Monday, October 02, 2006

The Mainstream Media Hubris of 60 Minutes

"It's blowing out at our stores," says Bob Wietrak, a vice president of merchandising at Barnes & Noble, Inc. "There has been phenomenal publicity. The book has been talked about on every talk show and every news show you can think of. Also, he's an authority. He was there."


A description of the Bob Woodward book? No. That was the description of Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies in 2004. Just a few months before that book came out, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill collaborated on Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty. And wouldn't you know it. Both O'Neill and the former terrorism adviser got prominent red carpet treatment on 60 Minutes, as well as making their rounds on the media circuit.

So let's lay out the 2004 timeline:

January 11, 2004: Paul O'Neill is interviewed (video here)in regards to his collaboration on Suskind's The Price of Loyalty. *Yawn*

March 21, 2004: Richard Clarke's interview airs. He had no publisher, until CBS came along seeking him out.

April 18, 2004: Bob Woodward with another interview and a simultaneous April 18th release of his new book, Plan of Attack.

May 21, 2004: 60 Minutes interviews retired general Anthony Zinni

That's 4 hit pieces running up to the November Presidential Election, plus coinciding with Kitty Kelley's book, The Family: The Real Story Behind the Bush Dynasty, which was due out for a September 14th, 2004 release, 60 Minutes runs with one too many anti-Bush stories and blunders on September 8th with this unintended gift to conservatives: RatherGate.

I guess 60 Minutes just couldn't squeeze in Michael Scheuer, author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, until a bit over a week after the November Election.


Notice that Simon & Schuster is the publisher of Richard Clarke's book, Anthony Zinni's book, the Suskind-O'Neill book, and Woodward's books. And as Little Green Footballs pointed out in 2004, Simon & Schuster is owned by Viacom, which owns CBS, which produces 60 Minutes. If you don't think people's political allegiance doesn't influence their decisions, consider the following:
Financial records show that Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone has donated $19,000 to Democrats in the past year [2004], some of it to Kerry, for whom he has also pledged to raise at least $50,000 as part of 'a bundle' of donations. The group's chief executive Mel Karmazin has also given $6,576 to Democrat politicians in the past year.
Kerry's campaign has received large donations from other major media and entertainment firms. At least 11 of Kerry's 'bundlers' of gifts of $50,000 or more are from the media. One, Nancy Tellem, heads CBS Entertainment.

When people claim that their decisions aren't based upon partisan politics, I call BS. I would have more respect for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, if they'd prominently admit to their biases. Have their writers mention in their bios, which way they vote. Now that would be much more honest, in the way of journalism.

So another anti-Bush book hits the market, another exclusive interview, last night; and you gotta love the timing of it. Why am I not surprised? It's easy money.

How many anti-Bush segments did CBS 60 Minutes air in 2004, including anti-military and anti-war pieces?

Have they ever featured a conservative, pro-Bush author in a segment? Pile them onto all the other anti-Bush "liberal hit jobs (to borrow Clinton's way of expressing things)", and what do we have? An agenda-driven, liberally-biased, see BS program, in its umpteenth year on the air. And for all the good it did them in 2004, President Bush is still our President, and the leader of the free world. God bless him!

Also blogging:

Newsbusters
Flopping Aces (non-accessible at the moment)

I'll update later tonight with more.

UPDATE 10/03/06: Curt attached an addendum to this post over at Flopping Aces. I've been Googling around to see if the incumbent Bill Clinton received this kind of negative onslaught from 60 Minutes in 1996; in a way, it's a bit of apples and oranges; but hey! Even apples and oranges share a common characteristic.

Anyway, I found that Roger Morris came out with Partners in Power in 1996, and 60 Minutes decided the content was too "explosive" for them to go with reporting on it:
The liberal establishment has been attacked for not giving Partners in Power the attention it warrants in this election year. Howie Carr, a Boston radio-show host, observed in the Boston Herald about two weeks after the book's publication: "Haven't yet heard it mentioned on any of the Sunday-morning chattering skull shows, have you?"

[Roger] Morris himself told The New York Post he saw a double standard in the way his Nixon critique was played up and his Clinton critique played down. In her New York Post media column, Maureen O'Brien said CBS's 60 Minutes had "backed off" from the Morris book because "the content was apparently so explosive," and went on to air Morris's charges. Mike Wallace, who investigated the charge that Clinton was involved in a guns-and-drugs smuggling operation, says he was not able to find independent confirmation.

So Roger Morris' book was too "explosive" and yet in 2004 they didn't find 4 "hard-hitting" anti-Bush books during an election year, "explosive"? And Unfit for Command? Did that get the time of day from the producers at 60 Minutes? They did find the time to squeeze in and devote an interview segment on Bill Clinton, June 20, 2004, giving him the opportunity to promote his book, My Life.

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17 Comments:

Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Excellent pointing out of the facts. I can't tell you how much this steams me. Its amazing that conservatives win as much as we do when you see the cards stacked against us. I hope we win in November just to spite all their hit pieces.

Monday, October 02, 2006 6:24:00 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

60 Minutes has become an infomercial for lib books.

Maybe "misinfomercial" is more fitting.

Monday, October 02, 2006 8:50:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

"misinfomercial". I like that, Mary.

Chatterbox, the greatest day of November 2004, was the morning after Bush's re-election win. It was like all my blue state Californians were kicked in the gut. They just couldn't believe it. I can only hope for similar results. If Democrats gain majority in the House, I just don't know how anything will get done for the next 2 years.

Monday, October 02, 2006 8:58:00 PM  
Blogger The Angry American said...

Very good, and informative article ws. I can't tell you how much I would like to give Bob Woodward a slap. This guy has made an entire carrer of trying to destroy Republican Presidents, but somehow he's considered unbiased, Kitty Kelly is really in the same boat. Can you imagine what the media would say about someone who wrote three books about the Clinton administration in a negative light the way Woodward did about the Bush administration?

Monday, October 02, 2006 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Old Soldier said...

Great post, Wordsmith. I appreciate the laying out of the time line and associated activities. Media bias; isn't that one word now? Well, it should be.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

You do a great job and I've got you linked in my sidebar over at The Elephant Bar which has a pretty good readership as well as at Observanda which has none.

You're welcome to come over to the Elephant Bar and plug your fine blog.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Wow, Wordsmith! You have certainly done your homework on this post!

Yes, I saw Woodward's interview on Fox News yesterday and was completely underwhelmed. *sigh*

I suppose we will find out how smart the American public is in November, won't we? I suppose you and I, and all those who really care about this country will probably be up on November 7th until all the votes are in. I don't think I'll be able to sleep.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 1:09:00 PM  
Blogger Old Soldier said...

Regarding the addendum... why am I not the slightest bit surprised? One unfavorable book about Clinton in an election year = "too explosive." Yet four anti-Bush books in an election year is par for the course. And the Dem's scream bloody murder if an article that appears slightly anti-liberal hits the MSM. Their cry ironically enogh is "media bias." If it weren't so darned pathetic, it might be funny.

Thanks for the update.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 3:34:00 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Kerry's campaign has received large donations from other major media and entertainment firms. At least 11 of Kerry's 'bundlers' of gifts of $50,000 or more are from the media.

Doesn't that figure! The msm's bias is clear, in nearly every broadcast.

Excellent post, Wordsmith!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 5:49:00 PM  
Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

brilliant background info..thank u Word!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 8:47:00 PM  
Blogger Stew Magoo said...

I saw that show. Forced myself to watch it and it's simply amazing to watch that guy. His head is so far inserted in his rectum that he has a snorkle.

Shooting down the "logic" libs rely on is amazingly easy. Remember the WMD's?

hehehe

Thursday, October 05, 2006 8:08:00 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

"I suppose you and I, and all those who really care about this country "....

If all of you really cared about this country you'd be volunteering to help fight the "war on terrorism". You can join up or re-up until you are 42 years of age. Older than that? No problem. There are plenty of contractors to work for in Iraq.

I guess I'm just tired of the same kids being sent over there again and again and again. I've got a friend whose sons have served a total of 109 months in Afghanistan and Iraq since the beginning of the war on terror and they are still serving. When do these families get a break? Are any of you up to giving them that break?

It's time for those of you who haven't served your country and support this president to step up to the plate and lend a helping hand.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 9:30:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

"I suppose you and I, and all those who really care about this country "....

If all of you really cared about this country you'd be volunteering to help fight the "war on terrorism".


Marty...I would think you'd know better by now. I'm surprised you'd resort to the chickenhawk argument. One does not need to serve on the frontlines to support the war. But let's say we're all cowards who believe in this war, but are too afraid to fight "the bad guys". So what? It's all the more reason to be supportive of our troops and appreciative to the depths of our souls, for all the sacrifices that they and their families are making on behalf of the rest of us.

With the exception of people such as yourself, whose son is serving, I rarely come across leftist blogs that honor and support our military the way people on the right do. During Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the majority of posts that pay tribute and heartfelt thanks and remembrance, come from the right. Am I wrong? Maybe. But it's what I observed during those holidays this past year.

There are many ways to serve your country; and many of the milblogs I've frequented who have addressed the chickenhawk argument, say just that. I believe it was CJ at One Soldier's Perspective who might have said the chickenhawk argument is a bogus argument that is only designed to shut down debate. Even within the military, not everyone can serve on the frontlines of combat; the majority of soldiers never even get to fire an M-16 at any of the enemy during their entire service. Going by the chickenhawk line of reasoning, where only those who serve have the authority to comment and talk about war, does that mean the combat soldier's opinion somehow outweighs the opinion of the soldier who serves as a mechanic? Maybe we should have our generals take point and lead the charge? Starting with George Bush? How does that make any kind of logical sense?

Do you believe that crime must be fought? That criminals must be stopped from victimizing our society? It's dangerous work. Because I support crime-fighting, does that mean I have to join the police force, since they are placing themselves in danger, and I am not?

I think being a firefighter is a necessary and honorable profession. I am very grateful to firefighters. Again, I am on the sidelines, when the 911 call comes through and the firetruck sounds its siren; I'm the one pulling off to the side of the road. Should I feel guilty, because those brave souls are fighting a fire in MY neighborhood, and I am not? If I am not satisfied with some policymaking involving the police dept or the fire dept, am I not allowed to have an opinion because I never served in either of the two? Then perhaps we should not criticize our Congressional leaders since most of us have never held a Senate or House seat, let alone been in the President's cabinet. After all, we don't have their perspective and their unique experience; therefore, we should just shut up. That's what you're saying.

Now, there is some merit in that; but taken in the manner in which the anti-war Left wants it to be taken in, can you see why it is not an argument that deserves serious attention?

I find someone like Pat Tillman to be an amazing individual. But let's say, instead of enlisting, he decided that he could serve his country better by signing his football contract and making millions; much of which he decides to donate generously to charities for military families. Who's to say that he hasn't done just as much honorable service on behalf of this country, as he had by joining special forces in the military? Industrial leaders as much as anyone else, won the war for us during WWII. Everyone has their part to do. Not all of us can carry an M-16, nor is it desireable. We don't need 300 million people carrying M-16's. We need people to fulfill many roles, and that includes support positions.

You can join up or re-up until you are 42 years of age. Older than that? No problem. There are plenty of contractors to work for in Iraq.

Marty, I personally don't even think there should be an age limit; I know some people in their 40's in better shape than many in their early 20's. And I think there are ways to bypass the age cut-off.

And between you and I, I have been considering military service. I am looking at different things and weighing my options. I'm no spring chicken btw. I have not made a big decision yet, as I'm still researching. Fear of dying is the least of my concerns; and I've always had a high threshold for pain and don't fear it either.

I guess I'm just tired of the same kids being sent over there again and again and again.

And that's why we should be grateful for the hard work that they do and the sacrifices that they and their families make each and every day they are in the service on behalf of this country, and all of us who benefit.

I imagine a big part of your frustration is in that you see this as an unecessary war.

I've got a friend whose sons have served a total of 109 months in Afghanistan and Iraq since the beginning of the war on terror and they are still serving. When do these families get a break? Are any of you up to giving them that break?

Marty, this is one of the reasons why I am considering military service.

It's time for those of you who haven't served your country and support this president to step up to the plate and lend a helping hand.

Thanks for the good venting, Marty. I appreciate the stress and feelings of helplessness that you might be going through. And I am appreciative of your son's service. I don't take any of it for granted.

You have the right to feel as you do; but I feel that there are many ways to serve your country and many parts to be played; not just in soldiering.

What frustrates me, are those who go about their daily lives, not even giving an iota of thought to the fact that we are engaged in a war, and have fellow citizens in two countries making tremendous sacrifices at very little pay, so that they can go shop at Nordstroms, play their gamecubes, watch American Idol, sip a vanilla latte at Starbucks, and otherwise lead a carefree existence. And consequently, I love our military for making such freedoms possible.

God bless, Marty; and may He watch over your son and keep him safe.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

"You have the right to feel as you do;"

Thanks for allowing me that right here Wordsmith. I am weary and many of those I am acquainted with are carrying much heavier burdens than my family. For many the war continues long after their loved one comes home because of PTSD. There is no help from the VA. It is said that mental problems will be the number one effect of this war. That may be true in any war, but especially this one.

My son, by the way, supports me in all my efforts to bring the troops home now.

"but I feel that there are many ways to serve your country and many parts to be played; not just in soldiering."

That is true, but soldiering is what is needed most now. I do hope you follow through with your desire to serve our country. And yes, you can have an opinion on the war without fighting it, but your opinion carries more weight if you've walked the walk.

Friday, October 06, 2006 8:51:00 AM  
Blogger Old Soldier said...

Marty, I understand the frustrations of any loved one going off to war. My wife and my mother didn’t like when I went off several times, either, yet there was a call that I had to answer. Not everyone that ends up in the combat theater believes that we, nationally, are doing the right thing. I happen to believe we are, for many many reason.

I wore the uniform of the US Army for 31 years spanning Vietnam, Central America and the first Gulf War because I wanted my wife, my children and my fellow countrymen to be free and to answer the call for assistance by other lands that also desired our freedom.

If your views are based solely upon emotion, logic will be meaningless. Considering the relationship, that is understandable. However, it is not logical to expect everyone who supports the war to be a Soldier. Wordsmith made some very good points regarding the relationship between those who support freedom and liberty and those who only give lip service.

All of the challenges to join the service that I have seen on the internet come from those unwilling to serve. People who are unsupportive of our war efforts are quick to try to stifle discussion by challenging a war supporter to go serve (implying in uniform). If only those who have served are credentialed to speak out or “support” the war, then why are the unwilling on the left speaking out about the war? How can they be against something they have never experienced?

I returned from Vietnam to have my uniform spat upon, be called a murder and a baby killer by those who were unwilling to support those of us who followed orders. Many with the convictions fled the country rather than serve in uniform – which was fine by me; I just never wanted them to be allowed to return without facing judicial proceedings.

It is no more hypocritical to support the war without serving than it is to oppose the war without leaving the country in protest.

May God bless all our young heroes who have stepped into the gap to defend this nation and others who desire freedom.

Friday, October 06, 2006 9:18:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Marty and Old Soldier...thanks for your comments.

Old Soldier, thanks for lending your perspective; since you have served in the military, yours is a voice that does carry a certain weight that mine lacks.

Friday, October 06, 2006 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Marty said...

Thank you for your comment to me Old Soldier. I suppose my feelings could be coming from emotion. I don't deny that is part of it. My fiance was killed in the Jan '68 Tet Offensive. He was 19 years old. I've had a bad taste in my mouth for war ever since and have been quite the pacifist. It was not easy seeing another loved one go off to a war I felt was wrong. I don't believe in war. My mom went through it with my Dad in WWII. She feels just like me. Violence breeds violence. It is a never ending cycle of abuse that must be broken. I will work for peace as long as there is breath in my body.

Not one more mother's child. Bring the troops home now and take care of them when they get here.

Friday, October 06, 2006 10:20:00 PM  

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