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."



This past week saw The Washington Post ask a classically liberal question: Is America more racist or sexist?

Following the lead of this major paper, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked the same question, adding a surreptitious angle. She wondered, "Is the nation, secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"

The "Good Morning America" host wasn’t through, however. On Tuesday, she offered the query again. This time, Sawyer added a new spin, "secret genderism." The recipient of the question, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, readily agreed. America is guilty, she asserted, it just isn’t "very secret."

Speaking of The Washington Post, ever wonder how many times the paper mentioned "macaca?" According to MRC President Brent Bozell, the paper featured the phrase no less then 112 times!

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann absurdly linked domestic terrorism to "right-wing blogs."

While Olbermann slimed conservatives, CNN labeled the current low gas prices "a recovery." Why, just a few weeks ago, the falling costs represented a link between "Big Oil" and the GOP. What a difference an election makes!



As the internet becomes more and more a news source for everyone, formerly dominant media outlets have seen news consumers shift online to look for news. Just like radio was harmed by TV but still continues to survive because it changed how it did things, the magazine business is at a similar crossroads.



In today's Media Notes column, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz reported just how far Rolling Stone is willing to go on its ultraliberal-hippie crusade against social conservatism: it's hired Matt Taibbi, the writer infamously published by the New York Press for "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope." (As in, "Beetles eating dead Pope's brains." ) Oh, and



The midterm elections are approaching and some members of the media are revving up their bias. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann recently suggested that President Bush might be as big a threat as the terrorists. This was only a day after referring to conservative talk show hosts who visited the White House as the "Legion of Doom." CNN’s Jack Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove is planning an "October surprise" to salvage the Republicans’ chances in the midterm elections.

The print media have also offered unrestrained attacks from the left. A "Washington Post" report described House Speaker Dennis Hastert appearance as "a cross between Wildford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt." Nothing quite like objectivity, huh? A former "New York Times" bureau chief recently characterized the Christian right as "fascist." Perhaps he’d been chatting with "Newsweek" columnist Jonathan Alter. Alter told Don Imus he hoped the country has seen the last of "values voters."

The "Today" show fawned over Barack Obama, describing him as "electrifying" and a "rock star." This was on the same day that they giddily predicted a "perfect storm" to wipe out the Republicans in the midterms. Another early AM program, CNN’s "American Morning"encouraged author David Kuo to call for Christians to boycott the upcoming election.



Imagine you're a leading news magazine. You've published a major story claiming that Afghanistan is a brewing disaster in which Al-Qaeda can once again roam with impunity. So bad is the situation, say you, that for purposes of your article you've dubbed the country "Jihadistan."



"General Pelosi, I'm Matt Lauer, and I'm reporting for duty!"

OK, Matt didn't quite say that as 'Today' kicked off its 'The War at Home' three-part series this morning on the lives of American veterans once they return home from war. But judging from the opening episode and the tease for what's to come tomorrow, he might just as well. NBC is clearly doing its part to tend the Dems' Victory Garden.



In all the media fuss about whether the GOP House leadership knew about former representative Mark Foley's behavior, hardly anyone in the press seems interested in whether Democrats knew about the story and declined to expose Foley's conduct, thus "putting at risk" the congressional pages in the way we constantly hear that Speaker Hastert and others did.

Turns out, Democrats did know about Foley's antics. According to Ken Silverstein, a writer for the liberal Harper's magazine, he was approached with the story way back in the month of May--by a Democrat.



Of all the photos of President Bush and Mark Foley available, this is the one Newsweek chose for its big story on the scandal this week.

UPDATE 10-20-2006: The New York Times is displaying the same photo in its online edition of today. Seems that this is the photo of choice in the MSM. Hat tip to Gary Hall.