There's one good reason Gwen Ifill, the host of the PBS show Washington Week, is moderating the vice-presidential debate: she has a forthcoming book about Barack Obama (and other black Democrats) called The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Ifill talks about the book project on YouTube here.
In addition to her portrait of Obama, Ifill will also investigate Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a close friend of Obama's; Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who Ifill describes as "very charismatic" in the video; and Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama. "They all chose to get into politics for the most upstanding of reasons, and they all have achieved much more than their parents could have hoped." It doesn't hurt that it's made Obama a mega-best-selling multi-millionaire author.
Long-time PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, the first host of the 2008 fall presidential debates, is dead serious about his utter lack of bias. Appearing November 27, 2006 on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, Lehrer insisted with a very straight face that “I am bias-free....Bias is what people who hear or read the news bring to the story, not what the journalist brings to the reporting.” When Colbert insisted Lehrer must add some flavor, straight-faced Lehrer declared his contribution was “the flavor of neutrality.”
Lehrer can offer a different flavor. During live coverage of the Democratic convention on August 25, he gauzily reacted to Jimmy Carter’s florid praise of Barack Obama’s race speech in March: “If it happens that he is elected, or even his just being nominated, will send positive ripple effects throughout the country on the race issue.”
At the same time, he defended a poll on NOW on PBS's home page. NewsBuster Jacob S. Lybbert noted the poll was comprised of a single question: "Do you think Sarah Palin is qualified to serve as Vice President of the United States?" Some viewers thought the question inherently unfair; after all, PBS never ran a poll asking if Barack Obama or Joe Biden are qualified for the positions they're seeking.
On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
As Culture and Media Institute Director Robert Knight has noted, the media are still presenting Obama campaign spin on the McCain sex ed ad as hard facts.
Last week the McCain campaign released an ad charging Senator Obama with supporting sex education for kindergarten children when he was an Illinois state senator.
According to the Obama campaign and the media the legislation in question "was written to protect young children from sexual predators."
That's a line that Obama himself used during last year's CNN/YouTube debate:
I've got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter. And I want them to know if somebody is doing something wrong to them, encroaching on their privacy, that they should come talk to me or my wife. And we've had that conversation, but not every parent is going to have that conversation with their child, and I think it's important that every child does, to make sure that they're not subject to the sexual predators (emphasis mine).
The only problem is that the goal of the bill wasn't to stop sexual predators, but to revamp the Illinois sex ed curriculum.
In yet another case of Palin Derangement Syndrom from liberal feminists in the media, PBS "To the Contrary" host Bonnie Erbe leveled a low blow by comparing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) to the radical Islamic regime that harbored al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
When asked if she believed she was "sending [her] son on a task that is from God," Palin said:
I don't know if the task is from God, Charlie. What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
New York Times columnist David Brooks is supposed to be the house conservative of PBS’s NewsHour and convention coverage, but he dripped contempt for conservatives from Mitt Romney to Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday’s night live coverage. He decried Romney’s speech as extreme "He drifted so far right, I’m sort of, my mind is boggling." But he said the rhetoric wasn’t genuine, just a "strategic choice" in case McCain loses. When one panelist said the Sarah Palin speech would be "a huge hit among Rush Limbaugh Republicans," Brooks insisted Palin’s humor was light with a common touch, not "biting, belittling" Limbaugh humor. Earlier, he lamented the presidential choices didn’t include someone who hated tax cuts: "There might be a candidate who says ‘Actually, at this time in our country we can’t afford these massive tax cuts anyway,’ but that candidate is not running for president."
UPDATE: On the Charlie Rose show, Brooks grew even wilder, saying of Romney's speech: "I thought it was borderline insane," and proclaiming Palin was "not ideological in a Rush Limbaugh sense."
Pardon a little housekeeping, but this line is too good to ignore. In the midst of an hour of exhilarated salutes to Barack Obama's convention speech on Thursday night's Charlie Rose show on PBS, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham successfully scaled to the top of Mount Suckup by claiming Obama is so eloquent, he "can't write an ineloquent check."
He had to do two things. He had to be tough and he had to be detailed. We know he is eloquent. He can't write an ineloquent check, this man, but he was both detailed and tough. Interestingly, he referred to John McCain either by name or as the Senator 20 times, two-oh. I might have missed one. We have had concerns, a lot of people have looked at this clinically, saying well, this is Obambi, this is a man who is too effete, who's too lofty to really connect with the kinds of voters that Jodi [Kantor of the New York Times] was just talking about. I would imagine that this speech puts a lot of those concerns to rest.
PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler is pleased as punch in his "Ombudsman's Mailbag" to note that PBS was the only place on broadcast TV for people to enjoy three hours of prime time devoted to the Democratic convention. But even though many PBS fans naturally loved that, some remained in a highly agitated left-wing state that too many white males were ruining the stew. It's one thing to complain about the need for more minorities, but some of these letters to Getler were simply...bigoted:
There it was, again. A herd of bulls and Gwen giving feedback relevant to the speech of Senator Hillary Clinton. Feedback??? Nope. As usual, when men take center stage subsequent to a brilliant speech by a woman, what the viewing audience observes is stark criticism. There they were, utilizing the infamous one-sided brain response of all males. There they were, trying to hold more than one thought (sometimes referred to as multi-tasking) and failing miserably. WHY???
Liberal attitudes emerged on the PBS convention set in the runup to Obama's acceptance speech on Thursday night. When right-leaning pundit David Brooks suggested after Al Gore's remarks that it was too bad Gore ruined his chance to be president in 2000 by listening too much to consultants, Mark Shields snippily suggested Gore really won: "Al Gore is a remarkable figure. I'm not sure why he blew his chance. He did get half a million more votes, of course, in a popular election than the man who eventually became president by the Supreme Court decision."
A while later, the PBS historians panel discussed convention history, and Peniel Joseph suggested the Hillary delegates had decided to come to the Messiah: "What we saw last night was Hillary Clinton herself putting Obama over the top and many of these delegates who vowed never to vote for Obama publicly came to Jesus, so to speak, and said they were going to vote for Obama now."
On Tuesday night, PBS anchor Judy Woodruff offered Michelle Obama the kind of cozy interview she has typically offered to Democratic wives at convention time. Her sharpest question dealt with her unfavorables in the polls, and Mrs. Obama strongly asserted that she wouldn't lose sleep over conservatives mischaracterizing her, and knows that the Obama family narratives are deeply compelling to voters:
WOODRUFF: Now your speech was also view by some as an effort to repair what some polls I guess had shown were negative impressions that had accumulated about you – your values, your view of the country. How concerned were you about that going in and do you have any concerns about that now?
MICHELLE OBAMA: You know, this is politics. And I’ve always felt that when people hear my story and they hear the truth of my story, then they’ll understand who I am. You know, I try not to lose sleep over how Barack’s opponents have mischaracterized who I am.
Barack Obama’s overseas trip has garnered an incredibly large amount of media attention, especially with the three broadcast network anchors going along for the ride. But lately, some are beginning to recognize the “Obamania” present within the mainstream media, including members of the media themselves.
On the July 25 edition of “News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” PBS joined in on the acknowledgement that media coverage of Obama has been unprecedented and overwhelming as Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff discussed the media coverage of John McCain and Barack Obama with Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the Tyndall Report, and Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Before the guests appeared, Woodruff recounted the media attention given to Obama’s overseas trip, noting that the press corps following Obama was “larger than usual” and that late night comics had even poked fun at the adoration members of the media have shown for Obama.
Liberals often insist on the separation of church and state, but they’d really like to go further to separating the church from everything. That principle oozes into PBS, where a forthcoming Nova documentary insists the Bible is full of fables, not history. Orlando Sentinel TV critic Hal Boedeker reported from a PBS publicity session for TV critics:
Abraham didn't exist? The Exodus didn't happen?
The Bible's Buried Secrets, a new PBS documentary, is likely to cause a furor.
"It challenges the Bible's stories if you want to read them literally, and that will disturb many people," says archaeologist William Dever, who specializes in Israel's history. "But it explains how and why these stories ever came to be told in the first place, and how and why they were written down."
As NewsBusters has been reporting for a number of weeks, some key figures at the Washington Post have been breaking from the Obama-loving pack and actually pointing out the absence of substance behind all the junior senator from Illinois' flash.
Add Jim Hoagland to the list who clearly wasn't as impressed with the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee's speech in Berlin as most of his colleagues in the press.
Here's what he told PBS's Charlie Rose Thursday (video embedded right):
That's it. NPR has declared Ohio a disaster area. Things are so bad. NPR gravely warns, that folks in the Buckeye state can't even afford to buy meat for their dinner tables anymore. It's the end of civilization as we know it. Doom and gloom. Oh the humanity. It's the end of the world as we know it... at least for one Ohio family that NPR found to act as stand in for the rest of the state. To NPR all of Ohio is the Nunez family. And what is NPR' solution? Government aid, of course.
In a segment of All Things Considered (well, all things but common sense, anyway), NPR gives us Gloria Nunez whose family, we are told, was "built on cars." NPR gives us all sorts of sobbing, rending of clothes, wearing of sackcloth and gnashing of teeth for the Nunez', of course. But even NPR can't hide some of the glaring problems that Gloria and her family have surely brought upon themselves.
In the past rocker Neil Young has been about as consistent with his political opinions as Barack Obama has been on the his relationship with Rev. Wright. The mercurial Young was on the top of his game yesterday during the “Charlie Rose Show”. At one point during the interview Young appeared to regret past remarks that castigated President Bush:
Criticizing the President and doing this and that and talking about things in the first person and getting right in there. It is like I got sucked into it. I was part of the turmoil myself. Which I wasn't happy about, and I am not happy about it now. But it happened.
Although the collapse of Bear Stearns happened back in March, the debate still rages as to what led to the failure of the 85-year old investment bank that had survived years of previous turmoil, including the Great Depression.
"Well, you know, he [Dimon] said one thing that I'm just - listen, I didn't watch it," CNBC's Charlie Gasparino said, "I'm just going by what appears to be a transcript here: ‘Where there's smoke, there's fire.' Oh really? Sometimes where there's smoke, there's no fire, Jamie. I've got news for you."
Conservative media critics know New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse as an overtly liberal reporter who has marched in pro-abortion protests and gives speeches about her crying at rock concerts about how conservatives have ruined the country and mangled the promise of the baby-boomer generation. But at the end of the PBS chat show Washington Week on June 27, NBC's Pete Williams praised her as a clarinet virtuoso of a reporter, the best the Supreme Court has ever seen.
GWEN IFILL, host: Before we go tonight, we want you to join us in saying congratulations and farewell to Washington Week's longest serving panelist. Linda Greenhouse has been covering the Supreme Court for the New York Times for 30 years. That's more than 2,800 bylined stories.... She's leaving the Times, among other things, to teach at Yale - what Chief Justice John Roberts, a Harvard man, recently called one of the best law schools in New Haven. I have to ask, though, what is it like to compete against Linda, Pete?
New York Times political reporter Adam Nagourney appeared on the Charlie Rose show on PBS on June 27 to demonstrate how reporters have noticed Barack Obama trying to dance away from the hard-left positions he took in the primaries, but they still want to paint him as a special politician, not a typical one. John McCain, on the other hand, has a muddled message:
ROSE: Adam, what have you noticed about the Obama campaign? Where is it tacking?
ADAM NAGOURNEY: The candidate himself has tacked noticeably to the center on a whole bunch of issues this week, you know, whether it's his reaction to the gun control case by the court or by the surveillance vote in Congress. I mean, he`s clearly taking positions now that he would have not have taken during the primary.
That tends to happen in most races. I`m not saying it`s a good thing or a bad thing. He has more freedom to do it, because I think that Democrats are so intent on winning that they`re giving him some latitude. You have not seen him come under much criticism.
PBS's Bonnie Erbe hosts that network's weekly news analysis program, "To the Contrary with Bonnie Erbe," is a weekly columnist for Scripps Howard Newspapers, and blogs at USNews.com.
Erbe called for the impeachment of George Bush in February 2006. Anyone looking through her Scripps Howard archive will conclude that she can't possibly be labeled a conservative ideologue -- which is why her take on the attempt by CNN's John Lewis to make it appear as if both the Obama and McCain campaigns are equally hampered by flip-flops is so compelling.
Here's how "A battle of accused political 'flip-flops'," the CNN report at which Erbe takes umbrage, begins:
Days after both men reversed course on major issues, the presidential campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain spent much of Sunday's talk-show circuit working to ensure accusations of "flip-flopping" don't stick.
Is Barack Obama beginning to wear out his welcome with some of the mainstream media's old guard, or are the nation's more seasoned journalists just getting fed up with the obvious love affair most press members are having with the Democrat presidential nominee?
Before accusing me of drinking the Kool-Aid, consider that two of the country's most venerable and high-profile liberal pundits -- the Washington Post's David Broder and syndicated columnist Mark Shields -- turned on the junior senator from Illinois in a fashion that would have been unthinkable before Hillary Clinton dropped out of the race.
For instance, here's what Shields said on Friday's "News Hour" (video embedded right, h/t Hot Air):
Best-selling author Tom Wolfe made some statements about American journalism last week that would raise a lot of eyebrows in newsrooms around the country if anyone cared to notice.
For instance, he believes "newspapers are declining rapidly," that when a television news outlet does "a big story it`s always wrong," and that Dan Rather and his "60 Minutes" crew were "idiots" for airing the totally erroneous piece in August 2004 about George W. Bush and the National Guard:
They should have looked at the piece of paper. Obviously not written by a typewriter.
What follows is the relevant section of Wolfe's discussion with PBS's Charlie Rose last Wednesday (video available here, relevant section at 33:30, h/t and photo courtesy NY Post):
For conservatives who would like to think the whole government should be handed over to the liberals for a few years until the Reagan wing of the Republican Party can get its act together, a quick look at a monstrosity under consideration by Congress is in order. Liberal Democrats and "green" Republicans are proposing a massive reorganization of the American economy to fight so-called global warming. Worse yet, proponents of this bill are attempting to sell this eco-socialism as a "market-based" policy, and their allies in the national media are going along with the charade.
For decades now, the media have shoved down our throats the idea that Planet Earth is in grave peril of catastrophic global warming. Now that Washington’s elites feel confident that everyone from McCain to Obama agrees that doom is imminent, it’s time to push something they call "cap and trade." Put an emphasis on the "cap." That means that the federal government is aspiring to dictate for every individual and business in America the absolutely perfect level of carbon-dioxide emissions. Once the government mandates how much emission will be allowed, then it will allow the public to "trade" on the rights that remain.
In his tours at ABC (particularly the weekend versions of Good Morning America) and CNN, anchorman Aaron Brown was fond of liberal editorializing. So it's no shock that when New York magazine interviewed him as he takes on anchoring the PBS series Wide Angle, he declared he was a big fan of Keith Olbermann's show:
How about Keith Olbermann? It’s a good television program. No, it’s a very good television program. That’s how I want to put that.
This matches his shout-out earlier in the month to TV Newser: Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly "are both larger-than-life figures," he says, but Olbermann is "smarter, funnier, better read and eminently more talented."
Some suspect Brown would like an hour next to Keith's on MSNBC. They certainly sound alike. On November 10, 2004, for example, Brown lamented poor, losing John Kerry as he looked at pictures in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes:
In America, you need to show identification to buy alcohol, get into a bar, or apply for a job. Yet, for some reason, liberal media members think that Republicans who advocate voter ID laws do so exclusively to prevent Democrats from going to polling booths.
Such was clearly evident Friday evening when Bill Moyers discussed some recent Supreme Court rulings with CNN and New Yorker magazine's legal affairs analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Better strap yourself in tightly, for the following from "Bill Moyers Journal" on PBS is guaranteed to offend all that actually believe voter identification should be required in every state (video embedded right):
For several weeks, NewsBusters has been reporting the changing media tide concerning ethanol.
On Thursday, PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" joined the growing chorus of press outlets pointing fingers at biofuels as being partially responsible for the growing international food crisis:
The cost of food has soared as more and more corn is being produced for fuel, not food...[I]t is the government's mandate for ethanol that has doubled the demand for corn and sent prices soaring.
Sadly, the segment ignored Nobel Laureate Al Gore's involvement in this matter, as well as his biofuel investments, but still went where few mainstream media outlets would have gone just two months ago (video available here):
Bill Moyers appeared not only on The Daily Show Tuesday, but on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS, where he repeated all his lines in defense of Jeremiah Wright. Moyers also declared that while "I believe in capitalism...the tension between capitalism and democracy is that capitalism breeds inequality while democracy aims for more equality," and the media serves only the rich. When Smiley asked if were "witnessing the fall of the American empire," Moyers said yes, and that "it's probably a good thing that our empire has reached the extent of it -- has extended itself so far that it's beginning to have to have some second thoughts about it."
The talk of America's "empire," as if America were no different than ancient Rome, came near the end of the segment:
SMILEY: How would you respond if I said to you, Bill Moyers, that we are witnessing the fall of the American empire? You are a student of history. You know that every empire eventually falls. And what if I said to you that our democracy is so dysfunctional that it is irreparable, and that what you and I are witnessing, sad to say, is the fall of the American empire?