In a passionate Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning ("Silence Has Consequences for Iran"), former Spanish Prime Minister José Aznar who, in case anyone cares, serves on the board of WSJ parent News Corp., says that "It would be a shame .... if our passivity gave carte blanche to a tyrannical regime to finish off the dissidents and persist with its revolutionary plans."
Shaking off passivity requires visibility. America's media establishment almost across the board is providing very little. The Associated Press and the New York Times reports exist, but their distribution is dwarfed by the death of a pop star and a governor's infidelity.
Here are useful comparisons (all searches were done at Google News at about 8:45 a.m. for June 23-27, limited to USA sources):
Clearly, the most important takeaway from ABC's low-rated White House forum on health care was President Barack Obama's admission that he would go outside the constraints of a nationalized system to get the "very best care" if necessary for his own family.
CNN’s Ali Velshi, during a segment on Thursday’s Newsroom program, ignored all the past sex scandals involving Democrats in recent years as he focused on “another sex scandal involving a leading Republican.” When his guest, Tony Blankley, tried to counter with how these scandals are being used to try to get the GOP to abandon social issues, Velshi tried hard to brush this aside.
The segment with Blankley, which aired at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with Velshi recapping the details about the most recent Republican sex scandal involving South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, and how legislators in the state were proceeding with possible impeachment of the executive. He then introduced his main point for the segment: “Okay, I’m going to say it- another sex scandal involving a leading Republican- this is the second in two weeks. It’s hardly helping the party to resurrect its image.”
After introducing his guest, Velshi referred to his point and asked, “I wasn’t the first guy to say that. You’ve heard this a lot in the last few days. You heard it before Mark Sanford. What’s going on with the Republicans and scandals?” Blankley first rebuked Sanford and any Republican who had been caught in marital infidelity. He continued by making his point about the push to give up on family values: “As far as the party is concerned, although there’s hypocrisy when one of its members or two or seven of its members breach the standards it advocates, you can’t give up your values. The party believes in supporting families. You have programs that do that.”
Can food taste too good? Yes, if you're New York Times health columnist Tara Parker-Pope. Her Tuesday "Well" column for the Times is currently the #1 most emailed article on nytimes.com, and is an interview with former Food and Drug Administration head (and over-zealous banner of orange juice and silicon-gel breast implants) David Kessler on his new book, with the typically scolding title, "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite."
A Times headline writer took the same hectoring cue, eschewing personal responsibility for what people eat and blaming it all on food industry mind control: "How the Food Makers Captured Our Brains." Parker-Pope, via Kessler, actually comes out against food manufacturers for making their products tastes good.
As head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. David A. Kessler served two presidents and battled Congress and Big Tobacco. But the Harvard-educated pediatrician discovered he was helpless against the forces of a chocolate chip cookie.
If the recession was the only reason why the welfare rolls are what they are in the various states, you would expect the percentage of the population utilizing the entitlement program, now known as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Need Families), in the various states to have some sort of relationship to their respective unemployment rates.
That is self-evidently not the case. The failure by Sara Murray of the Wall Street Journal to note that sad fact in her Monday article about the program makes her attempt to communicate what has happened with it during the twelve months that ended in May a major disappointment. As you'll see, she got right to the edge, but didn't look into it. In the process, Ms. Murray also gave all of the credit for welfare reform to then-President Bill Clinton -- a laughably incorrect rendition of what really happened.
Here are Murray's opening four paragraphs (bolds are mine):
Should there be a background check for national reporters?
One wonders. On June 21, CNN’s Anderson Cooper aired a special report for CBS’ “60 Minutes.” In this report, Cooper repeated the tired, discredited, blatantly incorrectidea that 90% of Mexican drug cartels’ arms supply comes from the United States. In addition, Cooper showed some interesting B-roll footage of seized weapon, some of which clearly cannot be bought on the civilian market.
Twenty dollars here, twenty dollars there. After coming from thousands of people, it starts adding up.
Anyone who listens to Ed Schultz's radio show or has seen him on MSNBC has almost surely heard Schultz refer to "town hall meetings" he moderates across the country.
Schultz began organizing the gatherings during the '08 campaign and revived the practice earlier this year, holding more than a half dozen that collectively have drawn thousands of people. The most recent was in Buffalo, N.Y., on June 13, with at least three more to go.
Here's Schultz's "Morning Joe" appearance June 16 touting them (as shown in embedded video) --
It struck me, in reading this AP dispatch from Tehran by Nasser Karimi and William J. Kole, that the political and media establishment has, in the two decades since the death of the very visible Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni, allowed Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, his successor as the Supreme Leader of Iran, to fade comfortably into the background, while still pulling all the meaningful levers of power in that country.
Only now, with Tehran in turmoil, and of all things during an attempted media blackout, do we directly learn from Karimi and Kole that election winners are in most meaningful ways mere puppets who serve at Khamenei's pleasure, and that the elections themselves are mere spectacles designed to convince the populace, and perhaps more importantly the West, that Iran, though Islamic fundamentalist to the core, is still somehow a sort-of democratic country.
It is, of course, anything but that. I daresay that most in the West, up to and including many politicians and establishment media elites, and even presidential candidates, haven't even the faintest appreciation of this fact.
In their report, Karimi and Kole communicated the essence of Iran's reality in one concise phrase, referring to "the virtually limitless authority of the country's most powerful figure." Now they tell us.
Surprise, surprise. Despite the overwhelming negative reaction to the President’s statements regarding the Iranian election demonstrations, Washington Post writer Glenn Kessler could not find more than one foreign policy expert that was vaguely critical. In fact, the sole expert they did find to criticize the President added a caveat – a caveat of praise.
In the section titled ‘Approach generally praised’, Kessler writes:
The president's approach has generally been praised by foreign-policy experts, with one exception.
He then cites the lone dissenting voice (emphasis mine):
Imagine, if you can, that George W. Bush made a clearly and deliberately false statement (by the way, what the left claims are his five major lies weren't, and still aren't).
Now further imagine if the Bush administration's response to criticism of the statement, if not true, had been, "Oh, the president's rhetoric shouldn't be taken literally." The press uproar over such a dismissive response would have been justifiably immediate and furious.
In his address to the American Medical Association this past Monday, President Barack Obama promised that:
.... no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.
Well, Richard Alonzo-Zaldivar at the Associated Press at least noticed that Dear Leader's promises can't possibly be kept. But wait until you see his nonchalant reaction to what a conscientious press would immediately decry as a series of obvious falsehoods.
By now, you may have actually believed the typical NY Times line that they have to disclose everything, secret prisons, NSA tactics, interrogation tactics, because the public has the right to know everything and information has to be free, despite the risks it puts on our military or citizens.
What you probably didn't know is that David Rohde, a NY Times reporter, had been held by kidnappers in Kabul for the last seven months. Fortunately he was able to escape. Bill Keller wrote in a memo today "the consensus of experts we consulted -- and the judgment of the family -- was that a storm of publicity would at best prolong David's captivity by increasing his apparent value, and could well put him in imminent danger." Somehow I think that's a lesson that will be forgotten as soon as someone in a uniform faces the same fate. The Times withheld this information along with at least 40 other news outlets. No, the media never conspires together in the dark.
Keller continues: "I expect we will be besieged by understandable questions about who did what to make this happen. I hope that if any of you are probed on the subject you'll keep in mind that anything we say about our efforts to get David out -- whether authoritative or speculative -- risks becoming part of the playbook for future kidnappers." You've already given the terrorists every other playbook we have, Bill, why prude up now? Was the decision to keep quiet the right one? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. But how do the rest of us get the same treatment as journalists?
Maybe reporters Brian Faler or Nicholas Johnston at Bloomberg asked Barack Obama some really challenging questions when they had a chance to interview the President at the White House. Maybe they even did some basic fact-checking. If so, there's precious little evidence of either in their June 16 report.
They allowed the president to blame most of the current year's deficit on George W. Bush. They let him speak of "robust" growth when the best guesstimates they quoted for the second half of this calendar year and all of next year are anemic -- at least as the press benchmarked growth during the Bush 43 years.
The Bloomberg pair also ignored the alarming deterioration in federal receipts from economic activity that has continued into June, one of the four biggest collections months of the year.
Here are key paragraphs from Faler and Johnston's failed filing (bolds are mine):
Riding on a waning crest of bringing change to the United States and cleaning up the environment, Barack Obama is going head to head against Barbara Boxer on a big issue. There are 44 coal ash dumps that have been designated as a "high hazard" to the public. They contain arsenic and heavy metals from coal plants. Barbara Boxer has seen the list and wants to make it public, whereas Barack Obama essentially told her "No, ma'am." It's important to know if you're in the path of one in case it regurgitates a billion gallons of hazardous waste on you.
Green groups are seeing red over this betrayal of campaign promises to bring a new era of openness. In fact, the average Earth-conscious moonbat is going to do a chai tea spit-take when they read about this in the newspaper. (And just wait until they read about Obama deciding to let Big Coal blow the top off 42 Appalachian mountaintops to strip mine.)
But that's where the problem lies. Jump on over to Google News and search for the term "Obama Coal Arsenic". You'll find that you won't really find anything. Anything. In fact, the only mention in the entire vast United States media is a short little editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Question: How do you water down the possible significance of a statement by an Iranian diplomat?
Answer: Wait for an AFP journalist to revise a previous raw report.
A short unbylined dispatch from the wire service reported that the diplomat "apparently misspoke" when he said that Iran has "the right to a nuclear weapon" not long after the incident occurred. (Dictionary.com tells us that "Used before a noun, apparent means 'seeming.'")
In a later full story ("Iran denies wants nuclear weapon as insurance"), AFP's Simon Morgan reassured readers that the statement by Ali Asghar Soltanieh "was clearly a slip of the tongue."
How can he be so certain?
Here is most of the brief early report after the incident (note that the headline, "Bombshell: Iran envoy in nuclear weapon slip-up," already had the excuse down pat; bolds are mine):
The report by the congressional Government Accountability Office, the first federal assessment of the issue, offered blistering conclusions that will probably influence the debate over the role of U.S.-made weaponry as violence threatens to spill across the Mexico border.
According to a draft copy of the report, which will be released today, the growing number of weapons being smuggled into Mexico comprise more than 90% of the seized firearms that can be traced by authorities there.
Pay close attention, however, to the wording. That’s 90 percent of the seized firearms – that authorities are able to trace. This wording actually reflects the vagueness of the GAO report’s highlights:
Two reports on CNN’s Situation Room on Wednesday about President Obama’s extension of benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees and the campaign to overturn Proposition 8 in California featured only left-wing sound bites, and none from conservative opponents of homosexual activists.
The first report from correspondent Dan Lothian, which aired just after the beginning of the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, included clips from a homosexual federal employee and his “husband” who was afflicted with pancreatic cancer, as well as Joe Solmonese of the liberal Human Rights Campaign. Over an hour later, Jessica Yellin’s report on Proposition 8 opponents’ efforts to overturn the ballot initiative which made same-sex “marriage” illegal again, featured two leaders from California “progressive” organizations, the Courage Campaign, and Equality California.
The Associated Press posted an "analysis" piece by writer Tom Raum on June 15 to address the GOP strategy against Obamacare and other administration policies but the APs characterization of the GOPs efforts almost seem meant to belittle and de-legitimize that opposition as opposed to describing it. The entire GOP argument against Obama is boiled down to a use of "buzz words" as far as AP's Raum is concerned. Apparently, no political truth or ideological disagreement really enters into it. Only "tactic," and "strategy" built on "buzz words" and "fear" is offered by the GOP instead of real issues according to the AP.
In "GOP using buzz words to taunt Democrats," with a subhead of "Republicans claim Obama embraces 'socialism,'" Raum never once admits that Republicans just might have a principled ideological opposition to Obama's policies leaving readers to get the vague feeling that the GOP is trying just anything to find a winning issue. Further, the entire article is premised as if the Democrats are correct and the GOP is just trying to chip away at their essentially correct stand on the issues. AP even presents a lefty professor to shore up the AP point of view -- naturally the professor's propensities are not divulged.
Then they came for General Motors' unsecured bondholders. The feds appear to be in the drivers' seat in shafting them disproportionately to force a better deal for the United Auto Workers' healthcare trust.
Now, in a matter that at first only seemed to interest the Wall Street Journal, they've also come after Delphi's debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing providers as GM attempts to scoop up what it wants from the bankrupt auto-parts supplier. But this time, at least for now, a bankruptcy judge with a richly appropriate name has stopped them:
The day pain died What really happened during the most famous moment in Boston medicine
The date of the first operation under anesthetic, Oct. 16, 1846, ranks among the most iconic in the history of medicine. It was the moment when Boston, and indeed the United States, first emerged as a world-class center of medical innovation. The room at the heart of Massachusetts General Hospital where the operation took place has been known ever since as the Ether Dome, and the word "anesthesia" itself was coined by the Boston physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes to denote the strange new state of suspended consciousness that the city's physicians had witnessed. The news from Boston swept around the world, and it was recognized within weeks as a moment that had changed medicine forever.
Wow. Pretty bracing stuff, except for one thing: A commenter named "introp" told the Globe (currently the fourth comment down) that they're wrong about Morton being first.
The creator of the Big Hollywood blog noted in his June 15 column the inconvenient truth the mainstream media did not focus on in the aftermath of last week's Holocaust Museum shooting, even as the MSM furthered the meme that
Back in 2005, the Old Media was all atwitter over a supposed "plant reporter" at a Bush press conference. The Old Media made a big deal out of this guy and used it to try and cast the Bush White House as employing some sort of underhanded control of information. Flash forward to today, President Obama held his Healthcare townhall in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It turns out that Obama's first "spontaneous question" from the audience sure seems like a "plant" in the same way as the previously mentioned situation in 2005. Will the media take notice?
Naturally, President Obama wants people to think his "townhall meetings" are legitimately open to just any American to attend to ask him the tough questions. The June 11 meeting on Healthcare, of course, was supposed to feature spontaneous questions for the president from the audience about a takeover of nearly 20% of the nation's economy with his healthcare plans. But a closer look at this townhall in Green Bay, Wisconsin, might disabuse anyone of the notion that spontaneous questions really were taken from the audience.
Leave it to the British press to once again do the job of real reporting that U.S. journalists apparently won't do.
This time, it's Tom Leonard at the UK Telegraph. From Flint, Michigan, he tells us of a "pioneering scheme" that involves tearing down entire neighborhoods and simply abandoning them -- oops, I'm sorry, I meant to say, "returning them to nature."
This is apparently what passes for sophisticated urban planning these days.
Here are key paragraphs from Leonard's story. Especially note the breathtaking anti-progress hostility of the idea's champion (bolds are mine; Getty picture at top right is from that story):
It's pretty hard to dress up a disaster as something less than that, but the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger gave it his best shot in his report yesterdayabout Uncle Sam's the May Monthly Treasury Statement, in effect understating the amount and significance of federal government's rapidly deteriorating financial situation.
With the help of dubious handling of last year's stimulus payments in May 2008's Treasury Statement, Crutsinger ignored serious declines in tax receipts from economic activity (over 30% in each of the past three months) that are, if anything, accelerating. I covered that problem in Part 1.
Additionally, after only briefly mentioning it last month (noted at the time at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog), Crutsinger grievously erred in his explanation of how a convenient "accounting change" Treasury implemented in April relating to accounting for its Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) has affected the reported year-to-date deficit. He claims that it contributed to it, while in reality the accounting change reduced it by about $180 billion. That is the subject of this post.
Here are key background and accounting change-related paragraphs from Crutsinger's report:
For example, Ann Coulter is responsible for yesterday’s tragic shooting at the Holocaust Museum.
Bill O’Reilly is responsible for the shooting of well-known abortion doctor George Tiller.
Oh, and the coup de grace: Sarah Palin and all of her supporters are raging racists.
That’s not to mention the implication that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and all of Fox News were the favorite news sources of James von Brunn, now-infamous shooter at the Holocaust museum.
Idiotic though these claims most certainly are, liberal bilge of this magnitude demands confrontation. First, examine what Rowe wrote on Ann Coulter:
It's pretty hard to dress up a disaster as something less than that, but the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger gave it his best shot in his report yesterday about Uncle Sam's the May Monthly Treasury Statement, in effect understating the amount and significance of federal government's rapidly deteriorating financial situation.
With the help of dubious handling of last year's stimulus payments in May 2008's Treasury Statement, Crutsinger ignored serious declines in tax receipts from economic activity that are, if anything, accelerating. I'll cover that problem in this post.
Additionally, after only briefly mentioning it last month (noted at the time at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog), Crutsinger grievously erred in his explanation of how a convenient "accounting change" Treasury implemented in April relating to accounting for its Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) has affected the reported year-to-date deficit. That is the subject of Part 2.
Here are key background and receipts-related paragraphs from Crutsinger's report:
After David Letterman made sexist attacks on the Palin family, the New York Times made sure to cover for him.
On “The Late Show” Monday, Letterman joked about Palin’s 14-year-old daughter Willow getting “knocked-up” by Alex Rodriguez, and the Times has scrubbed that joke from their transcript of the opening monologue.
The transcript, available here contains all the hilarious quips about Palin spending $150,000 on merchandise but not the joke about Willow. As Massbackwards states:
A local cop tasers a 72 great-grandmother and it's all caught on camera. How dare that nasty cop!! Which is precisely the reaction you'd get if you watched the segment on this morning's CBS's "The Early Show." The program begins the video right where the police officer tasers the woman, basically ignoring everything that transpired only moments before. "The Early Show" then shows a brief snippet of an interview with the woman:
WOMAN: I wasn't argumentative, I was not combative, OK? All of this is a lie.
All contributor Russ Mitchell noted in the cop's defense was that the cop said the woman "would not cooperate" and "swore at him." The reaction from the show's hosts is, well, not very surprising after Mitchell noted that the constable's office is standing by the officer who tasered the woman:
You want a blatant example of the Old Media's over-the-top, gobsmacked love affair with Obama? Well, one would be hard pressed not to see Time Magazine's latest piece by Nancy Gibbs as a perfect example of the media ignoring all ills and of projecting only what is wonderful onto the dearly beloved as this piece represents. The lionization of Obama is bad enough, but the selective memory of the writer is even more appalling.
Writer Gibbs begins her column trying to "place" Barack Obama in a "cultural map." Most famous people are remembered for a certain place that formed their inner core, of course, and Gibbs tries to pinpoint that place for several presidents including Obama. She pegs Ronald Reagan to Hollywood, Clinton to Hot Springs and W. to Texas. But where does she place Obama?
Wall Street Journal reporter Mei Fong wrote a report Fridayabout how some families in China, perhaps with the help of criminals, are marrying off their daughters with no intent of having them honor their vows in order to keep the "bride price," an amount a groom's family typically pays the bride's family.
This development is just one of many perverse side-effects of resulting from the Chinese Communist government's one-child policy (image at top right was found at this web address), which has now been in place for three decades. Because of that policy and the country's male-preferring culture, far more pre-born girls than boys have been aborted, leading to a serious male-female imbalance.
Despite the history, Fong somehow managed to get through her 26-paragraph report without mentioning the terms "abortion" or "one-child."
Here are the relevant paragraphs, with euphemistic words in bold after the title:
Even if they ultimately lose their last-minute court battle, the Indiana pension funds defending their rights as secured first-lien creditors of Chrysler have done a valuable deed.
We have learned, among many other things, how at least one government lawyer characterized the funds' lawyer, Thomas Lauria.
A $10,000 Democratic Party donor, Lauria, despite clear evidence of intimidation of his originally larger pool of clients by Barack Obama himself (in his April 30 speech announcing the company's bankruptcy filing) and his car guys, has nonetheless bravely pursued the important contract law and fiduciary duty issues involved in the shortchanging of his clients for several weeks.
Wait until you see the word the government lawyer used to describe Lauria.