The New York Times's supposedly momentous decision to omit "Mr." from references to Osama bin Laden in its Monday obituary is apparently working to distract critics from the item's other problems.
Along with Michael T. Kaufman, Kate Zernike, whose primary vocation seems to be finding racism in the Tea Party movement where none exists and otherwise smearing its participants, comes off as almost critical of how bin Laden was "elevated to the realm of evil in the American imagination once reserved for dictators like Hitler and Stalin."
Imagination ("the faculty ... of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses")? Babe, I don't know about you, but we didn't imagine September 11. We saw it. Others directly experienced it. Many died. Do you remember?
The obit's topper for me is the (in my opinion) deliberate historical revisionism in the following passage (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The guess here is Associated Press writers Peter Orsi and Andrea Rodriguez believe their May Day dispatch from Cuba represents an example of objectivity and insightful analysis. Anyone with knowledge of how a country under the iron grip of a five-decade Communist dictatorship really operates would beg to differ.
On April 15, The Chicago Sun-Times reported on its Web site, "Jesse Jackson denies gay worker’s harassment, discrimination claims." The article began:
A spokesman for the Rev. Jesse Jackson on Thursday denied a claim from a man who says he was fired from the civil rights leader’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition because he is gay.
Tommy R. Bennett filed a complaint with the city of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations last year, alleging Jackson fired him unjustly and that the civil rights leader forced him to perform “uncomfortable” tasks, including escorting various women to hotel rooms to meet Jackson for sex.
The piece ended noting that a gay publication, The Windy City Times, had reported Bennett's allegations earlier in the week. The Windy City Times story included more salacious details, such as the complainant's charge that Jackson directed him to apply cream to a rash between Jackson's legs; the minister told Bennett about one of his high school instructors, a gay man, who served as Jackson's teacher with benefits; and Bennett's allegation that Jackson wanted to have sex with the Rainbow Coalition employee.
Yesterday evening (late afternoon West Coast time), Phil Bronstein at the San Francisco Chronicle informed his readers that one of its reporters had been banned by the Obama administration:
The hip, transparent and social media-loving Obama administration is showing its analog roots. And maybe even some hypocrisy highlights.
White House officials have banished one of the best political reporters in the country from the approved pool of journalists covering presidential visits to the Bay Area for using now-standard multimedia tools to gather the news.
If a 64-year-old former U.S. president rode 100 kilometers in the desert with more than a dozen wounded military veterans to raise awareness of and money for veterans charities, would it make headlines?
You'd think it would, but it didn't.
On Monday, April 18, the George W. Bush Presidential Center announced that the former commander-in-chief would ride with "fourteen United States servicemen and women who were seriously wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan" in a 100-kilometer mountain bike ride on April 25-27 in the Big Bend National Park:
NPR's Ari Shapiro leaned towards supporters of the Obama administration's new "voluntary principles" to limit junk food ads to kids on Thursday's All Things Considered. Shapiro played three sound bites from backers, versus only one from a critic who blasted the proposal: "If the federal government decided to issue voluntary guidelines about what newsmen should say to avoid inflaming the public, I think you guys would be pretty upset."
Host Melissa Block did acknowledge opponents' concerns about the proposed guidelines in her introduction for the correspondent's report: "The Obama administration wants to limit the amount of advertising kids see for junk food. It's part of a broader push to improve child nutrition, and, as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, it's part of what critics see as a growing nanny state."
Thursday’s New York Times lead editorial, “A Certificate of Embarrassment,” dealt with President Obama authorizing the State of Hawaii to release his long-form birth certificate. The editorial writers commit the same error its media reporter Brian Stelter did, falsely stating the rumor “was originally promulgated by fringe figures of the radical right,” when in fact it was initially circulated via email by Hillary Clinton supporters in April 2008, as noted by Politico on April 22.
With sardonic resignation, President Obama, an eminently rational man, stared directly into political irrationality on Wednesday and released his birth certificate to history. More than halfway through his term, the president felt obliged to prove that he was a legitimate occupant of the Oval Office. It was a profoundly low and debasing moment in American political life.
The disbelief fairly dripped from Mr. Obama as he stood at the West Wing lectern. People are out of work, American soldiers are dying overseas and here were cameras to record him stating that he was born in a Hawaii hospital. It was particularly galling to us that it was in answer to a baseless attack with heavy racial undertones.
On Sunday, a Wikileaks document dump revealed files from Guantanamo Bay in which military commanders noted the Finsbury Park mosque in north London was a "haven" for Islamic extremists, "an attack planning and propaganda production base" that recruited jihadists to fight in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But while the American mainstream media have been ga-ga over tomorrow's royal wedding, there's been little if any attention paid to this development by the very same reporters who were packing their bags for London.
A search of Nexis for ABC, CBS, and NBC news transcripts from April 25 through today reveals nothing on the Finsbury Park mosque, although other information from the latest wikileaks dump was discussed.
Gosh, after Republican Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich succeeded in championing legislation curtailing many collective bargaining rights of unionized state and municipal employees in Wisconsin and Ohio, respectively, the establishment press had the meme all set. The GOP, conservatives, and Tea Partiers are enemies of labor and the middle class, while Democrats, liberals, and progressives are their champions.
Then along comes bluer-than-blue Massachusetts. As the Boston Globe reports, the Bay State's House "voted overwhelmingly last night (Tuesday) to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns." It's not a law yet, but it seems to be heading pretty quickly in that direction.
The Associated Press's beat reporters and editors must be beside themselves.
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday played up how opponents of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan shouted down GOP representatives at recent town hall meetings, but downplayed them as "less than friendly," and marveled at their apparently "poignant" questions. The network also omitted how liberal groups targeted these meetings, and trumpeted the "nasty national shouting match" at health care town hall meetings in 2009.
News anchor Jeff Glor noted how "House Republicans are back home for the first time since passing an aggressive deficit cutting plan, including the architect of that plan, Congressman Paul Ryan." Glor used the "less than friendly" label immediately before playing a clip of an unidentified protester shouting, "Ryan, stop lying!" outside a town hall meeting held by the Republican in Wisconsin, and another of a woman who directly accused him of "screwing our generation and the next generation."
It's always a bit of risk saying that a bunch of supposedly smart folks are wrong, but the economists Jeannine Aversa at the Associated Press consulted for a Tuesday afternoon report on the economic outlook must be taking a double dose of sunshine pills every day.
If we are to believe these folks, the only thing that can stop the economy now is oil -- not the $112 a barrel accompanied by $4 per gallon gas we're seeing now. That's noooo problem. These smarties apparently think it's clear sailing ahead for the economy as long as oil doesn't go to $150, which would translate to at least $5.50 a gallon.
The New York Times announced its first quarter 2010 results on Thursday. As is the case with most companies when they would rather not talk about the bottom line, the Times instead concentrated on its "operating profit."
A detailed look at the release reveals a group of contracting, money-losing journalistic endeavors propped up by an also-shrinking Internet enterprise.
Imagine if a Tea Party backer by some miracle got to teach on a college campus, and began describing ways to, oh, I don't know, keep opposing politicians from conducting business, hack into their computers and destroy data, and make their staffs feel threatened. How long would that class last, and how long would it be before it became a national news story?
Well, Publius at Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com reports that " the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) sponsored two college courses: Introduction to Labor Studies and Labor Politics and Society, to be taught simultaneously through a video conference between to two campuses." Publius asserts, with video proof, that the courses really really are "How-to College Course(s) in Violent Union Tactics."
The two must-see BigGov posts are here and here. Direct links to the videos and brief descriptions follow the jump:
Perhaps you hadn't noticed, but in late August 2010 Ben Bernanke took on complete responsibility for everything -- especially everything mediocre or bad -- that occurs in the economy.
I know this because on August 27 and 28 (covered here and here), the Associated Press issued three reports essentially telling readers that it was up to Ben to save us. There wasn't anything Barack Obama, Tim Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or then-present Larry Summers could possibly say or do to improve the economic situation, described at the time as "appears to be stalling" in one of those AP items.
Out of this came what has come to be known as "QE2" (the second round of "quantitative easing"), otherwise known as "electronically printing money to buy U.S. debt because possibly no one else will."
The establishment press's lack of interest in associating President Obama with the sharp run-up in energy costs has been thoroughly documented by several folks at the Media Research Center, including but not limited to Julia Seymour when gasoline hit the $3 mark, and more recently Brent Bozell.
Saturday, the Associated Press's Mark S. Smith took the gas-price propaganda to the next level. As anyone would predict, he failed to assign any blame for the energy cost run-up to specific Obama administration policies such as the Gulf drilling moratorium and other barriers to production, and paid relative lip service to the pain it is causing average Americans. To Smith, those are apparently mere trifles.
In its infamous June 2005 Kelo vs. New London ruling, a Supreme Court majority allowed the city of New London to seize the properties of holdout homeowners in that city's Fort Trumbull area for the "public purpose" of economic development, not a "public use" as the Constitution's Fifth Amendment requires.
It has been eleven years since the litigation began, six years since the court's ruling, and almost five years since the final settlement between the City and final holdouts the Cristofaro family and Susette Kelo, whose former home now stands elsewhere as a de facto monument to the perils of overbearing government. The land involved is still vacant, and nothing of substance has since happened. In late 2009, Pfizer, the economic linchpin which supposedly drove the city's need to remake the area, announced that it was pulling out of New London.
After several false starts, the city is working with a new developer. As of February of last year, this developer wanted to put rental townhouses in an area where century-old, largely owner-occupied homes once stood.
Early Friday, the New London Day's Kathleen Edgecomb reported a new twist. Wait until you see what the developer wants before going forward.
It was a tiny item in the New York Times -- a brief at the bottom of page B14 of Tuesday's sports section, under Lacrosse: “Crystal Mangum, who falsely accused three Duke players of raping her in 2006, was charged with murder in the death of her boyfriend.” The man died two weeks after Mangum stabbed him, and Mangum has now been charged with murder.
The Times may prefer to forget that name, but it was far more interested in Crystal Mangum back in 2006. More than any other media outlet, the Times trumpeted her rape accusations against three Duke lacrosse players, accusations that quickly fell apart in a mass of contradictions and shifting stories.
Imagine it's April 2007 and President Bush's Treasury department lobbied unsuccessfully to deter credit analysts at Standard & Poor's from revising the credit outlook of the United States government from "stable" to "negative."
No doubt it would be front-page news as the election season was heating up and there's yet another piece of bad news to lay at the feet of Bush and the Republican Party.
Only that didn't happen to the former president, it has happened to Barack Obama, just without the front-page treatment.
As part of its effort to "shore up" the backing of social conservatives, House Republicans today "issued a contract today to pay former Solicitor General Paul Clement $575 an hour, up to $500,000 to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act," San Francisco Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead insisted in the paper's Politics Blog.
"Republicans claim they will take the money out of the Justice Department's budget, as if that will hold taxpayers harmless. But a cost is a cost and taxpayers will pay it either way. Any funds removed from DOJ are funds removed from other work," Lochhead groused.
This from the same reporter who approved of Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget proposal as "centrist."
After relegating to page A16 the stabbing slaughter of five members of a family of Israeli settlers on March 12 at the hands of Palestinians, the New York Times mustered front-page sympathy for Vittorio Arrigoni, a pro-Palestinian activist murdered in Gaza by a fringe Islamic group. Fares Akram and Isabel Kershner reported from Gaza for Saturday’s front page, “Killing of Pro-Palestinian Activist In Gaza Deals a Blow to Hamas.”
For Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian pro-Palestinian activist who friends said fought peacefully for justice, the end was as violent as it was incongruous.
Former Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to be a Democratic contender in the Texas 2012 Senate race. However, when Politico's Mike Allen brought news of his probable candidacy to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, he omitted the fact that Sanchez commanded the U.S. ground forces in Iraq while the infamous abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison took place.
Sanchez, when he retired from the Army in November of 2006, told a local paper that the Abu Ghraib scandal was "the sole reason" he was forced to retire. The scandal occurred in the summer and fall of 2003, and involved humiliations, beatings, and sexual abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Sanchez was the commander of coalition forces in Iraq during that time.
On Saturday, New York Times metro reporter Richard Perez-Pena treated as a serious breach of decorum a relatively mild metaphor New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie used in front of reporters in “This Time, Christie’s Tough Talk Draws a Wave of Criticism From Democrats.” The text box: “The governor uses violent imagery while talking to reporters about a state senator.” Yet the Times has almost completely ignored much harsher and explicit “violent imagery” used by Democratic politicians against Republicans.
Using harsh terms to attack his critics has been a regular feature of Gov. Chris Christie’s 15 months in office, and Democratic officials, wary of his and the voters’ wrath, have usually offered only a muted response.
But this week, when Mr. Christie, a Republican, used violent imagery in talking about a Democratic lawmaker -- a widowed grandmother, to boot -- Democrats saw an opening, criticizing him en masse and demanding an apology.
As night follows day, the press is beginning to go after a business entity which had the nerve to do its job and call attention to Uncle Sam's dire fiscal situation.
Standard and Poor's is presumably not 100% populated with angels, but it didn't deserve the gratuitous and ignorant shots fired at it this evening by the Associated Press's Bernard Condon and an "expert" he quoted. In attempting to tar the firm, Condon acted as if the mortgage-lending mess was the creation of "banks" which marketed mortgage-backed securities and asleep at the switch ratings agencies. He didn't once mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the fiasco's Democratic crony-run uber-culprits, which for 15 years consistently deceived the markets about the quality of the already marginal loans underlying the securities they issued .
Here are selected paragraphs from Condon's cracked creation, including a headline which gives away a resentment that the ratings agencies are still actually able to do what they were designed to do (bold is mine):
CBS's Jan Crawford spotlighted the Tea Party movement on Monday's Early Show, but also played up how it might present a "challenge" for potential Republican presidential candidates due its apparent unpopularity: "Recent polls show 47% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the movement. So candidates looking for Tea Party votes have to be careful not to alienate moderates."
Midway through her report, after noting the would-be GOP presidential candidates, such as Tim Pawlenty and Donald Trump, who showed up at some of the weekend rallies, the correspondent turned to possible downside that these politicians might face in appealing to the Tea Party, playing up a result from a recent CNN/Opinion Dynamics poll:
The Associated Press's Ben Feller interviewed President Obama on Friday. In the transcript, Feller interrupts Obama's long-winded response to his previous softball question ("Are the Republican leaders lacking compassion and they're pessimistic?") by beginning another question, which is shown as having been stopped before completion:
Q. You said they might lead us to third world -
It's impressive that Feller even knew that Obama, as reported by AFP, indeed accused Republicans of creating a fiscal plan that would, in Obama's words, turn the U.S. into: "... a nation of potholes, and our airports would be worse than places that we thought -- that we used to call the Third World, but who are now investing in infrastructure."
That's because, as seen in a search on "Obama third world" (entered without quotes), there is no current story at the AP's home site:
What the media like about President Obama's budget proposal over Rep. Paul Ryan's are the former's insistence on tax hikes, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told the audience of Friday's "Fox & Friends."
"That's the part of deficit reduction they like" but "anytime anybody proposes any cut of any wasteful spending, the media are the first ones there to talk about the sky falling and everyone about to die," the Media Research Center founder added.
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Tovia Smith promoted a homosexual activist's campaign protesting the inability of same-sex couples to file joint federal tax returns. Smith played sound bites from the founder of the campaign, as well as two other supporters of same-sex "marriage," but omitted any from opponents. NPR also highlighted the tax-related "complications" of a specific same-sex couple on Friday's Morning Edition.
Host Renee Montagne introduced Smith's report by noting how "some same-sex married couples are planning a protest this Tax Day. They object to the federal law requiring them to check the 'single' box on their federal tax returns....In defiance of that law, known as DOMA, some couples are checking the married box on their federal returns."
On last Friday and on this past Tuesday night, CNN's Anderson Cooper ran fact-checks against the claims of two anti-abortion members of Congress against Planned Parenthood – but did not bother to conduct similar fact checks on the claims of Planned Parenthood and its Democratic supporters.
During his Tuesday segment of "Keeping Them Honest," Cooper countered the claims of conservative Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) that Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the U.S. "They are a big abortion provider, although that's only a small fraction of what they do," he stated.
In a business that is supposed to treat record achievements, dubious or otherwise, as news, it's more than a little curious to note that the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger, along with Reuters and AFP, all "somehow" forgot to tell readers that March's reported federal outlays, as seen in the Monthly Treasury Statement released today, came in at an all-time record of $339.047 billion, and that this year's spending through six months of $1.849 trillion -- also an all-time record -- is 3.5% higher than last year's comparable figure of $1.786 trillion ($1.671 trillion plus a non-cash credit of $115 billion explained here last year).
This year's six-month spending total annualizes out to $3.7 trillion, an amount that is almost $1 trillion, or 36%, higher than fiscal 2007. Though spending is the self-evident real problem, frontline reporters and their bosses would apparently prefer that news consumers not see how ugly those numbers really are.
Reasonably astute readers will catch the falsehoods and fallacies inherent in the following statement made by President Obama last Wednesday at the town hall meeting held in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania:
But here’s the thing about oil. We have about 2, maybe 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves;  we use 25 percent of the world’s oil.  So think about it. Even if we doubled the amount of oil that we produce, we’d still be short by a factor of five. 
The average Associated Press or other establishment media apparatchik following Obama around as he embarks on his 19-month reelection campaign has apparently given these statements little if any thought, simply assuming that they're "obviosuly" true. Each of the President's three key number-tagged assertions is either demonstrably false or seriously misleading. Each is badly in need of a specific refutation.