Roger Friedman, gossip blogger for FNC has an interesting item about the anti-Katie Couric piece that I blogged about yesterday. According to Friedman, the piece was done partly at the behest of Couric's predecessor, the seemingly avuncular Bob Schieffer.
That wouldn't surprise me, but before I get into why, here's Friedman:
[O]ne of Couric's frequently
mentioned enemies is Bob Schieffer, the lovable, durable veteran
journalist who filled in as anchor of the "CBS Evening News"
between Dan Rather's departure and Couric's arrival.
But sources say that Schieffer has been
unhappy lately, mainly because his airtime, which was prominent when
Couric first started, has dwindled in recent weeks.
It's been suggested that a hit piece on
Couric written by Gail Shister in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer
was inspired by Schieffer as its main source.
"He has a direct line to her,"
one insider said.
This type of thing is hardly unprecedented within the television news business. CBS isn't quite the San Diego of "Anchorman," but it's had no shortage of anchor feuds.
CBS ombuds-blogger Brian Montopoli advises "Taking a Step Back In the Cho Debate" in an April 23 post, as he takes issue with conservatives like Hugh Hewitt who objected to NBC News (and other media outlets) airing the videotaped "manifesto" of the Virginia Tech mass murderer. Montopoli concludes on this note:
If, as a culture, we want to suppress the Cho manifesto, than we have
to ask ourselves what else we are willing to suppress. After all, the
Cho materials at least had some value beyond entertainment; it's harder
to say the same for cultural products like "Grand Theft Auto" or "300."
It seems to me that anyone criticizing NBC News for releasing the
materials – and CBS News and its counterparts for airing them – should
be thinking long and hard about how far down that path they are willing
Arlington, Va.: Okay, what's your take on the Laurie/Karl/Sheryl
dust-up? I understand it was somewhat crazy for Laurie to think she was
going to change Karl's mind then and there, but I also think that
because access to Karl is so limited for "regular" people, I would have
taken advantage of the chance to push my agenda on the nation's top
advisor had I been there. That's why this concept of "no politics
tonight, we're all friends here" for the Dinner seems silly. How often
does Karl return any of these reporter's phone calls?
Kurtz: Having not been there, I don't know whether Sheryl Crow and
Laurie David confronted Rove aggressively, which got him mad, or tried
to engage in a polite discussion of global warming, only to be
tongue-lashed by the White House adviser. Given the speed and the glee
with which they blogged about the incident, I suspect they were not
averse to making a scene.
CBS's $15 million experiment of hiring Katie Couric has not
paid any dividends. Six months into her tenure as anchor of the
"Evening News," Couric has actually fallen in the ratings from her
predecessor, Bob Schieffer, sparking talk within the network that the
former NBC star will soon be shown the door.
Besides ratings, CBS insiders and TV observers quoted by
Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Gail Shister take
issue with Couric over
her inability to relate to the 50+ news viewer and fluff news
Couric's personal pride seems to be the stickler, though:
Michael Welner, an ABC News consultant and a forensic psychiatrist, appeared on Thursday’s "Good Morning America" to slam the media for gratuitously airing videos sent by deceased mass killer Seung-Hui Cho. Welner even referenced the network frenzy over fired radio host Don Imus by saying, "Just listen, if you can take Imus off the air, you can certainly keep [Cho] from having his own morning show."
Earlier in the segment, Welner gave an impassioned plea for the networks to stop airing the killer’s footage:
Michael Welner: "If anybody cares about the victims in Blacksburg and if anybody cares about their children, stop showing this video now. Take it off the internet. Let it be relegated to YouTube. This is a social catastrophe. Showing the video is a social catastrophe. I promise you the disaffected will watch him the way they watched 'Natural Born Killers.' I know. I examine these people. I've examined mass shooters who have told me they've watched 'Natural Born Killers' 20 times. You cannot saturate the American public with this kind of message."
I've not seen this in searches on Google News or on their respective Web sites yet, but I got this today in my Facebook inbox (click here to look at the NewsBusters Facebook group):
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2007 - The Politico and www.politico.com
today announced a new content-sharing partnership with
www.USATODAY.com, the web site of the nation’s largest national
Under the new partnership, Politico’s coverage of the
presidential campaign, Congress and special interests will be featured
prominently on USATODAY.com's redesigned political page. Some Politico
coverage will also appear in the print edition of the USA TODAY.
has always been our goal to grow The Politico audience by introducing
our coverage and website to readers around the world,” said Robert
Allbritton, CEO of Politico’s parent company, Allbritton
Communications. “This is the perfect marriage: our comprehensive
coverage of politics with USATODAY.com’s cutting edge, widely read web
The partnership will also feature USATODAY.com political coverage on POLITICO.com.
CBS "Public Eye" editor Brian Montopoli explained in an April 18 post that when covering today's Supreme Court ruling upholding an abortion ban, "CBSNews.com has decided to go with this phrasing whenever possible: 'what the law calls a partial birth abortion.'"
And the reason?
"Both 'late term abortion' and 'partial birth abortion' are now phrases
that signify a position, so we will use this phrasing though it is
cumbersome," CBS editorial director Dick Meyer noted in an e-mail to CBS staffers.
Of course, it's cumbersome and ridiculous to imagine that language being used to describe a number of other things defined under federal law, but on a more basic level, "partial-birth abortion" is not political invective, it's descriptive layman's language to describe a medical procedure.
Earlier this morning the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on partial-birth abortion. What's more, Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom many in the media often focus on as the "moderate" and "swing" justice on the Court, penned the majority opinion. While the mass murder at Virginia Tech is still the top story in the media, Fox News found room to give this landmark ruling prime real estate on its Web site. CNN, however, relegated the story to a link nine entries deep into its "latest news" list.
The screenshots I've included in this post are taken from Fox News and CNN's Web sites from around 11:30 a.m.
that disgraced radio talk-show host Don Imus has been booted, can we
finally get down to some “real talk” about the multiple issues embedded
in this racial theater? There is a lot to sort through here, but after
a week of debate centered around “nappy-headed hos,” half-assed
apologies, cries of censorship, and a curmudgeonly shock jock’s lame
attempt at being funny, many pundits have moved beyond the core issue
and now are talking about the perceived double standard they feel
exists between what Imus said and what often comes from the mouths of
Yet Imus and hip-hop really don’t have much in common. Imus was host
of a radio show that focused on the real news of the day, while hip-hop
is a fictionalized form of cultural expression. Imus is real, featuring
real guests and humor based on real topics. However loudly hip-hop
might claim to be real, it is not real; it is a form of representation.
This is why so few rappers use the names on their birth
certificates when performing.
Perhaps a sign of how blind the liberally-biased media are to arguments from gun rights advocates, CBS's Andrew Cohen wrote in his Washington Post "Bench Conference" blog that "There Is Irony in the Tragedy at Virginia Tech."
I learned from CBS News' Armen Keteyian that school administrators and
college officials at Virginia Tech had in fact implemented reasonable
security measures (against the wishes of state legislators) designed to
limit guns on campus. In other words, even though the university was
relatively proactive in confronting the problem of guns on campus, the
brutal slayings occurred anyway.
Actually, that's not so much irony as the law of unintended consequences, something that any pro-gun rights advocate could tell Cohen. I've not seen a worse definition of irony since Alanis Morissette wrote a song about it. (continued...)
Isn't there something a tad, I dunno, hypocritical about a group of journalists who associate with each other on the basis of race and ethnicity issuing an edict to fellow journalists to ignore the race and ethnicity of the Virginia Tech shooter, Cho Seung-Hui?:
Like the rest of the nation, we at the Asian American Journalists
Association (AAJA) are stunned at the news of today's shooting at
Virginia Tech. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families and
friends as they cope with this horrific incident.
As coverage of
the Virginia Tech shooting continues to unfold, AAJA urges all media to
avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane
reason. There is no evidence at this early point that the race or
ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident,
and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire
The effect of mentioning race can be powerfully harmful.
It can subject people to unfair treatment based simply on skin color
We further remind members of the media that the
standards of news reporting should be universal and applied equally no
matter the platform or medium, including blogs.
I'm struck by how political Web sites are choosing to address the shooting deaths at Virginia Tech, if at all, and the reaction the same is generating among at least one prominent conservative blogger.
Shortly after midnight, the presidential campaign for liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) announced it's shuttering its Web page, kucinich.us, for 24 hours out of respect to the lives lost. The Web page is plastered with an image of an Easter lily, and the words "In memory and respect of all the victims at Virginia Tech, and all those who are affected by violence everyday, we have closed our site for a twenty-four hour period of mourning."
In a 2:30 p.m. posting, well before details about the weapons used in the tragic Virginia Tech shootings were available, ABC News's Brian Ross devoted a "Blotter" blog entry to a gun control advocate's talking points. Ross didn't make room for any gun rights advocates or find a critic to suggest the Brady Center was callously capitalizing on a tragedy to further its political agenda. Here's the entire blog post:
High capacity ammo clips became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons.
sites now advertise overnight UPS delivery of the clips, which carry up
to 40 rounds for both semi-automatic rifles, including 9mm pistols, and
"High capacity magazines read extreme firepower and gusto. Stock Up!" is the headline of one of many gun shop Web sites.
law enforcement officials have not identified the weapon used in the
shootings today at Virginia Tech, but gun experts say the number of
shots fired indicate, at the very least, that the gunman had large
quantities of ammunition.
"When you have a weapon that can shoot
off 20, 30 rounds very quickly, you're going to have a lot more
injuries," said Peter Hamm of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
That item is the only "Blotter" entry about the Virginia Tech shootings so far today. Hamm's group, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, issued a press statement on the site's home page that peddles its talking points. It also has a brand new petition page up at the site set up to sign up readers for e-mail updates. Curiously enough, "journalist" is one of the selections a petitioner can check off when describing him or herself on the form:
In an online chat at washingtonpost.com today, media reporter Howard Kurtz condemned the media's rush to judgment in 2006 in the Duke lacross rape allegations.
"If you go back and lok at the coverage of 13 months ago, knowing what we know now, teh tone of much of it was irresponsible," wrote Kurtz in response to a question from Floris, Va. Later in response to a question from Portland, Ore., Kurtz cited the 1996 Olympic park bombing and the early media buzz over suspect Richard Jewell, "who turned out to be innocent." Kurtz worried that the media's rush to judgment in sensational crime stories "is a lesson the profession never seems to learn."
Kurtz's remarks about media coverage differ wildly from the cavalier tone taken by ABC's Terry Moran in a blog post from April 12.
Writing on his "Pushback" blog then, Moran insisted that the Duke lacrosse players received "special treatment in the justice system -- both negative and positive." He failed to offer a similar indictment of the media frenzy surrounding the case and even suggested that the Duke players would get over their ordeal with little trouble (portions in bold are my emphasis):
Yesterday I noted that the New York Sun reported Melissa McNamara to be the producer CBS fired for plagiarizing the Wall Street Journal in a script she wrote for Katie Couric's April 4 "Notebook" vlog. For its part, CBS News refused to publicly release the name of the fired producer. As of publication of this blog post, CBS's ombudsblog "Public Eye" has not addressed the Sun's reporting. Now there's another development in the story.
Yesterday, the New York Observer reported that McNamara was slated to teach journalism courses offered by Media Bistro.
I checked the course Web site today and it notes that the course has been postponed with a new start date to be announced. These development have not been covered by CBS's "Public Eye" blog.
Yet here's how "Public Eye" envisions its mission within CBS News and as a service to CBSNews.com readers:
Update (April 13 | 10:46 EDT): The April 13 edition of Fox News Channel's "Red Eye" briefly addressed Moran's blog entry. I've added a screen capture from the program.
Leave it to a liberal journalist to bring racial tension and class warfare into a story about three men exonerated of rape allegations after a year of prosecutorial misconduct.
ABC's Terry Moran found the outpouring of sympathy for the exonerated Duke lacrosse players is a bit much because, in a nutshell, they're white guys from wealthy families who attended a private university. In fact, in an April 12 "Pushback" blog post at ABCNews.com, he suggested that in a way, they were victimized less than the Rutgers women's basketball team by Imus. Portions in bold are my emphasis. Video Clip: Real (2.7 MB) or Windows (3 MB), Plus MP3 (477 KB)
Give Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira credit. On this morning's "Today," Lauer suggested to his boss's face that in firing Don Imus he had caved to pressure from advertisers and people like Al Sharpton. And Vieira held Al Sharpton's feet to the fire, now that he had Imus' scalp, about going after rappers and others who use similar language every day.
Here's part of the exchange, which came at 7:05 AM EDT, between Lauer and NBC News President Steve Capus:
CAPUS: This one went so far over the line, Matt, that it was time.
LAUER: But the timing, the timing. You really don't have to try too hard to think that NBC News caved to the pressure from advertisers like Proctor & Gamble and GM and others and perhaps caved to pressure from people like Reverend Sharpton, who we'll talk to in just a second.
It's a universally acknowledged phenomenon that conservatives and libertarians dominate talk radio while liberals love television and print. The reasons why each side does so well at each particular medium are many.
I do find myself agreeing with Neal Boortz's recent thought experiment (h/t Small Dead Animals) of why liberals aren't good at talk radio: they just can't argue very well. He does the experiment by trying to extrapolate two left-wing editorials from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution into a talk radio context. It doesn't work out so well because the subjects, "income inequality" and firearm-phobia just aren't very rational ideas, Boortz argues.
Those of you who are liberal and reading this surely will disagree. If so, how do you account for the fact that not a single liberal talk radio show has ever been popular?
A week ago, I posted a snarky item about a Katie Couric vlog entry at CBSNews.com. In an April 4 page from her "Notebook," the "Evening News" anchor worried that kids entering college were unable to use a library for something as basic as locating a book needed for class. In doing so, she erroneously suggested colleges use the Dewey decimal system, when in fact most use Library of Congress Classification to arrange the bookshelves.
Now it turns out that not only did Couric not exactly do her homework, but that the producer who did it for her lifted some of the script from a Wall Street Journal column. That producer has since been fired.
CBS's Brian Montopoli explained how the vlogs are written and produced in a post today at CBS's "Public Eye" blog:
No matter how deplorable and terrible you think Don Imus's remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team are, the fact is, that his statements pale in comparison to the stuff pumped out daily by the American music industry.
Michelle Malkin has a big list of the various vulgarities that are routinely tolerated by the same media that is currently up in arms about Imus. Here's just one song:
Rich Boy sellin' crack
F*k niggas wanna jack
Sh*t tight no slack
Just bought a Cadillac (Throw some D's on that b*tch!)
Just bought a Cadillac (Throw some D's on that b*tch!)
Just bought a Cadillac
This, along with Roseanne Barr's recent anti-gay remarks are yet another example of our "neutral" media's double standards.
On the April 10 "Tonight Show," host Jay Leno joked about Democrats boycotting the Fox News Channel/Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate. Wondered Leno, "How are you going to stand up to terrorists when you're afraid of Fox News?"
Maybe Jay should ask Time magazine's Joe Klein, who called the Fox News debate a "sordid event" that was a clever ploy to "pander" to a Democratic interest group.
Is Don Imus worth the fury? Lost in all the media attention focused on the “nappy-headed ho's” racial insult by radio host Don Imus last week directed at the Rutgers University womens' basketball team -- all three broadcast network evening newscasts led with multiple stories on it Tuesday night after it topped CBS and NBC on Monday night, to say nothing of the non-stop cable coverage -- is how few actually heard his remark live since his ratings are so low. Monday's USA Today pegged his MSNBC audience at 354,000 daily viewers in March, about half the 692,000 who tuned in FNC's Fox & Friends and about 1/17th the audience of about 6 million who view NBC's Today show.
And he doesn't do much better on the radio side. “Putting things in perspective,” Dave Hughes, on DCRTV.com, pointed out Tuesday that in Washington, DC, “despite all the Washington 'power players' he has on his show, and all the press he gets, almost no one inside (or outside) the Beltway listens to him. In the latest Arbitrends, Imus, via Clear Channel talker WTNT [570 AM], was tied for 25th place in morning drive with Fredericksburg country outlet WFLS [93.3 FM],” a station most in the DC area can't even receive. Nationally, a Talkers magazine analysis of Arbitron ratings in markets across the country, for the cumulative number of listeners per week in the fall of 2006, documented that at least 19 nationally syndicated radio talk hosts have an audience larger than does Imus. Though he's on in the morning drive, when the most people listen to the radio, his audience is just one-sixth of that of Rush Limbaugh.
On Monday’s "American Morning," CNN spent five minutes on the outrageousness of its daily competition: Don Imus’s remarks on MSNBC describing the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as "nappy-headed hoes." New CNN contributor Roland Martin was brought on to echo Al Sharpton’s demand that Imus be removed from his radio and TV microphones. Martin also went after left-wing women’s groups for not signing on to the anti-Imus cause as quickly as the National Association of Black Journalists.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: I was surprised to see how many women's groups did not sign on early on. You listed some now, but that's like late, right?
OVERVIEW: I believe that the sale of The Tribune Company last week to investor Sam Zell is an unrecognized low-water mark in the newspaper publishing business. In fact, after subtracting the value of the Tribune's non-newspaper properties from the deal, what little value remains indicates that the value of having access to a newspaper's readers is a mind-boggling 70% less than it was a mere seven years ago.
Is it possible that Tribune Company investors are paying the price of many years of relentless misreporting and biased reporting at its newspapers, especially those it acquired when it bought Times Mirror in 2000? While the numbers presented here of necessity involve a fair amount of approximation, it's hard to avoid concluding that the answer is "yes."
Earlier today, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham wrote about ABC's Tahman Bradley and his coverage of President Bush's recess appointment of Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium. The headline for Bradley's story read like that of a left-wing press release: "Bush Swift Boats Belgium, Congress."
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.
Two days ago NewsBusters documented how ABC's "Good Morning America"
is hyping the "latest trend" for couples tying the knot this year,
so-called green weddings. Of course, weatherman/reporter Sam Champion
left out for his audience how the bride featured in his story, Anna
Swinson, is a Sierra Club official in Atlanta, but what's a covert
liberal agenda among friends?
ABC is not the only network pushing the phenomenon as a tactic to combating global warming. "Days of Our Lives"
addicts will be treated to the earth-friendly nuptials of characters
Sami and Lucas. Of course the NBC.com Web site doesn't just plug the
liberal-friendly story arc, it also insults the intelligence
of its readership by insisting that having a "green wedding" isn't just a matter of taste, it's a matter of life and death (yes, even if green is just not the bride's color):
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is publicly voicing its strong objections to two recent columns in the Los Angeles Times regarding the priest abuse scandal. Both articles contained substantial falsehoods, according to the Archdiocese.
1. A March 26, 2007, article in the Times claimed that Church officials and employees, when questioned in legal proceedings, could invoke something called "'mental reservation' — a 700-year-old doctrine by which clerics may avoid telling the truth to protect the Catholic Church." The article quoted Irwin Zalkin, a lawyer for abuse victims, as saying of church officials under oath, "You're never going to know the truth, one way or the other."
The truth? There is no such doctrine, and the term "mental reservation" is found nowhere in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
On Monday, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) got a "town hall" meeting with a hand-picked audience on "Good Morning America."
But the royal treatment Clinton receives in the mainstream media isn't shared by even some staunch liberals who make ink in the nation's newspapers everyday. Including at least one who pays the bills with the cartoonist's pen, generally liberal artist and blogger Darrin Bell, creator of "Candorville."
It's not the first time Bell has lampooned Clinton, but check out the March 30 installment, where he makes fun of Hillary's penchant for trying to be all things to all constituents, envisioning Clinton trying to pander to a Palestinian-American and an Israeli-American at the same time.
Bell's cartoon follows two days after the March 28 "'South Park," in which Clinton was portrayed unflatteringly, sporting rather large hips (calling to mind radio host Mark Levin's label "Her Thighness" ) and speaking in a faux Southern drawl.