In 1977 Polish-born filmmaker and Academy Award winner Roman Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, and then fled the United States before he could be sentenced. For three decades he has lived as a fugitive under the protection of the French government. But finally, on Saturday, September 26, the 76-year-old was arrested by the Swiss police after flying in to - ironically - receive an honorary award at the Zurich Film Festival.
Disturbingly, some are up in arms, claiming that - even though Polanski performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy on a frightened girl he had plied with Champagne and a Quaalude - the incident should be forgotten. One such person is Tom O'Neill, the senior editor of In Touch Weekly. On September 28, during a CNN interview, O'Neill first claimed that Polanski "seduced" the young girl when it's obvious after reading her grand jury testimony that she was raped. Also, during that same interview, O'Neil argued that Polanski shouldn't be extradited to the U.S. for a trial, saying:
Washington Post columnist and blogger Anne Applebaum not only penned a September 27 blog post lamenting the recent arrest by Swiss authorities of child rapist and fugitive from American justice, Roman Polanski, she failed to let readers in on her conflict of interest.
Applebaum is married to Poland's foreign minister, who is lobbying for Polanski's release on bail.
Our good friend Patterico -- who works for the D.A.'s office that put out the arrest warrant -- has details at his blog (h/t La Shawn Barber):
Nothing mitigates director Roman Polanski’s unspeakable crime. Certainly Polanski has dealt with personal tragedy on a scale few of us can understand, but that’s not a license to drug, rape and sodomize a 13 year-old girl. Nor is perceived misconduct on the part of the trial judge, nor is the forgiveness of the victim (who reached an out-of-court settlement with Polanski).
And this may come as a surprise to some in Hollywood, but helming a few cinematic masterpieces doesn’t turn someone who anally raped a child into some kind of tragic hero… In all the revisionist history, the simple fact that Polanski plead guilty to “unlawful sex with an underage girl” is seldom mentioned at the top of the special brand of rationalizations extended to our celebrity class.
Well, finally, after 32 years, justice may be done. At the request of the U.S., the Swiss nabbed the 76 year-old fugitive and may extradite:
According to many in the liberal media, vehement conservative protestations to Obama and his policies are inciting, or have the potential to incite violence against the President. In their eyes, violent rhetoric and violent actions are one and the same. "Violent rhetoric begets violence," as one liberal talk show host put it.
So why are we not seeing blame heaped upon documentary filmmaker and avowed socialist Michael Moore for yesterday's G-20 riots in Pittsburgh? Moore does, after all, preach hateful and extreme anti-capitalist rhetoric. The cryptic slogan for his most recent movie, "Capitalism, A Love Story", reads, "Capitalism is evil, and you can't regulate evil." This line is eerily reminiscent of many of the socialist-anarchist slogans chanted by the G-20 protesters.
Assume for the sake of argument that violent rhetoric does beget violence. By this logic, shouldn't we blame Michael Moore's vitriolic indictments of investment banks for the brick that was hurled through a PNC Bank window yesterday? And if government aids and abets the evil that is capitalism, aren't Moore's words responsible for the bricks that were hurled at riot police in Pittsburgh?
Some liberals are using the death of a Census Bureau worker in rural Kentucky to bolster their wild claims that criticism of Obama is sparking political violence. But evidence is lacking, speculation is rampant, and left wing accusers are coming up short in their efforts to portray opposition to the president as somehow dangerous.
"This is the kind of violent event that emerges from a culture of paranoia and unsubstantiated attacks," writes Allison Kilkenny, a Huffington Post contributor and liberal radio host who, according to her bio, "makes sh***y world news funny." She was referring to the probable murder (authorities have not officially ruled it a homicide) of Bill Sparkman, whose body was found with the word 'Fed' carved into his chest.
'Fed', by Kilkenny's account, "has taken on a derogatory meaning in right-wing circles where fear and paranoia reign supreme... Such paranoia and anger isn't contained in the woods of Kentucky. The problem is systematic."
Last Wednesday, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis promised that her organization would conduct a "total audit," and would name an independent auditor by Friday ("within 48 hours"). Later, it said it would do so yesterday.
The group finally acted today, in totally underwhelming fashion. We're not going to get a "total audit" after all. Instead, there's going to be an "internal investigation," and it will be conducted by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.
If this were a Republican group, or if the press were doing its job, this change in mission would be correctly labeled a watered-down cop-out. Instead, the Associated Press's Sharon Theimer played along with it and made no reference to ACORN's high-minded promises last week.
Last Wednesday, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, in the wake of James O'Keefe's and Hannah Giles's embarrassing video barrage, went into damage control mode:
As a result of the indefensible action of a handful of our employees, I am, in consultation with ACORN’s Executive Committee, immediately ordering a halt to any new intakes into ACORN’s service programs until completion of an independent review. I have also communicated with ACORN’s independent Advisory Council, and they will assist ACORN in naming an independent auditor and investigator to conduct a thorough review of all of the organization's relevant systems and processes.
The Politico entry from Ben Smith linked above reports that the (cough, cough) "Independent Advisory Council" consists of the following eight members:
Fair enough. But Breitbart asserted what I believe is a bigger point. It isn't just that the establishment media would have ignored the story if James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles had attempted to put it out there on their own. Breitbart believes that Big Media would have actively worked to bury it and to discredit its authors. There's little doubt that Andrew is absolutely correct.
In a column today, Salon’s Joe Conason drastically downplays the history of illegality that characterizes the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. In his revisionist history of the organization, Conason tries to show that ACORN may commit voter registration fraud, intimidate its employees to prevent them from unionizing, and willingly assist in the trafficking of underage sex slaves, but by and large it is a force for good.
For many years the combined forces of the far right and the Republican Party have sought to ruin ACORN, the largest organization of poor and working families in America.
Ah yes, ACORN is supposedly battling for the rights of the working class. But in 1995, the organization sued the State of California for an exemption to the high minimum wage laws in that state on the grounds that higher wages would mean they would have to employ fewer people. Incidentally, this is the exact same argument that every opponent of minimum wage laws employs, and ACORN has always battled for a higher minimum wage.
Leave it to the Associated Press to drive the establishment media's attempt to portray ACORN's serious impairment as almost entirely the product of the Republican Party.
Never mind that Democrats control the Senate, which voted 83-7 to pull HUD funding from the group earlier this week, meaning that the vast majority of Democrats supported the measure. Never mind that the House, including about 70% of Democrats, yesterday voted to totally defund ACORN by 345-75.
In the world of Jim Abrams and the Associated Press, it must be almost all the GOP's fault that this happened. Check out the headline (frequently used elsewhere, as seen in this Google Web search on the exact title in quotes) at the reporter's story:
After a summer swoon, you would think that the evening newscasts of the Big 3 networks would start to recover a bit now that many Americans are back from vacations, kids are back in school, and fall routines are getting established or re-established.
So far, you would be wrong.
It's early, and there's still plenty of time this fall to recover, but during the time period after Labor Day, the broadcasts primarily anchored by Brian Williams at NBC, Charles Gibson at ABC, and Katie Couric at CBS:
Are down a combined 28.5% from their peak in late January during the first full week of Barack Obama's presidency.
Have lost a combined 37.7% of their audience in the 25-54 demographic during the same time period.
Are down year-over-year compared to September 1, 2008, the week after Labor a year ago, by 8.9% overall and 18.1% in the 25-54 demographic.
At 19.55 million, are basically drawing audiences no larger than they were during this past (for them) miserable summer.
Gregory Hall, a former employee of scandal-plagued ACORN, labeled the organization “the most corrupt group in the country” on Wednesday’s Fox and Friends on FNC. Hall placed the blame squarely on the national leaders of the left-wing group: “They’re the ones that are constantly giving the orders that say- make the money, no matter what- lie, steal, cheat- and I’ve got the witnesses to prove it” [audio clips from the segement are available here].
Anchor Steve Doocy first asked the ACORN critic if he was surprised by the recently released undercover videos showing employees of the organization trying to abet underage prostitution, tax evasion, and other crimes. Hall answered, “No, I’m not surprised,” and explained that “there is not much good in ACORN anymore, as far as its mission, and definitely not through its executive board.”
This morning, co-host Don Wade of 890 WLS radio's Wade and Roma show in Chicago threw a question at ABC World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson that I suspect was on many listeners' minds:
Don: Okay, here’s my news question. A Senate bill yesterday passes, cutting off funds to this group called ACORN. Now, we got that bill passed and we have the embarrassing video of ACORN staffers giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel with 13-year-old hookers. It has everything you could want – corruption and sleazy action at tax-funded organizations and it’s got government ties. But nobody’s covering that story. Why?
Keep in mind that James O'Keefe's and Hannah Giles's first pair of videos at BigGovernment.com showing an ACORN office engaged in the activity described appeared in the early morning on September 10. That was five days ago.
But until that moment, the topic apparently wasn't on Gibson's mind. Here's Gibson's jaw-dropping answer, with additional follow-up banter (HT to Rush on the air; transcribed by Michelle Malkin, who also has audio):
A bipartisan consensus of senators in Washington is newsworthy in these fiercely partisan times, but when the matter of agreement is something that leaves egg on the faces of the left-wing community organizers, eh, not so much.
Yesterday, in an 83-7 vote -- 50 Democrats and 33 Republicans for; 6 Democrats and 1 independent against -- the Senate passed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would bar the use of federal funds to the scandal-ridden Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). [related item on media ignoring the ACORN story by my colleague Dan Gainor here]
This morning, neither ABC's "Good Morning America" nor CBS's "Early Show" nor NBC's "Today" reported on the vote and the underlying controversy surrounding the liberal community organizing group.
Entrapment n. In criminal law, the act of law enforcement officers or government agents inducing or encouraging a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal expresses a desire not to go ahead. The key to entrapment is whether the idea for the commission or encouragement of the criminal act originated with the police or government agents instead of with the "criminal."
It's turning into quite the morning for NBCers to defend the left on Morning Joe . . .
First, Chuck Todd flatly rejected the notion that the MSM failed to adequately report on Van Jones, suggesting coverage would have been a waste of time. Later, Norah O'Donnell came on and suggested that the video of the ACORN employees giving advice on how to evade the tax laws in setting up a brothel with young illegal aliens "might be viewed as entrapment."[H/t FReeper mimaw.]
Early this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I posted on the Associated Press's treatment of the firing of two employees at ACORN's Baltimore office. These employees were successfully stung by undercover filmmaker James O'Keefe, who posed as a pimp (one who said he has plans to use the money from his "enterprise" to run for Congress), and Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute.
In a pair of videos (full script here) released on Thursday, viewers saw the two helpful ACORN Baltimore employees tell O'Keefe and Giles, among many jaw-dropping things, that:
Giles should call herself a “freelance performing artist” for tax purposes.
That they should claim three of 13 underage girls the pair planned to bring in from El Salvador to work as prostitutes as dependents.
That the prostitute should also claim child tax credits for those declared as "dependents."
O'Keefe and Giles piled on Friday morning by releasing a second pair of videos showing that they had pulled off a similar sting at ACORN's DC office.
But if we're to believe the Associated Press's Hope Yen, Friday's out of the blue decision by the Census Bureau to sever its ties with ACORN in connection with the 2010 census had nothing or at most very little to do with what O'Keefe and Giles pulled off. Instead, Yen portrayed the decision as a cave-in to the minority party in Washington known as Republicans. Uh-huh.
Thursday night, the Associated Press reported on the Baltimore ACORN sting carried out by James O'Keefe of Andrew Breitbart's new BigGovernment.com web site. A paragraph near the end of the report is virtually a de facto commercial for the controversial group.
As to the sting itself, in case you missed it -- in two devastating videos originally posted here that you must see, O'Keefe and Hannah Giles posed as a pimp and prostitute who, as summarized in original Fox News coverage, told officials at ACORN's Baltimore office that they "wanted to secure housing where the woman could continue to maintain a prostitution business."
ACORN said Thursday that it has fired the two employees who are seen on tape telling O'Keefe and Giles the following, among a host of sickening howlers:
Sadly, posts like this one about the continued refusal of the Associated Press to label disgraced and now-indicted Northeast Pennsylvania judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan are starting to sound like a broken record.
Fair enough, but someone has to track the record AP is apparently seeking, the one for "most failures to mention a Democratic Party affiliation after initially doing so."
You see, in an early report back in February when the story first broke, AP told readers (as noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), that "Both are Democrats." Shortly thereafter, revised and extended versions of that early report omitted the two judges' party affiliations.
No other AP story since issued that I am aware of has told readers that Ciavarella and Conahan are Democrats, even though the wire service's reports on case developments have gone over their national wire, as seen here today at AP's raw feed at about 2PM:
"When you have a party that claims to speak for God or claims that God is on its side, the rhetoric heats up and the anger heats up because it's not just a battle about ideas and positions and what's good for the country or bad for the country," Savage said. "It's a battle about what God wants and what God doesn't want. It's easier to demagogue about your enemies and to despise them and to dehumanize them in this really personal and vicious way."
According to the mainstream media, carrying a gun to a protest is just plain crazy, even if perfectly legal. What’s more, it’s indicative of the toxic, hate-filled atmosphere filling conservative protests of President Obama and his plans for health care reform.
“Hardball” host Chris Matthews and his daytime colleagues at MSNBC, for example, have their used air time to marvel at what would possess an average American citizen to go to a rally near where President Obama is speaking with a gun.
But the media reaction was markedly different nine years ago when a group of Black Panthers marched on the Texas Republican Party’s state convention on June 2000 brandishing AK-47s. Indeed, that incident itself was chalked up as then-Gov. Bush’s fault by none other than then-MSNBC "Equal Time" co-host Paul Begala.
So Michael Vick is an Eagle now. That’s ok with me. I’m a Giants fan. Or I was a Giants fan, when I could stand to follow pro football. For a long time now, I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch more than a few games a season. These days, I feel nearly as out-of-place at a Super Bowl party as I would at an Oscar party.
Here in the DC area, the Redskins religion has begun its sacramental advent count-down to opening Sunday. I wish I could share the excitement. Part of the problem is that I’m a natural contrarian. Everybody loves football, so I don’t. Also, I’m a baseball fan (in a town largely devoid of them). The end of summer means my season’s running down, while theirs is pumping up.
But the problem is more involved. See, I love the game of football. But I loathe how and by whom it is played at the professional level. I don’t like the hype and the spectacle and the production – the computer generated “Transformers”-type robots Fox uses in commercial bumpers. And I can’t believe I’m the only one who thinks Hank Jr.’s “Monday Night” theme song gets a little more embarrassing every year.
On Wednesday, the CBS Early Show once again feared a rise in right-wing extremism as co-host Russ Mitchell cited a report from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "A report out this morning says anti-government and white racist militias are regrouping around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center says it is in part a reaction to the election of America’s first black president." [Audio/video (1:21): Mp3 | WMV]
The CBS morning show touted a similar report from the liberal group on April 15, with co-host Harry Smith declaring: "The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report found 926 active hate groups in the country. That’s up more than 50% from just 2000...And they say part of it is because of the election of President Obama." Smith went on to describe how that report coincided with a controversial Homeland Security report that was released at the same time.
The Wednesday story was reported by correspondent Bob Orr, who cited anecdotal evidence:
On Friday’s Your World program, Fox News Channel’s interviewed Kenneth Gladney, the victim of an assault outside a health care town hall meeting in St. Louis on August 6, along with his lawyer David Brown. A video of the immediate aftermath of the attack (posted earlier on NewsBusters by Seton Motley) showed some of the suspects wearing t-shirts bearing the logo of the SEIU union, which is a member organization of Health Care for America Now!, a left-wing coalition pushing for the passage of ObamaCare [video clips from the segment are available here; audio clips are found here].
Mr. Gladney stated that he arrived outside the building where the town hall meeting was taking place, and started distributing and/or selling flags which bear the famous slogan “Don’t Tread on Me.” He continued that “this guy...walked up to me and said...who in the blank is selling this blank here. And I said, sir, this is my merchandise, and....he was like, what kind of ‘N’ are you to be giving out this kind of stuff here? And he snatched the- the button board. And when he snatched the button board, I snatched it back from him, and that’s when he proceeded to hit me in my face.” He added that others joined in the beat-down.
"Shop Sold Guns to Pa., Va. Tech Shooters" blares the headline for an August 7 Associated Press story carried on Time.com.
But Time's headline for the accompanying AP story is woefully inaccurate and worse, deceptive. Pittsburgh fitness center shooter George Sodini, whom police say purchased his firearms legally, did not purchase them from online accessories dealer TGSCOM, Inc.
The same story accessed at Google has a more accurate headline, "Pa. gunman used same Web store as Va. Tech shooter."
On Thursday, all three network morning news programs reported the conviction of former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson on bribery charges, but only NBC’s Today identified him as a Democrat. CBS’s Early Show and ABC’s Good Morning America simply referred to him as a "former congressman."
In contrast, Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News did not provide a Democratic label for Jefferson, while ABC’s World News did identify his party affiliation. The CBS Evening News made no mention of the conviction. While both Good Morning America and Today featured news briefs early in the 7AM ET hour on Thursday, The Early Show did not mention the story until early in the 8AM hour.
While CBS finally managed that single news brief Thursday morning, reporter Russ Mitchell framed the story in the context of Jefferson’s attorney appealing the decision: "A lawyer for former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson says he will appeal Jefferson’s conviction on 11 counts of bribery, racketeering, and money laundering." Neither Today nor Good Morning America mentioned the appeal.
New York Times "This Land" columnist Dan Barry landed on Friday's front page with his literary, slightly affected profile of a "tent city" for the homeless in Providence, Rhode Island -- and may now wish he hadn't.
Because there was something left out of Barry's portrayal of John Freitas, the "chief" of the homeless encampment and a major part of Barry's column.
The chief emerges from his tent to face the leaden morning light. It had been a rare, rough night in his homeless Brigadoon: a boozy brawl, the wielding of a knife taped to a stick. But the community handled it, he says with pride, his day's first cigar already aglow.
By community he means 80 or so people living in tents on a spit of state land beside the dusky Providence River: Camp Runamuck, no certain address, downtown Providence.
Because the two men in the fight had violated the community's written compact, they were escorted off the camp, away from the protection of an abandoned overpass. One was told we'll discuss this in the morning; the other was voted off the island, his knife tossed into the river, his tent taken down.
The chief flicks his spent cigar into that same river. There is talk of rain tonight.
Yours truly and others have since April noted a precipitous and likely historic dive in Uncle Sam's monthly collections. Year-over-year declines actually began last summer. The degree of monthly fall-offs has gotten "progressively" worse since then.
Yesterday, the Associated Press finally went beyond blandly reciting year-to-date comparisons to note the historic significance of the cash crash at the Treasury. Even then, Stephen Ohlemacher's report understated the degree of the decline in receipts from economic activity (i.e., excluding last year's stimulus payments, which were treated by Treasury as "negative receipts"). He also only carried his analysis through June 2009, even though sufficient information about the full month of July was available in Treasury's last daily statement of the month released yesterday afternoon.
As Dem pundits go, I normally find Kirsten Powers among the more reasonable. But on this afternoon's Fox News Watch, Powers propounded an incendiary theory of the Gates/Crowley incident: that the sergeant "lured" and "tricked" Gates into coming outside so he could arrest him.
Panelist Jim Pinkerton had just made the point that it was only the conservative media, by focusing attention on the matter, that saved Sgt. Crowley from a "miserable life in Cambridge" at the hands of Prof. Gates, Harvard, the NAACP et. al, when Powers jumped in . . .
Here's a particularly noteworthy "Name That Party" follow-up.
In a February post ("AP’s ‘Name That Party’ Twist: Disgraced PA Judges’ Dem Party ID Disappears After Initial Inclusion"; at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the Associated Press had originally identified the party of two Democratic judges involved in a shocking scheme that pushed thousands of juvenile offenders into detention centers for minor offenses in return for millions in kickbacks.
However, in longer subsequent reports, the AP dropped the party affiliation of Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella (pictured at left) and Michael Conahan.
This evening, in a 5-paragraph story (as of 7:47 p.m.; story could change over time) about a federal judge's refusal to accept plea agreements from the pair, AP Writer MaryClaire Dale stayed consistent with the wire service's see-no-Democrats approach to developments in this grisly story: