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In her report yesterday on existing home sales, Reuters reporter Kristin Roberts chose to emphasize a one-month decline in December and negative anecdotal information from the Midwest, while failing to give her readers favorable big-picture data that had been handed to her on a silver platter.



Despite the decision by the editors of CBSNews.com not to highlight the finding in a new CBS News/New York Times poll, of how 61 percent believe President Bush authorized wiretaps in order to “fight terrorism,” with just 29 percent saying he did it just to “expand the powers of the presidency,” on Thursday's CBS Evening News John Roberts alerted viewers to the finding. Roberts relayed: “On the NSA spying program, President Bush went into today's press conference with a boost. A new CBS News/New York Times poll found 61 percent of Americans believe the eavesdropping is meant to fight terror and the majority support that [53 percent back Bush authorizing wiretaps]." When Roberts ended his piece, anchor Bob Schieffer marveled at how “it looks to me as if the President has decided to make this a political issue to show that he is strong in the fight against terrorism and perhaps the Democrats are weak. And I must say, looking at that poll, he may be succeeding."

Just as the CBS Evening News went on the air in the East, CBSNews.com posted a rundown of the survey, “Poll: Bush's Approval Remains Low.” But it did not include any mention (and still does not as of 11pm EST) of the public backing for Bush on what the media have portrayed as scandalous illegality. Instead, the home page posting highlighted the findings on Bush's approval rating, the administration's plans for Katrina victims, the Iraq war, the Jack Abramoff case, rating of Congress and the condition of the health care system. An accompanying PDF of the complete poll results, “The Bush Presidency and the State of the Union: January 20-25, 2006,” included the NSA eavesdropping findings. (Partial transcript follows.)



While CBS and NBC reporters were willing Thursday night to outright tag, without any qualifiers or attributions to others, Hamas as a “terrorist” group, for the second night in a row, ABC's World News Tonight distanced itself from the term -- even avoiding it during a friendly profile of a terrorist. ABC anchor Bob Woodruff teased from Jerusalem: “Tonight, a monumental shake-up in the Middle East. Hamas declared the winner of the Palestinian elections. The U.S. calls them terrorists.” But that was it for the label. Woodruff proceeded to refer to Hamas as “the militant Islamic group that calls for the destruction of Israel” and he conceded “there is no question that Hamas is more militant and more overtly Islamic than the secular leaders it defeated.” Woodruff also noted that “through its military wing,” Hamas “has led the fight against Israel,” but he then put a nice and generous face on Hamas, adding that “through its charities” Hamas has “provided free schooling, medicine and food.”

Following his opening story on the election victory by Hamas, Woodruff set up a piece on how “one of its most-celebrated figures,” a woman who won a seat, “is a mother who sent her sons to their deaths.” With “A Bombers' Mother” as the on-screen tag, Wilf Dinnick provided a non-judgmental look at how “Palestinians voted for Miriam Farahat because she's made astonishing sacrifices in her quest to destroy Israel. Farahat has sent three of her six sons on suicide missions. That's why her supporters call her Um Nidal, the 'Mother of the Struggle.'” Without ever calling her or her murdering sons either “murderers” or “terrorists,” Dinnick concluded with her “sacrifice” for the cause: “Today, she vowed to do whatever Hamas asks of her. 'I am ready to serve,' she says. And if that means sacrificing her three remaining sons, Um Nidal says she's willing.” (Full transcripts of ABC's stories, as well as the labeling aired by CBS and NBC, follows.)



"The National/> Tracing/> Center/>/> database is an essential resource for law enforcement. Beyond enabling law enforcement to trace the history of a gun linked to a crime, it helps identify patterns of gun theft and trafficking. And that information can help local law enforcement — like the NYPD — in stopping illegal guns before they're used to commit crimes.



Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown gave a speech at Palm Beach, Florida’s Society of the Four Arts on Tuesday, and according to the Palm Beach Daily News, he didn’t have very nice things to say about the news industry including, “‘Truth no longer matters in the context of politics and, sadly, in the context of cable news.’" 

According to the article: “Brown said he tried to give viewers a balanced diet of light and serious news with NewsNight. ‘But I always knew when I got to the Brussels sprouts, I was on thin ice,’ he said.”

Furthermore:



Catching up with a distorted story from early in the week: On Monday's Nightline, ABC ran a silly story by Brian Ross impugning the integrity of the two most conservative Supreme Court justices, for a "judicial junket" in Colorado where at a Federalist Society conference Antonin Scalia played tennis and the acceptance by Clarence Thomas of a NASCAR jacket. Over hidden-camera video of Scalia on a tennis court, Ross stressed how Scalia missed the swearing-in of Chief Justice Roberts and featured law professor Stephen Gillers, "a recognized scholar on legal ethics," as his expert, running seven soundbites from him (compared to just two from a Scalia-defender). But Ross failed to note how Gillers is a left-winger who in The Nation in 1999 fretted about the "nightmare" of more conservative Supreme Court justices. Ross, however, tagged the Federalist Society as "a conservative activist group" as he buried a brief mention of how the group "says this was no junket at all but a legal seminar, in which Justice Scalia taught a ten-hour course." Ross even tried to smear Scalia with a link to scandal: "Scalia also attended the scheduled cocktail receptions, one of which was sponsored in part by the same lobbying and law firm where convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff once worked."

Ross acknowledged, after his taped story aired, that "it isn't just Justice Scalia. Justices at all ends of the political spectrum take plenty of these trips to lots of nice places, all paid for by somebody else." But Ross didn't go beyond Scalia and Thomas and the Tuesday Good Morning America version plastered on screen, over video of Scalia playing tennis, "ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE: SCALIA CAUGHT ON TAPE.” (Full transcript, and more on Gillers, follows.)



Liberals twirl in circles of frustration that conservatives get a chance to speak their nonsense in news stories, that "objectivity" is merely a blend of sense and nonsense, information and misinformation. But on Hamas, liberal media outlets are routinely practicing senseless "objectivity," using distancing language that it is a group "described by U. S.



Today's Oprah Winfrey program featured her interviewing James Frey, author of "A Million Little Pieces." The book has come under fire for being much less than accurate. Greatly due to Ms. Winfrey's endorsement of the book, even after its inaccuracies and fictions had been detailed, "A Million Little Pieces" enjoyed incredible success.



Reporter portrays an oil tax advocate as consumer champion.


Just two and a half years ago -- after the September 11 attacks had supposedly made the U.S. a bit more sensitive to the plight of Israelis under constant pressure from terrorist groups -- ABC's World News Tonight benignly described the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas as “a political and social welfare organization with a military wing that has launched terror attacks against Israel.”

Now that Hamas has apparently won the Palestinian elections, will reporters stress their history of killing innocent civilians? On last night' World News Tonight, anchor Bob Woodruff wouldn't go so far as to brand Hamas as a terrorist group, calling them a "militant" group "which the U.S. calls a terrorist organization."



Eric Lipton’s New York Times article on the congressional investigation into the White House’s initial response to Hurricane Katrina suggests that President Bush was foolhardy in thinking New Orleans had dodged the Katrina bullet on Monday, August 29, a day before the levees broke and plunged the city underwater.

Lipton writes on Thursday:



(This is an op-ed version of a previous NewsBusters post.)

There’s an old rule of thumb in marketing – stick to what sells. Lately, America’s media have been doing just that.



Interviewing Howard Dean this morning, you could almost hear Katie Couric thinking: "sure, he's a fellow member of our great Democratic family.



For those who are not well-acquainted with Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein, the "humorist" who wants "no parades" for the troops, there is a bit of an MRC dossier on him going back to his days as a quirky Time writer:



Some time yesterday morning, the Gallup Organization released the results of a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll that, judging from its shocking results, many Americans might never hear about. Now, at this point, this is idle speculation. However, through 9:50AM EST Thursday, this has received very little attention.

From what I can tell, CNN reported this on its “American Morning” program which aired at 7AM EST. Oddly, according to a LexisNexis search, that’s the only time yesterday that CNN referenced this poll. Rush Limbaugh reported about this during his program yesterday, which means that he had this information in the AM Wednesday. As the Drudge Report posted the story at 10:52 AM EST (assuming I'm doing a good job of converting from GMT!), this makes sense. An hour later, both NewsMax and World Net Daily reported it. Moreover, the AP reported this at 3:58PM yesterday in an article about Sen. Clinton’s disagreements with the president’s recently iterated views on terrorist surveillance. And, Jonah Goldberg addressed this in a Los Angeles Times op-ed this morning.

Yet, a Google news search done at 9:50AM EST Thursday indicated that, to this point, no other major news organizations published these results. In fact, from what I can tell, this hasn’t been reported by USA Today, and has yet to be posted at CNN’s website.

What’s so shocking about this poll that the press appear frightened to share with the public: