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."
However Brit Hume, now a senior political analyst for Fox News and regarded as a veteran figure at the news organization, took the White House head on. In his "Brit Hume Commentary" segment on Fox News Channel's Oct. 12 "Special Report with Bret Baier," Hume, pointed out this "feud" the Obama administration has decided to elevate is a bad idea.
"Every president ends up disgusted with the news media in general and with certain individuals or outlets in particular, but there is an old adage often attributed to Mark Twain that advises against picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel," Hume said. "He is speaking of the big media of his day, which were newspapers."
On Monday's Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, correspondent James Rosen filed a report describing the line of obstacles to acquiring a handgun legally in Washington, D.C., in spite of last year's Supreme Court ruling overturning the city's outright ban on handgun possession in the city. Host Baier introduced the report: "Correspondent James Rosen reports while it is now legal to get a handgun in the nation's capital, it is definitely not easy."
Rosen went through the steps of obtaining a gun during the report, and ended up playing a clip of NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre as he summed up the process. LaPierre: "What D.C. is doing is throwing up every obstacle, shackling the freedom to the point where it's no longer really a freedom."
Below is a compete transcript of the report from the Monday, October 5, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC:
Former President Carter's recent claim that he never portrayed most tea party participants protesting against President Obama as being motivated by racism has been highlighted both on Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier and on Monday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC. As previously noted by NewsBuster Matt Balan, the Thursday, October 1, American Morning on CNN showed a clip of Carter denying what he previously seemed to suggest in an interview with correspondent Candy Crowley. Carter's original accusations of racism by conservatives were reported by NBC and CBS, but those networks have ignored Carter's attempt to backtrack.
On Friday's "Political Grapevine" segment on FNC's Special Report, host Baier relayed to viewers: "Former President Jimmy Carter is walking back from comments he made last month about President Obama and racism. Thursday, Mr. Carter said he did not mean protesters were upset at the reality of a black President."
After reading Carter's denial, Baier then played Carter's original words: "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity towards President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he is African-American."
On Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Molly Henneberg filed a report relaying to viewers that a recently released Pew poll finds a continuing trend of pro-life sentiment gaining ground in public opinion in America. Last May, a Gallup poll showed a similar pro-life trend. After Baier introduced her report by observing that "popular support for abortion rights is on the decline," Henneberg began by relaying that, according to the poll, "fewer Americans than last year are comfortable with the idea of legal abortions in all or most cases."
On Thursday, FNC viewers got to learn of a little known diplomatic faux pas on the part of President Obama, as the administration announced on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland that America would back out of the plan for a missile defense shield previously worked out with Polish President Lech Kaczynski. On Special Report with Bret Baier, host Baier showed an interview with the Polish president who did not seem happy with President Obama’s foreign policy decisions.
Kaczynski signaled his belief that the deal he had worked on with the Bush administration was important to his country:
I thought that the August 2008 deal, I considered that to be a success. I worked very hard to bring about the deal, to make it successful. I would like to be honest with you, and I will just say that I did everything I could to just finalize the deal. I cannot say I was happy. It was a very important deal for us.
Baier then brought up the bad timing of the Obama administration’s announcement:
“The resignation of President Obama's green jobs 'czar,' Van Jones, might have come as a shock if you do not watch cable news,” FNC's Bret Baier observed at the top of his Monday night “Grapevine” segment. Of course, it would have been a surprise too if you rely on MSNBC. “In fact,” Baier continued, “the 'big three' evening newscasts and two of the nation's most-prominent newspapers barely covered the story.”
There was no mention of Jones by CBS, NBC, ABC, the Washington Post or the New York Times on Wednesday -- the night Jones' first issued an apology for past statements. The same was true on Thursday, although a Washington Post blog picked up the story. That night Jones again apologized for a slew of old remarks and the signing of that petition that alleged the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 attacks. ABC and NBC failed to cover the story on Friday after that, although CBS finally did....
Baier's rundown matched what NewsBusters has documented over the past several days (see links below).
"Obama has been accused during the campaign of associating with people who were radical, whether it be Bill Ayers or Reverend Wright. He has to do with Jones what he did with Wright, which is to cut his relationship off."
So said liberal Fox News contributor Bob Beckel about the growing controversy surrounding President Obama's "green jobs czar" Van Jones.
In this segment aired Friday evening during "Special Report," Beckel said a resignation is imminent (video embedded below the fold with full transcript):
On Thursday's Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC host Baier ran a report by correspondent James Rosen describing a "troubling pattern of behavior" by President Obama's Green Jobs Czar, Van Jones. The report noted some of the controversial statements and connections of Jones, who has not only described himself in the past with such words as "Marxist" and "radical," but has also been linked to 9/11 Truthers and radical groups such as one organization whose manifesto "equated those killed on 9/11 with, quote, 'the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world.'" The report also showed a clip of Jones from last year accusing "white polluters" of "steering poison" into minority communities.
Rosen ran a soundbite of University of Virginia Politics Professor Larry Sabato -- known for his willingness to criticize politicians of both parties -- who noted that such a controversial figure in the Bush administration would have ignited a "national hurrah of magnificent proportions." Sabato: "If a Bush official had made anything comparable to what Mr. Jones has said and done, no doubt there would have been a national hurrah of magnificent proportions."
Here's something you don't see every day: a prominent anchor from CNN offering the same opinion as a prominent anchor from Fox News.
Such seems even less likely when the subject involves President Obama, but that's exactly what happened on Thursday's Steve Malzberg Show on WOR radio.
The conservative host spoke separately to FNC's Bret Baier and CNN's John King about the following remarks Obama made during Wednesday's press conference:
I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don`t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it`s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry. Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident, is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That`s just a fact.
On Wednesday, several FNC shows recounted the latest developments in the case of President Obama's suspicious, and possibly illegal, firing of former inspector general Gerald Walpin, after an investigation headed by Walpin found Obama friend and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson guilty of misusing over $800,000 in funding intended for the AmeriCorps program. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity pointed to apparent inconsistencies in the story so far.
Beck, who had previously interviewed Walpin on Monday, interviewed him again on Wednesday, and informed viewers of a claim by the White House that Walpin had shown up at a meeting "disoriented," leading the President to dismiss him. Walpin charged that the administration was engaging in "an amazing slinging of mud" against him, and later added:
MRC President Brent Bozell sat down in the Fox News DC bureau yesterday morning to record his reaction to ABC News's planned special at the White House on health care. [audio available here]
Fox News Channel ran Mr. Bozell's comments in news updates throughout the day, including a full story by correspondent Mike Emanuel that aired during "Special Report with Bret Baier":
Just try to put into context how ridiculous this ABC quote-unquote discussion is. Just try to imagine a world wherein ABC would give George W. Bush a two-hour opportunity to have a quote-unquote "discussion with the American people" on the war on terror.
FNC's Bret Baier on Wednesday night highlighted how the former top editor at the hardly conservative San Francisco Chronicle wrote a blog entry (Tuesday morning NB post by Noel Sheppard), “Love or Lust, Obama and the Fawning Press Need to Get a Room,” in which Phil Bronstein suggested “the Obama-press dance is a more consensual seduction where, in the old-fashioned sense, we're the girl” and asked: “Is there an actual limit to the number of instances you can be the cover of Newsweek?”
Using that as a segue, Baier picked up on a quote first reported by NewsBusters as he related how Newsweek's Evan Thomas “provided yet another example of the mainstream media's presidential crush” when Thomas oozed: “In a way Obama's standing above the country, above, above the world. He's sort of God.”
On his FNC show Wednesday night, Bret Baier looked at how the murder of an abortion doctor on Sunday has earned much more media attention than Monday's murder by a politically-motivated killer of a serviceman in Arkansas, a disparity matched by the condemnation of the first killing by an Obama administration which has ignored the second. Baier reported:
In the media, [George] Tiller was a top story for almost three days. Several liberal analysts blamed pro-life groups for inciting the murder [video from MSNBC]. In contrast, there has been relatively little coverage about the killing of Army Private William Long and the wounding of Private Quinton Ezeagwula outside the recruiting center in Little Rock, despite the fact that the alleged shooter was a convert to Islam who police say probably had political and religious motives for the attack.
After outlining how the Obama administration has failed to condemn the murder of the Army private, Baier related how “conservative media analyst Brent Bozell says the different responses come down to politics.” Viewers then heard this soundbite from the President of the Media Research Center: “Politics dictated that they be outspoken on the murder of Doctor Tiller, but be silent when American servicemen are gunned down.” [audio available here]
On Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC host Baier informed viewers that the Justice Department had dropped charges against New Black Panther members who engaged in blatant voter intimidation in Philadelphia last November. As previously documented by Newsbuster Noel Sheppard, last November Fox News ran a report by Rick Leventhal detailing the activity which was ignored by the mainstream media. On Friday's Special Report, Baier quoted a former 1960s civil rights lawyer: "The most blatant form of voter intimidation. They were positioned in a location that forced every voter to pass in close proximity to them. The weapon was openly displayed and brandished in plain sight of voters."
Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC gave attention to Vice President Biden's tendency to commit gaffes, with the notably centrist Morton Kondracke of Roll Call commenting that "I say little prayers every day for the health of Barack Obama, who is a lot more intelligent than Joe Biden." Kondracke went on to give a negative assessment of the Vice President's Senate career: "For all the time that Joe Biden was in the Senate, he was wrong about practically every foreign policy issue that there was."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Fox All Stars segment from the Friday, May 22, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC:
On Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Molly Henneberg highlighted the controversial decision by Notre Dame to invite the pro-choice President Obama to speak and be awarded an honorary degree. Henneberg filled in viewers on recent remarks by Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Vatican Supreme Court as the Catholic Church official voiced disapproval of Obama’s planned appearance. Henneberg: "He does not think Notre Dame, a Catholic university, should have invited President Obama to give the commencement address on May 17. And he does not think the university should present the pro-choice President with an honorary degree."
When the late Playboy centerfold and tabloid-media celebrity Anna Nicole Smith graced the white marble steps of the Supreme Court in 2006, the network news operations couldn’t get enough of the story. The blonde floozy had married a fabulously wealthy Texas oilman who happened to be 62 years her senior, and now she wanted to collect his estate. It was a serious legal challenge, and a salacious gossip story, and the networks covered it religiously.
But when a Supreme Court decision affects the networks directly, and adversely, there’s no coverage.
The Supreme Court ruled on the case of ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox all suing the federal government for the right to drop F-bombs and S-bombs on young children. The Second Circuit had agreed with the networks that regulation of "fleeting" expletives was "arbitrary and capricious." There was great interest then. Both ABC and CBS put on full stories to discuss the issues. But last week, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court. I bet you didn’t know that, and if you didn’t, it’s because the networks didn’t report it.
News editors need to retake Journalism 101 or move to features when stories about the White House dog take precedence over a controversial veto by the President's unconfirmed appointment to Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a bill, House Substitute for SB 218, April 23 which would have placed additional restrictions on third trimester abortions and allowed more criminal charges over late-term procedures to occur.
With the exception of "Special Report with Bret Baier" that night and "Fox and Friends" the morning of April 24, the broadcast media avoided covering the controversial decision. But "Today," "The Early Show," and "Good Morning America" all had time to cover Michelle Obama talking about the first family's new dog Bo the morning of April 24.
On Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Shannon Bream informed viewers of a letter written to Attorney General Eric Holder from 65 House Democrats who oppose the Attorney General’s recently expressed wish to "reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons" to try to reduce violence by Mexican drug cartels. Bream further relayed the recommendations of Democratic Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both from Montana, that the Obama administration should focus on enforcing current gun laws.
Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Friday, March 27, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC:
On Monday, Fox News's Bret Baier referred to a NewsBusters piece concerning the coverage of the nationwide Tea Parties being staged to protest the profligate spending under President Obama's economic and housing recovery plans.
As NewsBusters reported Sunday, "with the exception of Fox News and CNN, no major television outlet has covered even one of these events except the original proposed by Santelli on February 19."
With this in mind, Baier began Monday's "Political Grapevine" segment (video embedded right, audio available here):
On Monday’s Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, during the Fox All Stars panel discussion, liberal FNC analyst Kirsten Powers, also a columnist for the New York Post, characterized Barack Obama's recent decision to allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research as merely a political move designed to please members of his base who blame President Bush for the plight of those who suffer from paralysis or Alzheimer’s, as she also brought up the progress made in stem cell research using adult stem cells. Powers: "He also talks about, you know, putting science before politics, whereas this actually seems to be a very political decision from where I'm sitting. It's something that the base is very excited about."
After noting the advances made in non-embryo destroying adult stem cell research, she continued: "So this is, really, sort of, to me, a political move to satisfy people who really wanted this to happen and blame George Bush, essentially, for people who are paralyzed or suffering from Alzheimer's."
FNC's Bret Baier did something Friday night you rarely, if ever, hear from a journalist: He apologized for incomplete reporting, specifically for failing to identify as an illegal alien the man charged with murdering Chandra Levy. Picking up on a Friday Washington Times article which quoted media coverage information reported Tuesday night on NewsBusters (and Wednesday on MRC.org), Baier noted in his “Grapevine” segment: “The Washington Times reports CBS, CNN and the Associated Press described Ingmar Guandique either a 'Salvadoran immigrant' or a 'laborer from El Salvador.'” He then acknowledged:
Fox News is not escaping criticism on this. Although Bill O'Reilly has referred to Guandique as an "illegal alien," the report points out that Fox newscasts, including this one, have used the term "Salvadoran immigrant." We apologize for not being more precise.
On Thursday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann demonstrated his latest double standard in his treatment of conservatives and liberals. After attacking Sarah Palin several times during the presidential campaign with a misleading accusation that Palin had "gutted her own state's Special Olympics" – calling her "sick" and an "out of control liar" – even though she increased spending on the program by 10 percent over previous years, on Thursday’s show Olbermann came to the aid of President Obama after FNC’s Bret Baier made a charge that Obama planned to "cut" the defense budget by 10 percent, which could similarly lead viewers to believe an actual cut in spending was planned.
But between September 16 and October 3, the MSNBC host on four occasions misled his viewers by repeating accusations that originated with the far-left Think Progress that Palin had cut the Special Olympics budget, without informing viewers that Palin had not only increased spending on special education, but had even approved a 10 percent spending increase for the Alaska Special Olympics, as Olbermann used the story as a gimmick and repeatedly claimed that he would donate $100 to the Alaska Special Olympics for every lie Palin told on the campaign trail. Even though NewsBusters reported early on that Palin had increased state spending on the program, Olbermann was still repeating his version of the story on October 3 after the vice presidential debate.
In the lead item on Friday's “Grapevine” segment on FNC's Special Report, anchor Bret Baier credited NewsBusters for documenting how Thursday night ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News stories, on Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick being sent to jail by a judge, “failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation.”
Baier first outlined how the AP neglected to mention his party, but “when Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was indicted” last month “the AP made his party affiliation clear” since “the article included the word 'Republican' seven times and 'GOP' four times.” Baier then pointed out:
Media watchdog Web site NewsBusters.org reports that both ABC World News and NBC Nightly News also failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation.
Update (13:40 EDT): You can see in bold some of the questions I thought particularly biased. I've clipped Mark Smith's first question about turning the thermostat down and driving less and posted that video on EyeBlast.tv. You can find it embedded at right. [Official White House transcript available here.]
10:17 EDT: President Bush will hold a press conference in a few minutes, I'll be watching and live-blogging questions from the press corps. I'll update the blog post after the fact (assuming President Bush takes questions) with a link to the official White House transcript. If warranted, we may also post video of the most biased questions.
11:09 | President thanks reporters for their time, closes conference.
11:06 | Olivier (sp?): "Is President Karzai correct and do you think the new government in Pakistan is willing to combat terrorism?"
11:02 | Ryan: Do you think it [the economy] changes before you leave office?
10:59 | April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks: "When in your guestimation will this country see a turnaround on the soft economy?" Also asks about what's happening in Sudan.
10:57 | Compton presses again on oil company question.
10:55 | Ann Compton, ABC Radio: "You never mention oil companies. Are you confident that American oil producers are tapping all the sources they have out there, including offshore?" Compton also asks about Iraq and what Bush will leave his successor.
10:53 | Smith of AP Radio asks if President Bush sees the "value" of a campaign to push for conservation.
10:52 | Mark Smith, AP Radio: "Mr. President, understanding what you say about energy supplies being tight and the debate over energy, which has gone on for years and will continue long through the campaign and into the next administration -- one thing nobody debates is that if Americans use less energy the current supply/demand equation would improve. Why have you not sort of called on Americans to drive less and to turn down the thermostat?"
10:50 | Roger Runningen, Bloomberg News on a second stimulus: "Is it too late to consider a second one?"
I'll be live-blogging the press conference (mostly just the questions from the journalists as we're focused on the bias) and if a video update is warranted, we'll post one shortly after the conference concludes:
10:44 closes press conference, leaves podium.
10:41: Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, says reading Bush's body language he can tell he's "somewhat dispirited." Then he says "the facts have failed you" on things he's telling the American people. Quotes Harry Reid. "Are you feeling troubled... credibility gap?"
10:37: unid'd reporter "Wolf" asks about if Bush's personal relationship with the Democrats in Congress is affecting getting legislation through.
10:35: another unid'd reporter named "Wolf" asks Bush to react to 2008 U.S. presidential race
10:35: reporter asks if he discussed Russian elections with Putin
10:33: unidentified reporter asks Bush if in his conversation with Putin if he asked him to not sell uranium to Iran.
10:30: Baier, Fox News: "What does the vote in Venezuela mean for the U.S.? .... What's your reaction to Chavez opponents winning?"