Maybe you've heard about former Vice President Al Goreaccusing the United States of "terrible abuses" that include "indiscriminately round[ing] up" Arabs and holding them in "unforgivable" conditions. Oh, yeah: The remarks were made on Sunday on foreign soil in Saudi Arabia. If you have heard about this story, it wasn't from a print edition of the Los Angeles Times, who has failed to publish even one word about the episode (as of February 14, 2005)!
Yet the Times has found room for two front-page, above-the-fold headlines in the last two days on the Cheney hunting story. Get this: The headline in today's print edition (Tuesday, February 14, 2006) is, "Cheney Lacked $7 Hunting Credential." That's right. "Cheney Lacked $7 Hunting Credential" merited an above-the-fold headline on page A1 of the LA Times. Yet there is nothing on a former Vice President (who came awfully close to becoming President) criticizing his country on foreign soil? Yikes.
These pictures may be worth more than a thousand words. On Monday, White House officials acknowledged that, yes, photographs did exist of President Bush in a classic grip-and-grin with Jack Abramoff, the disgraced Republican lobbyist at the center of a bribery and corruption scandal in the capital. But that did not mean, they said, that Mr. Bush had a personal relationship with him.
Wow. Are you reading an issue of The Nation? No - it is none other than an objective, balanced and fair-minded NYT reporter suggesting that a half-dozen pictures of President Bush with Jack Abramoff at various events and fundraisers over the past five years is somehow proof of nefarious wrongdoing.
Today's Washington Post Style section offers a pile of articles worthy of comment. First, Post fashion critic Robin Givhan saddled up for another politicized fashion critique, trashing the fashions of slimy GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Less predictable than Givhan trashing Abramoff (in betting terms, that article was a drop-dead lock) is Tom Shales going postal on NBC's desperate-Episcopal drama "Book of Daniel." His headline calls it "A Mean-Spirited, Unholy Mess."
In short, he concluded: "I cannot recall a series in which a greater number of characters seemed so desperately detestable -- a series with a larger population of loathsome dolts. There ought to be a worse punishment than cancellation for a show that tries this hard to be offensive and, even at that crass task, manages to fail."
When in 2003 Rush Limbaugh suggested that the media, hoping for a black-quarterback success story, had over-rated Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, he was subjected to a firestorm of criticism and ultimately resigned his post on an ESPN pre-game football show.
Can you imagine what the media would have done to Rush had he dared to employ the classically racial "feets don't fail me now" line, immortalized by black actor Mantan Moreland in the '30s-'50s?
Yet that is exactly what major ESPN personality Chris Berman did a few minutes ago in introducing coverage of this afternoon's Denver Broncos game.
He apparently said it vis a vis white Denver Broncos QB Jake Plummer.
New York Times writer John Leland reviews the growing phenomenon of Christian film criticism -- and how it now both evaluates the artistic and moral content. While it's nice to see the Times notice and even publicize conservative cultural efforts, Leland still employs the notion that the permissive liberal critics represent the "mainstream" of the media. They love the gay-cowboy flick "Brokeback Mountain," while the conservatives are cooler to it:
"Brokeback Mountain" has received overwhelming acclaim from mainstream critics, but elicited a different reaction from conservative Christian media: respectful and often laudatory, but finding biblical fault with the film's content."
This year’s Christmas season has been marked by a pitched battle sparked by John Gibson’s book "The War on Christmas." The trend is hot enough that liberals are taking umbrage at the idea that Christians like the word "Christmas" and want to tell America’s most massive retailers that the last few weeks of the year are not centered on some winter festival without religious significance. But there's an entirely different "war," Brent Bozell writes this week, a nastier, more intolerant war going on in cable TV-land:
The Viacom corporation is an active participant through its Comedy Central channel. Its method is not excessive sensitivity, but wild-eyed insensitivity. This cable sinkhole is attacking Christianity with contemptuous mockery. It’s TV programming that approximates urinating on the Koran, except that is to be condemned, and this is to be celebrated.
This is the second update (third installment) of a series that began just before Thanksgiving looking at how the words "Christmas" and "holiday(s)" are being used. I have sensed a couple of tendencies over the years and wanted to see if my suspicions were accurate this Christmas season, and did Google News searches on November 23, December 7, and this morning to investigate.
Here are this morning's results (Dec. 22, 9AM ET):
On Tuesday morning, the network morning shows all began with full stories on the New York City transit strike (no doubt involving dozens of struggling network employees). As I remarked today to Mark Finkelstein on his strike blog post, the New York-based media has an annoying tendency to elevate itself into the center of the news universe on local issues. (Put the same event in San Francisco or Seattle, and the national media would barely whisper.) And now, an example: merely a few weeks ago, at Halloween time, Philadelphia also had a transit strike. As Rich Noyes pointed out to me, it drew an 800-word story in the November 1 New York Times headlined "400,000 Hit by Philadelphia Transit Strike." Major morning show hubbub? Of course not.
Secular liberalism emerges in the funniest places, or pages. There was a Washington Post review yesterday of Carrie Underwood’s new country album. In attacking the entire album as a pre-fabricated mishmash, Dave McKenna had to mock her mention of Jesus Christ in the music:
Montgomery Gentry are too blue collar for blue America.
At least that's the impression you would get reading Bill Friskics-Warren's review of the country duo's latest album, a "greatest hits" entitled Something To Be Proud Of.
"Staunch blue-collar populists" like Montgomery Gentry, worries the reviewer, root themselves in nostalgia for a time before "among other cultural advances, the women's and the the civil rights movements."
As proof of sexism and misogyny, Friskics-Warren bemoans the subject of "She Couldn't Change Me" being "put in her place," and is chagrined by the "smugness of the song's macho protagonist."
It's nothing to do with political bias, but I think PC Magazine columnist John Dvorak's latest column makes an interesting allegation: that the technology media favor Apple products over Windows-based ones. Here's an excerpt:
With 90 percent of the mainstream writers being Mac users, what would
you expect? The top columnists in the news and business magazines fit
this model too. The technology writers fit this model. The tech writers
and tech columnists for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and Fortune
are all Mac users. I could list them by name, but I'd hate to leave one
out. Maybe I'll blog them by name. I could list 50. Readers should thus
not be surprised by the overcoverage of Apple Computer. Every time
Steve Jobs sneezes there is a collective chorus of "Gesundheit" from
tech writers pounding away on their Macs. [...]
What's bad for Microsoft is that the bias against it is subtle—kind of
like any sort of media bias, whether religious or political. As one
critic once said regarding the supposed left-wing slant of the daily
news media, "It's not what they write, it's what they write ABOUT that
matters." Story selection. Microsoft can roll out a dozen cool
products, and the media goes ga-ga over the video iPod—a rather
late-to-market Apple product.
Is Dvorak right or wrong? Please keep the flames to a minimum.