Kevin Boyle reviewed two new books on the Ku Klux Klan for the Sunday Times Book Review under the heading “The Not-So-Invisible Empire.” Boyle, an Ohio State University history professor and frequent contributor to the Times Book Review, compared the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan. Boyle's review started and ended offensively:
Nearly a half century after John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, many liberals now grudgingly accept that it was a left winger who killed him. But it was the harsh right-wing rhetoric of early '60s Texas that compelled the assassin to pull the trigger, liberals also insist.
The latest iteration of this transparent exercise in ideological face-saving comes from Frank Rich in a New York magazine piece dishonestly titled, "What Killed JFK -- The Hate That Ended His Presidency is Eerily Familiar."
Tonight (Sunday at 10 PM EDT/PDT, 9 PM CDT), ABC’s new Mad Men-inspired (though much shallower) drama set in 1963, Pan Am, about New York City-based flight crews for Pan Am airlines, will have a plot revolving around President John Kennedy’s visit to Berlin.
In the promo, run at the end of last week’s episode, a stewardess character excitedly exclaims: “Kennedy loves stewardesses!” Sound like a safe bet. Video below of the promo.
Fact: The man who wrote so eloquently about basic human liberty in the Declaration of Independence was himself a slave owner. Unproven theory: That man had a sexual relationship with one of those slaves and fathered at least one of her children.
If you’re a liberal journalist, the fact makes you inclined to believe the theory, and ideology and political necessity take you the rest of the way. At least, that has been the case in reporting on the Jefferson-Hemings historical controversy over the last decade and more.
It will be interesting to see if a new book that goes a long way toward exonerating Thomas Jefferson receives the same kind of breathless coverage as evidence the media cited to condemn him. Or if CBS produces a miniseries to correct the one it made exploiting that evidence.
Taking advantage of the east coast hurricane displacing all political news this weekend, a chance for me to catch up with something from July 4 when, as part of the Ronald Reagan Centennial celebrations, a ten-foot tall bronze statue of Reagan was unveiled in London.
Only CBS’s Early Show aired a full story on the event, and video of that is below, in which reporter Elizabeth Palmer concluded that in Britain he’ll be remembered “for a rare combination of skill, luck and courage that gave him a giant’s role in modern history.”
Two eastern European nations last week debuted commemorations to thank former President Ronald Reagan for playing an instrumental role in freeing them from communism. I only found sparse television coverage of the two “Reagan Centennial” events in Hungary and the Czech Republic, but thought I’d share what I located since the events didn’t earn much air time.
The accompanying video first shows a brief item on Wednesday’s Special Report where FNC played some video of a life-size statue of Reagan being unveiled in Freedom Square in front of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. Second in the video, a short item from MSNBC on Saturday morning about a block of a street in Prague getting named for Ronald Wilson Reagan.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams seemed to take smug delight Friday night in pointing out how Sarah Palin’s off-the-cuff recounting of Paul Revere’s ride was at odds with the correct history, smirking that Palin’s version “already has tongues wagging.”
Williams interest was unique — neither the CBS Evening News, anchored by Harry Smith, nor ABC’s World News, with ex-Democratic spin doctor George Stephanopoulos filling in for Diane Sawyer, thought Palin’s error was worth even mentioning. And Williams himself — even though he generally works with a pre-written script, in contrast to Palin’s impromptu remarks in Boston — has had his own problems with historical accuracy over the years (details below the fold).
Williams attention to Palin’s mistake is also in contrast to how his newscast never reported the bizarre gaffe made by then-candidate Barack Obama in 2007, when on March 4 of that year Obama, in a speech saluting the 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Alabama, claimed his parents “got together” because of “what happened in Selma.”
Yet another case study in how the liberal media never stop pushing their own interpretation of events: In a May 22 This Week roundtable about the arrest of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the alleged sexual assault of a female hotel worker, two journalists endorsed it as France’s “Anita Hill moment,” referring to the last-minute claims raised against conservative Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas nearly 20 years ago.
But Hill never alleged that Thomas did anything either violent or criminal — and polls taken at the time (USA Today, October 14, 1991) showed the public sided with Clarence Thomas over Hill by a nearly two-to-one margin (47% to 24%). Despite the public’s verdict, journalists have never cast the Hill case as that of a politically-motivated accuser engaged in a high-profile act of character assassination.
Tomorrow marks Katie Couric’s last night at the anchor desk of the CBS Evening News. Five years ago, CBS executives were so excited about the Today show star taking over, her September 5, 2006 debut was preceded by a massive publicity campaign. Outgoing interim anchor Bob Schieffer vouched for his replacement: “She’s tough, she’s fair, she’s a straight shooter....Just watch.” Long-retired anchorman Walter Cronkite even lent his voice to a new opening segment, announcing: “This is the CBS Evening News, with Katie Couric.”
Intrigued by the publicity, more than 13 million Americans tuned into that first night, according to Nielsen research, but Couric’s honeymoon was brief. CBS had been in third place for years under Dan Rather and Schieffer, but the slide worsened after Couric took over. By August 2010, the CBS Evening News was recording its lowest ratings ever — fewer than 5 million viewers. (A review of Couric's worst bias, with video, after the jump.)
Reporters are eagerly anticipating President Obama’s budget speech this afternoon, with NBC’s Chuck Todd assuring viewers of Wednesday’s Today show that now, finally, “the President’s going to add his voice to this, debate, essentially, over what to do about the ever-growing deficit and debt.”
But over and over again over the past two years, the media have painted Obama as a leader committed to “slashing” the deficit, only to have the absurdity of such spin later revealed by the administration’s actual policies.
Let’s start the trip down memory lane with coverage of President Obama’s first budget speech in February 2009, which reporters claimed would include steps to aggressively reduce the deficit. ABC’s David Muir began the February 21, 2009 World News by pitching how the President was “slashing the deficit by at least 50 percent by raising taxes on the wealthy, people making $250,000 and above, and cutting war spending by bringing troops home from Iraq.”
In the Sunday New York Times obituary for liberal Democrat 1984 vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, Douglas Martin presented her as "hounded" by sexist anti-abortion conservatives who would metaphorically persecute her to death:
The abortion issue, magnified because she was Roman Catholic and a woman, plagued her campaign. Though she opposed the procedure personally, she said, others had the right to choose for themselves. Abortion opponents hounded her at almost every stop with an intensity seldom experienced by male politicians.
Writing in The Washington Post in September 1984, the columnist Mary McGrory quoted an unnamed Roman Catholic priest as saying, “When the nuns in the fifth grade told Geraldine she would have to die for her faith, she didn’t know it would be this way.”
Conservatives agree that public broadcasting no longer needs federal funding. But McCain Republicans are hunting for strange compromises. Former McCain 2000/2008 adviser Kevin Hassett wrote for Bloomberg that NPR and PBS news is wrong-headed, but not its arts and education initiatives (like Big Bird): "Public radio and television, then, are defensible to the extent that they serve the public good by enriching the arts. NPR and PBS, however, wandered far from this mission, providing news content that is mostly indistinguishable from that provided by left-leaning for-profit enterprises."
Let's not assume that taxpayer-supported arts and culture aren't often twisted to support the statist agenda. NPR's "arts" reporting on Monday night's All Things Considered celebrated folk singer Barbara Dane, "a versatile voice with a political purpose." (Have you heard her songs, such as "I Hate the Capitalist System"?) Anchor Robert Siegel announced Dane passed "significant signposts," such as "She was the first white woman profiled by Ebony magazine. And she was the first U.S. performer to break the U.S. travel ban to Cuba."