In what Bob Schieffer of CBS News's "Face the Nation" promoted as the first interview of Sen. Barack Obama following the first presidential debate, “broadcast journalism's most experienced Washington reporter,” according to CBSNews.com, made no effort to critique Obama’s debate answers and performance, but instead led the Democratic candidate into an hour-long bashing of the Republican ticket.
Schieffer’s slant was obvious right out of the gate, emphasizing Obama’s supposed late night work on the bailout.
SCHIEFFER: Senator, it's still very complicated. We should stress this, it still hasn't even been put down on paper, all of it. But I know you were talking with the negotiators through the night last night. What can you tell us about it, and can you support it?
Neither Shieffer nor Obama mentioned the factors leading up to the sub-prime mortgage breakdown over the last 30 years. Instead Obama indicated blame is to be placed on the Bush Administration for all of it. The veteran journalist didn’t question it.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank appeared as a guest on the September 24 "Lou Dobbs Tonight". Just minutes before interviewing the Massachusetts Democrat, Dobbs featured a report from CNN correspondent Louise Schiavone on political contributions made by mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Schiavone stated Frank has received more than $42,000. His party's standard bearer, Barack Obama, has gotten over $126,000.
Yet Dobbs didn't even question Frank about taking those contributions from two of the major institutions involved in the present financial crisis. Or perhaps he could have asked Frank about what he told the New York Times in 2003:
"These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''
"I don't believe that the Times is pulling for Barack Obama." Jack Shafer, Slate, 9-23-08
There's actually much to agree with in Jack Shafer's column today regarding McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt's criticism of the New York Times. Consider this observation by Shafer, for example:
The press corps does adore Barack Obama. They like his story. They like writing about him. They like the way he gives speeches. They like the way he makes them feel. And they don't mind cutting him slack whenever he acts like a regular politician—which he is.
But Shafer, Slate's resident media critic, also expresses the to-me mind-boggling belief cited at the top of this item, that the Times isn't pulling for Obama. So stunned was I by Shafer's claim that I wrote him, seeking clarification. He was nice enough to reply, and I'm setting forth our exchange here:
Not long ago, many in the mainstream media were bemoaning the deterioration of public discourse in this year's presidential campaign. Stories of lipsticks and pigs and other nongermane matters were irrelevant and time-wasters, they tut-tutted. Let's get back to the real issues.
So the September 29, 2008 Newsweek strikes a blow for substantive journalism and giving voters information they really need to know. "All the Candidates’ Cars" begins:
When you have seven homes, that's a lot of garages to fill. After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates' cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here's the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one.
Such numbers are a harsh dose of reality in a campaign for the history books. Obama, the first black candidate with a serious shot at the presidency, accepted the Democratic nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, a seminal moment for a nation that enshrined slavery in its Constitution.
Did the United States, as the piece contends, enshrine slavery in its Constitution?
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, "enshrine" means "to enclose in or as if in a shrine" or "to preserve or cherish as sacred." Over at thesaurus.com, synonyms for the word are "cherish, consecrate, idolize, sanctify."
KVOA, the NBC television affiliate in Tucson, boasts on its Web site that we're reading "Balanced News You Can Count On." That may be true. What's indisputable is, in at least in one instance, it doesn't provide all the news.
TUCSON, AZ - The son of a U.S. Congressman from was arrested in Willcox Sunday, charged with human smuggling. According to court documents John F. Boyd son of Florida Congressman Allen Boyd, attempted to drive through a Border Patrol checkpoint in Willcox on Sunday with five illegal immigrants, including a 6-year-old girl.
In a statement sent Tuesday, Congressman Allen Boyd said, "On September 14, 2008, my 30-year-old son, John Boyd, was arrested in Arizona, and at a preliminary hearing yesterday, he was charged with alien smuggling."
"This is a family matter that my family and I will be dealing with privately. John is a grown man and must face the consequences for his actions, but he has the love and support of his family," says the elder Boyd.
Lazy journalism at NPR typically causes a return to their default position: liberal bias. Such was the case yesterday. In the morning edition, NPR reported on the recent and unsurprising announcement that NOW--the National Organization For Women, an ideological & partisan group--would endorse Barack Obama.
Rarely does the National Organization For Women endorse a presidential candidate. On Tuesday, the group announced it is endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Kim Gandy, president of NOW, talks with Renee Montagne about why the organization is endorsing Obama.
So what do you do if you're reporting on an MSNBC interview with McCain adviser Carly Fiorina in which she states that neither of the major party presidential candidates nor their vice presidential running mates qualify to run a major corporation? If you're the folks at CNNPolitics.com, you headline the story "McCain adviser Fiorina: Palin not ready to run a corporation."
The MSNBC story, "If she can't run a major company..." cites a recent Fiorina radio interview in which she was asked if Sarah Palin has the experience to run a major company like Hewlett-Packard, which Fiorina formerly served as CEO:
With Barack Obama losing his lead in a variety of polls, CNN anchor John Roberts on American Morning today decided to look elsewhere for encouragement. He and CNN London correspondent Becky Anderson, with the bottom of the screen announcing, "The world wants Obama," looked at a BBC poll showing that, at least among foreigners, Obama is still a superstar:
ROBERTS: It has been said that politics is a popularity contest. And according to a new BBC Poll, Barack Obama is more popular among people overseas. CNN's Becky Anderson is looking at the poll results for us this morning. She is live right there by Carnaby Street in London.
Good morning to you, Becky.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
You're absolutely right. An overwhelming majority of the 22,000 people who are polled across 22 countries around the world favor an Obama presidency. Now, let's be honest. Obama did have an advantage going into this campaign as far as the rest of the world is, was and will be concerned, John. It's anybody but Bush. And by dent of association, therefore, anyone but John McCain.
The media's ham-handed attempts at grasping and accurately reporting religious belief are have only been magnified recently in light of the MSM's obsession with Gov. Sarah Palin's prior attendance at Pentecostal churches.
Some Pentecostals from Assembly of God also believe in "faith healing" and the "end times" -- a violent upheaval that they believe will deliver Jesus Christ's second coming.
"Our basic belief is that God is God and he knows where history is going and he has a purposeful plan and within the middle of that plan we live in an environment in our world where certain events would take place," says McGraw. "Sarah wasn't taught to look for one particular sign -- a cataclysmic sign. She knew as every Christian does ... that God is sovereign and he is in control."
The language above seems to paint Pentecostals as on the fringe of Christianity, and Kaye's use of dismissive quote marks for "faith healing" and "end times" helps to communicate that to the reader. But the concept of the end times is not a wacky, outside-the-mainstream of Christianity belief. It's essential to the eschatology of all orthodox Christian denominations and rooted in Christian Scripture (from Theopedia.com):
NewsBusters.org's parent company, the Media Research Center, today released the following statement from President L. Brent Bozell, III.:
Arch-liberal MSNBC has finally pulled the plug on the horrendous anchor tandem of Olbermann and Matthews. It's a good move, but it's about time. I wonder what it was that finally made them see the light?
At long last, the soon-to-be erstwhile Democratic mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, pleaded guilty and will resign as mayor. The Detroit Free Press reports all of the salacious details--except the singular detail that Kilpatrick is a Democrat.
In a courtroom this morning, Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obstructing justice by committing perjury. He will spend four months in jail, pay up to $1 million in restitution, and serve five years' probation. [...]
Kristen Fyfe of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center, appears on the Fox News Channel's American Election Headquarters to discuss the media's ongoing assault on Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Ms. Fyfe talks about what she calls the "Mommy Wars," with the media firing many shots at the Alaskan Governor that they have always before considered out of bounds with regard to a public woman and her family.
Ms. Fyfe appeared yesterday afternoon with FNC's Bill Hemmer.
The ultimate objective in journalism is to deliver fresh information to the audience, to break heretofore unshattered stories.
Last night, ABC's Terry Moran did exactly that.
To get there, you must first wade through an extraordinary amount of Moran-Goo, as he slathers it liberally all over his reporting of the official nomination vote. But this is hardly groundbreaking. What comes next is.
The excited media throngs have already long hailed Illinois Senator Barack Obama for being the first bi-racial candidate ever to secure a major Party's nomination for President.
Moran yesterday added to the historic aura surrounding the Senator's parents.
One thing the ongoing feud between MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann has demonstrated that politics can get very personal. Both anchors are very committed Democrats yet seem to despise each other.
A similar case of the personal becoming political appears to have occured in my birth state of Utah where the Salt Lake-based Deseret Morning News is being accused of mounting a petty feud against Utah Republican legislators.
It all began earlier this summer when the News, along with its rival the Salt Lake Tribune, filed an official information request on an unrelated story. Unfortunately for the News, its request was overly narrow and did not yield the information it had desired.
Yesterday I noted how the Washington Post practically scolded disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) for fighting in court for the right to travel out-of-state to the Democratic Convention in Denver later this month. I noted that Kilpatrick's party affiliation and superdelegate status were noted in the first two paragraphs of that article, something most reports by the Associated Press have failed to note.
Now in an August 15 report -- "Detroit Mayor Has Turbulent Day" -- AP's Ed White noted Kilpatrick's Democratic affiliation in the lede, but waited until paragraph 12 out of 17 to mention his superdelegate status:
(DETROIT) - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's tumultuous day began with one judge suddenly declaring he could get rid of the ankle device tracking his movements and another ruling only hours later that it must go back on. By the end of the day, the embattled politician's hope of attending the Democratic National Convention was dashed.
If these allegations are true, the danger isn't their potential to gather secrets. Instead, it's their ability to quietly shape opinion and influence public policy on Cuba through powerful academic groups, frequent media statements and slanted analyses as they maneuver within elite academic-think tank circles--and even brief government agencies and the military.
Citgo, the Venezuelan-owned oil company, is making a $1.5 million donation to the Silver Spring nonprofit group CASA of Maryland to help fund educational, training and economic development programs for low-income and immigrant workers.
The contribution is the latest effort by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to reach out to the poor in the United States in what critics call an attempt to curry favor with low-income Americans and embarrass President Bush.
Of course CASA de Maryland, among other things, advocates for amnesty for illegal immigrants, yet nowhere in Alejandro Lazo's August 5 article did the Post staffer even mention the word "illegal" to modify the term immigrants.
Government is notorious for moving slowly, but when it comes to adapting to technology, government's pace can be downright troublesome.
Consider Capitol Hill efforts to update Watergate-era laws and Internet-usage rules from the 1990s for use in Congress in the 21st century.
Many members of Congress and their staffs routinely participate in Web 2.0 at YouTube, Digg.com and Facebook, despite the fact that current congressional communication rules do not allow members to post any official communication (i.e., non-campaign material) on a Web site that is not House.gov or Senate.gov.
The Big Three broadcast networks lavished an incredible amount of attention on Barack Obama's tour of the Middle East and Europe last week. Compared to a very similar trip by John McCain last March, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts gave Obama more than ten times the coverage — 92 minutes for the Democrat's eight-day trip, compared to just eight and a half minutes for the Republican's seven-day tour.
The MRC's Peter Sasso calculated that the CBS Evening News was the most obviously tilted, with more than 34 minutes of Obama coverage during the eight days from July 20 through July 27. Back in March, McCain's seven-day trip garnered a piddling ten seconds from CBS, a ridiculously lopsided 200-to-1 disparity. For its part, ABC's World News gave Obama nearly as much coverage as CBS (about 33 minutes), or roughly 15 times more attention than they provided McCain's trip (slightly more than two minutes). NBC Nightly News spent nearly 25 minutes covering Obama, or about four times more than they gave McCain back in March (a little over six minutes).
The networks suggest Obama is driving the narrative, but it's the liberal press themselves doing the driving for Obama
(Editor's Note: This essay originally appeared today in Human Events.)
Just Another Clown Delivering the News
The Big Three networks just foisted a week long Obamathon upon the American people, a political, "journalistic" perversion of Jerry Lewis's annual televised good deed.
Mr. Lewis raises money for a very worthy cause. CBS' Katie Couric, NBC's Brian Williams and ABC's Charlie Gibson attempted to raise the Presidential credibility of an inexperienced candidate by dutifully following Illinois Senator Barack Obama to the Middle East and Europe for six days and five nights of wall-to-wall slavish and adoring reporting.
This was an unprecedented media extravaganza. Never before have all three evening news anchors been drawn out of their chairs and all over the world together and on behalf of a candidate. Their coverage of Sen. Obama was as glitteringly positive as it was all-encompassing: the primary season without the Clinton distraction.
By week's end, the voters back here Stateside could well have forgotten that Senator Obama has an opponent.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on today's "Fox & Friends" around 8:15 a.m. EDT. The topic: Barack Obama's biggest fans, the three network anchors, taking their bias on the road following the Illinois senator to Iraq. [audio available here]
If the networks were governed by the FDA, they would have recalled the word "news" from these guys.
The NewsBusters publisher went on to note that CBS devoted just 31 words to McCain's Iraq trip, and that McCain failed to get a traveling correspondent, much less an evening newscast anchor, to shadow him on his foreign trips:
So much of the liberal bias on cable networks is visual. It can impact the casual viwer on the treadmill at the gym watching with the audio off. Case in point is the video embedded at right from the July 15 edition of "The Situation Room" on CNN. [audio available here]
In it, anchor Wolf Blitzer tries to put a substantial wedge between House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over drilling for oil in ANWR. Notice that while Boehner defends opening up a small patch of the national Arctic wilderness for oil exploration, CNN producers make Boehner share a split-screen with footage of frolicking wildlife. The caption on screen reads, "Republicans at Odds Over Oil: McCain Against ANWR Drilling."
The message is clear: the GOP is the party that wants to shed [animal] blood for oil.
Update (13:40 EDT): You can see in bold some of the questions I thought particularly biased. I've clipped Mark Smith's first question about turning the thermostat down and driving less and posted that video on EyeBlast.tv. You can find it embedded at right. [Official White House transcript available here.]
10:17 EDT: President Bush will hold a press conference in a few minutes, I'll be watching and live-blogging questions from the press corps. I'll update the blog post after the fact (assuming President Bush takes questions) with a link to the official White House transcript. If warranted, we may also post video of the most biased questions.
11:09 | President thanks reporters for their time, closes conference.
11:06 | Olivier (sp?): "Is President Karzai correct and do you think the new government in Pakistan is willing to combat terrorism?"
11:02 | Ryan: Do you think it [the economy] changes before you leave office?
10:59 | April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks: "When in your guestimation will this country see a turnaround on the soft economy?" Also asks about what's happening in Sudan.
10:57 | Compton presses again on oil company question.
10:55 | Ann Compton, ABC Radio: "You never mention oil companies. Are you confident that American oil producers are tapping all the sources they have out there, including offshore?" Compton also asks about Iraq and what Bush will leave his successor.
10:53 | Smith of AP Radio asks if President Bush sees the "value" of a campaign to push for conservation.
10:52 | Mark Smith, AP Radio: "Mr. President, understanding what you say about energy supplies being tight and the debate over energy, which has gone on for years and will continue long through the campaign and into the next administration -- one thing nobody debates is that if Americans use less energy the current supply/demand equation would improve. Why have you not sort of called on Americans to drive less and to turn down the thermostat?"
10:50 | Roger Runningen, Bloomberg News on a second stimulus: "Is it too late to consider a second one?"
The media real estate rule: location, location, location
Liberal Scandals Strategically Located The Washington Post had two awful statements from Presidential campaign surrogates to work with last week. How it dealt with each of them is highly illustrative of how the media does its business.
Last Sunday evening the world was again made privy to the inner workings of the Reverend Jesse Jackson's mind, thanks to a moment of hot microphone pre-interview candor. Apparently, the Reverend Jackson is very, very angry with how Illinois Senator Barack Obama talks to black people, and with his pledge to up the ante on President George W. Bush's faith-based initiative. So perturbed is Jackson that he wishes to perform a certain ghastly procedure on the Senator, one that if executed on a sheep would be what a cowboy chef would say is the first step in the preparation of Rocky Mountain Oysters.
This is either a huge problem or a huge gift for the Illinois Senator. It is hardly good for a prominent Obama proxy to wish him castrated, worse still if he is so passionate about seeing it done that he is willing if not eager to do the job himself. On the other hand, it's a great opportunity for Obama to distance himself from the grievance-mongering Jackson and his ilk.
On Wednesday, Jackson officially retracted his desires to enter the eunuch-ing business, and on Thursday the Post delivered us the politically volatile goods like this (below the fold):
07/17/2008 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Alexandria, VA Christ Episcopal Church (Lepor Colony) 118 N. Washington St. Tony Snow (Press Secretary for 6 "B" George W. Bush) is dead, YES! He had a platform, he was given some small talent by his creator. He was an unfaithful steward, and is now residing in hell. Each opportunity he had to faithfully REport what the servants at WBC had to tell this country/world, Tony Snow besmerched and vilified the words of God and the people of God.
Please read the rest at MsUnderestimated's site here.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Bill Rankin penned a July 10 article noting a judge's refusal to slap a temporary restraining order on Georgia's voter ID law. Rankin labeled the measure "controversial." Yet the AJC staffer failed to relay that Georgia state law provides photo voter ID cards free of charge.
From the Georgia Secretary of State's Web site (PDF file):
If you do not have one of these acceptable forms of photo identification, the State of Georgia offers a FREE Voter Identification Card. An identification card can be issued at any county registrar's office or Department of Driver Services office FREE of charge.
Rankin did note that people who show up at the polling places without photo ID can still cast a provisional ballot, but that those ballots don't end up being counted as cast unless the voter comes back within two days with proper identification. He then cited both a criticism and a defense of that provision of the law:
If Speaker Newt Gingrich's Republican majority had faced a 9 percent approval rating at any point in the 1996 presidential election year, the media would have not let anyone forget it.
So given that and the media's frequently reminding Americans of President Bush's low approval numbers, why are the broadcast media ignoring the latest Rasmussen poll on the approval rating for Congress under the leadership of Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)?
Rasmussen's survey hit the wires yesterday, but none of the broadcast evening news programs covered the story, not even as a brief anchor mention. The July 9 "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and CBS's "Early Show," similarly paid no heed to the development.
The polling firm's official news release noted that the numbers are really bad even among Democrats -- who are only in the low-double digits in strongly approving of Congress -- and the harshest criticism comes from independents (emphasis mine):