Editor's Note: For the list of NewsBusters T-shirt contest winners, skip to the end of this post.
As we approach our 5th anniversary at NewsBusters, our celebration would not be complete without a recap of our best posts. It was a tough call, but we came up with the top 25, broken down evenly into five categories of five each.
We call it our Five-for-Five.
Each Friday through August 13 we'll publish a Five-for-Five list.We've saved the very best for last: On Monday, August 16, we'll publish the Top Five Outrageous Outbursts.
But we start today with a much lighter note. The first category for Five-for-Five is The Top Five Media Flubs Caught by NewsBusters.(Also check out a short video-cast with NewsBusters bloggers talking about how they caught the flubs.)
In a June 30 interview with "Talk to Al Jazeera," NASA administrator Charles Bolden revealed that President Obama had tasked him with "find[ing] a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."
Among the media outlets that blacked out the controversy was the Washington Post, which didn't cover the Bolden controversy until today. Even then, the paper printed on page A13 a brief 8-paragraph item by the Reuters news wire:
On Thursday, National Newspaper Publishers Association columnist Julianne Malveaux wrote that Marco Rubio, along with two Asian-American Senators, one Hispanic Senator, and two black Senate candidates are all in fact white men.
Malveaux, also the president of Bennett College, decried the travails of Kendrick Meek, the black Democrat vying for his party's nomination for US Senate in Florida. "If Meek can’t pull this one off," Malveaux wrote, "the United States Senate will become, again, a segregated body." She also used the terms "lily-white" and "all-white" to describe the racial makeup of a Meek-less Senate.
Readers must be forgiven for their confusion, given that another candidate for Senate in Florida, Marco Rubio, is not white, but Hispanic. In fact, excluding Roland Burris, Illinois's lame duck junior Senator, the Senate has three non-white members: Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka of Hawaii are both of Asian descent, and Robert Menendez is of Hispanic descent.
There are also black Senate candidates beyond Meek: Alvin Greene in South Carolina, and the less-known but infinitely more qualified Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond.
How to explain Malveaux's bizarre contention? Your guess is as good as ours.
In part two of her interview with TVNewser editor Kevin Allocca on MediaBistro.com's Media Beat, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer discussed a incident last year in which she mistakenly introduced Reverend Jess Jackson as Al Sharpton: "...those things make me crazy.... I really hate that something like that can paint your whole career."
Brewer specifically called out blogs for reporting the gaffe: "...when I was younger in my career, if I had made a mistake like that, there were no blogs to keep it perpetuity." Allocca replied: "Are you looking at me? I do have a blog that keeps things in perpetuity." Brewer responded: "Whether you do or not, there will be someone else to pick up that slack, so I won't hold it against you in particular." The TVNewser blog did indeed report the incident on October 21, 2009, as did NewsBusters.
Brewer explained: "...the best thing I can do at the point is just to apologize and the Reverend has been very gracious and accepted my apology." She then added how the gaffe "turned into a great opportunity to develop a relationship with someone that I admire," referring to a subsequent meeting with Jackson.
On NBC's Today on Friday, White House correspondent Chuck Todd preemptively dismissed any criticism of President Obama referring to "Twitters" during a joint press conference with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev on Thursday: "It turns out he didn't misstate it. It was written incorrectly in his prepared remarks."
During Todd's report, a clip was played of Obama noting how in a visit to California's Silicon Valley, Medvedev went to "visit the headquarter of Twitters." Obama simply placed an 's' after the wrong word. Rather than let the minor gaffe stand, at the conclusion of the report, Todd made to sure to explain the typographical error to viewers: "You did not mishear. The President did say the word 'Twitters,' plural." Despite Obama's inability to correct the remarks off the cuff, Todd solely blamed a White House staffer for the mistake: "A speechwriter falling on his sword on that one."
Todd quickly changed the subject to a similar gaffe made by President Bush: "...it did bring back memories of President Bush one time referring to those 'internets.'" The media was certainly never quick to come to Bush's defense after a verbal misstep.
Seems the only thing gushing more than the BP oil spill these days is the disaster brewing in Paul McCartney's mouth. In an exclusive interview with The Sun, McCartney takes a major swipe at global warming realists, er, deniers, by stating (emphasis mine):
"Sadly we need disasters like this to show people. Some people don't believe in climate warming - like those who don't believe there was a Holocaust."
Well that's putting things in perspective. I'm not sure global warming has been proven to have caused the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Missed that report. Regardless, it remains unclear how the theory of global warming is in any way similar to the reality of the Holocaust.
McCartney goes on to defend President Obama from any and all criticism concerning the Gulf disaster, culminating with the revelation that he "really love(s) him."
President Obama provided some conservative belly laughs telling an audience of high school graduates in Kalamazoo, Michigan: "Don't make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes."
This from a president who has blamed the last administration (and the Republican Party in general) for various economic and regulatory failures under his watch.
This should have been an easy target for New York Times White House reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, but she whiffed, even signing on to Obama's "buck-stops-here philosophy" in Tuesday's "Obama Gives Students a Principle to Guide Them."
President Obama has been telling the nation that he takes responsibility for cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, he imparted his buck-stops-here philosophy to an audience of high school graduates, telling them: "Don't make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes. Take responsibility where you fall short as well."
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]:
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.
'Ya just gotta love BDSers (those with Bush Derangement Syndrome). Their hatred is so intense that it causes them to get even the most elementary of facts wrong. In this case, it's sports guy Filip Bondy of the NY Daily News, writing about this past Sunday's NFC Championship game in New Orleans:
If you needed further proof of this [New Orleans racial] divide, then it came during a pregame introduction of former President Bush. Once pilloried for his approach to the Katrina catastrophe in 2005, Bush was heartily cheered at the Superdome - which tells you all you need to know about the crowd's demographics.
Democrats generally do not have to worry about an unfriendly press. Most journalists are more than happy to toe the liberal line. But when things turn south for the Democrat, the harder questions start flowing, and occasionally it can get ugly.
We've seen our fair share of backlash against reporters from the Democratic candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, Martha Coakley. Videos keep popping up of people directly affiliated with the campaign harassing--verbally and physically--members of the press.
First it was veteran Democratic political operative Michael Meehan, who was caught on video shoving the Weekly Standard's John McCormack to the ground outside a restaurant on Capitol Hill. McCormack was trying to ask about the "no terrorists in Afghanistan" blunder Coakley uttered a couple weeks ago.
A video appeared today on RealClearPolitics showing two staffers at a Coakley campaign office screaming at a member of the press to leave the office, shouting obscenities at the woman, and calling her a Nazi (video here - h/t Ed Driscoll).
Coming back from commercial this morning at the MSNBC Clown Kingdom, the bump-in video clip was one of Sarah Palin’s interview with Glenn Beck. Palin stated that it took all of the Founders to come up with the Constitution, but that George Washington (as the leader) would necessarily rise to the top.
There's the "Holiday Books Guide," the "Personal Tech Holiday Gift Guide," the guide for people of color...
Wait. A separate gift page for people of color? Yes. The NYT Picker blog noticed the Times has a special gift section for non-whites:
We don't like to throw around words like "racist" in the same sentence as the NYT's name, but there's no other word we can think of to describe this page in the NYT's annual Holiday Gift Guide -- called "Of Color/Stylish Gifts" and aimed exclusively at the paper's non-white readers.
Or, as the NYT describes it, "gifts created for and by people of color"....it's the first time we can remember a gift guide, anywhere, openly defining its offerings by their appeal to a specific racial group.
Fresh off Donny Deutsch’s defense of Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) slavery analogy, Mike Barnicle asked GOP Chairman Michael Steele about what proposals the GOP favored for health-care reform. Along the way, however, he used an unfortunate choice of words:
MIKE BARNICLE: [...] What are you people for?
MICHAEL STEELE: You people? [starts laughing] Who are 'you people?'
Public Enemy has earned notoriety with more than 20 years of politically charged music about fighting the power, challenging racism and declaring that 911 was a joke.
"911 Is a Joke" was a hit rap single in 1990 and the third track on Public Enemy's 1990 album, "Fear of a Black Planet." The song was critical of slow response times from the 9-1-1 emergency dispatch service.
Update [Ken Shepherd, managing editor]: Scarborough responds via Twitter, insisting he was joking [see more at bottom of post]. Video embedded to the right.
Joe Biden is the "greatest Vice President of our time."
No, dear reader, I have not lost my marbles. I'm merely citing MSNBC's token quasi-conservative Joe Scarborough, who said on this morning's edition of "Morning Joe":
We understand that Joe Biden's numbers are going down, which I think is just stupid because all he has done is – I mean, he's become, in a couple of short months, the greatest vice president of our time.
Not content to allow his credibility to go down in flames alone, Joe took the rest of the Brew Crew with him:
In John Harwood's Sunday Week in Review piece, "Rethinking The Reagan Mystique," he claimed Republicans are rejecting Ronald Reagan as a political inspiration and urging their party to look forward. He probably overstates the case. However, Harwood does come up with a novel insult of Reagan: The man the media labeled a heartless budget-cutter was actually a runaway spender in disguise!
For a liberal Democrat, President Obama has offered generous praise for the most celebrated of his recent Republican predecessors.
Mr. Obama has credited Ronald Reagan with having "changed the trajectory of America" in ways Bill Clinton didn't. "President Reagan helped as much as any president to restore a sense of optimism in our country, a spirit that transcended politics," Mr. Obama said earlier this month while signing the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act in the presence of Nancy Reagan.
It's not surprising that Mr. Obama has embraced Mr. Reagan's achievement since it seems akin to his own aspirations and might also ingratiate him with conservatives. What is surprising is the increasingly ambiguous position Mr. Reagan holds on the right.
Mother's Day was invented by Anna Jarvis, a West Virginian who, from 1907 to 1914 devoted considerable energy to establishing state and national holidays marking Mother's Day. Jarvis's inspiration, of course, was her deep devotion to her late mother.
"I feel like Mother's Day is a man's holiday. You know, because it was put together, a woman didn't put together Mother's Day. A woman put together several other holidays but Mother's Day was not one of them," the moderator of ABC's "The View" insisted on the May 8 program.
The faulty assertion came during a chat with Alyse Myers, author of "Who Do You Think You Are?", which chronicles her strained relationship with her mother.
For your TGIF viewing fun, NBC “Today” show co-host Meredith Vieira has lost control of her verbal filters again.
From Vieira’s Super Bowl week performance, in which she claimed that she and NBC weatherman Al Roker were “moist,” to the last unfortunate double-entendre involving speculation on the past tense of “Tweet,” the morning show hostess today wondered whether the Statue of Liberty was wearing undergarments beneath her robes.
Once again, colleague Matt Lauer played the long-suffering professional, keeping a straight face. Weatherman Al Roker, however, pounced. Video of the latest gaffe is embedded at right.
No bias here, just some fun at White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's expense.
"White House Press Secretary began his daily briefing, even though Pres. Obama was speaking at the U.Conn event. Considered a no-no," CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller noted via his Twitter account just shortly after 2:30 p.m. EDT.
Education journalist Dakarai I. Aarons asked Knoller:
@markknoller any precedent for holding a briefing while the president is speaking elsewhere?
To which the veteran journalist answered:
@d_aarons In 30 years of covering the White House - it's just not done. the press secretary waits till the Pres is done, before starting...
George W. Bush has said nothing negative about his media-worshiped successor in the Oval Office. Yet that doesn't stop the liberal mainstream media for mocking the former president out of the blue -- while ignoring Obama gaffes -- for events that happened on his watch years ago.
The latest example, Time's Amy Sullivan, on the magazine's Swampland blog today entitled, "Quote of the Day":
This morning, MSNBC’s Alex Witt was in full damage control mode, working whatever apologist explanations she could find into her reluctant coverage of last night's teleprompter-free “Tonight Show” appearance by the president. [audio available here]
Obama was doing quite well at staying on message, when he made the following comment in reaction to Jay Leno's question about his infamous lack of bowling ability:
JAY LENO: I imagine the bowling alley has been burned and closed down.
President BARACK OBAMA: No, I've been practicing.
OBAMA: I bowled a 129. I had –
LENO: Oh, no, that's very good. Yeah. That's very good, Mr. President.
OBAMA: This is sort of like Special Olympics or something.
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell had already been scheduled to appear on today's "Fox & Friends" to discuss last night's MRC Gala and Media DisHonors Awards, but President Barack Obama's laid a golden egg with his joke about the Special Olympics last night on NBC's "The Tonight Show." So the latest Obama gaffe and the media's interest in it was the first topic co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade asked the NewsBusters publisher about (audio available here) this morning:
KILMEADE: Brent, that comment. How big a deal?
BOZELL: Well, in the eyes of the regular press, no big deal at all. They're just simply going to overlook it. If past is prologue, they refuse to do any serious kind of journalism work on Obama, candidate or president. But, this is the kind of thing that is beginning to percolate out there. What is becoming evident is when you turn the teleprompter off, this man is capable of making all manner of mistakes, and the more he stays in the public eye, doing this type of thing without a teleprompter, the more mistakes he's going to make.
Between the White House and the Associated Press, nobody can figure out what the President said and did. Nobody is really worried, though. Other than Fox and Friends, they're the only ones who've heard of the President's latest teleprompter gaffe.
According to the stunningly unclear AP report:
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen was just a few paragraphs into an address at a St. Patrick's Day celebration at the White House when he realized something sounded way too familiar. Turns out, he was repeating the speech President Barack Obama had just given.