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Inside the New York Times today, reporter Gardiner Harris reports on how federal regulators have found that all four women who died after taking the RU-486 abortion drug cocktail “suffered from a rare and highly lethal bacterial infection.” This is certainly not a story the major media has shown much interest in.

The Associated Press has its problems with religion. Newsbusters has documented many examples of the AP mentioning conservatives’ religious affiliations when they are actually irrelevant to the stories they publish.

A recent NewsMax piece (scroll down to article #2) gave high praise to yours truly. Please excuse the obviously shameless self-promotion, but I’m verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.

“Noel Sheppard isn't pulling any punches these days.

“Sheppard has become an increasingly popular economic guru, and he could well be the political right's answer to noted liberal pundit Paul Krugman of The New York Times.

“Sheppard is widely accessible in cyberspace, and he continues to land haymakers, delivering crushing blows to mainstream media arguments that the American economy is in peril.

“This past weekend, Sheppard took the mainstream media to task for their questionable evaluation of economic news as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’”

"Cheaper gas gets season rolling," trumpets the front page of the November 23 edition of USA Today, in a story that breaks the usual media template on "soaring" or "record" gas prices that the Free Market Project study documented in early November.

USA Today's coverage of dropping gas prices continues on pages 8-9A with "Pump prices dip below $2 in some states; still up from '04," which is complemented by an color-coded county-by-county map of the United States displaying current average gas prices.

[ view map online: Flash plugin required to view]

[see more after jump]

Comments are a wonderful thing and truly one of the best features of blogging. I say that because a particular comment on the CBS News "Public Eye" blog is worth highlighting here at NewsBusters now that axed CBS News producer Mary Mapes has come under increasing fire from her former employer. This raises a question for PE commenter "Neuro-con." (Unfortunately, CBS's software does not allow direct linking to a comment so you'll have to search or scroll a bit.)

The news media elite are to the left of the public in several policy areas related to the war on terrorism, a poll "of opinion leaders and the general public conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in collaboration with the Council on Foreign Relations," found. While 56 percent of the public believes "efforts to establish a stable democracy" in Iraq will succeed, 63 percent of the news media elite think it will fail; a plurality of 48 percent of the public think going to war in Iraq was correct, but 71 percent of the

ESPN loves to run the clip of NFL coaching legend Vince Lombardi stomping down the sideline, demanding to know "what the hell is going on around here?"

Watching the Today show the last two mornings, one is tempted to ask the same question.

As reported here, Matt Lauer yesterday criticized the Democrats for their lack of a plan for Iraq. This morning, Matt & Co. were, mirabile dictu, back at it again.

Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales also has a regular column in Television Week magazine, and now he's coming to the aid and support of disgraced (Shales calls her "highly respected") CBS producer Mary Mapes. The article chides CBS "uber-boss" Les Moonves for his hostility toward CBS News, since Mapes claims Moonves once "half-jokingly" said he'd like to "bomb the whole building." He brings up the George Clooney CBS-glorifying hatchet job "Good Night and Good News" to claim th

On MSNBC's Countdown show on Tuesday night, host Keith Olbermann brought aboard actress and Air America radio host Janeane Garofalo to discuss conservative columnist Robert Novak's latest problems after he was involved in a scuffle with an airplane passenger. The segment turned out to be the Air America host's latest opportunity to rant against conservatives, FNC, and what she sees as a "right-wing" media.

Apparently my recent Newsbusters article about Muhammad Ali ruffled some feathers. Last week USA Today sports writer Jon Saraceno wrote a puff piece about Ali and the Medal of Freedom, in which he couldn't resist taking a jab at me for bringing up Ali's treason during Vietnam. In classic left-leaning media manner, he copied and pasted one sentence out of the context of the entire article condemning Ali. I expected as much; this is the MSM, after all.

As reported by NewsBusters here, the media’s current fascination with Rep. John Murtha (D-Pennsylvania) completely ignores the decade of the ’90s when the congressman was a leading pork-barrel spender. Yet, maybe more curious, this love affair is thoroughly dismissing some rather recent earmarking that made the papers before Mr. Murtha became the media’s favorite anti-war spokesman.

Dana Milbank's snarky "Washington Sketch" column in the Washington Post Tuesday employs a bad, even mildly offensive, analogy in comparing Bush and Cheney to the last two Popes: "As vice president, Cheney has always played the hard-line Cardinal Ratzinger to Bush's sunny John Paul II. Before the war, Cheney asserted that Iraq had 'reconstituted nuclear weapons.' Since the invasion, he has gone further than others in the administration in asserting Iraq's ties to the Sept.

Another example of network journalists creating their own self-fulfilling story. On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams set up a full story on how President Bush has returned to his Texas ranch “after an overseas trip that was not supposed to be about Iraq, but that topic ended up following him all the way around the world.” As if reporters, who were the ones posing the questions to him about Iraq and making it a topic on their newscasts, had nothing to do with it! Then, over video of Bush trying to open the closed doors in China, David Gregory opened his piece by finding deep meaning in the minor incident: “The President's botched exit from an impromptu press conference spoke volumes about this latest trip abroad." Gregory proceeded to act as if reporters were mere observers when they were directly responsible for imposing their news agenda: "All this month, from Latin America to Asia, foreign travel has provided Mr. Bush no escape from his political troubles. In Argentina, trade talks collapsed overshadowed by anti-America protests and persistent questions about Karl Rove and the CIA leak investigation." (Full transcript follows.)

On November 4, the night of Bush's press conference in Argentina, a NewsBusters item recounted how “the broadcast networks...treated as of great import how President Bush was 'dogged' at the Summit of the Americas in Argentina, with questions about Karl Rove and the CIA leak matter -- a self-fulfilling agenda since those questions were posed by reporters from the Washington press corps. In short, the media made its agenda the news and then marveled over it.” NBC's “Brian Williams stressed how Bush's 'political troubles following him to Argentina from faraway Washington.' Kelly O'Donnell zeroed in on how Bush's 'domestic woes came along, too' with 'four of five' press conference 'questions related to the political fallout from the CIA leak case.'”

Media Matters and the blog Daily Kos are among two liberal mouthpieces who look to be on a slippery campaign to rewrite one of the more ugly episodes in recent memory for Democrats.

From the 4pm hour of the Nov. 21 The Situation Room: