CNN's Ed Lavandera misrepresented "lost and stolen" gun ordinances passed by municipalities in Pennsylvania as "straw purchase ordinances" on Wednesday's American Morning, and hinted that gun rights supporters were somehow extreme. Lavandera also omitted that county and local governments in Pennsylvania cannot pass gun laws due to the state legislature preempting this area of regulation.
The correspondent's report was the third installment in a continuing series on American Morning titled "The Gun Trail" (on Tuesday, he touted what gun control activists call the "iron pipeline," and omitted that gun straw purchases are illegal under federal law). Lavandera highlighted a push in Pennsylvania to pass the "lost and stolen" ordinances. He began with two sound bites from Jana Finder, a coordinator for Ceasefire PA, a gun control organization. The correspondent never explicitly mentioned Ceasefire PA's gun control agenda, just that it had "launched a grassroots campaign to get local governments to sign on to what's become a highly controversial law called 'lost and stolen' ordinances....The ordinances require gun owners to report if their weapons have been lost or stolen, usually within 24 hours."
CNN's Ed Lavandera highlighted what gun control activists call the "iron pipeline" during a report on Tuesday's American Morning, where guns are obtained illegally through straw purchases, a felony offense under federal law, and smuggled to criminals who cannot legally purchase them. Lavandera never made it clear that such straw purchases are illegal during his report.
Anchor John Roberts introduced the CNN correspondent's report, which is part of a series titled "The Gun Trail." Roberts explicitly referenced the "iron pipeline," where guns obtained through illegal straw purchases in the Southeast are smuggled up the I-95 corridor to criminals in the Northeast: "Today, our Ed Lavandera is on the front line, a state at the start of the so-called 'iron pipeline'- a pipeline that could end on your street."
We're not looking to give Bill Clinton a hard time on a day when he's undergone heart surgery. But our forbearance doesn't extend to Tom Brokaw when he misstates history . . .
On this evening's Hardball, responding to Chris Matthews' question as to what motivates Clinton nowadays, Brokaw surmised that he is trying to improve his place in history given that, as president, impeachment proceedings had been "initiated" against him.
The case of a murdered woman who turned out to be an abortionist gave "Law and Order: SVU" writers the opportunity to frame the abortion debate as "pro-choice or no choice" during the Feb. 10 episode.
Ultimately, Audrey Hale's profession had nothing to do with her death but the twist allowed writers to get in a few shots against pro-life activists (calling them "fanatical nuts") and portray the doctor as an unsung hero committed to her job.
Detectives John Munch and Tutuola, played by Richard Belzer and Ice-T, questioned the lead suspect, Dalton Rindell, about his beliefs regarding abortion.
"Which are you, pro-choice or no choice?" asked Tutuola.
Salon columnist Max Blumenthal continues to get flak for his slanderous, factually-challenged hit piece on conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe last week. The column, premised on a host of omissions and baseless assumptions, contended that O'Keefe's is a racist.
Blumenthal's latest critic is Columbia Journalism Review, Old Media's paragon of journalistic elitism. CJR has requested that he correct but one of the many errors that comprise his column.
But CJR really has a problem, it seems, that Blumenthal has given ammunition to critics who claim Old Media is rife with liberal bias. CJR contributor Greg Marx lamented that Blumenthal and other quasi-journalists, in ignoring facts to support their agendas,give "ready-made ammunition for that broader campaign."
A website owned by the Washington Post on Monday accused Fox News host Bill O'Reilly of racism. O'Reilly's slight? Informing his viewers of the widespread corruption in Haiti. The accuser, meanwhile, omitted key facts undermining his charge.
O'Reilly had the audacity in a January 13 "Talking Points" segment to make the "not particularly constructive" suggestion (in The Root's words) that his viewers be wary of the intermediaries they use to send aid to Haiti given the island's notorious problem with corruption.
First of all, O'Reilly is a very "constructive" donor to the Haitian relief organization Haitian Health Foundation. The organization's founder, Dr. Jeremiah Lowney, heaped praise on O'Reilly for his generous donations to the cause in a letter read on air on January 22: "Mr. O, thank you for your latest donation. Your generosity over the years to the Haitian Health Foundation has brought improved health and hope to our poorest neighbors. God bless you!"
Not content to merely omit facts in his dubious attacks on O'Reilly, The Root author Thomas Reed attributed O'Reilly's statement that Haiti is an immensely corrupt nation to "a far too familiar trope: Black as savage, other, incomprehensible. Inhuman. Is this hyperbole? Perhaps."
On Monday’s Rick’s List program on CNN, Slate’s Fred Kaplan attacked Republicans for politicizing national security, accused the GOP of being in an alternate reality, and blasted Sarah Palin for “talking...complete and utter nonsense.” Kaplan also wrote off the tea parties as not a “mass movement,” and, along with anchor Rick Sanchez, accused Palin of forwarding “anti-intellectualism.”
The Slate national security columnist, who is also a former correspondent for the Boston Globe, appeared as a guest during the last ten minutes of Sanchez’s program, just before the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour. Before introducing Kaplan, the CNN anchor set up the discussion by referencing the political debate over the granting of Miranda rights to attempted airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab after his Christmastime arrest. Sanchez first asked the Slate writer, “Who’s doing the politicizing here?”
Since Tea Party protests became an influential movement on the national scene last year, the left in general and the liberal media in particular have tried (unsuccessfully) to render it irrelevant in the eyes of the American people. By throwing around accusations of racism and dire warnings of impending violence, these pundits have tried, unsuccessfully to undermine the movement.
University of Virginia Professor Gerard Alexander explored this trend more generally in yesterday's Washington Post poses the question, pondering, "Why Are Liberals So Condescending?" In his column, Alexander details four types of condescension widespread among the far-left and omnipresent in its talking points. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all four have been employed by left-leaning journalists to bash the Tea Party movement.
"American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives," Alexander writes, "appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration."
CNN’s Rick Sanchez failed to mention the party affiliation of former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon on Friday’s Rick’s List program, but made every effort to identify former Congressman Tom Tancredo as a Republican. Sanchez ranked Tancredo higher on his “List You Don’t Want to Be On” for his remarks at the Tea Party Convention, despite Dixon’s conviction for illegally using donated gift cards for the needy.
The CNN anchor gave the number three and number two spots on his “List You Don’t Want to Be On” just before the top of the 4 pm Eastern hour. Sanchez chose Dixon as his number three, and gave a brief on her resignation from office and how she received two years probation for her crime. He didn’t mention her Democratic Party affiliation during his brief, nor was it mentioned in the accompanying on-screen graphic.
When the far-left finds a character to assassinate, it doesn't let facts get in the way. That, at least, is the lesson we can draw from the latest bout of liberal character assassination, this one aimed at James O'Keefe.
The slandering of his reputation has occurred mostly at Salon.com, the Village Voice, and an obscure hard-left organization called the One People's Project. Together, they have waged an all-out war on James O'Keefe's character by associating him with supposedly racist people and organizations. Just one problem: their claims are predicated on falsehoods, exaggerations, and assumptions (but mostly just falsehoods).
Max Blumenthal, who penned the Salon piece, and the stalwart non-journalists at OPP (the Village Voice, for its part, issued a mild retraction) alleged that O'Keefe had helped to organize a gathering of "anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism." They also claimed (and produced a cropped picture that could not possibly validate this claim) that O'Keefe had manned the literature table at the event.
Well if you can't win the propaganda war by twisting the content of something you don't like, you can at least plant a presumptive seed in the heads of those who will only see a story's headline.
That seems to be the logic behind an unbylined Associated Press report this morning. Its headline ("Report: No sanctions for lawyers who OK'd torture") would tend cause anyone not reading further to believe that what was under review is indisputably considered "torture." But that is not the case, and the underlying article itself proves it.
What follows is a graphic capture of the first few paragraphs of the AP report:
A spokesperson for MSNBC told Politico today that the channel's brass has reprimanded David Shuster for derisive tweets he directed at James O'Keefe Tuesday. Within hours, he had retracted portions of his tweeted comments on air during an interview with Andrew Breitbart.
This humble blogger documented the Twitter exchange yesterday, and pointed out that Shuster was much quicker to assume O'Keefe's guilt than he was the guilt of Major Nidal Hasan, the shooter at Fort Hood.
“The comments were inappropriate. We have talked to David about them," said the MSNBC spokesperson, referring to a series of tweets that included this one: "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison."
Shuster retracted his accusation that O'Keefe had attempted to tap the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's office on his show this afternoon after Breitbart blasted Shuster for his false accusations.
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people.
Brad Smith at National Review Online has already delivered the definitive debunking of the president's statement, while offering two choices as to what that statement represents. Whichever it is (I pick "demagoguery"), the fact that Obama could even have the nerve to make such a statement exemplifies how establishment media-enabled negligence enables over-the-top political chutzpah.
Some in the liberal media continue to insist that James O'Keefe and his three cohorts were trying to "bug" or "tap" Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone lines when law enforcement officials have clearly said that they were not. Since the left doesn't like O'Keefe, the liberal media seems to think standard practices of journalistic integrity don't apply here.
According to MSNBC, one law enforcement official, who was not named, said "the four men arrested for attempting to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) were not trying to intercept or wiretap the calls." This statement comports with the affidavit filed in court after O'Keefe and company were arrested, which did not mention wiretapping or bugging, and only referred to the "tampering" of phone lines (h/t Patterico).
But the Boston Globe parroted this false accusation this morning in a gossip blog post about one of the alleged perpetrators, Joe Basel. The Globe--the same Globe that complained about ACORN's "trial-by-video"--called him a "political dirty trickster who was busted in a Watergate-style bugging operation earlier this week," and said again a couple paragraphs later that Basel was "bagged by the feds allegedly trying to bug the phones" in Landrieu's office. At least the Globe writers said "allegedly" the second time.
When the ACORN scandal broke, the New York Times dragged its feet for six days before issuing a story on the devastating footage from conservative activist and guerilla film-maker James O'Keefe, who caught on video the left-wing housing group giving advice to a "prostitute" and "pimp" on how to shelter illegal income from taxes.
But following Tuesday afternoon reports of the Monday arrest of O'Keefe for attempting to tamper with the phones of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, the Times wasted no time issuing a story for Wednesday's print edition.
BigGovernment.com caused a web sensation September 10 posting hidden camera footage from conservative activist and guerilla film-maker O'Keefe, who along with "prostitute" Hannah Giles visited several branches of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now and received advice on how to shelter their illegal income from taxes.
But the first story from a Times reporter on ACORN to see print came six days later, with Scott Shane portraying the scandal in purely political terms, with no outrage over a tax-funded leftist organization with connections to the Census Bureau and IRS encouraging tax evasion and child prostitution.
Update - 1/28, 10:25 AM | Lachlan Markay: Law enforcement officials have clarified that O'Keefe is not being charged with an attempt to wiretap phones. Will Shuster issue a retraction?
It's often said that bias shows through in what journalists decide to cover or not cover. So it was telling when Politico's Michael Calderone tweeted today, "@DavidShuster just said he's off to New Orleans to report on the O'Keefe arrest." "He's giddy," added Mediaite's Steve Krakauer.
Shuster's Twitter account, meanwhile, was lighting up with scorn for activist filmmaker James O'Keefe, who was arrested yesterday after an alleged attempt to tamper with phone lines in an office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). After O'Keefe tweeted, "I am a journalist and the truth will set me free" yesterday, Shuster responded: "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison."
So Shuster is personally invested in O'Keefe's fate and convinced not only that he tried to tap Sen. Landrieau's phones--a contention that the affidavit does not support, not that that has stopped others in the mainstream media from reporting it as fact--but that he is, without a doubt, guilty.
Serious question: did Keith Olbermann express this much outrage over Umar Mutallab's attempt to kill everyone aboard NWA 253?
Olbermann predictably led this evening's Countdown with the James O'Keefe story—the arrest in connection with the apparent attempted interference with Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone system of the young man who exposed ACORN.
Faith-based readers should actually be encouraged, because Olbermann appears to have gotten religion. Keith is clearly praying—fervently—that this will turn out to be, as the Countdown graphic suggests, "Watergate Jr.," with Republican officials revealed to be behind O'Keefe's latest venture.
CNN’s Jack Cafferty blasted the Defense Department’s report on the Fort Hood massacre as a “joke” on Thursday’s Situation Room, singling out how there was “no mention in the report of the suspect’s [Major Nidal Hasan] views of Islam.” Cafferty also highlighted a recent Gallup poll that found that “43 percent of Americans admit to feeling at least a little prejudice toward Muslims.”
The CNN commentator wasted no time in criticizing the 86-page report released by the Pentagon on the Fort Hood shootings: “The Pentagon report into the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas that left 13 people dead- it’s a joke. No mention in the report of the suspect’s views of Islam- none- in fact, the 86-page report doesn’t even once mention Major Nidal Hasan by name. It lumps in radical Islam with other fundamentalist religious beliefs, and instead, focuses on things like military personnel policies and the emergency response to the November shootings.”
Cafferty later read a quote from 9/11 Commission member John Lehman, and continued his attack on the report: “Lehman...told Time magazine the Pentagon’s silence on Islamic extremism- quote, ‘shows you how deeply entrenched the values of political correctness have become,’ unquote. What a shame....The Pentagon acknowledges it did not focus so much on Hasan’s motives, as on what it called ‘actions and effects.’ The report says they didn’t want to interfere with the criminal probe into Major Hasan. Garbage.”
Today, Roger Alford and Bruce Schreiner of the Associated Press, reporting from Frankfort, KY, are giving leftist bloggers, columnists, journalists who assumed or gave the impression of assuming that the death of Census worker Bill Sparkman was some kind of right-wing hit job another chance to come clean with an unconditional "I was wrong, I amy sorry." The list of those needing to post corrections and apologies includes the Associated Press itself.
You see, not only is it crystal clear that Sparkman (may he rest in peace) indeed killed himself, Alford and Schreiner tell us that he told a friend of his plans:
Jan 15, 6:09 PM EST
Police: Ky. census worker had told of suicide plan
An eastern Kentucky census worker found naked, bound and hanging from a tree had told a friend he intended to kill himself and that he had chosen the time, place and method to do it, police records show.
Regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are accustomed by now to the verbal battles that ensue when Stewart brings conservative guests on his show. The guests usually leave with a bit of egg on their faces, and Stewart comes off as the hard hitting, divisive and sarcastic critic.
But viewers were treated to a rare dose of sincerity and intelligent debate on Monday, when Stewart hosted former legal counsel for the Bush Justice Department John Yoo. Following up on what was a meaningful and intelligent interview Monday night, Stewart apologized to his audience on Tuesday for not being his usual cutthroat self, and daring to discuss issues in a civilized tone.
Yoo and Stewart duked it out for almost 30 minutes (videos below the fold), but the host did not manage to get the better of Yoo, who is now infamous among liberal circles for writing the legal briefs justifying expanded executive powers to combat terrorism under the previous administration.
Stewart ended the segment with a very uncharacteristic--given his tendency to demonize conservatives--call for civility in the public discourse (brief partial transcript after videos):
Despite being convicted of stealing gift cards intended for poor Baltimore residents and using them for her own personal shopping spree, outgoing Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon (D) will still be able to collect a mayoral pension after she resigns from office early next month.
Reported Baltimore Sun's Julie Scharper:
Dixon pleaded guilty last week to one count of perjury for failing to disclose on city ethics forms the gifts she received from a developer. As part of a plea deal, she will keep her $83,000 pension. She will receive probation before judgment for the perjury count and the embezzlement conviction. She also must donate $45,000 to charity and is banned from seeking city funds to pay her legal bills or working for the city or state during her probationary period.
This development, understandably, has quite a few Baltimoreans outraged, so Sun editors gave Scharper 25 paragraphs to report on incoming interim mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's pledge to look into the pension system and sew up loopholes that allow for convicts like Dixon to benefit from taxpayers in their retirement from public service.
Yet nowhere in Scharper's January 12 article was Dixon's Democratic Party affiliation mentioned, nor the fact that Council President Rawlings-Blake and the rest of the city council are likewise all Democrats.
Former American Ambassador to the UN John Bolton took MSNBC's Keith Olbermann to task last week for accusing US intelligence agencies of deliberately ignoring red flags that led to the failed Christmas day bombing plot (h/t Johnny Dollar).
Olbermann suggested that the CIA and other agencies might have been engaged in some sort of turf war, and allowed the plot to move forward. He insinuated that there was "at least a possibility somebody understood how serious this could be and yet withheld information to make some other part of the counterterrorism system look bad".
Bolton, speaking on the late night Fox News show Red Eye, said Olbermann was making accusations of attempted murder against American intelligence officials. He noted that Olbermann carefully crafted his accusations to avoid legal complications, but that the libtalker's point was quite clear.
Left-wing talker Stephanie Miller inaccurately claimed on CNN’s Larry King Live on Thursday that former President Clinton “put the Cole bombers in jail.” Miller also predictably blasted former President Bush for not “taking responsibility for 9/11,” in contrast to President Obama’s recent acceptance of responsibility for intelligence failures prior to the attempted underwear bombing on Christmas [audio clip from the segment available here].
Host Larry King first turned to the leftist talk show host during a panel discussion which began 12 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour: “Stephanie, the President said the buck stops with him. Was that a good move today?” Miller immediately made her full Bush Derangement Syndrome apparent in her response:
MILLER: Well, it’s certainly a different move than we ever heard in the Bush administration. I never heard anybody taking responsibility for 9/11, for Katrina. I thought he stepped to the plate. And I couldn’t disagree with Paul Bremer [who appeared in the previous segment] more, Larry. I think he [Obama] is prosecuting the exact same way President Bush prosecuted the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, as a criminal. You don’t want to make them holy warriors. You want to prosecute them as what they are and that’s criminals, and that’s what Clinton did when he put the previous- you know, Cole bombers in jail, instead of letting them get away, like Osama bin Laden.
ChrisCuomo says there's no proof Mutallab will talk less as a lawyered-up criminal defendant than as an enemy combatant. Suggestions to the contrary are just politics. George Stephanopolous manifests the same problem his old boss did: he doesn't know what the meaning of "is," is. Steph claims Mutallab "is" singing. But reports are that the would-be mass-murderer was singing—but isn't any more.
It was all part of Good Morning America's defense today of Pres. Obama's decision to give the NWA 253 bomber the full ACLU treatment, rather than dealing with him as the enemy combatant he is.
Fortunately, Rudy Giuliani was there to set things straight . . .
Sometimes being such fans of President Obama makes liberal media types tie themselves into knots. As I documented earlier today, the New York Times went to great lengths to insist America's rising debt is not the administration's fault.
MSNBC ranter Keith Olbermann decided to try his hand at the absurd apologetics Tuesday by concocting a wild vision of intelligence officials who care nothing about the country's safety, and only about their bureaucratic "turf."
According to Olbermann, this quasi-conspiracy theory is a possible explanation for how Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was able to board a plane bound for Detroit. (video and transcript below the fold - h/t Hot Air's Allahpundit).
Nowhere in their 9-paragraph breaking news article filed at 3:44 p.m. EST today did Baltimore Sun reporters Liz F. Kay and Liz Bowie note Dixon is a Democrat, even though her party has a monopoly on the city's elected officials and has for decades.
Dixon, you may recall, was convicted in December for misappopriating gift cards donated to her office and intended for distribution to needy Baltimore residents. Instead, Dixon used some of the cards for a personal shopping spree. In effect, she was convicted of robbing from the poor to benefit herself.
Bill Kristol has set forth a stinging indictment of the Obama admin's handling of the war on terror. His two-minute monologue on today's Fox News Sunday delineated a devastating bill of particulars:
It was a mistake to treat Abdul Mutallab as a criminal defendant rather than as an enemy combatant: "Mr. Brennan [Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser who appeared earlier] said to you that we're very worried that there're other Abdul Mutallabs out there. This Abdul Mutallab was there for four months. He might know who the others are. He might know their names. Will you let him lawyer up?"
As to Brennan's claim that there was no "smoking gun" regarding Abdul Mutallab: "He is the smoking gun," going on to detail all the red flags surrounding him. "Frankly, for Mr. Brennan to say, well, no smoking gun, that itself shows a kind of not-serious-about-the-war mentality."
The combatants were Pat Buchanan and Spencer Ackerman of the lefty Washington Independent. The topic was the treatment of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. Buchanan wanted the budding terrorist classified as an enemy combatant in order to extract the maximum amount of information from him. Ackerman, in ACLU mode, favored having young Umar tried in federal court and given all rights extended to US criminal defendants.
My antennae went up when at the end of their debate, Buchanan saw Ackerman off by wishing him "Merry Christmas." A bit of Googling reveals that Ackerman, who describes himself as a "very short Jew," has recently written of his "deep-seated contempt for white gentile culture."
On Thursday, the Treasury Department issued a press release, called "Update on Status of Support for Housing Programs." Its fourth paragraph reads as follows:
At the time the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship in September 2008, Treasury established Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (PSPAs) to ensure that each firm maintained a positive net worth. Treasury is now amending the PSPAs to allow the cap on Treasury's funding commitment under these agreements to increase as necessary to accommodate any cumulative reduction in net worth over the next three years. At the conclusion of the three year period, the remaining commitment will then be fully available to be drawn per the terms of the agreements.
Translation: No matter how badly things further deteriorate at these former government sponsored enterprises, both of which since last year in essence have become government-controlled enterprises, Uncle Sam (i.e., current and future generations of taxpayers) will cover their losses.
Here is how three different news outlets headlined this Treasury/Obama administration move: