Latest from Lachlan Markay
In October of last year, the far-left blog ThinkProgress alleged - with exactly zero evidence - that the Chamber of Commerce was illegally using money collected from foreign corporations to fund its American political activities. The charge was breathlessly repeated by major media outlets, including the New York Times and MSNBC.
Well it turns out that the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the organization that runs ThinkProgress, itself takes money from foreign sources.
Surely CAPAF has adequate controls in place to prevent money acquired from foreign donors from being funneled into its electioneering activities (right?), but it was ThinkProgress itself that mere months ago was demanding that the Chamber reveal its own inner workings to hostile political observers to prove such constraints existed. A number of media personalities, most notably MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz and the folks at the New York Times editorial board, were happy to play along with the baseless smear campaign.
The notion that conservative political views can stunt one's acting career in ultra-liberal Hollywood is occasionally derided as exaggeration at best, or conspiracy-mongering at worst. So it behooves us to point out the actual victims of this sort of McCarthyite blacklisting.
The latest person to provoke the wrath of Hollywood's thought police - or at least to reveal the consequences of that wrath - is former "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Patricia Heaton. Heaton claims that she has been denied roles precisely - and explicitly - because she is "lumped together with conservatives," according to PopEater.com.
People who approach an issue with certain beliefs are generally less likely to check claims that comport with those beliefs. It's called confirmation bias. Observe: Tuesday's New York Times carried this correction, highlighted by John Hinderaker at Powerline:
An article on May 7 about the Obama administration's appointment of a panel of experts to find ways to make hydraulic fracturing safer misstated the prevalence of cases in which fluids from the gas drilling process have been proven to have contaminated drinking water. There are few documented cases, not numerous ones, although federal and state investigations into reports of such incidents are continuing.
In other words, hydraulic fracturing is not, by and large, a danger to drinking water supplies. Since potential dangers to drinking water are integral to virtually every argument mounted against the practice, the incidence of contamination is crucial to the debate.
The Barack Obama White House rewards its friends and punishes its enemies. News outlets would be wise to ensure that they don't fall into the latter category.
That is the message the Obama Campaign tried to send in 2008 when it sicced campaign activists on talk radio shows that dared to give voice to Obama's critics. It was the message the White House sent with its assault of the Fox News Channel. And now it's the message the administration is sending by reportedly threatening to bar Boston Herald reporters from full access to presidential events simply because the White House does not approve of the paper's editorial judgment.
The Herald gave former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney front-page op-ed space in March, bumping off a story about a presidential visit to Boston. That, the White House claimed, signaled that the paper is not "fair" or "objective" in its coverage. Hence, the Herald will be barred from pool duty on presidential visits, a White House spokesman implied.
Since last year's elections, the GOP has spearheaded a number of efforts derided by various reporters as wastes of time or distracting political gimmicks. None of the reporters so concerned about Congress's valuable time, however, seemed too concerned when Harry Reid brought bill to the Senate floor Tuesday evening fully aware that it could not gain congressional approval for the simple reason that it was unconstitutional.
Reid's admitted goal was simply to score political points against Republicans by forcing them to preserve standard tax benefits for oil companies (benefits enjoyed by virtually every American company). But he acknowledged Tuesday that he knew the measure was unconstitutional, so the whole thing was just a political farce.
And yet it hasn't drawn the media scorn to any notable degree, in stark contrast to GOP proposals to read of the Constitution to kick off the session in January or to repeal ObamaCare later that month, both of which were blasted in the press as, essentially, wastes of time.
Pro-government union protests in Wisconsin and elsewhere have provided some stunning insight into the double standards that pervade coverage of major protest movements. One such double standard lies in media treatment of threats against public officials. News of the release of more than 100 pages of documented threats against officials of both parties in Wisconsin has brought that double standard to light.
Very often such threats are most intensely focused on a single individual perceived as the leader of the ideological or political opposition. President Obama was the target of perhaps less overt, if certainly as menacing threats during the early stages of his administration when a handful of demonstrators brought firearms to a presidential town hall meeting. That of course dominated the airwaves for the following week, as many in the media bemoaned what they presented almost uniformly as hints at assassination.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker, like President Obama, became the target of much of the rage from pro-union demonstrators. And like Obama, Walker received some very vocal - and in many cases more overt - threats against his life. Unlike threats against the president, however, those directed at Walker have received scant press attention outside of Wisconsin media.
If there is one characteristic that has defined Wikileaks proprietor Julian Assange, it is utter hypocrisy - his complete and total unwillingness or inability to abide by his own principles.
The man was complicit in an theft on an epic scale, but had the gall to criticize the UK Guardian for publishing government cables obtained by Wikileaks without the organization's permission. The grounds for his complaint: "he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released." Assange is also not a fan of media outlets publishing leaked information about him. He lashed out at the Guardian late last year for "selectively publish[ing]" police reports about rape charges against him.
And now, despite his active efforts to literally render the American government unable to function, Assange is invoking rule of law to protect his "property" (you know, all the stolen documents in his possession). He has reportedly forced Wikileaks employees to sign a draconian confidentiality agreement that would put them on the hook for roughly $20 million if they release Wikileaks documents without permission.
Some traditional media outlets, faced with harsh economic realities in the digital age, have begun to turn ideologically inward in the hopes of shoring up support among an enthusiastic and sympathetic audience. The goal is to raise the floor of potential readers or viewers, even while the ceiling drops.
The New York Times, for its part, has decided to revamp its Sunday opinion section - currently called Week in Review, but which might change its name to Sunday Review - to place more emphasis on opinion content. The move may be rooted in the recognition that opinion sells. For the Times generally, it means a more overt, in-your-face liberalism.
Most of the conspiracy theories about libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch have originated in the left-wing blogosphere. But a few media outlets, most notably MSNBC and the New York Times, have served to filter the anti-Koch campaigns into the mainstream political conversation.
The Times, which has printed numerous factual inaccuracies relating to the Koch brothers of late, recently published a piece on its website that focused on a relatively obscure left-wing non-profit's attack campaign against them.
The article spurred Koch Indutries, the massive conglomerate owned by the billionaire brothers, to hit back at the paper. In a letter to its public editor, the company's general council asked whether the Times was "reporting on events or participating in them?" See the text of that letter below the break.
During the 2008 campaign, much of the press succeeded in painting a portrait of Barack Obama that bore almost no resemblance to either the Chicago politician he was before, or the president he's been since. We were sold Hope and Change, but ended up with what Washington Examiner columnist David Freddoso decries as "Gangster Government" in a new book bearing that title.
Gangster government is "about governing without recognizing the legitimate limits of one's power," as Freddoso describes it. "It's about officials who use public office to make winners into losers and losers into winners; who bend, break and make the law to help their friends and punish their enemies."
Freddoso contends that the term describes Obama's administration better than any before it. The man cut his teeth in Chicago, the mecca of gangster government, by Freddoso's telling, and exported that brand of public policy - with the aid of a pair of complacent watchdogs in the news media and Congress - into the Oval Office.
In late 2009, the Washington Post's response to a tweet from its managing editor that betrayed a clear left-leaning worldview was to censor all of its employees for fear that they might betray their (gasp) opinions. A more sensible policy might have been to acknowledge that the paper is staffed by people who are, for the most part, liberals.
The same managing editor, Raju Narisetti - who has since added a strongly-worded statement to his twitter bio disclaiming his employer from any views expressed there - shot out a similar tweet on Monday, once again conveying his left-of-center views on major policy priorities. “Thought encounter of the day: ‘Would be good if our schools are fully funded and DoD has to hold a bake sale to buy its next fighter jet,'" Narisetti wrote.
The wisdom of that (facetious?) policy prescription is a debate for another forum. It should, however, remove any remaining doubt about Narisetti's political views. And while his tweet does not represent the Post's official position, it ought to give readers pause that someone with such obviously left-of-center views is in such a position of power at an ostensibly "objective" publication.
"Let's Clear the Fog of War," suggested Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Timothy Egan in a recent blog post for the New York Times. Egan criticized the White House's decision to simply stop talking about what happened at the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday night. "They owe us a complete story, an honesty story, one for the record," Egan wrote.
But in calling for truth, Egan, whether he realized it or not, perpetuated a falsehood concerning the Iraq war that those who opposed that war continue to invoke in support of the narrative that the war effort itself was premised on a falsehood.
Egan made his opposition to the effort in Iraq clear in labeling it "a disastrous and bankrupting war against a country that had nothing to do with the mass homicide on American soil." He went on to offer the tale of Pfc. Jessica Lynch as "emblematic of the whole phony campaign at the top. If the White House was willing to go to war on false pretenses, why shouldn’t low-level commanders follow suit on the ground?"
This White House faced strikingly little press criticism during the 2008 presidential campaign and through most of its first two years in office. So seldom is this White House meaningfully criticized in fact, that even the most mild jab apparently inspires backlash against the press.
Just last week it was revealed that a San Francisco Chronicle reporter was booted from the White House press pool for the crime of recording an anti-Obama protest with her smartphone. Then today, the Pleasanton Weekly, a small newspaper in Pleasanton, California, revealed that the White House had asked that the paper remove a passage it felt reflected poorly on First Lady Michelle Obama.
And, amazingly, the paper obliged. It removed the passage, saying it didn't want to make a "fuss." The White House is grateful for the self-censorship, I'm sure.
Among the many ubiquitous recipients of Pulitzer Prizes this year was one organization less famous than the New York Times and the Washington Post. ProPublica, a libber non-profit news outlet, received its second straight Pulitzer, this year's for a less-than-friendly piece on "The Wall Street Money Machine."
ProPublica is an investigative journalism venture funded in large part by Herbert and Marion Sandler, the liberal billionaires who made their forutune in the sub-prime mortagege business, cashing out just before the housing bubble burst. The Sandlers have given to a host of nation's most prominent liberal organizations, including the Center for American Progress and MoveOn.org. In short, they are partisans, and the organizations they fund advance a liberal agenda.
ProPublica is no exception. As columnist Marvin Olasky recently noted, a cursory review of the organization's website reveals that it has little interest in exerting itself in investigations of liberal politicians - let alone the Obama White House (where there is certainly plenty to investigate). Virtually all of their coverage aligns with a liberal take on the day's events.
President Obama chided the news media Wednesday for continuing to focus national attention on the non-issue of his American citizenship. "Fascinating how many of Obama's birther remarks…were aimed at the media for stoking this," tweeted Howard Kurtz shortly after the speech.
The birth certificate issue was a distraction, Obama stated, and the White House decision to release his long-form birth certificate was an attempt to re-focus national attention on the important issues, specifically his budget proposal. But which media outlets were most guilty of sustaining attention on the issue? On cable news, at least, the answer runs contrary to the usual media narrative.
As it turns out, one was 35 times more likely to hear about the birther issue on CNN or MSNBC than on Fox News during the week of April 11 through 17, when Obama was touting his budget. The cable network most often railed against as the birther-enabler was least likely - by far - to even mention the issue.
Amidst a very congenial interview on ABC, former president George W. Bush made a jab at "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos - and perhaps the media's treatment of his presidency generally.
Bush got a chuckle out of Stephanopoulos when he reminded the ABC anchor that "just because you're reporting it, as you might recall, doesn't necessarily mean" it's true.
Bush was on Wednesday's "GMA" to discuss the Warrior 100, a three-day, 100-mile mountain bike ride he is taking with wounded veterans in Texas. The first part of the interview focused on the ride itself, but then Stephanopoulos asked Bush to comment on news that Gen. David Petraeus will take over as CIA chief, and Leon Panetta will be appointed Secretary of Defense. Bush asked whether that was rumor or fact, and the following exchange ensued:
This just in: New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is a raging hypocrite. You'll be shocked to find out, I'm sure.
In the ongoing debate over entitlement reform, one relatively modest proposal for saving a bit of money is to raise the retirement age by two or three years. But in a recent blog post, Krugman dismissed the proposal, saying it "shows how disconnected [its proponents] are from the way the other half lives (and dies)." It's only the plutocrats, "the judges - and the politicians, who are similar - who think it's a great idea to raise the retirement age."
Yes, the only people who think it's a good idea are judges or politicians…or Paul Krugman, as it turns out. Back in 1996, Krugman lauded the policy as a "sensible" way to pre-empt what he then described as the looming entitlement crisis.
When former NPR executive Ron Schiller said that the organization would be better off in the long run without public funding, he was envisioning an editorial independence that can never really be achieved while NPR is on the public dole. That is not to say that the station's editorial judgment is compromised by its receiving taxpayer dollars. But by bringing taxpayer money into the mix, NPR is inevitably subjected to political considerations. And it should be. Taxpayers must have a say in how their money is spent.
Odds are, on the long list of causes to which Americans would like their tax dollars devoted, subversion of the American military and foreign policy establishment is nowhere to be found. And yet, through NPR, taxpayer dollars are going towards the publication of information released for the express purpose of undermining the American government.
By reporting on contents of the latest Wikileaks document drop, which released massive amounts of sensitive and classified information regarding U.S. terrorist detention policies, NPR has advanced the objectives of an overtly anti-American organization.
A recent report from American University communications professor Matthew Nisbet examined the apparent decline of the environmental movement in recent years. For all the questions raised by the report over what happened to the moment, it does answer a pair surrounding the debate as it pertains to bias in the media.
First, the media was a force for, not against, liberal environmental policies. That will likely shock no NB reader, but many on the left are still convinced that the media is a force for conservatism, or at the very least against leftist political change (stop laughing). The AU report undercuts those claims, at least as they pertain to the environmental movement.
"[T]he major national news organizations overwhelmingly reflected the consensus view on the reality and causes of climate change," Nisbet concluded in his analysis of media coverage. The "consensus view," in this context, refers to the view that climate change is occurring and that human activity is responsible for it.
Do you read Ayn Rand? Do you enjoy her novels? You do? Well then, you're clearly a proponent of - or at the very least sympathize with - domestic terrorism. That, at least, is the logic put forth by Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston on last night's "Ed Show," in what may be the most absurd, laughable attempt to demonize Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to date.
Johnston insisted that Ryan, by requiring his staff to read Ayn Rand novels - a claim itself divorced from reality - was essentially endorsing terrorism by "hold[ing] out as a model people who commit felonies like blowing up buildings," a reference to Howard Roark, the main character of Rand's novel "The Fountainhead" (video below the break, via former NBer Jeff Poor).