[star]The American Mind[star]

October 13, 2006

Air America: Bankrupt

The experiment of a profit-making liberal talk radio network has it the wall. Air America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy:

Air America Radio, a liberal talk and news radio network that features the comedian Al Franken, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a network official told The AP.

The network had denied rumors just a month ago that it would file for bankruptcy. On Friday, Air America spokeswoman Jaime Horn told The Associated Press that the filing became necessary only recently after negotiations with a creditor from the company's early days broke down.

The network will stay on the air while it resolves issues with its creditors, Horn said. In addition to Franken, the network also features shows from liberal talk show host Randi Rhodes and Jerry Springer.

The Smoking Gun has the bankruptcy filing. Al Franken is owed over $350,000 (even half of that would be nice to start bankrolling a future U.S. Senate campaign), and Chuck D of Public Enemy fame is owed over $10,000.

Brian Maloney reports the network was supposed to be bought by a Democratic moneyman, but those plans fell apart. Maloney wonder how Air America will continue to operate "because there simply isn't enough cash coming in to cover basic expenses, beyond payroll and perhaps a few utility bills."

Lefty weblogger Shakespeare's Sister writes,

Predictably, conservative bloggers are touting this as evidence that there’s simply no market for progressive ideas. I don’t actually think this is true. I’m ostensibly the perfect target audience for Air America, and I can’t frigging stand it.


And many of the criticisms of Air America being poorly run are valid. Even when I was trying to give Air America a good chance, they were completely screwing up in Chicago. On the air, not on the air, a different station, filled with static, off the air, what the f***? In one of the bluest cities in the country, and hence presumably one of the best audiences, they should have sorted that shit out long ago.

"Air America Radio files for Chapter 11"

"Air America Files Chapter 11"

"Air America Deflates"

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September 27, 2006

Insensitive Morons at the NY Post

We only have one planet. We're stuck with each other. Jews are stuck with Muslims who are both stuck with Christians, Hindus, athiests, and a host of other faiths. Blacks are stuck with whites who are stuck with Asian yadda, yadda, yadda. Respecting one's boundaries, both physical, economic, emotional, and spiritual are needed or society breaks down into chaos. It's bad enough for some sick bastard to send Lefty looney toon Keith Olberman an envelope filled with white powder. I hope that creature is soon arrested. To make things worse the NY Post's gossip section, Page Six, mocked Olberman for calling 911 for help. (Here's Olberman's account.) I wonder what employees of the Post would do if they were sent such a threatening piece of mail. Wait, we already know because it happened five years ago:

A letter mailed to the New York Post has tested positive for anthrax and is similar to anthrax-laced letters sent to NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, police said late yesterday.

The letter addressed to "Editor" was postmarked Sept. 18 - as was a contaminated letter sent to Brokaw - and bore a Trenton, N.J., postmark like the letters to Brokaw and Daschle. The letter to Daschle was postmarked Oct. 9.

The handwriting on the Post letter is similar to that found on the two other letters, according to statement released by New York police and the FBI.

Police found the unopened envelope late Friday night during an investigation launched after a Post employee tested positive for the bacteria. The letter, which contained a small amount of a powdery substance, has been sent to Maryland for testing.

You can be pretty sure the Post people weren't the most cool and calm as they called the police.

Page Six's Paula Froelich took gossip to a new low. She was cruel and heartless. For shame! She better be working on that apology.

"Why Doesn't Page Six Take A Big Whiff Itself?"

"Aren't Death Threats Just Hilarious"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 26, 2006

Newsweek Chooses to Sell Book Instead of News with Cover

When seeing this graphic at Outside the Beltway I started singing "One of these things is not like the other...."


It just so happens famed photographer Annie Leibovitz is coming out with a new collection of her photos called A Photographer's Life: 1990-2005. Newsweek is obviously involved in promoting the book. Thus the Taliban get bumped for a celebrity photographer for U.S. readers. That's some amazing P.R. firm Leibovitz has to get actual news bumped off the cover of a national newsweekly.

"Taliban vs. Annie Leibovitz"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:12 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 10, 2006

Path to 9/11 Clips

Even with all the yapping around the blogosphere and inside Washington, D.C. I had not intention of watching ABC's Path to 9/11. Mike Krempasky posted some controversial clips of the show on Redstate. After watching the over-acting, the melodramatic slow motions and music, and ex-New Kid on the Block Donnie Walberg I still won't be sacrificing Sunday Night Football for the miniseries.

"ABC's Path to 9/11: The Video Democrats DON'T WANT YOU TO SEE"

"ABC's Path to 9/11: Clip Synopsis"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 06, 2006

Crikey! Steve Irwin was a Freak

Steve Irwin had a few screws loose. That's not surprising since he thought is was a perfectly good idea to roll around with creatures that could kill him in an instant. The U.K.'s Daily Star reports the Crocodile Hunter wanted the cameras to keep rolling even while he was being killed. Irwin once said, "My number one rule is to keep that camera rolling. Even if it’s shaky or slightly out of focus, I don’t give a rip!

"Even if a big big old alligator is chewing me up I want to go down and go, ‘Crikey!’ just before I die. That would be the ultimate for me."

Me, I'd prefer is someone would try to save me, but I didn't have a death wish.

I figured Irwin's death video would pop up on the internet. Instead, it might be broadcast on television so people can watch the death of a man from the confines of their living rooms.

But that won't happen if Irwin's manager John Stainton has his way. He told Larry King, "I would never want that tape shown. It should be destroyed. At the moment, it's in police custody. A coroner's inquest is taking place. When that is finally released, it will never see the light of day, ever."

If Stainton tries to destroy the tape it will eventually leak onto the internet. That's just the state of the world and technology today. It's easy to make copies and send them anywhere; and too many can't control their urges and want to see anything and everything.

"Show My Death on TV"

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August 30, 2006

Couric Photoshopped

I didn't figure the petite Katie Couric needed any photoshopping done. But her CBS people did a fantastic job. She looks pretty slim in this AP photo. They took off a bunch off the waste and the neck.

"CBS Magazine Slims Down in Photo"

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August 27, 2006

Released Fox News Journalists Were Forced to Convert to Islam at Gunpoint

The Holy Jihad Brigades that held Fox News correspondent Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig don't have much faith in the power of their own religion. The forced the two journalists to convert at gunpoint:

"We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint," Centanni told FOX News. "Don't get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didn't know what the hell was going on."

"Captors Release Two Journalists Kidnapped in Gaza Aug. 14"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:58 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

August 26, 2006

Our Dark Secrets

Ladies and gentlemen, let me remind you that all of us have something in our past that, if known, would have others seriously questioning our integrity. Greg Mitchell has, Mary Katherine Ham has, Mary Katerine's father has, even I have. The only difference is Mitchell told the whole world.

Sorry, you get no hints or any inkling of what I regret. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 15, 2006

Olbermann Has Really Gone Wacky

Last night was one of the few times I turned on Keith Olbermann's Countdown. I have to say, "Never again!" During the two minutes of my viewing I watched how Keith tried to pin numerous terrorism stories onto a timeline claiming President Bush used them to advance his political agenda. At the end Keith toppled his own conspiracy theory by admitting you could link the stories to just about anything. In other words, Keith's lips were just flapping in the wind.

Olbermann Watch puts it this way:

Then there was Krazy Keith's Top Ten List of terror incidents that coincide with politics: a "pattern of exploiting fear for political gain". Don't get the impression that there's much new here. He replayed the same interminable propaganda piece he ran last October. The only difference is that back then, MSNBC forced him put on an opposing point of view. Even that minimal concession to journalistic integrity was dispensed with on tonight's Hour of Spin.

"Countdown with Keith Olbermann - August 14, 2006"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:18 AM | Comments (50) | TrackBack

July 21, 2006

Media Used to Keep a Secret

Once upon a time the media could be trusted to keep a secret when lives were on the line. Former reporter Michael Berlin tells us the story of Americans hidden in the Canadian embassy in Tehran when Iranian militants stormed the U.S. embassy in 1979.

On Nov. 4 of that year, Islamic militants stormed and occupied the U.S. Embassy compound in Tehran and took hostage the more than 70 Americans there.

But six American officials happened to be outside the compound, elsewhere in the Iranian capital, at the time of the takeover. The militants never realized that some Americans were missing; they were being sheltered by Canadian diplomats in Tehran, who were risking their own safety to protect them.

At that time, I was a reporter covering the United Nations for the New York Post and The Washington Post. On the second day after the takeover, I got hold of a published diplomatic list of Americans attached to the embassy in Iran, just to try to put names to the hostages. So did journalists all over Washington, and in newsrooms across America.

I noticed a discrepancy in the numbers: People on the list outnumbered hostages announced by the militants. That day, in the U.N. lunchroom used by resident reporters, press officers and the occasional lost tourist, I asked an American press officer about the discrepancy. He brushed me off but suggested that I might ask the Canadians about it, immediately making me suspicious.

I asked the Canadians, who said they would get back to me. By then I had pieced together a pretty good idea of the basics of the story.

I soon got a call from a high-ranking member of the American U.N. delegation, a good source before and after, who formally asked me to hold back the story. Publication, he said, could put the lives of the fugitive Americans and their Canadian hosts in danger.

I called my editor at the New York Post and put the request before him. His only question was whether I could rely on my American source to cue me the moment the story was about to leak or could be released. I called the ambassador back, and he promised to put me on the Washington list of those who would receive simultaneous green-light calls. The New York Post accepted the deal, and my editors at The Washington Post told me their State Department writers were on the same green-light list.

Media could keep a secret back then. Bravo for those journalists who cared more about the possible ill effects of their reporting than their careers. Back then it was still in the media's cultural DNA to be careful with certain secrets. Life and death were in the balance.

That's a far cry from today when Bill Keller and his NY Times decided it was in the public's interest to tell the world and America's enemies about the Swift financial surveillance program. I can imagine Keller's attitude in 1979. He would have wanted to report on the hidden Americans and their Canadian friends. He would have argued the public had a right to know that all the embassy workers were accounted for and where the missing were.

With his op-ed Berlin tries to demonstrate the media can keep a life-threatening secret. The MSM can be trusted while he worries "that some blogger or counterculture ideologue using journalism as a political tool rather than as a mechanism for dispensing straight information, would make the wrong call." All Berlin really proves is reporters had more prudence and a better sense of cause and effect than today's gaggle, or as Tom Maguire writes, "About all this incident proves is that the press could make the easy calls almost thirty years ago."

"A Secret the Media Kept" [via digg]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 04:55 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

July 14, 2006

White Powder Found in NY Times Letter

Someone who is no fan of the NY Times sent a letter to the New York office containing a unknown white powder and a recent editorial defending the newspaper's publishing of classified terrorist surveillance programs:

"At about 12:30 p.m. (1630 GMT) this afternoon ... an employee opened an envelope that contained a white powdery substance. The envelope was handwritten and addressed to the New York Times, not to any individual. The postmark was from Philadelphia with no return address," said Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis.

Emergency vehicles and an ambulance responded to the newspaper's offices on 43rd Street and Mathis said the man who opened the envelope was taken to hospital for precautionary tests and treatment.

Thanks to Reuters the campaign to indict conservatives in general in the courtroom of public opinion:

Conservatives have criticized the Times in recent weeks for writing about the Bush administration's covert anti-terrorism programs. This week protesters rallied outside the newspaper to object to its decision to publish details about terrorism financing and secret government programs to monitor phone conversations of U.S. citizens.

It would actually be news had Reuters found an example of a prominent conservative who called for the assassination of NY Times staff. The harshest words I've seen call for Bill Keller et al. to be tried for treason. And that's a legal proceeding not vigilanteism.

To the unhinged (and probably Free Repubic-reading) criminal who sent the letter: you're disgusting and evil. If the white powder is anthrax you tried to kill someone for no good reason. If the victims inhaled the powder they would endure "severe breathing problems and shock." The CDC gravely writes on its website, "[I]nhalation anthrax is usually fatal." If the white powder isn't the virus you inflicted a tremendous amount of psychological trauma on someone for no good reason. I hope you're hunted down and brought to justice.

"Letter to NY Times had White Powder, Own Editorial"

UPDATE: The powder wasn't anthrax but corn starch.

"Powder Sent to The Times Not Anthrax" [via Wizbang]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 04:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 06, 2006

Business Secrets Protected Better than National Security

Devulging business trade secrets such as "confidential Coca-Cola documents and a sample of a product the company was developing" are treated with more intensity than the methods the government used to hunt down and stop Islamist terrorists. Pepsi has more moral integrity than the NY Times and LA Times. Pepsi helped Coke and the FBI catch the leakers. In the newspapers' case they plastered secret information about terrorist tracking methods all over their front pages. This despite being told by government officials that the Swift program was currently being used for three investigations. It also doesn't say much for the Bush administration who hasn't prosecuted any government leakers nor taken any retaliatory actions against the newspapers such as rescinding their White House credentials.

[via Charlie Sykes]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2006

Viagra was Rush Limbaugh's

The mess surrounding Rush Limbaugh's Viagra has been sorted out. The pills were under his psychiatrist's name to protect the talk radio host's privacy--not that it matters now.

The state attorney's office said that Dr. Steve Strumwasser's name was on the Viagra bottle, not Limbaugh's. Strumwasser, who is Limbaugh's psychiatrist, told authorities he "agreed to have his name on the label in an effort to avoid potentially embarrassing publicity for the suspect," according to the state attorney's office filing. "Thus, the medication contained in the subject pill bottle was legitimately prescribed to the suspect by his physician."

It is generally not illegal under Florida law for a physician to prescribe medication in a third party's name if all parties are aware and the doctor documents it correctly, said Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County state attorney.

However, since the doctor wrote the prescription in Miami-Dade County, the case has been forwarded to prosecutors there for review.

Limbaugh's lawyer, Roy Black, has said the prescription was written in Limbaugh's doctor's name "for privacy purposes." The conservative radio host was released without being charged and investigators confiscated the Viagra, which treats erectile dysfunction.

"Based on the sworn facts presented by the investigating officer as well as the suspect, the elements of the offense cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Palm Beach County Assistant State Attorney Paul Zacks wrote in a filing Wednesday.

" Will Not be Charged over Viagra"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:14 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 20, 2006

Rather Era Over at CBS

CBS News and Dan Rather have agreed to part ways. Rather still wants to report and might sign with Mark Cuban's HDNet network and reach the half-a-dozen sports and movie geeks who have spilled a few grand on HD televisions.

" Leaving CBS"

"WaPo's Shales: Was 'Very Activist Anchor' [I'll Say!]"

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June 09, 2006

The "Stunt" That Wasn't

Washington Times editors really wanted to catch Democrats for not being enthusiastic for the Zarqawi news. They even went so far as to write a headline reading "Democrats call Zarqawi killing a stunt." If you read the story no Democrat used the s-word. They fixed it for the Friday edition of the newspaper.

"The Washington Times Slimes Democrats With a Lie"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2006

U.S. Media Reaction to Zarqawi's Death

This morning, ABC and NBC both went into Bush criticism mode on news of Zarqawi's death. They didn't even take time for satisfaction at the end of an evil man's bloody reign of death. NBC's Ann Curry let Sen. Joe Biden go off on a rant about President Bush's so-called "incompetence" "at home and abroad." ABC let Richard Clarke say wacking Zarqawi wouldn't make much of a difference in curbing the violence in Iraq. I guess that was a waste of intellegence and smart bombs.

Either the media feel the orginal story was "old news" because it came in the middle of the night U.S. time, or they have a predisposal to beat on the President.

"ABC Quickly Brings In Peacenik Dad to Condemn Killing"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 30, 2006

Thomas on Zinmeister

Helen Thomas continued to prove she's too old and crotchety to be at White House briefings. Here's Thomas questioning Tony Snow about new domestic policy advisor Karl Zinsmeister:

Q Why did the President pick a man who is so contemptible of the public servants in Washington to be his Domestic Advisor -- saying, "People in Washington are morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings"? Why would he pick such a man to be a Domestic Advisor?

MR. SNOW: You meant contemptuous, as opposed to contemptible, I think.

Q Pure contempt.

MR. SNOW: Well, I'm not sure it's pure contempt. I know Karl Zinsmeister pretty well, and he is somebody who expresses himself with a certain amount of piquancy -- you're perhaps familiar with that, aren't you, Helen? And so, as a consequence, from time to time he's going to say -- he'll have some sharp elbows.

Q If this is his attitude toward public servants --

MR. SNOW: No, I don't think it's his attitude toward public servants -- it may have been toward the press. Just kidding. No, I -- look, if you look at the bulk of what Karl Zinsmeister has done at The American Enterprise and elsewhere, I think you're going to find somebody who's done some pretty meaty and interesting research on a variety of topics. The reason he's being brought in is that he's --

Q Do you agree with his assessment of Washington?

MR. SNOW: I'm not -- there's one sentence the guy wrote, and perhaps you may recall -- yes?

Q Arrogant, morally repugnant, cheating, shifty -- come on.

MR. SNOW: That's a lot in one sentence, isn't it? He just packed it right in.


Q So what is the attitude toward --

MR. SNOW: The attitude is we're glad to have a guy on board who has breadth of knowledge, who has breadth of interest and of experience, and is going to bring --

Q No tolerance for other human beings.

MR. SNOW: Helen, tell you what, why don't you get to know Karl, because I think you're going to find out that to judge somebody --

Q Bring him on. (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: -- on the basis of one sentence is probably a little unfair.

Q How could it be unfair?

MR. SNOW: He'll charm you.

In Old Woman Helen's world only those with the "proper respect" for Washington should be advising the President. Calling people in D.C. "morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings" fits when talking about Jack Abramoff, Congressman William Jefferson, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and convicted Congressman Duke Cunningham.

Heaven forbid someone at a distance from the capital's insularity could offer ideas to improve the government and think Washington isn't the Emerald City full of pure hearts and good intentions.

Wait until Old Woman Helen reads this Editor & Publisher article that quotes Zinsmeister calling embedded reporters in Iraq "whiny and appallingly soft."

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:16 PM | Comments (7)

WSJ Wrong on Raid

Paul Gigot and the Wall Street Journal editorial board get it wrong for once. This time with regards to the FBI raiding Congressman William Jefferson's office. They oppose the raid mentioning the Speech and Debate Clause multiple times. Yet they don't explain their reasoning. They don't even bother to quote from the constitution. Here's the portion they referred to:

They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

The WSJ editorial board are conservatives. It's safe to assume they're constitutional originalists. I see no where in the text about Congressmen's offices protected from search warrants. The raid of Congressman Jefferson's office had to do with a bribery investigation not preventing him from speaking in the House or casting a vote.

"Raiding Congress" [via Michelle Malkin]

UPDATE: McQ at QandO praises Sen. Frist for not opposing the raid.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2006

Al Jazeera, Fox News Most Trusted

A media poll has something in it to bug everybody:

Asked to name the news source they most trusted, without any prompting, 59 percent of Egyptians said Al Jazeera, 52 percent of Brazilians said Rede Globo, 32 percent of Britons said the BBC, 22 percent of Germans said ARD and 11 percent of Americans said Fox News, each leading their respective nations.

Right-wingers will be bugged over Al Jazeera's trustworthiness while blue-staters will be indignant that anyone could think the network of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity could be worthy on any praise.

", BBC, Al Jazeera Most Trusted: Poll"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:06 AM | Comments (3)

May 01, 2006

TIME 100: Waste of Time

The TIME 100 list is full of conventional wisdom (Hillary Clinton, Matt Drudge, President Bush), self-congratulations (Bill & Melinda Gates, Bono TIME's 2005 people of the year), and those that got on the list because their publicists did a good job kissing up to the magazine to promote their new albums (Paul Simon, the Dixie Chicks). Then there's Elie Wiesel. He spoke out at yesterday's Darfur rally. Other than that he hasn't done anything substantial in years. He most recent claim to fame is being an Oprah Winfrey book club selection.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2006

What is Paul Gigot Smoking?

Pamela Anderson has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. With the rise of the blogosphere there are thousands of capable writers to offer unique insights and perspectives. So the paper picks someone known for being a busty, blond boob who has her private, home made porn video floating all over the internet.

Has Hell froze over? Is it the sign of the apocalypse?

My hope of a future writing career has been (temporarily) torn asunder.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:45 AM | Comments (2)

April 28, 2006

Show Prep

For once, I might actually be a trendsetter.

" Show Prep"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:50 PM | Comments (1)

April 21, 2006

Two Years for Franken

Doug Payton of Stones Cry Out informs us Al Franken's radio show is two years old, longer than Doug thought it would last.

As a national force Franken and Air America Radio have so far failed. Liberal talk radio isn't infecting the airwaves. Air America's financial troubles may play a part; no personality has taken hold of listeners; or liberals don't really want to listen to talk radio outside NPR and college radio stations. They might prefer the alternatives of much of mainstream media and screaming websites like Daily Kos. The notion of liberal talk radio listeners as an untapped market hasn't born fruition.

"Prediction: Wrong"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 04:19 PM | Comments (4)

April 20, 2006

Brit Hume Profiled

Howard Kurtz profiles Fox News' Brit Hume.

"Moving to the Right"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2006

McBride on Media Pulitzers

Yesterday, I covered the Pulitzer book winners. Former reporter, now journalism instructor Jessica McBride looks at the newspaper winners. She isn't impressed.

"Pulitzer Prizes: Liberal Media Backslapping"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2006

Al Jazeera Correction

Last month, I mentioned a Jew-bashing article demonstrating that Al Jazeera International, the soon-to-be new cable news channel would have a tough time gaining credibility. The article mentioned (forgot the link, me bad) was from Aljazeera.com. A reader pointed out that site is not connected to Al Jazeera the infamous news network. The Aljazeera.com website confirms that. The article only took up one paragraph and without it the essence of my post stands true. Still, I apologize for my error and will try harder to be more accurate.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2006

Telegraph, Provide the Links

A lot of people were stupid for jumping on the "Jill Carroll went batty" bandwagon. Some are still stupid demanding an apology to themselves. The Telegraph blows it completely when they accuse right-wing webloggers of bashing her. It's not that it didn't happen, it's that they provided no links or quotes to support the accusation. I want to know who was dumb enough to want Carroll arrested for treason. The paper isn't opposed to hyperlinks; they linked to another Telegraph story, just not to any offending webloggers.

"Right-Wing Bloggers Attack Freed Hostage for 'Treason'" [via LMA]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:13 AM | Comments (2)

March 30, 2006

Borders Bans Magazine Issue

Borders has decided not to carry the April-May issue of Free Inquiry because it will contain Muhammad cartoons that sparked violent outrage among some Muslims:

"For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority," Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said Wednesday.

Robert Bidinotto isn't happy:

By its public declaration of pre-emptive surrender, Borders has given the bullies of our age a clear message: Your intimidation works. Your bullying works. Your coercion works. Your terrorist threats work.

Borders has set a morally irresponsible and frighteningly dangerous precedent. It has told fanatics everywhere that all they need to do in order to obliterate First Amendment rights is to growl menacingly -- at which point a leading bookstore chain in America will clear its shelves of anything that could possibly offend the thug of the moment.

I work for Barnes & Noble, Borders' chief competitor, and have heard nothing that the same will be done in their stores. I'd be shocked if they did. The company is pretty absolute in making available materials their customers want to buy. You can buy The Anarchist Cookbook for pete's sake.

It's one thing to write a letter to the company expressing your complaint. It's another going into your nearest Borders and asking for the banned issue of Free Inquiry then complaining. This was a company decision. Your average Borders bookseller has no control over this. They're working stiffs like anyone else. Don't give them a hard time.

"An Open Letter to Borders Books"

"Fear of a Jihadi Planet"

"The Heckler's Veto"

UPDATE: Andrew Cory, another Barnes & Noble employee, writes:

See, a bookstore’s only stocking priority ought to be “will it sell”. Once the commercial judgment is replaced with editorial one, a company sets itself up as a censor. It begins to limit access to knowledge, and democracy itself is tarnished.

Making available what people want to buy is a way a free market supports other freedoms. Milton Friedman would be pleased.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:27 PM | Comments (2)

March 28, 2006

An Embarassment to All Seans Everywhere

What little respect I had for Sean Hannity went out the window with this incident with Alec Baldwin.

"Alec Baldwin v. Sean Hannity in Radio Donnybrook" [via Little Miss Attila]

UPDATE: Patrick at Badger Blogger has audio of Sean Hannity's side of the story. He tries all he wants but he doesn't sound positive at all. But Baldwin sounded as unhinged as he usually does.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:19 AM | Comments (13)

March 20, 2006

David Duke, Al Jazeera on Same Page

As an addendum to my piece below on David Duke and Islamists are fond of the same study the Arab Al Jazeera promoted:

A paper recently co-authored by the academic dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government about the allegedly far-reaching influence of an "Israel lobby" is winning praise from white supremacist David Duke.

The Palestine Liberation Organization mission to Washington is distributing the paper, which also is being hailed by a senior member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization.

" Claims to Be Vindicated By a Harvard Dean" [via Betsy's Page]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

Al Jazeera's English Face

The toughest sales job in the world today has to be getting Al Jazeera International (AJI) broadcasting slots in the U.S. Here they're known for airing terrorist and hostage videos. In building the new news network they've hired former Nightline reporter David Marsh, ex-Marine Josh Rusing, and British interviewing legend David Frost.

What doesn't help in selling AJI are "news" articles from the Arabic Al Jazeera with headlines like "AIPAC Behind U.S. Criminal ME Policy" [emphasis mine]. They offer nothing to show what laws the U.S. broke. The article is simply a lengthy passage from a study "proving" the U.S. is in the pocket of "Israel Lobby."

[CORRECTION: The article mentioned above is from Aljazeera.com which isn't connected to the news network. My correction is here.]

AJI will be attempting a more global approach to international world coverage with rotating news centers throughout the day:

Instead of being run out of a central command post, AJI's news day--and news management--will follow the sun: Programming will begin in Doha, Qatar, which will likely host a 12-hour chunk of the day, then shift to London for a four-hour segment, then to Washington, DC, for a 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (local-time) slot, and finally to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The top of each hour will be hard news; the back half, analysis, chat shows, and documentaries, some of it generated by viewers. There will be only one feed, so viewers worldwide will all see the same broadcast at the same time.

More intriguing, each news desk will be run independently, with the mandate to report international news through its own lens. Imagine, says Stebbins, by way of illustration, the follow-up to Bush's recent State of the Union speech: In Doha, broadcasters might have lined up reaction to the president's warning to Hamas to disarm; in Kuala Lumpur, analysis might have dialed in on Bush's comments on protectionism; and in London, on his admonishment of Iran. And in the States, Stebbins says, instead of the usual pundits, he might have rung up Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's fiery president, or polled Mexicans on Bush's remarks on immigration enforcement.

Even without American distribution AJI will move forward. That's because its audience is more than the almost 300 million U.S. viewers:
Prior to being hired, Rushing learned an embarrassing lesson in the blinding effects of cultural myopia. At a lunch with AJI managing director Nigel Parsons, he'd suggested that the channel consider changing its name before launching in the United States. Parsons just laughed: Because of the Al Jazeera name, "it will gain access that other media outlets won't have, not just in the Middle East but in other places in the world," he told the young Marine. "It's not all about America." As Rushing says now, that was "a perception-shattering moment."

There are one billion english speakers worldwide. AJI is gunning for them as well.

"Al Jazeera's {Global} Mission"

Editor's note: I'm going to try something new. If you want to talk (or scream) instead of type Odeo has a feature allowing anyone to easily send me voice mails. All you need is a microphone plugged into your computer. Then just click on the button below. Either state the subject of your message or type it into the neighboring text box. I will either post the most interesting audio messages and/or include them in a future episode of my podcast Speak.

Send Me A Message

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:40 AM | Comments (1)

March 13, 2006

A Pathetic "Situation"

Tucker Carlson's MSNBC show The Situtation has sunk to a new low, and I don't mean ratings. Of all people he had sports radio yapper Max Kellerman talking about army recruiting. When I'm looking for someone to talk about the army Kellerman is the first to pop into my mind. Someone, please put this show out of its misery.

I did find this snipe by Carlson toward Arianna Huffington:

This isn't honest political debate. It's attempted character assassination by a nasty little propagandist. Arianna Huffington ought to be ashamed of herself. I wish I could tell her that to her face.

The guy should have stuck to writing.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:07 PM | Comments (2)

March 05, 2006

Mark Reardon is Alive

Not that I thought he was dead. After he got the boot from WTMJ I wondered if there was more to it than budgetary reasons. Not according to Reardon:

OMC: Give us the real scoop. Were you actually fired from WTMJ-AM? Did you know it was coming?

MR: There really isn't a "scoop." It was a budget-cutting move, and I understand that these things sometimes happen in radio. Look, because of the sports programming there were times I was only on the air for an hour or less. That might have been good for my golf game in the summer but it didn't make sense to have a full-time person in that position. Actually my golf game still sucked -- but you get the point. I had no idea it was coming, but there are times when someone needs a good kick in the ass -- and this certainly accomplished that.

St. Louis' KMOX hired Reardon. I wish him the best of luck.

"Milwaukee Talks: Mark Reardon"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2006

The MSM, the Olympics, and the War

Robert Byers at Watchman's Words compares the Winter Olympics coverage to that of the Iraq War. Here's a portion:

The Olympics coverage didn't have the same knee-jerk opposition that the war does, but it did display the same lack of historical perspective and sense of balance that have marked the media's coverage of the War on Terror, and the war in Iraq in particular.


While the press is trying to figure out how many shotgun pellets can dance on the face of a lawyer, progress is happening around the world. The media seem unwilling or unable to place events in any context, and as a result, many Americans are pessimistic about the war and our future. But hopefully events--and the ability of the new media to convey the truth--will catch up with the heirs of Walter Cronkite, and the "disappointments" will continue until morale improves.

"Media Disconnect: The and the War on Terror"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:47 PM | Comments (8)

Waste of Time

White House correspondents like David Gregory think they're being made foolish by right wing spinners and an administration that considers the media as another special interest:

David Gregory, the NBC correspondent who has been among the most ardent questioners in the briefing room, apologized for yelling at Mr. McClellan over the Cheney incident but said the situation had become particularly frustrating.

"There is a desire by some, particularly on the right, to morph these situations into a different kind of debate — it's the vice president against an angry, left-wing, cynical, hate-filled press corps that wants to expose him as a liar," he said. "This is a false debate, stoked by a president and vice president who have made no bones about the fact that they don't have much respect for the press corps as an institution."

One-time Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry wishes he never made the daily White House briefing a televised event, but current press secretary Scott McClellan has no desire to end the charade event. And why would he since it does such a good job embarassing the MSM?

"Another White House Briefing, Another Day of Mutual Mistrust" [via Betsy's Page]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:03 AM | Comments (6)

February 16, 2006

Got Your Mojo?

A Fort Meyers, FL newspaper employs "mobile journalists" or "mojos" to teach readers how to gather hyper-local news for the paper's website.

It's a great idea that is boosting online traffic. But what happens when the two mobile journalists are sick on the same day? How can the News-Press survive without its mojo?

[You may begin the groaning now.]

Someone call Austin Powers.

"The Multimedia Reporter"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2006

New Orleans Whiners

CNN found some New Orleans residents who thought the President didn't talk enough about Katrina relief. They consider it a "slap in the face." Since Bush didn't declare he'd veto any bill that didn't have basis in the constitution should we constitutionalists consider it a "slap in the face?"

"CNN's Soledad O'Brien: New Orleans Shortchanged"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:39 PM | Comments (5)

"There's a Lot of Grumbling from Guys at All Ranks about it"

Troops in Iraq noticed the overreaction to Bob Woodruff's and Doug Vogt's injuries:

"Why do you think this is such a huge story?" wrote an officer stationed in Baqubah, Iraq, Monday via e-mail. "It's a bit stunning to us over here how absolutely dominant the story is on every network and front page. I mean, you'd think we lost the entire 1st Marine Division or something.

"There's a lot of grumbling from guys at all ranks about it. That's a really impolite and impolitic thing to say ... but it's what you would hear over here."

At least 2,242 troops have died in Iraq since the war's start, 1,753 of them killed in action. Another 16,000 have been injured, half of them seriously enough to require evacuation from the battlefield. According to the Pentagon, 60 percent of the deaths are the result of IEDs. IEDs have injured more than 9,200 troops, nine times more than gunshots.

"The point that is currently being made (is that) that press folks are more important than mere military folks," a senior military officer told UPI Tuesday.

The unavoidable consequence of war is this: People are savagely wounded and killed. Soldiers in Iraq watching the coverage on satellite television and reading the news on the Internet are getting the impression that the press has only just discovered this fact.

Even with reporters embedded with military units the MSM still feels little connection to those on the front lines. This colors all stories coming out of Iraq.

"Some US Troops Question Coverage" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:30 AM | Comments (1)

January 29, 2006

Congressman's Staff Alters Wikipedia Entry

More evidence that Wikipedia should not be the vaunted reference many think it should be:

The staff of U.S. Rep Marty Meehan wiped out references to his broken term-limits pledge as well as information about his huge campaign war chest in an independent biography of the Lowell Democrat on a Web site that bills itself as the "world's largest encyclopedia," The Sun has learned.

The Meehan alterations on Wikipedia.com represent just two of more than 1,000 changes made by congressional staffers at the U.S. House of Representatives in the past six month. Wikipedia is a global reference that relies on its Internet users to add credible information to entries on millions of topics.

Defenders of Wikipedia has said if you don't like an entry edit it. Well, someone did. It didn't expand readers' knowledge. For political and other controversial subjects Wikipedia is turning into a propaganda stage. Its reputation is slowly dropping to the level of a James Frey memoir.

"Rewriting History Under the Dome" [via digg]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:47 PM | Comments (7)

Media Makes Big Deal Out of Injured Media

An ABC News anchorman and his camera man get seriously injured from an Iraqi terrorist bomb, and it's the biggest story of the day. They were interrupting sports talk on Milwaukee radio to keep us informed. I feel badly for both Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt, but frankly, I never heard of either of them before today. You could have put Woodruff in a line-up and I wouldn't have been able to pick him out. Other reporters have gotten hurt in Iraq and there wasn't this much attention. U.S. soldiers have gotten hurt and killed but have garnered less attention.

My prayers are with Woodruff and Vogt.

"ABC's Woodruff, Cameraman Injured in Iraq"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:21 PM | Comments (1)

January 28, 2006

Coulter Again Gives Conservatives a Bad Name

The unfunny Ann Coulter out did herself when she joked, "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." She's not a pundit. She's an unfunny comedian who uses conservative politics and long blond hair as her schtick. She's boring and she insults the movement she thinks she promotes. I won't be looking forward to listening to her stand-up routine at CPAC 2006.

"Ann Coulter 'Jokes' That a Supreme Court Justice Should Be Poisoned--And is Compared to Lil' Kim"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:11 AM | Comments (1)

January 22, 2006

My New Crush

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:02 AM | Comments (2)

January 15, 2006

Attack on Murtha Unwarranted

CNSNews.com's attack on Rep. John Murtha (R-PA) was pointless. The cut-and-runner was fading from the news even with an upcoming interview on 60 Minutes. Plus, it's an ad hominem attack. Whether he deserved or didn't deserve his Vietnam War medals has nothing to do with his wrong-headedness about abandoning Iraq. It's like accusing Cindy Sheehan of being a crackhead. They should have challenged Rep. Murtha like this veteran did. Much more effective and powerful. CNSNews.com lost a lot of credibility in my book. I will definitely think twice when finding an interesting story from them.

"Web Site Attacks Critic of War"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:26 AM | Comments (18)

January 10, 2006

Stern's First Day on Satellite

Howard Stern held back. Only 172 curse words were used on his Sirius radio debut. He told USA Today he wants to avoid a plethora of f-bombs. "[T]hose words can be funny in the right context." What wasn't held back was Stern's ego:

The colorful shock jock spent much of his first day on fee-based radio taking credit for Sirius adding 2.6 million subscribers in the past 15 months and by disparaging his competitors on "boring, old-fashioned, overcommercialized radio" such as that offered by Clear Channel Radio, CBS Radio, et al.

found FamilyMediaGuide.com had too much time on its hands and documented every single curse word and sexual sound effect.

"Playing It by Ear: 's Sirius Debut"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:00 AM | Comments (2)

January 09, 2006

Editoral Page Fooled about Mao Hoax

Due to Christmas vacation the Sacramento Bee published an editorial decrying federal agents harassing a student for checking out Mao's "Little Red Book." It was published three days after we found out the story was a hoax. David Holwerk, editorial page editor, explains what happened.

"A News Hoax, a Holiday and a Dumb Mistake" [via Romenesko]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:32 AM | Comments (3)

December 18, 2005

Study Finds Liberal Media Bias

A UCLA-led study has concluded that much of the media leans to the left.

While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.
The most centrist outlet proved to be the "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown" and ABC's "Good Morning America" were a close second and third.

The mention of Jim Lehrer's show is interesting. I know a few conservatives who watch it nightly. I figured it was to get more in depth news. It might be for its balance.

The study's methodology is complex. It links media mentions of ideological think tanks to Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) voting scores of lawmakers. There's holes here. Those who don't see Leftist media bias will attack this part of the study. A good critic would have to think of a better way to determine bias. I'll be expecting something from Media Matters in 3...2...1...

What we do know is this will be the most popular article ever from the arcane Quarterly Journal of Economics.

" Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist" [via Charlie Sykes]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:34 PM | Comments (5)

December 16, 2005

Let's Question the Timing

The NY Times must tell its readers why to chose today to run the NSA domestic spying story. In the story the Times tells its readers it waited a year to run it because of government conerns. Did the newspaper time the story to affect the Patriot Act vote? Well, it affected Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY):

I went to bed last night unsure of how to vote on this legislation...but today's revelation that the government listened in on thousands of phone conversations without getting a warrant is shocking and has greatly influenced my vote. If this government will discard a law that has worked well for over 30 years without a wit of discussion or notice, then for sure we better be certain that we have safeguards on that government....Today's revelation makes it crystal clear that we have to be very careful.

Just asking this question should let you know what I think. The NY Times engaged in advocacy journalism. That's fine. More power to them. But they should take the "All the news that's fit to print" mantra off their front page. Or they should change it to "All the news that's fit to print to advance our agenda." That would be truth in advertising.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:56 PM | Comments (4)

Howard Stern Leaves FM

Today was Howard Stern's last day on over-the-air radio. Being the publicity whore he is Stern had to turn it into huge NYC event. Yahoo webcast it all. In a speech to the crowd he called the Religious Right the "American Taliban." Moron.

Stern moves to Sirius Satellite Radio next month. The big question is how many of Stern's fans will follow.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:01 PM | Comments (2)

December 13, 2005

AlGore Might Be Onto Something

Ripping on AlGore's Current has been a minor hobby of mine. The jury is still out if it can make a go of it broadcasting short videos, many made by amateurs. Current has some big advertisers but their problem is they're only available to 20 million homes. The DIY nature is what's in and hip. Mix, remix, cut, paste, code. That's what youngins are doing with their media today. I'm in the top end of the 18-34 demographic the network is targeting so I'm not sure I can fully relate.

Current's real problem may be that it's a network. I wrote last spring, "[T]he network will always be behind the curve." There's greater variety of weblogs, podcasts, and homemade videos on the net. To these people if you can't download it to something portable to take with you and share with friends what's the point. AlGore might be onto something. It's just he might be using old means for a new idea.

"Made-by-Viewers "

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:27 PM | Comments (1)

December 03, 2005

O'Reilly Factor "Holiday" Ornaments

: pompous ass.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:18 PM | Comments (2)

Bozell v. Mapes

Mary Mapes, the ex-CBS reporter who still thinks Dan Rather's fake memos are real, will be on C-SPAN this weekend to talk about her book Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, and the Privilege of Power. Interviewing her will be the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell. This must-see-tv should be lively.

"MRC's Brent Bozell Interviews "

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 04:06 AM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2005

JimK the High Podcaster

If you don't listen to the Starkcast, you should. If your a weblogger you must listen to JimK strung out on Ambien yammering about odd sexual proclivities as well as ripping on .

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2005

And Many Wonder about Media Bias

CNN's X over Vice President Cheney may have been a technical glitch but an operator taking calls for the network decided to call it freedom of speech. Some interesting quotes of his include:

"Maam, it was just a comment or opinion of someone watching the speech."

"The point is, tell them to stop lying."

"Tell your President to stop lying."

"If you don't like it don't watch."

The tape may be a hoax. Even if it's real the operator was just a Lefty schlub. It doesn't mean it was anything more than a mistake. Dan McKenzie's work proves it was some technical graphic. But suppose a director knew it was there and decided to slyly state his opinion. Hmm...

" Employees A Bit Touchy About The Cheney 'X'"

"CNN Employee On Tape: Is 'Freedom of Speech' - 'Tell Bush And Cheney To Stop Lying'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:39 AM | Comments (4)

Hatcher Sues Tabloid

The lovely Teri Hatcher is suing a British tabloid for libel:

London law firm Schillings said Hatcher, 40, had instructed them to begin libel proceedings against the Daily Sport over articles that she says "falsely alleged that she engages in sex romps on a regular basis with a series of men in a VW van parked outside her L.A. home for this purpose."

Why would she go outside of her house for a "sex romp" unless she wanted to get caught? It's obvious the Daily Sport didn't use any common sense. Not that we'd expect any from a Brit tabloid.

" Sues Tabloid Over Sex Story"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2005

Charlie's Show Prep #2

Here are some good items for Charlie Sykes' show this morning:

  • The Iraq government wants a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces. This is good news. Iraqi input is key. The whole point of the war was to kick out Saddam and install a regime of liberty. Having anti-Bush Democrats decide when troops should leave didn't make sense. The Iraqi government knows better how well its internal security is. This is a sign the new government is confident it can stand on its own--which was the whole point of a continued U.S. presence.
  • will become the first female German chancellor, but the the unstable coalition she had to build won't make her a continental version of Margaret Thatcher.
  • Some people who care too much about how a bird feels are willing to pay through the nose for . Do they care as much about the unborn?
  • High taxes and unions are forcing to take its manufacturing out of the state. What's the point of economic plans to create new businesses if the state's business climate drives them away?
  • Rep. J.D. Hayworth will call for more pro-war votes if the Democrats keep harping.
That should be plenty to get you started, Charlie.
Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:45 AM | Comments (0)

X Marks the Spot

Conservatives went wild when an X appeared in an instant on VP Dick Cheney during a speech broadcast on CNN. The Political Teen (who else?) has the video. Dan McKenzie did a little wizbang computer stuff to support CNN's claim that the X was a "." A glich, not a conspiracy.

"CNN's ...Update: It was Just a Glitch"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:50 AM | Comments (1)

November 16, 2005

Newspaper Endorses McGovern

Someone at the Capital Times in Madison needs to tell the editorial board they're living in the 21st Century. They sound like Japanese soldiers stuck on a deserted island not knowing the war is over:

Indeed, were it left to this newspaper, we would gladly replace George Bush, a man who avoided serving his country in a time of war but has few qualms about sending others to die for it, with George McGovern, a man who proudly served when his country called but who has always recognized that the call must be made only when it is absolutely necessary.

So we issue our endorsement once more: McGovern for president.

Two can play this silly game. TAM endorses Tommy Thompson for governor.

"McGovern for President" [via The Xoff Files]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 07, 2005

Simulated Press Conference

ESPN aired a simulated Boston Red Sox press conference. Why? Not enough news on NFL Sunday? Did Disney, ESPN's parent, have a leased studio they needed to squeeze all they could get out of? Did they want to be as cool as NBC with their West Wing fake debate? News as entertainment is a given. ESPN with their sports anchors' catch phrases and their use of pop music and MTV-style cut editing make watching sports highlights fun. But I want a sports network to deliver sports, not acting.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:15 AM | Comments (3)

November 03, 2005

Messner's Miscue

Putting one's foot in their mouth must be contagious in Washington, D.C. this week. Joining John Roberts is Washington Post writer Emily Messner who wrote, "Nonetheless, it is amusing to imagine Charles Krauthammer doing a touchdown dance." Krauthammer has been in a wheelchair since 1972. Oops. I'll give her a little leeway. I didn't know Krauthammer was disabled until I saw him on Fox News a few years ago. But Messner works in D.C. News gets around in that leak-driven town.

"Poor Taste Award of the Week" [via Lakeshore Laments]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:47 PM | Comments (1)

November 01, 2005

Mapes Mopes in Vanity Fair

An excerpt from ex-CBS News producer Mary Mapes' book on Dan Rather's forged memos will be in December's Vanity Fair. In it she writes,

If I was an idiot, it was for believing in a free press that is able to do its job without fear or favor. ...I didn't know that the attack on our story was going to be as effective as a brilliantly run national political campaign, because that is what it was: a political campaign.

A political campaign? Yeah, right. Tell that to the Power Line gang and Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs. I'm sure they'd love to know who was pulling their strings without them knowing. I'm sure they'd both like to know if Karl Rove was using his mind-control machine on them again. [Karl, turn that thing off! You know how it makes my scalp itch. --ed]

LGF gets into Mapes claiming McCarthyism.

"CBS' Mary Mapes, in Vanity Fair, Defends Role in 'RatherGate'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:07 AM | Comments (3)

October 10, 2005

Mixed Metaphors

The usually amazing Peggy Noonan biffed it in her latest essay. I'm not talking about the message, I'm talking about the writing.

That having been said, the Miers pick was another administration misstep. The president misread the field, the players, their mood and attitude. He called the play, they looked up from the huddle and balked. And debated. And dissed. Momentum was lost. The quarterback looked foolish.

Ugh! Use refer either to football ("huddle") or baseball ("balked"). Just don't jumble them up into a "sports metaphor."

"The Miers Misstep" [via PunditGuy]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:27 AM | Comments (5)

October 04, 2005

Alter's Hair

I'm not shocked at Jonathan Alter's hit piece in the "objective" Newsweek as much as I am at his picture. The guy's never like conservatives. But what happened to his hair?


How long was he wearing a hair piece? These are questions that the public must know! He looks like a conehead.


"Newsweek's Alter: "Corrupt Zealot" DeLay, "Fringe" Running House"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2005

For Grand Jury It's Miller Time

NY Times reporter Judith Miller got out of jail today after agreeing to testify before the grand jury investigation Valerie Plame's outing.

Ms. Miller was freed after spending more than 12 weeks in jail, during which she refused to cooperate with the criminal inquiry. Her decision to testify came after she obtained what she described as a waiver offered "voluntarily and personally" by a source who said she was no longer bound by any pledge of confidentiality she had made to him. She said the source had made clear that he genuinely wanted her to testify.

Tom Maguire notes the back and forth between lawyers as the reason for Miller's 85-day "vacation" in a Virgina county jail.

Supposedly this is the last piece of the puzzle special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald needs. It will be a riot if he doesn't charge anyone. Miller and Time's Matt Cooper will be steamed. All hell will break lose at Daily Kos, and someone wacko Lefty will claim Karl Rove bribed Fitzgerald with Halibruton money.

John Hindrocker wants attention paid on "one of the great scoundrels of recent times," Joe Wilson.

"Jailed Times Reporter Freed After Source Waives Confidentiality"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2005


The NY Times' experiment of selling access to their op-ed writers will fail. That I agree with Tom Maguire. However, Maguire compares the failure to New Coke. Just one problem: only us internet news junkies know about TimesReject. How much of a debacle is it if hardly anyone notices?

"Tierney Gets Results! (Never Again...)"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2005

No Big Loss

Starting Monday you'll have to pay to read NY Times' columnists.

*Crickets chirping*

Yeah, there will be a big hole in my daily reading. I can feel the middlebrow intellectual hole already forming. What will I do without Paul Krugman's and Frank Rich's screeds on my computer screen? How will I cope with not having Thomas Friedman's occasionally insightful essays filled with his too-cute-by-half pop culture references? (This is the man who thinks Google "is a little bit like God.") We will lose David Brooks and John Tierney. Bummer. And I'm serious about that.

When the Times' columnists go behind the pay firewall it's influence diminishes. The blogosphere won't care what Krugman is yapping about because, in essence, he will no longer exist. Friedman, Krugman, and the rest might not care. They may only want the powerful and influential reading their words. If I were them I'd be ticked at the Times. As a writer readers mean influence. Limiting one's audience limits the ability of one's ideas to spread. It limits the conversation. Both readers and writers suffer because of that.

Andrew Sullivan informs us that the Washington Post is taking a different route and linking up with independent webloggers. They see the future while the Times rebels. Guess who will win?

"Times to Charge for Access to Columnists" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:19 AM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2005

Follow-Up Questions

Gleening public opinion can be an interesting task. Most of the time the results should be nothing more than the stuff of party conversation. Elected officials should most definitely not govern by them. An AP-Ipsos has President Bush's approval rating at 39%. Dismal. In the AP story Barry Allen a Michigan independent his thoughts.

Allen said he liked some of Bush's economic steps during his first term but has been dissatisfied with the president's economic moves in his second term, his Iraq policy and his handling of gasoline prices.

Allen worries Hurricane Katrina has taken the wind out of an economy that was moving in the right direction.

The reporter should have asked Allen what the President should have done about gas prices. Should the President have issued and unconstitutional order preventing gas stations from raising gas prices? If that would have happened you would have seen gas shortages across the country. Then Mr. Allen would be complaining that Bush should have done something about the lack of gas. Or maybe Bush should have magically created oil refineries bypassing environmentalists and NIMBYs.

Complaining is easy. Heck, being a weblogger I know just how easy. Polls and sound bites don't mean much in political discourse. It's bad enough the AP keeps a running poll. What's worse is psuedo-news story that doesn't add to the discussion.

"Poll: Bush Approval at 39 Percent" [via In Search of Utopia]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

60 Minutes Showed Dead Body

We deserve an explanation for why some media are showing dead bodies floating in New Orleans while not showing World Trade Center jumpers. CBS News did so in a 60 Minutes story on the ordeals of New Orleans' police. CNN sued to tape dead bodies. Ed Driscoll writes,

It's even more astonishing, coming from a network which for over a decade whitewashed images of Saddam Hussein's atrocities, just to maintain a "LIVE FROM BAGHDAD" line chromakeyed on the screen while their reporter spoke in front of Saddam's Ministry of Information. Broadcasting the same lies from Saddam Hussein's propaganda ministers they could have just as easily have picked up on any news wire and reported from CNN's facilities in Atlanta--along with some thoughts on what the true story might be.

I think it would be unseemly if media showed both the jumpers and the bloated hurricane corpses. Such visuals aren't needed to appreciate the awfulness.

"Media Plans to Show New Orleans Bodies"

UPDATE: For example, Michelle Malkin didn't need to post pictures of Sep. 11 jumpers. It's her being needlessly provocative.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:21 PM | Comments (1)

August 29, 2005

Steve Harrigan In An Idiot

Anderson Cooper isn't the only television infotainment idiot. Add Fox News Channel's Steve Harrigan to the list. He proves that just because you have a Ph.D. it doesn't mean you're smart. I saw the moron standing at an angle toward Hurricane Katrina's high winds while talking about how Mississippi officials were telling people to just start driving north for safety. Harrigan isn't smart enough to heed the advice he told his audience. What drove him to shelter was a piece of debris that almost hit him. He said he was taking cover but would be back out in an hour. Either Harrigan needs some extra dough and is getting hazzard pay from FNC or Katrina is his stupid way of dealing with his "adrenalitis."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:15 PM | Comments (2)

August 08, 2005

Trackback the News

No, this isn't a post on how we should be worried about how much Google knows about us. If you're scared learn to clean out all your cookies and use anonymizer like Tor. Also wonder why Google would even care about you as more than an eyeball for their ads.

What caught my attention was CNET News.com now has trackbacks on their stories. With one click I can read comments on the story from webloggers. It's like trackbacks for weblogs only a weblog isn't the instigator. A bright light is shining on me: all webpages with semi-static (not generated on the fly) should have trackback. News stories, Amazon product links, think tank policy papers, digital photo collections, flash games, you name it. Imagine going to Amazon because you're interested in a video game. Along with the price and customer reviews you see a link to a walk-through from some sleep-deprived gaming weblogger. That walk-through might help you decide if the game is too hard, too easy, or not as cool as you thought. It could spur a sale which Amazon would love and it would increase traffic for the weblogger. If the web is becoming more of a conversation then trackbacks can only help us hear all the voices.

"Google Balances Privacy, Reach"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:16 PM | Comments (1)

August 04, 2005

Old Fart

Bob Novak, the "Prince of Darkness" uttered a profanity and stormed off a CNN set.

The on-air outburst by Novak, 74, came when the conservative commentator was interrupted by liberal political strategist James Carville during a discussion of the upcoming U.S. Senate race in Florida on CNN's "Inside Politics" show.

"Let me finish what I was going to say, James, please. I know you hate to hear me," Novak said as he and Carville jousted over the Senate election chances of Republican U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris.

Carville persisted, saying: "You got to show those right-wingers that he's got backbone. ... the Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching. Show 'em you're tough."

An angry Novak shot back, "I think that's bull****, and I hate that." Then to the show's host, Ed Henry, he added, "Just let it go," before standing up from his seat, unclipping his microphone and walking off the set.

Carville and Henry continued the discussion without pausing, but Henry acknowledged Novak's departure at the end of the hour, saying he was sorry "Bob Novak left the set a little early."

James Carville is probably still laughing his ass off. You could blame it on age or all the Valarie Plame stress. Novak is a 74-year-old man. His television days are done, "time off" or no time off.

The Political Teen doesn't let me down and has the video.

"CNN Suspends Robert Novak for On-Air Outburst"

"Novak Walks Off"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2005

It's Like Not Very Promising

AlGore's Current is now on the air. Judging by the lame entry on the network's weblog they have people with poor English skills putting together programming.

Current is live in like ten minutes.

Valley Girl talk is a great sign of intellectual content.

And wouldn't a network supposedly so tied into the internet (hell, AlGore invented the damn thing) let viewers watch via the web? Not in Current's case.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:29 AM | Comments (3)

When the Tables are Turned

I almost feel sorry for Helen Thomas:

White House press doyenne Helen Thomas is plenty peeved at her longtime friend Albert Eisele, editor of THE HILL newspaper in Washington, D.C.

In a column this week headlined "Reporter: Cheney's Not Presidential Material," Eisele quoted Thomas as saying "The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself. All we need is one more liar."

Thomas also said: "I think he'd like to run, but it would be a sad day for the country if he does," according to Eisele's column.

But Thomas said yesterday at the White House that her comments to Eisele were for his ears only. "I'll never talk to a reporter again!" Thomas was overheard saying.

"We were just talking -- I was ranting -- and he wrote about it. That isn't right. We all say stuff we don't want printed," Thomas said.

But Eisele said that when he called Thomas, "I assume she knew that we were on the record."

"She's obviously very upset about it, but it was a small item -- until Drudge picked it up and broadcast it across the universe," Eisele said.

Still, he noted that reporters aren't that happy when the tables are turned. "Nobody has thinner skin than reporters," Eisele said with a laugh.


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:21 AM | Comments (1)

July 28, 2005

I Dare You! I Double Dare You!

Let me be very clear: I don't want Helen Thomas dead. But whenever I hear someone make an outrageous threat I want to see if they'll actually do it. Helen Thomas as threatened to kill herself if Dick Cheney runs for President. As Vice President he has never said he'd run to be Bush's successor, but I'd just love to see what "Old Bag" Helen would do. Would she find a tall Washington, D.C. building and leap to her death? Would she die quietly? Yeah right! She'd probably broadcast her intentional demise on the internet. She'd scream that it was all Bush's fault as drove a knife into her chest.

"What An Ego Helen"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:52 PM | Comments (2)

July 26, 2005

Remembering Mom

When she isn't snarky Maureen Dowd can be quite touching. Her tribute to her late mother proves that.

"A Woman Who Found a Way to Write" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:19 AM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005

Just Ignore Local TV News

Here's an observation from Jessica McBride, wife of Paul Bucher State Attorney General candidate:

Forget TV. When my husband did his political spin around the state to announce his campaign, I was amazed how many TV reporters just regurgitated his press release. Most didn't even mention anything controversial about his cases. And my husband can be a lightning rod. They just repeated what he put out - literally the lead of his press release. Good for him, not so good for the media.

"Lethal Weapon?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:29 PM | Comments (1)

July 10, 2005

Anderson Cooper is an Idiot

I just watched a clip of Anderson Cooper standing near a big hotel sign waiting to fall. A man next to him mentioned that it could be really dangerous. No kidding! A smart person would find some shelter. But Cooper wanted to do his best "Scud Stud" impersonation. Too bad none of that fallen aluminum didn't clock him on the head.

UPDATE: Greyhawk gives us hurricane reality versus media hype. I'm waiting for the "massive flooding" a Fox News weather girl claimed would happen once Dennis moved north into the Ohio River Valley. You almost think the cable news channels want a 21st Century version of the Johnstown Flood.

"Dennis 'Hammers' Florida"

UPDATE II: This from the Dalek Weblog:

So far, it seems to be a big rainstorm. Which is pretty much what I said about Ivan, as I recall. Yup.

But the media here is in full End-Of-The-World-Mode™, and all networks are covering this thing like it was Godzilla rising out of Oak Mountain lake. And all they say is ‘rain, wind, wind, rain, back to you in the studio, Buffy McFacelift’. Yawn.

As a bonus, one tv station didn't want to interrupt race day.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:08 PM | Comments (1)

July 06, 2005

Miller Goes to Jail

You have to feel for New York Times reporter Judith Miller. These past few years have been a bitch. Going into the Iraq War she was a wrong about Saddam's WMDs as every Western intelligence agency. Now, she's going to jail for not answering questions in the investigation of who outed Valerie Plame, Vanity Fair's favorite secret agent. What's ironic is Miller never wrote story. If I were her I'd pump out something for the newspaper. She's going to jail anyway.

"Judge Orders Jail for N.Y. Times Reporter"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2005

Williams Suffers Foot-in-Mouth Disease

Betsy Newmark gives Brian Williams a quick lesson in American History and moral relativism.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2005


That's what AlGore will pay you for your first video segment accepted by Current. Rates go up from there.

[via TV Squad]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2005

House Committee Attacks Big Bird--NOT!

Bravo to the House Appropriations Committee. They slashed the federal subsidy to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by 25%. That's a start, but I would have loved to see Rep. Ralph Regula's plan to completely eliminate the subsidy get through committee.

I can hear it already. "Sean, you must hate Big Bird. What about Sesame Street? What about the children?"

We now live in an age with more television choices than any human has time to watch. That wasn't the case 30+ years ago when public television came into existence. If an act of God wiped out all the PBS stations today some network would immediately air Sesame Street. That's because there is a market for that show.

This time of endless media choices (with more popping up all the time) federal television subsidies make no sense. (And that doesn't even get into the constitutionality of it.)

"US House Panel Cuts Funding for Public Television" [via La Shawn Barber]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2005

Watergate's Media Effect

Watergate doesn't interest me a whole lot. Which is surprising in a weird, almost-mystical way. I wasn't yet born during much of the investigation, but I was in the womb during some of the Congressional hearings. My mother didn't have anything else to do so she (and I) watched them. Maybe that explains my status as a political junkie--it doesn't explain my conservatism.

Even though Watergate is mostly trivia to me I see one of its effects daily. The MSM has yielded to the utopian idea that the media should "save the world." They emulate Woodward and Bernstein hoping to find their own Deep Throat. Reporters want the fame, fortune, and historic note along with their big-name scalp to put in their trophy case. "Gotcha" journalism and hyper-cynicism are the name of the game.

"Deep Throat's Legacy"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2005

Limbaugh: Talk Radio Tutor

Rev. Al Sharpton learning talk radio skills from the master Rush Limbaugh? Sounds good to me. The on-air learning would be entertaining. Rush would get no credit from the Left, but inviting Sharpton on his show would describe a man sure of himself and his career and willing to help another. If Rush is smart and sees some real potential in Sharpton a strategic investment could be very profitable.

"Rush Offers to Mentor Sharpton Behind EIB Microphone" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

Media Romanticism

If WTMJ radio is any indication we'll be putting up with reporters' awe of Woodward and Bernstein for days if not weeks. Even with reporters who are my age, too young to have witnessed the events of Watergate first-hand, there's this sense of wonder. They're telling me, "Those two took down a President. They saved the country." With falling readership, viewers, and public credibility I guess the MSM needs to grab on to something to maintain their self-worth. Call me cynical (and it starts at a young age) but I'm already tired of the self-praise.

Dean Esmay sees an unintended consequence of Woodward and Bernstein's Nixon trophy:

A bigger concern to me is that the entire Watergate affair kicked off an obsession with scandal by the press in Washington. It also started the long, nasty, and irresponsible trend toward greater and greater use of annonymous sources. Mind you, Woodward and Bernstein were very responsible in how they used their anonymous source, printing nothing that they could not get rock-solid confirmation on. Too bad our current press corps lacks their fundamental integrity.

Every reporter today dreams of putting their own scalp on the wall. And it's not just MSM reporters. With the quick (and easy?) success of knocking off Sen. Trent Lott, Dan Rather, and Eason Jordan, many webloggers crave their own time in the spotlight when they take down a member of the old guard.

What is needed is significant introspection by investigators, both old school and new. They should ask themselves if what they are reporting/analyzing is really for their own self-promotion or for the betterment of their readers. This isn't always an either/or situation, but many see a scalp as their way to the top.

"W. Mark Felt Was Deep Throat"

UPDATE: Howard Kurtz follows in Dean's vein of thought:

But it must also be said that while Watergate and "All the President's Men" briefly turned journalists into heroes, they may have contributed to the long-term credibility problems of the profession. Too many journalists became sloppy with anonymous sources, some of whom didn't have first-hand knowledge of what they were talking about, and some reporters tried to pump every two-bit scandal into a "-gate." Having been lied to by the Nixon White House, journalists became more confrontational, more prosecutorial and more willing to assume that politicians must be lying. And the news business is still paying the price for some of those excesses.

"Is Deep Throat a Hero or a Villain?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:05 AM | Comments (1)

May 31, 2005

And Deep Throat is...

Mark Felt, one time #2 in the FBI. Reporting icons Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein confirmed it today after Felt's family told Vanity Fair for their July issue.

Pat Buchanan, Bill Safire, and Alexander Haig are all off the hook. But in a city like Washinton, D.C. where secrets are valuable currency Ben Bradlee put it well, "The thing that stuns me is that the goddamn secret has lasted this long."

The Political Teen has video and plenty of links and La Shawn Barber helped me find this University of Illinois journalism project on Watergate.

"Washington Post Confirms Felt Is 'Deep Throat'"

UPDATE: Skeletor!

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005

Bring Out Your Dead

How about this MSM humdinger to add to Newsweek's troubles. Do we even know anyone was killed in the riots following the retracted Quran story? Did people really die or is the MSM engaged in lazy groupthink?

"Lies Beget More Lies?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2005

Okrent's Last Column

Too bad Daniel Okrent is leaving his position at the NY Times. He's a pioneer ombudsman (titled a "public editor") did what he could to make the Times a better, more accountable media institution. But with the upcoming TimesSelect the paper is shirking its future: the online audience. In his final column Okrent ties a few loose ends. He rips the hell out of op-ed columnists Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, and Bill Safire; wonders why liberals are pointed out as such in news stories; and questions the constant lauding in the travel section. Bye, Daniel. We'll miss you.

"13 Things I Meant to Write About but Never Did"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2005

Worse than Gannon

Eric Pfeiffer points out some of The New York TimesElisabeth Bumiller loaded questions and biased stories. Questions like "Who made you the editor of Newsweek?", "Are you asking them to write a story about how great the American military is; is that what you're saying here?", and declaring the Paul Wolfowitz, "a chief architect of one of the most unpopular wars in history" is as loaded as Jeff Gannon's infamous "lost touch with reality" question. Yet Gannon got smeared and Bumiller still files stories. I hope hers will be the ones tucked behind the Times' new electronic walls.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

Replaced by Webloggers

Adding insult to Newsweek's injury the magazine's radio show has been replaced in Boston by two webloggers.

"Bloggers Replace Newsweek"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:53 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

A TAM Mea Culpa

When doing media criticism or criticism of the critics one should always start with original documents. I gave Michael Isikoff and Newsweek a bit of a pass on the Quran toilet story when I wrote:

Given the current state of sloppy journalism I sympathize. How many stories have we accepted as fact from just one annoynmous source? Too many to count, I'd say. Are MSM critics like Michelle Malkin and Captain Ed blovating simply to score more points? I'm sure both those fine writers have gone off on a story with just one source. Heck, Captain Ed became quite popular in Canada from a source giving him banned court testmony.

I failed to read what Isikoff actually wrote:
Investigators probing interrogation abuses at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year. Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash.

The Quran toilet incident was never confirmed and Newsweek admits it. The closest the news magazine got was a "senior person at the Pentagon" didn't object to that part of the story. That's not a confirmation. That's not even a "no comment." Newsweek didn't follow up. Instead they ran with the story and deadly riots broke out.

I'd like to know if interrogators did flush a Quran down a toilet. It wouldn't be the first time the U.S. has been accused of the deed. Then we could have a serious discussion about whether such an act should be considered torture (I wouldn't) and whether the U.S. military has done too much or not enough in holding terrorists. Bryan Preston points out there was an unconfirmed report that a Islamist prisoner stuffed pages of a Quran down a toilet in protest. So, I stand by my criticism that webloggers shouldn't be seeking another trophy for their MSM wall. They should be seeking the truth at Gitmo. Newsweek has shot itself in the foot and discredited itself. Let them bandage their own wounds.

"News Weak and the Restless Natives"

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:13 AM | Comments (4)

May 17, 2005

More Criticizing the Critics

It's been a long time coming but Andrew Sullivan has made an point important enough to pass on to you. It's about the botched Newsweek story and webloggers' reaction (emphasis mine):

Three factors interacted here: media error/bias, Islamist paranoia, and a past and possibly current policy of religiously-intolerant torture. No one comes out looking good. But it seems to me unquestionable that the documented abuse of religion in interrogation practices is by far the biggest scandal. Too bad the blogosphere is too media-obsessed and self-congratulatory to notice.

But it's not surprising since webloggers get attention when they take down a member of the MSM. Such attention and power is intoxicating. Hell, I've come under its spell earlier this year when I was helping point out the fraud in Milwaukee's elections. All of us writers, online or dead tree, have to occasionally question our motives. No, this isn't a call for some kind of webloggers' code of ethics. It's simply a call for self-examination. Are we seeking truth or are we trying to claim more trophies for our wall?

Pro-war webloggers don't realize how much those morons at Abu Ghraib damaged U.S. credibility. Anti-U.S. passions have been building in some Islamic nations, and if it wasn't the Newsweek story that set off the violence it would have been something else.

"The Hysteria Mounts"

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:16 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2005

Criticizing the Critcs

Any news junkie knows about Newsweek's Quran desecration story and retraction. For those that don't here's the gist: Newsweek reported that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay put a Quran in a toilet. The report ignited violent demonstrations in some Muslim nations. Even with the retraction the damage has been done. Many Muslims have had their beliefs reinforced that the U.S. is on an anti-Islam crusade. Pro-American president Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan will have even more difficulty tapping down the anti-American fever in his nation.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to Newsweek. On Don Imus' show Howard Fineman tried to explain what happened:

But I'm just trying to meet what the popular understanding of this is. If you run it pass SOUTHCOM and they say no comment, and you run the entire item past a senior person at the Pentagon, and he critiques some other part of the short item, but doesn't critique that, a reasonable reporter like Mike and John Barry, and reasonable editors like the ones at Newsweek, would think that they had it pretty solid. That's what we thought at the time. Now it turns out that our main source now isn't sure whether what he read about investigations at Guantanamo is going to be in that report and it's for that, that we're apologizing.

It would have been better if Michael Isikoff would have been speaking first hand instead of listening to the third hand report from Fineman. Given the current state of sloppy journalism I sympathize. How many stories have we accepted as fact from just one annoynmous source? Too many to count, I'd say. Are MSM critics like Michelle Malkin and Captain Ed blovating simply to score more points? I'm sure both those fine writers have gone off on a story with just one source. Heck, Captain Ed became quite popular in Canada from a source giving him banned court testmony.

What I'm getting at is I wonder if MSM critics are craving another scalp to go along with Dan Rather's and Eason Jordan's. Some tried it with the Wall Street Journal's Brett Stephens earlier this year.

Let me point out a disagreement I have with Captain Ed. Even if the Quran toilet story were true he doesn't think it's news:

This story was just as pointless; what possible news value did a flushed Qu'ran have for the American reader? First, no one bothered to even ask themselves if the story sounded plausible. How would a flushed Qu'ran promote cooperation from a Muslim terrorist? Perhaps threatening to do so would get some positive reaction, but as we've seen in reaction to the story, actually flushing one in front of an Islamist is much more likely to steel themselves against any kind of cooperation. Second, even it did happen, all toilet physics to the contrary, what of it? Does that constitute some sort of Geneva Convention violation? In view of the hand-chopping and rape rooms of Saddam Hussein, maintaining that argument borders on the macabre.

If the story is true then is should be reported. More information is good, not bad. I'd think a weblogger would appreciate that. A free press has a duty to tell the public what is going in the Islamist War. They reported on the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and I hope Captain Ed didn't think that was a bad thing. Such reporting allows the public to examine what it is the government is doing in their name. Such news puts world events and opinion into better, more informed context. That's called self-examination. It must be done or our democratic republic ceases to be either. Does Captain Ed have so little faith in the American public that he fears it can't handle the messy, mean things our troops have to do to win this war?

"More of Newsweek's Blame-the-Pentagon Spin"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:19 PM | Comments (1)

Not Much for Traffic

Here's more evidence that Big Media (or in this case "bigger" media) does little to push weblogs. The weblog for AlGore's Current noticed my criticism. The traffic from that weblog hasn't been racing over to read TAM.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:43 PM | Comments (2)

May 14, 2005

Current Reading List

Judging by the reading list of its employees don't expect much "fair and balanced" broadcasting on AlGore's Current. Also, don't expect much intellectual heft.

"Our Magazine Rack"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:07 PM | Comments (2)

April 25, 2005

BBC Picking Sides

OxBlog's Josh Chafetz pointed out something I missed about the BBC aiding hecklers at a Conservative Party function (emphasis mine):

Last night, the BBC claimed that the exercise was part of a "completely legitimate programme about the history and art of political heckling" and said that other parties' meetings were being "observed". However, The Telegraph has established that none of Tony Blair's meetings was infiltrated or disrupted in similar fashion.

The Tories have to fight the taxpayer-funded news service along with Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Talk about stacking the deck.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2005

Benedict Now Just "Austere"

Reuters must have gotten bored with ripping on Pope Benedict. One of their stories calls him merely an "austere conservative." Plus, they put it near the end of the piece.

"New Pope Sets Store by Lost Traditions"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

Aiding and Abetting Hecklers

The role of the press is to report on the news not make it. Guess the BBC has changed the rules. In the process of making a show called The History of Heckling BBC producers gave audio equipment to hecklers at a Conservative Party event. The hecklers did their thing while the BBC got good footage.

The BBC responded to the accusation:

This is a completely legitimate programme about the history and art of political heckling. The programme observes hecklers at other parties' campaign meetings and not just the Conservatives. The hecklers were not under the direction of the BBC and their activities did not disrupt the meeting in any way. The incident at the Michael Howard meeting only plays a small part in the overall programme. However, we will be investigating the complaint very fully and will be replying in due course.

If the hecklers "did not disrupt the meeting" then they were doing a pretty poor job. The BBC better find themselves some better hecklers.

"Tory Fury as BBC Sends Hecklers to Bait Howard" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:11 PM | Comments (3)

April 19, 2005

Is "Arch-Conservative" and Improvement?

Now, Reuters calls Pope Benedict an "arch-conservative." In their world view there are only arch-conservatives and reforming moderates. No liberals in modern Catholicism, I guess.

"Arch-Conservative German Ratzinger Elected Pope"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:58 PM | Comments (3)

A Tale of Two News Services

No horse in this race for me so I'll just comment on some media coverage.

Reuters calls the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger "controversial" but no mention of his Hitler Youth experience.

The AP doesn't call the newly named Pope Benedict XVI controversial. Instead, he's a "hard-liner" and notes his Hitler Youth membership.

Neither news service ingratiated itself with orthodox Catholics.

"Controversial German Cardinal Elected Pope"

"Germany's Cardinal Ratzinger Elected Pope"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2005

Big Media Attention

This not-so-humble weblog not only drew the attention of Slate but was mentioned on CNN yesterday. By just looking at my Site Meter data I wouldn't noticed much. The two mentions didn't produce an avalanche of traffic. It was just a minor (but welcome) blip. The female "blog reporter" even liked my pun.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:48 AM | Comments (4)

April 12, 2005

Dana Millbank: Anti-Conservative Ass

The Dana Millbank story on a conservative conference beating the (rhetorical) hell out of Justice Anthony Kennedy is the biggest hit piece I've ever read in the MSM. Millbank starts off with this sinister intro:

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is a fairly accomplished jurist, but he might want to get himself a good lawyer -- and perhaps a few more bodyguards.

Scary huh? That tarring of the conservatives attending the "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference was based on one participant's use of a partial Joseph Stalin quote. About Kennedy Edwin Vieira said, "no man, no problem." The full quote is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem." Millbank was "nice" enough to write, "Presumably, Vieira had in mind something less extreme than Stalin did and was not actually advocating violence." In the next sentence he continues, "But then, these are scary times for the judiciary." Then he mentions the recent violence toward judges in Chicago and Atlanta.

Millbank doesn't even mention if he tried to get a clarification from Vieira about his use of the Stalin quote. Vieira would have at least had a chance to reaffirm it or renounce violence toward judges. But such a clarification wouldn't fit with Millbank's vision of being on the scene at a conserative confab where attacks on judges are being planned.

There's also the fact the conference was a straw man. Who the heck is Vieria? The biggest name mentioned was Phyllis Schlafly who hasn't been an important political figure in 25 years.

Christian Conservatives are the red-headed stepchild of American politics. Anyone can pound on them with impunity. Andrew Sullivan slimed them by labeling them "theocons" and has called for a purge of them from the Republican Party. Imagine the heat a pundit would receive if they called for gay conservatives to be kicked out of the party. Yet the former is accepted even praised.

There's a whole lotta of talking past each other between the Christian Right and those who are deathly afraid of any mention of religion in politics. Quasi bigotry from Dana Millbank definitely doesn't help.

While no overblown, wacky rhetoric was noticed at the Constitution in 2020 conference, the ideas tossed around amounted to radical alteration of how our government acts towards its citizens. If "progressives" had their way what government did would be stood on its head. Where was Millbank the obvious socialist overtones at that legal conference?

"And the Verdict on Justice Kennedy Is: Guilty"

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:01 PM | Comments (8)

April 04, 2005

Current Backers

AlGore told an audience that Current (AKA Gore TV--thanks Reuters) wasn't going to be "a Democratic channel, a liberal channel, or a TV version of Air America." Well, let's see who's behind the network:

The network said its financial backers included Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks Inc., Bob Pittman who helped create the popular MTV networks and Joel Hyatt, who is chief executive of the network and built a network of legal services clinics.

Glaser is a Democrat. Joel Hyatt was a Democratic Senate candidate in 1994. I haven't found anything about Pittman's politics, but the man did found MTV a network that never even hinted at being conservative.

How many Reagan tributes do you think Gore TV will ever air?

"Gore TV Network to Launch in August, Google Tie-In"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

Current: Already Behind the Times

AlGore's network Current is for the ADD generation. Why else would they brag that they will broadcast programs in three-minute slots:

We're rethinking the way TV is produced, programmed, and presented, so it actually makes sense to an audience that's accustomed to choice, control, and collaboration in everything else they do.

So, we're creating a network in short form. Whenever you tune in to Current, you'll see something amusing, inspiring or interesting. And then, three minutes later, you'll see something new. It'll be a video iPod stocked with a stream of short segments and set to shuffle.

Steve Jobs must be an investor in Current with two mentions of fine Apple marketing in the final sentence.

A grassroots-oriented television network seems intriguing. But why bother with the network middleman? The beauty of the net is the ability for a nobody to create some content and have it easily distributed. A network is nice to market the content but given that Current's audience is the same group that has internalized things like weblogs, IM, cell phones, and iPods the network will always be behind the curve. Current will never be as fast as weblogs, text messages, and e-mail. Broadcasting an hourly Google Current, "an up-to-the-second zeitgeist, a glimpse into what people around the world are searching for and talking about right now" will only show the past. Strange for an operation named "Current." It's a network that seeks to follow not lead. This is an attempt to make an MTV for news, but that network tries hard to get ahead of the curve and find artists or pop culture trends that will be big in the future. Instantly Current is muddled in the recent past.

And what's with this messianic pic of AlGore?

[via Lakeshore Laments]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2005

Some Balance

Next month, the National Press Club will be having a discussion asking "Who is a Journalist?" One of the invitees is Jeff Gannon. Originally scheduled to appear with the lame, conservative reporter were Ana Marie Cox, and John Stanton of Congress Daily. Due to the outcry of some MSM reporters more people were added for "diversity" and "balance." Now, Jim Drinkard of USA Today (who has never been seriously questioned about his role in the Rather memo flap), Garrett Graff of Fishbowl D.C., and Matthew Yglesias have been added. Yglesias says the NPC is asking a stupid question. He's "uncomfortable" but attending. Balance and diversity in the minds of the National Press Club means having a third-rate conservative versus five Lefties or to be generous, non-conservatives. What, Mark Tapscott or Bob Cox weren't available or couldn't find any conservative for the panel?

"Press Club Keeps Gannon--But Adds Others to Panel"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2005

You'll Make Michele Blush

Michele's A Small Victory is one subject of a Media Matters post. It seems a Boston Globe reporter likes her weblog enough to leave comments. That's bad news in the David Brock witch hunting world.


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:18 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2005

Whoring Himself into Silence

The Journal Sentinel's racist, hateful columnist Eugene Kane is willing to shut up...for a price. You could help me collect enough cash to meet Kane's high price or you could ask the newspaper's editors to offer some more intellectual diversity than just that fine addition Patrick McIlheran. (His latest is a common sense, everydayman's take on "smart growth.")

I could suggest a certain local writer. *HINT* *HINT*

"Don't Like this Column? Do as in Lodi: $weeten the Pot"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:30 AM | Comments (1)

March 06, 2005

A Trend Continues

The internet is now ahead of radio in where people get their political news a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey discovered (somebody have the link?). Those with broadband connections find the internet butting into newspaper consumption. The MSM's days aren't numbered but its impact on our polity is shrinking. As times passes people will be consuming more and more text, audio, and video through the internet. Institutions like the NY Times, Clear Channel, and CNN will have to adjust or die to upstarts both professional and amateur.

"Internet Passes Radio for Political News -Survey"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:38 PM | Comments (2)

February 28, 2005

Gannon Galore

If you're like me and you haven't bothered with watching Jeff Gannon stories on tv Crooks and Liars compresses a lot of bunk, media hysteria, and Lefty time-wasting into one 13-minute package.

"Jeff Gannon Retrospective in Video" [via The Chicago Report]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:35 PM | Comments (1)

February 19, 2005

Fund-quiddick II

I'm pretty sure John Fund hasn't read any of the posts ripping on him because he's at it again. He just sat down at Robert Cox's computer when he was away and started typing.


UPDATE: John Fund should just stick to getting people to talk. He teased Ace by telling him "Newt Gingrich is running for President in 2008." Fund's good for something.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

He Writes Better than He Behaves

John Fund may be a great columnist and pundit, but he's a real cad. After knowing this I don't feel bad about linking to this and this.

The inspired Robert Cox has started the John Fund Blackberry Fund. I'm renaming it the Fund Fund and have made the first donation of a shiny quarter.

"Blogger gets abused by Big Media Fund...WHY?????????"

UPDATE: James Joyner has dubbed this "Fund-quiddick."

The fun Bloggers Corner is having with this shows today's a slow news day at CPAC.

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin calls it "weird behavior."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2005

Crummy Morning Show

Fox & Friends is awful, awful, awful. The hosts try to be funny but end up sounding dumb. Everyone is too casual. For instance, Sep. 11 commissioner John Lehman was talking about current intelligence problems. He was slouching in his comfy chair talking about "stovepipes." None of the hosts helped the viewers by having Lehman explain the term. It's like they don't really care.

Now, I just saw Kathie Lee Gifford hosting? Katie Couric has intellectual heft compared to Kathie Lee.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:02 AM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2005

Grey Lady In the Weblog Biz

The NY Times bought About.com from Primedia for $410 million. This is BIG, BIG news because the Times has just bought its way into the weblog business. I hesitate to say the blogosphere because I've seen few people link to About.com weblogs. Those weblogs may get traffic but they aren't part of the weblogging vibe.

In a company press release one of the reasons for the purchase is

Providing an important platform for future growth on the Internet by adding an alternate model of content creation and aggregation.

That's biz speak for "Weblogs are sprouting up like daisies so let's try to make some money with them."

The BIG, BIG question is how will the newspaper integrate About.com's platform and content into its website? Will there be a Times "guide" on Iraq, or terrorism, or Social Security just like there are guides on portable entertainment, cellphones, and conservative politics? (Why isn't Ryan Woodhams at CPAC?) Who will the guides be, reporters or outsiders? Will there be group weblogs and/or individual ones? Will columnists start posting? How hard will Times execs and editors push their employees to weblog?

RapidLingo.com thinks the Times won't try to merge the two companies. "After the Jason Blair scandal, among others, they cannot afford to have the public view them as anything other than a hard nosed news outlet." But doing that will show the newspaper refuses to accept the fact that webloggers aren't going away.

B. L. Ochman writes, "Having such a vast network of blogs and bloggers certainly positions the Times well for incorporating blogging into its infrastructure."

For loads of info read PaidContent.org. [via Jeff Jarvis]

"NY Times Agrees to Buy About.com"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

Lowering of the Tensions

I've been hard on Captain Ed for putting the Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens in his critical crosshairs. Stephens was on Hugh Hewitt's show to talk about the WSJ's editorial harsh on some webloggers and the attacks on him. Hewitt has retracted the report that Stephen's wrote the editorial. Ed now admits he may have gone too far in his attacks on Stephens. Good for him. No longer does Ed think Stephens was hiding anything.

I'm pleased with this lessening of the tension. Stephens wasn't the enemy, and Ed and Hugh realize that. It's good to know these powerful conservative voices are interested in truth and fairness instead of simple destruction.

"Media Notes, Bret Stephens Update And Correction"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

Gannon on The Daily Show

If Jon Stewart had any smarts--and since The Daily Show is incredibly funny and creative we know he has plenty--he should be working hard to hire Jeff Gannon. What a fake news show needs is America's most famous fake journalist. This would really put a happy ending to his sorid tale. And the best part is it would tick off Kos, Oliver Willis, Media Matters, and all those who sunk so low for so little.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:39 AM | Comments (3)

February 15, 2005

Tempering the Passions

For more reaction to Easongate there's the Washington Times responding to the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Andrew McCarthy doing the same, and the Washington Examiner telling fellow journalists that a new age is upon them.

Let me offer this possible reason for the WSJ editorial board to call Eason Jordan's firing/resignation too extreme. They worried that the revolutionary zeal was beginning to rise to the surface. They saw it with when Captain Ed and others called Brett Stephens a "spokesperson" for the World Economic Forum and claiming a degree of separation amounted to a conflict of interest. McCarthy calls the WSJ's complaint about it "quite right." Was he to be the next target? Stephens was upset with the charge and pumped out the editorial page's pointed response.

I'm guessing the editorialists too wonder what some of the harshest MSM critics want. Is their goal to destory or reform. Being conservatives that probably have read Edmund Burke I'm also guessing they hope for the latter. Allow me to again quote Burke from his Reflections on the Revolution in France:

Is it then true, that the French government was such as to be incapable or undeserving of reform; so that it was of absolute necessity that the whole fabric should be at once pulled down, and the area cleared for the erection of a theoretic, experimental edifice in its place?

Do MSM critics, like French revolutionaries see the MSM as so hopeless that it needs to be destroyed?

Let it be known I don't see the weblogging critics as desiring violent means to their end. The whole point of these posts is to tell them to be careful. Prudence and reason need to tame passions.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

Nearing the Chasm

David Flanagan shares my concern about what he calls "bloglust." He wonders since "now that we’ve gotten a bit closer to the line between legitimate outrage and witch hunt, are we not just a BIT tempted to step over? Think about it?"


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:44 PM | Comments (1)

Left on an Outing

There's no word coming to me to describe the shock some Lefty weblogs have gone to attack President Bush. It's bad enough outing a partisan White House reporter. They're now accusing the White House Press Secretary of being gay too. The best I can do to tell you how I feel is to borrow Jeff Goldstein's words:

I have nothing but the utmost contempt for these people.

The sad thing is I don't think it will stop here.

"The Breaking Jeff Gannon Story Revealed: Gannon Rumored to Enjoy Cooking, Broadway Show Tunes"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:16 AM | Comments (3)

February 14, 2005

Jarvis' Letter to the Times

Jeff Jarvis sent a letter to the NY Times. He wants a sit-down discussion between webloggers and the newspaper. Great idea. However, can we make sure it includes more than weblogging media darlings like Hugh Hewitt, Andrew Sullivan, and Wonkette? The blogosphere is much more than those two faces television has dubbed the voice of the blogosphere. Get people like Captain Ed, Betsey Newmark, Steven Taylor, and Scott Ott into the conversation.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:51 PM | Comments (1)

Next Target: Brett Stephens

I was right that some were upset with the Wall Street Journal's Editorial Page stance on Easongate. About the editorial Hugh Hewitt writes, "I can only speculate that Eason Jordan is somebody's friend." Captain Ed is harsher:

Stephens belongs to the Forum of Young Global Leaders, which has exactly 1,111 members and is closely affiliated with the World Economic Forum, which means Stephens has an interest to protect with the WEF that he did not disclose. The YGL forum appears to fall under the purview of none other than Eason Jordan, whose bio describes him as a member of the WEF's Global Leaders of Tomorrow programme. Whether or not that influenced Stephens' reporting is only known by Stephens, but that connection should have been disclosed to WSJ/OJ readers, and the OJ's defense of his silence speaks volumes about their editorial standards.

I read the YGL brochure Ed linked to. Steve Forbes is a member of the nomination committee. Is he part of the World Economic Forum conspiracy to protect Eason Jordan? Forbes.com only has an AP story about Jordan on its website.

Hugh and Ed are getting carried away. They seem to think that all who aren't with them are against them. Brett Stephens is in the WEF clique and didn't tell us directly--since he was at the WEF event where Jordan made his poor remarks the reader should have concluded he had some connection to WEF. Readers don't need to have everything spelled out directly to them. The simple response is "Big deal?" Hugh and Ed have failed to prove any conflict of interest. They only have pointed out degrees of separation. Also, Stephens didn't really defend Jordan. Still, they both pounce.

[As a quick aside, I wish Hugh and Ed spent as much energy on pushing for real, serious cuts in Bush's budget. That would accomplish more than criticizing Jordan's supposed friends. Joseph Farah seems to agree with me.]

Those webloggers seeking another MSM head have yet to offer a replacement to mainstream media. They destroy but don't build. That's not conservative. Edmund Burke in his Reflections on the Revolution in France writes about tearing down the state:

[W]e have consecrated the state, that no man should approach to look into its defects or corruptions but with due caution; that he should never dream of beginning its reformation by its subversion; that he should approach to the faults of the state as to the wounds of a father, with pious awe and trembling solicitude.

Replace "state" with "media" and you'll see Burke's wisdom still applies today. At least Ace seems to be on the right track.

The blogosphere has a symbiotic relationship to the MSM. By commenting and arguing with the stories they put out, webloggers feed off of the MSM's output. The MSM reads what webloggers are pumping out, and it inspires more stories, which further feeds the blogosphere. This isn't a zero-sum game. Both entities gain.

I'm not saying the MSM doesn't have oodles of faults. They do. They have liberal biases they don't admit to. They've become sloppy. They've allowed their political views to color and shape the news. In the context of all Eason Jordan has done and said he doesn't deserve to be running CNN. What I worry about is some webloggers tossing around reckless accusations destroying their credibility and hurting undeserving people in the process.

UPDATE: Jay Rosen has a great, thoughtful post on what went wrong. He also wonders what the Right side of the blogosphere wants.

Jay also links to a good discussion on PBS' News Hour.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:33 PM | Comments (1)

WSJ on Jordan

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page is sure to ruffle some rightwing blogospheric feathers with their take on Eason Jordan's resignation. Mentioning the Eason attacks as the "enthusiasms and vendettas of amateurs" and putting themselves on a pedestal as people who "grown-up decisions about what is newsworthy, and what isn't" won't win them accolades. They see Jordan's resignation/firing as disproportionate to the offense. If he should have lost his job it should have been for squelching Saddam atrocities to gain Iraqi access. They also worry about the mob mentality (I wrote about it here). They write,

More troubling to us is that Mr. Jordan seems to have "resigned," if in fact he wasn't forced out, for what hardly looks like a hanging offense. It is true that Mr. Jordan has a knack for indefensible remarks, including a 2003 New York Times op-ed in which he admitted that CNN had remained silent about Saddam's atrocities in order to maintain its access in Baghdad. That really was a firing offense. But CNN stood by Mr. Jordan back then--in part, one suspects, because his confession implicated the whole news organization. Now CNN is throwing Mr. Jordan overboard for this much slighter transgression, despite faithful service through his entire adult career.

That may be old-fashioned damage control. But it does not speak well of CNN that it apparently allowed itself to be stampeded by this Internet and talk-show crew. Of course the network must be responsive to its audience and ratings. But it has other obligations, too, chief among them to show the good judgment and sense of proportion that distinguishes professional journalism from the enthusiasms and vendettas of amateurs.

Eason Jordan's history of placating to a dictator and smearing U.S. troops make him deserving of all the attention he's gotten. I just hope webloggers don't think the point of writing these online journals is to collect scalps. I don't want to see the blogosphere I love to read turn into New Media Jacobins on the hunt for the next Louis XVI. A lot of times weblog introspection is some of the most banal stuff to read. But we should occasionally ask ourselves and our readers why we do what we do. We need to make sure our motives are true and just. We have to be careful and prudent.

"The Jordan Kerfuffle"

UPDATE: Easongate has a great post on Jordan's controversial comments--there's more than Davos--as well as witnesses recollections of his World Economic Forum statements. [via PrestoPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:18 AM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2005

Open Up the Briefing Room

Patrick Ruffini echoes my thoughts on the "Jeff Gannon" affair:

Wouldn't it have been interesting if, instead of vilifying the guy, the blogosphere's reaction to this had been to get one or two real bloggers into the White House on a daily basis? A Paul Mirengoff or a Kevin Aylward would certainly have been more suitable representatives of new media than Gannon. I saw the work of such intrepid citizen journalists up close at the Republican Convention. The questions they asked of our leaders were far better than anything MSM could come up with.

"Busting the Press Room Monopoly"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:47 PM | Comments (4)

February 11, 2005

Another One Bites the Dust

Add another media head to the blogosphere's wall. Eason Jordan quit his job as chief news executive at CNN. He didn't want to "unfairly tarnished" his former employer. I figured admitting you toned down your Iraq coverage without telling viewers to keep Saddam happy was deserving of resignation.

I'd still like to see the World Economic Forum release the tape, but there's even less reason for them to do so.

As for Jordan's future expect him to write a book, do the television circuit to promote it, then settle down to teach in some journalism school. His first class will be Kissing Up to Tyrants 101: How I Kept CNN in Baghdad; and Kissing Up to Anti-Americans 101: How "Targeting" the Military Kept Me in Good Graces.

"CNN News Executive Eason Jordan Quits" [via VC]

"Breaking News: Eason Jordan Resigns"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:30 PM | Comments (2)

Gannon Glee

Wackos at Democratic Underground think President Bush might have hack/ex-reporter Jeff Gannon wacked because he's "no use to them."

"The Democratic Underground Post Of The Day: Who Is Jeff Gannon & Why Is Bush Going To Have Him 'Suicided'?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2005

Attacking Stephens

Captain Ed and one of his readers are ripping on the WSJ's Brett Stephens for being a "spokesperson" for his club. Yes, Stephens probably should have mentioned he's closely associated with the World Economic Forum where Jordan made his remarks. However, Stephens doesn't exonerate Jordan. In fact, he reaffirms what others have testified.

What happened was this: Mr. Jordan observed that of the 60-odd journalists killed in Iraq, 12 had been targeted and killed by coalition forces. He then offered a story of an unnamed Al-Jazeera journalist who had been "tortured for weeks" at Abu Ghraib, made to eat his shoes, and called "Al-Jazeera boy" by his American captors.
Here Rep. Barney Frank, also a member of the panel, interjected: Had American troops actually targeted journalists? And had CNN done a story about it? Well no, Mr. Jordan replied, CNN hadn't done a story on this, specifically. And no, he didn't believe the Bush administration had a policy of targeting journalists. Besides, he said, "the [American] generals and colonels have their heart in the right place."

By this point, one could almost see the wheels of Mr. Jordan's mind spinning, slowly: "How am I going to get out of this one?" But Mr. Frank and others kept demanding specifics. Mr. Jordan replied that "there are people who believe there are people in the military" who have it out for journalists. He also recounted a story of a reporter who'd been sent to the back of the line at a checkpoint outside of Baghdad's Green Zone, apparently because the soldier had been unhappy with the reporter's dispatches.

Stephens reports that Jordan accused the U.S. military of targeting journalists. Then he started backing away because (in Stephens' mind) he couldn't back up that claim. We have another witness hearing a CNN head honcho flippantly shooting off false, anti-American statements. That doesn't exonerate Jordan.


"Conflict Of Interest At The WSJ"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)


For readers who swim to both the Left and Right shores of the blogosphere they must think each side is living in separate universes. The Left just knocked off a lame conservative White House correspondent while the Right digs its claws into CNN executive Eason Jordan.

Let's compare: taking down a hack for a little-known website vs. challenging the head of a global news network. I'll let you decide which story is more important.

Lefty webloggers are taking glee for ending the career of Talon News White House correspondent Jeff Gannon. Now, let's make some stuff clear. Talon News is a conservative news service. I believe TAM linked to at least one story. What that story was about, I don't know, but I do remember reading stuff from there last year. Jeff Gannon lobbed softball questions at White House briefings and turned GOP press releases into news stories. In short, he wasn't much of a reporter. He was a hack with a political agenda. But unintentionally, Gannon was a satirical, Tom Wolfe version of what the rest of the White House press corps is.

Listen to this NPR story on Gannon. Pay close attention to the LA Times reporter and the media analyst. They both seethe with arrogance. Listening between the lines, you hear "How dare someone come onto our hallowed, journalistic holy ground with political opinions."

Here's Timothy Karr of MediaChannel.org (emphasis mine):

Our concern is about journalists who pose as members of the Fourth Estate but, in fact, aren't acting on behalf of the best interests of American citizens.

Here's what Edwin Chen of the LA Times thought about Gannon:

I just don't think the White House press corps ought to include people who are connected in some way with one party or the other.

Notice the arrogance. Karr thinks only MSM reporters know the "best interests of American citizens." Therefore only they should have access to the White House. Chen lives in a wonderland where the White House press corps doesn't include people with strong political opinions. I guess he's never met Helen Thomas.

We now live in an age of speaker phones, instant messaging, weblogs, and video conferencing. Why is the White House still using a method of communicating with media fit for the television age? Why don't we use technology to open up White House press briefings to opinion columnists, writers for political magazines, webloggers, talk radio hosts, professors, and think tank policy wonks? With the internet space in the briefing room isn't a problem. Briefings would become C-SPAN ratings boosters if Josh Marshall asked a pointed question only to be outdone by National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru. Imagine Al Franken trying to hammer the White House only to be countered by Rush Limbaugh. This would be "must see tv."

The MSM reporters would hate it. They would think such uttering of opinions would soil the collection of information. What they don't care about is biases affecting that information once it gets into newsrooms dominated with people who vote Democratic.

Pure objectivity in humans doesn't exist. We all have opinions and agendas that intentionally or not seep into what we write and create. The best we can hope for is intellectual honesty. Openness would hold more people accountable.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:28 AM | Comments (7)

February 09, 2005

Heat on Jordan Builds

Joe Scarborough and Brit Hume focused on Eason Jordan tonight. Thanks to people like Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, and Captain Ed this story will not go down a sinkhole video tape or no video tape.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2005

Deep Throat Illin'

We may soon find out who Watergate's Deep Throat is. Bob Woodard has said he or she is ill and Ben Bradlee has written the obituary. Looks like Pat Buchanan is out of the running. He's still running around yapping away on cable television.

"Watergate “Deep Throat” Gravely Ill"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:56 AM | Comments (2)

February 03, 2005

Playing to an Anti-American Crowd

Eason Jordan's claims about the U.S. military targeting journalists is receiving scrutiny in the blogosphere. Steve at ThoughtsOnline [via Betsy's Page] can only find one instance of a CNN jouralist being killed in the past two years. And that person was killed by "unidentified assailants (who) fired on the two-car convoy the men were traveling in...".

Captain Ed brings up an interesting hypothesis. Jordan may have been playing to an anti-American foreign audience.

I'm glad Hugh mentions this, because if I inadvertently underplayed one part of my coverage yesterday on Jordan, it was his propensity to make these statements outside of the United States, and especially in fora that appear ready-made to accept anti-American allegations without substantiation. Why, one might ask, would the executive of an American news organization do this? Mainly because CNN does not compete well within the US any longer, and for good reason, as we now know. They are, however, tremendously influential internationally; they are America's BBC, in more ways than market share. In order to maintain that position, Jordan has to cultivate an image of CNN as a hypercritical gadfly to American policies, especially those of American conservatives.

This type of attitude at CNN will ensure continued Fox News domination in the cable news wars.

"Hugh: Media Bias In The Silences"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2005

Another MSM Making Stuff Up

This story is more serious than the AP getting fooled by a toy. Eason Jordan who runs CNN told an audience at the World Economic Forum that the U.S. military targeted reporters. He didn't offer any evidence only assertions. Rony Abovitz who was at the forum reports,

Eason did backpedal and make a number of statements claiming that he really did not know if what he said was true, and that he did not himself believe it. But when pressed by others, he seemed to waver back and forth between what might have been his beliefs and the realization that he had created a kind of public mess.

Captain Ed did some searching and found that Jordan's very own CNN hasn't reported on this shocking "news." He then castigates Jordan:
He refuses to report real stories of atrocities when they involve genocidal tyrants that just happen to oppose the United States -- but has no problem passing along rumors of atrocities that slander the American military. Does the protection of innocent life really lie at the heart of Jordan's calculations, or is it something more sinister and political? From where I sit, it looks like Jordan has a lot more interest in damaging American security interests than in reporting truth to the world.

To top it off, Ed says, "Memogate pales in comparison to this."

"Did Eason Jordan Accuse US Military Of Assassinating Journalists?"

UPDATE: La Shawn Barber is collecting blogospheric reaction.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:11 PM | Comments (2)

Fooled Again

Not only are the MSM politically slanted to the Left but they don't seem to have children who play with toys. That would explain why the AP mistook a toy soldier as being a captured U.S. soldier. [via Slowplay]

More bad news: Mr. Bill, the Pink Panther, and Elmo are all missing. The bastards!

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2005

Lack of Disclosure

Maggie Gallagher and Howard Kurtz are in a little tussle over Kurtz's reporting of Gallagher's government contract. Gallagher denies being paid to promote President Bush's marriage initiative. Kurtz told Editor & Publisher she "has seen fit to blame the messenger."

In her defense, Gallagher claims she is being held to a new standard:

It is not uncommon for researchers, scholars, or experts to get paid by the government to do work relating to their field of expertise. Nor is it considered unethical or shady: if anything, government funded work is considered a mark of an expert's respectability. Until today, researchers and scholars have not generally been expected to disclose a government-funded research project in the past, when they later wrote about their field of expertise in the popular press or in scholarly journals.

I'm stunned by this admission. Gallagher is saying there are lots and lots of people writing articles in scholarly journals and widely-read publications who don't disclose their conflicts. This tradition has to stop. In an age where anyone can use Google to investigate possible conflicts of interest, writers' transparancy is the best defense. Plus, it's not that hard to add a line of disclosure to an article's bio.

"Gallagher Criticizes WP Article; Kurtz Rebuts"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:38 AM | Comments (2)

January 26, 2005

Another Columnist on the Dole

Maggie Gallagher is the second conservative columnist to be outed for not telling anyone she was on the federal government's payroll. In 2002, the strong marriage advocate wrote an essay defending the Bush administrations marriage promotion plan. At the same time she was writing pro-marriage materials for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Gallagher's excuse was that "it never occurred to me" to disclose it.

Is it really that hard to remember you were paid by the government on a subject you're writing a column on? Gallagher's flipant response shows she doesn't take her lack of disclosure seriously. I rarely read any of her work, but this bit of news will guarantee I will skip over anything with her byline on it. Tribune Media Services felt the same way. They dropped her syndicated column. (With Gallagher and Armstrong Williams

Armstrong Willams' and Gallagher's indiscretions bring up an interesting set of questions. How should intellectuals (in lieu of a better word) work with the government? We all agree full disclosure is good to keep oneself intellectually honest. However, is it all right for them to take government money on subjects they'll later write on? What is the statute of limitations if any? Should outside intellectuals get paid at all?

In line with the last question is an example: is it ethical for the government to pay a scholar like Bernard Lewis to come to Washington, D.C. to speak to the State Department? Is it ethical for Lewis to accept such an offer? Is Lewis' scholarship tainted by being paid? Lewis is not the best example because he's never been shy about mentioning his meetings with Bush administration officials.

Gallagher wonders [via Andrew Sullivan] about these same questions:

My first instinct is to say, no, Howard, I had no special obligation to disclose this information. I'm a marriage expert. I get paid to write, edit, research, and educate on marriage. If a scholar or expert gets paid to do some work for the government, should he or she disclose that if he writes a paper, essay, or op-ed on the same or similar subject? If this is the ethical standard, it is an entirely new standard. I was not paid to promote marriage. I was paid to produce particular research and writing products (articles, brochures, presentations) which I produced. My lifelong experience in marriage research, public education and advocacy is the reason HHS hired me.

Captain Ed sees Gallagher's error as less than that of Williams. He actually thinks her lame response was worse for her credibility.

Michelle Malkin is again disgusted and demands the Bush administration and any other paid pundits come clean.

Slant Point sees this as an "emerging proof of pattern" for the administration.

Jib comes clean with his past conflicts.

"Columnist Backing Bush Plan Had Federal Contract"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:29 AM | Comments (1)

January 17, 2005

"Tortured Logic"

Talk about your "torturned logic." You'd think Albert Gonzalez was a blood-drinking, pain-craving tool of Satan himself.

[via WisOpinion]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:01 PM | Comments (1)

January 15, 2005

Rather Should be Fired

Journal Sentinel tv and radio critic Tim Cuprisin is calling for Dan Rather's head.

The legacy of Edward R. Murrow is at stake here, and axing four off-camera folks unknown to the public just isn't enough. Neither is Rather's March 9 departure from the "CBS Evening News" anchor chair. He's supposed to remain as a correspondent at the very news magazine that aired the bungled story.

If CBS wanted to be really innovative they should just dump the evening news. It's an obsolete concept in a 24-7 news world.

"CBS Needs to Show Rather the Door"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:12 AM | Comments (3)

January 14, 2005

A Curious Phrase

In this Washington Post story on how Team Bush will promote its Social Security plan, "objective" reporters Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei insert this paragraph:

The campaign will use Bush's campaign-honed techniques of mass repetition, never deviating from the script and using the politics of fear to build support -- contending that a Social Security financial crisis is imminent when even Republican figures show it is decades away.

"Politics of Fear," that's the same buzzphrase Democrats used in last year's elections and what Sen. Ted Kennedy used in a speech a few days ago. I wonder what other talking points the two Post journalists use in their stories?

This isn't the first time Jim VandeHei has used this term to slyly criticize President Bush. Last year, he and Howard Kurtz wrote an "analysis"--an opinion piece not on the op-ed page--about how Sen. Kerry was "adopting President Bush's strategy of playing on the public's security fears and sometimes using incendiary charges to stoke them."

"Social Security Push to Tap the GOP Faithful" [via Political Wire]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:26 PM | Comments (4)

January 11, 2005

Deja Vu All Over Again

Rathergate isn't the first time an independent panel has investigated CBS News.

The network found itself on the receiving end of a $120 million libel suit from Gen. William C. Westmoreland after a Jan. 23, 1982, documentary, The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception. The piece charged him with intentionally misreporting North Vietnamese troop strength to persuade President Lyndon Johnson that the war remained winnable.

CBS launched an independent internal investigation – as it did with the National Guard story – and eventually concluded that the report was seriously flawed. The principal correspondent on the piece, Mike Wallace, remains at CBS News. But its producer, George Crile, was chastised and fired. Mr. Westmoreland ended up dropping his suit before it went to a jury.

The two events are over 20-years apart but with similar results: the underlings get canned, but the stars stick around.

"Faceless Take Fall for CBS Blunder"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

CBS Needs Conservatives

Hindrocket makes a great point about what CBS News could have done to prevent Rathergate:

True enough, but let me offer this alternative theory: the fundamental problem that led to the downfall of 60 Minutes and, perhaps, CBS News, was the fact that no one involved in the reportorial or editorial process was a Republican or a conservative. If there had been anyone in the organization who did not share Mary Mapes's politics, who was not desperate to counteract the Swift Boat Vets and deliver the election to the Democrats, then certain obvious questions would have been asked: Where, exactly, did these documents come from? What reason is there to think that they really originated in the "personal files" of a long-dead National Guard officer, if his family has no knowledge of them? How did such modern-looking memos come to be produced in the early 1970s? How can these critical memos, allegedly by Jerry Killian, be reconciled with the glowing evaluations of Lt. Bush that Killian signed? Why haven't you interviewed General "Buck" Staudt, who is casually slandered in one of the alleged memos? Why didn't you show the memos to General Bobby Hodges, rather than reading phrases from them to him over the telephone? Isn't it a funny coincidence that these "newly discovered" memos are attributed to the one person in this story who is conveniently dead?

And so on, ad nearly infinitum. But, because virtually everyone in the CBS News organization shared Mary Mapes's politics and objective (i.e., the election of John Kerry), skeptical questions were not asked. If there is a single overriding explanation for how a fake story, intended to influence a Presidential election through the use of forged documents, could have been promulgated by 60 Minutes, it is the lack of diversity at CBS News.

The Leftists inside CBS News are the same types who applaud racial preferences in universities and business in the name of "diversity." If they actually had real diversity--diversity of thought--then this embarassment might not have happened.

For a webified version of the CBS News report, thank Kevin at Wizbang.

"A Rather Sad Post Mortem"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

Armstrong, Who are the "Others?"

David Corn had an interesting conversation with Armstrong Williams:

I asked if Williams had yet been contacted by the inspector general at the Education Department, the agency that had awarded the contract that supplied him $241,000 for promoting the NCLB measure within the African-American community. Representative George Miller, the ranking Democrat on the education committee, and other House Democrats had already called for an investigation. Why should the IG contact me? Williams replied, noting he had been merely a subcontractor. Any thorough investigation, I remarked, would include questioning the subcontractor. He scratched his head. "Funny," he said. "I thought this [contract] was a blessing at the time."

And then Williams violated a PR rule: he got off-point. "This happens all the time," he told me. "There are others." Really? I said. Other conservative commentators accept money from the Bush administration? I asked Williams for names. "I'm not going to defend myself that way," he said. The issue right now, he explained, was his own mistake. Well, I said, what if I call you up in a few weeks, after this blows over, and then ask you? No, he said.

I would love to know if there are any other conservative pundits covertly being paid. That way I know who to ignore.

"Armstrong Williams: I Am Not Alone" [via Solo Dialogue]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:32 PM | Comments (1)

An Inconsistent Columnist

Pointing out Lefty hypocrisy is what makes talk radio yappers like Charlie Sykes so appealing. Sykes points out that Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane ripped on Armstrong Williams for being a paid pundit while only a a few months before praised local talk radio wacko Michael McGee for being a paid pundit.

Ironically both Williams and McGee had similar things to say when their deals (Kane referred to Williams' as a "hustle") were made publically known. Williams' excuse for taking Department of Education money to promote No Child Left Behind was "I wanted to do it because it's something I believe in." Michael McGee told Kane he "OIC [Opportunities Industrialization Center] because I believe in what they are doing for people."

This is the same Eugene Kane who told an e-mail correspondent, "I live for the day when a bunch of white kids get killed in an accident and the first question from readers is 'where were the parents?'" Consistency is defintely not Kane's forte.

"The Hypocrisy of Eugene Kane"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2005

Memo Report Released

Dan Rather's job was saved. Lucky guy. It must be a benefit of being old. Four CBS News employees including Mary Mapes weren't so lucky. I'm in a hurry so I can comment on any of the report. So check out James Joyner's thoughts. He also has plenty of links.

"CBS Ousts 4 For Bush Guard Story"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:19 PM | Comments (2)

Jail Time for Armstrong

Jon Henke dug up the appropriate federal law that indicates the Department of Education/Armstrong Williams deal violated the law. Now Henke's asking that all guilty parties endure "jail-time, and/or substantive fines." Maybe Henke's trying to prove just how tough a right winger can be toward another right winger. Seriously, Armstrong Williams should be put in jail? Come on. There's fraud where the end result is people getting hurt, but at worst, Williams engaged in government-funded propaganda. The victims were Williams' listeners and readers who were mislead. Their damage is mildly psychic.

Bringing this lousy transaction into the light of day destroyed his credibility. Tribune Media Services dropped his syndicated column. And will anyone take what he says seriously whenever he's a cable news talking head? Williams' reputation is toast, and it will take years to repair the damage. Henke may think what Williams has suffered is just a slap on the wrist, but for a public intellectual (and I use that term loosely) to have their credibility flushed down the toilet it's more than a mere slap.

"Payola at the Highest Levels"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:02 AM | Comments (7)

January 07, 2005

Armstrong Williams and Breeding Cynicism

Armstrong Williams hasn't been in my reading mix for years because he was pretty dull. Now, we find out the Education Department was paying him to talk about No Child Left Behind. It would have been nice of him to tell his audience he was a paid talking head. Even Williams thinks he acted poorly:

Even though I'm not a journalist — I'm a commentator — I feel I should be held to the media ethics standard. My judgment was not the best. I wouldn't do it again, and I learned from it.

If you take this Williams incident along with the news that John Thune paid webloggers to bash Tom Daschle there's now a bit of a pattern of GOP media manipulation. It's not healthy for the body politic for one party to breed such cynicism. I understand that nothing the GOP will ever do will satisfy Deaniacs or the wackos lurking at Daily Kos. At the minimum, a party doesn't want to induce cynicism with their own base. These tactics may be good short-term politics, but real policy change is a long-term effort. In a divided nation, alienation can lead to electoral defeat.

"U.S. Pays Commentator to Tout School Law"

"Education Dept. Paid Commentator to Promote Law"

UPDATE: James Joyner writes,

The ability to go directly to the public by "jawboning" is perhaps the most important power of the presidency with respect to domestic policy. I'm not exactly [sure] where the line should be drawn here, given the power of the so-called "New Media."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:31 PM | Comments (3)

December 29, 2004

Columnist Unhinged

Hell hath no fury like a newspaper columnist scorned. The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Nick Coleman took up an entire column to rant about Power Line. This must be one of the few cases where a MSM columnist focused on a single weblog. I'm sure many Twin Cities readers where wondering what a "blog" is. John Hinderaker responds as does Captain Ed and Mitch Berg.

"'Blog of the Year' Goes to Extremes"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:41 PM | Comments (2)

December 20, 2004

Wonkette Wacked

On Rathergate Wonkette doesn't get it. The focus was on the fraudulent National Guard documents because that's what the new part of the story was. For months, even years the MSM was digging around trying to determine if President Bush did or did not fulfill is National Guard service. They couldn't find proof that he didn't, but his paper trail led to some dead ends. Instead of just writing it off as poor handling of paperwork in the 1960s guard they assumed a conspiracy.

Then in the middle of a Presidential election some damning memos miraculously appear. Of course the focus should have been on "evidence" that could swing a Presidential election. Once the memos were found to be fake (with little forensic work needed) the story then became how CBS News let themselves be so easily fooled.

Ana Marie Cox once again demonstrates why I don't bother with her lame weblog.

"Wonkette to Bloggers: F**** You"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:57 PM | Comments (15)

December 15, 2004

Men of the Year

Time will soon pick its Person Man of the Year. The most obvious choice would be President Bush. Webloggers would be a great choice, but a MSM honoring their newest competitors (at least in their eyes) is illogical. How about this for a selection: Mel Gibson and Michael Moore? They both represent the politically divided nation we saw on Election Day. They both made movies that became bigger than what was projected on the big screen. With their success this year both won't be going away. It's Red State and Blue State. Liberal and Conservative. Left and Right. They both represent this moment in time. The picks just fit, and the accompanying articles would be more interesting to read than a rehash of Election 2004.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2004

A Liberal's Worst Nightmare

Expect Lefties to cringe on the news that Fox News will provide news for Clear Channel radio stations.

"Clear Channel Radio to Feature Fox News"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2004

Sounds Good to Me

Send Jonah to the New York Times

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2004

Hunt Leave WSJ

It's a bummer liberal Al Hunt is leaving the Wall Street Journal. While more often than not I disagreed with his weekly column, he broke up the right-wing editorial page. Hopefully Paul Gigot realizes he page will be stronger and more interesting if there's a regular Lefty writing. He should even go so far as to pluck star from the blogosphere. How about Kevin Drum?

"Al Hunt Leaves WSJ for Bloomberg"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2004

Cronkite: Old Coot

Last night on Larry King Live, Walter Cronkite took up the conspiracy flag of many Bush bashers when commenting on the Osama bin Laden tape:

KING: OK, Walter. What do you make of this?

CRONKITE: Well, I make it out to be initially the reaction that it's a threat to us, that unless we make peace with him, in a sense, we can expect further attacks. He did not say that precisely, but it sounds like that when he says...

KING: The warning.

CRONKITE: What we just heard. So now the question is basically right now, how will this affect the election? And I have a feeling that it could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing. The advantage to the Republican side is to get rid of, as a principal subject of the campaigns right now, get rid of the whole problem of the al Qaqaa explosive dump. Right now, that, the last couple of days, has, I think, upset the Republican campaign.

I blame much of this thinking on Cronkite's age as demonstrated later in the show when he couldn't remember when the last Presidential election was:
CRONKITE: Well, I think it's one of the biggest messes we've had in a long time. I believe that we're undoubtedly not going to know the results of this election. I don't want to knock you off the air on Monday night or anything, or Tuesday night. But I suspect that we're not going to know who the next president is, whether it is Bush or the new man, until very probably sometime in the early spring. There's so much controversy that they're planting, deliberately planting at the polls, that there's almost certainly to be a suit going back to the Supreme Court eventually, going through the other courts slowly first.

KING: Who's to blame for this?

CRONKITE: Who's to blame for it really is the intensity of this campaign. Plus the fact that we have a preface to this in the last campaign. What year was that now?

KING: 2000.

CRONKITE: 2000. Thank you very much. We saw that we could go to court. We saw that with watchers on both sides, heavily mounted police to watch from both sides the polling in many states, nearly all of the heavy states. And in those cases, they will be finding every possible reason to file against the results.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:35 PM | Comments (3)

October 26, 2004

The Kerry Edwards Times

John Cole isn't too happy with the NY Times:

I don't (sic) think my faith in the media has ever sunk this low before, but I simply am astonished by what has taken place over the last six months.

"A Failed October Surprise?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:17 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2004

Kerry Makes a Discovery

About the SwiftVets' accusations, Sen. John Kerry told Rolling Stone, "I was surprised that the media, even when they knew it was lies, continued to cover it and treat it as entertainment."

This man has been a U.S. Senator for years, and only now does he realized the large entertainment component of the news. I guess he was too busy with guiding all his mountains of legislation through the Senate to notice. Someone tell Kerry he needs to read TAM daily.

"Kerry Feels the Pressure of Presidential Campaign"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:18 AM | Comments (6)

October 17, 2004

Endorsement Time

Will the TAM endorsement get even a smidgen of attention as that of the NY Times? I doubt it, but in both cases anyone with a brain won't be surprised by who gets it.

"John Kerry for President"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:03 PM | Comments (3)

October 16, 2004

Podhoretz: Wrong

In a 10.12.04 column, John Podhoretz wrote:

[ABC News' Mark Halperin] also knows that it would be illegal for the Kerry campaign to be coordinating with left-liberal 527s, which have raised more than $150 million to defeat President Bush — as opposed to the paltry $158,000 raised by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth so far.

My truth antennae came up upon reading this. How could a group continue to make and air television commercials all over the country for over two months with only $158,000? I also recall reports of people giving them money. This $158,000 number shouldn't have passed Podhoretz's smell test.

Turns out I don't have to take my truth antennae into the shop. There's this from the NY Times:

The Swift Vets reported raising almost $9 million and spent more than $7 million in the third quarter, reports show. Members say they have raised closer to $15.5 million through this month.

Sloppy, John. Very sloppy.

"'527' Groups Still at Work Raising Millions for Ads"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2004

Is the Post Joking with Kerry?

In the blogosphere, John Kerry has often been linked to Lurch from the Addams' Family. Now it seems the Washington Post has joined in. On the front page of the paper's website the hyperlink to a Kerry story reads, "A Lurching, Chaotic Style." The actual story has a different headline which doesn't complement the Senator either--"collector of data?" I've made a screen capture (don't have time to post it now) just in case it changes later.

This might give Oliver Willis more "proof" of the powerful conservative MSM trying to stop the Kerry Edwards rampage.

"Lifelong Collector of Data Can Bog Down His Staffs"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:23 AM | Comments (3)

October 10, 2004

FactCheck.org Correction

I'm not sure if FactCheck.org updated their post-debate article on Bush's and Kerry's distortions or I just missed it. When first reading and commenting on it, I don't recall this passage:

Kerry got his information from an article we posted Sept. 23 stating that Bush on his 2001 federal income-tax returns "reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise." We should clarify: the $84 in Schedule C income was from Bush's Lone Star Trust, which is actually described on the 2001 income-tax returns as an "oil and gas production" business. The Lone Star Trust now owns 50% of the tree-growing company, but didn't get into that business until two years after the $84 in question. So we should have described the $84 as coming from an "oil and gas" business in 2001, and will amend that in our earlier article.

I'm happy to know FactCheck.org is intellectually honest enough to point out their error.

[via QOAE]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:31 PM | Comments (3)

October 09, 2004

FactCheck.org isn't Perfect

For the most part FactCheck.org (not .com, Vice President Cheney) is pretty reliable. But even it is not immune to pro-Kerry bias. Compare what was written on last night's debate. Here's a criticism of President Bush (emphasis mine):

Bush got a laugh when he scoffed at Kerry's contention that he had received $84 from "a timber company." Said Bush, "I own a timber company? That's news to me."

In fact, according to his 2003 financial disclosure form, Bush does own part interest in "LSTF, LLC", a limited-liability company organized "for the purpose of the production of trees for commercial sales." (See "supporting documents" at right.)

So Bush was wrong to suggest that he doesn't have ownership of a timber company. And Kerry was correct in saying that Bush's definition of "small business" is so broad that Bush himself would have qualified as a "small business" in 2001 by virtue of the $84 in business income.

Then on Kerry:
Kerry claimed, as he had in the first debate, that the Army's Chief of Staff, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, was forced to retire for saying before the invasion of Iraq that many more troops were needed than the administration was planning to send.


There was some truth to Kerry's comment, however. According to the Oct. 9 Washington Post , the story of Shinseki's replacement was leaked "in revenge" for Shinseki's position on troop requirements, which he was already expressing in private. By naming a replacement 14 months early, the Post said Pentagon leakers effectively undercut Shinseki's authority. And as it turned out, Keane never actually took the job, reportedly turning it down for family reasons to retire in Oct. 2003.

Of the two answers Kerry's was more manipulative. Bush's timber income was from a trust. It's safe to assume it's a blind trust so Bush would have no conflict of interest (which Kerry would have used in the campaign by now). How is Bush suposed to know every detail of his financial dealings while being President AND running for re-election?

Kerry's comment on Shinseki ignored the fact that it was known a year in advance the then Army Chief of Staff was going to retire. FactCheck.org pointed this out but still wrote, "There was some truth to Kerry's comment." It would have been nice of them to be as generous to the President.

"Distortions Galore at Second Presidential Debate"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:52 PM | Comments (3)

October 08, 2004

Halperin's Choosing Sides

More comment later, but I want to post this memo via Drudge before he makes it disappear.

Halperin Memo Dated Friday October 8, 2004

It goes without saying that the stakes are getting very high for the country and the campaigns - and our responsibilities become quite grave

I do not want to set off (sp?) and endless colloquy that none of us have time for today - nor do I want to stifle one. Please respond if you feel you can advance the discussion.

The New York Times (Nagourney/Stevenson) and Howard Fineman on the web both make the same point today: the current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done.

Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win.

We have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, but that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides "equally" accountable when the facts don't warrant that.

I'm sure many of you have this week felt the stepped up Bush efforts to complain about our coverage. This is all part of their efforts to get away with as much as possible with the stepped up, renewed efforts to win the election by destroying Senator Kerry at least partly through distortions.

It's up to Kerry to defend himself, of course. But as one of the few news organizations with the skill and strength to help voters evaluate what the candidates are saying to serve the public interest. Now is the time for all of us to step up and do that right.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:11 PM | Comments (1)

October 05, 2004

Political Scrabble

NBC News is scoffing at the letters "ILIE" next to President Bush in a video clip. However, the Media Research Center points out NBC News spent two days on a similar coincidental configuration of letters in a Bush ad in 2000.

Actually, I think it was a slow news day for the MRC. Someone was watching Tom Brokaw WAY too closely to find this. Sorry, Bryon, this isn't liberal bias. Weird things happen. Was it deliberate? I doubt it. Should NBC News get badgered about it as much as they badgered the Bush campaign? Absolutely. It will make them think twice about creating news instead of reporting it.

"NBC Nightly News Puts "ILIE" in Graphic Next to Bush's Face" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2004

Is Rush Limbaugh Reading TAM?

Probably not, but today he's saying President Bush was playing a prevent defense during last Thursday's debate. I called it a "soft zone."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:37 PM | Comments (1)

October 02, 2004

Misleading Memo Report

There's been no mention of David Hailey's analysis of the Killian memos because the first few explanations weren't that effective. The most I could gleen was the professor was dumb enough to have his working files exposed on the net and was changing his report went some began criticizing him. Jim Lindgren has come to my rescue with a post that shows how misleading Hailey's report is.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2004

Fox News' Boo-Boo

Left-wing "objective" MSM aren't the only ones suseptible to shoddy journalism. Fox News ran a story full of fake John Kerry quotes. The Left side of the blogosphere called them on it, and it was removed. Fox News has apologized. This event will not earn Fox News any points from Joshua Micha Marshall and those of his ilk, but it must be pointed out that the cable news channel acknowledged the error, fixed it, and apologized. That's more than can be said for CBS News and USA Today.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

More MSM Spin

This from Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

After spending much of the last two months on the political defensive, Democrat John Kerry went on the offense Thursday night, attacking President Bush's record and leadership so persistently that Bush asked moderator Jim Lehrer four or five times for another chance to respond.

In their first critical debate, Bush and Kerry offered very different messages about how to make America safe and secure in a post-9-11 world.

Bush said the best way to defeat the enemy is "never waver, to constantly stay on the offensive, and at the same time spread liberty."

Kerry said he would work far more closely with other countries, not "push them away," offer a "fresh start" and "fresh credibility."

But Kerry also argued repeatedly that Bush's policies - from invading Iraq to failing to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons - have made the nation less safe, not more so.

"The world is more dangerous," Kerry said, calling the Iraq war a "colossal error of judgment" that diverted the U.S. from the real enemy, Osama bin Laden.

Bush appeared visibly annoyed at times by Kerry's criticisms, at one point referring to an assertion by Kerry as "totally absurd."

"Candidates' Differences Clearly Defined in Debate"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:57 AM | Comments (0)

Some MSM Spin

The Washington Post's Mike Allen:

Bush's aides knew that his temper was a potential vulnerability, and his debate coaching sessions included practice in not getting rattled. But the camera shutters started snapping as the president shot a look into the University of Miami Convocation Center when Kerry seized on Bush's refrain that "the enemy hit us" and to point out that was not Saddam Hussein.

The campaigns' 32-page debate contract had been negotiated to make the encounter as antiseptic as possible. But from the first moment -- when Kerry answered his first question with an opening statement -- the candidates' personalities showed through the bonds of the format.


Even though it was the White House that had insisted on most of the restrictions, Bush was the one who seemed to chafe at them, jumping in when he was ready to answer and at one point prompting Kerry to joke that he was happy to change the rules.

At the end, Kerry was the most visibly pleased and the most effusive in thanking his opponent. Kerry walked up to the front of the stage, shaking two fists victoriously as he summoned his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, to the stage. Bush barely mentioned his opponent and went over for a hug from first lady Laura Bush.

"Kerry vs. the Rules, Bush vs. His Temper"


The NY Times misses Kerry's mid-answer Darfur flip-flop:

On the Sudan, Mr. Kerry strongly suggested he was prepared to send United States forces in to end the killing. "I'll tell you this: As president, if it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, I'd be prepared to do it, because we could never allow another Rwanda. It's a moral responsibility for us in the world."

"Bush Sees a Safer America, While Kerry Sees a 'Colossal Error'"


Then there is the front page Washington Post story:

There were no glaring mistakes by either candidate during the 90-minute debate at the University of Miami, although Bush often appeared agitated, scowling at times as Kerry leveled his charges.

"Iraq Takes Center Stage in Debate"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2004

Alone in the Wilderness

The Boston Globe almost got caught up in a forgery about the forged Killian memos. A few jobs may have been saved by this Wizbang post.

That's all well and good, but why are the same webloggers who went gung-ho after CBS News letting USA Today off the hook for their role publicizing the memos? For daily TAM readers this is old news. The paper relied on CBS News' "journalism" and the White House's lack of a denial to run with the story a day after the 60 Minutes II airing. Only after the blogosphere and some MSM questioned the memos' authencity did USAT have experts look at the documents. USAT reporters have a history with Bill Burkett and have spent months trying to dig up dirt on President Bush's National Guard service.

Webloggers aren't the only ones missing this angle. USAT's own media reporter, Peter Johnson, wrote about how conservatives think Dan Rather and CBS News lean Left. Not one mention is made that his employer also ran a smear story on Bush based on forged documents.

Not all webloggers following the Killian memo story have ignored TAM's investigation. Thanks must be given to them for publicizing USAT's role.

This isn't about me trying to break a big story. This is about holding media organizations accountable for bad journalism. USAT editor Ken Paulson sees nothing wrong with how his paper covered the story. There's no contrition and no apology to readers and President Bush. You'd think such arrogance would receive heaps of scorn from the blogosphere. Well, there's at least one person is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

[To read my on-going critque of USAT's Killian memo coverage read here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:31 PM | Comments (2)

News as Entertainment

Television news isn't about information dispersal. It's about entertainment. Years ago, an economics professor (can't remember his name) at an IHS conference bestowed this insight on me, and I have never watched television the same since.

The CBS News draft story is a mini-movie. There's the protagonist, Beverly Cocco who's "absolutely scared" and "petrified" about an impending draft. There's the villian, President Bush who's sent troops to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq and who vows to continue waging war on America's enemies. With the villian is his lackey. Here, it's the Selective Service Director Jack Martin who admits a draft could begin six months after a law was passed. (Neither Kerry nor Bush have said they will reinstate the draft.)

Now, CBS News could have put in the much-needed fact that the e-mails scaring people about the draft contain dubious information at best. They didn't, not because of some anti-Bush or anti-government bias but because it would tone down the story's tension. Viewers wouldn't have a "wow" moment if the story was about a military draft that no one of any significance says will happen. Such a story would just make Beverly Cocco look like a paranoid kook. Putting paranoid kooks on the evening news is not good for rating (but do it on Jerry Springer and you have a hit).

The evening news isn't just the only place where news is entertainment. There are the talking head yap fests like Crossfire, Hannity & Colmes, and Hardball. After watching Crossfire for a few years I realized the point of the show wasn't to inform the viewer. The guests have their talking points they stick to and all participants just try to make their ideological foes look like extremist wackos. That's not news, it's professional wrestling in front of a Washington, D.C. backdrop.

For those if us news junkies news is entertainment. We have an unsatiable desire to be in the know and up to date with all that happening around us. We click on Instapundit and Drudge many times an hour to keep up. Many of us have gone so far as to write weblogs to quench our thirst for news.

What I'm getting as is news as entertainment isn't inherently bad. It just means the viewer or reader needs to maintain an assumption when consuming media: sometimes the story is more important than the substance; there's usually more than meets the eye.

P.S. Here's what Google thinks when you type in "television news entertainment." I know it's only the result of an algorithm so take it with a grain of silicon.

"INDC Interviews the CBS Evening News" [via JustOneMinute]

UPDATE: I don't know if Glenn Reynolds has ever explicitly dubbed news as entertainment, but this quote makes me think we're of like mind:

Unless Kerry melts into a puddle on the floor, the media spin will be that he did well and helped his campaign. This is for two reasons. One is, as Newsweek' Evan Thomas remarked, that the press "wants Kerry to win."

The other, of course, is that they want the race to remain interesting -- which is to say, a race -- for another month, and it'll be hard to do that if everybody's pronouncing Kerry doomed after tonight.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2004

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I missed this Killian memo timeline put together by USA Today reporter Mark Memmott. I want to point out the items involving USA Today.

Wednesday, Sept. 8


6:45 p.m.: Bartlett tells USA TODAY White House reporter Judy Keen, "President Bush met his military obligations and rightfully received an honorable discharge (from the Guard). While the official records show the facts, no one can read the mind of a dead man (Killian) who wrote memos to himself 32 years ago."


9:15 p.m.: USA TODAY reporter Dave Moniz meets with former National Guard lieutenant colonel Bill Burkett, who will be revealed later as CBS' source for the memos and whom Moniz had dealt with on previous stories related to the National Guard. Burkett gives Moniz copies of the same documents he gave CBS. Moniz faxes them to USA TODAY's Washington bureau. Copies are also faxed to USA TODAY headquarters in McLean, Va.

USA TODAY editors, as they plan the next day's story and discuss how much weight to give the documents, rely in part on 60 Minutes' reporting and on Bartlett's comment about "a dead man who wrote memos to himself." USA TODAY faxes the documents to a person familiar with Guard personnel practices and files. She says it was not unusual for Guard commanders to write such memos, but could not offer additional authentication.


Friday, Sept. 10

Daybreak:The New York Times runs a story (on Page 17) headlined, "Commander's Son Questions Memos on Bush's Service." TheWashington Post headlines a front-page article, "Some Question Authenticity of Papers on Bush." USA TODAY publishes a five-paragraph story headlined, "Officer's son questions Bush memo." Rather says on CNN: "The story is true. The story is true." That day, USA TODAY editors assign reporters to expand the story and investigate the memos' authenticity.


Monday, Sept. 13

Daybreak: USA TODAY, pulling from the work of six reporters, publishes a lengthy look into the documents' credibility. "Two retired FBI forensic document examiners who studied the memos at USA TODAY's request said Sunday that they probably are forgeries," the story says. The story also notes that some other experts said that typewriters in use in the early 1970s might have been able to create such documents.


Wednesday, Sept. 15

Daybreak: Knox is prominent in newspaper stories across the country, on blogs all over the Web and in TV and radio reports. USA TODAY, which tried but failed to reach her the night before, reports what she's been saying and says her son Pat Carr, whom the newspaper reached, confirmed her comments.


Thursday, Sept. 16


Afternoon: Moniz and USA TODAY reporter Kevin Johnson begin a series of interviews with Burkett over five days. Burkett provides additional details on the condition that the newspaper's earlier promise of confidentiality be maintained, saying he expects CBS to identify him in a 60 Minutes interview Sunday. No interview is broadcast, and he waives that confidentiality agreement with USA TODAY on Monday.

Let's get into the substance of how USA Today put together their Killian memo story.

One hour and fifteen minutes after the 60 Minutes II story aired, Dave Moniz received copies of the forged memos from Bill Burkett. Presumably this was in Bozeman, Montana.

USAT editors admit that they ran with the story based on the CBS News airing and a woman who knew about National Guard practices and files. No document expert was consulted. Two days later and only after webloggers inspire some MSM to question the memos' authenticity does USAT "assign reporters to expand the story and investigate the memos' authenticity."

On 09.12.04 (three days after running the initial story), USAT shows the memos to document experts. Two say they're fakes while other experts say 1970s technology could produce such documents. They publish this story the next day.

Three days later on 09.15.04, reporters Dave Moniz and Kevin Johnson begin five days of interviews with Bill Burkett. The story is published on 09.21.04.

Now, let's see how many of my questions have been answered:

  • "Will they acknowledge Bill Burkett as the source of the memos?"
    Yes they have and have gotten him to claim Lucy Ramirez is the source of the memos.
  • "Why did they run the memo story the day after the 60 Minutes II airing?"
    They used the airing as well as the White House's distribution of the memos as an alternative to verifying their authenticity.
  • "Was their any discussion between Moniz and Drinkard and CBS News staff or between USA Today and CBS News regarding the story?"
    There is no indication the two news organizations coordinated their stories.
  • "Why didn't they have experts authenticate the memos before running with the story?"
    CBS News used the memos first and the White House never claimed they were fake. Because of this USAT Editor Ken Paulson does believe the paper erred.
  • "Did USA Today use the 60 Minutes II airing as an excuse to not question the memos or their source?"
    Clearly, the show's airing eased editors' misgivings. See above.
  • "What deals (if any) were made with Burkett in exchange for the memos?"
    No deals appear to have been made. This looks like part of a long-time relationship between Burkett and USAT reporters.
  • "Was the Kerry Edwards campaign contacted with regards to the story?"
    There is no indication.
  • "When will the reporters and the paper admit to being duped?"
    They only continue to investigate.
  • "Will their be an internal investigation as to how and why the paper was duped?"
    No internal investigation has been made public.

The paper should be praised for not allowing Dave Moniz or Jim Drinkard to continue covering this story. A new reporter not only prevents any conflict of interest but allows for an outside perspective.

Unfortunately for the paper, the comments of Ken Paulson show the paper admits to no wrong. He uses CBS News and the White House as excuses for not authenticating the Killian memos.

Finally let me toot my horn. Editor & Publisher finally noticed USAT's role in this story on 09.14. They called it "widely overlooked." If they were reading TAM they would have realized the paper's role on 09.13. Sure it's one little day, but TAM scooped "America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry."

"Scoops and Skepticism: How the Story Unfolded"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

Ditching Dan

Doug Forrester takes on Dan Rather and gives himself some publicity. He's starting a campaign to kick the CBS News anchor off the air.

"GOP Businessman Forrester Seeks Dan Rather's Ouster"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2004

Jumping on the Pile

Even NFL.com is ripping Dan Rather:

Before Monday night's kickoff in Philadelphia, Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens compared his matchup with Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss to one between Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

Now, on the very next weekend, the NFL gets another of those dream matchups that is so authentic, Dan Rather couldn't make it up.

"Favre and Manning in Another Dream Matchup"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:04 AM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2004

Redstone Endorses Bush

Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone is doing some CYA when he endorsed President Bush in Hong Kong. The self-proclaimed "liberal Democrat" told an audience that "I look at the election from what's good for Viacom. I vote for what's good for Viacom." He noted that "Because the Republican administration has stood for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on.... [W]e believe the election of a Republican administration is better for our company."

Since one division of Viacom, CBS, is in hot water for using forged memos to attack the President, Redstone certainly may feel that doing something to get on the administration's good side is good for Viacom.

"Guess Who's a GOP Booster?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

Carter's Taxonomy

Joe Carter put together a short taxonomy of the media world. He then applies it to the Killian memo story and the debate over Michelle Malkin's new book. Carter's thinking is sound, and can be applied when analyzing how a story flows in the media world and how to encourage flow.

Carter's taxonomy explains why USA Today's role in the memo story has garnered little attention. [The paper's role in the story is why I don't call it "Rathergate."] TAM is merely a T5 media source. Until someone on a higher tier picks it up I will continue to be a lone wolf.

"Information Flow and the Gatekeepers of the Media"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:07 PM | Comments (0)

Missing the Forest and the Trees

Kevin's rant at "mainstream media carpetbaggers" allows me to again remind you of USA Today's role in the Killian memos story. The newspaper ran a story on the fake memos the day after the 60 Minutes II airing. It also has a history of working with Bill Burkett and an obsession with President Bush's National Guard service. CBS News actually had experts look at the documents--they just ignored the conclusions that didn't fit the story they were looking for--USAT had experts examine them days after their first story. To make it worse reporters Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard continue to report on the story. This gives them the opportunity to focus the story solely on CBS News' mistakes.

So while some newspaper columnists try to give their employers credit for exposing CBS News--nothing would have happened without the webloggers--they continue to miss a lack of self-reflection at one of their own.

[I will give USAT some credit. They got Burkett on the record. They also broke the important Mape-Lockhart story. What the paper hasn't done is apologize to its readers and investigate what went wrong in their newsroom.]

"Mainstream Media Carpetbaggers"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:25 AM | Comments (0)

The Source

We know Bill Burkett gave CBS News the fake Killian memos. But where did Burkett get them? Does Lucy Ramirez actually exist, or did Burkett create them himself. Steve Gilbert compares the memos to book that examined President Bush's National Guard record and thinks Burkett is the lone gunman.

"Where Did the Forgeries Come From?" [via Betsy's Page]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:07 AM | Comments (1)

September 22, 2004

Why Thornburgh?

CBS News has appointed a committee to investigate the Killian memo story. One member is Dick Thornburgh. Professor Bainbridge brings up a possible conflict between Thornburgh and Bush political czar Karl Rove. Did CBS News biff it again by appointing someone who might have an ax to grind against Rove? Thornburgh has some explaining to do for this investigation to win public credibility.

"Breaking News: CBS Names Independent Panel"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2004

USA Today Reporter on C-SPAN

Can anyone verify seeing a USA Today reporter on C-SPAN this morning. My computer and the Real player don't get along so I can't watch it. Who was it? Did the reporter actually say that even though the memos were forged the attack on President Bush would continue because documents like them did exist (like CBS News' "fake, but accurate" claim)?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Other Memo Coverage

When we're right in the middle of the story (or the story as some became) members of the blogosphere can forget there's over 90% of the public that do not get their news from weblogs. How many big regional newspapers ran stories on the Killian memos, I don't know. I don't even know how extensive the story was covered in the small papers that are owned by giants like Gannett. If the Baltimore Sun is an example, the non-weblog reading public who gets much of their news from newspapers is receiving an old, convoluted story. At least the Sun is trying. My Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finally got around to putting a Washington Post story in today's paper.

"How One Big-City Newspaper Covered Rathergate" [via Dean Esmay]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

USAT Does Some Actual Reporting

USA Today got Bill Burkett to talk publicly about his role in the Killian memo story. He doesn't admit to being the source of the memos. Instead, someone named Lucy Ramirez is supposedly the source. Burkett claims to have received a phone call from her in March. That led to him getting the documents later that month while in Houston. Burkett never met Ramirez and USA Today hasn't been able to locate her. Initially, George Conn was named by Burkett as the memos' source.

This story has shed light on how the story got into the newspaper. About an hour after the 60 Minutes II story aired, Burkett gave the newspaper the memos. It also mentions Burkett's role in previous USA Today stories. The paper admits they took the memos at "face value."

The focus of the innacurate reporting remains on CBS News. Also, while a few questions are answered, many remain. Plus, additional ones must be asked: Was there a pre-arrangement for Burkett to give USA Today the memos after the 60 Minutes II airing? Who said what to whom to arrange Burkett to give a reporter (neither Moniz or Drinkard) in Bozeman, MT?

Most importantly, the paper still has issued no apology to President Bush or their readers. The intent of the fraud was to damage President Bush and swing the election to John Kerry. By reporting the memos as true and authentic, USA Today was part of a dirty trick plot of historic proportions.

It would be nice if USA Today's Peter Johnson would actually point the figure at his employer for shoddy journalism instead of just lumping the paper in with other scarred media organizations.

"CBS Backs off Guard Story"

UPDATE: Paul at Wizbang goes off on Burkett and his latest story.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:37 AM | Comments (2)

Out of the Crosshairs

Maybe I'm overreacting, but USA Today does it again. Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard, along with Kevin Johnson, continue to cover the Killian memo story even though Moniz and Drinkard used the memos as a basis for their own story.

I'll let others [and here] examine the appropriateness of a news organization helping a campaign go after a political opponent--Burkett wanted to give Kerry Edwards advice on how to fight back against Bush. I'm interested in how one of America's most-read newspapers is getting away with journalism (and I'm using the term lightly) less comprehensive than CBS News.

A timeline will help put this angle of the Killian memo story in context.

  • 1997: Bill Burkett tried to expose "ghost soldiers" in the Texas National Guard.

  • 2001: Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard use Burkett as a source for series of reports exposing ghost soldiers across the country. Kevin Drum reports Moniz considered Burkett as a credible source. The series appeared in late 2001 (although a date of one of the stories is 2002).

  • 02.10.04: Moniz and Drinkard write a story on released Bush pay records.

  • 02.11.04: Moniz and Drinkard write a story on Burkett's claim that Texas officials discussed "cleansing" Bush's National Guard records. [via Kevin Drum]

  • 02.12.04: Moniz and Drinkard write a story about Bush's driving record and how it could have affected his enlistment in the Air National Guard.

  • 02.15.04: Moniz and Drinkard write a story upon the release of Bush National Guard documents. Their big question is why Bush stopped flying in 1972.

  • 08.04: Mary Mapes "told her bosses that she had finally tracked down a source who claimed to have access to memos written in 1972 and 1973 by the late Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian."

  • 08.23.04: Moniz and Drinkard write a story about the unanswered questions about President Bush's service in the National Guard.

  • 09.03.04: Mapes gets memos from Burkett.

  • 09.08.04: CBS News interviews White House communications director Dan Bartlett about the memos. Bartlett doesn't say they're fakes but doesn't say they're real either. Mary Mapes considers that authentication. That night, the story airs on 60 Minutes II.

  • 09.09.04: USA Today publishs a story by Moniz and Drinkard about the memos. There is no mention whether the newspaper made any attempt to prove their authenticity. Moniz's and Drinkard's only support was that Dan Bartlett didn't "dispute the documents' authenticity."

  • 09.12.04: USA Today finally has document experts examine the memos. In the same story, the paper admits they "obtained copies of the documents independently soon after the 60 Minutes segment aired Wednesday, from a person with knowledge of Texas Air National Guard operations."

  • 09.14.04: Moniz and Drinkard write a story on Marian Carr Knox, Jerry Killian's secretary. She calls the memos forgaries. The reporters again state the paper obtained the memos independently of CBS News.

  • 09.15.04: Peter Johnson and Jim Drinkard interviewed Dan Rather. One brief mention is made that the paper also ran a story based on the memos. No mention is made that Drinkard had a share of the byline for the story.

  • 09.20.04: Dan Rather apologizes and names Bill Burkett as the source of the fake memos.

[Much of this timeline was taken from a 09.19.04 Washington Post story.]

What can we gleen from this? Burkett was not only the source for CBS News but also for USA Today. Moniz and Drinkard have at least a 3-year relationship with him. Burkett was a source for the pair's National Guard series so it's not a stretch to believe the reporters gladly accepted Burkett's documents. No matter how well a relationship they had with Burkett, Moniz and Drinkard shouldn't have taken the memos on their face without someone looking them over. Yet they ran the story accepting the memos as fact. They waited days until experts finally looked at them with mixed opinions.

Now, Moniz and Drinkard have plenty of incentive to aim the story's flow squarely on CBS News. It draws all the attention away from themselves and onto the sloppy, possibly partisan journalism of CBS News. Time didn't put the two reporters on the cover of their magazine. So far, only Congressman Chris Cox as mentioned CBS News and USA Today in the same breath. Even if Moniz and Drinkard aren't covertly spinning the story allowing them to continue to cover it without self-examination damages their credibilty further.

Since Moinz and Drunkard have so many questions about Bush's National Guard service, I have some questions for them:

  • Will they acknowledge Bill Burkett as the source of the memos?
  • Why did they run the memo story the day after the 60 Minutes II airing?
  • Was their any discussion between Moniz and Drinkard and CBS News staff or between USA Today and CBS News regarding the story?
  • Why didn't they have experts authenticate the memos before running with the story?
  • Did USA Today use the 60 Minutes II airing as an excuse to not question the memos or their source?
  • What deals (if any) were made with Burkett in exchange for the memos?
  • Was the Kerry Edwards campaign contacted with regards to the story?
  • When will the reporters and the paper admit to being duped?
  • Will their be an internal investigation as to how and why the paper was duped?

Dan Rather has admitted a "mistake in judgement." No longer can he vouch for the authenticity of the Killian memos. This is an astounding statement by a member of the MSM. This is right up there with the NY Times Jayson Blair admission and their lengthy admission that their Iraq WMD reporting was faulty. What do we hear from Dave Moniz, Jim Drinkard, and USA Today? Silence.

"CBS Arranged for Meeting with Lockhart"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:13 AM | Comments (3)

September 20, 2004

USA Today: Still Not Accountable

What has not been noticed in the Killian memo scandal is USA Today's role. USAT reporters Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard have admitted the newspaper obtained the memos after the 60 Minutes story aired. As I've written previously they "had only a few hours to get the story written and handed to editors. CBS News took over six weeks to investigate the memos. USA Today didn't even take six hours." Three days after their initial story the newspaper finally had some experts look at the documents. Some said they probably were forgaries while others said there as technology at the time to create a document that looked like them. This is USA Today's weasely way of covering their tush (or "CYA" like in one of the Killian memos).

In a story this past Wednesday, one half of the Moniz/Drinkard team interviewed Dan Rather with Peter Johnson. There's only a brief mention that the newspaper also ran a story based on the memos. However, there is no mention that Drinkard wrote and reported on the original story. Drinkard has a conflict of interest. There's the potential that he could angle the story to make CBS News look even worse by drawing attention from his and his colleagues' work. It's bad enough neither he nor his newspaper has done much to defend or correct their initial report. It's even worse that one of the flawed reporters is still covering the story.

I understand why Dan Rather became the focal point. He's a news legend, and his defense of his reporting is truly laughable. If we're going to keep MSM accoutable, honest, and accurate we cannot forget the awful work of USA Today.

[For earlier posts on USA Today and the Killian memos, read here and here.]

"Rather Says Memo Flap Doesn't Change His Story"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:08 AM | Comments (2)

Mapes: Scapegoat

In the NY Times story on CBS News' contrition, we have this nugget:

In examining where the network had gone wrong, officials at CBS News turning their attention to Ms. Mapes, one of their most respected producers, who was riding particularly high this year after breaking news about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal for the network.

Mary Mapes is going down to save Dan Rather's arse.

"CBS News Concludes It Was Misled on National Guard Memos, Network Officials Say"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

CBS News Giving Up

CBS News will finally relent and admit the Killian memos aren't what they appear to be. We'll see how far they go. Will they apologize to President Bush, their viewing public, and the webloggers who exposed the fraud? Will anyone at CBS News resign or be fired for this black stain?

"CBS Talks With Suspected Source of Documents"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:06 AM | Comments (1)

September 19, 2004

Burkett: In His Own Words

RatherBiased.com has two pages of Bill Burkett postings from a Texas Democrats e-mail list. Read them [and here] to get into the mind of #1 suspect of the Killian memos.

UPDATE: Depending on your ideology this nugget may help or hurt Burkett's credibility:

Lt. Col. BIll Burkett is a decorated Vietnam era veteran who served 28 years in senior command and staff positions within the US Army and Army National Guard. While serving on the National Guard staff for then Governor George W. Bush, Burkett broke ranks and exposed an ongoing scam of reporting over 1,700 soldiers as present (Ghost Soldiers- USA Today, 2001) and fraudulent readiness reporting (USA Today) as well as the shredding of George W. Bush's own military service files. Burkett was one of five subjects in James Moore's book, "Bush's War for ReElection," and one of the sources for information in the Michael Moore's film "Farenheit 911." He is a recognized military process expert.

"The True Objective in Iraq"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

Another AP "Boo" Boo?

Here is how the AP reported on Packers cornerback Mike McKenzie:

Mike McKenzie, who ended his 46-day holdout Wednesday without retracting his trade request, played in the Packers' dime defense and was booed upon his return. He played fewer than 10 snaps.

I watched the game, expected to hear fans booing (he heldout all pre-season), but heard nothing. I'm trying to find an audio clip to hear what happened. If anyone was at the game or watching it let me know if you heard any booing.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2004

It's Burkett

Headway has been made in the search of the forged documents' source. CBS News had Robert Strong look at the memos before being interviewed. He saw the words "Kinko's Abilene" on one of the memos. The Washington Post found one Kinko's in Abilene, TX, and it's 21 miles away from Bill Burkett's home.

Kevin McCullough called the Abilene Kinko's and found out Burkett has an account there.

USA Today got the memos independently of CBS News. Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard have been working on the Bush/National Guard story for some time. In 2001, the two completed a series on "ghost soldiers" people who were still on National Guard rolls but didn't show up for drill and weren't paid. One of their sources for the series was Bill Burkett.

The NY Times goes right out and says (through a CBS source) Burkett is the source.

We've found our man, and fortuantely for Kerry Edwards he isn't a paid employee of the campaign. However, that doesn't mean the campaign or the DNC didn't have anything to do with this. Note The American Spectator article that has an annoymous DNC insider claiming both the DNC and Kerry Edwards knew about the memos.

"CBS Guard Documents Traced to Tex. Kinko's" [via Wizbang]

"Ex-Guardsman Is Said to Be a CBS Source"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:45 AM | Comments (0)

Changing the Subject

Dan Rather is trying to spin the questions away from him and toward Presdient Bush:

In an interview with the New York Observer weekly newspaper, Rather, one of the giants of American broadcasting, called on Bush to answer the questions the memos raised about his Vietnam-era service instead of having surrogates question the veracity of the memos.

"With respect: answer the questions," Rather said, adding, "We've heard what you have to say about the documents and what you've said and what your surrogates have said, but for the moment, answer the questions."

There's no need to answer the questions. Rather's case is built on the sandy foundation of forged documents and a witness with a huge chip on his shoulder. Maybe when Rather actually has some news to report the President will respond.

"CBS Insists Anti-Bush Memos Accurate"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:21 AM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2004

Knox Analysis

Crush Kerry has a good analysis of Marion Carr Knox's interviews with the Dallas Morning News and Matt Drudge. Their conclusion: Since Knox admits to never seeing a memo like the forgaries about Bush she's in no position to add anything to the story.

"Rathergate: What the Secretary Knew-And Most Importantly-What She Didn't"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

Yet Another Suspect

Bill Hobbs found an interesting radio broadcast from August that hints at future attacks on President Bush's National Guard service.

A problem with conspiracy theories that that most require too many people to keep their mouths shut for too long. That's one reason I suspect Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in Killing JFK. If Cubans, the CIA, or the Mob were involved by now someone credible would have talked.

A political campaign is even more porous. Because information is power politicos have an incentive to squeal to the media or other politicos. If Bob Tuke really knew about the fake memos he either was intimately involved with their creation and distribution, or Kerry Edwards will be known as the most inept Presidential campaign in modern history.

"August 11 Nashville Radio Broadcast Hints Democrats Knew of Coming Memos"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

Behind the Times--Literally

Reuters is behind the times. In a story about why both Bush and Kerry are interviewed in Field & Stream, it ends with this paragraph:

That mythical journal did not figure in the media calculus this election season, but Family Circle magazine, which aims at homemakers, involved both candidates' wives in a cookie-baking contest. Teresa Heinz Kerry's Pumpkin Spice Cookies are up against first lady Laura Bush's Oatmeal-Chocolate Chunk Cookies. The votes are already in -- the contest closed in August -- and results will be announced Oct. 19.

One problem, Teresa's recipe isn't her's and she admitted it. I hope Family Circle makes note of this when they release the results.

"Niche Publications Capture White House Contenders"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:16 AM | Comments (0)

Drudge Interviewed Knox

Drudge interviewed Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's secretary. Since Drudge has an obnoxious habit of removing his scoops whenever he gets bored with them I'm posting the reporting in its entirety.



The DRUDGE REPORT has found Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's former secretary who claims that the Texas Air National Guard documents offered by CBS in its 60 MINUTES II report filed by Dan Rather last week are indeed 'forgeries'.

"I did not type these particular memos. I typed memos like these," Knox told the DRUDGE REPORT from her home in Houston.

"I typed memos that had this information in them, but I did not type these memos. There are terms in these memos that are not Guard terms but that are Army terms. They use the word 'Billets'. I think they were using that to refer to the slot. That would be a non-flying slot the way we would use it. And the style... they are sloppy looking."

But Marion Carr Knox stands by the accusations contained in the allegedly fraudulent documents that Bush skirted a medical and flight exam without suffering institutional repercussions.

"The information in these memos is correct -- like Killian's dealing with the problems."

"It was General Staudt, not then Lt. Colonel Hodges [who succeeded Staudt], that was putting on the pressure to whitewash Bush. For instance he didnt take his flight examination or his physical. And the pilots had to take them by their birthdays. Once in a while there would be a reason why a pilot would miss these things because some of them were commercial pilots. But they had to make arrangements to take their exams."

Knox speculated as to how she thought the forgeries were created saying, "My guess is that someone in the outfit got hold of the real ones and discussed it with a former Army person."

Knox worked for the Guard from 1957 until she retired in 1979, and she was Lt. Col. Killian's secretary during the time President Bush served in Texas.

Contacted by the DRUDGE REPORT, Lt. Col. Killian's son Gary, who also served in the unit during the same period, responded: "I know Marion Carr. I remember her as a sweet lady who reminded me then of a dear aunt."

"But if Staudt had put pressure on my dad, there would have been a blow-up -- instantly. It was one of the reasons they got along so well. They had a mutual respect for one another."

"As has been pointed out by so many others, then Col Staudt had been out of the unit for 18 months. And I stand by my previous comments regarding my dad's admiration for Lt. Bush and his regard for him as an officer and pilot -- which was exemplary."

Knox told the DRUDGE REPORT that she did not vote for Bush in 2000 because he is 'unqualified' for the job, and does not intend to vote for him in 2004, either.

"Bush was not the only person of privilege who had a spot in the Guard. Senator [Lloyd] Bensen's nephew was in headquarters. There was a big jewelery store, Gordons. Their son was in the Guard. The owner of Batelstein's, a posh department store in the area, his son was in. The other kids couldn't get in like that. Hugh Roy Cullen's grandson was also in. He was a big oil man."

Knox, however, did have some kind words about then Lt. Bush.

"[Bush] was always pleasant and gentlemanly to me," she said. "I never noticed him not being respectful. I thought he was a nice young man and that he must have had very nice parents to produce a son as nice as he seemed to be."

Knox has been following the story since last week when the 60 MINUTES II broadcast aired, and on Friday she contacted the HOUSTON CHRONICLE wanting to tell her side of the story. Since then the DALLAS MORNING NEWS has also contacted her.

"What really hecked me off was when it was somebody on TV, associated with the White House, who said that all of this information was lies. And I got excited at the time because I knew that I had typed documents with this information because a person like Bush stood out from the others -- because of his association with his father."

Asked about reports that Lt. Col. Killian's wife and son saying he didn't type, Knox stated, "He didn't need to. He had me."

Knox explains that the August 18, 1973 date typed on one of the "forged" documents proves that they were faked. Group Commander Staudt, who allegedly had been putting pressure on Killian, retired in 1972.

To the best of her recollection, Knox explains that Staudt must have put pressure on Killian in 1972 -- the year he retired.

"If my father was going to type a CYA memo, which he didn't," Gary Killian responded. "He would have typed it himself because he wouldn't have wanted anyone to see it. But it's academic because Colonel Staudt had been out of the unit for 18 months -- as is well documented."

Contacted at his office in Bartlett, Texas, former Major Dean Roome, who served with Lt. Bush, responded to the latest information.

"If the memos are fraudulent, then why were they generated? Roome asked.

"Marion Carr Knox is validating what the rest of us are saying. She says once in a while a pilot would miss a physical because some of them were commercial pilots. I was also a commercial pilot with Continental Airlines. The clinic did not just open up for us to take a personal physical. The Flight Surgeons had to be there along with a full complement of medical personnel. We took our physical during the Uniformed Training Assembly (UTA) just like everyone else."

"The 'former Army person' she references is the person we believe may have created the fraudulent documents in an effort to injure President Bush. He has his own agenda and I doubt that he has any 'real ones' [documents].

Ms. Knox states emphatically that she is not acting for political motives, and has no formal relationship with any political party. She says she just wants to set the record straight.


Filed By Matt Drudge
Reports are moved when circumstances warrant
http://www.drudgereport.com for updates
Not for reproduction without permission of the author

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:53 AM | Comments (0)

What a Twist

Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's secretary made the bizzare statement that while the memos CBS News and USA Today used for Bush hit pieces are forgaries, they contain correct information from "the real ones." How would she remember some memos she typed 30 years ago? Where are the real memos? What does she mean when she said, "The information in here was correct?" What is the correct information in the fakes? Why would someone go out of their way to make forgaries when Marian Carr Knox and Richard Via have stepped forward to claim that political pressure was put on the TANG when Bush was serving? Occam's Razor still shouldn't be forgotten.

Knox is an admitted Bush basher who think he was "selected, not elected." Now, that doesn't mean she's lying that Killian didn't think highly of Bush even though his reports say otherwise. All people of any ideological persuation can sometimes get so emotional about an issue that they'll remember seeing or hearing things that didn't happen. Knox may truly believe she heard "yak-yak" emulated in the fake memos. Eyewitnesses can be wrong. That's why lawyers try so hard to find corroborating evidence. The memos would have fit in perfectly with Knox's, Via's and Ben Barnes' public statements. In fact, they fit too well which should have raised the eyebrows of CBS News and USA Today.

Steve Verdon is correct. "This story just took a very, very weird turn." Expect a Law & Order episode with this storyline in the near future.

"Secretary: Memos are Forgeries"

"Former Guard Aide: Bush Memos Fake, but Content Accurate" [via Power Line]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

USA Today Admits to Shoddy Journalism

Remember, USA Today also ran a story using the Killian memos as legit documents. Here's a telling quote from the paper's executive editor John Hillkirk:

We're just busy now trying to determine the authenticity, or not.

As PrestoPundit put it, "[S]houldn't that have been done, say, on Wednesday?"

"CBS Offers New Experts to Support Guard Memos"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:01 AM | Comments (3)

September 13, 2004

Another Suspect

Bill Burkett has come up as the possible forger, but Kevin Aylward suspects Marty Heldt. The man has a track record of pushing forged documents.

"On The Trail Of The Forger"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:33 AM | Comments (0)

Memos and Kitty Kelley

RatherBiased.com reports that the Killian memos are source material in Kitty Kelley's new book. Some group called Texas Veterans for Truth are the source of the memos. A Google search came up with nothing. But there is a group called Texans for Truth who are running an anti-Bush ad. Glenn W. Smith started the organization. He's the author of the anti-Bush tome The Politics of Deceit. Smith was also interviewed on the CBS Evening News last Friday when Dan Rather defended his story.

"Who Were CBS's Sources?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:05 AM | Comments (0)

Don't Forget USA Today

USA Today also has the four CBS News memos as well as two additional ones. The reporters covering the story say they "obtained copies of the documents independently soon after the 60 Minutes segment aired Wednesday." The story was in Thursday's paper. That could mean one source gave the fakes to both CBS News and USA Today, or more people are involved. If it's the latter there's a greater chance someone will squeal. That also means Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard had only a few hours to get the story written and handed to editors. CBS News took over six weeks to investigate the memos. USA Today didn't even take six hours. The story's only support for the memos' authenticity is that White House communications director Dan Bartlett didn't claim they were fakes. There is no mention of any experts looking at the documents. At least CBS News has at least one expert on record to authenticate the memos.

Now, on Sunday the newspaper finally had two former FBI document examiners look at the memos. They said they're probably fake. Why not do this before printing the story? This is a case of USA Today jumping on a hot story. But like CBS News they got burned. The paper needs to issue a correction and apology to its readers. The same anger directed at Dan Rather also needs to be aimed at "America's Newspaper." This web page will let you lodge a complaint. Here's a snail mail address if you want to contact them that way:

7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22108-0605

"Memos Debate Eclipses Content"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2004

The Hunt is On

Newsweek is on the hunt for who's been passing on fake National Guard memos:

Where did the documents come from? CBS won't say. But the trail pieced together by NEWSWEEK shows that in a sulfurous season like this one, the difference between obscurity and power is small, and anyone can get a hearing. A principal source for CBS's story was Bill Burkett, a disgruntled former Guard officer who lives in Baird, Texas, who says he was present at Guard headquarters in Austin in 1997, when a top aide to the then Governor Bush ordered records sanitized to protect the Boss. Other Guard officials disputed Burkett's account, and the Bush aide involved, Joe Allbaugh, called it "absolute garbage." Burkett may have a motive to make trouble for the powers that be. In 1998, he grew gravely ill on a Guard mission to Panama, causing him to be hospitalized, and he suffered two nervous breakdowns. He unsuccessfully sued for medical expenses.

Still, in theory, Burkett may have had access to any Guard records that, in a friend's words, "didn't make it to the shredder." Fellow officers say he wasn't a crank, but rather a stickler for proper procedure—a classic whistle-blower type. Burkett was impressive enough to cause CBS producer Mary Mapes to fly to Texas to interview him. "There are only a couple of guys I would trust to be as perfectly honest and upfront as Bill," says Dennis Adams, a former Guard colleague. The White House, through Communications Director Dan Bartlett, called Burkett a "discredited source." Indeed, Bush strategists are convinced—or have convinced themselves—that the issue will backfire on its purveyors.

The Commissar has more on this suspect. Burkett is an ex-Guard officer. The American Spectator reports the memos' source is a "retired military officer." Coincidence?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

14th Century Monk is Smiling

Occam's Razor is hip right now. Along with Steven Taylor, Steve Verdon and Wretchard of Belmont Club employs it.


"Modern Times"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:39 PM | Comments (1)

September 11, 2004

Occam's Razor

Steven Taylor employs Occam's Razor when he writes about a NY Times analysis:

I have a simpler explanation for why the Dems had a rough August: they don’t have a very good candidate.

To actually use Occam's Razor the Times would have to know what it is, how to use it, then decide what to put in the paper with all the empty space made available.

"I Have a Simpler Explanation"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:18 PM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2004

Backing Rather

I know the Soros-funded hack machine that is Media Matters has little credibility in some parts of the blogosphere, but do they really want to go down with Dan Rather? Even Kevin Drum thinks "this sure isn't good news for CBS."

"Forgery Feeding Frenzy: Media Falling Afoul of the Facts"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:18 PM | Comments (1)

Earn a Quick 10K

DEFEATJOHNJOHN.COM has issued a challenge.

"The $10,000 Question" [via Wizbang]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

Dan Rather's Last Stand

CBS News and Dan Rather stand behind their story. They're not backing down. But they won't let anyone look at the documents or disclose where they came from. We do know one of the experts who examined them. Marcel Matley examined the handwriting on them and considered them legit. Ok, so Colonel Jerry Killian's signature is on some of the documents (no all are signed). Since we can't see the originals, because CBS News doesn't even have them, we can't be sure Killian's signature wasn't scanned onto a fake document.

Rather had a chance to back down gracefully. Instead, he went on the attack and created a double standard. If it does turn out that these documents are fake Rather's finished. He will be remembered for three thing: covering the JFK assassination in Dallas; "What's the frequency, Kenneth?"; and destroying the reputation of CBS News.

Power Line is the weblog to read to follow the battle on the frontline. But do check out this QandO post that collects the hoax arguments. Unlike CBS News, QandO is backing down on one argument.

"CBS Stands By Bush-Guard Memos"

"Some Question Authenticity of Papers on Bush"

"More Problems Surface With 60 Minutes Documents"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

September 08, 2004

Keeping Hardball Clean III

Chris Matthews told Lloyd Grove, "I am morally, if not legally, responsible for what is said on the show. If someone is saying something that factually can't be proved, it's my job to call them on it."

After his tussle with Michelle Malkin, Matthews told his audience, "We are going to keep things clean on this show. No irresponsible comments are going to be made on the show."

Now that Kitty Kelley has a new book coming out, what will Matthews do?

Random House's Doubleday unit has ordered an initial printing of 750,000, and Kelley is scheduled to be interviewed by MSNBC's Chris Matthews and radio host Don Imus, among others.

Kitty Kelly is really "keep[ing] things clean."

"Media View Kitty Kelley's Bush Book With Caution"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:02 PM | Comments (5)

September 07, 2004

Hughes Confronts "Boo"-Boo

Hell hath no fury like Karen Hughes scorned.

"Karen Gets Results!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2004

Over the Deep End

Paul Krugman may one day get the Nobel Prize for his economics work. However, his intellectual stature will take even more of a drubbing if he actually writes a book on how there really is a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy that spans from Goldwater to President Bush.

"Krugman’s Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" [via Dean Esmay]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:48 AM | Comments (3)

August 29, 2004

Fitting Call Letters

The Left is returning to it's 60s roots. Air America is now on San Diego's KLSD. Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters would be proud.

"Liberal Talk Radio Network Air America Debuts in S.D. County"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:25 AM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2004

Tune In Tomorrow Night

If there are any TAM readers in Vancouver, B.C.--heck, are there any TAM readers in Canada--I want you to know I'll be on Rachel Marsden's radio show from 8:30-9:00 CDT. Those of you no where near Vancouver, you can listen to Rachel's show on the internet. I'll be part of a week-in-review. Expect talk about the SwiftVets, but I'm open to something more than all SwiftVets all the time. Any suggestions?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:18 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2004

Keeping Hardball Clean II

Courtesy of PrestoPundit, on yesterday's Hardball, Chris Matthews continued his slandering of Michelle Malkin:

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Before we go to Dick Cavett, we want to get some final thoughts from Doug Brinkley and Stanley Karnow.

Let me go to Doug Brinkley on a hot point on this program.

Doug, there was a woman on the show the other night, Michelle Malkin or something, who was discussing in rather loose terms the idea that maybe John Kerry had purposely wounded himself to win a Purple Heart. Where would she get such an idea?

BRINKLEY: Well, from the Internet, from talk radio. This is a right-wing August takedown on John Kerry, and rumors, accusations, innuendoes flying. And that‘s just how gutter politics is played sometimes in America. I feel it is a completely irresponsible comment and she needs to apologize for making it. There‘s no evidence that says John Kerry ever shot himself.

Pat Buchanan defended Malkin saying she said it was a "self-inflicted wound." There was a "misconception." Matthews balked at that telling Buchanan, "No, there wasn‘t." He then claimed Malkin had 12 times to clarify her stance. But anyone familiar to these cable news yap fests it's about debate on speed. It's about blurting out nuggets, not whole sentences. That's especially true with possible ADD sufferer Chris Matthews.

Matthews took one final shot at Malkin:

The question is, was it purposely—did he purposefully shoot himself or not? That was the question that was being suggested by that discussion.

The only reason the "discussion" (and I use that term very loosely) went down that path was because Matthews leaped to the conclusion that Malkin accused Kerry of shooting himself.

Chris doesn't need to let civility, respect, and truthfullness get in the way of "keeping his show clean."

UPDATE: Matthews should not only apologize to Malkin for his boarish behavior, but also for declaring the "self-inflicted wound" accusation too dirty for Hardball. Even the Kerry campaign admits that's how Kerry got the wound that earned him his first Purple Heart.

"Has Kerry Backed Off Of First Purple Heart Claim?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2004

Keeping Hardball Clean

TAM asks and someone delivers. Ed Moltzen offers up the 04.27.04 Hardball where Chris Matthews lets John Kerry spout out about President Bush's National Guard record:

MATTHEWS: What went out, it basically tracks what you did the other day on “Good Morning America.” And the question your staff put out, under your name, is, is Bush telling the truth, President Bush, when he said he had no special privileges or favoritism in jumping 150 places to get in the Air Guard in Texas?

What do you think about that? Is that something you care about? You want to know the truth?

KERRY: He ought to answer that question.

But wait, there's more! Matthews then practically asks Kerry if Bush should prove he wasn't AWOL:
MATTHEWS: Is it accountable—should the president be accountable for skipping that—that physical when he was in the military?

KERRY: It‘s up to—it‘s up to Americans to decide.

MATTHEWS: Should he prove that he was in the Guard and actively involved in the Guard when he was out of town, he was in Alabama?

KERRY: Chris, as I—as I said, I‘ve never begrudged people the choice they made.

MATTHEWS: But your statement today asked for particular information.

KERRY: But once you—but once you‘ve made a choice, I think you have an obligation to fulfill the choice you‘ve made.

If you thought that was all, here's another portion of the show:
MATTHEWS: Is it relevant that you served in combat and faced enemy fire and the president of the United States did not? Is that a relevant fact, when picking a commander in chief for the next four years?

KERRY: Again, it‘s up to Americans to decide.

I'm still not done. Here's some innuendo about Bush and Cheney testifying befor the Sep. 11 committee:

KERRY: Well, everybody bought into the intelligence. How—what bothers me about this administration is they‘ve even fought the effort to get to the bottom of why the intelligence was bad.

I mean, when Roosevelt was president and Pearl Harbor took place, it was almost instantaneous that he appointed a commission and said, “We‘ve got to know exactly what happened.”

In the case of this administration, not only did they fight against it, they‘ve stonewalled it. They wanted to terminate it early. And now, for some unknown, unbelievable reason, the president of the United States actually has to testify with the vice president at his side. I don‘t get it.

MATTHEWS: Do you think he‘s—he‘s afraid that his testimony won‘t jive with the vice president‘s?

KERRY: You‘ll have to ask them what the real reason is. I noticed in his press conference that he certainly didn‘t answer that question.

MATTHEWS: I mean, they‘re not the Menendez brothers. I mean, they don‘t have some major crime to hang—hang up. You were a prosecutor. You just brought me into an area of great opportunity here.

If you had two witnesses, two material witnesses, you had two, even defendants, and they said, and they were accused of operating together in some sort of theft or whatever, and they said, “Can we testify together?” What would you have said as a prosecutor?

KERRY: Well, first of all, I don‘t like the analogy you‘re making to the president and vice president.

MATTHEWS: Well, I make the analogy, but generally, in terms of human nature, do you think people have good reason for wanting to testify together?

KERRY: Fundamentally, I think you always want people to testify on their own two feet, standing alone. And obviously, you want to be able to see what the different views are...

MATTHEWS: But he says he never makes mistakes. So why would he be afraid to do it alone?

KERRY: Ask him.

Are any of these accusations any worse than what Michelle Malkin said? My how Matthews keeps Hardball clean. It's so clean the mud's still dripping off it.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:56 PM | Comments (12)


Hardball hasn't been on my required watching list since the 2000 Florida election mess. I briefly caught Michelle Malkin on the show, and how Chris Matthews laid into her. I especially liked Matthews' false piusness when he said, "We are going to keep things clean on this show. No irresponsible comments are going to be made on the show."

Matthews also did a fine job twisting up Larry Thurlow with process questions about the Bush campaign Thurlow would know nothing about. He barely addressed Thurlow's claims about Kerry.

Needless to say, I won't be TiVo-ing Hardball anytime soon.

"Ambush Journalism...Or My Evening with Caveman Chris Matthews"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2004

Get a Grip

You can not like what stories Fox News covers or how their personalities comport themselves. That's one thing but to say Pravda "had more editorial integrity" is a Howard Dean-like moment. Pravda was the official voice of a brutal government that killed millions and kept even more in bondage. Fox News is an alternative to the liberal spin conservatives put up with for too long. Oliver, see the difference?

Is it any worse than CNN and MSNBC? If you want "pure" journalism switch to C-SPAN.

And there's all that silence from him about Daniel Okrent's admission that the NY Times, the "Paper of Record" is liberal. See, that liberal media!

"'News', Fox Style"

UPDATE: Paul at Wizbang pulls apart another Oliver Willis argument. It's not been a good day for my Redskin-loving friend.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:40 PM | Comments (2)