Media Elite vs. Talk Radio “Idiots”
Host Kathleen Matthews: “Evan, nothing has lit up the telephones on talk radio more than this Dubai ports deal. Why did it resonate so much with the American people?”
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas: “Because it’s something that simple idiots can understand [other panelists snicker]. I mean, it was an idiotic issue, and it is a classic for talk radio. You can get it on a bumper sticker. But I’m with the elites on this one. It was really, it was ridiculous. We need Dubai as an ally. On balance, it would be better that the deal went through, but it was an easy one to demagogue on talk radio.”
— Exchange on Inside Washington, March 10. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
We’re Fair — Readers Are Biased
Hudson, OH: “Given the majority of the media is liberal and pro-choice do you expect the media including Newsweek to cover this issue [abortion] objectively and without personal bias?”
Newsweek’s Howard Fineman: “You know what? I’m tired of being accused of bias and being liberal. I have been covering all sides of every argument in politics for a quarter century, and I think I am as fair and neutral as it is humanly possible to be — which is not perfect. How about some unbiased readers for a change?”
— Exchange during a March 15 MSNBC Web chat about South Dakota’s new law making most abortions illegal.
Censure Bush? Brilliant Idea!
“Senator Russ Feingold’s motion to censure President Bush has been called foolish, bold, reckless, courageous, self-serving and principled. We call it the Political Play of the Week....Acting on principle need not be political suicide....Spines, backbones, they help you stand up for what you believe. Of course it’s risky — that’s what a Play of the Week is all about.”
— CNN’s Bill Schneider on The Situation Room, March 17.
McCain Getting Too “Hard Core”
“The big question over John McCain right now is in moving behind President Bush, does he threaten to blur the portrait of him as a maverick, independent, straight-talking, moderate conservative? Or does he become, begin to become, another Bush hard-core conservative?”
— U.S. News & World Report Editor-at-Large David Gergen on CNN’s American Morning, March 13.
Oil, Israel — or Just for Fun?
“I’d like to ask you, Mr. President — your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet — your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth — what’s your real reason? You have said it wasn’t oil — quest for oil, it hasn’t been Israel, or anything else. What was it?”
— Hearst columnist and former UPI reporter Helen Thomas to President Bush at his March 21 press conference. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “Did you accept his answer, namely that he didn’t come into the presidency believing he was going to go to war against Saddam Hussein, but after 9/11 his world view changed?”
Helen Thomas: “It doesn’t parse. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11....I think he wanted to go into Iraq with — he had all the neo-conservatives advising. That’s the top of their agenda for Project for a New American Century....We have killed so many innocent people....I don’t believe in preemptive war, and it certainly is against international law.”
— Exchange on CNN’s The Situation Room, March 21.
TV’s War Coverage Too Rosy?
Fill-in co-host David Gregory: “So is the U.S. media focusing too much on the negative and ignoring the positive stories in Iraq? NBC’s Richard Engel has been covering the events in Iraq since before the war even began....Richard, bottom line. What’s your gut check? Do we miss the overall story about what’s going on in Iraq or does security remain the overall story?”
Reporter Richard Engel: “I think the security problem is the overall story and most Iraqis I speak to say, actually, most reporters get it wrong. It’s, the situation on the ground is actually worse than the images we project on television.”
— NBC’s Today, March 22. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
“This is nonsense, [that] it’s the media’s fault that the news isn’t good in Iraq. The news isn’t good in Iraq. There’s violence in Iraq. People are found dead every day in the streets of Baghdad. This didn’t turn out the way the politicians told us it would. And it’s our fault? I beg to differ.”
— CNN’s Jack Cafferty on The Situation Room, March 23.
Earth Doomed, Blame Bush
“No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth....Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us....Something has gone grievously wrong. That something is global warm-ing....It’s undeniable that the White House’s environmental record — from the abandonment of Kyoto to the President’s broken campaign pledge to control carbon output to the relaxation of emission standards — has been dismal.”
— Time’s Jeffrey Kluger in the magazine’s April 3 global warming cover story: “Be Worried. Be Very Worried.”
Why Stop at $100?
“From my own personal perspective, Charlie, if they cut off oil and oil went to $100 a barrel that would
make my day. Because the sooner we go to $100 a barrel, the sooner we’re going to have everyone in America driving a plug-in hybrid car fueled by corn and ethanol.”
— New York Times columnist Tom Friedman to ABC’s Charles Gibson on Good Morning America, March 9.
Now THAT’s Solid Evidence
“Think global warming isn’t real? Ask Manny the Mammoth, Diego the Tiger or Sid the Sloth....The herd’s 88 happy minutes will melt away your out-of-theater cares while attesting that global warming is no snow job.”
— NBC movie critic Gene Shalit reviewing the cartoon movie Ice Age: The Meltdown, on the March 29 Today.
Bush, a Traitor to His Planet
“Failing to warn the citizens of a looming weapon of mass destruction — and that’s what global warming is — in order to protect oil company profits, well, that fits for me the definition of treason.”
— HBO’s Bill Maher on Real Time, March 24.
Don’t Listen to Our Stupid Troops
Actor Richard Belzer: “No one questions the nobility and the honor that these men and woman who are serving.... [But] now they’re just protecting each other and they’re in the middle of a civil war. So it’s really not fair to have these people who volunteered their lives to protect our nation under false pretenses to now be, to have targets-”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: “Ask them, ask them if it’s fair....”
Belzer: “That’s bullsh*t, ask them! They’re not, they don’t read twenty newspapers a day. They’re under the threat of death every minute. They’re not the best people to ask about the war because they’re gonna die any second.”
Ros-Lehtinen: “Wait a minute! You are talking about my stepson, my stepson who just finished last week eight months of duty-”
Belzer over Ros-Lehtinen: “God bless your stepson. Doesn’t mean he’s a brilliant scholar about the war because he’s there....You think everyone over there is a college graduate? They’re 19 and 20-year-old kids who couldn’t get a job....You know, the soldiers are not scholars.”
— HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, March 17. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brian Boyd, Brad Wilmouth, Megan McCormack, Mike Rule, Scott Whitlock
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
INTERN: Matthew von de Crommert