A particularly dour report on the situation in Iraq aired on this evening's NBC Nightly News (Sunday, February 26, 2006) (link with video). This is nothing new, but the last 20 seconds of the report featured remarks from a man named Nir Rosen, whom NBC innocently identified as an "Iraq analyst." Not surprisingly, Rosen is far from an impartial observer.
Here in Annapolis, Maryland, local, state, and national media
remained silent while Democrats in the General Assembly quietly
overrode no less than three vetos by Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich,
making Maryland's voting laws the least transparent and most liberal in
the nation. From local and state news sources, not a word was breathed.
From the national media, including, even, Fox News... Nothing!
Only author and WSJ columnist John Fund seems to have noted Maryland's radical moves towards their new "vote early and often" elections policy. As Fund aptly notes:
It should normally be difficult to
pick the worst state legislature in America, but Maryland's is way out
in front. First it overrode GOP Gov. Bob Ehrlich's veto of a special
health-care tax on Wal-Mart. Democratic legislators then passed three
election-related bills and again mustered the necessary three-fifths
votes to overturn his vetoes. Together the election laws would so
weaken safeguards against voter fraud as to make Maryland the nation's
prime example of Election Day irresponsibility.
Slate "Press Box" columnist Jack Shafer has a pictoral essay up today on "TV's Aryan Sisterhood," where he mocks the hair of anchor-babes from Paula Zahn to Katie Couric to Diane Sawyer. (He links to an old MRC page for a pic of Katie the Brunette.) This page (5 of 9) cracked me up:
I imagine that at one point in her life, the 60-year-old Diane Sawyer of ABC News was an honest blonde, but is there any middle-aged woman alive whose hair naturally looks like this? A relatively late arrival to the blond gang is NBC's Andrea Mitchell, 59, who looks like an Earl Scheib paint and body shop hosed her hair down with a gallon of Gold Leaf Metallic Clearcoat.
A year after Bill Moyers won a “career” award, the 2005 winners of the “George Polk Awards,” which “memorialize the CBS correspondent who was murdered while covering the civil war in Greece in 1948,” were announced late Monday. The winners, as selected by an advisory panel assembled by Long Island University, are a who's who of liberal activists, including left-wing New York Times columnist Frank Rich and Victor Navasky, the long-time Editor of the far-left The Nation magazine. Virtually all the winners in reporting categories went to journalists who revealed secret anti-terror operations, undermined the Bush administration's anti-terror efforts or embarrassed people and/or contractors linked to the Bush administration.
As posted tonight (Monday) by Romenesko, the “Television Reporting” award went to ABC's Brian Ross “for revealing the treatment, which many experts consider to be torture, that the CIA used in secret detention facilities. In naming the countries where the facilities were located as well as exposing the White House-approved 'enhanced interrogation techniques' used by the CIA...the reports triggered an avalanche of critical reaction from governments and the public around the world.” The “National Reporting” nod was earned by “Dana Priest of the Washington Post for unveiling the existence of secret CIA-run prisons and wrongdoing that included the death of an Afghan detainee and the attempted cover up of the mistaken imprisonment of a German citizen. Priest detailed the elaborate covert operations in a series of 10 articles that unleashed an international furor and raised troubling questions at home about the government's counter-terrorism campaign.” (More award winners follow.)
How do members of the media really feel about Dick Cheney? Mark Shields, a syndicated columnist appeared on the roundtable discussion show Inside Washington, which airs on Friday nights on local PBS powerhouse WETA.He blasted Cheney, linking the accident to his Vietnam deferments, saying:
"I’m just grateful that he had his five deferments, because, my God, if he’d had gotten a platoon, he would have wiped out half his own men."
Shields, who has previously connected Tom DeLay to the West Virginia coal mine tragedy, also accused the Vice President of not caring about the troops and possibly being drunk when he shot Harry Whittington. Shields, in one sentence, brought up the old canard that Cheney is running the country and also suggested that the Vice President doesn’t care as much about American soldiers as he does Harry Whittington:
The Associated Press issued a somewhat peculiar story this afternoon. The story? Rush Limbaugh made an error. Yup. Rush apparently mistook the fact that Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is a white man and not black, as he had announced on the air. According to the story, Limbaugh received e-mails from listeners correcting him. "Uh, Sherrod Brown's a white guy? Then I'm confusing him with somebody. OK, I'm sorry," Limbaugh is quoted as saying.
And ... this ... is ... news? I'm ... confused. That the Associated Press would find this episode newsworthy is almost weird.
Many posters at Free Republic are equally bewildered. "Must be a slow news day for the AP?" wondered one. My favorite: "The AP finds the speck in Rush's eye but ignores the log in theirs."
In case you didn't see it on the MRC home page, Vaughn Ververs from the "Public Eye" blog at CBSNews.com offered us space this week in their weekly "Outside Voices" feature. Their blog was set up in the wake of Rathergate to demonstrate more "transparency" or CBS news-making and also serve as "a forum for debate, a conversation about the news between the people who produce it and the people who consume it."
I tried to offer the CBS News staff and the wider media community a small sense of how we answer the questions and critiques we've received over the almost 20 years the MRC has been taping and transcribing and exposing. One accusation, an indirect attack from Bill Moyers, suggested conservative media critics want right-wing unanimity with no disturbing liberal counter-argument:
Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report today highlights a recent SFGATE.com article written by Matea Gold of the LA Times entitled Critics slam Cheney's interview choice. As predicted, the assualt on the Vice President, who waited approximately 24 hours before making an official announcement over the shooting incident this past weekend, has modified somewhat to include an assault on Fox News as well:
For days, the White House news corps has pounded the Bush administration, demanding to learn more about Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting companion Saturday.
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz today offers up an analysis of why Vice President Cheney chose Brit Hume -- and only Brit Hume -- to go public with the details of his hunting accident. This, of course, will be the next phase of the media's assault on the Vice President's character, which is about to become an assault on the character of Fox News as well; why would the Vice President forgo a press conference for an in-depth interview with just one person.
Former Clinton spokesman, Mike McCurry said this of Hume:
Hume was "impartial and balanced and fair" as an ABC correspondent covering Clinton, but that "he's in advocacy journalism now."
According to the website of the Media Giraffe Project -- "a non-partisan, interdisciplinary research initiative housed with the Journalism program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst" -- former New York Times ombudsman (or as they call it, "Public Editor") Daniel Okrent stated Monday night that "the general rolling over on the part of the American press allowed the [Iraq] war to happen." (Hat tip: Romenesko.)
Robert C.J. Parry, a first lieutenant in the California Army National Guard's 1st battalion of the 184 Infantry, has published a must-see op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times (Sunday, February 12, 2006), entitled, "The war you didn't see." In the piece, he reports something that is rarely reported but has been known by many all along: The mainstream media has been giving our troops a raw deal by harping on negative news and ignoring positive accomplishments.
"We served with honor. We served with valor. We earned distinction," writes Lt. Parry, as he recounts a number of brave actions in battle from men with whom he served. (Emphasis mine:)
"So far, 14 of our soldiers have been decorated for valor and another 48 have earned the Bronze Star for service. But that cannot be found in print.
The latest op-ed piece by liberal Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks is called, "When crass is called for" (Friday, February 10, 2006). It begins with the eye-opening line, "It's time to take a stand against civility, decency and appropriateness."
The rest of the column is essentially a defense of the tasteless remarks by Rev. Joseph Lowery and former President Jimmy Carter at the funeral of Coretta Scott King on Tuesday. At one point of her piece, Brooks unbelievably declares, "I saw nothing uncivil about the remarks made by Lowery and Carter."
And in her concluding paragraph, Brooks shrugs (emphasis mine), "And if Bush was offended by Lowery's and Carter's remarks? Tough luck."
MediaBistro's FishBowl DC bloggers, Garrett Graff and Patrick Gavin, posted an internal Washington Post report on racial diversity at the newspaper. The January 26 cover letter to newsroom staff from top editors -- Executive Editor Len Downie, Managing Editor Phil Bennett, and Deputy Managing Editor Milton Coleman -- boasted of increased diversity in hiring: "Through determined recruiting, we have increased the number of minority journalists working in our newsroom to an all-time high of 152, which is 23.5 percent of our professional staff. The two percent increase from 21.4 percent at the end of 2004 is the largest ever."
But the real dirt in the 30-plus page report is the testimony of anonymous Post reporters. This one sticks out for me, on page 5: "One person noted an anti-religion bias in the newsroom. When referring to the faithful, 'the word of choice around here is "kooks".'This same person felt offended during the recent coverage of the Pope’s death, when some of her colleagues, she said, were mocking the Pope. 'I was [too] intimidated to complain, even since my editor was part of it, so I got up and left. Faith is derided.'" Other reporters complained:
Nancy Soderberg, a former Ambassador to the United Nations and Foreign Policy Advisor under the Clinton administration, repeated the often-heard myth that President Clinton prevented Millennium attacks on the United States. Soderberg made the debunked claim as a guest on tonight's episode of The O'Reilly Factor (Thursday, February 9, 2006).
Soderberg's claim would refer to the arrest of terrorist Ahmed Ressam at the U.S-Canada border on December 14, 1999. It was later learned that Ressam planned to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on or around New Year's Day 2000. Clinton defenders have often falsely cited this incident as evidence that Clinton proactively and successfully defended the United States against terrorism.
In an article written earlier today by Benny Morris and published by the UK's Guardian Unlimited newspaper, famous historian and civil rights activist John Hope Franklin had this to say regarding his home:
"This country is so arrogant, so self-certain," he says,
asked whether the west is now engaged with the Muslim world in a war of
civilisations. "I am not sure that is what we are confronting. [But I
am also] not sure we have done what we ought to have done to cultivate
the rest of the world. We're so powerful and so presumptuous that it
makes us unattractive, almost unbecoming. We don't treat other
countries and people right. Power without grace is a curse."
But the Mohammad cartoons are “gratuitous assaults on religious symbols” and won’t be run by the paper.
Just yesterday, the Times wrote, in an editorial on the Danish cartoons of Mohammad, that “The New York Times and much of the rest of the nation's news media have reported on the cartoons but refrained from showing them. That seems a reasonable choice for news organizations that usually refrain from gratuitous assaults on religious symbols, especially since the cartoons are so easy to describe in words.”
Apparently the Arts pages didn’t get the memo, because it runs a photo of Chris Ofili’s dung-clotted “Holy Virgin Mary” painting in Wednesday’s Arts section story by Michael Kimmelman, who also calls the Danish cartoons “callous and feeble.”
Today's (Tuesday February 7, 2006) tasteless anti-Bush digs at Coretta Scott King's memorial service by Rev. Joseph Lowery and Jimmy Carter, a former President (!), are certainly newsworthy, but one place you didn't hear about them was during the 5 pm PST (8 pm EST) top-of-the-hour headlines on ABC News Radio. Instead, the announcers highlighted the fact that several Atlanta schools had the day off to make the day "educational."
It looks like additional education was delivered today through a lesson in classic media bias-by-omission.
Although the Times didn’t join the Philadelphia Inquirer in actually publishing the most controversial cartoon (Mohammad with a bomb for a turban), its tentative stand for free speech is nonetheless braver than the editorial page of the NYT Co.’s subsidiary paper, The Boston Globe.
According to a large story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on January 26th, income inequality is widening. Wrote David Westphal, "income inequality is likely to deepen beyond its growth of the 1980s and 1990s, when incomes of affluent Americans grew more than three times faster than those of the low-income."
"Inequality is growing in all parts of the country," said Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
"Certain trends have been favoring the left for the past several decades. In the early 1960s, transfer payments (entitlements and welfare) constituted less than a third of the federal government's budget. Now they constitute almost 60 percent of the budget, or about $1.4 trillion per year. Measured according to this, the US government's main function now is redistribution: taking money from one segment of the population and giving it to another segment. In a few decades, transfer payments are expected to make up more than 75 percent of federal government spending."
Ted Koppel produced his first column as a New York Times contributing columnist on Sunday, and Slate's "Press Box" media critic Jack Shafer didn't mince words. His headline calls it an "embarrassing debut." He makes it sound like Koppel is the editorial-page equivalent of a one-week wonder on "Skating With Celebrities." He begins by noting...
the invitation [to be a Times columnist] came from an "editor friend of mine," so the fault belongs to whomever assigned, accepted, and edited or rewrote Koppel's self-indulgent, self-congratulatory, late-to-the-party, and punishingly obvious 1,500-word piece about the state of television news. (It's bad.) It's not even Koppel's fault if he thinks he's any good at this columnist thing, when he isn't. If we were to belittle every person who stretched his talents until they pop, we'd have little time for anything else.
In a recent Nightline episode that aired January 27, 2006, Vicki Mabrey presented what some call a controversial program happening within the prison walls of Lawtey Correctional Institution. The issue at hand – faith in prisons, and not just Christianity.
Mabrey contends that even though officials cite success with their program it isn’t really sufficient because there aren’t any scientific studies that prove that these types of faith based programs help lower disciplinary actions or lower recidivism rates.
Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown gave a speech at Palm Beach, Florida’s Society of the Four Arts on Tuesday, and according to the Palm Beach Daily News, he didn’t have very nice things to say about the news industry including, “‘Truth no longer matters in the context of politics and, sadly, in the context of cable news.’"
According to the article: “Brown said he tried to give viewers a balanced diet of light and serious news with NewsNight. ‘But I always knew when I got to the Brussels sprouts, I was on thin ice,’ he said.”
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan visited Venezuela on January 24th and joined President Hugo Chavez at a speaking event for the sixth annual World Social Forum in Caracas. You may not have heard this story because it wasn’t mentioned on Today, the Early Show or Good Morning America, among others. This is one of those cases where the bias is in what’s not reported.
Last December, CNN’s American Morning did a "Top Five in ‘05" segment, featuring the year’s most interesting people and stories. Ms. Sheehan ranked number three, higher then Pope John Paul II. Earlier in the year, they gleefully covered her trip to England. CNN has, thus far, not bothered to report on Cindy Sheehan’s appearance with a dictator who imprisons his critics and, according to U.S. News and World Report, is "flirting with terrorism." CNN’s website did mention the anti war activist’s appearance at the event, but only in the article’s 19th and final paragraph. Is it possible that the mainstream media doesn’t want to point out the irony that Cindy Sheehan, who once described George Bush as "the biggest terrorist in the world," is now meeting with Hugo Chavez?
On the Jan. 19, "NBC Nightly News," introducing a story on Google's refusal to comply with a subpoena for Web search records, anchor Brian Williams alerted viewers to "a developing story in this country tonight that involves the collision of technology and privacy...The giant and successful search engine company has been subpoenaed by the Justice Department. They want to see exactly what people are searching for."
Fifteen additional reports graced the newscasts of the broadcast networks since then, according to a Nexis search, most of these focusing on the concerns of privacy advocates who fear overreaching by the Bush administration.
Five days later, the Associated Press reported that Google will censor Web sites the Chinese government deems objectionable:
California’s upcoming GOP primary just got interesting. Former U.S. Rep. and decorated veteran Paul "Pete" McCloskey recently announced that he will challenge Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) in June.
Often described as a "maverick Republican" (code word for liberal) by the mainstream media (MSM), McCloskey is being lauded as a "moderate" who will restore the conservative principles of small government to a scandal-plagued Washington. To drive the point home, Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay’s names are invoked frequently in articles on the subject.
McCloskey ran against President Richard Nixon in 1972 as an antiwar candidate and testified in congress along with Vietnam Veterans Against the War organizer John Kerry, who he also endorsed for president in 2004. All this, combined with having been co-chairman of the first Earth Day in 1970 and one of the authors of the Endangered Species Act, makes McCloskey a "good" Republican in the eyes of the media.
Hugh Hewitt thinks highly of Nicholas Lemann, dean of Columbia University's graduate school of journalism and a staff writer for the New Yorker. Last year, Lemann wrote a New Yorker profile of Hewitt which the subject considered “complete and fair.” Hewitt also was “impressed with [Lemann’s New Yorker] profiles of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. (The Cheney profile earned Lemann some animosity among colleagues, who thought him too gentle with the only man the left fears as much as Rove.)” Apparently, though, it’s possible to both write evenhandedly about right-of-center figures, and run one of the best journalism schools in the country, and still be clueless regarding basic conservative arguments on liberal media bias.
Courtesy of MEMRI.org, the website of the Middle East Media Research Institute, we find that the media apparently "mistranslated" the latest tape from Osama bin Laden. Although it was widely reported that bin Laden offered America a "truce," in fact what he offered was to adhere to a truce should we propose one. Translated by MEMRI.org, these are the relevant portions of what bin Laden actually said:
"We have no objection to accepting a long-term cease fire under fair conditions which we will uphold…both sides will benefit from such a cease fire, from security and stability…"
Unsurprisingly, one of the mistranslations originated with Al-Jazeera, which is hardly an impartial source. Indeed, one has to wonder whether they have a slot in the door marked, "al-Qaeda tapes." This is their translation of bin Laden’s statement:
On Thursday, angry liberal readers of the Washington Post forced the ombudsmen of the paper, Deborah Howell, to shut it down. In her Sunday column, written on 1/15, Howell wrote that Abramoff "had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties," prompting a wave of nasty reader postings on post.blog.
So much for our open-minded, elitist friends on the left, who are all to glad to once again enact another episode of "Do as I say, and not as I do." This is the same bunch that screams for openness and truth in media reporting, but only IF it hurts the GOP.
There were no Democrats involved with the Abramoff probe? After reading the latest online NYT assesment of the facts, you'd think that.
Ladies and Gentlemen - we have entered the twilight zone. In their ongoing efforts to obscure the depth and bipartisan nature of the congressional corruption scandal, the New York Times shows itself to be little more than a public relations organ of the Democrat Party. Committing the sin of omission once again, a piece on the Abramoff probe by Anne Kornblut neglects to implicate any Democrats in the scandal, instead focusing on slicing and dicing Bob Ney. The Grey Lady accomplishes this by dumping every allegation made in Abramoff's plea agreement all over the pages, mixed with the filtered responses of anyone who might support him (including his lawyer, who is quoted once with two sentences).