Friday, December 22, 2006

Media Matters Latest, December 22, 2006

CNN "surpris[ed]" at Dem reaction to Bush's "conciliatory" tone, effort to "press the reset button"
On CNN's The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer noted that Harry Reid took "a new jab at President Bush on Iraq, despite [Bush's] talk of bipartisanship," while Suzanne Malveaux uncritically reported that Bush "vow[ed] several times not only to work with Republicans, but Democrats as well" and John King asserted that the Democratic reaction to Bush' press conference was "surprising." These statements ignored reports -- including those by King and Jeff Greenfield on the same edition of The Situation Room -- that undermine the credibility of Bush's pledge of bipartisanship. Read more

In two articles, in two days, LA Times failed to report Bush reversal on success in Iraq
In the two days since President Bush's December 19 interview with The Washington Post, during which, according to the Post, he "acknowledged for the first time ... that the United States is not winning the war in Iraq," the Los Angeles Times has made no mention of Bush's acknowledgment. In a December 20 article, the Los Angeles Times instead focused solely on Bush "asking for plans to expand the military for a long war against terrorism," while an article in the next day's edition of the paper reported that, during Bush's December 20 press conference, he "delivered an uncharacteristically dour assessment ... of the war and called 2006 a 'difficult year.' " Moreover, in the Times' reprinting of excerpts of the press conference from the Associated Press, the question about Bush's seeming reversal and his acknowledgement of it were not included. By contrast, in their coverage of the interview, the Post, the AP, and USA Today, and on December 21, in The New York Times' coverage of the press conference, all articles noted that Bush's statement, in the Post's words, was "a striking reversal for a president who, days before the November elections, declared, 'Absolutely, we're winning.' " Indeed, during the interview with the Post, Bush responded to a question about the apparent flip-flop by saying that his previous assessment of the situation in Iraq was "an indication of my belief we're going to win." Read more

Despite Bush's rejection of Democrats' call for Iraq timeline, Blitzer said Bush welcomes them to "weigh in"
Following President Bush's December 20 press conference, CNN Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer asserted that Bush is "weighing the options" for achieving stability in Iraq and that "Democrats are welcome to weigh in as well." But, as CNN chief national correspondent John King noted earlier in the day, Bush "rejects Democratic calls for a timeline to bring troops home." Read more

O'Reilly accused "liar[]," "left-wing loon" editor of launching personal attacks
During the "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day" segment on the December 19 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly said that a recent column by Roanoke Times editorial page editor Dan Radmacher was "disgraceful" and accused Radmacher of "us[ing] personal attacks all the time." O'Reilly's professed distaste for personal attacks did not prevent him from calling Radmacher a "loon." Similarly, on the December 19 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, O'Reilly called Radmacher a "left-wing loon," "disgraceful," and "dishonest," adding that "[t]his Dan Radmacher, whoever he is, all The New York Times [Radmacher is an editor for The Roanoke Times] crew. They are liars." Read more

Still more ideological diversity at Time: Kristol and Kinsley signed up
Time magazine has reportedly hired William Kristol, who has advanced misleading attacks on Democrats and opponents of the Bush administration's policies, as a "part-time columnist" and Michael Kinsley, who has used his columns to dismiss evidence that the administration manipulated intelligence to support its case for war, as a biweekly columnist. Read more

O'Reilly: "[I]s there a 50 Cent that we have to put up" for Kwanzaa?
Responding to a caller's assertion that no other "religious symbol other than the Nativity should be put up during Christmas," Bill O'Reilly stated on the December 19 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor that "if you're generous, you [should] put up all the symbols." Continuing, O'Reilly asserted that "there's really only one [other] symbol, and that's the menorah. There's no Kwanzaa symbol." O'Reilly, presumably referring to the rapper 50 Cent, then asked if "there [was] a 50 Cent that we have to put up" to honor Kwanzaa. He was later corrected and told that there is "a Kwanzaa symbol," which he characterized as "a candelabra like Liberace had." Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African holiday celebrated from December 26-January 1. Read more

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell: "Congress has not passed a specific law" on Bush wiretap program
In reporting on President Bush's "argu[ment]" that "he had legal authority" to order warrantless domestic wiretapping, NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell in a December 20 online article uncritically repeated the Bush administration's false claim that "Congress had not passed a specific law" on the subject. Read more

Wash. Post headline falsely claimed Bush "[s]upports Democrats' " minimum wage proposal
A December 21 Washington Post article bore the headline: "Bush Supports Democrats' Minimum Wage Hike Plan," although the article itself, by staff writers Michael A. Fletcher and Jonathan Weisman, made clear that the minimum wage proposal Bush endorsed at his December 20 press conference -- pairing a $2.10 increase with tax cuts -- is not the proposal Democrats favor. CNN's Wolf Blitzer similarly described Bush's minimum wage plan as "an olive branch to Democrats." Read more

New CPB board member Warren Bell on hugging Pelosi: "[T]hat sort of thing leaves a stain"
Warren Bell, a TV producer and National Review Online contributor named to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board of directors via recess appointment, is an avowed conservative and Bush contributor with a record of inflammatory remarks regarding Democrats, women, minorities, and underprivileged people. Read more

Carlson likes "a tiny bit of BS" from the president
On the December 20 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson said "I like a tiny bit of BS" from the president on the Iraq war even though "I know nobody agrees with me." Carlson also claimed that President Bush has a "kind of Teddy Rooseveltian way" because Bush claims that he is "the guy who knows the deep truth, and the deep truth is victory" and suggests that people should not "believe what your eyes tell you." Read more

O'Reilly: "[M]ost women who like artificial trees ... have artificial breasts"
While discussing the results of a recent Rasmussen poll on Christmas on the December 19 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bill O'Reilly stated that "most women who like artificial trees ... have artificial breasts." O'Reilly sourced "a study done" at "UCLA in L.A." in making his claim. Read more

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