Blame do-nothing Republicans for high gas prices. That was the impression visitors to ABCNews.com got this afternoon.
Among the "top headlines" lineup Web site editors included a story on "Fueling Anger" with the teaser headline: "Rejected! Big Oil Tax Gets Shelved." [see related post about CBSNews.com's bias here]
The accompanying caption to the ABC photo illustration read, "With prices soaring, GOP halts Democrats' wide-ranging energy plan."
The article itself, by writer Z. Byron Wolf, was front-loaded with bias, slamming Republicans for their filibuster of a new windfall profits tax measure while dismissing the GOP's energy plan as ineffective in the short term (emphases mine):
I mean really, that must be the only explanation why ABCNews.com keeps showing us pictures of the so-called pregnant man. It must be a way for us to save gas. Why drive to the carnival in town to see the Bearded Lady when she's just a few clicks away on your computer?
This isn't the first time the Disney-owned network thought fit to put pictures of transsexual woman Thomas Beatie on its "top headlines" lineup. Back on May 21 the Web site teased pictures of Beatie as she "Labors... In Yard."
Perhaps as a peace offering or palette-cleanser, ABCNews.com is also featuring in its "top headlines" pictures of attractive Hollywood starlets in so-called Band-Aid dresses.
What say you? Slow news day, or is ABC just following the maxim that "sex sells"?
Just as a quick follow-up to both Terry Trippany and Warner Todd Huston's posts, at least one major political reporter is chagrined by the MSM's penchant for selecting photographs of Sen. Barack Obama that make him appear rather, um, messianic.
That sleazy yet hallowed HBO television series "Sex and the City" is now in theaters as a feature film, and the cultural elites are having a religious experience. Newsweek previewed the movie by reporting how an estimated 50,000 people, some from far-away lands like Australia and Japan, "make the pilgrimage each year to the shrine," the fictional New York City home of "Sex" protagonist Carrie Bradshaw. The magazine chronicled a tour group standing silently, some weeping.
Am I the only one who thinks that those estimated 50,000 people out there make the Trekkies look sane by comparison? But Newsweek seems to lament how the movie isn’t outrageous enough. The headline is "Girls Gone Mild," and the trailer is all about our protagonist getting married – maybe. Writer Julia Baird was amazed at "how many people speak of it in hyperbolic terms: as a revolution, a phenomenon, a cataclysm, almost an insurgency."
The media has been unfair to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D- N.Y.) is the new argument former President Bill Clinton made for his wife to continue on for the Democratic nomination. He's also hitting hard on the issue of seating Florida and Michigan: "I thought it was the Republican Party that disenfranchised voters in Florida, not the Democrats." View CNN video here.
The former president is also soundingconspiratorial these days. According to this ABC News report, he told a crowd in South Dakota he has, "never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running," and that, "she will win the general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."
Cindy McCain, the wife of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, released a summary of her 2006 income tax return Friday prompting media members to quickly make negative comparisons between what she revealed and what Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) wife disclosed to the public in October 2004.
Most notable was the New York Times which in characterizing Teresa Heinz Kerry's 2003 income as being less than Cindy's in 2006 completely ignored its own October 16, 2004, article revealing as much as $50 million Teresa made in "trusts of which she is the beneficiary" not included in her personal tax filing.
Isn't that convenient?
Let's begin our examination with Saturday's Times piece (emphasis added, h/t Redstate, picture courtesy AP):
Over the years I've noticed ABCNews.com likes to have fun with Photoshop. They seem to have very lenient rules when it comes to the photos that accompany their stories. Today I spotted a picture of Laura Bush's head placed on the body of Godzilla on their front page. Here's the blog posting the picture links to over at ABCNews.com. On my blog I've previously discussed my frustration with ABCNews.com.
Update: The picture is no longer featured on the ABCNews.com Web site as of 2:25 p.m. CST.
ABC stole the Left's mojo on a McCain-slamming "pastor problem" story.
Why am I not surprised?
Here's the complaint of David Corn at Mother Jones magazine's MoJo blog yesterday (h/t Romenesko):
I'm glad that Good Morning America covered the connection between John McCain and Rod Parsley, the Ohio megachurch pastor who has said it is the United States' historic mission to see the "false religion" of Islam "destroyed."
But did ABC News' top investigative reporter, Brian Ross, have to swipe the story from us?
"Average gas prices set record at $3.72 a gallon" reads the teaser headline on the USAToday.com Web site. Yet the photo (by Justin Sullivan, Getty Images) accompanying the teaser on the front page shows a gas marquee with gasoline at $4.09-a-gallon.
Does the media treat hypocrites of differing political preferences similarly? The evidence would suggest not. When noted Christian televangelist Jim Bakker was found to have committed adultery and mail fraud back in 1986, the national media were beside themselves with glee, running hundreds of stories about Bakker's hypocrisy. The same pattern repeated itself with other Christian evangelists, including George W. Bush supporter Ted Haggard in 2006, a case that Wikipedia admits "may have affected voting patterns in the 2006 elections". The media made sure to feature the haggard case as a front-page story during the run-up[ to the election, probably hoping (correctly as it turned out) that it would help the Democrats take control of Congress. However, the shoe is now on the other foot.
Famed left-wing radio personality Bernie Ward of San Francisco, a former priest who had one of the loudest and most consistently anti-George W. Bush voices in the entire nation, was found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography on Friday and will serve at least five years in prison. ward tried to argue that he was "doing research" on child pornography, but as the San Francisco Chronicle reported:
In today's report on the disastrous cyclone that swept through the small Asian country of Myanmar (formerly Burma) it looks like ABC News is trying to start a new meme: The cyclone "was Asia's answer to Hurricane Katrina." How long do you think it will be before the idea takes hold and all manner of comparisons will be made between Katrina and the cyclone in Myanmar? If this idea takes hold it won't be long before the media's Bush Derangement Syndrome starts claiming that the military junta that is preventing relief supplies from reaching the Myanmarian people are just like Bush and FEMA's failures in New Orleans.
While he told EW “he had to speculate” about dialogue, “Stone insist[ed] that every scene in 'W' will be rooted in truth.” Instead, the movie is a hodge podge of supposed eyewitness accounts, third-hand gossip and fantastical guesswork mixed with “awkward and goofy” caricatures. EW pointed out that “some accounts” “may have come from disgruntled former staffers.”
If the left frothed over ABC's “Path to 9/11” and the media criticized “its invented scenes, fabricated dialogue and unsubstantiated accounts,” then surely they'll immediately knock Stone for these scenes that could come directly from Will Farrell's old “Saturday Night Live” Bush skits (all bold mine):
There's a scene of 26-year-old Bush peeling his car to a stop on his parents' front lawn and drunkenly hurling insults at his father (''Thank you, Mr. Perfect. Mr. War Hero. Mr. F---ing-God-Almighty!''), while another scene set a few years later finds Bush nearly crashing a small plane while flying under the influence.
Are "Totally in the Tank for Obama" media members focusing on Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" in order to force Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton out of the race?
Consider if you will all of the attention Limbaugh's months-old plan to keep the Democrat nomination process going as long as possible got Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning following Hillary's tough night in North Carolina and Indiana.
Critical update at end of post: El Rushbo sends NewsBusters German article on this subject!
For instance, ABC's Jake Tapper reported the following at his blog late Tuesday evening in a piece called "Is Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos Working?" (emphasis added, picture courtesy Rush Limbaugh.com):
Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and media hype about gasoline prices. On television that third item often takes place not just in your usual standup at a gas station interviewing outraged motorists. In Web-based media, however, the still shot is worth 1,000 barrels.
We've noted how CNN.com has done it. Today, it's ABCNews.com with its front-page teaser headline "Oil: Another Day, Another Record."
The photo accompanying the AP story filed from Vienna -- yes, as in Austria -- by writer George Jahn depicts a gas marquee from an American gas station showing regular unleaded at $4.419-a-gallon. Here's how the caption for the AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez that accompanies Jahn's article reads (emphasis mine):
Former President Bill Clinton pinged ABCNews.com's Political Radar on a pulpit-pounding campaign swing through the Tarheel State just two days before the North Carolina primary. But it appears the alphabet network's Web site not only got the name of an Asheville, N.C., church wrong, but it misspelled, three times, the name of a denomination within Protestant Christianity (emphasis mine) in this May 4 blog post (screencap below fold):
ABC News' Sarah Amos reports: Former President Bill Clinton spent time in two western North Carolina churches this morning, speaking more from his heart than any sort of political handbook.
"I didn't come here to ask you to vote for my wife," said Clinton, addressing the congregation at Church of the Pentacostal in Asheville, N.C. "I came here to ask you to pray for her. And to vote. Do whatever you want. Show up. Our country is in dire distress.
Four, count them, four ABCNews.com reporters hacked out a three-page April 30 article for the alphabet network's Web site that dealt with new steamy text messages between Democratic Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his then-chief-of-staff Christine Beatty. Kilpatrick, indicted on twelve criminal counts including perjury and obstruction of justice, could see time in prison thanks to these text messages which would prove he lied under oath about his affair with Beatty.
Here's how the Kwame Quartet of Vicki Mabrey, David W. Scott, Mary-Claude Foster and Katie Escherich opened their story:
More steamy text messages sent between Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff reveal intimate details about their relationship, and further indicate the mayor played a part in the dismissal of a police officer whose lawsuit brought their affair to light.
If you are a major network and want to 'target' gun owners and gun dealers in a story, what would you do? Why you would write a story about a gun dealer offering a steep discount on firearms for college students, and then only interview the dealer and those who oppose his business and his special offer.
According to an ABC News story covering Eric Thompson, owner of TGSCOM Inc., Thompson is "targeting students" whose limited income doesn't always allow for such high-dollar purchases.
The owner of TGSCOM, Eric Thompson, announced today that for the next two weeks he will sell firearms at cost in the hopes of targeting students who may be on a tight budget. Customers will have over 5,400 different kinds of firearms from which to choose.
"This offer allows students and people who might not have otherwise been able to afford a weapon to purchase one at a hefty discount and at a significant expense to myself," Thompson told ABCNews.com.
Thompson unknowingly sold firearms to the shooters at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. Because of this, he has determined he needs to turn these tragedies around by offering steeply discounted firearms for a limited time so that citizens can afford to protect themselves and their loved ones. He plans to visit the Virginia Tech campus to speak to students who support his efforts.
"The next news story I want to be involved in is how I sold a firearm to someone who helped stop a mass murderer. By forgoing a profit, I hope to help give law-abiding citizens the tools to prevent tragedy," he said.
Sounds great, doesn't it? However, ABC News and those they interviewed for this story don't seem to think so.
It was just a matter of time I suppose. What with Sen. Barack Obama's popularity with college students and the economy being the number one issue for voters, the media finally have an excuse to put a more youthful spin on the classic food vs. prescription drugs meme. A changing media environment, after all, calls for new angles at the same old bias. Someone had to give it the old college try.
Somewhere out there some college co-ed is making an agonizing decision: textbooks or birth control.
Fortunately for America's college-aged voters, ABCNews.com is picking up the banner on this issue:
Erin McKenna, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, admits that she sometimes has to choose between purchasing textbooks for school and paying for her birth-control prescription.
"I have two jobs and I still can't afford it," McKenna said.
The graphic (pictured at right) features a young woman holding the traditional Wii controller against a silhouette of a woman grasping a stripper pole. The link takes readers to an ABCNews.com story by Ashley Phillips.
The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Kentucky's lethal injection procedure for capital punishment. The decision will likely end self-imposed death penalty moratoriums in several states. As of writing this article, Virginia had already lifted its moratorium.
The decision had been long-awaited by advocates on both sides of the death penalty debate. Court prognosticators had mostly believed the court would uphold Kentucky's lethal injection program. But it was a surprise to many that the affirmance came with a 7-2 vote. The Roberts court has been known for a series of contentious 5-4 splits of any number of decisions, often with Justice Kennedy being the key swing vote.
In the Roberts court a 7-2 decision is a landslide, but that did not stop Associated Press writer Mark Sherman from describing that the "splintered Supreme Court cleared the way" for the resumption of capital punishment.
A woman in the throes of passion, a crucifix, and a book, presumably a Bible with a cross emblazoned on the cover. Those are the elements of a photo illustration (via PhotoDisc) gracing ABCNews.com's front page and teasing an article entitled "Christian Sex: Holy and Hot!"
Published the same day Pope Benedict XVI is set to arrive in Washington, D.C., the article's timing in and of itself might turn heads. Of course the subject matter -- how Christian ministers approach preaching and teaching on sex and romance in the context of marriage -- is in and of itself perfectly fine for a general news publication. But the illustration in question is, to say the least, uncalled for.
On Monday, ABC's World News with Charles Gibson highlighted and seemed to glorify anti-America comments made by a young Egyptian woman, whom the show interviewed as part of a regular series about young people in other countries, who compared the States to a dumb "jock" that in a few years will "die down and burn out, and what's left is a totally useless nation."
The young woman, named Ro'ya, charged: "In the past, if the States was a strong country, it was because it had thinkers, but right now, it's kind of like, it's kind of like a jock, okay -- very powerful, very athletic, in a couple of years, die down and burn out, and what's left is a totally useless nation." Without challenge, Weir added: "Ro'ya says she would only live in America if it would help Americans understand the Arab world. She'd much rather move to Italy..." (An online version of the story can be found at ABCNews.com.) (Transcript follows)
E-mail tipster Mike Huggins pointed out to NewsBusters that as of 4:30 p.m. EDT today, he found but one media mention of Obama backer Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-W.V.) smear of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) among the seven major online news sources he checked. Rockefeller's comment, which he now regrets, is also arguably a smear of U.S. military fighter pilots past and present.
"McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they (the missiles) get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues," Rockefeller said.
Huggins noted that while he searched the Web sites for the Washington Post, L.A. Times, New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABCNews.com, and CBSNews.com, he found but one story on the incident and that on ABC's Web site.
ABC White House reporter Martha Raddatz (file photo at right), formerly that network's Pentagon correspondent, is clueless when it comes to federal law regarding U.S. military personnel and what they can and cannot say publicly about their politics, bloggers Richard Gardner and James Joyner argue in an April 8 post at Outside the Beltway.
Why not “Government Employees Cannot Participate in Partisan Political Activity”? Or how about government employees are not allowed to state who they support politically? How about government employees are NOT allowed to vote? How about UNION government employees are not allowed to vote?
Gardner went on to quote an excerpt in which Raddatz equated servicemen expressing "their personal endorsements" -- that is telling people for whom they plan to vote -- to engaging "in partisan political activity" which "the military is not supposed" to do.
Gardner called Raddatz on the absurdity of her statement:
Are the Girl Scouts of America to blame for America’s "obesity epidemic"? An ABC News website article suggested that. On an article charging overweight Americans face widespread discrimination, the piece then moved on to blame the food producers, not the individual that buys them for America’s widening waistline. Targeting the Girl Scouts specifically for the problem, correspondent Lee Dye charged "that little angel standing at your door is offering you a one-way ticket to obesity."
The article focused on one researcher, Rebecca Puhl, who blamed the problem on not only the big food producers, but also "genetics and some diseases" and implicitly scorned those who mentioned personal responsibility. "If it were that easy we wouldn’t have this epidemic we have now," Puhl charges. She also blames the food companies for making less healthy options "more accessible."
"We live in a very toxic food environment. We make it very easy for people to be unhealthy. Unhealthy foods, or junk foods, are accessible, cheap and engineered to taste very, very good. Healthy foods, like produce, are not as accessible, and are more expensive."
Wall Street saw a 391-point rally on the Dow today, the first day of the second quarter. ABCNews.com saw the development worthy of a "Breaking News" tag towards the top of its Web page and put the story in the top headlines rotation.
But it appears that ABCNews.com was alone among its competitors in trumpeting the news. I checked numerous Web sites shortly after 5:30 and found ABC's to be the only one to give the rally top billing. [see the screencaps below the page break]