The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto on Thursday offered a plausible explanation for why President Barack Obama, during Tuesday night’s debate, felt confident he could count on moderator Candy Crowley of CNN to back him up on how he had uttered the phrase “acts of terror” the day after the Benghazi attack.

On her CNN State of the Union show back on September 30, Crowley interviewed David Axelrod and during that segment she was as incredulous as Mitt Romney was at the debate that Obama had initially referred to “acts of terror” in any relationship to Benghazi.

James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal smelled a conflict-of-interest problem when "The Washington Post Co. said Monday that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Celtic Healthcare, a provider of skilled home health-care and hospice services in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions.”

The Post has offset losses in its core journalism businesses with profits from its Kaplan educational business. But federal money is part of the cash flow. A recent story on threatened accreditations noted “A loss of accreditation would mean the Kaplan campuses would no longer be eligible for Title IV loans from the Education Department, the source of nearly 90 percent of Kaplan higher-education revenue.” The Post’s foray into health care will also make the Post more dependent on government revenue:

“Writers have been bowing to the ‘fact checkers’ as submissively as Barack Obama upon meeting some anti-American dictator,” the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto quipped in a devastating take-down of the rise of the news media’s so-called “fact checkers.”

In “The Pinocchio Press: The bizarre rise of ‘fact checking’ propagandists” posted on Tuesday, the author of the daily “Best of the Web Today” noted “the usual conservative complaint about all this ‘fact checking’ is the same as the conservative complaint about the MSM’s product in general: that it is overwhelmingly biased toward the left.” But, he concluded, “the form amplifies the bias. It gives journalists much freer rein to express their opinions by allowing them to pretend to be rendering authoritative judgments about the facts.”

New York Times reporter turned columnist Frank Bruni is on a nasty streak. He devoted his long Sunday Review column, "Rethinking His Religion," to a former classmate with a pat liberal morality lesson that seemed a lot like an invasion of patient privacy, then attacked Newt Gingrich and insulted Gingrich's wife. James Taranto at Best of the Web explained:

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has some insufferable friends. Yesterday he spent nearly 1,500 words profiling one of them, a classmate at the University of North Carolina whom he knew at the time as a conservative frat boy who "attended Catholic services every Sunday in a jacket and tie." Bruni, who is gay, "kept a certain distance from him" under the assumption that the young man, whom he does not name in the column, would be hostile to the future Timesman because of his sexual orientation.

Yesterday, Anne Gearan at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wrote what she called a "Fact Check" piece about a political promise. Really.

Two Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, are both promising to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if they should become the nation's next president. There's literally no way to "fact check" something that is only a promise, but Gearan wasted over 500 words pretending to do just that. She couldn't even buy a clue that her item's title ("FACT CHECK: Israel embassy promise may be empty") gives away the, uh, fact that it wasn't a "fact check" at all. Jim Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web minced no words in critiquing AP's and Gearan's cluelessness (bolds are mine):

In Monday's edition of his “Best of the Web” column, under the subhead "Recycling Is Garbage," Opinion Journal’s James Taranto unveiled a humorous pattern of New York Times columnists recycling a satirical headline from The Onion that made an apparently profound point about the unfair burdens accompanying Barack Obama into office: "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job." (Not as hard as coming up with new column ideas, apparently.)

    * "Of all the coverage of Obama's victory, the most accurate take may still be the piquant morning-after summation of the satirical newspaper The Onion. Under the headline 'Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job,' it reported that our new president will have 'to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind.'"--Frank Rich, New York Times, Jan. 18, 2009

Elaine Quijano continued CBS's consistently glowing coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement on Wednesday's Early Show by spotlighting how two-thirds of Crosby, Stills, and Nash gave a concert for the protesters in New York City. Quijano played 12 clips from the concert and from the demonstrators, without once mentioning the growing examples of violence involving the left-leaning movement [audio clips available here; video below the jump].

Anchor Chris Wragge introduced the correspondent's report by noting only in passing how "anti-Wall Street protesters around the country are under growing pressure to go home...critics in several cities are saying they're just becoming a public nuisance." Co-anchor Erica Hill added that "here in New York City, demonstrators say they are in it, though, for the long haul- yes, even with winter coming. Correspondent Elaine Quijano takes a look at what the future holds for the protests."

“The Republican Party is split right down the middle between Tea Party movement supporters and those who do not support the two-and-a-half-year-old movement, according to a new national survey,” a Thursday “Political Ticker” post asserted in recounting the findings of a CNN/ORC poll which were cited on air by both Wolf Blitzer and John King.

James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal just demolished a scare piece by Newsweek reporter Eve Conant (posted on July 4) with the overwrought headline "White Supremacist Stampede: A startling number of white-power candidates are seeking public office."

If we're being warned of dangerous new wave of white racist extremists, it naturally is another product of the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center, which warns daily of a radical-racist-right takeover of America. Taranto asked: How startling is this wave of white-power candidates from sea to shining sea?

The New York Times marked Father’s Day last Sunday in its own special way -- here’s the front-page tease to a 4,000-word story by N.R. Kleinfeld: “In Brooklyn, a single mother, her son, her sperm donor and his lover are helping to redefine the concept of the American family.”

At Opinion Journal, James Taranto was bothered by the Times's blithe unconcern for the child’s privacy in its rush to celebrate an alternative family lifestyle. Under the cutting headlines “Happy Donor's Day! The New York Times celebrates fatherhood by cruelly invading a 3-year-old's privacy,” he wrote:

The next time someone in the media wants to blame budget cutters for premature deaths, remember James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal, who unveiled another story filed under “Great Moments in Socialized Medicine,” once again from jolly old England and the London Daily Mail:

Peter Thompson, 41, was left in a corridor for ten hours before someone noticed he had passed away. In a final act of indignity, hospital auxiliaries pulled his lifeless body across the floor in a manner his family described as like "dragging a dead animal."

Just when you consider cutting the Associated Press a break for doing something right, they pull this.

Most people know that in the interest of "not spiking the football," the Obama administration has decided that it will not release photos of Osama bin Laden's dead body.

Shortly after the decision was announced, AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request for said photos. According to John Hudson at the Atlantic (HT to Jim Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web), the AP's Michael Oreskes claims that "This information is important for the historical record" and "It's our job as journalists to seek this material." So far, so good.

But you just knew they'd figure out a way to potentially ruin it. Here's Oreskes as quoted by Hudson: