The New York Times isn’t the only iconic media outlet to ignore George and Laura Bush’s visit to Selma as they obsess over the Obamas. On page 12 of the March 23 edition of People magazine, in the “Star Tracks” section, there’s a whole page devoted to “THE FIRST FAMILY IN SELMA.” In chronicling the events of March 7, there was no picture and no mention of President and Mrs. Bush (or any other Republicans).
What was supposed to be a report on a constitutional battle in Alabama by CNN’s Elliott C. McLaughlin quickly transformed into what can only be described as gushing celebration of a triumph over traditional marriage advocates who are stuck living in the past.
McLaughlin began his piece on CNN.com with the story of a father of a gay man calling his son’s wedding "disgusting." He then poured contempt on the father as if he were a Klansman saying, "Disgusting, a word one might use to describe child molesters or a dead opossum in the road, was being applied to a couple of seven years exchanging vows that they'd love and cherish each other forever.”
On Monday night, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC each devoted a segment of their Monday evening newscasts to the news that Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and some local government officials chose not to carry out a federal ruling that calls for gay marriages to be permitted despite a voter-approved ban.
Naturally, the networks provided favorable coverage to those in favor of gay marriage, proclaiming that this “standoff” in Alabama has become “a full-blown civil rights battle” with ABC and CBS comparing Moore to then-Alabama Governor George Wallace, who tried to block the desegregation of the state’s schools in 1963.
Recent job cuts at Alabama newspapers have been steep. The Birmingham Business Journal, which (ahem) apparently is not among the participants, reports that "Three of Alabama’s largest daily newspapers, including the Birmingham News, will lay off about 400 employees as they cut back their printing schedules and increase their focus on digital." The other affected publications include the Huntsville Times and the Mobile Press Register. The job cuts are on the order of 50%-60%.
Across the Alabama border in Florida at the Pensacola News Journal, cartoonist Andy Marlette did not handle the layoff news well, as will be seen after the jump.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News featured a report by correspondent Mark Strassmann playing up the reservations that some are having about the new law to strictly enforce immigration laws in Alabama.
After noting that a poll supposedly shows that Latino voters are dissatisfied because the Obama administration has deported record numbers of illegal immigrants, substitute anchor Jeff Glor introduced Strassmann's piece by playing up the "second thoughts" that some supporters of the law are having: "Mark Strassmann went to Alabama, where some are having second thoughts now about a tough new law."
Campbell Robertson cranked the melodrama up to eleven in his New York Times story on Tuesday on the upholding by a federal judge of a tough new immigration law in Alabama: “After Ruling, Hispanics Flee an Alabama Town – Fears Rise Over a Tough Law on Immigrants.” Robertson talked of “the vanishing” and dabbled in a little Creative Writing 101: “In certain neighborhoods the streets are uncommonly quiet, like the aftermath of some sort of rapture.”
Illegal immigration is prehaps the issue most likely to trigger the paper’s liberal bias, and Robertson doesn’t disappoint. In his dramatic telling, the flight from the town of Albertville, Ala., was like something out of a science fiction movie:
Matching the pattern set in coverage of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, the broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday night all framed their stories on Alabama’s “severe” new law around its victims, with ABC anchor Diane Sawyer and NBC anchor Brian Williams both describing it as “Arizona on steroids.” They didn’t mean it as a compliment. Sawyer mischaracterized it as an “anti-immigration law.”
ABC was the most one-sided, with reporter Steve Osunsami not mentioning a reason for the new law until his very last sentence. Instead, Osunsami intoned, “Across Alabama today, demonstrators were furious, calling this the Arizona law with an Alabama twist,” before showing a man who charged that “it says that our government promotes racism.”
New York Times reporter Campbell Robertson reported Sunday from Cullman, Ala., “Alabama Law Criminalizes Samaritans, Bishops Say.” The Times showed an unusual and convenient respect for Southern Christians who are taking a liberal and paranoid stand on a new state law against illegal immigration -- the issue perhaps most likely to bring out the Times’s liberal bias.
On a sofa in the hallway of his office here, Mitchell Williams, the pastor of First United Methodist Church, announced that he was going to break the law. He is not the only church leader making such a declaration these days.
At AL.com last night, Mike Tomberlin of the Birmingham News reported the following:
Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod says she will meet Tuesday with agriculture secretary
Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA rural development director for Georgia, said today she plans to meet Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss a new job offer.
... Sherrod today spoke in the Sumter County town of Epes at an event hosted by the Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. Ben Jealous, executive director of the NAACP, shared the stage with Sherrod during a panel discussion.
Sherrod said she had no ill feelings toward the NAACP or President Barack Obama.
It the meeting does indeed occur, it will be an interesting test of establishment media credibility, given the accusations leveled at Ms. Sherrod and her husband Charles by Ron Wilkins at the leftist publication Counterpunch several weeks ago. Here are some of the specifics:
On Dec. 22, when Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama announced he would be switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, it was to be expected MSNBC, the so-called "Place for Politics" would spin it in anyway imaginable. But Rachel Maddow decided to use the left's favorite boogeyman, the tea party movement, to denigrate conservatives and distract from what could be real problems for House Democrats.
During the Dec. 22 broadcast of "The Rachel Maddow Show," Maddow interpreted a joint conference call with Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele and FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey to mean that the grassroots activism known as the tea party movement and the Republican Party had made peace. So, in the spirit of name-calling and low-brow humor, which the Maddow program has shown is one of its assets, Maddow contrived new titles for this movement (emphasis added).
Where's the party (identification)?
On Thursday, Chicago-based New York Times reporter Monica Davey reported on more controversy over Rod Blagojevich, the corrupt former Democratic governor of Illinois who tried to sell off the state's U.S. Senate seat that was left empty after Sen. Barack Obama assumed the presidency. In "Top Blagojevich Aide Pleads Guilty to Fraud," Davey managed to totally ignore Blagojevich's Democratic affiliation -- the word "Democrat" was nowhere to be found.
Turn the page, and one could read John Schwartz's story about the latest wrinkle in the bribery and corruption case of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. But in this case, Schwartz made the partisan lines clear, quickly identifying convicted governor Siegelman as a Democrat and his prosecutor as a Republican, heightening the contrast and reinforcing the paper's long-standing, unfounded suspicions of a high-level anti-Siegelman conspiracy on the part of the GOP.
A Department of Justice whistle-blower who accused prosecutors of misconduct in the closely watched federal corruption trial of former Gov. Donald E. Siegelman of Alabama has been fired, and claims retaliation is the reason. The government denies that it was retaliating.
The whistle-blower, Tamarah T. Grimes, worked as a legal aide with the team prosecuting Mr. Siegelman and Richard M. Scrushy, the former chairman of HealthSouth, on bribery and corruption charges.
Both men were convicted in 2006 in a case that Mr. Siegelman, a Democrat, and supporters say was politically motivated.
You'd expect to see this in the liberal blogosphere or possibly some of the national mainstream media outlets with an obvious agenda. But now some of the preemptive strikes against Republican senators leading up to the Senate confirmation hearings and eventual vote to confirm President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, are finding their way into local newspapers.