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The big three broadcast networks have been mostly silent during the run-up to the Senate's hearings on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, with just a handful of evening news stories over the last five weeks. But big papers such as the Washington Post have been busily poring over Roberts' writings, hunting for the legal brief or memo that might put his seemingly-assured confirmation in doubt.



Columnist Matt Towery, writing today on townhall.com, lays out a compelling – and, once you see the time line, plainly true – case that Big Media, stuck in its Eastern coastal elite attitudes, failed to provide anything like proper coverage of Hurricane Katrina.



I don't think I have to point out to anyone just how horrendous the situation down in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama is today. Hurricane Katrina has proved to be the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and the effects of this unprecedented catastrophe will surely be felt in this country for many months, and perhaps years to come.



In early August, the Democrats responded to the news reports of the President's physical results with an incredibly petty statement about non-existent "cuts to education funding." As one internet observer remarked, "if George Bush walked on water tomorrow, the DNC would issue a press release entitled Bush Can't Swim." And the AP's


If you'd like to see a typical example of how a major metropolitan newspaper completely skews a "gay marriage" story in favor of the gay left, see Mary Otto's piece in the WashPost today. Almost the entire story is devoted to the ACLU and gay activists and their arguments. (There were no liberal labels.) In the seventh paragraph, we get two state officials briefly defending the status quo. The conservative activist from Defend Maryland Marriage debuts in paragraph 20.



At about 4:40pm EDT this afternoon on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell marveled at how Venezuela, “perhaps with a bit of a sense of irony,” has offered assistance despite the call by Pat Robertson, whom she identified as a “colleague” of the Bush administration, for the assassination of Venezuela's President. Chris Matthews soon piped up about how “we often argue about states' rights and the need to reduce the size of the federal government, yet in a crisis, it's the federal government which has the resources, the money, the manpower, the personpower I should say, to do the job.”

Mitchell contended FEMA was ineffective until Bill Clinton became President and was going well until a second Bush took over the White House. She contended that “since the Clinton days,” FEMA has shown “that it can move very effectively,” but “we've seen also, post-9/11, that federal disaster assistance and coordination was sorely lacking.” She also wanted to know “how much the National Guard deployments from around the region to Iraq and Afghanistan and other parts of the world has depleted the resources that were available?”

Full transcript of the exchange follows.



Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page capped off the PBS NewsHour yesterday with a commentary on wedge issues in politics, particularly the supposed use of the race card by Republicans in President Nixon's "Southern Strategy.". Page congratulated Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman for publicly renouncing the "Southern Strategy" earlier this year in an apology given to the NAACP, but he closed his commentary hinting that the GOP is all too ready to make gays the next wedge issue:



Some in the media have blamed the ferocity of Hurricane Katrina on global warming. NBC's Robert Bazell warned on Monday's NBC Nightly News, in a story carried repeatedly on MSNBC, that "many scientists say we can expect such storms more often as global warming increases sea temperatures around the world." In a Monday posting on Time.com Jeffrey Kluger forwarded that "to hear a lot of people tell it, we have only ourselves -- and our global-warming ways -- to blame." Kluger conceded that "hurricanes were around a long, long time before human beings began chopping down rainforests and fouling the atmosphere," but he concluded that in the future global warming "could make even Katrina look mild." Former Washington Post and Boston Globe reporter Ross Gelbspan, in a Tuesday Boston Globe op-ed, charged: "The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming." In contrast, the New York Times remarkably reported Tuesday: "Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming. But that is not the case, scientists say."

Full CyberAlert item follows. For all of today's MRC CyberAlert.



For at least 13 years, broadcasters have pushed global warming into coverage of disasters.


New poverty statistics ignore the fact that new numbers are among the lowest in 20 years.


Major series fails to understand why premium care has a premium price.


It took the force of Hurricane Katrina to wake up the media to a big story: U.S. oil refining.

Following a summer of relentless gas price coverage, the storm’s threat to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico added urgency to reports about the oil industry. But only one network news story in three months of summer coverage has attempted to explain the role of U.S. oil refining in the nation’s gasoline supply. Instead, networks have made passing references to the causes behind pricing and have criticized the free market.



Dan Froomkin in the Washington Post stretches for a ways to blame Bush for Hurricane Katrina.

"Did any of his previous budget decisions allow the hurricane to cause more damage than it might have otherwise?"

Those darn tax cuts.

"Could Bush and the federal government have done more to prepare for hurricane recovery? Unlike the Asian tsunami, this hurricane was forecast days ahead of time."



Reporter Carl Hulse flips through former conservative Sen. Jesse Helms' memoir, "Here's Where I Stand." The headline accurately captures the loaded nature of the review: "In Memoir, Jesse Helms Says He Was No Racist."

Hulse begins: "Former Senator Jesse Helms defends his record on race relations and explores his role in the rise of the modern conservative movement in a new memoir that reserves some of its harshest words for the news media."