On her Thursday 1 p.m. ET hour show on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell denounced a newly passed law in Arkansas preventing abortions after 12 weeks: "We're talking about the most restrictive abortion legislation in decades. Most people do not think it will pass court test muster..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She lamented to Time magazine's Nancy Gibbs: "We're still debating whether or not in the first trimester there should be the right to abortion, all these years after Roe v. Wade." Gibbs joined in the hand-wringing: "There are a growing number of states where there are simply no abortion providers available or there's only one in the entire state, or the restrictions have become so great that effectively there is no availability of abortion....This is just the latest of what has been a pretty steady stream of state level efforts to roll back that access."
NewsBusters is showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, September 27.
Click here for blog posts recounting the worst of 1988 through 2007. Today, the worst bias of 2008: Keith Olbermann shrieks at President Bush to “shut the hell up!” while his colleague Chris Matthews gets a tingle over hearing Barack Obama: “I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Each morning, NewsBusters is showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on September 27. (Click here for ticket information)
Already this week, we’ve published the worst quotes of 1988, 1989 and 1990; today, the worst bias of 1991. Highlights include journalists saluting Anita Hill while disparaging Clarence Thomas (“if you gave Clarence Thomas a little flour on his face, you’d think you had [former KKK Grand Wizard] David Duke talking”), and a Boston Globe arts critic writing about patriotism: “Oh, say, we’ve seen too much. The Star-Spangled Banner pushes like a cough through America’s mouth...” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Since we disposed with the notion that the networks had a feeding frenzy on the Anthony Weiner scandal, what about the news magazines? They began with a whimper, but then that week’s magazines were summer double issues. After the week off, what happened in their June 27 issues? Not much.
Newsweek didn’t offer a down arrow in their “Conventional Wisdom” column, but they gave an up arrow to “GOP Fringe,” arguing “Perry, Bachmann, and Paul show screwballs’ strength.”
Time's Nancy Gibbs celebrated the birth control pill's 50th anniversary in her May 3 cover story by hailing the greater employment opportunities for women that resulted from its wide-spread use. But she failed to explore the downsides of it.
The Pill became widely available in 1960, first to married women who wanted to control their fertility and later, to single women. And though the 1960s led to the sexual revolution, Gibbs claimed that it wasn't the Pill itself that caused the "liberalization of attitudes" regarding sexuality. However, the anecdotes she included in the article discredited that argument.
"Margaret" told Gibbs her thoughts about sex with her boyfriend (who refused to wear a condom) before and after going on the Pill.
"I was too scared of getting pregnant to risk using nothing though he tried to convince me," explained Margaret. According to Gibbs taking the Pill "was a revelation" for Margaret. "The second I went on the Pill," she continued, "all the mess and worry and holding my breath every month to see if I got my period was completely lifted off my shoulders. I wish I had used it from the get-go. You forget how that anxiety can rule your life."
Bill Clinton is engaged in a major rehabilitation project with historian and personal friend Taylor Branch. Time magazine is eager to help: eager enough to boast that Bill Clinton was a terrific father, and cared more about his daughter Chelsea than his job in the White House. Time’s Nancy Gibbs touted "The Other Bill Clinton," manuevering around the massive paternal embarrassment of his adultery and sexual harassment scandals:
When Rush Limbaugh called her "the White House dog," T-shirts appeared saying LEAVE CHELSEA ALONE. Which, remarkably, most people did.
One person who did not leave Chelsea alone was her father. In acclaimed historian Taylor Branch's new book The Clinton Tapes — woven from Branch's recorded conversations with the President from 1993 to 2001 — the portrait of the relationship between Bill Clinton, a man who never knew his own father, and his daughter reveals a side we rarely saw on the public stage. Bill Clinton, it turns out, raised a daughter and ran the free world, sometimes in that order.
You want a blatant example of the Old Media's over-the-top, gobsmacked love affair with Obama? Well, one would be hard pressed not to see Time Magazine's latest piece by Nancy Gibbs as a perfect example of the media ignoring all ills and of projecting only what is wonderful onto the dearly beloved as this piece represents. The lionization of Obama is bad enough, but the selective memory of the writer is even more appalling.
Writer Gibbs begins her column trying to "place" Barack Obama in a "cultural map." Most famous people are remembered for a certain place that formed their inner core, of course, and Gibbs tries to pinpoint that place for several presidents including Obama. She pegs Ronald Reagan to Hollywood, Clinton to Hot Springs and W. to Texas. But where does she place Obama?
Time’s Nancy Gibbs has found the true home of President Obama, and it’s not Kenya or Kansas. "None of these quite fit our blender in chief, but it struck me recently that Obama does have a cultural home: he's the first President from Sesame Street."
In a gooey article titled "Tickle Me Obama" in the June 15 edition of the magazine, Gibbs giddily associates educational programming and Barack Obama as very similar concepts:
The President is every bit as much a product of the show, but it's not just his age and mastery of the alphabet that make Obama the first Sesame Street President. The Obama presidency is a wholly American fusion of optimism, enterprise and earnestness — rather like the far-fetched proposal of 40 years ago to create a TV show that would prove that educational television need not be an oxymoron.
She was thrilled that Sesame Street taught numbers and letters, but in an urban milieu with "noise and grime and grouches." Houses that were "not white, not rich" knew this show was for them:
The back page of this week's Time magazine is an essay by editor-at-large Nancy Gibbs on the new Gallup abortion poll. Gibbs reasonably wonders about why a majority of Americans now say they're pro-life. She even bows to the notion that the GOP's "message on abortion is closer to the mainstream than Democrats care to acknowledge."
It only verges on syrupy at the end, when Gibbs claims Obama -- on the cusp of nominating a leftist to the Supreme Court who thinks Latinas are wiser than white men -- is wishy-washy on the social issues:
You can tell Obama isn't interested in a culture war. He has left gay marriage to the states, dropped family-planning money from the stimulus bill, refused to fund needle-exchange programs and said he wants to "tamp down some of the anger" surrounding the abortion debate. He is inviting all sides to the White House to discuss ways to reduce the number of abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies.
In the Life Magazine book of commemorative photographs titled The American Journal of Barack Obama, a set of essays in the back recount Obama’s life and triumphs. Time Senior Writer Nancy Gibbs, who recently compared Obama in Time to a prince born in a manger, championed Obama’s breaking the chains of religious conservatism in American life. His ascent marked "a growing consensus that something had gone wrong, that the phenomenon of politicians nailing campaign posters on the gates of heaven and laying exclusive claims to God’s designs was unwise, unfair, even unholy."
She even transformed Obama into a secular savior, leading "the kind of mass revivals that used to sweep across the prairie and set souls on fire... Obama was busy building a new church, looking for the seekers, those who had lost their faith in politics or never had any in the first place, and he invited them home."
Time magazine hasn’t devoted a single article to Attorney General nominee Eric Holder yet. (He’s drawn one short mention since being nominated.) This is a big change from eight years ago, when Time had a blazing cover story on George Bush nominee John Ashcroft. With a close-up of Ashcroft’s half-darkened face peering out with a one-eyed Cheneyesque glare, Time asked SHOULD THIS MAN BE ATTORNEY GENERAL?
So you fought a long and painful battle to become President of the U.S., and it will soon, at last, be Inauguration Day. The Bible your dad used is back for the swearing in, 16,000 yellow roses, 500 lbs. of peach cobbler, tons of fireworks and Ricky Martin are all being readied for the gala celebrations, and you have only yourself to blame if all people remember from this historic week is the historically ugly struggle you ignited in the halls of the U.S. Senate.
Sean Hannity marks 2008 as the year journalism died. But it could just as easily be the year journalism felt a thrill going up its leg. That Chris Matthews announcement in February, that a Barack Obama speech caused him a mild ecstasy, represented the everyday "mainstream" media view. Reporters didn’t so much produce "news" during this election year as they tried to make a sale. Every story seemed to say "You know you want Obama."
Chris Matthews won the "Quote of the Year" for 2008 in the Media Research Center’s annual tally of the year’s worst reporting, or "The Best of Notable Quotables." The only quote that came close to Matthews in summing up the year in liberal tilt was this bizarre post-election headline from the Reuters wire service: "Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race."
Warning its readers to “be prepared to gag,” the “Scrapbook” page of this week's Weekly Standard magazine recited “some of the worst over-the-top reactions to The One's ascendance,” starting with Time's Nancy Gibbs who opened this week's cover story by comparing Obama with Jesus: “Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope...” In the November 17 issue, she heralded (citing his full name) the greater meaning of Obama's victory:
Barack Hussein Obama did not win because of the color of his skin. Nor did he win in spite of it. He won because at a very dangerous moment in the life of a still young country, more people than have ever spoken before came together to try to save it. And that was a victory all its own.
She gushed over how “an election in one of the world's oldest democracies looked like the kind they hold in brand-new ones, when citizens finally come out and dance, a purple-thumb day, a velvet revolution.”
Time brought the hammer, nails, and lumber to build on Barack Obama’s demand that conservatives "lay off my wife." The June 2 edition of the "news" magazine included a two-page spread on "The War Over Michelle." Reporters Nancy Gibbs and Jay Newton-Small (both females) suggested she’s now "a favorite target of conservatives, who attack her with an exuberance that suggests there are no taboos anymore." They cited Hugh Hewitt, National Review, and an anonymous blog commenter as the villains of the piece.
The Time duo attempted the spin that this is puzzling since Mrs. Obama is so conservative:
In the early going, Michelle Obama was not an obvious conservative target, since in some obvious ways she's so conservative herself.
Fresh off its controversial Iwo Jima cover with Marines raising a tree, Time magazine's May 5 issue celebrates with an Earth Day roundup. The cause for celebration? That in 2008, "every day is Earth Day," exulted Nancy Gibbs.
Gibbs celebrated, among other things, the banning of DDT, which led to millions of preventable deaths from malaria. "Back in 1970, there was ... poison in our pesticides," she said, but after the Environmental Protection Agency was created, "DDT was banned."
Perhaps she missed the fact that DDT was reinstated for use in malaria-ridden countries by order of the World Health Organization in 2006.
Another part of this year's Earth Day roundup: "Bolivia's socialist President Evo Morales told the U.N. that 'if we want to save our planet Earth, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system.'" Meanwhile, Gibbs wrote, "capitalists polished their image to a green sheen."