Media bias odds and ends

—– Andrew Bolt, writing in Australia’s Herald Sun, wrote earlier this week (h/t: ST reader Sev) about a scandal involving its rival publication The Age and how “235 Age journalists confirmed that their coverage of last month’s Earth Hour had been, in effect, propaganda.” Make sure to read the whole thing, and this too for even more. So much for engaging in fair reporting and letting viewers/readers make up their own minds.

This reminds me of NBC’s round-the-clock fawning coverage of Live Earth last year, which was a blatant example of everything that is wrong with agenda-driven “journalism.”

—– My friend Patrick O’Hannigan catches Newsweek inserting a bit of anti-religion bias in their reporting on the Pope’s visit to the US this week.

—– And speaking of the Pope, Media Research has several links this week to anti-Pope bias in the mainstream press.

—– Clay Waters at Newsbusters busts a liberal movie reviewer at the New York Times over her biased critque of Ben Stein’s Intelligent Design documentary titled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

—– David Vance at Biased BBC notes here the slanted coverage the Beeb has been giving to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s first formal visit to the US as PM. They’re saying he will invoke the image of JFK … by standing next to Senator Ted Kennedy. Umm, sorry, Beebs – this is about as close as Brown will get to “invoking” JFK’s image:

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown looks at a bust of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy given to him after speaking at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, April 18, 2008. REUTERS/Adam Hunger

—– Related to the bias at the BBC, Mike at The Monkey Tennis Centre notes yet another example (similar to this one) of the Beeb making apologies for Islamofascistic “culture” in a post appropriately titled “BBC on child marriage in Yemen: Move along folks, nothing Islamic to see here.” Unreal …

—– Via letter, Karl Rove smacked down Olbermann-in-training evening political talking head show host Dan Abrams for failing to check his facts over the liberal-inspired controversy over former Democrat Governor Don Siegelman, who was convicted last year of bribery and conspiracy and ordered to serve seven years in prison. Siegleman is currently free while appealing his sentence, of which he has only served nine months.

The talking point in lefty circles is Siegleman’s prosecution was politically motivated by Karl Rove. Several news outlets, including CBS, have been buying hook, line, and sinker the word of a questionable “Republican” source, which is why Rove wrote the blistering note to Abrams.

—– NRO Media Blog’s Greg Pollowitz noticed earlier today the Associated Press’ “giddiness” in their story of the Iraqi troops who abandoned their posts after coming under attack from the Mahdi army.

Sat AM Update: Add one more to the list: The Politico’s John F. Harris and Jim Vandehei explore how deeply the mediots have been in the tank for Barack Obama.

What do you think of when you hear the word “journalist”?

When I hear it, the first thing I think of is a mainstream news reporter, anchor, or correspondent who, ideally, should be delivering bias-free news. The impressions I get from people I talk to about journalism both online and elsewhere are that they believe similarly.

Well, today I’ve learned that the definition of “journalist” has been expanded to include … writers for left wing publications and bloggers. Yes, the uproar over how poorly Barack Obama was supposedly treated in the Wednesday night ABC News debate has gotten so loud that these “journalists” have written a letter to ABC criticizing them for treating Obama like the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president.

The first clue that the definition of the word “journalist” had been updated was seeing that the letter was posted to and signed by the liberal Nation opinion outlet, which hilariously claims on their “about” page to not be “the organ of any party.” Here’s what the letter stated:

We, the undersigned, deplore the conduct of ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson at the Democratic Presidential debate on April 16. The debate was a revolting descent into tabloid journalism and a gross disservice to Americans concerned about the great issues facing the nation and the world. This is not the first Democratic or Republican presidential debate to emphasize gotcha questions over real discussion. However, it is, so far, the worst.

While I would agree that there have definitely been Republican presidential debates where gotcha questions were thrown out there – Chris Matthews’ horrible moderating of an early Republican debate last spring comes to mind – I don’t recall the Nation and “journalists” from other left wing publications going off on MSNBC and pushing letter writing campaigns and boycotts and petitions on a daily basis. Apparently it is only journalistic malpractice of epic proportions when it happens to a liberal candidate one who, like many of his supporters, whines when he doesn’t get pitched softballs.

For 53 minutes, we heard no question about public policy from either moderator. ABC seemed less interested in provoking serious discussion than in trying to generate cheap shot sound-bites for later rebroadcast. The questions asked by Mr. Stephanopoulos and Mr. Gibson were a disgrace, and the subsequent attempts to justify them by claiming that they reflect citizens’ interest are an insult to the intelligence of those citizens and ABC’s viewers. Many thousands of those viewers have already written to ABC to express their outrage.

Oh, lemme guess what the political affiliations were/are for those “outraged viewers” and furthermore, which candidate they support? Not rocket science.

The moderators’ occasional later forays into substance were nearly as bad. Mr. Gibson’s claim that the government can raise revenues by cutting capital gains tax is grossly at odds with what taxation experts believe. Both candidates tried, repeatedly, to bring debate back to the real problems faced by ordinary Americans. Neither moderator allowed them to do this.

Funny, but I don’t believe we’ve heard Hillary Clinton nor her campaign complain about how Wednesday’s debate went, but apparently these “journalists” – in a transparent attempt to appear “fair” to both candidates, make it out like Hillary has been just as upset about the directions the debate went.

We’re at a crucial moment in our country’s history, facing war, a terrorism threat, recession, and a range of big domestic challenges. Large majorities of our fellow Americans tell pollsters they’re deeply worried about the country’s direction. In such a context, journalists moderating a debate–who are, after all, entrusted with free public airwaves –have a particular responsibility to push and engage the candidates in serious debate about these matters. Tough, probing questions on these issues clearly serve the public interest. Demands that candidates make pledges about a future no one can predict or excessive emphasis on tangential “character” issues do not. This applies to candidates of both parties.

Translation: Watch out how you treat popular Democrats or we might take this to the Democrat-controlled Congress, who have shown before how quickly they’ll resort to threats when a network portrays them in an unflattering light. Oh, and by the way, who the hell cares about this thing called “character” anyway?

Neither Mr. Gibson nor Mr. Stephanopoulos lived up to these responsibilities. In the words of Tom Shales of the Washington Post, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Stephanopoulos turned in “shoddy, despicable performances.” As Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher describes it, the debate was a “travesty.” We hope that the public uproar over ABC’s miserable showing will encourage a return to serious journalism in debates between the Democratic and Republican nominees this fall. Anything less would be a betrayal of the basic responsibilities that journalists owe to their public.

Two things: Tom Shales is a TV critic and is, well, supposed to be critical about many things on TV. As far as Mitchell? Well pretty much all you need to know about his journalistic “creds” can be read here.

Tom Maguire is on the same wavelength over the letter’s use of the word “journalist” to describe the signatories:

It’s a long list of signatures, but there are precious few of what would normally be considered actual journalists, and many, many left wing bloggers and advocates passing themselves, for today’s purposes, as “media analysts”.

Scroll down the list at Tom’s link. You’ll recognize many of the names of the blogs/publications. I guess technically they could be considered “journalists” in the sense that they research, interview, and get paid for what they write, in the traditional sense, the average Joe thinks of a mainstream journalists like ABC’s Jake Tapper and Fox News’ Major Garrett. These types of journalists are on the opposite end of the jouralistic spectrum than the left wing “journalists” who signed the letter, a few of who aren’t afraid to abandon “serious journalism” when it suits their purposes, as Mary Katharine Ham notes here.

Then again, perhaps the “undersigned” in the letter are just upset that Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos weren’t as left wing in their moderating duties as they are in their scribblings.

I swear, you just can’t make this stuff up.

Using Iwo Jima to “combat” global warming

Jeff Poor of Media Research’s Media and Business Institute reports that some Iwo Jima veterans are none too pleased with Time Magazine’s altering of the iconic Iwo Jima flag-raising image to promote ‘global warming awareness’:

For only the second time in 85 years, Time magazine abandoned the traditional red border it uses on its cover. The occasion – to push more global warming alarmism.

The cover of the April 21 issue of Time took the famous Iwo Jima photograph by Joe Rosenthal of the Marines raising the American flag and replaced the flag with a tree. The cover story by Bryan Walsh calls green “the new red, white and blue.”

Donald Mates, an Iwo Jima veteran, told the Business & Media Institute on April 17 that using that photograph for that cause was a “disgrace.”

“It’s an absolute disgrace” Mates said. “Whoever did it is going to hell. That’s a mortal sin. God forbid he runs into a Marine that was an Iwo Jima survivor.”

Mates also said making the comparison of World War II to global warming was erroneous and disrespectful.

“The second world war we knew was there” Mates said. “There’s a big discussion. Some say there is global warming, some say there isn’t. And to stick a tree in place of a flag on the Iwo Jima picture is just sacrilegious.”

According to the American Veterans Center (AVC), Mates served in the 3rd Marine Division and fought in the battle of Iwo Jima, landing on Feb. 24, 1945.


Lt. John Keith Wells, the leader of the platoon that raised the flags on Mt. Suribachi and co-author of “Give Me Fifty Marines Not Afraid to Die: Iwo Jima” wasn’t impressed with Time’s efforts.

“That global warming is the biggest joke I’ve ever known” Wells told the Business & Media Institute. “[W]e’ll stick a dadgum tree up somebody’s rear if they want that and think that’s going to cure something.”


Here’s the cover:

Time's Iwo Jima global warming cover

How about that? It’s as imperative to our survival to combat so-called ‘manmade’ global warming as it was to extinguish Nazism. I had no idea …

Update: Brian at Liberty Pundit asks the question of the day as it relates to the Time magazine cover: So Liberals Are Suddenly OK With Fighting A War Based On Lies And Phony Evidence?

Howard Dean to supahdelegates: I need your decision, and I need it now

In yet another sign of growing tensions within the Democratic party as the knock down drag out battle rages on, DNC Chair Howie Dean told CNN yesterday that he wants the superdelegates to let him know their selection – and he wants to know now:

(CNN)— An increasingly firm Howard Dean told CNN again Thursday that he needs superdelegates to say who they’re for – and “I need them to say who they’re for starting now.”

“We cannot give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time” the Democratic National Committee Chairman told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We’ve got to know who our nominee is.”

After facing criticism for a mostly hands-off leadership style during much of the primary season, Dean has been steadily raising the rhetorical pressure on superdelegates. He said Thursday that roughly 65 percent of them have made their preference plain, but that more than 300 have yet to make up their minds.

Ed Morrisey is, as usual, right on the money:

Yeeargh! Dean finds himself in a tough spot after Wednesday’s Democratic debacle. The more the last two contenders get seen, the worse they both do. Barack Obama got his worst beating of the campaign, tempered only by the glee Hillary Clinton showed in helping deliver it. The supporters of both candidates have begun to tear each other to shreds over it, and the Republicans continue to enjoy the spectacle.

If this goes on for even another month, the Democrats will wind up electing John McCain — literally, if one reads the polls. The bitterness between the Obama and Hillary camps has become so large that almost a fifth of Democrats claim they will vote for John McCain when their preferred Democrat loses the nomination. Dean needs to find some way to bring this disaster to a screeching halt in time to salvage the losers before they become part of the McCain Democrats.

Unfortunately, as even Dean admits, he’s there to enforce the rules and not to change them. The superdelegates can announce whatever they want, but they’re uncommitted by rule until they actually cast a ballot at the convention. Dean can only stop this runaway train if he can convince one candidate or the other to withdraw. If Hillary wins Pennsylvania by anything more than three points, he won’t have a prayer of succeeding.

Not to mention what will happen at the convention if Hillary stays true to her word in trying to press for the Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated. As I’ve said before, we could see a convention that makes the 1968 DNC debacle look like child’s play in comparison.

And has it gotten so bad that the candidates are starting to display infantile gestures towards each other? There’s speculation in both the media and blogosphere that Obama’s Raleigh speech yesterday included him giving a subtle middle finger salute to Mrs. Clinton. I’m not so sure, but I’ll post the video so you can decide for yourself:

The LA Times Top of the Ticket blog has a photo of the moment BO allegedly made the gesture.

What do you think?