Journalistic Issues

By Warner Todd Huston | September 16, 2008 | 9:19 AM EDT

The campaign handlers for Barack Obama have obviously decided that there will be no more failed jokes ala Kerry's "stupid kids get stuck in Iraq" faux pas of the 2006 campaign. Barack apparently blew his chance for ostensible extemporaneous elocution after his failed "lip stick on a pig" joke went over like a lead balloon last week. According to CNN, Obama is suddenly speaking from a teleprompter at outdoor campaign rallies.

One can just imagine how McCain would be eviscerated by the press if he had to start using a teleprompter at the average campaign stop. What sort of "senility" jokes would the press be filled with at that point? One can just guess that this news will be greeted with a yawn even though it seems to be a pretty strong curtailment of Obama's freedom to speak extemporaneously on the stump.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 16, 2008 | 7:26 AM EDT

The racist Reverend Wright wanted God to "damn America." Jesse Jackson called New York City "hymie town." Various Evangelical preachers have been heard to utter some pretty nasty comments here and there, as well. So, flawed as we are, apparently being religious doesn't preclude a venomous diatribe now and again. And now comes hate wrapped as political commentary from another supposed person of faith, this time in Newsweek. Wendy Doniger is a columnist for Newsweek's "On Faith" beat and is also the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. But that doesn't seem to have made her less of a venom spewing, wiled-eyed Republican hater, unfortunately. Naturally, like all women such as herself, all her hate is directed at Governor Sarah Palin -- also showing that these sorts of women aren't interested in helping strong women to public influence but only their kind of mindless ideologue is acceptable.

Doniger starts her hate-filled rant in All Beliefs Welcome, Unless They are Forced on Others with what will shortly turn out to be a lie compounded by a blind assumption based on no proof to shore up her claims that Sarah Palin's exclusively allows her religious beliefs to direct her public actions.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 16, 2008 | 3:31 AM EDT

Of course our purpose here at NewsBusters is to shed light on the obscene bias often underlying what passes for journalism here in the United States (and in Canada and Europe sometimes, as well). We here at NB, however, want to stress that we aren't out to "destroy" journalism itself. We understand how important a free and open press is to keep our democratic republic on the straight and narrow. And, with this piece I'd like to present one reason why seeing journalists lose their jobs in such massive numbers should serve as a warning to us all about the health of our system.

Journalists have traditionally been antagonistic toward government, we all know. Certainly, they sometimes take this antipathy too far and become responsible for nearly treasonous actions -- The New York Times is the perfect example of that these days. But this antagonism is not all bad because while in practice it can and does lead to exposing the sort of government corruption that can and should be stopped but won't be unless it becomes public knowledge. The light that journalists shed on these corrupt government officials using open records requests is an integral part of our system and not one we should so blithely forget about while hoping to see the field of journalism get its comeuppance.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 15, 2008 | 10:35 AM EDT

One would assume that the Old Media would have a phalanx of intrepid mushing, journos swarming about Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin's hometown. One would think that every single person that lives within 100 miles of Wasilla would have been contacted by at least one journalist by now. That the media's due diligence would have been dilagenced to death at this point. I mean, it's been two weeks! Well, according to Greta Van Susteren, the media is curiously absent in Wasilla.

Greta posted a quickie blog entry on September 12 wondering where the heck everyone was?

By Warner Todd Huston | September 15, 2008 | 4:03 AM EDT

You... yes, you reading this right now. McClatchy wants you to know you are mean to them, your mistrust of them is merely egged on by a sly political tactic, and you fall for it because you only get your news from an "ideologically tailored" source. In other words, they are telling you that you are misinformed, mean-spirited, easily led... well, they are telling you that you are stupid. And then they wonder why people don't trust them!

In "McCain campaign systematically targets the news media," McClatchy writers Steven Thomma and Margaret Talev decided to try and explain why the Republicans are attacking the media with their basic conclusion being that it is an unfair convention that the GOP has employed at least since Spiro T. Agnew (of "Nattering nabobs of negativity" fame) was VP. But, despite the truth staring them in the face, they explain away the ire Americans have with the Old Media.

By Mike Bates | September 14, 2008 | 9:52 PM EDT

On Saturday, CNN presented the special "Joe Biden Revealed." 

Anchored by Abbie Boudreau, the show touched on why Biden dropped his 1988 presidential bid. 

Discussing it with Boudreau was Senior Biden adviser Ted Kaufman (Kinnock spelled incorrectly throughout transcript):

By Warner Todd Huston | September 13, 2008 | 10:28 PM EDT

Did ABC use particular camera tricks to make Governor Palin look small and powerless in their Charlie Gibson interview? I've been pointed to a blog that makes a compelling case that they did just that. Using still shots of the Gibson interview with Palin compared to similar Gibson interviews with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, it seems this blogger has proven it to be an open and shut case of manipulation of the viewer. The writer shows how ABC used special camera placements and lenses to make Governor Palin seem small and Charlie Gibson seem overpowering and large by comparison.

By now, just about everyone is aware of Hollywood's special effects and camera techniques. There have been so many TV shows explaining them, so many DVD extras laying out the techniques that most Americans are at least a little familiar with the effects and techniques that filmmakers use to heighten and enhance their work. The anonymous blogger is familiar with these special effects, claims to work in the business in Hollywood himself, and does a great job explaining and pointing out where such effects were used to belittle Governor Palin.

By D. S. Hube | September 13, 2008 | 9:05 AM EDT

What do you do when a rival network scoops you in getting the first sit-down interview with a relatively unknown vice-presidential candidate? Why, you get someone to analyze said veep candidate's body language, that's what! That's just what CBS did on its "Early Show" yesterday, and the network's website reports on the segment with the tantalizing headline "Expert: Palin Didn't Look Confident."

Almost two weeks after John McCain announced she was his choice for a running mate, portions of Sarah Palin's first network television interview aired Thursday night. How did she do in her talk with ABC News anchor Charles Gibson?  On The Early Show Friday, body language expert Jo-Ellan Dimitrius said Palin rated about a five on a scale of ten during the interview. As Dimitirius put it, "There were some aspects that could have been better and some that could have been worse."
By Warner Todd Huston | September 13, 2008 | 8:46 AM EDT

Dontcha ya hate it when Old Media outlets beat up on other Old Media outlets? (Well, maybe you don't hate it, exactly) It's like Old Media on Old Media violence. In this case we have the United Press International (UPI), struggling lesser known news wire service, giving the big smack-a-roo to ABC. UPI is warning that Charlie Gibson's gruff handling of Governor Sarah Palin may "backfire," and that the interview revealed a "double standard" of harsh treatment for Republicans compared to the softballs they've thrown to Democrats in past interviews.

Who can disagree with that assessment?

UPI's Martin Sieff's one sentence assessment of the interview seems to be the general consensus of all dispassionate observers. "There were no surprises, no knockout zingers," Sieff says, "but also no bloopers Thursday night in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's first TV interview since becoming the Republican vice presidential nominee."

By Matthew Vadum | September 12, 2008 | 9:35 PM EDT

Johanna Neuman of the Los Angeles Times yesterday misrepresented First Lady Laura Bush's words to make it seem like she was backing away from GOP veep candidate Sarah Palin's criticism of Senator Barack Obama's community organizing days.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 12, 2008 | 9:26 AM EDT

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

<p><img height="116" hspace="0" src="http://www.blogdecine.com/archivos/images/MattDamon.JPG" width="90" align="right" border="0" />As if we needed another reason to think that the excitable Maureen Dowd and the empty headed Matt Damon are... well, excitable and empty headed... we get the newest raindrop in their river of blather as proof that their "research" into a subject seems to consist of hearing an unsupported claim and deciding it represent gospel truth. Our latest proof is that they both seem to have been taken in by a nutrooter lie, a fake quote that claims Sarah Palin said, "dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago." </p>

Both seem to have fallen for a <a href="http://unbearablebobness.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/08/governor-sarah-pa... of Governor Palin</a> invented by a blogger who's post seems to have been taken literally. The following self-identified "fake Governor Sarah Palin Quote" was posted on August 30: "God made dinosaurs 4,000 years ago as ultimately flawed creatures, lizards of Satan really, so when they died and became petroleum products we, made in his perfect image, could use them in our pickup trucks, snow machines and fishing boats." </p>

By Warner Todd Huston | September 12, 2008 | 2:44 AM EDT

This one has got to take the cake for stupidity and lack of journalistic integrity. The Old Media has been gyrating in ever widening circles to find new and unheard of ways to destroy Governor Sarah Palin and now from the Hartford Courant (Connecticut) we find the most ridiculous one yet. With this Robert Thorson column we have now gone from slandering Gov. Palin herself, to attacking every last member of her family -- including her Down Syndrome child, Trig -- to this latest stop on the smear Palin express: attacking Palin's hometown Wasilla, Alaska. Thorson seriously tries to make us believe that Wasilla is an "angry" town! Why? Because of its "geography." And because of something that happened in 1976.

Yes, Wasilla is filled with "disappointed" and "angry" people and this is what "scares" Thorson about Governor Sarah Palin. And Thorson knows that everyone in Wasilla is foaming at the mouth mad because of his intimate knowledge of Wasilla and it's people, right? He knows this because of his extensive research into Wasilla's newspapers, or TV reports, or interviews with citizens all of whom are telling him about their mental perturbation, right? Uh, no. He "knows" this because of an Encyclopedia entry and little else.