Have you ever watched a book-based TV segment in which the hosts never mentioned the book's title? Fox & Friends Weekend pulled off the feat this morning -- presumably because the title of the cookbook in question was a bit too spicy for Fox's taste.
With Valentine's Day looming, Martha Hopkins was in to suggest some sensual dishes to share with one's sweetie. Her claim to expertise? She is co-author of a book entitled . . . "Inter Courses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook." Hopkins treated the Fox hosts to two of her recipes: artichoke hearts and strawberries and whipped cream.
But while the camera flashed on her book sitting on the buffet, items were artfully arranged to obscure its full title. I'm providing a larger-than-normal screencap so readers can see the careful camouflaging. The book title once appeared briefly at the bottom of the screen, and a full image of the book was flashed at the end of the segment. But the two Fox hosts, Kelly Wright and Brigitte Quinn, managed to avoid ever mentioning its title.
The cable news war is certainly getting hotter. After a Fox News spokesperson was quoted last week by the New York Times as calling CNN’s Anderson Cooper “the Paris Hilton of television news,” the “Fox & Friends” morning crew took the baton and really ran with it.
The following video posted Monday at YouTube shows “F&F” personalities having fun with a new Fox News print ad depicting Cooper as losing the ratings battle with FNC’s Greta Van Susteren.
With the caption at the bottom of the screen reading, “Greta Ad Puts CNN’s Anderson Cooper In His Place…2nd,” Steve Doocy commented derisively:
Conservative fans of the right-leaning TV show 24 shouldn’t be surprised that liberals such as Keith Olbermann are now savaging the program. However, the leftist host also mentioned NewsBusters in his diatribe. "Newsweek" magazine went further and speculated that the show is a "neocon sex fantasy."
The recent announcement by Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama that he’s running for President resulted in media swooning over his "big step." "Good Morning America" wondered if Obama’s "fluid poetry" could overcome Hillary’s "hot factor." (Another example of hard hitting journalism?)
Over at The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez reported GOP Reps. Eric Cantor and Patrick McHenry have found there's a loophole in the new minimum-wage increase: no hike for American Samoa. Why? Star-Kist Tuna is a major employer there, with its headquarters in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district.
Will the media notice? FNC did. But so far, the rest of the political media have treated the minimum-wage as about as controversial as a post-office naming bill. But in 2005, we reported the media's Tom DeLay bashers had a fit about DeLay's Abramoff-lobbied coziness with low wages on the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific. PBS's Bill Moyers show "Now" (handed off to the suitably smarmy David Brancaccio) devoted a show to how DeLay was supporting "virtual slavery" in the Pacific. The slavery charge came not only from Brancaccio, but from liberal Rep. George Miller -- Pelosi's across-the-bay neighbor. Where's the media asking: what about the children of Samoa? Will PBS and George Miller throw a fit about the "virtual slavery" left untouched in Tuna Land?
Kudos to "Fox and Friends" as they were the only morning news program on Thursday to extensively cover the Sandy Berger story. Mr. Berger, former National Security Adviser to President Clinton, pled guilty in federal court for stealing classified documents from the National Archives, but a Wednesday AP story revealed that the details of Mr. Berger's offense were far more damning then we had previously known including that he hid the documents in a construction site before destroying them. CNN’s "American Morning" and ABC’s "Good Morning America" both offered brief news reads on the subject. CNN’s coverage totaled 24 seconds while ABC’s totaled 23 seconds. CBS’s "Early Show" and NBC’s "Today" both ignored the story completely.
Let's be generous and chalk it up to the early-morning hour. Otherwise we'd have to come down hard on radio host Mike Gallagher, who as a guest on this morning's Fox & Friends Weekend went ga-ga for Barack Obama. It's one thing to acknowledge as did Mike that Obama has appeal as a candidate. But, interviewed by Keran Chetry, it was Gallagher's praise for Obama's substance that shocked, coming as it did from a putative conservative. Said Gallagher:
"He's got some pretty solid ideas. He's a moderate."
Obama - moderate? If Mike would check Obama's record, as we did here, he'd find that in addition to having received a perfect 100% rating last year from the paleo-liberals at Americans for Democratic Action, a host of other ratings Barack has received screams "cookie-cutter left-wing Democrat":
Thanks to former President Clinton and victories in the recent midterm elections, Democrats are now launching a full out attack on Fox News, the only television news outlet that holds them accountable. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) appeared on Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor to explain his recent attack on Fox News and once again lashed out on Bill O’Reilly when he issued him challenging questions. O’Reilly asked Congressman Frank what his position is on income redistribution.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): "Bill, will you please stop interrupting if you want a serious discussion?"
Bill O’Reilly: "No. I'm not going to interrupt. When you say something dopey, I'm going point it out. What do you think you are, the czar of the interview?"
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts" the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, something Congressman Charles Rangel seemingly never picked up. In the Fox News Sunday segment which featured Barney Frank attacking Fox News, host Chris Wallace presented to Congressman Rangel findings from a Heritage Foundation Study that the military are in fact from a healthier economic background and better educated than the general American public. Rangel, with the facts in front of him, reverted to his original talking points disputing those very facts. He even made a John Kerry-like claim implying those serving in the military are not particularly patriotic or even very smart. The question is, will the mainstream media pick up on it?
Putin's Russia poses a potentially serious threat to the United States. But America lacks the moral standing to confront it. That was the view expressed by Ellen Ratner on this morning's Fox & Friends. Ratner, the short, liberal side of 'The Long & the Short of It' duo [seen here in file photo], expressed little doubt that Putin's government was behind the murder of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.
Ratner: "I think that there's no question. If I were a betting woman it would be 100% Putin and Russia, it's just their operation and they have the means to do it."
She continued: "We have got to take a very good, careful look at Russia. We're in Iraq where you have sort of a ragtag group of insurgents. And we're not focusing on the Russians that have over 5,000 nukes [and other WMDs] . . . Unfortunately, we're in business with these guys, we need their oil."
That's when Ratner asserted that America's alleged moral failings limited its options:
"I don't know what we should do except that we are not in a great position because we don't have the moral standing given what we're doing in Iraq."
Wednesday’s Fox and Friends discussed the recent feud between Rosie O’Donnell and Kelly Ripa. Co-host Gretchen Carlson said what so many of us are thinking.
Kelly Ripa complaining about singer Clay Aiken covering her mouth on TV: "Regardless of whatever the sexual orientation is, it was outrageous, it was out of line, it was unprofessional, and he wouldn't have done it to you because there is respect there." (End Video)
Gretchen Carlson: "Maybe he should do it to Rosie O'Donnell. You know what? This really just upsets me. Just stay out of everyone else's business, Rosie. I mean, for goodness sake, Kelly Ripa is the host of this show. Clay Aiken made a mistake in putting his hand over her mouth. You just don't do that to the host of a show when you are a guest and by the way, according to Kelly Ripa, he did not even say thank you for being the co-host of her show that day. I don't think Kelly Ripa should get any blame for what she said. She says 'look, it's cold and flu season, when I said I don't know where that hand's been,' she did not mean-"
Attacking Fox News is not an unusual tactic of the mainstream media, but on Tuesday’s Today, Matt Lauer began the show with a false claim about Fox News.
Matt Lauer: "But we begin this morning with the controversial story out of Fox News: The O.J. Simpson case. Fox News Corporation deciding to cut its losses and cancel that highly controversial project where he speaks out about those notorious murders."
The problem here: the Fox broadcast network, not Fox News, almost aired the interview with O.J. Simpson. He did accurately call it Fox later in the broadcast but, never issued a correction. Meanwhile, on Fox and Friends, Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, and Gretchen Carlson questioned Bill O’Reilly on whether the mainstream media will tie Fox News in with the O.J. Simpson interview.
Cindy Sheehan became an instant liberal-media celebrity when she held a vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas and demanded to meet with him (a second time) over the death of her son Casey in Iraq. But is the liberal media only about creating the legend and leaving the negative details out? MRC's Justin McCarthy reported that on Wednesday's "Fox and Friends," Melanie Morgan and Catherine Moy, authors of the book American Mourning, said they found Sheehan was paid by John Kerry's campaign in 2004 to speak out against President Bush. Said Morgan:
"We have Federal Election Commission documents. I mean we went to an extensive research, we followed the money, that's how you always figure out what's going on...We found that John Kerry and Michael Moore personally recruited Gold Star family members just within days and sometimes even at the funerals of their sons to come and work for the campaign in order to undermine the candidacy of George W. Bush at the time. It was shocking and, and really offensive behavior and that's exactly what happened to Cindy Sheehan who we tracked down. She went on the payroll of John Kerry's campaign within days after her son's death as well as her daughter Carly. Ultimately, there was a split between the two because she felt that John Kerry wasn't radical enough and didn't have an anti-war agenda that matched hers."
This one is pretty funny, sports fans. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) went on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” Saturday to discuss his recent statement regarding global warming and the press. Along the way, he complimented Fox News for being “really the exception” to all the hype by the media concerning this issue. He also bashed CNN for making “8 different [false] accusations or statements about” him.
For those that are interested, the video is here, and a rough transcript follows.
Over the last week, President Bush’s poll numbers have improved. While the media was quick to highlight poll results when the President’s numbers were declining, they have been less enthusiastic about noting his resurgence. Referring to the "New York Times," co-host of "Fox and Friends" Steve Doocy noted:
"...So, this is really big news for the White House and I'm sure it's going to be on page one. So anyway, with a –because I know that when the president's approval rating was falling, it was on page one..."
Mr. Doocy searched the entire front section of the "Times" on air and was unable to locate news of improving popularity for President Bush. However, it was not just the ‘New York Times" that has omitted improving poll numbers. NBC’s "Today" made no mention of an NBC poll just released yesterday showing President Bush’s approval climbing to 42%. Additionally, neither ABC’s "Good Morning America" nor CBS’s "Early Show" mentioned President Bush’s improved standing with American voters.
It was a rollicking episode of 'The Long & The Short of It' this morning, and even taking my personal biases into account, it was hard not to score it 2-0 for the tall man. The regular Sunday-morning feature of Fox & Friends Weekend pits long, conservative Newsday and TCS columnist Jim Pinkerton against short, liberal Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News.
The opening topic this morning, in a match refereed by FNC host Kiran Chetry, was a report that retired General and former Dem presidential nomination-seeker Wesley Clark will be issuing on behalf of Democrats this week, intended to "detail the failures of Republicans" on national security.
If private citizens met a few years ago with the ambassador of a hostile country, then top US officials should do the same in the current sensitive context. That was the liberal logic Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News put on display this morning during 'The Long & the Short of It' segment on Fox & Friends Weekend. The topic was the conflict in the Middle East. Ratner decreed that the time had come for bringing in the "partners" in the area, and that in addition to Lebanon, "that means Syria." Syria? Partner? What-evuh.
Complained Ellen: "We have not even spoken to the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations" adding - as if this clinched the case - "somebody Jim and I met with!" Concluded Ratner: "The United States has not spoken to him in a year-and-a-half, and he's in Washington!"
Quiz time: When is a political ad that features pictures of deceased, flag-draped American heroes controversial? Apparently, the answer is only when Republicans produce such a commercial. The Democratic Campaign Committee has posted a 60 second spot on their Web site, and it shows images of the coffins of American military personnel, as well as a soldier standing in front of a makeshift grave marker. (Update, 5:40pm EDT July 14: The ad has now disappeared from the DCCC Web site, replaced by one calling for a hike in the minimum wage.)
Unsurprisingly, ABC, NBC and CBS expressed no outrage over the Democrats attempt to politically exploit America's fallen. NBC'sToday show,ABC's Good Morning America, and CBS's The Early Show this morning all completely ignored the issue.
Twice in less than 24 hours, Jim Pinkerton, conservative columnist at Newsday and Tech Central Station, left liberal talking-head rivals at a loss for words on the issue of missile defense.
Pinkerton's first victim was Neal Gabler, on last evening's Fox News Watch. In the context of the North Korean missile tests, liberal Gabler flatly stated: "Missile defense does not work. That is what we have learned." Shot back Pinkerton: "The Japanese believe in it. That's why they're building it right now." Gabler's silence was golden.
CBS "Early Show" host Harry Smith performed two interview segments on North Korea's failed missile test. While he showed noticeable restraint from the usual isn't-Bush-bumbling line of questioning, even showing concern at America's adversary here -- asking Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns "Is Kim Jong Il just nuts?" -- he didn't press former Clinton diplomat Bill Richardson on the Clinton administration's policy of appeasement and arms-control agreements that the North Koreans egregiously violated.
The Burns interview came first. In addition to the "just nuts" question (Burns demurred diplomatically, "let's just say he's unpredictable"), Smith asked: "The Chinese as recently as last week were reaching out to the North Koreans, saying please don't do this. They seem to do whatever they want. How do you deal with a country that is so willful and disregards the pleas of even its friends in the neighborhood?"
When America marches off to war, do we want lawyers on the front line? OK, I can already hear the thunderous response: 'Yes! Put those tassel-loafered shysters out there as cannon fodder!" But Jim Pinkerton, conservative columnist at Newsday and TCS, was making a more profound point this morning when he and Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News made their 'Long & Short' appearance on Fox & Friends Weekend.
The subject was the recent Supreme Court ruling that it is impermissible to subject Gitmo prisoners to military tribunals. In fairness, short-'n-liberal Ellen Ratner did stop short of suggesting they should have full US-style trials. But she predictably applauded the ruling, advocating significantly expanded due process for the detainees.
MRC President Brent Bozell appeared on FNC's "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday morning to address the "breathtaking arrogance" of the New York Times deciding what national-security secrets should be divulged. Brent loved John Snow's letter noting that arrogance, and suggested that the Times didn't show a "left-wing agenda" on this story, but a "far-left-wing agenda." See our posted video and handy Times Watch links here. Here's a transcript:
Co-host E.D. Hill: “Our next guest says the New York Times is guilty of treason. Treason, for publishing that piece on that secret government program that tracks terrorist finances.”
Come on, Carl. The Tigers are in first place. GM announced some good news this morning. The sun is gonna shine again. Why so cranky?
The senior Democratic senator from Michigan had some very testy exchanges with Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade this morning. The topic was possible troop reductions in Iraq. Levin has been leading the Dem charge in alleging that the Bush administration is orchestrating the drawdowns with an eye on the November elections.
At one point, the give-and-take went like this
Brian: "Judging by conditions on the ground, do you think the President enjoys having troops over in Iraq? Do you think he would keep them there one day past where they should be there or have to be in harm's way?
If you're not outraged by the NSA program that monitors phone-calling patterns, you're probably . . . too dumb to understand its implications. That, in a nutshell, and I do mean nutshell, was Ellen Ratner's argument on this morning's 'Long & the Short of It' segment on Fox & Friends Weekend. Oh, well, that - and opening our borders with Mexico.
Host Julian Phillips [who expressed his personal opposition to the NSA program] put it to Ratner that "most Americans don't care about this. They say the NSA should do that to keep our security intact."
"Until some neighbor who might work at a spy agency gets their phone records and starts spewing it around town that somebody is talking to somebody or divorce records get subpoenaed or something like that. You know, most people don't understand the impact of how bad this really is."
The lure of class warfare has now seduced even the Fox News Channel. The network, often derided by liberal critics as overly conservative, featured a segment on the May 2 edition of Fox & Friends about the "outrageous" perks that CEOs receive. Co-host E.D. Hill cynically teased the piece by asking, "You know, if you go to work, you get your paycheck, but don't you wish you got a plane too?" She then continued:
Hill: "Or maybe a car or a boat or a country club membership or those sort of things? Well, you will be blown away to find out what perks some executives get."
FNC anchor Brian Kilmeade continued the theme of class envy by noting that some people are "upset about Exxon because they're making way too much money."
Give Ellen Ratner credit for consistency - if not for logic. For the second week running Ratner used her 'Long & Short of It' platform on Fox & Friends Weekend to tout her solution to the immigration problem - sheer surrender in the form of 'open borders'.
Ellen - honcho of Talk Radio News - was back at it this morning: "I want to say again . . . I know it gets a lot of mail, why I am in favor of really having open borders between Canada and Mexico, because there is not going to be a way -- you will have lots of -- "
When Ellen Ratner went a couple weeks without any major liberal loopiness, one wondered whether perhaps Jim Pinkerton was having a salubrious effect on her. But things got back to normal this morning when Ratner let Pinkerton goad her into boasting that she supports "open immigration."
The opening topic on today's 'Long & the Short of It' segment on Fox & Friends Weekend dealt with Howard Dean's recent claim that job # 1 in his view is tougher border security.
In light of CBS’s and CNN’s obvious pandering to left wing sensibilities on the illegal immigration issue, FNC’s Fox and Friends provided a welcome alternative. The April 11 edition of the show featured a interview with Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union. Co-host E.D. Hill opened the segment this way:
"If a citizen fails to pay taxes, I mean, we’ve got a tax day coming along, say you don't feel like doing it this year, well what happens when the IRS comes, excuse me, where's that money? Well, what do you get charged with, what do you have to pay in terms of fines versus what an illegal alien would have to do?"
When things got a bit contentious this morning between conservative Jim Pinkerton and liberal Ellen Ratner on Fox & Friends Weekend's 'Long & the Short of It' segment, Pinkerton proposed a peace plan that other warring parties might well wish to adopt: "let NewsBusters.org sort this out."
The bone of contention was just what what it was that President Bush declassified - some would say leaked - and that Scooter Libby is in turn alleged to have provided to the press - presumably in the person of Judy Miller of the NY Times.
Ratner: "This was a Nixon bad-list kind of trick [presumably a reference to Nixon's 'enemies' list] to get . . . "
Host Kiran Chetry [back from maternity leave - and beautiful as ever, I might add]: "Why?"
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney appeared on CBS, CNN, and FNC on Wednesday morning to address charges she hit a Capitol Police officer in the chest with her cell phone when he tried to stop her as she tried to walk right past security screeners. Well, actually, she refused in all three interviews to address the basic facts of the fracas. In all three interviews, she forced in her talking points, that the kerfuffle was "much ado about a hairdo" and that 250 black officers sued the Capitol Police for racial discrimination. CNN's Soledad O'Brien was especially dogged in trying to get out the basic facts, not that it worked.
On CBS's "Early Show," MRC analyst Mike Rule found that co-host Harry Smith was the fastest to cave in to the refusal to answer the basics:
Smith: "Congresswoman, let me, please help me construct what happened. You're entering a Capitol building, you're bypassing a metal detector, which is routine for members of Congress, what happened then?"
Regular readers of this column know the delight that has been taken in skewering Ellen Ratner for her loopy liberalism, as here, here and here.
You can thus imagine my surprise when, on this morning's 'Long & the Short of It' segment on Fox & Friends Weekend, Ratner offered up some tough talk on immigration. Ratner's remarks were simpatico with the take of Jim Pinkerton, the Newsday and Tech Central columnist who represents the conservative side of the equation.
An aside: Pinkerton is one of the rare conservative commentators willing to roll up his sleeves on government reform. Have a look at his recent TCS column regarding a radical cabinet re-organization proposal by former GOP congressman Bob Walker that would shrink the number of cabinet departments from fifteen down to five.