Poll: 77% of Americans think the press has made the financial mess worse

Poll: 77% of Americans think the press has made the financial mess worse

Rick Moran
An Opinion Research poll asked 1000 respondents “Do you think the financial press is making the economic crisis worse by projecting fear into people’s minds?”

More than 3 out of 4 said yes:

…here are highlights of note: Household Incomes: $25k – $35k — 79% answered YES $35k – $50k — 88% answered YES $50k – $75k — 76% answered YES $75k – more — 78% answered YES Demographics: 85% of young adults (18-24 yrs old) answered YES 77% of males and females alike answered YES 65% of blacks answered YES

Richard L. Scheff, a national expert on corporate liability and white collar crime issues, warns media that they could potentially be exposed to liability despite apparent constitutional protections:

“Although statements by the media are protected by the First Amendment, the survey results demonstrate that the public believes that the press bears some responsibility for the lack of confidence in the economy. One would hope that the media would act less out of self-interest in these times of national crisis,” said Mr. Scheff, vice chairman and partner with Philadelphia-based law firm Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads.

During the panic of 2008, reporting news that seemed to buttress the point that another great depression was just around the corner while excluding forecasts that were more optimistic or not as dire no doubt affected not only the opinion of readers and investors but almost certainly affected individual buying decisions for millions of people.

But why write stories that are hopeful when writing doom and gloom, not to mention catastrophic sells papers and gets people to watch broadcasts?

The press will never change.

What’s the “highest form” of patriotism again?

What’s the “highest form” of patriotism again?

Ed Lasky
It is official. Red-staters are more patriotic than blue staters.

Even more important than these general demographic shifts is the change wrought by the end of the draft in 1973. Until then, military service was distributed pretty evenly across regions. But that is no longer true. The residential patterns for current veterans and the patterns of state-level contributions of new recruits to the all-volunteer military have a distinct geographic tilt. And tellingly, the map of military service since 1973 aligns closely with electoral maps distinguishing red from blue states.

In 1969, the 10 states with the highest percentage of veterans were, in order: Wyoming, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, California, Oregon, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, Connecticut and Illinois.

In 2007, the 10 states with the highest percentage of post-Vietnam-era veterans were, in order: Alaska, Virginia, Hawaii, Washington, Wyoming, Maine, South Carolina, Montana, Maryland and Georgia.

Over the past four decades, which states have disappeared from the top 10? California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Illinois, all big blue states that have voted Democratic in the past five presidential elections. These states and another blue state, New York, which ranked 12th in 1969, are among the 10 states with the lowest number of post-Vietnam vets per capita. New Jersey comes in 50th of the 50 states; just 1 percent of current residents have served in the military since Vietnam.

Yes, the numbers are revealing. To make this more palatable for many, the op-ed was written by a scholar from the Institute for Advanced Study based in Princeton, New Jersey Of course, blue staters will opine that dissent is the ultimate form of patriotism or other such balderdash. I prefer the traditional definition.  A patriot is someone who loves his nation so much he is willing to commit the ultimate sacrifice to defend her.

The bias against the South (heavily red states) in major media and among coastal elites (excluding the Gulf Coast, of course) has been scandalous. I made this point-as well as noting the varying degrees of willingness to serve in the military-in an article I wrote for the American Thinker last year, The South Rises.

Dem Playbook Shows Dirty Tactics

Dem Playbook Shows Dirty Tactics
Amanda Carpenter
Monday, October 27, 2008

Dirty campaign tricks don’t die. They just become more refined with age.

Documents obtained by Townhall show the Democratic Party encouraged party activists to accuse the GOP of intimidating minorities on Election Day even if no evidence of intimidation existed in the 2004 presidential election. The tactic is being used again in 2008, this time to downplay fraud charges against a predominantly minority non-profit supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Weeks before the Nov. 4 election Barack Obama’s campaign said the Republicans are attempting to suppress votes by drawing attention to the Association for Community Organizers for Reform Now’s involvement in rampant voter registration fraud across the nation. The nonprofit actively supports Democratic causes, such as minimum wage increases and housing assistance. ACORN endorsed Obama for president last February and has been paid by his campaign to conduct get out the vote activities during the Democratic primary.

ACORN wasn’t a household name in the last election but documents show Democrats were just as eager to accuse the GOP of treating minorities unfairly in 2004 as they are in 2008.

A nine-page section of 66-page 2004 Kerry Edwards Colorado state Election Day Manual titled “Minority Voter Intimidation” begins: “Over the past twenty years, there have been repeated efforts by the Republican party and Republican Party candidates to harass and intimidate minority voters in an effort to reduce the number of African-American and/or Latino voters.” The manual then instructs Democrats how to look for minority voter intimidation tactics and how to publicize it to the media with special tactics designed for mainstream and specialty press.

Such intimidation tactics might take the forms of “efforts to create longer lines at the polls, targeting in minority communities,” or “slower responses to voting machine breakdowns in minority precincts.”

“If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a ‘pre-emptive strike.’” The manual said this should be done by placing stories in mainstream and specialty press “in which minority leadership expresses concern about the threat of intimidation tactics” and “prime minority leadership to discuss the issue in the media; provide talking points.”

Some of the suggested talking points included lines like “Nothing is more despicable than trying to deprive any American of the previous right to vote, the foundation of our democracy for which so many have sacrificed.”

The 2004 manual said a preemptive strategy was “particularly well-suited to states in which there [sic] tactics have been tried in the past.”

The Democrats’ preemptive strike has been delivered from Barack Obama’s legal team this time around.

Obama’s lawyers are demanding that the Department of Justice to investigate GOP presidential candidate John McCain, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and other Republican politicians because they have drawn attention to ACORN’s fraudulent activities on the campaign trail.

“Agents of the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee have been striking locally at election officials and boards around the country, sowing confusion and seeking through baseless legal maneuvers to discourage and harass voters and impede their exercise of their right to vote,” Obama for America’s General Counsel Robert Bauer said on a conference call with reporters last week.

Obama’s legal team is specifically taking issue with McCain’s remarks that ACORN’s voter registration fraud “threatens the fabric of our Democracy” and Palin’s assessment that there is a “choice between a candidate who won’t disavow a group committing voter fraud and a leader who won’t tolerate voter fraud.”

Bauer made his request for an investigation in a letter to the DOJ that said McCain and Palin were “sensationalizing this message by repeating it at the state and local level in violation of the law to harass voters and impede their exercise of their rights.”

Former Republican Sens. John Danforth of Missouri and Warren Rudman of New Hampshire are chairing an “Honest and Open Elections Committee” on behalf of the McCain campaign to take action against voter fraud. The GOP has asked Obama to participate, but the Democrats have declined.

Bauer said the committee will impede people from voting rather than safeguarding against voter fraud.

“They get a United States senator who’s the head of the Republican ticket doing everything he can to make it harder for them to be — to vote, making it harder for them to get through the lines quickly, making it harder for them to cast their ballot without impediment, without harassment, without humiliation,” Bauer told reporters.

When Watchdogs Snore: How ABC, CBS & NBC Ignored Fannie & Freddie

 

When Watchdogs Snore: How ABC, CBS &
NBC Ignored Fannie & Freddie

     The two mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae — seized by the government September 7 before they went completely bankrupt, at a potential cost to taxpayers of more than $25 billion — have been in obvious trouble for much of the past five years — with criminal investigations, accounting scandals, firings, resignations, huge losses and warnings from the Federal Reserve that their huge portfolio of mortgage securities posed a risk to the overall financial system.

     But prior to this year, the watchdogs at ABC, CBS and NBC found time for only 10 stories on the financial health and management of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A review of the three networks’ morning and evening news programs from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2007 found nine anchor-read items or brief references to the companies troubles, plus one in-depth report by CBS’s Anthony Mason on the May 23, 2006 Evening News, after Fannie Mae was fined $400 million for accounting fraud.

     [This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     It’s not that the networks eschew business news. A 2005 report from the MRC’s Business and Media Institute found heavy coverage of the scandal surrounding Enron, but no interest in the growing scandal surrounding Fannie Mae: “A LexisNexis search of ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN on the term ‘Enron’ from the nine months around when the story first broke — Oct. 1, 2001, to July 1, 2002, produced 3,017 hits….A similar LexisNexis search was performed for the term ‘Fannie Mae’ for those same media, from June 1, 2004, to March 1, 2005, again during the time the story was breaking. This search discovered a paltry 37 matches.” See: www.businessandmedia.org

     But the networks should (presumably) be more interested in monitoring these mortgage behemoths, since they’re not normal private companies but rather Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) chartered by Congress to promote the specific cause of promoting home ownership. This special status, along with the presumption that taxpayers would bail out the firms if they got into trouble, amounts to an implicit federal subsidy that the Federal Reserve in 2003 calculated was worth between $119 and $164 billion a year.

     Writing in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Charles Calomiris and Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute explained how these two GSEs — plus members of Congress who refused to hold them accountable — are “largely to blame for our current mess.” An excerpt:

Many monumental errors and misjudgments contributed to the acute financial turmoil in which we now find ourselves. Nevertheless, the vast accumulation of toxic mortgage debt that poisoned the global financial system was driven by the aggressive buying of subprime and Alt-A mortgages, and mortgage-backed securities, by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The poor choices of these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) — and their sponsors in Washington — are largely to blame for our current mess.

How did we get here? Let’s review: In order to curry congressional support after their accounting scandals in 2003 and 2004, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac committed to increased financing of “affordable housing.” They became the largest buyers of subprime and Alt-A mortgages between 2004 and 2007, with total GSE exposure eventually exceeding $1 trillion. In doing so, they stimulated the growth of the subpar mortgage market and substantially magnified the costs of its collapse….

In 2005, the Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, adopted a strong reform bill, introduced by Republican Sens. Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu and Chuck Hagel, and supported by then chairman Richard Shelby. The bill prohibited the GSEs from holding portfolios, and gave their regulator prudential authority (such as setting capital requirements) roughly equivalent to a bank regulator. In light of the current financial crisis, this bill was probably the most important piece of financial regulation before Congress in 2005 and 2006. All the Republicans on the Committee supported the bill, and all the Democrats voted against it. Mr. McCain endorsed the legislation in a speech on the Senate floor. Mr. Obama, like all other Democrats, remained silent.

Now the Democrats are blaming the financial crisis on “deregulation.” This is a canard. There has indeed been deregulation in our economy — in long-distance telephone rates, airline fares, securities brokerage and trucking, to name just a few — and this has produced much innovation and lower consumer prices….

If the Democrats had let the 2005 legislation come to a vote, the huge growth in the subprime and Alt-A loan portfolios of Fannie and Freddie could not have occurred, and the scale of the financial meltdown would have been substantially less. The same politicians who today decry the lack of intervention to stop excess risk taking in 2005-2006 were the ones who blocked the only legislative effort that could have stopped it.

    

McCain Strategist Blasts Media Top Aide Says News Organizations Are ‘on a Mission to Destroy’ Palin

McCain Strategist Blasts Media
Top Aide Says News Organizations Are ‘on a Mission to Destroy’ Palin

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 3, 2008; A17

 

ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 2 — Sen. John McCain‘s top campaign strategist accused the news media Tuesday of being “on a mission to destroy” Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by displaying “a level of viciousness and scurrilousness” in pursuing questions about her personal life.

In an extraordinary and emotional interview, Steve Schmidt said his campaign feels “under siege” by wave after wave of news inquiries that have questioned whether Palin is really the mother of a 4-month-old baby, whether her amniotic fluid had been tested and whether she would submit to a DNA test to establish the child’s parentage.

Arguing that the media queries are being fueled by “every rumor and smear” posted on left-wing Web sites, Schmidt said mainstream journalists are giving “closer scrutiny” to McCain’s little-known running mate than to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

The McCain camp has been unusually aggressive in pushing back against the media, and it seems to hope to persuade journalists to back off in their scrutiny of Palin. Obama campaign officials have complained to news organizations that their man has been subjected to considerably more investigative reporting than McCain has, but they have done so in more low-key fashion.

By contrast, Schmidt spoke on the record in denouncing as “an absolute work of fiction” a New York Times account of the process by which the McCain campaign vetted Palin. He also charged that Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman was predicting that the governor might have to step down as McCain’s vice presidential choice.

Fineman said that he has “never, ever said that,” and that he has pointed out positive aspects of Palin’s candidacy. “They decided a long time ago that they were going to work the refs,” he said.

Elisabeth Bumiller, the lead author of the Times report, said she is “completely confident about the story.” As for the campaign’s criticism, she said: “This is what they do. It’s part of their operation.”

McCain also canceled a scheduled appearance on CNN‘s “Larry King Live” on Tuesday in retaliation for an interview a day earlier in which prime-time host Campbell Brown repeatedly pressed campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds to provide one example of a decision that Palin had made as commander of the Alaska National Guard.

“The interview was totally fair,” Brown said. “I was trying to get an answer. I was persistent, but I was respectful. That’s my job. Experience is a legitimate issue when John McCain raises it about Obama, and it’s also legitimate for us to raise it about Palin.”

Schmidt, a former spokesman for President Bush and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, talked openly about his frustrations in an interview with The Washington Post. He said the McCain camp is in the middle of the worst media “feeding frenzy” he has ever seen.

The fact that unsubstantiated allegations appear on the Internet “is not a license for smearing” Palin, he said. “The campaign has been inundated by hundreds and hundreds of calls from some of the most respected reporters and news organizations. Many reporters have called the campaign and have apologized for asking the questions and said, ‘Our editors are making us do this, and I am ashamed.’ “

The intensity of media inquiries hit a new level after an anonymous blogger on the liberal Web site Daily Kos last weekend charged that McCain’s running mate is actually the grandmother of Trig Palin, the 4-month-old baby born with Down syndrome, and that the real mother is her daughter, 17-year-old Bristol Palin. That led to mainstream media inquiries, which prompted the McCain camp to disclose in a statement Monday that Bristol is five months pregnant and plans to have the baby and marry the teenage father.

Markos Moulitsas, the site’s founder, said he did not know the contributor’s identity but thought that the admittedly “weird” pregnancy questions were a legitimate line of inquiry that he should not suppress.

Some journalists, Schmidt said, have demanded to see Trig’s birth certificate, or have asked when Palin went into labor and whether her contractions increased or decreased as she traveled from Texas to an Alaskan hospital in her home town, Wasilla. Others, he said, have asked whether Palin’s eldest son, Track, who serves in the Army and is deploying to Iraq, is a drug addict. “Categorically false,” Schmidt said, adding: “This is crazy.”

News organizations routinely ask questions about allegations in an attempt to determine their veracity, and Schmidt did not contend that they were publishing or broadcasting false information about Palin and her family. But he said the media is asking more questions about Palin’s pregnant daughter than about Obama’s real estate deal with fundraiser Tony Rezko, who recently was convicted on corruption charges. Obama has called that transaction a “boneheaded mistake.”

Bloggers on the left and right increasingly drive media coverage by turning up the volume on questions until they are difficult to ignore. Sometimes they are right, as when they questioned what CBS‘s Dan Rather said were National Guard documents in a 2004 report on President Bush’s military service that led to Rather’s ouster as the network’s anchor. And sometimes they are wrong. Last year, the New Republic retracted a soldier’s dispatch on petty wartime cruelty in Iraq, and National Review Online acknowledged that two blog postings by a former Marine about military movements in Lebanon were misleading.

Major newspapers, magazines and networks no longer play their traditional gatekeeper role in the digital age, as was evident during the eight-month period when the National Enquirer was charging former senator John Edwards with fathering an out-of-wedlock baby. Most national news outlets did not report the allegations until last month, when Edwards acknowledged an affair with a former campaign aide but denied being her child’s father.

Still, traditional media outlets can amplify and legitimize such reports, which may be why the McCain campaign is fighting so hard to keep the Palin allegations confined to the Internet. Denouncing the news media as biased also plays well with many Republican voters.

Palin has been unavailable to the media since she became McCain’s surprise choice Friday, adding to the difficulties for news organizations pursuing stories about her life and career. Campaign manager Rick Davis said it would be unrealistic for her to grant interviews as she prepares for “the most important speech of her life,” her acceptance address at the convention here. Schmidt said she will be made available for interviews after the convention, a similar timetable followed by Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.).

Perhaps the greatest concern to the McCain campaign is that the constant inquiries, amplified by cable television debates over whether a mother with a pregnant daughter and four other children can effectively function as vice president, will create a perception that her nomination is in trouble. “We are being bombarded by e-mails and phone calls from journalists asking when she will be dropping out of the race,” Schmidt said.

Howard Kurtz hosts CNN’s weekly media program, “Reliable Sources.”

Obama Love Fest: NBC Reporter Admits Objectivity Difficult Amid Candidate Ferver

McCain protests NBC coverage

McCain protests NBC coverage
By: Mike Allen
August 18, 2008 09:04 AM EST

Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) campaign manager Rick Davis asked Sunday for a meeting with Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, to protest what the campaign called signs that the network is “abandoning non-partisan coverage of the presidential race.”

Davis made the request Sunday in a letter that is part of an aggressive effort by McCain to counter news coverage he considers critical.

In this case, the campaign is objecting to a statement by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on “Meet the Press” questioning whether McCain might have gotten a heads-up on some of the questions that were asked of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who was the first candidate to be interviewed Saturday night by Pastor Rick Warren at a presidential forum on faith.

Warren told the audience that McCain was being held in “a cone of silence” so he wouldn’t hear the questions, which were similar for both candidates.

Warren referred again to “the cone of silence” when McCain came onstage, and the senator joked: “I was trying to hear through the wall.”

Mitchell reported that some “Obama people” were suggesting “that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama. He seemed so well prepared.”

A McCain aide said that is not the case: “Senator McCain was in a motorcade led by the United States Secret Service and held in a green room with no broadcast feed.”

Mitchell made the comment in the context of saying McCain did better, and that the Obama camp was defensive. In response to the campaign’s letter, she pointed out that journalists get criticism from both sides.

“I wasn’t expressing an opinion,” Mitchell said. “I was reporting what they were saying.”

Here is the text of the letter:

August 17, 2008
Mr. Steve Capus
President, NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Steve:

We are extremely disappointed to see that the level of objectivity at NBC News has fallen so low that reporters are now giving voice to unsubstantiated, partisan claims in order to undercut John McCain.

Nowhere was this more evident than with NBC chief correspondent Andrea Mitchell’s comments on “Meet the Press” this morning. In analyzing last night’s presidential forum at Saddleback Church, Mitchell expressed the Obama campaign spin that John McCain could only have done so well last night because he “may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.” Here are Andrea Mitchell’s comments in full:

Mitchell: “The Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because what they are putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama. He seemed so well-prepared.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 8/17/08)

Make no mistake: This is a serious charge. Andrea Mitchell is repeating, uncritically, a completely unsubstantiated Obama campaign claim that John McCain somehow cheated in last night’s forum at Saddleback Church. Instead of trying to substantiate this blatant falsehood in any way, Andrea Mitchell felt that she needed to repeat it on air to millions of “Meet the Press” viewers with no indication that 1.) There’s not one shred of evidence that it’s true; 2.) In his official correspondence to both campaigns, Pastor Rick Warren provided both candidates with information regarding the topic areas to be covered, which Barack Obama acknowledged during the forum when asked about Pastor Warren’s idea of an emergency plan for orphans and Obama said, “I cheated a little bit. I actually looked at this idea ahead of time, and I think it is a great idea;” 3.) John McCain actually requested that he and Barack Obama do the forum together on stage at the same time, making these kinds of after-the-fact complaints moot.

Indeed, instead of taking a critical journalistic approach to this spin, Andrea Mitchell did what has become a pattern for her of simply repeating Obama campaign talking points.

This is irresponsible journalism and sadly, indicative of the level of objectivity we have witnessed at NBC News this election cycle. Instead of examining the Obama campaign’s spin for truth before reporting it to more than 3 million NBC News viewers, Andrea Mitchell simply passed along Obama campaign conspiracy theories. The fact is that during Senator Obama’s segment at Saddleback last night, Senator McCain was in a motorcade to the event and then held in a green room with no broadcast feed. In the forum, John McCain clearly demonstrated to the American people that he is prepared to be our next President…..

 

We are concerned that your News Division is following MSNBC’s lead in abandoning non-partisan coverage of the Presidential race. We would like to request a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss our deep concerns about the news standards and level of objectivity at NBC.

Sincerely,

Rick Davis
Campaign Manager
John McCain 2008

This is one of the best I’ve seen!

Change They Can Believe In

Change They Can Believe In

By Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | 7/25/2008

Barack Obama’s recent global tour may have been a media sensation abroad, but back home it was a punch line. “There was a huge reception for Barack Obama in the Middle East this past weekend,” quipped Jay Leno. “People were screaming, chasing him, hanging on his every word — and that was just the U.S. press corps.”

 

The line hit home. With the presidential election still months away, much of the media establishment has cast its lot with the junior senator from Illinois. This was already the case during the Democratic primaries, when Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Terry McAuliffe, grumbled that 90 percent of the media were “in the tank” for Obama. This was not solely campaign spin. Saturday Night Live found the charge compelling enough to air a sketch mocking news anchors and their undisguised affection for Clinton’s rival.

 

Media infatuation with Obama has only grown since he locked up his party’s nomination in early June. On magazine covers, newspaper pages and television screens, the storyline is all too clear: It’s all Obama, all the time.

 

Among the more disturbing features of this adulation is its embarrassing effect on supposedly hard-nosed journalists. MSNBC News’ Lee Cowan aptly diagnosed the symptoms of Obamamania when he observed that “it’s almost hard to remain objective because it’s infectious. It’s almost not cool if you haven’t seen him in person.” One need only consider the sad case of Chris Matthews, who has gushed that Obama is “sort of a gift from the world to us in so many ways.” Hardball this is not.

 

With the media’s biases so starkly exposed, it’s little wonder that Americans have lost faith in their fourth estate’s ability to cover the presidential race fairly. A recent Rasmussen found that 49 percent of respondents believed reporters would favor Obama in their coverage this fall. Just 14 percent expected the media to back John McCain.

 

Such suspicions are warranted. For instance, a Project For Excellence In Journalism survey showed that Obama was a main figure in 78 per cent of newspaper, radio and television election reports in the six weeks since early June. By contrast, only 21 percent of reports focused on McCain. The Tyndall Report, which monitors the nightly newscasts of the three major American television networks, reported a similar bias. It found that CBS, NBC and ABC have expended 114 broadcasting minutes covering Obama since Hilary Clinton’s June withdrawal from the primaries, and only 48 minutes to McCain. On the media’s radar, the former Vietnam P.O.W. is M.I.A.

 

A stunning example of journalistic favoritism-in-action was furnished by the New York Times. Last week, the paper published an op-ed by Obama detailing his plan for Iraq. One might think that McCain would be similarly entitled to this highly desirable piece of media real-estate. Yet, when McCain submitted a rebuttal piece, criticizing Obama’s timetable for the withdrawal of American troops, the paper refused to publish it. A Times editor claimed that McCain’s submission did not have “enough new information,” and encouraged the senator to resubmit a new version. As critics noted, this was the kind of brush-off typically reserved for unwanted freelancers, not would-be presidents. (Interestingly, while the Times decreed McCain’s article unfit to print, a European paper, the Berliner Tagesspiegel published it this week.)

 

Though doubtless a sincere reflection of the mainstream media’s generally left-leaning politics, the Obama love affair may backfire. According to a recent RealClearPolitics poll, McCain was six points back of his Democratic rival at the start of July, at 48 percent to 42. But at the beginning of this week, he was only a point back, at 42 to 41. Among the main reasons given by respondents for their flagging enthusiasm was the media’s obvious preference for Obama; many found it unfair.

 

Perhaps the worst aspect of the media’s Obama obsession is the concomitant suspension of all critical faculties. Lost in the admiring chorus chronicling Obama’s tour of Afghanistan, the Middle East and Europe, for instance, was any serious scrutiny of his foreign-policy inexperience. Not only does this trivialize the presidential race, promoting personality over issues and policy, but it ill-serves the public, which, unlike its media, is more than willing to evaluate its presidential aspirants critically. Starry-eyed journalists’ fascination with Obama would ultimately be quite funny – if the consequences for the voters – and the nation – were not so serious.



Stephen Brown is a contributing editor at Frontpagemag.com. He has a graduate degree in Russian and Eastern European history. Email him at alsolzh@hotmail.com.

THE SURPRISE & FALL OF KATIE

By DON KAPLAN

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June 3, 2007 — As you can see from the chart above, Katie Couric’s first nine months at CBS aren’t exactly going as planned – in fact, she’s costing CBS an arm and a leg and a whole lot more for each viewer she hangs onto in her shrinking audience.

And last week the $15 million- a-year anchor got even more expensive.

When the ratings for “The CBS Evening News” dipped to 5.9 million for the week ended May 25 – an all-time low, and a smaller audience than former anchors Dan Rather and Bob Schieffer ever saw – it meant

CBS was paying $2.51 per viewer.

By comparison, ABC’s Charlie Gibson-anchored “World News Tonight,” cost 89 cents per viewer (7.78 million tuned in), while NBC’s “Nightly News” with Brian Williams was a relative bargain at about 55 cents per head. Gibson reportedly pulls down about $7 million a year, and Williams is paid an estimated $4 million.

In happier days, CBS was paying interim anchor Schieffer 48 cents per viewer (7.2 million viewers, $3.5 million estimated salary) while Rather’s cost per head came in at about a buck – 7 million viewers, $7 million annually. In fact, after attracting a surprising 13.6 million viewers for her debut telecast last September, Couric has lost more viewers than Rather usually attract-

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