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Silence from Media Matters on Randi Rhodes


Not surprisingly, Media Matters has nothing to say about Randi Rhodes calling Hillary Clinton a “whore.”

Ed Rendell vs. Olbermann


It’s on:

In a recent appearance on Fox News—not exactly considered friendly territory for the Democrats—he congratulated the network for having done “the fairest job [and] remained the most objective of all the cable networks.” In an interview with me, the governor was again in media-critic mode. “It took Saturday Night Live to bring some fairness to this election,” Rendell said, referring to the show’s now famous skit lampooning the media’s crush on Obama. “It’s stunning. Does Keith Olbermann get checks from the Obama campaign?”


More Randi


Brian Maloney weighs in. An excerpt:

Interestingly, while Rhodes was not suspended for airing a warped skit that claimed Mitt Romney supporters would commit mass murder if their candidate didn’t secure the GOP presidential nomination, attacking Hillary is apparently grounds for removal from the airwaves.

More here.

Foreign Reporters Taken Away in Zimbabwe?


This is a breaking story from the AP and hopefully it’s not true:

Security agents and paramilitary police in riot gear are surrounding a Harare hotel housing foreign journalists.

A man answering the phone at the hotel says they are taking away some reporters.

The man refused to give his name but said about 30 police entered the hotel Thursday and were preparing to take away four or five journalists.

Foreign journalists have been in Zimbabwe to cover elections in which President Robert Mugabe’s party lost control of parliament. He is apparently facing a runoff for the presidency.

Re: Air America Failing in NYC?


Yesterday I posted on how the station that runs Air America here in NYC was dropping a bunch of Air America programming. As a testament to the station’s keen acumen, one of the Air America programs they did keep was that of now suspended Randi Rhodes:

“WWRL is proud to be the progressive voice in the ether of conservatism,” said Bishop. He praised Schultz, the country’s highest-rated liberal talk host, and noted that the station still carries Air America’s Randi Rhodes, 3-6 p.m., and Rachel Maddow, 6-8 p.m.

I believe this is called corporate-Darwinism.


When Anti-War Movies Jump the Shark


What’s funny is this anti-war movie will make more money than all the other anti-war movies of the past five years:

Windy City Corruption


I owe a big tip of the hat to Tom Elia, who blogged yesterday about the astonishing statistic that three Illinois governors since 1960 have gone to jail. I mentioned this stat in my piece on the homepage today after reading about it at Tom’s place. Today, Tom has furnished more stats on corruption in Chicago specifically: “Since 1972,” he writes, “at least 26 Chicago alderman have been convicted of crimes.”

The point of my piece was that if Obama’s friend and fundraiser Tony Rezko is convicted of corruption, and if Rezko’s conviction leads to an indictment of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the national press might — might — start applying more scrutiny to Obama’s formative years in a political culture that’s proved to be much worse than just a few bad apples. We’ll see.

Rating the MSM Cafeterias


If you’re a pundit and reading this, think twice about what you eat the next time you visit ABC/CNN/NBC/CBS:

I know, it sounds like a local news sweeps piece, but it’s actually the findings of the New York City Health Department’s restaurant inspection. Below is a list of the cafeterias where many New York-based newsies lunch each day. All of the cafeterias passed inspection with CBS’s West 57th cafeteria rating the highest with just nine violation points. ABC’s cafeteria at 47 West 66th scored the lowest with 20 points. 28 violations is the threshold by which the restaurants would have to begin complying with city’s findings. The violations include “Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored,” at CNN’s Time Warner cafeteria to “Food item spoiled, adulterated, contaminated or cross-contaminated,” at the 52nd floor eatery atop the GE building.

If you go on Fox, rest easier:

Alas, Fox Newsers in New York don’t have a cafeteria of their own. It’s Wendy’s for them… but wait, it turns out that Wendy’s has fewer violations than all of the broadcast/cable cafeterias.

Which Stephanopoulos Spin Is Phoniest?


George Stephanopoulos granted an interview to the Mediabistro blog. Try to pick which answer is the lamest line of spin.

1. George is asked: Do you think that the star-power or the story lines that are coming out is a reflection of the candidates themselves, or is it being brought on by the media? He replied that the humble-little-Old-Media have had absolutely no effect on the campaigns:

I think it’s embedded in the race. I don’t think the media’s doing anything to the race or changing anything in the race or finding anything in the race that’s not there.

2. Later, George is asked about whether humor shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report affect news coverage. George responds that it’s one reason they created the “Sunday Funnies” feature on “This Week,” to acknowledge that younger viewers like a lot of comedy with their political analysis. But the very next question is how ratings affect the Sunday show:

Obviously you have to think about it. They don’t dictate our content in any way, but we’re aware of them and we always try to figure out what we can learn from them…

3. Then came the touchiest question: how does the (former?) Clinton spin artist manage the news on ABC, phrased this way: “you have experience both in politics and covering it. Do you see the roles as working in opposition or in conjunction with each other?” George replied:

Well there’s always a tension there. What I think we’re in the business of doing is trying to inform viewers and educate them and get them all the tools they need to make a decision that will affect politics and government. So we’re a part of the broader civic and political process, no question about it. To do our job well, that means we have to stand apart from the decision-makers, and ask questions that are on people’s minds so we can get the answers that people need to have.

I pick (3) as the phoniest of the three phony lines. I never forget that Stephanopoulos acknowledged to Don Imus in 2005 that he’s still on the phone with James Carville every day.

Those Polite, Caring LIberals


Remember all those calls for more civility in political discourse? Remember all the liberal moaning about “hate radio?” Remember David Shuster?

What do you imagine would have happened if Rush Limbaugh had said this instead of Air America’s Randi Rhodes? (Warning: vile language.)

NY Post Headlines


I always liked the solemn announcement of the passing of Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov, the man who ordered up the Soviets’ violent suppression of the Hungarian uprising and Prague Spring: “Andropov Drops Off.” Then, of course, there was the Scrappleface-inspired “Axis of Weasel.”

But the headlines off the front page should get a little recognition, too: the best ever had to be the obituary for Ike Turner, the allegedly abusive ex of the still-thriving Tina Turner: “Ike ‘Beats’ Tina to Death.”

Will Bob Casey Matter for Obama?


Last night on the Fox News All-Star Panel, Charles Krauthammer made an interesting argument about Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey’s Obama endorsement:

I think he might be overestimating the effect a little bit. Clinton has done a pretty good job of positioning herself as the working-class-whites candidate, and while Casey is a major figure in the state, I’m not convinced he can turn the tide. Also, when neither of the candidates is pro-life, I’m not sure it matters that Casey is.

But then again, the policy disagreements between Clinton and Obama are minor, so image, endorsements, and “electability” become more important.

Adrenaline- and Testosterone-Infused Paper Used in New Book


All who love tabloids will be delighted that the best and sassiest of  the New York Post’s most irreverent headlines have been put together in a HarperEntertainment book entitled, naturally, Headless Body in Topless Bar.

Once upon the time, the Post’s headline writers were far more staid, but that was before Rupert Murdoch bought the sputtering newspaper in 1976. He brought along a posse of Brit and Australian Fleet Street veterans to give the paper heavy-duty shots of adrenaline augmented with testosterone. The paper’s stars included Neil Travis, who created Page Six, Roger Wood, and Steve Dunleavy who is still there turning in an occasional rant. [In the interest of full disclosure, I must acknowledge that they were all occasional drinking buddies of my husband.]

The current editor Col Allan, an Australian, quoted in the book’s preface, said: “We’re delighted when the headlines entertain. Remember the very purpose of the headline is to draw the readers into the story, to make them want to read the thing in the first place.”

Among the favorites are:
“No Nudes is Good Nudes”: Supreme Court bans topless bars
“Chillary”: Clinton marriage strained by Lewinsky scandal
“Bite of the Century”: Mike Tyson chomps Evander Holyfield’s ear
“Holy Shiite”: Newsweek retracts false story of a Koran being flushed at Guantanamo
“Wacko Jacko Backo”: a Michael Jackson comeback

And so many more.

Air America Failing in NYC?


To paraphrase the great Frank Sinatra: If you can’t make it here, you can’t make it anywhere…

WWRL program director Rennie Bishop Tuesday said that despite dropping some Air America shows this week, the station remains “dedicated to providing the most consistent and progressive programming to our listeners.”

WWRL (1600 AM) stopped carrying Air America’s Lionel, 9 a.m.-noon, and Thom Hartmann, noon-3 p.m. It is carrying two hours of paid health programs, 9-11 a.m., then Ron Daniels 11 a.m.-noon, and Ed Schultz, noon-3 p.m. It has also added a tape delay of the Rev. Al Sharpton, 8-10 p.m.

“WWRL is proud to be the progressive voice in the ether of conservatism,” said Bishop. He praised Schultz, the country’s highest-rated liberal talk host, and noted that the station still carries Air America’s Randi Rhodes, 3-6 p.m., and Rachel Maddow, 6-8 p.m.

Dropping the two Air America shows, said Bishop, reflects only “a changed contractual climate not necessarily in the best interests of WWRL.”

Air America survived a bankruptcy filing last year and has seen management changes that have, as often happens in those cases, led to financial changes. Some of those affected its agreements with WWRL, which is one of the country’s dwindling band of independent radio stations and must turn a profit to stay in business.

Bishop expressed concern about the use in this column yesterday of the word “ambivalence” to describe WWRL’s relationship with Air America.

“Like any organization, we will continue to adjust to the overall changing business climate,” he said, “while categorically making clear we have never been ambivalent in our business dealing and honesty to our audience.”

NY Times “Feminist Hero” Endorse McCain



The New York Times recently called Heidi Montag a “feminist hero” for standing up to beau Spencer Pratt, but the Hills star, 21, isn’t backing Hillary Clinton for president.

“I’m voting for John McCain,” she tells Us Weekly in its latest issue, on newsstands now.

“I’m a Republican and McCain has a lot of experience,” she explains.

UPDATE: McCain responds, “I’m honored to have Heidi’s support and I want to assure her that I never miss an episode of ‘The Hills,’ especially since the new season started.”

UPDATE 2: It’s Hollywood week for Team McCain. Sela Ward hosted Senator McCain in Mississippi. (Scroll down for some excellent photos of Senator McCain and his family)

Dems and Hookers in Michigan


Eventually, Democrats will blame this sudden burst of sexual activity on the Iraq war, global warming, and President Bush. Up next on the hooker parade, Senator Debbie Stabenow’s husband (and founder of liberal TalkUSA Radio, whatever that is):

The husband of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow told police he used the Internet to make a date with a prostitute and paid her $150 for sex at a hotel in Troy.

A police report says Troy officers stopped 46-year-old Thomas Athans on February 26th during a stakeout of the hotel.

They ticketed him for driving with a suspended license but didn’t file any sex charges.

They say he’s cooperating with investigators. Police arrested a 20-year-old woman in the hotel room on a prostitution charge.

Athans co-founded the liberal TalkUSA Radio network two years ago.

So far, there’s no comment from the office of the Democratic senator.

I’m really going to have to set a Google News Alert to +”prostitute”+”democrat.”

This Didn’t Used to Be a Compliment...


It used to be grounds for defamation. The cover of the April 3 Rolling Stone reads:


Hanging Out With the Funniest Motherf*#!er in the USA

Demonstrating Rolling Stone’s fig leaf of a tribute to deeply-rooted American puritanism, the punctuation censorship is theirs.

Agreeing with Chris Matthews


Matthews on Oliver Stone:

Up next: President George W. Bush is about the get the Oliver Stone treatment. Nobody should get that. And will the director do for W. what he did for JFK, for Nixon, for Jim Morrison of the Doors? Will he make up the best stuff in the movie?

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

Media Matters Defends Dean


Media Matters is in a tizzy over pundits who accuse Howard Dean of calling John McCain a “blatant opportunist.”

Here’s the defense of Dean:

Summary: Echoing his false claim the previous day that DNC chairman Howard Dean accused Sen. John McCain of “blatant opportunism” for referencing his military service as part of his presidential campaign, co-host Steve Doocy asserted on Fox & Friends that “Howard Dean looked at the biography tour and called John McCain blatantly opportunistic, which is extraordinary about a guy who spent five years in the Hanoi Hilton.” In fact, Dean did not say that McCain’s reference to his military record was “blatantly opportunistic.”

And here’s what Howard Dean actually said, via Media Matters:

The American people have been waiting for a president who understands the challenges they face, not another out of touch Bush Republican who promises four more years of the same failed leadership. John McCain can try to reintroduce himself to the country, but he can’t change the fact that he cast aside his principles to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with President Bush for the last seven years. While we honor McCain’s military service, the fact is Americans want a real leader who offers real solutions, not a blatant opportunist who doesn’t understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years.

Got it? John McCain is a “blatant oportunist,” just not in regard to his military service.

How to sell Iraq War Movies to a US Audience


From today’s Times on how to sell the Iraq war film, “The Lucky Ones,” to an audience that does not want to see Iraq war films:

Nearly six months later, however, the filmmakers are getting antsy. In interviews Mr. Burger and one of his producers, Rick Schwartz, said that Lionsgate seemed paralyzed — unsure how to position “The Lucky Ones” or how to contend with the undeniable fact that moviegoers have shown no appetite for movies about the war.

“They want a hit as much as we want a hit, obviously,” Mr. Schwartz said of Lionsgate executives. “But that begs a whole host of questions. What should we do with this one? Do you do a trailer that’s more light and comedic that hides the fact that it’s really about three soldiers, or do you try to stay as true to the spirit of the film as possible?”

Good idea. Lie to the audience.


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