In April and May, the Washington Post devoted very heavy resources to covering pro-illegal immigration protests. When a contingent of the Minutemen came to Washington for their turn – and a much smaller group it was, estimated by the Post at "about 150 people," awfully tiny by D.C. standards – how would the Post greet their chance to speak? In Saturday’s Post, they did get a small box at the top of the front page, on how they were "fired up over a proposal to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship."
Consider that a remedial shout-out, following behind the massive coverage the amnesty rallies received. But the actual story was on B-3, not even the front of the Metro section.What went on the front of the Metro section instead? To a Minuteman from out of town, it must have looked awfully puzzling. Hogging the attention on B-1, with large color photos, was a story about prom-goers in New Orleans. New Orleans? The story by Annie Gowen was a followup to a A-1 story on Friday, also with color pictures, and it wasn’t until you turned inside the B section that you discovered what on Earth would make proms in New Orleans a D.C. "Metro" story – an 18-year-old girl from Beltsville, Maryland held a local dress drive that provided 2,800 gowns.
The Denver Post reports that among Joe Nacchio's other problems, he was the first Qwest CEO to refuse to help the NSA analyze phone records in the pursuit & deconstruction of terrorist networks. Even as,
"This is a case where (Qwest) showed some independence and courage," said Phil Weiser, a University of Colorado law professor who specializes in telecommunications issues.
In 2002 he chaired the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, a group of industry executives who advised President Bush. He also chaired the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council, an advisory panel on emergency communications networks and homeland security to the Federal Communications Commission.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday's front page that House and Senate Republicans reached agreement on extending "President Bush's deep cuts to tax rates on dividends and capital gains," but the chart they used on the front page was a Democratic talking point. It shows that people with a 2005 income between $10,000 and $50,000 would receive nearly zero, while people making over $100,000 would have much larger returns. The source cited on the page is merely "Tax Policy Center."
But inside, readers learn that this supposedly nonpartisan center is a project of two liberal think tanks:
Middle-income households would receive an average tax cut of $20 from the agreement, according to the joint Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, while 0.02 percent of households with incomes over $1 million would receive average tax cuts of $42,000.
The Washington Post has yet to editorialize on the nomination of Air Force General Michael Hayden to replace Porter Goss as CIA Director, but they’ve already done a fine job of debunking the notion that a uniformed officer has no business running the civilian CIA. Of course, that was when a liberal president picked a liberal admiral to run the agency.
Nearly 30 years ago, the Post sided with President Jimmy Carter when he named Navy Admiral Stansfield Turner, at the time the commander-in chief of Allied Forces in Southern Europe. The Post called objections to Turner’s military pedigree “misguided” and “insulting.” An excerpt of the Post’s February 9, 1977 editorial, headlined "Why Not a Military Man at CIA?" retrieved via Nexis:
On Saturday, The New York Times and the Washington Post had the same idea: line up average Americans to suggest any emerging macroeconomic happy talk is ignoring how "many people" are still feeling an economic pinch.
The Post put theirs on Page One, the Times on A-10. The Post headline was "Rising Expenses Have Consumers Feeling Pinched." The Times headline was "Despite a Sound Economy, Many Feel the Pinch of Daily Costs." (Online, it’s "Statistics Aside, Many Feel the Pinch of Daily Costs.") So the Post wins for pushing the theme harder, but the theme still suggests newspaper editors who are trying to throw mud pies at Pollyanna before anyone gets too thrilled with the macroeconomic picture.
In his weekly Monday "Media Notes" digest in the Washington Post Style section, Howard Kurtz digs into a little content analysis as to how the national newspapers haven't been too harsh on Congressman Patrick Kennedy's troubled past, dating back to disclosures in 1991 that he had abused cocaine, through his several embarrassing incidents in 2000:
Relatively little of this drew significant national coverage. Among the brief mentions in the New York Times, a 2002 piece on Kennedy's reelection campaign included a paragraph on his personal problems, quoting the congressman as saying: "If you are a Kennedy, people always make more of such things than really exists, and the true Kennedy haters just won't let go of it."
As a follow-up to yesterday's item on Newsweek's Jonathan Alter and his new book championing Franklin Roosevelt, we peek at the Washington Post's Sunday book review by historian Alonzo Hamby. Is this company policy? After all, the Post and Newsweek are kissing corporate cousins. (One clue: Newsweek editor Jon Meacham's book also receives the book review today -- two weeks after his big authored piece in the Sunday Outlook section.) The Hamby review is mixed, but here's where the sterner words come in:
On Day Three of the unfolding Patrick Kennedy story, the Washington Post moves it off the front page and into classic smooth-it-over mode. The story from Pawtucket, reported by David Fahrenthold, is headlined "At Home, Cynicism and Support: Many of Kennedy's Constituents Suspect Story but Don't Mind."
Fahrenthold began: "The bad news for Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy: The voters of Rhode Island do not, by and large, seem to believe his version of what led to a car crash early Thursday outside the U.S. Capitol." (He quotes male nurse Michael Rossi saying he believes the problem was alcohol, not presciption drugs. "Now the good news for Kennedy: The voters of Rhode Island -- including Rossi -- also don't seem to care."
As reported by NewsBusters, MSNBC’s David Shuster declared on Monday’s “Hardball” that the “outing” of Valerie Plame Wilson negatively impacted America’s ability to track the development of nuclear weapons by Iran. Stephen Spruiell of National Review’s “Media Blog” reported Saturday that the Washington Post’s Dana Priest doubts the accuracy of Shuster’s claim.
Apparently, during a WaPo live chat on Thursday, Priest stated: “It was reported before that she worked on proliferation issues for the CIA. The leap in this new round of information is that her outing significantly impacted our current intel on Iran.” Priest continued: “I don't buy it. First, no one person who quit clandestine work four years ago is going to make that big of a dent in current knowledge.” And, to Shuster’s detriment, continued: “But also, nothing like this came up at the time of her outing and I believe it would have. Think we need some actual details.” And concluded: “At present it just doesn't smell right.”
Spruiell also referenced some points made by Tom Maguire of Just One Minute. Apparently, Priest made some similar statements during an online chat in November shortly after her secret terrorist prisons story was released:
It can't be argued that the Patrick Kennedy adventure on wheels is being ignored by the media. But part of the coverage has been suffused in a bit of overweening Kennedy-dynasty sympathy. Washington Post reporter/columnist Dana Milbank, who danced a jig of mockery in orange hunter clothes over Dick Cheney's shooting accident, wrote in Saturday's Washington Post about the "miserable character" who suffered after the crash:
Kennedy tried to ignore the din of shouted questions as he walked to the door, but he couldn't avoid the woman in the front row who asked if he would resign. He shook his head. "I need to stay in the fight," he said. Then the latest victim of the Kennedy Curse disappeared. On the decorative bookshelf behind the lectern where he spoke, there was still a copy of the Warren Commission's report on his uncle's assassination.
"Killer of Teen, Fetus Sentenced" read a May 5 Washington Post headline on a man sentenced in Virginia for the brutal beating and subsequent death of his girlfriend and her unborn child. "Although there was evidence that Williams wanted to terminate" girlfriend Cheri Washington's pregnancy, "there was no proof that he intended to kill Washington," staff writer Theresa Vargas noted.
Nowhere in her story is the term "unborn baby" or "unborn child" used.
The Washington Post is hardly alone in using clinical language to describe the murder of unborn children. NewsBusters.org has documented other instances where the media have preferred the term "fetus" for an unborn child.
When Washington Post reporters try to deny they work for a liberal newspaper, you can also cite stories like Peter Baker's Wednesday story on Bush "inconsistency" over a Spanish version (or blurry rewrite) of the National Anthem. You might call it the Span-them. Baker doesn't see controversy in the Spanish singers changing all the lyrics around, or wondering whether illegal immigrants are insulting the vast English-speaking majority. No, the controversy is all from the viewpoint (and the research) of the "Center for American Progress," a Clintonoid think tank/oppo project.
Baker claimed "all sides are scrutinizing the words and records of the president and other politicians for signs of inconsistency," but he was much more interested in the liberal side.
Yesterday's May Day protests for amnesty for illegal aliens received broad, prominent, and positive coverage in the Washington Post Tuesday morning -- a fraction, certainly, of the enormous coverage of April 11, but still signaling the issue's importance in the diversity-conscious Post newsroom. Once again, the liberal bias came through: there were no liberal labels for any activist at the protest, no use of the word "amnesty" in the coverage, and no mention of what speakers said at the protest rallies. One story noted protesters chanted in Spanish "Bush, listen, we are committed to the struggle!" And, perhaps, most importantly: critics of illegal immigration appeared almost nowhere in any of this coverage. (Correction: I originally claimed critics were nowhere, but Clay Waters noted Rep. Tom Tancredo is quoted via Reuters in paragraph 12 of the Fears-Williams overview. My apologies for the error.)
Washington Post congressional reporter Shailagh Murray was blunt about America's energy problems in her Monday "Post Politics Chat": While most of the media is decrying "pain at the pump," Murray worried that "making gas cheaper only makes matters worse." A questioner complained about an earlier answer, in which Murray insisted her experience told her the price of crude oil is about supply and demand, and not who's president:
I may be going out on a limb here, but I don't think the price of crude oil has much to do with who occupies the White House. As a former Wall Street Journal reporter, I fall back on the simple supply and demand principle. People want to drive SUVs. A gazillion highway lanes are being built in China. Limited supplies of crude oil, whatever happens with ANWR. Of all the things to be surprised about, high gas prices should not be one of them.
The Washington Postreports that new White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten is considering removing cameras for most of news conferences. The thinking is this will discourage reporters from grandstanding and being heroes for their favorite liberal causes in the press room.
Bolten tipped his hand in only one area, suggesting that the White House might stop allowing its daily news briefing to be televised in full in hopes of discouraging posturing for the cameras and toning down the confrontational atmosphere. Television cameras were permitted only for the opening minutes of the briefing until Clinton White House press secretary Michael McCurry allowed them to air the entire session beginning in 1995.
Blogads commissioned a study on the demographics of those who read political blogs. Reports the Washington Post:
Think the people who while away their hours reading and commenting on political blogs are slovenly twenty-somethings with nothing better to do?
Think again, said a survey last week by Blogads, a company that many leading political blogs have used for ad placements.
In an unscientific Web survey of 36,000 people, Blogads reported that political blog readers tend to be age 41 to 50, male (72 percent), and earn $60,000 to $90,000 per year. Two in five have college degrees, while just a tad less have graduate degrees.
"These are not people who are politically idealistic and born yesterday," said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, who runs the popular liberal site DailyKos.
The Washington Post lived up to its typical pattern in coverage of economic good news Saturday morning. The fastest economic growth in several years was banished to D-1 again. While the Post put two bad-news-for-Bush stories on Iraq and terrorism on page 1, it put victories against al-Qaeda in Iraq on page A-10.
On D-1, the Post story acknowledged "Economic Growth Surges to 4.8%." Fred Barbash and Bill Brubaker noted "It was the hottest annualized pace for the gross domestic product in 2 and a half years." That news wasn't even mentioned on the front page. The "Inside" box touted two other, less stunning Business items from D-1:
-- "Pentagon Halts Clearances: High demand and a budget shortfall are blamed for putting security checks for 3,000 contractors on hold."
The Washington Post showed its liberal colors Saturday morning by running this copy in their "Inside" text box. "Rush Limbaugh Arrested: The talk radio icon surrenders on a charge of committing fraud to obtain prescription drugs." The headline for the story on the front of the Style section was also suggestive: "Rush Limbaugh Turns Himself In On Fraud Charge In Rx Drug Probe." The online link was "Limbaugh Charged With Prescription Drug Fraud," accurate but incomplete.
A casual reader of headlines could easily conclude that Limbaugh was admitting guilt, with words like "surrenders" and "turns himself in." But it was a part of a deal with no admission of guilt. The story by Peter Whoriskey noted: "The agreement is not an admission of guilt to the charge." A less inflammatory set of headlines would have said "Prosecutors, Limbaugh Strike Deal."
In his Washington Post column today, David Broder takes on the government-press relationship, but predictably, only the government side is evaluated. In Broder's eyes, it's suspicious government vs. idealistic press corps:
This is a troubling case for those of us in journalism. Our view is that it's the government's responsibility to keep its secrets secret and that it's our responsibility to ferret out information so the public is aware of the actions being taken in its name...But we also know that administrations of both parties tend to restrict information -- and that the only way for the public to learn of questionable policies or actions is for conscientious individuals to break that official code of silence.
Ronald Reagan may now be remembered as one of America's greatest presidents, but the Washington Post is still willing to consider him comparable to mass-murdering dictators. On Tuesday, theater critic Nelson Pressley oozed over playwright Tony Kushner's work comparing Reagan to Hitler:
Before Tony Kushner hit the jackpot with "Angels in America," he wrote something called "A Bright Room Called Day," and in it he equated Reagan's America with Hitler's Germany. Kushner being Kushner -- that is, burning with ideological fire, thoroughly grounded in history and theory, and preposterously gifted with literary agility -- that wild swing of a thesis gains surprising traction onstage.
The recent unveiling of the Pulitzer Prizes had more of the same politicized whiff that the Oscars oozed earlier this year. Merit is taking a back seat now to "edginess" in both the news and entertainment media. "Speaking truth to power" is in vogue, even if it’s not true and even if it’s not in the public interest.
The roster of Pulitzer winners had an unmistakeable get-Bush smell to them, especially Dana Priest’s exposing secret prisons in Europe for terrorists in the Washington Post, and James Risen’s and Eric Lichtblau’s NSA-surveillance exposure in the New York Times. The Pulitzers have a prize for Public Service, but these leaks in the War on Terror might better deserve an award for Public Endangerment. As Bill Bennett put it, many Americans think it’s odd that on these stories, "the leaker can be prosecuted, but the person who wrote it down, told every citizen about it, and told every enemy of every citizen of this country gets a Pulitzer Prize."
Sunday's off-lead story by David Cloud is on Mary McCarthy, the CIA analyst fired for leaking classified information about suspected terrorists allegedly being held in secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. It comes under the comforting headline "Colleagues Say C.I.A. Analyst Played by Rules."
"On Thursday, the C.I.A. fired Ms. McCarthy, 61, accusing her of leaking information to reporters about overseas prisons operated by the agency in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks. But despite Ms. McCarthy's independent streak, some colleagues who worked with her at the White House and other offices during her intelligence career say they cannot imagine her as a leaker of classified information."
I've been as riveted as any
self-respecting blogger by this week's revelations about the CIA's Mary
McCarthy, whose leak to the Washington Post's Dana Priest about foreign terrorist
detention centers earned the former a pink slip plus possible criminal
charges but the latter a Pulitzer. It now appears that McCarthy was a
fairly enthusiastic contributor to Democratic causes including some guy
named John Kerry (start with Tom Maguire for details). (Update: An attorney for Cobb says McCarthy denies being the source for the story, or leaking any classified information. This contradicts what the CIA said. As Drudge says, Developing.)
The Washington Post's Web site on Friday posted the Reuters' dispatch, "At 74, Ted Kennedy still roars." The piece was largely favorable, lauding the Massachusetts senator for "speaking out on such trademark issues as civil rights, education and health care." It's noted that Time magazine recently named Kennedy one of America's ten best senators and that he "has helped enact legislation to protect civil rights, expand health care, upgrade schools, increase student aid and crackdown on discrimination."
Naturally, no mention is made of the costs associated with Kennedy's initiatives or their impact on expansion of Federal power. There are two references to Chappaquiddick, identified as the "scandal that tarnished his reputation and prospects of becoming president." Later, the article states: "Kennedy was dogged by personal problems early in life, most notably a 1969 accident in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, that took the life of a young woman who drowned when his car plunged off a bridge after a night of partying."
A new book about former FBI Agent Mark Felt, the alleged "Deep Throat" of "All the President's Men" (Watergate) fame, says Felt believes journalist Bob Woodward violated an agreement not to describe him in print.
A Washington Post story by Lynn Duke about the new book "A G-Man's Life: The FBI, 'Deep Throat' and the Struggle for Honor in Washington," by Mark Felt and John O'Connor, leads with the information that Felt's late wife, Audrey Robinson Felt, committed suicide in 1984.
By paragraph four, however, the article reveals something entirely different:
...And the book tells of Felt's deep anger at what he believed was Woodward's violation of their source-reporter relationship. Felt did not want to be described in any way in print, but Woodward both described him and called him "Deep Throat" in 1974 in "All the President's Men."
"Mark has never seen himself as a chatterbox who gave up secrets," writes O'Connor in a lengthy introduction.
"If this book does nothing else, let it destroy that caricature. Deep Throat was a journalistic joke; the name never described Mark Felt. After Woodward revealed that he had a senior source in the executive branch, thereby breaking his agreement with Mark Felt, and after the journalist identified his confidant as 'Deep Throat,' the retired FBI man was furious -- slamming down the phone when Woodward called for his reaction" to the 1974 book.
Dana Milbank's "Washington Sketch" columns on page 2 of the Washington Post often provide not just Milbank's trademark snark, but some interesting first-person observations on the political scene. Friday's offering on the state visit of communist China dictator Hu Jintao seems to feel Hu's pain. Every perceived slight was magnified. The screaming Chinese woman protester screamed on and on, but Milbank even finds "indignity" in the vice president's choice of eyewear:
The protocol-obsessed Chinese leader suffered a day full of indignities -- some intentional, others just careless. The visit began with a slight when the official announcer said the band would play the "national anthem of the Republic of China" -- the official name of Taiwan. It continued when Vice President Cheney donned sunglasses for the ceremony, and again when Hu, attempting to leave the stage via the wrong staircase, was yanked back by his jacket. Hu looked down at his sleeve to see the president of the United States tugging at it as if redirecting an errant child.
In Wednesday's Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz profiled Fox News Channel's Brit Hume with the headline "Moving to the Right: Brit Hume's Path Took Him From Liberal Outsider to The Low-Key Voice of Conservatism on Fox News."
Christian Science Monitor reveals what most economists have known for years. Free Market Project
For years, the media have been telling Americans the economy, though growing, is not producing good jobs. From Lou Dobbs’ continuous rant at CNN about “The War on the Middle Class” to the Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne claiming in a February 21 op-ed that “The decline of manufacturing employment means the economy is producing fewer well-paying jobs,” the media mantra has been that wage gains during this recovery have been very disappointing.
“Now Democrats have argued, though, that under the Bush administration, Americans have seen wages remain flat, also high health care costs and high heating oil and gas prices,” CNN’s Elaine Quijano reiterated on an April 15 “CNN Live” report.
After a longtime “Chicken Little” media view of the labor markets, The Christian Science Monitor finally broke from the pack in an April 11 article by Mark Trumbull stating the “Newest job numbers show that businesses are expanding opportunities in high-wage fields.”
Just two days earlier, however, The New York Times asserted that “New technology and low-cost labor in places like China and India have put downward pressure on the wages and benefits of the average American worker.”
Who’s right? Well, the Monitor used some highly-regarded economists to support its assertions:
The annual Pulitzer Prize awards announced Monday night, by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, rewarded Washington Post and New York Times reporters who exposed -- and thus undermined -- secret anti-terrorism efforts, as well as a Washington Post critic who mocked Vice President Cheney's outdoor apparel and ridiculed the supposed 1950s-era clothing worn by then-Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' kids. The Pulitzer board gave the “Beat Reporting” award to Dana Priest of the Washington Post “for her persistent, painstaking reports on secret 'black site' prisons and other controversial features of the government’s counterterrorism campaign.” The “National Reporting” award was won by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times “for their carefully sourced stories on secret domestic eavesdropping that stirred a national debate on the boundary line between fighting terrorism and protecting civil liberty.” The duo infamously penned the damaging December 16 article, “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.”
Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan grabbed the “Criticism” award “for her witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism.” In a January 2005 piece featured by the Post in a new page created to showcase her Pulitzer-winning work, Givhan complained that at a gathering of world leaders to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Dick Cheney “was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.”