In Tuesday's contentious runoff contest, senator Thad Cochran, a Republican who has represented Mississippi since his first election in 1978, defeated Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel in part because the “open primary” allowed African-American Democrats to cast ballots in the GOP contest.
As a result, John King -- host of CNN's Inside Politics program -- wondered during Wednesday's edition whether Cochran will simply say “Thank you” and forget the votes he received or use the victory as a “turning point” for a larger conversation within the Republican Party about issues like voting rights.
For the past week, NewsBusters has been showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala September 27. (Click here for details, including ticket information.)
If you’ve missed our recounting of the worst quotes from 1988 through 1995, you can find those here). Today, the worst bias of 1996: Implicating Republicans in the burning of black churches; seeking prayers for children in the wake of welfare reform; and admiration for the environmental terrorist dubbed “the Unabomber.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
CNN's Anderson Cooper ran a critical segment on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's old ethics charges of violating tax law and lying to the House Ethics Committee. Only at the very end did Cooper acknowledge that Gingrich was vindicated by the IRS on charges of tax violation.
Cooper opened his show with the story. "We begin tonight 'Keeping Them Honest' with Newt Gingrich who's skyrocketing the polls and downplaying his past which includes the distinction of being the first House speaker in history to be reprimanded for ethics violations," the CNN anchor reported.
Cooper didn't note that while Gingrich was the first House Speaker to be reprimanded, Democrat congressman Jim Wright – just a few years before – was the first House Speaker to resign over a scandal. Wright tendered his resignation from Congress in 1989 while under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
During an August 6 interview, posted online, with Television Week, former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw blamed racism for the debate over whether illegal immigrants should be in the country as he referred to "some people who still believe that people of color are not needed in this country." In response to a question about diversity in the newsroom, Shaw contended that "each generation fights the same battle, only it becomes more subtle, more sophisticated, but it's still a war" before tying in the illegal immigration debate. (Transcript follows)
Don't miss my latest writing for the Free Market Project: Media claims about a “housing bubble” are nothing new. Since before the 9/11 terror attacks, the media have been calling the housing market a “bubble” while predicting an imminent, devastating decline. Not only have they been wrong in forecasting such a top, they have thoroughly mischaracterized what an investment bubble is. Now that the market for homes has finally slowed a bit, the media are declaring the bubble has burst.
A Bubble?: Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has denied the existence of a national housing bubble for several years, but the media have used the term repeatedly.
Strong Gains: The increase in real estate values the past five years has not resembled the rapid rise typically seen in a bubble. In 2000, the national median existing-home value was $139,000. This grew to $215,900 by the third quarter of 2005 – a 55-percent nominal increase but a 34-percent inflation-adjusted gain.
Home Sales Still Going Up: New home sales jumped another 13 percent in October. While sales of existing homes were down 2.7 percent from September, the median national price rose to $218,000, a 16.6 percent increase since October 2004.
It’s probably not the first time it has happened, but with the exception of ABC’s George Will – who, of course, has been a regular on that network’s “This Week” for many years – the networks’ Sunday political talk shows had no established conservative guests to participate in their weekly panel discussions. Joining George Stephanopoulos and George Will this morning were Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile, TIME magazine’s Jay Carney, and ABC’s Claire Shipman. NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” featured Katy Kay of the BBC, Michael Duffy of TIME magazine, Norah O’Donnell of MSNBC, and Terry Neal of the Washington Post. CBS’s “Face the Nation” did its annual Thanksgiving “historians” program.
The most left-leaning of the panels was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where Tim Russert invited Judy Woodruff, formerly of CNN’s “Inside Politics,” David Broder of the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson also of the Washington Post, and David Gregory of NBC News. While the “This Week” and “Matthews” panels actually engaged in a comparatively well-rounded discussion, the “Meet the Press” group spent the bulk of its half-hour talking about the “disaster” in Iraq. For instance, Robinson said, “I think that there's general agreement now that there will be a mess in Iraq when U.S. troops finally withdraw and it certainly won't be an Athenian democracy, as the administration said it was out to create.” Gregory agreed, “And unfortunately, perhaps the only outcome is a kind of low-level civil war that's akin to the Arab- Israeli situation with U.S. soldiers in the way.”
Woodruff then joined in by paraphrasing a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly:
At about 4:49pm EDT today on CNN's Inside Politics, when Bob Novak maintained that Katherine Harris could win a Florida Senate race because she's anti-establishment and candidates the establishment hates have won before, James Carville charged that Novak made that argument because he has “got to show these right wingers that he's got backbone. The Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching, show them you're tough.” Novak fired back: “I think that's bullshit and I hate that." Novak then pushed his chair back, got up and removed his microphone as he walked off the set. Transcript follows. Real and Windows Media video also available.
In my last post, I relayed how Inside Politics (IP) had not picked up on a new poll showing decreasing support for Osama bin Laden in the Arab world and a concurrent increase of belief in democratic reform. Well, IP again ignored that story today, fixating again on a Karl Rove angle to the Valerie Plame leak investigation. Senior political analyst Bill Schneider, however, did have time to rattle off negative poll results for President Bush hot off the presses from the Washington Post dealing with, you guessed it, the Karl Rove story.
Of the 11 segments aired on IP, only 3 had nothing to do with Rove: a Bruce Morton piece on state dinners under President Bush versus other recent presidents; the "political bytes" segment about 2008 hopefuls campaigning at the National Governor's Association meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, over the weekend; and "blog reporter" Jacki Schechner on a blogger who was fired after her boss read her blog. [click title bar for full post]
Yesterday on CNN's Inside Politics, host du jour Candy Crowley essentially got Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to confess his litmus test on abortion for Supreme Court nominees, but didn't press him on the matter, despite her colleague Bill Schneider last week asserting that only conservatives, not liberals, have a litmus test stance on abortion.