A recent Associate Press article notes that the preliminary FBI crime report for 2005 indicates a rise in violent crime. Quoting a college criminal justice professor, the article claims the increase is due to government’s waning support of law enforcement. Even more interesting is their attempt to link this with the National Rifle Association’s increased political power:
Criminal justice experts said the statistics reflect U.S. complacency in fighting crime, a product of dramatic declines in the 1990s and the abandonment of effective programs that emphasized prevention, putting more police officers on the street and controlling the spread of guns.
In the Style section of Saturday's Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz covered the slightly strange story of the Wall Street Journal editorial page criticizing the New York Times scoop on the SWIFT financial tracking system, when the Journal ran the story as well once the Times decided to publish. But the most interesting part of the story was the new poll:
In a Fox News poll released yesterday, 60 percent of those surveyed said the Times did more to help terrorist groups by publishing the information, while 27 percent said the story did more to help the public. Forty-three percent called what the newspapers did treason. Just over half said government employees were more to blame for leaking the classified information, 28 percent faulted the media for reporting it, and 17 percent said they were equally to blame.
Frank Ahrens and Howard Kurtz make a fairly big deal in the Washington Post (and on page A-2) on Saturday that "USA Today has acknowledged that it cannot prove key elements of a blockbuster May 11 story in which it reported that several telecommunications companies were handing over customer phone records to the National Security Agency."
"We take every error seriously," USA Today Editor Ken Paulson said in an interview. "This was obviously a big story. . . . All we can do is set the record straight."
Reporter Leslie Cauley revealed her unidentified sources to a top editor, Paulson said, and "the sources are credible," adding, "They have a track record with Leslie and she trusts them." But several members of the congressional intelligence committees later contradicted the sources on the question of whether Verizon and BellSouth had provided information to the NSA.
When America marches off to war, do we want lawyers on the front line? OK, I can already hear the thunderous response: 'Yes! Put those tassel-loafered shysters out there as cannon fodder!" But Jim Pinkerton, conservative columnist at Newsday and TCS, was making a more profound point this morning when he and Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News made their 'Long & Short' appearance on Fox & Friends Weekend.
The subject was the recent Supreme Court ruling that it is impermissible to subject Gitmo prisoners to military tribunals. In fairness, short-'n-liberal Ellen Ratner did stop short of suggesting they should have full US-style trials. But she predictably applauded the ruling, advocating significantly expanded due process for the detainees.
At this point, how many people are interested in hearing more preachy justifications from newspaper editors about their decision to spill the beans on anti-terror programs? Yada yada yada, the sensitive balance between legitimate secrecy needs in time of war and the public's right to know. Yeah, we get it.
But there were Dean Baquet and Bill Keller, editors of the LA and NY Times respectively, with an op-ed this morning humming that tired 'on the one hand, on the other' sing song . Things reached their apotheosis of annoyingness [poetic license in the name of alliteration] when the duo approvingly cited WaPo editor Robert Kaiser editor thusly:
Just when you're ready to write Chris Matthews off as a hopeless liberal, he pulls something like he did tonight, criticizing the New York Times for its latest leak of an anti-terror program.
Matthews' guests were the Rev. Al Sharpton and conservative radio talk show host Melanie Morgan. On the subject of the Times leak, Sharpton predictably proclaimed that the Gray Lady was "absolutely right," while Morgan sided with President Bush. That's when Matthews weighed in with his surprising pronouncement:
"Melanie, on this issue, believe it or not, I'm with you. I think the Times should not have run that story, I don't think we needed to know that. It wasn't really about us; it was of more interest to the enemy."
The uproar over last week's New York Times expose' of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program still isn't cacophonous enough for National Journal media columnist William Powers:
Watching the story play out, I've found myself hoping...that the conflict will get hotter and uglier and eventually wind up in court...Why? Because this country needs to have a great, big, loud, come-to-Jesus argument about the role of the press in a time of war, terror, and secrecy.
...A poll...conducted by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum in Chicago recently found that Americans know more about The Simpsons than they do about the First Amendment -- a lot more.
Once again, CNN has highlighted calls for the impeachment of President Bush. During the 4PM EDT hour of Thursday’s The Situation Room, senior political analyst Bill Schneider reported on the liberal city council of Berkeley, California’s decision to place a measure on the November ballot calling for the impeachment of the President and Vice President Cheney. Schneider highlighted the reasons for the city council’s decision to go "one step further" than other liberal municipalities, such as those in Vermont, which passed resolutions calling for impeachment :
This week, the Berkeley, California city council went one step further and put an impeachment measure on the November ballot. The grounds? Lying about the case for war in Iraq, torture of detainees and unlawful domestic spying.
The homepage of NewsBusters.org was displayed on CNN briefly during the 7am EDT hour of American Morning. The blink-and-you'll-miss it moment was during an Andrea Koppel report on the House Republican resolution condeming the New York Times for its publication of a story that revealed a secret government program to track terrorists by monitoring international financial transactions.
The NewsBusters homepage was on-screen during this segment of Koppel's voiceover:
House Republicans are not alone in targeting the New York Times, along with other media. For days, bloggers have been up in arms, while conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh have had a field day.
The 70-year-old comic book superhero Superman has always had the longtime slogan, "Truth, justice, and the American way." But in the latest movie reincarnation of the Man of Steel, the slogan is a little different: "Truth, justice and all that stuff."
The makers of the movie claim that "the world is different" than it was in the 40's and 50's, and that the film has to be applicable for movie watchers around the world.
While audiences in Dubuque might bristle at Superman's newfound global agenda, patrons in Dubai likely will find the DC Comics protagonist more palatable. And with the increasing importance of the overseas boxoffice -- as evidenced by summer tentpoles like "The Da Vinci Code" -- foreign sensibilities can no longer be ignored.
One of the writers of the screenplay, Dan Harris, says "the American way" doesn't mean the same thing anymore.
"Legendary" liberal White House reporter (now Hearst columnist) Helen Thomas appeared on Comedy Central's "Daily Show" on Tuesday night to promote her new book attacking the rolling-over-for-Dubya-like-puppies press corps, titled "Watchdogs of Democracy?" The exchange displayed typical, hard-left Helen, laughing at the idea that President Bush has accomplished anything and asserting that we should be spreading democracy through blue jeans and rap music. (I kid you not.) Host Jon Stewart began by asking about how long she's been in the White House -- since 1961.
The Today show had many important subjects to discuss today, issues such as examining the details of Star Jones’ firing from The View in excruciating detail. However, co-host Campbell Brown did manage to squeeze in a quick interview with Senator John McCain on the Supreme Court’s military tribunal ruling. The segment, which aired at 7:07AM EDT, featured the typical media employment of leading questions and suggestions that "many" people believe Guantanamo Bay should be shut down. In this "balanced" question, Brown wondered what effect the ruling would have on President Bush’s other anti-terrorism policies:
Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer Eric Black says the campaign for Mark Kennedy, the Republican challenger to the Minnesota Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Dayton, has declared that it has two opponents to fight: The Amy Klobuchar campaign and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which it says is conducting a de facto campaign of its own in favor of the Democrat.
The Mark Kennedy campaign has either come unhinged (for reasons about which I shall not speculate), or has decided that to beat Amy Klobuchar, Kennedy has to run against the Star Tribune.
In a June 28 e-mail to supporters, Kennedy Campaign Manager Pat Shortridge urgently requests campaign donations by tomorrow (so they can be included in the June 30 reporting period), because only by raising buckets of dough-re-mi can Kennedy hope to overcome the disadvantages of being covered by a newspaper that is little more than the publicity arm of the Amy Klobuchar campaign.
Remember that USA Today article from May 11 alleging that “[t]he National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth?” Well, the USA Today just issued a retraction:
“Based on its reporting after the May 11 article, USA TODAY has now concluded that while the NSA has built a massive domestic calls record database involving the domestic call records of telecommunications companies, the newspaper cannot confirm that BellSouth or Verizon contracted with the NSA to provide bulk calling records to that database.”
To begin your Fourth of July holiday weekend with a bang, read the entire delicious retraction here.
Al Jazeera International, the planned English-language news channel, has languished as it encounters unexpected difficulties such as finding U.S. satellite and cable operators willing to carry it.
Another challenge it faces is a loss of independence. Initially, the new channel pledged to be independent from the Arab parent company, as they hired mainstream American journalists and acquired studio facilities in the U.S. But TV Newser reports that the promised independence is now lost due to a corporate shakeup in Qatar, the Middle East country that hosts Al Jazeera.
"You read it here first. Al Jazeera International will launch in November," the U.K.'s Press Gazette's Adrian Monck writes. "And not November 2010 either. This November. Now it doesn't seem that long ago -- November 2004 in fact -- that AJI boss Nigel Parsons was announcing ambitious plans to launch in, erm, November 2005."
"President Bush has broken the law!" That's how viewers of MSNBC's Hardball were greeted last night when Chris Matthews first came on the air. You get the sense that Matthews has been dying to utter those words for a long time now and the Supreme Court's Guantanamo decision gave him the excuse to do so. In the MRC's annals of jarring and incredibly biased openings this ranks right up there with Katie Couric's: "Good morning, the Gipper was an airhead!" The following is Matthews full introduction to last night's Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "President Bush has broken the law. That's the verdict of the Supreme Court. Bush says he can try prisoners on Guantanamo without courts martial or Geneva Convention rules. The court says he's wrong, that he's overreached his lawful powers as president. Let's play Hardball. Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews and welcome to Hardball. President Bush's wartime powers took a major hit today when the Supreme Court ruled he overstepped his authority in creating military tribunals for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The Court concluded by a 5-3 vote that the tribunals were illegal and violated the Geneva Conventions and U.S. military law."
Should we look for Matt Lauer to close his next interview of Condi Rice by clasping her hands? Perhaps a verklempt Dick Cheney thanking Campbell Brown for "standing by me through every crisis"? Could be, judging by Al Roker's interview of Star Jones this morning.
OK. Star isn't Secretary of State. She's someone who got bounced as co-host of a televised coffee klatsch. Even so, some of the journalistic values on display were eye-brow raising. For openers, what does it say about Today's news values that the interview, stretching across two half-hours and three segments, was the longest this veteran Today watcher can remember?
And then there was the personal relationship between Al and Star. The flag first went up when Star thanked Al for having phoned her with information: "I actually remember a phone call when you saw something in the paper that I had not even seen that was pretty nasty."
Over the course of the past few weeks – and much to the delight of many conservative new media journalists – no less than seven major news outlets have published rather derogatory articles about Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the highly-successful proprietor of the überleft-leaning blog Daily Kos.
Conspicuously at the same time, most media avoided or downplayed the recently revealed stock fraud allegations surrounding Zuniga’s colleague and co-author Jerome Armstrong – the man that helped Howard Dean’s presidential campaign back in 2004, and is now working for 2008 Democrat presidential candidate Mark Warner.
As this negative media focus came soon after Zuniga’s much-heralded liberal bloggers’ convention, The Yearly Kos, in Las Vegas – where the usual media suspects were writing great praise for the event as well as for Kos himself – some awkward and so far unspoken questions arise:
The U.S. House voted 227 to 183 to adopt a resolution condemning publications that exposed the the classified bank-monitoring program that the resolution declared was "consistent with Federal law."
Four points were resolved:
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) supports efforts to identify, track, and pursue suspected foreign terrorists and their financial supporters by tracking terrorist money flows and uncovering terrorist networks here and abroad, including through the use of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program;
(2) finds that the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program has been conducted in accordance with all applicable laws, regulations, and Executive Orders, that appropriate safeguards and reviews have been instituted to protect individual civil liberties, and that Congress has been appropriately informed and consulted for the duration of the Program and will continue its oversight of the Program;
When Republicans thought about how they could rein in federal spending, one idea was to curb how much federal largesse gets handed out to illegal aliens through fraudulent means. If you are appalled at the thought of denying government money to illegal aliens, money from hard-working taxpayers who play by the rules, then you might fit inside the newsroom at The Washington Post. Their front-page headline today: "Medicaid Rule Called A Threat To Millions."
Reporters Susan Levine and Mary Otto explained that a Medicaid rule takes effect Saturday that requires proof of citizenship before Medicaid recipients collect benefits, even if they have long benefited from Medicaid. The liberal sermonizing started in paragraph three, although there was not a single liberal label for any "advocate for the poor" anywhere in the piece. They're just "critics," not partisans or lobbyists:
As most of you will read this first thing in the morning, I not only suggest you not have a coffee cup near your computer, but also highly recommend that you remove all fragile objects from the room.
Yes, this is that hysterical, for Wednesday evening, comedian and faux-scientist Al Gore was Jon Stewart’s guest on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” In reality, this was the perfect venue for Dr. Gore to discuss his absurd ideas if you think about it, for as the subject was Gore’s new romantic comedy, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the yucks were aplenty.
As this was a long segment, I will highlight only a few of the finer moments, and then encourage you to watch the video(courtesy of Expose the Left) for the full effect, as this one doesn’t disappoint.
As fellow NewsBuster Mithridate Ombud noted today, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll has flatly accused the Bush administration of anti-Semitism in its criticism of The New York Times for its latest leak of an anti-terror program. Claimed Carroll:
"The Times is a good target... Also, the name of the New York Times contains the word 'New York.' Many members of the president's base consider 'New York' to be a nifty code word for 'Jewish.' It is very nice for the president to be able to campaign against the Jews without (a) actually saying the word "Jew" and (b) without irritating the Israelis."
Is this an emerging MSM theme? Perhaps, judging by Chris Matthews' line of questioning on this evening's Hardball.
One of the more interesting emerging stories in the world of American philanthropy is the dramatic growth of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spurred this week by a massive donation by investor Warren Buffett. But MRC intern Chadd Clark found that on Monday's early edition of The Situation Room, CNN's Jeff Greenfield didn't see this as an occasion for lauding charity, but an occasion for chiding the wealthy for having too much, that there's too much income inequality. Greenfield even pushed the socialist notion that private charity shouldn't be relied on when the people should rely on the public sector:
It is real gee-whiz news when the second richest man in the world decides to give away the bulk of his fortune, most of it to a foundation run by the richest man in the world. But there is a bigger story here. It's about the massive accumulation of private wealth, the shift toward a less equal America, and the potential of what that wealth might do about it. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates made it official today. Some $30 billion of Buffett's fortune will be transferred to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which already has more money than any foundation in America....
My friend Peter Baker is following the President around on the campaign trail. This morning's report from a Missouri fundraiser for Senator Jim Talent contains this technically accurate but deeply dishonest paragraph:
Sharpening his rhetoric as the midterm congressional campaign season accelerates, Bush offered a robust defense of his decision to invade Iraq even though, ultimately, no weapons of mass destruction were found, and drew standing ovations for his attacks on those who question his leadership of the war or the fight against terrorists.
The only merit in this sentence is that it so neatly encapsulates the MSM's storyline on Iraq and the politics surrounding it. And the only thing that allows the Post to publish something like this without abject shame is their years-long ostrich-like refusal to publish anything that doesn't fit.
So much for the loopy Olbermann-esque spin that it’s just conservatives hoping to “stoke the base” who are distressed by journalists’ leaking of government secrets.
Veteran NBC News reporter Richard Valeriani says the New York Times’s decision to publish a front-page story exposing a classified government program designed to track terrorist financing is “irresponsible,” saying it smacks of “giving Anne Frank’s address to the Nazis.” (Hat-tip to Poynter's Jim Romenesko.)
Barbara Walters, fresh from firing Star Jones off The View, took the ABC talk show back to what it does best, promoting liberal issues. Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper appeared on the June 29 edition of the show. At the start of the program, The View's announcer previewed the paranoid, frightened tone that the segment would take:
"Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper are telling you about an inconvenient truth that could destroy the entire planet."
Barbara Walters, at 11:17AM EDT, described Mr. and Mrs. Gore this way:
"Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper have been forces of nature in the fight to save the planet. And there is a wonderful movie you all have to see called An Inconvenient Truth. And in it, the Vice President, the former Vice President, lays out a compelling, horrifying, but ultimately hopeful case for finding a way to save an Earth that's on the brink of disaster. And that means saving our lives and our children's lives."
On last night's Hardball actress Mia Farrow slipped in the old "Bush went to war for oil," canard during a discussion about Darfur. MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked Farrow what she wanted the American people and government to do about the crisis in Darfur to which Farrow demanded: "Support the relief agencies, and urge our leadership. There is, of course, a lack of political will. There is no oil in Darfur, only human beings."
The following is the fuller exchange between Farrow and Matthews:
Chris Matthews: "Well, tell us what the American people watching right now and what they're government can do. Individuals can't do much. What do they want or you want the government of the United States to do?"
The folks at the Senate Environment and Public Works committee (GOP side) did quite a job Tuesday on an Associated Press report on positive scientific reception of Al Gore's slide-show film "An Inconvenient Truth." Now, the AP's media relations director, Linda Wagner, has filed a response.
The AP’s methodology was simple, straightforward and clean: We contacted more than 100 of the nation’s top climate researchers, including those who have been vocal skeptics of climate change theory. But we quoted only climate scientists who had actually viewed the documentary or read the book upon which it was based. As we learned in the course of our reporting – and as our story noted – most scientists have not seen the movie or read the book. And those who had seen it or read it were generally positive toward Gore’s scientific presentation.
The Senate Committee Majority’s press release was headlined "AP INCORRECTLY CLAIMS SCIENTISTS PRAISE GORE’S MOVIE." That headline is wrong: The story was completely accurate and met AP’s high standards in every way.
The AP story reported facts. It did not take a position in a debate, whether political or scientific, about global warming.
Jon Carroll has this to say about the New York Times / White House animosity:
The Times is a good target... Also, the name of the New York Times contains the word "New York." Many members of the president's base consider "New York" to be a nifty code word for "Jewish." It is very nice for the president to be able to campaign against the Jews without (a) actually saying the word "Jew" and (b) without irritating the Israelis. A number of prominent Zionist groups think the New York Times is insufficiently anti-Palestinian, so they think the New York Times isn't Jewish enough.
Since George W. Bush has done more to protect the future of Israel than any Democrat on the planet, why would he want to "campaign against the Jews"? He continues:
Do we really believe that the terrorists are reading the New York Times for clues on what to do, or not do, next?
Over the past few years, the media have consistently given a vote of no confidence to the U.S. economy, my colleague Amy Menefee wrote over at BusinessandMedia.org yesterday.
Her article shows how disconnected from reality the media are. Her points hit home even harder in light of today's announcement by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that GDP grew at 5.6 percent in the first three months of 2006.
TV journalists have been warning of “stagflation,” a bursting housing bubble, and even “recession,” but consumers are far more confident about the economy than journalists.