The U.S. economy by most markers is performing admirably. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have had 49 consecutive months of job growth. Unemployment is at a historic low of 4.7 percent, the average number of jobs created is holding steady at around 100,000 per month and real after-tax personal income has increased by 12.5 percent. Yet, according to a CNN poll, half of Americans think the country is in a recession. As Larry Elder writes today at TownHall.com, the reason can be found in the way that the media portray the economy. And that portrayal differs dramatically when a Republican is in office as opposed to a Democrat. Elder writes,
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, in his "Cafferty File" segment on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room," asked how the $2.4 trillion, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would be the cost for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next decade, could be better spent. Apparently, Cafferty, who is a well-known opponent of the Iraq war, also thinks that money being spent in Afghanistan for operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban could also be put to better use.
Cafferty’s "Question of the Hour" came 11 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room." He included that this figure "amounts to about $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in this country" and that it includes "$700 billion in interest, since these wars are all being fought on borrowed money to begin with. And more than 70% of this money would go to the war in Iraq." Cafferty also included that apparently "as of September 30th, the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $604 billion. That's more than either Korea or Vietnam, and there's no end in sight to this thing."
As wildfires rage throughout Southern California, media have predictably begun to blame this awful natural disaster on President George W. Bush much as they did almost exactly two years ago when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.
On Tuesday evening, MSNBC's Dan Abrams set up an interview with California Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Cal.) thusly:
But the fire storms in California`s raising tough questions about what the National Guard is extended too much to handle emergencies at home. Back in May, before the fire started, "The San Francisco Chronicle" reported that the California National Guard was down a billion dollars worth of equipment. Two hundred and nine vehicles in Iraq, including 110 humvees and 63 military trucks. According to report the California guard should have had 39 diesel generators on hand. They say it had none. The Kansas governor raised similar concerns earlier this year when she said the deployment of National Guard troops to Iraq hurt the emergency response to a deadly tornado in her state. The question -- is this another unanticipated cost of a prolonged and expensive war effort?
On Wednesday morning, CNN's John Roberts asked a similar question of FEMA Administrator David Paulison:
In a recent Web interview with "Foreign Policy" magazine, dated October 2007, which focused on environmental issues, CNN founder Ted Turner claimed that global warming presents a greater danger to the world than Iran. Turner: "Iran does not put us in peril like global warming does." In a September interview with "GQ" magazine, Turner had similarly downplayed the nuclear threat from Iran as he argued that America's nuclear arsenal poses a greater threat to the world: "I'm much more worried about our nuclear arsenal than theirs. Iran, at best, can get a few nuclear weapons. We have tens of thousands." The CNN founder further suggested that global warming is to blame for the drought in the Southeast, and contended that the same Al Gore who refuses to debate scientists on global warming is as "smart as a whip." (Transcript follows)
From that headline alone you can see part one of CNN's ballyhooed "Planet in Peril" program was a mixed bag. More than an hour of the first night focused on the extinction of rare species as a preface to global disaster. Forty-five minutes into the program, I began to envy some of the creatures and wondered what poacher would put me out of my misery and save me from a "planet under assault."
The photography was good, not Discovery Channel quality, but above average and the locales were exotic. But the first hour moved with almost glacial tedium. Only when hour two got going did it get more interesting - exploring Chinese pollution and Anderson Cooper's bloodstream.
The special, called by the network "the story the world can't afford to ignore," was led by Cooper, and also featured Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin. As the program went on, it got more interesting. Gupta whipped out typical Malthusian claims of global overpopulation saying there simply aren't enough natural resources to support everyone.
On October 7, NewsBusters shared the astonishing statements of journalists from the Washington Post and CNN as to why good news from Iraq should not get reported.
Two weeks later, the Iraq Interior Ministry announced: "Violence in Iraq has dropped by 70 percent since the end of June, when U.S. forces completed their build-up of 30,000 extra troops to stabilize the war-torn country."
Such was reported by Reuters at 1:01 PM EST Monday. Not surprisingly, the major American media outlets ignored the good news.
Deliciously coincident, military blogger Michael Yon posted a piece at his website Monday appropriately titled "Resistance is futile: You will be (mis)informed" that should be must-reading for all Americans, especially elected officials (emphasis added throughout):
CNN decided to not to break away from its almost non-stop coverage of the California wildfires as President Bush formally awarded a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan the Medal of Honor, as its competitors Fox News and MSNBC aired the ceremony at the White House live.
The Medal of Honor went to Lt. Michael Murphy of Patchogue, New York, who died in the line of duty in 2005 during operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Murphy received the first Medal of Honor awarded from Operation Enduring Freedom. President Bush made the decision to give Lt. Murphy the nation’s highest military honor on October 11.
On Sunday's "Late Edition," CNN's Wolf Blitzer aired a pre-recorded interview in which the CNN anchor asked one of the most irrational questions of the weekend, as he seemed to treat as credible accusations by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that Israel was behind the recent assassinations of anti-Syria politicians in Lebanon. As Blitzer interviewed Walid Jumblatt, a member of the Lebanese parliament who is a "harsh critic" of Syria, the CNN host read a quote from the Hezbollah leader charging that "the hand that is killing is Israel's," and that Israel "has a sure interest in the assassinations." After Jumblatt scoffed that "that's the biggest joke that I've ever heard," Blitzer responded: "So you reject what Hassan Nasrallah is saying, that Israel is responsible for all of this?" (Transcript follows)
Blitzer had set up the interview with Jumblatt: "It's an extremely dangerous time for politicians in Lebanon. There have been a series of high-profile political assassinations, with many Lebanese blaming Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, and his regime in Damascus. Walid Jumblatt is a leading member of the Lebanese parliament. He's a very harsh critic of Syria. I spoke with him here in Washington this week."
On Friday night, CNN viewers were treated to the special "Keeping Them Honest: The Truth About Global Warming," which took time to examine nine "alleged inconsistencies or exaggerations" in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," as enumerated in a ruling by a British judge. Host Miles O'Brien also interviewed a member of the IPCC, the group which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Gore, in the form of a scientist who has challenged Gore's views on global warming. O'Brien, who a week earlier had tagged dissenters with such labels as "dead-enders" and "a very small fringe," on this show suggested that people who are "skeptical" about global warming are "in the dark," and presented what he called "surprising" polling data showing a substantial number of Americans have doubts about global warming theory. (Transcript follows)
It would be quite the understatement to say that members of the media approved of Al Gore's Nobel Prize win. Sam Donaldson lauded Gore for doing something "very important." Cokie Roberts justified the former vice president's inaccuracies by claiming that even if it was propaganda, Gore made an important issue popular. Over on CNN, reporter Miles O'Brien, once again, declared that the debate over the subject is over.
Speaking of CNN, Margaret Carlson, a former panelist for the cable network, declared Gore's victory to be a "wonderful thing." The former Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for Time magazine also complimented the former VP for doing "a great thing" and referred to him as a "prophet." Just how do these journalists maintain such professional objectivity?
The similarities are eerie. On Oct. 19, 1987, the day of the Black Monday stock market crash there was trouble from the Iranians, a two-term Republican president nearing the end of his term and a network TV news media voicing warnings the American economy might be doomed. Except this day in 1987, the stock market dropped 508 points.
“It’s a day that will be in bold print in history books – Black Monday, October 19th, 1987, when the stock market went into a freefall, losing more in one day than it did on Black Tuesday in 1929,” anchor Tom Brokaw said on the Oct. 19, 1987, NBC “Nightly News.” “And while conditions are much stronger now than they were then, today’s precipitous plunge struck fear in the hearts and pocketbooks of even Wall Street veterans.”
CNN even warned for the worst: “[N]ow some analysts argue that the stock market’s recent activity is heading for recession, if not depression in the 1990s,” said CNN correspondent Mark Left on the Oct. 19, 1987, CNN “PrimeNews.”
It's been five years since John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized Washington D.C. for three weeks by randomly shooting people, killing 10 and wounding three. The news at the time avoided all mention of anything Islamic including calling Muhammad by his old name before Islamic conversion, John Allen Williams.
Investor's Business Daily reveals how CNN's one hour special, "The Minds of the D.C. Snipers," still makes no mention of the Islam connection despite the following evidence:
"The jailhouse drawings of the younger sniper, Malvo, tell it all:
• One sketch of Osama bin Laden exalts him as a "Servant of Allah."
• A self-portrait of him and Muhammad is captioned: "We will kill them all. Jihad . . . Allah Akbar!"
• A sketch of the burning Twin Towers has as its caption: "America did this. You were warned."
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, in his regular "Cafferty File" segment on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," disdainfully criticized the appointment of a birth control skeptic to head a "family planning" agency at the Department of Health and Human Services by President Bush. "The question this hour is -- how much does it matter if the Bush Administration's appointee to head family planning programs has -- (LAUGHS) has been critical of birth control? This stuff is right out of ‘The Twilight Zone.'"
Cafferty’s comments came in response to the appointment of Susan Orr to the post in HHS, and aired just before the quarter-past-the-hour mark, and at the end of the 4 pm hour of "The Situation Room." Normally, "The Cafferty File" airs 5 minutes earlier at about 10 minutes past the hour, but coverage of the bombing in Karachi, Pakistan near the motorcade of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto pushed it back.
Cafferty began his "Question of the Hour" commentary bouncing off the breaking news about the bombing. He was so "taken aback" by this appointment that he read the introductory remark twice. Cafferty then "frowned upon" (easy for him) the fact that Orr’s position is "acting" director of the agency.
CNN contributor Roland Martin, in an interview on Thursday’s "American Morning" about Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s apparent threat against law enforcement officials in a recent speech, tried to explain away the comments as "rhetoric," and tried to put them in the context of "the history of the Nation of Islam." "It is not like it is a surprise when you actually hear the kind of rhetoric."
Co-host Kiran Chetry interviewed Martin near the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN morning show. Chetry played a clip from Farrakhan’s speech that he gave at the recent 12th anniversary of the Million Man March in Atlanta. "Do you want me, as the voice of the honorable Elijah Muhammad, and really a voice of God, to ask our people to retaliate in matters of the flame? A life for a life? Is that what you are driving us to?"
Last night on the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert took CNN's marketing team to task, pointing out the hypocrisy of putting a "six foot square poster in each of the 2.3 million copies of today's the USA Today. That's 13.8 million square feet of ‘Planetary Peril.'" Planet in Peril a program airing next week on CNN. Colbert who could barely keep himself from laughing went on to say,
"Now the paper is recycled but hopefully that glossy ink isn't going to biodegrade anytime soon, so awareness of this threat is going to be around for centuries. Brilliant marketing CNN, you have strategically insured the planet will still be in peril by the time your special airs next week."
Tuesday’s "The Situation Room" featured two segments with aging rockers who voiced their opposition to Bush administration policies - the first with Crosby and Nash (but not Stills), and the second with Paul Simon. In the first segment, CNN correspondent Carol Costello interviewed the two hippie icons, who compared the Bush administration to a "junta." In the second, host Wolf Blitzer asked Simon about his opposition to President Bush’s veto of the expanded SCHIP program.
Both the Crosby/Nash segment and the Simon segment aired in the 5 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room." While Crosby and Nash used fiery rhetoric against Bush, Simon used subdued language. All three wore coats and business shirts, compared to the "rocker garb" of their youth.
Costello interviewed Crosby and Nash at Washington National Cathedral, where the two were to perform at a "peace concert." In their rant against President Bush, Crosby and Nash completed each other’s thoughts, as if they were telepathically-linked.
CNN viewers on Friday saw a relatively rare acknowledgement of those who are skeptical of Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth," including a British judge who recently ruled that there are nine inaccuracies in the movie. But CNN's Miles O'Brien dismissed the views of dissenters, and downplayed the importance of the errors cited by the judge.
As he made several appearances on various CNN shows on Friday, O'Brien tagged dissenters with such labels as "dead-enders," a "tiny fraction of a minority," and a "very small fringe," as he linked skeptics to fossil fuel companies. He also repeatedly declared that the scientific debate on global warming is over. Notably, on the July 20 "The Situation Room," O'Brien had curtly lectured former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts with similar comments on the subject. O'Brien: "You're not paying attention to the science, J.C. You're definitely not paying attention. ... The scientific debate is over, J.C., we're done." (Transcript follows)
During an interview by "GQ" magazine's Wil Hylton posted on the magazine's blog on September 20, CNN founder Ted Turner blamed Fox News for pushing America into the Iraq war, tagging the conflict as "Rupert's war," and contended that he is more afraid of America's possession of nuclear weapons than he is of rogue states like Iran obtaining such weapons. Turner: "I'm much more worried about our nuclear arsenal than theirs. Iran, at best, can get a few nuclear weapons. We have tens of thousands. We have to get rid of them." The CNN founder, who has a history of defending North Korea, ignoring the country's problem of starvation, complimented its "thin" citizens as "healthy," and suggested the despotic regime is of no more danger to America than Cleveland, Ohio. Turner: "They were nice to me. There weren't a lot of fat people walking around. They were all thin. And being thin is healthier than being fat. ...
Reacting to the not-guilty verdicts in the Florida boot camp case involving the death of a 14-year old African-American boy, CNN anchor Don Lemon found the result "surprising." And both he and CNN reporter Susan Candiotti made clear that they bought into the prosecution's portrayal of the videotape of the incident.
Just before the verdicts came down, there was this exchange [emphasis added].
DON LEMON: How much of a role did this tape play into [sic] this trial?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI: Oh huge. This is the main evidence, isn't it? And as one of the prosecutors said, "there might not be sound on this tape, but it is screaming at you, 'why didn't someone do something?'"
Wolf Blitzer’s interview of former president Jimmy Carter on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room" demonstrated the CNN host’s catering to prominent liberals. In one question to the former president, Blitzer asked about the ongoing presidential campaigns. "Do any of these candidates, presidential candidates, scare you?" After Carter answered that none of the Democrat candidates scared him, Blitzer asked as follow-up questions, "What about the Republican side?" and "Who scares you the most?"
Later in the interview, Blitzer asked Carter, "By your definition, you believe the United States, under this administration, has used torture?" Carter’s unequivocal answer: "I don't think it. I know it, certainly." This led to a follow-up question from Blitzer on the question of whether President Bush should be impeached. "But you don't want to see any formal charges or a trial?"
Update, 6:10 PM - Video (4:45): Real (3.50 MB) or Windows (2.91 MB), plus MP3 (2.17 MB)
Is NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams really a conservative? "Washington Post" media analyst and CNN "Reliable Sources" host Howard Kurtz implied that he is. Kurtz appeared on the October 10 edition of "The O’Reilly Factor" to promote his new book "Reality Show: Inside the Last Great Televsion News War." When Bill O’Reilly inquired on the lack of conservative representation on the network news, this exchange followed.
BILL O’REILLY: What news man at CBS or NBC is conservative?
HOWARD KURTZ: I wanted to make- first of all, Brian Williams, we can talk about him in a moment, probably President Bush’s favorite anchor.
O’REILLY: He just likes his ties.
KURTZ: Has quoted Rush Li- has quoted Rush Limbaugh, reads conservative blogs as well as liberal blogs.
O’REILLY: I know Brian Williams. He’s about as conservative as Les Moonves.
Network morning news programs showcase musicians all the time with concert series and the like, and sometimes musicians make political statements in between songs, as Bruce Springsteen did on the September 28 "Today" show. But usually those segments are fluffy revenue raisers meant to hook audiences with popular musical acts. The politics are notable for their general left-wing slant, but otherwise unconnected to the news reporting on the program or the network.
Not so with Michael Stipe's appearance on the October 10 "Anderson Cooper 360," which will give Stipe and his band REM a platform to make a politically correct ecological statement in line with CNN's upcoming special, "Planet in Peril."
According to CNN.com:
(CNN) -- Rock group R.E.M. plans to debut a song from its upcoming album Wednesday on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°" program.
At 3:35pm ET on today's CNN Newsroom (10/9/07), the hosts were reading viewer e-mails. Here's what they read from a "Chuck" in Las Vegas, Nevada (emphasis mine):
After all these years of sex and money scandals, to say nothing of the born-again idiot in the White House, one might reasonably expect that by now the Christians would have lost some of their smug superiority over the rest of us. Dear Jesus, save us from your followers!
A couple moments after the letter was read, both hosts appeared to momentarily show slight mischievous grins.
On Monday’s "Lou Dobbs Tonight," host Lou Dobbs took aim at Katie Couric and Bill Moyers for "silly public statements" they’ve made regarding the practice of wearing an American flag lapel pin. "CBS's Katie Couric, of all people, taking exception to an American journalist saying 'we,' when referring to the United States.... I'm sorry, Katie Couric, but who could possibly be offended by acknowledging those troops who have sacrificed so much for us and ours?... PBS's Bill Moyers says the flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo, the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. Oh, please, Bill Moyers, you're too smart for this kind of babble."
Last Sunday, NewsBusters introduced readers to Media Matters for America, the left-wing organization behind the recent smear campaigns against conservative personalities Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.
In the days that followed, although news outlets and leading Democrats continued to reference articles written by this shadowy group, few details were offered about the organization behind them, and virtually nothing was shared concerning its founder, David Brock, who in a short period of time a decade ago remarkably went from a staunch enemy of the Clintons to one of their strongest supporters.
As National Review's Jonah Goldberg wrote in Sunday's New York Post, "Brock was once a right-wing hatchet man, penning a book, ‘The Real Anita Hill,' and some articles in the American Spectator on the Clintons that for a time earned him considerable notoriety on the right and hatred on the left."
Despite the influence Media Matters currently has with the mainstream media, Brock's extraordinary political metamorphosis ten years ago, though obviously a journalist's dream, has received little recent attention from press representatives typically clamoring for such juicy dish (emphasis added throughout):
As CNN's Howard Kurtz accurately pointed out on Sunday's "Reliable Sources," few media outlets seemed at all interested in giving much attention to the great news out of Iraq last week regarding September's sharp decline in casualties.
To Kurtz's obvious frustration, his guests - Robin Wright of the Washington Post and Barbara Starr of CNN - both supported the press burying this extremely positive announcement.
I kid you not.
*****Update: Wright responds to reader e-mail message at end of post.
After introducing the subject, Kurtz asked, "Robin Wright, should that decline in Iraq casualties have gotten more media attention?"
On Thursday's "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN's Randi Kaye filed a story in which she promoted gun control as a solution for Philadelphia's crime problems, as she pushed the argument that the city's high rate of gun violence was the result of Pennsylvania state lawmakers voting to loosen gun laws in the 1990s. And, as if criminals would bother to apply for a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon, Kaye further suggested that the availability of concealed carry permits has contributed to the city's problems. Kaye: "In 1995 there were fewer than 800 applications for concealed weapons here. 'Keeping Them Honest,' we checked, and today there are 29,000 permits to carry. And it's against the law for police to ask anyone why they want one. One law enforcement source told me permits to carry are being passed out like candy." A blog posting on the show's Web site based on this story can be seen here. (Transcript follows)
ABC anchor, and former Clinton employee, George Stephanopoulos interviewed his old boss on ABC’s "This Week." Stephanopoulos sycophantically highlighted a story in The Atlantic about the ex-President's philanthropy. Stephanopoulos quoted the author, "'History may remember Bill Clinton as the philanthropist who happened to be President" and then asked if Clinton was "okay" with that description.
Why did President Bush veto a federal health insurance bill "for children?" Well, ABC painted the President as uncaring and not concerned about the poor, rather than mention the program actually covers more than just the destitute.