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?"
For Fox News fans who like Alan Colmes almost as much as they like Eleanor Clift or Helen Thomas, Wednesday night’s “Hannity and Colmes” was a blessed event (hat tip to Expose the Left with a video link to follow).
In a special Wednesday night edition of our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” series, in the left corner, Alan “I’m only here to disagree with everything my more intelligent partner says” Colmes. In the right corner, Mark “The Great One” Levin. Let’s get ready to rrrrrrrummmmmbbbble.
After her stunning knockout of Fox News’s resident liberal Juan Williams last Friday night, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham was looking to defend her title this Friday against Medea Benjamin. For those unfamiliar, Benjamin is the co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink who heckled visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mouri al-Maliki during his address to Congress Wednesday (hat tip and videocourtesy of Ms. Underestimated and Expose the Left).
Ingraham (once again guest-hosting the "O'Reilly Factor") was clearly ready for this one, as she stormed into the ring in the first round looking for a quick knockout. Such an opportunity presented itself when Benjamin actually said that the reason she was heckling the Prime Minister was because he refused to meet with her organization while in America. Ingraham pounced with a fury of rights and lefts:
“Are you kidding me?"
“You actually thought you were going to meet with the prime minister of Iraq?”
“Why should he meet with Code Pink?”
That was just the beginning, for when Benjamin jabbed with a statement that “we represent now, the majority voice in the United States,” Ingraham moved in like an angered Max Baer:
The following letter was sent on Friday to Rob Owen, President of the
Television Critics Association, in reaction to
reports that about 100 TV
critics walked out of a presentation by Fox News Channel Chairman and
CEO Roger Ailes, in protest of Fox’s "conservative spin."
Rob Owen, President Television Critics Association
Dear Mr. Owen:
I was appalled when I read news accounts
about the utter lack of respect that so-called "fair" and "balanced"
members of your organization exhibited toward Fox News Channel’s
Chairman Roger Ailes Monday night. Such open contempt for Fox speaks
volumes about their personal intolerance and disdain for any point of
view that doesn’t reflect their liberal ideology.
At a press conference for TV critics, FNC and Fox affiliates chief Roger Ailes announced he will be unveiling a syndicated morning news show next January. Now Fox fans will be able to get their fix without cable:
Ailes and Fox are gearing up for a yet-to-be
named morning show that will air after the local news broadcasts. Mike
Jerrick and Juliet Huddy of the Fox News Channel will host the 9 a.m.
offering, which will focus on light, entertaining fare when there's
little hard news.
The morning show will
launch in January and will go up against the final hour of a
Couric-free "Today" and newly formatted "Regis and Kelly," with a
little less Regis Philbin. Since September, Philbin has been doing four
days a week instead of five.
When Fox News Channel Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes spoke to TV critics on Monday night, about two-thirds of the group of 150 walked out in protest, with several “voicing their scorn for what they say is Fox News’ conservative spin,” the Miami Herald’s Glenn Garvin reported on Wednesday. (Updated 6:02pm EDT)
Can you imagine 100 TV critics, upset by CBS’s liberal bias, walking out on Les Moonves or Sean McManus? Or even a dozen critics turning their backs on the scandal-scarred Dan Rather? Such open disdain for Fox News Channel’s uniquely non-liberal approach speaks volumes about the media elite’s arrogant belief that it’s journalistic malpractice to give a fair shake to conservatives.
But, Garvin noted, Ailes had his own tweaks for the critics, citing their articles from a decade ago predicting “a quick and painful death for Fox News when it first went on the air in 1996.” Thwarting the critics’ desires, FNC has topped cable news ratings charts for more than four years, with CNN, Headline News and MSNBC trailing far behind.
For Laura Ingraham fans, it has been quite interesting to see her so much on Fox News lately, and watch the growth of one of America’s leading female conservatives. Conceivably, her recent success and notoriety have lead ABC to create a new television series casting “Ally McBeal” star Calista Flockhart as a conservative radio talk show host (as reported by NewsBuster Matthew Sheffield Tuesday).
With that in mind, Ingraham was on “The O’Reilly Factor” Tuesday, and she and Bill had some fun with this issue (hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left with video to follow). O’Reilly began, “Now, to change direction here, Calista Flockhart is teeing you off.”
Fox News Channel chairman and CEO Roger Ailes responded to Keith Olbermann's latest critical volley against Bill O'Reilly on Monday, saying the MSNBC host's behavior "is over the line."
Ailes, appearing Monday at the summer meeting of the Television Critics Association, was referring to a weekend incident at the gathering in which Olbermann whipped out a mask of O'Reilly and gave a Nazi salute.
Ailes said Olbermann picks on Fox's O'Reilly to boost his ratings.
Bill O'Reilly got his show off to a surprising start this afternoon, with a novel theory as to why the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in criticizing Israel for its role in the current conflict. During his opening monologue O'Reilly theorized that the papers are fearful of turning off liberal Jewish readers.
As per Bill's hypothesis, papers such as the NY and LA Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post have been taking big hits in readership and profitability. With Fox News Channel's ED Hill in the studio, O'Reilly continued: "liberal Jewish readers are all [those newspapers] have left" as a significant market segment. If the papers were to be too critical of Israel, it could alienate their last remaining readership niche.
In our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” segment, an amazing barnburner occurred July 21 that will remind folks of Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd's old "Point/Counterpoint" skit on “Saturday Night Live” with the only thing missing being the famous line “Jane you ignorant slut.”
On the left was Fox News’s Juan Williams. On the right was conservative radio host Laura Ingraham filling in for Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor” (very enthusiastic hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left and Ms. Underestimated with absolutely must-see video to follow!).
From the beginning, this fight perfectly exemplified the divergence in opinion concerning the most recent flare up in the Middle East. Juan enunciated the liberal view that Israel is largely to blame for the rise in hostilities, and that America needs to put pressure on it to force an expedient ceasefire even if it goes counter to Israel’s ongoing security. Here’s a perfect example of Juan’s solution to the current problem:
Somehow, I don't expect we'll be seeing the leftist Fox-haters trumpeting the latest news about Rupert Murdoch. Seems he was last seen hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton:
Two of the most public people in the world had a chummy breakfast yesterday, but media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) tried to keep their political get-together as secret as possible.
There were no Fox News cameras to record the odd couple breaking bread together at Murdoch's News Corp. headquarters in midtown, where, after years of attacking her, the conservative Murdoch hosted a fund-raiser for Clinton's Democratic Senate campaign.
The campaign refused to even confirm the time or location of the controversial fund-raiser. No estimate of the take or number of people who attended was released.
Quiz time: When is a political ad that features pictures of deceased, flag-draped American heroes controversial? Apparently, the answer is only when Republicans produce such a commercial. The Democratic Campaign Committee has posted a 60 second spot on their Web site, and it shows images of the coffins of American military personnel, as well as a soldier standing in front of a makeshift grave marker. (Update, 5:40pm EDT July 14: The ad has now disappeared from the DCCC Web site, replaced by one calling for a hike in the minimum wage.)
Unsurprisingly, ABC, NBC and CBS expressed no outrage over the Democrats attempt to politically exploit America's fallen. NBC'sToday show,ABC's Good Morning America, and CBS's The Early Show this morning all completely ignored the issue.
On Tuesday night’s “O’Reilly Factor,” host Bill O’Reilly and guest Laura Ingraham had a marvelous time tearing apart The New York Times (video link to follow). During the discussion, Ingraham pointed out something that many Americans now feel about the Old Grey Lady:
Well, I think that they truly believe that America is the single biggest danger to the modern world.
I don't think, Bill, that they believe that they have a dog in this terrorism fight. I think they think it's a fight between two groups of fundamentalist, the fundamentalists who are the Islamists. They don't much care for them.
But then the fundamentalists in the Bush administration, who have this messianic view of the world that they can make the world in their own image. And I think they're more petrified of the Bush fundamentalism, as they refer to it, than they are the Islamists.
Yikes. That about says it. O’Reilly then asked a pivotal question:
That didn't take long! Just yesterday I suggested readers keep in mind the MSM's bashing of Pres. Bush on his birthday the next time a liberal accused conservatives of being 'mean-spirited.' Groucho fans will know what I mean when I say: bring down the duck! On last evening's Journal Editorial Report , liberal newsie Marvin Kalb said the magic 'm-s' word in condemning the Wall Street Journal for its criticism of the New York Times.
The Journal had run an editorial, Fit and Unfit to Print [subscription required] that both explained why it had run a story on the anti-terror financial tracking program, and criticized the New York Times for doing so. For the record, the editorial explained that in contrast with the Times article, the Journal only published declassified information that had been provided them by the Treasury Department.
CBS "Early Show" host Harry Smith performed two interview segments on North Korea's failed missile test. While he showed noticeable restraint from the usual isn't-Bush-bumbling line of questioning, even showing concern at America's adversary here -- asking Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns "Is Kim Jong Il just nuts?" -- he didn't press former Clinton diplomat Bill Richardson on the Clinton administration's policy of appeasement and arms-control agreements that the North Koreans egregiously violated.
The Burns interview came first. In addition to the "just nuts" question (Burns demurred diplomatically, "let's just say he's unpredictable"), Smith asked: "The Chinese as recently as last week were reaching out to the North Koreans, saying please don't do this. They seem to do whatever they want. How do you deal with a country that is so willful and disregards the pleas of even its friends in the neighborhood?"
In the past two years, as oil and gasoline prices have moved to record highs threatening to strangle the American economy, the media have blamed it all on the current Administration in the White House. Or on Hurricane Katrina. Or Iraq. Or Iran. Or a strike in Nigeria. However, on Thursday, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly got Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) to admit that the nation’s energy problems are caused by government’s inaction for decades, and that both parties are to blame (extremely grateful hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left with a video link to follow).
Certainly, this was an inconvenient truth for a former presidential candidate who blamed all the world’s problems on President Bush during the 2004 campaign to admit on national television. But, he didn’t give this up easily. In fact, at first, he did blame it on guess who. Fortunately, O'Reilly didn't let him get away with it:
“You and Al Gore, big environmental guys. And I'm a big environmental guy. OK? So I'm seeing Gore and Kerry. Here they are, decades in the Senate, and I'm seeing Brazil have ethanol for all its automobiles starting next year. And I'm seeing the United States not even close to having ethanol for automobiles. I'm going, ‘How come Gore and Kerry didn't get us ethanol?’ How come?”
After Kerry stated that he voted for ethanol whenever it came up in the Senate, O’Reilly asked, “Why didn’t it happen?” Kerry said, “Because the president’s energy policy…” O’Reilly asked, “Is this President Clinton?” Kerry said, “This is President Bush.” That’s when it got really interesting:
In the Style section of Saturday's Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz covered the slightly strange story of the Wall Street Journal editorial page criticizing the New York Times scoop on the SWIFT financial tracking system, when the Journal ran the story as well once the Times decided to publish. But the most interesting part of the story was the new poll:
In a Fox News poll released yesterday, 60 percent of those surveyed said the Times did more to help terrorist groups by publishing the information, while 27 percent said the story did more to help the public. Forty-three percent called what the newspapers did treason. Just over half said government employees were more to blame for leaking the classified information, 28 percent faulted the media for reporting it, and 17 percent said they were equally to blame.
Representatives from Fox News, CNN, and the BBC were told that broadcasting opinion surveys about Mexico's upcoming election eight days before the voting was forbidden. They are also banned from analyzing the candidates' weaknesses and reporting on campaign activities.
CNN and BBC both have separate feeds from the one shown in America (No Lou Dobbs en Español), so they have no problem complying with the rules. Fox News has only one feed, and would have to alter its entire programming.
MRC President Brent Bozell appeared on FNC's "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday morning to address the "breathtaking arrogance" of the New York Times deciding what national-security secrets should be divulged. Brent loved John Snow's letter noting that arrogance, and suggested that the Times didn't show a "left-wing agenda" on this story, but a "far-left-wing agenda." See our posted video and handy Times Watch links here. Here's a transcript:
Co-host E.D. Hill: “Our next guest says the New York Times is guilty of treason. Treason, for publishing that piece on that secret government program that tracks terrorist finances.”
MRC's Geoff Dickens reports that on Thursday's edition of his Fox-syndicated show "Geraldo at Large," Geraldo Rivera editorialized against keeping terrorist suspects at Guantanamo: "And later, close it down, for God’s sake. Gitmo is a national embarrassment. We’ll take you inside the terror lock-down on Cuba."
Rivera used strange terms like "malignant desperation" and "successful suicides" to describe the situation on the ground, although Judge Andrew Napolitano noted that the prison is "immaculate" and the treatment of prisoners is "almost gentle." He was disturbed by the lack of charges against these suspects, but acknowledged it could be seen as an injustice to release these suspects "to re-attack the American soldiers they were once fighting against." Here's more of the transcript:
Fox News Channel is currently thinking about a new show that is supposed to be a conservative version of the very liberal "Daily Show," seen on Comedy Central.
I've long thought conservatives should take a stab at televised political parody. The last time it was really done was during Rush Limbaugh's short-lived syndicated show which was doomed by niche audiences and unsympathetic programming. In the cable age, though, this type of show really has potential. I was pleased to see FNC has apparently chosen just the person I had in mind for such a show, radio host Laura Ingraham.
TV Newser has more details, noting that the show may never happen since it's only a pilot.
Related: Study says "Daily Show" creates negative perceptions among viewers about politics. The post has an unrelated but interesting item about how Democrats believe the federal government should give more aid to white victims of Hurricane Katrina than black victims. See James Taranto's discussion for more.
Bill O’Reilly interviewed the outspoken Geraldo Rivera on “The O’Reilly Factor” Thursday evening concerning the current goings on in Iraq, and how the media are covering it. During their discussion, Geraldo stated his surprising support for President Bush, while offering a rather strong critique of Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) as well as for all those who want to establish a time certain for American troop withdrawal (video link to follow):
“The only way we can find an honorable exit from Iraq is to do what the commander in chief is now suggesting and what good people like Hillary Clinton are also suggesting is to stay the course. We have to stay the course.”
He continued on this train of thought later in the interview:
“But I'm telling the American people right now that Bush is right. The commander in chief is right. Woe on to us if we think that we can forget about what's happened. That, I think, is lamentable.”
Geraldo also lashed out at the junior senator from Massachusetts:
What do you do when you’re a cable news network struggling to keep up in the ratings? Do you lure viewers away from your competitor with programming that they would want to watch, or alienate those same viewers by insulting their intelligence?
The latter seems to be the strategy for CNN’s Jack Cafferty. Shortly before 5pm EDT on the June 22 The Situation Room, Cafferty made this remark to substitute host John King after reading viewer responses to his question of the hour:
John King, substitute host: "Jack, I’m glad they always tell you exactly what they’re thinking."
Cafferty: "And, and they’re pretty smart, too."
King: "Yes they are, yes they are. Thank you very much–"
Cafferty: "The dumb ones watch Fox."
King [laughing]: "Ouch! Ouch, ouch, that’s going to bring some more e-mail."
The always modest, always charming Howell Raines, former executive editor of the New York Times, has a new autobiography out, “The One that Got Away,” a sequel to his 1993 memoir “Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis.”
Dipping into his latest book on his love of fly fishing, we find that Raines is still rising to the conservative-bashing bait.
On page 189, he lets fly with thoughts about liberal bugbear Fox News:
“Fox, by its mere existence, undercuts the argument that the public is starved for ‘fair’ news, and not just because Fox shills for the Republican Party and panders to the latest of America’s periodic religious manias. The key to understanding Fox News is to grasp the anomalous fact that its consumers know its ‘news’ is made up. It matters not when critics point this out to Foxite consumers because they’ve understood it from the outset. That’s why they’re there. Its chief fictioneer, Roger Ailes, had been making up news in plain sight for a half century.”
Neal Gabler might have hit a new low when it comes to the coarseness of his criticism. On this evening's Fox News Watch, he branded as 'sub-moronic' a statement President Bush made during his recent Iraq trip. And, furious that the media has been insufficiently critical in its coverage of Iraq for his taste, Gabler repeatedly labelled the MSM 'brain dead.'
Gabler began his assault by pouring cold water on the president's recent uptick in the polls: "the boost is very small. . . If you want to look at his numbers, his numbers are very, very low."
Even so, Gabler was galled that the press hasn't given sufficient attention to the bad news from Iraq. "The most positive media development for the president has been the fact that on the very day that he visited Baghdad, 24 Iraqis were killed in Kirkuk of all places and 50 were killed around Iraq, but it got no coverage. It was page 15 of the New York Times."