We might assume that on a holiday like the Fourth of July, there's not going to be a lot of liberal media bias. But a search through the MRC's "Notable Quotables" archive shows there have been a few sharp examples that could ruin an Independence Day. I'd begin with with this one from 1994: "We hear the stories of discrimination in education and housing and jobs all the time. We hear the violence between races. Do you think it's possible that America is simply an inherently racist place?" That was Today (then-substitute) co-host Matt Lauer, not exactly waving the flag. If it was an audition, it must have worked. Here are some others:
2003: "Tonight, we’re going to show you a new true face of homelessness in America. Today’s homeless are families, and the families you will meet have done everything right and yet there’s no place for them. Still, they struggle to find a home....There are more families homeless in New York City now than at any in the last 20 years....in numbers, it’s estimated, not seen since the Great Depression." – NBC’s John Hockenberry on the July 4 Dateline.
As we head into the Fourth of July holiday, remember it was just last year, headed into a long Independence Day weekend, when NBC anchor Brian Williams compared our founding fathers to terrorists. How open-minded it was of Brian to perceive that perhaps our forefathers could have been considered "terrorists," when experts suggest the word wasn't really coined until years after our revolution. Here's how we summed up that June 30 evening newscast (watch it here):
Remote controls flew at TV sets across America last night as NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams came out of an Andrea Mitchell story on whether Iran's new President was one of the captors of U.S. hostages in 1979 during Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution. Williams suggested a sickening moral equivalence between the Iranian radicals and America's Founding Fathers.
"Legendary" liberal White House reporter (now Hearst columnist) Helen Thomas appeared on Comedy Central's "Daily Show" on Tuesday night to promote her new book attacking the rolling-over-for-Dubya-like-puppies press corps, titled "Watchdogs of Democracy?" The exchange displayed typical, hard-left Helen, laughing at the idea that President Bush has accomplished anything and asserting that we should be spreading democracy through blue jeans and rap music. (I kid you not.) Host Jon Stewart began by asking about how long she's been in the White House -- since 1961.
With Katie Couric lounging in the wings, Dan Rather is now expendable, and the suits at CBS News are squeezing him out of his last remaining gig on "60 Minutes." This has caused great distress for those who like their news to look like a long commercial for MoveOn.org, which is to say, the Dan Rather fan club.
CBS smiled politely as they pushed him away, but the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted an anonymous former CBS executive, who denounced the shove-off as "disgraceful. He's a legend. He gave his life to that company. Even though he made a big mistake, he did 43 years and 11 months' great work."
If Rather’s that great, why didn’t the executive have the courage to go on the record?
Rather had a Nixonian ending, resigning from the anchor chair in disgrace after being in complete denial about his own political corruption. It’s not surprising that some will now try to rehabilitate his reputation, but they won’t have much more luck than Nixon did. Dan Rather does not have a sterling record of journalism. He is a grand example of the anchorman as a powerful and partisan national politician who never had to be elected, yet had a lot more visibility and wielded a lot more influence than most elected officials.
MRC intern Eugene Gibilaro found that on CBS’s Sunday Morning yesterday, movie critic David Edelstein politicized his movie review of "The Lake House." Edelstein discusses time travel movies and describes the plot of "The Lake House," as:
"I even loved the incredibly dumb time travel romance "The Lake House," where Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock send letters back and forth between 2004 and 2006."
Seems Edelstein couldn’t resist the opportunity to interject his political philosophy into the review as he alluded to the 2004 election and the fact that he believes George Bush and the Republican Party stole Ohio:
In the New York Times, a Sunday story from Berkeley, California on the closing of a legendary local bookstore carries a surprisingly old refrain. Reporter Jesse McKinley found that some leftists are still blaming Ronald Reagan for the business slump on Berkeley's main drag, Telegraph Avenue, right there in the first paragraph:
Depending on whom you ask, the reason Cody's Books is going out of business is either because of the City of Berkeley, the homeless, the University of California, the war in Iraq, Ronald Reagan, the Internet or the lack of short-term parking.
Reagan? Even now, after his death? Blaming Reagan for every negative social event was common liberal-media sport in the 1980s and 1990s, slowing a bit with the onset of Reagan's Alzheimer's disease. McKinley comes back around to the Reagan-bashing arguments at the story's end:
In the latest liberal media press release disguised as a news story, Bill Clinton has now provided his own audio tour of the Clinton library, reports Jill Zeman of the Associated Press from Little Rock, and it seems to have a lot of boasting against Republicans of the "you can't stop me, you can only hope to contain me" variety.
At the impeachment exhibit, Clinton says, "So when I won, it was a profound sort of psychological shock to a lot of them," he says of his opponents, with a chuckle. "Then they went into overdrive fighting me. They weren't accomplishing anything, just banging away."
As Letterman might say, isn't it "banging away" that started this whole trouble in the first place?
Everyone has heard of the "killings at Haditha," even though the military investigation of what happened there is still underway. Has anyone heard of the "killings at St. Lo" in July, 1944? A comparison of the New York Times coverage of those two events is instructive.
A Google News search of Haditha + killings + New York Times yields 891 hits as of Sunday noon. The articles on this subject in the Times are driving the national and international news in all media on this subject. The Times and its reporters are cited in most of these articles.
But what did the Times run about the killings at St. Lo in July, 1944?
It ran no stories, front page or otherwise, on St. Lo when it occurred. (Operation Cobra was intensive bombing by the US Air Force, in support of the effort to break out of St. Lo, and move against the Germans across France.)
Yes this is a few days old, from this past Sunday’s "60 Minutes" on CBS, but Andy Rooney’s commentary on the show was so far out, it had to be shared with the Newsbusters community. Although he began by making valid points about Americans needing to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day, and not just viewing it as a day off, and solemnly remembered friends he lost in World War II, some of his statements called into question whether the sacrifices made by those killed in battle were worth it.
"There's only so much time any of us can spend remembering those we loved who have died, but the men, boys really, who died in our wars deserve at least a few moments of reflection during which we consider what they did for us. They died."
Fishbowl NY reports that Katie Couric has already displayed one apparently required tendency of a CBS anchor. You must genuflect and pay great homage to the CBS anchor-god named Edward R. Murrow. Her appearance at the Time 100 dinner last night went as follows:
Latecomer Katie Couric skipped cocktails and arrived at 10:00 p.m. just before accepting her inclusion on the Time 100. She prefaced her remarks by saying "I'm worthless without a TelePrompter" before toasting Edward R. Murrow as having the greatest influence on her. "We were all reminded [this year of how] he was such a journalistic giant."
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek's resident genius, had another stroke of brilliance
Sunday with a column on the many similarities between Hillary Clinton
and Ronald Reagan. Aside from that very arguable point, I couldn't help
but notice this gem that somehow worked its way through Newsweek's
legions of fact-checkers:
The late great Jerry Garcia
used to say the Grateful Dead were like black licorice. People who
loved them loved them a lot. People who hated them really hated them.
"Hillary Clinton is black licorice," says a Democratic strategist.
"There's a huge upside, and there's a huge downside. And we don't know
how it will balance out."
When was the last time we had such a
dominant front runner this early who raises such anxiety about
electability? The answer is Ronald Reagan. It took a leap of
imagination to believe an aging grade-B movie actor with orange hair could win the presidency.
For comment on the substance of the piece (such as it is), head over to Captain's Quarters.
As a follow-up to yesterday's item on Newsweek's Jonathan Alter and his new book championing Franklin Roosevelt, we peek at the Washington Post's Sunday book review by historian Alonzo Hamby. Is this company policy? After all, the Post and Newsweek are kissing corporate cousins. (One clue: Newsweek editor Jon Meacham's book also receives the book review today -- two weeks after his big authored piece in the Sunday Outlook section.) The Hamby review is mixed, but here's where the sterner words come in:
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter has a new book out on the glories of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, so it's natural that he would be offered an interview on NBC's "Today" to promote it. On Tuesday morning, in the 9 am hour, news anchor Ann Curry helped guide Alter through the promoting:
Curry: "Roosevelt's optimism created what Newsweek columnist and NBC News contributor Jonathan Alter calls the defining moment, "FDR's Hundred Days And The Triumph Of Hope." It also happens to be the title of his new book. Jonathan, pleasure, good morning...."You know Roosevelt calls March '33 his 'rendezvous with destiny.' What made him so good at sparking optimism at a time when there was great depression, really?"
Alter: "You have to, you have to remember this was the bottom. And this was worse than 9/11 for people who remembered it and talked to me about it. If you had put your money in the wrong bank and 10,000 banks went out of business you were done. People now when they say they're broke, they, they say, 'well I've got $5000.' This is like $5 left buried under the mattress. And so when Roosevelt said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, it wasn't true. People actually had a lot to fear about how they were gonna put food on the table. But he was able to create this sense of hope that there was a future and it saved, this is hard for us to believe, but it saved both democracy and capitalism within just a few weeks because at that time dictatorship had a positive connotation and a lot of people wanted it."
I'm enjoying Ramesh Ponnuru's new book "The Party of Death," particularly its chapter on the media, "Scribes of the Party of Death." (And that's not just because Ramesh cites my study with Rich Noyes on partial-birth abortion coverage, and how the networks rarely explain what on Earth happens in one.) This is a great line about the New York Times: "The kids at Hogwarts speak the name of Voldemort more freely than the Times editors use the phrase partial-birth abortion." Ramesh brings in his media-elite expert:
Longtime Newsweek correspondent Kenneth Woodward points out that if the editors of the Times really believe the phrase should be avoided because it's not a medical term, they should also remove references to "heart attacks" from their pages as well. If they want to avoid it because one side of the debate objects to it, "female genital mutilation" would have to go as well. The result is not only confusing stories; it is, as Woodward writes, that "every story is framed as a narrative of assault on Roe v. Wade."
Wednesday’s lead Times editorial on lethal injection, "Lethal Cruelty," is another dubious attempt by the Times to argue that the death penalty is somehow unconstitutional, that pesky Fifth Amendment notwithstanding.
"Over the years, several justices have concluded that the death penalty is in all cases unconstitutional, including Justice Harry Blackmun, who famously declared, ‘From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.’ We agree with Justice Blackmun and hope that the tinkering will someday stop and that the law of the land will recognize that the Eighth Amendment bars capital punishment completely. But even justices who think the Constitution permits capital punishment should find that lethal injections that torture prisoners in the process of killing them are unconstitutional."
Ronald Reagan may now be remembered as one of America's greatest presidents, but the Washington Post is still willing to consider him comparable to mass-murdering dictators. On Tuesday, theater critic Nelson Pressley oozed over playwright Tony Kushner's work comparing Reagan to Hitler:
Before Tony Kushner hit the jackpot with "Angels in America," he wrote something called "A Bright Room Called Day," and in it he equated Reagan's America with Hitler's Germany. Kushner being Kushner -- that is, burning with ideological fire, thoroughly grounded in history and theory, and preposterously gifted with literary agility -- that wild swing of a thesis gains surprising traction onstage.
When Sen. John Kerry lost to George W. Bush in the presidential election of 2004, the press turned its attention to 2008 and Sen. Hillary Clinton as a potential Democratic savior.
As Mrs. Clinton’s home state broadsheet, the Times has a front-row seat for the run-up to Election 2008. Yet a Times Watch study has discovered that ever since the Hillary-for-president talk heated up in earnest, the newspaper has used its seat more as a cheering section for Clinton than as a dispassionate perch for objective observation.
A reader wishing for a full, balanced picture of Sen. Hillary Clinton won’t get it from the New York Times, which has followed a pattern of mainstreaming Clinton’s liberal policies while throwing roadblocks in front of her potential Republican Senate opponents and playing down Clinton’s controversial remarks.
In a talk with the editor of the liberal Texas Monthly that airs on Texas PBS stations, former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite uncorked some more liberal opinions. In praising the CBS-boosting, Joseph McCarthy-trashing movie "Good Night and Good Luck," Cronkite liked how it reminded Americans that "one nut could endanger the democracy," was "locking up our democracy in a very dangerous way," and persecuting people who were "simply good Americans." When pressed to compare Vietnam and Iraq, Cronkite declared that the comparison was "almost exact."
On Thursday, the Poynter Institute’s Romenesko web site linked to an interview that Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith did with Cronkite for broadcast on Thursday night in thirteen TV markets. First, they discussed the danger of Sen. Joseph McCarthy to our democracy. It's a bit surprising that at this late date, with all the archival information we have now on the Soviet state and its espionage activities, Cronkite still can't acknowledge any Soviet spies in the United States in the 1950s, and how that was a danger to our democracy.
Washington Post magazine-beat writer Peter Carlson writes an admiring profile of Harper's magazine editor Lewis Lapham in the Style section today, headlined "Lewis Lapham Lights Up," as Lapham prepares to step down as Harper's editor. The man is a raving leftist, and while Carlson notes his cover story in the March issue is "The Case for Impeachment," he never quite locates Lapham on the far left. He merely lets friend Tom Wolfe call him "left-leaning."
Carlson also claims Lapham is an equal-opportunity offender, that he has "skewered every president since Nixon. He is a world-class curmudgeon." But Lapham has predictably hated conservatives more. Lapham's biggest media moment may have been his 1989 PBS series "America's Century," in which he sulfurously condemned Ronald Reagan as someone who could be relied on to "defend the sanctity of myth against the heresy of fact."
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.
The hard-left Pacifica Radio network is a network of five public radio stations in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Houston. Together, these stations have regularly drawn about a combined $1 million a year in federal money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (For a while, conservative Rep. Joel Hefley would push an amendment every year to reduce the federal CPB budget by $1 million in protest.) Perhaps their signature program is "Democracy Now!" with Amy Goodman, which boasts of public TV and radio stations far beyond the Pacifica-owned affiliates. On Monday, they went on one of their pledge drives with a new premium: a DVD of celebrities reading from leftist historian Howard Zinn's "Voices of a People's History of the United States."
Celebrities included Danny Glover, Sandra Oh (of "Grey's Anatomy"), Viggo "Aragorn" Mortensen, and the one reader that really surprised me: Marisa Tomei doing a dramatic reading of Cindy Sheehan.
One would hope and expect a liberal newspaper like the New York Times to have the meager virtue of consistency on matters of freedom of expression, particularly in defense of another newspaper. As the world now knows, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad last September, considered taboo (though not always recognized as such) by Muslims.
But Times reporter Craig Smith apparently found the cartoons themselves far more inflammatory than he did the actual rioting of Muslims burning embassies in Syria and Lebanon. Even the headline to his Sunday Week in Review story suggests the Danish newspaper's exercise of free speech was somehow irresponsible, likening it to pouring fuel on a flame: “Adding Newsprint to the Fire.”
Garrett Graff, one of the editors of fishbowlDC -- "a gossip blog about Washington, D.C. media" that’s part of the MediaBistro.com mini-empire – has joined those who’ve stated hopefully that something or other will prove to be a “Cronkite moment” regarding the Iraq war.
(Some background for the youngsters: The term derives from Walter Cronkite’s February 1968 on-air declaration that the Vietnam War was “mired in stalemate” – i.e., the U.S. and its ally, South Vietnam, could not win. Supposedly, President Lyndon Johnson’s response to that remark was to tell an aide, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”)
Tim Graham has already addressed this comment today in his post on comparisons of Bush and Herbert Hoover. I would like to address the point Tom Shales made in his Washington Post column today, A Speech Both Stately And Stolid, and provide a bit more historical basis for the use of this comparison - to Hoover. Shales stated in his opening line:
Whether George W. Bush is, at best, the worst president since Herbert Hoover -- as a seemingly sizable number of Americans appear to believe -- he acquitted himself fairly well and came off as basically competent when he delivered his fifth State of the Union speech last night.
The book might at first seem an odd choice for Mr. Bush, whose taste in biography, like that of other American presidents, runs to previous occupants of the Oval Office. But it is not so surprising given that "Mao: The Unknown Story" has been embraced by the right as a searing indictment of Communism.
As you can see from this October post that addressed Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's review of the book, it hasn't exactly been "embraced" by bitter-enders on the left. Despite the book's painstakingly thorough chronicle of Mao's horrible death toll, Kristof still holds that Mao was "not all bad" for China (most of this quote is also at this "TimesWatch Worst of 2005" NewsBusters post):
But Mao’s legacy is not all bad. Land reform in China, like the land reform in Japan and Taiwan, helped lay the groundwork for prosperity today. The emancipation of women and end of child marriages moved China from one of the worst places in the world to be a girl to one where women have more equality than in, say, Japan or Korea. Indeed, Mao’s entire assault on the old economic and social structure made it easier for China to emerge as the world’s new economic dragon.
Just like that, 60-70 million deaths become collateral damage in the (fictional) advancement of women's equality (see: "one-child policy") and supposed economic rebirth (which didn't begin until years after Mao's death, and never would have happened while he remained alive, even if he had lived to be 100).
What I'm getting from all this is that "Mao: The Unknown Story" is being "embraced by the right" because it is the unvarnished if uncomfortable truth, while far leftists, in the face of facts that can only be disputed at the margins, if at all, aren't happy with the book, because believing it would force them to let go of their 1960s romantic notions of Mao. Fortunately for those steeped in reality, you can be an open-minded person on either side of the political spectrum and accept the profoundly important work the authors, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, have done to shine the light of truth on one of history's most evil people.
Driving home tonight (Friday), the MRC's Rich Noyes caught how ABC Radio talk show host Mark Levin, on Washington DC's WMAL, marked the 25th anniversary of the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan: By reciting, just past 6pm EST, from Reagan-bashing quotes spewed by journalists which were compiled by the Media Research Center. In June of 2004, just after Reagan passed away, the MRC produced a Special Report titled, “Ronald Reagan -- The 40th President and the Press: The Record.” (Levin's show is also carried by WABC in New York City, WJR in Detroit and WBAP in Ft. Worth/Dallas.)
Below is a reprint of the Executive Summary of the report from which Levin quoted, and direct links to all the sections of it.
CBS started its "Public Eye" weblog in the wake of the Dan Rather fake-memo fiasco as "an opportunity for our audience to hold CBS News more publicly accountable." But the interview Vaughn Ververs posted today with new "Evening News" executive producer Rome Hartman sends an odd signal. Hartman feels compelled (or perhaps sincerely believes, however odd that sounds) to state than Dan Rather remains one of "the great figures of the [CBS] news division." Is this really a "new era" at CBS?
The year 2005 is ending as it began, with another successful election in Iraq and a liberal media still flapping around trying to find other controversies to submerge it. It does not matter to them that a Gallup poll found that 74 percent of Americans express confidence in their military, but only 28 percent express confidence in their newspapers or TV news outlets. The “mainstream” media excels in excoriating the performance of nearly everyone else, but acts as if nothing they do should be held up as ineffective, inaccurate, or just plain absurd.
That’s why the Media Research Center and a panel of more than 50 judges have compiled an annual “Best Notable Quotables,” a collection of the media’s greatest stinkers in the past 12 months. The utterances speak volumes about our supposedly ideologically detached press corps.