WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC, was one of hundreds of news outlets to publish an AP story on 21 April, entitled "Mass Shootings More Common Since 1960s." The pathetic aspect of this story is that the reporter found and included the truth of the matter in paragraphs nine and ten, but otherwise acted as if he had never seen it.
Both the title and the lede warn of burgeoning mass murder in the US. The lede says that, "Mass public shootings have become such a part of American life in recent decades that the most dramatic of them can be evoked from the nation's collective memory in a word or two: Luby's. Jonesboro. Columbine."
Buried late in this article that is filled with assorted speculations about the causes of this tide of mass murder, is this finding from Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections:
You would think that Reuters learned its lesson about publishing to the world photos doctored to create a false image. After all, they were caught with multiple false photos from Lebanon, and had to take down more than 900 images from one stringer. Reuters promised it would have "experienced editors" look at all such photos in the future.
Has Reuters kept that promise? Apparently not.
Today, 26 August 2006, Reuters ran a photo captioned: "A French United Nations vehicle drives past a photo of Hizbollah leader .... Nasrallah, in Tyre...." The power of the photo is that the poster-sized image of a smiling Nasrallah is looking right at, and smiling at, an apparently white flag flying on the French vehicle.
Everyone has heard of the "killings at Haditha," even though the military investigation of what happened there is still underway. Has anyone heard of the "killings at St. Lo" in July, 1944? A comparison of the New York Times coverage of those two events is instructive.
A Google News search of Haditha + killings + New York Times yields 891 hits as of Sunday noon. The articles on this subject in the Times are driving the national and international news in all media on this subject. The Times and its reporters are cited in most of these articles.
But what did the Times run about the killings at St. Lo in July, 1944?
It ran no stories, front page or otherwise, on St. Lo when it occurred. (Operation Cobra was intensive bombing by the US Air Force, in support of the effort to break out of St. Lo, and move against the Germans across France.)
Quick, name the two Congressmen who were convicted of corruption this year and sent to the slammer. Bet you came up with Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) like a shot. But who was the other one?
My friend John Fogle, a fine writer, ran an eye-opening comparison in the Hendersonville Times-News today. It names the other crooked Congressman. The other one, who now resides in the same federal penitentiary as Cunningham, is Rep. Frank Ballance (D-NC). Here's the comparison of the national press coverage of these two convicts:
A Web search for articles containing the three words Cunningham, congressman and jail results in 156,000 hits. But, replace Cunningham with Ballance and you get only 890 hits. So the liberal press produced not twice as many, not 10 times as many, but 175 times as many articles describing a Republican going to jail as those describing a Democrat in the same predicament.
Last week the press was full of reports on Senator Hillary Clinton's "major speech on energy." A typical report was carried in the Columbus Ledger-Inquirer, picked up from the wire service of the New York Post. But from the evidence in the national press coverage, it does not seem that a single reporter leaned back in his chair and actually thought about what she said on the critical issue of nuclear energy.
The main point of Senator Clinton's speech (other than that she is positioning herself to run for President), was that our national energy policy is trapping us into bad decisions internationally. She said, "Right now, instead of national security dictating our energy policy, our failed energy policy dictates our national security."
Today on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Democratic Representative Jack Murtha stated his view that Americans should leave Iraq immediately at the three-year mark. He said,
“We have to say to the Iraqis, ‘This is your war. This is no longer our war. You’ve got an elected government. This is up to you now to settle this thing,’ ”
Nowhere does the article mention the time line of the two most successful American efforts to build a new nation on different principles, on the wreckage of a former government. Those two nations were Germany and Japan.
In Germany, the reconstruction began with a few elected (non-Nazi) governments in cities. Konrad Adenauer, later to become the first leader of post-war Germany, was one of those mayors. It was not until five years after the surrender in May, 1945, that Germany had its first post-war national election. And it was after that, that the security of the reconstructed nation was turned over entirely to German police forces.
TheNew York Times ran a story on 28 January, 2006, entitled, “Public-School Students Score Well in Math in Large-Scale Government Study.” Well, it wasn’t a “government” study. It was only paid for by a government grant. When one looks into the methodology of the study and the histories of its two researchers, the results are highly suspect.
The Times wrote:
A large-scale government-financed study has concluded that when it comes to math, students in regular public schools do as well as or significantly better than comparable students in private schools.
The study, by Christopher Lubienski and Sarah Theule Lubienski, of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, compared fourth- and eighth-grade math scores of more than 340,000 students in 13,000 regular public, charter and private schools on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The 2003 test was given to 10 times more students than any previous test, giving researchers a trove of new data.
On 12 January, 2006, the New York Times ran an article entitled “Thrust into the Limelight, and for Some A Symbol of Washington’s Bite.” It was a mini-biography of Mrs. Martha-Ann Alito, and it purported to explain the reasons for Mrs. Alito’s tears during her husband Samuel’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It blamed them on a follow-up question by Senator Lindsay Graham, rather than on the verbal savaging of Judge Alito by the Democrats on the Committee, led by Senator Ted Kennedy.
The Times should have gotten the story right, because one of the three reporters on the story was in their New Jersey Bureau, and based in Caldwell. But they didn’t. Here are the operative paragraphs from that article on the cause of her tears:
Today (Tuesday) the San Francisco Chronicle ran an editorial entitled, “Why Alito is the wrong choice.” Instead of demonstrating what it says, it demonstrates why the Chronicle has failed to do its homework as reporters, in preparing its editorial. Here’s why:
The editorial begins with this statement:
In some ways, Alito's taciturn approach to questions about the great constitutional issues of our time was similar to that of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. But the distinction between the history of the two judges -- and the role of the justice they were nominated to replace -- are important.
First, this fails to note that the “taciturn approach” followed by Judge Alito was exactly the same as Justice Ginsberg’s. It is a gross violation of judicial ethics for any judge on any bench to comment publicly on any issue likely to come before him/her in a case.
Today (Saturday) there are stories in numerous papers based on an AP-Ipsos poll just released. Typical of the lot is an article in the New York Post, whose lede and third paragraphs are here:
Dissatisfied with the nation's direction, Americans are leaning toward wanting a change in which political party leads Congress - preferring that Democrats take control, an AP-Ipsos poll found. Democrats are favored over Republicans 49 percent to 36 percent.
President Bush's job approval remains low - 40 percent in the AP-Ipsos poll, with only one-third saying the country is headed in the right direction. Bush also remains low on his handling of Iraq, where violence against Iraqis and U.S. troops has been surging.
This and other results in this poll would be bad to very bad news for the Bush Administration, if the poll were statistically accurate. It is not. The poll is stacked in most of its demographics to favor pro-Democrat results.
[This article was reprinted at length and with favor in "Inside Politics" in the Washington Times today (Thursday).]
A poll by Rasmussen Reports today (Wednesday) illustrates the pervasive dishonesty of the American press in dealing with the NY Times story about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) intercepts of international communications. There are both minor dishonesties and major ones in this story as first reported by the Times and later a gaggle of reports throughout the media.
The major dishonesties are demonstrated by the two questions asked in the Rasmussen poll just reported. Here’s the first, and the responses:
Should the National Security Agency be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States? Yes 64% No 23%
The key fact is that these conversations cross international boundaries. Many parts of the MSM persist in calling this “domestic” spying. This is a lie. These calls are international, not domestic.
Here’s the second question and the responses:
Is President Bush the first President to authorize a program for intercepting telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States? Yes 26% No 48%
The American press did not side with the Nazis in WW II and afterwards. But parts of it are siding with the Ba’athists in the Iraqi War, now. Witness this lede from the Lexington Herald-Leader, in Kentucky, online version, today (Friday):
An Iraqi court has ruled that some of the most prominent Sunni Muslims who were elected to parliament last week won't be allowed to serve because officials suspect that they were high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.
Knight Ridder has obtained a copy of the court ruling, which has yet to be circulated to the public.
The ruling is likely to dampen Bush administration hopes that the election would bring more of the disaffected Sunni minority into Iraq's political process and undermine Sunni support for the insurgency. Instead, the decision is likely to stoke fears of widening sectarian divisions in a nation already in danger of descending into civil war.
Notice it or not, Al Gore’s ersatz TV network named Current TV is part of the American media.
On Monday, “Current” ran a news-type program, Current Controversy, with one of its post-pubescent male hosts, about “Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre.” The host called this a documentary, and said it had run on an Italian network in November. The analysis began by citing and showing on screen three news sources that had accused the US of using chemical weapons in the battle for Fallujah. Those sources were: Aljazeera.net, the Tehran Times International Edition, and The Independent in the UK Online Edition. As Dave Barry often wrote, I’m not making this up.
Apparently, the editors and reporters at Current are either unaware of, or do not care about, the editorial slants of these three sources. The only one they could miss out of ignorance would be The Independent. But that British rag wears its bash-America policy on its sleeve. Anyone who’s read more than one edition of it would know this.
What follows is the lede from a Baltimore Sun article today (Sunday) about Army recruitment as reprinted in The Day in New London, Connecticut. It demonstrates, again, the truth of Mark Twain’s dictum, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Washington — The Army met its recruiting goal for November by again accepting a high percentage of recruits who scored in the lowest category on the military's aptitude tests, Pentagon officials said Thursday, raising renewed concerns that the quality of the all-volunteer force will suffer.
The Army exceeded its 5,600 recruit goal by 256 for November, while the Army Reserve brought in 1,454 recruits, exceeding its target by 112. To do so, they accepted a “double digit” percentage of recruits who scored between 16 and 30 out of a possible 99 on the military's aptitude test, said officials who requested anonymity.
The article does note, later on, “Still, Army officials continue to say that at the end of the recruiting year, next Sept. 30, the total percentage of Category IV soldiers will be no more than 4 percent.”
On Special Report with Brit Hume on Fox News, 13 December, 2005, Senator Joe Biden (D, Delaware) said the following in reply to President Bush’s third policy speech on Iraq, in Philadelphia yesterday:
“Failure to get a consensus constitution spells doom for our policy in Iraq. So what is the plan, Mr. President? That is still lacking.”
After saying that means participation by the UN, NATO, and Iraq’s neighbors, Biden added:
“If this time next year nothing has changed concerning in terms of our success rate, we will be out of Iraq. The American people will not sustain this.”
The transcript of this is not up yet, but these quotes are TiVo’ed and accurate.
The full answer to these historically foolish statements by Senator Biden were given by President Bush in the first ten minutes of his speech in Philadelphia, on Monday. Bush began by recounting the history of America writing its own Constitution. He took time to note that our first attempt to draft an acceptable constitution was an abject failure. Under the Articles of Confederation, our government failed financially, and there were armed rebellions in the streets.
As the President carefully pointed out, it took us “eight years to write our Constitution.” The Battle of Yorktown effectively ended the American Revolution in 1781. It was not until 1789 that our Constitution was both written and ratified, to replace the Articles of Confederation, which had failed.
So the first historical nonsense stated by Senator Biden was that the American people will not “sustain” more than a one-year wait to obtain workable constitution.
But the worse error in Senator Biden’s remarks, as compared to America’s own constitutional history, was his claim that to be successful, Iraq had to write a “consensus constitution,” acceptable to its neighbors. Is the Senator totally ignorant of recent history? Money, fighters and weapons are leaking into Iraq across its borders with Iran and Syria. Just today, Americans captured a tanker truck that came in from Iran which concealed thousands of forged ballots for the current Iraq election.
Tonight, Democrat Congressman John Murtha stuck his foot in his mouth, again, in an interview on John Kasich's program, "Heartland," on Fox News. As part of his argument that American troops should be withdrawn, starting now, he said,
"The US military is not good at nation-building. President Bush said, when he ran the first time, We're not going to get into nation-building."
Source: No transcript is yet available, but this was TiVo'ed and the quote is accurate.
What President Bush said when he was first running, before 9/11, before Congress authorized "all necessary military force" in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere is irrelevant. It does not control what should/must be done, today.
I have just watched the orgy of press coverage on the Southwest plane that ran off the runway and into the street from Midway Airport in Chicago, last night. Despite the fact that the investigators said repeatedly that they would "get all the facts" and "review all possible causes to rule them in, or out," reporters persisted in questions demanding that the investigators guess about the cause of the accident.
When the experts could not be bullied or tricked into guessing about the cause of this accident, the press jumped into the breach of irresponsibility, with both feet. On Fox, CNN and MSNBC, there was speculation that "the plane never should have landed in that weather at that time." The same speculation sprouted up in the print media as well, per Google News. The press have even played clips or used quotes from ordinary citizens who raised this precise question.
The grand purpose of Newsbusters is to present examples of provable factual bias in the mainstream media (MSM). This article does not do that. Instead, it presents an example of the MSM, specifically MSNBC, running a program on illegal immigration, which is scrupulously honest, fair and balanced.
I almost did not watch “Crossing the Line? The Battle at America’s Borders” because I thought this documentary, hosted by Lester Holt, would be the usual “pity the (illegal) immigrants and let them all in because they just want jobs” pabulum that the press usually generates. Five minutes in, it was clearly no such thing.
I watched to the end, expecting it to degenerate into that biased approach eventually. Except for one obvious factual error near the end, it never did that. (The quotes are taken from a TiVo of the program watched repeatedly to get the right. The transcript is not yet on the MSNBC website.)
There are two absolutely extraordinary aspects of this story. One is that Bill Clinton, a former President of the United States, offered the “good German” defense of the murderers, torturers, and rapists who worked for Saddam Hussein, and he did so on foreign soil. Equally extraordinary, however, is the fact that only Newsmax.com, and an on-line publication called Village Soup in Maine, bothered to report this comment. Here is the quote:
"When [the U.S.] kicked out Saddam, they decided to dismantle the whole authority structure," Clinton told an audience at American University in Dubai. "Most of the people who were part of that structure were good, decent people who were making the best out of a very bad situation," he added.
The Hill is a specialized publication, mostly for Members of Congress and those whose living depends on Congress. Still, an article in The Hill today (Wednesday) is typical of the media coverage of the Senate vote yesterday to require “reports” to Congress on the progress of the Iraq War.
The title is “Needed: An Exit Strategy from Iraq.” It is written by Rep. Jane Harman (D. Calif) and its lede includes these paragraphs.
There is now a strong bipartisan consensus that we need an exit strategy. But yet to emerge is the content of that strategy.
We have two overriding objectives in Iraq: to facilitate a viable power-sharing agreement among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds and to turn over responsibility for security to the Iraqis on a steady basis.
The mainstream media seemed to have settled on the sobriquet of “youths” to describe the people who are in their 13th night of burning cars, buildings, and in one instance a handicapped woman, in cities across France. Of course, it is hard to get an exact demographic profile of rioters on the run; however, reports on those who have been arrested are that only 30% are under 21.
Typical of the 2,300 stories on this subject currently available on Google News, is this one from ABC International, posted in written form on the Net on 6 November, entitled “Chirac vows order as French riots spread.”
This two-page article refers to the perpetrators alternately as “rioters” or “youths,” using both phrases multiple times. Not until near the end does the article make any reference to the fact that most of these rioters, in Germany and France, are Muslims.
Today in Paris, the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF) issued a fatwa, or religious decree, against the participation of Muslims in the 10 days of rioting and arson in France. Typical of the mainstream media coverage of this action, is this report from Reuters:
“One of France's largest Islamic groups issued a fatwa against rioting on Sunday after officials suggested Muslim militants could be partly to blame for violent protests scarring poor neighbourhoods around the country.
“The Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF) quoted the Koran and the Prophet Mohammad to back up the religious edict condemning the disorder and destruction the unrest caused.
“Many rioters are of North African Arab and black African descent and assumed to be Muslims. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and other officials have hinted Islamist militants may be manipulating angry teenagers to defy the French state.”
In yesterday’s (Saturday) Washington Post is a brief article in its Metro section, responding to well-attended press conference the previous day in front of the newspaper’s offices.
The press conference accused the Post of violating the privacy rights of certain individuals on the website FreeRepublic.com This exchange, printed by the Post, explains the charge, and thenewspaper’s response to it, so far:
"How in good faith could The Washington Post access a private Internet account without the express permission of the account holder?" Kristinn Taylor, a spokesman for the conservative FreeRepublic.com, asked in a morning news conference in front of The Post's offices in Northwest Washington.
"In response, R.B. Brenner, The Post's Maryland editor, said: ‘As part of our reporting, we needed to verify that the chat room postings were authentic. We were authorized to view them, and it was appropriate to do so under the circumstances.’ [Sic: This was not a "chat room." This was a private e-mail exchange between two individuals.]
In tomorrow’s (Friday) Washington Post is a front page article entitled “Youths in Rural U.S. are Drawn to Military.” The title is correct. The lede, however, is a single sentence that displays for all to see the bias of the Post against the war and against its volunteer military. It reads:
“As sustained combat in Iraq makes it harder than ever to fill the ranks of the all-volunteer force, newly released Pentagon demographic data show that the military is leaning heavily for recruits on economically depressed, rural areas where youths' need for jobs may outweigh the risks of going to war.”
The second paragraph reads:
“More than 44 percent of U.S. military recruits come from rural areas, Pentagon figures show. In contrast, 14 percent come from major cities. Youths living in the most sparsely populated Zip codes are 22 percent more likely to join the Army, with an opposite trend in cities. Regionally, most enlistees come from the South (40 percent) and West (24 percent).”
Thanks to the efforts of investigative reporters for WBAL in Baltimore, which has just broken the story, the former third-ranked official for the Democrat Party in Maryland has been outed as the original source for sexual slanders against Baltimore’s Democrat Mayor, Martin O’Malley, who is currently running for Governor.
The original stories in February in the Washington Post blamed the kerfuffel on Joseph Steffen, then an aide to Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich, Jr. The aide was terminated from his position as a result of his name (but not the Democrat’s name) coming out at the time.
Personal note: much of the back story on this subject occurred on FreeRepublic.com, known as FR. I have written on that website, and been a speaker at several rallies in D.C., for that website and its founder, Jim Robinson. My association with the website has lasted over seven years.
This is a very curious press conference just conducted by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. With his machine-gun delivery, he repeatedly flopped back and forth between saying that the “outing” of Valerie Plame, wife of discredited Ambassador Joe Wilson was a “serious matter,” and saying that he “reached no conclusion” whether she had been outed, and if so, when and by whom.
The mood in the room among the reporters changed appreciably as the conference went on. Initially, the press was very interested in the charges made and reasons for them, and in the charges not made against other people, and the reasons why not. But by the end of the conference, the reporters were clearly puzzled by the wandering speech of Fitzgerald and his lame analogies about a baseball pitcher throwing at a batter’s head, and a bank robber with his fingerprint on the holdup note and a signed confession.
Beginning in the Middle Ages, there was a widely popular puppet show called “Punch and Judy.” Most of its content and humor were based on two characters flailing away at each other with slap sticks. Today, we have a verbal equivalent of the same thing, occurring in the pages of the New York Times. These protagonists are Arthur (“Pinch”) Sulzberger Jr., boy-publisher of the Times, and Judith (“Judy”) Miller, one-time rising star writer for that paper.
Judy says she told the truth and upheld the values of the Times. Slap! Pinch says she misled her editors and brought the reputation of the Times into question. Slap! Slap! But unlike its medieval ancestor, the Pinch and Judy Show has four participants. And they are not evenly matched.
Shortly, the 2,000th death of an American serviceman or woman will occur in Iraq. That will generate an orgy of coverage in the American press on how “deadly” the war is. Sidebars will suggest that citizens are becoming “increasingly doubtful” about the conduct of the war. This Newsbusters article denounces that coverage as dishonest, in advance.
I wrote on 24 April, 2004, that the War on Terror is the LEAST bloody war in the history of the United States, measured by deaths per month. This is true going back to the Revolutionary War, even though the nation’s population then was only 1 percent of what it is today. (In impact on the population, every death in the Revolution was equivalent to about 100 deaths today.)