Undoubtedly, the anger fomenting as a result of a television docudrama about the most serious attacks on America since Pearl Harbor has to be confounding the most seasoned of cynics.
After prominent House Democrats sent a letter Wednesday to Disney President and CEO Robert Iger requesting a re-editing of “The Path to 9/11” even though they admitted that they “have not yet seen this program” (as reported by NewsBusters here), another such request came from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Charles Schumer, and Senator Byron Dorgan on Thursday.
Did you hear that sound Thursday afternoon? That was the Constitution weeping as one of the nation’s major political parties trampled all over the First Amendment. Remember what that is…that right bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers guaranteeing freedom of speech?
Well, if what was reported by NewsBusters here, and the Ostroy Report here (hat tip to Hot Air) are correct, and ABC really has caved into political pressure from Democrats – in particular, former President Clinton – to edit the miniseries “The Path to 9/11,” such rights have changed forever. At the very least, this would demonstrate that these rights – which Jefferson said were inalienable, by the way! – apply differently to Democrats and Republicans.
The liberal blogosphere is going nuts over a miniseries about to air on ABC dealing with 9/11. Why are they so angry? Well, because just as the 9/11 Commission concluded, this program entitled “The Path to 9/11,” chronicles some of the missteps by the Clinton administration that pertain to Osama bin Laden. And, to be sure, folks on the left never want any blame for anything to be given to one of their own.
From what I can uncover, the shouting began at the Democratic Underground on August 27 in a post entitled “ABC docudrama will blame Clinton and Dems for 9/11”:
I think it's safe to say that Kyra Phillips's bathroom break embarrassment was not entirely her fault. But you do have to wonder why it took so long for someone to cut off her mic. On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh wondered if perhaps the whole affair was due to someone not liking the CNN anchor:
What was the techie at the CNN control booth doing for 90 seconds? It's
obvious they weren't listening to the Bush speech. It's obvious that
nobody at CNN was listening to this. Somebody caught her. Oh, the
anchor that was on, Daryn was on, and she finally, when this
conversation finally started getting into sisters and brothers and
control freaks and so forth, while Bush was speaking, "And you're
listening to President Bush, who is talking from New Orleans today,"
and then apparently Kyra came back, she's going to take over at one
o'clock, Daryn is still sitting there and she comes back and her mic is
still live when she approaches the set, because she says, "Well, I'm
here. I'm ready," and that went out.
It got me to thinking.
Does somebody there not like Kyra Phillips? I mean how does this just
happen? How in the world can audio and video go out when nobody intends
for it to? But then when it does, you can imagine... I mean, look, I
know broadcasting and broadcasting is me, and these accidents can
happen. Somebody can bump into a switch. But for 90 seconds nobody knew
it in the control booth at CNN, which means they we were the listening
to what was on their own, quote, unquote, air, which was a Bush speech.
I mean Kyra Phillips is innocent in this. I mean, she just had her
whole personal conversation in a bathroom broadcast all over cable news
yesterday afternoon for a minute and a half.
Will Thoretz is the company spokesman for VNU Media, the company that owns Editor & Publisher and employs Editor Greg Mitchell, a man that has something of a "truth problem" according to Michael Silence, and seems to be on the wrong side of an example of "journalistic malpractice" according to Stephen Spruiell.
Mary Katharine Ham of Townhall.com attempted to contact Mitchell at Editor & Publisher for comment several times yesterday, but Mitchell has thus far decline to respond. Ham also tried to contact Will Thoretz of Editor & Publisher's parent company, VNU Media, and while she was able to speak to his assistant, Thoretz has not responded to Ham to date.
Color me skeptical, but evidence indicating that one of your editors
has severe ethical issues should demand an immediate response of some
sort, unless, of course, the decision has been made to stonewall the
story and hope it goes away.
Faking news photos isn't just for Islamic propagandists any more.
A TVNewser reader has caught CBS in the act, altering a photo to make new anchor Katie Couric's waistline appear slimmer than it really is.
Question: Is CBS doing better now that it's only faking news to make its anchor look skinny, or is it doing worse now that it's making phony pictures instead of relying on nutjobs to do it?
UPDATE 11:21. Commenter 1sttofight correctly points out that Couric's face is also slimmer. It seems her arms are, too.
UPDATE 08:30 by Mark Finkelstein: CBS has now admitted that it "retouched" Katie's photo, but claims it was done "without the knowledge of Katie Couric or CBS news management," and Couric is quoted as claiming "she prefers the original photo 'because there's more of me to love.'"
Former veep Al Gore continues to get slavishly great press (the kind
a Republican could only get by switching parties à la Jim Jeffords),
for a speech he gave in Scotland claiming that "democracy is under
attack" from media consolidation. I'm doubtful that he mentioned
similar dangers from ultrarich leftists like George Soros trying to buy
their own governments in various countries.
The first few grafs from AP reporter Jill Lawless are relatively straightforward (minus the fact that she did not ask other media thinkers to counter Gore):
is under attack," Gore told an audience at the Edinburgh International
Television Festival. "Democracy as a system for self-governance is
facing more serious challenges now than it has faced for a long time.
is a conversation, and the most important role of the media is to
facilitate that conversation of democracy. Now the conversation is more
controlled, it is more centralized."
I usually wouldn't make a big deal out of something like this, but today's just the wrong day for the gratuitous slam of FOX News as "fake news." You know, because two of it's journalists were just freed from the very real experience of being kidnapped while on the job and then held hostage for 13 days.
Here's a story you're not likely to see covered by today's MSM TV: the story of a Palestinian boy band who made it big...by writing up a song praising Hezollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah. (Click here for an MP3 of it.)
The song, "Hawk of Lebanon," is mostly a 10-minute repetition of the phrase "Yallah, Nasrallah" along with other delightful lyrics such as "I hope we can destroy your life and make you worry, Zionism and Zionists are the biggest poison in Arab land."
It's taken the Palestine by storm. AP reporter Sarah El Deeb has more:
They were struggling in a boy band, working the West Bank wedding circuit and dreaming of stardom.
Now the five singers who make up the Northern Band have come a little
closer to their goal, with help from an unwitting ally — Hezbollah
guerrilla chief Hassan Nasrallah.
At the height of the
Israel-Hezbollah war, the band wrote new lyrics, in praise of
Nasrallah, for an old tune. The Hawk of Lebanon song tapped into
Nasrallah's huge popularity among Palestinians and became an instant
The song is being played on Arab TV networks, used as a
ring tone for cell phones, passed around on e-mail and distributed on
pirate CDs and tapes.
Imagine Bill Clinton in the setting shown here. Would he be standing at arm's length, tentatively extending a finger? Never! He'd be right down there hugging the child, probably - for that matter - getting an arm around Mom too.
That,in a nutshell, captures the problem campaign ad makers have in softening Hillary's frosty image.
There I was on the couch this morning in full pajamahadeen mode, searching for nuggets of MSM bias with which to titillate NB readers, when for the first time a Hillary campaign ad popped up. It's standard stuff. The theme is Hillary 'Standing Up': standing up for jobs, for military bases, for health care - seems the senator never sits down! As I type this, a freeze frame shows a nicely-coiffed Hillary in a striped pink shirt and sporting a single strand of pearls. On a desk in the background you can discern family photos: Bill, Hillary and Chelsea in one, what looks like a young Chelsea as a ballerina in another.
It is hard to overstate the importance of what Little Green Footballs' site operator Charles Johnson learned from a clearly knowledgeable person in the news business, and revealed in a post yesterday morning. Anyone who attempts to understand events in the Middle East but is unaware of what Johnson has exposed is being shortchanged, and very likely misled.
Now Johnson has expanded what began as a "narrow" photojournalism controversy into an expose of how, for decades, the news we receive from the most volatile region in the world has, in exchange for what looks an awful lot like bribery, been twisted and controlled to meet a pro-Arab, pro-terorist, anti-Israel agenda.
Despite lots of promotion from the entertainment media, the Dixie Chicks seem to have offended their fan base too much. The lefty group has been forced to cancel shows in 14 states, replacing them with Canadian ones, the AP reports:
concerts on the Dixie Chicks'"Accidents & Accusations" tour have
been canceled after slow ticket sales, but the group says it has
replaced them with other dates.
City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville are among 14 cities no
longer on the original schedule released in May, according to a revised
itinerary posted Thursday on the Dixie Chick's Web site.
You've all seen the TV commercial. A chubby woman has dragged a TV onto her front lawn and is watching the game with two girlfriends, when her dutiful husband comes home, schlepping grocery bags. One of the girlfriends suggests they order in pizza, but the chubby woman actually calls her husband in the house, tricking her friends into thinking she's calling a pizza place. She haughtily orders her husband to 'make it the way I like it,' and adds 'make it snappy - chop, chop!'
You've never actually seen this commercial, of course. The dictates of political correctness would never permit it. But just such an ad for DiGiorno pizza did indeed air today [during the 4 PM EDT edition of the Tucker Carlson show on MSNBC] - the difference naturally being that it was a plump idiot of a husband acting like a complete jerk toward his wife.
What better way for CNN to show where it stands on the issues of the day than to officially put Castro's daughter on the payroll as a contributor? Jon Friedman delivers a slap to CNN for this obvious attempt to position itself as the network with the most communist insight.
You have to wonder exactly what journalistic verities Alina Fernandez brings to the job. Granted, she is the host of a radio program in Miami and the author of "Castro's Daughter: An Exile's Memoir of Cuba." Make that a fairly DISTANT memoir, though. As USA Today noted, she was a toddler when Castro came to power 47 years ago and had only "sporadic contact" with her notorious father over the years.
CNN wants the public to believe that Fernandez has unique insights about her homeland and her father -- even though she left the country in 1993, disguised as a Spanish tourist, no less.
Assume you were in an upper-management position at one of the many liberally-biased news outlets, and you read the above headline. Would it make you question what your organization was doing wrong, what Fox News is doing right, or what is wrong with America’s television news viewers?
Regardless of the answer, Variety released July viewer totals for the cable news outlets, and, once again, Fox News is completely destroying the competition. In fact, some of the numbers are pretty laughable (ergo, put your drinking vessels away!):
Despite FNC's declines, it still beat CNN handily in primetime, averaging 1.5 million viewers to CNN's 864,000; CNN still has a long way to go before it can be considered a serious ratings challenger.
FNC won every hour of each day over CNN for the 55th straight month. It was the No. 5-rated cable network in June, behind USA, TNT, TBS and Lifetime. CNN came in 24th, MSNBC 36th.
That deserves closer examination, doesn’t it? Fox has beaten CNN every hour of every day for 55 straight months?!? Yikes. And, FNC is the fifth-ranked network on cable? Yet, the chuckles kept coming:
In light of recent revelations of possible media manipulation in Qana, Lebanon, as reported by NewsBusters Monday, a 2005 video has been circulating throughout the Internet (hat tip to Ms. Underestimated with extraordinary video link to follow). In reality, this is an almost unbelievable look at how film footage from Israel that made national news after the Second Intifada began in September 2000 (including CBS’s “60 Minutes”) appears to have been staged, choreographed, and produced rather than real events that transpired in front of video cameras.
The film's producer, Dr. Richard Landes, teaches history at Boston University, and is the co-founder and Director of the Center for Millennial Studies. He also is the proprietor of The Second Draft, a website “devoted to exploring some of the problems and issues that plague modern journalism”:
After being plugged relentlessly by the New York Times and other "objective" media outlets, the ratings for Air America continue to drop. Brian Maloney has the details:
Like an ice cream cone left in the hot July sun, Air America Radio's ratings are melting in some key (read: liberal) regions of the country.
Based on fresh ratings data released Thursday evening, the "progressive" radio network has lost strength in three cities where it had previously found the most listener support: Portland, Seattle and Denver.
Representing the spring 2006 Arbitron reporting period, these results provide one of the two most important report cards for the entire year.
The fact that Jason Leopold doesn't have a television show is a significant reason to believe that there is some sanity within the TV news business. However, the fact that Keith Olbermann still has one after years of failure does make one wonder about the mental acuity of the folks at MSNBC.
When you think about it, aside from its host, "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" has a lot of things going for it. It's got nice graphics, some different music to it, and a snappy pace. Far left bloggers routinely urge their readers to watch. It never fails to get good press from liberal journalists whose greatest fantasy is Roger Ailes getting hit by a bus--which may explain why so many of them have been taken by a guy whose bizarre antics, strange demeanor, journalistic ineptitude, and ridiculous pomposity should have gotten him laughed out of the news business in under three months.
It's probably safe to assume that Olbermann is aware of all this. How else could one explain his latest desperate ploy for attention, donning a mask of Bill O'Reilly while doing a Nazi salute? Now, via Olbermann Watch, we learn that NBC and the "Countdown" staff planned the entire thing.
Surprised? I sure was. I mean who ever would have thought that a guy who is afraid to interview anyone to the right of Hugo Chavez for fear of getting embarrassed would ever need to plan such brilliant humor out beforehand?
Of course, Bob Cox and the other OW folks might be lying. After all, it's quite possible Olbermann came up with the joke right after a brief bathroom break with his Bill O'Reilly hand puppet.
At a press conference for TV critics, FNC and Fox affiliates chief Roger Ailes announced he will be unveiling a syndicated morning news show next January. Now Fox fans will be able to get their fix without cable:
Ailes and Fox are gearing up for a yet-to-be
named morning show that will air after the local news broadcasts. Mike
Jerrick and Juliet Huddy of the Fox News Channel will host the 9 a.m.
offering, which will focus on light, entertaining fare when there's
little hard news.
The morning show will
launch in January and will go up against the final hour of a
Couric-free "Today" and newly formatted "Regis and Kelly," with a
little less Regis Philbin. Since September, Philbin has been doing four
days a week instead of five.
It appears the ongoing effort by CBS to totally divorce itself from former anchor Dan Rather is not over, for another snubbing has occurred, this time at the CBS News website. As reported by The New York Post Friday:
IS CBS trying to wipe out all traces of Dan Rather's history at the network? In a glowing story about Katie Couric's "Eye on America" tour's going to the Twin Cities, the CBS News Web site crows that the perky newsgal, who takes over Rather's seat in September, "will be the first female solo anchor of a network weekday newscast, following such esteemed journalists as Douglas Edwards, Walter Cronkite and, most recently, Bob Schieffer." There is absolutely no mention of Rather, who was unceremoniously dumped after 44 years with CBS following his notorious report on President Bush's military record, which turned out to be based on fake memos.
Don’t believe it? Here’s the article The Post was referring to. The Post deliciously continued:
There are likely many conservatives around the country that have felt the New York Times has been shrinking for decades…in relevance, that is. However, now the “paper of record” is literally shrinking. As reported by Reuters (with a hat tip to Drudge): “The newspaper will be narrower by 1 1/2 inches.” “The narrower format, offset by some additional pages, will reduce the space the paper has for news by 5 percent, Executive Editor Bill Keller said in the article.”
Of course, Keller didn’t comment on whether this five percent reduction in “news” will result in a much-needed decline in liberally-biased viewpoints, bashing of Republicans, or the release of top secret intelligence information to America’s enemies here and abroad.
Regardless, this appears to be a growing trend in the print media:
One of the things journalists are famous for doing is exploiting the pain of others, often while saving their own from the same type of exploitation. Many times, they will run the very personal 911 calls that are placed after an event. I know that doesn't seem like it should be allowed; 911 is the only option people have for immediate help and victims shouldn't have to worry in their worst of moments whether they will end up on the news. But MSM and their lawyers have forced their noses into every personal nook and cranny that can help boost their ratings.
It didn't pay off this time. WOIO Channel 19 in Cleveland ran a "gruesome" 911 tape of Nancy Fisher calling for help after finding her 6-year-old daughter had drowned in a creek. Nancy is the sister of Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner.
Needless to say, the Cleveland Browns dropped their relationship with the station and are now looking for another station to air Browns games.
The "revolving door" is a
term reporters often cynically use to talk about the close
relationships that political and lobbying people have with each
other. It's certainly true that in American politics, many people do
move readily between working in government posts to lobbying
But what many journos won't tell you is
that there's another revolving door that politicos use, from politics
to media. They also won't tell you that only Democrats seem to have
the key. The number of Republicans moving into positions of influence
inside the media is small enough you can almost count it on one hand.
And in many cases, the sheer audacity of a former Republican politico
daring to set foot in the press has caused left-wingers, journalist
and blogger alike. The recent Ben
Domenech fiasco or the disgraceful hounding that Susan
Molinari experienced after being hired as an anchor at CBS are
potent examples of this.
This one is truly delicious (grateful hat tip to Little Green Footballs): The International Federation of Journalists condemned Israel for attacking the headquarters of Lebanese broadcaster Al-Manar. For those that are unfamiliar, this is the television station and website run by Hezbollah, the terrorist group that started this recent conflagration against Israel.
As reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency: “The International Federation of Journalists Friday condemned the Israeli bombing of the Lebanese broadcaster Al-Manar, warning that the attack follows a pattern of media targeting that threatens the lives of media staff, violates international law and endorses the use of violence to stifle dissident media.”
At the beginning of each TV season, the cable and broadcast television networks trot out their new lineups for an ever-jaded and cynical bunch, the nation's TV critics. Despite their grousing about shows, Aaron Barnhart writes, tv crix realize they shouldn't be complaining because in many ways, entertainment television has never been better in this country than it is now. So why is it that news television fails to inspire much enthusiasm? My thoughts follow this excerpt from Barnhart's piece:
Here inside the Ritz-Carlton ballroom, we may be suffering from chills,
bloggerhea and other work-related ailments, but we're not kidding
ourselves: We know our jobs are great.
And that's because it's a pleasure to write about TV shows that, on
the whole, are now better made and better written than movies are.
Every day, thousands of people walk out of the store with a home
theater and soon discover the joys of staying at home as opposed to the
cineplex, where their choices have dwindled thanks to the
divide-and-conquer demographic madness that has gripped Hollywood. (If
only the Caribbean pirates would wear Prada, as my friend Gary Dretzka recently joked.)
Prime time television is more entertaining, more satisfying and -- as Stephen Johnson convincingly argued in his book Everything Bad Is Good For You -- more challenging than it has ever been. We're living in a golden age for TV entertainment.
So why is it that the situation for TV news is trending in exactly
the opposite direction? Why is it more insipid, sensational and facile
than ever? Why are Americans who rely on television as their main
source of information less informed than ever? [...]
Last week, the media reported rather quickly on charges that conservative author and columnist Ann Coulter had plagiarized material in her writings. Will they be as quick to report that both her syndicate and her publisher believe the charges to be illegitimate?
The syndicator of Ann Coulter's newspaper columns rejected allegations that she had lifted material from other sources, saying a review of the work in question turned up nothing that merited concern.
"There are only so many ways you can rewrite a fact and minimal matching text is not plagiarism," Lee Salem, editor and president of Universal Press Syndicate, said Monday in a statement.
"Universal Press Syndicate is confident in the ability of Ms. Coulter, an attorney and frequent media target, to know when to make attribution and when not to."
Of note: while AP reporter Hillel Italie instantly jumped on the plagiarism charges against "the right-wing pundit", mentioning specific liberal web sites by name where readers could go to investigate the charges, they have failed to do so for a litany of charges made by critics against the equally vocal (but liberal) Michael Moore. Not one of the litany of charges made by sites like MooreWatch.com has been covered by the AP according to Nexis.
Fox News Channel is currently thinking about a new show that is supposed to be a conservative version of the very liberal "Daily Show," seen on Comedy Central.
I've long thought conservatives should take a stab at televised political parody. The last time it was really done was during Rush Limbaugh's short-lived syndicated show which was doomed by niche audiences and unsympathetic programming. In the cable age, though, this type of show really has potential. I was pleased to see FNC has apparently chosen just the person I had in mind for such a show, radio host Laura Ingraham.
TV Newser has more details, noting that the show may never happen since it's only a pilot.
Related: Study says "Daily Show" creates negative perceptions among viewers about politics. The post has an unrelated but interesting item about how Democrats believe the federal government should give more aid to white victims of Hurricane Katrina than black victims. See James Taranto's discussion for more.
Reality often is stranger than fiction, the saying goes. An author writing the story of former anchor partners Dan Rather and Connie Chung's lives would never have had the temerity to have them both get canned within a week of each other. Not after the two's well-known history of bickering and fighting with each other. Yet that's exactly what happened. Seattle Post-Intelligencer TV critic Melanie McFarland looks back at the twighlight of both discarded anchors (Diskussionsleitersdämmerung?), realizing that between Rather's delusions and Chung's bizarre singing debut, the former duo provide another lesson in how not to behave:
More than a decade has passed since Dan Rather and Connie Chung had us shaking our heads at the obvious tension when they briefly shared an anchor desk between 1993 and 1995.
Rather won in the end, using a nasty behind-the-scenes campaign to force out his co-anchor. He remained at CBS; she jumped to ABC and later to cable.
Nobody would have guessed their separate and drastically declined careers would share headlines again -- and in the same week. [...]
Many are the lessons of how to begin a journalism career. These two showed us how not to end one. Different as their career trajectories may have been for a time, Chung and Rather's respective undoings are, in the end, the same. They held on for too long. And you know what happens when you overstay your welcome: You get cast out with a rough push instead of a friendly wave.
This is truer of Rather's departure, of course. Given his inglorious step down from CBS's anchor chair, a muffled exit was inevitable. The 74-year-old newscaster insists he's not done and has announced his intention to host a weekly interview program on Mark Cuban's high-definition channel, HDNet, where he will be watched by a few thousand, if he's lucky. He told The New York Times that he's contemplating a blog.
Two weeks certainly aren’t a large sampling, but since the much-heralded – and over-celebrated – departure of the perky Katie Couric, NBC’s “Today” show actually widened its average daily viewing margin over second-place rival ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
As reported by the Associated Press (hat tip to Drudge): “‘Today’ beat second-place ‘Good Morning America’ of ABC by an average of 1.3 million viewers in the two weeks following Couric's last show on May 31, according to Nielsen Media Research. The NBC show's margin of victory (5.85 million to 4.92 million) was tighter during Couric's last full week on the air.”
Yikes. And, generating advertising dollars without Couric hasn’t been a problem either: “NBC also says it has earned about $25 million more in ‘upfront’ advertising sales for ‘Today’ in the fall than it did last year at this time, when the morning show was facing a stiffer challenge from ABC.”
Double yikes. Finally, one of NBC’s top brass might have added a bit of a parting shot at Katie to drive the point home: