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All those millions the taxpayers have lavished on the Public Broadcasting System over the years haven't gone for naught. They've achieved at least one significant thing: given Bill Moyers a base from which to launch a presidential campaign. At least in the mind of Molly Ivins.

The headline of her latest column says it all: Run Bill Moyers For President, Seriously

Minimum Rage
A New York Times reporter has called the Democrats argument for raising the minimum wage straightforward.

'Nightly News' anchor calls housing market a bubble but a real estate economist featured in the story forecasted cooling beginning the year.

Mhmm. Fresh open thread. Enjoy...

In January, in response to the Sago Mine tragedy, editorials at The New York Times charged that the Bush Administration had let mine safety deterioriate and had let up on its mine inspection efforts. A few minutes of looking at the government's own statistics by yours truly (here and here) and others showed that deaths and injuries had both decreased substantially during the Bush administration, even after considering workforce reductions, and that on a per-mine and per-miner basis, there had been no slacking off on inspections.

Now The Times, that former national media powerhouse that seems intent on becoming Manhattan's quaint little alternative newspaper, has done it again. In an article about IRS reductions in estate tax auditing, it shows that it doesn't understand something you and I instinctively know -- when there's less work to do, you need fewer people to do it. It also didn't do the basic research that would have shown that the reductions are not only justified, but that they should have begun several years ago.

And this will sound familiar to Times watchers: They think they have this incredible scoop because some of the people being let go leaked internal documents:

Who says The New York Times has lost touch with reality? A recent puff piece by TV reporter Bill Carter on MSNBC’s “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann honors him as the "centerpiece" and "great growth story" of MSNBC.

I couldn't help but think of the "squeaky voiced teen" recurring character on The Simpsons when I read this story on global warming in today's Los Angeles Times:

Whatever the ultimate scientific truth, this month's weather has been for many Southern Californians a perceptual tipping point that brought home the possibility of global warming, just as the fury of Hurricane Katrina did for the people of New Orleans.

Inside the air-conditioned darkness of the Majestic Crest Theatre in Westwood, Max Furstenau, 18, was cleaning up after Tuesday's 3 p.m. showing of "An Inconvenient Truth," in which former Vice President Al Gore made the case for global warming.

The Wall Street Journal profiles military bloggers and, a site that links to more than 1,400 military blogs around the world. Many military bloggers, or milbloggers, see it as their mission to counteract the perception of what's happening in Iraq that is pushed by the mainstream media.

For Laura Ingraham fans, it has been quite interesting to see her so much on Fox News lately, and watch the growth of one of America’s leading female conservatives. Conceivably, her recent success and notoriety have lead ABC to create a new television series casting “Ally McBeal” star Calista Flockhart as a conservative radio talk show host (as reported by NewsBuster Matthew Sheffield Tuesday).

With that in mind, Ingraham was on “The O’Reilly Factor” Tuesday, and she and Bill had some fun with this issue (hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left with video to follow). O’Reilly began, “Now, to change direction here, Calista Flockhart is teeing you off.”

Ingraham responded:

Defending his recent mockery of FNC's Bill O'Reilly that included a Nazi salute, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his appearance on Tuesday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno to defend his actions, implying that he was inspired to do so at the suggestion of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams to "do something creative," and also by viciously smearing O'Reilly as a defender of Nazis: "On the air in the last year, Bill O'Reilly has defended the Nazis from World War II on three separate occasions. ... Yes, I wish I were making this up." An ironic statement coming from Olbermann, who last year scolded public figures who use Nazi references, saying, "There's no place for the reference in this culture," and that the analogies are "wrong, offensive and deeply hurtful." (Transcript follows)

Video clip #1 (1:00) NBC runs Countdown promo of Olbermann slamming Ann Coulter, then he quips about Al Gore: Real (1.6 MB) or Windows Media (1.9 MB), plus MP3 audio (280 KB)

Video clip #2 (1:52) Olbermann explains why he did a Nazi salute while holding up a Bill O'Reilly mask: Real (3.1 MB) or Windows Media (3.6 MB), plus MP3 audio (550 KB)

If an MSM movie critic reviews a movie in an empty forest, will anyone care? That is the question posed by newspaper film reviewer, Steven Whitty who seems agonized that the general public and the movie industry increasingly regard him and his colleagues as irrelevant:

[Helping end the days when MSM critics matter more] has been Hollywood's increasing reliance on pre-sold titles, saturation advertising and action franchises aimed at teenage boys.

"When I started at Paramount in the '60s, you opened a picture in four theaters and hoped for good reviews," says the former studio exec. "Nowadays, when you open a movie on 4,000 screens, spend $80 million on ads -- well, you're not exactly dependent on word of mouth."

No argument there, and no news to veteran critics.

"I think the studios have finally realized they have all this power, so why don't they use it," says Dave Kehr, who reviewed films for the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News and the New York Times before switching to a DVD column for the Times. "They don't need us. People like Adam Sandler have demonstrated that you can treat critics with open contempt and it doesn't make the slightest difference."

There's a lot of truth in Whitty's analysis so far. Since most people no longer read newspapers, it stands to reason that they'd stop consulting critics working in their employ. And he is certainly right about Sandler, whose cinematic corpus delicti demonstrates contempt not just for critics but for anyone with an IQ higher than 70. Unfortunately, this is about all our erstwhile critic gets right.

Declaring that "I think the next President's got to be stronger and smarter than this one," on Tuesday's Imus in the Morning, MSNBC's Chris Matthews went on a tirade for over two minutes against President Bush and those around him who filled his intellectual vacuum. Don Imus pleaded: "Did you plan on taking a breath at any point?"

"It's all ideology with this crowd. All they care about is ideology,” Matthews fretted as he charged: “The President bought it hook, line and sinker.” Matthews delivered insults as he asserted that Bush “trusts the intellectuals, the guys he knew at school. You know, they're a bunch of pencil-necks and now he buys completely their ideology because he didn't have one of his own coming in. That was his problem. I don't know what Bush stood for except 'I'm a cool guy and Gore isn't.'” The Hardball host yearned: “I hope the next election isn't a problem of who goes to bed with their wife at 9:30 at night or who knows how to tell a joke on a stage, but it's who has the sense of strength that comes from having read books most of their life, tried to understand history.” Though Matthews didn't warn of “every single” bad development in Iraq, he contended that “every single thing that's happened in Iraq was predicted by history” and lamented that “Bush didn't have the academic background to challenge” the ignorant ideologues who ignored history. (Transcript follows)

Audio clip (3:12): MP3 (1.3 MB)

Former CNN and MSNBC commentator Bill Press has denounced bloggers as people "with no credentials, no sources, no rules, no editors and no accountability."

On his official site,, Bill Press offers a podcast and commentary. He would have been well to ask for "credentials" and "sources" when he reported on the "Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania" and their IQ study that the last six Republican presidents have had an average IQ of 115.5, while the last six Democrats had an average IQ of 156. Press proudly noted that it was with "President Clinton leading the class at 182."

As for George W. Bush:

You guessed it again: George W. Bush, with his rock bottom IQ of 91: seven points lower than his Daddy.

So now we know. Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Social Security, Medicare, Stem Cells, FEMA, the deficit, immigration…

On Monday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN’s Anderson Cooper related his visit to a Hezbollah-controlled section of Beirut where he was supposed to photograph certain damaged buildings, part of the terrorist group’s strategy of generating news stories about Lebanese civilian casualities caused by Israeli bombs.

But instead of merely transmitting Hezbollah’s unverified and unverifiable claims to the outside world, Cooper — to his credit — exposed the efforts by Hezbollah to manipulate CNN and other Western reporters. It’s quite a contrast from the much more accommodating approach taken by his colleague, Nic Robertson, in a report that aired on a variety of CNN programs (including AC360) back on July 18, a report that Robertson himself has now conceded was put together under Hezbollah's control.

Unlike Robertson, Cooper was explicit about how Hezbollah’s operatives had set all of the rules: “Young men on motor scooters followed our every movement. They only allowed us to videotape certain streets, certain buildings,” he explained. He countered Hezbollah claims that Israel targets civilians by pointing out that the group based itself in civilian areas and that Israel's air force drops leaflets warning of attacks.

In a Tuesday USA Today article on the 90th birthday of NPR's left-wing commentator, Daniel Schorr, Peter Johnson revealed the ignorance of NPR producers about modern history. Johnson began his July 25 puff piece on the CBS News veteran, “60 years later, NPR's Schorr is still a 'precious resource,'” with some anecdotes about how NPR producers turn to him for basic facts: