In a fit of rapture over newly elected Democrat Jim Webb, going so far as to speculate that he might be presidential ticket material for team D, Newsweek's Johnathan Alter left the lede at the bottom of this piece. Too bad those who might appreciate it most will likely never get to the bottom of Alter's little Webb romance.
A Powerful Response Jim Webb tore up his party's playbook—and helped point the Democrats in a new direction.
Alter also failed to point out that a poll Webb used to claim the military doesn't support the war actually favors increasing troop numbers, as proposed by Bush - that item at bottom.
There’s so much to find offensive about Fareed Zakaria’s article in this week’s Newsweek that it’s tough to know where to begin. Put simply, the piece stated rather strongly that President Bush is responsible for a declining rate of democracy around the world.
Of course, one study that Zakaria cited to prove this premise “points out that 2006 was a bad year for liberty, under attack from creeping authoritarianism in Venezuela and Russia, a coup in Thailand, massive corruption in Africa and a host of more subtle reversals.”
Zakaria never addressed what President Bush did to advance creeping authoritarianism in Venezuela and Russia, the coup in Thailand, and the massive corruption in Africa. Instead, he reported the following (emphasis mine throughout):
Some times, real surprises arrive in your e-mail, such as: Newsweek's International Edition welcomed the New Year with an article titled "Iraq's Economy Is Booming." Nobody noticed this "mother of all surprises" in America, since the article wasn't placed in front of domestic customers (it is online). Why not? Liberal, Bush-hating politics, perhaps? Despite the often-reported violence and terrorism, Newsweek's Silvia Spring asserted "there's a vibrancy at the grass roots that is invisible in most international coverage of Iraq."
Canadian columnist Neil Reynolds noticed Spring's piece in Toronto's Globe and Mail:
OTTAWA -- More than U.S. troops are surging in Iraq. As the international edition of Newsweek magazine reported at year-end, the Iraqi economy is expanding at a rapid rate: "Civil war or not," writer Silvia Spring says, "Iraq has an economy and - mother of all surprises - it's doing remarkably well." Amid anarchy and savage violence, Iraq's construction industry is booming.
With all the negative focus on an Emmy Award-winning television drama, one has to start wondering if the media are more afraid of “24” and any reference to terrorism than terrorism itself.
As NewsBusters has reported here, here, here, here, and here, the media have been in quite a lather about the first four episodes of the hit series' sixth season aired on Fox Sunday and Monday. Thanks to a report CNN did Tuesday (video available here, hat tip to Hot Air), we can now add Newsweek to the growing list of concerned media outlets. (Please be advised that it’s been difficult to identify whether this was just a web-broadcast on CNN.com, or something aired on television).
In his January 12 review, Newsweek’s Devin Gordon wrote: “Depending on your perspective, '24' is either a neocon sex fantasy or the collective id of our nation unleashed.” Much like other recent media carps and whines concerning this show, Gordon used his review as an opportunity to swipe at the current president:
For Chris Matthews, there is one constant to be considered in analyzing the prospects of the presidential contenders on both the GOP and Dem sides: the presumed bigotry of his fellow Americans.
Kibitzing about '08 on this afternoon's Hardball with a conservative-free panel composed of Chris Cizzilla of the Washington Post, Mike Allen of Time and Howard Fineman of time immemorial, Matthews first handicapped the Dem field in these terms:
"Is the low estimate of [Democrats'] belief in [Hillary's] electability low enough thatthey think that an African-American guy has a better shot than she does? I mean that's a statement, I think, of pessimism about her shot if you shift to him for electability reasons."
It is very rare that a conservative agrees with anything published by Newsweek. Yet, Robert J. Samuelson wrote an article Wednesday that will likely shock most NewsBusters readers (emphasis mine throughout):
As someone born in late 1945, I say this to the 76 million or so subsequent baby boomers and particularly to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, our generation's leading politicians: shame on us. We are trying to rob our children and grandchildren, putting the country's future at risk in the process. On one of the great issues of our time, the social and economic costs of our retirement, we have adopted a policy of selfish silence.
Shocking, yes? Think this might go counter to most Newsweek subscribers’ beliefs? Well, sit back and enjoy, ladies and gentlemen, for Robert was just getting warmed up:
Newsweek’s Howard Fineman didn’t wait long to file his disdain for President Bush’s speech to the nation about Iraq Wednesday night. In fact, according to the timestamp at MSNBC.com, his “A Crisis of Confidence” article was posted at 7:43 PM Pacific Time, or a little over an hour after the president finished. I guess Howard was anxious to tell his readers that “George W. Bush spoke with all the confidence of a perp in a police lineup.”
The article, which read as if it had been written well before the speech was given, continued (emphasis mine throughout):
I first interviewed the guy in 1987 and began covering his political rise in 1993, and I have never seen him, in public or private, look less convincing, less sure of himself, less cocky. With his knitted brow and stricken features, he looked, well, scared.”
Scared? Really? I must have had the wrong station on. Alas, Fineman continued:
Anyone remembering the ascent of Newt Gingrich to House Speaker in 1995 surely noticed a difference between media coverage of that historic event and Nancy Pelosi taking the gavel back for the Democrats in 2007. One had all the joy of a child’s funeral. The other was New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
CNN even had a countdown clock to the Democrats regaining the majority. All that was missing was a lighted crystal donkey that would descend down a pole on the top of the Capitol dome. CNN’s Dana Bash called Pelosi’s gavel grab a "moment to savor," surely true for her supporters, but the bitterest of pills to swallow for those who worked their hearts out last year to keep Pelosi and her liberal army from retaking the House. CNN left no doubt where it stood on this divide.
The liberal media despised Newt, and adore Nancy. They’ve demonstrated this by the way they played up the Gingrich threat in the weeks after the ’94 GOP tsunami, while virtually ignoring Pelosi and her radical agenda for the last two months.
In the midst of all the civil war, quagmire, cataclysmic, doom and gloom reports about Iraq comes a shocking story from an even more shocking source. According to Newsweek, Iraq’s economy is booming (hat tip to Drudge, emphasis mine throughout):
Civil war or not, Iraq has an economy, and—mother of all surprises—it's doing remarkably well. Real estate is booming. Construction, retail and wholesale trade sectors are healthy, too, according to a report by Global Insight in London. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports 34,000 registered companies in Iraq, up from 8,000 three years ago. Sales of secondhand cars, televisions and mobile phones have all risen sharply. Estimates vary, but one from Global Insight puts GDP growth at 17 percent last year and projects 13 percent for 2006. The World Bank has it lower: at 4 percent this year. But, given all the attention paid to deteriorating security, the startling fact is that Iraq is growing at all.
Amazed? Shocked? Sound like those who claim that only the negative side of the story is reaching our shores? Well, there’s more:
On Thursday, NewsBusters reported the disgraceful behavior of the media following the announcement of Sen. Tim Johnson’s (D-SD) illness the day before. Sadly, as NB was chronicling report after report by press representatives showing much more concern for how this unfortunate event could impact the balance of power in the Senate than for the health of the man in question, Newsweek columnist Eleanor Clift was jumping on the conscienceless bandwagon a mere seven and a half hours later.
Do you eat with the same hands you type with, Eleanor? Regardless of the answer, Clift began her abomination by suggesting Johnson’s malady might have been something prayed for by the President, and that Republicans are on their knees hoping for the worst (emphasis mine):
Two notes on Bill O'Reilly controversies today. First, Brian Maloney at the Radio Equalizer blog reports a forthcoming operatic work on the Andrea Mackris complaint of sexual harassment against O'Reilly, "an oratorio for 31-piece chamber orchestra, 32-voice chorus and three soloists." It debuts in Seattle, where Christmas trees are controversial, but not this?
MSM types and their soulmates in the Dem party like to profess their deep and abiding respect for average Americans. But in an unguarded moment this afternoon, MSMer-in-good-standing Jonathan Alter pulled back the curtain on his disdain for them.
Discussing the wildly enthusiastic reception that Barack Obama received in New Hampshire yesterday, Alter -a Newsweek writer and NBC consultant - told host Joe Scarborough:
"If you had been there you wouldn't have been under any illusions about the extent of interest in him. this was a huge crowd. It would have been a huge crowd by any standards even right before an election. 1,500 people. Very, very enthusiastic. Very interested. So he's not going to have to do this 'Joe Schmo's living room' thing in New Hampshire. He's way past that."
What is it about leaving a network gig that makes news anchors even more biased? Ex-host Tom Brokaw told a "Harball" audience that Barack Obama is a "rock star," lavished praise on Jon Stewart, and claimed that Ronald Reagan neglected "Mother Earth."
Speaking of NBC stars who suck up to environmentalists, Matt Lauer recently encouraged Al Gore to run for president and "save the planet." Way to stay objective, Matt!
The "Today" anchor continued his global warming obsession in another segment, lauding actor Leonardo DiCaprio for "standing up to get people thinking" about the issue. (Funny, I don’t recall the "Today" host complimenting many pro-life activists for "standing up.")
Lobbying for global warming can be tiring work, as NewsBusters editor Matthew Sheffield noted when he pointed out that CNN host Miles O’Brien fell asleep during recent hearings on the subject.
This week, the "mainstream" media continued lobbying for a complete acknowledgment of total failure in Iraq. "Time" magazine likened the Iraq Study Report to a drug intervention. Discussing the same subject, "Hardball" guest host Mike Barnicle wondered if President Bush is "delusional," " isolated" or "stubborn." Those are certainly some great options to chose from!
It’s almost becoming a daily occurrence now, isn’t it? Another major media outlet has confirmed that all the pre-election blather concerning a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq if Democrats took over Congress was just another part of that Party’s elaborate bait and switch scheme. This time on its knees in the confessional was Newsweek (hat tip to NB member “aero”), and none other than two of its crack investigative reporters, Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball (emphasis mine throughout):
In a surprise twist in the debate over Iraq, Rep.Silvestre Reyes, the soon-to-be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he wants to see an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops as part of a stepped up effort to “dismantle the militias.”
Excuse me? Wasn’t this man appointed by incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi who went around the country promising voters that troops would be withdrawn from Iraq if Democrats won and she became Speaker? Are you kidding me? Shouldn’t this evoke tremendous anger from the writers at Newsweek? Au contraire:
The Iraq Study Group's recommendations are about to be released. Think about it: what should be the media's focus? I'd say attention should center on what those recommendations are, and whether if implemented they would advance - or impair - US interests in Iraq.
But that's not the MSM's focus at all. From the cover of Newsweek to the Today show, the concern is not whether the recommendations are good, but only whether President Bush will accept them.
In the course of Matt Lauer's interview of former Bush chief-of-staff Andy Card, 'Today' flashed the Newsweek cover shown here. When Card began
Jon Meacham, editor of "Newsweek," compared journalists to MTV’s teen morons Beavis and Butt-Head for the demands they make on public officials, and portrayed himself as understanding of negative public sentiments of the media:
"One of the things people don’t like about journalists, reasonably, is that we’re kind of like Beavis and Butt-Head. You know, we demand people change, and then when they change, we kick ‘em in the shins and say ‘well, you didn’t change quick enough.'"
Meacham's comments came in the 6:00 hour of Monday’s "Imus in the Morning." Yet, if one were to read the latest issue of "Newsweek," it is apparent Meacham’s words are not followed by action. An article by Evan Thomas, criticized the White House for not changing course quick enough and being hostile to change. It rekindled the story of President Bush’s alcoholism, and his decision to quit drinking twenty years ago and asserted that this was the last "midcourse correction" of the current president:
The Christian, the Christian conservative, and the Bush administration record on efforts to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS and to care for the sick, suffering and dying millions, is a story of caring for human suffering which the MSM has little interest in sharing with the voting public.
In yesterday's LA Times, in a painfully difficult lead editorial, Christian conservatives vs. Aids, the paper, as most mainstream journalists can clearly relate, finds it difficult to enlighten their previously uneducated readers, that these folks are on the front lines and are leading the way in addressing the world's HIV/Aids problem. Further, the LA Times finds it especially difficult to give President Bush any personal credit for his leadership. As they see it:
It's a competitive bout of conservative-bashing out of the Michael Richards N-word rant at the Laugh Factory. Newsweek had two columns from black staffers, both mentioning George Allen and "Macaca." Time just had one, by the white TV critic James Poniewozik, but in referring to Richards, Mel Gibson, and the canceled O.J. Simpson special, he works in Allen, the RNC Harold-Ford-mocking ad, and Rush Limbaugh's alleged hate for Michael J. Fox:
All this followed an election whose lowlights were the macaca incident, an ad playing off miscegenation fears and a radio host mocking a disabled man. It's as if the U.S. were experiencing collective Tourette's, regurgitating decades of dutifully sublimated hate--Borat, with real people. As disturbing as the bigotry was the role of the people expressing it. Politicians and entertainers, after all, succeed by knowing our hearts and minds. We are, in a real way, implicated in their achievement and their disgrace. So you'd think this explosion of public ugliness might spur some kind of national soul searching. Did we somehow encourage their bigotry, by ignoring softer forms of it in our pop culture? Did they think on some level, conscious or not, that they spoke for us? Were they right?
The Michael Richards N-word outburst at the Laugh Factory drew not one, but two columns in Newsweek from black staffers. Both praised praising society for coming to the point of outrage over such remarks. Both mildly mocked the obligatory "Kramer" trip to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson (while not mocking Sharpton and Jackson). Both revisited a long history of racism. Ellis Cose recalled a South African woman who was beaten, raped, subjected to electric shocks, and strangled within an inch of her life. Raina Kelley went big-picture: "The politics of black and white really began 400 years ago, when, in 1619, Virginia settlers took ownership of slaves from a Dutch man-of-war." And both worked in George Allen’s Macaca remark (only one worked in the RNC ad against Playboy-party man Harold Ford.)
On Tuesday’s "Imus in the Morning," Newsweek editor Jon Meacham opined that George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, had been vindicated by history. He suggested that Newsweek runs stories based on partisan preferences, i.e. we helped defeat President Bush in 1992, but in hindsight, George H.W. Bush was right. Meacham also revealed that journalists often make hasty judgements and treat those judgements as "infallible." In the same segment, Meacham admitted that journalists are wrong. Meacham offers as an example the coverage of President Bush 41 during the 1992 campaign and before:
"What's important is journalistically, one of the mistakes we make is we kick people in the shins and we tend to make instant judgments and act as though our judgment is infallible and absolute. It’s not. See ‘wimp factor,’ see the mistakes and the misperceptions of the first Bush at the time when everybody was saying he was out of touch and was no good. Now we see with hindsight that he’d done pretty well."
On Thursday's O'Reilly Factor on FNC, Bill O'Reilly raised, with former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg and Fox Newswatch panelist Jane Hall, “all the softball interviews of Nancy Pelosi” which aired Wednesday night and that a NewsBusters item summarized. O'Reilly cautioned that “I'm not saying you should go after her throat, but surely when you have the person second in line for the presidency and she's the most liberal Speaker of the House in the history of the country, surely you might want to get into a little bit about how she formed her point of view -- or am I crazy?" Goldberg assured O'Reilly, "no, you're not crazy,” and proposed: “Do you think Newt Gingrich would have gotten the same treatment as Nancy Pelosi got? Look, I mean, the bias is never blatant, but they like Nancy Pelosi, they like the fact the Democrats won and she's a woman, the first woman who's going to be Speaker of the House, so they treat her with a certain respect, which they should, that they wouldn't treat a conservative Republican."
Indeed, as the MRC documented back in 1994, the mainstream media greeted Gingrich's victory with hostility. Days before the election, CBS's Eric Engberg treated as newsworthy how the “bombastic and ruthless” Gingrich “was attacked for McCarthyism" and has “a record filled with contradictions: the family values candidate who divorced his ailing first wife, the avowed enemy of dirty politics who bounced 22 checks at the House Bank...” Time magazine snidely declared: "His ideas, which don't often come to grips with the particulars of policymaking, may be less important than his signature mood of righteous belligerence." ABC's Sam Donaldson confronted Gingrich: "A lot of people are afraid of you, they think you're a bomb thrower. Worse, you're an intolerant bigot.”
If we rigidly applied truth-in-advertising laws to the national media in their coverage of the 2006 campaign, we would have first declared that the stuff between the commercials wasn’t "news" as much as a boatload of free infomercial advertising for the Democrats. The news reports should have led with the sentence, "I’m Nancy Pelosi, and I approved this newscast."
Republicans made a lot of mistakes, and caused themselves a pile of problems. Their house is a mess; it's time to tear down and start over. But I will say this unequivocally: In 25 years of looking at the national media, I have never seen a more one-sided, distorted, vicious presentation of news -- and non-news -- by the national media. They ought to be collectively ashamed. They have made a mockery out of the term "objective journalism" and a laughingstock of themselves at the idea that they should be considered objective journalists.
"Newsweek" editor Marcus Mabry, appearing on CNN to deliver a postmortem on Republican Rick Santorum’s loss, attacked the Senator as a "firebrand partisan" and wondered if Republicans would learn a lesson from his loss. A transcript of his comments follows:
Marcus Mabry: "I think while we’ve heard some laudatory things tonight about the bipartisanship, on occasion, of the Senator from Pennsylvania, who only has another two months in office now, we have to remember this was an incredibly politicizing, divisive partisan, both on the floor of the United States Senate, but also back in Pennsylvania.
This is pretty hysterical. On Sunday, three different polls – Pew Research Center, USA Today/Gallup, and Washington Post/ABC News – were released showing evidence that the preference for Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections has been surging in the past couple of weeks, with the gap favoring Democrats now down to between four and seven percentage points. However, Newsweek released the results of its own poll Saturday, and the magazine actually sees the Democrats expanding their lead. I kid you not (emphasis mine throughout):
For these people with short memories who think the Jim Webb novel passages with lusty or just strange sexual episodes have no place in political news, clearly they do not remember the Newt Gingrich Bodice-Ripper as it broke to liberal media jokes in December of 1994. Webb’s strange passages drew no attention on the network morning shows Friday, unlike the liberal Gingrich fun in 1994:
-- CNN ended its afternoon show Inside Politics on December 1, 1994 with this exchange between anchors Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff on the enterprising New York Times:
Shaw: "Well, Gingrich is taking a sense of history into a new surprising realm. He's co-authoring a novel about World War II at its aftermath. Gingrich describes it as 'historical science fiction,' but others might categorize it as a sexy potboiler, at least based on an excerpt obtained by the New York Times. Now one passage reads - and let me emphasize I'm quoting now - 'Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress. She rolled onto to him and somehow was sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. 'Tell me, or I will make you do terrible things,' she hissed.' What are political watchers to make of this offering from the speaker-in-waiting and a proponent of family values? Well, incoming Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole was asked for his comments today."
Newsweek's cover story this week about Rep. Harold Ford. Jr is illustrated in the Table of Contents by a dramatic black and white picture of Ford glancing heavenward in a church under the headline "Racing to the Center." The Ford cover story by Jonathan Darman, framed by an enormous photo of Ford's head taking up two glorious pages, began with 300 people coming out of the darkness to hear "Ford praise the Lord and lecture man" at a historic hotel, as people sang "Amazing Grace" and shouted Hallelujah. "'I love Jesus, I can't help it,' the congressman tells the crowd." On page 33, there's a half-page photo of Ford bowing his head and joining hands with staff in a prayer before a debate. Nowhere, in this 3,944-word story is any mention of this fervent Christian attending that 2005 Playboy-bunny party in Jacksonville on Super Bowl weekend.
Don't think it's because Newsweek was flat-footed and unaware. In the March 27, 2006 Newsweek, Darman related those nasty Republicans were going negative early:
What a difference a few weeks make. Three weeks after Newsweek writers, Howard Fineman and Eleanor Clift, gloatingly declared the End of GOP Dominance and just a week after that same magazine announced that the Republicans were losing its evangelical base, a sharp note of electoral caution has popped up in that periodical. Jonathan Alter is now cautioning Newsweek readers that the Democrats might not do so well in the upcoming congressional elections after all as indicated in the very title of his October 30 article, There Might Not Be a Tidal Wave:
...for all the talk of increased intensity this year, voters are still preoccupied with their own busy lives, not politics. They don't watch much cable news or follow issues closely. If they bother to vote, they'll often do so based on small, serendipitous shards of information.
I was a little stunned to hear one of leftist radio host Stephanie Miller's crew today hype that a new Newsweek poll shows 51 percent of Americans now favor impeaching George W. Bush. What? Perhaps they "learned" from the Daily Kos, which today tried this game of statistical wizardry: if 28 percent say impeaching Bush is a "top priority," 23 percent say it should be a lower priority, a stunning majority now "supports" impeachment. But the poll did not ask impeachment, yea or nay. Would an actual up-front question draw a lower number, since 23 percent chose an option that suggests "not so hot on that idea"?
This story is just rich. After the efforts of Oklahoma Republican senator James Inhofe have brought greater public scrutiny to the media's global warming hysteria, Newsweek has finally admitted that, yes, it had played a big role in hyping "global cooling" back in the 1970s.
Despite this, though, you should believe the magazine and all the rest of the media who previously tried to scare up circulation numbers by predicting a global ice age because, well, this time they're right:
1975, in an issue mostly taken up with stories about the collapse of
the American-backed government of South Vietnam, NEWSWEEK published a
small back-page article about a very different kind of disaster. Citing
"ominous signs that the earth's weather patterns have begun to change
dramatically," the magazine warned of an impending "drastic decline in
food production." Political disruptions stemming from food shortages
could affect "just about every nation on earth." Scientists urged
governments to consider emergency action to head off the terrible
threat of . . . well, if you had been following the climate-change
debates at the time, you'd have known that the threat was: global
It seems the closer we get to Election Day, the more polls we’re going to be subjected to that over-sample Democrats. The latest entrant comes from Newsweek (hat tip to Stop The ACLU). In this one, 24 percent more Democrats were surveyed than Republicans.
Frankly, I have no interest in sharing any of the results from this survey, for if a polling agency can’t create a sample that accurately reflects the electorate, why should anybody care about the data it produces?
Maybe more importantly, why would a news organization pay for such results? After all, there are now 300 million people in America. It shouldn’t be hard to find equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats to answer questions, especially when the total sample is only 1,000.