Jean H. Lee's Friday afternoon report at the Associated Press on the omnipresence of images of the late Kim Jong Il throughout North Korea reads more like an audition to be the communist nation's next propaganda minister than a wire service report.
Not once does she call the late tyrant a tyrant, or for that matter even a Communist. If you didn't know any better, you would think you're reading about some idyllic place where people are happy, content, and well-off -- not a place where oppression rules, hundreds of thousands starve, and millions more would but for the kindness of foreigners. Though there is no substitute for reading the whole relatively short thing, here are several paragraphs indicating just how bad Lee's report really is (saved here in full as a graphic for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; HT to an NB tipster):
According to "The View's" Whoopi Goldberg, communism is a "great concept" that "makes perfect sense" on paper. The comedienne and co-host made the rather astounding comment on Tuesday while discussing the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il.
After mentioning the background of new leader Kim Jong Un and his education at a Swiss boarding school, Goldberg proclaimed, "...If you say that this is how our culture is and then you send your child to a Swiss boarding school. You know, this is what happens with communism. It's a great concept. On paper it makes perfect sense." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
A pathetic, obsequious act on the part of an establishment press member was exposed as utterly foolish mere days after its appearance.
On Wednesday (for Thursday's print edition), New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote glowingly of "Joining a Dinner in a Muslim Brotherhood Home." He swallowed a lot more than food while he was there, as the following excerpts indicate (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Monday, Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted how former New York Times op-ed writer (and before that, theater critic) Frank Rich, who now plies whatever his trade is at New York Magazine, criticized MSNBC's Chris Matthews for writing a "man-crush of a biography" about John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated 48 years ago today.
Monday evening, Allahpundit at Hot Air identified a particularly egregious contention in that same very poor Rich piece, namely that "the hate that ended his (JFK's) presidency" which inspired avowed communist and Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to commit his heinous crimes (Oswald also shot Texas Governor John Connally in JFK's motorcade and killed Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit later that day) came from the right. Really. What follows are selections from Rich's risible self-righteousness:
As he accumulates his "Occupy Rap Sheet" over at BigJournalism.com, John Nolte has made some excellent points about the nature of the press's coverage which should not be missed. His incident count is up to 151. It will certainly grow based on more recent events which haven't yet made it to his compilation (this is just a sample): A $10 million arson arrest in Fort Collins, Colorado (really; HT The Other McCain); pushing a 78 year-old woman down a flight of stairs (she required a hospital visit); and a lack of basic safety so pervasive at Zuccotti park, the headquarters of the "movement, that "protesters put up (a) women-only tent to prevent sexual assaults."
Nolte's count is clearly an understatement of all that is actually happening. He also notes that the nature of the press's coverage serves to understate the disorder- and violence-based inclinations of the Occupiers (internal link is in original; bolds are mine):
In an unbylined item Sunday evening, the Associated Press informed readers that Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chavez, continuing a six-year campaign of agricultural land seizures, has ordered the expropriation of a huge swath of farmland from a British company, and unilaterally decided that any compensation which might occur will be paid in his country's own currency, over which the country's banks exercise strict repatriation controls.
The report frames the amount of land being seized in a way which will ensure that many readers won't appreciate its massive scope. More important, in something seen frequently in reports about authoritarian regimes, it treats the specific objections of opponents -- in this case, current landowners -- as arguments instead of observable and determinable facts. Here are several paragraphs from the report (bolds are mine):
Robert Worth, staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, wrote a “news analysis” for the paper's Sunday Review, “The Arab Intellectuals Who Didn’t Roar,” suggesting the Arab spring needs a Communist tyrant like Lenin or Mao to become a symbol of “people’s aspirations.”
Thanks, Reverend Al. Really. Sure, we know that the left is all about the redistribution of wealth rather than its generation. Still, it's instructive to hear a leading lefty say it in such stark terms. As clear a statement of the manifesto since candidate Obama told Joe The Plumber that "spread the wealth around" is the way to go.
On his MSNBC show this evening, Sharpton declared that his view of the Occupy Wall Street movement is that it should be about "really, how we distribute the wealth in this country." View video after the jump.
In a report carried at the Washington Post on Thursday and updated early Friday, the Associated Press's Christopher Toothaker wrote a lengthy report about how Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chavez plans to "expropriate homes on the Caribbean resort islands of Los Roques, saying the structures were built on plots bought in shadowy business deals." By the end of the day Friday, the report turned into four paragraphs written from the standpoint of certain island residents which made it seem like no big deal. Both AP reports don't convey the severity of the Chavez's action found in a Reuters report on the same topic.
Here are key paragraphs from the initial longer AP report (bolds are mine throughout):
Move over, Tom Friedman--there's another MSMer looking longingly at Communist China. In an infamous column, Friedman wrote of his envy of the power of the Chinese despots to impose "critically important decisions." He's been at it again lately
Now comes Sino-Commie-phile Katty Kay. On Morning Joe today, the BBCer criticized the USA for not having a "40-year plan for medical innovation" like the Chinese do. Joe Scarborough was on-point with his comeback. Video after the jump.
By contrast, Reuters -- no stranger to criticism from us here at NewsBusters -- had a decidedly more positive portrayal of Ctirad Masin's life-long devotion to fighting Communism in this August 13 obituary:
Sunday, Alexa Olesen at the Associated Press wrote an item headlined "One-child policy a surprising boon for China girls." My immediate comeback: "43-60 million Chinese girls aborted because they were of the 'wrong' gender or would have violated the one-child policy were not available for comment."
While nowhere near as odious as Nick Kristof's "Mao Tse-tung wasn't all that bad; look what he did for Chinese women" conclusion at the end of a book review on Mao's murderous legacy almost six years ago, Olesen gets into the neighborhood.
Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yours truly noted an email from the Associated Press's Images Group which encouraged subscribing outlets to use its "iconic images and videos" to promote the 85th birthday of Fidel Castro, the "Legendary Cuban revolutionary and longtime leader."
Today, writing what may be the wire service's last calendar-driven excuse to heap praise on him while he is still alive, the AP's Peter Orsi described Cuban dictator Castro as a "revolutionary icon" with an "outsize persona," who in his prime was "a gregarious public speaker," and while in retirement remains a "prolific writer."
Communist Cuba's Castro brothers may be asking themselves why they need to engage in any propaganda on their own when they have Associated Press's Images Division promoting photos of Dear Leader Fidel Castro as "iconic" and the brutal Ché Guevera as a "revolutionary hero."
What follows is the text of an email NewsBusters and BizzyBlog commenter/correspondent Gary received from AP Images on Monday. It's so over the top that you almost wonder if it's a gag. This link proves that it's not. Here goes (complimentary words and descriptive flattery bolded by me):
“[E]ven with some state control, experts say, property sales could transform Cuba more than any of the economic reforms announced by President Raul Castro’s government,” Cave noted before noting unnamed “experts” who fear that “[t]he opportunities for profits and loans would be far larger than what Cuba’s small businesses offer… potentially creating the disparities of wealth that have accompanied property ownership in places like Eastern Europe and China.”
One can hardly imagine a newspaper running a headline that suggested a fascist society like Nazi Germany had its good points. Yet the New York Times has carved out a side industry in headlines that suggest a bright side to Communist tyranny in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
The latest came attached to art critic Holland Cotter’s 1,700-word review of “Ostalgia,” an exhibit of Soviet and post-Soviet art at the New Museum in Manhattan, splashed along the top fold of Friday’s Weekend Arts section: “When Repression Was a Muse.” “Ostalgia” is a coinage for the strange cultural nostalgia for Communism (i.e., inferior but somehow endearing cars like the East German Trabant) felt by some East Germans who found it hard to cope with the freedoms, opportunities, and responsibilities of a more capitalist society.
I've seen Associated Press reporters make absurd assertions before, but a statement written by Julie Pace and Vanessa Gera, who covered President Barack Obama's trip to Poland yesterday, has to be at or near the top of the list of all-time humdingers.
Polish Solidarity hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa did not meet with Obama yesterday. Wait until you see the sheer speculation as to why there was no meeting in the bolded sentence in the fourth paragraph of the following excerpt from the AP pair's Friday evening report:
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt marked the 50th anniversary of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion as "one of the most infamous events in American history." In the report that followed, correspondent Mark Potter proclaimed: "This weekend Cuba is remembering a critical moment in history still felt today. Huge crowds have come out to celebrate in ways not seen here for years."
Sounding like he was reading a press release about the celebration, Potter declared: "In the Plaza of the Revolution, a massive display of military might and a celebration of Cuba's victory 50 years ago at the Bay of Pigs. The failed invasion planned by the CIA and backed by the US military is seen as a historic turning point for Fidel Castro." At no point in the story was the brutality of Castro's 50-year communist dictatorship mentioned.
But some of the labeling was overheated: “A secretive evangelical Christian organization that some say has a right-wing agenda.” When the Times says “some say,” it almost always means “liberals say,” and indeed, Oppenheimer’s source, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) tends to target conservatives with their complaints.
The Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, who was finally captured on Monday, defied nearly everybody: the United States, the European Union and the African Union. But right to the end, Mr. Gbagbo had defenders in the West, and they notably included several prominent conservative Christians.
In response to a question from Klein about "the animosity between unions and workplaces" (that is what Klein says he said), Stern made an interesting assertion that most readers probably took at face value:
We grew up in that culture. In the '30s, people didn't want us to exist. We had to do sit-down strikes . . . we had socialist and communist tendencies. We grew up, to speak in Marxist terms, in a world with a lot more class struggle. It's not viewed through that light anymore.
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC’s World News on Wednesday informed viewers of display items for the National Archives planned for next month’s commemoration of President Reagan’s 100 th birthday. Anchor Diane Sawyer recounted that Reagan had made "handwritten changes" to his 1983 speech in which he called the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire." Sawyer:
New York Times reporter Edward Wong took an inordinately cheery look at a Maoist tourist attraction in the Chinese city of Yan’an in Friday’s “Revolution Isn’t a Party, But It Draws The Tourists.” The online headline was clearer: “China’s Red Tourism Taps Communist Pride for Profit.”
Wong described a botched performance of a re-enactment of “a crucial moment in the Chinese civil war, when the Kuomintang tried to overrun the Communists in 1947 in their mountain redoubt here. The show, complete with live explosions and a fighter jet that swoops down on a wire, takes place every morning on the outskirts of Yan’an, a dingy city of two million in the northern province of Shaanxi.
Capitalism is thriving in China, but red is far from dead, at least in Yan’an. “The Defense of Yan’an” is a recent addition to tourist attractions that try to evoke the glory days of the Communist Party, after its leaders entered Yan’an in 1936 following the Long March. Local officials and businesspeople are profiting handsomely from a boom in “red tourism,” in which Chinese, many of them young professionals, journey to famous revolutionary sites to rekindle their long-lost sense of class struggle and proletarian principles.
(first listing) "not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring: a bold hero."
(third listing) "necessitating courage and daring; challenging: a bold adventure."
One thus has to take the following sentence, the first in James's report, as a virtually explicit expression of admiration for the latest authoritarian moves by the country's "El Presidente," Hugo Chávez:
In a Reuters story ("Venezuela assembly gives Chavez decree powers"), reporters Daniel Wallis and Frank Jack Daniel took note of outraged "opponents who accuse him of turning South America's biggest oil producer into a dictatorship," relieving them of the responsibility for stating the obvious themselves.
Romero's item at the Times is particularly galling in its borderline admiration for the tactics employed by the man who is now Venzuela's virtual dictator (bold is mine):
A useful guideline in evaluating the significance of a national security-related news story first revealed by someone in the establishment press is whether other media outlets pick it up. If they don't, it's probably significant.
More sympathy from New York Times reporter Simon Romero for Lori Berenson, the American terrorist helper jailed in Peru, in a profile on Saturday’s front page, “Berenson Tries to Make Amends in Peru.” Romero attempted to make Berenson an object of sympathy, as he did in a profile earlier this year when she was released on parole.
Berenson was sentenced to life in prison in Peru in 1996 for being closely involved with the Marxist terrorists of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). Berenson’s parole was greeted with public indignation, which Romero did his best to quell, calling her fiery claim at trial, that “There are no criminal terrorists in the M.R.T.A. It’s a revolutionary movement!” merely a “youthful outburst.” (Berenson was 26 at the time.) Instead Romero picked up on the angle of a poor, picked-on Berenson:
It seems that the Times's Michael Shear is disappointed that Dear Leader is yet again caught up in a "distraction" ("Pat-Downs Ensnare White House in New Distraction"). It's headlined in the item's browser window as "Pat-Downs Ensnare White House in New Controversy." Interesting edit, don't you think? If it's a "controversy," the President owns it. If it's a "distraction," well, it's an unfair intrusion. Clever.
Shear wrapped it in a narrative whose theme was that "It all felt vaguely familiar." Well, yeah. What's more than vaguely familiar has been the press's tendency to lament the distractions our supposedly otherwise focused like a laser beam chief executive must endure. On April 9, 2009 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that "The words 'Obama' and 'distraction' have both appeared in 2,425 articles in just the past 30 days; excluding duplicates, it's about 450."
In his blog entry, Shear listed many other awful distractions the president has encountered. What's interesting are how many of them escalated because of Obama or people working directly for him:
New York Times reporter Channing Joseph engaged in light-hearted humanizing of those stuffy Communists in Sunday’s Metro section, “Where Marxists Pontificate, And Play.” The worst thing Joseph can say about the gathering of supporters of tyrannical regimes at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan is that Communists have a reputation for “seriousness.”
There’s even a boring online slide show with cozy captions: “There are little hints of humor all around the Brecht Forum....” Judging by the photos, very little.
Try to imagine the Times getting so cozy among a group of mainstream Republicans, much less Tea Party supporters. Hanging out with the Communist group, Joseph posed no inconveniently challenging questions on the atrocities of Stalin, Mao, or Castro. Instead, “smiles abound” and gentleness reigns in this non-news news story.
If communists have a reputation for anything, it is seriousness. (And if you have seen old photos of Karl Marx, you know that he did not smile much.) But at the Brecht Forum, a community center on West Street where revolutionaries and radicals gather daily to ponder and to pontificate, they also play. (Smiles abound.)