Our friend Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer has an excellent run-down of Media Matters (MMA) latest attack on another of its favorite bogeymen: Rush Limbaugh. Earlier this week it was sharpening its knives over Bill O'Reilly:
Not content to wait until Bill O'Reilly's hoped- for demise, the George Soros- funded Media Matters / mainstream media smear machine has added a second target: Rush Limbaugh.
And this time, the distortion of words may actually be more severe than in O'Reilly's case.
Now, Media Matters has twisted and edited Rush's words in a way that makes it appear he's insulting the troops. They've taken the false idea that he called anti- war soldiers "phony troops" and spread it across the Internet. But Limbaugh said nothing of the sort.
Maloney explains that MMA took out of context a remark Limbaugh made about "phony soldiers:"
There's a fabulous column by Ed Driscoll (HT to NixGuy in an e-mail) about the evolution of media and reporting from the invention of radio to our current circumstances.
It's the title of Driscoll's work, "Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media," that misses the mark a bit.
Ed has the "stranglehold" part nailed:
By the early 1970s, mass media had reached its zenith (if you’ll pardon the pun). Most Americans were getting their news from one of three TV networks’ half-hour nightly broadcasts. With the exception of New York, most big cities had only one or two primary newspapers. And no matter what a modern newspaper’s lineage, by and large its articles, except for local issues, came from global wire services like the Associated Press or Reuters; it took its editorial lead from the New York Times; and it claimed to be impartial (while usually failing miserably).
Upset that a University of Florida student was tasered by campus police at a John Kerry event, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's, "Hardball" feared it was a result of the "fascistic notion" of American troops "forcing" democracy on Iraqis at "gunpoint", filtering back home.
Chris Matthews: "You know when we walk into those, every night on television you watch pictures of American soldiers risking their lives to break into homes in Baghdad, at gunpoint, telling people to go along with the government that we've set up over there. Democracy at gunpoint. I wonder if it's filtered back here at home. I wonder if it's drift back home? The idea that democracy is something you do at gunpoint. ‘Either you behave and do it this way and show up by putting your fingers in the ink and doing it this way or you're an insurgent, therefore, we can round you up and if you resist we can kill you.'That notion it's a bit fascist and it's certainly a fascistic notion of democracy we're forcing, forcing on people over there. They didn't invited us into Iraq and I wonder now whether we are picking up some of the bad habits of the war front?"
After CNN and YouTube organized a fairly silly and yet seriously liberal presidential debate for the Democratic presidential candidates this summer, GOP contenders developed cold feet about placing their ambitions at the feet of these groups. When only two GOP candidates accepted invitations for a proposed CNN/YouTube debate in September, the event was called off. In response, a set of conservative bloggers started a website called Savethedebate.com, urging that “Republicans cannot afford to write off the Internet” and risk “denigrating” the youth vote and the way they communicate. Five GOP candidates have now agreed; the new date is November 28.
These bloggers are fine conservatives, but no one should be under the illusion that writing off one website is “writing off the Internet.” That said, GOP candidates do not have the Democrats’ luxury of ignoring hostile media outlets like FOX as if they did not exist.
As the 2008 presidential campaign moves into high gear, a common conservative complaint has been that Democrat candidates have so far been largely asked softball questions by liberal moderators at their debates, while the Republicans have actually been vigorously challenged by media personalities in theirs.
On CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday morning, former Capitol Hill correspondent for ABC, and current contributing editor to the National Journal, Linda Douglass, made it quite clear that she agrees with such concerns.
Host Howard Kurtz, after playing a video clip of musician Melissa Etheridge asking Hillary Clinton (D-New York) a question at a recent debate, posed the following:
Linda Douglass, my question is with those kinds of personal, first-person, emotional queries, do we really need journalists at these debates? Aren't these questions sort of better than the kind of questions that reporters ask?
Sounding more like ABC's Sam Champion or Al Gore than a "fair and balanced" news anchor, Fox's Shepard Smith slammed Americans in general and his studio audience in particular in a recent "Studio B" interview with a British man who swam at the North Pole as a global warming-related publicity stunt.
See the YouTube video below the fold. Here's an excerpt of the exchange:
When leading Republican candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney demurred on attending a Republican presidential debate hosted by the video-hosting site YouTube, some web-savvy Republicans protested. That's the background for New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye's "Allies Urge Republicans to Join YouTube Debate" Thursday.
"When the leading Republican presidential candidates started to squirm last week about attending a Sept. 17 YouTube debate, in which the public would ask questions via video, there was a surprising backlash from the world of Republican and conservative bloggers."
What's so "surprising" about bloggers wanting their party's candidates to participate in an Internet debate?
Seelye later referred to the situation as "a mess." Then there was this identification of blogger-author Andrew Sullivan
We all had the opportunity for some real political fun this week when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama contradicted each other in the CNN/YouTube debate. If you did not already see it, one of the YouTube questioners asked the candidates whether they would be willing to meet with the leaders of rogue nations, without preconditions, during their first year in office. Obama answered that he would. Clinton answered that she would not.
Those are differing positions, right? Diametrically opposed, actually? Well, maybe not, or at least not according to Jonathan Alter of Newsweek. In his July 27 article "Talking to Dictators," Alter wrote: "[o]n the substance, their views are almost indistinguishable." Indistinguishable?
Alter's surprising conclusion comes after his own summary of the post-debate fracas between Clinton and Obama:
For various reasons, the majority of the Republican presidential campaigns have said they are not going to participate in a CNN debate co-sponsored with the Google-owned YouTube.com.
Despite the fact that the Democrats' YouTube debate featured left-wing questions far out of proportion to questions from the right (see NB's prior coverage of the debate here), Republican activist Patrick Ruffini is arguing the GOP is really dropping the ball. Here's an excerpt from an open letter he's attached to a petition urging the candidates to change their minds:
We've read the news reports that only two of your fellow candidates have agreed to attend the Republican Party of Florida/YouTube debate, and there are major candidates considering snubbing the event.
As Republicans, we believe this is a serious mistake. Every Democratic candidate eagerly accepted the opportunity to answer questions from the American people via YouTube, even Hillary Clinton, the most cautious and calculating of the bunch.
Nothing biased here, just an amusing video to kick off your weekend. Yesterday shortly after 3:30 p.m. Eastern on "Studio B," Fox News anchor Shep Smith cracked up his guests and crew by joking about the all-too-frequent incidence of false fire alarms at Fox News Headquarters in New York.
Newsbusters revealed the overwhelming left-wing bias of the YouTube video question clips at the CNN Democrat presidential debate on Monday night. One of the most outrageous questions of the night came from Anne Laird of Pennsylvania (pictured at right), who identified herself as an employee of Planned Parenthood. Laird asked, “My question is, we here at Planned Parenthood support comprehensive sex education, and I'd like to know if any of you as candidates have talked to your children about sex, and used medically accurate and age-appropriate information?” Laird uses the word “we” in the question -- due to the fact that her clip was one of 22 that was submitted by Planned Parenthood and its supporters on one YouTube.com account with the user name PPVotes.
Laird, an Altoona, Pennsylvania native who works for Planned Parenthood in the Pennsylvania state capitol of Harrisburg, asked her question at a recent Planned Parenthood conference in Washington, DC, as revealed by an article in the Altoona Mirror. Other attendees at the conference asked a range of questions which reflect Planned Parenthood’s comprehensive sexual agenda, from “Would you push for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment?,” “Will you repeal the global gag rule?” (referring to the Mexico City policy of the Reagan administration, which was reinstated by the Bush administration), to “Would you protect a woman’s right to control her body?” (an obvious reference to Planned Parenthood’s support for Roe v. Wade).
Over at Time's "Swampland" blog yesterday, journalist Joe Klein all but suggested the GOP candidates might be hoping to chicken out of the upcoming YouTube debate on September 17, given the leftward slant of the YouTube questions.
Given the generally irreverent and, well, liberal tone of the questions last night--and the general skew of the YouTube audience leeward, do you think it's possible that some of the Republican candidates are having second thoughts about participating in their version of the CNN/YouTube debate on September 17?
And might there be an Ailes gremlin whispering to the candidates: The Dems stiffed us at Fox. You can stiff CNN.
I'm glad Klein agrees with us that the agenda of questions on Monday skewed heavily left-of-center, but where he's off-base is suggesting that Republicans should also be pushed from the left in the debate format.
One way you can tell the media roots for liberal Democrats is by how it can’t choose just one for president. They’re all still viable, so...they’re all still fabulous. Trying to say one is better than the others seems just impossible for some reporters. And what about when the candidates fight each other? The fights are minimized, since Democratic party unity is important for their electability.
As Matthew Balan has mentioned, CNN has offered praise to all the Democratic candidates, but to me, political reporter Candy Crowley seemed a perfect example of that telltale Praise Everybody Syndrome. On Tuesday’s American Morning, Crowley asserted, that Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama, "all did really well in getting their points across," even when they were fighting each other. From Crowley, this sounded a bit repetitive – because she also spread praise all over the candidates – and a few candidate spouses – last Friday morning, and even as anchor John Roberts explained their recent spats, she refused to elaborate on the fights and turned the subject back to praising Democrats all around.
Every four years, journalists present themselves as objective questioners in presidential debates only to be roundly, and correctly, denounced by conservatives for being anything but. When, oh when, we ask, will America be able to enjoy a candidate forum free from liberal reporters inserting their slanted worldviews into the discussion? When, oh when, we ask ourselves, will they get out of the way?
It looks like we should be very careful what we ask for.
Unlike their "American Morning" counterparts who liked most of the candidates, CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin and CNN contributor Roland Martin had clear favorites on who was the best Democrat at the CNN/YouTube.com debate. In the post-debate special on Monday night, host Wolf Blitzer asked Toobin about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's response to a YouTube video questioner who asked whether the candidates would meet with the leaders of rogue counties like Iran, Syria, and North Korea in their first year in office. Toobin gushed, "I thought on this issue, and throughout the debate, this debate was Gladys Knight and the Pips. Hillary Clinton is the dominant figure in the party. She's the dominant figure in the debate. And everybody else was responding to her." About twenty minutes later, Martin took issue with Toobin's comments, and argued that Obama did as well as Hillary in his answer.
In the lead-up to Monday night’s YouTube debate with the Democrat presidential candidates, CNN ran prime-time specials previewing videos that might be featured during the debate, and most of those featured came from the liberal side. It should be no surprise then that video clips featured left-wing clips by almost a 3 to 1 margin versus the conservative clips - 17 liberal clips to 6 conservative clips, out of a total of 38 video question clips.
Video of 10 of the liberal questions (6:20): Real (4.53 MB) or Windows (3.79 MB), plus MP3 audio (2.15 MB).
During the course of tonight's CNN/YouTube Dem debate, Barack Obama got off this zinger at Hillary's expense.
BARACK OBAMA: One thing I have to say about Senator Clinton,s comments a couple moments ago: I think it's terrific that she is asking for [Iraq withdrawal] plans from the Pentagon [A+ for condescension there, Barack!], and I think the Pentagon response was ridiculous. But what I also know is that the time for us to ask how we were going to get out of Iraq was before we went in. And that is something that too many of us [like you, Hillary] failed to do. We failed to do it.
The screencap shows Hillary's reaction. What was going through her mind?
Just a moment ago, radio host Rush Limbaugh was blasting the mainstream media's notion that the YouTube debates represent a revolution in American presidential debates.
Not so, says Limbaugh, at least in terms of the content of the questions asked. They're still as inane and moronic, or brilliant (in rare circumstances) as they've always been because they're the same inance, moronic, or brilliant (rare circumstances) people asking them.
Instead, Limbaugh insists, we are seeing a revolution in media technology being confused for a nascent political revolution.
Now couple that, the notion that "new voices" are being heard in the YouTube debates ,with the wild left-wing skew we've documented at NewsBusters, and you see the media's liberal bias at work in staging the 2008 election in terms of liberal issue battlegrounds.
For those interested, there are currently 2,794 video questions that have been submitted for consideration to be asked at Monday's CNN/YouTube Democrat debate. Those that can stomach it should go here.
However, be forewarned. Some of the submissions are quite absurd.
With that in mind, Bryan at Hot Air has selflessly and admirably taken one for the team so to speak, and actually looked at about 1,100 of these videos reaching the following conclusions (emphasis added):
[*OBSCENE LANGUAGE CONTENT WARNING*] It doesn't get uglier than this. Using the crudest of language and the filthiest of depictions, a video skit posted on YouTube by veteran comedian Louis CK presents the Catholic Church as existing "solely for the purpose of boy rape." Louis CK is a veteran performer and writer who has been featured on network television. Last year, he had a sitcom, "Lucky Louis," which ran on HBO.
The skit begins with an "introduction" by Louis CK saying that he wants to learn about the Catholic Church. The next scene places him in an office across the desk of a priest who is a "spokesperson for the Archdiocese" of New York.
LOUIS CK: Uh, so, what is the Catholic Church? What are you guys all about about?
In last night’s CNN special on their upcoming YouTube debate, Paula Zahn previewed some of the video questions that had been sent in. The topics up for debate last night included faith and values, the environment and gay rights. Zahn led the segment on faith and values with the comment, “we are seeing an amazing variety of questions about faith and values for next Monday’s debate.” Unfortunately the four YouTube questions that followed were anything but a “variety.” The transcript of the questions follows below.
Over the last week CNN has been airing hour-long specials to promote their upcoming YouTube presidential debates. CNN has been asking viewers to submit videos to YouTube.com for a chance to have their questions answered by presidential candidates. Of the videos aired so far, those with a leftist slant have greatly outnumbered those from a conservative viewpoint. Of the videos aired on Monday night MRC concluded that distinctly liberal video submissions outnumbered conservative ones by a margin of 8 to 1 (though a slim majority of total videos shown were neutral or non-partisan).
CNN has been particularly adamant in their use of video submissions calling for universal or socialized health care. On Wednesday night CNN recycled a video that had already aired on Monday, despite that fact that some 1,400 videos had been posted on YouTube at that point. The video was submitted by Kim of Long Island, New York who is battling cancer.
As part of their week-long series of specials previewing their upcoming presidential debates with YouTube, CNN interviewed Dr. Mehmet Oz on Wednesday evening. Oz and host Paula Zahn discussed the media-driven "crisis" in health care. Zahn asked Oz, "what is the answer to piercing the bureaucracy. That is certainly something you can't fix overnight." Oz's answer: "Well, one of our biggest challenges is nihilism. People don't think they can fix the problem. But we can, Paula."
Dr. Oz is a cardiologist, an author, and is a regular contributor to Oprah Winfrey's radio show "Oprah & Friends" on XM satellite radio. In her first question to Oz, Zahn asked, "how much of a crisis are we in, when it comes to health care." Besides listing the "deep-seated lack of confidence" among health care workers, and the technological backwardness in tracking patients and their records in the industry, Oz used the oft-repeated line that "to boot, 50 million people roughly don't have any insurance at all." Of course, this is just a sound byte that is used to support the sense that there is a "crisis," and doesn't tell the whole picture, as a recent BMI report demonstrated.
On Monday night, CNN aired a special hour promoting the upcoming "CNN/YouTube" presidential debates. CNN is encouraging viewers to record their questions for the presidential candidates and post them on YouTube.com. In anticipation of this historic event, hosts John Roberts and Kiran Chetry shared just a few of the thousands of video submissions CNN has already received. Of the videos aired on Monday, a disproportionate number were distinctly liberal. Of the 19 individual videos shown (excluding some brief, zany clips), 10 were politically neutral, 8 were liberal or critical of conservative and/or Republican policies, and only 1 was clearly conservative.
Updates below. (Close look at whiteboard in video calls Ann Coulter a "whore," etc.)
By now you may have heard about "Obama Girl," an attractive young woman dancing and singing a tune about having a "crush" on the Democratic presidential hopeful. It's all the rage on the cable news nets this afternoon. Doing some digging around the Internet, however, I was unable to find who exactly is behind the viral video phenomenon, but I did find it was registered through GoDaddy.com, the Web site registrar made a household name for its racy TV ads.
At any rate, "Obama Girl" Leah Kauffman (see update) doesn't appear to be a random young woman with a camcorder and Internet savvy. Her video "I Got a Crush on Obama" serves as the inaugural media stunt for BarelyPolitical.com, a Web site created on May 30 that has a skimpy "about us" section:
Twenty years ago, on June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan, standing on the west side of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, gave a speech that many believe signaled the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
In this extraordinary moment in history, President Reagan challenged the Soviet Union’s Mikhail Gorbachev:
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!