• Newsbusters, what's your point about Milk?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Newsbusters is the online destination for conservative anxious for more (hourly) proof that the press has a liberal bias. On Monday, the theme was the press was too nice during the announcement of Hillary Clinton as SoS. ("No Raining on Obama's Parade, As Nets Fail to Remember Attacks on Hillary") And in general it's been that the press has been too nice to the Obama post-election. ("Walters Put Bush on Defense in 2001, But Tosses Softballs to Obama.")

    You get the idea. Newsbusters posts a headline about a supposed press calamity and then explains what horrible newsroom crime against the GOP (or humanity) has been committed by the America's ocean of biased reporters.

    But the item headlined "CBS Offers Tribute to Harvey Milk: 'A Rebel With A Cause'" caught our attention because Newsbusters never got around to complaining about anything in the CBS report. There was nothing factually wrong, at least not accoridng to Newsbusters. And there were no allegations of bias. Newsbusters didn't claim any relevent information had been left out of the CBS report.

    Was the the only reason Newsbusters posted the item because Newsbusters was irked that CBS devoted time to a movie about a (liberal) gay guy. And if so, does that really qualify as media criticism?

    P.S. We wouldn't want to be in the Newsbusters office the day this year's Academy Awards nominations are announced.

  • Will the press call out the WH's rampant Iraq revisionism?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Yesterday Greg Sargent at TPM noted that the press pretty much shrugged its collective shoulders in response to president Bush's declaration that the biggest regret of his presidency was the failure of the intel prior to the Iraq war.

    As Sargent noted:

    Not a single one of their reports on the interview that we can find bothered to tell readers that there was plenty of good intel -- ignored by the Bush administration -- saying that Saddam wasn't the threat Bush was claiming he was.

    Perhaps urged on by the press' non-response to the heavy-handed revisionism, war cheerleaders Karl Rove and Bill Kristol have now added their voices to the if-we'd-only-known chorus. Writes Sam Stein at HuffPo:

    Former Bush strategist Karl Rove said on Tuesday evening that had the President known Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, the United States would not have gone to war.

    As for the NYT columnist:

    Bill Kristol...said he agreed with the sentiment that "the President would not in fact have gone to war if he had known what seems to be the case, that Saddam did not have functioning weapons programs at the time."

    Again, no signs yet that the press is interested in correcting the record. Whether that has anything to do wtih the fact that the elite press largely signed off with the WH's plans for Iraq in 2003 and that lots of pundits now also subscribe to the misleading if-we'd-only-know talking point, it's hard to say.

  • New York Post plays dumb about Obama ring story

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    On Tuesday, Rupert Murdoch's flagship newspaper hyped the British tabloid report about Obama having ordered a $30,000 "thank you" ring for his wife Michelle. And yes, the Post claimed the story was rich in symbolism:

    The country's economy is in shambles, but President-elect Barack Obama is reportedly sparing no expense when it comes to bling for his first lady.

    Loved the "bling" reference to the first African-American First Lady, didn't' you?

    Anyway, turns out the story's not true. Both Obama's camp and the Italian jeweler in question have denied the report, a fact even Matt Drudge conceded. But according to Nexis, the Post remains mum about the facts surrounding a false story it hyped.

  • Did Politico just refer to the Obama adminstration as a "pile of manure"?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Here's the lead from John Harris and Glenn Thrush:

    Hillary Rodham Clinton has a favorite expression for turning setback into opportunity: "Bloom where you're planted."

    Her three-decade career on the public stage has produced countless examples of Clinton sprouting a flower in a pile of manure. Few of them are more vivid than this week's official announcement that she is the nominee to serve as secretary of state to Barack Obama.

    How else would you read that?

  • David Gregory, why all the drama?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    This is quite amusing.

    Word leaked this week that NBC was going to tap David Gregory for the coveted moderator position at Meet the Press. But now we learn that "the network has not finalized the deal," that "negotiations" are still on-going, and that the leak may be "potential impediment to concluding the deal." Gregory might even have a offer from GMA!

    Is any of this unusual? Not really. The media elite sometimes negotiation their seven-figure deals through the press. But it sure is funny to watch a journalist at the center of this type of story considering that when word recently leaked a certain junior senator from New York was up for the SoS job, that negotiations were ongoing and that the leak may have been premature, the press howled about how difficult Hillary Clinton was being and how she always brought so much "drama" with her.

    So what's Gregory's excuse?

    For us, we hope Gregory just takes the job so we don't have to listen/hear/watch any more deeply serious Beltway reports about who's going to moderate the show. To us, based on the CW roster of reported finalists, it's just not that important.

  • Maureen Dowd has found her true calling

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Profiling sitcom actresses for entertainment magazine. (Can't say we're surprised.)

    If we take up a (large) collection, do you think we can convince Graydon Carter to bring MoDo on staff at VF, which would open up a slot on the NYT Op-Ed page for somebody who, y'know, is actually interested in politics and American governance?

  • Of course Barbara Walters thinks Rush Limbaugh is "fascinating", cont'd

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Newsflash: In his Barbara Walters interviews, featured in the upcoming "The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008," the conservative talker who failed in stopping John McCain's GOP nomination and who failed in stopping Barack Obama's presidency (that's quite a year Rush), delivers this incredibly fascinating insight.

    It's re: Hillary as SoS:

    "You know the old phrase 'You keep your friends close and your enemies closer?'" Limbaugh asked. "He puts her over at secretary of state, how can she run for president in 2012? ... Then she's got to run against the incumbent? And be critical of him, the one who made her secretary of state?"

    I mean, Rush is what, probably the 30th or 40th pundit to make that exact same point. Fascinating, indeed Babs.

  • Is the AP even going to try to count the Iraqi dead?

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Apparently not.

    Here's a recent swipe as the topic:

    The war has claimed more than 4,200 American lives and killed a far greater, untold number of Iraqis, consumed huge reserves of money and resources and eroded the global stature of the United States, even among its closest allies.

    The Media Bloundhound is not impressed:

    How's that for a statistically rigorous accounting? With the exactitude of a third-grader's book report cribbed from a novel's dust jacket copy, the AP -- America's #1 wire news service -- blankets US news outlets with a quantification of Iraqi casualties that would've made Stalin proud. Seriously, it's 2008.

    The Media Bloundhound isn't shocked though. The press has been absolutely allergic to the critical question of Iraqi deaths ever since the war began. And by the way, if the AP were actually interested, the floor to that Iraqi number probably begins around 250,000. Placed alongside the 4,200 figure, it sure raises lots of uncomfortable questions, doesn't it?

  • "Big News Orgs Help Bush Whitewash History Of Iraq War"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Writes Greg Sargent and TPM, and he's right.

    He's referring to Bush's recent, semi-exit interview where he claimed the biggest regret of his presidency was the failure of the intel prior to the Iraq war. That bout of "candor" is what's made the headlines. But as Sargent points out, Bush's version of events is a whitewash of what actually happened, but the press isn't calling him out on his so-called candor:

    Not a single one of their reports on the interview that we can find bothered to tell readers that there was plenty of good intel -- ignored by the Bush administration -- saying that Saddam wasn't the threat Bush was claiming he was. Nor did any of them bother mentioning that the weapons inspectors in Iraq were saying the same thing -- something that also went ignored.

  • CDS, via Slate

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Just when you thought the Village couldn't get any creepier, Emily Yoffe at Slate delivers:

    Isn't it time for Hillary Clinton to get a quickie divorce from Bill (it can be done; it took about 20 minutes for Madonna to dissolve her marriage) before her confirmation hearings start?...And just think, if she divorced him, it would be the first time that their relationship made sense.

    Whether the fact that Yoffe's item appeared on XX Factor, where "Slate women blog about politics," makes the whole thing even more disturbing remains open for debate.