Journalistic Issues

By Brad Wilmouth | July 29, 2008 | 3:32 PM EDT

On Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume, during the show's "From the Political Grapevine" segment, FNC host Hume gave viewers another glimpse at the admiration offered terrorists in the Middle East as he reported that the Al-Jazeera network threw a birthday party for Samir Kuntar, a notorious terrorist recently released by Israel, who had previously been greeted by thousands of adoring fans when he returned to Beirut.

By Warner Todd Huston | July 29, 2008 | 9:47 AM EDT

In yet another example of why the west might not beat the onslaught of radical Islamofascism, Minette Marrin of the Timesonline thinks she has found a solution to the clash of cultures. Marrin details the extremism evinced by too many Muslims in England and then posits a solution: ban all religion. Talk about an absurd idea. It's as foolish as throwing out the baby with the bath water.

By Warner Todd Huston | July 28, 2008 | 11:37 PM EDT

The Associated Press injected an editorial comment into the news... again. A few days ago, the AP issued a piece headlined Senate Republicans block heating aid bill, in which the AP made it seem as if Republicans don't care about "the poor" and are only interested in mere political partisanship. This report featured quotes showing how wonderful and caring the Democrats are but not a single quote from any Republican to explain their stance. It also clearly discounted the GOP position while positively spinning the Democratic position.

The story concerns the GOP's blocking of a Senate Democrat bill to double the Federal aid to "the poor" to subsidize their heating and air-conditioning bills. First of all, I wasn't aware that it was Constitutionally mandated that "the poor" get free air-conditioning, but that is another story. The editorializing comes in with the second paragraph.

By Lyndsi Thomas | July 28, 2008 | 11:47 AM EDT

Judy Woodruff with Andrew Tyndall, PBS's News Hour | NewsBusters.orgBarack Obama’s overseas trip has garnered an incredibly large amount of media attention, especially with the three broadcast network anchors going along for the ride. But lately, some are beginning to recognize the “Obamania” present within the mainstream media, including members of the media themselves.

On the July 25 edition of “News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” PBS joined in on the acknowledgement that media coverage of Obama has been unprecedented and overwhelming as Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff discussed the media coverage of John McCain and Barack Obama with Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the Tyndall Report, and Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Before the guests appeared, Woodruff recounted the media attention given to Obama’s overseas trip, noting that the press corps following Obama was “larger than usual” and that late night comics had even poked fun at the adoration members of the media have shown for Obama.

By Tim Graham | July 27, 2008 | 5:22 PM EDT

Barack Obama returned to Chicago Sunday and made an appearance before the UNITY minority journalists' convention (including the whole soup of black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalist solidarity groups.) The Chicago Tribune's Swamp blog found some journalists were restrained, and some were not:

By Warner Todd Huston | July 27, 2008 | 9:30 AM EDT

I do believe that liberals in this country have their tin foils hats on way too tight these days. At least, it's easy to think that over the new national conspiracy theory that lefties are all balled up over lately. You see, it is being imagined in the dim, dark recesses of the left's collective consciousness that cable company Comcast is out to silence them.

Apparently, Comcast has come down from their circling black helicopters and decided to target the left by moving MSNBC from their basic cable package to their more expensive premium services. This will, you see, "marginalize outspoken liberal voices" like Keith Olbermann.

By Warner Todd Huston | July 27, 2008 | 12:59 AM EDT

No one should be surprised, but journalists -- you know, those fair, balanced and unbiased professionals -- give more of their political donations to Democrats than they do Republicans. Not by just a little, either. By a 15 to 1 margin.

Brit Hume has a small bit on his Political Grapevine about political donations and he mentions an IBD editorial on the money trail. The piece is by William Tate (a better version of Tate's piece is at and it shows a whopping bias towards the Democrats in donations from our fourth estate (or is that fifth column?).

By Warner Todd Huston | July 26, 2008 | 5:18 AM EDT

<p><b>** Now With Update... A Soldier Speaks **</b></p>

<p><img height="158" hspace="0" src=" width="200" align="right" border="0" />The New York Times is miffed. They aren't happy that there has been a dearth of news photos showing dead American soldiers in the war in Iraq. The Times is lamenting that there have been "<a href="">4,000 U.S. Combat Deaths, and Just a Handful of Images</a>," so more carnage and death is their druthers. Well, more American dead, anyway. They aren't interested in the dead of the enemy, to be sure.</p>

<p>Using the story of photog Zoriah Miller who had his embed status removed when he publicized photos of dead U.S. Marines after a suicide bombing, the Times reveals their pique over the fact that not enough dead Americans have been peddled to the American public. The Times denounces the military for protecting the troops and their families saying, "after five years and more than 4,000 American combat deaths, searches and interviews turned up fewer than a half-dozen graphic photographs of dead American soldiers."</p>

<p>Complaining for opponents of the war that the lack of casualty photos has created a a situation where the "public portrayal of the war is being sanitized," the Times wonders if the homefront is being badly served because we here are not seeing the "human cost of a war that polls consistently show is unpopular with Americans."</p>

By Warner Todd Huston | July 26, 2008 | 12:20 AM EDT

Apparently, Bild, a newspaper in Germany, hires 14-year-old, starry-eyed, fan-girls as reporters instead of serious grownups. Or, at least one would be excused in thinking this reporter was a rock-star struck teeny bopper upon reading her gushingly immature account of having an exercise work out with Barack Obama on the German leg of his trip. This report is so obsequious, so saccharine, that it is painful to read. The whole incident is really banal and uneventful in retrospect, but this reporter builds it into orgasmic proportions showing how the press, even in Europe, have allowed hero worship to overtake even the tiniest shred of journalistic integrity.

Judith Bonesky's breathless account so overplays reality that it is sickening. Even the title shows that the writer was acting like a goofy child unable to restrain her boundless enthusiasm. Like a teenaged, Hannah Montana fan, Bonesky blurts out excitedly, "I worked out with Obama!" -- yes, even with an exclamation point at the end. So much for objective, dispassionate reporting.

By Warner Todd Huston | July 25, 2008 | 12:38 AM EDT

Obama's speech today in Berlin, hailed as a "major" address, has at least one major, glaring error that shows that nether Obama nor his handlers and speech writers were thoroughly familiar with the facts. Obama's main theme was about the "walls" that separate all of us one from another. He claims that many of these "walls" have been taken down and hails that as progress. But in at least one instance he is wrong. In fact more walls have been built where Obama claimed they were taken down.

First the relevant section of Obama's misconception (my bold for emphasis):

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

(Full Obama speech transcript here.)

Obama claims that the walls built to separate Protestant from Catholic have come down in Belfast. Well, in fact, they have not. In reality MORE ARE BEING BUILT all the time.

By Rich Noyes | July 24, 2008 | 9:16 AM EDT

It’s not just the thrills racing up and down Chris Matthews’ leg. Writing in Thursday’s Investor’s Business Daily, author William Tate documents that campaign donations from employees of big media companies are tilting 100-to-1 in favor of the Democrats so far this election cycle.

That’s right, 100-to-1.

[UPDATE: FNC's Bret Baier, in the "Grapevine" segment on the Friday, July 25 Special Report with Brit Hume, read an item on the IBD numbers.]

It’s perhaps not a surprise that those working for NBC Universal are the most eager givers to the Democrats, racking up $104,184 in contributions this cycle, compared to just $3,150 to Republican candidates. Maybe more surprising is that those at Fox broadcasting and the Fox News Channel combined to give $41,853 to the Democrats, with no listed donations going to the Republicans. (Only $1,280 was listed as coming from Fox News employees.)

By Warner Todd Huston | July 24, 2008 | 6:58 AM EDT

Remember when McCain said that he had visited all 57 States during his campaign? Then there was the time that McCain said "Well let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel's." Oh, and what about the time that McCain said "10,000 people died" in the Kansas tornadoes (death toll really 12). Crazy stuff, eh? Wait, let's not forget when McCain said that Arkansas was a "nearby" state to Kentucky. Man was that a major flub showing a complete lack of knowledge of simple geography.

Hmm, wait a minute. I might be making a flub myself, here. Didn't Obama make all those gaffes (and many, many more)? Why, yes, he did. So, why, amidst an ever growing list of Obama flubs and gaffes, did the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz just pen a story titled "Is McCain's Age Showing? Tongues Wag Over Flubs"? It's as if the Obamessiah has spoken in flawless, if not mellifluous, English with nary a gaffe uttered throughout the campaign.