2. New York Times: Craig Scandal Means GOP Is Doomed (Again)
3. CNN Uses Katrina Anniversary to Promote Democratic Talking Points
4. ABC's GMA Touts Rambling Tennis Star's Concern Over 'Green Noise'
5. AP Runs Story on MRC, 'Study: Democrats Get More A.M. Airtime'
6. Actor William Baldwin Wears Anti-Bush '01.20.09' T-Shirt on ABC
7. 'Top Ten Signs Your Neighbor is Hiding Osama Bin Laden'
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Not only did Shuster mock the President's return to New Orleans on the two-year anniversary of Katrina, as he noted: "The memories of an incompetent administration divorced from reality are still hard to forget," he also took umbrage with a harmless prank of Karl Rove as he concluded his long-winded rant this way:
The following is Chris Matthews' introduction at the top of the show, followed by the entire Shuster piece as they occurred on the August 29 edition of Hardball on MSNBC:
Chris Matthews: "Good evening, I'm Chris Matthews. Welcome to Hardball. Our top story, obviously, tonight President Bush resides in a political bunker. The downfall of his party driven by every movement of the body politic. Just 48 hours ago he gave up his pal, Alberto Gonzales to the political wolves. Yesterday he watched in awe as yet another warrior of the cultural right was caught in the spotlight of illegal, sexual misconduct. Misconduct, against which his party has mounted a chest-thumping, full-throated campaign, a campaign of words, that once again, has not been underwritten by actions. Even their holiest colleagues are now forced to acknowledge that the public indecency of Senator Craig has exposed the sub-prime Republican morality of those who have dared to rate themselves as culturally conservative?"
Matthews: "But we begin tonight with Hardball's David Shuster and his report on the tough times now facing the Grand Old Party."
New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg used Senator Larry Craig's men's room misdeed for a Wednesday front-page "Political Memo," titled "A Scandal-Scarred G.O.P. Asks, 'What Next?'" in which she lovingly lingered over a long list of Republican ethical woes. She cited Craig as "only the latest in a string of accusations of sexual foibles and financial misdeeds that have landed Republicans in the political equivalent of purgatory, the realm of late-night comic television."
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
After revealing the dingy details of Craig's behavior in a men's room in a Minneapolis airport in July (Craig pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct), Stolberg snorted: "It was a bizarre spectacle, and only the latest in a string of accusations of sexual foibles and financial misdeeds that have landed Republicans in the political equivalent of purgatory, the realm of late-night comic television."
Stolberg lovingly lingered over a familiar list of Republican ethical woes: "Forget Mark Foley of Florida, who quit the House last year after exchanging sexually explicit e-mail messages with under-age male pages, or Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist whose dealings with the old Republican Congress landed him in prison. They are old news, replaced by a fresh crop of scandal-plagued Republicans, men like Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, whose phone number turned up on the list of the so-called D.C. Madam, or Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska and Representative Rick Renzi of Arizona, both caught up in F.B.I. corruption investigations."
In a reach for balance, Stolberg devoted a single sentence to Democrat Rep. William Jefferson of cash in the freezer fame. But there was no mention of another airport incident, this one involving Congressional Democrat Bob Filner, charged earlier this month with assault of an airline worker at Dulles International Airport in a case involving a delayed bag. The Times only printed an Associated Press brief on the Filner case.
Stolberg piled on: "It is enough to make a self-respecting Republican want to tear his hair out in frustration, especially as the party is trying to defend an unpopular war, contain the power of the new Democratic majority on Capitol Hill and generate some enthusiasm among voters heading toward the presidential election in 2008."
Stolberg even delved down into scandals involving state GOP machines: "Then again, Washington does not have a monopoly on the latest trend among Republicans. Just ask Thomas Ravenel, the state treasurer of South Carolina, who had to step down as state chairman of Rudolph W. Giuliani's presidential campaign after he was indicted on cocaine charges in June.
For Stolberg's August 29 article: www.nytimes.com
O'Brien, on-location in New Orleans, appeared during the 5pm EDT hour of The Situation Room. Host Wolf Blitzer asked her what people along the Gulf Coast were saying about the rebuilding effort. O'Brien's reply: "You know, Wolf, if you had to pick on a single word, then I think that word would be they're very, very frustrated." She went on to say that people there also "feel let down by their local leaders, the state leaders, and the federal government, too." O'Brien mentioned the local and state leaders first, but they were not to be mentioned in her report. It focused entirely on the response of the Bush administration, and Democrats' criticism. In addition to this "frustration" she cited, O'Brien would go on to talk about a conspiracy theory about why the federal aid to the region has been so slow.
[This item was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, Newsbusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The first part of Soledad O'Brien's August 28 report:
[File footage from 2005] GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes. We will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives. And all who question the future of the Crescent City need to know -- there is no way to imagine America without New Orleans. And this great city will rise again.
There is a bit of the disconnect between the President saying New Orleans will "rise again" and asking whether the city will ever completely recover from Katrina in a poll question.
After the report concluded, O'Brien commented further on what she had gathered from people in the area on why they think the federal government aid has been slow, and she seemed to agree with the conspiracy theory that is apparently common among some of the residents along the Gulf Coast.
O'BRIEN: You know, one of the things we heard, Wolf, a lot, was the sense that there's this policy of benign neglect. In other words, maybe there's a sense that the help is slow in coming because America doesn't want people to really come back and repopulate the Gulf Coast, New Orleans specifically, in the way that it once was. You hear that, whether you're talking about the Lower Ninth Ward or you're talking about the middle class communities in the Lake View District. All across, I've heard that so many times, not only over the last couple of weeks, but the last several months, as well. And I think people feel that maybe the government is not funding the money fast enough because they don't want people to really come back -- Wolf.
Earlier, during the actual report, O'Brien included the apparently obligatory sound bites from two of the Democratic frontrunners:
O'BRIEN: The White House says it's living up to its responsibility. But the government's response to Katrina damaged Mr. Bush politically, giving Democrats running for president plenty of ammunition.
The report concluded with soundbites from three residents of the heavily-damaged Ninth Ward of the city, all of whom reenforced the sense that the aid to the area has been slow.
Soledad O'Brien's Monday segment on "some of the leading White House hopefuls" and their recent visits to New Orleans might leave one wondering where the "Paid for by the DNC" caption in small font was hiding. O'Brien's report juxtaposed a clip from a recent speech by Barack Obama with stock footage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and featured only the three Democrat frontrunners. Clearly, other "White House hopefuls" have visited the hurricane-damaged area in and around New Orleans, but CNN chose to focus on Clinton, Obama, and Edwards.
The segment, which aired 40 minutes into the 4pm EDT hour of Monday's The Situation Room, previewed O'Brien's upcoming "Hurricane Katrina recovery summit" for some of the presidential candidates. Though O'Brien mentioned Republican candidate Duncan Hunter's participation in the summit, she chose to highlight the two other participants -- Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, as well as Barack Obama, who had visited New Orleans the previous day.
Besides the Obama/stock footage juxtaposition, which came at the very beginning of the report, it served a reminder of the fact that John Edwards announced his candidacy in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
A transcript of O'Brien's introduction and segment from he August 27 The Situation Room:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: In just about three hours, we're going be kicking off a Hurricane Katrina recovery summit. That means we get to sit down with some of the presidential hopefuls to talk about their strategies. Hillary Clinton is going to be here, John Edwards also, Duncan Hunter. Barack Obama was here yesterday in New Orleans, and one of the things that he said was that he planned on making rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina a top priority.
Host Wolf Blitzer asked O'Brien about her visit to New Orleans, and reminded viewers that she had reported from Louisiana during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
WOLF BLITZER: A lot of us remember, Soledad -- I think most of our viewers -- your coverage right at the time of Katrina. What's it like to come back there now, two years later, and see sights that you saw two years ago, obviously? Has it gotten better? Is it the same? Give us a little flavor.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, weatherman and liberal global warming activist Sam Champion, featured tennis star Billie Jean King in his latest attempt to hype the danger of climate change. In a new segment entitled, "Just One Person," King vaguely described her new environmental charity, GreenSlam, in such a way that it appeared to confuse GMA audience members standing behind her. At Champion's prompting, she bemoaned all the "green noise," a term she never explained, in today's society. Equally confusing were her constant references to "green collar studies."
Most bizarre, however, was when the tennis star appeared to be distracted by items in the studio. King noticed a tennis ball wedged in an adjacent camera and fixated on it as an example of recycling. Apparently bewildering even Champion, she explained, "We want to use things again. Okay? You see this tennis ball? You have one on your camera over there so that you don't whack somebody. It's protection. There's one at the end of, there's one at the end of the camera there. That's reusable. [Points to GMA camera.] All these little things we can do. I'm taking shorter showers. I'm worrying about the plastic bags now."
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
During the segment, which aired at 8:33am, Champion never attempted to pull specifics from King. He simply claimed that her charity will attempt to "raise awareness and, kind of, change things..." King's Web site is equally vague on what exactly it will do. See GreenSlam: greenslam.net
The ABC weatherman has a long history of using celebrities to promote left-wing environmental causes. In May, he touted liberal actor Robert Redford as a "pioneer for the environment." See the May 3 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
A month earlier, Champion, along with singer Sheryl Crow and Laurie David, kicked off the "Stop global Warming College Tour." Check the April 10 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Finally, back in January, he hyped the "sexy" celebrities who promoted the environmental agenda. See: newsbusters.org
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 8:33am on August 28:
Sam Champion: "I'm very, very excited this morning because now we are debuting our 'Just One Person.' It's someone who is making a difference in green projects somewhere in the nation, somewhere in the world and our very first 'just one person,' I'm a huge fan, Billie Jean King. Tennis great, tennis legend, I don't know what to call you. Welcome to the broadcast."
The Associated Press on Wednesday night distributed a story on the MRC's new study on how the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows have devoted much more time this year to Democratic than Republican candidates for President. In "Study: Democrats Get More A.M. Airtime," the AP's David Bauder confronted network producers with the findings and they, naturally, denied any bias: "Network news executives rejected any suggestion of bias, and said they have a considerably harder time getting Republican candidates to appear on their shows." That, however, does not explain the bias in how the networks pushed both parties from the left. The study discovered: "Of the substantive questions that could be categorized as reflecting a political agenda, more than two-thirds (69%) of the questions to Democrats reflected a liberal premise, and more than four-fifths (82%) of the questions to Republicans came from the same perspective."
The August 29 AP story:
Study: Democrats Get More A.M. Airtime
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
A conservative media watchdog organization charged Wednesday that the network morning news shows have spent considerably more time this year on Democrats running for president than on Republicans.
Network news executives rejected any suggestion of bias, and said they have a considerably harder time getting Republican candidates to appear on their shows.
Through July 31, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning news shows devoted 284 campaign segments to Democratic candidates and 152 to Republicans, according to the Media Research Center. Another 81 stories discussed both parties or a possible independent run by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"The double standard has got to stop," said L. Brent Bozell, the group's founder. "What you hope is that there would be fairness. If you are going to give that much coverage to the Democrats, give it to the Republicans, too."
The disparity was most pronounced in January, with 52 stories on the Democratic campaign and five for the Republicans. That's the month that the campaign rivalry between Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama began.
News executives say they strive for fairness, but the Clinton-Obama January jockeying is an example of how news drives their airtime decisions.
"You've got a former first lady and a black senator fighting for the nomination," said Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's "Today" show. "That's historic. We're not going to make apologies for covering that."
Stories about the cancer relapse of Democrat John Edwards' wife Elizabeth were also counted in the total. It's unfair to count a personal story like that in a tally that suggests bias, said Jim Murphy, executive producer of ABC's "Good Morning America."
The news executives also said Democratic candidates have been far more willing to appear on their programs than Republicans.
Republican Rudolph Giuliani and potential GOP rival Fred Thompson both have standing invitations to appear on "Today," Bell said. Giuliani has been on once and Thompson has repeatedly refused the network he recently worked for (on the prime-time show "Law & Order"), he said.
"Good Morning America" announced this spring that the three top candidates from each party were invited for hourlong town meetings. Clinton and Edwards have both already appeared, and ABC is trying to work out a date with Obama, Murphy said.
None of the Republicans have committed to a town hall meeting, he said. "The candidates are responsible for how much time they generally get," Murphy said. "They can get it by agreeing to interviews and agreeing to forums."
Bozell conceded that Republicans have shown a more pronounced reluctance to go on the air. He said the Democratic candidates have also been more forceful in pushing their campaign agendas in the early stages.
His group complained that too many of the stories on Republicans emphasized the candidates' flaws. But the morning show executives noted that one of the biggest stories of the GOP campaign has been the flagging candidacy of John McCain.
Bozell said the performances of "Today," "Good Morning America" and "The Early Show" on CBS should be watched closely because of their importance in reaching more than 10 million viewers each day.
END of AP article
The AP story, as posted on WashingtonPost.com: www.washingtonpost.com
Actor William Baldwin sported a left-wing "01.20.09" T-shirt Tuesday night on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live. The black shirt with white numbering, one of a wide-collection of collectibles and "wearables," is meant to highlight the countdown to Bush's last day in office. The "Bush's Last Day" Web site exclaims: "If you believe the country is heading backwards Bush is the primary reason. Join us in celebrating Bush's Last Day!...In the past five years, the decisions George W. Bush has made have had a damaging effect on our environment. He has made it clear that the success of big corporations is his top priority, not clean water and air. In the next three years, he will only continue to destroy what is most important to all living creatures unless we take a stand NOW."
Bush's Last Day home page: www.bushslastday.com
Baldwin said nothing about his shirt and Kimmel didn't mention it as Baldwin recited anecdotes from his life and plugged his role on ABC's fall drama about a powerful New York City family, Dirty Sexy Money, in which he plays, according to ABC's site for the show, "Patrick Darling, the attorney general for New York" who is "a handsome and commanding man whose political star is quickly rising. There's just one problem -- he has a transgendered girlfriend who won't go away." ABC's page for the upcoming show: abc.go.com
[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The screen shot of Baldwin which is in the NewsBusters posting will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert.
Baldwin, who used to be known as Billy Baldwin, is a founder of The Creative Coalition and the younger brother of Alec Baldwin. IMDb's bio page for William Baldwin, who probably is best-known for his role in the 1991 movie, Backdraft: www.imdb.com
From the August 29 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Your Neighbor is Hiding Osama Bin Laden." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. He's turned backyard jungle gym into Taliban training camp
9. You call over there and someone answers, "Death to America...I mean, Yello"
8. There's a large "No Infidels" sign on the front porch
7. In latest video, behind Osama is you mowing the lawn
6. Neighborhood suddenly reeks of figs and sheep
5. Just had delivered issue of People's "25 Sexiest Mullahs"
4. Got invited to summer block party -- this years theme: "Sun, Fun and Jihad"
3. Mailbox now reads, "Rutherford/Bin Laden"
2. Car in the driveway has a hilarious "Martyrdom or Bust" bumper sticker
1. Last Sunday, Kim Jong-Il dropped by for Brunch
-- Brent Baker