Confronted by Sarah Palin documentarian John Ziegler, on Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Matt Lauer was forced to admit that the media perception of the Alaska governor as an "idiot" was "a lie." However Lauer displayed some disbelief that the media heavily pushed that line during the campaign as he professed, "I don't think that everybody in the media ran out saying, 'Sarah Palin is an idiot.'" Ziegler got the confession from Lauer, while promoting his film Media Malpractice, in the following exchange as aired during the 7:30 am half hour of the February 23, "Today" show [audio excerpt here]:
JOHN ZIEGLER: Oh wait a minute I, I urged people and I urge you Matt because you've been up to Wasilla. You, you know Sarah Palin. You know that this is a lie that she's some sort of an idiot or a moron.
MATT LAUER: No, no, no. Okay but that's, but that's an extreme state-
ZIEGLER: You know it! Tell, tell America right now what you know.
LAUER: That's an extreme, that's an extreme statement. I'm just asking you-
LAUER: -when she-
ZIEGLER: Is it not a lie that she's an idiot? You know it Matt.
Recently, past and present Democratic politicians have spoken out in favor of reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said it was "absolutely time to pass a standard." Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, came out with a similar message, saying, "We need the Fairness Doctrine back." And former President Bill Clinton said, "You either ought to have the Fairness Doctrine or we ought to have more balance on the other side."
However, one has spoken out not in favor of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. Former President Jimmy Carter, not known for his temperament when it comes to denouncing conservative ideals, told a Phoenix radio station, KTAR's Mac & Gaydos that he is not in favor of the Fairness Doctrine.
On Friday, radio host Mark Levin gave a shout out to NewsBusters's parent company the Media Research Center and its work via the Free Speech Alliance to fight efforts by liberals to resurrect the so-called Fairness Doctrine.
Transcript follows (h/t Kevin Eder):
MARK LEVIN: Tucson, Arizona, go.
CALLER: Thank you very much for taking my call, Great One. Listen, I just want to have a few words with you here to say I was raised a lib, and I understand how they work, and it's time to get out of our seats, into the streets. And I will be protesting in front of my courthouse every Saturday from 7 to 9 about free speech and about, they do not have the right to take you or anyone else off of the air.
Get Diane Sawyer together with George Stephanopoulos on World News and they can't contain their giddiness over President Obama. Back on Friday, January 23, when Sawyer last anchored, Stephanopoulos hailed Obama's first three days as “disciplined and strategic,” thus enabling “sweeping change,” while Sawyer gushed over “change...at warp speed.” Monday night, Sawyer returned to the anchor chair and excitedly announced how “the trillion dollar week has begun” and so “finally,” as if it's been too long of a wait, “the stimulus starts to flow.” She soon heralded how “we embark on a week like no other in American economic history” with “a presidential whirlwind of spending against a recession.”
After a story from David Muir on the “dizzying and daunting amount of federal spending that President Obama will tackle this week,” Sawyer brought Stephanopoulos aboard to admire what Sawyer described as a “scrapbook, if you will, of the President's journey on the road to the stimulus package.” In other words, photos released by the White House. Nonetheless, she effused: “I want to show everybody at home, because there is the President, it's Super Bowl night, and he's serving cookies to congressional leadership in the White House screening room.” (jpg of the photo as shown by ABC.)
The narration switched to an awed Stephanopoulos: “These are just remarkable, Diane. We've never really seen anything like this before in real time.” Over a picture of Obama leaning back in a chair he oozed: “You see the President taking a little bit of a well-deserved rest right there.” Sawyer matched Stephanopoulos' smile: “Yeah, I wonder how often they'll take that scrapbook out and look through those pictures.”
Not this again. With Democrats in control of Washington, the possibility of the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine is getting stronger and the rhetoric is getting bolder. But this time, it's getting attention on the state level - the biggest state.
Former Democratic California governor and current Attorney General Jerry Brown appeared on conservative talk host Michael Savage's radio show on Feb. 13. One of the issues the two debated was the possibility of the renewal of the Fairness Doctrine. During the interview, Savage noted that Brown sounded as if he wanted state control over the media.
"Well, a little state control wouldn't hurt anybody," Brown replied.
Brown rationalized his view by citing a quote that state control would be an attempt to balance, not to censor.
"Stockton used to say, ‘If you have no views of one side, like in certain campaigns if somebody is attacking you, there's got to be some room for the other side,'" Brown explained. "It's an attempt to balance, not to censor."
A popular Detroit radio station has held a unique Valentine’s Day contest: a free divorce to the most deserving dysfunctional couple. On at least one previous occasion the local Detroit news media publicized an objectionable radio stunt that was subsequently stopped due to public outrage. In this case, however, the news media is AWOL.
Every year the media covers the Hallmark holiday we call Valentine’s Day with shallow, mushy stories about marriage proposals, make-your-own-valentine treats and the area’s most romantic restaurants. But this year, when 95.5 WKQI, a highly rated station in the market, had a very different, more cynical take on the consumerist love-in, the media failed to show up.
On Thursday's edition of "Anderson Cooper 360," the host of the self titled show fretted that the withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg as commerce secretary nominee might indicate the Republican Party has declared "a war, an insurgency" against Barack Obama. Speaking to CNN analyst David Gergen, Cooper expanded on the theory. [audio excerpt here]
Referencing an embarrassing gaffe by Republican Congressman Pete Sessions that the House minority could consider the Taliban as an example of an insurgent force, the anchor seriously wondered, "So, David, though, you don't buy the idea that there is a war by Republicans against the President?" He continued, "Because, I mean, Pete Sessions, you know, who's head of the Republican Congressional Committee, was citing the Taliban as sort of an example of how to run an insurgent campaign against a larger force." Gergen didn't seem to go for the concept, asserting that there are "some hot heads in each party."
A few minutes earlier, Cooper theorized about the possible GOP threat, speculating, "But, do developments today also speak to something deeper, a war, an insurgency by Republicans against the President, against Democrats in the House and against their agenda?"
Free Speech and Free Markets? Nah.For the third time in eight days, a prominent liberal has called for a return of the Censorship Doctrine, otherwise mis-known as the "Fairness" Doctrine. This time it's former President and current high-dollar global thug speechifier -- and husband of the Secretary of State -- Bill Clinton.
Kudos and our sympathy to Michael Calderone at the Politico, who has to listen to a lot of really bad radio to get these quotes.
On his February 10 show, left-wing radio host Mike Malloy ranted about Republicans who voted against the Obama stimulus package, going so far as to label them as "domestic terrorists" who "want the country to fail." Malloy also attacked Rush Limbaugh in his comments and charged that Limbaugh "is a bigger threat to this country than Osama bin Laden," practically calling for his arrest.
"They're worse than useless. These are terrorists. These are domestic terrorists. They want the country to fail, for God’s sake. They want exactly what anyone who attacked this country on September 11, 2001 wanted. The real internal terrorists are the Republicans, I mean, isn't that clear? Rush Limbaugh is a bigger threat to this country than Osama bin Laden. He's a bigger threat than anybody that the CIA can invent. He's a bigger threat than any terrorist that ever leveled its sights against the United States, Limbaugh is, so why isn't he arrested and sentenced for treason?
Katie Couric teased Wednesday's CBS Evening News by excitingly trumpeting: “Tonight, they've got a deal! Congress reaches agreement on an economic stimulus plan.” She soon shared her enthusiasm in a taped interview with a triumphant House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Couric giggled along with Pelosi while asking if she was “surprised how intimately involved” President Obama “is in the whole process?” And, acting like a teenage girl gossiping about a friend's boyfriend, “Can you tell us anything he said to you, like 'get cracking'?” The giggle-filled exchange, which matches the accompanying video:
KATIE COURIC: Are you surprised how intimately involved he is in the whole process?
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Quite frankly, yes. I said, “Mr. President, neither of us has time for this conversation, especially you,” because we really, we understand each other. We know where we need to go.
COURIC: Can you tell us anything he said to you, like “get cracking”?
PELOSI: No, never that. We're always cracking.
Audio: MP3 clip that matches the video (25 secs, 150 Kb)
The Senator Of Course Gets to Keep His MicrophoneIt seems you can't swing a dead cat in the United States Senate without hitting another proponent of a reinstatement of the Censorship Doctrine.
In today's Politico Michael Calderone delivers the second addition to the censors list in less than a week. Last Thursday, it was Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow. Today it's Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin.
Both were appearing on the ever dwindling, shrinking by leaps and bounds Bill Press Radio Show, enjoyed by tens all across the nation.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen spoke with Obama supporter Julio Asegueda, who attended the president’s economic town hall in Florida on Tuesday: "President Obama took his economic stimulus message to Fort Myers, Florida yesterday. And in the crowd of 1,500 he heard real stories of economic struggle and hardship, including from 19-year-old college student Julio Asegueda." By contrast, the Early Show reacted quite differently when Joe the Plumber dared to question Obama during a campaign stop last October.
In his question to Obama, Asegueda complained about being stuck in a job at McDonald’s for the past few years. Chen asked Asegueda: "I want to know what happened after you voiced your problem to the president?" He replied: "When I voiced my problem to the President of the United States, I was so shocked at the answer he gave me. The answer that he gave me was so -- so sincere and so motivational to me that it just -- I had such a surreal feeling that I've never had in my life." In reality, Obama simply offered talking points about tax credits for college students, hardly "motivational." [audio excerpt available here]
In excerpts aired on Tuesday's World News, of Terry Moran's interview with President Barack Obama for Nightline, Moran was as sycophantic toward Obama as he was during the campaign, lamenting Obama “got no honeymoon” and bemoaning the new President had been “too nice” to Republicans. “Mr. President,” Moran rued in overlooking the ongoing honeymoon from the media, “you got no honeymoon. Not a single Republican vote in the House on your first major piece of legislation.” Moran speculated: “I wonder in coming into the presidency, maybe you were too nice? If I'm a Republican Senator or a Republican Congressman, I think you're a very nice guy but maybe I don't have enough reason to fear you.”
Earlier, Moran cued up Obama: “How close do you think the country is to the kind of economic catastrophe that you're warning about?” In the ABCNews.com transcript, which does not include the “honeymoon” lament, the tri-anchor of Nightline suggested the banks should just be nationalized: “There are a lot of economists who look at these banks and they say all that garbage that's in them renders them essentially insolvent. Why not just nationalize the banks?” (That did not air on World News, but was part of what Nightline ran later.)
Audio:MP3 clip which matches the video (45 secs, 275 Kb)
It's a question we've all been waiting to hear answered. Unfortunately, it took a conservative talk radio host to ask it and didn't come from the mainstream media.
In an interview with Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, Pa., on Feb. 9, talk show host Laura Ingraham asked why he and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are the only three out of 229 Republican members of Congress to support the stimulus. She inquired if it might have had something to do with being invited to the White House by President Barack Obama.
"Is it nice to be wined and dined at the White House?" Ingraham asked. "And, you're treated pretty well when you're a Republican bucking other Republicans, right Senator?"
Specter told Ingraham he wasn't being "wined and dined" by the Obama White House. Specter wasn't on the guest list of one infamous White House party that included several Republican and Democrat members of Congress, which included cocktails and wagyu beef. However, Specter did attend a Super Bowl party hosted by the White House on Feb. 1 as the only Republican member in attendance.
"I think it's a weaker deal than he thinks," MRC's Rich Noyes told Fox Business Network's Brian Sullivan, referring to President Obama's hopes for passage of the stimulus package. Noyes appeared on Fox Business Network's "Cavuto on Business" program shortly after 6:30 p.m. EST to discuss President Obama's campaigning for his stimulus package.
While Obama campaigned on the vague notion of "change," now that he's president, the stimulus bills under consideration have "fairly weak public support" compared to his personal approval ratings, Noyes noted. The NewsBusters senior editor cited a CBS News poll -- which went unreported that network's airwaves -- that found as Noyes put it, "a majority for the stimulus, but it's weak majority.":
NOYES: Sixty-two percent think the best thing about it would be the tax cuts. Only 16 percent are in favor of the government spending as being able to be helpful. This is something where the public is against massive spending because they're cutting back everywhere, they see business cutting back everywhere. That's his problem, his next phase in this political program is going to be another big spending program to deal with the banks.
During the opening of Friday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric teased upcoming coverage of the so-called "stimulus" bill being debated in Congress: "Tonight, 13 jobs a minute disappearing...Senate moderates race to trim the stimulus package to a passable size." An image of a ticking clock appeared on screen as Couric spoke. A clip was also played of Barack Obama exclaiming: "These numbers demand action." In another clip, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid remarked: "The world is waiting to see what we're going to do in the next 24 hours." [audio excerpt here]
Couric later reported on a possible Senate agreement regarding the legislation, portraying it as a compromise despite a lack of significant Republican support: "The Senate has reached tentative agreement on an economic stimulus package. Price tag: $780 billion, trimmed down from more than 900 billion. The compromise followed more dismal economic news." Correspondent Chip Reid continued to tout the so-called "compromise": "The deal was worked out behind closed doors by a group of about 16 moderate Republicans and Democrats, who plodded slowly through the 700 page bill line by line, looking for projects that won't do much to stimulate the economy." Neither Reid nor Couric explained that only three moderate Republican senators offered support.
Following Reid’s report, Couric asked him: "So, Chip, does today's deal mean the House and Senate will be able to compromise on a final stimulus bill, or once again will everything be back on the table?" Reid raised concerns, but only those of Democrats who wanted to spend more: "Not everything, but a whole lot. Nancy Pelosi and other liberal Democrats in the House do not like these cuts. They didn't even like the idea of trying to cut $100 billion out of this bill, much less 150 billion, and they're vigorously opposed to those cuts in education."
On Friday's "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos turned a statement that Barack Obama made about corrupt Islamic dictatorships and made it into a metaphor on congressional Republican opposition to the President's stimulus bill. Speaking of the difficulty Obama has had with passing his multi-billion dollar spending bill, Stephanopoulos instructed, "And to borrow a metaphor from the President's inaugural address, he might have to replace his open hand with a clenched fist." [audio excerpt available here]
In comparison, during the President's inaugural address on January 20, Obama spoke to the Muslim world and asserted, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo seemed to understand Stephanopoulos' linkage. He complained, "Who knew that the clenched fist would be about Congress? We thought he was talking about foreign people, foreign countries, then."
Extreme environmentalist and "Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion on Thursday admiringly recounted the story of a Los Angeles resident, Dave Chameides, who has been living with his garbage for the last year. The liberal meteorologist also extoled the benefits of Chameides' unorthodox methods of disposing waste, including the worm composting program he has set up in the basement of his home. At the same time, Champion, who in 2007 highlighted a toilet paper-shunning environmentalist, attacked the "throwaway society of America. He complained, "We're the most wasteful [society] in the world." [audio excerpt here]
Chameides decided that for 365 days, no trash would be thrown away. In order to keep paper from piling up, he began worm composting. The Los Angeles man explained to Champion, who was taking a tour of his garbage-filled basement, "This is an in-home worm composting bin. All of my food scraps and paper and things like that go in here and the worms eat 'em up." Champion replied, "The worms are not for the squeamish," but enthused that they "do the trick."
With each passing day, ABC's failure to speak to and about this issue tarnishes further the network's reputation as a legitimate news entity. I've sent a personal letter to Mr. Westin, calling on him now as President of ABC News, to publicly address and resolve this issue. If the charges are false, provide the evidence. We will gladly accept it and consider the matter closed. If the charges are correct, then ABC News must address this publicly and comprehensively.
Time magazine's Jay Carney moved on to do communications work for Vice President Biden. CNN's Sanjay Gupta has been placed on Obama's short list for U.S. Surgeon General. Former ABC reporter Linda Douglass was an advisor on the Obama campaign and was slated to do PR work for Tom Daschle at HHS. [audio excerpt here]
Those are just three examples of the "media wing of the Democratic Party," MRC Director of Communications Seton Motley told viewers of the February 4 "Fox & Friends."
What's more, the revolving door between journalism and the staffs of liberal politicians is nothing new, Motley added that, "[i]n the first two years of the Clinton administration, 33 journalists joined the Clinton administration, so yes, there's a history of this."
During MSNBC's live coverage on Tuesday of the sudden resignation of Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle, reporter Andrea Mitchell suggested to Republican Senator Jim DeMint that the American public will see this as the GOP having "brought him [Daschle] down." The Democratic nominee resigned over a growing controversy which revealed that the former Senate majority leader owed $140,000 in back taxes. (He has since paid them.) Mitchell sympathetically described talking to the ex-senator: "I just got off the phone with Tom Daschle. And it was an emotional conversation. He was clearly- it sounded as though he were tearful, overwrought." [audio excerpt here]
Later, while speaking to DeMint, Mitchell bristled at the South Carolina senator's contention that Democrats were also skeptical of Daschle's nomination. The journalist chided, "Well, Senator DeMint, you can say that the Democrats were uncomfortable as well, but they were all supporting him publicly." She then lectured, "So, this does read to the public as though the Republicans went after this man, someone that the President very much wanted, and brought him down."
You might expect the new and idealistic era of Obama to tame the savage breasts of left-wing talk radio, but that cannot be said of Mike Malloy, the former CNN employee. On January 29, discussing reports of a growing rate of suicides in the Marine Corps (up to 44 in 2008), Malloy unloaded this rant about the Bush legacy and its Republican enablers: "The Republican Party needs to be executed as quickly as possible." At least he was bipartisan enough to attack the Senate Democrats who voted to give that "sociopath" Bush the power to commit troops "anywhere!" (Click here for audio)
13:47 CNN cuts to Brady briefing room, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs making opening announcements before questions. Announces Obama event to commemorate 200th anniversary of birth of Abraham Lincoln.
13:52, female reporter: On Tom Daschle, if you could take a step back, we have two nominees paying back taxes. An awful lot of money... what kind of a message does it send?
Robert Gibbs says Daschle discovered a mistake and paid for it, including penalty fees. Says he hopes Senate will examine not just "one mistake in a career" but Daschle's whole career in public service.
Marveling on Monday's Late Show about how people were lining up during the inauguration “to buy merchandise with any depiction” of President Barack Obama, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams expressed his pleasure at seeing so many people “that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations.”
All the Presidents going back for “generations” before Obama were “evil”? Williams likely meant to say past presidential victors were seen as the “lesser of two evils,” but a greater percent of voters cast their ballot for Ronald Reagan in 1984 (58.7%) -- when plenty of Americans outside the media were excited about re-electing that President -- and George Bush in 1988 (53.7%) than chose Obama (52.8%).
Williams soon insisted “none” of his personal excitement over Obama's presidency “is about a party” since, he quite seriously maintained, “none of us have a party in my line of work. We all try to call balls and strikes down the center.” Yet, Williams proceeded to trumpet how “we have a dazzling family in the White House. I don't think they take a bad picture” and tout how Obama “has an enormous brain. He's a hugely capable man.” Then, the “down the center” Williams endorsed Obama's “stimulus” plan: “If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years...”
If you were dying to know what Gwen Ifill was thinking when the controversy arose about her so-called Obama book and how that might have effected her ability to moderate the 2008 vice-presidential debate - now's your chance.
In that appearance, Ifill claimed she didn't believe the book inhibited her ability to moderate that debate and pointed out her ability to overcome racism as how she dealt with the controversy - by strapping on her "blinders." She also took a couple of passive jabs at former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin - commenting on her "thin" biography and remarking on Palin's debate performance.
Tuesday's broadcast media inaugural coverage "really was over-the-top" with journalists falling over themselves to describe the Obama ceremony in glorious overtones, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell told the crew of "Fox & Friends" earlier this morning.
"Look, Obama is their investment. They did the best they could to elect him," and now the media will avoid sharply criticizing the man they helped put in office, the NewsBusters publisher told Fox News Channel viewers, appearing via video link from the MRC's new studio in Alexandria, Va. [audio excerpt available here]
Yet even if they wanted to critically cover the new president, the downsizing of the mainstream media ensures that they don't have the staff to provide the public with hard-hitting reporting, Mr. Bozell added.
Chris Matthews questioned Rush Limbaugh’s patriotism on Wednesday night’s "Hardball," as the MSNBC host wondered how the radio talk show host could dare to oppose Barack Obama as he exclaimed to his viewers: "Does Rush Limbaugh hate this country?" Matthews jumped on a quote from Limbaugh saying of Obama, "I hope he fails," apparently not understanding the concept that Limbaugh opposes any and all who would promote liberal policies precisely because he believes they will be harmful to the country. To see Limbaugh's quote in full context visit his official site. Matthews slammed Limbaugh in the following tease before going to a commercial break (audio excerpt here):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Up next, does Rush Limbaugh hate this country? Wait till you hear what he said about the new president. He wants him to fail. What an amazing-, I've never heard anybody say they wanted a new president to fail. Usually you want the new president to succeed and then later on you argue the politics of what he or she does. But to want them to fail at the outset? What's that about?
Later in his "Sideshow" segment Matthews aired a sound bite from Limbaugh and then snidely remarked: "Well Rush must have a lot of acorns squirreled away not to share everyone else's hopes that the economy does come back."
The following Matthews outbursts were aired on the January 21 edition of "Hardball":
Yesterday was a historic day, for on January 20, 2009, listening to inaugural poet laureate Elizabeth Alexander's attempt at poetry, I actually missed Maya Angelou's attempt at the same 16 years earlier.
Yes, it was that bad, and if you watched the inauguration, you know it, as does every liberal journalist who heard it as well.
On Monday's inaugural edition of the "NBC Nightly News," well known Obama fan Lee Cowan made no effort to restrain his fawning over the new president, likening the experience of watching the Democrat's speech to being in a "political cathedral." After featuring clips of people viewing the address all over the country, Cowan cooed, "In the end, though, it really didn't matter where you were as long as you weren't alone." (audio excerpt available here)
He added, "Just ordinary street corners like this one here in Chicago fell silent, almost becoming a political cathedral of sorts." Cowan, the man who once announced that covering Barack Obama made his "knees quake," closed the segment by rhapsodizing, "And almost everyone was making that mental scrapbook, noting the time and place where they were on this day and, perhaps, shared a collective tear." It was, he said, "An event meant to be remembered and one meant to be shared."
Offering the most hyperbolic take of the night on the crowds who attended President Obama's inauguration, on World News ABC's Bill Weir delighted in wondering “can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer?” He decided it can indeed since “never have so many people shivered so long with such joy” while “from above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity.” Weir was certainly awed.
Meanwhile, over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams must have been as awed as those seagulls since he contended he could “feel” the masses watching from around the nation: “While it was unfolding today here in Washington, you could feel the millions around the country who were watching it all.”