I have been struck by the way the same network reporters who tripped all over themselves to suggest "Bush knew" about 9/11 in advance and could possibly have prevented the whole thing are practically mute on Congressman Curt Weldon's charge -- seconded by a U.S. military intelligence official -- that civilian law enforcement agencies felt they could not act when the military figured out that Mohommed Atta and three other men were al Qaeda operatives in the U.S.
Could the networks' unenthusiastic approach be because the lapses Weldon is talking about happened during the Clinton era?
This afternoon I put together a Media Reality Check fax report laying out the ways the TV networks approached both stories. The network piece that really struck me as most over the top was one by CBS's Michelle Miller for the April 12, 2004 Early Show, who showed off a widow who insisted her husband (in Miller's paraphrase) “might have escaped the 76th floor of the South Tower, she says, if key facts in the August 6th memo were released to the public.”
The Congressional Budget Office reported yesterday that it is once again reducing its estimate for the fiscal 2005 federal budget deficit due to a surprise windfall of tax revenues, especially from corporations. However, our press seems to be doing whatever it can to once again make up look like down, good look like bad, and an improving condition look like the onset of cancer.
The Post backing down on providing a little free ad space to a September 11 memorial walk for the employees murdered in the Pentagon is fascinating. They should put out a statement: "The Washington Post Company greatly regrets its support for the "Freedom Walk." We did not mean in any way to suggest that we are in favor of either freedom or America."
Unlike last week's brief but welcome departure from biased coverage on gas prices, CBS's Early Show was back to form with its biased reporting today, this time with correspondent Mark Strassmann faulting businesses for factoring higher gas prices into the price of goods and services: "And as prices keep going up, more businesses want customers, want you, to pay fuel surcharges, as if paying for your gas wasn't enough, now you're expected to pay for other people's."
Of course, it shouldn't have to take a brilliant economist to tell Strassmann that all businesses always pass on all their input costs to consumers in the final price of their goods and services, including the costs of fuel as well as wages, health care, taxes, and regulation, and that if not for a separate "surcharge," the additional fuel cost would just be factored and hidden into the "regular" price.
Read the entire transcript below:
The Washington Post has pulled its support for the Pentagon's Sept. 11th Freedom Walk:
"The newspaper notified the Department of Defense that it would no longer donate public service advertising space to help promote the Freedom Walk, an event planned for Sept. 11. At the conclusion of the procession from the Pentagon to the Mall, there will be a performance by country star Clint Black, who recorded the song “I Raq and Roll.”
ABC’s quick-cut radio news broadcasts, two minutes or less of content dropped in at the hour and half hour on thousands of stations across the country, reduces the key content of any given media day to one or two stories. That’ll be the message most of the country gets, because that’s how most of the country gets its news. So language is significant.
Anti-Bush mom Cindy Sheehan praised the media coverage journalists have granted her.
According to the Dallas Morning News, during a news conference to introduce other military families against the war, Sheehan remarked, "The media attention has been fabulous."
She has nothing to complain about, as the media would rather cover her than those with a different message.
The bloggers at Get Religion (a nicely done conservative blog about religion and the news media) have posted an article for the Notre Dame Journal by Ken Woodward, the longtime religion reporter for Newsweek, exploring how averse the New York Times is in particular to the terminology of partial-birth abortion:
Los Angeles-based CBS News correspondent Vince Gonzales, a seven-year veteran of CBS News and a product of CBS's "Minority Training Program" has been named Journalist of the Year for 2005 by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The award was announced August 4th on the NAHJ website in a press release which reads in part:
Vince Gonzales’s portfolio of work is one of the most impressive in the broadcast industry. In 2004, his exposé of the Enron electricity scandal demonstrated his skill as an investigative journalist. Gonzales uncovered proof that Enron employees were stealing money from consumers during the West Coast energy crisis. His journalistic work led to one of the biggest business stories in US history and the eventual fall of Enron."
It's amazing NAHJ finds that Gonzales and CBS should be credited with leading the pack on the Enron story, when CBS and Gonzales did nothing of the sort and only repackaged for TV what the LA Times and many others had already reported. If you believe the press release issued by NAHJ you probably think the The New York Times's reporting on "Watergate" led to the resignation of Richard Nixon.
Unsurprisingly, NAHJ left out a number of stories Gonzales's "impressive" portfolio including a biased and sensationalistic 2003 series on the "darkside of homeschooling" detailing "how children nationwide have been put in danger, even killed while homeschooling."
After Sheehan went on at length about how the U.S. is “building bases the size of Sacramento, California in Iraq. They plan on never leaving” and “I see Iraq as the base for spreading imperialism. And if we don't stop them now, our babies and our unborn grandchildren will be fighting this," Matthews suggested: “You sound more informed than most U.S. Congresspeople, so maybe you should run."In contrast, Cooper hit her with her own words, pressing her to re-affirm: “Do you really believe the President of the United States is the biggest terrorist in the world?” Cooper pushed her several times, but she wouldn't back off her claim.
"The newspapers circulating in Ethiopia's capital have plenty of room for improvement. Typographical errors occur too frequently. Bias creeps into print regularly."
It's nice to see the NY Times recognize bias, even if in someone else's paper.
Safely tucked away on Page 2 of Monday's Business section is Katharine Seelye's "Editors Ponder How to Present a Broad Picture of Iraq," in which some newspaper editors admit they are hamstrung from covering good news in Iraq: