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The 2,865th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
8:50am EDT, Monday April 13, 2009 (Vol. Fourteen; No. 71)

 
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1. SNL Joke: Chris Matthews Daydreams of Obama in a Loin Cloth
MSNBC's Chris Matthews, infamous for getting a "thrill" up his leg while drinking in a speech by Barack Obama and his ongoing adoration for the President ("He is the new us!"), became the punch line of a joke on NBC's own Saturday Night Live. During the Weekend Update segment on the April 11 show, SNL's news anchor, Seth Myers, delivered this "news" item, illustrated by a creative matching graphic: "A new comic is being published this summer called 'Barack the Barbarian' which features the President in a loin cloth. Also featuring the President in a loin cloth: Chris Matthews' daydreams."

2. Moran: Limbaugh Would Call Jake Tapper a Traitor if He Hit Bush
Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran appeared on the Media Bistro's "Morning Media Menu" podcast on Friday and simultaneously defended an ABC colleague and attacked Rush Limbaugh. While telling host Steve Krakauer that White House correspondent Jake Tapper has been unfairly criticized by liberals for being tough on the Obama administration, he noted conservative praise for the journalist. Moran complained: "If Tapper was covering Bush, Limbaugh would call him a traitor. And that's just the way it is."

3. Fleischer: 'Where is the Press' in Checking Biden's Claim?
MSNBC anchor Peter Alexander was more interested Friday afternoon in a Karl Rove v Joe Biden cat fight than in the accuracy of Biden's claim which prompted Rove's rebuke of him for telling a "lie" -- which led guest Ari Fleischer to scold the media for not checking into Biden's allegation. Indeed, MSNBC framed the segment around Rove's words, "Rove: Biden Is a Liar." When Alexander asked if it is "appropriate for Karl Rove" to call a Vice President "a liar?", Fleischer shot back: "Well, for heaven's sake, that's just about the only word Democrats wanted to use when they were talking about George W. Bush."

4. Cold Shoulder from NYT for Anti-Global-Warming Activist Morano
The New York Times tries to discredit anti-global-warming activist Marc Morano by linking him to some of their favorite villains: Exxon, the Swift Boat Veterans, and Richard Mellon Scaife. On Friday, reporter Leslie Kaufman profiled anti-climate-change activist Marc Morano in "Dissenter on Warming Expands His Campaign -- A Thorn in Climate Changers' Side." In contrast to Times profiles of liberal activists who want enormous political and lifestyle changes to combat global warming, Kaufman had nothing flattering to say about Morano. Mocking his personal appearance, Kaufman wrote that Morano "fills out his suit like a bulldog in a restraining jacket." She also hinted Morano is less than truthful about some of his confrontations, something the Times would never challenge a liberal on.

5. Totenberg: Washingtonians Flocking to YouTube to Watch Obama
NPR's Nina Totenberg must live in a world of Obama fanatics. But she works for NPR, so that's tautological. Weeks after she relayed how "a friend of mine said, 'oh my God, we have a President again!,'" this weekend she excitedly recounted how, following President Barack Obama's trip to Europe, she "heard...all over Washington" people saying "'I'm going to go on YouTube and watch the President's speech because I heard it was so good.'" She hailed that as "just an amazing thing."

6. Howard Yearns for Less Powerful America Not 'Driven by Militarism'
Film director Ron Howard is "very optimistic" about the future of America, so long as the nation makes an "adjustment," to fulfill his hope a "more progressive" nation will mean "at a certain point I don't think we'll be so consumed with being the pre-eminent super-power and, you know, driven by sort of militarism and this need to export, you know, democracy." Howard's reasoning, on Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher, came in response to Maher's formulation that America has "seen better days. We're sort of in place that has made a lot of people nervous. Some people would say this country has jumped the shark."


 

SNL Joke: Chris Matthews Daydreams of
Obama in a Loin Cloth

     MSNBC's Chris Matthews, infamous for getting a "thrill" up his leg while drinking in a speech by Barack Obama and his ongoing adoration for the President ("He is the new us!"), became the punch line of a joke on NBC's own Saturday Night Live.

     During the Weekend Update segment on the April 11 show, SNL's news anchor, Seth Myers, delivered this "news" item, illustrated by a creative matching graphic: "A new comic is being published this summer called 'Barack the Barbarian' which features the President in a loin cloth. Also featuring the President in a loin cloth: Chris Matthews' daydreams."

     Not that much of a stretch. Or maybe no stretch at all.

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

 

Moran: Limbaugh Would Call Jake Tapper
a Traitor if He Hit Bush

     Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran appeared on the Media Bistro's "Morning Media Menu" podcast on Friday and simultaneously defended an ABC colleague and attacked Rush Limbaugh. While telling host Steve Krakauer that White House correspondent Jake Tapper has been unfairly criticized by liberals for being tough on the Obama administration, he noted conservative praise for the journalist. Moran complained: "If Tapper was covering Bush, Limbaugh would call him a traitor. And that's just the way it is." See "Media Morning Menu" for audio: www.mediabistro.com

     Moran did add: "And it's not just Limbaugh, it's the other side too." But that is still a rather harsh charge to level against the radio talk show host. He also trotted out the standard journalist talking point that "no matter what you do, one side or the other is going to detest you." It's hard to imagine many liberals being too upset with Moran, however. He has developed quite a habit of fawning over Barack Obama. In another Media Bistro podcast, on February 20, he compared the President to George Washington and said that the White House was a "step down" for the new Commander in Chief.

     "I like to say that, in some ways, Barack Obama is the first President since George Washington to be taking a step down into the Oval Office," the Nightline co-anchor gushed. See a February 23, 2009 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

     [This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     [Special thanks to MRC intern Mike Sargent for transcribing the exchange.]

     A partial transcript of the April 10 podcast follows:

     STEVE KRAKAUER: You know, the last time we talked, in February, got a little pick-up over at the Rush Limbaugh show. You never really know what does it, as far as why things get picked up or by who, and what aspects of things they pull out. But what was your reaction to what the focus of what Rush Limbaugh had there?
     MORAN: Well, you know, I was a White House correspondent for five and a half years at the end of Bill Clinton's White House, and through the first term and more of George W. Bush's, and one thing you learn very quickly is, you have to develop a very thick hide. Because no matter what you do, one side or the other is going to detest you. I mean look at the way, right now, some of the liberal commentators are going after Jake Tapper. Tapper is an outstanding, outstanding White House correspondent. The only reason that Limbaugh is praising him is because, you know, he's giving it pretty good to the White House, when appropriate, and it's a Democratic White House. If Tapper was covering Bush, Limbaugh would call him a traitor. And that's just the way it is. And it's not just Limbaugh, it's the other side too. I mean, whenever you challenge a White House, as you should, the other side, the supporters of that White House will assume that you're wrongly motivated. And that just- that just comes with the territory, and I think no matter what you say about any major political figure, one side or the other is not going to be happy.
     GLYNNIS MACNICOL: You know, we didn't mind getting picked up by Rush Limbaugh. So feel free [laughing] to say something that lands us there again.
     MORAN: You know, I have a tendency, I'm afraid, sometimes to speak in ways that provoke, and I guess I €" that's something I have to work on, the Lord isn't finished with me yet.
     MACNICOL: Well we appreciated it. We're fans of thought-provoking Menu podcasts.

 

Fleischer: 'Where is the Press' in Checking
Biden's Claim?

     MSNBC anchor Peter Alexander was more interested Friday afternoon in a Karl Rove v Joe Biden cat fight than in the accuracy of Biden's claim which prompted Rove's rebuke of him for telling a "lie" -- which led guest Ari Fleischer to scold the media for not checking into Biden's allegation. Indeed, MSNBC framed the segment around Rove's words, "Rove: Biden Is a Liar." When Alexander asked if it is "appropriate for Karl Rove" to call a Vice President "a liar?", Fleischer shot back: "Well, for heaven's sake, that's just about the only word Democrats wanted to use when they were talking about George W. Bush."

     Alexander began the segment, in the 3 PM EDT hour, playing the self-serving anecdote told by Biden in an interview earlier this week for CNN's The Situation about how, in an Oval Office meeting on an unidentified date, when President Bush told him "I'm a leader," Biden had retorted: "Mr. President, turn around, look behind you, no one's following." Alexander wanted to know who would benefit politically -- "Are these fights good for the GOP or for the Obama administration?" -- prompting Fleischer to wonder:
     "My question is, where is the press in all of this? If Dick Cheney had said that he had a private meeting with Bill Clinton and he in that meeting told Bill Clinton that Bill Clinton was wrong, I think all the press would have said to Cheney, 'When did you do it? Back it up. Where are the dates?' There's no scrutiny here for Joe Biden...."

     To which, Alexander insisted, apparently quite seriously: "I'm trusting right now that all the reporters in Washington are mulling over to find out whatever information they can about whatever the Vice President now had said when he was Senator to try to put those facts together."

     Yet, the matter only arose because Rove was asked about it on FNC's On the Record. Who else in the media has pursued the claim made in the interview conducted and aired on Tuesday?

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     From MSNBC at about 3:18 EDT on Friday, April 10:

     PETER ALEXANDER: Former Bush senior adviser Karl Rove has had plenty of criticism for the Obama administration. But right now Rove is on the defense refuting some recent comments by Vice President Joe Biden. It's the classic he said/he said. First, here's what the Vice President said about George W. Bush during an interview this weekend, then listen to Karl Rove's angry response.
     VP JOE BIDEN ON CNN's THE SITUATION ROOM: I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office, he was a great guy, I enjoyed being with him, and he said to me, he said, "Well Joe," he said, "I'm a leader." And I said, "Mr. President, turn around, look behind you, no one's following."
     KARL ROVE ON FNC'S ON THE RECORD: He never said these kind of things. I hate to say it, but he's a serial exaggerator. If I was being unkind I'd say he's a liar. But it is a habit he ought to drop. You should not exaggerate and lie like this when you're the Vice President.
     ALEXANDER: So where's the truth? Joining us live right now is former Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Thank you for being with us. You served in the White House, Ari, from 2001 to 2003. So let's pose he question to you: Do you recall Senator Biden, at the time, saying any of the things he claimed? Could he have said it privately to the President?
     ARI FLEISCHER: I don't recall him ever saying that. In fact, the times that Senator Biden was in the Oval Office or private meetings with the President he was accompanied by either the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or by an appropriate member from the House International Relations Committee. And in those meetings, I always attended them, and I never once heard him say anything like that. I think this could be clarified if he would only release the date that they says this encounter took place and all of us could look at our notes and see if it's so.
     ALEXANDER: Suffice to say, the Vice President had said he spent, quote, "lots of hours alone with him." You're obviously refuting that, but let me pose this to you: Are these fights good for the GOP or for the Obama administration? Democrats seem to be excited to have Karl Rove once again as their Republican bogeyman of sorts, much the same way when Democrats attacked Rush Limbaugh after he recently insisted that he wanted President Obama to fail. So who wins?
     FLEISCHER: Well, frankly, my question is, where is the press in all of this? If Dick Cheney had said that he had a private meeting with Bill Clinton and he in that meeting told Bill Clinton that Bill Clinton was wrong, I think all the press would have said to Cheney, "When did you do it? Back it up. Where are the dates?" There's no scrutiny here for Joe Biden and that's why I wonder why the issue is what Karl said? I think Karl was actually clarifying the issue and saying it probably didn't happen, Karl says it didn't happen. I never saw it happen. But doesn't the Vice President get held to a certain level of scrutiny? That's what I think is missing from this whole equation.
     ALEXANDER: I'm trusting right now that all the reporters in Washington are mulling over to find out whatever information they can about whatever the Vice President now had said when he was Senator to try to put those facts together. If we refer to these comments, though, you served in the White House, you've had your critics from outside. Is it over the top, though, is it appropriate for Karl Rove, someone outside the Oval Office, outside the White House to use that language toward a Vice President -- calling him a liar?
     FLEISCHER: Well, for heaven's sake, that's just about the only word Democrats wanted to use when they were talking about George W. Bush. If it was good enough for last eight years and people didn't question the tactic I don't know why they question it now...

 

Cold Shoulder from NYT for Anti-Global-Warming
Activist Morano

     The New York Times tries to discredit anti-global-warming activist Marc Morano by linking him to some of their favorite villains: Exxon, the Swift Boat Veterans, and Richard Mellon Scaife. On Friday, reporter Leslie Kaufman profiled anti-climate-change activist Marc Morano in "Dissenter on Warming Expands His Campaign -- A Thorn in Climate Changers' Side."

     In contrast to Times profiles of liberal activists who want enormous political and lifestyle changes to combat global warming, Kaufman had nothing flattering to say about Morano. Mocking his personal appearance, Kaufman wrote that Morano "fills out his suit like a bulldog in a restraining jacket." She also hinted Morano is less than truthful about some of his confrontations, something the Times would never challenge a liberal on.

     [This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Friday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]

     An excerpt:

Marc Morano does not think global warming is anything to worry about, and he brags about his confrontations with those who do.

For example, Mr. Morano said he once spotted former Vice President Al Gore on an airplane returning from a climate conference in Bali. Mr. Gore was posing for photos with well-wishers, and Mr. Morano said he had asked if he, too, could have his picture taken with Mr. Gore.

He refused, Mr. Morano said.

"You attack me all the time," Mr. Gore said, according to Mr. Morano.

"Yes, we do," Mr. Morano said he had replied.

Mr. Gore's office said Mr. Gore had no memory of the encounter. Mr. Morano does not care. He tells the story anyway.

     SUSPEND Excerpt

     Kaufman explained that Morano, once a spokesman for Sen. James Inhofe known for his e-mails to journalists debunking climate change, has started his own Web site, ClimateDepot.com:

In his work with Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Morano, whose thick build fills out his suit like a bulldog in a restraining jacket, did not hesitate to go after journalists he saw as biased. He promoted any study or statement that could be construed as cutting against the prevailing view that heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide contribute to global warming. Peter Dykstra, a former executive producer for CNN's science, environment and technology unit, recently called him the "drum major of the denial parade."

Mr. Morano may be best known for compiling a report listing hundreds of scientists whose work he says undermines the consensus on global warming.

But environmental advocates and bloggers say that many of those listed as scientists have no scientific credentials and that their work persuaded no one not already ideologically committed.

     SUSPEND Excerpt

Kaufman uncovered Morano connections to two of the Times' favorite scary monsters: conservative cause financier Richard Mellon Scaife and energy titan Exxon:

Mr. Morano's new Web site is being financed by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a nonprofit in Washington that advocates for free-market solutions to environmental issues....Public tax filings for 2003-7 -- the last five years for which documents are available -- show that the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the ExxonMobil Foundation and from foundations associated with the billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, a longtime financer of conservative causes best known for its efforts to have President Bill Clinton impeached.

     SUSPEND Excerpt

     Kaufman then tried to discredit Morano by linking him to another Times villain, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who questioned John Kerry's record in Vietnam during the 2004 presidential campaign.

He then jumped to Cyber News Service, where he was the first to publish accusations from Vietnam Swift-boat veterans that Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, then the Democratic presidential nominee, had glorified his war record. Many of the accusations later proved unfounded.

     END Of Excerpts

     For the April 10 article in full: www.nytimes.com

     Actually, despite what Times reporters like Kate Zernike desperately want people to believe, none of the accusations made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were ever "proved unfounded." In fact, the Times and other media organizations never bothered to investigate the charges, simply assuming the Swifties were liars and Kerry was telling the truth, despite convincing evidence to the contrary -- for instance, Kerry wasn't in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968, as he had long claimed. See: www.weeklystandard.com

     Kaufman attempted some shrug-worthy debunking of a couple of the names on the list. For instance, she argued that a weather director in Kentucky is listed as a meteorologist on the report, even though he has no degree in meteorology.

     As Noel Sheppard writes at NewsBusters even negative articles like this one are unacceptable for some purveyors of climate panic: newsbusters.org

 

Totenberg: Washingtonians Flocking to
YouTube to Watch Obama

     NPR's Nina Totenberg must live in a world of Obama fanatics. But she works for NPR, so that's tautological. Weeks after she relayed how "a friend of mine said, 'oh my God, we have a President again!,'" this weekend she excitedly recounted how, following President Barack Obama's trip to Europe, she "heard...all over Washington" people saying "'I'm going to go on YouTube and watch the President's speech because I heard it was so good.'" She hailed that as "just an amazing thing."

     On Inside Washington, a weekly show produced at DC's ABC affiliate and aired on it and its local all-news cable channel, Totenberg rejected the notion Obama's speeches and remarks in any way celebrated America's decline. Without specifying which speech she was talking about, but most likely Obama's address in Prague or before Turkey's parliament, Totenberg asserted:
     "He spoke of the modern realities and the modern difficulties that we've had in our relations with other countries. How many times have you heard people say 'I'm going to go on YouTube and watch the President's speech because I heard it was so good'? And I heard that all over Washington this week. And that is just an amazing thing."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Totenberg is continuously impressed by Obama. The March 23 CyberAlert item, "'Masterful' Obama Performance with Leno 'Calmed Down' Totenberg," related: Since "I've really been getting pretty upset in the last week, just like every other American," NPR's Nina Totenberg decided to watch President Obama on the Tonight Show "and he calmed me down. And he was presidential. I thought it was just a masterful performance."

     Full rundown: www.mrc.org

     The March 2 CyberAlert post, "Nina Totenberg's Friend: 'Oh My God, We Have a President Again!'" reported:

NPR's Nina Totenberg revealed Friday, not surprisingly, that she was enchanted by President Barack Obama's address earlier in the week to a joint session of Congress. "It made me feel pretty good. I thought it was a great speech," she enthused before relaying a contrast with former President George W. Bush: "A friend of mine said, 'oh my God, we have a President again!'" Totenberg added that "in some ways, that's not fair to Bush," but she insisted: "That's the way you felt. You felt this was a guy who was totally in charge."

     More: www.mrc.org

 

Howard Yearns for Less Powerful America
Not 'Driven by Militarism'

     Film director Ron Howard is "very optimistic" about the future of America, so long as the nation makes an "adjustment," to fulfill his hope a "more progressive" nation will mean "at a certain point I don't think we'll be so consumed with being the pre-eminent super-power and, you know, driven by sort of militarism and this need to export, you know, democracy." Howard's reasoning, on Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher, came in response to Maher's formulation that America has "seen better days. We're sort of in place that has made a lot of people nervous. Some people would say this country has jumped the shark."

     Howard, who is out promoting 'Angels & Demons,' a sequel to 'The Da Vinci Code,' replied: "I'm a very optimistic person and I don't want to feel like there isn't growth, but there needs to be an adjustment anyway." He proceeded to credit the insights he gained working on his movies with Europeans: "I've actually spent a lot more time in Europe and working with crew members and actors and understanding how they live and how they think." Howard predicted "our lives are going to be better" because "we're going to be more progressive."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Friday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The exchange on the Friday, April 10 Real Time with Bill Maher which was devoted entirely to Maher interviewing Howard and then far-left writer Gore Vidal:

     BILL MAHER: Let me ask you about America, we've seen better days. We're sort of in place that has made a lot of people nervous. Some people would say this country has jumped the shark. What do you think the future is?
     RON HOWARD: I'm a very optimistic person and I don't want to feel like there isn't growth, but there needs to be an adjustment anyway. You know, making Da Vinci Code and then Angels and Demons I've actually spent a lot more time in Europe and working with crew members and actors and understanding how they live and how they think and they grow up. And you know, I feel that we are going to -- that there is going to be an adjustment -- and that we are going to shift and that you know we're not going to-
     MAHER: For the better.
     HOWARD: I think ultimately for the better, by my standards, because I think our lives are going to be better, I think we're going to be more progressive.
     MAHER: Because we're less bloated and less greedy-
     HOWARD: Yeah, and I don't think we'll be, at a certain point I don't think we'll be so consumed with being the pre-eminent super-power and, you know, driven by sort of militarism and this need to export, you know, democracy and so forth.

     HBO's page for Maher's show: www.hbo.com

     Internet Movie Database's page on Ron Howard: www.imdb.com

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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