Instead of the progress that has been made in lowering violence in the country, CNN decided to focus on the "significant price" of the troop surge in Iraq. Tuesday’s "American Morning" reported that the Defense Department had decided to pull an entire brigade out of Iraq. Co-host John Roberts asked Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr "what’s this really mean for the war?" Starr only mentioned the decrease in violence in passing as she reported that the troop surge is "now officially in reverse gear." She did not include figures of this recent downturn in violence, something that only CBS Evening News did among the "Big Three" evening news broadcasts on Monday.
Starr’s report aired at the beginning of the 7 am Eastern hour of "American Morning." After she reported which units were sending troops home, Roberts asked her about the "price" of progress in Iraq. "Barbara, a lot of people are talking about progress here in Iraq, but progress comes at a price." In response, Starr highlighted the Bush administration’s lack of pressure on the Iraqi government to work on reconciliation, the shift to working with local groups that may become "armed militias" when the U.S. leaves Iraq, and how "ethnic cleansing" has divided Baghdad.
As the mainstream media often accentuate the negative in the Iraq War -- see Newsweek's latest photo essay -- independent journalist Michael Yon's latest photograph (pictured at right) is highly unlikely to grace the cover of any major liberally-biased newsmagazine.
Yet the picture of Muslim and Christian Iraqis working together to affix a cross atop St. John's Church in Baghdad is creating buzz throughout the blogosphere on sites such as Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin, and the Anchoress as a sign of everyday progress -- not just militarily but in the battle for the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people.
Here are some of the Anchoress's thoughts on the matter:
It’s one of those photographs that takes the breath - there is a feeling of cognitive dissonance. Some of us on one side - who perhaps have never understood why we went to Iraq in the first place - may look at this picture and say, “but…but…Iraq is a hell-hole, an unmanageable, unwinnable, place of civil strife, death and occupied people who hate us!”
Some of us on the other side, who - overwhelmed with images of burned flags and screaming mobs - may have forgotten the humanity of the Iraqi people (people we let down once before, and who had reason to distrust us and our commitment) may see these Muslims and Christians raising a cross together, in a language of brotherhood and gratitude, and say, “but…but…all those people are bad people…”
When Rush Limbaugh opened today's show by mentioning that the New York Times had relegated to page A19 the story of the ridding of Al Qaeda-in-Iraq from all of Baghdad, I actually thought he might be joking. Surely not even the Times could be so brazenly biased as to bury such a huge story reflecting the success of the surge.
But, sure enough, Rush was right. Page A19 is precisely the remote location to which the Times banished the story. And to further diminish the number of people who would learn the good news, the paper stuck this bland headline on it:
It was waterboard Wednesday in the New York Times, as Philip Shenon and Scott Shane filed separate articles on the issue of waterboarding and "torture" in general.
Shenon's article on the positive outlook for Michael Mukasey's attorney general nomination tsk-tsked:
"Even some of Mr. Mukasey's supporters said at the hearing to vote on the nomination that they were troubled by the way Mr. Mukasey handled questions about waterboarding, which the United States has fiercely condemned when carried out by other nations and had prosecuted as a war crime after World War II."
Smith teased the segment at the top of the show by declaring, "On the record, 21 Democrats officially call for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, citing deceit in Iraq and covert operations in Iran." This declaration was preceded by a song that CBS managed to find on the internet with the lyrics: "Impeach Cheney first."
The top of the segment featured a report by Chip Reid, who explained, "The resolution accuses Cheney not only of alleged past sins regarding Iraq, but alleged current ones on Iran." Despite Cheney’s "sins," Reid also admitted the unpopularity of the proposal:
As we've noted at NewsBusters before, it's perfectly sporting to liberal reporters to scoff at conservative activism by college-aged Republicans. Just the same, the left-wing activists of kids not old enough to drive is enough to make journalists warm and gushy inside.
Take Linda Ellerbee, formerly of NBC and CNN, who has a new Nick News special on kids engaging in political activism, and yes, it's heavy on left-wing action items from protesting alleged "torture" sanctioned by the Bush administration, to decrying standardized testing in Seattle, Washington, as racist, to aiding PETA in protesting the use of circus animals. (h/t Blackfive)
The mainstream media’s long march against the Iraq War continues unabated. On October 27, the Washington Post ran a front-page story with an attention-grabbing headline taken from a quote by an American soldier serving in Iraq: "I don’t think this place is worth another soldier’s life." Two days later on October 29, CNN’s Jack Cafferty on "The Situation Room" used the same quote in his "Question of the Hour:" "What does it say about the conflict in Iraq when troops there are saying things like, 'I don't think this place is worth another soldier's life.' Our soldiers are saying that stuff."
The Post story, written by Joshua Partlow, detailed the experience of American soldiers in a neighborhood of Baghdad called Sadiyah, which is known for its slide into sectarian violence over the past 14 months. The piece seemed to be tailored to put a negative spin on the recent drop in violence across Iraq. For example: "While top U.S. commanders say the statistics of violence have registered a steep drop in Baghdad and elsewhere, the soldiers' experience in Sadiyah shows that numbers alone do not describe the sense of aborted normalcy -- the fear, the disrupted lives -- that still hangs over the city."
In a segment on Sunday’s "60 Minutes," anchor Scott Pelley described how "The enemy has killed hundreds of civilians this year, but surprisingly, almost the same number of civilians have been killed by American and allied forces." Pelley focused on U.S. air strikes citing a statistic from the liberal group Human Rights Watch: "So far this year, 17 air strikes have killed more than 270 civilians, according to the humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch."
Pelley introduced the segment by exclaiming that:
It's been six years since the liberation of Afghanistan, but the fighting there now is the greatest it's been since the start of the war, and more civilians are dying...With relatively few troops on the ground, the U.S. And NATO rely on air power, and civilian deaths from air strikes have doubled. Now, there's concern that those deaths are undermining Afghan support for the war.
Of course framing the story in this way followed the typical mainstream media template of suggesting that the war in Iraq has diverted resources from where they are needed and that U.S. actions are a cause of anti-Americanism throughout the world.
He's a twice-AWOL serial liar with a pending mental health evaluation who can't write believable military fiction EVEN WHILE IN THE MILITARY. He's powerless, has been tried, found guilty and punished, and at this point, a distraction. We've been focusing on the wrong things.
What matters is the New Republic's advertisers. No, not their editors, their advertisers. [see below the fold for a list of same]
Army Captain Mark L. Stoneman took issue with the Washington Post placing an article regarding the Medal of Honor ceremony for the late Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy Seal killed in action in Afghanistan, on page A4, when the Post devoted prime real estate on the front page to a profile of Democratic strategist Joe Trippi (emphasis mine).:
I was disappointed in your coverage of the posthumous presentation of the Medal of Honor to Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy [news story, Oct. 23].
While Ann Scott Tyson did a good job of covering the ceremony itself, it would appear that her editor felt that such an event deserved only a few column inches and some perfunctory context of the actions for which Lt. Murphy was recognized.
This insult was compounded by your decision to bury the story on Page A4. While I understand that the fires in California and the tension between Turkey and Kurdish rebels were the two big stories of the day, you cannot tell me that a feature article about one of presidential candidate John Edwards's campaign strategists is more newsworthy than the presentation of only the third Medal of Honor since Sept. 11, 2001.
Stoneman was referring to a front-page profile of former Howard Dean Internet strategist and current John Edwards adviser Joe Trippi. The story by staffer Chris Cillizza is a feature in a profile series entitled "The Gurus."
The Trippi profile was hardly a time-sensitive front-page story. Capt. Stoneman went on to note a double standard in Post coverage of the military:
An Iraq War widow called out the mainstream media’s anti-military bias, and the only national news outlet to pick it up was Fox News Channel’s "The O’Reilly Factor." Appearing on the October 24 edition of the mentioned show, Ginger Gilbert, whose husband died providing infantry cover and sparing Iraqi civilians, spoke out against the media running an Al Qaeda video of her husband’s downed plane, but not focusing on his heroism.
Mrs. Gilbert called it "heartbreaking and upsetting and frustrating" that "this is what American journalists would chose to show and there was never a mention of the 22 lives he saved." Gilbert continued that airing such a video is "lending credibility" and "just furthering terrorism propaganda."
It's one thing for an editor to stubbornly defend a reporter whose story has come under fire when the reporter in question vehemently insists he is telling the truth. It's quite another when an editor stands by a discredited story that even the writer responsible for refuses to vigorously defend.
Such appears to be the case with The New Republic's Franklin Foer.
In a recorded Sept. 6 conversation, the writer, Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp, said from Iraq that the controversy had "spun out of control" and had become "insane" and "ridiculous" and concluded: "I'm not going to talk to anyone about anything."
I don't normally follow Ted Rall's work. But when J.M., a member of our military serving in Iraq, wrote NB about Rall's recent column and cartoon, I had a look. I'd say our soldier was being restrained in describing Rall's work as "particularly offensive."
I'm displaying one panel from his cartoon of October 22nd. You can view the whole of it here. As you'll note, the point is to celebrate the death of our soldiers, since they are "idiots" whose removal from the gene pool causes the average IQ back home to soar.
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, in his "Cafferty File" segment on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room," asked how the $2.4 trillion, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would be the cost for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next decade, could be better spent. Apparently, Cafferty, who is a well-known opponent of the Iraq war, also thinks that money being spent in Afghanistan for operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban could also be put to better use.
Cafferty’s "Question of the Hour" came 11 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room." He included that this figure "amounts to about $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in this country" and that it includes "$700 billion in interest, since these wars are all being fought on borrowed money to begin with. And more than 70% of this money would go to the war in Iraq." Cafferty also included that apparently "as of September 30th, the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $604 billion. That's more than either Korea or Vietnam, and there's no end in sight to this thing."
Drudge scooped me (arrgghhh!) with two documents related to the Beauchamp/TNR story. I had asked for in a FOIA request submitted more than a month ago to the U.S. Army. Those documents including a transcript of the call between Scott Beauchamp, TNR editor Franklin Foer, and TNR executive editor Peter Scoblic on September 7. I first wrote about the conversation itself previously.
The other document was the Army's official report, which I first discussed with the investigating officer, Major John Cross, on September 10.
Knowing the documents exist is one thing; having them is quite another. Now that they have been posted on the public record, these disclosures should end careers at The New Republic.
With pressure mounting, Democratic Congressman Pete Stark finally apologized today for his reprehensible statements on the House floor last week.
In his disjointed anti-war rant last Thursday, Stark shamefully remarked:
You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement.
Republicans immediately objected, with House Minority Leader John Boehner demanding a retraction and noting that "Congressman Stark's statement dishonors not only the commander in chief, but the thousands of courageous men and women of America's armed forces who believe in their mission and are putting their lives on the line for our freedom and security.''
President Bush has shown that he can be empathetic, sensitive and decisive. But those qualities eluded him for days after Hurricane Katrina . . . He didn't cancel his vacation until two days after Katrina struck and didn't visit the region until four days after the storm. -- "A compassionate Bush was absent right after Katrina", USA Today, 9-9-05
USA Today's broadside is typical of the MSM criticism leveled at Pres. Bush for his failure to visit New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. So, now that President Bush has announced that he will be visiting California on Thursday while the wildfire flames are still burning, naturally the MSM and Dems will put politics aside and laud his decision, right?
CNN decided to not to break away from its almost non-stop coverage of the California wildfires as President Bush formally awarded a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan the Medal of Honor, as its competitors Fox News and MSNBC aired the ceremony at the White House live.
The Medal of Honor went to Lt. Michael Murphy of Patchogue, New York, who died in the line of duty in 2005 during operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Murphy received the first Medal of Honor awarded from Operation Enduring Freedom. President Bush made the decision to give Lt. Murphy the nation’s highest military honor on October 11.
Nine years have passed since The New Republic came to grips with the fact that it had a serial fabulist on its hands in writer Stephen Glass. Now the liberal magazine is facing more scrutiny for more faulty reporting at the hands of Scott Thomas Beauchamp.
"I couldn't help but be struck by the similarities and differences at The New Republic, then and now," blogger Ed Morrissey wrote after viewing the 2003 film "Shattered Glass," based on the rise and fall of New Republic writer Stephen Glass. What's most damning, Morrissey argues, is that the Beauchamp scandal is much worse in terms of the gravity of the news material that was faked and the disparity in how the TNR editors have responded:
Given his show's modest ratings, it's unlikely that Keith Olbermann would be in a position to make a multi-million dollar donation to charity anytime soon. But let's imagine he did. Do you think that, in a segment on a related subject, NBC might find a moment to mention Olbermann's generosity?
So do I.
But "Today" managed to get through its report this morning about Rush Limbaugh's auctioning off of the Harry Reid letter . . . without mentioning that Rush has publicly pledged to match the $2.1 million winning bid.
A few days after 9-11, President Bush, in an impromptu moment on the White House lawn, referred to the war on terrorism as a crusade. What does that have to do with the vile claim Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) made this week that Pres. Bush sends our soldiers to Iraq to have their heads blown off for his "amusement"?
Nothing that I can see. But on this afternoon's "Hardball," Chris Matthews dredged up that and a couple other statements from the president's past and staged a segment asking whether they were worse than Stark's line. Note the graphic in the screencap, in which MSNBC absurdly asks "who should apologize, Rep. Stark or Pres. Bush?"
The search for bad news relating to Iraq must be getting awfully difficult.
First example -- From the "Looking for, and Not Finding, a Dark Cloud on a Sunny Day"Department(HT Confederate Yankee, who says "you can almost feel their pain"):
'Fragging' Is Rare in Iraq, Afghanistan
American troops killed their own commanders so often during the Vietnam War that the crime earned its own name - "fragging."
But since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military has charged only one soldier with killing his commanding officer, a dramatic turnabout that most experts attribute to the all-volunteer military.
As NewsBusters previously documented, most of the mainstream media highlighted General Ricardo Sanchez’s criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq War, but ignored his criticism of the media’s coverage. The one exception, of course, is Fox News.
Retired Colonel and Fox News Military Analyst David Hunt appeared on the October 17 edition of "Fox and Friends" to discuss Sanchez’s remarks. Although Hunt conceded Sanchez "is the wrong guy to be doing this" due to the Abu Ghraib scandal, he believes that "he’s right."
MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the October 15 "Hannity & Colmes" to discuss the New York Times ignoring retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez's recent complaints about shoddy, biased, and inaccurate media coverage of the war in Iraq.
Among other complaints, Sanchez hit the media for its "unwillingness to accurately and prominently correct your mistakes and your agenda-driven biases sometimes contribute to this corrosive environment."
Below is the opening exchange between Bozell and liberal co-host Alan Colmes:
The former top U.S. military commander in Iraq, Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, addressed the annual conference of Military Reporters and Editors on October 12. While his condemnations of what he called “a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership” have been widely reported, his criticisms of the media’s Iraq coverage has received far less attention. Here is an excerpt of Sanchez’s speech:
As all of you know I have a wide range of relationships and experiences with our nation’s military writers and editors. There are some in your ranks who I consider to be the epitome of journalistic professionalism -- Joe Galloway, Thom Shanker, Sig Christensen, and John Burns immediately come to mind. They exemplify what America should demand of our journalists -- tough reporting that relies upon integrity, objectivity and fairness to give accurate and thorough accounts that strengthen our freedom of the press and in turn our democracy.
On the other hand, unfortunately, I have issued ultimatums to some of you for unscrupulous reporting that was solely focused on supporting your agenda and preconcieved notions of what our military had done.
During an interview by "GQ" magazine's Wil Hylton posted on the magazine's blog on September 20, CNN founder Ted Turner blamed Fox News for pushing America into the Iraq war, tagging the conflict as "Rupert's war," and contended that he is more afraid of America's possession of nuclear weapons than he is of rogue states like Iran obtaining such weapons. Turner: "I'm much more worried about our nuclear arsenal than theirs. Iran, at best, can get a few nuclear weapons. We have tens of thousands. We have to get rid of them." The CNN founder, who has a history of defending North Korea, ignoring the country's problem of starvation, complimented its "thin" citizens as "healthy," and suggested the despotic regime is of no more danger to America than Cleveland, Ohio. Turner: "They were nice to me. There weren't a lot of fat people walking around. They were all thin. And being thin is healthier than being fat. ...
Writing at her "Couric & Co." blog this morning, CBS's Katie Couric gave journalist/feminist polemicist Susan Faludi a platform to flesh out her theory that the mainstream media have harnessed fears of terrorism post-9/11 to socially repress women and resurrect myths of the Old West. Here, for example, is Faludi's response to Couric's question about why Faludi penned her latest book:
"It's not merely despicable, it's transparent," a top conservative blogger fumed of the Washington Post's slanted treatment of Iraq war coverage.:
How they can even continue posturing as neutral fact-finders presenting the news without favor or prejudice is beyond me. Do they not even understand they are lying to claim this posture? Or does it simply not even matter to them anymore?