On Oct. 23 ABC's "Good Morning America" aired back-to-back segments promoting climate change and, strangely enough, slamming hamburgers. First, George Stephanopoulos worried that Americans were becoming too complacent about global warming and discussed possible climate solutions with "Superfreakonomics" author Stephen Dubner. Dubner suggested choosing a kangaroo burger over a beef burger as a possible solution. Then Stephanopoulos interviewed Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," and discussed the carbon footprint left behind by a McDonald's quarter-pounder with cheese.
Pollan said that "you're eating oil" when you're eating a burger: "You need oil to make the fertilizer to grow the corn. You need petroleum to make the pesticides to grow the corn. You need oil to move it all around the country."
Factoring in production, processing, and shipment, Pollan claimed that a quarter-pounder cheeseburger amounts to 26 ounces of oil. "What it tells you is that the carbon footprint of that burger is really big," said Pollan. "The result is a product that takes a huge environmental toll and obviously takes a health toll as well."
Throughout the previous administration, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann would nightly attack President George W. Bush and members of his administration and regularly bash some conservative personalities for being too cozy with Bush.
However, when he and his MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow engage in the same brand of coziness, meeting with President Barack Obama earlier this week, it's no longer an indiscretion. Instead, it becomes justified - since Bush did it. Olbermann appeared on the Oct. 23 "The Rachel Maddow Show" and he and Maddow responded to critics. Maddow asked him to respond to particular comments from former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, now a Fox News contributor, that there would be an outcry had the Bush administration committed something similar.
On the Oct. 23 "Good Morning America," ABC's George Stephanopoulos was troubled. The source of his disquiet was a new Pew Research poll released on Oct. 22 that shows "just 57 percent of Americans see solid evidence" of global warming. [Emphasis ours.] This represents a 14 percent drop since last year. Additionally, the number of those who believe climate change is caused by human activity fell 11 percent. To the media's true believers - and those who just like reporting a good scare story - these numbers are upsetting.
GMA in particular has a stake in making sure Americans believe they're destroying the planet, since the morning show has been a tireless purveyor of climate change propaganda. Stephanopoulos referenced the poll in introducing a segment on the new book "Superfreakonomics," which offers "radically different" solutions on how to "save our planet."
"Superfreakonomics" co-author Stephen Dubner agreed with Stephanopoulos that global warming "very well may be" a serious problem. But he then argued that "the proposed solution of carbon mitigation as the one and primary path [to combating climate change] will be too little and too late, and it's too optimistic."
"I like him," Vidal said. "I wish he knew more about the United States. I was for Hillary at the beginning on the grounds she knew how to be president. Having sort of done the job as a spouse. And then I realized, you know, he's too intelligent for the job."
Earlier, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., took on the issue and defended Fox and its audience. However, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, also took on the White House and questioned why it would be something Obama and his administration should be concerned with in comments from the floor of the House of Representatives on Oct. 20.
Just when you thought the White House couldn't possibly do anything to make their bizarre feud with the Fox News Channel an even larger spectacle - the administration manages to take it to another level.
On the Oct. 22 broadcast of Fox News Channel's "Special Report," host Bret Baier revealed a White House pool announcement was offering Kenneth Feinberg, the "Special Master for Compensation," better known as the White House "pay czar" for interviews - all except for one network - Fox News.
On Oct. 22, ABC's "The View" tsked at "the media" for presenting an alleged suspect as guilty. The focus of their discussion was Nicole Howell, a former high school teacher that was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old student but has since been acquitted of the charges.
"Is her teaching career over?" worried Whoopi Goldberg. "They accused her of it; it turned out she hadn't done it, and they made a big hoo ha. But now can she go back to teaching? What can she do?"
"I think it's wrecked in a certain way, unfortunately, this poor girl," said Joy Behar. "Any time somebody shouts fire, ya know, when there is none, is a problem. This is going to haunt her - unless she goes into the witness protection program."
CNN featured pro-illegal immigration activist Isabel Garcia of Tucson, Arizona on two programs on Wednesday night, and inadvertently caught her giving inconsistent answers regarding a 2008 protest where she participated in the beating and decapitation of a pinata effigy of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona [audio clips from programs available here].
Correspondent Soledad O’Brien featured Garcia in the first segment of her ‘Latino in America’ miniseries at 9 pm Eastern, where she was labeled as an “unapologetic champion of people many Americans love to hate- illegal immigrants.” After detailing her involvement with a high-profile deportation case, O’Brien stated that Garcia had “nothing to do with creating the pinata and only picked it up to defuse” the anti-Arpaio protest. The CNN correspondent cast a sympathetic light on the activist by noting how she has apparently received death threats for her work.
"You know, the American people cherish our freedom of speech and a free and independent press," Pence said. "That's why I found this morning's headlines so troubling. Goaded on by a White House increasingly intolerant of criticism, lately the national media has taken aim at conservative commentators in radio and television - suggesting that they only speak for a small group of activists and even suggesting in one report today that Republicans in Washington are quote, ‘worried about their electoral effect.' Well, that's hogwash."
In the 9AM ET hour of Morning Meeting on MSNBC Thursday, host Dylan Ratigan teased his colleague Contessa Brewer over her confusing Jesse Jackson with Al Sharpton on Wednesday: “And did you call Jesse Jackson Al Sharpton the other day?....Can we talk about that later?.... I think there’s some humor to be had in all this.” An embarrassed Brewer sarcastically remarked: “I would love to talk about this.”
While anchoring 2PM ET coverage on Wednesday, Brewer mistakenly introduced Reverend Jesse Jackson as Reverend Al Sharpton. After Jackson clarified his identity, she apologized: “I’m so sorry, the – the script in front of me said Reverend Al Sharpton...I know who you are, Reverend Jackson.”
As promised, the blooper was again brought up later in Thursday’s 9AM hour as MSNBC contributor Toure joked: “Contessa?....I’m not Al Sharpton....Just want to be clear on that.” Ratigan joined in: “This is not Al Sharpton....You understand that?” Toure went on to add: “I know you have that all black people look alike thing going on.” An upset Brewer shot back: “It wasn’t that. It’s – you know what, Toure?....Listen, thank you for clearing it up. I really appreciate that. Kind of you.” Ratigan declared: “Yeah. I'm not Al Sharpton either, Contessa, just for the record. I know I kind of have a slight resemblance.”
The Federal pay czar announced that executives in companies that took bailout funds from the Troubled Asset Recovery Program should not receive the bonuses that were announced recently. And there are rumblings about extending government reach into the executive compensation at all publicly traded companies. That would be just fine with Harry Smith at CBS's "Early Show."
On Oct. 22, Smith interviewed Elizabeth Warren, the chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel - basically the government-mandated babysitter of companies that were bailed out by TARP funds.
"Guys, you can't party on like it's 2007," said Warren. "If you're going to have to take taxpayer dollars, then it means the game has to change."
Pres. Obama has described Fox News as "operating basically as a talk-radio format" rather than as a "news outlet."
When NBC's Savannah Guthrie raised [in a segment of her extended interview of the president aired on Today this morning] the issue of White House attacks on Fox News, PBO first tried to play the statesman, resorting to the old dodge about "the American people" being more interested in jobs and the situation in Afghanistan.
But when politely pressed, PBO didn't hesitate to fustigate Fox.
Worried about a potential slippery slope with the Obama administration dictating what people are paid in the private sector - TARP bailout or no TARP bailout? Message from CNBC's Jim Cramer: Get over it.
On CNBC's Oct. 21 "Street Signs," the "Mad Money" host ripped into Wall Street executives that objected to the government dictating the rules of compensation. Opponents argue these pay restrictions inhibit Wall Street firms ability to retain the best employees possible - an argument Cramer says doesn't matter.
"Hey, there's no God-given right to work at those companies," Cramer said. "These people can go off if they want to. I know that [Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive] Vikram Pandit has kept 23 of the top 25 people with very severe pay restrictions. If you believe in your institution, you stay. See, a lot of Americans are looking at those pay cuts and thinking, ‘How do I get in on the action?' So I don't really care."
Want to make a big splash to bolster your chances in a political campaign? A tried and true strategy for some attorneys general has been to champion a populist position by exploiting the legal system for publicity. Just look at the lead up to the launch of former New York AG Eliot Spitzer gubernatorial campaign with his attacks on Wall Street.
And that appears to be the playbook California Attorney General Jerry Brown is using in a lawsuit accusing State Street (NYSE:STT) of cheating the state's two largest pension funds, the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, of at least $56.6 million.
However, CNBC's Michele Caruso-Cabrera wasn't afraid to ask Brown if that was indeed the case in an Oct. 20 interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch."
In performing its duty to help save us from ourselves, ABC often turns to its favorite kill-joy food police, the Center for Science in the Public Interest. And they did it again on Oct. 21, when "Good Morning America's" Lisa Stark lamented with CSPI's executive director, Michael Jacobson, about the conniving designs of the food industry to lure unsuspecting consumers into its artery-clogging, diabetes-ridden death trap.
MSNBC entertainment editor Courtney Hazlett spent all of two minutes on "Morning Meeting" with Dylan Ratigan and still managed to get her facts wrong.
Noting former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's scheduled November 16 appearance on "Oprah," Hazlett told viewers that the former Alaska governor "famously said no to appearing on Oprah" during the 2008 presidential campaign, because Palin knew "you get more publicity rejecting Oprah than possibly going on."
What's more, while Hazlett seems to portray Oprah as doing Palin a favor, Washington Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes today noted that the scheduling move may serve Oprah's best interest by reaching out to disaffected conservative women who used to be fans of her program:
It was bound to happen - an inevitable character assault on former Miss California Carrie Prejean by a host from MSNBC, the place for misogyny, after K2 Productions, the company that directs the Miss California USA pageant, filed a publicity-seeking, lawsuit.
Prejean unintentionally created a firestorm when she answered a question from self-proclaimed gay rights activist and gossip blogger Perez Hilton during the Miss USA pageant. Her offence was to say that she believed marriage should be between a man and a woman.
ABC, CBS and NBC on Tuesday night all aired stories on President Barack Obama hobnobbing with the wealthy during a recession, at Manhattan fundraisers to be attended by the very Wall Street players he's condemned. But only NBC's Chuck Todd served as a mouthpiece for self-serving rationale which painted Obama as a victim of an image of perfection susceptible to “any speck of mud,” as Todd relayed from outside a Manhattan hotel:
One Democratic strategist said that part of the President's problem is simply his own expectations. Some of the rhetoric he said on the campaign trail made it seem as if he was coming into office in a clean white suit. So now any speck of mud -- like raising money from Wall Street donors -- shows up a lot clearer than if he came in just as another politician wearing just another gray suit. [Audio: MP3 clip, video below jump]
Minutes after Todd, NBC Nightly News viewers learned Obama is also quite an expert on women since he's supposedly “perhaps the man who knows the most about what it's like to live in a women's nation, work in a women's nation, and get elected by a women's nation,” liberal activist Maria Shriver touted in plugging an interview with Obama for her “A Woman's Nation” series:
On Oct. 20, Media Research Center Vice President of Business & Culture, appeared on the Fox Business Network to discuss recent calls from journalists and liberals for government intervention in America's ailing newspaper industry.
"I can hardly believe that the Washington Post would publish an editorial asking for a taxpayer bailout of newspapers," said host Stuart Varney. "Tell me I should not be shocked."
Varney, said Gainor, shouldn't be surprised, since the editorial was "pegged to a report that came out by former editor Len Downey calling for exactly that same thing." Gainor explained that industry insiders and liberals, along with some on Capitol Hill are either desperate to save journalism jobs or salivating at the prospect of exercising greater control over the media. "You've got both houses of Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and the FCC all looking at the future of journalism and all trying to get their hooks into it."
After another round of attacks from the White House, this time from higher levels of the Obama administration, Brit Hume, a senior political analyst for Fox News, went to bat for his network.
On the Oct. 19 broadcast of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier," Hume gave his best effort to rationalize why White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod used two Sunday morning news show appearances to beat up on the highly rated news channel. According to Hume, it was because they disapproved of the stories his channel broke over the last few months.
"It is a little hard to discern a strategy behind the White House campaign of criticism of Fox News unless it's simply this - an attempt to quarantine Fox and thereby discourage other media outlets from following up stories did originate here," Hume said. "The White House is clearly stung by the revelations about former aid Van Jones. He turned out to have harbored views that were out there where the buses don't run and he was forced to resign. And the White House could not much have cared for the hidden camera expose of ACORN - an organization with which the president had a past association and one whose voter registration drives have benefited the Democratic Party."
So Whoopi Goldberg is a fan of the "We Report, You Decide" school of TV journalism. Who knew? Unfortunately, her choice of "fair and balanced" news icons leaves much to be desired.
On ABC's "The View" Oct. 19, Goldberg said, "I don't get my news often times from any of the networks because, ya know, I'm from the Walter Cronkite generation, where they told you what was going on and you were left to make your decision. You were left to figure it out."
But was Cronkite really the gold standard for impartial reporting?
Back in 2006, the Media Research Center compiled quotes from Cronkite dating from the years after his 1981 retirement. These words clearly exposed not only his liberal views but also his belief that being a good journalist means being liberal.
CNN’s Carol Costello began a new series on political talk radio on Monday’s American Morning, suggesting it was unfairly dominated by conservatives, and brought on a liberal psychiatrist who theorized that Rush Limbaugh has an audience because he’s “operating like the bully, and if you’re on the playground...you want to be...under the bully’s wing and go along with him and get...some power by proxy.”
The correspondent’s report, which aired just before the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, was the first installment in a “special series on talk radio,” according to anchor John Roberts. Costello zeroed in on the listeners and why the format “can capture people for such long periods of time.” A graphic on the screen during her report heralded “anger on the air: what listeners don’t know about talk radio.” [MP3 audio available here]
Towards the end of her report, the CNN correspondent played a sound bite from radical left-wing host Randi Rhodes, who speculated that “the reason they don’t passionately listen to liberal talk radio is access” (Costello outrageously downplayed Rhodes’s political leanings by describing her as someone whom “many consider a liberal talker”). The “liberal talker” noted that apparently, “ninety-one percent of talk radio is conservative.” Costello continued that “according to Talkers magazine, liberal talkers fill just nine percent of the nation’s news talk radio on the commercial dial. Change that, Rhodes says, and liberal listeners would listen just as much.”
Hell hath no fury like an infotainment show duped. On Oct. 19, ABC's "Good Morning America" started the week by picking up where it left off the previous Friday. On Monday, GMA wasted over 14 minutes whining about the bogus balloon boy story and his family's lack of "remorse."
On Oct 16, GMA spent 25 minutes hyping balloon boy, covering every angle by talking to the family, the sheriff, and a former co-worker. Now that it's apparent that the boy had taken them "for a ride," the morning show wants an apology.
"If you are among those who feel deceived and are waiting for a public apology from the family," said reporter Ryan Owens, "you may be waiting for a while."
Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell took to the MRC studio Saturday morning for an interview with "Fox & Friends" about how the media latched onto phony quotes attributed to Rush Limbaugh, helping to scuttle his St. Louis Rams ownership bid.
Bozell also commented on how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell insisted his quarrel with the radio talk show host was his "polarizing comments" about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb back in 2003.
"Nine out of ten people have no idea what Roger Goodell is talking about" and those who do know what Goodell was referencing know that "again, Rush Limbaugh was right," that some sports journalists hyped an overrated McNabb because of politically correct considerations [MP3 audio available here]:
Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that people in "responsible positions" in his league are held to a "higher standard," reacting to the notion that Limbaugh could be a part-owner of an NFL franchise.
"I have said many times before that we are all held to a higher standard here," Goodell said. "I think divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about. I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position within the NFL. No. Absolutely not."
Earlier today, my NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard posted the disparaging words White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had for the Fox News Channel, a sentiment that Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod echoed on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
"Your colleague Anita Dunn told The New York Times this week that Fox News was undertaking a war against the White House, and said the White House would treat Fox the way we would an opponent," Stephanopoulos said.
Once again, the nightly train wreck known as CNN Headline News "The Joy Behar Show" took another jab at conservatism, particularly Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Only this time, Behar threw in a couple of old standbys for whom lefties are fixated upon assaulting - former President George W. Bush and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Behar, on her Oct. 17 CNN HLN program, suggested to radio show talk host and former child-star actor Danny Bonaduce there was a trend - that people who have had struggles with chemical addictions are now outspoken, particularly those on the right that Behar disagrees with.
"Do you see a trend? Rush Limbaugh, Oxycontin. Glenn Beck, alcoholic, Danny Bonaduce, alcoholic ... and George Bush, ex-alcoholic," Behar said.