Okay, a little bit of nitpicking on a Sunday. Deep in the regional sections of the Sunday Washington Post is the latest breakdown of how the D.C. area Senators and Representatives have voted on important roll calls. It seems the Post headline writer spun it perfectly backwards on the Senate vote on withdrawal of U.S troops from Iraq by the end of 2006. John Kerry thought of pushing it, but Sen. Mitch McConnell put it up for him. The vote was 93 to 6 against withdrawing troops quickly from Iraq. But here's the headline in the Post:
WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ For: 93 / Against: 6
The next sentence explains "The Senate tabled (killed) a Republican amendment to the 2007 defense budget calling on the administration to begin major troop withdrawals from Iraq late this year." Yes, that means 93 Senators voted to table/kill the withdrawal proposal, the opposite of the Post headline.
Tom Johnson mentioned on NewsBusters a New York Times article that said Dan Rather would be teaming up with NBA Dallas Mavericks owner/billionaire, Mark Cuban. Rather is interested in hosting a small weekly show for Cuban on his HDNet cable network.
But another venture Rather is looking at is his own company called "News and Guts." Kind of like "News Busters," except the antidote.
Mr. Rather also said that in April, in anticipation of what seemed to be his imminent departure from CBS, he had formed a company — he named it News and Guts, in a nod to what he considers the pillars of his professional life — through which he plans to create several other journalism ventures, including, perhaps, a blog. (Though he has not yet settled on a title, he says he has ruled out one: "I'd Rather Say This.")
Younger Americans may not be familiar with the term, “Yellow Journalism”, but it is part of our history and has been around for more than 100 years. It first was used in 1898 to describe the writings of such historic figures as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. It was common practice during those years for journalists, led by Pulitzer and Hearst to print inaccurate information, opinion as news, distorted accounts of events and biased interpretations of anything with which the writer disagreed. Because there was no other source of information, newspapers gained huge political power and had few challenges to anything put into print. Those citizens who had a better understanding and grasp of events taking place in America labeled the practice of lying to the public in print...Yellow Journalism.
For his latest Media Reality Check on the rush to cover the alleged Marine massacre at Haditha, Rich Noyes discovered evidence that NBC's Baghdad-based reporter Richard Engel really does sound like he's a senior fellow at the Peter Arnett School of Advanced America-Hating Journalism. He's lecturing the Iraqi journalists for being appallingly slow on spreading the Haditha story before it's proven: Rich's summary of this quote was "Iraqis Falling Down on the Job."
Reporter Richard Engel: "Not mentioned in the [Iraqi TV news] broadcast: Haditha, where U.S. Marines allegedly murdered 24 civilians last November. It was first reported here in detail last week, and only then because the incident was denounced by the Prime Minister. Now, it’s barely on the news. Today at state-sponsored al-Iraqiya TV, we asked the news director why."
Quick on the heels of its recommendation that conservatives support the Senate pro-amnesty immigration bill (for political rather than principled reasons, yet), the Weekly Standard is apparently laying the groundwork for a change in the conservative position on global warming.
From the June 12 issue, in an article by Contributing Editor Irwin M. Stelzer praising Treasury Secretary-designate Hank Paulson with all the enthusiasm usually reserved for people named Bush, comes this:
Then there is the environment, a policy area in which the Bush administration is in something of a time warp. No honest person can with certainty assert that global warming is a threat. But any responsible person can see that the evidence is sufficient to suggest that it might be, and that some action to contain emissions of greenhouse gases is an insurance policy worth having. Paulson is Wall Street's greenest titan, chairman of the Nature Conservancy, a bird-watcher, an advocate of a greenhouse gas emissions trading system for the United States and of mandatory curbs on emissions if voluntary action proves inadequate. At Goldman, he allocated $1 billion for investment in renewable energy and energy-saving projects. He is likely to make his voice heard in an administration that is said to be ready to move from its justifiable opposition to the Kyoto treaty to more positive proposals for emissions reduction.
No word from the Weekly Standard on the price tag of the "insurance policy worth having" (known as 'cap and trade' to those of us speaking plainly) as if 1) the cost wasn't billions, to be borne mostly by those who can least afford it, and 2) the "insurance policy" would actually lessen global warming IF (a big IF) the environmental left's position on global warming is accurate.
Will we soon see the Weekly Standard join the New Republic in name-calling skeptics of the notion that slowing the U.S. economy would have a notably beneficial impact on the world's weather?
There's a loose rule in journalism about not running every rumor you hear as hard news without at least making some attempt at checking it out. From the Miami Herald:
Team owners Micky Arison (Heat) and Mark Cuban (Mavs) didn't arrive by limo, helicopter or Range Rover. The millionaires both came by boat and docked on opposite sides of the arena. Cuban's Utopia II is nice enough -- if a bit modest, at 60 feet. Arison's Sirona III is a Shaq-sized monster, well more than 100 feet long. 'I think there's a little bit of boat envy goin' on,'' said Brad Morris, director of operations at the arena. ''I mean, compared to Arison's, Cuban's boat is pretty piddly.'' Morris said he heard Cuban had draped a ''Go Mavs'' banner across the boat earlier in the day and caused such a stir that the police were summoned. Oops. It wasn't there at game time.
How difficult is it to see what is or isnt right in front you ? Well guess what guys. I dont own a boat. Never have. Never will. I rented one once. Rowed one a couple times. Thats it. My apologies to the real owner of that boat who is getting pestered with helicopters and people trying to corner them.
Well, we complain enough about when someone in the “media” does something wrong, so I thought I would place in a little bit about someone doing something good…
But first, for those of you interested in the growth and development of the Internet or new trends thereon, I just got something that seems somewhat new as a way to advertise a journalist's latest article. Well, it may not be entirely "new" but it is something not seen to date from the higher profile journalists to my knowledge.
Michael Fumento, writer for the Weekly Standard, has written a rip-roaring piece on his experience in Ramadi, Iraq. This is an article not to be missed. Fumento was in the thick of it and saw some intense action during his visit with the 101st Airborne, the unit famously dubbed "the Band of Brothers" by historian Stephen Ambrose for its service in WWII.
Neal Gabler might have hit a new low when it comes to the coarseness of his criticism. On this evening's Fox News Watch, he branded as 'sub-moronic' a statement President Bush made during his recent Iraq trip. And, furious that the media has been insufficiently critical in its coverage of Iraq for his taste, Gabler repeatedly labelled the MSM 'brain dead.'
Gabler began his assault by pouring cold water on the president's recent uptick in the polls: "the boost is very small. . . If you want to look at his numbers, his numbers are very, very low."
Even so, Gabler was galled that the press hasn't given sufficient attention to the bad news from Iraq. "The most positive media development for the president has been the fact that on the very day that he visited Baghdad, 24 Iraqis were killed in Kirkuk of all places and 50 were killed around Iraq, but it got no coverage. It was page 15 of the New York Times."
It was a fantastic day at RFK Stadium today watching the Nationals come from a 9-2 deficit to an 11-9 victory. Amazing game. We went with the church youth group, and the house was packed with Yankees fans (including some in our party), so as a fan of the sad salary-deprived Milwaukee Brewers, it was fun to see the Yanks and Mariano Rivera take a powder.
The only real sour note of the day was some chowderhead wearing his Nationals hat -- and a red T-shirt with bold white "CCCP" letters and a little hammer and sickle on it. I wanted to heckle this sad shill for the Soviet Union, but we were ten rows up, and my 16-year-old son would have spent the rest of the game in another section. Soviet Guy was quite a bit thicker than little Johnny Weir. At least some baseball fans came in pro-life religious T-shirts as well.
Today's Chicago Tribune editorial, "How do you spell futility? FEMA," rightly condemns the estimated $1.4 billion in Hurricane Katrina relief funds that were wasted on items such as "jewelry, Caribbean vacations, pro football tickets, pornographic videos, divorce lawyer fees and a sex-change operation." It points out that Government Accountability Office auditors say that almost one in every six dollars targeted for aid ended up in the hands of swindlers.
The Tribune fails to mention that one possible reason for fraud was harsh criticism that FEMA wasn't dishing out the bucks fast enough.
An example of that was a September 8, 2005 Tribune editorial titled "When governments fail citizens." The editorial noted: "The initial federal response, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was a tangle of red tape." Moreover, it stated that help was delayed "while FEMA bureaucrats dither(ed) over paperwork."
Here's one of those stories that sounds weird but may make perfect sense. According to Saturday's New York Times, Dan Rather is "seriously mulling" an offer to "develop and be the host of a weekly interview program on a high-definition television channel known as HDNet."
The Times' Jacques Steinberg also reports that "in addition to the one-hour interview program, which could eventually include '60 Minutes'-style investigative reports that he would prepare, Mr. Rather said he had been asked to commit to deliver at least two documentaries a year to HDNet."
Rather told Steinberg that the offer to join HDNet came from none other than the channel's co-founder Mark Cuban, who's been on TV quite a bit himself lately during ABC's coverage of the NBA finals between the Cuban-owned Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat.
What do you call someone who rips off the American taxpayer by spending Katrina relief funds on champagne, "Girls Gone Wild" videos or gambling sprees? Why, a "victim," of course. At least, you do if you're an editorial writer at the Los Angeles Times.
The sub-headline in the editorial in today's LA Times reads like a parody of liberal paternalism gone wild: "It's Wrong to Blame Victims for Spending Irresponsibly." No, that's not a misprint.
While acknowledging that the 16% of improper expenditures 'is indeed high', the Times doesn't want us to get all worked up about it: "some misuse of the FEMA-issued debit cards is hardly shocking."
On MSNBC's Countdown show on Friday, substitute host Brian Unger featured a softball interview with Democratic Congressman John Murtha during which Unger queued up Murtha to attack the Bush administration's Iraq policy and Republican critics. The Countdown host bolstered Murtha's credibility by referring to his war record and labelling him a "traditional hawk" while he discredited White House advisor Karl Rove by negatively labelling him as a "partisan attacker trying to squash discussion about Iraq," and proclaimed "the Swift-Boating of the 2006 election has begun." Unger also saw no irony in fretting about "personal attacks" on Murtha even as Murtha referred to Rove "sitting on his fat backside in an air-conditioned office." (Transcript follows)
Media Matters is criticizing the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Chris Horner for saying, on the Fox News Channel's Your World with Neil Cavuto, that ratification of the Kyoto global warming treaty was not a high profile issue for President Bill Clinton during the Clinton Administration. The Media Matters headline reads: "On Fox's Your World, CEI's Horner Misled on Kyoto, Global Warming."
Media Matters says, in part:
On the June 13 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Chris Horner, counsel for the oil industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), claimed falsely that the Clinton administration chose not to submit the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for ratification because it did not consider global warming a "high-profile issue." In fact, Senate Republicans made clear at the time that Clinton would not be able to garner enough votes in the Senate to ratify the treaty...
Objecting to former President Bill Clinton taking credit for efforts to curb global warming during his presidency, Horner claimed that Clinton "set the U.S. policy, which was [that] for the final three years of his presidency, the U.S. would not seek participation in -- that is ratification of -- Kyoto." Horner made the claim to advance his suggestion that the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty mandating that countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, "was not a high-profile issue or a priority issue for the Clinton administration, like, say, school uniforms. It was not even a low-priority issue, like, say, finding Osama bin Laden."
Friday night PBS chat shows delivered a couple of slams from journalists at President Bush over his surprise trip to Baghdad early this week. After Richard Keil of Bloomberg News, who accompanied the President’s entourage, described some of the security precautions taken, Washington Week host Gwen Ifill cited “excessive security” as she derided the trip: “I wonder to what degree anybody in the White House thought maybe it might undermine our point if we have to take such excessive security precautions in order to go claim victory or whatever it was the President was trying to accomplish?" So trying to keep the President of the United States and his traveling party, including journalists, safe was “excessive”?
Up next on Washington, DC’s PBS affiliate after Washington Week: Inside Washington. On it, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg suggested Bush was rude toward Iraq’s new Prime Minister since he arrived “unannounced” and she compared Bush going to congratulate a just-chosen leader of a fledgling democracy, where over 100,000 U.S. troops are located, to British Prime Minister Tony Blair flying into DC congratulate Bush: “How would we feel if Tony Blair showed up right after -- you know, to say congratulations and didn't tell us, right after President Bush had won an election?" (Brief transcripts follow)
According to Drudge, the checkbook journalism practiced by People Magazine extended to another Time Warner property; Anderson Cooper.
There's loud chatter among industry insiders that the $4 million deal PEOPLE Mag's editor Larry Hackett cut with Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt for their baby pictures extended to CNN, also part of the TIME WARNER family. A rep for CNN denies any TIMEWARNER deal secured the interview. "Angelina Jolie's representative approached Anderson Cooper's senior executive producer David Doss because Angelina is an admirer of Anderson's work, especially his commitment to covering Africa and the plight of refugees."
There is one sure way of finding out. It is imperative that Time Warner immediately release the original contract with Angelina to determine if anything other than People Magazine is mentioned. If it were any other organization implicated in an unethical practice, wouldn't CNN demand the same of them?
Their actions over the weekend will speak directly to the ethics, transparency, and values of the news operation. (i.e. don't expect much more than more denials, obfuscating the facts, and refusing to expose the contract.)
On this morning’s "Early Show" CBS terrorism analyst and former FBI agent Christopher Whitcomb told co-host Hannah Storm that he believes the seized al Qaeda documents are believable, i.e. the ones where al Qaeda admits it’s losing in Iraq, and that the United States is making significant progress in the overall war on terrorism.
Ms. Storm began her interview of Mr Whitcomb inquiring about the authenticity of these al Qaeda memos:
"The Iraqi government has released a document it said was found at the site of the bombing when al Zarqawi was killed. Actually, the U.S. government says it was found a few weeks before on a hard drive. But the bottom line is this document says that al Qaeda's weakening. It's an al Qaeda document, supposedly. Do you buy it? Can we take it at face value?"
CBS News scooped the rest of the liberal media in noting the Iraqi government distributed an al-Qaeda memo loaded with pessimism about how time is on the side of the Americans, and recruits are down. While The Washington Times trumpeted the news on its front page, Friday's major liberal newspapers seemed to work very hard to bury that memo and suggest it's quite possible it's dubious in origin.
The New York Times touched on the documents in a front-page story by Dexter Filkins on Zarqawi's replacement, which carried the subhead "Details Include Hints of Group's Disarray." In the fifth paragraph, Filkins noted American officials suggested there were "signs of disruption, and a potential power struggle" inside the group. But the documents were inside the paper, beginning in paragraph 19, and paragraph 21 carried the line about "time is now beginning to be of service to the American forces." But Filkins was careful to note "There was no way to verify the authenticity of the document."
In the past week, President Bush has visited Iraq, had his top political operative cleared of wrongdoing, and presided over the elimination of the terrorist mastermind Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. NBC’s Today show took note of this fact and the June 16 edition featured a segment on Bush’s upturn in fortunes. But if conservatives expected the media to be happy about Bush’s "good week," they were sadly mistaken. Today reporter Norah O’Donnell began her piece, which aired at 7:13AM EDT, by stating that the Bush administration hoped the current string of positive events would become more then "just a fleeting bit of good news." She also implied that the President’s trip was a political stunt:
"And the President may get the most mileage...literally and figuratively, out of his drop-in to Baghdad...with secrecy both necessary and adding dramatic effect."
It’s about time that bribe taker and thief, William Jefferson, Democrat Louisiana, was booted off his committee assignments in the House of Reps.
Now, obviously we should not ask him to resign until the investigation is complete, but it is perfectly sensible to tell him to vacate his position on any committees where he can influence legislation.
The House stripped Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of his committee seat on Friday in an unprecedented action against a lawmaker ensnared in scandal, but not under indictment.
Interesting that they feel they have to say how “unprecedented” this “action” is, though. In fact the whole article is couched in the flavor of how badly kindly ‘ol Mr. Jefferson is being treated by all those mean folks in the House.
But, here is the question I have… The offices of William Jefferson were entered on May 20th and it was then that it was revealed the huge amounts of cash, cash identified as marked FBI money, that he had hidden in a freezer proving his bribe taking. Yet, we are only now seeing him forced to step down on June 16th.
A recent Washington Post article claims “More than 500 children die annually from accidental gunshots: Some shoot themselves, while others kill friends or siblings, often after discovering a gun.”
To understand how a biased or under-educated writer makes an inaccurate and misleading error, we must first clarify the term “child”. Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “childhood” as: “The state or stage of life as a child…the time from birth to puberty.” Oxford defines “puberty” as: “The period during which adolescents reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction, distinguished by the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics.” In terms of age, there seems to be general agreement that this ability to procreate occurs by the age of 15: childhood is over by then.
Dan Bobkoff, who covers Massachusetts for Albany, N.Y.-based WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, has written a piece for CBS News's Public Eye blog in which he offers ideas for reform of the broadcast networks' evening newscasts. (Hat tip: Romenesko.) Bobkoff, a former intern for ABC's World News Tonight, opines:
...I think the shows should try to become as different from one another as possible.
The first step toward originality would be to turn off all the TV's in the newsroom. Producers love watching the "competition" on a row of monitors while they work, and will note with glee if they air an important story five minutes before another network. But watching each other doesn't create a better product; it creates sameness.
After they turn off the TV’s, they should cancel their subscriptions to The New York Times. The paper's great, but it shouldn't be TV's job to read the paper and then steal the feature stories for that evening’s newscast (unusual baby names, ABC?)
With nothing to copy off the TV or from the papers, the newscasts then could think about broadening what they cover...
Just days after substitute Today co-host Campbell Brown applied a little bit of weekday Tim Russert elbow grease to Howard Dean, asking about the Democratic split on Iraq, Brown's interview with James Carville this morning didn't even contain questions, just set-up statements.
First, MRC's Scott Whitlock reported, Brown asked a soft question on the segment's premise on whether Bush is on the mend: "So let me ask you both this question. And Michael you start. Are we going to look back at this week and say this is the week that President Bush got his mojo back?" Smerconish said yes, Bush was now the "comeback kid."
Then came Brown's completely supine non-question: "All right, James. You're laughing. Go ahead."
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS REPORTER: WordCentral.com defines terrorism as the use of a violent or destructive act to achieve a goal. Why is it so difficult for the international community to agree on a definition for terrorism?
OCTAVIA NASR, CNN SENIOR EDITOR FOR ARAB AFFAIRS: Well, I think for one, terrorism for one person is a freedom fight for another. And you know, the Arab world always talks about this, as they say the so-called terrorism, because they believe that - in Iraq, for example, many people are struggling against occupation, so in many ways they support that struggle against occupation but then they draw a line between those who are struggling. They want a free Iraq, they want the occupiers out and those who are pushing the envelope and crossing the line by terrorizing people. And when we say terrorizing people, in a sense, it's going after the innocent civilians, the unsuspecting civilians, taking hostages, beheading them. Committing acts that are totally unacceptable, even by the standards of a freedom fight. So, you know, if you think about it, "terrorism" is a subjective term depending on which side you are on.
TV critic Alessandra Stanley goes after host Jay Leno for not laying a glove on his Wednesday night guest Ann Coulter in Friday’s Arts review, “A Battle of Wits, And No Clear Win.”
It’s clear who the liberal Stanley is rooting for in this clash of TV talker vs. best-selling conservative titan, chastening both Leno and David Letterman for failing to verbally spank Coulter: “As his tut-tutting chat with the mean girl of the moment showed, Jay Leno is a terrible interviewer….Mr. Leno, who will be replaced by Conan O'Brien in 2009, can afford to slack off, but it is [rival TV talker David] Letterman who seems to be taking too many of his shows pass/fail. And it's a shame, because the host of CBS's ‘Late Show’ is the comedian intellectually and temperamentally most suited to taking on the conservative enfant terrible and giving her a much-deserved public swat.”
Rachel Marsden writes at Front Page Magazine that ever since news of terrorist plots in Canada came out, "Canadian journalists have been busy spitballing accusations of ethnic insensitivity at each other."
Seventeen alleged Islamic terrorists were arrested in Canada recently, leaving approximately 50 more terrorist cells to go, according to federal spy agency sources. But even with authorities acknowledging that more arrests are inevitable, there’s one thing that could hinder further takedowns: political correctness.
Since the terror busts, some Canadian journalists have been busy spitballing accusations of ethnic insensitivity at each other from the nation’s editorial pages. Obviously, they’d rather be picking the lint out of each other’s navels than worrying about the folks who want to kill us.
Meanwhile, the political climate here is so charged that politicians, editors and police are treading on eggshells, afraid that the wrong words could be enough to send some Islamofascists on a bender—as though they actually need an excuse.
Red Herring reports that Yahoo is planning a new citizen journalism website where users can upload their own videos or camera phone pictures immediately from the location of an incident.
The terrorist attack of the July 7 London bombings is what inspired Yahoo to pursue the venture, as average citizens provided material instantly seen around the world.
Yahoo News, one of the world’s most popular news aggregation sites, plans to launch a citizen video-journalist news service at the end of June that will act as a collection and publication site for news videos generated by the public.
Sources involved in discussions with Yahoo News said the project, which has been in development for months, will introduce an upload capability that will take the PC out of the connectivity loop, so amateur video journalists can upload footage directly from the location of the event.