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  • The Red Scare Index: 59, 75, 42

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Here is today's daily Red Scare Index -- our search of CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC and CNBC for uses of the following terms: Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic, Communism, Communist, Communistic, Marxism and Marxist. Here are the numbers for Tuesday March 31 - Thursday April 2, 2009.

    Numbers for Tuesday, March 31, 2009:

    TOTAL: 59
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 24
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 35
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    By Network:

    CNN: 11
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 2
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 9
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    CNN Headline News: 11
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 2
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 9
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    Fox News Channel: 17
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 9
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 8
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    Fox Business Network: 17
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 9
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 8
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    MSNBC: 1
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 1
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 0
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    CNBC: 2
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 1
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 1
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    Numbers for Wednesday, April 1, 2009:

    TOTAL: 75
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 46
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 27
    Marxism/Marxist: 2

    By Network:

    CNN: 6
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 1
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 5
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    CNN Headline News: 6
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 2
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 4
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    Fox News Channel: 26
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 16
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 10
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    Fox Business Network: 28
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 24
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 2
    Marxism/Marxist: 2

    MSNBC: 8
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 3
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 5
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    CNBC: 1
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 1
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    Numbers for Thursday, April 2, 2009:

    TOTAL: 42
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 24
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 17
    Marxism/Marxist: 1

    By Network:

    CNN: 6
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 3
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 3
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    CNN Headline News: 1
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 1
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    Fox News Channel: 25
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 16
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 8
    Marxism/Marxist: 1

    Fox Business Network: 7
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 5
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 2
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    MSNBC: 1
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 1
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    CNBC: 2
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 2
    Marxism/Marxist: 0

    The above numbers are the result of a TVeyes.com power search for these terms on these networks.

  • What happened to the Dem vs. Dem budget drama?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    It was just a week ago that the Beltway press was breathlessly warning that the Obama administration was going to face a bloody civil war within the Democratic Party as the White House tried to get its budget passed. Just like the press had predicted in February that the White House would face a bloody civil war trying to get its stimulus package passed. That warfare never materialized though. And so far, neither has the ugly budgetary battle.

    Please note the Congressional happenings yesterday, as reported by Bloomberg News report:

    President Barack Obama got a pair of wins on Capitol Hill as the House and Senate approved drafts of his 2010 budget plan that largely adhere to the administration's priorities.

    And this from the WashPost:

    Congressional Democrats overwhelmingly embraced President Obama's ambitious and expensive agenda for the nation yesterday, endorsing a $3.5 trillion spending plan that sets the stage for the president to pursue his most far-reaching priorities.

  • Count the problems in the NYT's article on Obama's G-20 trip

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Just really dreadful journalism by Helene Cooper, who already embarrassed herself on the trip by whining on the Times blog that Obama was trying to "muzzle" the press, because at a joint appearance with the British PM, Obama took three questions from the press, while the PM took four.

    Her round-up piece in Friday's paper is just as heavy-handed and bad. For instance [emphasis]:

    It was a performance that ranged from mediating behind closed doors — Mr. Obama personally intervened in a spat between the French and Chinese leaders — to a carefully calculated news conference in which he reached deep into history, showed contrition for the failings of Wall Street, and forecast a road the world could no longer travel.

    This loaded language (i.e. Obama is overly stage managed) appears very high in the article, but Cooper never bothers to explain how the press conference was "carefully calculated." She does, however, note that Obama fielded questions for nearly an hour from assembled reporters. He stood before the press for an hour answering impromptu questions but according to the Times the event was "carefully calculated." Sorry, but that makes no sense.

    Next, the dreaded "some":

    In a premiere diplomatic tour that has already been scrutinized for every blemish, Mr. Obama has, thus far, gotten some not-so-good reviews — several European news outlets complained that he seemed aloof — and some raves. (President Nicolas Sarkozy of France called him "very helpful.")

    Who gave Obama not-so-good reviews and what did they say? That information would help readers judge the critiques since portions of the European press is notoriously partisan. (i.e. Did the bad reviews come from openly conservative news outlets?) The Times never bothers to substantiate. It's just "some," and that's all readers need to know.

    Elsewhere:

    If Mr. Obama gauged that crowd just right, he also had a few gaffes. The Obamas gave Queen Elizabeth II an iPod loaded with songs and videos.

    Why was that a "gaffe"? The Times never explains. It just assumes readers see the absurdity in the gesture. The Times though, fails to inform readers that the Queen reportedly requested the iPod in advance. (She didnt' have a video one.)

    The misses just keep coming:

    And Michelle Obama, during the meeting with the queen, touched her, raising already high-brows over on this side of the pond. Buckingham Palace protocol says that commoners must not touch the queen, a dictate that foreign leaders in the past have ignored at their own peril.

    Here, the Times' Cooper gets scooped by Inside Edition, which checked with Buckingham Palace yesterday and was told specifically, "The reception was an informal occasion. There's no breach of protocol." (And did the Times really need to refer to Michelle Obama as a "commoner"?)

    Honestly, how does the Times send a reporter to cover Obama abroad and come back with a worse, more misleading dispatch?

    UPDATE: At least Times editors have fixed the loaded headline that earlier appeared online for the article: "Obama's Star Turn at Summit Gets Mixed Results." Safe to say that "star turn" carries with it a rather negative, McCain-esque connotation that Obama's merely a celebrity.

    The updated headline for the same article is more straight forward and reads, "On the World Stage, Obama Issues an Overture."

  • "Colbert Went Where the New York Times Feared to Tread on Glenn Beck"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    We noted how on Monday the Times played dumb when profiling Glenn Beck. Over at HuffPost, Greg Mitchell contrasts the Times' timid coverage with the treatment Beck received this week from Stephen Colbert. (Apples and oranges to a degree, but the comparison has value.)

    Mitchell writes:

    Compare [Colbert] to the Times' treatment of Beck as largely a voice for "conservative populist anger" with his "moral lessons" and "passion" and "outrage."... And it all comes on the heels of the new Rasmussen poll showing that 1 in 4 Americans now see the Comedy Central late-night shows as "viable" news outlets.

  • Inside Edition schools Time mag on the craft of journalism

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    It's all part of Giftgate Thursday!

    Earlier, we noted how Time typed up an excited dispatch about how folks in England were supposedly all in a tizzy because Michelle Obama broke protocol and touched the Queen of England during their meeting. Turns out Inside Edition did what journalists are supposed to do; it made a few calls and got a quote from somebody in a position to know about the (non) story.

    A spokesman for Buckingham Palace tells Inside Edition that "it's obvious that it was a mutual sign of affection and appreciated between the queen and Michelle Obama. There is no offense. The reception was an informal occasion. There's no breach of protocol."

  • Tapper misses the point

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Jake Tapper Twitters a defense of the media's obsessive focus on unimportant fluff like Barack Obama giving the Queen an iPod:

    for angry libs complaining about the iPod story: who do you think is sharing this info about the iPod? u think we broke into buckingham?

    Presumably, Tapper means that the White House told reporters about the gift.

    Uh ... So?

    Either Tapper thinks the role of a journalist is to dutifully report whatever the administration wants him to report, or he thinks that liberal media critics want the media to dutifully report whatever the administration tells them.

    Either way, he's wrong. The former is wrong for reasons that are (hopefully) self-explanatory. So let's give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that Tapper means that he expects liberals to be happy that he's reporting something the Obama White House told him - and not that he personally thinks "the White House told me to" is a compelling reason to treat the iPod as the biggest news story in the world.

    I can't speak for all "angry libs," but what Tapper seems not to understand is that few, if any, liberal media critics think the media should simply report anything handed to them on a presidential spoon - even if the president in question is a Democrat.

    This attitude isn't unique to Tapper. I've seen more than a few journalists respond to criticism from progressives by saying something similar - that their report reflects what Democratic sources told them. That's a valid response when the criticism is that the report omitted a Democratic viewpoint. But when the criticism is that the report is false, or flawed in some other way, "hey, we're just reporting what Democrats tell us" isn't a meaningful defense.

  • Giftgate news flash!

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    When president Bush traveled to Mexico in February of 2001, marking his first foreign trip as POTUS, guess what gifts Bush gave to the family of Mexico President Vincente Fox? Keep in mind, Obama is being ridiculed today for giving the Queen of England an iPod that, among other things, included audio for some of his speeches. (i.e. Self-centered, much?!)

    Well, here, according to a February 17, 2001 dispatch from the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, is what Bush gave his host [emphasis]:

    After a few minutes of light conversation--Bush spoke English and Fox translated--Bush presented [Fox's mother] with two gifts. The first, a glass frame from Neiman Marcus, contained a photo of Bush and wife, Laura, dressed in formal wear. The second gift was a dark green textile throw. [She] responded in English, saying 'Thank you' twice.

    If your memory is that the press couldn't have cared less about the gift exchange in 2001, you're absolutely correct.

  • Count the problems with this Politico piece about Michelle Obama

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    It's about the First Lady's sky-high approval ratings. Here's the Politico headline:

    Michelle's Recovery

    First, "recovery" implies that Obama's public perception has rebounded; that she was recently unpopular and now she's the opposite. (i.e. recovery: "a return to a normal condition.") But here's the Gallup graphic that accompanies the article, note the steady ascension, not a "recovery":

    Second, there's this Politico announcement:

    Her transformation in the public eye is one of David Axelrod's great successes, and really a remarkable thing.

    Americans really like Michelle Obama, so Politico, without hesitation, credits a (male) White House adviser for making that happen. Shouldn't Michelle get at least some of the credit for her White House success?

    And third:

    She was, for a moment, a serious vulnerability for the campaign.

    We can't remember at any point when Michelle Obama was a "serious" vulnerability for the campaign. And while Politico mentions a couple passing controversies from the two-year White House trek, Politico never provides any hard evidence that Barack Obama was seriously weighed down during his campaign because Michelle was his wife.

    FYI: Back in June 2008, Michelle Obama was viewed more favorably by more Americans than was Cindy McCain.

  • NYT, please define "muzzle"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    From the Times' Helene Cooper, traveling with Obama in London:

    Is President Obama trying to muzzle his press corps?

    A rather loaded/provocative charge, no? Cooper's basis for making the claim? We'll let Politico's Michael Calderone explain:

    So what did the president do? Well, during today's joint presser, Gordon Brown took four questions but Barack Obama only took three! Yes, that's it.

    Oy. We tend to agree with the conclusion posted by Times reader Greg, who wrote:

    Please, stop your whining Ms. Cooper. "They" got one more question than we did? And it was a softball at that? I love the Times and respect its coverage but this posting is juvenile.

  • The media's giftgate

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    I know, my head hurts too, reading the 'coverage.' (I'm waiting for some reporter to combine the gift 'story' with a detailed description of what Michelle Obama was wearing when she gave the Queen of England the gift.)

    Aside from the fact that key facts have been omitted by the press, the 'story' reeks of double standards because I don't remember any detailed coverage of the gifts Bush gave dignitaries over the years. Plus, Obama is being mocked, in part, for being a narcissist by including some of his speeches on the Queen's iPod. That's why this part made us chuckle, from Politico:

    As for the queen, she gave the Obamas a signed photo of herself and her husband in a silver frame. But she had it easier than Obama — that's the same thing she always gives visiting dignitaries.

    Is that an appropriate gift? It certainly seems so. But imagine the media reaction if Obama had given the queen a signed photo of himself.

    UPDATE: More overseas 'reporting,' courtesy of Time's migraine-inducing dispatch about how Michelle Obama appeared to touch the Queen for "just a second or two." Time tells us that's a protocol no-no:

    The rules are set in stone, and so the eagerly watching British media sputtered when the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, briefly put her hand on the back of Queen Elizabeth II as the two chatted at a reception.

    The British media "sputtered," Time relayed. But Time didn't bother to, y'know, actually quote any sputtering examples from the British media. Readers just have to trust Time. Same here:

    Still, the sight of anyone apparently touching the Queen with anything more than a limp handshake is enough to send the British (or traditionalists in the old Commonwealth) twittering.

    Did the British twitter after Obama appeared to touch the Queen for "just a second or two"? Again, Time doesn't quote anybody to suggest they did. We're supposed to trust Time's judgment. But considering the fact that the article itself is an embarrassment, from premise to execution, that's hard for us to do.

    UPDATE: From a CF reader in the comment section:

    If I may chime in from the UK. Saw that Michelle Obama put her hand on the Queen's back last night on the BBC news. It was like, 5 seconds of the 10 o'clock news, and the brief comment from the Beeb reporter was to say how unmoved the Queen was when it happened.

    UPDATE: More breaking giftgate news here.