Former CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer told Columbus Dispatch writer Tim Feran that the gossip was untrue that he was trashing Katie Couric in the press. "I was not the source for that story, period. I had nothing to do with it...and I don't know who did." Schieffer also took exception to the Bill Moyers theory that the national media were enablers to President Bush's runup to war in Iraq.
Q: In his recent PBS report about the run-up to the Iraq war, Bill Moyers said: "The press has yet to come to terms with its role in enabling the Bush administration to go to war on false pretenses." Do you agree?
A: I don't think we enabled them to go to war, although there's no question we should have asked harder questions. But I think the Democrats should have asked harder questions, the CIA should have asked harder questions, the people within the administration should have asked harder questions. Somewhere along the way, the decision to go into Iraq somehow became the fault of the press.
Set your TiVo to CNN Headline News at 9 p.m. EDT tonight. NewsBusters senior editor/MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham will be on the "Glenn Beck" program to discuss how PBS is politicizing a documentary about World War II.
The controversy centers around how documentary producer Ken Burns and PBS have dealt with pressure from activist groups to include more footage on Hispanic Americans' contributions to the war effort.
Here is the kind of debate that's common on taxpayer-subsidized PBS: two liberals arguing over the right degree of rage over President Bush on Iraq. Should it be white hot? Or just hot enough that you don't burn your mouth on it? On Thursday night's edition of his eponymous show, Tavis Smiley interviewed Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.
Ignatius worried out loud about finding some degree of national unity in the Iraq end game, and suggested Bush hatred is running contrary to the national interest: "People are so angry in Washington. The debate is so intense that I just worry that we're just slipping a gear as a country. People are almost so angry at George Bush that they want to see this thing fail to spite him, and that should be. That's wrong." Smiley tried to suggest he was asking "devil's advocate" questions, but his angry tone and finger-pointing body language gave his personal opinion away:
SMILEY: Far be it for me to argue with you, but let me just take the devil's advocate position on this, just to press you a little bit more on this. Why shouldn't we be outraged? Why shouldn't we be angry with George Bush?
IGNATIUS: We should be...
SMILEY: Why shouldn't this be the issue around which we will throw down a gauntlet and be angry? We're losing lives every day, why not this, if any issue, to be just outraged about?
The first regular episode of the latest incarnation of Bill Moyers Journal on PBS featured Comedy Central host Jon Stewart (recently hailed by Moyers as "the Mark Twain of our day") mocking Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for appearing to be a "low-functioning pinhead" and comparing the Bush administration to the mobster characters in the movie Goodfellas. He suggested the White House press corps was a joke, suggesting they're the Washington Generals to Bush's Harlem Globetrotters: "the government is just you know, blowing the doors off the media."
First, the "Daily Show" fake anchor expressed amazement on the Friday night show that Gonzales would be so willing to look foolish and wildly incompetent so that Congress would fail in its attempt to impose oversight:
A few years ago, the Left pulled several muscles exerting itself with the strange theory that the Public Broadcasting Service was lurching dangerously to the right. When Corporation for Public Broadcasting chairman Kenneth Tomlinson had the audacity not only to speak internal profanities (“fairness” and “balance”), but to try and build on them, it became clear to them that he was out of control and needed to be stopped.
Tomlinson made several small but significant steps toward balance on our taxpayer-subsidized airwaves, nudging the creation of two right-leaning talk programs – “Tucker Carlson Unfiltered” and “The Journal Editorial Report” – and both suffered from the TV equivalent of crib death. Liberals really erupted when they learned Tomlinson secretly hired someone to assess the political balance of some PBS and NPR programs. This initiative was doomed, not only because the internal bureaucracy would never tolerate it, but because proving liberal bias at PBS is beyond easy. It’s like proving Rosie O’Donnell has a liberal bias: is it really necessary to conduct a study?
The Left maintains an iron grip on PBS with all the maturity and sophistication that a four-year-old hangs on to a Happy Meal toy. The motto of their public and private campaign against Tomlinson’s alleged transgressions should have been “Mine! Mine! All Mine!”
Tomlinson is long gone and Democrats now control Congress. But another step was necessary for the reemergence of classic PBS propaganda: the return of Bill Moyers. He was back to full-time fulminating duties on April 25 with a special titled “Buying the War.” The entire thesis of this 90-minute taxpayer-funded lecture? The national media were willing cogs in the neoconservative machine that took America to war. How is this for PBS balance: Moyers didn’t allow a single conservative, neo- or otherwise, to challenge this ludicrous idea. Oh, there were assorted clips of conservatives (yours truly included) speaking in the months after 9/11, but only to “prove” his case for a noxious “patriotism police” which would not allow dissent.
He did invite far-left media critics like Eric Boehlert and Norman Solomon to echo his conspiracy theory that the major media were stuffed with sticky pro-Bush saps. But then, Moyers also added major media players, from disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather to former CNN boss Walter Isaacson, to agree with him that they were all woefully lacking in anti-war fervor.
In the same week, defense expert Frank Gaffney was telling a far different story – in fact, the opposite story. Unlike Moyers, Gaffney had proof. Back in the Tomlinson era, CPB pursued the idea of a broad-based documentary series on how America would respond to the post-9/11 world. Gaffney’s documentary proposal on “Islam vs. Islamism,” focusing on moderate Muslims’ efforts to challenge Islamofascists, was given a green light as one installment in the 11-part series called “America At The Crossroads.”
But once Tomlinson was out, the permanent liberal bureaucracy kicked into gear. The series was shipped to PBS D.C. superstation WETA. They promptly expressed horror that anyone would allow Gaffney anywhere near a PBS production because of his “day job” with a conservative advocacy group. They wanted Gaffney fired as an executive producer. When that didn’t happen, they censored the film, refusing to air it.
This is a clear double standard. Take Moyers as Exhibit A. Even as he constantly produces PBS programming, he has an advocacy-group job as well, as president of the leftist Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, and no one inside PBS has ever cared.
There was one “neocon” film that did air in the series, titled “The Case for War,” which starred conservative theorist Richard Perle. The PBS ombudsman, Michael Getler – who, to be fair, has occasionally faulted shows for a liberal tilt – came unglued that Perle was allowed so much access to PBS viewers.
“I personally find the decision to produce this film, as it has turned out, to be a stunning avoidance of the real crossroad that we are at and an abdication of journalistic principal [sic] on the most crucial issue of our time and our future,” Getler protested on the PBS website. “This was not the subject or the time, in my opinion, on which to have a ‘point of view’ film controlled by an advocate.” Getler added that the film had a “propaganda tone” and “it is structured so that Perle always has the last word and controls the flow.”
To Getler, it is an abdication of journalism to allow antiquated and disproven conservative arguments on PBS. But how could Getler watch the Moyers propaganda special and not see how that spectacle was obviously structured so that Moyers always had the last word – the only word!
There is only one journalistic principle and one standard for the liberals who dominate PBS. It’s mine. It’s not yours.
One argument at the beginning of the Bill Moyers PBS special on our alleged Bush-polishing press corps centered around a White House press conference just before the Iraq war began on March 6, 2003. Within hours on that night, leftists were complaining that reporters weren't harsh enough.CBS Radio's White House reporter Mark Knoller made a rare protest against the Moyers charge on their Public Eye site. I'm a little surprised that Knoller is the only White House reporter to challenge Moyers on the idea that they were all Bush patsies, just as I'm surprised that no one in the White House press corps really challenged Helen Thomas when she called them all Bush patsies.
The formulation Moyers used -- that reporters failed to "challenge the president" that he was lying about WMD -- is trumped up, and suggests that reporters should not have merely suggested that war protesters and other countries had doubts. Apparently, Moyers wouldn't have honored a reporter as challenging unless they rhetorically punched the president in the face, suggesting his case for Iraq was crawling with lies. Moyers obviously and sleazily skipped the case of ABC's Terry Moran, who insulted all his colleagues as "zombies" after the press conference. He, by contrast, should have earned an A from Moyers from challenging Bush as leading the world in arrogance:
As part of his tour of public-broadcasting publicity spots, PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers appeared Wednesday morning on radical-left Pacifica Radio’s "Democracy Now" program with Amy Goodman, a show Moyers celebrated at a radical "media reform" conference in January by suggesting he had a private "fantasy" about Goodman, that every PBS station would put her on their air. They referred to him as "legendary." Goodman played large chunks of the Moyers PBS special "Buying the War" in advance, and Moyers uncorked a series of left-wing howlers for her.
The mainstream media were cheerleaders for Bush. "Pro-war pundits" need to be banned from TV, put in a "penalty box." Implausibly, he claimed his documentary "talks to people on all sides of the story." Jon Stewart is the "Mark Twain of our day." Dan Rather is an "honest man" but at CBS, he was a "good man caught in a rigged system," contained by corporate owners at Viacom who voted Republican. And, weirdest of all, Moyers claims he and PBS "serve a sort of centrist role," and PBS needs to break free of control from Congress. Let’s take the Moyers claims one at a time.
If PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers wanted to cultivate an appearance of fairness and balance, he's not doing a very good job of it. On the PBS talk show Tavis Smiley on Monday night, Moyers compared Team Bush to a "burglar in the basement" that the watchdog media didn't bark at, or if you prefer, the media was the fire department, and Team Bush was the "arsonist." In fact, he charged "the press was in cahoots with the arsonist."
When Smiley pressed Moyers on whether his show is fair and balanced, he slammed Fox News Channel: "Fox News has so poisoned the meaning of fair and balanced that I can't even understand those terms anymore, but anybody who watches this documentary will see that we lay out the evidence." Smiley also catered to Moyers by asking him if the Bush adminstration was the most secretive in American history.
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers returns his series "Bill Moyers Journal" to taxpayer-funded PBS stations on Wednesday night. On Monday, National Public Radio’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross offered Moyers a very favorable interview to promote the show. Near the end, Gross asked Moyers about charges of liberal bias bandied about when Kenneth Tomlinson headed the board at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Moyers said "He singled out Now with Bill Moyers for a bias that didn’t exist."
Moyers didn’t try in this comfortable liberal forum to pretend completely that he was non-ideological or a "Thomas Paine radical." He proclaimed "There's no hiding the fact that I believe that collectively we can do things that we can't do individually. I don't think markets solve all of our problems. If that makes me a liberal, I'm a liberal." But he claimed his journalism was about seeking the "verifiable truth."
Brent Bozell, President of
the Media Research Center, which publishes
NewsBusters, appeared Tuesday night on FNC's "Hannity & Colmes"
to criticize PBS for returning left-winger Bill Moyers to the
taxpayer-funded network just weeks after PBS spiked Frank Gaffney's
documentary, "Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center,"
which was intended to be part of last week's 11-part America at a
Crossroads series. Wednesday night, most PBS stations will run Moyers's
left-wing screed, "Buying
the War," about how the news media was supposedly complicit
in the Bush administration's false contentions that got the U.S. into
the Iraq war. (More below on the segment and topic)
Video clip (5:58): Real
(10.2 MB at higher-quality 225 kbps) or Windows Media
(3.8 MB at lower-quality 81 kbps), plus MP3
audio (2.1 MB)
The American press is so encumbered by political correctness and ignorant of Islamic doctrine that it is allowing extremist Muslims in this country to mask a hard-core ideology in minority politics. So says M. Zuhdi Jasser, a moderate American Muslim leader (h/t: LGF).
This pandering on the part of the American press (I would add international as well), is preventing the emergence of a pan-Islamic consensus to marginalize extremists like Osama bin Laden, Jasser argues. Instead, the reverse happens--criticism of Islamists gets suppressed by naive liberals who misguidedly think it's racist:
Dennis Wagner of the Arizona Republic broke the story on April 10, 2007 about PBS's censorship of the documentary, Islam vs. Islamists from its America at a Crossroads series which debuted this week. The film's producers, Frank Gaffney, Alex Alexiev and the veteran filmmaker, Martyn Burke of ABG Films, Inc. have since presented in shocking detail their painful protracted experiences trying to navigate the censors at PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which funded the film with $675,000 of the taxpayers' monies but now has chosen to shelve it. In just the last week of public debate, there has been a firestorm of outcry from the public who are demanding that oppressive methods of editorial content control by power brokers at PBS be investigated and the real story behind the shelving of Islam vs. Islamists be exposed. PBS's exploitation of the public dime and the public airwaves for the narrow point of view of the Islamist sympathizers with the exclusion of the anti-Islamist Muslims is just now beginning to be understood.
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers is winding up for another series of left-wing propaganda broadcasts on our taxpayer-supported PBS stations. On April 25, we're subjected to the film "Buying the War," which quite typically argues that the liberal media weren't liberal enough, that they were weak-kneed pawns for the Bush war machine. Moyers gave an interview to Eric Bates of Rolling Stone magazine, which posted some audio on its "Rock and Roll Daily" blog explaining how Moyers "gets ill talking about how the Big Red Hype Machine, i.e. Fox News and its conservative bedfellows, makes headlines by criticizing unbiased news reporters."
Moyers declares that one special presence in the new film is disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather. He says the program begins with footage of Rather crying on the David Letterman show a week after 9/11 proclaiming he would go "wherever the president tells me to line up." But in this film, Rather and Moyers are denouncing a right-wing "slime machine." That's a rich characterization coming from someone who tried to use bogus National Guard documents to ruin President Bush's reputation. Here's how Moyers promised he would denounce conservatives from coast to coast:
You know you must be watching PBS when Good Friday is a time to interview promoters of gnostic gospels and leftist preachers who equate the persecutors of Christ with "rugged individualism." On this Good Friday, April 6, Charlie Rose interviewed Princeton professor Elaine Pagels and Harvard professor Karen King, who explored with Rose how the "Gospel of Judas" shows parallels between early Christian martyrs and modern-day Islamic suicide bombers. Leftist Rev. James Forbes of New York’s Riverside Church carried the anti-individualist message.
Rose began with the professors by promising "some fascinating new information about Judas and Jesus. The New Testament presents Judas’ actions towards Jesus as the most infamous of betrayals. The long-lost Gospel of Judas tells a very different story. It shows Judas as Jesus` favorite disciple and willing collaborator."
In 1992, Republican chairman Rich Bond oafishly suggested in public that he was arguing the media had a liberal bias because he was "working the refs," cynically complaining about harsh coverage to get better coverage. But many candidates try to work reporters this way, and on the slightly dated April 4 edition of the PBS talk show Charlie Rose, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter said Bill Clinton's trying that tactic against Barack Obama, who he feels hasn't been challenged or critiqued by reporters:
JONATHAN ALTER: He`s working the refs, as we say.
CHARLIE ROSE: He`s doing what?
ALTER: He`s working the refs....Basketball players understand that.
An American tax-funded documentary, titled Islam vs. Islamists, a film on how moderate Muslims feel about the corruption of their religion by Wahhabi extremists and their experiences in facing those extremists, was axed by PBS for the very reason that it puts some Muslims in a bad light, says the film's producer in Tuesday's edition of the Arizona Republic. Rampant PCism is the charge, and it is hard to deny the claim once the whole story is put out there.
The producer of a tax-financed documentary on Islamic extremism claims his film has been dropped for political reasons from a television series that airs next week on more than 300 PBS stations nationwide.
Producer Martyn Burke claims that PBS, in order to be allowed to continue with the project, tried to make him fire some of his associates on the film because they belong to a Conservative Think Tank and that they still axed his film anyway when all was said and done.
One of the nice things about having a television and newsletter archive at MRC is being able to bring up the old newscasts and recall how very different the tone and approach of the news was when a Democrat was in the White House. The U.S. Attorney-firing scandal is a strong example of how the network news can on one hand, sell a scandal as incredibly damaging for a political party it does not support, but downplays scandal as damaging to democracy and the people when it affects the political party it favors. Our latest Media Reality Check reminds readers of how different the news sounded ten years ago, when a Republican Congress investigated illegal foreign donations, mostly to national Democratic Party accounts. Take NBC:
NBC theorized that the media were too Clinton-scandal obsessed in 1997. On June 17, 1997, Today co-host Katie Couric asked reporter Bob Woodward: “But are members of the media, do you think, Bob, too scandal-obsessed, looking for something at every corner?”
Last Tuesday, in a blog suggesting the PBS Frontline documentary on 'News War' would be biased, I added: "Suffice it to say PBS has not contacted the news watchers at the MRC." Frontline executive editor Louis Wiley protested that they had. I asked our publicists, and they located an e-mail from April, requesting a 90-minute interview with MRC president Brent Bozell, which was refused. I was not aware of the request, and I was incorrect. Here is the e-mail I received from Wiley of PBS:
As our producer Arun Rath said, we had wanted to interview O'Reilly and Limbaugh in person to ask them questions about this topic, but they turned us down. It didn't, however, stop us from doing our best to represent their views as our commitment to professionalism requires.
Yesterday I dismissed the idea that PBS couldn't find anyone conservative to comment on the Bush team's alleged war on the press. Talk-radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt, a long-time host for PBS in Los Angeles, explained on his blog that the Frontline folks at PBS tried to cajole him into an interview for their "News War" four-hour marathon, but he ultimately declined. Here's his story:
Producer Raney Anderson journeyed to California to make the case for why I ought to participate, and I declined. I spent a decade inside the PBS system, and while I think Ms. Anderson is a talented and sincere documentarian, the form is inherently biased as the moment a cut gets made, an editorial choice has been rendered, and I didn't trust a PBS team, however talented, to make those choices about what I have to say about media, new and old.
Several national newspapers praised the four-hour PBS Frontline series beginning Tuesday night titled "News War," on how Team Bush (and Team Nixon before that) undemocratically waged war on the press. There's not much on whether the press was undemocratically waging war on the elected president in those cases. (Who, pray tell, voted for the New York Times to run the country?) The man setting the table for the first two hours is Arun Rath, who the South Asian Journalists Association website jokingly notes "acquired a semi-classical education at Reed College in Oregon ('Atheism, Communism and Free Love')." What a surprise for an NPR/PBS producer.
In a new interview on the SAJA website, Rath explained how he was somehow completely incapable of tracking down conservatives to comment on the show's arrogant liberal thesis, namely that the press is crucial to save democracy from freedom-crushing Republicans:
Fox News "Special Report" anchor Brit Hume led off his "Political Grapevine" segment Monday night by citing a piece that appeared that day on Times Watch, on the paper's double standard regarding the expressing of personal opinions on television. Here's Hume:
"A New York Times reporter has been rebuked by his superiors after voicing the hope that the U.S. can accomplish its goals in Iraq. Here's what Times chief military correspondent Michael Gordon said on the Charlie Rose show earlier this month, quote:
'As a purely personal view, I think it's worth it, one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we've never really tried to win. We've simply been managing our way to defeat. And I think that if it's done right, I think that there is the chance to accomplish something,' end quote. Times Public Editor Byron Calame writes that Washington Bureau Chief Philip Taubman said Gordon quote, 'stepped over the line' and quote, 'went too far.'
"Timeswatch.com points out that last summer Times reporter Neil MacFarquhar appeared on the Rose show, and criticized Bush administration practice of sending bombs to the Middle East, saying the policy, quote, 'erodes and erodes and erodes America's reputation.' MacFarquhar received no reprimand for his comments."
PBS tonight airs a documentary on the late Milton Friedman, and perhaps surprisingly enough, the taxpayer-funded network did a good job. [check here for local listings]
UPDATE: You know it's gotta be good. NY Times reviewer Ginia Bellafante panned it for being too worshipful of the free market advocate. And yes, your eyes deceive you not, she found a downside to ending the draft (Friedman opposed military conscription, favoring an all-volunteer force).
Below is an excerpt from a review published to the BusinessandMedia.org Web site by Hillsdale political economy professor and BMI advisor Dr. Gary Wolfram.:
One last tidbit from State of the Union Night: On Tuesday night’s Charlie Rose talk show on PBS, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and ABC political director Mark Halperin and White House correspondent Martha Raddatz took turns sticking forks into President Bush and saying he was done. Meacham said Bush attempted to show he’s "actually involved with reality, that he’s a reality-based figure." Halperin agreed that the president "wanted to show that he had a reality-based presidency, but I don’t think he did. I think the war is over politically." Halperin even suggested that if Congress could vote by secret ballot, both Republicans and Democrats would vote to end the war – and vote for Bush’s presidency "to end today."
In his latest left-wing tirade at a radical "media reform" conference in Memphis last Friday, long-time PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers announced he would resurface again with another regular show on PBS this spring, titled once again Bill Moyers’ Journal. He also is creating a documentary titled "Buying the War." In his Castro-length speech, rebroadcast for an hour on Tuesday on Pacifica’s nationally distributed "Democracy Now" radio/TV simulcast, Moyers decried an alleged conservative stranglehold on the American news media (apparently, the New York Times are "sitting ducks" for "neoconservative propaganda"), cited left-wing media watchdog theories and studies, and said his private "fantasy" was all about strident leftist "Democracy Now" host Amy Goodman: that the Memphis crowd would lobby every public TV station to run her daily radical hootenanny.
According to ex-CNN reporter Judy Woodruff, both her former network and PBS are "God-fearing, America loving" organizations. The veteran journalist, who is now promoting a documentary on young people for public television, appeared on the Thursday, January 11 edition of Stephen Colbert’s "Colbert Report." Before discussing Ms. Woodruff’s new investigative report, the Comedy Central host shifted into his faux-conservative mode and attacked CNN and PBS. This exchange followed at 11:50pm:
Stephen Colbert: "Now, you used to work for CNN. Now, you're doing this documentary, which sounds fascinating, for PBS. Is that– Is it– But, you've gone from, you know, an organization that clearly hates America to an organization that is proto, like, commie. Is it possible to go further left then PBS on television?"
Judy Woodruff: "Now, no. Absolutely not. You know that's not true."
Colbert: "I do not not know that’s true. I do not not know that’s true? Yes. Bill Moyers is, like, got his Mao’s little red book in his back pocket, right? You're wearing a pink outfit."
Woodruff: "PBS is a God-fearing, America-loving organization. Just like CNN."
Monday’s NewsHour on PBS continued to drive home the grim reality that 3,000 American troops are now dead in the Iraq war. They featured two family members of fallen soldiers who are grieving through non-political means and one that's political. Of course, the politically activist family on this partially taxpayer funded show is anti-war and favors a swift withdrawal. Curiously, the did not find time to feature a Gold Star family that favors the mission in Iraq.
Reporter Spencer Michels mixed emotional stories of a mother on a walkathon for wounded soldiers, and a Colombian immigrant soldier posthumously awarded U.S. citizenship, with the anti-war family. Michels even offered a statement implying recent Democratic victories as a victory for peace. Then he raised concern that they may not be liberal enough.
PBS talk show host Charlie Rose, who spent the 1980s at CBS doing the overnight interview show "Nightwatch," is never a softer touch than when he has a network star on his show. Monday night’s interview with NBC anchor Brian Williams gave the anchor a platform to present his newscast as a "reasoned, serious" oasis from cable-news shouters, a "half hour of peace and tranquility" with "smart people" like David Gregory and Andrea Mitchell telling you about the world. Their discussion of Katrina coverage had no hint of regret that NBC misled people with Ray Nagin’s wild estimates of 10,000 dead. Williams said, "you remember people saying, well, the media have found their footing again and its name is New Orleans. They were asleep during WMD. But they're awake now."
The interview began with syrupy talk about Williams filling in for Rose during his heart-surgery break. Williams said it was his pleasure, since he was interviewing that genius who is the editor of Newsweek:
Sometimes, from the wilderness outside that insular liberal bubble known as PBS, the self-congratulations reaches new levels of absurdity. PBS is so insular that it hires bloggers to promote PBS documentaries, even PBS documentaries that lionize PBS programs.
I speak of this blog post: PBS has hired bloggers to comment on its programs on a site called "Remotely Connected." Paid blogger Levi Asher promoted a documentary on the PBS show "Sesame Street," or more precisely a promotional film on how Sesame Workshop markets international versions of "Sesame Street." [CORRECTION: Asher and the other PBS bloggers are not paid. See statement below.] The documentary series is titled "Independent Lens." I have no earthly idea how a somehow-edgy "independent" filmmaker makes a film glowingly recounting how Sesame Workshop, the global conglomerate, is foisting its "Muppet catalysts for social change" on the world for profit. But Asher loves the whole promotional circle:
On the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer tonight, they honed in on allegations of voter irregularities and election-stealing, and Lehrer began suggesting a need for the federal government to rule over a regime of nationalized election standards. In the show’s second installment of the panel of liberal Mark Shields and guest conservative Ramesh Ponnuru, the veteran liberal clearly won the battle of the clock: Shields took about twice as much air time to lay out his answers as Ponnuru the newcomer did. Here’s how Lehrer pushed nationalized election systems:
Lehrer: "Ramesh, do you think there should be national standards for all elections, and take it out of the hands of local precinct workers and county judges and people like that?"
On Friday night, the PBS news show "Now" wrapped up its last show before the election by bringing on so-called "conservative" blogger Andrew Sullivan to explain why he’s telling everyone to vote Democrat. Apparently, voting Democrat is the right way to get low taxes, small government, and a competent defense. What? That’s odd, considering the show began by quoting this "conservative iconoclast" claiming "We're talking not so much about an election anymore; we're talking about an intervention. We're talking about getting these people to recognize reality."
"Now" host David Brancaccio gave viewers no shred of a clue that would make Sullivan look less than conservative, from being an editor of the liberal magazine The New Republic in the 1990s, to blogging now for Time magazine online, to his rabid support for John Kerry in 2004, to his most obvious crusade -- as a fervent lobbyist for the gay-left agenda. (The screen only read he was a blogger for the "Daily Dish," the title of his blog on Time.com.) It began with a compliment:
Brancaccio: "What is a nice conservative like you doing telling your friends and your readers to abstain from voting next week or worse?"
Sullivan: "I've done more. I've said 'vote Democrat.' Look, I'm an old-fashioned conservative. I believe in small government. I believe in low taxes. I believe in balanced budgets. I believe in individual liberty, personal responsibility, states' rights and a strong competent defense. So, on all those issues, I have no choice but to oppose this president. The only way to get him to acknowledge reality and grapple with reality is by backing the Democrats."
The panel of "mainstream" reporters on PBS's Friday night "Washington Week" roundtable sounded typically sympathetic to John Kerry's "botched joke" excuses, and dismissed its importance to the election. PBS host Gwen Ifill called it the "Kerry kerfluffle." Which is also a botched joke of some sort, since she must have meant "kerfuffle." (Doesn't she read her daily Taranto at Opinion Journal?)
Ifill: Let's talk about some of the other things that we're not certain how they will affect the outcome on Tuesday. One this week I called the ‘Kerry kerfluffle,’ where Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee last time around, came out and he said a few things which many Democrats found unhelpful. And many Republicans found to be a godsend and by the end of the week we don't know how it washes. Let's listen again."