The midterm elections are approaching and some members of the media are revving up their bias. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann recently suggested that President Bush might be as big a threat as the terrorists. This was only a day after referring to conservative talk show hosts who visited the White House as the "Legion of Doom." CNN’s Jack Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove is planning an "October surprise" to salvage the Republicans’ chances in the midterm elections.
The print media have also offered unrestrained attacks from the left. A "Washington Post" report described House Speaker Dennis Hastert appearance as "a cross between Wildford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt." Nothing quite like objectivity, huh? A former "New York Times" bureau chief recently characterized the Christian right as "fascist." Perhaps he’d been chatting with "Newsweek" columnist Jonathan Alter. Alter told Don Imus he hoped the country has seen the last of "values voters."
The "Today" show fawned over Barack Obama, describing him as "electrifying" and a "rock star." This was on the same day that they giddily predicted a "perfect storm" to wipe out the Republicans in the midterms. Another early AM program, CNN’s "American Morning"encouraged author David Kuo to call for Christians to boycott the upcoming election.
You have to wonder what the bigwigs at CNN were thinking when they decided to give King Bush-basher Jack Cafferty an hour-long special – the opener of a six-part series – less than three weeks before the midterm elections. Of course, the flipside is that they knew exactly what they were doing, and got exactly what they wanted – 60 minutes of anti-Bush and anti-Republican propaganda less than three weeks before the midterm elections.
Here are some of the lowlights that occurred in just the first five minutes (video here, hat tip to TVNewser). Cafferty began:
If the war in Iraq were solely a military engagement, it would have ended long ago. Al Qaeda and its ad hoc allies are militarily insignificant. In a standing battle, they'd be wiped out in a matter of minutes.
The enemy there realizes this and has moved to a strategy that emphasizes small skirmishes and targeting civilians, not in the hopes of winning the day, but in the hopes of intimidating Iraqis--and Americans. They've said as much repeatedly that their goal is to scare us and our allies into yielding.
With that fact in the public record, you'd think no American media outlets would play into this strategy. You'd be wrong, though. CNN continues to play al Qaeda's useful idiot by defending its airing of footage of American troops being sniped at by terrorists saying it's only interested in providing "the unvarnished truth:"
One day after getting the celebrity treatment on "Today," Senator Barack Obama stopped by CNN’s "American Morning" to receive fawning questions from Soledad O’Brien. The big difference in the coverage is that while NBC's Meredith Vieira referred to Obama as a "rock star," O’Brien only mentioned that "some people say he is the brightest star in the Democratic Party." Isn’t it great when one media outlet differentiates itself from another? The morning host, who only mentioned Iraq and North Korea in passing, found time for particularly tough questions, including this hardball: "What’s your biggest fear?" Most of the anchor’s queries were of the short variety:
O’Brien: "Politics seems particularly mean these days."
O’Brien: "I think, we see partisanship that you see. And sort of, as you mentioned, in D.C. that you don't necessarily see in the American people. So why don't politicians get that?"
Last night Lou Dobbs hosted a one hour-long "War on the Middle Class" special on CNN. The biased town hall forum shares a title with Dobbs's big-government-friendly book that bears the same title.
Dobbs is part of CNN's ramped-up pre-election coverage that, surprise, surprise, has been gloomy and pessimistic about the economy, the war in Iraq, and pretty much everything else touching on the Bush administration or Republican Congress.
Dobbs has two more evening specials before the election and CNN's Jack"X-Files"Cafferty has a special tonight which, I'm sure is also a must-TiVo.
Here's an excerpt of the take my colleague Julia Seymour and I had on Dobb's program after reviewing it. You can find the full article here:
On the October 18 edition of "The Situation Room," CNN host Jack Cafferty wondered about the possibility of an October surprise to save the Republicans in the midterm elections. He noted that "many people think Karl Rove would be the architect" behind such an event. Cafferty, who made the comments during the 5:15p.m. segment of ‘The Cafferty File,’ speculated that such a surprise could include finding Osama bin Laden. The CNN host then noted ominously:
Jack Cafferty: "It just so happens, Rove told ‘The Washington Times’ he’s confident the Republicans will keep control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. He says, ‘the Foley matter,’ his words, will have impact in some limited districts, but not overall. Perhaps Mr. Rove knows something we don’t."
After nearly three weeks of covering every aspect of the Mark Foley scandal, CNN’s "American Morning" still hasn’t tired of the story. Wednesday’s edition of the program featured over 18 minutes of coverage. This encompassed seven full reports on the disgraced Congressman and one anchor read. In contrast, there were no reports on the unfolding controversy of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his questionable land deal. Additionally, the October 18 "American Morning" featured only two brief anchor reads on a racially charged remark made by Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
"American Morning" has actually increased their Foley coverage over a similar analysis last week. On October 12, the program devoted 18 minutes and 4 seconds to the story. Today, the scandal received 18 minutes and 19 seconds. There’s an important difference however: Starting October 16, "American Morning" shrank from four hours to three. In other words, the show allocated more time to the story, and they did it with a shorter program.
CNN's crusty "Situation Room" commentator Jack Cafferty appeared (again) on the leftist, Bush-bashing Stephanie Miller radio show Wednesday morning, promoting his upcoming special tomorrow night on "Broken Government." While he began by trying to be nonpartisan, and mentioning the Harry Reid financial non-disclosure, that Democrats are just a "different breed of weasel," he did end up sounding rather liberal in spots. Miller argued that votes aren't being counted because of President Clinton's mantra "when people vote, Democrats win." Cafferty replied that if people don't feel their votes are counted, then "this democracy's gone. We're trying to bring democracy to Iraq. Hell, we couldn't even bring it to Ohio." He sounds like Keith Olbermann, obsessing about Bush winning by "only" 120,000 votes in 2004.
For the second time in less then 24 hours, CNN featured David Kuo, a vocal Bush critic and the former deputy director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Kuo, who appeared on Tuesday’s "American Morning," has written a book that accuses the White House of using Christian conservatives for political gain and ignoring the issues they care about. Co-Anchor Soledad O’Brien interviewed the author and seemed perturbed that Kuo wouldn’t call for conservatives to boycott the midterm elections:
Soledad O’Brien: "Here's what you write -- you say, 'Christians vote our money, our energy. Every politician needs evangelicals. 'You go on to say, 'It's like a teenaged boy out on a date with a beautiful girl; they'll say anything and everything to get what they want. Let's not give it to them. Let's tell them we are fasting from politics for a season.' Are you saying, stay away from the polls? Three weeks, when we go to the midterm elections, don't vote?"
David Kuo: "Absolutely not."
O’Brien: "What's fasting mean?"
Kuo: "When I'm talking about the fast, I'm talking after the election."
O’Brien: "What kind of a fast is it if you stuff yourself silly and then you go on a fast?"
This past week, the media made a very clear distinction between how they view a Republican scandal and one involving a powerful Democrat. MRC analysts found that, over a period of 12 days, the big three networks aired 150 stories on the Mark Foley scandal.
How did those same networks cover an investigation into Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and a very questionable land deal? They generally ignored the story. In the case of CNN, the October 12 "American Morning" aired almost 20 minutes of Foley coverage and devoted 35 seconds to Reid
Not to be outdone, print media also glossed over the emerging Reid scandal. "The New York Times" prefaced a story about Reid earning $1.1 million on a property that he hasn’t owned in three years with this headline: "Senator Offers to Amend Financial Forms." The "Times" is certainly generous in offering the benefit of the doubt...as long as you’re a Democrat.
Thursday evening, nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin treated listeners to a round-up of NewsBuster items documenting how big liberal media outlets like CNN and the New York Times are playing down or totally ignoring questions about Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid’s failure to properly disclose a $1.1 million land sale.
Numerous MRC/NB staffers heard Levin cite NewsBusters in the opening minutes of his 6pm EDT radio show, which is heard live in Washington on WMAL-AM. Levin’s flagship station is WABC in New York City, where his program is the top-rated AM show in its time slot. MP3 Audio (1.35 MB)
The Web site MarkLevinFan.com posted a lengthy audio file of Levin’s entire discourse on Reid from Thursday’s show. MRC’s Scott Whitlock transcribed the portion in which Levin cited postings from himself, MRC’s Tim Graham and TimesWatch editor Clay Waters.
The October 12 edition of "American Morning" demonstrated the stark difference between how the media focuses on a Republican scandal, versus one involving a powerful Democrat. The CNN program devoted 18 minutes to investigating the Mark Foley scandal and only 35 seconds to the details of a questionable land deal involving Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Despite the recent revelations that Reid earned $1.1 million on a Las Vegas property that he hadn’t owned for three years, and despite the fact that he recently hung up on an AP reporter who dared ask him about it, "American Morning," which airs from 6a.m to 10a.m., only broadcast two brief anchor reads on the subject. In contrast, the program produced five full reports and one anchor read on the scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley and congressional pages.
This is how guest anchor Betty Nguyen reported the Reid story at 7:14a.m. EDT:
Nguyen: "Well, a Senate Democrat is now under scrutiny this morning for a land sale. Property deeds show Democratic leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a land sale and there are questions about how he reported it. It happened in his home state of Nevada. Reid says he did nothing wrong. The Senate Ethics Committee is reviewing the case."
A second report followed an hour later:
Nguyen: "Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is denying any wrongdoing. Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a land sale in his home state of Nevada. But there are questions about how he reported it. The Senate Ethics Committee is looking into this land deal."
Note the distinct lack of interest in those comments.
It's 27 days to the election and persistent Bush critic Lou Dobbs has a new book out detailing what he sees as the "War on the Middle Class." While Dobbs faults both the GOP and Democrats for policies he disagrees with, the lion's share of his criticism has fallen to President Bush and the Republicans, particularly for tax cuts and free trade policies.
So perhaps it's no surprise that CNN is ramping up Dobb's TV time. Not only will the business reporter/commentator have a role in election night coverage, but:
Associated Press television writer David Bauder noted in an October 10 article that anchor “Dobbs’ weeknight news show will expand to seven days a week, with the two weekend editions presenting highlights of the week’s reporting beginning Oct. 28.”
Jack Cafferty, the CNN host of "The Cafferty File" segment of "The Situation Room," Tuesday asserted that Virginia Senator George Allen doesn’t "have much" character and lamented the fact that Allen is leading his opponent in the polls. He derided a new advertisement by Allen that calls for voters to focus on his stand on the issues:
Cafferty: "Allen doesn’t want voters to focus on his character, because it’s becoming more and more apparent in recent weeks that he may not have much. There was the time he called an Indian American volunteer from his opponent’s campaign ‘macaca’ and welcomed him to America. Allen’s been accused of using the N-word to refer to blacks. He denies ever doing that.
He’s been in the Senate for six years, but voters just learned a few weeks ago that he’s Jewish. He claims his mother never bothered to tell him. Sure.
And the Associated Press reports that for the last five years, Allen has not bothered to tell Congress about stock options that he got for being a director of a high tech company in Virginia. Allen says he did not report the stock options because he saw them as worthless. When his lawyer was told that Senate ethics require that stock options be reported regardless of their value, his lawyer said he was unfamiliar with that provision. You want to know why things are so screwed up in Washington D.C.? In spite of all the things I just mentioned, Allen is leading in the polls, four weeks before the election.Maybe Allen is on to something, maybe character doesn’t matter to Virginia voters."
Thirteen months before North Korea exploded a nuclear bomb, CNN founder Ted Turner predicted that such an event would never happen. “I think we can put the North Korea and East Asia problems behind us,” Turner confidently proclaimed in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer back on September 19, 2005.
Referring to the North Korean regime’s claim they were “committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs,” Turner, having just returned from a trip to North Korea, found those promises to be 100% credible.
“I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere,” he told an incredulous Blitzer.
Asked at the National Press Club's luncheon on Monday “what do you see as the future vision for CNN now that Fox is gaining in market share and popularity?”, CNN founder Ted Turner leaned into the microphone and, prompting laughter and applause, produced a loud sputtering sound as he blew air through his lips with his tongue sticking out slightly -- aka "blowing a raspberry" or issuing a "Bronx cheer." Then, seemingly retreating from his apparent disparagement of CNN, Turner confusingly tried to clarify: “It's not the same. Fox is a different animal [pause]. Listen, you know, the right-wingers have every right to have a network of their own and they've got one.”
At the conclusion of CNN’s "Your World Today," which features an international take on the news of the day, anchors Stephen Frazier and Rosemary Church read a variety of e-mails on North Korea’s testing of nuclear weapons. Only in the morally relativistic world of CNN, where all opinions are equal, could a letter like this repeated aloud:
Church: "And a completely different view. Soh, from Singapore writes: ‘The North Koreans have done the right thing. Since the end of the Korean War, they have been subjected to hostilities from the United States. and other western powers. This bomb is a source of tremendous pride for the Korean people, north and south. The world should congratulate the North Korean people for this achievement."
One can imagine a 1930s CNN reading German e-mails congratulating Hitler on his triumphant liberation of Poland.
It takes a lot of effort to miss 810,000 new jobs. The Labor Department managed it, but at least they corrected the problem. The networks have over-reported job losses and now this huge piece of good news got lost in the shuffle.
The October 8 Washington Post highlighted the incredible revision. “Unemployment is down to 4.6 percent, the lowest in five years, the Labor Department reported, adding with some embarrassment that it had suddenly discovered an estimated 810,000 net new jobs that it had somehow overlooked in the year ended in March,” wrote Steven Pearlstein.
Mike Luckovich, the liberal cartoonist for "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," earned a chuckle from CNN anchor Miles O’Brien by claiming that "80 percent of the priesthood" is gay. Luckovich, who appeared on the October 6 edition of "American Morning," was promoting his new collection of comic strips, "Four More Wars." O’Brien began by asking the cartoonist about the Foley scandal and then attempted to link it with a plan by the pope to ban homosexuals from serving as priests:
O’Brien: "And why don't you explain this one?"
[Cartoon appears onscreen. One priest is looking at the other and says, "Does this make me look gay?"]
Luckovich: "Well, OK. The new pope wanted to -- wants to ban homosexual priests, so you are going to have to lose 80 percent of the priesthood if that happens. But -- so I've got a bishop here saying -- he's looking down at his vestments, and he's saying, ‘Does this make me look gay?"
O’Brien: [Laughs]: "It's -- well, you know, it is a fashion statement, isn't it? All right. And, of course-"
Luckovich: "Yes. You know, I was thinking -- Miles, I was thinking about maybe making Denny Hastert maybe like an archbishop and somehow, you know, making the comparison that way. I'll let you know if that -- if that works out."
O’Brien: "Oh, okay. That sounds like dangerous turf, but I would like to see that one for sure."
The Washington Post has gotten around to noticing the popularity of baseless conspiracy theories about gas prices.
After all, a recent USA Today poll found 42 percent of respondents believe gas prices are being deliberately rigged for the GOP's political advantage.
But even as he sought to dismiss the theories' plausibility, reporter Steven Mufson relied on liberal activist Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen to argue a kernel of truth to the notion that politics plays a role in oil and gas prices.
"I don't think the influence is as explicit as some people out there are alleging. But all markets are susceptible to politics, and oil is no exception," Slocum told the Post.
In The New York Post, terrorism expert and journalist Steven Emerson protested that CNN and Newsday warped the views of Republican Congressman Peter King on an Islamic group, and how they want to blame 9/11 on a Zionist conspiracy instead of al-Qaeda:
THE media is engaged in a jihad against Rep. Peter King - a jihad in defense of Islamist extremists.
King, a Long Island Republican, has warned his constituents that some leaders of the Islamic Center of Long Island have "publicly stated that the CIA or the 'Zionists' may have been behind the attacks" of 9/11.
The record backs him up. Indeed, the center's leadership has a long history of extremism. But both Newsday and CNN chose to ignore the facts and smear King.
Well folks, Bill Maher is at it again. While being interviewed Wednesday on CNN by Wolf Blitzer, Maher stated that torture in Iraq is worse now than when Saddam was in power, and that Democrats aren’t hypocrites when they get involved in scandals because they aren’t the virtue party. Along the way, Maher nicely bashed Bill Bennett and Rush Limbaugh. All in all, this is what Bill Maher would refer to as a good day’s work (video link and transcript follow).
The first juicy tidbit occurred when Blitzer suggested that Saddam was a thug, to wit Maher responded: “Yes, but you know what? Now that we've found out that the torture levels are actually worse now than before...”
Next up on the menu, virtue according to Bill Maher:
CNN's Lou Dobbs eagerly promoted PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers on Tuesday's Lou Dobbs Tonight, describing him as a "distinguished journalist" and "certainly one of this country's most respected journalists." Not as one of the country's most liberal journalists. Dobbs not only promoted his Wednesday PBS show "Capitol Crimes," those words were also the graphic for the segment. Dobbs and Moyers agreed that campaigns today are merely the exchange of bribes, and Moyers added that the McCain-Feingold crackdown on campaign speech is a mere "fig leaf" of regulation.
Dobbs began: "Let's hear what one of the people you chronicle and hear from in the special says, R.G. Ratcliffe, the Houston Chronicle reporter."
R.G. Ratcliffe, Houston Chronicle: "Just the kinds and ways that dollars have flowed into the system in recent years have led to something of a form of institutional corruption. And the kind of thing that you want to watch for, it is not a very big step from a campaign contribution to a bribe."
Tim Graham pointed out to me that CNN had a real attachment to the word ‘lurid’ yesterday. As disturbing as this story is, do we need to use tabloid adjectives? If they are going to treat the story like that, why not follow it with pieces on the latest Hollywood scandal or alien abduction? They would do their counterparts at the National Enquirer proud.
Notice the systematic use of ‘lurid’ throughout the day! The Larry King people liked it so much they doubled up on "lurid" last night.
1.gruesome; horrible; revolting: the lurid details of an accident. 2.glaringly vivid or sensational; shocking: the lurid tales of pulp magazines. 3.terrible in intensity, fierce passion, or unrestraint: lurid crimes. 4.lighted or shining with an unnatural, fiery glow; wildly or garishly red: a lurid sunset. 5.wan, pallid, or ghastly in hue; livid.
Network morning shows stayed on the Mark Foley scandal on Tuesday. ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN all harped on the "conservative" Washington Times editorial calling for Speaker Dennis Hastert to resign. (The Times is conservative, but no one expects the networks to describe the liberal newspapers -- or themselves -- with an ideological label.) ABC's Brian Ross came on strong, suggesting the Republican problem was "one of hypocrisy, talking tough about going after pedophiles on the Internet but not doing much about it when it comes to one of their own." CBS's Hannah Storm wondered if the scandal would "take down the Republican leadership in the House." NBC's Tim Russert used a rare P-word quoting a panicked Republican: "If there's a perception that we overlooked perversion in order to hold on to power we are finished." And CNN brought on a braying Paul Begala and found Democrats were "particularly enjoying the fact" that House campaign chairman Thomas Reynolds was ensnared in the controversy.
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe appeared on Tuesday's "American Morning" to challenge CNN anchor Miles O’Brien over a previous report on the Senator’s global warming position. Specifically, this was in reference to a piece on the September 28 edition of the program that portrayed Inhofe’s skepticism on the subject as less than noble. O'Brien had asserted:
"Now we should point out in a recent five-year period, Senator Inhofe received more than $850,000 in donations from the oil and gas industries, his leading contributor. Inhofe challenged the media to get this story right, as he put it, but when we asked for an interview several times, we were told he is too busy to speak to us this week."
Inhofe did appear this week and he came ready to challenge the CNN host:
INHOFE: "Well, Miles, it's nice to be with you. I know you don't believe it, but it is nice to be with you....You know why? You always smile. So many of these extremists out there, they are mad all the time. But you're not; you smile. In fact, when you're cutting my guts out for two minutes last week, you smiled all the way through it. And I appreciate that."
In the wake of Rep. Mark Foley's sudden resignation over ABC finding his sexually charged electronic messages to teenage male House pages, Monday's broadcast network morning shows all began with Foley, and the networks presented doom-laden scenarios of a crumbling Republican majority and some demands for Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republican House leaders to resign. "But this is more than just one man's downfall," insisted Matt Lauer on NBC. "It could be a major blow to the Republican Party, desperately trying to hold on to control of Congress in the coming midterm elections." ABC's Robin Roberts wondered, "this morning, newly revealed e-mails, the denials, dealings of a Congress in chaos. Could the Foley scandal cost the Republicans the House? "
ABC's Chris Cuomo and CBS's Julie Chen each pushed Tony Snow to suggest Hastert and others should resign. Chen also asked if Republican leaders should be questioned "under oath." ABC's George Stephanopoulos dramatically called the scandal "a Category Three hurricane and it's picking up steam." When CNN's Soledad O'Brien then tried to suggest she was "certainly not rushing for anybody's resignation," Snow protested: "Sure you are." None made historical comparisons with Democrats caught in sexual relationships with House pages or other teenagers.
Being a regular Fox News Watch viewer, there was nothing surprising, tuning into last evening's discussion of the Clinton-Chris Wallace dust-up, in hearing lefty panelist Neal Gabler take his employer and colleagues to task.
Among his moves, Gabler:
Claimed "this network's reputation [presumably as right-leaning] precedes it."
Asserted that Chris Wallace "did not frame the question properly. He asked 'why didn't you do more?' Which is like asking 'will you stop beating your wife?'"
Defended Wallace only at the expense of other Fox colleagues: "He is not a Hannity, he's not an O'Reilly he's not a Brit Hume, Cavuto, Gibson." Hume of course is not merely an on-air personality but also the powerful FNC managing editor.
Spurned host Eric Burns' entreaty to add someone from another network to his list of partisan TV personalities.
Later, amiable liberal Jane Hall chimed in - after smilingly mentioning that she was glad she had recently re-signed with FNC [and thus presumably was not vulerable to recriminations]. Claimed Jane: "this network's commentary beat up on him, beat up on Clinton, and did not beat up on Bush."
This one is pretty funny, sports fans. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) went on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” Saturday to discuss his recent statement regarding global warming and the press. Along the way, he complimented Fox News for being “really the exception” to all the hype by the media concerning this issue. He also bashed CNN for making “8 different [false] accusations or statements about” him.
For those that are interested, the video is here, and a rough transcript follows.
In a speech today on the floor of the Senate, James Inhofe (R-Okla.) blasted the news media for its bias on the subject of global warming. He also went after a completely one-sided report CNN aired on today's "American Morning" which portrayed him as a servant of the oil and gas companies with his out-of-the-mainstream views on the issue.
Below is a transcript of the CNN piece, filed by "Morning" anchor Miles O'Brien. Read on for Inhofe's remarks, including his disputation of O'Brien's assertion that the senator refused to be interviewed by CNN:
MILES O'BRIEN: In California, they're taking some tough action aimed at stopping global warming. The state imposing a cap on greenhouse gases. In the U.S., politicians have been slow to recognize global warming as a problem. Well, that is changing. An influential skeptic remains. No question, there is a political climate change inside the Republican Party. Arnold Schwarzenegger in San Francisco announcing with great fanfare, a California law to curb emissions of greenhouse gases at the root of global warming.