Gee, and I thought I might be pushing the envelope on September 28 when I expressed concern that the "bailout" with the made-up $700 billion price tag that turned into the pork-loaded "bailout" with the made-up $850 billion price tag "blackmail" (though "extortion" may be the more appropriate word).
It is clear that this is indeed the case, at least twice over. First, there were the threats made by the Treasury Secretary, the President, and the Fed Chairman warning of a banking Armageddon if Congress didn't pass the bill.
Now there's clear evidence, reported with stunning casualness by CNBC, that Paulson & Co. threatened the big banks in some way to force them to "accept" Uncle Sam's preferred equity investments:
On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
NewsBusters.org's parent company, the Media Research Center, today released the following statement from President L. Brent Bozell, III.:
Arch-liberal MSNBC has finally pulled the plug on the horrendous anchor tandem of Olbermann and Matthews. It's a good move, but it's about time. I wonder what it was that finally made them see the light?
Now that the dust has settled on both parties' vice presidential picks, it's time to take a look at how the media treated Joe Biden and Sarah Palin in the crucial early hours after they were announced as running mates.
This analysis is the first of several "Quick Study" reports we'll be running this election season to give a snapshot of press coverage, primarily through the lens of cable television.
Looking at the transcripts of CNN, FNC, and MSNBC during the two "primetime" hours of the day John McCain and Barack Obama announced their running mates, a trend becomes quite clear: The media were much more likely to report negative information about the Alaskan Palin than the Delawarean Biden.
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:
It’s no secret that Bill Maher, the host of the HBO show "Real Time with Bill Maher," loathes religion. He came under fire earlier this year for slandering Pope Benedict XVI.
On Tuesday night, CNN’s Larry King gave Maher another chance to smack Christianity, which Maher called “detrimental” and “the ultimate hustle.”
Maher was on "Larry King Live" to promote his latest vehicle, the film "Religulous," which is due to open October 3. "Religulous," which reportedly takes aim at all religions, was supposed to be released around Easter of this year. It had been called a documentary previously but Maher is now selling it as a comedy. Larry King opened his interview with Maher by praising the movie but noted that it will offend people.
It doesn't matter if they talk about it on the evening news or not according to Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.
Pence, along with two of his Republican colleagues - Reps. Dan Burton. Ind., and Bob Goodlatte, Va., met with reporters about the protest they are waging against congressional Democratic leaders at the Capitol on Friday. Democrats, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have prevented an up-or-down vote on expanding offshore oil exploration and drilling.
"We don't need to be on the mainstream media," Pence said. "I think the switchboard at the Capitol is melting. Quite frankly, you know, I went home to the state fair and went to the ham breakfast, which starts at 6 a.m. There were 300 farmers from all 92 counties of Indiana. There was no mention made from the podium about our protest, but I stood up and simply said, ‘It's an honor to be here with the governor and the lieutenant governor.' And I said, ‘Quite frankly, it's just nice to be speaking where the lights are on and it brought the house down - people from all 92 counties.'"
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)
During the 9:00 a.m. hour of the July 16 "MSNBC News Live," Richard Pompelio, a lawyer with the New Jersey Crime Victims' Law Center, appeared as a guest for a segment on a New Jersey appellate court’s recent decision that cities cannot implement their own laws regarding child sex offenders. After asking Pompelio to describe Megan’s Law -- which requires law enforcement personnel to provide information about a child sex offender to the community in which the offender lives -- "MSNBC News Live" host Contessa Brewer worried:
The question that always comes up when you have these community hearings where law enforcement gather the neighbors and they say "look, we just wanna let you know that there's a sex offender moving in so that you can keep an eye on your children and stay safe." The neighbors say "why, why is he moving into my neighborhood.?" But they've served their time, they’ve done their, they've done the punishment so don’t they deserve a chance to come out and try to live a good life?
What Brewer must have forgotten is that the inspiration for Megan’s Law was the brutal 1994 rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kankaby Jesse Timmendequas, a twice-convicted sex offender who happened to live across the street from Megan.
Following the November elections, Brit Hume, longtime host of "Special Report" on Fox News Channel and one of its guiding lights, will step down from his anchor post and as managing editor for the Washington bureau.
The news broke this afternoon via Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz who reports that Hume will not be leaving the channel entirely--he will be retaining his role as a panelist on "Fox News Sunday."
No decision has been made by FNC chief Roger Ailes about the future of "Special Report."
The day after many in the media jumped to Barack Obama’s defense over the satirical cover of the latest New Yorker magazine, MSNBC News Live host Contessa Brewer brought on comedian and satirist Andy Borowitz to make fun of John McCain’s age.
Brewer introduced the segment by informing viewers that:
When John McCain was born, there wasn’t even FM radio and forget about computers, they weren’t even a blip on the technological horizon.
Later, Brewer played clips of McCain trying to be humorous, including him parodying the Beach Boys hit “Barbara Ann” with the lyrics “bomb Iran” and joking that perhaps U.S.-exported cigarettes are shipped to the regime in order to kill Iranians. What followed was an exchange about McCain being too old to properly function as president:
Appearing as a guest during the 10 a.m. hour of the July 11 “MSNBC News Live,” Chicago Tribune managing editor James Warren compared McCain adviser Phil Gramm’s recent comments on the economy’s health to those of Henry Ford during the Great Depression:
But I think in the annals of a not particularly sensitive remarks this will rank up there with a bunch of things. Somebody, a historian reminded me yesterday, the auto manufacturing pioneer Henry Ford during the Depression said something to the effect that “these really are good times, it’s just that few know it.”
Warren then went on to suggest that Gramm needs to be reminded of the current economy’s impact on average Americans:
The hiring of Howard Wolfson as a political contributor to Fox News has resulted in the ritual outrage from blue blogs and Fox haters. When they aren't smearing Wolfson ("sell-out", "right-wing Zionist", etc) the alternate tactic is used: diminish Fox by lying about its influence and reach.
During the noon hour of the July 8 "MSNBC News Live," host Tamron Hall discussed McCain's new TV ad with Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman and Washington Post’s Kevin Merida. The ad focused on McCain's time as a POW as demonstrative of his love of country and Hall questioned how Obama could compete with such a story.
Well, look, Senator McCain's got this great story about what he survived and what he endured and his campaign wants to tell that story as much as possible because they think that that's something voters respect and it gives them a sense of what he’s made of. But Senator Obama’s got a great American success story, too, and it’s just a different one and I think voters are equally impressed with what he’s all about.
So, the story of a man who never served in the military but was a community organizer and graduated from Harvard Law is "different" but just as impressive as the story of a man who was a prisoner of war, tortured by his Communist captors and refused special treatment in order to stay with his fellow servicemen in prison?
Howard Wolfson has become the latest prominent Democrat to join forces with Fox News Channel during the general election, hailing it for its "comprehensive and fair and evenhanded" coverage during the primaries.
That's quite an endorsement coming from one of the Democratic party's biggest communications mavens, and not one known for being especially soft-gloved. It's the equivalent of MSNBC suddenly getting endorsed by the likes of Mary Matalin or Ari Fleischer, something which is far less likely to happen. New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg broke the story:
Howard Wolfson, who was a top strategist for the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, is going where some Democrats were unwilling to go during the early days of the election season: the Fox News Channel. [...]
Mr. Wolfson is joining a network that Democrats shunned for a time, complaining that its coverage was unfair. But aides to Mrs. Clinton came to view Fox News as distinctly fair to her in a news media climate that they believed favored Senator Barack Obama.
In the years since he began working at FNC as host of its "Fox News Sunday" program, Chris Wallace has come to realize he was wrong for earlier thinking that the elite media are politically neutral.
"When I was in the mainstream media, when I was working at NBC and ABC [...] I thought we were fair and balanced. But since coming to Fox four and a half years ago, I have come to see things a little differently. And I, in fact, do believe there is a bias in the mainstream media and that is something I was only able to understand when I was outside of it," Wallace said in an interview with a Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts newspaper.
Even if you don't believe Fox is objective, you should be glad it's out there, Wallace added, if only for pluralism reasons:
Former ABC and CNN anchor Aaron Brown granted an interview to TV Guide about his new gig as host of the PBS foreign-affairs chronicle Wide Angle. He told them today's journalism students were cynical because they saw "journalism failing" before the Iraq war. Brown declared that the cable-news business wasn't for him, because it was based on "big broad opinion guys" -- as if Aaron Brown wasn't a liberal crusader?
Brown, who teaches journalism at Arizona State University, said today's students don't know much about television history and don't have enough respect for his TV news icons, like the late Peter Jennings:
Their view of the business is very broad. They see it all as "the business," as everything from the Travel Channel to ABC. I saw the business when I was their age as the networks and local TV. Their view of television is much broader. They are also incredibly cynical. A lot of that has to do with the Iraq war. They just saw journalism failing.
During the 11:00 a.m. hour of MSNBC’s News Live, host Tamron Hall discussed possible developments late in a presidential campaign such as an October surprise or a terrorist attack. After Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus claimed that Bush would be remembered for his leadership after 9/11, her Democratic counterpart Keith Boykin tried to insist that Bush was to blame:
You know, I disagree with what Cheri said too about 9/11. 9/11 was a failure for George Bush. He was asleep at the switch on 9/11. He had a memo, he had a memo a month before.
Michelle Obama has made a lot of news with her now infamous soundbite about how America is “downright mean” and that “for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country.”
But the mainstream media feel that they must defend the potential first lady and show her “softer side.”
During the 1 PM hour of Monday's MSNBC News Live, host Andrea Mitchell interviewed Susan Page, USA Today Washington Bureau Chief, about the newspaper’s interview with Michelle Obama. During their discussion of Obama, Mitchell gushed: “She’s Princeton, she’s Harvard, she’s so smart and so beautiful and, you know, a mom and a wife and a partner and yet people get caricatured.”
Peter Boyer's profile of Keith Olbermann in the June 23 New Yorker magazine, “One Angry Man,” contained a bunch of noteworthy revelations, such as:
♦ Olbermann wanted to be more vulgar in his “shut the hell up” insult of President Bush than TV allows. Boyer on Olbermann's May 14 “Special Comment” rant: “Phil Griffin, the senior vice-president in charge of MSNBC raised the matter of tone. Why did Olbermann need to end his commentary by telling the President of the United States to 'shut the hell up'?” Answer: "Because I can't say, 'Shut the f**k up.'”
♦ A focus group for CNN found “audiences didn't like him.” Shortly after Olbermann returned to CNN in 2003, “Griffin ran into an old colleague at CNN, who told him that that network had considered hiring Olbermann, but focus-group tests showed that audiences didn't like him.” (In fact, Olbermann did fill-in work for CNN in late 2001 through 2002. See screen shot from January 24, 2002.)
♦ After Olbermann delivered his first Special Comment in August of 2006 denigrating Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a “quack” pushing “fascism,” Boyer learned: “His bosses loved it. 'I think we're onto something,' the President of NBC News, Steve Capus, told me. 'That's what we keep hearing from the audience, more and more, is that they appreciate that we have people who are actually speaking truth to power...'” Olbermann wrote his diatribe after “downing 'a couple of screwdrivers'” while waiting for a plane at LAX.
The Obama campaign is trying to re-create Michelle Obama after her stumbles on the campaign trail, and the mainstream media are more than willing to pitch in.
Earlier today, NewsBusters contributor Clay Waters, director of the MRC’s Times Watch project, critiqued a New York Times story, written by Michael Powell and Jodi Kantor, which helped Obama soften her image and suggested that her "proud of my country" remarks were unfairly covered.
Powell reprised his work spinning Michelle Obama on MSNBC today.
The Times staffer sat down with MSNBC's Tamron Hall during the 9 AM hour of the June 18 "MSNBC News Live." During this time, Powell claimed that the potential first lady’s harsh image has "certainly been imposed on her," as though Mrs. Obama’s statements do not reflect who she really is and that those who criticize her public pronouncements are somehow putting words in her mouth.
Alessandra Stanley, the New York Times's reporter on the TV beat, framed the 2008 presidential campaign in her own inimitable way in the lead story of the special Emmy section of Sunday's paper, terming the Barack-Hillary contest the hit of the season in "No Debate: It's Great TV."
But Stanley really stretched things when, in a slanted attempt to get John McCain into the mix, she cited hypothetical people who prefer the original, rather campy Battlestar Galactica series, starring Lorne Greene, to the award-winning re-launch on the Sci Fi Channel.
"Change We Can Believe In" is the new "I Have a Dream," that is, if you ask the crew at CNN.
During Tuesday’s live election coverage, CNN reporters and analysts gushed over Barack Obama’s speech, comparing it to those of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln as well as praising Obama for his graciousness towards Hillary Clinton.
Leading up to Obama’s speech, Anderson Cooper announced: "An extraordinary moment for Barack Obama, for his wife, Michelle Obama, for all of those supporters, not only gathered in that, in that stadium tonight, but people watching around the country, even those who may not support Barack Obama certainly taking this moment to reflect on the historic nature of what is happening on this evening."
Over the course of this presidential campaign, we've released a number of studies showing how the Democratic presidential candidates have received softer coverage compared to Republicans, it's refreshing to see however, when a left-leaning journalism foundation admits the truth as the Project for Excellence in Journalism did in a comprehensive study released today:
If campaigns for president are in part a battle for control of the master narrative about character, Democrat Barack Obama has not enjoyed a better ride in the press than rival Hillary Clinton, according to a new study of primary coverage by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.
From January 1, just before the Iowa caucuses, through March 9, following the Texas and Ohio contests, the height of the primary season, the dominant personal narratives in the media about Obama and Clinton were almost identical in tone, and were both twice as positive as negative, according to the study, which examined the coverage of the candidates’ character, history, leadership and appeal—apart from the electoral results and the tactics of their campaigns.