Thursday, 02 October 2008


Ken Berwitz

With the election season in full swing, I thought you might like to see how the various networks are making out these days.

Here is the information, courtesy of

Fox News Capitalizes on Election in Ratings Race

The wild rides of the campaign for president and the economic turmoil boosted Fox News Channels prime-time block to fourth among all cable channels for the third quarter, extending its streak as the highest-rated cable news network to 27 consecutive quarters. According to data from Nielsen Media Research, FNC averaged 2.2 million total viewers in the 8-11 p.m. daypart for the just-concluded quarter.

CNN ranked ninth among all cable channels for the quarter with an average 1.3 million viewers, its biggest quarter since the Iraq war began in early 2003. MSNBC was 23rd with 867,000 total viewers and also posted the biggest year-to-year quarterly growth spurts: 81% in prime time and 48% for total-day.

For total-day, Fox averaged 1.1 million viewers to rank sixth among all cable channels, while CNN ranked 11th with an average 713,000 viewers. MSNBC averaged 472,000 viewers and ranked 27th.

For CNBC, its 5 a.m.-7 p.m. business-day average of 318,000 total viewers was up 26% year-to-year and ended as its third best quarter ever.

For the month of September, which included the first presidential debate, as well as the peak economic crunch that has dominated cable news for the last two weeks, Fox also ranked second among all cable channels in prime time with an average 3.3 million viewers. CNN ranked fifth with 1.9 million. MSNBC ranked 14th with 1.2 million.

For total-day in September, Fox also was the No. 2-ranked channel in the cable universe with 1.5 million total viewers. CNN was ranked eighth with 992,000. MSNBC ranked 22nd with 567,000.

For the month, CNN registered the biggest year-to-year growth, up 165% in prime time from September 2007, and up 107% for total-day.

Among the individual highlights:

FNCs Special Report With Brit Hume posted its highest quarter ever and its fourth-highest month.

CNN Headline News Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck logged their best quarters ever in total viewer delivery for their original broadcasts (924,000 viewers and 376,000 viewers, respectively) and their repeats (559,000 viewers and 487,000, respectively).

MSNBCs The Rachel Maddow Show averaged 1.64 million total viewers for its first two weeks, up 125% from the third-quarter 2008 average prior to its debut, while Morning Joe is the fastest-growing morning show in cable news, up 57% in total viewers year-to-year.

Fox placed 12 shows on the list of the 15 most watched cable news programs for the quarter, led by The OReilly Factor (2.9 million viewers). CNNs Larry King Live ranked ninth (1.3 million viewers) and Anderson Cooper 360 ranked 12th with 1.22 million viewers. MSNBCs Countdown With Keith Olbermann ranked 11th with 1.24 million viewers.

That pretty much tells the tale.

My favorite part is where they show how much of a percentage gain MSNBC has had. 

The network's percentage increases, while not unimpressive, give a very exaggerated look at how MSNBC is actually doing, because of its low viewership levels. 

Illustratively, since MSNBC has about 40% of the viewership of Fox News Channel, it needs just 40% of what Fox does to get the same percentage gain.  So if Fox gets 125,000 more viewers, MSNBC has to get just 50,000 more to keep pace with Fox percentage-wise.   

Interesting quirk of statistics, isn't it?  Using that example, MSNBC can fall 75,000 viewers further behind Fox and - in percentages - will run dead even with it.   And if MSNBC gets, say, 75,000 more viewers to Fox's 125,000, it will fall behind an additinoal 50,000 but have a higher percentage gain.

No wonder we have that old adage "figures don't lie, but liars figure"


Ken Berwitz

Huston, he has a problem.

Warner Todd Huston is angry at the Boston Globe.  Why?  Because in today's editorial it continues to promulgate the apparently false claim that Sarah Palin, as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, was charging alleged rape victims for the kits necessary to determine whether a rape took place.  In fact the Globe article claims the procedure was put into place while she was mayor.

I'll let Huston take this one.  The bold print is mine:

Leads With a Lie Debunked Palin Rape Kit Story Again

October 2, 2008-By Warner Todd Huston

I would urge someone close to members of the editorial board of the Boston Globe to let them know that the world is not flat, the moon is not made of green cheese, and Elvis is, indeed, dead. I say this because obviously the Boston Globe is way behind the times in discovering facts that debunk rumors and its clear they have no capacity to do any research. I mean, they must not be paying attention to reality because in todays editorial, the Globe again raises the thoroughly debunked claim that Sarah Palin charged rape victims for their rape kits when she was mayor of Wasilla. The claim is a straight out lie that has been demolished by many writers (including myself), yet the Globe obviously took no efforts to research the facts before they revealed their incompetence to the world.

Its no surprise that this proven lie against Palin is being whipped up again just before the VP debates by the Obama flacks at the Globe. They want her to be tagged with this lie to distract her from real issues, it is plain. And that isnt just my opinion because they justify the re-raising of this long ago debunked charge as one that should be asked of her during the debate on Thursday.

ONE QUESTION that Sarah Palin should answer during tomorrows debate is why, during her tenure as mayor of Wasilla, the town started charging rape victims or their insurers for hospital emergency-room rape kits and examinations.

And the answer for the Globes edification and education: she didnt charge anyone anything. Further, she wasnt even aware it was going on because it was never an issue brought to her attention as far as anyone can tell.

But one lie in the first paragraph wasnt enough. The Globe had to fill the second paragraph with another one.

The policy so outraged the Alaska Legislature that in 2000 it passed unanimously a bill forbidding such fees. But Palin has never explained why, under her leadership, the town stopped picking up the cost of the swabs, specimen containers, and tests.

It is absolutely untrue that the town of Wasilla was the one town that caused the Alaska Legislature to ban the fees in question. As reported in multiple sources, the records of the debates about the 2000 bill in the Alaska State House shows not a single mention of Wasilla or Sarah Palin. Further there is no mention at the time of either Wasilla or Sarah Palin in any of the media from the rest of the state outside her own town newspaper. If the Alaska Legislature were so outraged at Palin, why did neither her name nor that of her town show up in the debates or the rest of the media at the time?

The FACTS behind this issue are diametrically opposed to the claims the Globe makes. There is no evidence Palin ever knew about this rape kit policy during the time the issue was being debated in Juneau, no rape victim was ever charged for a rape kit being administered, Wasilla was only one among several Alaska towns with the policy under question, the Alaska Legislature did not have any conflicts with Wasilla nor is Wasilla mentioned anywhere in government records, and no mention of Mayor Sarah Palin was raised at any time during the 2000 debate on this policy.

The rest of this Globe piece contemptuous of truth isnt worth bothering with as it is all predicated on the lies in the first two paragraphs.

Obviously the lazy, incompetent writers at the Boston Globe have allowed the DailyKos to do their writing again. Or maybe they already know that they are perpetrating a lie? If thats the case, if the Globe knows that their editorial has already been proven a lie, doesnt that make them something worse than merely incompetent?

Either way, this editorial is proof that the Boston Globe is useless as a source of real news as well as in the tank for The One.

As you can see, Mr.Huston is not one to pull punches.  And in this case I don't blame him.

Has even one rape victim come forth to claim she had to pay for a rape kit in Wasilla Alaska while Sarah Palin was mayor?  Anyone have a name? 

Does anyone have a document with Ms. Palin's signature on it that requires a rape victim pay for her rape kit?  It surely must exist if this became law under Ms. Palin's mayoralty.

And if there is no such rape victim and no such document, is it not fair to say that this is a pile of defamatory horse manure, and the Boston Globe should be ashamed to print it?

Wait, who owns the Globe?  The New York Times Company, right?

Now I understand.


Ken Berwitz

This fascinating exchange between Fred Thompson and Maggie Rodriguez of CBS' Early Show comes to us from Mark Finkelstein of

How Can Americans Be So Smart But Maggie Rodriguez So . . .?

For someone who doesn't know something as obvious as the fact thatgiven her upcoming bookGwen Ifill has a financial stake in an Obama win, Maggie Rodriguez has an awfully high opinion of the knowledge level of ordinary Americans.  Rodriguez interviewed a feisty Fred Thompson on today's Early Show.  During the course of the contentious exchange:

  • Questioning Thompson on Sarah Palin's inability to name a Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade with which she disagreed, Rodriguez claimed that everybody and ordinary Americans can cite Supreme Court cases.
  • When Thompson stated that Palin would be dealing tonight with a moderator with a financial interest in an Obama win, Rodriguez retorted I dont know about that.

View video here.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ:  Id like to ask you first about that clip that we just saw from the Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin . Is it acceptable that she could not name a single Supreme Court ruling other than Roe v. Wade?

FRED THOMPSON:  You know, I think you got the answer there of probably almost 100% of non-lawyer candidates, if they had not been given a list of cases, to say they might ask you about this one, they might  ask you about that one.

RODRIGUEZ:  But everybody knows other Supreme Court rulings.

THOMPSON:  No they dont.

RODRIGUEZ:  Ordinary Americans would know Supreme Court rulings.

THOMPSON:   Some do and some dont.

And a bit later.

FRED THOMPSON:  Then she comes here and finds that the moderator apparently has got a financial interest in Barack Obama being elected president. So if I were in her shoes, I would come in --

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Well I don't know about that. We'll let Gwen Ifill answer that for herself. But right now, we have to leave it there.

THOMPSON: Does she not have a book coming out on Obama?

RODRIGUEZ:  We have to leave it there.

THOMPSON: Do you not think that there'll be more book sales if Obama's president?

RODRIGUEZ:  I think Sarah Palins performance will speak for itself tonight and that's all the time we have.

Let's first examine Rodriguez's claim to ignorance of the Ifill financial interest in an Obama victory.  Ifill's book is entitled "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race In the Age of Obama."  And it's scheduled to be released on . . . Inauguration Day.  If Obama loses, there is no ultimate breakthrough or Age of Obama.  So it's right to the remainder rack for Ifill's book.  But an Obama win means sales and a big leg up for Ifill with friendly sources in the Obama administration.

As to Rodriguez's assertion that "everybody" and "ordinary Americans" can cite Supreme Court cases, let's note that the CBS host mischaracterized Couric's question to Palin.  It wasn't "can you name any Supreme Court case other than Roe?"  It was "what other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?"  It would take a mighty biased MSMer, seeking to pounce on Palin, to claim "everybody" could answer such a question.  Oh, wait

I'll end with a few questions:

-Where was this Fred Thompson during the presidential primaries?  I bet he would have done a lot better than the guy who showed up at that time.

-Does Maggie Rodriguez really believe what she was saying? 

-When Ms. Rodriguez changed the question that Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin, was it intentional or unintentional?

-How would Joe Biden have done on the same questions?  We'll never know because they don't ask Mr. Biden questions like this.  


Ken Berwitz

Remember the Trinity United Church Of Christ (TUCC)?

It's understandable if you don't.  Because media gave this racist, Black separatist, White hating, Israel hating church about one week of coverage and then dropped the story like a hot potato.

Why did they drop it?  Just possibly because this is where Barack Obama proactively decided to practice religion for almost 20 years, and where he subjected his wife and children to the hatred that was intrinsic to TUCC all that time.  It's very embarrassing and very hard to explain something like this away....if someone is asking, that is.

But we have an election going on, don't we?  So, to protect Barack from the possibility that media might have second thoughts about covering this story, TUCC has decided to completely sanitize its web site on his behalf.

Here are the particulars, from Charles Johnson of

Trinity United Church Sends Everything Down the Memory Hole

Religion | Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 2:35:09 pm PDT

Trinity United Church of Christ, home of Jeremiah God Damn America Wright and Barack Obamas church for 20 years, has completely redesigned their web site and dumped their old domain name.

And in the process, all mentions of Dr. James Cone and his Marxist/racist Black Liberation Theology have vanished down the memory hole: Trinity - Home.

The Internet Archive still has this page from 2006.

UPDATE at 10/2/08 2:46:00 pm:

Correction: not completely vanished; instead of being prominently featured on their home page, a link to an expanded and somewhat sanitized version of the Black Value System is now buried on this page.

Earlier this year, when Mr. Obama was a proud member of TUCC, it started cleaning the web site up.  It became nearly unrecognizable from the hate-site it had been for years and years. 

Then, when Mr. Obama "quit" the church, part of that sanitization process was reversed -- for a while.  Just as jeremiah wright, its pastor who "retired", was reversed and quietly is still a pastor at TUCC (a little something most media have avoided informing voters about).

Now, however, with an election in the balance, almost all of TUCC's hateful, threatening tone has been removed.  For Barack, TUCC became the Disneyland of South Chicago.

Based on what it is doing for him, do you really believe Mr. Obama is no longer associated with Trinity United Church Of Christ?  If you do, I have this bridge.......


Ken Berwitz

I'll talk more about the Vice Presidential debate tomorrow.  But, bleary-eyed as I am right now, here are my initial thoughts.

-The fear about Joe Biden was that he'd make some nutty gaffe, which he is prone to do.  But he didn't, with the possible exception of saying in consecutive sentences that an Iraq-like troop surge in Afghanistan wouldn't work, but we need more troops there.  I could be mistaken, but he may also have referred to Obama as "Osama" one time - I'll have to check the transcripts to be sure.

-The fear about Sarah Palin was that she is a simpleton whose best hope would be to woodenly recite some lines she memorized about each issue, while praying that nothing was brought up that she hadn't rehearsed.  In reality, she more than held her own against Mr. Biden from start to finish.  Palin demonstrated that she can speak extemporaneously about the full range of issues covered, including foreign policy.  Since, as a state Governor, she has no real experience with foreign policy, that indicates she is a quick study -- which might be the most important attribute she showed tonight.

If you measure a debate by the number of specific facts and figures a candidate can recite off the top of his/her head, Biden won hands down.  If you measure a debate by whether a candidate comes across as a real person with a non-beltway life who can still be conversant with national political issues, Palin won.

And if you measure a debate by how well a candidate did versus what the ingoing assumptions were about that candidate, Palin was an overwhelming winner.

Poll-wise, I would bet that most of the overnights will give Biden the win.  But a) it won't be by anywhere near as much as Palin's detractors would have expected. and b) since it's something of a given that Democrats win in overnight debate polling, I'm not sure that it means very much.

Bottom line: 

I think Joe Biden did fine personally but didn't particularly advance his ticket's chances (which, let's face it, are pretty good to begin with). 

By contrast, I think Sarah Palin did fine personally as well.  But she materially boosted her ticket's chances because an awful lot of people will now be far more comfortable with her as Vice President than they were a couple of hours ago.


Ken Berwitz

I don't know if this is going to get McCain/Palin any votes, but it's a funny ad that demonstrates just how gaffe-prone Joe Biden is.

Watch it here:



Enjoy the ad?  Now, how many of these gaffes have been reported in the media?  Have you seen any at all?

But when Sarah Palin misstates or stumbles, those same media won't hesitate to report it, will they?

Funny how that works......

By the way, my one problem with the ad is that, at the end, it does not make clear why Biden was embarrassed after asking "Chuck" to "stand up and let 'em see ya".  The reason is that Chuck is in a wheelchair.

free` LOL, LMAO. that is funny stuff. thanks Ken (10/02/08)


Ken Berwitz

I just read this lovely little piece, with its respectful evaluation of potential minority and less-educated voters, from  See what you think about it:

Democracy Alliance memo details Dem plan to "educate the idiots" and target minorities

Filed Under:
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,

October 1, 2008

Face The State Staff Report

In a confidential internal memorandum obtained by Face The State (PDF), the Colorado Democracy Alliance outlines a roster of "operatives" who worked for Democratic victory in the 2006 general election. The document outlines specific tasks for various members of the state's liberal infrastructure, including a campaign to "educate the idiots," assigned to the state's AFL-CIO union. Among the operation's intended targets: "minorities, GED's, drop-outs."

Individuals named in the document, marked "CONFIDENTIAL," "for internal use only," and "DO NOT DISTRIBUTE," are high-level elected Democrats including House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, former Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, as well as Gov. Bill Ritter's press aide and former campaign chief Evan Dreyer. All are specially marked as "off-the-record or covert."

Mentioned as a "critical contact" was Dominic DelPapa, a partner at Ikon Public Affairs. DelPapa was at the center of recent controversy stemming from the February leak of a confidential memo he authored detailing a multi-million dollar "foot on throat" attack on Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, among others.

CoDA is one of 18 state-based versions of the nationally focused Democracy Alliance, a self-described "investment partnership of business and philanthropic leaders" funding liberal infrastructure nationwide. For more information about the Democracy Alliance in Colorado, see day one and two of Face The State's week-long series on the group.

In a podcast released by the DNC Host Committee Tuesday, national Democracy Alliance founder Rob Stein explains the need for large, secretive donor networks. "We do not have the infrastructure that the right has built, yet," he said. "But there has never in the history of progressivedom (sic) been a clearer, more strategic, more focused, more disciplined, better financed group of institutions operating at the state and national level."

In the same podcast, Laurie Hirschfeld Zeller, the newly installed executive director of CoDA, explains her organization's mission. "Our job is to build a long-term progressive infrastructure in Colorado while we're conceding nothing in the short term in terms of progressive goals at the ballot box."

Zeller had high praise for the state's liberal establishment, specifically naming America Votes, New Era Colorado, Progressive Majority, the Latina Initiative, and ProgressNow as partners in CoDA's coalition building efforts. "CoDA works with all these organizations," she said.

The Bell Policy Center, a liberal think tank that regularly plays host to CoDA board meetings, was praised for its work fighting to dismantle Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. She characterized Colorado's constitutional requirement for voter approval of tax increases as "arcane."

According to Zeller, CoDA operates "in a structure that provides privacy to members." Under current law, this structure is as a taxable non-profit organization that allows individual donors to give anonymously to shared causes. She described the structure as a "fiscal irrigation system" designed to "provide a harvest later this fall."

Stein, the DA founder, said state groups like CoDA have fired "a warning shot to conservatives in America."

"Conservatives have nothing comparable to possibly compete with it, and they better watch out," he said. Colorado was chosen as a test case for exporting DA's national model, due in part to the "significant wealth" of liberal donors living here.

"It's not just individual donors," Zeller said of CoDA's financial underwriting. "One of the things that has been crucial in making the work of the Colorado Democracy Alliance effective in Colorado has been our partnership with institutional donors and activist organizations in labor, particularly," she said. "That's been a major part of how we get our work done here."

According to Zeller, CoDA's giving is concentrated in five general funding categories: leadership development, communications, "research and ideas," "civic engagement" and "constituency development."

"We embrace the 'progressive' label in our giving and the strategic role we play in Colorado politics," she said.

Despite sweeping gains for political liberals both in Colorado and nationally, Stein believes his coalition can do a better job of communicating with voters.

"It feels scary, because we don't have the message down right," he said. "[But] We're being more businesslike - we're being more professional."

So roping in minorities is part of an "educate the idiots" drive?

Can you begin to imagine what you'd read about this if it were a Republican voting drive?  It would be plastered on the front page of every major daily and probably would be lead-story news on the networks.

But this was a Democratic voting drive.  So I'm betting this blog is the first you know about it.

Life is so much easier when the referee is on your side......


Ken Berwitz

House Peters, the actor who played Mr. Clean in its first TV commercials, died yesterday at the age of 92.  Peters died of pneumonia at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital in Los Angeles.

Here is the entire Mr. Clean jingle -- the longest-running jingle in advertising history (about 50 years now and still being used):


Mr. Clean gets rid of dirt and grime
And grease in just a minute
Mr. Clean will clean your whole house
And everything that's in it

Verse #1:

Floors, doors, walls, halls
White sidewall tires and old golfballs
Sinks, stoves, bathtubs he'll do
He'll even help clean laundry, too.

Verse #2:

Can he clean a kitchen sink?
Quicker than a wink.
Can he clean a window sash?
Faster than a flash.
Can he clean a dirty mirror?
He'll make it bright and clearer.
Can he clean a diamond ring?
Mr. Clean cleans anything.


Mr. Clean gets rid of dirt and grime
And grease in just a minute
Mr. Clean will clean your whole house
And everything that's in it
Mr. Clean ... Mr. Clean ... Mr. Clean

The jingle is nowhere near resting in peace.  I hope that is not true of Mr. Peters.


Ken Berwitz

Here is a short article from the Detroit News, which gives us another glimpse of the wonderful "neutral" media we have witnessed throughout this presidential campaign:

Radio reporter fired over Obama T-shirt

George Hunter / The Detroit News

SOUTHFIELD -- Longtime Metro Detroit radio reporter Karen Dinkins has been fired after wearing a pro-Barack Obama T-shirt while covering a rally for the presidential candidate Sunday at the Detroit Public Library.

Dinkins, who has worked at WWJ (950 AM) for 13 years, acknowledged that the radio station fired her Monday, but she did not elaborate.

"I don't want to comment at this time," she said.

Georgeann Herbert, WWJ's director of programming, said in a statement that Dinkins compromised the station's objectivity by wearing the T-shirt.

"(The station) believes that our credibility with our listeners rests on the independence of our newsroom staff," the statement said. "WWJ does not favor any candidate, party or issue.

"While we encourage employees to exercise their rights as citizens, we expect them to be on guard against any actual or perceived conflict of interest when covering news stories," the statement said.


All credit to WWJ for doing the right thing. 

Now what do we do with the countless overtly pro-Obama media who don't wear T-shirts?  I'm sure they'll be properly admonished....on November 5th.


Ken Berwitz

A quick programming note:

If you didn't see the amazing interview (World War III is more like it) between Bill O'Reilly and Barney Frank tonight, check your listings to see when one of The O'Reilly Factor repeats is being aired (it runs a couple of times in the wee hours of the morning) and by all means tape it.


The quick synopsis is that O'Reilly played a video of Barney Frank from July of this year, saying that Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae were not in trouble, that they were not much of an investment at that moment, but going forward they were solid. 

O'Reilly then introduced Barney Frank, who insultingly ignored him by looking down and reading a document until the introduction was completed.  Aside from being consummately arrogant, that kind of behavior is guaranteed to anger any host - especially someone with a fuse as short as O'Reilly's.  Frank was intentionally asking for trouble.

O'Reilly then blamed Frank for much of what has happened (he's headed the Banking committee for two years) and said that his words, as shown on the video, encouraged investors to put money in Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac;  money that they lost.

Frank not only accepted no blame, but accused Republicans of being the culprits -- and overtly lied about what he said on the video that O'Reilly had just played. 

Big mistake. 

O'Reilly went nuts on Frank, plain and simple.  He started yelling and gesticulating wildly at Frank, while calling him a liar and a coward.  In return, Frank called O'Reilly stupid and a ranter among other things - a lot of other things.  The mutual tirade lasted for several minutes.  It may have been the most angry exchange I've ever seen on TV.

Like I said, this is one you definitely want to see.  Don't miss it.

free` here is a link to the video of them going at it. add the www to it (10/03/08)


Ken Berwitz

Sandra Bernhard is miffed.

It seems that she was going to be performing at a benefit in Boston, but after hearing about her "comedy routine" on Sarah Palin they told her to take a hike.

Here are the particulars:

Bernhard upset after being cut from Boston benefit

Published: 10/2/08, 12:05 PM EDT
BOSTON (AP) - Comedian Sandra Bernhard says the decision by a Boston women's shelter to cut her act from its annual benefit was based on a misleading account of what she said about Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Bernhard said Palin would be "gang-raped by my big black brothers" during a diatribe in her one-woman show in Washington last month in which she also criticized Palin for opposing abortion rights.

Bernhard made the remarks before Palin visited New York to campaign.

Bernhard says the comment was part of a larger piece from her show about "women, racism, freedom and the extreme views of Governor Sarah Palin" and that her words were taken out of context.

In case you're wondering what might have caused the benefit to reconsider Ms. Bernhard, here is part of that "comedy routine":



Now what could they possibly find offensive about that?

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