The PBS NewsHour led off its Thursday evening telecast with a story about the three scandals that currently envelop the Obama administration: the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, the Justice Department’s subpoena of AP phone records, and the Benghazi attack. Rather than following the package with analysis from a journalist, as PBS often does with stories like this, the taxpayer-subsidized network brought on White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri to provide the White House's spin on these scandals.
Even worse, anchor Judy Woodruff did not rise to the occasion with any tough questioning, allowing Palmieri to spin her way right out of trouble. All of Woodruff’s questions dealt with President Obama’s reaction to the scandals; she never grilled Palmieri on whether the White House was involved in any of this. The assumption seemed to be that the president was an innocent bystander in all of these scandals. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Both NPR and PBS skipped over the Obama-IRS scandal on Friday night’s “week in review” segments. Both led instead by wondering about whether conservatives would ruin immigration “reform” and then briefly touched on Benghazi.
On the PBS Newshour, all the outrage was saved for the end, as Mark Shields railed against Congressman-elect Mark Sanford as an unforgivable “jerk” for having his mistress with him at his special-election victory party next to his sons, and then trashed the GOP voters who elected him:
After more than a month of silence, PBS finally covered the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Monday’s NewsHour. Considering that all other major news outlets have barely given Gosnell a mention, if they mentioned him at all, it was refreshing to see PBS devote a full seven-minute story to the gruesome abortionist (even if that story came at the very end of the broadcast). However, there was still a stench of disingenuousness in the air as the PBS journalists subtly dismissed the notion that the trial has not received sufficient media coverage up until now.
Anchor Jeffrey Brown introduced the story as “the murder trial of an abortion provider that has captured national attention.” But if the trial has captured national attention, why has PBS waited until now to mention it? Why have we seen nothing more than a trickle of coverage from other major national news outlets? The story might have rightfully captured national attention from the pro-life crowd, but the liberal commercial broadcast media, which favors abortion, has been unwilling to give it national attention. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff brought on former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to discuss the problem of gridlock in Washington. The conversation started off well, but Woodruff soon made it clear who she believes is more responsible for a lack of legislative progress in the nation’s capital.
Snowe presented the problem as being caused by members of both parties. She cited the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as examples of ideologically rigid groups on the right and left respectively. But Woodruff couldn’t let this even-handed approach fly on her program. She jumped in with a slanted question: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The PBS NewsHour went into everyone’s favorite subjects last Friday, gays and guns, and discussed the overwhelming cultural shift concerning gay marriage. New York Times columnist David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields both commented on how this shift could be irreversible, but noted that the Supreme Court could “Roe v. Wade” the decision. That is, the faux conservative and the liberal pundit both agreed that a court decision could just breath new life and fresh controversy into the same-sex marriage fight.
Yes, this is NOT an April Fools' joke. Brooks and Shields were actually saying that sweeping decisions, if not taken responsibly, could create more problems in the long run. It's a refreshing moment hearing shields, unlike others among his liberal colleagues, acknowledging how social change is best achieved through the political process rather than the courts. It is, however, a shame that Brooks failed to give a conservative constitutional case for why DOMA and Prop 8 should stand, aside from the deleterious effects of a court ruling:
The PBS NewsHour invited Nancy Pelosi on for an interview Thursday night, and the sparks were flying. Sparks of love, that is, between anchor Judy Woodruff and the House minority leader. Woodruff conducted a 10-minute interview of mostly softballs about the salient topics of the day. But one of today’s hottest topics, the sequester, only merited one question from Woodruff - and it wasn’t a query a serious journalist would ask. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Woodruff began, “Quick question about the sequester. The White House spent a lot of time, the president did, talking about the dire consequences once the sequester kicked in.” Okay. So far, so good. Now, surely Woodruff is going to ask why the president did an about-face and is now downplaying the sequester’s effects. Or maybe she’ll ask if Mr. Obama’s fearmongering was overblown. Or maybe she’ll even ask Pelosi if the president did everything he could to reach a compromise with Republicans to avert the sequester.
On January 25, the PBS NewsHour gave the annual “March for Life” a perfunctory 56-word news brief. But on Monday night, the leftist protests against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada drew a full story about nine times that long.
Anchor Judy Woodruff somehow ignored the large crowds of Earth Day 1970, Earth Day 1990 (stood there myself), and Earth Day 2000 to echo the Left: “Thousands of people marched on the National Mall in Washington yesterday, braving a cold winter wind to take part in what organizers called the biggest climate rally in U.S. history.” If that wasn’t weird enough, protest organizer Bill McKibben announced the Arctic melted last year:
PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff had a rough night on Friday, putting her outrage at Republicans ahead of the facts. In her "Shields and Brooks" segment with liberal Mark Shields and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson (subbing for David Brooks), she guessed "The Republicans, I gather, we're told, it is unprecedented, blocking the nomination -- or the confirmation so far of the man President Obama wants to be his defense secretary."
Did Woodruff completely forget Sen. John Tower's nomination for defense secretary, voted down by Democrats in 1989? The name never came up. Hagel's confirmation is only delayed, not defeated. But Woodruff expressed the need for GOP suffering: "Does somebody pay the price, though, for all this?" Naturally, the liberal expert agreed:
Finally, Grover Norquist was the featured guest on the PBS NewsHour’s segment on the fiscal cliff. After previous editions of the program featured softball interviews with Paul Krugman and Max Richtman -- two members of the far left who oppose entitlement reform -- as well as moderate conservative Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the NewsHour saw it fit to give time to the anti-tax activist who heads Americans for Tax Reform.
Of course the December 12 interview proved to be an occasion for liberal anchor Judy Woodruff to push back hard against Norquist on taxes, firing every possible liberal talking point at him she could. Norquist was adamant that the problem in Washington is spending, not taxation -- giving the president all the tax hikes he wants would generate about only two weeks worth of revenue, after all. But it didn’t take long for Woodruff to argue that the Clinton era tax cuts were the basis for strong economic growth. Norquist stood his ground and noted the role a conservative Republican Congress played in policies that helped fuel economic growth in the 1990s:
As Colonel Kurtz said at the end of Apocalypse Now: “the horror, the horror.” That sentiment encapsulated New York Times Republican David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields’ reactions to the rejection of the UN treaty on the rights of the disabled in the Senate last week. Brooks called it “embarrassment for the country” – while Shields called it “a profile in cowardice.” Regardless, it seems that both men forget that we have a similar bill called The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed under George H.W. Bush.
During the segment, which aired on December 7, NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff decided to end her interview with Brooks and Shields on this point:
The PBS NewsHour has yet to invite a strong conservative on the program to talk about the fiscal cliff. Tuesday night they had New York Times columnist, left-wing economist, and Obama cheerleader Paul Krugman to detail his view. Wednesday night they had moderately-conservative Sen. Bob Corker ( R-Tenn), but last night was the most interesting. PBS invited the Norquist of the left, Max Richtman, of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, who insisted we shouldn’t be in a rush to reform our entitlement spending.
After all, when the unfunded liability of both programs is around $100 trillion dollars, what’s the big hurry? Where’s the fire? Suffice it to say, none of Richtman's claims were met with skepticism by anchor Judy Woodruff. She continued with her interview, as if what Richtman said was fact.
Last Friday, in his first post-election remarks on PBS and NPR, New York Times columnist David Brooks downplayed his usual bash- conservatives narrative, and actually castigated liberals for wanting to go over the looming fiscal cliff. He said that liberals are more organized, they’ve won the election, and will get most of what they yearn for if we do go over the waterfall: increased revenue, tax hikes, and cuts to defense spending.
Strangely, his liberal colleagues, Mark Shields on PBS and E.J. Dionne on NPR, seemed to agree with this claim – undercutting the notion that this "cliff" is dangerous to both parties.
During the September 25 broadcast of the PBS Newshour, anchor Gwen Ifill invited Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass and former U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns to discuss President Barack Obama’s foreign policy and his recent address to the UN. Reporter Judy Woodruff also had a segment on the president speech. Yet none of the segments dealing with the address mentioned the fact that the Obama administration has expressed support for anti-blasphemy measures that are completely incongruous with the freedom of speech as protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Bob Woodward continued his lecture circuit on how he’s the source of “the best obtainable version of the truth” in politics by demanding Republican nominee Mitt Romney to apologize for his “off the cuff” remarks captured in a leaked video at a private fundraiser in Florida. During his typically soporific interview with Judy Woodruff on the PBS Newshour, which will air later this week – Woodruff claimed such antics “doesn’t work in journalism, life, or politics.”
If you had any doubts about the level of zealotry involved in today's global warming movement, they likely will be erased by the goings on at PBS the past few days.
Since allowing well-known climate realist Anthony Watts on NewsHour Monday to voice his views on this controversial issue, PBS has been under attack for doing so (videos follows with transcripts and commentary).
A story that aired on PBS NewsHour Monday showcases the innate pro-bigger-government bias of that program, embedded in a discussion of mandatory motorcycle helmet laws and an increase in motorcycle accident fatalities.
Host Gwen Ifill introduced the segment as a look at "the correlation between motorcycle casualties and helmet laws," featuring a Judy Woodruff interview with Rick Schmidt, who was billed as a reporter for FairWarning.org.
After failing for the entire calendar year of 2012 to cover the Fast and Furious scandal, the PBS NewsHour suddenly showed up on the beat Tuesday night -- not to question Holder, but to wonder why Holder was being punished by Republicans. Online, the segment title was "Why Eric Holder Is a 'Lightning Rod to Conservatives'." Why on Earth does "lightning rod" have to be in quotes? Because it's just so implausible?
Woodruff invited on two liberal journalists -- NPR legal correspondent Carrie Johnson and Daniel Klaidman of Newsweek -- to discuss how Holder is being punished because he's liberal, not whether he's stonewalled and lied to Congress.
President Obama infuriated the leaders of Poland on Tuesday while honoring Jan Karski with the Medal of Freedom. He said Karski smuggled into a “Polish death camp” to see the Holocaust. (Um, no, that’s a Nazi death camp located in Poland). Despite the international incident, ABC, CBS, and NBC aired nothing on the gaffe.
But shamelessly, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today both found “news” in the scoop-let that the Romney campaign misspelled “America” in an iPhone app. (CBS skipped both.) The gaffe also recalled the so-called “fashion faux pas” of 2005, when Vice President Cheney wore a parka to an anniversary at Auschwitz -- except the Poles weren't furious at that one.
Just like NPR, the PBS NewsHour on Thursday night invited on liberals Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein to pound away at the "extremism" of the Republican Party (Tea Party Edition). Propose defunding public broadcasting, and this is how the Empire strikes back.
Thomas Mann unleashed on the GOP: "They are ideologically extreme, contemptuous of centuries worth of policy, economics and social; scornful of compromise, no use much for facts, evidence, and science, and really not accepting of the political legitimacy of the other party." As if Mann is sounding like he believes in the political legitimacy of the Republicans?
An old reliable libertarian maxim was “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” which stood in stark contrast to socialists always boasting of “free” health care or day care or other public benefits. On the PBS NewsHour Friday night, that maxim was turned upside down.
On the PBS NewsHour last night, anchor Judy Woodruff reported on Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s lies that he served in Vietnam, but reported with a straight face that he didn’t lie on every occasion: "In fact, on a number of occasions, Blumenthal has correctly stated his record, including at a debate last March, seen in this clip posted on YouTube."
This may sound like "the pilot usually didn't crash the plane." But this was merely a prelude to Woodruff’s interview with Christopher Keating of the liberal Hartford Courant newspaper, who aggressively worked on the damage control squad for Blumenthal. Keating oozed that "his defenders say they will give him the benefit of the doubt, and, clearly, obviously, the veterans who said that he has been to more funerals than probably literally any politician in the state of Connecticut, including the governor -- almost any time that somebody is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, Blumenthal is there."
Keating’s first defense was that he never heard Blumenthal lie about this before – and he didn’t say lie, he offered Blumenthal’s own weasel word, "misspeak" – and neither had his political opponents, through "almost hundreds" of events:
On Tuesday night, the PBS Newshour discussed the debate over gays in the military, but that didn’t mean there was a debate on the show. Instead, PBS booked three gay-promoting liberal academics and pollster Andrew Kohut to talk about "American attitudes evolving." The liberal hope and dream of suppressing religious speech against homosexuality was blatantly expressed by Georgetown history professor Michael Kazin:
KAZIN: You know, one of the things that -- when laws change, that helps to change consciousness. When the civil rights law was passed, when the Voting Rights Act was passed in the 1960s, then people's attitudes began to change.
Even if they didn't necessarily -- white people didn't like African-Americans any more, but they felt that, well, it wasn't OK anymore to voice their dislike of African-Americans. Racism began to be something that was marginal, that you had to talk about in private. And that I think could begin to happen also with views about gay rights...
ABC on Monday night again empathized with the Obama White House’s disbelief that they could lose “Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat” -- and thus ObamaCare -- if Republican Scott Brown beats Democrat Martha Coakley in Tuesday’s special election in Massachusetts. George Stephanopoulos saw a “Shakespearean” tragedy just over a week after PBS’s Judy Woodruff, on ABC’s This Week, described such a scenario as “a tragedy of Greek proportions.”
Stephanopoulos conveyed on Monday’s World News how “Democrats in the White House and Capitol Hill are braced for a shattering loss. And it's really hard for them to wrap their head around it, the idea that...health care reform may be in peril because Democrats can't hold the seat that Teddy Kennedy held for nearly half a century. You know, one White House official summed it up in a single word: ‘Shakespearean.’”
During the roundtable on the January 10 This Week, CNN and NBC veteran Woodruff despaired: “I was just going to say, quoting somebody in the White House, a tragedy of Greek proportions if Ted Kennedy's successor is the one, is the one who was responsible for the death of health care.”
A somewhat surprising debate occurred Sunday when conservatives George Will and Liz Cheney took different sides of the Harry Reid racist remark issue.
Appearing on the Roundtable segment of ABC's "This Week," the former Vice President's daughter said, "[O]ne of the things that makes the American people frustrated is when they see time and time again liberals excusing racism from other liberals."
Will, after shaking his head, replied, "I don't think there's a scintilla of racism in what Harry Reid said. At long last, Harry Reid has said something that no one can disagree with, and he gets in trouble for it."
Likely to the surprise of many viewers, Cheney responded, "George, give me a break" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
In his look at the "McCain campaign's end-run around media," San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Joe Garofoli pitted one media insider's defense of McCain campaign strategy on the matter of Gov. Palin's press availability, and that at the end of his 20-paragraph story:
"All politicians go through a stage where they want to minimize how much they are exposed to the media," said Paul Friedman, vice president of news at CBS, the network that scored one of the three major Palin interviews. He shrugged at what could be learned in a news conference that couldn't in a one-on-one interview. "I just don't think it is that cosmic of an issue. We'll see more of the candidates soon. Just wait for the debates."
To counter Friedman, Garofoli cited female journalists and pundits who complain that Palin is being overly sheltered. Aside from PBS's Judy Woodruff and CNN's Campbell Brown, Garofoli noted the complaints of conservative Kathleen Parker, labeling the syndicated columnist, and rightfully so, by her ideological label.
But when it came to labeling a liberal critic of Palin, the chief of a liberal feminist organization was treated as a non-partisan observer, even though her organization was co-founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem:
On Tuesday night, PBS anchor Judy Woodruff offered Michelle Obama the kind of cozy interview she has typically offered to Democratic wives at convention time. Her sharpest question dealt with her unfavorables in the polls, and Mrs. Obama strongly asserted that she wouldn't lose sleep over conservatives mischaracterizing her, and knows that the Obama family narratives are deeply compelling to voters:
WOODRUFF: Now your speech was also view by some as an effort to repair what some polls I guess had shown were negative impressions that had accumulated about you – your values, your view of the country. How concerned were you about that going in and do you have any concerns about that now?
MICHELLE OBAMA: You know, this is politics. And I’ve always felt that when people hear my story and they hear the truth of my story, then they’ll understand who I am. You know, I try not to lose sleep over how Barack’s opponents have mischaracterized who I am.
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell had some harsh words for members of the media today, especially those associated with the cable network MSNBC.
Speaking at a discussion put together by the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy, he called the coverage of Barack Obama "embarrassing," and accused MSNBC of being "the official network of the Obama campaign."
UPDATE at end of post: "Fox & Friends" weighs in.
As reported by Michael Calderone at Politico Sunday (h/t NB reader Wisdom6773, file photo courtesy USA Today):
Barack Obama’s overseas trip has garnered an incredibly large amount of media attention, especially with the three broadcast network anchors going along for the ride. But lately, some are beginning to recognize the “Obamania” present within the mainstream media, including members of the media themselves.
On the July 25 edition of “News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” PBS joined in on the acknowledgement that media coverage of Obama has been unprecedented and overwhelming as Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff discussed the media coverage of John McCain and Barack Obama with Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the Tyndall Report, and Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Before the guests appeared, Woodruff recounted the media attention given to Obama’s overseas trip, noting that the press corps following Obama was “larger than usual” and that late night comics had even poked fun at the adoration members of the media have shown for Obama.
Here's another sure sign the new HBO Campaign-2000-nailbiter movie "Recount" will have a liberal slant. (Sunday NB post on a review in Entertainment Weekly magazine, "HBO's 'Recount' Movie: Favors Democrats, Harris as Cruella De Vil"). In a full-page newspaper ad appearing on the back cover of the A section of Monday's Washington Post, it was endorsed as "terrific" by a list of Gore-voting liberal media notables: Joe Klein, Matt Cooper, Jonathan Alter, Tina Brown, George Stephanopoulos, and Judy Woodruff. The movie's slogan is "The future of the nation was hanging by a chad."
We haven't seen these quotes in print, so we assume they come from a celebrity screening or publicist interview. The text below in bold tells you which words were increased in size for emphasis:
The votes are in.
Joe Klein, Time.com: "Terrific"
Matthew Cooper, Portfolio.com: "HBO is as good as ever. Watch ‘Recount’ and see...[they do] history better than any other studio."
Jonathan Alter: "This is the seventh presidential campaign I’ve covered for Newsweek and Recount conveys the nitty gritty of politics better than any movie I’ve ever seen."