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.
Former NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw took the publicity tour on his book on the 1960's to PBS’s Tavis Smiley show, where he discussed how he was "in a rage" when a friend of his died in Vietnam, although he initially believed in it when John F. Kennedy insisted in a domino theory in southeast Asia, a premise that "quickly came apart." Brokaw agreed with Smiley that there were many parallels between Iraq and Vietnam, and also agreed that Martin Luther King is the most important figure in American history. But he also agreed when Smiley insisted no one has ever been able to detect a bias in his reporting and anchoring: "I've been comforted over the years that people on the far left and people on the far right have said to me, ‘What party are you in, anyway?’ I have never been able to figure it out."
For those who have any doubt that Brokaw fit the mold of the liberal media elite, see MRC’s Media Reality Check on twenty years of Tom Brokaw tilt. Here’s the exchange from PBS:
SMILEY: As I sit and listen to you talk, Tom, now about all of these issues that you've covered in your career and lived through in your life, I always thought that as a newsman, you, Tom Brokaw, kept your feelings, kept your politics out of what you -- I know on paper you have to do that or you don't have a job. [!]
The liberal-media establishment at the Poynter Institute delights in the supposedly scandalous appearances of conservatives in the media, as its Romenesko website featured liberal PBS complainers on Wednesday:
National Review editor Rich Lowry recently filled in for David Brooks on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" during the Friday week-in-review segment. Some viewer reactions:
"Please rethink having such a callous, offensive 'reporter' on PBS again."
"He gives journalism an ugly face not to mention the total disregard this young man has for democracy."
"The remarks of Rich Lowry were shameful and deeply disturbing."
In a recent CBN News report by Melissa Charbonneau on the Fairness Doctrine, jaws dropped across the conservative-Christian segment of America at this section:
Liberals, such as radio host Bill Press, say it's only fair for government to rein in right-wing broadcasters who dominate the airwaves licensed by the government.
"Conservatives rule talk radio," Press said. "Conservatives have their own powerful television network: the only one, the most powerful in the country, the most watched. Liberals have none. Conservatives rule the op-ed pages of all the newspapers."
I was invited in to discuss our PBS Special Report on how there's not exactly a Fairness Doctrine ruling the increasingly liberal taxpayer-funded network. It's a good thing I wasn't in the middle of a glass of water when that quote aired.
Anchor Lee Webb asked me to respond to Press, and I simply said that's not the way conservatives see it. Maybe I should have just said "Bill Press knows better."
Airing on PBS tonight at 8 p.m. is “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial”, a two hour documentary that tells the story of the Dover case. The ACLU are super-excited!
Of all of the cases the ACLU has taken on in the last few years, our challenge to the promotion of “intelligent design” in Dover, Pennsylvania’s public schools is one that truly speaks volumes about our work - work that ACLU supporters like you make possible.
That is why I wanted to let you know about an upcoming program highlighting this landmark case.
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) is a left-wing "independent" film-makers collective funded through our tax dollars (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to be exact). "Independent" isn’t really the right word. These filmmakers may be outside a corporate or studio system, but any glance of the ITVS grants shows there are no conservative filmmakers in America today making anti-Michael Moore films that celebrate capitalism or anti-abortion films or films against illegal immigration with government subsidies provided by ITVS.
ITVS lives up to its leftist values by adding political activism. It has a community-organizing emphasis. It shows its films not just on PBS stations, but also organizes free community showings in theaters. It also has hired organizers to "leverage" its leftist films to "build stronger connections" and spur on a more aggressive fight for "social justice."
PBS personalities can certainly come across as full of themselves, even boasting of how they can dare to do news programming that almost nobody wants to watch. Take Jim Lehrer’s recent speech at the University of Texas, as reported by the Austin American-Statesman:
He warned against the "spicing up" of news with entertainment programming and partisan commentary. "You want to be entertained? Go to the circus, please. Do not watch 'The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,' " he said.
The typically straightforward face of "NewsHour" relayed humorous tales from his education at Victoria College and the early days at his 32-year-old show, which took a while to hit its stride.
"We did 30 minutes comparing naturally grown tomatoes to unnaturally grown tomatoes," Lehrer said. "Don't ask me why we did it.
"We did 30 minutes on the Portuguese elections that not even the Portuguese cared about."
The Independent Television Service was established by Congress in 1988 with legislation directing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to establish ITVS with "a national coalition of independent producer groups." Currently, CPB awards $15 million a year to ITVS, a one-sided, left-wing "independent" filmmakers’ organizing center. ITVS saw its purpose to be "a catalyst for change, a way for independent producers to participate in and define the cultural dialogue of public television." Today, that "cultural dialogue" is being defined from Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district, at 651 Brannan Street in the city of San Francisco.
When it comes to sexual politics, the tax dollars funneled into ITVS have long been used to promote the libertine left, beginning in the early 1990s with the films of the late Marlon Riggs, a gay black filmmaker and the maker of the explicitly gay film "Tongues Untied," and a liberal darling who drew taxpayer funding from a plethora of government "arts" agencies. That history of left-wing advocacy against social conservatives funded and promoted by ITVS continues to the present:
The book tour continues for CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and his Clarence Thomas-bashing, Barack Obama-boosting routine. Last Friday, Toobin made his tour of nearly every NPR and PBS interview show complete with an appearance on Tavis Smiley, where he reprised his take on Thomas as bitter, isolated, and ultraconservative. (Thomas was isolated because he was interviewed by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham on his book tour. It also makes him a "highly partisan figure.") Smiley complained that in the Thomas interview on 60 Minutes, CBS’s Steve Kroft "basically rolls over the guy," and asked Toobin if it’s time to consider an end to lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.
The two liberals also had a cozy chat reconsidering how conservative justices were overtly partisan in the way they decided Bush vs. Gore in 2000, which Smiley found to be an "extreme" where the Court was "out-and-out too political."
We have a new Special Report posted on the main MRC Web site on the ideological sandbox we call PBS. In previous years with Democratic control of Congress, PBS has played a more activist role within the media, dragging the rest of the national media further to the left and spurring more aggression and ill will against conservative and Republican leaders. Just as 2007 has been a year for a "surge" of troops in Iraq, it's also been a year of "surging" activism within PBS.
At the same time, Democratic congressional leaders now in the majority have been entertaining the idea of reviving a federal "Fairness Doctrine" which would require private broadcasters to comply with notions of balancing out each station's daily schedule of news, talk, and public-affairs programming. These same Democrats have been highly offended at the idea that anyone outside or inside taxpayer-funded broadcasting would monitor PBS content for fairness or balance.
Harvard: Positive Newspaper Stories on Dems- 58.8%, Positive for Repubs- 26.4%
If even Harvard University says that the Media overwhelmingly favors Democrats in their coverage, you've got to finally accept that it is true. The MSM loves Democrats and hates Republicans. It's just that simple. Investor's Business Daily gives us the low down on the gushingly positive coverage that the MSM bestows upon their favored political party by reporting the results of the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy from Harvard ("hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy" as IBD quips). The survey found that the "media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans."
Here on Newsbusters we say, "DUH!"
According to a new study, those news organizations that hold themselves up as the most neutral and professional — big newspapers, the broadcast networks and taxpayer-subsidized National Public Radio — are actually producing campaign stories that are the most tilted in favor of Democrats, while online news and talk radio have actually been the most balanced.
The study, released Monday from the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) and Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, found newspapers and broadcast TV outlets devoted far more time to covering the Democratic candidates than the Republicans and that the tone of those stories was much more favorable to the Democrats, mirroring the results of a Media Research Center study released in August.
To commemorate the Media Research Center’s 20th anniversary this month, we’ve just published a special expanded edition of our ‘Notable Quotables’ newsletter with more than 100 of the most outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes we’ve uncovered over the past 20 years. To wrap up this week’s posts, I thought I’d list a few of the most outrageous or moronic quotes we’ve come across since 1987.
For sheer wackiness, it’s hard to top then-CNBC anchor Geraldo Rivera, who sang his disdain for independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr during the height of the Lewinsky scandal, July 21, 1998, on his Rivera Live program, to the tune of “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.”
Tavis Smiley Publicist Promotes Justice Clarence Thomas Book Discussion with Character Bashing E-Mail
I received an e-mail this week from Brian Steffen who is the online publicist for Tavis Smiley. The e-mail was a promotion for a PBS airing of a panel discussion on "My Grandfather's Son," the new book by Justice Clarence Thomas. The e-mail consisted of an advance set of excerpts that were designed to entice me to watch the program. The only problem was that every excerpt in the e-mail took a pot shot at Justice Thomas by attacking his character, without substance of course, very much in line with most of the criticisms that Thomas has had to endure mainly because he is a black conservative.
But there is more going on here than the criticism of Justice Thomas as it appears in an unsolicited e-mail. The context of the comments reveal the true biases of liberal educators, certain representatives of black activist organizations and that of the media darlings that put these people on a pedestal. You will soon see that their bias feeds into the notion that the Supreme Court should be used as a tool to create policy and subvert the role of the other two branches of government that most readily represents the people. The bias also allows the panel guests to extend the cry for equal time under fairness doctrine like standards; a cry that is increasingly being used as a weapon to try and silence the free speech rights of conservatives in talk radio, on TV and the internet.
On Friday morning’s Today, NBC put the thumb-screws on the Republican PBS debate no-shows in a segment with NBC’s Tim Russert and an outraged PBS host Tavis Smiley, who in his outrage over being snubbed, equated himself with history, that skipping his debate was a "watershed moment" in American history. Russert piled on with the same liberal media spin, quoting all the Republicans who said the no-shows were making a huge mistake, that attending was "good politics" – and no Republican holding a contrary opinion.
Many conservatives who feel passionately about reaching out to black voters are infuriated that the Republican front-runners have not consented to a PBS debate hosted by PBS and public-radio talk show host Tavis Smiley. Newt Gingrich assured ABC viewers the other morning that "Tavis Smiley is a very responsible, very clear-cut commentator and analyst. He's going to run a very fair debate." But have these critical voices ever really looked at Smiley’s actual record when it comes to Republicans?
Start with October 24, 2000. Smiley told Geraldo Rivera on CNBC that George W. Bush was a serial killer. "There are, there are some issues on which if you are a voter of color, certainly if you are an African-American, you have a hard time choosing. For example, both of these guys support the death penalty. As far as I’m concerned, Bush in Texas is nothing more than a serial killer." Does Gingrich think that's "responsible" commentary?
Cooper joins other members of the mainstream media who are "featured attendees" at this year’s "Clinton Global Initiative" annual meeting, including Daljit Dhaliwal of PBS; Nicholas Kristof and George Suroweicki of the New York Times; Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, and former (current?) Clinton lackey George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. Major media executives attending the meeting include Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks; Rupert Murdoch; and Ted Turner.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program once again demonstrated the template for GOP figures to receive air time: Trash your fellow Republicans. GMA featured former Congressman J.C. Watts questioning whether top 2008 GOP presidential candidates are racist for skipping a PBS debate on minority issues. Continuing the theme, co-host Robin Roberts asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, "...Why are Republicans so reluctant to talk to minorities?"
In a piece setting up the Gingrich interview, Roberts intoned that the absence of Republican front-runners at the event is "raising questions about the message it sends to some voters." GMA co-host Diane Sawyer teased the segment by not-so-subtlety asking, "...Are the Republican candidates snubbing minority events?" Roberts and Sawyer never bothered to mention that Thursday’s PBS debate will be moderated by liberal host Tavis Smiley who, for instance, wondered in May, "Why shouldn’t we be outraged" at George Bush. Perhaps the Republican front-runners simply don’t want to go into a hostile, left-wing event. Would "Good Morning America" insist that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton attend a forum hosted by the NRA?
CORRECTION: 2007-09-25 14:20:00 -0400 [An earlier version misidentified Jake Tapper as saying the event is "raising questions about the message it sends to some voters." This was actually said by co-host Robin Roberts.]
A presidential election must be approaching: liberals are playing the Republicans-are-evil-racists card. People will recall the notorious NAACP 2000 campaign commercial that equated George W. Bush with someone who dragged a black man to death behind his car on a chain.
On today's "View," Joy Behar [file photo] offered a similar slur: GOP = KKK.
Talk had turned to the fact that most of the Republican presidential candidates declined to participate in two Latino-oriented debates held earlier this year. The leading candidates have now indicated that they will also be taking a pass on a September 27th debate at Morgan State University organized by Tavis Smiley and to be broadcast on PBS.
The Washington Post’s favoritism toward Democrats is obvious in Wednesday’s paper. When Democrats abandon efforts to force a troop pullout from Iraq, the Post puts the story on A3 with the headline "Democrats’ Iraq Push on Hold." Reporter Shailagh Murray says the Democrats are "abandoning a bipartisan effort" for pullout. That’s amusing, since just words before, she says this move is because most Republicans don’t want to be counted in that "bipartisan" effort.
But on page A1, the Republicans are still the ones in political danger, with the story "Debate No-Shows Worry GOP Leaders." Reporter Perry Bacon Jr asserted that GOP presidential contenders turning down debates hosted by Hispanic liberals and black liberals could cause "a backlash that could further erode the party's standing with black and Latino voters." Bacon front-loaded the story with loud lamentations from Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich about failing to stand before Tavis Smiley on PBS and get attacked from the left.
Over at the Intellectual Conservative, writer Gary Larson discusses what he discovered when viewing an episode of PBS's "History Detectives":
Entertaining, a smidgen on the shaggy-dog side, the PBS program showcases four academic “detectives” traipsing around the country tracking down arcane histories of assorted relics. It’s a fun program, a fast hour of delicious cotton candy for us history buffs.
It leads us down paths of little discoveries — a shard of bone, a piece of flag, some old cannon ball. Then a “detective” tells us what parts they played in history, if at all. The joy of watching is in the journey.
You better put down your drinks, and make sure there's nothing in your mouths, for the New York Times's David Brooks made a comment on Friday's News Hour that is guaranteed to evoke uncontrollable fits of laughter from those on the right side of the aisle.
*****Updates at end of post include similar opinions from conservative bloggers, as well as a video of a CNN correspondent saying roughly the same thing, and a response from the Kos Kidz.
After introducing regular guests Brooks and Mark Shields, host Jim Lehrer asked their opinions concerning the just-released Osama bin Laden video.
Brooks was second up with this absolutely marvelous observation (final warning to put down your drinks, video available here):