The claims that Mary Mapes is now making on her Truth and Duty book tour are as obtuse and embarrassing as those made by CBS News in the 10 days after the 60 Minutes hit job on President Bush aired back on September 8, 2004.

The Times' top book critic again denies that there's liberal bias in the media.

This morning, Michiko Kakutani hails the anti-Bush book "Attack the Messenger" by Craig Crawford, a columnist for Congressional Quarterly, under the headline "Bushes' War Against Media."


Asked by Bill O'Reilly Thursday night on FNC whether she's a liberal, Mary Mapes, the CBS News producer fired in January for her role in the forged National Guard memos and representations she made to her colleagues, first put up the usual avoidance device of a liberal -- “I'm not sure what a liberal is” -- before insisting that “like a lot of Americans, I'm all over the map.” In the taped interview, O'Reilly then pressed her: "Are you registered Democrat?" Mapes seriously responded: “I don't know." O'Reilly scoffed: "You don't know?" Mapes claimed: "I don't know if I'm independent or Democrat. I know I'm not -- in Texas, I'm not sure how I'm registered." (But apparently she's quite sure she's no Republican.) O'Reilly returned to his original interest: "So you would describe yourself politically as?" She maintained: "Oh, my goodness. I'm liberal on some things, I'm conservative on some things."

Video excerpt in Real or Windows Media. (Transcript of this exchange follows.)


Fox News Channel on Sunday will air, albeit with a disclaimer, a one-sided documentary on global warming featuring liberal environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

A Fox News Channel documentary on "global warming," set to air Sunday night, provides only the liberal take on the controversial issue and was approved after environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reportedly "dragged" Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes to a lecture by former Vice President Al Gore, "kicking and screaming."


Asked by Larry King Wednesday night live on CNN whether she had a personal agenda against President George W. Bush, Mary Mapes, the CBS News producer fired in January for her role in the forged National Guard memos and representations she made to her colleagues, shot back: "Oh my God no, no of course not.” She insisted that “Dan Rather and I did stories on Hillary Clinton, we did stories on the Clinton administration and terrorism...you question whoever is in your cross-hairs." Hillary Clinton, however, was hardly in her “cross-hairs” when she produced for Rather a 24-minute tribute to her that aired on the May 24, 1999 60 Minutes II and included such tough statements from Rather as, "once a political lightning rod, today she is political lightning" and: “The agenda she lays out seems downright old-fashioned. She sees her work as focusing on children and families..." (See more below.)

Back to CNN Wednesday night, King fretted: “Who got you? The bloggers?” Mapes said she knew of the Drudge Report, but “I really wasn't aware of these really political blogs” and so when “the next day at about 11 o'clock this stuff, this drumbeat started saying the documents were false and I was just incredulous because the White House hadn't raised it, they hadn't indicated this in any way, we didn't have any evidence of that and they went nuts." As she did on Wednesday's Good Morning America, as recounted in this NewsBusters item by Brian Boyd, Mapes maintained her stance that no one has disproved the authenticity of the memos: “Their criticisms last year really didn't reach the bar of proof at all."

Video excerpt: Real or Windows Media. (Complete transcript, of above-quoted exchange, follows.)


Eight years ago, when a Democrat was President and Republicans won the governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather gave the results a piddling 12 seconds, didn't even utter the names of the winners and made clear that local issues -- “the high cost of automobile insurance and a tax on car ownership” -- were “the key issues.” But on Wednesday night, the same newscast gave a minute and thirty seconds to the election results which included names as anchor Bob Schieffer inserted an ideological label into his description of Virginia: “In New Jersey, Democrat Jon Corzine won one of the nastiest races ever. He'll be the next Governor there. And in conservative country, Virginia, another Democrat, Tim Kaine, won the Governor's race there.” Gloria Borger then declared that “this was not a great night for President Bush, particularly in the state of Virginia.” She cited how “he went in and he campaigned for the Republican candidate for Governor who lost, and, Bob, this was a state the President himself won by eight points in the last election." Borger ignored a basic fact which undermines her analysis: The Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia won in 2001 when Bush's approval rating, just two months after 9/11, was over 80 percent.

NBC's even more flagrant bias contrast, ABC's crediting of Clinton's good economy for the GOP wins and Morton Kondracke's prediction on FNC that “if I were Howard Dean and I looked at these results, I'd be really disappointed” because, despite Bush's plunging popularity, Democrats did no better this year than four years ago in the same races, follows


At a Tuesday meeting with CBS News staff, new CBS News President Sean McManus asserted that the people of CBS News “do a darned good job at” shutting out their political opinions and so “I don't see” any liberal bias in CBS News coverage. Vaughn Ververs recounted in a Tuesday evening posting for the “Public Eye” blog on CBSNews,com: “Asked if he feels the need to address perceptions that CBS has a left-wing bias, McManus said no, adding, 'it’s very difficult for any reporter or producer to completely and totally shut out his political opinions, but what I’ve seen at CBS News, people do a darned good job at doing that. I guess if I saw that creeping into our coverage I would have to address it, but I don’t see that in our coverage, I think we have been falsely accused of that at times.'”

McManus, who is maintaining his job as President of CBS Sports, has succeeded Andrew Heyward who considered liberal bias a fantasy of “extremists of the right.” (Heyward's 2000 remarks follow, as well as a fawning question McManus' father once posed to Fidel Castro.)


Mary Mapes, the producer fired from CBS News for her role in the 60 Minutes story about President Bush’s National Guard service, has written a book to explain her side of the story. On today’s Good Morning America she talked to ABC’s Brian Ross about that book and the forged documents used in the Bush story.

A minute or so into the interview Ross and Mapes got into the question of the documents and whether the responsibility was to prove the documents authentic before airing the story, or if any documents could be used until someone else proved them to be false.

Mapes: "I'm perfectly willing to believe those documents are forgeries if there's proof that I haven't seen."

Ross: "But isn't it the other way around? Don't you have to prove they're authentic?"

Mapes: "Well, I think that's what critics of the story would say. I know more now than I did then and I think, I think they have not been proved to be false, yet."

Ross: "Have they proved to be authentic though? Isn't that really what journalists do?"

Mapes: "No, I don't think that's the standard."

Video available: RealPlayer or Windows Media


Tim Goodman writes about television for the San Francisco Chronicle. As befits a city in which almost 60 percent of voters oppose military recruiting in public schools, Goodman is just now grasping the notion of political bias on broadcast-network newscasts. Specifically, he believes that such bias will soon be a reality, as opposed to the Media Research Center's well-documented position that it's been quite real for quite a while. (Hat tip: Romenesko.)


Imagine that a Democrat had been elected mayor of the nation's largest city, a place where Republicans enjoyed an overwhelming registration edge.  Picture too the Dem winning in record-breaking fashion.  Do you think the Today show might have mentioned it the next morning?

So do I.  Yet, incredibly, Katie & Co. this morning never once mentioned the historic triumph of Mike Bloomberg in the very New York City from which their show is broadcast.


I just came across this today while purusing the Christianity Today (CT) website: Ted Olsen in the CT weblog last Friday tackled bias in a liberal Austin, Texas newspaper in "Who Brought Up the Klan?":

The Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman has a story today on 30 pastors rallying to support the state's marriage amendment. It's got the five W's, but given the point of the story, the most important question is never answered.