At the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, President Bush first appeared with Steve Bridges, who's made a name for himself impersonating Bush on national television. Bush would say something and the impersonator would say what he "really" thought. RightWinged has a video of the routine.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Members of the White House Correspondents' Association, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen --
BUSH IMPERSONATOR: Here I am.
Here I am at another one of these dang press dinners. Could be home asleep, little Barney curled up at my feet. But no, I've got to pretend I like being here.
The media really ticks me off. The way they try to embarrass me by not editing what I say.
Whenever newspaper corporations report disappointing quarterly earnings numbers – which is quite frequent these days as recently reported by NewsBusters – they always cite the Internet as a problem for subscription and advertising rates. Well, The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released results of a new study on Internet usage and penetration, and the news is not good for the drive by media. The data show a huge year-over-year increase in the number of adults using the Internet:
“While the share of internet users who report positive impacts has grown, the sheer size of the internet population also continues to increase. Surveys fielded in 2006 show that internet penetration among adults in the U.S. has hit an all-time high. While the percentage of Americans who say they use the internet has continued to fluctuate slightly, our latest survey, fielded February 15 – April 6, 2006 shows that fully 73% of respondents (about 147 million adults) are internet users, up from 66% (about 133 million adults) in our January 2005 survey.”
So 14 million more American adults are using the Internet than in Pew’s January 2005 poll. This represents a 10.5 percent year-over-year increase. Yet, maybe most telling are the generational differences in Internet usage:
Meredith Vieira just can’t help herself. The View co-host will soon be taking over for Katie Couric on the Today show. One would think that she would try and reign in her bias. Apparently not, as she opened the April 26 edition of The View with another attack on President Bush:
Vieira: "...I’m a little peeved when I hear the President say there’s not much we can do about this, folks. According to the President, the American people have got to understand that what happens elsewhere in the world affects the price of gasoline that you pay here, but where is his responsibility in all this? Five and a half years and we’re dealing with these gas prices? It’s ridiculous."
MediaBistro runs an email from NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller sent to liberal journalist Murray Waas, in which Keller claims the Bush adminstration is "declaring war at home on the values they profess to be promoting abroad."
"I'm not sure journalists fully appreciate the threat confronting us -- The Times in the eavesdropping case, the Post for its CIA prison stories, and everyone else who has tried to look behind the war on terror. Maybe we're suffering a bit of subpoena fatigue. Maybe some people are a little intimidated by the way the White House plays the soft-on-terror card.
"Whatever the reason, I worry that we're not as worried as we should be. No president likes reporters sniffing after his secrets, but most come to realize that accountability is the price of power in our democracy. Some officials in this administration, and their more vociferous cheerleaders, seem to have a special animus towards reporters doing their jobs. There's sometimes a vindictive tone in way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries and in the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors. I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values they profess to be promoting abroad."
At the end of her interview on this morning's 'Today', Katie Couric asked Kaavya Viswanathan why she had wanted to come on the show. Couric's implication was clear: the Harvard undergrad caught in a plagiarism scandal had done herself absolutely no good by her appearance.
The Harvard Crimson recently broke the story of the numerous passages in Viswanathan's coming-of-age novel that bear striking similarities to lines from two books by Megan McCafferty. Isn't there something derivative, by the way, to the feel of the book's very title: "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life"? Amazon listing here.
Add Cokie and Steve Roberts to the growing list of journalists praising the Washington Post and New York Times stories which exposed ongoing secret anti-terrorism efforts and also won Pulitzer Prizes. The latest joint syndicated column by the married couple, ABC News reporter Cokie Roberts and long-time New York Times reporter Steve Roberts who now teaches at George Washington University, championed how the Pulitzer Prizes prove the necessity of newspapers because "they recognize the sort of journalism -- courageous, costly and comprehensive -- that only papers can provide." Specifically, the duo declared: "The biggest story that newspapers unearthed last year was the abuse of power by the Bush administration." The two admiringly cited how "the Post won an award for revealing a system of secret prisons maintained by the CIA in Eastern Europe to interrogate terrorism suspects. The Times disclosed a program of clandestine government eavesdropping that many lawyers have denounced as illegal."
TV Newser reports on some of Dan Rather's remarks at a panel discussion of the National Association of Broadcasters.
Dan Rather, the Former Anchor and Managing Editor of the CBS Evening News, issued a clarion call on the broadcast networks to prioritize international coverage during his appearance at NAB.
Arguing that "American journalism needs a spine transplant," Rather told the RTNDA/NAB Super Session on "The Shape of Things to Come" that "at a time when the United States needs more foreign coverage than ever, there's less of it."
Rather said broadcast network coverage of sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America is "awful." For this, he said, there is "no excuse."
Sunday's off-lead story by David Cloud is on Mary McCarthy, the CIA analyst fired for leaking classified information about suspected terrorists allegedly being held in secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. It comes under the comforting headline "Colleagues Say C.I.A. Analyst Played by Rules."
"On Thursday, the C.I.A. fired Ms. McCarthy, 61, accusing her of leaking information to reporters about overseas prisons operated by the agency in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks. But despite Ms. McCarthy's independent streak, some colleagues who worked with her at the White House and other offices during her intelligence career say they cannot imagine her as a leaker of classified information."
Tech site Red Herring says the traditional media continues to lose out in advertising revenue.
In another clear sign that times are changing for the advertising industry, a new report said that Internet advertising revenues in the United States in 2005 totaled $12.5 billion, an all-time, single-year record.
The report, released Thursday by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the 2005 total represents a 30 percent increase over 2004. Revenue in the fourth quarter of 2005 was $3.6 billion, a 34 percent boost from the same period in 2004.
“Interactive advertising continues to experience tremendous growth as marketers experience its overall effectiveness in building brands and delivering online and offline sales,” said Greg Stuart, chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
At least one leading mainstream journalists isn't too happy about the revelation Friday that on Thursday the CIA fired an official who admitted being the leaker of top secret information about CIA prisons overseas used to hold al-Qaeda suspects. Bob Schieffer didn't withhold his personal opinion from his newscast as he introduced a CBS Evening News story by asserting that “it is no secret that the current administration does not like its people hanging out with news reporters without permission” and he described the firing as “a first -- a dubious first, to be sure.”
Citing the Washington Post story on the then-secret prisons and the New York Times article disclosing terrorist surveillance efforts, both of which won Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, NPR's Nina Totenberg declared on Inside Washington that nefarious Bush administration practices justified the decision to reward the two newspapers: "It's a good thing that they won for those intelligence stories because the Bush administration is investigating now and is threatening to subpoena and conceivably jail those reporters. So I think it's important that those stories be rewarded as something important to have done." (Transcripts follow.)
The New York Times says Fox News commentator Tony Snow is in negotiations to become the next press secretary. Snow is said to be valued for his connections in the Washington media. Anonymous sources told the Times that he had surgery for colon cancer last year and is waiting on a doctor's approval before taking such a high-pressure job.
Republicans said that Tony Snow, a commentator for Fox News and a former speechwriter for Mr. Bush's father, was in negotiations for the job of White House press secretary. Mr. Snow would replace Scott McClellan, who announced Wednesday that he was resigning....
Mr. Snow is the host of his own radio program and comes from the news operation that flashes from every television in the West Wing.
Phil Hall writes in the Media Industry Newsletter that today's journalists are mediocre and the writing is poor. He counts off several reasons why that's the case, including number three: blogs. Blogs, he says, are nothing more than "hit-and-run" journalism.
As any editor and/or publisher will attest, finding qualified writers is too often the proverbial needle-in-the-haystack search. This is particularly acute in attracting entry-level journalists who are straight out of college and are eager to make their mark in the business. But while editors and publishers grit their teeth and dig through the piles of curriculum vitas, perhaps it is time to ask a question that many people would prefer not to acknowledge: Why are there so many mediocre writers coming into journalism today? The answer can be divided into four parts....
After hearing that Sami Al-Arian confessed to a dirty laundry list of terrorism related activities, I was eager to see how the liberal St. Petersburg Times would handle the story. Today they posted an editorial about "The Real Al-Arian," writing about all the horrible things he has done and lies he told. But is that an accurate account of the role the Times played in defending him? Maybe when you consider it is a newspaper that employs a former ACLU director as a columnist and has a Huffinton Post contributor for a reporter and an F.B.I. wiretap exposing a Times reporter acting as Al-Arian's media coach.
With the benefit of this hindsight, hindsight that the rest of us had little problem seeing in foresight, let's take a look at some past quotes. One has to wonder why a huge newspaper with vast resources couldn't see what the rest of us saw so easily.
Robyn Blumner: "...[USF President] Genshaft's stated intention to fire tenured computer science professor Sami Al-Arian due to the swirl of controversy over his activist Islamist views. Here Genshaft cannot deflect blame for besmirching the university's reputation. She made the call, and it's once again the wrong one for academic freedom and free speech...
Neil Young's forthcoming album is reportedly entitledLiving With War; but if you were to look at the home page of Yahoo!, you'd think it was "Impeach Bush." Apparently, Neil's latest effort is a full-on assault against President Bush and the Iraq war, and the folks at Yahoo! are not at all shy in promoting it.
In a linked Yahoo!/CNN video, Yahoo! claims there is a "rebirth of protest rock." Their evidence? Well, there's the Dixie Chicks, Pink, Eminem, and ... Neil Young. Gee, I didn't know Eminem and Pink fit the category of "protest rock." Host Sibila Vargas also claims that these artists "will definitely get our attention." Sorry, Sibila. Not mine.
To be sure, this year’s Pulitzer Prize announcement has generated quite an outrage. Almost universally throughout the conservative blogosphere, the revelation that three of the recipients wrote stories about top-secret military information that conceivably compromised America’s War on Terror met with shock and dismay.
No better example of such disgust was apparent Tuesday than on the radio program of Bill Bennett. As reported by Editor & Publisher: “On his national radio program today, William Bennett, the former Reagan and George H.W. Bush administration official and now a CNN commentator, said that three reporters who won Pulitzer Prizes yesterday were not ‘worthy of an award’ but rather ‘worthy of jail.’" The article continued: “He identified them as Dana Priest of The Washington Post, who wrote about the CIA's ‘secret prisons’ in Europe, and James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times, who exposed the National Security Agency's domestic (a.k.a. terrorist) spy program.”
The annual Pulitzer Prize awards announced Monday night, by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, rewarded Washington Post and New York Times reporters who exposed -- and thus undermined -- secret anti-terrorism efforts, as well as a Washington Post critic who mocked Vice President Cheney's outdoor apparel and ridiculed the supposed 1950s-era clothing worn by then-Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' kids. The Pulitzer board gave the “Beat Reporting” award to Dana Priest of the Washington Post “for her persistent, painstaking reports on secret 'black site' prisons and other controversial features of the government’s counterterrorism campaign.” The “National Reporting” award was won by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times “for their carefully sourced stories on secret domestic eavesdropping that stirred a national debate on the boundary line between fighting terrorism and protecting civil liberty.” The duo infamously penned the damaging December 16 article, “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.”
Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan grabbed the “Criticism” award “for her witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism.” In a January 2005 piece featured by the Post in a new page created to showcase her Pulitzer-winning work, Givhan complained that at a gathering of world leaders to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Dick Cheney “was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.”
in the NYT this morning concerning the run-off election of disgraced former
Congressman Duke Cunningham’s congressional seat has a curious number of
liberal activists quoted, when compared to the number of those from the other side of Cunningham's corner.
Before we get to the bias, here is the line-up of “experts:”
Polisci. prof. Stephen Erie, Dem. Congressional Caucus leader Rahm Emanuel,
MoveOn.org executive director Eli Pariser, leftwing blogger Markos “Screw them”
Moulitas (aka Kos), and some unnamed “analysts” that have high hopes for
Democrats in the district. There was one Republican quoted.
David S. Hirschman, online editor of Editor and Publisher, wonders what newspaper editors can do to "reclaim their power as arbiters of public taste." With the advent of blogs, no longer does a "small coterie of journalists" decide what is important. It's not likely that ten years ago Editor and Publisher would have admitted publicly the power wielded by so few editors and TV heads, but now the cat is out of the bag.
In the past, in the days of ink-stained wretches and typesetting, it was the editors and publishers who set the news agenda. A small coterie of journalists decided what was most important, what went on page one, what was to be emphasized day after day. In effect, they would separate the important from the superficial, and could to large degree push what they wanted to and create the "water cooler" issue of the day.
Of course, this is still true to some extent. The New York Times' Bill Keller, the Washington Post's Len Downie, and the Los Angeles Times' Dean Baquet still determine what tens of millions of Americans will wake up to every morning on their doorstep, or go to bed with online the night before.
Poor John Green. The executive producer of ABC’s weekend “Good Morning America” broadcasts got a month-long involuntary vacation after his private e-mails were exposed saying “Bush makes me sick,” and that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has “Jew shame.”
Once the e-mails were publicized, the people inside the media were agitated. How many of them are equally guilty? How many people inside the liberal media send snarky anti-Bush notes to each other every day? The New York Times lamented the “chilling effect.”
As the Meredith Vieira incident shows us, network anchors and talk show hosts can display their biases off the air by where they go and speak...or march. At the tail end of "Hardball" Thursday night, MRC's Geoff Dickens found MSNBC host Chris Matthews promoted Rosie O'Donnell and her new HBO documentary on her gay-family cruises. But the real eye-opening part for media watchdogs was Matthews admitting he spoke at an event for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-left lobbying group, in Philadelphia. (Sure enough, here's a picture, with the Matthews mane in a frostier phase. And wow! See another media speaker, NPR "Fresh Air" hostess Terry Gross, whose show originates from Philly.) Matthews explained:
CBSEvening News anchor Bob Schieffer praised Katie Couric’s selection as his successor in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer aired during the 4pm EDT hour, and again in the 7pm EDT hour, of Thursday's The Situation Room. As MRC analyst Brian Boyd reported here, CBS correspondent Andy Rooney appeared on the April 5 Imus in the Morning radio program, where he told Don Imus that he was "not enthusiastic" about Couric’s hiring, and that "I don’t know anybody at CBS News who is pleased that she’s coming here." When Schieffer was asked about Rooney’s comments, he politely disagreed with his colleague.
Bob Schieffer: "Well, if he says he didn’t know anyone I, I hate to tell you, Andy, but you must have not talked to me, because I’m pleased she’s coming here, so I’d have to question you on that. You know, I, I learned a long time ago that I let everybody speak for themselves. That’s Andy’s view. That’s what, you know, that’s what Andy does. He, he speaks his mind. I, I just don’t agree with him. He’s a great friend of mine but I don’t agree with him on that."
As Katie Couric announces she is jumping from NBC’s “Today” show, which she’s co-hosted for 15 years, to the anchor slot of the “CBS Evening News,” Edward Wyatt gamely argues in Thursday’s Business Day how Couric actually has roots as a hard news reporter (“Coming Back to Hard News”) and carried those over to her Today show segments, which Wyatt repackages as “tough assignments.”
“But she has showed that she can handle tough assignments with aplomb and has been unafraid to take certain risks.”
Those admirable “risks,” in Wyatt’s view, are composed of Couric putting a condom on a model of a penis, bringing a camera to her own colonoscopy, and criticizing a former Klansman.
Yesterday it was made official, Katie Couric is leaving the "Today" show on NBC to anchor the "CBS Evening News." While some CBS employees have been less than welcoming -- Andy Rooney for example -- for the most part CBS reporters have been good soldiers in promoting the company line. But, on this morning’s "The Early Show," co-host Harry Smith went above and beyond the call of duty in narrating a piece that was so laden with praise, it could have been mistaken for a eulogy. Take the following quotes for example:
Harry Smith: "Does Katie have the gravitas to anchor the evening news, to be the go-to guy, so to speak, on breaking news? Absolutely. Did you see Katie on 9/11? Have you seen her interview a president? She makes the powerful, uncomfortable, and makes real folks feel at home."
Reuters organized a panel discussion between a blogger, journalists, and a U.S. military spokesman. They couldn't agree on much, except that the coverage of Iraq is either too positive or too negative.
U.S. media coverage of Iraq is too polarized between "good news" and "bad news" and all sides are missing out on a complete picture, participants in a panel discussion organized by Reuters said on Wednesday.
That was one of the few points of agreement between journalists, a professional blogger and a U.S. military spokesman gathered in New York to discuss media in Iraq.
"If you write a 'good news' story from Iraq you are immediately identified as an apologist for the administration ... and if you write something critical then you're in the other camp," said Roger Cohen, a columnist for the International Herald Tribune who was recently in Iraq.
Geraldo Rivera, fresh from protecting children from the evils of hunting, decided to let America know how he REALLY feels about former House majority leader Tom DeLay. In the closing moments of the April 4 edition of Geraldo Al Large, Rivera opened the final segment with this monologue:
Rivera: "For me, the scariest man in American politics was never the Vice President, however intimidating Dick Cheney’s Darth Vader image may be. Now for the last decade, the real chiller that has been the former House majority leader, Tom DeLay of Texas. He's been the dark lord of Congress. And now he's gone."
Could NewsBusters be Matt Lauer's guilty pleasure?
Have a look at the two screen captures. The first depicts Pat Buchanan's Today show appearance of March 24th. You'll note that NBC sought to pass Buchanan off as a "Republican strategist." That bit of false packaging elicited this NewsBusters entry, taking NBC to task for its attempt to lull viewers into believing the show was presenting a balanced panel [Buchanan was paired for the day with former Clinton spokeswoman Dee Dee Myers].
Now look at the second screen shot, from Pat's Today show appearance of this morning, his first since March 24th. Today ditched the "Republican" tag, neutrally and accurately labeling Buchanan an 'MSNBC political analyst'.
Perhaps I was reading into things in light of the rampant speculation about Katie Couric's possibly imminent departure for the CBS Evening News anchor spot. But this veteran Today watcher sensed a distinct mood of nostalgia on the set this morning.
Katie Couric was back after a couple weeks vacation, and all the crew members went out of their way to remark on the reunion of the regular cast. Beyond that, there was something in the air as somber as Katie's black outfit, as if the cast sensed this might well be the last week they were together as a unit.
Lauer: "Haven't seen you for a couple of weeks. Good to have you back." The pair jokingly shook hands as if they were meeting for the first time.
Do you support rigorous measures to strengthen border security and tighten immigration controls? If so, you're probably a 'nativist' - read racist - or a rube, or very possibly both.
Don't believe me? Just ask Neal Gabler. Here's what he had to say on this evening's Fox News Watch:
"The conservative nativists, and maybe that's a redundancy, thought they had a winner here. What a great issue they have," he said sarcastically. "You can beat up on aliens and get all of those white folks for the 2006 election."
Conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton weighed in with two points of note:
"Bloggers like Mickey Kaus and Michelle Malkin have made the point that the MSM, especially the LA Times, hid the most inflammatory element of those pictures from their readers and viewers by not showing the profusion of Mexican flags and highlighting the relatively few American flags."