On Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, Dr. Gail Saltz blasted Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow for his jab at Michelle Obama's weight: "To be criticizing people, kind of, willy-nilly is – I don't think meets the Hippocratic Oath." She played up how Dr. Ablow previously hinted that Vice President Biden might have dementia, and claimed that the psychiatrist violated "American psychiatric guidelines, which is not to diagnose someone that you have ever met." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Host Brian Stelter wondered if there's "this urge to be entertaining; to be provocative; to be outrageous." Dr. Saltz asserted that she tries "very hard every day to resist that," and that "any professional wants to express their opinion that has nothing to do with medicine, they have to carefully take off their doctor hat, and make it clear that they're doing so." The CNN guest should take her own advice, as she diagnosed conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as a "bully" in October 2009:
During a discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today of a nasty divorce custody case, psychologist Gail Saltz bizarrely shoe-horned in this observation: "This is reflective of a national problem....We have taken on this 'Do whatever feels good in the moment,' with no regard for a moral compass...calling the president a liar..." Co-host Matt Lauer declared: "The end of civility."
The husband involved in the case was accused of bashing his ex-wife on his personal blog, causing the judge to order him to shut down the web site. Lauer used that fact to smear all blogs: "[The judge] said of the blog, it included, quote, 'Inaccurate, denigrating and belittling comments...it amounts to outright cruelty'....My first reaction to that is, has this judge ever gone on other blogs? That's what they're all about."
On NBC's Today on Wednesday, co-host Matt Lauer worried about Americans celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden: "...your children are going to see, and have already seen, people in the streets celebrating about the death of someone and that's a contradictory image for them." Today contributor and psychiatrist Gail Saltz replied: "Absolutely, very disturbing for them."
The segment was on how to talk to children about the killing of bin Laden and Saltz speculated that kids may ask: "Why are people partying, being happy that anybody was killed?" She suggested those who celebrated may now regret their actions: "I think it's really important to talk about this, because what you saw was a lot of people who, in the impulse of the moment, reacted in a way that later on they may not be happy about."
NBC's Today crew tried to put a heavy spin on the Gore split on Wednesday morning. The audience was told that the Gores' 40-year marriage wasn't a failure, it was a success, several times over. Matt Lauer even insisted their divorce was "brave" -- as if all the other old married people would do the same if they weren't cowards.
It's fine if the liberals at NBC don't want to think less of the Gores for their divorce. But can they really judge all this as bravery and success without knowing whether there was infidelity or just callous disregard or creeping selfishness? It wasn't journalism. It was just an exercise in happy talk and wishful thinking. Lee Cowan ended a news story with therapist Gail Saltz (most recently remembered on TV as the expert claiming on CNN that Rush Limbaugh has millions of listeners because he's a bully who has everyone afraid of him in their cars and homes):
COWAN: When we're saying our vows, none of us can really predict just what will be down the road. If we're lucky, we grow old together. But sometimes, we don't.
SALTZ: You wake up in your fifties and your sixties and say, "Gosh, this person I married, you know, in my twenties is not the peron I would marry today."
COWAN: The Gores' split may have sparked a conversation about love and marriage, and divorce. But there's one thing to remember.
SALTZ: I would say that a 40-year union is not a failure.
The correspondent’s report, which aired just before the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, was the first installment in a “special series on talk radio,” according to anchor John Roberts. Costello zeroed in on the listeners and why the format “can capture people for such long periods of time.” A graphic on the screen during her report heralded “anger on the air: what listeners don’t know about talk radio.” [MP3 audio available here]
Towards the end of her report, the CNN correspondent played a sound bite from radical left-wing host Randi Rhodes, who speculated that “the reason they don’t passionately listen to liberal talk radio is access” (Costello outrageously downplayed Rhodes’s political leanings by describing her as someone whom “many consider a liberal talker”). The “liberal talker” noted that apparently, “ninety-one percent of talk radio is conservative.” Costello continued that “according to Talkers magazine, liberal talkers fill just nine percent of the nation’s news talk radio on the commercial dial. Change that, Rhodes says, and liberal listeners would listen just as much.”
The 91 percent figure actually came from a 2007 report titled “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio,” written by two liberal organizations- Center for American Progress and Free Press. However, the report, which was co-authored by current FCC “chief diversity officer” Mark Lloyd, “suffers from a number of structural flaws,” as a 2008 special report by MRC’s Culture and Media Institute pointed out. The CMI report continued that “the CAP report’s greatest flaw is ignoring noncommercial talk radio,” such as NPR’s many public radio affiliates.