Media Blog

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New Incentive for CNN to Write the Dumbest Headlines Possible


MSM, Time for Your Apology


On October 2, 2007, I had this post on the son of a Bush White House official, Philip Cooney, who was arrested on suspicion of a bias attack on a homosexual Georgetown student. At the time I wrote:

Here’s the problem/issue with the arrest, however. Philip Cooney was identified by the victim after the victim spent some time going through Georgetown Facebook profiles. This sounds a lot like the Duke case where the alleged victim found her “assailants” by looking at lacrosse team photos.

And today there was an update:

The U.S. Attorney’s office of the District of Columbia dropped all charges against Philip Cooney (MSB ‘10) relating to an assault that occurred last fall which attracted controversy on and off campus.

Cooney was charged with bias-related assault by the Metropolitan Police Department last September, but the U.S. Attorney reported that “subsequent investigation raised doubts as to … whether based upon available evidence we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in this case was the person who actually committed the assault.”

“Philip was always completely innocent of the charges against him and the dismissal of the case has vindicated him entirely,” Danny Onorato, Cooney’s lawyer, wrote in a statement. “To know Philip Cooney is to know a young man of exemplary character who was wrongfully accused in this case.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office has indicated that they continue to consider the assault, in which a male Georgetown student was beaten by an assailant who shouted anti-gay slurs, a criminal act. Cooney was originally implicated in the assault through a profile and, later, a police photo line-up. During the pre-trial period, the prosecuting Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Mary Dobbie and Joseph Spurber, determined that they would not be able to firmly establish that Cooney was present at the time of the assault.

I eagerly await as much coverage of the dismissal of all charges as there was when young-Cooney was arrested.


Kondracke on Obama


The Fox News All-Star Panel took a look at Obama’s complaining about the ABC debate. Here’s Clinton’s response, and some thoughts from Mort Kondracke:

Clinton’s response is kind of interesting — she characterizes Obama as complaining about “tough” grilling, which opens her up to a retort about her own “I always get the first question” whine. What’s more, Obama didn’t say that the questions were too tough but that they focused on personal connections rather than policy issues.

Kondracke’s comments are more direct, making the point that the questions were perfectly fair. He cites one blogger’s analogy: What if a white candidate had ties to a white-supremacist pastor, and had been friendly with another man who’d bombed abortion clinics and never repented?

Mother Jones Asks the Right Questions


Oddly enough, Mother Jones has a point:

… Wolfson and Phil Singer, another top Clinton aide, had hammered Barack Obama for having held a fundraiser during his first state senate campaign in Illinois at the home of William Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois and a former aide to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who was a member of the radical Weather Underground Organization, which was responsible for several bombings in the early 1970s. Ayers was never arrested for his activities. But in 2001, he did say, “I don’t regret setting bombs.” …

When it came time for questions for Wolfson, I asked an obvious one: Did Hillary Clinton believe that it had been appropriate in 2001 for President Bill Clinton to have pardoned two members of the Weather Underground as he left office? The two recipients of Clinton’s munificence were Linda Evans, who was sentenced to five years in prison for her participation in a string of 1980s bombings, and Susan Rosenberg, who was charged with participating in a bank robbery that left one guard and two police officers dead. And, I continued, has Senator Clinton ever criticized this decision? Has she ever said anything publicly about it? Rosenberg, I noted, had been apprehended with 740 pounds of explosives in her possession.

There’s more to the story than Obama’s ties to terrorist William Ayers or the Clintons’ ties to terrorists Linda Evans and Susan Rosenberg, though the fact that both Democratic hopefuls have links to the same terrorist organization is worrisome. There’s the Clinton pardon of FALN terrorists, who conducted 120 bombing attacks against the United States. There’s Mrs. Clinton’s days as a law-school volunteer helping the defense by monitoring the trial of two Black Panthers accused of torturing and murdering a rival. There’s Mrs. Clinton’s internship in the law offices of Robert Treuhaft, an operative for the Communist Party USA, her professed admiration for Saul Alinsky …. All worth reporting on, I’d think. The Rev. Wright isn’t the only kook in this orbit.

Of course, one suspects that the writers at Mother Jones regard these associations as credentials.

Polling Global Warming


Hilarious. American attitudes on global warming are unchanged over the past 19 years:

While 61% of Americans say the effects of global warming have already begun, just a little more than a third say they worry about it a great deal, a percentage that is roughly the same as the one Gallup measured 19 years ago.

I guess this makes global warming a “tangential” issue and the Left should be outraged if it’s ever mentioned in a debate.


The Google News Quote Generator


Google News has a new function that when you Google certain names, the first thing you see at the top of the results page is a quote.  In a blog post titled, “Words Matter,” Google explains the new service:

Be it poetry or public speech, words matter.

Consider this election season. All along the campaign trail we have heard candidates’ thoughts on the future of health care, the war in Iraq, and even each other. These debates have generated untold pages of commentary, and it’s only too easy to lose track of original quotations. Unlike much of the surrounding rhetoric, these quotations cited in news articles are not conjectures but facts – transcriptions of actual words and thoughts – be they campaign promises, arguments or opinions. Wouldn’t it be great if they were easily searchable?

As part of Google’s mission to organize the world’s information, we’ve been hard at work making quotations in news articles easy to search and browse. You can now more easily keep track of what your favorite politician, actor or sports star is saying. You can even search within their quotes for specific topics.

To access these new features, first search for a person’s name on Google News. If we have a recent quote, we’ll show it above the search results.

Sorry Obama, words matter…

“Bill Ayers”:

“I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough”  
“The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense” 
It looks like Google changes the quotes based on some sort of secret Google procedure.  When re-Googling “Obama,” this one now comes up: 
“You have a real choice in this election. Either Democrat would be better than John McCain”
“He always says in his speeches that he is running a positive campaign, but then his campaign does the opposite” 
“They are out of touch when they want to raise taxes at the worst possible time when we’re in a recession”

It’s almost as if Google has joined the VRWC…

Slicing and Dicing Subsets


On Monday’s Today show, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell was really crunching the sub-group numbers before the Pennyslvania primary:

A new MSNBC/McClatchy poll shows Clinton ahead by five, but eight percent were undecided and they tend to favor Clinton. And in a state where Obama bowled a 37 at a photo opportunity Clinton has a big lead, 21 points among bowlers and a 25-point lead among gun owners. She and Obama were evenly split among beer drinkers, 44 to 44.

The viewer at home must wonder at which point all this seems like double- and triple-dipping in the polls. Aren’t there a number of voters who match all these, and are beer-drinking bowlers with guns?

Irony Overload


This is the sort of thing that makes one’s head explode:

WASHINGTON, April 19 (Xinhua) — Over 300 Chinese Americans and Chinese nationals working and studying in the U.S. gathered near the U.S. Capitol Saturday to protest against some Western media and politicians’ biased remarks about last months’ riots in Lhasa, the capital city of China’s autonomous region of Tibet.

The peaceful demonstration in the Upper Senate Park, which lies across the street from the U.S. Capitol Building, attracted Chinese Americans and overseas Chinese of all ages and from various professions who live or study in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

“American media, you can muzzle our voices, but cannot smother the truth!” reads one banner.

“We Chinese American feel outraged by the biased Western media coverage on the Lhasa riots and Olympic torch relay, and I think it is time to have our voices heard, ” said Ma Xiping, one of the organizers of the event.

There’s nothing like a report on media bias from the official press outlet of a Communist dictatorship. The day China has a free press, a Xinhua report of this nature might be something less than comical. Memo to Xinhua: The government of China doesn’t have a bad rep because of media bias; it has a bad rep because people have eyes and ears.

The Wa Post Smear of McCain


Ramesh posted an email from McCain staffer Mark Salter on the Washington Post’s smear article on McCain’s temper.  One of the sources for the article is Karen Johnson whom McCain tried to block from a political job in Arizona and who later went on to become a state senator in Arizona.  Johnson is actually used in the article’s concluding paragraph with this:

One man’s bulldozer is another’s bully. “I don’t think that he forgets anyone who ever opposed him, that he can ever really respect or trust them again,” said Karen Johnson, the targeted secretary-turned-state senator. “That goes for people here and overseas.”

While Googling her, however, I came across this that makes me question why she’s a source for the article.  She’s a truther:

But legislators who voted against altering the memorial said they believe it needs to represent various viewpoints and feelings about the events leading up to and following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And that, according to Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, includes the still-open possibility that Americans have yet to learn the full story.

“There’s many of us,” she said, “that believe there’s been a cover-up,” ranging from who was really behind the attacks to questions about whether what flew into the World Trade Center towers were pilotless drones and the passengers had been taken off beforehand.

“And there’s a lot of statements on that 9/11 memorial that reflect a lot of our views that we have about it,” Johnson said. “And I think all of those need to be represented.”

She also accuses President Bush, and I assume John McCain with his push for immigration reform, of enacting a secret plan to merge the U.S. with Mexico:

A veteran Republican lawmaker is accusing President Bush of pushing a behind-the-scenes agenda that will result in the United States being merged with Mexico and Canada.

Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, said she believes the Security and Prosperity Partnership, being run out of the White House and the U.S. Department of Commerce, is little more than a secret plan to end U.S. sovereignty by 2010. And she said Congress is being kept in the dark until the point that it becomes a done deal.

Johnson, who will head the Senate Education Committee this coming session, said the signs already are there, from an “inland port” in Kansas City and construction of a superhighway corridor through Texas to the lack of any real action in building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

And strike-three on her credibility as it relates to John McCain, here she is in a NY Times photograph sitting in front of a file cabinent covered in bumper-stickers.  The one with a yellow ribbon and “Bring Them Home Now” makes me think she’s not entirely on the same page as John McCain as it relates to the Iraq war.

Re: Character Issues Weren’t “Tangential” When the Story Was Bush’s ANG Service



A better example might be how Bob Jones University was treated in 2000 when deciding if character issues like Reverend Wright are important.  Back in 2000, even Bill Bradley thouught Republicans speaking at Bob Jones University was an issue:

Former Senator Bill Bradley was just getting into a part of his stump speech today where he usually blasts Vice President Al Gore, his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, when he veered instead into criticizing a Republican candidate, Gov. George W. Bush of Texas.

In a speech before supporters here, Mr. Bradley chided Mr. Bush for addressing more than 5,000 students at Bob Jones University, a bastion of Christian conservatism in South Carolina.

Noting that the college had lost its tax-exempt status in the 1970′s because it did not allow interracial dating, Mr. Bradley said:

’’We had to fight to deny tax-exempt status to Bob Jones University unless it changed that policy. And yet the Republican candidate for president yesterday goes to Bob Jones University to make a speech about what conservatism is in this county. Well, ladies and gentleman, that is what conservatism is, Bob Jones University, and it should be rejected.’’

Of course, Bill Bradley feels differently about using Rev. Wright as a campaign issue:

ESTRICH: Senator Bradley, Bill, I’m getting a lot of e-mails from conservatives, because I wrote a really nice column about Barack Obama’s speech on race and I have been inundated with e-mails from conservatives saying to me, look, here’s the guy who, when he was in Chicago, went after Trent Lott for saying something nice about Strom Thurman who had done bad things many years ago. He wanted Lott’s head; he called for the Republicans to kill Trent Lott. Why are people like you and I applying a double standard, here? Why aren’t we calling for Barack Obama’s head for being associated with Minister Farrakhan and then with Reverend Wright? I mean, what’s the answer to those folks?

BRADLEY: Well, I think the answer is because Reverend Wright didn’t run for president and win four states and wasn’t a sitting United States senator. I mean, that’s the difference.

I mean, you know, the question that Barack raised I think is a really legitimate question. I boil it down to when was the last time you talked about race with somebody of another race and had a very candid conversation about black anger and white resentment? And, to me, that’s really what he offered the other day. And as I heard him speak, I thought about the speeches that I have made over the years about race in America.

And in one in particular, in which I recall I had an aunt who used derogatory racial terms. It hurt me deeply. And I talked about that in the speech at one point, just like I talked about his grandmother. And I finished the speech, and at that time I had a black press secretary, and he came up to me and he said, you know, I have an aunt like that, too. Meaning that what goes on in black households and white households has to be brought out and a dialogue take place. And I think that’s what he asked us to do.

The second thing he asked us to do is to not go with the easy racial arguments or stereotypes and divert from attention on those things which affect all Americans, such as the need for healthcare, the need for public schools to be great, the need for everybody who has ability to have a chance to go to college and the need to, if you work 40 years, to have a secure pension.

The Times and Zimbabwe


I wouldn’t want anyone to get the idea that I actually read the New York Times every day, but I do read my email every day, and sometimes there are links one just has to follow! Yesterday, for example, it was the paper’s editorial instructing Berlusconi how to govern Italy — while also reporting that the paper itself was being run into the ground by its apparently inept owner.

Today, it’s a typical Times rewrite of its own often fatal involvement in other people’s histories.

Mr. Mugabe was rightly seen as a hero when he led his country to majority rule in 1980. Zimbabwe’s prospects were bright, with ample mineral resources, thriving agriculture, high literacy and international good will. He has squandered virtually all of these assets…

As I wrote here on the occasion of the paper’s last editorial hand-wringer, the Times, along with most of the Western press, was responsible for putting Mugabe in power in the first place, despite his already bloody destruction of Matabeland. The pack-mentality that governed coverage of the Lancaster House agreement that ended the biracial regime that succeeded Ian Smith’s white-led government would allow for no other outcome than giving power to Mugabe. When Mugabe’s forces returned to Matabeleland again in the early ’80s, the Times was inexplicably shocked.

Today’s editorial is more or less identical to one from March 1983. Others have appeared over the years, but Mugabe’s still there. The Times apparently has as much influence in Africa as it does on Wall Street.



Diane Sawyer interviews prostitute.  Prostitute is “shadowed” to hide and protect her identity.  And for those of you who have wondered how effective the filming of an anonymous source in a shadow would be in actually protecting someone’s identity, the prostitute’s parents easily recognized their daughter while watching Sawyer’s broadcast. 

Peggy Noonan from the Weekend WSJ


The entire column is well worth a read, as always, but this line on Hillary Clinton was pretty funny and deserved to get highlighted:

Gone will be the pantsuits that made her look like a small blond man with breasts.

Bob Hebert on Obama, ABC


An interesting excerpt from Bob Herbert in Saturday’s NY Times.  It seems Reverend Wright and bitter Pennsylvanians are fair game:

Senator Obama, for his part, seems to have lost sight of the unifying message that proved so compelling early in his campaign and has stumbled into weird cultural predicaments that have caused some people to rethink his candidacy.

While some of those predicaments raise legitimate concerns (his former pastor, his comments in San Francisco) and some do not (stupid questions about wearing a flag pin), he has allowed them to fester unnecessarily. The way for a candidate to eventually change the subject is to offer policy prescriptions so creative and compelling that they generate excitement among the electorate and can’t be ignored by the press.

But later on in the column Herbert writes:

Wednesday night’s debate in Philadelphia may have been a sorry exercise in journalism, but even many of Senator Obama’s own supporters were disappointed with his lackluster performance.

If Wright and bitter-gate “raise legitimate concerns,” why is asking questions about them a “sorry exercise in journalism?”

CNN in the News



CNN personality Richard Quest was busted in Central Park early yesterday with some drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot, law-enforcement sources said.

Quest, 46, was arrested at around 3:40 a.m. after a cop spotted him and another man inside the park near 64th Street, a police source said.


It wasn’t immediately clear what the rope was for.

The criminal complaint says the officer at the scene was able to ID the drug because of “his prior experience as a police officer in drug arrests, observation of packaging which is characteristic of this type of drug, and defendant’s statements that . . . ‘I’ve got some meth in my pocket.’ ”

He was charged with loitering and criminal possession of a controlled substance. His unusual get-up didn’t lead to a lewdness charge because he wasn’t exposing himself, the police source said.

Microsoft Space Zombies Invade NBC?


Advertising-specific content comes to NBC. Expect a world of angst and wagling over this:

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — A newly formed NBC Universal production unit is teaming up with an advertising agency to create programs around sponsors’ products, the company said.

NBC Universal Digital Studio will work with a division of Omnicom Group Inc. to create programs that help advertisers sell their products, the entertainment giant announced in a statement Thursday. The programming will be broadcast on NBC Universal’s digital properties, such as Web sites.

“We are proactively working with our clients, the advertisers, to deliver compelling content to our audiences, wherever they are,” NBC entertainment chief Ben Silverman said in the statement.

Digital Studio’s first productions, which will premiere this summer, are a science-fiction series starring Rosario Dawson called “Gemini Division” and a quirky comedy about a college-aged zombie called “Woke Up Dead,” said NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.

Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are among the first brands involved with the development of “Gemini Division,” the statement said.

Character Issues Weren’t “Tangential” When the Story Was Bush’s ANG Service


A bunch of liberal journalists have written an open letter to ABC to whine about its handling of Wednesday night’s debate. “We’re at a crucial moment in our country’s history,” they write. “Large majorities of our fellow Americans tell pollsters they’re deeply worried about the country’s direction… Tough, probing questions on these issues clearly serve the public interest… excessive emphasis on tangential ‘character’ issues do not.”

The signers include at least seven contributors to The Nation, whose editors never saw anything “tangential” about George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service and what that said about his character. A Google search of The Nation’s website for stories on that topic yields 72 stories — none of which called on the media to stop focusing on such a tangential character issue.

ABC’s critics also continue to insist that the American people don’t care about issues like Obama’s association with William Ayers or Clinton’s lying about her trip to Bosnia, but they undermine their own argument by getting furious with anyone who mentions these topics. They’re furious because they know that Americans do care about their president’s character, and they know that these stories — if they get too much attention — will hurt their candidate in the fall.

Score a PR Point for the Anti-Gun Crowd


From the New York Sun:

[Obama] announced the endorsement this week of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, a moderate gun rights organization…

The AHSA is not a “moderate gun rights organization”; it’s an anti-gun group camouflaged with a pro-gun-sounding name. The Brady Campaign’s president has endorsed it, and AHSA’s president once gave $5,000 to Handgun Control Inc., the Brady Campaign’s predecessor. The NRA has quite thoroughly documented the anti-gun credentials of the group’s main figures.

Given the organization’s name, one could forgive the Sun for being fooled, but seriously, what gun-rights organization, moderate or not, would endorse Obama?

Reporters in the News


Media Blog reader John sends this in with the subject line, “Do You Suppose He Worked for “Eyewitness News?”

A local TV reporter was cited Friday morning for allegedly peeping in an occupied premise.

Eric Ralph Watson, 34, of 201 Old Grove Lane in Apex, was charged with one count of secret peeping. He was arrested shortly after 6 a.m. in the Brittany Trace subdivision, about a mile from his home.

Apex Police Capt. Ann Stephens said a neighbor saw a man matching Watson’s description Thursday afternoon on top of an air-conditioning unit peeping into the bathroom of a female neighbor.

The witness called police and alerted the residents who live at the house.

Early Friday morning, Stephens said, the woman’s husband confronted a man believed to be Watson, who approached the house again. The husband called 911, and an Apex police officer arrested Watson nearby.

The Times Gets It Wrong on Food Prices


Chris Blattman has some interesting criticism of the New York Times’ reporting on food prices:

The New York Times continues to substitute hyperbole for information in its reporting on rising food prices:

Hunger bashed in the front gate of Haiti’s presidential palace. Hunger poured onto the streets, burning tires and taking on soldiers and the police. Hunger sent the country’s prime minister packing.

Haiti’s hunger, that burn in the belly that so many here feel, has become fiercer than ever in recent days as global food prices spiral out of reach, spiking as much as 45 percent since the end of 2006 and turning Haitian staples like beans, corn and rice into closely guarded treasures.

It’s a cute opening. If it were followed by substance, analysis, and insight, it might even work. Instead we get 3,000 words of “the children are dying”. Yes, children are dying. The problem is an urgent one. But there is a more nuanced story here, and I subscribe to the Times instead of watching Fox News so I can get it.

First, we need to be a little less Amero-centric. From John Quiggin:

prices for commodities, including oil as well as most ag commodities, are typically quoted in $US. In a situation where, for obvious reasons, the value of the $US is declining against all major currencies, this can be quite misleading. Measured against the euro, the currency of the world’s largest unified economy, the increase looks a lot less steep.

Short story: let’s not mix up the U.S. currency crisis–that is, mortgage meltdowns and overspending on overseas wars–with global food prices.

Second, I am flabbergasted that almost no newspaper has mentioned there are people in poor countries who actually sell commodities.

Bingo and amen on that final point. It’s the same old “George W. Bush walked on water, and the New York Times headlined the story: ‘President Can’t Swim’.” No matter what the story, the media will find a take that reads, roughly: “Oh sweet Lord, the world is ending, the Third World poor will be hit hardest,* and it’s all the fault of the United States of America and profit-making enterprises.” When wages go up, it’s “Inflation threatens economy” and when wages go down it’s “Oh, sweet Lord, Americans are going to be standing in soup lines.” When profits are down, the economy is collapsing and America has been eclipsed; when business is good, evil corporations are raking in record profits while lighting exotic cigars with $100 bills and using poor people for furniture.

A big chunk of the truly poor people on this planet are small-scale farmers. Higher crop prices are a very good thing for them. And a big reason that prices for food and energy are going up is that several hundred million people who were desperately poor in India and China have, thanks to microdoses of capitalism, become a bit less desperately poor and have added a few hundred calories a day to their diets and electricity to their homes. If the New York Times had any wit, they could keep up the barrage of negativity by headlining the story: “Overweight Americans now forced to compete with world’s poor for carbs.”

* The best version of the End of the World headline joke is Al Neuharth’s telling: “The world ends. How do the three big papers play the story? New York Times: World Ends, Third World Nations Hit Hardest. Wall Street Journal: World Ends, Dow Closes at Zero. USA Today: World Ends; Sports, Page 22!


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