When the MSM wants to be particularly nasty toward President Bush, it breaks out the references to his dissolute younger days. Witness this week's 'Time' cover story 'Can Bush find an exit?,' which manages a two-fer in the genre: a reference to W's hard-drinking past and an allusion to him as nothing less than a drug addict.
The story's very first lines:
"George Bush has a history of long-overdue U-turns. He waited until he woke up, hung over, one morning at 40 before giving up booze cold. He fought the idea of a homeland-security agency for eight months after 9/11 and then scampered aboard and called it his idea. But Bush has never had to pull off a U-turn like the one he is contemplating now: to give up on his dream of turning Babylon into an oasis of freedom and democracy . . . "
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?
Time magazine has an online poll to get an unscientific idea of how their annual Person of the Year should be. It breaks down into American Republicans (President Bush, Secretary of State Rice), American Democrats (Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore), the Axis of Evil (Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and unofficial new member Hugo "Bush Is Satan" Chavez), and just to be trendy, the "YouTube Guys."
As of Friday morning, it seems the Time crowd understands that this isn't a popularity contest as much as a measure of who made the most waves in 2006: Ahmadinejad is ahead with 32 percent, and the YouTube Guys are far behind at 15 percent; Bush is at 13, Pelosi at 12, Al Gore at 11, and Rice at 8.
This past week saw The Washington Post ask a classically liberal question: Is America more racist or sexist?
Following the lead of this major paper, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked the same question, adding a surreptitious angle. She wondered, "Is the nation, secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
The "Good Morning America" host wasn’t through, however. On Tuesday, she offered the query again. This time, Sawyer added a new spin, "secret genderism." The recipient of the question, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, readily agreed. America is guilty, she asserted, it just isn’t "very secret."
Speaking of The Washington Post, ever wonder how many times the paper mentioned "macaca?" According to MRC President Brent Bozell, the paper featured the phrase no less then 112 times!
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann absurdly linked domestic terrorism to "right-wing blogs."
While Olbermann slimed conservatives, CNN labeled the current low gas prices "a recovery." Why, just a few weeks ago, the falling costs represented a link between "Big Oil" and the GOP. What a difference an election makes!
Now that the Democrats have picked their Majority Leader in the House the outcome gives us (and her) the first hint that Speaker Pelosi is not the powerhouse she thought she was. Her man, Murtha, lost in a landslide: 149 to 86... a thumpin' to say the least.
In my last report on how the MSM covered this little inter Dem fight I pointed out that they were ignoring how distant were the two positions on pulling out of Iraq that is held by the erstwhile candidates for Majority Leader.
I noted how they refused to portray Murtha's position as "extreme", even as he supports pulling out of Iraq immediately to Hoyer's, who does not. I noted that the MSM did not waste much breath contrasting Murtha's position with the far less volatile position held by Hoyer.
It seems strangely inconsistent that the MSM ignored the Iraq war issue in their stories since they made the entire recent election all about Iraq and how it is a mess and that our soldiers should come home. Yet, a guy who does not want an immediate pull out defeated Murtha and this fact went uncommented upon.
In the past week, Time magazine has effectively demonstrated one of the methods of disseminating propaganda in this country. First, one makes a totally unsubstantiated claim about a high-ranking official that your media outlet doesn’t care for. Then, you backtrack, cover your bases, and much like Gilda Radner’s old character on “Saturday Night Live,” say, “Never mind.” The problem is that in many cases, the damage created by your first report is done, and can’t be rectified.
The fauxtography scandal that characterized reporting of the Israeli-Hezbollah war continues. Charles Johnson at little green footballs reports that, according to the photographer who took a dramatic picture that ran in Time and US News & World Report, editors at Time deliberately changed the caption to slant the story against Israel. The caption claimed that the picture showed an Israeli plane burning after being shot down. It actually showed a fire at a Lebanese army base caused by a ground to ground missile that misfired after Israeli bombing.
What neither magazine chose to report is that the presence of the missile and launcher hidden in a civilian truck on the army base is a clear indication of collusion between the Lebanese army and the terrorist group Hezbollah.
So this week’s Time magazine has declared an end to Ronald Reagan’s conservative revolution? It wouldn’t be the first time — the fortune tellers at Time also saw the end of the “bankrupt” Reagan era back in 1993, after novice President Bill Clinton pleased Time’s writing staff by passing a budget that raised personal income tax rates and increased the tax on gasoline. Too bad the “return to the economic orthodoxy of balanced budgets” Time promised wasn’t achieved until voters put budget-cutting Republicans in charge of the House and Senate the following year 1994.
“Overturning the Reagan Era” screamed Time’s cover, which showed an upside-down image of President Reagan. The cover story, by Nancy Gibbs, showed Time’s obvious infatuation with liberals' concept of “fiscal responsibility,” namely, punish the private sector with tax rates high enough to pay for all of the fat government programs that Democrats can dream up (although Gibbs wished for even higher taxes, saying the ones Clinton and the last Democratic Congress pushed through "weren't very brave.").
In the aftermath of the 2006 elections, Time magazine's Joe Klein has declared that the Democrat takeover of Congress may signal "the end of the conservative pendulum swing that began with Ronald Reagan's revolution."
Certainly, we expect this kind of errant speculation without the use of facts or historical reference from a shameless shill like New York Times’ propagandist Paul Krugman as reported by NewsBusters on Saturday. However, for Joe Klein to make such early prognostications, and for Time magazine to make this its cover story, bordered on total irresponsibility and yellow journalism.
But there it was in an article titled “The Realists Take Charge; The election whupping marked the end of George W. Bush's radical experiment in partisan government - and a plea for politicians to get serious about solving problems” (subscription required, CNN.com summary here, hat tip to NB reader Allanf, and emphasis mine throughout):
As the internet becomes more and more a news source for everyone, formerly dominant media outlets have seen news consumers shift online to look for news. Just like radio was harmed by TV but still continues to survive because it changed how it did things, the magazine business is at a similar crossroads.
With more magazines than ever out there to say nothing about the web, older general circulation magazines are having to adapt. Up until just recently, though, there hasn't been anything too drastic. That might be changing as the weekly Time seems willing to start changing things.
On the political side, the magazine has in the past reached out to left-wing bloggers to write for it. Now, it seems the management has realized that, amazingly enough, conservatives read political news online as well. To that end, it's essentially purchased the conservative blog Real Clear Politics.
Well, this certainly didn’t take long, did it? The Time magazine website just published an article about a lawsuit being filed in Germany seeking criminal prosecution for Donald Rumsfeld over abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay (hat tips to Joe Myers and Jay at Stop The ACLU):
Just days after his resignation, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
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.”
NPR's weekend program "On The Media" ran several interviews on Obama-mania in their last edition, including a talk with National Journal media writer William Powers. After discussing the many steps of national media hype, Powers suggested Obama was really a black Kennedy:
NPR host Brooke Gladstone: "In this recent round of what a lot of people are calling Obama-mania, would you say that there is now a media consensus about Obama, that he's just a natural?"
William Powers: "Oh, I think there's a consensus that he is The Natural, the most preternatural political figure we have seen since the Kennedys. The Kennedys come up constantly in these comparisons.
Gladstone: "The Kennedys or one particular Kennedy?"
Just in time for election season, Time magazine’s Joe Klein went on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country Tuesday to give Americans a heapin’ helpin’ of some fine hypocrisy. Sorry, Jed. In the space of a couple of minutes, Klein bashed Rush Limbaugh with some (isn’t this stuff getting old?) typical drug references, castigated Vice President Dick Cheney for “[legitimizing] a guy like Rush Limbaugh,” praised Michael J. Fox’s ad for Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), and slammed the ad made in Missouri by famous athletes and actors to counter Fox’s (video link to follow). Of course, Klein also had time to praise what some Democrat candidates are doing to woo voters, while chastising Republicans for doing virtually the same thing.
The festivities started with host Joe Scarborough showing Michael J. Fox’s recent campaign ad for Claire McCaskill, then an audio clip of Rush Limbaugh’s response, and finally asking Klein for his opinion – as if the viewers couldn’t predict what Klein would say:
Writing in Time Magazine for the October 23, 2006 issue, Leslie H. Gelb lamented “To me the relentless mud slide of insurgency and civil war in Iraq is leading to unacceptable strategic disaster for the U.S. There appear to be no viable paths to avoid it.”
This is a common theme used throughout both the print and electronic media today. If the American press were commanding the war in Iraq, we would already have bowed our heads in defeat.
Since that attitude is so prevalent among news outlets and publications, it was refreshing to hear a relatively simple, but thought-provoking suggestion offered on Fox News Live, October 20, 2006. Ghazal Omid, a Muslim scholar was a member of a panel that fielded questions about the war. When asked about the impossible insurgency situation, she suggested we put resolution to that element of the conflict in the hands of Iraq’s religious leaders.
This week’s cover story on "Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President" is really part of an enormous package offering hope to liberals about defeating the conservative movement, especially the religious right. There is a six-page article by Joe Klein about being dazzled by Obama the "political rocket," a six-page excerpt from Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope, explaining how "progressives" can neutralize religious conservatives, and, just to stay on point, a three-page excerpt from David Kuo’s book Tempting Faith titled "Why a Christian in the White House Felt Betrayed."
Klein's cover story, titled "The Fresh Face," tried to sound detached that Obama’s not "quite ready to answer the tough questions." (As you’ll see, Klein’s tough questions are pressing from the left, and he’s unhappy that Obama’s slow to commit.) Klein began in typical jaunty fashion about how Obama wows a Rockford audience with "sly hipster syncopation" and how his style is "quietly conversational, low in rhetoric-saturated fat; there is no harrumph to him."
Both Time and Newsweek are out with another set of “bad news for Republicans” covers this week, as Tim Graham pointed out earlier this morning. In her magazine’s cover story, Time’s Karen Tumulty suggests that Republican are about to lose control of Congress. “It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there.”
For millions who will only notice Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News & World Report as they’re waiting to check out at the grocery store, the picture and headline on the cover will convey the news magazine’s editorial summary of the week’s important news. This week, Time showcases a huge shot of an elephant’s rump, symbolizing the end of the GOP’s control of Congress. Newsweek has a huge close-up of the disgraced Mark Foley’s face, an image that dwarfs a picture of President Bush.
In case you thought the Foley story was wrapping up on Friday, be warned that both Time and Newsweek weren't buying that. They wanted a chance to build its place in history/Republican infamy. Both covers are quite transparently partisan for the politically sensitive time of the season. Time has a huge black and white picture of an elephant's butt, with the words: "What a mess...Why a tawdry Washington sex scandal may spell the end of the Republican revolution". Time has been rooting for the end of the Republican revolution since they suggested it was in danger of killing off the "human species" back in the first month of the new GOP-majority congress in 1995.
In an article posted Friday on Time.com, the magazine’s critic James Poniewozik suggests the Fox News Channel, which he sees as tilted to the right, is also responsible for the multi-minute rants that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has lately been emitting. Time also dismisses the idea that the rest of the mainstream media (presumably including itself) is tilted to the left, with Poniewozik parenthetically noting that “the MSM really slant toward the institutional, establishmentarian center, which is a bias as dangerous as any other.”
Poniewozik’s theory on Olbermann is that Fox’s climb to the top of the ratings has led to changes at other TV news outlets, including at MSNBC, although he paints Olbermann as the party most likely to be embarrassed by the link to Fox News: “Keith Olbermann ranting at George W. Bush and O'Reilly on MSNBC's Countdown: that's Fox through and through, whether Olbermann would like to admit it or not.”
This story about a Vietnamese man who was a spy for the communists during the war as well as a reporter for Reuters and Time magazine is nothing short of an outrage. It also makes you wonder how many agents for totalitarianism are working in the press today. An's assertions of impartiality are all too familar as well. (An old MRC MediaWatch item on him is here.)
HANOI, Vietnam - Pham Xuan An, who led a remarkable and perilous double life as a communist spy and a respected reporter for Western news organizations during the Vietnam War, died Wednesday at age 79. [...]
In the history of wartime espionage, few were as successful as An. He straddled two worlds for most of the 15-year war in Indochina as an undercover communist agent while also working as a journalist, first for Reuters news service and later for 10 years as Time magazine's chief Vietnamese reporter — a role that gave him access to military bases and background briefings.
He was so well-known for his sources and insight that many Americans who knew him suspected he worked for the CIA.
Before Saigon fell to the communists, An worked to help friends escape, including South Vietnam's former security chief who feared death if he was found by northern forces. An later revealed his true identity as a Viet Cong commander, but said he never reported any false information or communist propaganda while in his role as a journalist.
With the news of Air America's expected demise comes the contest for which media outlet has been the most aggressively clueless in ignoring this fact in Al Franken interviews. This week's winner has to be Time magazine, whose Jeffrey Ressner swaps gibes with Franken in their "Ten Questions" interview during Bankruptcy Week with toughies like this:
TIME: Who would you rather be stranded with on a desert island: Ann Coulter or Katherine Harris?
Franken: Hmmmm. I'd say Katherine Harris, because there's more meat on the bone.
Before that came the question: "You've locked horns with most of the top conservative pundits: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly. Which one is your favorite feud?"
Among political consultants, the general rule of thumb is that a disapproval rating of 40% spells a candidate's near-certain defeat. After all, virtually no one who disapproves of a candidate will vote for him, while approving of someone is no guarantee of a vote.
Hillary Clinton's disapproval rating of 44% in a recent Time magazine poll thus bodes very ill for her presidential prospects. Yet the Sunday Times of London has managed to put a rosy gloss on what would have most politicians looking for another line of work. Pollyannas the Times of the poll results:
"Only 44% viewed her negatively, figures that President George W Bush can only dream of at the moment."
Hillary Rodham Clinton is featured in a flattering black-and-white photo on the cover of Time magazine this week -- the 10th cover story for Hillary Clinton since she appeared on the national scene hitched to Bill Clinton's wagon in 1992. That's got to be a record of sorts. But one thing was very different this time. The headline featured a poll question with two little boxes to check: "LOVE HER" or "HATE HER."
What? Someone might not love her? This must be the handiwork of Time's new Managing Editor, Richard Stengel. He’s made a public fuss about his desire to see Time be a major player in the shaping of America's opinions.
This newest cover story is a departure from the norm, the royal covers she's so often received, with titles like "Ascent of a Woman," "Turning Fifty," "Hillary In Her Own Words," and the late-Lewinsky-scandal classic, "'It's Nobody's Business But Ours.'" The normal Time magazine Hillary cover could be mistaken for the cover of Ladies' Home Journal. (There was one exception. One cover in 1996 carried the caption "The Truth About Whitewater" and featured a harshly spotlighted Hillary, but it wasn't advertising a Time article inside, but a book excerpt from James Stewart's "Blood Sport.")
Time's cover story on Hillary by Karen Tumulty is predictable, largely channeling anonymous Clinton aides and strategists about her forthcoming campaign for the White House. There are no conservatives quoted. It only gets unpredictable when Tumulty turns the corner to acknowledge (mean-spirited) conservatives. Typically, in her starry-eyed reflection on the "outsize status of both Clintons," and how her race will be "brutal," she exaggerates the number of anti-Clinton tomes by a factor of five or ten, but she surprises by actually naming the forthcoming Jonah Goldberg book, as well as the Brent Bozell-Tim Graham media-bias packet:
This week is shaping up as the MSM's kick-off of its Hillary for President campaign. Using Time Magazine's 10th cover of Hillary as a springboard, this morning's Today show convened a liberal coffee klatsch on Clinton's political future. Dem pollster Peter Hart summed up the segment's zeitgest nicely: "I think Americans are ready for a female president. I think they are definitely ready for Hillary Clinton."
Not a discouraging word was to be heard, as 'Today' found it unnecessary to invite to the party anyone who might have a negative view of Hillary
you’re a Republican in Tennessee and you are in a tough race, what do
you do? Hey, your party isn’t a political organization; it’s God’s Own Party:
A Christian prayer group is hoping to provide Republican
gubernatorial nominee Jim Bryson with some divine assistance during his
campaign. The “Bryson Prayer Force” is inviting Christians to join its
current 80 members in praying regularly for Bryson, his family and
campaign staff. An e-mail sent out by the group included some suggested
prayers. Weekly prayers are to be sent to those who have signed up to
be part of the group.
“Pray for an open heaven over Jim and his team in each Tennessee
county they visit, that the gates of each county would open to him and
his team, and that the Lord’s divine favor will be granted to him
everywhere he goes,” reads one example. Blair Morgan, an attorney and
vice treasurer of the Davidson County Republican party, is serving as
state coordinator of Bryson Prayer Force.
The subhead in this Time magazine article promises enlightenment, but fails to deliver: "Why do so many young British Muslims turn to violence against the land where they were raised?"
Unfortunately, Time's leftward slanted editorial policies don't allow an honest answer. Rather than exploring the root causes of Islamic radicalism, which is, after all, the root cause of British Muslim radicalism, Time offers a sterile hodgepodge of random observations and politically correct standbys; they actually cite "disaffection" with Britain's foreign policy, as if that were a cause rather than a symptom of the disease.
Buried within the article is the symptom that identifies the illness:
Putting aside more conspiratorially-minded critics of the mainstream
media, genuine practical concerns and mounting evidence suggest
Western media has been co-opted by Hezbollah in Lebanon to a
significant agree. So much so, in fact, that it may be unable to paint
an accurate picture of the current conflict.
The two year old image at right is from a Reuters video of
Palestinian terrorists escaping from an action in Israel with the aid
of a UN van. Video here.
The decision by America's MSM not to publish it at the time may
represent press bias, or that its concern for American's right to know
is somewhat selective. However, it also serves to make another
Service organizations like the UN and the Red Cross often rely on
local individuals to flesh out their staffs. Obviously, there are areas
of the world where it's difficult to tell the good guys from the bad
and sometimes the bad guys may represent the majority of the local
population. Such may be the case in Southern Lebanon and it invites the
kind of co-optation witnessed above.
With the MSM having decided to rely heavily on local stringers in
covering the Israeli Hezbollah conflict in Southern Lebanon, their
coverage appears to have fallen prey to manipulation by a terrorist
group, or at least its propaganda machine.
ABC News is taking seriously charges in the left-wing blogosphere that a YouTube video spoofing Al Gore's global warming movie is really financed by a big oil company.
The belief is that the movie was made to look homespun but is really "actually came from a slick Republican public relations firm called DCI, which just happens to have oil giant Exxon as a client."
Time.com online editor Ana Marie Cox, who used to run the Wonkette blog, says that today people are more likely to "believe something that comes straight from the horse's mouth," than the mainstream media. This is why the film was made to look amateurish, she says, because people are suspicious of anything that looks too slick.
Time magazine's online operation announced today that it has promoted former liberal blogger Ana Marie Cox to be its Washington editor. Previously, she was the founder of the airhead politics blog Wonkette. Before that, she worked for the liberal magazine Washington Monthly.
Thus far, Time's online stable includes not one conservative blogger. At present the self-described politically neutral magazine employs Joshua Marshall, Andrew Sullivan, Cox, and its White House correspondent Mike Allen, not one of whom is a conservative much less a Republican. So how is it that Time can get away with this?
UPDATE 07-28. Aww, how cute. The uberkewl Dave Weigel, one of the men who now run a site named after a woman, defends mommy: