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I caught just the roundtable segment of "Meet the Press," so I could hear PBS's Gwen Ifill and the WashPost's Eugene Robinson pitch the idea that they're not saying Bush or FEMA are racists, just that the structures of society at present are racist, and (more oddly) that those expressing these views are quite reasonable. That's wrong.

In what has become a daily ritual, another New York Times columnist thoroughly defamed and abused the president in an op-ed piece today. This morning, Frank Rich wrote:

“ONCE Toto parts the curtain, the Wizard of Oz can never be the wizard again. He is forever Professor Marvel, blowhard and snake-oil salesman. Hurricane Katrina, which is likely to endure in the American psyche as long as L. Frank Baum's mythic tornado, has similarly unmasked George W. Bush.”

Also of note, Rich demonstrated how Cindy Sheehan – remember her? – was just a pawn of the media while referencing how another of his cronies is now equating Katrina to Vietnam:

“It came only after the plan to heap all the blame on the indeed blameworthy local Democrats failed to lift Mr. Bush's own record-low poll numbers. It came only after America's highest-rated TV news anchor, Brian Williams, started talking about Katrina the way Walter Cronkite once did about Vietnam.”

What a difference a month makes: In August, it was Cindy Sheehan that represented Bush’s Vietnam as far as the were press concerned as reported by NewsBusters squad members here, here, and here. I guess anything that offers the media an opportunity to criticize the performance of the president is now akin to Vietnam.

Rich than predictably moved the discussion in a racial direction:

On the Inside Washington TV talk show aired on three Washington, DC stations over the weekend, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg, decked out in NewsBusters orange, suggested that President Bush’s Thursday night speech “would have been a great opportunity to say, 'look, I'm for tax cuts, but we need a Katrina tax, we need to really pay, to do this and to pay for it.’" Host Gordon Peterson repeated her point: "You want more taxes." Totenberg chuckled as she reiterated: "I want more taxes, yes." Two weeks ago, as recounted in this NewsBusters item with a video clip, Totenberg blamed tax cuts for the levee breakage: “For years, we have cut our taxes, cut our taxes and let the infrastructure throughout the country go and this is just the first of a number of other crumbling things that are going to happen to us.”

Fuller quotation of Totenberg follows.

Dick Meyer over at the Heyward Spin Machine (otherwise known as CBS News' blog, Public Eye) denounces "knee-jerk MSM-bashing."

"I know we’re a giant multi-national, evil-MSM behemoth. But we’re also a pretty small group."

You're a small group of PR flaks within the "evil-MSM behemoth." Maybe you should ask for a bigger budget. Tell them you have a Herculean task, taking on a huge part of the blogosphere.

Meyer also tries to instruct people on what comments to post.

As has been well reported by NewsBusters squad members here and here, the media in the past few weeks have been falling all over themselves to report President Bush’s apparently plummeting poll numbers.  However, few media outlets pay attention to the poll conducted on a daily basis by Rasmussen Reports.  Could it be that Rasmussen’s numbers don’t mirror the negativity of many of the other polling groups?

“Saturday September 17, 2005--Forty-seven percent (47%) of American adults now approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President.”

Of particular note regarding Rasmussen’s numbers is that unlike most of the other polls making headlines, Bush’s approval rating has been virtually unchanged since Katrina hit.  In addition, despite the gloom and doom being espoused by other polls, Bush’s current rating of 47 percent is only one point lower than his low for all of 2004, and only seven points lower than his high this year.  As such, according to Rasmussen, there has been far less volatility in Bush's approval numbers than most other polling agencies have been reporting.

NBC is doing something that you just don't see on network TV these days - promoting a TV show with a Christian theme. The peacock network is making a full-court promotional effort for the show with churches and Christian radio stations (from Newsmax):

An upcoming TV series featuring Christian pop singer Amy Grant will make its debut next Friday, and NBC is pulling out all the stops to promote it.

Peter King (R-NY) the new chairman of the House of Representatives' homeland security committee blasted the media's coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. King made his remarks on the radio program of Linda Chavez while being interviewed by substitute host Steve Malzberg. picked up his remarks:

"The FEMA of ten years ago certainly did not do any better job under much less comparable circumstances than FEMA did this time. [...]

"Of everyone involved, certainly they were the least culpable," the House Homeland chief said. "I think the main fault was the state and city of New Orleans - they did a terrible job."

The New York Republican added: "Our response plans are based on the premise that the local first responders will handle the initial onslaught. We weren't expecting that the local government would do absolutely nothing."

According to this article, British PM Tony Blair and former U.S. president Bill Clinton feel the same way about the BBC's Katrina coverage.

CNN founder Ted Turner rued on Friday’s Late Show with David Letterman that “we paid $400 billion to find a nut in a fox hole” and declared that the Iraqi people “were better off without us.” He also charged that “we violated international law by going to war without a clear mandate from the security council.” Though the 9/11 terrorists were hardly poor, Turner contended: “You don't stop terrorism with tanks, you stop it with giving people hope so they won't want to blow themselves up.” To that end, he proposed giving the UN $62 billion a year to alleviate poverty. As for the UN’s oil-for-food scandal, “there was money siphoned off at Enron and a lot of American corporations during the last few years, but we didn’t close down American business as result of it.” But Enron is no longer around.

Excerpts of Turner’s comments follow.

With the all-but-corporate death of the UPI, the AP is the main American source for news in the United States. Associated Press articles are mindlessly quoted by newspapers across the nation. Many local radio and TV stations rip and read either directly from the AP, or indirectly from local newspapers which use the AP.

As reported here yesterday by the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker, Dean Reynolds of ABC News had a hard time Thursday evening finding people who didn’t like President Bush’s address to the nation concerning Hurricane Katrina. Oddly, the Associated Press’s Angie Wagner didn’t have such difficulties. Of course, the AP went to seven different states to ensure they got the answers they were were looking for:

“‘He had no intention of coming to help us,’ said Samuel Lewis, 31, an evacuee who watched the speech in a Houston shelter. ‘He should have been there 24 hours after. He is telling me he is going to rebuild my city. Still, when I go back home, you are going to rebuild my city, but what about all the stuff I lost? What about jobs?’"

“‘A day late and a dollar short,’ said 18-year-old Wayne State University student Rachel Aviles in Detroit. ‘I think he's more responding to the negative media than responding to fix the problem.’"

Washington Post Staff Writer Dan Balz can hardly seem to contain himself while writing a post-Hurricane Katrina analysis that covers everything from President Bush's sagging poll numbers, to "the fabric of an already divided society." As mentioned today by Newsbusters own Clay Waters, the mainstream media--like the N Y Times--are offering up these "news analysis" stori

Ouch! MediaBistro's blog TVNewser (or Brian Stelter) drew a Fox News executive into responding to Tina Brown's rant in yesterday's Washington Post about how Rupert Murdoch needs to shift Fox News "to the center" for the sake of ratings with the following:

The L.A. Times has a story up about a new "documentary-style film" about liberal CBS newsman Fred Friendly which features George Clooney in the leading role:

The black-and-white documentary-style film, which Clooney co-wrote, produced, directed and in which he plays "See It Now" producer Fred Friendly, won best screenplay for Clooney and Grant Heslov and best actor honors for David Strathairn this month at the Venice Film Festival and will open the New York Film Festival on Friday. It will be released in the U.S. on Oct. 7.

Normally, the small, $8-million "Good Night, and Good Luck" would be the sort of politically relevant film that comes and goes and makes a paltry $500,000, Clooney said recently. But by coincidence, the film has hit at a moment when its main point — journalists need courage to combat both government officials who try to intimidate them and corporate bosses who want them to entertain viewers — is sparking in real life.

In other words, it's a movie about how reporters need to do better at standing up to Republicans.

Editor and Publisher reports that First Lady Laura Bush has complained about the media coverage of the recovery efforts after Katrina.

"Top Republicans have long charged that the press focuses on the bad news from Iraq, ignoring positive stories. Now one leading Republican -- the First Lady -- has made the same complaint about media coverage of the hurricane catastrophe in the Gulf. "

Says Bush:

At a meeting with investors yesterday, CBS president Les Moonves addressed a number of topics including the failed makeover of the "CBS Evening News." MediaWeek has the skinny: