Lynn Davidson's blog
Ever notice the media love to report stories about people fighting the power, unless, of course, the power happens to be something the media favor?
A March 31 New York Times article about Cuba's Havana Biennial art festival highlighted several artists whose political statements were in line with the anti-American, communist outlook of the island's regime, while ignoring prominent Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, who risked her freedom to protest government oppression.
During an open mic session at the festival, the award-winning Generacion Y blogger criticized Cuban policy and the lack of free expression. However, the Times did not mention her pro-free speech performance art or even cover it in a separate piece. Instead, most of the artists the paper described railed against the usual evils, such as capitalism, America and the bourgeoisie.
Afterwards, the government issued a condemnation that singled out Sanchez for “staging a provocation against the Cuban Revolution.” Fortunately, on Wednesday, Reuters reported the controversy:
Are you a conservative? Then you're a d***, and there's something wrong with your brain. At least that's what "24" actress and comedienne Janeane Garofalo believes.
According to the former Air America radio host, a conservative starts out an “a**hole,” and the politics come later. She asserted, “The reason a person is a conservative republican (sic) is because something is wrong with them...It really is neuroscience.”
In this February 12 interview with the environmentalist celebrity blog Ecorazzi, Garofalo also claimed the “irrational” emotion center of the brain, the limbic system, is what creates conservatives (text reformatted, profanity edited, all bold mine):
The reason a person is a conservative republican is because something is wrong with them. Again, that’s science – that’s neuroscience. You cannot be well adjusted, open-minded, pluralistic, enlightened and be a republican. It’s counter-intuitive. And they revel in their anti-intellectualism. They revel in their cruelty.
During last year's presidential campaign, the media worked overtime to portray John and Cindy McCain as wealthy private jet junkies with more homes than they can remember, while showcasing Barack and Michelle Obama as just another middle class family with two working parents, one car and freshly paid off student loans. In 2008, a media frenzy whirled around Mrs. McCain's income and the $170,000 she paid household staff in 2006.
On the other hand, Mrs. Obama was defined as an average mom who juggled work and home with extraordinary skill. According to the media, she arranged sleepovers, scoured Target for the perfect wardrobe and served healthy organic dinners. Just like us common folk, right? Well, almost. Those healthy organic dinners were cooked by the Obamas' personal chef, Sam Kass.
Funny how the media didn't mention that on the campaign trail, particularly in all of those syrupy, hagiographic interviews where Michelle discussed her family life, such as this October 17, 2008 CBS "Early Show" segment where she danced around answering reporter Maggie Rodriguez when she asked, “Who cooks at home?” (emphasis mine):
It wasn’t merely a poorly-chosen headline stating, “Two top players depart Cuba in a bid to play in US." The whitewash was mirrored in the December 29 article, and the bias wasn’t confined to careful language manipulation. AFP also minimized the escape by framing it as a simple desire to get rich quick in America with a fat Major League Baseball contract. There was no mention of the harsh realities of Cuban life or the possibility that maybe they also wanted more than six ounces of chicken or ten eggs a month to eat (all emphasis mine, image of Yadel Marti via AFP):
Cuban pitcher Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez have departed their Communist island homeland in a bid to launch Major League Baseball careers, ESPN reported on Monday on its website.
Players who become available through such nations as the Dominican Republic are free agents and available to the highest bidder among the 30 North American clubs rather than having their rights assigned in a draft like US collegians.
Are newsrooms so slanted toward Barack Obama that they don't even realize it any more, or was an inaccurate headline about Sarah Palin just another example of more pro-Obama media bias?
CBSNews.com couldn't even rewrite a simple headline without putting fake words in Palin's mouth. The news organization revised and punched up a headline for a From The Road blog post in a way that made it seem as if Palin called her own comments about Obama's connection to domestic terrorist William Ayers an “Obama [s]mear,” which she didn't. Nowhere in the linked post did Palin say her statements were a “[s]mear" (thanks to NB reader Al; more screengrabs below the fold).
Biden's tough-talking Cincinatti, Ohio foreign policy speech was designed to boost Obama's credibility on the War on Terror and foster confidence in the Illinois Senator's ability to handle international issues. The Dem veep pick discussed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and attempted to talk down McCain's positions while portraying Obama as the true expert.
In the process, Biden laid the bluster on thick and appeared to either be dishonest or unable to keep up with the news--or both--by claiming “... the surge is over, and the political reconciliation it was supposed to produce has not materialized." (transcript)
Unfortunately for Biden, news broke that same day about Iraq's “major step toward national reconciliation." CNN wrote (all emphasis mine):
As if the media's coverage of Cuba isn't fawning enough, now they are using “expert” analysis from three professors that the US government has identified as spies.
Babalu Blog reported that, according to Army counterintelligence officer Chris Simmons, the US government believes at least three of the media's academic authorities on Cuba are actually spies working for the Cuban government. The suspected spies include a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, a Miami Herald board member and columnist and the director of Georgetown University's “Cuba Project.”
If these allegations are true, the danger isn't their potential to gather secrets. Instead, it's their ability to quietly shape opinion and influence public policy on Cuba through powerful academic groups, frequent media statements and slanted analyses as they maneuver within elite academic-think tank circles--and even brief government agencies and the military.
Hey, did you know that Barack Obama is young and energetic? Also, he's a real go-getter with a drive to win. Did I mention that he's young? That's the underlying message of lowered expectations and hipness from the June/July Men's Fitness article, "25 Fittest Guys In America." MF lumped Obama in with elite athletes, such as an Olympic boxer, an Ironman triathlete, three mixed martial artists and several professional sports stars in its annual list of “25 Fittest Men in America.”
MF revealed that Obama was “a bit of a baller” in his youth and stays in tip-top shape with hotel weight machines or a “brisk” 45-minute run as well as “mostly” avoiding fatty foods. Wow. That sounds like a brutal regimen of moderate daily exercise and a reasonable diet. How does he do it? What, no kudos for eating his vegetables or walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator? Obama was even credited for giving up smoking, which he didn't exactly do.
MF's article may be stealth campaigning, but it still managed to raise the hopes of schlubs everywhere by including Obama on a “fit" list with top-ranked athletes (bold mine):
Entertainment Weekly interviewed professional conspiracy theorist and filmmaker Oliver Stone about “W,” his upcoming George W. Bush movie. Stone told EW, “I'm tired of defending the accuracy of my movies. I'm past that now.”
While he told EW “he had to speculate” about dialogue, “Stone insist[ed] that every scene in 'W' will be rooted in truth.” Instead, the movie is a hodge podge of supposed eyewitness accounts, third-hand gossip and fantastical guesswork mixed with “awkward and goofy” caricatures. EW pointed out that “some accounts” “may have come from disgruntled former staffers.”
If the left frothed over ABC's “Path to 9/11” and the media criticized “its invented scenes, fabricated dialogue and unsubstantiated accounts,” then surely they'll immediately knock Stone for these scenes that could come directly from Will Farrell's old “Saturday Night Live” Bush skits (all bold mine):
There's a scene of 26-year-old Bush peeling his car to a stop on his parents' front lawn and drunkenly hurling insults at his father (''Thank you, Mr. Perfect. Mr. War Hero. Mr. F---ing-God-Almighty!''), while another scene set a few years later finds Bush nearly crashing a small plane while flying under the influence.
Ruth Hochberger is one of the voices criticizing NBC for their “abysmal” coverage, but her May 4 Huffington Post article misrepresented the broadcast, claiming there was a “complete failure to tell the story.” She scolded NBC because, “Its nearly three hours of coverage of yesterday's Kentucky Derby just about completely ignored the news. “
Since Eight Belles' death was near the end of the “nearly three hours of coverage,” why is Hochberger penalizing NBC for not having a time machine and ignoring it earlier?
It didn't satisfy Hochberger that NBC refused to speculate and reported only when they knew the facts. She seemed to want the wall-to-wall guesswork reporting one finds with the “baby stuck in a well” crisis journalism where a network trains the camera on “breaking news” and continuously chatters about what might be happening, regardless of how much they know (all bold mine):
Chavez wants to increase domestic food production; so, of course, the logical solution is to base the recovery on Marxist economics. After watching the failed totalitarian agronomics of Cuba and Russia, you'd think they could have invested a few bucks in a SimCity game so they could practice a little first.
Unbelievably, Reuters said Chavez “sheltered consumers from rising world food costs with subsidies and price controls,” and then in spite of all of that awesome planning, something surprisingly went wrong (all bolded portions mine):
What's missing are two words—Islam and Sharia.
The AP article was about a country that uses religion to oppress women but which didn't mention that religion or the system of religious laws based on that religion.
Journalists love reporting that Americans are stupid, and they salivate at the thought of asking us to find the United States on a map or who we fought in the American Revolution. That's why it is rather amusing that the Los Angeles Times mistakenly claimed that George Washington only served one term in office as US president.
LAT television critic Mary McNamara made the slip up in this April 19 article about HBO's surge in popularity when she began describing the cable network's “John Adams” miniseries (via Patterico) (all bold mine):
In his portrayal of our second president, Paul Giamatti creates a man perpetually dissatisfied, disgusted by the preening ambition of politics even as he is infected by it... [S]etting up a new government is a bureaucratic nightmare, with oversized personalities disagreeing over things both petty and fundamental. George Washington (David Morse) so quickly tired of the infighting among his Cabinet and vagaries of public opinion that he stepped down from the presidency after a single term. "I know now what it is like to be disliked," he says to Adams, his perpetually disliked vice president.
Online gossip blog TMZ.com just doesn't know when to quit. In this April 3 post, the site took time from its busy schedule tracking celebrity train wrecks to condescendingly mock former “Bachelor” reality star Navy Lt. Andy Baldwin yet again for retrieving WWII remains. This is the third time TMZ has knocked Baldwin for “diving for old bones."
The bashing began in a March 20 post that explained Baldwin had been part of a Navy dive team assigned to recover the remains of WWII servicemen from a B-24 crash site in the South Pacific. The staff writers criticized the waste of their tax dollars on “ancient history,” musing “let's talk about why we the taxpayers are footing the bill on such BS” and asking readers if they thought it was a “[r]idiculous waste.” TMZ's staff expressed their disbelief that anyone would bother searching for such an old wreck and then dismissed the importance of recovering the remains, snarking, “At least [Baldwin] got a really good tan" (all bold mine):
What, you ask, were they looking for? A B-24J bomber that went down during the war. Not Iraq. Not Vietnam. No, not Korea. We're talking WWII, as in more than 60 years ago.
Turns out, the military spends $52 million each year to find the remains of missing soldiers -- it's part of the POW/MIA program. That's all well and good depending on the circumstances. But a crash that is ancient history, at a time when the economy sucks and the Federal government is sucking the life out of everyone with taxes??
What does it say about Reuters' environmental coverage when the news organization can't even get a basic “factbox” correct?
This March 31 Reuters “factbox” was supposed to explain “What is the Kyoto Protocol?” Instead, the media conglomerate pushed a biased eco-agenda and omitted anything that cast a negative light on the treaty or revealed problems. There was no mention of Kyoto participants failing to meet their targets or Japan trying to renegotiate because Kyoto is harming its economy. Reuters failed to report that greenhouse gas emissions are rising in the European Union and in many Kyoto-participating countries, such as Canada. Some, like Austria and Great Britain, are actually doing worse than the US in emissions growth. By skewing the data included in this factbox, Reuters massaged data to fit an agenda and crossed into advocacy journalism.
Reuters began by framing the US as the bad guy (all bold mine):
In a March 27 article, AP television writer David Bauder reported the situation that made the award-winning reporter quit (all bold mine):
Former "Nightline" reporter Dave Marash has quit Al-Jazeera English, saying Thursday his exit was due in part to an anti-American bias at a network that is little seen in this country.
Marash was the highest-profile American TV personality hired when the English language affiliate to Al-Jazeera was started two years ago in an attempt to compete with CNN and the BBC. He said there was a "reflexive adversarial editorial stance" against Americans at Al-Jazeera English.
"Given the global feelings about the Bush administration, it's not surprising," Marash said.
But he found it "became so stereotypical, so reflexive" that he got angry.
The left and the media love to hyperventilate about the right wing “hate speech” on the Internet, but the anger and vitriol of the left dwarfs that of the right, especially where female or minority bloggers are concerned. Hateful comments are not uncommon at lefty blogs like Daily Kos. That kind of hostility forces the Huffington Post to occassionally close comments on articles involving certain topics like Israel, the military or even Margaret Thatcher.
Right Wing News addressed this trend in its excellent ongoing series “Blogging While Female: 5 Conservative Women Bloggers Talk About Gender Issues and the Blogosphere.” (Pt 2 here). RWN sampled a variety of righty opinion from Michelle Malkin, Mary Katherine Ham, LaShawn Barber, Rachel Lucas and more, and they discussed experiencing misogynistic and often disturbingly aggressive comments.
Pictures of them are photoshopped into violent or sexually explicit positions, and they are stalked, online and occasionally offline. Liberals track down their addresses and phone numbers and leave obscene messages, even threaten rape. Moderate blogger Ann Althouse nailed the root of the hostility, “...people on the Left think you are evil if you don't agree with them, that you're actually a bad person” (all bold mine).
The NYT also didn't mention that, as the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), the mayor was a Democratic rising star. He spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and more importantly, as Vice President of the Conference of the Democratic Mayors, Kilpatrick will be a Barack Obama* [Update: Kilpatrick has not committed to Obama] superdelegate at the 2008 convention. Resigning as mayor could affect his superdelegate status. Considering the tight race, isn't this news?
Kwame, who is the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), is not just any mayor. He was a Democratic rising star, who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and is the superdelegate to the 2008 convention thanks to his position as Vice President of the Conference of Democratic Mayors.
But now “The First Hip Hop Mayor” is in serious trouble, with members of the city council calling for his resignation. Controversy has engulfed his two terms, and the latest bout involves a report that his wife assaulted a now-dead stripper whose shooting is still unsolved. At the same time, the mayor's longtime pal Bobby Ferguson won at least $45 million in city contracts while reportedly receiving inside information from Kilpatrick and his chief of staff.
The New York Times reported Democratic NY state assemblyman Brian McLaughlin pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges on Friday. As usual, no party identification in the headline, picture, caption or article, but there's a twist in this March 8 piece. The NYT also didn't report that he was in office at the time the crimes were committed.
In the lede, the Times described McLaughlin as the “former head of the nation’s biggest municipal labor council,” without noting his political office.
Continuing the whitewash, the NYT buried and downplayed the story's juicy details. While in office, McLaughlin stole a total of $2.2 million from little leaguers, labor unions, his political club and the state of New York. He used the funds to buy cars for his wife and mistress and, bizarrely, forced union members to kill rats in his basement, dog sit and hang Christmas lights without pay. The only mention of the Dem's political career was an unclear second paragraph (all bold mine):
Many people have noticed a distinct change in the way that the media cover terrorism. Right after 9/11, the Society of Professional Journalists issued “diversity guidelines,” which are now posted online. No longer confined to the quaint idea of impartially reporting the news, the media were advised to change opinions, engage in public relations and "demystify" Islam and even ask "targeted communities" to "review" coverage and "make suggestions." (ht LGF)
At their 2001 convention, the SPJ urged “tak[ing] steps against racial profiling in [the]coverage of the war on terrorism." It reminded journalists to stop using "inflammatory" language and condescendingly said to “help audiences understand the complexities of the events in Pennsylvania, New York City and Washington, D.C.” Story guidelines are (all bold mine):
— Cover the victims of harassment, murder and other hate crimes as thoroughly as you cover the victims of overt terrorist attacks.
— When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.
The software giant is developing a new kind of news-aggregator that doesn't just collect news; it determines news stories' ideological bias and “emotional charge.” No longer will you need to wonder if Maureen Dowd has a liberal bias or if NPR injects “emotional charge” into a story about gun control. BLEWS figures it out, so you don't have to!
Microsoft explains “what the blogosphere tells you about news” (all bold mine):
While typical news-aggregation sites do a good job of clustering news stories according to topic, they leave the reader without information about which stories figure prominently in political discourse. BLEWS uses political blogs to categorize news stories according to their reception in the conservative and liberal blogospheres.
An important trial in France revealed the Pallywood fauxtography machine and its media pipeline. Last week, expert testimony supported media critic Philippe Karsenty's claim that France 2 reporter Charles Enderlin's coverage of the Mohammad al-Dura affair was doctored and staged.
Karsenty appealed a verdict that he libeled Enderlin when he questioned the claim that Israel killed the boy who was crouching behind his father during a gunfight between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian shooters.
Al-Dura's iconic image sped around the world and sold stamps, T shirts and the Second Intifada. It inspired violence, riots, terrorism and became a 21st century Blood Libel. On March 3, Israel's Haaretz reported the stunning news that if the boy and his father were actually shot at all, the bullets could not have come from Israel's position, only the Palestinians' (bold mine throughout):
An email has emerged that challenges CNN's journalistic integrity and institutional neutrality and calls all of it's Cuba coverage into question.
First reported by The Natural Truth blogger Michael Graham, Babalu Blog's Henry Gomez said he “independently confirmed” the email which issued marching orders directing the proper “[g]uidance” on reporting Fidel Castro's resignation. Gomez said he posted the full document, which was sent Tuesday morning by Allison Flexner, whose current position is unknown but at one point was a CNN producer of Cuban reports.
The email recommended against using wording that implies Castro didn't write his letter of resignation and to rely on reporting by Communist Party daily Granma. It then reminded “Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba” and “'[w]hile despised by some, he is seen as a revolutionary hero...for standing up to the United States.”
Here is the email posted by Babalu (bold mine after email's heading):
Greenland's Sermitsiak reported, “The ice between Canada and southwestern Greenland has reached its highest level in 15 years.” Denmark's Meteorological Institute used satellite images to track the southward expansion of the ice and when the paper asked how these findings “fit in with” continual reports of Arctic ice “melting at a record rate due to increasing temperatures,” global warming was, of course, affirmed (map) (bold mine throughout):
First it killed adorable polar bears and caused Darfur; now the Loch Ness Monster! (h/t Ace)
A February 13 article in the UK's Daily Mail reporting the retirement of legendary American Nessie hunter Robert Rines, alerted the world to yet another example of the growing devastation of global warming.
The 85-year-old WWII veteran said after 40 years, he is “running out of age” but will try one more time to see Nessie and her "25ft-long hump," but he isn't holding out much hope.
Rines now fears global warming has struck down the magnificent Nessie:
It it looks like CBS's resurrected nuclear holocaust survival drama “Jericho” is turning left. “It intentionally resembles Iraq” this season. Co-producer Jon Turtletaub stated “'Jericho' is not ignoring the political and social landscape” and star Skeet Ulrich added, “I feel like we were really making a statement to some extent.”
There were previous hints about “Jericho's" shift. In season one, main characters referred to military contractors as “mercenaries” and conspiratorial forces within the government were involved in setting off the nukes. The complication of the “occupation” of the “good” “Jericho” by the “bad” government mirrors the left's position on Iraq and the lefty screed that one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist.
A New York Times article about “Jericho's” return tonight at 10 pm EST hints at the change (bold mine throughout):
February 8, AP national writer Jocelyn Noveck announced that kids are fired up over the 2008 campaign-- but only mentioned those who like Democrats. The article was full of kids excited about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and even John Edwards, but there was only one mention of children from GOP homes. Of course, they're out campaigning for Obama (h/t NBer Miamian).
Sure, Noveck covered children in New York City, but she couldn't find one child who supported a Republican? Well, she did mention some kids from GOP homes, you know, the kind who campaign for Obama (bold mine throughout):
Out-of-place comments about waterboarding, the downturn in the economy and a criticism of Rudy Giuliani were captioned under photos of a smoking World Trade Center and Ground Zero rubble (bold mine throughout):
Slide 1: Early morning light illuminates the wreckage of the World Trade Center on September 25, 2001 in New York. The head of the CIA said Thursday it is uncertain whether the use of waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning widely condemned as torture, would be lawful if used today against Al-Qaeda detainees.
Sometimes a cough is just a cough, and sometimes a cough is a way to avoid answering messy questions about the role of your race-baiting, skirt-chasing ex-president husband with a penchant for perjury might have in your White House.
With just 20 seconds to go in a Super Tuesday interview on San Francisco's KTVU-TV, interviewer Ross McGowan asked, “How will you use your husband, Bill Clinton, in the administration?” As soon as McGowan mentioned Bill's name, Hillary's theatrical and oddly persistent coughing began--and coincidentally continued until time ran out.
Alas, the potentially uncomfortable answer to McGowan's question never came. Gossip site TMZ.com posted the video of Hillary Clinton's health crisis.