Newsbusters' Kyle Drennan complains that a CBS Early Show report on the assassination of Dr. George Tiller didn't describe Tiller as "controversial":
CBS 'Early Show' Sees No Controversy in Tiller's Work As 'Abortion Provider'
By Kyle Drennen (Bio | Archive)
June 1, 2009 - 11:43 ET
Reporting on the murder of Kansas abortion doctor, George Tiller, on Monday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor touted the doctor's career, while not depicting it as controversial ...
The Early Show coverage made no mention of Tiller's controversial career, including a recent investigation into whether he conducted 19 illegal partial-birth abortions.
First of all, Tiller was acquitted of any wrongdoing related to the 19 late-term abortions. Drennan didn't mention that little detail, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about his honesty.
Now, let's look at the article Drennan links to in support of his description of Tiller as "controversial." It's a Kansas City Star "timeline of major events in George Tiller's career." The first entry is the 1986 bombing of Tiller's clinic. The second is the 1991 blockade of his clinic by anti-choice protesters, leading to more than 2,500 arrests. The third is the 1993 shooting in which Tiller was hit in both arms. His assailant was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the shooting, and 20 more for her involvement in arson attacks against clinics in three states. The fourth entry is a 1998 letter Tiller received threatening to contaminate his clinic with Anthrax. The fifth is another illegal protest outside Tiller's clinic. The sixth and seventh are proceedings that found no wrongdoing by Tiller. And that's it; that's the whole list.
So, basically, Drennen's evidence - he chose this list, not me - contains zero examples of Tiller doing anything illegal. It contains zero examples of Tiller doing anything "controversial," unless you count "getting shot" as "doing something controversial." It does, however, list right-wing nutcases shooting and threatening Tiller, and illegally blocking access to his clinic. But that doesn't demonstrate that Tiller was "controversial"; it simply demonstrates that criminals and thugs tried to stop him from legally doing his job.
Drennen's complaint that CBS didn't call Tiller "controversial" is just bizarre. In fact, many news reports have described Tiller that way, and I find it more than a little off-putting. Tiller didn't break any laws. He just showed up to work every day, despite threats of violence, intimidation tactics, and even a previous shooting. He showed up, risking his own life every day, and he performed legal procedures that saved patients' lives. That's what doctors are supposed to do.
Calling Tiller "controversial" just because because conservative anti-abortion terrorists tried to, and finally did, kill him is insulting, and suggests some justification for the assassination. Calling him "controversial" blames the victim. Drennen's complaints that CBS didn't offer such justification for Tiller's assassination is creepy, at best.
Readers have been curious to see if Times columnist Marueen Dowd would address the controversy that blossomed after she lifted a paragraph from Talking Points Memo and ran it in her column. She claimed the act was inadvertent and that a friend had emailed her the passage without telling her it was from TPM.
Readers are still wondering if Dowd will address the issue because her column hasn't run in the newspaper since May 20. Blogger Dan Kennedy wondered if there was a connection there and emailed the Times' spokeswoman for a response, which came back as this:
Maureen is on vacation. Since she didn't do anything wrong, there would be no reason for a suspension.
She didn't do anything wrong? As Kennedy notes, that's not the conclusion that the Times' own public editor came to when he looked into the facts. Clark Hoyt wrote:
Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, said journalists collaborate and take feeds from each other all the time. That is true with news articles, but readers have a right to expect that even if an opinion columnist like Dowd tosses around ideas with a friend, her column will be her own words. If the words are not hers, she must give credit.
In a speech less than two weeks ago, Dick Cheney blasted the New York Times for "publishing secrets in a way that could only help al-Qaeda. It impressed the Pulitzer committee, but it damn sure didn't serve the interests of our country, or the safety of our people." Prior to that, Cheney's most famous comment about a journalist was probably agreeing with his (nominal) boss, George W. Bush, that Times reporter Adam Clymer was a "major league asshole." A "Big time" asshole, Cheney emphasized.
On the other hand, he never shot a reporter in the face, as far as we know.
That apparently makes Cheney the perfect choice to speak at a presentation of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation Journalism Awards today.
Here's a description of the foundation's journalism awards:
In 1988, the Gerald R. Ford Foundation established the Journalism Prize Competition. With this annual award, President Ford wanted to recognize and encourage thoughtful, insightful, and enterprising work by journalists covering the presidency and national defense. The Foundation is proud to continue this tradition. Again this year, the Foundation will award two $5,000 prizes for distinguished reporting on the presidency or national defense during calendar year 2008. The awards will be presented in June 2009 in Washington, D.C.
Yeah, Cheney is the perfect choice to speak at an event honoring "enterprising work by journalists covering the presidency and national defense."
Anonymous: Over the past few years, Bill O'Reilly has made the following comments about Dr. Tiller:
- He "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000."
- He's guilty of "Nazi stuff,"
- a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida
- "This is the kind of stuff that happened in Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union"
- "operating a death mill"
- "has blood on his hands"
- "executing babies about to be born
Tucker, I'm not saying Billo wanted some kook to kill him, but isn't this playing with fire? Is there some quote by Olberman or any other liberal commentator that even comes close? Who has the craziest of the liberal left murdered lately?
Tucker Carlson: Every one of those descriptions of Tiller is objectively true. I sincerely think it's appalling that he was murdered. But Tiller was a monster, no doubt.
Right out of the box, in the very first question he answered during today's Washington Post online discussion, Tucker Carlson lied about Sonia Sotomayor:
Alabama: Tucker, have you now watched or read the remarks of Alito since they were brought to your attention on Fox yesterday? If so, wanna explain the difference?
Tucker Carlson: Of all the talking points partisans are instructed to repeat during nomination fights, this is among the all-time lamest: Alito did it too. First of all, it's false. Alito never claimed that growing up Italian made him a better judge than, say, your average black woman. But even if he had some something that stupid (and I would have opposed seating him if he had) what's the point? That Obama has nominated someone every bit as mediocre as Bush did? Not much of a defense.
Sotomayor didn't say that growing up Puerto Rican made her a better judge than your average white man, as Carlson suggests. That isn't a reasonable paraphrase of what she said. It isn't close to what she said. And Carlson must know that, which makes it a lie. What makes it all the more audacious is that Carlson purports to correct the record about what Alito said, and in order to do so, he lies about what Sotomayor said.
The New York Times' Frank Bruni didn't have a good time on the Obamas' Date Night.
See, the Obamas dined at Blue Hill, a restaurant that Bruni concedes is "excellent" and "romantic" and "very much among the city's standouts." All of which would seem to make it an ideal choice for Date Night. But the Obamas failed to consider whether their meal at Blue Hill would be sufficiently exhilarating for their uninvited third wheel, Frank Bruni.
In the very predictability of this choice, in its all-too-neat squaring with the officially sanctioned food agenda, in its absence of surprise or abandon, isn't it ever so slightly disappointing? Just a little too pat and controlled?
During the 2008 campaign Mr. Obama sometimes came across — and was often portrayed — as someone almost joylessly disciplined and restrained around food, and that discipline and restraint went hand in hand with an unflappability that, on occasions, made it difficult for him to connect.
It would have been fun to see the president contradict that impression and play against type when he and the first lady sat down to dinner in New York. It would have been interesting to watch him bust loose and reach for something rich, messy, decadent, gluttonous: a plate of fatty lamb ribs at Resto; some pâtés and terrines at Bar Boulud; one of the offal dishes at Babbo; that killer bone-in New York strip at Minetta Tavern; the oyster pan roast at the John Dory . . .
I'm sure the Obamas are kicking themselves for not thinking about how they could make their date more fun for Frank Bruni.
But is Bruni really suggesting that the Obamas' restaurant was too predictable -- and that they instead should have gone to a restaurant (Babbo) owned by Mario Batali? Batali is, no doubt, a fine chef. But is it even possible to imagine a more predictable choice for out-of-towners in New York looking for an upscale meal than a Batali restaurant? You can't turn on a television without seeing Batali; Crocs make a "Mario Batali Edition" of their shoes. In his complaint at the predictability of the Obamas choice, Bruni hasn't exactly recommended an obscure outter-borough hole-in-the-wall; he has suggested one of the most famous restaurants in the country, run by one of the most famous chefs in the world.
Anyway, the point is -- and I can't believe this needs to be spelled out -- the Obamas' Date Night really isn't about entertaining Frank Bruni, no matter what Bruni thinks.
Oh, and that difficulty Obama had "connecting" during the 2008 campaign? Nonsense. Clowns like Chris Matthews claimed that Obama's food choices made it hard for him to "connect" with "regular people" (he ordered orange juice in a diner!) But it didn't actually happen. The guy won Indiana and North Carolina, for crying out loud. Sane people -- regular people -- just don't care whether their president orders orange juice in a diner, or which salad green he prefers, or whether he eats at Blue Hill or Babbo or Bar Boulud.
See Glenn Greenwald for the conclusion to this sad journalism chapter. But basically, Rosen wrote a wildly irresponsible hit piece on Judge Sonia Sotomayor prior to her nomination pick--a piece that relied on anonymous sources who trafficked in nasty gossip and a piece in which Rosen admitted he hadn't had time to examine Sotomayor's work in detail--and now he says well, he was just blogging and he'll never do that again.
Y'know blogging, where ordinary standards of fairness do not apply and where you can just post whatever scraps of unconfirmed misinformation you find laying around. Y'know, blogging.
The excuse that Rosen was merely "blogging" is, just as a factual matter, so obviously false: his Sotomayor piece wasn't on any of the TNR "blogs" (as happens when Rosen is actually "blogging") but instead was presented as a stand-alone article; it was, as NPR notes, "more than 1,000 words"; and TNR touted it as "the first in a series of reports by TNR legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen about the strengths and weaknesses of the leading candidates." Does that remotely sound as though they intended it to be a "mere blog post"?
From WorldNetDaily's unscientific internet poll, headlined, "A VIEW TO A KILL: What's your reaction to the murder of abortionist George Tiller?"
Accessed at 7:19am E.T.