Spreading the WordAs we reported earlier, former Newsweek reporter Michael Hastings drops one rhetorical bomb after another on the media in a new article for GQ magazine. All of them reinforcing what we already knew, best summarized by Hastings himself: the press's "objectivity is a fallacy."
It has been a horrendous year for the media's credibility, and Hastings's statements only make it worse. "If (it) sounds like I had some trouble being ‘objective,' I did. Objectivity is a fallacy. In campaign reporting more than any other kind of press coverage, reporters aren't just covering a story, they're a part of it-influencing outcomes, setting expectations, framing candidates-and despite what they tell themselves, it's impossible to both be a part of the action and report on it objectively."
Hastings is utterly derisive of both former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator and Presidential nominee John McCain, both of whom he covered during the Republican primary. He in fact dreamed repeatedly of doing Giuliani harm as some sort of warped civic duty.
Michael Hastings, formerly of Newsweek, has written a sometimes too truthful but often funny account of his one year on the campaign trail with various presidential candidates during the primary season. Hastings' assignment was to write behind-the-scenes stories for Newsweek about the campaigns which he recounts in GQ magazine in a story titled, "Hack: Confessions of a Presidential Campaign Reporter." So just how truthful was Hasting's account? Well, he admits upfront that "objectivity is just a fallacy" for reporters. And just how unobjective was Hastings? Well, check out this fantasy he had while covering Rudy Guiliani on the campaign trail (emphasis mine):
When a McCain campaign representative told David Shuster today that the source of much of Barack Obama's fund-raising is unknown, the MSNBC host scoffed, claiming only "right-wing" blogs could believe that and challenging the spokesman to cite a credible source.
Instead of fulminating about the conservative blogosphere, David might want to pick up a copy of Newsweek, which last time I looked had a news-sharing arrangement with . . . MSNBC. None other than Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reported those very facts about Obama's fund-raising last week.
McCain spokesman Ben Porritt was Shuster's guest during MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour today.
Not that it's any big surprise given his well-established liberal views and contempt for conservative policies, but in what is an unusually blatant abandonment of basic journalistic pretenses, CNN on Sunday -- and Newsweek in this week's issue -- provided time and space for Fareed Zakaria to outline why he will be voting for the “steady and reasoned” Barack Obama. Along the way, he denigrated Sarah Palin as “a rabble-rousing ultraconservative.” At the end of his Sunday (October 19) CNN program, Fareed Zakaria: GPS, Zakaria told his viewers of his choice, concluding:
John McCain represents the best of America's past, and Barack Obama the hope of the future -- the hope of a country that can make big changes and live out one of its greatest promises, of equal opportunities for all Americans, of every caste, creed and color. And America has always been a country that looks forward. So, I will be voting for Barack Obama on election day this year. (CNN.com video)
The Editor of Newsweek International was more explicitly hostile to McCain and Palin in the October 27 domestic edition of Newsweek where, in a piece titled “The Case for Barack Obama,” he made clear his disagreement with conservative policies and his left-wing view of past campaigns.
In an October 16 Web exclusive today, Newsweek's Sarah Kliff looked at the "chorus of disapproval" that met Sen. John McCain's use of air quotes when dismissing the "health of the mother" exception that swallows the rule in some late-term abortion bans. Of course Kliff hit her readers with complaints from such unbiased, neutral observers as Chris Matthews and NARAL Pro-Choice America, which endorsed Sen. Obama in May. She concluded by citing a pro-choice Biden backer insisting that pro-lifers would be turned off too.
Kliff then went on to dive into what the health exception is in federal case law and conceded that:
McCain is correct when he suggests that the law does not specify which conditions or complications should be included in the legal definition of what constitutes a threat to the mother's health. That decision is left up to the doctor.
Tony Dokoupil, who once asked "is journalism ready for a black president" in the Columbia Journalism Review -- he also excerpted it in a blog entry at Huffington Post -- gave Newsweek readers a look at what the presidential candidates' neckties say about the men who wear them.
You may scoff now, but Dokoupil sure finds it a knotty problem (emphases mine):
So what does the knot say about today's presidential candidates? In McCain's case, it screams old-guard Washington establishment, like a bolo screams cowboy. According to his top adviser, Mark Salter, the Arizona senator wears his tie with either a Windsor or the related half-Windsor knot--a configuration long favored by Beltway elites and, at least judging by the photos, nearly every U.S. president in the 20th century.... McCain's Windsor might seem like an odd choice for a self-proclaimed maverick, but it reflects the senator's public struggle to remain true to himself despite the distorting pressure of the presidential campaign. [...]
Liberal director and conspiracy theory-loving Oliver Stone was actually "fair" to President George W. Bush in his new film "W." Indeed, Stone is practically a "historian" when it comes to chronicling the life of the nation's 43rd president, that is if you ask Newsweek's Alan Brinkley. Of course when measured up against his prior films about American presidents, it's probably not that high a bar to clear.
From his October 11 movie review, "From Man to Mockery, and Back Again":
Through most of the undistinguished history of films about American presidents, concern for truth has been in short supply.
Oliver Stone, whose new film, "W.," is his third examination of a modern president, has aspired to be different.
Oh, it gets better. You see, "W." is "sunny and sympathetic":
For the third time in less than six months, Newsweek religion reporter Lisa Miller has informed the world that Kirbyjon Caldwell, an African-American pastor from Texas who formerly supported President George W. Bush, has “given himself heart and soul” to Democratic nominee Barack Obama.
Miller, whose latest Caldwell feature is a three-page spread in the current issue of Newsweek, writes "last summer he aligned himself with a man who he believes better represents the Christian ethics and American values he preaches." Miller wrote effectively the same story about Caldwell in June and July of this year, following closely on the heels of Obama’s break with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright at the end of May. The article in June, "His Mobile Ministry," prominently featured Caldwell as one of many pastors who were part of a telephone prayer ministry for Obama. The July article "Finding his Faith" was about Obama’s search for religion. In the third article, Miller describes Caldwell as a former Bush supporter who, "when he talks about Obama, he can barely keep the emotion out of his voice."
The story in question took the skilled labor of a grand total of four ABCNews staffers, chief among them Martha Raddatz. In her lede she noted the Dow dropped 107 points in the course of the seven minutes President Bush spoke from the White House on the ongoing financial crisis.
But it seems Raddatz, along with Lisa Chinn, Jon Garcia and Kate Barrett wrote too soon. The market rebounded from its deepest losses earlier in the day to close down only 128 points.
In a rapid fire display of flip-flopping that would make even the staunchest of liberals proud, Newsweek's Howard Fineman manages to change his opinion on the justification of an Obama-Lincoln connection three times in just under 900 words.
The random logic is hard to see through all the gooeyness behind the concept of such a ridiculous comparison in the first place, but once you wipe the screen, you'll be able to spot it clear as day.
Fineman starts by asking himself a few questions:
Is there any reason, other than the lean frame and knack for giving good speeches, to compare the two men? Is there any reason to see in Obama a Lincoln-like ability to unite a "house divided" in our perilous times? Is that even a fair question to ask or comparison to make?
While most of us would scoff at the notion, Fineman concludes otherwise:
Update's Update: I have been assured by IT that we are FINALLY ready to go with this.
The American people in poll after poll and in greater and growing numbers are railing against the egregious liberal bias of the press. And nowhere are the media more horrendously slanted than in their coverage of the presidential campaign of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. They are (to say the least) very, very sweet on him.
The MRC has put together this college basketball tournament-style bracket event, the Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen Media Bias Tournament, so that you, the angered members of the media’s audience can vote for who gives Sen. Obama the most loving and fawning coverage of all.
Newsweek's Jon Meacham thinks that Governor Sarah Palin is too much a commoner and too stupid to be allowed to become vice president of the United States of America and apparently his employer agrees with him. The October 13 cover of Newsweek features a close up photo of the Governor with the headline "She's One of the Folks (And that's the problem)," and Meacham writes the accompanying cover story. Be clear about what this means: This is a direct attack on Mr. and Mrs. America. We are all too stupid to be president in the elite opinion of Jon Meacham and Newsweek magazine.
Meacham finds Palin to be incurious, unprepared, and even finds it "dangerous" if she were to become our vice president but he offers us nothing but his opinion to judge by. And it's all because she doesn't measure up to his personal standards. Sadly for Meacham's elitism, however, Palin easily satisfies the standards that the Founding Fathers set as criteria for stepping into the highest office in the land. Curiously, Meacham does not once mention the actual Constitutional requirements to run for office in his entire sarcastic attack on Sarah Palin. Like most of his ilk, the Constitution seems meaningless minutia to him.
Osborn Elliott, the top editor of Newsweek from 1961 to 1976 and Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism from 1979 to 1986, passed away last Sunday at age 83 (Monday, September 29 Washington Post obituary). He was retired when the Media Research Center was founded in 1987, but he didn't hesitate in 1992 and 1995 to express his hostility to conservatives and he serves as a reminder that the Angry Left populated the highest levels of the mainstream news media long before the blogosphere gave them new venues.
He helped to organize a “Save Our Cities” rally in 1992 where he accused Republicans of having “savaged our urban schools, our housing, our health care, our social services,” denounced “Democrats who have collaborated in this butchery” and charged: “We hold accountable those who waste our billions on a military with no enemy to fight.” (Screen shot is from that Saturday, May 16, 1992 event.)
Three years later he equated “Reaganism” with “social Darwinism” as he castigated journalists for being too nice to Reagan: “By failing to...adequately expose the inane contradictions of supply-side theories, aka Reaganomics, I believe journalism deserves some of the blame for ills that now afflict us.”
Evan Thomas, Editor at Large with Newsweek, on Friday night likened Sarah Palin to Louisiana's infamous demagogic Democrat of the 1920s, Huey Long. On Inside Washington, a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station, Thomas reacted to Palin's suggestion in the VP debate that the Vice President has a legislative role:
Here's what's disturbing: Either she didn't know, because actually the legislative role is just about zero as Biden says, or scarier she has a little bit of Huey Long in her. The kind of -- you could see her being a demagogue, saying “I got to do this, the rules are in the way, to heck with the rules, let's do it.”
Earlier on the October 3 show, Thomas (Newsweek's bio), until 2006 Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor and before that the magazine's Washington bureau chief, contended she reflected the worst aspects of President George W. Bush:
CNN world affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria, in a column published in the October 6 issue of Newsweek, condescended towards Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, labeled her "utterly unqualified to be vice president," and complimented Katie Couric for her "smart question" to the Alaska governor in a recent interview. He later asserted clairvoyantly that"she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start."
As a result of this slam, CNN host Wolf Blitzer interviewed Zakaria on Monday’s The Situation Room, in which the analyst referenced Tina Fey’s nearly word-for-word quotation of Palin from the Couric interview on last Saturday’s SNL program, which was played earlier in the program: "The scary answer was on the economy -- the one you displayed switching back and forth between Saturday Night Live, because it was absolutely clear, that she simply did not understand any of the issues involved. She did not understand the question."
Giving a pass to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her failure to cajole enough Democrats to vote for the bailout agreement, Newsweek's Daniel Gross blamed the minority Republican conference, accepting without skepticism the argument that a partisan speech by the San Francisco Democrat caused some Republicans to vote "nay" out of spite alone:
Was the bailout bill killed by malice or by incompetence? It's hard to argue against incompetence, since it has been so rampant, especially on the Republican side of things in Washington. The congressional leadership and the White House clearly lacked the heft-or the energy-to whip recalcitrant members into line.
In a September 29 blog post aimed at "Placing Blame" for failure of the bailout package in the House of Representatives today, Time's Joe Klein began by tossing, "I don't blame John McCain for not rounding up enough Republican votes to get this bailout bill through the House of Representatives."
Klein added a few other reasons he doesn't blame the Arizona senator:
...he's never held a leadership position and therefore doesn't know how to whip votes and finally--well, uh--there is one tried and true method for getting members of Congress to vote aye and McCain opposes it: a sweetener, like say, funding for a bridge in their districts. That is one reason why we have earmarks. McCain is opposed to giving away baubles for the greater good.
Yet he left out one key fact. It was Democratic, not Republican votes that doomed the bailout agreement.
Joe Biden's FDR gaffe was noticed, but with a shoulder shrug, by Newsweek's October 6 edition of "Conventional Wisdom." The same feature cheered Obama's debate performance as "presidential," gave the thumbs up to Dave Letterman's tirade against Sen. John McCain, and reveled in Gov. Sarah Palin's "moose caught in the headlights" interview with CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.
"Most popular YouTube video of the week: Katie Couric field-dressing Palin. Sometimes it takes a woman to expose a woman," read the introductory caption for the "First Great Debate Edition" of the weekly CW digest.
Yet when it came to Obama's gaffe-prone running mate, the CW only assigned a sideways arrow to the Delaware senator:
As your humble correspondent noted earlier today, one needs to have some training in reading liberal tea leaves in order to determine which candidate actually wins presidential debates. In the case of this Newsweek article, written by associate editor Andrew Romano, absolutely no such training is needed. The title flat out tells us: "McCain Won." However there is also one highly laughable caveat added on: "But Will It Matter?" First Romano tells us why he thinks McCain won (emphasis mine):
Tonight, John McCain was the more effective combatant.
Is it just me or does everything seem to be broken?
Our credit markets are scared of their own shadows. Our political system looks oxymoronic. Our balance sheet is drowning in red ink. We are dismissed, laughed at or reviled in much of the world. The Russian Navy is sailing into our hemisphere. No one trusts anyone else, especially in the media, to tell the truth.
It's the perfect moment for me to start a presidential campaign blog!
Yes, folks, no burden is too heavy to bear for the busy Newsweek staffer and MSNBC contributor:
At that time, Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom toasted Kim Jong-il, the dictatorial "Dear Leader" of the radical Communist state, on the agreement, which would have removed North Korea for a list of state sponsors of terrorism:
"North Korea: U.S. to take it off the terror list after nuclear declaration. More cognac for the Dear Leader!"
Here's the Newsweek CW for today's online edition:
[Down arrow] By planning to restart nuclear plant, the country shows it's more volatile than Wall Street.
Newsweek’s loathing of Sarah Palin comes through loud and clear in the September 29 issue, which awards most of four pages to atheist author Sam Harris to attack her religious "ignorance" and dismiss her as "a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history." (Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson defended Palin’s background in a sidebar.) Newsweek’s headline was blunt: "When Atheists Attack: A noted provocateur rips Sarah Palin—and defends elitism." The highlighted quote is "The joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance – it’s what’s so unnerving about this pick." That shortens the actual quote, in which Harris claims Palin supporters "celebrate" her ignorance.
It’s hard to escape the idea that Harris is speaking for the vast majority of the Newsweek editorial staff as he ripped Palin as the McCain campaign’s "Rapture-ready extremist" being led around like a "pet pony." (People who think the media were sexist toward Hillary probably can't find her described as a "pet pony.") Picking up where the passage starts that Newsweek liked best, Harris mocks Palin with an imaginary Charlie Gibson interview:
Borrowing from the nickname for a federal earmark that would have built a multi-million dollar bridge for an Alaska town of 50 people, Newsweek's Mark Hosenball offers readers of the September 29 print magazine a look at "[Gov. Sarah] Palin's Pipeline to Nowhere."
Hosenball suggests that Palin's $500-million "principal achievement" as governor "might never be built after all." But while the headline evokes images of the "Bridge to Nowhere," this isn't a case of government waste as much as it is of the endless red tape of lawsuits.:
Approximately half of the proposed pipeline would run through Canada; native tribes who live along its route complain they haven't been consulted about it and are threatening to sue unless they are compensated. Representatives of the canadian tribes, known as First Nations, say Palin and other pipeline proponents are treating them with disrespect. The tribes' lawyers warn that the courts are on their side and say the Indians have the power to delay the pipeline for years-or even kill it entirely by filing endless lawsuits.
Not long ago, many in the mainstream media were bemoaning the deterioration of public discourse in this year's presidential campaign. Stories of lipsticks and pigs and other nongermane matters were irrelevant and time-wasters, they tut-tutted. Let's get back to the real issues.
So the September 29, 2008 Newsweek strikes a blow for substantive journalism and giving voters information they really need to know. "All the Candidates’ Cars" begins:
When you have seven homes, that's a lot of garages to fill. After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates' cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here's the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one.
NewsBusters is, of course, a site dedicated to exposing liberal bias in the press. But, once in a while the liberal press gets something right and this is one of those cases. On Spetember 20, Newsweek hosted an article by FactCheck.org that exposed the outright lies contained in the claims Barack Obama made against John McCain's record on Social Security in order to scare as many elder citizens as he can. Obama may have expected every Old Media outlet out there to cover for him, but Newsweek didn't oblige this time. So, I thought I'd highlight this piece and give Newsweek the thumbs up for hosting the FactCheck.org article.
Over the weekend, Barack Obama appeared in the battleground state of Florida and made to scare citizens over McCain's votes on Social Security. Obama claimed that McCain voted for a plan that would have seen the Social Security benefits of "elderly women" at risk in the stock market during the recent wildly fluctuating market. Telling his audience, "if my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week," Obama tried to claim that the elderly would have lost their money because of John McCain. FactCheck.org called these claims "not true."
If at first you don't succeed in making Americans open to same sex marriage by highlighting monogamous gay couples in their 20s and 30s, try to guilt them into it by finding elderly gay people who are all but "invisible and overlooked" in America.
That's essentially what Newsweek's Jessica Bennett did with her September 18 Web exclusive deadling with the "growing population of lesbian and gay senior citizens" who "[seek] recognition for their unique needs and challenges."
Bennett started off with a man whose complaint is virtually indistinguishable from countless single or widowed elderly men:
The racist Reverend Wright wanted God to "damn America." Jesse Jackson called New York City "hymie town." Various Evangelical preachers have been heard to utter some pretty nasty comments here and there, as well. So, flawed as we are, apparently being religious doesn't preclude a venomous diatribe now and again. And now comes hate wrapped as political commentary from another supposed person of faith, this time in Newsweek. Wendy Doniger is a columnist for Newsweek's "On Faith" beat and is also the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. But that doesn't seem to have made her less of a venom spewing, wiled-eyed Republican hater, unfortunately. Naturally, like all women such as herself, all her hate is directed at Governor Sarah Palin -- also showing that these sorts of women aren't interested in helping strong women to public influence but only their kind of mindless ideologue is acceptable.
Doniger starts her hate-filled rant in All Beliefs Welcome, Unless They are Forced on Others with what will shortly turn out to be a lie compounded by a blind assumption based on no proof to shore up her claims that Sarah Palin's exclusively allows her religious beliefs to direct her public actions.
Newsweek reporter Suzanne Smalley declared on MSNBC shortly before 1 PM EDT this afternoon that “over the past few weeks, the McCain campaign has really gotten down and dirty. A lot of their ads have been flat-out lies.” So, she pleaded: “Obama needs to really take the steering wheel back. Many Democrats in Washington are worried.”
Smalley was encouraged, however, by how at Thursday night's National Service Forum “McCain gave Obama a present on a silver platter by talking about the fact that he's divorced from the every day challenges that people in America face. So I think Obama is going to be using that in the coming days.”
On August 31 at Newsbusters, Warner Todd Huston caught NBC political correspondent Andrea Mitchell's assessment about the kind of women who would be supporting the McCain-Palin ticket:
..... they (McCain-Palin) think that they can peel off some of these working class women, not college educated, who, the blue collar women who were voting for Hillary Clinton and may be more conservative on social causes.
Combining Mitchell's take with the statement by Eleanor Clift (noted by NB's Brent Baker) that "in many newsrooms" McCain's pick of Sarah Palin was "greeted by "laughter," you get the distinct impression that the media believe that women who are supporting McCain-Palin aren't very smart.
The Mitchell-Clift Maxim isn't passing the smell test in Ohio, at least if the results of the University of Cincinnati's Ohio Poll released earlier today (a PDF can be retrieved at this link; HT to NB commenter Dee Bunk) are to be believed.
Republicans aren't racist per se, but they'll use the law to disenfranchise black voters who overwhemingly cast their ballots for Democrats.
That according to Newsweek's Jonathan Alter in a September 11 article on "Jim Crawford Republicans." Crawford was the losing party in a Supreme Court case earlier this year upholding Indiana's Voter ID law.
[W]ith the help of a 2008 Supreme Court decision, Crawford vs. Marion County (Indiana) Election Board, white Republicans in some areas will keep eligible blacks from voting by requiring driver's licenses. Not only is this new-fangled discrimination constitutional, it's spreading.