Eric Alterman recently got his dander up over at the Nation about many of the MSMs political pundits today, calling them "lazy" and blasting them for their near universal refusal to address Blogger's critiques of their work. Obviously he isn't happy over the treatment he received at the hands of Time Magazine's Joe Klein who dealt him a series of "schoolyard insults", as Alterman phrased it, after he criticized some of Klein's work. But, this personal vendetta aside, Alterman is on to something.
Alterman is filled with disgust at many Pundit's arrogance as they ignore the ankle biting leveled at them by Internet opinionists and Bloggers. And I cannot say that I disagree with him over his contention that the MSM is trying so hard to ignore rising Internet pundits and the influence they are garnering that they have damaged their own credibility in the process by overlooking substantive critical analysis offered at lightening speed by Internet writers.
The New York Times Co. has been taking a beating over their increasing steep decline in the company's share price, extravagant executive compensation and the dual roles of Class B shareholder Arthur Sulzberger Jr. who acts as both the Chairman and Publisher of the company. These factors have prompted influential wall street investment advisor Institutional Shareholder Services to advise Class A shareholders to withhold votes for 4 directors who are up for election this month. A virtual vote of no confidence by one of the most influential investment advisors in the business according to the Gawker Manhattan Media News and Gossip website.
I have been waiting for the MSM to start the drumbeat against Fred Thompson that they so often and so boringly used (and still do) against Ronald Reagan; the refrain of "He's just an actor." Now, Rebecca Sinderbrand of the New York Observer has used the general theme for her latest piece, The Mysterious Appeal of Fred Thompson. Subtitled "Actor, Senator, presidential candidate... but what G.O.P. gap is he filling?", Sinderbrand makes liberal use of Thompson's "roles" as a foil for his seriousness as a candidate and seems to be saying that the only reason anyone is considering him is because he looks the part as a result of his "camera presence."
Sinderbrand's entire piece is dismissive and shallow in its approach to the Senator with constant allusions to his being an actor playing a role and treats the Senator as if his candidacy is an effort at bait and switch, or at the very least a silly proposition. Throughout, Sinderbrand constantly mentions the acting aspect of the Senator's life as if that is all there is to him just like they have always done with Reagan.
Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Boston Globe reports on the "push" to draft Al Gore to run for president in 2008 in the April 4th edition of the paper. The story's starry-eyed subjects launching Gore for president websites and sponsoring web petitions are in for the best fluff treatment lending their claims of a "surge" in support for a Gore candidacy far more legitimacy than it deserves.
The sunny representation of these Gore for president campaigns the Globe gives is almost pathetic in it's obvious wishful thinking. The only qualifying language to downplay the efforts used in the piece is an understated "How big is the effort? Hard to say."
No, it's not really that hard to say even when assessing the fluff the Globe reported. In fact, it's pretty easy to say that there is little interest -- at least far from enough interest to show a "surge" in support for a second Gore run for the White House. Far from "heating up" it seems more likely that there is a flaming out in the offing.
As Newsbsuters has brought you many times (see here and here among others), the MSM's focus on Bush's firing of a handful of U.S. Attorney's is wonderfully empty of any balanced treatment whatsoever. Not only has the MSM ignored the Clinton story -- where he fired EVERY one of them -- but they have also ignored the fact that Jimmy Carter also fired a U.S. Attorney for "political reasons." Not to be left behind, the Boston Globe today reports an uncritical story about Senator Edward Kennedy's (D, Mass) recent statement about the issue.
In a short report by Globe Staffer, Rick Klein, the Globe finds no room for any discussion of Clinton or Carter's firings -- par for the course for this shallowly reported story.
The New York Times cannot make up their mind if Dennis Hastert should be despised or laughed at, apparently. Neither can they decide if he is "rumpled and weary" or if he is "healthier and more relaxed" -- they confusingly say both in the very same article. But one thing is sure, their underlying sentiment toward the former Speaker of the House seems to be one of pity. And this article was simply an opportunity to kick someone they think is down.
But Dennis Hastert is neither seeking nor requiring such special attention or emotion to be wasted upon him. Furthermore, he never has. The pity party thrown for him by the Times is a pointless jab at a man who has given his life to the community. Hastert should be celebrated, not pitied. Least of all from as cynical an organization as the New York Times.
On March 18th, the New York Times published a piece titled "The Women's War". It was a feature of great length (18 pages on the Internet) centered around the plight of several female Veterans of the war in Iraq. It detailed the mistreatment they suffered by the US Military, sexual harassment they received at the hands of army officers, and their PTSDs (post traumatic distress disorders). A shocking expose is what the Times was going for, it is sure. These women certainly deserved better treatment and the story should be well publicized, of course. It might have had more impact but for the fact that the Times knew that one of the subjects featured in the article wasn't even in Iraq and that her story was a complete lie.
Worse yet, the Times published the story knowing full well that one of their subjects had lied to them. Finally, a whole week after their initial story was published on the 18th, on March 25th, the Times published a mea culpa, correcting the story.
Among the biggest possible conflicts of interest a newspaper can enter into is to have the same people involved in news coverage running opinion pages. I am proud of the fact that Jeff Johnson, Dean Baquet and I fully separated the opinion pages from the newsroom at the Times. I accept my share of the responsibility for placing the Times in this predicament, but I will not be lectured on ethics by some ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects, or who have suggested that our editorial page coordinate more closely with the newsroom's agenda, and I strongly urge the present and future leadership of the paper to resist the cries to revisit the separation between news and opinion that we have achieved.
What I don't get is why the Times' news reporters even feel the need to influence the paper's editorial page content. Based on Martinez's observation/acknowledgment that the newsroom has an "agenda," those reporters already have their own editorial pages, which just happen to be known as "the rest of the newspaper."
It is always interesting to me how a story can be published as if it is serious work, a story that almost seems plausible until you step back from it to realize that not a shred of proof to support the supposition was ever offered. After you're done reading it you realize that all you ended up with were empty phrases like "some say" or "many are" instead of any statistics, studies or other proof. Such is the case with the Washington Post's story titled, "War Causing Split Among Evangelicals". In fact, writer Julie Sullivan flat out admits that there is no proof for her supposition that “many” evangelical Christians are turning away from the war... but she postulates the premise any way.
No polling data show conclusively that opinion has shifted among conservative evangelicals.
This is only the fourth paragraph (the previous three being one sentence affairs) so you'd think she could just retire the piece right there. But, no we have to start right up with the "some say" routine.
So how many Gathering of Eagles (GoE) counterprotesters were in Washington yesterday, and how did their numbers compare to the Answer Coalition's protest count?
The New York Times (may require registration) reported "several hundred counterdemonstrators" (HT Michelle Malkin, who has the priceless quote of the day -- ".... the NYTimes relied on 'several veterans of the antiwar movement' to give them crowd estimates of the Gathering of Eagles. It's the domestic equivalent of MSMers relying on dubious Iraqi stringers to provide them with war coverage...." -- THWAP!)
The Washington Post, in its article about the protest, wrote of "thousands of counter-demonstrators."
Why is it every time I see a newspulper headline about Barack Obama I envision the editors in near orgasmic delight over the "multiculturalism" they perceive in Obama, or the "connection" he has with all the peoples of the world? Or the near hero worship of his "clean and articulate" abilities they wallow in, for that matter? And how come I get a corresponding feeling that all I am getting is delightful puffs of air but no substance when I'm done reading the piece that goes with the sweetness and honey that is the headline?
I wonder if the MSM ever gets tired of trying to make evil look good? And if they aren't trying to make evil look like good, they are trying to soft peddle evil with a they-are-really-just-like-us analysis of evil’s actions. Such is the case today in the Boston Globe wherein writer H.D.S. Greenway equates Iraqi insurgents to being just like America's founding revolutionary generation.
In 'Surge' doomed to final failure, a badly garbled reading of history is foisted upon an unsuspecting reading public that culminates with H.D.S. Greenway boiling down the entire American Revolution to the claim that British soldiers were a "conquering force" in the Colonies and the Colonists were mad at them for it.
This USA Today piece from Wednesday is a pretty important one. That's because it showcases so much of what is wrong with the FORMERLY Mainstream Media, and why the uppercase letters in FORMERLY will almost undoubtedly become larger in the coming years.
You see, many, if not more, reporters in the FORMERLY Mainstream Media don't seem to want to do their basic jobs any more. Their main tasks should be to:
First, objectively decide what is worthy of coverage.
Second, go and observe what happens, and where needed, ask questions about what's happening (the old who, what, where, when why).
Third, take thorough notes of what you have found, observed, and discussed.
Finally, tell your audience what happened in a complete, accurate, thorough, and yet engaging manner.
Anyone who thinks that the above four tasks are "easy" probably isn't doing the job well.
Even though doing the job a reporter should be doing is anything but easy, it would appears that it's too boring. Today's reporters want the excitement of being "advocates":
As I have in the past, to be a fair and honest reporter, I'll bring the good news about the MSM to the fore right along with the bad. Today I have some good in the form of a piece in Editor & Publisher's Shop talk section titled Who's a Journalist These Days? This is an interesting piece that takes journalists to task who share, as E&P puts it, the "big ego disease" that seems woefully prevalent throughout the MSM.
In fact, Mark A. Phillips doesn't at all mince words when taking to task his fellow journalists, not sparing their feelings a bit. He even identifies by name one of the journalistic comrades of whom he is scolding. That being one Debra J. Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle.
As has been well detailed here at Newsbusters, Mitt Romney has recently been the object of the MSMs attack dogs (see here, here, here... and many others.). But it seems that, with the recent polls showing it is Rudy Giuliani, rather than Mitt, who leads in the polls, the MSM attack dogs have turned their attention to the nation's Mayor.
Apparently it isn't enough to just go after Rudy, though. Now the Boston Herald is going after his bigoted and obviously stupid potential Conservative voters -- stupid at least as far as the Herald is concerned.
The same day the MRC's Culture and Media Institute (CMI) released its study [pdf available here] dealing with the media's preference for "secular progressive" values over those of those of orthodox religious faiths, evangelical magazine Christianity Today noticed that many newspapers are losing their religion [sections].
The CMI study concluded that:
Americans have clearly identified the media as primary culprits in the
nation’s moral decline. If the media continue to singularly promote
Progressive values and a secular worldview, while undermining Orthodox
faith and values, reversing America’s moral decline will be very
In her March 7 article, writer Sarah Pulliam noticed a mixed bag on the media's handling of religion coverage. Apparently even as many newspapers end or severely restrict religion coverage in print, religion news-oriented newspaper blogs prove popular with readers:
The double standard of Leftists who are ignoring the outrage of Bill Maher -- who alluded to his wish that Vice President Dick Cheney was assassinated – while at the same time are wildly fanning themselves in mock outrage as if they had the vapors over Ann Coulter -- for calling Democrat John Edwards a bad name -- was on full display in the MSM over the weekend.
If you are a conservative who stays up on the "happenings" in conservative news, you'd have by now heard that firebrand Columnist Ann Coulter called Democratic Candidate John Edwards a "faggot" at the CPAC convention the other day. You are also probably aware of all the lefty types wading into the waters of high dudgeon over her typically button-pushing remark and you'll have seen Democrats and their supporters coming out of the woodwork to claim astonishment at Coulter's comment, demanding that conservatives distance themselves from her.
What was the refrain so often hurled at the right by the "good hearted" and "more civilized" left when Chelsea Clinton was brought into the campaign discussion in the 1990s? Didn't they all solemnly shake their heads in disgust over those eeevil Conservatives who were attacking the president's kid? Didn't they scold the right saying that a candidate's children should never be an issue? Well, apparently the New York Times has abandoned that genteel notion.
I sure remember the left wagging their fingers in the nation's face over this point repeatedly, don't you?
Yes, here we have, in Saturday's edition of the New York Times, an article dragging Rudy Giuliani's recently strained relationship with his two children into the public debate on his candidacy. Here we have the bastion of leftism trying to get at a candidate through his children in stark contrast to the tsk, tsking that the left indulged in during the Clinton years.
Obama's white ancestors owned slaves. So says the research of William Addams Reitwiesner, "who works at the Library of Congress and practices genealogy in his spare time", and who is featured in this morning's edition of the Baltimore Sun.
Many people know that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas.
But an intriguing sliver of his family history has received almost no attention until now: it appears that forebears of his white mother owned slaves, according to genealogical research and Census records.
While reading this, my very first thought had me wondering how well this will sit with the Obama-isn't-black-enough contingent?
It didn't take long in the story to get the issue addressed.
According to the Times, the most recent four-month period, boxed in red below, represents a manufacturing recession; The Times has already declared it ("For Manufacturing, a Recession Has Arrived"; link may require registration):
But the following periods boxed in orange from 1995-2000 did not:
Two reports from earlier this week, one that warned of a "likely recession," and another that flat-out declared a non-existent "manufacturing recession," have to make you wonder, especially considering a positive report from the real world that came out earlier today.
Second -- On Tuesday evening, the New York Times (may require registration), in an article by David Leonhardt, declared:
For Manufacturing, a Recession Has Arrived
The nation’s manufacturing sector managed to slip into a recession with almost nobody seeming to notice. Well, until yesterday.
Wall Street was caught off guard when the Commerce Department reported yesterday morning that orders for durable goods — big items like home computers and factory machines — plunged almost 8 percent last month. That’s a big number, but it really shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. In two of the last three months, the manufacturing sector has shrunk, according to surveys by the Institute for Supply Management that have been out for weeks.
It sure looks as if Leonhardt was engaging in wishful thinking:
What is it about the New York Times where they can't stay above their talking points even when trying to interest the people in a higher level of political discussion and debate?
The Times was bemoaning the current sad state of political discourse amongst political candidates today (and rightfully so, I might add) in a story reporting the interesting extended debate between Newt Gingrich and ex-Senator Mario Cuomo sponsored by New York's Cooper Union Hall, the great room in which Abraham Lincoln first came to national prominence prior to his running for president of the United States.
February 28, 2007 -- To those who remember the infamous 1981 Brinks heist in Nyack, Judith Clark is a self-indulgent '60s radical serving a well-deserved 75-year prison term for her role in the violent deaths of three heroic law-enforcement officers.
But to the Associated Press, which supplies news to the world, Judith Clark is a "former freedom fighter."
There is a saying that is often bandied about by whites feigning what might be ridiculed as an American Black person's defeatist demeanor. It is used when whites want to make fun of the kind of attitude that assumes everyone in power is somehow out to get you. It goes like this: "I'm tired of the white man keeping me down." It's an eye-rolling proclamation, but it is one that many whites assume is inculcated in Black Americans all across the country. Of course it is an unwelcome stereotype.
It is a stereotype, however, that has been adopted as reality in all too real a sense by American Universities and is posited as a raison d'etre for wasting time and money on things like "Black studies" programs. The sentiment is replicated in "Hispanic studies", "Women's studies", and "Gay studies" in equal measures and with as much illegitimacy.
The (insert group here) is keeping you down so rebel against it. Be angry. "Speak truth to power".
Without a hint of balance, Robert Kuttner of the Boston Globe thinks he has it all figured out -- 20 months before the election -- that the GOP candidates cannot win, while the Dems are the right ticket as he tries Taking stock of the 2008 field.
Naturally, his is another gusher for Barack Obama. But, he starts his piece in one way or another ripping each and every one of the GOP candidates, or those who would vote for them, before saying how "strong" the Dems field of candidates is.
Here are the results of his analyzing of the GOP field:
The New York Times has published a story scolding Rudy Guiliani for arranging only friendly campaign stops, pointedly carping how he is "Seeing Only Softballs".
Stepping to the Plate, Giuliani Is Seeing Only Softballs
SPARTANBURG, S.C., Feb. 21 -- In a swing through South Carolina this week, Rudolph W. Giuliani chose to campaign at a fire house, which is a little like Derek Jeter meeting with Yankees fans -- a most unlikely forum for hostility, or even much skepticism.
It is curious to me why anyone would expect a candidate to open themselves up to any venues that would present "hostility" this many months away from the elections?
A very interesting piece by Louis Chude-Sokei is featured in the L.A.Times today, titled Redefining 'Black' and centered upon the question of Barack Obama's relative "blackness".
Some of you may have noticed that Barack is not getting the automatic support from African American leaders that many assumed he would get since throwing his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for the presidency and Mr. Chude-Sokei makes an effort to inform us as to why this might be true. Unfortunately, while it has a few good points it misses the mark in too many ways.
The main point, according to Chude-Sokei, is that Obama isn't "black enough" to get the support of the standing Black American leadership because of his White/Hawaiian/African (meaning NOT African American, but real African) heritage.
Would you be proud of yourself if your works were commemorated for helping put in power a murderous Communist who has killed thousands upon thousands of his own people over a 40 some year reign of terror?
When the fights against the Cuban government of Fulgencio Batista began in the late 1950s, Fidel Castro was just one of several guerrilla fighters trying to vie for followers and publicity. Castro was just a nut in the wilderness with few followers, though, until Herbert Matthews and the New York Times came along.