The statements in Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit, filed Wednesday against CBS for terminating him nearly two years after his discredited story on President Bush's National Guard service, reflect a conspiratorial paranoia about how he sees himself as a victim of Bush White House pressure and is unable to accept responsibility for his sloppy and politically-driven story.
The former network star charged that he was made a "scapegoat" for the 2004 story because CBS wished to "pacify the White House." CBS management "coerced" him, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz on Thursday quoted the lawsuit, "into publicly apologizing and taking personal blame for alleged journalistic errors in the broadcast." Josh Howard, the Executive Producer at the time of the weekday 60 Minutes who was forced to resign, rejected Rather's claim that he was just a passive narrator, telling Kurtz: "He did every interview. He worked the sources over the phone. He was there in the room with the so-called document experts. He argued over every line in the script. It's laughable."
As a service to you the reader I'm watching the presidential news conference as covered on Fox News Channel. My goal here is to give you the questions the various reporters ask and if feasible, go back and clip video of the most biased questions.
Wrap-up, 11:27: There were no questions on the Hsu scandal and Hillary Clinton nor about Dan Rather's lawsuit, even though Memogate promulgated a bogus storyline intended to negatively impact Bush's 2004 reelection. The Jena Six controversy was raised by two reporters although it's had very little national media coverage. And unsurprisingly, no one asked about the Petreaus smear by MoveOn.org except Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner (and also a Fox News contributor).
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Bush turns over press conf to Michael Leavitt for q's on SCHIP, 11:20, Fox News fades out of press conference, as do other cable networks.
Bill Sammon, Washington Examiner, 11:19: What is your reaction to the MoveOn.org ad that mocked Petraeus. Would you like to see Democrats including presidential candidates repudiate the ad?
That was the cry of many an alternative rock fan in D.C. in January 2005 when WHFS went from alt-rock to 99.1 El Zol, a Spanish language station playing mostly salsa music. [Although to be perfectly honest most music snobs agree that WHFS was past its prime in cutting edge programming, having become too corporate, etc.] Don't expect the same donning of sackloth and ashes to mourn the loss of persistent money-loser, Washington Post Radio.
Yes, the Washington broadsheet's radio edition, once described lovingly by a radio executive as "NPR on caffeine" will shut down in September, the Post's Paul Farhi reported in the August 28 paper.:
It should come as a surprise to nobody that revenue is down again for the Tribune Company, owner of news properties such as the LA Times and Chicago Tribune. This time the bleeding stopped at 5.9 percent. Circulation was down 5.4 percent. Classifieds are down 18.2 percent. Retail advertising sales are down 6 percent.
But it's not their fault, of course. This time the blame is "due to difficult year-over-year comparisons." Though one must wonder if their circulation would continue to have dropped had they heeded my suggestion that newspapers "get rid of the bias, the America-hating columnists, the socialist editorials, and the reporters pushing a gay/lesbian/transgendered/illegal alien/pro-abortion/anti-God/anti-gun agenda?"
As NewsBusters reported earlier (here and here), the New York Times is likely to soon abandon its TimesSelect pay-subscription online service. That's hardly a surprise when you look at the numbers writes Brett Arends:
The New York Times Web site is extremely popular. According to figures tracked by Nielsen/NetRatings, nytimes.com attracted about 12.5 million readers worldwide in June, the month with the most recent data. That's a huge global audience for news, and a large multiple of the Times' print circulation.
The number willing to pay extra for access to TimesSelect?
Just 29% -- a mere 221,000. That figure has risen a miserable 8,000 since the start of the year.
The New York Times is poised to stop charging readers for online access to its Op-Ed columnists and other content, The Post has learned.
..... The number of Web-only subscribers who pay $7.95 a month or $49.95 a year fell to just over 221,000 in June, down from more than 224,000 in April.
Not that it was a particularly insightful prediction, but yours truly wrote the following in November 2005 (first item at link), when the Times announced it had reached 135,000 online TimeSelect subscribers (current print subscribers get TimeSelect access free of charge):
Normally liberal media snobbery is irritating (and career-threatening if you're a young conservative journalist), but not when that snobbery is completely ineffectual to stop the thing which the whiney reporters hate. Schadenfreude is the word of the day after reading this Los Angeles Times piece about how "aghast" many reporters in the Wall Street Journal newsroom are at being employed by the son of Satan himself, Rupert Murdoch:
Reporters reacted bitterly to the prospect of Murdoch's gaining control of the Journal, which has long been regarded as a beacon of financial journalism.
They voiced concern that Murdoch would diminish the paper's quality, imbue it with some of the glitzy style of his crosstown New York Post and slant the Journal's news coverage to advance his business interests.
"People are aghast that this could have happened," said one reporter, who like others spoke on condition on anonymity. "It's a sickening realization to know that this really great iconic newspaper is [not only] no longer going to be independent, but is also going to be controlled by a man whose values are inimical to ours." [...]
In the New York Post, gossip columnist Liz Smith previewed some of the charges in Ed Klein’s book on CBS anchor Katie Couric, due at the end of August. It seems the Katie camp is already trying to do damage control and insist that the scoops that are leaking out are not really scoops, they’re all yawners. (See what happens when you hire a Hillary publicist like Matthew Hiltzik? Your media strategy suddenly sounds exactly like Hillary’s.) The only scooplet that Smith thought had power: "‘But the majority of people at 60 Minutes, including the correspondents, dislike her intensely. They think she's a lightweight.’ Well, that probably hurts, but Katie has to ignore it."
In today's Washington Post, Paul Farhi asks a question I've wondered: Why is it that every single story you hear about on cable is "developing," "breaking," or a "news alert?" Whatever happened to the regular TV news report?
This just in! There's no more news on TV, at least not on the cable news networks. Plain old news apparently just isn't good enough anymore, so TV news stories have been getting new and improved names.
President Bush's latest news conference? CNN labels it a "Developing Story." A car bombing in Baghdad? The banner on MSNBC reads, "Breaking News." A blown transformer in New York City? Fox News Channel is on it, with a graphic that announces, "Very Latest."
Ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather is stepping up his sour grapes routine against Katie Couric, telling TVWeek magazine that it's only a matter of time before his former employer cancels the "Evening News" entirely:
Dan Rather, who last month accused broadcast networks of dumbing down and tarting up their newscasts [a story which you heard here first], said he can foresee a time when media company executives retreat from evening news production.
“I think we’ll see the time when someone at the top says, ‘We can give this time back to affiliates,’” Mr. Rather said Monday in a discussion with TelevisionWeek Publisher and Editorial Director Chuck Ross at the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing convention in Washington.
Just a moment ago, radio host Rush Limbaugh was blasting the mainstream media's notion that the YouTube debates represent a revolution in American presidential debates.
Not so, says Limbaugh, at least in terms of the content of the questions asked. They're still as inane and moronic, or brilliant (in rare circumstances) as they've always been because they're the same inance, moronic, or brilliant (rare circumstances) people asking them.
Instead, Limbaugh insists, we are seeing a revolution in media technology being confused for a nascent political revolution.
Now couple that, the notion that "new voices" are being heard in the YouTube debates ,with the wild left-wing skew we've documented at NewsBusters, and you see the media's liberal bias at work in staging the 2008 election in terms of liberal issue battlegrounds.
In the July 22 Washington Post, writer Monica Hesse interviewed Ron DeFore of the SUV Owners of America (SUVOA), for her Style section front-pager, "A Man Who Wants SUVs to Get More R-E-S-P-E-C-T."
But far from respect, Hesse's interview at turns shifted from an almost "Daily Show"-like mockery to an unqualified parroting of liberal talking points. You can find her interview here, but I found these three questions particularly to be cheap shots:
Be honest: when you saw the news Sunday that a woman was going to be president in the next season of the hit series "24," you smelled something akin to when ABC made a similar announcement concerning "Commander in Chief," and CBS hired Katie Couric.
Well, according to Politico, the failure of both is actually not good news for Hillary Clinton (h/t Hot Air).
But, before we get there, what was also fascinating about this piece was how the producer of "Commander in Chief" admitted a political goal behind casting Geena Davis as the first female president (emphasis added throughout):
It appears the BBC condones faking...audience phone calls, that is.
In a not so stunning revelation, the BBC admitted to allowing employees to call in to shows either asking for audience involvement, or offering prizes, when the network wasn't receiving enough real feedback.
Gotta love it.
One truly delicious example occurred during Comic Relief back in March (emphasis added, h/t Tim Graham):
Brian Stelter bids farewell to readers of TVNewser.com today. The New York Times recently hired the Towson University graduate as a media reporter and he begins that gig full time on Monday. You may have read his reporting before from our editor's picks or as occasionally excerpted in NewsBusters posts themselves.
Stelter has done an excellent job with TVNewser and I'm sure he'll do well at the Gray Lady. And if whatever's in the water starts getting to him, well, that's what we have Clay Waters of TimesWatch.org for. (Bring bottled water, Brian!)
But seriously, from one news junkie/blogger to another, good luck, Brian.
When the New York Times announced in 2005 a new premium web service wherein only folks willing to pay an extra fee would have access to the writing of certain columnists, most media watchers thought it would be a huge failure.
Well, after about two years, it seems critics might have been right.
According to Slate's Mickey Kaus, TimesSelect might be going the way of the dodo (emphasis added throughout, h/t Glenn Reynolds):
It seems you can't swing a dead cat these days without whacking a Rupert Murdoch hit piece.
It must have been the New York Times' turn at the plate so to speak Thursday, and writer Richard Perez-Pena was more than up to the challenge.
After an introduction of Peter R. Kann, the Chairman and CEO of Dow Jones, the company Murdoch is trying to buy, Perez-Pena appeared loaded for bear (emphasis added throughout):
Mr. Kann, who had been advising the family against selling, expressed hope that Mr. Murdoch would not prevail, using an image of The Journal as a citadel trying to repel an invasion by tabloid barbarians.
"The drawbridge is up," Mr. Kann told the group. "So far, so good."
News Corp is a tabloid barbarian? Wow. Nice reference, wouldn't you agree? Yet, Perez-Pena was just getting warmed up:
The day after Independence Day, ABC reporter Terry Moran jotted down his thoughts on what makes some people become terrorists. His answer: freedom.
Rather than explore religious fanaticism or just plain depraved human wickedness, Moran insisted in a July 5 blog posting that modernity and the freedom of association it fosters is causing many a young Muslim male to descend into the hellish depths of terrorism.:
As the potential Dow Jones sale to Rupert Murdoch gets closer, the mogul was under fire from ABC on July 18. Correspondent Bianna Golodryga cited fears that the Wall Street Journal would begin to resemble the New York Post, already owned by Murdoch.
“Here is why this story is important. This is the paper he wants to buy: The Wall Street Journal. Now, one big news story, a business story that came out a few weeks ago, was the sale of Hilton Hotels.
On Monday night, CNN aired a special hour promoting the upcoming "CNN/YouTube" presidential debates. CNN is encouraging viewers to record their questions for the presidential candidates and post them on YouTube.com. In anticipation of this historic event, hosts John Roberts and Kiran Chetry shared just a few of the thousands of video submissions CNN has already received. Of the videos aired on Monday, a disproportionate number were distinctly liberal. Of the 19 individual videos shown (excluding some brief, zany clips), 10 were politically neutral, 8 were liberal or critical of conservative and/or Republican policies, and only 1 was clearly conservative.
Did "Good Morning America" physically remove a man who appeared to be dozing off during Democratic Senator John Edwards's town hall meeting on Monday? Early in the 7am hour, the man (pictured at right) appeared to be sleeping, or at least dozing, while Edwards discussed his plan for Iraq.
Around 7:11, the individual, who was seated to the back and right of Edwards, mysteriously disappeared (see video below). Diane Sawyer even remarked how audience members for the New Orleans-based event had "gotten up early" to join him. Perhaps the network found it unacceptable that someone might perceive the former trial lawyer to be less than enthralling?
On today's "Your World with Neil Cavuto," the host devoted a portion of his mailbag segment to viewers from across the fruited plain telling Cavuto of their local media outlets had ignored or downplayed yesterday's stock market closing. Cavuto noted that in contrast, a large market correction in February was blared on the front pages of the nation's largest broadsheets.
What a difference a year makes. The publishing of Muhammed cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllends-Posten caused an uproar among Muslims worldwide last year. Despite the newsworthiness of the cartoons as they related to the unfolding story of violent riots throughout Europe and the Middle East, many news outlets reporting on the story refused to publish or show the cartoons out of, um, respect for Muslim sensibilities.
Now, the outcome of a lawsuit resulting from the fracas is left floating somewhere in a media backwater, as journalists seek more lucrative prey. A Muslim group based in Denmark that filed a libel lawsuit against a Danish political party leader has lost. They sued because Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of the Danish People's Party (DPP), accused some members of the Islamic Faith Community of treason for traveling to the Middle East in order to publicize the drawings, thus fanning the flames of violent dissent. The court found the term "treason" non-libelous "because it was used extensively in public debate."
Video (3:15):Real (2.38 MB) or Windows (1.99 MB), plus MP3 audio (1.11 MB).
It starts with Helen Thomas insisting that President Bush is responsible for al Qaeda in Iraq and ends with Martha Raddatz of ABC News misconstruing a new report on al Qaeda to conclude the terror network's threat is "greater than ever now." NBC's David Gregory and CBS's Jim Axelrod are also included. All questions betray an alarmist and defeatist tone on Iraq and/or push President Bush to consider hypotheticals involving Democrats passing legislation to curtail his management of the war.
I received an e-mail tip from a member of the news media who enjoys our work, pointing out some shenanigans at the Associated Press. The matter at hand was President Bush answering a question about Plamegate at today's White House news conference.
Here's an excerpt of his e-mail (emphasis mine):
If you haven't already, check out the AP Stories on the President's
press conference this morning (7/12). The item: BC-Bush 4th Lead by
Headline: Bush acknowledges administration leaked CIA operative's name.
However... quote in paragraph 6 contradicts headline: "I'm aware of the fact that PERHAPS somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person.