On Monday, both The New York Times and The Washington Post noticed a long-simmering trend: Time and Newsweek have increasingly abandoned news reporting in favor of being more opinionated "thought leaders." In the Post, reporter Howard Kurtz bluntly declared, "The rival editors are turning out weeklies that are smaller, more serious, more opinionated and, though they are loath to admit it, more liberal."
Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and Time editor Rick Stengel didn’t want to admit a bias. "I'm not ideologically driven by any means," claimed Meacham. "I'm really conscious of trying to be fair and balanced," argued Stengel, although Kurtz noted he was at one time an aide to the Bill Bradley 2000 presidential campaign.
In our year-end edition of the Best of Notable Quotables, two of our winners for outrageous liberalism were unloaded on the Charlie Rose show on PBS, a very comfortable TV salon for liberals to speak freely without conservative rebuttal. On December 18, the Rose show was one stop for Time editor Richard Stengel to tout his "titanic" figure Barack Obama as the magazine’s person of the year. Rose played the hype up in the show’s opening:
STENGEL: The story of Barack Obama was the great overarching, titanic narrative of this past year. And so it just -- it would have been pretty much impossible not to select him.
ROSE: And a narrative that had global proportions.
RICK STENGEL: Absolutely. I mean, he was Person of the Year in the most universal sense.
"Talk about too big to fail," said managing editor of Time Richard Stengel on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Dec. 4, who was on the program promoting the latest cover story for the magazine entitled, "The Case for Saving Detroit." Stengel:
"I find the fact that so many Americans are unsympathetic to Detroit to be kind of amazing," Stengel said:
We make the case that in fact the, you know, the Big Three have adapted in a lot of ways ... They haven't managed things well, they have too much capacity, but I mean, talk about being too big to fail in a way, right?
The fact is Americans don't understand what collateralized debt obligations are, yet they sort of said, ‘Okay, let's bailout all of these banks and AIG' and yet people feel like, ‘Hmm what about the big car manufacturers?
Spreading the WordAs we reported earlier, former Newsweek reporter Michael Hastings drops one rhetorical bomb after another on the media in a new article for GQ magazine. All of them reinforcing what we already knew, best summarized by Hastings himself: the press's "objectivity is a fallacy."
It has been a horrendous year for the media's credibility, and Hastings's statements only make it worse. "If (it) sounds like I had some trouble being ‘objective,' I did. Objectivity is a fallacy. In campaign reporting more than any other kind of press coverage, reporters aren't just covering a story, they're a part of it-influencing outcomes, setting expectations, framing candidates-and despite what they tell themselves, it's impossible to both be a part of the action and report on it objectively."
Hastings is utterly derisive of both former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator and Presidential nominee John McCain, both of whom he covered during the Republican primary. He in fact dreamed repeatedly of doing Giuliani harm as some sort of warped civic duty.
Time magazine isn’t satisfied with reporting the news. It wants to play both journalist and lobbyist. Their website announced: "TIME is helping to lead a major push to make national service a priority in Washington. And we want you to get involved". In his "To Our Readers" article this week, Time Managing Editor Rick Stengel announced that Time has joined in a lobbying group called "Service Nation" to promote legislation for more federal government programs of volunteering. If the phrase "more federal government programs of volunteering" sounds strange, you’re not on Time’s wavelength.
Once again, Time is promoting a program led by recent Time cover-story honorees. The magazine will help host a September summit starring one-time Republican New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who shared a cover last June. (Ironically, that story was headlined "Who Needs Washington?" Now Time declares that Washington must lead on volunteerism.)
Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel told the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on July 17 that "there's incredible despair out there and there's a sense that, that something needs to be done and people have kind of an appetite for big government in a way" in America.
Stengel was citing a new poll, but the interview did not discuss the fact that the poll also found 80 percent of respondents said they should be responsible for carrying their own financial burdens.
The poll was a joint effort of Time magazine and the Rockefeller Foundation, an organization Stengel characterized as "on a mission themselves to help the American worker and find out about the economy."
Could that be political?
"If you say that favors Barack Obama, maybe it does, I don't know," Stengel said.
Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel made an open confession about the mainstream media’s pro-Obama leanings on Monday’s "The Situation Room." " I would be a liar if I said that there hasn't been a certain amount of glee in the press corps about Hillary Clinton not doing that well. To use a very fancy word, there's some schadenfreude among the press." Despite this candor, he then went on to say that the press doesn’t "play favorites," almost contradicting what he had said earlier about the press coverage of Hillary Clinton.
Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel continued to defend the magazine's doctoring of the iconic Iwo Jima flag-raising photo in a speech April 21 - calling it a "point of view." But perhaps one of the most appalling revelations to come out of Stengel's defense of the photo is his idea of the role of objectivity in running a legitimate news magazine.
"I didn't go to journalism school," Stengel said. "But this notion that journalism is objective, or must be objective is something that has always bothered me - because the notion about objectivity is in some ways a fantasy. I don't know that there is as such a thing as objectivity."
Gainor told viewers of the Saturday morning broadcast April 19, "Time magazine basically tried to co-op an icon of American heroism to push their global warming agenda. They're trying to claim that their war against global warming is similar to what our veterans endured during WWII."
He went on to say that there were 28,000 casualties and more than 6,000 people killed at Iwo Jima, exclaiming, "That's real war."
The Time cover story by Bryan Walsh calls green "the new red, white and blue." But Donald Mates, an Iwo Jima veteran, said this goes a little too far. He told the Business & Media Institute on April 17 that using the famous Iwo Jima flag-planting photograph for the global warming cause was a "disgrace."
"It's an absolute disgrace," Mates said. "Whoever did it is going to hell. That's a mortal sin. God forbid he runs into a Marine that was an Iwo Jima survivor."
On Thursday's The Situation Room on CNN, Time magazine's managing editor, Richard Stengel, suggested that the 1961 Bay of Pigs attempt to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro should not have been planned, as he assigned some of the blame for the fiasco to President Eisenhower for planning it in the first place. During a discussion of the importance of experience for a new President, Stengel contended: "John Kennedy, when he was first elected, very inexperienced President, got us into the Bay of Pigs. Terrible mistake. But who planned the Bay of Pigs? Dwight Eisenhower." (Transcript follows)
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed the Managing Editor of Time Magazine, Richard Stengel, about the publication’s latest cover story on the presidential campaign entitled "How Much Does Experience Matter?," with a clear picture of Barack Obama’s silhouette surrounded by a holy aura of light (see picture). Smith previewed the segment earlier in the show by wondering: "Still ahead, the question of experience dominating the Democratic campaign, does it really matter?"
In the segment that followed, the answer to that question was a resounding ‘no.’ Stengel began by using the anecdotal evidence of Abraham Lincoln to prove that experience does not matter: "I mean, the most famous example, of course, is Abraham Lincoln, who is probably our least experienced president, who was sandwiched between our two most experienced presidents, Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, both of whom were failures."
Stengel went on to defend JFK, claiming the young president was not responsible for the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, but rather that the more experienced, and Republican, Dwight Eisenhower was the reason for the invasion’s failure:
David's [Time writer, David Von Drehle] great piece starts out with John F. Kennedy who came in, the first 100 days, he's tested in the Bay of Pigs. He makes a terrible mistake. He says, man, 'if I'm going to learn something, at least I learned it early.' But then who got them into the Bay of Pigs originally? Dwight Eisenhower, the most experienced president.
On Sunday’s edition of the Chris Matthews Show (syndicated by NBC), Time managing editor Richard Stengel applied the usual superlatives to Bill Clinton, in describing how he will overshadow any mere Vice President if Hillary is elected: "But the other thing that’s going to be hard is, if you have Michael Jordan on your team, i.e., Bill Clinton when it's a troubled game, aren't you going to call him and say, ‘Let's play?’ If you're the Vice President, you're completely eclipsed by him."
This Michael Jordan encomium means more coming from Stengel, who played some college B-ball for Princeton.
Stengel also felt the 2008 race was shaping up like Bill’s win in 1992, on the heels of a "Bush recession." Chris Matthews previewed that chat: "When we come back, Republicans already have an unpopular war to run on. Now it looks like a recession. Are they bound to lose in November?"
The weekend of January 19 - 20 might go down as the moment in history when the liberal media collectively told former President Bill Clinton to shut up.
Possibly the best example occurred on "The Chris Matthews Show" Sunday when Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution actually stated, "Sometimes I think that Bill Clinton ought to be put in the Nutty Old Geezer Club along with Andrew Young for some of the dumb things he's said lately."
For those that have forgotten, Young is the former Atlanta mayor that recently stated, "Bill [Clinton] is every bit as black as Barack [Obama]...He's probably gone with more black women than Barack."
This statement by Tucker followed other such incidents, including, as NewsBusters reported, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter publishing an article Saturday expressing grave concern that the former president's recent antics were harming Hillary's campaign. Hours later, the panel on ABC's "This Week" shared similar misgivings regarding Clinton's recent "temper tantrums."
Wonderfully, exiling the former president to the Nutty Old Geezer Club was just the beginning of the Bill bashing on Sunday's "Matthews" program:
Time magazine has named liberal icon Al Gore runner-up for 2007's Person of the Year, second only to the winner, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Richard Stengel, the publication's managing editor, appeared on Wednesday's edition of the "Today" show to announce the decision. Stengel, the man responsible for the final decision, also showed up on Monday's program and toyed with the possibility of choosing Gore, saying he'd be a "superb choice."
[Updated with transcript: December 19, 2007- 10:53 -0500]
Today co-host Meredith Vieira seemed shocked at the decision. Upon hearing the news that Gore had not won Time's prize, she stumbled, "Oh! He wasn't -- oh, interesting." In 2007, Stengel's news magazine repeatedly gushed over Gore. In May, Time writer Eric Pooley lamented the 2000 candidate's decision not to enter the current presidential race and lovingly labeled him a "improbably charismatic, Academy Award–winning, Nobel Prize–nominated environmental prophet."
Time Magazine will announce its 2007 "Person of the Year" in its December 31 issue and Jobs is listed as one of the candidates. According to Time.com, he has several things going for him, but one glaring thing working against him:
"Pro: The iPhone is a triumph while iTunes expanded its reach as the dominant source of online music. Oh, and Apple stock is up a mere 100% in 2007.
Con: Not exactly a figure of global change. He's a businessman, albeit a great one." (emphasis added)
Time magazine's managing editor hinted on Monday's "Today" show that Al Gore would be a "superb choice" for recipient of the publication's 2007 Person of the Year award. Richard Stengel agreed with co-host Meredith Vieira that the former vice president was on the "short list" and extolled, "He's had an extraordinary year. He's had an extraordinary influence. There was a real tipping point this year in terms of people being conscious of the environment. So, he would be a superb choice."
On Time's website, the magazine is currently ranking the potential of the seven "short list" candidates. Each person receives a pro and con as to why that individual might or might not win. And while General David Petraeus's "con" is that he can be seen as "excessively protective" of President Bush, Gore's negative is simply that much of his "green works" was completed in 2006. However, the "pro" touted impact: "The Nobel Prize ensures that a generation of children will envision his face while being scolded for leaving a room without turning off the lights." The winner of Time's "Person of the Year" will be announced live on Wednesday's "Today."
Richard Stengel is still a newbie as the top editor at Time, but he’s experienced enough that he ought to know how to mount a challenging interview with a presidential candidate. That’s not what he did in his new Barack Obama interview. (That’s the same one Brent Baker found CBS loved. Scroll down to end.) Here are the softball questions Time published:
You've been engaging with Senator Clinton in a more direct way. Is there a danger of damaging your brand of new politics? (Obama said "you'd be hard-pressed to say that at any point we've been gratuitous, nasty, personal.")
Her campaign just issued a statement saying you had less foreign policy experience than any President since World War II. (Obama: "It seems to get less traction as people hear me talk.")
Hillary's horrible Halloween week from hell got worse Sunday when Chris Matthews and his liberal-stocked panel piled on the Junior Senator from New York fortifying the recent media meme that the Clinton in 2008 inevitability has suddenly become a tad less inevitable.
Adding insult to injury, when you're a Democrat candidate, and press members like Norah O'Donnell of MSNBC, Richard Stengel of Time, Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker, and Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution think you've stumbled, you've stumbled.
In a truly surprising opening segment, Matthews set the almost impossible to believe discussion up:
Does the media have any understanding at all of how important they are to terrorists and other enemies of the United States with their determined moral equivalency? When it comes to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the answer appears to be a resounding no. Time Magazine's Richard Stengel provides a glowing puff piece on the Iranian leader, entirely abrogating his responsibility as a reporter to provide any context whatsoever. Stengel writes of Ahmadinejad,
The invitation was on creamy stationery with fancy calligraphy: The Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran "requests the pleasure" of my company to dine with H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The dinner is at the Intercontinental Hotel — with names carefully written out at all the place settings around a rectangular table. There are about 50 of us, academics and journalists mostly. There's Brian Williams across the room, and Christiane Amanpour a few seats down. And at a little after 8pm, on a day when he has already addressed the U.N., the evening after his confrontation at Columbia, a bowing and smiling Mahmoud Admadinejad glides into the room.
This is now an annual ritual for the President of Iran. Every year, during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, he plots out a media campaign that — in its shrewdness, relentlessness, and quest for attention — would rival Angelina Jolie on a movie junket. And like any international figure, Mr. Ahmadinejad hones his performance for multiple audiences: in this case, the journalists and academics who can filter his speech and ideas for a wider American audience.