In his weekly Friday column confusingly titled “Media should offer Bush a mea culpa,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth contended “many of us in the media owe a mea culpa to Bush -- and to you -- for failing to properly inform” him and the public “of the possible consequences” of Bush's “major misdeeds.” We've lacked enough critiques of Bush policies? Bush, Neuharth condescendingly opined, “simply did not understand much of what he did as the self-proclaimed 'decider'” and “he listened too much to his two worst advisers, Vice President Cheney and the forgotten former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.”
He scolded journalists for having “failed to warn” of the Iraq “ mistake” and for how “most journalists (including me) failed to warn adequately what the credit card craze and home buying binge might lead to. Bush couldn't comprehend it.” Thus, “many of us in the media owe a mea culpa to Bush -- and to you -- for failing to properly inform of the possible consequences of those major misdeeds.”
Updated below: In late 2001, "Punisher" storyline had threat against President Bush's life.
Spider-Man will swing to the rescue at the Obama inauguration in the Marvel comics universe, USA Today's David Colton reported in a January 8 story for the newspaper's Life section. Colton's story sought to portray the move not merely as a money-maker for Marvel but part of a storied tradition of graphic novel artists of including the commander-in-chief in comic book cameos:
In a growing world of Barack Obama collectibles, one item soon may be swinging above the rest.
On Jan. 14, Marvel Comics is releasing a special issue of Amazing Spider-Man #583 with Obama depicted on the cover. Inside are five pages of the two teaming up and even a fist-bump between Spidey and the new president.
The main stream media is continuing a fervent assault on Sarah Palin, covering the mundane, the non-existent, and the factually devoid news stories of the day. Problem being, when those dramatic news stories become less sensational due to the latest revelations, the media is not as excited to report the correction.
There's been no secret that the media has been salivating over the chance to link Palin to the Sherry Johnston drug arrest. The latest opportunity came in the form of an e-mail from Kyle Young, an Alaskan drug investigator, in which he insinuates that the investigation and arrest of Johnston were stalled for political reasons. Young wrote that the case ‘...was not allowed to progress in a normal fashion, the search warrant service WAS delayed because of the pending election.'
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz found a story in USA Today that qualified for the "Obama Adulation Watch." Reporter Maria Puente oozed over incoming First Lady Michelle Obama on Friday as the black Jackie Kennedy, and insisted the Obamas undermined the conservative "caricature" of her "through widely viewed television interviews in which they demonstrated warmth, affection, humor -- and normality." It began:
You could call it "Obamalot."
That makes some sense. The incoming presidential couple, Barack and Michelle Obama, bear superficial similarities to John and Jacqueline Kennedy of the 1960s "Camelot" White House — charisma, vigor, her fondness for sheath dresses, for instance.
While the media are fixated on the ire gay activists are directing at the president-elect for selecting Prop 8 proponent Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Obama inaugural, I've noticed little attention given to the fact that the man selected to give the benediction is pretty much the polar opposite of Warren on some key doctrinal matters related to homosexuality.
Rev. Joseph Lowery, a liberal United Methodist minister, has mostly been referred to in the media in connection to his work in co-founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, one of the key organizations in the civil rights movement. Yet freezing Lowery in time as an icon of the 1960s civil rights era doesn't do justice to his status as a vocal clerical advocate of same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy.
You can just see the scene from the Wizard of Oz, where the wizard says ‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.'
When it comes to diverting attention from a scandal plagued home state, don't worry Senator Obama, USA Today has your back.
In a bizarre demonstration of spinning numbers with the sole purpose of getting people to look away from the recent Blagojevich scandal, John Fritze and others at USA Today took statistics from the Department of Justice and the U.S. Census Bureau, crunched them in the liberal media calculator, and decided they had proof that North Dakota is actually the most corrupt state in the nation.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested today. The Associated Press's Mike Robinson actually identified "Blago's" party in the third paragraph of his 10:27 a.m. report (link is dynamic; cited report is also here for future reference; underlying news HTs to an e-mailer):
Condensing a December 7 story by Des Moines Register's Grant Schulte on a lawsuit in Iowa that may create same-sex marriage in the Hawkeye State, USA Today's left out the meat of conservative critiques of the lawsuit, citing three supporters of the lawsuit to one conservative critic.
Everything good that happens is because of Barack Obama. Everything bad is attributable to George Bush or Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin or some other Republican. In keeping with these mainstream media-manufactured verities, USA Today's Web site reports "President-elect Obama's actions perk up stock market." The story begins:
President-elect Barack Obama hasn't even moved into the White House yet. But Wall Street is already showering him with praise for injecting confidence into the battered psyche of investors and working quickly to hatch a plan meant to jolt the economy out of its worst funk in decades.
A market that two weeks ago was desperate for political leadership and a clear strategy to repair the economy appears to have found it in Obama, who is fast emerging as a decisive economic commander in chief.
Stocks soared last week after Obama moved aggressively to fill the power vacuum until he's sworn in and demonstrated his commitment to dig the USA out of its economic rut.
“People who elect a new President are eager for the change to take place. The sooner the better,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth argued in his Friday column in which he asked, coincidentally just a week-and-a-half after Barack Obama's election: “Why wait until late January to turn the Oval Office over to a new President elected in early November?” He proposed: “We should move the President's inauguration up to the first Tuesday in December, one month after the election.” After all, “the time lag” is “too long in these modern times when crises need the earliest possible attention.”
President Bush's gracious hosting of President-elect Barack Obama at the White House this week raises this simple but important question: Why wait until late January to turn the Oval Office over to a new president elected in early November?...
Why wasn't there more of this before the election?
The headline at a Greenville, SC News story carried at USA Today says, "Priest urges penance for Obama voters."
Father Jay Scott Newman is actually demanding it of those who would claim to be faithful Catholics. In the process, he is also stating longstanding Church policy on abortion that has largely been absent from Sunday pre-election homilies at Catholic churches for at least a half-dozen presidential election cycles -- policy that Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and other politicians who claim to be Catholic have long ignored (bolds are mine):
How is it that in this time of historic change and euphoria, the media can remain so pessimistic?
The messiah has been elected, ACORN and Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie are stealing an election in Minnesota, conservatives are going to be silenced via the Fair-Less Doctrine, and gay marriage activists are assaulting the elderly. It is a time of hope and optimism in this, our liberal country.
So, why so negative?
The answer of course is, certain news might be perceived as a positive point in the waning days of the Bush Administration.
Perhaps this is coming a little late with the election already underway, but the idea the current economy is as threatened as it was during the Great Depression is unfounded, according to the Nov. 4 USA Today.
"Failed banks. Panicked markets. Rising unemployment. For students of history, or people of a certain age, it all has an all-too-familiar ring. Is this another Great Depression? Not yet," John Waggoner wrote for USA Today
Soup lines, Hoovervilles and other Depression-era imagery have become commonplace in the media. Journalists have compared the current downturn to the Great Depression hundreds of times. On the networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) alone, there were 70 comparisons in the first six months of 2008. Since July 1 that number more than doubled to 157. But as Waggoner pointed out - the similarities aren't even close.
Give them credit for noticing. Pass out demerits for incompleteness.
Friday's USA Today carried a slightly inaccurate Page 1A tease ("Iraq is safer for US troops; October is on track to tie July for the month with fewest combat deaths"). It went to a top of Page 7A story ("US Deaths in Iraq on track for record low") that noticed how relatively well the month of October has gone for our troops in Iraq. That still is the case, with hours to go in the calendar month in Iraq. Reporter Charles Levinson even noticed that there have been no hostile US troop deaths in Baghdad during the entire month.
But Levinson missed the opportunity to notice even better longer-term results in Iraq. He also failed to notice that coalition troop deaths in Afghanistan, again with hours to go until the end of the month, are less than half of that seen in previous months. Finally, he didn't catch this remarakable fact, given the gloom that seems to abound over the supposedly intractable situation in Afghanistan -- Combined theater troop deaths in October have been the lowest in over four years. (Straight zeroes everywhere would, of course, be ideal.)
Here are the key paragraphs from Levinson's report:
Neuharth claimed that today's newspapers play the news straight, while in the "olden days" they didn't.
Put down all drinks before reading (bolds are mine):
Fewer newspapers try to dictate votes Plain Talk by Al Neuharth
More newspaper bosses across the USA have wised up to the fact that you readers are smart enough to decide who to vote for in Tuesday's election. Newspapers making presidential editorial endorsements this year likely will be the lowest percentage ever. Editor & Publisher, the trade journal, compiles the numbers.
On Tuesday, Yahoo News published an Associated Press picture of a young Palestinian gentleman who is campaigning for Barack Obama from his home in Gaza:
Palestinian Ibrahim Abu Jayab, 24, is seen next to his computer, in his family house in Nusayrat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. A young Palestinian in a Gaza refugee camp is doing his part to get out the vote for Barack Obama. With a little help from the Internet, 24-year-old Ibrahim Abu Jayab is cold calling random American families from his parent's home imploring them to vote Obama.
One would think this would be quite newsworthy especially given Obama's ever-changing position on Israel and "Palestine" as well as the controversial tape of the junior senator from Illinois at a dinner party with former PLO operative Rashid Khalidi that the Los Angeles Times is refusing to make public.
Yet, according to a Google News search, only USA Today and AP have published anything about this matter, including the following video report from the world's leading wire service:
In her October 21 article, "White supremacists target middle America," USA Today's Marisol Bello took a look at how hate groups are trying to go more "mainstream" by ditching Nazi armbands, brown shirts and white sheets and going for a more "middle class" look. While there is merit in covering such a story, Bello and/or her editors unfortunately chose to color the piece in a way that reflected negatively on the GOP by featuring with the article the photo shown at right with this caption:
Derek Black, left, gets help from his father, Don, on his Internet radio show Sunday in Lake Worth Fla. Don Black is a former Ku Klux Klan leader, and Derek holds a seat on the Palm Beach County, Fla., GOP committee.
The photo and caption appear above the headline on USA Today's online edition. Yet the Blacks were just two of numerous white supremacists featured in the story and it took Bello until paragraph 26 out of 28 to note that the Palm Beach GOP is "trying to unseat him [Derek Black] after learning of his white supremacist ties."
Did you happen to catch the candidate who handled her heckler with grace, poise, and dignity? It’s created quite a buzz in the media…
The Boston Globe spoke of her ‘snappy comeback.’ The Consortium for Independent Journalism reveled in ‘her deft reaction.’ MSNBC reported from the scene that there was ‘roaring cheers and applause from the stunned crowd.’ USA Today remarked about her ‘deadpanning.’ The New York Times noted that ‘Her words were drowned out by a cheering, now-standing crowd.’
Yes, the media was all sorts of in love with the quick retort to a crazed heckler.
But, if you thought that was in response to Sarah Palin’s excellent handling of an anti-war heckler, you’d be sadly, mistaken. Rather, those were all quotes in response to Hillary’s handling of the ‘Iron My Shirt!’ incident, nearly a year ago. It was all the MSM rage once upon a time.
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.
Just in time for the Democratic Convention in Denver this week, is the national press doing their best once again to tilt the playing field in favor of Senator Barack Obama? It would seem that that is indeed the case.
Case in point is an article in the USAToday online edition headlined Poll: More than half of Clinton backers still not sold on Obama. However, once the story passes its main focus of listing the challenges faced by Obama in uniting a Democratic Party thoroughly fractured by the rough campaign season, the story also manages to include points that are designed to be negative for the Republican candidate, Arizona Senator John McCain.
Remember back in November when Nobel Laureate Al Gore actually told NBC's Meredith Vieira that trying to cover global warming from a fair and balanced perspective was wrong, and only climate alarmists should be given any attention in pieces concerning this controversial subject?
Well, a Stanford social psychologist has recently done a study of how people's opinions about global warming change if skeptical views are edited out of news stories, and the results, though not surprising, should scare the heck out of free thinkers around the country.
As reported by USA Today on August 13 (h/t NBer nofate, emphasis added):
USA Today founder Al Neuharth suggested in his weekly column for the paper on Friday that, as the 1936 Olympics in Berlin preceded the rise of the German democracy and the 1980 Olympics in Moscow preceded Russia's move toward democracy, the Olympic games this year in Beijing “will bring 1.3 billion closer” to the end of communism. In the “Other Views” below Neuharth's column, Foundation for Defense of Democracies journalist in residence Claudia Rossett scoffed at Neuharth's naive romanticism which discounted the role of America's efforts:
Progress in Germany and Russia had nothing to do with the Olympics, and everything to do with the U.S. fighting for freedom in two global conflicts: World War II and the Cold War. America didn't win by playing ping-pong.
Neuharth had contended:
Nazi Germany hosted the Games in Berlin in 1936. Now that country is one of the world's proudest democracies. Communist Moscow was the host city in 1980. Now Russia has moved close to true democracy, although it's not quite there yet. This is not a prediction that communism will disappear from China quickly. But betcha the Olympic Games will bring 1.3 billion closer to that goal. So China and the world will win. Ping-pong might even become a global pastime.
When a USA Today poll found Barack Obama holding a six point lead over John McCain in late June, the newspaper trumpeted, "Poll: Obama Has Edge Over McCain." But when a USAToday/Gallup survey resulted in a four point spread for the Arizona senator, the July 29 print headline mildly offered, "Doubts, Divisions Seen in Tight Race."
The online adaption of Tuesday's article featured a more balanced take. It read, "McCain gains on Obama in poll" and both versions cited the Republican's improvements in the first sentence. But headlines are sometimes all people see. And there's a big difference between an "edge" and "doubts" and "divisions."
Rush Limbaugh's new deal with Clear Channel, as flashed by Drudge (also covered or addressed here and here at NewsBusters; here at the New York Times; and here in a very long New York Times magazine article), is north of $400 million for the next eight years.
Good tax planning too: Maharushie will get his reported nine-figure signing bonus this year before a possible President Obama does his hundreds of billions in damage. Limbaugh's tax savings, if the bonus is $100 million and Obama gets everything he wants, would be a hair under $17 mil (12.4% Social Security on all but $148,000, plus the 4.6% planned increase in the top rate).
One conclusion you can reach, based on what newspaper industry watcher Newsosaur told us earlier this week, is that Old Media covering the Limbaugh story is like zombies covering the living (link in excerpt was in original):
Regretting that “few grownups are concerned about the $526 billion cost so far for the Iraq war without end” because “President Bush and his rich buddies have made sure most of the monetary burden will be borne by our children and grandchildren,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth, in his weekly column on Friday, recommended “a stiff income tax surcharge” to pay for the war. But Neuharth made clear his real motive is to turn those for the war against it:
The surest way to jar us into realizing the unconscionable cost of the Iraq debacle is to impose a stiff income tax surcharge to pay for it. If we did that, most hawks would become doves overnight.
Neuharth hailed Abraham Lincoln for imposing an income tax to pay for the Civil War and stressed how the current rates in the U.S. “are below those of other major countries. France, Germany, Great Britain and Japan all assess higher rates. The Netherlands' top rate is 52% and Sweden's is 60%.”
USA Today Supreme Court Reporter Joan Biskupic penned an article today titled "O'Connor's legacy fading on reshaped court." For this particular title, "reshaped" is code for "conservative." Biskupic's article laments several recent conservative decisions of the court, and she frames these decisions as a blow to the legacy of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Biskupic literally builds up O'Connor as a national hero.
When retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor visited Capitol Hill recently to speak publicly about her husband's Alzheimer's, she was greeted as a national hero. Senators lauded her historic place as the first woman on the Supreme Court and the justice whose opinions often set the nation's law.
O'Connor, who was frequently the tie-breaking vote in close cases, is further praised for her "middle-ground" practical approach in her decision making. But things have changed since O'Connor's retirement from the high court.
With HBO's 'Recount' movie (airing Sunday and Monday night at 9 PM EDT/PDT) sure to rekindle claims that Al Gore would have won if only the U.S. Supreme Court had not “stopped the counting,” a reminder that both recounts conducted by major media outlets in 2001 determined George W. Bush would have won anyway. Two stars of the film have fueled the re-writing of history with actor Kevin Spacey, who plays Gore operative Ron Klain, charging that “the Bush people were trying to stop votes from being counted and the Gore people were just trying to get votes counted” while Laura Dern, who plays Katherine Harris, recalled that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling left her “devastated because there were uncounted votes.”
George W. Bush would have won a hand count of Florida's disputed ballots if the standard advocated by Al Gore had been used, the first full study of the ballots reveals. Bush would have won by 1,665 votes -- more than triple his official 537-vote margin -- if every dimple, hanging chad and mark on the ballots had been counted as votes, a USA TODAY/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder study shows. The study is the first comprehensive review of the 61,195 "undervote" ballots that were at the center of Florida's disputed presidential election....
That look was followed in November by an analysis by a consortium of media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN and AP. It determined that George W. Bush still would have won under either legally possible recount scenario which could have occurred: The Florida Supreme Court ordered recount of undervotes statewide or Gore’s request for a recount in certain counties. The New York Times led its November 12, 2001 front page article, “Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote,” by reporters Ford Fessenden and John M. Broder: