“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” - Winston Churchill
In the course of a Boston Globe column today in which she calls for a referendum in Iraq as to whether the US stays or goes, Ellen Goodman writes:
"Today we have nearly 3,000 American deaths, and by one estimate 650,000 Iraqi deaths."
Ever the environmentalist, Goodman dutifully recycles the findings of a report published in the Lancet magazine on civilian deaths in Iraq. This study, prepared by two anti-war partisans, has - as I noted here back in October - been thoroughly debunked. See more recently this piece which among other things quotes "Hot Air" thusly:
My pal Cam Edwards at NRANews.com forwarded an example of media incompetence followed by arrogance on the issue of the state of Ohio pre-empting local gun laws:
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reversed course on the issue of firearms pre-emption laws, writing an editorial in favor of pre-emption back in August and then slamming the idea a few weeks ago. Chad Baus, from Buckeye Firearms Association, had a lengthy and funny email exchange with the head of the editorial page. You can find the whole story here.
Baus found a clear case of an editorial writer who had not read the bill he was writing about, and an editorial page editor who refused to admit they hadn't read it.
On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams highlighted how, earlier in the day, First Lady Laura Bush “placed the blame squarely on the news media" for why so few support the President on Iraq. But instead of addressing her contention about how “there are a lot of good things that are happening that aren't covered and I think the drumbeat in the country from the media...is discouraging" as she hoped for “more balanced coverage” in the future, Williams applied a non sequitur to dismiss her assessment of the news media. He noted how “the recent report from the Iraq Study Group, however, specifically found that there has been significant under-reporting of the violence in Iraq." But that’s about the accuracy of U.S. military data collection and categorization, not the accuracy of news media coverage of the situation in Iraq. (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews depicted Bush as a proverbial Nero, fiddling as Iraq burned and claimed Bush was led into war by "jugheaded neo-conservatives." Matthews also absurdly questioned Dennis Kucinich if Democrats weren't pushing harder for troop withdrawals because: "They're afraid the media will jump on them if they say, 'let's get out of that country now?'" Which begs the question does Matthews even watch his own network?
First up Matthews greeted viewers with this opening salvo:
Matthews: "Tonight, the President fiddles while Iraq burns. He said he will not be rushed into changing policy. Meanwhile, a new poll shows most Americans now think we're actually losing in Iraq. And we can't do more to stop the civil war. Let's talk a Republican senator who says its criminal to keep on this way. Let's play Hardball."
Filing two reports for Thursday’s "American Morning," CNN reporter Bob Franken asserted that Democrats are "more sincere" in their expressions of concern for ailing South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson. Reporting on what the political ramifications would be if the Democrat resigned from Congress, thus giving Republicans control of the Senate, Franken used apocalyptic language to describe such an occurrence. The loss of Johnson, who suffered a brain hemorrhage on Wednesday, would be a "major, major disruption" and could leave Congress "ripped in half by fate" Such an event would enable the Republicans to "protect their party's president from a full-scale assault." It was this type of over-the-top reporting that led to Franken’s claim that the Democrats are the ones who really care about the Senator:
Bob Franken: " Without question, all the expressions of concern for Senator Johnson are very sincere, but I've got to say that the ones from the Democrats, Miles, are even more sincere."
Geraldo Rivera, who established himself as a crusader for illegal immigrants, ventured in to The O’Reilly Factor to pick a fight with host Bill O’Reilly on the issue. First, Geraldo did concede that an illegal immigrant with a criminal record who murdered a Marine should have been deported. However, he quickly moved to defend the 11 million people currently breaking our country’s immigration laws.
He first called the recent raid at an Iowa meat packing plant "the biggest jive mast bust." Geraldo then insulted the American workers exclaiming, "Do you know why they’re working there? They’re almost exclusively illegal, because no citizen will take that crappy job." He then connected those who favor immigration enforcement with bigots and xenophobes calling them "nativists."
On Thursday’s edition of The View, the ladies, along with guest co-host Dari Alexander of Fox News, discussed Democratic Senator Tim Johnson’s emergency brain surgery and the potential political fallout. Alexander explained to the audience that if Johnson had to resign from the Senate, the Republican governor of South Dakota would pick an interim senator to fulfill the remainder of Johnson’s term, thereby creating the potential for an even split in the Senate between Democrats and Republicans. Joy Behar chimed in and put forth another tin foil hat worthy conspiracy theory:
Joy Behar: "Is there such a thing as a man-made stroke? In other words, did someone do this to him?" Video Clip: Real Player (2MB) or Windows Media (2.45MB) Plus MP3 (383KB)
Well, it certainly didn’t take long for a member of the media to suggest that there’s some kind of conspiracy involved with Sen. Tim Johnson’s (D-SD) medical condition. On Thursday’s “The View,” co-host Joy Behar questioned, “Is there such a thing as a man made stroke? In other words, did someone do this to him?”
Don't believe it? Well, those that can tolerate it can watch this disgraceful example of indecency here. Hat tip to Hot Air. A transcript is here.
Sadly, this wasn't the only disgrace, for when conservative co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck asked why liberals are always seeing a conspiracy in everything, Behar unashamedly responded:
Surely, Americans of all stripes ended up rooting for CNN's Wolf Blitzer as he sparred against that oily hater David Duke on Wednesday night. But many Americans also might suspect that the Duke booking was a stunt to goose ratings and create buzz for CNN. Conservatives have often been outraged that liberals would suggest Duke was one of them, when he was always appearing in the liberal media, and not on conservative talk radio. They made him famous. For those readers who are too young to remember the last national media heyday for David Duke, it was in the presidency of George H. W. Bush, whose election was widely believed by liberals to be the result of racist Republicans responding to Willie Horton's face in political ads. Here's an old article I wrote in 1992 on the phenomenon:
Why is David Duke famous? The national media jumped all over the Duke story from the time he campaigned for and won a state representative seat on January 21, 1989. He gained nationwide infamy because his presence proved two things journalists would like to believe about American politics -- first, that the country's whites as a whole are still inherently racist; and second, that George Bush won the 1988 election almost completely because of that.
Media: After resigning from CNN after
making baseless accusations that American soldiers were deliberately
trying to kill journalists, Eason Jordan has resurfaced as the head of a new Iraq war news site. Among other things, the site will attempt to find the mysterious AP source and purported Iraqi policeman Jamil Hussein. Michelle Malkin will be going there to look for him as well.
John McCain is trying to sell himself as the GOP establishment candidate this time around, according to Robert Novak. Ed Morrissey doesn't think it's working, at least at this point. John Kerry, meanwhile, is going to visit Iraq.
The Boston Herald reports that hundreds of journalists hungry for advancement have sent in resumés to become Bob Woodward's assistant. Making up facts to fit a preestablished narrative a plus. Also, like Mark Felt, you have to do all the work but give all the credit to Woodward.
Last October, Dante Chinni wrote in the Christian Science Monitor that Bob Woodward has an uncanny knack for finding quotes to match any narrative, even if it contradicts one of his earlier narratives.
You may not be Carl Bernstein, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with Bob Woodward.
The legendary journalist is currently looking for a new assistant and took the unusual step of advertising on Web sites like journalismjobs.com.
The longer President Bush refuses to completely accept the Iraq Study Group's recommendations the more irked NBC's Tim Russert and Meredith Vieira seem to get. On this morning's Today show Vieira and Russert seemed dumbfounded that the President has yet to wave the white flag in Iraq as they ran down the results of the latest NBC News poll. Vieira declared to Russert: "As polls go it is as bad as it gets for the President." and after running a clip of Bush cynically pondered: "It sounds like the same old President Bush to me. How much do you think he has taken from this listening tour?" Russert, pivoting off the negative poll results quipped: "Real pessimism. When the Iraq Study Group came out and said the situation was 'grave and deteriorating,' that resonated with the American people. I think the President's political condition as we sit here this morning is 'grave and deteriorating."
Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s drop the partisanship for a second and recognize that the media coverage of Sen. Tim Johnson’s (D-SD) sudden illness has been nothing but disgraceful.
The first reports I heard on this issue came early yesterday on CNBC, and immediately the discussion was about how this could change the balance of power in the Senate. I was disgusted. (Update follows with how the network evening broadcasts covered the story.)
As my daughter and I left the gym in the early evening, she questioned me about the Senator, and how this would impact politics. I was a bit shocked, and asked her where she had heard about his malady. She said that it was on the television in the ladies’ locker room, and the announcers were discussing how this might hurt the Democrats.
Let’s get a grip for a second here, folks. A man is fighting for his life right now, and that should be much more important than how this impacts who will control the Senate. Yet, just moments ago, this was the headline of an Associated Press article: “GOP governor has the power to appoint Senate replacement.” These were the first two paragraphs:
Comedy lovers are likely familiar with the name Elayne Boosler, who was a popular comedienne in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Today, she is somewhat of a liberal activist, having moderated a Democrat presidential forum in 2003, and regularly subbing for syndicated liberal radio talk show host Stephanie Miller.
With that as pretext, Boosler published a blog at HuffnPuff Wednesday with a fascinating take on the recent Michael Richards AKA Kramer episode (emphasis mine throughout):
Words won't kill you unless they are "Ready, aim, fire!". Now that some time has gone by since the Michael Richards rant, let's talk about the true victim of the "n" word; standup comedy. The L.A. Times continues to feature articles on the Laugh Factory, focusing on further "n" word developments, and on black comedians lamenting the loss of their use of the "n" word at the club. They're determined to say it, even though the clubowner is fining them for it.
Stay with her, folks, for she’s got a compelling point:
For those who enjoy watching a well-known racist and unapologetic anti-Semite get beat up by a television anchorman, CNN’s “The Situation Room” was the place to be Wednesday. Host Wolf Blitzer invited former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke on to discuss the Holocaust conference in Tehran, and the fireworks started immediately. After being introduced, Duke came right out of his corner, and attacked Wolf (must-see video available here):
Well, first off, Mr. Blitzer, I resent the introduction you made of me. You mentioned the Ku Klux Klan 11 times. That was over 30 -- well, 30 years ago in my life, and since that time I got elected to the House of Representatives, I became -- and I received a full doctorate, I have been a teacher, I have one of the best selling books in the world.
And you interview many former communists in governments all over the world and you don't introduce them by saying former communist and certainly not 11 times. I think you're biased because you're a former lobbyist for AIPAC. You're a Jewish extremist, supporter of Israel, so you want to bias anyone who criticizes Zionism.
Nice way to start an interview, wouldn't you say? Blitzer then asked, “Well, do you hate Jews?” Duke responded:
The latest word from AP on hospitalized Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota is that he was disoriented, but did not suffer a stroke or heart attack. Everyone should wish him well. He's about to turn 60, which doesn't seem so old these days, especially for Senators.
AP writer Mary Claire Jalonick adds this sentence near the bottom of the piece: "Johnson, a centrist Democrat, was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and has been one of the more reserved members of the chamber, rarely taking center stage at news conferences." He certainly is low profile, but his lifetime ACU rating is 20, and his last two sessions in the Senate were 11 percent in 2004 and 13 in 2005.
Talk about bad timing. Dennis Kucinich yesterday announced that he will be running for the Democrat presidential nomination in '08 and almost no one noticed. No wonder. It was impossible for Kucinich to get the least bit of attention focused on himself because most of the media was in the midst of an orgy of Obama worship even though the junior Senator from Illinois hasn't even officially announced that he is running for president. In case you think things couldn't get any worse for the Kucinich campaign, they do. The day before Kucinich made his announcement that almost no one noticed, his former press secretary made a startling confession of personal incompetence and declared that Kucinich might not be qualified to become president because he was clueless enough to hire a press secretary with absolutely no ability such as himself. In case you think this is a skit for a comedy show, it's not. You can read for yourself the confession of incompetence by William Rivers Pitt at the Democratic Underground:
Liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich was among friends during his appearance on Wednesday’s edition of The View. While co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell were nowhere to be found during the segment, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters allowed Rich to promote his book, which Walters herself said "tears the Bush White House apart." While Walters did pose one challenge to the writer’s assertion that the Iraq war cannot be won, most of the questions directed to the columnist would not be considered so tough.
Walters began the interview with the Times columnist with this glowing introduction:
Barbara Walters: "Every Sunday, millions of people turn to New York Times columnist Frank Rich to hear his views on everything from politics to pop culture. That's how important his opinions are. Not everybody loves his opinions, and in his new book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, he absolutely tears the Bush White House apart. This is a book that is such fascinating reading."
Regret the Error, a blog
corrections has released its annual
list of funniest mistakes, apologies, frauds, hoaxes, and
embarrassments perpetrated by and on the self-styled arbiters of the truth.
Some of my favorites:
Reuters, the news agency that brought you the fraudulent
Adnan Hajj, also makes real mistakes. In an Oct. 25 story about bees,
it mistakenly said that Queen Elizabeth has "10 times the life
expectancy of workers and lays 2,000 eggs a day."
In the dubious sources category: "Don Spille -- A man who
told the Tallahassee Democrat that he lost
everything in Katrina – including his father. Ed Spille Sr.,
father, later contacted the newspaper to disagree. 'I might be dead to
him,' he said. 'At 80 years old, I’m dead to a lot of
student newspaper at Purdue University had a real scoop about Supreme
Court justice Samuel Alito during his nomination process: "His motive
for shooting John Paul in the abdomen on May 13, 1981, remains
unclear," the paper asserted in a caption of Alito being sworn in at a hearing.
One of the most persistent tics of the passive-aggressive press is its denials of its power, that it doesn't run the country, or at least try to run the country. All that journalism-school boilerplate about how the media is merely a watchdog, or like it's the BASF of democracy, you know, it doesn't make everything, it just makes the secret ingredient that makes everything better? Baloney. Some of us signed up for the media-criticism business because the media want to pretend they're not major players in the political process that make every other actor in the political system try to figure out how to capture the warm glow of media adulation, or at least avoid it like an obstacle course. So when Dow Jones Chairman Peter Kann wrote an editorial on the press (see it over on his company's Opinion Journal), I liked the end the best: