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Hmm, which puff piece for liberal heroes (without actually stooping to use the word "liberal") would the typical reader of the Washington Post prefer in today's Style section? Would it be the Marcia Davis article about John Lewis, "civil rights icon," lecturing about John Roberts and his awful work for awful Ronald Reagan?



The Today show brought Bill Clinton in this morning to provide color commentary on President Bush's speech of last night. Bill wouldn't bite on the worst of Matt Lauer's attempts to have the ex-President condemn his successor.Right out of the box, Lauer tried to lure Clinton into criticizing the nation's lack of preparedness.

Lauer: "Were you surprised . . . that four years after 9/11 with so much time, energy and money spent on preparedness in this country that we seemed so ill-prepared to handle a catastrophe in a major American city?"



ABC News producers probably didn't hear what they expected when they sent Dean Reynolds to the Houston Astrodome's parking lot to get reaction to President Bush's speech from black evacuees from New Orleans. Instead of denouncing Bush and blaming him for their plight, they praised Bush and blamed local officials. Reynolds asked Connie London: "Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?" She rejected the premise: "No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in.” She pointed out: “They had RTA buses, Greyhound buses, school buses, that was just sitting there going under water when they could have been evacuating people."

Not one of the six people interviewed on camera had a bad word for Bush -- despite Reynolds' best efforts. Reynolds goaded: "Was there anything that you found hard to believe that he said, that you thought, well, that's nice rhetoric, but, you know, the proof is in the pudding?" Brenda Marshall answered, "No, I didn't," prompting Reynolds to marvel to anchor Ted Koppel: "Very little skepticism here.”

Reynolds pressed another woman: “Did you feel that the President was sincere tonight?" She affirmed: "Yes, he was." Reynolds soon wondered who they held culpable for the levee breaks. Unlike the national media, London did not blame supposed Bush-mandated budget cuts: "They've been allocated federal funds to fix the levee system, and it never got done. I fault the mayor of our city personally. I really do."

Full transcript follows. Video excerpt: RealPlayer or Windows Media. Plus MP3



Last week, Brent Baker reported here that Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” joked about Hurricane Katrina being George Bush’s Monica Lewinsky. Today, CNN’s political analyst Bill Schneider said virtually the same thing on “Lou Dobbs Tonight”…but HE wasn’t kidding (video to follow):

“Sooner or later, every leader gets in trouble. President Reagan had Iran-Contra, President Clinton had Monica Lewinsky. Like Bush they had a base that helped them get through it.”

As for that base, Schneider strongly suggested that the people in the country who are still supporting the president after this natural disaster are doing so on blind faith totally devoid of logic or common sense:



PostWatch demonstrates that it's worth scrolling through the WashingtonPost.com live chats from time to time. Days after that persistent blog found liberal columnist (and former Post reporter) Marc Fisher expressing bewilderment that anyone would stay through a hurricane for a pet when you can just go buy a new one, Fisher goes on another tear over the Pledge of Allegiance:



Newsweek uses gross misinformation to paint grim, untrue picture of New Orleans and U.S. poverty.

For two weeks since hurricane Katrina made landfall, America’s media have been presenting startling images of an impoverished New Orleans. Unfortunately, many journalists have been as inaccurate with their economic assessments of this region as they were in estimating how much time it would take to drain all the water from the city.

While cover stories at TIME and U.S. News and World Report this week focused on the flawed response to Katrina and who was to blame, Newsweek’s senior editor, Jonathan Alter, presented an array of inaccurate statistics to exaggerate socio-economic problems nationally as well as in the hurricane-affected areas of New Orleans.

In his cover story, “The Other America,” Alter painted a picture of life in this country, and on the Bayou, that is substantially worse than reality: “But this disaster may offer a chance to start a skirmish, or at least make Washington think harder about why part of the richest country on earth looks like the Third World.”



Pre-Hurricane Katrina, in early August, I noted how CBS's The Early Show ignored the FBI raid on the home of Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson. Over a month and a week later, Jefferson is at the center of another controversy, this time involving the National Guard. The Early Show so far has ignored this story as well.




Wilking's picture
Did Reuters photographer Rick Wilking falsely imply that President Bush asked permission to go to the restroom during his trip to the United Nations?

Yesterday, as I noted here at NewsBusters, Wilking took a picture ("destined to become one of the most joked about photos of the month" in the words of Editor & Publisher) of a note allegedly being written by President Bush. Here is the caption which Reuters assigned to the photo according to Yahoo News:

U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war.

With the caption worded as it is, the casual observer (including me last night) is very likely to conclude that Bush was asking Rice for leave to go to the men's room.



Romenesko has highlighted for journalists across the country today a Washington City Paper article pounding for more attention to be paid to an article on Socialist Worker online. Contributors Lorrie Beth Slonsky and Larry Bradshaw were in New Orleans during the hurricane and its aftermath, and claim that police in Gretna, Louisiana, would not let them cross the bridge, and even fired weapons at the evacuees.



During PBS's coverage Wednesday of the Senate hearing with Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, analysts ridiculed the concern of some conservative Senators over the Supreme Court's recent eminent domain ruling and mocked the role of naive talk radio hosts. During a break at about 4:45pm EDT, Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant was befuddled by "the vigorous nature of this opposition to a rather mundane eminent domain case from New London, Connecticut, this Kelo thing. I mean, as you know, this issue has been around for decades, especially connected with urban renewal." New York Times columnist David Brooks pointed out that "talk radio exploded on this issue, and it was a big popular issue." That prompted NewsHour reporter Ray Suarez, host of the roundtable, to take a slap at talk radio: "Well, when eminent domain was remaking the face of cities across America, there really was no talk radio, and that may be a big change in the United States." Also, in his Tuesday column, Oliphant proposed that while Roberts may know the law, "there is almost no evidence of his understanding of justice."

Video excerpt: Real or Windows

Full CyberAlert item follows. For today’s MRC CyberAlert.



The New York Times buries its latest poll story on Bush on Page 18, perhaps recognizing the lack of news in the findings. Yet reporters Todd Purdum and Marjorie Connelly try their best in, "Support for Bush Continues to Drop as More Question His Leadership Skills, Poll Shows."


Is the Today show stuck in a time warp? Could Today be trying to stem its dipping ratings by doing a reality-show version of 'Groundhog Day,' the hit movie in which every day was the same for Bill Murray?

Well, we didn't hear Cher singing "I Got You Babe" in the background, as she did when the alarm would go off for Murray, but other than that, there was an eery resemblance.

Readers might want to check my blog. They'll find that the very last entry was entitled "Today Show Revels in Prez' Polls."

Well guess what? Different day, same . . . stuff.



Following President Bush's Tuesday news conference in which he took responsibility for federal mistakes following the Hurricane Katrina disaster, some news organizations left out the word federal in their reportage, creating the possible impression that Bush had shouldered blame for state and local failures.

National Review’s Stephen Spruiell noticed this later in the day when he spotted a CBSNews.com story which left out the federal. He blogged on it Tuesday and again yesterday after CBS News acknowledged the problem, albeit only on its blog and not in the story itself.

"We could have been more clear higher up in the piece, adding the word federal before government," CBSNews.com director of news and operations Michael Sims is quoted as saying.

He's right, of course, but this episode raises a question about the CBS editorial process since the web story has yet to be fixed (as of this writing), despite the fact that the AP story on which the CBS page was based was changed later in the day. Click here for the first version of the AP report, and here for the revised edition which corrects the record.



As Mark Finklestein noted in his earlier post Today can't seem to stay away from the same old themes.

Matt Lauer opened this morning's Today show first with Ophelia news but quickly got to Bush's falling poll numbers: "Good morning the storm that won't leave. Hurricane Ophelia is battering the North Carolina coast for a second straight day. Damage control. President Bush heads back to the Gulf Coast for a primetime address. Can he turn around those plunging poll numbers?"



This year's national Emmy awards (set to air Sunday night) are scheduled to include a salute to the three anchormen of yesteryear, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and Tom Brokaw. Quoting the Hollywood Reporter:

The end of an era in television news will be commemorated during Sunday's Primetime Emmy Awards telecast with a lengthy segment that will pay tribute to the careers of long-serving news anchors Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and the late Peter Jennings.

Ken Ehrlich, producer of the Primetime Emmy telecast, to be telecast live on CBS, said plans for the salute to the trio of newsmen were in the works long before 40-year ABC News veteran Jennings died in August of lung cancer at age 67. [...]

"These are the guys through whose eyes we've watched the world change," Ehrlich said, noting that the intense news coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina during the past two weeks has only underscored how much the TV news landscape has changed amid the changing of the guard among the Big Three news anchors.