Several months following the 2008 presidential election, most politics websites have experienced an expected downturn in monthly visitors. Most attribute the slower traffic to the inevitable short-term loss of interest in politics following such a major election. However, despite this reality, there is a bright spot for those of us on the right.
It seems that while visitors drop off they don't do so equally across the web. According to Simon Owens, the left is falling much harder and faster than their conservative counterparts:
My recent political blog traffic studies found that web traffic is down all across the board for all political blogs, but left-of-center sites have on average taken a much steeper hit (a 58% drop compared to the right's 36% fall).
And as they point out, many center-right web sites are weathering this traffic storm quite well. In fact Red State is seeing more visitors than they have in comparable times:
If the recession has been as hard on Madison Avenue as on other sectors, a lot of marketing types are probably free to watch daytime TV. And if marketing’s your game, that’s time well-spent. You can surf the kiddy shows and learn from the true masters of your art: environmentalists.
Their latest coup? Elmo, the most popular character on PBS’ “Sesame Street,” has gone “green.” Literally.
The environmental left has accomplished what marketers dream of: hooking consumers from a young age and creating customers-for-life.
What’s more, they’ve done it on the cheap. As CMI has documented, Nickelodeon’s “Big Green Help” gives valuable web resources, ad time and talent resources to getting kids to “pledge” to take carbon-reducing actions and to annoy their parents into taking them too. Just last week, Nick used valuable airtime during its “Kid’s Choice Awards” to bestow the “Big Green Help Award” on actor Leonardo DiCaprio (who’s probably as relevant to today’s 10-year-olds as Clark Gable).
Having already conquered the preteen market, and emboldened by evidence that it’s made important inroads with adolescents, the Gaia Conglomerate has scored the ultimate product placement victory – for free! The traditionally red Elmo was literally “turned green,” in a new “Sesame Street” DVD called “Being Green” to teach preschoolers about all environmental pieties.
Sure, PBS and the Sesame Workshop are likely candidates for environmental marketing. If you want to sell beer and salty snacks, go to ESPN. If you want to sell environmental awareness, you go to the one-worldy network with an audience of future community organizers. But getting Elmo on board is no less genius for all that.
PBS "To the Contrary" host, staunch feminist, and Pope-basherBonnie Erbe has now taken to preaching vegetarianism on the Thomas Jefferson Street blog at US News & World Report. Fortunately for everyone, Erbe wouldn't dream of joining vegan supermodels in skin-bearing protest. All the same, she threw out this ridiculous claim to Christian readers in a March 27 post:
Even if you believe in the Christian god, there is ample evidence that Jesus Christ was a vegetarian.
Of course, the Bible records that the resurrected Jesus not only ate but on one occasion personally prepared a tasty breakfast of broiled fish for his disciples. Perhaps that's why Erbe hedged her bets by adding:
Yesterday, in the process of passing on news that bloggers such as Ed Morrissey at Hot Air and outfits like the Heritage Foundation were onto earlier, Bloomberg's Kevin Hassett delivered a stinging indictment of the establishment media for being asleep at the switch (the sole exception appears to be a video report at PBS). But while he does a good job identifying the problem and indicting journalists for ignoring the news, his prescription for a solution is badly wanting.
The news? The days of Social Security surpluses are over, six to possibly eight years earlier than was thought to be the case just a year ago.
Here are excerpts from Hassett's commentary ("Recession Bites Into Social Security’s Surplus"). His first word reveals what he thinks of the nation's political elites, and of the media that are supposed to be watching them:
Erbe began by expressing her glee at the opportunity to write about this: “The controversy over Notre Dame University’s invitation to President Obama to deliver this year’s commencement address is too tempting for me not to join, so here goes.” Not to nitpick Bonnie, but you got the name of the institution wrong. Notre Dame University is in Lebanon. The Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana is the University of Notre Dame. The difference does matter.
Hell hath no fury like a feminist writer directing a hissy fit at the pope.
Bonnie Erbe -- the US News & World Report contributing editor and PBS "To the Contrary" host who argued that Bristol Palin is more "mature" than her abstinence education-advocating mother -- finds the pope "horrifically ignorant" when it comes to HIV/AIDS.
What exactly did the pontiff say that set Erbe off? Try, "AIDS cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms," hardly a controversial, implausible statement, but one that, to Erbe, showed the pope has "no sympathy" for women in Africa.
[Update: Erbe appears to be factually inaccurate, to say the least. Reader Tim Lindell passed on an L.A. Times article from last year noting that in a 2006 debate, Palin called herself "pro-contraception" and added that "kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues."]
With the writing style and gravitas worthy of a high school newspaper columnist, PBS "To the Contrary" host and US News & World Report columnist Bonnie Erbe slammed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her March 12 column, pitting her against her daughter Bristol who "displays a lot more personal maturity and decision-making ability than her mother" as evidenced by the breaking off of her engagement with boyfriend Levi Johnston.
Although Erbe is not a relationship expert or couples therapist, she plays one on the Internet (emphases mine):
[T]he youthful pair never looked like a loving couple. They looked like what they were: two sexually active teens who happened to "hook up" but had nothing beyond that in common. Besides, who wants to marry the son of a woman who's brought up on drug charges?
Taxpayer-subsidized journalist Bonnie Erbe has some advice for Democrats: use the 2010 Census and subsequent redistricting to your maximum advantage to gerrymander and "gender-mander" the Congress chock full of left-wing constituencies.
Depoliticize the Census? Surely they jest! Taking politics out of the Census is like taking milk out of the cow or coal out of Newcastle or diamonds out of Tiffany. Politics is the lifeblood of the Census—without politics, there is no Census.
The Census is part of the spoils of victory for whichever party controls the White House at the turn of each decade. Gerrymandering—using Census data to create voting districts that artificially lean toward one end of the political spectrum or the other—is as uniquely an American tradition as Thanksgiving. The thought of trying to depoliticize the census is, well, decidedly un-American.
Does the media show religious discrimination in their news judgment? The founder of a TV network devoted to improve the image of Muslims being charged in the beheading of his wife is not a story the major media have leaped on. On Friday, news broke that Muzzammil Hassan, founder and CEO of Bridges TV, was charged with murdering his wife Aasiya after she filed for divorce. After some Nexis research, here’s a listing of major media outlets that have yet to report it: ABC, NBC, NPR, the NewsHour on PBS, USA Today, and The Washington Post.
But on November 12, 1993, all these networks (including NPR) reported within hours on the charges made against Chicago's Catholic cardinal at the time, liberal-leaning Joseph Bernardin, by a 34-year-old AIDS patient, who had just "remembered" he was sexually abused 18 years after the alleged event, and wanted $10 million for his anguish. It led newscasts on CNN and NBC. Connie Chung's sensational introduction on the CBS Evening News typified media reaction: "The Roman Catholic Church in America was rocked today by charges of scandal against one of its most prominent leaders and reformers." (The accuser, Steven Cook, recanted the lawsuit in March of 1994.)
Updated: while the Nexis search showed no CBS story on the beheading, MRC's Kyle Drennen found a news report on Wednesday's Early Show.
During a segment on the “Reliable Sources” hour of CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, PBS’s Gwen Ifill and Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson agreed that it was fine for President Obama to call on Sam Stein of the Huffington Post at his first press conference, and that the correspondent’s left-wing question on a proposed “truth committee” investigation into the Bush administration was “perfectly reasonable.” Carlson also agreed with host Howard Kurtz’s assessment that the “White House press corps not exactly rolling over for the new president.” Her response: “Never do, do they?”
Ifill and Carlson participated in a panel discussion with The Washington Times’ White House correspondent Christina Bellantoni at the beginning of the 10 am Eastern hour of the CNN program. Kurtz brought up the topic of the first presidential news conference, and specifically, how Stein was one of the reporters who asked a question: “So is this a new era for bloggers, in terms of the White House recognition?”
On Friday night, PBS star Bill Moyers took up the question of the media’s coverage of President Obama. It was not a liberal vs. conservative debate. His panel was two left-wing bloggers: Glenn Greenwald of Salon and Jay Rosen of PressThink. Unsurprisingly, they felt the media weren’t "progressive" enough.
But Greenwald went far beyond that, making claims that "establishment media venues" forged a political "partnership" with the Republican Party and "the right wing" during the Lewinsky affair that continued and "translated into the media being blindly supportive and reverent of the Bush administration." He also claimed – against all evidence – that massive demonstrations against the Iraq war in 2003 were almost ignored: "the media virtually excluded those demonstrations from the narrative."
These strange theories erupted without Moyers really demanding an attack on the media elite:
MOYERS: The Rasmussen Poll this week shows an eight point drop in support for the stimulus plan, what do you make of that?
GREENWALD: You know, I think if you go back to the 1990s, what you saw is essentially a partnership between the Republican Party, the right wing, and establishment media venues. And this partnership was formed when they were essentially engaged in their lynch mob over the Lewinsky affair.
If you were dying to know what Gwen Ifill was thinking when the controversy arose about her so-called Obama book and how that might have effected her ability to moderate the 2008 vice-presidential debate - now's your chance.
In that appearance, Ifill claimed she didn't believe the book inhibited her ability to moderate that debate and pointed out her ability to overcome racism as how she dealt with the controversy - by strapping on her "blinders." She also took a couple of passive jabs at former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin - commenting on her "thin" biography and remarking on Palin's debate performance.
Liberal pastor and civil rights leader Joseph Lowery’s strange benediction prayer hoping that one day "white will embrace what is right" wasn’t ignored on the Tuesday night news, but it wasn’t portrayed as at all controversial. CBS skipped over it. But ABC, NBC, and PBS’s NewsHour all featured it, often without interrupting their gauzy promotional tone. Here’s a brief tour of how it unfolded.
ABC: In the first half-hour of a 60-minute World News, Charles Gibson recalled a legend praying:
GIBSON: The Reverend Joseph E Lowery, the legendary civil rights leader, delivered the benediction.
Rev. JOSEPH LOWERY: We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man and white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.
GIBSON: As hundreds of thousands on the Mall savored what they had just seen.
President Bush may have spurned any attempt to manage or manipulate his own approval-rating polls, but the media clearly see Bush’s low approval numbers as their achievement. Discussing Bush’s last press conference January 12 on the PBS talk show Charlie Rose, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham declared the poll numbers showed Bush’s leadership was below mediocre:
If you are a president of the United States for eight years, through the kind of tumult we faced, and you come out with this kind of approval rating, you have failed at a very basic job, which is to convince the people, enough people that your course is the right one. And so as a clinical matter -- that’s not a smart-aleck media point, it’s not a liberal media point -- it's just simply true that George W. Bush has not led the democracy in ways that our greatest presidents and even mediocre ones have done.
This quote was used to summarize the interview segment at the top of the show. Meacham added that President Bush looks at his father’s legacy and argued that everything that defeated him for re-election was right, including the 1990 tax hikes:
Susan Crawford's recent assertions of torture simply do not add up, and your main stream media isn't going to investigate anytime soon. Had Crawford made an assertion that there was unequivocally no torture to speak of at Guantanamo, the media would be sifting meticulously through her statements with a fine-toothed comb, smearing her reputation at every turn. Instead, her arguments seemingly confirm what the leftist media has long assumed - that our government has condoned torture tactics - and because of that, everything is taken at face value.
Crawford recently told Bob Woodward of the Washington Post that:
"We tortured (Mohammed al-) Qahtani. His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.
The basic premise of this story however, had apparently been completely refuted in retrospect, back in February of 2008. By whom? Why, the Washington Post.
On February 12th, 2008, the Post printed an article titled:
U.S. to Try 6 on Capital Charges Over 9/11 Attacks
New Evidence Gained Without Coercive Tactics
You read that correctly, the staff writers went out of their way to inform the public that the evidence against the 9/11 conspirators was ‘gained without coercive tactics.'
"Lying" about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, holding detainees at Gitmo, and prosecuting the saintly matron of all things domestic, Martha Stewart. Those are just three reasons taxpayer-financed journalist Bonnie Erbe finds for filing criminal charges on outgoing President George W. Bush and his dastardly underlings.
I understand the politics of letting bygones be bygones. But Bush has so thoroughly destroyed this country and encouraged such heretofore unimaginable abuses of office (lying about weapons of mass destruction to lead the country into an unnecessary war; the firings and politicization of the attorneys general; the prosecution of active Democrat Martha Stewart for relatively minor stock abuses while permitting subprime lenders and GOP donors to swindle billions from the economy; the abuses at Guantánamo; and the list goes on and on and on) that to act as if this never happened is to encourage future abuse.
Bush's behavior, and that of his subordinates, should be punished so future presidents and their appointees will not feel free to mimic it with impunity.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell appeared on the PBS show Charlie Rose on Wednesday night, and discussed what aroused her political zones. Rose clumsily asked which story "turns you on," and naturally, Mitchell said "this young president" with a globe-traveling upbringing and his team of "meritocracy," an "extraordinary group of very large figures," stars who will resolve today’s crises.
Mitchell decried the idea that new media would trouble the President’s first days: "I guess my passion is for something to happen to fix these problems and for dialing down of all of the sharp criticism that we have on cable talk, on talk radio, from the, you know....the blogosphere. I just wish that we could find something in the center that would be bipartisan and would be productive and constructive."
Rose and Mitchell discussed the Gaza fighting before turning back to the domestic front:
Chris Matthews won't be working alone. Back in November, the Hardball host said it was his job to make Barack Obama's presidency a success. Today, another TV journalist expressed a similar sentiment. Tavis Smiley has declared that "we're all working for Barack Obama" and that "we have to help make Obama a great president." [H/t reader dronetek.]
The host of Tavis Smiley on PBS was a guest on Morning Joe. Reacting to Harry Reid's claim last week that he doesn't work for Barack Obama, Smiley said Reid should "put down the crack pipe." Smiley added "we're all working for Barack Obama." It soon became clear that was no passing quip, but a literal description of how he sees his role.
No one should feign surprise at a new poll showing women more supportive of Caroline Kennedy's bid to replace Hillary Clinton as New York's junior U.S. senator. But what is interesting about this poll is why men are less likely to support her:
Fifty-seven percent of the women taking part in the new CNN-Opinion Research Corp. Poll said that Kennedy is qualified to be a senator from New York. But only 47 percent of men agreed.
In our year-end edition of the Best of Notable Quotables, two of our winners for outrageous liberalism were unloaded on the Charlie Rose show on PBS, a very comfortable TV salon for liberals to speak freely without conservative rebuttal. On December 18, the Rose show was one stop for Time editor Richard Stengel to tout his "titanic" figure Barack Obama as the magazine’s person of the year. Rose played the hype up in the show’s opening:
STENGEL: The story of Barack Obama was the great overarching, titanic narrative of this past year. And so it just -- it would have been pretty much impossible not to select him.
ROSE: And a narrative that had global proportions.
RICK STENGEL: Absolutely. I mean, he was Person of the Year in the most universal sense.
For at least ten seconds there, it appeared Margaret Warner thought PBS stood for the Palestinian Broadcast Service.
On last night's NewsHour Ms. Warner, whilst interviewing Israel's Ambassador to the United States Sallai Meridor, posed one of the dumbest questions in the long, dumb history of broadcast journalism.
So banal was her query that there was for nearly five seconds the most pregnant of pauses, broken finally by Ambassador Meridor's bemused and chagrined response. Which Ms. Warner followed with another question of nearly equal asinine force.
Ms. Warner was fairly addled throughout (transcript below the fold), but nothing else she said rose quite to the heights of foolishness as did this. We have edited in after the exchange an earlier statement from Ambassador Meridor that we think pretty much sums it all up.
The Media Research Center today announced its Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The 21st Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting, and MSNBC's Chris Matthews "won" the dubious honor of Quote of the Year for gushing over a Barack Obama speech back in February: "I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often….And that is an objective assessment."
Top runner-up for Quote of the Year went to Reuters for this ridiculous post-election headline: "Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race."
MRC President Brent Bozell offered this comment: "Year after year, the liberal media outdo themselves in providing conservatives the sheer joy of laughing at their own words. The year of the Obama Paparazzi was no different, as they salivated over their savior and did everything in their power to crush conservatives. And we wonder why Americans don't trust the media."
PBS Washington Week host Gwen Ifill participated in her monthly Internet chat at washingtonpost.com on Thursday, and committed at least one noticeable error. When someone asked Ifill about the "revolving door" between the media and politics – now symbolized by Time Deputy Washington Bureau Chief James Carney working for Vice President-elect Biden – she claimed that it’s "more often the other way" – more often between Republicans and the media.
For many years, MRC’s Brent Baker chronicled the Revolving Door, and it was dominated by Democrats, about three Democrats for each Republican – and that included liberal Republicans like Sen. John Chafee.
Ifill also mysteriously suggested Illinois qualified as the South when one chatter complained Obama had no cabinet picks from the South:
Breaking News: WaPo says Ron Kirk (Dallas) for USTR -- does that satisfy the South?
Gwen Ifill: Texas works for me. And some parts of Illinois(Ray LaHood) might too.
Ray LaHood represents Peoria, which doesn’t exactly border Kentucky.
Here's the question about Jay Carney and the Revolving Door:
In today's "You've Got To Be Kidding Me" moment, PBS's Jim Lehrer actually defended the corrupt actions of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Friday asking his guests, "What's the big deal here?"
I kid you not.
During his discussion with regulars Mark Shields and David Brooks on Friday's "News Hour" the subject of Blago arose, and Lehrer took what has to be considered an absurd position on this issue (video available here with relevant section at 6:00, partial transcript follows, h/t Mike Francesa via NB reader John F.):
Plugging her new book The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, Arianna Huffington appeared on the PBS talk show Tavis Smiley on Tuesday night to receive smiles and affirmations from the host. Smiley told Huffington of his personal joy when the Huff-Post is quoted in tainted crown jewel of New York's Old Media:
SMILEY: Speaking of influencing the course of events, I read a number of papers, as do you, every single day before I get moving, and I always smile when I'm reading The New York Times, especially, and I see The New York Times quoting The Huffington Post and I say, "Arianna's having a good day, The New York Times is quoting her." What do you make of the fact that blogs now are the place where news is broken and that the traditional mainstream media outlets end up quoting the blogosphere?
Former Philadelphia Inquirer editorial page editor Chris Satullo, who in a July 1, 2008 editorial suggested that “America doesn't deserve to celebrate its birthday” on Independence Day due to the “waterboarding, the snarling dogs, the theft of sleep” used on some enemy combatants since 9/11, has been hired to become the director of news operations for WHYY, the PBS affiliate in the Philadelphia area.
Inquirer television critic Jonathan Storm, who wrote about Satullo’s hiring on Thursday, mentioned how William J. Marrazzo, WHYY’s president and CEO, complimented the liberal columnist as an “an outstanding journalist with a track record in civic engagement who understands this community like the back of his hand.”
This same “outstanding journalist,” in his November 9, 2008 column in the Inquirer, referred to the ideology of Sarah Palin supporters as “a rump conservatism that is small-town, resentful, anti-intellectual, and lily white” and praised “smarter analysts” such as David Frum, Kathleen Parker, Christopher Buckley and David Brooks, all of whom criticized the Alaska governor and/or supported Obama.
Perhaps the PBS Nova producers should have consulted the Naked Archaeologist or The Bible as History before making a show whose purpose is to debunk the Old Testament. Here is the description of the special two hour edition of Nova as reported by Reuters/Hollywood Reporter:
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Bill Maher, on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," frequently refers to the Old Testament of the Bible as the Book of Jewish Fairy Tales. The description might anger the pious and the fundamentalists, but guess what? Maher's close to the truth.
A visually stunning two-hour special edition of "Nova" examines decades of archaeological studies that contradict much of what is in the Bible. The entire Exodus story is debunked, as is the idea that the Israelites were monotheistic following the contract made between God and Abraham. It turns out idol worship was common through the reign of King David and right up to the Babylonian exile.
Liberal CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin appeared on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS on Wednesday night, and Smiley focused on several "hot button" issues that were largely ignored in the general election: campaign finance reform, abortion, racial preferences, and gun control. Toobin insisted that Obama’s long list of small (and unidentified) donors suggests "there’s less risk of corruption, I think." On Supreme Court picks, he said Obama will pick someone with liberal views on abortion and racial preferences, but insisted that Obama really matches Reagan appointee Sandra Day O’Connor’s views on race. On gun control, Toobin defined the struggle strangely, like he wasn't very smart about weapons: "What's the line between a handgun in D.C. and a surface-to-air missile? I think the courts are going to have to figure that out."
First, Toobin found no need for reform of the current campaign finance system, with the favorable results and all:
SMILEY: The money in this campaign, with all due respect to Barack Obama and the three-quarters of a billion dollars he raised in this campaign, do we need to get back now to a serious conversation about campaign finance reform? Because everybody can't do what Obama did.