Jesse Ventura Leaps To Defend Hugo Chavez From US Media’s ‘Lying Manipulation’

When director Oliver Stone made his film South of the Border to try to convince Americans that Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez is more than a goofball variety TV show host with blood-lust, one of the last people he was probably hoping to get as an advocate for his cause is Jesse Ventura. The former wrestler-governor sprung to Chavez’s defense on Larry King Live last night, calling for Stone’s film to be a staple of American school systems.

“I think this video should be mandatory viewing for every high school senior in America,” Ventura told Larry King next to a mustachioed Stone and Florida Congressman Connie Mack. “The key to this film is the lying manipulation of our mainstream media,” he continued, arguing that he has repeated been a victim of the media’s distortion “and how they flagrantly lie to us, and I’m a person who knows the experience well, being an independent.” Ventura was probably referring to media opposition during his tenure as governor of Minnesota, or several of his public appearances where he suggested the government was “in on” the September 11 attacks, which made him look bad.

Congressman Mack tried to bring the conversation back to earth, reminding people that Ventura was talking about a leader who has faced accusations of several civil rights violations and, as he put it wouldn’t allow [this conversation] to happen” He added, somewhat hopelessly, that he didn’t “understand what it is that’s in your mind when you want to subject our children to the thoughts and ideas of someone like Hugo Chavez who supports the FARC.” Ventura answered that he had met Fidel Castro, something he thought Rep. Mack was likely not to have done before.

Video below:

CNN’s John Roberts To BP COO: “How Do You Even Sleep At All?”

CNN anchor John Roberts spent time with BP COO Doug Suttles, on a chopper tour and on the oil rig, giving viewers an inside look at the spill and clean-up.

While the discussion was cordial, Roberts put Suttles on the spot on his own turf regarding the lack of BP transparency and more.

One key exchange:

Roberts: But you know the President said he doesn’t fully trust BP. There are a lot of other politicians who, for whatever reasons, are saying they don’t trust BP. There are a lot of people across the United States who probably think you’re shading the truth to some degree to minimize your liability, to try to make things look as good as possible for the company.

Suttles: Well John, you know if you look at what we’ve done since the beginning, I mean today we were over 1.3 billion dollars. On any given day we spend 30, 40 million dollars a day on this activity. I believe that shows our commitment to do the right thing. We didn’t hide behind some cap in the law. We’ve been out here doing everything we can not only to stop this thing but to clean it up and try to do right. It’s very difficult for people to believe that right now and I know that. But I would just ask, just give us a chance.

Check out the full interview:

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Fox News Dominates Primary Night Ratings – But Without Any Primary Night Bump

Cable news ratings, June 8, 2010: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• Fox News was the top cable news network by far Tuesday night for the not so Super Tuesday primary results – in fact, it looked pretty much like a typical cable news night. (FNC, and most of cable news, did better Monday than Tuesday.) CNN finished 4th in prime time in both categories (but it was just about a tie for 2nd between the three networks in the A25-54 demographic).

• The top non-FNC show was Anderson Cooper’s in the demo and Keith Olbermann’s in total viewers.

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm

Beck

496

Blitzer

199

Matthews

112

Showbiz

108

6 pm

Baier

450

Blitzer

183

Ed Show

153

Prime

107

7 pm

Shep

463

King, USA

154

Matthews

188

Issues

162

8 pm

O’Reilly

712

Brown

185

Olbermann

284

Grace

280

9 pm

Hannity

654

King

220

Maddow

246

Behar

186

10 pm

Greta

576

Cooper

327

Olbermann

221

Grace

300

11 pm

O’Reilly

484

Cooper

159

Maddow

192

Showbiz

185

TOTAL DAY 389 171 133 162
PRIME TIME 647 244 251 252
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm

Beck

1895

Blitzer

660

Matthews

539

Showbiz

284

6 pm

Baier

2178

Blitzer

581

Ed Show

639

Prime

347

7 pm

Shep

1904

King, USA

439

Matthews

666

Issues

599

8 pm

O’Reilly

3050

Brown

509

Olbermann

1165

Grace

1003

9 pm

Hannity

2524

King

781

Maddow

995

Behar

717

10 pm

Greta

2439

Cooper

803

Olbermann

739

Grace

675

11 pm

O’Reilly

1648

Cooper

416

Maddow

678

Showbiz

402

TOTAL DAY 1527 524 506 404
PRIME TIME 2672 698 987 781
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.

CA Senate Candidate Carly Fiorina Laughs At Sen. Barbara Boxer’s Hair On Open Mic

It’s been a while since we had an open mic moment, and the last one didn’t even make fun of anyone’s appearance. GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, who won the nomination in her home state of California yesterday, visited local affiliate KXTV this morning to chat about her campaign. Not knowing the microphone was still on, Fiorina expressed some uneasiness about Sean Hannity and had a good laugh over opponent Sen. Barbara Boxer’s hair.

The video shows Fiorina checking her Blackberry and engaging in small talk with the producers and others off-camera. Finding out fellow California Republican  Meg Whitman had decided to visit Sean Hannity tonight, Fiorina repeated several times that she found the decision “bizarre,” because “you know how he is… Sean Hannity is not an easy interview, you know?” She didn’t specify what specifically about a Republican candidate going on Hannity would result in a difficult interview, but dropped the subject for a while to readjust her mic, and then starting up a new topic: her opponent and, more specifically, “God, what is that hair?” Continuing to mock her, she adds, that it’s “sooo yesterday.”

According to CNN, Fiorina’s press secretary, Amy Thoma, called the comments  “nothing but early morning small talk.”

Video below:

CNN: FBI Gave Joran Van Der Sloot $25,000 For False Information On Natalee Holloway

Let’s see what conspiracy theory gets sewn out of this one: CNN is reporting than an FBI official has told them possible serial murderer Joran Van Der Sloot was paid thousands of dollars by the law enforcement agency to show them where the body of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway was being hidden in Aruba. After taking the money, Van Der Sloot admitted to lying about her whereabouts. Talk about wasteful government spending.

According to CNN’s source, the money was part of an investigation into a plot to extort Holloway’s mother, Beth, in exchange for information. Van der Sloot received $25,000 from the FBI to direct them towards a house where he claimed Natalee’s body lay:

The FBI and U.S. Attorneys Office in Alabama arranged for a meeting where an undercover agent paid van der Sloot $10,000 in cash and another $15,000 in a wire transfer for information van der Sloot allegedly promised would lead to Holloway’s body in Aruba, a source familiar with the case said. [...]

Van der Sloot and Beth Holloway’s representative met in Aruba, where a payment of $10,000 was made to him, followed by a transfer of $15,000 to a personal bank account in the Netherlands, the Interpol document states. In exchange, van der Sloot showed the representative a house where supposedly Holloway’s remains were, according to the document. When records showed that the house wasn’t even built at the time of her disappearance, van der Sloot admitted that he lied, Interpol said.

So now, if this is true (and there are Interpol documents to prove it), on top of charges of homicide in the case of two women outside US borders, van der Sloot is facing the relatively minor charge of extortion and wire fraud within our borders, for trying to extort the mother of one of his victims. That said, he still received $25,000 from a US federal agency, regarding a crime he committed outside of US borders, which he may have used to travel to Peru and commit his second murder. While chances are his experience in Peruvian jail will be much worse than anything American jails could show him, he still owes American taxpayers $25,000 at a time when our economy could really use every cent it can get, and should have to repay that, hopefully before he finished a decades-long murder sentence in South America.

Photo: New York Daily News

CNN.com Lead Story About Obama: “The Risk Of Being An ‘Angry Black Man’” (Update)

What an epic failure of a lead story on CNN.com right now.

“The risk of being an ‘angry black man,’” says the headline. The caption notes: “scholars say history has shown that African-American men can frighten white people if they display too much anger.” Oh dear. > Update: Here come the edits.

Take a look, then let’s discuss below:

And here’s your opening to the top story by John Blake, titled in full “Why Obama doesn’t dare become the ‘angry black man’”:

Here’s proof that President Obama has indeed ushered in a new era in race relations.

Who would have ever expected some white Americans to demand that an African-American man show more rage?

I know, who would have ever expected that, from us white Americans who normally would be so damn scared of an angry African-American man. “New era” indeed.

Dee Dee Myers approached the topic yesterday, but this takes it to a new level. The key problem with the argument is that even if some Americans are afraid of ‘angry black men,’ it is inconsequential to the response they could conceivably be looking for from Pres. Obama. Emotion, caring – this is what people want (and some feel they haven’t seen from Pres. Obama). What does this have anything to do with the racism of some people?

“”Folks are waiting for a Samuel Jackson ‘Snakes on the Plane’ moment from this president as in: ‘We gotta’ get this $#@!!* oil back in the $#!!* rig!’ But that’s just not who Obama is,” says political science professor Saladin Ambar early in the article.

With all due respect to the professor (seriously, a professor said this) – NO. No one is waiting for Pres. Obama to say this. It’s ridiculous to even imply that. Instead, CNN may want to reconsider having this $#@!!* article on its $#!!* homepage.

> Update: Now the caption reads: “who would have ever expected some white Americans to demand that an African-American man show more rage?” instead of the “scholars say” line.

> Update 2: As of 3:20pmET, it’s out of the lead story. Instead, it’s ‘below the fold’ with the new headline: “The politics of anger and race.”

(via @RickStern)

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Networks Deal With Conflicts of Interest In Covering BP Oil Spill

Since the BP oil spill began in the Gulf of Mexico 50 days ago, the media has been attacking the situation from all sides. Coverage has included everything from outraged citizens and oil-clad wildlife to Obama trying to figure out “whose ass to kick.” But the Washington Examiner suggests there is a more complex situation with conflict of interests since “BP bought up some of Washington’s biggest pundits to clean up their image.”

John Feehery is an example. He has worked on BP’s account with the Brunswick Group, according to the article, but also has appeared on CNN and MSNBC saying he’d “like the administration to focus on plugging the damn hole.” There is nothing fundamentally wrong or misleading about that–except that he was identified on television as Republican strategist.

Feehery defended himself:

“I didn’t think we were going to talk about the issue,” he said. “I should have said something, and I regret that I didn’t, but my message then wasn’t approved by BP, nor was it a BP message, nor did I think of BP when I said it.”

MSNBC did not respond to a request for comment.

Along the same lines, CNN contributor Alex Castellanos and political commentator Steve McMahon have also been hired to help with BP’s PR fiasco. But to CNN’s credit, both Castellanos and McMahon have been covering other issues:

“Both Alex and Hilary are contributors used primarily to comment on political issues, and they are not being used to discuss the oil disaster story,” CNN spokeswoman Edie Emery said.

Avoiding a conflict of interest is a fundamental principle of journalism. Networks, especially with such a messy situation, should be making sure they keep track of them and are engaging in full disclosure.