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.
When France 2 TV helped stoke a new wave of anti-Semitism and anti-Western sentiment and violence by presenting the world footage it claimed to show the Israeli military targeting and killing a Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Dura, a scene that has been invoked by Osama bin Laden and many other terrorists and suicide bombers, the American news media also ran the story, showing the footage numerous times on major television news shows. But evidence has mounted over the years that Israeli troops likely were not the ones producing the gunfire seen in the video. And the sources of the footage at France 2 TV are under increasing fire for their role in the matter, last week losing a court battle to media critic Philippe Karsenty, who goes so far as to charge that the al-Dura footage was actually a staged scene, and that the boy may still be alive, part of what has become a reportedly common practice of Palestinian film makers as they record scenes of fake violence to be used as propaganda. A look at such filmmaking and acting has been examined in the documentary Pallywood, complete with a corpse in a fake funeral procession that gets up on its own after falling off the stretcher after the "Jenin massacre" hoax, and an ambulance that arrives immediately next to the body of a man literally two seconds after he is supposedly shot. CBS's 60 Minutes was among those accused of being duped into using scenes of staged violence as if they were real. (Transcripts follow)
According to an article in the Des Moines Register, a link to which is posted on Mark Levin's Web site, Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin recently argued that John McCain's upbringing by a military family, rather than being a plus, is actually a liability because McCain would have a "hard time thinking beyond" the "world view shaped by" his military family upbringing, and also said it "can be pretty dangerous." Harkin: "Everything is looked at from his life experiences, from always having been in the military, and I think that can be pretty dangerous." So far, the only mainstream media coverage of Harkin's comments seems to have come from FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume on Thursday. (Transcript follows)
FNC's Brit Hume on Tuesday night highlighted how “some in the media elite have found that Karl Rove, in his new role as a commentator” for Fox News and writer for the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, “is, to their apparent astonishment, a pretty good guy.” Hume cited the admission, by an unnamed Newsweek editor, that realizing Karl Rove is not the devil portrayed by the media “complicated my world view. I may like Karl Rove.”
Picking up on the Monday New York Times story by Jim Rutenberg and Jacques Steinberg, “The Pundit Analyzing Obama? Some TV Upstart Named Rove” (Tim Graham's earlier post on the story), Hume noted how the article reported that Newsweek's top editor, Jon Meacham, revealed “Rove had been received surprisingly well in the magazine's newsroom, where he has been a reliable colleague who files his articles on time and works diligently with fact checkers.” After one editor dealt with him, Meacham told the newspaper: “The editor called me and said, 'This just complicated my world view. I may like Karl Rove.'”
“Mainstream media coverage of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has drawn a round of barking from some of their own in-house watchdogs,” FNC's Brit Hume noted in his Monday night “Grapevine” segment. Hume started by highlighting how PBS ombudsman Michael Getler criticized the soft approach of Bill Moyers in his interview with Wright: “Inflammatory, and inaccurate, statements that Moyers himself laid out at the top of the program went largely unchallenged” and “there were not enough questions asked and some that were asked came across as too reserved and too soft.”
Hume next turned to New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt's disappointment in the paper for putting a review of Wright's performance in appearances ahead of checking what Wright contended against the reality, scolding his employer: “It was a performance strangely lacking in energy at a potential turning point in the election.”
Reporting that “ABC News is getting hammered by the mainstream and liberal media,” as if they aren't the same, FNC's Brit Hume led his Thursday “Grapevine” segment with examples of the left-wing outrage over Barack Obama being pressed at Wednesday's debate on subjects the media consider off limits. Hume highlighted how “the left-leaning Washington Post TV writer Tom Shales said anchors, quote 'Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos turned in shoddy, despicable performances,'” (Noel Sheppard's earlier post on Shales).
Hume proceeded to note how Greg Mitchell, Editor of the Editor & Publisher trade magazine, “said it was quote, 'perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years.'” Naturally, Keith Olbermann brought him aboard Thursday's Countdown to expound further.
Picking up on absurd statements CNN founder Ted Turner made on Tuesday's Charlie Rose show on PBS, comments first reported late that night on NewsBusters, FNC's Bret Baier, filling in for Brit Hume, reported on Thursday's Special Report how “Turner believes that inaction on global warming will lead to cannibalism,” that he “went on to ridicule the U.S. military” and that he described Iraqi insurgents who are killing Americans as “patriots.”
The Drudge Report on Wednesday morning linked to the NewsBusters post and Rush Limbaugh played the “cannibal” clip on his radio show later in the day.
Many media outlets have hyped projected 2008 food stamp usage as a “record high,” but as FNC's Brit Hume pointed out Wednesday night in showcasing a particularly misleading take in The Independent in London, a higher percent of Americans were on food stamps “back in the Clinton years.” Hume showcased the London paper's Tuesday front page headline, “United States of America 2008: The Great Depression,” which asserted that 28 million on food stamps in the U.S. represents “the highest level since the program was introduced in the 1960's.” Hume noted:
But critics suggest, however, that that number is misleading since 28 million people would be just 9.2 percent of all Americans. Back in the Clinton years, food stamp distribution reached at an all-time high of almost 10 and a half percent in 1993 and 1994 and 10 percent in 1995.
The Independent matched Monday's front page New York Times article, “As Jobs Vanish and Prices Rise, Food Stamp Use Nears Record,” in which Erik Eckholm asserted “the number of Americans receiving food stamps is projected to reach 28 million in the coming year, the highest level since the aid program began in the 1960s...” Lifting that story, on Monday's CBS Evening News reporter Bill Whitaker ominously intoned: “With jobs declining and prices for basics -- food, fuel, medicine -- on the rise, more Americans are expected to turn to food stamps in the next year than at any time since the program began in the 1960s.”
On Wednesday, Fox News became the first news network to pick up on the contradiction between claims made by Senator Hillary Clinton about her 1996 trip to Bosnia and the reality reported by journalists at the time. In a speech on Monday, Clinton asserted that “I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”
But no news outlet mentioned sniper fire at the time, and TV news footage from the day of Clinton’s visit, which was first posted Tuesday on NewsBusters, shows Clinton and her daughter walking around without helmets, greeting various people including the acting President of Bosnia and a Bosnian child who read a little speech for the then-First Lady.
Reciting three quotes highlighted Tuesday night on NewsBusters (and the MRC's Wednesday CyberAlert), plus one from CNN's Campbell Brown which we missed, FNC's Brit Hume led his “Grapevine” segment Wednesday night by illustrating how “Barack Obama's speech on race yesterday played to rave reviews in much of the national media.” Hume recounted:
On NBC, the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart said the address was, quote, "a very important gift the Senator has given the country." NBC's own Chris Matthews said it was, quote, "worthy of Abraham Lincoln" and quote "the best speech ever given on race in this country." ABC's George Stephanopoulos said Obama's refusal to renounce his highly controversial pastor was, quote, "in many ways an act of honor." And on CNN, Campbell Brown called the speech "striking" and "daring," asserting that Obama had, quote, "walked the listener through a remarkable exploration of race from both sides of the color divide, from both sides of himself."
Obama begins with a broad assessment of life in America in 2008, and life is not good: we're a divided country, we're a country that is "just downright mean," we are "guided by fear," we're a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. "We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day," she said, as heads bobbed in the pews. "Folks are just jammed up, and it's gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I'm young. Forty-four!"
Sheppard said that "Given how (the) media made excuses for her comments in Wisconsin (She said, "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country." -- Ed.), it will be quite interesting to see just how much of (the) interview ..... will be reported in the next 24 hours."
Well, Noel, I looked at the next 72 hours, and the answer is, with one enjoyable exception, "precious little":
No real surprise here: A new study of positive versus negative campaign coverage found, as reported Tuesday night by FNC's Brit Hume, that John McCain's coverage grew more negative as he got closer to winning the GOP presidential nomination.
Meanwhile, while ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscast treatment of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has become less positive, unlike McCain's mostly negative coverage the two Democrats continue to benefit from a much more upbeat approach: Pre-Super Tuesday Obama had 84 percent positive coverage and Clinton stood at 53 percent, but since March 4, Obama's good press fell to a still solid 67 percent -- more than twice as positive as McCain's -- while Clinton was off a bit to 50 percent. (Factoring in neutral coverage, Clinton earned more good than bad press.)
Citing the numbers from the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), Hume reported how “McCain's media fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the worse since early January,” plummeting from “97 percent positive...before the New Hampshire primary” to “just 30 percent positive since.”
FNC’s Brit Hume, in his Monday “Grapevine” segment, undermined CBS’s Sunday night 60 Minutes scoop about Karl Rove’s smear efforts to destroy former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, a Democrat now in federal prison for bribery, “some say, only because of his politics,” CBS’s Scott Pelley framed his story. Hume relayed how “Rove says he does not recall ever meeting the woman who is accusing him of asking her to help dig up dirt on” Siegelman “and he say he was never given a chance to respond to the charges she made Sunday on 60 Minutes.”
Specifically, Jill Simpson “said Rove asked her to get pictures of Siegelman in a compromising sexual position with an aide” but, Hume pointed out, “the Associated Press reports Simpson has never made that allegation before -- despite several hours of interviews with congressional lawyers, reporters and a sworn affidavit.” As for CBS’s claim they had “contacted Rove” for a response, Hume noted:
But Rove and his lawyer, attorney Robert Luskin, say CBS brought up the allegations only in an off-the-record telephone interview last October. Luskin says, quote: "After 60 Minutes made the decision to publicize these charges, no one from 60 Minutes approached Mr. Rove or gave him an opportunity to respond on the record," end quote.
Something from what I like to call the forgive but never forget file. From the MRC.org CyberAlert archives, March 7, 2001:
Ted Turner insulted attendees at Bernard Shaw’s retirement party, asking those on Ash Wednesday with a smudge on their foreheads if they were "a bunch of Jesus freaks," FNC’s Brit Hume reported Tuesday night.
Hume revealed during his "Grapevine" segment on Special Report with Brit Hume:
Journalists were giddy with excitement last week over Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama, but a Rasmussen poll taken in the days afterward, which FNC's Brit Hume highlighted early Tuesday night, discovered more said the endorsement made them less likely than more likely to back Obama. Hume relayed how “34 percent of Democrats surveyed said Kennedy's support would make them less likely to vote for Obama. Thirty-three percent said it had no impact. Only 30 percent said it would make them more likely to support the Illinois Senator.” And “if you throw in the Republicans and independents with the Democrats, the endorsement looks even more damaging” with 46 percent saying “the Kennedy nod makes them less likely to support Obama” and only 16 percent saying it made them more likely to vote for Obama.
The night of the endorsement, ABC's David Wright adopted campaign slogans as he enthused about how “today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot.” NBC's Lee Cowan radiated over how “the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar.”
AP, MSNBC, CNN and the New York Times on Wednesday all promoted a “study” by a couple of affiliated far-left groups, supposedly documenting “935 false statements” about Iraq made by Bush officials, but in hyping the proof of “lies” which led to war, the news outlets disguised the ideology of the groups -- led by a former ABC and CBS reporter/producer -- and how many of the “false” statements were about Iraq possessing WMD, which FNC's Brit Hume pointed out was “a concept nearly universally accepted by most of the world's intelligence services at the time.”
Keith Olbermann, who in 2006 slammed the Media Research Center as a “rabid right-wing spin group,” Wednesday night on Countdown with “935 lies” on screen on top of a picture of Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, described the Center for Public Integrity and Fund for Independence in Journalism as merely “two non-profit groups” who have “done the algebra” on “the administration's countless lies about Iraq.” Last September, CNN's Jack Cafferty accurately described the MRC as a “conservative media watchdog outfit,” but he euphemistically tagged the left-wing groups as “two non-profit journalism groups” with a study which “found President Bush led the pack with 260 lies.” Cafferty's labeling echoed AP's reference to “two non-profit journalism organizations.”
MSNBC's Dan Abrams lent the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) credibility as “a non-profit, non-partisan investigative journalism group.” On WashingtonPost.com, Dan Froomkin hailed the “non-profit group pursuing old-fashioned accountability journalism” and a Wednesday New York Times story cited CPI as “a research group that focuses on ethics in government and public policy.”
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume on Monday picked up on the late 2007 Sacred Heart University poll, highlighted Monday morning on NewsBusters, which found that by three-to-one Americans see a media slant to the left over the right while FNC led as the “most trusted” news source. In the “Grapevine” segment, fill-in anchor Bret Baier recited how the survey determined “45.4 percent of the respondents think journalists and broadcasters are mostly or somewhat liberal. Just 15.7 percent think they are conservative.” He then ran through how “44.9 percent view CNN as liberal; 41.9 believe the New York Times leans left; 40.3 for National Public Radio and 38.8 for MSNBC.” As for as which outlet is “most trusted?” FNC “led the way with 27 percent, CNN at 14.6, NBC News at 10.9, ABC News at seven, local news 6.9. CBS 6.8, MSNBC four and Public Broadcasting at three percent.”
“Obamamania” goes beyond the U.S. news media. Picking up on a story in Sunday's International Herald Tribune, “Barack Obama's popularity soars -- in Germany,” FNC's Brit Hume on Monday night noted how “the Illinois Senator has become huge in Germany, where he is being compared to the much-loved John F. Kennedy.” Hume showed headlines from German newspapers, including one which called Obama “The New Kennedy,” another which declared “The Black American Has Become the New Kennedy” and how “an editorial in the Frankfurter Rundschau had a headline, 'Lincoln, Kennedy, Obama,' and said that quote, 'hope and optimism are the source of the nation's strength.'”
The New York Times, which owns the International Herald Tribune, posted the story, by Nicholas Kulish, on its “The Caucus” blog.
The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University ..... found that Fox News Channel's evening news show provided more balanced coverage than its counterparts on the broadcast networks.
A look at the press release (small PDF) reveals the extent of the balance at Fox, and the imbalance elsewhere:
Fox News Channel’s coverage was more balanced toward both parties than the broadcast networks were. On FOX, evaluations of all Democratic candidates combined were split almost evenly – 51% positive vs. 49% negative, as were all evaluations of GOP candidates – 49% positive vs. 51% negative, producing a perfectly balanced 50-50 split for all candidates of both parties.
On the three broadcast networks, opinion on Democratic candidates split 47% positive vs. 53% negative, while evaluations of Republicans were more negative – 40% positive vs. 60% negative. For both parties combined, network evaluations were almost 3 to 2 negative in tone, i.e. 41% positive vs. 59% negative.
David Shuster's tasteless game of "gotcha," that we reported here and here, in which the MSNBC "correspondent" exploited the name of a fallen American soldier to put Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on the spot, is getting considerable media attention. Brit Hume featured it in last night's "Grapevine" segment of "Special Report."
In Monday's holiday night “Grapevine” segment on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, fill-in anchor Jim Angle summarized the MRC's new study, "Rise and Shine on Democrats: How the ABC, CBS and NBC Morning Shows Are Promoting Democrats on the Road to the White House" (Executive Summary). Angle relayed how “according to the watchdog group Media Research Center, not only are the morning shows on ABC, CBS and NBC overwhelmingly focused on Democrats, they're actively promoting the agenda of Democratic candidates.” Specifically, “the report found that Democrats get twice as much coverage as Republicans with New York Senator Hillary Clinton receiving the most” and “69 percent of the questions to Democrats reflected a liberal premise” while “82 percent of the questions to Republicans came from the same perspective.”
FNC's Brit Hume on Monday night picked up on a column by the San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders which discredited the media spin on an AP/Ipsos poll that found liberals read one more book a year than conservatives, a finding Pat Schroeder, President of the Association of American Publishers claimed illustrated how conservatives can't think beyond slogans. The AP and CNN's Jack Cafferty both jumped on Schroeder's slam. Hume noted that Saunders “says Ipsos told her the one book difference between liberals and conservatives is within the poll's margin of error and not statistically significant. The company also said that since the poll did not ask respondents if they read newspapers or magazines, it does not, therefore, say anything about their general level of knowledge or information.”
If George W. Bush's approval rating hit a low point for any president in 33 years, do you think the network evening news programs would have reported it?
Maybe as the lead story, right?
Well, a new Gallup poll was released on Tuesday stating that the approval rating for Congress tied the lowest point since Gallup began tracking such a thing, and none of the broadcasts networks thought it was newsworthy last night.
The likely reason for the boycott, beyond the obvious fact that the Democrats are now in control, is that much of the recent decline in this favorability has come from Democrats and Independents (emphasis added):
Citing recent peer-reviewed studies, Brit Hume informed viewers of his Fox News Channel program on Tuesday night that though “many media outlets...portray man-made global warming as a certified fact and those who deny it as conspirators,” several “skeptics are increasingly certain that the scare is vastly overblown.” In his “Grapevine” segment, Hume pointed to a study by a Brookhaven National Lab scientist who “contends that the Earth's climate is only about one-third as sensitive to carbon dioxide as the UN's recent climate study claims,” a Belgian Weather Institute report “that carbon dioxide does not have a decisive role in global warming,” a “study by two Chinese scientists” that discovered “CO2's role in warming is 'vastly exaggerated'” and “new research by University of Washington mathematicians” that “shows a correlation between high solar activity and periods of global warming.”
As highlighted Monday night by FNC's Brit Hume, a new Rasmussen Reports poll discovered that, by about two-to-one or greater, the public recognize a liberal bias over a conservative bias on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, NPR as well as in the New York Times and Washington Post. “By a 39 percent to 20 percent margin,” a Friday summary of their survey relayed, “American adults believe that the three major broadcast networks deliver news with a bias in favor of liberals.” The public perceive liberal bias by 33 percent to 16 percent for CNN and 27 percent to 14 percent for NPR. More believe FNC delivers the news with “neither” a bias in favor of liberals or conservatives than see ABC, CBS, CNN or NBC as unbiased: While 25 percent consider the broadcast networks to be without a slant, 32 percent think CNN is “without bias,” but even more, 36 percent, say that about the Fox News Channel.
On the newspaper side, in results released Sunday, Rasmussen learned than Americans see the Washington Post as liberal over conservative by about two-to-one (30 to 16 percent) while it's closer to four-to-one (40 to 11 percent) for the New York Times. “One of the more startling details,” Rasmussen proposed, is that while liberals see all broadcast outlets and most newspapers as having a bias in favor of conservatives, even “25 percent of liberals see a liberal bias at the New York Times while only 17 percent see a conservative bias. This makes the New York Times the only media outlet that liberals are more likely to see as having a liberal bias than a conservative bias.”
A rather disturbing event occurred in a Minnesota library last Sunday: Freshman Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler, while implying that the White House was involved in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11.
Didn’t hear about this? Well, how could you? After all, no major, mainstream media outlet other than Fox News and CNN thought it was newsworthy.
It goes without saying that one of the great things about being a beloved liberal is that when you write a new book, no one in the media will challenge any of the obvious falsehoods you present as facts.
Such has certainly been the case as newspapers, magazines, and television programs have gushed over former Vice President Al Gore and his new book “Assault on Reason.”
Fortunately, feeling that it doesn’t owe anyone such unwarranted sycophancy, Fox News “Special Report” on Tuesday chose to look at some of the statements made in Gore’s book, and see whether they pass the smell test.