ABCNews.com Pushes Gun Control; On TV Tapper Offers More Balance --4/17/2007
2. Newsweek: Imus Flap Shows Media 'In White Hands' Enables Racism
3. Levin 'Ultraconservative' Like Hannity, Miller Just 'Liberal'
4. Liberal Bias Invades NFL: Olbermann to Co-Host NBC Football
Monday afternoon ABCNews.com was quick to put up a speculative posting, without any real knowledge of what the shooter used, headlined, "Lapse of Federal Law Allows Sale of Large Ammo Clips," and a bit later ABCNews.com posted an interactive poll with a very leading question: "Do you think this incident is a reason to pass stricter gun control legislation?" But in a World News story, while Jake Tapper highlighted calls for stricter gun laws, he also gave equal time to calls "for greater access to guns" so people can protect themselves and he undermined ABC's idle ammo clip posting by pointing out how since "politicians don't necessarily know the details" of what really occurred, "they don't know whether any laws were broken or any loopholes need to be closed." Tapper also discredited the assumption of the unscientific ABCNews.com poll, citing how a Gallup survey found the public is "more inclined to blame these incidents on the ways parents raise their children or on popular culture than on the availability of guns."
After recalling how following the Columbine shooting, then-President Bill Clinton "called for the Republican-controlled Congress to close the loophole. It did not, which still angers Marjorie Lindholm, at the time a Sophomore at Columbine," Tapper pointed out how "a massacre in Texas in 1991 prompted a complete opposite reaction -- for greater access to guns" since a patron at the restaurant had to leave her gun in her car "so as not to violate the law against carrying a gun in public."
A similar version of Tapper's piece aired later on an hour-long Nightline.
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A "The Blotter" blog, run by ABC's investigative unit led by Brian Ross, at 2:30pm EDT posted: "Lapse of Federal Law Allows Sale of Large Ammo Clips." An excerpt:
High capacity ammo clips became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons....
Virginia law enforcement officials have not identified the weapon used in the shootings today at Virginia Tech, but gun experts say the number of shots fired indicate, at the very least, that the gunman had large quantities of ammunition.
"When you have a weapon that can shoot off 20, 30 rounds very quickly, you're going to have a lot more injuries," said Peter Hamm of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
END of Excerpt
That's online at: blogs.abcnews.com
There are at least 29 confirmed dead in the shooting at Virginia Tech University, making it the worst campus shooting in American history. Law enforcement officials believe the gunman was firing at least two 9mm semi-automatic pistols.
Do you think this incident is a reason to pass stricter gun control legislation?
- Yes. This shows the violence that can occur when someone has access to handguns.
- No. Violent shootings are isolated incidents and it's irresponsible to link them to gun control.
- I'm not sure. I need more information.
END of poll question: abcnews.go.com
Tapper's story on the April 16 World News: "Gun violence on a campus, a reminder of that grim morning at Columbine High School eight years ago this week. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others, before turning the guns on themselves that day. A public outcry followed. Violent video games and movies were blamed, as were goth culture, heavy metal music and bullying. Then-President Bill Clinton pushed for stricter gun control. Harris and Klebold bought their guns at a gun show, which are exempt from federal background check laws. So, Clinton called for the Republican-controlled Congress to close the loophole. It did not, which still angers Marjorie Lindholm, at the time a Sophomore at Columbine."
Newsweek's cover story on Don Imus this week carried a confessional tone, offering penance from Newsweek bigwigs for enabling the I-Man due to their hunger to be a part of the "in crowd." Weston Kosova's story lectured about how the Imus incident compares to Hurricane Katrina and the O.J. Simpson verdict in showing "media power is still concentrated largely in white hands and, as a result, racism is sometimes tolerated and enabled in ways that many white Americans are unable, or unwilling, to acknowledge."
The story in the April 23 Newsweek: www.msnbc.msn.com
Newsweek is also contrite this week its coverage of the wildly mishandled Duke lacrosse rape allegations, but they offered no broad Big Picture moral about how that shows a media too willing to believe in racism in every legal case. In fact, the story has a strange subheadline, with the notion of "innocence" in quotes ("That Night at Duke: They spent a year accused of kidnapping, assault and rape. Now, though, the three Duke lacrosse players were told they were 'innocent.' The inside story of the infamous evening"), as in you shouldn't quite believe it, and it prides itself that all the injustice done to the three accused white boys wasn't just a nightmare: "It was also maturing." See: www.msnbc.msn.com
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The money quote -- or the news magazine's outbreak in liberal editorializing on the Imus article -- came a few paragraphs in, as Kosova insisted:
Kosova continued that Imus might have been spared in another time, but now we're in the era of Obama and Hillary, when diversity is king and bullies are out of favor:
The story on "What Really Happened That Night At Duke" explored the feelings of horror the three accused players and their families went through, but also highlighted how they were still guilty of distastefully hiring strippers and being unhappy they weren't white girls. That might explain the quote marks around the "innocence" part: "They spent a year accused of kidnapping, assault and rape. Now, though, the three Duke lacrosse players were told they were 'innocent.'"
Susannah Meadows and Evan Thomas even congratulate themselves that all this injustice has made the white boys more mature:
So who does Newsweek award the credit for knocking Imus off his powerful perch? Kosova hailed the leftists at Media Matters for their role in getting the anti-Imus bandwagon rolling -- "a liberal group whose sole purpose is rooting out and 'correcting conservative misinformation in the media.'" So Don Imus is a conservative, according to Newsweek? Or racial slurs define you as a conservative? But the liberal media watchdog apparently helped convince two liberal networks that they were letting down their fellow liberals, with liberal employees melting the ears of their bosses:
Perhaps the most interesting part of the article were the breast-beating confessions from Newsweek's Howard Fineman and Evan Thomas and other media bigwigs that they had tolerated Imus and his attempts at humor:
# "I wanted to be where the action was on my beat," says NEWSWEEK's Howard Fineman, an Imus regular. "The show, however unsavory it could be, was one of those places. I thought, or perhaps only imagined, that being on the show gave me more clout on the beat."
# NEWSWEEK's Evan Thomas, another regular guest on the show, sometimes wondered if Imus went too far. "But I rationalized my appearances by pointing to other prominent journalists and politicians who did it, too," he says. "I was eager to sell books, and I liked being in the in crowd."
# He occasionally accused me of being drunk or being queer," says NBC chief White House correspondent David Gregory, a frequent guest on the show. "Imus was living in two worlds. There was the risque, sexually offensive, sometimes racially offensive, satire, and then there was this political salon about politics and books. Some of us tuned in to one part and tuned out the other ... Whether I was numb to the humor that offended people or in denial, I don't know."
# He once called Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz, a regular on the show, a "boner-nosed, beanie-wearing Jew boy." Kurtz considered it part of the game. "I wasn't thrilled, but I just shrugged it off as Imus's insult shtik," says Kurtz, who has said that Imus helped make one of his books a best seller. "I don't believe for a second that he doesn't like Jewish people." Like the coolest bully on the playground, the outlaw kid others wanted to be seen with, Imus made his guests feel honored to be insulted by him. He tempered the abuse with just enough ego-stroking flattery to keep them coming back for more.
Kosova balanced the piece a tiny bit with some quotes from the Imus camp, and this note that Imus could skewer the powerful pretty effectively with facts, not just insults:
Newsweek's April 23 cover story (see #2 above) also carried a half-page feature on page 29 about the "Leaders of the 'Shock Jock' Pack." Writer Jessica Ramirez, who wrote that "Don Imus's world imploded last week after he made racist and sexist remarks," used data from Talkers Magazine, including a list of "Up-And-Comers," to describe some other hosts, but he delivered quite a labeling contrast. He described Marc Levin as "an ultraconservative in the Sean Hannity style," but offered an upbeat assessment of Stephanie Miller as "one of the most popular and funny liberal radio hosts in the country" while failing to apply any ideological tag to a new Air America host. Newsweek also featured the "most outrageous comments of 2006" as compiled by the far-left Media Matters -- naturally all from conservative hosts.
[This item is adapted from a Monday posting by Tim Graham on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org
Mark Levin: "An ultraconservative in the Sean Hannity style. This best-selling author's show is syndicated through ABC Radio Networks."
Stephanie Miller: "One of the most popular and funny liberal radio hosts in the country. Miller is syndicated by Jones Radio Networks."
Ed Schultz: "A dominant liberal voice with a political bent similar to Al Franken's. Schultz is syndicated by Jones Radio Networks."
Lionel: "An intellectual known for his irreverent political and social humor. His show is currently broadcast via the WOR Radio Network."
Newsweek didn't explain that Lionel's website is boasting he'll soon join Air America (on May 14), and he loves 9-11 "truth" websites, as he says "Keep an open mind and remember....think!" See: lionelonline.com
The fifth up-and-comer is Jack Rice of WCCO in Minneapolis, who doesn't seem to be located on either ideological pole.
A chart called "Voices Carry" listed the new Talkers ranking of top talk shows by listenership. The list was topped by the sentence "Some of America's top talkers -- and who might be next in the cross hairs."
Right below that was a red color bar, which designated who is "On the 'most outrageous comments of 2006' list compiled by Media Matters." Somehow, in the top eight, only six of them are on the red list: Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, Beck, Boortz, and O'Reilly are in red. Laura Ingraham and Dr. Laura Schlessinger are not.
What other conclusion can the reader draw but that Newsweek thinks Media Matters should be the definitive arbiter of who's allowed to be on talk radio?
NBC has named Keith Olbermann, best-known for his left-wing rantings on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, co-host of Football Night in America, NBC's Sunday night NFL highlights show aired before an NFL game.
NBC's April 16 press release announced:
Keith Olbermann has been named co-host of NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show, joining host Bob Costas and co-host Cris Collinsworth, and analysts Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber, it was announced today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. Olbermann will call highlights and debate the NFL news and issues of the day with his "Football Night in America" colleagues. This will be Olbermann's first network sports assignment in six years....
"This will, obviously, be great fun and a great privilege for me," Olbermann says. "To be reunited with NBC Sports, and Dick, and the entire production team, produces all the warm-and-fuzzies you'd be expecting. And even if they weren't old friends and colleagues, to get to work with the nonpareil of sportscasters in Bob, and the most insightful and honest of sports analysts in Cris, will be rewarding and challenging. I hope I can hold up my end of the equation."
END of Excerpt
For the press release: nbcumv.com
First was Thomas Boswell, who on May 24 wrote, "This week, our trend toward the celebrity-as-universal-expert may have reached a comic peak. ABC thinks maybe Rush Limbaugh can become the next Howard Cosell." Limbaugh, Boswell sneered verbally, "appeals to the right demographic: divorced, couch-potato, gun-worshiping, angry white guys. Sorry, I mean patriotic American males ages 25 to 34."
All that was just the buildup to Boswell's big cheap-shot finish: "Could [ESPN's baseball coverage] use another voice in the booth? If Al Michaels gets Rush Limbaugh, maybe, someday, Jon Miller could be lucky enough to team up with John Rocker."
For a taste of what might be in store for football fans, there's always the example of well known leftist Bryant Gumbel. On the February 7 Real Sports on HBO he infamously slurred Republicans as racists:
For video: www.mrc.org
-- Brent Baker