Matt Sheffield is in Philly today at Heritage's Resource Bank. As such the usual Friday Open Thread joke is taking a holiday. Maybe in the future, should I have the pleasure of meeting some of our loyal NB readers in person at a happy hour, I can give you my killer standup routine. It always leaves the crickets chirping in delirious glee.
Anyway, use this thread to pontificate and bloviate, or to audition to become a future NB blogger (by writing a pithy, relevant take on an instance of media bias). If it's the latter, follow our style guide and shoot me a private message with the link to remind me to check it out.
One more thing. Heritage Foundation sponsors one-day "boot camps" in "Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting." They have five more scheduled in 2007 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. It's a great resource for current and aspiring bloggers and online journalists, and best of all, it's free of charge.
The mini-scandal got buried by the Imus flap, but a few weeks ago CBS fired a Couric producer for plagiarizing from a Wall Street Journal column. The offending item was the vlog script she wrote for Couric's April 4 "Notebook," wherein Couric waxed nostalgic for childhood and worried that today's kids aren't as enamored with the public library as she was.
I was reminded of Katie's ghostwritten blog when I saw the April 26 edition of "Dilbert." In it, Dilbert's buffoonish pointy-haired boss announced to his long-suffering secretary that he was starting his own blog. Of course, he expected her to write it up herself by noon, cooing that he "can't wait to see what I'm thinking."
Web use has become such a widespread phenomenon that for next year's presidential election, Yahoo is set to host the first-ever online presidential debate.
Unfortunately, all of the web media sources it's chosen to partner up with are liberal leaning. David All explains:
When mega-giant Yahoo! decides to play in the political sandbox, I’m going to pay attention. Yahoo! is currently ranked number one in Alexa.org’s Top 500.
So when it was reported this week that Yahoo! had partnered with Slate, Huffington Post, and PBS's Charlie Rose to host the first-ever online Presidential debate, as a conservative Republican, I immediately felt a curling in my stomach [...]
A troubled newspaper industry is beset with a raging journalistic debate around using the Internet to bolster the bottom line for the nation's broadsheets.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Faced with declining circulation, many U.S.
newspapers are trying to engage readers by allowing them to respond to
news stories online. But the anonymity of the Internet lets readers
post obscenities and racist hate speech that would never be allowed in
the printed paper.
LaShawn Barber lays out her thoughts in an April 26 post to her eponymous blog, suggesting that newspapers are misguided to attempt to co-opt the blog format. Rather than allowing anonymous comments that can encourage trolls that cheapen honest debate and discussion, Barber suggests another strength of the blogosphere that is easily adaptable to newspapers' online versions.:
On his blog at National Review, talk-show host and longtime conservative legal eagle Mark Levin reports that New York Times reporter William Glaberson called him for comment, but couldn't seem to abide putting conservative counterpoints in his story on attempts to limit the attorney-client communications surrounding terrorist suspects at Guantanamo: "Apparently my comments didn't fit his scenario." Levin described his conversation with the Times reporter:
I told him that prior to 2004, unlawful enemy combatants held outside the United States had no access to federal courts; that if these lawyers had access to classified information they would be ethically compelled to discuss it with their clients in order to properly and zealously represent them; that they were constantly trying to move the bar by expanding the supposed due process rights of the detainees; and many other things. Of course, none of this made it into his story. I could tell when he interviewed me that he was basically carrying water for the terrorists' lawyers when he took exception to my calling them "defense counsel." I said, "If they're not defense counsel, then what are they?" He had to concede the point, which seemed rather obvious to me.
This dovetails well with what my colleague Scott Whitlock reported on NewsBusters two days ago:
ABC Graphic: "Will Dow Hit 13,000 Today? Is Unstoppable Market Good or Bad?"
The graphic ran underneath co-host Diane Sawyer and GMA financial contributor Mellody Hobson’s discussion over whether or not the Dow, which has been breaking records recently, is headed for a downturn.
Today the Dow Jones closed above 13,000 for the first time in history.
Of course ABCNews.com had to sow seeds of worry about the economy (see screencap to the right).
You can see how ABC and other media outlets have consistently taken a sour view of the economy here.
The Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute has more on the media's generally gloomy take of the economy here and here and here.
In an April 25 post, CBS's "Public Eye" editor Brian Montopoli worries that the media are not doing enough reporting on gun control, lamenting that the media are waiting for political players to gin up the issue.
There were reasons not to take up larger issues and assign blame in the
immediate wake of the shootings – those first few days needed to be
about how people were dealing with the horror of what had taken place.
But some time has now passed, and I'm hard pressed to think of a better
time for the media to focus on a huge issue that isn't going away
Where has Montopoli been? Not only have the media been focusing on the gun control angle to the story, they've heavily leaned in favor of more gun control, including featurin gun control advocates in both broadcast and print coverage. While there were a few exceptions, most media coverage has cheerleaded the notion of enacting new gun control laws. Here's a refresher for Montopoli, a list of some of our coverage over the past nine days:
As we've noted in an earlier post, Rosie O'Donnell and ABC couldn't work out a contract renewal for her slot on "The View." But when I read the "exclusive" story this morning by ABC News's Monica Nista, I noticed the reporter left out any mention of Rosie's numerous controversies such as her 9/11 conspiracy theories, her suggestion that the British hostage crisis in Iran was a conspiracy, her "ching-chong" gaffe, or her swipe at "radical Christians" being just as dangerous as "radical Muslims" like Osama bin Laden. Instead Nista focused on an a feud with rival network NBC's "Apprentice" host Donald Trump:
Update at bottom of post: other bloggers reactions.
In a column this afternoon, Politico's Roger Simon took a swipe at Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) for giving a public prayer for the victims of the Virginia Tech gunman "in Christ's name.":
Does John Edwards include Jews in his prayers? Or Muslims? Or Hindus? Or any other non-Christians?
He didn’t the other day. The other day, in order to commemorate those killed at Virginia Tech, Edwards led a prayer “in Christ’s name” at Ryman Auditorium, which bills itself as “Nashville’s Premier Performance Hall.”
Edwards has a perfect right to pray publicly or privately any way he wants to. But people who are not Christians often feel left out of prayers like his.
CBS ombuds-blogger Brian Montopoli advises "Taking a Step Back In the Cho Debate" in an April 23 post, as he takes issue with conservatives like Hugh Hewitt who objected to NBC News (and other media outlets) airing the videotaped "manifesto" of the Virginia Tech mass murderer. Montopoli concludes on this note:
If, as a culture, we want to suppress the Cho manifesto, than we have
to ask ourselves what else we are willing to suppress. After all, the
Cho materials at least had some value beyond entertainment; it's harder
to say the same for cultural products like "Grand Theft Auto" or "300."
It seems to me that anyone criticizing NBC News for releasing the
materials – and CBS News and its counterparts for airing them – should
be thinking long and hard about how far down that path they are willing
Arlington, Va.: Okay, what's your take on the Laurie/Karl/Sheryl
dust-up? I understand it was somewhat crazy for Laurie to think she was
going to change Karl's mind then and there, but I also think that
because access to Karl is so limited for "regular" people, I would have
taken advantage of the chance to push my agenda on the nation's top
advisor had I been there. That's why this concept of "no politics
tonight, we're all friends here" for the Dinner seems silly. How often
does Karl return any of these reporter's phone calls?
Kurtz: Having not been there, I don't know whether Sheryl Crow and
Laurie David confronted Rove aggressively, which got him mad, or tried
to engage in a polite discussion of global warming, only to be
tongue-lashed by the White House adviser. Given the speed and the glee
with which they blogged about the incident, I suspect they were not
averse to making a scene.
By now you've heard about the environmental dust-up between singer
Sheryl Crow and GOP operative Karl Rove at the White House
Correspondents Dinner. Crow wrote about the incident at Huffington
Post. She also added a new posting to her Stop Global Warming College
Tour blog that includes "easy ways for us all to become a part of the
I propose a limitation be put
on how many sqares [sic] of toilet paper can be used in any one
sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or
her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people
that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit,
except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be
required. When presenting this idea to my younger brother, who's
judgement [sic] I trust implicitly, he proposed taking it one step
further. I believe his quote was, "how bout just washing the one square
No one forced you at gunpoint to use Google today, but you probably have. The trouble is you don't know how evil that tech company with a "gusher of profits" is.
Fortunately for you, Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein does, and he thinks Big Government -- awash in a gusher of tax revenues it collects from you involuntarily -- has just the remedy. More regulation.
Accompanying a cartoon in the print edition depicting Google as a many-tentacled sea monster, Pearlstein devotes four paragraphs to asking "How Much More Should It Be Allowed to Grab?"
Pearlstein started off by noting that "Google is the quintessential business success story" and that its meteoric rise is standing the company in good stead on Wall Street while its chief rival, Yahoo, is faltering.
On her "Couric & Co." blog today, the CBS "Evening News" anchor posted a 10-question interview with gun control activist Paul Helmke. Couric's questions largely lobbed softballs for the Brady Campaign's Helmke to hit out of the park. But beyond that, she let slip a suggestion a keener ear might have caught and followed up on.
Helmke suggested he'd prefer a law making law-abiding citizens have to show references for purchasing a gun.
That's right, references, as in asking friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. if they think you should have the right to own a gun. References for the government to pry into your life (well beyond any criminal record) before you, a law-abiding citizen, to purchase a gun, something you have the right to do under the Constitution.
I've not seen this in searches on Google News or on their respective Web sites yet, but I got this today in my Facebook inbox (click here to look at the NewsBusters Facebook group):
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2007 - The Politico and www.politico.com
today announced a new content-sharing partnership with
www.USATODAY.com, the web site of the nation’s largest national
Under the new partnership, Politico’s coverage of the
presidential campaign, Congress and special interests will be featured
prominently on USATODAY.com's redesigned political page. Some Politico
coverage will also appear in the print edition of the USA TODAY.
has always been our goal to grow The Politico audience by introducing
our coverage and website to readers around the world,” said Robert
Allbritton, CEO of Politico’s parent company, Allbritton
Communications. “This is the perfect marriage: our comprehensive
coverage of politics with USATODAY.com’s cutting edge, widely read web
The partnership will also feature USATODAY.com political coverage on POLITICO.com.
CBS "Public Eye" editor Brian Montopoli explained in an April 18 post that when covering today's Supreme Court ruling upholding an abortion ban, "CBSNews.com has decided to go with this phrasing whenever possible: 'what the law calls a partial birth abortion.'"
And the reason?
"Both 'late term abortion' and 'partial birth abortion' are now phrases
that signify a position, so we will use this phrasing though it is
cumbersome," CBS editorial director Dick Meyer noted in an e-mail to CBS staffers.
Of course, it's cumbersome and ridiculous to imagine that language being used to describe a number of other things defined under federal law, but on a more basic level, "partial-birth abortion" is not political invective, it's descriptive layman's language to describe a medical procedure.
Earlier this morning the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on partial-birth abortion. What's more, Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom many in the media often focus on as the "moderate" and "swing" justice on the Court, penned the majority opinion. While the mass murder at Virginia Tech is still the top story in the media, Fox News found room to give this landmark ruling prime real estate on its Web site. CNN, however, relegated the story to a link nine entries deep into its "latest news" list.
The screenshots I've included in this post are taken from Fox News and CNN's Web sites from around 11:30 a.m.
In an April 17 article at CBSNews.com, investigative reporter Armen Keteyian tracked down the origin of the guns used by Virginia Tech mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui.
While Keteyian failed to consider what part restrictive anti-concealed carry policies on the Virginia Tech campus may have played in ensuring Cho faced no opposition from armed civilians, he found a former ATF agent to criticize current gun laws as too little to thwart terrorism.:
Lamenting how Democrats have lost their penchant for fierce advocacy of new gun control laws, Time's Karen Tumulty described as "modest" former Vice President Al Gore's stance on gun control in his 2000 campaign in an April 17 post at her magazine's "Swampland" blog.:
...in talking to Democrats on Capitol Hill, I'm picking up no enthusiasm
for a cause that many have deemed a political loser. Al Gore's
relatively modest proposal in the wake of Columbine for licensing gun
owners (as opposed to the more radical one of registering their guns)
is still widely believed to have been a factor in costing him the
election, losing him votes that he might otherwise have goten from, for
instance, gun-owning union members.
Perhaps a sign of how blind the liberally-biased media are to arguments from gun rights advocates, CBS's Andrew Cohen wrote in his Washington Post "Bench Conference" blog that "There Is Irony in the Tragedy at Virginia Tech."
I learned from CBS News' Armen Keteyian that school administrators and
college officials at Virginia Tech had in fact implemented reasonable
security measures (against the wishes of state legislators) designed to
limit guns on campus. In other words, even though the university was
relatively proactive in confronting the problem of guns on campus, the
brutal slayings occurred anyway.
Actually, that's not so much irony as the law of unintended consequences, something that any pro-gun rights advocate could tell Cohen. I've not seen a worse definition of irony since Alanis Morissette wrote a song about it. (continued...)
Isn't there something a tad, I dunno, hypocritical about a group of journalists who associate with each other on the basis of race and ethnicity issuing an edict to fellow journalists to ignore the race and ethnicity of the Virginia Tech shooter, Cho Seung-Hui?:
Like the rest of the nation, we at the Asian American Journalists
Association (AAJA) are stunned at the news of today's shooting at
Virginia Tech. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families and
friends as they cope with this horrific incident.
As coverage of
the Virginia Tech shooting continues to unfold, AAJA urges all media to
avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane
reason. There is no evidence at this early point that the race or
ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident,
and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire
The effect of mentioning race can be powerfully harmful.
It can subject people to unfair treatment based simply on skin color
We further remind members of the media that the
standards of news reporting should be universal and applied equally no
matter the platform or medium, including blogs.
A day after posting a blog entry
replete with falsehoods, and despite more than dozens of comments
pointing out the factual inaccuracies of the story, Brian Ross and Dana
Hughes of the ABC News blog "The Blotter" have yet to issue a
Does ABC News have an obligation to report facts, or is peddling a
political agenda buttressed by lies their preferred stock in trade?
As I noted yesterday, the ABC News blog did not get so much as a single fact in their blog entry correct.
The Ross entry states that high-capacity magazines "became widely
available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned
assault weapons." This is a patently false statement, containing no
truth at all.
I'm struck by how political Web sites are choosing to address the shooting deaths at Virginia Tech, if at all, and the reaction the same is generating among at least one prominent conservative blogger.
Shortly after midnight, the presidential campaign for liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) announced it's shuttering its Web page, kucinich.us, for 24 hours out of respect to the lives lost. The Web page is plastered with an image of an Easter lily, and the words "In memory and respect of all the victims at Virginia Tech, and all those who are affected by violence everyday, we have closed our site for a twenty-four hour period of mourning."
In a 2:30 p.m. posting, well before details about the weapons used in the tragic Virginia Tech shootings were available, ABC News's Brian Ross devoted a "Blotter" blog entry to a gun control advocate's talking points. Ross didn't make room for any gun rights advocates or find a critic to suggest the Brady Center was callously capitalizing on a tragedy to further its political agenda. Here's the entire blog post:
High capacity ammo clips became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons.
sites now advertise overnight UPS delivery of the clips, which carry up
to 40 rounds for both semi-automatic rifles, including 9mm pistols, and
"High capacity magazines read extreme firepower and gusto. Stock Up!" is the headline of one of many gun shop Web sites.
law enforcement officials have not identified the weapon used in the
shootings today at Virginia Tech, but gun experts say the number of
shots fired indicate, at the very least, that the gunman had large
quantities of ammunition.
"When you have a weapon that can shoot
off 20, 30 rounds very quickly, you're going to have a lot more
injuries," said Peter Hamm of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
That item is the only "Blotter" entry about the Virginia Tech shootings so far today. Hamm's group, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, issued a press statement on the site's home page that peddles its talking points. It also has a brand new petition page up at the site set up to sign up readers for e-mail updates. Curiously enough, "journalist" is one of the selections a petitioner can check off when describing him or herself on the form:
Yesterday I noted that the New York Sun reported Melissa McNamara to be the producer CBS fired for plagiarizing the Wall Street Journal in a script she wrote for Katie Couric's April 4 "Notebook" vlog. For its part, CBS News refused to publicly release the name of the fired producer. As of publication of this blog post, CBS's ombudsblog "Public Eye" has not addressed the Sun's reporting. Now there's another development in the story.
Yesterday, the New York Observer reported that McNamara was slated to teach journalism courses offered by Media Bistro.
I checked the course Web site today and it notes that the course has been postponed with a new start date to be announced. These development have not been covered by CBS's "Public Eye" blog.
Yet here's how "Public Eye" envisions its mission within CBS News and as a service to CBSNews.com readers:
Update (April 13 | 10:46 EDT): The April 13 edition of Fox News Channel's "Red Eye" briefly addressed Moran's blog entry. I've added a screen capture from the program.
Leave it to a liberal journalist to bring racial tension and class warfare into a story about three men exonerated of rape allegations after a year of prosecutorial misconduct.
ABC's Terry Moran found the outpouring of sympathy for the exonerated Duke lacrosse players is a bit much because, in a nutshell, they're white guys from wealthy families who attended a private university. In fact, in an April 12 "Pushback" blog post at ABCNews.com, he suggested that in a way, they were victimized less than the Rutgers women's basketball team by Imus. Portions in bold are my emphasis. Video Clip: Real (2.7 MB) or Windows (3 MB), Plus MP3 (477 KB)
The New York Sun is reporting today that CBS "Blogophile" Melissa McNamara is the producer that was fired for plagiarizing from a Wall Street Journal column. The fired producer recycled language from a Jeffrey Zaslow column in the script she wrote for a Katie Couric "Notebook" entry published to the CBS Web site on April 4. CBS has refused to name the fired producer, but I'll update this post should CBS News address the matter on the network's "PublicEye" blog.
Regardless of the identity of the fired producer, Couric's "Notebook" lives on. Yesterday the "Evening News" anchor vlogged about the religious background of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
I critiqued McNamara once on NewsBusters on an unrelated matter: