In a January 25 post on the Media Research Center's Newsbusters blog, Matthew Balan criticized CNN.com's write-up on the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., because it supposedly "downplayed the number of attendees as merely in the 'thousands.'" But Balan's colleague Clay Waters described the march's numbers in the exact same terms on MRC's own website. Waters wrote today that there were "thousands who marched in frigid weather" at the rally.
Newsbuster Matthew Balan complains that CNN "played favorites" on a recent broadcast of Parker Spitzer because "Hosts Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer failed to give ideological labels to their liberal guests while clearly identifying Tim Phillips as being president of 'Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group' and labeling Bjorn Lomborg a 'controversial author.'"
Sounds like a perfectly legitimate complaint, right? After all, news organizations can be inconsistent in their ideological labeling, and it's reasonable to call them on it. Ah, but keep reading:
Parker and Spitzer's first guest was liberal Congressman Anthony Weiner, who appeared two minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. The former liberal governor introduced Weiner as merely a "Democratic representative from New York."
Just before the bottom of the hour, the two hosts brought on liberal activist and founder of Def Jam Records, Russell Simmons. Parker identified him as a "hip-hop and fashion mogul, financier, animal rights activist, avid Obama supporter, reality TV star, and author of the upcoming book, 'Super Rich.'" But even with the mentions of Simmons's animal rights cause (he criticized the media for not highlighting the "10 billion suffering farm animals") and his support for the President, the CNN hosts couldn't give him an ideological label.
So, Parker and Spitzer introduced Weiner as a Democrat and Simmons as an "avid Obama supporter," and Matt Balan is whining that the CNN hosts didn't make the guests' leanings clear? Is he kidding with this nonsense?
Here, by the way, is a Parker Spitzer interview with Rick Perry, in which he was introduced simply as "Governor Rick Perry" -- at no point did either host refer to him as a Republican or a conservative. Here, Parker and Spitzer introduce Rep. Jeb Hensarling only as a "Republican," failing the (idiotic) standard Balan set in complaining about the Weiner introduction. Here, Parker refers to Sarah Palin as a "Republican" -- but not as a "conservative," failing Balan's (idiotic) labeling test.
And that broadcast featuring Russell Simmons? In it, Parker said Simmons is "a big fan of Barack Obama's still. He may be the last man standing who still believes in 'hope and change.'" But Matthew Balan thinks her introduction of Simmons betrays liberal bias.
Where does Newsbusters find these people?
In a previous criticism of CNN, Balan complained that in a report about Sarah Palin, Candy Crowley "neglected to include sound bites from conservatives … she only used clips from moderate commentator David Frum, Democrat Bill Owens, and colleague Wolf Blitzer." That's former Bush speechwriter David Frum, who has also been an advisor to Rudy Giuliani, a contributing editor to National Review, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the American Enterprise Institute and a member of the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition. But to Matthew Balan, he doesn't count as a conservative -- he's just a "moderate commentator."
Newsbusters' Matthew Balan complains:
CNN's Candy Crowley neglected to include sound bites from conservatives during a report about Sarah Palin on Tuesday's American Morning, other than from the former Alaska governor herself. While Crowley did acknowledge the widespread support that Palin has among conservative Republicans, she only used clips from moderate commentator David Frum, Democrat Bill Owens, and colleague Wolf Blitzer. [Emphasis added]
David Frum has worked as a speechwriter for George W. Bush, a senior fellow at the right-wing Manhattan Institute, and an editor for the right-wing editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. He has been an advisor to Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign and a contributing editor to National Review. He is a resident fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, and serves on the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He supported John McCain's presidential campaign, and has written books titled "Dead Right," "What's Right: The New Conservative Majority and the Remaking of America," "The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush," "Comeback: Conservatism that can win again." And he co-wrote a book with Richard Perle.
But Newsbusters' Matthew Balan says Frum isn't a conservative; he's a moderate, and that CNN's report therefore failed to fearture any soundbites from conservatives. Oh, except Sarah Palin.
Another, more sane, way to look at the report would be to say it featured clips of two conservatives, Frum and Palin, and only one progressive, Democrat Bill Owens.
Oh, and that Owens clip? Here it is, in its entirety:
CONGRESSMAN-ELECT BILL OWENS: Thank you very much.
Oh, the bias!