First there was "Dowdification," named after the NYT columnist's deliberate truncation of a speech by President Bush to falsely imply he had said al Qaeda was "no longer a problem. Now, Patterico (aka Patrick Frey) suggests a new term, "Isikoffed" for the Newsweek reporter who similarly truncated a memo by Alberto Gonzales to make the Bush admin look like it considers all the Geneva Conventions to be "quaint" when it comes to the war on terrorism. Instead, Gonzales was making the sensible point that some of them, such as the requiring prison guards to provide inmates with scientific instruments and athletic clothes, are obsolete.
That the MSM has not sufficiently corrected the record on this point continues to be a problem since many liberals in and out of the blogosphere continue to believe this bit of misinformation.
Update 11:02. While you're over at Patterico's, be sure and read his post about how the LA Times is providing cover for a left-wing church leader who basically said voting for Republicans is a sin.
You wouldn't think that someone who wrote a book condemning all religions as dangerous hokum and who favors higher taxes, drug decriminalization and gay marriage would be in danger of becoming the right's favorite liberal. But in the wake of his LA Times column of today, Head-in-the-Sand Liberals, Sam Harris might be on the way to being celebrated by conservatives and castigated on the left.
The column's subtitle really tells the story: "Western civilization really is at risk from Muslim extremists," and Harris' essential point in that liberals refuse to recognize that fact.
The plot thickens. After Bill Maher claimed on the Friday evening installment of HBO’s “Real Time” that CBS prevented him from discussing religion on the “freeSpeech” segment as reported by NewsBusters, the executive producer of the “Evening News” has now denied this. As reported by TVNewswer (hat tip to reader Tracheostomy):
In an e-mail to TVNewser, CBS responds to Bill Maher:
"Bill Maher was never told that he couldn't discuss religion in a 'Free Speech' segment," Rome Hartman, executive producer of the CBS Evening News, said. "In fact, 'Free Speech' has already addressed religion and we expect others will in the future."
This obviously goes counter to Maher’s statements on Friday:
Cyrus Nowrasteh, the screenwriter behind ABC's "Path to 9/11" miniseries, has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal about his experience. Unsurprisingly, he has little good will for left-wing critics who tried to censor a film that portrayed Democrats in any kind of a bad light:
It would have been good to be able to report due diligence on the part of those who judged the film, the ones who held forth on it before watching a moment of it. Instead, in the rush to judgment, and the effort to portray the series as the work of a right-wing zealot, much was made of my "friendship" with Rush Limbaugh (a connection limited to two social encounters), but nothing of any acquaintance with well-known names on the other side of the political spectrum. No reference to Abby Mann, for instance, with whom I worked on "10,000 Black Men Named George" (whose hero is an African-American communist) or Oliver Stone, producer of "The Day Reagan Was Shot," a film I wrote and directed. Clearly, those enraged that a film would criticize the Clinton administration's antiterrorism policies--though critical of its successor as well--were willing to embrace only one scenario: The writer was a conservative hatchetman.
While the national media begin to revisit the "corruption" issue -- largely as a Republican problem, as you can see from Monday's front page Washington Post story on GOP Sen. Conrad Burns -- it's important to remember where Democrats could have problems. Take appointed Sen. Bob Menendez, who's now the subject of a federal investigation for accepting $3,000-a-month rent from a group he's also sought to enrich with federal funding. NRO blogger Jim Geraghty reported:
So here outside Philly, we're getting New Jersey political ads, too, including one for Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, that features him in a courtroom. Oh, no, wait, it's not what you're thinking - he's not a defendant, he's touting his credentials fighting political corruption, not facilitating it.
The Washington Post puts the George Allen-Jim Webb debate on Sunday's "Meet the Press" on the front page Monday with the subhead: "Comments on Race, Gender Resurface in TV Appearance." But the Post account by Michael Shear and Tim Craig omitted Jim Webb's most stunning comments on race, at least for a Democratic candidate: he re-emphasized that he believes government quota programs ("affirmative action") are the equivalent of "state-sponsored racism" -- which isn't exactly friendly to the Democratic Party's minority-group activists.
In a 2000 Wall Street Journal book review praising black conservative Ward Connerly, Webb said that only blacks were the subject of historical discrimination in America, so broadening quotas to all minorities was as odious as Jim Crow racism. In a campaign in which the Post and other outlets have so pounded Allen's supposed racism in the "Macaca" comments, isn't this the kind of stand which Democrats would usually pound (wrongly) as racist?
There’s been a lot of press lately surrounding the sudden resurgence of the Republican Party, and how a Democrat capture of Congress this November is no longer the certainty the media were presenting just months ago. Further proof of a decline in press conviction regarding this matter was evident on Sunday’s “Chris Matthews Show” (video and transcript to follow).
With his panel stacked with liberal sympathizers like Norah O’Donnell, Dan Rather, and Cynthia Tucker, one wouldn’t have expected an honest assessment of the condition of today’s Democrat Party. Yet, as Matthews asked Rather if President Bush heading into the midterm elections can “change the issue” and “beat the wrap that he took us into Iraq,” Rather miraculously responded, “Yes and yes.” He then stated something that many impartial political observers have been saying for months, nay years: “A lot depends on what the Democrats respond with. And so far they haven't been able to get control of the agenda.”
I don’t even know why I bother but I frequently check out the editorial cartoons on yahoo.com. Sometimes they are funny (yes I do laugh at some of them that reflect poorly on the Republicans because they are usually spot on) but most of the time I feel like I’ve been hit in the gut when I read them. Today was one of those days.
I made the unfortunate choice of clicking on Ted Rall’s editorial cartoon for 9/16/06. It is one thing to ridicule the President politically but another to attack him in a personal manner that hurts his family. The same thing goes for Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Why would anyone think it was appropriate to do an editorial cartoon about the sex life of Madame Secretary? Rall has already depicted Sec Rice in a racist manner so I guess portraying her as a woman of loose morals is no big deal to him.
According to Rall’s little drawing, Rice has slept her way around the world including a one night stand with Chirac. Rall then promotes the sick fantasy that so many Libs are obsessed with by depicting the President of the United States in bed with Madame Secretary. Rall’s caption for that panel is simply nauseating – “Gossips say she is stroking more than George W’s ego during their weekends together at Camp David.”
Reuters reported on Saturday (hat tip to Drudge) that the controversial British film about the assassination of President Bush actually won a critics’ choice award at the Toronto Film Festival. I imagine you’re all surprised:
"Death of a President," which stirred controversy in the days ahead of the festival, took home the Fipresci prize, which is chosen by international critics. The film, a fictional documentary showing the assassination of President Bush, was noted by the jury "for the audacity with which it distorts reality to reveal a larger truth."
See, now that’s exactly what moviegoers want these days: a film that distorts reality to reveal a larger truth. Of course, in a disturbing sort of way, that’s better than the normal media blathering which distorts reality to reveal a tapestry of lies in order to further the goals of one of the nation's major political parties. But, I digress:
Drudge is reporting that at a recent Roger Waters concert at Madison Square Garden, the former guitarist of the famed rock band Pink Floyd advertised some anti-Bush sentiments on a floating pig. For those unfamiliar with the band, when they were touring many years ago to promote their album “Animals,” during the song entitled “Pigs,” a huge, floating, inflatable pig was part of the props. Apparently, in this instance, the pig was graffitied with campaign propaganda (Update -- video here):
ROGER WATERS [PINK FLOYD] CONCERT TOUR HITS NORTH AMERICA AND NYC WITH FLYING PIGS, URGING DEM VOTES IN ELECTION, 'IMPEACH BUSH' WRITTEN ON REAR OF PIG FLOATING OVER AUDIENCE... One concertgoer writes: 'Seeing Bush's name written across the pig's arse made me howl'... The pig had graffiti. 'New Yorkers/Don't be led to the slaughter/Vote November 7'... another attendee played off the hit 'Another Brick in the Wall': ''We don't need no thought control,' even from Mr. Waters'...
This wasn’t the first time on this tour that Waters was so political:
An underappreciated accomplishment of the past five years has been the continued reduction in the number of people on welfare.
The welfare caseload, after declining dramatically in the first four years after Welfare Reform was enacted, might have been expected to level off, or even rise slightly with overall population growth, after the initial impact of the 1996 law wore off.
After all, the reduction in the number of welfare recipients during the 1990s was stunning. From a peak of over 14 million in 1994, and over 12 million at the end of 1996 (over 4.5 million families) when the new took effect, the number of those receiving welfare came tumbling down to about 5.5 million by the end of 2000 -- a decline of nearly 2 million per year.
I'm not sure that anyone expected the numbers to steadily fall after the first four years of reform, but that is exactly what has happened. Here are the details for famillies and recipients on welfare as of the end of each calendar year beginning with the turn of the century (000s; the index to data for all years back to 1960 is here):
Not everyone is happy to see gasoline prices drop. On CNN's Live Saturday, network senior political correspondent Bill Schneider raised the question of whether dipping prices are part of a conspiracy orchestrated by big oil companies.
Said Schneider about lower gasoline costs: "That's good news for Republicans if only because it could reduce voter anxiety." He then noted: "Industry sources cite a lot of reasons, including higher fuel inventories, a so far mild hurricane season, the truce between Israel and Lebanon. But this oil industry critic believes that what drove prices up was speculation. And a report from a bipartisan congressional investigation may be having an impact."
"This oil industry critic" was one Tyson Slocum of the Naderite Public Citizen. Schneider then speculated that, "The dropping prices may last just a couple of months. Long enough to get through the November election. Could that be what the oil companies want?"
Is CBS’s new “freeSpeech” segment on the “Evening News” really free? Maybe not, as TVNewser reported Saturday (hat tip to Drudge) that Bill Maher – who had been invited on to be one of the free speakers – was told that he couldn’t discuss religion:
“On Friday's Real Time on HBO, Maher explained that CBS approached him to do a 'freeSpeech' segment on the new Evening News. He asked if he could talk about religion but was rejected and told that he would be provided with a list of 'approved' topics," an e-mailer says.
The actual transcript of what Maher said Friday night concerning this issue is as follows:
Over at The Corner today, National Review's Jonah Goldberg noticed that the AP dispatch on Congressman Ben Cardin's prejudiced/fired blogger leaves out the "D" word for Democrat:
Rep. Benjamin Cardin has fired a campaign staffer who posted racially charged comments against his opponent on the Internet, the congressman's campaign said Saturday.
The staffer's blog includes references to Oreo cookies. Cardin's opponent, Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who is black, has said people threw Oreos at him during a 2002 debate as a slight directed at his race and political views.
The Chronicle today has published a piece titled "Border fences -- and fantasies", that claims that illegal immigration has increased because of the California border fence project (Called operation Vanguard) and calls the larger border fence approved by Congress recently "tomfoolery".
The piece, though, is contradictory and filled with absurd reasoning in its desire to torpedo a larger border fence idea. On one hand the Chronicle claims that the current fence has not stopped immigration and is useless, yet on the other has caused immigrant's to bring their entire families because the fence keeps them inside.
On CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday morning, Gloria Borger, CBS News Capitol Hill correspondent and U.S. News columnist, conceded that the revelation that then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was who leaked the fact that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, “was sort of a big yawn” to the news media “and why we didn't cover it that much, is because, first of all, everybody was anticipating a Karl Rove indictment, and that would have been a huge, huge story.” So, when “Karl Rove was not indicted, the air went out of the balloon at that particular point.” To put it mildly. Host Howard Kurtz called media coverage of Rove “overheated,” suggesting that “a lot of journalists practically had the date circled on the calendar when he might be charged."
The CBS Evening News at least ran a story, unlike the ABC and NBC evening newscasts, but a very skewed and incomplete report, as detailed in my September 7 NewsBusters item, “CBS Interviews Armitage, But Skips Rove and Asks if He Owes Apology to Wilson?” (Brief transcript of Borger's exchange with Kurtz follows)
Matthew Sheffield's item on Ben Cardin's staffer with the slurs is buried on Page C-6 of the Sunday Washington Post, described as a minor case of the blogger "stumbles." But George Allen's off-hand use of the word "Macaca" is on the front page again today, albeit in restrained form, not explicitly using the mysterious M-word. Michael Shear's article on the role of bloggers in the Virginia Senate contest began this way:
Virginia's U.S. Senate race has catapulted bloggers into the middle of electioneering and controversy as campaign supporters use their online forums to connect with voters, raise money and spread gossip. Liberal bloggers -- two of whom are on the payroll of Democratic challenger James Webb -- fanned the flames last month after Sen. George Allen aimed a derogatory remark at a young Webb volunteer. That hype has helped Webb close a double-digit Allen lead in public polls and was a blow to the Republican senator's possible presidential bid in 2008.
I wonder how much we'll be hearing of this news in the political press and how much Marylanders will from their MSM:
Rep. Benjamin Cardin has fired a campaign staffer who wrote racially
charged comments on an Internet blog against his opponent, Republican
Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who is black, Cardin's campaign confirmed
The blog includes a reference to "Devouring the Competition" by eating
Oreo cookies, which Steele has said people threw at him during a 2002
debate as a slight directed at his race and political views.
In a statement, Cardin also condemned "anti-Semitic" comments written by the female staffer on her own Internet blog [formerly at persuasionatrix.blogspot.com].
One important fact left out of the AP report I quoted above is that the story was broken by our friends over at Wizbang. AP reporter Brian Witte's behavior in this instance is all too familiar. Blogs are often not given the proper credit they deserve for reporting, especially if they're conservative ones.