Media Blog

NRO’s MSM watchdog.

Olympic-Level Exaggeration?


Worrying about “Communist propaganda” might sound like a dated pastime, but there are times when you read a media sentence and still wonder where the skepticism kicks in. On Monday’s NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams reported in passing that to reduce Beijing’s “notorious air pollution” for the Olympics, “They’re also planting 300 million trees around the city to increase oxygen levels.”

Three hundred million trees by August? Wouldn’t somebody wonder how that can be done? With how many people doing the planting? And how much area it would take up?

A little Googling shows that on March 30, 2007, Washington Post reporter Ariana Eunjung Cha reported “Several hundred million trees were planted in the capital, but moths descended on them, stripping much of the foliage that was supposed to absorb carbon dioxide emissions.” But she also claimed: “In all, by the time the Olympics begin Aug. 8, 2008, 300 million trees will have been planted, some on tops of buildings.”

There is no apparent measure in these American media reports of how long it will have taken to plant this volume of trees. China’s official Xinhua news agency recently implied that if any of this were true, it took decades of work: “Official figures showed that 168 million trees were planted in the 1981-2007 period in the Chinese capital, where air quality and sandstorm were long-time headaches.”

The Next Kelly Ripa?


Politico reports:

During her day as a “Today” guest host, Mrs. Bush will learn the ins and outs of hosting a morning show, and she will participate in several segments and interviews. In addition to her hosting duties, Mrs. Bush will also give Ann Curry a rare look inside the Bush family ranch in Crawford, Texas. Mrs. Bush gives Curry a tour of the ranch, and explains the “green” eco-friendly design of the home.


Bob Herbert: PA, WV and OH Filled with Racists


From his column today:

There is no mystery here. Except for people who have been hiding in caves or living in denial, it’s pretty widely understood that a substantial number of those voters — in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and elsewhere — will not vote for a black candidate for president.

Pennsylvanians themselves will tell you that racial attitudes in some parts of the state are, to be kind, less than enlightened. Gov. Ed Rendell, Hillary Clinton’s most powerful advocate in the state, put it bluntly last February: “I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate.”

This isn’t really fair to Rendell, as he qualified this comments immediately, and for good measure, said basically the same thing about Hillary a few days later.

What Obama really meant to say, Herbert argues, is that these small town voters won’t vote for him because he’s black:

Senator Obama has spent his campaign trying to dodge the race issue, which in America is like trying to dodge the wind. So when he fielded the question in San Francisco, he didn’t say: “A lot of folks are not with me because I’m black — but I’m trying to make my case and bring as many around as I can.”

Instead, he fell back on a tortured response that was demonstrably incorrect. Referring to the long-term economic distress of many working-class voters, Mr. Obama said: “It’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Do Dems really think this strategy would work come November?

Far Left, Pack Up Your Knives and Go


The Huffington Post, fresh off of their Obama-and-bitter-Pennsylvanians-scoop, goes after Cindy McCain.  This time, uncovering the shocking truth that her recipes on are actually from the Food Network.

Meaning, just like millions of other Americans, she watches TV. 

They Don’t Show “American Idol” ...


… on al-Aqsa TV. But we should be watching:

A sermon last Friday by a prominent Muslim cleric and Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament openly declared that “the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital,” would soon be conquered by Islam.

The fiery sermon, delivered by Yunis al-Astal and aired on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, predicted that Rome would become “an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread though Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, even Eastern Europe.”

“Allah has chosen you for Himself and for His religion,” al-Astal preached, “so that you will serve as the engine pulling this nation to the phase of succession, security and consolidation of power, and even to conquests through da’wa and military conquests of the capitals of the entire world.

“Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our prophet Muhammad,” he added.

Al-Astal last June preached how it was the duty of Palestinian women to martyr themselves by becoming homicide bombers.

They keep telling us, and we keep failing to take them seriously. Nice of Jimmy Carter to meet with these maniacs, wasn’t it? Somebody is going to win this fight, and somebody is going to lose.


David Brock Hits the Air


Here’s the first ad from David Brock’s new third-party group, Progessive Media U.S.A.:

Talking Points Memo has posted that the ad is going to run on MSNBC and CNN in D.C and is a recruiting video of sorts “aimed at an insider audience of potential future donors, political operatives, and the like.”

The Price of Liberty Is Eternal Vigilance ...


… and getting up a website really, really quickly. Who knew sweet dance moves were a crime?

If you want to see how good guerilla PR is done in the 21st century, check out “Free the Jefferson 1.” 

“Scare” quotes


Here’s how the BBC headlined the results of the Italian elections:

Berlusconi ‘wins’ Italy elections

That means that Silvio Berlusconi will become “prime minister” of “Italy,” I suppose. Those results will certainly strike fear into the European left.

Media Matters vs. Politico’s Jon Martin


Media Matters is targeting Jonathan Martin for calling Kerry and Gore “elitist”;

Summary: The Politico’s Jonathan Martin asserted as “fact” that Al Gore and John Kerry “were elitists and were out of touch with average Americans.” But to the extent the public perceived them in that manner, the media played a dominant role in creating and promoting that perception while largely avoiding discussion of whether President Bush was an “elitist.”

I am eagerly waiting for Media Matters to come down on HRC for saying the same thing:

The former first lady criticized Mr. Obama for a second straight day, saying his diagnosis that working-class voters were “bitter” was not only elitist but patronizing. She suggested the remarks were “in line” with the oft-repeated charge that the Democratic Party did not understand mainstream American culture and values.

“We had two very good men and men of faith run for president in 2000 and 2004,” Mrs. Clinton said at a forum on faith televised live on CNN last night. “But large segments of the electorate concluded that they did not really understand or relate to or frankly respect their ways of life.”

New Air America Format



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Beginning Monday April 14, Air American Radio will present a month-long series of celebrities who guest host all week during the 3-6 PM ET period.

The programs launch with noted comedian, author and actor Richard Belzer, well-known for his work as Det. John Munch on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and numerous other movie and TV roles. Belzer will be joined by special guests to be announced, bringing an entertaining, fast-paced and engaging afternoon listening experience to Air America Radio audiences nationwide all next week.

“We’re delighted to have Richard at the head of a group of top celebrity hosts who will be coming to Air America Radio on a regular basis over the coming weeks,” says Mark Green, President of Air America Radio. “Our listeners will be treated to a variety of entertaining opinion and discussion from a surprising spectrum of top talent.”

Air America Radio is a national progressive talk radio network, representing a smart political voice with a sense of humor. The network can be heard nationwide on 65 affiliates as well as on XM Satellite Radio and streamed on the Internet at

“He described the soldiers’ performance as ‘brilliant.’ “


British journalist for CBS rescued by Iraqi troops:

A kidnapped British journalist was rescued by Iraqi troops on Monday after two months in captivity in the southern city of Basra, the Iraqi military said.

Richard Butler, who worked for CBS News, was found with a sack over his head and his hands tied inside a house in Basra, Lt. Gen. Mohan al-Fireji said. He said Butler was in good condition.

Butler was found during an Iraqi military sweep in the Jibiliya area, a Shiite militia stronghold in Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Defense ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said that an army patrol conducting a search came under fire from the house where Butler was being held. One of the gunmen was wounded in an exchange of fire and another captured while two men managed to escape, he said.

Butler was later shown on Iraqi state television laughing and greeting his rescuers.

“Thank you and I’m looking forward to seeing my family and my friends at CBS and thank you again,” Butler told al-Askari.

He described the soldiers’ performance as “brilliant.”

Miracles Happen


Here’s the first miracle about bitter-gate: That we know about it at all. Mayhill Fowler, the “citizen journalist” (her term), who broke the story on the Huffington Post, almost didn’t. She said in an interview on cable (CNN, I think) that she had originally written another story. But Obama’s San Fran condescension “bothered” her. She didn’t want to “bring down [Obama’s] campaign,” but in the end she wrote the story.

Miracle II: That the remarks bothered her. I don’t know anything about Mayhill Fowler, but most journalists, sharing Obama’s low regard for the non-latte set, would not have been bothered. Do you ever get the feeling that there are Obama gaffes out there that we don’t know about?

Obama = Kerry


So says this photoshoped picture and story on



Can’t win!


I notice that reviewers of my very excellent if grossly underpurchased book, Superior Nebraska, get crankier and crankier about the thing the farther the publication is from the Midwest. This weekend, for example, a very angry person writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer said the book was just horrible, while the far more civil critic at the St Louis Post-Dispatch was quite generous. Except the Post-Dispatch also said that I was the “de Tocqueville of the Midwest,” which made me feel somehow French.

I recommend the book for all your Midwestern insight needs.

Two Brits clash on American TV


Christopher Hitchens calls Andrew Sullivan a lesbian!

But if you view the clip here, from The Tim Russert Show the PC police at MSNBC appear to have edited it out.

NBC’s “Family Hour” is Not Off to a Good Start


NBC has designated the hour of programming from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. as “family hour.” For some reason, some are questioning this week’s “30 Rock” as maybe not fitting into this new philosophy:

The general content of the “30 Rock” episode, however, appears to work against NBC’s positioning of the show in its family hour, the 8 to 9 p.m. block of programming that Mr. Silverman said would consist of shows a family could watch together.

The contestants on the island-based reality-show-within-a-show on “30 Rock” are described as 20 “holy hot mamas,” who are accompanied by 50 eighth-grade boys as they compete at tasks like “eating bugs to earn tampons.” They square off in “Erection Cove,” with the loser having to remove her bikini top and burn it in the fire.

Mr. Metcalf said that the family-hour designation should be seen as offering “direction for program development,” not “black-and-white expectations” for the audience.

Peres: Carter has “greatly damaged” Middle East peace process


(This is a follow-up to my item of earlier in the week: Al-Hayat: Jimmy Carter to meet Hamas leader in Damascus.)

Jimmy Carter, who is generally acknowledged to have been the worst US president of modern times, is now turning out to be the most embarrassing ex-president.

Even so notable a statesman as the usually soft-spoken President Shimon Peres of Israel today publicly lashed out at Carter after meeting him in Jerusalem. Carter’s “activities over the last few years had caused great damage to Israel and the peace process,” said Peres.

In an unprecedented diplomatic snub to a leading American politician, Israel’s prime minister (Ehud Olmert), foreign minister (Tzipi Livni) and defense minister (Ehud Barak) have all refused to meet Carter during his visit to Israel, which began today.

Carter is due to go on to Damascus where he says he plans to meet Hamas terror mastermind Khaled Meshal. Peres said that such a meeting would be a “severe mistake,” calling Meshal a “murderer and terrorist.”

Meanwhile, State Department officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as well as several leading politicians from Carter’s own Democratic party are pleading with Carter not to meet Meshal. Several of Meshal’s victims have been Americans.

“Please don’t confer legitimacy on a group that embraces violence and wishes to destroy Israel,” several Democrats wrote in a letter to Carter.

Notable among those who have not criticized Carter is Barack Obama.

Reuters reports from Indianapolis:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Friday it was not his place to criticize former President Jimmy Carter… “I’m not going to comment on former President Carter. He’s a private citizen. It’s not my place to discuss who he shouldn’t meet with,” Obama told reporters while campaigning in Indianapolis.

Click here to see one of the many children murdered on Meshal’s orders.

Sowell: “Nothing is more fraudulent than calls for a ‘dialogue on race’ ”


Thomas Sowell, one of America’s leading black intellectuals, has for some time now been scathing in his criticism of the “phony” Barack Obama. Now he turns his attention to those who blindly follow the Democratic frontrunner.

In one of his latest columns, Sowell, who was born in North Carolina, where, he recounts, his encounters with white people were so limited that he didn’t believe that “yellow” was a possible color for human hair, writes:

“Nothing is more fraudulent than calls for a ‘dialogue on race.’ Those who issue such calls are usually quick to cry ‘racism’ at any frank criticism. They are almost invariably seeking a monologue on race, to which others are supposed to listen.

“The same people who have gone ballistic when some prominent figure is found to belong to some all-male social club are full of excuses for why Barack Obama remained a member of a racist and anti-American church for 20 years.”

The Washington Blade on Obama’s Pastors


The Washington Blade, a gay newspaper in D.C., has some harsh words in an April 11 editorial on Senator Obama and his latest problem pastor, James Meeks (background on Meeks here). An excerpt:

THERE SEEMS TO be a continuing double standard here for what we will hold candidates accountable for and clearly what we think about their basic judgment. As a Clinton supporter I was upset that she felt the need to exaggerate the Bosnia danger. But I had the same disappointment when Obama exaggerated his work in the Senate, claiming to pass a bill that never got passed and claiming to be a bigger part of a bi-partisan coalition in the Senate than he was. But then neither the Clinton lapse on Bosnia, nor Obama’s lapse on the Senate issues is really that important.

But when we are talking about racist and homophobic statements by two pastors that the candidate says he has been close to for years and considers spiritual counselors, who he worships with, that to me is a real problem in judgment that may impact me if he is elected. It concerns me that he may be beholden to these men and others who share their views. While I am concerned about who contributes money to both Clinton and Obama, I am more concerned about the people they consider close personal friends and counselors.

It is time that we called on Obama to do more than make a great speech on race relations, which he did, and call on him to say that he will not take his spiritual counsel from people with such repugnant views.

I don’t yet feel confident that Obama will take this next step. I support Hillary Clinton, who with all her real and perceived faults doesn’t have those kinds of lapses in judgment. If Obama ends up the nominee of the Democratic Party he will have to make real moves in this area to try to unite the party before he can attempt to try to unite our nation as he claims he wants to do.

The views and words of both Wright and Meeks don’t belong anywhere near the White House.

Brookhiser in the NYT


Rick Brookhiser reviews Founding Faith in the New York Times.


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