Some have accused the media of trying to undermine the war effort by swaying public opinion with images of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, but the visuals are justified and important, according to Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley.
Curley was the keynote speaker of the Sunshine Week dinner at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on March 18. Curley defended the media's use of the controversial photographs as "moving and very unifying."
"Well, we've all tried and we've all been turned down, and I think your question is another reminder we should keep trying," Curley said when asked about the importance of those photographs. "We should never stop trying. I find those pictures very moving and very unifying. All of us really, really appreciate the sacrifices that are being made."
Is there something in the water at NBC that gives its TV talent restless leg?
MSNBC's Chris Matthews is the latest journo to bust a move, on the March 19 "Ellen DeGeneres" show.
Looks like colleague David Gregory has some fresh competition, but I'm confident the NBC White House correspondent has what it takes. After all, he can get down to anything from Hilary Duff to Mary J. Blige.
On Monday, the same morning that the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal broke, Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee posted an e-mail from the Associated Press which explained the newswire's policy against blogs using AP photos. The long and short of it: unless you have a license from AP, you're violating copyright to use an AP photo.
But today, blogger Jules Crittenden informed me, the AP is defending its policy of lifting from her MySpace page copyrighted photos of Spitzer call girl Ashley Alexandra Dupre:
Who's watching the watchers? Well, the Media Research Center, and Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz says he's "sort of like the internal affairs cop." But just how tough is he? You can be the judge reading his column.
"We try to hold them accountable, exactly what they do to politicians - why did you do that? Why did you make that mistake? Why did you jump the gun?" said Kurtz, who's also the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources," in a March 12 appearance on "The Colbert Report." Kurtz was on to plug his new book, "Reality Show," about television news.
Host Stephen Colbert baited him: "The three big anchors still really matter, and I agree. ...Who are they, again?"
Some joker at the Washington Post-published Express tabloid apparently isn't a big fan of MSNBC's Tucker Carlson. The caption accompanying Carlson's picture in a March 11 story reads "Go ahead: Slap him in your imagination."
The photo appeared above a snarky headline reading "Haze of Smug Disappears From Washington Skies," referring to Carlson being dislodged from his one-hour MSNBC perch in favor of a "Race for the White House" program to be anchored by NBC White House correspondent David "Dance Dance Revolution" Gregory.
...in the absolute number of subscriptions dropped over four years that is. The San Francisco Chronicle was actually worse in circulation hemorrhage in percentage terms.
All the same it's not exactly the accolade you want hanging on your wall if you're the publisher of the Times. From Editor & Publisher (h/t Patterico):
While the industry has lost about 10% of circulation overall in the past four years among the leading papers, some have bled much more than others during the same period, according to an E&P analysis of data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The Los Angles Times lost 20% of daily circulation or more than 200,000 copies over the past four years, for example, while up the coast the San Francisco Chronicle's daily circulation dropped almost 30%.
Finally: a news network that made Gov. Eliot Spitzer's party affiliation clear. Chances are you've never heard of it, however.
During live coverage of Spitzer's resignation announcement, Washington, D.C.-area News Channel 8 informed viewers of Spitzer's party affiliation in an on-screen graphic reading "Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) NEW YORK." (see screen grab at right)
NewsChannel 8 is carried on D.C.-area cable systems and is owned along with ABC affiliate WJLA by the Allbritton Communications Company.
We've written at NewsBusters at how reticent the Associated Press is to note the Democratic Party affiliation of controversial or disgraced politicians, the latest of which is New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. But right off the bat the AP yesterday disclosed the party affiliation of an Oklahoma state legislator strongly critical of gay rights activists.
OKLAHOMA CITY – A Republican member of the Oklahoma Legislature has received death threats since telling a political group that "the homosexual agenda is just destroying this nation" and poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism or Islam.
"I'm not gay-bashing. But according to God's word that is not the right kind of lifestyle," Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma City said during an appearance before a group of Republicans. Her comments were recorded and posted on the video sharing Web site YouTube on Friday by the Washington, D.C.-based Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
The AP made certain to stack the article with critics of Kern, one of whom called Kern's comments "hate speech":
NewsBusters Associate Editor Noel Sheppard appeared on the March 10 "Glenn Beck" program on CNN Headline News to discuss the left-wing Web's recent smear of the radio host. Beck was taken out of context for comments he made about Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). [See Sheppard's related March 8 blog entry here.]
GLENN BECK, host: Noel Sheppard is the associate editor of newsbusters.org, a conservative watchdog of the liberal blogs. Noel, you apparently did a Google search on this story. How out there is my bigotry?
NOEL SHEPPARD, Associate Editor, NewsBusters.org: Well, I Googled "Glenn Beck," "Obama" and "Anti-Christ," and I got 744,000 hits. Now, that doesn't mean that there's been 744,000 articles already written about this. That`s a little bit nuts.
Employing children in military units, much less terrorist outfits, is a slam dunk case of human rights abuse. But not to Reuters, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs notes:
Just when you think the mainstream wire services can’t possibly debase themselves any further, they release a photograph like this one, taken by Reuters Palestinian propagandist Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, with an unbelievably sick and distorted caption:
Just days after the Street of Dreams arsons suspected to be at the hands of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a federal jury found one Briana Waters guilty for her role in a 2001 ELF arson that destroyed the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture.
NewsBusters has noted that the Seattle Times has avoided calling ELF a terrorist or eco-terrorist organization, preferring to call the group simply a "radical environmentalist" organization. Today the paper made some progress as staff writer Mike Carter slapped Waters and her co-conspirators with the label "ecosaboteurs."
But the term sabotage, however, lends the impression of activity engaged in to thwart the military or any commercial enterprise essential to equipping national defense. UW academics studying urban agriculture are fundamentally civilian in nature. Here are some definitions of sabotage available at Answers.com.:
At their 2001 convention, the SPJ urged “tak[ing] steps against racial profiling in [the]coverage of the war on terrorism." It reminded journalists to stopusing "inflammatory" language and condescendingly said to “help audiences understand the complexities of the events in Pennsylvania, New York City and Washington, D.C.” Story guidelines are (all bold mine):
— Cover the victims of harassment, murder and other hate crimes as thoroughly as you cover the victims of overt terrorist attacks.
— When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.
Poynter Institute's Scholar for Journalistic Values Bob Steele must not plan on bending an elbow at a British pub anytime soon. Not only did Steele scold the journalists who agreed to keep Prince Harry's Afghanistan deployment secret, he condescendingly dismissed Harry's honorable service to his country (emphasis mine):
But even if one accepts that news reports might heighten a danger, there are other logical challenges to this secrecy about Harry the soldier. To the best of my knowledge, there was no compelling reason for Prince Harry to go to Afghanistan as an army officer. There was nothing essential that he, personally, brought to the battlefield. He had no specific duty or skill that was irreplaceable. Praise him, if you will, for his spirit or his patriotism. But it's certainly not justification for the risks taken or the journalistic principles sacrificed.
Former Navy signalman Hassan Abu-Jihaad was convicted today on charges "of leaking information about the movements and vulnerabilities of ships in his battle group to suspected terrorism supporters" in spring 2001, months before 9/11. These secrets were sent via e-mail to a pro-Taliban Web site.
But in reporting the story, MSNBC.com ran an Associated Press story that failed to note Abu-Jihaad is an American born convert to Islam, arguably germane to his terror conviction given the recipient of the classified material he leaked in 2001. By contrast, CBSNews.com ran an AP story that mentioned Abu-Jihaad's convert status:
The American-born Muslim convert formerly known as Paul R. Hall faces up to 25 years in federal prison when he is sentenced May 23. His attorneys said they were disappointed, and that an appeal was likely.
Markos "Kos" Moulitsas has bought into the latest loopy conspiracy theory spinning around the left-wing Web.: that the Hillary Clinton campaign deliberately darkened a photo of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to make him appear darker in skin tone than he actually is.
...morons are hyperventilating over videos they are watching via the internet, and assuming that the orangey color of Obama’s face in one video is somehow “genuine,” while the desaturated color and slightly different aspect ratio in the Clinton video is a nefarious racist plot.
That sounds about right. Here at NewsBusters, we often make basic color and contrast adjustments for video captures from network TV. If we posted photos from TV screen captures without doing so, everyone would appear darker, regardless of their race or ethnic background.
Besides, Johnson points out, following Kossack logic, the Associated Press would be playing the race card too while oddly enough the Black College Wire is making Obama whiter:
Microsoft is taking all of that unnecessary thinking out of the process by pre-chewing your news and spitting it on your plate.
The software giant is developing a new kind of news-aggregator that doesn't just collect news; it determines news stories' ideological bias and “emotional charge.” No longer will you need to wonder if Maureen Dowd has a liberal bias or if NPR injects “emotional charge” into a story about gun control. BLEWS figures it out, so you don't have to!
While typical news-aggregation sites do a good job of clustering news stories according to topic, they leave the reader without information about which stories figure prominently in political discourse. BLEWS uses political blogs to categorize news stories according to their reception in the conservative and liberal blogospheres.
Looks like Pinch Sulzberger is facing some stiff carping from the NYT's shareholders and there are rumors of the dynastic family being pushed to move the paper's Internet migration at a faster pace. The Telegraph reports "outside investors" are also trying to loosen the iron grip the long time owners have had on the Gray Lady. The feelings of these outsiders is that the Times will fail if it doesn't realize that the times they are a changin'.
The Sulzberger-Ochs family has controlled what is arguably America’s most influential newspaper since 1896. Next month outside investors will try to make the family loosen its grip. It is shaping up to be a spectacular battle.
Of course the reason is that the NYT is lagging too far behind in their attention to the Internet. Some of you may recall the abject failure the paper's premium content program was, this being an example of its failed Internet ideas. As the Telegraph reports: "Dissident shareholders and other critics say Sulzberger is moving too slowly into the digital age and putting one of the world’s great news brands in jeopardy."
Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft shares the news of another possible election year meltdown at CBS News.
"60 Minutes" recently aired the claim that former Alabama governor Don Siegelman went to jail not for corruption, but because he belong to the wrong political party, and that the investigations that landed him in jail for bribery were politically motivated.
One of the most explosive claims made was that Karl Rove was involved in an attempt to entrap Siegelman:
In the same vein as MSNBC's Chris Matthews, liberal Chicago Tribune blogger Eric Zorn paid tribute to the late Bill Buckley in a February 27 blog post by noting that he idolized the National Review founder when in junior high:
He was one of my idols when I was in junior high. I found his patrician bearing, devastating eloquence and understated, scornful wit thoroughly captivating. His quiet confidence and penetrating intellect were exactly what I aspired to, and it probably helped that very few other kids in the liberal bastion of Ann Arbor were allowed even to utter the man's name in their houses.
My romance with his political outlook was shortlived, though I always found him curious, fair, funny, occasionally surprising and about as open-minded and truly engaging as pundits get. If he was ever a shouter or a name-caller or a race baiter or a taunter, I missed it.
The New York Times's attempt to insinuate a romantic relationship between John McCain and a lobbyist has apparently backfired. In a poll released today by Rasmussen Reports, the American public holds a strongly negative view of the story and of the paper that released it:
Just 24% of American voters have a favorable opinion of the New York Times. Forty-four percent (44%) have an unfavorable opinion and 31% are not sure. The paper’s ratings are much like a candidate’s and divide sharply along partisan and ideological lines.
By a 50% to 18% margin, liberal voters have a favorable opinion of the paper. By a 69% to 9%, conservative voters offer an unfavorable view. The newspaper earns favorable reviews from 44% of Democrats, 9% of Republicans, and 17% of those not affiliated with either major political story.
"You know, Steve, I just wrote a book about the naked fawning for Hillary Clinton by the media over the past 15 years. I picked the wrong subject," MRC president Brent Bozell joked to "Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy.
Bozell appeared on the February 26 program to discuss media coverage of the Democratic primary contest, including the latest dustup: a controversy about a photo of Sen. Obama (D-Ill.) from a 2006 Africa junket allegedly leaked by a Clinton staffer. Bozell noted that the Clinton campaign's tactics are "just goofy" and are "backfiring on them, every single time."
Bozell argued that Clinton's desperation is in part due to Obama's soft treatment by the press although, "there's no way you can say that the media have treated her [Sen. Clinton] poorly overall."
At least when the National Enquirer prints unsubstantiated garbage, they go with new stories, MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell argued today on the Fox News Channel. Bozell was referring to the New York Times publishing a front page article on a 10-year old rumor regarding presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and lobbyist Vicki Iseman.
The dean of journalism at Northwestern University seems to have gotten himself in a bit of a sticky wicket, as it were. Apparently, John Lavine, the dean of the Medill School of Journalism, has been indulging in the use of unattributed and unnamed sources in his columns for the Medill alumni magazine and 16 NU journo instructors aren't very happy about it. Not only are they not happy about it, but according to the Chicago Tribune they are demanding that the dean prove that he didn't make his quotes up out of whole cloth.
You know the journalist's favorite source, don't you? It's the "unnamed source," the "anonymous quote" and the famed "deep throat" sources that journalists make out to be "protecting" from discovery. This sort of source has a long history in the kind of journalism of whistleblowers or muckrakers that have been increasingly popular since Watergate. But, everyone knows that you cannot base a factual story solely on the anonymous source. There must be other things, other sources, other proofs backing up these unnamed sources or the fact in question becomes an allegation instead of a proven truth. Naturally, employing unnamed sources too often damages the veracity of any story -- as well it should.
A conservative Christian group yesterday criticized a large Methodist church in the District for planning to offer services that recognize gay and lesbian relationships, saying they violate the United Methodist ban on same-sex unions.
Foundry United Methodist Church, which Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton attended when he was president, decided last month to support its senior pastor's decision to lead services that "recognize and honor" committed gay relationships. Foundry clergy, however, do not perform union ceremonies, the local bishop said.
CNN has fired producer Chez Pazienza after the network brass realized he had been blogging at his own left-wing site and several others over a period of years:
In a phone interview this morning, Mr. Pazienza, 38, said he joined CNN as a senior producer in January 2004 and has consistently received positive performance evaluations of his work. He spent his first year at CNN at the network’s headquarters in Atlanta, then moved to New York to work on “CNN Daybreak,” which has since been canceled, then “American Morning,” which is shown Monday through Friday, from 6 to 9 a.m.
Mr. Pazienza said he started his blog in May 2006 as a way to keep his mind occupied while he was on a medical leave of several months after an operation to remove a brain tumor. He got noticed by blogs like Drew Curtis’s FARK, a popular news-aggregation site, and Pajiba, a left-wing blog of movie and book reviews. [...]
In another example of the belt-tightening of the old media, NBC has announced that they will be closing two of their long standing news bureaus. Gone will be the Chicago and Dallas bureaus to be replaced by "regional hubs."
Insiders tell TVNewser the current NBC News global news gathering system is in for an overhaul. Sources tell us a 9am ET conference call among News division execs and the bureau managers will announce that the current system will be replaced with regional hubs covering large areas of the U.S. and, in some cases, the world.
TVNewser reports that the Chicago office will now answer to the New York office and Dallas will report to Atlanta. No word on how many jobs are to be lost, but it is certain that some will go away.