This week, the Media Research Center launched a new Web site, NewsBusters.org, a blog site designed to provide immediate exposure of liberal media bias, insightful analysis, constructive criticism, and timely corrections to news media reporting. Joining the MRC in this project are Matt and Greg Sheffield, the brothers who ran the highly successful RatherBiased.com Web site that became a must-visit clearinghouse of information about the disgraced ex-CBS anchor's skewed reporting.
With an army of bloggers - including both MRC's team of news analysts and a wide array of independent contributors - there is already a wealth of material at NewsBusters.org, including careful transcripts of news broadcasts and provocative commentary. A few samples from our first week:
■ As the big networks and New York Times continue to ignore the scandal surrounding the far-left Air America radio network (prosecutors are investigating how more than $800,000 made its way to Air America from a children's charity), MRC's Tim Graham noticed how Air America host Al Franken has been whining about being an "involuntary investor" in the network, since the cash-strapped venture can't afford to pay him.
"Congratulations, Al," Graham wrote. "Perhaps now you know how conservatives feel about being 'involuntary investors' to another liberal radio network: NPR."
■ Blogger Mark Finkelstein noticed that NBC's Matt Lauer was "surprisingly deferential" when he interviewed Bernard Goldberg, author of 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, on this morning's Today. Lauer correctly observed, "Not a lot of conservatives on this list. Are more liberals than conservatives screwing up America." Goldberg's quick reply: "Yeah, and I'll tell you why."
After Goldberg's best-selling Bias was released three-and-a-half years ago, Today snubbed him for 19 weeks, finally hosting him on April 25, 2002 - and then making him appear jointly with far-left author Michael Moore. But Goldberg's latest book doesn't single out the media (although it does jab a number of liberal journalists), so maybe it doesn't frighten the Today crew as much.
■ Economist and business owner Noel Sheppard dissected an August 6 Washington Post article that topped the paper's business section that morning. "On the surface, this story was seemingly intended to address the absolutely fabulous employment report" released the previous day, but, Sheppard pointed out, reporters Jonathan Weisman and Nell Henderson instead presented a bad news story about how the public mood continues to sour. "President Bush's economic approval ratings remain low, weighed down by anger over Iraq and concerns about lackluster wage increases and stubbornly high gas prices," argued the Post.
Of course, the media's fixation on negative economic news doesn't help, either.
■ Speaking of oil, MRC news analyst Ken Shepherd noted that CBS's Early Show on Wednesday actually admitted that there was more to rising gasoline prices than SUVs and oil company greed. After noting how unleaded gas had reached $2.99/gallon in Hollywood, news anchor Julie Chen explained: "Experts say one reason gas costs so much in California is because the state is in dire need of more oil refineries." Will CBS News follow up on which interest groups most oppose building more of those needed refineries in California?
■ NewsBusters Editor Greg Sheffield found a Belfast, Northern Ireland newspaper's recounting of key Internet moments in the past 10 years. When they got to 2004, the writer mixed fact with absurd fiction: "In the U.S., Fox News anchor Dan Rather resigns after bloggers discredit one of his stories."
Feel free to comment on these and a plethora of other stories when you visit NewsBusters.org. - Rich Noyes