I suspect that this broadcast tonight -- and maybe some others on this channel -- are the only ones who are going to make a headline out of this. This is not going to be a big story elsewhere.Indeed, neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned Iraq while on ABC's World News anchor Charles Gibson read a short update about “increasing dangers for U.S. troops in Afghanistan” since “in the month of June there were 28 American fatalities in Afghanistan, just one less than died in Iraq last month.” CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 was also silent Tuesday night about the benchmarks.
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center (MRC), the publisher of NewsBusters. He’s been the central figure in the MRC’s News Analysis Division since the MRC’s 1987 founding and in 2005 spearheaded the launch of NewsBusters.
Baker oversees the selection of the award nominees and “winners” for the MRC’s “DisHonors Awards,” presented at an annual gala, and each week he helps the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard select a “Mainstream Media Scream.” Those picks are added, on a one week delay, to NewsBusters. (Archive for 2012-2014 on MRC.org)
In 2001, Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes dubbed Baker “the scourge of liberal bias.”
For 13 years he compiled and edited the daily CyberAlert e-mail and online report. In late May of 2009 the CyberAlert became an e-mail-only product based on BiasAlert postings on the MRC's Web site. BiasAlerts since early 2012. (In February 2015, the MRC discontinued posting BiasAlerts on MRC.org and began feeding the newsletter via CyberAlert posts on NewsBusters).
An avid fan of the Washington Capitals NHL hockey team, in January of 2009 the Washington Post's "DC Sports Bog" took note of Baker's attendance at a Caps game with John Kerry: "The Caps, John Kerry and a Scourge."
Baker lived in Massachusetts through high school, whereupon he fled the liberal commonwealth for George Washington University in DC and, since graduation, a life in Northern Virginia. Full bio on MRC.org.
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?
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%.”
Rolling Stone is a left-wing magazine which puts liberal politicians on its cover and this year has already featured a cover story on Barack Obama, yet despite the seeming lack of any newsworthiness in a second Obama cover story, this one written by an “unabashed Obama supporter,” on Wednesday morning NBC's Today show devoted a full story to how the just-released issue of the magazine illustrated “fascination” with Obama. Co-host Matt Lauer marveled: “On the cover not a musician but a politician, Barack Obama. It's the second time he's been featured there but this time there will be no cover lines, just that photo. The magazine usually does that for the likes only of people like John Lennon. So what is the fascination with the Illinois Senator?”
In Lee Cowan's story, with “Barack Star: Obama on the Cover of Rolling Stone” as the on-screen tag, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, who conducted the interview with Obama, gushed: “The tides of history are running strong and fast these days. Ride them or be crushed. Obama has history on his side and that's pretty irresistible.” Cowan then described Wenner as “an unabashed Obama supporter. So not surprisingly today's six-page spread offers no hard questions,” as if that's any different than the friendly approach taken by Cowan and his media colleagues.
Cowan proceeded to recite Obama's answers to the easy questions, starting with how “he describes his iPod as a mix of everything from Stevie Wonder to Jay-Z,” before tossing in his own adulation: “Just this week, Donatella Versace debuted a clothing line she says was inspired by the Senator.” Cowan concluded with a portrait of a humble Obama just trying to do good in the face of unwanted publicity:
Despite it all Obama says he no longer takes great satisfaction in being the center of attention. In fact he tells the magazine that feeding his vanity is not what's important, but doing good work is. The problem: with one, comes the other.
NBC put “TOUGH TIMES” on screen with a picture of a puppy as Williams introduced the story reported by Chris Jansing who, back in May, centered a piece on an elderly couple forced to live in their van. This time, Jansing again delivered anecdotes, starting with a Seattle woman who “has never experienced anything like this -- not just dogs and cats, but horses, pigs, goats -- so many, she has to turn away three out of four animals.” Going south, she asserted that “in May, the number of animals turned into Los Angeles City shelters jumped 30 percent,” which hardly seems like a crisis, and a local official fretted: “Pets seem to be the silent victims of this whole economic downturn.” Jansing next conveyed the deadly consequences:
The harsh reality is, as more animals come in, more animals have to be put down....[A]t shelters across the country, euthanasia rates are going up.
♦ Olbermann wanted to be more vulgar in his “shut the hell up” insult of President Bush than TV allows. Boyer on Olbermann's May 14 “Special Comment” rant: “Phil Griffin, the senior vice-president in charge of MSNBC raised the matter of tone. Why did Olbermann need to end his commentary by telling the President of the United States to 'shut the hell up'?” Answer: "Because I can't say, 'Shut the f**k up.'”
♦ A focus group for CNN found “audiences didn't like him.” Shortly after Olbermann returned to CNN in 2003, “Griffin ran into an old colleague at CNN, who told him that that network had considered hiring Olbermann, but focus-group tests showed that audiences didn't like him.” (In fact, Olbermann did fill-in work for CNN in late 2001 through 2002. See screen shot from January 24, 2002.)
♦ After Olbermann delivered his first Special Comment in August of 2006 denigrating Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a “quack” pushing “fascism,” Boyer learned: “His bosses loved it. 'I think we're onto something,' the President of NBC News, Steve Capus, told me. 'That's what we keep hearing from the audience, more and more, is that they appreciate that we have people who are actually speaking truth to power...'” Olbermann wrote his diatribe after “downing 'a couple of screwdrivers'” while waiting for a plane at LAX.
Fill-in ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas teased, “Report card: The government says there's good news from Iraq. Violence is down dramatically, while security and the economy are improving.” Reporter Terry McCarthy recited how “civilian deaths are down 75 percent since last July. Total security incidents are at their lowest level in over four years.” McCarthy credited “a number of reasons for the progress: Better performance by the Iraqi security forces; surprising new leadership by Prime Minister Maliki, who's confronting both al-Qaeda and the militias; and the creation of 103,000 Sons of Iraq -- local security forces, many of them recruited from the insurgency.” Indeed, McCarthy confirmed the Pentagon's assessment:
For the past three weeks, we've traveled the length of Iraq, from Basra in the south to Mosul in the north, and the reduction in violence is remarkable everywhere.
In a Wednesday column decrying John McCain's condemnation of the Supreme Court's ruling giving Guantanamo detainees access to the courts, former Washington Post reporter and editor Ruth Marcus illustrated that no matter how unexcited conservatives may be about McCain liberals still see him as dangerous as she expressed fear of what McCain's efforts to appease conservatives will mean for the Supreme Court if he wins:
As his evolving reactions to the Guantanamo case may indicate, legal issues are not at the center of McCain's policy interests. But they are a top priority for conservative activists, which makes me all the more nervous about what a McCain presidency would mean for the court.Marcus, the Post's deputy national editor from 1999 through 2002 (bio), noted that “the oldest justices are also the most liberal,” so she worried “a President McCain could shift the court significantly to the right” while, she lamented, “a President Obama would be lucky, even with a Democratic Senate, to nudge the court even a bit in a liberal direction.”
If there's anything we need to rescue us from the last eight years, it's brains, good judgment and experience. Obama has the first two. Gore has all three.Though on this weekend's Political Capital program on Bloomberg Television she hailed Gore's “presidential timber,” she was more restrained than in her column:
If what Obama needs, and I think it's what he needs, somebody of presidential timber, why not get somebody who won the popular presidential vote and who's done everything? And who was right about the Middle East, right about this Iraq war, knows where the lights are in the White House, has gravitas?
Barack Obama on Friday pre-smeared the opposition by charging they will “make you afraid” by identifying him as black, but instead of focusing on the basis of such an allegation or decrying Obama's personal insertion of the race-card into the campaign, Wolf Blitzer opened Friday night's CNN Election Center show by hyping Obama's warning:
With “'DID I MENTION HE'S BLACK?' OBAMA PREDICTS GOP SCARE TACTICS” as the on-screen header, Blitzer announced the “Just In” news: “At a fundraiser today in Florida, Senator Barack Obama warned his supporters that the Republicans are going to try to play the race card against him in an effort to simply scare voters.” Viewers then heard audio of Obama, with the words on screen:
Tonight here in the Election Center: a highly controversial warning directly from Barack Obama's lips. He bluntly says Republicans will try to make an issue of his race. We have the audio tape, you're going to hear it here.
We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. They're going to say you know what, "He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. Did I mention he's black?"
George, I've heard a lot of political analysis today about his decision, but let me ask you a question about basic fairness. People in this country like to believe that people play on a level playing field and that a campaign will be about ideas and personality. If you start with that much more money, is it basically fair?Of course, conservatives would point out that the mainstream media have never provided “a level playing field” to candidates to the right of center. If Obama can raise more than his opponent it just reflects greater enthusiasm for him. And there's hardly any nobility in taking taxpayer money when you know you'll be challenged to raise a larger amount voluntarily. But I suspect what really infuriates Gibson is Obama's decision to abandon public financing, a basic tenet of liberalism.
On FNC, however, reporter Carl Cameron pointed out what didn't fit the CBS prism (nor ABC's or NBC's) in which outside groups only unfairly attack liberal Democrats: “Right now it's Obama who's getting the most outside help. He met with AFL-CIO leaders today who pledged more than $50 million to defeat McCain and the anti-war group MoveOn.org is running this attack ad nationally.” Viewers then saw the MoveOn ad with a mother and a baby:
John McCain, when you say you would stay in Iraq for 100 years, were you counting on Alex? Because if you were, you can't have him.
Whitaker used California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to illustrate “bipartisan” opposition as he reminded viewers of a spill nearly 40 years ago: “In California, which suffered a devastating oil spill from a rig off Santa Barbara in 1969, opposition to offshore drilling is bipartisan.” Following a soundbite from Schwarzenegger, Whitaker hailed how “from Republican Governor Schwarzenegger to local environmentalists, California is largely green.” Whitaker next tried to undermine the proposal: “Drilling opponents say reserves off California wouldn't last long. In fact, at current consumption rates, 21 million barrels a day, Americans would use up the estimated 18 billion barrels off the coasts all around the country in less than two and a half years.”
What made Tim Russert different, and better, I think was his willingness to listen to -- and take seriously -- criticism about his own profession. He was willing, for example, to keep an open mind about a hot-button issue like media bias -- an issue that so many of his colleagues dismiss as the delusions of right-wing media haters.Goldberg recalled that when he wrote Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, “no one in network television wanted to discuss the issue, no matter how many Middle Americans thought it was important.” But “Russert was the lone exception. He had me on his CNBC interview show, and we talked about bias for a full hour.” (Screen captures here and below are from that interview on the February 23, 2002 edition of Russert's CNBC show.)
In his op-ed, Goldberg quoted from an interview he conducted with Russert for his 2003 book, Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite.” (Below is a full reprint of that book chapter.)
Last night here we reported there were more Americans killed in Afghanistan than in Iraq in the month of May. It's generally believed there's been a letup in the violence of late in Iraq. That is until today.From Baghdad, Jim Maceda reported on the deadly bombing in a shopping area, but then he contrasted the incident with improving Iraqi expectations:
Not only did the blast break the relative calm here, but it shattered a growing sense of security as well. After three to four months of relative low violence, people were starting to come out into streets, returning to schools, stores and banks were opening.
Turning to a panel of CNN's Candy Crowley and Gloria Borger as well as David Gergen, Brown, who jumped to CNN from NBC last year, yearned: “Do you think there is any chance that we might see an Obama-Gore ticket?” Not dampened by doubts he would want the VP slot, Brown pressed Gergen on another role for Gore and then conceded she sounded like “I want it just too badly.” The exchange:
BROWN: Even if it was pitched to him perhaps as an opportunity to kind of be, I think it was James Carville who suggested it, energy czar, you know, to expand the role, the traditional role of Vice President, and to make the issues that he cares most passionately about center stage for him and let him take those issues and run with it?
GERGEN: Not going to happen, Campbell.
BROWN: Do I sound like I want it just too badly here, David? It's a good story.
Back on Monday, June 2, the other networks noted how 19 died in May as a result of combat in Iraq. In the same month, total U.S. (15) and allied troop deaths in Afghanistan rose to 23, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
With Gore's words on screen, NBC's Lee Cowan trumpeted live from the venue in Detroit:
He says he'll do whatever he can to make sure that Barack Obama gets elected President. He announced his decision today on his blog, e-mailing a very deep list of supporters telling them to get behind this ticket both with a little elbow grease and with a little money as well. “I've never asked members of AlGore.com to contribute to a political campaign before,” he said, “but this moment and this election are too important to let pass without taking action.”
According to a Pew Research Center poll out last week, Europeans -- a majority of Britons, French and Germans -- believe a new President means a better U.S. foreign policy, and for most Britons, French and Germans, Barack Obama's personal story and opposition to the war make him a heavy favorite over John McCain when it comes to their confidence in his handling of foreign policy.