Thomas: Ports "Classic Talk Radio" Since "Idiots Can Understand" --3/13/2006
2. ABC and NBC Gratuitously Smear Gale Norton By Raising Abramoff
3. With No Poll of Its Own, NBC Touts AP's on Bush Low Approval
4. Olbermann Plugs O'Connor's "Dictatorship" Attack on Conservatives
5. Washington Post "Book World" Promotes Global-Warming Scare Books
6. Time Running Out to Buy Tickets to MRC's "DisHonors Awards"
Thomas called the subject matter "a classic for talk radio" because "you can get it on a bumper sticker." Expressing his support for the UAE's purchase of the company operating several U.S. ports -- "We need Dubai as an ally. On balance, it would be better that the deal went through" -- Thomas proceeded to lament how "it was an easy one to demagogue on talk radio." As if much of the mainstream media didn't pile on too.
[This item was posted Friday night, with video and audio, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, or to watch a video clip, in either Real or Windows Media formats, go to: newsbusters.org ]
Joining Thomas on the panel: Totenberg plus syndicated columnists Mark Shields and Charles Krauthammer.
I caught the Thomas comment on the Friday night (march 10) airing of Inside Washington on WETA-TV channel 26, Washington, DC's PBS affiliate. The program is taped at ABC's Washington, DC affiliate, WJLA-TV, channel 7 (actually in Arlington, Virginia), where it airs Sunday mornings at 10am after This Week. Before that, it runs Saturday nights at 7pm on NewsChannel 8, the local all-news cable channel owned by the ABC affiliate.
A brief transcript of the relevant exchange, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
Fill-in host Kathleen Matthews, a WJLA-TV anchor who is the wife of MSNBC's Chris Matthews, set up Thomas: "Evan, nothing has lit up the telephones on talk radio more than this Dubai ports deal. Why did it resonate so much with the American people?"
Though they pointed out how there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, the ABC and NBC anchors on Friday night, in noting her decision to resign from the cabinet, nonetheless raised links between her and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. ABC's Elizabeth Vargas cited only one accomplishment of her tenure, but hardly in praise if it: "She made it easier for companies to drill for oil and gas on federal land in the West, drawing criticism from environmentalists." Vargas then added how "her agency has been entangled in the scandal involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but she has not been implicated."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams announced how President Bush "accepted today the resignation of the Secretary of the Interior, who insists tonight she is not leaving because of her department's associations with lobbyist Jack Abramoff." Williams soon asked reporter David Gregory: "How is it that her resignation late today raised the specter or the name of Jack Abramoff?" With the photo on screen, Gregory reported how "there was a picture that surfaced recently" which showed "Jack Abramoff and Secretary Norton after a meeting with some Indian tribes." Gregory, however, related that "a Senate committee did establish ties between the lobbyist Abramoff and top deputies to Gale Norton," but "that same panel has found no connection, or no proof, that she knew of those connections." So why bring up the subject?
[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your take, go to: newsbusters.org ]
Over a picture of Norton followed by video of her walking with and sitting next to President Bush, ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas read this short item on the March 10 World News Tonight:
NBC Nightly News anchor cited Norton and Abramoff in his opening (also quoted in an earlier NewsBusters item about how NBC led with an AP poll on Bush's low approval level):
Toward the end of his piece on the fallout from the aborted ports deal, Gregory relayed:
In the last couple of weeks, a CBS News poll found approval for President Bush at "an all-time low of 34 percent" and an ABC News/Washington Post survey pegged Bush's approval at "a new career low" of 41 percent. Without a presidential approval poll of its own with which to batter Bush, anchor Brian Williams led Friday's NBC Nightly News with how "the latest Associated Press poll has the President's job approval at 37 percent. For some context here, that matches President Clinton at the lowest point in his presidency."
A week and a half ago, on the February 27 CBS Evening News, anchor Bob Schieffer trumpeted how "a CBS News poll out tonight shows the President's job approval rating has fallen seven points since the hurricane to an all-time low of 34 percent." A week and a day later, on Tuesday of this week (March 7), on ABC's Good Morning America, Robin Roberts asserted: "President Bush's job approval rating has sunk to a new career low. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows the President's overall performance rating now stands at 41 percent."
[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your views, go to: newsbusters.org ]
For details about CBS's poll and how the CBS Evening News covered it, as well as how it polled many more Democrats than Republicans, see the February 28 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth provided a transcript of how Brian Williams led the March 10 NBC Nightly News, with the cited AP/Ipsos poll numbers displayed on screen, leading into a story on the fallout from the aborted ports sale to the UAE:
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann highlighted recent comments by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, delivered during a speech at Georgetown University, seemingly directed at such conservatives as Tom DeLay and President Bush for some of their criticisms of the judiciary, criticisms which O'Connor argued put America's government at risk of heading toward dictatorship. Olbermann, who has several times compared the state of post-9/11 civil liberties in America to George Orwell's novel 1984, began his show seeming to trumpet the boost in credibility afforded to this comparison when a Supreme Court justice raises similar concerns: "It's one thing for us to throw around references to what seemed to be details from George Orwell's novel 1984 springing to life, thanks to post-9/11 thinking. It's quite another when the same kind of comments come from a just-retired justice of the U.S. Supreme Court..." Olbermann also compared actions by Republicans to those in communist countries that had "allowed dictatorships to flourish." Guest Mike Allen of Time magazine later gushed with hope that Olbermann's attention to the matter would inspire greater coverage of O'Connor's comments and "launch a thousand op-eds."
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Saturday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. See: newsbusters.org ]
As Olbermann teased his Friday show, he was so impressed with O'Connor's use of the word "dictatorship" that the Countdown host repeated the word several times just during the teaser: "The beginnings of a dictatorship? Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor actually talked about the beginnings of a dictatorship here in America? A dictatorship? D-I-C-T-A-T-O-R-ship? A dictatorship, did you say? Justice O'Connor's remarkable speech and remarkable poll numbers. Nearly seven out of ten of us think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Dictatorship, huh?"
Olbermann opened his show: "Good evening from Tampa, Florida. Dictatorship, not Dick Cheney, dictatorship. Our fifth story on the Countdown, it's one thing for us to throw around references to what seemed to be details from George Orwell's novel 1984 springing to life, thanks to post-9/11 thinking. It's quite another when the same kind of comments come from a just-retired justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at a major American institution of learning on the subject of political interference in judicial decision-making and the subject of dictatorship, or at least its earliest embryonic form."
Olbermann then recited quotes from O'Connor, as reported by NPR's Nina Totenberg: "It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings." More O'Connor: "Attacks on the judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedoms. I am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning. We must be ever-vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies."
For a transcript of Totenberg's story: newsbusters.org
For NPR's audio posting Totenberg's report: www.npr.org
The Countdown host then moved on to compare actions by DeLay and other Republicans to those in communist countries as he paraphrased more remarks from O'Connor: "She noted that interference with an independent judiciary, not unlike that attempted by Mr. DeLay and other Republicans, had allowed dictatorship to flourish in countries formerly subjected to communist rule." Notably, an examination of Totenberg's account of the speech does not clearly convey whether O'Connor was specifically arguing that actions taken against the judiciary in communist dictatorships were actually similar to those actions supported by Republicans, so Olbermann's qualification that actions in communist dictatorships were "not unlike that attempted by Mr. DeLay and other Republicans" seems to be his own interpretation.
As Olbermann proceeded to relay the latest poll, from the Associated Press, showing President Bush with a low public approval rating, the Countdown host seemed to further attempt to bolster the legitimacy of civil liberties concerns by implying a connection between such fears and the President's low ratings. After the aforementioned comparison to communism, Olbermann continued: "Those specifics might be a little strong for the average American, but not the general point. Sixty-seven percent of those polled by the Associated Press saying the country is on the wrong track. Only 30 percent now thinking we are headed in the right direction."
The Countdown host then brought aboard Time magazine correspondent Mike Allen to further discuss the O'Connor story, and posed the question: "What Justice O'Connor said, surely that is as remarkable a speech as has been given at least this year. Where's the coverage? Where's the outrage?"
Allen relayed his joy that Olbermann was bringing attention to the story: "Oh, Keith, I'm so glad that you picked up on this, and I think now that you've called attention to it, it's going to launch 1,000 op-eds because there was very little coverage of this today."
Resisting the temptation to label statements by Republicans as "extreme," he later continued: "I think what you're going to see here is even people who are traditionally in the President's corner ...are concerned about some of the more, let's say, I was going to say 'extreme,' but you don't want to say that, but some of the more vociferous Republican statements."
After pointing out that O'Connor's criticisms were directed toward statements made by DeLay, Senator John Cornyn and even President Bush, Allen relayed his belief that politicians will have to "answer for" civil liberties concerns: "These concerns about civil liberties and freedom of expression are something that I think people running this fall, and certainly the candidates who are running in '08, and you're going to get to them later in your show, are going to be asked about and are going to have to answer for."
The Time correspondent later seemed to confuse the left's general strategy of imposing their agenda through judicial activism with the anti-judicial activism agenda of conservatives as he argued that Republicans can use the judiciary to "get parts of their agenda made into public policy." Allen: "This is a way that Republicans can get things done even after they don't have the White House or even if you're in a situation, as you're pointing out now, where the President doesn't have a lot of mojo, by having judges that they've appointed that are congruent with their beliefs, they can still get parts of their agenda made into public policy."
In his conclusion, after earlier saying he did not want to label aforementioned statements by Republicans as "extreme," Allen ended up doing so anyway: "I think that she took one of the, some of the more extreme statements and seized on them. These weren't necessarily representative of the views that these lawmakers gave all the time."
Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Friday March 10 Countdown show:
Keith Olbermann, in opening teaser: "Which of these stories will you talking about tomorrow? The beginnings of a dictatorship? Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor actually talked about the beginnings of a dictatorship here in America? A dictatorship? D-I-C-T-A-T-O-R-ship? A dictatorship, did you say? Justice O'Connor's remarkable speech and remarkable poll numbers. Nearly seven out of ten of us think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Dictatorship, huh?"
Olbermann opened the show: "Good evening from Tampa, Florida. Dictatorship, not Dick Cheney, dictatorship. Our fifth story on the Countdown, it's one thing for us to throw around references to what seemed to be details from George Orwell's novel 1984 springing to life, thanks to post-9/11 thinking. It's quite another when the same kind of comments come from a just-retired justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at a major American institution of learning on the subject of political interference in judicial decision-making and the subject of dictatorship, or at least its earliest embryonic form. Sandra Day O'Connor making those remarks in a speech recorded neither on video nor publicly on audiotape at Georgetown University. According to National Public Radio, she told the assembly there that, 'It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.' Wait, there's more, and there's a name. As recapped by NPR, O'Connor also said, 'attacks on the judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedoms. I am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning. We must be ever-vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies.'"
Olbermann: "Those last remarks appear to refer specifically to the former House Minority Leader, Tom DeLay. Though O'Connor did not mention his name, but quoted his attacks on judges at meetings last year of Justice Sunday, the conservative Christian group to which DeLay vented after the Terri Schiavo rulings. The retired justice pulled no punches. She noted that interference with an independent judiciary, not unlike that attempted by Mr. DeLay and other Republicans, had allowed dictatorship to flourish in countries formerly subjected to communist rule. Those specifics might be a little strong for the average American, but not the general point. Sixty-seven percent of those polled by the Associated Press saying the country is on the wrong track. Only 30 percent now thinking we are headed in the right direction. The man in charge of the direction and the country not faring much better in the same poll. Sixty percent say they disapprove of the job Mr. Bush is doing. Thirty-seven percent approve. The lowest rating in the AP poll during Mr. Bush's presidency. Not that such numbers bother him."
The cover of the Washington Post's "Book World" section Sunday preached environmental alarmism, with the headine: "Global Warning: Three New Books Argue That We Are Smothering Our Home." Inside, freelance journalist Thomas Hayden touted three books, two of them featuring "objective" media authors: Elizabeth Kolbert, a former reporter for the New York Times, and Eugene Linden, a longtime global-warming soothsayer for Time magazine.
For the March 12 review, "The Heat Is On: Greenhouse gases and inaction may be roasting our children's future," go to: www.washingtonpost.com
Hayden summarized that the most discouraging problem is dealing with incredibly cautious media outlets, who have not been passionate enough in their exclusion of annoying and worthless conservatives and skeptical scientists:
Hayden concluded by comparing global-warming doubters to critics of Darwinian evolution theory, and the arrogance is strong:
Less than three weeks until the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards." This year they will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Seats are $250.00 each. It's always a fun evening where we turn the tables on the press corps and play video clips on big screens to mock and laugh at their biased reporting. Last year we ended up oversold, and though we've moved to a bigger venue this year to accommodate a larger crowd, it would be wise to buy now.
To place a credit card order via either PayPal or the MRC's own credit card processing system, go to: www.mediaresearch.org
That page also has a order for you can print out and then mail in or fax, as well as the name, phone number and e-mail address for questions.
At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest. Cal Thomas will again generously serve as Master of Ceremonies and this year we will feature a "Tribute to the American Military."
Past award galas have featured a who's who of conservative opinion leaders, from Ann Coulter to Laura Ingraham to Sean Hannity. This year we'll have Lawrence Kudlow, Tony Blankley and Mark Levin serving as award presenters. But we always have surprise participants, such as those who accept the awards. Two years ago Rush Limbaugh popped in. The year before, attendees were treated to the Charlie Daniels Band.
But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.
This year's award categories: Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award Slam Uncle Sam Award Aaron Brown Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis Cindy Sheehan Media Hero Award The I'm Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award
The judges this year who picked the winners for us:
If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:
Cal Thomas, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Neal Boortz, Zell Miller and T. Boone Pickens highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2005 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004," which were presented on Thursday night, April 21, before an audience of more than 950 -- the MRC's largest crowd ever -- packed into the Grand Ballroom of the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C.
Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at the Best of the Worst of Dan Rather and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, we presented a 12-minute video tribute to the Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth. MRC President L. Brent Bozell then honored a founder of the group, John O'Neill, with the MRC's Conservative of the Year Award.
DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 16 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, who served as judges.
Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and host of FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas, served as Master of Ceremonies. Sean Hannity, co-host of FNC's Hannity & Colmes and a national radio talk show host, was the first presenter of nominee videos and announcement of the winner, followed by author Ann Coulter and then Atlanta-based nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Neal Boortz.
In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Colin McNickle of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the target of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" remark; renowned businessman T. Boone Pickens; national radio talk show host Janet Parshall; Midge Decter, author and conservative intellectual; and former U.S. Senator Zell Miller.
The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Vincent Rigdon and the Pledge of Allegiance led by MRC Trustee Dick Eckburg.
After the second award category, we paid tribute to Reed Irvine, the founder of Accuracy in Media who passed away last year, and then Ann Coulter narrated a video review of Dan Rather's worst bias. Later, Cal Thomas urged the audience to put Peter Jennings in their prayers. To introduce acceptor Colin McNickle, attendees watched videos of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" attack of him and, leading into Zell Miller, attendees were treated to video of the Miller/Chris Matthews "duel" exchange from MSNBC's Republican convention coverage.
END Reprint of Summary of last year's event
To watch RealPlayer video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations by Hannity, Coulter and Boortz: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker