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.
In short items Thursday night, ABC anchor Charles Gibson and FNC anchor Brit Hume both noted how House Democrats voted to replace Congressman John Dingell of Michigan -- as Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce -- with Congressman Henry Waxman, but only Hume identified Waxman as a liberal: “Waxman is a strong liberal and environmental advocate.” Gibson left out any ideological tag as he echoed Hume's environmental “advocate” language in benignly describing the Californian, who now chairs the Government Reform Committee, as “a strong advocate of environmental issues.”
ABC News wasn't so reticent about labeling former Republican Congressman Dan Burton who, after the GOP's 1995 takeover of the House assumed the chairmanship of the same committee Waxman now leads (Government Reform). In a story on the April 10, 1994 edition of the long-defunct prime time ABC News magazine show Day One, reporter John McKenzie marginalized Burton as “an ultraconservative Republican from suburban Indianapolis” who “is a favorite of the far right.”
Waxman, who represents Beverly Hills, Malibu and much of coastal Los Angeles County, is certainly a favorite of the far-left.
Friday night stories on ABC's World News and the NBC Nightly News ran a clip of President-elect Barack Obama's gaffe at his press conference in which he related he had talked to all of the “living” former Presidents, as “I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.” But both newscasts failed to note it was Hillary Clinton, not Nancy Reagan, who reportedly had seances in the White House. ABC's Jake Tapper called Obama's comment “a lighter moment” while NBC's Lee Cowan described it as “the only awkward moment of his first meeting with the press.”
FNC's Jim Angle, however, managed to point out in his 6 PM EST story: “It was actually Hillary Clinton who was reported to have engaged in seance-like sessions in which she communed with the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt.”
In his book, The Choice, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward described how Clinton consulted with a spiritual adviser who led her through imaginary conversations with her personal hero, Eleanor Roosevelt. Newsweek magazine, which was promoting the book, characterized the visits as “seances,” a term that White House officials quickly tried to squelch.
It was eight years ago this week that France 2 TV introduced the world to Mohammed al-Dura, the Palestinian boy who was allegedly shot and killed during a gunfight between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen, in a video whose authenticity has increasingly been called into question years after it inspired anti-Semitic violence around the world. The American news media not only highlighted the story -- as the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning newscasts collectively aired the video at least 28 times between September 30, 2000, and June 30, 2003 -- but the networks also showed other clips depicting Palestinians involved in fighting, supposedly with Israelis, that have been challenged by some media analysts, calling into question how many of the scenes shown by American media during times of Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be faked video that were passed off to international media as genuine. ABC's Good Morning American notably seems to have ignored the al-Dura story.
Boston University Professor Richard Landes has been a leader in delving into the practice by some Palestinian cameramen of staging scenes of violence to be used as propaganda against Israel. Landes notably took on CBS’s 60 Minutes in the film Pallywood, the first in a series of short documentaries produced by the Boston University professor. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recounts his unsuccessful attempts to convince the American news media to help expose the Pallywood hoax video phenomenon. While he recounts that American journalists he spoke with did generally agree with him that the deceptive practice likely exists, they were reluctant to be perceived as breaking neutrality by siding with Israel over the Palestinians, as he encountered a view that it would not be “even-handed” to relay such unflattering activities by one side without finding similar examples from the other side. Professor Landes also cited an unnamed journalist at ABC as contending that there would be little “appetite” for the subject at his network. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recalls these conversations:
Before Monday's House vote on the largest government bailout in American history, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.), in potentially one of the most poorly-timed displays of partisanship in recent memory, blamed President Bush and Republicans for the turmoil in the financial services industry (video embedded right).
Such ill-advised finger pointing seemed to surprise press members of all shapes and sizes as some prominent print media outlets including the Washington Post and the New York Times quickly published articles quoting Republicans who blamed the bill's failure on Pelosi's hyper-partisan speech.
On the television side, CNN aired Republican reaction to the Speaker's comments moments after the votes were counted (partial transcript and embedded video follow):
Going very much against the media meme that the current financial crisis is all George W. Bush and the Republicans' fault, Bill Clinton on Thursday told ABC's Chris Cuomo that Democrats for years have been "resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was President to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac" (video available here, relevant section at 2:45).
Whether he knew it or not, Clinton was going against virtually all press outlets that have been pointing fingers at Republicans since this crisis began, and likely much to the dismay of such folk actually agreed with a Fox News segment aired on Tuesday's "Special Report" (video embedded right):
At a Tuesday night fundraiser for Barack Obama held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, donors heard Barbra Streisand sing, but as ABC's Jake Tapper noted in his “Political Punch” blog, “the press was not permitted (inflicted?) with permission to hear her.” So, there's no video of it, which reminded me of how back in 2002 the Fox News Channel played a brief clip from her appearance at a September 29, 2002 fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, video we played in “The I’m Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award” category at the MRC's 2003 DisHonors Awards where we added Streisand's lyrics at the bottom of the screen along with a bouncing ball to help the audience follow along.
The customized stanzas from her 'Miseries' adaption of the 'Way We Were' as played on the October 2, 2002 Special Report with Brit Hume:
Scattered pictures Of the House we left behind. Lovely Democratic mem'ries Of the way we were.
Unprecedented growth in the economy. The Dow was up, the deficit was down. As long as Democrats were the majority, I could sleep nights, Not weep nights.
As Culture and Media Institute Director Robert Knight has noted, the media are still presenting Obama campaign spin on the McCain sex ed ad as hard facts.
Last week the McCain campaign released an ad charging Senator Obama with supporting sex education for kindergarten children when he was an Illinois state senator.
According to the Obama campaign and the media the legislation in question "was written to protect young children from sexual predators."
That's a line that Obama himself used during last year's CNN/YouTube debate:
I've got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter. And I want them to know if somebody is doing something wrong to them, encroaching on their privacy, that they should come talk to me or my wife. And we've had that conversation, but not every parent is going to have that conversation with their child, and I think it's important that every child does, to make sure that they're not subject to the sexual predators (emphasis mine).
The only problem is that the goal of the bill wasn't to stop sexual predators, but to revamp the Illinois sex ed curriculum.
On Tuesday's "Special Report," Fox News's Brit Hume credited NewsBusters for exposing a fake eBay listing auctioning off Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's baby Trig.
As my colleague Warner Todd Huston wrote earlier that morning:
Apparently, a poster at the radical nutroot site, DemocraticUnderground, created a fake listing for someone pretending to sell baby Trig on ebay. The faux listing read "Baby used prop newborn boy 3-6 months special needs," and included a description that called Governor Palin a "pushy social climber, unwilling to let pregnancy and children stand in the way of ambition."
Later that evening, Hume reported (h/t American Thinker's Marc Sheppard):
With fresh media polls showing Sarah Palin causing a sizable percent of women to shift to support John McCain from Barack Obama, CBS and NBC on Tuesday night devoted full stories to fact check examinations to discredit her, specifically on the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” even though all the newscasts have already run stories on how she was for the bridge earmark during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Introducing a “Reality Check,” CBS anchor Katie Couric asserted:
There's also controversy over the way Governor Palin is trying to attract voters by portraying herself as a reformer opposed to government earmarks. And the example she continues to cite is her opposition to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But she doesn't quite tell the entire story...
Wyatt Andrews concluded: “By repeating the claim she said no thanks to the bridge, the implication is that Governor Palin confronted a Congress recklessly wasting money. The record shows, she wanted that bridge until the end and kept the money.” Over on NBC, anchor Brian Williams recalled how Palin's convention speech had “several memorable applause lines. It's how a lot of people came to know her.” But, he asked, “how do they all match up against the truth? Our senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers takes a closer look.”
Tuesday’s Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC highlighted recent criticisms from Catholic Church leaders toward Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her recent claims that "the Doctors of the [Catholic] Church have not been able to make that definition" of whether human life begins at conception. Appearing on Sunday’s Meet the Press on NBC, when host Tom Brokaw turned to the abortion issue and asked her when she believes human life begins, Pelosi responded: "I would say that, as an ardent practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is, over the centuries, the Doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition."
In the lead item on Friday's “Grapevine” segment on FNC's Special Report, anchor Bret Baier credited NewsBusters for documenting how Thursday night ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News stories, on Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick being sent to jail by a judge, “failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation.”
Baier first outlined how the AP neglected to mention his party, but “when Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was indicted” last month “the AP made his party affiliation clear” since “the article included the word 'Republican' seven times and 'GOP' four times.” Baier then pointed out:
Media watchdog Web site NewsBusters.org reports that both ABC World News and NBC Nightly News also failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is hardly reticent about touting himself as a Democrat. After all, he's the Vice President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and in January was re-elected its representative to the Democratic National Committee. But in ABC and NBC news stories Thursday night about how a Michigan judge ordered him to jail immediately for violating his bond, neither identified him as a Democrat (verbally or on screen) -- not even in a full two-minute NBC story. On CBS, fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell didn't mention Kilpatrick's party in three teases/plugs for the upcoming story, nor in the introduction to it, but two-thirds into his report, Dean Reynolds, who in a March story failed to ID Kilpatrick, referenced: “Once a rising star in Democratic Party politics...”
Making that same “rising star” point, from a smoggy (or foggy?) Beijing, NBC anchor Brian Williams managed to avoid mentioning Kilpatrick's party affiliation:
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was once viewed as a rising political star in the United States. Tonight he has fallen pretty far from those early lofty and glowing predictions...
Two of the cable news networks were no more accurate. Filling in on MSNBC's Hardball, Mike Barnicle avoided Kilpatrick's party in a brief item on news of his jailing while on CNN's The Situation Room anchor Wolf Blitzer did not note Kilpatrick's Democratic affiliation in several updates and plugs and, in a full story in the 5PM EDT hour, the MRC's Matthew Balan noticed, Mary Snow failed to verbally name Kilpatrick's party in her piece.The only hint came in this chyron at the bottom of the screen for barely three seconds: "MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK (D) DETROIT."
“The progress in Iraq is so undeniable that now even the Associated Press is acknowledging it,” FNC's Brit Hume marveled Tuesday night. Citing a Saturday AP dispatch by Robert Burns, the AP's chief military reporter, and Robert Reid, its Baghdad bureau chief (Saturday NB post by Noel Sheppard on their article), Hume relayed how the story “says insurgents no longer have the clout to threaten the viability of Iraq’s government” and it declared, “quote: 'The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost.'”
In the “Grapevine” segment, Hume reported “the analysis goes on to say that systematic killings in Baghdad have all but ended, violence is at a four-year low and that the combat phase of the war is now ending.” With matching text on screen, Hume concluded with how the AP duo wrote: “In Baghdad, parks are filled every weekend with families playing and picnicking with their children. That was unthinkable only a year ago.”
Q. How can Scott McClellan tell he's pushed his turncoat trip a tad too far?
A. When even leading media liberals suggest his reputation's in tatters.
Say what you will, but I like Joan Walsh, editor of Salon.com. Liberal? No doubt. But also a grownup. On this evening's Hardball, Walsh had the integrity to acknowledge that by accusing Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly of regurgitating Bush White House talking points, McClellan was looking "worse for wear."
Sitting in for Chris Matthews, Mike Barnicle [who I must say does a more "fair 'n balanced" job than the regular guy] rolled video from the this past Friday's show in which McClellan leveled his accusation.
On Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume, during the show's "From the Political Grapevine" segment, FNC host Hume gave viewers another glimpse at the admiration offered terrorists in the Middle East as he reported that the Al-Jazeera network threw a birthday party for Samir Kuntar, a notorious terrorist recently released by Israel, who had previously been greeted by thousands of adoring fans when he returned to Beirut. Hume: "The Arab news network Al-Jazeera celebrated the birthday of released Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar with a cake and fireworks. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that Kuntar, who shot an Israeli child's father in front of her, and then beat her to death with his rifle back in 1979, was given a hero's welcome on the network. One interviewer said, quote, 'You deserve even more than this. I think that 11,000 prisoners, if they can see this program now, are celebrating your birthday with you. Happy birthday.'" (Transcript follows)
When the Israeli government and the terrorist group Hezbollah carried out a prisoner release agreement in which Israel released five Lebanese prisoners while Hezbollah released the bodies of two Israeli soldiers who had been killed, there was a substantial contrast in the way the broadcast network evening newscasts reported the story. While ABC’s Charles Gibson and Simon McGregor-Wood reported on World News that one of the prisoners, Samir Kuntar, had been convicted of the "vicious murder" of an Israeli man and his four-year-old daughter, and that upon release he was "greeted in Beirut as a returning hero," NBC and CBS both skipped over any details of Kuntar’s crime, and CBS’s Katie Couric even listed the prisoner exchange as one of several "glimmers of hope" in the conflict between Israelis and Arabs. Couric: "For the first time in years, there are some glimmers of hope in the Arab-Israeli stalemate -- a virtual cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, and the beginning of low-level talks between Israel and Syria."
CNN and FNC further detailed the brutality of Kuntar’s crime, and FNC noted his popularity among many in Lebanon. FNC’s Morton Kondracke: "What’s most disgusting is that the Lebanese performance, tens of thousands of people turning out to welcome home a terrorist who had killed a policeman, a civilian, and then bashed in the head of the civilian's four-year-old daughter. And he's being welcomed home as though he’s a national hero, with the president there, the prime minister there, the speaker of the parliament. This is supposed to be an ally of the United States, Lebanon. What it indicates is that Lebanon, that Lebanese politics is now owned by Hezbollah ... they have veto power over whatever the Lebanese government does, you know. Lebanon is close to being lost." (Transcripts follow)
It seems Barack Obama had a "senior moment" on Wednesday during his trip to Israel regarding which Senate committees he is a member of. On the same day's Special Report with Brit Hume, during the "Fox All Stars" segment, the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes called out Obama for his claim, which the Illinois Senator made while trying to impress Israeli reporters, that he is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, as he took credit for the passage of legislation regarding Iran. Barnes: "[Obama] was trying to brag about how tough he was on the Iranians, and he said his committee, the Senate Banking Committee, had passed a resolution ... that would have caused American firms to divest of Iranian interests. And the trouble is, he's not on that committee. ... And he didn't vote for it. That would be a senior moment if McCain did it."
Indeed, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs membership roster does not list Obama's name. But during a news conference, which aired live Wednesday morning during CNN Newsroom, Obama seemed to embellish his resume: "Now, in terms of knowing my commitments, you don't have to just look at my words, you can look at my deeds. Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran, as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon." (Transcripts follow)
Following the November elections, Brit Hume, longtime host of "Special Report" on Fox News Channel and one of its guiding lights, will step down from his anchor post and as managing editor for the Washington bureau.
The news broke this afternoon via Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz who reports that Hume will not be leaving the channel entirely--he will be retaining his role as a panelist on "Fox News Sunday."
No decision has been made by FNC chief Roger Ailes about the future of "Special Report."
FNC's Brit Hume led his Wednesday night “Grapevine” segment by marveling that though “you might have thought it was big news Tuesday when the administration reported to Congress that Iraq had made satisfactory progress on 15 of 18 political benchmarks set by the U.S.,” up from progress on only eight a year earlier, “the Media Research Center says there was not a word about the report on the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News or ABC's World News Tonight.”
Hume added that “the New York Times also ignored the story, and the Washington Post relegated its coverage to page eight,” before he expressed astonishment at the AP's spin:
And this -- and I'm not making this up -- is how the Associated Press began its story on the report: “No matter who's elected President in November, his foreign policy team will have to deal with...the slow pace with which the government in Baghdad operates.”
After leading Tuesday's Special Report with how “last year the administration reported satisfactory progress on only about eight of 18 benchmarks” while this year, in a report disclosed Tuesday, the administration determined “there has been satisfactory progress on 15 of the 18,” FNC's Brit Hume doubted “word of this progress is going to get through” to the public as he predicted:
I suspect that this broadcast tonight -- and maybe some others on this channel -- are the only ones who are going to make a headline out of this. This is not going to be a big story elsewhere.
Indeed, neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned Iraq while on ABC's World News anchor Charles Gibson read a short update about “increasing dangers for U.S. troops in Afghanistan” since “in the month of June there were 28 American fatalities in Afghanistan, just one less than died in Iraq last month.” CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 was also silent Tuesday night about the benchmarks.
The broadcast network evening newscasts stories Thursday night all described Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing as a “flip-flop,” a “reversal” and/or a “direct contradiction” of a pledge, but CBS's Dean Reynolds also relayed Obama's rationalization -- that “he's opting out of the system to have enough money to fight the unlimited spending and what he called the 'smears' from unregulated Republican-allied organizations” -- and then, with a 2004 anti-John Kerry ad clip on screen, forwarded his own example of a supposed past smear from the right: “Such as the Swift Boat group which attacked John Kerry in 2004.”
On FNC, however, reporter Carl Cameron pointed out what didn't fit the CBS prism (nor ABC's or NBC's) in which outside groups only unfairly attack liberal Democrats: “Right now it's Obama who's getting the most outside help. He met with AFL-CIO leaders today who pledged more than $50 million to defeat McCain and the anti-war group MoveOn.org is running this attack ad nationally.” Viewers then saw the MoveOn ad with a mother and a baby:
John McCain, when you say you would stay in Iraq for 100 years, were you counting on Alex? Because if you were, you can't have him.
FNC's Brit Hume highlighted Monday night how Scott McClellan's original book proposal, posted Saturday by the Politico, “promised to be quote 'supportive of the President' and take a penetrating look at how the liberal media slant their coverage of him.” Interviewing McClellan on Sunday's Meet the Press, Tim Russert highlighted the proposal and declared: “That's not the book you wrote.” (Matt Sheffield's Monday post on the Politco's discovery, “McClellan Originally Wanted to Attack Media, Defend Bush.”)
In his “Grapevine” item, Hume relayed how “McClellan writes that while many recent books have portrayed President Bush in a negative light, he would take a different approach, quote: 'I will directly address myths that have been associated with him, some deliberately perpetuated by activist liberals and some created by the media'” and:
I will look at what is behind the media hostility toward the President and his administration, and how much of it is rooted in a liberal bias.