When Washington Post columnist and, until recently, regular Countdown guest Dana Milbank used an edited quote from Barack Obama that was arguably a distortion of the Illinois Senator's words, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann suspended Milbank from appearing on his show insisting Milbank correct his transgression against the Democratic presidential candidate. But if Olbermann's MSNBC bosses held him to the same standard, the Countdown host himself would have been suspended numerous times during the past four years if he were required to correct either distortions of people's words or his reporting of stories that turned out to be inaccurate. But while in Milbank's case the Washington Post columnist's infraction was against a liberal target in Obama, Olbermann has primarily targeted conservatives, as detailed below. Notably, while it is no secret that Olbermann is very pro-Obama as he conducts his show, on the June 26 show, Olbermann came closest to admitting he hopes Obama becomes President as he defended the Illinois Senator's decision to vote for a FISA bill opposed by the left. Olbermann: "If you get as hot about the issue as I have, you would rather see a President Obama prosecuting the telecoms criminally, rather than a Senator Obama throwing away a vote to keep open the civil suits when most of the other Democrats already caved in."
[Note: NB's Scott Whitlock posted the following article just over a year ago on July 31, 2007.]
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchors Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer touted the marital relationship between Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife. Co-host Robin Roberts recounted the often repeated story of how the Edwards couple spend their wedding anniversary, including their recent 30th, at the restaurant Wendy’s.
Roberts, perhaps in a Freudian slip, even referred to the former North Carolina Senator as "presidential nominee John Edwards." Sawyer gushed that the candidate and his wife "are going to renew their vows." "Happy anniversary," she added.
Yet, this is the same morning show that has vastly underplayed stories that aren’t quite so cute and endearing for the '08 contender. For instance, during a recent GMA town hall with John Edwards on the subject of poverty, Ms. Sawyer only managed to mention the trial lawyer’s 28,000 square-foot mansion once.
Previous NewsBusters posts by Brent Baker and Rusty Weiss have noted the "strange" and nearly complete memory loss exhibited by the TV networks (with the expected exception of fair and balanced Fox News) and the Associated Press concerning the political party affiliation of just-jailed Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
The New York Times's record during the past seven months has been almost equally disgraceful.
Here's the detailed rundown of 14 relevant stories I found in the Times since the troubles that ultimately led to the Mayor's indictment and recent incarceration began:
To paraphrase a line from my good friend B. Spears, ‘Oops, the AP did it again!'
What journalistic crime has been committed this time? How about, selective memory when it comes to a Democrat running afoul of the law.
Picture this if you will. The Mayor of a major U.S. city has been ordered to jail for violating bond. The MSM reports on the situation, but fails to mention the Mayor's party affiliation anywhere in the article. This makes it a foregone conclusion - the Mayor is a Democrat.
While it is common place for the MSM to avoid mentioning the word Democrat in a headline involving someone being charged, indicted, or sent off to jail, it is taking it a giant step further when they fail to mention it all together.
Contrast this with the recent headlines surrounding the indictment of Ted Stevens. The AP headline read as follows:
Ted Stevens indicted, longest-serving GOP senator
On Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly and FNC analyst Bernie Goldberg discussed the media's reluctance to report the National Enquirer's claims about John Edwards fathering a child with a mistress.
Is reporter Michael Powell at the New York Times auditioning for Comic Relief?
At next year's event, Powell's headline at his August 2 story (HT Weapons of Mass Discussion) about Obama's repeated hypocritical invocations and charges relating to race (of course, that's not how he sees it), along with his report's first 10 words, would bring the house down:
With Genie Out of Bottle, Obama Is Careful on Race
Senator Barack Obama is a man of few rhetorical stumbles .....
Only someone locked inside the Old Media bubble could possibly believe that Obama hasn't "stumbled" repeatedly, to the point where he's making Bush 41 Vice President Dan Quayle look like a certified genius.
As you will see, Obama has more than tripled Quayle's number in just under two years, and heaven knows how many others have gone unreported.
Barack Obama is again unfairly throwing out the race card at an opponent. This week Obama was warning that his Republican opponents will assault him with racist attacks, but is dropping this warning even though no one has yet done so. On July 30th, Obama said at three different campaign stops in Missouri that McCain and his backers will attack him because he "doesn't look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills." This isn't the first time that Obama has thrown out the race card at opponents that clearly did not play it first themselves.
For all his own sly use of the race card and his warnings that opponents will use his race against him, Obama claims to stand against racism in this campaign. This is a noble stance to take, naturally. Like Obama, any upstanding American should oppose using race charged attacks in political campaigns. Yet, for all his moralizing on the subject, why is it that Obama is staying silent as members of his own party -- not to mention his own race -- in Tennessee use racial slurs to attack another member of his own party? And why is it that the national media has ignored this story? Perhaps its because the candidate being attacked, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen, is not black but is Jewish? And perhaps its because his attackers are members of Tennessee's black religious community? And perhaps it is because the Congressional Black Caucus is funding Cohen's Democratic opponent, Nikki Tinker? And perhaps it is because Tinker is benefiting from this anti-Semitic attack against Cohen? Perhaps the media is hoping to hold out long enough for the issue to go away? And what of Obama?
These are vexing, but telling questions.
Imagine if the principal of a Catholic school in the metro D.C. region was found guilty of failing to report an allegation of child sexual abuse. It'd be considered worthy of front page news for the Washington Post, at the very least a front pager for the paper's Metro section.
Yet reporting the conviction of Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan on July 31, the Post buried the story on the 6th page of the Metro section. Here's how staffer Tom Jackman opened his story:
The director general of a controversial private Islamic school in Fairfax County has been found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of failing to report child abuse and fined $500.
Abdalla I. Al-Shabnan, head of the Islamic Saudi Academy on Route 1 in the Mount Vernon area, was arrested last month by Fairfax police, who said Al-Shabnan had been informed of the possible sexual abuse of a 5-year-old student at the school. School authorities are required by law to report alleged child abuse within 72 hours.
"McCain Goes Negative, Worrying Some in G.O.P.," the New York Times fretted Wednesday in a headline over a story by reporter Michael Cooper. Times readers learned that while it's perfectly acceptable for the Times to call conservative Sen. Tom Coburn "Dr. No" in a front-page headline, it's bad for John McCain to call Barack Obama the same thing.
Cooper opened his story:
In recent days Senator John McCain has charged that Senator Barack Obama "would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign," tarred him as "Dr. No" on energy policy and run advertisements calling him responsible for high gas prices.
(The headline to Monday's front-page story about Sen. Tom Coburn: "Democrats Try to Break Grip Of the Senate's Flinty Dr. No.")
The Denver Post printed an article on July 30 highlighting the possible selection of Mitt Romney as a vice-presidential running mate with John McCain. While focusing on several obvious areas in which Romney may help the ticket, the Post simply couldn't resist a few subtle jabs directed at the former Massachusetts Governor.
Making a personal assessment that Romney sometimes comes off as being aloof, and citing his membership in a church that some consider a cult, was simply not enough. Reporter Karen E. Crummy (I will resist the puns) practically salivated at the prospect of using those observations as talking points for the Democratic Party. (Emphasis mine)
He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, considered a cult by some evangelical Christians and Southern Baptists. Despite his central-casting good looks, he often comes across as aloof. And he and McCain taunted each other in the primaries, which could be exploited by Democrats.
Just another demonstration of how the MSM would like to remind their readers that Romney's religion does in fact, matter.
Is it okay to vote against a candidate because of his race? The answer to the question is no. It is, in fact, the only acceptable answer. But I ask the question because it raises an important point about the media, the Democrats, and Barack Obama himself.
We are, each year, treated to national media reports on race relations in this country and they invariably discuss white America coming to terms with other races in this country. Very, very rarely does the media ever report on other races coming to terms with white America.
It is not really relevant, frankly, to point out that most black voters are going to vote in droves for Barack Obama. Regardless of his race, black voters would vote for the Democrat. But when you read about Congressman Steve Cohen's race in Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District, you really are confronted by both racism and anti-Semitism in a way we rarely think about in this country. And the media is silent. Barack Obama is silent.
Steve Cohen just might lose his re-election not because he has been ineffective in representing his district, but because he is white. And a number of black members of Congress are happy about that.