As Dave Pierre notes, some newspapers can be proven to find Jill Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor a more newsworthy hostage than Fox News Channel's Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig. It's certainly true of the Washington Post, which never put Steve and Olaf on page one, even after they were released. On Monday, in his weekly "Critiquing the Press" online chat, Howard Kurtz disagreed with his paper's record:
Washington Post reporter Peter Baker highlighted an estimated 700 anti-Bush protesters in Maine in the Sunday Post. The headline was "War Protesters Follow Bush to Maine," which is an odd headline, since the organizing groups were Maine locals from groups like "Seacoast Peace Response." But short of reporting the protest was encouraged by Cindy Sheehan, nowhere in the article could he locate the protesters on the left with any sort of liberal label, despite descriptions like these:
The protesters carried handmade signs with slogans such as "Stop Killing Our Children," "Bring Them Home Now," "We Have Nothing to Fear But Bush Himself," and "Liar, Liar, World's on Fire." In a school field where the group rallied after the march, speakers called for Bush's impeachment and sang specially written songs such as "Where is the Rage?"
Last Sunday morning, I threw up a blog on the Sunday Washington Post publishing a story based on MSNBC host Joe Scarborough airing a segment on his show titled "IS BUSH AN ‘IDIOT’?" A few days later, Joe Scarborough granted an interview to the hard-left website Salon.com, ostensibly to discuss how conservatives can't handle dissent well. At interview’s end, interviewer Alex Koppleman threw NewsBusters at him:
Tim Graham, from the Media Research Center, recently referred referred to your criticism of the president as "Scarborough syndrome" and said that "being a conservative host inside a liberal network -- not to mention a liberal network that has a history of changing prime-time hosts like socks -- might compel you to being [sic] more critical of Bush and conservatives." What's your reaction to that?
In the Saturday Washington Post, Rick Weiss skips over his own misreporting of embryonic stem-cell research by Robert Lanza and Advanced Cell Technology. The technique involves removing one cell from an early eight-celled embyro, cultivating the single cell into a new self-replicating line and, in theory, allowing the seven-celled embryo to survive and grow. But despite early reports, including Weiss's, all the embryos were destroyed. Weiss says Nature, which published the Lanza/ACT study, has now "corrected wording in a lay-language news release it had distributed in advance," but he doesn't acknowledge the errors in his own original account.
Erick at RedState.org offered a little "Macaca" rebuttal to The Washington Post. What about George Allen's Democratic opponent Jim Webb writing dust-cover blurbs sticking up for the white man in a book that came out...just in January?
When George Allen mocked the little tool with the bad haircut a few weeks ago, the Webb campaign whipped itself into high dudgeons about the racism of George Allen. Perhaps the Webb campaign should not have been so vocal. Mr. Webb, you see, has his own history of quotes, like this one:
Politicians and judges over the past forty years have created the mythology that white America is a monolith whose history is based on social and economic privilege, while anyone who is not white is by definition disadvantaged. No one knows this better than William Perry Pendley and a few have done more to put an end to this outrage.
The Washington Post on Wednesday maintained its iron grip on Republican ethnic gaffes with political reporter Jim VandeHei repeating the Democratic talking points against Montana Sen. Conrad Burns, who’s made several jokes about Latino workers having their citizenship papers. The headline, playing off their incessant Macaca riffs, is “Comments Haunt Another Senator.” (They don’t mean Hillary’s Gandhi-gas-station joke.)
Just so you know that this is a one-sided tactic, the Post didn’t notice in June that San Diego Democratic congressional hopeful Francine Busby told a largely Latino audience, “you don’t need papers for voting,” until after she lost, despite playing up her chances over the last weekend as a possible bellwether of big GOP losses. Now look at the first paragraphs of VandeHei's story and ponder if it doesn't sound like he's writing for the Democratic Press Release Service:
Juan Williams is a long-time columnist and commentator, who has been at the Washington Post (where he has an excellent column today) for years, as well as NPR and FoxNews. He has also written several books, the latest of which was reviewed in The Washington Post yesterday, by one Peniel E. Joseph.
Anyone who's followed the Washington media for any length of time over the past 20 years knows who Juan Williams is. And he knows that Williams is not a conservative. But the Washington Post, which has employed him and run hundreds of his columns, went out and found someone to savage his latest book. From the left.
Mr. Joseph, who is a teacher of "Africana Studies" at Stony Brook University, is apparently not interested in any discussion of black issues in America that isn't focused on white racism. The idea that blacks in America need to take any responsibility for their condition is apparently "simplistic."
This week is shaping up as the MSM's kick-off of its Hillary for President campaign. Using Time Magazine's 10th cover of Hillary as a springboard, this morning's Today show convened a liberal coffee klatsch on Clinton's political future. Dem pollster Peter Hart summed up the segment's zeitgest nicely: "I think Americans are ready for a female president. I think they are definitely ready for Hillary Clinton."
Not a discouraging word was to be heard, as 'Today' found it unnecessary to invite to the party anyone who might have a negative view of Hillary
Nine days after Sen. George Allen's less-than-monumental "Macaca" moment happened in southwest Virginia, The Washington Post is still flogging the story hard. In Sunday's paper, the article sprawled across the top of the Metro section is headlined "For One Group, 'Macaca' Recalls Slurs After 9/11." The subheadline is "Many Indian Americans Are Disturbed by Allen's Remarks, but Some See a Chance to Strengthen an Alliance." (It should not surprise you that the less disturbed aren't on the front page.) The story by Michael Shear and Leef Smith began:
Word of Sen. George Allen's controversial comments flashed across the country last week, but nowhere more rapidly than in Virginia's Indian American community, where frustration over ethnic stereotypes has intensified since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Well, MSNBC and Joe Scarborough have clearly figured out how to get their show mentioned in a liberal newspaper. Inside Sunday's Washington Post, reporter Peter Baker wrote an article about conservative disillusionment with Bush on Iraq headlined "Pundits Renounce the President: Among Conservative Voices, Discord." Baker began:
For 10 minutes, the talk show host grilled his guests about whether "George Bush's mental weakness is damaging America's credibility at home and abroad." For 10 minutes, the caption across the bottom of the television screen read, "IS BUSH AN 'IDIOT'?"
After devoting two front-page stories this week making a mountain out of the molehill of Sen. George Allen joshing with fellow Republicans about a Democrat opposition researcher's haircut, calling him "Macaca," the Washington Post put the story back on top of the front page Saturday with the headline "Allen Flap May Give A Boost to Webb: Reenergized Va. Democrats Gain Support."
Could we be any more transparent in using our front page as an advertising vehicle for the Democrats? The headline is a little incomplete. It could read: "Allen Flap May Give A Boost to Webb: We're Certainly Trying Hard to Make It So." And the subheadline could be "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes."
Editors' note: This post is the beginning of a new NB feature, the weekly recap, a way of summarizing some of the hottest and most-read postings for the week.
It has been quite a diverse week in bias. Newsbusters Executive Editor Matthew Sheffield noted that a popular cartoonist took a racist swipe at Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, portraying him as the slave of colleague Antonin Scalia.
The MRC's Tim Graham covered every aspect of "The Washington Post" and their effort to sink Senator George Allen with "Macaca-gate." You can read more here and here. And for a theory about their excessive coverage, click here.
Regarding the war on terror, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann wondered if the recent arrests in London were timed for political reasons.
The Washington Post routinely ignores studies of liberal media bias by the Media Research Center and other groups. But you don't even have to have a group or belong to a group to get your research cited in the Post if you find a "pro-war" bias. In Friday's Post, pollster Richard Morin's "Unconventional Wisdom" roundup on page A-2 carries the headline "Embedded Reporters, Slanted Perspective?" At the end, we learn the researcher is simply a graduate student:
The use of embedded reporters by major newspapers during the invasion of Iraq produced more personal and human-interest stories about the lives of U.S. soldiers while "downplaying the effects of the invasion on the Iraqi people," according to a Penn State University researcher.
When I was in college (1997-2001), I recall new textbooks ringing up at $75, $80, or even $90. That was pretty steep then, but The Washington Post's Nell Henderson sees similar prices now as a symptom of worrisominflation in her August 17 article:
After poring over reams of data, the Labor Department reported
yesterday that inflation rose last month, eating into people's
paychecks and savings at a quickening clip.
Emerging from the
Georgetown University bookstore in a rush, Linda Dodd didn't need a
government report to tell her that. "I just spent $85 and $90 on two
books," she said with a shrug.
Textbooks, whose prices have risen at a brisk 6.2 percent pace in the
past year, are among the many goods and services that are becoming more
expensive as inflation persists at some of the highest levels in 15
There are two problems here. One is Henderson's illustration is misleading. Sure, new textbooks bought fresh off the shelf at a college bookstore are pricey, but millions of students save money everyday either by ordering cheaper new or used books online or by snatching up used textbooks at college or chain bookstores, or even at the media' least favorite superstore, Wal-Mart. As I wrote in my article at BusinessandMedia.org:
This morning's Washington Post features a Reuters wire service story by one Parisa Hafezi about the Iranian Holocaust Cartoon exhibition that just opened in Teheran ("Iranian Exhibit Takes On the Holocaust"). The reporter gives the idea that the competition and exhibit are all about challenging the Holocaust and testing free speech.
"This is a test of the boundaries of free speech espoused by Western countries," Masoud Shojai, head of the Cartoon House, which helped organize the exhibition, said as he stood next to the Statue of Liberty drawing.
In fact. almost all the cartoons equate Israel or the US with the Nazis, as part of Teheran's ongoing propaganda war against the Jews. The point isn't to question the Holocaust - the point is to deligitimize Israel. In fact, most of the cartoon implicitly accept the Holocaust as true, otherwise the comparisons of Sharon to Hitler wouldn't make any sense.
The Washington Post kept at its molehill "Macaca" scoop against George Allen Thursday, but not on the front page. Here's the latest coverage, in review:
-- With the headline "Here's the Big Hairy Deal," the most prominent coverage is on top of the front page of the Style section, a series of photos explaining that the demeaned Democratic cameraman/spy S. R. Sidarth was actually wearing not a mohawk or a mullet, but a "moo-lette," which is apparently a hot style in Spain. (Counter-spin to the Post: if Allen was joking about Sidarth being a representative of Hollywood-screenwriter Jim Webb, joking about the exotic Hollywood lifestyle vs. Virginia's, does not the fancy Spain-hair prove the oh-so-cosmopolitan point a bit?)
UPDATE: There's now audio up at Washington Post Radio of Greenwell talking about this "growing trend." See below the jump for more on that.
In today's Metro section of The Washington Post, staff writer Megan Greenwell took a sympathetic look at liberal suburban dumpster divers who call themselves "freegans.":
Prince Frederick, Md teen Bryan Meadows “considers himself a ‘freegan,’” Greenwell wrote, describing the term as “a
melding of the words ‘free’ and ‘vegan’” because Meadows “tries not to
contribute to what he sees as the exploitation of land, resources and
animals wrought by commercial production.”
When the Democrats think they have embarrassed Sen. George Allen, it's front-page news. But what about when Allen's camp think they have mightily embarrassed Democrat opponent Jim Webb? One example came in a debate in late July, where Allen showed that Webb didn't know as much as he should about the state he's running in:
At a debate Saturday in Hot Springs, Allen surprised challenger James Webb by asking what he thought of [Craney Island], never mentioning the planned [cargo] terminal. Webb, who is making his first run at office, was forced to admit he didn't know what or where it was, causing Allen to get a chuckle out of the audience when he said, "It's in Virginia."
The fall campaign period for The Washington Post has clearly begun, as the Post has judged Sen. George Allen's "macaca" remark to be worthy of the front page again on Wednesday. This installment notes that "Democrats, left-wing bloggers, and civil rights groups called him 'insensitive' and 'racist,' while some conservatives called him 'foolish' and 'mean.'" The story ends by quoting National Review editor Rich Lowry from The Corner yesterday saying Allen shows a "mean streak." But there's more proof of the double-standard on demeaning Indians. On January 7, 2004, Sen. Hillary Clinton apologized for a bizarre joke about how Mahatma Gandhi ran a gas station in St. Louis. The Post buried her apology on page C-3 in the "Names and Faces" gossip column, with just 200 words:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized yesterday for joking that Mahatma Gandhi "ran a gas station down in St. Louis." The New York Democrat made the remark Saturday at a fund-raiser in St. Louis for Senate candidate Nancy Farmer while Clinton was introducing a quote from Gandhi. Many in the crowd of 200 laughed, and Clinton said: "No, Mahatma Gandhi was a great leader of the 20th century." She then quoted the Indian independence leader as saying: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
David needs the umbrella to complete his Neville Chamberlain impersonation. In an Op Ed in today's Washington Post David Ignatius applauds the disastrous UN-brokered ceasefire:
The Lebanon war was damaging for Israel, the United States and, most of all, Lebanon itself. But it may have taught everyone a lesson that will be immensely important to the future of the Middle East: The solutions to the big problems that afflict the region are not military but political.
Meanwhile, the same edition of the Post reports Hezbollah's continued refusal to disarm. It's painfully obvious that Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon without destroying Hezbollah will mean even greater suffering and bloodshed when the West finally decides to deal with the problem.
A friend e-mailed me that Mark Ambinder at The Hotline (formerly of the ABC News Political Unit) has his own analysis of the WashPost "macaca" mania -- Allen's campaign has upset the Post:
The death-knell for Republican candidates in Northern Virginia has been the active hostility of the Washington Post. Usually, a GOP candidate can neutralize the problem by neutralizing the Post -- not alienating the beat reporters and keeping the editorial page from beating the snare drum.
Two signs today that the Allen campaign has seriously angered the Post. First, there's the A1 placement of a story that is arguably interesting and compelling but not earthshatteringly newsy. Within the story, there's a hint that Allen's campaign manager, Dick Wadhams zoinked off the reporter who called him.
A Washington Post Editorial addressing a recent gaffe by Virginia Senator George Allen, actually mis-characterizes the incident. The line "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia" had nothing to do with anyone's race, or presumed country of origin. It followed directly on the heels of Allen lambasting opponent Webb for being off with the Hollywood elite. It was that contrast Allen was attempting to draw as you can see here.
The idea that holding up minorities to public scorn in front of an all-white crowd will elicit chortles and guffaws? (It did.) The idea that a candidate for public office can say "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia!" to an American of Indian descent and really mean nothing offensive by it?
In early July, Sen. Joe Biden joked before a C-SPAN camera that “you cannot go into a Dunkin Donuts of a 7-Eleven unless you have a slight Indian accent.” Conservatives had a little fun with it, but said: a harmless slip, but if a Republican ever did it, the media would have a much different standard. That day is now. Sen. George Allen mocked an Indian-American Democratic volunteer as a "macaca," and the Post played it up on the front page, along with a very tendentious staff editorial to boot insisting Allen's racial "bullying" was beyond "the bounds of decency." Washington Post coverage of Biden? None. Not in the paper.
The Washington Post might like to be known as rough and tough, skeptical and questioning, but when it comes to TV news stars, sometimes they sound like a publicist's best friend. Tuesday's big Style profile on Katie Couric is headlined "Up Close and Too Personal: Katie Couric, Center of Attention, Says She Just Wants to Do Her Job." For an article on how Katie is overscrutinized, it's funny how nowhere in the article did media reporter Howard Kurtz ever question whether she's fair and balanced in her journalism. It began with syrup:
She is already the most heavily scrutinized, psychoanalyzed and gossiped-about anchor in network history, and she hasn't yet uttered a single "good evening" on a CBS newscast.
The Washington Post continues to display enthusiasm to wring the last drop out of Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic drunken rant at a cop in Malibu. But the headline over the story on the front of today's Style section is misleading: "Evangelical Clergy on Mel Gibson: Judging Not." A reader might think evangelicals excused Gibson's rant. The story which follows by religion specialist Alan Cooperman makes it very clear from the beginning that the evangelical leaders all denounced his outburst to police, but none of them had re-evaluated whether there was anti-Semitism in his movie "The Passion of the Christ." (A listing of most popular articles on washingtonpost.com suggests it used to have a more accurate headline: "Evangelicals Hate Gibson's Sin But Love His 'Passion'.")
On August 11, a state judge struck down an early voter law passed by the liberal Democratic legislature over Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich's veto. In his August 12 story covering the decision, Washington Post staff writer Matthew Mosk relayed fiery, class warfare-centered talking points from liberal Democrats incensed at the ruling.
Yet Mosk curiously omitted an early voting option that costs Marylanders $0.78 (two first-class postage stamps): an absentee ballot.
"Sheet metal workers and crane operators and people who have to leave
the house at 5 in the morning to get to their jobs at the Pentagon,
they're the ones who are helped by this," Senate President Thomas V.
Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said earlier this year.
It's fascinating how fast the roles have switched in the DNC Media's take on Ned Lamont. Today's front page in the WashPost printed the headline "Democratic Leadership Welcomes Lamont." Next to that, a promotional headline: "Will Lieberman Hurt or Help Democrats?" They're not asking whether Lamont as a Democratic poster boy will hurt or help Democrats. Overnight, Lieberman has gone from party stalwart to independent pariah in the wilderness. You might expect the Democrats to switch horses like they're changing socks like party politicians. But it ought to be more surprising that the "objective, mainstream media" follows suit (or sock) so slavishly.
The front-page article by Shailagh Murray and Dan Balz began typically by using "antiwar" as a stalking-horse adjective for liberal: "Democratic leaders embraced their new antiwar Senate nominee Ned Lamont on Wednesday, but his defeated rival, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) vowed to wage an independent crusade to save his seat and prevent the party from being captured by forces he said are out of the political mainstream."
Major General Bill McCoy is in charge of reconstruction efforts in Iraq. He allowed a Washington Post reporter to join him for a few days, time which he says did not change the negative perception the reporter had coming in.
I am submitting this as a Letter to the Editor based on the terrible, and largely inaccurate, article I read by Andy Mosher. He knows there is a good side to the story of Reconstruction in Iraq; he saw it! Yet he chose to write a negative story based on old SIGIR findings. Why? Don't you want the American people to know the truth?
Why Won’t They Tell You the Truth?
After spending almost three days traveling with and being interviewed by one of the co-writers of a very poorly written article (“Much Undone in Rebuilding Iraq, Audit says”, Washington Post, August 2, 2006), I’m astounded at how distorted a good story can become and what agenda drives a paper to see only the bad side to the reconstruction effort here in Iraq. Instead of distorting the facts, let’s get to the truth.
The following certainly qualifies as one of the most absurd statements that I’ve heard from a member of the media lately, and as someone that often spends 18 hours a day watching and reading press reports, that’s saying something (hat tip to Hot Air with video available here).
On Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” on CNN, the Washington Post’s Thomas Ricks actually stated with a straight face that Israel is intentionally not destroying all of Hezbollah’s rockets so that some can continue to rain down on Israel killing innocent civilians. This, in Ricks’ view, “helps you with the moral high ground problem, because you know your operations in Lebanon are going to be killing civilians as well.” I kid you not.
Host Howard Kurtz was rather shocked by Ricks’ assertion, and responded almost incredulously: