Detecting media bias is often an exercise in contrasting two analogous events to see how the media worked to write the narrative in the public's imagination. We at NewsBusters have already looked at how the media love the party atmosphere of the Obama inaugurals but groused at the expense of Bush's second inaugural, for example.
So it's instructive to see how Washington Post veteran journalist Dan Balz greeted President Obama's entry into his second term with how he looked at the dawn of President George W. Bush's second term. "[T]his Inauguration Day comes at a time when there is far greater realism about whether the president, or perhaps any leader, can transcend political divisions and unite the country," Balz noted in his front-page January 21 analysis piece, "This time, the idea of a new beginning seems optimistic."
On Saturday's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, during a discussion of the 40th anniversary of the Roe Vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, panel member Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post asserted that it is a "real problem" that many parts of the country do not have abortion clinics.
She went on to fret that younger people are not interested enough in the issue and recommended that "feminist groups and pro-abortion groups have to find a way to engage them and educate them because they're going to be the ones that are on these grassroot levels and at the state levels..."
When it comes to the Washington press corps, it seems journalists have two modes: garden variety liberal bias and rah-rah, fist-pumping Obama boosterism. The cover of today's Express tabloid exhibits both.
"Obama Draws the Line on Guns," exults the headline on the front of the January 17 Washington Post-published tabloid. The photoshopped image accompanying the headline is an upturned fountain pen from which a wisp of smoke is curling. [view the image below the page break]
As news outlets, notably MSNBC, CBS, and CNN, all tout gun control, it’s hard not to accuse these news outlets of exploiting tragedy to promote a left-wing political agenda when a new Washington Post/ ABC News poll shows that gun control isn’t a top political priority with the American people.
Examining the results of a new Washington Post poll, the Post's Chris Cilizza in his The Fix blog noted today that Americans believe the national debt and the federal government's chronic deficit spending are greater issues than gun regulation. In fact, only 28 percent of Americans, including a paltry 41 percent of Democrats, feel the gun control issue requires urgent attention:
Leave it to a Washington Post book reviewer to find a way to blame George W. Bush for the Irish Potato Famine. Okay, Peter Behrens didn't do exactly that, but he used the occasion of reviewing two books about the mass starvation of millions of Irish in the 1840s as an opportunity to bash the Bush administration over the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. Oh, I almost forgot, the bogeyman of the "free market" also finds itself in Behren's sights.
In his January 13 Washington Post item, Behrens reviewed two new books on the subject, The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy and The Graves are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People, by Tim Pat Coogan and John Kelly respectively. Behrens favorably accepted Coogan's conclusion that “it was British reluctance to interfere with the supposed workings of the free-market economy that allowed famine to continue in Ireland at a time when the country was producing and exporting tons of food to England.”
While it's not exactly news when former President Bill Clinton fails to tell the truth (after all, the first count on which he was impeached concerned his lying under oath in grand jury testimony), a whopper he hauled out at the Consumer Electronics show last Wednesday concerning gun violence was so over the top that it deserves far more notice than most of the establishment press will give it.
One of the reports on what Clinton said was at Thursday morning's New York Daily News. As an aside, the paper's online article looks more like what one would find at issues advocacy blogs than what you would hope to see at a real newspaper's web site; this particular item pleads with readers within its text to "CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE DAILY NEWS ONLINE PETITION TO BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS," and the petition itself appears below Kristen Lee's report. Lee relayed what Clinton said at the Consumer Electronics show on January 9:
Today's Washington Post editorial clings to the liberal anti-gun rights view that only the government should have access to "military weapons," by which of course they mean semiautomatic "assault rifles" like the AR-15. Of course, government corruption and incompetence has long been an avenue by which criminals have obtained weapons, the Fast & Furious gunrunning scandal being an instructive case in point.
But alas, the drug-running scandal was curious missing from the January 11 editorial in which the Post argued that in addition to an assault weapons ban, the U.S. government needs to crack down on international gun-smuggling, particularly on the Mexican border:
As my NewsBusters colleague Scott Whitlock pointed out on January 9, networks such as ABC and CBS, slammed the president for a lack of diversity in his second term administration, particularly with women. Whitlock wrote the “correspondent Jon Karl chided, ‘Well, some critics are looking at that emerging second-term cabinet and wondering, where are the women?’ He touted a New York Times article fretting about the "all-male look" of the new picks.
Oddly enough, concerns over diversity don't seem to be a problem for liberal Obama cheerleader and Washington Post In the Loop columnist Al Kamen. Now, with some major news outlets slamming for his apparent abandonment of women within his inner circle, Kamen asks for us to view this within the context of ‘musical chairs’ in his January 11 post – with fellow WaPo colleague Emily Heil.
"Congress could lower individual rates across the board by 44 percent and come up with the same amount of revenue if it eliminated all tax breaks" Washington Post reporter Josh Hicks noted in a January 10. Given the ongoing battles over taxes, spending, and the national debt in Congress, you'd think this would be worthy of front-page placement in the Post. Editors apparently disagreed, placing it on the bottom of page A13, today's edition of The Fed Page.
"Congress should simplify the tax code to ease the burden on filers, as well as take a hard look at the myriad tax breaks that cost nearly as much revenue as the government generates from individual income taxes," Hicks noted in his lead paragraph, referring to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson's annual report to Congress. "[T]he existing code of 4 million words imposes a 'significant, even unconscionable' burden of compliance on taxpayers," Hicks noted, quoting Olson.
"On Tuesday is Tucson, a gun-buyback effort was disrupted by buyers who offered cash to those who came to trade arms for gift certificates." That's the caption the Washington Post ran to an Associated Press photo on page A3 of the January 9 print edition. The photo [embedded below the page break] was plastered above the headline for an unrelated story about former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and husband Mark Kelly's new pro-gun control initiative.
But did the presence of legal gun purchasers really "disrupt" the Tucson police gun buyback program? If it did, it's news to the Arizona Daily Star, which reported no violent incident or other disturbance resulting from the peaceful protest/gun purchasing:
The good news: President Obama is finally getting some scrutiny in the liberal media. The bad news: The scrutiny is usually from Obama's left and on absurd matters such as the diversity of the president's Cabinet, as judged by skin color and sex organs.
Take today's Washington Post, which devoted 21 paragraphs on page A7 to "Obama's bypassing of women for Defense, CIA posts." The "[c]hoice of white men disappointing to those who call for diversity," lamented the subheader to David Nakamura's January 8 story. Nakamura opened his article by observing "some critics noticed one thing that stood out" when President Obama "brought his Pentagon and CIA chiefs together Monday with their potential replacements... Each of them was a white man."
Because this year's presidential inauguration happens to fall on a federal holiday -- Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- Washington, D.C.-based federal employees this time around will not find the "extra paid holiday" that they enjoyed four years ago. Reporting this development, Washington Post writer Josh Hicks lamented in a January 7 The Fed Page article that [emphasis mine] "the historic event... will cost the region's government employees a quadrennial holiday, at least in terms of pay and leave."
That sound you're hearing now is the world's smallest violin. At no point in Hicks's 16-paragraph story did he see the occasion as a win, however slight, for American taxpayers: one day's pay for thousands of federal workers is a drop in the ocean of red ink in which the U.S. government swims, but hey, we'll take what we can get.
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward took a ridiculous swipe at the Tea Party Sunday.
Appearing on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Woodward said, "We'll see if the White House is going to realize it's much better to have a Speaker Boehner with that mindset than somebody from the Tea Party or the more extreme right which would just lay down and, you know, let the country burn" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Needing 214 votes (of the 427 lawmakers who voted) to win reelection to the speakership on January 3, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) handily beat his closest opponent, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the office, 220-192. Boehner did see a smattering of dissenting votes in his conference, but no serious challenger within his conference came close to depriving the Speaker of a majority on the first ballot.
Despite these facts, however, today's Washington Post blared on page A4 that "Boehner narrowly wins 2nd term as House speaker." "12 of most conservative Republicans staged rebellion against him," the subheadline for Paul Kane's story insisted melodramatically. The Ohio Republican "was narrowly reelected speaker... giving him a another [sic] chance to lead the chamber -- a task that has been difficult for him over the past two years," staffer Paul Kane began his 14-paragraph story.
Most of the January 2 front page for The Washington Post was devoted to the resolution of the so-called fiscal cliff, but editors made sure to leave space for a gauzy 33-paragraph story entitled "History at the altar: Maryland sees wave of same-sex weddings as law takes effect."
By contrast, an uplifting story involving a non-controversial religious tradition in African-American churches was shuffled to the bottom of page A2, despite the tremendous historical significance of the 2012 New Year's Eve "watch night" celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
“Americans trust their guns, not God,” and the gun lobby is sacrificing children to an ancient pagan god demanding child sacrifice. That’s the message of Washington Post ‘On Faith’ theological train-wreck Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite’s plea for gun control in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Thistlethwaite complained in a December 17 post: “It is becoming increasingly clear that Americans realize the unfettered flow of guns into our society is making us less free not more. These guns find their way far too easily into the hands of the mentally unstable and the school and mall-type massacres are increasingly the result. But these guns also circulate easily in cities like Chicago, and more carnage results. There are numerous deaths, including the deaths of children and young people, and they make horrifying statistics. Read this list of homicide victims, most of them from guns in Chicago, just from 2012. This must not be.”
Without even realizing it, the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler has done a great service for the conservative movement and the interests of taxpayers. For the first time, we have in one place—citable in a mainstream news source—definitive proof that President Reagan was tricked into agreeing to a phony spending cut/real tax hike deal. The minor detail that the fact checker draws the wrong conclusion is as immaterial as it is expected—for most fact checkers, the Republican is wrong even when he’s right.
We have an excerpt from Reagan’s memoirs. We have a quote from a Reagan nationally-televised speech. We have numbers broken out showing that the deal was, in fact, $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes. We have quotations and descriptions of how Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and OMB Director David Stockman basically knew all along that the spending cuts were phony. We have Secretary of Defense Cap Weinberger willfully refusing to implement the phony spending cuts. We have Dole writing a letter to the President desperately seeking to assure him that he didn’t just get his wallet lifted, thank you very much. We even have Jack Kemp as the taxpayer hero, detailing for the President the whys and wherefores of how he got sold a bill of goods.
The media's gushing and fawning over the current White House resident knows no bounds.
Shortly after the President finished speaking at the Sandy Hook prayer vigil Sunday, Washington Post editor and Barack Obama biographer David Maraniss tweeted, "People will long remember what Barack Obama said in Newtown...his Gettysburg address":
In Friday's Washington Post, gossips Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts reported that Sarah Palin's eldest child Track is divorcing his wife after a little more than a year of marriage. "She keeps her jewelry; he keeps his guns" in the settlement, they joked from the TMZ report.
Patrick Moran – the same embarrassing son of liberal Democrat Congressman Jim Moran who drew some national attention in October for being caught on camera by Project Veritas encouraging voter registration fraud – has now brutalized his girlfriend in an alcoholic rage.
A police officer saw “Moran grab a woman by the back of her head and slam it into a trash can about 1:23 a.m. in front of the Getaway nightclub in Columbia Heights.” Moran was initially charged with felony assault. Girlfriend Kelly Hofmann was found bleeding “heavily” from her nose, according to court records, and her nose and right eye were “extremely” swollen. Guess where the Washington Post placed this “war on women” story?
Most folks dream of a white Christmas. No one, not even Elvis fans, want a blue one. But the Washington Post's Brian Palmer is fixated on how you can have a green one. Spoiler alert: He doesn't think trekking out to the local tree farm to fell your own tree is the way to go.
"Do you deserve a lump of carbon under your Christmas tree?" Palmer asked in his December 11 EcoLogic column. Apparently, the issue of tree farms during this holiday season is a point of contention within the environmentalist community. Yes, the greenies can't give it a rest, not even for the holiday season.
Washington Post music critic Allison Stewart is one of those people who can’t tolerate the idea that listeners under 16 might favor a singer who isn’t “edgy.” In her review of the second album from schoolgirl favorite Bruno Mars, Stewart complained, Mars has been too “vanilla,” too “edgeless,” too “mild to the point of being dead,” and hence he’s “too amiable to give these songs any real misogynistic bite.”
But Stewart is pleased this is “not your mother’s Bruno Mars album,” since she can approve of a song with lyrics about getting drunk, snorting cocaine, and making love like zoo animals (and wouldn’t you enjoy ten-year-old girls repeating the lyrics?):
Michigan may very well become the 24th state to adopt right-to-work legislation on Tuesday, and liberal media outlets have given its opponents ample opportunity to state their case. While proponents have not been allowed to defend the law at all, MSNBC's Chris Jansing was more than happy to briefly play "devil's advocate" with her guest on Monday -- newly elected state representative Tim Greimel who called right-to-work "too divisive and too extreme for the state."
Following his lengthy diatribe on the subject, in which he also called right-to-work the "surest path to poverty that anybody could pursue here in Michigan," Jansing invited the Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Jackie Kucinich -- daughter of retiring liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) -- of USA Today back on the program to reinforce the argument Greimel made. Hardly a balanced analysis of legislation designed to safeguard an individual's right not be coerced into a union or into financially supporting a union in which he/she is not a member [ video and transcript below ]
As we at NewsBusters have noticed, Advent and Lent seem to be the times of year that the liberal secular media loves to tweak devout Christians with attacks on historic, orthodox Christian teaching. The latest example is the media being abuzz over Irish playwright and novelist Colm Toibin's "The Testament of Mary."
The "silent, obedient, observant" Mary of Scripture that has "echoed down" through church history is ripped apart by "the masterful Irish writer Colm Toibin" who "puts a jackhammer to the cozy, safe, Christmas-card version" of the Mother of God, gushed Karen Long of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in a December 7 Religion News Service piece accessible at the Washington Post's "On Faith" section.
Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a golden opportunity to prove just how popular President Obama's plan to avert the fiscal cliff is with his member of his own party. But, true to form, Sen. Reid refused to schedule the vote. "Not a single Senate Democrat has stepped forward to support it, and if you look at it you can see why.... It increases taxes," McConnell was quoted by Ramsey Cox in a story filed the afternoon of December 5 for TheHill.com. For his part, Reid dismissed McConnell's push for a vote as a stunt, although just last week he praised the president's plan, suggesting Obama and Senate Democrats were "on the same page."
Unfortunately this development failed to receive any mention on the evening newscasts for ABC, CBS, or NBC, nor on the December 6 morning programs for the same networks. Likewise both the New York Times and Washington Post December 6 print editions failed to report Reid's refusal to schedule a vote.
As the 2013 Virginia governor's race is already underway, the Washington Post is determined to set the narrative early on for its readers, and it goes a little something like this: Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a hard-right conservative who's too extreme for the Old Dominion, especially in contrast to job-creating businessman Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe, you may recall, served as Democratic National Committee chairman from 2001 to 2005. [Read related posts here and here]
In the December 6 paper, Post staff writer Ben Pershing continued the narrative with his treatment of liberal former congressman Tom Perriello's announcement the day prior that he would not run for governor and that he backs McAuliffe, giving the former DNC chief a virtual lock on the nomination next June. The race is now between "Cuccinelli, a conservative who is loved by his party base, and McAuliffe," a "businessman" who "previously ran the Democratic National Committee," Pershing noted. The term "liberal" was used twice in Pershing's 17-paragraph story, in relation to Perriello. There was no exploration of the question of McAuliffe's ideological leanings:
Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple jumped to the defense of Bob Costas in a Monday morning blog post entitled, "Bob Costas, please keep spouting off." While Wemple avoided stating whether he agreed with Costas and Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock on gun control per se, he made it perfectly clear he had a low view of the average Joe at home wanting to escape the world for three hours watching a football game.
This is "the mentality of the sports consumer," Wemple groused, "Give me the game, the X's and the O's, the instant replays, the halftime highlights and leave the rest of the world out of it." But, "NFL players live in our society and are bound by our laws. The things that they do affect the public beyond whether their teams cover the point spread," Wemple argued, concluding (emphasis mine):
As NewsBusters colleague Kyle Drennan noted today, the liberal media has mobilized their legions to defend embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, complaining that the criticisms leveled by Republicans are motivated by racism, sexism or both.
But there most certainly is a double standard at play as Eliana Johnson of National Review noted in an excellent November 21 post in which she detailed how left-wing journalists and members of Congress attacked Condoleezza Rice as an incompetent Bush hack. Johnson wrote that:
As I argued yesterday, the Washington Post is already at work with its spin operation to tar Virginia Republican gubernatorial contender Ken Cuccinelli as a right-wing radical in advance of the 2013 race. The spin operation continued apace, today on the front page of the paper's Metro section, where Richmond correspondent Laura Vozzella described for readers how Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling concluded that "the path to GOP nomination looked too steep" to venture.
In her 19-paragraph story November 30 story, Vozzella hailed Bolling as the "state's multi-tasker in chief" who "has been juggling the part-time job of Virginia lieutenant governor with running for governor and working as a private insurance man." But alas, Bolling, "who shares many of [Attorney General Ken] Cuccinelli's conservative views but has a more conciliatory style" was no match for the attorney general's forces, who "pulled off something of a coup" when they "[took] control of the Republican State Central Committee."