For the rest of the campaign, the Media Research Center will each Tuesday announce its picks for the “Worst of the Week,” meaning the most egregious, horrendous and stupefying liberal bias of Campaign 2008. This week, the spotlight shines on those journalists who rushed to the side of Barack Obama after his minister’s radical comments, and NBC’s ridiculous effort to hype bad economic news [audio/video links below fold]:
Feeling Obama’s Pain. After Barack Obama’s former pastor’s radical remarks at the National Press Club, liberal journalists rallied around the Democratic candidate. Hours after Jeremiah Wright spoke on April 28, NBC’s Brian Williams emphasized those who deemed it a "circus" and a "sideshow," as his NBC Nightly News highlighted the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart: "Unfortunately, the victim in all of this is going to be Senator Obama’s campaign."
A 15-year-old British girl named Camilla Hempleman-Adams is being hailed as a "hero" for trekking across the ice floes of the North Pole to become one of the youngest women to explore the frozen world of the penguin... well, at least as far as MSNBC is concerned. In their report on the feat of endurance, MSNBC had a shot (about a minute into the video) of penguins on an ice floe. Only one little problem: penguins don't live at the North Pole. Oopsie.
So, the question remains; if these people can't even get a simple fact like that correct, how can we believe them that global warming is destroying the world? If they don't even know where the penguin lives, how can we believe their "science" that states the world is doomed with global warming?
Government meddling with the free-market forces can have ill consequences. Just look at how government mandates for corn-based ethanol have affected the global food supply.
According to CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi, CNN viewers rate the economy as the most important issue and named gas prices as their number one concern. "AOL Money Coach" Hilary Kramer agreed with viewers, but regarded Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's proposal as "valuable" when matched with alternative energy legislation.
"Absolutely right," Kramer said on CNN's May 5 "Issue #1." "That's why Barack Obama with a $150 billion package that he wants to jumpstart an entire industry alternative energy and clean technology could be very valuable, especially matching that up with legislation to force the use of alternative energy."
Check out the screencap from Carol Costello's CNN Newsroom segment of this morning on Hillary's gas-tax holiday plan. Costello's message: Clinton's proposal isn't just bad economics. It's not simply Santa Claus politics. No, it could . . . put your life in danger.
CAROL COSTELLO: For cash-strapped consumers, any reduction in gas prices would be like, well, like Santa coming into town early—or so it seemed on the stump.
Rosie O'Donnell appeared on the May 5 "Today" show in its fourth hour, claiming that many have confused her "passion for rage" much in the same way as they've misunderstood Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Indeed, claimed the former "The View" co-host, Obama's former pastor "made sense to me." [Audio available here.]
O'Donnell also defended Wright's conspiracy theory view on AIDS, chalking that up to Wright's "genetic memory" of the Tuskegee Institute. O'Donnell incorrectly asserted the U.S. government infected the patients in that syphilis study.
Below is the transcript, taken down by NewsBusters resident O'Donnellogist Justin McCarthy (emphasis ours):
When it comes to the economy, "it's not good. Not good," according to Jon Stewart. "But don't take my word for it. Seriously, I'm actually doing very well."
On May 1, "The Daily Show" host was introducing a segment that made light of doom-and-gloom economic reporting on network and cable news. His mash-up highlighted CBS's own "Grim Reaper," Anthony Mason, ABC's Betsy Stark, NBC's Brian Williams and CNN's senior business correspondent Ali Velshi.
Stewart poked hardest at Velshi, whom he called that "Hairless Prophet of Doom."
"Who is that hairless prophet of doom and how can we appease his anger, please?" Stewart pleaded, "If we give you our hair will you give us back our money? Will you do it, sir? I beg of you - Velshi!"
The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.—Archilochus (7th-century BC)
Mark Penn might not be appearing before the cameras on Hillary's behalf nowadays, but bet that he is beavering away behind the scenes on his polling. And judging from Hillary's dogged [to mix an animal metaphor] performance on this morning's Today, it's obvious the pollster's turned up one big thing: Dem primary voters hate oil companies.
Meredith Vieira gamely tried to get Clinton onto other subjects during her interview. But no matter the question, the answer was almost invariably the same: I Hate Big Oil. Since the questions were irrelevant, let's dispense with them and simply count the ways in which Hillary expressed her wrath at those evil purveyors of oil.
My two cents say George Stephanopoulos gave Hillary a harder time than Tim Russert did Obama during their respective appearances on This Week and Meet the Press today. Russert never pinned Obama down on exactly what he knew of Rev. Wright's most controversial assertions and when he knew it.
Over on ABC, Stephanopoulos twice challenged Hillary to name a single economist who supported her proposal for a gas-tax holiday, and threw in her face the fact that even her big admirer in economist ranks, Paul Krugman of the NY Times, has criticized her over it. In exposing her inability to name a single practitioner of the dismal science who supported her plan [McCain, who's also called for a gas-tax holiday would presumably be similarly hard-pressed], Stephanopoulos left Clinton looking like a panderer. Stephanopoulos raised the issue right out of the box.
Imagine that a "documentary" film-maker—whose most notable former credit was a work advancing the notion that extra-terrestrials did indeed visit Area 51—brought forth a new work suggesting that key elements of the Prophet Mohammed's story had been fabricated. What are the odds ABC would devote a segment of Good Morning America to a respectful interview of the filmmaker and discussion of his work?
But that's exactly what ABC did regarding someone who has produced a documentary ["Bloodline"] calling into question key aspects of the story of Jesus Christ. Here's how GMA weekend co-anchor Bill Weir introduced the segment this morning:
Well, here's a question, was Jesus married with children? Was the Resurrection a trick pulled off by his widow? The possibility, the world's greatest cover-up, was the basis of the smash novel and movie The Da Vinci Code. And though those ideas have been largely dismissed by academics as fiction, documentary film-maker Bruce Burgess believes he has now found evidence to advance that theory. Here's a clip from his new film.
On the day the government reported a tenth of a point drop in the unemployment rate and two days after news of a second straight quarter of 0.6 percent GDP growth proved the nation is not in a recession, Friday's NBC Nightly News delivered a ridiculously shallow story, based on two anecdotes and a couple of advocates, to prove rising prices are forcing the elderly out of their homes and into vans and soup kitchens. Anchor Brian Williams promised “an interesting look...at the toll that rising prices, of things like gas and food, is taking on Americans living on fixed incomes.” [audio available here]
Chris Jansing [that's her by the van] traveled to Northridge, California, just north of Los Angeles, where she found 82-year-old Betty Weinstein, stunned by a water bill, turning to a second reverse mortgage to stay in her home. But she at least still has a home. Jansing then highlighted an even sadder case:
Rising rents forced Scott and Kate Bishop to move out of this blue house and into their van, sleeping on a mattress in the back.
But it got worse: “And now high food costs have meant, for first time in their lives, the Bishops have gone hungry.” Jansing cited no source for her claims as she asserted: “Soup kitchens and food banks are seeing record numbers of seniors asking for help for the first time in their lives,” but “now donations here are down as middle class donors struggle to feed their own families.”
Although the economy is showing only a slow rate of growth, consumer spending actually showed an increase for the month of March. But, don't be fooled - that's a bad sign, according to "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.
"[T]he government reported today that consumer spending in March shot up twice as much as economists were expecting, and it's not because we're buying more - it's because the prices are so much higher, especially food," Couric said on the May 1 broadcast.
On the April 30 edition of "BBC World," Justin Webb reported on rising fuel costs and how the increase in prices affect the American public. According to Mr. Webb, many Americans drive cars nearly the size of big rigs, and will need to spend their tax rebate on fuel, thereby doing little for the economy at large. After all, if a big rig tank takes over a thousand dollars to fill, many American cars must face similar costs. [Audio available here] Transcript below:
“Many Americans drive private cars not much smaller than this truck, and the risk is that they use their tax rebate simply to buy fuel, boosting the profits of the oil companies but doing little or nothing for the wider American economy.
ABC reporter Claire Shipman filed a report from Rome on Friday in which she breathlessly informed viewers that "many Catholics are rethinking their views of [Pope] Benedict XVI." According to Shipman, "most [U.S.] Catholics" thought, at the time of his selection, that Benedict "might clash with American values." Throughout the segment, which aired on "Good Morning America," Shipman appeared shocked at how well the pontiff's April trip to the United States went. [audio available here]
Shipman even trotted out the media's favorite insulting epithet for the Pope. She derided, "Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as the pontiff used to be known, was considered a stern hard-liner, nicknamed 'God's rottweiler.'" After mentioning Benedict's visit to a U.S. synagogue, his meeting with victims of sexual abuse by priests, the journalist marveled, "Could this Pope so many had written off as a tough guy be a teddy bear in disguise?" Wouldn't it be more honest to admit that the "many" and "most" Shipman kept referring to are actually members of the media? After all, most Catholics hadn't heard of Joseph Ratzinger when he was chosen to be pope in April of 2005. ABC reporters, on the other hand, quickly made their thoughts on the selection clear.
Hillary Clinton's recent appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" was a play for superdelegate support at the Democratic Convention, MRC President Brent Bozell argued on the May 2 "Fox & Friends" in a segment joined by liberal talk show host Mike Papantonio. [audio available here]
Asked about the media and if it will follow up any more on the Rev. Wright controversy, the NewsBusters publisher quipped that, "[u]nless Jeremiah Wright sends a cruise missile back in their direction, no, the networks aren't going to touch this, and the New York Times is going to leave this alone. That's the end of the story, that's the way it goes."
Below is a transcript of some remarks from Bozell's appearance on the May 2 "Fox & Friends":
What legitimate journalistic purpose did this serve?
In a segment narrated by Pete Williams on the apparent suicide of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called DC Madam, this morning's Today played the tape of the 911 phone call made by Pelfrey's 76-year old mother, who had discovered her daughter's body.
Of all the 911 calls I've heard, this was the most anguished and heart-rending.
Though she leavened it with considerable levity, there's no escaping the bottom line: Mika Brzezinski sees Pat Buchanan as a nut. An affable one, to be sure. Even one with interesting things to say. But at heart, a nut. A "crazy uncle" fit for the same crate of cracked pots as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
The prelude was Mika's reading of an excerpt from a brilliant essay by Charles Krauthammer in today's WaPo. Writing of Obama's recent attempt to definitively hurl Rev. Wright under the Greyhound, Krauthammer observed:
It's hard to think of an act more blatantly expedient than renouncing Wright when his show, once done from the press club instead of the pulpit, could no longer be "contextualized" as something whites could not understand and only Obama could explain in all its complexity.
Turns out the Wright show was not that complex after all. Everyone understands it now. Even Obama.
How did the CBS Evening News explain away the much-smaller size of pro-immigration rallies around the country today? Fear and intimidation on the part of prospective participants. But fear of what? Physical threats or illegal reprisals? No. Of simple enforcement of US law. CBS singled out for praise one marcher who wouldn't be "intimidated."
CBS correspondent Sandra Hughes narrated the segment, which included these morsels.
After Jimmy Carter and Joy Behar, CNN’s Larry King had a prominent liberal guest on his show for the third night in a row on Wednesday, this time Michael Moore. After King played a clip from Bill O’Reilly’s interview of Hillary Clinton which concerned the issue of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Moore pulled out the "black rage" card, as well as the stereotypical rich white liberal guilt. "[Y]ou have to ask yourself, Larry, what's it like to be black in America? And what kind of rage would you feel? And if you did feel that rage, what kind of things would you say that, at times, would be outrageous, crazy even, because you've had to live through this for so long. And I do not believe, as a white guy, that I am in any position to judge a black man who has had to live through that." [audio clip here]
Moore appeared as a guest on "Larry King Live" for the entire hour of the program. His comments on Wright came twenty minutes into the program. Besides explaining away Wright’s many polarizing and outlandish statements, he also attacked Hillary Clinton for her actions in the campaign, as well as his more usual targets of George W. Bush and John McCain.
At the April 29 Rose Garden press conference, Ryan asked President Bush the following question about the economy:
I talked to [Rep.] James Clyburn [D-S.C.] before this press conference. He said, "As a man thinketh, so are we." And Americans believe we are in a recession. What will it take for you to say those words, that we are in a recession?
Of course the following day, data from the federal government show the U.S. economy in slow economic growth, but far from the six months of negative growth needed for a recession. No matter to Ryan, who today went from applying the "as a man thinketh" logic to a 5-year old liberal media meme about the war in Iraq. Appearing shortly after 11:30 a.m. EDT on MSNBC to discuss the 2008 presidential race, Ryan parroted liberal talking points on the Iraq war:
It's turning out to be a red-letter day for Hoosiers. This morning, Joe Scarborough tricked Mika Brzezinski into agreeing that the famous coach of the Indiana basketball team was Bear Bryant, of all people, rather than Bobby Knight. This afternoon on MSNBC, when Howard Wolfson questioned the Hoosier bona fides of a superdelegate who today announced he was switching from Clinton to Obama, Andrea Mitchell turned the Clinton aide's gambit back on Hillary with a vengeance.
Superdelegate Joe Andrew, who in the 90s was elevated to DNC chairman with the backing of Bill Clinton, and who had earlier endorsed Hillary, today announced that he was switching his support to Obama. The timing is critical since it comes just days before the Indiana primary, and Andrew hails from the Hoosier state.
Mitchell, hosting her regular 1 PM ET politics show on MSNBC, mentioned that fact to Wolfson. When Wolfson tried to undercut Andrew's Indiana affiliation, Mitchell riposted in spades, citing the multiple states to which Hillary has claimed connection. Andrew later appeared himself, setting the record straight.
Aren't southern gentlemen supposedly chivalrous? Yet Joe Scarborough, son of the Florida Panhandle, today exploited Mika Brzezinski's less-than-encyclopedic knowledge of sports to lure his Morning Joe colleague into agreeing that the famous former coach of the Indiana University basketball team was none other than . . . Bear Bryant.
The jumping-off point was Joe's wearing of a red sweater today, which as a running gag he claimed was in solidarity with the workers of the world on this, May Day. But when Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, a Hillary supporter, came on toward the end of the show, Scarborough pressed the sweater into double duty.
Would it have been any better for Barack Obama to have said people "rely" on bigotry rather than "cling" to it? I don't think so, but apparently he does . . .
This morning's "Today" aired an extended clip from an interview Meredith Vieira recently conducted of Barack and Michelle Obama. The full interview will be shown Saturday on MSNBC. While I didn't detect any blockbuster moments, there were a few notable nuggets.
On the issue of why he didn't distance himself from Rev. Wright sooner, Obama says: "When those first snippets came out, I thought it was important to give him the benefit of the doubt." That would suggest Obama actually had some doubt as to where Rev. Wright stood. Is that credible, after 20 years in the angry pastor's pews?
Dittoheads, you've been dissed. Chris Matthews has dismissed you as "manipulable"— mind-numbed robots, you might say. CNBC's John Harwood seconded the snub. It happened on this evening's Hardball as Matthews mused about the potential impact of Operation Chaos on the upcoming primaries.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: How much of a move do you hear, John Harwood, the so-called Operation Chaos is going to play next Tuesday in Indianapolis [sic], the effort by Rush Limbaugh, the lovable Rush Limbaugh, I must say, to encourage Republicans, registered Republicans, to go vote for Hillary just to cause chaos and perhaps get her the nomination? How big a role will that be?
JOHN HARWOOD: My suspicion, Chris, is that's a lot more talk than action. I think there aren't that many voters who can be manipulated in that way to go make trouble in a primary election. And one of the things that's striking--
MATTHEWS: Butwhen you call yourself a "dittohead," it seems to me you've already defined yourself as someone who is, uh, let's put it this way—manipulable.
Jeremiah Wright is on the Republican "payroll" according to View co-host Joy Behar. Discussing the Reverend Wright controversy, Behar offered her conspiracy theory of a Republican dirty trick: "I think Reverend Wright might be being paid by the Republicans. That's what I think." She emphasized: "He's on the payroll!" This is not the first time Behar has hypothesized on the evil genius of the right. The daytime diva accused Republicans of causing Democratic Senator Tim Johnson's stroke and wondered if the "right-wing" planted the bogus McCain/Iseman story. [audio excerpt available here]
Whoopi then chastised Hasselbeck and those who criticize Obama for his Wright connection: "To sabotage the first black president is outrageous." Behar expressed no such concern over her own smear of African-American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
ABC reporter David Wright, a well known fan of Barack Obama, filed a report on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" in which he urged viewers to sympathize with how difficult it must have been for the senator to finally break with his controversial pastor. The journalist mournfully announced, "For Obama, whose own father abandoned him as a child, this must have been another painful break."
Rather than wonder why Obama repeatedly stood by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a man who absurdly claimed that the United States created the AIDS virus, (reporter) Wright lobbied for Americans to realize what a "big deal" the break was for the Obama campaign. He justified, "Imagine having to publicly denounce the minister who married you, who baptized your kids, who prayed with you the day you announced your candidacy for president."
Was Barack Obama's denunciation of Rev. Wright yesterday just some ginned-up anger, a show for the cameras—and the voters? You might think so, to judge by Andrea Mitchell's surprising revelation on today's Morning Joe . . .
JOE SCARBOROUGH: What do you think of the Obama statement yesterday? Was it enough to finally put this behind him?
ANDREA MITCHELL: Perhaps, yes. He had to do it. This thing had been a nagging, you know, problem, an open wound really. This was a very public divorce. I should point out, though, that quite to my surprise when he was out on the stump last night, once again Obama was kind of trivializing it, saying "well, my opponents are making fun of me, and trying to define me, and saying I don't put my hand over my heart, and they talk about my former pastor's crazy statements." So he was trying to blame it on McCain, Hillary, whoever, rather than on what he earlier said in a very specific and dramatic way.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on both the April 29 "Hannity & Colmes" and the April 30 "Fox & Friends" to discuss media treatment of the ongoing Barack Obama/Rev. Jeremiah Wright saga. Bozell discussed a taxpayer-funded "puff piece" interview by PBS's Bill Moyers on "Hannity & Colmes." The next morning on "Fox & Friends," in addition to addressing Moyers's bias, Bozell discussed reports that Hillary Clinton backer the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds was the person responsible for arranging Rev. Jeremiah Wright's April 27 National Press Club event.
While Reynolds has a political agenda in view, Bozell noted, he doubted there was a direct link to Hillary Clinton herself. [Audio excerpt here]
An excerpt from the "Fox & Friends" segment:
GRETCHEN CARLSON, co-host: Well how did Rev. Jeremiah Wright end up as a keynote speaker at the National Press Club? And what role Barbara Reynolds, openly a Clinton supporter, what role did she play in arranging Rev. Wright's appearance? More details coming out this morning now.
BRIAN KILMEADE, co-host: Yeah, Brent Bozell, you have a theory here. And we know now thanks to one of the reports that she had brought up Rev. Wright's name two years ago as a speaker and he has spoken before at 2007. But when they needed Rev. Wright, they had to go to Reynolds who does know him personally.
Remember how the MSM swooned over Barack Obama's Philly speech on race after the Rev. Wright tapes pushed the story to the front pages? I expected the same kind of rapturous reaction to Obama's press conference of yesterday in which he definitively ditched the conspiracy-mongering minister.
But, surprisingly, that was not the case at all on CBS's Early Show this morning. To the contrary, the tone was set by the opening graphic shown here, which skeptically asked: "too little, too late?" And when Bob Schieffer and Juan Williams appeared a bit later, they were similarly cynical. Then again, there was one bit of perhaps unintentional candor on host Harry Smith's part, of which more later.
I'm beginning to see Joe Scarborough's skirmishes with Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe as mere batting practice for the much more serious battles he undertakes in the evening with Rachel Maddow on Race for the White House.
As Noel Sheppard documented, Maddow and Scarborough tangled on April 17th, with Joe possibly having exited the set in the end. The pair were back at it on this evening's "Race," the Air America host this time accusing Scarborough of "tying Barack Obama to Hitler."
Maddow's theme throughout the show was that the media has devoted too much coverage to the Rev. Wright matter. David Shuster, subbing for host David Gregory, lit the fuse.