Wonder why the White House attack on the Fox News Channel (you know: "not a news network") failed? Well, besides the fact that not even the other networks thought it was right, it might be because Fox often commits actual journalism.
Witness Bill O'Reilly's Nov. 6 interview with Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, co-authors of the soon-to-be-released "Sarah from Alaska." During the interview, the authors insisted that it was "not a slam book at all." In fact, Conroy said that his "final conclusion" of Palin was that "she's always been underestimated" and to "write her off" would be a "big mistake." Walshe also implicitly blamed the media by saying that Palin's "three-dimensional character" was ignored during last year's presidential campaign and, instead, "she was perceived as either an idiot or she was loathed."
So why did Conroy and Walshe feel the need to defend the fairness of their book? Perhaps because the duo had appeared on CBS earlier that week, and "fair" isn't an adjective that comes to mind in describing that interview.
On Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, former ABC News anchor John Stossel -- now with Fox Business -- came aboard to discuss the New York Times's recent attack on him for speaking in front of the conservative/libertarian group Americans for Prosperity. After charging that the Times never showed interest in his speeches to conservative groups before he joined Fox Business, the former 20/20 host also relayed that during his early days as a consumer reporter, he received a number of Emmy Awards because "they loved me" for his left-leaning work. But after, in Stossel's words, "I got smarter," turning more pro-business and anti-regulation, the Emmy Awards were no longer forthcoming.
Stossel even recounted an incident in which a person he met on the street expressed a desire that he "die soon" for his conservative views.
After starting the interview by asking Stossel about Web sites that engage in gambling based on election predictions, O'Reilly brought up the Times's newfound interest in the former ABC anchor. Stossel pointed out the double standard: "I make speeches. I make about 25 a year. I've done that for years. And suddenly, now that I'm at Fox, critics are leaping to attack me, according to the New York Times."
If you were a cable TV host whose audience size is obliterated by O'Reilly's, buried by Beck's, hammered by Hannity's and slam-dunked by Susteren's, would you really go around mocking someone else's ratings?
Appparently yes, if you're Ed Schultz. The host of the miniscule MSNBC program went out of his way this evening to belittle the ratings of Dennis Miller's radio show . . .
Schultz's snide comment came during his Psycho Talk segment.
Former Fox News contributor Jane Hall said Sunday that one of the reasons she left the cable network was because she was uncomfortable with host Glenn Beck who she believes "should be called out as somebody whose language is way over the top and scary."
Fox watchers know Hall as one of the regular liberal panelists on Saturday's "Fox News Watch" as well a frequent guest on "The O'Reilly Factor" where she was typically paired opposite former CBSer Bernard Goldberg.
On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," with the discussion centering on the White House's battle with Fox, Hall disclosed the decision behind her departure (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 8:20):
Throughout the previous administration, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann would nightly attack President George W. Bush and members of his administration and regularly bash some conservative personalities for being too cozy with Bush.
However, when he and his MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow engage in the same brand of coziness, meeting with President Barack Obama earlier this week, it's no longer an indiscretion. Instead, it becomes justified - since Bush did it. Olbermann appeared on the Oct. 23 "The Rachel Maddow Show" and he and Maddow responded to critics. Maddow asked him to respond to particular comments from former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, now a Fox News contributor, that there would be an outcry had the Bush administration committed something similar.
Is Barack Obama turning into Spiro Agnew? The White House's attacks on the Fox News smack of the distaste for media opposition espoused by Nixon's vice president almost 40 years ago but are being met with a decidedly different reaction today by the elite media.
Pundits have wondered aloud since last week why the White House would pursue a strategy that seems to be boosting the ratings of a purported 'opposition' news network. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough posited today that the White House's attacks on Fox News are designed to prevent the mainstream media from picking up on stories damaging to the administration (video embedded below the fold, h/t to NB reader Kirk W.).
Every time Fox breaks a story on the radical connections of a White House advisor or appointee, the news is potentially damaging to the administration. But damage is only really done if the rest of the media picks up on the story, reports it, and turns it into a national news sensation, a la Van Jones.
The debate over Rush Limbaugh's NFL bid is roiling the racial landscape. This evening, after Juan Williams explained that Rush's "Barack the Magic Negro" parody was based on a column by an African-American author, a black radio talk show host told Williams to "go back to the porch." [H/t NB readers Tracy B. and Ken T.]
Warren Ballantine uttered the insult on this evening's O'Reilly Factor:
On Friday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, as host Bill O’Reilly and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace discussed recent comedy directed at President Obama and the First Lady – including a re-dubbed clip of Sesame Street’s Big Bird grilling Michelle Obama from the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien – Wallace opined that he hopes that there would be more such comedy and that the Obama’s should be treated by comedians like "regular public figures and not as something heaven sent."
He also lambasted the "idiocy" he saw on CNN as the Situation Room recently fact-checked a Saturday Night Live skit that took jabs at President Obama. Wallace: "I mean, here, the idiocy of CNN doing a fact check on Saturday Night Live's send up of Barack Obama, the fact is that is what comedians should do. They should make fun of the people in power."
Later in the show, O’Reilly brought aboard FNC’s Greg Gutfeld -- host of Redeye -- and Juliet Huddy to talk about the "dumbest things of the week," and Gutfeld presented his choice of the CNN fact-check, pointing out CNN’s double standard in its treatment of conservatives: "But they never did this when Will Ferrell went out and did Bush or when Tina Fey did Palin. They never analyzed when Republicans were parodied, but somehow when Barack Obama is parodied, they're shocked. They're incredulous. It's amazing to me."
If there was any question which side of the ideological blogosphere a lot of the inside-the-beltway media establishment go to regularly, Politico may have just cleared that up.
In an Oct. 11 Politico story headlined "Think Progress makes its mark," which was the top story on its Web site that evening, Daniel Libit paid reverence to the left-wing Center for American Progress' Think Progress blog.
"Can a liberal blog launched in the midst of the Bush era - a blog that once obsessed over Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove and the outing of Valerie Plame - still make its mark in the age of Obama?" Libit wrote. "In the case of Think Progress, the answer so far is yes."
"But our winner, Michele Bachmann," Olbermann said, referring to the first place contestant, the "worst" person. "[Fox News host Bill O'Reilly], dimly aware of the world around him, asks her, ‘Now you are a pretty interesting politician, Congresswoman. You are second to Sarah Palin in far-left angst. You know, Sarah Palin leads the league, no doubt. But they're after you now. We hear it all the time, Michele Bachmann, she's this, she's that. How did you get into that wheelhouse?'"
The White House is stepping up its attacks against the Fox News Channel, labeling it a bastion of stilted and opinionated journalism. A top administration communications official has called the Fox "opinion journalism masquerading as news," and vowed to wage a war of ideas against the network.
Speaking with Time Magazine, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that the administration intends to be "more aggressive rather than just sit back and defend ourselves, because they will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it."
The White House blog has begun singling out and taking on the cable news network. Recent blog posts carry pejorative headlines such as "Fox Lies," and "even more Fox lies." Time calls Dunn the "general" of this anti-Fox campaign.
"You are a pretty interesting politician, congresswoman," O'Reilly said. "You are second to Sarah Palin in far-left angst. You know, Sarah Palin leads the league, no doubt. But they're after you now. We hear it all the time, you know Michele Bachmann, she is this and she is that. How did you get into that wheelhouse?"
Former President Carter's recent claim that he never portrayed most tea party participants protesting against President Obama as being motivated by racism has been highlighted both on Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier and on Monday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC. As previously noted by NewsBuster Matt Balan, the Thursday, October 1, American Morning on CNN showed a clip of Carter denying what he previously seemed to suggest in an interview with correspondent Candy Crowley. Carter's original accusations of racism by conservatives were reported by NBC and CBS, but those networks have ignored Carter's attempt to backtrack.
On Friday's "Political Grapevine" segment on FNC's Special Report, host Baier relayed to viewers: "Former President Jimmy Carter is walking back from comments he made last month about President Obama and racism. Thursday, Mr. Carter said he did not mean protesters were upset at the reality of a black President."
After reading Carter's denial, Baier then played Carter's original words: "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity towards President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he is African-American."
With each passing day the Fox News Channel and its various hosts come under more and more fire from the Left.
Democrats and their media minions have actually accused FNC of stirring up hatred in the nation that could result in violence against President Obama.
With this in mind, Fox's leading personality Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday invited media analyst and former CBSer Bernie Goldberg to discuss these criticisms of the cable news leader and to see if they had any merit.
What ensued was a marvelous discussion about what Fox does well compared to its liberal competitors, as well as what opportunities exist for even better news coverage.
Although Fox's detractors will jump on this segment as evidence the cable news network is indeed far too conservative given some of Goldberg's criticisms, those that can be impartial will see this as an organization refreshingly willing to examine itself while cameras are rolling (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Mediaite, file photo):
If a regular fan of MSNBC primetime were to chime into a water cooler conversation with the words, "Terror plot? I haven't heard of any terror plot?" such an MSNBC devotee couldn't be blamed for not knowing about one of the big news stories of the past two weeks.
While the arrest of terror suspect Najibullah Zazi -- who admitted to training with al-Qaeda in Pakistan and is believed to have been planning to target New York City -- featured prominently on every broadcast network evening newscast in the past couple of weeks as well as some evening shows on CNN and FNC, there was barely a mention during MSNBC's primetime schedule of the terror plot described by NBC Nightly news anchor Brian Williams as "one of the more serious terror plots since 9/11."
If you haven't been under a rock the last few weeks, or relying on the mainstream media as your sole source of news, you are likely aware of some of the questionable circumstances surrounding the organization Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
A pair of intrepid investigative reporters, James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, with the help of Andrew Breitbart, made it possible for the public to be aware of these practices by ACORN. However, the embattled organization, in a retaliatory maneuver, has filed a suit against O'Keefe, Giles and Breitbart. Breitbart appeared on Fox News Channel's Sept. 24 "The O'Reilly Factor" and responded to the suit.
"So, all I can see is that this lawsuit is an attempt to stifle free speech and the First Amendment and an attempt to make sure that the American people don't see the rest of the tapes and there are more tapes," Breitbart said.
On Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Mara Schiavocampo filed a report based on her interview with video producer James O’Keefe, famous for his recently released video clips which exposed the willingness by a significant number of ACORN employees to give advice on breaking the law to O’Keefe, who posed as a pimp, and his friend Hannah Giles, who posed as an underage prostitute. But Schiavocampo also mentioned some of O’Keefe’s past work, including audio clips of Planned Parenthood employees reacting with indifference to the expression of racist views as O’Keefe posed as a potential donor to the abortion provider who requested that his donation go toward eliminating the birth of black children.
After relating that O'Keefe had gone from producing videos as pranks to targeting Planned Parenthood in what Schiavocampo referred to as "more outrageous political fare – like calling Planned Parenthood to see if they would accept donations to abort black babies," a clip of one such phone call was played:
AUDIO CLIP OF O’KEEFE SPEAKING TO A PLANNED PARENTHOOD EMPLOYEE BY PHONE: There's too many black people in Ohio, so I’m just trying to do my part.
In light of the revelation that ABC News anchor Charles Gibson had not even heard of the recently revealed evidence of corruption by ACORN, comedian and FNC contributor Dennis Miller zinged Gibson as he alluded to the fact that the ABC anchor had famously quizzed Sarah Palin on her knowledge of the Bush doctrine during the 2008 campaign, but himself is now failing the test of keeping abreast of newsworthy current events.
During his regular "Miller Time" appearance on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor on Tuesday, when host O'Reilly brought up the tapes showing ACORN employees giving advice on how to break the law to those they believed to be a pimp and underage prostitute, Miller brought up Gibson's embarrassing lack of knowledge of the scandal. Miller: "Before I go on, did you hear Charlie Gibson today? He had not heard of this at all." After he and O'Reilly both praised Gibson as a good man, Miller continued: "He's got to wake up, though. He's got to pay attention to the story and not put it off on the cables. If he paid attention to this like he accuses Palin of paying attention to the Bush doctrine, he would have known about it."
Referring to ACORN, he later added: "These people have to be brought down. I think these two kids deserve Pulitzers, quite frankly."
Former Clinton operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Thursday’s O’Reilly Factor and received a declaration from Bill O'Reilly that, while obvious, probably wasn’t very welcome: "...You're a Democrat. I'm an Independent." This assertion resulted in no audible or visual protestations from Stephanopoulos.
And although the comment is demonstrably true, one might think that a supposedly independent, neutral journalist would fight back or claim to have put such partisan beliefs aside when he became a journalist. Stephanopoulos didn’t. The This Week host was appearing to discuss Barack Obama’s speech to Congress about health care and how the President has handled the issue.
On Tuesday, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann said Fox News is "serving propaganda to tin foil hatters, conspiracy theorists, paranoids and racists."
On Wednesday, Fox's Bill O'Reilly struck back.
Speaking during his "Pinheads & Patriots" segment during Wednesday's "O'Reilly Factor," the leading voice on cable news once again went after NBC (video and partial transcript embedded below the fold, h/t TVNewser):
On Tuesday, FNC's The O'Reilly Factor hosted FNC analyst Bernard Goldberg as the former CBS News correspondent highlighted a story recently posted on his Web site, BernardGoldberg.com, in which he complains of how little mainstream media attention was given to the fact that former President George W. Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam as part of his service in the Texas Air National Guard, but that he was turned down because other pilots were more experienced, and that CBS News producer Mary Mapes, even though she knew this part of the story before the report aired, did not include this important angle in the infamous piece by Dan Rather that used forged documents to paint Bush as trying to avoid Vietnam War service.
On his Web site, BernardGoldberg.com, Goldberg chastizes Mapes:
Is there a new cable battle brewing between Fox News's Bill O'Reilly and Comedy Central's Jon Stewart?
Such appeared to be the case last week when Stewart on Wednesday's "Daily Show" harshly criticized O'Reilly and FNC for suddenly coming out in support of protesters, and O'Reilly struck back on Thursday's "Factor."
We report, you decide (videos embedded below the fold, Stewart first followed by O'Reilly with a full transcript):
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O'Reilly hosted a discussion with FNC analyst and former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg, as the two pointed out the mainstream media's double standard in "obsessing" over how protesters who have been challenging ObamaCare were organized, but have shown no interest in the organization of protesters by left-wing groups. After O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" addressed the subject, Goldberg observed:
The word "hypocrisy" in your "Talking Points" is the key word. Civil rights demonstrations, anti-war demonstrations, pro-abortion rights demonstrations, environmental demonstrations, I don't remember the media obsessing about who got these people out to the demonstration site, who orchestrated the demonstration, who manufactured, to use another of their words, the anger at the demonstrations. ... But the media only feels an obligation to look behind the curtain at the forces that are orchestrating and manufacturing the demonstrations when it's a conservative demonstration.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, August 6, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann disputed a claim by a New York Times article that there exists a truce between FNC and MSNBC as he accused the Times’s Brian Stelter of ignoring Olbermann’s denial that such a truce existed, and contended that the story was a "misinterpretation" of the Countdown host’s own pledge from June 1 to discontinue Bill O’Reilly’s inclusion in the show’s regular "Worst Person in the World" segment because Olbermann blamed O’Reilly for abortion Doctor George Tiller’s assassination.
During Monday’s "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann awarded the third place dishonor to Stelter: "Mr. Stelter asked me at least twice last week if there was such a deal, and I told him on and off the record there was not, and I told him I rather obviously would have to be a party to such a deal, and I told him that not only wasn't I, but I had not even been asked to be by my bosses. And he printed it anyway, and I had even written to him that this was merely a misinterpretation of an announcement I made here on June 1 that because Bill O'Reilly of Fox News had abetted the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, he'd become too serious to joke about..."
Although the ongoing feud between Fox News's Bill O'Reilly and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was apparently good for ratings -- likely more for the latter than the former, of course -- the heads of the parent companies of both networks stepped in recently to end the on-air squabble.
Not only that, but News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch and General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt were apparently coaxed into doing so by PBS's Charlie Rose.
The inside scoop was reported Saturday by the New York Times's Brian Stelter (h/t Bruce Bartlett):
On Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, host Bill O'Reilly cited the Business and Media Institute's recent study finding that broadcast network evening and morning news shows have slanted their coverage of President Obama's health care proposals heavily in the Democratic President's favor, as O'Reilly introduced a segment with FNC analyst and former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg. O'Reilly:
Tonight, we have a number of topics for Mr. Goldberg, beginning with a new study by the Media Research Center, a conservative group out of Virginia. They analyzed more than 200 health care stories on the big three network morning and evening news programs. The Center found 70 percent of the soundbites used in those stories favored President Obama's health care vision – 70 percent.
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly asserted that former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite "had no use for" his successor, and was "bitter about being replaced by [Dan] Rather." Citing an interview from a few years after Rather raplaced Cronkite on the Evening News, O’Reilly recounted that Cronkite expressed his view that Rather "shouldn’t succeed." O’Reilly: "He didn't say it on the record. He said it after the interview was over. He said to me, quote, in Boston, ‘You are really on to something. Dan is not going to succeed – and shouldn't.’"
O’Reilly made his assertion both during the show’s "Talking Points Memo," and again during a discussion with FNC analyst Bernie Goldberg as the two argued that the CBS Evening News and other media took a sharp turn to the left when Dan Rather took over the CBS Evening News – which coincided with Ronald Reagan becoming President and giving liberals the experience of being out of power.
During the show’s "Talking Points Memo," the FNC host recounted:
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC’s Bill O’Reilly gave attention to the recent dustup between Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and National Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Harry Alford, as O’Reilly hosted Alford to discuss Boxer’s recent attempt to use other black organizations to discredit Alford’s opposition to Cap and Trade during a Senate hearing. While Boxer declined to appear on the show, O’Reilly defended her in his discussion with Alford, arguing that her attacks on black political figures like Justice Clarence Thomas are rooted more in her opposition to their conservative views than by race, while Alford renewed his criticisms of Boxer. Alford:
It was pure race. It was like down there in Mississippi back in the bad old days when one black preacher would rise up against the big boss. He'd go find another black preacher to fight against that black preacher. You know, it was ugly. And she jumped, she opened up a mud pit that I wasn't going to jump into.
While network news anchors such as CBS's Harry Smith are still gooey in love with President Obama, the White House correspondents for the networks are a little tougher on the chief executive, MRC's Tim Graham told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly on his June 23 program. [audio available here]
TIM GRAHAM: I think there's always been a difference between the guys in the White House press room who are trying to nail down the inconsistencies in what Obama is saying, trying to nail down his campaign promises, and the Harry Smiths and the Brian Williamses and the Diane Saywers.
There's really a disconnect, really, between the White House reporters who, for the most part are a little tougher on a daily basis and then the anchors who have been just yeah, beyond the, just [having] that dreamy look.
BILL O'REILLY: I agree with that. The anchors are obviously pro-Obama almost across the board.