From James Poniewozik's Time article Threats with Teeth:
To live every week like it's Shark Week, then, might be a metaphor for living in our media environment: to spend every week titillated by unlikely threats, getting whipped into frenzies, yawning over high-minded stuff like health-care policy and supping from the delicious chum bucket of hysteria. The President is a secret Kenyan who faked his birth certificate! Terrorists are coming to get you! And the world is going to end, six different ways! But first a word from our sponsor.
Coincidentally, one of the best recent critiques of how media overkill works is airing during Shark Week. Summer is high season for media freak-outs. This year, we've had celebrity deaths, political sex scandals and a conspiracy theory that President Obama was born outside the U.S., revived by the likes of CNN's Lou Dobbs. Sharkbite Summer (Aug. 4) looks back eight years to when a few high-profile shark attacks sent the media into their own feeding frenzy. The summer of 2001, postrecount and pre-9/11, was notoriously slow on news. (Hence, it was also the season of the Chandra Levy media circus.) So when an 8-year-old boy was mauled by a bull shark in Florida, a hungry press attacked.
What, another concocted Politico headline that doesn't match the facts of the story (but lands a Drudge linked)? We're shocked.
Franken feuds with T. Boone Pickens
Obviously, "feuds" implies an on-going and bitter confrontation. Instead, what happened, according to the article, was:
Franken, who was seated talking to someone else, did not stand when Pickens said hello. Instead, Franken began to berate him about the billionaire's financing of the Swift Boat ads in 2004. According to a source, the confrontation grew heated.
Basically, a conversation took place, and Politico hyped it as a feud.
From Ceci Connolly's August 1 Washington Post article, Talk Radio Campaign Frightening Seniors:
A campaign on conservative talk radio, fueled by President Obama's calls to control exorbitant medical bills, has sparked fear among senior citizens that the health-care bill moving through Congress will lead to end-of-life "rationing" and even "euthanasia."
The controversy stems from a proposal to pay physicians who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical interventions they would prefer near the end of life and how to prepare instructions such as living wills. Under the plan, Medicare would reimburse doctors for one session every five years to confer with a patient about his or her wishes and how to ensure those preferences are followed. The counseling sessions would be voluntary.
But on right-leaning radio programs, religious e-mail lists and Internet blogs, the proposal has been described as "guiding you in how to die," "an ORDER from the Government to end your life," promoting "death care" and, in the words of antiabortion leader Randall Terry, an attempt to "kill Granny."
The attacks on talk radio began when Betsy McCaughey, who helped defeat President Bill Clinton's health-care overhaul 16 years ago, told former senator Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.) that mandatory counseling sessions with Medicare beneficiaries would "tell them how to end their life sooner" and would teach the elderly how to "decline nutrition . . . and cut your life short."
Today's New York Times reports that there's been something of a corporate truce worked out between the parent companies of MSNBC and Fox News, which calls for both sides, especially Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly, to knock off the on-air attacks. (Read Glenn Greenwald to understand why that's such a bad idea from a journalism perspective.)
According to the Times, shortly after June 1, "the attacks mostly stopped."
But did they? [Emphasis added]
"Look at the television situation. CNN, what's happening over there? Falling apart ratings wise. NBC, falling apart ratings-wise. Why? NBC is nasty," [June 9, The O'Reilly Factor]
""Back of the Book" segment tonight, "Reality Check," where the truth is sometimes very disturbing. "Check" one, as you may know, the General Electric corporation owns NBC News. And there is compelling evidence that NBC is giving favorable treatment so that G.E. will be awarded billions -- billions -- in government contracts." [June 18, The O'Reilly Factor]
"I have to tell you, I think -- I think G.E., I think what they are building is absolutely insidious. I think it is. I mean, think of this: They have Universal Pictures. They have NBC News, the NBC Entertainment Network. They have Biography and all those other networks. I don't think they own Lifetime. They are in aerospace industry; they are in defense. I mean, they are in energy, everything." [July 13, Glenn Beck]
UPDATE: Politico's Michael Calderone reports: "The video was a satirical piece that lampooned people of all stripes," a Post spokesperson tells POLITICO. "There was a section of the video that went too far, so we have removed the piece from our website."
"The video was a satirical piece that lampooned people of all stripes," a Post spokesperson tells POLITICO. "There was a section of the video that went too far, so we have removed the piece from our website."
No joke. And I mean that literally: "Ménage à Stella Artois" manages to be both glibly insulting and extraordinarily un-funny. Which is, in itself, fairly insulting...One wonders how much of the Post staff's time and resources were devoted to researching, writing, staging, shooting, and editing such an extraordinarily value-free contribution to the annals of political commentary.
In fact, Dobbs was tentatively schedule for the Tuesday night broadcast, to talk about birthers, of course. But it appears his CNN boss may have put the kibosh on the appearance.
Now Mediaite has obtained the email exchange between Dobbs' team and the Fox producers, proving the CNN host's interest in appearing on the program.
The emails show a lengthy exchange between Steve Karas, a publicist for Dobbs' radio show, and Rob Monaco, an O'Reilly Factor producer. Tuesday morning, Karas pitched a Dobbs appearance on the Fox News program, saying Dobbs was "very interested in coming on."
I have to say it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of what CNN's bosses have final say over in terms of Dobbs and his birther crusade. CNN chief Jon Klein claims the cabler has no influence in terms of what Dobbs says on his radio show. Yet in this case, it was Dobbs' radio show flaks who were lining up an appearance on Fox News. Did CNN suddenly step in and overrule Dobbs' radio show publicity? And if it did, why can't CNN step in and overrule what Dobbs says on his radio show regarding birthers?
From a July 30 Daily Beast article by senior writer Max Blumenthal:
Among Taitz's "biggest supporters," she said, is CNN anchor Lou Dobbs. "I did Lou's radio show for half an hour and he was very understanding," she told me. "He became a supporter and since then he became a supporter of the whole [Obama eligibility] issue." Indeed, during the July 15 broadcast of Dobbs' radio show, he praised Taitz's work, suggested Obama might be "undocumented," and demanded the president "show the documents" to prove he was born in the United States.
By the time the ruling was handed down, Cook's case had become a conservative cause célèbre. Among the media bigwigs who publicized the case were Sean Hannity and Dobbs, who segued into a segment on Cook by announcing, "New questions are being raised about Obama's eligibility to serve as president." On his radio show the same day, Dobbs said Cook "should be taken seriously. There are real questions here that need to be answered."
Taitz told me that Dobbs invited her on his nightly TV program to discuss the Cook case but wound up calling in sick. Instead, Dobbs' fill-in, Kitty Pilgrim, covered the story. Pilgrim was visibly embarrassed by the topic, remarking, "CNN has investigated the issue, found no basis for the questions about the president's birthplace... There is overwhelming evidence that proves the president's birth certificate is real."
Taitz told me Dobbs assured her after the broadcast that he would bring her back on his program for a sympathetic treatment. But Taitz's appearance was canceled when CNN President Jon Klein declared Dobbs' questioning of Obama's citizenship a "dead story," then told Variety's Brian Lowry, "It would not be legitimate for Lou or anyone else at CNN to explore whether Barack Obama is an American citizen."
Deprived of an appearance with Dobbs, her "biggest supporter," Taitz takes heart from the support she receives from the conservative online community and a cadre of Republican members of Congress.
Quite a busy week for the deep thinkers at National Review. Earlier this week we noted that NRO's Jonah Goldberg thought Glenn Beck had nothing to apologize for after going on TV and saying the President of the United States has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." (It's so obvious, people.)
And now, NR's Andrew McCarthy claims Obama is concealing his true identity and that's why he won't release his 'real' birth certificate.
Yep, I'm gonna say it: Bill Buckley must be rolling over in his grave.
Today, both have articles about Karl Rove's role in the firing of U.S. federal prosecutors. But the articles paint very different pictures.
The Post headline:
E-Mails Show Larger White House Role in Prosecutor Firings
The Post lede:
Political adviser Karl Rove and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood in the firing of federal prosecutors almost three years ago, according to e-mails obtained by The Washington Post, in a scandal that led to mass Justice Department resignations and an ongoing criminal probe.
By contrast, the Times allows Rove to frame the story with its headline:
Rove Says His Role in Prosecutor Firings Was Small
The Times lede:
Karl Rove, addressing the dismissal of federal prosecutors in 2006 when he was a top adviser to President George W. Bush, said in a recent interview that he had sought status reports about vacancies in prosecutors' offices, pushed subordinates to find a job for a former deputy and monitored plans for dismissals as they evolved after Mr. Bush's re-election in 2004.
My guess is that Rove and his attorney liked the Times story better.