Mitchell Blatt


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Kate Zernike, the New York Times's Tea Party reporter, can add another scalp to her collection. This one belongs to ‘obscure' Nobel Prize-winning economist Freidrich Hayek and his wacky theories like "rule of law."

"Once-obscure texts by dead writers" such as Hayek, wrote Zernike, are full of "long-dormant ideas" and strange arguments like Hayek's claim, as summarized by Zernike, that "government that intervened in the economy would inevitably intervene in every aspect of its citizens' lives." Who would believe that?

Hayek, meanwhile, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974 and is widely considered to be one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century. But Zernike just can't get over his radical views, principally that he advocates  "a return to the principles of Austrian economics" and "the rule of law." I know, real wingnut stuff.


Mediaite's Colby Hall thinks Congressman Bob Etheridge might be a hero for assaulting a college student who asked him a question. Etheridge attacked a student and held him captive for a short time after he asked if the Congressman supported the Obama agenda. Colby Hall wrote an article defending him titled, Congressman Loses Cool To Students With a Flip Cam, But Somehow Comes Out The Hero?.

To be sure, Hall says, "No he's not a hero. He's a jerk," but he only added that part in after his post was savaged by commenters. Earlier versions of the post, including the one automatically posted to Beltway Blips and the excerpt on Hall's author page show that clarification was added later, and the post itself notes, "Edit. note – this post has been slightly edited for clarity from an earlier iteration."

Hall's defense of Etheridge echos the DNC talking points that the videographers were unidentified and probably conservative. After all, assault is perfectly fine as long as it is done to a conservative or an alleged Republican operative. (Indeed, the media seems to have adopted this lesson in the Tea Party movement.) Hall said:


Joan Walsh was unable to name an extreme left-wing media figure yesterday while appearing on MSNBC and today she is digging in deeper on her blog.

Now she says that she wasn’t just talking about media figures, of which Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz are just the most obvious examples, but that she was talking also about violent nut jobs who threaten politicians.

The title of her post is “There is no liberal Rush Limbaugh,” and I guess she’s correct if she’s talking about ratings.

The problem on the right includes extremists who've made death threats against Democrats like Patty Murray, Bart Stupak, Nancy Pelosi and, of course, President Obama. There's no one on the left posing the same threat to leaders on the right -- or if there is, I'd like to know about it.

Teachers at a failing Rhode Island high school refused to work another 25 minutes a day in order to turnaround the school’s 48% graduation rate. So the school board fired them all.

The teachers at Central Falls High School already earn over $70,000 a year, compared to a median home income of $22,000 a year for area residents, but their union balked at offers of $30 an hour for extra work, demanding $90 an hour.

You would think that this information might be relevant for an article about the situation, but instead of reporting the facts behind the union’s negotiations, the New York Times whitewashed key details and selectively quoted people sympathetic to the union.


While James Cameron's Avatar contains many anti-capitalism messages in its global warming alarmist push, the film has made some big corporate partnership deals with companies like McDonalds.

McDonalds has been running ads co-branding with Avatar, has created Avatar “digital experiences”, and has featured Avatar toys in Happy Meals.

Cameron said on the Today Show “[Greed] tends to destroy the environment.”

McDonalds is allegedly very destructive to the environment, so Cameron isn’t really upholding the lessons of his own film.


If Bernie Sanders is “left-leaning,” what does it take to be “liberal”?

New York Times writer Edmund L. Andrews referred to Sanders as a “left-leaning independent” in his article “Under Attack, Fed Chief Studies Politics.”

Jim DeMint was labeled as a “conservative Republican.”


Protections at the New York Times for captured Times reporters don’t extend to captured British citizens.

Months after the New York Times and 40 other news outlets collaborated to keep the kidnapping of reporter David Rohde secret, the Grey Lady is now putting a British couple captured by Somali pirates in danger.
UPDATED With N.Y. Times Response (and more)


Ill will against former Vice President Dick Cheney still runs high in some circles.

So high, in fact, that when the University of Wyoming decided to name an international student center after him, Suzanne Pelican began circulating a petition against it last year. One year later, that petition has earned 150 signatures and an Associated Press story.

In a story titled “Protest brews over Cheney center at Univ. of Wyo.” AP reporter Mead Gruver writes:

The university's decision to name the center after Cheney, a former Wyoming congressman, prompted a petition that collected more than 150 signatures.

The petition said polices of the Bush administration were "very controversial" and the name will affect how people perceive the center.


Rupert Murdoch has become the first media mogul to make bold changes to his company’s newspaper monetization strategy that may reshape the way people receive their news--by paying for it.

Up to this point, web publications have primarily relied on advertising alone for revenues but this has had problems because online advertising rates are so much lower than those in print. Murdoch and others in the traditional media are seeking to change that by creating a system where readers and viewers are required to pay a subscription fee as well.

There is certainly a motivation to try something different. Overall, News Corp.’s operating income dropped by over 30 percent in its latest earning report. Its cable networks are the only holdings to be driving growth this year, with Fox News’ operating income increasing by 50 percent.

Clearly, much of News Corp.’s struggles are due to the recession, but newspapers have been struggling long before the recession. With content available for free online, fewer people are paying to subscribe to newspapers and magazines.

Americans have been reluctant to pay for subscription fees for news content online, especially after having received it for free for fifteen years, so will News. Corp’s plan succeed? There are not many details as of yet on what kind of subscription plans Murdoch plans to establish, but there has been a lot of attention as of late on a plan put forth by newspaper editor-turned Silicon Valley CEO Alan Mutter. At a meeting of newspaper executives in May, Mutter talked about his new venture, ViewPass.


The Huffington Post is concerned all of a sudden that General Electric is engaging in top-down control of the news because they tried to stop Keith Olbermann’s attacks on Bill O’Reilly.

The Post is right to be concerned about GE’s control, but they haven’t shown much interest in GE’s network push for green investments and carbon trading that will line their own pockets.

As one of world leaders in wind energy technology and an investor in Greenhouse Gas Services, a joint venture that manages carbon trading, General Electric stands to gain a lot from leftist environmental policies, and it has used its networks to push for those policies.


Liberal bloggers this week have once again given credence to those who complain that bloggers lack credibility, attacking Michelle Bachmann over routine congressional floor actions.

Bachmann, who was holding the floor for the Republicans Monday afternoon, delayed a vote on a bill recognizing Hawaii’s 50th anniversary of statehood due to lack of quorum.


screencap of suspended NewsBusters Twitter account page | July 10, 2009

UPDATE: Newsbusters's Twitter account has been reactivated.  Follow Newsbusters here.

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NewsBusters’s Twitter account was suspended today by Twitter for an as yet unknown reason.

Conservative social media accounts have been attacked the past few years by liberals who flag them as spam.

Matthew Sheffield wrote in 2008:


Is the press corps starting to tire of the Obama Administration?

At a press conference today, Helen Thomas and CBS’s Chip Reid got into it with Robert Gibbs over how the administration has been prepackaging media events.

First Reid asked why the questions for Wednesday’s town hall on healthcare were being preselected. After Gibbs tried to dodge that question a few times, Thomas became involved, saying, “We have never had that in the White House. I’m amazed that you people … call for openness and transparency.”

Thomas said that the administration was trying to control the media, and she pointed out how they coordinated questions with the Huffington Post at a press conference.


The Democrats spent years complaining that Republicans were questioning their patriotism, so now that they are in power, they certainly won’t question the Republicans’ patriotism just because their views differ on political issue?

Yes, that was a rhetorical question.

After cap-and-trade passed with just eight Republican votes, Henry Waxman, author of the bill, accused Republicans of “rooting against the country … even rooting against the world.”

Considering how much attention the media gave to Rush Limbaugh’s out-of-context quotes about how he wanted Obama’s policies to fail and how Obama was hurting America, I wonder how much attention the media will give to Waxman, an actual politician, for making such antagonistic comments?

Again, a rhetorical question.


Wikipedia can be a vehicle for tearing down barriers and democratizing information. Unless the New York Times is involved.

Just as the Times was able to keep 40 other media organizations from reporting on the capture of their own David Rohde, so too were they able to keep Wikipedia from reporting it. They also used his Wikipedia page to try to win favor with the Taliban.

Just three days after Rohde was captured, a user edited his Wikipedia page to reflect his capture, but that edit was quickly deleted, and with the help of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, news of Rohde’s capture was kept off the page until his release.


Just about a year ago, Keith Olbermann recorded his first major victory over Bill O’Reilly.

Over the first week of June, 2008, Olbermann beat O’Reilly in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic for the first time.

“We’re growing, and he’s regressed,” Olbermann said to the New York Times in an email.


As if the press hasn’t already been fawning over Obama enough, the White House resorted to coordinating a question with the Huffington Post at today’s press conference.

Against White House protocol, the communications department contacted Huffington Post blogger Nico Pitney and asked him to query Obama on the specific subject of Iran for the second question of the press conference.

Politico’s Michael Calderone reports:


In their watchdog role of keeping the public informed, the New York Times has over the years disclosed government secrets regarding anti-terrorism tactics, overseas prisons, interrogation tactics, and military tactics, that critics contend have harmed the effectiveness of the programs and put America and our military at greater risk.

In fact, in 2008, the Times even published the name of an interrogator who got Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to talk, against the wishes of the interrogator’s lawyer and the CIA. The interrogator and his family fear for their lives, but that’s okay, because the public has a right to know.

So when Times journalist David Rohde was captured by the Taliban and held for seven months, the Times was going to report that, right? After all, doesn’t the public have a right to know about the threats they may face while traveling in Afghanistan?

As it turns out, the New York Times doesn’t think we do.


The Weekly Standard, founded by editor William Kristol and owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, is now under new ownership.

The conservative magazine has been acquired by Clarity Media, parent company of the Washington Examiner.

The deal, first reported by the L.A. Times on June 10, was made official this afternoon.

Clarity Media Group is owned by conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz, who wants to boost his political influence.


William Jefferson, who was found with $90,000 of cash in his freezer, is now on trial for 16 counts including racketeering, obstruction of justice, and money laundering.

The Washington Post's Allison Klein did a story on his trial today, but for some reason Klein failed to mention Jefferson's party identification.

Could it be, perhaps, because Jefferson was a Democrat while he was in office, before being defeated in the previous election cycle?  (UPDATED AGAIN)