Spreading the WordAs we reported earlier, former Newsweek reporter Michael Hastings drops one rhetorical bomb after another on the media in a new article for GQ magazine. All of them reinforcing what we already knew, best summarized by Hastings himself: the press's "objectivity is a fallacy."
It has been a horrendous year for the media's credibility, and Hastings's statements only make it worse. "If (it) sounds like I had some trouble being ‘objective,' I did. Objectivity is a fallacy. In campaign reporting more than any other kind of press coverage, reporters aren't just covering a story, they're a part of it-influencing outcomes, setting expectations, framing candidates-and despite what they tell themselves, it's impossible to both be a part of the action and report on it objectively."
Hastings is utterly derisive of both former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator and Presidential nominee John McCain, both of whom he covered during the Republican primary. He in fact dreamed repeatedly of doing Giuliani harm as some sort of warped civic duty.
When a McCain campaign representative told David Shuster today that the source of much of Barack Obama's fund-raising is unknown, the MSNBC host scoffed, claiming only "right-wing" blogs could believe that and challenging the spokesman to cite a credible source.
Instead of fulminating about the conservative blogosphere, David might want to pick up a copy of Newsweek, which last time I looked had a news-sharing arrangement with . . . MSNBC. None other than Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reported those very facts about Obama's fund-raising last week.
McCain spokesman Ben Porritt was Shuster's guest during MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour today.
Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown appeared on Thursday's "Good Morning America" to plug her new website and asserted that "what people are really interested in" is whether Senator John McCain is losing in a dishonorable manner. While describing "The Daily Beast," a Huffington Post-style blog site, she whined that "what I feel strongly is a sense that people are regretting [sic] the old John McCain" and complained, "Like, what happened to this man who was such, a kind of, honorable, great American? The campaign doesn't seem to live up to his sense of honor in any way. And he's really changing."
Now, is that what "people" are really interested in or just people in New York City? Brown's chiding continued as she questioned, "...If McCain loses, will he feel a great regret that he didn't lose this time with as much honor as he lost last time?" Agreeing that the former Vanity Fair editor had hit on a hot topic, co-host Robin Roberts fretted, "That's what some people are talking about." On a blog for her site, Brown was even nastier. She mused that after McCain referred to Obama as "that one" during the presidential debate, the Democrat "watched him from his Frank Sinatra stool with the look of a family visitor marveling at the antics of the household’s resident crazy uncle."
Update's Update: I have been assured by IT that we are FINALLY ready to go with this.
The American people in poll after poll and in greater and growing numbers are railing against the egregious liberal bias of the press. And nowhere are the media more horrendously slanted than in their coverage of the presidential campaign of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. They are (to say the least) very, very sweet on him.
The MRC has put together this college basketball tournament-style bracket event, the Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen Media Bias Tournament, so that you, the angered members of the media’s audience can vote for who gives Sen. Obama the most loving and fawning coverage of all.
Borrowing from the nickname for a federal earmark that would have built a multi-million dollar bridge for an Alaska town of 50 people, Newsweek's Mark Hosenball offers readers of the September 29 print magazine a look at "[Gov. Sarah] Palin's Pipeline to Nowhere."
Hosenball suggests that Palin's $500-million "principal achievement" as governor "might never be built after all." But while the headline evokes images of the "Bridge to Nowhere," this isn't a case of government waste as much as it is of the endless red tape of lawsuits.:
Approximately half of the proposed pipeline would run through Canada; native tribes who live along its route complain they haven't been consulted about it and are threatening to sue unless they are compensated. Representatives of the canadian tribes, known as First Nations, say Palin and other pipeline proponents are treating them with disrespect. The tribes' lawyers warn that the courts are on their side and say the Indians have the power to delay the pipeline for years-or even kill it entirely by filing endless lawsuits.
If at first you don't succeed in making Americans open to same sex marriage by highlighting monogamous gay couples in their 20s and 30s, try to guilt them into it by finding elderly gay people who are all but "invisible and overlooked" in America.
That's essentially what Newsweek's Jessica Bennett did with her September 18 Web exclusive deadling with the "growing population of lesbian and gay senior citizens" who "[seek] recognition for their unique needs and challenges."
Bennett started off with a man whose complaint is virtually indistinguishable from countless single or widowed elderly men:
Jeffery Goldberg from The Atlantic Magazine is reporting that underhanded, leftist photographer Jill Greenberg has just been let go by her Representing Agency, the Vaughan Hannigan photo agency. This is a perfect example of a lesson of consequences. When Greenberg admitted that she lied and tricked John McCain so that she could manipulate his image to slander him and did so in the employ of The Atlantic Magazine, she lost any future work with that magazine for her unprofessional behavior. And now, more consequences have come her way.
No one is, of course, saying that Jill Greenberg isn't allowed to be as bigoted as she wants to be, but she should be ready to accept the consequences if she does so while acting as a representative for someone else. In this case she was representing The Atlantic Magazine when she was assigned to photograph McCain and then used her position to trick him into a situation where she could use his image for political attacks at a later date.
Reacting to photographs of Sen. John McCain taken by a freelance photographer for Atlantic Monthly, MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell took aim at the photographer while noting the magazine has reacted appropriately by denouncing her work. [audio of segment here]
"In this case, I don't know that I blame Atlantic Monthly for this reason. [Jill Greenberg] is a rogue photographer," Bozell told Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes on their September 15 program.
Bozell added that Atlantic's editor denounced Greenberg as "appalling." "This wasn't the [fault of the] Atlantic Monthly, this was the photographer" who is among a segment of the political left that "is just out of control." That doesn't negate that fact that the media have not been biased in this election cycle, Bozell added.:
In a follow up to Noel Sheppard's last post on the controversy over the choice of partisan photographer Jill Greenberg to shoot the cover shot of John McCain by Atlantic Magazine, we find that the Atlantic folks have issued an apology for ever having hired her. After it was revealed that she indulged in tricks and lies to ridicule John McCain while she was in a position of representing Atlantic Magazine as its photographer, the folks at Atlantic expressed their disappointment and shock at the photog's unprofessional behavior. They promise not to repeat the error of hiring her again.
It has already been established (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that the Obama campaign's ad ridiculing John McCain's computer skills, including the claim that McCain "can't e-mail," has several reality-based problems:
McCain has been an e-mail devotee since 2000, if not earlier, receiving help from a loving spouse to respond to messages, and was described by Forbes Magazine that year as "the U.S. Senate’s savviest technologist."
The reason McCain gets help with e-mail is that his severe war injuries prevent him from doing many things many of us take for granted, including typing on a keyboard.
Further, the current and previous Oval Office occupants have rarely used e-mail -- the former because he never learned how while in office, the latter because of legal considerations. Future occupants will likely be, and probably should be, similarly constrained.
So it's as clear as can be that Obama's ad is wrong and, intentionally or not, very mean to a man whose physical challenges are a result of beyond-the-call service to our country.
Beyond all that, Kevin Aylward at Wizbang has noted that McCain's 2000 presidential run was effusively praised as a groundbreaking high-tech campaign by a Democratic Internet pioneer in a 2005 book.
On August 31 at Newsbusters, Warner Todd Huston caught NBC political correspondent Andrea Mitchell's assessment about the kind of women who would be supporting the McCain-Palin ticket:
..... they (McCain-Palin) think that they can peel off some of these working class women, not college educated, who, the blue collar women who were voting for Hillary Clinton and may be more conservative on social causes.
Combining Mitchell's take with the statement by Eleanor Clift (noted by NB's Brent Baker) that "in many newsrooms" McCain's pick of Sarah Palin was "greeted by "laughter," you get the distinct impression that the media believe that women who are supporting McCain-Palin aren't very smart.
The Mitchell-Clift Maxim isn't passing the smell test in Ohio, at least if the results of the University of Cincinnati's Ohio Poll released earlier today (a PDF can be retrieved at this link; HT to NB commenter Dee Bunk) are to be believed.
Back in 2000, after John McCain lost his mostly honorable campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, he went about apologizing to journalists--including me--for his most obvious mis-step: his support for keeping the confederate flag on the state house.
As NewsBusters reported on September 5, the celebrity gossip magazine "Us Weekly" got inundated by angry subscribers demanding their subscriptions be cancelled after the slick published an issue bashing McCain VP pick Governor Sarah Palin, her family and litle baby Trig.
Well, now it looks like "Us Weekly" is desperate to stem the tide of angry cancellations by offering free issues to anyone upset over the Palin-Bashing issue. Michelle Malkin is reporting that the magazine is sending subscribers an email begging them not to cancel and offering a groveling apology.
That will be followed by observations of commenter "Tom W" (not yours truly) at Pajamas Media.
If they indeed reflect what is happening on the ground, you won't hear about it from the Associated Press, or read it in the New York Times, or see it on the Big Three Networks news or cable shows -- which is why it's so necessary to post items like this here. In fact, it's fair to say that if you were going to see commentary and commenting such as that which follows, it would have occurred already.
What does it say about Sarah Palin that some of my favorite targets, um, subjects raved about her this morning? Andrea Mitchell and Mika Brzezinski could hardly have been more complimentary, Tom Brokaw and Jay Carney chipping in with positive comments.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Here was a novice on the national scene, with the lowest of expectations. People said sure, she'll be able to perform. But it was an amazing, amazing speech in terms of the way it connected to people. I talked to people afterwards on the floor, a lot of women. One woman from California who said it didn't matter that she, this woman delegate, is pro-choice. She said "I'm a mom. I've got three kids at home. And I see myself up there." And she's connecting to her. She said "I did not think this was a good choice until I heard that speech." Now this is admittedly a select audience of very passionate and very conservative Republican delegates. But I think there is a broader audience for this out there. I think it was an extraordinary debut.
When NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd passed along comments from Dem strategists suggesting the speech might have been "a little too hot" for swing voters, Andrea and Mika actually rode to Palin's defense.
If a hypothetical tabloid owned by, say, Richard Mellon Scaife, had a cover story with scurrilous accusations about Joe Biden, do you think Chris Matthews would be waving it about on camera and Keith Olbermann citing it? Neither do I. But if for some reason they did, would they possibly fail to mention the mag's ownership?
But Matthews saw fit—not once but twice—to display the cover of Us magazine, with its story "Babies, Lies and Scandals" about Sarah Palin. Olbermann alluded to it as well. And who is the owner of Us? Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone . . . and a big-time donor to Barack Obama. How big a donor? You can view his list of contributions here, with an image after the jump.
Now it's true that Matthews discounted the "lies" allegation. But why give currency to dubious accusations—by a magazine whose stock-in-trade is celebrity gossip—by displaying them repeatedly on a national news show? There was no suggestion that Us, unlike the National Enquirer in John Edwards' case, had done any significant independent reporting. This is apparently scandal-mongering, pure and simple. And of course, neither Matthews nor Olbermann mentioned the Wenner connection.
I'm slightly perplexed by the various Republican efforts to express outrage over the press and Democratic reaction to Bristol Palin's pregnancy. Maybe I'm missing something, but I haven't heard or read a single journalist--or Democrat--say that this was anything other than a private matter. In fact, Barack Obama, the son of an 18-year-old mother, was vehement and eloquent on that subject yesterday. I've got to think this is a McCain smokescreen to divert attention from the real issue here: how and why McCain selected this tyro.
Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as pro-life Democrats. And yes, there are some in Denver at the party's nominating convention, even if the mainstream media don't interview them.
Christianity Today has found a few and has been covering them at the magazine's CTPolitics blog. But if you are looking for tough questions, you won't find them from staffer Sarah Pulliam in her interview with Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski.
As my colleague Brent Baker noted earlier this morning, the "[m]ost prevalent theme during Tuesday night's coverage of the Democratic National Convention, after speculation over healing the Clinton-Obama feud" was "TV journalists worrying about how the Democrats are not adequately aggressive in their attacks against John McCain as reporters." The speeches weren't full of "red meat" to toss to the ravenous partisan crowd, lamented broadcast journalists.
But the complaint isn't constrained to the broadcast media. Evaluating the Tuesday night speeches for Time magazine, reporter Mark Halperin has given the best marks to Democrats who have tossed out meatiest attack lines.
Below is a breakdown of Halperin's grades and comments on the key speeches thus far. You'll notice that the pols with the lower marks tend to be faulted for failing to give the convention hall a healthy serving of red meat. We'll have to see how Halperin grades Republicans next week and if right-wing sirloin is slapped as grade A beef or slapped with a recall label (emphases mine):
Don't want to take Rush's word for it? How about Mark Halperin's? The editor of Time's "The Page" thinks the choice by John McCain of a pro-choice running mate would be nothing short of a "disaster." Halperin expressed his view during an appearance today on CNN's American Morning.
KIRAN CHETRY: What about some potential running mates for John McCain? Because there's been a lot of talk all over talk radio. A lot of people are saying if he tries to go with somebody who's pro-choice like a Lieberman, that that would be it for the base: a big deflation for the convention.
MARK HALPERIN: Look, so many of the people who go to the convention in St. Paul are going to be pro-life, and very strongly pro-life. I think it would be a disaster for him to pick someone who was not in agreement with the party platform on abortion.
This week’s Time magazine doesn’t only conclude that John McCain is as un-American as al-Qaeda for mocking Obama’s celebrity. They go on to worry about the old man’s Internet illiteracy, such a contrast to Obama, "well known to be a BlackBerry addict." In an article titled "The Offline American," writer Lev Grossman suggested McCain’s statement that "I don’t e-mail" and relies on his wife for help makes him too clueless to make decisions about the Internet. The liberals have figured out how to use McCain’s age and experience against him, claiming he’s not qualified to rule the Internet: "if you can't grasp that structure, how can you lead the people who live and work in it?"
Time completely ignores McCain's leadership of the Senate Commerce Commitee, a center of Congress's technology policy-making, and McCain's proposed tech agenda. Grossman says McCain’s staff is backpedaling (and some of McCain’s self-deprecating commentary is meant to be jokey and exaggerating), but he asserts McCain is dangerously lacking:
On the grand scale of wired politicians, he's probably somewhere between recently indicted Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, who famously described the Internet as a "series of tubes," and our current President, who once proudly explained to CNBC's Maria Bartiromo how he uses "the Google." (As for Obama, he's well known to be a BlackBerry addict.)
Elizabeth Edwards authorized a friend to attack John Edwards over his infamous "she was in remission" interview on Nightline. That's the stunning assertion of Sandra Westfall, the "People" magazine writer who authored the article [excerpt here] containing the friend's crticism. Westfall was a guest on tonight's Verdict with Dan Abrams.
DAN ABRAMS: Sandra, let me start with you.Is it fair to say that the story that you guys have in this week's magazine is effectively Elizabeth Edwards' side of the story?
SANDRA WESTFALL: You know, she authorized her brother and her best friend to speak to me on her behalf.
This doesn't qualify as any kind of surprise, but it should be noted nonetheless.
Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama gave a stunningly downbeat assessment of the nation's overall situation in a response to a seven year-old girl who asked him why he is running for president. Obama's media water-carriers have virtually ignored his very telling response, one that is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's gloomiest, malaise-based assessments of America during his awful presidency.
UPDATE, Aug. 6 -- The media fact-checker overview begins here, and continues below the fold:
"..... all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling" Obama refers to is NOT just the 200,000 additional barrels obtainable from the "Pacific, Atlantic and eastern Gulf regions." Republican proposals also include Alaska, shale oil, and tar sands.
Just including Alaska coastal at very conservative extraction assumptions leads to a potential of almost 1 million barrels of oil a day instead of only 200,000.
Fully ramped-up production from shale oil and tar sands at very conservative extraction assumptions would lead to a potential of another 27 million (you read that right) barrels a day.
Pitching a mix of softballs and loaded questions, US News & World Report writer Jay Tolson failed to press Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson with any queries from a conservative, orthodox Christian perspective in his July 30 interview with "The Gay Bishop at the Center of the Anglican Storm."
Indeed, at one point Tolson prodded Robinson to criticize the worldwide Anglican Communion for doing little to stop conservative breakaways from the increasingly liberal Episcopal Church USA:
You wouldn't even want the communion to bring an end to conservatives' efforts to create new jurisdictions or allow conservative jurisdictions (such as the Church of Nigeria) to bring breakaway congregations in other provinces under their authority?
When he wasn't asking "how does this make you feel" type questions about his treatment by conservative clergy, Tolson presented conservative Episcopals and Anglicans as "unyielding" on "hot-button issues," forgetting perhaps that religious faith is predicated on beliefs about eternal truths that are non-negotiable:
Rush Limbaugh likes to joke that he has "half my brain tied behind my back, just to keep it fair." But there's no sign Michelle Obama [file photo] was anything but serious when she said something similar in a current People magazine interview, h/t Michelle Malkin. Mrs. Obama claimed she could be "very competent" on policy putting in only a 70% effort.
Throw in a few more statements from Mrs. Obama during the interview attesting to her own intellect, and a picture emerges of a woman either very sure--or insecure--about her smarts.
Newsweek’s love for Barack Obama knows no bounds. After Obama’s speech in Berlin, Newsweek published a headline that suggests an editor who’s spent six days drunk on a merry-go-round: "Obama’s Reagan Moment." That deserves the Lloyd Bentsen retort: "I knew Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a friend of mine. Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan."
The Newsweek piece sneered that while Obama and John Kennedy spoke to more than a hundred thousand people, Reagan spoke to a much smaller audience, "only about 20,000," and they were outnumbered by leftist protesters the night before. They recalled, "Even some of Reagan’s aides were embarrassed by the ‘tear down this wall’ line thinking it was too provocative or grandiose." Newsweek would concede only that "Reagan understood stagecraft," and communism’s fall "made his words prescient."
In other words, the Gipper was a showboat who got lucky.