Story after story about Rupert Murdoch’s purchase offer for Dow Jones & Company, which owns The Wall Street Journal, has criticized the prospect as a threat to journalism, questioned the media mogul’s “editorial integrity” and attacked his character.
Journalists, media critics and the union representing the Journal were up in arms.
“[P]robably not quite as frightening as the day we learned Kim Jong Il has the bomb, but close … very close. It could be worse. We might have discovered, for example, that Saddam Hussein had stashed all those missing weapons of mass destruction in a Pasadena storage locker rented to Osama bin Laden,” said a Los Angeles Times column.
For CNN, any opportunity is a good one to take potshots at U.S. policy in Iraq, even a solemn ceremony dedicated to honoring America's brave soldiers. This afternoon at 12:37 pm EDT, CNN International used the cover of a report on soldiers being honored for their valor to challenge MNF-I commander General David Petraeus on the success of the surge. CNN host Michael Holmes, an Australian, introduced the segment with a skeptical spin.
MICHAEL HOLMES: The U.S. troop surge. Is it working? Well, the top U.S. commander there says it’s too early to know for sure. David Petraeus is also urging patience, as the administration has for some time, despite the increasing number of U.S. casualties.
Well, sports fans, it appears the media have figured out a clever way to report the events surrounding antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan this weekend without insulting the political party they are shilling for.
Looking at the major media outlets that have begun to cover this story, the strategy appears to be to report Sheehan’s Daily Kos post from Monday, wherein she stated that she was resigning “as the ‘face’ of the American anti-war movement,” while totally ignoring her Saturday post when she defiantly declared, “I am leaving the Democratic Party.”
Pretty sneaky, wouldn’t you agree?
However, this certainly appears to be the modus operandi as demonstrated by the following articles on the subject published Tuesday which included absolutely no reference to her statements Saturday:
On Saturday afternoon, CNN Newsroom ran a report by Dr. Sanjay Gupta in which the CNN medical correspondent plugged a proposal for the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program to begin supplying vouchers for fruits and vegetables to its recipients to combat obesity in the poor, and fretted that budget cuts by President Bush could "threaten" a proposed plan to do so. Recounting that the problem for WIC recipients when the program was created 30 ago was "malnutrition, not obesity," Gupta relayed plans by the Agriculture Department to supply vouchers for fruits and vegetables. But Gupta cautioned that because Bush is planning to put WIC on the "chopping block," the plan may be endangered. Gupta: "But some say that might not happen because WIC is on the chopping block, slated for a $145 million cut in President Bush's 2008 budget. ... Nutritionists say that's not good because the WIC produce vouchers could help control obesity." (Transcript follows)
Mr. Hunter detailed his opposition to the legislation, pointing out that it ignores military needs while at the same time the bill's backers "did find money for shrimp and spinach." Here he was referring to the almost $4 billion targeted for farm interests that are included in the legislation.
HARRIS: Yes. You are referring to some of the sweeteners in the deal, millions, for example, to make spinach farmers whole again after last year's E. coli episode.
After his comments this morning, if Don Imus ever gets invited to a party on the terrace of Katie Couric's midtown apartment overlooking Central Park, he would be well advised not to get too close to the ledge.
Chatting with Imus on MSNBC at 8:45 ET this morning about the travails of the CBS Evening News and the advent of Rick Kaplan as its executive producer, media maven Howard Kurtz observed: "I don't know if this is attributable to Rick, but it seems to me that in the last week the show has a little bit of a harder edge, a little bit of a faster pace."
That set Imus off on an anti-Couric tirade: "It's unwatchable. And it's unwatchable because she's unwatchable. I'm sure she's a nice lady, but I mean . . ."
On this morning's CNN Newsroom, anchor T.J. Holmes interviewed an Alabama 16-year-old who for the past two years has run an anti-Iraq war Web site.
Holmes began by pointing out to the girl, "Of course, your message is anti-war, not anti-troops." He then asked her about death threats she claims she's received.
He next asked her if she'd be endorsing a presidential candidate for 2008 based on their views on Iraq and wrapped up the interview with an enthusiastic plug for her anti-war site:
"Wow. It sounds like they all need to be after your endorsement right now. Ava Lowery, again, 16-years-old, been keeping up with that blog. It's some great stuff you're doing. It's peacetakescourage.com. Folks, check it out."
Next week marks the fourth anniversary of Operation Iraq Freedom. How does CNN plan to observe the event? An update, perhaps, on General Petraeus’ new strategy to win the war, and the initial positive – if still early – reports from the battlefield?
Please. I did say "CNN." The network is set to run a one hour special: “Death Squads Reveals Links between Shia Death Squads, Iraqi Security Forces.” CNN's report will in significant part be based on the work of an anonymous journalist.
Before considering the CNN report, let's review some of the recent developments in Iraq, as gleaned from MNF spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell's press conference of March 14th:
"Well you know I wish I had better news, but the numbers this week were just horrific," said CNN correspondent Gerri Willis.
The numbers she referred to were home prices and new-home sales, which were down. After briefly mentioning the increase in existing-home sales (which make up a larger share of the housing market), Willis dismissed it.
With the help of CNN's Allen Wastler, the duo played up fears of recession on the March 3 program.
Wastler and Willis wrapped up the housing segment playing on viewers’ fears of a recession after an up-and-down week on Wall Street. Willis said the question wasn’t simply what happens in the housing market, but in the overall economy.
“The conversation about recession this week isn’t just bad for the stock markets; it’s also bad for housing,” Willis said. “When people lose their jobs, we know what happens.” You can read the Business & Media Institute article here.
This came in my e-mail from CNN just after the markets closed on Wednesday:
Historic day on Wall Street. Dow industrial, transportation and utility averages all hit record highs for 1st time since 1998.
I've been pretty busy, but I think I would have caught coverage of this news somewhere else had it occurred. If it did, it was quite muted.
Mark Hulbert, in a column time-stamped early Friday morning, details just how significant the news is:
The last time prior to Wednesday that this happened was March 17, 1998, nearly nine years ago. During the previous 70 years prior to 1998 in which all three Dow averages existed, it happened just 18 times.
If the most bullish thing that a bull market can do is go up, Wednesday was evidence of a very powerful bull market, indeed.
On Sunday’s "Late Edition," CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer conducted a syrupy interview with consumer advocate and frequent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Blitzer allowed the former Green Party standard-bearer to once again promote left-wing PBS host Bill Moyers for President in 2008. The CNN anchor also gushed over Nader’s new work of non-fiction, "The 17 Traditions," a liberal tome about rasing families. Blitzer described it as a "beautiful book with a lot of emotion." But first, he prompted Nader to plug the Moyers for President campaign:
Wolf Blitzer: "Here's what you wrote back in October on Bill Moyers, the PBS commentator: ‘Moyers brings impressive credentials beyond his knowledge of the White House, congressional complexes. As millions of viewers and readers over the decades know, Bill Moyers is unusually articulate and authentic in evaluating the unmet necessities and framing the ignored solutions in our country.’ You'd like him to run for president?"
Ralph Nader: "Very much. I got a great response to that column."
Blitzer: "What -- What response did you get from Bill Moyers?"
If you wake up on Saturday mornings and flip on the telly hoping to catch solid Wall Street analysis or perhaps a roundup of foreign and domestic business headlines that affect your investment portfolio, don't waste your time with CNN's "In the Money."
Rather than looking to help average joes invest wisely and benefit from a strong economy and a resilient stock market, the CNN crew would much rather sound like Heidi Cullen hosting a movie night/slumber party for the Al Gore fan club.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at this below from Mike Stark, it probably isn't the first time he's issued a threat upon which he doesn't have a prayer of delivering.
I don’t mean to be a dick, but the truth is by the time the 6-7 minute segment is over, CNN will want to hire me as a sanitation engineer because I will have mopped the floor with Mr. Riehl… Mike Stark
Hopefully I'll have a few minutes tomorrow courtesy of CNN's Reliable Sources to point out that from throwing pies at conservative lecturers and guests, to physically assaulting Jim Gilchrist of Minuteman fame, see Hot Air and Michelle Malkin for more on that - to trying to shut down The Path to 9/11 and now the KSFO incident while Dennis Kucinich talks about bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, this is all in fact part of the Left's on going effort to shut down conservative rhetoric whenever and wherever they can.
Reporting for the Tuesday edition of CNN’s "Newsroom," correspondent Arwa Damon labeled Saddam Hussein’s execution "an act of sheer revenge" and predicted it would have only negative consequences. Damon now joins NBC reporter Richard Engel who last week also described the death of the tyrant as "revenge." Additionally, Ms. Damon characterized the grainy cell phone footage of Hussein’s death as "chilling" and noted that onlookers "taunted" Saddam. The CNN reporter suggested that the execution of the former Iraqi leader would further split the country apart:
Arwa Damon: "With Shia chants defining Saddam Hussein's last moments, it turns his execution into an act of sheer revenge and risks driving even moderate Sunnis further away from the Shia-led government that they already have little faith in to begin with. And so, rather than uniting Iraqis, it appears that Saddam's death is really only further dividing them."
Did NBC reporter Richard Engel blame conservative Laura Ingraham for a reporter’s abduction in Iraq? Appearing on CNN’s "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, Engel asserted that harsh criticism of media coverage in Iraq resulted in a correspondent’s kidnapping. He elaborated, saying that reporters stung by claims that they offer only bad news are more likely to get themselves in dangerous situations. Although Engel did not state specifically who he meant, it’s likely that he was referencing talk show host Laura Ingraham. In March, she appeared on the "Today" show and attacked NBC’s negative coverage and the practice of "reporting from hotel balconies." Responding to a question from "Reliable Sources" host Howard Kurtz, Engel said this about criticism:
Howard Kurtz: "Richard Engel, top administration officials, as you well know, have repeatedly criticized correspondents like you for painting an unnecessarily negative picture of what's going on in Iraq, staying in the Green Zone, and all of that. Now that this -- even the private doubts and reservations of the White House and the Pentagon are coming out, do you feel vindicated?"
Richard Engel: "No. It's been very frustrating all along to be at the receiving end of that criticism with acquisitions like we just spend all of our time in the Green Zone....It's also, in some degree, dangerous. I mean, I know reporters, colleagues of mine who have received so much criticism over the last three and a half, four years, that they felt they've had something to prove. And so they put themselves in extraordinarily dangerous situations. And I know one reporter who was kidnapped as a result of it. So it's not a sense of vindication, but it is good that people are finally starting to see that the situation in Iraq is tremendously difficult, and it is not just reporters who are looking for bad -- bad news stories."
This past week saw The Washington Post ask a classically liberal question: Is America more racist or sexist?
Following the lead of this major paper, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked the same question, adding a surreptitious angle. She wondered, "Is the nation, secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
The "Good Morning America" host wasn’t through, however. On Tuesday, she offered the query again. This time, Sawyer added a new spin, "secret genderism." The recipient of the question, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, readily agreed. America is guilty, she asserted, it just isn’t "very secret."
Speaking of The Washington Post, ever wonder how many times the paper mentioned "macaca?" According to MRC President Brent Bozell, the paper featured the phrase no less then 112 times!
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann absurdly linked domestic terrorism to "right-wing blogs."
While Olbermann slimed conservatives, CNN labeled the current low gas prices "a recovery." Why, just a few weeks ago, the falling costs represented a link between "Big Oil" and the GOP. What a difference an election makes!
During election night coverage, CNN’s Paula Zahn and Bill Schneider exuded giddiness over what Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee’s defeat meant. Schneider marveled that voters liked Chafee, but "they didn’t vote for him!" Zahn wondered if Chafee’s defeat could be seen as a "mandate for change." A transcript follows:
"Newsweek" editor Marcus Mabry, appearing on CNN to deliver a postmortem on Republican Rick Santorum’s loss, attacked the Senator as a "firebrand partisan" and wondered if Republicans would learn a lesson from his loss. A transcript of his comments follows:
Marcus Mabry: "I think while we’ve heard some laudatory things tonight about the bipartisanship, on occasion, of the Senator from Pennsylvania, who only has another two months in office now, we have to remember this was an incredibly politicizing, divisive partisan, both on the floor of the United States Senate, but also back in Pennsylvania.
During an election night discussion of the Missouri embryonic stem cell debate, CNN analyst Paul Begala slammed Rush Limbaugh as a "drug-addled gasbag who is self discredited." Bill Bennett, also on the panel with James Carville and J.C. Watts, chastised Begala: “Well, it's a nasty comment.”
The discussion, with Democratic strategist Begala's insult, began at about 8:08pm EST Tuesday night on CNN:
Lynne Cheney was right. The Vice President’s wife recently attacked a CNN pre-election special as straight out of Democratic talking points. The program in question, "Broken Government: Power Play," aired on October 26 and discussed presidential power. Reporter John King introduced his special that night on location at Independence Hall, Philadelphia. Close your eyes and it sounds like an ad straight out of the DNC:
John King: "Justice, on Mr. Bush's terms, would mean challenge after challenge, test after test of the balance of powers laid out in the Constitution, adopted here in Philadelphia's Independence Hall 219 years ago, written by men, who, for all their brilliance, could not have imagined jet aircraft, let alone jet aircraft used as weapons. Nor could men determined to find the lasting antidote to tyranny have imagined the Internet, spy satellites, other technological advances now so central in the war on terror. But they did warn, in this hall, time and time again of too much presidential power, creating a careful system of checks by the Congress and the courts, lines the Bush administration, in the name of protecting Americans from another attack, has repeatedly stretched, rewritten, and sometimes just ignored."
CNN’s latest political special, "Broken Government: The Do Nothing Congress," featured Dan Rostenkowski as a quasi-ethics expert, agitation for divided government, and general trashing of the Republicans in Congress. Rostenkowski, for those too young to remember is the former Democratic Congressman who ended up being expelled from the House after being accused of, among other things, charging thousands of dollars worth of gifts to a congressional account. (CNN couldn’t find time to mention his transgressions until 34 minutes into the program.) But, mail fraud and prison apparently aren’t an impediment to being an expert on all things wrong with the GOP. Host Ed Henry used Rostenkowski as a springboard to call for divided government:
Rostenkowski: "The secret of my success, I think, is that, the 14 years that I was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, 12 of them were under Republicans."
Henry: "It seems logical that divided government, Democrats in charge of one branch, Republicans running the other, might cause gridlock. But, when you think about it, it actually seems to produce better results."
Norman Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute) : "I have come to the conclusion, reluctantly -- and I don't have a partisan dog in the fight -- that divided government now may be a better way to go, simply because the incentive, if you're leading an institution that you -- in which you share the responsibility for governing, is to try and make your institution work, because the onus is going to be on you to do so."
What interesting timing? It’s unlikely that CNN had such an appreciation for divided government in October of 1994.
As part of its continuing effort to spin the midterm elections in favor of the Democrats, CNN recently aired a special that attacked the Republicans on the issues and portrayed the Democrats as too smart and too principled to fight the nasty GOP. Anchor Jack Cafferty hosted the "Broken Government" program that slammed the Republicans for Iraq, incompetence, lack of Social Security reform and many other issues. The ads for the show, which aired October 19, stated that the CNN host would be "taking on the left, right, and center." Well, maybe just that one in the middle. Prior to handing off the segment to CNN reporter Candy Crowley, Cafferty introduced the theme of the piece:
Cafferty: "Republicans bogged down by scandal, bloody war leading up to these midterm elections. We'll have more on that as we move through the hour. First, the Democrats. History suggests they're perfectly capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Republicans are doing everything they can to hand the Democrats the election. The question is, will they take it? Candy Crowley is in Asheville, North Carolina for us tonight. Candy, you could get rich selling tickets to people to watch the Democrats try to get their stuff organized."
Get it? When Cafferty focused on the Republicans, he mentioned all the terrible things they’ve done. But for the Democrats, the issue is why aren’t they winning and what can be done about it? And thus, you have CNN’s version of balance.
Last Wednesday, CNN aired Lou Dobbs's special "War on the Middle Class." Three days later, CNN's "In the Money" continued the network's pitched battle for more government regulation of the economy with the program's uncritical treatment of guest Barbara Ehrenreich.
Here's a bit of what my colleague Julia Seymour noticed from her review of the October 21 program. Her full article can be found here.
The financial program devoted just under five minutes to what amounted to a free advertisement for United Professionals (UP), a new organization co-founded by “Nickel and Dimed” author Barbara Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich is also author of “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream.” She said the organization’s current function is “providing a way for people to come together, share their experiences and talk about what they’ve been going through” at a cost of $36.50 in annual dues.
Last night Lou Dobbs hosted a one hour-long "War on the Middle Class" special on CNN. The biased town hall forum shares a title with Dobbs's big-government-friendly book that bears the same title.
Dobbs is part of CNN's ramped-up pre-election coverage that, surprise, surprise, has been gloomy and pessimistic about the economy, the war in Iraq, and pretty much everything else touching on the Bush administration or Republican Congress.
Dobbs has two more evening specials before the election and CNN's Jack"X-Files"Cafferty has a special tonight which, I'm sure is also a must-TiVo.
Here's an excerpt of the take my colleague Julia Seymour and I had on Dobb's program after reviewing it. You can find the full article here:
On Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer today, Howard Dean said that he had been watching UN ambassador "Josh Bolton" on all the morning shows talking tough about the UN resolution on North Korea that the Chinese have already said they're not going to fully enforce and he said it shows that the Bush administration is "toothless" when it comes to national security. When it came time for Blitzer to follow-up, he corrected Dean on what Bolton's first name really is but Blitzer failed to ask Dean the obvious question: how would he or other Democrats have gotten anything better out of the UN?
It takes a lot of effort to miss 810,000 new jobs. The Labor Department managed it, but at least they corrected the problem. The networks have over-reported job losses and now this huge piece of good news got lost in the shuffle.
The October 8 Washington Post highlighted the incredible revision. “Unemployment is down to 4.6 percent, the lowest in five years, the Labor Department reported, adding with some embarrassment that it had suddenly discovered an estimated 810,000 net new jobs that it had somehow overlooked in the year ended in March,” wrote Steven Pearlstein.
CNN Political Editor Mark Preston posted a 160-word item on the network's Political Ticker this afternoon celebrating with glee a seven-word smack-down from "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos to Republican Congressman Adam Putnam of the Florida 12th. The Congressman, participating in a round-table discussion with show host Stephanopoulos and Congressman Rahm Emanuel of the Illinois 5th, both of whom served in the Clinton White House, contrasted the Mark Foley flap with the Monica Lewinsky scandal that erupted during President Clinton's second term. "[Foley's] resignation was demanded within hours," Putnam said. "Contrast that to previous scandals, where, frankly, two people at this table have had to cover for their former boss' sexual misdeeds while in office, and did not demand his resignation." Stephanopoulos responded to Putnam by saying that he left the Clinton administration in 1996, two years before the Lewinsky scandal broke.
CNN reporter Jason Carroll falsely claimed Long Island Republican and Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Peter King (R) said the members of a Long Island mosque were "part of an Islamic threat that could cause another 9/11."
In doing so, they also ignored several of the mosque's links to extremism and brought on Nihad Awad, head of the Council on American Islamic Affairs to say how offended he was while also accusing King of offending Muslims to shill for campaign cash and votes.
It seems as far as CNN is concerned, radical Islamists who once claimed the US government hadn't proven Osama bin Laden was behind 9/11 have real credibility and deserve utmost respect, while they can't even bother to quote a sitting Congressman correctly. No doubt the report played well in their International broadcast.
Not everyone is happy to see gasoline prices drop. On CNN's Live Saturday, network senior political correspondent Bill Schneider raised the question of whether dipping prices are part of a conspiracy orchestrated by big oil companies.
Said Schneider about lower gasoline costs: "That's good news for Republicans if only because it could reduce voter anxiety." He then noted: "Industry sources cite a lot of reasons, including higher fuel inventories, a so far mild hurricane season, the truce between Israel and Lebanon. But this oil industry critic believes that what drove prices up was speculation. And a report from a bipartisan congressional investigation may be having an impact."
"This oil industry critic" was one Tyson Slocum of the Naderite Public Citizen. Schneider then speculated that, "The dropping prices may last just a couple of months. Long enough to get through the November election. Could that be what the oil companies want?"
An excerpt from my latest item up at the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org Web site. See my article for more, including links to external content:
The recent discovery of new oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico was the perfect excuse for CNN’s Jack Cafferty to revisit his election-year conspiracy theory. But when the September 9 "In the Money" aired, the program’s panelists talked to an oil analyst about the future of oil and gas prices, leaving out the idea of a Big Oil-GOP axis of petrol.
"You know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away," Cafferty suggested on the August 30 "Situation Room," just five days before the Chevron (NYSE: CVX) oil discovery.