Matthew Sheffield

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Former NewsBusters editor

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It’s become a pretty much a staple of modern Democratic political rhetoric to say that today’s Republicans have departed from their predecessors in being more obstructionist toward liberal policy objectives. Since it’s something Democrats say a lot, it’s also a frequently repeated talking point in the self-described mainstream press as well.

Even some Republicans, like Bob Dole for instance, appear to believe this notion. Too bad it’s entirely a myth.

HGTV, the cable channel devoted to home remodeling and interior design, apologized today for a feature on its website that recommended the use of an American flag as a tablecloth for Independence Day celebrations.

“Drape a large American flag over the table as a bright and festive table runner,” HGTV advised. “Use a nylon flag so spills can be easily wiped off and the flag can later be hung with pride on a flag pole.”

Another day, another limousine liberal making ignorant pronouncements about global warming. This time, it's long-time actor Robert Redford in an op-ed for USA Today claiming that "our weather is out of whack."

Redford (or his ghostwriter) wrote the piece as part of a campaign with the National Resources Defense Council to place television ads in the Washington, DC, area in the hopes of getting President Obama to indulge in extra-Constitutional behavior in the form of more unilateral EPA regulations against industries he hates. (One wonders how he'd feel if a president did that sort of thing against the movie industry.)

After being able to avoid ups and downs in the economy, the PBS NewsHour nightly newscast is laying off employees for the first time in nearly 20 years. According to the New York Times, the show's production company will close its two offices outside of the Washington, DC area.

The show is facing a significant budgetary shortfall of almost one-fourth of its $28 million annual budget:

Hating Breitbart, a documentary filmed during the last several years of the late Andrew Breitbart’s life, is about one man’s struggle against the left-dominated media.

How perfect that the film about the man is about to set a record in and of itself thanks to liberal media bias? According to the Hollywood Reporter, Hating Breitbart will soon set a record on the movie ratings site Rotten Tomatoes for the biggest gap between its establishment film critics score and the score given to it by the general public.

He's not involved in the content production side but it's still worth noting that there is quite a bit of discussion about how HBO executive James Costos has been angling for an appointment to be President Obama's ambassador to Spain.

According to the Associated Press, Costos and his boyfriend were some of the most successful "bundlers" for Obama, people who combine their donations with others' to really raise cash quickly. It is quite common for presidents of all parties to give ambassador positions to their financial contributors.

Sometimes, video can really clarify things like nothing else. You'll likely agree after watching the video below featuring presidential candidate and inexperienced Illiniois Senator Barack Obama discuss the issue of surveillance as practiced by the George W. Bush Administration compared to what now-president Obama has to say about the same subject matter.

Beyond the legality of the spying that's been conducted for years on behalf of Obama by the National Security Agency, it is transparently obvious that Barack Obama has violated his campaign promises on this issue. Naturally, we don't expect this video to get much play from the Obama-adoring media:

Of late, many left-wing media critics have been ostensibly interested in protecting the independence of journalism from hypothetical conservative media ownership. Unfortunately, as Howard Kurtz pointed out over the weekend, these people are remarkably cavalier when the left-leaning billionaires like Warren Buffett start buying up media outlets.

Another example of how such critics are not very sincere is one George Norcross, a man known within the Philadelphia area as a long-time Democratic donor, activist, and fundraiser. He also happens to be the co-owner of the region’s two largest newspapers, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Philadelphia Daily News.

Jury selection in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman began today and there’s no doubt that some people cannot wait for a circus to begin for both political and ratings reasons.

While much attention has been paid to the role of long-time race-baiter Al Sharpton and his employer MSNBC in trying to inflame people, another leader in trying to get justice to miscarry is the cable channel Black Entertainment Television which since Barack Obama emerged as a candidate for president in 2007 has made occasional forays into news coverage. On Friday of last week, the network aired a 30-minute special called “Justice for Trayvon: Our Son Is Your Son” trying to hype up the trial.

During the Wednesday edition of his show Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who once called former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin “profoundly stupid,” appeared not to know that there are two current U.S. senators who are of African descent.

“We don’t have any African Americans in the United States Senate, which I think is a disgrace,” Matthews said before being corrected by a producer and one of his guests. Before his mistake was fixed, Matthews also disclosed that he, as a resident of Maryland, voted for Republican Michael Steele when he ran for Senate in 2006 because he was black.

It’s hard to pity someone as smarmy and self-righteous as Jonathan Alter. Still, with all the bad luck that the left-wing pundit has faced lately, it almost makes you want to consider it. Well, ok, not really.

May has been a tough month for the MSNBC contributor. First, an anecdote from his latest book was proven beyond doubt to be an outright fabrication. Yesterday, he was revealed by radio host Don Imus as a conniving, two-faced jerk. Now his reporting is being denounced as “patently, provably false” by Fox News president Roger Ailes.

Billionaire conservative philathropists David Koch and Charles Koch officially confirmed news reports that they are interested in getting into the media business through an interview with the Wall Street Journal and in a post on their website

In a statement, Charles Koch stated an important point about the brothers' intentions for media: to provide actual unbiased news to customers, an exceedingly rare commodity in America today, particularly at the local level where many regions of the country are served by a single newspaper which is not open to ideological diversity.

In a bizarre speech, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt blasted the news media, saying reporters “don’t believe in facts” when it comes to their coverage of the discussion over whether or not humans are increasing the Earth’s temperature.

But Schmidt was not talking about the fact that the Earth’s median temperature has not increased in over 10 years or that the Earth has experienced ice ages when the atmospheric CO2 content was 5 times its current amount. Instead, the top Obama adviser was ranting against “liars” who do not believe in anthropogenic global warming.

Judging from the silence from the NPR ombudsman, it would appear that the taxpayer-funded radio network has solved the pervasive problems of bias and ideological monoculture that have plagued it for decades.

NPR's internal media critic, Edward Schumacher-Matos, has not written a blog post since May 6 and has not been seen on Twitter since May 3, despite being called out several times by various individuals on the microblogging service for being unresponsive.

Making it in the pages of the wildly popular business comic “Dilbert” is either a sign you have arrived or it is a sign that you are as transparently ridiculous as a pointy-haired boss.

In the case of wild-eyed New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the latter is clearly what’s happened.

Joe Muto, the former O’Reilly Factor producer who turned into a “mole” for the leftist gossip site Gwker, has resurfaced thanks to an AP report which chronicles how he pled guilty to two separate misdemeanors for passing along outtake footage owned by Fox News Channel.

Muto has already begun serving his sentence which includes picking up trash in city parks and also 200 hours of community service. He was fined $1,000 and ordered to give the $5,000 he was paid by Gawker to charity.

The owner of Newsweek, the troubled liberal weekly news magazine, has confirmed reports that it is trying to unload the money-losing operation even despite the fact that it jettisoned its print edition last year. In a letter to employees, CEO Baba Shetty and editor-in-chief Tina Brown confirmed that the parent company of Newsweek, InterActiveCorp, is trying to find potential bidders.

In the letter, Shetty and Brown claimed that Newsweek, which was sold by the Washington Post in 2010 for $1 and an assumption of outstanding debt, was going to become profitable by the end of this year. The confirmation of the efforts to sell the online-only magazine comes as no surprise considering that IAC president, leftist media mogul Barry Diller, stated last month that he believed "it was a mistake" to purchase Newsweek and that "I don't have great expectations" for its long-term success.

Occasionally, we hear from people who believe that liberal media bias isn’t really that big of an issue because most people don’t really trust reporters to tell the truth. While public trust in the media is at an all-time low, that hardly means they lack the power to shape opinion.

A perfect case in point is the notion popularized by environmental alarmist Al Gore that the Earth is experiencing more severe weather events supposedly caused by “climate change.” Like his earlier debunked claims that global temperatures were increasing, this statement is also false. But many people are simply unaware of the facts.

Generally speaking, we try to avoid mentioning shrill leftist New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, not because he makes no absurd statements but because he makes so many of them. An exception to this rule must be made, however, thanks to an excellent piece by economist Robert P. Murphy in the American Conservative headlined “Heads Krugman Wins, Tails ‘Austerity’ Loses.”

In the past several years, during and following the recent “sequester” debate the leftist economist predicted utter disaster if it went through. According to Krugman, America was almost guaranteed to enter another recession on account of the supposed fact that miniscule cuts in the rate of the federal budget’s growth would have an anti-stimulative effect on the economy. A funny thing happened on the way to Armegeddon though: the U.S. economy actually seems to be doing better since the sequester went into effect.

CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield and HLN anchor Nancy Grace gave eagle-eyed viewers some mild laughs following yesterday's verdict in the Jodi Arias trial as they appeared in a split-screen setup talking via satellite uplink even though they were seated right next to each other.

The Atlantic Wire's Dashiell Bennett and Philip Bump caught the "Anchorman"-esque bit of comedy and documented it with several animated GIF images showing various vehicles passing in the background from each anchor's camera.