Journalistic Issues

By Warner Todd Huston | September 26, 2008 | 7:46 AM EDT

Bush told the country that we are in an economic crisis and his Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, came up with an idea that would, it is claimed, end up actually making money for the U.S. Treasury in the long run. That's all well and good, but the Democrats already have a plan to siphon off any repayment of the people's money back to the treasury by adding one little line to the agreement that would end up stealing money from any repayments and giving it to left-wing political advocacy groups like ACORN, the National Urban League and the Hispanic group La Raza. Instead of trying to help the economy, the Democrats just want more money for their left-wing political constituents. It's business as usual for the Democrats, of course, but a bigger question is will the media let them get away with it?

On Thursday, the Senate Democrats shopped around a one page "Agreement in Principle" from the U.S. Senate Banking Committee that laid out their proposal for the bailout of the economy. At first it all seems rather straight forward, but hidden inside this document is one little line that proves that Democrats aren't as interested in the economy as they are in trying to extort a payday for their favorite political advocacy groups. Yes, even in a bill as important as the bailout the Democrats are trying to stuff it with pork!

By Warner Todd Huston | September 26, 2008 | 7:20 AM EDT

The AP is suddenly alarmed that no one is "running Alaska" while Palin is out on the stump with John McCain, so much so that they've published a piece wondering if Alaska is about to sink into the icy grip of the Alaskan tundra, or something, because Palin isn't there. One wonders if the AP is all upset that no one is in Congress representing certain districts of Illinois or Delaware with Obama and Biden roaming the countryside instead of sitting in the Senate? One wonders if the AP has even noticed that Obama has spent less than 200 days in the Senate since he took his seat in that august body in 2005? Talk about rudderless! Talk about short-shrifting the representation of constituents!

The AP is all about the wringing of hands because Palin has been absent from the Alaska governor's office for the last three weeks. I guess the AP isn't aware that Alaska has a Lt. Governor? But, let's face it, the AP doesn't care about Alaska at all because this article is only a thinly disguised excuse to slam Palin for not running to the press to fawn over them and cater to their every need.

Most of this piece is centered on the way McCain and Palin are trying to control the Palin message, as opposed to any real worry that Alaska is running rudderless. In fact, this AP smear piece is a bait and switch, not really about what it seems to be about.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 26, 2008 | 5:51 AM EDT

Even the crossword puzzles in The New York Times are biased in favor of Obama and Biden finds David Levinson Wilk in Politico. Wilk did a little research to see how many times McCain has been an answer in the NYT puzzle since 2005. He came up with zero entries. When he looked for Obama he found the name "regularly appeared" in the puzzle. Does this prove that the Times is "150 percent in the tank" for Obama as McCain adviser Steve Schmidt recently claimed?

I find it a bit amazing that neither McCain's name, nor Palin's name (unless it is referring to Monty Python alum Michael) appears in the Times puzzle. But, there you have it. Wilk gives us his findings but tries to make light of the whole thing.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 25, 2008 | 11:50 AM EDT

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

<p><img height="132" hspace="10" src="" width="159" align="right" border="0" /> In the Words-Mean-Things category, yesterday we got both the Associated Press and CNN distorting the words Laura Bush used to describe Sarah Palin on foreign policy. Worse, the video interview of the First Lady was right <i>on</i> CNN yet on its own Political Ticker blog, CNN <i>still</i> distorted what Laura Bush said about Palin. It makes you wonder if the folks at CNN even watch CNN? </p>

<p>On September 24, Political Ticker posted a story by "CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney" headlined "<a href=" Bush says Palin lacks foreign policy experience</a>" and started the posting out with these first lines: (bold mine) </p>

By Warner Todd Huston | September 25, 2008 | 2:47 AM EDT

In a recent visit to Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, Washington Post political editor David Broder told students that he believes there is no such thing as media bias. He claims that too many confuse talk radio with journalism and imagines the bias is predicated on that basis.

Speaking also to WOAI radio, Broder said, "I have spent almost fifty years of my life covering campaigns with other people. I don't think there is a serious problem with ideological or political bias."

According to WOAI, Broder claimed not to see any bias in reporters of his generation nor in younger journalists. "I don't find a problem with bias among my younger colleagues at all," Broder said. "That's not a concern of mine."

So, what is the problem with the pervasive feeling from so many that there is media bias? Blame it on talk radio.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 24, 2008 | 10:05 PM EDT

Andrea Mitchell is mad at John McCain and Sarah Palin because the McCain camp excluded the press from Palin's meetings with foreign officials this week. She is so upset that she as much as charged that John McCain's treatment of the press is as bad as that of the dictatorial ruler in North Korea, Kim Jong Il.

On Tuesday's Rachel Maddow show (MSNBC), Mitchell said that excluding the press when Palin met with foreign leaders was not "standard practice" and mentioned that in oppressive countries like Sudan and North Korea the press is often excluded. Mitchell also added that The State Department has a "standard practice" of making sure the press is included in meetings even in foreign countries. But Obama also excluded the press in his meetings with leaders in Europe this Summer, yet this fact didn’t even rate a mention by Mitchell tonight.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 24, 2008 | 6:20 AM EDT

At least since September 8 the extreme left has been pushing a lie that Governor, then Mayor, Sarah Palin "charged rape victims for rape kits" performed upon them in the Alaskan town of Wasilla. The charge stems from a May 22, 2000 article in the local Wasilla paper The Frontiersman and has been spun from a comment made by the Wasilla Police Chief. This comment was somehow made into a Sarah Palin policy. Evidence of the incident, though, shows no involvement by Palin at all. Still, many Old Media outlets continue to keep illegitimately linking this rape kit billing claim to Sarah Palin, even though the truth is easily discovered.

As mentioned first up was The Frontiersman story from 2000. In that story Police Chief Fannon was quoted as standing against legislation that would force local municipalities to pick up the costs of rape kits being performed. In the interview Fannon said that, upon conviction, he favored the criminals being charged for the costs.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 24, 2008 | 3:27 AM EDT

Once again Rasmussen Reports presents evidence that more and more Americans are coming to the realization that the media is biased to the left. This time Rasmussen's polling results shows that more Americans than ever think the folks chosen from amongst the Old Media to moderate the upcoming presidential debates are biased in favor of Barack Obama. Earlier in the month, Rasmussen found that 50% of their respondents feel that the media is trying to help Obama get elected while only 11% felt the media was trying to help McCain win. This time Rasmussen finds that 56% feel that the debate moderators are biased in their questioning, though veteran TV newsman Jim Lehrer (PBS) gets better personal numbers with 43% saying he'll be neutral as a moderator.

By Matthew Vadum | September 24, 2008 | 12:29 AM EDT

Stop the presses!

By Warner Todd Huston | September 23, 2008 | 7:58 PM EDT

A 60-year-old white woman from Spring Hill, Florida is quoted as saying that there is no chance a black man can win the White House. This same woman, Sandra Cichon, is quoted in a total of three St. Petersburg Times stories, the latest being from September 15. But in a follow up interview, Barbara Sowell of finds that Cichon claims she was never called by a pollster, as the paper claims, and never told any reporter that she wouldn't vote for a black man.

So who is right? Did the St. Petersburg Times merely make up racist quotes out of whole cloth and put words in the mouth of this woman or is she suddenly trying to take back what she said by claiming not to have been interviewed about Obama? Here's the story and you can decide.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 23, 2008 | 5:56 AM EDT

The single most common current explanation for a possible Obama loss posited today by the left is that America is filled with racists. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review political reporter Selena Zito uses this charge to the hilt in a September 21 opinion piece on union members voting McCain. Naturally, the only reason Zito can come up with for this phenomenon is because these McCain supporting union members are wild-eyed racists. Yet, there are no statistics, no interviews with racists, no proof presented in this story other than the claims of professors and Obama supporters that it’s a true assessment.

This is an entirely common occurrence with these sorts of stories, too. We get all sorts of tongue clucking "experts" assuring us that anyone who votes for John McCain is a racist yet no proof other than the bald faced claims of those who merely assert the point as fact.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 22, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

Back on September 10 in a visit to Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden seemed to hint that al Qaeda forced down a helicopter he was traveling in when he was visiting Afghanistan in February of 2008. He made the claim again on September 22 in a campaign stop at the National Guard Association. The truth, however, is not exactly what Biden may be trying to allege. Thus far, only ABC's Jake Tapper is exposing the ruse for what it is, a misleading tale pumped up to make his Afghanistan visit seem more menacing than it really was.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that on September 10 Biden told a Chicago audience a harrowing tale about his helicopter ride.