Media Blog

NRO’s MSM watchdog.

Brookhiser in the NYT


Rick Brookhiser reviews Founding Faith in the New York Times.

Media Matters vs. ...


… Gail Collins? Next thing you know they might ever take a swipe at Keith Olbermann…

Summary: Echoing other media figures who have asserted that Sen. Barack Obama appeals primarily to elites or have questioned whether Obama can connect to certain socioeconomic groups, The New York Times’ Gail Collins stated that Obama “can be disturbingly Ivy League.”


One Last Swipe at the Media


Bill just can’t help himself:

Does former President Bill Clinton regret his error-strewn defense of his wife’s Bosnia sniper-fire story? Does he regret mis-informing voters in Boonville and Jasper, Indiana?

“I regret that people like you care more about that when whether she served the troops,” he told reporters today in Terra Haute, per ABC News’ Sarah Amos.

Bill asks that we focus on her work with the troops, so let’s do that.  Here’s a 1996 NY Times piece on her trip titled, “Response by G.I.’s Mixed As Hillary Clinton Visits.”  An excerpt:

Another soldier said he thought that it was all right for Mrs. Clinton to visit, but “everyone really wants to see Sheryl Crow and Sinbad.”

Maybe Sinbad should run for president?  He’s been proven to have a better memory than Hillary and Bill of public events, worked in nightclubs his whole life (so we know he’s good to go at 3 a.m.) and best of all, he has the troops on his side.

Chris Matthews, This One’s for You


From Media Research Center:

Cal Thomas, Larry Kudlow, Mark Levin and Ann Coulter highlighted the MRC’s “2008 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters” presented on Thursday night, April 10, before an audience of more than 1,000 packed into the Independence Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, D.C.

Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories (see links to videos below), a look at some “funny clips” from 2007 and the audience picking the “Quote of the Year,” MRC President Brent Bozell honored Tony Snow with the MRC’s second annual “William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence.” Snow praised the late Buckley’s selfless efforts to identify and encourage promising young conservatives and then Snow regretted the current political rancor as he urged the audience to appreciate America’s greatness.

… DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 15 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Tony Blankley, Steve Forbes, Robert Novak, Walter E. Williams and Thomas S. Winter, who served as judges.

Among the categories:

Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis

The I’m Not a Political Genius But I Play One on TV Award

The Barack Obama Gives a Thrill Up My Leg Award

Big Brother Is Watching ...


… and he wants to sell you stuff.

A post at Wired today notes that many web-users are creeped out by targeted advertising. People just do not like the idea of their personal information being shared to target advertising:

The trick to winning over younger consumers? Transparency. After four privacy policies were shown to respondents, a majority claimed that they were more comfortable with the sharing of their data for advertising purposes.

I remember during the dark days of the early web — long ago, in the age of HotBot – the first time it hit me that ads were being targeted based on my browsing: I was shopping for clothes online and kept getting hit with ads for weight-loss products. I’m reminded of Dennis Miller’s rant about Levi’s printing the sizes on the outside of their jeans: “It was great when I was a 34, but when the ol’ odometer kicks over to the big four-oh, it’s time to get an unlisted number.” There are no unlisted numbers online.

But Harris Interactive suggests that targeted advertising isn’t going away, even though they bug a lot of folks:

  • A six in ten majority (59%) are not comfortable when websites like Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft (MSN) use information about a person’s online activity to tailor advertisements or content based on a person’s hobbies or interests. A quarter (25%) is not at all comfortable and 34 percent are not very comfortable;
  • The remaining 41 percent who say that are comfortable with websites tailoring content is split between 7 percent who are very comfortable and 34 percent who are somewhat comfortable.

The real challenge for news operations is going to be an endurance test: They’re making money from online advertising, and the amount of money they’re making is growing–but not growing fast enough to make up for the money they’re losing as print advertising contracts.


Celebrity Endorsements


GE Misses its Earnings


The big financial news out today is that GE, parent company of NBC, missed its earning estimate with the stock off about 10 percent in early trading.  Although the early spin focused on GE’s commercial finance business, the analysis is now turning to NBC’s role in the company’s poor performance:

GE missed its Q1, by a lot, and lowered estimates for 2008. GE tried to pin the blame on its financial services businesses, and in un-GE fashion, CEO Jeff Immelt sounded like he was making excuses.

Because it obviously wasn’t entirely on the credit crunch. For example, NBC U was also a laggard. It posted revenue growth of 3% and profit growth of 3%; in January, GE had predicted 10% revenue growth and profit increases of 5-10%.

Two weeks before the end of the quarter, GE CEO Immelt did a webcast in which he said the quarter was great. Implication? Load up on the stock. And now everyone who did is hosed.

What happened? Jeff wants us to blame those market conditions, the ones that were apparently unforeseeable two days before they occurred. Please. Jeff and GE shouldn’t compound this disaster by further damaging their already clobbered credibility.


CBS’s Hillary, CBS’s Barack?


The growing buzz that Katie Couric is on her way out of the CBS Evening News starts the succession scuttlebutt, with CBS News trying to look in-house. Katie’s quite explicitly linked herself with Hillary Clinton in the America’s-too-sexist argument to explain her failure to gain widespread public acceptance.

One possibility of a successor is Russ Mitchell, the news anchor on The Early Show. Mitchell is a pretty straight-forward news anchor (which is not to say he wouldn’t observe CBS’s liberal norms). He might be a unifying choice for a news media that doesn’t live up to the diversity talk it lobs at everyone else. He might be the Obama stand-in for Couric’s Hillary.

Randi Rhodes Update


From a reader who should know:

Just a quick note on your Randi Rhodes post. She will be broadcasting from West Palm Beach, FL via News Radio 1290 WJNO. There are already about 15 affiliates signed on. The San Francisco station is merely an affiliate trying to make the most of the news coverage.

Wanted: More White People


Rush Limbaugh is mining the student press, in this case The Tartan:

While the crowd was indeed diverse, some students at the event questioned the practices of Mrs. Obama’s event coordinators, who handpicked the crowd sitting behind Mrs. Obama. The Tartan’s correspondents observed one event coordinator say to another, “Get me more white people, we need more white people.” To an Asian girl sitting in the back row, one coordinator said, “We’re moving you, sorry. It’s going to look so pretty, though.”

Nice reporting, Tartan! Can you imagine the Wagner opera of angst and wailing that would ensue if Mrs. John McCain or a subordinate had uttered the words: ““Get me more white people, we need more white people” and then told an Asian girl, “We’re moving you, sorry. It’s going to look so pretty, though.”

Of course, the media pilloried the Republicans for staging a “minstrel show” convention when the GOP tried to showcase the ethnic diversity of its supporters.

“Get me more white people” is the most risible thing said this political season, and that is saying something.

It’s All in the Way You Write the Headline


Here’s how the Huffington Post writes the headline for a recent AP poll on the approval ratings for President Bush and Congress:

How Low Can He Go? Bush’s Public Approval Sinks To New Record In AP Poll

Here’s how we see it:

How Low Can They Go?  Public Approval Rating For Reid and Pelosi led Congress 5% Lower Than President Bush in AP Poll

Fact Checking Hillary and Bill


ABC is all over the story: Jake Tapper fact checks the latest Bill Clinton spin on Hillary’s Bosnia adventure and finds 8 errors in Bill’s new version of events.  The summary:

(1) Her most glaringly wrong telling of the tale, on March 17, 2008, was in the morning.
(2) She actually told versions of the story several times. (And none was at night.)
(3) In an e-mail to journalist Eric Jansson, former acting Bosnian president Ejup Ganic said “we didn’t expect snipers,” though, “we still believed that some positions on the hills were occupied by radical Serbs, so I was worried about the overall safety.”
(4) Not according to the pilot Colonel William “Goose” Changose (Ret.), who said, “nobody under my watch has ever directed anyone to sit on their flak jackets. … We do not direct people to sit on their flak jackets.”
(5) It wasn’t immediate at all — it was 11 days later, first in an editorial board meeting with the Philadelphia Inquirer/Philadelphia Daily News, then later in a press availability.
(6) She never apologized.
(7) It was 1996, not 1995.
(8) He qualified it with “I think,” but then-first lady Pat Nixon went to a combat zone in Saigon, Vietnam, in July 1969.

Chuck Todd: Worst Person in the World


In January, Mary Katharine Ham was named Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” for insinuating that Bill Clinton wasn’t prepared for the YouTubification of politics.  From her defense in January:

My point, which I made fairly clear on the show was that Bubba’s not used to the quick and constant fact-checking of the Internet and 24-hour news cycle age and that it pisses him off when his mis-statements and blow-ups are routinely recorded and picked apart. Olbermann’s position is that because the media didn’t black out coverage of Clinton’s coitus internus in the Oval Office, he was never, ever treated with kid gloves by the press.

Clear to everyone but Olbermann.  Let’s see what happens on “Countdown” now that MSNBC political director Chuck Todd is basically saying the same thing:

No one has seemed less prepared for the intense scrutiny of this campaign than Bill. He seems to forget that even when he’s in rural Indiana, he’s on the national stage. In ‘96, the Clinton campaign thought their local market strategy was innovative (it was), since it allowed him to talk to key media markets outside of the interference of the national press. Now, the national press is everywhere since local can become national in an instant.

Randi Rhodes Update


She’s back on the air:

Well hours after she and Air America “terminated” their relationship in mid-suspension — Rhodes cut a deal Thursday to get back on the air in SF, where she will work the 4 p.m.-7 p.m. slot starting Monday on 960 AM. She is now working for Phoenix-based Nova M Radio Network.

Bill Clinton, Media Critic


This is a hoot:

One such subject that caused the former president to meander was his wife’s disputed account of her trip to Bosnia as first lady. It is a subject that has gotten plenty of media attention, but has been kept out of President’s Clinton’s speeches. Today, as Clinton explained Hillary’s dedication to taking care of U.S. veterans, he told the crowd how amused the whole controversy made him.

“A lot of the way this whole campaign has been covered has amused me,” he said. “But there was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995. …  And you woulda thought, you know, that she’d robbed a bank the way they carried on about this. And some of them when they’re 60 they’ll forget something when they’re tired at 11:00 at night, too.”

Sen. Clinton did not apologize, like Mr. Clinton asserted, she simply indicated that she mispoke when describing the Bosnia incident. 

While the former president may have been amused by the whole incident, his telling of the course of events wasn’t quite accurate. Hillary Clinton actually made the comments numerous times, including at an event in Iowa on Dec. 29, amd an event on Feb. 29 and one time — bright and early in the morning — on March 17.

Sen. Clinton wasn’t as quick with her apology as President Clinton may remember either. In fact, it took a week for her to eventually correct herself, first talking to the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board on March 24 and again the following day in Greensboro, N.C.

Nice job by ABC setting the former president straight: It wasn’t one time, it wasn’t exclusively late at night, she didn’t apologize, didn’t immediately retract her statement, &c.  Where was ABC when he was running for president and claiming that one of the great booms in American history was the “worst economy since the Great Depression”?

Google Ad of the Day


Here’s a screen-shot of the Google-served ad that came up while I was reading the article “Smearing Obama” in The Nation about Obama’s relationship with Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi:

For a much more intelligent take on Obama’s relationship with Khalidi, see Andy McCarthy today.  It’s odd, however, that Google doesn’t serve up an ad with a bikini-clad woman on NRO.  Must be a bug in the software…

1,500 would have died, but the media don’t seem to care


The “martyrdom videos” played to a London court and shown on British TV today are just chilling.

The eight men on trial (all are radical British Muslims) are charged with plotting to detonate bombs aboard civilian airliners bound for the United States and Canada using explosives concealed in soft drink bottles. Prosecutors say they were close to carrying out their plan when they were arrested.

More than 1,500 passengers and crew would have been killed had the bombs gone off.

Yet none of the videos – so far as I can tell from some quite close scrutiny of the channels – are so far being aired on American networks even though they were made public many hours ago. As for the web, the only major American news site carrying one of the videos is ABC News.

It’s not on the websites of CNN or MSNBC. CNN does cover the story, but only with a watered down article from the AP; there’s no clip of it being covered on TV.

You can read this Times of London and watch the video here.

Journalists on Bush vs. “Bush”


From the Dallas Morning News:

Texas Monthly’s Dallas-based executive editor Skip Hollandsworth and former Texas Monthly reporter Robert Draper were among the George W. Bush experts the The Hollywood Reporter consulted about an advance script of Oliver Stone ‘s upcoming biopic, W. The paper got hold of an October 2007 draft and asked the journalists if the script, which was penned by Stanley Weiser, who co-wrote Wall Street with Mr. Stone, bore any resemblance to reality. Two subsequent drafts have reportedly been written.

“It leaves you with the impression that the White House is run as a fraternity house with no reverence for hierarchy, the office itself or for the implications of policy,” Robert told the paper. He is the author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush. “Everybody calling everybody else nicknames and chatting about whether to go to war as if they were chatting about how to bet on a football game really misses the mark,” he says.

Skip is dubious about the scene that has W. telling Laura Bush he wished his father had not been elected president. “That story was running around,” Skip told THR. “But he was extremely upset later about [Ross] Perot entering that race, and very angry. That doesn’t make sense.”

The $30 million film will star Josh Brolin as George W. and James Cromwell as George H.W., Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush and Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush.

Texas Monthly is, to put it mildly, not exactly a pro-Bush, pro-Republican magazine. But then nobody expected Ollie Stone’s movie to reflect anything like reality. (Nixon was a great movie, so long as you’re not expecting it to have much of anything to say about the actual Nixon administration. It’s sort of a 1970s America Krapp’s Last Tape. Having read the available pages of the Bush screenplay, I have low expectations.)

WSJ: Couric on the Way Out


The Wall Street Journal reports that Couric won’t complete her contract term: 

After two years of record-low ratings, both CBS News executives and people close to Katie Couric say that the “CBS Evening News” anchor is likely to leave the network well before her contract expires in 2011 — possibly soon after the presidential inauguration early next year.

Katie Couric and CBS are prepared for her early exit from the network.

Ms. Couric isn’t even halfway through her five-year contract with CBS, which began in June 2006 and pays an annual salary of around $15 million. But CBS executives are under pressure to cut costs and improve ratings for the broadcast, which trails rival newscasts on ABC and NBC by wide margins.

Her departure would cap a difficult episode for CBS, which brought Ms. Couric to the network with considerable fanfare in a bid to catapult “Evening News” back into first place. Excluding several weeks of her tenure, Ms. Couric never bested the ratings of interim anchor Bob Schieffer, who was named to host the broadcast temporarily after “Evening News” anchor Dan Rather left the newscast in the wake of a discredited report on George W. Bush’s National Guard service.

Air America Updates


Randi Rhodes quits:

Last week Air America suspended Randi Rhodes for abusive, obscene language at a recent public appearance in San Francisco which was sponsored by an Air America affiliate station.

Air America Media was informed last night by Ms. Rhodes that she has chosen to terminate her employment with the company.

We wish her well and thank her for past services to Air America. We will soon announce exciting new talent and programming that will accelerate Air America’s growth in the future.

And in other news, a possible deal that would have MSNBC simulcast one hour of David Gregory’s “Race to the White House” on Air America:

Maddow is currently listed as the anchor of the Rachel Maddow Show on Air America from 6-9pm. But Maddow has frequently been a guest on the new David Gregory-anchored Race for the White House, which airs at 6pmET.

Insiders say MSNBC and Air America are in talks to put the 6pmET show on Air America, but nothing is confirmed yet.


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review