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.
James Taranto begins his Opinion Journal piece today by reporting that the TV show "Journal Editorial Report" will not be discontinued after it leaves PBS. It will be moving to the Fox News Channel beginning in January. Its last PBS airing is December 2. This will no doubt annoy liberals who can't stand the Wall Street Journal's editorialists, but it's quite imaginable that those who like their PBS to be a complete liberal playground will say the Paul Gigot show is moving to its more natural home. It's good news that this smart show continues.
Now for the bad news: AdAge.com reports that U.S. News & World Report is dumping the "On Society" column by John Leo. (He will blog for the U.S. News website.) Your best Ken-Tomlinson-intrigue imitations are invited: is U.S. News taking Leo out of the magazine because he's been so strong in recent years at assailing liberal media bias and inaccuracy?
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, in a new column previewing on MSNBC.com, has finally moved the “Bush lied” debate in a direction that has been highly anticipated: in her view, the alleged misinformation concerning Iraq WMD is equivalent to what President Lyndon Johnson and his Defense Secretary Robert McNamara did in 1964 concerning the Gulf of Tonkin incident:
“There is a parallel with Vietnam in the falsehoods advanced by government to rally congressional support and public opinion for war. Take the ongoing controversy over exactly what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. Although analysts on the scene radioed back to Washington that there was no cause for alarm, President Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara glossed over doubts about a second attack on American ships and trumpeted the alleged expansion of the war by the North Vietnamese to rally Congress and the American people to escalate a war that had been losing public support. Sen. William Fulbright, one of only two senators to oppose the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, said in a speech on the Senate floor, ‘We will rue this day.’”
The latest edition of "The Balance Sheet," the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP) newsletter, is up and archived on freemarketproject.com. Balance Sheet, published every week on Wednesday afternoon, provides the best of FMP coverage from the previous week on the media's bias against the free market.
You can obtain a free subscription to "The Balance Sheet" by clicking here and signing up for e-mail delivery.
Highlights from this week include FMP director Dan Gainor's take on the Fox News's special from Sunday: "The Heat is On," editor Amy Menefee's analysis of the media's hyped predictions on natural gas prices for this coming winter, and as always, "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" in economic and business reporting from the past week, and yes, the New York Times makes the list, but perhaps in a way that will surprise you. All that, plus links to commentaries, analysis, research and upcoming events from experts at think tanks like American Enterprise Institute, Heritage, and Cato.
Bill Bennett, in a new article at National Review Online, is questioning a possible "prewar intelligence giveaway" in light of remarks that Sen. Rockefeller made to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday on November 13, 2005. In responding to a question that Sen. Rockefeller himself "hyped" intelligence, here's what the vice chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence told Wallace (emphasis mine):
ROCKEFELLER: ... I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq — that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11.
The Free Market Project's Dan Gainor has critiqued the Fox News Channel special, "The Heat is On," a one-hour, one-sided special featuring environmental activists/celebrities Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Laurie David, wife of Seinfeld co-creator Larry David.
Gainor noted in his review that Fox News coverage of global warming and climate change stories had heretofore been the most balanced of all the broadcast outlets surveyed by the Free Market Project:
"The Heat is On" was a quite a departure for Fox. A Nov. 8, 2004, Free Market Project (FMP) study found Fox News the best of all five major TV networks in its news stories about global warming and the Kyoto Protocol. FMP analyzed news coverage from Jan. 20, 2001, until Sept. 30, 2004, and found "The Fox News Channel delivered better and more balanced reporting on global warming."
Gainor then documented host Rick Folbaum's lengthy disclaimer which excused the channel's one-sided coverage:
Fox News Channel on Sunday will air, albeit with a disclaimer, a one-sided documentary on global warming featuring liberal environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
A Fox News Channel documentary on "global warming," set to air Sunday night, provides only the liberal take on the controversial issue and was approved after environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reportedly "dragged" Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes to a lecture by former Vice President Al Gore, "kicking and screaming."
This is a very curious press conference just conducted by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. With his machine-gun delivery, he repeatedly flopped back and forth between saying that the “outing” of Valerie Plame, wife of discredited Ambassador Joe Wilson was a “serious matter,” and saying that he “reached no conclusion” whether she had been outed, and if so, when and by whom.
The mood in the room among the reporters changed appreciably as the conference went on. Initially, the press was very interested in the charges made and reasons for them, and in the charges not made against other people, and the reasons why not. But by the end of the conference, the reporters were clearly puzzled by the wandering speech of Fitzgerald and his lame analogies about a baseball pitcher throwing at a batter’s head, and a bank robber with his fingerprint on the holdup note and a signed confession.
With the nomination of a new Federal Reserve chairman, “inflation” is the buzzword of the week. But the media have been warning about rising inflation since Hurricane Katrina hit – some even likening today’s situation to the Jimmy Carter 1970s, a notorious time for both high oil prices and inflation.
“For the second day in a row the stock market took a drop,” said CNN’s Miles O’Brien on the October 6 “American Morning.” “And I think it’s – what do we need, those ‘Whip Inflation Now’ buttons, maybe.” Andy Serwer agreed: “Back to the ’70s. Turn your thermostat down, get your cardigans out.”
On tonight's The O'Reilly Factor (Tuesday October 4, 2005), guest Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a group that aims to address "human rights abuses" in the criminal justice system, parsed and weaved a group of crime figures to plaster Bill Bennett and mislead the television audience.
In a segment on racial attitudes in America, Jones said the following (emphasis mine):
JONES: He's (Bennett) making the case that black people commit more crimes than white people.
Bennett never made that specific claim with respect to raw numbers. Bennett's analogy implied that black people commit crimes at a higher rate than white people, and FBI crime figures appear to support this.
Broadcasters turn news into 24-hour speculation cycle about $5 per gallon post-hurricane gas prices.
Broadcast journalists have been the only ones bidding up gas prices lately. While they foretell a horizon of $4 and $5 gas, consumers on U.S. streets are paying an average of $2.81 – up just 6 cents since hurricane Rita.
ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox News all covered the constant speculation about Gulf refinery damage and subsequent gas price spikes before and after Hurricane Rita’s September 24 impact. CNN used its 24 hours each day to raise fears about higher gas prices with show after show. A Nexis search of CNN transcripts around Rita’s landfall (from September 21 to 25) showed more than 20 mentions of the possibility of $4 or $5 gas from at least 12 different reporters in just five days on that network.
From the transcript at a Clinton Global Initiative panel discussion (in PDF format) from last Friday, it's apparent that Time Warner chairman Richard Parsons wants to proclaim that CNN, inspired by that global visionary Ted Turner, is the best international news outlet, with a staff who see it "almost as a holy mission" to deliver news to the world. Fox owner Rupert Murdoch won't stand for that, since CNN International is "anti-American." Clinton then feels compelled to come to Ted Turner's defense.
PARSONS: "I think that CNN is by far the best and best positioned global news company in the world. We have more, sort of, investment and people on the ground and assets on the ground around the world than anybody else, and it's expensive. But -- and here I give a fellow named Ted Turner a lot of credit.
On Fox News this morning, Geraldo Rivera claimed that the New York Times’ Allessandra Stanley lied about him pushing people in New Orleans so his camera crew could catch him assisting folks being evacuated from a retirement home. Please reference Ian Schwartz’s post from Tuesday concerning this.
“The New York Times has lied about me. And they have an arrogance, an institutional arrogance that somehow prohibits them from admitting their mistake. And it’s really embarrassing. So, here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to provide to any journalistic outfit that wants it the entire uncut, unedited tape of what happened to me and what I was doing helping the airforce guys to evacuate that retirement home. And there is no first-year journalism student anywhere on the planet that will agree with their assessment. And the fact that they refuse to correct is an arrogance, it’s an anti-Fox bias. It’s also a kind of superiority…a social and cultural superiority.”
Reading viewer email at the bottom of 4:00 hour of CNN's "Situation Room," Jack Cafferty dismissed a call from a viewer "try to be 'fair and balanced'" in his commentary segments, deriding the audience member's suggestion as a "thinly veiled reference to the F-word network."
And finally, John writes: Cafferty, your liberal opinions are not appreciated by a majority of the viewers. Your smart remarks about our President and Vice President are not welcome. If at all possible, try to be "fair and balanced."
I think that was a thinly veiled reference to the F-word Network, Wolf. What do you think?
The misery and loss of life following Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans make it the worst calamity to hit the United States since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But after 9/11, many journalists insisted that their correct stance was rigid neutrality, refusing to call terrorists "terrorists" and insisting objectivity would be compromised by wearing lapel pins with the American flag. In contrast, journalists showed no similar desire for neutrality in covering this disaster.
According to The Political Teen, a Fox reporter encountered an interesting activist at an anti-Bush rally.
Fox News Anchor Brian Wilson talked about the clip:
WILSON: Finally, I had to shake my head in disbelief at this bit of tape from our FOX affiliate in Phoenix. The cameraman was sent out to talk to anti-war protesters gathered to show solidarity with Cindy Sheehan. And he ran into one fellow who had issues about talking to anyone from Fox News.
LEFT WING LOON: “I’m not talking to anybody from FOX. (WHY?) If you don’t know by now, then there’s nothing I can say that will help you. And I work for the news agency, as a matter of fact.”
WILSON: He works at a news agency and he’s participating in an anti-war protester. And he thinks that is fair and balanced.
The New York Times is reporting on a series of Pew Research Studies that indicate that a majority of Americans think that news organizations are biased in their reporting:
The share of Americans who believe that news organizations are "politically biased in their reporting" increased to 60 percent in 2005, up from 45 percent in 1985, according to polls by the Pew Research Center.
Many people also believe that biased reporting influences who wins or loses elections. A new study by Stefano DellaVigna of the University of California, Berkeley, and Ethan Kaplan of the Institute for International Economic Studies at Stockholm University, however, casts doubt on this view. Specifically, the economists ask whether the advent of the Fox News Channel, Rupert Murdoch's cable television network, affected voter behavior. They found that Fox had no detectable effect on which party people voted for, or whether they voted at all.