Washington Post's Priest Mocks Bill Bennett's Gambling Problems --7/7/2006
2. NYT's Keller: Admin Using Conservatives to Intimidate Journalists
3. NBC Vet Blasts NYT: Like Giving Anne Frank's Address to the Nazis
4. WashPost on Lay: Wanted Him Raped By a 'Panting Tattooed Monster'
5. Citizenship Before Handouts? 'Threat to Millions,' Cries WashPost
6. Walters Promotes Gore's 'Compelling, Horrifying' Global Warming
7. Mia Farrow Slips in Anti-Bush Line During Interview About Darfur
8. "Top Ten Signs the Supreme Court Doesn't Give a Damn"
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. When guest panelist Bill Bennett expressed outrage at Washington Post reporter Dana Priest's story last fall on the CIA's secret prisons for terror suspects in Europe, Priest went all personal on Bennett by saying her story did not break the law: "I mean, some people would like to make casino gambling a crime, but it is not a crime." (The liberal Washington Monthly broke the story in 2003 that Bennett had a bad habit of gambling away thousands of dollars on casino slot machines. The media glee was palpable.)
[This item is adopted from a Sunday night posting, on NewsBusters, by the MRC's Tim Graham: newsbusters.org ]
Bennett blasted the New York Times: "We established a democracy, we, we opposed a king, we have a president of the United States. The founders, let me go back 200 years, James Wilson said, 'the press will be free. No prior restraint on the press. However, when they err, when they are irresponsible, they should be held accountable.' Now, you put Richard Clarke up against Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean. I'm sorry, Richard Clarke has a thing against this administration, that's pretty clearly known. Tom Kean said the details of a valuable program were lost."
Mitchell soon reminded Priest: "Dana, let me point out that the Washington Post, your newspaper, was behind the others but also did publish this story. And a story you wrote last year disclosing the secret CIA prisons won the Pulitzer Prize, but it also led to William Bennett, sitting here, saying that three reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize -- you for that story and Jim Risen and others for another story -- were, 'not worthy of an award but rather worthy of jail.' Dana, how do you plead?"
Most annoying here was Mitchell's trip down memory lane with a pile of historical examples of politicians attacking the media -- Spiro Agnew in 1969, George H.W. Bush in 1988, Howard Dean in 2004, and Bush and Cheney last week -- as if it was a sorry, sorry tactic. Bill Safire exclaimed that a "get the media" politics is historically shameful: "I can say that it gives you a blip, it gives you a chance to get on the offensive against the, the darned media. But in the long view of history, it's a big mistake."
This is why people are angry at the media -- their complete arrogance in the face of criticism. They simply cannot take a challenge to their objectivity and their "news judgment." How many clips could Andrea Mitchell have shown of reporters arrogantly attacking Spiro Agnew on television, or Bush One or Two? Are Presidents never allowed to criticize the press? Is Andrea Mitchell entitled to stand out on the White House lawn for a decade or two and lob bombs, and no one gets to criticize her, ever?
[This item is slightly altered from postings by Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC's TimesWatch.org site, which appeared Monday on TimesWatch: www.timeswatch.org And on our NewsBusters blog: newsbusters.org ]
First, on the July 2 show broadcast from CBS's Manhattan headquarters instead of from the usual Washington, DC studio, Keller made a ludicrous version of the sort of "you never cover the good news" argument similar to the ones the media have mocked in the past when coming from conservatives, pointing out that many times in the past the Times hasn't, in fact, compromised national security:
Keller talked as if he were elected the executive of a nation, not a newspaper, when he explained how he judges whether a national security secret is worth exposing. The short answer is, give complete exposure the benefit of the doubt:
(In Hugh Hewitt's useful analogy from CNN's Reliable Sources, "it's the difference between knowing that people are out to catch speeders in most cities and knowing where the speed traps and the radar and the cameras are.")
Schieffer asked: "You said that you always weigh the possibility of putting lives at risk and you generally would withhold information. Do you think any lives were put at risk? Because some are suggesting that they were by making this public?" Keller offered more excuses: "No. I don't, I don't think any lives were put at risk. You know, the government likes to have it both ways on these kinds of programs. They confide in us when they want to advertise the programs that are successful and then they rebuke us if we write about something that they would prefer we didn't write about. You know, it's interesting that Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, outgoing secretary, who rebuked us for writing the banking story, three years ago took a number of reporters, including one of ours, on a six-day tour of the Middle East, where they were given extensive briefings on sensitive details of how we monitor international financial transactions. They did that because they wanted us to write about their relentlessness in pursuit of terrorism and their successes. You know, so one man's breach of security is another man's public relations."
Asked if he regretted the story, Keller responded by casting criticism as a cynical conservative politics of intimidation, ignoring criticism of the Times' irresponsibility from the 9-11 commission and other sources: "I mean, you know, they're -- it's an election year, beating up on The New York Times is red meat for the conservative base. But, I mean, I don't think this is all politics, I think the administration's a little embarrassed. They -- this is the most secretive White House we've had since the Nixon White House, I think, by general acceptance, and I think they're a little embarrassed that they've had so much trouble holding on to their secrets. And making this kind of a clamor, I suspect, they hope will silence people who do talk to the press and maybe intimidate reporters."
So much for the loopy Olbermann-esque spin that it's just conservatives hoping to "stoke the base" who are distressed by journalists' leaking of government secrets (See: www.mrc.org ). Veteran NBC News reporter Richard Valeriani charged that the New York Times's decision to publish a front-page story exposing a classified government program designed to track terrorist financing was "irresponsible," saying it smacks of "giving Anne Frank's address to the Nazis." (Tip to Poynter's Jim Romenesko: http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&aid=103838 )
[This item, by Rich Noyes who used the MRC archive to locate a screen shot of Valeriani, was posted June 29 on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
An excerpt of Valeriani's June 28 posting on the Huffington Post blog:
As someone who spent most of his adult life as a journalist, much of it covering national security affairs, I find the decision of The New York Times and other newspapers to publish the story about the Administration's money-tracing program to be really irresponsible.
The fault does not lie with the reporters.
It's their job to find out such things.
The fault lies with the editors who put what they perceive as their own self-interest or the interest of their newspaper ahead of the national interest.
Where was the so-called "public interest?" There was no compelling need for the public to know about this. The story itself acknowledged there was nothing illegal going on'€"only an anonymous acknowledgment that there was a "potential" for abuse.
This was show-off journalism, pure and simple....
After the take-over of the American Embassy in Iran in 1979, I found out that six American diplomats had escaped and were at large somewhere in Teheran. The Executive Editor at NBC Nightly News wanted to run the story, but fortunately, management was more sensible, and we did not report the story at the time. As someone pointed out, it would have been like giving Anne Frank's address to the Nazis.
Running the story about the money-tracing program is a version of giving Anne Frank's address to the Nazis.
END of Excerpt
For the posting in full: www.huffingtonpost.com
Ken Lay deserves outrage for his corrupt tenure at Enron, but it's fair to say there is more outrage on the left, as liberals tried desperately to connect Enron to Bush in the 2002 election cycle. In Thursday's Washington Post, in a piece titled "Ken Lay's Last Evasion," Style section essayist Henry Allen channeled the rage that Lay cheated the world by dying with an overwrought revenge fantasy about how now "none of his victims will be able to contemplate that he's locked away in a place that makes the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel look like Hawaii; that he might be spending long nights locked in a cell with a panting tattooed monster named Sumo, a man of strange and constant demands..."
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
He opined in his July 6 tirade:
Allen acknowledged the "strange and vicious outrage" was not admirable:
Yes, the churchmen are right. It's clear that the worst temptation of evil doings is the way they tease out the evil inside us. Funny how liberal essayists sometimes fail to ponder whether there's punishment after death. Allen concluded with less charity, confessing that "depraved as we may be," he wanted Lay's super-size crimes to be avenged with some super-size earthly torture before death.
For Allen's July 6 "essay" in full: www.washingtonpost.com
When Republicans thought about how they could rein in federal spending, one idea was to curb how much federal largesse gets handed out to illegal aliens through fraudulent means. If you are appalled at the thought of denying government money to illegal aliens, money from hard-working taxpayers who play by the rules, then you might fit inside the newsroom at The Washington Post. Their front-page headline on Friday, June 30: "Medicaid Rule Called a Threat to Millions."
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted June 30 on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Reporters Susan Levine and Mary Otto explained that a Medicaid rule takes effect Saturday that requires proof of citizenship before Medicaid recipients collect benefits, even if they have long benefitted from Medicaid. The liberal sermonizing started in paragraph three, although there was not a single liberal label for any "advocate for the poor" anywhere in the piece. They're just "critics," not partisans or lobbyists:
Levine and Otto went first to "critic" Andrea Sloan, a court-appointed guardian for some 40 D.C. residents. The conservative opinion in the piece gets this brief mention:
Levine and Otto did absolutely nothing to gauge the size or impact of illegal aliens adding to the deficit by fraudulently obtaining government benefits. The rest of the article reads like an impassioned editorial, providing only the views of people opposed to the new rule and decrying all the hardships it will cause. They didn't even provide a liberal label for that Hillarycare-promoting socialist, Ron Pollack of Families USA:
For the June 30 Washington Post article: www.washingtonpost.com
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted June 29 on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Barbara Walters, described Mr. and Mrs. Gore this way:
The East Coast has seen a series of strong storms over the past few days. Walters wondered if, you guessed it, global warming could be the culprit. She asked, "Is all of this rain that we've had, is that tied to global warming? Is that what we're feeling?" While not saying yes, Gore gave a strong indication that he thought this was possible:
This apparently wasn't definitive enough for Walters. She questioned him again, "So maybe it is?"
Just in case the audience wasn't completely clear on where the ABC journalist stood on the issue of global warming, Walters briefly turned into film critic Roger Ebert and gave the movie her version of thumbs up: "We've known each other for a long time and it's just such a pleasure to have both of you on with us together. And we want to tell people, again, we don't endorse a lot of things. We talk about a lot of movies, but it's rare that we say to people, it's very important to see this."
Elisabeth Hasselback, the show's token conservative, gingerly attempted to disrupt the love fest with a few pointed questions. She asked Gore what kind of car he drives and mentioned that some scientists deem his theories alarmist. The former Vice President responded by saying, "You know, there are scientists who say that I've sort of given too rosy a view. There are those who have a much darker view." A few seconds later he used the phrase "planetary emergency." Later, he called global warming a "crisis." Walters described the problem as "horrifying" and stated that the planet is "on the brink of disaster." Well, it's a good thing we have Gore to give us the "rosy" version.
And of course, what Al Gore interview would be complete without the requisite media groveling about a 2008 presidential run? Co-host Joy Behar told the former Vice President that although she "loves Hillary," she would vote for Gore again. Barbara Walters cooed to the ex-VP and his wife, "Do you want to run? Do you want him to run?" Finally, the veteran ABC journalist closed the segment by informing the entire audience that they would all be getting a copy of An Inconvenient Truth, the book. Star Jones may be gone, but promoting liberal causes still has a home at The View.
On the Wednesday, June 28 Hardball, actress Mia Farrow slipped in the old "Bush went to war for oil," canard during a discussion about Darfur. MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked Farrow what she wanted the American people and government to do about the crisis in Darfur to which Farrow demanded: "Support the relief agencies, and urge our leadership. There is, of course, a lack of political will. There is no oil in Darfur, only human beings."
[This item, by the MRC's Geoff Dickens, was posted June 29 on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following is the fuller exchange between Farrow and Matthews:
Chris Matthews: "Well, tell us what the American people watching right now and what they're government can do. Individuals can't do much. What do they want or you want the government of the United States to do?"
From the June 29 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs the Supreme Court Doesn't Give a Damn." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. Opinion based on a coin flip so they could make 2:40 showing of "Superman Returns"
9. Tough to concentrate with Ruth Bader Ginsburg trying on bikinis
8. Spent last two days hearing arguments between Barbara Walters and Star Jones
7. All gavels make crazy "boing" sound
6. Recesses now take place at area Hooters
5. Chief Justice John Roberts demands to be called "J. Ro"
4. After heated debate, ruled 7-to-2 that Aerosmith does indeed rock
3. Upheld gay marriage, but only for really hot babes
2. For kicks they reversed an old decision and now Gore's President
1. Invited Anna Nicole Smith back to stand around and look slutty
-- Brent Baker