As an NBC military affairs analyst, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey is a familar face to many Americans. McCaffrey also serves as an adjunct professor at West Point, and in that capacity recently wrote an eight-page paper on the situation in Iraq based on a recent visit there.
In today's Washington Post, there appears an article by Thomas Ricks, WaPo's Pentagon correspondent, reporting on the McCaffrey paper. While Ricks does discuss some of McCaffrey's more optimistic findings, he emphasizes the negative while ignoring a number of the general's positive observations. Ricks' headline sets the tone: McCaffrey Paints Gloomy Picture Of Iraq, a tone reinforced by the article's opening line: "An influential retired Army general released a dire assessment of the situation in Iraq, based on a recent round of meetings there with Gen. David H. Petraeus and 16 other senior U.S. commanders."
Ricks does state that McCaffey's report "also lists several reasons for some new optimism, noting that since the arrival of Petraeus last month, 'the situation on the ground has clearly and measurably improved.'" And later: "Among McCaffrey's reasons for new optimism were that the Maliki government is permitting the United States to attack rogue leaders in the Mahdi Army of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Also, he noted that U.S. and Iraqi forces have changed their basic approach to operations, with soldiers now living on small outposts across Baghdad. Iraqi forces also are better equipped than before. In Anbar province, he noted, 'There is a real and growing groundswell of Sunni tribal opposition to the al-Qaeda-in-Iraq terror formations.' So, he concluded, it is still possible to develop a stable Iraq."
But Ricks omits mention of a number of other significant, positive findings that McCaffrey made, including the following:
Those who remember how quickly the leftists drove conservative blogger Ben Domenech out of the Washington Post blogging corps after three days (with no conservative replacement) should know that the liberal cast of bloggers remain untouched (and perhaps, in some cases, unread). I've been tipped to one Emil Steiner today, taking off after Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy for supporting a marriage-protection bill in Illinois. This, to Steiner, makes him akin to the religious folks who brought 9/11, not to mention foolish religious advocates of "racial purity, ethnic cleansing, and drinking the Kool Aid." Most importantly, Steiner thought Dungy's position showed him to be a traitor to his race:
The ladies of "The View" tackled the U.S. attorney firing controversy with more false information, comparisons to the mob, and once again Rosie O’Donnell called for impeachment. Rosie reported her take of how the attorney firings went down.
O’DONNELL: Okay, Republican officials who supposedly called these judges that were fired and said, are you going to prosecute this Democratic, and they said, I can't talk about that because I'm actually a judge, and it's illegal. And they said "click," and they got fired.
O’DONNELL: Now what is really scary, are the ones who they called and said yeah, sure I will. And they're still on the bench. That’s even more frightening.
For today's lesson in bias by labeling, class, turn to today's "Annapolis Notebook" in the March 28 Washington Post.
It's there that reporter Lisa Rein skewed her portrayal of a debate over tuition for illegal aliens in favor of the liberal Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly, with everything from watering down the label "illegal immigrant" to painting Republicans as angry partisans and Democrats as righteously angry protecters of the underprivileged.
The New York Times finally reports on the results of the troop increase in Baghdad, which seems to have brought a measure of safety to some of the most dangerous areas of Iraq's capital – but Kirk Semple and Alissa Rubin's A1 article Wednesday ("Sweeps in Iraq Cram Two Jails With Detainees") ignored that angle in favor of concern over…crowded Baghdad jails.
"Hundreds of Iraqis detained in the Baghdad security crackdown have been crammed into two detention centers run by the Defense Ministry that were designed to hold only dozens of people, a government monitoring group said Tuesday.
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Chris Cuomo interviewed GOP presidential candidate John McCain. In the piece, Cuomo quoted a congressional colleague who called the Arizona Senator’s position on Iraq "arrogant and self delusional."
The ABC host also wondered if McCain needed "rose colored glasses" to see progress in the war and prompted the ‘08 contender to choose which Democrat he’d like to see in the White House. All of this stood in stark contrast to the fawning, sycophantic "town hall" meeting that "Good Morning America" hosted with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday.
During that event, GMA co-host Robin Roberts told Clinton her plan for universal health care was ahead of its time and generally tossed softball questions. And she certainly didn’t ask the New York Senator if she’d prefer Mitt Romney or John McCain in the White House.
No, it's not bias per se, but it is a bit of a pet peeve when the media are sloppy with terminology that relates to the military.
This morning, CNN has been reporting on how Iran may release the female sailor that was captured along with 14 of her comrades. But in doing so, the CNN chyron referred to her as a "troop."
"Troop" is not used in the singular to refer to a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. "Troop" traditionally refers to a unit of soldiers, although in modern usage "troops" may refer to soldiers collectively irrespective of a unit organization.
CNN would be correct to say that Iran has said it will release the female sailor among the 15 captured British military personnel, as the woman in question serves in the Royal Navy.
An excerpt from Roberts' exchange with A.B. Stoddard of The Hill on "American Morning:"
STODDARD: Well, at this point the problem, of course is the cover-up and not the crime. Monica Goodling was the liaison for the White House and the Justice Department. If there was some serious meddling here and the decisions were made for political purposes, she's going to know the most how much the White House was involved. And so, you know, I can see why, if something is up here, she needs to plead the Fifth. But for the purposes of the committee, at this point, it just couldn't -- it couldn't fire them up more. They're going to be looking, of course, to talk to Kyle Sampson, and then, of course, the attorney general later.
Brent Bozell's culture column is early this week, since the MRC HQ is buzzing and bustling toward our big 20th anniversary gala on Thursday night. If you want to see it live, we will have a webcast. Brent's column mocks a new compilation of essays titled "South Park and Philosophy," edited by Robert Arp, a professor at Southwest Minnesota State University. You know the drill: take a crude and simplistic pop-culture phenomenon and try to make it sound philosophically deep. It's like standing in a mud puddle and pretending it's the Pacific Ocean. Here's a sample:
How do professors like this stoop to the bizarre idea that children can be enlightened by a show that labors to fit 160 uses of the S-bomb into a half-hour? A show that delights in having Jesus Christ defecate on President Bush with his “yummy, yummy crap”? How can you elevate that into the idea that watching “South Park” should really be seen as a correspondence course, like Newt Gingrich’s “Renewing American Civilization” series?
From the moment she participated in an anti-war march in NYC at the time of the 2004 GOP convention, there's been little doubt as to where Meredith Vieira stands on Iraq. Even so, it was something of a shock to hear the "Today" co-host express her opposition in the first person plural this morning.
Discussing the war with Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] at about 7:05 AM ET this morning, she said:
"Six out of ten Americans don't agree [with you]. They want a pull-out from Iraq. So what are we missing? When you say we are succeeding, based on what?"
"We?" Give Meredith credit for candor; but one more reason for NBC to stop pretending it doesn't lean left.
The New York Times cannot make up their mind if Dennis Hastert should be despised or laughed at, apparently. Neither can they decide if he is "rumpled and weary" or if he is "healthier and more relaxed" -- they confusingly say both in the very same article. But one thing is sure, their underlying sentiment toward the former Speaker of the House seems to be one of pity. And this article was simply an opportunity to kick someone they think is down.
But Dennis Hastert is neither seeking nor requiring such special attention or emotion to be wasted upon him. Furthermore, he never has. The pity party thrown for him by the Times is a pointless jab at a man who has given his life to the community. Hastert should be celebrated, not pitied. Least of all from as cynical an organization as the New York Times.
Inspired by an Esquire magazine interview in which Republican Senator Chuck Hagel mentioned the possibility that some of President Bush's critics may push impeachment at some point, CNN's Wolf Blitzer devoted considerable time on Monday's The Situation Room to discussing the significance of Hagel's impeachment talk, remarking that "it's not good for President Bush, to put it bluntly." Blitzer characterized impeachment talk as "a little bit louder" and, after Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, appearing as a guest, showed disinterest in a Bush impeachment, Blitzer still clung to the possibility, characterizing Dodd's words as "leaving the door slightly open," and remarking, "What I'm hearing is you're not completely ruling it out." (Transcript follows)
"Low-nitrosamine smokeless tobacco poses 10% or less of the health risks of cigarettes, according to various studies, including a 2004 National Cancer Institute-funded article," the Journal wrote.
The Journal quoted Michael Thun of the American Cancer Society who said, "There's no question that switching to spit tobacco and quitting tobacco altogether are both far less lethal than continuing to smoke."
me say that I did some self-cringing last week, when I choose to
describe Tony as the "most fun" press secretary of the administration.
I was looking for something non-controversial, non-partisan and true to
say about the guy. "Fun" seemed like something he'd appreciate -- he is
fun. The biggest change in the press operations of the WH since he's
gotten there is that the briefings are no longer thuddingly boring. So,
really, "most fun" was kind of a low bar.
He's also a class act.
He clearly respects the press, and his tangles with them are leavened
with a humor and self-awareness that make him hard to dislike, even
when you violently disagree.
I -- and I'm sure my fellow bloggers here -- wish him well.
I'm guessing Cox's successors at Wonkette didn't get the memo. Emphasis mine, expletive edited for content:
On Monday, a blogger had to cancel a speaking engagement at a tech conference because she was receiving death threats from people through her e-mail and at other websites.
On Tuesday, a radio personality and blogger at the Huffington Post suggested that White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has cancer because he lies and works for Fox News.
I kid you not.
His name is Charles Karel Bouley, and what follows are excerpts from this abomination intentionally placed after the break for those that would prefer to not read this kind of deplorable vitriol (h/t Allah at Hot Air, emphasis added throughout):
According to CNN’s Jack Cafferty, President Bush would jump at the opportunity to use the kidnapping of 15 British soldiers as a pretext to invade Iran. On the Monday edition of "Situation Room," Cafferty asserted that he hoped U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t ask George W. Bush to join a coalition of the willing whose goal it is to free the captives.
Jack Cafferty: "Let’s hope British Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t ask the United States to join a coalition of the willing to invade Iran and get its hostages back. My feeling is President Bush would be on that like a bird on a worm."
The CNN host also saw scary implications in the fact that the U.S. Navy is just off the coast of Iran:
Yesterday's indictment of former Reagan budget director David Stockman was cause enough for the Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum to use Stockman's personal ethical and possibly criminal lapses in the private sector as a way to lodge liberal attacks on the Reagan tax cuts. But that was just the beginning for Birnbaum, who, in a Washington Post chat later that day, said that "without question, the Reagan tax cuts went too far."
Four paragraphs into his March 27 Business section story, Birnbaum found a Stockman critic to assail the Reagan fiscal policy that Stockman defended in the late president's first term.
"I have vivid memories of his misusing and misstating data and using
obviously phony economic forecasts," said veteran budget analyst
Stanley E. Collender. "You wonder if those were habits that stuck with
him when he became a Wall Street deal-maker."
Collender may be a crack budget analyst, but he's also politically active. A search of OpenSecrets.org found Collender gave $1,000 to Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) in her first Senate race in 2000.
Veteran reporter and New York Times theatre critic Wilborn Hampton reviewed a revival of the ancient Greek mythological play "Prometheus Bound," showing in Manhattan's East Village, and predictably finds modern-day resonance in the tale of an "autocratic ruler."
"Even for the Greek gods, what goes around comes around. If Zeus has the upper hand in Aeschylus’ 'Prometheus Bound,' it is a sure bet that Prometheus, the Olympian rebel who defied authority and saved the human race, will have the last laugh.
Writing in the "Swampland" blog for Time magazine today, Karen Tumulty insisted the U.S. attorney firings deserved"massive commitment of journalistic resources" before going on to cite a study showing that media attention in the past few weeks has skewed heavily towards the non-scandal scandal:
before all our commenters jump on me, let me stipulate: I think the
unfolding U.S. Attorneys story is a huge one, it deserves a massive
commitment of journalistic resources, it is not likely to go away any
time soon and I'm skeptical that Alberto Gonzales is going to survive
it. I also believe that history has shown us many times that the
broadest measures of public interest are a lagging indicator of the
significance of a story. Finally, the blogosphere deserves huge credit
for leading the way on it.
Translation: "the public don't know it yet, but this is an important story, we're going to make it an important story, and, kudos to liberal bloggers for making a fuss over it."
In 1993, Time magazine didn't show the same interest in blowing up the Clinton/Reno firings into a story the public would care about. [continued...]
To bolster their hypothetical link between concealed carry and workplace violence, Brady Campaign references a paper published by researchers from the University of North Carolina:
As a result of the NRA’s shall-issue laws, companies that have not taken affirmative steps to keep guns out of the workplace and off company property have faced an increased risk of workplace violence. Indeed, a study published in May 2005 in the American Journal of Public Health concluded:
“[W]orkplaces where guns were specifically permitted were 5 to 7 times more likely to be the site of a worker homicide relative to those where all weapons were prohibited.”1
Bloggers receiving death threats? Can’t happen, right? After all, blogosphere denizens are all intelligent, thoughtful people with intellectual capacities and moralities far beyond most mortals, correct?
Well, think again, because a programming instructor/blogger from Colorado by the name of Kathy Sierra cancelled her appearance at the O’Reilly ETech conference in San Diego after receiving astoundingly horrid death threats via e-mail and postings at a number of rather debased websites.
What follows is a disturbing tale as the creator of the “Head First’ series of books about computer programming posted Monday at her “Creating Passionate Users” blog (h/t Instapundit). However, the reader is cautioned to proceed with care, for her account is raw, vulgar, and extremely shocking:
When Rosie O’Donnell wasn’t urging the Googling of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident on ABC's "The View" on Monday, she was boasting of her knowledge of the Old Testament, based on her weekly private Bible study. She told Elisabeth Hasselbeck she could whip her in Jeopardy on the Bible.
The topic was teaching the Bible in public schools, as discussed in newspapers (and in this week’s Time magazine cover story). Like many secular journalists, Barbara Walters asserted "I know nothing about the Bible, and I think most people don’t." Joy Behar insisted "you can’t teach it as nonfiction. You have to teach it as fiction in many ways." When challenged about how the Bible could be taught, Behar blurted out: "People masturbate anyway."
On this morning's "Today," NBC's Pete Williams engaged in slip that would have made Sigmund proud, so let's bring in the father of modern psychotherapy to analyze it. After all, he's only been dead for 68 years, plenty fresh enough for purposes of punditry.
Williams had scored quite a journalistic coup, an exclusive sit-down with embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Later, Williams chatted live from DC with Matt Lauer back in the New York studio. Discussing the decision by a senior aide to Gonzales to invoke the Fifth Amendment should she be called to testify before congress regarding the firing of the U.S. attorneys, Williams said:
"Congress could try to force Monica Lewinsky -- uh, Monica Goodling, rather, to testify by giving her immunity. But it's more likely they'll simply use her reluctance to testify as another reason to wonder what really happened. Matt."
Matt managed to control his mirth, as did Williams in signing off, but you sensed a nervous chuckle was just below the surface on both ends of the conversation.
Hillary Clinton finally meets Cartman! South Park Studios and Comedy Central announced that the March 28 episode of the culturally satirical cartoon "South Park" is called "The Snuke" and involves a "24" parody where Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton visits the cartoon town of South Park, Colo., for a campaign rally. Ubiquitous entertainment reporter Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood describes the ep:
Mixing it up with those foul-mouthed brats this Wednesday, Hillary is in town for a big campaign rally. But Cartman suspects the new Muslim student is behind a terrorist threat. The clock is ticking as the citizens of South Park prepare for the Clinton rally. Every minute counts as Cartman uses his own methods to interrogate the suspect. But could the plan to target Clinton be just the tip of the iceberg? Comedy Central's website messsage board had this to say about upcoming episode: "Is there nowhere she won't campaign?"
The creator of the Discovery Channel’s sensationalistic documentary supposedly finding the lost bones of Jesus is rushing his flick to DVD, since the cable channel yanked its repeats and otherwise downplayed the film after it drew harsh criticism for its extremely sketchy claims. TV Week reports that Simcha Jacobovici said one of the yanked reruns was supposed to be his "105-minute special edition, which included re-enactment scenes such as showing a pregnant Mary Magdalene" that Discovery executives deemed too "sensitive" for U.S. audiences. Maybe because it's not exactly a "re-enactment" if it's fictional? Doesn't he know The DaVinci Code is already on DVD?
"This may be the most talked-about documentary ever," Mr. Jacobovici said. "The fact that nobody has been able to punch a hole in our reporting is a testament to how well we’ve done our homework. Even if it’s only a 50-50 chance [of being Jesus’ tomb], it’s still the biggest story on the planet."
On March 18th, the New York Times published a piece titled "The Women's War". It was a feature of great length (18 pages on the Internet) centered around the plight of several female Veterans of the war in Iraq. It detailed the mistreatment they suffered by the US Military, sexual harassment they received at the hands of army officers, and their PTSDs (post traumatic distress disorders). A shocking expose is what the Times was going for, it is sure. These women certainly deserved better treatment and the story should be well publicized, of course. It might have had more impact but for the fact that the Times knew that one of the subjects featured in the article wasn't even in Iraq and that her story was a complete lie.
Worse yet, the Times published the story knowing full well that one of their subjects had lied to them. Finally, a whole week after their initial story was published on the 18th, on March 25th, the Times published a mea culpa, correcting the story.