Nearly two years ago on Newsbusters, I floated a proposal that newspapers require their editorial and other writers to police themselves for accuracy by requiring them to turn in footnotes with their copy. The process would force writers to check information they think they know that isn't so.
With the traditional media admitting they find it hard to curb their enthusiasm for Barack Obama, John McCain demonstrated again today that he is reaching out to the new media, giving blogging critics from the right and left the opportunity to participate in the blogger conference calls he has been regularly conducting. The Washington Times noted the phenomenon in an article of May 16, McCain widens dialogue on blogs, reporting that three of the seven questions in the May 15 conference call were posed by liberal-leaning bloggers.
Of the half-dozen or so questions McCain took in today's blogger call [in which I participated], one was from a blogger from the left. James Kirchick, a New Republic assistant editor/blogger [and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association 2007 Journalist of the Year], quizzed McCain on his position on the proposed amendment to the California constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman [McCain expressed support for the amendment and for the ballot initiative giving citizens the right to vote on it].
The most barbed question actually came from the right. Quin Hillyer of the Washington Examiner began by expressing "all due respect," eliciting a wry "I always like that beginning" from the senator. Hillyer went on to describe what he characterized as "one of the most frequently aired complaints from conservatives," to wit, that "when you disagree with conservatives you seem to use the anger and the language of the left, and to question not just conservative positions but motive or integrity." Hillyer asked for assurances that McCain would "avoid that tendency" if he were elected President. McCain fundamentally disagreed with the premise, stating that he treated all people with respect.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that National Public Radio, long a taxpayer-subsidized sandbox for Sixties-retread liberalism, has decided to keep its headquarters in the District of Columbia -- thanks to a huge 20-year property tax holiday. "Neil O. Albert, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said that NPR will not pay property taxes on the building for 20 years, saving $40 million. The city has agreed not to raise property taxes by more than 3 percent on the station's Massachusetts Avenue building for two decades, or until NPR sells it."
Reporters Yolanda Woodlee and Miranda Spivack also reported other local property owners were incensed at the special dealing as their taxes multiply:
Nicholas Deoudes, who owns three buildings less than a mile from the future NPR location, said that his property taxes increased last year from $13,614 to $36,151. Deoudes, who has owned the buildings for 29 years, said the city needs to help longtime business owners who stayed when the area was a "ghost town."
Author and political reporter Timothy Carney has an interesting item this morning in the Washington Examiner about how Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) practically gets campaign contribution kickbacks from her support for subsidies to the drug industry for the so-called emergency contraceptive pill Plan B. Emphasis mine. (h/t James Joyner):
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., portrays herself as a scourge of the pharmaceutical industry, but she has shown that she’s willing to help a drugmaker if that’s what it takes to profit Planned Parenthood, her indispensable political ally.
Clinton’s campaign Web site touts that she has “battled the big drug companies.” Yet she has sponsored many bills that would directly subsidize Barr Laboratories, maker of the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B, which also functions as an abortifacient. Thanks to a deal cut between Barr and Planned Parenthood, those taxpayer subsidies will yield generous profits for the pro-choice group that every four years spends millions trying to elect a Democrat to the White House.
When the left-wing media wants something, the Constitution apparently becomes irrelevant. Take the latest attempt by Congress to give congressional representation to the District of Columbia, which fell three votes short of moving to a full Senate vote Tuesday.
Check the establishment media, and you'll have no trouble finding stories decrying the plight of the taxed, but unrepresented, citizens of the District and touting the importance of giving these poor (mostly Democratic) souls representation. Finding stories raising the question of whether or not it's constitutional to do so is another matter.
Chicago, like Washington, D.C., has a stringent gun ban. So naturally the move by the District to defend the ban before the Supreme Court will be big news in the Windy City. Yet that doesn't excuse the Chicago Tribune's James Oliphant for breezing over gun rights advocates in his article, "D.C. gun case may hit Chicago."
Oliphant began by telling his readers that gun rights advocates would come gunning for Chicago's gun ban if they succeed before the high Court.:
The District of Columbia is going to the Supreme Court to protect its 1976 law that effectively disarmed its crime-plagued law-abiding civilian populace. In addition to an editorial cheering on the appeal, Washington's largest broadsheet is all to happy to skew its front-page coverage accordingly.
In their September 5 article "D.C. Case Could Shape Gun Laws," reporters Robert Barnes and David Nakamura quoted from gun ban proponents Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) and D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer as they laid out their arguments for the gun ban. Only one opponent of the gun ban was quoted, and even then his ink was wasted on explaining his next move:
That was the cry of many an alternative rock fan in D.C. in January 2005 when WHFS went from alt-rock to 99.1 El Zol, a Spanish language station playing mostly salsa music. [Although to be perfectly honest most music snobs agree that WHFS was past its prime in cutting edge programming, having become too corporate, etc.] Don't expect the same donning of sackloth and ashes to mourn the loss of persistent money-loser, Washington Post Radio.
Yes, the Washington broadsheet's radio edition, once described lovingly by a radio executive as "NPR on caffeine" will shut down in September, the Post's Paul Farhi reported in the August 28 paper.:
The Hill newspaper can be a good read for Capitol Hill coverage. It goes deeper than the superficial treatment the MSM often gives legislative matters.
That said, it seems to me the paper is taking at best a curious tack on an issue dividing fiscal conservatives of late: whether to sew up a federal tax loophole on private equity compensation and effectively raise some taxes as a result.
The Hill is painting the matter as one of conservative activists versus their GOP congressional allies with Jessica Holzer's July 18 article, "Conservatives break with GOP leaders on tax bill." The lede for the article lends the impression that some conservatives are finding a tax they actually like:
Right on cue, as the illegal immigrant amnesty bill failed to get the required support for passage in the Senate, the MSM is here to tell us mean spirited LEGAL Americans how "hard" it is on all those poor, innocent ILLEGAL migrants who break the law to come here by the millions. Yes, folks, women and children hardest hit, as the old saw goes. Of course, it is nearly ignored by the MSM that these people are not just "innocents" but are here knowingly breaking our laws and then blaming us when they find life a bit uncomfortable -- and a bit uncomfortable is all they are facing it should be remembered.
Three quick reports are indicative of how the MSM is making the average, legal American out to be an evil, racist, selfish creep by urging their elected officials to think of their own constituents before they think of undeserving foreign invaders.
In a landmark 5-4 case today, the U.S. Supreme Court found that two school systems had improperly used race as a consideration in managing the public school districts. Web sites for many newspapers have carried Associated Press coverage of the ruling, and the later the revision of the AP report, the more information tends to be packed in them.
As of 1:15 a.m. Eastern when I started this post*, the Los Angeles Times front page linked to an AP story published just before 11 a.m. Eastern. But in that version of the AP story, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, is not quoted at all. Yet a similar AP story (perhaps the same story but with fewer paragraphs edited out) was published just minutes later in the Washington Examiner.
There's nothing biased here, just some industry news. Politico and Media Bistro's fishbowlDC are reporting that it looks like NBC/MSNBC will be giving up their Capitol Hill cubby hole digs and moving most if not all of their DC bureau operation out to Nebraska. Avenue that is.
For those unfamiliar with Washington, the NBC offices on Nebraska are considerably farther from Capitol Hill than the stone's throw from the Senate that NBC now enjoys.
The bottom line: this could make it harder to get congressmen and senators who need to stay close to the Hill for legislative votes to appear on camera on MSNBC.
For the past 20 years, every Memorial Day weekend, tens of thousands of motorcyclists join together as Rolling Thunder to honor the military, particularly the dead and MIA. The coverage is usually positive and focuses on the patriotic bikers and their interesting-looking bikes. On May 27, ABC News went a different direction for this year’s ride. Instead of covering Rolling Thunder and their military and veteran-related issues, the way the Washington Post and the Washington Times did in their articles, ABC turned it into advocacy journalism to inform people about the importance of--wearing helmets while riding motorcycles. After four rather bland sentences about the the event, ABC slipped into lecture-mode (emphasis mine thoughout):
In today's Washington Post, staff writer Carol Leonnig heavily
skewed in favor of the District of Columbia gun ban. The stringent 1976
gun law was overturned earlier this year by a three-judge panel of the
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals but may be appealed to the Supreme Court. Notice the skew of the article in favor of the D.C. government's position in the first two paragraphs of "Gun Ban Ruling Puts Fenty on the Spot.":
D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty
must make a risky choice about the District's gun ban: defend it before
the Supreme Court or write new, looser laws governing how city
residents can keep guns in their homes.
As he wades into a
high-stakes debate over the Second Amendment, the new mayor of the
nation's capital faces the possibility that the city could lose the
case and undercut decades of hard-fought gun-control legislation across
Yeah, because it's a darn shame when laws that undercut a
constitutional right might, you know, be repealed by the highest Court
in the land.
UPDATE (01:15 EST): Law professor and blogger Eugene Volokh addresses factual errors in reporting in the New York Times and Washington Post (h/t Instapundit).
How are your local TV news shows covering today's federal court decision overturning the D.C. handgun ban?
I live just outside Washington, D.C., and the station I most often watch for local news deployed a few typical media bias tricks: stacking the deck with sources aligned on one side (4 pro-ban, one anti-ban) and focusing on emotional aspects of a debate (highlighting emotional reactions to the court ruling rather than dealing with the legal merits).
In an article written earlier today by Benny Morris and published by the UK's Guardian Unlimited newspaper, famous historian and civil rights activist John Hope Franklin had this to say regarding his home:
"This country is so arrogant, so self-certain," he says,
asked whether the west is now engaged with the Muslim world in a war of
civilisations. "I am not sure that is what we are confronting. [But I
am also] not sure we have done what we ought to have done to cultivate
the rest of the world. We're so powerful and so presumptuous that it
makes us unattractive, almost unbecoming. We don't treat other
countries and people right. Power without grace is a curse."
Bonneville Radio announced yesterday that it will launch Washington Post Radio on three dial settings in the Washington, DC radio market (1500, 107.7, 104.3). Bonneville currently runs WTOP radio, a 24/7 newsradio station in Washington. Are we about to get the Post's liberal bias on the radio, too? Bonneville executive Joel Oxley said in today's Post story, "It's going to be NPR on caffeine. It will be non-drowsy public radio."
Bonneville will own and operate both WTOP and Washington Post Radio. Washington Post Radio's programming will include in-depth local, national and international news and commentary provided by Washington Post reporters, editors, and columnists as well as news makers and other local media personalities.
The Hill is a specialized publication, mostly for Members of Congress and those whose living depends on Congress. Still, an article in The Hill today (Wednesday) is typical of the media coverage of the Senate vote yesterday to require “reports” to Congress on the progress of the Iraq War.
The title is “Needed: An Exit Strategy from Iraq.” It is written by Rep. Jane Harman (D. Calif) and its lede includes these paragraphs.
There is now a strong bipartisan consensus that we need an exit strategy. But yet to emerge is the content of that strategy.
We have two overriding objectives in Iraq: to facilitate a viable power-sharing agreement among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds and to turn over responsibility for security to the Iraqis on a steady basis.
The free weekly tabloid Washington City Paper recently started a new feature, Service Industry, its purpose, "rating D.C.'s houses of worship." Religious readers, however, may sense a bit of condescension, intended or not, in the notion of rating a church service much like it were a play, concert, or film, especially if the church rated by the City Paper's reviewer seems to give it bad marks for its conservative or traditional Christian theology.
This week's entry, "The Church in the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith Inc." in Anacostia garnered a poor 1.5 stars (out of a 5 possible). The reviewer gave high marks (4 stars) for "congregational fervor" but was non-plussed by the lack of "food for the body" after the service (0 stars) and was not too keen on Deacon Larry Mathis's anti-evolution sermon (1 star) nor the church's teachings forbidding female preachers.
"Hate Calls Swamp Herndon Town Hall," proclaimed the Washington Post Metro section headline above the fold in Saturday's edition, "Radio Host Had Urged Day-Labor Site Protests." Staff writer Lisa Rein penned the story on how a substitute talk show host for WMAL---a mostly conservative-programmed news-talk station which carries Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh---had succeeded in harnassing his audience's ire at a local Northern Virginia town planning to use tax money to build a jobs center for illegal aliens:
Herndon Town Hall unplugged its phone lines yesterday after
listeners of a talk show on WMAL-AM flooded the switchboard with what
officials said were hate calls against a proposed day-laborer site.