On last Friday’s Washington Week, PBS moderator Gwen Ifill brought in a panel of four liberal journalists to dissect the three scandals that have plagued the Obama administration the past couple of weeks. Predictably, most of the panelists attempted to downplay the seriousness of the Benghazi fiasco.
Midway through the Benghazi discussion, Ifill turned to The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and posed the question that has surely been on every left-wing reporter’s mind for months: “But Ed, why is this -- why is this stuck? Why is this a story that never went away?” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Defending the indefensible can make a liberal journalist a little prickly. How else do you explain Washington Post columnist Colbert I. "Colby" King's specious attack on his fellow Post colleague and Inside Washington panelist Charles Krauthammer this weekend?
It all happened when Krauthammer responded to a Post editorial, published in Thursday’s paper, which asserted that UN Ambassador Susan Rice did not mislead anyone about the nature of the September 11 Benghazi attack. Ninety-seven House Republicans had signed a letter charging that Rice did mislead the public, and the Post editorial demanded that those Republicans apologize to Rice. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The PBS NewsHour led off its Thursday evening telecast with a story about the three scandals that currently envelop the Obama administration: the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, the Justice Department’s subpoena of AP phone records, and the Benghazi attack. Rather than following the package with analysis from a journalist, as PBS often does with stories like this, the taxpayer-subsidized network brought on White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri to provide the White House's spin on these scandals.
Even worse, anchor Judy Woodruff did not rise to the occasion with any tough questioning, allowing Palmieri to spin her way right out of trouble. All of Woodruff’s questions dealt with President Obama’s reaction to the scandals; she never grilled Palmieri on whether the White House was involved in any of this. The assumption seemed to be that the president was an innocent bystander in all of these scandals. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
PBS has announced its new fall schedule, and it unfolds like a reinforced liberal stereotype. It includes a "landmark" six-hour series on Latino-American history narrated by Benjamin Bratt, and a six-hour series on African-American history narrated by Henry Louis “Beer Summit” Gates, from America's colonial period "up to the present day — when America has a black president yet remains a nation divided by race."
The liberal network will air a “Great Performances” special titled “Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn,” and, of course, to mark the 50th anniversary of the dark day in Dallas when President Kennedy was shot and killed, PBS is planning hours and hours of JFK specials:
Last night on his PBS talk show, Tavis Smiley sat down for a cozy conversation with Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for left-wing magazine The Nation. Scahill was critical of the Obama administration, as well as the journalists who fail to hold him accountable, throughout much of the interview. However, he did let his mask of objectivity slip at a few points, revealing the liberal face underneath.
Scahill was outraged over the administration’s secrecy surrounding its national security operations, particularly drone strikes. Smiley asked him why the administration has not been more forthcoming about its use of drones, and Scahill partially blamed congressional Republicans: [Video below the break. MP3 audio here.]
On his Thursday night PBS program, Charlie Rose attempted to fulfill his duties as a liberal media member by defending the State Department’s dishonest talking points following the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi. Rose was grilling Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who was involved in the Benghazi hearings, about his views on the matter.
When Rose asked Chaffetz if he believed there was a coverup, the congressman was ready. He brought up the fact that for days after the attack, the administration claimed the incident had been sparked by a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Islam YouTube video. But Chaffetz and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that to be a blatant lie: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On your bike! New York Times's roaming critic Neil Genzlinger reviewed Constitution USA with Peter Sagal, airing Tuesday night on PBS. Judging by the headline, "The Philosophical Rumble Of That Living Document," Genzlinger's editor didn't know what to do with his puzzling, cranky review of the documentary (starring Sagal, liberal host of the NPR game show Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!).
For the second time in a regular news story, PBS mentioned the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on Tuesday’s NewsHour. And yet Gosnell was not the subject of the story in question. The mention came at the tail end of a piece on the battle over abortion restrictions in state legislatures.
Anchor Jeffrey Brown presented the trial as the concern of “anti-abortion activists”: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On his PBS show Charlie Rose brought on editors of the Financial Times to discuss various topics, including Barack Obama's legacy, and one of them boldly pronounced he could go down in history as one of the best presidents ever. Appearing on Wednesday's Charlie Rose show Lionel Barber, the editor of the Financial Times, predicted that if the economy grew at 3.5 percent in 2014: "President Obama will go down as one of the top American presidents."
That proclamation of greatness came after the CBS This Morning co-anchor expressed his concern for Obama's legacy, as Rose worried that the President was running out of time to see his "boldness...released." (video after the jump)
"When the Daytime Emmy nominees were unveiled Wednesday, some of the more interesting noms went unreported," the Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes noted in a blog post yesterday afternoon. Interesting is quite the euphemism in the case of nominee Kevin Clash.
Clash, you may recall, is the Sesame Street puppeteer who resigned last November after allegations of a sexual relationship with a teenager, has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy award. So what exactly was the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) thinking? It's not like the nomination occurred before the lawsuit against Clash was made public.
Last week, before the Senate voted on the Manchin-Toomey gun control bill, Tavis Smiley declared that the idea that expanded background checks might not pass made him want to throw up. Well, the Senate has voted down the measure, and Smiley didn’t throw up on-camera. But he did hack up an angry rant on his PBS talk show Monday night.
The host focused on the idea that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor expanded background checks: "If there are polls and studies and surveys that show – and I’ve seen them, so I know this is true. If there are polls and studies and surveys that show that 90 percent of the American people want – or would have wanted, still want – some sort of background check, it raises the question how the president lost on this issue." [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
NewsBusters reported Sunday the media's chorus to silence Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) is growing louder.
As fate would have it, at roughly the same time, David Brooks was sitting down for a chat with PBS’s Jeff Greenfield at the 92nd Street Y during which the New York Times columnist said, “It doesn’t help that [Cruz] has a face that looks a little like Joe McCarthy” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
After more than a month of silence, PBS finally covered the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Monday’s NewsHour. Considering that all other major news outlets have barely given Gosnell a mention, if they mentioned him at all, it was refreshing to see PBS devote a full seven-minute story to the gruesome abortionist (even if that story came at the very end of the broadcast). However, there was still a stench of disingenuousness in the air as the PBS journalists subtly dismissed the notion that the trial has not received sufficient media coverage up until now.
Anchor Jeffrey Brown introduced the story as “the murder trial of an abortion provider that has captured national attention.” But if the trial has captured national attention, why has PBS waited until now to mention it? Why have we seen nothing more than a trickle of coverage from other major national news outlets? The story might have rightfully captured national attention from the pro-life crowd, but the liberal commercial broadcast media, which favors abortion, has been unwilling to give it national attention. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday's Charlie Rose show David Remnick exploited the Boston Marathon bombing to push for more gun control as he told the PBS host: "We see yet another act which might have been a Hell of a lot more difficult to pull off with effective gun control."
In a discussion about the Tsarnaevs terrorist plot the editor of The New Yorker and former Washington Post reporter pondered where they got their "pistols from?" and said that while he didn't "want to politicize" the tragedy proceeded to do just that, as he complained: "Within a week's time a very, very, very weak gun control bill gets defeated." (video after the jump)
President Obama suffered a large, embarrassing loss in the Senate on a slew of gun-control bills. If this were a Republican president, they’d be sounding the lame-duck alarms on the nightly newscasts. But most media outlets can’t do this. They were fully invested in this campaign alongside Obama, and to underscore his weakness is to acknowledge their own.
Since mid-December, the broadcast networks and cable news hosts like Piers Morgan and Joe Scarborough have relentlessly lobbied for gun control. On how many occasions did they completely shred the notion of objectivity -- of journalism itself -- and boldly engage in lobbying for gun control, using their networks as megaphones? Let’s consider a few recent moments.
Harrison Ford made a brutal critique of the news industry Thursday.
Appearing on PBS's Tavis Smiley Show, the actor said the "divisiveness and fractiousness in our society" is caused by "what passes for journalism" today "fostering and supporting our prejudices" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
With the monumental collapse of the president’s anti-gun agenda, many are wondering if both sides will “go back into their corners” on gun control. Every single measure in this new bill failed, which elicited the wrath of the president yesterday in the Rose Garden. During the April 17 broadcast of the PBS NewsHour, Gwen Ifill asked why these measures failed to pass, mentioned the popularity of background checks, and failed to press Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on past statements about how this bill really wouldn’t have prevented Sandy Hook ergo more mass shootings.
In fairness, Ifill also had Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Democrat from Conneticut, on the program to discuss the failed bill. While he said his organization supported some of the amendments in the bill, they couldn’t back it due to the background check provision, noting it would have harmed gun sellers who rely heavily on weekend sales, when most customers come to their stores [emphasis mine]:
This week, the Senate voted down the proposed Manchin-Toomey gun control bill that would have expanded background checks for potential gun buyers. Somewhere in Los Angeles, Tavis Smiley is cleaning up the mess he made.
On his PBS talk show two days before the Senate vote, Smiley was grilling socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) about the likelihood that gun control legislation would pass. Sanders told Smiley, “I think we stand a reasonable chance to at least pass legislation greatly expanding background checks.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
We’re living through an important moment in U.S. political history, and thankfully we have ABC’s chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl to tell us just how momentous it is. Karl appeared as a guest on Charlie Rose’s PBS show Thursday night to chat about gun control and the president’s budget, among other things. The veteran ABC reporter lamented the fact that neither Republicans nor Democrats on Capitol Hill appreciated President Obama’s budget very much:
"I mean, the Republicans didn't give him really any credit at all. And then you have on his liberal flank people like Barry Sanders [sic] saying this is outrageous that the president is, in the words of some progressives, stealing money from seniors, stealing deserved benefits. So it's hard to find somebody up on Capitol Hill that was truly ready to give the president credit. And to praise his budget." [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Legendary British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has passed away, and given that she was a conservative, PBS can’t let her go without finding some way to criticize her. On Tuesday evening’s PBS NewsHour, Time Magazine’s Rana Foroohar was brought on to discuss Thatcher’s legacy. Why Foroohar? Well, according to anchor Gwen Ifill, not only does she cover economics and business, she also lived in Britain for nine years.
Foroohar got right to work, describing Thatcher as a “very divisive character” and a “very, very polarizing figure.” Ifill asked her if there are presently any heirs to Thatcher’s world view, and Foroohar responded that Thatcher’s heirs reside in the developing world and emerging markets. These countries are at a stage where Thatcher’s ideas of privatization and free markets can help them, according to Foroohar.
"If he’s not assassinated or not overthrown in a coup, he’s going to be in power for 40 years, and he is going to wed those atomic bombs to those missiles, and he’ll be able to threaten South Korea and Japan and U.S. bases in Asia.”
So said Pat Buchanan about North Korea's Kim Jong Un on PBS's McLaughlin Group Friday.
On Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff brought on former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to discuss the problem of gridlock in Washington. The conversation started off well, but Woodruff soon made it clear who she believes is more responsible for a lack of legislative progress in the nation’s capital.
Snowe presented the problem as being caused by members of both parties. She cited the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as examples of ideologically rigid groups on the right and left respectively. But Woodruff couldn’t let this even-handed approach fly on her program. She jumped in with a slanted question: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Veteran journalist Bill Moyers told his viewers on March 29 that the next time they say the Pledge of Allegiance, they should “remember: it’s a lie. A whopper of a lie.” Bill Moyers’s “Moyers & Company,” which included the snippet, airs on taxpayer funded PBS.
“We coax it from the mouths of babes for the same reason our politicians wear those flag pins in their lapels – it makes the hypocrisy go down easier, the way aspirin helps a headache go away.”
In a flurry of finger pointing, Moyers called out former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as former Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan and the company Halliburton for obstructing justice and trampling on the less fortunate.
The PBS NewsHour went into everyone’s favorite subjects last Friday, gays and guns, and discussed the overwhelming cultural shift concerning gay marriage. New York Times columnist David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields both commented on how this shift could be irreversible, but noted that the Supreme Court could “Roe v. Wade” the decision. That is, the faux conservative and the liberal pundit both agreed that a court decision could just breath new life and fresh controversy into the same-sex marriage fight.
Yes, this is NOT an April Fools' joke. Brooks and Shields were actually saying that sweeping decisions, if not taken responsibly, could create more problems in the long run. It's a refreshing moment hearing shields, unlike others among his liberal colleagues, acknowledging how social change is best achieved through the political process rather than the courts. It is, however, a shame that Brooks failed to give a conservative constitutional case for why DOMA and Prop 8 should stand, aside from the deleterious effects of a court ruling:
Warning: Please remove all flammables, fluids, and food from proximity to your computer as the following statement by Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on PBS's McLaughlin Group Friday could result in a potentially hazardous fit of laughter.
"The concern within the [Obama] administration [regarding cyber warfare] is intense, and it reminds me of the way the Clinton administration was focused on al Qaeda in the ’90s" (video follows with lengthy commentary to really expose the absurdity of this statement):