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On the Thursday, September 22, 2005, 4 pm PDT broadcast of the National Public Radio (NPR) news, newscaster Corey Flintoff appeared to give Cindy Sheehan's forthcoming anti-war demonstration a free plug. After playing an audio clip of President Bush from a press briefing at the Pentagon, Flintoff tagged the clip with the following (audiotape on file):



Declaring that the Media Research Center “is a much more biased organization than any institution in the MSM," CBS Evening News Executive Producer Jim Murphy, on the CBS News “Public Eye” blog on Thursday, criticized two MRC CyberAlert articles I wrote which were first posted this week on NewsBusters. Public Eye Editor Vaughn Ververs asked Murphy to comment on a September 20 NewsBusters item, “CBS: Bush Should 'Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.'” Murphy seemed befuddled by the article: “Please explain to me what's WRONG with pointing out the President spoke from an air-conditioned tent, which to most people on the gulf would be a more than welcome relief from their existence. It was not gratuitous, it was an interesting note” and the CBS reporter's “use of the well-known phrase, 'wake up and smell the coffee,' was attributed to the restaurant owners as THEIR feeling, NOT hers. It's just good, colorful, pointed writing.” (The MRC's Michelle Humphrey tracked down a still shot of Murphy from a May of 2004 appearance on CNN.)

Murphy was similarly flummoxed by the September 21 NewsBusters article, “CBS Trumpets Carter's Criticism of Bush Administration,” contending that “we simply reported it because the former President SAID it.”

But Murphy's reasoning is a tautology. I was criticizing the judgment of CBS News on what is news. Other outlets did not choose to highlight Bush's air-conditioned surroundings, how one woman at a French Quarter restaurant assailed him for not experiencing their suffering or what Jimmy Carter said. Carter makes comments nearly every day. CBS chose to report this particular comment on this day. CBS decided that the restaurant owner's comment was more newsworthy than any number of other soundbites they could have run. The story reflected an agenda. By Murphy's reasoning, my articles should be beyond criticism since they accurately quoted what CBS reported.

Public Eye Editor Ververs conceded the NewsBusters/MRC piece on Bush had a point about CBS's "attitude." That and a bit more from Murphy follows.



Last night I, along with many millions of others, was treated to the live broadcast of an emergency landing by JetBlue flight 292. The flight had departed from Burbank, CA bound for New York City and experienced an unusual problem with it's nose landing gear. The wheels were cocked 90 degrees to the right and wouldn't retract.


The former movie star, now Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, told the Sacramento Bee that he would "kill" anyone who took one of his minor daughters for an abortion without telling him.



Today (22 September) the NY Times has a story from the Associated Press entitled “Afghan Count Reveals Kabul Indifference.” This article demonstrates that the AP and the Times are either mind readers, or are the original definition of the word "bigot."

The story recounts that turnout in Kabul in the midterm election just conducted was slightly over one-third of eligible voters. The writers and editors of this article then conclude:


SPOILER ALERT: For those of you who intend to see the movie, I guess it's only fair to mention the heart of this post is based on a spoiler for the film. You've been warned.

[Hat tip to Rotten Tomatoes]

If your local movie reviewer seems snippier than usual in his/her take on the latest romantic comedy vehicle for Reese Witherspoon, Just Like Heaven, well, it might have a bit to do with the writer's politics.




One kudo for the New York Times today for the front page story by David Dunlap on the important ideological battle over a proposed museum at the site of the Twin Towers ("Freedom Museum Is Headed For Showdown at Ground Zero").

Critics of the International Freedom Center, including many relatives of the victims of 9-11, contend that the proposed museum would slight the victims in favor of liberal history lessons.



In reporting her death, ABC News highlighted former National Organization for Women president Molly Yard's opposition to Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. What went unmentioned is that Ms. Yard also vehemently opposed Justice David Souter's nomination. She ended her written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee:



The Daily Free Press, an independent student newspaper at Boston University, reports on Second Draft, a website by associate history professor Richard Landes.

The website critiques the media's coverage of Middle East violence by using "unedited violent footage to highlight potential inaccuracies in reporting."



CNN’s Joe Johns patrolled the halls of Congress this morning asking senators and representatives how America was going to pay for the reconstruction of New Orleans.  His questions normally revolved around two themes:  raising taxes, and cutting funding for the Iraq war (video to follow):

To Sen. Cornyn (R–Tex):  Are we talking about scaling back tax cuts to pay for Katrina?

Lead-in to Sen. Reid (D–Nev) speech:  Democrats want to put the tax cuts on hold, but they’re not willing to touch social programs.



It has often been noted, throughout history, that one of the problems of unsuccessful leaders is that they spend time fighting the last war, instead of the next one. The US media has been as guilty of that as any group ever in their coverage of Iraq, being determined since day 1 to fit it into the Vietnam template of unnecessary and unpopular war, led by incompetent dishonest leaders, resulting in a quagmire.


On the Wednesday, September 21, 2005, episode of The Randi Rhodes Show on Air America, host Randi took a call from a female listener in New York, who proceeded to criticize the manner of the removal of victims in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Randi's response? She compared the event to the Holocaust! (An audio of the entire show can be found here (mp3 file).



In a possible foreshadowing of what we can expect in the next few days, the Associated Press suggested that there is a political motive behind the massive mobilization occuring in Texas ahead of the imminent arrival of Hurricane Rita:

“Eager to avoid the public pounding he got for his response to Hurricane Katrina, President Bush pledged on Wednesday to be "ready for the worst" as another big hurricane headed for the Gulf Coast.”

Although the article is titled “Administration Prepares for Rita,” the   AP spent a lot of time talking about the politics of Hurricane Katrina:



Tomorrow (22 September) the Christian Science Monitor has a story by Alexandra Marks entitled “A louder drumbeat for independent Katrina probe.” The Monitor is one of the nation’s ten best papers. But the article entirely misses the point.

Senators Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton also missed the same point. The article features their pictures with a caption indicating their "calls" for such a "commission."

Why do we have a Congress. Let’s review.



Phil Donahue (more like Dona-who?) appeared on The O’Reilly Factor tonight and battled it out with Bill. While discussing the War in Iraq, Donahue told Bill he doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he doesn’t have a family member serving. Actually, Donahue is the one who doesn’t know what he’s talking about because Bill’s nephew just enlisted. O’Reilly gave Donahue the yelling of a life time for