From G. Gordon Liddy's website:
Newsbusters' Brent Baker was incensed that some news outlets, just hours after yesterday's hand gun massacre, failed to emphasize that the shooter was Muslim. But note the accolades Baker tossed ABC News' way [emphasis added]:
Neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News, in their East coast feeds Thursday night, noted the Muslim religious beliefs of the mass killer at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas, but ABC anchor Charles Gibson wasn't cowed by political correctness as he teased World News, "Fort Hood tragedy: An Army officer, a Muslim convert, is the suspect in a shooting spree..." Introducing his first story, Gibson referred to how Major Nidal Malik Hasan "an army officer, a Muslim, opened fire with handguns..." (With a range of frequency, during late afternoon/early evening coverage, CNN, FNC and MSNBC all identified Hasan as a Muslim.)
Slightly ironic, no? The fact that Gibson got the story wrong (Hasan, according to his cousin, is not "a Muslim convert") didn't bother media critic Baker. In fact, Baker toasted Gibson for getting the story wrong.
And right-wing media critics wonder why nobody takes them seriously.
Linda Chavez compares President Obama's statement about the Ft. Hood shootings to his predecessor's deer-in-the-headlights decision to keep reading a children's book during the 9/11 attacks:
Before he got to the issue on everyone's mind - namely the deaths of Americans in uniform - the president gave a "shout-out" to government bureaucrats gathered for a previously scheduled conference at the Interior Department, complete with appreciative chuckles. He treated the event like a pep rally rather than a tragic occasion with a wider audience than those gathered in the room. I wonder how many media outlets will compare Obama's performance to President Bush's "Pet Goat" moment on 9/11. I won't hold my breath.
I'm always amused when right-wingers take a break from angrily accusing everyone else of "forgetting the horrors of 9/11" and instead grossly understate what happened happened that day in order to try to score cheap political points.
Anyway: on September 11, 2001, George Bush was told the nation was under attack, and responded by reading a children's book.
Now, one might reasonably argue that the best thing for Bush to do during a crisis was, in fact, to keep himself busy reading My Pet Goat rather than screwing up important decisions. But in any case, that is not even remotely like anything that happened yesterday.
According to a check on TVeyes.com, the phrase "gun control" has not been mentioned once* in the context of the Ft. Hood shooting by any reporter, anchor or pundit appearing on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News, or MSNBC.
In the dozens and dozens of cumulative hours of Ft. Hood coverage amassed by those television outlets, as they focus on the latest workplace mass shooting, the phrase "gun control" has not been uttered once. Once again, in the wake of epic gun violence, the topic of guns and non-stop gun violence in America is not on the media table and is not open for debate.
When the Columbine killers unleashed their fury inside a suburban Denver high school in April 1999, killing 15 and wounding more than 20, the horror show set off all kinds of media-driven debates about gun control. i.e. Were current laws too lenient, etc.
Today, the press couldn't care less about the issue or the related policy debate. It seems gun advocates have cowed the press corps, even as we watch wave after wave of mass shootings.
UPDATED: My bad. Since yesterday afternoon when the avalanche of Ft. Hood TV coverage began, the phrase "gun control" has been mentioned exactly one time, according to TVeyes.com. It was on MSNBC last night, and was uttered by guest, General (Ret.) Barry McCaffrey.
This was the context:
Apparently it was two civilian handguns. Even there, there is ferocious gun control measures on soldiers and families on a military installation. They have to register them. Single soldiers in barracks, never allowed access to their weapon, they have to sign them out.
UPDATED: In what appears to be yet another workplace mass shooting, at least ten people have reportedly been shot in Orlando; two killed. We'll see if "gun control" is mentioned during that story's coverage today.
Lost in the shuffle of more pressing matters yesterday was the news that former New York police chief Bernard Kerik pleaded guilty to several charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials, as part of a plea deal to avoid an upcoming trial.
As we've detailed, Newsmax has been Kerik's biggest champion over the past several months, working to rehabilitate his reputation by giving him a regular column and penning fawning profiles that whitewash his deeds in order to portray him as a "American hero" victimized by "overzealous federal prosecutors."
However much it may have wanted to, even Newsmax couldn't put a positive spin on this latest Kerik news. A Nov. 4 article on initial reports of the plea deal told the story unusually straight, albeit failing to tell readers that Kerik is (well, was) a Newsmax columnist. Newsmax went with an Associated Press story on Kerik's court appearance.
Kerik, by the way, is the second Newsmax columnist to fall by the wayside in recent weeks. John L. Perry hasn't written a column since he infamously called for a military coup against President Obama, which Newsmax was forced to retract. It remains to be seen whether Pat Boone's column will continue after Newsmax retracted his call for a "tenting"-style fumigation, "figuratively, but in a very real way," of the "varmints" in the White House.
From James Poniewozik:
As anyone following health reform knows, centrism is a political position too. And you see moderate bias - i.e., a preference for centrism - whenever a news outlet assumes that the truth must be "somewhere in the middle." You see it whenever an organization decides that "balance" requires equal weight for an opposing position, however specious: "Some, however, believe global warming is a myth." (Moderate bias would also require me to find a countervailing liberal position and pretend that it is equivalent to global-warming denial. Sorry.)
Often, moderate bias is just the result of caution, but the effect is to bolster centrist political positions - not least by implying that they are not political positions at all but occupy a happy medium between the nutjobs. Meanwhile, conservatives see moderate bias as liberal, and liberals see it as conservative - letting journalists conclude that it's not bias at all.
Like Politico did yesterday, WashPost states as fact that 10,000 health reformer haters gathered in D.C. And like Politico, the WashPost provides no sources for that (generous?) estimate:
With the stage set for a historic House vote on health-care reform this weekend, an estimated 10,000 conservative activists descended on Capitol Hill on Thursday for a campaign-style rally in a last-ditch effort to defeat a bill they demonized as "Pelosi-Care."
Question: Rather than relying on official D.C. estimates, did the WashPost simply rely on Politico, which seemed to rely on nobody for its 10,000 number? i.e. Was the WashPost just cribbing off Politico?
As we noted yesterday, here's the proper way to report on political protests, courtesy of MSNBC's First Read [emphasis added]:
NBC's Luke Russert, reporting from the West Front of the Capitol, passes along this photo of a cartoon Pelosi with the words "UNAMERICAN MCCARTHYITE" scrawled across. The crowd, per Russert, is so far about 3,000 to 3,500, according to Capitol Police estimates...
*** UPDATE *** Three Capitol Hill police officers all guessed that the crowd numbered at about 4,000.
Isn't that fascinating? NBC relied on actual police estimates and reported the crowd was 4,000 strong. Politico and WashPost relied on phantom sources and reported the crowd was 10,000 strong. Which report seems more credible?
UPDATED: Do we even have to mention that right-wing media outlets invented all sorts of numbers for Thursday's modest protest? (Two million? Do I hear 2 million??) The WashTimes, for instance, went with "tens of thousands." But we expect that from propaganda outlets. The WashPost and Politico though, ought to be much more precise in their reporting.
Another right-wing protest heavily promoted by Fox News and other right-wing personalities, another round of hyperbolic crowd overestimates by the very people who had aggressively begged their viewers and listeners to attend.
Baseless estimates from the cheering section include:
While falling all over themselves to make up a number that would befit earlier forecasts of a "massive" crowd, have these media figures tripped over the facts? Well, it turns out that U.S. Capitol Police officers reportedly estimated to MSNBC that about 4,000 protesters showed up to yell about health care reform.
Made up numbers? Makes you wonder if the event's promoters are embarrassed by the turnout.
Earlier today, a hospitalized Glenn Beck tweeted in praise of the "AMAZING drs/nurses" who have cared for him since the emergency removal of his inflamed appendix yesterday afternoon.
The quality of care he is receiving should not have come as a surprise. When Beck complained of acute abdominal pain during his radio program on Wednesday, he was rushed to a nearby hospital. The security-conscious Beck has not disclosed the name of the facility, but it's a safe bet that it is staffed by proud members of a storied union: New York's Local 1199, aka United Healthcare Workers East, which belongs to the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU has organized all of Manhattan's major hospitals, including every facility to which Beck could have conceivably been sent.
While he's lying on his back, Beck should take advantage of his illness to begin his self-education. He might ask his "amazing" nurses what they think about their wages and benefits, which are some of the best in the country. He should ask them to talk about the relationship between those wages and their yellow and purple union cards. He might learn that they enjoy some of the highest standards for healthcare jobs in the country, not because of the "free market," but because generations of 1199 members fought for them.
The quality of care Beck is receiving is directly connected to the proud history of New York's Local 1199. To pick just one study out of many, research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows that heart attack victims sent to unionized hospitals enjoy higher survival rates over those sent to non-unionized hospitals by between seven and 11 percent.
As Media Matters has repeatedly documented, Glenn Beck has waged an almost non-stop smear campaign versus SEIU over the last year.
Here's a question for you: Suppose there's a guy that insults your co-workers on a regular basis. He makes fun of their looks. He gives them insulting and sexist nicknames. And suppose one day you have, say, a company picnic or event. Do you invite that guy -- who doesn't even work with you -- to give a speech?
If you're the House Republicans, the answer is an enthusiastic, 'Yes!' At the Capitol today, House Republicans rallied against health care - and featured radio host Mark Levin. What has Levin said about the Republicans' colleagues in the House and Senate?
And it's not just sexist attacks on women serving in the House and Senate:
Levin, by the way, stands by and is proud of his attacks. Indeed, he regularly repeats many of them.
(Levin, standing at a healthcare.gop.gov podium, with House Minority Leader John Boehner listening)
Again, it isn't like Mark Levin rushed the stage and grabbed a microphone. "The great one," as Levin fans such as Rep. Michele Bachmann call him, was an invited guest.
Levin's incendiary attacks aren't a secret. While we know Republican members and their staff aren't quite tech-savvy, the invention called Google has been around for a while. Meanwhile, some prominent Republicans - not in the House GOP caucus, apparently - have been raising concerns about Levin.
And there's the big question: Given the knowledge of Levin's constant sexist attacks against House and Senate members, why did Congressional Republicans roll out the red carpet for Levin?