On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as FNC correspondent Douglas Kennedy appeared as a member of the show’s panel, after host Jon Scott’s introduction to the show’s first segment – which involved President Obama’s response to the underwear bomber – Kennedy characterized Scott’s introduction as sounding "like it's written by Dick Cheney in his bunker." Complaining that he was ideologically outnumbered on the panel after left-leaning panel member Judith Miller – formerly of the New York Times – was critical of Obama, Miller declared, "Now, wait a minute. I am very, very liberal on a lot of issues," prompting Kennedy to exclaim, "You went to jail to protect Dick Cheney! Come on!":
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, panel member and FNC correspondent Douglas Kennedy referred to Tea Party members as the "Tea Bag movement," prompting admonishment from host Jon Scott who pointed out that he was using the "pejorative" term. In the next segment, Kennedy went on to accuse Tea Party members of anti-Semitism and linked Obama/Hitler posters to Tea Party members, leading panel member Jim Pinkerton to remind viewers that an Obama/Hitler poster sometimes attributed in the media to conservative Tea Party members had actually been brought to a protest by left-wing supporters of Lyndon LaRouche – who ran for President in the past as a Democrat:
DOUGLAS KENNEDY: You know, just tell them to leave the swastikas home and the pictures of Hitler, and the, you know, they might gain a little more popularity.
JIM PINKERTON: The pictures of Hitler brought in by Lyndon LaRouche people, you know, who are actually, Lyndon LaRouche ran as a Democrat seven times.
KENNEDY: Yeah, but there's anti-Semitism and-
Panel member Judy Miller then jumped in and predicted that the Tea Party movement would help liberals by splitting the Republican party, prompting Kennedy to divulge some over-the-top wishful thinking:
Saturday’s Fox News Watch gave attention to a couple of entries in the MRC’s "Best Notable Quotables of 2009: The 22nd Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting." Returning from a commercial break, a clip of CBS’s Katie Couric began the segment as Couric was shown expressing awe at President Obama’s confidence as she interviewed him last July. Couric: "You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken? Do you ever wake up and say, ‘Damn, this is hard’?"
FNC host Jon Scott then jumped in to credit the MRC:
That’s Katie Couric earlier this year with President Obama. Her performance there garnered the Media Research Center’s "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Obsequious Obama Interviews." The MRC acknowledging more achievements in its annual awards for the year’s worst reporting. The "Master of His Domain Award for Obama Puffery" goes to Time’s Joe Klein for his May 4 cover story on Barack Obama’s first 100 days as President.
Even liberal panel member Ellis Henican of Newsday thought Couric’s words were "icky," and contended that "I wouldn’t want to be caught on tape saying either one of those things."
NewsBuster Rusty Weiss was praised on Saturday by "Fox News Watch" regular Jim Pinkerton.
The program began with host Jon Scott talking about President Obama's declining poll numbers, and how White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spun them last week claiming, "I don't put a lot of stake in, never have in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend."
Scott then passed the baton to Pinkerton who marvelously said, "[H]ats off to Rusty Weiss at NewsBusters who pointed out that back in February, when the Gallup poll showed enormous support for the stimulus package, the same guy, Robert Gibbs, was delighted to flap that as proof for what a great policy he had" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as the panel discussed media coverage of former Republican Governor – and current FNC host – Mike Huckabee’s involvement in commuting the prison sentence of Maurice Clemmons – who would later go on to murder four police officers in Washington state – panel members at first left the impression that Huckabee had commuted Clemmons's sentence after his child rape conviction. (Credit to NewsBusters reader Dana Christianson for emailing in a tip on the matter.) Conservative panelist Jim Pinkerton of New America Foundation had to point out that Huckabee commuted the sentence at a time when Clemmons serving time for the non-violent crime of committing burglary – which he did in 1989 while he was under age 18. Pinkerton even had to directly correct liberal FNC analyst Kirsten Powers, who seemed to convey that she thought Huckabee had commuted the sentence after the child rape conviction:
JIM PINKERTON, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: The kid was 17 years old and convicted of nonviolent – not – without a gun burglary and sentenced to 108 years. I think most people would see that as excessive. The real scandal is that he had at least three brushes with the law since the year 2000, and nobody then ever chose to revoke his clemency. That wasn't Mike Huckabee's fault. That was other people.
KIRSTEN POWERS, FNC ANALYST: What about the child rape?
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday reported on Sarah Palin's decision to resign as Alaska's Governor, they gave little attention to the toll taken on the Governor by the onslaught of frivolous lawsuits from her political enemies. But, by contrast, FNC gave much of the credit for Palin's decision to these lawsuits that have tied up the Governor's time and forced her family to spend a fortune in legal expenses.
On Friday's Fox Report, FNC correspondent Carl Cameron informed viewers: "Those ethics complaints have all been dropped or dismissed, and yet they've taken a toll and she acknowledged as much earlier." Then came a soundbite of Palin from her news conference, which was partially played on the CBS Evening News but not on ABC or NBC. Palin:
Todd and I, we’re looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills just in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn't cost them a dime. ... My staff and I spend most of our days, we're dealing with this stuff instead of progressing our state now.
UPDATE: MRC's Times Watch site tackled the Times's strange omission of the Muslim extremism angle last week: TimesWatch.org
On Saturday's Fox Newswatch, host Jon Scott led the panel in a discussion of the New York Times's coverage of the terror plot against synagogues in New York City, as the paper downpayed the extreme Muslim beliefs of the plotters. Even liberal analyst Jane Hall took the New York Times to task, arguing that the conversion of the plotters to Islam while serving time in prison was "an important part of the story."
Scott opened discussion of the topic:
Coverage of the stories in the New York Times seemed to gloss over the group's openly expressed desire to commit jihad, even though the police commissioner mentioned it at a news conference. Why did the New York Times decide to shy away from mentioning the suspect's extreme Muslim beliefs?
Conservative analyst Andrea Tantaros complained about a trend toward oversensitivity in talking about Muslim extremism to the point of omitting key facts in a story:
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, conservative panelist Jim Pinkerton pointed out that, contrary to the impression given by the mainstream media, President Barack Obama’s approval rating, as measured by Gallup, is relatively low compared to his recent predecessors for the 100-day mark, and is even below where President George W. Bush was after his first 100 days. Pinkerton observed: "Judith Klnghoffer, writing for the History News Network, made the point that Obama actually ranks seventh of the last nine presidents in Gallup poll opinion ratings. So seventh out of nine isn't so good."
One of the finest examples of media bias this campaign season occurred last Sunday when Democrat vice presidential candidate Joe Biden guaranteed an international crisis would befall our nation in six months if Obama is in the White House, and the American press almost completely ignored his warning.
To give you an idea of just how absurd the lack of coverage concerning this event was, the entire panel on Saturday's "Fox News Watch" agreed that this shows just how in the tank the press are for the junior senator from Illinois.
Even the left-leaning Kirsten Powers said "if there's any doubt there was a double standard in this race, it is completely laid to rest by this because there is no way that this can be ignored."
Saturday's Fox News Watch devoted a few minutes to the controversy, which was documented previously by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, over NBC's Matt Lauer claiming during an interview for the Today show that "some very high percentage of the people in China are happy with their lot in life, something around 80 percent," but that in America, "only about 25 percent." Liberal panelist Patricia Murphy of Citizen Jane stated her belief that Lauer simply made an "error" in misstating a Pew Research poll which found that, when asked if they were "satisfied with the direction of the country," 86 percent of Chinese respondents said yes, but when asked about "personal satisfaction," that "the number was much, much lower."
Conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton theorized NBC was being soft on China because the network is making money off the Olympics: "Could it be because NBC paid China a billion dollars to cover the Olympics? And they can't afford to have their reporters and sportscasters kicked out for telling the truth about China. So they have no choice but to cover up." (Transcript follows)