If there were any doubt as to the degree to which the MSM loathes and distrusts President Bush, it should be dispelled by the performance of Sy Hersh on today's Hardball and the way he was applauded by Chris Matthews. At the end of Hersh's appearance, Matthews put this question to the investigative reporter:

Hey, I'm just the messenger.

Newsweek's Jessica Bennett, Sarah Childress, and Susanna Schrobsdorff offered lucky Web site readers a gem unavailable to grocery aisle readers of Newsweek-on-dead-tree.

In a February 8 Web exclusive, the trio of writers explore "Why Skinny Models Could be Making Us Fat" *

The answer, in part, photoshopped models. And no, I'm not referring to Katie.

...thanks to technology, often not even the models themselves can compare to their portfolios. Increasingly, photos for print are enhanced and perfected to an astonishing degree. Not only are moles, acne and subtle facial hair erased from already pretty faces, but retouchers are routinely asked by editors and advertisers to enlarge eyes, trim normal-size ears, fill in hairlines, straighten teeth and lengthen the already-narrow necks, waists and legs of 18-year-old beauties. "We're always stretching the models' legs and slimming their thighs," says a photo retoucher who works for a high-end Manhattan agency. In some cases, hands, feet or even legs are replaced in photos when the subject’s parts don’t add up to a perfect whole.

But the bigger danger, the Newsweek reporters insist, is that twiggy models are actually leading American women to bulk up:

The amazing liberal vapors over President Bush’s use of the word "Democrat" to describe, er, Democrats, continues. In an NPR interview with Juan Williams, President Bush claimed it was a simple mistake in his State of the Union speech, but liberals quickly found more of these grievous offenses in searching speech texts at the White House website. Certain left-wing media critics who lay face down in worship at the feet of Hillary Clinton are now insisting that the word "Democrat" is a "smear" and an "oft-used Republican slur." The Washington Post and The New York Times each produced stories on Bush's denial of this microscopic scandal. (Clay Waters handled it at Times Watch here.)

But my favorite fuss comes from former Newsweek reporter and Carter speechwriter Hendrik Hertzberg at The New Yorker, who says the plain D-word is "jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams ‘rat.’" He then imagined Republicans want to destroy the Democrats like Israel’s enemies want to wipe out Israel, and compared them to a street gang:

Let's play one of our favorite parlor games: "WIARHSI?" You know: "What if a Republican Had Said It?" In today's game, let's imagine what would happen if a Republican presidential candidate had said that Barack Obama was the first "clean" and "articulate" African-American presidential candidate?
  • Which paper would be first to call for the Republican's withdrawal from the race: the NY Times, Boston Globe, WaPo, other?
  • How soon until Jesse Jackson, Carol Moseley-Braun and Al Sharpton turned up on TV to be asked how they felt about being insulted in this way?
  • How many hours of MSM musing over the GOP's "history of racial insensitivity"; how many replays of Trent Lott making his statement about Strom Thurmond, of George Allen's 'macaca' moment, etc., would we be subjected to over the ensuing week?
  • How long until the hapless Republican did indeed withdraw from the race?
But when it's a Democrat . . . count on Chris Matthews, for one, to circle the wagons.

Matthews had Anne Kornblut of the Washington Post and Jay Carney of Time magazine in as guests. The trio didn't even broach the Biden comments until a full ten minutes into their gab fest, after batting around a number of other issues. How long would Chris have waited to launch had it been a Republican on the hot seat?

View edited video clip here.

In his profile of John McCain for the February issue of Vanity Fair, Todd Purdum notes that "the constituency that McCain sometimes jokingly refers to as his base" is -- wait for it -- "the press." 

Time’s Cartoons of the Year for 2006 certainly have a liberal tilt. None of them mock American liberals. Two promote them. The list starts with a Kerry-defending serious cartoon, "I’d rather be insulted by a botched joke than die in a botched war." It ends with Nancy Pelosi arriving in the Capitol to "Clean the House."

Time magazine's website had an online poll recently to help (supposedly) determine who should take home its 'Person of the Year' designation. Radical-lefty Hugo Chavez fans are upset that they loaded up on the online poll for a victory, but the poll was not definitive. The folks at the Hands Off Venezuela blog do have this amusing take:

What is it about leaving a network gig that makes news anchors even more biased? Ex-host Tom Brokaw told a "Harball" audience that Barack Obama is a "rock star," lavished praise on Jon Stewart, and claimed that Ronald Reagan neglected "Mother Earth."

Speaking of NBC stars who suck up to environmentalists, Matt Lauer recently encouraged Al Gore to run for president and "save the planet." Way to stay objective, Matt!

The "Today" anchor continued his global warming obsession in another segment, lauding actor Leonardo DiCaprio for "standing up to get people thinking" about the issue. (Funny, I don’t recall the "Today" host complimenting many pro-life activists for "standing up.")

Lobbying for global warming can be tiring work, as NewsBusters editor Matthew Sheffield noted when he pointed out that CNN host Miles O’Brien fell asleep during recent hearings on the subject.

This week, the "mainstream" media continued lobbying for a complete acknowledgment of total failure in Iraq. "Time" magazine likened the Iraq Study Report to a drug intervention. Discussing the same subject, "Hardball" guest host Mike Barnicle wondered if President Bush is "delusional," " isolated" or "stubborn." Those are certainly some great options to chose from!

The Iraq Study Group's recommendations are about to be released. Think about it: what should be the media's focus? I'd say attention should center on what those recommendations are, and whether if implemented they would advance - or impair - US interests in Iraq.

But that's not the MSM's focus at all. From the cover of Newsweek to the Today show, the concern is not whether the recommendations are good, but only whether President Bush will accept them.

In the course of Matt Lauer's interview of former Bush chief-of-staff Andy Card, 'Today' flashed the Newsweek cover shown here. When Card began

Jon Meacham, editor of "Newsweek," compared journalists to MTV’s teen morons Beavis and Butt-Head for the demands they make on public officials, and portrayed himself as understanding of negative public sentiments of the media:

When the MSM wants to be particularly nasty toward President Bush, it breaks out the references to his dissolute younger days. Witness this week's 'Time' cover story 'Can Bush find an exit?,' which manages a two-fer in the genre: a reference to W's hard-drinking past and an allusion to him as nothing less than a drug addict.

The story's very first lines:

Time magazine has an online poll to get an unscientific idea of how their annual Person of the Year should be. It breaks down into American Republicans (President Bush, Secretary of State Rice), American Democrats (Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore), the Axis of Evil (Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and unofficial new member Hugo "Bush Is Satan" Chavez), and just to be trendy, the "YouTube Guys."