Of all the soft-cushion drubbings Barack Obama has taken at the hands of once (and future) cheerleaders, none is as silly as an op-ed by Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The piece is titled “Obama will have to take his lumps,” but the context suggests Tucker is using the metaphor in the sense of “one lump or two?”
Her argument, if it can be rightly called that, might be encapsulated as “Sure, Obama lied, but only after those conniving Republicans sabotaged his undeniably excellent health care reform law, thereby forcing his hand.”
Let’s look at the way the print media reacted to Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis after their first six months as pontiff.
We looked at the editorials in 15 of the nation’s largest newspapers to see what they said about the current pope, and his predecessor, after their first six months in office (Pope Francis will celebrate his first six months on September 13).
Saturday's front-page New York Times story by education writer Michael Winerip on a school testing scandal involving Beverly Hall, former superintendent of Atlanta public schools: "35 Indicted in Test Scandal at Atlanta Schools." Hall is "charged with racketeering, theft, influencing witnesses, conspiracy and making false statements. Prosecutors recommended a $7.5 million bond for her; she could face up to 45 years in prison."
It's a sorry end to a saga that includes politically correct embarrassment for the paper and reporter Shaila Dewan, who defended Hall in two notorious stories from August 2010, trumpeting the false initial vindication of Superintendent Hall, who is black, while hinting at a racial element to criticism that Hall and the Atlanta school district had falsified minority student test scores.
Chalk another one up for media anti-Catholic bigotry.
Syndicated editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich, working for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, created a cartoon bashing the Catholic Church for controlling women. The cartoon features a wizened old bishop in a confessional, saying to a woman that “The contraception debate’s about controlling you.” The cartoon has the caption “Confession” at the bottom.
On Monday, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Clear English -- oops, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) -- touted how they had corrected "transphobic" language in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The original version, they claimed, "unfortunately used outdated and inaccurate pronouns." Here's what makes it complicated. The center of the story, 7-year-old "D," insists she is a boy. Her "father" gave birth to her...from her uterus. So the "corrected" story reads like this:
This past week, we learned that it was another year, another dive for newspaper circulations: 5% for dailies, and 4.5% on Sundays, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. That's not as bad as some past declines, but it's still going the wrong way.
As usual, they'll blame the Internet, and reject the possibility that persistent, pervasive bias and blind adherence to politically correct reporting priorities have anything to do with the results. But as I've similarly asked before, how does one explain away the fact that the only daily paper in the nation's top 25 that has shown consistent gains during the past several years is the (usually) fair and balanced Wall Street Journal?
Here's one way to convince the public that ObamaCare is increasing in popularity: only tout the polls that support that contention. Ignore ones that don't.
That's what many in the media are doing this week, as they hype a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that only 26 percent of the nation wants ObamaCare repealed. Poll results released by Rasmussen on the same day, however, show that 57 percent favor repeal.
A number of media outlets have touted Kaiser's poll - which used a sample skewed 15 points in favor of self-identified Democrats - while ignoring Rasmussen's findings. Both polls' findings were released on Monday.
Are you sick and tired of being called a racist because you don't agree with Barack Obama's policies?
If you are, you shouldn't read any further, for Cynthia Tucker this weekend claimed the voter anger that threatens the Democrat majorities in the House and the Senate is all a function of racism.
With the opening segment of the syndicated program "The Chris Matthews Show" focusing on the strong position the GOP has going into the midterm elections, Tucker said, "We haven't talked about the elephant in the room, and I don't mean the Republicans: race. Changing demographics. Fear of a white minority."
She disgustingly continued as host Chris Matthews agreed, "Obama's election has suddenly made many white Americans aware of the loss of a white majority. That's what this crazy summer has been all about" (video follows with transcript and commentary, file photo):
Howard Kurtz on Sunday used a Keith Olbermann tactic of selectively editing and cherry picking from a Rush Limbaugh radio transcript to make the conservative talk show host look racist.
In a "Reliable Sources" segment dealing with the embattled Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, Kurtz played a highly-edited clip of statements Limbaugh made Tuesday about this issue.
Unfortunately, just as MSNBC's Olbermann did on his "Countdown" program, Kurtz never told his viewers that Limbaugh was referring specifically to comments that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker made on last Sunday's "This Week" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Cynthia Tucker believes Americans are the enemy of the nation moving in a new energy direction because of what she called our addiction to oil.
As the discussion on this weekend's "The Chris Matthews Show" moved to why President Obama hasn't attacked energy policy much like Eisenhower did the space program, Tucker said, "One of the differences between the '50's when Sputnik was launched and now, that was a battle against Communism."
She continued, "It's always much easier to rally Americans against an external threat, an external enemy."
And sadly continued, "In this case, the enemy is us. Americans are addicted to petroleum. We use way too much oil" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It isn't just the pro-Palestinian press that is attempting to distort the reality behind the recent flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza.
Former Democratic Congresswoman, and 2008 Green Party candidate for President of the United States, Cynthia McKinney, has voiced her own version of reality through an anti-Israeli rant in Arab News. McKinney is of course, a reliable source on the topic, having been involved in her own little attempts at defying and breaking an Israeli blockade of Gaza (translation - aiding and abetting a terrorist regime).
In her column for Arab News, McKinney expresses outrage over ‘Israel's needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists.' Having been involved in previous attempts to defy the authority of the Israeli Navy, McKinney knows full well that the Free Gaza Movement, organizers of this flotilla, consists of anything but unarmed humanitarian activists. In case memory has failed her, here is a handy reminder:
A report from the Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center highlights the link between flotilla organizers and radical human rights violators.
The Jerusalem Post points out that ‘soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passengers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes.' The article then goes on to say that the already armed protestors upgraded their arsenal by ‘stealing two handguns from soldiers', opening fire, and ultimately escalating the violence that they themselves had already started.
Update - 5/27, 3:08 PM | Lachlan Markay: A new Harvard study finds that increased government spending actually reduces economic activity, contradicting the basic premise behind CBO's assumptions. Details below.
Good economic news is so rare for the current administration, that when some does emerge, many in the media parrot it as fact without really examining the claims that undergird it. New CBO numbers on the stimulus, for instance, have been trumpeted as proof the legislation at least helped, despite the fact that the numbers have little to no basis in reality.
Congressional Budget Office models are based on the assumption that stimulus spending will create jobs. They assume the conclusion they purport to demonstrate, and then claim they've demonstrated it. But if the model is inaccurate or simply based on false premises, it simply goes on tallying jobs "created or saved" without regard to the actual employment rate.
In March, a reporter asked CBO director Doug Elmendorf: "If the stimulus bill did not do what it was originally forecast to do, then that would not have been detected by the subsequent analysis, right?" His response: "That's right. That's right." Yet despite those numbers' disconnect from reality, the media continue to report them as fact, and proof that the stimulus is working.
People always ask me if the media's liberal bias is caused by ideology or ignorance.
My answer is "Both."
Exhibit A: Cynthia Tucker, the Pulitzer Prize winning editorial page editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, actually believes Republicans controlled Congress in 2007.
Appearing on this weekend's syndicated program "The Chris Matthews Show," Tucker said the following after the host asked her why neither political party, including the current president, seems to be able to do anything concerning immigration (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Palin Derangement Syndrome was once again on full display at MSNBC Tuesday as Chris Matthews said the former Alaska governor is "campaigning almost for the role of a professional ignorant."
Discussing New York Magazine's cover story published the previous day, the "Hardball" host said to guest Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "I really think, not that she`s unintelligent, but she`s campaigning almost for the role of a professional ignorant, like, 'I don`t know anything, therefore I should be listened to.'"
He continued, "She seems to aspire to knowing even less."
Not surprisingly, Tucker didn't disagree (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Weasel Zippers):
One laudable practice at National Public Radio is reading listener reactions on the air. On Monday night's All Things Considered newscast, they noted several listeners objected to NPR media reporter David Folkenflik stating Fox offered "voracious conservatism" while MSNBC merely offered "leftward tilt." Anchor Michelle Norris relayed:
The Pew Research Center last year found that public trust in the media was at an historic low because of those perceived slants. Well, several listeners thought our story had a bit of a slant. Stan Henney of Longmont, Colorado, writes: The reporter described Fox News as voraciously conservative, and MSNBC as tilting to the left. Both are subjective, not objective descriptions. I personally think that while some Fox personalities can be aggressive, MSNBC does a lot more than just tilt.
Update: The well-publicized announcement that Editor & Publisher was going to "cease operations" last December and that was stated as a given in the original version of this post was apparently premature, as it's still there on the web. E&P is also covering the circulation news (daily; Sunday; HT to a BizzyBlog commenter).
Advertising Age (AA) had the unenviable task (given that it's supposed to stay on its vendors' and customers' good sides) of figuring out a way to cast yet another dreadful newspaper circulation report in a non-negative light. The educated guess here is that most newspaper execs are not going to be wearing the button pictured at the top right very frequently during the foreseeable future.
Here are the figures cited by AA as overall newspaper circulation declines during the past five six-month ABC reporting periods (percentages represent declines from the same six-month period of the previous year) --
March 31, 2010: - 8.7% daily, -6.5% Sunday September 30, 2009: -10.6% daily, -7.5% Sunday March 31, 2009: - 7.1% daily, -5.4% Sunday September 30, 2008: -4.6% daily, -4.9% Sunday March 31, 2008: - 3.6% daily, -4.6% Sunday
Given the results, here is AA's headline, sub-headline, and "hey, it's not really that bad" first sentence:
Headlines can be an excellent window into the biases, albeit sometimes subtle, of editors. An AP story about a gun rights case, McDonald v. Chicago, challenging the Windy City's handgun ban before the Supreme Court today is one such example.
The AP's headline is pretty straightforward and unbiased. As Sherman reported in his story, the controversy in question is whether the ruling in Heller extends to the states or if the ruling only forbids the federal and D.C. governments from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.
Yet at least two media outlets picking up on Sherman's story opted for more loaded headlines.
It's a variation on the old riddle, "What's black and white, but read all over?"
If you change one word and add two others, the answer to the resulting question -- "What's still mostly black and white, but red all over?" -- would be, based on just-released information about their daily circulation, "all but one of the nation's top 25 newspapers turning in comparative numbers."
Here are a few paragraphs from Michael Liedtke's coverage of the carnage at the Associated Press, which depends largely on newspaper subscription fees for its lifeblood. Note the "so far" reference in Liedtke's third paragraph:
Sarah Palin hasn't had it as tough as Hillary Clinton and at her Friday announcement Palin “came across as petty and vindictive. Richard Nixon without the policy knowledge or the experience,”Washington, DC-based Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist Cynthia Tucker contended during the roundtable on Sunday's This Week on ABC. Both George Stephanopoulos and George Will pointed out, that after Nixon said “you won't have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore,” he came back and won the presidency twice.
Tucker, who oversaw the paper's editorial page from the early 1990s through last month and won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, charged: “If Sarah Palin thinks that she's had it tougher than anybody else, she's been more harshly criticized, I have for two words for her: Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton was savaged for eight years.”
On Sunday’s This Week roundtable, ABC national correspondent Claire Shipman tried to argue that it would be “very hard” for Republicans to label Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a liberal. “When you look at Sotomayor's record and look at the cases, it's very hard for people to make the case that she's a typical, you know, elite liberal judicial philosopher,” Shipman declared.
That was too much even for liberal columnist Cynthia Tucker, who is currently the editorial page editor of the Atlantic Journal-Constitution but will this summer move to Washington as the paper’s D.C.-based political columnist. “She is certainly liberal, she’s called herself liberal,” Tucker informed Shipman, but agreed that Sotomayor is “nobody’s knee-jerk radical.”
The Audit Bureau of Circulations released this morning the spring figures for the six months ending March 31, 2009, showing that the largest metros continue to shed daily and Sunday circulation -- now at a record rate.
According to ABC, for 395 newspapers reporting this spring, daily circulation fell 7% to 34,439,713 copies, compared with the same March period in 2008. On Sunday, for 557 newspapers, circulation was down 5.3% to 42,082,707. These averages do not include 84 newspapers with circulations below 50,000 due to a change in publishing frequency.
Below is a chart showing the specifics for the top 25, including percentage losses for the past four years and during the past year (current year source: Editor & Publisher):
For years, liberals argued that it was absurd to argue the media had a liberal bias when Washington was dominated by Republican majorities. But now, when Washington is dominated by the Democrats, some are still clinging to the odd notion that the media "bends over backwards" against the liberal-bias charge and coddles conservatives. Take Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News, and his odd logic:
This uncomfortable truth? That to accomodate the perceived notion that the news media warps things so far to the left, journalists have been playing Twister to bend over backwards to accomodate conservatives -- and tying ourselves in knots.
In the midst of plummeting ad revenues, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has responded to reader feedback concerning its liberal bias by looking to add a full-time conservative columnist while promising to do a better job of making sure its news pieces are fairer.
Better late than never.
Such was announced Saturday by the paper's editor Julia Wallace:
Susan Crawford's recent assertions of torture simply do not add up, and your main stream media isn't going to investigate anytime soon. Had Crawford made an assertion that there was unequivocally no torture to speak of at Guantanamo, the media would be sifting meticulously through her statements with a fine-toothed comb, smearing her reputation at every turn. Instead, her arguments seemingly confirm what the leftist media has long assumed - that our government has condoned torture tactics - and because of that, everything is taken at face value.
Crawford recently told Bob Woodward of the Washington Post that:
"We tortured (Mohammed al-) Qahtani. His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.
The basic premise of this story however, had apparently been completely refuted in retrospect, back in February of 2008. By whom? Why, the Washington Post.
On February 12th, 2008, the Post printed an article titled:
U.S. to Try 6 on Capital Charges Over 9/11 Attacks
New Evidence Gained Without Coercive Tactics
You read that correctly, the staff writers went out of their way to inform the public that the evidence against the 9/11 conspirators was ‘gained without coercive tactics.'
CNN, as is their typical style, has ignored facts and reality when reporting an incident involving an encounter with a Gaza relief boat, and an Israeli patrol boat.
Karl Penhaul, a CNN correspondent aboard the pleasure yacht known as Dignity, and frequently on the wrong side of an issue, was pretty much allowed carte blanche in recalling the incident -- an incident which was as much publicity stunt for the so-called Free Gaza Group and former Congressnut Cynthia McKinney, as it was peacekeeping mission -- while the report simultaneously shrugged off the Israeli point of view.
The presentation clearly wants you to believe that the Israeli boat was hostile and went well out of their way to attack the ‘peaceful' minded vessel. In reality though, it was nothing more than a typical group of protestors who use the word ‘peaceful' as a security blanket in their malicious efforts to defy authority, whether it be the authority of the United States government, or in this case, the Israeli navy.
A report via the Atlanta Journal Constitution (H/T Michelle Malkin) indicates the pre-determined goal of the mission (emphasis mine throughout):
Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is a high-profile member of a boatload of activists that set sail Monday from Cyprus to deliver medicine to war-torn Gaza...
For years NewsBusters and its affiliate the Business & Media Institute have agonized over the astounding economic ignorance of many press members who despite their lack of financial acumen have the gall to offer their unqualified opinions to the public.
No finer example of a media member who should understand her limitations and keep her mouth shut during economic discussions was the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker Sunday morning who on ABC's "This Week" actually said that all the problems in the financial services industry would have magically disappeared if only the Bush administration would have bailed out individual homeowners.
Maybe more interesting was that she began her nonsensical accusation by saying, "I've never understood." As this was the most accurate statement she made concerning this matter, she should have stopped there.
In stunningly self-centered, cruel fashion, Nicholas Provenzo, writer for the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism suggests that Sarah Palin’s decision to give birth to a child with Down Syndrome, is a financial burden that others are forced to suffer with.
Provenzo, who has written opinion pieces for the Washington Times, Capitalism Magazine, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, as well as being a guest on Bill Maher’s former show, Politically Incorrect, makes his case for “the morality of aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome.”
The full first paragraph of the piece which is circulating amidst the blogosphere reads (emphasis mine):
Rarely do the media put their institutional political bias on public display, but this past weekend, America's news industry titans left no doubt that they're fully behind one of the nation's most radical cultural and political movements.
ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the corporate owners of USA Today, the Miami Herald, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Sacramento Bee, The Dallas Morning News and many other newspapers, all spent thousands of dollars sponsoring the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention in Washington, D.C. Many journalists from these Big Media mainstays attended or spoke at the convention.
In the name of "diversity," all the organizations listed above ran recruiting booths, as did NPR. Thus, the nation's major news providers demonstrated that they have bought into the central proposition of homosexual activists: that people engaging in homosexuality or bisexuality, along with transsexuals, are a historically oppressed minority group deserving the same preferential treatment and legal protections that society provides to ethnic minorities and women.