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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:



Despite the enormous popularization of blogging and other public media, the New York Times bucked the trend yesterday with an announcement that it will start charging readers a fee to read the articles of its opinion columnists.


Friday brings New York Times reporter Richard Stevenson's latest biased "news analysis," "Amid the Ruins, a President Tries to Reconstruct His Image, Too." Tasteful metaphor, eh?

Twice in his story in the news pages, Stevenson cites as fact Bush's "faltering response" to Katrina, while again ignoring state and local (and Democratic) culpability.



Hmm, which puff piece for liberal heroes (without actually stooping to use the word "liberal") would the typical reader of the Washington Post prefer in today's Style section? Would it be the Marcia Davis article about John Lewis, "civil rights icon," lecturing about John Roberts and his awful work for awful Ronald Reagan?



The Today show brought Bill Clinton in this morning to provide color commentary on President Bush's speech of last night. Bill wouldn't bite on the worst of Matt Lauer's attempts to have the ex-President condemn his successor.Right out of the box, Lauer tried to lure Clinton into criticizing the nation's lack of preparedness.

Lauer: "Were you surprised . . . that four years after 9/11 with so much time, energy and money spent on preparedness in this country that we seemed so ill-prepared to handle a catastrophe in a major American city?"



ABC News producers probably didn't hear what they expected when they sent Dean Reynolds to the Houston Astrodome's parking lot to get reaction to President Bush's speech from black evacuees from New Orleans. Instead of denouncing Bush and blaming him for their plight, they praised Bush and blamed local officials. Reynolds asked Connie London: "Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?" She rejected the premise: "No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in.” She pointed out: “They had RTA buses, Greyhound buses, school buses, that was just sitting there going under water when they could have been evacuating people."

Not one of the six people interviewed on camera had a bad word for Bush -- despite Reynolds' best efforts. Reynolds goaded: "Was there anything that you found hard to believe that he said, that you thought, well, that's nice rhetoric, but, you know, the proof is in the pudding?" Brenda Marshall answered, "No, I didn't," prompting Reynolds to marvel to anchor Ted Koppel: "Very little skepticism here.”

Reynolds pressed another woman: “Did you feel that the President was sincere tonight?" She affirmed: "Yes, he was." Reynolds soon wondered who they held culpable for the levee breaks. Unlike the national media, London did not blame supposed Bush-mandated budget cuts: "They've been allocated federal funds to fix the levee system, and it never got done. I fault the mayor of our city personally. I really do."

Full transcript follows. Video excerpt: RealPlayer or Windows Media. Plus MP3



Last week, Brent Baker reported here that Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” joked about Hurricane Katrina being George Bush’s Monica Lewinsky. Today, CNN’s political analyst Bill Schneider said virtually the same thing on “Lou Dobbs Tonight”…but HE wasn’t kidding (video to follow):

“Sooner or later, every leader gets in trouble. President Reagan had Iran-Contra, President Clinton had Monica Lewinsky. Like Bush they had a base that helped them get through it.”

As for that base, Schneider strongly suggested that the people in the country who are still supporting the president after this natural disaster are doing so on blind faith totally devoid of logic or common sense:



PostWatch demonstrates that it's worth scrolling through the WashingtonPost.com live chats from time to time. Days after that persistent blog found liberal columnist (and former Post reporter) Marc Fisher expressing bewilderment that anyone would stay through a hurricane for a pet when you can just go buy a new one, Fisher goes on another tear over the Pledge of Allegiance:



Newsweek uses gross misinformation to paint grim, untrue picture of New Orleans and U.S. poverty.

For two weeks since hurricane Katrina made landfall, America’s media have been presenting startling images of an impoverished New Orleans. Unfortunately, many journalists have been as inaccurate with their economic assessments of this region as they were in estimating how much time it would take to drain all the water from the city.

While cover stories at TIME and U.S. News and World Report this week focused on the flawed response to Katrina and who was to blame, Newsweek’s senior editor, Jonathan Alter, presented an array of inaccurate statistics to exaggerate socio-economic problems nationally as well as in the hurricane-affected areas of New Orleans.

In his cover story, “The Other America,” Alter painted a picture of life in this country, and on the Bayou, that is substantially worse than reality: “But this disaster may offer a chance to start a skirmish, or at least make Washington think harder about why part of the richest country on earth looks like the Third World.”



Pre-Hurricane Katrina, in early August, I noted how CBS's The Early Show ignored the FBI raid on the home of Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson. Over a month and a week later, Jefferson is at the center of another controversy, this time involving the National Guard. The Early Show so far has ignored this story as well.




Wilking's picture
Did Reuters photographer Rick Wilking falsely imply that President Bush asked permission to go to the restroom during his trip to the United Nations?

Yesterday, as I noted here at NewsBusters, Wilking took a picture ("destined to become one of the most joked about photos of the month" in the words of Editor & Publisher) of a note allegedly being written by President Bush. Here is the caption which Reuters assigned to the photo according to Yahoo News:

U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war.

With the caption worded as it is, the casual observer (including me last night) is very likely to conclude that Bush was asking Rice for leave to go to the men's room.



Romenesko has highlighted for journalists across the country today a Washington City Paper article pounding for more attention to be paid to an article on Socialist Worker online. Contributors Lorrie Beth Slonsky and Larry Bradshaw were in New Orleans during the hurricane and its aftermath, and claim that police in Gretna, Louisiana, would not let them cross the bridge, and even fired weapons at the evacuees.