It’s the Republicans who are in a bind. They’re beholden to the will of the evil genius Grover Norquist. They’re scared to death of The Club for Growth. That's the trite liberal media narrative that CBSNews.com's Brian Montopoli furthered earlier this morning in a piece in which he forecast that the Republicans, and only Republicans, are in for a bruising in the coming weeks should a "fiscal cliff" deal not be finalized. But in doing so, Montopoli conveniently forgets that Democrats have their pressure groups that hold their feet to the fire against any significant spending cuts and/or entitlement reform.
Perhaps Montopoli doesn't watch his own network's evening newscasts. On the Tuesday Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes noted that Democrats and President Obama are digging in their heels against any proposed deal which addresses entitlement spending. In fact, forty-two Democratic members of the House have signed on to a bill that explicitly prohibits cuts to the welfare state.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley cherry-picked the most favorable result for President Obama in the most recent CBS News/New York Times poll. Pelley stated how "this campaign, of course, is, in large part, a battle for the middle class," and touted that "when we asked voters in our poll which candidate would do more to help the middle class, 52 percent said President Obama, 38 percent Mitt Romney."
The anchor failed to mention several negative findings for the President from the poll, including how 64 percent of registered voters thought the Democrat's policies were at least partially to blame for the bad economy, and that 60 percent say that Romney's leadership of Bain Capital won't effect the way they vote in November.
The press is pouting because potential GOP presidential contender Sarah Palin is apparently having a bit of fun with them, by refusing to let them know in advance where she is headed on her bus tour. One of them, CBS News producer Ryan Corsaro, even suggested the former Alaska governor is a "dangerous" traffic hazard because she is forcing reporters to chase her around like they were paparazzi.
This bit of griping led Rush Limbaugh, on his Tuesday radio show, to amusingly point out Palin, "has rendered" the liberal media "totally irrational," adding: "She's making utter fools of these people, as they are plunging to new depths to come up with anything they think is legitimate criticism of her. This biggest stretch yet."
Since an undercover sting video was released on Tuesday showing National Public Radio executive Ron Schiller calling conservatives "seriously racist people" – for which he resigned – CBS News has failed to utter a single word about the controversy on its broadcasts. That despite NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation to Ron) also being forced out on Wednesday.
In contrast, ABC had a full story on Wednesday's Good Morning America and it led World News that night. On NBC Wednesday, Today only featured a news brief on the scandal, but a full story was featured on the Nightly News.
Fox News chairman Roger Ailes drew a whirlwind of attention for using the German N-word in describing NPR's purge of Juan Williams in an interview with Howard Kurtz at the Daily Beast: “They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view. They don’t even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive.” Ailes quickly apologized to the Anti-Defamation League for the Nazi comment. But Brian Montopoli at CBS's Political Hotsheet blog took that story and dropped a real un-factual whopper about NPR's taxpayer subsidies:
Putting aside the Nazis comment, the claim that NPR (previously known as National Public Radio) uses government funding to "keep them alive" is questionable at best: Even when indirect funding is included, less than one tenth of NPR's budget comes from taxpayer dollars. It receives no direct federal funding for operations.
Byron York of the Washington Examiner found the media elite tried and failed to goad the public into opposing the new Arizona immigration-enforcement law. A new CBS/New York Times poll discovered 51 percent found it "about right," and only 34 percent checked the media's strongly preferred answer of goes "too far." York suggested the stories on the poll hinted heavily that the questions were loaded. Check out how Brian Montopoli at CBS reported its findings:
Despite their expectation that it will burden police departments and disproportionately affect certain ethnic groups, a slim majority of Americans believe the controversial illegal immigration measure recently signed into law in Arizona is “about right” in its approach, according to a newly-released CBS News/New York Times poll.
"Should Anti-Gay Rights Petition Signers Be Exposed?" asked a teaser headline [screencap shown at right] on CBSNews.com's front page.
"Hot Topic: Battle Rages in Washington State over Privacy of Petition Signers" the subheader read.
While the November 3 article itself by staffer Brian Montopoli was balanced -- giving room for a social conservative activist to defend keeping the names and addresses of signatories of the Referendum 71 petition from being made public -- the headline sets the tone for readers to see pro-traditional marriage backers in Washington State as folks motivated to deprive fellow citizens of their "rights."
So what does Referendum 71 actually do? According to Montopoli:
The economy is already in rough shape, but some think we should let it go to pot - literally. Pro-legalization advocacy groups are promoting the possibility that legalizing marijuana could provide some economic relief, and the media has eagerly explored the idea.
On April 20, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) aired TV ads calling for marijuana legalization. They ran on CNN, Fox News Channel and were covered by CBS News.
"In the spot, Americans say of the drug, ‘you can tax it, you can regulate it, apply age restrictions...create millions of new jobs ... save our economy,'" Brian Montopoli wrote for CBSNews.com on April 20.
With chatter that this could be a campaign issue in 2010, the new Obama Administration's relaxed policies toward the drug and some people's desperate, try-anything approach to solving the government spending deficits and economic woes, the idea of marijuana legalization is gaining traction with the media.
Noting that the National Rifle Association has begun a "Push to Tarnish Obama on Guns," CBSNews.com's Brian Montopoli noted, and rightly so, that Sen. John McCain has not been the strongest advocate of gun rights issues. But while Montopoli brought up McCain's 2004 mushy "C+" grade in his September 23 article, neither Obama's nor Biden's "F" grades by the gun rights group were mentioned in the article.
What's more, Montopoli cited Biden's defense of his running mate, on gun rights issues, yet failed in the article to bring up the NRA's disdain for the gun control-pushing Delaware senator:
Obama's running mate Joe Biden, meanwhile, suggested recently that Republicans will use the issue to scare voters away from the Obama-Biden ticket.
"I guarantee you, Barack Obama ain't taking my shotguns, so don't buy that malarkey," Biden said in Southern Virginia. "Don't buy that malarkey. They're going to start peddling that to you. I got two, if he tries to fool with my Beretta, he's got a problem."
The Delaware senator may well own guns, but that doesn't mean he doesn't think bitter Americans in the hinterlands should be able to cling to theirs. Although Montopoli quoted from the NRA in his article, he conveniently left out anything about the civil right's groups concerns about Biden. From an August 29 statement by the NRA:
Brian Montopoli's writing at CBS's Public Eye blog has been sparse of late. Now the co-ombudsblogger is announcing he's moving elsewhere within the network:
Starting today, I’m officially becoming a political reporter for the new CBSNews.com politics section, which will be relaunching in its shiny new form soon. And that means, after two years, I’m saying goodbye to Public Eye.
This should be fun. NewsBusters has taken Montopoli to task before for his work with Public Eye, including a January 17 post where he hit a network correspondent from the left for not being biased enough:
She practically blamed Mel Gibson* for why diet supplements are not regulated as drugs by the FDA and attempted to scare viewers with the extreme case of a woman's nose falling off, but Sharyn Alfonsi's hit pieces on nutrition supplement makers weren't biased enough for CBS's in-house blogger-cum-media critic Brian Montopoli.:
"The real problem is that any topical product such as the one described in this section of Mr. Hurley's book is not a dietary supplement, and cannot be legally sold as one in the United States. By law such products are drugs. If either Mr. Hurley or his editors had bothered to look at the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, they could have avoided this fundamental mistake," wrote Marc S.Ullman, a New York attorney who represents clients "in the dietary supplement/natural products industry."