There's a great deal of controversy brewing concerning implications that CNN not only stocked the audience at Thursday's Democrat Presidential debate, but also controlled the questions attendees asked.
So much for Wolf Blitzer not caving into pressure from the Clinton campaign.
*****Update: It looks like all six "undecided voters" set up to ask questions at the debate were plants. More at end of post!
One of the most delicious incidents from the debate was reported Friday by Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic magazine blog (emphasis added (h/t Allah at Hot Air):
In order to make food choices for her constituents, Perry wants to ban new fast-food restaurants from opening in the South L.A. district for at least a year.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta ate up the plan for regulatory meddling saying on "American Morning" November 16, "[A]lthough obesity may not be eliminated entirely, studies show zoning laws are a good first step to fighting the problem."
Would the Democrats have been better off if Fox News had run their debate? The candidates are boycotting Fox as a way to please their far-left base, but Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on this morning’s Fox & Friends criticized how CNN’s Wolf Blitzer repeatedly interrupted exchanges among the candidates last night (“It reminded me of Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2.”) and forced candidates like Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich to beg for airtime.
“Fox, I have to say, I think we’re smarter,” argued Wallace, who has moderated a couple of GOP debates this year and would presumably play a role in a Democratic debate on FNC if the candidates dropped their boycott. “We let the guy talk for a minute. At the end of the minute, the bell rings, and that’s it. You’ve got a minute, and you can do with it what you want. But instead we have Wolf Blitzer every 30 seconds going, ‘Okay, okay, okay.’ It reminded me of Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2.”
CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux, while moderating the second half of the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas on Thursday night, added her own "two cents" to a question she fielded from an "undecided voter." After the voter asked the nominees what qualifications a Supreme Court nominee should possess, Malveaux directed the question to Senator Christopher Dodd, and added whether or not he would "require nominees to support abortion rights."
LaShannon Spencer, who was identified as a member of the First African Methodist Church, asked the question near the top of the 10 pm Eastern hour. She highlighted how health care and the Iraq war had, in her view, dominated the questions during past debates. "We constantly hear health care questions, and questions pertaining to the war. But we don't hear questions pertaining to the Supreme Court justice or education. My question is, if you are elected president, what qualities must the appointee possess?"
CNN, during a report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," mislead its viewers by reporting that a new document issued by the Catholic bishops on voting stated that "the candidate who supports abortion rights shouldn't necessarily be counted out for your vote." Besides this misrepresentation, the report also highlighted the issue of denying pro-abortion politicians Communion. CNN correspondent Mary Snow reported that some "critics" state that "the Communion question was created by extremists, and they hope they're shut out of this election cycle." Speaking of "shutting out," conservative and faithful Catholics were not featured at all in the report. Instead, Snow played two sound bites from prominent liberal Catholics.
Rush Limbaugh has often indicated that he has no beef with Wolf Blizter. And I must say that I've generally found Blitzer to be a straight shooter who has rarely-if-ever provided grist for my NewsBusting mill.
All of which makes that much more perplexing Blitzer's bail-out at arguably the key moment last night's debate. The CNN anchor's failure to follow up on Hillary's monosyllabic answer on driver's licenses for illegals, letting her slide with her terse "no," was in my opinion the greatest single act of journalistic malpractice thus far in this campaign season.
The Clinton machine has spoken. Wolf Blitzer in moderating tonight's Democrat debate (NB chat) must follow the Media Matters approved script.
Greg Pollowitz at NRO Media has the full list. The arrogance of these folks still continues to surprise. The funny thing is now that the group's strong ties to Hillary Clinton have become common knowledge, the list leads off with requirements related to her rival Barack Obama:
Don't contradict your own reporting and suggest that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "cash[ed] in" on a stock deal in which he lost $13,000.
Don't say that Obama's position on Pakistan is "very much in line with what" President Bush says regarding Pakistan.
Don't contradict your own reporting — again — and say that Obama, in following legal requirements to count purchasers of his campaign merchandise as campaign contributors, is "apparently using some creative math" and "overselling his grassroots support."
A night after CNN host Rick Sanchez decided to try to create a scandal over John McCain's failure to rebuke a supporter who referred to Hillary Clinton as a “bitch,” Sanchez on Wednesday declared McCain “should have distanced himself” from the remark and, since he didn't, the incident was newsworthy; McCain castigated CNN for its “biased reporting” and CNN's own media critic, Howard Kurtz agreed “his campaign has a point. That little incident was pretty badly hyped by Rick Sanchez.”
ABC got into the hype too as anchor Charles Gibson introduced a story on “another bit of controversy in the presidential race” which “involves the reaction of Senator John McCain when a lady at a town meeting asked him a question that contained a derogatory reference to Hillary Clinton.”
On CNN's The Situation Room, Brian Todd informed viewers how on “Tuesday evening CNN anchor Rick Sanchez takes about six minutes at the very top of his prime time show, Out in the Open, raising questions about why Senator McCain didn't immediately chastise the woman for insulting Mrs. Clinton like that.” Later, on Out in the Open, Sanchez whined about how in criticizing CNN's news judgment, McCain is “shooting the messenger, blaming me personally and CNN for his present plight.” Sanchez laid bare his agenda as he excoriated McCain for not acting as Sanchez wanted: “His staff has put out several statements today. None of them offers an apology to women in general or to Hillary Clinton specifically.”
Trying to create a scandal over Republican presidential candidate John McCain's failure to rebuke a woman supporter who called Hillary Clinton a “bitch,” CNN's Rick Sanchez led Tuesday night's Out in the Open with what he insisted was the “relevant and newsworthy” topic as he seriously asked: “Is John McCain done as a result of this?” He later speculated: “Is his campaign dead in the water?” Betraying the skew of those at CNN, Sanchez told guest Amy Holmes: “He could be in trouble for this from women, especially the ones that've been talking to me today in our newsroom who heard this and were offended.” Sanchez's spin matched that of left-wing bloggers, a story in Wednesday's New York Times revealed: “The clip began showing on Web sites like Salon.com, the liberal site TPM.com and others, with bloggers asking why Mr. McCain had not taken the questioner to task.”
Setting up the video, Sanchez haughtily intoned: “You're going to hear a McCain supporter. She refers to Hillary Clinton using really what is a horrible word that is used to do nothing but demean women. Well, at the time, it was a supporter who said that. It wasn't until later on, when we watched the whole tape, which is what you're about to see, that you see McCain's reaction, or lack thereof, that we decided that this is both relevant and newsworthy, and important information to this campaign.” An older woman at an event in South Carolina had asked: “How do we beat the bitch?” An appalled Sanchez complained: “He says 'that's an excellent question,' after somebody refers to Hillary Clinton as a B-word which rhymes with witch.”
Instead of the progress that has been made in lowering violence in the country, CNN decided to focus on the "significant price" of the troop surge in Iraq. Tuesday’s "American Morning" reported that the Defense Department had decided to pull an entire brigade out of Iraq. Co-host John Roberts asked Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr "what’s this really mean for the war?" Starr only mentioned the decrease in violence in passing as she reported that the troop surge is "now officially in reverse gear." She did not include figures of this recent downturn in violence, something that only CBS Evening News did among the "Big Three" evening news broadcasts on Monday.
Starr’s report aired at the beginning of the 7 am Eastern hour of "American Morning." After she reported which units were sending troops home, Roberts asked her about the "price" of progress in Iraq. "Barbara, a lot of people are talking about progress here in Iraq, but progress comes at a price." In response, Starr highlighted the Bush administration’s lack of pressure on the Iraqi government to work on reconciliation, the shift to working with local groups that may become "armed militias" when the U.S. leaves Iraq, and how "ethnic cleansing" has divided Baghdad.
After raging at Tim Russert for daring to question her, Hillary Clinton's campaign is reportedly warning CNN's Wolf Blitzer to follow the pre-approved script.
Matt Drudge reports:
CNN's Wolf Blitzer has been warned not to focus Thursday's Dem debate on Hillary. 'This campaign is about issues, not on who we can bring down and destroy,' top Clinton insider explains. 'Blitzer should not go down to the levels of character attack and pull 'a Russert.'' Blitzer is set to moderate debate from Vegas, with questions also being posed by Suzanne Malveaux... Developing...
The irony is perfect. We learn of this gross intimidation on the very day NewsBusters' Tim Graham writes about the very subject.
What's disturbing here is that when the Bush admin engages in these types of actions (skewed questions and tough press handling), it provokes anger and resentment from the media. When Hillary Clinton does it, it provokes more adulation.
An interesting discussion occurred on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday when host Howard Kurtz raised the issue of MSNBC intentionally moving to the left politically, as well as its failed attempt to hire Rosie O'Donnell.
Maybe most shocking was conservative radio talk show host Michael Medved saying of the recent events at MSNBC, "I think itshows that they're getting smart."
Coming in a close second was Jennifer Pozner of Women in Media and News stating with a straight face "the majority of the people who host shows on MSNBC are either centrists or conservative," and that Keith Olbermann "is a liberal host, but he doesn't necessarily promote liberal candidates or promote liberal projects."
Deliciously, that might not have been the most absurd statement from Pozner this day (partial transcript follows with emphasis added for your entertainment pleasure):
In the past six years, any time someone wrote a tell-all book about George W. Bush or a member of his administration, they were given the royal treatment by the press with lavish interviews offering them the perfect platform to market their work as well as their politically charged opinions.
Consider for example all the attention given to Valerie Plame Wilson just recently when her book "Fair Game" was released, or the focus on George Tenet and his "At the Center of the Storm" exposé back in April.
With this in mind, if a former female White House aide published a new book implicating a former president -- whose wife just so happens to be the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2008 -- in rape and other possible crimes, shouldn't she be welcomed with open arms by evening television magazines like "60 Minutes" and morning shows like "Today?"
After all, given Kathleen Willey's shocking statements about her new book "Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton" to WOR radio's Steve Malzberg Thursday, one would think such programs would be all over this like white on rice, assuming of course their goal was journalism and not political activism (audio in two parts available here and here, highlights of the interview follow):
Christmas is still nearly seven weeks away, and already the media are offering a “Bah, Humbug” for retail sales and the U.S. economy.
CNN shoveled coal at the positive economic news on November 2 and immediately moved into full Grinch mode.
“You know, just earlier this week the broadest measure of the economy, Kyra, the GDP, came in at 3.9 percent, stronger than expected. What’s working against it, though, the financials, concerns that we’re going to have a lot more carnage coming from that very important sector, consumer spending …” said “Newsroom” correspondent Susan Lisovicz.
On September 24 of this year, Alexis Christoforous of “CBS Morning News” warned, “It could be a blue Christmas for many of the nation’s retailers.”
As much as the mainstream media like Rudy Giuliani’s liberal viewpoints on abortion and homosexuality, a panel on CNN’s "The Situation Room" were divided on the issue of Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. Jack Cafferty, who won MRC’s "Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories" last year, labeled Robertson as being part of a "lunatic fringe" and opined that the endorsement was "absolutely irrelevant." On the other hand, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin thought the Robertson/Giuliani alliance was a "big deal."
Cafferty and Toobin, along with host Wolf Blitzer and CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger discussed the endorsement at the bottom of the 6 pm Eastern hour. Blitzer introduced the roundtable discussion by highlighting the possible "mixed blessing" of Robertson. "While the value of Pat Robertson's endorsement is clearly debatable, he has tended to hitch his wagon to winners in the Republican primary."
Blitzer then introduced the panel, and directed the first question to Cafferty, who took the opportunity to not only criticize Robertson, but also go on one of his rants about the Iraq war.
It seems that no bad Hillary Clinton deed goes unresponded to.
As we are in the midst of a presidential campaign, this by itself is not an issue. That it is the national media that is leading this charge is. One need focus on but the latest corners of the Clinton pantheon to come to light to see the full court press the press puts on when their girl needs them.
In an October 10 Boston Globe interview, Senator Clinton let her socialism slip a bit, saying "I have a million ideas. I can't do all of them. I happen to think in running a disciplined campaign - especially when it comes to fiscal responsibility, which is what I'm trying to do - everything I propose I have to pay for. You know, you go to my website, you'll see what I would use to pay for what I've proposed. So I've got a lot of ideas, I just obviously can't propose them all. I can't afford them all. The country can't afford them all." (Emphasis ours.)
After all, what could be better than three consecutive hours of leftwing invective starting with Chris Matthews, followed by Keith Olbermann, and ending with Rosie's ridiculous rants replete with repugnantly rude ruminations such as only she can regurgitate?
It's a liberal cable network's dream.
As reported by the New York Times Monday (emphasis added throughout, h/t NBer motherbelt):
Back in the 1990s, TV journalists worried that Bill Clinton wasn’t getting enough credit for the wonderful things that happened while he was President. NBC’s then-White House correspondent Andrea Mitchell whined on CNN’s Larry King Live back on August 18, 1994 that her fear was that Clinton “doesn’t get credit for a lot of the good, positive things he’s done.... The economy is in better shape....He should be getting some credit for the economy.”
Now that a tax-cutting Republican is in the White House, however, big media types are working to bury the news of America’s strong economy. Today’s Investor’s Business Daily has a fine summary of recent good news in an editorial headlined, “The Media’s Blackout on the Boom.” Here’s a key excerpt:
Friday's employment report, showing a much-higher-than-expected increase of 166,000 in nonfarm payroll jobs, was only the latest in a spate of remarkable reports showing the economy's stunning resilience.
On Saturday, CNN ran an interview with Bill Cosby on "Larry King Live," which originally ran on Thursday October 18, in which the entertainer plugged his new book "Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors," about problems faced by America's black population. While Cosby talked about such conservative themes as personal responsibility, which in recent years he has been famous for discussing, the entertainer also demonstrated that he has not entirely made the trip over to the conservative side as he derided Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as "brother lite," repeatedly charging that Thomas "doesn't want to help anybody." Cosby also proclaimed that he "loves" far-left Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. (Transcript follows)
CNN’s "The Situation Room," a program not known for featuring state legislators, did a live interview on Thursday of "little-known" Virginia state senator, Republican Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis, whose liberal stance on gun control earned her the endorsement of Michael Bloomberg. The New York City mayor appeared with Devolites-Davis during the interview. As CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick put it during a report preceding the interview, "Today, the newly turned Independent threw his personal support behind friend and fellow gun critic Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis, a Virginia state senator trying hard to get re-elected. His endorsement of a little-known legislator is rare for a man used to playing on a larger stage."
Host Wolf Blitzer introduced Feyerick’s report by highlighting Bloomberg’s apparent influence and his shared ideology with Davis. "...[T]he biggest city mayor is lending his muscle to a lawmaker in another state. Their common cause -- gun control."
Filing a report on how crucial single female voters are for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), CNN reporter Carol Costello left out the central, defining aspect of a liberal political action committee hoping to elect Clinton.
Costello's report aired on the November 1 "The Situation Room" about a quarter before 6 p.m. Eastern. Here's how she blandly described EMILY's List over B-roll showing the group's Web site (pictured at right):
Two thousand eight could well be the year of the woman, or rather the single, anxious female. According to new research by EMILY's List, a political network for Democratic women, they might just put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
Yet the very same Web site declares the group to be "the nation's largest grassroots political network" that is "dedicated to building a progressive America by electing pro-choice Democratic women to federal, state, and local offic." Hammering home the point that the abortion issue is THE litmus test for candidate funding, the Web site answers the question "Who is EMILY" by among other things asserting that she's "every woman who’s ever had to defend her right to be pro-choice. She’s every woman who’s ever had to explain her choice not to have a child."
Have you noticed that when a Federal Election Commission complaint against a Republican presidential candidate is made, the press jump on it like a child on presents beneath a tree on Christmas morning?
Yet, when someone files an FEC complaint against Hillary Clinton, you're more likely to see a news item featuring a global warming skeptic talking about how Al Gore is lying to the public about climate change than anything related to the former first lady's seemingly incessant campaign finance indiscretions.
For example, did you hear about this complaint filed on Halloween against she who will be President if the press have their way:
Sunny Hostin, a legal analyst for CNN’s "American Morning," demonstrated that she could not give an objective analysis on the legality of the death penalty during a segment on Wednesday’s show. Hostin, in a response to a question asked by co-host Kiran Chetry on the future of capitol punishment in the U.S., answered, "I think, as a society, perhaps, now we're moving towards the fact that, perhaps, killing by the state is not humane at all."
This "curious" reply, which came 21 minutes into the 7 am hour of "American Morning," wasn’t the only one Hostin made during the segment. Earlier, Hostin said that "people really are suffering" during lethal injection executions.
According to a new study, those news organizations that hold themselves up as the most neutral and professional — big newspapers, the broadcast networks and taxpayer-subsidized National Public Radio — are actually producing campaign stories that are the most tilted in favor of Democrats, while online news and talk radio have actually been the most balanced.
The study, released Monday from the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) and Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, found newspapers and broadcast TV outlets devoted far more time to covering the Democratic candidates than the Republicans and that the tone of those stories was much more favorable to the Democrats, mirroring the results of a Media Research Center study released in August.
The mainstream media’s long march against the Iraq War continues unabated. On October 27, the Washington Post ran a front-page story with an attention-grabbing headline taken from a quote by an American soldier serving in Iraq: "I don’t think this place is worth another soldier’s life." Two days later on October 29, CNN’s Jack Cafferty on "The Situation Room" used the same quote in his "Question of the Hour:" "What does it say about the conflict in Iraq when troops there are saying things like, 'I don't think this place is worth another soldier's life.' Our soldiers are saying that stuff."
The Post story, written by Joshua Partlow, detailed the experience of American soldiers in a neighborhood of Baghdad called Sadiyah, which is known for its slide into sectarian violence over the past 14 months. The piece seemed to be tailored to put a negative spin on the recent drop in violence across Iraq. For example: "While top U.S. commanders say the statistics of violence have registered a steep drop in Baghdad and elsewhere, the soldiers' experience in Sadiyah shows that numbers alone do not describe the sense of aborted normalcy -- the fear, the disrupted lives -- that still hangs over the city."
On CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday, host Howard Kurtz asked ABC's Claire Shipman about California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger grabbing her hands during an interview about the wildfires. "Would he have done that to a male correspondent?" And when Kurtz served up Glenn Beck's wildfires comments on CNN Headline News, CBS's Harry Smith was so non-plussed he changed the subject. First, the Shipman exchange:
KURTZ: What were you thinking when Schwarzenegger grabbed your hand and accused of you hating good news?
SHIPMAN: Well, my first thought was, this is unusual. You know? And then I thought, when is he going to let go of my hands? He held my hands for the entire answer.
On Wednesday's "Early Show," Harry Smith gushed over Bill and Hillary Clinton and how two "idealistic kids" transformed themselves into "political rock stars." Smith also took pains to point out that the Clintons are a "still-young couple." Over on ABC, Clinton-fan Kate Snow fawned over Bill and Hillary for being "masters at turning bad news into good." In general, she seemed to be impressed with the 2008 candidate's ability to spin the American public.
NBC, predictably, kicked off the media blame game and assigned the cause of the California fires to, you guessed it, global warming. "Nightly News" host Brian Williams wondered, "Are these fires somehow a result of climate change?" CBS echoed a similar theme on "60 Minutes." CNN also used the tragedy in California to speculate about global warming. A CNN special, "Planet in Peril," which aired this week, failed to mention that one of the climate change scientists featured also happened to be funded by George Soros.