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Let's get one thing straight: the the Transport Workers Union strike in NYC is illegal.  Even the New York Times, in this article, had to acknowledge that stubborn fact:



The December 15 disclosure by The New York Times that President Bush had authorized eavesdropping on suspected terrorist connected telephone conversations inside the United States has developed into a national debate about the legality of such an intelligence operation.

There have been allegations of overstepping presidential authority and even criminal action being taken by the administration. Seldom is it mentioned that Congress was given a detailed briefing on the special program.



There is some very weird liberal opinion on display in this week's Newsweek. Which is goofier?

A) Cindy Sheehan interviewed by Newsweek in the "Fast Chat":



The folks over at The New York Times must be laughing their heads off. With the President’s poll numbers on the rise, a fabulous election result in Iraq, and the potential extension of a key antiterrorism bill that the administration holds dear, the Times stole Christmas from the White House last week with the release of one carefully-timed article.

After some pretty horrible months in September and October, President Bush has been fighting his way back up from a virtual poll abyss. The economy—regardless of left-wing protestations to the contrary—has been humming. Energy prices—regardless of, well, you get the point—have been plummeting. And, the Sunnis, who largely boycotted the past two elections in Iraq, were giving signs that they would participate in Thursday’s elections in very large, enthusiastic numbers.

All the President needed to make this holiday season a truly joyous one was a relatively safe, incident-free day at the Iraqi polls Thursday, and the Patriot Act to be extended before Congress adjourned for the year on Friday.

The Grinch…err., I mean, the Times had something else in mind.



After President Bush concluded his press conference, the networks decided he was passionate, even "testy," said Tim Russert. That's virtually always a good description of White House reporters facing a Republican president.  To be specific, MRC's Scott Whitlock noticed that Tim Russert proclaimed, "The Bush media blitz continues. This was a President who was passionate, animated, even testy about the eavesdropping situation, Brian.



Pick at random an urban planner, environmental activist or mainstream media journalist, then ask him or her what is the most significant cause of suburban sprawl and odds are excellent that the answer will include the automobile.



As NewsBusters’ Clay Waters reported, a National Security Agency surveillance program, codenamed “Echelon,” – apparently similar to what the NSA is doing today to counter terrorist activities that has garnered tremendous media outrage in the past four days – existed some years ago. In fact, according to a February 27, 2000 Associated Press article, the ACLU had been expressing its concern regarding this program for quite some time:

“Nevertheless, the American Civil Liberties Union has been requesting congressional hearings on Echelon for nearly a year. In a letter sent to the House Government Reform Committee in April 1999, the ACLU said: ''It is important that Congress investigate to determine if the Echelon program is as sweeping and intrusive as has been reported.''

This AP article also referenced a letter that the NSA had sent to Congress concerning the upcoming “60 Minutes” story:



Ex-CBS producer Mary Mapes still has her liberal blinders on, judging by the letter that appeared in the New York Times Book Review yesterday. Responding to an unfavorable review of her book by Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, Mapes nevertheless credits Alter for being right about the anti-CBS jihad from "the right."



Focusing on workers dignity, reporters ignore cost of strike, generous pay for workers.


Travel caused me to miss Friday's big lead scoop in the New York Times on domestic spying by the National Security Agency ("Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts"), but the rest of the blogosphere took the story on from multiple angles, questioning the pieces timing, agenda, even its newsworthiness.



Behavioral scientists long-ago determined that, when it comes to changing behavior, positive reinforcement works better than punishment.

With that in mind, this column has made it a point to record those [rare] occasions on which the Today show gives 'fair & balanced' treatment to the news. 

Let the record therefore show that on December 19th, 2005, Today gave reasonably even-handed treatment to the revelations that President Bush has authorized, without court order, the surveillance of phone calls suspected of being Al-Qaeda-related.



Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales surfaces this morning to offer his critical take on the president's speech and beaches himself on another failed attempt to provide TV criticism instead of political criticism. For example, he tries to put his Bush-bashing jokes in the mouths of others.



Time’s decision to let their hearts bleed for global poverty and name Microsoft-fortune philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates and rock star Bono ("The Good Samaritans") as their Persons of the Year is a bit predictable. Mr. and Mrs. Gates made the cover of Newsweek a few years back for their massive philanthropy.



UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose releases results from a study that objectively quantifies media bias.

Take a wild guess how that came out.

Yes, Virginia, there is a leftist media bias. The only real surprises are that the Wall Street Journal news pages and the Drudge Report are more liberal than they get credit for.

While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left. ...



Last week, as reported by NewsBusters, Cybercast News Service published data that refuted the media myth that the government’s supposedly slow response to Hurricane Katrina had anything at all to do with race. This morning, the Los Angeles Times (hat tip to the Drudge Report) debunked the notion that class was an issue as well.

With a subheading of “The well-to-do died along with the poor, an analysis of data shows. The findings counter common beliefs that disadvantaged blacks bore the brunt,” the Times cut to the chase quickly:

“The bodies of New Orleans residents killed by Hurricane Katrina were almost as likely to be recovered from middle-class neighborhoods as from the city's poorer districts, such as the Lower 9th Ward, according to a Times analysis of data released by the state of Louisiana.

"The analysis contradicts what swiftly became conventional wisdom in the days after the storm hit — that it was the city's poorest African American residents who bore the brunt of the hurricane. Slightly more than half of the bodies were found in the city's poorer neighborhoods, with the remainder scattered throughout middle-class and even some richer districts.”
 

The article continued: