Update - 10:45 AM | Lachlan Markay: Contessa Brewer is filling in for Shuster during his 10 am slot. Mediaite is reporting that Ed Schultz will take the 3 pm slot. This will not be the permanent lineup, however.
MSNBC's David Shuster was suspended indefinitely today after a flap with the cable network's brass, who were livid that he filmed a pilot for CNN. Shuster, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the year, has not appeared on air since the news broke.
"If true," said MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Ganes after hearing the news, "this is unacceptable and David will be punished appropriately." MSNBC President Phil Griffin was vacationing in Florida, but reportedly "ripped Shuster a new one over the phone," according to Gail Shister of TV Newser.
This morning MSNBC announced that Shuster has been suspended "indefinitely." Anything less than suspension, an MSNBC exec told Shister, "sends a message from management that this is OK."
Ed Schultz rehashed an already-discredited smear of conservative talk show host Sean Hannity on the liberal talker's March 30 "Ed Show" program on MSNBC.
Blustered Schultz as he introduced Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW):
Finally tonight on "The Ed Show," it's been 12 days since Sean Hannity hasn't answered the questions about possible fraud and misuse of funds from his charity. He may have to answer to the IRS and Federal Trade Commission.
Editor's Note: In a statement released today, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell denounced CNN for relying on bigoted anti-Catholic singer Sinead O'Connor as a credible source to discuss recent allegations brought against the Catholic Church in the cable network's repeated interviews with her. Those comments are posted below.
Sinead O’Connor is a despicable, hate-filled person who has no business being portrayed as a reasonable voice to discuss the Catholic Church that she has disgraced for the past twenty years.
CNN’s decision to have her on as a credible source to bash and criticize the Pope and the Catholic Church is like having the KKK on to criticize President Obama, or Nazis on to criticize Jews. It’s disgusting, unacceptable, and disgraceful.
When CNN decides to have legitimate, non-bigoted guests on, perhaps Americans will begin to trust them again as a viable news source.
On his January 29 program, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan introduced Rall as "an award-winning cartoonist who caught our eye with cartoons like this one showing some Wall Street types chatting about President Obama's bank tax."
But Ratigan must be ignorant of or apathetic regarding Rall's penchant for soldier-smearing left-wing screeds. After all, he all but personally endorsed Rall's fundraising pitch (audio available here):
Some in the liberal media continue to insist that James O'Keefe and his three cohorts were trying to "bug" or "tap" Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone lines when law enforcement officials have clearly said that they were not. Since the left doesn't like O'Keefe, the liberal media seems to think standard practices of journalistic integrity don't apply here.
According to MSNBC, one law enforcement official, who was not named, said "the four men arrested for attempting to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) were not trying to intercept or wiretap the calls." This statement comports with the affidavit filed in court after O'Keefe and company were arrested, which did not mention wiretapping or bugging, and only referred to the "tampering" of phone lines (h/t Patterico).
But the Boston Globe parroted this false accusation this morning in a gossip blog post about one of the alleged perpetrators, Joe Basel. The Globe--the same Globe that complained about ACORN's "trial-by-video"--called him a "political dirty trickster who was busted in a Watergate-style bugging operation earlier this week," and said again a couple paragraphs later that Basel was "bagged by the feds allegedly trying to bug the phones" in Landrieu's office. At least the Globe writers said "allegedly" the second time.
Managing Editor's Note: The following was originally published at Greyhawk's Mudville Gazette blog on January 25, 2010.
Wow - growing evidence that multiple identical letters appearing in multiple different newspapers under multiple names implies some sort of astroturf campaign. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, at this development.
Just wait 'til the even bigger news sites discover this story. I don't have to wonder what will happen - I know - and whoever launched these various letter-writing campaigns should be well aware of what's coming, too. After all, it's happened before, and not long ago... (screen wavers, fades out... and...)
A man who identified himself as Winston Steward, 51, of Frazier Park, Calif., says he made up the name "Ellie Light" to protect himself from criticism and possible physical attacks, and used fake addresses across the country to get local newspapers to publish his letters.
"I am Winston Steward and have been sending the letters from Ellie Light," he told The Plain Dealer in an e-mail late Tuesday, following a phone interview in which he said the same. "I hope this ends any confusion and sets the record straight."
Three days ago, NewsBusters contributor Candance Moore wrote about pro-Obama letter-to-the-editor spammer "Ellie Light" who had duped some 40+ papers (the number stands at 68 now), into publishing nearly identical letters that praised the president. In each case, the writer claimed to hail from cities or towns served by the local newspaper's print circulation.
Today, Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom" had Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell on for comment.
Write-the-editor campaigns are a classic tactic of political campaigning, Bozell noted, saying he couldn't blame pro-Obama organizers for attempting it. The real problem is with sloppy newspapers that failed to verify the authenticity of the letter writer's identity and residence (audio available here). Said Bozell:
Brand new at MRC.org today: a new Special Report titled "Omitting for Obama: How the Old Media Deliberately Censored New Media Scoops in 2009."
A few weeks of digging into just how little the Old Media covered these stories -- and how they often tried to explain them away as distractions caused by Obama's enemies -- showed me that conservatives who are very well-versed in New Media scoops might fail to understand just how little these stories may not have penetrated into the news seen by less politically committed Americans who rely on "objective" Old Media.
The converse may also be true: that Old Media bosses assume that if they haven't covered a New Media story damaging to their liberal heroes, it hasn't really penetrated into the political culture in a way they cannot manipulate.
In January, an anonymous person supposedly named "Ellie Light" launched a massive PR campaign on behalf of President Barack Obama.
The goal appears to have been to infiltrate as many newspapers as possible to spread pro-Obama propaganda -- as if the press needed the help.
Light's plan was simple enough: write a compelling letter to the editor, pretend to be a concerned reader in the region, and persuade the paper to print her liberal blather.
For three weeks, editors of mainstream newspapers big and small allowed Light to spread Democrat talking points under the guise of small-town grassroots without anyone bothering to double check her story.
Democrats generally do not have to worry about an unfriendly press. Most journalists are more than happy to toe the liberal line. But when things turn south for the Democrat, the harder questions start flowing, and occasionally it can get ugly.
We've seen our fair share of backlash against reporters from the Democratic candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, Martha Coakley. Videos keep popping up of people directly affiliated with the campaign harassing--verbally and physically--members of the press.
First it was veteran Democratic political operative Michael Meehan, who was caught on video shoving the Weekly Standard's John McCormack to the ground outside a restaurant on Capitol Hill. McCormack was trying to ask about the "no terrorists in Afghanistan" blunder Coakley uttered a couple weeks ago.
A video appeared today on RealClearPolitics showing two staffers at a Coakley campaign office screaming at a member of the press to leave the office, shouting obscenities at the woman, and calling her a Nazi (video here - h/t Ed Driscoll).
In a Monday interview on MediaBistro.com’s weekly video series Media Beat, disgraced former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather shared his concerns over the credibility of internet journalism: “The difficulty with some of the things on the internet...is transparency and accountability about who’s responsible for what’s on.”
TVNewser.com columnist Gail Shister sparked the discussion by asking Rather: “Are you concerned at all that there is the absence of quality control when it comes to so much of the modern platforms?” Rather went on to fret: “...you can put something on the internet that’s really terrible about your neighbor or about a friend or a competitor and it’s almost impossible to find out who the source is. And you can say anything about them. That part of it troubles me.”
Rather of course ended his tenure at CBS after using fraudulent documents to smear President George W. Bush just days before the 2004 presidential election. He showed little concern for accountability and proper sourcing as he used fabricated memos to claim that Bush had gone AWOL while serving in the Texas Air National Guard in the 1970s.
"Well, NBC, ABC and CBS finally got around to reporting on ClimateGate" but it "wasn’t worth the wait," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell said in a statement today. [Click here for the full press release]
"NBC and ABC’s reports were so biased, they left their audiences as ill-informed afterwards as they were before. And CBS came about as close to blacking out their own coverage as possible," Bozell added, referring to how the network reported the story on a program blacked out in much of the country in favor of college football.
ABC finally reported on ClimateGate on Sunday. But they provided no specifics from the reams of emails and data from East Anglia University that caused the scandal, and concluded their report with the flatly incorrect assertion: “The science is solid, according to a vast majority of researchers, with hotter temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea level providing the proof.”
The Washington Post put ClimateGate on the front page, top left in Saturday’s edition. It’s also the top story at washingtonpost.com. The headline is "In e-mails, science of warming is hot debate." The website summary: "E-mails stolen from British research center show climate-change leaders noting flaws in their own data and seemingly scheming to muzzle critics."
Wow. The story is breaking. Here’s paragraph two of the David Fahrenthold and Juliet Eilperin story:
Now it has mushroomed into what is being called "Climate-gate," a scandal that has done what many slide shows and public-service ads could not: focus public attention on the science of a warming planet.
Except now, much of that attention is focused on the science's flaws. Leaked just before international climate talks begin in Copenhagen -- the culmination of years of work by scientists to raise alarms about greenhouse-gas emissions -- the e-mails have cast those scientists in a political light and given new energy to others who think the issue of climate change is all overblown.
The e-mails don't say that: They don't provide proof that human-caused climate change is a lie or a swindle.
For 14 straight days, the three broadcast networks have failed to report on the great and growing ClimateGate scandal on their weekday morning or evening news programs. How to explain this?
Perhaps it is that ABC, NBC and CBS have not yet heard of the story, despite two weeks of non-stop reporting on and discussion of ClimateGate in a whole host of media outlets.
Perhaps the broadcast networks only trust their fellow liberal press outlets, like the New York Times. Perhaps they don’t realize the Times exhibited journalistic diligence on ClimateGate, with a front page story the day the story broke.
In the event that ABC News, NBC News and CBS News missed the news, the Media Research Center (MRC) is today rushing each of them a copy of the Times story, in the hopes that armed with this new information, they will finally report a story that has been roiling nearly everywhere else for a fortnight.
So as not to offend the networks’ pro-global warming sensibilities, MRC President Brent Bozell is looking to have the stories delivered by bicycle messenger.
Fake but accurate rides again! The same lame defense Dan Rather used in Memogate has been trotted out on ClimateGate by Columbia Univ. Prof. Jeffrey Sachs.
Appearing on Morning Joe today, the author of Common Wealth [note play on words: your money is our money] alleged that the real victims in this scandal are . . . the number-fudging scientists.People are attempting to "Swiftboat" those poor CRU guys, sighed Sachs. For good measure, the good professor asserted that what the fudgesters did "is not a very big deal."
Yesterday at noon, Media Research Center President Bozell hosted the first in a new series of Webcasts entitled "MRC Live! with Brent Bozell," in which the NewsBusters publisher answers questions submitted by members of the MRC Action Team. We expect to hold the next Webcast sometime in mid-January. We'll bring you more details when we have the date nailed down.
[Click here for information on how to join the MRC Action Team. You can view yesterday's Webcast in the video embed at right.]
Among other questions fielded, Bozell addressed the "why" in the perennial question, why are the mainstream media so liberal:
It's been nearly two weeks since a scandal shook many people's faith in the scientists behind global warming alarmism. The scandal forced the University of East Anglia (UK) to divulge that it threw away raw temperature data and prompted the temporary resignation of Phil Jones of the university's Climate Research Unit.
Despite that resignation and calls by a U.S. senator to investigate the matter, ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programming has remained silent - not mentioning a word about the scandal since it broke on Nov. 20, even as world leaders including President Barack Obama prepare to meet in Copenhagen, Denmark next week to promote a pact to reduce greenhouse gases.
MRC's President Brent Bozell called the networks' silence a "cover-up" Dec. 2.
Other news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and Associated Press have deemed ClimateGate worthy of reporting, but the networks were too busy reporting on celebrity car accidents and the killer whale that ate a great white shark. Instead of airing a broadcast news segment that might inform the public about the science scandal, both ABC and CBS relegated the story to their Web sites. There was one mention of the scandal on ABC's Sunday talk show: "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
ABC, CBS and NBC’s collective silence on “ClimateGate” has reached ridiculous levels as the broadcast networks continued to ignore the great and growing scandal. The bias by omission has now become scandalous.
“The networks’ silence on ClimateGate is deafening. Scandal, cover-ups and conspiracy are the bread and butter of the media. Yet they have selectively and deliberately decided not to report this bombshell – or any of the incriminating details surrounding the scandal – because it goes against their left-wing agenda," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell complained in a statement released today.
Phil Jones announced yesterday that he is temporarily leaving his post as head of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) pending the investigation into the controversial e-mails and documents that started ClimateGate.
Yet none of the broadcast network weekday morning and evening news shows addressed ClimateGate or the incriminating Jones development since the news broke yesterday. This marked 12 days since the information was first uncovered that they have ignored this global scandal.
The Obama ascendency, the president's acolytes have been keen on telling us, is the dawn of a new post-partisan era. But a development that undercuts that fiction -- the Obama Justice Department's recent move to scuttle non-partisan local elections in Kinston, North Carolina, on the basis of racial and partisan considerations -- has escaped the interest of the mainstream media.
Both the Washington Times (in a Tuesday front-pager) and NewsBusters sister site CNSNews.com have reported the story, but a Nexis search today yielded no stories from print outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, or Los Angeles Times. Broadcast news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC have also failed to touch the story. Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" briefly discussed the story shortly before 7:00 a.m. EDT on the October 21 edition with Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund.
A search for news stories about the controversy on Google News this morning yielded only 14 hits, most of them from conservative organizations or blogs.
Below is an excerpt from CNSNews.com reporter Adam Brickley's October 21 story:
MSNBC's David Shuster declared yesterday's fake Chamber of Commerce presser at the National Press Club the "Best prank of [the] week" on his Twitter page shortly before 5:30 p.m. EDT today. He added a link taking readers to the left-leaning blog Talking Points Memo.
A group of liberal environmentalist activists punked some journalists by throwing a press conference claiming to represent the Chamber of Commerce. In the fake presser, the pranksters claimed that the Chamber was reversing its opposition to so-called cap-and-trade legislation.
Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell took to the MRC studio Saturday morning for an interview with "Fox & Friends" about how the media latched onto phony quotes attributed to Rush Limbaugh, helping to scuttle his St. Louis Rams ownership bid.
Bozell also commented on how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell insisted his quarrel with the radio talk show host was his "polarizing comments" about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb back in 2003.
"Nine out of ten people have no idea what Roger Goodell is talking about" and those who do know what Goodell was referencing know that "again, Rush Limbaugh was right," that some sports journalists hyped an overrated McNabb because of politically correct considerations [MP3 audio available here]:
During the 3:00PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC Friday, co-host David Shuster admitted that racially charged quotes he and other hosts attributed to Rush Limbaugh had not been verified: “MSNBC attributed that quote to a football player who was opposed to Limbaugh’s NFL bid. However, we have been unable to verify that quote independently. So, just to clarify.” Shuster did not formally retract the quote or apologize.
On Monday, Shuster revealed the supposed source of the false quote: “Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Farrior says Limbaugh should be denied the privilege of owning an NFL franchise for comments like ‘slavery had its merits.’” Speaking with columnist Stephen A. Smith later that afternoon, Shuster’s co-host Tamron Hall wondered: “Should a person who says there are merits with slavery be able to have this privilege of owning a team?”
As result of the ensuing controversy raised by the false quotes reported by MSNBC, CNN, and other media outlets, Limbaugh was removed from an investment group that was considering purchasing the St. Louis Rams football team.
Yesterday CNN's Rick Sanchez was set to go on air and issue an apology for running an unverified quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh. Breaking news of the now-infamous "balloon boy" intervened, and Sanchez was unable to deliver his apology.
It came to the attention of the NewsBusters staff that Sanchez plans on issuing a correction today on-air, reading the following statement:
Vicious personal attacks, distortions of his quotes, and outright lies and fabrications.
Those are the three major tactics the Left has deployed in its campaign of character assassination, Media Research Center's Tim Graham illustrates in a brand-new special report: "A Rush to Ruin: The Left’s Character Assassination Campaign Against Rush Limbaugh."
"CNN and MSNBC were given ample opportunity to come clean, but both are continuing to masquerade malicious lies [against Rush Limbaugh] as credible," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell said in a statement today.
Yesterday, Bozell promised to report back publicly with how CNN and MSNBC responded to his challenge to put up – or shut up – proof that Rush Limbaugh actually stated the racist quote that both cable networks attributed to him as fact, or to immediately retract and apologize for their participation in spreading an outlandish lie.
Talk show giant Limbaugh denied having ever stated, “Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back. I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.” Further, it has been established that this was a fabrication pushed through the Internet, intentionally designed to destroy Mr. Limbaugh’s reputation at a time he is attempting to purchase a professional football team.
In addition to this public call to action, Mr. Bozell overnighted letters to CNN President Jonathan Klein and MSNBC President Phil Griffin to ensure both took the matter seriously. Both CNN and MSNBC failed to respond appropriately.