As my colleague Mark Finkelstein reported Tuesday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann labelled long-time Hillary Clinton advisor Howard Wolfson a Tokyo Rose-like traitor due to his current affiliation with Fox News.
On Wednesday, during an interview with FNC's Martha MacCallum, Wolfson struck back by mentioning how unfortunate it is "that a news organization with a great tradition like NBC has been taken over by those kind of antics."
That was just the beginning (video embedded below the fold, h/t Johnny Dollar):
Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly cited the Media Research Center's latest special report, "Obama's Margin of Victory: The Media," in the midst of the "Unresolved Problems" segment for his August 26 program.:
There is no doubt that NBC News continues to be in the tank for Barack Obama. According to a Media Research Center study, NBC is the most lopsided network in favor of Barack. Pro-Obama reports outnumber negative Obama reports by 10-to-1 on NBC News, according to the study. Even some NBC News commentators recognize the corruption.
At that point O'Reilly's producers cut to video of MSNBC's Joe Scarborough scoffing at the notion that colleague David Shuster and others at MSNBC are strictly independent and non-partisan in their reporting. [See Mark Finkelstein's related post on that here.]
O'Reilly also cued video of CNN's Lou Dobbs complaining that his colleagues in the media are "in the tank" for the junior senator from Illinois. [See Noel Sheppard's August 25 blog post on that here.]
The ratings for the Democratic National Convention for ABC, CBS and NBC fell by a million viewers compared to the opener for the 2004 convention with headliner Bill Clinton TVWeek is reporting. On the other hand, the cable newsers saw a ratings jump from their 2004 convention ratings. This reveals the further decline in the old paradigm with the big three networks steadily losing their news influence bit by bit to cable outlets.
ABC, CBS and NBC brought in 12.1 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour, down one million from 2004, according to preliminary, fast-national data from Nielsen Media Research. NBC scored the largest audience.
Saying he's "not gonna take any lectures on how to be a good Democrat from two people who spent the last two years relentlessly attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton," Wolfson has fired back at Matthews and Olbermann. Noel Sheppard has the story here.
Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann put their own feud aside to agree on something tonight. Hillary honcho Howard Wolfson is a puppet, nay, a Tokyo Rose traitor, for going to work for Fox News. It was the McCain campaign's use in its ads of Hillary's anti-Obama statements that triggered the outburst.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Irony upon irony, instead of the commercials designed to destroy Hillary Clinton, [the Republicans] are using Hillary Clinton in commercials designed to destroy the Democratic nominee.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Those are crocodile tears. And you wonder whether an objective person, either rational or post-rational, would be able to appreciate the fact that that's clear politics--nothing wrong with it. But Republicans have no heart in Hillary Clinton's claim to the White House. They villainized her for years. Their commercials, their attitudes are--you go to a Republican hangout, it's all anti-Hillary. That's their point of view. To now hold her up as some victim of some sort of foul play, of unfair politics, is a joke. But the funny thing about it is, they're enjoying it. Fox News, for example, seems to enjoy it. It's no accident, for example, that they hired Howard Wolfson. They use him as some sort of, oh, little toy soldier waiting on the shelf.
OLBERMANN: Tokyo Rose was the thought that came to my mind.
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."
Despite the fact that MSNBC has positioned itself as the far-left cable network, regular Democrats continue to prefer CNN in surveys. Has this preference extended to how the party leaders treat CNN?
In today's Washington Post, reporter Howard Kurtz talks about how the Democratic Party is being accused of favoring CNN by giving it a perfect visual shot during Barack Obama's upcoming speech at the Democratic National Convention:
"A forceful advocate for families and women" is often left-wing code for a politician who strongly supports abortion rights and opposes any restriction on abortion.
It's also how Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace characterized Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) as she sat down shortly after 12:30 p.m. EDT today to discuss Sen. Hillary Clinton's speech this evening and the role of Clinton supporters, particularly women, in making or breaking Democratic Party unity heading into the general election.
Boxer has a solid 100% approval rating from NARAL Pro Choice America and voted in recent years 30 out of 31 times with liberal feminist group NOW.
To be fair to Wallace, his designation of Boxer as an advocate for women and families followed immediately after colleague Jon Scott noted that August 26 marks the 88th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment which secured in the U.S. Constitution a woman's right to vote.
All the same, Wallace could just as warmly welcomed and thanked Boxer for sitting down for a chat without parroting a left-wing euphemisms for the liberal feminist agenda.
MRC Director of Communications Seton Motley appeared on Fox News Channel's "Fox News Live" this morning.
FNC's Megyn Kelly was the interlocuter.
Mr. Motley was brought on to discuss the media's negative and borderline hostile reaction to Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell's having the audacity to point out their bias over the weekend at a hallowed gathering of journalists.
He also discussed the ongoing biased (the Governor is of course correct) coverage of the Democratic Convention.
The Democratic National Convention hasn't even begun, and the protestors are out trying to Recreate 68.
For those unfamiliar, the group "was created for all the grassroots people who are tired of being sold out by the Democratic Party," and are gathering in Denver to "resist a two-party system that allows imperialism and racism to continue unrestrained."
High profile activists such as Cindy Sheehan and Cynthia McKinney have already joined the festivities.
On Sunday, Fox News's Griff Jenkins tried to speak to these folks as they marched in Denver, but was instead verbally assaulted (video embedded below the fold courtesy of our friend Johnny Dollar, vulgarity warning, photo courtesy Rocky Mountain News):
Barack Obama, who boasts about his alleged "post partisan" philosophy, can not seem to resist appeasing the left wing blogosphere by making cheap shots at Fox News. Obama, who enjoys overwhelmingly positive coverage from the mainstream press, blasted Fox News for daring to interview an author critical of him.
"I don’t find myself particularly scary or particularly risky. But, but, you know, I mean they’re good at it. So they got these ads with Paris and Britney. They’ve got some guy who just wrote a book. He’s just making stuff up. Just make stuff up. But it gets a lot of play on Fox News."
The co-hosts of "Fox and Friends" responded to this attack on the August 21 edition. Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocy acknowledged that Jerome Corsi, author of "Obama Nation," did appear on "Fox and Friends," but to debate Democratic partisan Bob Beckel.
Steve Doocy also noted Fox News was not the only venue that gave Jerome Corsi air time. Both CNN and C-SPAN interviewed Corsi.
Did you know that if you have a negative view of Michelle Obama, it's all Fox News's fault?
Such seems to be the opinion of Barack Obama who told the magazine Marie Claire, "I think that if you've been watching Fox News then probably she's misunderstood, because I do think there's been a fairly systematic attempt by the conservative press to paint her in a completely false way."
Fox News's Greta Van Susteren heard about this statement by Obama, and took issue with it during an interview she did Monday with the magazine's editor (video embedded right, h/t NBer Thomas Stewart):
Saturday's Fox News Watch devoted a few minutes to the controversy, which was documented previously by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, over NBC's Matt Lauer claiming during an interview for the Today show that "some very high percentage of the people in China are happy with their lot in life, something around 80 percent," but that in America, "only about 25 percent." Liberal panelist Patricia Murphy of Citizen Jane stated her belief that Lauer simply made an "error" in misstating a Pew Research poll which found that, when asked if they were "satisfied with the direction of the country," 86 percent of Chinese respondents said yes, but when asked about "personal satisfaction," that "the number was much, much lower."
Conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton theorized NBC was being soft on China because the network is making money off the Olympics: "Could it be because NBC paid China a billion dollars to cover the Olympics? And they can't afford to have their reporters and sportscasters kicked out for telling the truth about China. So they have no choice but to cover up." (Transcript follows)
This doesn't qualify as any kind of surprise, but it should be noted nonetheless.
Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama gave a stunningly downbeat assessment of the nation's overall situation in a response to a seven year-old girl who asked him why he is running for president. Obama's media water-carriers have virtually ignored his very telling response, one that is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's gloomiest, malaise-based assessments of America during his awful presidency.
Chicken and egg question: which came first, Obama supporters or pro-Obama media coverage?
Such seems important given a new Rasmussen Reports study that found people who watch CNN, MSNBC, and the broadcast network evening news programs largely support Obama for president, while those watching Fox News are more likely to say they're voting for McCain.
Though certainly not surprising, is this a function of the various channels' biases impacting their viewers, or people opting for news sources that are friendly to the candidate they support?
While you ponder, here are the relevant numbers (h/t NBer Schnikeys, photo courtesy MSNBC.com):
Rich Noyes, the MRC's Director of Research, appeared on FNC's Fox & Friends program earlier this morning. He disucussed how the news media are all too eager to publicize anti-Bush administration books with harsh allegations, such as the much hyped 'The Way of the World' by Ron Suskind and the recent book by former Bush administration spokesman Scott McClellan.
"They certainly do have a lot of promotion. This book by Ron Suskind -- he was on the Today show two days this week, he was on NBC Nightly News. He was on MSNBC. CNN's had him."
On Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly and FNC analyst Bernie Goldberg discussed the media's reluctance to report the National Enquirer's claims about John Edwards fathering a child with a mistress. O'Reilly expressed his own hesitance to delve into the matter, which he only vaguely referred to as "a difficult personal deal," contending that "I can't verify the story," and expressed concerns about the distress public exposure would cause the Edwards family. He further suggested that after more facts could be verified, that "I'll mention it, but I won't dwell on it."
Goldberg spoke of the double standard employed by the New York Times in its reluctance to cover the 2001 story of Jesse Jackson fathering a baby with an employee, while the Times more blazenly printed less solid allegations this year against John McCain. Goldberg: "The National Enquirer broke that story [about Jesse Jackson]. And when the New York Times finally decided to run it, they put it on page 21 under a one-column headline. Compare that to a story with two unnamed sources that think that maybe that I'm not sure, but I think that John McCain was having an affair with a lobbyist. That winds up on page one of the New York Times."
In light of Keith Olbermann's recent mockery of elderly television viewers as being in the "65 to dead" demographic, two years ago on MSNBC's Countdown show, Olbermann seemed to rejoice at the prospect of O'Reilly's audience members "dying off," as Olbermann bragged about his viewing figures which had increased during the previous year, especially among viewers in the age range of 25-54 years, while O'Reilly's overall ratings had dropped. Olbermann, on the June 28, 2006, Countdown: "Bill, seriously, it's slipping away from you. You don't know what to do. You can't even lie well anymore. Seriously, I understand, it's called panic. ... It's terrifying. You begin to see the audience dying off and the creases deepening in your forehead and the loofahs drying up. You make mistakes, you trust the wrong people, you blame Al Franken, you yell at somebody, you yell at everybody. It feels like the ladder is teetering, you're tired, you're depressed, you're anxious, you're balding. Let me give you three words of advice, Bill-O: Keep it up!" Video of Olbermann's rant can be seen here. (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Countdown, during the show's "Worst Person in the World" segment, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tried to characterize the ratings of his show as more admirable than than those of FNC's highly watched O'Reilly Factor by narrowly citing viewing figures among younger demographics. Olbermann, who has a history of quoting the viewing figures for those 25-54 years old -- citing their value to advertisers -- to make himself appear more competitive with O'Reilly, on this occasion dismissively referred to older viewers as "65 to dead." Olbermann: "But don't worry, Bill, you're still dominating that important demographic, 65 to dead." Notably, in June 2006, Olbermann gloated that O'Reilly's viewers are "dying off."
And, although Olbermann vaguely claimed that Bill O'Reilly "crows about the ratings and then gets them wrong again," the MSNBC host in no way contradicted O'Reilly's numbers as Olbermann merely cited the statistics for the specific younger demographics, which did not disprove anything the FNC host stated.
TVNewser reported on the July figures: ""The top rated program was again The O'Reilly Factor at 8pmET(2,252,000 viewer average). For MSNBC, the top program was Countdown with Keith Olbermann at 8pmET in 9th place (959,000) and for CNN it was Larry King Live tied for 10th (940,000)." The TVNewser report can be seen here. (Transcript follows)
MRC’s Director of Communications and NewsBusters Contributing Editor Seton Motley discussed how the media are blaming McCain for playing the race card on today's "Your World" program. Audio available here. Video available here.
If former White House press secretary Scott McClellan had any credibility left, he certainly lost it on Tuesday when he admitted to Fox New's Bill O'Reilly that he was not aware of talking points being sent by the Bush administration to the "Factor" host.
This of course was a flat out contradiction of statements made by McClellan on last Friday's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews.
Not only did McClellan retract his accusation that while he was in the White House talking points were being sent to O'Reilly, but under what turned into almost a cross-examination on Tuesday's "Radio Factor," the former press secretary apologized (audio available here, h/t Hot Air via NBer Thomas Stewart, photo courtesy TVNewser):
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)
MRC Director of Media Analysis and NewsBusters Senior Editor Tim Graham appeared on FNC's "Your World w/Neil Cavuto" earlier this evening. The topic: modern liberal campaign bias and how the public often goes against the media's favorites. [audio available here]
"Notice they're not attacking Obama, they're attacking Obama's biggest base of support," Graham noted of the latest John McCain Web videos about Sen. Obama, which lampoon the media's love affair with the Illinois Democrat.
You need "go back no further than four years ago" to find a similar political love affair that backfired, Graham added of the MSM's support of Sen. John Kerry in 2004.
Even so, this election cycle reminds Graham of Clinton '92, one occasion where the media's favorite won, even though he "barely skated by" to election, helped in part by a strong third-party ticket.
When the Bush administration reported that 15 of 18 political benchmarks set for Iraq had been met, which is nearly twice as many that were met last year, only Fox News reported on the story. And during his July 2report, Brit Hume predicted that the story wouldn’t gain much traction elsewhere:
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.
As Hume predicted, CBS’s “Evening News,” NBC’s “Nightly News” and ABC's “World News Tonight” did not mention the story in their broadcasts that night.
Once again MSNBC president Phil Griffin is claiming that his cable outlet is not liberal on purpose. (I know what you're saying, if you believe that he has a bridge to sell you) In an interview with a TV reviewer for the Kansas City Star, Griffin once again made the claim that the extreme leftward tilt that MSNBC has taken over the last few years was a complete accident and that they aren't "tied to ideology" like Fox News is. Griffin also attacked Fox News saying that, "you can't trust a word they say."
It all started when Aaron Barnhart of the Star asked Griffin for his reaction to statements made by Fox News executive John Moody who said that MSNBC only gained their current market share because of the "messianic ranting" of its anchors, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. This set Griffin off at the outset of the interview.
On Wednesday, presumptive Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama blamed his wife's high negative ratings on "the conservative press—Fox News and the National Review" as well as "rants by Sean Hannity."
He also said, "And you know, the problem is that rarely do these folks have the guts to say it to your face."
On Thursday, Hannity struck back (video embedded right):
Senator Obama, here is my invitation. Anything I've ever said about you, you can sit right here, and I will say it to your face. Do you have the guts to come on this program and take some tough questions?
As you might imagine, Sean said a lot more on Thursday's "Hannity & Colmes," but before we get there, here's the quote from Glamour's Glamocracy blog which set this whole thing off (emphasis added):
What do people on the ultra-left hate more: George W. Bush or Fox News?
The question stems from an incident Friday at the Netroots Nation conference in Austin, Texas, when former Democrat Congressman Harold Ford Jr. was booed for saying that he has great respect for his former colleagues at Fox News.
This was so newsworthy that the Huffington Post's Sam Stein actually wrote about it (emphasis added, video of Ford's comments embedded right):