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     One of the few pieces of major legislation that has recently passed with overwhelming support from both parties was the bankruptcy reform bill, signed into law by President George Bush in April. While a bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress endorsed the bill, the media have lamented the new law’s reforms.


The first words out of Chris Matthews' mouth, at the top of Wednesday's Hardball on MSNBC, raised the specter of Watergate: "What did the President know and when did he know it?” Matthews proceeded to trumpet “the New York Daily News now out in front on this story, reported this morning that President Bush rebuked ramrod Karl Rove over the leak story.” Repeating his tease, Matthews previewed his first segment: “So tonight on Hardball, we try to figure it out again if people in the Bush administration crossed the line separating political hardball -- tough, clean, Machiavellian politics -- and criminality. We're led tonight by the news coverage to that unsavory tandem of questions: What did the President know and when did he know it?”

On Tuesday night, Matthews opened with a dire scenario for a Vice President with a bad temper: “Did the fierce battle of leaks between elements of the Central Intelligence Agency who opposed going to war in Iraq and the hawks in the Vice President's office escalate to actual law breaking? Did the Vice President in an effort to defend himself from an onslaught of charges by Joseph Wilson urge his staff to silence the former ambassador? Did Cheney, through anger or loss of temper, create a climate for political hardball and worse? Did he stoke his staff in the late spring and early summer of 2003 to such a level of ferocity that some of its members crossed the line into illegality? And will Patrick Fitzgerald determine that in doing so, he crossed that dire line himself?"



The USA Today published an op-ed this morning by Sandy Grady entitled “Grounded by Hubris, Greed.” In it, Grady basically wrote Tom DeLay’s (R-Tex) career totally off, while making it clear for the reader that a trial at this point is just a formality:



On Saturday, millions of Iraqis walked with determination to the polls to vote for a new constitution. The turnout was high. The violence was down dramatically from the triumphant elections of January. But the network found all this boring. On the night before the historic vote, ABC led with bird-flu panic. CBS imagined Karl Rove in a prison jumpsuit. NBC hyped inflation.

They say that news is a man-bites-dog story. In the Middle East, how common is a constitutional referendum? Have they had one in Egypt?



When Cindy Sheehan showed up outside of President Bush's Crawford, TX ranch in August, it was, to a certain degree, understandable that there would be some press coverage. She was there, the media was there, there wasn't a lot to write about. But the coverage was weak and biased in almost all cases, carrying her message uncritically, with no evaluation of who she was or what she was saying. The attitude seemed to be that she lost her son, she was criticizing the President, so she was credible and newsworthy, no matter what else there was in her views and attitudes. Indeed, I noted at the time how the Associated Press was acting as a PR firm for Sheehan, as opposed to an actual news organization.


Actress/comedian Roseanne Barr, who claims to be a psychic (“I channel the higher mind, the higher universal mind”), used the made-up word “overcomeable” and employed teenage phrases such as “like” and “totally,” insisted on Monday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC that she would win a battle of intelligence with President Bush. Barr recounted how she's “going around telling jokes about our country and our people and the world and how screwed up everything is. And I just basically bitch.” She soon maintained about Bush: "I could totally win him in a mind contest." Barr, the star of the mid-1980s to early 1990s ABC sit-com Roseanne, elaborated: “Like if it was like a psychic thing and he was like, okay Rosanne, bring your best powers against my best powers, even though he's like totally world-wide connected, and I'm not so world-wide, I could so totally still win on account of like being female, being a grandmother and like, you know, being intelligent. I could totally win."

Barr, who made the appearance to plug a new DVD of the first season of the Roseanne sit-com, boasted: “I have been psychic since I was very young, about three-years-old. Whenever I touch someone, I pick up all their vibes and stuff. So that's why I don't like to shake hands or touch people because I see like, you know, them dying in horrible car wrecks and stuff like that and it's depressing." Apparently, that was just a joke. (Full transcript follows.)

Video excerpt: Real or Windows Media


Presidents panel proposes more of the same rather than fixing a convoluted, success-punishing tax code.


Bernard Goldberg never got on CBS' Early Show, but that's because he was not supporting MSM dominance.


The title is, of course, an ancient joke from the vaudeville circuit. It’s an appropriate way to praise, rather than attack, one particular article – and in the process to attack ten thousand others. Here is the lede from “Show Me the Risk!” by Deroy Murdock in NRO (National Review Online) on 19 October 2005:



Over at Human Events, Todd Manzi reports the timeline on the Bill Bennett gaffe story shows a liberal press-release campaign (John Conyers, NAACP, People for the American Way, Leadership Conference on Civil rights) to get AP and other media outlets to pick it up.



NBC showed some photographic bias Tuesday morning as Today host Katie Couric explored the topic of women and leadership:



Judith Miller denies she went to jail as a "career move."

"I did not go to jail to get a large advance on my next book contract or to martyr myself. Anyone who thinks that I would spend 85 days in jail as a canny career move, or simply because I misunderstood communication, or a lack of such from my source, knows nothing about jail, nothing about me and nothing about the admittedly complicated facts in this case."



To read their bios, there are some remarkable similarities between Ken Starr and Pat Fitzgerald. But not in their media treatment.



Recalling how Watergate “didn't take off until people started talking about higher ups” in the White House, on Tuesday night’s The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, CBS’s Lesley Stahl predicted that the Valerie Plame case “could possibly take off the way the Watergate one did." Stahl fondly remembered how Watergate “really took off as a big story when it went into the Senate and there were hearings held by the opposition party.” That, she dejectedly noted, “isn't likely to happen in this case" given GOP control of both houses of Congress. When Stephen Colbert, a veteran of Comedy Central’s Daily Show, whimsically pointed out on the second night of his new 11:30pm EDT/PDT show that “if you look at the issues, Nixon was a pinko. I mean, it was education and stopping the draft and women's rights and the environment. I mean, he was the boogie man at the time. But he's way to the left of John Kerry," Stahl disagreed and credited (or is it blamed?) Reagan for moving America to the right: "I wouldn't say that necessarily. But the whole country shifted right ever since Reagan. Reagan really moved us off to the right." A resigned Stahl soon added: "The center of the country has definitely shifted to the right. And there we sit." She didn’t seem pleased about it.

Full transcript of the exchange follows.



Does the name “Aaron Broussard” ring a bell? Well, he is the president of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, who was immortalized on NBC’s “Meet the Press” right after Hurricane Katrina hit when he suggested – with tears in his eyes – that the slow response by the federal government resulted in the unnecessary death of the mother of one of his colleagues. When it turned out that his claims were disputed by the son of the deceased woman, Tim Russert invited Broussard back on “Meet the Press,” and as was reported by NewsBusters, Russert let him off the hook again.

Last evening, Carl Quintanilla did a report on the “NBC Nightly News” about concerns being addressed by residents of Jefferson Parish that the drainage pump operators responsible for preventing flooding during storms were dismissed by Broussard before Katrina hit, and that this is why so many houses in the parish ended up being destroyed. These grievances have now become a class-action lawsuit against Broussard, a fact that was downplayed in Quintanilla's report.

Also missing in this piece were recent revelations that Broussard – in a possible effort to cover his tracks – is seeking to fire the head of the East Jefferson Levee District.

Yet, with all this intrigue, Quintanilla didn’t interview Broussard concerning any of these recent allegations, and, instead, chose to address e-mail messages that were transmitted between FEMA representatives in the midst of the disaster.

What follows are highlights from an article by the Associated Press concerning the class-action suit against Broussard, a Times-Picayune article about the firing of the Levee District chief, a full transcript of Quintanilla’s report with a video link, as well as video links of both Broussard appearances on “Meet the Press.”