"South Park," the popular Comedy Central show about the misadventures of a group of four Colorado boys, criticized the news media Wednesday night for its overhyped coverage of Hurricane Katrina. In the episode, two of the boys, Stan Marsh and Eric Cartman, accidentally crash a boat into a beaver dam, flooding an entire town. In the aftermath, local and national media blame it on global warming, ridiculously exaggerate the extent of the damage, make up stories of rape, murder, "cannibalism," and tell tales of "hundreds of millions" of deaths in a town of 8,000 people.
Here’s a transcript of part of the show, a “South Park Evening News” broadcast where the journalists ridiculously hype the situation:
In the field of media criticism, conservatives have taken up the idea of objectivity, of making a press presenting itself as objective live up to the pledge and give conservatives a chance. Liberals mock the idea of objectivity, creating a stick-figure caricature that objectivity means putting truth and falsehood side by side and not distinguishing between the two.
On his Countdown show Wednesday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann began his show by hyping an article by the New York Daily News claiming that President Bush "rebuked Karl Rove" two years ago for having a role in the leaking of Valerie Plame's name. The Countdown host also showcased the President's refusal to respond to a reporter's question on the article, and proposed that this revelation implies that the President had lied about his knowledge of Rove’s involvement. The opening teaser showed a picture of the article with the headline "Bush Whacked Rove on CIA Leak" next to a photograph of Bush and Rove while the words "What did the President Know?" appeared at the bottom of the screen.
Olbermann opened the show speculating about what the implications would be if such a story were true, which he referred to as a "bombshell," and listed out his proposed implications while showing them on-screen lined up next to a photograph of Rove: "Mr. Rove would be involved. Mr. Bush would have known Mr. Rove was involved. When Mr. Bush's spokesman said nobody at the White House was involved, somebody would have been lying. And when Mr. Bush talked about what would happen if somebody on his staff was involved, he would have damn well known somebody was and he wouldn't have said anything about it."
A Newsweek article written by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball currently posted at MSNBC.com once again offered the view that the Bush administration lied to journalists about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to justify the March 2003 invasion:
“Oct. 19, 2005 - The lengthy account by New York Times reporter Judy Miller about her grand jury testimony in the CIA leak case inadvertently provides a revealing window into how the Bush administration manipulated journalists about intelligence on Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.”
To bolster their view, Isikoff and Hosenball cited the opinion of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:
“The assertion that still-secret material would bolster the administration’s claims about Iraqi WMD was ‘certainly not accurate, it was not true,’ says Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who coauthored a study last year, titled ‘A Tale of Two Intelligence Estimates,’ about different versions of the NIE that were released. If Miller’s account is correct, Libby was ‘misrepresenting the intelligence’ that was contained in the document, she said.”
Yet, like many journalists that have used CEIP as a reference, Isikoff and Hosenball neglected to inform their readers that CEIP wasn’t always so convinced about the absence of WMD in Iraq. In fact, Eric Pfeiffer of National Journal’s “Hotline” wrote about this very issue in a January 2004 op-ed for National Review:
If we are to believe this article in today's New York Daily News (Wednesday, October 19, 2005), former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger will be signing on to be an advisor on ABC's Tuesday night drama, Commander in Chief. The Daily News also reports that Ron Klain, a longtime aide to Al Gore, will join the show.
Berger and Klain join two others with Clinton connections who currently work on the show. Capricia Marshall, a series consultant, was social secretary at the Clinton White House. Steve Cohen, a writer on the show, was once a communications aide for Hillary.
I'm wondering ... How many former Bush or Reagan staffers are on the show?
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:
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?