"Mainstream media" are alarmed by reports that billionaires Charles and David Koch are considering the purchase of Tribune Company's eight daily newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times.
When Warren Buffett spent $344 million to purchase 28 newspapers, there were mostly sighs of relief from journalists glad to keep their jobs. However, reaction to reports of the Koch brothers' interest in buying the Tribune papers was quite different. Charles and David Koch, you see, are conservative libertarians, not liberals. Will the Kochs, gasp, force their conservatism on readers? Will they sully journalism's good name? Truth is, no one knows what the Kochs plan to do.
Integrity in journalism is not only optional, being dishonest is actually commendable. That was the message sent last night by the American Society of Magazine Editors as it gave one of its highly coveted National Magazine Awards to Mother Jones, the far-left publication which published a surreptitiously recorded video of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking to a Florida fund-raiser in 2012.
The Romney speech, in which he made his infamous reference to “47 percent” of Americans being willing to support President Obama because of their dependence on the welfare state, was secretly recorded by a hotel bartender and then released subsequently by Mother Jones.
Try as they might, the liberal sports media's efforts to shame the Washington Redskins into ditching their team name out of political correctness concerns hasn't significantly moved public opinion. A brand new Associated Press-GfK poll found 79 percent of respondents favored keeping the name.
Of course in his story on the poll, AP's Ben Nuckols weighted his piece heavily with Skins detractors, including former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell. "There’s a derogatory name for every ethnic group in America, and we shouldn’t be using those words," the Colorado Republican complained. "We probably haven’t gotten our message out as well as it should be gotten out."
When MSNBC announced in March that Ed Schultz's weeknight program, “The Ed Show,” was being replaced by “All In,” which is hosted by 34-year-old Chris Hayes, the executives of the "Lean Forward" network hoped that the new hour-long program would hold onto the channel's liberal audience and even draw in younger viewers.
Instead, the ratings for Hayes' broadcasts in April were down 18 percent in total viewers from that month's numbers in 2012 for “Ed,” and it appears that “All In” is also dragging down the viewership for “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which was off by seven percent from its ratings during that period a year ago, and “The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell,” which also fell eight percent in a year-to-year comparison.
Politico’s Dylan Byers reported “The Daily Beast is dropping Howard Kurtz, the veteran media critic who made headlines this week for his erroneous report about NBA star Jason Collins.” Kurtz erred in suggesting Collins hadn’t been forthcoming about his fiancee, even though he discussed her on both ABC and in the Sports Illustrated cover story that made “history.” Kurtz’s story was retracted on Thursday.
On top of Kurtz losing his $300,000-a-year Beast gig (which started in October of 2010), TV Newser reported “A source at CNN tells TVNewser that Kurtz’s current deal with the cable channel will likely be his last.” The New York Times had a source claiming it wasn't just a Collins thing:
"If you're going to say that a known conservative entity like the Koch brothers should not be getting into the business of dictating what a news operation should do, what does that tell you about Warren Buffett," or the Sulzburger or Graham families behind the New York Times and Washington Post respectively, Brent Bozell argued on the April 30 edition of CNBC's Kudlow Report. Bozell also noted the vast sums of money leftist billionaire George Soros pumps into media outlets, while the liberal media raise no concerns about him somehow corrupting journalism with ideological influence.
The NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center founder was on the program opposite Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post, who last week offered up an uncharacteristically blustery column -- headlined "How the L.A. Times can stop the Kochs" -- in which Pearlstein coached Times reporters to threaten to quite en masse rather than work for libertarian publishers. [To watch the full segment, click play on the embedded video below the page break]
Bob Herbert: columnist from the Planet Benzar? Seriously, what the former New York Times op-ed writer had to say this morning is enough to make you wonder whether he occupies the same orb as the rest of us. Appearing on Melissa Harris-Perry's MSNBC show, Herbert literally laughed out loud at the notion that American media leans liberal. According to Herbert, the bias in the American media is "overwhelmingly" to the right.
Herbert's snicker came in response to a statement by New York Times reporter Amy Chozick, also an MH-P guest. Chozick recently wrote an article reporting on the Koch brothers' possible interest in buying the Tribune Company, which among other media outlets owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. According to Chozick, the brothers' interest was in part sparked by their outrage in seeing the liberal bias when they pick up American newspapers. View the video after the jump.
On his podcast Friday, as the networks were going wall-to-wall with live coverage of Boston, comedian and pundit Adam Carolla questioned whether Boston coverage was excessive. Matt Wilstein at Mediaite transcribed the conversation, which should be a journalism-school topic in the weeks to come.
“Boston is three people dead, and quite a few injured,” Carolla said, “but it’s three people dead. There’s that many people during the course of this podcast, that many people times ten that die out on the highways.” Meanwhile, he pointed out, the death toll in the Texas explosion was up to 15 or higher.
MSNBC circling the wagons? This NewsBuster is in no position to say that the FBI made a mistake by deciding not to monitor Tamerlan Tsarnaev after having interviewed him in 2011, acting on inquiries from Russian intelligence regarding his possible radical Islamic ties.
But by the same token, MSNBC host Alex Witt is in no position to say the FBI didn't make a mistake. Yet Witt has pre-emptively proferred an excuse for the FBI's decision. Speaking with investigative reporter Michael Isikoff on her show this afternon, Witt, alluding to the FBI's decision not to monitor Tsarnaev, declared: "hindsight is 20-20." View the video after the jump.
Harrison Ford made a brutal critique of the news industry Thursday.
Appearing on PBS's Tavis Smiley Show, the actor said the "divisiveness and fractiousness in our society" is caused by "what passes for journalism" today "fostering and supporting our prejudices" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Yesterday 72 congressmen sent letters to the executives at the news divisions of ABC, CBS, and NBC expressing that they were "profoundly appalled" at the broadcast networks censoring the Kermit Gosnell murder trial and the official testimony by a Planned Parenthood representative in Florida opposing a law to stiffen criminal penalties on abortionists who fail to provide medical care to babies who survive abortion attempts.
The effort was organized by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) and joined by 70 of their colleagues. You can read more at Blackburn's official House.gov website here. [Update: Only one Democratic congressman, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, joined in on the letter.]
In the health-care insurance debate, one of the mantras of the left is to condemn those evil, greedy insurance companies that would charge higher rates to people with "pre-existing conditions."
But in a commercial aired on last night's Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, there was "Progressive Insurance," whose chairman Peter Lewis is a huge donor to liberal causes including Moveon.org, condemning as "rate suckers" people with bad driving records who drive up good drivers' rates! View the video after the jump.
In a comparatively rare feat, a conservative writer has won a Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious award in journalism. Bret Stephens, who writes a column for the Wall Street Journal primarily about world affairs is the first conservative to win the award in more than a decade.
Congratulations are certainly in order to Stephens for pulling off the win, especially since the very liberal Columbia University is in charge of the award.
Were you aware of a parallel universe, one where Rush Limbaugh is unsuccessful and jealous of fellow broadcasters? Neither were we.
Luckily, Geraldo Rivera lives in this strange place and is able to shed light on life there. During a recent interview with Bill O'Reilly on the former's daily radio show, He-Of-Empty-Vaults-And-Over-The-Top-Melodrama repeatedly pushed the amusing idea that El Rushbo can't stomach the Fox talker's success.
MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry this afternoon took to her blog on the network's website to "double down" on her recent "Lean Forward" spot in which she lamented that we as Americans don't have a view of our "collective" responsibility to the nation's children.
From start to finish, the Tulane professor played the victim of right-wing persecution, even closing with a link to Matthew 5:44, where Jesus commands his followers to "love [their] enemies and pray for those who persecute [them]." Here's how Harris-Perry opened her April 9 blog (emphasis mine):
During the highly publicized exchange between Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham on gay marriage, O'Reilly made this statement: "There are Bible thumpers, and all they do is say, 'I object to gay marriage because God objects to it.' You don't win a policy debate in America with that."
Fox News reporter Jana Winter may serve six months in jail for refusing to disclose to a court two anonymous sources from a story she broke on July 25, 2012, related to alleged Aurora, Colorado theater shooter James Holmes.
Mackenzie Weinger of Politico has the details and notes that, at least thus far, it seems only Fox News has shown concern over a journalist being squeezed to break the confidence of her sources (emphases mine):
On March 23, my colleague Mark Finkelstein noted how MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry considers the unborn child a "thing" which takes a "lot of money" to "turn into a human," costing thousands of dollars to care for each year of his/her life. Now it appears that Harris-Perry thinks that, after they're born, children fundamentally belong to the state.
Narrating a new MSNBC "Lean Forward" spot, the Tulane professor laments that we in America "haven't had a very collective notion that these are our children." "[W]e have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to their communities," Harris-Perry argued.
Today twenty prominent leaders of the conservative movement have joined NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell in demanding the broadcast networks stop censoring coverage of the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell and the testimony of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates in favor of murdering children who survive botched abortions. [see related video here]
Although abortion has re-entered the news cycle following the passage of pro-life measures in North Dakota and Arkansas, the MRC’s Culture and Media Institute finds that ABC, CBS, and NBC have completely censored both of these outrageous stories:
"It seems to me" that the Associated Press's newly announced plan to scrub "illegal immigrant" from its Stylebook is "an attempt to control the language... it's a form of political correctness," argued substitute host Stuart Varney on the April 3 Your World with Neil Cavuto. "You can subtly affect your coverage and your thinking about the issue" by "softening the language," noted Varney, who himself is a legal immigrant to the United States from the United Kingdom. [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]
Yes, agreed Varney's guest, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham as, "it's a form of political correctness over factual correctness." Graham noted that the Associated Press and New York Times had long held the line on keeping "illegal immigrant" over the nonsensical "undocumented immigrant" alternative, that lobbying by pro-amnesty groups, as well as liberal minority journalism groups pushed the AP to make a politically calculated decision:
The Los Angeles Times is up for sale, and there are super-wealthy conservative bidders. Get out the popcorn and watch the liberals squeal. The hilarious kickoff came when two leftist collectives – the Daily Kos website and the California-based Courage Campaign Institute – set out to buy an ad in the the L.A. Times to protest the Koch brothers pondering a bid.
I kid you not, the ad began: “WE NEED NEWS, NOT MORE SPIN.” This would assume that today’s Los Angeles Times – which just endorsed Obama’s re-election – is an oasis of objectivity in a desert of media bias. They expressed outrage when the Times wouldn't publish the ad -- but then they did.
While most people have never heard of Roger Ailes, they have heard of his famous creation, the Fox News Channel. As basically the sole national mainstream news entity which is not operated on a left-of-center paradigm, Fox News has become almost public enemy number-one to the far left. For many of today’s illiberal liberals, the mere existence of Fox News is enough to induce spittle-flecked rants calling for its forceful closure by the government.
The sheer hatred leveled against Ailes and Fox News was why I was very interested to interview Zev Chafets, about his new biography, Roger Ailes Off Camera.
You have to hand it to Washington Post editors. They're pretty slick. In hiring Jennifer Rubin as their token conservative blogger, they have a rightie who criticizes the Right enough to ensure they seldom have to actually put in the print edition excerpts of her posts critical of President Obama. In early March I noted how Post opinion editors excerpted a Rubin blog which bashed the conservative CPAC conference rather than say publish a blog post which attacked Obama and the media over sequester hype.
In the Monday, April 1 paper the Post was at it again, choosing to run a Rubin piece that sought to explain how socially conservative opponents of same-sex marriage "lost the fight" on the policy issue. But a review of Rubin's Right Turn blog archive shows a piece she wrote on Friday morning that would have been excellent to put in print and which attacked President Obama over his "gun histrionics." Here's an excerpt which includes many of her key points (emphasis mine):
Clinton and Eltahawy made the list under the "activist" category, while Dunham made the "celebrities" list. While there are plenty of relatively apolitical Tweeps in the mix, Time made sure to make Pete Souza, the president's photographer, one of the 10 honored in the arts and photography list. Below the page break you'll see the Souza tweet they chose, along with the picture of President Obama that accompanied it, as well as the magazine's state reason for why they like Souza's feed:
A Marine Corps official accuses the Senate majority leader of "pure political posturing on the backs of these dead Marines" and the networks whistle right by it. There is no question what Harry Reid is implying during his disgraceful remarks on the Senate floor. He links the sequester to the deaths of seven Marines, and ABC, CBS, and NBC censor the story by giving it ZERO seconds of coverage.
His conduct is disgusting, and so is theirs. [read more below page break]
Golly, what an upbeat guy MSNBC’s Ed Schultz is! If anyone else in broadcast “journalism” had just been handed a one-way ticket from primetime to Siberia, he’d probably be distraught. But not the roly-poly Schultz.
He used the waning seconds of his last weekday-at-8:00 appearance not to wax nostalgic and thank loyal viewers but to say this: