CNN correspondent Alina Cho went out of her way to highlight First Lady Michelle Obama’s “meteoric rise to style icon status” and how it has inspired the fashion industry during a report on Thursday’s American Morning. After detailing how a dress Mrs. Obama wore on the cover of Essence magazine ended up selling well, she commented that “the bottom line is designers are looking at Michelle as a muse now.” Cho also detailed how the apparent Obama-inspired fashion craze has expanded to cosmetics and fitness classes.
Co-anchor Kiran Chetry introduced Cho’s report, which began 17 minutes into the 6 am hour of the CNN program, by trumpeting how “nearly a 100 days into her role as first lady, it’s become clear that she’s really a one-woman stimulus package for the fashion industry.” The CNN correspondent continued with similar lofty language: “Michelle Obama’s meteoric rise to style icon status has surprised even those in the fashion industry. For months, we’ve been watching everything she wears, and in many cases, we’re going out and buying it. So designers are sitting up and taking note. They’re thinking it’s time to cash in.”
The economy is already in rough shape, but some think we should let it go to pot - literally. Pro-legalization advocacy groups are promoting the possibility that legalizing marijuana could provide some economic relief, and the media has eagerly explored the idea.
On April 20, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) aired TV ads calling for marijuana legalization. They ran on CNN, Fox News Channel and were covered by CBS News.
"In the spot, Americans say of the drug, ‘you can tax it, you can regulate it, apply age restrictions...create millions of new jobs ... save our economy,'" Brian Montopoli wrote for CBSNews.com on April 20.
With chatter that this could be a campaign issue in 2010, the new Obama Administration's relaxed policies toward the drug and some people's desperate, try-anything approach to solving the government spending deficits and economic woes, the idea of marijuana legalization is gaining traction with the media.
It must be hard to keep a straight face when you report that the President of United States going to cut $100 million from a $3.5 trillion budget and then say he is serious about cutting government spending.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs couldn't pull it off. In the White House's April 20 press briefing, Gibbs was asked by Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven why the $100-million target was so small and she even accused him of making a joke about it.
"I'm being completely sincere that only in Washington, D.C. is $100 million not a lot of money," Gibbs said. "It is where I'm from. It is where I grew up. And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans."
But somehow, CNN correspondent Elaine Quijano pulled it off. Originally on CNN's April 20 "American Morning," and again on CNN throughout April 20, Quijano reported the Obama administration was making an effort to cut spending.
For a network that calmly bowed to the "advantages" of totalitarianism in Cuba's natural-disaster preparations, it was a bit shocking to hear National Public Radio anchor Melissa Block pressing a leftist congressman on Tuesday's All Things Considered about Cuban repression.
Employing what should be the standard practice of presenting the opponent's position, in this case on normalizing relations with Cuba and the Castro brothers. She found that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, touring Cuba with the Congressional Black Caucus, may be a "Democrat" but he celebrates a "diversity" of government styles, including lock-step communism:
BLOCK: Well, congressman, you well know that supporters of current Cuba policy -- supporters of the embargo -- say that if you lift sanctions you are going to just aid and justify a repressive regime. You're going to kill any hope of democracy. Now that regime will just use more resources to become more oppressive than it already is.
CLEAVER: Well, the world operates at its best when there is diversity. Every nation does not need to be like the United States. And frankly we already have diplomatic ties to repressive nations. And frankly if there is repression in Cuba, we didn't see it. We mingled with Cuban people. I preached at an Episcopal Church, Sunday, where we were told that there was no freedom of religion, which is not true.
CNN latched onto two separate poll results on Monday that indicated that about half of Americans view the Islamic world negatively or don’t trust Muslim allies as much as other allies, and indicated that President Obama and others in authority need to be “educators” for the public about Islam. The network brought up the polls’ results on seven different occasions during their programming that day.
During the 8 am Eastern hour of American Morning, chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour first brought up a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which found that 55 percent of Americans “concede that they lack a good basic understanding of Islam” and that 48 percent “hold an unfavorable opinion of Islam.” After she read these results, substitute anchor Carol Costello responded, “I think the difference is that many Americans see Islam as an ideology instead of a religion, and maybe, President Obama has to kind of -- kind of put a definition on it from the American standpoint in Turkey.”
Later, near the end of the noon hour of the Newsroom program, Amanpour appeared again, this time with anchor Tony Harris. He asked the correspondent to “talk us through some recent polling in The Washington Post that suggests that the president is going to have to play the role of educator-in-chief when it comes to explaining Islam to many in America, even as he works for better relations with the Islamic world.” Amanpour first answered that President Obama was “trying to smooth...over and correct” the “terrible rupture” between the U.S. and the Islamic world over the past eight years.
Two journalists appearing as guests on CNN on Wednesday and Thursday praised “mighty Michelle” Obama for being “stylish,” “successful,” and for showing “an interest in wanting to reach out to people who may feel they’ve been disenfranchised or held at a distance from the power structure.”
Eighteen hours later on Thursday’s American Morning, the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan tried to sell how Mrs. Obama could aid her husband on the international stage: “[She] helps people to get more of a human sense of the administration. And also, I think that for many people, there was, to some degree, a sense of being closed off to the rest of the world or closed off to those who are kind of outside of the mainstream by other administrations. And I think this is a way of trying to build those bridges in a way that is very non-confrontational.”
CNN correspondent Alina Cho loaded the regal language into her report on Wednesday’s American Morning about Europe’s “apparent love affair” with Michelle Obama. Besides the obligatory Jackie Kennedy references, Cho gave a preview of the first lady’s tea with Queen Elizabeth II: “On today’s schedule: tea with the queen, and insiders say the queen and America’s queen bee will be fast friends.” The correspondent even compared Mrs. Obama to Princess Diana. She also referred to the Obamas as the “royal family of the United States.”
Cho began her report by hyping the first lady’s popularity, how it apparently isn’t exclusive to the States, and how it could overshadow her husband the president: “Tina Brown, as you know, joked about an hour ago that Sara Brown is a beautiful girl but, you know, everybody sort of knows that right now, at least, she pales in comparison to Michelle Obama. Of course, the big question is, could she overshadow the president?...So, you know, there’s no denying that Michelle Obama is a rock star in America, but how is her style and personality playing abroad? Well, the early reviews are very good. The apparent love affair with the U.S. first lady is flourishing in Europe.”
Major media began shielding Barack Obama from criticism early in the presidential primaries. It's no surprise, then, when they continue to do so today. However, the media's collective, instinctive tone-deafness in regard to grassroots activities continues to stun and amaze.
NewsBusters has so far noted several grassroots efforts that have been ignored – despite similar left-leaning efforts getting fantastic coverage. For example, there was Noel Sheppard's initial entry on the Chicago Tea Parties, and the tiny amount of coverage they received. Then, there was Warner Todd Huston, noting the San Francisco Chronicle's preferential treatment of an anti-Wall Street protest. For the magnum opus, however, we turn to the entire mainstream media's blind eye – pointed squarely at the University of Notre Dame.
Don't tell them the race is over. Once volunteers for the Obama campaign...a vast grassroots network of supporters is back on the trail. Reactivated. This time, to sell the president's agenda. Michael Lafemina was one of hundreds of volunteers who went door-to-door from New York...to California on behalf of something called Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic Party run by remnants of the Obama campaign.
So in a matter of seconds, Acosta's supposed vast grassroots network was reduced to only hundreds of people. Initial reports in other media suggest the response to Obama's personal call to arms was less than overwhelming.
Is foreign drug violence a reason to reinstate the ban on assault weapons in America? U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder thinks so. And judging by its relentless and one-sided coverage in the last month, CNN agrees.
Let's connect some dots: Remember that whole Obama "clinging to religion and guns" flap? Now, remember White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel saying never let a crisis go to waste? Good. Finally, remember how the media carried ... sorry, is carrying water for Obama?
It looks like Holder has internalized Emanuel's philosophy, and is looking at the bloody drug wars raging along Mexico's northern border as the crisis he needs to ratchet up gun control.
Last month, during a press conference in which he announced that more than 50 members of Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexican drug cartel, were captured, Holder revealed his intentions. "Well, as President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons. I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum," he said.
"That's your attorney general talking about selling out the second amendment and your rights for the benefit of the benefit of Mexico," Lou Dobbs said on his Feb. 25 program. But Dobbs must be a lonely man at CNN. The rest of the network took Holder's statement as its cue, began hammering the point that American weapons are being used in Mexico's increasingly violent drug wars.
A Nexis search revealed that out of 57 reports on the Mexican drug violence that have aired since February 16, half (29) of them have mentioned at least once that Mexican drug cartels are using American weapons.
Between the White House and the Associated Press, nobody can figure out what the President said and did. Nobody is really worried, though. Other than Fox and Friends, they're the only ones who've heard of the President's latest teleprompter gaffe.
According to the stunningly unclear AP report:
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen was just a few paragraphs into an address at a St. Patrick's Day celebration at the White House when he realized something sounded way too familiar. Turns out, he was repeating the speech President Barack Obama had just given.
Jim Cramer just keeps paying the price for his heresy. Ever since his March 3 remarks calling Obama's policies "greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a president," the CNBC "Mad Money" host has been under attack. First it was the back-and-forth with the White House, then he was skewered by comedian Jon Stewart. Now CNN and a former high-ranking public official have targeted him.
"You know, a lot of times when I was short and I was positioned short, meaning I needed it down, I would create a level of activity beforehand that could drive the futures," Cramer said in the three year-old video. "Similarly, or if I were long, and I would want to make things a little bit rosy, I would go in and take a bunch of stocks and make sure that they're higher and maybe commit five million in capital to it and I could affect it."
Nancy Pelosi's callous treatment of the United States Air Force has been uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch – and with the exception of Fox and Friends, the morning shows have given it exactly zero air time.
When Rush Limbaugh called a phony soldier a phony, the media frenzy was nearly instantaneous. But when Nancy Pelosi's staffer writes a belligerent email to the Department of Defense, demanding to know the location of every G5S in Air Force service, there is a virtual media blackout.
Fox and Friends reported the staffer as writing:
KAY KING: It is my understanding there are no G5S available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable. The Speaker will want to know where the planes are [...] This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset Speaker.
ABC and CNN, two reputable news sources, have done their part in promoting a “study” that posits conservatives are the nation’s biggest consumers of online pornography. Problem is, many think the study is full of holes and fuzzy math. ABC and CNN bought it: hook, line and sinker.
“Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers” is a New Scientistarticle by Ewen Callaway that alleges that those who reside in “red” states, typically associated with support of the GOP, purchase more pornography than those in “blue” states. He cites a nationwide study that analyzed credit card receipts from a “popular online adult entertainment provider” in various states.
On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s Rick Sanchez referenced New York Times columnist David Brooks and The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan as “conservatives” during a short segment about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s response to President Obama’s address before a joint session of Congress. Both men are known for their less-than-conservative stance on social issues, particularly on the issue of homosexual “marriage;” their sharp criticism of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during her bid for the vice presidency last year; and their sympathy for Obama.
The anchor cited the two writers a quarter of an hour into the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program as examples of how Governor Jindal “hasn’t exactly been getting accolades from members of his own party” for his handling of the official Republican response to President Obama’s speech. Sanchez referred to Brooks as the “heralded conservative columnist for The New York Times,” and read a quote where he criticized the governor’s attack on big government: “It’s just a disaster for the Republican party. In a moment when only the federal government is actually big enough to do stuff, to say government is the problem -- it’s just a form of nihilism.” He then read an apparently sarcastic quote from “noted conservative” Sullivan: “This guy [Jindal] is supposed to be the smart one.”
On Tuesday’s American Morning, anchor Kiran Chertry and correspondent Jason Carroll failed to mention the left-wing politics of filmmaker Michael Moore during a report about his latest project, which targets the financial industry, and included a sound bite from People Magazine’s Leah Rozen, who expressed a desire to “see Michael Moore spank Wall Street.” Carroll emphasized Moore’s credentials, and agreed with Chetry that many would rush to assist him: “They loved that ‘gotcha’ kind of filmmaking, and Michael Moore does it better than no one else and he’s about to do it again.”
The segment on Moore’s new production began with a clip from “Sicko,” his last movie, as Chetry announced that “the controversial filmmaker is setting his sights on Wall Street. He’s actively recruiting people who’ve worked in the financial sector to expose what he calls the biggest swindle in U.S. history.” As she introduced Carroll, the anchor continued that Moore “probably has a rapt audience at this point, because everything that’s happened with this financial crisis and a lot of people are blaming Wall Street.”
Nearing the ten year anniversary of the controversial “child-porn” underwear advertisements, Calvin Klein has launched another raunchy ad campaign for the spring 2009 collection, featuring an orgy of young men and women.
For the latest ad campaign, Calvin Klein hired Steven Meisel, famous for the photography in Madonna’s pornographic “Sex” book in the early 90s. The ads, which can be seen in women’s fashion magazines such as Lucky and Cosmopolitan and soon to be on billboards, are composed of photographs of three to five twenty-somethings sprawled out half naked on each other in various sexual positions. Viewers can see the multimedia version of the ads in an online video considered too explicit to air in the United States.
Calvin Klein has propagated controversial ads in recent history, the most unforgettable being a 1999 advertisement that conjured up images of child pornography. Due to public outcry, the offending ads, which displayed young models showing their underwear and included creepily suggestive dialogue, were removed from the campaign within 24 hours.
In a bizarre leap of logic, CNN's John Roberts proposed same-sex marriage as "perhaps another path [that] needs to be taken" in response to high divorce rates.
Roberts' comment during the Feb. 16 "American Morning." followed a segment in which entertainment correspondent Lola Ogunnaike promoted daytime television's first lesbian wedding, which is scheduled to air this week on ABC's "All My Children."
Roberts framed the segment as taking "a look at the groundbreaking nuptials and the controversy surrounding them." But Ogunnaike only included one critical comment in the nearly three-minute story about "All My Children's" latest wedding. Glenn Stanton of the conservative Focus on the Family told CNN, "I think it's really important to understand that there are a lot of things that people really don't want to see and don't want coming into their home, and lesbian weddings are certainly one of them."
CNN’s Kyra Phillips marked the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth on Thursday’s American Morning by harkening back to Barack Obama’s decision to announce his candidacy for president on the steps of the Old State Capitol Building in Springfield, Illinois, where the 16th president once worked: “It was here in the Old Capitol that Abraham Lincoln gave his famous ‘House Divided’ speech. A house divided against itself cannot stand, he proclaimed. Sound familiar? Fast-forward -- February 10th, 2007, Lincoln came to life here as if it were 1858.” She then remarked that with the Democrat’s announcement, “we all witnessed Lincoln’s dream and Obama’s reality.”
The correspondent’s odd comparison came at the end of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, as part of the network’s all-day “From Lincoln to Obama” special programming. Phillips traveled to Springfield for the occasion, and began her report with another “parallel,” as she put, between the two presidents concerning their names: “For example, this campaign flag [from Lincoln’s presidential campaign]. Look at this -- ‘Abram Lincoln.’ They even spelled his name wrong. So it wasn’t just Obama that’s been having issues with his name -- also, Abraham Lincoln. Just one of the parallels that we found as we’ve been spending time here.”
On Monday’s American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts interviewed former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner, and introduced her as being “added to our roster of economic analysts.” Roberts also failed to mention Hefner’s long-time support for President Obama during the segment.
The interview, which started just before the bottom-half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with Roberts giving the following introduction of the former Playboy CEO: “...[T]he economy is issue number one here at CNN....We love to get expert commentary on this, and we are pleased and proud this morning to have added to our roster of economic analysts the former CEO and chairwoman of Playboy Enterprises, Christie Hefner.” He first asked Hefner about the jobs market, and the economy as a whole. Hefner touted how that the “sense that I’m getting, in talking to CEOs, is that people are hoping for a late 2010 recovery.” Later, the anchor asked the former CEO about executive bonuses, and played a sound bite from Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who railed against the “bunch of idiots on Wall Street.” Hefner praised McCaskill’s “very good characterization” and labeled her a “pro-business Democrat,” despite her vote last year against a proposed increase in the exemption on the “death tax,” which would have aided small family-run businesses.
Within the first few days of Israel’s campaign in Gaza, the Israeli military struck the Islamic University of Gaza, charging that the school served as a weapons research facility for Hamas. But while CNN, FNC and MSNBC all at some point reported on the school’s links to Hamas, CBS and NBC ignored the terrorist group’s connection in all its reports, while ABC vaguely noted that it was popular with Hamas students while still calling it a "non-military target." CBS, which had initially ignored the strike when it happened in late December, ran a report on the Friday, January 30, CBS Evening News in which correspondent Alan Pizzey, instead of informing viewers of the school’s reported role in terrorism, seemed more concerned that the damage would delay students from graduating, and relayed that "even the Islamic University" was bombed, suggesting it was an unreasonable target. After beginning the story focusing on a college-aged Palestinian man who was collecting explosive material to build bombs for revenge against Israel, Pizzey continued: "It will go in Qassam rockets – payback, the bomb maker says, for the destruction that has been part of his life since birth. Even the Islamic University was pounded by airstrikes, putting students' chances of graduating in jeopardy."
Then came an anti-Israel soundbite from one female student, named Nasser Barakat: "It's clear for us they want to attack everything, single thing in our life and every place in Gaza in order to destroy the whole community – not only the fighters, but the whole community."
By contrast, on December 29, during the 9:00 hour of MSNBC News Live, correspondent Tom Aspell reported: "Starting in the early hours of this morning, [the Israelis] attacked a building belonging to the Islamic University inside the Gaza Strip. The Israelis saying that the Hamas activists had been using it as a laboratory to develop weapons."
That's one of the selling points used over and over again by pundits, as they are paraded out repeatedly on broadcast and cable network news programs - that so-called "shovel-ready" projects will challenge economic woes by revitalizing something we need to do anyway. But only 3 percent of the Obama stimulus plan is slated for such projects.
"The total size of the plan is about $750 to $800 billion - roughly $300 billion is for tax cuts for businesses and individuals," CBS correspondent Chip Reid said on CBS's Jan. 12 "The Early Show." "The rest will be spent on everything from roads and bridges to renewable energy to create three to 4 million jobs. Republicans are raising red flags about the amount of spending."
During a short segment on Wednesday’s American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts responded to the excited demeanor of the crowds attending President Barack Obama’s inauguration by labeling the festivity “Barack-stock.” Earlier in the segment, correspondent Carol Costello dubbed it “a gigantic love fest” after she stated how there were no serious incidents or arrests involving the approximately 1.5 million people in attendance for the inauguration.
The three-minute segment, which began 20 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, focused on the reactions of those in attendance on the National Mall for the swearing-in of President Obama. After giving her “gigantic love fest” label, Costello gave a gushing account about what it was like to be in the middle of the crowd there: “Suddenly, someone would just come up and hug you. It was just amazing. It was -- it was like you were standing in the middle of these strangers, and all of a sudden, you had a million friends around you. That’s what it felt like yesterday.”
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta hyped the forthcoming inaugural address of President-elect Barack Obama during a report on Tuesday’s American Morning: “...Barack Obama’s inaugural address may be more than the speech of his lifetime. Historians and speechwriters say it could be one for the ages, if he can rise to the occasion.” He reenforced this sentiment with clips from a former Clinton-Gore speechwriter who predicted that it’s “a pretty good certainty that you’ll have schoolchildren reading this speech hundreds of years from now” and a professor who claimed that “it’s almost impossible for Obama to fail.”
Co-host John Roberts introduced Acosta’s report, which started 25 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, by focusing on the “great anticipation about the inaugural address” and how many “expect it to stand with some of the greatest ever presidential inaugural speeches.” Acosta began with his “speech of his lifetime...one for the ages” line,” and played a clip from Obama’s 2004 speech at the Democratic convention. He echoed Roberts’s earlier lines by stating how “the stage is being set for an address that’s destined for the history books.”
CNN correspondent Alina Cho devoted an entire report on Monday’s American Morning program to how the Obama presidential run has apparently served as an inspiration for ad campaigns by big corporations. Cho zeroed in on how the Pepsi logo and the Obama campaign logo were “strikingly similar,” both using “swirls of red, white, and blue,” despite the fact that Pepsi has used the color scheme since World War II.
Cho introduced her report by heralding how “[c]hange is coming to Madison Avenue” and explained how Obama might be a model for advertising agencies: “Think about it -- Obama is a winning product and he won on the promise of hope. So now companies like Pepsi want to use the same message in their campaigns, but will it work?”
The correspondent played a clip from an ad for the soft drink giant’s new “Optimism Project,” and asked, “Commercial or campaign message? It’s all about optimism, with a logo that’s all too familiar. But this has nothing to do with Barack Obama -- it’s an ad for Pepsi.” She also played clips from two advertising experts who highlighted the apparent sensibility of using hope as a tool to sell products.
Weighing the pros and cons of a plan, particularly one that could cost $1 trillion taxpayer dollars, should mean all perspectives were considered. But that wasn't what it meant to CNN in one Jan. 9 segment in the 8 a.m. hour.
Viewers were right to expect balance as "Pros and Cons of Obama's Stimulus" flashed on the screen and John Roberts said, "President-elect Barack Obama is warning of a dire economic situation and how much worse it could get if there is not bipartisan support for, and quickly for his stimulus plan. But will his proposals work?"
Instead, "American Morning" viewers didn't even hear an economist's perspective. They were fed a left-wing nationally syndicated columnist's perspective. That columnist was David Sirota, who was once called a "new-generation populist" by columnist Molly Ivins. Sirota has worked for Democrats on Capitol Hill and for the Center for American Progress, a "progressive" think tank.
Sirota's criticism of Obama's plan came entirely from the left arguing that "the bad" thing about his stimulus proposal are the tax cuts.
CNN correspondent Joe Johns’ report on Monday’s American Morning heaped praise upon Sidwell Friends School, the new school for the Obama daughters. Johns read from one of the school’s own mission statements about its “Quaker values” and later described how President-Elect Obama apparently “often seems in tune with Quaker principles -- seeking consensus with others; talking rather than fighting with opponents; and, at least in the case of Iraq, if not Afghanistan, opposing war even when the majority supports it.” The correspondent also featured three clips from The Washington Post’s Sally Quinn, who gushed over school: “Sidwell is a happy school....it can be a really magical place.”
Johns began introducing Sidwell Friends as “among the elite private schools in Washington,” and set the laudatory tone of the report by playing the first clip from Quinn, who described the school as “very much about peace and community” and that it’s “very progressive.” He continued by highlighting how “the Obamas selected the school that was the best fit for what their daughters need right now.”
On Tuesday’s American Morning, CNN showed a contrast (especially on screen) during the 7 am hour between their enthusiasm for Barack Obama’s shirtless photos and Sarah Palin’s discussion of her campaign weeks in review. For Obama, it was "Paparazzi Chase Obama." For Palin, it was "Palin's Campaign Misstep."
CNN anchor Carol Costello clearly liked the Obama photo: "In the fishbowl that is the White House, Barack Obama can expect to lose a lot of his privacy. But this? Take a look. Seriously. A photographer catching the future commander in chief shirtless on the beach in Hawaii and clearly keeping up his cardio."
Costello interviewed two liberal leaners – Patricia Murphy of Citizenjanepolitics.com and John Avlon of the Daily Beast website. She professed she didn’t want the paparazzi to succeed: "Well, I would expect, Patricia, that this paparazzi, this agency, is making lots of money. They took 37 photos. And, you know, the kids are in their baiting suits. Michelle Obama is in her baiting suit. I don't know. I don't even want to even that of the president and the first lady and their kids."