The Chicago Tribune, on its Swampland blog, has a story today claiming that the White House contacted a Democratic "strategist" and told him or her not to appear on Fox News. The strategist is unnamed, and the White House has vehemently denied the charge. The one voice in the Swampland piece bolstering the claim is Pat Caddell, former pollster for Jimmy Carter. Caddell is a Fox News contributor, and despite his work for President Carter has a documented history of furthering conservative misinformation.
Since his affiliation with Carter, Caddell has attacked the Clinton administration, Janet Reno, and the Democratic party itself. Caddell was recently featured on The Glenn Beck Show decrying what he described as the "gangster politics" of the Obama administration.
So, maybe not the best person to back up an anonymous claim showing a Democratic administration in a negative light.
Earlier today, a hospitalized Glenn Beck tweeted in praise of the "AMAZING drs/nurses" who have cared for him since the emergency removal of his inflamed appendix yesterday afternoon.
The quality of care he is receiving should not have come as a surprise. When Beck complained of acute abdominal pain during his radio program on Wednesday, he was rushed to a nearby hospital. The security-conscious Beck has not disclosed the name of the facility, but it's a safe bet that it is staffed by proud members of a storied union: New York's Local 1199, aka United Healthcare Workers East, which belongs to the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU has organized all of Manhattan's major hospitals, including every facility to which Beck could have conceivably been sent.
While he's lying on his back, Beck should take advantage of his illness to begin his self-education. He might ask his "amazing" nurses what they think about their wages and benefits, which are some of the best in the country. He should ask them to talk about the relationship between those wages and their yellow and purple union cards. He might learn that they enjoy some of the highest standards for healthcare jobs in the country, not because of the "free market," but because generations of 1199 members fought for them.
The quality of care Beck is receiving is directly connected to the proud history of New York's Local 1199. To pick just one study out of many, research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows that heart attack victims sent to unionized hospitals enjoy higher survival rates over those sent to non-unionized hospitals by between seven and 11 percent.
As Media Matters has repeatedly documented, Glenn Beck has waged an almost non-stop smear campaign versus SEIU over the last year.
A new poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal indicates that there has been an uptick in support for the public option in upcoming health care reform legislation. As Media Matters has shown, support for the public option has always been pretty high despite the media's ignorance. But what's great is how Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters has created a conspiracy theory that this poll result has been timed out between NBC/WSJ and Senator Reid. Here is Sheppard's evidence:
Isn't THAT convenient?!?
See? He used two question marks. And an exclamation point. No actual evidence of any sort, but why do you need that for a pretty incendiary accusation when you have two question marks? I'm convinced.
Discussing Rush Limbaugh's failed bid to be part owner of the St. Louis Rams, the Wall Street Journal printed this laughable bit in an op-ed:
By contrast, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who fires off his own brand of high-velocity, left-wing political commentary but lacks Mr. Limbaugh's sense of humor, appears weekly as co-host of NBC's "Football Night in America." We haven't heard anyone on the right say Mr. Olbermann's nightly ad-hominem rants should disqualify him from hanging around the NFL. (empasis added)
This is, quite simply, not true.
Justin Quinn, of About.com's US Conservative Blog (January 4, 2009):
Olbermann is an arrogant pig and his presence on NBC's "Football Night in America" is a constant affront to conservatives everywhere who watch the NFL.
Human Events (Sep. 2, 2009):
Because such duplicitous and hysterical attacks are the norm for Olbermann, whose MSNBC show includes segments with classy titles like "WTF?" and "Worst Person in the World," it's hard to grasp why NBC Sports is keeping him on board for a third season as host of "Football Night in America."
Media Research Center's Newsbusters.org (April 16, 2007):
Will the Post and other liberal media organizations decry Olbermann's selection?
Conservative blogger Ace of Spades (Sept. 14, 2009):
Olbermann is not funny anymore and he is such a partisan scumbag that it is an insult to football fans to have him anywhere near the greatest sport there is. So let's get him booted off.
Next time, Wall Street Journal, listen harder.
It's a pattern we've seen before and will likely see again. Often during the Clinton presidency, stories embarrasing to the administration - many of them with no basis in reality - were written about in the British press with little to no actual sourcing then highlighted by domestic conservative outlets as if there was some validity to them. This would then infect domestic discourse and prompt reporting from U.S. news outlets about the invented stories. To call this sort of behavior shoddy journalism is almost generous.
Today's example is this story from the London Telegraph, headlined "Barack Obama furious at General Stanley McChrystal speech on Afghanistan". Who does the story cite for its evidence of President Obama's allegedly "furious" state? "[S]ources close to the administration", an "adviser to the administration", "[s]ome commentators" and "critics". Even those anonymous sources discuss differing views on policy, not the supposed events the article's hook relays. No named sources, or even administration sources, support the headline's contention about the President's supposed emotional state.
Predictably conservative bloggers are taking the ball and running down the field.
The city council for Mount Vernon, Washington was not nearly as wild about the idea of "Glenn Beck Day" as the mayor:
On Wednesday night, the City Council of this town of 32,000 distanced itself from Mayor Bud Norris, who plans to give the keys to the city to talk-show personality Glenn Beck on Saturday.
The seven-member council unanimously passed a resolution proposed by member Dale Ragan that stated, "Mount Vernon City Council is in no way sponsoring the Mayor's event on September 26, 2009 and is not connected to the Glenn Beck event in any manner."
The resolution came after two dozen people who had signed up for the public-comment part of the session spoke in often emotional language to oppose honoring the controversial talk-show host.
Beck, who just made the cover of Time magazine, was in the news recently for labeling President Obama a "racist," a statement that brought a boycott of dozens of advertisers from his Fox TV show. He is recognized as a polarizing figure.
Writing about the recently leaked memo from General Stanley McChrystal about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, Bill Roggio of The Long War Journal wrote this under the headline "McChrystal to resign if not given resources for Afghanistan":
According to McClatchy, military officers close to General McChrystal said he is prepared to resign if he isn't given sufficient resources (read "troops") to implement a change of direction in Afghanistan [emphasis mine]
Three officers at the Pentagon and in Kabul told McClatchy that the McChrystal they know would resign before he'd stand behind a faltering policy that he thought would endanger his forces or the strategy [emphasis mine].
Which, as clear as day, is mighty different from the story Roggio published. As usual, this apparently did not stop conservative bloggers from doing the hard work of clicking the link to see the story for themselves. They took Roggio's misrepresentation as gospel.
Fox News ran a full page ad today in the Washington Post, NY Post, and Wall Street Journal touting their coverage of the Tea Party protest.
Of course as Media Matters has documented, Fox essentially acted as a sponsor of the protest. But even worse, Fox claims in the ad that their competitors (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN) didn't cover the demonstration. But as TVNewser reports, they did.
NBC News had crews on the mall and correspondent Tom Costello reported live for NBC Nightly News Saturday. A Nightly News spokesperson tells TVNewser, "and more than 5.2 million viewers watched our coverage." It was Weekend Nightly's best Total Viewer delivery since April.
ABC News was there too with reports for Good Morning America Saturday and Sunday. Kate Snow interviewed GOP Sen. Jim DeMint who was a speaker at the rally. ABCNews.com even had to correct a report about the number of attendees which was erroneously attributed to the network. Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks, the organizer of the event, made that claim. He would later say, "I regret misrepresenting the network as [ABC's] coverage that day was fair and honest." And from NoonET Saturday to NoonET Sunday, ABC News Radio referenced the rally in 69 separate newscasts.
And CBS News was there -- with multiple crews -- TV and radio. Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reported it as the lead story on Saturday's CBS Evening News. CBS Radio News provided hourly reports throughout the day and CBSNews.com reported the story as the rotating lead all day, using Cordes' video before it appeared in her Evening News story.
CNN was there as well, their Radio correspondent even got up close with the crowds.
If Fox can't tell the truth about a simple issue like this...
Conservative bloggers and media continue to insist without the benefit of actual facts that there were millions of tea party protesters on the Mall last Saturday. Here's another data point that makes these claims quite inconvenient.
According to the Washington Metro Area Transportation Authority (WMATA), 437,624 people rode on the Metro Rail system on Saturday, September 12th. How does that day compare to similar Saturdays?
September 5th, 2009: 300,963 riders
August 29th, 2009: 303,997 riders
August 22th, 2009: 293,200 riders
So, was Metro ridership up on the day of the protest? Sure. but the increase in riders could at best be charitably described as modest (and surely some of those riders were participants in the National Black Family Reunion event).
By comparison the Metro ridership for President Obama's inauguration - an event where most counts put the attendee count at above 1 million - was 1,120,000. This was described by WMATA as "the highest ridership day ever in the transit authority's history".
No recent events have been described this way by the Transportation Authority.
Las Vegas TV anchor Nina Radetich got caught red handed offering the PR services of her husband to a local auto repair chain that her station, KTNV, was doing an investigative report on. So far, Radetich hasn't been fired. But then again, isn't that just emulating what we see time and time in the national media?
Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz pretends as if his employer, CNN, doesn't broadcast birther-proponent Lou Dobbs every night. And NBC/MSNBC regularly features analyst Gen. Barry McCaffrey without disclosing his DynCorp ties.
The national media - with an audience in the millions - regularly plays fast and loose with the ethics of journalism. What incentive is there for a local anchor to do the right thing?