CNN's "Open House" host Gerri Willis called for new mortgage regulations on April 21.
Willis said that lawmakers were "jawboning" in D.C. about problems in the subprime mortgage market. She also mocked Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who held "a homeownership preservation summit," for not doing anything.
At 5:00 pm, Saturday, April 2, cable news outlets reported that a Blue Angels jet crashed in Beaufort, SC. Fox News and the local town paper, the Beaufort Gazette, reported the pilot did not make it. CNN reported that there is one fatality but has not specified who that fatality is. The plane appeared to "drop out of the sky," clip a power line and then break up, slamming into pine trees. Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved.
A Fox News anchor called the area "remote," but with a Marine Corps Air Station and a population of 12,950, the area isn't exactly remote. I guess it seems remote to those in major news, especially if they have to drive more than an hour or two.
CNN and FNC covered it live for about an hour and then went to regular programming. MSNBC didn't cover it live at all and ran a pre-recorded "true-life crime story," but it did mention the crash during the commercial breaks. Should MSNBC have covered it live, too? Would the media have devoted more time to the FA-19 crash if it had been commercial or private?
It's very natural for journalists, just like anyone else, to dismiss scandals when your friends or heroes are involved. As CBS anchor Katie Couric is embarrassed by having a ghost writer make up her childhood memories -- and plagiarize someone else's work -- CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien insists it will pass, and insists that poor Katie is often personally attacked because she dared to be a pioneering woman anchor. The New York Observer reported:
The Transom asked for Ms. O’Brien’s take on the recent scandal over at CBS, which fired producer Melissa McNamara after she plagiarized a Wall Street Journal column for one of Katie Couric’s first-person commentaries. “Well, you know, she’s a mentor of mine, so I talk to her all the time,” Ms. O’Brien said of Ms. Couric. “When I was at NBC and I didn’t have an agent, she called up her agent, and the next thing I knew, I was represented by CAA. I mean, people don’t do that. So I’ve always been incredibly grateful to her.
“I think she’s a great role model for women, because she’s made a very brave choice,” Ms. O’Brien continued. “She’s gone out and tackled something, and nobody before her—no woman—has done the evening news, and I think she has gotten a lot of barbs because of that. Some of the attacks are very personal, and because she is a woman. I’m sorry to have to admit that, but it’s true. I think she’s handled it with grace. This too shall pass, because one thing Katie Couric is, is a terrific journalist. Everybody knows that. And Brian Williams too!”
Rush Limbaugh has long compared aspects of the environmentalist movement to a religion. CNN’s Ali Velshi has given some evidence of that hypothesis. Friday’s "American Morning" featured a segment on carbon offset credits, which Velshi and cohost Kiran Chetry all but endorsed. At the beginning of the segment, Velshi stated that the credits were a way for companies to "basically buy their way out of their sins." At the segment’s close, he uses the exact same terminology - "It's the idea that you're paying or you're making up for your pollution and your sins." Video: Real (793 KB) or Windows (893 KB), plus MP3 (125 KB).
John Markell, the owner of the gun shop that sold one of the guns that was used in the Virginia Tech massacre, appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Wednesday evening, not only to recount the situation behind the sale, but also told host Larry King that he was receiving threatening messages through his business's website. In response, King first said, "That's kind of ironic that people opposed to guns are threatening you with bodily harm." When Markell said he had been called a murderer as well, King replied, "Now, that's totally unfair, John. We're with you, and I thank you for sharing these moments with us."
On March 13, just over a month before his shooting rampage, killer Cho Seung Hui bought a .9 millimeter Glock handgun, and a box of 50 bullets at Roanoke Firearms, the gun shop Markell owns. In an ABC News report on April 17, Markell described Cho as a "clean-cut college kid," but wasn't actually present during the purchase. During his interview with King, Markell repeated his description of Cho as a "clean-cut college kid," and stated that the clerk who sold Cho the Glock handgun "barely remembered him because the sale went so smoothly." He also stated that Cho had lied one on the required forms for the purchase, which asked whether he had been "adjucated mentally defective" (a General District Court in Virginia found that Cho was "mentally ill and presents an imminent danger to self or others" in December 2005).
"Conservation is a cause that has been espoused by some thoughtful Americans at least since the days of Thoreau, a cause whose time has come because life is running out," the New York Times editorialized on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.
Media support for environmentalism is not waning since the first Earth Day, in fact uncritical coverage of green rallies and protest is the norm nearly 37 years later.
There are so many green events this year you just might need a separate calendar to keep track. Just make sure it's printed on post-consumer recycled paper.
"What can Al Gore expect now that he is organizing a concert to save the entire planet from a global warming disaster," asked the Los Angeles Times on February 16. Noting that Bob Geldof earned a knighthood for Live Aid, a previous fundraising concert, the paper asked:
Earlier this morning the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on partial-birth abortion. What's more, Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom many in the media often focus on as the "moderate" and "swing" justice on the Court, penned the majority opinion. While the mass murder at Virginia Tech is still the top story in the media, Fox News found room to give this landmark ruling prime real estate on its Web site. CNN, however, relegated the story to a link nine entries deep into its "latest news" list.
The screenshots I've included in this post are taken from Fox News and CNN's Web sites from around 11:30 a.m.
It’s not surprising that the mainstream media would quickly jump on the question of gun control in the wake of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech on Monday. On Tuesday, the second day for its new hosts, CNN’s "American Morning," broadcasting live from the Virginia Tech campus, jumped almost immediately on the gun control angle, citing from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, one of the leading gun control groups in America.
CNN correspondent Greg Hunter did two live reports on the guns that were used in the massacre during the competitive 7-9 am Eastern time slot. The first report, which came a mere 6 minutes after the top of the 7 am hour, cited that Virginia is "a state that is pretty easy to get a handgun, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence." Hunter then cited the reasons for this "finding" by the Brady Campaign, which included Virginia’s lack of a waiting period and no license requirements. He also cited the Brady Campaign’s advocacy of a "three-day background check."
CNN reporter Christine Romans agreed, but then took the conversation a step further smearing drug companies in the process.
“And when you look at sort of the business plan, you look at what some of the allegations are in this – in this industry scandal, you see that these sound like drug companies. ‘Let’s get our representatives into the financial aid office, let’s give gifts, let’s get people owning stock, let’s get them on our boards, so that our student loan can be right up there, preferred student loan for students, whether or not it may be the best fit for students,’” said Romans.
In 1998, CNN was convinced that congressional oversight of the Clinton administration was a problem, and congressman Dan Burton was a harsh zealot with an unglued personality. Fast forward to 2007, and Jack Cafferty finds the president is the zealot, and the investigating congressmen and journalists are heroes.
On Friday’s Situation Room, CNN commentator Cafferty was doing publicity for the Bush-hating site Salon.com, reciting some of the many quotes blogger Glenn Greenwald collected from a variety of liberal media sources, such as the New York Times, Newsweek, NPR, and the Associated Press. These quotes from news articles "tend to suggest a pattern," as Cafferty put it, of missing documents and e-mails with the Bush administration. Among the circumstances which Greenwald pulled up quotes for are the Abu Ghraib controversy, the case of suspected terrorist Jose Padilla (pronounced "Patilla" by Cafferty), the supposed gaps in President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard record, and Hurricane Katrina. After presenting many of Greenwald’s collected quotes, Cafferty asked viewers if they think there’s a pattern, and compared it to a "compost heap... the more stuff you pile on it, the greater the odor that emanates from it."
"Minding Your Business" reporter Ali Velshi flubbed his tax data near the end of an April 13 report on the alternative minimum tax.
Velshi was busy sympathizing with House Democrats who are unlikely to seek a full repeal of the AMT when he ran into trouble:
“Why? Because repealing the AMT would cost the government $50 billion a year. And no matter who you are – if you were the government – you probably wouldn’t give up the $50 million a year,” said Velshi.
Velshi meant billion, although Americans for Tax reform puts the figure higher -$872 billion over the next 10 years, which averages out to $87.2 billion per year.
That didn't take long at all. A few days after Don Imus' racially-charged remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team, CNN set its sights on Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio hosts. On Tuesday's "Paula Zahn Now," host Paula Zahn teased an upcoming segment by noting, "If you think some of the things Don Imus says are insulting, you haven't heard anything yet." She then played Rush Limbaugh's criticism of embryonic stem cell advocate Michael J. Fox from last fall.
Later, in the segment itself, Zahn juxtaposed Don Imus's words with controversial remarks by Limbaugh, Neal Boortz, Michael Savage, and Randi Rhodes -- three conservative/libertarian hosts to one ultra left-wing host. Then on his Wednesday evening program, CNN host Larry King gave former Air America radio host and Senate candidate Al Franken (D-Minn.) a platform to attack conservative talkers.
Mainstream media anchors occasionally do some explicit cheerleading for a liberal politician. That's exactly what CNN host Miles O'Brien did on Wednesday's "American Morning." He reported that dark horse Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich "flexes his muscle with big oil over the skyrocketing price of gas, and we say go to it."
Kucinich flexing his muscle? Now, that's a mental image that doesn't immediately come to mind.
O'Brien's remark was made during a lead-in to a segment by CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi. Velshi's report gave some details of the ultra-liberal congressman's efforts.
ALI VELSHI: Dennis Kucinich, he's the chairman of the domestic policy subcommittee, has written letters to seven major oil companies, asking them a question we would like an answer to - explaining the high price of gas....
The mainstream media often uses polls to give a biased impression, and CNN’s Miles O’Brien used a recent AP/IPSOS poll to paint a rosy picture of the Democrat-controlled Congress. O’Brien reported on Tuesday that the Democrats were "riding pretty high" with a 40 percent approval rating. For some comparison, in September 2005, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer characterized a 40 percent approval rating for President Bush as "a low point," and used the figure to reenforce his report on the President’s "political troubles."
It’s interesting to note that another recent poll by Gallup puts the current approval rating of Congress at 33%. This is up 7 percent since October 2006, which was right before the election as well.
Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien must be preparing for a new line of work in fortune-telling.
On the April 9 "American Morning," the CNN anchors didn't wait for someone to complain about executive pay before making it an issue.
Instead, after Soledad complained that she was "desperately" underpaid she also predicted that the AFL-CIO would gripe about Occidental Petroleum Corp. CEO Ray Irani's $400 million executive compensation package.
"You think with a number like that they will. I've got to imagine," mused Soledad to Andrew Ross Sorkin who was "Minding Your Business."
Sorkin told viewers Irani's package was "what has to be one of the largest numbers in history," but admitted it took several years to earn. "Had he not taken all these options he would have made just a paltry $55 million."
On Monday’s "American Morning," CNN spent five minutes on the outrageousness of its daily competition: Don Imus’s remarks on MSNBC describing the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as "nappy-headed hoes." New CNN contributor Roland Martin was brought on to echo Al Sharpton’s demand that Imus be removed from his radio and TV microphones. Martin also went after left-wing women’s groups for not signing on to the anti-Imus cause as quickly as the National Association of Black Journalists.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: I was surprised to see how many women's groups did not sign on early on. You listed some now, but that's like late, right?
Last month’s despicable harassment of a female blogger has created a serious discussion about Internet incivility, especially as it pertains to women.
With that in mind, CNN’s Howard Kurtz invited three prominent female bloggers – Mary Katharine Ham of TownHall.com, Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, and Joan Walsh of Salon – on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” to discuss the recent treatment of technology blogger Kathy Sierra, and what it means for the blogosphere (video available here).
As you might imagine, an interesting debate developed between the conservative Ham and the others when Kurtz suggested that this behavior was just as prominent at conservative blogs as liberal ones. (Update: Mary Katharine gives her take of this segment here.)
Ham marvelously took issue with this inanity, and didn't cede ground when the others predictably agreed with Kurtz:
Not surprisingly, Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards has dropped out of another debate sponsored by the Fox News Channel. As reported by the Associated Press (emphasis added throughout):
The Edwards campaign said it will not attend the September 23 debate in Detroit hosted by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, but officials added that Edwards is "looking forward" to a different debate hosted by the institute and CNN in South Carolina in January 2008.
Hmmm. Canceling FNC to appear on CNN, John? Why might that be (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more):
The mainstream media unabashedly continues its soft-touch approach with Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
On Thursday's "American Morning," CNN foreign correspondent Aneesh Raman gave a report from Amman, Jordan on the release of the 15 British sailors and marines by Iran. He began with the describing the P.R. conducted by Iran and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as one of "precision." Later in his report, Raman then described the P.R. campaign as "sophisticated." These are hardly adjectives CNN employs for American officials.
Though Raman does state that Iran "used the media to its advantage" and that its broadcasts of the British sailors and marines making statements were "staged confessions," it's unsurprising, to say the least, that the CNN correspondent would use such glowing terms for the Iranian regime's propaganda coup. It was only a few months ago that Raman's colleague at CNN, Suzanne Malveaux, asked President Bush for a show of respect for Ahmadinejad.
In TV personnel moves, Howard Kurtz reports CNN has dumped its American Morning anchors Miles O'Brien and Soledad O'Brien (not related or married) for former Dan Rather heir apparent John Roberts and former Fox & Friends regular Kiran Chetry. (The Post also reported CNN anchor Paula Zahn is calling it quits on her 20-year marriage.)
Jim Benson in Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports that Rosie O'Donnell is saying she will decide in May whether to stay with ABC's crew on "The View" or cash in: "word comes that she is in negotiations about a potentially rich overall studio deal," and her asking price is "believed to be $40 million annually." He adds: "With O'Donnell's View contract ending in June, and recent boycott threats against Disney and ABC over her Sept. 11 conspiracy theories, rumors about her future plans are flying."
CNN correspondent Michael Ware appeared on Monday's "American Morning" and gave a live report from Baghdad on Sen. John McCain's visit to the Iraqi capital. Host Soledad O'Brien asked him during the segment if he had, as suggested in Internet accounts, heckled the presidential hopeful:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question. There was a report that said you were heckling and you were laughing during the senator's press conference. Is that true?
WARE: "Well, let's bear in mind that this is a report that was leaked by an unnamed official, of some kind, to a blog, to somewhere on the Internet. No one is going to put their name forward. We certainly haven't heard Senator McCain say anything about it, or any of his staff have come forward to say anything about it.
Never ever blame the victim, isn't that what people say about crime victims?
Apparently no one told CNN, because this morning on "American Morning" Soledad O'Brien and Stephanie Elam attacked TJX Cos., the parent of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls among other stores, accusing the company of dishonesty after the company suffered massive data theft by hackers.
"None of these companies are ever forthcoming about it," O'Brien said in a huge generalization. "You always have to uncover it, investigate it, dig and dig and dig and then eventually they come up with a number which is probably a little on the low side."
"Minding Your Business" reporter Stephanie Elam agreed, complaining about the length of time it took TJX to disclose that 45.7 million credit and debit card numbers had been stolen affecting nearly 500,000 customers.
The top Washington story on Monday, March 26 came straight from the Sunday morning chat shows: the support for embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was slipping, even among Republicans.
Which Republicans? There are conservatives who are not big fans of Gonzales, who would have preferred the President had chosen someone bolder, more confrontational, someone willing to make a case for conservatism. But none of those people were seen on ABC, CBS, or NBC. Viewers saw instead the "even Republicans," the ones who specialize in ratifying the conventional liberal media wisdom, as in "Even Republicans say Gonzales is cooked." If the media think Gonzales is crippled and Bush is wretched, then it’s not that hard for them to find Republicans will spit that line back to them, for emphasis. They aren’t Republicans. They merely play them on TV.
John McCain was making the rounds on the network and cable news channel morning shows on Wednesday. During his appearance on "American Morning," substitute host John Roberts tried to lay a guilt trip on the Arizona Senator when he brought up the current hot topic of cancer (McCain received treatment for melanoma in 2000). His first question resorted to the old left-wing cliche that throwing more money at a problem will lead to a solution.
ROBERTS: Again this year, in the next budget, President Bush has proposed to cut funding for the National Cancer Institute. I was on their web site this morning and noticed that for all the major cancer groups, spending on research has gone down for the past two years. Your party was in charge during that time. How did you let it happen?
No, it's not bias per se, but it is a bit of a pet peeve when the media are sloppy with terminology that relates to the military.
This morning, CNN has been reporting on how Iran may release the female sailor that was captured along with 14 of her comrades. But in doing so, the CNN chyron referred to her as a "troop."
"Troop" is not used in the singular to refer to a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. "Troop" traditionally refers to a unit of soldiers, although in modern usage "troops" may refer to soldiers collectively irrespective of a unit organization.
CNN would be correct to say that Iran has said it will release the female sailor among the 15 captured British military personnel, as the woman in question serves in the Royal Navy.