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  • CBS Carries NRA's Water On Flawed Gallup Poll

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Earlier this week, we pointed out that Politico and CNN had used a recently-released Gallup poll to falsely claim that "support for gun control" had plummeted to its lowest level in decades.

    Now CBS is getting into the game, pushing NRA-friendly talking points based on flawed readings of polling data. This morning on The Early Show, anchor Chris Wragge opened a segment on the polling by declaring that "according to a new poll, most Americans are against" gun control. Wragge claimed that this information "may surprise you." It does, mainly because it isn't true.

    As we've noted, Gallup didn't find a majority of Americans opposed gun control. Indeed, according to the poll, 77 percent of respondents want the laws covering the sales of firearms either kept as they are now or made more strict. By this measure, Americans overwhelmingly support gun control.

    CBS' bogus report comes as Congress is debating the National-Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, an NRA-backed measure which requires states to honor concealed carry permits issued by every other state, even when the holder would not qualify for a permit under local law. According to polling conducted by a bipartisan team of polling firms, 74 percent of likely voters oppose the legislation.

    That doesn't sound like a populace dead set against gun violence prevention measures, but I'm sure the NRA appreciates CBS' efforts to push out their message to the contrary.

  • CBS Crawford supplies GOP with falsehoods about Kagan and then reports that GOP will use those falsehoods

    Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

    CBS chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford reported on this morning's edition of CBS' The Early Show that Senate Republicans will attack Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a "liberal activist" based on memos she wrote while clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall. But Crawford's predicted GOP attack on the Marshall memos largely echoed falsehoods and distortions that Crawford herself promulgated.

    We've noted that, on June 3, Jan Crawford distorted Kagan's memos to Marshall to suggest that she is outside the mainstream of legal thought on abortion, guns, and gay rights. The day after her initial report aired, Crawford wrote a post about Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, calling the memos "troubling." And conservatives have since echoed her reporting.

    However, none of Crawford's reporting was accurate, even down to Crawford's suggestion that the Marshall memos had just become available and that they necessarily represented Kagan's own views.

    Furthermore, legal expert Eugene Volokh has definitively debunked the idea that Kagan's memos were controversial. Volokh said that the memos "show her doing what she was supposed to do."

    Nevertheless, Crawford has pronounced herself "baffled" as to why her inaccurate reporting generated criticism.

    And Crawford is still at it. On today's edition of CBS' The Early Show, Crawford reported on what to expect when Kagan's hearings begin this afternoon, and she put the Marshall memos front and center. Crawford reported that Republicans "will try to paint her as a liberal activist, pointing to memos she wrote as a clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall and while an advisor to President Clinton."

  • Early Show contributor to her father, Sen. Scott Brown: "Would you run for president?"

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Ayla Brown, a contributor for CBS' Early Show, had a hard-hitting Father's Day inspired interview with her dad, Massachusetts GOP Senator Scott Brown this week:

    For anyone wondering why CBS hired Brown back in April as a contributor, the interview doesn't provide a clue as to her journalistic bona fides but don't forget, she did come in somewhere between thirteenth and sixteenth place on American Idol back in 2006.

    She begins the piece saying Sen. Brown is "just the guy who taught me to play basketball and love motorcycles" and the questions following the set-up are just as sappy:

    When did you start thinking of me as an adult?

    You taught me everything I know about basketball, but did you ever think that one day I could beat you pretty handily?

    Are you scared or worried that I won't find someone, is that why you said I was available?

    How has life changed after winning the election in terms of being a dad?

    If Mom, Arianna, and I all supported you in this decision, would you run for President?

    Ridiculously, Early Show co-host Harry Smith, who described the interview as "quite a story," told Brown that she asked her father "the tough question."

    The "tough question" must have been cut from the interview because the ones listed above are quite literally all of the questions aired during the interview.

    Oh, if only every Senator had a reality show cast-off child working as a contributor for one of the network morning shows -- they could fill every Father's Day and Mother's Day with such fine, quality programming.


    Happy Father's Day dad.

  • Obama calls "vitriol" of Beck and Limbaugh "troublesome"

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    During an exclusive interview with CBS Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, President Obama was asked about the "level of enmity" on talk radio. He responded saying that the "vitriol" coming from the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh is "troublesome."

    Smith: I've been out and about, listening to talk radio. The kindest of terms you're sometimes referred to out in America is a 'socialist'. The worst of which I've heard is called a 'Nazi'. Are you aware of the level of enmity that crosses the airwaves and that people have made part of their daily conversation about you?

    President Obama: Well, I mean, I think that when you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, it's pretty apparent, and it's troublesome. But, keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of vitriol comes out. It happens often when you've got an economy that is making people more anxious, and people are feeling as if there is a lot of change that needs to take place. But that's not the vast majority of Americans. I think the vast majority of Americans know that we're trying hard, that I want what's best for the country.

  • At CBS News, Ann Coulter is welcome -- but not Michael Moore

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    So, let me get this straight: CBS Early Show host Harry Smith interviewed Ann Coulter after she called him "certifiably insane" -- but the morning show has allegedly cancelled a scheduled Michael Moore appearance out of fear that he will criticize CBS?

    Moore explains, via Twitter: "Backlash Begins: CBS has cancelled me on its Mon. morning show. After I criticized ABC/Disney on GMA, they didn't want me to do same to CBS."

    As usual, if you criticize the media, they'll hang on your every word -- as long as you are a conservative, particularly one who repeatedly fantasizes about killing journalists.

  • Media nearly silent as 40th anniversary of Stonewall approaches

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    In my column this week I looked at the terrain of the media landscape faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans noting, in part:

    ...despite increased public acceptance and the passage of some basic legal protections, not only is sexual orientation still a taboo for many in the media, all too often it serves as a focal point for hate, ridicule, and misinformation.

    Looking back now, I should have also noted that, in addition to the "taboo," "hate, ridicule, and misinformation," LGBT Americans regularly face something far more insidious in the media: silence.

    This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots which are largely credited with sparking the modern LGBT civil rights movement. For those unfamiliar with this seminal moment in gay history (I don't blame you, so little attention has been paid to the event by the media) here's the gist of it from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights:

    [In 1969], there were not many places where people could be openly gay. New York had laws prohibiting homosexuality in public, and private businesses and gay establishments were regularly raided and shut down.

    In the early hours of June 28, 1969, a group of gay customers at a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn, who had grown angry at the harassment by police, took a stand and a riot broke out. As word spread throughout the city about the demonstration, the customers of the inn were soon joined by other gay men and women who started throwing objects at the policemen, shouting "gay power."

    Police reinforcements arrived and beat the crowd away, but the next night, the crowd returned, even larger than the night before, with numbers reaching over 1000. For hours, protesters rioted outside the Stonewall Inn until the police sent a riot-control squad to disperse the crowd. For days following, demonstrations of varying intensity took place throughout the city.

    In the wake of the riots, intense discussions about civil rights were held among New York's LGBT people, which led to the formation of various advocacy groups such as the short-lived Gay Liberation Front, which was the first group to use the word "gay" in its name, and a city-wide newspaper called Gay. On the 1st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first gay pride parades in U.S. history took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and near the Stonewall Inn in New York.

    The Stonewall riots inspired LGBT people throughout the country to organize in support of gay rights, and within two years after the riots, gay rights groups had been started in nearly every major city in the United States.

    Well, according to a search of and Nexis, scant attention this week has been paid by the media to this historic civil rights anniversary.

    CABLE NEWS: Since Monday, turns up exactly four mentions of Stonewall on CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, Fox Business News, MSNBC and CNBC. All four mentions occurred on the June 23 broadcast of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. Double checked on Nexis – same results.

    NETWORK NEWS (Morning Shows/Nightly News): Since Monday, hasn't turned up a single mention of Stonewall on ABC's Good Morning America or World News, CBS' Early Show or Evening News, or NBC's Today Show or Nightly News. Double checked on Nexis – same results.

    MAJOR NEWSPAPERS: Since Monday, a search of Nexis turns up 2 stories discussing Stonewall in any substantive way printed in America's top ten daily newspapers – USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle and Arizona Republic. A search of these newspapers' websites confirm the results. What exactly did these publications print about the anniversary?

    USA Today: Nothing
    Wall Street Journal: Nothing
    New York Times: Passing reference to Stonewall in story about the lack of a national leader in the gay right's movement.
    Los Angeles Times: Nothing
    New York Daily News: Two good stories about the Stonewall anniversary.
    Washington Post: Printed an AP story titled "Today in History" that lists Stonewall as one of 13 events and 18 birthdays worth noting this week.
    Chicago Tribune: Passing reference to Stonewall in story about a senior center for gay seniors.
    Houston Chronicle: Printed an AP story titled "Today in History" that lists Stonewall as one of 13 events and 18 birthdays worth noting this week.
    Arizona Republic: Nothing

    Of America's top ten daily newspapers, only the New York Daily News spent much time at all discussing the Stonewall anniversary this week – the rest either make passing reference with little context or, worse yet, print nothing at all.

    So, the 40th anniversary of Stonewall has been granted one cable news segment and 2 print stories this week. Surely such an historic milestone merits more serious attention, not just from cable and network news outlets but from newspapers as well.

    h/t D.C.

    UPDATE: It's nice to see the AARP doing so much with its various media arms to commemorate Stonewall.

    UPDATE 2: has a good package up on Stonewall. Hopefully they'll follow suit with something equally substantive in the print edition.

  • CBS fails to note political basis for GOP Supreme Court opposition

    ››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

    The Early Show reported that Republicans think President Obama's Supreme Court nominee will "be a Robin Hood ... who's going to steal from the rich and give to the poor" and a proponent of "liberal judicial activism," but did not note that Republicans and conservatives reportedly plan to oppose any Obama nominee for political purposes.

  • Media repeatedly declare that Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" -- but the cliché lives on


    A Media Matters analysis found that since the day after President Obama's inauguration, broadcast and cable news figures have been stating that Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" or questioning whether it is, rendering the cliché all but meaningless. During this period, media figures have suggested Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" with respect to "some ... die-hard Republicans," the media, African-Americans, Cuban President Fidel Castro, "Republican critics of his economic recovery plan," and economists.

  • Media play meteorologists, baselessly forecast "clouds" for Obama because of Blagojevich scandal


    In the absence of any actual allegations of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama or his staff in connection with the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, several media figures have in recent days ominously asserted that a "cloud" hangs over Obama because of the Blagojevich scandal, or that the scandal threatens to cast a "cloud" over Obama's presidency.