Major media began shielding Barack Obama from criticism early in the presidential primaries. It's no surprise, then, when they continue to do so today. However, the media's collective, instinctive tone-deafness in regard to grassroots activities continues to stun and amaze.
NewsBusters has so far noted several grassroots efforts that have been ignored – despite similar left-leaning efforts getting fantastic coverage. For example, there was Noel Sheppard's initial entry on the Chicago Tea Parties, and the tiny amount of coverage they received. Then, there was Warner Todd Huston, noting the San Francisco Chronicle's preferential treatment of an anti-Wall Street protest. For the magnum opus, however, we turn to the entire mainstream media's blind eye – pointed squarely at the University of Notre Dame.
This was inevitable with the economic crisis. In The Nation magazine, leftist media critics John Nichols and Robert McChesney announce their utopian intentions to have the government intervene heavily in the media sphere and spread their tentacles all over the project of insuring an "independent" media in every American city and town. It’s time for an "immediate journalism economic stimulus," and then a much bigger government "investment" in public broadcasting. If that sounds like jamming the accelerator on funding a feistier left-wing PBS/NPR/Pacifica axis, you would be exactly right:
We begin with the notion that journalism is a public good, that it has broad social benefits far beyond that between buyer and seller. Like all public goods, we need the resources to get it produced. This is the role of the state and public policy. It will require a subsidy and should be regarded as similar to the education system or the military in that regard. Only a nihilist would consider it sufficient to rely on profit-seeking commercial interests or philanthropy to educate our youth or defend the nation from attack. With the collapse of the commercial news system, the same logic applies.
Going on right now: the first-ever "Twitterview" between Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and a mainstream journalist. McCain is being interviewed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos. You can follow the debate by checking out the @SenJohnMcCain and @GStephanopoulos feeds on Twitter.
Update (12:53 EDT): Below is a transcript of the interview, courtesy of MRC intern Mike Sargent. Sargent also noticed that at least one conservative observing the interview shot a message to Stephanopoulos objecting that Sen. McCain was misrepresenting his votes on the AIG bailout.
MCCAIN: Twitter interview with George S at noon.
STEPHANOPOLOUS: @SenJohnMcCain Happy St Patrick's Day! First things first: How do u tweet -- dictate or type? Blackberry or pc?
In an otherwise unbiased article on Justice Anthony Kennedy, Washington Post staffer Robert Barnes seemed to dismiss the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in last June's District of Columbia v. Heller case as one in which the Court "found" gun rights in the text of the amendment, as though the notion that the Second Amendment protected an individual's right to keep and bear arms was somehow novel revisionism ungrounded in the plain text of the document.:
Kennedy was the only justice in each majority as the divided court ruled out the death penalty for child-rapists, found in the Second Amendment the individual right to a firearm and provided constitutional protections to the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Barnes's language calls to mind how critics of Roe v. Wade and similar cases slam the Court for "finding" a right to an abortion in the Constitution where no such guarantee exists in plain English. Of course the Second Amendment itself is quite plain its its language:
It's official -- what we the sentient public, doctor and dentist patients in waiting rooms across America and the eight diehards still subscribing have long known: Newsweek is a horrendously biased left-wing rag.
Newsweek announced on Tuesday that they are partnering with liberal radio uber-failure Air America to syndicate their show Newsweek On Air. They are the first outside "talent" to join with the newly rechristened Air America Media (AAM).
Longtime Newsweek On Air producer and host and Newsweek Contributing Editor David Alpern said of the conjoining, "AAM Syndication is a great partner for Newsweek On Air.We look forward to maintaining the same high-quality content, balance, and listener interest that has won our program various awards and a place on so many station schedules, some for nearly all of its 27 years on the air."
After more than a quarter century of their "balanced" programming, I would venture to guess that most of you have never heard of Newsweek On Air. This state of anonymity will likely continue with their Air America Media partnership. It seems they sought to collaborate with an entity whose listenership mirrors their readership - minimal and declining rapidly.
In case you were worried, former Time magazine staffer Jay Carney has "had very little trouble adapting" to his job as Vice President Biden's director of communications. From a recent interview with Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers published in the March 12 paper:
[Akers]: You left journalism after 20 years with Time. How is life on the other side?
Carney: It's great. I have had very little trouble adapting to this new role, which is completely different from what I was doing before.
Carney also insisted that while he was just sort of swept into the Obama administration during the post-election transition period, he never was a leg-thrilling puddle of drool like others in the media:
***TWO UPDATES, including the response from AP's Ron Fournier, at the end of this post.***
Friday evening the Associated Press (AP) issued an un-bylined story which was nothing more than a stenographic reprint of the latest dishonest Democratic attack on talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.
The Friday story apparently reflected zero research into the charge levied by Brian Wolff, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The AP merely quoted Rush out of context - just as the DCCC had - and then served him up as a piñata for Wolff to pummel.
The AP cites Rush as having said that Congress's current push for socialist health care will "(b)efore it's all over ... be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care bill." This allowed the AP to serve up Wolff's whacks on Limbaugh; Wolff called Limbaugh's remark "outrageous and reprehensible."
Had the AP done ANY journalistic due diligence, they would have found this January 13 story from Fox News, quoting a spokeswoman for one of the architects of a national health care bill who said that any legislation that emerges would be named after Kennedy.
This is not a story of bias in the media. It is a story, rather, that affects both the Old Media of newspapers, TV and radio, as well as the New Media of the Internet. Our disagreements with the Old Media aside, we both stand to see trouble if a recent court case in Massachusetts gains momentum or is applied liberally henceforth.
The Associated Press reports on a libel case in Boston that pits a fired employee of the Staples office supply chain against his former employer. Staples, as it happens, sent out an emailed newsletter informing its employees that salesman Alan Noonan was fired for padding his expense account. Noonan sued for libel. Alarmingly, even though the emailed newsletter was reporting the strict truth the court held that truth was no defense in this case.
What does this mean to us? Journalists (and that means us too, folks) have been protected for decades by the concept that "truth isn't libelous" allowing things of a nature vexing to people in the news to be published without fear of a lawsuit. Even though this court case is not about journalism per se, it could come back to bite us all if this ruling is applied broadly.
Media Research Center President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell today called on all of President Barack Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominees to pledge to preserve the First Amendment freedoms of conservative and Christian talk radio. Bozell asserted that if they do not do so, they should not be confirmed by the Senate.
Denouncing the so-called Fairness Doctrine is not enough. Last Thursday, the Senate passed a rider from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that creates broad new free speech-suppression regulatory powers for the FCC.
The nebulous Durbin Amendment potentially allows for the FCC to prematurely rescind talk radio station licenses and creates many new regulatory avenues by which the FCC can silence talk radio with such vague requirements as "encourag(ing) and promot(ing) diversity" in media ownership and "ensur(ing) that broadcast station licenses are used in the public interest."
Though there was never any announcement on this side of the Atlantic that there would be a full-blown joint news conference today when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stops by to meet with President Obama, some British journalists are rather cranky this morning about the fact that there won't be one. Some who flew over with Brown last night thought there would be an Obama-Brown newser, and were surprised to hear when they arrived that there wouldn't. They see it as a snub.
"Mr Brown might lament," writes Toby Harnden of The Telegraph, "that despite the so-called 'special relationship' Britain is now getting the same treatment as the president of Uruguay but he need not despair. I'm told there's a chance he might get drinks with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening."
Law may allow preemptive, premature rescission of broadcast licensesBy Any Other Name Still Stings
Yesterday by a whopping 87-11 vote, the Senate added as a rider to the passed DC voting rights bill the Broadcaster Freedom Act (BFA). The BFA, if also passed by the House and signed by the President, would kill once and for all the Censorship Doctrine -- also mis-known as the "Fairness" Doctrine.
Much Conservative celebration ensued. However, the revelry is misplaced and premature. It means only that the Left means to destroy Conservative and Christian talk radio by other means.
Because another rider was added via a party-line 57-41 vote. Written by Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, S.160's Purpose is "To encourage and promote diversity in communication media ownership, and to ensure that the public airwaves are used in the public interest."
The Washington Post opinion pages on Sunday included a forum on how President Obama should conduct press conferences, complete with opinions from Helen Thomas, Sam Donaldson, and Dan Rather. Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush’s first press secretary, said he usually gave Bush a call list and a seating chart. But he suggested that sedate press conferences are in the best interest of the press, since they’re not pretty when they’re rowdy:
If President Obama wants to see the White House press corps hoist themselves on their own petards, he should grant them their wish. Instead of using a list to call on reporters at his next news conference, he should let them shout.
When trust in the media is dropping along with the number of people who read newspapers and watch the news, the last thing journalists should do is act like fools on national TV, seeing who has the loudest voice -- or the reddest dress -- with their hands raised, yelling "me, me, me, me."
In one of the most comical Politico stories I have ever encountered, several prominent journalists insisted that the revolving door between the media and liberal Democrats, especially Team Obama, is not a symptom of bias. Instead, they blamed the trend on the economy:
In three months since Election Day, at least a half-dozen prominent journalists have taken jobs working for the federal government.
Journalists, including some of those who’ve jumped ship, say it’s better to have a solid job in government than a shaky job — or none at all — in an industry that’s fading fast.
From the Revolving Door file: more liberal newspaper reporters are leaving their D.C. bureaus behind for jobs in Democratic politics. Scott Shepard of Cox Newspapers is joining the office of Sen. John Kerry as a speechwriter, while Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman is joining the Obama administration as a public-affairs officer for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Shepard is the second newspaper reporter to accept a job with the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee in recent months. Former Los Angeles Times and New York Times reporter Douglas Frantz is now chief investigator on Kerry’s staff at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Michael Calderone, media reporter for the Politico newspaper, reported that both Shepard and Zuckman blamed financial troubles at their media companies as a factor in their decision to become federal employees.
A look at the MRC "Notable Quotables" archives show some clues that these reporters may have comfortably signed up for the Democrats. Shepard drew attention in 1994 for going beyond the facts to defend Clinton’s Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders:
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.
Did you know that elderly people are utterly hopeless sad sacks who can't adapt to change?
That's what readers of the Baltimore Sun were basically greeted with in a February 17 story -- "Some left out in switch from analog to digital signal" -- which dutifully found two elderly women who are unprepared for a partial TV-less existence since two Baltimore stations ditched their analog signals at midnight.
Baltimore Sun reporters David Zurawik and Sam Sessa told the sad tales of 68-year old Janice Stephenson and 84-year old Eula Riggle. Sandwiched between their tales of woe, Zurawik and Sessa quoted a college professor who blamed the federal government for the supposed catastrophe and a politician who complained about the voucher program and the quality of the converter boxes that have been installed for senior citizens.
Yet when it comes to the Sun's actual poster women for TV deprivation, Stephenson and Riggle, the former had planned to start a cable subscription -- she postponed it having heard of the nationwide DTV conversion deadline being pushed back to June -- and the latter bought a converter box, only to end up selling it to someone else.
I knew he was a prolific text-messager, but I had no idea former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was a whiz with computer software.
Yet the perjurious former chief executive of Motor City is "talented and has a lot of charisma," as the Associated Press today described Compuware Corporation executive Peter Karmanos's assessment of Kilpatrick. According to the AP, Kilpatrick will be a customer representative for the company, dealing with public sector clients such as state government agencies.
Besides leaving out Kilpatrick's Democratic party affiliation, the AP's February 13 item left unmentioned that Karmanos is a hefty political donor to both sides of the aisle -- over $213,000 in federal contributions since 1994 -- and once gave $1,000 to the 2004 congressional campaign of Kilpatrick's mother, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), according to OpenSecrets.org.
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 Friday night, PBS star Bill Moyers took up the question of the media’s coverage of President Obama. It was not a liberal vs. conservative debate. His panel was two left-wing bloggers: Glenn Greenwald of Salon and Jay Rosen of PressThink. Unsurprisingly, they felt the media weren’t "progressive" enough.
But Greenwald went far beyond that, making claims that "establishment media venues" forged a political "partnership" with the Republican Party and "the right wing" during the Lewinsky affair that continued and "translated into the media being blindly supportive and reverent of the Bush administration." He also claimed – against all evidence – that massive demonstrations against the Iraq war in 2003 were almost ignored: "the media virtually excluded those demonstrations from the narrative."
These strange theories erupted without Moyers really demanding an attack on the media elite:
MOYERS: The Rasmussen Poll this week shows an eight point drop in support for the stimulus plan, what do you make of that?
GREENWALD: You know, I think if you go back to the 1990s, what you saw is essentially a partnership between the Republican Party, the right wing, and establishment media venues. And this partnership was formed when they were essentially engaged in their lynch mob over the Lewinsky affair.
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.
Following the Media Research Center's ongoing call for an explanation of George Stephanopoulos's reported strategy conference calls with Democratic operatives Paul Begala and James Carville and White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, the MRC has released a new Profile in Bias for the "This Week" host.
"[I]n his on-air role at ABC, Stephanopoulos has been a reliable mouthpiece for the Democratic spin of the day — using his perch as an analyst and correspondent to add an extra boost to liberals, undermine conservatives and push a liberal policy agenda," the profile notes before listing scores of examples, such this one from March 18, 2008, wherein Stephanopoulos lauded Obama for refusing to castigate his former pastor:
By refusing to renounce Reverend Wright, that was in many ways an act of honor for Senator Obama.
As we at NewsBusters have documented, ABC News executives have refused to directly confront the breach of journalistic ethics first reported in the January 27 Politico:
The Obama administration’s decision to have the White House supervise the 2010 Census -- a response to left-wing complaints that the Census was too important to leave under the authority of Republican Judd Gregg, the nominee for Commerce Secretary -- has thus far (as of Tuesday morning) drawn absolutely no attention from the three broadcast networks, with not a single mention on the ABC, CBS or NBC morning or evening newscasts.
This would undoubtedly be a huge story if the White House were still in Republican hands and it was the GOP that was attempting to take over the Census. As the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund reported today: “‘There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement,’ a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. ‘And it's called politics, not science.’”
Blogging at U.S. News & World Report on Monday, Michael Barone -- who knows more about the nuts and bolts of U.S. politics than practically anybody -- suggested the move could even be ruled unconstitutional:
While "pleased to see" that ABC did not ignore his concerns, in a letter responding to Smith the NewsBusters publisher denounced as "unfortunate how inadequately, disingenuously and indeed dishonestly" the network brass has chosen to respond to his criticism:
First, it's the original Politico story that reported that for 17 years Mr. Stephanopoulos has been participating in regular strategy calls with fellow Democrats. To quote from the story, "... in any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington's prevailing political and media interpretation - at least on the Democratic side - is being hatched on these calls."
That is not my willful and knowing distortion; it's the Politico's reporting. If you believe the story is false, then you have a fight with Politico, not me.
It would be funny if the subject matter wasn't the destruction of unborn children in the womb. Time magazine's Amy Sullivan asked in a Swampland blog post headline from February 4: "Barack Obama, Pro-Life President?"
Sullivan's evidence? Well, the president has picked a Pentecostal preacher -- who once worked for a New Jersey Congressman with a 100% score by NARAL Pro-Choice America -- to head his faith-based initiatives office and "abortion reduction" is one of the major stated goals of one of the president's advisory boards:
Her husband may finally be facing scrutiny, but the media still faint for Michelle.
“Pep rally.” “Rock show.” “Church service.” These were the words a Washington Post staff writer used to describe a brief appearance by the first lady at a government agency on Wednesday. It’s part of the ongoing drumbeat of press adulation for all things Obama.
On Feb. 5, Richard Leiby penned a glowing narrative of Michelle Obama’s political stop at the Department of Housing and Urban Development headquarters in Washington, D.C. to promote her husband’s economic plan. The Obamas may be all about “change,” but the entrenched bureaucracy sure seems to love them.
The crowd of government workers, which Leiby said had waited in line for hours, “raised their cameras aloft to capture her…the most famous woman in the world.” Leiby didn’t say whether he was troubled that the waiting, the “wild adulation” and the shouts of “We love you!” occurred during taxpayer-funded work hours.
“Dressed in a satiny purple blouse, gray jacket and skirt, Mrs. Obama only talked for about eight minutes but spent as much time wading into the crowd as the outro music blared: ‘Ain't No Stopping Us Now.’”
Update: The highlight thus far is the testy exchange between Gibbs and Tapper. Checking the tape again it appears he did answer Tapper's second question, albeit tersely muttering the response, before turning to Chuck Todd of NBC.
Gibbs starting press conference about 10 minutes late, at 2:10. Says was late getting started due to news about Associate Justice Ginsburg's pancreatic cancer surgery.
[N.B.: I'm watching via Fox News ]
14:10, Jennifer Loven, AP: question about stimulus size.
14:13, Loven question about potential conflict of interest for Obama's Labor Sec. designee, Rep. Solis.
14:14, female reporter notes more "combative" tone to Obama's talk on stimulus, asks if he's "given up on bipartisanship"
sorry for the gap, had Internet connection problems for a few minutes.
14:19, Ed Henry: President talked about the trillion dollar deficit, why then if that's a failure does he want to add $8 or $9 billion on top of that?
14:20, Henry: Paid for with a cigarette tax but we're not sure how many are going to buy cigarettes
14:22,Henry: Notes Labor Secretary-designate Hilda Solis's husband's reported tax liens, asks if White House knew about it.
14:24, Jake Tapper, ABC News: Can we get copy of the waivers for former lobbyists given by the OMB. It's not available by email or the Web, can we get them.