Washington Post movie critic Stephen Hunter panned the Michael Moore mockumentary "Sicko" in Friday's paper as "a fuzzy, toothless collection of anecdotes, a few stunts and a bromide-rich conclusion." Hunter wasn’t fond of Moore’s claim that health care in socialist countries is "free," but really unleashed on Moore as he traveled to Cuba and chronicled its supposedly excellent health care system:
Some of his stunts don't work out with nearly the comic explosiveness he seems to think they might. In one, for example, he takes his Sept. 11 rescue workers to the U.S. naval base at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, where, by archival film, he's established that the medical care for the incarcerated alleged terrorists is quite high, much higher than it's been for his Sicko Four. (He ignores the point that if it wasn't, the media would raise holy hell.)
Saying that it "perpetuates a subtle myth," a senior Pentagon official has responded to an AP story that appeared earlier this week, attracting considerable national coverage, regarding the drop in military enlistment by African-Americans. In comments to this NewsBuster, Bill Carr, the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy [photo], said that "the AP left readers with an impression that something sinister was emerging, but one must by unusually cynical to miss the real story."
The AP story reported that the number of blacks joining the military "has plunged by more than one-third since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began. Other job prospects are soaring and relatives of potential recruits increasingly are discouraging them from joining the armed services."
The story describes a Sean Glover in Washington, D.C., who "said he has done all he can to talk black relatives out of joining the military," quoting Glover to this effect:
"I don't think it's a good time. I don't support the government's efforts here and abroad. There's other ways you can pay for college. There's other ways you can get your life together. Joining the Army, the military, comes at a very high price."
Said Carr: "this perpetuates a subtle myth that minorities suffer death or injury disproportionately. The opposite is true as a function of voluntary career selections -- choices that we celebrate. In fact, African-Americans continue to advantage their futures through valuable job training in fields such as medical or dental technician."
In a report on a recent release of decades old documents detailing CIA operations in the 1960's and 70's, Reuters seems to find it necessary to interject "criticism" of president Bush "being too secretive now" even though not one part of the story has anything to do with president Bush or any modern CIA operations. It would be like talking about the Civil War and interjecting a Bush comment, or talking of Roman times and suddenly sticking in a "US imperialism" comment into the mix where it doesn't legitimately belong.
The MSM's Bush Derangement Syndrome is so pervasive that they cannot even discuss historical information without trying to embarrass or attack this president in the midst of it all.
At issue is the CIA's recent release of decades old clandestine operations documents.
If you're watching the Democrats' debate, post your thoughts here. I'll be liveblogging the debate from the media center as it happens and afterward in the "spin alley." My postings not about the media will appear at Ace of Spades while my media postings will appear at both blogs. You can read the postings of other bloggers at the debate at the Media Bloggers Association.
CNN contributor Roland Martin jumped on the Elizabeth Edwards bandwagon during an appearance on Thursday's "American Morning," and launched two fronts of attack on Coulter for her recent comments about John Edwards. First, in reply to co-host Kiran Chetry's question on whether Elizabeth Edwards should have even dignified Ann Coulter with a phone call, Martin invoked the schoolyard. "I think she should have, because at some point, you have to punch the bully in the mouth."
Roland Martin, a columnist and talk radio host, makes frequent appearances on "American Morning," which are also broadcast on his Chicago-based radio show. After Martin discussed Coulter's "track record" of "outlandish comments," as he put it, Chetry posed the question that brought out his schoolyard comparison.
Maybe this afternoon's oppressive heat and humidity on the Hardball Plaza in DC were getting to Chris Matthews. I'm not sure how else to explain his complaint, to the effect that it is wrong of the Roman Catholic Church to apply its rules to politicians as it does to other adherents.
His remark came in the course of a debate on religion on this afternoon's edition of "Hardball" between Christopher Hitchens, author of the atheist polemic "God Is Not Great", and the Reverend Al Sharpton.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Today you have the Roman Catholic church through its bishops challenging the rights of Catholic office-holders to take positions for abortion rights. They basically say you have to be for imprisonment of people involved with abortion or else you're not a Catholic and you'll be excommunicated. It seems to be an era, not just because of Islam, to keep religion out of politics . . . Why are they foisting themselves, why are the religious leaders jumping into the political marketplace and saying to politically-elected people, who are duly elected, "you cannot take that position and be in our church, or we will excommunicate you"? That seems to be what's going on.
Not coming to a media outlet near you: Kevin Trenberth, an advisor to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made some startling admissions regarding the IPCC's use of computer General Circulation Modules (GCMs) (h/t Moonbattery). Professor Bob Carter, a geologist writing for Australia's News.com, has the scoop:
In a remarkable contribution to Nature magazine's Climate Feedback blog, Trenberth concedes GCMs cannot predict future climate and claims the IPCC is not in the business of climate prediction. This might be news to some people.
Among other things, Trenberth asserts ". . . there are no (climate) predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been". Instead, there are only "what if" projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios.
On the Thursday edition of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough slammed media outlets, such as AP and The Hill for misrepresenting what Ann Coulter said in her now famous on-air debate with Elizabeth Edwards. He also attempted to set the record straight by playing an extended clip of her appearance on the June 25 "Good Morning America," which started the whole controversy.
But first, Scarborough and contributor Willie Geist derided the misrepresentations of Coulter’s statements from various media outlets:
Joe Scarborough: "I want you to read, Willie, from The Hill, really quickly. Just read this line from The Hill. This is what The Hill and the Associated Press and what other wires are saying about what Ann Coulter said on GMA. Read it, Willie."
Willie Geist: "This week Coulter proclaimed, quote, ‘If I’m going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot,’ end quote."
In the 11-paragraph story, filled with pictures of smiling girls, red, white and blue balloons and the American flag, there was not one mention of the fact that illegal immigrants in this country have broken the law. Rather the children who read the KidsPost were told that these people are “in the country without having permission from the U.S. government.”
I could not leave this untouched. Joan Biskupic, the same Supreme Court reporter I accused of sounding like a John McCain press flack, has given us a gem of a skewed report on a 5-4 decision today about the use of race as a factor in managing public school registration.
Let's walk through it shall we?
When reporting on a key Supreme Court ruling, it's kind of nice to give readers a glance of the reasoning of the majority first. Makes sense, right. After all, the focus is supposed to be the party at suit that, well, WINS. But Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote for the majority, isn't quoted until the 9th paragraph. Justice Kennedy's more restrained concurring opinion is referenced in the fourth, but it's dissenting liberal Justice Stephen Breyer who draws first ink in the third paragraph.
Below are the first four paragraphs (my emphasis in bold), punctuated by my commentary:
One of the most well-known conservatives in the blogosphere is Glenn Reynolds, whose “Instapundit” website continually receives some of the highest traffic totals of all political venues on the Internet.
Due to his expertise on such issues, the folks at the largely liberal Mother Jones published an interview with Reynolds last week wherein the topic of discussion was how the new media are impacting political campaigns.
The first technological change addressed by Reynolds was that of fundraising (emphasis added throughout):
A report by ABC correspondent Betsy Stark suggested that although Americans are seeing lower prices at the pump, they must face the newest economic problem – the rising price of dairy.
ABC News has only reported the decline in gas prices twice in its nightly newscasts since they began to go down right before the Memorial Day holiday. Gas prices have gone down on average 24 cents nationally and this was only mentioned on two broadcasts.
As a follow-up to my previous post, I thought I'd take a look at the inane headlines for coverage of the 5-4 ruling today that restricts school districts from using race to manage school populations. Time and the Los Angeles Times are real howlers:
In a landmark 5-4 case today, the U.S. Supreme Court found that two school systems had improperly used race as a consideration in managing the public school districts. Web sites for many newspapers have carried Associated Press coverage of the ruling, and the later the revision of the AP report, the more information tends to be packed in them.
As of 1:15 a.m. Eastern when I started this post*, the Los Angeles Times front page linked to an AP story published just before 11 a.m. Eastern. But in that version of the AP story, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, is not quoted at all. Yet a similar AP story (perhaps the same story but with fewer paragraphs edited out) was published just minutes later in the Washington Examiner.
Joseph Berger's New York Times column on education today doubled as a film review. "Film Portrays Stifling of Speech, but One College's Struggle Reflects a Nuanced Reality" criticized an anti-PC documentary, "Indoctrinate U," by bringing in an incident that occurred at Vassar college that was not even featured in the movie. Berger actually defended Vassar punishing a conservative campus publication by defunding it and shutting it down for a year.
"A new documentary is making the rounds that argues, with vivid examples, that the nation's colleges are squelching freedom of expression and are no longer free marketplaces of ideas.
"The film carries the striking title 'Indoctrinate U,' and was made by Evan Coyne Maloney, who describes himself as a libertarian and is looking for a national distributor.
Still stoking the flames of the fire it started on its cable outlet, MSNBC, NBC kept pushing the Ann Coulter vs Elizabeth Edwards fight, this time on this morning’s Today show. Substitute host David Gregory invited on Elizabeth Edwards to continue to bash Coulter on her "hate language." And while the on screen headline asked, "Out of Control? The Politics of Ann Coulter," 'Today', once again, never bothered to mention the Edwards campaign's own "out of control" bloggers.
To his credit Gregory did ask about Edwards using Coulter as a fundraising tool and noted the hypocrisy of John Edward's $400 haircut and his large speaking fees for a poverty group. However Today refused to identify either Edwards as a liberal but repeatedly labeled Coulter as "conservative," and even tagged her as a "flamethrower."
Elizabeth Edwards appeared on the Thursday edition of "Good Morning America" and was portrayed by co-anchor Chris Cuomo as simply the wife of Democratic ‘08 contender John Edwards. However, Cuomo singled out columnist Ann Coulter, who debated Mrs. Edwards via phone this week on MSNBC’s "Hardball," with descriptions such as "professional provocateur."
He also wondered why the wife of the North Carolina Democrat would want to spar with "someone like Ann Coulter." Additionally, Cuomo failed to mention the provocative actions that the Edwards campaign has taken. After allowing Elizabeth Edwards to expound on how her phone call to "Hardball" was simply an attempt to get Coulter to stop being hateful, the GMA anchor did not bring up the liberal, anti-Christian bloggers hired by the Edwards campaign.
CBS’s "The Early Show" followed the other morning shows on June 28 to basically give free air time to the Edwards campaign. Anchor Harry Smith, who rarely, if ever, gives Republicans or conservatives a freeride, ran a largely softball interview to Elizabeth Edwards and her recent confrontation with Ann Coulter.
At the start, Smith labeled Ann Coulter a "conservative political commentator," but no label in front of Elizabeth Edwards.
The CBS anchor did ask a few mildly challenging questions such as using Coulter as a fund raising ploy, and why she called in and not Edwards. However, as Mrs. Edwards called for "speaking out against the language," Smith did not ask why she did not speak out against the hateful language of her own campaign staffers. Back in February, when questioned by Wolf Blitzer about his anti-Catholic blogger Amanda Marcotte, Edwards dismissed the criticism as coming "particularly from the far right."
Yeah, it’s complex all right. Cutts fathered four kids with three women, and then allegedly murdered his pregnant girlfriend. To most people, that’s evil. To CNN, it’s merely … complex. As Culture and Media Institute writer David Niedrauer notes, “They tell the story as if circumstances simply drove a good man to do an evil thing.”