Last Friday I noted Roger Keith Coleman was proven guilty of murder through DNA testing and wondered if Time would note that fact, since back in 1992 they featured him as their anti-death penalty cover boy. Well in this week's Milestones section of Time they in fact did mention it. "DNA testing--which last week confirmed the guilt of Roger Keith Coleman, executed in Virginia in 1992 for the murder of his sister-in-law--did not exist at the time of his 1982 trial."
After that 35-word update, Time went on to excerpt a portion of the original article. The excerpt doesn't really do justice to how adamant they were in their defense of Coleman but in the end Time gets credit for their notice.
Way back in 1992 Roger Keith Coleman was Time magazine’s cover boy against the death penalty. Time ran the following over a photo of Coleman in chains: "This Man Might Be Innocent, This Man Is Due To Die." Fast forward to 2006 and DNA tests have proved Coleman was in fact rightfully convicted of raping and killing his 19-year-old sister-in-law. So far Time hasn’t touched the story in its online edition. As this morning’s Washington Post reports the DNA test results have hit anti-death penalty advocates hard: "The results stunned and disappointed those who have fought a 25-year crusade to prove that Roger K. Coleman was innocent. They also dashed hopes among death penalty foes that the case would catalyze opposition to capital punishment across the country."
In the May 18th, 1992 edition of Time reporter Jill Smolowe wrote breathlessly about how the legal system was failing this supposed innocent man.
Before the new work year really kicks in, one little thing that caught my eye in between holidays. The PBS show "Charlie Rose" had a panel of film critics on to discuss the year in movies on December 21: Richard Corliss of Time, A.O. Scott of the New York Times, David Denby of The New Yorker, and Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly. (For cultural conservatives, consider this fact: an hour-long show on the year in movies and no mention of "The Chronicles of Narnia.") The perfect moment of taxpayer-funded liberal unanimity came in discussing George Clooney's movies "Syriana," and more specifically, the CBS-boosting "Good Night and Good News."
LISA SCHWARZBAUM: "Obviously he's telling a story that we can all feel much happier about. This is about how journalism spoke up to power and how they stared back at a bully. And It comes out at a time when the media wants to think about whether we need to stand up further to, you know, to pressures brought to bear. But I'm fascinated that Clooney is using this kind of charming, you know, "Ocean’s 12/13/14" kind of fame that he has in order to make these movies of what he takes as political importance. I think that's a very valuable use of his celebrity."
Picking up where we left off, here are the judges' picks for worst Quote of the Year during the Slick Willie era.
Onward, Christian Mouth-Breathers, 1993: "Corporations pay public relations firms millions of dollars to contrive the kind of grass-roots response that Falwell or Pat Robertson can galvanize in a televised sermon. Their followers are largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command." -- Washington Post reporter Michael Weisskopf, February 1 news story.
Hurray, Grown Men Can Weep, 1994: "Around the global village, women cheered and grown men wept. At his press conference, [Gold medal-winning speed skater Dan] Jansen paused to take a call from the President, the man who's made America safe again for tears." -- Newsweek Senior Writer David A. Kaplan, February 28 news story.
To welcome in 2006, I thought it might be fun (as one radio host suggested) to take a look back at all of our Quotes of the Year from the Best of Notable Quotables of the Year, all the worst, dumbest, and most bizarre quotes of each particular year. First, a look at the four years of President Bush Number One.
Iran-Contra Hangover, 1989: "For the most part, the Nicaraguan Contras burned villages and murdered civilians. On behalf of their cause, Reagan sold out his oath of office and subverted the Constitution....Oliver North presented himself as the immortal boy in the heroic green uniform of Peter Pan. Although wishing to be seen as a humble patriot, the colonel's testimony showed him to be a treacherous and lying agent of the national security state, willing to do anything asked of him by a President to whom he granted the powers of an Oriental despot." -- Harper's Editor Lewis Lapham narrating his PBS series America's Century, November 28.
Time’s decision to let their hearts bleed for global poverty and name Microsoft-fortune philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates and rock star Bono ("The Good Samaritans") as their Persons of the Year is a bit predictable. Mr. and Mrs. Gates made the cover of Newsweek a few years back for their massive philanthropy. You could argue the cover story looks like a payback, a big thank-you card: in the Gates article, Time admits: "Each day, the Gates Foundation receives about 140 requests for money or help. (It was a major sponsor of the Time Global Health Summit, held in New York City in November.)" Bono made the cover of Time previously for his globe-trotting activism, with the headline "Can Bono Save The World?" That cover story and this one have the same author, Josh Tyrangiel, and in both, Tyrangiel writes glowingly like a press agent about how effective and egoless and inspirational the rock singer is in lobbying for development aid. (It is interesting that Bono treats conservatives from John Kasich to Jesse Helms as serious people with good hearts and good brains, unlike, mmm, Time magazine most weeks.) Nancy Gibbs summarizes the award decision this way:
Veteran observers of media bias know that it's not just about the words. It's also about the pictures. Time Magazine deserves all the wrath that will be hurled its way in the coming days not only over not naming "The purple-fingered Iraqi voters" their 2005 Persons of the Year, but for totally omitting them from its 2005 "People Who Mattered" list. The Iraqi voter may not have mattered, but according to Time, actress Geena Davis, scifi character Darth Vader, singer Kanye West, and teenage golfer Michelle Wie all did.
But as outrageous as the selections are, the pictures of those selected are often worse. Scroll through the "People Who Mattered" pictures at Time's Web site and here's what you'll see (some captions were so awful I had to mention them too):
Unlike the other major broadcast network Sunday talk shows (as reported by NewsBusters), NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” led with Thursday’s historic elections in Iraq, while mentioning the surveillance scandal raised in a New York Times article Friday as almost an afterthought. Then, after the break, Matthews began on another topic that is likely much more of a concern to Americans than the legality of wiretaps on terrorists, illegal immigration.
After introducing his guests – Joe Klein of TIME, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, David Brooks of The New York Times, and syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker – Matthews went right into Thursday’s Iraqi elections. With the notable exception of Klein, the panel seemed in agreement that this was an historic event on Thursday, and that democracy in Iraq now seems possible. Mitchell stated, “I think there is a better chance than we have ever before seen of Iraq actually creating a government of these people working together, and of this country not blowing apart.” Matthews agreed, “I think it's the most amazing week in this whole war this week.”
Jim Kelly, Managing Editor of Time magazine, appeared on Friday's Today show. The segment, airing just prior to 8AM, teased the identity of Time’s "Person of the Year" and indicated it might be a choice that would make liberals very happy. Kelly listed two finalists from the world of politics: President Bush and Valerie Plame. He noted that Bush "hasn’t had a very good year" and then added, "this would not be the first time we put the President on with a bad year. Lyndon Johnson was on in '67 with the war in Vietnam and bad opinion polls." Kelly appeared to be much more intrigued by Valerie Plame as a candidate: "Valerie Plame really interests me because without Valerie Plame there's no Patrick Fitzgerald. there's no Karl Rove in trouble."
Kelly recounted meeting Plame a few months ago, describing her as a "absolutely charming, really interesting person." Matt Lauer jumped in and asked, "But wouldn’t it be kind of different? I mean, she didn’t do anything on purpose to be put in that position. And shouldn’t someone have to initiate some kind of behavior or some kind of action?" Kelly noted this and replied, "Well, that’s fair enough. You could do Patrick Fitzgerald, I suppose."
Arianna Huffington went on quite a rant at her blog today over the president’s speech in Philadelphia. In fact, she pulled no punches. Early on, she stated that “the president’s fanaticism is a scary prospect for the country.” But, that was just the beginning:
“The latest issues of both Time and Newsweek paint a portrait of an isolated president detached from the reality of all that is going on around him. Nothing seems to be penetrating -- not the rising death toll, not his depressed poll numbers, not the continuing revelations about the deceptions his administration used to lead us to war. Not even the growing skepticism about the war being expressed within his own party.”
There’s a new poll out, done by Oxford Research International for ABC News and TIME magazine. Unfortunately, unless you were watching “This Week” on ABC this morning, or this evening’s “World News Tonight,” you likely missed it.
George Stephanopoulos referred to this poll on “This Week” this morning as he was speaking with American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad (taken from closed captioning):
“And I want to begin by showing you and our viewers some results from a new poll, conducted by ABC news and 'Time' magazine, and other international partners. It's part of our 'Iraq: Where Things Stand' series. It shows some good news. More than 70% of Iraqis think things are going well for them right now. But it also shows there's a growing gap between the Shiites and Sunnis in the country, as we've seen before. Over 80% of Shiites feel safe. They approve of the constitution. They have confidence in the Iraqi army.”
With a hat tip to the Drudge Report, in what could be an advancement of media protestations that air marshals on American Airlines flight 924 overreacted when they shot and killed distraught passenger Rigoberto Alpizar, TIME magazine reported last night that another passenger on the plane is claiming he never heard the word “bomb”:
“‘I don't think they needed to use deadly force with the guy,’ says John McAlhany, a 44-year-old construction worker from Sebastian, Fla. "He was getting off the plane." McAlhany also maintains that Alpizar never mentioned having a bomb.
On Friday, NewsBusters reported the results of a new Rasmussen poll indicating that the public’s view of the War on Terrorism has dramatically improved in the past couple of months, but none of the mainstream media were opting to share this information with the citizenry. Well, another polling agency has just done a survey confirming this increase in American optimism concerning this subject. Yet, in this case, the very media outlet that paid for the survey is the one not including the results in its own published report.
On Sunday, TIME magazine posted an article at its website concerning a recent poll done for it by Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas (SRBI). This survey covered the typical analysis found in most polls these days including the president's job approval rating, how the public feels things are going in Iraq, etc. Yet, TIME curiously chose not to share with its readers an entire section from this SRBI survey concerning how the public feels the War on Terrorism is going.
The folks at PollingReport.com have the results that TIME didn’t share with its readers. For instance, 49 percent of those surveyed felt that the president is doing a good job handling the War on Terrorism. This is up from 46 percent in their poll taken after Katrina hit.
It’s probably not the first time it has happened, but with the exception of ABC’s George Will – who, of course, has been a regular on that network’s “This Week” for many years – the networks’ Sunday political talk shows had no established conservative guests to participate in their weekly panel discussions. Joining George Stephanopoulos and George Will this morning were Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile, TIME magazine’s Jay Carney, and ABC’s Claire Shipman. NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” featured Katy Kay of the BBC, Michael Duffy of TIME magazine, Norah O’Donnell of MSNBC, and Terry Neal of the Washington Post. CBS’s “Face the Nation” did its annual Thanksgiving “historians” program.
The most left-leaning of the panels was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where Tim Russert invited Judy Woodruff, formerly of CNN’s “Inside Politics,” David Broder of the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson also of the Washington Post, and David Gregory of NBC News. While the “This Week” and “Matthews” panels actually engaged in a comparatively well-rounded discussion, the “Meet the Press” group spent the bulk of its half-hour talking about the “disaster” in Iraq. For instance, Robinson said, “I think that there's general agreement now that there will be a mess in Iraq when U.S. troops finally withdraw and it certainly won't be an Athenian democracy, as the administration said it was out to create.” Gregory agreed, “And unfortunately, perhaps the only outcome is a kind of low-level civil war that's akin to the Arab- Israeli situation with U.S. soldiers in the way.”
Woodruff then joined in by paraphrasing a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly:
On NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” this morning, the host’s panel members stated that the reason 55 percent of Americans surveyed in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll were comfortable with the way the CIA is treating captured terror suspects is because Americans either “don’t know the truth” or “don’t want to know what the specifics are.”
The discussion was focused on torture issues raised in Congress this week, and Matthews brought up this poll to demonstrate that a majority of Americans don't seem to be concerned by how the CIA is interrogating prisoners. Andrew Sullivan of the New Republic quickly responded, “I don't think they know the full truth of what we're doing.”
Is Wal-Mart good for America or destroying its families? Two new documentaries show opposing views on the world’s largest retailer, but the media didn’t.
The anti-Wal-Mart film “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” has received most of the attention. The movie on the benefits of Wal-Mart, “Why Wal-Mart Works & Why That Makes Some People Crazy” was slighted. When both did get attention on “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” with the anti-Wal-Mart film getting more airtime from an agreeable Dobbs according to a report by the Free Market Project.
NBC began a November 1 “Today” segment with “A media blitz is under way about Wal-Mart and from Wal-Mart.” Text then appeared on the screen that read “Wal-Mart drives down retail wages $3 billion every year.” Despite mentioning the “media blitz” from Wal-Mart, the only official representation of the store was two lines from an ad. Reporter Dawn Fratangelo mentioned Wal-Mart’s new environmental programs and new health care plan. She then added “But critics call it a publicity stunt,” and interviewed a man from union-backed wakeupwalmart.com about it. Only anti-Wal-Mart people were featured in the story, and nothing positive about the company was included.
The Washington Post’s new ombudsman Deborah Howell, in only her second article in her new position, chose to defend journalists’ use of unnamed sources. Of late, this has become quite a hot-button issue, as an increasing number of articles from more and more media outlets seem to rely almost exclusively on anonymous suppliers of information, supposedly from within the White House.
In fact, in the past week, two of America’s leading magazines, Newsweek and TIME, published articles about turmoil inside the White House with bold predictions about changes to come within the administration. The latter just Monday claimed that deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, Treasury Secretary John Snow, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are all about to leave the White House in a huge administration reshuffling.
Yet, in both of these reports, not one source was named. This makes the beginning of Howell’s article even more disturbing:
Although the focus of the article is deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, TIME.com is reporting (hat tip to Drudge Report) that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Treasury Secretary John Snow will also be part of an imminent White House reorganization:
“Karl Rove's colleagues don't know exactly when it will happen, but they are already laying out the reasons they will give for the departure of the man President George W. Bush dubbed the architect. A Roveless Bush seemed unthinkable just a few months ago. But that has changed as the President's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff remains embroiled in the CIA leak scandal.”
“Several well-wired Administration officials predict that within a year, the President will have a new chief of staff and press secretary, probably a new Treasury Secretary and maybe a new Defense Secretary.”
As ABC, CBS, and NBC all dived into live coverage today to report the indictment of Vice President Cheney's top aide Scooter Libby, this is not at all the way the networks covered indictments of cabinet officers in the Clinton years.
In September 1997, we reported in Media Watch that when former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy was indicted on 39 counts, the networks aired a single evening news story. Three of the four networks -- ABC, CNN, and NBC -- underlined that the Smaltz inquiry had so far cost $9 million. None of them noted civil penalties originating from targets of Smaltz's inquiry amounted to more than $3.5 million. The next morning, CBS's morning show, called CBS This Morning, didn't even mention Espy's indictment. Months later, I noted in a Media Reality Check that on December 11, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros was indicted on 18 counts for misleading the FBI about payoffs to a mistress, Linda Medlar. NBC Nightly News filed one story; ABC's World News Tonight gave it 18 seconds. CBS Evening News didn't arrive on the story until the next night, and gave it nine seconds, a fraction of the two minutes Dan Rather gave the nightly El Nino update, about the weather "giving a gentle lift to the monarch butterfly." The morning shows were worse: NBC's Today passed on two anchor briefs, and ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning ignored it.
Time Magazine’s cover story for this week is called The Battle Over Gay Teens, however when one takes a few moments to examine the contents of this verbose six-page article the author, John Cloud, really is talking about the promotion and acceptance of gay teens in America.The unbelievable bias for the promotion of gay teens is absolutely amazing despite the fact that Cloud attempts to cite a few conservative or Christian viewpoints.
Here are a few blatant examples of bias that Cloud cites…