• VOTE: The Worst Media Moment of Obama's First 100 Days

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    The first 100 days of the Obama administration are coming to a close, and there has certainly been no shortage of unhinged and outrageous media moments.

    From Rush Limbaugh saying that "we are being told to bend over and grab the ankles ... because his father is black," to Glenn Beck imitating President Obama pouring gasoline on an "average American," conservatives in the media have wasted no time in stoking a culture of paranoia with extreme, vitriolic, and often irresponsible rhetoric.
    Now it's your turn to weigh in. Check out this video of the most outrageous media moments from the first 100 days, and then vote for which you think is the worst:

    In addition to the examples referenced above, candidates for the Worst Media Moment also include:

    • CNBC's Larry Kudlow complaining about Obama and Chavez's "Boyz N The Hood handshake"
    • Reporting on tea parties, Fox Business' Cody Willard asked: "Guys, when are we going to wake up and start fighting the fascism that seems to be permeating this country?"
    • Fox's Dick Morris declaring that the "crazies" who "say 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.'s going to take over' … [are] beginning to have a case"

    Instead of focusing on substantive policy discussions, media figures have all too often launched relentless political attacks, and bypassed legitimate reporting and commentary in favor of demagoguery. You can help us bring attention to this troubling pattern by watching our video and participating in our poll.

    We will announce the results here on County Fair next Wednesday, April 29, so please make your voice heard today!

  • Norm Coleman is a sore loser. Why won't the press say so, cont'd

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    This is what happens when the press plays nice with Coleman's hardball tactics; when the press refuses to call Coleman a sore loser.

    From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

    Coleman asks state Supreme Court to take it slow

    The Trib reports:

    Coleman, a Republican, proposed to the court that his appeal of Democrat Al Franken's victory in the recent Senate election trial be argued no sooner than mid-May, two weeks later than Franken suggested on Tuesday.

    Coleman doesn't even want the recount trial to begin until May, which was when some Minnesota court watches thought the case might conclude.

    As we noted earlier, as Coleman and his attorneys look over their recount legal options, they in no way have to be concerned about, or factor into play, the potential "sore loser" meme that could do real damage to his effort. They can play hardball with impunity because they're getting a free pass from the press.

    (h/t Gawker)

  • WaPo's Kane explains why his paper avoids the term "torture"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Washington Post reporter Paul Kane explains the reluctance to use the word "torture" to describe torture:

    New York, N.Y.: What's the difference betwee the "harsh interrogations" I keep reading about in The Post and actual "torture"? If it's the same thing, then why not just call it "torture"? I don't get it. Aren't you guys continuing to catapult Bush-era propaganda when you use such NewSpeak euphemisms for what we all (finally) know was clearly torture, based on U.S. and International law?

    Paul Kane: You can't call someone a convicted murderer until he/she has actually been convicted.

    Understand? Get it?

    The reason we say "alleged" murder and things like that is for our own legal protection. So we can't be sued for libel. Take a look at financial reports on the newspaper business. We're not going to do anything that leads to us losing any more money these days.

    So who does the Post think is going to sue them for libel if they refer to torture as "torture"? It doesn't seem like there is a long line of people who participated in harsh interrogations torture who are eager to litigate their conduct, but maybe I'm wrong.

  • The Red Scare Index: 31

    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, Socialists, Socialistic, Communism, Communist, Communists, Communistic, Marxism, Marxist, Marxists, Marxistic, Fascism, Fascist, Fascists and Fascistic.

    Here are the numbers for Wednesday, April 22, 2009:

    TOTAL: 31
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 7
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 21
    Marxism/Marxist: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 3

    By Network:

    CNN: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNN Headline News: 6
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 6
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    Fox News Channel: 7
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 3
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 2
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 2

    Fox Business Network: 3
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 2
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 1

    MSNBC: 14
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 1
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 13
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNBC: 1
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 1
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

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

  • Dreadful, even for Drudge

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The top headline on the site currently reads:


    It links, naturally, to an achingly lazy Politico piece which pretends to know what WH aides want reporters to write about Obama's first 100 days. But here's the thing: nowhere in the article does it even come close to suggesting that supporters think Obama's the "greatest president ever."

    Drudge just made that up. Fantasized it. Manufactured it. Describe it however you want. But there's zero in that Politico piece that even remotely hints at the headline Drudge dreamt up; a headline designed to portray Democrats as loony Obama worshipers.

    FYI: Sadly, I don't think this is a joke. From the Politico piece [emphasis added]:

    Full disclosure: POLITICO plunged in with our furrowed brow appraisal of Obama's first 100 days, which will be published on Friday in a special glossy 100 Days magazine.

  • Are GE Shareholders really upset that MSNBC is a ratings success?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    That's what The Hollywood Reporter claims, although its report seems a bit fishy. Here's THR's take:

    Things got testy Wednesday at the GE shareholders meeting courtesy of several complaints about [liberal] political bias at its media division, NBC Universal.

    That just seems odd. And I'm not referring to the fact that MSNBC's entire morning block is hosted by a former GOP Congressman. (Great way to advance that liberal agenda, eh?) But rather, why would GE shareholders, who invest in the global conglomerate to earn back dividends, be upset that the GE-owned cable outlet has practically doubled its ratings in recent years? Why would GE shareholders, who have suffered through dismal earning reports from the business icon recently, be upset that its cable news unit was bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue?

    Meaning, is that really a deep concern among GE investors about MSNBC, or did some activists try to hijack the annual GE proceedings? Here's the clue, which came in the article's final paragraph:

    One shareholder at the Orlando, Fla., meeting was Jesse Waters, a producer of "The O'Reilly Factor." Waters asked a question at the meeting, then turned on the Fox News Channel cameras outside the venue and interviewed other shareholders who attended the meeting.

    This is a classic stunt: buy minimal shares in a company in order to be granted access to the annual shareholder meeting where you might be allowed to ask the chairman a question. Are GE shareholders worldwide upset that MSNBC's become a ratings hit in recent years? Outside of O'Reilly's paid players, there's no indication that's the case.

    Also, note that THR hyped the MSNBC "drama" at the shareholder meeting, but neither Bloomberg nor AP nor WSJ even mentioned the topic in their dispatches from GE's annual confab.

  • Torture memos and Bizarro World, cont'd

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    We noted yesterday the oddity of the press turning the release of the scandalous Bush-era torture memo into a problem for the Obama administration. i.e. Process over substance.

    Today, the AP breathlessly illustrates the peculiar trend:

    Shifting rhetoric at the White House on prosecutions related to interrogation policies

    And the lead:

    A look at the White House's shifting rhetoric on the possibility of prosecutions stemming from CIA interrogation techniques against terror suspects.

    The AP then unfurls a tick-tock look back from Sunday to Tuesday as it roots around with a what-did-they-know-and-when-did-they-know-it narrative of the Obama White House, not, y'know, the one that actually ok'd the law-breaking.

    UPDATE: Slate dutifully publishes a piece (complete with timeline!) about what the torture memo story tells us about Obama's shortcomings. Bizarro World, indeed.

  • UPDATED: ABC News concocts RFK Jr.-Obama controversy

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Kennedy states the obvious today when he tells ABC News that he never called Obama an "indentured servant" to the coal industry.

    Josh Nelson first pointed out ABC's dreadful work by Brian Ross ("RFK Jr. Blasts Obama as 'Indentured Servant' to Coal Industry"), and we amplified the fact that Kennedy never said that about Obama. Now ABC walks it back with a follow-up item:

    RFK Jr. Says He Did Not Call Obama 'Indentured Servant' to Coal: Environmental Leader Says He Was Referring to "Other" Politicians, Not the President

    In the old days, that's what's called a correction.