The homepage of NewsBusters.org was displayed on CNN briefly during the 7am EDT hour of American Morning. The blink-and-you'll-miss it moment was during an Andrea Koppel report on the House Republican resolution condeming the New York Times for its publication of a story that revealed a secret government program to track terrorists by monitoring international financial transactions.
The NewsBusters homepage was on-screen during this segment of Koppel's voiceover:
House Republicans are not alone in targeting the New York Times, along with other media. For days, bloggers have been up in arms, while conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh have had a field day.
Over the course of the past few weeks – and much to the delight of many conservative new media journalists – no less than seven major news outlets have published rather derogatory articles about Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the highly-successful proprietor of the überleft-leaning blog Daily Kos.
Conspicuously at the same time, most media avoided or downplayed the recently revealed stock fraud allegations surrounding Zuniga’s colleague and co-author Jerome Armstrong – the man that helped Howard Dean’s presidential campaign back in 2004, and is now working for 2008 Democrat presidential candidate Mark Warner.
As this negative media focus came soon after Zuniga’s much-heralded liberal bloggers’ convention, The Yearly Kos, in Las Vegas – where the usual media suspects were writing great praise for the event as well as for Kos himself – some awkward and so far unspoken questions arise:
One of the more interesting emerging stories in the world of American philanthropy is the dramatic growth of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spurred this week by a massive donation by investor Warren Buffett. But MRC intern Chadd Clark found that on Monday's early edition of The Situation Room, CNN's Jeff Greenfield didn't see this as an occasion for lauding charity, but an occasion for chiding the wealthy for having too much, that there's too much income inequality. Greenfield even pushed the socialist notion that private charity shouldn't be relied on when the people should rely on the public sector:
It is real gee-whiz news when the second richest man in the world decides to give away the bulk of his fortune, most of it to a foundation run by the richest man in the world. But there is a bigger story here. It's about the massive accumulation of private wealth, the shift toward a less equal America, and the potential of what that wealth might do about it. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates made it official today. Some $30 billion of Buffett's fortune will be transferred to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which already has more money than any foundation in America....
Associated Press TV reporter Lynn Elber profiled CNN commentator Jack Cafferty on Wednesday, and when she asked him about his sense of personal responsibility -- we're not shown the question, but I'm sensing he was asked about popping off without thinking it through -- "Cafferty, his memory triggered, segues directly into recounting the newscast in which he got a jump on then U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's legal woes."
Said Cafferty: "I thought (anchor) Wolf Blitzer was going to eat his script when I asked if Tom DeLay had been indicted yet, because he hadn't been," Cafferty recalled, adding: "If he hadn't been indicted he probably should have and I hope he goes to prison and sits there for the rest of his life. He's a jerk." Elber then noted: There he goes again, spouting off with the kind of stuff that gets him pilloried on Web sites such as NewsBusters ("Exposing and Combatting Liberal Media Bias.") As in here, or the full Cafferty menu here.
The liberal media party-line has hardened on the breathtaking arrogance of the New York Times, the self-appointed spoilers of secrecy. The White House is apparently insincere in its criticism -- it's merely pandering to the right-wing base.
MRC intern Eugene Gibilaro found CNN reporter Ed Henry charging up Capitol Hill with this spin on Tuesday night's "Anderson Cooper 360," that the Times was being hounded for political gain. "Republicans stepped up their barrage on the New York Times for publishing details of a once-secret program tracking the banking transactions of terrorists." After a quote from Sen. Pat Roberts charging the Times should look in the mirror of blame for the next terror attack, Henry continued:
"From the president on down, Republicans have been reading from the same script."
At 7:30AM EDT on Wednesday’s American Morning, CNN’s Miles O’Brien was particularly antagonistic toward Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. O’Brien began the segment by highlighting video of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid accusing Republicans of concentrating on issues such as the flag burning amendment, while ignoring more pressing matters. O’Brien jumped at the charge:
Miles O’Brien: "I–the question that a lot of people have on their minds, Senator, is, are you,are you fiddling while Rome is burning?"
O’Brien continued to pound Frist throughout the interview, and cited an editorial from a Chattanooga, Tennessee paper which slammed Frist for his "shameless pandering to conservatives." O’Brien asked the majority leader why Americans were not hearing the message that the Senate was taking action on these issues. Frist turned the tables on O’Brien, charging him for focusing on the Senate debates over same-sex marriage and the flag amendment, while not mentioning: "what we’ve done on the floor for the last six weeks: Iraq, the war on terror, making you safer, yes, cutting your taxes, fighting for fairer tax code over time, addressing border security head-on. Where’s your coverage of that?"Frist then directly answered O’Brien’s charge that Americans are not hearing his message:
Senator Bill Frist: "What you do is concentrate on the things that are spun to you from the other side of the aisle, and that’s why that message doesn’t get out."
Newsweek's cover story this week is a new feature called their Giving Back Awards. Expecting a dose of unknown heroes, instead the magazine honors some famous faces, like Brad Pitt and CNN's Soledad O'Brien, honored for her passionate coverage of Hurricane Katrina. The headline called her "The Professional" and oozed in italics: "In a drowning city, who spoke out for those in despair? She did." But as he honored the CNN anchor, Newsweek's Jonathan Darman felt the need to insult every government rescue attempt:
Simple, human kindness—the kind you can teach a child—was embarrassingly absent in the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. As the country watched in horror as state and federal officials did little to help the stranded multitudes, television anchors, who so often act as though they're not of this world, for once understood the outrage. As the days wore on and the city continued to flounder, they articulated our astonishment at the vast incompetence we all witnessed.
MRC intern Chadd Clark reports that CNN's "American Morning" touched on the new declassified document suggesting there were 500 WMDs found in Iraq since last year -- touched on it quickly, and with complete disdain:
John Roberts: "As the Senate opened debate on U.S. troops in Iraq, two Republican lawmakers claim that weapons of mass destruction still pose a threat. They said troops have found aging stockpiles of chemical shells."
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.): "It is important for the American public to understand that these weapons did in fact exist, were present in the country, and were, in fact, and continue to be, a threat to us."
What do you do when you’re a cable news network struggling to keep up in the ratings? Do you lure viewers away from your competitor with programming that they would want to watch, or alienate those same viewers by insulting their intelligence?
The latter seems to be the strategy for CNN’s Jack Cafferty. Shortly before 5pm EDT on the June 22 The Situation Room, Cafferty made this remark to substitute host John King after reading viewer responses to his question of the hour:
John King, substitute host: "Jack, I’m glad they always tell you exactly what they’re thinking."
Cafferty: "And, and they’re pretty smart, too."
King: "Yes they are, yes they are. Thank you very much–"
Cafferty: "The dumb ones watch Fox."
King [laughing]: "Ouch! Ouch, ouch, that’s going to bring some more e-mail."
Last night CNN and Larry King gave the Democratic party a generous election year gift. King’s guests consisted of 9liberal Democrat Senators, four of whom are up for reelection in November, and 0 Republicans. Larry King noted that a few weeks ago he had the Republicans on. However, that program, on May 18th, was designed to have Republicans fight each other and show divisions in the Republican party. But last night, Larry King made it clear this was going to be an opportunity for these Democratic Senators to show unity and attack the Bush Administration and the Republican Party:
"Tonight, exclusive, all 9 Democratic women of the United States Senate [Senators Hillary Clinton-NY, Barbara Boxer-CA, Dianne Feinstein-CA, Patty Murray-WA, Maria Cantwell-WA, Debbie Stabenow-MI, Barbara Mikulski-MD, Blanche Lincoln-AK, and Mary Landrieu-LA]. Could one of them become the first female President? How do they think Bush is doing, and how would they do it differently? Together for the hour next on Larry King Live."
During her much hyped June 20 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, actress Angelina Jolie expressed a view that may shock many of her liberal Hollywood friends:
Just because someone’s Republican doesn’t mean that they don’t also, you know, have the capacity to understand or care about children...
This backhanded compliment was in response to Cooper’s adoring praise of activist Jolie’s "non-partisan" efforts to "affect change" in the world. If by non-partisan Cooper meant indirectly attacking the Bush administration and the Iraq war, then Jolie certainly is "non-partisan."
You can certainly see that the amount of money being spent at war, and the amount of money we are not spending in countries and dealing with situations that could end up in conflict if left unassisted, and then cause war. So, so our priorities are quite strange. So we’re not–we’re missing a lot of opportunities to do a lot of the good that America is used to doing, has a history of doing. And we’re not able to be as generous.
More from the two hour Cooper-Jolie lovefest is behind the cut:
According to Drudge, the checkbook journalism practiced by People Magazine extended to another Time Warner property; Anderson Cooper.
There's loud chatter among industry insiders that the $4 million deal PEOPLE Mag's editor Larry Hackett cut with Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt for their baby pictures extended to CNN, also part of the TIME WARNER family. A rep for CNN denies any TIMEWARNER deal secured the interview. "Angelina Jolie's representative approached Anderson Cooper's senior executive producer David Doss because Angelina is an admirer of Anderson's work, especially his commitment to covering Africa and the plight of refugees."
There is one sure way of finding out. It is imperative that Time Warner immediately release the original contract with Angelina to determine if anything other than People Magazine is mentioned. If it were any other organization implicated in an unethical practice, wouldn't CNN demand the same of them?
Their actions over the weekend will speak directly to the ethics, transparency, and values of the news operation. (i.e. don't expect much more than more denials, obfuscating the facts, and refusing to expose the contract.)
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS REPORTER: WordCentral.com defines terrorism as the use of a violent or destructive act to achieve a goal. Why is it so difficult for the international community to agree on a definition for terrorism?
OCTAVIA NASR, CNN SENIOR EDITOR FOR ARAB AFFAIRS: Well, I think for one, terrorism for one person is a freedom fight for another. And you know, the Arab world always talks about this, as they say the so-called terrorism, because they believe that - in Iraq, for example, many people are struggling against occupation, so in many ways they support that struggle against occupation but then they draw a line between those who are struggling. They want a free Iraq, they want the occupiers out and those who are pushing the envelope and crossing the line by terrorizing people. And when we say terrorizing people, in a sense, it's going after the innocent civilians, the unsuspecting civilians, taking hostages, beheading them. Committing acts that are totally unacceptable, even by the standards of a freedom fight. So, you know, if you think about it, "terrorism" is a subjective term depending on which side you are on.
In America, people are innocent until proven guilty, unless of course they are Republican.
No finer example of such legal relativism has occurred in recent memory than the case of President Bush’s top advisor, Karl Rove. For months, virtually every mainstream media outlet proclaimed his guilt regarding the Valerie Plame Wilson affair, or what has been not so affectionately named the CIA-leak case.
Take for example the media’s excitement over pending indictments for Rove. This hit a fevered pitch last fall as Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, after almost two years of research, depositions, and grand jury testimonies, was about to announce his findings on October 28.
Sadly for the drive-by media, no indictments were handed down for Rove that day.
As a result, restaurateurs and bar owners around the country were likely forced to give back millions of dollars in deposits for all the “Rove is Going to Jail” parties that ended up being cancelled by disappointed Democrats coast to coast.
However, hope – which some ironically claim springs eternal – reemerged in late April when Rove appeared in front of a grand jury for the fifth time to answer more of Fitzgerald’s questions. This re-ignited a media firestorm of enthusiasm
Howard Kurtz this morning invited National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, The New Republic’s Michelle Cottle, and Time’s Karen Tumulty on to discuss Ann Coulter’s new book, and her recent appearance on NBC’s “Today” show (hat tip to Ian Schwartz of Expose the Left with his video link to follow). The quartet actually did a spectacular job of dissecting this event that is well worth the eight-minute view.
Conceivably one of the most salient points made was that the mainstream media know full well what is going to happen when they invite Ann on their programs, or put her on the covers of their magazines, and that they are doing it to sell their wares like any other corporate entity. Here’s what Jonah Goldberg said of this:
If Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and all of al Qaeda’s leaders in Iraq and throughout the world laid down their arms and surrendered to American forces, would the media report it as good news?
Judging from the initial press reaction to the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq by the American military on Wednesday, the answer appears to be no.
In fact, this tepid response to the death of the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq – a man who has at times in the past couple of years been depicted as more vital to this terrorist network than the currently in-hiding bin Laden – suggests quite disturbingly that America’s media are fighting a different war than America’s soldiers.
According to NewsBusters, CNN’s senior editor for Arab affairs Octavia Nasr said the following about Zarqawi’s death on “American Morning” Thursday:
"Some people say it will enrage the insurgency, others say it will hurt it pretty bad. But if you think about the different groups in Iraq, you have to think that Zarqawi's death is not going to be a big deal for them."
However, CNN didn’t always feel that Zarqawi’s death or capture would be so inconsequential. Just days after Saddam Hussein was found in his spider hole, Paula Zahn brought CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher on to discuss a new threat in Iraq. Zahn began the December 15, 2003 segment:
As they do every weekday at noon, CNN’s American viewers were switched over to the CNN International network’s “Your World Today,” a show so far to the left that it makes the rest of CNN look like a Norman Rockwell tribute to the greatness of America. Today, during coverage of the U.S. military’s successful elimination of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the CNNI caption referred to him as a “top Iraqi insurgent.”
Al-Zarqawi, as everyone (including CNN's foreign bureaus?) surely knows by now, was not an Iraqi, but a Jordanian who spent most of the past three years instigating the deaths of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, police and civilians. Was CNNI trying to falsely paint the self-appointed leader of “Al Qaeda in Iraq” as some sort of nationalist freedom fighter, or are they just sloppy with their choice of words? Either way, it seems like an insult to the people of Iraq to have their worst foreign enemy listed as one of their own.
In May of 2004, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi participated in the beheading of Nicholas Berg, a businessman working in Iraq. His father, Michael, emerged in the aftermath of that crime as an outspoken liberal activist and is now running for Congress in Delaware on the Green Party ticket. So who better to bring on for a discussion about Zarqawi’s death? Michael Berg appeared on all three cable channels this morning to spew hatred towards the United States Government and George W. Bush. Interestingly, only one network, MSNBC, found the time to mention that Mr. Berg is now a political candidate. Rather then cover the successful elimination of a significant terrorist threat, CNN, FNC, and MSNBC all gave time to someone who would make statements such as this one on CNN’s American Morning at 7:50AM EDT:
Michael Berg: "Well, you know, I'm not saying Saddam Hussein was a good man, but he's no worse than George Bush. Saddam Hussein didn't commit the rapes, neither did George Bush, but both men are responsible under their reigns of, of terror....I don't get it. Why is it better to have George Bush be the king of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?"
You just knew it. The MSM had to find a way to downplay the significance of the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Whereas he had been portrayed as the key to violence in the country, now that he's dead, he is described as just one among 'many thousands'.
And sure enough, on CNN this morning at about 6:20 AM, there was Octavia Nasr CNN's senior editor for Arab affairs, interviewed by host Soledad O'Brien, suggesting that Zarqawi's death might not really be such a 'big deal', after all. Nasr reported that beyond Al Qaeda, there are thousands of other, home-grown insurgent groups in Iraq, 'many' of which are more powerful that Al Qaeda.
"Experts we talk to all the time tell us to be very careful with the way we describe Al Qaeda in Iraq. They say they are the ones that get the most attention, especially from the U.S. media, the western media, but tell us there are many small insurgency groups in Iraq that are more powerful than Al Qaeda, the Zarqawi group. They tell us that there is a resistance in Iaq that is a bit different from the terror groups like Zarqawi's group. So percentage wise, I don't think anyone can put a number on that. But definitely the experts tell us that this is not a lone group in Iraq. There are many thousands more like it."
In a report on Wednesday's American Morning, CNN entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson reported on the deal between People magazine and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt over the exclusive rights to the photos of the couple’s daughter, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. During her report, Anderson made this rather strange analogy between the birth of Jolie-Pitt and Jesus Christ:
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s newborn baby finally arrived on May 27th. Her name, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. Some biblical references define Shiloh as, quote, ‘generally understood as denoting the Messiah.’ And perhaps not since Jesus has a baby’s arrival been so eagerly anticipated, at least in some circles.
Perhaps Anderson was attempting to be witty with her remark, having explained the biblical connection to the name Shiloh. Still, one wonders how the arrival of Pitt and Jolie’s child is different from any number of other high-profile births: Britney Spears’ son Sean Preston, Julia Roberts’ twins Hazel and Phinneaus, and of course, who can forget the earthshaking arrival of Suri Cruise?
On the 4pm hour of Friday's The Situation Room, CNN anchor Jack Cafferty lambasted the Bush administration's push for a national gay marriage ban. However, what Cafferty did not inform the audience of is his own bigoted past.
JACK CAFFERTY: Hi, Wolf. Guess what Monday is? Monday is the day President Bush will speak about an issue near and dear to his heart and the hearts of many conservatives. It's also the day before the Senate votes on the very same thing. Is it the war? Deficits? Health insurance? Immigration? Iran? North Korea? Not even close. No, the president is going to talk about amending the Constitution in order to ban gay marriage.
This is something that absolutely, positively has no chance of happening, nada, zippo, none. But that doesn't matter. Mr. Bush will take time to make a speech. The Senate will take time to talk and vote on it, because it's something that matters to the Republican base. This is pure politics. If has nothing to do with whether or not you believe in gay marriage. It's blatant posturing by Republicans, who are increasingly desperate as the midterm elections approach. There's not a lot else to get people interested in voting on them, based on their record of the last five years. But if you can appeal to the hatred, bigotry, or discrimination in some people, you might move them to the polls to vote against that big, bad gay married couple that one day might move in down the street. Here's the question: Is now the time for President Bush to be backing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage? E-mail your thoughts to caffertyfile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.
CNN reporter Ben Wedeman got to spend some quality time with terrorists who get their kicks trying to kill Israeli children as he spent the day hanging out at a rocket factory. Nowhere in the story will you read a derogatory word about the terrorists, or even the word "terrorist" at all, and he closes the piece by calling it "a good story."
You might think, as an American or even as a decent human being, that if you knew people who knew bomb-making terrorists, or you had the means to get to where the bombs are being made, you would tell authorities. Not CNN reporters. They bend over backwards to protect these murderers:
I got to the rocket makers through an old acquaintance in Gaza. To protect his identity, I'll call him Majid. A journalist, Majid has the numbers of all Gaza's factions, parties, politicians, warlords, thugs, crooks and freelance gunmen... I didn't mention what I was trying to arrange to anyone -- not CNN's assignment editors, not our Jerusalem bureau, not even Adil, my cameraman who was hoping for a day off after two weeks in Gaza covering clashes and chaos. Gaza is crawling with informants, collaborators and spies, so the less anyone knows about your plans, the better.
CNN’s Bill Schneider sounded more like a spokesman for the Democratic Party than a seasoned political analyst during the 4pm EDT hour of today’s The Situation Room. In his report on the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina and the impact it will have on the 2006 mid-term elections, Schneider opined over a picture of Bush looking out the window of Air Force One:
"The President’s image of compassion was shaky to begin with, even though he calls himself a compassionate conservative. Bill Clinton felt your pain. George Bush flew over it."
That zinger met with strong approval, not surprisingly, from Schneider’s colleague, Jack Cafferty during his Cafferty File segment minutes after Schneider’s report: "Great line from Bill Schneider. ‘Bill Clinton felt your pain. George Bush flew over it.’"
Continuing their endless media blitz to promote their latest album, the Dixie Chicks were Larry King’s guests May 31. When asked by King about her 2003 remarks at a London concert where she said she was ashamed that President Bush was a fellow Texan, lead singer Natalie Maines maintained that her "genius" comment was spontaneous and that she believed she was "defending" America.
Natalie Maines: They [the comments] were not planned. That genius comes to me off-the-cuff...I felt like I was defending America by saying that we don’t all think the same and you can’t just call us Americans like we have one voice and one opinion.
Whatever her intentions may have been, her swipe at the President was read by many fans of the group as an easy way to score some applause from a friendly audience overseas.
"The roadside blast in Baghdad on Monday that killed two CBS News crew members and seriously wounded a third has deepened concerns among television network executives about the risks their crews face trying to cover the Iraq war, some arguing that television reporters may be even more exposed than those in print journalism."
Near the end, Carter lets two news executives take some timely blasts at conservatives, and radio host Laura Ingraham in particular:
Newsbusters readers who had the misfortune of watching CNN May 30 were not experiencing deja vu. Democratic Congressman John Murtha was interviewed on not one, not two, but three separate network programs throughout the day. Murtha’s day of CNN appearances began with an interview conducted by American Morning's Soledad O'Brien, followed by a late afternoon exchange with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. Anderson Cooper 360 viewers, not to be left out, were treated to a pre-taped interview between Cooper and Murtha during the 10pm hour.
While O’Brien and Blitzer were eager to hear Murtha equate the alleged shooting of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha to the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, only Cooper questioned whether Murtha might be rushing to condemn the Marines before the official investigation is complete.
Cooper: "Congressman Murtha, you believe the military investigation will ultimately show that the, the troops in Haditha, quote, ‘overreacted because of the pressure on them and killed innocent civilians in cold blood.’ That’s a quote from you. How are you so sure at this point? The investigation isn’t even complete."
CNN anchor Lou Dobbs has experienced huge growth with his focus on illegal immigration. Reports TVNewser:
Lou Dobbs "continues to exhibit explosive growth," according to CNN. In May 2006, Dobbs' 6pm program was up 85 percent in the demo and 94 percent among total viewers compared to May 2005.
This month, Dobbs averaged 207,000 demo viewers, compared to 112,000 a year ago. FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume averaged 229,000 demo viewers, down from 276,000 a year ago. In May 2005, there was a 146 percent gap between CNN and FNC at 6pm -- and now the gap stands at just 11 percent, CNN noted...
Over the weekend, Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zibari, and Iran's foreign affairs chief held a meeting to discuss, among other things, Iran's nuclear program. Afterward, the two held a press conference. CNN reported on the conference but instead of reporting that Iraq wanted Iran to guarantee its program was for peaceful purposes, the network implied that Iraq was backing its neighbor entirely.
Iran doesn't claim that they want to obtain a nuclear weapon or a nuclear bomb, so there is no need that we ask them for any guarantee now.
Here's what he actually said, as translated by Omar from the Arabic original:
We respect Iran's and every other nation's right to pursue nuclear technology for research purposes and peaceful use given they accept [giving] the internationally required guarantees that this will not lead to an armament race in the region.
Hannah Storm, co-host of CBS’s "The Early Show," interviewed CNN’s Anderson Cooper, anchor of "Anderson Cooper 360" about his new memoir. Storm was gushing over Cooper, referring to him as "one of the brightest stars in the news business" and as the "popular CNN anchorman," as she introduced him:
"Anderson Cooper is one of the brightest stars in the news business. The popular CNN anchorman became a household name after his reporting on Hurricane Katrina. But, this is certainly not the first time the seasoned journalist has come face to face with death and disaster. For years, Cooper's been covering war and poverty in countries that often get little attention here at home. And, he writes about both his personal and professional experiences in his new memoir, ‘Dispatches from the Edge.’"