Hurt America, Win a Prize
“[The Pulitzer Prizes] recognize the sort of journalism — courageous, costly and comprehensive — that only papers can provide....The biggest story that newspapers unearthed last year was the abuse of power by the Bush administration. The [Washington] Post won an award for revealing a system of secret prisons maintained by the CIA in Eastern Europe to interrogate terrorism suspects. The [New York] Times disclosed a program of clandestine government eavesdropping that many lawyers have denounced as illegal.”
— ABC’s Cokie Roberts and her husband, former New York Times reporter Steven V. Roberts, April 23 column.
“It’s a good thing that they won for those intelligence stories because the Bush administration is investigating now and is threatening to subpoena and conceivably jail those reporters. So I think it’s important that those stories be rewarded as something important to have done.”
— NPR’s Nina Totenberg on Inside Washington, April 22.
Cheering Spiller of War Secrets
“She [fired CIA employee Mary McCarthy] felt what their activities were doing was hurting the American — hurting America both at home and abroad in terms of our ideals...I do believe it [was] an act of conscience.”
— NPR’s Juan Williams on Fox News Sunday, April 23.
“[The leak] is a victory for the American people.... Remember the great American saying, ‘Disobedience to tyranny is obedience to God.’ In this case, it was something that clearly, I think, most Americans would agree is not what we want to do, secret prisons....Exposing something like that does not hurt us. It helps us.”
— ABC’s Sam Donaldson on This Week, April 23. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
“It’s not the leakers, it’s what they’re leaking that scares me. After all, why should a democracy be operating secret prisons? If the government hadn’t told us they exist, can we ever be sure who might wind up inside them? Isn’t finding out stuff like that what reporters are supposed to do?”
— CBS’s Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, April 23.
Who’s Their Editor, Howard Dean?
“Vote Democratic, Earn More.”
— Headline in the May 1 U.S. News & World Report’s table of contents, pointing to a story about a campaign to increase the government-mandated minimum wage.
The Media’s War Against Big Oil
“As Americans struggle to keep up with high gas prices, oil companies are reporting record earnings. Is this a case of corporate greed out of control?”
— Co-host Rene Syler on CBS’s The Early Show, April 27.
“Arlen Specter says Congress should consider taxing the windfall profits being reaped by the oil companies, which I think is a no-brainer. These guys aren’t entrepreneurs — they are pirates.”
— Geraldo Rivera on Fox’s Geraldo at Large, April 24. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
All Softballs for Sheriff Spitzer
“As a consumer, it seems like it’s the Wild West. How easy is it for a gas station, for an oil company to just jack up the price of gas?...You are suing several gas stations in the state of New York right now. And in your mind, how did they break the law?”
— Fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell interviewing New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, also the Democratic candidate for Governor, on the April 25 CBS Evening News.
“Record” Hype vs. Reality
“It was another wild day on the oil markets today with prices surging to yet another record high close. The gain on the day, 82 cents per barrel. Closing price of oil, $72.17 a barrel, the third record close in a row.”
— Brian Williams on the April 19 NBC Nightly News.
“Oil prices hit another record high today, closing above 72 bucks a barrel.”
— Russ Mitchell on the April 19 CBS Evening News.
“I’m Elizabeth Vargas. Tonight, a week of skyrocketing oil prices ends with another record today, and now gasoline shortages....Good evening. It’s been a remarkable week for oil and gasoline prices in the U.S. Records were set on four out of five days, and today the price for a barrel of crude topped $75 for the first time ever.”
— Vargas opening ABC’s World News Tonight, April 21.
“The Monday high is not a record if inflation is taken into account. That peak is the equivalent of $86.99 in today’s dollars, set when oil was $38.85 a barrel in January 1981, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”
— Reporter James Healey in the April 18 USA Today.
Rush “Getting Off Too Easy”
“Rush Limbaugh is set to sign a deal with prosecutors today after three years of prescription drug fraud investigations. But did he get off easy? The controversy ahead... Coming up on Good Morning America, a rush to judgment? He’s made a deal with prosecutors. Did Rush Limbaugh get off easy?...We’re going to start the half hour with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio talk show host. He’s expected to sign a deal with prosecutors later today....But now there are new questions: Is Limbaugh getting off too easy?”
— ABC’s Charles Gibson, Good Morning America, May 1. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Anchor Jim Avila: “Rush Limbaugh cuts a deal. He’s smiling for the cameras in his mug shot. Was this drug suspect treated like any other Florida first offender?”
Reporter Jeffrey Kofman: “...Had he been tried and had he been found guilty, Limbaugh could have faced up to five years in prison....Limbaugh himself has not been so tolerant of other people’s problems with drug addiction.”
— ABC’s World News Tonight, April 29.
“Mug shot! We have mug shot! Comedian Rush Limbaugh arrested on charges of prescription drug fraud. One-half his brain, as he likes to say, tied behind his back. Symbolically, at least, both his hands cuffed behind his back.”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Countdown, April 28.
Axis of Evil = Bush + Fox News
“Fox News reports the White House has already talked to Tony Snow [to be the new press secretary]. Which figures, since he works for Fox News on radio, sometimes on TV, and as critics would suggest, as such he’s already an unofficial White House spokesman.”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Countdown, April 19.
“If you go with Tony Snow of Fox News, are you not saying we’re only talking to that increasingly smaller group of people who believe Fox News is the sole source of truth in the world?”
— Olbermann to Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe, same show.
Keith Olbermann: “If the President really is pursuing Tony Snow from Fox, would that be frying pan and fire? Would the entire Fox News bias issue suddenly become connected at the hip with how the administration handles truth versus propaganda?”
Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank: “...We first have to ask if Tony’s going to get back pay.”
— Exchange later on the same show. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Admiring Teddy’s “Noble Goals”
“He’s known as a liberal lion and Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy has roared more than once during his more than 40 years in the Senate. Now Kennedy says America is on the wrong path, and in his new book America Back on Track, Kennedy details seven challenges facing this country....You talk about the things that need to be done, Senator, from ‘reclaiming our constitutional democracy, to protecting our national security, to guaranteeing health care for every American.’ Noble, noble goals for sure. Are they do-able, and is there a national will to achieve these things in your view?”
— NBC’s Katie Couric to Ted Kennedy on Today, April 20.
High Prices Bush’s “Responsibility”
“I’m a little peeved when I hear the President say there’s not much we can do about this [gas prices], folks....Where is his responsibility in all this? Five and a half years, and we’re dealing with these gas prices? It’s ridiculous.”
— ABC’s Meredith Vieira on The View, April 26. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Keith Has a New Favorite Historian
“He [George W. Bush] has always countered criticism with the belief that history will prove him right, yet some presidential historians are already saying that President Bush might have passed the James Buchanans and the Richard Nixons to become the worst President ever....President Bush, whose administration is now firing, perhaps prosecuting, whistleblowers, is he simply the worst?”
— Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s Countdown April 21, introducing an interview with left-wing historian Sean Wilentz, author of a May 4 Rolling Stone cover story asking if Bush is “The Worst President in History?”
Liberal Mom’s Brainwashing Foiled
“In the fall of 2004, we enrolled our son in kindergarten...To counteract any God-and-country indoctrination he received in school, we began our own informal in-home instruction about Bush, Iraq and Washington over the evening news....In simple language, I told my son that our President had started a war with a country called Iraq. I said that we were bombing cities and destroying buildings. And I explained that families just like ours now had no money or food because their parents didn’t have offices to go to anymore or bosses to pay them. ‘America did this?’ my son asked, incredulous. ‘Yes, America,’ I answered. He paused, a long silent pause, then burst out: ‘But Mommy, I love America! I want to hug America!’”
— Former Time reporter Nina Burleigh fretting over the “patriot-ization” of her young son on Salon.com, April 17.
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
CIRCULATION DIRECTOR: Jennifer Bookwalter