Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Media Matters Latest, November 21, 2006

Gender stereotypes and discussions of Armani suits dominate media's coverage of Speaker-elect Pelosi
Since the Democratic Party won control of both the House and the Senate, the media have focused on such issues as Pelosi's choice of attire and whether being female will affect her ability to lead. MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer wondered if Pelosi's "personal feelings [were] getting in the way of effective leadership" -- a problem she suggested would not surface in "men-run leadership posts" -- and whether men were "more capable of taking personality clashes." Read more

Even though she hasn't yet taken office, media already questioning Pelosi's suitability as House speaker
Though Nancy Pelosi will not actually assume the office of House speaker until January, some members of the media, including Wolf Blitzer and Timothy Noah, have questioned her suitability for that position, asserting that she has committed "blunders" that have "underscored her inability to get the job done." Read more

Media glossed over Lott's praise of Thurmond segregationist campaign ... again
In their coverage of Sen. Trent Lott's election as minority whip, several media outlets have either failed to note Lott's 2002 comment praising Strom Thurmond's 1948 pro-segregation presidential campaign or failed to place Lott's remark in the context of his previous statements and actions that have been attacked as racially insensitive.Read more

Matthews and guests admired McCain's leadership on Iraq plan, failed to note questions of feasibility, McCain motives
During a segment focusing on Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) presidential prospects on the November 19 edition of the NBC-syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, host Chris Matthews and his panel discussed what Matthews called McCain's "formula for getting back" into the presidential race and suggested that a key component of McCain's future political success could involve his call for sending more troops to Iraq. During the discussion, U.S. News & World Report contributing editor and CBS News national political correspondent Gloria Borger asserted that McCain is "a smart hawk" who could "sell" the "[un]popular position" of calling for a troop increase, while syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker declared that McCain's Iraq proposal is "an act of ... a leader" and would show McCain to be a "man of principle." New York Times columnist David Brooks later agreed with Matthews' suggestion that McCain is "a better hawk than anybody else," stating that McCain's so-called "hawk on defense" strategy would benefit him as a presidential candidate in 2008. Read more

Reporting McCain's call for more troops in Iraq, LA Times, Wash. Post didn't mention Abizaid's criticisms
In articles reporting Sen. John McCain's renewal of his call for more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post did not mention that Gen. John Abizaid said McCain's plan is unlikely to "add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq." Read more

McCain gush-fest on Chris Matthews Show: McCain is "passionate," "a smart hawk," "kind of like Martin Luther"
On the November 19 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Matthews and his panel, which included syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, New York Times columnist David Brooks, U.S. News & World Report contributing editor and CBS News national political correspondent Gloria Borger, and journalist John Heilemann, heaped praise on Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who recently announced that he has formed a presidential exploratory committee. Parker said McCain is willing to go "out on a limb. So that's a leader"; Brooks praised McCain's energy, saying: "He's running around; he's never sitting down"; Borger called McCain "a smart hawk -- not just a hawk -- but a smart hawk"; and Matthews said McCain is "kind of like a Martin Luther ... reforming and finding the pure conservative movement." Matthews even praised McCain's office as "really a senator's office out of the movies." Heilemann added that McCain "is willing to just do his own thing." Media Matters for America has documented other instances of Matthews gratuitously praising Republicans, such as President Bush (here, here, here, here, and here) and McCain (here and here). Read more

Schieffer repeated GOP claim that newly elected Democratic House members are "a bunch of new conservative Democrats"
CBS' Bob Schieffer baselessly claimed that many of the freshman Democratic House members are "conservative"; Tucker Carlson called newly elected Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler "more conservative than most Republicans in the House." In fact, the Democratic candidates who won Republican-held seats in the November 7 midterm elections, including Shuler, have said they support central issues in the Democratic platform. Read more

Mark Fuhrman on "people" he "dealt with ... for 20 years": "They will kill somebody and go have some chicken at KFC"
On the November 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, former Los Angeles Police Department detective and Fox News contributor Mark Fuhrman asserted that the type of "people" he "dealt with ... for 20 years" will "kill somebody and go have some chicken at KFC. You will catch them eating chicken and drinking a beer after they just murdered three people." Fuhrman added that "these people are out there. They're all over the place." Fuhrman's comments came during a discussion about O.J. Simpson's controversial new book, If I Did It (ReganBooks), to be released at the end of the month, and upcoming Fox special about the book, in which Simpson apparently describes, hypothetically, how he would have murdered his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. Read more

Fox's Barnes: It's "a theological issue" for Democrats "to raise taxes even though there's no reason except vindictiveness against the well-to-do for doing it"
In a discussion on the November 18 edition of Fox News' The Beltway Boys about potential changes to "tax policy" in a Democratic-majority Congress, co-host and Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes claimed that "it drives" Democrats "crazy that the top [federal income tax] rate is only 35 percent," adding: "[T]his is a theological issue to Democrats. They want to raise taxes even though there's no reason except vindictiveness against the well-to-do for doing it." Read more

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