For a moment, let's step away from the commentary, per se, and focus on the commentators. Liberals love to chide Fox News for its alleged conservative bias. So why don't we see, when it comes to being fair and balanced, how this morning's Fox News Sunday panel stacked up against that of its main competitor, Meet the Press?
Interviewed by Bill Moyers for a PBS show to be aired on the night of April 25, 2008, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. accused people of trying to paint him as "un-American" or "some sort of fanatic" for purposes of harming the candidacy of Barack Obama. (AP Photo/PBS, Robin Holland, HO)
It is NBC Green Week, after all, so who can blame Andrea Mitchell for recycling two dilapidated defenses of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?
Mitchell's heart didn't seem wholly in it, but like a burned-out public defender going through the motions, Andrea apparently felt constrained to mount some kind of defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial remarks. And so she trotted out two hoary chestnuts:
that's the way it's done in African-American churches, and
Some of the toughest competition American businesses face comes not from other companies, but from the media. Journalists often exaggerate an issue to make a story sexier. Other times, "consumer groups" work with the media to advance an anti-business agenda.
All too often, those exaggerations or manipulations result in lost jobs, lost revenue, unfounded health scares, unnecessary government intervention or even the death of millions of innocent victims.
The Business & Media Institute has compiled a lit of the Nine Worst Business Stories. The list illustrates the lengths to which the media have gone in the last 50 years to attack agriculture, restaurants, the automobile industry, chemical manufacturers and health care.
It also details the ill effects of those stories, which range from "Oprah's Beef with Beef" to Connie Chung's silicone scare to Wendy's "Finger Food" to the infamous "Dateline" exploding trucks, to coverage that resulted in a ban on DDT. Relive foul Food Lion, rolling Jeeps, accelerating Audis and Alar on apples with video from most of the reports!
Check out the list, then come back to NewsBusters to add your comments and suggestions for other bad business coverage!
A liberal bias is always easy to discern in newspaper writers when they tout liberal programs as informative and more conservative programs as deceptive. Take, for example, Kevin McDonough, a TV critic for the United Feature Syndicate (photo from UFS), touted by his bosses as lively and comprehensive in previewing TV seven nights a week with his "witty, insightful and occasionally offbeat approach to TV commentary." On Monday, he began:
Television has many powers. Its ability to distract (VH1), enter tain (“The Office”), inform (“The NewsHour”), deceive (“The O’Reilly Factor”), anger (ditto) and sell (QVC) are well documented.
But the moments when television reaches for the sublime, the beautiful, the poetic and transporting are few indeed.
Ted Turner was not only interviewed, but celebrated on PBS – on April Fool’s Day. The prank was apparently on PBS. It was as if Turner had a subversive mission, to prove that PBS isn’t just for smart people. True to form, Turner walked off a cliff of rhetorical excess on the "Charlie Rose" show, charging that global warming was going to grow so severe, that in a few decades, most of humanity would be extinct. "We'll be eight degrees hotter in ten -- not ten, but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals."
Some activists at the Public Broadcasting Service seem jealous that CNN is alone in offering yet more free debate time to the Democrats. Last year, PBS offered a liberal debate forum to both parties, hosted by black activist Tavis Smiley. Cornelia Dean reports on The Caucus blog at The New York Times that some PBS producers want a science debate between the Democrats with a group called Science Debate 2008:
Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have turned down a chance to debate science issues next week in Philadelphia, but the would-be organizers, a group of scientists and others called ScienceDebate2008, hope to arrange an alternative in Oregon, which holds primaries May 20.
Ty West, senior producer for the PBS weekly news program NOW, said he has been working with the group in hopes of scheduling a debate either May 2 or May 9 to be broadcast by the Public Broadcasting System from Portland State University. He said the effort was a cooperative effort involving WNET in New York, which produces NOW, WGBH in Boston, which produces the science program NOVA, and WOPB, the public broadcasting station in Portland.
When it comes to media bias, if liberals are not only able to recognize your press organization's lack of impartiality, but also assert such when cameras are rolling, you know you're not fooling anybody.
Such appears to certainly be the case with cable network MSNBC, and, in particular, its "Countdown" host, which both were the targets of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) a few weeks ago when he actually stated three times on PBS's "Charlie Rose," "Keith Olbermann should be on the Obama payroll."
With Olbermann's sycophantic behavior during this campaign, what makes Rendell think he's not?
With that in mind, the following extraordinarily candid discussion on March 26 that somehow slipped under the radar until now is sure to delight all those disgusted with the behavior of MSNBC employees (h/t Olbermann Watch via Hot Air, video embedded upper right):
A longer look at the transcript of Ted Turner's April 1 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS shows that not only did he warn of horrendous climate change, he also pushed relentlessly for dramatic curbs on population growth. People must be limited to one or two children apiece for the planet to survive:
CHARLIE ROSE: What is possible? Tell me what`s possible to do?
TED TURNER: It`s possible that in 15 or 20 years we can completely redo it. If we -- we have to mobilize. This is how important it is, and how important that we do it quickly. We have to mobilize the same way we did when we entered World War II in 1941. We have to fully mobilize everything we have and put it into changing the energy system over, and not just here in the United States, but all over the world.
It`s going to be the biggest business project in the history of world. Fortunes, billions of dollars are going to be made. Hundreds of thousands of people are going to be employed.
We`re going to have clean air. We`re going to have so many benefits from it. It`s not going to cost us anything once we get going with it. It`s not going to cost us anything.
You’ve seen the Ted Turner quote from the April 1 Charlie Rose show about global warming turning what’s left of us into cannibals, but the point should still be made that PBS and Rose treated him as a statesman and a scholar. The host oozed all over him at the show's end: "You're a remarkable man..I enjoy your company. I think the life you've lived with passion, independence, a sense of great, great, and deep concern about the world we live in is remarkable."
What Turner said in reply was highlighted by Rose at the beginning of the hour: "I love this planet. It's worth saving. I mean, it's worth saving.You know, I know we're the same people that did the Holocaust, but we also did the Mona Lisa and Beethoven`s Fifth Symphony. I mean, there is so much -- this world -- we can't turn it into a cinder. We've got to protect it for ourselves and for our children. And it's worth fighting for. And that's all I'm doing, is trying to fight to help save humanity."
Rose was so indulgent of Turner that he goaded him into singing "Over the Rainbow" and "My Old Kentucky Home" and told him "it was good."
After the cannibalism talk, it was more amusing to see this exchange about his feud with Rupert Murdoch, and how he hasn't been caught saying anything stupid:
Interviewed Tuesday for Charlie Rose's PBS show, CNN founder Ted Turner argued that inaction on global warming “will be catastrophic” and those who don't die “will be cannibals.” He also applied moral equivalence in describing Iraqi insurgents as “patriots” who simply “don't like us because we've invaded their country” and so “if the Iraqis were in Washington, D.C., we'd be doing the same thing.” On not taking drastic action to correct global warming:
Not doing it will be catastrophic. We'll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals.
Turner ridiculed the need for a big U.S. military, insisting “China just wants to sell us shoes. They're not building landing craft to attack the United States,” and “even with our $500 billion military budget, we can't win in Iraq. We're being beaten by insurgents who don't even have any tanks.” After Rose pointed out the Iraqi insurgents “have a lot of roadside bombs that kill a lot of Americans” and wondered “where do you think they come from?”, Turner answered:
I think that they're patriots and that they don't like us because we've invaded their country and occupied it. I think if the Iraqis were in Washington, D.C., we'd be doing the same thing: we'd be bombing them too. Nobody wants to be invaded.
PBS can be satirized easily as the network where people display their satisfaction with their own intellectual sophistication, as opposed to those rubes who rely on other networks for their information. On Tuesday night’s Charlie Rose show, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham warned Rose to prepare for an anti-Obama onslaught in the wake of the Jeremiah Wright video clips, a gathering ‘partisan narrative’ from Republicans that is crude, xenophobic, and increasingly racialized. The new code word for Obama will be "exotic," code for black and foreign and perhaps Muslim.
Meacham, like many others, was wowed by the sophistication of the Obama speech. "I hope that translates," he said, because the Democrats are apparently the Party of Sophistication. "We should feel good about the country in the past few months because we've had a pretty serious political conversation about what we -- at least on the Democratic side -- about the nature of things. But it is sophisticated and it is nuanced," which means "most people" with simpler minds will just conclude "there's some crazy minister that Obama had to distance himself from who said these outrageous things."
Geraldo Rivera of Fox News appeared Thursday night on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS, and before he unloaded another bucket of invective against a "savage right-wing talk show campaign" on illegal immigration that makes school kids cry, he denounced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer as just "another horny hypocrite," comparing him to Sen. David Vitter, evangelist Ted Haggard, and Sen. Larry Craig. He said he resented "anyone who uses any kind of state resource for their own private predilections."
Does this sound like the same Geraldo Rivera who devoted his nightly CNBC talk program in 1998 to praising Bill Clinton (and trashing "investigative terrorist" Ken Starr) and insisting he stand tall against....charges he used state resources (young staffers) for his own private predilections inside a state building? From the transcript on the Tavis Smiley website, here’s how Geraldo began remembering Eliot Spitzer:
I interviewed him on our old CNBC show many times, and on Fox, and in fact we just dug out the last interview I did with him and he talked about morality, that's the problem, Tavis. It's another horny hypocrite.
God bless the troops – those wife abusers? That was the conflicted message emanating from Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Charlie Rose on PBS stations last Thursday night. Rose ran Pelosi through the usual list of anti-war talking points, and the Speaker suggested our troops are riddled with "mental challenges" and domestic violence, just seconds after blessing the troops:
CHARLIE ROSE: Some argue that the sacrifice had been primarily by the men and women in the armed services and their families. And part of the reason that we ought not go to war, in which the American people are not asked to sacrifice behind the military.
NANCY PELOSI : Well, the one percent of our population is feeling this in a very personal way. And that`s just not fair. The shared sacrifice -- what did we do? We went to war, and the president gave a tax cut to the wealthiest people in America instead of saying we’re going to have a shared sacrifice here so everyone knows what the cost of this war is.
To those who make public fools of themselves saying that one-sided left-wing programming on PBS is an illusion, we suggest they open the Sunday Washington Post to the TV Week magazine. There on the cover is a picture of Pete Seeger, the radical-left folk singer-songwriter. "Raising His Voice: PBS Pays Tribute to Singer-Activist Pete Seeger," the cover says. Inside, readers learn PBS is offering a 90-minute documentary openly described as a "tribute." The headline is "Pete Seeger, a Force of Nature." Even Seeger seems embarrassed that PBS is offering America this whitewash of his life and career:
Regrets? Seeger says he has "millions of them -- stupid things I've done here and there." His criticism of the PBS tribute is that it "didn't show any of the stupid things I've done." Director Jim Brown has known Seeger for a long time, said Susan Lacy, executive producer of the "American Masters" series, and Brown wasn't trying to make a totally balanced film. "That's not meant in a negative way," she said. "It's just that Pete Seeger is such a principled idealist, such a good man."
Leftist actress Susan Sarandon was a big backer of John Edwards, but now she's going to shift and endorse Barack Obama. On Monday's edition of the Tavis Smiley show on PBS, she likened Obama to a pregnant woman at an abortion rally:
Well, I'm going to back Obama. But I hope -- I think that he, as a symbol, has really excited people, and he's definitely confusing to everyone who really hates America for hating Muslims because a name like Obama and a black man, they're probably going to go "Oh, wait a minute -- What?" It's kind of like when you're out on the line for freedom to have an abortion and you're incredibly pregnant. They just can't quite figure it out.
So I think he definitely has convinced people that he stands for change and for hope, and I can't wait to see what he stands for.
The Bush administration has once again proposed cuts in scheduled spending for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in his latest budget. No conservative should hold his breath that proposal would pass. But that doesn't mean lobbyists for PBS on the left won't fight the cuts with dishonest claims. Credo Mobile Action, a project of the the "progressive" Working Assets telephone company, offers this clunker:
Many families do not have access to cable and depend upon PBS for kid-friendly programming that is not offered by the major networks, especially in the prime time hours. Cuts to public broadcasting would threaten such programming.
Since when does Sesame Street run in prime time?
The message has the usual GOP-hates-Big-Bird line in it: "In his last year in office, don't let Bush pull the plug on Bill Moyers, the NewsHour, Big Bird, and the Cookie Monster."
Author and CNN commentator Carl Bernstein was interviewed on the Wednesday night edition of the Tavis Smiley show on PBS, and warned that the Clinton campaign has devolved into "the kind of campaign that we’re used to seeing against Republican right-wing opponents who the Clintons have identified over the years as their enemies. That is very much a take-no-prisoners scorched earth campaign, and I think that there are reasons to think that is causing a fissure within the Democratic Party that might be very damaging in the long run."He also suggested the former president was at his "most petulant" and "most disingenuous" in his attacks on Barack Obama.
UPDATE: I originally misread this as an attack on scorched-earth right-wing campaigns against Clinton, instead of Clinton's usual scorched-earth campaigns against right-wing opponents. I made Bernstein out to be more anti-conservative and so less troubled by intra-party division, and suggested he was ignoring history, when he was not. Smiley responded:
Newsweek columnist and pundit Jonathan Alter managed to double-embarrass himself on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. He should win the award for Most Embarrassed Pundit. Appearing on Monday night's Charlie Rose show on PBS (video at CharlieRose.com), Alter repeatedly threw dirt on Hillary's political grave, suggesting she would never become president and would have to settle for becoming "one of the great all-time senators." But he also suggested she had no "subtextual sexual energy" that brings "electricity on the rope line." He said all the presidential sex appeal was on the male side:
I think, and this is a controversial thing to say, but I think one of problems we`re learning with being a woman candidate in this country is that it`s hard to create that electricity on the rope line. It`s really only in France, maybe, where you can use sex appeal if you are a woman. In the United States, it`s men. It`s Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bobby Kennedy who went -- you see them on the rope line. There`s something sexual going on there with the voters.
On the PBS talk show "Charlie Rose" Thursday night, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham declared that Hillary Clinton was right that it was a "great night for Democrats" and a bad night for Republicans. He scoured Mike Huckabee as an embarrassment: "Do you really want to see if a Southern Baptist minister who took two days to find out about the National Intelligence Estimate about Iran is going to be your standard bearer in a world at war?" He also declared it was "a rather odd thing for the Republicans of Iowa" to "say to the world that the strongest possible president is a Governor of Arkansas who does not have a great deal or any real foreign policy experience." Meacham seemed to have no sense of irony that the same words were easily spoken of Bill Clinton in 1992, and Rose didn’t call him on it, even though they joked "how many presidents does Hope, Arkansas get in one lifetime?"
Meacham also never thought it was odd that the Democrats of Iowa said to the world that the strongest possible president is a man with three years experience in the U.S. Senate who said (a) that he would meet with America-hating dictators and strongmen like Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez without preconditions and (b) then wildly swung back to suggesting he would bomb inside Pakistan to strike al-Qaeda. Meacham, who honored McCain’s courage for supporting the surge in Iraq, never mentioned Obama thought it was a mistake. When it came to the Democrats, Meacham sounded like he was offering a toast:
The next time someone claims PBS is an oasis of fairness and balance, suggest they notice that Bill Moyers writes fundraising letters for hard-left political efforts. Arriving in the mail at liberal households over the holidays is a direct-mail fundraiser from Jim Hightower, the former agriculture commissioner of Texas and washed-up talk show host. He has a new, cheap newsletter ($10 annual subscription), and included is a testimonial with the Moyers mug on it. Moyers wrote that Hightower's work is better than Heaven, and the she-God learned immensely from it:
Dear fellow citizen,
I am told the first thing the late people's pundit Molly Ivins did upon reaching that Great Valhalla of Scribes in the Sky was to whip out the latest edition of The Hightower Lowdown and read it aloud to the multitude of saints, angels, and cherubs gathered to greet her.
Call it a meeting of the Bush-bashing minds. Longtime PBS host Bill Moyers invited on MSNBC host Keith Olbermann for Friday’s edition of Bill Moyers Journal. The strangest moment came as Moyers suggested that in a polarized country, it might be distasteful for journalists to favor one side. Moyers must be playing devil’s advocate, because he’s been every bit as vituperative against Bush as Olbermann.
The worries about polarization and contributing to "a nation of screechers" came up twice.
BILL MOYERS: It seems to me that this country has become two choirs, each side listening to, only to its own preachers. If -- should journalists take sides when everybody else is polarized?
Don't blame Lawrence O'Donnell for his ugly anti-Mormon rant. It was really the fault of O'Donnell's fellow panelists. That's Frank Rich's take on the unseemly episode on the McLaughlin Group a couple Fridays ago.In his NY Times column of today, Rich claims that O'Donnell was:
pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America.” [Emphasis added.]
It certainly won't come as a surprise to NewsBusters readers that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is more separated from reality than virtually any member of the media.
Still, the idea this former sportscaster and current liberal commentator actually considers what he does as "really journalism" should shock and disgust any member of said profession, even Bill Moyers who had Olbermann as a guest on Friday's "Journal."
Wonderfully, referring to himself as a journalist wasn't the only hysterical utterance from Olbermann during this interview, as he also had the unmitigated audacity to criticize conservative radio host Michael Savage for "basically just spattering invective on people he didn't like."
Hey, Keith, have you ever actually watched your program or read a transcript?
At the summit of national power, politicians and bureaucrats are terrified at the idea of endorsing the religious views of the majority of Americans. Our First Amendment forbids the establishment of a state religion, but many of our governing elites are taking it a step further, outlawing its very existence from the public conversation.
Congress can turn this into an unintentional comedy of manners. On December 11, the House considered a rather meaningless resolution "recognizing the importance of Christmas" – and nine members of the House voted "nay." The roll call of Grinches are, surprise, largely from blue states: Gary Ackerman and Yvette Clarke of New York were on the list, as were California’s Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, and Lynn Woolsey. The Politico newspaper applauded with "God bless them!"
Lawrence O'Donnell, already infamous for his in-your-face rant at John O'Neill of the Swiftboat Veterans, is at it again. This time, the object of O'Donnell's obloquy is Mitt Romney, and in particular his Mormon religion. Appearing on last night's McLaughlin group, O'Donnell indulged in an angry, protracted condemnation of Mormonism.
This was the worst political speech of my lifetime. Because this man stood there and said to you "this is the faith of my fathers." And you, and none of these commentators who liked this speech realized that the faith of his fathers is a racist faith. As of 1978 it was an officially racist faith, and for political convenience in 1978 it switched. And it said "OK, black people can be in this church." He believes, if he believes the faith of his fathers, that black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God, in this demented, Scientology-like notion of what was going on in heaven before the creation of the earth.
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers is once again making speeches with tears in his eyes about the wonders of liberalism, which is apparently not an ideology as much as it's about Kumbaya kinship. Moyers touted the socialist vision of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he won a Freedom of Speech award from the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and his remarks were excerpted by The Nation. He began by mentioning the blue-collar liberalism of his father:
Henry Moyers was an ordinary man who dropped out of the fourth grade because his family needed him to pick cotton to help make ends meet. The Depression knocked him off the farm and flat on his back. When I was born he was making two dollars a day working on the highway to Oklahoma City. He never made over $100 a week in the whole of his working life, and he made that only when he joined the union on the last job he held. He voted for Franklin Roosevelt in four straight elections, and he would have gone on voting for him until kingdom come if both had lived that long. I once asked him why, and he said, "Because the President's my friend."
In the free-for-all that followed Tavis Smiley’s hostile GOP presidential debate in August, Michael Fauntroy was featured by Smiley’s show and several other liberal media outlets as an instant pundit on the subject, author of the book plainly titled Republicans and the Black Vote. But Sunday night on the Huffington Post, Fauntroy slammed a not-so-new documentary on blacks and the GOP as pathetic propaganda:
In arguing that the Dems were racist and that the GOP has been miscast by the liberal media as the enemy of Black people, Emancipation, Revelation, and Revolution completely overlooks the role of ideology in policymaking. Conservatives have long opposed Black progress. Conservatives opposed Reconstruction and civil rights. Conservatives pushed the "Lily-White" movement that purged Blacks from leadership of state Republican parties throughout the South. Conservatives have pushed for the maintenance of a racial status quo that held down Blacks and then blamed them for the lots in life.
A recent episode of Nova about the high-profile 2006 Kitzmiller v. Dover intelligent design trial has been cited for numerous false facts and false insinuations. The episode, entitled "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on trial," contains "blatant misrepresentations" and "misinformation," according to the Discovery Institute, the leading think tank of the intelligence design movement.