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:
In addition to disparaging Brian Williams for offering a "candygram" to Barack Obama in prime time, PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers organized another one-sided left-wing discussion on the alleged conservative bias of the news media last Friday, picking up on Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne’s complaint that the media are giving too much time and weight to Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich on the Sotomayor nomination. Former NPR correspondent Brooke Gladstone, who now hosts the weekly show On The Media for WNYC radio (distributed nationally by NPR), denounced the "canard" of liberal media bias and how it causes "overbalance":
Conservative talk-show hosts and bloggers have been hammering away at the gooey NBC News Inside the White House specials with Brian Williams adoring Obama. But Williams also drew fire from the hard-core left. On Friday’s Bill Moyers Journal, the PBS omnipresence and former LBJ press aide said Williams offered a "candygram" to the president:
BILL MOYERS: Meanwhile, NBC News this week delivered a candygram to the president -- two prime time specials called "Inside the Obama White House." President Obama couldn't have asked for a sweeter salute...
BRIAN WILLIAMS: People react strongly to this president. We've seen people moved to tears after just the briefest encounter with him.
MOYERS: As for an exclusive revelation about your government from behind the White House's closed doors, well, hold your breath, here it comes...
WILLIAMS: There are apples everywhere. Orchards worth of them in bowls throughout the building. They are meant of course to promote healthy eating but what we saw more often is this: the West Wing may lead the western world in candy consumption.
WHITE HOUSE STAFFER: These are official White House M&Ms.
This interview is a little old, but worth sharing. Socialist actor Ed Asner appeared on PBS’s Tavis Smiley show on May 21 to promote his new Pixar film "Up." Asner typically kvetched about the wasteful disaster of Iraq and blundered into an odd quote when he lamented "The crime is you can convince all those Congressional people and the people through the media to piss away all that money overseas and it becomes socialism to convince them to piss away the money here at home."
He also suggested illegal Mexicans are taking some of the racist hate off black people, which Smiley protested, since he didn’t want anyone thinking we were living in "post-racial" (or post-racist) America. Asner also patted himself on the back for having the political courage to play a slave-ship captain on the 1977 ABC miniseries "Roots."
SMILEY: I only know that because I saw you in "Roots" when I was a kid. You played that villain pretty good.
ASNER: I regard that villain as, let's call him, a guy who was trying to be a good Nazi and he failed.
You know the saying, "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging"? It seems liberal journalist Bonnie Erbe either never heard it, or just doesn't care.
Yesterday I noted how the PBS "To the Contrary" host denounced Playboy writer Guy Cimbalo's list of 10 conservative women he's like to "hate-f***," only to hint that she thought syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin deserved to be degraded by the nudie mag writer.
Today, the U.S. News & World Report contributing editor took to her Thomas Jefferson Street blog to take on conservative blogger Gateway Pundit for supposedly distorting her argument. You see, Erbe insists, she never said she thinks Malkin would have it coming to be raped, only that she has it coming to be viciously and obscenely degraded by some loser writing for a softcore porn mag:
It was wrong of Playboy to publish a top ten list of conservative women its writer Guy Cimbalo would like to "hate-f***" but, c'mon, we all know Michelle Malkin had it coming. That's the gist of PBS "To the Contrary" host and U.S. News contributing editor Bonnie Erbe's June 3 blog post, "Playboy Mix of Sex, Hate, and Politics Demeans Conservative Women" (emphasis mine):
Yesterday, I was contacted by the executive director of SmartGirlPolitics.org, a conservative women's website, to stand up for conservative women treated despicably by the media. Here I am, doing just that.... A couple of caveats are in order. First, I probably disagree politically with much of SmartGirlPolitics.org's agenda--I know I disagree completely with the group's position on abortion rights. But as a nonpartisan, I'm also a firm believer in supporting all members of my gender when attacked due to their gender. I am supporting these women herewith.
Of course, by "pro-life extremists," the PBS "To the Contrary" host means anyone who has ever called abortion what it is -- the killing of an unborn baby:
Let George Tiller's murder be the last straw. It is time for America's pro-choice majority to stop standing idly by as extreme so-called pro-life advocates murder obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYNs) who are providing women with the legal right to terminate pregnancies. I am careful to note I am referring here to EXTREMIST pro-life advocates, people who refer to abortion as "baby-killing" and other inflammatory rhetoric. I am explicitly not referring to mainstreamers who object to abortion due to religious beliefs, but who refrain from using inflammatory speech.
On Tuesday night, PBS’s NewsHour discussed the Sotomayor nomination with a panel including Jenny Rivera, a former Sotomayor clerk and head of the Center on Latino and Latina Equal Rights. You could hear the latest buzz words on diversity being used. The addition of Latina diversity brings a certain "integrity" to the Supreme Court, which suffers from an "insularity," from being encased in a bubble:
GWEN IFILL, anchor: Jenny Rivera, how much is there -- is there a just concern about identity politics beginning to define the day for picks like this? Here we have another first.
RIVERA: Well, I think the president didn't make a choice based on identity politics. He made the choice based on the merits of her intellectual capabilities, on the experience that she brought to the court.
And you heard David Axelrod say, you know, the fact that she happens to also be Latina and be a woman, it's wonderful that we can bring that to the court. But this was a choice based on the strength of her background, her experience, and her intellect. And, certainly, that's important.
The website of the NewsHour on PBS has a NewsHour Extra for students. Its Extra article by Lizzy Berryman on President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame carried this surprising sentence: "While historically Democrats have been pro-choice, in recent years Democratic candidates have softened their rhetoric. President Obama has defended a woman's right to choose -- but says abortion should be rare and may be restricted."
Considering that candidate Obama pledged to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, scrapping every state abortion restriction, that’s not exactly an accurate picture for students to read. In captions of Presidents Obama and Bush, Obama was merely "pro-choice," while Bush was an "ardent opponent of abortion rights."
The bias was even more obvious at the article’s end, which sought to explain away the new Gallup poll showing a 51-42 chasm in favor of the pro-life position. The article’s subhead painted away the victory: "Polls show Americans are divided on the abortion issue." The actual 51-42 gap is never mentioned:
James Carville appeared to plug his new book predicting 40 years of Democratic dominance on the Charlie Rose show on PBS Monday night. Since Carville supported Hillary Clinton in the last round of Democratic primaries, he ended up sounding noticeably less enthusiastic than Rose about President Obama’s power to change things. Rose calmly declared that Obama has given the country "Confidence, a sense of esteem, a sense of feeling young again...a sense of feeling that the democratic values the country believed in are intact." He also suggested "this is a centrist government" and Carville agreed.
But first, Carville knocked any "ism" words coming from right-wing talk show hosts:
CHARLIE ROSE: In terms of policy and your sense of the country, is he on the right track?
The defection of Arlen Specter is still drawing stories bashing the Republican Party as too conservative. On Thursday night's NewsHour on PBS, correspondent Kwame Holman announced "Specter's departure from the GOP has reignited the debate over whether the Republican Party has lost ground with the public because it has become too ideologically conservative and unwilling to listen to moderates in its ranks."
The soundbite count was very slanted, with nine snippets of moderates decrying the party's tilt (counting one from the departing Specter, since it's his rationale for party-switching) to just two clips from conservative Sen. Jim DeMint.
Holman suggested the ranks of Senate moderates had shrunk to just the two females from Maine, even as they used "centrist conservative" Lindsey Graham to bolster the Specter narrative. There were four soundbites from Sen. Susan Collins, two from Sen. Graham, and two from Sen. Olympia Snowe, as Holman touted her New York Times op-ed piece:
Here’s a quick informal poll:Who has heard news of Russia’s recent troop buildup in the South Ossetia region of Georgia?
Most of our readers would immediately think of the Russian invasion of that region last summer, during the presidential contest, but the Russians are arguably saber rattling again with a fresh buildup of boots on-the-ground ahead of planned NATO exercises.
Last August, the media coverage immediately took the angle of breathless anticipation on how each presidential candidate would react to such a situation.John McCain’s position was easily established from his record over many years in the Senate.Then-Senator Obama’s position was much more difficult to ascertain – but the media gave him ample time to figure it out, helping the candidate defer those questions to the September 26 debate.In fact, a good example of such activism was shown in the Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland, who in his August 31 op-ed insisted:
The PBS "To the Contrary" host and contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report launched into a four-paragraph attack on the author and conservative radio host, and as usual, she not only breathed left-wing fire at a conservative target, she was factually inaccurate (paragraph breaks removed, emphasis mine):
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.