History

By Matt Hadro | September 22, 2010 | 4:24 PM EDT
In a zinger that roused the indignation of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson cast Christine O'Donnell as Sarah Palin's protege – but "with not a fully-functioning human brain." But in 1992, Carlson gushed over the primary victories of current Sens. Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. Does she hold a double-standard?

Co-host Mika Brzezinski was taken aback when the panel had to discuss Carlson's piece for The Daily Beast, "Watch Your Back, Sarah." She silently mouthed the word "bitchy" to Carlson to describe the article, adding that it was "searing."

Carlson's piece focuses on the emergence of the Republican Delaware Senate nominee as the next Sarah Palin protege, predicting a political catfight of sorts between the two female GOP stars. Carlson labeled O'Donnell an "obvious knockoff" of Palin, "hawking her wares on the shores of the Delaware."

Appearing on "Morning Joe" Wednesday, Carlson sneered that O'Donnell lacks a "fully-functioning human brain."

Of course, there was a time when she smiled upon the emergence of female Senate candidates.
By Brent Baker | September 19, 2010 | 10:42 PM EDT
CBS broke into summer re-runs of 60 Minutes to let Lesley Stahl promote Jimmy Carter’s new book, White House Diary, which he maintained delivers “absolute unadulterated frankness” and which she described as an “often harsh critique” of his presidential term. She, however, was far from harsh toward him.

Noting an “image of ‘a failed President’ haunts the Carters,” Stahl trumpeted: “Carter argues that despite the image of failure, he actually had a long list of successes, starting with bringing all the hostages home alive,” as if that wasn’t because of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration. Stahl proceeded to tout as a success his installation of “solar panels on the roof of the White House.”

Absolving Carter of responsibility, Stahl contended he “was cursed by a dismal economy, poor relations with Congress, and a nightmarish standoff over 52 Americans held hostage by Iran.” Yet, “when all is said and done, and many will be surprised to hear this,” Stahl insisted, “Jimmy Carter got more of his programs passed than Reagan and Nixon, Ford, Bush 1, Clinton or Bush 2.” She empathized with his treatment from an unappreciative public: “And yet, as I say, there's the sense that you were a failed President.”
By Matt Hadro | September 14, 2010 | 5:47 PM EDT
Appearing on MSNBC to present his magazine's feature piece critical of the "Baby Boomer" generation, James Bennet of The Atlantic named George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, and Bill Clinton as the three worst "baby boomers" who did the most harm to the country's political culture and its economy.

"It'd be hard not to point to George W. Bush as having done a lot of damage," Bennet asserted.  Bush, he added, "created a lot of programs that costed us a huge amount of money, without a lot of regard for what the effects are going to be on the folks that are going to have to pay for those for many years."

Bennet also blamed President Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich for failed policies. However, Bennet was quick to reference the "surpluses as far as the eye could see" at the end of the Clinton administration, as a counterweight to Clinton's damage while in office. He bafflingly lauded President George H.W. Bush's tax hike as "politically brave" and which helped create the prosperity of the Clinton years.
By Tim Graham | September 14, 2010 | 3:15 PM EDT

On Tuesday, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz publicized a forthcoming book by former TV producer/reporter Mark Feldstein on syndicated columnist Jack Anderson, a big star in the media firmament in the 1960s and 1970s. (He was an early featured player in ABC's Good Morning America.) Kurtz relayed how Feldstein found Anderson engaged in blackmail and bribery to get scoops, often designed to provide maximum embarrassment to Republicans.

People whose version of media history only includes the Woodwards and Bernsteins taking down Richard Nixon (for nothing more than their sheer love of country) might want to see just how Anderson worked hand in glove with Democrats, and cut a series of ethical corners: 

Anderson's questionable tactics were visible as early as 1958, when he and a Democratic congressional investigator were caught with bugging equipment in the old Sheraton-Carlton Hotel, surreptitiously recording the businessman who bribed Sherman Adams, later forced to resign as President Dwight Eisenhower's chief of staff. This was a big break for Anderson, who was then the chief legman for columnist Drew Pearson.
By Brent Baker | September 14, 2010 | 9:01 AM EDT
Giving Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer an unusual evening newscast platform to plug a book, on Monday’s NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams brought viewers back to the Left’s ten-year-old grudge, cuing up Breyer to agree: “Do you think Bush v Gore hurt the credibility of the modern court?” Breyer replied with a simple “yes” and Williams suggested: “Irreparably?” “No,” Breyer said in rejecting Williams’ overwrought premise, so Williams pressed: “For how long?”

Williams introduced the September 13 segment by marveling:
We can’t remember a sitting justice on the U.S. Supreme Court ever stopping by our studios here, but it happened today. We spent some time with Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Clinton and residing on the liberal side of the court. Justice Breyer is out with a new book today. It’s about how the court works, including mistakes the court has made over the years. I started out by asking Justice Breyer, given his love of the Supreme Court, if he's concerned that just one percent of those Americans polled, in a recent survey, knew his name?
By Brent Baker | September 12, 2010 | 1:10 AM EDT
Before this weekend ends, I thought it worth a reminder that this weekend marks the 50th anniversary of a key milestone in the creation of the modern conservative political movement – the “Sharon Statement.” On Friday, the Fund for American Studies and the Young America’s Foundation sponsored a “Tribute to Sharon: Celebrating 50 Years of Advancing Liberty” daytime conference followed by a dinner commemorating the 1960 founding of the Young Americans for Freedom. C-SPAN carried the afternoon speakers live from DC’s Mayflower hotel. (The image here is from a photo I took of a screen during the dinner.)

For the American Spectator online, Quin Hillyer, one of the speakers, wrote an informative piece on what he described as “the single best compendium of American conservative movement beliefs” and its adoption at a gathering of about 90 college students and a few 30-something “elders” (including MRC President L. Brent Bozell III's father) at William F. Buckley Jr.’s home in Sharon, Connecticut.

In a piece in Friday’s Investor’s Business Daily, “The Magnificent Legacy of the YAF,” K.E. Grubbs Jr. recalled “M. Stanton Evans was charged with drafting a statement of principles” and observed: “The Sharon Statement would last as the late 20th century's single most elegant distillation of conservative principles.”
By Brent Baker | September 7, 2010 | 4:17 PM EDT

Reporting ABC News President David Westin's plan to step down at the end of the year, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz noted “some early missteps” during his 13-year tenure, such as “a comment after the Sept. 11 attacks, for which Westin apologized, that journalists should offer no opinion about whether the Pentagon had been a legitimate military target.”

That apology was promoted by an MRC CyberAlert item in October of 2001 which put into play an answer Westin delivered during a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism seminar. Barely six weeks after the 9/11 attack, Westin was remarkably reticent about expressing an opinion, contending that's improper for a journalist to do so – how quaint:

The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now....Our job is to determine what is, not what ought to be and when we get into the job of what ought to be I think we’re not doing a service to the American people....As a journalist I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on. I’m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be.
By Brent Baker | September 6, 2010 | 2:44 PM EDT

With the rise of the Tea Party, their push for constitutional limits on government power and admiration for the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, I thought I’d use this last holiday of the summer as an opportunity to post an item from the MRC’s archive which exposed how a major cable network once tried to discredit George Washington’s moral authority in history, and thus the legitimacy of the Revolutionary War.

In an A&E movie, aired in 2000, on George Washington crossing the Delaware, The Crossing, he is persuaded that just like the hired-gun Hessians, his opposition to British taxes means he too is fighting “for profit.” Jeff Daniels, playing George Washington, decries the Hessians: “You want me to weep for those bastards, men who kill for profit?” General Nathanial Greene counters: “Our own cause is, at its heart, a fight against British taxation, is it not? In the end sir, we all kill for profit -- the British and the Hessians, and us.” That convinces Washington.

“That spin is no surprise,” a 2000 MRC CyberAlert item noted, “when you learn that the screenplay was written by a communist. Really.”

By Matthew Philbin | August 24, 2010 | 10:35 AM EDT

Believe it or not, the Huffington Post has actually performed a public service. In publishing author Mark Juddery’s “The 8 Most Overrated People In History: You'll Never Believe Who Made The List,” the official blog of liberal Hollywood reminds us in one brief web slideshow how the left is both condescending and intellectually dishonest. Condescending because in repeating some (by now) well known corrections to famous stories Juddery seems to think he’s bringing the iconoclastic truth to the blinkered public. Intellectually dishonest because in running down President Ronald Reagan with a list of failings that might have been culled from any 1988 edition of The New York Times, he reminds us where many liberals really stood during the latter part of the Cold War, and how they stoutly refused to accept (Soviet) defeat.Juddery’s list of overrated people comes from his book, “The 50 Most Overrated Things in History.” It must be a real page-turner if it these shocking revelations are typical: there was no real King Arthur; in landing on Hispaniola, Columbus thought he’d reached India; there’s no record that Lady Godiva ever rode naked through Coventry. Anyone with a decent education and a minimal amount of common sense can only shrug and wonder who paid Juddery to write this. And anyone who has a nodding relationship with the History Channel probably knows that Thomas Edison was a sharp businessman (“classic Dickensian employer,” in Juddery’s words) who employed hundreds of researchers and scientists working in his name.

By Rich Noyes | August 21, 2010 | 11:57 AM EDT
The peaceful departure of the last U.S. combat forces from Iraq this week was another milestone towards the successful end of a war that many liberal journalists declared lost four years ago. Since early 2009, the war in Iraq has been a relatively low priority for the national press, which has focused on decrying the war in Afghanistan and cheerleading the Obama administration’s aggressive domestic agenda.

But over the last eight years — since journalists began decrying what they termed the Bush administration’s “rush to war” in August 2002, a full seven months before the first bombs fell — the Media Research Center has analyzed TV coverage of the Iraq conflict. The bottom line: reporters were obvious skeptics from the very beginning, and did all they could to push withdrawal and defeat before George W. Bush’s surge strategy saved the day.

A quick review of the media’s approach over the past eight years, with many links to the additional information that can be found at www.MRC.org:
By Matthew Philbin | August 19, 2010 | 1:07 PM EDT
Hollywood westerns don't sell very well anymore. Remakes of westerns don't sell and they tend to remind those who do see them of the superiority of the originals. So remaking the iconic 1969 western, "True Grit," for which John Wayne received his only Best Actor Oscar, seems an odd choice for the Coen brothers.

But the extremely successful directors of "Fargo," "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" and "No Country for Old Men," are indeed remaking "True Grit." They stress that their effort is based more on the 1968 novel by Charles Portis than the original movie. Still, The Duke's portrayal of hard-drinking, one-eyed Marshall Rooster Cogburn has been a TV staple for decades. Portis' novel - not so much.

The Coens' quirky, often dark and sometimes absurd portraits of America couldn't be much more different from any flick in John Wayne's legendary career. And maybe that's the point. After all, any movie with America-bashing lefty Matt Damon in an important supporting role is bound to be at odds with traditional takes on the American frontier. All the more-so because Damon admitted, "I've never even seen the original John Wayne movie."

The Coens cast 2010 Best Actor Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges as Cogburn. Bridges will have to be a heck of an actor to do the character justice, because in real life, he couldn't be more different than Wayne, a traditional conservative.

By Penny Starr | August 3, 2010 | 2:03 PM EDT
President ObamaPresident Barack Obama told disabled veterans in Atlanta on Monday that he was fulfilling a campaign promise by ending U.S. combat operations in Iraq "on schedule."

But the timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops in Iraq was decided during the Bush administration with the signing of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) by U.S. and Iraq officials on Nov. 16, 2008. The Iraqi parliament signed SOFA on Nov. 27, 2008.

The agreement, which had been in negotiations since 2007, set a timetable calling for most U.S. troops to leave Iraqi towns and cities by June 30, 2009, with about 50,000 troops left in place until the final withdrawal of all U.S. military forces by Dec. 31, 2011.