Hardened NBC watchers know to expect a shift toward the left when Andrea Mitchell is sitting in for Tim Russert on "Meet the Press." On Sunday's big media roundtable, the topic was the administration's "war" on the press.

Frank Ahrens and Howard Kurtz make a fairly big deal in the Washington Post (and on page A-2) on Saturday that "USA Today has acknowledged that it cannot prove key elements of a blockbuster May 11 story in which it reported that several telecommunications companies were handing over customer phone records to the National Security Agency."

Remember that USA Today article from May 11 alleging that “[t]he National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth?” Well, the USA Today just issued a retraction:

 Based on its reporting after the May 11 article, USA TODAY has now concluded that while the NSA has built a massive domestic calls record database involving the domestic call records of telecommunications companies, the newspaper cannot confirm that BellSouth or Verizon contracted with the NSA to provide bulk calling records to that database.”

To begin your Fourth of July holiday weekend with a bang, read the entire delicious retraction here.

Earlier today, the Los Angeles Times reported that Pentagon officials were considering dropping Article 3 of the Geneva Convention from FM 34-52, the Army's field manual on interrogation. While the Pentagon has not reached a final decision on the potential modifications to FM 34-52, the Times and USA Today certainly have. Follow the escalation.

LAT's lead this morning was: Army Manual to Skip Geneva Detainee Rule.

The higher CO2 levels that inherently come with global warming are actually a good thing if you're starving in a third world country. Plants breathe CO2, and higher levels means faster plant growth and higher crop yields.

But that isn't the story you want to paint if you're a big media operation like USA Today. Instead, you want to frame it like this:

Study: Global warming boosts poison ivy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy. The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers report Monday... Compared to poison ivy grown in usual atmospheric conditions, those exposed to the extra-high carbon dioxide grew about three times larger — and produced more allergenic form of urushiol, scientists from Duke and Harvard University reported. "...the shift toward a more allergenic form of urushiol have important implications for the future health of both humans and forests," the study concludes.

There you have it. That means I can expect to get stricken with poison ivy three times more than I have in the past, which is currently a consistent zero times. This coupled with inch higher water must be part of the end of civilization that Al Gore anticipates. Remember, folks, all of this global warming nonsense you're reading about is just part of the 2008 Democratic platform as delivered by big media.

On May 22, the Federal Trade Commission released a report finding no systemic price gouging resulting from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The following day, USA Today -- which has carried a "nation's gas gauge" item in its front page sidebar for a few weeks now -- assigned the story below-the-fold treatment in the Money section.

Another story, on how average gas prices have dropped 6.4 cents in the past week, was relegated to the sidebar of the Money section page as well.

An editorial in Saturday's Washington Times highlighted the discovery by the MRC's Rich Noyes, as detailed in a Friday NewsBusters posting, about how “Leslie Cauley, the USA Today reporter who 'broke' the news that three major U.S.

NewsBusters' Rich Noyes has reported on the Democratic affiliations of the USA Today reporter who "broke" the NSA phone records story.

Other journalists are worried about the loss of credibility to the profession in general if the story turns out to be false. Reports Editor and Publisher:

Stunning news from Expatica's German edition (bolds are mine; because of its brevity, the entire report is included here):
Germans say al-Qaeda no longer organizing strikes

18 May 2006

Part-Time Pundit says "another drive-by media attempt to discredit" Bush and claim the Republicans "are trying to usher in a new era of fascism has fallen flat on its face."

Here is the most insincere question a liberal TV news star can ask: How can President Bush turn around his poll numbers? Imagine how they would have reacted if Rush Limbaugh had pretended to worry how Bill Clinton was going to turn around his fortunes. The media’s crocodile tears are not even laughable, just nauseating. Pushing down the president’s approval rating seems to be their daily task.