In Gregg Stories, Short Shrift to White House's Census Grab --2/13/2009
2. NPR Asks FNC to Drop Williams' NPR Affiliation on O'Reilly
3. CNN's Kyra Phillips on Obama: 'Lincoln Came to Life'
4. CBS's Early Show: 'Lincoln's Sexuality Still Remains a Mystery'
5. Tickets Available for MRC's March 19 'DisHonors Awards' and Gala
ABC, CBS and NBC centered their Thursday night stories, on Senator Judd Gregg's decision to withdraw as Commerce Secretary-nominee, around his disagreement with the Obama administration's "stimulus" plan -- with only passing mention, if any, of the administration's wish to move the 2010 census count from Commerce to the White House.
CNN's Jessica Yellin reported at the top of the 6 PM EST Situation Room that "sources close to Senator Gregg say the bigger issue for him was the White House's effort to take control of the census," yet that politicalization of the census wasn't mentioned at all in a full CBS Evening News story from Chip Reid, who found time to relay how "a top Democratic source on Capitol Hill was more blunt, saying Gregg actively campaigned for the job, then 'erratically dropped out without warning,'" nor in a Katie Couric-Bob Schieffer discussion.
On ABC's World News, George Stephanopoulos offered a clause about the census, but couched as merely a GOP allegation: "Since the nomination became public there were two public issues over who would administer the census -- that was getting politicized according to Republican officials -- and also over the stimulus bill."
Only after a full story on Gregg and Obama campaigning in Illinois for the "stimulus" bill did NBC's Chuck Todd get to the census issue: "There actually might have been a raw political reason and that was the fact that the White House was going to take control of the census away from the Commerce Department and into their own hands. And that had become sort of a mini firestorm, both on the right and the left, and at the end of the day, with the White House and Rahm Emanuel wanting control of that census, that was yet another reason why Judd Gregg decided he didn't want the job."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A February 11 CyberAlert item, "Networks Silent on White House Grab of 2010 Census," recounted:
The Obama administration's decision to have the White House supervise the 2010 Census -- a response to left-wing complaints that the Census was too important to leave under the authority of Republican Judd Gregg, the nominee for Commerce Secretary -- has thus (as of Tuesday morning) far drawn absolutely no attention from the three broadcast networks, with not a single mention on the ABC, CBS or NBC morning or evening newscasts.
This would undoubtedly be a huge story if the White House were still in Republican hands and it was the GOP that was attempting to take over the Census. As the Wall Street Journal's John Fund reported on Tuesday: "'There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement,' a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. 'And it's called politics, not science.'"
Entire previous CyberAlert item: www.mrc.org
Here's more proof that NPR's most devoted listeners consider it their own liberal playground. NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard reported Wednesday: "NPR has more than 400 reporters, editors, producers and analysts on its news team, and none is more of a lightning rod than Juan Williams. But it's usually not for anything he says on NPR." It's about his appearances on Fox News, where he had a contract before joining NPR in 2000.
Shepard wrote: "Last year, 378 listeners emailed me complaints and frustrations about things Williams said on Fox. The listener themes are similar: Williams 'dishonors NPR.' He's an 'embarrassment to NPR.' 'NPR should severe their relationship with him.' It's gotten so serious that NPR's Vice President of News, Ellen Weiss, 'has asked Williams to ask that Fox remove his NPR identification whenever he is on O'Reilly."
[MRC's Tim Graham posted this story on NewsBusters Thursday: newsbusters.org ]
Shepard didn't ask which network is more willing to air viewpoints their audiences would dislike, since other than Williams, there is no Fox News analysts who regularly appears on NPR. (An NPR host was famously rude to Bill O'Reilly in 2003, and then-NPR ombud Jeffrey Dvorkin agreed the host, Terry Gross, came across as a "pro-[Al] Franken partisan.")
The current NPR ombud said of Williams: "Some think he is a conservative because he's on Fox. Others think Fox uses him as a liberal voice because, whether true or not, a perception exists that NPR is liberal."
But Shepard noted that letter-writers also object to other NPR people on Fox:
I question whether listeners, overall, object to what Williams says outside of NPR or the fact that he says it on Fox. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg appears on the Washington, D.C., ABC affiliate, WJLA-TV. Rarely do I get email criticizing her TV appearances. But in 2008, there were a healthy number of emails attacking political correspondent Mara Liasson for her regular appearances on Fox News.
The latest Juan Williams outrage, according to angry liberal NPR listeners, was a January 26 appearance on The O'Reilly Factor when he proclaimed Michelle Obama could become a political liability for her husband:
"Michelle Obama, you know, she's got this Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going. If she starts talking, as Mary Katharine [Ham, a conservative blogger] is suggesting, her instinct is to start with this blame America, you know, I'm the victim. If that stuff starts coming out, people will go bananas and she'll go from being the new Jackie O to being something of an albatross."
Shepard passed along text of one letter: "I am concerned about the objectivity Juan Williams brings to his news analysis," wrote Alison Fowler. "He has made statements on Fox News regarding Michelle Obama that appear to paint her as an angry Black Nationalist without any basis in fact. Despite the fact that these statements were not made on NPR, they undermine his credibility as an impartial news analyst on your network."
Shepard interviewed Williams and he called it a "faux controversy" at first:
But then he reviewed the tape and realized that "the tone and tenor of my comments may have spurred a strong reaction to what I considered to be pure political analysis of the First Lady's use of her White House pulpit," said Williams via email. "I regret that in the fast-paced, argumentative format my tone and tenor seems to have led people to see me as attacking instead of explaining my informed point of view."
His remarks apparently caused him to be taken into the woodshed for a stern lecture at NPR:
His "Stokely Carmichael" comment got the attention of NPR's top managers. They are in a bind because Williams is no longer a staff employee but an independent contractor. As a contract news analyst, NPR doesn't exercise control over what Williams says outside of NPR.
"Juan Williams is a contributor to NPR programs as a news analyst," said Ron Elving, NPR's Washington editor. "What he says on NPR is the product of a journalistic process that includes editors. What he says when he is not on our air is not within our control. But we recognize that what he says elsewhere reflects on NPR, and we have discussed that fact with him specifically in regard to his remarks on Fox News regarding Michelle Obama."
Williams told Shepherd he was referring to articles in The Politico and The Atlantic Monthly. But he certainly could have cited Michelle Obama's Princeton research paper, which discussed Stokely Carmichael's "Black Power" book and theories of separationism and how they "guided" her in designing her thesis, asking Princeton alumni whether they were more in line with a "separationist and/or pluralist" viewpoint or an "integrationist and/or assimilationist" ideology. She was disappointed to find more "integrationists."
Her thesis began with the notion that she would always be disdained by whites at Princeton: "Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with whites at Princeton, to them, I will always be a black first and a student second."
Shepard's post: www.npr.org
Bozell column on O'Reilly vs. Terry Gross: www.mrc.org
Michelle's Princeton thesis: www.scribd.com
The correspondent's odd comparison came at the end of the 8am Eastern hour of the CNN program, as part of the network's all-day "From Lincoln to Obama" special programming. Phillips traveled to Springfield for the occasion, and began her report with another "parallel," as she put, between the two presidents concerning their names: "For example, this campaign flag [from Lincoln's presidential campaign]. Look at this -- 'Abram Lincoln.' They even spelled his name wrong. So it wasn't just Obama that's been having issues with his name -- also, Abraham Lincoln. Just one of the parallels that we found as we've been spending time here."
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Phillips played three soundbites from tourists visiting Lincoln's home in the Illinois capital, all of whom played up the Obama/Lincoln connections. She made the strongest push for the supposed "parallels" between the two later in her report:
PHILLIPS: Obama, a law professor and civil rights lawyer, inspired by what took place in this law office centuries ago. Lincoln, the lawyer -- a strong orator with a sense of morality, open to new ideas, listening to his critics. Two attorneys, two different lifetimes -- both men dedicated to being scholars of the Constitution.
Near the end of the report, Phillips made her "Lincoln came to life" remark, and after playing a clip from Obama's 2007 announcement, she gushed that "for the first time in history, in the humble heart of the Midwest, we all witnessed Lincoln's dream and Obama's reality. Abe Lincoln knew who we were. He just didn't know what we might become -- until now."
The full transcript of Kyra Phillip's report from Thursday's American Morning:
KYRA PHILLIPS: ...[I]t's not just not talk about Lincoln. It's talk about Lincoln and the Obama connection. For example, this campaign flag [from Lincoln's presidential campaign]. Look at this -- 'Abram Lincoln.' They even spelled his name wrong. So it wasn't just Obama that's been having issues with his name -- also, Abraham Lincoln. Just one of the parallels that we found as we've been spending time here.
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, on Thursday's CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez did a segment highlighting five "...things you may not know about Honest Abe," including his sexual orientation. The segment featured New York University history professor Jeffrey Sammons, who argued: "One of the very interesting stories about Abraham Lincoln is that he might have been gay. Lincoln actually did sleep in the same bed with a gentleman for a four-year period." Rodriguez concluded: "So the question of Abraham Lincoln's sexuality still remains a mystery."
In addition to spreading revisionist rumors about Lincoln's sexuality, the segment also focused on his racist attitudes as Rodriguez declared: "Myth number two, he was the great champion of equality." Sammons explained: "Lincoln is known as the great emancipator or the great father of black people, but Lincoln was a man of his times when it came to race. He indicated that he did not believe that blacks were equal to whites, said to have used the n-word in speeches and in letters. So there's no indication that Abraham Lincoln believes in black equality."
[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Here is the full transcript of the February 12 segment:
Every year, we sell out. So don't procrastinate. One of the biggest and best conservative events -- the Media Research Center's annual gala -- is fast approaching. Join us for this year's gala featuring the "DisHonors Awards for the Worst Reporting of the Year" and the annual "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," this year to be presented to Brit Hume.
It will take place on Thursday evening, March 19th, at the Grand Hyatt Washington.
The MRC gala is one of the most fun events of the year. Rush Limbaugh called it "a terrific show...a great, great, great assemblage of people....Everybody just had a blast!" Sean Hannity exclaimed: "I love this event!"
The DisHonors Awards winners will be announced "Oscar-style," with videos played of each nominated hilariously-biased quote followed by surprise guests on hand to accept each award in jest on behalf of a media figure.
Cal Thomas will serve as Master of Ceremonies with awards presented by Ann Coulter, Joe Scarborough and Ken Cribb. And, as always, we'll have a fantastic cast of conservatives joining us to roast of the liberal media. "Joe the Plumber" and Andrew Breitbart are amongst the many who have already confirmed.
DisHonors Awards categories: "The Media's Messiah Award," "The Obamagasm Award" "Half-Baked Alaska Award for Pummeling Palin" and the "Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis."
Plus, there'll be lots of funny video clips as we mock the media's infatuation with Barack Obama. It's sure to be an entertaining evening.
Tickets for the Gala are $250 per person. If you are interested in joining us or for more information, e-mail Sara Bell at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call, 9 to 5:30 PM EST weekdays: (800) 672-1423.
We have limited space and this event fills up quickly, so please make your reservation soon. The MRC has a reduced rate for the Grand Hyatt Washington, but the deadline to reserve your room is February 18. To book your room, please call the hotel at (800) 233-1234.
We hope you can join us!
Online page with information: www.mediaresearch.org
For a look at all the fun at last year's event, with videos: www.mediaresearch.org
DisHonors/Galas from earlier years: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker