On Monday evening's NBC Nightly News, host Brian Williams used a perhaps revealing verb to describe a belief held by former Soviet foreign minister and Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze, who died on Monday at 86.
It would be good to look back and learn how Shevardnadze came to say what he said a decade ago before getting to how Williams framed it. As reported in Doug Martin's obituary at the New York Times (bolds are mine throughout this post):
It took less than two hours for leftist media types to imply that voters in VA-07 who ousted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in last night's Republican congressional primary did so partly because of Cantor's Jewish faith. It took less than 12 hours for Politico refugee Reid Epstein, now inexplicably at the Wall Street Journal, to go after Brat with a misleading headline — "David Brat’s Writings: Hitler’s Rise 'Could All Happen Again'" — which was repeated in the opening sentence. Without presenting any evidence, Epstein also claimed that Brat predicted a "second Holocaust."
Uh, Reid: Adolf Hitler died 69 years ago. David Brat, based on what you presented, was talking about the rise of tyrannies like Hitler's (who was predominantly a leftist; what about "nation socialism" doesn't anyone understand?) — or Stalin's, or Mao's, or Ho Chi Minh's, or any number of relatively petty Eastern European tyrants propped up by Moscow during the Cold War. But an apparent desperate need to get a Hitler reference into a headline about a Republican insurgent ruled the day.
Once again, as it did a month ago in two separate stories, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, left the name of Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who ran its section on tax-exempt organizations, out of its headline and opening paragraph. This time, for good measure, AP reporter Stephen Ohlemacher didn't reveal Lerner's name until Paragraph 3.
Before getting to Ohlemacher's journalistic malpractice, let's take a look at the how the Politico handled the same story of Congress holding Ms. Lerner in contempt yesterday, and at one example of how the AP itself covered the story of another controversial figure's anticipated congressional appearance in the 1980s.
On April 1 for its April 2 print edition, the New York Times allowed Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro to hold forth in an op-ed about how wondrously the country has been ruled since 1998, mostly by the late Bolivarian thug Hugo Chavez and during the past year by himself.
Maduro's piece made the Times's print edition. The Times posted letters objecting to Maduro's characterizations of his country from Ramón Guillermo Aveledo, an opposition leader, and Congressman Edward R. Royce, but appears not to have printed them. I say that because there is no indication at the letters themselves that they were printed, and because certain other letters on unrelated matters are (examples here and here; scroll to the bottom in each instance). The Times did post and print a letter from Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Friday for Saturday's (less-read) print edition. The Times, to likely no one's surprise, has been lax in reporting ongoing developments in that deeply troubled country.
Pushed back from the headlines, massive protests against the repressive Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela continue.
So do the killings by the "colectivos." If this group of thugs enforcing Maduoro's Chavista socialist nightmare were instead right-wing paramilitary types, they would long since have been christened "death squads" and garnered international attention. A story about the colectivos finally appeared in the Associated Press today. While the coverage by Fabiola Sanchez and Frank Bajak was mostly measured, it completely ignored the fact the colectivos can operate without fear of armed resistance because of government curbs on purchases, transfers, and public carrying of guns.
As of 11 P.M. Eastern Time Sunday evening, searches at both the Associated Press and at the Politico on "radioactive" returned nothing relating to a comment made on TV by Russian "journalist" Dmitry Kiselyov reminding viewers that his country, as translated by the wire service AFP, "is the only one in the world "realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash." Reuters also has a story here. Further evidence of AP disinterest is the fact that its two "10 Things to Know for Monday" relating to Russia as of 9:03 p.m. noted the West's intent to impose sanctions and penalties but did not mention the Russian threat.
Kiselyov isn't some freelancer mouthing off for "look at me" attention. As such, the failure of these two outlets to report what is clearly a serious escalation in rhetoric emanating from Russia is breathtakingly negligent, even by their non-standards. It's as if they're desperately trying to keep Kiselyov's statement from becoming an item on the U.S. morning news shows.
Nowhere in her 15-paragraph March 11 obituary of Melba Hernandez did Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez find space to cite a critic of the late Cuban Communist revolutionary.
In her story -- headlined "'Heroine of the Cuban Revolution' was lifelong Castro loyalist" in the Washington Post -- Ms. Rodriguez paid significant attention to the role Hernandez played in aiding Castro's rise to power as well as to the "human rights awards" she received in 1997 from that great humanitarian Col. MoammarGaddafi, all the while using gauzy language to describe her exploits (emphasis mine):
CNN's Chris Cuomo made no secret of his support of left-wing LGBT activists on Monday's New Day, as he spotlighted the controversy over a proposed bill in Arizona that would protect the religious liberties of business owners. Cuomo berated a guest from the conservative lawyer for her defense of the bill: "You don't need even need this law unless what you want to do is enforce intolerance...That's what it seems like you are doing to me, and it seems pretty obvious."
The anchor, who recently extolled rapper Macklemore's pro-LGBT agenda "Same Love" track, and raved about NFL hopeful Michael Sam's coming out, blasted guest Kellie Fiedorek and the organization she works for, the Alliance Defending Freedom, for their social conservative agenda – or as he spun it, "trying to protect Christians who feel this kind of exclusionary belief": [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In a report aired on Monday's NBC Today from the Sochi Olympic games, correspondent Stephanie Gosk toured the Russian capital: "Moscow evokes powerful images. The Kremlin, Soviet leaders, the Red Army. But beyond the Cold War symbols, this city of 10 million people is a modern bustling metropolis..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later in the segment, Gosk described the city's subway system as "one of Moscow's hidden gems," even to the point of praising the ruthless Soviet dictator who created it: "Stalin promised the metro would be a palace for the people, and so it is. Open architecture, mosaics, even chandeliers."
NBC whitewashed Russia's communist legacy in the lead segment of its Friday broadcast of the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage narrated the network's lionization of the largest country by land mass: "Russia overwhelms. Russia mystifies. Russia transcends. Through every stage of its story, it's resisted any notion of limitation. Through every re-invention, only redoubling its desire to cast a towering presence."
However, Dinklage continued with a glorification of the Marxist-Leninist totalitarian state that slaughtered tens of millions of people between 1917 and 1991: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Salon.com apparently get can't get enough of former Occupy Wall Street participants, as the website featured far-left "journalist" Jesse Myerson on Sunday. Myerson, who infamously pushed for socialism in a January 2014 piece in Rolling Stone, listed seven supposed "huge misconceptions" about communism, and tried to whitewash the tens of millions butchered in the name of the discredited ideology.
The left-wing website's Twitter account heralded the writer's piece as "the best possible way to shut down your right-wing colleague railing against the ills of communism." Myerson, who includes a #FULLCOMMUNISM hashtag on his own Twitter profile, offered his beyond optimistic vision for a Marxist future:
There was a serious clash of ideologies on the front page of the newspapers on January 29. The Obama media were delighted that in his State of the Union address, Obama honored Army Ranger Cory Remsburg, the personification of military heroism.
But newspapers also honored the late radical folk singer Pete Seeger, whose songs mocked the American military as idiots. Take “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and its lyric “Where have all the soldiers gone? Gone to graveyards every one / When will they ever learn?”
It's hard to know what's more ridiculously entertaining when choosing between Jesse A. Myerson's "Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For," the illogical screed in Rolling Stone which would lead to the enslavement of those about whom he claims to be concerned, or Myerson's tweets as the opprobrium has poured in.
Nicholas D. Kristof (I've tended to call him "Nick" through the years) has made and implemented a momentous, course of civilization-altering decision effective 1/1/2014 (HT Twitchy): "If you look closely at my Times byline ... I’ve knocked out my middle initial for the new year."
Why oh why would Nick want to do that? "I think in the Internet age, the middle initial conveys a formality that is a bit of a barrier to our audience. It feels a bit ostentatious." I've got a clue for you, Nick, old buddy old pal: Your columns are much more than "a bit" ostentatious and pretentious. Unfortunately, the disappearance of your middle initial is not likely to change that. If ever anyone exemplified navel-gazing, knee-jerk, double-standard liberalism, it would be you. Accordingly, I suggest that you begin to use a more appropriate middle initial than the one you just dropped. My suggestion follows the jump.
The fascination with and excuse-making for long-gone communist dictators responsible for the murders of millions during their reigns is a long-standing phenomenon.
Both CNBC and the New York Times continued that hoary tradition last week. Each headlined reports on the 120th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong (whose name was written as Mao Tse-Tung until about two decades ago) with "Happy Birthday, Chairman Mao!" headlines. CNBC's appears after the jump (HT Twitchy; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Earlier this morning, Joe Newby at NewsBusters posted on the Denver Post's scrubbing of the word "socialist" from a fellow student's description of Karl Pierson, who police say shot two other students and then took his own life at Arapahoe High School on Friday. The Post story originally said that classmate Thomas Conrad described him as "a very opinionated Socialist." Sometime later, the Post watered the description down to "very opinionated" without telling readers what it had done.
Earlier this week, NBC Sports announced that "Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Posner (also frequently spelled "Pozner") will be a correspondent for NBC Olympics’ late-night show with Bob Costas during the Sochi Games."
To call Posner's background "problematic" is like saying that Bob Filner, former Democratic Mayor of San Diego, has a bit of a problem with how he treats members of the opposite sex. Posner is an old hand at defending and dissembling the worst excesses of the Soviet Union, including but not limited to the following exchange from 1980 cited by Lisa de Moraes at Deadline.com on Wednesday (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The latest evidence of that detachment from reality came online Saturday evening at the New York Times, and appeared in today's print edition. Writer James McAuley, described as "a Marshall scholar studying history at the University of Oxford," wrote that Dallas collectively "willed the death of the president," and that it has prospered disproportionately in the subsequent 50 years because of "pretending to forget."
The Associated Press has published a great but disturbing story. Given the frequent and deserved grief yours truly administers when the wire service lets its readers, listeners, viewers, and subscribing news organizations down, it seems only fair to acknowledge fine work when it does occur. The real question is, in the politically charged U.S. health care environment, whether the AP's subscribers and other media outlets aware of Frank Bajak's Wednesday morning report will acknowledge its existence, and adequately relay the horrors contained therein.
The story is about what's left of Venezuela's "free" healthcare system. It's in shambles. The headline reads like it might be "only" doctors who say so, but Bajak's content says otherwise. Readers here need to go to the full report, because the excerpts which follow of necessity convey only a small portion of how awful things are, including indications that the country is moving ever closer to becoming another Cuba:
With attention drawn to government surveillance of citizens, some in the media are recalling that this has long been an issue. Columnist Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star, a publication of the Chicago Sun-Times, did so in a recent column, "Do you want security or freedom?":
When Communists were suspected of conspiring to undermine our country, innocent political activists were targeted in the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s. The FBI wiretapped Martin Luther King Jr. because he was campaigning for civil rights.
That was not the reason for King’s wiretap, which was carried out by the FBI after Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy authorized it on October 10, 1963. Kennedy believed that two of King’s associates had ties to the Communist party.
NBC's Today on Thursday completely skipped the violence associated with May Day protests in Seattle. CBS This Morning and ABC's Good Morning America covered the riots briefly, but ignored the socialist connection to the protest. GMA news reader Josh Elliott explained, "What started as a peaceful May Day protest in Seattle turned into violence and chaos as the march was winding down."
He added that "demonstrators suddenly began throwing rocks, bottles and metal pipes at police smashing windows." On Wednesday, however, Elliott blandly previewed, "May Day, May 1st is often a holiday used to focus attention on workers' issues." Yet, as the poster for the May Day rally in Seattle explained, the purpose was to "honor the history of May Day" and fight "against capitalism, all nation-states and borders!"
Philosopher George Santayana once said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In regards to socialism, the media has turned a blind eye to the more than 100 million victims of the ideology. In fact, May 1 actually marks a socialist holiday – International Workers’ Day, or May Day.
“Socialist” is a word often used in conjunction with President Obama, but seldom explained by the major media. During the White House Correspondents Dinner, the president even joked that “I'm not the strapping young Muslim Socialist that I used to be.” It might be a joke to the president, but to millions who have lived under socialism, it has been a nightmare.
Maybe MSNBC was trying to deflect some of the controversy surrounding Melissa Harris-Perry's previous "Lean Forward" promo by pushing out a new one. MH-P had provoked outrage in that earlier promo by proclaiming that "kids belong to their communities," not to their parents.
But if anything, the new promo aired during today's Morning Joe just adds fuel to MH-P's socialist fire. While claiming to defend meritocracy, Harris-Perry could only grudgingly admit that the most successful should earn "a little more." She then proceeded to proclaim as a right "health care, education, decent housing and quality food at all times." From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs, anyone? View the video after the jump.
In a mild shock -- mild because it's mentioned before the elections, but probably won't be when it really matters after the polls close -- Frank Bajak and Jorge Rueda at the Associated Press, in a story about how the last opposition TV station in Venezuela is being sold to an insurance magnate who is reportedly "friendly with government," noted the extraordinary handicaps that Venezuela's opposition presidential candidate faces as he attempts to unseat the Chavista successor to the late dictator Hugo Chavez in April's upcoming elections.
CNN, which if I recall correctly severed formal ties with the Associated Press some time ago, quoted former congressman Joseph Kennedy II's reaction to the death of Venezuela's authoritarian leader Hugo Chavez as follows: "President Chavez cared deeply about the poor of Venezuela and other nations around the world and their abject lack of even basic necessities, while some of the wealthiest people on our planet have more money than they can ever reasonably expect to spend" ... There are close to 2 million people in the United States who received free heating assistance, thanks to President Chavez's leadership. Our prayers go out to President Chavez's family, the people of Venezuela, and all who were warmed by his generosity."
Here is how Christine Armario at the AP, with the help of Steve LeBlanc in Boston, sanitized Kennedy's remarks:
Woody Guthrie was an American original who wrote some enduring music and did a lot to publicize the plight of the people of the Dust Bowl. There's just one little inconvenient truth about Guthrie: he ran in Communist circles. Though it's reported that he never officially joined the party, he's quoted as saying that the "the best thing that I did in 1936 was to sign up with the Communist Party." He also wrote 174 columns for the Communist Party's Daily Worker newspaper.
But nary a mention was made of Woody's Communist connections on Morning Joe today. Instead, Mika Brzezinski giggled like a schoolgirl over the numerous, explicit sex scenes contained in a recently-discovered novel that Guthrie wrote, House of Earth. View the video after the jump.
Surprised they didn't opt for the auto da fe analogy . . .
On Chris Hayes's MSNBC show this morning, Ali Gharib, editor of the "Open Zion" blog at the Daily Beast, described the questioning of Chuck Hagel at his Senate confirmation hearing as "a Republican purge" and a "Maoist public shaming." Michael Hastings of the Rolling Stone begged to differ, finding it more reminiscent of "Stalin." View the video after the jump.
At the end of Thursday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams touted an "unexpected moment" with the widow of Robert F. Kennedy when he asked "what she remembered about Fidel Castro, who, it turns out, she's met several times." Kennedy fondly remembered: "He was very warm, very emotional. He clearly would have liked to have been friends with President Kennedy and with Bobby."
Williams lamented the friendship that never was: "It certainly didn't work out that way. And of the three men, only Castro survives."
In Caracas reporting on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez winning an "unprecedented third term" for Monday's NBC Today, reporter Kerry Sanders seemed to be swept up in the excitement: "For Chavez's supporters, his reelection is an emotional moment in history. Fireworks filled the skies as a street party continued well into the early morning hours. A Chavez victory, say supporters, means his brand of socialism is here to stay." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Sanders promoted Chavez as "a star among the poor in South America" and propagandized for his dictatorial regime: "Chavez's socialist revolution has captured the imagination of the poor here, in large part because he's taken this nation's oil wealth and used its profits to give away free homes and subsidize grocery bills."
The Associated Press, in a Sunday evening dispatch, reported that the refinery explosion in Venezuela, which has thus far killed "at least 39 people" and injured "more than 80" (as of 10 a.m.; now it's at 41) is "Venezuela's deadliest refinery blast ever." I'm sure that I join all readers here in expressing deep condolences and prayers for the victims and all who have been affected.
Obviously reporting the details as they emerge will for a time be more important, but it appears that the Amuay refinery explosion is the deadliest such refinery incident in world history, and by a wide margin. If so, the press, after determining that this is indeed the case it, should get around to reporting it as such.