National coverage of Michelle Obama’s trip to communist China has been overwhelmingly glowing and shamelessly quiet on Team Obama’s decision to allow no press contingent to follow along, because the trip was apparently “not political.” The networks dutifully repeated that with no protest, despite more than 30 tweets from the First Lady’s account touting her trip.
But NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday deserves some kind of booby prize for burying the story of the press pool-drowning. Anchor Rachel Martin blatantly discussed how the Chinese press was fascinated by the trip, while ignoring the restricted access of American journalists.
Rachel Martin, anchor of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” rocked her Sunday morning six weeks ago by hailing the religion-bashing punks of Bad Religion deconstructing religious Christmas carols like a "Monty Python skit." On this Sunday, Martin hailed “Laura Jane Grace, transgendered punk,” the lead singer of the band Against Me!
NPR wasn’t really as “progressive” as they could have been on this story, since their in-house transcript calls half the lyrics they played as “(unintelligible)” and then cut out the God part of the song “True Trans Soul Rebel,” and did not mention the song’s title. They also neglected to discuss the new album tracks "F--kmylife666" and "Osama Bin Laden As The Crucified Christ." (Congratulations, taxpayers.) This was the "Trans Soul Rebel" presentation:
No, NPR didn't accidentally air the paranormal-themed radio show Coast to Coast AM with George Noory (heir to Art Bell's show) on Sunday morning. Instead, it was a credulous interview of psychiatrist Jim Tucker by NPR host Rachel Martin about the supposed science of reincarnation.
And given NPR's classification of the piece as a science piece, their vaunted Science Desk dutifully tweeted "Searching for Science Behind Reincarnation."
Even after tax-subsidized NPR’s very slanted coverage of the racial aspect of the George Zimmerman trial, NPR delivered a unanimous verdict on President Obama’s July 19 Trayvon Martin race speech: it was outstanding and political considerations had nothing to do with its timing. On all of NPR’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows post-speech, all NPR hosts, NPR reporters, NPR commentators, interviewees and those featured in audio clips saw Obama’s speech the same positive way.
Ordinarily skeptical of political motivations by politicians, NPR’s journalists lapped up the Obama administration’s claim that Obama’s July 19 race speech just happened to be delivered spontaneously when it was. The fact that Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, terrible news for Obama, occurred less than 24 hours earlier, along with the fact that the Zimmerman verdict was a full six days earlier, didn’t raise anyone’s suspicions at NPR. NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson’s explanation for the timing: “they wanted to make sure that the protests were not violent.”
On Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR's Rachel Martin helped Daily Beast editor Reza Aslan promote his new biography of Jesus, who posited that there is a "chasm between the historical Jesus and the Jesus...taught about in church." As proof of this supposed gap, Aslan claimed that "there is actually no statement of messianic identity from Jesus" in the Gospel of Mark.
Aslan has it wrong. Jesus actually affirmed that he was the Christ (the Greek word for Messiah) in Mark 14: 61-62: "Again the high priest asked him...Art thou the Christ the Son of the blessed God? And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven." Even NPR pointed out Aslan's false statement in a correction on Monday, but Martin, a former religion correspondent for the public radio network, didn't catch his error during the segment.
NPR's Mara Liasson outraged female listeners on Weekend Edition Sunday on April 15 when she said Mitt Romney's political problems aren't with "stay-at-home moms," but rather with "educated women."
Seven days later, NPR admitted it scrubbed the clip and the transcript for the website. On April 22, in a letters segment, Liasson claimed "I misspoke and that's one reason why we corrected the interview for later feeds of the show." Maybe she didn't "misspeak" as much as she betrayed her own opinion. She's never stayed at home and her biographies list no children. At least NPR returned to the scene of the self-censorship:
The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 contained language that the liberals inside PBS and NPR have rarely tried to observe, to seek "fairness and objectivity in all programming of a controversial nature." Apparently, there was no controversy about gays in the military, since NPR's coverage of the end of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy consisted of five segments adding up to almost 27 and a half minutes interviewing elated gay men and lesbians.
Was there anyone inside the military or outside who disagreed? Was there anyone who feared what would happen going forward, what next step on the gay agenda would be imposed? NPR had no time for any dissidents from the PC line. They were a publicity network for one side.
On Saturday’s Good Morning America, reporter Rachel Martin cast President Obama and Democratic leaders as working hard to nail down the votes needed to pass their massive health care bill, but made no suggestion that liberals were using devious or heavy-handed tactics. But when it came to the Republicans, reporter David Kerley included an indignant Democratic congresswoman, who charged that the mean-spirited GOP was casting her as “soft on cancer” just weeks after both of her parents died of the disease. (Friday's ABC World News highlighted the same complaint, MRC's Brent Baker noticed.)
The two reports, which aired back-to-back at the top of the March 20 program, were a good illustration of the liberal media trope that Republicans sink to using offensive hardball tactics while Democrats are seen as offering lofty arguments.
On the one hand, Martin’s story showed only soundbites from Democrats: President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and a freshman Congressman who was switching his vote from “no” to “yes.” Martin helped cast Representative John Boccieri as a profile in courage:
On ABC’s World News Saturday, and the same day’s CBS Evening News, correspondents suggested that conservative positions on social issues were responsible for the Republican party’s recent electoral misfortunes, as the two programs filed stories about an appearance in Arlington by Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney as part of an effort to rebuild the party’s appeal. ABC cited a recent ABC News / Washington Post poll showing only 21 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, while CBS cited a Pew Research poll finding the number had dropped from 30 percent in 2004 to 23 percent currently.
After a soundbite of Jeb Bush explaining that Republicans needed to spend more time "listening," "learning," and "upgrading our message," ABC’s Rachel Martin contended that "That means moving hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage to the side, and shifting the focus to health care, education and the economy."
And, ignoring the fact that a substantial number of moderate House Democrats have taken conservative positions on issues like guns and abortion to win in their own conservative leaning districts, CBS’s Kimberly Dozier more directly charged that conservative positions on such issues by Republicans had hurt the party: "The trio notably avoided controversial touch stones like gun rights or abortion, which are blamed for driving away moderates and independents." Notably, 65 House Democrats recently sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder stating their opposition to a new assault weapons ban.
ABC’s World News programs on Friday and Sunday highlighted "frank comments by Republicans" who indicated either an admission to having reservations over, or who called on a reversal of, the Republican party’s conservative stance on social issues. On Friday, Charles Gibson informed viewers that Sarah Palin confessed before a pro-life group to having briefly wondered about having an abortion after she discovered her son Trig would be born with Down’s Syndrome. Gibson also highlighted comments by Steve Schmidt, the former campaign manager for John McCain, as he addressed a gathering of the Log Cabin Republicans and "urged the Republican party to support same-sex marriage."
On World News Sunday, correspondent Rachel Martin filed a full story on pro-gay comments by both Schmidt and John McCain’s daughter Meghan. Anchor Dan Harris introduced the report: "There are some new and rather surprising voices wading into the debate over same-sex marriage. Last night, John McCain's daughter, Meghan, jumped into the fray, and she is not the only Republican suggesting that the party might want to reconsider its stance on this very divisive issue."
Martin began her report with a a clip of Meghan McCain boasting that she has many gay friends, and the ABC correspondent then continued: "The daughter of the GOP's most famous maverick headlined a Republican gay rights event, and, while she didn't go so far as to come out for gay marriage, her dad's former campaign manager did. ... even taking on the powerful religious right."
An environmentalist's dream might be a businessman's nightmare. But when it came to describing the the environmental team Pres.-elect Obama has assembled, it was sugar plum fairies for GMA this morning. Rachel Martin, who came to ABC from NPR, narrated the segment.
RACHEL MARTIN: They are calling it the "Green Dream Team."
Which invites the obvious question: who's "they," kimosabe? Running down the team line-up, Martin viewed things from an environmentalist perspective.
On Saturday's "Good Morning America," various hosts and reporters gushed over the "exciting," "tantalizing" prospect that Caroline Kennedy could replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, should the former first lady be confirmed as Barack Obama's secretary of state. ABC News political director David Chalian enthused that "on top of the new Obama administration that she was a huge proponent and supporter of, it [the appointment] would just rise to this moment of, sort of, a return to that age of Camelot."
Weekend GMA co-host Bill Weir began the segment by wondering, "And who could upstage a Clinton but a Kennedy?" Later, fellow co-host Kate Snow cooed, "So, tantalizing. Kennedys and Obamas and Clintons, all the talk." Clearly agreeing, Weir enthused, "Exciting to talk about."