Journalistic Issues

By Warner Todd Huston | October 20, 2008 | 5:41 AM EDT

W. movie Web ad | NewsBusters.orgEntertainment Weekly's Joshua Rich reported on the weekend's box office returns for the latest releases on October 19 to let us all in on Hollywood's successes and failures, because, you know, Hollywood is important and all. We find that the Chihuahua movie is still going like gangbusters ($70 million in three weeks) and the horrid movie "Max Payne" led the weekend's receipts with $18 million. Oliver Stone's slamfest "W," though, earned a disappointing fourth place on its debut weekend.

So, what was EW's excuse for this disappointing finish? According to Rich, "W" is failing at the box office because of "tough economic times.” It’s curious, though, that people have spent $70 million on the Chihuahua movie in these same "tough economic times" -- and let us not forget that the latest Batman movie has made over $300 million. Still, the excuse for the fourth place finish for Stone's pseudo-biopic is "tough economic times," just the same.

But, Rich’s excuse is a claim that even Entertainment Weekly itself has recently disputed, at least as far as the box office goes. Only a few weeks ago, the weekend that right-wing comedy "An American Carol" debuted, the same Box Office Report column said that the "economy may be tanking, but the box office remains healthy, with probably the only year-on-year metric that's seen an uptick."

By Warner Todd Huston | October 17, 2008 | 10:19 AM EDT

The dead tree media, the dinosaur media, the Old Media has spoken. It's officially worse than ever! The Chicago Tribune has pronounced political discourse worse than ever before and it's all because of that "obnoxious" Internet. So, you folks reading this should know that the Trib blames these rancorous times on you. Of course, what the Trib and its "experts" suffer from is My-Lifeitis, that well known sickness that afflicts those that imagine that today is worse than it's ever been, that only in their lifetimes have things become so bad. In other words, they are historically illiterate.

Now, before I get into the Trib's somewhat blinkered analysis of today's political climate -- or as the Tribune prosaically says, the "more polarized political environment" -- I have to ask one thing of the Trib: Are you guys just now noticing that the Internet tends to stir the pot? Where have you been the last ten years?

Now, that said, let's dive into this silly story.

By Warner Todd Huston | October 17, 2008 | 5:09 AM EDT

Not that any of us here could possibly be surprised -- I say that to head off the inevitable comments asking how we could be -- but a new study from the Center for Media and Public Affairs finds that late-night comedians attack Republicans far more than they do Democrats. In fact, the CMPA found a lopsided 7 to 1 ratio of Republican compared to Democrat jokes. "The total: Republicans, 286. Democrats, 42."

Fox News reported that the CMPA's Donald Rieck found that this current election was "driving it off the charts" with the preponderance of jokes directed at Republicans on late-night TV.

By Warner Todd Huston | October 17, 2008 | 4:38 AM EDT

<b>**Video Below the Fold**</b>

<p><img height="140" hspace="10" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/12/10/timestopics/topics_alfran... width="100" align="right" border="0" />Al Franken has shown himself to be an angry, easily enraged man and after the October 16 Minnesota Senatorial candidate's debate he allowed his overwrought emotional state to send him over the edge once again. After the debate was over and the Media had turned off their microphones and cameras, Franken rushed over to Senator Norm Coleman's table and proceeded to angrily get in his face over some point or another made during the debate. Franken was getting so angry that his own wife had to rush over and force him to back off from a mounting confrontation with Coleman.</p>

<p>This isn't the only time that Al Franken has allowed his seemingly delicately balanced temperament to be tipped to unseemly anger. In fact, he's allowed himself to be driven to physical violence in the past. In 2004, for instance, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/01/27/elec04.prez.democrats.larouche... tackled a disruptive LaRouchie</a> at a Howard Dean speech. He has also been known to get into <a href="http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/14115411.html">shouting matches with rally attendees</a> and opponents alike. Not to mention his past usage of intemperate or profane language and mean-spirited use of ridicule in his comedy routines and during his radio shows when he was an Air-America host.</p>

By Warner Todd Huston | October 16, 2008 | 4:49 AM EDT

Apparently the Washington Post thinks it has an ethics violation to hold against Cindy McCain, wife of GOP presidential candidate John McCain. The Post is trying to claim that Cindy McCain somehow illicitly got a portable cell tower delivered to her remote Arizona ranch so that their phones would work there. The truth is, however, the Secret Service ordered up the portable cell tower, not Cindy McCain.

Even the words the Post uses to report the story prove somewhat weasely because, as the Post can't find any actual wrong doing, the story relies on vague ways of implying wrongdoing without actually saying it. In the end, there doesn't seem to be much there, there, but I suppose the Post had to justify the money it spent by publishing this non-story anyway.

By Matthew Sheffield | October 16, 2008 | 2:50 AM EDT

Despite the huge media hubub that it's caused, the U.S. Secret Service is formally denying an allegation from a Pennsylvania newspaper that an attendee at a Republican rally shouted out "kill him" in reference to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

"We have yet to find someone to back up the story," agent Bill Slavoski told the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. "We had people all over and we have yet to find anyone who said they heard it."

The alleged remark was first reported by David Singleton, a writer for the Scranton Times-Tribune newspaper. Singleton remains the sole person claiming he heard the offensive words:

By Seton Motley | October 15, 2008 | 11:10 AM EDT

Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen | Media Research CenterWe are approaching halftime of Round Two of the MRC's Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen Media Bias Tournament.

If you haven't yet cast your ballots from among the Enamored Eight, it's time to do so. And if you have, check back often to keep tabs on your picks.

We now proudly unveil on NewsBusters.org the trophy that we will present to the Media's Most Valuable Partisan (MVP) -- the winner of the Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen Tournament. It is a Major Award, and will certainly send a thrill up the leg of whomever is fortunate enough to receive it.

Behold:

By Warner Todd Huston | October 14, 2008 | 3:04 AM EDT

Over at RealDebateWisconsin Fred Dooley was contacted by the mother of a Racine Unified School District 8th grade student in Wisconsin public schools about an outrageous thing she found in her son's school textbook. Apparently, in this textbook supposedly teaching about literature, one of the books being pushed as a perfect example of that subject is Barack Obama's memoir Dreams from my Father. That's right, a book by a current political candidate for president is being pushed on our children as "literature." It also seems probable from campaign donation records that a principle member of the publishing company is a large Obama donor.

One would think that focusing on the ideology of a politician currently running for president would be a bit over-the-top even for our extreme left leaning system of education in this country. But there it is anyway. The book even presents a photo of the Senator at a campaign rally with signs advertising his campaign website address to help better indoctrinate the kids.

Of course, the very first question that comes to mind is this: how wide spread would this story have become if it were a Republican featured in a kid's textbook? Would the left-o-sphere stand silent as John McCain appeared in school textbooks? Would the Old Media ignore such a story? Somehow, I doubt it. Who can doubt that the story would be such big news that the school district would have been shamed into taking such propaganda out of their school rooms apologizing for their lack of judgment as they do so. A book like this with McCain included would never even have made it out of the publishing house before stories would have been leaked to the press. Certainly it would be national news. But, in this case, the textbook is manufactured without opposition and is passed out to kids without a peep from the usual suspects.

By Danny Glover | October 13, 2008 | 10:25 AM EDT

A Barack Obama supporter in Ohio with deep roots in Democratic politics -- and a 2001 sex-related felony conviction to his name -- is behind two new confrontational videos that bait ignorant people into calling Barack Obama a terrorist.

The first video was released Wednesday and has gone viral. It currently has more than 1.1 million views on YouTube. Part II went online a day later and is well on its way to viral status, with more than 145,000 views.

The John McCain and Sarah Palin supporters in the videos are characterized as “The McCain-Palin Mob.” The videos selectively feature voters who, upon being asked antagonistic questions, make some outrageous statements about Obama.

By Seton Motley | October 13, 2008 | 10:01 AM EDT

Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen | Media Research CenterRound One of the MRC's Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen is complete. Voting for Round Two -- The Enamored Eight -- has begun in earnest.

Eight competitors, though highly biased in their own right, were simply unable to overcome the Obama-Love of their opponents, and were pushed by all of you to the partisan wayside.

There were three upsets, including the downing of a #1 Seed.

So while we know nearly every member of the press is neck-deep in the tank for the Illinois Senator, it is anyone's guess -- and your voting decision -- who will end up being being named the Media's Most Valuable Partisan for the Man of Hope and Change.

So, let the deciding recommence.

By Warner Todd Huston | October 13, 2008 | 4:37 AM EDT

It isn't every day that gun grabbers can invent a whole new catch phrase to use against our Constitutional rights under the Second Amendment, but the Orlando Sentinel is giving it the old college try just the same. Sentinel staff writer Henry Pierson Curtis extrapolates "an alarming trend" that he is calling "disposable AK-47s" out of the words of a Florida police officer. So, now we have a new worry that the gun grabbers can use to scare people into accepting the destruction of our Constitutional rights.

Using an incident in Orlando to drum up their newest gun grabbing meme, the Sentinel tells the tale of some criminals that perpetrated a double killing and then ran from the scene abandoning two AK-47s, two handguns and a shotgun behind them. The Sentinel warps a quote from an Orlando Detective into the new catch phrase.

By Warner Todd Huston | October 12, 2008 | 11:23 AM EDT

Well, this is a new one. In an October 11 story, the Washington Post is saying that one of the biggest reasons that the Old Media in the west isn't covering Iraq much these days is because they are facing tough financial times at home. I guess it couldn't be because we are now winning the war and they've lost their favorite doom-and-gloom story line, could it?

The Post even quotes Alissa J. Rubin, The New York Times Iraq bureau chief, that there is "no clear narrative" over there anymore. Once again, this can easily be interpreted to mean that no clear losing narrative has left the media's attention wandering. Even worse Rubin almost seems to admit that they can't handle a "complex" story suddenly.