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In Case You Were Wondering...

...the answer is yes.

The Baltimore Sun is still failing to remind readers of the party affiliation of city Mayor Sheila Dixon (D) as it continues to probe her questionable dealings from when she was city council president. A few weeks ago, Dixon's home was raided by state investigators.

While the Sun's reporters should be commended for following the unfolding story -- today's article by staffer John Fritze made the front page of the print edition and was featured prominently on the Web site -- more often than not the Sun's coverage has omited Dixon's party label. There has been to my knowledge just one exception, a June 25 article on which Fritze shared the byline with reporters Lynn Anderson and Doug Donovan.

Open Thread

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: oil plummets again today!

Crude oil for August delivery fell to an intraday low of $136 a barrel earlier on the New York Mercantile Exchange, off $5.37, the biggest loss in value since June 19. By late morning, it was down $4.87, or 3.4%, to $136.50 a barrel. Crude has lost more than $9 in two consecutive sessions.

Is this the beginning of the bubble bursting, or just a long overdue correction in a commodities bull market? Assuming the former, would lower gas prices before Election Day help McCain or Obama?

BMI’s Gainor: Calif. Plan for Emissions Stickers ‘Government Overreach’

A proposal in California to require emissions-rating stickers on new cars is another example of "government overreach," according to Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor.

Gainor told "America's Election HQ" host E.D. Hill on Fox News Channel July 7 that California's decision could affect other parts of the country because of its influence on environmental policies.

"California already affects the nation," he said. "At least 12 states copy their environmental regulations. California has the highest [gas] taxes at 75 cents a gallon and the second-highest overall cost of gas," Gainor noted.

Might Sutherland's Conspiracy Theory Revive 'Operation Chaos'?

Is a second phase of Rush Limbaugh's highly-successful "Operation Chaos" in the works?

According to the conservative talk show host, such is possible, and if it ends up coming to pass, will have deliciously been set in motion as a result of a conspiracy theory espoused Monday by the Obama-loving actor Donald Sutherland.

For those that missed it, Kiefer's dad published a blog at the Huffington Post yesterday suggesting there's a Clinton cabal to "demoralize" presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama's base in order to "persuade disenchanted delegates on the floor of the [Democrat National] convention to make a resurgent Hillary Clinton the Party's nominee."

Limbaugh saw this, and wrote me this morning:

WaPo: Lara Logan's 'Tabloid' Tales Are True

CBS foreign-affairs correspondent Lara Logan has granted an interview to Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz to acknowledge her messy personal life. Logan laments how she became "tabloid fodder," but she's telling Kurtz that the basic facts of the story are true:

[L]ast November, she broke off an intense relationship with another journalist in Baghdad. Soon afterward, Logan started dating Joseph Burkett, a federal contractor stationed in Iraq who was separated from his wife back in Texas.

Now, having just moved to Washington with an expanded portfolio for the network, Logan finds her romantic life reduced to tabloid fodder. And there is a new complication: She recently discovered that she is pregnant.

Logan, 37, says she and Burkett plan to get married eventually. Her divorce is slated to become final in two weeks, and Burkett's divorce trial is likely to end next month. But the case has turned decidedly messy, with Burkett's estranged wife Kimberly, the mother of their 3-year-old daughter, charging that Logan broke up her marriage.

A family friend told Kurtz that when Burkett came home to ask for a divorce and admit his affair with the CBS reporter, his wife was hospitalized after she overdosed on tranquilizers. Logan says the affair with Burkett came after her affair with CNN reporter Michael Ware:

Obama Still Using Variation on Presidential Seal

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for Obama's campaign, said Monday that the altered seal would not be used again. She said it was only intended for that event, in which Obama held a round-table discussion with Democratic governors. -- AP story, June 23, 2008 [emphasis added]

Hat tip teoman.

Add Obama's pledge to drop the faux presidential seal to his list of "inoperative" statements.  The image shown here [and another seen at foot after break] are taken from the current version of "Fight the Smears," an official Obama website that purports to debunk false rumors about the candidate. 

Former Clinton Aide Joins 'Evenhanded' Fox News Channel

Howard Wolfson, Democratic strategistHoward Wolfson has become the latest prominent Democrat to join forces with Fox News Channel during the general election, hailing it for its "comprehensive and fair and evenhanded" coverage during the primaries.

That's quite an endorsement coming from one of the Democratic party's biggest communications mavens, and not one known for being especially soft-gloved. It's the equivalent of MSNBC suddenly getting endorsed by the likes of Mary Matalin or Ari Fleischer, something which is far less likely to happen. New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg broke the story:

Howard Wolfson, who was a top strategist for the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, is going where some Democrats were unwilling to go during the early days of the election season: the Fox News Channel. [...]

Mr. Wolfson is joining a network that Democrats shunned for a time, complaining that its coverage was unfair. But aides to Mrs. Clinton came to view Fox News as distinctly fair to her in a news media climate that they believed favored Senator Barack Obama.

NewsBusted 181

Jodi Miller is on vacation this week, please help us give "NewsBusted" guest host Al Sonja Schmidt a warm welcome!

Topics in today's show: Barack Obama's flip-flops, "24" supposedly paving the way for a black president, Rush Limbaugh's big contract, and Jessica Simpson's latest award. Click the "Play" icon in the video to the right to watch.

Actor Donald Sutherland: Obama's Being 'Gutted' for Hillary

As far as conspiracy theories go, the one actor Donald Sutherland posited at the Huffington Post Monday certainly doesn't rank very high.

After all, there's a long line of political pundits predicting the Clintons are conspiring to steal the Democrat presidential nomination from Barack Obama.

But, coming from Kiefer's dad, and the original "Hawkeye" Pierce from "M*A*S*H," the entertainment value is, well, delicious (photo courtesy NYT).

Get out the popcorn, folks...you won't be disappointed (emphasis added, h/t NBer Gary Hall):

Time Mag Latches Onto 'Controversial Relic' to Question Christian Orthodoxy

Time.com screenshot, July 7, 2008 | NewsBusters.orgHere we go again. Another relic pops up of questionable authenticity that one or two experts is saying casts doubts on the unique claims of Christian orthodoxy. So of course Time.com put the story of the so-called "Gabriel's Revelation" tablet in its July 7 top stories lineup (see screencap at right), with the teaser headline, "Was Jesus' Resurrection a Sequel?"

The story by David Van Biema and Tim McGirk breathlessly began by noting how this "revelation" could set some orthodox Christians on edge:

A 3-ft.-high tablet romantically dubbed "Gabriel's Revelation" could challenge the uniqueness of the idea of the Christian Resurrection. The tablet appears to date authentically to the years just before the birth of Jesus and yet - at least according to one Israeli scholar - it announces the raising of a messiah after three days in the grave. If true, this could mean that Jesus' followers had access to a well-established paradigm when they decreed that Christ himself rose on the third day - and it might even hint that they they could have applied it in their grief after their master was crucified.

But then Van Biema and McGirk dialed it down a bit (emphasis mine):

American Morning: Slow Down To Save The Environment

Last week at NewsBusters we noted how conservative commentator Pat Buchanan on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" summed up global warming hysterias as just another "neo-Marxist idea for the transfer of wealth and power from people to elites." Now it seem that rival cable morning show "American Morning" has proved his point by highlighting a Japanese group fighting modern-day convenience with a vengeance.

On today’s "American Morning," CNN highlighted a group taking global warming hysteria to a whole new level of absurdity. The group called "Slow Life" says "the earth can't keep up with the speed of modern living. The environment losing ground to conveniences like the power hungry vending machines found on every Tokyo street corner, gas-guzzling cars and life’s outright excesses."

CNN’s Kyung Lah tried to link fast-paced lifestyles to global warming. Aside from interviewing one regular person on the street who claimed she could not afford to live a slow life, the only other person interviewed by CNN for the story was a professor sympathetic to the "Slow Life" gospel. The irrational professor claimed, "The problem is wealth. Actually it is wealth that has been producing poverty and that has been causing environmental crisis."

CNN.com Headline: 'Climate Change Makes Island Kids Bony, Stunted'

climatechange The picture alone of a weak little girl was enough to cause the heart of anyone who viewed the CNN.com home page earlier today to ache. What proof do they have that the drought in West Timor is due to climate change? Some unnamed aid officials:

Maria is fighting to live, wasting away in her remote village where aid officials say climate change has brought on a severe drought in recent years. It's nearly impossible for residents to live off the land like they have for generations.

One Month In, NY Times's Campaign Coverage Blatantly Pro-Obama

The general election campaign began in earnest when Barack Obama wrapped up the Democratic nomination the night of June 3. Since then, the New York Times has continued to flatter the Obama campaign with superior coverage, as shown in a story count conducted by Times Watch.

Consistently, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were portrayed as racial trailblazers whose religious beliefs and patriotism (and his lack of a flag pin) came under vicious and unfair attacks by conservatives. Meanwhile, John McCain was portrayed as a stiff, out-of-touch, gaffe-prone speaker struggling to appease the right wing of his party.

Between June 5 and July 5 (skipping June 4 to eliminate the pro-Obama skew from news reports of him clinching the Democratic nomination), the Times ran 90 stories on Barack Obama, compared to 57 on McCain (there was some overlap, as several stories devoted significant space to both candidates). Times Watch logged those stories one of three ways, as either positive, negative or neutral toward the respective candidate. The findings were striking: If Hillary Clinton thought she got an unfair shake from the press against Barack Obama (she did), then John McCain certainly has a legitimate bias beef against the Times.

GMA: Daughter of 'Pregnant Man' Will Have Normal Life

Thomas Beatie, ABC Mixed in with stories on cooking for the Fourth of July and how soldiers deployed in Iraq were spending their Independence Day, the July 4 "Good Morning America" managed to give nearly two full minutes to a story on Thomas Beatie, more commonly known as the "pregnant man," and "his" newly born daughter on Friday.

Unsurprisingly, the segment featured only a positive take on the situation, offering no sound bites questioning the normalcy of the child’s life. Reporter Ryan Owens touted, "The little girl's conception may have been complicated, but her parents insist her life now will be normal."

The designated "expert" of the segment, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, claimed:

ABC's Halperin: Obama Should Promise to Tax the Wealthy

During the roundtable discussion on Sunday's This Week on ABC, when host George Stephanopoulos asked why Barack Obama had not talked about the economy more in his campaign ads, ABC political analyst Mark Halperin argued that taxing the wealthy should be a strong issue for Democrats this year, although he conceded it failed when tried by Al Gore and John Kerry. Without making any mention of the case that lower taxes on all Americans is beneficial to the overall economy, Halperin merely talked about President Bush's tax cuts that "disproportionately benefitted the wealthy," and seemed to suggest that eliminating those tax cuts may help the economy. Halperin: "That's one issue, again, Gore and Kerry went up against George Bush whose tax cuts disproportionately benefitted the wealthy, one of the best issues the Democrats could have. Neither of them made it stick. I think Obama, again, compared to the last two Democrats to run, has a real chance to make that case on taxes and fairness and how to grow the economy in a way that, I think, could be one of the decisive issues in this race."

Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange between Stephanopoulos and Halperin from the Sunday, July 6, This Week on ABC:

Barbara Walters: Syrian Dictator 'Charming,' 'Intelligent'

Surprise! Barbara Walters visits an anti-American dictator and returns with very nice remarks about him. Returning from the week long break on "The View" July 7, Barbara Walters described how she spent America’s birthday, and the celebration of a document denouncing tyranny, with an anti-American tyrant.

While most Americans celebrated Independence Day with fireworks and barbeques, Barbara Walters spent the occasion dining with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, whom Walters described as "intelligent" and "charming" who wants "very much to have good relations with us." Perhaps realizing her own gushiness about Assad Walters pre-empted accusations and denied she is "brainwashed." [audio available here]

Journalism Museum Ethics Exhibit Smaller Than Gift Shop

Over the Fourth of July weekend I took a trip to the media’s shrine to itself in downtown Washington D.C., known as the Newseum, and was troubled by the fact that the exhibit on journalistic ethics took up less space in the seven floor building than the gift shop. Given the $20 admission fee, one might expect a little more attention paid to journalistic principles than to souvenirs like Newseum boxer shorts.

The exhibit featured various interactive computer displays that challenged visitors to test their judgement of real life ethical scenarios by choosing between different options of how to report a story. After answering, a screen would appear, showing percentages of how the general public answered versus how journalists responded.

In general, journalists tended to be more willing to take the questionable ethical course of action. However, one scenario was particularly disturbing. A picture was shown of an infant child in Africa lying on the ground starving, with a vulture a few feet away. The question was do you just report the story or do you try to help the child? About 70% of the general public responded by saying they would help the child, the same number of journalists, about 70%, said they would report the story without intervening.

While the Newseum deserves credit for a moving exhibit giving tribute to September 11 and one commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall, the lack of representation given to journalistic ethics definitely detracted from the overall experience. Though the front of the museum proudly displays the First Amendment etched in stone, it would do well to remember the responsibility that comes with that freedom.

WaPo Website Resurrects 2001 'Racist' Charge Against Helms

Washington Post screen cap from July 7, 2008 | NewsBusters.orgMy colleague Tim Graham brought to my attention earlier today that WashingtonPost.com's front page today teased two opinion pieces on the late Sen. Jesse Helms. The first was by a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer who lauded the late North Carolina Republican as a champion of liberty and staunch opponent of Communist repression. The second was a rehashed column from seven years ago accusing Helms of being an "unabashed racist."

David Broder's "RePost" of his August 29, 2001 column -- "Jesse Helms, White Racist" -- was nowhere to be found in the dead tree edition of the July 7 Washington Post, but it was included online as a counterweight to Marc Thiessen's "The Jesse Helms You Should Remember."

What readers would find in Thiessen's piece was one heartwarming account of how the fiercely anti-Communist senator stood up against his good friend and the leader of his party, President Ronald Reagan, in an attempt to save one Soviet sailor from returning to the USSR against his will (emphasis mine):

C-Word Dropped on C-Span in Reference to Cindy McCain

A woman, calling into C-Span’s morning show Washington Journal used the c-word as part of her reasoning as to why John McCain shouldn’t be president.  Apparently C-Span does not use the 7-second delay for its live programming, though the host of the show did immediately end the call after the obscene word was uttered.

The call came just before 9:00 a.m. on the July 7th broadcast during the show’s call in segment.  The call in segment allows viewers to voice their opinions on any topic.

Female Caller: I have two points. McCain is really too old for this job. We need somebody that can keep up. And number two. He does not have respect for women. He even called his wife a c---.

Peter Slen: (ends call) Let’s move on. 

For video of this click here, pertinent clip is at 2:54:36.

MSM Yawn at 550 Metric Tons of Uranium Removed from Iraq

Reuters has the story, as does the New York Times and the Associated Press (see below fold) but this is not exactly burning up the cable news networks today:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's government has removed 550 tonnes of natural uranium left over from Saddam Hussein's era and sold it to a Canadian company, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

The uranium, called yellowcake, had been stored in a compound at Tuwaitha, south of Baghdad, which was once the centre of Saddam's nuclear weapons programme.

A U.S. embassy spokeswoman confirmed the U.S. military helped safely ship the uranium out of the country.

NBC Lauds Japanese G8 Summit for Green Initiatives

With world leaders meeting in Japan for the G8 Summit, conventional wisdom would suggest high commodity prices - which are having a detrimental effect on world economy - would be the focus.

But that wasn't so on the July 6 broadcast of "NBC Nightly News." Instead of reporting on what are seemingly more pressing issues, the segment about the summit highlighted "green" efforts from the host country.

"Mr. Bush is to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao this week on the sidelines of the G8 Summit - where leaders will talk about soaring gas and food prices and the thorny issue of climate change," Yang said. "Officials want to build momentum toward next year's deadline for a global agreement to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change."

President George W. Bush in April announced his support for establishing federal emissions reduction targets with a goal of stopping greenhouse gas emission growth by 2025. That wasn't enough for "Nightly News," which still managed to find a global warming alarmist with anti-Bush sentiments to bash his efforts.

ABC Highlights Bush Gaffes From Past G-8 Summits

During the weekend's coverage of President Bush's trip to the G-8 Summit in Japan, ABC correspondents Martha Raddatz and John Cochran both reminded viewers of faux pas by the President from past G-8 Summits. On World News Saturday, while downplaying expectations of any significant accomplishments at the summit, Raddatz relayed: "In fairness, the G-8 rarely has created any breakthrough announcements. The most memorable moments had little to do with real news. There was the famous shoulder rub with Germany's Angela Merkel, and the live microphone that caught the President talking in less-than-diplomatic terms while he lunched with Tony Blair." (Transcript follows)

ABC showed the clip of Bush startling German Chancellor Angela Merkel by grabbing her shoulders from behind, and a censored clip from 2006 of him using profanity while talking about the terror group Hezbollah with then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bush: "What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this [BLEEP]-"

CBS’s Smith Claims ‘Coffers Are Not Full,’ Need More Taxes

On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to John McCain supporter Carly Fiorina and Barack Obama supporter Senator Claire McCaskill about the respective economic plans of the presidential candidates: "Bear market blues. Wall Street returns from the holiday as gas prices set another new record. Can either candidate calm America's fears?" At one point, Smith asked Fiorina: "How do we do all of this stuff? And we're not making more money, the tax rolls are not growing, the coffers are not full. We're just talking about deficit -- if nobody's going to get taxed, isn't this just going to be deficit city?" (audio available here)

While Smith did not feel the "coffers" were "full," at least not full enough for him, in reality, government tax revenue has tripled since 1965 and since the Bush tax cuts took effect in 2003, corporate income tax revenue has reached its highest level in over 20 years.

Smith began the segment by touting a new CBS poll: "The economy remains a major issue for voters as we head into the fall elections. In fact, a recent CBS News poll shows 78% of Americans think the economy is in bad shape." Considering the "Early Show’s" declaration of a recession last week it’s easy to understand such poll results.

ABC Pimps New Gas Price Bias: Prices at Pump Drive Woman to Prostitution

ABCNews.com screencapture from July 7, 2008 | NewsBusters.orgHo no, here we go again. Gas price hysteria from the MSM.

"Here's a troubling look at what some people are doing for gas. A 34-year-old Kentucky woman was arrested for prostitution after she was allegedly trading sex for $100 gas cards."

So began a video story at ABCNews.com, which made today's top headlines roundup with the teaser headline: "Sign of the Times: Sex for Gas." While the short video report included a prosecutor calling it a "sign of the times" that someone would trade sex for gasoline, failing to put the phrase in quotes in the headline implies that ABCNews.com agrees with the prosecutor's personal opinion on gas prices and the criminal desperation supposedly caused by them.

Of course, there's also more to the story that we don't learn from ABCNews.com. Alleged hooker Angela Eversole may be a cheating hussy, but she's no whore, says her jilted boyfriend, according to WCPO-TV.:

Open Thread

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: Are social Conservatives warming to McCain?

For a campaign that Republican critics have called ill-managed, disorganized and message-challenged, the Arizona senator's organization has, from all outward appearances, been doing things right in its appeals to evangelicals and other religious conservatives. In the past week, Mr. McCain won over a major group of social conservatives, thanks to personal appeals, and the campaign has made personnel moves appealing to religious voters. In Denver last week, a meeting of nearly 100 religious conservative leaders and activists resulted in about 75 of them deciding Mr. McCain is their man.

What say you NewsBusters? Is the Washington Times right about this? If so, how big a deal is it?

Welcome to NewsBusters 4.0

I hope you like it, it's been a work in progress for the past few months.

A few of the new NB's features:

  • New look and logo. I went for a cleaner, more open layout that features more whitespace.
  • Expandable to your browser width. The bigger your screen, the wider the articles display, and yet it's still fits within smaller resolutions.
  • Printer-friendly and email to friend links at the top of every article.
  • Easy access to a blogger's archives at the top of every post.
  • A new headline box at the top of the page.
  • Links for related stories at the bottom of every blog post.
  • Handy search box that should decrease the amount of time it takes to find what you're looking for.
Post your comments, bug reports, and reactions on this thread.

What KDKA and CNN Kept Out of Their Murtha 'Surge Has Worked' Coverage

Murtha0608This post builds on Noel Sheppard's NewsBusters entry earlier this morning.

Noel covered portions of Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha's Thursday interview with Pittsburgh TV Station KDKA used by CNN's "Situation Room" on Friday (transcript here [Murtha segment is about halfway through]; video here).

CNN carried KDKA footage showing that Murtha has grudgingly acknowledged the obvious: That the troop surge in Iraq has, in his words, "in the short-term ..... certainly reduced incidents," but that "I'm not sure whether it's because of the Iraqis are just worn out, but certainly the way they're doing it today makes a big difference."

What KDKA decided to keep from TV viewers is arguably at least as important as what the station showed.

In interview footage left on the cutting room floor, Murtha falsely claimed that less than 1/3 of the Iraqi benchmarks have been met, and that the majority of Americans "want us out" of Iraq as fast as possible. But most explosively, the Pennsylvania congressman claimed that a major reason why the troop surge has been successful is that before that time "we broke down doors, we went in and we killed people inadvertently."

CNN: Murtha Flip-flops on Surge

One of Congress's most outspoken critics of the war as well as last year's surge in troops, Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Penn.), told a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, news station on Thursday that he believes things have gotten better in Iraq.

Yet, apart from CNN, his statements appear to have gone largely unnoticed.

This of course is in stark contrast to the media frenzy that occurred in November 2005 when Murtha called for an immediate withdrawal of troops.

I guess we should be thankful that CNN discovered the report done by CBS affiliate KDKA on Thursday, and shared the news with its viewers during Friday's "The Situation Room" (video available here):

Tavis Smiley Gives The Nation Magazine a Megaphone on PBS

Here’s more proof PBS is a sandbox for the left: The featured interview right now on the website of the Tavis Smiley show on PBS is a June 30 conversation with hard-left journalist Jeremy Scahill, who has worked for a while for the radical-left Pacifica Radio network and now also works for the leftist Nation Institute. Scahill’s written a book critical of Blackwater, the private security firm, and Smiley demanded that President Obama shut them down and asked Scahill to chat up the latest legislation from the hard left in Congress (Jan Schakowsky in the House, Bernie Sanders in the Senate). Smiley highlighted how much he likes to "showcase" investigative reporting like you can read in The Nation.

SMILEY: If we have a military that is trained to do the same thing that Blackwater is trained to do, and when they misbehave, because they're part of the military they can be brought to justice, which is the American way -- pardon the pun. Why would a guy like President Obama not be able to shut this thing down? If everything you're saying in this book about Blackwater is true, why would a guy who believes in human rights, et cetera, et cetera, who wants change we can believe in, not shut something like this down?

American Media Misses the Boat on American Victories In Iraq

If you are unaware that America is on the cusp of a spectacular victory against Al Qaeda in Iraq, its most likely because you read American newspapers and watch American news.  We are closing in on a trap around 1,200 terrorists in Iraq that will effectively put an end to Al Qaeda in Iraq, but this report is oddly absent in American media.  They missed the boat on this one, but the Times of London reports:

After being forced from its strongholds in the west and centre of Iraq in the past two years, Al-Qaeda’s dwindling band of fighters has made a defiant “last stand” in the northern city of Mosul.

A huge operation to crush the 1,200 fighters who remained from a terrorist force once estimated at more than 12,000 began on May 10.

Operation Lion’s Roar, in which the Iraqi army combined forces with the Americans’ 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, has already resulted in the death of Abu Khalaf, the Al-Qaeda leader, and the capture of more than 1,000 suspects.