Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien must be preparing for a new line of work in fortune-telling.
On the April 9 "American Morning," the CNN anchors didn't wait for someone to complain about executive pay before making it an issue.
Instead, after Soledad complained that she was "desperately" underpaid she also predicted that the AFL-CIO would gripe about Occidental Petroleum Corp. CEO Ray Irani's $400 million executive compensation package.
"You think with a number like that they will. I've got to imagine," mused Soledad to Andrew Ross Sorkin who was "Minding Your Business."
Sorkin told viewers Irani's package was "what has to be one of the largest numbers in history," but admitted it took several years to earn. "Had he not taken all these options he would have made just a paltry $55 million."
On Monday’s "American Morning," CNN spent five minutes on the outrageousness of its daily competition: Don Imus’s remarks on MSNBC describing the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as "nappy-headed hoes." New CNN contributor Roland Martin was brought on to echo Al Sharpton’s demand that Imus be removed from his radio and TV microphones. Martin also went after left-wing women’s groups for not signing on to the anti-Imus cause as quickly as the National Association of Black Journalists.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: I was surprised to see how many women's groups did not sign on early on. You listed some now, but that's like late, right?
Last month’s despicable harassment of a female blogger has created a serious discussion about Internet incivility, especially as it pertains to women.
With that in mind, CNN’s Howard Kurtz invited three prominent female bloggers – Mary Katharine Ham of TownHall.com, Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, and Joan Walsh of Salon – on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” to discuss the recent treatment of technology blogger Kathy Sierra, and what it means for the blogosphere (video available here).
As you might imagine, an interesting debate developed between the conservative Ham and the others when Kurtz suggested that this behavior was just as prominent at conservative blogs as liberal ones. (Update: Mary Katharine gives her take of this segment here.)
Ham marvelously took issue with this inanity, and didn't cede ground when the others predictably agreed with Kurtz:
Not surprisingly, Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards has dropped out of another debate sponsored by the Fox News Channel. As reported by the Associated Press (emphasis added throughout):
The Edwards campaign said it will not attend the September 23 debate in Detroit hosted by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, but officials added that Edwards is "looking forward" to a different debate hosted by the institute and CNN in South Carolina in January 2008.
Hmmm. Canceling FNC to appear on CNN, John? Why might that be (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more):
The mainstream media unabashedly continues its soft-touch approach with Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
On Thursday's "American Morning," CNN foreign correspondent Aneesh Raman gave a report from Amman, Jordan on the release of the 15 British sailors and marines by Iran. He began with the describing the P.R. conducted by Iran and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as one of "precision." Later in his report, Raman then described the P.R. campaign as "sophisticated." These are hardly adjectives CNN employs for American officials.
Though Raman does state that Iran "used the media to its advantage" and that its broadcasts of the British sailors and marines making statements were "staged confessions," it's unsurprising, to say the least, that the CNN correspondent would use such glowing terms for the Iranian regime's propaganda coup. It was only a few months ago that Raman's colleague at CNN, Suzanne Malveaux, asked President Bush for a show of respect for Ahmadinejad.
In TV personnel moves, Howard Kurtz reports CNN has dumped its American Morning anchors Miles O'Brien and Soledad O'Brien (not related or married) for former Dan Rather heir apparent John Roberts and former Fox & Friends regular Kiran Chetry. (The Post also reported CNN anchor Paula Zahn is calling it quits on her 20-year marriage.)
Jim Benson in Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports that Rosie O'Donnell is saying she will decide in May whether to stay with ABC's crew on "The View" or cash in: "word comes that she is in negotiations about a potentially rich overall studio deal," and her asking price is "believed to be $40 million annually." He adds: "With O'Donnell's View contract ending in June, and recent boycott threats against Disney and ABC over her Sept. 11 conspiracy theories, rumors about her future plans are flying."
CNN correspondent Michael Ware appeared on Monday's "American Morning" and gave a live report from Baghdad on Sen. John McCain's visit to the Iraqi capital. Host Soledad O'Brien asked him during the segment if he had, as suggested in Internet accounts, heckled the presidential hopeful:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question. There was a report that said you were heckling and you were laughing during the senator's press conference. Is that true?
WARE: "Well, let's bear in mind that this is a report that was leaked by an unnamed official, of some kind, to a blog, to somewhere on the Internet. No one is going to put their name forward. We certainly haven't heard Senator McCain say anything about it, or any of his staff have come forward to say anything about it.
Never ever blame the victim, isn't that what people say about crime victims?
Apparently no one told CNN, because this morning on "American Morning" Soledad O'Brien and Stephanie Elam attacked TJX Cos., the parent of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls among other stores, accusing the company of dishonesty after the company suffered massive data theft by hackers.
"None of these companies are ever forthcoming about it," O'Brien said in a huge generalization. "You always have to uncover it, investigate it, dig and dig and dig and then eventually they come up with a number which is probably a little on the low side."
"Minding Your Business" reporter Stephanie Elam agreed, complaining about the length of time it took TJX to disclose that 45.7 million credit and debit card numbers had been stolen affecting nearly 500,000 customers.
The top Washington story on Monday, March 26 came straight from the Sunday morning chat shows: the support for embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was slipping, even among Republicans.
Which Republicans? There are conservatives who are not big fans of Gonzales, who would have preferred the President had chosen someone bolder, more confrontational, someone willing to make a case for conservatism. But none of those people were seen on ABC, CBS, or NBC. Viewers saw instead the "even Republicans," the ones who specialize in ratifying the conventional liberal media wisdom, as in "Even Republicans say Gonzales is cooked." If the media think Gonzales is crippled and Bush is wretched, then it’s not that hard for them to find Republicans will spit that line back to them, for emphasis. They aren’t Republicans. They merely play them on TV.
John McCain was making the rounds on the network and cable news channel morning shows on Wednesday. During his appearance on "American Morning," substitute host John Roberts tried to lay a guilt trip on the Arizona Senator when he brought up the current hot topic of cancer (McCain received treatment for melanoma in 2000). His first question resorted to the old left-wing cliche that throwing more money at a problem will lead to a solution.
ROBERTS: Again this year, in the next budget, President Bush has proposed to cut funding for the National Cancer Institute. I was on their web site this morning and noticed that for all the major cancer groups, spending on research has gone down for the past two years. Your party was in charge during that time. How did you let it happen?
No, it's not bias per se, but it is a bit of a pet peeve when the media are sloppy with terminology that relates to the military.
This morning, CNN has been reporting on how Iran may release the female sailor that was captured along with 14 of her comrades. But in doing so, the CNN chyron referred to her as a "troop."
"Troop" is not used in the singular to refer to a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. "Troop" traditionally refers to a unit of soldiers, although in modern usage "troops" may refer to soldiers collectively irrespective of a unit organization.
CNN would be correct to say that Iran has said it will release the female sailor among the 15 captured British military personnel, as the woman in question serves in the Royal Navy.
An excerpt from Roberts' exchange with A.B. Stoddard of The Hill on "American Morning:"
STODDARD: Well, at this point the problem, of course is the cover-up and not the crime. Monica Goodling was the liaison for the White House and the Justice Department. If there was some serious meddling here and the decisions were made for political purposes, she's going to know the most how much the White House was involved. And so, you know, I can see why, if something is up here, she needs to plead the Fifth. But for the purposes of the committee, at this point, it just couldn't -- it couldn't fire them up more. They're going to be looking, of course, to talk to Kyle Sampson, and then, of course, the attorney general later.
According to CNN’s Jack Cafferty, President Bush would jump at the opportunity to use the kidnapping of 15 British soldiers as a pretext to invade Iran. On the Monday edition of "Situation Room," Cafferty asserted that he hoped U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t ask George W. Bush to join a coalition of the willing whose goal it is to free the captives.
Jack Cafferty: "Let’s hope British Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t ask the United States to join a coalition of the willing to invade Iran and get its hostages back. My feeling is President Bush would be on that like a bird on a worm."
The CNN host also saw scary implications in the fact that the U.S. Navy is just off the coast of Iran:
This week, the media greeted Al Gore’s global warming testimony as though Moses had delivered it on stone tablets (Or some secular equivalent). Katie Couric, on her web blog, touted Gore’s “triumphant” return.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. That was the focus of Bob Franken's report on CNN's "American Morning," which focused attention on the pork barrel spending proposals in the emergency funding bill for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The key excerpt:
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: "With today's convening of the 110th Congress, we begin anew."
FRANKEN (voice over): "That was the rallying cry from the newly in-charge Democrats, the wheeling and dealing and hidden pork barrel spending would be no more. Fast forward just 10 weeks. Democratic leaders face their biggest challenge so far. The legislation providing $124 billion in war funding, combined with a troop pullout from Iraq next year. And they're using every tool at their command. The same tools they criticized the Republicans for using -- good, old fashioned pork."
Joel Mowbray writes a very alarming op-ed for the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page, the Opinion Journal, about the disturbing change in direction for the US-financed Al-Hurra cable news network, which is supposed to be a sort of Middle Eastern “Voice of America,” reaching directly into homes and exposing people to the kind of stories that Al-Jazeera won’t show. At one time, Al-Hurra condemned terrorism and terrorists and supported the fledgling Iraqi government, but now, the US taxpayer-funded network has reversed a policy banning terrorists as on-air guests and broadcast most of a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheih Hasan Nasrallah. Why the change? This is the network’s new direction under “longtime” CNN producer, Larry Register. Mowbray describes some of the changes (emphasis mine throughout):
CNN anchor Don Lemon just couldn’t resist editorializing over liberal Senator Barbara Boxer’s slam against a conservative colleague, James Inhofe. During the 3pm EDT hour of the "CNN Newsroom" program, anchors Lemon and Brianna Keilar played a contentious exchange between Boxer and Inhofe in which the Democratic Senator chastised the Republican for interrupting former Vice President Al Gore’s global warming testimony. After the clip, this exchange followed:
Brianna Keilar: "Wow. All right. That was quite an exchange. And, you know, we were expecting something from Senator James Inhofe. He is a critic of global warming....We thought maybe it might be with him and former Senator, former Vice President Al Gore, but it ended up between him and Senator Barbara Boxer. She really got a stinger in there, I will say."
On Wednesday’s "American Morning," CNN co-host Soledad O’Brien must have surprised former Clinton administration official and Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel (D) with a tough question concerning the Bush administration’s use of executive privilege versus the Clinton administration’s use. Emanuel tried to claim the privilege is usually "reserved for national security," which even CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin wasn’t buying. Here’s the exchange:
SOLEDAD O’BRIEN: "You worked in the White House, the Clinton Administration, where they claimed executive privilege for Bruce Lindsey and for Sidney Blumenthal in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, essentially. Why that time around was the efforts you made -- it failed, but there was an effort to say executive privilege. Let's protect these guys. They shouldn't have to go testify before Congress. It failed. But that was what was claimed, so why this time around does it not seem fair?"
There was quite a kangaroo court put together on CNN Tuesday evening largely designed to discredit recent confessions by al Qaeda terrorists Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Waleed Bin Attash while pointing accusatory fingers of blame at American interrogation methods (video available here).
Joining the host on “Paula Zahn Now” was Air America Radio’s Rachel Maddow, Republican strategist Amy Holmes, and CNN contributor Roland Martin.
As the panel was nicely stocked with only one view from the right, the views expressed were clearly sympathetic to our enemy, and suggestive that not only is America using inappropriate interrogation techniques, but also that any information we obtain “almost gets comical.”
After introducing some of the pertinent facts about the recent confessions, Zahn skeptically asked:
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 . . ."
There were two Iraq polls released on Sunday. One is guaranteed to be headline news. The other will likely be totally ignored.
In fact, one of the polls was already referenced by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” as well as reported by USA Today and CNN.
Know what the difference is between these surveys, both of which rather compelling as they asked questions of Iraqi citizens? Well, one painted a rather dire picture of conditions in the embattled country, while the other found a very optimistic people who don’t believe their nation is in a civil war.
As the American media will likely focus all of its attention on the more pessimistic survey, here is the contrary view nobody other than Fox News is likely to cover as reported by the Sunday Times (emphasis added throughout):
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:
The media’s historical omission of Clinton’s mass dismissal of 93 U.S. Attorneys has led to demands on the MRC archive for footage of Janet Reno’s declaration of the act – and our staff found an April 12, 1993 CNN special report where reporter Ken Bode called it a “one-day clean sweep.” Reno declared: “I have asked for their resignations at the request of the President…It’s important that we build a team that reflects our desire to have a Justice Department marked by excellence, marked by diversity, marked by professionalism, and integrity. I want teamwork where we’re both interested in achieving justice throughout America.” Video clip: Real (1.7MB) or Windows (1.9MB) plus MP3 (295KB).
Please forgive the slightly vulgar headline, but HBO’s Bill Maher was Larry King’s guest on CNN Monday evening. As one would expect, the controversial comedian pulled no punches concerning his views about current events, and seemed to have the term in question quite on his mind.
For instance, Maher suggested what Ann Coulter really meant with her remark at CPAC about John Edwards was the following: "[It's code word for the Democrats are -- I hope I can say this -- you said faggot -- pussies.”
A tad later, Maher once again used this term to describe the left when he castigated Democrats for pulling out of the scheduled debate in Nevada due to the host station being Fox News. Maher declared emphatically, “They're pussies!”
In order for the context of his remarks to make sense, a partial transcript of this sequence follows for your entertainment pleasure (h/t Hot Air with video available here):
While members of "mainstream media" have eagerly covered Ann Coulter’s use of an vulgar term at a conservative conference, HBO host Bill Maher’s obnoxious comment about the Vice President, that "more people would live" if Dick Cheney had been assassinated, drew only sparse attention from the press.
Commenting on the diversity of the 2008 Democratic contenders, MSNBC host Contessa Brewer remarked of Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, "It’s sort of like we’re rooting for everybody all at once."
CNN put together a story featuring reporter John Roberts that absolutely hammered Vice President Cheney on Wednesday night’s Paula Zahn Now, concluding with an anonymous Republican suggesting the party needed an "exorcism" to rid itself of all its missteps and corruption.
When the Laura Ingraham show played clips, Ingraham suggested reporter John Roberts should call in – and he did. Roberts protested that the source was a "devout Republican," and not former Clinton aide David Gergen, as callers joked.
He suggested his story was "very narrowly sliced" to deal just with Cheney, and not the Libby trial. It was narrow, alright. (MP3 audio at NRO.)