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Calls out CNN for what it is...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2004 12:34pm PT  

Wow. I told you this thing was gonna get ugly. John O'Neill implodes on live TV on Thursday, and on Friday, live on CNN, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart blows up Tucker Carlson, CNN and Crossfire. Finally!

Watch it, or read the highlights below. It's funny, sad, true and incredible LIVE television!:


I don't usually like to quote this much text, but if you missed the show, you've got to read some of this that I pulled from the full transcript...

STEWART: I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad. (LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: We have noticed.

STEWART: And I wanted to --- I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't --- it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: But in its defense...

STEWART: So I wanted to come here today and say...Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys.

CARLSON: Yes.

STEWART: Stop. (LAUGHTER) Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.

...

STEWART: See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations. And we're left out there to mow our lawns.

BEGALA: By beating up on them? You just said we're too rough on them when they make mistakes.

STEWART: No, no, no, you're not too rough on them. You're part of their strategies. You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks. (LAUGHTER)

...

CARLSON: And I'll tell you. When politicians come on...

STEWART: Yes.

CARLSON: It's nice to get them to try and answer the question. And in order to do that, we try and ask them pointed questions. I want to contrast our questions with some questions you asked John Kerry recently.

STEWART: If you want to compare your show to a comedy show, you're more than welcome to. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: No, no, no, here's the point.

STEWART: If that's your goal.

CARLSON: It's not.

STEWART: I wouldn't aim for us. I'd aim for "Seinfeld." That's a very good show.

...

STEWART: You know, it's interesting to hear you talk about my responsibility. I didn't realize that --- and maybe this explains quite a bit...that the news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity. (LAUGHTER) So what I would suggest is, when you talk about you're holding politicians' feet to fire, I think that's disingenuous.

...

STEWART: But my point is this. If your idea of confronting me is that I don't ask hard-hitting enough news questions, we're in bad shape, fellows. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: We're here to love you, not confront you...We're here to be nice.

STEWART: No, no, no, but what I'm saying is this. I'm not. I'm here to confront you, because we need help from the media and they're hurting us. And it's --- the idea is... (APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Let me get this straight. If the indictment is --- if the indictment is --- and I have seen you say this --- that...

STEWART: Yes.

BEGALA: ... that CROSSFIRE reduces everything, as I said in the intro, to left, right, black, white.

STEWART: Yes.

BEGALA: Well, it's because, see, we're a debate show.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great.

BEGALA: It's like saying The Weather Channel reduces everything to a storm front.

STEWART: I would love to see a debate show.

BEGALA: We're 30 minutes in a 24-hour day where we have each side on, as best we can get them, and have them fight it out.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great. To do a debate would be great. But that's like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Jon, Jon, Jon, I'm sorry. I think you're a good comedian. I think your lectures are boring.

STEWART: Yes.

CARLSON: Let me ask you a question on the news.

STEWART: Now, this is theater. It's obvious. How old are you?

CARLSON: Thirty-five.

STEWART: And you wear a bow tie. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Yes, I do. I do.

STEWART: So this is...

CARLSON: I know. I know. I know. You're a...

STEWART: So this is theater.

CARLSON: Now, let me just...

STEWART: Now, listen, I'm not suggesting that you're not a smart guy, because those are not easy to tie...But the thing is that this --- you're doing theater, when you should be doing debate, which would be great.

BEGALA: We do, do...

STEWART: It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.

CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?

STEWART: Absolutely.

CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...

STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. (LAUGHTER) What is wrong with you? (APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Well, I'm just saying, there's no reason for you --- when you have this marvelous opportunity not to be the guy's butt boy, to go ahead and be his butt boy. Come on. It's embarrassing.

STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.

STEWART: You need to go to one.

...

STEWART: The thing that I want to say is, when you have people on for just knee-jerk, reactionary talk...

CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.

STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey. (LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Go ahead. Go ahead.

STEWART: I watch your show every day. And it kills me.

CARLSON: I can tell you love it.

STEWART: It's so --- oh, it's so painful to watch. (LAUGHTER)

STEWART: You know, because we need what you do. This is such a great opportunity you have here to actually get politicians off of their marketing and strategy.

CARLSON: Is this really Jon Stewart? What is this, anyway?

STEWART: Yes, it's someone who watches your show and cannot take it anymore. (LAUGHTER) I just can't.

CARLSON: What's it like to have dinner with you? It must be excruciating. Do you like lecture people like this or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture them; they're not doing the right thing, that they're missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?

STEWART: If I think they are. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: I wouldn't want to eat with you, man. That's horrible.

STEWART: I know. And you won't.

...

STEWART: But let me ask you guys, again, a question, because we talked a little bit about, you're actually doing honest debate and all that. But, after the debates, where do you guys head to right afterwards?

CARLSON: The men's room.

STEWART: Right after that?

BEGALA: Home.

STEWART: Spin alley.

BEGALA: Home.

STEWART: No, spin alley.

BEGALA: What are you talking about? You mean at these debates?

STEWART: Yes. You go to spin alley, the place called spin alley. Now, don't you think that, for people watching at home, that's kind of a drag, that you're literally walking to a place called deception lane? (LAUGHTER) Like, it's spin alley. It's --- don't you see, that's the issue I'm trying to talk to you guys...

...

CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just my opinion.

STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show. (LAUGHTER)

Wow. And bravo, Mr. Stewart.

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A Fair and Balanced Look at Sexual Harassment charges against Bill O'Reilly
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2004 2:17pm PT  

Hubris is a funny, yet often predictable, thing. Last February on this blog, I asked:

Any idea what the coming Fall of O'Reilly will be? Live boy? Dead girl? Married to his own mother?

Well, it looks like I was wrong. His downfall is a Live Girl. Looks like there may be several of them at that. I was close anyway.

Though I know that these charges have not yet had their day in court, that never stopped Fox News from covering similarly unsubstantiated charges against their political enemies like Bill Clinton or CBS or others (Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson etc.) so I see no reason why turnabout isn't fairplay.

To that end, I've been reviewing O'Reilly's pre-emptive complaint filed this morning, and his accusers complaint also filed today. I will be updating you shortly after I've finished reviewing the materials, but for the moment, I'd say things don't look too good for Mr. No Spin. I'll explain why in an follow-up shortly after I've finished my review.

For the moment though, O'Reilly has the upper hand with three hours of national TV and Radio per day on which to make he's case, and he already began to do so at the beginning of his radio show this morning. As well, he has the enormous resources of the Fox News and Newscorp legal team and their friends in the powerful body politic that will undoubtedly use every resource to defend him as long as possible.

To that end, consider this passage from the Plaintiff's complaint which quotes O'Reilly at a dinner meeting:

"If you cross FOX NEWS CHANNEL, it's not just me, it's [FOX President] Roger Ailes who will go after you. I'm the street guy out front making loud noises about the issues, but Ailes operates behind the scenes, strategizes and makes things happen so that one day BAM! The person gets what's coming to them but never sees it coming. Look at Al Franken, one day he's going to get a knock on his door and life as he's known it will change forever. That day will happen, trust me."

During the course of this conversation, Defendant BILL O'REILLY bizarrely rambled further about Al Franken: "Ailes knows very powerful people and this goes all the way to the top." Plaintiff queried: "To the top of what?" Defendant responded: "Top of the country. Just look at who's on the cover of his book [Bush and Cheney], they're watching him and will be for years. [Al Franken's] finished, and he's going to be sorry he ever took FOX NEWS CHANNEL on."

For those just jumping in, further info on Roger Ailes is here. There is reason to believe the quotes above may have been tape recorded, and thus, available soon. More on that later.

In the meantime, as you see above, O'Reilly, Fox and Friends will have a huge PR and Power advantage in this case. I, however, will be looking out for you. Stay tuned as we help you decipher from the facts from the spin.

DEVELOPING...

Related BRAD BLOG Updates on this story:
10/13/04: "Bad Vibrations for Bill O'Reilly"
10/14/04: "O'Reilly - In Our Unresolved Problem Segment..."
10/19/04: "O'Reilly - In the Personal Story Segment Tonight..."
10/20/04: "O'Reilly's Case Gets Weaker: Mackris files additional charges."

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2004 2:57pm PT  

While I look forward to his interview with Bush tonight (and for the next three!), I've had a few "No Spin" items spinning on my brain for a few days that I'd like to toss out.

ITEM #1: Last week, on The Factor, O'Reilly attempted to marginalize Air America Radio two days in a row by claiming that they were meaningless and failed because they are currently only carried on "20 affiliates". Never mind that when O'Reilly launched his radio show, he had enough money to actually pay stations to carry his show! But more notably, O'Reilly has a long term grudge with Al Franken, one of the AAR hosts, and can't even manage to say his name on his "no-spin" program, spinning him as "Stuart Smalley" instead of using his real name. So O'Reilly continues to spin his own opinions about Franken and AAR by simply lying about them.

A quick check of the Air America Radio website, would have told O'Reilly that they are on "32 Stations Nationwide" according to the banner headline on the front page of their site. After his statement the first day we could have been generous and called it a mistake. Repeating it verbatim the next day, however, was no mistake. It was just spin.

ITEM #2: For the last several weeks O'Reilly has been going on about James Carville and Paul Begala working with the Kerry Campaign in an unpaid advisory capacity while continuing their role as co-hosts on CNN's Crossfire. While, unlike O'Reilly, neither Carville nor Begala refer to themselves as journalists, but rather as admitted partisans who host the liberal side of a political debate show. At the end of last week O'Reilly huffed at one of his guests who challenged "the bloviator's" claim as disingenous because Fox does virtually nothing but support the Bush campaign. O'Reilly then launched into a challenge asking him to "Name names!" about who does that at Fox, promising he would call them out if they did!

The answer (that the guest didn't have at hand) is Sean Hannity who lent his imprimatur to the Republican National Party by narrating videos for the GOP Convention website. I wrote O'Reilly to name the name, but so far, I haven't noticed any on-air corrections or condemnations for it. You can still hear Hannity at the GOPConvention website right here.

ITEM #3: As you may know, O'Reilly still has his silly on-going "Boycott" of France. Here's a quick snippet on that from O'Reilly's interview with Jon Stewart last week:

STEWART: Do you really believe France is, in any way, worthy of a boycott?

O'REILLY: I do. I think France has really hurt the USA, to be...

STEWART: Really?

O'REILLY: Yes, I do.

STEWART: More than like Saudi Arabia? You would advocate a boycott...

O'REILLY: No, I'm not going to say more than Saudi Arabia. But I'm saying we do a lot...

STEWART: So why not boycott them?

O'REILLY: France is supposed to be our friend.

...And he didn't have anymore to say on the matter as the subject was then changed. But Stewart makes an excellent point there. Why aren't all those ridiculous French Bashers out there calling for a boycott of products from Saudi Arabia --- who is also "supposed to be our friend" --- instead? $1.97 a gallon says you know the answer. Hypocrites.

The spin goes on...

ReddIt this story!



RNC Day 3
By Brad Friedman on 9/1/2004 8:32pm PT  

FOX News Primetime Convention Speech Coverage

Courtesy of Media Matters

ReddIt this story!



RNC Day 2
By Brad Friedman on 9/1/2004 12:58pm PT  

FOX News Primetime Convention Speech Coverage

Courtesy of Media Matters

ReddIt this story!



A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2004 10:40am PT  

Everywhere I go (and write) these days there still seems to be a collective sense of shock and/or disbelief from folks on both the Right and the Middle, and even on the Left --- who have been as mind-numbed as those everywhere else --- when I mention the supposedly "Liberal" Mainstream Media's bias towards the Bush Administration.

The bias is not so much because they are supporters of Bush Administration policies per se, but because they have been so cowed for so long by the Administration, and afraid of either losing their access or being labeled "Anti-Bush" or "Anti-American" or simply "unpatriotic" by the rabid Right, that they now err far on the opposite side of the matter. The result has been, over the past several years, that the Right and the Bushies who currently sit at the top of that pyramid have gotten a virtual free pass on everything from the 2000 Election to the Iraq War.

The supposed "Liberal" bastions of CNN and the NY Times are the most obvious examples. Whenever I mention their bias towards Administration positions, I am met with shock, disbelief and indignation from Right Robots everywhere. Of course. Who can blame them? They are behaving as they have been programmed to. (Just like the Mainstream Media!)

The fact that the NY Times all but abdicated it's duties as skeptical journalists, who are supposed to be looking out for our interests, during the run up to the Iraq War has been much discussed in the narrow band of the Blogosphere Left and largely ignored (by convenience?) amongst the more ubiquitous Rightwing and Mainstream (virtual Rightwing) Media.

A tepid and vaguely worded apology was recently issued by the Times for their disastrously inaccurate and misleading pre-war coverage, wherein they essentially echoed the Administration's flawed intelligence every day on Page One of America's "paper of record". The Times eventually apologized for "coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been" and that "In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged."

The Times information was largely spoon-fed to them without question by Ahmad Chalabi --- a man with a very specific mission to tell Americans whatever they needed to hear to encourage them (and us, and the world) towards over-throwing Saddam. He was also a man on the Administration payroll to the tune of some 300k per month. Their apology, of course, unlike the Page One stories, was a Page 14 blip on the media coverage scene. A more recent Op/Ed apology in The Times said that they "should have been more aggressive in helping our readers understand that there was always a possibility that no large stockpiles existed" and that they "did not listen carefully" to those who raised those doubts.

Judith Miller, the Times biggest Page One offender was never singled out by name in either apology, or apparently reprimanded in any way, for her nearly single-handed series of scores of flawed and misleading articles. It's all now too little, too late. As is usually the case when "the paper of records" prints something, many of those articles were then hailed by Bush supporters everywhere to shore up their case for war in every other newspaper and/or media outlet around the world. If, after all, even the "Liberal" NY Times says "Saddam has stockpiles of WMD's" and that "Iraq is a growing threat" then, of course, it must be true!

Of course, we now know it wasn't. But don't expect much more than a quick hand-wringing about that from the same Media that screwed it all up in the first place.

CNN is another supposedly "Liberal" Media outlet that carried the Administration water leading up to and throughout the "initial hostilities" in Iraq.

They, like the rest of what might have been a legitimate media in this country, were cowed from the very first hours after the 9/11 Attacks when FOX NEWS and other Rightwing Hacks accused them of being "unpatriotic" whenever one of their anchors considered the traitorous act of not wearing an American Flag lapel pin while on the air!

CNN's Christian Amanpour, almost alone, was critical of her own network and the many others who "embedded" themselves within the Administration in one way or another. She was, of course, met with much criticism back in September of 2003, when she publicly raised the issue. "I'm sorry to say," Amanpour told USA Today, "but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did."

She went on to speak about how this self-censorship seeped its way into the coverage, or lack thereof; "It's a question of being rigorous. It's really a question of really asking the questions. All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it's the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels."

Now she tells us.

And now, with WMD's nowhere to be found, the Administration's "informants" proven to have been largley nothing more than opportunistic frauds, and the case for the war virtually shot to hell, it's not just the Bush Administration that is avoiding all mea culpas in not taking real accountability for their culpability in the unncessecary deaths of thousands in this bogus war. The very media that helped them convince America there was a good reason for all of it continue to act, with very few exceptions, like Amanpour above, as though they had no real responsibility in the matter.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN's most prominent face and "top" anchor continues business as usual. Despite so many of his sycophantic and unquestioning softball interviews with so many "top Administration Officials" prior to the war.

Sadly, as has been the case in America over the last few months, it turns out that the hard-hitting fake news program "The Daily Show", as demonstrated here recently, is one of the few voices regularly calling out the Mainstream Media for their vaccuous and inaccurate coverage that helped allow the Bush Administration to lead us into an unnecessary and ultimately self-destructive war.
In truth, the real scandal is how the "real" news outlets turn out to be "comedy", while our comedy shows turn out to be more like real news. We are well beyond the Looking Glass indeed.

Last Monday, the seemingly rather incurious Blitzer was interviewed by "The Daily's" Jon Stewart who didn't much hold back in his questioning of the man who, in no small part, was the "face" of American Media across the world in the panicked rush to war. The discussion was rather telling:

STEWART: Let me ask you...you work in news...[laughter] and I don't..the Senate Intelligence Committee, they come out with this rerport that says "Oh, the Iraq War...yeah, that's kind of a funny story...it was a mistake... [laughter] We were wrong about all that..."
BLITZER: Mmm-hmm...
STEWART: Taking the country to war based on information that turns out to be completely wrong because it was told to you by a guy named "Curveball"...[laughter]...Shouldn't that be...I mean, just out of curiosity...The biggest scandal we've ever had in the country?...Or no?...Am I thinking...
BLITZER: Well, you know...you never made a mistake in your life?
STEWART: That's a good point.
BLITZER: The CIA's not perfect, and sometimes they...get it wrong.
STEWART: That's right...
BLITZER: They got it wrong.
STEWART: And if...but in that situation, shouldn't someone be...fired? [laughter, applause]...or is it...I could be wrong...
BLITZER: Well, George Tenet did leave this weekend.
STEWART: After being told he was doing a "superb job"!
BLITZER: Yeah...in defense of George Tenet...I'll say this, we never know the successes, because they're kept secret. The failures we all know.
...
STEWART: Even the idea that the Senate Intelligence Committee has come up with this report...Wasn't their job to do that originally?
BLITZER: Originally, yes...That was looking back...
STEWART: Who's investigated them?
BLITZER: The American people. We have the right to investigate them. And the media...and look back and say "you know what, mistakes were made". [silence...then laughter]
STEWART: Okay...as far as the media...so now the CIA has gone back to their offices and said "Okay...no WMD"...Is the media doing anything?...Like at CNN do they have meetings were they say "uh, you know what? We should have asked that."
BLITZER: Uh, I think that...we do...we do do that.
STEWART: You have meetings? [laugter]
BLITZER: Yes, we have meetings.
STEWART: At those meetings...after, after you guys figure out who gets that last cruller...what does the media do differently?
...
BLITZER: I think we learn from our mistakes and try to it do better next time.
STEWART: Specifically?
BLITZER: Specifically...we learn from our mistakes and try to do it better next time. [laughter]

(Pardon the interruption, but I must interject here to note how much Blitzer there sounds like Bush last week when asked how he can still continue to claim that there were ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda. His answer: "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

Anyway...back to the Blitzer interview...)

BLITZER: We look back and we say, "ya know what, we should have been more skeptical." [silence...then laughter].
STEWART: But, if...well, come on...it was a...
BLITZER: You know we're trained to be skeptical by our very nature...that's what journalists...
STEWART: Why weren't you?...Because people...
BLITZER: I think we could have been more, skeptical...I think we...Look...I...
STEWART: Are you afraid of the Bush Administration?...Is the Bush Administration so ham-handed --- and this is coming from a Jew who knows nothing of ham [laughter] --- but are they so forceful...
BLITZER: No...
STEWART: ...that they have intimidated the press corp into not asking those questions?
BLITZER: No. The answer's no.
STEWART: So...is the Press Corp...and again, I'm gonna use the word...suffering from "groupthink"?...[laughter]...Or, or, or...another word...retardation? [laughter, cheers] No come on..really, tell me truth. I wanna know. I'm really curious. I'm baffled.
BLITZER: It's "groupthink"...not retardation.
STEWART: It is "groupthink"?
BLITZER: ..."groupthink"...You know when you're told...repeatedly...and I was told by...going into the war...I went off to the war...I went off to Kuwait, you probably remember.
STEWART: I do remember seeing you in Kuwait City...
BLITZER: So...Uh, I, I remember going off. I had all the briefings. I went over. Got the briefings from the CIA, the Pentagon, spoke to all the members of Congress, the Intelligence Committees, the House side, the Senate side...Everybody said the same thing: "There is no doubt there are stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons...and it's only a matter of time before he has a nuclear bomb"...Remember, Condoleeza Rice said on my show...Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer [laughter]...She said, "we can't wait for a smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
STEWART: You're exactly right...and as it turns out Pakistan had already sold "mushroom cloud material" to every country in the area but Iraq! [laughter, cheers] ...It's crazy! The whole thing's crazy! Whooo...Whooo-hooo! [Stewart spins around madly in chair]

Yes, Jon...the whole thing's crazy. And Wolf sums his failure up nicely; Prior to the war, he asked everyone who was in favor of going to war, why we should be going to war. Apparently, though he claims to be "skeptical by [his] very nature", he was not skeptical enough to report on, or give coverage to all of the many voices out here who had different opinions on the efficacy of this thing before it actually happened. Wouldn't want to jeopardize that primo Administration access now would we, Wolf?

A study by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting released in March of 2003, looked at the interviews conducted by CBS, NBC, ABC and PBS in the one week before and then after Colin Powell gave his now infamously misleading (and factually incorrect!) address to the United Nations. Of the 393 interviews during those two weeks on the four major broadcast networks, only three of those interviews were with individuals who were "skeptical of or opposed to the invasion of Iraq."

That means that nearly 97% of what Americans saw on their nightly news was little more than a constant drumbeat for going to war. So much for the myth of the "Liberal" Media.

None the less, some of us who were paying close attention heard all the warnings beforehand. From former Middle East envoy and chief of Central Command in the Middle East, Scott Ritter, from the head of the International Atomic Energy Association, Mohamed al-Baradei and a host of others, who told us --- usually via the tiniest mentions in the Mainstream Media, if that much, more frequently on their own websites or reported via the independent internet websites --- that the WMD were not there, Saddam had no "mushroom cloud material" and the plan for War was simply ill-conceived from the get go.

We, the few of us bothering to pay very close attention on our own, even heard the warnings George W. Bush's own father, who has more than a little familiarity with issues in that tricky and dangerous part of the world. The former President warned in his own memoirs that "Trying to eliminate Saddam ... would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. ... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. ... [T]here was no viable 'exit strategy' we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."

In other words, all of the warnings were out there, yet CNN and the The NY Times and the rest of the Network Broadcast Media, in the wake of blistering criticism from the Right after 9/11 for not being "patriotic" enough, didn't bother to be skeptical enough because that would have required they be --- potentially --- critical of the Administration in their reporting. Which, in turn, would have been "unpatriotic" and/or "un-American" as charged by the folks that have been charging for years that these outlets are "house organs of the Liberal Left" anyway.

They weren't skeptical enough. They should have been. And nearly 900 Americans have now given their lives, thousands more have given their limbs, and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians are all dead because of it.

Yes, as the recent Senate Intelligence Report indicates, the CIA blew it. So did the Bush Administration. But make no mistake, the Media --- Mainstream and otherwise --- have the same blood of incompetence, abdication of duty, cowardice and failure of intellectual curiosity on their hands. "Liberal" Media, indeed. Failed, cowed, culpable Administration Media lap dogs appears much closer to reality for anyone willing to look at the actual evidence.

With so many dead, so many failures, it would be nice if that Media started dealing more in reality. For the good of this country. (Which is usually for the good of this world, I might add.) No matter how many Administration Officials or Rightwing Extremist Partisans might cut off their access and baselessly call them names and threaten boycotts because of it.

Message to the Media: Yes, politicians of both the Left and the Right will tell you whatever they are interesting in selling. That's their job. It's your job to get the real story! Not simply serve as a PR outfit for the politicos! We've got xerox machines for that! And we shouldn't have to rely on fake news shows on cable comedy channels for the real news and the hard-hitting interviews. In other words, find some courage and some of that skepticism you claim to have "by nature", and start doing your frickin' job! How many more have to die to remind you of what you should be doing?

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Ridiculed, Petitioned and Trounced
(Reaping what he's sown?)
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2004 5:45pm PT  

First he's made to look like a boob in the new documentary, OutFoxed, which outs the Republican Fox News channel and it's Number #1 Republican for what they really are.

Then MoveOn.org collects signatures to send to the FTC to complain about the false and misleading labelling of the Fox news product as "fair and balanced". They use an hysterical clip from OutFoxed to help make their case. (Feel free to join that petition, by the way)

And then comes the news, as reported by Drudge, that O'Reilly's greatest nemesis (one of 'em, anyway) Al Franken trounced po' po' O'Reilly on the radio in New York City. Yes, Al's little-bitty show that "nobody wants to listen to", as so many frightened and silly Right-wingers will tell you, and indeed have posted here, cleaned O'Reilly's clock in the largest market where they actually go head to head.

I guess nobody's looking out for Bill O'Reilly.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2004 6:47pm PT  

...That the proposed changes in FCC fines for "indecent speech" currently moving through Congress and chilling broadcasters will change the penalty for individual performers (not the stations owners!) from the current $11,000 after a first-warning to a whopping $500,000 per incident with no warning whatsoever? Read about it here, since MSNBC hasn't gone out of their way to tell you about it.

...That, according to an audit by the US Governmental Accounting Office (GAO), the vast majority of companies in America didn't pay any federal income taxes at all from 1996 to 2000? Read about it here, since Dubya keeps forgetting to mention it.

...That despite what you may have heard from the majority of the Media (controlled almost exclusively by Conservatives) about George W. Bush still being ahead of John Kerry, that Kerry actually leads Bush in the two most recently released polls? Read about it here, since Sean Hannity forgot to announce it.

...That Great Britain's conservative newspaper, The Independent, reports that a former translator for the FBI with top-secret security clearance testified to the 9/11 Commission that she "saw papers that show US knew al-Qa'ida would attack cities with aeroplanes" and that she gave the Commission "details of specific investigation files, the specific dates, specific target information, specific managers in charge of the investigation....everything so that they could go back and follow up. This is not hearsay. These are things that are documented. These things can be established very easily." Which, of course, makes Condi Rice's claims that "we could never have foreseen planes being used as missiles" even more incredible than they already were? Read about it here, since Scott McClellan keeps leaving these things out of his morning briefings.

...That if Donald Trump is as good a businessman as he would like us to believe, he will see to it that hot couple Amy and Nick will be the final two contestants left on The Apprentice? No need to read about it anywhere else, cuz I just told you, and you've got other reading to do!

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By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2004 9:44am PT  

Yesterday, there was a horrible Mogadishu-style attack against Americans in Fallujah. Nine Americans were killed, and four of them were burnt, dragged through the streets, dismembered and hung from lightposts and bridges.

The American Media, perhaps taking their cue from the Whitehouse who will not allow pictures of coffins returning from Iraq, decided that Americans are simply too fragile to be shown the horrible images that came out of Fallujah yesterday. The rest of the world saw them, but not Americans.

All of which brings me to a point I've been pondering for a while. After Richard Clarke last week displayed the first real act of contrition from an American Official since the 9/11 Attacks by apologizing for the Government's failure to protect us, there was one lone member of the Media, Rick Mercier - sadly from a tiny paper in Fredericksburg, VA --- who had the courage to admit the Media's culpability in this whole fine mess:

THE MEDIA are finished with their big blowouts on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and there's one thing they forgot to say: We're sorry. Sorry we let unsubstantiated claims drive our coverage. Sorry we were dismissive of experts who disputed White House charges against Iraq. Sorry we let a band of self-serving Iraqi defectors make fools of us. Sorry we fell for Colin Powell's performance at the United Nations. Sorry we couldn't bring ourselves to hold the administration's feet to the fire before the war, when it really mattered. Maybe we'll do a better job next war.

Since the attacks of 9/11 (but also in the months leading up to it) the complicity the Major Media outlets have shown by simply going along with the Whitehouse line, wholly unchallenged and uninvestigated, is a National Disgrace. They have, by and large, played Hired P.R. Hand to virtually every hollow, misleading and frequently out and out incorrect line that the Whitehouse has tried to sell the American People since that day.

Their sycophantic behavior shows little sign of abating. Last week's Radio & Television Correspondents Association Dinner featured a slide-show narrated by Dubya, with photos of him looking around the oval office along with the repeated lines: "Those WMD's gotta be somewhere!"

The packed house of DC Media and Insiders yucked it up together. What a riot. 600 or so Americans and countless Iraqis are now dead because they all failed to do their job of keeping the Government honest by actually investigating their claims and by and large wholly shutting out or even mocking (ask Scott Ritter) all viewpoints which ran contrary to the Whitehouse line. Alternative viewpoints which turned out to be correct in the end, right in front of their noses, but they were too busy - I suppose - hoping not to be branded "unpatriotic" or otherwise losing their much sought insider status.

Is it any wonder then, that Americans have such a high view of themselves even while seeming to have no clue why the rest of the world could possibly hold us in such contempt?

The swamp is hardly being drained --- and there is plenty of blame for that to go around.

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By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2004 12:01pm PT  

"I believe privacy is a fundamental right, and that every American should have absolute control over his or her personal information." - George W. Bush, October 2000

Okay. That's nice...But, as Arch Conservative Bill Saffire points out in today's NY Times, last month, John Ashcroft's Justice Department said - as they were subpoenaing the medical records of about 500 women who had had abortions - that medical patients can "no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential."

Okay. That's not so nice. Not a surprise - from the Ashcroft clan - but not so nice.

Now, I don't have anything in particular that I feel I need to hide, so I've never been one of those folks to get their panties overly bunched about perceived threats of invasions of privacy by the government. But even I can spot hypocrisy a mile away, and I hate it. Even more than foolish government policy.

The hypocrisy I'm talking about here is not Dubya saying one thing before getting elected, and then doing another. We're all well used to that old trick by now (aren't we? See his statements against "Nation Building", standing up to OPEC to keep spiggots open and gas prices down, not using 9/11 for political purposes etc. etc. etc.) - but it's once again, the Right Wing Echo Chamber of "conservative" talk radio and "news" that's really irritating.

How often do we have to listen to Rush and friends and read Drudge and listen to Fox about how poor poor Oxycontin Junkie Rush Limbaugh is being abused by Prosecutors who are seeking his medical records in a criminal investigation?

Oh, the Right is beside themselves with outrage about the treatment of poor Rush. But - to paraphrase our good friend - not hypocritical at all - William "Lucky 7's" Bennet - where's the outrage when it comes to the 500 anonymous women who are not even suspected of breaking any law at all having their medical records seized?

Has anybody heard Hannity going on about that one?

And today then, we learn that Dubya has had some 270 overnight guests in the Whitehouse and at least that many at Camp David. The bulk of them - you guessed it - Fundraisers.

Now, once again, I don't give much of a damn about it. But I do suspect you won't hear a lot about it in the Media. After all, how many years later were they still on about Clinton's fundraising pals despoiling the Lincoln Bedroom with their very presence?

Apparently it was Dubya himself that said, again, during the 2000 Election Campaign: "I believe they've moved that sign, `The buck stops here,' from the Oval Office desk to `The buck stops here' on the Lincoln Bedroom. And that's not good for the country."

I'm sure Fair & Balanced will be all over it first thing in the morning.

In happier news though, am I the only one who had a flashback while watching Mary Matalin on last Sunday's Meet the Press, trying desperately to describe how good Bush has been for our country and how bad this Liberal Democrat will be if he's elected?

It was like 1992 all over again, and we all know how well it turned out the last time Mary Matalin was forced to desperately defend her Bush.

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By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2004 3:24pm PT  

Long live the Dean!

And so it goes. Once again, I'm left without a candidate. As I was when they offed McCain in '00. And Jerry Brown before him in '92.

In all three cases, it was the Media, working at the behest of the two entrenched parties, who were the final undoing for each of them. The Republicrats like to play their own game, and don't much appreciate it when boys with new rules come to town. One way or another, such insurgents crying the King has no Clothes will be removed - thank you - by the Powers That Be. The Media is happy to make the assist. The overnight's call for a good story now. Never mind the better one that is lost over the next four years. That's the arrangement. And that - for now - is how it's going to stay.

No matter that McCain was RIGHT about the corruption of money in politics. No matter that Brown was RIGHT about the dirty dealings which would come back to haunt Clinton. Being RIGHT doesn't much matter in this process. Being a team player counts for everything. The "team" is not the RNC or the DNC. The "team" is the Washington Establishment, which incorporates all of the above, plus their Corporate Benefactors, plus The Media. And so, I suppose we'll just have to wait for next time to take another crack at changing that particular Status Quo.

So what are we now left with? Precious little.

Obviously, Dubya is off the table for anyone with an ounce of either intelligence or self-respect. So it's down to Kerry & Edwards on the Dem side. Both of whom - you'll forgive me - have failed to move me to do much more than change the channel to see if there's a Real World marathon on MTV whenever FOX or CNN forces me to sit through their dubious and predictable dribble.

As far as dribble goes, however, Edwards currently has the edge. He actually seems to have a point of view. About something (though I'm not altogether sure what that something is yet). And Kerry has nothing.

{{link http://www.bradfriedman....og/archives/00000009.htm As I said previously}}, at this point, it won't be won by a Democrat. It'll be lost by George W. Bush. And he's hard at work, getting the job done! We can all still hope for "Mission Accomplished" this November - the day that our Long National Nightmare might finally be over.

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