The U.S. government “ought to speak about the enablers in the American journalistic community” who have cooperated with WikiLeaks, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer urged on Monday’s night’s Special Report on FNC, recommending that if you “collaborate” with WikiLeaks, then “we are going to look into possible prosecution.”
It's a weighty charge, plagiarism. But your credibility in making it tends to dissipate when you do so on a site founded and run by an alleged serial plagiarist.
Arianna Huffington has been accused of lifting portions of a number of her books from other authors, and in one case had to dole out a 5-figure settlement to put plagiarism charges to rest. Her site has also taken heat from celebrities whose names appear on bylines on the site, but who didn't actually write those posts' contents.
If Juan Williams knew at 9:45 p.m. yesterday that he was out of a job, he sure didn't show it.
The same night he was fired by NPR, Williams appeared on Sean Hannity's "Great American panel" segment in an ostensibly cheerful mood, exchanging playful banter with the host and panelists.
"I love the sartorial splendor of his mutton chops," quipped Williams, referring to New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillian's facial hair. "And I'm thinking what would you look like with this? A little bit of that deputy dog look. You know what I'm talking about? You would look marvelous, my friend. That would be you as more liberal. That was a hip, younger Sean."
Medical marijuana is an evergreen (pardon the pun) topic for alternative weeklies, along with the return of vinyl records. The recent loosening of federal regulations under Obama have pushed the issue into the mainstream, with one surprising side effect -- a huge boost in ad sales for alternative papers and even some mainstream dailies, as medical marijuana businesses like "Happy Buddah" and "High Mike's" attempt to entice customers, er, patients.
But the New York Times, usually hypersensitive to how corporate advertising affects coverage of industry-related issues, didn't spot any potential conflicts in this case, even as a newspaper executive lamented how a tightening of a state law on medical marijuana could adversely affect his newspaper ad sales.
Reporter Jeremy Peters' report from Colorado Springs, "New Fuel for Local Papers: Ads for Medical Marijuana," on Tuesday's front page, failed to question whether such massive advertising for a controversial product could influence a newspaper's journalism. By comparison, the Times banned tobacco cigarette ads from its pages in 1999, and tobacco companies have long been prohibited from advertising their products on television and radio.
When it hit the streets here last week, the latest issue of ReLeaf, a pullout supplement to The Colorado Springs Independent devoted to medical marijuana, landed with a satisfying thud.
CNN aired a documentary featuring young conservative “guerrilla” journalists four times this weekend.
One of the four activists spotlighted on “Right on the Edge” was pro-life activist Lila Rose, who singlehandedly shattered Planned Parenthood’s image with her undercover videos exposing the abortion behemoth as a pedophile protector and disinformation dispenser.
I thought CNN treated all four conservative young guns quite fairly. One complaint about Lila’s segment would be there wasn’t much discussion of her findings at PP.
We can thank James O’Keefe (pictured right) for that, who sucked at least one quarter of the documentary’s hour away from the featured four with his incredibly stupid plan to punk CNN.
For some in the White House Press Corps, literally thanking God for the existence of a terrorist organization is less controversial than being owned by a company that gives more money to one political party than the other. That, at least, is the standard former WHCA president Edwin Chen has set forth. In an interview with the far-left blog Media Matters, Chen dubbed "a travesty" the WHCA's decision to award a front-row seat in the briefing room to Fox News. His objection? "The vacancy was created because of an ideological conflict," and would be filled by "another cloud of ideological conflict." The first ideological conflict to which Chen referred was Helen Thomas's retirement, forced by a video showing her making anti-Semitic comments. The second: the political contributions of Fox's parent company, News Corp.
Police Chief David Brown (pictured right) was pressed on this, and here was how blogger Andrea Grimes of the Dallas Observer interpreted his remarks:
But Ms. Jasso read my mind, asking the Chief to explain the... increase.... is it that victims are reporting rapes more frequently, or that more rapes are happening? The answer, unfortunately: More rapes, says Chief Brown, specifically date rapes. And we all know what the solution to date rape is: getting women to stop drinking, because that is what causes date rape. Not dudes raping women, but women drinking.
When former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) passed away this week, Fox Chicago News's political editor Mike Flannery described the late Ways and Means committee chairman as 'a giant of Chicago politics, remembered and beloved for negotiating legislation that helped create projects all over the state." Rostenkowski did indeed bring home the pork. But Flannery also writes that the congressman "was as responsible as anyone but Ronald Reagan for the 'Reagan tax cuts' of (the) early '80s."
In an accompanying video on Fox Chicago's Web site, Flannery recalls (at about 4:30) speaking to Rostenkowski and House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill (D-MA) in the first days of Reagan's presidency. They said that Reagan had been elected and "we're going to give him what he wants. He told us the number one thing is this tax deal and they said we're going to work with him."
Vanity Fair's national editor Todd Purdum has a long piece in the most recent issue (in the print edition only, as far as I can tell) bemoaning what he argues are the new and unique challenges facing the Obama administration, including the state of the news media. Purdum's opinions on the state of the news business boil down to a call for the press's continuing political uniformity.
He offers a quote from White House adviser Valerie Jarrett that also captures the author's opinions on the issue. Purdum writes:
Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett looks back wistfully to a time when credible people could put a stamp of reliability on information and opinion: "Walter Cronkite would get on and say the truth, and people believed the media," she says. Today, no single media figure or outlet has that power to end debate, and in pursuit of "objectivity," most honest news outlets draw the line at saying flatly that something or other is untrue, even when it plainly is.
Purdum's and Jarrett's statements are comprised of one part revisionist nostalgia, and one part liberal elitism. "Objectivity" was never really present. What they're longing for is the reliable white-collar liberalism of the 20th century news media.
Of all networks to go on to accuse Fox News hosts of faux anger, Anthony Weiner chose MSNBC. You know, MSNBC--home to Ed Schultz, who into his mid-40s was a Republican, and who described himself as a "fresh conservative voice" in seeking a GOP congressional nomination. MSNBC. Keith Olbermann's hang-out, the man whose stagey histrionics have made him a laughingstock even at his sister network's Saturday Night Live.
Weiner made his allegation in the course of responding to Mika Brzezinski, who asked whether he regretted "losing it" on the House floor last week in a vein-popping diatribe that became an instant YouTube classic. Said Mika savvily: "Come on. You've been on television. You understand how it all works. You knew it would be all over the place. Do you regret losing it?"
An unrepentant Weiner, rather than apologizing for his televised tirade, chose to point the finger at Fox.
If Anne Applebaum is to be believed, the existence of primary sources is in and of itself the reason the dead-trees should be kept around. She writes for Slate:
I didn't think it was possible, but Julian Assange has now done it: By releasing 92,000 documents full of Afghanistan intelligence onto the laptops of an unsuspecting public, the founder of Wikileaks has finally made an ironclad case for the mainstream media. If you were under the impression that we don't need news organizations, editors, or reporters with more than 10 minutes' experience anymore, then think again. The notion that the Internet can replace traditional news-gathering has just been revealed to be a myth.
Ironically, that passage shows one of the key problems with the mainstream media: they don't know anything. The Afghanistan documents collected by Wikileaks are not "intelligence," but field reports from regular combat units and special forces. Also, the notion that Wikileaks is some kind of news organization when it is really an online repository of documents-i.e. sources instead of reportage-shows the kind of unfamiliarity with basic facts that people like Applebaum, in the mainstream media, wrongly attribute to Wikipedia and ignore in themselves.
The Daily Caller released a new JournoList scoop today, and this one's a doozy. It confirms that reporters on the liberal media listserv did in fact collaborate with political operatives and campaign officials to spin media coverage in favor of Barack Obama.
The latest piece further debunks JournoList founder Ezra Klein's claims - also taken on by this humble blogger - that the email list did not include campaign or government officials, and was not used to manufacture talking points.
In fact, two members of the Obama campaign, Jared Bernstein and Jason Furman, were JournoList members during the race. Jeff Hauser reportedly signed a number of JournoList emails "Campaign Manager, Shulman for Congress," while he worked on New Jersey Democratic congressional candidate Dennis Shulman's campaign.
And talking points were a much-discussed issue. "JournoList’s greatest challenge is to make sure an actual win by Obama translates into winning the battle for political impact," Houser stated on one occasion. It doesn't get more explicit than that.
Fox Business is reporting that the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that President Obama signed recently includes a provision that exempts the Securities and Exchange Commission from responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. Fox wrote:
The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from "surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities." Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.
Several years ago, the media was confronted by several similar issues involving attempts by the Bush Administration to narrow the provisions of FOIA and exempt certain agencies from having to respond to requests filed under that act. The question that remains in these next few days as the media reports on this story is weather their response will be as condemnatory as it was when George W. Bush was in office.
UPDATE: Louis's retort considered - and debunked - below. UPDATE II: Louis makes a pretty outrageous claim on his twitter account. Details below.
Here's a helpful tip if you ever run for federal office: make sure to curry favor with journalists so that if you're ever charged with multiple ethics violations, those journalists won't ask you difficult questions. It works - just ask Charlie Rangel!
The New York congressman, chairman of the House panel in charge of the tax code, will likely be charged in a number of violations of the ethics code. Among the alleged violations is a charge that he extended a $500 million tax loophole to an oil executive in exchange for donations to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York.
No matter, says New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis, who admitted to refraining from asking Rangel any tough questions in an interview. His reason: Rangel has "been a friend to my show and he's given us a lot of good inside information."
The smarty pants set, breezily dismiss the contents of JournoList, the group made up of hundreds of mainstream journalists, bloggers, activists and Democrat policy wonks. The reasoning goes this way: how is it shocking that a bunch of like-minded people want to get together and chat? I mean, that’s just human. They’re young and liberal and brash, who cares?
Regardless, the record shows Scherer had very harsh words for Fox — a point that would be less relevant had Scherer not recently won a seat on the board of directors of the White House Correspondents Association.
Why does this matter? As you may recall, there is a battle taking place to determine which media outlet will get Helen Thomas’ front-row seat for White House briefings. Many believe that Fox News should get the seat.
The more details emerge about the liberal media listserv JournoList, the more it resembles the cabal of leftist message-coordination many conservatives feared. Though perhaps not the "vast left-wing media conspiracy" Fred Barnes proclaims, evidence points to concerted efforts to coordinate talking points, and now, to direct links between the Obama White House and JournoList members.
Ironically, those are two elements of the listserv of which creator Ezra Klein explicity claimed JournoList was completely devoid. "Is it an ornate temple where liberals get together to work out "talking points?" Of course not," Klein stated last year. He added, "There are no government or campaign employees on the list."
Both of those assertions are provably false (whether or not they were at the time). The former has been contradicted by a number of instances of JournoList members doing just that: coordinating talking points. The second claim is upended by recent revelations that Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's chief economic adviser, and unpaid "surrogate" adviser to the Obama campaign, was a member of JournoList while advising then-candidate Obama on economic issues.
Tucker Carlson posted a piece on his website, the Daily Caller, Thursday evening in what he claims is an attempt to refute two key criticisms of the website's recent exposes involving the lefty reporter listserv JournoList.
The first, that the reporters are opinion commentators and not "straight news" journalists Carlson says is irrelevant. "What we object to is partisanship," Carlson stated, "which is by its nature dishonest, a species of intellectual corruption… Those who engage in it are not journalists. They should stop pretending to be."
The second line of attack taken on in the post is the notion, "familiar to anyone who has ever published a piece whose subject didn’t like the finished product," that excerpts of JournoList emails published at the Daily Caller were taken out of context. Carlson challenged the accusers to publish the full emails and refute his charges.
Even though I as a pro-life blogger know I battle on the right side of history, on a day-to-day basis I sometimes don't feel like a victor. The fight seems so uphill, with money, political power, and MSM all against us.
So the following July 21 Politico story about what bloggers on the Left think of us was enlightening. Every time I get a peek into the other side's view of us I realize once again that they're paper tigers.
Also of note is the Left's view that Obama has clipped his agenda thanks to us, when we think his actions thus far demonstrate he is the most liberally radical president ever.
A journalist with a political agenda is not necessarily a dishonest one, and a journalist who claims to be objective is not necessarily honest. These are useful facts to bear in mind as media liberals call for Andrew Breitbart's head.
Breitbart posted video of recently-fired USDA official Shirley Sherrod claiming she considered race in allocating federal agriculture funds. The apparent racism was debunked when the entire video surfaced, showing that Sherrod had actually discouraged such actions. "This is what happens" wrote Eric Deggans for the St. Petersburg "when ideologically-focused noise machines are treated like real news outlets."
Conspicuously absent in Deggans's screed is any mention of the recently-discovered attempt by liberal commentators to maliciously - and falsely, by their own admission - brand their ideological opponents as racists. Also absent: any mention of the litany of instances of dishonest and counter-factual reporting from the purportedly "objective" media.
According to Poole, the Masjid Al-Noor mosque in Memphis posted an event entitled "A Weekend with Mohammed al-Hanooti" for the non-weekend dates of July 13 through 15 on its website. He has a screenshot of the mosque's event page and says that it is genuine, however, local Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal's Michael Lollar disputed Poole's findings in an article entitled "Hamas fundraiser not speaking at mosque."
Lollar only addressed the side of the mosque's administrators. According to Poole, Lollar made no attempt to contact him and Lollar's language in the article was dismissive of Poole's post, to the point of making it seem as though independently verifiable facts used by Poole were merely allegations and suppositions.
The confluence between the Obama administration and the journalists who cover it can leave news consumers wondering if they're getting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Two prominent media personalities -- liberal Fox News Channel commentator Bob Beckel and media mogul Mort Zuckerman, owner of the New York Daily News -- have recently let slip that they have worked closely with the Obama administration. Neither disclose this fact with regularity. Indeed, their recent admissions were revelatory.
Zuckerman, a self-described Obama supporter, has written at least one speech for the President. Beckel, who worked with David Axelrod during the campaign, is now an adviser in some capacity to the White House.
"MSNBC guest anchor Cenk Uygur filled in for the equally insane and inane Dylan Ratigan and pushed the crazy idea that President Obama is a conservative," he wrote. The video of the segment is all there because Dobbs embedded it from the Media Research Center.
Dobbs, who still has a talk radio show, then went on to criticize Uygur's twisted logic that, Uygur's words Obama "seems to have bought into the Republican talking point on deficits."
Then he went on criticize "the old-standby, Mr. Tingle Up His Leg Chris Matthews" for saying there are only two camps in the nation - "those who want things to improve and those who want to see the country, and therefore the president, fail."
In an interview on MediaBistro.com's 'Media Beat,' MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer told TVNewser editor Kevin Allocca about the cable network's high standards in its audition process: "...it's got to be like the Marine Corps obstacle course in order to land this job." She later complained about "difficult" guests: "When someone comes on with an agenda and their agenda is to take you down."
Allocca asked Brewer about some her toughest interviews. She responded by describing certain guests who "come on and they are prepared to be challenging and to be difficult." Two examples came to her mind, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Republican Senator Judd Gregg.
In recalling a January interview with Gregg, Brewer whined about how "it was a difficult interview to conduct." In reality, Gregg simply pointed out Brewer's liberal bias on the issue of government spending, after she equated Republican calls for less spending with cutting off funding for schools. Gregg pointed out that she was "being fundamentally dishonest" in her reporting.
During the Media Beat interview, she said of guests like Gregg: "...when you have guests on who are difficult or if they're – if they're sticking they're heels in the ground and they're really – you just end it, you move on."
Investigative journalist John Dougherty of Arizona deserves a hand from everyone concerned with liberal media bias, because he has given it up. Dougherty, pictured right in a photo from his website, has, shall we say, crossed the border from being biassed to seeking the Democratic nomination for US Senate.
In the late 80's he was involved with uncovering Charles Keating's use of campaign contributions to five senators-including John McCain, whom Dougherty would most likely face in an election-in exchange for putting pressure on banking regulators. He also investigated Governor Fife Symington, polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and Sherrif Joe Arpaio.
Whatever else he has done in the past, Dougherty has already succesfully morphed into a politician, writing a blog for the Huffington Post on illegal immigration and its relationship to crime that directly contradicts the conclusions he reached in an article he wrote for the High County News.
The video of journalists mocking Sarah Palin after a speech she delivered Friday is just the latest in a long line of media bias against the former Alaska governor and conservative superstar.
An open mic caught reporters and photographers criticizing Palin following a speech at a fundraising dinner at California State University. "Oh my God," one voice is heard saying, "I feel like I just got off a roller coaster, going round and round, and up and down. S*** flying out ... everywhere."
While this video is among the clearest examples of media hatred for Palin, the trend goes back at least two years, according to MRC Vice President for Business and Culture Dan Gainor.
"Back around the vice presidential debate in 2008 there were 37 negative stories on the broadcast networks, just two positive," Gainor told "Fox & Friends" June 27. "It's been a feeding frenzy ever since. Some of these journalists hate her so bad if she cured cancer they'd complain how many doctors she put out of work."
Gainor credited advances in technology with giving the American public a clearer picture of media bias in cases like the Palin video, Helen Thomas' anti-Israel comments, and Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel's anti-conservative e-mails.
"What they're discovering, and the key point is, their lies, their leaks, their embarrassing moments are going be to be held out there just like they've been doing to everybody else for decades," Gainor said. "My parents would say, ‘What goes around comes around.'"
One emerging narrative from the tale of Dave Weigel's resignation is the extent to which the journalistic left is insulated from opposing views. The two institutions involved, JournoList and the Washington Post, are exemplars of liberal epistemic closure.
Ezra Klein's now-defunct email list provided a forum for journalists to collaborate, as long as they were, in his words, "nonpartisan to liberal, center to left." No conservatives allowed. The Washington Post, meanwhile, hired Weigel, perhaps two notches left of center, to cover the right, while relying on Klein, a full eight notches left, to cover the liberal movement.
The scarcity of conservative views both on JournoList and in the Post demonstrate the insularity of political conversation among legacy media players. They apply intense scrutiny to conservatives, and fail in the most basic measures of introspection.
Normally, it would be a "dog-bites-man" story - overtly liberal media figures promoting a liberal, big government policy initiative. But when the left-leaning Project for Excellence in Journalism notices a trend, and the New York Times deems it worth reporting, something funny is going on.
On June 21, the Times' "Media Decoder" blog suggested that historians studying how ObamaCare passed "might assign a bit of the credit to liberal talk show hosts." The article cited a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (no right-wing outfit, that) showing that, during the lead-up to health care reform passage, "liberal hosts like Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz" spent nearly twice as much airtime on health care reform as did their conservative counterparts.
Left-wing hosts "spent 44 percent of their airtime talking about health care from June 2009 to March 2010, while conservative hosts spent 26 percent of their airtime on the subject," according to the article. Further, MSNBC gave it 32 percent of its airtime, while Fox gave it 20 percent.
Chris Matthews definitely took a "hard look" at the Tea Party, on Wednesday's "Morning Joe," in anticipation of tonight's MSNBC documentary "The Rise of the New Right." Tying the whole Tea Party movement together, the MSNBC "Hardball" host defined it as "McCarthyite," possessing a "fundamental questioning of authority," and viewing the federal government as an occupying force.
"It believes that this government is verging on tyranny," Matthews complained, pointing to the movement's use of the Revolutionary War-era Gadsden flag -- "Don't Tread on Me" -- in an ominous light.
When asked by Joe Scarborough if he would link members of the Michigan Militia featured in tonight's documentary (seemingly characterized in the preceding video clip as a radical fringe group), to Tea Party members who have campaigned for Scott Brown and Marco Rubio, Matthews answered that the various groups are all part of one movement.
"I'm tying the whole movement together," he asserted. "Because what you hear is that they all fly the same flag."
Completing a full spin through the revolving door, Linda Douglass, a long-time CBS and ABC correspondent before jumping aboard the Obama campaign in 2008 – followed by HHS and White House positions promoting ObamaCare -- has re-joined The Atlantic as a Vice President who “will concentrate on company strategy and communications,” the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz reported online Thursday morning.
Before joining the Obama campaign as senior strategist and senior campaign spokesperson on the road, Douglass toiled for National Journal, part of Atlantic Media which also owns The Hotline. Her first stint in the new administration was as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, followed by Communications Director for the White House’s Health Reform Office, a slot she left in April.
Atlantic Chairman David Bradley recognizes the conflict between her political agenda and being a journalist, but he told Kurtz “she's too big an editorial talent for us to keep her out of the editorial product.”
It's probably safe to assume that a lot of reporters in the mainstream media lean to the left side of the ideological spectrum. And it was seen throughout the health care debate over the past year and a half - that somehow we need to raise the rhetoric beyond hyperbole like death panels, etc.
"[T]he Post found itself in another potentially embarrassing and ethically compromised position on Wednesday after one of its most senior reporters abruptly canceled an appearance at her own book party, which was being sponsored by a public relations firm with strong ties to the Democratic Party," Peters wrote.