Newsweek, recently sold for one dollar by the Washington Post Company but still in its hands, ranked the United States 11th, just behind Denmark, in this week’s “The Best Countries in the World” cover story which put Finland at #1, followed by Switzerland and Sweden. There’s hope for improvement, however, thanks to George W. Bush’s departure from the White House and Barack Obama’s arrival. Michael Hirsh explained the beyond the top ten rank:
America hasn’t recovered from the serious blows to its stature delivered by nearly a decade of policy debacles. As Obama never tires of reminding the American public...he inherited a Herculean task: the Augean-stable-size mess left behind by George W. Bush.
The August 23 & 30 two-week edition cover story package certainly reflected Obama’s policy agenda. A sidebar (apparently not online) on the nations with the best health care, which put Japan at the top, touted fourth-best Spain where “universal coverage is a constitutionally guaranteed right, and there are no out-of-pocket expenses aside from some prescription drugs.” The U.S. wasn’t even one of the top ten countries listed (the full list online has the U.S. at #26 in health, tied with the Czech Republic and Chile and behind Slovenia.)
In a two-page spread on particular bests for a bunch of nations, Newsweek’s Karen Fragala Smith, who tagged the Czech Republic as the “Best Place for Sex” and Belgium as the “Best Place to Be a Dog Owner,” declared France the “Best Place to Have a Baby,” trumpeting “low-cost health care” and nanny state services:
Maman is sitting pretty, with as much as seven months’ paid leave, low-cost health care, and a baby nurse who makes house calls. If she’s sick, the government sends someone to do the family’s laundry.
How dense and forgetful does Newsweek think socially conservative voters are?
Apparently so much so that the magazine's Ben Adler predicts yesterday's stay on Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling permitting same-sex marriages in California will blunt the hopes Republicans have of social conservatives coming out in force on Election Day to help push the GOP to victory in the midterms on Election Day.
Social conservatives were set to use the images of gay couples getting married in California as grist to motivate their base to turn out in the midterm elections. Republicans look certain to gain seats in both Houses of Congress in November, as opposition parties typically do during midterms. Whether they will pull the inside straight they need to take over either, or both, the House and Senate, will depend on any number of factors, but turnout is sure to be one of them.
Further, Adler maintained, because "the Democrats have not done much to invite images of an American Gomorrah" what with President Obama moving "very gingerly" and tentatively on issues like repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," social conservatives need the visual impact of gay and lesbian couples at the altar this fall to incense social conservatives and drive them like angry hornets to the ballot box.
The Justice Department has dropped its case against former House Majority Leader, Tom Delay, and Newsweek's Eleanor Clift is in mourning. She just can't accept the fact that there was no substance to the charges against DeLay and ascribes the dropping of the case to the Obama Justice Department trying to score points with Republicans in the interest of bipartisanship. Clift also manages to smear the late former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens in her angst over the dropped charges:
The Justice Department’s decision to let former House majority leader Tom DeLay off the hook and end the six-year-long investigation that drove him out of Washington at the peak of his power should win the Obama administration some points with Republicans, if not Democrats. This is the second high-profile Republican that Attorney General Eric Holder has vindicated, the other being the late senator Ted Stevens, whose corruption case Holder declined last year to prosecute.
The transformation of Reverend Al Sharpton from street provocateur to civil rights eminence ranks as one of the more remarkable image makeovers in American public life. And mainstream journalism has played a central role. Anyone doubting as much should read the recent (August 2) cover story of Newsweek magazine, "The Reinvention of the Reverend." Written by Allison Samuels and Jerry Adler, the article is a fawning and misleading portrait of the Harlem-based preacher/politician. The piece doesn't quite beatify Sharpton. But it does make a highly selective use of information, some of it factually wrong, in stating the case for "the Rev," as he is commonly known, as a moral conscience of the nation. It also stands as an example, as if any more were needed, that "diversity" in the newsroom isn't about a diversity of opinion.
Reverend Sharpton, as National Legal and Policy Center often has noted, has a long history of public demagoguery in the service of civil rights. In the spring of 2009 NLPC released a lengthy Special Report (which I had written) documenting how Sharpton has used his social standing among many fellow blacks to transform a crime, or an allegation of it, into collective moral grievance. His style follows a distinct pattern. First, he receives word of a black or blacks allegedly victimized by white civilians or cops. Should he be sufficiently outraged, he will insist on serving as that person (and his or her family's) "adviser." At that point, he will launch a nonstop media-focused campaign in the streets designed to mobilize public opinion in favor of the victim and against the opposition. In his mind, blacks continue to be second-class citizens, their cries for justice all but ignored by powerful elites. Thus, these elites must feel the heat of the street. In his 2002 autobiography, "Al on America," he writes (pp. 93, 95): "To many in America, racism is a thing of the past. It's something that happened ‘back then.' To millions of blacks in this country, it is something we live with every day...(T)he outcome of my marches is one of the reasons why I will always be considered ‘controversial' in some circles - because I rip the veil off Northern established liberal racism."
While Newsweek's David Graham is hard at work defending President Obama's summertime leisure -- "A Short History of Presidential Vacation Outrage" -- by insisting that the press corps always complains about any president's vacation habits, it's instructive that he failed to indict his own magazine.
"War on terrorism stalled, economy on precipice, time for a month on the Crawford ranch."
Accompanied by a disapproving down arrow, that's how the August 5, 2002 Newsweek feature "Conventional Wisdom" derided President Bush's working vacation a mere three months before midterm elections in his first term.
Elsewhere in Newsweek's coverage at the time, writers put the term working vacation into derisive quote marks, and otherwise presented President Bush's time away from Washington, including a quasi-campaign swing called the "Heartland Tour," as a nakedly political move to bolster his sagging approval numbers.
From Martha Brant's August 7 "Web exclusive" entitled "Look Who's Back":
We have picked out a couple posts from each of the five categories and asked the authors to reflect back on writing them up. In this series of short videos, they share their thoughts on how they caught the particular media moment and describe the impact their post had.
At the top of his eponymous program yesterday, CNN's Fareed Zakaria took drastic action to protest the Anti-Defamation League's opposition to the proposed Ground Zero mosque. Zakaria, who was honored by the ADL in 2005 with the Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize, gave back his award because he was "deeply saddened" by the group's respect for the families of 9/11 victims who oppose the construction of a mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero.
"Given the position that they have taken on a core issue of religious freedom in America, I cannot in good conscience keep that award," lamented Zakaria, who hoped that distancing himself from the ADL would compel the organization to realize its "mistake" and reverse its position.
In his lengthy monologue, Zakaria vigorously defended Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's constitutional right to erect the mosque: "If this community center were being built anywhere else in the world, chances are the U.S. government would be funding it."
Too much bias, not enough space. Collecting quotes for the latest edition of MRC’s bi-weekly Notable Quotables, I found more outrageous liberal eruptions than could fit into the normal newsletter. So, just for NewsBusters readers, here are a dozen worthy quotes that just couldn’t squeeze into the regular issue:
■ Confusing Tired Liberal Cliches with Economic Strategy
“Let’s let the entire slew of Bush tax cuts retire. That would take us back to Clinton-era rates, when the American economy had its strongest growth years in three decades and the budget was balanced for the first time in four decades. If the economy still needs a bit more stimulus, fine, extend unemployment benefits for another year. Give some aid to the states. Those are temporary measures, and the money will get spent. Unemployment benefits work because they go to people who are living from paycheck to paycheck. They spend the money....This massive change actually requires that Congress do nothing. Let the tax cuts expire. A do-nothing Congress will have done something truly important for the country’s future.” — Newsweek international editor Fareed Zakaria hosting CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, August 1.
Despite unemployment sitting at 9.5 percent and over 3 million jobs lost since this President was inaugurated, Newsweek's Howard Fineman says the economic policies enacted by Barack Obama "were good ones and smart ones and saved the day."
Chatting with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Friday's "Countdown," Fineman was nicely set up by the shill asking the questions.
"Does anyone -- can anyone actually believe that the Democrats had then done nothing and had maintained that status quo that the current economic situation would be better instead of worse?"
With the ball positioned nicely on the tee, Fineman chunked a drive into the water on the left (video follows with transcript and commentary):
There’s something oddly funny about the cluelessness of liberal media companies when their ratings fall or their subscriptions collapse. They just refuse to admit, even consider that the business problem could be (at least in part) their own incessant liberal agitating. Instead, they seem to double down and make things even worse.
ABC’s Sunday show “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” could never beat NBC, so what did the ABC braintrust do? They promoted the Bill Clinton spin artist to an everyday anchor job on “Good Morning America.” Then they doubled down and replaced him with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who is married to another Bill Clinton spin artist, Jamie Rubin. Can it get more insular?
Here’s another case in point: Newsweek’s subscriptions collapsed a couple of years back. How could it not be (at least in part) the umpteen Obama-worshipping cover stories that caused some subscribers to cancel. Then they really abandoned the “News” half of their title and wrote cover stories like “We’re All Socialists Now” and “Is Your Baby Racist?”
Newsweek was put on the market, and the market has spoken: a $1 sale.
There’s something entirely believable about the Newsweek sale. A left-winger pretending to be centrist sold it to another left-winger pretending to be centrist. Newsweek is a dying magazine because no one wants to read their left-wing propaganda masquerading as ‘news.’ The $1 price tag, then, is probably just about right.
For more information on the sale, read the NewsBusters’ story here.
Although it's not clear if Sidney Harman made the best offer of the suitors vying to purchase Newsweek magazine, there is one reason that was made clear by Donald E. Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Co. (NYSE:WPO).
According to Mike Allen at Politico, Harman's bid was accepted by Graham partly because he felt comfortable with Harman's politics.
"Graham felt comfortable with Harman's centrist politics, and was comforted by the idea of selling to a stalwart of the Washington establishment," Allen wrote. "Harman is expected to preserve the serious-minded, essentially New-Democratic tone [outgoing Newsweek editor Jon] Meacham set for the magazine."
But a closer look at Harman's political donations implies there is hardly anything "centrist" about his politics. According to The Center for Responsive Politics' website OpenSecrets.org, the husband of Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., has given generously to Democratic candidates - over $130,000 dating back to 1992.
Newsweek magazine is so shameless that its response to the Shirley Sherrod saga was to put Al Sharpton on the cover, touting that "in debate, no one has a quicker mind or tongue," and his "political instincts are unmatched" and "his personal charisma has been undimmed since high school." When you want to charge the conservative media with shameless fraud, is it really the ideal week to highlight the man who has never apologized for the Tawana Brawley rape hoax? But in their cover story, Allison Samuels and Jerry Adler pressed ahead with an unconvincing "reinvention" story line:
The election of Barack Obama has provoked an almost hysterical reaction from the far-right media, which last week claimed as its latest victim an obscure African-American official in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Relaxing with a thick Ashton Churchill in a plush midtown cigar lounge, the once-and-still Reverend Al scoffs at the idea that there is, or ever has been, a new Sharpton. “My mission, my message, and everything else about me is the same as always,” he says. “The country may have changed, but I haven’t.”
Imagine that it's 2006, and an elderly, long-serving conservative U.S. congressman from a deep-red congressional district is facing congressional hearings regarding charges of corruption and tax evasion. Also imagine that this congressman was caught on camera being exceedingly condescending and dismissive when asked about these charges by a young reporter.
The media drumbeat of indignation would be predictably nonstop and longtime liberal veterans of the print press corps would inveigh against the Republican legislator, calling for his resignation and warning that Republicans were headed for electoral defeat if they failed to clean house. This congressman would certainly not be depicted as a heroic but flawed figure who possesses redeeming qualities and tragically deviated from his high ideals.
Managing Editor's Note: What follows is an open letter from NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell to Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli about the controversial [now defunct] e-mail listserv JournoList, founded and operated by the Post's Ezra Klein.
The JournoList scandal is getting worse every day and The Washington Post is at the center of it. Blogger Ezra Klein ran the operation and at least three other staffers were members. (Blogger Greg Sargent claims he wasn't a member after he joined the Post.) In addition, at least one member of Slate and two from Newsweek, also owned by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, were members.
The almost constant revelations of political activism and journalistic conspiracy raise an enormous number of questions about Post policies, professionalism and ethics. As a conservative, and therefore a member of the movement JournoListers sought to demonize, I feel Post readers are owed full disclosure.
Any understanding of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics makes clear this list and the Post's involvement violate a number of ethical guidelines. In fact, much of the code seems to have been ignored. Here are just a few examples from the code.
Shirley Sherrod's now-infamous March speech before an NAACP audience is recognizable to practicing Christians as a "testimony." That's the spin that Syracuse journalism professor and former Washington Post staff writer R. Gustav Niebuhr brought to Newsweek/Washington Post's On Faith feature in a July 26 Under God blog post:
As she said to members of the Georgia NAACP back on that March day, she spoke as the daughter of a murdered black farmer, victim of a racial crime whose author was never convicted. That allowed her to talk about how, through her experiences with the financially hard-pressed white farmer in 1986, she came to believe a divine agency was at work in her life, teaching her.
"God helped me to see that it's not just about black people--it's about poor people. And I've come a long way. I knew that I couldn't live with hate, you know."
That's the key statement in her speech. In traditional Christian terminology, it's called a testimony.
In all of its Shirley Sherrod coverage this week, National Public Radio never managed to interview a conservative guest on the subject (other than a few tossed-in audio clips of Andrew Breitbart), although NPR never landed a Sherrod interview, either, despite her whirlwind tour. On Wednesday night's All Things Considered news program, anchor Michele Norris interviewed Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, who predictably scorned the right wing's "Fox obsessions" and "notorious smear artist" Andrew Breitbart. This judgment might be questioned, considering Alter wrote in 1996 it was a "weak case of media malfeasance" when his own magazine's sleuthing about the authenticity of medals spurred an admiral's suicide.
Norris offered Alter only softball liberal questions, allowing him a comfortable platform to promote his pro-Obama book The Promise while he disparaged the conservatives:
NORRIS: Let's set aside the specifics of the Shirley Sherrod case for just a moment and look at what this episode perhaps reveals about the culture of the White House and how it deals with race, and also the culture of the media and how it looks to, in some cases, exploit race for ratings.
How could the White House have screwed up so badly in the case of Shirley Sherrod, the Georgia USDA official who Wednesday received an apology from the Obama administration (through Robert Gibbs and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack)?
Sherrod was the victim of a smear by the right-wing agent provocateur Andrew Breitbart and his fellow travelers at Fox News. (Yes, that side has adopted some Leninist tactics, as conservative antitax activist Grover Norquist has admitted over the years.) They took a two-and-a-half-minute clip from Sherrod's address to the NAACP and used it to depict her as a black racist who discriminated years ago against a white farmer. It turns out the farmer thought Sherrod had been a terrific help, and a full review of Sherrod's speech suggests that, far from being a racist, she had honestly (and successfully) worked through the complex racial preconceptions we all carry around in our heads.
Later in his post, Alter added more spin and half-truths by noting that:
The news media love to bash businesses and support regulation, so Newsweek's mockery of the CEO class and claims that they accomplished nothing between 2001 and 2009 shouldn't be a surprise.
In his July 20 "Poor Little CEO's" story, Newsweek's Daniel Gross, known for his "tea bagging" comments and staunch defense of Obama, derided a July 12 "Jobs for America" summit held by the U.S Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and the National Federation of Independent Business.
Gross mocked the jobs summit saying it was "a little like BP holding a deepwater-drilling safety summit." He also blamed corporate America for a "lost decade" that ended with "the deepest recession since the Great Depression."
"Between 2001 and 2009, corporate America designed the playing field to its specifications - easy money from the Federal Reserve; lower taxes on capital gains, dividends, and income; an administration that let industry essentially write its own regulations," Gross claimed.
Since neither of the likely Democrat nominees for the Senate from Florida appear to have a chance in hell of winning the general election, Newsweek has thrown its obvious support behind the conservative Republican in the race.
The likelihood of that happening ranks right around zero which is why Newsweek is promoting Florida governor Charlie Crist, running in that race as an independent, as the best person to defeat conservative Republican Marco Rubio. In fact, Newsweek is plugging Crist to the extent that they have conveniently neglected to mention how he broke his promise not to run as an independent as well as his pledge to return campaign contributions by Republicans. Here are some tidbits from the Newsweek puff piece disguised as a news story:
Crist’s resurgence also stems in part from his shift back to where he’s always seemed most comfortable: the political center. That’s where he’s largely governed as the state’s chief executive—pursuing a Republican agenda of low taxes and limited government, but also collaborating with Democrats on environmental issues and judicial appointments. The approach made him one of the most popular governors in the country.
Newsweek’s Ramin Setoodeh apparently really likes controversial pop star Lady Gaga, enough to praise her for revolutionizing music vidoes while ignoring her controversial "artistic" decisions.
In a July 15 article, “I Want My Music Video,” Setoodeh gushed over Lady Gaga, as well as YouTube, for helping revitalize the dying art of the music video. But not once did Setoodeh point out how inappropriate her music videos truly are.
Setoodeh labeled Lady Gaga’s music videos as “theatrical.” He hyped the music videos as having, “the production values of an action movie with special effects, elaborate costumes, background dancers, and more bling than the Oscars.”
On July 14, Newsweek published a list of ten books they described as "best business literature out there." The list of ten current titles was decidedly anti-business. Newsweek included an interview with each book's author. The list included:
"War at the Wall Street Journal: Inside the Struggle to Control an American Business Empire," by Sarah Ellison. The book detailed Rupert Murdoch's purchase of the Wall Street Journal in 2003. Newsweek couldn't help but highlight Murdoch's "obsession" at competing with the liberal darling New York Times.
During the previous presidential administration, the liberal media were more than happy to promote the Left's allegations of improper political interference by Bush officials in the workings of the federal government. The Bushies improperly revised government scientists' conclusions, bullied CIA analysts over their interpretation of Iraq intelligence, and perhaps worst of all, politicized the Justice Department, the media insisted.
Yet when it comes to a serious charge of political interference by Obama appointees at the DOJ involving voter intimidation, Newsweek's David Graham dismisses the charge as simply another effort by conservatives at "staging an effective piece of political theater that hurts the Obama administration."
As we've noted here at NewsBusters, the liberal media virtually ignored the story about how a DOJ career attorney's case against a New Black Panther member was dropped in May 2009 under the okay of an Obama DOJ appointee.
Now with attention being cast by conservatives on the media's bias by omission, folks like Graham are coming to the defense of the media by painting the matter as a non-scandal, evidenced in part by the conservative media outlets that have been the ones at the forefront of reporting the story:
After the release of a number of polls Tuesday showing President Obama's favorability rating plummeting, his minions in the media were out in force trying to blame the slide on something or someone else.
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, ever the dutiful shill always at a Democrat's service when the chips are down, took a predictably absurd tack: Obama hasn't blamed George W. Bush enough for all that ails the nation.
"Obama hasn’t done as good a job as Reagan of blaming his predecessor," wrote Clift after sharing some of Obama's dismal poll numbers.
With just a few word changes, Andrew Romano's lead paragraph for his latest Newsweek item would make perfect sense:
Grown men don’t tend to worship other grown men—unless, of course, they happen to be professional journalists, in which case no bow is too deep, and no praise too fawning, for the 44th president of the United States: Saint Barack Obama.
Only in his version, it's "professional Republicans" and the object of veneration is "the 40th president of the United States: Saint Ronald Reagan."
While Romano mostly gives props to the late president himself for his political and policy successes while in the Oval Office, he takes glee in mocking conservatives who yearn for a modern-day Reagan, insisting that:
While the media have apparently given up -- if they ever seriously attempted -- on holding the Obama administration to account for its handling of the Gulf oil spill cleanup, Republican governors in the Gulf are a different story, particularly Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, a potential 2012 presidential hopeful.
In a short post at Time.com entitled "Battlefield General: Is Bobby Jindal Making Sense?", writer Alex Altman cast doubt on Jindal's handling of the oil spill cleanup while suggesting the conservative governor is hypocritical for his complaints about Obama's handling of the disaster at the federal level:
Should it be easier for your teenage daughter to get birth control pills without your knowledge? One Newsweek contributor thinks so.
In a July 7 op-ed, Meredith Melnick praised the “movement” to make the Pill more accessible by making it available over the counter, in part because it would remove parents from the equation.
“Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to access problems because it is harder for them to get to a doctor without a parent’s help,” Melnick said.
“Almost 20 percent of sexually active teens who do not want to become pregnant are not using contraceptives, according to the Guttmacher Institute,” Melnick wrote. “And teenage girls who do not use contraception during their first sexual experience are twice as likely to become teen mothers as their counterparts who use protection.”
Newsweek on Saturday did an astonishingly poor job of exploring why Republican women are suddenly being attacked for their beauty even suggesting it's all the former governor of Alaska's fault.
"There seems to be an insistent, increasingly excitable focus on the supposed hotness of Republican women in the public eye, like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Michelle Malkin, and Nikki Haley-not to mention veterans like Ann Coulter," the article now being prominently featured at the magazine's website began.
Hypocritically, Julia Baird's piece never once explained or wondered why the same thing isn't being done to Democrat women.
Instead, the numerous headlines exclusively trivialized physically attractive GOP females such as the following from the website's front page (h/t Twitter's @buszero):