OLBERMANN: A note about Laura Ingraham's comments: I've known her for a long time. I'll in fact give you the caveat that I've known her socially. But that hotel balcony crack was unforgivable. It was unforgivable to the memory of David Bloom, it was unforgivable in the consideration of Bob Woodruff and Doug Voigt, it was unforgivable in the light of what happened to Michael Kelly and what happened to Michael Weiskopf. It was unforgivable with Jill Carroll still a hostage in Iraq. It's not only unforgivable, it was desperate and it was stupid.
Keith Olbermann would know a lot about being desperate and stupid. His ongoing War on FOX on the O'Reilly front is absolutely disgusting and shows how desperate he is for ratings
However, the larger point here is the hypocrisy of challenging others. Olbermann's motto is "challenge everything Bush says", yet when it happens to his liberal media friends, he gets mad. It's now the game of the liberal elite to cry "the right is blaming the media" when anyone dares to question their reporting.
If anything is unforgivable, it's Olbermann's attack on Laura Ingraham.
Greg Sheffield mentioned earlier the wacky al Jazeera-Fox comparisons in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. I would only add in that Gail Shister report, former ABC reporter Dave Marash is coming out swinging again in defense of his new employers, Al-Jazeera, against those "hysterical" Americans who aren't fond of Arab propaganda channels:
Marash says he expected a backlash when he was hired. When it comes to the Arab world, Americans display an "anxiety and suspicion that sometimes rises to the hysterical level."
Note: Marash was talking on a speakerphone in Washington, with AJI publicist Jazayerli in the room. Network policy, she said.
Former co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" Bill Press, who now has a syndicated column and a radio show on Sirius satellite radio, bashed the White House's new efforts at combating leaks.
The Bushies are launching their war on leaks, says the [Washington] Post, because they’re upset at newspaper accounts of the network of secret CIA torture prisons and on Bush’s warrantless phone taps of American citizens. Bush even accused the New York Times, which first reported on the NSA spy program, of committing a “shameless act.”
The White House declaring war on journalists? How ironic! How hypocritical! How dangerous! And how Nixonian!
Yes, isn’t it ironic? Bush is now resurrecting a seldom-used 1917 law to go after journalists and their sources. Yet, not so long ago, in the NSA spying scandal, he claimed he couldn’t obey a 1978 law requiring a court order before tapping Americans’ phone calls because it was an “old law.” So old laws are OK after all, as long as Bush agrees with them.
Will former White House reporter Helen Thomas ever go away? She's now written up a jeremiad perpetuating the myth that our media are mere whimpering lapdogs of Bush, tinny arfs all around. She hones in on that old, diseased chestnut that the liberal media went all soft in the "rush to war" in Iraq.
Helen's harangue appeared in the appropriate platform: The Nation magazine, which advertises on its website the slogan, "If you think it's time to impeach Bush, then it's time for you to subscribe to The Nation."
Tom Fox, a member of the anti-American Christian Peacekeeper Teams, has been
murdered by terrorists in Iraq who held him hostage for more than three months,
the New York Times reported on Saturday.
the paper carried a follow-up report that Fox "had apparently been tortured
by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a
trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad."
This past Monday, CBS, otherwise known as See? BS!, Al-Jazeera West,
and the Corrupt Broadcasting System, proved once again that it is
nothing but a shameless propaganda tool of the Democrat party, by
releasing the results of a poll it rigged... uh... conducted recently
showing that President Bush's popularity rating has plummeted to an
all-time low of 34 percent. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/27/opinion/polls/main1350874.shtml
Of course, when one looks at the internals of the poll, one sees that,
of the 1018 people who responded to it, only 28 percent were
Republicans. 38 percent, however, were Democrats (big surprise there),
and the remaining 34 percent were described as Independents.
We've often noted here at NewsBusters how the press seems to consider itself entitled to some right to know things before others. The White House press corps seems yet to recover that it wasn't the first be alerted about Vice President Cheney's shooting accident, for instance.
But this attitude is not limited to just the American media. Canadian blogger Kate Werk notes a similar arrogance in the press of her country which is upset that recently elected Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper isn't immediately telling who he's picking for his new cabinet. This arrogant attitude began during the tenure of the last Conservative PM, Brian Mulroney:
When Brian Mulroney won his landslide majority in 1984, a talking
head (whose identity I've forgotten) announced to the nation that in
the face of such a one sided parliament, the media would assume the role of opposition .
That was a signal that something was about to go desperately wrong,
and it did. The Canadian people had already spoken as to what voices
they wanted in parliament. The Ottawa press gallery weren't on the
ballot, yet they declared themselves elected, and they've by and large
behaved like pompous, entitled Liberal senators with a broadcast
license ever since.
According to a poll commissioned by the McCormick Tribune Foundation (details here) reveals that Americans know more about the long-running Fox cartoon family the Simpsons than they do about the First Amendment.
Only one-tenth of one percent (1 in 1000 people) of those surveyed were able to name all five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment--speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition--while 22 percent could identify the five members of the Simpson family--Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie.
Awareness of freedom of speech was pretty high in the survey at least. Well over half of respondents (69 percent) named it as a freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. Knowledge of the other four, however, was low with the next most-cited freedom being religion with just 24 percent. That's 1 percent less than those who were able to name all three of the "American Idol" judges, Randy, Paula, and Simon.
In an interview with NPR's "On The Media," former ABC reporter Dave Marash, now signed up for the English-language version of al-Jazeera, goes almost faint singing the praises of his new employer:
Al-Jazeera in Arabic is, I believe, one of the most revolutionary and positive influences on the Arabic-speaking, mostly Islamic Middle Eastern world in, literally, centuries. It has opened up public discourse and it has brought American standards of reporting to an area that previously had nothing but really moronically state-controlled television and news operations.
After being bashed for years by an elite press corps full of ideological opponents, the Bush White House is fighting back in an upcoming book by former Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon, condemning the media and especially CBS.
"It's the beginning of the twenty-first century; it also happens to be the beginning of—or near the beginning—of a revolution in newsgathering and dissemination," President Bush said in an interview for Strategery, which is being released by publisher Alfred Regnery.
"I think what's healthy is that there's no monopoly on the news," Bush said. "There's competition. There's competition for the attention of, you know, 290 million people, or whatever it is.
Admin officials have especially strong words for CBS and its disgraced former anchorman, Dan Rather, whom strategist Karl Rove dismisses as "no serious reporter."
In its classic "fair and balanced" tradition, CBS slanted in favor of Democrats its poll that found Bush has a 34 percent approval rating and a 59 percent disapproval rating, an all-time high for a CBS poll.
On the bottom of the PDF version of the poll (page 18) it says how many Democrats versus Republicans were contacted.
"Total Republicans" contacted: 272 unweighted and 289 weighted.
"Total Democrats" contacted: 409 unweighted and 381 weighted.
"Total Independents" contacted: 337 unweighted and 348 weighted.
Brent Baker also noted how CBS failed to highlight a key portion of its poll on the Feb. 27 "CBS Evening News." 66 percent of respondents thought the media devoted "too much time" to Cheney's hunting accident.
Here in Annapolis, Maryland, local, state, and national media
remained silent while Democrats in the General Assembly quietly
overrode no less than three vetos by Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich,
making Maryland's voting laws the least transparent and most liberal in
the nation. From local and state news sources, not a word was breathed.
From the national media, including, even, Fox News... Nothing!
Only author and WSJ columnist John Fund seems to have noted Maryland's radical moves towards their new "vote early and often" elections policy. As Fund aptly notes:
It should normally be difficult to
pick the worst state legislature in America, but Maryland's is way out
in front. First it overrode GOP Gov. Bob Ehrlich's veto of a special
health-care tax on Wal-Mart. Democratic legislators then passed three
election-related bills and again mustered the necessary three-fifths
votes to overturn his vetoes. Together the election laws would so
weaken safeguards against voter fraud as to make Maryland the nation's
prime example of Election Day irresponsibility.
The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.
Later in the story we read:
Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.
"They're not lax but they're not draconian," said James Lewis, a former U.S. official who worked on such agreements. If officials had predicted the firestorm of criticism over the deal, Lewis said, "they might have made them sound harder."
In an attempt to keep the New York Times-imposed NSA kerfluffle on somebody's radar screen, a rehash of the situation ran today in the paper's Washington section. The lede is particularly interesting, since it gets it wrong right out of the gate:
After two months of insisting that President Bush did not need court approval to authorize the wiretapping of calls between the United States and suspected terrorists abroad, the administration is trying to resist pressure for judicial review while pushing for retroactive Congressional approval of the program.
Well, that certainly is news to everyone. The Presidency has never been required to obtain court orders to wiretap those communicating out of or into the country. I don't know what legal standard the New York Times thinks it is citing here (none is cited in the article), but the argument the paper was trying to make about two weeks ago was that he needed court orders to monitor domestic-to-domestic communications. Nobody, including the President, has disputed that. So exactly what premise is the lede attempting to set up? That the President has to get Congressional oversight (despite breifing the Senate Intel Committee dozens upon dozens of times since 9-11-01) to excercise the executive branch's Constitutionally granted authority to monitor international communications with terrorists?
Editors at The Oregonian talked about the issue but gave little consideration to publishing the cartoons that have sparked violence across the world. They reasoned that sharing the cartoon was not necessary for readers to understand the story.
"We have every right and an ability to publish the cartoons," says Therese Bottomly, managing editor for news. "But that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do."
Bottomly says the newspaper could convey the content of the cartoons to readers without also offending readers. She likened it to the newspaper's avoidance of the "N" word; the racial slur can be described without repeating it.
TIME magazine just released the results of a recent poll done for them by SRBI Public Affairs concerning America’s view of Vice President Dick Cheney following almost non-stop, wall-to-wall, 24/7 coverage of a hunting accident that he was involved in last weekend. The numbers are quite fascinating, and depict a populace that is much less concerned about this incident than the press, as well as possessing a far smaller level of disdain for the vice president than those in the media.
It appears safe to assume that the headline statistic from this poll will be that 41 percent of respondents disapproved of Cheney’s performance as vice president versus 29 percent that approved. However, SRBI stated this is “little changed from last November.”
Yet, what likely won’t make the front-pages tomorrow or be the lead stories on tonight’s network broadcast news programs is that 52 percent of respondents approved of the way Cheney handled informing the media of the hunting accident, compared to 42 percent that disapproved. This has certainly not been reflected in the seven days of media outrage that followed this incident.
One of the annoying things conservatives discover when they spend any time studying public broadcasting is how much cash pub-casting bosses take home even as they beg struggling audience members for donations (and ever more taxpayer funds). The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Minnesota Public Radio may forego $190,000 in state tax money rather than disclose how many MPR execs make more than $100,000. One sharp Republican legislator (my hero!) is saying you want the money, you disclose your salary info:
Thomas Kigin, MPR executive vice president, said MPR would ask legislators to change the law. Asked if it might forgo the state money should the disclosure provision remain, Kigin said, "It's possible."
Bob Ehrlich, Republican Governor of Maryland, retaliated against the reporting of two Baltimore Sun reporters by barring all state employees from talking to them. The paper sued in federal court, claiming the First Amendment rights of reporter David Nitkin and columnist Michael Olesker were being violated. A lower court refused to hear their case, and a higher court ruled in favor of the governor.
4th Circuit judges J. Michael Luttig, Paul Niemeyer and William B. Traxler Jr. said they could not accept the newspaper's argument that the governor's directive "created a chilling effect any different from or greater than that experienced by The Sun and by all reporters in their everyday journalistic activities."
The White House press corps is completely fair to Republicans and not only that Helen Thomas was "never, never" accused of being biased while she was a reporter.
That at least seems to be the view from the fishbowl of the veteran reporter-turned-columnist who sounded off in a highly contentious interview yesterday with radio host Hugh Hewitt. (Transcript and audio available at Radio Blogger.)
"I worked for United Press International for more than fifty years, and I wrote straight copy. I was never, never accused of bias," Thomas said. "I did not bow out of the human race. I permitted myself to care, to believe, to think. But I assure you, I assure you that it did not get in my copy."
Thomas also refused to state whether she disliked President Bush and became increasingly agitated at Hewitt's tough questioning. (Only Republican presidents deserve hard questions, after all.) More quotes below the fold.
Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report today highlights a recent SFGATE.com article written by Matea Gold of the LA Times entitled Critics slam Cheney's interview choice. As predicted, the assualt on the Vice President, who waited approximately 24 hours before making an official announcement over the shooting incident this past weekend, has modified somewhat to include an assault on Fox News as well:
For days, the White House news corps has pounded the Bush administration, demanding to learn more about Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting companion Saturday.
Last week, the New York Times haughtily washed its hands of the controversial Mohammad cartoons, saying it had no intention of printing them because it was the paper’s policy to avoid “gratuitous assaults on religious symbols.” (Though that didn't prevent the paper from running a photo of "The Virgin Mary" painting clotted with elephant dung). Besides, the editorial sniffed, “the cartoons are so easy to describe in words.”
But while the Times may have passed on defending free expression in order to avoid protests from Muslims, it’s apparently not concerned about stoking Muslim opinion against the United States and the war in Iraq, judging by its decision today to run a three-year-old photo of a prisoner at Abu Ghraib.
Today, a Washington Post Op-Ed columnist, Dave Ignatius said this of the Bush Administration:
There is a temptation that seeps into the souls of even the most
righteous politicians and leads them to bend the rules, and eventually
the truth, to suit the political needs of the moment. That arrogance of
power is on display with the Bush administration.
course, Mr. Ignatius is referring to the latest MSM obsession, the
unfortunate accident in which Vice President Chaney peppered a friend
with shotgun pellets while on a hunting trip. While the Vice
President's friend is expected to fully recover, the mainstream media
has so far spent the entire week obsessing over the 24-hour delay in the announcement of this incident. And, while part of the media
frenzy is justifiably related to the unusual nature of the accident,
the 24-hour delay has rankled the Washington media beyond all understanding.
In David Sanger’s “Political Memo” for the New York Times on Wednesday, “Handling of Accident Creates Tension Between White House Staffs,” Sanger predictably uses the incident to symbolize what he sees as the unprecedented secrecy of Vice President Cheney.
“When the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, came to the press room just before 10 a.m. Tuesday and suggested he was wearing an orange tie to avoid a stray shot from Vice President Dick Cheney, it seemed to signal an effort to defuse the accidental-shooting story with a laugh.
“But by midday, it was clear that the staffs of the president and the vice president had failed to communicate. Just after arriving at work around 7:45 a.m., Mr. Cheney learned that the man he had shot, Harry M. Whittington, was about to undergo a medical procedure on his heart because his injuries were more serious than earlier believed, Mr. Cheney's spokeswoman said.
John Dickerson of the Washington Post-owned webzine Slate wrote a piece, posted Monday night, about the Dick Cheney shooting incident. Here's one of Dickerson's paragraphs:
And at some point Cheney's starchy behavior is also insulting. Shouldn't there be some minimum level of explanation he's willing to offer as the second-highest ranking public official? When you nearly commit manslaughter as a public official shouldn't the honor of your office compel you to stand up and explain yourself in some fashion, at least say something in a press release and not just whisper it to a Texas rancher? [Emphasis added.]
Why, over a weekend so full of news regarding important issues, such as Al Gore's disgraceful speech in Jeddah, or the growing strength of the American economy, or even the troubling issue of Iran's decision to go forward with their uranium enrichment process -- defying the UN in a direct manner -- has the press chosen to obsess over a minor hunting accident? How obsessed is the MSM over this story? Here's an example for you:
Remember back in October when Al Franken joked with David Letterman about Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby being executed for treason? Well, Franken is at it again with a blog entry Sunday evening at the Huffington Post. This time, the target of his tasteless satire is Vice President Dick Cheney who accidentally shot his hunting partner on Saturday:
“Over the weekend, Vice President Dick Cheney shot a man in Texas. Asked why he shot the man, the Vice President said, ‘Just to watch him die.’"
Much like other members of the media, Franken saw a bizarre connection to a previously documented hunting trip that the vice president went on: “You know who's doing a ‘there but for the grace of God go I?; Scalia.”
Then, Franken painted a sophomoric picture of what would happen if Bush and Cheney went hunting:
In fact, on Aug. 30, the President began his day in San Diego where he took part in an anniversary observance of V-J Day and visited a Naval hospital. Later he flew to Arizona to speak on medicare; after which he flew to Texas. Throughout the day, the President was kept informed of Katrina developments and made decisions regarding relief efforts.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday he was blindsided by President Bush's announcement of new details on a purported 2002 hijacking plot aimed at a downtown skyscraper, and described communication with the White House as "nonexistent."
"I'm amazed that the president would make this (announcement) on national TV and not inform us of these details through the appropriate channels," the mayor told The Associated Press. "I don't expect a call from the president — but somebody."Bush has referred to the 2002 plot before but he publicly filled in the details Thursday. (bold added)
Yes, it's an old news story but the AP still wants to shock us with L.A. Mayor Blindsided by Bush Announcement.And, of course, give His Honor the chance to tell us just how bad The White House is at communicating with him.
According to Lipton's story, the White House knew of flooding in New Orleans by midnight August 30.
But the alert did not seem to register. Even the next morning, President Bush, on vacation in Texas, was feeling relieved that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet," he later recalled. (bold added)
the Times knows the next morning the President was at the North Island
Naval Air Station in San Diego taking part in an anniversary observance
of V-J Day. Here's The White Press release of the event, including photos.