Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert’s nightly conservative/O’Reilly-mocking show "The Colbert Report" invited on MSNBC host Keith Olbermann Tuesday night to double up on the O’Reilly bashing. It started predictably, before the word "Nazi" came out:
Colbert: "Why do you have a problem with my hero, papa bear Bill O'Reilly? You guys have been going at it, hammer and tongs."
Olbermann: "Well, Stephen, he's an idiot."
Colbert: "You say that like it's a bad thing. I think he sees the world simply, okay? Without all your complicated facts."
Olbermann: "We're both saying the same thing. He's an idiot."
AP reports that actor and legendary soul singer Isaac Hayes has left the role of Chef on the snide adult cartoon "South Park" because he cannot abide its mockery of religion. One of the show's co-creators, Matt Stone, was quick to attack the singer's sudden departure after eight seasons:
Stone told AP he and co-creator Trey Parker "never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin...This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians." Last November, "South Park" aired a Scientology-mocking episode where the child Stan is thought to be the second coming of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and Hollywood celebrities come to visit. When Stan mocks Tom Cruise, the actor locks himself in Stan's closet, allowing the writers to make endless gay jokes about Cruise refusing to come out of the closet.
In Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten's weekly online chat this past Tuesday, a poster asked Gene to assess "the George Will [column that] made the claim that conservatives have happier lives than liberals."
I think [Will] was right, though I wouldn't have quite as smug about it as he was.
I think it is easier to be a conservative. You do not have to think as much, beause issues are more black and white. That delivers a sense of general contentment, because the world seems more orderly.
In Friday's daily Washington Post online chat on politics, Dana Milbank cracks wise about his trip to the woodshed over wearing a hunter-orange getup to mock Dick Cheney on MSNBC, but won't answer the simple question debated in the Sunday column of ombud Deborah Howell, whether he's an opinion columnist or some other kind of columnist, as this questioner discovers:
Washington, D.C.: Do you buy all the talk going on around you saying Dana Milbank doesn't have an "opinion column" or offer an ideology?
Slate "Press Box" columnist Jack Shafer has a pictoral essay up today on "TV's Aryan Sisterhood," where he mocks the hair of anchor-babes from Paula Zahn to Katie Couric to Diane Sawyer. (He links to an old MRC page for a pic of Katie the Brunette.) This page (5 of 9) cracked me up:
I imagine that at one point in her life, the 60-year-old Diane Sawyer of ABC News was an honest blonde, but is there any middle-aged woman alive whose hair naturally looks like this? A relatively late arrival to the blond gang is NBC's Andrea Mitchell, 59, who looks like an Earl Scheib paint and body shop hosed her hair down with a gallon of Gold Leaf Metallic Clearcoat.
In her column today in the Sunday "Outlook" section, Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell expressed official dismay at Post reporter/columnist Dana Milbank's decision to wear hunter garb as a Dick Cheney gag on MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." The Post's AME for National News, Liz Spayd, apparently handed out some discipline:
Spayd said she felt Milbank "crossed the line" on his TV appearance. "What he intended as a playful joke was viewed by many as mocking and unprofessional, and understandably so." Suffice it to say that he has been taken to The Post's version of the woodshed and told not to do that again.
In the wake of the Cheney flap in which the MSM vented its fury over the Veep's failure to disclose facts rapidly enough to suit their taste, and in where even dark cover-up theories were floated, isn't it ironic that an MSM icon has refused to reveal her age, even though that fact was very relevant to the story she was covering?
Barbara Walters has been guest-hosting on Good Morning America this week, and this morning conducted a segment on an index that has been developed that with good accuracy predicts the likelihood of death within four years for people 50 and older.
Walters' guest was GMA Medical Contributor Dr. David Katz. The good doctor had run the index on Barbara, and the happy news is that she is very likely to be with us for some time to come.
Editor and Publisher reports that liberal political cartoonist Ted Rall is not happy about remarks made by conservative commentator Ann Coulter. At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Coulter stated, "Iran is soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust. So far, only Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau, and The New York Times have made submissions."
Garry Trudeau, creator of "Doonsbury," does not want to sue, but Ted Rall said on his blog that if enough people vote in favor of it on his online poll, and if readers give him $6000 for court costs, he'll sue Coulter in New York.
Carsten Juste, the editor of the Danish newspaper that set off an international kerfuffle by publishing cartoons of the founder of Islam was interviewed in yesterday's edition. An excerpt from the Q&A:
There were some journalists here at the paper, including some who write regularly about Muslims, immigration, and integration, who strongly advised us not to do it. It was quite a discussion. Personally I thought the cartoons were harmless - very much in fitting with our Danish tradition for caricature. If some of the cartoons had been cruder - if an illustrator had given us Mohammed pissing on the Koran, for example - then it would have been pulled. The same way I've pulled a lot of cartoons over the years that devout Christians might have found insulting. Or others because they were too vulgar or too crude. I didn't feel that these were, and so we went ahead.'
While the TV-news world buzzes over whether Katie Couric brings her powdered perkiness to the "CBS Evening News" throne of Dan Rather, her current morning job still makes her look quite silly, more "That Girl" than "Evening News" anchor/icon. Drudge today is wondering whether she was "discharged" upon as she fed pigeons in Milan on camera shortly after 8 AM Eastern. Our views of the video today show no visual evidence of the number-two (and Katie later denied it happened*), but a surplus of dopey jokes about it, with Couric remarking on "sometimes you're the pigeon, sometimes you're the statue," and then claiming she might be needing "Purel" to clean her hands after the pigeons fed there. She makes CBS anchor Connie Chung reporting from Tonya Harding's ice rink look like the essence of hard news. Windows Media Player or Real Player
Perhaps the dumber Olympics-related "Today" moment came last Thursday, as MRC's Geoff Dickens sent along the transcript:
As noted previously on Newsbusters, the violent Muslim protests against the publication of cartoons lampooning Islam has clearly put The New York Times in an uncomfortable position. The rioters, while to the Times an embattled minority in the West, are attacking free speech. Not good. But their most vocal critics are conservatives. Indeed, the Times describes the paper that first ran the cartoons as “conservative.” Can’t side with them.
In today's “Critic’s Notebook” piece, headlined "A Startling New Lesson in the Power of Imagery" and featuring a photo of children holding a sign "Danish People Not Welcome Here," writer Michael Kimmelman unwittingly describes the paper’s dilemma halfway through his meandering 1,396-word item:
In his web chat today, Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten stated that there was "nothing wrong" with Tom Toles' now (in)famous amputee cartoon -- a cartoon which, in Weingarten's words, "is deeply critical of a callous administration that deserves deep criticism."
Here's the Q&A from the chat:
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: Gene - You are the arbiter of all that is funny. What are your thoughts on the recent controversy over Tom Toles' cartoon depicting a soldier who had lost both arms and legs in Iraq? Does it cross the line, as the Joint Chiefs of Staff are claiming?
The Washington Post Style section front page features a front-page Howard Kurtz report today on the furor caused by the Tom Toles cartoon featuring Donald Rumsfeld calling a quadruple-amputee "battle hardened." Here's the official Post quotes in the story:
In an interview, Toles called the letter "an understandable response" but said he did not regret what he drew. In thinking about Rumsfeld's remarks, he said, "what came soon to mind was the catastrophic level of injuries the Army and members of the armed services have sustained . . . I thought my portrayal of it was a fair depiction of the reality of the situation.
"I certainly never intended it to be in any way a personal attack on, or a derogatory comment on, the service or sacrifice of American soldiers."
As for the Joint Chiefs' letter, he said: "I think it's a little bit unfair in their reading of the cartoon to imply that is what it's about."
Fred Hiatt, The Post's editorial page editor, said he doesn't "censor Tom" and that "a cartoonist works best if he or she doesn't feel there's someone breathing over their shoulder. He's an independent actor, like our columnists." Hiatt said he makes comments on drafts of cartoons but that Toles is free to ignore them.
Asked about Sunday's cartoon, Hiatt said, "While I certainly can understand the strong feelings, I took it to be a cartoon about the state of the Army and not one intended to demean wounded soldiers."
I do wish Kurtz would have asked the question: so Toles has never been "censored," or has there never been an occasion where editors have successfully talked Toles out of a cartoon idea?
From her USA Today's piece on the Alito confirmation, check out this gibberish (3rd paragraph as it appeared at 12:15 PM; obviously it could be corrected at any moment or taken down; NOTE--USAT updated and fixed in their 1:54 PM update; see related comment below):
Alito, 55., who has compiled a mostly conservative record during 15 years on the bench, becomes the 110th. justice to serve on the high court. He succeeds retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor,who has provided a deciding vote in favor of maintaining a woman's right to end her pregnancy and other controversies women's right to terminate their pregnancies, among other controversial matters.
So is Ms. Kiely obsessed, or is it just a glitch? Given that abortion is the first legal issue mentioned in her report, my money is on "obsessed."
Watching a TV talking head or reading a article, sometimes one wonders at how much a journalist is willing to sell him/herself. Apparently in the UK, the price is about $59.
That may seem an unusual thing to say but this eBay auction for a "used" editorial staff of a southwestern English newspaper is hardly something you see every day.
Apparently, the staff of the Western Daily Press is about to be the subject of a downsizing as its parent company prepares to sell the paper and several others. To get around this, the Press's editorial staff is offering interested buyers the "the right to employ every redundant member of staff to produce the newspaper of your choice."
"This could be the start of your media empire," the listing reads, later offering a "FREE guarantee of dedication to our prospective new employer" with a promise that the staff is willing to work unpaid overtime hours.
Friday morning, NBC Today show reporter Natalie Morales was covering the snow fall in Central Park. Upon completing her report, at 7:54AM EST, the camera pulled back to reveal two ice sculptures of co-hosts Matt Lauer and Katie Couric. (Ice portraits might be a more appropriate term -- the ice was carved with images of Lauer and Couric from approximately the waist up.) [Audio available here]
Lauer remarked, "No harm intended to the fine artists, but they look a little like our tombstones."
A short time later, the camera showed a small dog suspiciously trotting around the two blocks of ice. With mock horror, Lauer yelled, "Oh, no you don’t!" Returning at 8:00AM, after a local break, Morales revealed: "The dogs have really taken a liking to the ice sculptures. And Katie, they seem to have a particular liking for your ice sculpture, if you know what I mean. A yellow snow issue."
Couric understood what had been done to her image: "I know, I know."
It’s long been known that NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams dropped out of the George Washington University in 1979 to intern in the Carter White House’s correspondence office sorting letters. But in the 7:30 half hour of Thursday’s Today we learned that 13 years earlier, in a 1966 letter to President Lyndon Johnson, he had proclaimed his commitment to the “Democret” party. Williams came aboard the Today show to plug a National Geographic book for which he wrote an introduction, Dear Mr. President: Letters to the Oval Office from the Files of the National Archives. As viewers saw Williams’ 1966 handwritten letter to Johnson, Lauer noted how the seven-year-old Williams “signed off the letter ‘one of your young Democrets,' not Democrats." Williams quipped: “You know, I was a young sycophant is what I was. And yeah, we've done Democrets. I think that's a chewing gum product. We've looked it up. It is no political party and for a registered independent it's now very embarrassing." Lauer razzed him: "Independart, you mean." Williams replied: "Oh, very funny." (Full text of the letter follows.)
Today, in his weekly web chat, syndicated Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten provided an unintentionally funny response to a "conservative-leaning" reader. Here's the exchange:
Anonymous: I love (not) that the designations on your poll are "pro-choice" and "anti-abortion." Did you do this purposefully to stir up the righteous indignation of conservative-leaning chatters like myself? Why not change "pro-choice" to "anti-life?" At least make it even, either "pro-choice or pro-life" or "anti-life or anti-abortion."
Gene Weingarten: Bullhockey. These are designations that best describe the positions. They are the ones used by almost all newspapers, which are striving for objectivity.
Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry threatened legal action on Monday against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who wins laughs by portraying the central Asian state as a country populated by drunks who enjoy cow-punching as a sport.
Baron Cohen, who portrays a spoof Kazakh television presenter Borat in his "Da Ali G Show", has won fame ridiculing Kazakhstan, the world's ninth largest country yet still little known to many in the West.
Baron Cohen appears to have drawn official Kazakh ire after he hosted the annual MTV Europe Music Awards show in Lisbon earlier this month as Borat, who arrived in an Air Kazakh propeller plane controlled by a one-eyed pilot clutching a vodka bottle.
The national media worked overtime last week insisting that Democratic victories in governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia were huge setbacks for the Bush administration and national Republican party. Apparently, the liberal media spin was enough to hoodwink an unsuspecting headline writer at the Albany Herald in Albany, Georgia.
The Paris riots have highlighted more than any other issue in recent years not only the bias, but the ignorance of the "old media." Internet readers have studied the situation in Europe for years. Numerous writers, from Mark Steyn to Ba'at Yeor to Debbie Schlussel, have long predicted the decline of Europe and the jihad that we have seen over the past few weeks.
But the "old media" personalities still have no clue as to what is going on. And their reporting and commentary has taken on an almost comical quality as a result.
Years after "new media" readers began to understand the consequences of French policies toward Islamic immigrants, CNN's anchor Carol Lin referred (on November 6th) to some of the participants in the Paris fiasco as African-American (apparently for lack of a better euphemism).
When the MSM seeks to use euphemisms to ignore the real issue, they run the risk of sounding stupid and bringing ridicule upon themselves. It would be far easier to identify correctly the rioters in the first place. It makes one wonder why they don't do things the easy way.
UPDATE 4pm EST Friday, by Rich Noyes: Lin’s comment came about 10 minutes into CNN’s 10pm EST Sunday Night, as reporter Chris Burns was reporting on the rioting in France. Burns reported: “The priority right now is to restore order before trying to deal with some of the underlying issues, but even after what [French President Jacque] Chirac said, we’re seeing more violence. What you could point out, though, is that there is at this point about half as many vehicles torched as the night before, so you might call that progress, Carol.”
“Hard to say,” Lin responded, “because it’s been 11 days since two African-American teenagers were killed, electrocuted during a police chase, which prompted all of this.”
The two teenaged boys, who ran into high-voltage equipment and were killed on October 27, weren't American at all. They were actually French citizens of Tunisian origin.
Perhaps not the biggest news of the day -- unless you really, really hate Bill O'Reilly -- but it's always worth noting on NewsBusters when Al Franken is proven wrong (hat tip: Robert Cox).
Newsday reports on Franken's book-tour visit to Long Island: "Sure, he has a book to sell and a radio show to promote, but Al Franken had more urgent reasons to bring his live broadcast to the Book Revue in Huntington Friday.Namely: investigating where on Long Island arch-nemesis Bill O'Reilly grew up. Were O'Reilly's roots in blue-collar Levittown as the Fox television star insists? Or was he a product of the comparatively ritzy Westbury? 'What is this hall of mirrors known as O'Reilly's childhood?' Franken purred into his microphone, beginning his radio program before a crowd of 200 listeners."
At “The Huffington Post’s” blog, Al Franken’s most recent post is called, “Happy Fitznukkah, Everybody!” In it, Franken expressed hope that yesterday’s indictments of I. Lewis Libby weren't a “one-day holiday like Fitzmas” - a not-so comical conglomeration of the words Fitzgerald and Christmas - and waxed elatedly about the possibility of other presents to come such as indictments to Ari Fleischer and Karl Rove:
“The only disappointment was the lack of a ‘treason’ indictment. Looks like thirty years is the most Scooter will get. But who knows? He might get squeezed and end up ratting out the other guys, and get only eight to twelve.”
Yet, maybe the most enlightened opinion - and certainly the most comical - at this thread was posted in the comments section:
"It’s kind of painful,” she said, “because you want to explain yourself. The most important point for me to get across is: Yeah, it looked really stupid, but there was never any attempt to make it look like it was worse of a storm than it really was.” The article ends with her one lingering concern: Her one lingering concern: “That it might have looked to some people like we were trying to put something over on viewers,” she said. “That would just be idiotic.”
Writer Rebecca Dana explains the gritty details were all about production values:
"South Park," the popular Comedy Central show about the misadventures of a group of four Colorado boys, criticized the news media Wednesday night for its overhyped coverage of Hurricane Katrina. In the episode, two of the boys, Stan Marsh and Eric Cartman, accidentally crash a boat into a beaver dam, flooding an entire town. In the aftermath, local and national media blame it on global warming, ridiculously exaggerate the extent of the damage, make up stories of rape, murder, "cannibalism," and tell tales of "hundreds of millions" of deaths in a town of 8,000 people.
No bias here, but kind of amusing: The front of Saturday's Sports page featured a picture of the 16-year old golf phenom Michelle Wie taking a free drop of her ball after it was ruled unplayable in the first round of the Samsung World Championship. The headline over the accompanying story read "Wie Knows How to Play, And She Knows the Rules."
Or does she? Monday's sports page declared "Infraction Costs Wie First Payday."
Another free drop that Wie took during the third round on Saturday was ruled illegal on Sunday, after it was determined Wie had perhaps inadvertently moved the ball closer to the hole when she made her drop.
On Tuesday, I posted an item about how Harry Smith worried that Christians who put up Hurricane Katrina evacuees in their homes might force their guests to attend church in order to eat breakfast. It was a silly question in an otherwise non-biased interview with Pastor Rick Warren, author of the best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. Well, our favorite religious scholar made another gaffe today which similarly shows his ignorance about the beliefs of his interview subjects.
Under video shown on ABC's Good Morning America, during Charlie Gibson's Wednesday interview with Senator Hillary Clinton on Capitol Hill, viewers saw a graphic which asked: “WHAT WENT WORONG?” ABC's spelling, for one thing. The misspelled graphic ran under video of Senator Clinton talking to people inside the Washington, DC armory, one of the shelters for those evacuated from New Orleans.
The MRC's Rich Noyes caught ABC's miscue, which they quickly corrected when they switched to a two-shot of Gibson and Clinton.