The New York Times says Fox News commentator Tony Snow is in negotiations to become the next press secretary. Snow is said to be valued for his connections in the Washington media. Anonymous sources told the Times that he had surgery for colon cancer last year and is waiting on a doctor's approval before taking such a high-pressure job.
Republicans said that Tony Snow, a commentator for Fox News and a former speechwriter for Mr. Bush's father, was in negotiations for the job of White House press secretary. Mr. Snow would replace Scott McClellan, who announced Wednesday that he was resigning....
Mr. Snow is the host of his own radio program and comes from the news operation that flashes from every television in the West Wing.
In Wednesday's Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz profiled Fox News Channel's Brit Hume with the headline "Moving to the Right: Brit Hume's Path Took Him From Liberal Outsider to The Low-Key Voice of Conservatism on Fox News."
The April 18 Fox and Friends First provided a welcome alternative to the mainstream media’s fawning over the dissident generals attacking Donald Rumsfeld. FNC co-hosts Steve Doocy and Page Hopkins interviewed retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Maginnis about his support for Rumsfeld. Doocy teased the segment this way:
Doocy: "Lieutenant Colonel Robert Maginnis. We’re going to talk to him live from down in D.C. about Mr. Rumsfeld. There is that drumbeat, okay, would you call it a drumbeat if there are seven generals, all retired, out of 8,000 active duty and retired generals, is that really a drumbeat?"
Former Clinton CENTCOM commander, Anthony Zinni — the most prominent of the retired generals attacking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — now says that, in the run-up to the war in Iraq, "What bothered me ... [was that] I was hearing a depiction of the intelligence that didn't fit what I knew. There was no solid proof, that I ever saw, that Saddam had WMD."
But in early 2000, Zinni told Congress "Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Arabian Gulf region," adding, "Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, [and] retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions ... Even if Baghdad reversed its course and surrendered all WMD capabilities, it retains scientific, technical, and industrial infrastructure to replace agents and munitions within weeks or months."
It was a fleeting victory, but one nonetheless. By taking a conservative tone with his constant broadside against illegal immigration, Lou Dobbs managed to beat Brit Hume in the 25-54 demographic last week.
A tipster asks: "Did you notice that Lou Dobbs beat Special Report with Brit Hume last week in the Demo?" Well, no I didn't, but thank you for pointing it out! Using TVNewser's daily scoreboard, here's a 6 p.m. ratings track from the week of April 3:
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney appeared on CBS, CNN, and FNC on Wednesday morning to address charges she hit a Capitol Police officer in the chest with her cell phone when he tried to stop her as she tried to walk right past security screeners. Well, actually, she refused in all three interviews to address the basic facts of the fracas. In all three interviews, she forced in her talking points, that the kerfuffle was "much ado about a hairdo" and that 250 black officers sued the Capitol Police for racial discrimination. CNN's Soledad O'Brien was especially dogged in trying to get out the basic facts, not that it worked.
On CBS's "Early Show," MRC analyst Mike Rule found that co-host Harry Smith was the fastest to cave in to the refusal to answer the basics:
Smith: "Congresswoman, let me, please help me construct what happened. You're entering a Capitol building, you're bypassing a metal detector, which is routine for members of Congress, what happened then?"
Do you support rigorous measures to strengthen border security and tighten immigration controls? If so, you're probably a 'nativist' - read racist - or a rube, or very possibly both.
Don't believe me? Just ask Neal Gabler. Here's what he had to say on this evening's Fox News Watch:
"The conservative nativists, and maybe that's a redundancy, thought they had a winner here. What a great issue they have," he said sarcastically. "You can beat up on aliens and get all of those white folks for the 2006 election."
Conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton weighed in with two points of note:
"Bloggers like Mickey Kaus and Michelle Malkin have made the point that the MSM, especially the LA Times, hid the most inflammatory element of those pictures from their readers and viewers by not showing the profusion of Mexican flags and highlighting the relatively few American flags."
When Hillary Clinton charged that the House Republican immigration bill would "criminalize...Jesus himself," there was national-media notice – if not criticism. Even Hillary’s "hometown" newspaper The New York Times reported on March 23 that Senator Clinton intensified her criticism of Republican immigration proposals, albeit on page B-5. But no one in the story criticized Hillary for her harsh attack. Instead, reporter Nina Bernstein noted only critics to Hillary’s left: "Mrs. Clinton had been criticized by some immigrant activists for saying little about the issue until March 8, and then speaking at an Irish-only rally, rather than at a forum more representative of immigrants. But yesterday all seemed forgiven." Bernstein’s story, headlined, "Mrs. Clinton Says GOP Immigration Plan Is At Odds With The Bible," began:
Is Neal Gabler jealous of Helen Thomas' status as a leading Bush media antagonist? You might think so, judging by the barbs Gabler aimed Thomas' way on this evening's Fox News Watch.
In discussing Thomas' pointed exchange with President Bush during this past week's press conference, Gabler, whose sole regular media job would seem to be his weekly appearance on Fox News Watch, did claim that Thomas' question as to the president's motivation in invading Iraq was a good one. But Gabler prefaced that comment by gratuitously observing: "Helen has asked dumb questions in her time."
Gabler later referred to Thomas as "a dotty old woman."
Reporters for rival networks of Fox News had unkind things to say about Dick Cheney's preference for Fox when staying at hotels.
MSNBC's "The Abrams Report":
"And he wants brewed decaf coffee and all the televisions must be tuned to the home team, Fox News. Horrors to think he might encounter other networks while flipping the channel himself on his way over... It's got me thinking I should make some demands of my own. From now on whenever I travel, I want a bottle of wine waiting, not just any wine, but fine wine. I want the TV tuned to MSNBC."
CNN reporter Carol Costello said on "American Morning":
"And, yes, all the TVs set to C -- no, to Fox News."
To which anchor Soledad O'Brien quipped, "Not really a shocker on that front."
Jack Cafferty on CNN's "The Situation Room" used his trademark "F-word network" putdown.
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly had radio host Laura Ingraham on “The O’Reilly Factor” Tuesday evening (hat tip to Expose the Left). Fresh from her battle with NBC’s David Gregory on the “Today Show,” O’Reilly wanted Ingraham’s view (video link to follow) about NBC (from closed captioning):
Bill: Is it your opinion that NBC news spins the war in Iraq negative?
Laura: Well, it's not between me and NBC, Bill.
Bill: Look, you're an analyst. You watch these people. Is it your opinion that NBC news spins the war negative?
Laura: I think that the coverage of the war by NBC that I have really focused on, especially since I was in Iraq last month, to me it seems bizarrely focused only on the I.E.D.'s, only on the latest reprisal killings that are taking place. When stories that are so fascinating and interesting and broader and human interest, stuff the "Today" show and NBC likes to do, those stories are out there for anyone to get. I don't get it.
O’Reilly then made a very bold castigation of NBC:
On C-SPAN’s Sunday night Brian Lamb interview show "Q & A," MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann lit into Fox News Channel in an extended rant, suggesting that its demise was the "best hope of mankind." He could not believe their "fear"-based marketing strategy about being an oasis of balance in a liberal media world, was just agog at "the idea that there are vast [media] structures designed to foment liberal causes."
He also oddly claimed that while now he’s described as a "screaming liberal," no one called him that in his previous MSNBC stint during the Lewinsky scandal. Correction: the MRC gave him an award for outrageousness for comparing Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr to Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler.
As has been well-documented by Media Research Center [parent organization of NewsBusters], while MSMers are loath to label anyone or anything 'liberal,' they don't hesitate to brand various entities or individuals 'conservative' or 'right-wing.' Well, folks, I believe we have a new world record in the category.
On tonight's Fox News Watch, in the course of discussing the case of Colorado teacher Jay Bennish - who compared President Bush to Hitler - liberal [there, I said it] Neal Gabler managed to utter the term 'right-wing' four times . . . in 14 seconds. Yes, I checked it by my VCR timer.
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown offered Chris Wallace and Fox News Sunday an exclusive this morning, and in return Wallace gave Brown a platform from which to tee off on the Bush administration and in particular on DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend. Wallace probed Brown's arguments on occasion, but largely gave Brown free rein.
Highlights from the Brown hit parade:
"I think we had dropped the ball long before Katrina hit in not doing the kind of catastrophic disaster planning that the federal government should have been doing."
"Secretary Chertoff's order for me to stay [in the operations center] in Baton Rouge is one of the tipping points that made this disaster worse."
And here we thought the MSM was biased against President Bush. Wrong! On this evening's Fox News Watch, reliable lefty Neal Gabler informed us that just the opposite is true. Turns out. . . the MSM has uncritically propagated an overly positive image of the president. Who knew?
Gabler's shocking revelation came in the course of a discussion of the recent Katrina revisionism. In particular, News Watch aired footage from an ABC interview from this past week in which the president made this frank acknowledgement:
"Here's the problem that happened in Katrina. There was no situational awareness, and that means that we weren't getting good, solid information from people who were on the ground, and we need to do a better job. One reason we weren't is because communications systems got wiped out, and in many cases we were relying upon the media, who happened to have better situational awareness than the government. And when you have the media [with] better situational awareness than the government, the American people are saying, 'Wait a minute. What is happening? How come the federal Government and state government and local governments couldn't do a better job of providing information necessarily so that people could react better?"
Harry Belafonte spoke at the State of the Black Union on February 25. The event, which took place in Houston, saw Mr. Belafonte provide this definition of terror. He opined:
"Sending young men and young women, sons and daughters from America, to murder people in other nations is an act of terror."
The aging pop singer also wondered aloud whether Osama bin Laden was, in fact, guilty of masterminding the terrorist attacks of 9/11 (Click here to see the entire speech. Belafonte’s more incendiary comments begin at the one hour and 17 minute mark.)
At a birthday party last night, a friend of mine mentioned how strong Gen. Tommy Franks was on Fox arguing against the idea that allowing the UAE to own ports is a security risk. The show was "Hannity & Colmes" on Thursday night, and Franks began by explaining his overview to Hannity (from the Fox online transcript):
I personally believe that we have had no greater ally in seeking a resolution of problems in the Middle East, the Palestinian issue, the Israeli issue, than we have found in the United Arab Emirates.
With regard to maintaining contact with the Taliban, even before Sept. 11 — and I'll exercise caution how I say this — but I'll say that I believe we had every reason to be thankful for the relationship and the dialogue that existed between the United Arab Emirates and the Taliban, as it assisted us in our efforts to understand what was going on in Afghanistan.
Newsweek Senior Editor and columnist Jonathan Alter has been inflating the Bush-Cheney duo into an Evil Empire of sorts, utterly undeserving of office (and acting "like a dictator." ) His column this week was titled "The Imperial Vice Presidency," which would have been a laughable headline in the pre-Cheney days. Alter began by endorsing the wild rhetoric of CNN's biggest hothead:
Fox News's exclusive interview with Vice President Dick Cheney was, as CNN's Jack Cafferty sniped, "like Bonnie interviewing Clyde," but Brit Hume posed some good questions.
From there, Alter spun the theory that the modern presidency (and vice-presidency) must submit to press scrutiny, for the press is a proxy for the public:
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, Neal Gabler's gotta take outlandish swipes at the Bush administration on Fox Media Watch. And, perhaps in a form of childish defiance, Gabler also has a penchant for biting the Fox hand that feeds him.
On tonight's episode, Gabler:
Claimed that Vice-President Cheney "doesn't believe in a free press."
Described the shooting accident as "idiocy" on the VP's part.
Accused Brit Hume of not asking the 'major question' in his interview of Cheney [having to do with the timing of notification].
Seconded the notion that the shooting might have been a 'conspiracy' and 'good PR' for purposes distracting attention from the latest Abu Ghraib photo release and other administration problems. Cal Thomas had floated the notion as a joke, but Gabler seemed to pick up on it seriously.
Mocked Fox's objectivity, saying "when the Vice-President shoots somebody in the face, it's big news. I don't care where you live, even on Fox News, it's a big story."
Alright Neal, you've met your quota for the night. See you next week.
An unsuspecting viewer watching this morning's Today show would have thought Fox News failed to disclose that VP Cheney, during his interview with Brit Hume, acknowledged having a beer at lunch on the day of the shooting incident.
But when it comes to the MSM, it pays to be 'suspecting.'
Here's how NBC White House reporter Kelly O'Donnell artfully chose her words:
"The official White House transcript of the interview shows Cheney said 'I had a beer at lunch.' Fox News did not show that particular clip during Brit Hume's program."
I was jarred by O'Donnell's statement since, having watched "Brit Hume's program" - Special Report - I was certain I had heard reference to the mid-day beer. And sure enough, a transcript of Special Report confirms it:
MSNBC isn’t the only network mentioning the I-word. Fox News Analyst and Cavuto on Business regular Gregg Hymowitz recently raised the specter of impeaching President Bush. On the February 4th edition of his show, Neil Cavuto opened a roundtable business discussion. At about 10:42AM EST, he asked whether Wall Street should support President Bush’s wiretapping program. Hymowitz quickly jumped in and responded:
"Stocks go up in free and open societies. Here we have an administration that has violated the law and the law, by the way, which allows-... A law which allowed for secret wiretaps and for warrants retroactively. This is a complete violation of the law and quite frankly, you may not like this, but the president should be impeached for this."
Granted, this doesn't necessarily mean that one of the most beloved actresses in the history of television is a conservative Republican. Nonetheless, check out this exchange from a brief interview with Mary Tyler Moore in the February 6 Newsweek:
What do you watch on TV these days?
A lot of Fox News. I also watch "Two and a Half Men" and "Lost."
Of course, there's at least a pretty good chance that Moore's plug for FNC will annoy her former co-star, the outspokenly left-wing Ed Asner.
On his Countdown show Friday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered his latest attack on FNC host Bill O'Reilly during his show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment for saying something the FNC host did not actually say. Referring to O'Reilly as a "joke," Olbermann accused O'Reilly of attacking MSNBC for not covering the case of a Vermont judge who initially sentenced a child rapist to only 60 days in jail. In fact, O'Reilly complained that the "network newscasts" had ignored the story, which would only include ABC, CBS and NBC newscasts.
During his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, Olbermann normally chooses three nominees to be awarded the dishonor of that name. His three nominees are labeled as "Worse," "Worser," and "Worst." On Friday's show, after giving the second place distinction of "Worser" to conservative columnist Ann Coulter for joking that Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens should be poisoned, Olbermann moved on to dishonor O'Reilly with the label of "Worst": "Speaking of jokes, tonight's winner. [Photograph of O'Reilly displayed on-screen] Him again. He walked right into another propeller."
As reported yesterday by NewsBusters’ Mark Finkelstein, Katie Couric of NBC’s “Today Show” wondered aloud on yesterday’s program if Osama bin Laden might be getting information from the New York Times. It turns out that Couric isn’t the only media representative asking this same question. A just released Editor and Publisher article reported on more such media opining. First, MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson said the following on that network’s “Scarborough Country” Thursday evening (full transcript to follow):
“By the merchants of war who financed Bush's presidential campaign, in the words of Osama bin Laden and many on the left. In other words, Halliburton is responsible for this war, every single talking point. I hate to think of Osama bin Laden reclining in his cave in Waziristan, reading the op-ed page of ‘The New York Times.’ But, clearly, he is. He's got every talking point. It's uncanny.”
According to E&P, Carlson wasn’t the only one to suggest that Osama is paying attention to the American press:
The appropriately named Noah T. Winer has sent an e-mail to his MoveOn.Org Media Action team urging them to fulminate against CNN's plans to use conservative radio host Glenn Beck, complete with the panic-stricken headline "Stop CNN from Becoming Fox News." Winer pleads:
We recently alerted you to CNN's decision to hire right-winger Bill Bennett as a talking head. Yesterday, it got even worse: CNN Headline News announced plans to attract Fox News viewers by giving an hour of airtime every day to right-wing talk radio host Glenn Beck.
Variety magazine reports CNN "will look to build Beck into the type of TV personality that could siphon viewers from Bill O'Reilly, Joe Scarborough and other conservative hosts." There's not a single progressive host on CNN. Why is CNN trying to imitate Fox News? CNN's president thinks progressives don't really care, saying "they don't get too worked up about anything."
Call me overly suspicious, but the story of 16-year-old Farris Hassan traveling to Iraq on a whim strikes me as unbelievable. The Florida teen of Iraqi descent was all over the news in December when he apparently took off without telling his family and headed to Iraq to see what all the fuss was about. Hassan was able to finance his plane ticket to Kuwait with money he earned trading stocks on the Internet.
All the media coverage portrayed Hassan as a naïve young man who simply wanted to, in his own words, "experience…the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience everyday." In an essay written by Hassan and e-mailed to his teacher from Kuwait, he seemed to have pro-American views and he spoke passionately about the need to defeat the terrorists in Iraq. He was also interested in a career in journalism and after taking a course in "immersion journalism," he made the decision to go to Iraq. In the process, he found himself smack dab in the middle of a war zone.
It seems like a common pattern lately. A mainstream media outlet publishes a bombshell story, and within days, the whole thing unravels quicker than a cheap sweater swarmed by kittens. Such is beginning to look like the case for The New York Times’ eavesdropping controversy, which is showing a lot of wear and tear for its age.
Wednesday wasn’t a very good day for the ongoing health of this story, or for members of the media hoping that the recent revelations concerning National Security Agency espionage tactics could lead to impeachment proceedings against President Bush.
The day started with a former member of the Clinton White House voicing strong words of support for the Bush administration’s behavior. In a Chicago Tribune op-ed entitled “President Had Legal Authority to OK Taps,” former associate attorney general John Schmidt refuted media protestations concerning the illegality of the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens who are in contact with known members of al Qaeda without a court order allowing it to do so:
We've had a War on Poverty, and a War on Terror. But the war of special
interest to us is the War against Fox. The soldiers fighting in the axis against
FNC include ideological purists and rabid partisans. But there is another
musketeer in their army.
Given his philosophical bent, it is not
surprising that Mr. Keith Olbermann would join in the assaults. Still, it is
unusual for an on-air personality to regularly attack the personnel of a
competitor. Whether this violates some sort of unwritten rule or protocol in the
journalistic community we cannot say. But when the vilifications are of dubious
accuracy, and the tone becomes personal, they are not principled criticisms, but
rather egotistical indulgences.
Quick! Someone buy the man a Valium. Make it a double.
I'm sure most here remember the histrionics in which Shep Smith engaged while reporting from New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.
Smith was back in high emotional pitch today, shouting, screaming and accusing the government for its shortcomings as detailed in the just-released 9/11 Commission 'report card' on implementation of its national security recommendations.
Thankfully, Shep had James Carafano, across the video lines, to hold his hand and soothingly assure him that the sky wasn't falling.
Carafano, a cool customer, is a top scholar on security issues at the Heritage Foundation. A West Point grad and retired Army colonel, he also has a doctorate from Georgetown University and a master's degree in strategy from the U.S. Army War College.