Latest from Michael Lanza
Yesterday I wrote a piece about reporter Mika Brzezinski's handling of a story that reflected a political double standard on her part. While hosting MSNBC's "Morning Joe" for the vacationing Joe Scarborough, Brzezinski aired a video of a female reporter chasing after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Before she could catch up with the mayor however, the reporter was intercepted by a very large security guard and sent barreling into the side of what appeared to be a nearby dumpster. At the time Brzezinski brushed off the incident as "not that pressing," in stark contrast to the seemingly endless attention the David Vitter scandal received on "Morning Joe" throughout July. This morning however, Brzezinski seems to have changed her mind and now believes "That story's important."
For a little context, Villaraigosa, a Democrat, has been under scrutiny since he confessed to an affair with Spanish language reporter, Mirthala Salinas. Not surprisingly, Salinas received special access to the mayor during their affair.
Yesterday, after airing the video, Brzezinski gave her opinion as to the newsworthiness of the story. Here is her quote from the August 7 show:
Liberals can rest easier knowing that despite her outspoken views on newsworthiness and ethics, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski can still be counted on to go to bat for the Democrats. The reporter and "Morning Joe" regular showed off her famous sense of journalistic integrity while filling in for host Joe Scarborough on Monday morning. In the first half hour, Brzezinski played a video of a journalist trying desperately to get an interview with Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles. Villaraigosa has been surrounded by controversy since revelations that he had engaged in an extramarital affair with Spanish language reporter Mirthala Salinas.
The video clip showed one female reporter and at least two cameramen chasing the embattled mayor hoping for an interview. Before she could reach the mayor however, one of Villaraigosa’s hired thugs intercepted the reporter, sending the much smaller woman barreling into what appears to be a dumpster.
On Saturday’s "Early Show," host Jeff Glor framed a political headline in a way that portrays President Bush as criminally uncaring. The story was about a seven year old Orlando boy who wrote a letter to the president, pleading for him to do something to make his community safer.
Jeff Glor (Host): "And one seven year old boy's cry for help has gone as far as Capitol Hill and the White House."
Santiago Valera: (Video) "Dear Mr. President, hello, sir, my name is Santiago Santana Valera...."
Glor: "In a letter to the president, Santiago describes the shooting death of his aunt and his fear of even playing outside in Orlando, Florida now. His words were read this week on the House floor by his congressman. It led to the passage of a bill to beef up police departments nationwide. President Bush is expected to veto that legislation."
Glor offered no specifics about the bill nor did he provide any explanation as to why the president is expected to veto it. Rather, from the framing of the story, the president is portrayed as something of a heartless monster, inexplicably denying the impassioned pleas of a scared child. According to spokesman Blair Jones, the administration has spent 2.5 billion dollars on the issue since 2001.
For a more complete report on this story follow the link.
On Friday’s Good Morning America, reporter David Wright (pictured at right) turned a story about Senator Barack Obama’s far-left views on sex education for kindergartners into an attack piece on Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Rather than focus on the Democrat’s controversial stance, ABC cast Romney as the villain, painting the Republican as an opportunist and a flip-flopper for daring to criticize Obama’s comments.
As Wright pointed out, "Massachusetts has one of the most progressive sex education curriculums in the country. It starts during pre-school and not only requires that elementary schools teach kids the basics about sex but encourages them to teach about sexual orientation too." In a glib tone of voice Wright explained, "Of course you’d never know that from hearing Romney on the campaign trail now."
Over the last week CNN has been airing hour-long specials to promote their upcoming YouTube presidential debates. CNN has been asking viewers to submit videos to YouTube.com for a chance to have their questions answered by presidential candidates. Of the videos aired so far, those with a leftist slant have greatly outnumbered those from a conservative viewpoint. Of the videos aired on Monday night MRC concluded that distinctly liberal video submissions outnumbered conservative ones by a margin of 8 to 1 (though a slim majority of total videos shown were neutral or non-partisan).
CNN has been particularly adamant in their use of video submissions calling for universal or socialized health care. On Wednesday night CNN recycled a video that had already aired on Monday, despite that fact that some 1,400 videos had been posted on YouTube at that point. The video was submitted by Kim of Long Island, New York who is battling cancer.
On Monday night, CNN aired a special hour promoting the upcoming "CNN/YouTube" presidential debates. CNN is encouraging viewers to record their questions for the presidential candidates and post them on YouTube.com. In anticipation of this historic event, hosts John Roberts and Kiran Chetry shared just a few of the thousands of video submissions CNN has already received. Of the videos aired on Monday, a disproportionate number were distinctly liberal. Of the 19 individual videos shown (excluding some brief, zany clips), 10 were politically neutral, 8 were liberal or critical of conservative and/or Republican policies, and only 1 was clearly conservative.
Regardless of your views on global warming and climate change, Live Earth’s use of school-aged children as political spokesmen was, by anyone’s standards, in poor taste. Bravo’s coverage of the Al Gore-produced musical festival began with several innocent, gapped-tooth children sharing their all-too-adult frustrations and concerns over the environment.
Tuesday mornings’s Democratic presidential candidates forum, aired live on MSNBC and moderated by Chris Matthews, had a few, to put it mildly, strange moments. Billed as a forum, the event was little more than a union-sponsored soapbox for the three leading Democratic candidates, Senators Clinton and Obama, and former Senator Edwards.