Opening in 3,528 theaters, the lavishly promoted The Golden Compass pulled in $26.1 million, according to, far short of what studio New Line Cinema expected, which was between $30 and $40 million. Compass drew the ire of many Christians because the movie is based on the first book in a trilogy called His Dark Materials by avowed atheist Philip Pullman, who has said publicly that his books are about killing God. In USA Today , Rolf Mittweg of New Line Cinema conceded that the “religion controversy might have had an effect.” By contrast, during the same opening weekend in... continue reading
How good (or bad) was Friday's job report? Depends on which paper you take. Reading the Times' coverage from Peter Goodman and Michael Grynbaum, " Slowing Growth in Jobs Seen as Ominous Sign for Economy " (as well asGoodman's previous reporting ) one could assume that Goodman is angling to out-gloom economics reporter Louis Uchitelle as the Times' resident dark-cloud hunter. "The nation gained a modest 94,000 jobs in November, the Labor Department reported yesterday, pulling back considerably from the previous month in the clearest sign yet that the American economy was headed for a substantial slowdown . "But the... continue reading
CNN “American Morning” followed up news of President Bush’s mortgage rate freeze by asking one homeowner – who’s at least three months behind in his payments – whether it was “fair.” Maryland resident Ed Anderson, who was interviewed earlier in the week by CNN, said he didn’t know he had an adjustable rate mortgage until his payments went up. He won’t be affected by the rate freeze, because his already adjusted. “Your rates have already reset, and as we mentioned this looks at rates that are going to reset going forward. Is that fair?” anchor John Roberts asked Anderson on... continue reading
Read the Times Much, Mr. Keller? "We have a war going very badly in Iraq, and another one in Afghanistan where our declaration of victory looks very premature." - From Executive Editor Bill Keller's Hugo Young Memorial Lecture in London on November 29, sponsored by the liberal Guardian (U.K.) newspaper. The "Discriminatory" Boy Scouts "For three years the Philadelphia council of the Boy Scouts of America held its ground. It resisted the city's request to change its discriminatory policy toward gay people despite threats that if it did not do so, the city would evict the group from a municipal... continue reading
Times Watch's Tuesday report on Executive Editor Bill Keller's speech in London (in which he spouted offabout talk radio, Karl Rove, and how badly the Iraq war is going, among other liberal cliches)was cited on Thursday night's edition of "The O'Reilly Factor." The host didn't hold back. From his "Pinheads and Patriots" segment: "New York Times editor Bill Keller is not a patriot. Speaking at an event organized by the anti-American British newspaper The Guardian, Keller trashed just about everybody, including his predecessor at the Times. You can read all about it at, the Web site. But there's no... continue reading
The Centers for Disease Control reported that for the first time in more than a decade, the teen birth rate has increased by 3 percent . The New York Times and The Washington Post used the report to take yet another shot at abstinence-only education. The Times salvo came in the first paragraph, saying that the finding “fueled the debate about whether the Bush administration's abstinence-only education efforts were working.” The Times bemoaned the money spent annually on abstinence education (currently $176 million), quoted President Bush's 2006 State of the Union address praising abstinence and adoption as a means of... continue reading
After Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s plan to rescue America from the “mortgage crisis” was revealed December 5, networks attacked the plan with left-wing criticism, saying that the costly plan would not affect “enough people.” After Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s plan to rescue America from the “mortgage crisis” was revealed December 5, networks attacked the plan with left-wing criticism, saying that the costly plan would not affect “enough people.” “It sounds as if it doesn’t help anybody who had their mortgage rate increased or got foreclosed in 2007,” protested Charlie Gibson anchor of ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson.” That broadcast... continue reading
If you want to write the next great American novel, you could have a tough go of it considering the current situation in publishing. Maybe it’s the digital age, but people just aren’t reading books like they used to, according to PBS’s Jim Lehrer, long-time anchor of “The NewsHour.” (Click here for audio) “Well, this is what is called a transition time, meaning they’re not doing very well right now,” Lehrer said. “There are a lot of books being published. Too many books are being published. As I tell people all the time, I wish a whole of people would... continue reading
Economics reporters Edmund Andrews and Vikas Bajaj teamed up for Thursday's off-lead story on the Bush administration's agreement with the mortgage industry to freeze interest rates forsome homeowners who bought houses with subprime loans. The story's tone is set in the subhead- the plan doesn't go far enough in bailing out homeowners: " Lenders Agree To Freeze Rates On Some Loans - Subprime Relief Plan - Democrats Say Proposal by the White House Is Not Enough ." "The Bush administration reached an agreement with the mortgage industry on Wednesday on a plan to freeze interest rates for up to five... continue reading
A movie depicting a pregnant teenager scheduling an abortion, and even going to the abortion clinic, isn't pro-choice enough for one film critic. Unlike summer hits Knocked Up and Waitress, the latest film about an unexpected pregnancy, Juno, treats abortion as a real option. Nevertheless, Entertainment Weekly film critic Lisa Schwarzbaum criticized Juno for failing to preach about the “hard-won, precious rights” of abortion. SPOILER ALERT: Juno, the pregnant 16-year-old lead character, scheduled an abortion but decided instead to place her baby for adoption after an encounter with a pro-life activist outside the clinic. In contrast to the New York... continue reading