- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

CNN’s Don Lemon made national headlines just recently when he refused to cover Susan Rice, and the matter of her unmasking of names of those tied to President Donald Trump.

He said it was a non-story – and the conservative world, rightly so, reacted with accusations of bias. That fiasco came on the heels of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s long-winded, ridiculous report on Trump’s taxes – a 20-plus minute annoyance that ended with a revelation, basically, that went like this: Trump filed.

What a nail-biter. Once again, conservatives accused bias – once again, rightly so.

And both those fiascos came on the heels of CNN’s Chris Cuomo calling out loud and angrily on national television that his job – heck, the job of all responsible members of the media – was to stand strong against Trump and serve as the “opposition” to all-things-White-House policy.

Bias?

Most certainly.

And yet there are those who still scoff at the idea of a biased mainstream media – at the notion that some in the press, many in the press, actually have active intents to take out Trump, tear down conservatives, trash the Republican Party, and build up the left.

Well, let the facts speak for themselves then.

1) George Stephanopolous, former White House adviser to ex-president Bill Clinton, went on from his administration position to become an ABC News anchor. In April 2016, Stephanopolous interviewed Hillary Clinton about a range of political campaign issues — campaign issues that were wedged in between rising questions about her home-based email server and about curious contributions to her Clinton Foundation made in and around the time frame of her secretary of state service. But know what was noticeably missing from this interview? Stephanopolous’ mention of his donation of $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Sort of interesting, right? But then, so’s this: Ali Wentworth, Stephanoplolous’ wife, told the Hollywood Reporter back in November, when the election was supposed to go Clinton’s way: “If Trump wins, we’ll start looking at real estate in Sydney, Australia. No crime, no guns.” Not exactly what one would expect to hear from an unbiased newsman, is it? Just don’t ask Stephanopolous to admit the bias. The MRCTV’s Joe Schoffstall did, during the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. And the then-“Good Morning America” host’s reply, when asked if he believes in a liberal-leaning bias in the media? “I don’t,” he said. So that’s that.

2) Christiane Amanpour, the chief international correspondent for CNN and an anchor for one of the network’s flagship foreign affairs broadcasts, has been married to James Rubin since 1998 — yes, the same James Rubin who served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs in the Clinton White House for three years. That’s a fancy title; what Rubin really did, at least in part, was serve as a mouthpiece for Madeleine Albright for foreign policy. Hmm, wonder where Amanpour got her information? Rubin also previously served as a senior policy adviser to then-Sen. Joe Biden, again on foreign affairs. Oh, and one more Rubin role that might be worth mentioning: In 2008, he served on Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination – and then as Clinton’s senior media adviser for national security affairs in 2016. Of course, the left-leanings of Rubin may not have any effect on Amanpour, right? Decide for yourself. Amanpour in a December 2016 statement warned about “Trump’s rhetoric against the press” — that it was creating a “very dangerous” climate for journalists. That was after a November 2016 post-election piece she penned for CNN in which she decried the use of one candidate’s social media accounts — wonder who she meant? — to do “a savvy end run around us” in the press, and called for Facebook to “step up” and censor the fake, i.e. pro-conservative, pro-Trump, reports. She also penned this in the same piece, again without naming names: “So yes, like so many around the world, I was shocked — very few ever imagined that so many Americans conducting their sacred duty in the sanctity of the voting booth, with their secret ballot, would be angry enough to ignore the wholesale vulgarity of language, the sexual predatory behavior, the deep misogyny, the bigoted and insulting views.” Since it’s highly unlikely Amanpour was pointing to Clinton, the sole woman candidate in the election, as a misogynist, it’s apparent she was blasting Trump — without even having the moral courage to name him.

3) Chuck Todd, of NBC fame, is married to Democratic operative, Kristian Denny Todd. Denny Todd has quite an interesting career, rooted deep in Democratic-progressive politics. She served in 1992 as an aide to Florida’s then-Speaker of the House Bolley “Bo” Johnson – the same “Bo” Johnson who went to jail in 1999 for a two-year sentence for tax evasion. She then headed west for work, serving for the next five years in U.S. Rep. Gary Condit’s office – the same Democratic Californian Gary Condit who was later investigated for the disappearance of his office intern, Chandra Levy, whose body was discovered in a Washington, D.C., park in 2002. Moving on: Denny Todd then worked for the Democratic Party in Washington state, for the reelection campaign of Democratic Sen. Ernest “Frits” Hollings, for the office of Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, for the leadership PAC for Democratic U.S. Sen. John Edwards – and for Edwards’ failed presidential campaign – and then for Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Graham. Starting to see the trend? She’s also helped with Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s political run for president in 2004, and with Democratic Sen. Jim Webb’s win over career Republican Sen. George Allen – a race that tipped scales in the Senate toward the Democrats. In 2007, Denny Todd embraced her far-left roots and created Maverick Strategies & Mail, an organization that helps progressives achieve their political and policy goals. She fought hard to get out the Democratic vote in North Carolina in 2008, helping turn many seats from red to blue – a wave that swept the state, ultimately, into Barack Obama’s win column. And in 2014, she jumped aboard the Muriel Bowser bandwagon and assisted with that Democrat’s win of the mayoral office in Washington, D.C. Denny Todd currently works as an adjunct professor at Columbia University in New York City, teaching crisis communications. So how’s that all circle back to Todd, and his supposedly unbiased news coverage for NBC? As Newsbusters reported: “Maverick Mail & Strategies, the firm Mrs. Todd founded in 2007 with fellow James Webb aides Steve Jarding and Jessica Vanden Berg, did heavy lifting for openly socialist Bernie Sanders for president.” Indeed. Between January and April of 2016, the organization donated $1.99 million to “Bernie 2016” in 10 separate payments, according to Open Secrets, the financial watchdog project of the Center for Responsive Politics. And as Newsbusters reported: Todd, during 11 interviews with Sanders in 2016, “never disclosed this business relationship” to viewers. Interesting? Yes. Significant? Yes. Proof of Todd’s pro-leftist slant? You decide.

4) Laura Jarrett, daughter of Obama family friend and confidante, Valerie Jarrett, was hired by CNN to cover the Justice Department under President Donald Trump. What are Jarrett’s qualifications for this position? Well, certainly not journalism. Here’s an excerpt from her bio on the CNN site: “Prior to joining CNN, Jarrett worked as a litigation attorney in Chicago. In private practice, Jarrett focused on defending companies and individuals in government investigations brought by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as complex commercial litigation.” How that’s played on the day-to-day is Jarrett’s jumped aboard some of the largest stories coming out of the Donald Trump administration – from immigration to the White House travel ban. And surprise, surprise, her coverage isn’t exactly favorable to Trump. In one tweet, she wrote: “‘undocumented’ doesn’t = criminal,” and included a link to her story that was titled, “Are undocumented immigrants committing a crime? Not necessarily.” She also tweeted a link to a video of CNN interviewing her about Trump’s executive orders prohibiting travelers from terror hot spots from entering U.S. borders for a short time, and it was entitled, “DHS report undercuts Trump rationale for #travelban.’” Jarrett – both Laura and mom Valerie – couldn’t be closer to the Obamas. Not only has Valerie moved into the Obama family home in Washington, D.C. But the whole Obama family – Barack, Michelle, Sasha and Melania – attended Laura’s wedding at mom Valerie’s house in Chicago in 2012. The ties that bind.

5) Not to be outdone by the Obama-Jarrett-CNN connection, former president Bill Clinton and first lady-slash-secretary-of-state-slash-failed-presidential-hopeful Hillary Clinton had their own familial “in,” at NBC, at least for a time, with their daughter, Chelsea. NBC News hired Chelsea in November 2011 to serve as a special correspondent. In 2014, her contract was up for renewal – and that’s when it was revealed her annual salary for the previous years’ service had been $600,000. Not bad for zero experience. It’s not as if Chelsea covered stories that painted Republicans in a poor light. She helped with NBC reports on diabetes, on a fatal limousine accident, on a New Jersey wreck, on a General Motors safety matter, on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, on people who flash laser beams at airplanes, on illnesses from food. She also had a slew of pieces about poverty, animals who aid humans and other puff – like her riveting interview of the Geico gecko, where she asked how fame was affecting the little guy’s life. But why would NBC pay such a high salary for such a no-experience individual? Access – and accommodation. Give Chelsea the big bucks, accommodate her elitist lifestyle, and NBC gets just as good in return from the Clinton family. It’s an investment made in liberal matchmaking heaven. After all, NBC has to compete with CBS and ABC.

6) And speaking of CBS, take a look at Ben Rhodes, the aspiring novelist who seemed to forget his real life job as Obama’s national security adviser ought not to be rooted in fantasy, but truth, and who crossed to the dark side by selling a deception to the American people in order to secure a nuke deal with Iran for his boss. Rhodes not only deceived – he bragged about it, crowing how media outlets no longer have on-ground outfits in overseas’ locations, so have to rely on people like him to tell what’s happening. And that opened the doors for him to make the case, though his strategic “force multipliers” friends – Rhodes loyalists who would jump to attention and shout down any dissenting views on the nuke deal – that pretty much everybody in the world was on board with the agreement. As the Federalist wrote: “[F]riendly media action covered illegal action. Ignorant journalists who knew nothing but what they had been fed were willing partners in shutting down the debate” and any dissension about the deal. And who were some of those friendly media partners? Well, none other than CBS News, headed by network president David Rhodes, brother of Ben. Interestingly, one of the network’s first major stories, post-presidential election, was to warn of the dangers of a Trump move to moot the nuke deal. On November 11, 2016, CBS came out the gate with this: “Iran nuclear deal endangered if Donald Trump seeks to renegotiate its terms.”

7) Stephanopolous isn’t the only ABC staffer with suspiciously close ties to Democrats. Claire Shipman, wife of Jay Carney, former press secretary for Barack Obama, is a contributor on “Good Morning America” and other ABC News broadcasts, with interview credits that range from vice presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney to presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as to Hillary Clinton and Queen Rania of Jordan. She’s also a former overseas’ correspondent for CNN, and spent five years reporting from Moscow. Shipman famously said in 2014 that Carney kept her “in the dark about the Osama bin Laden raid,” and that she only learned of the operation at the same time as the rest of the world. But that didn’t make her unbiased. In October 2008, before Carney took on the role as press secretary, Shipman wondered aloud about the “political rock star” status of Obama and how his wife, Michelle, dealt with all the women who “lusted after” him on a daily basis – more gush than non-biased.’” But it’s not just the ties – it’s the utter failure of public disclosure of the ties. As Newsbusters noted in an April 2014 report, news hosts outright failed to mention Shipman’s familial ties to the Obama administration about 75 percent of the time. From the report: “Perhaps the most egregious omission of Shipman’s marriage to Carney came on April 21 when she appeared on MSNBC’s ‘The Cycle.’ Co-host Abby Huntsman laughably mentioned, ‘Claire, full disclosure – I used to be an intern at ‘Good Morning America’ and I admired you so much.’ Yet [Huntsman] couldn’t bother to find time to give ‘full disclosure’ to Shipman’s connection to the Obama White House.” Right. ‘Cause that would’ve taken what, a precious two, three seconds, tops?

8) Ben Sherwood, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney-ABC Television Group – the latter of which bills itself as the biggest television company in the world, employing 10,000-plus people – recently announced a push to expand even more globally. ABC Studios is “a huge growth engine,” he said in October, Variety reported. And once again, there’s a Democratic tie. Sister Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall served as deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, under Obama, between October 2014 and January 2017 – her last day was the 19th, one day before Donald Trump was inaugurated. Previously, she served for Obama between 2009 and 2013 as special assistant to the president and as senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council. Between 2013 and 2014, she also served as White House coordinator for defense policy, countering weapons of mass destruction and arms control. And prior, in the Clinton administration, she was a deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, between 1994 and 1996. But not to worry. In a June 2013 report entitled, “Media, administration deal with conflicts,” the Washington Post wrote, “‘There is zero evidence, zero, that [Sherwood’s relationship] has had any impact on our coverage,’ says Jeffrey Schneider, ABC News’s chief spokesman.” ABC also specified that Sherwood, at the time, stepped back from getting involved in arms control stories, his sister’s area of expertise. But that’s not to say others at ABC didn’t avail themselves of Sherwood-Randall’s expertise – or that of those she recommended.

9) Donna Brazile wasn’t the only CNN-er who was handing out pre-planned network coverage information to notable Democrats. Virginia Moseley, who’s served since 2012 as a vice president at CNN and as its Washington deputy bureau chief, along with her husband, Tom Nides, who was deputy secretary of state under Hillary Clinton, have their own skeletons. As a WikiLeaks document dump in November 2016 revealed, an email from Nides to then-Clinton campaign chair John Podesta read: “Good CNN poll coming.” The reference was to a September survey that painted Clinton in a good light. And Podesta quickly responded: “I’ll look forward to how that is spun.” Nides at the time was talked about as a possible high-ranking administration official in a Clinton White House. And while it’s not clear if Nides was handed that particular poll data from his wife, it is clear he did in fact obtain other bits and pieces of survey info from her during key moments in the campaign – and that he in turn sent along that data to Podesta. That’s all according to released WikiLeaks emails from Podesta’s Gmail account. And here’s a sample of an earlier secret information share from CNN to Nides to Podesta: As the Daily Caller reported, Moseley in October 2015 shared supposedly embargoed poll results from Iowa with her husband, who in turn passed the numbers – favorable to Clinton – along to Podesta, who replied via email, “Now we are talking.” The same transfer of polled data – Moseley to husband Nides to Clinton staffer Podesta – took place with surveys in late January of 2016, as well. CNN wasn’t dubbed Clinton News Network for nothing, it seems.

10) Matthew Jaffe, a reporter for ABC News and Univision who covered the 2012 presidential campaign, and prior, the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve, and prior to that, the reelection campaign of then-Sen. Joe Biden, married in July 2012 a woman with tight Obama ties – Katie Hogan. Hogan served at the time as Obama’s deputy press secretary. As Mike Allen of Politico reported the wedding: “ObamaWorld attendees included Grant Campbell, Ben Finkenbinder, Caroline Hughes, Kate Kochman, Ben LaBolt, Katie Lillie, Katie McCormick Lelyveld and Tim Skoczek. Media types included ABC’s Jon D. Garcia Rick Klein, Ben Krolowitz, John Parkinson, Emily Stanitz and Karen Travers, plus Mike Memoli of the L.A. Times/Chicago Tribune.” The ties that bind? A more unbiased media outlet would’ve removed Jaffe from all-things-political, instead of pretending his election-related and national affairs’ coverage wasn’t going to slant left, skew pro-Obama.

Those are but a few examples.

Susan Rice, former national security adviser and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Obama, is married to Ian Cameron, who served, until 2010, as an executive producer at ABC News. Ari Shapiro, a White House correspondent for NPR, was wedded to lawyer Michael Gottlieb, who served on the White House legal team for Obama, beginning April 2013. Joe Biden’s communications director, while vice president, was Shailagh Murrah, who was not only a former congressional reporter with the Washington Post, but who was also married to Neil King, a top Wall Street Journal political reporter. Savannah Guthrie, who just returned after three months’ maternity leave to her co-host spot on NBC’s “Today” show, is married to Michael Feldman, a long-time political strategist and consultant who worked as a senior advisor and chief of staff for Al Gore, and as a chief liaison for the Clinton administration to Congress. In 2013, ENews wrote this of Feldman’s political ties: “He’s connected.”

Honestly, are there any unaffiliated, unbiased, conflict-of-interest free journalists left in mainstream media?

Follow the money and it underscores the inherent biases and ties between mainstream media and Democrats even more.

In an October 2016 story from the nonprofit Public Integrity called “Buying of the President,” the headline said it all: “Journalists shower Hillary Clinton with campaign cash: Far fewer making contributions to Donald Trump, analysis shows.” The piece opens with mention of Pulitzer Prize winner Emily Nussbaum, who serves as a television critic for the New Yorker, writing of Trump’s “ugly and xenophobic campaign,” all the while slipping – absent disclosure to the reader — $250 to Hillary Clinton’s team in April. A few lines later, there’s this: Carole Simpson, former ABC “World News Tonight” anchor, made history by becoming the first black woman to moderate a presidential debate – but not as well-known is her donation to the Clinton campaign of $2,800.

The Center for Public Integrity found that of those who identified in federal campaign finance reports as journalists, anchors, reporters or editors, 430 donated a collective $382,000 to Clinton’s recent presidential campaign. Only about 50 gave $14,000 gave to Trump.

That’s a 96 percent favoring of the media donors for Clinton, leading one to wonder, now that Trump’s elected: Just how fair a shake is he getting from the press?

What’s worse than the actual donations, however, is the denial of bias. Pew Research Center in 2004 conducted a survey of 547 reporters, editors and news executives and found 34 percent who worked in national outlets self-identified as liberal versus 7 percent as conservative. Most – 54 percent – said their political views were “moderate.” Another Pew Research Center study conducted in 2006, dubbed “The American Journalist” project, found in a survey of 1,080 journalists, 28 percent self-identified as Democratic, 7 percent as Republican and – get this – 50 percent independent.

That’s bunk. Journalists are checking off the independent category so they can pretend unbiased.

Look at this, from an April 2016 headline from the Washington Free Beacon, citing a new poll: “Not a single White House reporter is a Republican.” And that poll was courtesy of Politico – not exactly a friend of the conservative base. Of course, you’d have to look hard to find that fact among the thousands of words in the Politico story. As the Free Beacon wrote: “Those results [were] buried in a story this week on President Barack Obama’s relationship with the press. An infographic posted in the story reveals that not a single one of the 72 members of the White House press corps surveyed by the Virginia-based trade publication identifies with the GOP.”

What a shocker, right?

Well, give me an open bias over a cloaked, feigned, secretive bias any day. Members of the media can profess all they want – wear whatever party pin they want – pretend independence and “no affiliation” all they want. In the end, actions speak louder than bumper stickers. One need only look at the dollars and donations, skim through the connections, marriages and Democratic Party-mainstream media ties, and it’s clear: the left-leaning press is alive, well and kicking in modern day America.

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