New Haven firefighter case, Ricci v. DeStefano, which was overruled by the High Court this May, and whose majority included all four of the “conservative” justices, clearly illustrates that Sotomayor is in no way, shape, or form a conservative.
Michael Jackson’s death offers a reminder that some old TV news encomiums were too gooey, even in their own time. On April 7, 1993 on PBS, MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour essayist Anne Taylor Fleming offered a tribute to Jackson as "The new-age Fred Astaire…an urban urchin with wings on his feet." Fleming was fixated more on the dancing: "I must confess that his singing has always seemed secondary to me, the leftover choirboy trying to rhapsodize about romance. It doesn’t ring right. It’s like Madonna trying to be soft and Monroe-like."
What followed became a Notable Quotable, where the liberal babble began:
If either of the two [Madonna or Michael Jackson] is the logical heir to Marilyn Monroe, it is clearly Michael Jackson, who is the more bruised and authentically vulnerable of the two....He doesn’t leave a single metaphor untouched. Not only is he black and white, male and female, but also young and old, hip and square, the crotch-grabbing self-appointed guardian angel of the world's children.
Months later, when allegations of child sexual abuse surfaced, Jackson was then compared to Ronald Reagan:
The Public Broadcasting Service recently announced it will not allow new religious programming on their taxpayer-subsidized airwaves. The handful of stations that have shown a Catholic Mass or Mormon devotions will be allowed to continue, but the other 300-plus stations have been instructed to avoid any kind of evangelism.
Welcome to Barack Obama’s new world order.
News reports explained that the PBS station services committee insisted on applying a 1985 rule that all PBS shows must be "noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian."
To everyone who’s watched a pledge drive or contemplated a toy store stuffed with "Sesame Street" toys, the idea that PBS is following any "noncommercial" policy is absurd.
To everyone who’s watched two minutes of "Bill Moyers Journal," with its panels unanimously screaming for Bush’s impeachment, or more recently, for a single-payer socialist health-care system, the idea of PBS being devoted to a "nonpartisan" stance is several miles removed from ridiculous.
On Friday, June 12, the PBS program Now (formerly hosted by Bill Moyers) devoted most of its half-hour to the complaints of late-term abortionists Warren Hern and LeRoy Carhart smearing the pro-life movement. Hern called it a "terrorist movement," and Carhart said despite the flood of pro-life group press releases denouncing George Tiller’s murder, the movement’s "heart was certainly with Scott Roeder on the day he shot Dr. Tiller."
The only outbreak of a pro-life viewpoint in Maria Hinojosa’s report (it ran more than 20 minutes) was a set of clips of Bill O’Reilly denouncing "Tiller the Baby Killer." (The screen on PBS very clearly read "Daily Kos TV.") Ken Bode, a former NBC and CNN reporter and PBS host now serving as an ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, praised this incredibly one-sided segment and agreed that O’Reilly is guilty of aiding terrorists: