By now you may have seen press coverage of a new viral video entitled "I'm Voting Republican" in which numerous people give facetious reasons for voting GOP this November, all of them echoing liberal memes about conservatives and Republicans.
But checking the credits, I came across something that caught my eye, the "Special Thanks" portion of the video credits. One thing in particular stood out, a note of thanks to "All Saints' Episcopal Church." The name appearing above that credit lists one "Shelley Dudley" as another person thanked for her help. Since SyntheticHuman Pictures, the company that produced the "I'm Voting Republican" video hails from Phoenix, I quickly found the Web page for the church in question and that Ms. Dudley is the church's financial administrator.
One of the scenes in the video features an actor named Jason J. Baker portraying one Rev. David Madison saying, "I'm voting Republican because women just can't be trusted to make decisions about their own bodies. Never, ever, ever." Behind Baker is a stained-glass window.
Given the partisan nature of the video and the advice the company gives in a "Get Involved" section of its Web site for concerned viewers to join liberal groups like MoveOn.org, it may be worth someone in the mainstream media asking if it's appropriate for a church to let its facilities be used for the filming of a partisan video.
When she's not using her vlog to further a biased take on the news, I've noticed that Katie Couric often complains about rather trivial nuisances in her Notebook segments posted on her Couric & Co. blog. Couric's June 18 edition sounds like a shorter and perkier version of an Andy Rooney rant on the topic of the decline of the wrist watch's popularity with the kids these days.
You see, with more and more people owning cell phones, fewer whippersnappers people see the need for wearing a wrist watch.
Well, I'll let Katie explain, if you care to watch, here. Here's an excerpt:
Today's Conventional Wisdom at Newsweek.com gives the imperial thumbs down for public campaign financing system, and all because the all-but-anointed Democratic champion is foregoing federal funding.:
[Down arrow] Public campaign financing: Obama decision to forgo funds could signal the end of system.
Besides being entirely too premature to make a pronouncement like that, it's a blown opportunity for the snarky editors at Newsweek to blast Obama for breaking a campaign pledge. Rather than assign the Illinois Democrat a down arrow for backing out of his pledge to run on public financing, Newsweek is heralding the demise of a system Obama seemed to favor just months ago.
Today Democratic presumptive nominee Barack Obama issued a statement that he will forego the public financing system for the general election. His announcement goes back on a pledge to use public financing if the Republican candidate would do the same.
All three broadcast networks' Web sites have the story, but only ABCNews.com noted in its front page tease that Obama is going back on a previous campaign promise.
Subtle bias towards emphasizing unfavorable economic news and against reporting good economic news is present in many places. I will demonstrate that it's even sometimes in the brief e-mail alerts many people receive.
This alert I received today from CNNMoney demonstrates a long-known (by me) but, until now, unproven point:
But when the Dow closed above 14,000 for the first time on October 1, 2007, here is what that day's CNN alert had to say:
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani is the latest Marine to turn out not to be a "cold-blooded killer" that the media and Democratic politicians painted Marines charged with the Haditha "massacre" to be. This two weeks after another Marine was acquitted in a Haditha court martial.
FoxNews.com has the AP story about the dismissal of charges against him here.:
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A military judge dismissed charges Tuesday against a Marine officer accused of failing to investigate the killings of 24 Iraqis.
Col. Steven Folsom dismissed charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani after finding that a four-star general overseeing the case was improperly influenced by an investigator probing the November 2005 shootings by a Marine squad in Haditha.
As you might have guessed, this story is not exactly commanding the airwaves of the cable news networks this afternoon, although the media obsessed about the "massacre" in 2005.
ABCNews.com, reporting on the Catholic Diocese of Rome refusing permission to Ron Howard’s plans to film the movie prequel to Dan Brown’s "The DaVinci Code" in two historic churches, used loaded wording in the headline: "Church Cracks Down on New ‘Da Vinci’ Film."
The lead for the report, written by Phoebe Natanson and Luchina Fisher, also used similar imagery to describe the Catholic Church’s refusal: "Once again, the Catholic Church is coming down hard on writer Dan Brown, the author of ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ The producers of Brown's latest thriller to be made into a film, ‘Angels and Demons,’ have been banned from filming key scenes inside any church in Rome, on the grounds that the book is "an offense against God," according to a church spokesman.
Speaking of "coming down hard," wasn’t Brown doing just that in "The Da Vinci Code" by depicting the Catholic Church as a nefarious organization?
Time magazine writer Michael Lindenberger's dispatch "From Gay Marriage's Ground Zero," read more like puffy campaign literature for the liberal Democratic mayor of San Francisco than an objective news piece.
Same-sex couples began marrying late Monday night in courthouse ceremonies across California, putting triumphantly happy human faces on a debate that is nevertheless far from over. Crowds turned out to welcome - and, for some, to protest - weddings in Beverly Hills, Oakland and the wine country north of San Francisco.
Later in his piece, Lindenberger took at face value Newsom's recollection of how he decided in 2004 to challenge state law and grant marriage licenses to gay couples. Those "marriages" were later invalidated of course, but the recent decision by California's highest court paved the way for gay weddings, at least between now and November when a ballot initiative may outlaw same-sex marriage.
Lindenberger dutifully transcribed Newsom's insistence that he didn't know how big a deal his civil disobedience would be:
I noticed this photo accompanying an unrelated and relatively straightforward AP story at MSNBC.com about Barack Obama's electoral strategy. As you can see, it falls into the Obama-as-messiah mold, albeit a little more subliminal and requiring more biblical literacy than previous still shots:
Photo by Alex Brandon/AP. Caption: "Sen. Barack Obama walks to the pulpit to speak at the Apostolic Church of God service about fatherhood in Chicago on Sunday."
As you can see from the photo, the background is a brick wall with the text "Jesus Christ Is Lord" emblazoned beneath a depiction of a descending dove. Depicting Obama beneath it evokes to the biblically literate reader the account of the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove upon Jesus after his baptism, as recorded in all four gospel accounts.
It was all just an "error" that's since been "fine-tuned." So says Barnes & Noble [B&N] now about the way its search engine was prominently returning Barack Obama's "Audacity of Hope" in response to search requests for "God: A Biography." We wrote about the matter here last Thursday.
Today, reader Dan H. wrote to tell us about an interesting exchange of emails he had with B&N regarding the situation. According to Dan, after reading our NewsBusters article, he emailed B&N to express his displeasure, and received what to all appearances was a form letter focusing on freedom of expression, rather than the substance of the complaint.
GOP Presidential Nominee John McCain has proposed a series of ten townhall-style debates between himself and Barack Obama from now and August. According to the Earth Times, this is "widely seen as an effort to counter Democrat Obama's likely advantage in raising campaign funds."
The article goes on to note that Obama has countered with "an offer of two townhall meetings between now and November to go along with the three presidential debates traditionally held after the parties' nominating conventions in August and September." The reason for this counter proposal? The Earth Times doesn't say.
It seems not everyone in the liberal blogosphere is smitten with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.
Take for example Huffington Post editor Rachel Sklar who on Thursday called out the insufferably arrogant and pompous "Countdown" host for naming CBS's Katie Couric his "Worst Person in the World" previously reported by NewsBuster Brad Wilmouth:
Olbermann accused Couric of taking out of "context" comments by NBC correspondent Lee Cowan, who, as he covers the Barack Obama campaign, has said he finds it "hard to be objective," as she, not naming him, suggested he "find another line of work." Olbermann, who has attacked Hillary Clinton on several occasions while being softer on Obama, declared Cowan's reporting to be "utterly objective and accurate," and castigated Couric for "her own promulgation of the nonsense that Senator Clinton was a victim of sexism."
Here's an interesting little experiment from Vanity Fair: A guide to the blogosphere that isn't broken down by left and right but by news/opinion and high/low-brow.
Click image above to view it. You'll find NewsBusters around the middle of the right side. The descriptions skew leftward as you might expect from VF, but the chart itself is pretty accurate. Your thoughts?
ABC's Marcus Baram is reporting that Democratic Senators Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.) "had their home loans handled by [Countrywide Financial's] VIP desk, where a team of loan officers would work out favorable terms in conjunction with [CEO Angelo] Mozilo, according to two former Countrywide executives."
The story made the "top headlines" lineup for the afternoon of June 13, along with a headline tease for recent video from Fox News Channel where an onscreen graphic labeled the mother of two as Sen. Obama's "baby mama." Online slang lexicon urbandictionary.com defines a baby mama as "The mother of your child(ren), whom you did not marry and with whom you are not currently involved."
The "Michelle Obama 2.0" article begins by regaling readers with a look at life in the Obama household as given by Barack and Michelle on a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio. The Illinois senator joked about his wife speaking more endearingly of him on the campaign trail than she does behind closed doors:
"She never says such nice things about me at home!" he smiles. "I really enjoy listening to her praise me like that because when I get home she'll remind me that I didn't make the bed."
The article then continued by contrasting the domestic bliss of the young Obamas with those mean ol' conservatives dead-set on stopping the presumptive Democratic nominee by gunning for Mrs. O.:
A new study shows women and minorities are more satisfied in general with their jobs than white men in the military and that military women are generally much more positive about their career and career prospects than their civilian counterparts, according to a new study.
Newsweek's Sarah Kliff has the story in a Web exclusive (emphasis mine):
MSNBC has been criticized as being in the tank for Barack Obama. And so today, when the Obama campaign launched its own rumor-squelching website, MSNBC was all-too-eager to promote the site through several news bits.
But there was just one problem. For a time this afternoon, MSNBC mistakenly promoted a prank site (UPDATE: site has since been pulled and url removed from this post), as opposed to the actual Obama site http://fightthesmears.com.
While the Obama site denies and denounces the viral internet rumors, the gag site satirically perpetuates and builds upon them! Fair warning: the gag site deserves a bad taste alert.
Chicago Tribune religion reporter and blogger Manya Brachear echoed a familiar liberal media meme about orthodox Christianity in her latest "The Seeker" blog post, "Have Southern Baptists lost their way?" (emphases mine):
As a number of conservative Protestant denominations now face decline, leaders have chosen to batten down the hatches, endorse orthodoxy and herald the importance of sharing their faith with others.
But if these denominations narrow their theology at the same time they widen their outreach, is anybody going to listen?
I've ripped ABCNews.com recently for some of their stories and story selection -- 'pregnant man' photos, need I say more? -- but I have to give the site kudos today for putting in its top headlines rotation a story about Georgia mother Cindi Cook, convicted of forging a signature on a parental consent form for her son's pregnant girlfriend.
What's more, rather than resorting to the more clinical term "fetus" which subtly denies the sanctity of the unborn life taken by abortion, ABCNews.com editors used the term baby in the headline, "Mom Broke Law to Abort Teen Son's Baby."
Reporter David Schoetz noted that the Northside Women's Clinic may soon be the target of a lawsuit, and quoted from the teenage girl's lawyer who alleged the clinic may well be actively counseling teenage clients on how to circumvent the parental notification law (emphasis mine):
Last week I noted how Time.com posted an unscientific poll on its Web site asking readers to vote whether "gas and heating oil [should] be rationed until prices come down." At the time I lamented that it "serves to further the MSM's fear-mongering about the economy while banging its left-wing drum beat about oil and gas prices."
Today the magazine's Web site is asking another gas price question, with two options that play to extremes. "Is $4-plus gas" either a "disaster for the economy" or a "boon for environmentalism" asks the poll.
What, no third option for "both"? After all, a disaster for the economy resulting in a steep recession would surely do wonders for reducing America's carbon footprint!
So far nearly 6-out-of-10 respondents have said it's a "disaster" for the economy, which must be bad news for global warming alarmists that our friends at the Business & Media Institute have documented.
What's more, as BMI archives show, media bias in favor of high gas prices isn't anything new.
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):
Inspired by featured CNN.com video of a McCain gaffe -- wherein the Arizona senator says he'd veto every beer -- I decided to search the CNN.com Web site for video of Obama gaffes.
I got a grand total of two.
Now, to be fair, searching "McCain gaffe" yielded no videos of McCain gaffes, but one from November 2006 entitled "Kerry's gift of gaffe," referring to the liberal Massachusetts senator and 2004 Democratic nominee and his suggestion that American troops were stupid.
All the same, given Sen. Obama's numerous gaffes, it is notable that only two videos surface when one does a search for them:
"Republicans Block Taxes on Big Oil Profits" blares the teaser headline on the front page of CBSNews.com. Under a graphic of the Capitol dome and a fuel gauge nearing empty, the caption reads "Senate GOP Stops Dems' Effort To Rein In Profits Of Largest Oil Companies As Gas Prices Soar."
That's a lot of bias packed into 24 words, and that's before the reader gets to the actual article. Notice the lack of cynicism as to the motive of the Democrats, who are painted on the side of consumers against industry, although the primary beneficiary of a windfall tax would be, well, the Democratic Congress.
There are limits to what you can properly communicate in a headline, but a more neutral treatment might have been: "Republicans Block Advance of Oil Profit Tax: Democrats say tax will encourage alternative fuel research, Republicans argue it will worsen energy problems."
In the AP/CBS article itself, oil industry claims that a windfall tax is counterproductive were summarily dismissed with a populist soundbite by a Democratic politician:
Imagine, if you will, that former Arkansas Gov. Mike "majored in miracles" Huckabee had won the Republican nominating contest and in the rapture of exhuberance at the historic moment, a Republican congressman who is also the son of a famous religious right clergyman exulted that "the event itself is so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance."
That would certainly get widespread attention in the MSM, being so over-the-top and messianic pronouncement about a Republican presidential figure. Not so much when the hallelujah chorus is coming from the son of famous left-wing preacher Jesse Jackson. (h/t Michele at Reformed Chicks Blabbing)
Aside from some blogs picking up on the item as originally reported by Politico's Josephine Hearn on June 5, I'm aware of no media scrutiny about Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s hosannas song of praise over fellow Illinois Democrat Sen. Barack Obama (emphasis 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"?
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz put Huffington Post blogger Mayhill Fowler on the front page Monday to illustrate how blogs are changing the nature of campaign coverage, but the funniest part came at the end, as Fowler explained she's much more skeptical and distanced now, like a traditional journalist.
Excuse me? Through exposing both Barack Obama's "bitter clingers" comment and last week's Bill Clinton "scumbag" rant against Todd Purdum, Fowler has shown much more skepticism and distance than the parade of Obama-maniacs in the "objective" media this cycle.
In an e-mail, Fowler says she has come to realize that her presence "flummoxes some longtime journalists -- because suddenly here I am, unpaid but as a consequence with much more freedom to find out what's going on out there, and writing for a new and encroaching media that is a Wild Wild West of lawlessness." But she has also had to reexamine her own beliefs.
"Over time, I've become more like a traditional journalist," Mayhill says. "I'm now much more skeptical and much more distanced."
Mary Katharine Ham, a friend and fan of NewsBusters and the Media Research Center, is working her last day at Townhall.com today. She starts her new job as online editor for the Washington Examiner on Tuesday.
On her way out the door, Ham is leaving her peeps with the last and perhaps funniest-ever edition of her "HamNation" vlog. Called "Obama on Your Shoulder," the music video mocks the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee as an all-wise angel-on-the-shoulder who knows how to live your life better than you do.
Is it merely a slow news day for Time.com, or perhaps the latest example of the media's agenda to present Barack Obama as a breath of fresh air in American politics?
Using a now-famous fist-bump between Sen. Barack Obama and wife Michelle as the news hook, Time magazine's M.J. Stephey sought out yesterday to explore the history of the greeting. The story is now teased on the magazine's Web page as a top story (see screencap at right).
Stephey gives a few plausible theories, including one involving the lamest cartoon superheroes ever: