Conservatives often ponder why more young conservatives don’t go into journalism. Here’s one easy reason: the path to prizes and prestige doesn’t come from fierce investigative probing into liberal sacred cows or sharp-eyed conservative commentary. It comes from pleasing liberals with stories which advance their agenda.
The 2007 Pulitzer Prizes must have been a sad affair, what with no major prize for exposing and ruining an anti-terrorism program, and no major natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina to blame on President Bush. But that doesn’t mean the Pulitzers weren’t typically political. After all, the panels of judges are stuffed with long-standing figures in the liberal media establishment.
Let’s start with the Commentary prize, which was awarded to Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The official Pulitzer Prize Board’s press release hailed Tucker’s “courageous, clear-headed columns that evince a strong sense of morality and persuasive knowledge of the community.” Translation: she’s liberal, and she hates George Bush.
Yesterday I noted that the New York Sun reported Melissa McNamara to be the producer CBS fired for plagiarizing the Wall Street Journal in a script she wrote for Katie Couric's April 4 "Notebook" vlog. For its part, CBS News refused to publicly release the name of the fired producer. As of publication of this blog post, CBS's ombudsblog "Public Eye" has not addressed the Sun's reporting. Now there's another development in the story.
Yesterday, the New York Observer reported that McNamara was slated to teach journalism courses offered by Media Bistro.
I checked the course Web site today and it notes that the course has been postponed with a new start date to be announced. These development have not been covered by CBS's "Public Eye" blog.
Yet here's how "Public Eye" envisions its mission within CBS News and as a service to CBSNews.com readers:
Ben Franklin once said, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."
That truth is even more painful for the increasing number of people who fall into a separate tax structure called the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Those qualified for the AMT face a flat tax rate of as much as 28 percent.
Lately, a number of politicians have been crying out for AMT reform to save the middle-class, but the media has a faulty memory when it comes to who is responsible for the AMT monster.
“House Democratic leaders, in an effort to upstage Republicans on the issue of tax cuts, are preparing legislation that would permanently shield all but the very richest taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax,” reported The New York Times on April 9. “Democrats Seek to Lead the Way in Tax Overhaul,” was the headline.
A week ago, I posted a snarky item about a Katie Couric vlog entry at CBSNews.com. In an April 4 page from her "Notebook," the "Evening News" anchor worried that kids entering college were unable to use a library for something as basic as locating a book needed for class. In doing so, she erroneously suggested colleges use the Dewey decimal system, when in fact most use Library of Congress Classification to arrange the bookshelves.
Now it turns out that not only did Couric not exactly do her homework, but that the producer who did it for her lifted some of the script from a Wall Street Journal column. That producer has since been fired.
CBS's Brian Montopoli explained how the vlogs are written and produced in a post today at CBS's "Public Eye" blog:
Imagine if you will that in September 1996, just days after America launched a missile strike on Baghdad to expand the “no fly zone,” Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich met with Saddam Hussein to discuss foreign policy matters without the permission of President Clinton.
Would the media have vociferously discussed the possibility that Gingrich had violated federal law in doing so?
If the answer is a resounding “Yes,” then why have extremely few press outlets broached this issue as it pertains to current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) recent potentially law-breaking trip to Syria?
To best understand the issue, a little history is necessary. The Logan Act was created in 1799, and reads as follows:
Call it a flying-pig moment, or chalk it up to his concern for Dems' long-term best interests if you will. But there's no denying that on this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer absolutely unloaded on Nancy Pelosi and her ill-conceived venture into foreign policy.
The segment was entitled "Democratic Diplomacy: Has Pelosi Gone Too Far?", virtually answering the question by its very asking. In the set-up piece, David Gregory rolled two telling clips. The first was of VP Cheney's comments on the Rush Limbaugh show yesterday to the effect that Pelosi's statement regarding her trip was"nonsensical." The second was of former congressman Lee Hamilton, warning that if his fellow Dems box in the president on foreign policy, Americans might conclude that the Democrats have gone "too far."
Interviewing Tim Russert at 7:06 AM ET, Lauer came out guns ablazin'.
LAUER: Vice-President Cheney called Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria "bad behavior," a Washington Post editorial on Thursday called it "counter-productive and foolish," and op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning goes a step further and suggests her trip may actually have been a felony, that it may have violated something called the Logan Act. Tim, is this the way the Democrats wanted to get off the mark in terms of foreign affairs?
Over at Opinion Journal, Mark Lasswell has an article about how ABC seems to be competing with The Daily Show for political comedy, at least when George Stephanopoulos talks about U.S. Attorney firings:
How else to explain those hilarious skits when Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos reports on the brouhaha over the Justice Department's firing of eight U.S. attorneys while the proverbial elephant in the room is lurking just off-camera?
Mr. Stephanopoulos doesn't mention his own valuable expertise on the subject of fired federal prosecutors, the kind of expertise that might help place the current mess in context. Mr. Stephanopoulos was the Clinton White House communications director in 1993 when the Justice Department cleaned its slate of all 93 U.S. attorneys, and he was central to the administration's finessing of the episode--just the sort of insider experience, presumably, that prompted ABC News to hire Mr. Stephanopoulos fresh out of the White House in 1996.
"Low-nitrosamine smokeless tobacco poses 10% or less of the health risks of cigarettes, according to various studies, including a 2004 National Cancer Institute-funded article," the Journal wrote.
The Journal quoted Michael Thun of the American Cancer Society who said, "There's no question that switching to spit tobacco and quitting tobacco altogether are both far less lethal than continuing to smoke."
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift complained on Friday's Diane Rehm show on NPR that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has drained all the independence out of his office, that he's acting too much like the president's "personal lawyer." In 1993, when Janet Reno announced the mass dismissal of all 93 U.S. Attorneys, no one demanded her resignation for her lack of independence from the White House. In fact, it could be because someone else was coordinating with the White House on how to run the Justice Department, the felonious Webster Hubbell. At that time, the Wall Street Journal editorial page found a "fascinating exchange" in an interview Reno granted to NBC anchor Tom Brokaw just after the Waco debacle on April 19:
BROKAW: Once the fire broke out, what did you tell President Clinton?
"It's surreal to have pre-eminent scientists tell us very seriously that civilization as we know it is over."
No, it was not a politician, or a celebrity. It was, in fact, ABC reporter Bill Blakemore who has been covering global warming for the network for more than two years. His remark was made at the American Bar Association's environmental law conference and printed in The Summit Daily News (Colo.) on March 13.
Another reporter, John Fialka of The Wall Street Journal proclaimed basic global warming science to be "third-grade" stuff at the conference.
Blakemore also called out Exxon and Peabody Coal by name as groups that have spun the debate. There was only one journalist on the panel who had a different view: Sean Paige of the Colorado Springs Gazette. Paige mentioned the extreme costs to the economy of global warming policies.
If ABC was going to provide a platform for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to express her moral outrage over the firings of the eight US Attorneys and call for AG Gonzales' resignation, didn't the network have an obligation to let viewers know that her husband's administration had itself peremptorily fired more than ten times that many US attorneys -- and that a close personal associate of Hillary's was intimately involved?
Senior national correspondent Jake Tapper scored the exclusive with Hillary. In the excerpts aired, Hillary in high dudgeon declared that "the Attorney General, who still seems to confuse his prior role as the president's personal attorney with his duty to the system of justice and to the entire country, should resign."
On January 9, at this December 7, 2006 post on asbestos lawsuit double-dipping ("the process by which lawyers file claims at many different bankruptcy trusts on behalf of a single plaintiff"), I received this comment from Brayton Purcell (#11 if your browser doesn't take you directly to it), the law firm that attempted a fifth dip on behalf of one of their clients, and was caught in the act of doing so by Judge Harry Hanna of the Cuyahoga County (OH) Court of Common Pleas.
Chris Matthews and John Fund had something of a nuclear showdown on this afternoon's Hardball. Matthews' current kick is worrying that President Bush might launch an attack on Iran without congressional authorization. In that context, talk turned to Saddam's nuclear program and that of North Korea.
I know there's only so much space, but today's subscription-only editorial in the Wall Street Journal missed a BIG chance to tell people something that the formerly Mainstream Media never gets around to telling people -- Social Security, contrary to popular belief, is a "progressive" tax system in its own right. Though the payroll tax taken in isolation is "regressive" because it is not assessed above a certain income level (at annual earnings above roughly $90,000), the fact that the more you make, the less you get in retirement benefits (compared to what you earned while you were working) more than offsets any nominal "regressiveness."
You doubt? Though the below from my classroom presentations changes every year, and still needs to be updated for the benefit increase announced in November, it makes the point (Warning: Mood-swing alert for upper-middle and greater income earners -- Ed.):
Maybe our liberal friends are onto something. They keep saying the rich should pay more taxes, and it turns out the rich already are! That's one of the valuable lessons from the IRS's annual study of income tax data, just released for 2004.
Americans who earned more than $1 million in adjusted gross income paid $178 billion, or an average of $740,000 per filer, in income taxes in 2004. That's up about one-third from 2002, the year before the Bush tax cuts in marginal income-tax and dividend and capital gains rates. The wealthiest 1% of tax filers paid a remarkable 35% of all individual income-tax payments that year.
I love the following analogy, but WSJ could have gone further with it:
WSJ's Opinion Journal has indulged in another round of the MSM's upturned nose to the lowly blogger, another cornucopia of contumelies, a mountain of maligning. We are all fools and imbeciles according to assistant editorial features editor, Joseph Rago in today's Op Ed, The Blog Mob.
Here's the wind up...
Blogs are very important these days. Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has one. The invention of the Web log, we are told, is as transformative as Gutenberg's press, and has shoved journalism into a reformation, perhaps a revolution.
I feel a "but" coming!
And the pitch...
The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps.
A swing and a miss, Mr. Rago.
Few bloggers, Mr. assistant editorial features editor, imagine themselves to be anything like investigative journalists... few even consider themselves journalists at all. A small number may have taken steps into that field, but most bloggers who blog on culture, the news and politics are in it for opinion making. And, I'd lay odds that few would dispute such a claim.
One of the most persistent tics of the passive-aggressive press is its denials of its power, that it doesn't run the country, or at least try to run the country. All that journalism-school boilerplate about how the media is merely a watchdog, or like it's the BASF of democracy, you know, it doesn't make everything, it just makes the secret ingredient that makes everything better? Baloney. Some of us signed up for the media-criticism business because the media want to pretend they're not major players in the political process that make every other actor in the political system try to figure out how to capture the warm glow of media adulation, or at least avoid it like an obstacle course. So when Dow Jones Chairman Peter Kann wrote an editorial on the press (see it over on his company's Opinion Journal), I liked the end the best:
How out there is Eric Alterman? MSNBC, the network of Keith Olbermann, he who has accused Pres. Bush of fascism and called for his impeachment - fired him, presumably for being too extreme.
But not to worry, Alterman's column, 'Altercation,' was promptly picked up by David Brock's Media Matters. For my sins I recently subscribed to the column's email list. Reading through this evening's edition, one thing emerges: Eric Alterman is one angry guy. In the course of one mere column, Alterman vents his bile in these diverse directions:
"This notion of a leftist alliance with Islamic radicals is often trumpeted by crazy people like [David] Horowitz."
"Virtually the entire world -- at least the part that's paying attention [hates Pres. Bush]."
When a domestic industry is having problems with foreign competitors, foreign-owned companies in the US, or outsourcing, there is usually plenty of media coverage.
But when an entire sector of the financial services industry is in jeopardy, namely the issuance of shares in companies going public for the first time (initial public offerings, or IPOs), the news and commentary can't seem to break out of the business-reporting realm.
Read the following, and then I'll attempt to explain why.
LONDON AND HONG KONG "HEART" SARBANES-OXLEY
Sarbanes-Oxley Quotes of the Day: Kudlow Discussion Group and John Fund Column
“The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, and even today,” Brit Hume accurately noted in his Wednesday “Grapevine” segment since, indeed, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts led with it both Tuesday and Wednesday night. But he observed, “you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said.” Hume also picked up on how ABC framed the story: “On ABC News, the Kerry flap was described as quote, 'an object lesson in how in this day and age an idle political remark gets seized upon.'" A late Tuesday night NewsBusters posting, "ABC's Gibson: Kerry's Dumb 'Get Stuck In Iraq' Merely an 'Idle Political Remark,'" distributed in Wednesday's MRC CyberAlert, highlighted the characterization by World News anchor Charles Gibson.
And Hume relayed how ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, on the Hugh Hewitt's radio show, “says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic.”
Just yesterday a reader brought to my attention the sudden TV ubiquity of John Harwood. He pointed out that - CNBC and Wall Street Journal credentials notwithstanding - Harwood is a predictable liberal voice. And sure enough, it was none other than Harwood that David Gregory chose for a comment on L'Affaire Kerry on this morning's 'Today.' And darn if that reader wasn't right about Harwood's leftward tilt. Let's read and analyze Harwood's statement:
"It's difficult to see, in a campaign dominated by unhappiness about the Iraq war, how these comments will be a driving force in the last few days."
In what looks to be a rather misleading piece of information, reporter Jeanne Cummings of the Wall Street Journal has an article touting the fiscal responsibility of Democrats when it comes to campaign finance management, but the facts don't seem to support that case.
via Three Sources it appears that DailyKos, among others, are picking up the theme, perhaps as a way to assure voters that Liberals aren't the poor fiscal managers and tax and spend legislators history has proved them to be.
If you scroll down at the WSJ link you'll find a prominently featured pie chart which actually suggests Democrats have kept operational expenses down. The chart does lend that impression, as it relies on raw expenditure dollar amounts, but everyone, especially the Wall Street Journal should know that those numbers can't be analyzed as raw data. They need to be looked at as percentages of the gross number of dollars raised.
These days, it is almost as telling what little gems media organizations choose to hide from the public about their own polls as what they share. The release of the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is a fine example. As NewsBusters reported, the good folks at the “Today” show on Thursday seemed quite giddy over numbers that suggest the Republicans are in a lot of trouble in the upcoming midterm elections. However, as is typical, what wasn’t shared from this study conceivably gives a different picture.
For example, as is typical these days, news organizations don’t like to share the political affiliations of those questioned. Certainly, you can’t blame them, for this might give the public some pause to trust the veracity of the data. This instance was no exception, for those that were either “strong Democrat,” “Not very strong Democrat,” or “Independent/lean Democrat” totaled 43 percent of the respondents. The tally for “Strong Republican,” “Not very strong Republican,” and “Independent/lean Republican” was only 37 percent. As such, 16 percent more Democrats or those who leaned Democrat were polled versus Republicans and those who leaned Republican. Color me not surprised.
On the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal website Friday, Peggy Noonan put together several recent media events -- Columbia students robbing the Minutemen of their free speech, the furor over CBS's "freeSpeech" commentary from a conservative Columbine parent, Barbra Streisand's profane concert outburst, and Rosie O'Donnell's whupping of Elisabeth Hasselbeck on gun rights -- to conclude that the left preaches about dissent, but isn't very skilled at letting it be practiced against them:
Let us be more pointed. Students, stars, media movers, academics: They are always saying they want debate, but they don't. They want their vision imposed. They want to win. And if the win doesn't come quickly, they'll rush the stage, curse you out, attempt to intimidate.
Mega-blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of the Daily Kos talking down the blogs' influence on the Connecticut Dem primary? John Fund of the good old Wall Street Journal talking it up?
The odd couple, guests on this evening's Hardball, engaged in some serious media gender-bending. With Mike Barnicle sitting in for host Chris Matthews, Fund went first, and overflowed with praise for the role the blogs have played in the race.
Fund: "I think [the blogs' impact has] been very significant. I offer a tip of the hat to them. They have taken the former vice-presidential candidate and created a single issue around the war, and this is is a man who opposed George Bush on tax cuts, and many things, and they have turned him into the perception as George Bush's lackey, and they are on the verge of knocking off a senator. That's happened only twice before. It's remarkable."
I couldn't help but smile when I read the following Wall Street Journal
article that's making its way around lefty blogland. In it, reporters
Antonio Regalado and Dionne Searcey look into the mystery of a
fun little parody video of Al Gore and his global warming movie, "An Inconvenient
Truth," posted at YouTube.
But all is not as it seems, however. According to our dynamic duo, the video was uploaded from a person using the computer owned by the DCI Group, a political lobbying firm that (wait for it) has connections with the nefarious ExxonMobil.
That may or may not be the case. The funny part of the article is how suspicious Regalado and Searcey seem to be that non-liberals may be finally starting to use films to carry political messages:
The Wall Street Journal profiles military bloggers and Milblogging.com, a site that links to more than 1,400 military blogs around the world. Many military bloggers, or milbloggers, see it as their mission to counteract the perception of what's happening in Iraq that is pushed by the mainstream media.
J.P. Borda started a Web log during his 2004 National Guard deployment in Afghanistan to keep in touch with his family. But when he got home, he decided it was the mainstream media that was out of touch with the war....
Mr. Borda, a specialist, read other soldiers' blogs and found he wasn't alone. Hundreds of other troops and veterans were blogging world-wide, and many focused on a common enemy: journalists.
That didn't take long! Just yesterday I suggested readers keep in mind the MSM's bashing of Pres. Bush on his birthday the next time a liberal accused conservatives of being 'mean-spirited.' Groucho fans will know what I mean when I say: bring down the duck! On last evening's Journal Editorial Report , liberal newsie Marvin Kalb said the magic 'm-s' word in condemning the Wall Street Journal for its criticism of the New York Times.
The Journal had run an editorial, Fit and Unfit to Print [subscription required] that both explained why it had run a story on the anti-terror financial tracking program, and criticized the New York Times for doing so. For the record, the editorial explained that in contrast with the Times article, the Journal only published declassified information that had been provided them by the Treasury Department.
Hardened NBC watchers know to expect a shift toward the left when Andrea Mitchell is sitting in for Tim Russert on "Meet the Press." On Sunday's big media roundtable, the topic was the administration's "war" on the press. Bennett said Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, whose story on the CIA's secret prisons for terror suspects in Europe outraged Bennett, went all personal on Bennett by saying her story did not break the law: "I mean, some people would like to make casino gambling a crime, but it is not a crime." (The liberal Washington Monthly broke the story in 2003 that Bennett had a bad habit of gambling away thousands of dollars on casino slot machines. The media glee was palpable.)
Pardon the pun, but the concept of global warming came under some more heat today from the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, Richard S. Lindzen. Some of you might be familiar with the name Lindzen. He has been a strong antagonist to global warmingists – especially Al Gore – and wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal back in April wherein he not only contested media assertions that the Bush administration has been putting pressure on scientists to oppose climate change principles, but avowed that exactly the opposite is the case: “Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse.”
Well, Lindzen wrote another WSJ op-ed published on Sunday entitled “Don't Believe the Hype,” with a subheading – “Al Gore is wrong. There's no ‘consensus’ on global warming.” This one further attacked the junk science involved in this theory, as well as the preposterous claim being made by Al Gore that there is actually a consensus in the scientific community about the issue: