Mithridate Ombud's blog
You've come to Newsbusters because you want to see a concrete example of liberal bias. Who delivers that better than the New York Times?
This is reality. We're 4 years out from the worst attack since Pearl Harbor, post dot-com crash, we've had more hurricanes than any year since some old man first started keeping track, and we just about had a major U.S. city -- an economically important city -- wiped off the face of the planet. The hurricanes took out oil infrastructure at a time when we can ill afford a disruption in supply.
And yet the economy is, quite simply, running hot.
That would be great, except for the fact that a religious conservative is sitting in the White House. Will the powerful New York Times stand for this? After all, there has been so much invested in making Bush look like a religious idiot.
The article starts by calling out the obvious.
Now without reading ahead, pause here. What do you think the next word in this article is going to be?
By most measures, the economy appears to be doing just fine. No, scratch that, it appears to be booming.
Fox News gives its audience what it wants, too. That's why, in 2003, a survey from the Program on International Policy Attitudes found that 67 percent of its loyal viewers believed the fallacy that Saddam Hussein was connected to al-Qaida, whereas only 40 percent of those who relied on print media were confused on that point. Welcome to the "informed" electorate of a newspaper-free world. It's already starting to give us the government we deserve.
(Notice that people who watch Fox are fallacious believers, while the people who consume her product and don't agree with her are simply "confused".)
Saddam connected to al-Qaida? That's a weird wild thought. Where on Earth would Fox News and this "informed electorate" get that "fallacious" idea? Let's see, maybe...
State of the Union Address January 28, 2003: "Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody, reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaida."
BBC Profile: "It is during this period that Zarqawi is thought to have renewed his acquaintance with al-Qaeda. He is believed to have fled to Iraq in 2001 after a US missile strike on his Afghan base, though the report that he lost a leg in the attack has not been verified. US officials argue that it was at al-Qaeda's behest that he moved to Iraq and established links with Ansar al-Islam - a group of Kurdish Islamists from the north of the country. He is thought to have remained with them for a while - feeling at home in mountainous northern Iraq."
Stop It, Breeders
"We can't be breeding right now," says Les Knight. "It's obvious that the intentional creation of another [human being] by anyone anywhere can't be justified today."
"As long as there's one breeding couple," he says cheerfully, "we're in danger of being right back here again. Wherever humans live, not much else lives. It isn't that we're evil and want to kill everything -- it's just how we live."
Knight's position might sound extreme at first blush, but there's an undeniable logic to it: Human activities -- from development to travel, from farming to just turning on the lights at night -- are damaging the biosphere. More people means more damage. So if fewer people means less destruction, wouldn't no people at all be the best solution for the planet?
The News-Times (Conn.) is no different from any other newspaper, except that they just got busted doing what journalists often do behind the curtain; make fun of the religious.
News-Times ran a photo online of the Immaculate High School girls' soccer team after scoring a winning goal. Unfortunately for them, they forgot to change the caption from "celebrating a teammate's decision to come out of the closet as a lesbian."
This wasn't some lowly intern that did this, it was the copy editor; the last line of journalistic principle at a newspaper.
The copy editor, who was "goofing around" was not identified. Do you think newspapers would let a government employee who made a mistake like this get away with not being identified?
No, they wouldn't.
A little bird forwarded me an email from MoveOn.org asking minions to write editorials for local newspapers and they have even provided what to say along with the best way to ensure they get published.
We need your help. Read the following mission from MoveOn.org, and if you see any letters to the editor or even editorials that look anything like this, please let me know.
Dear [insert minion name here - .ed]
Thank you for volunteering last week to write an editorial in your local paper calling on our leaders to get serious about Iraq.
This is a critical moment: the CIA leak scandal has highlighted the White House role in deceiving the nation when we went to war, and the public is turning against the continued occupation in Iraq.
You know you're reading an unfair attack article when they're too scared to even use a byline. Today someone at MSNBC relied on partisan activists Media Matters to go after Bill O'Reilly for saying "that it was A-OK for terrorists to wipe the city [San Francisco] off the map."
That's not what he said at all. I was listening when he said it. The article reads:
At issue are comments from O'Reilly's Election Day broadcast radio show about a San Francisco ballot measure opposing the presence of military recruiters in city schools. "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead," O'Reilly said, according to a transcript and audio posted by liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America, and by the San Francisco Chronicle. "And if al-Qaida comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it..."
What they left out was the paragraph before that where O'Reilly suggested that because San Francisco routinely rejects the military, if the measure passed, Federal officials may want to consider pulling military protection from the city. He didn't at all say it was "A-OK for terrorists to wipe the city off the map," only that if they do attack San Francisco the rest of us shouldn't have to come bail them out, and everyone should know that from go. By the way, does the whole city of San Francisco live in Coit Tower?
Further, the anonymously written article says:
Alioto briefly tripped up O'Reilly during her appearance, pointing out that he had conflated the military-recruitment measure with another measure to ban handguns.I watched that show too and Alioto didn't trip up anyone but herself. O'Reilly brought her on to talk about both bills, toward the end he started talking about the second measure and her brain didn't realize that until several sentences into it whereas she acted like O'Reilly didn't know what he was talking about. Try to keep up Alioto, The Factor is a fast paced show. The rest of us followed along just fine.
Don't forget to visit the Live Vote asking if O'Reilly went to far.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but two days ago there were 28 Republican governors (a majority), and today after the "huge win" by Democrats there are still 28 Republican governors (still a majority.) So what explains headlines like this?*
The GOP Takes a Beating Yahoo!
In the Suburbs, Backlash Against Republicans Hits Hard Wash Post
Democrats celebrate as voters pile woe upon woe for Bush Times Online
More Bad News for Bush Newsweek
Elections raise GOP worries about Bush, values, exurbs San Diego Union Trib
As Democrats celebrate wins, more trouble for Bush Reuters
Democrat victories give Bush black eye SMH
Blow for Bush in regional polls Guardian Unlimited
GOP sought a light at the end of the tunnel, found none Minn Star Trib
Poll washout means grim news for Republicans Indian Express
US poll results rejuvenate Democrats Aljazerra.net
That's a lot of beatings, blows and black eyes for a party that stayed exactly where they were a week ago. I have to say, I was quite surprised, I didn't even know George Bush was running for governor in all those states.
* That was a rhetorical question. Of course I know this was due to bias, unfound hopefulness and irrational exuberance.
You may wonder why an American columnist would want to talk about the proper technique of burning cars, but that's exactly what Slate's Daniel Engber did in an article entitled, So, You Wanna Torch a Peugot? Forget the al Qaeda training videos and CD-ROMs. If you want to know how to cause mayhem, one need only to turn to Slate.
Thank you, Slate. Now could you please tell us all how to make a dirty bomb with medical waste?
A cigarette butt probably won't set off a blaze by itself, but a single sheet of newspaper, if ignited, could do the trick.
The easiest way to torch a car would be to crack open a window, douse the interior with lighter fluid, and toss in a match. If the windows aren't open or smashed, a car fire will burn itself out for lack of oxygen. (The heat, soot, and smoke from one of these contained fires will often total a car all the same.)
A fire that starts on the outside of a car is less likely to spark a serious blaze, unless burning fluid—from a molotov cocktail, perhaps—drips into the rubber door seals. Once those seals melt, the fire can get inside and ignite the passenger compartment. The rubber tubes and flammable liquids on the car's underside are also vulnerable to torching. (In a recent incident in Ohio, vandals allegedly lit up a car by piling American flags beneath it.) Fires that burn beneath a car could sustain themselves on nearby grass or dry leaves.
Yesterday Democrats shot down a bill that allowed bloggers to be exempt from the hundreds of pages of Federal regulations that deal with commenting on politics.
The Democrats are against free speech.
Don't expect this to be the lede in the New York Times. I'll bet my favorite body parts it won't open CBS News tonight. Basically, you won't hear boo about this anywhere because it shows exactly where democrats stand on our personal liberties.
How odd -- how telling -- that media companies who live and breathe for freedom of speech, who claim to be champions of the rights of the public, don't give a damn about what happened yesterday.
8.1 How to snare a conservative
Many times we just don't have anything to use against a conservative. That doesn't mean you can't make news by going after a family member of the targeted conservative. It often helps if you try to locate a shirt tail relative, estranged ex-spouse, or some other family member with an axe to grind. Short of that, you can always fall back to an elderly (over 90 a plus!) relative. Tell them it is off the record if you must, but always get it on tape.
Remember, anything a family member does is just as good as the targeted conservative doing it!
Following are some examples; this should in no way be taken as a complete list.
Conservative: Mel Gibson
The Play: Going after his fundamentalist father.
The Peg: Dad may be senile and a little off the deep end religiously [to a liberal anyway], therefore Mel Gibson must be too. If this can't be established, make Mel fustigate his elderly father on prime time TV.
[Judith Miller] knew early on that Libby was using the media to punish former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV for exposing President Bush's false claim that Iraq sought nuclear material from the African nation of Niger.
The words I want to examine here are "punish" and "false claim". If there was information given to a reporter, it wasn't to punish Joe Wilson, it was to expose him. By the time he went to Niger, he had a long history of not just being against the war, but being against a regime change in Iraq. This was no impartial panel to examine evidence. This was one guy going over there without even being paid, lying about who sent him [Cheney], to [his words mind you] "drink sweet tea and meet with people." Did he look at spy sat imagery? No. Did he examine hardware with a Geiger counter? No. Did he meet with CIA HUMINT informants? No. He simply asked a dozen people if they were selling yellowcake to Saddam. What would you answer if the U.S. asked you that?
And in the end, Joe Wilson didn't even say it definitely didn't happen. His finding was "that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place." Do you read that caveat in newspaper articles?
Meanwhile, the IAEA, an organization that does more than ask people questions, determined that yellowcake was found in scrap metal originating from Iraq. What does Joe Wilson have to say about that?
The Butler Review also found something Joe Wilson apparently missed:
The report indicated that there was enough intelligence to make a “well-founded” judgment that Saddam Hussein was seeking, perhaps as late as 2002, to obtain uranium illegally from Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo (6.4 para. 499). In particular, referring to a 1999 visit of Iraqi officials to Niger, the report states (6.4 para. 503): “The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible.”Back to the claim that Bush made a "false claim". Given that we have intelligence and physical evidence that contradict Joe Wilson, as well as a solid foundation for Joe Wilson's motive, what is this "false claim" Bush made based on?
The New York Times and The Post -- living up to their left-liberal-Democrat reputations -- don't come close to achieving more than a sliver of ideological diversity. The entrenched liberals running the opinion shops at the Big Three are not genuinely interested in maximizing their ideological diversity. If they were, they could try some really radical stuff. They could, for example, allow folks from magazines, Internet sites and think tanks to guest-edit a whole page each week. Rich Lowry of National Review, Russ Rymer of Mother Jones, Nick Gillespie of Reason and countless other idea-mongers would probably do it for free. So would super-bloggers like Andrew Sullivan or Rush Limbaugh.
Welcome to the party, Bill. That's actually a great idea and Rush has already done it for the Wall Street Journal. As for the New York Times, I don't think it will ever happen.
Power is not derived from objectively telling others what happened yesterday, it comes from telling others what they should think about a given subject, and The New York Times is first and foremost a power company, not a news company. Don't hold your breath waiting for them to share this power with those they disagree with.
Adage.com has published this article* about the harm caused to the United States by (gasp!) BLOGS!
Blog this: U.S. workers in 2005 will waste the equivalent of 551,000 years reading blogs.Waste? If your only info on Rathergate came from watching CBS News or from reading blogs, which one are you wasting time with? But I digress...
About 35 million workers -- one in four people in the labor force -- visit blogs and on average spend 3.5 hours, or 9%, of the work week engaged with them, according to Advertising Age’s analysis. Time spent in the office on non-work blogs this year will take up the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs. Forget lunch breaks -- blog readers essentially take a daily 40-minute blog break.For those of you not used to corporate media speak, let me translate the above for you: "Oh God, blogs are taking over news and we don't get ad money for blogs. Our Big Media readership can't win in the marketplace of ideas, so - EMPLOYERS: your business is being destroyed by blogs! Stop the bleeding now and ban all blog reading at work while you still can! (But don't pay attention to all the news sites that your employees read, that's okay and we don't consider that a waste of your company time.)
*Registration required, Bugmenot login: firstname.lastname@example.org, password: password
CNN runs an AP article on King Midas, a 300-pound sea turtle from Louisiana. In one of the photo captions it says King Midas is "in his watery home with other fish at the aquarium in New Orleans."
They don't know fish from turtles and they want to preach to us about global warming and the environment?
What they say:
Will the Gulf Coast Fish Again?
Katrina's Public Health Effects Still Unknown
TOXIC GUMBO: Katrina's Environmental Legacy
Cover-up: toxic waters 'will make New Orleans unsafe for a decade' : EPA
Don’t go in the water: Katrina’s toxic legacy
Katrina's Next Disaster
Katrina leaves a toxic nightmare: Oil spills rival Exxon Valdez; then there's the deadly chemicals
NOAA: Oct. 11, 2005 — NOAA completed additional analyses of fish, water and sediment samples collected from coastal and offshore marine waters of the Gulf of Mexico... The 154 fish and crab samples harbored no E. coli (Escherlchia coli), a bacteria associated with human or animal fecal contamination. Additional testing on shrimp samples taken from Mississippi Sound is ongoing. Analyses of water samples for indicators of human sewage or agricultural runoff found levels that are below the Environmental Protection Agency's safety limits for bathing beaches. These limits constitute the most stringent government standard for recreational waters. Fish muscle tissue analyzed for pesticides and other industrial chemicals, such as PCBs and DDTs show very low levels that are likely not related to hurricane runoff. The levels of PCBs ranged from 2.5 - 15 parts per billion and the levels of DDTs ranged from 0.8 - 2.2 parts per billion. The PCB levels found in these samples are far below the Food and Drug Administration's safety standards for commercial seafood and are similar to levels detected in fish in non-urbanized areas. (FDA's PCB limit is 2000 ppb, and their DDT limit is 5000 ppb). NOAA announced on September 29 that the first tests showed no elevated exposure to hydrocarbon contaminants, which are common in marine life after exposure to oil spills.
Who do you believe?
Richard Sambrook, director of the BBC World Service and Global News Division, told a conference the broadcaster's prominent use of video and other material contributed by ordinary citizens signaled that the BBC was evolving from being a broadcaster to a facilitator of news. "We don't own the news any more," Sambrook said. "This is a fundamental realignment of the relationship between large media companies and the public."The good news for the BBC is that they won't have to produce all their own America-hating material, they'll be able to draw from the content of private America-hating contributors.
Another member of the opening panel, Farai Chideya, a correspondent for National Public Radio Inc. in Los Angeles expressed concern that many big stories may be affecting people who don't have broadband access to the Internet, resulting in a risk that they could be excluded from citizen-generated news. The big question, she said, was how to get people "in the caboose of the digital train" involved.Well, I wouldn't worry too much about it. NPR has had no problem getting people in the caboose in the past.
News of Pandemonium May Have Slowed Aid: Unsubstantiated Reports of Violence Were Confirmed by Some Officials, Spread by News Media
Claims of widespread looting, gunfire directed at helicopters and rescuers, homicides, and rapes, including those of "babies" at the Louisiana Superdome, frequently turned out to be overblown, if not completely untrue, officials now say.... The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that National Guard troops found 30 to 40 bodies decomposing inside a freezer in the convention center, including a girl whose throat was slashed. The newspaper quoted a member of the Arkansas National Guard, which was deployed in the building. Other news organizations then passed the information on. That, too, was untrue.
In communities near and far, the seeds were planted that the victims of Katrina should be kept away, or at least handled with extreme caution.
That is a very important point. By referring to the people of New Orleans as vicious savages, the media did more to stereotype minorities and destroy race relations in this country than Bill Bennett ever did.
You wouldn't know it by reading a paper, though.
One of my favorite pastimes is listening to liberal journalists tell me they aren't liberal. I find it very similar to listening to an alcoholic explain how they are just social drinkers. In the end, the conversation can be closed simply by asking "who did you vote for in the last ten elections?" That goes for the journalist or the drunk, by the way. So it was with great glee that I read editor Cindi Ross Scoppe (You'll never make it in this town with an "i" at the end of your name. Wait, you're in South Carolina, never mind.) open with this denial in her article "Judith Miller and the myth of the 'liberal media establishment'"
Yes, I know some of you still consider me to be a liberal. Trust me: You're in the minority. And youre wrong.Cindi, it isn't you. It's me. Really. I'm just incapable of trusting journalists. By the way, next time you write an article dispelling the "myth of the liberal media", you might want to leave out this part:
As a group, we tend to be arrogant and nomadic, which too often results in our being quite detached from our communities. And yes, as a group we do tend to be more socially and politically liberal than our communities. And yes, this does show up in our news coverage. As nomadic outsiders, journalists build community among themselves. This leads to the group-think that takes over within any group of people with similar education, similar social status and similar worldviews. This creates huge blind spots that influence and limit our thinking. The blind spot that causes the greatest disconnect these days, of course, relates to religious and social issues, which have become the new litmus test of ideology in our country. Case in point: The concept of a born-again Christian was foreign to the faith traditions in which most journalists grew up (if they grew up in any), and so official journalism is distrustful of anyone who calls himself one.
IT STRIKES me as odd. I mean Vince Fumo, the Prince of Philadelphia, a fixture of power and influence, reportedly under investigation for stuff involving a non-profit group, doggedly pursued by the Inky for what seems years, stepping forward to save 100 jobs at that same Inky and this Daily News. Since when, I wonder, does a politician, especially one in a newspaper's crosshairs, seek to help newspapers? Strange, no?
Gee, why would a Democrat want a typical urban American newspaper to stay just as it is? I can't figure it out either. Hold on, hold on, I think I have it.
The critique was vigorous, brilliantly written and informed by a deep hostility toward the press, said Anthony Lewis, the author of "Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment" and a former columnist for The New York Times. "It's quite an astonishing document," Mr. Lewis said of the critique. "He's not a fan of the press. He speaks of 'the zeal and insouciance with which the mass media assails public officials.' " The Sullivan decision, the memorandum said, overstated the social value of the press. "Any assumption that media coverage of government institutions and public officials is the centerpiece of effective democracy," Mr. Roberts wrote, "is misplaced."
There's just one problem; Roberts didn't write it. Bruce Fein, a Washington lawyer wrote the memo. Oops. On a brighter note, for Bruce Fein, the New York Times said he writes brilliantly.
How could something like this happen?
Three people quoted in the article discussed the Fein memorandum, provided to them by a reporter, on the assumption that it had been written by Judge Roberts.And we all know that the New York Times is a major player in the assuming game.
Editor and Publisher drags out Jimmy Carter's arms control nabob to try to keep the big media crew on message: forget correcting flasehoods, forget being fair to the barbarians at Fox News, just focus on Rove, Plame, WMD (or lack thereof), and John Bolton.
All credibility was shot when he didn't ask that the Times both correct their falsehoods and investigate Miller.
Media reports on scientific findings are often misunderstood, misrepresented or overblown. One such example is a study by Dr. Glenn Wilson, a psychologist at King's College London. CNN and others claimed "workers distracted by phone calls, e-mails and text messages suffer a greater loss of IQ than a person smoking marijuana."
Of course, that is not even what the study found. The first clue should have be the fact that an IQ is constant, you can't 'gain' or 'lose' points like studying for the SAT. While the motor skills required for many facets of the test slow in advanced years, base IQ stays the same.
Had CNN taken the initiative to actually talk to the person who conducted the study, they would have known all of this. But CNN is apparently too busy stroking the delicate anima of Anderson Cooper to fact check their content.
This is a considerable and obviously unreported problem in journalism. So the next time you see a report on global warming, diets, aspertame, pesticides, or any other study from any news provider, take it with a grain of salt for it may not be worth the electrons used to light the screen.
ONE of the real tests of journalistic integrity is being fair to someone who might be best described by a four-letter word. The New York Times flunked such a test in rejecting a demand by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News for correction of a sentence about him in a column by the paper's chief television critic....
Since Ms. Stanley based her comments on what she saw on the screen Sept. 4, the videotape of that segment means everyone involved is looking at exactly the same evidence. My viewings of the videotape - at least a dozen times, including one time frame by frame - simply doesn't show me any "nudge" of any Air Force rescuer by Mr. Rivera. (Ms. Stanley declined my invitation to watch the tape with me.) I also reviewed all of the so-called outtakes shot by Mr. Rivera's camera crew at the Holy Angels Apartments in New Orleans on the morning of Sept. 4. Neither the video nor the audio revealed any nudge of an Air Force rescuer.
Dozens of readers were horrified when The Patriot-News decided to run a front page picture of a man convicted on drug charges sticking up his middle finger at the camera.
How do you justify running this picture where nearly every child at a breakfast table will see it?
Executive Editor David Newhouse: "We believed that this photo powerfully drove home the true impact of drugs."
So there you have it, kids, keep off the methamphetamine or you too might end up throwing the bird.
There are some who would argue journalists don't do serious stories about religion. The respect for a higher power cherished by the majority in this country is not a voice represented in the newsroom. Some might think that even when religion is approached in a story, it is treated like wacky antics of the criminally insane.
Well that just isn't true. You obviously don't care about black people and want to send the children of others to die in Iraq funded on the lunch money of the poor if you believe that.
Take this local CBS News story from the network's San Francisco affiliate. Sure it didn't bump Cindy Sheehan off the front page, but it did pay respect to religion with this hard hitting investigation titled "Interview with a Vampire".
- It starts off with the US military purging evil spirits from a New Orleans building with holy water, in the name of Jesus Christ.
- It has a US soldier talking about New Orleans being "ingrained in voodoo, cannibalism, and witchcraft."
- The reporter herself sees a ghost, but apparently doesn't consider it worthy of getting on tape.
- US soldier says "We're bringing the light. Wherever soldiers go, there goes the word of God."
- US soldiers cite Hurricane Katrina as prophecy from Revelations. Twice.
Is it sweeps already, or are the haunted houses, crusades and voodoo just the 'diversity' angle of religion coverage?
Watch the whole segment here.
No doubt in the coming weeks you will hear Big Media accounts of race, poverty and economic imbalance in the United States. As you read these stories, keep in mind the hypocrisy.
While the Publisher and Editor of The New York Times earn $2 million and $650,000 respectively, for entry level journalists they pay below the poverty level (should the worker have a family of five.) Often they will pay employees nothing at all, just the pleasure of working for the Times should be payment enough.
While they try to tell us that unions are great for the country and great for workers, they shudder at the idea of unions infiltrating their own companies. While they bemoan that US corporations don't give minorities a chance, they will probably neglect to mention that the average US corporation has much more opportunity for minorities than the average newsroom.
So take it for what it is worth; a guilty hollow atonement for sins that they continue to perpetrate.
Much has been written in the news media as of late about the news media and how all of a sudden they've been acting like the news media. Well, color us nostalgic, but it was with great delight that we went to the 26th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards ceremony at the Marriott Marquis on Monday night and witnessed this inspiring sight: reporters walking the red carpet. We saw CNN, for example, interviewing CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR about reporting. This is what journalism is about, ladies and gentlemen. Should be about.Yes, indeed. That's what journalism should be about; a liberal hack network talking to a liberal politically motivated hack reporter who is married to a liberal hack politician.
The last time I got such a big response was in the days before email and the Internet. I wrote a story about Hurricane Andrew for a British newspaper, a first person account of what you do when a hurricane hits your house, and I wrote that I evacuated my house with my wife and we left the cat behind. And I got so many outraged letters about "how I could do such a thing?" As it turned out, by the way, my wife did take the cat at the last minute, after I filed my story.
Let me just see if I have this straight. You were writing a story about what to do when a hurricane hits your house, but it was before a hurricane hit your house? No. You were writing the story while you were evacuating and the facts changed in the minutes between turning in the story and leaving the house? Wait. You wrote that you had evacuated your house and left your cat, but you obviously hadn't because if you had, you would have known your wife grabbed the cat on the way out. Aren't you not supposed to write about things that haven't happened yet? Or is it more likely that something was made up, either then or now?