It was yet another overblown fear that the media latched onto but have not revisited since Democrats won last week's election.
At the MRC's Business & Media Institute, we don't forget so easily.
Check out the story by my colleague Julia Seymour over at businessandmedia.org.
Now that the votes have been cast and counted, Republicans
lost, and the silence of the national media has been deafening.
The idea was that somehow the company Diebold had programmed the machines to let Republicans win. The theory, perpetuated by left-wingers posting on Daily Kos and The Huffington Post and Bev Harris’ book, “Black Box Voting,” was embraced by all three broadcast networks, as well as CNN and MSNBC.
On Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz recognized the media's soft treatment of Speaker-to-be-Nancy Pelosi. CBS's Gloria Borger, ABC's Martha Raddatz and CNN's Candy Crowley also acknowledged the “honeymoon” for Pelosi -- and all three insisted coverage of her will turn tough. After some clips of the softball questions posed to Pelosi last week by network anchors, Kurtz asked: “Is Nancy Pelosi getting pretty soft treatment from the media?" Borger sarcastically replied: "Honeymoon, you think? Yeah, I think -- I think it will remain a honeymoon for a while.” Raddatz predicted that “there will be this minor little honeymoon period -- the whole female, first female Speaker of the House. That will go away really quickly.”
Kurtz turned to Crowley and raised the media's hostile attitude toward Newt Gingrich, who didn't get any media honeymoon: “Is Nancy Pelosi ever going to get the kind of tough press scrutiny that, for example, Newt Gingrich received when he became Speaker in 1995?" Crowley insisted: "I think so,” contending journalists will “if only because everybody is sort of aware of that. I mean, I think there will be tough scrutiny.” Crowley proposed the tough coverage will come after Democrats take over, “so I would think long about February you're going to begin to see tough scrutiny, because I think it's incumbent upon us and I think everybody knows that." We'll see.
"Washington Post" reporter Sally Quinn appeared on Monday’s "American Morning," ready to psychoanalyze President Bush in the wake of last week’s midterm defeat. Quinn discussed the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the hiring of Robert Gates as a replacement, and how President Bush is secretly "relieved" over the drubbing the GOP received. Now, either Ms. Quinn has become a psychological expert on why Bush is hiring former advisors to his father, or she’s just another member of the media who wants to be a part of important inner-circle decisions:
Quinn: "But I just have a feeling that it was clear to the father that the son -- clearly, he made Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense -- that the son did not want his father's advice on a lot of these things....I felt the other day watching Bush that he was almost relieved in a way about losing the House and the Senate. I know that sounds weird, but it was as though, ‘Okay, now I really have permission. I can take my father's advice.’ And, also, that it's not all on him anymore. It's not all on the Republicans. The Democrats are going to have to take a lot of the responsibility now."
O’Brien: "It's nice to, nice to share a little blame, isn't it, in some cases? And in this case, perhaps share some blame with his father. I wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. Did -- was -- did he have to have that election in order to prompt this?"
Was it an innocent scratching of the nose, or a classic Goose moment right out of the movie “Top Gun?” I report, you decide.
In a question and answer session at Kansas State University on Thursday, outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was posed the following: “If you were going to give yourself a letter grade for your performance as Secretary of Defense, what grade would that be?”
As he answered, "Oh, I'd let history worry about that," Rumsfeld used his middle finger to scratch his nose. Coincidence, Freudian slip, or something much, much more? And, did CNN intentionally show this clip on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” to discredit the former Secretary? Regardless, I hate it when it does that.
For your analysis and viewing pleasure, the incident in question is at the tail-end of the following video.
If we rigidly applied truth-in-advertising laws to the national media in their coverage of the 2006 campaign, we would have first declared that the stuff between the commercials wasn’t "news" as much as a boatload of free infomercial advertising for the Democrats. The news reports should have led with the sentence, "I’m Nancy Pelosi, and I approved this newscast."
Republicans made a lot of mistakes, and caused themselves a pile of problems. Their house is a mess; it's time to tear down and start over. But I will say this unequivocally: In 25 years of looking at the national media, I have never seen a more one-sided, distorted, vicious presentation of news -- and non-news -- by the national media. They ought to be collectively ashamed. They have made a mockery out of the term "objective journalism" and a laughingstock of themselves at the idea that they should be considered objective journalists.
On Thursday’s "Situation Room," CNN reporter Bill Schneider proclaimed that Republicans need to move left in order to recover from their midterm losses:
Bill Schneider: "Will Republicans move further to the right? Not if they got the message of the election. Republicans lost because they abandoned the center. Independents voted Democratic by the biggest margin ever recorded. The election also provides an alternative model of a Republican who moved to the center and thrived."
Who is this shining example of moderation? Why, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He actually won by becoming a liberal, but perhaps that’s what Schneider meant.
Aren’t liberals supposed to be the tolerant ones? On Wednesday’s "American Morning," co-anchor Miles O’Brien derided a plan by disgraced former minister Ted Haggard to seek spiritual counseling as a "reality show." Haggard resigned his positions as pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado and head of the National Association of Evangelicals after being accused of drug use and a gay affair. He has announced that he will undergo an intense form of religious counseling known as restoration. Reporter Ali Velshi and Mr. O’Brien seemed to find the whole concept laughable. Velshi, describing the individuals who would and wouldn’t be involved, began by talking about "fixing" Ted Haggard:
Ali Velshi: "But one of the godly men, theoretically, asked to be involved was James Dobson of the -- he was the founder of Focus on the Family, also a Colorado-based Christian ministry. He's already backed out. Apparently, this is so tough, James Dobson says that he backed out because 'emotionally and spiritually, I wanted to be of help, but the reality is, I don't have the time to devote to such a critical responsibility.' I think this is more than just a PR thing. They really -- these guys believe it's going to fix Ted Haggard."
Miles O’Brien: "Well, I think it could be a tremendous reality show."
“Victory is mine,” he seemed to gloat to viewers as with smug delight CNN populist gadfly and resident protectionist applauded the passage of six minimum wage increases in states ballot booths across the country.
Before the election, Dobbs was quite active in pushing such an increase both on his show and in his book, “War on the Middle Class.” Dobbs had a pre-election one-hour special by the same title, biased in favor of more taxation and regulation of the economy.
Following Christine Romans’ report on the initiatives, Dobbs chose to lecture the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and The Heritage Foundation for what he sees as their wrong-headed opinion on the matter.
As NewsBuster Brad Wilmouth reported, comedian Bill Maher was on with CNN’s Larry King Wednesday night saying some rather outrageous things. Beyond his derogatory comments about President Bush, Maher told King: “A lot of the chiefs of staff, the people who really run the underpinnings of the Republican Party, are gay.” When King pressed Maher for names, Maher said, “Ken Mehlman” (video here).
King then questioned Maher’s sincerity: “I never heard that. I'm walking around in a fog. I never...Ken Mehlman? I never heard that. But the question is...”
Maher answered: “Maybe you don't go to the same bathhouse I do, Larry.”
Now, according to the Huffington Post – which has video of both segments here – when CNN replayed this show, it cut out this part. Makes one wonder why. Regardless, what follows is a full transcript of this segment.
"Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer interviewed incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday and continued the fawning media coverage of the liberal Democrat. His gushing tone can best be described by how he closed the interview:
Wolf Blitzer: "Let me just congratulate you and wish you the best of luck. This is going to be an exciting ride. We started off that you are going to be the first woman to be the Speaker of the House. So you have an enormous amount of responsibility that comes with the job, a little bit extra because you're making history."
Nancy Pelosi: "Well, I appreciate your saying that and I think one of my first acts as -- post-election, will be to become a grandmother for the sixth time. We're anxiously awaiting the birth of our grandchild, who is due the first week in November, so a good omen. We get ready for our new grandbaby as we get ready for a new Congress."
Blitzer: "Well, we'll wish you only the best on that front as well."
Pelosi: "As well, thank you. Thank you, Wolf."
Throughout the segment, which aired at 5:28pm on November 8, Mr. Blitzer’s tone seemed similar to that of an excited fan interviewing a celebrity.
“CNN's decision to show video of Iraqi insurgent snipers targeting U.S. troops,” FNC's Brit Hume relayed in his Wednesday “Grapevine” segment, “has gotten it kicked out of one Midwestern hotel chain.” Hume reported how James Thompson, owner of the Stoney Creek Inns in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin, “has dropped CNN and Headline News from the cable lineup in his ten hotels” because “he made a quote, 'judgment of conscience' after seeing the sniper video, which he calls an 'obscenity' that was quote, 'personally offensive and shocking.' He says his company 'will not be a party to propaganda for terrorists.'"
Tim Graham's October 24 NewsBusters item on Congressman Duncan Hunter scolding CNN for airing the video from the point of view of snipers shooting U.S. soldiers and Marines. MRC President Brent Bozell's October 25 column: “CNN, Stenographer to Terror.”
With Donald Rumsfeld now on his way out as Secretary of Defense, some liberal media types are undoubtedly grinning from ear to ear, for they have made their antipathy to Rumsfeld very well known. Just on Monday, for example, CNN’s Jack Cafferty blasted Rumsfeld as “an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal.” Back in August, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann slammed Rumsfeld as a fascist and a “quack.”
But reporters have been distressed by Rumsfeld since before the war in Iraq. A few examples of the liberal media’s anti-Rumsfeld attitude:
Upset by Talk of Old Europe. “Secretary Rumsfeld...has dismissively referred to France and Germany as ‘Old Europe,’ and today, Secretary Powell, who warned France not to be ‘afraid’ of its responsibilities. Is that the rhetoric of a great power, and is that really the most effective way of building alliances?”
CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien talked with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Wednesday and displayed a snide attitude over the Republicans’ midterm losses. She even tried to goad DeLay into bashing Karl Rove:
O’Brien: "Think Karl Rove is still a genius?"
Delay: "Oh, yes. Just because you lose one ball game doesn't remove your genius."
O’Brien: "Really, you think that -- this is kind of a big ball game to lose. Some people might say, yes, but if you lose the big one, it actually could chip away at your title."
Apparently victories in 2000, 2002 and 2004 don’t mean anything.
As many NewsBusters have commented, the liberal media were anything but gracious in victory last night. CNN political analyst Paul Begala was a fine example when during the 8PM “Situation Room,” he took the opportunity to attack the most popular conservative radio talk show host in the country (video here with transcript to follow).
As the conversation centered on the Missouri Senate race, and how stem-cell research and Michael J. Fox might have impacted the outcome, Begala said the following (as previously reported here):
But Bill Bennett was not the face and the voice of the anti-embryonic-stem-cell-research debate. It became Rush Limbaugh, a drug-addled gasbag who is self-discredited. That's good for Claire McCaskill.
Obviously, Begala sees himself as a uniter and not a divider. Thankfully, Bill Bennett was there to clean up the mess:
During election night coverage, CNN’s Paula Zahn and Bill Schneider exuded giddiness over what Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee’s defeat meant. Schneider marveled that voters liked Chafee, but "they didn’t vote for him!" Zahn wondered if Chafee’s defeat could be seen as a "mandate for change." A transcript follows:
"Newsweek" editor Marcus Mabry, appearing on CNN to deliver a postmortem on Republican Rick Santorum’s loss, attacked the Senator as a "firebrand partisan" and wondered if Republicans would learn a lesson from his loss. A transcript of his comments follows:
Marcus Mabry: "I think while we’ve heard some laudatory things tonight about the bipartisanship, on occasion, of the Senator from Pennsylvania, who only has another two months in office now, we have to remember this was an incredibly politicizing, divisive partisan, both on the floor of the United States Senate, but also back in Pennsylvania.
20:40. Wolf Blitzer continues framing his coverage in what the Democrats need to do to win.
"Just to be precise. Thirty-three senate seats are up for election this time around, a third of the senate. If Democrats are going to be in the majority, they need to capture 6 and not lose any of their own. They're a little bit of the way there because they didn't lose in New Jersey..."
Jeff Greenfield continues the line, saying journalists are competing to come up with the best cliche to describe what Dems need to do, get an inside straight, etc.
During an election night discussion of the Missouri embryonic stem cell debate, CNN analyst Paul Begala slammed Rush Limbaugh as a "drug-addled gasbag who is self discredited." Bill Bennett, also on the panel with James Carville and J.C. Watts, chastised Begala: “Well, it's a nasty comment.”
The discussion, with Democratic strategist Begala's insult, began at about 8:08pm EST Tuesday night on CNN:
CNN's Wolf Blitzer made a point of saying his network would refrain from calling any of the races in Pennsylvania, where polls remain open in two areas where there were problems earlier in the day.
But in an 8pm EST CBS News break-in, new anchor Katie Couric couldn't wait to share the good news with her fellow liberals, announcing that Bob Casey, Jr. had beaten Rick Santorum.
UPDATE, 8:40pm EST: Most of the networks have joined CBS in declaring Casey the winner, and Howard Dean just told Chris Matthews that he would personally invite Senator Casey to speak at the Democratic Convention despite being pro-life (Casey's father, the late Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey, Sr., was excluded from the 1992 Democratic convention that nominated Bill Clinton). But CNN's Web site lists Pennsylvania as "still voting," so hasn't yet called Casey the victor.
Not waiting for voters to finish their work, at least one CNN producer has begun referring to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as "Madame Speaker." CNN's Dana Bash revealed at about 4:20 on the Situation Room how "Nancy Pelosi came into the Capitol this afternoon. Our producer Ted Barrett bumped into her and jokingly said 'How are you, Madame Speaker?' She smiled ear to ear and said 'I like the title,' but quickly caught herself and said 'Not yet.'"
Bash added that Democrats are busy high-fiving themselves and measuring the drapes: "Now in public Pelosi may be cautious, but we understand that in private she and her staff are already talking about whether or not they should move their office suite into the bigger space now occupied by the Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert. And there was not a lot of caution in a briefing just a short while ago from the two chairmen of the Democratic House and Senate campaign committees. They were actually bubbling with optimism, Wolf."
In the 6:00 AM hour of CNN's American Morning on Tuesday, reporter Allan Chernoff singled out Republican New Jersey Senatorial Candidate Tom Kean Jr of engaging in brutal attacks against his Democratic counterpart, Senator Robert Menendez. Chernoff stated in his first report.
Allan Chernoff: "Good morning Soledad. Talk about a dirty race. I think the whole state of New Jersey will want to take a shower tonight after this election is all done with. And certainly Senator Menendez has endured brutal attacks. He's scheduled to vote here in about ten minutes. He'll be glad to have this whole campaign done with because the Kean campaign has consistently been accusing him of corruption, claiming he's under federal investigation."
Have you heard the brouhaha about so-called “robo-calls”? These are repeat telephone calls by a telemarketing software program that critics claim violate federal communications laws. As you might imagine, the media have been wrongly depicting this as exclusively being a Republican strategy, while ignoring the Democrat campaigns that are doing exactly the same thing.
The New York Times published an article about this subject Tuesday, and CNN reported on this matter during Monday’s “Situation Room” (video here with transcript to follow). Of course, neither outlet chose to inform the public about Democrat candidates utilizing the same telephone strategy as reported here, here, here, and here (hat tip to Michelle Malkin).
CNN’s Jacki Schechner declared: “Wolf, there's an audio clip that's making the rounds online on some of the top liberal blogs and we got the same clip from Tammy Duckworth's campaign, she's the Democrat running in Illinois' sixth district against Republican Peter Roskam. Take a listen.”
Isn't it interesting how CNN these days seems fixated on the propaganda being disseminated at "top liberal blogs?" Keeping with that theme, Schechner continued:
CNN’s Jack Cafferty chose the day before the election to morph into a complete Daily-Kos/left wing clone. He slammed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as "an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal." The comments, made in reference to an editorial in the ‘Military Times’ newspapers, came during the 4pm hour of Monday’s "Situation Room." A transcript of the November 6 segment, which began at 4:11pm with Cafferty reading from the editorial, is below:
Jack Cafferty: "‘The time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard, bruising truth. Donald Rumsfeld must go.’ That is a quote from an editorial in this week’s ‘Military Times’ newspapers. The independent publications owned by Gannett, include ‘The Army Times,’ ‘The Navy Times,’ ‘Air Force Times,’ and ‘Marine Corps Times.’ The piece goes on to say, quote, ‘Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the Secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.’ They didn’t even mention that he’s also an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal.
If your morning coffee isn't strong enough to jolt you awake, just watch the Today show. The scaremongering should get your heart skipping a few beats.
On today's edition, reporter Tom Costello picked up on a new study that urges seat belts be added to school buses. Among the findings of the study, 17,000 children a year are injured in school bus accidents.
Nevermind that statistically, school buses are safer for ferrying your kids to school than the family SUV or that seat belts on school buses do more harm than good, as studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have shown.
Oh, did I mention Costello left out that t he American Academy of Pediatrics study also calls for kids to not squirrel around on the bus so as to lessen injuries and for better supervision of kids on buses to prevent injury?
We should have seen this one coming. The New York Times doesn't think the Saddam trial was fair enough and wants his death penalty delayed.
With the same solicitude it reserves for politically-correct domestic criminals, the Times editorial of this morning opines that Saddam's trial "fell somewhere short" of "an exemplary exercise in the rule of law." In the Times' view, the trial represented neither "full justice" nor "full fairness."
And as an opponent of the death penalty even for mass murderers, the Times predictably advises the appeals court to "defer the carrying out of any death penalty long enough to allow the completion of a second trial."
Here's an antidote from an unlikely corner for all the Dem outrage at the 'November surprise' of the Saddam verdict. On this morning's 'Today,' none other than Chris Matthews just pronounced his considered opinion that the verdict actually helps . . . the Democrats.
According to Matthews, given the unpopularity of the war, anything that draws attention to Iraq hurts Republicans. Apparently that even extends to a good-news story such as the Saddam verdict. Opined Matthews to host Lester Holt:
"One general rule would be anything that brings attention to Iraq is bad for the Republicans. I think Iraq's become a four-letter word for the voter. And this trial and condemnation of Saddam Hussein is probably going to remind us of Iraq again. It's probably going to help the Democrats to some extent."
During the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," CNN’s Jack Cafferty summarized an international poll that showed many Europeans think President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than North Korea. He solemnly intoned that the results show "just how low the United States image has sunk." After reading the survey, Cafferty asked his audience this question:
Jack Cafferty: "...What does it mean when our closest allies think that President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than either North Korea or Iran?"
"Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer had an answer:
Blitzer: "It means we got a serious problem internationally."
With less then a week before Election Day, members of the mainstream media are doing everything they can to elect Democrats. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has stepped up his fevered attacks, referring to President Bush as both "stupid" and a liar. Later on in the week, he included Media Research Center President Brent Bozell in the November 2 "Worst Person in the World" segment.
Speaking of cable networks, an analysis of the CNN "Broken Government" special shows that Lynne Cheney was right in denouncing it as nothing more then left-wing Daily Kos-style propaganda.
Over on CBS, "The Evening News" featured a laudatory segment on "trend setting" California. Not so coincidentally, all the trends were liberal. On the subject of morning bias, "Today’s" David Gregory turned over a segment to Michael J. Fox and his promotion of Democratic candidates.
Completing the network trilogy, ABC’s "Good Morning America" talked to a group of "real-life actual voters"in a Ohio diner. Oddly enough, none of these hungry citizens seemed to like Republicans very much. Perhaps this was a Democratic diner.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow appeared on Thursday’s "American Morning" in a feisty mood, ready to battle CNN’s liberal agenda. Co-anchor Miles O’Brien offered Snow a loaded question about Republican opposition to Donald Rumsfeld. The press secretary fired back by mentioning the cable network’s infamous "sniper video:"
Miles O’Brien: "The President with a show of support for Defense secretary saying he's doing a fantastic job. Let's go through this a little bit. Senators John McCain, Chuck Hagel, say they have no confidence in the Defense secretary. A couple of Republicans running right now, Tom Kean, Jr. in New Jersey, Chris Shays in Connecticut, saying Rummy should go. And the public, in general, has a fairly low opinion of him, about 35 percent right now. How does that all add up to a fantastic job?"
Tony Snow: "Well, I'll tell you, when was the last time, Miles, you guys reported on real support for Don Rumsfeld, or talking about the successes of the American forces in the battlefield? I know CNN has shown people getting shot. The question is --"
O’Brien: "Well, actually, no, no, no. We didn't actually show them. We did a report, which showed snipers, a propaganda film from insurgents showing sniper activity. We didn't show them being shot."
Snow "All right. I'm sorry, you blurred them out while the picture was showing them getting shot.
On the heels of reporter Suzanne Malveaux saying "we hope" John Kerry’s gaffe goes away, another CNN employee is letting the personal political opinions fly. New CNN afternoon anchorman Don Lemon interviewed Rev. Jesse Jackson Wednesday on the occasion of his 65th birthday, and after noting Jackson’s adultery and asking pointed questions about whether he’s still relevant, Lemon lauded him as a major historical figure: "But for the most part he is an appreciated person in society, in America, and someone who most African-Americans, at least speaking for myself, think that he has made huge contributions, especially when it comes to civil rights." A few hours later, while informally gathering interviewing Jackson’s daughter Santita and Sen. Barack Obama’s wife Michelle for a chat, Lemon cooed: "Let me get you guys right here. Daughter of the great one who's turning 65. Wife of the great one now."