Newsweek’s Sarah Kliff, in a January 27, 2009 web-exclusive article entitled “Pro-Lifers In Obamaland,” failed to mention how several organizations and individuals she labeled as “pro-life” have friendly relations with pro-abortion Democrats. She also tried to portray the pro-life movement as being “split” between “those who are preparing for the fight of their lives and those who see an opportunity to redefine what it means to be pro-life,” with the latter being the organizations sympathetic to the Democrats. Kliff wrote sympathetically of these groups, which are actually trying to muddy the waters of pro-life activism
Kliff began by introducing Sister Sharon Dillon, a “50-year-old former director of the Franciscan Federation” who has been “a pro-life activist since high school.” Sister Dillon “doesn't agree with Roe v. Wade,” but she’s also “frustrated with the kind of single-minded activism she sees around her.” What does Sister Dillon see as being “single-minded”? Apparently, it’s “young girls chanting, ‘hey hey, ho ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go!’” So Kliff started with the premise that wanting to overturn this Supreme Court ruling is “single-minded.”
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann branded Rush Limbaugh as the "extreme right," and made an analogy between Barack Obama talking about trying to divide jihadists from Muslim moderates during his inauguration, and the President's current efforts to isolate Limbaugh from other conservatives. Hosting Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter as guest, Olbermann began: "In his inaugural address, the President essentially tried to create a wedge between those who are reasonable and those who are not. Of course, he was talking about the Muslim world. Is it possible in this different context that he’s trying to do the same as he seeks bipartisanship with the Republicans, sort of, you know, separate, Mullah Limbaugh from the herd?"
Inspiring laughter from Olbermann, Alter’s opening act was to take a jab at Limbaugh’s past addiction to Oxycontin in distinguishing him from the Islamic mullahs: "Yes, I do think that`s what [Obama is] doing, although the mullahs don`t send their maid out into the parking lot to score drugs for them, so I`m not sure about the comparison."
While she pronounced his prayer as a "good job" for being generally non-offensive and inclusive-sounding, Newsweek's Lisa Miller -- who earlier this month suggested ditching inaugural prayers altogether -- was nagged by the "lingering question" that "remains" from the way evangelical pastor Rick Warren closed his inauguration ceremony invocation in the name of Jesus:
Warren's conservative theology teaches him that there is one path to God, and that is Jesus. So when he wraps his great big arms around Muslims and Jews (and homosexuals), does he really believe there's hope for us? Or is he just being nice?
Miller, as a religion reporter, should know better. Yes -- the evangelical Christian would answer -- there is hope for everyone who puts his or her hope in Christ alone, and that's why preachers like Rick Warren preach the Gospel of salvation in Christ alone. They truly believe it, and as such, it's not nice to keep the good news of salvation and peace with God to one's self for fear of the niceness cops of the media world.
On Monday, both The New York Times and The Washington Post noticed a long-simmering trend: Time and Newsweek have increasingly abandoned news reporting in favor of being more opinionated "thought leaders." In the Post, reporter Howard Kurtz bluntly declared, "The rival editors are turning out weeklies that are smaller, more serious, more opinionated and, though they are loath to admit it, more liberal."
Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and Time editor Rick Stengel didn’t want to admit a bias. "I'm not ideologically driven by any means," claimed Meacham. "I'm really conscious of trying to be fair and balanced," argued Stengel, although Kurtz noted he was at one time an aide to the Bill Bradley 2000 presidential campaign.
President Bush may have spurned any attempt to manage or manipulate his own approval-rating polls, but the media clearly see Bush’s low approval numbers as their achievement. Discussing Bush’s last press conference January 12 on the PBS talk show Charlie Rose, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham declared the poll numbers showed Bush’s leadership was below mediocre:
If you are a president of the United States for eight years, through the kind of tumult we faced, and you come out with this kind of approval rating, you have failed at a very basic job, which is to convince the people, enough people that your course is the right one. And so as a clinical matter -- that’s not a smart-aleck media point, it’s not a liberal media point -- it's just simply true that George W. Bush has not led the democracy in ways that our greatest presidents and even mediocre ones have done.
This quote was used to summarize the interview segment at the top of the show. Meacham added that President Bush looks at his father’s legacy and argued that everything that defeated him for re-election was right, including the 1990 tax hikes:
The news media are giddy with excitement as Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day approaches — CNN’s Jim Acosta on Tuesday’s American Morning touted how "Obama has some big shoes to fill, roughly the size of the ones up on the Lincoln Memorial....Barack Obama’s inaugural address may be more than the speech of his lifetime. Historians and speechwriters say it could be one for the ages."
But it would be a mistake to think reporters are always so worshipful of new presidents. While most presidents do start with a media honeymoon, a review of the past 20 years finds reporters are more celebratory when Democrats are taking over the White House, while coverage of GOP inaugurals has included a fair number of anti-conservative stinkbombs:
Starting this week, MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter is evolving from a printed hard-copy product to an all-electronic Web and e-mail publication, complete with audio and video clips of the worst quotes from each issue.
Every two weeks, Notable Quotables offers a concise summary of the liberal media’s most outrageous and/or humorous eruptions, and the very best quotes are harvested once a year so the journalists can receive “awards” at our annual DisHonors dinner in Washington, D.C.
To give you a flavor of what’s in each issue, here are the most obnoxious quotes from this week’s (January 12) edition. If you've been a subscriber to the print edition, or if you’d like to sign up for our new HTML or plain-text e-mail, please go to www.MRC.org/subscriptions.
Now that Barack Obama is assuming the presidency, partisan criticism is suddenly so passé. Just ask Chris Matthews. In the course of cheerleading anchoring the MSNBC coverage of Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing today, Matthews suggested that the media shouldn't cover the Republican National Committee's criticism of Clinton.
The comments came during the Hardball host's chat with Newsweek's Jonathan Alter. A few minutes earlier, Matthews had assured us that those who had the privilege of knowing Hillary personally were aware of what a "wonderful" person she is. Then it was time to attack Republicans for refusing to join the Hillary love-fest.
Invoking the threat of "religious fundamentalists abroad" and tacitly comparing them to religious conservatives in the United States, Newsweek's Lisa Miller advises President-elect Obama to ditch the practice of having clergy offer prayers at the presidential inauguration:
Our new president might use his Inauguration then to showcase the values that have made this country great: pluralism, moderation—and the separation of church and state. Though not as politically expedient, the better choice might be to pray in private.
Miller wrote her article for the January 19 print edition in light of a lawsuit "filed by the atheist gadfly Michael Newdow." While she noted that "[e]ven some of Newdow's ideological allies are steering clear," Miller went no further in exploring whether it may be Newdow who is showcasing a modern value that threatens the country's greatness: the filing of spurious lawsuits.
Instead, Miller sought to show that historians are uncertain just how traditional the role of religious faith plays in presidential inaugurals. Indeed, as far as Miller is concerned, the convention is all too recent and worse, a musty relic of the Cold War (emphases mine):
Meacham was asked to draw a comparison between Jackson and Obama on foreign policy, but told the audience he had doubts has to whether or not Obama was going to live up to the expectations many on the left had, especially when it came to the so-called past misdeeds of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Ever less than sensitive to the Bush-Cheney team and its supporters, Newsweek.com is now running a contest to clothe squinting, unsmiling paper dolls of the president and vice president and nominate them for a new career: "Give These Men a Job." They ask readers to "let us know why you want Bush and Cheney to take the job you've visualized for them."
Since Newsweek's remaining fans are most likely Bush-loathing liberals, the magazine's contest operators are already begging:
Please be creative. We've got more than enough submissions of prison jumpsuits!
This is no doubt different than the contest we'll probably see from Newsweek in a few weeks: a contest to suggest which president's face should be jackhammered off Mount Rushmore to make room for Obama.
Newsweek sprinkled throughout its year-end double issue, with Barack Obama on the cover as the #1 member of “The New Global Elite,” a bunch of potshots at Sarah Palin -- and even derided teen daughter Bristol too. In a list of those who committed “low behavior” during 2008 (which did at least also highlight John Edwards), the magazine accused Sarah Palin of a “smear” against Barack Obama, on another page Newsweek described her as an “ill-informed, inarticulate shopaholic” (while on the same page hailing MSNBC's Rachel Maddow as a “brilliant” woman who “gives libs a happy new voice”) and deep in the December 29/January 5 edition the magazine ridiculed Bristol Palin: “For 30 years, the Moral Majority has promoted 'abstinence only.' Jamie Lynn Spears, Bristol Palin...how's that working out?” The specifics:
Page 21, a list of “The Biggest Losers” of 2008 “who set the high-water mark for low behavior in 2008,” featured Palin: “In a smear that sounds even worse in retrospect, Sarah Palin goes rogue and stirs up prejudice by accusing Barack Obama of 'palling around with terrorists.'”
Ten pages later, in a full-page year in review version of the “Conventional Wisdom Watch” (not yet online in the posted CW), the newsweekly hit her and McCain, but admired Maddow:
Sarah Palin: Ill-informed, inarticulate shopaholic has ego bigger than Alaska -- and she's still the darling of the GOP.
John McCain: Hard to forgive the nasty end-game, and Palin pick was irresponsible. But classy concession speech and Letterman gig.
Rachel Maddow: Brilliant, ebullient, lefty lesbian gives libs a happy new voice. Will MSNBC be Obama's Fox?
In its year-ending double issue Newsweek couldn't resist injecting liberal media bias into its mini obituaries entitled "Remember Them Well."
Yet the newsmagazine seemed to forget, perhaps intentionally, the left-of-center politics of prominent liberals profiled while using terms like "far-right" to describe the politics of deceased conservatives such as Paul Weyrich.
But wait, there's more, Newsweek used the occasion to link the civil rights struggles of the 1960s with the fight for same-sex marriage and to approve the first President Bush's breaking of the "no new taxes" pledge.
Take Studs Terkel, the hard-left Communist journalist who passed away at age 96. Newsweek ignored his political leanings, euphemizing them by referencing his "working-class empathy and patient, guileless style [that] helped a confused nation speak its mind."
Rev. Jeremiah Wright was a voice crying in the wilderness that the mainstream media and middle class America weren't quite ready for and megachurch pastor Rick Warren is an ignorant evangelical rube who isn't totally without hope, given his awareness of AIDS and other favored liberal causes.
At the end of Monday’s ABC Good Morning America, co-host Chris Cuomo talked to Newsweek editor Jon Meacham about the magazine’s ‘Elite 50' list of influential people, as Cuomo put it: "People who will literally be able to shape our lives in many different ways." Meacham explained: "Our goal with this was, you know, elite got a bad rap this year. It wasn't a good thing to be an elitist. But there's a difference between elitism and excellence...we wanted people who really had fought their way up through a lot of obstacles in life, chiefly, the President-elect of the United States, and were able to exert that kind of command and control." Apparently, Obama staying at a $30 million Hawaiian resort for Christmas is a sign of his excellence.
Cuomo followed up by observing: "It's interesting because the aspects, the dynamics you're trying to capture here in the list, you have politics, economics, and then kind of other, other significant situations. Number one on the list, President-elect, soon to be President Barack Obama, incorporates all three of those." To that, Meacham replied: "With Obama there's been a kind of resurgence of American credibility. At least the world after several years of kicking us around a good bit, they're giving us a chance, I think, to reassert our leadership." [audio excerpt here]
In his December 19 blog post, "You too can be a spiritual dilettante," Get Religion contributor Douglas LeBlanc shared his bemusement with self-admitted atheist Sally Quinn's helpful suggestions to Newsweek/Washington Post's "On Faith" readers about interfaith dialogue. LeBlanc noted that Quinn gave her readers this assignment:
Try a new faith (or non-faith) for one day. That exploration can include attending a different place of worship or an event hosted by another faith tradition, discussing faith with someone whose views differ from your own, or inviting someone of a different faith to experience yours.
Then come back to the site and tell us about your experience. What did you learn? What surprised you? What bothered you? What would you like to know more about? How did you experience with another faith impact your understanding of or appreciation for that faith or for your own? Take a picture and share that too.
That's when LeBlanc turned on the snark, lambasting Quinn as out of touch with religious Americans who most certainly are politely engaged in theological conversations with friends, family and neighbors on a regular basis (emphasis mine):
How much do reporters hate George Bush? Newsweek correspondent Michael Hirsh appeared on the left-wing Young Turks radio show and cheered on the Iraqi journalist who chucked his shoes at Bush. "They have reason to be upset with the author of this, and a shoe aimed at Bush’s head is not such a terrible expression of some of that frustration." He suggested the Bush era was a time of "mass hallucination" and Obama’s rise put an end to the madness. Hirsh wished Bush good riddance: "This guy’s about gone, and we can stop pretending that there was any kind of, you know, rational strategic motivation behind this act of war that he committed." Hirsh said Bush and his team have "blood on their hands," but will never admit they were wrong. "Bush is not going to end up in The Hague obviously, there’s not going to be any charges against him, and so, you know, a shoe shied at him by an Iraqi journalist might be the one small measure of justice that was achieved."
During the recently completed presidential campaign, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff was all excited over his "web exclusive" piece on staffers with the McCain campaign that had connections with past lobbying efforts. Back in those days Newsweek was all about the evils of those darn lobbyists. For their part, Obama supporters at the time ballyhooed the pledges that Barack Obama had made stating that his was going to be a kinder, gentler campaign, one that chased those evil lobbyists away. Phooey on those lobbyists, became the popular mantra. But, now that The One has made a successful and historic run for the Oval Office, Newsweek has suddenly discovered a newfound respect for that most venerable and important institution of lobbying.
That's right, folks. Now lobbyists are "democracy in action" and as American as apple pie, dashikis and bailouts. According to Newsweek's Robert J. Samuelson, if you are down on lobbyists, why, heck, you're down on America itself!
This is, of course, quite a different attitude than Newsweek took when using its pages to beat down John McCain. In September, connections with lobbyists were enough to bring down a presidential candidate, yet by December they are the epitome of "democracy in action." That is quite a head-spinning turn around, wouldn't you say?
Rupert Murdoch has his critics - from those who think his papers are too tabloid-ish - The Sun, The New York Post - to those who find his cable television networks too right-leaning for their tastes. And back in 2007, there was a fear that his purchase of The Wall Street Journal would result in a hybrid of his newspapers and his cable news channels.
However, a year after Murdoch's acquisition, Newsweek senior editor and financial columnist Daniel Gross said he thought Murdoch has actually improved the Journal.
"I think it's worked out quite well for him," Gross said on CNBC's "Power Lunch" Dec. 16. "He owns one of the best newspapers around. They remade the Journal. The front section is a great kind of political, global coverage."
"I think the journalists - I never thought I would say this - the journalists are quite lucky to be working for Murdoch in this type of environment. You could be working for a company that was owned by Sam Zell or one of his publicly held newspapers."
Yesterday, Newsweek's daily Conventional Wisdom feature assigned a down-arrow to President Bush over Sunday's now-infamous shoe-throwing incident, wherein the outgoing President dodged two shoes chucked at him by an Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi. The flailing newsmagazine noted that al-Zaidi was "out of line," but was simply expressing the sentiments of many an Iraqi who wish they could "vote with their feet."
Today Newsweek continued to try to milk the incident for maximum Bush-bashing potential by assigning an up-arrow to al-Zaidi:
Shoe-thrower: Iraqis rally to support Bush's assailant, Libyan first daughter awards him a medal.
The high level Justice Department official who leaked FISA information to the New York Times, Thomas Tamm, is currently featured on the cover of Newsweek along with the story about his motivations for leaking the details of the top secret program to monitor communications between terrorist suspects. Newsweek attempts to portray Tamm as some sort of noble hero who was torn by his decision to violate the secrecy of the FISA program:
Nevermind that Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi would have been summarily executed had he even joked about throwing a shoe at then-Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein. To Newsweek, the "conventional wisdom" about Sunday's shoe-throwing incident merits a down-arrow for the outgoing U.S. president:
Bush: The shoe-hurling reporter was out of line. But many Iraqis shared the desire to vote with their feet.
Al-Zaidi is reported to have screamed at President Bush in Arabic, "This is a farewell kiss, you dog." It seems Newsweek approves of the sentiment.
This news item led me to ask the question posed in the headline:
(Reuters) - Newsweek magazine is planning staff cuts as part of a major editorial makeover likely to result in a slimmer publication, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people close to the magazine.
The cuts are expected to be outlined in two companywide meetings on Thursday, and will come from an extension of voluntary redundancies offered in the spring, when Newsweek shed 111 jobs, the paper said.
Corruption to the left of him. Corruption to the right of him. Corruption right in front of him. Yet in spite of all this, Howard Fineman of Newsweek maintains that Barack Obama has been somehow hermetically sealed off from Chicago corruption throughout his political career. Fineman is merely echoing the premise currently being promoted by much of the media in his Newsweek article about Illinois governor Rod Blagovech and Jesse Jackson, Jr.. Fineman starts out by hinting that Jesse Jackson, Jr. was corruptible (emphasis mine):
What I know about the South Side of Chicago I know not from Barack Obama, but from Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. In the summer of 1997, I spent two days with him there. He was in his second term representing the area. He was fond of it, but the real message I got from him was: I want to be in the Loop, literally.
The son of the civil-rights leader had attended St. Albans School in Washington and gone on to earn a law degree. He of course knew the history of the movement, and revered it. He admired his dad, whom he called "The Rev." But it was clear that Junior hungered for proximity to established money and power.
He told me about the time that friends in the business world had taken him downtown for a tour of the Federal Reserve's branch on LaSalle Street. He had been ushered into the inner sanctum and shown the real stuff: bundled stacks of Benjamins.
Update (11:37 a.m. EST): Miller is now on the radio program. She insists she had a radio show scheduling conflict. Ingraham apologized for saying she chickened out.
Update (11:26 a.m. EST): Miller backed out of appearing even solo with Ingraham. Mohler is now talking with Ingraham.
A few minutes from now Newsweek's Lisa Miller will appear on the Laura Ingraham radio program to defend her recent article that insists the Bible can reasonably be interpreted to defend same-sex marriage. Shortly after she goes toe-to-toe with Ingraham, the radio host will feature Baptist theologian Albert Mohler who will offer a full-fledged rebuttal. Apparently she refused to go on the show at the same time as Mohler.
On Friday, Newsweek.com's Conventional Wisdom gave an approving up-arrow to Congress for brow-beating Detroit auto executives. The magazine lauded the Democratic Congress for having "rediscovered what oversight means."
Jon Meacham’s ascension to the editor’s chair at Newsweek has marked a very noticeable trend toward turning it into Opinion Week (or OpEdWeek). Its cover stories are often not investigative news pieces, but long editorials. This week, religion reporter Lisa Miller uncorked "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage," and Meacham's Editor's Note dared the religious right to protest, like President Bush egging on the terrorists to "bring it on." Meacham clearly sees his magazine as a crusading progressive weekly:
The reaction to this cover is not difficult to predict. Religious conservatives will say that the liberal media are once again seeking to impose their values (or their "agenda," a favorite term to describe the views of those who disagree with you) on a God-fearing nation. Let the letters and e-mails come. History and demographics are on the side of those who favor inclusion over exclusion. (As it has been with reform in America from the Founding forward.)
Shortly after dismissing the Bible as archaic and "lukewarm" on marriage, Newsweek's Lisa Miller waxed poetic about it as a "powerful" "living document", essentially suggesting that religious conservatives who consider Scripture to be the inerrant, eternally true decrees of God Himself have a lower view of the Bible than religious liberals:
Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should.
Perhaps ignorant of the biblical warning against double-mindedness (James 1:5-8) four paragraphs earlier Miller began her treatise by misrepresenting and then scoffing at the Bible's teachings on sex and marriage, confusing human sinfulness for biblical teaching and Jesus and the Apostle Paul's teachings for a virtual loathing of marriage:
In only the latest example of how out of touch Newsweek magazine truly is with reality, the magazine Web site's Conventional Wisdom feature for December 5 praised an institution with lower poll numbers than outgoing President George W. Bush.
That's right, Newsweek gave a back-slap to the Democratic Congress for doing what it does best: preachy grandstanding, particularly in service of left-wing economic lunacy such as fresh mandates for "green" technology from Detroit:
CongressIn giving the Big Three the hairy eyeball, Capitol Hill seems to have suddenly rediscovered what oversight means