12:22 PM, Aug 27, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
If you want a good idea of how much water the media is willing to carry for Planned Parenthood, go ahead and check out this Politico story. It seems Planned Parenthood commissioned a "forensic report" to analyze the undercover videos that have got the organization in trouble for harvesting and selling fetal organs, and leaked it to Politico. This is an obvious PR move and should be a non-story but naturally, headline at Politico is "Report for Planned Parenthood finds sting videos manipulated." But despite that favorable headline, the results of the study -- which given the circumstances that brought it about -- seem somewhat mixed [emphasis added]:
A report commissioned by Planned Parenthood has found that the sting videos targeting its tissue donation practices contain intentionally deceptive edits, missing footage and inaccurately transcribed conversations. But there is no evidence that the anti-abortion group behind the attack made up dialogue. ...
But the firm also wrote that it is impossible to characterize the extent to which the edits and cuts distort the meaning of the conversations depicted and that there was no “widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.”
But one other detail caught my eye that bears mentioning: "The report by research firm Fusion GPS, which was obtained by POLITICO, attempts to undermine the videos’ political, legal, and journalistic value."
Just who, exactly, is behind Fusion GPS? Turns out it's an opposition research firm with ties to the Democratic party and has a history of harassing socially conservative Republican donors, possibly on behalf of the Obama campaign:
As Ms. Strassel has reported in recent columns, Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot has become the target of a smear campaign since it was disclosed earlier this year that he had donated $1 million to a super PAC supporting Mr. Romney. President Obama's campaign website teed him up in April as one of eight "less than reputable" Romney donors and a "bitter foe of the gay rights movement." One sin: His wife donated to an anti-gay-marriage campaign, of the kind that have passed in 30 or so states.
Now we learn that little more than a week after that Presidential posting, a former Democratic Senate staffer called the courthouse in Mr. VanderSloot's home town of Idaho Falls seeking his divorce records. Ms. Strassel traced the operative, Michael Wolf, to a Washington, D.C. outfit called Fusion GPS that says it is "a commercial research firm."
Fusion GPS is run by a former Wall Street Journal reporter, Glenn Simpson, who wouldn't say who is paying him for this high-minded slumming but said in an email that Mr. VanderSloot was a "legitimate" target because of "his record on gay issues."
Politico should have mentioned this. But the pro-life movement has never gotten a fair shake from the media, and it seems that's not about to change.
UPDATE -- A fellow journalist alerts me to the New York Times's favorable write-up of the same report. The Times only identifies Fusion GPS in the following way, and doesn't mention any details that might undermine the report's credibility:
The analysis was by Fusion GPS, a Washington-based research and corporate intelligence company, and its co-founder Glenn Simpson, a former investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
Gleanings and observations.9:12 AM, Aug 26, 2015 • By IRWIN STELZER
We can always count on the New York Times to remind us how complete has been conservatives’ loss in the culture wars. Elisabetta Povoledo reports from Venice that Mayor Luigi Brugnaro had to retreat from his proposed ban on books headed for the magical city’s preschool library about (1) a male dog that aspired to be a ballerina; (2) a little boy who wanted to be a princess; (3) a penguin egg hatched and adopted by two male penguins.
May 4, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 32 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Now that the presidential race is heating up, we’re getting our quadrennial lesson in the hopeless and perennial nature of media bias. Hillary Clinton is proving to be the most obviously corrupt major presidential candidate since her husband, and before that, you’d probably have to go back to Nixon to find someone worse. And yet, every damning new revelation about her conduct—from possibly illicit financial dealings to private spy networks to document destruction—is not so much reported as it is contextualized (a word we usually hate) by a sympathetic media.
Gleanings and observations.3:28 PM, Apr 8, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
For your further enlightenment, two news stories on page one of last Sunday’s New York Times. One begins a long report on California’s water problems, attributed to a drought rather than bureaucratic mismanagement.
12:25 PM, Sep 25, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Rep. Tom Cotton, the Republican nominee in the Arkansas Senate race, is running an ad highlighting his leadership in trying to fix Washington's broken farm bill legislation. The ad isn't particularly controversial ormaking false claims, in any discernible way and yet "fact checkers" at the Washington Post and PolitiFact have pretty savagely attacked it. Once again, the fact checkers are wrong on the merits. But more than that, there's something very fishy about their Cotton critique.
You can watch the whole ad, but here's the supposedly objectionable claim Cotton makes:
“When President Obama hijacked the farm bill, turned it into a food stamp bill, with billions more in spending, I voted no. Career politicians love attaching bad ideas to good ones. Then the bad ideas become law, and you pay for it.”
As far as legislative sausage-making goes, there are few spectacles more off-putting than Capitol Hill's periodic farm bill extravaganza. The farm subsidies are bad enough on their own, but for decades the bill has also included funding for the unrelated Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aka food stamps. The result is the worst kind of bipartisanship—rural Republicans compromise on bloating the cost of food stamp funding in exchange for Democratic votes to get their farm subsidies.
10:16 AM, Oct 17, 2013 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy is nearly upon us, so one would expect America's public intellectuals to be gearing up to present a series of sober and illuminating reflections about the tragedy's cultural and political legacy.
Of course, that's not going to happen. Any misty-eyed resonance that can be wrung out of JFK's death is already being exploited by our elite media gatekeepers to advance a political agenda.
1:03 PM, Sep 16, 2013 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
A new USA Today/Pew poll on Obamacare is out today. According to the fine print on the poll, "Three years after President Obama signed his signature health care overhaul, Americans are as negative toward it as they have ever been, and disapproval of the president on the issue has reached a new high."
What inferences can we draw from this poll result? Well, here's the first paragraph of USA Today's write-up on the poll:
9:23 AM, Aug 12, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Republican National Committee says it's putting its money where its mouth is by running paid ads against CNN and NBC over the networks' plans to run a documentary (CNN) and mini-series (NBC) on Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 presidential election, a spokesman for the RNC says.
It’s only a matter of time before the media are back in the tank. Jun 3, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 36 • By PETER WEHNER
Some conservatives think that the elite media are finally turning on Barack Obama and his administration.
Will the press ever give Obama tough coverage?Jan 14, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 17 • By FRED BARNES
President Obama never disappoints. When the monthly unemployment rate fails to drop, forget it. What’s important is the number of jobs created. But when the rate actually does drop, forget the growth (or lack of it) in jobs. It’s the rate that matters. And don’t blame Obama for the persistence of slow economic growth and high joblessness. That’s the “new normal.” As for the millions of dropouts from the job market, that’s no big deal, hardly worth more than a passing mention.
The left’s long twilight struggle against imaginary bigotry Oct 22, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 06 • By NOEMIE EMERY
Slowly but surely, the toxin of bias is being leached out of American culture, if incrementally and by degrees. A Catholic was elected president in 1960, and since then Catholic nominees and candidates have become commonplace. A Jew was nominated in 2000 for vice president, and was a help to his ticket. In 2004 and 2008 respectively, Joe Lieberman and Rudy Giuliani ran for president, and their names and religions did not become issues.
The media pull out all the stops to reelect the president.
Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By FRED BARNES
The Time cover story last week was headlined “The Mormon Identity.” The cover, featuring Mitt Romney in a stained-glass window, said in smaller type, “What Mitt Romney’s faith tells us about his vision and values.” Newsweek had President Obama on the cover, identifying him as “The Democrats’ Reagan” and heralding the story inside as “What Obama Will Achieve in His Second Term.”
How media fact checkers made themselves of service to the president in the welfare reform debateOct 1, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 03 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Bill Clinton’s address to the Democratic convention is widely seen as a pivotal moment in President Obama’s reelection campaign. It was an undeniably powerful speech, but particularly noteworthy were his remarks about the popular and bipartisan 1996 welfare reform Clinton himself signed into law. As a result of the law, Americans were required to work as a condition of receiving welfare benefits, and could not receive benefits indefinitely. The reform shrank welfare rolls dramatically and remains wildly popular to this day.
11:42 AM, Jul 24, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Last week, reports emerged that Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy had condemned gay marriage. It's no secret that the company is run by devout Christians, but this still caused an uproar.