Lachlan Markay


Latest from Lachlan Markay

The Associated Press today reported on an AP-GfK poll showing that a majority of Americans believe, in the words of the AP headline "action on climate will heat up economy, jobs." The headline was misleading, however, in that it gave readers the impression that the public is firmly behind the creation of what the Obama administration has dubbed the "green economy."

When asked what effect they thought federal policies designed to curb global warming would have on the economy, 46 percent said it would help, 27 percent said it would hurt, and 24 percent said it would have no effect.

The AP trumpeted these results as a sign that "the public is showing more faith in President Barack Obama's economic arguments for limiting heat-trapping gases than in Republican claims that the actions would kill jobs."


A former war correspondent for CNN is threatening legal action against bloggers who suggest that video of him reporting the first Gulf War from a television studio is "fake news." The video shows Charles Jaco and another correspondent dramatically recounting events from the Persian Gulf, and later shows Jaco and the camera crew joking around in what appears to be a television studio (video embedded below the fold).

"My attorneys intend to act immediately against those of you receiving this who have sent and forwarded these emails accusing me of falsifying coverage," Jaco wrote in a memo to a local blogger who circulated the video via email. He also announced his intention to demand that LiveLink and YouTube remove the video from their respective sites.


Former "Crossfire" host Bill Press apparently cannot distinguish between news and opinion. He is furious that his application for press credentials with the congressional press corps was denied due to content on his website urging readers to tell Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to vote for health care legislation in the Senate. He cites numerous examples of CPC members that host opinion content, but neglects to differentiate between their commentary and their news coverage.

"Senator Joe Lieberman said he will vote against Harry Reid's proposed health reform bill that includes a public plan option. Call Senator Lieberman's office and tell him he's wrong to do so, and should vote FOR it," wrote Press on his site, billpressshow.com. The CPC forbids its correspondants from being "engaged in the prosecution of claims or the promotion of legislation pending before Congress."

Press was puzzled, however, that news outlets such as the Washington Times, the Huffington Post, Fox News, Al Jazeera, Venezuela TV, and Pacifica Radio were granted CPC membership, given the presence of opinion content in each of their outlets. "Irony? No, that's sheer hypocrisy," he wrote for the Huffington Post today.


Liberals are so incensed at Connecticut Senator Joe Liberman's refusal to vote for ObamaCare, that they have taken to attacking his wife, who works for a prominent breast cancer organization. Their ad hominem assaults and wild speculation about the Senator's supposedly evil motives reveal their hypocrisy when it comes to political centrists, and their desperation concerning health care legislation.

At Huffington Post, FireDogLake founder and breast cancer survivor Jane Hamsher revealed that her request to the Susan G. Komen foundation that money raised to find a cure not be used to pay Mrs. Lieberman's salary went unheeded. Hamsher went on to accuse the Lieberman couple of conspiring to sink health care reform in order to line their own pockets.

Hamsher accuses Mrs. Lieberman using "her association with her husband the Senator ... in order to secure these lucrative positions and advance the interests of her clients" at a lobbying firm for which she is a consultant. This contention, Hamsher claims, is "unquestionable," though she offers no evidence to support the accusation, other than speculation about the couple's income.


A number of the conservative movement's prominent online figures are battling to be the right's equivalent of Talking Points Memo or Huffington Post--political organizations that report hard news. Many believe that to truly harness the power of the Web, political organizations must report their own news, rather than comment on reporitng from traditional outlets.

"The left needs Daily Kos, but they also need the Huffington Post," Politics Daily columnist Matt Lewis told Politico. He praised the roles of activists and opinion commentators on the right such as Red State's Erick Erickson, but noted that the conservatives have not yet matched the left's capability for original reporting.

Though HuffPo, TPM, and other politcally stilted but journalism-oriented sites, liberals "have the ability to amplify stories into the mainstream media conversation," according to Politico. Conservatives have a large void to fill when it comes to producing original content, rather than solely commenting on what is already out there. There are conservative sites providing original reporting, but there are so far no center-right equivalents to the left's powerhouse online news operations.


With the demise of the Editor and Publisher this week, many media commentators are nostalgic for the hard-nosed trade journalism the newspaper industry publication often engaged in. E&P's strength was always in its core mission of reporting news industry trends. In its latter years, like a number of other outlets, it began to stray off-course into garden-variety, hypocritical leftist media criticism.

Greg Mitchell, E&P's editor since 2002, consistently called for newspapers to print more opinion in their coverage of major world events. Most notably during the Israel-Hamas conflict early this year, Mitchell lamented that media outlets were not taking sides.

"[A]fter more than eight days of Israeli bombing and Hamas rocket launching in Gaza, The New York Times had produced exactly one editorial, not a single commentary by any of its columnists, and two op-eds," he complained at the Huffington Post.



Keith Olbermann is furious at ABC's David Wright for "selectively editing" a clip from the Daily Show with John Stewart. Olbermann called for Wright to be fired for this horrendous slight against journalistic integrity, then proceeded to selectively edit the same segment.

The Daily Show clip in question (reported initially at NB by Noel Sheppard) showed John Stewart fuming at the infamous East Anglia CRU staff for attempting to "hide the decline" by manipulating climate data. Wright showed Stewart saying, "Poor Al Gore, global warming completely debunked, via the very Internet you invented. Oh!"

Olbermann, in dubbing Wright the "worst person," showed an expanded clip of Stewart clearly denying that ClimateGate has "debunked" the global warming theory: "Poor Al Gore, global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented. Oh! Oh, the irony, the irony. Actually, the real story is not quite that sensational. Now, does it disprove global warming? No, of course not!"


Battling the "Democrat-media complex" is hard work, but Andrew Breitbart shows no signs of letting up. He announced today in an interview with Mediaite that he will launch a new site entitled "Big Journalism" in January designed solely, in his blunt words, to "fight the mainstream media."

Big Journalism will be the latest addition to the prominent network of Breitbart's sites, which include aggregator Breitbart.com, video site BreitbartTV, and center-right blogs Big Government and Big Hollywood. After Big Journalism, he told Mediaite, will come Big Education, Big Tolerance, Big Jerusalem, and Big Peace.

As for Big Journalism, Breitbart says he is determined to combat liberal media outlets "who have repeatedly, and under the guise of objectivity and political neutrality, promoted a blatantly left-of-center, pro-Democratic party agenda."


Sometimes libtalkers just make you shake your head in disbelief. Keith Olbermann trumpeted his most recent example of bias-denail on Daily Kos over the weekend, where he insisted that his show does not tout a partisan agenda, and simply serves as a watchdog against others' unchecked opinions (h/t Olbermann Watch's Johnny Dollar).

I'll wait for readers to stop laughing. Done? Okay. It truly is unbelievable that one of the most partisan and divisive commentators on cable television would even suggest that he pays lip service to those who don't share his views. Olbermann has a right to trumpet his liberal vitriol, but he should at least acknowledge it for what it is.

But Olbermann claimed in post on Daily Kos that he simply challenges the unchallenged, leaving some to wonder, to paraphrase Juvenal, who challenges the challengers?



Despite all the campaign assurances that he would see the Afghan war effort through, liberals are incensed that Obama is following through on his pledge to, you know, win. The latest lefty to excoriate the president for pursuing America's enemies abroad is veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who today lamented that Obama must now be dubbed a "war president."

"Obama should remember his own battle cry and tell the hawks: 'Yes, we can,' " Thomas wrote today in her syndicated column for Hearst Newspapers. Maybe he should also remember his insistence that Afghanistan "is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity."

And he has remembered those wise words. But his supporters, who flocked to the "good war" cause as way to contrast Democratic national security efforts with the supposedly ill-intentioned Iraq war--and rip on George Bush in the process--have exhausted the political usefulness of Afghanistan, and are now calling for withdrawal.


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs lashed out at Gallup polling today for releasing poll data that the administration does not like. The most recent Gallup poll shows President Obama's approval ratings at 47 percent, the lowest rating on record at this point in any presidency.

"If I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I'd visit my doctor," Gibbs told reporters today, referring to recent fluctuations in the polling company's reported presidential approval ratings. As of November 30, Gallup reported Obama's favorable rating at 51 percent, with 42 percent responding unfavorably. The latter rose to 46 percent as of Sunday.

"I'm sure a 6-year-old with a crayon could do something not unlike that. I don't put a lot of stake in, never have, in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend," Gibbs added.



New York Times readers were treated to a rare dose of sympathy for Sarah Palin and her new book yesterday. Columnist Stanley Fish reviewed "Going Rogue", and cast it in a generally appealing light, while dispelling some of the most trumpeted criticisms of the former Alaska Governor's autobiography.

Fish introduces his review with a humorous anecdote poking fun at some of the more deranged Palin-haters: Upon asking a customer service representative in a Manhattan bookstore where he could find "Going Rogue," the employee "looked at me as if I had requested a copy of 'Mein Kampf' signed in blood by the author, and directed me to the nearest Barnes and Noble, where, presumably, readers of dubious taste and sensibility could find what they wanted."

Far from conducting an AP-style fact-check of "Going Rogue," Fish notes that autobiographies, unlike biographies, are intended to promote the author. "[A]utobiographers cannot lie because anything they say will truthfully serve their project, which, again, is not to portray the facts, but to portray themselves."


The Obama presidency is, for better or worse, the most media saturated administration in the nation's history. Due at least in part to revolutionary changes in the sharing of information, but equally abetted by the president's media-hungry personality and style of governing, Obama's face is just about everywhere these days.

And Americans have noticed. In an attempt to land a spot on a DC-based reality show, the so-called state dinner party-crashers, the Salahis, went where they knew the cameras would be: the White House.

The Obama administration has pursued a relentless media strategy by trumpeting the president on traditional and new media outlets at every opportunity. It's tech-savvy staff has allowed the president to market his message to a wide range of demographics. The strategy was a cornerstone of Obama's presidential campaign, and he has adopted it as a style of governing.


Some climate alarmists are so invested in their beliefs and corresponding policy preferences that even a joke at their expense is grounds for disownment. New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin saw this trend first-hand when he cracked a joke about Copenhagen prostitutes, and was threatened with a "cutoff" by one of the world's leading alarmists.

"My lord. Copenhagen prostitutes push back on warnings about their services & offer free sex for cop15?  http://j.mp/cop15sex". So read a tweet from Revkin, which he published on the Times's Dot Earth blog. The University of Illinois's Michael Schlesinger sent a furious email to Revkin, calling his "unbelievable and unacceptable" joke "gutter reportage."

But an even more serious crime on Revkin's part was his audacity in relaying the words of others that criticize the close relationships between climate scientists and liberal advocacy groups:


Hollywood liberalism has some strange priorities. During the last couple months, two high-profile criminals have been slated to face justice in American courts. The first drugged and raped a young girl in 1977. The second orchestrated the most deadly attack against American civilians in our nation's history.

Decisions to try them in the United States were controversial, but a petition against the extradition of the former, director Roman Polanski, garnered over 130 signatures. Included on the list were such illustrious film personalities as Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, David Lynch, and Wess Anderson.

Shortly after, another petition circulated the hills of Los Angeles, this one protesting the Obama administration's decision to try 9/11 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City courts. This petition garnered seven names: Robert Duvall, Brian Dennehy, Jon Voight, Danny Aiello, Robert Davi, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Ben Stein.


An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly stated that John Harris and Mike Allen of Politico declined to ask former vice president Al Gore about controversial emails from climate scientists who support the idea of anthropogenic global warming after knowledge of those emails was publicly disclosed.

In fact, the interview with Gore occurred before the emails were public knowledge, therefore Messrs. Harris and Allen could not have asked Gore about them. NewsBusters regrets the error.



The White House's decision to include prominent left-wing blogs in its reporting pool has some journalists worried. Since members of the rotating pool often base their reports off of reports from outlets that attend, they worry that the presence of openly partisan news outlets could skew coverage of the White House.

“This is really troubling,” New York Times reporter Peter Baker told Politico's Michael Calderone. “We’re blurring the line between news and punditry even further and opening ourselves to legitimate questions among readers about where the White House press corps gets its information.”

The White House has decided to include reporters from the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo in its rotating group of press correspondents.

Ed Chen, who reports for Bloomberg News, noted that many consumers would not consider mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times or the Washington Times "objective" outlets.



A powerful Democratic lawmaker has stated his willingness to intervene on the behalf of the federal government in the nation's news sector. Insisting that the newspaper business is vital to democracy, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., suggested that the government "resolve" the problems in the industry, potentially though misguided federal bailouts.

At a workshop on the future of journalism at the Federal Trade Commission, Waxman, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, suggested the federal government secure "public funding for quality journalism as a means to preserve a critical mass of resources and assets devoted to public media."

Though Waxman raised other options, he devoted more of his address to public funding for newspapers than any other avenue for preserving the medium. Newspaper bailouts could, he stated, "preserve and maintain key functions of modern journalism ... by cushioning the economic squeeze publishers are facing."


Rupert Murdoch sees a future in journalism. With newspaper circulation at post-war lows and major dailies shutting down in a number of cities, he may be one of the few optimists left. But first, Murdoch claims, the American government must change its obsolete and destructive regulatory policies that, he says, are preventing major news outlets from competing.

"Good journalism is an expensive commodity," Murdoch told an audience at a Federal Trade Commission workshop on the future of journalism today. "Critics say people won’t pay, but I say they will. But only if you give them something good." Murdoch has announced plans to institute paywalls for all online content offered by his giant news conglomerate, News Corp.

Though Murdoch is confident that paywalls would more than make up for revenue lost by shortfalls in advertising dollars, other newspapers' experiences with the system have failed to do so. The New York Times in 2005 began charging for many of its columns, but eliminated the paywall after revenues failed to outweigh advertising dollars. Still, there are a number of unexplored options for online news payment schemes, and Murdoch is no rookie in the news business.


Today is World AIDS Day, on which we reflect on the global epidemic that has taken so many millions of lives and ponder ways in which we can improve world health by combating the terrible illness. In honoring the day, however, some news outlets have neglected to note the tremendous contributions to the AIDS effort undertaken by our last president.

MSNBC noted on its website a recent U.N. report that found that new cases of the syndrome are "stabilizing." "There are now 4 million people on lifesaving AIDS drugs worldwide, a 10-fold increase in five years," the article noted, adding that those drugs have saved roughly 3 million lives, according to the report (h/t NB reader Tom M.).

Yet MSNBC makes no mention of President Bush or his tremendous efforts to combat the global AIDS epidemic. It's not as if his contribution to the fight is ambiguous. U.S. News reports that the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is credited for saving roughly 2 million lives.