Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner weighs in on how the Associated Press can extricate themselves from the Jamil Hussein/burning men story in Iraq. Sound familiar?
What AP appears not to grasp is that the most serious questions about
its credibility are already in the minds of millions of people, thanks
in part to the bloggers, but also to the few mainstream media
organizations that have covered the growing controversy.
What is most puzzling about the AP reaction is its failure to do
the one thing that would instantly put the critics in their place -
produce Capt. Jamil Hussein. If he is in fact an Iraqi police captain,
it is impossible to understand why he cannot be produced and his
"Captain Jamil Hussein" is but one of 14 Iraqi-sounding names of
sources quoted by AP that U.S. military officials say cannot be
verified as credible sources.
By this point, the Associated Press has almost assuredly tried to
contact Jamil Hussein to come on camera, in uniform, in his police
office to prove that he does in fact exist, thereby shutting down this
Just as assuredly, the present silence from the Associated Press on
the matter indicates that they have likely failed to produce their
source for over 60 news stories.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman declared that the insurgency in Iraq has been defeating the U.S. military for the past four years during an interview Wednesday with Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer. While making the argument that there is no "two to three year" solution for the violence occuring in Iraq, Friedman declared victory for the insurgents:
Thomas Friedman: "...I don't believe myself that there's a two to three year solution where we just train a few more troops. The issue isn't training, Diane. After all, who's training the insurgents? Nobody. They're doing just fine. They've basically been defeating the U.S. military for the last four years."
Matt Lauer is getting greener by the minute. Fresh off his promotion of Al Gore the Today co-host turned to noted environmental activist/actor Leonardo DiCaprio to plug his latest enviro-flick. Initially on to promote his movie on the African diamond trade, Blood Diamond, Lauer couldn’t resist asking DiCaprio about his first liberal love, global warming. DiCaprio went on to push his upcoming movie, Eleventh Hour, that featured the "greatest minds in the world," on the subject of global warming. DiCaprio claimed his scientists represented "over 90 percent of the collective thought," on the issue but absurdly lamented they don’t get the appropriate amount of time in the media claiming: "But then when it's on the media you have that 10 or five percent and there sitting opposite on a chair and it becomes an argument when they are actually the minority."
Referring to the last time Dan Rather made assertions without documentation, Bill O'Reilly said Dan Rather should produce proof after claiming that Fox News got "talking points" from the White House.
Said Rather on HDnet:
I think it's fair to say, Bill, in fact I know it is, that FOX News operates in at least a somewhat different way than every other news organization that I know, that they have their "talking points," in which somebody in the hierarchy, whether this is Roger Ailes who runs the place or not, we know that they get talking points from the White House. And they can say well, we don't always take those talking points, but I think it's pretty clear that they had wished the election had gone another way.
O'Reilly said he had previously defended Rather during the Memogate scandal, but once again it appears he has no proof for his assertions.
Mr. Rather's assertions are nonsense, untrue, seriously dopey. I've been here from the beginning, and have never seen a White House "talking points." — And I don't know anyone else who's seen one either.
I asked senior management if they have ever seen a White House talking points. No one had.
So we called Dan Rather to ask for some "documentation." He's on the road, but said he'd come on “The Factor” next week to explain. Can't wait.
Professor, in So Many Words, Says That Jimmy Carter Deserves Another Prize: Best Fiction Writer in an Alleged Non-Fiction Book; Prediction is that Media Will Ignore
Great catch and follow-up comment by blogger Nasty Brutish & Short -- The Carter Center of Emory University has lost a Middle East Fellow, namely Professor Kenneth Stein, "solely as a result of Carter's new book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid" (link is to a post at Powerline, which has Stein's full e-mail; also discussed by J-Pod and Goldberg at NRO's The Corner).
Here's the money paragraph from Stein's resignation letter:
President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments. Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book. Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts, deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook.
Since today is being hyped as Bow to the Iraq Study Group Day, we should note that this is not a White House commission, but a group assembled by Congress. It’s also affiliated with the U.S. Institute of Peace. (Not all of those affiliated commissions get massive hype from journalists. For example, take Newt Gingrich and George Mitchell’s commission on United Nations reform last year.) Gail Russell Chaddock of the Christian Science Monitor explained recently it began with veteran Republican Rep. Frank Wolf of northern Virginia:
The Iraq Study Group is the flip side of the usual blue-ribbon panel, whose launch is often its high point. It began modestly as a one-line earmark in last spring's emergency defense spending bill - "$1 million ... for activities relating to Iraq."
This was just too delicious for words…but I’ll try. As many of you are aware, most conservatives who study the economy and the markets view the New York Times’ Paul Krugman as being one of the most disingenuous pols on the landscape. Krugman has regularly been shown to flat out lie about economic data in his articles to prove his specious points, and was accused by the Times’ former ombudsman Byron Calame of regularly doing exactly that.
Well, on Tuesday, Krugman got his well-deserved comeuppance as Fox News’ Neil Cavuto called him out for such errors in transmission, and actually called Krugman a liar (must-see video available here):
Here’s what I’m saying that you’re doing: You are lying to people. That’s what I think that you’re doing.
Krugman then actually had the nerve to respond: “I haven’t heard a lie yet.” He mustn’t proofread his work. Luckily, Neil was having none of this:
Not only did Matt Lauer push Al Gore to run for President, as pointed out here, on this morning's Today show, he also repeatedly plugged Gore's An Inconvenient Truth DVD and pushed the former Vice President to call the President's decision to invade Iraq, "The worst strategic mistake in the entire history of the United States." First Lauer pressed Gore on the Iraq Study Group's findings: "So it's being described by some as 'cut and stay,' as opposed to 'cut and run.' Does it do enough to acknowledge the results of the midterm election and, and the message that voters were sending this administration, if these are listened to, these recommendations?" Then Gore moved on to Gore's pet cause, the environment, and pressed him to run for President with the following questions:
Now that CBS's Early Show is letting Rene Syler go, maybe they could let their liberal foreign-policy omnipresence, Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, anchor a few segments. Mike Rule caught this weird passage on Monday's show, when Harry Smith asked if other Bushies "get it" on Iraq like Rumsfeld's outgoing memo did:
"I don't think so. Rumsfeld has always intrigued many of us on the outside watching him because he's not only a decisive government executive, he's also an analyst and a very good analyst. We'd love to have him at Brookings, I'm sure, when he steps down. He's a smart guy who comes up with powerful new ideas and recognizes reality. I think he made huge mistakes in the early part of the Iraq war, but I think, he, himself is as good as anyone at recognizing how badly things are going. And I think he has a little bit better ability to do that, perhaps, than some people in the White House."
On November 29, my NewsBusters op-ed considered the violent downside of withdrawing American troops from Iraq, and how it could lead to a real civil war between Sunni and Shia from all the Muslim nations in the region. It turns out that on the same day, an advisor to the Saudi government, Nawaf Obaid, wrote his own op-ed published by the Washington Post wherein he cautioned that if U.S. troops pull out of Iraq, “one of the first consequences will be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis.”
Sadly, this piece received little media focus as the press pushed harder and harder for a full-scale retreat.
Regardless of the media’s disinterest, Obaid was quite blunt: “One hopes [President Bush] won't make the same mistake again by ignoring the counsel of Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who said in a speech last month that ‘since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited.’" He ominously continued (emphasis mine throughout):
Is there nothing negative to say about the presidential aspirations of Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, and Barack Obama, D-IL?
From following recent media coverage, you'd hardly know that many leading Democrats have serious concerns that Clinton is unelectable, opposed as she is out of the gate by 4 in 10 Americans, according to polls.
Or that Barack Obama has admitted trying marijuana and cocaine in his youth (acknowledged in his beautifully-written autobiography "Dreams From My Father")and has a scant two years in the Senate to his name, with little to claim credit for legislatively.
In all my years of Today-watching, I'm not sure I've ever seen anything quite like the display Matt Lauer put on this morning. In beseeching Al Gore to run for president, Lauer literally portrayed him as the planet's potential savior.
"If you were to run for president, you could take this issue to the next level, even if just during a campaign. And if you were fortunate enough to win the presidency, you would sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make . . . " Matt stopped himself at the immensity of the prospect before exclaiming "you could be in a position to save the planet!"
In its zeal to undercut the presidential ambitions of its home-state governor, the Boston Globe engages in some blatant intellectual dishonesty this morning. Last week, the Globe breathlessly broke the story that a lawn care company that provides services to Mitt Romney has employees who are illegal immigrants. As the Globe archly put it: "as Governor Mitt Romney explores a presidential bid, he has grown outspoken in his criticism of illegal immigration. But, for a decade, the governor has used a landscaping company that relies heavily on . . . illegal Guatemalan immigrants." The Globe headlined its story: "Illegal immigrants toiled for governor." Toiled. Nice touch. Tote that rake, lift that lawnmower.
Cued up by Jay Leno on Tuesday's Tonight Show to deliver some quips about global warming, Dennis Miller did some show and tell as he reached behind his chair for a hard copy of the April 28, 1975 Newsweek. That's the edition often cited by doubters of dire global warming predictions because its story, “The Cooling World,” illustrates the fickle nature of media-fueled hysteria. Miller explained that “I had heard about this on the Internet, Jay, and I went back and got a copy of it. It's a Newsweek magazine” with “The Cooling World” as “the big story in the 'Science' section.” Miller pointed to a chart on the page showing “the temperature of the planet is dropping off” and he marveled at how “it says the solution to the global cooling problem is to deliberately melt the polar ice caps” -- the very phenomenon now cited as proof of global warming.
You know you're liberal if even a liberal media watchdog group calls you liberal -- that is, unless you're MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. While Olbermann denies displaying a liberal bias on his show, once describing himself politically as "correct" and "neutral," media analyst Paul Waldman of the far left Media Matters for America, a frequent source of material for Olbermann, sees it differently. On Tuesday's Scarborough Country on MSNBC, during a discussion of whether there is a "vast left-wing conspiracy" against Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, Waldman proclaimed that Olbermann's show is the "only liberal show" on cable news. Below is a complete transcript of Waldman's comment from the December 5 Scarborough Country:
It's understood there's a professional partnership between Newsweek and NBC/MSNBC, but it really seemed like the crew at Today on Tuesday were pounding consistently on the Newsweek drum of the week, that the crucial question in Washington is whether George W. Bush will listen to critics -- or to be more precise, whether George Bush will bend to the will of the liberal media establishment. NBC could have started the day be saying "We at NBC News, after consultations, have decided to ask today whether President Bush will listen."
MRC's Geoff Dickens noted that in the show's first minute, Ann Curry began: "Today, confirmation hearings begin for President Bush's pick to be the next defense chief, and tomorrow the Iraq Study Group releases its highly anticipated report. But just how open is President Bush to suggestions? We're gonna ask the man who's worked closer with him than probably anyone else, his former chief of staff Andy Card."
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who regularly uses his Countdown show to ridicule President Bush, on Tuesday finally included the President in his list of nominees for "Worst Person in the World." For the past 17 months that Olbermann has featured the "Worst Person" segment on his show, the Countdown host has ironically avoided including Bush in spite of the regular, sometimes vitriolic, criticism Olbermann has spewed at the President, including calling him a "21st century Marie Antoinette" over his handling of Hurricane Katrina and delivering several "Special Comment" attacks on the President. But on the December 5 show, Olbermann awarded Bush the third place "bronze" distinction because of word that President Bush had been warned about the sensitivity of asking Democratic Senator-elect Jim Webb about his son's service in Iraq before doing so anyway. Below is a complete transcript of Olbermann's comments about Bush from the December 5 Countdown show:
The hubbub raised over six Islamic imams being removed from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis for suspicious behavior is the latest in a string of incidents underlining one consistent thread in the war on terror: Muslim terrorists have never given up on the tried and true idea of hijacking airplanes and blowing them up to kill and demoralize the infidels.
Police and witness reports suggest a list of suspicious activities and remarks. Some of the imams were discussing in Arabic about "bin Laden" and condemning America for "killing Saddam." Imams asked for seat belt extenders for the extremely obese, for no apparent reason. (Did you know such extenders even existed?) The imams spread out at all exits of the plane, two in front, two in the middle, two in the rear. Between the six imams, they had one piece of checked luggage.
No Chris Matthews, no problem. The regular host of MSNBC's Hardball might be taking a post-election break, but the show hasn't missed a beat when it comes to liberal bias. We detailed here the sycophantish performance that last week's substitute host David Shuster put on with guest Jimmy Carter. With John Kerry as his guest, this evening's pinch hitter Mike Barnicle kept the Matthews' anti-Bush flame burning.
Barnicle offered guest John Kerry this distinctly negative multiple choice test to explain President Bush's Iraq policy:
"Is the president delusional, is he isolated, is he stubborn, is he all of the above, none of the above?"
Failing to report on the legal status has become a common practice of the mainstream media as was demonstrated by a recent report done by WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida. On Tuesday’s Fox and Friends First, hosts Brian Kilmeade, Gretchen Carlson, and Tiki Barber covered the story. The transcript is below.
Brian Kilmeade: "Let's talk about what's happening with, with illegals and soliciting funds for illegals. For example, what's happening in West Palm Beach in Florida."
Gretchen Carlson: "Well, you know, this is a really unusual story, because the TV station there, one of the affiliates in West Palm Beach, apparently did a story about how these immigrants needed help and that they had been giving back to the community, so now it was time for the rest of the community to step up an help them out. The only problem is is that usually television reports are supposed to be objective and they forgot to mention one major part of the story, which was the fact that these immigrants were illegal."
There’s good news and bad news. Well, in this case, there’s only bad news. Surprisingly strong data about the nation’s residential real estate market was released on November 30 by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Despite the media’s fascination with what it proclaimed over five years ago was a housing bubble, no TV network other than CNBC bothered to share the good news with its viewers.
But disappointing data from other government agencies and the National Association of Realtors has typically been given a lot of air time. NBC’s Brian Williams declared on September 25, “[T]he housing bubble has indeed and officially deflated.” A month later, CBS’s Katie Couric proclaimed that housing “prices are dropping like a rock.” And, a day before this OFHEO report was released, CNN’s Ali Veshi warned viewers, “[Y]our house is not gonna be the most expensive thing or the most valuable thing you own.”
Oklahoma Republican senator James Inhofe has been one of the lone bright spots in Washington when it comes to media accountability, specifically on the issue of global warming. He's continuing his hard-hitting approach Wednesday with a congressional hearing examining how the media has been been trying to scare the public into siding with climate change alarmists:
Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, will hold a full committee hearing tomorrow on "Climate Change and the Media."
The hearing will look at how the media has presented scientific evidence regarding predictions of human-caused catastrophic global warming, the senator's office said.
"Senator Inhofe believes that poorly conceived policy decisions will result from the media's nonstop hyping of 'extreme scenarios' and dire climate predictions," said committee Communications Director Marc Morano. "This hearing will serve to advance the interests of sound science and encourage rational policy decisions."
The global warming crowd must be getting desperate judging from a very threatening letter that some senators sent to ExxonMobil telling it to "end any further financial assistance or other support to groups or
individuals whose public advocacy has contributed to the small, but
unfortunately effective, climate change denial myth." Sounds more like a protection racket than a policy debate to me.
The Supreme Court is hearing a case about forced integration and whether it should be permitted. Patterico and La Shawn Barber have coverage.
On the Iraq front, The Anchoress blog has a lengthy essay on where Iraq is right now and what it means. An excerpt: "Damn Bush for getting us into this corner where all options suck, eh?
Well, maybe. But sooner or later someone was going to have to do this.
9/11 made it imperative and regardless of what they say now, the whole world (at that point) believed Saddam had WMD.
He was ignoring the UN, violating no fly zones and had threatened to
assassinate a former president - a clear act of war which, btw, had it
been answered back then, might have made our current reality quite
Like NB's Mark Finkelstein did last month, Bill Roggio is blogging from Iraq. Most of the troops there are far from happy with the press's coverage of the war: "In nearly every conversation, the soldiers, Marines and contractors
expressed they were upset with the coverage of the war in Iraq in
general, and the public perception of the daily situation on the
ground. The felt the media was there to sensationalize the news, and
several stated some reporters were only interested in 'blood and guts.'
They freely admitted the obstacles in front of them in Iraq. Most
recognized that while we are winning the war on the battlefield, albeit
with difficulties in some areas, we are losing the information war.
They felt the media had abandoned them."
CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is well known for bashing those who bash Islam or those who associate it with terrorism. Now they are attacking conservative columnist and radio talker Dennis Prager. Reports the AP:
An Islamic civil rights group wants a columnist removed from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council for criticizing Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's decision to use the Quran during his ceremonial swearing-in next month.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday that comments by Dennis Prager, a columnist and conservative talk radio host, displayed an intolerance toward Islam that makes him inappropriate to serve on the council, which oversees the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
In a special edition of MSNBC's Hardball College Tour former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw went on diatribes against the President's war policy, comparing it to Vietnam, praised "rock star" Barack Obama, castigated "blatantly racist" Republican ads, charged Ronald Reagan neglected, "Mother Earth," and declared of the notoriously liberal Daily Show: "There are more facts and more truths told in the first eight minutes of The Daily Show than most political news conferences in Washington."
NBC's Campbell Brown filled in for host Chris Matthews as she teed up questions to Brokaw at Fordham University. The following are some of the more relevant rants from Brokaw:
Channel 4, a TV station seen all across England, has decided to embrace the country's coming Islamification. Reports the Daily Mail:
Channel 4 is to reignite controversy over the wearing of the veil - by featuring a Muslim woman in full niqab giving the broadcaster's alternative Christmas message.
The woman, today named only as Khadija and said to be a lecturer in Islamic studies, will go head-to-head with the Queen when she gives her annual speech to the nation on 25 December.
Producers are said to have "discovered" her after a month-long search for a suitable candidate.
A spokesman for the channel added: "We felt it fitting that Channel 4's alternative Christmas message should be given by a Muslim woman in a year when issues of religious and racial identity and freedom of expression have dominated the news agenda.
For a man that is averaging a paltry 600,000 viewers an evening, he sure is full of…himself. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann sat down with the folks from Radar Online for an interview published Monday (hat tip TVNewser), and it must have been hard to get his head through the entranceway.
First, he did what most employees learn at an early age is a no-no – he took on his boss. His interviewers asked: “Dan Abrams said recently that your program ‘could become a model for the newscast of the future.’ Are you a role model?” Olby obnoxiously responded (emphasis mine throughout):
I don't know what Dan has to do with it frankly. We've never had a conversation about the direction of the show. He's actually the—The general manager [of MSNBC], right, but we rarely interact. As far as I know he works on dayside programming. Phil Griffin runs the network. He is the vice president of NBC [News] and my original producer in television.
Then, he went after CNN’s Lou Dobbs (emphasis mine throughout):
The article, Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans, is just what you’d expect from hacktivist reporters who spend just as much time furthering an agenda as they do in reporting out of context and sparsely connected facts. The end result is an article that has little to do with being correct let alone honest.