Do we all get free wooden shoes? Barack Obama didn't say. But he does have an Impossible Dream to cut poverty that would make Don Quixote proud. Put people to work . . . building windmills. His idea came in response to a question at last night's Compassion Forum on CNN from Jim Wallis, a leading member of the religious left whose focus is "social justice." Wallis wanted Obama to commit to a new War on Poverty.
JIM WALLIS: As you reminded us a week or two ago, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed 40 years ago, he wasn't just speaking about civil rights. He was fighting for economic justice. Was about to launch a poor people's campaign. Yet, four decades after the anniversary of his death, the poverty rate in America is virtually unchanged and 1 in 6 of our children are poor in the richest nation in the world. So in the faith community, we are wanting a new commitment around a measurable goal, something like cutting poverty in half in ten years. Would you commit -- would you at this historic compassion forum, commit to such a goal tonight and if elected, tell us how you would mobilize the nation, mobilize us to achieve that goal?
Surely, you'd think, the candidate wouldn't fall into that big-government trap. Think again . . .
It's no longer profitable for networks to have their own news organizations, according to CNBC's David Faber.
In the wake of the news that CBS is in negotiations to outsource its news division to CNN, Faber explained on CNBC's April 8 "Squawk on the Street" CBS's news division is a victim of an evolving business.
"The news that CBS is once again considering a deal under which it would outsource some of its newsgathering operations to CNN - certain to get those critics out there who say, ‘Oh, this is the end of news as we know it on television,'" Faber said.
"Well, if you haven't noticed, news on television ended a long time ago, other than '60 Minutes,' which is by the way a CBS program. I challenge you to come up with actual newsgathering that is taking place on the networks," he said. "That ship has sailed."
Update (13:40 EDT-- see bottom of post for reaction from Faith in Public Life official)
Last June, CNN allied with the left-wing religious group Sojourners for a 60-minute "debate" on faith for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards. Falling neatly in line with the Democratic aspiration to appear more friendly to religious voters, each candidate was interviewed separately for about 15 minutes on their faith. How soft was it? Obama was never asked anything about his minister, Jeremiah Wright. CNN's Soledad O’Brien claimed at the show’s end that it would eventually be balanced out with “a similar forum on faith and politics with Republican candidates.” It never happened.
TVNewser reports that CNN is now doing it again, granting time to Democrats in association with another left-wing religious group called Faith in Public Life. In a 90-minute program aired from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, Clinton and Obama will each get about 40 minutes in separate interviews with CNN's Campbell Brown and Newsweek editor Jon Meacham. So what about 40 minutes for John McCain?
CBS, the home of the most celebrated news division in broadcasting, has been in discussions with Time Warner about a deal to outsource some of its news-gathering operations to CNN, two executives briefed on the matter said Monday.
Over the last decade, CNN has held intermittent talks with both ABC News and CBS News about various joint ventures. But during the last several months, talks with CBS have been revived and lately intensified, according to the executives who were given anonymity because of the confidential nature of the negotiations.
So, do you want to see a most egregious example of equating apples to oranges? Well, even that old saw is too mild a metaphor to describe the disgusting example of Christiane Amanpour's latest foray into moral relativism. In her CNN piece titled, "Survivor recalls horrors of Cambodia genocide," Amanpour assumes that American "waterboarding" today is exactly the same thing as the genocide of millions as perpetrated by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Amanpour seems to think that waterboarding is the same thing as what Pol Pot did with prisoners that were "whipped raw, their fingernails were yanked out, they were hogtied to wooden bars. Prison guards mutilated women's genitals, ripped off their nipples with pliers. And worst of all, babies were ripped from their mothers' arms and slaughtered."
Amanpour's latest project is being touted as a "major CNN documentary" that focuses on "those who stood up and said, 'Listen! We must stop the killing. Stop the genocide,'" during a turbulent 1970's Cambodia. The genocide in question describes the murderous reign of Pol Pot who slaughtered over two million Cambodians and imprisoned and tortured millions more after the end of the Vietnam war.
But what is Amanpour's focus with her report? Is it how the Khmer Rouge communists tortured women, children and men to elicit faux "confessions" of capitalist crimes? Is it the many families that were torn apart? Is it that these murders continued with impunity because the Democrat Party convinced the U.S. to lose the war in Vietnam? No, none of that. Amanpour doesn't seem to care much about what happened back between the years 1975 to 1979. No, it's today that she is more interested in. Yes, Amanpour is far more interested that she get her Cambodian survivor to say that what Pol Pot did to millions of Cambodians was just as bad as what George Bush is rumored to have done to a few terror suspects today.
Liberal talk show host Ed Schultz, appearing on Monday’s "American Morning" on CNN, defended his labeling of John McCain as a "warmonger" at a recent Obama campaign fundraiser, despite the statement being repudiated by Obama’s campaign. Twice, Schultz stated that "the man [McCain] is a warmonger" and used the term a total of five times during the course of the interview. Not only did Schultz defend his remark, he also claimed that McCain mistreated his fellow veterans with his votes on veterans’ benefits. [Audio available here.]
Co-host John Roberts, who interviewed Schultz, compared the talk show host’s remark to Bill Cunningham’s use of Obama’s middle name "Hussein" at a February 2008 McCain rally and how the Republican candidate repudiated Cunningham. At the same time, Roberts didn’t press Schultz too hard on the "warmonger" labeling.
CNN's senior business correspondent Ali Velshi let viewers in on an underreported fact about rising commodities prices: the government mandate for ethanol production is making corn and other agricultural products more expensive-making inflation a top priority for Americans.
"Several years ago, we made some decisions about how corn is going to be used to make ethanol, which is added to our gasoline," said Velshi on "American Morning" April 4. "A number of people think that that was meant to reduce our dependency on crude oil. What is does is it takes what is fundamentally a food source and makes it into a gasoline source. That's caused corn to go up."
CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen, reporting live from in front Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," presented a sympathetic view of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his house of worship as being "under siege" -- from the national media. "Beyond what they say is the hurtful glare of the cameras, church leaders also say parishioners are hounded by reporters and they say the church received bomb threats. A church that feels under siege, now getting national support." Nearly the entire three minute segment, outside of Roesgen’s voice-overs and on-camera reporting, consisted of sound bites of the supporters of the church.
Besides featuring nobody but its supporters, Roesgen also painted the church and its congregations as victims of the controversy and of the news media. "I think they feel angry and they feel used. When they have talked about certain reporters, they were basically talking about reporters who were rude enough to go into the pews and hand out their business cards during the services, something of course CNN would never do."
Over at Media Bistro's fishbowlDC blog Patrick W. Gavin was on hand to live-blog an appearance by News Corp's Rupert Murdoch who visited Georgetown University's Gaston Hall to talk about the shape of today's media landscape. As reported by Gavin, Murdoch had some interesting things to say. Among his comments was that we shouldn't have any fear that the media is becoming less free and.... oh, yeah... he claimed that CNN has "always been extremely liberal." (Gosh, who knew?)
Murdoch also commented on the state of TV and how it can no longer assume it can reach such a "mass audience."
CNN correspondent Dana Bash, during an interview of Senator John McCain which aired on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," raised the issue of whether the Republican presidential candidate felt voters’ pain on the economy. "[I]n this time of uncertainty, when there are so many people hurting, are you concerned that there are voters out there who hear that who say, John McCain is heartless when it comes to this issue?" The thought that McCain might be "heartless" was reenforced by inclusion of the chyron, "McCain & Voters’ Pain: Against Big Economic Bailouts." [Audio available here.]
Following her "heartless" question on the economy, Bash followed up by asking a particularly blunt question about whether the current economy would hurt him if it continued into the time immediately before the election. "If the headlines that are on the front page of the newspapers today are the same headlines on the front pages in late October, early November, does John McCain lose?"
CNN’s Carol Costello highlighted Pennsylvania Republicans who became registered Democrats on Friday’s "The Situation Room," and brushed aside the possibility that Rush Limbaugh’s "Operation Chaos" strategy to meddle in the Democratic primaries might be a partial explanation for the change. Costello, featuring two former Republicans who are now voting for the Democrats, said of the couple, "[I]f you think either Conrad is switching because they buy into Rush Limbaugh's dark strategy to weaken the Democratic party...."
CNN’s Dan Lothian, during a report on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," downplayed Hillary Clinton’s "sniper fire" statement on her trip to Tuzla, Bosnia during her time as First Lady, referring to it as a "misstep." Lothian, in his introduction to the report, referenced the "dangerous 1996 visit to Bosnia" and played Clinton’s now-famous false account of her arrival in the war-torn country. As file footage of Clinton’s arrival played, Lothian pointed out how the "video shot that day seemingly contradicts her version of events. No one seems to be running or ducking, and there does appear to be a ceremony." The video, which was first pointed out on NewsBusters by Rich Noyes, flatly proves Clinton’s statement to be false, not just "seemingly contradict" it.
Barack Obama came to Philadelphia on March 18 not so much to address his poisonous pastor, Jeremiah Wright, but to talk vaguely of race relations. The news media swooned. No one was giddier than MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who rhapsodized that Obama’s speech was one of the greatest speeches in American history, worthy of Abraham Lincoln, and should be read by school children like "The Great Gatsby" and "Huckleberry Finn." This, after all, is the Chris Matthews who said he "felt this thrill going up my leg" over Obama.
Obama said he could no more disown Wright than his own white grandmother, whom he disparaged as mired in racial stereotypes. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos deemed that part of the speech an "act of honor" -- even if it publicly humiliated Grandma, and even if Wright’s record of paranoid ranting and raving about racism is anything but honorable.
Interesting news today out of Los Angeles. Looks like CNN is going to try and tap the political entertainment market that was formerly served by the departed "Half Hour News Hour." My comments below the fold:
Headline News will be sacrificing newsmakers to the comedy gods with "Not Just Another Cable News Show," a half-hour skein set for the 7 p.m. timeslot Saturdays and Sundays starting April 5. It will re-air at 9 p.m. and midnight. [...]
"News Show" will pull footage from CNN's archives as well as from recent news.The first episode will feature commentators including Time.com's Washington editor Ana Marie Cox, L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein, Republican strategist Amy Holmes, Huffington Post media editor Rachel Sklar and comic Hugh Fink.
Barack Obama granted an hour-long interview to Larry King on CNN last Thursday night, and just like Anderson Cooper, King was generous and unchallenging to the Democratic front-runner, allowing him to unfurl answers that ranged from one minute to three and a half minutes. At the show’s beginning, King first mentioned the minister controversy, but CNN actually didn’t ask a single question about it until 32 minutes had elapsed on the show, and then devoted just 20 minutes to it (not counting ad breaks). King began:
KING: I guess most people would be saying, why not just leave the church of Reverend Wright? I know you have been in that church a long time, been close to him. He has a major involvement in your family, but based on what he said, why not just say goodbye?
OBAMA: Well, he has retired, Larry. So you know, he preached his last sermon already.
Earlier today, Democratic Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick conducted a news conference with his lawyer wherein he gave a brief statement pledging to stay in office and fight the perjury charges leveled against him. As Detroit Free Press columnist Bill McGraw noted today, Kilpatrick has the dubious honor of being the first Detroit mayor to be charged with a crime while in office.
That news conference happened shortly before 1 p.m. At the time I channel-surfed through CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News and I later reviewed the video from all three to confirm my observation: Of all three news networks, only CNN tagged Kilpatrick with its onscreen graphic as a Democrat (see screencap at right).
Fox News Channel labeled Kilpatrick as "Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit Mayor." MSNBC opted for "Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit." CNN tagged the alleged perjurer onscreen as "Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, (D) Detroit."
Barack Obama’s interview with Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night's "Anderson Cooper 360" on CNN was quite gentle. While Cooper did press Obama to address some of the criticisms that have erupted over his pastor Jeremiah Wright, he did not press him about Wright’s criticism of white people, or his claims of the government giving blacks AIDS, only one (truncated) 9/11 passage. Cooper used ten-foot-pole language about those people who would be alarmed by Wright’s America-bashing remarks: "Patriotism is going to be used by whoever it is you are facing." Used? Have you ever noticed how the media never asks if America is being "used" by leaders who spit on America?
Obama was spinning furiously.
I never heard anything nasty about America.
COOPER: In the past, you said you didn't think that your church was particularly controversial. Yesterday, in the speech, you said that -- you admitted that you did hear in the church remarks that could be considered controversial. Do you know specifically? Do you remember what you heard?
Roland Martin, a talk radio host out of Chicago and contributor to CNN, appearing on the network immediately Barack Obama’s "race speech" on Tuesday morning, compared the reaction to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s much-publicized comments to the reaction to the Catholic sex scandal. Co-anchor Heidi Collins asked, "He [Obama] didn't disagree strong enough to go to a different church though. He stayed for many, many years. How do you think that will play?" Martin’s responded, "But frankly, I think that is irrelevant, because I don't -- look, I was born and raised Catholic. The first 25 years of my life of my life, I was Catholic.... And there are a number of people out there who are still Catholic today, even though the Church dropped the ball when it came to the whole issue of sex offenders, and some who left. But that's fine. But the reality is a person's faith is a personal decision."
Martin made similar comments on Monday’s "Newsroom" program during a discussion of Rev. Wright’s comments with co-anchor Don Lemon and Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus at the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour. "[Y]ou have a number of people who have said that, for Catholics, will you leave the Catholic Church because of what the church did when it came to sexual abuse victims? And you know what? A lot of folks have stayed."
During the roundtable segment on Monday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty compared the racist and anti-American words of Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, to Jerry Falwell's and Pat Robertson's condemnation of the many abortions in America. Cafferty, who in January suggested that abortion is a "crap" issue, asserted: "How is this different than John McCain chasing after Pat Robertson or the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, who talk about how we have a culture of murdering unborn children in this country and that we've turned into Sodom because we coddled the gay community in this country? I mean, to me, that stuff is considerably more offensive than decrying racial violence and intolerance in this country, which members of the black community have some firsthand knowledge of." (Transcript follows)
On October 22, 2005, my colleague Brent Baker reported Al Franken's disturbing joke to "Late Show" host David Letterman concerning Scooter Libby and Karl Rove being executed for their involvement in the Valerie Plame Wilson affair.
Almost two and a half years later, during an interview on CNN's "American Morning" Friday, Kiran Chetry asked the comedian turned Democrat senate candidate about this exchange.
When Franken had the gall to declare, "I didn't even say that in a joking manner," Chetry challenged him in a way that all media members should whenever a politician on either side of the aisle is so obviously disingenuous (video available here, h/t NBer Woody Boyd):
CNN’s Kyra Phillips, currently in Iraq on assignment, apparently couldn’t any Iraqi troops who support the Republicans for the November election in the U.S. All of those featured in her report on Friday’s "Newsroom" program said glowing things about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or the Democrats in general. Ahmed Mansour, one of the soldiers from Iraq’s Sixth Division that Philips interviewed, expressed his preference for Hillary Clinton. "The truth is I pay attention to Democratic Party -- even more, Hillary Clinton." When asked why he liked Hillary, he said, "Because I like her personality, because she's new. In America, you need something new, a new female president. We saw and lived under the Republican Party, under Bush. We would like to see what the Democrats have to offer."
Who cares if our next president has chosen as his "spiritual guide" someone who calls on God to damn America, and believes the US brought 9-11 on itself? Completely off track! Let's get back to the important stuff. You know, like the fine print of the candidate's plan to nationalize health care.
That in a nutshell is Anderson Cooper's kvetch about the controversy over the outrageous statements made by Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., the pastor of Barack Obama's church and the man Obama has described as his spiritual guide and advisor.
Cooper made his comments on his 360 show this evening.
ANDERSON COOPER: Is this just the kind of thing that happens in campaigns? It seems we're almost at a point now where it's this or other issues for the Clinton campaign where people are just latching onto anything to strike a blow against their opponent. All this seems to have nothing to do with actual issues that the country is facing which these candidates should be talking about and we probably should be talking about.
Maybe it takes one to know one, but CNN is nonetheless a little red in the face over the gaffe of turning to a man with a troubled past in "adult entertainment" -- so to speak -- as an analyst for the Elliot Spitzer prostitution story. CNN has apologized for offering up as an analyst one Kendall Coffey, a fellow who had to resign as a U.S. attorney over an incident in 1996 when he attacked a topless dancer during a visit to an adult club.
When it came to getting informed comment Tuesday on New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's involvement in a sex scandal, CNN got a real expert -- with more experience in the field than he let on. Billing him only as "a former U.S. attorney," without any reference to how he achieved his former-ness, the network interviewed Miami's Kendall Coffey, who had to resign the job in 1996 after biting a dancer during the process of running up a $900 bill at a strip club.
Coffey told CNN that Spitzer should find major trouble with this incident, especially when money changed hands. After all, Coffey ought to know.
For most of this decade, Eliot Spitzer has been one of the liberal media’s favorite public servants. Before being elected governor of New York in a landslide in 2006, he was hailed as the nation’s most powerful state Attorney General, the scourge of high finance. At "60 Minutes" on CBS, he was the "Sheriff of Wall Street." In the pages of Time, he was on their list of "Heroes and Icons" as "The Tireless Crusader."
While Spitzer was toasted by the national media elite for pursuing Wall Street chicanery, he’d also prosecuted at least two prostitution rings as head of the state’s organized crime task force. The New York Times recalled Spitzer "spoke with revulsion and anger" over a high-end prostitution racket uncovered in Staten Island in 2004.
How ironic that the Times would break the story that federal authorities had caught Spitzer on a wiretap, involved with a very high-priced prostitution ring called the Emperors Club. He was suddenly known simply as "Client #9." On a business trip to Washington last month, he registered at the posh Mayflower Hotel under the name "George Fox" (a donor of his) and arranged for a call girl to meet him there in a room on the eighth floor.
[Update, 5:39 pm Eastern: The Acton Institute's office in Rome has provided an English translation of Bishop Girotti's interview. In it, the bishop has his own criticism for the media. "[I]t is necessary also to denounce the emphasis given to the media that on a daily basis casts discredit on the Church.]
A supposed list of "new sins" from the Vatican, such as pollution and genetic manipulation, made headlines across the world on Monday. The list actually didn’t come from any official Catholic Church document, but from an interview of a bishop that was published in L'Osservatore Romano, the "semi-official" newspaper in Vatican City, and it exposed the mainstream media’s fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church specifically.
L'Osservatore Romano printed the interview of Gianfranco Girotti, a bishop who is a member of the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, in its March 9 edition. In it, Girotti discussed "new forms of social sin," and gave examples such genetic manipulation and drug trafficking. Girotti, who is the number-two official at the Tribunal, is in the mid-level of the Vatican’s bureaucracy, and wouldn’t make any official decisions on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Despite Girotti’s lack of real authority, the mainstream media hyped up the interview as being authoritative. The Daily Telegraph’s website claimed that Girotti’s list of "new forms of social sin" "replaces the list originally drawn up by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century, which included envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride." Reuters’ article reported that "the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of "new" sins such as causing environmental blight." CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, on Monday’s "The Situation Room," even went so far to say that "some Christian teachings say love thy neighbor and don't lie, cheat, or steal? But might would one more virtue be added -- go green? Find out why the pope says polluting the planet is a sin." And Pope Benedict XVI wasn’t even the one who was interviewed by L'Osservatore Romano!
CNN correspondent Carol Costello, in a report on Monday’s "The Situation Room," tried to put the Eliot Spitzer scandal into a better light by focusing entirely on past Republican scandals, and only mentioned two examples of Democrats caught in scandal -- Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank -- in passing.
Other than Idaho Senator Larry Craig, Costello brought up Republicans who had been accused of misbehavior by pornographer Larry Flynt. She only mentioned Spitzer at the very beginning of her report, and then immediately went to her first example, Louisiana Senator David Vitter. "Maybe Larry Flynt would say of Eliot Spitzer, there will soon be one less known hypocrite in government. That's how he described Louisiana Senator David Vitter. Flynt accused him of having been a client of the alleged D.C. madam, Deborah Palfrey, after the senator's number was discovered in her phone records."
Costello then turned back the clock ten years, and instead of focusing on Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky affair, she brought up the Republicans that had been caught by Flynt.
"I said it before and I'll say it again," Amanpour said. "I believe that we failed as a profession to do our duty which is simply to ask the hard questions, to stay on it, to fact check and to cross-check and to not take one version of the story hook, line and sinker."
On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty suggested that blame for high oil prices rests not only with Bush administration policies, but also with its "relationship with the oil companies." During a discussion of John McCain and President Bush's recent meeting, Cafferty, who once pushed the liberal conspiracy theory that Big Oil deliberately lowered gas prices before the 2006 elections to help Republicans get elected, once again demonstrated his lack of understanding of the world oil market as he suggested that a "relationship" with oil companies could impact world oil prices: "Oil was $28 a barrel when George Bush was sworn in. It's $104 right now and could go to $120 soon. Now, why do you suppose that is? It wouldn't have to do with the policies of the Bush administration or the relationship they have with the oil companies, would it? Come on." (Transcript follows)