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Cats and Dogs Edition

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"Compare that characterization to the AP's coverage of Democratic Congressional candidate Francine Busby's defeat yesterday in California's 50th District. Busby, unlike advocates of the marriage amendment, received a minority of the votes cast. That must have been a really stinging defeat for Busby and the Democrats, right?

"Wrong! Busby's defeat was a 'stiff Democratic challenge,' and Busby made a 'close showing!' Not only that, but the winner, Republican Brian Bilbray, 'won't have much time to savor his victory,' since Busby will run against him in the fall."

And a few words on that very election from Philly's Dick Polman :

"My dictionary defines victory as 'defeat of an opponent,' and, to the best of my knowledge and experience, an election victory occurs when one side gets more votes than the other side. But those little details aren't hindering the Democrats this morning, nor their supporters, as they strive to spin yet another election loss into some kind of victory -- moral, Pyrrhic, symbolic, or whatever.

"The topic this time is the special congressional election that was staged Tuesday in the suburban California district on the north side of San Diego (for details, see yesterday's post). In this Republican enclave, corrupt Republican congressman Duke Cunningham was recently dispatched to jail, thus necessitating a June 6 contest to replace him. Democrats were anticipating that if their candidate, Francine Busby, could pull off a win, the news would galvanize the political world, demoralize the GOP, and give the Democrats psychological momentum for their bid to topple the Republican majority in the November congressional elections. Well, it didn't happen. Busby took 45.46 percent of the vote; the victor, Republican Brian Bilbray (who previously served in Congress, in a neighboring district), garnered 49.43 percent. And turnout, among supposedly energized Democratic voters, was reportedly tepid.

"But that isn't deterring the losing side. Let the spin begin!

"1. Here's Chris Bowers, at the grassroots website MyDD: 'No matter what the media says, no Democrat should be mistaken about this result. First, this is a huge, seismic shift in our favor that bodes extremely well for November.' In his view, Democrats made great gains because Busby, who lost by 22 percentage points against Duke Cunningham in 2004, lost by only 4.5 points this time around. He notes that the national Republicans pumped big money into this race, and 'if Republicans want to spin losing 18 points after spending $4.5 million of committee money as a good thing, go for it.' "

Polman has lot more examples.

HuffPoster Eric Boehlert responds to conservatives who have been filleting liberals over Haditha:

"Wingers have become unhinged over the alleged massacre and cover-up in Haditha. Or more specifically, they've become unhinged over the Haditha news coverage, which they insist has been laced with barely contained glee on the part of the press. But as usual with the press-hating conservatives, whose first concern is always the Bush White House and not the state of American journalism, don't actually point to any evidence to support their wild-eyed partisan critiques. Seems they can just sense reporters behaving badly.

"Rush Limbaugh this week announced the press was 'gleefully' reporting about Haditha, and was 'ecstatic' about the blood-soaked tale. But he offered no examples to illustrate his allegation. Fox News analyst and right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin insisted she could see 'puddles of drool in the offices of the L.A. Times and The New York Times' as they reported out the atrocities allegedly carried out by U.S. Marines. Malkin also demanded that there be 'a ratcheting down of all the hyperventilation and treat this incident with the seriousness and sobriety that it deserves.' . . .

"Also on Fox, Bill O'Reilly claimed that the 'left-wing press' and others were 'rejoic[ing]' over Haditha. . . . O'Reilly also cited no examples. Same with National Review's Rich Lowry, who wrote that the coverage to date telegraphed the press' 'instinctive glee' over the failings in Haditha.

"Where, readers and viewers were left to wonder, were the all the gleeful articles, quotes, headlines, and cable news talk shows about Haditha? Where was all the rampant, distasteful gleefulness hiding? Apparently it's been invisible to the naked eye, but detectable among pro-war, super sleuths like Limbaugh, Malkin, O'Reilly and Lowry, who have perfected the art of media criticism via mental telepathy. Frustrated conservatives can't actually point to any sort of demented press gloating, so instead they pretend to read the minds of journalists to determine that beneath the surface they love -- love -- reporting the fact that U.S. Marines may have lined up dozens of innocent Iraqis in Haditha, including women and children, and shot them execution-style."

I don't know what kind of sources Sid Blumenthal has these days, but here's his startling claim:

"Former President George H.W. Bush waged a secret campaign over several months early this year to remove Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The elder Bush went so far as to recruit Rumsfeld's potential replacement, personally asking a retired four-star general if he would accept the position, a reliable source close to the general told me."

Finally, just a really interesting WSJ piece on the latest viral phenomenon:

"While riding public bus 68X on the night of April 29, Elvis Ho tapped the shoulder of a passenger sitting in front of him who was talking on a cellphone. The 23-year-old Mr. Ho asked the man to lower his voice. Mr. Ho called him 'uncle,' a familiar way of addressing an elder male in Cantonese.

"Instead of complying, the man turned around and berated Mr. Ho for nearly six minutes, peppering his outburst with obscenities.

" 'I've got pressure, you've got pressure!' the older man exploded. 'Why did you have to provoke me?' A nearby passenger who found the encounter interesting captured most of it on video with his own cellphone, and it was posted on the Web.

" 'Bus Uncle,' as the older man is now known, has since become a Hong Kong sensation. The video, including subtitled versions, has been downloaded nearly five million times from YouTube.com, a popular Web site for video clips.

"Teenagers and adults here sprinkle their conversations with phrases borrowed from Bus Uncle's rant, such as 'I've got pressure!' and 'It's not over!' (shouted when the young man tried to end the conversation several times by saying, 'It's over'). Also, there are several insults involving mothers. Web sites peddle T-shirts with a cartoon of Bus Uncle and the famous phrases. They are also available as mobile-phone ringtones.

"Fans have edited the footage into music-video versions of disco, rap and pop songs that have themselves become popular online. One video projects a slowed-down version of Bus Uncle's voice over an image of Darth Vader. Another sets Bus Uncle audio clips to Samuel Barber's 'Adagio for Strings,' beginning with a title that says, 'All he wanted to do . . . was to talk on his phone and relax from his stress . . . but someone HAD to tap him on the back.'

"Jon Fong, the 21-year-old accountant and night-school psychology student who captured the bus incident on his Sony Ericsson cellphone, has become famous, too. Mr. Fong has told reporters that he often takes videos as a hobby, and had just planned to share this one with friends."

Reality TV at its finest.


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