Is Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps trying to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine through what he calls a "public value test" for broadcasters? The short answer is no, and Copps is adamant about that point. He points out that while the Fairness Doctrine regulated political speech by mandating equal time for all views on a given topic, the "public value test" will only require that broadcasters serve the "public interest", whatever that may be.
Copps is correct in a narrow sense. The federal government will not be policing political opinions. It will simply be ensuring that content meets a standard for public value.
What Copps fails to grasp is that "public value" is such a subjective term that it is almost unavoidable for political factors to play into a determination of whether or not certain content satisfies the definition. In other words, there is not official regulation of political speech, but such speech will almost surely be regulated indirectly.
When candidate Obama bragged of campaigning in 57 states, or Pres. Obama suggested that the national language of Austria is "Austrian," we all remember how ABC flaunted those embarrassing flubs. Or not.
But let Sarah Palin momentarily mention North rather than South Korea as our ally, and ABC finds it newsworthy. Check out the video after the jump, containing the news scroll from today's Good Morning America.
By the way, as Ben Smith has pointed out at Politico, Palin actually correctly identified South Korea as our ally earlier in her Glenn Beck radio interview.
Along with the cheerful news that Fox News trounced its cable news competitors on Election Night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), those longing for more fairness and balance in television news coverage can take some comfort in the fact that the Big Three Networks' evening news shows came in with audiences almost 20% lower during the week before and the week of the 2010 midterm elections compared to the same two weeks in 2006.
As seen below, NBC took the smallest hit of the three networks, losing an average of "only" 1.2 million viewers in the two comparative weeks involved. ABC got hit harder, while CBS lost nearly 3 in 10 viewers (Sources: MediaBistro -- Nov. 1, 2010; Oct. 25, 2010; Nov. 6, 2006; Oct. 30, 2006):
Samuels made her complaint in light of NBC's cancellation of it's ratings-plagued spy series, "Undercovers," which featured a black actor and actress in the lead roles as glamorous and deadly CIA agents:
Chalk this one up to things that make you go, “What?!?”
In an interview with the BBC on Oct. 4, Virginia Ironside, a columnist for the U.K. Independent made a jaw-dropping statement – that abortion and euthanasia could somehow be considered to be acts of kindness. (h/t Scott Baker, theblaze.com)
“[I] think that if I were a mother of a suffering child, I would be the first to want I mean a deeply suffering child I would be the first one to put a pillow over its face, as I would with any suffering thing and I think the difference is that my feeling of horror, suffering is many greater than my feeling of getting rid of a couple of cells because suffering can go on for years,” Ironside said.
Summer's over. It's after Labor Day. The kids are back in school. People are back into their routines. The trouble for the Big 3 broadcast networks is that those routines don't include watching their early-evening newscasts.
Beyond that, last week was a pivotal week in Campaign 2010, with key primaries in New York, Delaware, New Hampshire, and several other states. As far as I know, Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, and Katie Couric were firmly ensconced in their anchor chairs all week long.
With all that, the Big 3 Nets' audience for the week was less than 20 million, almost 5% lower than the same week a year ago, when there were no key election races. The Big 3 are not recovering from what was an awful summer.
Are the three news networks actively working to defeat the Republican candidate for Governor in Wisconsin? According to the far-left Service Employees International Union, yes, they most certainly are.
SEIU spokesman John-david Morgan - also, incidentally, a former journalist - told a staffer (audio embedded below the fold) for GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker that local media affiliates for all three major networks were "willing partners" in the union's efforts to defeat Walker. The staffer gave a fake name and recorded the conversation without Morgan's knowledge.
"They've really been willing partners in it," Morgan told the staffer. "They come in with the TV cameras, and [channels] 58, 12 come, and 6 doesn't always. But, yeah, they've been really helpful. They think it's fun." Channels 58 and 12 are Milwaukee's CBS and ABC affiliates, respectively. "It's not perfect," Morgan added, but "they get our message across."
I didn't know about what follows when I posted last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on Atlantic politics editor and CBS Campaign 2010 "Chief Political Consultant" Marc Ambinder's September 15 prediction that "The media is going to help the Democratic Party's national messaging." Though drop-dead obvious, I still found it interesting that someone in Ambinder's position would admit it.
It turns out that only two days after Ambinder put forth his prediction, he proactively made it come true.
Despite the inquisitive title of his September 17 post ("Will the White House Play the Palin Card?"), Ambinder clearly believes that going after Sarah Palin should be part of the White House's and Democrats' strategy during the next seven weeks.
It's enough to make you wonder if he has already written his CBS election post-mortems. Behold Ambinder's cluelessness:
In a September 15 post-primary item at the Atlantic ("An Epic End to the Primaries: What It Means"), politics editor Marc Ambinder presented seven "different ways to look at the primaries of September 14, 2010."
His final item reads as follows (bold is mine):
7. The media is going to help the Democratic Party's national messaging, which is that the GOP is a party full of Christine O'Donnells, a party that wants to take away your Social Security and your right to masturbate. Well, maybe not that last part, but then again, the implicit message of the party is that the GOP is about to elect a slate of hard social rightists to Congress.
The bolded text is an obvious point to anyone with even the most rudimentary powers of observation, but it's a pretty interesting admission nonetheless. That's especially true because Ambinder is a bona fide member of the media. Indeed, he's a self-admitted Journolist member who despite (or perhaps because) of that involvement has a specific assignment involving covering this fall's elections.
Dubbed as "ultra right wing extremist" and "crazy," Republican candidate Christine O'Donnell and her Tea Party supporters have been smeared by every major broadcast and cable network since she won the Delaware primary against GOP establishment candidate on Tuesday night.
This is mudsliging at its ugliest. Pure character assassination. These networks have never treated a viable Democratic candidate with this level of contempt. How dare they lecture anyone on manners or decency ever again.
The MRC demands the media Tell The Truth! about the Tea Party, its momentum and the revolution of people whose votes are proving America is fed up with Washington.
Here are just some of the latest smears by the liberal media:
With liberals up in arms over News Corp's political contributions, here's an interesting fact worth noting: of the roughly $1.15 million network TV employees gave to political candidates in 2008, a full 88 percent of it went to Democrats.
Barack Obama received almost half a million dollars from those same execs, while John McCain received just over $25,000. The discrepancy between donations to the Democratic and Republican parties was also enormous.
Though the numbers are striking, the imbalance is not altogether surprising. But they do help to put in prospect the left's righteous indignation over the political activities of Fox News's parent company.
They'll have all sorts of excuses (but only if asked) about why it happened: It's because they had a lot of guest anchors last week, it was hot, summer vacation season is still on (though lots of kids around in Greater Cincinnati were already back in school by last Wednesday), cable is killing us, blah-blah, etc., etc.
But the Big Three networks won't be able to avoid the fact that their ongoing decline reached a painful low last week of 18.82 million average viewers. Here is the graphic that appeared this morning at ABC's lipstick-on-a-pig blog post:
I don't know whether that's an all-time low, but Kevin Allocca at Media Bistro, who hadn't posted the full numbers as of the time of this post, has noted that one of those networks indeed scraped bottom last week:
In late July, NB Contributing Editor Tom Blumer busted the Associated Press for neglecting to mention the party affiliations of scandal-plagued officials in Bell, California. The AP piece was one of hundreds of reports on the scandal. Of those hundreds, one solitary report mentioned party labels for the five officials.
Can you guess which party they belong to? I'll bet you can.
The only news outlet that mentioned the officials were Democrats was the Orange County Register. And even that paper noted the absence of party labels only in response to reader complaints. "Our readers noticed one part of the story has been left out by virtually all media sources," the paper's editorial board wrote. "All five council members are members of the Democratic Party."
The most prominent of the officials in question, former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo, resigned after it came to light that he was making $1.5 million per year - in a town with a per capita income languishing at about half the national average.
We continue on the lighter side of things with the Top Five Times NewsBusters Embarrassed the Media. (Also check out a short video-cast with NewsBusters bloggers talking about how they embarrased the journalists)
Editor's Note: For the list of NewsBusters T-shirt contest winners, skip to the end of this post.
As we approach our 5th anniversary at NewsBusters, our celebration would not be complete without a recap of our best posts. It was a tough call, but we came up with the top 25, broken down evenly into five categories of five each.
We call it our Five-for-Five.
Each Friday through August 13 we'll publish a Five-for-Five list.We've saved the very best for last: On Monday, August 16, we'll publish the Top Five Outrageous Outbursts.
But we start today with a much lighter note. The first category for Five-for-Five is The Top Five Media Flubs Caught by NewsBusters.(Also check out a short video-cast with NewsBusters bloggers talking about how they caught the flubs.)
Last week, Matt Robare at NewsBusters noted the fact that the Big 3 networks' combined year-over-year audience fell by a bit more than 1 million during the second quarter.
Last week's showing appears to be to a slight pickup over the previous week, but it may have been much worse.
Here, per Media Bistro, is how the the week of June 28 as reported by Nielsen compared to the week of June 21, the last reporting week of the aforementioned dismal quarter:
June 21 -- NBC - 7,190,000; ABC - 6,740,000; CBS - 5,230,000; Total - 19,160,000. June 28 -- NBC - 7,800,000; ABC - 6,740,000; CBS - 4,970,000; Total - 19,510,000.
So how did NBC attract over 600,000 additional viewers during the week of June 28, increasing its audience by over 8%? The answer, according to Media Bistro's Kevin Allocca, is that the network probably didn't:
The GOP as the party of obstructionism: it's a tried and true media meme, but very often falls a tad short of the truth. Yet on occasion, even stubborn facts are not enough to dispel such accusations.
Some in the media have taken President Obama's recess appointment of Donald Berwick to the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as an occasion to bash purportedly obstructionist congressional Republicans. Just one problem: the GOP didn't hold up the nomination.
In fact, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which would have had jurisdiction over Berwick's appointment, said he "requested that a hearing take place two weeks ago, before this recess." Presumably, Grassley wanted to shine light on some of Berwick's more controversial positions, such as support for the rationing of care and his advocacy of the use of the health care system to redistribute wealth.
Matt Drudge is currently linking to the YouTube version (also carried at Real Clear Politics) of Milwaukee TV station WISN's report on Vice President Joe Biden's visit to a Greenfield, Wisconsin custard shop. In it, you can hear the following exchange between Biden and the Kopp's Custard manager:
Biden: What do we owe you? Manager: Don't worry. It's on us. ... (inaudible) ... Lower our taxes and we’ll call it even.
Reporter: A few minutes after the Kopp's manager's comment on "Lower our taxes," there's another exchange. Biden: Why don't you say something nice instead of being a smart-ass all the time? Say something nice.
That's the theme of author John S. Cohoat's new book "No Thank You, Mr. President," which tells the story of 10 private companies in Elkhart County, Ind., that made their own way to economic recovery without government handouts.
"My hope is that these stories provide some inspiration for you or make you remember why our capitalist economic policies and truly American way of life is the answer," Cohoat wrote in his first chapter, titled ‘Why This Book? Why Now?'
Cohoat characterized Elkhart County, in the northern part of the state near South Bend, as a hard-nosed area able to take care of itself. His portrayal stands in contract to the national media's portrayal of the county as the "poster child for all that is bad with our economy."
With all the major news stories and developments out there, the editorial board at the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman in Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin's hometown, is bemused, bewildered, and somewhat befuddled at the national media's interest in a privacy fence (HT Michelle Malkin) on residential property.
The just-built fence is on Palin's property. Its purpose is to frustrate the prying eyes of author Joe McGinnis, who has moved into a house next door for what is said to be the next five months.
The Palins are understandably none too pleased at the orchestrated attempt at privacy invasion that appears to either be funded by or will ultimately be reimbursed by publishing giant Random House. Readers here will share that feeling once they see who is expending precious newsroom resources trying to follow the McGinnis v. Palin saga instead of dealing with legitimate news stories.
Here is some of what the Frontiersman had to say on Saturday (bolds are mine):
In the May 26 issue of Rolling Stone, Taibbi's article, "Wall Street War," lamented the impact lobbyists in Washington, D.C. have had on the legislative process of the financial regulation reform. And in order to keep readers interested, he painted Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., as a villain with a degree of insult:
Five weeks ago (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Big Three Networks' combined evening news audiences dropped to below 20 million -- an audience about 5% less than what Matt Drudge in the summer of 2006 headlined as “TV’s Lowest Week.”
Three weeks ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), their combined audience came in at 19.61 million, down over 12% from the previous year.
For the week of May 3, the combined total fell further, to the point where they're one more really bad week away from hitting an all-time low -- a low that was "achieved" in mid-June of last year (Source -- Media Bistro, week of May 3, 2010; week of May 4, 2009):
It’s no secret that reality shows on television can sometimes promote less than ideal values. From “Tila Tequila” to “The Jersey Shore,” viewers are often subjected to the culture of hookups and nonstop partying. But a new reality show is actually going to auction off virgins to the highest bidder.
According to the New York Post, two women and one male virgin will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The show will air in Australia, but will be filmed in Nevada, where prostitution is legal. Another reason the show will be filmed in Nevada is because the show’s filmmaker, Justin Sisely, was threatened along with the virgins to be charged with prostitution if it was filmed in Australia.
Liberal political pundits frequently remind Americans that words matter, which makes broadcast network reporters' coverage of Arizona's new crack down on illegal immigrants so appalling.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law on April 23 that would make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to not carry documentation proving they are in the country legally. The bill gave state law enforcement the power to determine the immigration status of any person during "any lawful contact." Amid allegations that this law would lead to "racial profiling," Brewer later amended it to allow law enforcement to only check the immigration status of those involved in a "lawful stop, detention or arrest."
Reporters on ABC, NBC and CBS misled the American people about the law by calling it "anti-immigration" twice as often as correctly identifying the law as "anti-illegal immigration" and reporting, as ABC's Bill Weir did on the April 24 "Good Morning America, "Police [in Arizona] now have the power to stop anyone and make them prove they are legal."
With the release of the Department of Defense's report on the November Fort Hood massacre, two trends are becoming increasingly clear: the administration does not want to talk about Islam's violent elements, and the mainstream media is more than willing to play along.
The administration's position clear to anyone examining official documentation. The Fort Hood report, the FBI's counterterrorism lexicon, and the 2009 National Intelligence Strategy do not even use the words enemy, jihad, Muslim, or Islam. The original 9/11 Commission Report, in contrast, used those words a combined 632 times.
The media's attitude towards radical Islam's role in this particular attack is evident in its reluctance to attribute Maj. Nidal Hasan's motives to jihad. The members of the media who share this attitude obfuscate the threats facing the nation.
For nearly a year, the allegations of scandalous activity in former Rep. Eric Massa’s office were kept quiet — by the congressman, by male aides who accuse him of sexually harassing them and by other congressional staff.
But with two aides coming forward last week to announce that they had filed harassment claims against the New York Democrat, charges and countercharges are exploding into full public view, ensuring that the Massa saga will not simply go away.
Instead, it will raise old questions about whether Congress is able to effectively police its own members and staff, and the degree to which staff members are responsible for — or even capable of — reining in lawmakers who are accused of abusing their power.
Of course, while I've no doubt that more sordid details of the scandal will drip out into the public consciousness between now and Election Day, I'm not anticipating that the mainstream media, at least the broadcast networks, are that interested in making hay of this matter, which doubtless may reflect poorly on the Democratic Party's management of the House of Representatives.
Must be nice being a leftie and NEVER having to worry about some childish television creator taking a gratuitous shot — from completely out of nowhere — at what you believe in. Not so for we righties. When all we want after a hard day of gay bashing, cross burning and kitten punting is to get lost in mindless entertainment, we always have to worry about stuff like this (see video embed at right).
This is why I stopped watching television over a decade ago. Tired of being insulted. Tired of being disappointed. And you can practically feel the people behind the childish political shot laughing at your Charlie Brown as they once again pull the football away.
“Glee” spent all of last season building up buzz and an audience, and as soon as they get one: POW!
Screw you, righties. We don’t like you and we think you’re stupid for liking Palin.
After a bit of a respite primarily due to NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics, the audience desertion from the Big 3 networks' evening news broadcasts has again resumed.
Not that the first quarter of 2010 was all peaches and cream. Last week, Media Bistro noted that ABC's "World News Tonight" had "its lowest-rated first quarter ever."
But the results for the first week of the second ratings quarter are beyond awful. The total audience for all three evening news shows came in under 20 million. For context, recall that during a traditionally low-audience summer week in 2006, Drudge headlined ("TV's Lowest Week") a disastrous drop -- to 21 million viewers. Now it appears that what was once considered a really bad summer week four years ago (noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) might be a typical week during 2010's prime spring viewing season.