How do you know that the White House's anti-Fox News campaign has gone seriously wrong? When CNN, let alone Anderson Cooper, begins to compare the Obama and Nixon administrations (video embedded below the fold, h/t Mediaite's Colby Hall).
On last night's "360," Cooper stated that "this White House is starting to look like another White House and the comparison is not flattering." He showed a clip of Sen. Lamar Alexander, documented yesterday by NewsBuster Noel Sheppard, offering a "friendly suggestion" to President Obama.
I have an uneasy feeling only 10 months into the new administration that we're beginning to see the symptoms of this same kind of animus developing in the Obama administration. And as those of use who served in the Nixon administration know, that can get you in a lot of trouble... Don't create an enemies list.
Is Barack Obama turning into Spiro Agnew? The White House's attacks on the Fox News smack of the distaste for media opposition espoused by Nixon's vice president almost 40 years ago but are being met with a decidedly different reaction today by the elite media.
Pundits have wondered aloud since last week why the White House would pursue a strategy that seems to be boosting the ratings of a purported 'opposition' news network. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough posited today that the White House's attacks on Fox News are designed to prevent the mainstream media from picking up on stories damaging to the administration (video embedded below the fold, h/t to NB reader Kirk W.).
Every time Fox breaks a story on the radical connections of a White House advisor or appointee, the news is potentially damaging to the administration. But damage is only really done if the rest of the media picks up on the story, reports it, and turns it into a national news sensation, a la Van Jones.
Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since Jack Kennedy, advised the White House to abandon their attacks on Fox News today. She attributed the administration's visceral reaction to the cable outlet to a naive sense of invincibility generally held by new presidents (video embedded below the fold).
Asked by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' what "we want our president to know and do," in reference to the title of her new book, Thomas immediately replied "stay out of these fights... They can only take you down. You can't kill the messenger."
Thomas's coauthor, CQ reporter Craig Crawford, added that "presidents are better off, Joe, when they punch up and not down."
Bemoaning the decline in advertising for newspapers, two leading media figures, in a report from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, the bastion of establishment liberal journalism, call for taxpayer spending on the news media, advocating that public radio and television be “substantially reoriented” to “provide significant local news reporting” and for the creation of a “a national Fund for Local News” paid by “fees the Federal Communications Commission collects from or could impose on telecom users, broadcast licensees or Internet service providers.”
American society must now take some collective responsibility for supporting news reporting -- as society has, at much greater expense, for public education, health care, scientific advancement and cultural preservation, through varying combinations of philanthropy, subsidy and government policy. It may not be essential to save or promote any particular news medium, including print newspapers. What is paramount is preserving independent, original, credible reporting, whether or not it is profitable, and regardless of the medium in which it appears.
Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell took to the MRC studio Saturday morning for an interview with "Fox & Friends" about how the media latched onto phony quotes attributed to Rush Limbaugh, helping to scuttle his St. Louis Rams ownership bid.
Bozell also commented on how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell insisted his quarrel with the radio talk show host was his "polarizing comments" about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb back in 2003.
"Nine out of ten people have no idea what Roger Goodell is talking about" and those who do know what Goodell was referencing know that "again, Rush Limbaugh was right," that some sports journalists hyped an overrated McNabb because of politically correct considerations [MP3 audio available here]:
Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that people in "responsible positions" in his league are held to a "higher standard," reacting to the notion that Limbaugh could be a part-owner of an NFL franchise.
"I have said many times before that we are all held to a higher standard here," Goodell said. "I think divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about. I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position within the NFL. No. Absolutely not."
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Andrew Breitbart, founder of such center-right online powerhouses as Big Government and Big Hollywood, blasted what he dubs the "Democrat-media complex." He spoke of his most recent exposes on the administration's political malfeasance and the mainstream media's refusal to cover those scandals.
Breitbart rocketed into the national spotlight with his work with James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, the young conservatives responsible for the ground-breaking ACORN sting operations that led to congressional votes to de-fund the community organizing group.
"I had a 20-year-old and a 25-year-old and my integrity on the line if we were going to launch this," Mr. Breitbart says. "It was so obvious that the mainstream media, given this information, would not cover it and would, in effect, attempt to cover it up." So he devised an intricate strategy of rolling out the videos one at a time, anticipating Acorn's defenses and rebutting each in turn with the next video...
One of the most damaging accusations you can level at opponent is call that individual a racist in one form or another. And that's the tactic MSNBC and others left-wing opponents of Rush Limbaugh are taking to thwart his bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams.
During a segment on MSNBC on Oct. 13, former Pulitzer Prize winner Karen Hunter appeared to voice her opposition to the Limbaugh's NFL bid. She made one of the most outrageous - likening Limbaugh's ownership of an NFL team to being a plantation owner, a metaphor that invokes the image of antebellum South during the 19th Century, when slavery was rampant.
"I can just see the visions of plantation grandeur dancing in his head as we speak," Hunter said. "Yeah, it doesn't make you a racist to want to own a team. But, it does kind of with all his history question his power position over these players who make millions of dollars and his ability to be able to move them around, deny them contracts and do whatever he wants willy-nilly. It's the ultimate power position to be an owner of an NFL team."
As the old saying goes, a photo can say a thousand things. But what it can't say is how it can be used to say one thing, but really be another thing. And that's just how The New York Times used it.
In the Oct. 9 issue of the Times, an article by Simon Romero and Clifford Krauss examined the events in a decade-and-a-half-long legal battle between a left-wing environmental group, supposedly representing the people of Ecuador, and Chevron over pollution allegedly left behind by Texaco.
However, the Times took liberty with a photo of "murky" polluted water with its Oct. 9 story, one that could lead a reader to Chevron is really at fault for pollution in Ecuador. (h/t Carter Wood, ShopFloor.org) The photograph, taken for the Times by Moises Saman (for photo see here), was captioned "a pool of oil in Lago Agrio, an Ecuadorean town in the Amazon where Texaco left contamination."
It isn't often that one can see two decades of history re-written in under ten minutes. But such was the occasion on this morning's episode of Morning Joe. Max Blumenthal, author of "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party," spent his time on the show demonstrating the combined power of cognitive dissonance, wanton ignorance, and a willingness to re-write historical fact.
Let's take it in chronological order, shall we?
First, Blumenthal is asked to present the major thesis of his book:
An interesting, yet little known fact about goldfish: The average goldfish has a memory of approximately one to three months, depending on the stimuli used to train it.
Dylan Ratigan, former CNBC co-host and current MSNBC desk jockey, has a shorter memory than a goldfish.
As the MRC’s Tim Graham noted just yesterday, it is an odd thing when MSNBC hosts wish for more civility in political dialogue. A mere 24 hours later, Ratigan provided another example of his insincerity during a live segment on health care.
Former New York Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey (R) took the conservative viewpoint, and Ratigan tag-teamed with Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner (N.Y.) in belittling her every statement.
Of all the ignorant, boot-licking interviews in Chris Matthews' long career, this one may be the most hypocritical.
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), he of "die quickly" YouTube fame, appeared on the October 2 edition of MSNBC's "Hardball," and Matthews wasted no time in teeing up the GOP for Grayson:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I'm looking for some insight here. I'm a reporter. I'm trying to find out what you know and what you don't know. When you walk around the floor. When you walk past the Republican cloak room. When you get on the elevator. When you get on the subway over there in the Capitol building. Do these Republicans come up to you and say your number is up, buddy? What do they say to you?
Our own Managing Editor Ken Shepherd delivered earlier NBC's Chuck Todd analyzing the bad news that Chicago finished fourth out of four as a potential host site for the 2016 Olympics. This abject failure came despite a full-on push by both President Barack Obama and his First Lady Michelle, live and in person in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Despite all of this Presidential effort, Todd somehow arrived at the conclusion that the "the biggest political loser" was not Obama - but Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. A man who roughly 95% of the country (conservatively) has never heard of in their lives is somehow a bigger political loser than the President. A President who very publicly dropped everything to make a MUCH discussed trans-Atlantic jaunt to make the pitch for the Toddlin' Town.
This is a BIZARRE assessment. But Todd's explanation - in defense of his bizarreness - had him venturing further into the realm of the absurd. He insisted that Mayor Daley basically ordered the White House - and the President specifically - to get involved on behalf of his Olympic effort (video below the fold).
If this is true, Todd is breaking some serious news here - that the titular head of the vaunted, notorious Chicago Political Machine can bend the White House to his will whenever he wishes. Which would be more than a little disturbing.
And this after the media repeatedly assured us throughout last year's campaign of the incredible chasm that somehow miraculously existed between Obama and the Machine - despite Obama's career-long immersion in those fetid and festering waters.
The Washington Post's new employee guidelines for the use of online social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have sparked a debate over the proper role of new media for journalists, and the objectivity of major media outlets generally.
The Post's new guidelines, handed down from on high by Senior Editor Milton Coleman, disregard the potential of new media to engage readers in a conversation about the paper's reporting. Rather, the new social media policy attempts to buttress the Post's supposed objectivity, at the expense of journalistic transparency.
The Post's rules forbid employees from "writing, tweeting or posting anything—including photographs or video—that could be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism that could be used to tarnish our journalistic credibility" and prohibit "the discussion of internal newsroom issues such as sourcing, reporting of stories, decisions to publish or not to publish, personnel matters and untoward personal or professional matters involving our colleagues."
In the news today, the President and Oprah attempt to snag the Olympics from Rio, a Congressman yells something dumb on the floor of the House (not a Republican!), and double standards abound.
Meanwhile, back on the Hill, there's a humble bill involving the entire health care system of the United States making its way through the Senate. Lawrence O'Donnell is not usually so honest and brazen about the liberal agenda as he was during this morning's appearance on MSNBC's “Morning Joe”, but one can certainly be thankful that he was.
According to O'Donnell, there are now three new tax brackets in this legislation, a new 35% tax rate on certain private health insurance plans, and half of the health care legislation now being debated is a massive new tax bill. O'Donnell made the following comparison:
During the Bush administration, journalists and liberal politicians were up in arms against a Defense Department policy that forbade the photographing of caskets coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that we have a Democrat as a commander in chief, however, the caskets are old news, and are getting little to no coverage.
Critics of the Bush Administration's policy of refusing to allow the photographing of caskets returning from the battlefield claimed that the Pentagon was attempting to hide the true cost of war from the American public to maintain support for the war efforts.
A lawsuit in April 2005 forced the release of hundreds of such photos. University of Delaware professor Ralph Begleiter, who brought the suit against the administration, citing the Freedom of Information Act, said of his victory that it was "an important victory for the American people, for the families of troops killed in the line of duty during wartime and for the honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country."
He added that the decision would "make it difficult, if not impossible, for any U.S. government in the future to hide the human cost of war from the American people."
As Byron York notes in today's Washington Examiner,
In April of this year, the Obama administration lifted the press ban, which had been in place since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Media outlets rushed to cover the first arrival of a fallen U.S. serviceman, and many photographers came back for the second arrival, and then the third.
But after that, the impassioned advocates of showing the true human cost of war grew tired of the story. Fewer and fewer photographers showed up. "It's really fallen off," says Lt. Joe Winter, spokesman for the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where all war dead are received. "The flurry of interest has subsided."
On Sept. 2, when the casket bearing the body of Marine Lance Cpl. David Hall, of Elyria, Ohio, arrived at Dover, there was just one news outlet -- the Associated Press -- there to record it. The situation was pretty much the same when caskets arrived on Sept. 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 22, 23 and 26. There has been no television coverage at all in September.
The journalists that rushed to show the country what two wars really can cost, and the pols that ceaselessly defended them, are silent now the country has an agreeable (liberal) president. That Obama allows the photographing of caskets seems to have taken all of the spice out of it. Coverage at Dover Air Force Base was seemingly more about Bush's policy of forbidding coverage of the return of fallen warriors than it was about the warriors themselves, as so many claimed.
So far this month, 38 American troops have been killed in Afghanistan. For all of 2009, the number is 220 -- more than any other single year and more than died in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 combined.
With casualties mounting, the debate over U.S. policy in Afghanistan is sharp and heated. The number of arrivals at Dover is increasing. But the journalists who once clamored to show the true human cost of war are nowhere to be found.
Roman Polanski may be an Oscar-winning brilliant film maker, but he’s also a fugitive from justice, an infamous child rapist who jumped bail and fled to France in 1978 to avoid the consequences of his 1977 rape of a 13-year-old in Los Angeles. Polanski was arrested on Saturday in Zurich on the grounds of the 31-year-old arrest warrant.
It didn’t take long for the Polanski defenders to crawl out of the woodwork. Take Patrick Goldstein, pop culture columnist for the Los Angeles Times, who quickly penned a piece published Sunday afternoon decrying Polanski’s arrest by Swiss authorities.
Apparently, Goldstein is of the opinion that Polanski has suffered enough for his crimes, and the Los Angeles prosecutors should not be spending precious taxpayer money (a phrase which, in reference to California, causes much mental angst) chasing a 76-year-old man around the globe.
Goldstein tugged at readers’ heartstrings by pointing out Polanski’s brushes with the most depraved of the 20th century’s murderers: Polanski was a fugitive from the Nazis as a child and wife was killed by followers of Charles Manson.
We've all been witness to the deft handling of the MSM by Andrew Breitbart and the investigative reporters James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. Their work has uncovered a level of corruption being perpetrated by members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), heretofore unknown; at least by those who derive their information solely from the likes of Big Media.
However, as diligent members of the conservative community, it is crucial that one keeps an eye out for lower levels of corruption stained by the fingerprints of ACORN. Will your local newspapers be able and willing to connect the dots?
One such scenario involves a massive voter fraud case in upstate New York. The allegations, which were brought to light by the Albany Times Union, involve absentee ballots forged by people associated with the city's Democratic Party for those registered to vote on the Working Families Party (WFP) line in Troy, NY. The ballots not only involve clearly forged signatures, but also, falsifying excuses for not being present on Election Day, and registering individuals who no longer live in the area.
Some interesting items not being covered in the investigative report are the links between the WFP and ACORN, and even certain names mentioned in the article which clearly show ties with the organization.
The New York Times announced today that it would appoint an editor to monitor 'opinion media'. In an attempt to respond to criticism that it has been too slow to pick up on stories first reported by conservative blogs and talk show hosts, the Times acknowledged poor coverage, but denied a political agenda.
The self-proclaimed 'paper of record' was extremely slow in picking up on two recent stories. The first, the 'trutherism' of former White House Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, was initially reported by Pajamas Media, and later by Glenn Beck on his Fox News talk show. The Times did not cover the story until after Jones had resigned.
Later, the Times neglected to report on the undercover sting operation that exposed ACORN for offering assistance in a bogus child prostitution ring. The Times reported on Congress's votes to de-fund ACORN, but neglected to mention the sting operation that inspired the votes.
On today's Morning Meeting, host Dylan Ratigan gathered his loyalist liberal media friends to deride Sarah Palin's recent speech to investors in Hong Kong, wherein she made the observation that government programs often create new problems, which are then tackled by eager politicians with what else but even more government programs.
First, in the interest of fairness, it must be noted that the guest from the Huffington Post and Vanity Fair, Vickie Ward, barely uttered a word in the entirety of the segment.
That's because she was laughing.
Here's what caused Ward's giggle-fit:
RATIGAN: I want to go to Andy Barr at Politico. Palin on health reform. This one made a little bit less sense. But I feel like it's very indicative, Andy, of certain aspects of right-wing talking points which look to demonize the government inherently, as opposed to looking at government as a tool that can either be abused, misused, or screwed up. Right? And so that rhetoric is evident here. [reading] 'It's common sense that government attempts to solve problems like the health care problem will just create new problems.' Now, forget the nonsensical aspect of that.
Mark Lloyd is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Chief Diversity Officer, a.k.a. the Diversity Czar. And he has in a recently discovered bit of archive audio goodness detailed his rather disturbing perspective on race, power and the American system.
"It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.
"[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."
And Lloyd's rather disturbing perspective on Venezuelan Communist dictator Hugo Chavez's "incredible...democratic revolution." To go with Lloyd's bizarre admiration for the thuggishly fascistic manner in which "Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country."
We have said repeatedly that Lloyd is a man myopically focused on race. What is revealed here is more than just that. Listening to excerpts of his offerings at a May 2005 Conference on Media Reform: Racial Justice reveals a man that finds great fault with our nation's power structure - as he defines and sees it. And in his racially-warped, finite pie worldview, too many white people sit alone in the too few spots atop the heap. They're "good white people," mind you, but ...
Bruce Springsteen once wrote: “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come).” I doubt he expected that story of love gone wrong would become ideal political commentary for the group known as ACORN.
The small scandal showing an embarrassing video of Baltimore ACORN staffers giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel for underage girls is now national news. This story has everything you could ever want – corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news director’s dream. Imagine the ratings!
Only almost no one has been covering it. CBS and NBC just joined the party -- days late.
This is the news media in the era of Van Jones and President Obama. The major outlets cover what they want and create the themes they want. When they find something inconvenient, they let it pass. They didn’t like the Van Jones story because he was a community organizer and environmentalist, so they ignored it. The network news media liked the financial entity known as Fannie Mae, so they ignored that scandal-plagued organization for years. ACORN is getting the same treatment.
By now, most NewsBusters readers have seen the Drudge Report item alleging that President Obama called rapper Kanye West (he of the "George Bush doesn't care about black people" fame) a "jackass." This report originated with Terry Moran's rogue tweet to that effect, which later caused ABC to apologize to the White House for relaying off-the-record information to the public at large.
Gossip Web site TMZ.com, however, has no such qualms about relaying off-the-record statements made by celebrities -- even, or especially, when the celebrity in question is the President of the United States.
“The public’s assessment of the accuracy of news stories is now at its lowest level in more than two decades of Pew Research surveys,” a new poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, embargoed for release at 11 PM EDT Sunday night, discovered.
The survey, of 1,506 adults conducted in late July, found “nearly three-quarters (74%) say news organizations tend to favor one side in dealing with political and social issues,” up 21 points from 53 percent 24 years ago, “while just 18% say they deal fairly with all sides.” The percent who perceive the media as liberal versus conservative remains very lopsided, though the difference has increased by 7 points -- from 40 percent vs. 19 percent in 1985 to 50 percent vs. 22 percent now, a 28 point split.
In addition -- surprise, surprise -- “Democrats hold considerably more positive views than Republicans of CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and the news operations of the broadcast networks” with “the starkest partisan division...seen in assessments of the New York Times” as “Republicans view the New York Times negatively by a margin of nearly two-to-one (31% to 16%), while Democrats view it positively by an almost five-to-one margin (39% to 8%).”
A top editor at the New York Times this week owned up to the paper’s lack of coverage of the controversy surrounding former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones. Rather than leaving it there, however, the editor noted the paper’s minimal online coverage, insisted that the Washington bureau was short-staffed, and suggested that Jones and his contentious positions really were not important enough to cover at length.
The Times did not print an article about Jones and his recently-discovered support of the ‘truther’ movement, which believes that the Bush Administration had foreknowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, until Monday, when it ran a story on the front page.
“The Times was, in fact, a beat behind on this story,” admitted Jill Abramson, managing editor of the paper, in answer to a number of readers’ questions during an online Q&A session Monday. She went on to offer three excuses for the newspaper’s virtual silence on the controversy.
Van Jones and Mark Lloyd: Hopefully Headed in the Same Direction
Editor's Note: In Sunday's More czars on conservative hit list, the Politico's Lisa Lerer stated "conservatives have accused (Mark) Lloyd, appointed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the agency’s Chief Diversity officer in late July, of secretly wanting to reinstate the controversial Fairness Doctrine." Below is my full response to her and them, excerpts of which I posted in their Comments section and sent via their email form directly to her.
This is not at all accurate. We at the Media Research Center broke the news of Lloyd’s FCC gig (created just for him just the way the “green jobs czar” slot was for the recently dispatched conspiracy-addled Truther-Communist Van Jones). And we specifically stated that he had "no need for the mis-named 'Fairness' Doctrine." From that essay:
These last two (Lloyd report recommendations) get perilously close to the use of "localism" to silence conservative (and Christian) radio stations, about which we have been warning for quite some time.
...In a follow-up essay to the CAP report entitled "Forget the Fairness Doctrine," Lloyd specifically instructs liberal activists to do the latter - use the "localism" requirement to harass conservative stations by filing complaints with the FCC. The FCC would then assess these stations fines, with the money going to (very liberal) public broadcasting.
Or worse - the FCC would rescind these stations' broadcast licenses. In other words, shut them up by shutting them down. Thus, as Lloyd says, no need for the mis-named "Fairness" Doctrine.
We have repeatedly said the same on TV, radio and in print, in fact since long before Lloyd got his new job.The Left’s plans to travel these "localism" and "diversity" alternate routes to arrive at the same censorship destination as the mis-named “Fairness” Doctrine - the silencing of conservative and Christian talk radio – long predate Lloyd’s appointment.
In yesterday's Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Mary Mitchell lauds Fred Hampton, a Black Panther leader killed 40 years ago by police. In "Hampton's forgotten legacy: Today's youth can learn something from Black Panther leader's humanitarian deeds," Mitchell soft-pedals the Panthers' extensive history of violence and radical politics in favor of citing some of Hampton's alleged good works:
He stood up for disadvantaged People in Chicago are still so divided over Hampton that, a couple of years ago, efforts to erect a street sign in his honor caused an uproar. Hampton will always be remembered by some for advocating violence. But for many others -- those who benefitted from his courage -- he will always be remembered for giving hungry children a hot breakfast. Or for opening a free walk-in health clinic on the West Side. Or for trying to open a swimming pool, so poor black children could get relief from the heat. Or for being a bold advocate for justice.
The Panthers' breakfast program for children has long been applauded, even by some conservatives, as a worthwhile endeavor. Ignored are the severe problems associated with that program across the country. Chicago was hardly an exception.
The contrast between the virtual silence of major news outlets on Green Jobs Czar Van Jones’s belief in the Bush Administration’s complicity in the 9/11 attacks and the hubbub made about those who believe the President is not an American citizen casts light on the politicized attitudes of the mainstream media.
NewsBusters has noted how the story has been ignored by the television media. Byron York in the Washington Examiner Friday noted that a Nexis news search for the Van Jones ‘truther’ controversy turns up exactly zero results from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and transcripts from ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, and CBS Evening News (though that newscast aired a full story Friday night).
So, as York noted, anyone who gets his or her news from one of these sources, or all five, is unaware that the President’s Green Jobs Czar is not only a self-avowed communist but also a supporter of the truther movement, which means he believes that the Bush Administration was complicit in—even orchestrated—the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Well, some in the media weren't ignoring avowed Communist and Barack Obama Administration "Green Jobs Czar" Van Jones after all.
The New York Times' Thomas Friedman was lauding him.
In print on October 17, 2007, Friedman offered up a Van Jones paean entitled "The Green-Collar Solution." In which Friedman offers nary a hint as to the radical nature of Jones' many ridiculous and disturbing positions and proclamations. (In addition to being an outspoken Marxist, Jones is amongst other bizarre things a 9-11 "Truther.")
Friedman was undoubtedly in at least the beginning stages of writing his September 2008-released book Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why we need a green revolution - and how it can renew America. (The title of which would indicate the ruminations of a man who has never stepped outside of Manhattan; Friedman should know better. There are vast expanses of abject nothing all over the planet, with elbow room aplenty there for the taking.)
Apparently, along the way towards his tome Friedman stumbled upon Jones. And was wowed from the outset.