In his "Final Word" at the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer made the cliched charge:

Candidates now race to tell us what we want to hear. They load us down with spin, tiptoe around controversial issues, and give us tortured explanations of how a change in their position really wasn't a change at all.

This pandering to popular public sentiment toward politicians was brought on by Schieffer quoting a November 20 Op/Ed piece by "New York Times" commentator David Brooks, who wrote of Rudy Giuliani’s recent shift to a tougher stance against illegal immigration. Schieffer took the last line of the "Times" article, where Brooks lamented how "Some day Rudy Giuliani will look back on this moment and wonder why he didn't run as himself." How dare Giuliani pander to those right-wingers who want secure borders.



First published in Human Events on November 27th, 2007.

NewsBusters.org - The Media Research CenterWash, spin, rinse, spin. Phone, spin, report, spin, poll, spin. The similarities between the work of the mainstream media and a laundry machine are striking. Yet there is nothing about the cycle -- the spin-report-poll-spin cycle -- that does for political events what detergent does for your boxers or briefs.

The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.

And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.



On yesterday’s CBS "Sunday Morning," reporter Steve Hartman demonstrated why illegal immigration is actually a good thing: "Good news about an illegal immigrant...By all accounts this man they call Dr. Q is one of the best up-and-coming neurosurgeons in the country." Interestingly, this story was actually first aired on the May 18 "Evening News." Apparently CBS is really going green, it even recycles its own biased reporting.   

The segment began by Hartman actually admitting to the mainstream media’s usual doom and gloom reporting: "Because it never leads the news...because war and scandal and planet melting always make for catchier headlines...It's easy to forget all the good stories that happen every year." Hartman decided to focus on three "good" stories for a change, which included a brief profile of Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa:

Clinically brilliant, relentlessly charming. His patients say it's almost like he was born to be a doctor. If they only knew...Just 20 years ago this renown neurosurgeon was about as anonymous as a human being can get in America. An illegal immigrant working the fields of California's San Joaquin Valley...after he jumped the U.S.-Mexico border and took up residence in this leaky old trailer, Alfredo says the moon seemed closer than medical school.



Consider yourselves warned. Should conservative and Republicans hold fast to strong stands on illegal immigration in the coming election year, and if they ultimately do well at the polls because of it, look for the Boston Globe to lament the tactic as a cynical "wedge issue," rather than a reaction to valid concerns from the electorate.

The Boston Globe editorial board may be sharpening their knives for the coming election season with a November 25 editorial, "A wedge issue for our times." The Globe laments that immigration is proving a "radioactive" issue and in one passage made an odd characterization of how Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's backpedaling on illegal immigrant drivers licenses "rescued" Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) from twisting in the wind over her contorted answer on the topic of licenses for illegals.

Writing a reaction yesterday afternoon, Jay Tea at Wizbang lashed out at the Globe:



On Wednesday's "Countdown" show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann accused Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway and Fox News of "race hatred" in response to Conway making an arguably alarmist suggestion on Monday's "The O'Reilly Factor" that allowing the EEOC to sue employers for requiring its employees to speak English on the job could eventually lead to the hiring of non-English-speaking employees for other more serious jobs like air



Wednesday's edition of ABC's World News hyped the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finding a dramatic rise in Iowa for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, rising to a near-tie with Mitt Romney, 28 to 24 percent. After noticing that Huckabee attacked Romney as a pseudo-conservative, Tapper challenged Huckabee from the right on taxes and on illegal aliens.



The AP has used the somewhat heartwarming tale of an illegal alien who found an American boy and his mother suffering from a car accident in the Arizona desert and stayed with them until help arrived as an excuse to plead that illegals aren't "criminals" and should somehow be given a break.



On Wednesday evening, former White House adviser and current Newsweek columnist Karl Rove sat down with PBS's Charlie Rose for one of the most astounding interviews I've seen in a while.

From the Iraq war, to the Valerie Plame scandal and media bias, there was something for everyone in this 51-minute segment.



According to ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, a new Oklahoma law making it a felony for U.S. citizens to knowingly provide shelter or transportation to illegal immigrants goes "across the line," "too far," and turns people into "vigilantes." Interviewing Lou Dobbs, CNN host and noted opponent of illegal immigration, on Tuesday's edition of "Good Morning America," Sawyer appeared to be aghast at what she considered "turning people in" for offering assistance to illegals.

The GMA host even quizzed Dobbs about whether his problem is with Hispanics in general. After noting a new Census Bureau report that found last names such as Garcia and Rodriguez are increasing in number, she guardedly wondered, "To Lou Dobbs, is this a good thing or a bad thing?" After Dobbs responded in favor of legal immigration, Sawyer plowed ahead with her question about the new Oklahoma law. She incredulously queried, "People are vigilantes about transportation and shelter? Isn't that going too far?"



"CNN's 'Reliable Sources' is one of television's only regular programs to examine how journalists do their jobs and how the media affect the stories they cover." -- from CNN's "Reliable Sources" website [emphasis added].

When it comes to "how journalists do their job," the story of the week was Wolf Blitzer's spectacular failure to do his. Going into Thursday's debate, the big question was how Hillary was going to deal with the inevitable grilling over her flip-flopping on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. But when Blitzer finally got around to the issue, well into the debate, he didn't bother to ask a single follow-up question to Hillary's terse "no" answer.

So surely Reliable Sources's host Howard Kurtz would put that question squarely on the table on today's show, right? Wrong.


Surprisingly, CNN, during its Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, asked a numbers of questions that conservatives might propose on Thursday night. During the first hour of the debate, moderators Wolf Blitzer, Campbell Brown, and John Roberts asked a total of 13 questions (not counting follow-up questions) on a number of issues. Of these, five could be considered to be "conservative."

Campbell Brown directed the first such question to Barack Obama. "Senator Obama, I want to ask you about immigration....What do you say to those Americans who say they are losing out because you would give benefits to people who broke the laws of this country, who came here illegally. And then more generally, as president, where do you draw the line when it comes to benefits for illegal immigrants?"



Rush Limbaugh has often indicated that he has no beef with Wolf Blizter. And I must say that I've generally found Blitzer to be a straight shooter who has rarely-if-ever provided grist for my NewsBusting mill.

All of which makes that much more perplexing Blitzer's bail-out at arguably the key moment last night's debate. The CNN anchor's failure to follow up on Hillary's monosyllabic answer on driver's licenses for illegals, letting her slide with her terse "no," was in my opinion the greatest single act of journalistic malpractice thus far in this campaign season.