Monday’s edition of "American Morning" featured a decidedly one sided segment that advocated for Democratic legislation, generously highlighted Ted Kennedy and promoted San Francisco as the wave of the future. Correspondent Alina Cho used the piece to boost a bill that would require employers with more than 15 workers to give seven sick days a year. Disparaging America’s primitive stance on the issue, she noted that "139 countries provide paid sick leave for workers. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not pay." Cho almost entirely ignored opposition to this plan. Her segment also highlighted a supposed victim of this problem who is actually on the board of directors of a group that lobbies for similar laws. (Somehow, this didn't come up.) The entire story sounded like something taken straight from a DNC press release:
Alina Cho: "...For many Americans, taking a sick day is not a big deal. You take it for granted. But by most estimates, more than half of all Americans who work in the private sector do not get a single day of paid sick leave. Not a single day. Well, all of that could change now that the Democrats are about to take control of Congress. And for some families, it could make all the difference. Rachel Sobel, mother of two, quit her job last December when she was forced to make a choice: her job or her son. Leo had broken his arm and needed her care."
The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct released its report concerning the Mark Foley page scandal on Friday, and the media banged the predictable drum about this all being a Republican cover-up. However, what was ignored or downplayed by virtually every press outlet was the revelation that the offensive e-mail messages between Foley and male pages were leaked to the media by the communications director for the House Democratic Caucus. Also absent from such reports was the possibility that high-ranking Democrat Rahm Emanuel of Illinois might have been aware of these electronic transmissions even though he told ABC News on October 8 that he hadn’t heard anything about them until the story broke (video available here, hat tip to Gateway Pundit).
How much did Rahm Emanuel know about disgraced Rep. Mark Foley's e-mails to a former House page? In an Oct. 8 interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Emanuel, a Democratic congressman from Illinois, was asked if he or his staff knew anything about the e-mails or instant messages between Foley and former pages "before they came out." "No - Never saw them," Emanuel said. Asked if he was "aware of them," Emanuel repeated, "We never saw them. No involvement." But on page 46 of the new House Ethics Committee report on the scandal is testimony that at least one senior member of Emanuel's staff did know about them.
Mary Cheney’s announcement of her pregnancy and upcoming lesbian parenthood has inspired national-media stories playing up "furious" conservatives in the Vice President’s Republican base, even as activists on the gay left use the news to lobby against defense-of-marriage policies in Virginia and other states.
CNN’s "Paula Zahn Now" took up the permissive cause on Thursday night with a supportive news story by Mary Snow on how Virginia is "unfriendly" to gay rights, followed by an imbalanced panel discussion in which one liberal insisted homosexuals had to fight for their cause or "You're going to get dragged behind a truck otherwise." MRC’s Robert Knight, featured in the Snow report, told me that CNN didn’t use his remarks that "every birth is a blessing," or that loving fathers are important. Why? Because it wouldn’t match the "furious" conservative template? Paula Zahn started with the conservative fury, right from the beginning:
Perhaps in an attempt to surpass even David Gregory for most egregious bias, CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux derided President Bush as a "Kool-Aid" drinker who won’t admit failure in Iraq. In a report for the Friday edition of "American Morning," the White House correspondent discussed Bush’s news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In additional fits of bias, Malveaux, described the President’s frustration at the lack of progress in Iraq as "the closest you'll get from this president to admitting failure" and noted that "for Mr. Bush, it's not easy to admit mistakes." But nowhere did Ms. Malveaux make her editorial point more clear, that Iraq is a total failure and Bush is in denial, than when she drew an allusion to Jonestown and the infamous mass suicide by Kool-Aid:
Suzanne Malveaux: "President Bush and his closest ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, have stood shoulder to shoulder on the Iraq war since the very beginning. Critics calling Mr. Bush 'the cowboy' for stubbornly leading the charge, and Mr. Blair 'the poodle' for obediently following. But three years since the U.S. invasion, the two are still adamant their Iraq mission is sound. President Bush didn't just drink the Kool-Aid, he made it. But perhaps now it's a little less sweet."
Appearing on Tuesday’s "Larry King Live," comedienne Kathy Griffin claimed to be so liberal that she refers to herself as a Sandinista and not a Democrat. On the same program, Griffin took delight in the downfall of Christian evangelical leader Ted Haggard, telling CNN’s Larry King that she "love[s] it." It’s unclear why King asked the D-list star about the scandal, perhaps he hoped to bate her into another hateful rant. Later in the program, Griffin offered a clue as to why she would be so effusive over a reverend’s fall from grace. Regarding religion, she claimed to not "believe in any of that crap." King led Griffin into the discussion with his ususal odd segue :
Larry King: "Before we talk about your folks and freebies, what do you make of Ted Haggard, the minister and the choir boy?"
Kathy Griffin: "I love it. I think it's hysterical because it's always, like, the ultra-right-wing conservatives that are banging the kids and the prostitutes and doing the crystal meth. Foley, delicious. Did you read those e-mails? ‘Do I make you horny?’ ‘No, grandpa, back off. And I'm changing the lock to the dorm.’ I mean, you know, if you're doing that stuff, don't be on the ethics committees, don't be a preacher. I saw that documentary, ‘Jesus Camp’ because you guys showed a clip of it on the show. He's kind of busted on that. He's all freaky."
The VRWC is apparently even vaster than we realized.
In a fund-raising email today David Brock, President of Media Matters, the organization that some might consider the left-wing counterpart to NewsBusters, claimed [emphasis added]:
"Media Matters has already exposed more than 6,000 instances of conservative misinformation in just two years -- and not just from right-wing news outlets such as Fox News Channel, but from sources like CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times."
Brock cites two instances in which Media Matters corrected errors at the Washington Post. But might the conservative rot run deeper? Could Paul Krugman be a deep RNC mole? Christiane Amanpour a conservative agent provocateur? E.J. Dionne perhaps a catspaw for Karl Rove?
On Monday’s "Situation Room," CNN reporter Jeff Greenfield discussed the possibility of American losing in Iraq and whether it would turn out to be such a terrible thing. He began by describing several historical military defeats, including Vietnam, and, according to Greenfield, many of these examples seemed to lead to positive outcomes. It’s fitting that host Wolf Blitzer introduced him by noting that the reporter was "contemplating the ‘L’ word."
Greenfield: "In one view, such setbacks encouraged America’s adversaries to be more bold in their assaults. But over time, another picture emerges. Less than 20 years after the fall of Vietnam, the Soviet Union literally ceased to exist. More than half a century after China became communist, the U.S. is economically, at least, a partner. And America's biggest companies see China not as a threat, as but a huge market. And Vietnam? It embraces an American president and American investments. As for Iraq, the turmoil there almost surely means that the ambitious goals of the invasion, a stable, functioning democracy are beyond reach. But if the United States chooses to engage and chooses, as well, to talk with nations in the region like Iran and Syria, that course will likely trigger a profound debate, perhaps even reaching into the next presidential campaign. And what would that debate be about? More than anything else, one key question: Would this engagement tell the world that the United States has become weaker--or wiser?"
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."
Professional golfer Jerry Kelly isn't pleased with the media's coverage of the Iraq war. Neither is a U.S. soldier with whom Kelly spoke while the Madison, Wisconsin-based pro, along with fellow PGA tour members Corey Pavin, Howard Twitty, Frank Lickliter, and Donnie Hammond, recently spent eight days in Iraq under the auspices of the USO.
Kelly was interviewed about the trip by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel golf writer Gary D'Amato, whose story ran in Saturday's paper. Highlights:
The golfers visited 14 bases in Iraq, entertaining the troops with golf exhibitions and swapping stories with soldiers in conversations that stretched into the early morning hours...
For the second time in two days, a CNN anchor asked Jimmy Carter to rank President Bush’s Iraq invasion on the scale of historical mistakes. Both segments minimized or ignored the serious errors that Carter himself made as Commander in Chief, such as his failed attempt at rescuing the Iranian hostages. And both mentioned his peace making efforts. On Tuesday, Wolf Blitzer asked the ex-president just how "big a blunder" Iraq would end up becoming. On Thursday, Anderson Cooper wanted to know the same thing. Additionally, each set of questions and answers featured references to Vietnam:
Anderson Cooper: "In the history of mistakes that administrations have made, how big do you think this Iraq operation has been?"
Jimmy Carter: "Well, obviously, it will be judged in retrospect after the whole thing is over which may be a few years in the future, but up until this point, it's been a horrible mistake. One of the worst mistakes we’ve made. I would say it would compare-- you could argue both sides with Vietnam. But, the main thing was that it's been a quagmire in Iraq. It hasn't succeed so far. The violence is escalating. Americans have lost their lives. But, I think the worst thing was the abandonment of Afghanistan. We had a good chance there after the Soviets withdrew and we came in to stamp out the Taliban policies and to wipe out al Qaeda. We had unanimous support around the rest of the world. All of a sudden, we could have had the whole world on our team rebuilding Afghanistan. Giving them a glimpse of a good life in the future. I think that would have contributed to the possibility of a permanent democratic state of their choice. And I think all of that was abandoned in favor of Iraq. That adds to the seriousness of the mistake of going in to Iraq."
Ever wonder what makes Keith Olbermann such a fine journalist? Well, according to the former sportscaster, it’s the fact that he doesn’t "make the facts up" like Rush Limbaugh does.
PBS host Jim Lehrer trumpeted his objectivity in a more creative way. Using a food analogy, the anchor deemed himself the "flavor of neutrality." (Just a thought, but where do the liberal flavors originate? Ben and Jerry's?)
Perhaps longing for the "good old days," NBC News chose no less an authoritative source than Matt Lauer to announce that the situation in Iraq is a civil war. Maybe NBC is attempting to recreate the famous "Cronkite moment"?
Interestingly, this same network that is so eager to declare a civil war, has, at times, been hesitant to label Hezbollah a terrorist group.
“President Bush has committed $15 billion over 5 years to the fight against HIV/AIDS globally,” O’Brien noted, lamenting that during Clinton’s watch, “the Congress was much less willing to pony up” the money. “Do you look back now and say, if only we put the cash in early, we could have made a big difference,” the CNN anchor pressed the former president, who appeared in a satellite interview taped November 30.
It may surprise conservatives, but CNN reporter Bob Franken alleged on Thursday’s "American Morning" that Democrats are eager to label Iraq a civil war in order to undercut U.S. support for remaining in the country. Considering the cable network’s cheerleading for the Democratic Party in the recently completed midterm elections, this plainspoken statement must have been unintentional. Franken’s comment came in the midst of an otherwise typical CNN report. The segment highlighted how all respectable individuals and organizations call the conflict a civil war, so why can’t President Bush? Remarking on the popularity of the civil war terminology, Franken offered an explanation for the Democrats embrace of the phrase:
Bob Franken: "But many experts say that designating this a civil war will undermine U.S. support even more, which might explain why so many Democrats are jumping on the bandwagon."
On his November 28 program, CNN's Lou Dobbs accused a major American corporation of sponsoring terrorism. But in leveling his charge, Dobbs didn't bother to give viewers a balanced perspective on American exports and business dealings in foreign countries that, to say the least, are not the nicest neighbors on the geopolitical block.
But while it's understandable to be critical of American companies doing business in Syria or Sudan, how exactly does selling cars and trucks to civilians in those countries amount to "bankrolling" terrorism?
My full article is available at the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org Web site. Before the election we documented Dobbs's bias in favor of liberal Democratic policies in his self-appointed defense of the average Joe in what he believes is the Bush administration's "War on the Middle Class."
The media’s fascination and love affair with Jimmy Carter apparently have no limits. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer interviewed the ex-president on Tuesday’s "Situation Room" and cited his knowledge and experience of dealing with Iran:
Wolf Blitzer: "You know a lot about Iran. You spent the last 444 days of your presidency focusing in on the American hostages."
Jimmy Carter: "I remember that."
Blitzer: "I know. I remember it very well. I think everyone who was alive remembers it, as well. This is a regime -- basically, the same people who were in charge then, who took over for the shah, are still in charge right now, led by a supreme ayatollah, who has been meeting today with Talabani, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met yesterday with Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq."
Blitzer may remember the event, but it’s unclear if he recalls the botched Carter rescue attempts, including one that left eight U.S. servicemen dead. If he did recollect the event, the CNN anchor certainly didn’t bring the subject up.
CNN’s Kyra Phillips invited comedian Paul Mooney and radio talk show host Roland Martin on to “Newsroom” Tuesday to discuss the Michael Richards (“Kramer”) issue (hat tip to NB member MyKindaSpam). During the conversation, both guests made what many would perceive as being rather anti-Semitic remarks.
This was Martin’s:
Another piece is when you really examine what he said, he not only said 50 years ago we'd have you hanging upside down from a tree. Well, guess what, 50 years ago, Michael Richards would have been in some oven in Germany being baked because he's also Jewish.
Yikes. Mooney must have felt he needed to top that, for later in the discussion, he said:
Just in time for Thanksgiving, my colleague Julia Seymour has a few rainclouds to open up on the media's parade.
This time it's the media's overblown fear of inflation. Yep, it's time to put away the disco ball and the polyester.
All bets are off if Nancy Pelosi urges everyone to put on a sweater and crank down the thermostat, however.
Journalists worked themselves into a fright this spring as inflation rose, scaremongering with cries of “stagflation” and “recession.” But when the news came last week that the inflation “monster” wasn’t “rearing its ugly head,” the media could only whisper.
“I just tend to think that inflation is not something that has been kicked yet,” said CNN’s Allen Wastler on the August 19 “In the Money.”
“It’s one of those monsters, you want to stay out in front of it. The moment it’s past you – boom, you’re dead.”
The network morning shows noticed Indonesian Muslims protesting President Bush, but sadly, once again, they tended to sanitize out the extremists. In this case, protest leaders called for the execution of Bush, but the networks mostly offered Americans quotes from protesters saying they loved America, just hated the president. They left out what Agence France-Presse reported: a protest leader declared through a loudspeaker: "Kill him, kill him...the blood of George Bush is halal," meaning it was not a sin under Islam to kill him. "Not only is it halal, it is obligatory to kill him."
The networks seem to want the American audience to bite on the Democratic line that conservative policies make us unpopular around the world, when people would be much more agreeable under the sorry-we-didn’t-mean-to-be-a-superpower poses of a Gore, Kerry, or Hillary Clinton. Showing protesters who want to execute our president tend to ruin the line of the day. On NBC’s Today on Monday, Matt Lauer led off the show with a plug for their "Hello, Go Home" segment on Bush's visit. MRC’s Justin McCarthy found reporter Kelly O’Donnell’s selected protesters who stressed their love for America, and their hatred for Bush:
For the second time in less than two weeks, CNN has advised the Republican Party on how to succeed. During the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," reporter Bill Schneider informed the GOP that the way for them to recover from midterm losses is to imitate Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and embrace liberal policies:
Okay, not really. Well, maybe it is, I don't follow the price of poultry and I'm sure the media doesn't have it that high in its pecking order either. But they do when it comes to gasoline, and it's up from two weeks ago.
The law of supply and demand be damned, it's up and it's screwing you just in time for the trip to grandma's house!
Up a whole nickel from two weeks ago! Man is that gonna gobble up your travel budget. Just ask Matt Lauer.
As NewsBuster Tim Graham reported Sunday, the media were quite late in bringing up Congressman Jack Murtha’s (D-Pennsylvania) ethics issues, as well as his connection to Abscam in the late ’70s. Instead, such matters waited to come to the front pages until after the Democrats safely regained control of Congress. Quite surprisingly, CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Howard Kurtz (who also writes for the Washington Post) completely agreed that the media dropped the ball on this issue, and grilled his guests about this on Sunday’s program. This segment began:
Since calling for a U.S. pullout from Iraq one year ago, Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha has drawn all kinds of media coverage for his stance. But after the election, when incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed the ex-Marine for next Majority Leader, stories suddenly popped up about Murtha’s relationship with lobbyists, and whether he had helped a company that hired his brother as a lobbyist. And suddenly, television was replaying a 26-year-old videotape from the Abscam scandal in which Murtha was offered a bribe by FBI informants posing as Arab sheiks.
Kurtz then asked the Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page:
What’s the definition of bipartisanship? According to CNN’s Jack Cafferty, it’s completely supporting the Democratic agenda. On the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," the CNN host complained that President Bush, whose "arrogance" he decries, had the temerity to re-nominate John Bolton as UN Ambassador and still supports the terrorist surveillance program:
Jack Cafferty: "After the Republicans got the stuffing knocked out of them in the midterms last week, President Bush wanted to make nice. So he had these little sit-downs with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the new powers in Congress, and talked about how they were all just going to get along. That tired old phrase bipartisanship was heard over and over again, as it always is after somebody get’s dusted up at the ballot box....And as proof that [Bush's] arrogance was not lost in the election, he wants Congress to pass legislation legalizing the NSA spy program, the one that’s already been ruled illegal by a federal judge. That’s not going to happen either. Great idea though, right? You do something illegal, you just get your toadies in Congress to pass a law saying that it’s legal. Same thing they did with the violations of the Geneva Conventions."
On Friday’s "American Morning," anchor Miles O’Brien characterized a group of kidnaped contractors, which included four Americans, as "mercenaries." The program, which airs on CNN, a network that has been severely criticized for airing terrorist footage of American soldiers being murdered, featured a segment on the activities and tasks of military contractors. Introducing reporter Ali Velshi, O’Brien said this:
Miles O'Brien: "In southern Iraq, more now on the search for four American security contractors, one Austrian, feared kidnaped. It happened in Nasiriyah where Iraqi troops have taken control of security, but there's reason to believe the contractors were stopped at a checkpoint manned by insurgents masquerading as the authorities. 'American Morning's Ali Velshi is here to give us some perspective. The big picture, you know, we call them contractors. In another era, we would call them mercenaries."
Ali Velshi: "That's right, they are paid armed forces. There are different kind of contractors in, in Iraq right now."
It seems like CNN (and not Fox News) is on every public TV. But one hotel chain has decided that the liberal news network crossed the line when it showed a terrorist video. Reports the AP:
A Midwest hotel chain has pulled CNN from the TV channel lineup in its guest rooms, saying the cable network was aiding terrorism with the broadcast of a video showing Iraqi snipers shooting at U.S. troops.
The broadcast, which aired Oct. 18 on CNN and CNN Headline News, featured portions of a tape the network said it obtained from a rebel group, Islamic Army of Iraq.
It crossed the line from journalism to propaganda, said James Thompson, president of Iowa-based Stoney Creek Hospitality Corp. ''It was shocking and repulsive,'' he said. ''Their actions supported terrorism.''
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!
The Democrats may have selected Steny Hoyer to be Majority Leader, but CNN’s sympathy clearly went to Representative John Murtha. "American Morning" aired two reports on a 1980 bribery investigation that involved the Congressman and, despite a damning video in which Murtha indicates possible future interest in a bribe, both accounts gave him more than the benefit of the doubt. Andrea Koppel began her segment, which included a dismissive onscreen graphic that read "Old Allegations," by playing the grainy video footage of Murtha. She then shifted into defense mode:
Andrea Koppel: "January 7th, 1980, an undercover FBI agent shows off the bribe he's about to offer a couple of congressmen. One of them is Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha. Murtha turns down the offer, but suggests he might be interested in the future."
FBI Agent: "You are telling me that's not what you -- you know -- that's not --
Murtha: "I'm not interested."
Murtha: "At this point. You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't."
Koppel: "Murtha was never charged. And to this day, professes his innocence."
Prior to the midterms, CNN ran a number of stories on falling gas prices and a possible conspiracy between the Republican Party and "Big Oil" to lower costs before the elections. Each piece hinted at a dark plot as the reason for declining prices. Well, the elections are over; Democrats are in power, and now America is in ‘a recovery.’ Introducing a segment on Wednesday’s "American Morning," co-anchor Miles O’Brien cheerily discussed the upcoming holiday travel season:
Miles O’Brien: "A week away from your road trip over the interstate and through the malls to grandmother's house. A check of what it will cost you to fill up your sleigh now. Triple A reports the national average of unleaded gas now at $2.22 a gallon. Shoot, grandmother could live further away, or farther away, I guess. And with prices falling more people are heading back to the bigger rides.‘American Morning’s Dan Lothian joining us from Washington with more on that. Hello, Dan."
Reporter Dan Lothian’s story focused on how these low prices are allowing Americans to buy SUVs again:
Dan Lothian: "Good morning, Miles. Well, you know, over the last couple of days we've seen gas prices in some markets across the country trickling up just a little bit. But as you mention, overall the trend is going down. For some people, that means a return to old habits. After months of severe pain at the pump, call it the recovery."