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NYT Reporter Accuses Bush Administration of Lying About Anti-Terror Program

Eric Lichtblau, who covers the Justice Department for the New York Times, has an article up on Slate's front page , adapted from his upcoming book "Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice," accusing the Bush administration of lying to him about its anti-terrorist surveillance programs.

You may remember that Lichtblau and Times colleague James Risen, broke the news about the classified National Security Agency's wiretapping program in December 2005, ignoring pleas from the White House. Six months later those same two reporters, in an even more egregious revelation of classified information, revealed classified details about SWIFT, a U.S.-instigated international bank surveillance program.

Describing a tense pre-publication meeting in the White House, Lichtblau basically admitted the paper's bias against Vice President Dick Cheney:

Keith Olbermann Sees McCain 'Buying More Depends'

Leave it to liberals to pile on Sen. John McCain with cheap shots about his age, and we're not talking making jokes about him serving in the Civil War or what not. Mocking John McCain's age, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann imagined that the senator could easily segue from talking about foreign policy or the economy to talking about "buying more Depends or something like that." (h/t Conservative Punk)

"You can dissassociate yourself from that remark if you wish," Olbermann immediately added in his exchange with Rachel Maddow of the liberal Air America radio network.

Yesterday NewsBusters noted a liberal blogger who took a cheap shot at McCain's false teeth. McCain's teeth were bashed out by North Vietnamese tormentors during his time as a POW.

AFP Refers to Convicted Murderer Mumia as ‘Human Rights Campaigner’

Agence France-Presse, in a report on Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania's death row for over twenty-five years for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, referred to the cop killer as a "human rights campaigner." Abu-Jamal, whose birth name is Wesley Cook, had his murder conviction upheld by a panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, but the court also decided that either he must receive a life sentence, or receive a new sentencing hearing.

AFP’s headline for their report read, "US court overturns rights campaigner’s death penalty," and its opening sentence referred to "the death sentence passed against human rights campaigner Mumia Abu-Jamal." In its closing sentence, AFP referenced how Abu-Jamal "became a leading campaigner against the death penalty" while on death row.

AP Ignores Fact Indicted Puerto Rico Gov an Obama Superdelegate

NewsBusters.org | Photo via AFP/Getty ImagesColor me unsurprised.

The Associated Press, reporting the indictment of Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila (pictured at right via AFP/Getty Images file photo) failed to note Vila is a Democrat, let alone that he is an Obama superdelegate.

But Vila's party affiliation is hardly a state secret. Indeed, ABC's Jake Tapper noted the Obama connection on his Political Punch blog this morning:

Newspapers Fail to Recognize Liberal Leanings of Families USA

From windy Washington, D.C., to sunny Palm Beach, Florida, the liberal print media are refusing to note the liberal bent of an interest group vocal in the health care debate.

The March 26 edition of the Palm Beach Post -- a broadsheet notorious to conservatives for its unbalanced treatment of Rush Limbaugh -- featured not one but two articles which pushed government-run universal health care. In both of them, the Post asserted that Floridians are dying daily due to a lack of health care coverage.

The source for the Post’s assertion was a recent study by the liberal group Families USA. Not surprisingly, the Post described the organization as simply a “nonpartisan” group that advocates for “comprehensive health care” while conveniently leaving out the group’s liberal tendencies, its support of socialist-style universal healthcare and that its political allies include liberal Democratic politicians such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.)

NBC's Lee Cowan: Covering Barack Obama Makes My Knees Quake

It seems as though NBC is now expanding its bias to include paid supplements. In a print promotional distributed by NBC News, reporter Lee Cowan enthused, "When NBC News first assigned me to the Barack Obama campaign, I must confess my knees quaked a bit." This is the same journalist who in January famously confessed to "Nightly News" host Brian Williams that it's "almost hard to remain objective" when covering the "infectious" energy surrounding the Illinois senator. [Updated below fold with embed video from January]

Cowan's latest quote appeared in a NBC advertising section entitled "The Peacock." The first person article, which recounts Cowan's excitement over covering the Obama campaign, also featured the correspondent bubbling, "The task seemed daunting. Not only would the Illinois senator land me square in the center of rough and tumble presidential politics, but his campaign was truly historic. I wondered if I was up to the job. I wondered if I could do the campaign justice. I wondered if the experience would swallow me whole."

(The eight page spread, which featured several articles on or from NBC News personnel, appeared as a supplement to the March 23-29 edition of American Profile, a magazine distributed with newspapers across the country.) Cowan described Obama as "a whirlwind of activity, and being caught in that tornado is a challenge every day."

AP Math: 0.6% Rise is 'Feeble', 0.6% Decline is 'Plunge'

Want an even clearer picture of how media are intentionally reporting economic data in a way that makes the public feel things are much worse than they are?

Consider the different adjectives the good folks at the Associated Press use to describe a 0.6 percent change depending on whether or not it's an increase or a decrease.

As reported by NewsBusters two weeks ago, when the Commerce Department announced that retail sales for February had declined by 0.6 percent, the Associated Press declared that a "plunge."

Yet, when the Gross Domestic Product grows by a similar amount, the AP reports it as "feeble" (emphasis added, h/t NB reader Matthew Noll):

LAT Channels Dan Rather in Tupac Murder Accusation

It looks like the L.A.Times has had to apologize for a false story they published last week that implicated rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs in a 1994 assault on Tupac Shakur during a so-called rapper's war hit. The L.A. Times had to do an internal investigation when the website The Smoking Gun published an account detailing that the documents the L.A.Times used to base their story upon were forged and that the person who forged them was a well known con man on the rap music scene who pulled one over on the LAT -- big time!

Yeah, the L.A.Times has an awful lot of egg on its face with this mess. The AP reports that TSG's proof makes the LAT look like a bunch of bumbling idiots.

The Smoking Gun said the documents seemed phony because they appeared to be written on a typewriter instead of a computer, included blacked-out sections not typically found in such documents, and other reasons. The Smoking Gun story claims the documents were created by a convicted con man and music fan with a history of exaggerating his place in the rap music world.

Open Thread

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: antiwar Democrats were paid by Saddam to visit Iraq in October 2002 (paragraph breaks removed):

Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. The three anti-war Democrats made the trip in October 2002, while the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. While traveling, they called for a diplomatic solution...The lawmakers are not named in the indictment but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California.

What do you think about this nonsense? How much press coverage do you expect this will get? What kind of penalities will these three receive?

Good Friday on NPR: A Great Day to Suggest Gospels are Garbage

National Public Radio knows how to identify itself as the secular liberal media. On Good Friday, the show Fresh Air with Terry Gross recycled a 2004 interview with retired academic John Dominic Crossan, a co-founder of the Jesus Seminar, a man who believes the Gospels are largely mythology, someone's ahistorical hopes, and that the resurrection of Jesus never occurred, and that perhaps the body of Jesus was consumed by wild dogs. In this interview, Gross also asked him to comment on (disparage) the movie The Passion of the Christ, which he eagerly did. He suggested too much focus on the passion of Christ is "dangerously close to pathological." (Photo from NPR.org)

Just two weeks ago, we noted Fresh Air gave unbelievers about three times more air time than believers. Here's a sample of the Crossan interview:

GROSS: When you, as someone who studies the historical Jesus, think about the resurrection, do you think about it as metaphor or as actuality?

Raines Scared ‘Pirate’ Murdoch Will Buy New York Times

Howell Raines, former executive editor of the New York Times, is scared media mogul Rupert Murdoch's the Wall Street Journal will outperform the "old gray lady," forcing a sale to Murdock or "some other unsuitable purchaser.

Murdoch "will spend whatever it takes to undermine the Times's standing as America's leading general-interest paper," Raines wrote in the April 2008 Condé Nast Portfolio. He observed that the Journal has already started targeting the Times's strengths - "foreign news, the Washington/politics report, and the Sunday magazine.

That superlative may be up for the debate. The Wall Street Journal already outranks the New York Times on circulation by almost 1 million, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. USA Today tops them both.

Raines said his fear of a Murdock-led takeover is based on a conversation he had with Murdoch in 2002 during which Murdoch suggested the Times "go after hard business news and beat them [The Wall Street Journal] on their strength."

Dan Rather, Helen Thomas Hit the Hard-Left Circuit

The hard-left hootenanny known as the "National Conference on Media Reform," -- usually ahem, distinguished by a long Bill Moyers rant about the media being saps for the neoconservative war machine -- has a new star this year: Dan Rather. The former CBS anchor will join Moyers, Arianna Huffington, Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Pacifica's Amy Goodman in calling for courageous, independent (read: radical left) journalism, free of corporate cowardice, from June 6 to 8 in Minneapolis.

Former UPI reporter Helen Thomas is also hitting the left-wing hustings, this very weekend, in fact. She is a keynote speaker at the Women, Action & Media (WAM!) Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sponsored by a group called the Center for New Words and the Women's Studies program at MIT. Leftist sponsors also include the sites Alternet, Feminist.com, the Feministing blog, and the magazines Bitch, Dollars and Sense, and In These Times.

Sawyer Supposes Insurgents Fired Mortars From Inside Green Zone

"How much of a surprise is it that they can actually get inside the embassy? How fortified is that?" -- Diane Sawyer, 3-27-08, commenting on reports mortars and rockets had fallen inside Green Zone.

Someone get Diane Sawyer a crash course in indirect fire. Discussing this morning the recent flurry of rocket and mortar attacks landing inside the Green Zone in Baghdad, Sawyer supposed that the insurgents had somehow breached the perimeter themselves and fired from inside the US embassy compound!

ABC Conveys Worries Obama-Clinton Battle Will Hurt Party in Fall

The broadcast networks rarely highlight poll numbers other than their own, but on Wednesday night ABC's World News pegged a story to a Gallup survey which confirmed the ongoing Democratic presidential battle will harm the party's chances in November. With “HURTING THE PARTY?” on screen beneath pictures of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, anchor Charles Gibson warned:
Many Democrats have been worried that the protracted fight, between Senators Clinton and Obama, might start alienating voters and hurt the party's chances against John McCain in the fall. Well, now there is evidence that may, indeed, be the case.
Reporter Jake Tapper outlined the evidence:
The notion that the current tough tone could hurt the party against Republican Senator John McCain is a real concern among top Democrats. A new poll indicates that 28 percent of Clinton supporters say they would vote for McCain over Obama should she not get the nomination. 19 percent of Obama supporters say they'd go for McCain over Clinton.

Hip Hop Professor 'Freaked Out' by Miley Cyrus's Love for Jesus

Last night on CNN Headline News's "Showbiz Tonight," so-called Hip Hop Professor Marc Lamont Hill noted that he was "freaked out" by Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus's claim that she loves Jesus. Host AJ Hammer played a clip from a YouTube video where Cyrus and pal Mandy answered fans' questions, this one dedicated to their religion:

Are we Christian?

Yes!

Yes. We are.

We love Jesus. Happy Easter by the way. He died for our sins. That is how great he is. That`s why we do what we do. I sing and act Jesus. Not the acting but I sing and dance for Jesus. Actually, I act for Jesus, too. And now that I think about it, I do everything for Jesus.

Yeah, we are. For Jesus.

Flashback: Stephanopoulos Scolded Critic of Bonior and McDermott

The AP reported this afternoon: “Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. An indictment unsealed in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a member of a Michigan nonprofit group, of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam's regime.”

When two of those Congressmen, Democrats Jim McDermott of Washington and David Bonior of Michigan, appeared from Baghdad on the September 29, 2002 This Week on ABC, George Stephanopoulos -- the MRC's Rich Noyes reminded me -- chastised a critic, not McDermott and Bonior, for daring to condemn the loaded charges against the U.S propagated by the two left-wingers. After McDermott blasted U.S. foreign policy from Baghdad, a shocked George Will remarked, "Why Saddam Hussein doesn’t pay commercial time for that advertisement for his policy, I do not know." Turns out, he did. [Video at right, audio available here.]

CBS’s Harry Smith Is Al Gore Jr.?

At the beginning of the 8:30AM half hour of the CBS "Early Show," weatherman Dave Price did a brief story highlighting a melting ice shelf in Antarctica as an example of climate change and co-host Harry Smith used the opportunity to show off his global warming knowledge: "And they also talk about because as this disappears, this reflects light, alright? That's another huge issue because that ice reflects the light. It turns to water, which absorbs the light. That could be another exacerbating factor in global warming." Smith followed up by pointing to himself and declaring: "Al Gore Jr." Both Price and co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied "you are."

Given Smith’s known obsession with Al Gore, including trying to pin a ‘Gore‘08' campaign button on the former vice president during a interview in May of last year, this self-description was quite interesting. Price went on to joke: "You know, you spent a lot of time with him...The 'Inconvenient Anchor,' Harry's new book coming out."

NBC's Mitchell Ignores Husband Greenspan's Ties to 'Subprime Mess'

If there was ever an obvious conflict of interest in economic reporting, this may very well qualify.

NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell evaluated the housing crisis solution proposals of both Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) on the March 25 "NBC Nightly News."

"Clinton was the first of the two to sound alarms about the subprime mess with a plan a year ago," Mitchell said. "Obama followed a week later with a call for a summit. Since then both have gotten more specific."

ABC's Cuomo: How Do You Avoid Complications in Transgender Pregnancy?

"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo offered "practical" advice on how a man, who used to be a woman and is now pregnant, could safely bring a pregnancy to term. After recounting the story of Thomas Beatie, formally Tracy LaGondino, the medical procedures he's undergone and his artificial insemination, Cuomo segued into an interview with obstetrician Lisa Masterson.

The GMA co-host asked, "All right, so, let's go from the bizarre to the practical here." In a story that could be filed under "news you can't use," Cuomo asked about the risks that hormone therapy could pose to such an individual. This "practical" discussion led to medical warnings unusual for morning television:

LISA MASTERSON: Well, a lot of times, the transgenders will take testosterone injections and especially since Thomas has a female baby right now, that can cause male type characteristics in the female fetus' sexual organs. So, the clitoris can get larger. Actually, the vaginal folds can come in and sort of mimic the scrotum or the male genitalia. So, it's really important that he doesn't take any testosterone, especially early on in the pregnancy, but even later on in the pregnancy when it can cause the clitoris to enlarge.

CBS's Smith on Media: 'We're Not Exactly Watchdogs Here'

On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith discussed a question being asked of Chelsea Clinton about Monica Lewinsky on the campaign trail with Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn, who was baffled by the media’s refusal to ask Chelsea tough questions: "Frankly, in all of my years of journalism, I have never seen the press lie down like this before. This is -- this is not what the American public thinks of as the critical and sort of -- killing, marauding, press corps – " Smith responded by admitting that: "Yeah, we're not exactly -- we're not exactly watchdogs here." [Audio available here]

Those comments were sparked by Smith asking Quinn: "As a press, though, we have basically, you know, said, 'okay, if those are the rules, you know, that's fine.' Have we sort of -- you know, have we laid down?"

Prior to talking to Quinn, Smith interviewed the Butler University college student, Evan Strange, who asked Chelsea the question at a campaign forum on campus. Strange, as it turns out, is a Clinton supporter:

Conservatives Have A 'Hate Based' Campaign Against Obama?

Paul Waldman at The American Prospect blames conservatives for all of Obama's race problems.

"For months, I've been predicting that conservatives would delicately prompt voters to see Barack Obama through the lens of race. They'd drop hints, they'd make roundabout arguments, they'd find a hundred subtle ways to encourage people to vote their prejudices, while denying vociferously that they were doing anything of the sort."

Oh, it gets better:

"...these kinds of attacks have their greatest power when they tap into pre-existing archetypes voters already carry with them, and the deeper they reside in our lizard brains the better. So they will make sure white Americans know that Obama is not Tiger Woods. He's not the unthreatening black man, he's the scary black man. He's Al Sharpton, he's Malcom X, he's Huey Newton. He'll throw grievance in your face, make you feel guilty, and who knows, maybe kill you and rape your wife."

What???!!

Soros-backed Blogger Mocks McCain for un-'Presidential' Teeth

(h/t Moe Lane/RedState)

Liberal blogger Molly Priesmeyer may have bitten off a bit more than she can chew with a blog mocking Republican presidential candidate John McCain for his false teeth. Of course, commenters on her blog have noted that McCain's teeth were smashed out by North Vietnamese tormentors, but Priesmeyer's entry at Minnesota Monitor remains online although it obviously is in poor taste:

If bloggers are saying one thing about John McCain this week it's that the 71-year-old has some serious grit. Of course, that grit comes in the form of McCain Mouth, a deformity that apparently causes teeth to look like a mess of yellowed and contorted Chiclets. Today, BuzzFeed.com has picked up on the mouth meme, turning McCain's piano-key chompers into an official phenomenon.

The consensus? "They're old." And, "He looks like Reverend Kane from Poltergeist II." And, "Dude has had a ton of plastic surgery, can't he afford a dentist?"

Hot Air's Ed Morrissey noted today that Minnesota Monitor is funded by left-wing megamillionaire George Soros:

NYT's Louis Uchitelle's Snide Criticism of Supply-Side Tax Cuts

Supply-side tax-cutters are on the march again, warned Times economics reporter Louis Uchitelle on the front page of Wednesday's Business Day -- "A Political Comeback For Supply-Side Doctrine -- Debate on Tax Theory Now Focuses on the Wealthiest."

(The Times's international edition headline over Uchitelle's story had the slant of an opinion piece: "McCain sticks to supply-side economics despite evidence it doesn't work.")

Uchitelle's NYT piece began snidely:

When Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980, he promised to cut taxes in what seemed, at the time, a magical way. Tax revenue would go up, not down, he said, as the economy boomed in response to lower rates.

Future Box Office Bomb: Oliver Stone to Make Bush Film

These people never learn. Other than some diehard BDS sufferers, who in their right mind is going to pay to see an Oliver Stone depiction of George W. Bush? Fair or not, the president suffers from low poll numbers and we've heard for some time that America suffers from Bush fatigue, so it's curious why any studio would greenlight such a project and begin filming while he's still in office.

Hollywood apparently has learned nothing with the seemingly endless string of antiwar flicks bombing, so now we'll get the moonbat look at Bush. One can only imagine how Dick Cheney, Donaly Rumsfeld and the nefarious cabal of neocons will be portrayed.

Bush has been the most scrutinized president in modern times thanks to the explosion of the blogosphere, so it's not as if Stone would be able to shed any new light on his life or presidency. You can be sure, however, he will be taking creative license.

Leftist Protestors Unplugged

 Left wing protestor against Iraq warBesides sanitizing the party affiliations of scandal-ridden Democratic politicians, one of the more blatant examples of media bias we regularly see is how the usually disturbed people who turn out for left-wing protests are routinely portrayed as normal.

There's no better way of observing this disparity than seeing uncensored reports of what lefty protests are actually like. And  there's no better chronicler of these events than the anonymous blogger Zombie. You'll get a real flavor (and several laughs) of left-wing lunacy by checking out her latest report on the fifth year anniversary of the Iraq war in San Francisco.

After reading Zombie's photo essay, head over to the San Francisco Chronicle's "mainstreamed" version of the event which doesn't mention any of the communist groups, pro-terrorist factions, and violent jerks who constituted the majority of the protestors.

More Food Stamp Follies, This Time from the Columbus Dispatch

Here we go again.

A March 22 Columbus Dispatch report by Catherine Candisky on increased Food Stamp usage in Ohio repeats the tired "$1 per meal for food" canard:

"Food stamps provide only about $1 per person, per meal. Who in the world is buying groceries with that?" asked Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Bank.

On average, food stamps are now providing less than two weeks of groceries.

"There's the presumption that folks have the cash to make up the rest. Well, they don't" .....

Sigh. As noted time, and time, and time, and time again, the benefits (called "Maximum Allotments" by the government) for families with no other resources are higher (graphic link is to related page at the USDA web site):

Rush Limbaugh: Urging Republicans To Commit a Felony?

Liberals get a bit wiggy when it comes to electoral shenanigans in Ohio. On The Huffington Post, Ari Melber accuses Rush Limbaugh of encouraging Republicans to commit a felony by crossover voting for Hillary Clinton. Those "lying voters" are under investigation, although prosecutions are "considered unlikely," he reports:

"Operation Chaos," Rush Limbaugh's campaign urging Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in Democratic primaries, has been very effective. It doubled Republican turnout in Ohio and Texas, boosting Clinton and prolonging the Democratic race. But in Ohio, it was also almost certainly illegal.

Ohio law requires that citizens genuinely support a political party in order to vote in its primary. To change parties for a primary, a citizen must pledge, under the penalty of election falsification, that she is affiliated with the party and "supports" its principles. Lying on the pledge is a felony, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The law also stipulates that poll workers have a "duty" to challenge voters who are "not a member of the political party whose ballot the person desires to vote."

Hillary First 'Since Eleanor in War Zone' Claim Not True- Will MSM Report?

Hillary's house of cards is falling all around her with her claims of having had to duck enemy sniper fire during debarkation at her Tulza, Bosnia trip in 1996. She made all sorts of claims that her trip was a harrowing one that placed her in danger and that this fact should lend credence to her claims of somehow having foreign policy experience. But, she also doled out another line that is turning out to be just another lie and it is a line that it seems most MSM outlets are giving her a pass on thus far. To further puff herself up, Clinton said of her Bosnian trip, “I was the first first lady taken into a war zone since Eleanor Roosevelt during World War II.” This was also a line that the Clinton White House spoon fed the press in 1996.

This claim of Hillary's "first visit since Eleanor" line turns out not to be true, though. It seems that Pat Nixon, wife of president Richard Nixon, earned that distinction back during a 1969 trip to Vietnam.

Reuters News Flash: Lenders Keep Lending Money to Poor People!

As a recovering journalist, it has always amazed me how little journalists, even those specializing in financial reporting, know about the basic principles of economics. Similarly, it has always fascinated me how otherwise reasonable reporters can be reduced to self-righteous anti-capitalist ideologues, spouting the kind of anti-market drivel that one might have heard at a Communist Party meeting in the 1930s.

Nowadays journalists routinely attack lenders who take a chance on the poor. Take the case of “‘Pay day’ loans exacerbate housing crisis,” an article by Nick Carey of Reuters. In it, Carey lectures his readers, identifying with certainty what is making the “housing crisis” worse. The culprit he identifies is the payday lending industry, a subset of the subprime sector so regularly vilified by liberals, including Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

AP Bashes Hillary's Bosnia Gaffe, Likens it to Gore Inventing the Internet

As NewsBusters has been reporting, media are finally lining up to bash Hillary Clinton for her recent gaffe concerning fictitious sniper fire when she visited Bosnia in 1996.

Next to take the gloves off was the Associated Press's Ron Fournier who deliciously likened this misstatement during a presidential campaign to Al Gore implying in 2000 that he invented the Internet.

Get yourself a fresh cup of coffee, kick your feet up on the desk, and prepare yourself for some unexpected hits that came early and often in Fournier's article published Tuesday evening (emphasis added throughout):