On Thursday's Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC host Baier ran a report by correspondent James Rosen describing a "troubling pattern of behavior" by President Obama's Green Jobs Czar, Van Jones. The report noted some of the controversial statements and connections of Jones, who has not only described himself in the past with such words as "Marxist" and "radical," but has also been linked to 9/11 Truthers and radical groups such as one organization whose manifesto "equated those killed on 9/11 with, quote, 'the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world.'" The report also showed a clip of Jones from last year accusing "white polluters" of "steering poison" into minority communities.
Rosen ran a soundbite of University of Virginia Politics Professor Larry Sabato -- known for his willingness to criticize politicians of both parties -- who noted that such a controversial figure in the Bush administration would have ignited a "national hurrah of magnificent proportions." Sabato: "If a Bush official had made anything comparable to what Mr. Jones has said and done, no doubt there would have been a national hurrah of magnificent proportions."
On Monday's Special Report with Bret Baier, as FNC aired a special episode with host Baier stationed in Jerusalem to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, during the show's "Fox All Stars" segment, conservative columnist and FNC contributor Charles Krauthammer charged that as the Obama administration pushes for a peace agreement, the President has actually pressed Israel unusually far on the issue of construction within existing Jewish settlements, going further even than Palestinians had previously demanded in recent negotiations.
After proclaiming that the "delay in the peace process is a self-inflicted wound on the Obama administration," and after noting that the issue of settlements had previously "been in consensus," he continued:
The U.S. and Israelis had agreed, no new settlements, no new expansion of territory in settlements and dismantling of existing settlements. And the Palestinians had accepted that, had never refused negotiations for anything else. But then Obama adds a condition of no thickening of settlements, i.e., you don't construct a kindergarten if children are born, which the Israelis have rejected. And all of a sudden, the Palestinians and Arabs have said no negotiations until Israel jumps through this higher hoop.
ABC's Brian Ross and NBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday night each listed some al Qaeda plots uncovered via CIA interrogations, but both balked when it came to vindicating former Vice President Dick Cheney on whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) led to information which prevented attacks.
“Nowhere in the reports...does the CIA ever draw a direct connection between the valuable information and the specific use of harsh tactics,” Ross declared on World News in citing reports Cheney requested be released. NBC's Andrea Mitchell cited only Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and related how “administration officials say there is no way to know whether the same information could have be obtained from him without waterboarding or whether he would have given it up sooner had he been handled differently.”
On FNC, however, The Weekly Standard's Steve Hayes, quoting from the just-released 2004 report by CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, pointed out how even it noted regarding Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the terrorist behind the USS Cole attack, “following the use of EIT's, he provided information about his most current operational planning as opposed to the historical information he provided before the use of the EIT's.” Hayes asserted: “I mean, it doesn't get clearer than that. So we can debate the morality, we can debate whether this was torture. We can't debate any longer about whether this was effective.”
NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard has focused again on what NPR reporters say on Fox News. Reporter Mara Liasson infuriated the liberal listeners of the taxpayer-funded network when she proclaimed on Tuesday's Special Report that "Cash for Clunkers is like a mini-Katrina here," Liasson said. "It's not good to start a government program and not be able to execute it."
Liasson quickly acknowledged she "crossed a line" in comparing Bush's hurricane response to Obama's eco-friendly initiatives:
"I said something really stupid, which I regret," Liasson told me. "I should have merely said anytime time the government does something less than competent, it makes it harder to get people to trust them with other programs. People died in Katrina because of government incompetence. I should not have used that as an analogy. I was thinking of an example of government incompetence and I picked one that was too big and egregious. I was over the top in my choice of a metaphor. It was a mistake."
President Obama's experience last year earning fawning press coverage as a “genius” on race relations lulled him into assuming “he can say anything on race and is so smart that he will be untouchable,” columnist Charles Krauthammer postulated Friday night on FNC in suggesting an explanation for why Obama so misunderstand how his remarks on Henry Louis Gates would ensnare him in controversy. Krauthammer opined: “A lot of the Obama presidency is a contest between his intelligence and his arrogance” and he thought “he can say anything on race and is so smart that he will be untouchable.”
One reason for that, Krauthammer contended, is that after he “gave the famous speech in Philadelphia” on race in March of 2008, in which “he did not renounce Jeremiah Wright” as “he blamed everybody for racism -- black, white and grandmother, except himself,” he nonetheless “was hailed by a supine press as the second coming of Lincoln at Cooper Union. So after, that you think you can say anything on race and be hailed as a genius.”
Indeed, hours after Obama's Tuesday, March 18, 2008 address, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, NewsBusters recounted, praised it as “worthy of Abraham Lincoln” and also claimed it bypassed Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” address as the “best speech ever given on race in this country.”
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday reported on Sarah Palin's decision to resign as Alaska's Governor, they gave little attention to the toll taken on the Governor by the onslaught of frivolous lawsuits from her political enemies. But, by contrast, FNC gave much of the credit for Palin's decision to these lawsuits that have tied up the Governor's time and forced her family to spend a fortune in legal expenses.
On Friday's Fox Report, FNC correspondent Carl Cameron informed viewers: "Those ethics complaints have all been dropped or dismissed, and yet they've taken a toll and she acknowledged as much earlier." Then came a soundbite of Palin from her news conference, which was partially played on the CBS Evening News but not on ABC or NBC. Palin:
Todd and I, we’re looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills just in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn't cost them a dime. ... My staff and I spend most of our days, we're dealing with this stuff instead of progressing our state now.
On Tuesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, substitute anchor Megyn Kelly read a brief story informing viewers that now more people oppose the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor than support it. According to a new Rasmussen poll, those in opposition outnumber supporters by 39 to 37 percent, in contrast with its poll from two weeks ago which found she was favored 42 to 34 percent.
Kelly: "Well, public support for Judge Sotomayor appears to be slipping. A new Rasmussen Reports survey indicates just 37 percent support her confirmation now, while 39 percent oppose it. Compare that to two weeks ago, when her confirmation was favored by a 42 to 34 percent margin."
Network reporters swooned over President Barack Obama hugging a woman, who has cancer and lacks insurance, at his Wednesday “town hall” on health care, as both CNN -- where Suzanne Malveaux heralded the hug as “a bold display of presidential concern” -- and NBC failed to point out how all the questions (just seven in total) were pre-selected or from members of pro-Obama groups. Instead, NBC's Savannah Guthrie showed a kid in a video (“My mommy and daddy have small businesses, and we need health care”) before she touted how Obama “solicited questions on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and in person, with a hug for a woman who says she cannot pay her medical bills,” while CNN's Ed Henry related “he fielded questions from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and a live audience.”
CBS's Katie Couric showcased “an emotional moment” when “a 53-year-old cancer patient described her battle to get treatment she can afford.” Couric relayed how Obama “called her exhibit A in a system that's too expensive and too complicated,” but at least, unlike NBC and CNN, Couric noted the woman “is a volunteer for Mr. Obama's political operation Organizing for America” and “the White House invited her to attend.”
Filling-in as anchor on CNN's The Situation Room, Suzanne Malveaux painted Obama as a combination of General Patton and Oprah as she set up Henry in the 6 PM EDT hour:
President Obama has a message for some critics. He will get his way. Today he made a bold promise regarding health care reform. And, in a bold display of presidential concern, the President comforted a sick and emotional woman.
The news cycle has been dominated by celebrity deaths - Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and even TV pitchman Billy Mays - and President Barack Obama's health care initiative. Obama has used the compliant media to keep the focus to health care, and they are neglecting a critical largest news event that could impact the lives of every man, woman and child for the foreseeable future.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a 1,200-page climate change bill known as the "American Clean Energy and Security Act" sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. and Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., by a narrow 219-212 vote on June 26.
Prospects for that piece of environmental legislation might have been hurt had reporters pointed out the scientific censorship taking place in the Obama administration. A veteran of the Environmental Protection Agency strongly questioned the theory of manmade global warming in a report that was then silenced by the administration. That's exactly the opposite of how many journalists handled a similar controversy during the Bush administration.
Columnist Charles Krauthammer noted on FNC's Special Report that while “there wasn't exactly aggressiveness on the part of the press with a couple of exceptions” during the afternoon presidential press conference, “it looked as if the stupor that the press has been in for the last six months is lifting slightly.” Krauthammer quipped: “I say that as a psychiatrist who has a lot of experience in watching these things.”
Earlier in the program, Brit Hume declared “the head over heals phase of the honeymoon with the press is over” and he speculated: “I think the reporters down there were tired of being criticized for being soft on Obama.”
The media are so far into the tank for President Obama that even the fairly liberal Juan Williams decried:
We are going towards a weekend of high tide for kowtowing to the Obama administration. He's all over CBS this weekend and then he's going to be all over ABC. I don't know what's going on with big media in this country.
The brief assessment from Williams, a news analyst for NPR and former Washington Post reporter, came in response to Chris Wallace's request for ten-second “lightning round” offerings at the end of Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC.
On Wednesday, several FNC shows recounted the latest developments in the case of President Obama's suspicious, and possibly illegal, firing of former inspector general Gerald Walpin, after an investigation headed by Walpin found Obama friend and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson guilty of misusing over $800,000 in funding intended for the AmeriCorps program. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity pointed to apparent inconsistencies in the story so far.
Beck, who had previously interviewed Walpin on Monday, interviewed him again on Wednesday, and informed viewers of a claim by the White House that Walpin had shown up at a meeting "disoriented," leading the President to dismiss him. Walpin charged that the administration was engaging in "an amazing slinging of mud" against him, and later added:
MRC President Brent Bozell sat down in the Fox News DC bureau yesterday morning to record his reaction to ABC News's planned special at the White House on health care. [audio available here]
Fox News Channel ran Mr. Bozell's comments in news updates throughout the day, including a full story by correspondent Mike Emanuel that aired during "Special Report with Bret Baier":
Just try to put into context how ridiculous this ABC quote-unquote discussion is. Just try to imagine a world wherein ABC would give George W. Bush a two-hour opportunity to have a quote-unquote "discussion with the American people" on the war on terror.
On Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Jennifer Griffin informed viewers that the Obama administration has once again snubbed the British government, as the administration transferred a group of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the British protectorate of Bermuda without first consulting the British government as protocol requires. Substitute anchor Chris Wallace raised the issue:
Let's talk about the Bermuda part of the story because Bermuda is a British protectorate. We supposedly have a special relationship with the U.K., but we didn't talk to them, we didn't inform them about our deal to put the Uighurs there.
Griffin described the administration's faux pas as "stunning":
FNC's Catherine Herridge traveled to Bermuda to meet the four Chinese Muslim Uighurs just released from Guantanamo Bay and she elicited from them that living in China is worse than life at Guantanamo. Talking to them through an interpreter at their new home, a pink bungalow with a swimming pool, Herridge reported how she “asked which was worse: Life at Gitmo versus China?” The interpreter relayed, over the voices of all of the men talking: “Of course it's China. There's no guarantee for human rights there.”
So, there's a new angle for the media: Guantanamo as a bastion of human rights protections. Not really much of a surprise in contrast to China, but it took a FNC reporter to frame the comparison between a U.S. military-run detention center and a communist nation.
FNC's Bret Baier on Wednesday night highlighted how the former top editor at the hardly conservative San Francisco Chronicle wrote a blog entry (Tuesday morning NB post by Noel Sheppard), “Love or Lust, Obama and the Fawning Press Need to Get a Room,” in which Phil Bronstein suggested “the Obama-press dance is a more consensual seduction where, in the old-fashioned sense, we're the girl” and asked: “Is there an actual limit to the number of instances you can be the cover of Newsweek?”
Using that as a segue, Baier picked up on a quote first reported by NewsBusters as he related how Newsweek's Evan Thomas “provided yet another example of the mainstream media's presidential crush” when Thomas oozed: “In a way Obama's standing above the country, above, above the world. He's sort of God.”
On his FNC show Wednesday night, Bret Baier looked at how the murder of an abortion doctor on Sunday has earned much more media attention than Monday's murder by a politically-motivated killer of a serviceman in Arkansas, a disparity matched by the condemnation of the first killing by an Obama administration which has ignored the second. Baier reported:
In the media, [George] Tiller was a top story for almost three days. Several liberal analysts blamed pro-life groups for inciting the murder [video from MSNBC]. In contrast, there has been relatively little coverage about the killing of Army Private William Long and the wounding of Private Quinton Ezeagwula outside the recruiting center in Little Rock, despite the fact that the alleged shooter was a convert to Islam who police say probably had political and religious motives for the attack.
After outlining how the Obama administration has failed to condemn the murder of the Army private, Baier related how “conservative media analyst Brent Bozell says the different responses come down to politics.” Viewers then heard this soundbite from the President of the Media Research Center: “Politics dictated that they be outspoken on the murder of Doctor Tiller, but be silent when American servicemen are gunned down.” [audio available here]
On Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC host Baier informed viewers that the Justice Department had dropped charges against New Black Panther members who engaged in blatant voter intimidation in Philadelphia last November. As previously documented by Newsbuster Noel Sheppard, last November Fox News ran a report by Rick Leventhal detailing the activity which was ignored by the mainstream media. On Friday's Special Report, Baier quoted a former 1960s civil rights lawyer: "The most blatant form of voter intimidation. They were positioned in a location that forced every voter to pass in close proximity to them. The weapon was openly displayed and brandished in plain sight of voters."
Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC gave attention to Vice President Biden's tendency to commit gaffes, with the notably centrist Morton Kondracke of Roll Call commenting that "I say little prayers every day for the health of Barack Obama, who is a lot more intelligent than Joe Biden." Kondracke went on to give a negative assessment of the Vice President's Senate career: "For all the time that Joe Biden was in the Senate, he was wrong about practically every foreign policy issue that there was."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Fox All Stars segment from the Friday, May 22, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC:
On Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Molly Henneberg highlighted the controversial decision by Notre Dame to invite the pro-choice President Obama to speak and be awarded an honorary degree. Henneberg filled in viewers on recent remarks by Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Vatican Supreme Court as the Catholic Church official voiced disapproval of Obama’s planned appearance. Henneberg: "He does not think Notre Dame, a Catholic university, should have invited President Obama to give the commencement address on May 17. And he does not think the university should present the pro-choice President with an honorary degree."
When the late Playboy centerfold and tabloid-media celebrity Anna Nicole Smith graced the white marble steps of the Supreme Court in 2006, the network news operations couldn’t get enough of the story. The blonde floozy had married a fabulously wealthy Texas oilman who happened to be 62 years her senior, and now she wanted to collect his estate. It was a serious legal challenge, and a salacious gossip story, and the networks covered it religiously.
But when a Supreme Court decision affects the networks directly, and adversely, there’s no coverage.
The Supreme Court ruled on the case of ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox all suing the federal government for the right to drop F-bombs and S-bombs on young children. The Second Circuit had agreed with the networks that regulation of "fleeting" expletives was "arbitrary and capricious." There was great interest then. Both ABC and CBS put on full stories to discuss the issues. But last week, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court. I bet you didn’t know that, and if you didn’t, it’s because the networks didn’t report it.
“President Obama is getting more coverage, and more positive coverage, from the media than his two predecessors,” FNC's Bret Baier related during Monday's “Grapevine” segment in summarizing the hardly-surprising findings from “a new study of his first 50 days in office” completed by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA). The analysis of the network evening newscasts, Baier recounted, “was judged 58 percent positive for President Obama. That compares to 33 percent for Mr. Bush and 44 percent for Mr. Clinton. NBC was most positive at 61 percent. CBS was 58 percent, ABC 57 percent.”
By comparison, CMPA's press release, “Study Finds President Fares Best in New York Times, Worst on Fox News,” reported that in relation to ABC, CBS and NBC, “he fared far better” in front page New York Times stories, “where nearly three out of four evaluative comments (73%) by sources and reporters were favorable. And he fared far worse on Fox News, where only one out of eight such comments (13%) were favorable.”
On Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Shannon Bream informed viewers of a letter written to Attorney General Eric Holder from 65 House Democrats who oppose the Attorney General’s recently expressed wish to "reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons" to try to reduce violence by Mexican drug cartels. Bream further relayed the recommendations of Democratic Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both from Montana, that the Obama administration should focus on enforcing current gun laws.
Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Friday, March 27, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC:
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, who has a history of using distorted or even factually inaccurate information -- much of which he gets from far-left sources like Media Matters for America and Think Progress -- on Friday's Countdown show accused FNC's Brit Hume of making a "dumbfounding" admission that "he was fed a buffet of daily talking points" by the "lunatic fringe, right wing" Media Research Center, which the MSNBC host identified as a Web site "run by the perpetually angry Brent Bozell." During the show's "Worst Person in the World" segment, after designating Hume with the second place distinction, Olbermann also claimed that Hume's "admission" was "as startling as if he had confessed to making up the news out of whole cloth or reading it off a ouija board." Olbermann was referring to Hume’s Thursday speech at the MRC’s annual Dishonors Awards gala, as the former FNC anchor accepted the "William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence."
And during a discussion with left-wing Family Guy producer Seth MacFarlane about a number of off-color comments made by several conservative public figures during the week, the two characterized Joe the Plumber's stage entrance at the MRC event as "gay," with MacFarlane cracking that "they're the people who are supposed to be opposed to homosexuality," and that "that‘s kind of an oddly gay entrance, wasn't it? 'God Bless the USA' and that welting, wistful tone." Olbermann played along, adding that "the guy looks like he just jumped off the Brawny towel thing."
On Monday, Fox News's Bret Baier referred to a NewsBusters piece concerning the coverage of the nationwide Tea Parties being staged to protest the profligate spending under President Obama's economic and housing recovery plans.
As NewsBusters reported Sunday, "with the exception of Fox News and CNN, no major television outlet has covered even one of these events except the original proposed by Santelli on February 19."
With this in mind, Baier began Monday's "Political Grapevine" segment (video embedded right, audio available here):
On Monday’s Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, during the Fox All Stars panel discussion, liberal FNC analyst Kirsten Powers, also a columnist for the New York Post, characterized Barack Obama's recent decision to allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research as merely a political move designed to please members of his base who blame President Bush for the plight of those who suffer from paralysis or Alzheimer’s, as she also brought up the progress made in stem cell research using adult stem cells. Powers: "He also talks about, you know, putting science before politics, whereas this actually seems to be a very political decision from where I'm sitting. It's something that the base is very excited about."
After noting the advances made in non-embryo destroying adult stem cell research, she continued: "So this is, really, sort of, to me, a political move to satisfy people who really wanted this to happen and blame George Bush, essentially, for people who are paralyzed or suffering from Alzheimer's."
FNC's Bret Baier did something Friday night you rarely, if ever, hear from a journalist: He apologized for incomplete reporting, specifically for failing to identify as an illegal alien the man charged with murdering Chandra Levy. Picking up on a Friday Washington Times article which quoted media coverage information reported Tuesday night on NewsBusters (and Wednesday on MRC.org), Baier noted in his “Grapevine” segment: “The Washington Times reports CBS, CNN and the Associated Press described Ingmar Guandique either a 'Salvadoran immigrant' or a 'laborer from El Salvador.'” He then acknowledged:
Fox News is not escaping criticism on this. Although Bill O'Reilly has referred to Guandique as an "illegal alien," the report points out that Fox newscasts, including this one, have used the term "Salvadoran immigrant." We apologize for not being more precise.
All of the broadcast and cable network anchors challenged President Barack Obama in some questions during their Tuesday afternoon Oval Office interview sessions, but CBS's Katie Couric and NBC's Brian Williams also painted Obama as a victim of Washington's culture which forced HHS Secretary nominee Tom Daschle's withdrawal. “You campaigned to change the culture in Washington, to change the politics as usual culture here,” Couric noted as she empathized: “Are you frustrated? Do you think it is much, much harder to do that than you ever anticipated?”
Williams noted “you lost two nominees, two appointments today,” so, as if Obama were an uninvolved casualty of unfairness: “Did that make you angry, I imagine?” Echoing Couric, Williams fretted: “How do you prevent the lesson from being that, no matter how lofty the goals of the new guy coming in, Washington wins, in the end?” Maybe it was just following the law and paying a penalty for avoiding taxes which won in the end.
Fox News anchor Brit Hume, host of "Special Report" will be stepping down after tonight's show.
His successor is scheduled to be Bret Baier, currently the chief White House correspondent for the network.
Hume is not quitting the network entirely however. He is expected to continue on as a senior political analyst, one presumes as a panelist on either "Fox News Sunday" or "Special Report."
Hume is one of the few openly right-leaning news reporters who managed to climb up the ranks of the elite television networks, first at ABC and later at Fox News.
Update 12-24 10:11. On his last program, Hume aired a tribute video put together by Fox News staffers with several prominent individuals tipping their hats to him, including Presidents Bush 41 and 43, and ABC anchor Charlie Gibson.