White House Broadcasts Send Wrong Signal

The media are obsessed, if not enamored, with President Barack Obama. That's not exactly a news flash, but in the 2008 presidential campaign and through the first 100 days of his presidency, Obama didn't have the networks' seal of approval.

Recent moves by ABC and NBC threaten that.

A few weeks ago, NBC aired a positive, though thoroughly interesting, special on Obama. Such moves are nothing new, even if this seemed especially laudatory; networks have frequently devoted time to "A Tour of the White House," or a similar program.

Perhaps Just One More Word on Palin Versus Letterman

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has graciously accepted David Letterman's second attempt at what he is trying to pass off as an apology for his inappropriate "joke" about her daughter having sex with A-Rod. Good for Sarah — but she really didn't have to.

After the increasingly unfunny late-night show host "joked" about Palin's 14-year-old daughter becoming pregnant by an adult male athlete while accompanying the governor to a Yankees game on her visit to New York, there was, understandably, a firestorm. Even Letterman's biggest fans had trouble defending him.

Letterman Apologizes (And Score One for Palin)

"I told a bad joke. I told a joke that was beyond flawed ... It's not your fault that it was misunderstood, it's my fault ... I'm sorry about it and I'll try to do better in the future," David Letterman said on "The Late Show" last night.

After a week of controversy, the apology was spot-on and came not a moment too soon.

Dave Must Go

I've never been a devoted fan of David Letterman, but I've watched his show enough to appreciate his wit. He can be truly funny, and his political humor, though always one-sided, is some of his best work.

But this week he went too far.

By now, more people know about his remarks Tuesday night — about Palin, mother and daughter — than they do about the potentially regime-changing election in Iran and the stiff new U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

Bill O’Reilly Finally Exposed

The big media shootout is over, and the final score is: CNN 1; Bill O’Reilly 0.

In case you missed it, the shootout kicked off when O’Reilly and other Fox News anchors started spreading the outrageous claim that CNN gave massive coverage to the murder, in church, of Dr. George Tiller, but zero coverage to the murder in Arkansas of Army recruiter William Long.

Using talking points no doubt provided by the Republican National Committee, O’Reilly told his viewers that “all day long,” CNN anchors had ignored Long’s murder until Anderson Cooper’s 10 p.m. broadcast. This proved the “liberal bias” of CNN, O’Reilly charged. They care more about abortion doctors than members of the military.

The only problem: It wasn’t true. Not even close.

The Mean Machines

It's a variation on one of our great philosophical questions: "If Newt Gingrich says something utterly ridiculous, and nobody is listening, did he really say it?”

The answer is "Of course not. What a silly question.”

The problem is that the Newts and Rushes and their counterparts on the left have built entire careers because we pay attention to their bombast. Also, might I add, they've accumulated sizable fortunes.

David Brooks: Relativist, or Just a Critical Legal Studies Theorist?

Like most Democrats, I love reading David Brooks, but a few of his latest columns are venturing into dangerous territory normally reserved for first-year philosophy students who discover relativism and unknowingly repeat that famous line from “The Big Lebowski”: Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

Brooks has allowed his curiosity for the latest social science research on cognition and decisionmaking to lead him to make some intellectually sloppy and relativistic arguments. In a column last month, he suggested that all rational thought was an illusion and absolute truth is an anachronistic outpost of dead Greek men.

Secrecy and Democracy

Consider one of the Franken Rules of Life: There is nothing good that someone won't corrupt.

Today we talk about secrecy. Obviously, there are many worthwhile reasons to keep things confidential. There is sensitive personal information that is no one's business except those who require that you reveal it to them as a condition for something they can give you in return.

Remembering Irving R. Levine and John Wilke

The Hill yesterday published a heartfelt letter from Nelson Lewis on the recent passing of news legend Irving R. Levine. While Lewis includes personal anecdotes of how Levine served as a mentor, he also makes clear Levine's prescience and influence, writing:

Were it not for Mr. Levine — who co-founded the predecessor to CNBC, the Financial News Network — the entire financial TV news industry would not exist in today’s form. ... Mr. Levine will be remembered as a pioneer of American broadcasting. His precise delivery and unique ability to explain the intricacies of international finance in everyday language made him a top-notch raconteur, whom others have subsequently tried to emulate."

Save the Newspapers — Is It Time for Congress to Act?

I have to admit my bias — I love newspapers.

I love that one of my earliest memories as a kid was reading the newspaper to my dad (try to do that over a computer screen). I love waking up and picking up the newspaper on my front lawn (it so seldom makes it anywhere near my front door, btw). I love that there are smart writers, columnists and journalists on an array of topics that I can read on any given day.