Scott Pelley deserves grudging credit for recognizing something obvious at a Friday luncheon in New York. Readers tempted to go beyond that point would be advised to visit the archive of Pelley-related posts at NewsBusters on his brand of so-called journalism, a few of which will be identified later in this post.
At said luncheon, Pelley received the 20th annual Fred Friendly First Amendment Award from the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University. In his acceptance speech (full YouTube; excerpt here; HT Weekly Standard), Pelley spoke of journalistic failures during the past few months. He wants to believe that the past few months have been extraordinarily bad to a supposedly unprecedented extent.
Clinton and Eltahawy made the list under the "activist" category, while Dunham made the "celebrities" list. While there are plenty of relatively apolitical Tweeps in the mix, Time made sure to make Pete Souza, the president's photographer, one of the 10 honored in the arts and photography list. Below the page break you'll see the Souza tweet they chose, along with the picture of President Obama that accompanied it, as well as the magazine's state reason for why they like Souza's feed:
At the Hill on Monday, Pete Kasperowicz, employing the establishment press's usual "mean Republicans attack" spin, is packaging something first aggregated on Friday at Michelle Malkin's Twitchy.com exclusively as an accusation coming from GOP Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas.
Malkin's credit-denied crew, with the help of citizen activists who did much of the dirty work, detected what I will call "Astro-Tweets," a Twitter-driven variant of the campaign tactic known as "astroturfing," which aims, using a variety of means, to create the illusion of public support for a cause where little or none exists (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Liz Sidoti's offering this morning at the Associated Press, which is clearly a serious competitor for Worst AP Item Ever, carries the "column" label. As such, I suppose we're expected to accept the idea that the "analysis" offered is hers alone.
But you would think that the self-described "essential global news network" would have enough business judgment to review a reporter's work to make sure it doesn't talk down to the general public and indict its own reporting on the economy at the same time. You would be wrong, as will be seen after the jump.
It didn't take long for the Luddites at Occupy Wall Street to go loony in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's damage.
Michelle Malkin's Twitchy.com web site captured tweets about how showing reactions in the midst of all the death and destruction at OWS's official Twitter account you won't see in the establishment press. The most egregious examples follow the jump.
Our friends at Twitchy have an astounding roundup of tweets from liberals who are blaming Rush Limbaugh for the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
None of the folks they featured are liberal celebrities or members of the media, but given how the media have blamed conservative talk radio for mass shootings before, it would not be surprising if liberal journalists and pundits today pick up this thread and tug on it.
The Jurassic Press is missing much in their reporting on the $50 billion bailout of General Motors (GM). The Press is open channeling for President Barack Obama - allowing him to frame the bailout exactly as he wishes in the 2012 Presidential election.
The President is running in large part on the bailout’s $30+ billion loss, uber-failed “success.” And the Press is acting as his stenographers. An epitome of this bailout nightmare mess is the electric absurdity that is the Chevrolet Volt. The Press is at every turn covering up - rather than covering - the serial failures of President Obama’s signature vehicle.
The Washington Post's popular Fact Checker political column isn't known for being particularly balanced when it comes to choosing which statements to dissect. So, it was surprising when the column's author Glenn Kessler, who usually chooses to go after statements made by prominent Republicans, fact-checked a tweet made by President Obama.
On July 3, @BarackObama tweeted, "FACT: In 2010 and 2011, Romney paid less than 15% in taxes on $42.5 million in income—much less than what many middle-class families pay." Kessler decided to dig into this statement and gave it "3 out of 4" Pinnochios on the Fact Checker scale.
We've written before critically about Twitter, including posts about how the micro-blogging site's was slow in removing a "Kill Zimmerman" account that encouraged violence -- in violation of Twitter's terms of service agreement by the way -- against alleged 2nd-degree murderer George Zimmerman. But today, we have to offer a hearty kudos to the folks at Twitter for refusing to cooperate with a censorship effort in Pakistan to silence "Everybody Draw Muhammad" tweets.
By contrast, the Associated Press is reporting that Facebook -- which on Friday became a publicly-traded company -- gladly cooperated with efforts by the Pakistani government to prevent users in Pakistan from accessing pages devoted to Draw Muhammad Day content:
A few days ago, left-wing director Spike Lee, who has 248,000+ followers on Twitter, retweeted an item bearing what was supposed to be the address of George Zimmerman, the man who claims to have shot Miami teen Trayvon Martin in self defense a month ago in Sanford, Florida. But the address was incorrect and the occupants of the residence are an elderly couple who bear no relation to Zimmerman. As a result of Lee's retweet, they've received hate mail and, fearing for their safety, have fled their home.
Yet when it came her turn to report the development today, MSNBC's Chris Jansing did her level best to spin the news in such a way as to absolve Lee -- who directed some of the network's Lean Forward promo spots -- of any culpability for putting the couple in jeopardy. Here's the relevant transcript. Video follows the page break (MP3 audio here):
Less than two weeks after his suspension for previous intemperate tweets was lifted, CNN's Roland Martin was engaging in personally insulting "mis-tweetment" again this afternoon with PJ Media's David Steinberg.
In a series of tweets at around 5 p.m. tonight seen after the jump, Steinberg criticized Martin for spending so much time on the press's Trayvon Martin obsession -- where one person tragically died -- while ignoring the impact and meaning of the documents leaked by an unnamed Department of Justice official relating to the Fast and Furious "gunwalking" scandal -- as a result of which "at least 300 Mexicans, plus at least two American law enforcement agents" have been killed. Martin's responses were immature, insulting, condescending -- and all too typical of a press corps which, now that it is seeing poll results it doesn't like, has in certain cases taken to calling voters stupid.
ABC, CBS, and NBC spotlighted the Komen foundation's about-face on funding Planned Parenthood on their Friday evening newscasts, and played up the apparent role of social media in getting the charity to reverse its earlier decision. On World News, ABC's Diane Sawyer trumpeted the "dramatic day for people power," while on Nightly News, NBC's Lester Holt concluded, "score one for the power of social media."
The Big Three outlets also covered the 180 by the breast cancer organization on their Saturday morning shows. Altogether, the networks added seven more reports to the 13 from the first 60 hours or so of the controversy, bringing the total to 20 since February 1, versus only three on the face-off between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration since January 20 (the MRC documented and highlighted this imbalance in a report on Friday; ABC and NBC added mentions on their Sunday morning political shows).
Instead, Twitter (and their ABC promoters) insisted it was more notable that a guy joke-tweeted for a Morton's porterhouse at the airport and Morton's decided to show up with a steak for the publicity. Or that bored NBA star Kevin Durant showed up at a flag-football game with old Oklahoma buddies through Twitter. It doesn't pass the laugh test. (By contrast, on December 31, 2010, Sawyer's newscast did mock Sarah Palin using "refudiate" on Twitter in their year in review.)
Some 24 hours before taking to the air for the debut of "Now with Alex Wagner," the MSNBC host tweeted a snarky comment about sexual harassment being a "lucrative side gig" for GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain, who "raised $9M in Oct."
But besides presuming Cain's guilt, Wagner's claim is factually inaccurate, ignoring the fact that Politico broke the sexual harassment allegations at the end of October, publishing the story to its website after 9 p.m. Eastern on Halloween night. Indeed, Time magazine notes that only 25 percent of the contributions "came since Politico published its story alleging the Georgian sexually harassed two women."
A software upgrade at Facebook has some conservative groups worried that their hard-earned followings might be rendered useless. The upgrade will "archive" all existing Facebook groups, thereby revoking administrators' access to member lists, unless they receive an exemption from Facebook (and the accompanying software).
The company has not revealed how groups are being chosen for these exemptions, but a number of prominent conservative groups recently told the Daily Caller that they had not received one, and feared they wouldn't. Losing access to member lists would remove key functionality, as administrators would no longer be able to contact group members en masse (Facebook "pages" will not be affected).
Facebook insisted in a statement that the company "determined what groups to archive based on a number of factors, including the amount of recent activity."But a quick look at a few of the groups that did and did not get these exemptions demonstrates that neither activity nor group size was the overriding factor. Indeed, plenty of conservative-leaning political groups with active memberships are still waiting on the software given to smaller, far less active liberal-leaning groups.
In late 2009, the Washington Post's response to a tweet from its managing editor that betrayed a clear left-leaning worldview was to censor all of its employees for fear that they might betray their (gasp) opinions. A more sensible policy might have been to acknowledge that the paper is staffed by people who are, for the most part, liberals.
The same managing editor, Raju Narisetti - who has since added a strongly-worded statement to his twitter bio disclaiming his employer from any views expressed there - shot out a similar tweet on Monday, once again conveying his left-of-center views on major policy priorities. “Thought encounter of the day: ‘Would be good if our schools are fully funded and DoD has to hold a bake sale to buy its next fighter jet,'" Narisetti wrote.
The wisdom of that (facetious?) policy prescription is a debate for another forum. It should, however, remove any remaining doubt about Narisetti's political views. And while his tweet does not represent the Post's official position, it ought to give readers pause that someone with such obviously left-of-center views is in such a position of power at an ostensibly "objective" publication.
In a set of tweets a few minutes ago decrying the shooting of bin Laden, leftist filmmaker Michael Moore attacked the Obama administration for not capturing bin Laden and bringing him back alive for trial.
After comparing Confederate general Robert E. Lee and Confederate president Jefferson Davis to bin Laden, Moore groused, "I'm just saying, I want my America back."
He then added, "I dunno, maybe it never was. We are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves."
It wasn't long ago that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was concerned about how he would be portrayed in The Social Network - and with good reason. As John Nolte observed, "there's no doubt that this look at how the creation of a cultural phenomenon left behind a wake of betrayals, broken relationships and billion-dollar lawsuits is an absolutely fascinating one."
Twitter and other social networks have provided social scientists with unprecedented means of measuring human interaction. As it turns out, that fact has implications for the media bias debate.
In a study to be released next month, three Duke University researchers rank politicians and other public figures by political ideology as measured by a formula that incorporates whom they follow on Twitter, and who follows them. "The results dovetailed with ideological ranking systems based on the politicians’ voting records," the New York Times reported on Monday.
If the study is accurate, it demonstrates just how liberal some of America's most prominent journalists really are. Check below the break for some key findings concerning on the not-so-neutral news media.
Update (12:08 p.m. EST): Brewer just made this her question of the day on her MSNBC Live program.
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer injected a bit of liberal commentary to a link she posted Monday morning on her Facebook page.
"You know it's overfunded when even the Pentagon pushes for spending cuts. Why is defense such a sacred cow?" lamented Brewer in a comment posted above a link to a Wall Street Journal article on Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget blueprint.
I don't know, Contessa, maybe because the primary mission of the federal government is defending the nation from foreign enemies?
A recently-released analysis by the Pew Research Center reveals some interesting facts about the online conversation regarding the Tucson massacre. Most notably, it lends statistical weight to the claim that the left accused its ideological opponents of fostering a "climate of hate" to a far greater degree than did the right.
Though that may not be altogether surprising, the Pew study also revealed that the three news networks - the self-styled objective and responsible journalistic gatekeepers - were far more likely to blame conservatives alone for the tone of the national debate than even liberals in the blogosphere and twitterverse.
Vanity Fair's national editor Todd Purdum has a long piece in the most recent issue (in the print edition only, as far as I can tell) bemoaning what he argues are the new and unique challenges facing the Obama administration, including the state of the news media. Purdum's opinions on the state of the news business boil down to a call for the press's continuing political uniformity.
He offers a quote from White House adviser Valerie Jarrett that also captures the author's opinions on the issue. Purdum writes:
Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett looks back wistfully to a time when credible people could put a stamp of reliability on information and opinion: "Walter Cronkite would get on and say the truth, and people believed the media," she says. Today, no single media figure or outlet has that power to end debate, and in pursuit of "objectivity," most honest news outlets draw the line at saying flatly that something or other is untrue, even when it plainly is.
Purdum's and Jarrett's statements are comprised of one part revisionist nostalgia, and one part liberal elitism. "Objectivity" was never really present. What they're longing for is the reliable white-collar liberalism of the 20th century news media.
Here's Bauder's fourth paragraph wherein he described the Lebanese cleric that Nasr had praised as "[o]ne of Hezbollah's giants [she] respects a lot" (emphasis mine):
Lebanon's Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah died Sunday after a long illness. He was staunchly anti-American and linked to bombings that killed more than 260 Americans, a charge he denied.
Here's Bauder's lead paragraph:
NEW YORK -- Octavia Nasr has been fired. CNN fired the editor responsible for Middle Eastern coverage after she posted a note on Twitter expressing admiration for a late Lebanese cleric considered an inspiration for the Hezbollah militant movement.
Wouldn't a better lede incorporate elements of the fourth paragraph? Something like:
Editor's Note: What follows is a statement NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell released earlier this evening upon learning that CNN had fired its senior editor of Mideast affairs Octavia Nasr, who had expressed via her Twitter account sadness at the death of a Hezbollah terrorist leader whom she "respect[ed] a lot."
CNN has finally taken a step in the right direction in removing a terrorist sympathizer from their ranks. It’s a shame it took this amount of publicity and attention from organizations like the MRC to get the job done, as Octavia Nasr should never have been granted the position of authority to begin with. Unfortunately, CNN will have to deal with the consequences of how this affects their integrity and a growing public distrust of how they cover Islamic terrorism, but they took the right step in firing her.
The Twitter "Fail Whale": An irritating part of anyone's day that regularly uses social networking in their day-to-day activities. But could this endanger the viability of Twitter as long-term business?
A couple of analysts say think so. Both CNET.com senior editor Natali Del Conte and Herb Greenburg of CNBC Business News suggested Twitter's infrastructure problems could pose issues for Twitter's survival on CNBC's July 2 "Power Lunch."
"Twitter's down all the time," Greenburg said. "I love using Twitter. I will say it here and now - if Twitter were a business, it would be broke. Wait! Twitter is a business, but it's a private business. Maybe it's the type of business that should go public in this environment because those are the kind of companies that go public.
The amateur liberal blogosphere is dead, according to a prominent lefty blogger. Chris Bowers made his proclamation Thursday, on the heels of the New York Times's acquisition of FiveThirtyEight, a prominent liberal polling site run by Nate Silver.
Silver, pictured right, was the latest in a string of moves from the liberal blogosphere to traditional media outlets. The Washington Post has, with much fanfare, beefed up its blogging staff of late, most recently by hiring Dave Weigel to cover the political right.
The trend of professionalization should not be surprising. Traditional media are overwhelming liberal, and new media comprise some of the sharpest journalistic minds the nation has to offer. Traditional media need ways to remain relevant. Why wouldn't they draw talent from the vast pool of bloggers?
It was bound to happen and no one can really blame them for doing so, but someone eventually had to determine who the political winners and losers are for the tragic circumstances surrounding the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Looking forward to the upcoming election cycle, MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough determined the time was right to take a stab at it, although reluctantly on his June 2 broadcast.
"[W]e will stay with BP for one second but talk about presidential politics and I know this will be offensive to some people but it's just a reality that there is somebody in the White House, somebody in the Democratic Party, somebody in the Republican Party that's trying to figure out the political impact of this environmental tragedy. And we were talking with Chuck Todd last hour about how it ramps up when the oil starts washing on Florida shores, Chris. That makes this a much bigger political event in terms of presidential politics, like it or not."