There's no political bias here, but given the interest many of our loyal readers have for college football, the relatively slow news week we're having, and the fact that's it's fun to beat up on Newsweek, here goes.
In a recent "CW Look at Summer Fashion Trends" Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom feature promised a look at "what's hot for this year's hot weather." Among the nods of approval, an up arrow to jean shorts:
They're back like Indiana Jones. Tuck a T shirt into a high-waisted pair.
While it sounds facetious, could this be a subtle ploy to boost readership by University of Florida alumni? [click here, watch intro] If so, isn't that a poor move that could alienate other readers in the SEC?
For more background into the "Gators Wear Jean Shorts" taunt, check here.
The Chicago Tribune has lurched to the left of Sen. Barack Obama, at least on gun rights, marking the latest point in its evolution from a historically moderate-to-conservative paper to a reliably left-wing broadsheet.
That's how MRC Director of Media Analysis characterized the Trib's decision to issue an editorial last Friday calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. The editorial board's writers whined that the Constitution's Framers "could have used an editor" in writing the Bill of Rights. [audio available here]
Below is a transcript -- h/t MRC intern Peter Sasso -- from Graham's appearance on the June 30 "O'Reilly Factor" with guest host John Kasich:
Michelle Obama has made a lot of news with her now infamous soundbite about how America is “downright mean” and that “for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country.”
But the mainstream media feel that they must defend the potential first lady and show her “softer side.”
During the 1 PM hour of Monday's MSNBC News Live, host Andrea Mitchell interviewed Susan Page, USA Today Washington Bureau Chief, about the newspaper’s interview with Michelle Obama. During their discussion of Obama, Mitchell gushed: “She’s Princeton, she’s Harvard, she’s so smart and so beautiful and, you know, a mom and a wife and a partner and yet people get caricatured.”
Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and - in a move sure to cause controversy - support their ability to hire and fire based on faith.
Talk about reaching out to white people who cling to their guns and religion: in the last week, Obama has now come out in support of handguns and faith based charities!
How will this play with the secular left who didn't support Bush's efforts in this regard? Will evangelicals buy into this or see through the charade? Might this end up being Obama's Sister Souljah moment?
In his first Sunday as interim host of "Meet the Press," retired NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw suggested he would lean strongly to the left this year. He lamented the presence of "scurrilous things about Barack Obama out on the blogosphere." He asked a series of questions about "climate change," suggesting it’s a "wise decision" to have a ban on new coal-driven power plants. His only Tim Russert-style block of text was New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's denunciation of President Bush’s "massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy." The only surprise was asking Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter if the Democratic platform would favor abortion again, noting Ritter was "anti-abortion." But as Ritter touted himself as a "great example" of his party’s diversity on abortion, Brokaw ignored Ritter’s liberal-pleasing record on abortion.
Brokaw’s first guests were Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado and Gov. Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming. Brokaw worried that the people of Wyoming might be swayed by scurrilous rumors about Obama: "There's been some scurrilous things about Barack Obama out on the blogosphere. When you announced your endorsement, did you hear any of that in Wyoming, or did you hear from bloggers who are not happy with him, either as a result of his political positions, they've attacked his name and even raised questions about his faith?"
Topics in today's show: Barack Obama finally decides to visit Iraq, Hillary Clinton's campaign debt, MTV starts accepting political ads, and a "Knight Rider" GPS navigation device?
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How strange does Newsweek get on the subject of religion? See this week’s appreciation of the late George Carlin by director Kevin Smith (who cast the obscenity-laced comedian as a ridiculous Catholic bishop in "Dogma"). Smith concluded: "He was, and will likely remain, the smartest person I've ever met. But really, he was much more than just a person. Without a hint of hyperbole, I can say he was a god, a god who cussed." That was Newsweek’s headline: "Remembering a God. A God Who Cussed." (Online, it was simply "‘A God Who Cussed’.")
Stranger than that was Smith’s anecdote right before that ending. As his film "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" wrapped, Carlin responded to Smith’s thank-yous by saying:
"Just do me a favor: Write me my dream role one day."
When I inquired what that'd be, he offered, "I wanna play a priest who strangles children."
According to Him -- meaning the amazingly pompous and holier-than-thou rockstar Sting -- the world is coming to an end if we don't stop global warming.
Yet, the self-described "environmentalist" bassplayer for the rock band the Police continues to symbolize the hypocrisy of wealthy liberal elites that tell us we have to make sacrifices for the good of the planet...as long as they don't have to!
In the most recent incident, the man who in 2005 arrogantly stated, "I think we need to convince Mr. Bush that global warming is in fact a reality" flew from England to Germany, in a private jet with a seating capacity of fourteen, BY HIMSELF!
I guess his concerts and convenience are FAR MORE important than the planet...as reported by the Daily Mail Monday evening (emphasis added, h/t NBer mastersofdeceit):
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, during a report on the importance of Colorado in the upcoming presidential election on Monday’s "American Morning," labeled Colorado Governor Bill Ritter a "self-styled cowboy centrist," despite his liberal record on issues such as abortion and special rights for "trans-gendered" people.
Acosta’s label is puzzling, since Governor Ritter hasn’t specifically refer to himself as a "cowboy centrist," neither during the interview or elsewhere. The exact term doesn’t even come up in a Google search. During the report, the CNN correspondent did run video of Ritter wearing cowboy boots, and the Governor claimed how his state had started to "trend to leaders who are pragmatic, who are centrist," a reference to himself. But the governor’s own proposals and some of bills he has signed since beginning his term in January 2007 point to a politician who is anything but centrist.
Showing the kind of intrepid journalism that morning news is known for, on Monday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith led a panel discussion about some recent celebrity divorces, when publicist Marvet Britto observed: "...men are, you know, patting each other on the back when philandering happens. Sad as it may be...You know, look at Bill Clinton. It's not like he's -- you know, we're walking down the street thinking, ‘oh, look what he did.’"
The topic came up when Smith and the other panelists, divorce attorney Raoul Felder and clinical psychologist Robi Ludwig, were discussing Christie Brinkley’s divorce from her husband, who had an affair. In response, Smith awkwardly laughed and quickly moved on.
Rutenberg went to Culver City, Calif. to profile leftist filmmaker Robert Greenwald and his cottage industry of anti-McCain films. While Rutenberg chided two conservative filmmakers for making dubious claims in their anti-Obama videos, Rutenberg found nothing misleading or objectionable in Greenwald's films, or anywhere else on the left end of the Internet.
Check this contrast:
The change has added to the frenetic pace of the campaign this year. "It's politics at the speed of Internet," said Dan Carol, a strategist for Mr. Obama who was one of the young bulls on Bill Clinton's vaunted rapid response team in 1992. "There's just a lot of people who at a very low cost can do this stuff and don't need a memo from HQ."
That would seem to apply to people like Robert Anderson, a professor at Elon University in North Carolina whose modest YouTube site that features videos flattering to Mr. Obama and unflattering to Mr. McCain, or Paul Villarreal, who from his apartment in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, has produced a harsh series of spots that attack Mr. Obama and make some claims that have been widely debunked.
Update/Correction: Cross-referencing my results with that of the MRC's internal database, I found a news mention on the June 26 "Today" of the previous day's missile test, which aired at the 9:00 a.m. news brief.
I know that missile defense is hardly a major political issue right now, but successes in the program are worth at least passing mention in broadcast media, particularly given tensions with Iran and the utility of missile defenses for our military forces should conflict ensue with the nuclear weapon-pursuing theocratic state.
Unfortunately, according to Nexis, no such stories were filed on either ABC or CBS programming following the latest test on June 26. This despite the fact that the test involved a not one but two complicating twists to the testing scheme. Reported the Honolulu Advertiser's Diana Leone (emphasis mine):
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to economic analyst Mark Zandi about the state of the economy and asked: "Oil's up, gasoline's up, food prices up, stocks, way, way, way, way down. Home owner -- home values are down. Is there an end in sight to all of this bad news?" Zandi replied: "You just made me depressed. No. It's just bad news. It really is...It's just a really tough time for many Americans."
Later, Smith commented on how all the bad economic news seems to contribute to bad economic events: "It just seems like we're in this cumulative cycle that, you know, once one threshold of bad news gets reached, we reach to yet another one." That comment sparked this exchange with Zandi:
ZANDI: Yeah, it's a self re-enforcing negative cycle. You know, that's what happens during recessions, and that's what we're in the middle of right now.
SMITH: Whoa, is this a recession?
ZANDI: You know that -- that's a debate among economists and policy makers. But in the minds of the average American household I think there's no debate, this is a recession. I mean they're worth less today than they were a year ago, they're purchasing power is lower. I mean, for most people that's the definition of recession. So, economists can debate it but I think most people think this is a recession.
On Saturday’s "Good Morning America," ABC News managed to set a new gold standard for biased reporting on global warming when they aired a tendentious report on the "sensitive and emotional and loving" polar bear that "has become the iconic face of climate change".
The report, by reporter Bill Blakemore failed to include any critics of global warming and neglected to highlight a recent study indicated that the polar bear population is actually rising. Indeed, ABC decided to ignore the facts in order to present an emotionally-charged story with a predetermined message.
While many newspapers ride the blurred lines between campaigning for Barack Obama and reporting news about him the New York Times is making it clear that they have no desire to hide behind such pretense. Their "in the bag" effort on behalf of Barack Obama has become so blatant and transparent that they are now printing stories to convince Obama supporters to take on Hussein as a middle name in a show of solidarity for the MSM's presidential candidate of choice.
Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com, mimicking her boyfriend and shocking her father.
“Emily Hussein Nordling,” her entry now reads.
With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name.
The result is a group of unlikely-sounding Husseins: Jewish and Catholic, Hispanic and Asian and Italian-American, from Jaime Hussein Alvarez of Washington, D.C., to Kelly Hussein Crowley of Norman, Okla., to Sarah Beth Hussein Frumkin of Chicago.
For months, the mainstream media has obsessed with the evils of the "right wing attack machine." Recently, CBS bizarrely labeled attacks on Obama’s campaign financing flip flop "swift boating." ABC’s George Stephanopoulos even defended the Obama campaign’s discrimination against Muslims to "combat the issue" of false rumors that Obama is a Muslim.
While much of the mainstream media frets about the alleged GOP slime machine, they ignore the much larger, more heavily financed true smear machine from the left. The Politico reports that far left blogger John Aravosis, who also humiliates those who do not fit his brand of liberalism, is now attacking McCain’s Vietnam War record (ironically is exactly the outrage directed at the "swift boat" veterans)
Exit poll after exit poll in election after election shows the Democratic Party is staunchly supported by an overwhelming majority of African-American voters, many of whom are much more socially conservative on issues like abortion than their party leadership. The Democratic Party is also staunchly supported in primary battles and in fundraising drives by hard-core pro-choice liberals -- we're talking the same people who fought tooth-and-nail the federal ban on Partial-Birth Abortion.
So when a group of black ministers conducted a protest march in Washington, D.C., last week to raise awareness of its criticism of Planned Parenthood, media outlets had the recipe, instantly, for stories about possible conflicts that could divide the Democratic Party coalition on substantive, hot-button issues.
To perhaps no one's surprise here at NewsBusters, while the media covered the much hyped "Unity" rally in New Hampshire, the cable networks failed to even show up to shoot B-roll of Thursday's pro-life march on the DNC and RNC headquarters. Washington Times staffer Julia Duin covered the march and found no TV cameras present to record it:
The New York Times published an article Monday about the anger some Vietnam veterans feel over the vessel they used to serve on, Swift Boat, now being synonymous with "the nastiest of campaign smears."
In dredging up this issue, Times' writer Kate Zernike not only misrepresented many of the facts surrounding the claims made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, but also completely ignored the mainstream media's role in turning the name of this patrol craft into a political pejorative.
In fact, something the Times conveniently chose not to share with its readers was how one of its own columnists, Frank Rich, wrote one of the earliest and most prominent pieces recharacterizing this nautical term as a smear tactic in his August 21, 2005, article "The Swift Boating of Cindy Sheehan."
But before we get there, here's what the Times had to say Monday (emphasis added throughout, h/t NBer Bingo):
Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom for its July 7 dead tree edition gives an approving up arrow for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), noting that he is "[s]urging in national polls" before adding the cautionary note to "beware looking like just another politician."
But the real CW in DC this past week, which saw the Supreme Court affirm the individual's right to keep and bear arms, is that Obama has flip-flopped on the Second Amendent, something the editors at Newsweek most certainly must know.
In describing the reasons he believes the Republicans' presumptive nominee for president would be better prepared than the Democrats' to lead the nation next January, Sen. Joe Lieberman said that history shows the United States would likely face a terrorist attack in 2009. "Our enemies will test the new president early," Lieberman, I-Conn., told Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer. "Remember that the truck bombing of the World Trade Center happened in the first year of the Clinton administration. 9/11 happened in the first year of the Bush administration."
Despite the likely political nature of this statement, is he right? Is this true only if Obama wins in November, or will al Qaeda offer a shot across the bow irrespective of who's in the White House? Does this make it even more imperative that bin Laden finally gets captured or killed?
With less than 10 hours remaining until the end of June in Iraq at the time of this post, it is clear, barring heavy last-minute casuaties, that May and June will show the lowest two-month total for US troop deaths in the five-year history of our involvement there.
Here we go again. Just as with 2001-2003 coverage of Bush's tax cuts which gave the greatest percent cut to those in the lowest income tax bracket (going from 15 down to 10 percent, a 33 percent reduction), ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday chose to undermine the fairness of John McCain's proposed tax plan (and illustrate the media hostility sure to greet McCain whenever he takes a conservative position) by citing estimated dollar cuts by income level, as if it's unfair for someone earning more to get a larger dollar amount tax cut than someone making less.
Citing the Tax Policy Center, a project of two left of center organizations -- the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution -- Stephanopoulos reminded This Week guest Tim Pawlenty, the Republican Governor of Minnesota, how “your trademark has been that the Republican Party has to be the party of Sam's Club, not just the country club.” Stephanopoulos, who failed to hit his other guest, Democratic Congressman Rahm Emmanuel with any numbers critical of Obama's tax plan, pounced on Pawlenty:
The Tax Policy Institute [actually, Center] has crunched the numbers on John McCain's tax plan. I want to put some of them up there right now. It shows that if you're making under $60,000 a year about, the bottom 60 percent will get about $150. The top one percent of people, making about $600,000 a year, get $45,000. The top 0.1 percent -- that's approaching $3 million a year -- get almost $270,000. How do you sell that as a plan that targets Sam's Club more than the country club?
Andrea Mitchell depicts Wesley Clark's cracks about John McCain's heroism as a gaffe. Bloopers that will cost him any chance of being picked for the Obama veep slot. But surely the seasoned MSM hand knows better than to imagine that Clark was freelancing. Clark's were anything but impromptu remarks, made, say, late at night to a foreign reporter in a hotel cocktail lounge in some far-flung land. To the contrary, Clark took his shots in the brightest of limelights—those of a Sunday morning talk show—speaking with the venerable Bob Schieffer. Clark was explicitly there as an Obama campaign surrogate.
Moreover, Clark had made similar comments before, as a guest on Morning Joe earlier this month [YouTube of earlier appearance]. So the Obama campaign was well aware of his views. If it had any qualms about him expressing them, surely he would have been warned off. Thus, far from representing a gaffe, Clark's comments must be seen as reflecting Barack Obama's calculated strategy—and that is precisely how the McCain campaign has interpreted them.
So why would Andrea Mitchell turn up on Morning Joe today lambasting Clark for his "stupid" and "dumb" remarks? You don't suppose she was trying to inoculate Obama, give him cover, some plausible deniability, so that the remarks get the maximum attention without Obama's fingerprints being seen on them?
The Washington Post is such a liberal newspaper that it can't even keep the anti-Bush comments out of the Sports section. Post ombudsman Deborah Howell agreed with readers of her Sunday column that gratuitious Bush-bashing doesn't improve a column on sailing to Bermuda:
Several readers were unhappy about a political comment in the middle of Angus Phillips's June 22 sailing column. William Hunter of Bristow, Va., wrote: "This is in regards to [his] column this past Sunday, 'Winds That Made a Journey Anything but a Breeze,' in particular this line: 'As anyone who has lived in the United States the last eight years knows, a rudderless ship is not so good.' "
Hunter wrote: "Can we give it a rest, please? We get it already...everyone at The Washington Post hates/loathes/despises/whatever President Bush. Is there a reason this kind of nonsense has to spill over into the Sports section?...I don't deny Mr. Phillips's right to write whatever he pleases in his column...Please keep partisan politics out of the Sports section."
Right you are, Mr. Hunter. Phillips should have stuck to sailing.
Last week, with an "Assignment America" report on the CBS Evening News, Steve Hartman perpetrated a perfect example of why the media simply has no credibility on any subject, even humor. Hatrman’s report was not only dishonest, but missed the main point by a fair margin.
To set his report up, Hartman claims that before his son was born he had wondered why parents universally felt their own children were be so darn cute? He wondered how it could be that every parent thought theirs was the cutest child ever born? So, after Hartman himself recently had a son, George, he thought that he might go out and explore his curiosity on the subject.
The result was Is My Baby Cute? Really? where Hartman went out on the street to ask parents if they thought their own babies were cute. CBS had also previously asked parents to send in to them photos of babies, ugly and cute, in preparation for the story.
The Los Angeles Times continues to demonstrate that it is simply unable to reliably provide truthful information about the Catholic faith. A June 27, 2008, book review in the Los Angeles Times, by staffer William Lobdell, falsely claims,
The concept of papal infallibility wasn't introduced until 1870, and the only infallible statement issued by a pope was in 1950 when Pius XII declared that Mary, upon her death, was assumed bodily into heaven.
There are two significant errors in this one sentence. First: Lobdell is wrong that the "concept of papal infallibility wasn't introduced until 1870." Although the doctrine was not formally defined until 1870 at the First Vatican Council, its "concept" (as Lobdell would say) can be traced back to the earliest years of the Church.
Regretting that “few grownups are concerned about the $526 billion cost so far for the Iraq war without end” because “President Bush and his rich buddies have made sure most of the monetary burden will be borne by our children and grandchildren,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth, in his weekly column on Friday, recommended “a stiff income tax surcharge” to pay for the war. But Neuharth made clear his real motive is to turn those for the war against it:
The surest way to jar us into realizing the unconscionable cost of the Iraq debacle is to impose a stiff income tax surcharge to pay for it. If we did that, most hawks would become doves overnight.
Neuharth hailed Abraham Lincoln for imposing an income tax to pay for the Civil War and stressed how the current rates in the U.S. “are below those of other major countries. France, Germany, Great Britain and Japan all assess higher rates. The Netherlands' top rate is 52% and Sweden's is 60%.”
The question that is this post's title occurred to me as I read through this report earlier today by Seth Sutel of the Associated Press. I believe the question is important, and that its potential implications are underappreciated.
Sutel first summarized the week's financial events in the media business. It wasn't pretty:
Even for an industry awash in bad news, the newspaper business went through one of its most severe retrenchments in recent memory last week.
Half a dozen newspapers said they would slash payrolls, one said it would outsource all its printing, and Tribune Co., one of the biggest publishers in the country, said it might sell its iconic headquarters tower in Chicago and the building that houses the Los Angeles Times.
The increasingly rapid and broad decline in the newspaper business in recent months has surprised even the most pessimistic financial analysts .....
Can a publisher, editor, and owner of magazines be any more biased than proudly admitting on national television that he's contributed to Barack Obama's campaign?
While you ponder, consider that on Sunday, the publisher and editor of Rolling Stone -- who just so happens to also own Men's Journal and Us Weekly -- told CNN's Howard Kurtz that he's given money to the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee.
In fact, Jann Wenner did so without batting an eye in an interview aired on "Reliable Sources":