By and large, most journalists don't criticize each other. It's probably a mixture of professional courtesy and ideological agreement (as the media's incessant criticisms of the Fox News Channel show). Still, as much as we like such media self-scrutiny, it is probably best if the publications doing it try to make sure that they aren't engaging in the behaviors for which they criticize others.
For instance, the New York Times recently criticized the Washington Post for running an article written by the Fiscal Times, which quoted as its primary source an individual from the Concord Foundation, without disclosing that Peter Peterson, chief financier of the Fiscal Times, is also a co-founder of the Concord Foundation (h/t nytpicker).
The article highlighted calls from a number of groups, including the Concord Foundation, for a commission to look into ways to reduce the national debt. The Times's coverage of the issue characterized the Fiscal Times as having a "relatively narrow focus on issues that are also pet causes of its sponsor"--i.e. balanced budgets and restrained government spending.
Update - 9:25 AM | Lachlan Markay:David Gergen commented on Brown's response. His comments below.
The death of Ted Kennedy hit the liberal media particularly hard. NBC's Andrea Mitchell caught the mood of the nation's pundits when she said the "heavens were weeping" during Kennedy's funeral. Now that Kennedy is dead, some pundits feel as if Democrats are entitled to the seat he left vacant.
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen had to be reminded of this fact Monday as he moderated a debate between the two candidates for Massachusetts's open Senate seat. He asked Republican candidate Scott Brown whether he'd be willing to "sit in Teddy Kennedy's seat and [say] I'm going to be the person who's going to block it [liberal health care policy] for another 15 years."
But Brown, refusing to take for granted Gergen's blatantly left-wing premises, responded instead: "Well, with all due respect it's not the Kennedys' seat, and it's not the Democrats' seat, it's the people's seat." (video and transcript below the fold - h/t Kerry Picket)
"Not in sync with the current program" is how former CNN host Tucker Carlson describes his new website, the Daily Caller, which is scheduled to launch Monday. Designed as a conservative answer to the Huffington Post, the Daily Caller will do what few center-right blogs have attempted: report hard news.
Carlson and his partner, former Dick Cheney aide Neil Patel, have raised $3 million in startup capital for the site, according to the Washington Independent. That impressive sum is enough to keep the Daily Caller operating for about a year. The site will employ a reporting staff or 21 in its Washington, D.C. office.
With Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism, which launched earlier this week, Carlson hopes to be on the cutting edge of a new effort on the right to circumvent major media outlets--and overcome the significant obstacles to conservative news of traditional media outlets.
Given the generally sycophantic attitude of the White House Press Corps, Robert Gibbs may have been caught off guard when he started facing some tough questions on President Obama's apparent flip-flop regarding his many promises to broadcast health care negotiations on C-SPAN. Gibbs stubbornly refused to answer multiple questions about the broken promises (h/t Byron York). Naked Emperor News complied video clips of eight instances of Obama promising to broadcast those negotiations on C-SPAN "so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies", as he said during one speech. The President has reneged on that commitment by reportedly encouraging Congressional leaders to skip conference committee negotiations.
C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb recently sent a letter to the President and Congressional leaders "respectfully request[ing] that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American." That request went unheeded.
In the eyes of many in the liberal media, President Obama can do no wrong. If he does, it's not his fault; he is simply a victim of circumstance, or he made the best decision he could given the options. One can tell news items portraying Obama in this light by their descriptions of problems in the passive voice.
Take yesterday's New York Times article by Jackie Calmes, for instance. The piece displays a conspicuous use of the passive voice in the headline: "Promise to Trim Deficit Is Growing Harder to Keep", instead of, say, "Obama's Policies Make Deficit Reduction Unlikely".
The refrain is getting old. When Obama's economic policies caused the debt to skyrocket, and didn't lead to recovery but rather to more federal spending aimed at shoring up the economy, it was because the recession was worse than the administration had planned. Obama's brilliant plans to raise taxes on businesses failed because Congress succumbed to political pressure. Anticipated savings in Iraq were nullified when it turned out winning a war in Afghanistan might actually require significant funding. And Medicare is already being cut to pay for the health care overhaul, so those cuts can't go towards drawing down the deficit. You see, it's never actually Obama's fault.
UPDATE BELOW THE FOLD - THE ESTEEMED MR. CALDERONE RESPONDS.
CORRECTION: I said the Washington Post was on the hook twice on Calderone's list. H/t to NBer Dean who pointed out it's three - #s 2, 7 & 10. A thousand apologies, and thanks to The Man from the People's Republic of Maryland.
I for one think he did a fully fair and more than fairly good job of it. Media Research Center Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham for two thinks so as well.
On his list were the likes of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, the New York Times's Maureen Dowd and CNN. And the Washington Post - twice. Targets all for which you'll find a rich environment here on NewsBusters. And he slammed the traditional media in totality for remaining dockside while the Good Ships ACORN and Van Jones set sail on alternative media seas. He hailed the Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck and website mogul Andrew Breitbart by name for captaining those stories when the Jurassic Press stood down.
Calderone clips Fox News for what he calls their "Tea Party Trifecta," but he's hardly bashing meritlessly here either. An FNC producer was caught on tape rallying a Tea Party crowd. That is quite a bit over the top. And Sean Hannity did run B-roll from the wrong rally - a more populous one - and was forced to apologize to the world generally and Jon Stewart particularly.
Though Hannity's probably was an honest mistake. The Pulitzer-winning Dowd's excuse for "borrowing" a paragraph from the liberal website Talking Points Memo - that a "friend" had sent it to her - bends the credibility curve downward quite a bit.
Someone at Politicoworn-out horsed (See: Definition #3) Calderone on the photograph composite accompanying his article, however. (Said snapshots appear below the fold.) We don't think Calderone chooses what goes with his pieces. Perhaps he should.
The Founder and President of the Media Research Center (MRC) and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell again appeared on the Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends to discuss some more of the very many examples of poor reporting culled from Year 2009.
On Tuesday's edition of Good Morning America, Elizabeth Vargas was joined by former Bush pollster Matt Dowd and Democrat strategist James Carville. Astonishing though it may seem, Carville was not the left-most member of the panel.
Carville and Dowd were there to provide commentary on the Obama administration's response to the attempted Undi-Bomber attack. Dowd agreed with Carville's assessment of DHS Secretary JanetNapolitano's response - and then, after a bit more discussion, the conversation turned to the political ramifications:
VARGAS: We already have one Republican congressman from Michigan, who is running for Governor of that state, who is saying, trying to make hay out of this. Issued a statement, a fund-raising statement yesterday saying, "it is insulting the Obama administration would claim the system worked. These are the same weak-kneed liberals," he writes, "that tried to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists to Michigan." Any surprise that members of the opposite party are looking to make hay on this?
The Founder and President of the Media Research Center (MRC) and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell appeared this morning on the Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends to discuss some of the very many examples of poor reporting culled from Year 2009.
The MRC's year-end extravaganza - the Best of Notable Quotables, is filled to the brim with the ridiculous and sublime bias of the traditional media from the past annum.
Bozell and his hosts reviewed - and laughed vociferously - at a few select examples culled therefrom.
The video of said discussion can be found at right.
And be forewarned - ABC's Bill Weir is the Seagull Whisperer.
We Give It a Solid B+ Yesterday, Media Research Center (MRC) Director of Communications and NewsBusters Contributing Editor sat down with Breitbart.tv's Liz Stephans and Scott Baker to discuss the media not discussing the major rifts that exist between liberals and Democrats and Democrats and Democrats on the health care legislation wending its way fitfully through Congress.
The Jurassic Press is instead putting forward a false sense of bill passage ineveitably, ignoring the myriad soap opera-esque dramas playing out throughout the Left's ideological and political topography.
There are many stories to be told of the various liberal and Democrat factions fighting it out for health care supremacy, if only the media were willing to tell them.
The Republican minority in the Senate found an unlikely defender today: MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
Yesterday, the Brew Crew played the video for the Democrat talking point attack on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), but omitted the ghoulish statement by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.):
They [the GOP] are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
This morning, however, the bump-in to start the show was that very quote – kudos to the producers of the show for making the connection. Better late than never; and it was even done without the presence of Joe Scarborough, the token MSNBC Republican.
Sadly, some members of the Brew Crew could not contain their bias:
ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson, a long-time advocate of government-centered universal health care, again shared his personal view he “absolutely” favors passage of the current ObamaCare bill, though “I would personally prefer to have public option and/or Medicare expansion directly challenging private insurance.” Without irony, about twelve minutes later as he signed off as anchor of his final newscast, Charles Gibson promised he's always tried to deliver an “objective” newscast and lamented “objectivity is not universally in favor in our business these days.”
Approaching Johnson Friday night with liberal complaints the bill has been watered down too much, Gibson related how “the question that I hear most often is, is this bill, without a public option, without an expansion of Medicare, is it better than nothing?” Johnson assured him: “Absolutely, Charlie. We have to remember that doing nothing leaves us with the status quo, a non-system that is headed for financial and health care disaster.”
Later, Gibson asserted in his goodbye comments as he retires from ABC News:
I thank you for investing trust in us each evening, trust that we will give you as objective and honest a look at the day's news as we possibly can. Objectivity is not universally in favor in our business these days, but it is critically important. It is what we strive for each night.
From the New York Times to the Colbert Report, liberal media commentators have had a field day bashing Glenn Beck for his purported conflict of interest in encouraging his viewers to invest in gold without disclosing that he has endorsed gold distributors.
Yet few of these pundits have even mentioned Al Gore's monumental conflict of interest--which could have far greater consequences for Americans than Beck's gold promotions--in touting global warming hysteria while establishing his own green technology empire.
NewsBusters has consistently argued that Gore plays up the dangers of global warming to line his own pockets. His investments in green energy firms could pay enormous dividends if the United States adopts the draconian cuts to carbon emissions he has advocated--and Congress included in the environmental tax known as cap and trade passed by the House last summer.
Filmmaker and noted global warming skeptic Phelim McAleer yesterday experienced first hand the disdain for a free press some Copenhagen attendees exhibit during an interview with Fox Business Channel's Neil Cavuto.
Dressed in a polar bear costume with a sign inquiring as to the whereabouts of controversial climate scientist Phil Jones, McAleer was forced to raise his voice above the shouting environmentalists behind him. In the latter segment of the interview, one crazed activist threw something at McAleer (he says it was a vegetable, though it is unclear in the video), striking him in the head (video below the fold - transcript to be added shortly).
McAleer, who produced the film "Not Evil, Just Wrong," questioning Al Gore's statements on global warming, has been silenced on a number of occasions for trying to ask Gore and others about seeming inconsistencies in climate data, and about the ClimateGate scandal.
A former war correspondent for CNN is threatening legal action against bloggers who suggest that video of him reporting the first Gulf War from a television studio is "fake news." The video shows Charles Jaco and another correspondent dramatically recounting events from the Persian Gulf, and later shows Jaco and the camera crew joking around in what appears to be a television studio (video embedded below the fold).
"My attorneys intend to act immediately against those of you receiving this who have sent and forwarded these emails accusing me of falsifying coverage," Jaco wrote in a memo to a local blogger who circulated the video via email. He also announced his intention to demand that LiveLink and YouTube remove the video from their respective sites.
Former "Crossfire" host Bill Press apparently cannot distinguish between news and opinion. He is furious that his application for press credentials with the congressional press corps was denied due to content on his website urging readers to tell Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to vote for health care legislation in the Senate. He cites numerous examples of CPC members that host opinion content, but neglects to differentiate between their commentary and their news coverage.
"Senator Joe Lieberman said he will vote against Harry Reid's proposed health reform bill that includes a public plan option. Call Senator Lieberman's office and tell him he's wrong to do so, and should vote FOR it," wrote Press on his site, billpressshow.com. The CPC forbids its correspondants from being "engaged in the prosecution of claims or the promotion of legislation pending before Congress."
Press was puzzled, however, that news outlets such as the Washington Times, the Huffington Post, Fox News, Al Jazeera, Venezuela TV, and Pacifica Radio were granted CPC membership, given the presence of opinion content in each of their outlets. "Irony? No, that's sheer hypocrisy," he wrote for the Huffington Post today.
In a Monday interview on MediaBistro.com’s weekly video series Media Beat, disgraced former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather shared his concerns over the credibility of internet journalism: “The difficulty with some of the things on the internet...is transparency and accountability about who’s responsible for what’s on.”
TVNewser.com columnist Gail Shister sparked the discussion by asking Rather: “Are you concerned at all that there is the absence of quality control when it comes to so much of the modern platforms?” Rather went on to fret: “...you can put something on the internet that’s really terrible about your neighbor or about a friend or a competitor and it’s almost impossible to find out who the source is. And you can say anything about them. That part of it troubles me.”
Rather of course ended his tenure at CBS after using fraudulent documents to smear President George W. Bush just days before the 2004 presidential election. He showed little concern for accountability and proper sourcing as he used fabricated memos to claim that Bush had gone AWOL while serving in the Texas Air National Guard in the 1970s.
How Do You Know Mark Lloyd is Lying? Editor's Note: MRC President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell earlier today issued a statement on this.
Mark Lloyd, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Chief Diversity Officer, made an appearance outside the confines of the communications Bat Cave yesterday. He keynoted a morning panel discussion entitled Social Media, Net Neutrality, and Future of Journalism for the liberal group (and FCC "Diversity" Committee member) Media Access Project.
I highlight his emergence because his boss, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, has declined to make Lloyd available for interviews, saying he as Chair speaks for the FCC and his staff. (A position which I think is completely fair and appropriate.) So it is rare to see him out and about.
Lloyd in fact began his talk by stating "The views I express today are my own. I do not speak for the Federal Communications Commission." Which is also fine.
What wasn't fine was his deep delving into untruths when he later attempted to defend himself against what he claimed were "exaggerations and distortions" of a wide range of his thoughts, positions and policy prescriptions, from what he called a "right-wing smear campaign."
In old school parlance, Lloyd lied. Quite a bit. And how do we know this?
A number of the conservative movement's prominent online figures are battling to be the right's equivalent of Talking Points Memo or Huffington Post--political organizations that report hard news. Many believe that to truly harness the power of the Web, political organizations must report their own news, rather than comment on reporitng from traditional outlets.
"The left needs Daily Kos, but they also need the Huffington Post," Politics Daily columnist Matt Lewis told Politico. He praised the roles of activists and opinion commentators on the right such as Red State's Erick Erickson, but noted that the conservatives have not yet matched the left's capability for original reporting.
Though HuffPo, TPM, and other politcally stilted but journalism-oriented sites, liberals "have the ability to amplify stories into the mainstream media conversation," according to Politico. Conservatives have a large void to fill when it comes to producing original content, rather than solely commenting on what is already out there. There are conservative sites providing original reporting, but there are so far no center-right equivalents to the left's powerhouse online news operations.
With the demise of the Editor and Publisher this week, many media commentators are nostalgic for the hard-nosed trade journalism the newspaper industry publication often engaged in. E&P's strength was always in its core mission of reporting news industry trends. In its latter years, like a number of other outlets, it began to stray off-course into garden-variety, hypocritical leftist media criticism.
Greg Mitchell, E&P's editor since 2002, consistently called for newspapers to print more opinion in their coverage of major world events. Most notably during the Israel-Hamas conflict early this year, Mitchell lamented that media outlets were not taking sides.
"[A]fter more than eight days of Israeli bombing and Hamas rocket launching in Gaza, The New York Times had produced exactly one editorial, not a single commentary by any of its columnists, and two op-eds," he complained at the Huffington Post.
Battling the "Democrat-media complex" is hard work, but Andrew Breitbart shows no signs of letting up. He announced today in an interview with Mediaite that he will launch a new site entitled "Big Journalism" in January designed solely, in his blunt words, to "fight the mainstream media."
Big Journalism will be the latest addition to the prominent network of Breitbart's sites, which include aggregator Breitbart.com, video site BreitbartTV, and center-right blogs Big Government and Big Hollywood. After Big Journalism, he told Mediaite, will come Big Education, Big Tolerance, Big Jerusalem, and Big Peace.
As for Big Journalism, Breitbart says he is determined to combat liberal media outlets "who have repeatedly, and under the guise of objectivity and political neutrality, promoted a blatantly left-of-center, pro-Democratic party agenda."
Sometimes libtalkers just make you shake your head in disbelief. Keith Olbermann trumpeted his most recent example of bias-denail on Daily Kos over the weekend, where he insisted that his show does not tout a partisan agenda, and simply serves as a watchdog against others' unchecked opinions (h/t Olbermann Watch's Johnny Dollar).
I'll wait for readers to stop laughing. Done? Okay. It truly is unbelievable that one of the most partisan and divisive commentators on cable television would even suggest that he pays lip service to those who don't share his views. Olbermann has a right to trumpet his liberal vitriol, but he should at least acknowledge it for what it is.
But Olbermann claimed in post on Daily Kos that he simply challenges the unchallenged, leaving some to wonder, to paraphrase Juvenal, who challenges the challengers?
The Washington Post has a problem with partisan memory loss.
Many of you may have heard of the recent nastiness of a Virginia homeowners’ association attempting to deny Colonel Van T. Barfoot (U.S. Army, Ret.), a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, the right to erect a flagpole in his own front yard. If you are like me, you heard about this first on Wednesday, December 2, on the Mark Levin radio show.
If you’re like the Washington Post, however, you heard about it from Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) on December 3, 2009.
The Obama presidency is, for better or worse, the most media saturated administration in the nation's history. Due at least in part to revolutionary changes in the sharing of information, but equally abetted by the president's media-hungry personality and style of governing, Obama's face is just about everywhere these days.
And Americans have noticed. In an attempt to land a spot on a DC-based reality show, the so-called state dinner party-crashers, the Salahis, went where they knew the cameras would be: the White House.
The Obama administration has pursued a relentless media strategy by trumpeting the president on traditional and new media outlets at every opportunity. It's tech-savvy staff has allowed the president to market his message to a wide range of demographics. The strategy was a cornerstone of Obama's presidential campaign, and he has adopted it as a style of governing.
The White House's decision to include prominent left-wing blogs in its reporting pool has some journalists worried. Since members of the rotating pool often base their reports off of reports from outlets that attend, they worry that the presence of openly partisan news outlets could skew coverage of the White House.
“This is really troubling,” New York Times reporter Peter Baker told Politico's Michael Calderone. “We’re blurring the line between news and punditry even further and opening ourselves to legitimate questions among readers about where the White House press corps gets its information.”
The White House has decided to include reporters from the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo in its rotating group of press correspondents.
Ed Chen, who reports for Bloomberg News, noted that many consumers would not consider mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times or the Washington Times "objective" outlets.
A powerful Democratic lawmaker has stated his willingness to intervene on the behalf of the federal government in the nation's news sector. Insisting that the newspaper business is vital to democracy, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., suggested that the government "resolve" the problems in the industry, potentially though misguided federal bailouts.
At a workshop on the future of journalism at the Federal Trade Commission, Waxman, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, suggested the federal government secure "public funding for quality journalism as a means to preserve a critical mass of resources and assets devoted to public media."
Though Waxman raised other options, he devoted more of his address to public funding for newspapers than any other avenue for preserving the medium. Newspaper bailouts could, he stated, "preserve and maintain key functions of modern journalism ... by cushioning the economic squeeze publishers are facing."
Rupert Murdoch sees a future in journalism. With newspaper circulation at post-war lows and major dailies shutting down in a number of cities, he may be one of the few optimists left. But first, Murdoch claims, the American government must change its obsolete and destructive regulatory policies that, he says, are preventing major news outlets from competing.
"Good journalism is an expensive commodity," Murdoch told an audience at a Federal Trade Commission workshop on the future of journalism today. "Critics say people won’t pay, but I say they will. But only if you give them something good." Murdoch has announced plans to institute paywalls for all online content offered by his giant news conglomerate, News Corp.
Though Murdoch is confident that paywalls would more than make up for revenue lost by shortfalls in advertising dollars, other newspapers' experiences with the system have failed to do so. The New York Times in 2005 began charging for many of its columns, but eliminated the paywall after revenues failed to outweigh advertising dollars. Still, there are a number of unexplored options for online news payment schemes, and Murdoch is no rookie in the news business.
Bill Cathcart, Clearing Away the PC Clutter Bill Cathcart, Vice President and General Manager for CBS affiliate WTOC in Savannah, Georgia, took to the airwaves on November 9th with a blistering video editorial excoriating the hold political correctness (PC) has on our society (video and transcript below the fold).
It is certainly refreshing to hear and see a news executive say these sorts of things, given the prostraters to PC that so thoroughly inhabit his profession.
Cathcart began by speaking of the horrific Fort Hood, Texas murders by Islamist extremist Nidal Malik Hasan, and pointing out how it was political correctness (PC) that cowed everyone from talking to anyone about this obviously dangerous man.
Cathcart rightly points out that this oppressive PC regime dominates not just the Army, but the nation. "We've become so ridiculous with our political correctness. So afraid of offending, despite the truth. So overly tolerant and self-effacing, pandering and apologizing to be liked. Putting up with absurd challenges to our Constitution, laws, traditions and freedoms, that we've become a nation of enablers for those with evil intent."
Leading the charge on this are, of course, Cathcart's media cohorts. There are no greater PC enablers and enforcers than the men and women who allegedly deliver us the news.
The Wall Street Journal's intrepid and very good Amy Schatz has a piece today updating us on the progress of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s National Broadband Plan.
With all that we have thus far seen, things look quite grim from a free speech, free market perspective. The groundwork for government information totalitarianism - favored by people like Hugo Chavez-loving FCC "Diversity Czar" Mark Lloyd and Marxist "media reform"-outfit Free Press founder Robert McChesney - is being laid in the Plan being crafted by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
As we first reported, the Center for American Progress (at which Lloyd was then a Senior Fellow) and McChesney's Free Press co-authored the deeply flawed, anti-conservative and Christian talk radio "report" entitled The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.
But their shared disdain for free speech and the free market extend way beyond just this. These "media reformers" seek to eradicate most or all private ownership of all information delivery - be it by radio, television or the internet - thereby leaving the federal government as sole purveyor.
And Newsweek's Jon Meacham insists the magazine did nothing wrong - that this is just the nature of what they do at Newsweek.
"We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do," Meacham said to the Huffington Post on Nov. 17. "We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard."