Ever heard of the Wise Men of Chelm? They are the well-intentioned but foolish residents of an imaginary Jewish village, and the object of humor that stretches back 500 years. Here's one story. One of the "wise men" is sent to a neighboring village to bring back a horse. On the way home the horse wanders off and is lost. "Schlemiel!" remonstrate the townspeople with him. "Don't you know you have to lead the horse back on a rope?"
A week later the same man is sent off to bring back a slab of butter. Learning from his mistake and taking the advice to heart, he drags the butter all the way home along the dusty road on a rope.
The Wise Men are still with us. They might be gone from Chelm, but continue to populate academia and the MSM. One resident popped up on the pages of the Boston Globe this morning. Andrew Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University. In Rescinding the Bush Doctrine, Bacevich calls for Congress to learn from the errors of President Bush's ways in Iraq, and "focus on averting any recurrence of this misadventure." And just how would the well-intentioned professor rope in our foreign policy and prevent it from wandering off, so to speak? By formally and legislatively renouncing the use of preventive war. Specifically, Bacevich calls on Democratic leaders to "offer a binding resolution that makes the following three points":
First, the United States categorically renounces preventive war.
Second, the United States will henceforth consider armed force to be an instrument of last resort.
Third, except in response to a direct attack on the United States, any future use of force will require prior Congressional authorization, as required by the Constitution.
Washington Post reporter Lyndsey Layton reported Thursday that House Republicans will move for an unusual vote protesting the new committee assignment of Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana, the congressman still under investigation for the $90,000 in bribe money found in his home freezer. After removing Jefferson from the powerful Ways and Means Committee last year as the Democrats ran against a "culture of corruption," Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi now wants to place him on the Homeland Security Committee.
Layton's story highlights Jefferson's role as a "vocal critic of FEMA's performance" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as a rationale for his Homeland Security appointment. But the Post left out Jake Tapper's September 2005 scoop on Jefferson using the government to check on his personal property in the hurricane aftermath: "Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned."
Last night, "Nightly News" and "Evening News" chose to inject a negative reference to the housing market into economy stories following Tuesday's stock market drop to make it look worse to viewers.
Both programs mentioned the 16.6 percent decrease in new home sales for January calling it the biggest drop in 13 years. But both networks also left out positive data for the same month available from the National Association of Realtors.
NBC reporter Carl Quintanilla even provided viewers with what he termed a "nightmare scenario: that home values plummet, more Americans default on their mortgages and stop spending."
The entire Business & Media Institute story can be found here.
Former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite was in San Jose last week to give a speech at the Commonwealth Club. Before he did, he gave an interview to the local CBS affiliate’s Hank Plante (video available here).
In fairness, Cronkite seemed very tired, and a little out of sorts. However, there were several moments during the interview when Cronkite forget simple things – like who the former tyrant and leader of Iraq was – and another when he stated that Barack Obama is in his twenties. Honestly.
With that in mind, here were some of the more interesting highlights first with his opinion of the Iraq war:
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric highlighted how “according to a new government report out today” the problem of homelessness “is worse than we knew. On any given day, as many as 754,000 people in this country are homeless. As Cynthia Bowers tells us, one-third of the homeless are families with children." As viewers saw a mother with two kids, and with “Faces of Despair” on screen, Bowers framed the story in the most empathetic way, “This may be the most heartbreaking face of today's findings: the homeless children in America. Like six-month-old Mariah, or one-year-old Erin, innocent victims caught up in their parents' problems.”
Though the report, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), found that two-thirds of the homeless are men, Bowers focused on the minority, asking the mother: “What would you say to Americans who think the stereotypical homeless person is a guy on the streets with a bottle in his hands?” The woman ludicrously responded: “Most Americans are just a paycheck away from being on the streets or being in a shelter like this.” Bowers proceeded to relay how the report “suggests there are 300,000 more homeless people than beds in shelters and transitional housing, more than three-quarters of a million on any given night,” which is, Bowers helpfully illustrated, “nearly the population of South Dakota.”
As NewsBusters previously reported, there is a climate change skeptics conference going on in Canberra, Australia. One of the function’s organizers is the influential Lavoisier Group whose co-founder Ray Evans has written a fascinating publication on this subject that the media and global warming alarmists would hate for Americans to read.
Simply called “Nine Facts About Climate Change,” this piece carefully outlined the major issues concerning the anthropogenic global warming debate while countering claims by the alarmists including former Vice President Al Gore.
Evans wonderfully categorized the problem at hand in his introduction (emphasis mine throughout):
MRC's Business & Media Institute director Dan Gainor appeared on "Your World with Neil Cavuto" earlier to talk about the way the media covered yesterday's stock market slide.
"CBS, which always ends up being the worst in all of our studies for covering the economy, took a 3 percent drop and turned it into a disastrous, uh -- made it look like it's, you know, the end of the world," Gainor told Fox News Channel viewers.
As for any good economic news, "they buried it in the middle of a report" and then compared it to the two biggest stock losses in history, Gainor continued.
I subscribe to e-mailed breaking news alerts from both Fox News and CNN. Out of curiosity today, I reviewed the news alerts about the market's performance from yesterday's precipitous drop and today's rally.
I found that yesterday Fox issued two alerts to CNN's one. Today, Fox sent an e-mail update about the market's 50-point gain for the day. No such e-mail was issued from CNN, however.
I took the liberty to lift the text from the updates. Here they are in chronological order from earliest to latest:
Fox News breaking news update | 2/27/2007, 15:07 EST
DOW INDUSTRIALS FALL MORE THAN 500 POINTS ON FEARS OF ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN IN U.S., CHINA AND EUROPE
CNN Breaking News | 2/27/2007, 16:05 EST
-- The Dow sees its biggest
one-day drop in 3 years, ending about 400 points lower after plummeting
more than 500 points earlier in the day. More soon.
Fresh off his Oscar coronation, Al Gore is stepping up his
jihad against global warming skeptics by continuing his
campaign to stop the media from covering their viewpoint at all.
In a speech delivered Tuesday, Gore blasted media
giving any credence at all to people who see things differently than
him on global warming. The former veep denounced what he termed "balance
as bias" in environment reporting:
Gore told a crowd of about
50 people at the U.S.
Media Ethics Summit II
that the presentation's single most provocative slide was one that
contrasts results of two long-term studies. A 10-year University of
California study found that essentially zero percent of peer-reviewed
scientific journal articles disagreed that global warming exists,
whereas, another study found that 53 percent of mainstream newspaper
articles disagreed the global warming premise.
Why is it that conservative characters on prime time television, what few of them there are, almost always end up "evolving" into fuzzy liberals? "Entertainment Weekly" columnist Mark Harris asked that very question in the current issue of the media magazine [Emphasis added]:
Left wing inflammatory comments continue on The View. On the February 28th edition, co-host Joy Behar lashed out calling the American people "to really wake up and understand that they [the Bush administration] are liars and they are murderers."
Token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck tried to insert some common sense and stated that "some fringe liberals are taking this to a place to where we’re losing sight on the issue here." Behar, who just called the Bush administration, "liars" and "murderers" adamantly denied she’s a "fringe liberal" and said it’s "name calling."
The ladies discussed the Bob Woodruff special, To Iraq and Back, and shifted to the policy of not filming the arrival of coffins at Dover Air Force Base. The transcript is below.
It's one story that would seem to be of interest to the New York Times political blog "The Caucus" -- the nutty rants of the left-wing Huffington Post community and others, after Tuesday's news that a suicide bomber had blown himself up outside a military base in Afghanistan where Vice President Dick Cheney was staying.
Many Huffpost commenters posted regrets that the bomber had not managed to assassinate Cheney (the offensive comments have since been removed from the site, but Michelle Malkin reprints some and has a link to the full slimy set).
Update/Correction (3/1/2007, 10:32 EST): Oops. Ted Olsen is the online managing editor for Christianity Today and he e-mailed me to point out his byline as the "former solicitor general" was part of the satire. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go have lunch with James Cameron...
Former solicitor general Ted Olsen wrote a brief satire that illustrates the absurdity of filmmaker James Cameron's belief that he's found the remains of Christ because he found a family tomb in Israel bearing the names Jesus and Mary. It's posted at Christianity Today's Web log.
It's a tried and true tactic of interest groups seeking to influence public opinion -- and legislative policy -- on a controversial issue. Find the most sympathetic individual case you can, and get the media to focus on that, rather than on the broaders merits of the matter. A prime example of the phenomenon was on display today at Good Morning America. Congressman Marty Meehan [D-MA] has introduced legislation that would repeal the Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell policy, with the result that gays would be able to serve openly in the military. Hearings are scheduled to begin soon.
ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper narrated a segment on Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva [ret], described as the first member of the US military seriously injured in the Iraq invasion, losing a leg and part of a hand. In conjunction with the debate on the bill, Sergeant Alva publicly announced, apparently for the first time today, that he is gay.
Tapper interviewed Sergeant Alva at the offices of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group. Later in the segment, we heard from Dixon Osburn of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, another gay rights group that focuses specifically on gays in the military. It seems likely that one or both of these groups have identified Alva as a spokesman, then took his story to ABC, which ran with it.
Sir Arvi Parbo is likely not a household name in America. However, the knighted business mogul originally from Estonia is highly regarded in Australia, so much so that he was the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s gathering of climate change skeptics in Canberra.
As reported by News.com, during his address, Sir Parbo had some rather harsh words for Dr. Global Warming, aka Al Gore, as well as for all alarmists including those in the media:
A CONCERTED and well-organised campaign has created alarm over human-induced climate change, industrial magnate Sir Arvi Parbo says.
Sir Arvi also said today key international reports warning of climate change, including Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, are biased and scrutiny of them has been suppressed. [emphasis added in second paragraph]
Sir Arvi was just getting warmed up (emphasis mine throughout):
While journalists howl at the indignity of Helen Thomas being moved about six feet, from the first row to the second row of the new White House press room, there’s been relative silence about the Cuban dictatorship’s expulsion of Western journalists who published stories unflattering to the communist leadership.
[update added at the end of original post]
Today’s Investor’s Business Daily says the expulsion of the Chicago Tribune’s Gary Marx, the BBC’s Stephen Gibbs and Mexico’s El Universal reporter Cesar Gonzalez-Calero “was a minor story, but shouldn’t be.” With these three paying a penalty for reporting the uncomfortable truths about Castro’s dying dictatorship, IBD correctly asks “why the remaining correspondents inside Cuba aren’t red-faced about not being thrown out.”
Folks that aren’t familiar with columnist James Lileks will be pleasantly surprised by his recent op-ed concerning Sunday’s Academy Awards and the Church of Global Warming. As published by Newhouse News Services, Lileks marvelously observed (emphasis mine throughout):
If environmentalism is the new religion, the Oscar ceremony was the High Holy Mass.
Of course, if the Academy — a remarkable name for people who paint their faces and pretend they're secret agents or royalty — were truly serious about imminent global warming, it would have asked everyone to turn off their TVs and receive the results by some low-impact Earth-friendly means, such as carrier pigeon. Perhaps such drastic measures will be used in 2008, by which time the oceans will have risen 37 feet and everyone east of Cleveland will be clustered on the roof.
Most people who tune in to morning TV "news" programs know the unbearable lightness of the product, full of celebrity cotton candy and tragic tales of tabloid woe, of climbers lost on mountains and teenagers lost in the tropics. So it was a little shocking to be diverted from that maudlin box of info-bon bons known as the Anna Nicole Smith deathmatch to questions on the grand and glorious subject of Biblical anthropology, and a "discovery" of the alleged bones of Jesus.
Why this whiplash-inducing change of subject? It's sad but true that the "Today" crew went into promotional hyperdrive for the Discovery Channel special on the alleged bones of Jesus because someone spread Hollywood glitter on it -- James Cameron, the director of "Titanic." (Christians are joking among themselves that Cameron doesn't seem to know who the real King of the World is.) The Cameron connection has been a constant attraction for The Discovery Channel.
NewsBusters has reported for months how the mainstream media did an absolutely lousy job covering the controversy surrounding former President Jimmy Carter’s book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [see editor's note at bottom of post]. As odd as it may seem, the ombudsman for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution agreed with us.
Angela Tuck, the AJC’s public editor, wrote the following on February 24 (emphasis mine throughout):
The controversy surrounding former President Jimmy Carter's book on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the story that won't go away. And frankly, this newspaper was slow to cover the book and the firestorm it created.
That was only the beginning of this fabulous account of liberal media bias that would make Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly proud:
On Monday, the host of Fox News’s “O’Reilly Factor” took issue with this tremendous double standard concerning obvious omissions in reporting by the press when stories go counter to their prescribed liberal agenda. O’Reilly began:
When is a newspaper unable to determine the political ideology of someone despite an overwhelming body of evidence that clearly shows what his politics are? It happens when the person in question is a deranged Leftwing stalker whose antics are so embarrassing that liberals are anxious to not be identified with him.
Such was the case with Andrew Stone (pictured), a Leftwing stalker whose home invasion of a Republican was chronicled by Michelle Malkin. As reported by Malkin, Stone stalked University of Mary Washington student, Richard Reed Pannell, whose "high crime" as stated in his Facebook account, was being a College Republican. After finding Pannell's home address in Facebook, Stone showed up at the address pretending to be a military recruiter. Here is what happened next as posted by Malkin:
Here's a headline sure to spook any investor or economist: "Greenspan warns of likely U.S. recession." That was the headline right near the top of the widely surfed Drudge Report yesterday afternoon and this morning, referring to a speech that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made the other day via satellite to a business conference in Hong Kong. Many market watchers are blaming those comments– along with a weak durable goods report and the plunge in the Chinese stock market – for today's stock market sell-off. But despite the inflammatory Drudge headline – which, in all fairness, linked to an Associated Press story with that same title – the Maestro was hardly so definitive as Drudge made him out to be. Here is what Greenspan said, according to AP:
February 28, 2007 -- To those who remember the infamous 1981 Brinks heist in Nyack, Judith Clark is a self-indulgent '60s radical serving a well-deserved 75-year prison term for her role in the violent deaths of three heroic law-enforcement officers.
But to the Associated Press, which supplies news to the world, Judith Clark is a "former freedom fighter."
The press releases of the Discovery Channel boast that its parent company, Discovery Communications, is the “number one nonfiction media company.” That identifier is now in shambles, and the paper it’s printed on fit only to be crumpled and thrown away. The folks at Discovery have rendered themselves carnival barkers peddling sensationalistic garbage, trashy money-making gimmicks dressed up as real journalism.
The Discovery Channel is hyping to the heavens its new documentary on “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of “Titanic,” has joined filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici in publicizing claims that a 2,000-year-old tomb containing 10 boxes of bones belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth. It also echoes the dopey “DaVinci Code” novel by asserting that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that the couple had a son. They claim the son was named Judah and that all three were buried together.
If there were any doubt as to the degree to which the MSM loathes and distrusts President Bush, it should be dispelled by the performance of Sy Hersh on today's Hardball and the way he was applauded by Chris Matthews. At the end of Hersh's appearance, Matthews put this question to the investigative reporter:
"What's your biggest worry in the world? Is it Iran? Is it this administration going to war with Iran? Is it a civil war in Iraq? Is it Musharraf's inability to fight the Taliban on his own soil? What's your biggest worry?"
Last night, ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" and CBS "Evening News" devoured a recent report from the food police: Center for Science in the Public Interest. The CSPI report charges casual dining restaurants with serving high calorie and high fat appetizers, entrees and desserts and promotes federally mandated nutrition information on menus.
While both programs did include restaurant spokesmen, the meat of both stories came straight from the CSPI release which is not surprising since CSPI experts frequently appear in network news stories -- most recently on February 20, 21, 22, 23 and then in the "extreme eating" stories on the 26th.
As noted in NewsBusters on Monday, NBC’s "Today" show breathlessly reported the claims, articulated by filmmaker James Cameron in a new Discovery Channel documentary, that the tomb of Jesus, with Christ buried inside, has been located. Co-anchor Matt Lauer hyped the network’s exclusive interview with Cameron by credulously repeating the documentary’s assertions and stating the film could "rock Christianity to its core."
In contrast, the other networks provided a more skeptical interpretation. On the February 26 edition of ABC’s "Nightline," anchor Terry Moran repeatedly noted that many archaeologists are skeptical of the claims that the tomb of Jesus and a reported family have been found. On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," reporter Dan Harris prefaced a segment on the subject by observing, "If the claims in this new documentary are true, and many people doubt that they are, they would challenge some of Christianity's central articles of faith..." Over on CBS, "Early Show" anchor Hannah Storm peppered the film’s director, Simcha Jacobovici, with a number of tough questions:
Hannah Storm: "Simcha, are you attacking the basic tenets of Christianity that Jesus indeed rose from the dead?"
Hannah Storm: "What about people who say this is nothing more than a publicity stunt, Simcha?"
In a press statement released today, MRC President Brent Bozell urged the Discovery Channel to table the misleading James Cameron documentary "The Lost Tomb of Jesus."
“If the Discovery Channel fails to
cancel this slanderous ‘documentary,’ it will have to explain why it is
intentionally misleading the public,” said L. Brent Bozell III,
president of the Media Research Center, referring to Sunday’s upcoming
airing of The Tomb of Jesus. “They should be embarrassed by this plunge
into sensational speculation masquerading as ‘science.’ To slander
Christianity at the start of the Lenten season is unconscionable.”
This morning's tragic incident in Afghanistan, when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the gate of the U.S. military base where Vice President Dick Cheney was staying, seems to answer any questions regarding "excessive secrecy" of Cheney's trip to Pakistan and then Afghanistan.
But as of this morning, New York Times reporter David Sanger had his doubts. In his Tuesday morning print story, "Cheney Warns Pakistan To Act Against Terrorists," Sanger devoted a great deal of space to the "unusual secrecy" surrounding Cheney's trip.