James Kirchick, assistant editor of The New Republic, has come under NewsBusters scrutiny for his bias before, of course. Our job is, we all know, to document and analyze that bias. But while we naturally focus on when the media get it wrong, we should have the maturity to point out when those who we criticize get it right. Here is a case when a member of the media that we usually criticize did, indeed, get it right and this time it might get him in Dutch with his lefty pals in the nutroots. After all, the surest way to get the nutroots upset at you is to say Bush did not lie about the war. But that is exactly what Kirchick just did and he did an admirable job chronicling it, too.
In an editorial in the L.A. Times on the 16th, Kirchick said that "Bush never lied to us about Iraq" and then went on to substantiate his claim in a style that runs contrary to the Media and nutroots meme that "Bush lied and people died."
Conservative criticism of Michelle Obama has no merit whatsoever and serves only as an outlet of right-wing hatred. That's the impression that Los Angeles Times reporter Robin Abcarian leaves readers with his June 11 story, "The GOP takes aim at Michelle Obama.":
They loved to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton. They loved to hate Teresa Heinz Kerry. And now, it appears, conservative voices are energetically taking on Michelle Obama.
"Mrs. Grievance" bellowed the cover of a recent National Review, which featured a photo of a fierce-looking Obama. The magazine's online edition titled an essay about her stump speech "America's Unhappiest Millionaire."
Michelle Malkin, the popular conservative blogger, called her "Obama's bitter half."
Try reading the following without busting out in uproarious laughter: the good folks at CNN see themselves as the "middle ground" between Fox News and MSNBC -- "the only news channel to give you all sides."
"No spin. No affiliation. No agenda."
Bet you can't.
Well, as hysterical as it might seem, such was asserted -- with a straight face, no less! -- in a Los Angeles Times piece Tuesday (emphasis added, h/t TVNewser):
Keith Olbermann is not good for the news industry.
Such was the opinion of former Los Angeles Times television critic and Pulitzer Prize winner Howard Rosenberg in a rather scathing article published Saturday.
Adding delicious insult to injury, Rosenberg didn't have very nice things to say about Chris Matthews, Dan Abrams, MSNBC, or that network's obvious love affair with Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama either.
Here were some of his candid observations (emphasis added, h/t TVNewser):
As of 11:05 p.m. EDT I found quite different play among some major newspaper Web sites regarding the verdict handed down by a Chicago jury against former Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko today. Both the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times gave prominent play to the story on their Web sites, and the Los Angeles Times similarly teased the story on its front page, four headlines down the left-hand column. But the New York Times downplayed the story while the Washington Post failed to tease it at all on the Web site's front page.
"Ex-Obama Fund-Raiser Is Convicted of Fraud" read a teaser headline under the "More News" menu on the NY Times Web page, about a quarter of the way down the page. A search through the Washington Post's online edition -- looking for keywords "Obama" "Rezko" and "Blagojevich" -- found no links to articles regarding Rezko's conviction, however.
Los Angeles Times staff writer James Rainey has an article today taking a look at the lack of love for John McCain on YouTube compared to the multiple hosannas found when searching for videos of the Obamessiah:
Search "John McCain" on YouTube and you'll find the latest broadside, by Brave New Films of Culver City, and a lot more that's not good for a candidate who's built his reputation on constancy and authenticity.
Six of the top 10 videos returned by a "John McCain" YouTube search Thursday pegged the 71-year-old as inconsistent, extreme, wooden or a combination of the three. (The one clearly favorable piece came from the McCain campaign and focused on his Navy service.)
Los Angeles Times media critic Tim Rutten, in his latest column titled "The rebirth of abortion," voiced his dismay that social conservatives are reviving the issue of abortion in the 2008 presidential campaign. "If there's one issue that epitomizes the culture wars that have so deeply divided American politics over the last eight years, it's abortion. That's why those who benefited most from those wars are desperate to revive abortion's single-issue virulence in this presidential cycle." He continued that "some on the right think they see an opportunity to hammer once more on the abortion wedge."
Rutten also launched an attack one key member of the so-called "hard cultural right:" Robert Novak. At one point, Rutten suggested that if Novak used a phrase like "abortion industry" to describe abortionists and their supporters, it would be legitimate to use a term like "under the sway of neo-fascist clericism" to describe Novak and his pro-life fellow travelers.
On the heels of last week's California Supreme Court decision to allow gay marriage, the Los Angeles Times conducted a poll. Today's paper (Fri. 5/23/08) blares the headline at the top of the front page, "Californians barely reject gay marriage" (print edition headline). "Barely"? Here are the poll's two main questions:
Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the California Supreme Court's decision last week to allow same-sex marriage in California?
Strongly disapprove: 42% and Somewhat disapprove: 10% Strongly approve: 29% and Somewhat approve: 12%
Q: A proposed amendment to the state Constitution that may appear on the November ballot would reverse the court's decision and state that marriage is only between a man and a woman. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against the amendment?
For: 54% ... Against: 35%
So voters "barely" reject gay marriage? Seems pretty cut-and-dry to me that Californians aren't too hip to last week's ruling.
A major child sex abuse scandal has erupted in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Where's the national media?
Steve Thomas Rooney faces 13 felony sex-related counts, including charges that he had unlawful sex with two female students, ages 13 and 14, during the time he was an assistant principal at a middle school. And here's the kicker: In August 2007 LAUSD assigned Rooney to his job even though it knew that police had investigated him about an alleged sexual relationship with a student at his previous job at a high school. The former high school girl has since testified that Rooney impregnated her. (LAT coverage)
KNX 1070 Newsradio has reported "21 teachers and administrators have been yanked from schools in the past year because of allegations of inappropriate sexual contact with kids." Most of the cases happened since only January of this year.
Two LAUSD administrators face criminal charges for failing to report suspected child abuse by a substitute teacher. Yet LAUSD has sent the pair back to work at school! (LAT)
Feminist political correctness washed over Elaine Woo's Los Angeles Times obituary honoring Harvey Karman, "a flamboyant psychologist whose invention made a key contribution to women's reproductive health, particularly by making abortions simpler, cheaper and less painful."
The Times headline was "Harvey Karman, 84; invented device for safer, easier abortions." No one at the Times thought if the abortion was "safer" for the unborn child, just for the alleged mother, and no one must have wondered if the term " women's reproductive health" sounded euphemistic, especially since reproducing was something that was being avoided. It's at best "counter-reproductive."
A new movie called "Bloodline" purports itself to be a documentary that claims to have found evidence that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and their "bloodline" has been kept secret by the Catholic Church and a group called the "Priory of Sion." (NB's Scott Whitlock and Mark Finkelstein have written on this as well.)
But the truth is that the film's premise is based on a complete fabrication. The "Priory of Sion" was founded in 1950's France as a hoax by a known trickster. Yet the group's fictions continue to be forwarded by those despise Christianity and seek to degrade the Church. The Priory and its related claims have been debunked over and over and over and over and over and over again.
Although a November ballot measure could encourage higher turnout by conservatives who are not naturally aligned with McCain, it also could alienate moderates and young voters, who polls show are far more accepting of same-sex marriage.
Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had sketched out a more centrist path than the court's. The decision could encourage Democratic interest groups to press candidates to extend their support for civil unions to same-sex marriage itself.
So the danger for McCain is that those rascally social conservatives could doom his chances to win the White House. The danger for Democrats, that the left-wing activists might rattle the cage a bit more than usual. But the possibility of socially conservative but fiscally liberal Democrats in swing states like Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, or Colorado once again eluding the Democratic vote was dismissed out of hand.
Now here's a little gaffe from Barack Obama that will energize the "I Am Woman"-humming folks in Hillaryland. Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times "Top of the Ticket" blog reports a TV journalist in Detroit pressing Obama for answers, Peggy Agar, was dismissed with the term "sweetie." (He also has video.)
Suddenly Obama was walking right toward her. "Senator," Agar addressed him, "how are you going to help the American auto worker?"
"Hold on one second, sweetie," the presidential candidate said, sticking out his right arm as if to ward her off. "We're gonna do a press avail."
"This 'sweetie,'" Agar noted acidly in her broadcast report, "never did get an answer to that question."
If there were a Society of Global Warming Alarmists, Bill McKibben might get kicked out for being too much of a worry wart . . .
You've probably seen those phone-message forms with check boxes in ascending order of urgency from "FYI—no need to return call" all the way up to "the future of civilization hangs in the balance." We might see that last category as light-hearted exaggeration, but it's no laughing matter to McKibben. In his jeremiad in today's LA Times literally entitled "Civilization's last chance," McKibben solemnly declares that "the world looks a little terminal right now" and "it isn't morning in America, it's dusk on planet Earth." OK. Just so long as it's nothing serious.
McKibben's lament is based in important part on a paper that James Hansen and several co-authors have submitted to Science magazine which concludes that "if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm."
A few days ago we reported that Barack Obama was ever so proud to have visited all "57 states" on his campaign swing. But, we noticed that he still avoids wearing that U.S. flag lapel pin, just the same. Well, we have finally found out why Barack Obama won't wear that darned ol' U.S. flag pin. Until now he couldn't find one with all "57 States" on it. Well, the folks over at Suitably Flip blog have solved the problem for the junior Senator from Illinois.
Just in for the 2008 campaign season is the new 57 state U.S. flag pin for all the infromationally challenged Senators on your shopping list. Barack can proudly wear his 57 state flag pin at all the great celebrations to come. Like the birthday for the state of Guam, or the celebration for the state of Harlem... you know, all those great parties he'll get invited to as the nominee for one of the two or three democratic Parties out there.
Yikes! How's this for a correction? On Monday, May 5, 2008, the Los Angeles Times published an article about adults dealing with the death of their parents. The main subject of the article was a Dr. Larry Graber, a psychotherapist from Santa Monica.
In the second paragraph of the piece, the Times wrote,
As second-generation Jewish immigrants, Graber's parents were frugal and had worked their way into the upper middle class by running pawn shops. Becoming a psychotherapist and living openly as a gay man, Graber had challenged many of their expectations.
Are "Totally in the Tank for Obama" media members focusing on Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" in order to force Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton out of the race?
Consider if you will all of the attention Limbaugh's months-old plan to keep the Democrat nomination process going as long as possible got Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning following Hillary's tough night in North Carolina and Indiana.
Critical update at end of post: El Rushbo sends NewsBusters German article on this subject!
For instance, ABC's Jake Tapper reported the following at his blog late Tuesday evening in a piece called "Is Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos Working?" (emphasis added, picture courtesy Rush Limbaugh.com):
The Titanic has hit an iceberg and is sinking. Not to worry, just paint the lifeboats with a new color scheme and things will improve. As ridiculous as that sounds, it is not much different than the proposal of the Tribune Company Chief Innovation Officer, Lee Abrams, who proposed changing the color of Los Angeles Times vans:
Being too close to it. LAT has about 20 vans...but they're all Black? Hmmm. Maybe they should be painted in LAT colors. There ARE more than a few commuters driving around down there.
Apparently Abrams thinks basic black is not exciting enough but he seems to love the color green according to his internal blog post about changes at the Los Angeles Times obtained by LA Observed:
...They use soy based ink and recycled paper. Hmmm...maybe they should be bragging about that on every page as LA is the home of green.
Old Media business reporters have a definitionally-incorrect habit of labeling single industries or economic sectors as being "in recession," when the term, as defined here, can only describe national economies or the world economy. Two examples of this are New York Times reporter David Leonhardt's description of manufacturing as being in recession in February 2007 (laughably incorrect, in any event), and the Times's employment of the term "housing recession" 25 times since October 2006, as seen in this Times search (with the phrase in quotes).
But if I wanted to be consistent with this routine form of journalistic malpractice, I would characterize the newspaper business -- at least in terms of the top 25 in the industry's food chain -- not as being in recession, but instead as going through a deep, dark, painful, protracted depression.
Andrew Malcolm of The Los Angeles Times Top of the Ticket blog suggested that Bill Maher on HBO "says what many people, most of them supporters of Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who refused to disown Wright in his recent race speech, are saying to themselves about the impact of the pastor's reappearance and resulting news coverage," but have "many" been this vivid?
I saw Reverend Wright. This is the guy that Obama did not throw under the bus. He said ‘you know what, I can no more repudiate him than I can repudiate my family.’ And I saw this guy the other night, who I also defended, Reverend Wright, saying ‘you know what, Obama was just being a politician.’ You know what, Reverend Wright? You’re a dick. [Laughter] What a dick. At the very moment Obama doesn’t need this to come back into the race. Obama did not disown him. That this guy brings up the one thing Obama cannot afford to have brought up, that he’s just another politician. This is his whole campaign, that I’m a different kind of politician.
In a 10:15 EDT post today at CNN.com, producer Bill Mears noted the 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court upholding an Indiana law requiring photo ID in order to vote. Yet Mears left out that Democrats who challenged the law were unable to produce a single voter who could prove he or she was unable to vote due to the law nor did Mears point out mechanisms the Indiana law has in place for provisional balloting and free voter ID cards.
Here's Mears's four-paragraph blog post at the CNN Political Ticker:
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Supreme Court on Monday backed Indiana's law requiring voters to show photo identification, despite concerns thousands of elderly, poor, and minority voters could be locked out of their right to cast ballots.
The 6-3 vote allows Indiana to require the identification when it holds its statewide primary next month.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared opposite liberal radio talk show host Mike Papantonio on the April 24 "Fox & Friends" program in two short segments in the 8 a.m. half-hour. Topics included the cancellation of a planned CBS North Carolina Democratic primary debate and the recent Los Angeles Times's article hinting that John McCain "may face "fitness questions" in light of his U.S. Navy disability pension. [see video here; audio available here]
In the first segment, Bozell applauded ABC for a hard-hitting Pennsylvania debate and lamented that the primary debates up to it had mostly been "a farce." In the second, the MRC president slammed the April 22 Ralph Vartabedian article in the Times as worse than being a mere "cheap-shot," it's just merely "stupid" and nonsensical.
It’s really amazing at times to see how the media greet the War on Terrorism with the same detente-loving impulses they used during the Cold War. (They never seem to contemplate whether detente would have ever won the Cold War, or just prolonged it ad infinitum.) In the Los Angeles Times, reporter Jeffrey Fleishman reported on "Iran watching U.S. campaigns with hope for detente." Fleishman’s breath was intoxicated with the old-time brew of moral equivalence, as Iranian theocrats and American conservatives are oddly alike:
Some analysts wonder whether the Islamic Republic, led by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wants a significant improvement in relations with the U.S. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when militants in Tehran seized 52 American hostages and held them for 444 days, the weekly chants of "Death to America" have become a defining mantra, much in the same way Bush's "axis of evil" resonates with American conservatives.
Sandwiched neatly between the U.S. papal visit and the Keystone Primary, former President Jimmy Carter picked an excellent time to visit U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) Hamas and yet receive scant press coverage.
Yet Carter's embrace of Hamas, his newfound respect in the state-run Iranian media, and his all-but-explicitly leveled allegations of a Zionist conspiracy behind U.S. foreign policy present a strong case for media scrutiny, as well as the media's role in presenting the comments for denunciation by presidential contenders Sens. Clinton, McCain, and Obama.
For its part the Los Angeles Times appears to be taking notice, judging from the coverage from its Middle East affairs blog Babylon & Beyond. From an April 21 posting by Borzou Daragahi in Beirut and Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran (emphasis mine):
LAT television critic Mary McNamara made the slip up in this April 19 article about HBO's surge in popularity when she began describing the cable network's “John Adams” miniseries (via Patterico) (all bold mine):
In his portrayal of our second president, Paul Giamatti creates a man perpetually dissatisfied, disgusted by the preening ambition of politics even as he is infected by it... [S]etting up a new government is a bureaucratic nightmare, with oversized personalities disagreeing over things both petty and fundamental. George Washington (David Morse) so quickly tired of the infighting among his Cabinet and vagaries of public opinion that he stepped down from the presidency after a single term. "I know now what it is like to be disliked," he says to Adams, his perpetually disliked vice president.
The Drudge Report is highlighting a Los Angeles Times story on protests by supporters of communist China demanding CNN's Jack Cafferty be fired. David Pierson reported:
The protesters lined Sunset Boulevard from Cahuenga Boulevard to Wilcox Avenue chanting "Fire Cafferty" and "CNN liar" and singing the Chinese national anthem and other patriotic songs.
"Patriotic songs" are apparently sympathetic when they are sung in support of Red China. Doesn't Pierson or the Times consider it noteworthy that this kind of protest wouldn't be permitted inside China? Or that the Chinese national anthem is loaded with irony? It's called "March of the Volunteers," and begins "Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves!" What a joke.
Instead, Pierson spotlights a protester who says he was in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and now China is so vastly improved:
Los Angeles Times reporter and blogger Andrew Malcolm drew an interview on MSNBC Tuesday for his report at Top of the Ticket that Oprah Winfrey is suffering in popularity due to her endorsement and campaigning for Barack Obama. (MSNBC also blamed a popular YouTube video called The Church of Oprah Exposed). Malcolm and Don Frederick reported that while Oprah certainly boosted Obama’s star power, it came with a price:
But little attention has been paid to the effect of Obama on Oprah. Now along comes Costas Panagopoulos, an assistant professor of political science at New York's Fordham University, to ask and answer just that question.
Writing at Politico.com, he suggested Winfrey has paid a price for getting into the dirty business of politics. By August 2007, a CBS poll found her favorable rating had dropped, from 74% to 61%. Recently, her rating dipped a bit more, to 55%.
While the word "humane" does appear within the Supreme Court's ruling today upholding Kentucky's lethal injection method of execution, is it biased of Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage to put the term in quote marks in his lede? I'm leaning towards yes.:
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court cleared the way today for executions to resume across the nation, ruling that lethal injections, if properly carried out, are a "humane" means of ending a condemned individual's life.
The court upheld Kentucky's use of lethal injections by a surprisingly large 7-2 vote.
Admiration for the movie star Charlton Heston poured out of the obituaries and appreciations when he died. He would say he was an actor, which he certainly was, but he was also a star, a riveting presence that could credibly play great men like Moses. But the story of Heston’s activism came like a cautionary note, that he used to be a civil rights hero, but then he wandered badly astray.
Many were struck at the similarities of the late careers of Heston and Ronald Reagan, two actors who became more conservative as the 20th century moved on, and both passed away through the long and difficult descent of Alzheimer’s Disease. Journalists and biographers who suggest a dramatic conversion of these two men – sometimes with a nasty implication that they cynically switched sides in the debate to keep their faltering careers alive – often fail to acknowledge how the political and cultural ground shifted under their feet, causing the leap.
So DeBord apparently thinks ribbons worn on the service dress uniform are the equivalent of "flair" that Chotchkie's waiters wore in the comedy classic "Office Space"? Here's how DeBord began his screed against Petraeus being decked out in "martial bling":