Politico media writer Dylan Byers sought to add context to Paul Farhi’s “glowing profile” of CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson in Wednesday’s Washington Post.
Byers suggested Farhi painted it as a David and Goliath story with Team Obama as Goliath. But there’s another Goliath, he wrote: CBS News executives who aren’t happy with Attkisson’s “Benghazi campaign” that’s “wading dangerously close” to advocacy:
The trial of notorious Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell -- as close to a demonic presence as anything this country will ever see -- was almost a month old when the network blackout finally ended. CNN broke its silence, as did CBS. National newspapers sent reporters to the trial for the first time.
They started covering it only because of a national outrage that they would so deliberately withhold this horror story from the public -- for political reasons.
Monday’s Style section of the Washington Post was topped by a surprising story: “An abortion provider is on trial: Where’s the media coverage?” Sadly, what followed was a denial that there's any evidence of liberal bias, and a parade of utterly unconvincing evasions, excuses, and accusations against conservative media.
Post reporter Paul Farhi credited the “conservative Media Research Center” with asking if the blackout of the Kermit Gosnell trial could be caused by the “mainstream media’s supposed support for abortion rights.” This story utterly erodes the word “mainstream” for them. Start with the maddening list of official media responses to where they’ve been on Gosnell:
In a 19-paragraph story today, Washington Post staff writer Paul Farhi took a look at how various newspapers around the country are backing away from their initial requests for public records of gun owners. "For the third time in as many months, a newspaper has faced an angry backlash, including threats of violence, after it sought government data on local gun permit holders," Farhi noted. "In the two most recent instances, the newspapers rescinded requests for the documents amid the outcry, with one issuing an abject apology to its readers and the local sheriff for daring to seek the information in the first place," he griped.
In a time when the print newspaper is an endangered species, you'd think Farhi might present the story with the angle being how liberal papers are shooting themselves in the feet with stunts that harm their advertising revenue and subscription base. But no, the thrust of Farhi's piece is how newspapers are cowering away from doing their job. To make this point, Farhi turned to journalism professor Geneva Overholser, who perhaps is most infamous for her call eight years ago for newspapers to identify alleged rape victims (emphasis mine):
Tuesday’s Washington Post honored lesbian comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres for“A comic’s courage” to come out of the closet. So did the Kennedy Center people who selected her to win the Mark Twain Prize. She did not disappoint the liberals.
On the awards show (taped for PBS), she made a “sly nod toward Mitt Romney’s sentiments” with the joke, “Thank you, PBS. I’m so glad to be part of your final season.” She also told Politico Romney made her “very, very scared” for women for many reasons (on which she apparently didn't have the "courage" to elaborate):
The Washington Post really knows how to bury the lede. In a Tuesday story on how suspended CNN-Time journalist Fareed Zakaria is now under fire for stealing quotes without attribution in his book The Post-American World, media reporter Paul Farhi waited until the 13th and final paragraph to acknowledge that that the Post has joined CNN and Time in punishing Zakaria for his plagiarism.
“Zakaria also writes a separate column for The Washington Post. The newspaper said on Monday that his column will not appear this month,” he concluded. Zakaria lamented: "People are piling on with every grudge or vendetta" now that NewsBusters exposed him.
Washington Post columnist Paul Farhi on Saturday offered an obnoxious comparison for the widespread American patriotism on display during the just-ended Olympics: He brought up Hitler. Regarding the quest for gold medals, Farhi connected, "Certainly, America's current Olympic chauvinism (USA! USA!) is mild compared with Adolf Hitler's grotesque perversion of the 1936 Berlin Games or the long arc of the Cold War era."
(Well, it's a good thing America's "chauvinism" isn't quite as bad as Hitler.) The Post journalist seemed to want to have it both ways, acknowledging the prestige and advertising money U.S. viewers bring to the Olympics and at the same time worrying about how Chinese athletes "don’t get many humanizing breaks." Farhi lamented, "Bob Costas hasn’t been having them over for many post-game chats, nor is Visa likely to feature them in its golden-tinged commercials anytime soon."
Observers on the right and left have, for different reasons, long lamented that Comedy Central has become the main source of news for young people. But one group thinks the phenomenon is just fine. The academic left considers comedian Stephen Colbert an object of serious and perhaps even obsessive study.
The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi wrote an excellent piece on July 9, examining the academic world’s “unsettling” obsession with comedian Stephen Colbert. Farhi describes Colbert-related studies as the “academic cult of Colbert,” writing: “Yet ever since Colbert’s show, “The Colbert Report,” began airing on Comedy Central in 2005, these ivory tower eggheads have been devoting themselves to studying all things Colbertian.”
It's not often that Newt Gingrich looks like a winner in The Washington Post. But on Saturday, Post media reporter Paul Farhi lined up a set of liberal media veterans and journalism professors to attack CNN reporter John King for walking into a Gingrich buzzsaw by opening the debate with his second wife's "open marriage" assertion at Thursday night's CNN debate.
“Gingrich was clearly waiting for the question, clearly was prepared to pounce,” said W. Joseph Campbell, a communications professor and media historian at American University. “King seemed taken off guard. He looked a little sickened. And he did himself no favors by lamely pointing out that it wasn’t CNN but another network that dug out the Gingrich-infidelity story. That allowed Gingrich to pounce again.”
Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi is finding a lot of unusual circumstances -- and unusual no-comments -- around Michelle Obama's razzle-dazzle distraction outing to Target after her latest controversy over wearing $42,000 diamond bracelets. He found "there might have been something to the notion of White House orchestration." Farhi's story did not note how the Post's own gossip columnists were eagerly orchestrated to coo over the photo (including on NBC).
Is the AP granting the First Lady a publicity favor to curb the Michelle Antoinette echoes that will give them increased access later in return? If the official White House photographer had taken these shots, Farhi noted, the rest of the press would have seen them as promotional. Somehow they weren't if AP put their prestige on the credit line instead. Farhi lined up all the improbabilities:
Former Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas has written a long piece for The New York Times Magazine declaring that he’s an illegal alien and that he’s created a new advocacy group called Define American (“a project of the Tides Center”) to push for the DREAM Act that would provide permanent residency to illegal aliens brought to America as children.
Vargas, 30, lied to a string of media outlets about his immigration status with a fake driver’s license from Oregon. He came over from the Philippines at age 12. (Vargas told the truth to Post editor Peter Perl, a mentor, but he wouldn’t comment now.) In the Post story on this by Paul Farhi, Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti offered a no-comment on Vargas’s employment at the paper: “We will not comment on individual personnel matters out of respect for the privacy of our employees.”
Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi profiled MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell on the front of Friday’s Style section. The headlines were vaguely promotional. Above a large picture it reads "Lawrence O’Donnell is hitting his marks at the center of MSNBC’s prime time lineup." The actual headline below is "A starring role as the cable guy."
But read deeply into Farhi’s portrait, and it becomes clear that O’Donnell prides himself on being detached – some might say insincere. Late in the piece, Farhi quotes me on how Larry’s done "some very weird shouting and tantrums." In response, O’Donnell says he’s not really outraged on TV, he’s...acting! He's the Master Thespian of Cable News. He’s sort of playing a character for theatrical effect:
The Washington Post on Friday took on Seymour Hersh's outlandish conspiracy theory that "neo-conservative" members of Opus Dei and the Knights of Malta inside the military "overthrew the American government" and are waging a "crusade" against Muslims. The newspaper reported that, contrary to Hersh's claims, General Stanley McChrystal was not a member of either organization, and that there was "little evidence of a broad fundamentalist conspiracy within the military."
Writer Paul Farhi began his article, "Hersh rebuked on 'crusaders,'" by stating that the journalist for The New Yorker's "latest revelation is drawing some puzzled reactions and angry denunciations." After recounting Hersh's accusations from his recent speech, that he "advanced the notion that U.S. military forces are directed and dominated by Christian fundamentalist 'crusaders' bent on changing 'mosques into cathedrals'" and his accusations against McChrystal and other members of the special operations community, Farhi continued that there "seem to be a few problems with Hersh's assertions," and quoted from the former general's spokesman:
Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi was complete enough in his reporting on the internal NPR review of the Juan Williams firing on Saturday that he included financial numbers that NPR released on the bonuses of NPR CEO Vivian Schiller. The decision to cancel her bonus over that Fox-loathing fiasco was a six-figure decision:
According to tax records released by NPR on Friday, Schiller received a bonus of $112,500 in May 2010, about 17 months after she was hired by the Washington-based organization. This was in addition to a base salary of $450,000. The bonus was included in her hiring package, NPR said.
The preceding year, before Schiller's arrival, NPR paid out $1.22 million in salary, bonuses and deferred compensation to Schiller's predecessor, Kevin Klose, who retired that year. It paid another $1.22 million to Ken Stern, its president, who was forced out. Stern's compensation was swelled by a early buyout of his contract, according to NPR.
On Saturday, Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi found that NPR insiders are furious at the forced resignation of Ellen Weiss, the senior vice president for news who so controversially canned Juan Williams. The liberal arrogance of NPR was on full display, that they were the future of "democracy," and Fox News was clearly the enemy of democracy and an independent press:
"We have allowed Fox News to define the debate," wrote Peter Block, a member of the board of Cincinnati Public Radio, in a posting to an e-mail group consisting of public radio managers. He added, "I do not think this kind of capitulation [by NPR] assures the future of an independent press....Democracy is on the line and NPR is one of the last bastions of its possibility."
Farhi added that NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, also pointed to Fox (less harshly) in her column, that the Williams "incident has become a partisan issue in Washington's hothouse atmosphere, with Republicans (egged on by Fox News) using it as a rallying cry to demand that NPR be 'defunded' by the federal government." Do conservatives need to be "egged on" about NPR's shameless actions?
Paul Farhi in The Washington Post reported that comedian Tina Fey received “a little political airbrushing” from PBS on Sunday night when it aired her receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center. These mean anti-conservative jokes were left on the editing floor:
"And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women [applause before the joke kicks in] -- except, of course, those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape kit and stuff," Fey said. "But for everybody else, it's a win-win -- Unless you're a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years - whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us -- unless you believe in evolution. You know -- actually, I take it back. The whole thing's a disaster."
The Washington Post celebrated Jon Stewart in a very gooey artistic fashion on Monday: in a drawing, it made Stewart all four faces on Mount Rushmore. The headline was "Who Does Jon Stewart Think He Is?" Obviously, he'd disavow being great enough to replace four iconic presidents on a mountain face. The story by Post reporter Paul Farhi also began with goo:
These days, he can claim to be many things: political satirist, pseudo-anchorman, media critic, author, successful businessman, philanthropist, Emmy Award magnet. On Monday he arrives in Washington in a new, self-anointed role: as our national voice of reason, moderation and rationality -- a uniter, you might say, not a divider.
But Farhi wasn't completely in tune with the glorifying artwork. He compared Stewart's rally with Glenn Beck's August 28 "Restoring Honor" rally in its "nonpartisan" nature (Mt. "Stewmore" image below):
In a case of curious timing, as the Democrats collapse in the polls, the big, splashy front-page story in Thursday's Style section of The Washington Post is "Since Dick Cheney shot him, a lawyer's aim has been to move on." Reporter Paul Farhi is quite positive about lawyer Harry Whittington, who still carries birdshot in his face and body from the quail-hunting accident in February 2006, but the story shows that Bush-hating lefties still find this as fascinating as conservatives looking into Chappaquiddick. Farhi stoops to suggest that maybe it wasn't an accident: "Eyewitnesses, including Cheney, said the shooting was accidental. Whittington doesn't dispute that, but his memory of the event is limited only to his most immediate sensations." And why would Cheney shoot this man on purpose? The Post doesn't try to answer.
The Cheney-shoots-man story takes up all of page C-9 with text and pictures, and concludes with the punch that Cheney is a world-class jerk who has never apologized:
The shooting didn't bring Cheney and Whittington any closer. Although Whittington says they've exchanged birthday greetings, they haven't seen each other for two years. The last time they met was when they attended the funeral of Anne Armstrong, the ranch owner whose invitation drew the two men together.
It might seem impossible, but the radical-left taxpayer-funded Pacifica Radio network is in negotiations to get even more anti-American in its orientation. It's negotiating with Al-Jazeera for its five stations to broadcast audio from the Al-Jazeera English cable TV channel, which is only marginally available in the United States.
Those five stations (KPFA/Los Angeles, KPFK/Berkley, KPFT/Houston, WBAI/New York, and WPFW/Washington, DC) together received more than $1.6 million in annual grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, according to their 2008 annual report (p. 57). Al-Jazeera is most notorious for its repeated broadcast of unedited Osama bin Laden tapes after 9/11, offering al-Qaeda a global media platform.
Paul Farhi of the Washington Post reported Thursday that "If an agreement is reached, Pacifica would become the biggest American broadcaster to air Al-Jazeera." Pacifica executive director Arlene Eckhardt declined to comment on negotiations, but spoke favorably of the Arab network: "I appreciate the viewpoints they bring and see them as offering an international perspective that our news media doesn't always offer."
Public broadcasting is often a sacred cow in the media. Reporters don't often dig skeptically to find self-dealing inside the walls of PBS or NPR stations. But kudos should go to Paul Farhi and The Washington Post for offering such a story on Tuesday.
NPR listeners in the Washington metropolitan area get their news programs on WAMU-FM, based at American University. One of its regular features is called Capitol News Connection, which offers little newscasts within WAMU's regular NPR news shows. Farhi found a conflict-of-interest case, and notice how the adjective “public” can fall away from public radio:
As it happens, the founder and chief executive of CNC's parent company is also the wife of the WAMU executive charged with determining which programs the station airs.
WAMU officials say they see no problem with the admittedly unusual arrangement, which isn't mentioned in any of WAMU's public filings or press material about the program. The station executive, Mark McDonald, has recused himself from any dealings about Capitol News Connection, according to WAMU.
Why let facts get in the way of a good liberal meme?
Paul Farhi sure didn't when he panned Oscar-nominated movie "The Blind Side" during a special "Hardball on Hollywood" segment with Vanity Fair's Michael Wolff and host Chris Matthews on the February 2 program.
The Washington Post media critic slammed the Best Picture-nominated drama -- based on a true story -- as just another movie in which the white characters' guilt is assauged by helping a black guy (video embedded at right; an MP3 audio clip is available here):
PAUL FARHI, Washington Post: The problem is that the black character is basically a prop to make the white people feel better about themselves, and that's been the major criticism. It's also the "magic negro," in other words, the idea that a black character will emerge to provide wisdom for the white people involved in the movie.
Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi reveals a story that public broadcasters don't like to talk about: their ratings. They don't want to sound like they care (they certainly do), like they're obsessed like a for-profit company, or that they're taking market share away from commercial radio. But now, in tough times, NPR's rating success is leaking out:
The audience for NPR's daily news programs, including "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," reached a record last year, driven by widespread interest in the presidential election, and the general decline of radio news elsewhere. Washington-based NPR will release new figures to its stations today showing that the cumulative audience for its daily news programs hit 20.9 million a week, a 9 percent increase over the previous year.
The weekly audience for all the programming fed by Washington-based NPR -- including talk shows and music -- also reached a record last year, with 23.6 million people tuning in each week, an 8.7 percent increase over 2007.
The Post routinely leaves the public radio stations out when it surveys the D.C. radio landscape. But there are two public stations in the top ten:
Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi profiled leftist crusader Ralph Nader on Wednesday as he mounts another hopeless presidential campaign. Nader dismissed Barack Obama as a corporate tool, but late in the article, Farhi suggested Obama's liberal enough to prevent Nader crossovers. Could Nader hurt in Ohio, or Florida? Farhi wrote:
Forget the political calculus. Obama, the most liberal candidate that Democrats have (presumptively) nominated in years, figures to cut deeply into Nader's natural base of support among reform-minded liberals.
Liberals could also be less worried about a Nader factor when they look at his campaign budget:
The media’s tender loving care of and hypersensitivity in protection of Barack Obama is going to put a real crimp in attempts at Obama humor. The latest survey of late-night jokes from the Center for Media and Public Affairs found 18 Obama jokes, about a fourth of Hillary’s (68) and a tenth of President Bush’s (175). Then there’s Saturday Night Live. Chicago Tribune TV critic Maureen Ryan started whining early in the week that Obama should not be impersonated by a white comedian (Fred Armisen). She huffed: "Obama's candidacy gives us solid proof of the progress that African-Americans have made in this country. I guess SNL still has further to go on that front." A reader poll alongside these complaints asked if Obama should be impersonated by an African-American: 74 percent voted for "Doesn’t matter," and a cranky six percent said "no."
But the media elite seems to be in the minority. Friday’s Washington Post carried a story by Paul Farhi further ginning up the "Fauxbama" controversy. He not only carried Ryan’s demand for a black impersonator, but added the radical-left British newspaper The Guardian, which screamed minstrel show:
That was the cry of many an alternative rock fan in D.C. in January 2005 when WHFS went from alt-rock to 99.1 El Zol, a Spanish language station playing mostly salsa music. [Although to be perfectly honest most music snobs agree that WHFS was past its prime in cutting edge programming, having become too corporate, etc.] Don't expect the same donning of sackloth and ashes to mourn the loss of persistent money-loser, Washington Post Radio.
Yes, the Washington broadsheet's radio edition, once described lovingly by a radio executive as "NPR on caffeine" will shut down in September, the Post's Paul Farhi reported in the August 28 paper.: