**UPDATE** Earlier version of blog incorrectly stated that Ron Fournier had deleted tweets in question when in fact they are still on his account.
It appears as though the days of civility and integrity in journalism are long gone. On March 1, National Journal’s Ron Fournier, formerly the Washington bureau chief at the Associated Press, took to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction with government sequestration, suggesting that President Obama:
Can handle Bin laden, not Boehner? He may be POTUS, but Obama incapable of “a Jedi mind meld.”
Fournier continued his violent rhetoric in a follow-up tweet, suggesting that, “Bin Laden didn’t compromise. Handled him pretty well.”
Forbes just published its 20 Most Miserable Cities List for 2013. The magazine left off several obviously more "worthy" contenders, perhaps because its decisions to include and exclude certain criteria were, to say the least, more than a little odd.
I have listed the magazine's top twenty following the jump, along with each city's mayor and that person's political leanings, showing a commonality the magazine's Kurt Badenhausen failed to observe:
In a careless attempt to get a rise out of their readers, mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post and Esquire Magazine erroneously reported that the Navy SEAL credited with the assassination of Osama bin Laden had been unceremoniously stripped of health insurance following his retirement last September.
The story immediately went viral, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff from the Post and their massive followings on Twitter. Former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle Phil Bronstein originally posted an 'exhaustively researched' article about it on Esquire's site. Upon its publication and online distribution however, some readers noticed just how rife with inaccuracies the story was. Former public affairs officer of the Department of Veteran Affairs Brandon Friedman was among them. (H/T - Twitchy)
In a lengthy article in March's Esquire "reported in cooperation with" the leftist-advised Center for Investigative Reporting, CIR Executive Chairman Philip Bronstein told readers that the unnamed Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011 was a year ago "wondering how he was going to feed his wife and kids or pay for their medical care." According to Bronstein, the answer is (read these words carefully): "[A]fter sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation: Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family."
The "no health care" portion of that statement is inarguably false. Yet Bronstein, as will be seen shortly, stands by it. On Monday, Megan McCloskey at Stars & Stripes explained something which would be known to any journalist genuinely interested in finding out how the military's pay and benefits arrangements work (link is in original; bolds are mine):
Does the Politico do so little noteworthy original work that it has to make it appear as if it's taking credit for stories it didn't break? It sure looks like it from here.
In a story about President Obama's Organizing For Action organization, the not-for-profit lobbying result after Obama and those running the presidential campaign's Organizing For America chose to become a permanent fixture, Politico's Byron Tau predictably whitewashed the seriousness of OFA's violation of IRS rules against partisan political activity in allowing a supporter of Democrat Terry McAuliffe to recruit signature gatherers for his gubernatorial campaign. Tau also acted as if his web site had gotten the story either first or at the same time as a competitor when he wrote in his second paragraph that "OFA removed the post after it was flagged by POLITICO and the Weekly Standard." Then, in the final sentence of his 11-paragraph entry -- one I guess he hopes nobody will read -- Tau wrote:
Conservatives have long joked that the national press corps see Barack Obama as the second coming of Jesus Christ. Today, Newsweek – at least what’s left of it, an online product for tablets and e-readers – made it official.
A Monday US News item by Jason Koebler ("Study: Global Warming Can Be Slowed By Working Less") illustrates how radical thought injects itself into establishment press news stories.
Koebler's work attempts to be cute, with its picture (a cyclist taking a nap), its subheadline (a suggestion that "a more 'European' schedule would reduce the effects of climate change"), and its opening ("Want to reduce the effects of global warming? Stop working so hard"). The seemingly innocent concept is that "working fewer hours and more vacation time, could prevent as much as half of the expected global temperature rise by 2100." It takes a bit of digging before one learns that the whole idea is really premised on "de-growth" -- "a political, economic, and social movement ... (which) advocate(s) for the downscaling of production and consumption," or, in other words, "the contraction of economies."
Surprised they didn't opt for the auto da fe analogy . . .
On Chris Hayes's MSNBC show this morning, Ali Gharib, editor of the "Open Zion" blog at the Daily Beast, described the questioning of Chuck Hagel at his Senate confirmation hearing as "a Republican purge" and a "Maoist public shaming." Michael Hastings of the Rolling Stone begged to differ, finding it more reminiscent of "Stalin." View the video after the jump.
How big of an Obama lapdog is Andrea Mitchell? Even bigger than ardent Obama fan Chris Hughes. The Facebook co-founder, who bought the New Republic last year, recently scored an interview with President Obama that has been criticized for its generally soft questioning. But during an appearance on Mitchell's MSNBC show today, even Hughes was more candid about the prez than Mitchell.
When it came to the President's statement during the interview that at Camp David "we do skeet shooting all the time," Mitchell claimed "he didn't say that he was skeet shooting, but he does say that it's one of the practices at Camp David by his guests." Responding, Hughes effectively contradicted her: "Frank Foer, the editor of New Republic, actually asked him point blank 'have you ever fired a gun?' And in response he said "yeah, we go skeet shooting all the time up at Camp David. He and his guests. Which is news to us and news to a lot of people." The transcript of the interview makes clear that, contrary to Mitchell's claim, Obama answered in the personal and affirmative. View the video after the jump.
Hey gals, are you “cool” and “open-minded?” Then why aren’t you at the strip club? That’s where the February issue of women's magazine Cosmopolitan says you should be.
Cosmo’s Jessica Knoll spoke with club managers across the country about the growing trend: “Women – straight women – are infiltrating the gentlemen’s club, in some cases outnumbering the male clientele.”
A week ago, Associated Press reporters and their articles' headlines described the nation's job market in positive terms. An early a.m. report on Janaury carried this headline: "U.S. job market resilient despite budget fight." Later that same morning, just before the government's release of that day's employment report, there was this: "Jobs report expected to show underlying economic strength." Late that afternoon, reacting to the news that the economy had a December unemployment rate of 7.8 percent while adding 155,000 seasonally adjusted jobs, AP reporters Paul Wiseman and Christopher Rugaber described the performance as "matching the solid but unspectacular monthly pace of the past two years."
Reports from wire services other than the AP, which might as well stand for the Administration's Press, weren't as rosy. At Reuters ("Mediocre job growth points to slow grind for U.S. economy"), Jason Lange observed that December's hiring pace was "short of the levels needed to bring down a still lofty unemployment rate." Fair enough, but what the press continues to virtually ignore -- while obsessing over the same problem early last decade when the problem was nowhere near as severe -- is the plight of the long-term unemployed.
On CNN this morning, in a quote captured by Rush Limbaugh on his program today (but predictably ignored by David Edwards covering the broadcast at Raw Story), Carol Costello told viewers that "no one is talking about overturning the Second Amendment or confiscating guns in America."
Wow. What hermetically sealed cave have you been living in during the past few weeks, Carol -- or for that matter, as Limbaugh effectively asked, where have you been during the past 4-1/2 decades? Here's some of what Rush had to say in response (bolds are mine):
On Wednesday, as President Obama signed -- er, auto-penned -- the legislation preventing the onset of the "fiscal cliff" passed by Congress the previous day, the establishment press was busy understating its impact. A Friday evening Wall Street Journal editorial (note: not a regular news report) in today's print edition lays out the gory details.
But first, I will cite four examples of coverage which pretended that 99 percent of Americans won't see their income taxes increase in 2013.
While many of us can probably wax nostalgic about a job in our past that was thoroughly challenging and enjoyable, I'd venture to say not many of us would fondly recall unlimited expense accounts, much less free-flowing booze and a sexually promiscuous culture that treated female employees as ready-to-order mistresses. But then, you might if you worked for Newsweek in the 1960s and '70s.
In his "oral history" interview feature that was compiled for the magazine's final print edition, Newsweek.com staffer Andrew Romano chatted with some of the writers and editors from the Mad Men era of the weekly magazine. What particularly struck me was the almost wistful way in which many interview subjects fondly recalled sexual liaisons in the magazine's Madison Avenue office. Also seemingly excused by Newsweek alumni was the blatant sexual harassment female staffers were shown. At one point, one justified the harassment by attributing it to the journalistic profession writ large, practically absolving offenders of any personal responsibility (emphases mine):
According to Dylan Byers at Politico, the National Journal's Ron Fournier is going to "step down as editor-in-chief" and moving to "a role as editorial director." Before joining that publication in June 2010, Fournier worked at the Associated Press for a total of over 20 years in two different stints. In an email response to Politico yesterday, Fournier elaborated on the motivation behind his move (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The shocking revelation of CIA Director David Petraeus's adultery has rocked Washington and has thrilled the media, perhaps a little too much.
Forget the pain that adultery causes and which Holly Petraeus must be feeling right now. For the Daily Beast/Newsweek's Lizzie Crocker, the whole situation is the perfect news peg to offer aspiring philanderers lessons they can learn from the ex-CIA chief's "rookie mistakes."
Some serious fur flew on the Morning Joe set today, as Joe Scarborough clashed with David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. Setting Scarborough off was the magazine's endorsement of Barack Obama that lauded the president for relieving the "national shame inflicted by the Bush administration."
Scarborough saracastically asked Remnick "who got paid the bonus for being able to squeeze in, quote, 'the shame of the Bush years?'" Scarborough went on to scald Remnick for the left's hypocrisy in giving President Obama a pass for pursuing many of the same policies that it had accused Bush-Cheney of undermining the Constitution for establishing. Remnick feigned ignorance of what Scarborough meant by "the left," and accused Joe of having "within two seconds, leapt down my throat" about the endorsement. View the video after the jump.
Electric vehicle battery maker A123 filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday. Part of the caption at an Associated Press photo found at a National Geographic report about the "hurdles for clean tech" on Wednesday stated that the company "received a $6 million grant from the Bush administration in 2007 and a $249 million grant from the Obama administration in 2008."
That's pretty funny (actually pathetic), given that Obama didn't take office until January 2009. What's not funny is which of the two presidents cited in the AP photo's caption is actually in the photo:
Having seen the candidate the press corps so obviously favors perform poorly while his opponent shined, Ron Fournier at National Journal, an Associated Press alum, dove so deeply into excuse-making that I half expected him to claim that the dog ate President Obama's debate prep.
The primary culprit, according to the forlorn Fournier, is something over which Obama has no control, as seen in the following excerpt from the 11:30 p.m. version of his dispatch. The report has an accurate headline admitting to something Fournier wouldn't directly acknowledge, namely that Romney won the night (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Does anyone remember anybody in the establishment press speculating over who might hold Cabinet positions during a second Bush 43 term in the fall of 2004 without qualifying it with "if Bush is reelected"? Neither do I.
But at the Politico on Thursday, the closest Josh Ragin got in an item found at the web site's "The Cable" section speculating on whether John Kerry or Susan Rice is better positioned to be Obama's nominee to be "America's next top diplomat" (i.e., Secretary of State) was quoting a Republican Senate aide who merely referred to the possible fireworks "if it's the beginning of a second Obama term." That doesn't even qualify as a qualifier either, because a victorious Obama might attempt to confirm a new nominee to replace Hillary Clinton during a lame-duck session. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
About a month ago, I joked in a column published elsewhere that the reason a certain New York Times column didn't resonate with anyone is because no one pays attention to the Old Gray Lady any more.
Unfortunately, that's not true. But the fact that almost no other establishment press outlet has mentioned the paper's disclosure late Wednesday (appearing in Thursday's print edition) that former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine and others at the bankrupt firm likely won't face criminal prosecution in the firm's crack-up, which featured raiding individual customers' accounts to the tune of $1.6 billion, seems to indicate that the Times has become a favored holding cell for stories detrimental to Democrats which will otherwise be ignored. Oh, and contrary to the belief expressed in a very long Vanity Fair item in February, when Corzine was seen to be in "a scandal he can’t survive," and that "his career is likely finished," the man is seriously considering starting up a new hedge fund.
Time magazine just e-mailed Newsbusters with an announcement: Fareed Zakaria's column will return early, in the September 7 issue. His offending plagiarism-soiled column appeared in the August 20 edition, so the one-month suspension became a one-week slap on the wrist. (Update: CNN also announced today that their suspension of Zakaria would end on Sunday, August 26.)
"We have completed a thorough review of each of Fareed Zakaria’s columns for TIME, and we are entirely satisfied that the language in question in his recent column was an unintentional error and an isolated incident for which he has apologized. We look forward to having Fareed's thoughtful and important voice back in the magazine with his next column in the issue that comes out on September 7."
[UPDATED below page break: TIME magazine, CNN have suspended Zakaria.] When CNN host and Time editor-at-large Fareed Zakaria wrote a new piece called “The Case for Gun Control,” it ended with a bang: “So when people throw up their hands and say we can't do anything about guns, tell them they're being un-American--and unintelligent.”
Here’s something that suggests a lack of intelligence: plagiarism. Cam Edwards at NRANews.com suggested to me that Zakaria seemed to plagiarize a paragraph from an April article in The New Yorker magazine -- with a modicum word-usage changes and interjections (Texas!) in an attempt to paper it over. Here’s a paragraph from his Time piece:
The family of late billionaire Sidney Harman announced on Monday that it will no longer invest in the ailing Newsweek magazine and the online Daily Beast website, leaving the joint company under the control of Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp.
According to a Reuters article by Peter Lauria, IAC said it will continue to subsidize Newsweek Daily Beast's operations, and as a result, its initial 50 percent interest in the joint venture will become a controlling stake.
The gushing praise for Newsroom that HBO is highlighting in an ad campaign just seemed too good to be true to Jeff Bercovici, who noted the new Aaron Sorkin-created series was earning a "distinctly mediocre [score of] 57" on Metacritic.com. "Even those critics who’ve embraced it have generally done so with considerable caveats," the Forbes media critic noted.
So sure enough, upon closer examination, reviews by three major news outlets that HBO excerpted from in an ad in The Hollywood Reporter trade paper "were distinctly negative." With apologies to the Newsroom-philic disgraced former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, the words were accurate but the tone was fake (emphases mine):
Michael Grunwald is doubling down on what many liberals in the media are only hinting at. "[T]here is nothing wrong with politicizing tragedy," the Time senior national correspondent wrote this morning, reacting to the Aurora movie theater shooting. "If advocates or experts or even politicians think their policy ideas can prevent the next Aurora—by preventing potential killers from obtaining guns, by making sure potential victims can carry guns, or by some other method—then by all means, now is the time to spread the word."
Grunwald's callousness on this count has generated criticism, and not just from conservatives. Noah Rothman of Mediaite complained:
One of the recent lies told by the Obama campaign and the liberal media is that companies owned by Bain Capital outsourced thousands of jobs while Mitt Romney was CEO.
A headline in the July 12 Boston Globe blared, “Mitt Romney stayed at Bain 3 years longer than he stated” causing the liberal media and MSNBC to jump on the story. The story hyped SEC filings by Bain Capitol listing Mitt Romney as CEO of Bain for three years after he left his official duties with the organization suggesting that he had a far more active role at Bain far after he claims he left the company.
Update (July 13, 15:14 EDT): ESPN Magazine's Twitter profile is using an image of a naked female athlete as its avatar | Is it time for ESPN Magazine to don the “plain brown wrapper” and move to the very top back of the magazine rack where curious youngsters can’t catch a glimpse? It may be, at least for one issue a year.
The fourth annual “Body Issue” of ESPN is scheduled to arrive at newsstands on July 11. Like the Sports Illustrated “Swimsuit Issue,” the magazine takes a break from balls and strikes and receivers’ routes to stop and ogle sexy people. In this case, however, all are famous athletes (of both sexes) and all are photographed naked.