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The subject of Iraq was once again discussed on this morning’s "Early Show" as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both made unannounced visits to Baghdad to show support for the new government.

Networks focus on ‘staggering’ pay and pensions for Exxon and other corporate CEOs, even as media companies fight SEC rule on disclosing high salaries.

Free Market Project

Gas price rage has blended with executive pay rage recently, since the media have been bashing ExxonMobil’s departing CEO, Lee Raymond, for his pay and pension package.

“Runaway pay,” said NBC’s Brian Williams on April 20, calling executive salaries and benefits “stratospheric” and “staggering.” CBS’s Bob Schieffer compared Raymond’s “golden” retirement to the “average American” on April 13. “How much is too much?” asked NBC’s Matt Lauer on April 11. And ABC’s “Good Morning America” said, “You Must Be Kidding!” referring to Raymond’s package as “stunning” on April 14.

Criticizing highly-paid executives has been in vogue at the news networks lately, but there’s something the anchors aren’t telling you: their colleagues’ top wages could soon be disclosed to the world, and Big Media are fighting it.

Large media companies have been doing everything within their power to hide the compensation plans of their own highest-paid employees from public disclosure. As reported by the Associated Press on April 11:

All three broadcast morning shows this morning noted President Bush’s choice of Tony Snow as new White House press secretary, but only ABC’s Good Morning America saw the need to parrot from the thin list of anti-Bush quotes from Snow’s columns being passed around by the liberal Center for American Progress (although reporter Jessica Yellin presented the quotes as if they were the result of her own research, hiding the fact they came from Democratic partisans).

MRC news analyst Brian Boyd caught Yellin’s piece on Snow, which aired at about 7:05 EDT this morning (Wednesday), with the snarky headline "SNOW JOB" on the screen: “Snow knows both politics and the media. He was the director of speechwriting for George Bush, Sr., and has clocked a decade as a conservative commentator for Fox News,” Yellin began.

Snow has been a conservative commentator for Fox News, of course. But after Joe Lockhart became Bill Clinton’s White House press secretary in 1998, no one at ABC described him as a “former liberal producer for ABC News.”

MediaBistro runs an email from NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller sent to liberal journalist Murray Waas, in which Keller claims the Bush adminstration is "declaring war at home on the values they profess to be promoting abroad."

Matt Drudge reports that Air America Radio has been failing in New York of all places. Also, "Crashing the Gate," the book made by the creator of the liberal Daily Kos ("the most read blog on the internet," as he states), has only sold 2,062 copies in book stores.

Wednesday’s lead Times editorial on lethal injection, "Lethal Cruelty," is another dubious attempt by the Times to argue that the death penalty is somehow unconstitutional, that pesky Fifth Amendment notwithstanding.

Attacking Executive Pay While Shielding Courics of the World
From ExxonMobils Lee Raymond to United Health Groups William McGuire, the networks have called

Should We Worry About China-U.S. Trade?

Networks leave out good news that high gas prices arent hurting confidence in the economy.

On Tuesday's edition of "Fresh Air," the daily one-hour interview show on National Public Radio, airing on hundreds of NPR affiliates across the country, host Terry Gross interviewed Paul Weitz, director of the new Bush-mocking movie "American Dreamz." Gross helped Weitz to explain his point that "dreams are sometimes delusions," like democracy in Iraq.

President Bush announced today that radio host Tony Snow will become his new press secretary. Here's how the blogosphere is reacting:

  • Dean Esmay: "He's intelligent, well-spoken, and funny. He can even take on a vicious demagogue like Bill Maher and come off looking intelligent and reasonable."
  • Captain's Quarters: "From his years of radio duty, Tony knows how to talk extemporaneously and engage in debate on a moment's notice. It would be hard to imagine Tony being at a loss for words or failing to present the best case for any position in which he believes.
  • Hotline: Bush and Snow's "mutual respect stems from several sources. One is -- both are evangelicals. That link binds together their worldview and most especially, their view of their place in the larger scheme of things. Another is -- Snow seems Bush as a political gambler, in a good way."
  • Protein Wisdom: "Glib, articulate, comfortable in front of the camera—just the kind of smiling fascist Press Secretary you’d expect the Bushies to install as a mouthpiece for their sinister imperialist agenda. Cue: leftwing apoplexy and the almost ritualistic, frothing invocation of Roger Ailes."
  • Xrlq: "Scott McClellan was a disaster for [Bush's] agenda. He was completely inept at explaining Bush's policies, and embarrassingly bad at everything a press secretary has to do. Every day, he projected to the entire world a pathetic image of sad sackery– and with the presidential seal right there under his quacking face. To say Tony Snow would be an upgrade would be the quintessential understatment."

Open thread is back. Fill 'er up.

Note, Tony Snow items moved to different thread here.

Max Boot, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in the LA Times that this year's Pulitzer prizes "reflect a startling degree of animus toward the commander in chief in wartime."

The New York Sun has blown a little sunshine up the back end of the St. Petersburg Times with an editorial praising the Times for admitting when they are wrong, in this case about Sami Al-Arian:

One of the hallmarks of integrity is the willingness, when one is wrong, to admit it. An admirable example was set by the St. Petersburg Times, a Florida newspaper that had reacted defensively... on the news that a terrorist cell had been operating out of the University of South Florida. The St. Petersburg Times's coverage and editorial line had tilted more sympathetic to a professor, Sami Al-Arian, who had claimed his case was a matter of academic freedom. But after a federal judge accepted a guilty plea from Al-Arian to the federal charge of conspiring to assist Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization that specializes in targeting Israeli and American civilians, the St. Petersburg Times uncorked a whale of an editorial.

The truth is that the St. Petersburg Times never admitted it was wrong in that "whale of an editorial." All they did was finally lay out the truth; that Sami Al-Arian was a bad character. If there is some admission to being on the wrong side of history in their "whale of an editorial," I'm missing it. Maybe the New York Sun could point that part out to us. I've yet to read anything in the St. Petersburg Times about how they probably shouldn't have allowed their reporter to act as a media coach to Al-Arian. How sad is this anyway, that newspapers have to praise other newspapers for finally telling the truth about a subject? 

Every St. Petersburg Times editorial is a whale of a tale, they shouldn't be praised for finally being forced into admit the truth, especially when they fail to admit their shortcomings and biases.

It's official: Tony Snow will be the next White House press secretary. Media writer Howard Kurtz writes in the Washington Post:

Fox News commentator Tony Snow agreed last night to become White House press secretary after top officials assured him that he would be not just a spokesman but an active participant in administration policy debates, people familiar with the discussions said.

A former director of speechwriting for President Bush's father, Snow views himself as well positioned to ease the tensions between this White House and the press corps because he understands both politics and journalism, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the appointment had not been officially confirmed, although an announcement is expected today.