Friday, November 17, 2006

Media Matters Latest, November 17, 2006

NY Times highlighted Democratic "finger-pointing and infighting" but downplayed contentious GOP leadership battles
In recent post-election articles, The New York Times has portrayed Democratic Party leaders as plagued by "recriminations, finger-pointing and infighting" that have "cast a cloud over the party's post-election celebration" but has ignored or downplayed recent divisions among Republicans. Read more

Beck characterized letter criticizing Al Qaeda as "surprising," because "the man who wrote it is a Muslim"
On November 15, during his one-hour CNN Headline News special titled "Exposed: The Extremist Agenda," Glenn Beck described as "surprising" a letter by Islamic Society of Nevada director Aslam Abdullah criticizing Al Qaeda in Iraq. The reason it is surprising, according to Beck? Because "the man who wrote it is a Muslim." Abdullah criticized Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Hamza al-Muhajer for "abandon[ing] God" and accused the leaders of Al Qaeda of "hid[ing] in your caves and behind the faces of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq." Beck began the program "by airing some unbelievable propaganda used by extremists," and he pledged to devote the hour to those who "use religion to justify their hatred." Read more

Media glossed over new Senate minority whip Trent Lott's pro-segregation, anti-civil rights past
In reporting on Sen. Trent Lott's (R-MS) November 15 election as Senate minority whip, several print media outlets noted that Lott had made a "comeback" after stepping down from the Senate leadership in 2002 over remarks he made at then-Sen. Strom Thurmond's (R-SC) birthday party praising Thurmond's 1948 pro-segregation presidential campaign, but failed to note that Lott's 2002 remarks were just the most recent in a pattern of public statements and actions that were attacked as racially insensitive and, in several cases, as indicating support for racist entities. Read more

ABC VP presented with "Freedom of Expression Award" at right-wing film festival for her role in pushing The Path to 9/11
The Liberty Film Festival, "a forum for conservative thought on film," recently awarded ABC Vice President Judith Tukich, a right-wing evangelical who has described her mission as "evangeliz[ing] the world ... through the media," the festival's "Freedom of Expression Award" for her role in assisting the production and promotion of The Path to 9/11. Read more

Situation Room onscreen text: Is Pelosi "Damaged Goods?"
On the November 16 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer asked "how badly is [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi [D-CA] damaged politically?" while the question "Damaged Goods?" was displayed on screen. Blitzer was referring to an "intraparty battle" among House Democrats, in which Pelosi backed Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) to be House majority leader but Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was ultimately elected. Read more

Lowry falsely claimed poll shows most Americans support sending more troops to Iraq
The National Review's Rich Lowry falsely claimed that a "late-October New York Times poll found that 55 percent of the public favors sending more troops to Iraq." In fact, according to an October 27-31 New York Times/CBS News poll, only 16 percent of respondents favored increasing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. Read more

ABC's World News omitted Abizaid's rebuttal of McCain's criticism on troop levels
An ABC World News report on the "tense exchange" between Sen. John McCain and Gen. John Abizaid omitted Abizaid's rebuttal to McCain's assertion that Abizaid had ignored calls for more U.S. troops in Iraq. Read more

Olbermann awarded Beck "Worst Person" for saying he "feel[s]" like asking first Muslim congressman to "prove to me that you are not working with our enemies"
On the November 15 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann named Glenn Beck winner of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for, as Media Matters for America documented, declaring to Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress: "[Y]ou are a Democrat. You are saying, 'Let's cut and run.' And I have to tell you, what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies." Read more

Continuing a pattern of dubious defenses, MSNBC's Carlson declared: "I've never seen any evidence that Trent Lott is a racist"
On the November 15 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson claimed he had "never seen any evidence that [Sen.] Trent Lott [R-MS] is a racist" and did not mention Lott's history of public statements and actions that have been attacked as racially insensitive and, in several cases, as indicating support for racist entities. Carlson also opined that if one were to consider Lott a "racist," "you could say the same about every man over 60 ... south of the Mason-Dixon Line." Carlson's comments came during a discussion with radio talk-show host Michael Graham about Lott's recent election as Senate minority whip in the 110th Congress. Read more

Asserting that Dems "starting to feel some of the pressure" of catching bin Laden, CNN's Todd ignored Bush's reported failure
In a CNN report, Brian Todd stated that "after years of accusing the White House of taking its eye off the ball in Afghanistan, the Democrats are starting to feel some of the pressure that goes with hunting the world's most wanted man." In mentioning only Democrats' accusations and, without elaboration, the fact that Osama bin Laden has eluded capture, Todd left out the reported facts that give substance to those accusations. Read more

O'Reilly denied being "prejudice[d] in any way shape or form," then acknowledged he "form[s] assumptions based on appearance"
On the November 14 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Bill O'Reilly offered a series of contradictory statements while arguing that America "is a fair country" that is "generally" not "discriminatory." Read more

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