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.
Has the king of Bush Derangement Syndrome, Keith Olbermann, created a new liberal malady characterized by an almost incomprehensible inability to tolerate any criticism of the MSNBC host?
After reading Joan Walsh and Glenn Greenwald’s articles at Salon Monday, one could certainly come to the conclusion that such an affliction exists, and that the two are suffering from this little known psychological impairment “Olbermann Derangement Syndrome."
To show the feeding frenzy that is the MSM -- as well as the constant inaccuracy -- reports abounded yesterday with rebukes to Rudy Giuliani from Democratic candidates for the 2008 Presidential election over something they all merely assumed he said at a campaign appearance.
Every single paper out there quoted the stern rebukes of each of the front running Dem. candidates and nearly every source of MSM news, from TV to the internet, repeated what it was that Rudy "said" to force the rebukes.
Unfortunately for all concerned, it appears that Rudy never said the phrase attributed to him.
Yet, not a soul in the MSM (except Fox's Brit Hume) took the time to do the research necessary to fact check and assure the story was correct.
Brit Hume led his Tuesday night Grapevine segment by scolding his media colleagues for how “news stories reporting that the Bush administration had considered firing all 93 U.S. attorneys across the country failed to mention that that is exactly what Bill Clinton did soon after taking office back in 1993.” Hume explained how that was not noted, “even in passing, in front-page stories today in the New York Times and the Washington Post, or in the AP's story on the subject.”
Earlier in the FNC newscast, reporter Steve Centanni pointed out how “the White House acknowledged there were talks in 2005, just after the President won his second term, about terminating all 93 U.S. attorneys just as President Clinton unceremoniously did 1993 after he won the White House.”
As the Managing Editor of Fox News Channel's Washington, DC bureau, you might have thought Brit Hume would have taken great umbrage at John Edwards' high-profile decision to spurn a debate of Dem presidential contenders that Fox had organized for August in Nevada. The Edwards pull-out ultimately led to a cancellation of the debate by the Nevada state Democratic party. Edwards had come under pressure from liberal netroots and organizations such as Move.on, which had organized a petition drive calling for cancellation of the debate.
But in a fair-and-balanced comment reflecting an appreciation of real politik, Hume has praised Edwards' move as "shrewd" -- at least in the short run. During the panel discussion on this morning's Fox News Sunday, Hume observed:
An absolutely extraordinary discussion occurred on Thursday’s “Special Report” concerning the role of the media in wartime, and what the change in press coverage in the past sixty years has meant for the nation. Tastefully setting the table, host Brit Hume showed a clip of Clear Glass Productions' satirical film depicting how today’s liberal media would have covered World War II had this current iteration been around in the '40s (hysterical trailer of the film available here, video of Special Report segment here, hat tip to NB member Blonde):
ANNOUNCER: According to Pentagon sources, this now brings the official total of Americans killed overseas to 250,000. Congresswoman and House leader Ancy Lagosi took time out from her reelection campaign to mark the occasion.
REP ANCY LAGOSI: 250,000 of our finest coming home in wooden boxes, for what? To support a lie. What has Germany and Italy got to do with Pearl Harbor?
LAGOSI: That's right, nothing.
CROWD: Roosevelt lied, millions died. Roosevelt lied, millions died.
Reminiscent of the high dudgeon Washington press corps reaction after a few hours passed before they were notified of Vice President Cheney's hunting accident, on Tuesday some reporters denounced the White House for failing to publicly announce how last month First Lady Laura Bush had a skin cancer growth removed from one of her legs. On FNC, Brit Hume played a montage from the daily briefing showing how journalists “demanded to know why they hadn't been told earlier." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, for instance, asked “how was the decision reached not to disclose this publicly until questions were asked?" And she challenged White House Press Secretary Tony Snow: "Do you feel any obligation as a person of public status to talk about this?"
On the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric framed the story not around the cancer but around how the White House didn't reveal it: "Laura Bush has been treated for skin cancer, and today she and others in the administration were defending her decision to try to keep that story out of the press.” CBS reporter Jim Axelrod at least noted the lack of threat to the First Lady's health: "In October, Mrs. Bush noticed a sore that wouldn't heal. A biopsy confirmed squamous cell carcinoma, among the most common and treatable skin cancers."
Imagine for a moment that a sex scandal involving pages had forced a Democrat Congressman holding a safe seat to resign in disgrace weeks before crucial midterm elections, while also reflecting badly on other members of his Party in tight races across the country. A month after the votes had been tallied, and the Democrats had surrendered control of both chambers of Congress in a stunning defeat, a House ethics panel released a report on the subject containing the following information:
The leaks to the press concerning this matter had come from the communications director for the House Republican Caucus
A high-ranking staff member for the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee had been informed of the misdeeds of the Democrat Congressman almost twelve months before they were revealed by the press
Now assume that this head of the NRCC had declared four weeks prior to Election Day that nobody in his office was aware of the Democrat Congressman’s sexual indiscretions before they were revealed. Would the contradictory findings of this panel be headline news the day they were reported?
The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct released its report concerning the Mark Foley page scandal on Friday, and the media banged the predictable drum about this all being a Republican cover-up. However, what was ignored or downplayed by virtually every press outlet was the revelation that the offensive e-mail messages between Foley and male pages were leaked to the media by the communications director for the House Democratic Caucus. Also absent from such reports was the possibility that high-ranking Democrat Rahm Emanuel of Illinois might have been aware of these electronic transmissions even though he told ABC News on October 8 that he hadn’t heard anything about them until the story broke (video available here, hat tip to Gateway Pundit).
How much did Rahm Emanuel know about disgraced Rep. Mark Foley's e-mails to a former House page? In an Oct. 8 interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Emanuel, a Democratic congressman from Illinois, was asked if he or his staff knew anything about the e-mails or instant messages between Foley and former pages "before they came out." "No - Never saw them," Emanuel said. Asked if he was "aware of them," Emanuel repeated, "We never saw them. No involvement." But on page 46 of the new House Ethics Committee report on the scandal is testimony that at least one senior member of Emanuel's staff did know about them.
In a Friday night story on criticism of Pastor Rick Warren, for inviting Democratic Senator Barack Obama to the evangelist's annual “Global Summit on AIDS and the Church” held at the Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, ABC's Jake Tapper relayed how “many conservative Christian leaders...were furious with Warren for inviting Obama. Why? Because the Senator supports abortion rights.” But on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, though anchored by Brian Wilson, reporter Anita Vogel added an extremist label: "Evangelist Rick Warren, famous for his best-seller A Purpose Driven Life, has taken a lot of heat from Christian conservatives and the far right for even inviting Obama to this conference because of the Democratic Senator's support for abortion rights. Pastor Warren says that kind of thinking won't solve anything."
Asked by a reporter about how “President Bush today blamed the surge of violence in Iraq on al Qaeda,” incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded with a disjointed answer about how “the 9/11 Commission dismissed that notion a long time ago and I feel sad that the President is resorting to it again." Though al-Qaeda is clearly in Iraq and responsible for deadly bombings, and the 9/11 Commission conclusion was about links before September 11th, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News reporter David Gregory treated Pelosi's off-base retort as credible and relevant. Without suggesting any miscue by her, Gregory segued to Pelosi's soundbite with a bewildering set up of his own about how “incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disagreed, warning that such rhetoric about al Qaeda will make it harder for Democrats to work with the White House."
On FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, after panelist Mara Liasson characterized Pelosi as “confused” and Morton Kondracke suggested she was just “mixed up,” Fred Barnes maintained that “she clearly screwed up here. The question was absolutely clear. 'President Bush today blamed the surge in violence in Iraq.'” Barnes argued the media wouldn't let a Republican get away with such a flub, telling Kondrake: “If some Republican had done this, if Bush had done this at a press conference, if Newt Gingrich had said it, if John Boehner had said it, if Roy Blunt had said it, you'd have been all over it. It would be inexcusable."
In his “Grapevine”segment on Monday night, FNC's Brit Hume picked up on how the Pentagon executive who oversees the Army Corps of Engineers lashed out at the news media, charging that on infrastructure progress made in Iraq “it's quite a heroic story maligned often by the news media." Hume relayed how “Dean Popps tells the Washington Times that when the Army Corps of Engineers arrived in Iraq, none of Baghdad's three sewage treatments worked, few towns had clean water, the 1950's era electrical system was falling part, and there were no primary health care facilities.” But now, “Popps says three years later the sewage system capacity increases by almost half a million cubic meters a day, power and water are much more widely accessible, and there are six new primary care facilities in the country with 66 more being built.” Yet, “Popps says reporters are often brought to some of the sites where this is happening, but he says positive stories rarely materialize."
“CNN's decision to show video of Iraqi insurgent snipers targeting U.S. troops,” FNC's Brit Hume relayed in his Wednesday “Grapevine” segment, “has gotten it kicked out of one Midwestern hotel chain.” Hume reported how James Thompson, owner of the Stoney Creek Inns in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin, “has dropped CNN and Headline News from the cable lineup in his ten hotels” because “he made a quote, 'judgment of conscience' after seeing the sniper video, which he calls an 'obscenity' that was quote, 'personally offensive and shocking.' He says his company 'will not be a party to propaganda for terrorists.'"
Tim Graham's October 24 NewsBusters item on Congressman Duncan Hunter scolding CNN for airing the video from the point of view of snipers shooting U.S. soldiers and Marines. MRC President Brent Bozell's October 25 column: “CNN, Stenographer to Terror.”
On Monday's Special Report with Brit Hume -- broadcast from FNC's (pretty dark) Manhattan headquarters instead of Washington, DC -- Fred Barnes, Morton Kondracke and Bill Kristol made some last-minute predictions on what will occur in Tuesday's election. All three agreed that Democrats, who need to capture 15 more seats to re-gain a majority in the House, will succeed. Barnes pegged the Democratic pick-up at 20 to 25 seats, Kondracke at 25 to 30 seats and Kristol at 35 to 40 seats.
In the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of six seats to take control (counting expected independent victors Sanders of Vermont and Lieberman of Connecticut as organizing with Democrats), only Barnes was confident Republicans will hold the upper body -- but he didn't give a number. Kristol and Kondracke hedged their bets as both forecast a 50-50 split, which Vice President Cheney could break in favor of Republicans, or a 51 to 49 Democratic majority.
A night after slamming Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes as the “Worst Person in the World” for saying former President Clinton's reaction to Chris Wallace was “an assault on all journalists" (NewsBusters item), MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Thursday mocked “the circular gentleman” for telling the FNC staff on the tenth anniversary of the network that in the future they need “to focus more on taking audience away from broadcast networks, not the other cable news networks.”
“Not so fast, Sydney Greenstreet,” Olbermann fired back, in an apparent insulting reference to the rotund and bald actor who passed away in 1954. “Check out last night's ratings,” Olbermann directed his viewers, with viewership numbers on screen for four cable news channels. He proceeded to seriously tout as meaningful how, in the 25 to 54 years-old demographic, the midnight EDT repeat airing of Countdown the night before beat FNC's re-run of Brit Hume's show -- by a bare 16,000. Then, without noting how more than three times as many people watch FNC during Countdown's live airing, or how within the age demographic 50 percent more watch Hume at 6p EDT than Olbermann at 8pm EDT, Olbermann ridiculously suggested: “Mr. Ailes might want to focus back on keeping the other cable news networks from taking audience from his own network and leaving some food for Canada.” Whatever that means.
During the "Fox News Sunday" interview between Chris Wallace and Bill Clinton, the former president suggested ulterior motives for bringing up his administration's role in failing to prevent 9-11:
"You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch's supporting my work on climate change."
Clinton also charged that Chris Wallace had not asked the same questions of the Bush administration:
"You launched it — it set me off on a tear because you didn't formulate it in an honest way and because you people ask me questions you don't ask the other side."
But in yesterday's "Political Grapevine" segment of "Special Report with Brit Hume," Hume said that Chris Wallace had indeed asked the same questions of Donald Rumsfeld.
As Mark Finkelstein reported earlier today, former Vice President Al Gore and billionaire CEO Richard Branson appeared together on Friday’s "Good Morning America" to discuss Branson’s decision to devote all the profits from his airline to combating global warming. Absent from the interview with Diane Sawyer was any mention of the scientific debate taking place over the cause of climate change, or whether, in fact, it actually exists.
While ABC ignored skeptics views of global warming, Fox’s "Special Report with Brit Hume" on Thursday highlighted one such doubter:
Brit Hume: "A leading climate expert from Colorado State University says the idea that humans are responsible for global warming is a fear perpetuated by the media, and by scientists trying to get grant money. Dr. William Gray is a noted global warming skeptic who says the current heating of the earth is part of a natural cycle."
On Thursday, all three network evening newscasts covered the ruling by a federal judge against the Bush administration's controversial NSA spying program that involves warrantless monitoring of international phone calls when one participant is a terrorist suspect. Stemming from a case filed by the ACLU and other plaintiffs, Judge Ann Diggs Taylor, a Carter appointee, found the program to be unconstitutional. Unlike CNN and FNC, which conveyed that the ruling would likely be overturned, none of the network evening newscasts mentioned the liberal credentials of Judge Taylor or the debate over judicial activism and legal weaknesses in the ruling, such as the issue of whether the plaintiffs had standing to file the lawsuit, since the plaintiffs themselves were not found to be the subjects of surveillance. (Transcripts follow)