Reports of burning mosques, like this one from Reuters remain unconfirmed, and may have been fabricated by Sunni militants.
Also, sensationalized accounts of Sunnis being dragged from prayer and burned alive by rampaging Shiites are unconfirmed, and all appear to come from the same source, police Captain Jamil Hussein, whose entire career appears to be issuing statements about Shia violence against Sunnis. Curt at Flopping Aces has researched Hussein and found a remarkable number of atrocity stories for which he is the source.
For journalists, the answer depends on whether they are covering the shopping season or company layoffs. ______________________
Last year, I sensed that journalists in general prefer to call this time of the year in commerce that of "holiday shopping" instead of "Christmas shopping," but that when it came to people losing their jobs, they preferred to describe layoffs as relating to "Christmas."
My instincts were proven correct, as you can see below from the results of three different sets of Google News searches in November and December (links to last year's related posts are here, here, and here):
I've decided to track the same items this year to see if there is any noticeable change or trend.
Based on the first set of Google News searches during this Christmas season, I would say there is:
Putin's Russia poses a potentially serious threat to the United States. But America lacks the moral standing to confront it. That was the view expressed by Ellen Ratner on this morning's Fox & Friends. Ratner, the short, liberal side of 'The Long & the Short of It' duo [seen here in file photo], expressed little doubt that Putin's government was behind the murder of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.
Ratner: "I think that there's no question. If I were a betting woman it would be 100% Putin and Russia, it's just their operation and they have the means to do it."
She continued: "We have got to take a very good, careful look at Russia. We're in Iraq where you have sort of a ragtag group of insurgents. And we're not focusing on the Russians that have over 5,000 nukes [and other WMDs] . . . Unfortunately, we're in business with these guys, we need their oil."
That's when Ratner asserted that America's alleged moral failings limited its options:
"I don't know what we should do except that we are not in a great position because we don't have the moral standing given what we're doing in Iraq."
Fox News Watch led this week's show with Brent Bozell's condemnation of the press' coverage of the just-concluded congressional campaign. Host Eric Burns noted that Bozell is "head of an influential conservative media watchdog group called the Media Research Center" - which also happens to be the parent organization of NewsBusters.
FNW played a video clip of Bozell stating:
"In 25 years of looking at the national media I have never in my life seen a more one-sided, distorted, vicious presentation of news and non-news by the national press. The national press ought to be collectively ashamed of itself. They might as well take up membership in the Democratic national party. They were the simple microphones for the party. They need to be ashamed of themselves for what they did."
And here I thought I was joking. Yesterday, I closed this item on Maureen Dowd's column - in which she longed for an Iraqi dictator to whom to surrender - by wondering whether we should "look for Dowd to pop up in Baghdad sometime soon, leading a 'Bring Back Saddam' movement?"
But the appeal of bringing back Saddam is apparently no laughing matter in liberal circles. In today's Los Angeles Times, New Republic editor Jonathan Chait - he of "Bush Hatred" fame - has written a column entitled, yes, "Bring back Saddam Hussein." I kept reading for a clue that this was a Swiftian modest proposal. It never came. Chait apparently means it. Excerpts:
CNN’s Kyra Phillips invited comedian Paul Mooney and radio talk show host Roland Martin on to “Newsroom” Tuesday to discuss the Michael Richards (“Kramer”) issue (hat tip to NB member MyKindaSpam). During the conversation, both guests made what many would perceive as being rather anti-Semitic remarks.
This was Martin’s:
Another piece is when you really examine what he said, he not only said 50 years ago we'd have you hanging upside down from a tree. Well, guess what, 50 years ago, Michael Richards would have been in some oven in Germany being baked because he's also Jewish.
Yikes. Mooney must have felt he needed to top that, for later in the discussion, he said:
From page one of today's Washington Post, an article by Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin that begins with a reference to "the scientific consensus about climate change" as if the "consensus" were an established fact:
While the political debate over global warming continues, top executives at many of the nation's largest energy companies have accepted the scientific consensus about climate change and see federal regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions as inevitable.
The Democratic takeover of Congress makes it more likely that the federal government will attempt to regulate emissions. The companies have been hiring new lobbyists who they hope can help fashion a national approach that would avert a patchwork of state plans now in the works. They are also working to change some company practices in anticipation of the regulation.
There is perhaps no better time to speak well of someone than when they pass away. But tributes can be excessive to the point where the truth is utterly lost, and low moments of someone's career are glossed over. When we lose presidents, partisans of one stripe or the other think the celebration risks ignoring or going beyond the facts of history. In today's Washington Post, Marcia Davis's appreciation of departed New York Times managing editor Gerald Boyd, dismissed by the Times in the furor over utterly fraudulent reporting by Jayson Blair, Davis claims no one can challenge Boyd's record as a stickler for accuracy and against racial favoritism. The caption the front page of the Style section didn't mention Blair, but merely: "As he mentored new generations of journalists, Boyd was an unyielding stickler for accuracy." Davis recalled the Blair scandal this way:
Anyone who tunes into late-night comedy shows knows that many black comedians utter the n-word with rapid-fire frequency. Perhaps Michael Richards mistakenly thought that what was sauce for the goose was sauce for the white gander. In any case, in a Today show appearance this morning, Jesse Jackson declared that he would be working to "prohibit" the use of the word. He didn't offer specifics, but one question naturally arises. Would Jackson's n-word ban begin where the word is most frequently in use - the black community?
Interviewed by weekend host Lester Holt [one of my MSM favorites for his level-headedness, I might add] on the Michael Richards mess, Jackson floated his proposal in these terms:
Maureen Dowd: law-and-order fan? And here I thought liberals like to pose as champions of human rights . . .
But consider Dowd's idea of an Iraq solution: find brutal dictators to whom we can surrender and who will impose "law and order." Working model: the US capitulation to the Communist dicators of Hanoi.
The title of her subscription-required column of this morning, No One to Lose To, says it all. Dowd's biggest regret is, yes, that there's no obvious thug, or thugocracy, to whom to surrender. Dowd approvingly quotes Neil Sheehan, a former Times reporter in Vietnam who wrote “A Bright Shining Lie” as saying:
“In Vietnam, there were just two sides to the civil war. You had a government in Hanoi with a structure of command and an army and a guerrilla movement that would obey what they were told to do. So you had law and order in Saigon immediately after the war ended. In Iraq, there’s no one like that for us to lose to and then do business with.”
It started with this post at One Oar in the Water, comparing the LA Times' reporting of an incident at Ramadi to portions of a soldier's e-mail about the same incident.
Since it concerned a story allegedly seriously misreported by the Los Angeles Times, it seemed only logical for yours truly to ask Patterico, the blogosphere's designated LA Times fisker, to investigate further.
Thankfully, he did, and, as usual, he has done a splendid job. The LA Times' "Silent Solomon" Moore (you'll see why he gets the nickname from me when you read the post) does not come off looking good. Or maybe he should be called Solomon "Room Service" Moore.
There is no substitute for reading the whole thing, but here are Patterico's core findings:
Meredith Vieira, co-host of the NBC 'Today' television program, wears safety glasses and reacts during a demonstration of a Blendtec high power blender on the show, in New York's Rockefeller Center, Wednesday Nov. 22, 2006. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
We lead fairly schizophrenic lives during the Christmas season in America. Our popular holiday rituals are bifurcated between the sacred and the secular; between the very worldly commercial extravaganza of Christmas as offered by our department stores – when they have the guts to employ the word “Christmas” – and Christianity celebrating the birth of Our Lord.
Hollywood hasn’t been so split on this question. It is firmly ensconced, and comfortable, in the secular world. Year after year, it offers commercial Christmas movies this time of year, with Grinches and Rudolphs, good Santas and Bad Santas, the Kranks and the Muppets. We’ve been Scrooged, been on Christmas Vacation, and taken rides on the Polar Express. We’ve seen the Christmas-as-a-backdrop movies like “Home Alone,” which, like so many others, might offer something about the Christmas “spirit” but wouldn’t dare to touch the Birth of Christ itself.
Time magazine has an online poll to get an unscientific idea of how their annual Person of the Year should be. It breaks down into American Republicans (President Bush, Secretary of State Rice), American Democrats (Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore), the Axis of Evil (Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and unofficial new member Hugo "Bush Is Satan" Chavez), and just to be trendy, the "YouTube Guys."
As of Friday morning, it seems the Time crowd understands that this isn't a popularity contest as much as a measure of who made the most waves in 2006: Ahmadinejad is ahead with 32 percent, and the YouTube Guys are far behind at 15 percent; Bush is at 13, Pelosi at 12, Al Gore at 11, and Rice at 8.
With gratitude to Providence and thanks to all who kept me in their thoughts and prayers, I'm happy to be home from Iraq. I arrived in Ithaca last night at about 9 PM, about 43 hours after beginning the journey home from Baghdad. Naturally there were a few more plot twists along the way. Instead of traveling via Rota Spain and Dover, DE, etc., it was Qatar, Ramstein Germany, Charleston, Charlotte, Philly, Syracuse and Ithaca. I'll spare you all the details, but will say that the East Coast being socked in made for lots more time to appreciate the charms of the Philly airport. Also, if you ever have the choice, opt to travel on a comfy C-5 with commercial-style seats that let you stretch out across a row, versus a spartan C-17. That said, the Air Force crews were great and did their best to keep us comfortable. And the bottom line is that I'm home, safe and sound.
The November 15 edition of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central offered more proof of comedian Stephen Colbert's ineffective charade at pretending to be a conservative. The hatred for conservatives comes through loud and clear as Colbert mocked Rush Limbaugh's addiction to Vicodin and compared him to mass-murder-inspiring Charles Manson. Minutes later, he invited Al Franken to do a victory dance for Democrats, and Franken chanted "We took the House and Senate" as he thrusted his pelvis to cheers and applause.
Colbert, the fake conservative, began by announcing his fake anger and sadness at the election returns, and then displayed how "America's newsman, Rush Limbaugh," was dealing with it: " They aired a video clip of Limbaugh's radio show: "But, the way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I'm going just going, I’m just going to tell you as plainly as I can why: I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried." To which Colbert replied: "It's true. He has carried a lot of water over the years and not just to help him swallow all those pills. (Cheers and applause) But, but you know what? I'll, I’ll let Rush explain."
In yet another anti-gun rant, the Times has once again sounded the good liberal mantra: Got a problem? Throw money at it.
Apparently, outgoing Senator George Allen (R, Vir.) has introduced one of his last bills in the waning days of the 109th sitting of the Senate, a bill allowing concealed carry of firearms inside our National Parks.
After informing us that the bill has passed the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, they emotionally proclaim that they "hope it will die the miserable death it deserves". Then they go on an interesting rant on how the gun lobby has:
We all know about actor Michael Richards' racial epithets at last Friday night's performance at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. But yesterday, this exclusive TMZ.com article revealed that the three-time Emmy-award-winning actor had also hurled anti-Semitic slurs at the Improv comedy club in April of this year. According to the piece, Richards yelled at an audience member, "You f***ing Jew. You people are the cause of Jesus dying." And here's the kicker: Richards' own representative has confirmed that this actually happened. (He said it was part of Richards' act.)
So how did the Los Angeles Times cover this latest revelation in today's paper (Thursday, November 23, 2006)? They didn't. In fact, the name "Michael Richards" appears nowhere in today's edition. Compared to the Mel Gibson episode from July, the Times is treating the angry slurs by Michael Richards much differently. Here's the rundown:
PBS talk show host Charlie Rose, who spent the 1980s at CBS doing the overnight interview show "Nightwatch," is never a softer touch than when he has a network star on his show. Monday night’s interview with NBC anchor Brian Williams gave the anchor a platform to present his newscast as a "reasoned, serious" oasis from cable-news shouters, a "half hour of peace and tranquility" with "smart people" like David Gregory and Andrea Mitchell telling you about the world. Their discussion of Katrina coverage had no hint of regret that NBC misled people with Ray Nagin’s wild estimates of 10,000 dead. Williams said, "you remember people saying, well, the media have found their footing again and its name is New Orleans. They were asleep during WMD. But they're awake now."
The interview began with syrupy talk about Williams filling in for Rose during his heart-surgery break. Williams said it was his pleasure, since he was interviewing that genius who is the editor of Newsweek:
Football is also a Thanksgiving prediction so feel free to prognosticate on today's games. In the NFL, Miami is playing at Detroit, the Tampa Bay Bucs are taking on the Dallas Cowboys, and the Kansas City Chiefs are playing host to the Denver Broncos.
There's only one college game today, Miami (the Florida one) is playing #18 Boston College.
William Donohue of the Catholic League suggests that some celebrities get left out of the unforgivable-slur category -- when the targets are Catholics, even Mother Teresa. Take Penn Jillette, the loud, tall half of the magician duo of Penn & Teller, who now not only has a Showtime series called "B.S." but a nationally syndicated talk-radio show:
"Michael Richards gets interrupted by hecklers, unleashes a racist tirade, gets blasted by the cultural elite and apologizes. Mel Gibson gets drunk, unleashes an anti-Semitic tirade, gets blasted by the cultural elite and apologizes. Penn Jillette, without any provocation, unleashes an anti-Catholic tirade, gets a free pass from the cultural elite and never apologizes.
If a Democratic uttered something even close to this the media would be all over it like white on rice:
“White rednecks” who “didn’t show up to vote for us” partly cost GOPers their cong. majorities, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) told fellow Republicans today. And Putnam, seeking the post of GOP conference chair, chided ex-Chair J.C. Watts (R-OK) for ruining the conference’s ability to serve its members.
Three Republicans in the room independently confirmed to the Hotline the substance and context of Putnam’s remarks.
In the wake of “Seinfeld” comedian Michael Richards’ now well-publicized meltdown at a comedy club this weekend, the blogosphere has uncovered a little-known 1986 film entitled “Whoops Apocalypse” in which “Kramer” posed as a blind, black man (video here, h/t to Hot Air). As described by Wikipedia:
Whoops Apocalypse was originally a six-part 1982 sitcom by Andrew Marshall and David Renwick, made by London Weekend Television for ITV. Marshall and Renwick later reworked the concept as a 1986 movie with almost completely different characters and plot, although one or two of the original actors returned in different roles. […]
The 1986 ITC Entertainment film version, directed by Tom Bussmann, uses an almost completely different plot from the series, but also ends with an accidentally-triggered nuclear holocaust.
Though Wikipedia described Richards’ character, it isn’t clear why he would be posing as a blind, black man:
Earlier this year, a woman killed herself after being interviewed by CNN Headline News host Nancy Grace over the apparent abduction of her son. At the time (see this September NB posting for background), the relatives of Melinda Duckett were blasting Grace for her alleged role in driving the woman to suicide. They've since taken things a step further and launched a lawsuit against Grace:
Her parents in Lockport were outraged
by the talk show hosts harsh, accusatory line of questioning. The
segment aired just hours after her death.
Jerry Eubank: "It was 3-4 hours after I heard that Mindy died and I'm
watching this woman banging the table, and screaming about why aren't
you telling us this, I mean she was judge, jury and executioner."
mother, Beth Eubank: "She physically makes me ill. The night she aired
the show on September 8th, it was less than four hours since Mindy's
death, family members had not even been notified."
Wednesday’s Fox and Friends discussed the recent feud between Rosie O’Donnell and Kelly Ripa. Co-host Gretchen Carlson said what so many of us are thinking.
Kelly Ripa complaining about singer Clay Aiken covering her mouth on TV: "Regardless of whatever the sexual orientation is, it was outrageous, it was out of line, it was unprofessional, and he wouldn't have done it to you because there is respect there." (End Video)
Gretchen Carlson: "Maybe he should do it to Rosie O'Donnell. You know what? This really just upsets me. Just stay out of everyone else's business, Rosie. I mean, for goodness sake, Kelly Ripa is the host of this show. Clay Aiken made a mistake in putting his hand over her mouth. You just don't do that to the host of a show when you are a guest and by the way, according to Kelly Ripa, he did not even say thank you for being the co-host of her show that day. I don't think Kelly Ripa should get any blame for what she said. She says 'look, it's cold and flu season, when I said I don't know where that hand's been,' she did not mean-"
Sometimes, from the wilderness outside that insular liberal bubble known as PBS, the self-congratulations reaches new levels of absurdity. PBS is so insular that it hires bloggers to promote PBS documentaries, even PBS documentaries that lionize PBS programs.
I speak of this blog post: PBS has hired bloggers to comment on its programs on a site called "Remotely Connected." Paid blogger Levi Asher promoted a documentary on the PBS show "Sesame Street," or more precisely a promotional film on how Sesame Workshop markets international versions of "Sesame Street." [CORRECTION: Asher and the other PBS bloggers are not paid. See statement below.] The documentary series is titled "Independent Lens." I have no earthly idea how a somehow-edgy "independent" filmmaker makes a film glowingly recounting how Sesame Workshop, the global conglomerate, is foisting its "Muppet catalysts for social change" on the world for profit. But Asher loves the whole promotional circle:
As Washington prepares for a new balance of power, there has been so much talk of “lame ducks” that you would be forgiven if you thought Vice President Cheney had gone hunting again. But the political phrase of the moment is actually derived not from the hunt for waterfowl, but for riches.