Over at National Review, Richard Nadler reports the results of a comprehensive poll of Iraqis. They don't see things as negatively as the American press it seems:
The International Republican Institute’s “Survey of Iraqi Public
Opinion,” released July 19, 2006, provides a useful reality check to
these assumptions. The survey records that Iraqis overwhelmingly reject
sectarianism and national division; and that they widely support the
government they have elected. Moreover, most Iraqis feel safe in their
poll is the latest addition to a series that the Institute has
sponsored for the past three years. The surveys were conducted June 14
through June 24 this year—a time of high sectarian violence,
particularly in the Baghdad area. The pollsters conducted 2849
interviews in Arabic and Kurdish, balanced for geography, ethnicity,
sex, and age.
The February 22 bombing of the al-Askari shrine
marked a turning point for the insurgency in Iraq. Al-Qaeda in Iraq,
led at the time by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, implemented a long-discussed
plan to target Shiite civilian and religious targets. The object was
not to kill all Shiites—an obvious impossibility—but to generate a
cycle of revenge killings by Shiite militias and police that would
alienate and radicalize the Sunni populations in the most integrated
parts of the country, particularly Baghdad.
In effect, Zarqawi
chose to feed the anti-democracy insurgency in Iraq by narrowing its
base. This paid immediate tactical dividends in both the Western and
pan-Arab press, which covered the daily slaughters. But it was
strategically counterproductive to al-Qaeda. The movement alienated
ever-growing segments of the Iraqi population, and even of the
insurgency, driving them toward the new government rather than away
In our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” segment, an amazing barnburner occurred July 21 that will remind folks of Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd's old "Point/Counterpoint" skit on “Saturday Night Live” with the only thing missing being the famous line “Jane you ignorant slut.”
On the left was Fox News’s Juan Williams. On the right was conservative radio host Laura Ingraham filling in for Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor” (very enthusiastic hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left and Ms. Underestimated with absolutely must-see video to follow!).
From the beginning, this fight perfectly exemplified the divergence in opinion concerning the most recent flare up in the Middle East. Juan enunciated the liberal view that Israel is largely to blame for the rise in hostilities, and that America needs to put pressure on it to force an expedient ceasefire even if it goes counter to Israel’s ongoing security. Here’s a perfect example of Juan’s solution to the current problem:
Don't the press in general and the New York Times in particular take pride in portraying themselves as ever-the vigilant defenders of the First Amendment? But judging by an editorial in the paper this morning, the Times experiences a power loss worse than the one currently gripping Queens when it comes to defending the First Amendment rights of groups it disfavors, in this case the tobacco industry.
Entitled Take the Tobacco Pledge, the editorial urges ratification of The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, known colloquially as 'the tobacco treaty.' Here's how the Times describes its provisions:
It is pretty amazing that CBS News can misquote, in headline form, someone they not only personally interviewed, but one that they themselves provided video clips of proving the inaptness of their headline. I guess they imagined that no one would actually take the time to watch the video clip?
Worse, the part of the video clip where William F. Buckley addresses Bush's status as a conservative isn't until the last two minutes of a 10-minute interview. Could they have assumed that many people would never stay with the interview all the way until the end to find out that the CBS headline is mere hyperbole and that Buckley never really said that Bush wasn't a "true conservative"?
Even the sub headline takes liberties with Buckley's words.
Well, sports fans, The Terrorist…er, I mean The New York Times is at it again. One of America’s allies purchased a variety of weapons last year, and now that it is being attacked by a shared enemy, has asked that the shipment of these arms be sped up to allow it to better defend itself.
Sadly, The Times felt it was important to report this shipment Saturday – on the front page no less – so everyone – including the sworn enemy that is currently attacking our ally – would be fully aware (hat tip to Michelle Malkin):
An investigating officer in Baghdad has recommended that commanders drop voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy charges against a Pennsylvania National Guard soldier after determining that he followed appropriate rules of engagement when he killed an Iraqi man in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi in February.
Army Lt. Col. John W. McClory found that Spec. Nathan B. Lynn, 21, of South Williamsport, Pa., did nothing wrong in shooting Gani Ahmad Zaben in the post-curfew darkness outside a group of homes on Feb. 15. McClory ruled that Lynn thought the man was armed with an AK-47 and believed he was a threat.
It appears the ongoing effort by CBS to totally divorce itself from former anchor Dan Rather is not over, for another snubbing has occurred, this time at the CBS News website. As reported by The New York Post Friday:
IS CBS trying to wipe out all traces of Dan Rather's history at the network? In a glowing story about Katie Couric's "Eye on America" tour's going to the Twin Cities, the CBS News Web site crows that the perky newsgal, who takes over Rather's seat in September, "will be the first female solo anchor of a network weekday newscast, following such esteemed journalists as Douglas Edwards, Walter Cronkite and, most recently, Bob Schieffer." There is absolutely no mention of Rather, who was unceremoniously dumped after 44 years with CBS following his notorious report on President Bush's military record, which turned out to be based on fake memos.
Don’t believe it? Here’s the article The Post was referring to. The Post deliciously continued:
'Bolton and the other radicals in the administration want Israel to keep pummeling Lebanon a while longer.' No, they want Israel to keep pummeling Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon.
party of mutual Armageddon . . . the war party of Hamas, Hezbollah, the
Israeli right, the Iranian ultras, Rumsfeld, and Cheney.' Moral equivalence strikes again. The terrorists, and those who would stop the terrorists - same difference.
The New York Times op-ed page has a feature today called 'A First Step Back From the Brink.' As the Times describes it:
"With chaos threatening to engulf Lebanon, the need to resolve the conflict in the Middle East has rarely seemed so urgent. The Op-Ed editors went to seven experts with experience in the region, asking each of them what should be the first step toward defusing the crisis."
The Times did accord Richard Perle the opportunity to make the case that 'Israel must see the current fighting through to a conclusion that is unambiguously a defeat for Hezbollah and Hamas.' But most if not all of the other contributors call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, including Judith Kipper of the Council on Foreign Relations who wants to negotiate with Hezbollah and Hamas and describes them as 'political parties and social welfare organizations', albeit with 'military wings.'
The Telegraph newspaper apparently cannot believe that America is gauche enough to take it upon itself to evaluate its own distribution of military forces in the world. How DARE the USA think that, in this era of unrest in the Mid East and terrorism, it can do what it wants to do with its own military!
In an article by David Rennie titled American pullout leaves Iceland defenceless, America is reported as "tactless" for its need to reevaluate keeping forces in Iceland, forces that were originally posted there for fighting the Cold War.
Apparently, many in Iceland, not to mention the offices of the Telegraph, have not caught up to the news that the Cold War is over.
On Friday's World News, ABC's Charles Gibson highlighted a Lebanese blog poster who implied that most Israelis are not "reasonable" enough to care about the safety of innocent Lebanese civilians. Responding to an Israeli poster, also quoted by Gibson, who had expressed wishes that the Lebanese people be safe during the airstrikes, the unnamed Lebanese poster implied that most Israelis are unreasonable while complimenting the Israeli poster: "I can rest a little easier in this difficult time because I have found reasonable voices in Israel."
Gibson opened the segment declaring that although "the Israeli and Lebanese governments are not talking to one another," citizens on both sides were communicating through the Internet by posting on blogs. He first quoted an unnamed Israeli soldier: "I'm sending you my best wishes and hope that you and your family will be strong and be alright until this horrible situation will be over." (Transcript follows)
There’s another sequel coming out today, and this one is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the 1994 cult classic “Clerks.” Apparently, the Motion Picture Association of America gave this unbelievably vulgar film an “R” rating instead of a stricter “NC-17,” and the movie’s writer/director/star is absolutely shocked (hat tip to Town Hall’s blog). As reported by MSNBC.com:
“Clerks II” director Kevin Smith was “shocked, literally, in shock” when his slacker sequel got an R rating. Smith had fought the tougher NC-17 rating on the first film, and was prepared for a battle on this one. “The ‘questionable’ content in ‘Clerks II’ goes beyond anything we've ever presented in a film before,” he noted. “Don't know what happened in the MPAA screening that morning, and don't need to know. All I do know is that they handed us an R, without asking for a single cut. And rather than obsess over it, I just quickly [and happily] accepted the rating and moved on.”
To give one an idea of just how vulgar this movie is supposed to be, film critic Joel Siegel actually walked out of a screening. According to the Hartford Courant, this is the first time in 30 years Siegel has done that:
Alison Stewart is the hip-'n-edgy host of MSNBC's 'The Most,' which as its promo page explains:
"Give[s] viewers a look at 'the most' sought-after stories of the day. Every day, 'The Most' will report on the most searched stories on the Internet, the most viewed stories from a multitude of news sources, the most e-mailed stories or photo images, the most downloaded music or blogged-about subject matter and the most viewed television programs or movies."
Ending her show this afternoon, Stewart focused on the brief, joshing back rub Pres. Bush administered to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the recent g-8 meeting. Stewart wanted us to know that, among the search terms that would return video of the eventat the do-it-yourself TV site YouTube.com,are 'grope' and 'creepy.'
With Howard Dean floundering as leader of the Democratic Party and as Daily Kos loses influence with its Blogola scandal (probably making room for the Next Big Thing, as Kos replaced MoveOn), the Left is proving once again that it cannot form a united front against Bush for more than several months.
How could such meager opposition possibly survive? Columnist Peggy Noonan noticed something as she read ABC News' The Note: The political digest inadvertently noted who Bush's true opposition is, and it's not the Democratic Party. Said The Note, "[Mr. Bush] is going to need to be focused and impressive, not easy pickings for the Rich-Krugman-Dowd-Stewart axis."
As I read I nodded: That's exactly true. What was significant is that The Note did not designate as Mr. Bush's main and most effective foes Pelosi, Dodd, Reid, Biden, et al. Mr. Bush's mightiest competitors are columnists and a comedian with a fake-news show.
This is one reason the media is important. (Not "are important." Language evolves; usage changes; people vote with their tongues. It's not the correct "return to normality"; it's the incorrect "return to normalcy." It's not "the media are" it's "the media is." People see the media as one big thing.)
The July 31 issue of the Nation includes Lakshmi Chaudhry's piece, pegged to last month's Yearly Kos shindig in Las Vegas, asserting that "the media rage on the left--at least among those politically active online--now matches that on the right."
To her credit, Chaudhry provides some valid insights regarding left-wing critics of the MSM, e.g.:
At least part of [lefty bloggers'] rhetoric is less about the press itself than about bolstering the bloggers' self-identity as outsiders, which offers the emotional comfort of victimhood. "The notion of the press being in the pocket of the Bush Administration is definitely overdrawn, but it feels good," says [NYU journalism professor Jay] Rosen. "This way you can feel even more marginalized."
Nothing can put a bigger smile on an old cynic’s face than the normally predictable throwing a twelve to six curveball. Such is what occurred this morning when I opened up a Newsweek article by Robert Samuelson entitled: “Utterly Shameless; How could President Bush publicly brag about a federal budget with a $296 billion deficit?”
After seeing that head and sub-line, I prepared to do battle with what I expected to be the usual liberal mantra concerning budget deficits. Unfortunately, Samuelson didn’t cooperate, for scattered throughout his text was more sense coming from a Newsweek columnist not named George Will than I had seen in decades.
Now, I must caution the reader ahead of time to be prepared for some almost unprecedented sanity from this unlikely source (emphasis mine):
It's getting harder to make a blockbuster these days, and as productions costs continue to rise, making movies is no longer financially rewarding. Superstar actors are now more talked about for their private lives than for their movies, and they face cuts in salaries as studios have to worry more about digital technology and foreign marketing.
One benefit of this, hopefully, will be that Hollywood will no longer be the purveyor of the conventional wisdom and the stars, who will not burn as brightly, will no longer have their every political opinion treated as gospel by Hollywood and national reporters.
As studios slash jobs and restructure to boost profits, Hollywood's creative and executive ranks are having a collective anxiety attack.
Walt Disney Co.'s move this week to lay off about 650 employees and revamp its Burbank studio to make fewer films only confirms what many in the entertainment industry have been stressing over for months: The movie business is shrinking.
Everyone knows that when it comes to winning wars and achieving peace, the model to follow is that laid out by France, other Europeans, and the UN.
Elizabeth Vargas, steadfast Euro-UN-ophile, is savvy enough to recognize that the US needs to fall in line behind wiser heads and 'condemn or rebuke' Israel. Sadly, an obdurate Bush administration, in the person of spokesman Tony Snow, just wasn't getting the message in a Good Morning America interview this morning.
Vargas: "Tony, this is day ten now of the conflict in the Middle East and only now is the US government considering sending Secretary Rice to the region. Why waiting so long to do so?"
Snow: "Well, first, Elizabeth, you have to understand even though Secretary Rice hasn't been to the region, we've had a high-level . . . delegation . . . there last week. . . Secretary Rice thought she would wait until we had a moment . . . when the time is ripe. Now she views this as a good time to go."
Vargas: "You mentioned European allies. The US has thus far been alone in its refusal to either rebuke or condemn Israel for its excessive force, as Kofi Annan called it last night. And in addition it has refused to call for any cessation of hostilities. At what point does the administration say to its close ally Israel, 'enough'?"
The Rio Grande Valley, in deep South
Texas has a permanent population of less than 500,000 people. Within
those numbers is an abundance of active duty, retired and former
members of the armed forces. This Tip-of-Texas real estate is home
to many American heroes, including 20 young men who have given their
lives in the War against Terror. Sadly, it is also the home of some
who would steal the valor earned by these brave soldiers, sailors and
Marines with their blood and their lives.
In recent days an Associated Press story about a South Texas man
impersonating a Marine Sergeant Major has been in the news.
According the AP, “In appearances throughout the Rio Grande Valley,
J.C. Ortiz said his Marine career included four tours of duty in
Vietnam, seven Purple Hearts and ascendancy to the rank of Sergeant
Howell Raines is the former executive editor of the New York Times who left in disgrace after he oversaw his paper's handling of the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal. Now that he's no longer in the media, he can preach about journalism, give speeches, and write a book. The book he is promoting is called "The One that Got Away: A Memoir," an allegory about his life using fish metaphors.
At the Aspen Institute, Raines said newspapers should no longer write at the "sixth-grade level," but instead try to write in a more sophisticated style. He also discussed how Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch perpetuates the myth of a "liberal conspiracy in the news business."
'Today' never showed us just who was holding that placard. But judging from his comments this morning, just how surprised would we be to find it was NBC's David Gregory himself?
Did David perhaps rev up for his appearance by reading this all-out assault on Bush foreign policy from in the LA Times? In any case, he came loaded for Bush bear with a totally bleak tour d'horizon that included these gems:
"The president's foreign policy was designed to make the the Middle East safer. It's not."
"Crisis after crisis has undermined the Bush doctrine."
"A foreign policy that has yet to produce the promised results."
"Things fell apart so quickly. At the beginning of this millennium, the Cold War was over, the prosperous United States was the sole remaining superpower and global opinion was largely sympathetic to U.S. aims. In the wake of brutal ethnic wars in Central Europe and Africa, the international community had forged a new determination to prevent conflict and atrocities. The volatile Middle East was quiet, and the world seemed headed toward stability rather than chaos."
"After 9/11, the world was on our side, and we had a unique opportunity to turn tragedy into triumph."
One of the central tenants of professional journalism is the notion that reporters remain objective in their analysis and reporting. Generally, it is the responsibility of a newspaper’s management to ensure that individuals who express a desire to maintain emotional and psychological distance from stories they cover are employed to report news under the title of a “journalist.” If the writer is an opinion writer, this is known as a “pundit.”
That stated, the Washington Posthosted an online “Live from Syria” chat session this past Monday on their website. The forum was conducted by a Syrian writer named Sami Moubayed. The Posts’ description of the writer is “PostGlobal Panelist/Syrian Political Analyst, Journalist and Author.” Flipping to the writer’s website and reading the “About” section, however, shows that Mr. Moubayed has some conflicts of interest when it comes to covering the Lebanon-Israel conflict. From Moubayeb’s profile:
Without any mention of the vicious hostility the NAACP displayed toward President Bush since he spoke before the group in 2000, including a TV ad linking Bush's refusal to sign a hate crime bill to the dragging death of a black man in Texas, the Thursday broadcast network evening newscasts portrayed Bush as the one responsible for the estrangement. All stressed how Bush's Thursday appearance before the NAACP convention was his first and all three ran soundbites only from attendees critical of him.
"It took five and a half years, but President Bush finally said yes to the NAACP,” ABC's Charles Gibson asserted, elaborating: “The President has ignored invitations throughout his presidency to speak to the civil rights group.” Martha Raddatz emphasized Bush's absences: "The White House saw this as an opportunity the President couldn't pass up. But it is an opportunity he had passed up every year since he was elected.” CBS anchor Bob Schieffer highlighted how Bush “spoke today to the NAACP for the first time in six years as President.” Jim Axelrod relayed how “prior to Katrina, he never spoke to the convention as President, but since September, he's reached out to the head of the NAACP three separate times." NBC's Brian Williams set up a story by noting how “President Bush spoke to the NAACP for the first time in his presidency.” David Gregory asserted that efforts to reach out to blacks “have failed” and “then came Katrina and charges that racism motivated the federal government's slow response.” (Transcripts follow.)
"CBS Evening News" anchor Bob Schieffer participated in a phone interview with Bob Steele of the Poynter Institute yesterday. The discussion focused on Schieffer’s view of the current situation in the Middle East and caused Schieffer to pull out an old left wing talking point about war as he lamented:
"We have made a judgment that this is extremely important because this could set off a much wider war, a war that could, if it got big enough, could cause this country, for one thing, to have to reinstitute the draft."
I suppose, theoretically, Schieffer is correct, but is his fear logical? Is there serious discussion on Capitol Hill to bring back the draft? No, in fact the last time the idea of a draft came to a vote in 2004 it received 2 votes.
Although many of them live 3000 miles from New York, and are certainly not her constituents, stars and dignitaries from Hollywood, California, are lining up to open their wallets and pocketbooks to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s reelection campaign. In fact, as reported by the Associated Press (hat tip to Drudge), the donors list reads like a virtual Who’s Who: “Top stars such as Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson donated to the New York senator in recent months, generating the kind of cash usually associated with a major box office opening - or a potential presidential bid in 2008. Clinton, who doesn't face much of a challenge in her re-election, received $4,200 from ‘The DaVinci Code’ star Hanks, the Academy Award- winning actor, and his wife, Rita Wilson.”
As the AP reported, the Clinton war chest continues to grow:
As President Bush speaks today at the NAACP convention for the first time, political reporter Adam Nagourney found the G.O.P.'s black outreach failing in Tuesday's "Republicans Coming Up Short in Effort to Reach Out to African-American Voters."
"There has been no end to speculation about what the party was up to. Was it simply a ploy to improve the party’s image with moderate white voters? Did the White House see an opportunity to make small though significant changes in the American political system by pulling even a relative few black voters into its corner in important states like Ohio? (Yes, and yes.)
"But as Mr. Bush is tentatively scheduled to speak at the N.A.A.C.P. convention in Washington this week -- after five years of declining to appear before an organization with which he has had tense relations -- it seems fair to say that whatever the motivation, the effort has faltered.