Angus T. Jones told the truth. In a religious video posted on YouTube, the former child actor who’s the “half” man of the CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men” shocked the celebrity press by saying “I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it. Please stop filling your head with filth.”
Calling this show “filth” is like calling your Christmas tree an evergreen. Yet about 14 million Americans still love filling their head with this filthy show, and they don’t want to be told what they’re doing.
Posted on the Chicago Sun-Times's Web site today is "The rise and fall of Rod Blagojevich," written by Carol Marin, the newspaper's political columnist. Illinois's former Democratic governor is heading to the Federal pen this week, and Marin writes "he had surrounded himself with con men and creeps." She names a few, most notably convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko. She ignores a man who had a substantial role in elevating Blagojevich to the governor's office, Barack Obama.
In a 2008 New Yorker accounting, Ryan Lizza wrote:
ABC, NBC, and CBS all reported on former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich receiving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption on their evening news programs on Wednesday and their morning shows on Thursday, but only CBS's Early Show gave his Democratic affiliation. ABC devoted only 3 news briefs total to the conviction, while NBC Nightly News and The Early Show aired full reports.
News anchor Jeff Glor introduced correspondent Michelle Miller's report on the CBS morning program at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour by stating that "Rod Blagojevich is paying a very high price for corruption. Is it too high? In Chicago Wednesday, a judge sentenced the former Illinois governor to 14 years in prison"
Wednesday afternoon, Matthew Balan at NewsBusters noted that two of the three network morning shows failed to mention disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's Democratic Party affiliation.
Not that it's an excuse, but what was probably their primary raw material, namely three Tuesday reports from the Associated Press, completely failed to tag Blago as a Democrat, specifically the following (idea HT to NB commenter "trak65"):
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday highlighted the upcoming sentencing of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, but only CBS's Early Show identified the disgraced politician as a Democrat and devoted a full segment to him. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today omitted his party ID, and just gave news briefs on the convict's possible sentence.
CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers wasted little time before noting that "the former Democratic governor was convicted on 18 counts of corruption, after being caught on a profanity-laced federal wiretap offering political favors in return for financial gain." Bowers played two sound bites from the wiretap recording, including the infamous "bleeping golden" clip from Blagojevich.
Depending on which news outlet you rely on for current events, you may not have heard that convicted Chicago real estate developer Tony Rezko was sentenced to 10½ years in prison Tuesday.
On top of this, unless you read the following report from Reuters, you mightn't have known just how connected he was to a junior senator from Illinois who just so happens to be the President of the United States:
ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to mention former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's affiliation with the Democratic Party on their Monday evening news broadcasts and the Tuesday morning shows. Blagojevich was convicted by a jury on Monday on 17 out of 20 charges, mainly related to the attempt to sell the Senate seat of President Obama. Only CBS's Early Show noted his party with a "D" on-screen.
NBC devoted the least amount of time to the breaking news, a total of 1 minute and 50 seconds between NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Brian Williams actually didn't mention the party of the new felon or his predecessor during his report on Monday, but noted that "Blagojevich will become the fourth Illinois governor in recent memory to go to jail. His predecessor, George Ryan, is still in federal prison, also for corruption." The following morning, news anchor Natalie Morales gave three news briefs on Blagojevich, all about 15 seconds long each.
The following post was based on a misunderstanding of the conversation described. Please see our retraction here.
Tuesday's Morning Joe treated the conviction of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich as a relatively minor affair, and gave it little to no coverage save a brief discussion about the supposed injustice of the process. "It's any other day and that's any other news story," said Mika Brzezinski, who appeared annoyed at being asked to cover the story at all. Later, she insisted "We're not going to waste the first block on this."
Earlier today, a grand jury convicted former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, on 17 of 20 counts of corruption. 11 of of the guilty verdicts related to attempts to profit from the "sale" of the U.S. Senate seat Barack Obama vacated when he became president.
At USA Today's On Deadline blog (as of its 5:33 p.m. update), Michael Winter failed to identify Blagojevich or any other politician involved as a Democrat. Neither did the video found at Winter's article. This is not surprising, because the video came from the "see no evil Democrat" Associated Press.
In six items all carrying today's date found at the AP's main site in a search on the former governor's last name at 8:15 p.m. ET, the wire service not only failed to tag Blago as a Democrat, it failed to tag anyone as Democrat. Here's the list:
Let’s not imagine Anthony Weiner was the only Democratic embarrassment of the last week. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was back on trial in Chicago last week “offering an enthralling and self-immolating primer on American government,” wrote former Chicago Tribune editor James Warren.
“In talking about his mulling appointing himself to Obama's senate seat, Blagojevich even said that it would have enabled him to go to Afghanistan and ‘hunt down’ Osama bin Laden,” wrote Warren. But the networks carried none of this entertaining blather. In fact, ABC hasn’t mentioned Blago since October 26, 2010. The others touched on him once each briefly in May:
CBS's Jeff Glor failed to mention the Democratic Party affiliation of Rod Blagojevich, as well as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., during a news brief on Wednesday's Early Show. Glor's report was the only mention on the Big Three network morning shows of the former Illinois governor's lawyers calling the former Obama aide and the congressman to testify in his retrial for corruption.
The news anchor noted during his brief that "some big names could be on the stand" and specified that Blagojevich's attorneys would call Emanuel and Jackson, Jr. He then explained that the former governor is "accused of trying to sell the seat of then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama. His first trial ended in a hung jury."
Leon H. Wolf of RedState.com makes a great comparison today, calling out the Associated Press for their labeling bias. This post, found here, is hilariously entitled “AP Discovers GOP Republican Conservative Republican Member of the GOP (R) Involved In Scandal.”
Wolf pointed out the difference between this story and the AP’s coverage of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick:
On Thursday, Chicago-based New York Times reporter Monica Davey reported on more controversy over Rod Blagojevich, the corrupt former Democratic governor of Illinois who tried to sell off the state's U.S. Senate seat that was left empty after Sen. Barack Obama assumed the presidency. In "Top Blagojevich Aide Pleads Guilty to Fraud," Davey managed to totally ignore Blagojevich's Democratic affiliation -- the word "Democrat" was nowhere to be found.
Turn the page, and one could read John Schwartz's story about the latest wrinkle in the bribery and corruption case of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. But in this case, Schwartz made the partisan lines clear, quickly identifying convicted governor Siegelman as a Democrat and his prosecutor as a Republican, heightening the contrast and reinforcing the paper's long-standing, unfounded suspicions of a high-level anti-Siegelman conspiracy on the part of the GOP.
A Department of Justice whistle-blower who accused prosecutors of misconduct in the closely watched federal corruption trial of former Gov. Donald E. Siegelman of Alabama has been fired, and claims retaliation is the reason. The government denies that it was retaliating.
The whistle-blower, Tamarah T. Grimes, worked as a legal aide with the team prosecuting Mr. Siegelman and Richard M. Scrushy, the former chairman of HealthSouth, on bribery and corruption charges.
Both men were convicted in 2006 in a case that Mr. Siegelman, a Democrat, and supporters say was politically motivated.
Blago and Burris, Sitting in a tree, But they'd rather we not know their political party.
There has been yet another revelation about contacts between Democratic President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate successor, Democrat Roland Burris and former Illinois Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich over Blago's pre-Senate appointment, uh, deliberations. A released FBI audio recording reveals that Burris offered to make a campaign contribution to Blago as he lobbied to be selected.
This news has brought on yet another wave of stories that fail to tell us what party Blago and Burris belong to.
The Washington Post is the only publication that identified the party of both men in the course of reporting their story. The Post's Peter Slevin and Perry Bacon Jr. also identified the Democratic Party affiliation of the Senate Ethics Committee's Barbara Boxer:
The Associated Press's determination to keep the identity of Democrats in trouble or under investigation hidden is indeed strong and persistent.
Its report (as of 11:03 p.m.; a copy is saved here at my web host for future reference) on the launch of an ethics probe into Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr.'s relationship with ousted former Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich, particularly relating to Jackson’s bid to be appointed to the Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama, does not refer to Jackson or Blago as a Democrat. Any more, that's relatively unremarkable.
What is a bit more remarkable is that the underlying Chicago Sun-Times story on the impending probe refers to Jackson twice as a "D-Ill," once in the report's very first sentence and once in the picture caption copied at the top right (which, of all things, is apparently an AP file photo).
This means that AP had to proactively scrub the Democratic Party references already present in its underlying source.
Today's Chicago Tribune, taking a cue from its hero Barack Obama, gave bracketeering a try. The contenders, all former Illinois and Louisiana public officials, were selected for a smackdown to determine the most disgraceful.
The rivals from Louisiana were former Governors Huey Long and Edwin Edwards, former Congressman William "Refrigerator" Jefferson, and former New Orleans City Council president Oliver Thomas (identified as Thomas Oliver by the newspaper.). Weighing in from Illinois were former Governors George Ryan and Milorad "Call Me Rod" Blagojevich, former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, and former Chicago alderman Arenda Troutman.
The Trib gave the nod to Edwin Edwards, although I think the competition was marred by not having an Illinois Daley in the competition. Setting that aside, what was interesting is the Tribune didn't mention party affiliation in its bracketeering. Seven of the eight contenders, or 87.5 percent, were Democrats. Gee, what a surprise.
Of the 14 politicians identified, seven are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Five of the seven GOP members are identified as such, while only two of the seven Democrats were flagged. The montage also has a couple of surprising factual errors.
Well, glory be, sometime in the past couple of months, ABC has made changes to the montage. Now each profile except for Bill Clinton's (which is excusable) identifies the politician's party. Additionally, two factual errors at the original profiles have been corrected. The year of Clinton's Lewinsky scandal which ultimately led to his acts of perjury and impeachment has been changed from 1995 to 1998, and an incorrect statement that sex-scandalized Florida Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney had conceded to GOP opponent Tom Rooney before Election Day last year has been removed.
Here's the lineup of the "Faces of Political Scandal," and how their status changed:
Monday morning show coverage of allegations that Illinois Senator Roland Burris may have perjured himself with respect to connections to impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich minimized calls for investigation or Burris’s resignation. On the CBS Early Show, correspondent Thailia Assuras explained: "State Republican lawmakers are calling for Senator Roland Burris to resign and be investigated for perjury...The U.S. Senate could move to expel Burris, but analysts say that's unlikely to happen. It's not the kind of distraction Senate Democrats need as they try to move forward the president's agenda."
On NBC’s Today, correspondent Lee Cowan had a similar take: "...some Republican lawmakers here are now calling for Senator Burris to resign. At the very least, some want to see a criminal investigation launched to see whether or not he perjured himself. As for his colleagues in the U.S. Senate, so far they're reserving judgment." ABC’s Good Morning America barely mentioned the controversy, only offering one 15-second news brief on the story. In addition to downplaying the issue, none of the three morning shows mentioned that Burris was a Democrat. Only the Early Show featured an on-screen graphic with ‘Illinois (D)’ next to Burris’s name while playing a clip of the Senator.
Appointed Sen. Roland Burris lied under oath to capture his seat in the Senate, but The Washington Post can't quite say that. On Sunday's front page, the paper promoted a story on A-3 with the headline "Burris Revises Story on Senate Seat."
On the home page of washingtonpost.com, a tiny headline said only "Burris Reveals Requests From Blagojevich's Circle."
Inside, the headline was "Burris Discloses Fundraising Requests: Senator Reveals Contacts With Blagojevich's Brother, Other Associates of Ex-Governor".
Even reporter Peter Slevin couldn't muster the will to report directly:
Sen. Roland W. Burris (D-Ill.), appointed to fill President Obama's former seat in the U.S. Senate, has informed Illinois lawmakers that he did not tell them the complete story about his contacts with close associates of former governor Rod Blagojevich (D) before he got the job.
In a sworn affidavit made public Saturday, Burris said that the governor's brother asked him in a series of conversations to raise campaign funds for Blagojevich, who was later charged with trying to profit from his executive actions and removed from office.
Comedian Dennis Miller did his weekly stint on the "O'Reilly Factor" Wednesday, and was in truly rare form.
Besides claiming that Hillary Clinton has "been cheated on more frequently than a blind woman playing Scrabble with gypsies," and calling her husband "a big, loopy horn dog," Miller marvelously depicted impeached Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich as "the only guy Barack Obama has met in the last five years of his life who has paid his taxes."
The entire delicious video and transcript are below the fold:
Seven weeks after his arrest for allegedly attempting to peddle Barack Obama’s Senate seat, Rod Blagojevich was removed as governor of Illinois on Thursday. ABC, CBS and NBC all offered full reports last night and this morning, but none of the anchors or reporters provided any hint that Blagojevich was a Democrat.
Back on December 9, reporting on the then-governor’s arrest, NewsBusters noted how all three of the evening newscasts had properly referred to Blagojevich as a Democrat. NBC reporter Lee Cowan described the charge as “that the two-term Democratic Governor tried to sell a seat in the US Senate to the highest bidder,” while ABC’s Brian Ross stated that “the boyish-looking Democrat branded a greedy, foul mouth politician who tried to sell a US Senate seat to the highest bidder.”
But now that the scandal was ending Blagojevich’s political career (he’s now banned from ever serving in public office in Illinois), the networks have dropped the (D) from the story. A round-up of some of the coverage, starting with Thursday’s evening newscasts:
Quinn comes in with a squeaky clean reputation at a time when the past two governors have faced serious federal charges.
An Illinois Democrat with a squeaky clean reputation? Now that is news. It also conflicts with assertions made by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in 1996, when he faced Quinn in the party's primary. The (Springfield, IL) State Journal-Register covered a February debate:
On Tuesday’s CBS ‘Early Show,’ embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was interviewed over the course of two segments, totaling 10 minutes, and was never described as a Democrat. Co-hosts Maggie Rodriguez, Harry Smith and Julie Chen all spoke with the governor at some point and none mentioned his political party. The only acknowledgment of the governor’s party affiliation was in an on-screen graphic that featured a ‘(D) Illinois’ label. A mention of Blagojevich’s political party was similarly lacking on Thursday’s Good Morning America on ABC.
In addition to Early Show hosts failing to note that Blagojevich was a Democrat, none of them asked the governor about any discussions he had with President Obama or other administration officials about filling Obama’s vacant Senate seat. In the second segment in the 7:30AM half hour, Blagojevich declared: "I want to bring Congressman Rahm -- president's chief of staff, my congressman, Rahm Emanuel...I want to bring Valerie Jarrett, who's a high-ranking official in the Obama administration." However, there was no follow-up question to clarify the connection those Obama administration officials had with Blagojevich. Despite such a lack of journalist curiosity, Julie Chen exclaimed at the top of the show: "Blago live. He's faced Larry and Barbara, but his toughest interview is ahead this morning."
On Monday's "Good Morning America," the ABC morning show featured four segments on scandal-ridden Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. And over the course of 17 minutes and 38 seconds, not one host or reporter mentioned his party affiliation. Co-host Diane Sawyer interviewed Blagojevich for two segments and simply referred to him as the governor or Governor Blagojevich.
The Illinois politician, who is accused of attempting to sell the former Senate seat of now-President Barack Obama, was identified in an onscreen graphic only. It read "(D) Illinois." (A more effusive graphic, which appeared during the show's opening tease, screamed, "Illinois Governor, Live!") But neither Sawyer, nor reporter Chris Bury (who filed two additional segments on the topic), actually used the word Democrat. In fact, the only time it came up was during the second interview when Blagojevich himself referred to "my fellow Democrats."
Starting this week, MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter is evolving from a printed hard-copy product to an all-electronic Web and e-mail publication, complete with audio and video clips of the worst quotes from each issue.
Every two weeks, Notable Quotables offers a concise summary of the liberal media’s most outrageous and/or humorous eruptions, and the very best quotes are harvested once a year so the journalists can receive “awards” at our annual DisHonors dinner in Washington, D.C.
To give you a flavor of what’s in each issue, here are the most obnoxious quotes from this week’s (January 12) edition. If you've been a subscriber to the print edition, or if you’d like to sign up for our new HTML or plain-text e-mail, please go to www.MRC.org/subscriptions.
Media Research Center Director of Communications and NewsBusters.org Contributing Editor Seton Motley appeared on this morning's Fox & Friends on the Fox News Channel to discuss the egregious media double standard when it comes to Republicans and Democrats misbehaving.
Motley pointed to the media's incessant chant in 2006, the "Republican Culture of Corruption," and noted that no such parallel moniker has been affixed by the press to the Democratic Party despite a great and apparently growing number of their members having become embroiled in scandals.
Motley "defended" New Mexico Governor and recently withdrawn Commerce Secretary designee Bill Richardson, currently under federal investigation for swapping large government contracts for large campaign contributions, saying Richardson was only engaging in his form of commerce, preparing for his (almost) next gig.
The Denver Post seems to have decided that "the Lord" should not be allowed in its paper. In a January 5 report about Illinois Senator wannabe Roland Burris, the unwelcome Burris is quoted by the AP as saying "the Lord" had "ordained" that he get his Senate seat. At 3AM the Post had the full religious quote featured on its site, yet by 8PM the religious reference was purged from the story. One wonders why reference to the Lord was scrubbed from the report?
The report by David Espo of the Associated Press originally quoted Burris as saying that, "We are hoping and praying that they will not be able to deny what the Lord has ordained." Obviously, Burris is convinced that God wants him to be a Senator. (The full AP report with the religious reference can be seen here.)