As we've noted at NewsBusters, there's been scant coverage of a new scandal involving Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.). Both senators chair committees with oversight of the financial industry and Dodd is behind a bailout package for mortgage lender Countrywide. Both senators got "VIP" treatment from Countrywide Financial for refinancing agreements on their respective mortgages.
So today I thought I'd check our internal records at the MRC and the transcripts at Nexis to see what sort of coverage the three broadcast networks have devoted to this story.
What I found was a big fat zero.
Countrywide did, however, pop up three times on NBC newscasts between the beginning of June and today. All three stories were about celebrity Ed McMahon's foreclosure woes.
Yesterday, charges against another Marine officer accused of involvement in the Haditha "massacre" were dismissed. Today's Washington Post printed a story, but it was from Los Angeles Times writer Tony Perry, not a Post staffer. What's more, Perry's 10-paragraph story was printed on page A10 below-the-fold. [Check here for Perry's article* at the Times Web site.]
At least that was nine paragraphs longer than the "Around the Nation" brief that the June 5 print edition of the Post ran to relay news of the acquittal of another Haditha Marine:
Marine Acquitted in Iraq Case
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A military jury acquitted Marine intelligence officer 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson of charges that he tried to help cover up the killings of 24 Iraqis in Haditha.
The Associated Press has issued a legal threat to left-leaning news and commentary site The Drudge Retort on Thursday, claiming copyright infringement in a series of articles. One example of infringement provided by site operator Rogers Cadenhead consisted of a 57-word citation, taken from a 442-word article—A small fraction of the entire article, and certainly not any more than is necessary to pique the reader's interest in clicking over to the main AP article. I ran into similar problems with the AP way back in March, so I can definitely empathize with Cadenhead's situation.
Blame do-nothing Republicans for high gas prices. That was the impression visitors to ABCNews.com got this afternoon.
Among the "top headlines" lineup Web site editors included a story on "Fueling Anger" with the teaser headline: "Rejected! Big Oil Tax Gets Shelved." [see related post about CBSNews.com's bias here]
The accompanying caption to the ABC photo illustration read, "With prices soaring, GOP halts Democrats' wide-ranging energy plan."
The article itself, by writer Z. Byron Wolf, was front-loaded with bias, slamming Republicans for their filibuster of a new windfall profits tax measure while dismissing the GOP's energy plan as ineffective in the short term (emphases mine):
Typically one does not associate the word inquisition with our neighbors up north in Canada, and yet that is pretty much what is going on there to conservative author and columnist Mark Steyn. Minus the violence, Steyn is being subjected to a twisted court system that always finds defendants guilty and conducts itself in an utterly capricious way.
Steyn's crime? Daring to criticize radical Islam, an offense that many in this country would would no doubt love to criminalize. For his temerity, Steyn and the Canadian magazine Maclean's (which printed Steyn's essay, an excerpt from his book) are being put on trial by the "human rights commission" of British Columbia, one of several such bodies both Steyn and Maclean's have been forced to deal with by the Canadian Islamic Congress. Incredibly, the group claims that its human rights were violated because Maclean's did not allow one of its members a chance to respond in the publication.
What to do about this outrage? The editors at National Review have a few suggestions:
Franklin, being one of the most influential founding fathers, had a powerful understanding of the ability to communicate persuasively to a wide audience Cook explained in an interview.
Although he was known worldwide for his inventions and experiments, Franklin's most enduring legacies may have been in the realm of philosophy and politics, Cook said.
"He would be one of the smartest, wittiest and clever writers on the blogosphere," she said. "The ability to instantaneously express his opinion would be irresistible to him. Blogging would thrill a man with his ability and creativity."
The overspending on Capitol Hill and the high consumption lifestyle of many contemporary Americans would probably figure into Franklin's commentary in light of his parsimonious lifestyle, the book suggests.
Perhaps as a method of self-defense, The Washington Post offered op-ed space in Sunday's paper to former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer to object to his deputy Scott McClellan's charge in his book that the White House press corps were "complicit enablers" of the Bush agenda. As a "human pinata" in Bush's first two years, Fleischer wrote, that wasn't true:
At the risk of agreeing with one of my toughest protagonists in the briefing room -- NBC's David Gregory -- the press was tough, plenty tough. I have the scars -- and the transcripts -- to prove it.
Less than five hours after the Sept. 11 attacks, as we flew on Air Force One, the traveling White House press corps asked me if the "president should be satisfied with the performance of the intelligence community." "Has he asked to find out where the gaps were," reporters demanded. "Is he concerned about the fact that this attack of this severity happened with no warnings?"
Stephen Spruiell reports on NRO's Media Blog that disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather interviewed Scott McClellan at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan on Wednesday night. This is surely a last straw in Bush betrayal. For his part, Rather pressed Scottie to confirm that certain brave anchormen with a deficiency in identifying modern typefaces were done in by a vast right-wing conspiracy of bloggers and Bushies.
With echoes of Watergate, Rather smells a Gordon Liddy-style covert operation that "seeks to orchestrate, perhaps even run some of what’s on the Internet." Bloggers who favor Bush may even be "paid by the White House political operation." To Spruiell's transcript:
If the Speaker vilifies U.S. soldiers and praises their Iranian killers, and the Jurassic Press doesn't report it, does it make a sound?
Last Thursday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, third in line to the Presidency and currently the highest ranking Democrat on Planet Earth, sat down for an 80-minute chat with reporters and editorial board members of her home district's San Francisco Chronicle. 62 minutes in, Madame Speaker, pontificating on the Iraq surge, offered up the following:
"Whatever the military success and any progress that may have been made, the surge didn't accomplish its goal. ... And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians -- they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians."
Have the media fallen down on the job in pressing Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) about her war on terrorism bona fides? If silence over the 1999 pardon of 16 FALN terrorists is any indication, yes.
A Google News search for "Clinton FALN clemency" yielded but one result, this May 24 item from Politico's Ben Adler (emphasis mine):
[Y]ou have to look back roughly a decade to find the last time Puerto Rico played a starring role in mainland politics - the summer of 1999, when President Bill Clinton drew sharp criticism by offering clemency to 16 imprisoned Puerto Rican nationalists who belonged to an organization responsible for more than 100 bombings in the U.S. and Puerto Rico between 1974 and 1983.
At the time, Clinton was accused of attempting to curry favor with the large Puerto Rican community in New York, where Hillary Rodham Clinton was preparing to run for an open Senate seat. In response, the Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly passed a resolution stating, "President Clinton should not have offered or granted clemency to the FALN terrorists." The political backlash proved severe enough that Mrs. Clinton, then the first lady, ended up publicly opposing her husband's offer, saying she had nothing to do with it.
Eat your heart out Lyndon LaRouche. The Trilateral Commission is so 1970s. It's really "The Fellowship" that's really running the world according to religion professor Jeff Sharlet in his new book "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power."
Despite being a fanciful yet unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, U.S. News & World Report dignified Sharlet's take on a little-known Christian organization with a May 28 article by Jay Tolson entitled "Exposing a Network of Powerful Christians.":
It is an elite and secretive network of fundamentalist Christians that has been quietly pulling strings in America's highest corridors of power for more than 70 years. Or so claims Jeff Sharlet, author of a new exposé, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. And in his telling, the group that calls itself the Fellowship operates at the very center of the vast, right-wing conspiracy that has promoted unfettered capitalism and dismantled liberal social policies at home, even while encouraging ruthless but America-friendly dictators abroad.
May 27: Paul R. La Monica for CNN Money reporting on Warren Buffett's belief that "we are already in a recession." Notice the lede:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- It's getting harder and harder to deny that the economy is in recession.
May 29: The federal government releases an upward revision of the first quarter GDP growth. The ever-pessimistic AP reporter Martin Crutsinger grudgingly admitted that the new numbers could bolster the view that "the country can dodge a full-blown downturn":
What should the conservative movement do online? What issues and political battlegrounds should be our focus in the years ahead?
These questions are some of the things being discussed over at the Next Right, a new blog you should put into your daily rotation. They launched yesterday but I've been so busy with stuff that piled up following my wedding I wasn't able to give them the plug they deserve.
The Next Right is the brainchild of web veteran Patrick Ruffini, former Fred Thompson web outreach guy Jon Henke (who is also behind QandO), and Soren Dayton, the blogger unjustly fired by the John McCain campaign for daring to link Barack Obama to his leftist nutjob former pastor.
You're welcome to register and post your thoughts about the future. Anyone can sign up and blog so feel free to head over and check it out. I'm already signed up and will be contributing.
Current White House press secretary Dana Perino released the following statement regarding her predecessor Scott McLellan's new book:
Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House. For those of us who fully supported him, before, during and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. It is sad — this is not the Scott we knew.
The book, as reported by the press, has been described to the President. I do not expect a comment from him on it — he has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers.
Barack Obama's penchant for gaffes is hardly anything new, but as the Illinois Democrat has come closer and closer to becoming the official Democratic presidential nominee, it seems the mainstream media have become less and less likely to note his gaffes. A cursory Web search finds a few instances of the mainstream media picking up on Obama gaffes in 2007, when Sen. Clinton was well ahead of Obama in the polls and was widely expected to be marching towards coronation in Denver.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, 46 days old on Tuesday, has run into some speed bumps, created because of a series of missteps magnified because he is under microscopic scrutiny.
It's too early to say whether the gaffes slow Obama's momentum -- or if they become barricades, extracting a more significant price for the Illinois Democrat's White House bid. They are getting noticed.
Consider the items that have been accumulating since Obama announced on Feb. 10:
Bureaucratic bungling by the state of Minnesota had a heavy hand in the fatal Minnesota bridge collapse last summer, according to a new report commissioned by that state's legislature. The Associated Press has the story, but it's not as exciting as the initial "blame Bush" meme the media found so convenient as the tragedy unfolded. (emphasis mine):
ST. PAUL - A new report on the Minneapolis bridge collapse said money worries may have led to bad maintenance decisions ahead of the catastrophe that killed 13 people last August.
The report, commissioned by the Legislature, also criticized the Minnesota Department of Transportation for bridge inspections that were mishandled or not acted upon over the years, even when they called for immediate repairs.
Media Research Center Director of Research and NewsBusters Senior Editor Rich Noyes appeared on Fox News's "America's Election HQ" program shortly before 6 p.m. EDT today. The topic: The Bush White House's complaint about NBC's misleading editing of President Bush's interview with correspondent Richard Engel.
You can find an excerpt of the transcript below the page break, or the full segment by clicking the play button on the embed at the right. [audio available here]
For more of NB's archive on Engel's reporting, click here.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on Fox News Channel's May 20 edition of "Fox & Friends" in the 8 a.m. half-hour. Bozell was joined by liberal radio talk show host Mike Papantonio to discuss whether Michelle Obama should be "off-limits" to media scrutiny and whether Hillary Clinton's complaints about slanted media are overblown.
GRETCHEN CARLSON, co-host: Brent, are spouses off-limits in 2008?
BRENT BOZELL, President of the Media Research Center: Well, you know, I'm institutionally sympathetic to the idea that a spouse should be off-limits if the spouses want to be off-limits, if the spouse isn't participating in the political process. In this case, you've got a spouse who is well-informed, well-educated, well-spoken and outspoken on the campaign trail campaigning on behalf of her husband. So absolutely she's fair game. Of course she is. And it's an insult to her to say that she shouldn't be.
President Bush's effort to coax the Saudis to boost oil output was given wildly different treatments on the front pages of the Washington Post than the British broadsheet the Financial Times.
"Saudis bow to oil pressure: Kingtom to lift output to highest in two years; US lobbying comes after price nears $128" reads the May 17 front page FT headline. (The headline for the online version is slightly different: "Saudis to boost oil output after US pressure.")
Of course, the Saudis DID agree to boost daily output by 300,000 barrels. As the Post's Abramowitz noted, "[t]hat would take Saudi production to 9.4 million barrels a day" whereas the max the kingdom can pump out a day would be "11.3 million barrels."
Riots in the street or no, Denver might be the place to be this August, if only for August Ritter's sweet Convention after-parties.
DenverPost.com has an article, complete with photos, delving into Gov. Bill Ritter's (D) son reveling with friends at a December 2007 boozefest in the Governor's Mansion. The only rules of said party, the Post noted citing an invitation, were "no throwing up" and "no sexy time."
The one thing lacking from reporter Karen Crummy's story: Gov. Ritter's political affiliation.
The party label is arguably germane to the story. After all Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer defended August Ritter's revelry, which suggests Ritter has a cavalier attitude about his son's disregard of and disrespect for the taxpayer-owned mansion.:
Although a November ballot measure could encourage higher turnout by conservatives who are not naturally aligned with McCain, it also could alienate moderates and young voters, who polls show are far more accepting of same-sex marriage.
Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had sketched out a more centrist path than the court's. The decision could encourage Democratic interest groups to press candidates to extend their support for civil unions to same-sex marriage itself.
So the danger for McCain is that those rascally social conservatives could doom his chances to win the White House. The danger for Democrats, that the left-wing activists might rattle the cage a bit more than usual. But the possibility of socially conservative but fiscally liberal Democrats in swing states like Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, or Colorado once again eluding the Democratic vote was dismissed out of hand.
The future of conservatism is something which has become something of a hot topic. It's become evident to many that the historical moment that made the so-called Reagan coalition possible has passed, raising the inevitable question: where do we go from here? Has the right lost its way? Should conservatism be dependent upon the Republican party? What sorts of ideas should 21st century conservatism project?
These are just a few of the topics I asked Jonah Goldberg in Part II of our NewsBusters Interview with the author of "Liberal Fascism." See the partial transcript below or download an audio copy. Here's Part I in case you missed it.
Six days after Wall Street Journal's Jose de Cordoba and Jay Solomon published their front-pager, "Chávez Aided Colombia Rebels, Captured Computer Files Show," the Washington Post turned out its coverage of the development by staffer Juan Forero, who pulled a few punches by failing to directly finger Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez:
CARACAS, Venezuela, May 14 -- High-ranking officials in Venezuela offered to help Colombian guerrillas obtain surface-to-air missiles meant to change the balance of power in their war with the Colombian government, according to internal rebel documents.
By comparison, de Cordoba and Solomon brought the Venezuelan dictator front-and-center with their May 9 lede:
BOGOTÁ, Colombia -- A cache of controversial computer files closely tying Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez to communist rebels seeking to topple Colombia's government appear to be authentic, U.S. intelligence officials say.
Along with racist, the word fascist is one of the most common epithets you hear tossed around. Has the constant repetition of the word made it lose its meaning? Does anyone really know what it means? These are questions that Jonah Goldberg seeks to answer in his #1 best-selling book "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning."
If you haven't picked up a copy yet, this is one book you need to buy.
As part of our tradition of bringing you in-depth interviews with America's political leaders, I took the opportuntity to speak by phone with Goldberg about "Liberal Fascism." Our conversation is quite extensive but well worth the read. Given the length of the interview (which is available in audio format as well as transcript), I've broken it down into two portions: the first in which Goldberg discusses his many leftist critics including his confrontation with comedian Jon Stewart, and the second in which Goldberg discusses conservatism and where he believes it's headed. This is the first installment. Read the transcript below or download an audio copy.
An historic hearing will be conducted on Tuesday to determine whether House Democrats in August 2007 violated parliamentary procedure in defeating a motion to deny illegal aliens welfare benefits.
Readers likely remember the brouhaha this disgraceful display created at the time (video embedded right).
With high-ranking Democrats such as Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Michael McNulty (D-N.Y.) scheduled to testify, one has to wonder whether this unprecedented event, especially in a critical election year, will get much coverage from media doing everything in their power to take back the White House.
As reported Monday by Jed Babbin of Human Events (emphasis added):
The Catholic-majority Supreme Court has no respect for nuns. That's the new media meme about a recent Supreme Court ruling upholding an Indiana voter ID law. That very same law, the media would have us believe, "barred" or "turned away" from voting 12 nuns in South Bend on the Hoosier State's May 6 primary. Of course as a simple read of the Indiana Secretary of State's Web site shows, that's utter nun-sense. but Time's Karen Tumulty has picked up on it twice over at that magazine's Swampland blog.
This from a post yesterday informing readers of a news conference to be held today at 1 p.m. EDT:
Surely, our majority-Catholic Supreme Court should have known better than to get on the wrong side of the Sisters. As we wrote earlier, the first victims of the new ruling on Voter ID were elderly nuns in Indiana. This just in, in my emailbox: The nuns of Missouri rap the Supreme Court's knuckles with a great big ruler:
If you have been watching the primary election coverage tonight you've probably seen at least one story about elderly nuns from South Bend, Indiana, who were "denied the right to vote" for lack of a photo ID.
It's a shame when the mainstream media, bear false witness. Even more so when they exploit the nun angle to carry water for left-wing groups that opposed the law all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Under Indiana's voter ID law, persons lacking proper ID can vote. The only difference is they cast a provisional ballot which is not counted until after their identity is verified within 10 days following the election.
In one of her earliest drafts, AP's Deborah Hastings did note the 10-day provisional ballot exception, but still crafted her coverage to paint the South Bend sisters as the victims of an unforgiving law:
Hillary Clinton's recent appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" was a play for superdelegate support at the Democratic Convention, MRC President Brent Bozell argued on the May 2 "Fox & Friends" in a segment joined by liberal talk show host Mike Papantonio. [audio available here]
Asked about the media and if it will follow up any more on the Rev. Wright controversy, the NewsBusters publisher quipped that, "[u]nless Jeremiah Wright sends a cruise missile back in their direction, no, the networks aren't going to touch this, and the New York Times is going to leave this alone. That's the end of the story, that's the way it goes."
Below is a transcript of some remarks from Bozell's appearance on the May 2 "Fox & Friends":