Detecting media bias is often an exercise in contrasting two analogous events to see how the media worked to write the narrative in the public's imagination. We at NewsBusters have already looked at how the media love the party atmosphere of the Obama inaugurals but groused at the expense of Bush's second inaugural, for example.
So it's instructive to see how Washington Post veteran journalist Dan Balz greeted President Obama's entry into his second term with how he looked at the dawn of President George W. Bush's second term. "[T]his Inauguration Day comes at a time when there is far greater realism about whether the president, or perhaps any leader, can transcend political divisions and unite the country," Balz noted in his front-page January 21 analysis piece, "This time, the idea of a new beginning seems optimistic."
Discussing Barack Obama's second inaugural address with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) shortly after 4 p.m. EST today, MSNBC host Martin Bashir approvingly noted how the president "critiqued some of the negative things" in American politics today, such as when he said "name-calling is not a reasoned debate" and "I've taken an oath to God and country, not to party and faction."
"I was thinking, these were rebukes, frankly, to House Republicans, in no small degree," Bashir concluded. Of course, to worry about political name-calling is rich coming from Bashir, who on various occasions has compared Republicans and conservatives to bloodthirsty tyrants responsible for bloody political repression. Below is just a short list of Bashir's battiest attacks on conservatives or Republicans:
Most people would cut a 13-year-old girl some slack if she became obsessed enough with Justin Bieber to write the teen singer emails and letters all the time, but what if an ostensibly professional journalist were to do the same to a politician?
This odd scenario actually is not a hypothetical, however. A CNN correspondent named Tom Foreman has been doing just that, writing a letter every single day to President Obama for the past four years.
"The far left is making [the average American gun owner and NRA member] a villain for abiding by your Second Amendment rights," and they're finding willing accomplices in supposedly objective journalists like Bob Schieffer, Brent Bozell argued on the January 17 edition of Fox News Channel's Hannity. The Media Research Center president was reacting to a soundbite in which the CBS anchor compared the political challenge of President Obama taking on the NRA to defeating the Third Reich in World War II.
"Surely passing civil rights legislation as Lyndon Johnson was able to do, and before that, surely defeating the Nazis was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby," Schieffer noted on January 16 shortly after President Obama's press conference on gun control. "This is a turning point in this country.," Schieffer insisted, concluding, "Unless we figure out a way to make sure that something like Newtown never happens again, we're not the country that we once were." [watch the full Hannity "Media Mash" segment below the page break]
When it comes to the Washington press corps, it seems journalists have two modes: garden variety liberal bias and rah-rah, fist-pumping Obama boosterism. The cover of today's Express tabloid exhibits both.
"Obama Draws the Line on Guns," exults the headline on the front of the January 17 Washington Post-published tabloid. The photoshopped image accompanying the headline is an upturned fountain pen from which a wisp of smoke is curling. [view the image below the page break]
Updated: The National Rifle Association did NOT commission the app in question. James Joyner of OTB explains. | "Just weeks after the National Rifle Association forcefully blamed violent video games for gun violence, the gun-rights organization has released a new shooter game for kids as young as four," Andrew Mach complained in a January 15 story at NBCNews.com. "The game's launch comes one month after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which touched off a national debate over how to limit gun violence," he added.
The implication, of course, is that the NRA is hypocritical and ghoulish with its January 14 release of the iPhone/iPad NRA: Practice Range app. And the age 4+ appropriateness rating is just icing on the cake. But an objective journalist might actually take a look into how Apple approves apps and assigns ratings, as well as how long it takes for an app to clear through its internal approval process. Mach failed to consider those things, so I looked into it.
The liberal media have spent 12 years feeling sorry for Al Gore.The Man Who Should Have Won in 2000 has had megatons of positive publicity dumped on him, hailing him as the “Goracle.” They cheered as leftists honored him with the Nobel Peace Prize and gave an Oscar to his filmed eco-sermon “An Inconvenient Truth.”
So when Gore sold his left-wing cable channel Current TV to al-Jazeera for $500 million, where were they? Despite the fact that conservatives thought the deal sounded like a ridiculous April Fools joke, the networks had nearly nothing to say. ABC skipped it entirely. CBS and NBC offered a perfunctory sentence on a couple of newscasts.
NBC's David Gregory interviewed President Barack Obama on "Meet the Press" Sunday, and a conversation ensued that would have been more fitting for a show called "The President Meets One of His Many Mainstream Media Enablers."
Let's take a look at just some of the exchanges and fantasize how different the nation's political and electoral climate might be if the liberal press were doing its job as watchdog instead of taking sides.
When the White House initiated the “We The People” website for persons to use in getting the attention of the Obama administration by accumulating at least 25,000 electronic signatures, I don't think they expected it to be used as much and as often as it is.
One of the complaints that has surpassed the halfway point is a petition to have NBC News reporter David Gregory arrested for using a 30-round AR-15 gun magazine as a prop during his interview with National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre on last Sunday's edition of “Meet the Press.”
There has been no shortage of deceptive ads, factually-distorted statements, and outright fabrications from the political left over the campaign year to choose from, but leave it to the Tampa Bay Times's PolitiFact to give its "Lie of the Year" award to the Romney campaign. The now infamous "falsehood" in question was Romney's claim that Jeep was planning on moving production of some of its vehicles to China. This was in fact technically true, but PolitiFact trademarked it as its "Lie of the Year."
In a fit of glee, multiple left-leaning news outlets have promoted the proclamation, including of course, MSNBC. [video below, MP3 audio here ]:
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey seemed absolutely shocked and appalled Tuesday afternoon, when MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall kicked off their interview on comprehensive immigration reform by asking him about breaking news from the Associated Press regarding the arrest and deportation order against an intern in the senator's office who is a registered sex offender. According to the report, the arrest was deliberately timed to fall AFTER the November 6 presidential election.
"Do you know anything about this report, senator," Hall asked a visibly annoyed Menendez. "We certainly wouldn't have known through any background checks since he is a minor about any sex offender status," Menendez insisted, "and once it came to our attention, our New Jersey staff director let the young man go from the program." [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
In his Washington Secrets column in the December 12 Washington Examiner, columnist Paul Bedard disclosed for readers the thrust of a recent email that Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe sent supporters: McAuliffe is a "mainstream" candidate fighting for Virginians against the "extremist" Tea Party conservative Ken Cuccinelli.
That's par for the course for a liberal Democratic candidate in a swing state, of course, but its notable for our purposes at NewsBusters because, as I've been writing the past few weeks, that's exactly the narrative that the liberal Washington Post is putting in their ostensibly neutral news articles. You can find those pieces here, here, and here. As the 2013 off-year election season heats up, expect to see the liberal media generally, but the Washington Post in particular, do its best to help the McAuliffe campaign sell its narrative. It may be hard to tell where the campaign talking points end and the supposedly neutral news media begins.
Right-to-work legislation has passed in Michigan, despite the vociferous protests of bused-in union protesters in Lansing and sympathetic coverage from the liberal media, who have portrayed right-to-work as a blow to "union rights" as well as a "politically unnecessary" and "divisive" move by Republicans who control the state legislature and governor's mansion in a state that went strongly for Obama last month.
But there is another side of the story, which the liberal media outlets are seemingly ignoring. The Michigan-based conservative think tank called the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has not only published persuasive and thoroughly-researched reports advocating for the right-to-work policy, they are doing their best to inform the public with the facts and figures that the majority of the media refuses to acknowledge, much less verify.
Michigan may very well become the 24th state to adopt right-to-work legislation on Tuesday, and liberal media outlets have given its opponents ample opportunity to state their case. While proponents have not been allowed to defend the law at all, MSNBC's Chris Jansing was more than happy to briefly play "devil's advocate" with her guest on Monday -- newly elected state representative Tim Greimel who called right-to-work "too divisive and too extreme for the state."
Following his lengthy diatribe on the subject, in which he also called right-to-work the "surest path to poverty that anybody could pursue here in Michigan," Jansing invited the Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Jackie Kucinich -- daughter of retiring liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) -- of USA Today back on the program to reinforce the argument Greimel made. Hardly a balanced analysis of legislation designed to safeguard an individual's right not be coerced into a union or into financially supporting a union in which he/she is not a member [ video and transcript below ]
Musician James Taylor may not be at the peak of his career anymore, but he's still doing quite well for himself. Taylor's estimated net worth is around $60 million. Nevertheless, as a featured speaker at a National Press Club luncheon on Friday, the liberal musician used the platform to bash George W. Bush, who's been out of office for nearly four years now.
While the subject was supposed to be on election reform, the veteran singer-songwriter held forth on how he amped up his political activism because he was "really suffering" during the "Cheney/Bush" years, Liz Harrington of our sister site CNSNews.com reported on Friday.
Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) announced Thursday that he will be trading his Senate seat in January to assume the helm of the Heritage Foundation. Covering the surprising development in its Friday edition, Politico dismissed DeMint as a mediocre politician with an undistinguished record who is moving on to captain a conservative think tank that has become "predictable, uninspiring, and often lacking in influence."
Manu Raju and Scott Wong mocked DeMint's lack of credentials in their front-page story titled, "DeMint Departure Fallout." They described him as a popular senator who has actually "accomplished very little" in Congress because he "wasn't a legislator" and having "no signature laws to his name." Of course, this betrays an inside-the-Beltway way of thinking about success in Congress. Conservatives dedicated to shrinking the size and scope of the federal government are not going to be be known for legislative accomplishments, which more often than not are about expanding the federal government's size and scope, not dismantling old bureaucracies.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has been nominated for a Grammy Award for her book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. The extremely liberal MSNBC host was recognized in the spoken-word category for the audiobook version of her New York Times bestseller.
Maddow's nomination is an apt opportunity to remind our readers that an assortment of reviewers have critically panned the progressive commentator's polemic about the military-industrial complex for its blatant misrepresentation of history and glaring omissions.
As the 2013 Virginia governor's race is already underway, the Washington Post is determined to set the narrative early on for its readers, and it goes a little something like this: Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a hard-right conservative who's too extreme for the Old Dominion, especially in contrast to job-creating businessman Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe, you may recall, served as Democratic National Committee chairman from 2001 to 2005. [Read related posts here and here]
In the December 6 paper, Post staff writer Ben Pershing continued the narrative with his treatment of liberal former congressman Tom Perriello's announcement the day prior that he would not run for governor and that he backs McAuliffe, giving the former DNC chief a virtual lock on the nomination next June. The race is now between "Cuccinelli, a conservative who is loved by his party base, and McAuliffe," a "businessman" who "previously ran the Democratic National Committee," Pershing noted. The term "liberal" was used twice in Pershing's 17-paragraph story, in relation to Perriello. There was no exploration of the question of McAuliffe's ideological leanings:
Founded by Roy Beck in 1998, Numbers USA is a grassroots organization and an influential lobbyist group that concerns itself with immigration reform and the threat of mass amnesty. As the unemployment rate among the citizenry continues to grow, over one million permanent work authorizations are handed out each year to immigrants -- further saturating an already stagnant labor market.
Beck sat down for an interview with MSNBC.com's Jane C. Timm recently, only to find himself labeled as the "Grover Norquist of the immigration debate." With no intention of portraying him in a positive light, Timm argued that the 1.3 million grassroots members of Numbers USA will not allow Republican congressmen to moderate their stance on immigration reform. And rather than consider it an anti-amnesty organization, in predictable fashion she presented the group as "racist" in motivation.
When your network milked the "war on women" for all its worth, it's a little much to condescend to a conservative woman in a segment dealing with gun control and domestic violence, but Steve Kornacki turned up the volume on his boiler plate anti-gun talking points in a segment on the Dec. 3 edition of MSNBC's The Cycle that discussed Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide and the resulting exploitation by sports journalists like Jason Whitlock and Bob Costas.
The panel's lone conservative, columnist S.E. Cupp reasoned that blaming an inanimate object for violence is a dangerous and misguided assumption, but co-host and Salon contributor Steve Kornacki could not have disagreed more. [ video & transcript below ]
If you thought President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder had given up on closing Guantanamo Bay and bringing jihadists to American soil, think again. Two troubling developments on the Gitmo front should have every American on edge.
The first White House maneuver took place in October, while much of the public and the media were preoccupied with election news. On Oct. 2, Obama's cash-strapped Illinois pals announced that the federal government bought out the Thomson Correctional Center in western Illinois for $165 million. According to Watchdog.org, a recent appraisal put the value of the facility at $220 million.
In an appearance on Monday's America's Newsroom program on Fox News, veteran sportscaster Jim Gray at first expressed what seemed like absolute agreement with NBC's Bob Costas regarding the need for more gun control in light of the horrific Jovan Belcher murder-suicide on Saturday.
In what turned into a sanctimonious lecture during halftime programming on Sunday Night Football, NBC's Costas endorsed an anti-gun screed by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock. Asked for his thoughts by Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum, Gray wholeheartedly agreed with Costas and Whitlock, but then oddly backtracked just as the interview was concluding [ video (via MRCTV's Ian Hanchett) and transcript below ]
As we at NewsBusters have noted, the media's coverage of Mohammed Morsi's self-appointment as virtual dictator in Egypt has been dreadful. Surely TIME magazine would be a little more hard-hitting, right?
Wrong. Despite having the benefit of three reporters on the byline -- Richard Stengel, Bobby Ghosh and Karl Vick -- none of those men posed a really hard-hitting question and all of them let Morsi drone on with filibuster-length answers that dominated the interview. Below the page break you'll find the agenda of questions asked (emphases mine) -- the first one is an incredibly dopey non-question -- and you can read the TIME transcript here:
You may recall when CBS fired Charlie Sheen early last year from the popular Two and a Half Men series for a string of "felony offenses involving moral turpitude." In the weeks and months that preceded this decision, an increasingly erratic Sheen received an inordinate amount of media attention for his drug-induced rants. To this day however, Sheen's bad boy persona is received warmly by the media, and he's been rewarded for it with ad spots for Fiat and DirecTV and even another show on the FX network that jokingly plays off his history of reckless hedonism.
By contrast, Sheen's former co-star, Angus T. Jones, the titular "half man" on the sitcom, has been castigated by the media for his recent religious conversion and subsequent YouTube testimonial in which he urged folks to avoid his popular TV series. Perhaps pressured by producers, Jones has since apologized for coming across as indifferent and unappreciative for the lucrative opportunity, but that hasn't stopped the media for characterizing Jones's video as another celebrity meltdown. [ video below the page break ]
In an interview with CBS News anchor Scott Pelley last week, Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein immediately brought up a highly sensitive subject that liberals in the media and highest levels of government refuse to acknowledge: entitlement spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are unsustainable at their current rate and need significant reform to ensure those programs exist in the future.
In response to the clip, MSNBC host Ed Schultz and Teamsters President James Hoffa were beside themselves on Tuesday night's Ed Show -- offended that Blankfein would voice such a "misinformed" view on national television. The only son of the notorious Jimmy Hoffa was ardently opposed to the idea that there is anything currently wrong with the system as is, to suggest otherwise is just "outrageous" he thundered. [ relevant video & transcript below ]
It was almost a month ago that the New York and New Jersey coastlines were mercilessly pummeled by Hurricane Sandy. Immediately following the storm, the liberal media spin went into overdrive commending the leadership and compassion Obama displayed in the aftermath. But reports have been surfacing since the election, revealing how conditions in the afflicted regions are still not much improved and the majority of the broadcast media's acknowledgement of their prolonged trials and tribulations has been minimal at best.
For their part however, Fox & Friends welcomed Donna Vanzant on Tuesday morning's program. She just so happened to be the woman President Obama was photographed consoling during his official visit to survey the damage in New Jersey. To say the least, she has not been pleased with FEMA's fickle response. [ video below the page break ]
Throughout the liberal media's ceaseless coverage of the impending fiscal cliff debacle, they have fixated on hiking taxes on the "rich," even though doing so would come nowhere close to solving America's fiscal woes. Whatever short term gain in revenue from tax hikes will not last the federal government for very long, and another credit downgrade is inevitable if entitlement reform continues to be ignored.
Nowhere is this 'tax the rich' and 'fair share' obsession more blatant than on MSNBC, where the Obama administration's message is amplified on a daily basis. Take Tuesday's Jansing & Co for instance. Host Chris Jansing set up Huffington Post contributor Ryan Grim to advise President Obama and Democrats on the Hill, which amounted to him reiterating that going over the fiscal cliff may not be such a bad thing after all. Democrats can appear to be the tax cutters as a result, by reinstating the Bush tax cuts on all but the top income earners. [ video below, MP3 audio here ]
Filling in for Alex Wagner on Monday afternoon, Ari Melber of the left-wing Nation magazine did some thing on MSNBC's Now that Wagner and many of their colleagues have been reluctant to do themselves -- expose the deception and dishonesty of Obama on the subject of drone attacks. While there was a brief mention or two in the weeks and months that preceded the election, the coverage was never sufficient -- considering the circumstances.
It's a telling sign however, that such a report would air three weeks after the incumbent's decisive re-election victory, by a guest host at that. Armed with indisputable video evidence, Melber noted the disparity between the candidate and the president [video below the page break]:
Armed with so-called 'facts' disguised as the same liberal talking points we're all too familiar with, MSNBC's staff of bloggers published an article yesterday that detailed the top 10 comebacks that are guaranteed to confound and demoralize any Republican relative who dares to speak ill of Obama at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
The "Lean Forward" network won't let their bias take a rest even for the holidays, nevermind that politics is hardly polite conversation for the dinner table on any given holiday, let alone Thanksgiving. But family harmony is a small price to pay for dutifully defending President Obama to your relatives who aren't buying into the hope-and-change mantra.