Slate gives us an idea of what coverage of such an event would be like today. The resulting video is funny because it's depressing. I think the fact that Slate uses such little actual footage of the landing is pretty spot on. Why show the footage when you can read what people are saying in 140 characters or less on Twitter?
What do you think?
Also, be sure to check out these great photos from The Boston Globe remembering Apollo 11. Good stuff.
Peters is the New York Post columnist who went on Fox News this weekend and suggested the U.S. soldier being held in Afghanistan by the Taliban is actually a deserter, and that the Taliban could save everyone a lot of time and energy if they just killed the guy.
Seriously, Peters went on Fox News and suggested the Taliban go ahead and murder the U.S. soldier it was holding captive.
At least someone within the right-wing blogosphere has called out Peters for his inane comments.
Over at BlackFive:
Who the hell is Ralph to call this kid a liar from a TV studio in the US. The first thing we all should do in the absence of solid info, is to give the kid a freakin' break. He deserves the benefit of the doubt and for jackasses like Peters to start calling him a liar based on a completely inaccurate concept is pathetic.
He may turn out to be a deserter, or an idiot, or a drunk or just screwed in the head and if so there will be plenty of time to call him names. Heck Ralph they may even kill the incompetent liar. But for the time being it would be nice if all the arm chair mouth pieces sat down and had a nice cup of STFU!
Does anybody else within the GOP Noise Machine want to sign off on BlackFive's comments?
I take a closer look this week at the extended pity party network TV executives have been throwing themselves in the press this year about having to, y'know, periodically surrender the public airwaves to the President of the United States in order for him to answer questions from reporters in front of a large, live national audience in primetime.
That ritual has played out in this country for decades, but suddenly with the arrival of Obama, network suits bitch and moan, as I'm sure they will in preparation for Obama's press conference scheduled for Wednesday night.
But this time the situation is a bit different, as I explain in my column:
As broadcast executives huddle to decide whether to grant the president access to the airwaves on Wednesday, which, incidentally, belong to the public and which networks use for free, it's important to point out why there's no plausible reason this time around for any of the networks to refuse to air the press conference.
And here's why: Pretty much nobody is watching the networks' prime-time programming this summer anyway.
Meaning, Obama's press conference isn't going to cause havoc with network schedules the way executives claimed previous prime-time White House events did in the winter and spring. The press conference is not going to cost the broadcast outlets big lost ratings for the simple reason that this is "The Summer People Stopped Watching Network TV," as Gawker recently dubbed it. The networks have so few viewers tuning in this summer that, if anything, Obama's presence might actually boost the overnight Nielsen numbers.
UPDATED: CBS announced today that it will air Obama's Wednesday press conference. No word yet from the other networks. My guess is that at a minimum, Fox will snub the White House this week.
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell just said: "When you look at the president and what he's trying to achieve, the newest poll from the Washington Post, ABC, today shows that he personally has 59 percent popularity. You can't knock that, but when you look at the issues ..."
Well, no. The poll in question found that 59 percent of Americans approve of the way Obama is doing his job. (Actual question: "Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?") That's different from his "popularity."
I've made this point before, and I suspect some find it pedantic. Here's why it isn't: The whole point of these news reports is that people like Obama, but don't like what he's doing. The distinction between personal popularity and job approval is central to these reports, and reporters consistently get it wrong.
There was a time when reporters seemed to understand this. In 1998, for example, the media frequently made the point that President Clinton's job approval ratings were higher than his personal favorability ratings. But now they blur the difference between those two things, because it plays into their storyline that Obama is popular but his actions are not (a storyline that happens to dovetail with the GOP's caricature of Obama as a substance-free "celebrity.")
Consider two hypothetical sentences:
"People like President Obama personally, but don't like the way he's handling health care and the financial crisis as much."
"People approve of President Obama's overall job performance, but don't like his handling of health care and the financial crisis as much."
Those two sentences have different meanings. Journalists -- who are, after all, professional communicators -- should understand this.
It does President Obama an injustice to claim that polls that find the public approves of his handling of his job merely find that the public personally likes him. And that injustice is a perfect reflection of the Republicans' portrayal of Obama.
One of the key reasons the myth of the "liberal media" persists is that there is a clear double standard in the examples that are used by (theoretically) neutral observers to illustrate purported media "bias." Washington Post/CNN reporter Howard Kurtz inadvertently illustrated this during today's online discussion.
Columbus, Ohio: Howie: How can Walter Cronkite be considered an unbiased journalist when he would conclude each telecast by giving the number of days Americans had been held hostage by the Iranians under President Carter? An American soldier is being held captive now and I don't know of any media outlet doing a similar thing.
Howard Kurtz: The Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-81 was the dominant issue of its time, great influenced the '80 presidential campaign and undoubtedly contributed to President Carter's defeat. It received huge coverage everywhere, including the ABC program "America Held Hostage," which became "Nightline." I don't see anything particularly biased about Cronkite's signoff. He was, after all, stating a fact, and perhaps voicing the public's resentment that such an atrocity--seizing another country's diplomats--could go on for so long.
So, according to Kurtz, Cronkite's practice of concluding each telecast by giving the number of days Americans had been held hostage under President Carter was not "particularly biased" because it was a statement of fact, and a reflection of the public's view. Fair enough.
But would Kurtz say the same about a broadcaster who did something similar when George W. Bush was president? Or would he say the signoff was evidence of "liberal bias"? From the same online discussion:
RE: Cronkite/Hostages: If an MSNBC anchor ended each broadcast during the Bush years by announcing that the U.S. had been in Iraq for XXX days, you would have said that was evidence of MSNBC's lurch leftward. Wouldn't you?
Howard Kurtz: Gee, didn't Keith Olbermann have a signoff about the number of days since President Bush declared Mission Accomplished?
And, gee, doesn't Howard Kurtz point to Olbermann as evidence of MSNBC's purported leftward shift? Yes, he does.
So Kurtz responded to an assertion that he would ascribe a leftward tilt to a journalist who did to a Republican president the same thing Conkite did to a Democratic president by pointing to a broadcaster who Kurtz says tilts to the left. Kurtz, in other words, proved the reader's point. (Note that, as usual, the point seems to have sailed over Kurtz's head.)
Another reader then spelled things out for Kurtz:
RE: Cronkite/Hostages:: I think your reader was too subtle in making his Cronkite-Olbermann point. Olbermann does make a comment about the number of days since Mission Accomplished (a fact) and the media (you?) have named Olberman as evidence of MSNBC's lurch leftward.
Howard Kurtz: I don't think Keith would compare his program to the CBS Evening News. If the signoff comes after an hour of criticizing the Bush administration and the war with consistently liberal guests, that's a tad different, no?
And Kurtz continues to fail to grasp the point. Also: Kurtz says Cronkite and Olbermann are not comparable -- but he's the person who brought Olbermann up in the first place! And in doing so, he revealed his own double standards. The only broadcaster Kurtz can think of who behaved towards Bush the way Cronkite behaved towards Carter is one who Kurtz says tilts to the left. And yet Kurtz says Cronkite's hostage comments were not evidence of a rightward tilt.
Not only did Kurtz inadvertently confirm his double standards by bringing up Olbermann, he basically admitted to them. He was given two separate chances to say "No, I would not say that an anchor was exhibiting an anti-Bush bias by ending each broadcast by indicating the number of days the Iraq war has lasted." And he chose not to do so. Maybe because he knows nobody would believe him, or maybe because he is oblivious to the double standard he displays. Either way, he gave a pretty good demonstration of why the myth of the liberal media persists.
(NOTE: My point is not that Cronkite's broadcasts demonstrated a conservative bias. I am not making any such claim. I am simply illustrating a clear double standard on Kurtz' part.)
This is odd. In an online discussion today, Washington Post managing editors Liz Spayd and Raju Narisetti indicate that the Post outsourced "an important reader service" to a paid advertiser:
Alexandria, Va.: I recognize its economics in a web-world, but I'm mightily angry at AMC for dropping their Style section daily advertising. Is it unsportsmanlike for The Post to tell me how to complain?
Liz Spayd and Raju Narisetti: We believe that those paid ads by AMC giving timings for movies locally was indeed an important reader service and were disappointed that they pulled all such advertising. We have been passing on reader feedback to them so will be happy to pass on your comments as well.
If those movie showtimes are an "important reader service," there's no reason why the Post can't provide them. They needn't rely on AMC doing so via paid advertisements. It's one thing to say that paid advertising subsidizes the Post's ability to provide "important reader services," but there's something a bit off-putting about the Post's managing editors saying they rely on the content of the ads to provide such a service.
UPDATE: Later in the same chat, the topic came up again:
Washington, DC: Why are AMC theaters no longer included in the movie listings in Style? Given their large share of the market, dropping them seems to severely limit the usefulness of the movie listings.
Liz Spayd and Raju Narisetti: Those listings were actually paid advertising by AMC. The movie chain decided to pull all such advertising from the paper, something that we thought was a disservice to movie goers in our region.
Ok, that goes beyond "a bit off-putting." The top journalists at the Washington Post are attacking a private company for doing "a disservice to movie goers in our region" ... because the company decided to stop paying the Washington Post to run its ads. If the Washington Post thinks those listings are so vital, they should provide them. Attacking a company for deciding that advertising in the Washington Post no longer makes economic sense looks heavy-handed and desperate.
Poll Shows Obama Slipping on Key Issues: Approval Rating on Health Care Falls Below 50 Percent
The lede was definitely of the breathless variety:
Heading into a critical period in the debate over health-care reform, public approval of President Obama's stewardship on the issue has dropped below the 50 percent threshold for the first time, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Uh-oh. There's a debate about health care reform currently consuming the Beltway and the poll results were very bad news for Obama and his health care agenda.
Readers though, had to go online to washingontpost.com to uncover this nugget featured prominently [emphasis added]:
Up on Capitol Hill it may feel as though Obama's top domestic priority has hit a rough patch, but beyond the Beltway the American people are in favor of the sort of sweeping overhaul envisioned by Democrats, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The survey found that 54 percent of Americans support legislation that tracks the broad parameters of bills in Congress drafted by Democratic leaders.
The fact that a majority of Americans actually want the type of health care reform now being proposed just isn't as newsworthy for the Post.
UPDATED: Writes blogger Bill Scher:
What the headline does not tell its readers is the actual health care policy the President supports -- including a public plan option -- still polls strong, particularly among independents as well as Democrats.
The Post buries the news in the ninth paragraph.
Buried in the middle of Howard Kurtz' Media Notes column today is this line:
Palin has been one of America's most polarizing politicians almost from the day John McCain tapped her as his running mate. Some of the early criticism about whether she could handle five kids and the vice presidency was sexist; the campaign largely shielded her from the press, except for a couple of less-than-successful TV interviews, and when it was over, journalists shamefully quoted unnamed McCain aides as calling her a head case.
Kurtz never explains what was "shameful" about journalists quoting unnamed McCain aides criticizing Palin. Surely Kurtz doesn't mean that anonymous quotes are inherently "shameful." And in this case, the anonymous quotes aren't the kind of completely anonymous comments that give the reader no ability to assess their credibility: we know they came from McCain campaign aides. And this isn't a situation in which reporters have granted operatives of one party anonymity for the purposes of attacking the other party, or in order to praise their own leaders. That's an absurd use of anonymous quotes, though one that is quite common. So what's "shameful" about quoting McCain-Palin campaign aides criticizing Palin? It would be nice if Kurtz told us, but he doesn't; he just engages in what amounts to name-calling. Is he just trying to curry favor with Palin and her supporters?
NBC's Chuck Todd just finished speculating about the future of President Obama's poll ratings and the amount of "political capital" the president has, and various other Inside Baseball matters. Not talking about the substance of health care reform -- what it would accomplish, and at what cost, and what the cost of inaction would be -- but about how he thinks the public will, in the future, react to policies and actions he isn't describing now.
Such a focus on polls and politics over substance is of dubious value to the news consumer to begin with. But I suppose it would in some way be defensible if we had any reason to think Chuck Todd is likely to be right about the polls and the politics. But we don't. That makes segments like the one MSNBC just aired pretty thoroughly useless.