Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org website. Previously, he was a contributing editor and the MRC's senior news analyst. Scott's work has been published in The Washington Times, National Review and other outlets. He has been cited in publications such as The Washington Post, Red State, to name a few. Scott's articles have also repeatedly been linked to on the Drudge Report.
Scott is a graduate of George Mason University and is originally from Philadelphia, PA. He lives in Northern Virginia and can be contacted at SWhitlock@MRC.org. You can also follow Scott on Twitter.
Latest from Scott Whitlock
"The View," with new co-host Rosie O’Donnell, debuted its tenth season today. O’Donnell, known for her extreme left-wing politics, steered clear of any overt displays of liberalism. There were, however, hints of conflicts to come. After co-host Joy Behar playfully mocked Rosie’s use of baby talk, Ms. O’Donnell looked right into the camera and observed, in reference to conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselback, "...You all thought I was going to have problems with Elizabeth!" Barbara Walters wryly responded, "And trust me, you will!"
Rosie’s "View" debut, which aired on September 5, saw many of O’Donnell’s old standbys: Odd stories about her children and free giveaways to the audience. The comedian appeared to be making an attempt to remind viewers of the "Queen of Nice" Rosie, and not of a loud, political liberal. At 11:09, Behar, possibly in an attempt to set off a rant, asked O’Donnell how many times she had been married:
O’Donnell: "Once. I’m only doing it once."
Behar: " But didn’t they nullify it?"
Rather then take the bait, the new co-host decided to stay polite:
O’Donnell: "We were married and then un-married. But, you know, it’s, you know, we'll get to that, not on the first day."
This week, the MRC’s Megan McCormack brought us a second-by-second account of Kyra Phillip’s now infamous "bathroom chat." She also did a follow-up on FNC’s "Fox and Friends" parody of the event. Soon, the story became a full blown media sensation.
In a September 1 piece for the "Today" show, NBC reporter Keith Miller sought out Jerry Coyne, a University of Chicago professor, to discuss the struggle between science and religion, since it's now being debated in front of Pope Benedict XIV. NBC labeled him simply as a "evolutionary biologist." This is what he had to say about the mixing of faith and science:
Jerry Coyne: "The scientific way of looking at the world, which defends on evidence, and the religious way of looking at the world, which depends on faith, are fundamentally incompatible."
Coyne: "And if there is anything the history of the church should show, it's that if they fight scientific advances, they lose."
Who is Jerry Coyne really? He’s a leftist professor who attacked Ann Coulter for her new treatise on liberals and religion, "Godless." Writing in the "New Republic," he called her a "beached flamingo" and went on to compare Coulter to a zoo animal, saying:
"This beast draws crowds by its frequent, raucous calls, eerily resembling a human voice, and its unearthly appearance, scrawny and pallid."
Florida senatorial candidate Katherine Harris drew a voluminous amount of media attention for her recent comment that the separation of church and state is "a lie." Another Republican Senator, the liberal Lincoln Chafee from Rhode Island, made this liberal error during an August 26 debate with his conservative primary opponent:
Lincoln Chafee: "Rhode Island was founded on separation of religion, separation of church and state....‘Full liberties of religious discernment,’ I think is in our charter and, uh, when we wouldn’t sign the U.S. Constitution, 1789, until we got the same liberties, the same separation of church and state, that we had here in Rhode Island, in the federal Constitution. It took us 13 months as Rhode Islanders, until we got in the First Amendment, first words of the First Amendment in the Constitution, separation of church and state."
Not only is the phrase "separation of church and state" not the first words, it’s not in the First Amendment at all. (Presumably Mr. Chafee was attempting to refer to the Establishment Clause, which is not the same thing in word or meaning.) Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC’s "Countdown," had this to say about Katherine Harris and her comments on August 24:
Harry Smith, "Early Show" co-host, reported live from New Orleans today on the state of the city one year after Hurricane Katrina. Smith essentially had one type of question: Exactly how horrible is the situation today? The CBS journalist talked with Oliver Thomas, President of the New Orleans City Council. He lectured Mr. Thomas, telling him, "Folks feel abandoned. They feel forgotten. They feel desperate." This, despite the fact that more then $44 billion has been spent on rebuilding the Gulf Coast, with a total of $110 billion designated for the project.
Smith began the interview, which aired at 7:10AM EDT on August 28, by asking, "...Could the levees withstand Ernesto if Ernesto turned and came up this way?" Mr. Thomas told him that, while the situation isn’t perfect, the levees are much stronger and more reinforced then a year ago. Apparently this wasn’t the proper answer, because Smith then rephrased remarkably similar questions:
Smith: "If Ernesto came here two days from now, would the city be evacuated? Would we have the same horror story from a year ago?"
Again, the city councilman replied in the affirmative. Of course the city would be evacuated. The "Early Show" co-host interrupted quickly interrupted him with a gloomy scenario:
Smith: "But could it be? Would it be?"
NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell continued the skewed media reporting of the Middle East by noting the important social work that Hezbollah does and how the rest of the world has a very supportive take on the terrorist organization.
Liberal TV critic Bob Laurence hypothesized that the scant coverage of the kidnaping of two Fox News journalists was due to the frequency of abductions and the network’s "insulting" attitude towards other media outlets. (According to Laurence, nobody, not even terrorists, like FNC.)
On August 21, the "Today" show aired a fawning piece on Hillary Clinton and whether she can "inspire people" the way that Robert Kennedy did.
Jonathan Alter, the Senior Editor of "Newsweek," last night told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann that Democrats regaining power is the only way to hold the Bush administration accountable for its "incompetence." Appearing on the August 23 edition of "Countdown," he exhorted Democrats to inform voters of this fact:
Alter: "I think it`s really important for the Democrats to remind the voters that this election is really about accountability, because there hasn’t been any. The only way you can get any is to get at least one chamber of Congress."
According to Alter, this is the only scenario under which the Democrats will, at long last, be able to punish the President:
Alter: "Otherwise, you can`t hold hearings to hold their feet to the fire. You have no subpoena power, forget impeachment and all the rest of that, just getting basic answers to questions about why this administration has been incompetent. In order to do that, you`ve got to get some control and some power back. And that`s what this election is really about."
NBC reporter David Gregory last night described Senator George Allen’s now well known "macaca" comment as a "off-the-cuff racial slur," giving the darkest possible interpretation of his words. The Senator has since apologized several times and stated that he wasn't attempting to use a discriminatory term. Gregory’s segment, which aired on the August 23 "Nightly News" at 7:13PM EDT, discussed the impact the web site YouTube is having on politics. This occasion allowed for Allen’s quote to be played, yet again. Gregory did mention that the remark was directed at an "Indian-American staffer from his rival’s campaign." He didn’t, however, recount the pertinent fact that this young man also shot the video and created what amounted to a free commercial for Democratic opponent Jim Webb. The NBC reporter also played a June 17 quip of another Senator with presidential aspirations, Democrat Joe Biden. Back in June, he made some ill-conceived comments about Indian Americans and their propensity to be in the vicinity of a 7/11 or Duncan Donuts. For some reason, however, the media didn’t seem very interested. And Biden's quotes were picked up by C-SPAN, not a political operative.
"Countdown" host Keith Olbermann has questioned the timing of terror arrests and alert levels before, but on the August 22 edition of the MSNBC show, he indicated that democratic governments are using the fear of terrorism, the same terrorists they are "supposedly" hunting:
On the August 22 edition of "NBC Nightly News," host Brian Williams described a gas station in Illinois that accidentally sold unleaded fuel for 30 cents. He sarcastically recounted the story this way:
The "Today" show’s Kelly O’Donnell described President Bush’s discussion of the Iraq War at yesterday’s news conference as "a mix of campaign style rhetoric and crystal ball." O’Donnell, who seemed perturbed by the President’s determined attitude, also mentioned that Bush counseled against an early withdrawal "with a hammering repetition." (If President Bush repeated himself, it might be because the assembled media kept asking the same questions.)
The August 22 segment, which aired at 7:15AM EDT, featured downbeat assessments by Michael O’Hanlon, a Senior Fellow at the liberal Brookings Institute and political analyst Charlie Cook.
Michael O’Hanlon: "I think if the President insists on framing the choice as stay the course versus accept defeat, he will be, frankly, misleading the public and running the risk of undercutting his own support even more."
Charlie Cook: "I think the danger for Republicans is that we are nearing, or at the point, when people just give up and start tuning out on President Bush."
Editors' note: This post is the beginning of a new NB feature, the weekly recap, a way of summarizing some of the hottest and most-read postings for the week.
It has been quite a diverse week in bias. Newsbusters Executive Editor Matthew Sheffield noted that a popular cartoonist took a racist swipe at Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, portraying him as the slave of colleague Antonin Scalia.
Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s "Mad Money," appeared on the August 16th edition of "Today." Guest-host Lester Holt quizzed the always verbose financial adviser on which stocks are best in an age of terror. Holt prefaced the piece, which aired at 7:14AM EDT, by noting that Americans live in a volatile age and that he wasn’t advocating exploiting unrest in the Middle East, but that investors must react to such developments. Cramer agreed, saying that profiting from such pain "sounds ugly." A few minutes later, prompted by a question about buying stock in oil companies, he responded this way:
Cramer: "That's the profit area. You got to where I can talk about making money off of terror."
Thomas Ricks, The Washington Post’s Pentagon correspondent, appeared on the August 14 edition of "The Daily Show." Ricks, the author of the caustic new book "Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq," told host Jon Stewart that journalists report the situation in Iraq far too optimistically:
Quiz time: When is a political ad that features pictures of deceased, flag-draped American heroes controversial? Apparently, the answer is only when Republicans produce such a commercial. The Democratic Campaign Committee has posted a 60 second spot on their Web site, and it shows images of the coffins of American military personnel, as well as a soldier standing in front of a makeshift grave marker. (Update, 5:40pm EDT July 14: The ad has now disappeared from the DCCC Web site, replaced by one calling for a hike in the minimum wage.)
Unsurprisingly, ABC, NBC and CBS expressed no outrage over the Democrats attempt to politically exploit America's fallen. NBC's Today show, ABC's Good Morning America, and CBS's The Early Show this morning all completely ignored the issue.
Sometimes, NBC’s Today show bombards a viewer with bias. Other days, the spin is sprinkled throughout the show; July 7 fell into the latter catagory. In a segment on the North Korean nuclear standoff that aired at 7:05AM EDT, NBC reporter Jim Miklaszewski discussed that country’s recent missile launches.
The Today show had many important subjects to discuss today, issues such as examining the details of Star Jones’ firing from The View in excruciating detail. However, co-host Campbell Brown did manage to squeeze in a quick interview with Senator John McCain on the Supreme Court’s military tribunal ruling.
Barbara Walters, fresh from firing Star Jones off The View, took the ABC talk show back to what it does best, promoting liberal issues. Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper appeared on the June 29 edition of the show. At the start of the program, The View's announcer previewed the paranoid, frightened tone that the segment would take:
As you may have heard, Star Jones has been fired from The View. Numerous media outlets reported on the behind-the-scenes drama that has engulfed the ABC show. Several reasons have been given for the departure. Many speculate it was due to her feud with incoming View host Rosie O’Donnell or that it’s related to her sudden weight loss. Whatever the truth is, one thing is certain: Throughout the years, Ms. Jones, a former legal correspondent for Today and NBC’s Nightly News, has been a constant source of liberal bias.
Just prior to the 2004 presidental elections, Ms. Jones recounted, on-air, her campaign appearances with Democratic candidate John Kerry. Her comments appeared in the November 2, 2004 edition of the CyberAlert:
"But I was with Senator Kerry on Friday night in Florida because you know that's a battleground state . And everybody is down there, I got a chance to give a speech to talk about why I believe what I believe. And then, we went from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and into Pensacola. And, Barbara, to me, your talking about South Africa reminded me of the people in Pensacola. People don't realize just how much poverty is in our own country. And there are people with no jobs, there are people with no health care, people who can't afford to buy their drugs, and I'm talking basic prescription drugs you might need, like insulin, every single day."
In the past week, President Bush has visited Iraq, had his top political operative cleared of wrongdoing, and presided over the elimination of the terrorist mastermind Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. NBC’s Today show took note of this fact and the June 16 edition featured a segment on Bush’s upturn in fortunes. But if conservatives expected the media to be happy about Bush’s "good week," they were sadly mistaken. Today reporter Norah O’Donnell began her piece, which aired at 7:13AM EDT, by stating that the Bush administration hoped the current string of positive events would become more then "just a fleeting bit of good news." She also implied that the President’s trip was a political stunt:
"And the President may get the most mileage...literally and figuratively, out of his drop-in to Baghdad...with secrecy both necessary and adding dramatic effect."