George Stephanopoulos as a guest on ABC's This Week in 1996:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think that someone has to- should have to pass a bare threshold of credibility before they're put on the air to millions of viewers. You know, his story couldn't get past the fact checker at The National Enquirer, so I think before ABC News puts him on, then there should be some questions asked.
George Stephanopoulos as host of ABC's This Week yesterday:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: With that, we bring in ... Michelle Malkin, syndicated columnist, also the author of the new book Culture of Corruption.
Unsurprisingly, Malkin made things up.
Do you think average voters think this way, or just media elites?
From New York article on Obama and the media [emphasis added]
If he manages to genuinely revive the economy or pass a decent health-care bill, great-the public will be thrilled to hear from him for a long time to come. But if he doesn't, one could imagine people eventually souring on his many public appearances: Dear God, not another speech.
In today's "Media Notes" column, Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz examined the role financial pressures play in the decisions reporters make.
But don't get your hopes up -- Kurtz wasn't writing about the financial conflict of interest inherent in his dual roles as an employee of both the Post and CNN, or about how his silence about Jonathan Klein's embrace of Lou Dobbs looks absolutely rotten in light of the payments Kurtz receives from Klein's cable channel.
No, Kurtz once again managed to avoid any mention of Klein, even as he wrote 386 more words about who is "Boosting the Birthers."
Just like he led a discussion of Dobbs and the Birthes on yesterday's Reliable Sources without ever mentioning Klein. That's getting increasingly awkward, as Klein not only defends Dobbs and attacks his critics, he is also mischaracterizing Dobbs' show, and making comments Kurtz disagrees with.
At this point, Kurtz' conflict of interest is undeniable. The only question is why the Washington Post tolerates it.
Isn't this why the paper has an Ombudsman?
Speaking of Washington Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander, here's how his most recent blog post begins:
Readers often see secret motives and hidden agendas in news stories and columns. In most cases, their suspicions are unfounded. But the perception is real.
Alas, no mention of Howard Kurtz. I know a lot of journalists are reluctant to criticize Kurtz, lest they incur the wrath of the nation's most famous media critic. But surely the Washington Post's Ombudsman isn't among those who are intimidated by Kurtz. Is he?
NBC Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker, on President Obama's press conferences:
"Every time a president holds a press conference there is potential for news to be made, as he did, probably to his regret, with his comments on the Gates case," Whitaker says. Still, he says, "we would feel better" if White House officials "were approaching us with the sense that they had something new to say, rather than that they just wanted to continue a dialogue with the American people. There are other ways of continuing that dialogue than taking up an hour of prime time."
The nerve of the White House, wanting to "continue a dialogue with the American people"!
If NBC doesn't want to air presidential press conferences, they can alway refuse to do so, and deal with the consequences. Some friendly advice, though: if they chose to go that route, they might want to come up with a better explanation than saying that they don't want to participate in a "dialogue with the American people."
UPDATE: Greg Sargent spells it out: "for the networks to gripe that the president is making himself available for questioningtoo often is just an absurd complaint, and hardly seems like something a self-described news organization should be moaning about."
Right. Note that it wasn't an NBC bean-counter complaining about having to carry the press conferences; it was the head of NBC's Washington Bureau -- a journalist.
Would this entry by the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza look any different if it had been written by John McCain's press secretary?
In just a few paragraphs, Cilizza:
1) Touts McCain's influence within the Republican Party
2) Suggests you can't have bipartisan legislation unless McCain is on board
3) Passes on McCain's claims that the Democrats are not truly interested in bipartisanship
4) Passes on McCain's attacks on the inclusion of a public option in health care reform
5) Frames the gulf between McCain and the White House in McCain-friendly terms: McCain, according to Cilizza, is "growing increasingly upset with the growth in government spending and the lack of consultation between the White House and Senate Republicans."
And there isn't so much as a word of scrutiny of McCain's claims. Not a word even hinted at the possibility that McCain's take on anything might not be the whole story.
Fox Nation linked to Elizabeth Gates' Daily Beast post, "What I Saw at the Beer Summit," with the headline: "Did Gates call Joe the Plumber a 'Racist'?" Gates, the daughter of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., wrote:
As soon as my father's foot crossed the threshold of the room, the storm of mediators immediately rushed to introduce us, but true to form, my father cut right through the thick tension of hurried salutations and offered the Sergeant his hand and joked, "You looked bigger the last time I saw you." Crowley's cheeks flushed red as a smile dashed across his lips, and his young son, whose cheeks had long since flushed the same muted crimson, looked up at his father and smiled. This wasn't a family raised on hate. At that moment, right there in the library, they were just like us: a young family groomed to perfection, waiting to learn how to get those damn cameramen off their lawn and to put this sensationalized hell behind them.
I asked my father what the President had said during their chat and as he slipped off his shoes and reclined his chair, he said: "The president and the vice president are great men, Liza. They did the right thing to invite us there to talk, but it's up to us now to extend this conversation. We have plans to meet in private and discuss things. You know, Crowley's not a bad guy. He's not a Joe the Plumber who wants to represent the Right. He would be horrified to be considered a racist."
First of all, note the complete coincidence that Goldberg was invited to be on Glenn Beck's program just days after Goldberg went to bat for Beck and announced the demented Fox News host had nothing to apologize for for calling out President Barack Obama as a "racist" and claiming Obama had a "deep-seated hatred of white people."
Jonah was totally okay with that, and voilà! he quickly got tapped to be on Glenn Beck. What are the odds, right?
But honestly, I"m glad Jonah was on Beck's show because the segment he appeared in may have been one of the funniest of the year; one of the looniest and just plain idiotic. And that was Jonah, the pride of NRO, signing off on yet another Beck caper.
Basically, Beck made the mistake of taking seriously a tip from one of his tin foil hat radio listeners who claimed to have uncovered a sweeping, Big Brother government conspiracy--buried in the "cash for clunkers" program--by which the Obama administration will take control of your computer!!!! For life!!!!
Beck is showing a website that['s] not the cars.gov website but instead another government website which can only be accessed by car dealers who are screened and registered for the CARS program. So it is only dealers who are using the government program that have access to the website. Furthermore, it makes sense that the government have access to the dealer's computer since it is a government program handing out billions of dollars that has the potential for fraud.
But since when have the facts deterred Beck? So first he turned to Fox News legal expert Kimberly Guilfoyle who didn't even understand the basics of the "cash for clunker" program (She thinks the cars are being donated to charity. Whatever.) And then Beck called on Goldberg and unintentional hilarity ensues:
The thing is, is that we can separate out what the intent might or might not have been. I mean, maybe it's just someone being really stupid in the federal government...Look, as a conservative, you always have to hold out the possibility that government people are just stupid rather than evil.
You can say that again.
UPDATED: Do I even have to mention right-wing bloggers like Hot Air and scores more obediently bought the Beck foolishness? Because c'mon, who wouldn't automatically embrace one of Beck's far-fetched anti-Obama conspiracy theory? It's not like he has a spotty fact-checking record....
UPDATED: Newsbusters thinks Beck deserves "credit" for uncovering the "cash for clunkers" scam.
Behold conservatism in America.
WorldNetDaily and the right-wing fringe are very excited about their scoop that Orly Taitz has "released a copy of what purports to be a Kenyan certification of birth" for President Obama. According to WND, "Taitz told WND that the document came from an anonymous source who doesn't want his name known because 'he's afraid for his life.' " So in order to believe Taitz and WND, one would have to assume that this document was requested 45 years ago, preserved that entire time, withheld through the entire election and transition period, and yet somehow ended up in the hands of someone sympathetic to Orly Taitz.
DailyKos' David Waldman has identified what appears to be an even more glaring problem with WND's latest smoking gun. The document posted by WND purports to have been produced by the "Republic of Kenya" on February 17, 1964. But Kenya didn't even become a republic until December 12, 1964. An article from that day's Washington Post, for example, reported that "Kenya became the newest republic within the British Commonwealth at midnight."
Obama's Kenyan birth certificate has been found. Well, according to this WorldNetDaily dispatch it has. (Insert punch line here.)
Question: Will Dobbs bite?
From an August 2 post, headlined "Lou Dobbs becomes a real problem for CNN," by Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik:
Dobbs has consistently been lending credence to the "birthers" movement, which claims President Barack Obama is not a U. S. citizen, and thus, not eligible to be president because he was not allegedly born in the United States. The view has been widely and thoroughly discounted -- most notably by Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate. But despite such facts, Dobbs has persisted.
The Media Matters ads on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News will take Dobbs to task for his on-air actions in relation to that issue. It is a clever and sound strategy in the world of corporate TV.
CNN can't really afford to ditch any ads that don't violate standards and practices. And if they refuse this one, which can still be seen on their competitors, they have a credibility problem.
Credibility is the real issue here, and loss of it is the great danger for CNN.
While CNN generally has lower prime-time ratings than its angry, opinionated competitors on the right and the left, it does have credibility and a kind of journalistic highground by "playing it down the middle." And that pays off on big news events when viewers want verified facts and information provided without partisan spin. The ratings during the election -- and even on events like Michael Jackson's death -- are consistently big for CNN.
But Dobbs' behavior is threatening that very trust on which that success is based. Worse, Jon Klein, the president of CNN/US, now seems to be backing Dobbs after initially sending out what I read as warning signals that he wanted a more responsbile approach to any "birther" stories.
If Klein continues to back Doobs, he risks losing that credibility -- and in this case, credibility is at the very heart of the CNN brand.