Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown gave a speech at Palm Beach, Florida’s Society of the Four Arts on Tuesday, and according to the Palm Beach Daily News, he didn’t have very nice things to say about the news industry including, “‘Truth no longer matters in the context of politics and, sadly, in the context of cable news.’"
According to the article: “Brown said he tried to give viewers a balanced diet of light and serious news with NewsNight. ‘But I always knew when I got to the Brussels sprouts, I was on thin ice,’ he said.”
Is Wal-Mart good for America or destroying its families? Two new documentaries show opposing views on the world’s largest retailer, but the media didn’t.
The anti-Wal-Mart film “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” has received most of the attention. The movie on the benefits of Wal-Mart, “Why Wal-Mart Works & Why That Makes Some People Crazy” was slighted. When both did get attention on “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” with the anti-Wal-Mart film getting more airtime from an agreeable Dobbs according to a report by the Free Market Project.
NBC began a November 1 “Today” segment with “A media blitz is under way about Wal-Mart and from Wal-Mart.” Text then appeared on the screen that read “Wal-Mart drives down retail wages $3 billion every year.” Despite mentioning the “media blitz” from Wal-Mart, the only official representation of the store was two lines from an ad. Reporter Dawn Fratangelo mentioned Wal-Mart’s new environmental programs and new health care plan. She then added “But critics call it a publicity stunt,” and interviewed a man from union-backed wakeupwalmart.com about it. Only anti-Wal-Mart people were featured in the story, and nothing positive about the company was included.
The last moments on CNN for the network's most liberal anchor, Aaron Brown, were spent channeling Joe Wilson's talking points. (As noted by Noel Sheppard, CNN on Wednesday announced the departure of Brown and the end of NewsNight. The two-hour block starting at 10pm EST will now carry the Anderson Cooper 360 title while The Situation Room gets the 7pm EST hour.) Brown was last on CNN on Friday night wrapping up headlines at 11:01pm EDT before an airing of CNN Presents narrated by David Ensor, "Dead Wrong: Inside an Intelligence Meltdown." Just before that, at 10:54pm EDT, Brown conducted his last interview on CNN, a brief live session with Ensor, in which he pushed the spin of the radical anti-war left. He told Ensor that “people who are opposed to the war say that it wasn't just that the intelligence was wrong. It's that the intelligence was cooked." Ensor inconveniently admitted that “I also thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction,” before Brown followed up: “At some level, this is about Joe Wilson saying -- I'm not, I'm not saying he's right about this, I'm just saying what he said -- is that they took the country to war, when they knew the evidence was at least ambiguous and they never framed it in an ambiguous way."
Below are a few examples of Brown's bias from his CNN years -- he left ABC News in 2001 -- which the MRC's Rich Noyes and I quickly collected from NewsBusters and the MRC's archive. These quotes, some with video, include how Brown, after Katrina, pressed a black Congresswoman to agree that race was behind the delayed response in New Orleans; how Brown one night trumpeted a Republican who turned against the war and wondered if the administration has been “honest”; how he ridiculed the contention that John Kerry didn't earn his Purple Heart; how he insisted that while some “will see willful deception on the part of CBS” in the Memogate scandal, “smarter and more reasoned heads know better”; how he declared the “record unambiguous” that “John Kerry was a war hero”; how, without uttering a syllable about questions about Kerry's Vietnam record, on Memorial Day 2004 Brown delivered a panegyrical, event-by-event tribute to Kerry's heroic Vietnam service; how he boasted of “a permanent smirk” spurred by Rush Limbaugh's drug troubles; how he proposed that the White House “twisted or ignored” global warming science; and how Brown swooned over Jimmy Carter: “In many places, dusty and difficult places, James Earl Carter has brought hope and dispelled, as well as anyone alive these days, the vision of the ugly American."
The Internet has been abuzz for the past hour or so over rumors that CNN has either announced, or is about to announce a serious shakeup in its broadcasting staff. As reported by the New York Daily News this morning:
“Looks like Anderson Cooper, CNN'S Silver Fox, may get a permanent slot on ‘NewsNight,’ the 24-hour cable channel's signature prime-time show.
“Cooper will move into the high-profile 10 p.m. hour, while regular ‘NewsNight’ anchor Aaron Brown will be shunted to 7 p.m., where ‘Anderson Cooper 360’ now airs, according to The Hollywood Reporter.”
Yet, MediaBistro.com reported on Monday that its sources indicated that Brown is out:
In a report last night on CNN’s “Newsnight,” David Ensor continually referred to CIA employee Valerie Plame as being “undercover.” In fact, the entire report was about the dire consequences to the agency as a whole as a result of such an "outing," as well as to Plame:
“Forty-two-year-old Valerie Plame Wilson, whose husband referred to her as 'Jane Bond,' is clearly now the most famous female spy in America. Exposing her as a CIA undercover officer did damage to U.S. intelligence, U.S. officials say. They refuse to be more specific.”
Unfortunately, nowhere in the report did Ensor relay to the viewer that Plame has not been undercover since 1997, and, instead, has been working for the CIA on American soil ever since. In fact, as reported by USA Today back in July 2004:
In the days and weeks following the disaster in New Orleans, many in the media suggested that the federal government’s “slow” response to Hurricane Katrina was caused by the race and economic condition of those impacted. President Bush had to regularly answer the questions of reporters concerning this, while media members opined at will.
Most famous of such assertions was reported by NewsBusters when rapper Kanye West said during a televised Katrina relief fundraiser that, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Earlier that day, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said, “Almost all of them that we see, are so poor and they are so black.” And, as also reported by NewsBusters, CBS News’s Nancy Giles said: “[Bush] has put himself at risk by visiting the troops in Iraq, but didn't venture anywhere near the Superdome or the convention center, where thousands of victims, mostly black and poor, needed to see that he gave a damn."
Romenesko has highlighted for journalists across the country today a Washington City Paper article pounding for more attention to be paid to an article on Socialist Worker online. Contributors Lorrie Beth Slonsky and Larry Bradshaw were in New Orleans during the hurricane and its aftermath, and claim that police in Gretna, Louisiana, would not let them cross the bridge, and even fired weapons at the evacuees. The details of this story have appeared in some media outlets, but one thing is for sure: the cable networks aren't interested in providing the Socialist Worker credentials of Slonsky and Bradshaw.
On MSNBC's Hardball Monday, Chris Matthews interviewed the duo, clearly wearing yellow peace buttons on their black shirts, but in no way mentioned their hard-left, crush-capitalism backgrounds. (The website explains Socialist Worker believes "Only mass struggles of the workers themselves can destroy the capitalist system of oppression and exploitation.") On-screen graphics read only "San Francisco paramedic" and "Trapped in New Orleans." Matthews let the duo talk without almost any questioning, until the end, when he wanted to underline that this could be a racist incident, right?
[Brent Baker posted this item on behalf of MRC President Brent Bozell to provide for a discussion on his blog page about his TV appearance.] On Tuesday's NewsNight, CNN anchor Aaron Brown set up an interview with Bozell by complaining that “we were called a 'race-baiter' by a conservative media Web site. Needless to say, we don't agree, which made our conversation with the piece's author, Brent Bozell, that much more interesting tonight.” Brown pleaded to Bozell: “Why do you call me, little old innocent me, you know, why do you call me a 'race-baiter' for asking the question [clip from an earlier show]: 'Do you think black America is sitting there thinking, “If these were middle class white people, there'd be cruise ships in New Orleans, not the Superdome”?"
In fact, the “race-baiter” formulation did not appear in Bozell's column, but was in a September 3 NewsBusters headline: “Race-Baiting by Blitzer and Brown; Race Raised by Williams and Koppel.”
Excerpts from the previous NewsBusters item and Bozell's column with which Brown took exception, plus a transcript of the September 13 CNN interview follow.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday afternoon repeatedly prodded reluctant Congressional Black Caucus member Elijah Cummings to blame racism for delays in rescuing hurricane victims in New Orleans. Blitzer asked Cummings on The Situation Room: “Do you believe, if it was, in fact, a slow response, as many now believe it was, was it in part the result of racism?” When Cummings demurred from such a blanket accusation, Blitzer wouldn’t give up: “There are some critics who are saying, and I don't know if you're among those, but people have said to me, had this happened in a predominantly white community, the federal government would have responded much more quickly. Do you believe that?"
Later, on CNN’s NewsNight, Aaron Brown took up the same agenda with Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones: “What I'm wondering is, do you think black America's sitting there thinking, if these were middle class white people, there would be cruise ships in New Orleans?” When she wouldn’t take the bait, Brown lectured: “Now, look, here's the question, okay? And then we'll end this. Do you think the reason that they're not there or the food is not there or the cruise ships aren't there or all this stuff that you believe should be there, isn't there, is a matter of race and/or class?”
Opening the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams predicted that the "catastrophic hurricane strike, and the U.S. government response to it, will in the years or decades to come, perhaps necessitate a national discussion on race, on oil, politics, class, infrastructure, the environment and more.” ABC’s Ted Koppel charged on Nightline that “the slow response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina has led to questions about race, poverty and a seemingly indifferent government.”
Despite Pat Robertson's waning role in national politics, the broadcast and cable networks on Tuesday evening jumped on his Monday suggestion that Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez should be assassinated now in order to avoid a costly war later. All three broadcast network evening newscasts featured full stories, with ABC's World News Tonight making it the lead. Anchor Charles Gibson snidely forwarded: “A popular Christian broadcaster says assassination is the way to deal with one world leader who criticizes the U.S. Some ask, 'is this Pat Robertson's definition of Christian love?'" CBS played a clip of Donald Rumsfeld dismissing Robertson as just another example of how “private citizens say all kinds of things all the time," and Gloria Borger then countered by touting Robertson's prominence: "But Robertson is not just any private citizen. He's a former Republican presidential candidate with a large evangelical following.” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams declared that Robertson “has created something of an international firestorm” before reporter Bob Faw concluded that Robertson is “a man of God who doesn't calm waters, but roils them.”
Robertson “may have no clout with the Bush administration, but you wouldn't know that from watching CNN today,” FNC's Brit Hume noted in reviewing the competing cable network's all-day obsession -- a focus which continued into the evening with Robertson leading the 7pm EDT Anderson Cooper 360 (hosted by Heidi Collins), the 8pm EDT Paula Zahn Now and the 10pm EDT NewsNight with Aaron Brown who tried to hold the whole religious right culpable as he asserted that "political leaders worried it makes the so-called Christian Right seem neither Christian nor right.” Robertson was also the first topic covered by MSNBC's 7pm Hardball with Chris Matthews and 8pm Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
Although CNN's Aaron Brown on Friday said the following in the context of a relatively balanced interview with Orange County, California mosque leader Imam Mostafa al-Qazwini, the following betrays why the liberal media just don't get conservative criticism of moderate Muslims for failure to do more to call for an end to the radical Islamic terrorism which gave the world 9/11, Spain's 3/11 attacks, and now the 7/7 London bombings:
Aaron Brown: "All right, we think we've fixed all the audio problems with the Imam Mostafa Al-Qazwini out in Orange County, California. You had made the point that, yes, important clerics had condemned, perhaps not as loudly as they might, but had condemned, and that quite correctly, that Muslims suffer in many ways twice from these sorts of attacks. I wondered, you know, there's a term in American race relations, Uncle Tom, when black Americans are seen as too comfortable with the white establishment. Is there something parallel in Islamic life, if you are seen as siding too much with the American government, or you are speaking too loudly against the radicals?"