Matthew Sheffield

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Former NewsBusters editor

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It's taken a while but I think it's safe to say that blogging has now become pretty universal within the MSM. Despite the howls of crusty old liberals like Bill Moyers, the web has fractured the political audience and the elite media are out for a piece of it. Big Media outlets like ABC, NBC, Time, CBS, and the New York Times are all blogging up a storm. Unfortunately for their claims of political objectivity, all the blogging has revealed what the center-right has said all along: the elite media in this country are skewed left in both demographics and content.

Writing at Salon, Michael Scherer discloses one of journalism's dirty secrets: many of the biggest and most sensational stories you hear about in the media were not dug up by the reporters themselves. Instead, they were handed to them by political operatives from an opposing campaign. Oftentimes, the provenance of that information is never disclosed to the audience.

While he frames his article around Matt Drudge and his supposed control of Republican politics, Scherer's point is equally true of the MSM which is regularly handed scoops by liberal bureaucrats and Democratic officials.

John McCain's "Bomb Iran" scandal almost never happened.

The reporters covering the Murrells Inlet, S.C., rally last month,
where McCain jokingly parodied the old Beach Boys song "Barbara Ann"
with the words "Bomb Iran," didn't think the joke was news. Only one
writer, Scott Harper, from the local Georgetown Times, mentioned it in
his story, and he relegated it to the 17th paragraph. "I didn't think
Jay Leno would be talking about it," he said.

Katie Couric and Jack MurthaIf television news were covered the same way the media covered Iraq, Katie Couric would surely be out of a job by now. I can imagine the New York Times lede:

Did you know if you support enforcement of immigration laws you're heartless and also support destroying families?

That was the over-the-top sob story offered yesterday by Geraldo Rivera on his "Geraldo at Large" show where he featured a man who was about to be deported, alongside his wife and three of his children.

"Look at these children. Do you want to
be responsible for separating these babies from their daddy?" Rivera emoted, making an especial plea to FNC's Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity along with the "most hysterical voice in the bunch," CNN's Lou Dobbs.

"Their hard-working daddy who's done
nothing but do good here in this country?" he asserted, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the man (identified as "Jean") had about 30 seconds earlier admitted that he'd been convicted of a drug offense in 1989.

Full transcript, video link, and fact check after the jump.

PBS won't let the general public watch "Islam vs. Islamists," however blogger Roger Simon has seen it and was quite impressed:

Joke of the week: There was a swimming competition to cross the English Channel doing only the breaststroke, and the three women who entered the race were a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead.

After approximately 14 hours, the brunette staggered up on the shore, and was declared the winner. Upon being interviewed, the brunette expressed delight at having won the competition.

About 40 minutes later, the redhead crawled up on the shore and was declared the second-place finisher. Although disappointed, the redhead said it was extremely gratifying to have been able to finish the race.

Is the Los Angeles Times being stubborn its refusal to correct a major mistake in its reporting in the fired U.S. attorney "scandal," or does the paper have more partisan motivations?

After grossly overestimating the number of people killed in the recent tornado in Greensburg, Kansas, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made another unforced error this week at a speech in Detroit.

As reported by Chicago Tribune columnist Jim Mateja, Obama criticized the U.S. auto industry for not being sufficiently environmentally friendly but made a significant mistake (h/t Paul Mirengoff):

The domestics certainly haven't flooded showrooms with gas/electric hybrids
like the Japanese. But in fairness, the newest Japanese assembly plant in the
U.S. produces 14-m.p.g. Toyota Tundra pickups, not Prius hybrids rated at 60

"While our fuel standards haven't moved from 27.5 miles per gallon in two
decades, both China and Japan have surpassed us, with Japanese cars now
getting an average of 45 miles to the gallon," Obama said.

George Tenet, the former CIA director who resigned a while ago has been out promoting a new book. Most of the media has spun the book as attacking the Bush administration, however, as Fred Thompson points out, much of what Tenet says is supportive of many of the claims made by Bush and his staff. Naturally, these aren't the kinds of facts you hear reported in the media:

My attention was drawn to Tenet’s statements that al Qaeda is here and
waiting and that they wish nothing more than to be able to see a
mushroom cloud above the United States.

Naturally, the media
emphasis is not on that. Its attention is on any differences Tenet had
with the administration. The media’s premise is that Iraq should not
have been considered a real threat to us and that the administration
basically misled the country into war. While one may take issue with
Tenet on several things, I was intrigued that on some very important
issues, Tenet did not follow the media script when answering Russert’s

Liberal tolerance is a wonderful thing. Of course, with tolerance like this, I'd hate to see what an intolerant liberal looks like.

Up in the Baltimore area where our friend Ian Schwartz of Hot Air lives, someone defaced a billboard of radio host Rush Limbaugh. Instead of condemning the act of vandalism, Robert Murrow, a spokesman for the city, said it "did my heart good."

Apparently, somebody in Baltimore isn't a fan of Rush Limbaugh. A large billboard advertising local air times for the conservative radio talk-show host has been defaced.

Robert Murrow, a spokesman for the city's Department of Public Works,
saw the vandalism as he drove to work this morning on I-83 near the
Guilford Avenue exit. He called The Sun, saying that someone had poured paint on the image of Limbaugh's face.

Wedge issues, those subjects on which basically everyone has an opinion and those opinions are hard and fast, are generally something most politicians try to avoid if at all possible. Usually, it's because their party base takes a very strong stand on a subject that most Americans disagree with in part or in whole. If used properly, wedge issues can be used to separate a politician from the general public.

For Republicans the wedge issues tend to be abortion, creationism, and racial politics. Democrats have these issues too, however the left-dominated media almost never focus on them as Ace writes:

The media loves close questioning about abortion. And Bob
Jones University. And the Confederate flag. And etc., and etc., and
etc. -- every issue that cuts against Republicans, where the wedge
divides base from center, always gets an enormous amount of attention from the Washington press corps.

And what about Democrats' wedge issues? Not only does the media
refuse to ask such questions, except in the easiest softball way --
allowing candidates to give their carefully-vetted focus-group-tested
non-answers without having to survive the scrutiny of a follow-up --
the media is often insistent that even asking such questions is "divisive" and therefore unethical, if not unAmerican.

If you've ever lived in Minnesota, chances are you've heard of one of the state's two major papers, the Star Tribune, often referred to as the Red Star Tribune. The paper is famous for its left-wing bias even to people who've never been to Minnesota. Well, it turns out things actually could have been worse.


The big story of the week has been "Mullah Mouse," the hate-spewing Palestinian children's character whose show on Hamas television encouraged kids to kill non-Muslims to help establish world Islamic domination.

You would think that CNN would have wanted to get in on some of that news. It's controversial. The visuals are great and it's eminently topical.

The network did finally cover the story (saying the mouse "reaches out" to children as Ken Shepherd reported yesterday) but the day before, Headline News host Glenn Beck was thwarted in his attempts to cover the story, all over some minuscule nit-picking in the translation. CNN's politically correct staff stopped him from making the report over a single word. Beck discussed the problem on his radio show Wednesday. Click the video above to watch his story. (Hat tip: LGF)

Despite its huffy, self-righteous editorial page, the New York Times never has been anywhere close to a paragon of moral consistency. The latest example of the Grey Lady's hypocrisy is on the subject of data-mining, a subject which the editorial side of the paper repeatedly condemned last year. Data-mining is basically a fancy way of compiling user data in an advanced manner. According to the Times, data-mining is wrong when it is done to help fight terrorism. When it's done to fatten the wallets of fatcat liberal newspaper execs then it's ok.

Diane Disney Miller, the only surviving child of Mickey Mouse creator Walt Disney, condemned a Palestinian rip-off that has been used to glorify terrorism and murder to children. She called the character, named Farfur, "pure evil." (h/t LGF)

Diane Disney Miller said she was disgusted that a rip-off of her father's iconic cartoon character was being used on a new Hamas TV show to encourage Palestinian children to take up arms against Israel and America.

"Of course I feel personal about Mickey Mouse, but it could be Barney as well,'' Ms Miller, 73, told the New York Daily News.

"It's not just Mickey, it's indoctrinating children like this, teaching them to be evil,'' said Ms Miller, who owns a winery in northern California.

Following the election of conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy to France's presidency, there have been a series of riots from angry protesters upset at his victory. Unfortunately, it's a little hard to know much about the rioters due to the French government's passing a law that makes it a crime to report on riots unless you are a professional journalist:

The French Constitutional Council has
approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of
violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could
lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police
violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French
civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.

The council chose an unfortunate anniversary to publish its decision
approving the law, which came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police
officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer George
Holliday on the night of March 3, 1991. The officers’ acquittal at the
end on April 29, 1992 sparked riots in Los Angeles.

When it comes to the subject of global warming, is science being sacrificed on the altar of political activism? Yes, says the German magazine Der Spiegel (h/t Glenn) in a report that sounds strangely familiar. It's funny how many on the left are now complaining that we "rushed to war" in Iraq are now rushing to implement far more expensive and economy-destroying programs on the subject of global warming--with far less certitude of success. The irony is further compounded when you consider that the main person leading this rush is the guy who would have been president had George Bush not won in 2000.

Here's Der Spiegel:

No United Nations organization currently dominates the headlines as much -- or is as controversial -- as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Critics call the panel politically one-sided and its reports alarmist. Its defenders say the opposite is true. The IPCC will publish its third report on Friday. [...]

There is hardly a newspaper article and hardly a TV or radio program that doesn't conjure up images of "climate catastrophe," prophesy floods of gigantic proportions, droughts and hunger. Indeed, the media have developed something akin to a complete apocalyptic program.

It's the fault of the media, of course, but not exclusively. It's also the fault of a new hero, an environmental activist who likes to introduce himself by saying: "Hello, I was once the next President of the United States of America."

I wouldn't call this the ideal outcome but it's definitely progress. Michael McGee, the racist liberal talk show host who said he wished a local conservative talker had burned to death along with his mother has been suspended "indefinitely" from his program:

Sometimes the blog entries just write themselves. Mark Ellingham, a man who helped increase travel as a form of leisure is now telling people they should stop taking flights. It gets more ridiculous, however:

Mark Ellingham, founder of the Rough Guides and the man who
encouraged a generation of travellers to pack a rucksack and explore
the world, has compared the damage done by tourism to the impact of the
tobacco industry.

Ellingham now says travelling is so
environmentally destructive that there is no such thing as a genuinely
ethical holiday. He wants the industry to educate travellers about the
damage their holidays do to the environment. The development he regrets
most is the public's appetite for what he calls 'binge-flying'. [...]

'It is hard to say the positive impact travelling has can
ever outweigh the damage done by simply travelling to the destination,'
he said. 'Balancing all the positives and negatives, I'm not convinced
there is such a thing as a "responsible" or "ethical" holiday.'