After running down all the bad news for the Bush administration on the CIA leak case and front and Harriet Miers fronts Katie Couric and Tim Russert bagged on Bush for Iraq. Couric, completely ignoring the historic election in Iraq just one week ago, instead chose to highlight the expected 2000th death while Russert used Brent Scowcroft to pit father (George Sr.) against son (George W.)
The following is the conversation that took place during the 7:00am hour:
Given the ridiculously overwrought coverage of the last month, if special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s report confirms media suspicions that Karl Rove and/or vice presidential aide Lewis Libby talked to reporters about Valerie Plame and weren’t completely forthcoming to investigators, you can expect the networks to go absolutely nuts, whether anyone is indicted or not. That’s why it’s worth recalling how the networks just yawned five years ago when Hillary Clinton — who, one might recall, was a pretty high level individual in the last administration — was found to have lied to investigators looking into one of the Clintons’ very first abuses of power, the firing of White House Travel office employees.
It seems to come earlier and earlier every year, doesn’t it? No, not Christmas ads on TV, but the annual media festival of gloom and doom surrounding holiday-related retail sales.
This year, it started in August, when temperatures were in the 100-degree range across much of the country. Hurricane Katrina wasn’t even a ripple off the coast of Africa, and CNN was doing a downbeat piece called “Dreaming of a Blue Christmas.” Four full months before the holiday, CNN was asking how higher fuel prices were going to negatively impact America’s Christmas cheer: “Consumers are pinched. Retailers are squeezed. Who'll get bruised first by higher fuel prices as the countdown to the holiday shopping season gets underway?”
Time's "Ten Questions" feature is wasted this week on CBS "60 Minutes" hound Mike Wallace. I'm not saying Wallace isn't worth interviewing, but Time managing editor James Kelly gives him a complete book-promoting walk in the park. He doesn't ask about the latest Wallace gaffe in the news, his appearance at an anti-gun Brady Center fundraiser.
Early a.m. radio blog from the doughnut shop. You have to hand it to NPR and the BBC. Biased they may be, but they are also superb reporting organizations.
Video excerpt: Real or Windows Media
The chairman of cable giant Comcast got a 7,000-strong rally all to himself-- one he'd rather turn down.
Al Gore, chairman of the "youth-oriented" Current TV, wants to pressure the cable giant to include his channel in its lineup. The former vice president sponsored a "Take Back TV" rally in Philadelphia.
Shortly, the 2,000th death of an American serviceman or woman will occur in Iraq. That will generate an orgy of coverage in the American press on how “deadly” the war is. Sidebars will suggest that citizens are becoming “increasingly doubtful” about the conduct of the war. This Newsbusters article denounces that coverage as dishonest, in advance.
Tom Gross notes in this week's Spectator (London) that for some reason, if you're Jewish, your death in a terror attack is likely to get a lot less attention ("Dead Jews Aren't News"):
Even though Thaler was a British citizen, born in London, where her grandparents still live, her death has never been mentioned in a British newspaper.
Rachel Corrie, on the other hand, an American radical who died in 2003 while acting as a human shield during an Israeli anti-terror operation in Gaza, has been widely featured in the British press. According to the Guardian website, she has been written about or referred to on 57 separate occasions in the Guardian alone, including three articles the Saturday before last.
The results of a recent poll by Zogby International were just released, and they show President Bush’s job approval back to where it was in July well before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans:
“President Bush, his job approval rating beleaguered by poor marks in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, rebounded from historic lows this summer to 45% in Zogby International’s latest poll, with job approval numbers bumping back up into the range where they have hovered for most of his second term.
“The survey also found that, while voters do not give the President passing marks on his handling of the Iraq War, half (50%) believe the recently-passed Iraqi constitution is a major step in the right direction for the strife-torn nation that will lead to peace and democracy."
And, Americans are starting to feel better about where the country is heading:
“Bush’s bounce appears to be tied to overall perception of the nation’s direction; three weeks ago, just 40% said the nation was on the right track. This number now stands at 45%.”
Yet, maybe most fascinating about the right-track/wrong-track numbers is their strict partisanship:
“The trend is even more pronounced along party lines. While Republicans are overwhelmingly optimistic about the nation’s direction, with 75% saying the nation is on the right track, among Democrats, this drops to 17%. Independents lag behind the national average at 42%.”
In an October 20, 2005 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on the issue of abortion and Roe vs. Wade, columnist Dahlia Lithwick claimed (emphasis mine),
Roe is quickly becoming legally irrelevant. The number of abortions in the United States has fallen dramatically in the last two decades ...
On this morning’s “The Chris Matthews Show,” Matthews played a videotape of British broadcaster David Frost interviewing former president Richard M. Nixon. In that interview, Nixon spoke about anti-war activist Daniel Ellsberg.
Many Americans that are truly concerned about bias in the media fear that what is reported by the press will immediately be accepted as fact by the citizenry regardless of accuracy.
Totenberg’s been on a crusade. On the same show last month, as detailed in a September 24 NewsBusters posting, she dismissed the idea of cancelling $24 billion of transportation bill earmarks, to pay for Katrina recovery, as small change and suggested that “if you canceled the tax cuts, you'd get $225 billion." A week earlier, she asserted that President Bush’s New Orleans speech “would have been a great opportunity to say, 'look, I'm for tax cuts, but we need a Katrina tax, we need to really pay, to do this and to pay for it.’" And two weeks before that, as recounted with a video clip on NewsBusters, Totenberg blamed tax cuts for the levee breakage: “For years, we have cut our taxes, cut our taxes and let the infrastructure throughout the country go and this is just the first of a number of other crumbling things that are going to happen to us.”