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:
Minimizing to nearly zero the possible relevance of the suspect's home country of residence and of the possibility that he might be affiliated with what one publication refers to as the "Nigerian Taliban."
The wire service's 11:04 p.m. report (not linked, as original was revised by AP), had this to say about the relevance of Nigeria in its 23rd paragraph of 26:
Longtime readers of Associated Press dispatches have long since learned that many of the most important facts of a story -- especially facts that put the government, bureaucrats, and leftists in a bad light -- are often found in its final paragraphs. This is a way for the wire service to boast that it really did report all important facts while usually ensuring that harried broadcasters and other users of AP content who attempt to digest it down to a couple of sentences will probably will leave the meaty and incriminating stuff on the cutting room floor.
Such is the case with a report on the arrest of dozens of Medicare ripoff artists in various US cities. While the details of the arrests are indeed important, the final three paragraphs of AP writer Kelli Kennedy's report are the real jaw-droppers, especially in the context of the president's and Congress's dogged determination to set a statist takeover of the entire health care system into motion before the end of this year (bolds are mine):
Adler praised Douthat for saying that conservatives need to "take ownership of prison reform" to "correct the system they helped build" but took strong exception to his suggestion that, even so, Democrats "still lack credibility on crime policy."
As evidence for how Democrats are tough on crime, however, Adler pointed to gun control, Clinton's gimmicky COPS program, Waco, and the Elian Gonzales ordeal:
Managing Editor's Note: The following is a reprint of Michael Moriarty's original December 14 post to Big Hollywood. Moriarty, you may recall, played a prosecutor in the first few seasons of the long-running NBC drama "Law and Order."
Well, I think I’ve been fairly calm and forgiving of "Law and Order" for about fifteen years. Living outside of the U.S. has certainly helped in more ways than one. Out of sight, out of mind. "Law and Order" has, for years, been just a press of the remote away from non-existence.
However, recent events have "Law and Order" just begging for my reassessment. I hardly expected my old television series to be the clown act that leads the American viewing audience into an increasingly predictable pile of hard left propaganda.
After Martha Coakley's win in the Massachusetts Democratic primary virtually assured she would fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Abby Goodnough's fawning profile in the New York Times lauded her for having “made a name for herself prosecuting child abuse cases -- most notably that of Louise Woodward, a British au pair convicted in 1997 of killing a baby boy in her care.”
But there was no mention of another notorious case. As Middlesex district attorney in the summer of 2001, The “perpetually articulate and composed” Coakley took part in keeping Gerard Amirault in jail on fabricated sex abuse charges.
Amirault was one of the victims of the witch-hunt known as the 1986 Fells Acres Day School ritual sex abuse case, now universally recognized as an abuse of power by Massachusetts prosecutors. Children who attended the day care center were prodded by prosecutors to make increasingly bizarre allegations of robots and evil clowns against the Amiraults, the family that ran the day care center. Amirault was convicted in 1986, his wife and sister in 1987. Amirault was finally released after 18 years; it could have been 15 if not for the work of Coakley.
Hollywood liberalism has some strange priorities. During the last couple months, two high-profile criminals have been slated to face justice in American courts. The first drugged and raped a young girl in 1977. The second orchestrated the most deadly attack against American civilians in our nation's history.
Decisions to try them in the United States were controversial, but a petition against the extradition of the former, director Roman Polanski, garnered over 130 signatures. Included on the list were such illustrious film personalities as Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, David Lynch, and Wess Anderson.
Shortly after, another petition circulated the hills of Los Angeles, this one protesting the Obama administration's decision to try 9/11 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City courts. This petition garnered seven names: Robert Duvall, Brian Dennehy, Jon Voight, Danny Aiello, Robert Davi, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Ben Stein.
Two brief AP dispatches from December 2 and December 3 about Michael Toole, a Pennsylvania judge who has agreed to plead guilty to corruption-related charges, fail to mention that Toole has at least been a contributor to the Democratic Party, and appears very likely to have been a party member.
This see-no-party treatment parallels local media coverage of Toole's situation (four of many examples are here, here, here, and here). As far as I can tell, no one has directly identified Toole's party affiliation.
It wasn't easy to ascertain that Toole is a more than likely a mule. The best online evidence of his party affiliation consists of a March blog post at Sights on Pennsylvania identifying contributions by Toole to the Luzerne County Democratic Party in 2003. Whether Toole is actually a registered Democrat, or was until shortly before his legal troubles began, is supposed to be AP's and other journalists' job to determine -- and report.
The wire service refers to Toole as a "third judge" to be hit with corruption charges. As previously noted several times at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog, the other two, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan, are definitely Democrats. The AP actually said so in an early dispatch about the pair's indictment in February, but removed mention of their party membership a short time later; graphic proof that this occurred is at the earliest related post at (here and here) at each blog. As far as I can tell, the pair's party affiliation has not since been mentioned in an AP report.
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as the panel discussed media coverage of former Republican Governor – and current FNC host – Mike Huckabee’s involvement in commuting the prison sentence of Maurice Clemmons – who would later go on to murder four police officers in Washington state – panel members at first left the impression that Huckabee had commuted Clemmons's sentence after his child rape conviction. (Credit to NewsBusters reader Dana Christianson for emailing in a tip on the matter.) Conservative panelist Jim Pinkerton of New America Foundation had to point out that Huckabee commuted the sentence at a time when Clemmons serving time for the non-violent crime of committing burglary – which he did in 1989 while he was under age 18. Pinkerton even had to directly correct liberal FNC analyst Kirsten Powers, who seemed to convey that she thought Huckabee had commuted the sentence after the child rape conviction:
JIM PINKERTON, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: The kid was 17 years old and convicted of nonviolent – not – without a gun burglary and sentenced to 108 years. I think most people would see that as excessive. The real scandal is that he had at least three brushes with the law since the year 2000, and nobody then ever chose to revoke his clemency. That wasn't Mike Huckabee's fault. That was other people.
KIRSTEN POWERS, FNC ANALYST: What about the child rape?
On August 28, CNN Newsroom anchor Rick Sanchez shared disturbing information with his viewers:
A CNN source with very close to the U.S. Secret Service confirmed to me today that threats on the life of the president of the United States have now risen by as much as 400 percent since his inauguration, 400 percent death threats against Barack Obama -- quote -- "in this environment" go far beyond anything the Secret Service has seen with any other president.