In today's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan sounds a
pessimistic note about today's media landscape. Sparked by former
president Bill Clinton's contentious interview with Fox's Chris
Wallace, she hails the demise of the liberal elites who monopolized
America's political agenda through control of the media but bemoans
what she believes to be the proliferation of cultural detritus. I'll
have more on this later but I thought it's worth putting out right now.
Do you think she's right or wrong?
The new media did not divide us.
The new media gave voice to our divisions. The result: more points of
view, more subjects discussed, more data presented. This, in a great
republic, a great democracy, a leader of the world in a dangerous time,
is not bad but good.
But nothing comes free. All big changes have unexpected
benefits and unanticipated drawbacks. Here is a loss: the man on the
Forty and 50 years ago, mainstream
liberal media executives--middle-aged men who fought in Tarawa or
Chosin, went to Cornell, and sat next to the man in the gray flannel
suit on the train to the city, who hoisted a few in the bar car, and
got off at Greenwich or Cos Cob, Conn.--those great old liberals had
some great things in them.
One was a high-minded interest in
imposing certain standards of culture on the American people. They
actually took it as part of their mission to elevate the country.
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.
Last night Bill O'Reilly had on Democratic activists James Carville and Paul Begala. The two guests engaged in Fox News-bashing for the entire segment. The exchange got testy at one point when O'Reilly said "you're both stupid" for relying on left-wing blogs for conspiracy material.
O'REILLY: With us, two close Clinton confidants, James Carville and Paul Begala, the co-authors of the paperback book right now, "Take it Back: A Battle Plan for the Democratic Party". Look, you have been running around hot-shotting this FOX News and you're empowered or you're thrilled or whatever you are. We're fair to Bill Clinton here. Wallace worked for ABC for 25 years. He didn't turn into a werewolf when he was hired over here. OK? You want to pick on somebody, pick on me or pick on Hannity, but not Chris Wallace, OK? This is ridiculous. There were legitimate questions. Wallace grills Rumsfeld. I grilled Rumsfeld. And come on.
Fox News president Roger Ailes blasted former president Bill Clinton in an interview with AP reporter Dave Bauder:
Fox News chief Roger Ailes says former President Clinton's response
to Chris Wallace's question about going after Osama bin Laden
represents "an assault on all journalists."
Ailes said Clinton had a "wild overreaction" in the interview,
broadcast on "Fox News Sunday." Hundreds of thousands of people
subsequently watched clips over the Internet, with Fox foes rallying
"If you can't sit there and answer a question from a professional,
mild-mannered, respectful reporter like Chris Wallace, then the hatred
for journalists is showing," Ailes said in an interview with The
Associated Press on Wednesday. "All journalists need to raise their
eyebrows and say, `hold on a second.'"
This one is too funny, folks, and requires all drinking vessels to be placed at a safe distance from computers, keyboards, and monitors. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday (hat tip to TVNewser) that Fox News's tenth anniversary celebration will include live broadcasts in full view of CNN’s headquarter facility:
Fox, which actually turns 10 next week, plans to broadcast three shows Thursday at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce building on the edge of Centennial Olympic Park. The public can watch Fox stars Shepard Smith and Greta Van Susteren broadcast live at 3 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT as part of Fox's 10-city "Thank You America" tour.
Presumably, so can the folks working just across the park in the CNN Center on Marietta Street.
"We'll have this lovely view of the CNN building, and I'm sure they'll have a lovely view of us," said Thom Bird, Fox's executive producer of news specials.
Here’s something you don’t see every day – a member of the Hollywood elite saying something bad about former president Bill Clinton. Somebody pinch me. Not possible, right?
Well, here it is at HuffnPuff, screenwriter and director Nora Ephron of "Sleepless in Seattle" fame speaking negatively rather than glowingly about Clinton’s recent meltdown on “Fox News Sunday”:
So Bill Clinton was sandbagged by Chris Wallace. By Chris Wallace? And he lost it. And he wasted a television appearance - when he could have been talking about taking back Congress - talking about (no surprise) Bill Clinton. Poor Bill Clinton.
That was only the beginning, for it got much better:
Hinderaker of Power Line points out the broader implications
of CNN being foisted upon Glenn and many other travelers:
This has become my major issue with air travel, worse even
having to throw away my shaving cream and toothpaste. (Want a stock
tip? Invest in a company that makes really, really small toiletries.)
The airports of America--as far as I can tell, there aren't any
exceptions--have entered into a contract with CNN whereby CNN's
outrageously one-sided coverage blares non-stop at every airline gate
in the U.S. Talk about a captive audience! You really don't have any
choice but to sit at the gate, waiting for your plane to load, and the
volume is turned up so loud that you can't miss a single snarky attack
on the Bush administration. Frankly, I think I'd rather be
waterboarded. Do you suppose John McCain can do something about this?
This is just one of many manifestations of the fact that the
Democratic Party is the "home team" of American politics. CNN is the
"official" news network, viewed by corporate America as neutral and
unobjectionable even though, in fact, it is relentlessly liberal. If
anyone proposed that they shift the contract over to Fox, for the sake
of more competent news coverage if nothing else, the reaction would be:
we can't do that, Fox is conservative! It isn't, actually, for the most
part. But occasional moments of conservatism will drive a network more
or less underground, while constant liberalism is considered middle of
the road, and suitable for infliction--like it or not--on the air
travelers of America.
had the same experience, most airport TVs I've run across show
CNN. But CNN is not only the channel of most major airports,
it's also the channel in most public spaces where ESPN isn't being
shown, simply because liberalism is the default political viewpoint set
up for Americans. It's not the raving, Bush-is-Hitler bile that
left-wing blogs and Air America pine for, but it's there nonetheless,
surrounding us all like a comforting political amniotic fluid, helping
us know what's right, who's evil, and what's sensible and moderate.
It's also probably one of the bigger reasons why liberal media bias
Pundits are pondering Bill Clinton’s feverish attack on “Fox News Sunday,” laying into Chris Wallace for alleged oh-so-clever smirking and pounding the host’s leg with his pointy finger for emphasis.
No one asked if Clinton’s outburst hurt the publicity for his “Clinton Global Initiative.” (It didn’t help.) The first question was: staged outrage, or a spontaneous reaction? It’s quite a commentary on the Slick One that millions on both sides of the political fence would guess he plotted this tantrum in advance. Count me in on that number. I believe it was staged, a plan to please left-wingers who loathe Fox News with a passion and want them demonized as the communications center of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
Last week, former president Bill Clinton took some time out of his busy dating schedule to have a not so friendly chat with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday. Given his rabidity, Mr. Clinton might consider taking a few milligrams of Valium the next time he allows himself to face “fair and balanced” questions, assuming once wasn’t enough that is.
This wasn’t Mr. Clinton’s finest hour. In fact, it could be by far the worst performance of his career, which is saying a lot given that his acting skills were typically much more apparent than his policy-making acumen when he was in office.
From the onset, Mr. Clinton seemed ill at ease. This is understandable, as he didn’t see the normally comforting initials of the “Clinton News Network” proudly displayed on the video cameras in front of him.
In his rant against Chris Wallace of Fox News on Friday, former president Bill Clinton claimed that (bold is mine):
I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke.
You would wait forever for someone in The 527 Media to do what blogger Patterico did earlier today. In the course of a longer entry dispelling other myths and falsehoods in the Clinton-Wallace interview, Patterico busted the Clinton claim about the anti-terror transition from his administration to the incoming Bush Adminstration. He located this interview of Richard Clarke in early 2002 that was cleared for distribution by the White House in 2004 and published at Fox News' web site in March of that year.
Summer's over, but it's still way too warm for hell to freeze over. And yet . . .
The usually reliably liberal Neal Gabler has lambasted Jim McGreevey for his more-than-we-needed-to-know confessions about his homosexuality. Even more shockingly, Gabler singled out Sean Hannity for praise for conducting the toughest interview of the Oprahfied former governor.
On last evening's Fox News Watch, there was unanimity from right to left that McGreevey's book, 'The Confession', and his media blitz to promote it, was an unseemly undertaking in which his family paid the price while he basked in the limelight - and cashed large checks for advances and royalties.
Gabler's fellow liberal Jane Hall was not in a forgiving mood. She let it be known that had she been in Oprah's audience, she would not have been applauding. She noted the pain McGreevey had caused his wife and the "corrupt way" in which he put his alleged lover in office. When Hall spoke disparagingly of McGreevey's "coming of age," Gabler chimed in sarcastically about McGreevey's supposed "courage."
As reported by NewsBusters here, Bill Clinton recorded a rather heated segment with Chris Wallace to be aired on the upcoming “Fox News Sunday.” FNC's Jim Angle interviewed Wallace on Saturday to discuss the fireworks that ensued. Wallace claimed:
I've been in the business a long time and I've never seen anything quite like this. Certainly not involving a president or former president.
For those that are interested, the video of Angle's interview with Wallace is available here. What follows is a rough transcript of this entire segment.
As Brad Wilmouth reported, former president Bill Clinton will be appearing on “Fox News Sunday” September 24 in a pre-recorded segment. In it, he becomes quite defensive with host Chris Wallace, makes some seemingly negative suggestions about Fox News, and, in un-Clintonlike fashion, loses his cool. For those interested, here is a video of a brief clip of this interview showing a very testy former president (hat tip to Drudge). Update 2: More completevideo link here with the second half here, both courtesy of our dear friend at Ms Underestimated.
What follows is a rough transcript of the interview to be aired in its entirety on Sunday:
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."
Over the last week, President Bush’s poll numbers have improved. While the media was quick to highlight poll results when the President’s numbers were declining, they have been less enthusiastic about noting his resurgence. Referring to the "New York Times," co-host of "Fox and Friends" Steve Doocy noted:
"...So, this is really big news for the White House and I'm sure it's going to be on page one. So anyway, with a –because I know that when the president's approval rating was falling, it was on page one..."
Mr. Doocy searched the entire front section of the "Times" on air and was unable to locate news of improving popularity for President Bush. However, it was not just the ‘New York Times" that has omitted improving poll numbers. NBC’s "Today" made no mention of an NBC poll just released yesterday showing President Bush’s approval climbing to 42%. Additionally, neither ABC’s "Good Morning America" nor CBS’s "Early Show" mentioned President Bush’s improved standing with American voters.
The Boston Globe refers to Charlie Savage as a "staff writer." But judging by the hyper-partisan comments he made on Fox News Channel this afternoon, Savage belongs over on the opinion page.
Interviewed with two other legal reporters by FNC's Martha MacCallum, Savage took these shots at President Bush and his fellow Republicans:
President Bush is "terrorizing" Americans with the terrorism issue for political gain.
Speaking of the current rift between the president and Sen. McCain over interrogation rules for suspected terrorists, Savage snidely observed that McCain had been a POW in Vietnam while Bush spent the war "back in Texas."
Rich Muslims of the world need to unite and buy up various parts of the global media in order to force them to become more friendly to Islam. That's the message coming out of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference being held in Saudi Arabia.
As you might expect, Reuters has a reporter there who couldn't help but insert an anti-Fox News remark into the story:
Muslim tycoons should buy stakes in global media outlets to help
change anti-Muslim attitudes around the world, ministers from Islamic
countries heard at a conference in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
ministers and officials meeting under the auspices of the 57-nation
Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the world's largest
Islamic body, said Islam faced vilification after the September 11
attacks, when 19 Arabs killed nearly 3,000 people in U.S. cities in
It was a rollicking episode of 'The Long & The Short of It' this morning, and even taking my personal biases into account, it was hard not to score it 2-0 for the tall man. The regular Sunday-morning feature of Fox & Friends Weekend pits long, conservative Newsday and TCS columnist Jim Pinkerton against short, liberal Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News.
The opening topic this morning, in a match refereed by FNC host Kiran Chetry, was a report that retired General and former Dem presidential nomination-seeker Wesley Clark will be issuing on behalf of Democrats this week, intended to "detail the failures of Republicans" on national security.
I don't know about you, but by the end of the Bush-bashing festival that was the MSM's coverage of the one-year Katrina anniversary, I was about ready to climb up on my roof with a bedsheet message begging to be evacuated by helicopter.
Neal Gabler also has a complaint about the Katrina anniversary coverage: there wasn't enough of it.
On this evening's Fox News Watch, Gabler made his comment in the context of the panel's discussion of the John Mark Karr fiasco. Griped Gabler:
"The embarrassment isn't that he wasn't guilty, the embarrassment is the disproportionate amount of coverage he got even if he had been guilty. The problem is there [were] virtually no [TV news] minutes devoted to Katrina on the eve of the Katrina anniversary."
It could be a sign of the classic Stockholme Syndrome, as New Zealand native and Fox News camerman Olaf Wiig said he was sympathetic to the Palestinian cause after being kidnapped and held by the "Holy Jihad Brigades."
Despite being taken hostage at gunpoint in Gaza by a jihadist group and held captive for 13 days, Fox News cameraman Olaf Wiig says he can't condemn his captors.
"It's really complex," Wiig said on "Good Morning America."
"In some ways, I feel such sympathy for the Palestinian cause. You know, in my heart. You know, I can't hate them for what they did. I resent on behalf of my family what they did. But there's a funny bit of me that's sympathetic to them still"....
For those who were not watching Fox News Channel at 6:30am EDT today, 'Fox and Friends First' had a little bit of fun with CNN anchor Kyra Phillips’ restroom conversation, inadvertently broadcast live Tuesday during President Bush’s speech in New Orleans.
Making light of Phillips’ gaffe, anchor Kiran Chetry, having returned from a commercial break, was interrupted by an off-air "personal" conversation taking place between fellow F&F anchors Steve Doocy and Mike Jerrick.
As Dave Pierre notes, some newspapers can be proven to find Jill Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor a more newsworthy hostage than Fox News Channel's Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig. It's certainly true of the Washington Post, which never put Steve and Olaf on page one, even after they were released. On Monday, in his weekly "Critiquing the Press" online chat, Howard Kurtz disagreed with his paper's record:
I usually wouldn't make a big deal out of something like this, but today's just the wrong day for the gratuitous slam of FOX News as "fake news." You know, because two of it's journalists were just freed from the very real experience of being kidnapped while on the job and then held hostage for 13 days.
NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell continued the skewed media reporting of the Middle East by noting the important social work that Hezbollah does and how the rest of the world has a very supportive take on the terrorist organization.
Liberal TV critic Bob Laurence hypothesized that the scant coverage of the kidnaping of two Fox News journalists was due to the frequency of abductions and the network’s "insulting" attitude towards other media outlets. (According to Laurence, nobody, not even terrorists, like FNC.)
The Palestinian kidnapping of Fox news correspondent Steve Centanni and camerman Olaf Wing is now in its fifth day, and it's interesting to note the flabby response from both the media and so-called journalism "protection" organizations -- which are usually quick to condemn Israel and the U.S. authorities in Iraq.
The usually garrulous Committee to Protect Journalists issued a tepid statement expressing "concern," and the media generally has kept its distance. The New York Times, typically, buried a tiny reference to the kidnapping in a news roundup two days later. Obviously the Times was hoping that Centanni would be swiftly released, and delayed mentioning the kidnapping in the hope that it could report news of his release at the same time. Mustn't upset the myth of Palestinian moderation!
CNN is so exceptional with its shows and journalists, so there must be some other reason why Fox News is ahead. Thus writes Jon Friedman in his "Media Web" commentary at MarketWatch.com.
Friedman rattles off a whole litany of reasons why CNN is exceptional.
CNN, a unit of Time Warner, has invested a lot of its parent's dough to assemble a first-rate global reporting and production staff. It features such reliable and charismatic on-air stars as Nic Robertson and Christiane Amanpour abroad. Peter Bergen is rapidly becoming the most compelling voice when it comes to analyzing the ongoing worldwide terrorism story.
In the U.S., CNN has a very deep bench, too. John King, its long-time top White House reporter (and now a senior national correspondent), stands out in what I've regarded for many years to be television's finest Washington bureau.
Fortune's Andy Serwer, who appears regularly on CNN's breakfast-hour show, is the most analytical business-news commentator around -- and the same goes for the New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin, when the topic turns to legal matters.
Further, the lively "Reliable Sources," anchored by Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, is an hour-long look at journalism's weekly hits and (mostly) misses. The show stands out for its consistent excellence even though it faces stiff competition on Sunday mornings.
Last week, I documented here the way CNN leaned over backwards for balance in a story. In the wake of the Seattle Jewish Center shooting, it equated the fear of Jewish-Americans of similar incidents . . . with the fear of Hezbollah supporters of being unfairly accused.
Although it wasn't nearly so egregious, Fox News Channel's Anita Vogel [seen here in a file photo] just engaged in some over-reaching herself in the name of balance. She narrated an otherwise solid segment on 'fauxtography' and other ways in which the media and Hezbollah supporters manipulate the news. The segment included an interview with star blogger Charles Johnson, founder of Little Green Footballs, who played a key role in outing the smoky Beirut-skyline bit of fauxtography.
But then, searching for balance where there really is little or none to be had, Vogel claimed that the Israeli government also manipulates the news:
"But we need to keep in mind, there are other ways foreign governments control the media. The Israeli government exercises control over the media during wartime, like prohibiting them from reporting on real-time rocket strikes and places in northern Israel where officials are visiting due to safety concerns."
Made-in-the-UK Islamic radicals are trying to murder people - and it's the UK's fault for not doing a better job integrating them into society.
That was the view expressed on Fox News this afternoon by Angela Corpe of Sky News - Fox's UK sister network. Fox's Page Hopkins asked: "Given that you had 7/7 and we in New York know what it was like after 9/11. [Is it] still very fresh in Londoners' minds that these were home-grown would-be terrorists?
Corpe: "It was a problem even before 7/7 happened last year. . . We are not facing foreign terrorists but people bred here in the UK. Something our politicians have been discussing today. Not only [must we] be more tolerant of the Muslim faith and realize these few do not speak for the Muslim faith. These people born here, brought up here, going to our schools and still feel the need to blow up planes to, to plot to explode buildings and tube stations.
Continued Corpe: "We have a real job to do here in the UK to try to reintegrate these people and find out where we are going wrongin helping these people realize that if they want to stay in this country they have to accept the freedoms we have here and respect human life in the same way we do."
With that kind of attitude, should Angela ever want to 'cross the pond' she should have no problem finding employment in our MSM.
Update: Demonstrating that the UK doesn't have a monopoly on journalists concerned not to trample Islamo-fascist sensitivities, Alison Stewart of MSNBC this afternoon referred to the 'alleged' plot to plant bombs on planes. This is the same MSNBC that yesterday, on Tucker Carlson's show, decided to extend air time to a controlled-demolition nutjob arguing that the Bush administration was behind 9/11.
Fox News’s Neal Gabler was on quite a roll on Saturday's "Fox News Watch." Apart from taking on Mel Gibson as reported by NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein, he also went after conservative columnist Michelle Malkin referring to her as an "opinion monger" (video to follow).
The discussion centered on how the media have been reporting on the Hezbollah-Israeli conflict, and, in particular, the event in Qana. Gabler, almost foaming at the mouth, went on quite a rant which included going after a Fox News contributor. Pay particular attention to Gabler's intentionally exaggerated display of disgust as he said Malkin's name:
On Thursday's Countdown, Keith Olbermann reacted to Bill O'Reilly's comments about "vampires" Wednesday night. In case you missed it: When O'Reilly said "we should call these people out," referring to "smear merchants" like Olbermann, Geraldo Rivera said he should call them by name. O'Reilly said no, because "then you give them more publicity."
In his latest Factor Fiction segment, Olbermann retorted: "There have been three million articles about this feud. There was one this morning! How much worse could you make it by using my name, Billo? What are they going to do -- build a statue of me? You're so confident in your success that you have to keep my name and show a secret from your viewers, or all of your viewers will all leave you in one night?"