Hosting a debate segment this morning between Republican strategist Alex Conant and Democratic strategist Mo Elleithee that examined the political dimensions of the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, MSNBC's Tamron Hall played soundbites from two politicians with rather divergent views on offshore drilling.
The first was liberal Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) opposing expanding offshore drilling to California, the second was conservative Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), who gave a rather dopey comment where he downplayed the devastation of the oil spill by comparing its appearance to "chocolate milk."
After playing those clips back-to-back, Hall asked for Conant's reaction, mistakenly referring to Taylor as a Republican.
We at NewsBusters quickly tweeted Hall about her error and she promptly issued an on-air correction, albeit mistakenly tagging Taylor as a "Michigan Democrat" [MP3 audio available here]:
At the White House Correspondents Association dinner Saturday night, President Barack Obama mocked CNN’s Rick Sanchez for saying Iceland is “too cold” for a volcano, a remark launched into the blogosphere by NewsBusters (April 15 NB post with video) and which prompted Sanchez, who insisted he was joking, to put NB post author Matthew Balan at the “very top” of his “List U Don't Want 2 Be On.” (April 19 NB post with video)
Obama’s joke centered on his bad opening day “first pitch” at the Washington Nationals game. He displayed how FNC described his pitch, “President Panders to Far Left of Batters Box,” and MSNBC’s on-screen graphic under Keith Olbermann: “President Pitches No-Hitter.” The President then played the real video from CNN of Sanchez, and then, generating laughter from the DC audience, quipped: “I guess that’s why they’re the most-trusted name in news.”
Some Saturday night humor. File under Things a Journalist Should Be Too Embarrassed to Cite. In her weekly Washington Post column published on Monday about the impact of the ash emitted by the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland which shut down European airplane flights, “Nature hoists Europe back in time,” Warsaw-based Anne Applebaum included this sentence about reaction to the volcanic eruption:
A British friend sees this as “judgment for the bad things we have done to the Earth.”
Applebaum is a veteran journalist, serving as Warsaw correspondent for The Economist, foreign editor and deputy editor of the Spectator magazine in London and the Evening Standard's political editor, before becoming an editorial writer for the Post and, since 2006, a columnist.
Last Thursday, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, the network's Mr. Wizard, suggested Iceland shouldn't have a volcano: "You think it's too cold to have a volcano there." On Friday, Sanchez followed up with these:
"Here's what I don't get about DVDs -- how are you supposed to rewind them?"
"....Why is it you can sometimes see the moon in the sky during the day, but you never see the sun at night?"
Last Thursday, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, the network's Mr. Wizard, suggested Iceland shouldn't have a volcano: "You think it's too cold to have a volcano there." Today, Sanchez followed up with this:
"Right now we're looking at a beautiful aerial shot of the stark, snow-covered mountains of Greenland. Which actually surprised me, because when you think of a place named Greenland, you think of warmth and trees and meadows and things like that, right? You don't think of ice and snow and cold weather. But no! There it is.”
In response to CNN anchor Rick Sanchez lunging onto the air to defend his quote-unquote "joke" when he suggested it was strange to discover a volcano in a cold place, NewsBusters has decided to spend a few days presenting other episodes of scientific genius we might see from CNN's Mr. Wizard in the months and years to come during Rick's List in the afternoon. Here's one:
"We have some new pictures of our planet from the space shuttle and well, look at that. It's actually round. You know, when I walk around outside, the world seems pretty flat. When you think of the Earth, you think of a flat disc, you don't think of a sphere. But no! There it is."
Britain's left-of-center daily - "The Guardian" - has reported that former international environmental lawyer Polly Higgins has launched a new campaign urging the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to deem environmental damage on par with genocide and crimes against humanity in international courts.
"Supporters of a new ecocide law also believe it could be used to prosecute ‘climate deniers' who distort science and facts to discourage voters and politicians from taking action to tackle global warming and climate change," Juliette Jowit, "Guardian's" environmental editor wrote April 9.
"Higgins makes her case for ecocide to join that list with a simple equation: extraction leads to ecocide, which leads to resource depletion, and resource depletion leads to conflict. ‘The link is if you keep over-extracting from your capital asset we'll have very little left and we will go to war over our capital asset, the last of it,' adds Higgins, who has support in the UN and European commission, and among climate scientists, environmental lawyers and international campaign groups."
Among the "10 reasons why we need ecocide as the 5th international Crime Against Peace" on Higgins' "Thisisecocide" website, number five states "action can be taken against any individual. As an international crime against peace, no-one escapes liability" (emphasis theirs).
Everyone knowsFox isn't "the most trusted name in news," so who is? You guessed it - and at least one media tycoon agrees. Speaking at the University of Missouri as a guest-lecture, Craig Newmark - Craigslist founder and informal Obama technology-advisor - argued that Comedy Central is the most trustworthy news source.
Invited to discuss the future of journalism - where individuals virtually have an endless amount of resources in today's era of new media - Newark stressed how trust and credibility was paramount, emphasizing the exemplary dedication Comedy Central shows have for investigative reporting and fact-checking.
"[R]ight now I think the most trusted news show in the U.S. is the one that does the best investigative reporting and the most trustworthy reporting - and that's ‘The Daily Show,'" Newark said - and he wasn't joking. "Sounds like a joke - isn't."
Rob Dibble asks Obama who one of his favorite White Sox players was while growing up in Chicago. Obama stumbles and avoids the question. Maybe he misheard the question or maybe he was acting like a typical politician and avoiding the question because he didn't have an answer.
Mark Levin picked up on the incident at the start of his April 5 program. You can hear audio of that here, courtesy of Levin's producer, Richard Semanta.
An April Fools prank designed to trick bloggers into running with a contrived story ended up snaring the Gray Lady.
New York attorney Eric Terkewitz told his blog's readers on April 1 that he had been hired as the White House's "official law blogger." Unlike the political bloggers at which the stunt was aimed, the New York Times apparently did not check the claim, and posted the story to its website.
The incident serves as a reminder that, as journos like to say, "if your mother says she loves you, check it out."
Just another sign that the media just don't get religion. Here's the ABCNews.com headline for an April 4 story on President Obama's attendance of Easter Sunday service at Allen Chapel AME Church in Southeast D.C.:
Of course, the term Easter Mass would connote a Catholic liturgical celebration, but the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) is a thoroughly Protestant denomination, as its articles of faith Web page makes clear.
Update: April Fools! Consider these "fake but accurate." Happy April Fools' Day.
The latest edition of the biweekly Notable Quotables is up at MRC.org, the Web site for NewsBusters's parent organization the Media Research Center.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, here's the media carving out a place on Mt. Rushmore for Obama and giving him two more Nobel prizes:
“You know, Keith, I really think Barack Obama could finish the year with not just one Nobel Prize, but three. This health care bill is bound to save literally millions of lives, and the legislative language itself is a masterpiece. Given the good sense of the Norwegians, I think the President could easily win the Nobels for medicine and literature this year.” — Newsweek’s Howard Fineman to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann during live coverage of the health care bill signing, April 1.
It seems like it's been quite some time since our National Endowment for the Arts has shocked the public with an outrageous grant for a ridiculous "artist" whose art flourishes only when the taxpayer is forced against his will to subsidize it. Sadly, that means these "artists" must take their talents elsewhere in search of public funding.
Subsidizing sleaze apparently is not shocking to Australia. Siobhan Duck of Melbourne's Herald Sun reports, "A television comedy about a bong-smoking dog that has sex with a cat and a teddy bear has received $1.5 million of federal and state taxpayers' money."
Wouldn't you be so proud if you were a taxpayer Down Under? The federal agency Screen Australia contributed $400,000 to the first season and $580,000 to the second. The state agency Film Victoria contributed $210,000 for the first set of shows and $294,048 towards the second.
In the midst of liberals condemning the tone of anti-Obama conservatives, Bill Maher on Friday pointed to a vulgar and sexually-explicit text message Tiger Woods reportedly sent, which promised aggressive sexual behavior, as representing the attitude Democrats should adopt from the “lying bullies of the right.”
Maher quoted from Woods: “I want to treat you rough, throw you around, spank and slap you and make you sore....I'm going to tell you to shut the f**k up while I slap your face and pull your hair for making noise.” Maher declared that “perfectly represents the attitude the Democrats should now have in their dealings with the Republican Party.” He prefaced his “New Rules” tirade:
Here's a word President Obama should take out of his Teleprompter: Bipartisanship. People only care about that in theory, not in practice. The best thing that happened this year is when Obama finally realized that and said: “Kiss my black ass, we're going it alone George W. Bush style.”
Maher descriptively contended “Democrats need to push the rest of their agenda while their boot is on the neck of the greedy, poisonous old reptile,” arguing: “We need to regulate the banks, we need to overhaul immigration, we need to end corporate welfare including at the Pentagon, we need to bring troops home from everywhere, we need to end the drug war...”
Chris Matthews could have a future in comedy if only his funniest moments weren't unintentional.
Here's today's knee-slapper: The Washington Post is not ideologically liberal in its editorials [MP3 audio available here].
Matthews made that pronouncement today during live coverage shortly after the conclusion of the ObamaCare signing ceremony. The "Hardball" host's comment followed MSNBC correspondent Savannah Guthrie's observation that ObamaCare is a "Rorschach test" that Democrats and Republicans will respond to along ideological lines in the run-up to the midterm elections in November:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me go to Jonathan Capehart on that, because he has to write editorials for the Washington Post, which is kind of hard to read ideologically these days.
Sunday's Doonesbury comic strip mocks the tea-party movement -- as if the Obama era were defined by tax-cutting. Gay public-radio talk-show host Mark Slackmeyer is interviewing "Lamont Whirley," tea party activist:
Mr. Whirley, as you know, the original Boston Tea Party was a protest against taxation without representation...
But the modern Tea Party movement was formed last spring...
...in response to your duly elected representatives enacting tax cuts for almost all American workers.
Can you explain the tea party's philosophical incoherence?
Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau then draws "Whirley" as a wacko, wearing a Santa suit and beard, an Uncle Sam top hat, a powdered white wig, and a robber's mask, as he holds a pumpkin. Whirley replies: "Our what?" Slackmeyer responds: "Never mind -- elitist question."
Recycling a theme which President Barack Obama used last year at media dinners, that shows self-awareness of how journalists are allies, headlining Wednesday night’s Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner carried live on C-SPAN2, Vice President Joe Biden quipped those in the audience are Obama’s “base.” One of Biden’s lines:
The truth is I can't believe I'm here with you guys tonight. Here I am, the first Irish Catholic Vice President in the history of the United States of America. Barack Obama, the first African-American in the history of the United States of America. He's hosting a St. Patrick's day dinner and I'm here with you all [audience laughter]. Go figure. He's with my base, I'm with his.
That elicited groans from the audience of journalists at the Washington Convention Center. Too close to the truth?