On the weekend when America finds her citizens taking just a little time out of their cluttered and busy lives to pause and memorialize the sacrifice of those who have served and protected us all, the media always sees fit to make their observance of Memorial Day the issuance of stories about how bad our solders are, how bad they have it, or how bad they deserve to be treated. This year is no different, at least for the New York Times News Service, as we find a story about how a soldier was caught stealing money from a stash of U.S. cash found in one of Saddam Hussein’s captured palaces and how this theft ruined the soldier’s life.
This report has it all as far as the news media are concerned. It has a soldier that turned bad. It has the presumed injustice of the military and the war. It also has the excuse making where that soldier turned thief was somehow driven to his thievery because he came from a poor Kentucky town. It also has the "benefit" of being a tale used to denigrate our military on Memorial Day. In the warped estimation of the MSM it has every aspect of how bad it is for our military all rolled up in one. Yes, this is the perfect story as far as the MSM are concerned.
My circle of friends lost a fine man, a husband and father of several children, to brain cancer not long ago. He fought with courage and optimism, and received fine treatment, but the disease simply proved too strong. I sympathize with the plight facing Ted Kennedy, his family and loved ones. I'd add that in the course of the current coverage, I've learned of Kennedy's admirable history of extending kindnesses to many, putting him in something of a different light for me.
That said, I cannot help but comment on Bob Herbert's NY Times column of this morning, Tears for Teddy. The gist is that this is but the latest of many challenges that Kennedy has faced. And it's certainly true that the senator's life has been touched by more than its fair share of tragedy.
Even so, read this line, the one the Times placed on its op-ed web page to promo the column, and see if the same thing doesn't come to your mind as did to mine:
The press will tell you that this is Senator Kennedy’s toughest fight. I don’t even know if that’s true. Who knows what the toughest fight has been for someone named Kennedy?
Paul Krugman is over in Berlin, and—surprise!—concludes that Europeans have things better figured out than we benighted Americans do. The gist of his Stranded in Suburbia in today's NY Times is that dense cities like Berlin, which offer good public transportation, are the solution to the high gasoline prices we are seemingly stuck with. Krugman contrasts Berlin and Atlanta:
Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.
So why don't more Americans choose to live in big cities? After citing the current lack of good public transportation and the durability of suburban housing, Krugman points his accusing liberal's finger at his fellow Americans [emphasis added]:
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Scott Pelley looked at the healthcare provided to illegal immigrants in U.S. detention facilities: "Before 9/11, about 100,000 detainees went through this system each year; but today, with stricter immigration rules, that number has tripled to more than 300,000. The surge appears to have overwhelmed the medical care provided to the immigrants. Now a Washington Post investigation joined by 60 Minutes has found evidence that immigrants are suffering from neglect, and some don't survive detention in America."
Pelley then highlighted a few extreme examples of poor medical care, beginning with Joseph Dantica, an 81-year-old minister from Haiti who fled the country and was detained in the U.S.. After only 48 hours in custody, Dantica became ill: "Records show that two days later, during an asylum hearing, he became violently ill and collapsed...In a day and a half, Reverend Dantica was dead. The medical examiner said it was pancreatitis." Of course Pelley placed blame with U.S. immigration services: "A detention center physician's assistant failed to recognize that Dantica was in serious trouble...It took four hours to get him to an outside hospital."
The Society of Professional Journalists has decided that it is best to leave a suspect's race out of crime reporting except for "extraordinary" reasons. Of course, to the SPJ, "good reporting" means race info in a story about crime isn't "useful to people in the community" even if the race of a suspect is part of a police report apparently. Despite their claim that they aren't toeing the PC line, their explanation is filled with just the sort of reasoning based on PC thinking -- one of which is that all whites are racists.
Some of you may remember the story in September of 2007 when the Sacramento Bee announced that they were revisiting their policy of including race in their crime stories. A particularly gruesome crime occurred that brought the Bee to revisit their policy when they reported on the suspect leaving out race while Internet reporting as well as the Bee's own comments section on their internet posting of the story reported the race of the suspect anyway.
As readers of NewsBusters are no doubt aware, we've tracked how the media have regularly refused to acknowledge the political party affiliation of indicted Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D).
Well, today, Associated Press reporter Julie Carr Smyth did acknowledge Kilpatrick is a Democrat, albeit in a roundabout sort of way in an article about Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann being the latest in a series of Democrats to find themselves in legal hot water due to sexual indiscretion.
Oh, you've never heard of Dann? That may be because the Ohio AG's scandal lacks the tech savvy of text messages or the sleaze factor of high-priced call girls. But now that it appears that the nuclear option of impeachment may come into play, Time.com is picking up on AP's May 6 article:
An April 7 CBS Evening News report on the health care monetary burden of illegal aliens on American taxpayers has just now drawn the ire and the fire of the two largest Hispanic grievance groups -- the National Council of La Raza (translation: "The Race") and the Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund (MAL (not Mos) DEF).
Byron Pitts' piece is fairly mild and pretty much down the middle of the fairway, and CBS News and their (for now) flagship girl Katie Couric deserve kudos for at least addressing the issue.
But the Latino Intolerance Duo (LID -- as in flipped their's) can not let stand unchallenged the reporting of the costs of the invasion. Pitts pointing out that someone somewhere (that would of course be us) must pick up the tab -- when the likes of Fabiola (the illegal alien mother featured in the story) does not -- is to them an "anti-Latino falsehood". They do not offer how or why something so obvious as this is either "anti-Latino" or a "falsehood" -- we are left to assume that their asserting it empirically makes it so.
On our end, there was bit of a bone to be picked with the Tiffany Network's numbers.
Four, count them, four ABCNews.com reporters hacked out a three-page April 30 article for the alphabet network's Web site that dealt with new steamy text messages between Democratic Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his then-chief-of-staff Christine Beatty. Kilpatrick, indicted on twelve criminal counts including perjury and obstruction of justice, could see time in prison thanks to these text messages which would prove he lied under oath about his affair with Beatty.
Here's how the Kwame Quartet of Vicki Mabrey, David W. Scott, Mary-Claude Foster and Katie Escherich opened their story:
More steamy text messages sent between Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff reveal intimate details about their relationship, and further indicate the mayor played a part in the dismissal of a police officer whose lawsuit brought their affair to light.
Who said leftists are opposed to the death penalty? It's just a question of whose neck's in the noose . . .
Many might wax nostalgic for the America immortalized in Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post cover drawings. Not Keith Olbermann. He longs for the good old days when people like Rush Limbaugh . . . could be strung up. Here's the Countdown host tonight, speaking with Air America's Rachel Maddow:
KEITH OLBERMANN: Legally, we've come a very long way since the Haymarket bombing in Chicago in 1886 when we wound up hanging some anarchist writers, who were not even in the state, as murderers by proxy. And legally there is this question of "temporal remoteness" [separation in time between the statement and the act]. You say this now on the radio, it happens in August. It's not like yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater; it is protected speech. But do you think that Limbaugh has any idea that were he to repeat what he said on the air, say the day before the convention, or during it, he might actually be morally or legally responsible for incitement to riot?
You're a member of the MSM and a Barack Obama backer. But I repeat myself. More specifically, you're Chris Matthews. What better way to promote your guy's candidacy than to claim that Republicans would really rather run against Hillary?
That's just what the Hardball host did on this afternoon's show. Here's his exchange with the–in my opinion–very impressive Republican strategist Todd Harris, who worked for McCain in 2000, and with Dem strategist Michael Feldman.
"Toilet Paper Rationing Proposed for Inmates" read the teaser headline in the sidebar of my Metro section front page for the April 25 Washington Post. "Since when did Sheryl Crow become a jail warden?" I wondered. Much to my chagrin, I found it was not such a green story after all, unless the green we're talking about is the budget for the Montgomery County, Maryland budget:
Montgomery County labor leaders are urging government officials to ration rolls of toilet paper and bars of soap for the county's inmates to help cut costs and cope with a nearly $300 million budget shortfall.
The suggestion to limit inmates to up to three rolls of toilet paper and two bars of soap each week is part of a long list of savings the Municipal and County Government Employees Organization has submitted to the County Council, which is considering raising taxes, trimming services and revising union contracts that include raises for workers.
That's hardly the earth-friendly sacrifice that Ms. Crow preaches. Inmates have long been accustomed to "three squares a day." Who's to say that should only apply to food?
..... and waits until the 30th paragraph of its online story to reveal it.
The feds seem to be closing in on Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- and at least one Chicago television station seems determined to minimize exposure not only of his party affiliation, but of others who have received tainted campaign contributions.
CHICAGO (CBS) ― In an explosive development reaching to the state's highest office, a former high-ranking state official claimed Tuesday that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was on hand when he presented $25,000 in campaign money to now-indicted fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko.
Ali Ata, 56, a former executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority, said Blagojevich then asked Rezko if he had talked to Ata about a job on the state payroll.
Ata said later, after he made a second $25,000 campaign contribution, Blagojevich again brought up the subject of a job and said it should be one in which Ata "could make some money."
The Chicago Tribune continued today to dance around the party affiliation of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in its ongoing coverage of the Tony Rezko trial. [See Lyndsi Thomas's March 18 blog post here]
While Blagojevich's party affiliation was not explicitly mentioned, writers Jeff Coen and Bob Secter did note that a former Democratic fundraiser has testified that the governor "linked state contracts, business and favors with the raising of campaign cash." That came 20 paragraphs deep into the 26-paragraph article:
Ali Ata, a former high-ranking Blagojevich administration official, pleaded guilty Tuesday in a separate criminal case involving Rezko. Ata admitted he bought his $127,000-a-year state job by bribing Rezko and making campaign contributions to Blagojevich.
Tuesday's plea by Ata could have significant implications for both Rezko and Blagojevich. Ata becomes the third person to testify under oath that the governor had direct knowledge of Rezko's activities. Both Stuart Levine and former national Democratic fundraiser Joe Cari testified about separate conversations with Blagojevich in which he linked state contracts, business and favors with the raising of campaign cash.
Friday's NBC Nightly News took a balanced look at the issue of whether colleges would be safer if students were allowed greater freedom to carry concealed weapons on campus. Though the report failed to delve into any supporting statistics, soundbites were featured from advocates on both sides of the issue, including Mike Guzman of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus: "This is where we see mass shootings occur, at gun-free zones, because these criminals have a government guarantee or a university guarantee that their intended victims will be unarmed and unable to defend themselves." (Transcript follows)
After the clip of Guzman, correspondent Janet Shamlian introduced a clip from Lori Haas, the mother of a school shooting victim, who "believes armed and well-intentioned students would be no match for a gunman like the one who shot her daughter." Haas: "He had two guns, he had the element of surprise. The fear that grips you when you're worried about your life is paralyzing."
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Friday April 18 NBC Nightly News:
With the Olympics coming on, what's more poignant than the image of the sprinter hopefully awaiting the official time, only to learn he missed the record by 1/100th of a second? I'm in that same heartbroken mood for the Associated Press this morning. The wire service came so close to equalling the world record for revealing the Republican party affiliation of someone finding himself sideways of the law. Check out the first sentence from this AP story of April 17th:
A Republican congressional candidate was charged Thursday with felony burglary and criminal trespass stemming from an encounter last year with an ex-girlfriend.
The cable network MSNBC has refused to air an advertisement from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group created by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg,on the grounds that the ad is too "controversial."
The ad, below, features each of the three leading presidential candidates pledging to make it harder to buy guns at gun shows, and images of three mayors urging viewers to call Congress and ask that a bill closing the "gun-show loophole" be passed.
The ad is airing on CNN and Fox, and on affiliates around the country, a Bloomberg aide said.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to liberal priest, Fr. Thomas Reese, who also appeared on Monday’s show, and asked about the sex abuse scandals in the American Catholic Church as well as the comments of Pope Benedict XVI regarding the issue: "We heard from some victims' families that a mea culpa is not enough. That merely saying you're "deeply ashamed" is not enough. Do you think anything more will come of this?"
This question followed a report by correspondent Jeff Glor, who began by declaring:
It's believed the Pope could address the issue even further on his visit, either here in Washington or in New York, but some are wondering, why not Boston? For Gary Bergeron, the Pope not going to Boston on this trip is like saying the Pope's not Catholic. It just doesn't make sense... Bergeron was abused and still lives in New England, the epicenter of the scandal.
Glor also played clips of Bergeron, who said of the Pope: "I think it's an opportunity he missed...I would hold out my hand to him so that he could shake it, understand that I'm not the demon here." Of course, the Pope has not "demonized" any victims of abuse, but Glor still decided to use the quote for his report. Despite Rodriguez’s claim that "not enough" had been done, Bergeron actually helped win an $85 million dollar lawsuit for church abuse victims and met personally with Vatican officials.
While the word "humane" does appear within the Supreme Court's ruling today upholding Kentucky's lethal injection method of execution, is it biased of Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage to put the term in quote marks in his lede? I'm leaning towards yes.:
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court cleared the way today for executions to resume across the nation, ruling that lethal injections, if properly carried out, are a "humane" means of ending a condemned individual's life.
The court upheld Kentucky's use of lethal injections by a surprisingly large 7-2 vote.
It seems to do a serviceable job of describing their upcoming nuptials, what the attendants will wear, where it will be (an informal affair at the Bush family Crawford, Texas ranch), where they met, where he proposed. All nice stuff.
It's only slightly annoying that a picture caption at the article reads, "Jenna Bush, 25, and her fiance Henry Hager are scheduled to be married on May 10 in Texas." Cold feet on the part of the bride or the groom is always a possibility, but "will be married" seems more appropriate. But really, not a big deal.
But towards the end, Celizic drops in this:
Jenna Bush, 26, is a 2004 graduate of the University of Texas, where she was twice charged with misdemeanors for alcohol-related offenses.
The Associated Press cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered pro-gun or the propaganda arm of the "gun lobby." For example, in 2006 the AP implied that the NRA was responsible for the increase in violent crime begun in 2004.1
In a recent article, the AP once again to insinuated that machinations by the "gun lobby" to sunset the Clinton gun ban may have resulted in an increased criminal use of "assault weapons"; particularly in their "discussion" of a criminal homicide which occurred last fall:
The Sept. 15 killing was remarkable in that it took place in the most innocent of settings - the fifth birthday of twin boys. But it was unremarkable in that one of the guns brandished was an AK-47-type rifle - a powerful, rapid-fire weapon that has long been used in Third World conflicts but is increasingly being used in American street fights.2
Associate Press based this article on firearm trace data:
Figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, obtained by The Associated Press through public records requests, show a marked increase in the number of AK-type weapons traced and entered into the agency's computer database because they had been seized or connected to a crime.3
On Sunday’s "60 Minutes" on CBS, anchor Scott Pelley provided an update for a story done in February about former Democratic Governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman, who was convicted of bribery in 2006: "A federal court has released former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman from prison six weeks after our story...Siegelman says his prosecution was political, orchestrated in the White House."
The original "60 Minutes" story, which Pelley credits for Seigelman’s release, was aired on February 24 and claimed that not only was Sigelman’s prosecution politically motivated, but that it was done at the direct order of White House advisor Karl Rove. During that story, Pelley talked to Republican Alabama attorney, Jill Simpson, and asked: "Karl Rove asked you to take pictures of Siegelman...in a compromising sexual position with one of his aides?"
During Sunday’s update on the story, Pelley interviewed Siegelman:
PELLEY: Siegelman was once the most successful Democrat in Alabama. He claims that his prosecution by the US Department of Justice was influenced by the president's former political adviser, Karl Rove.
There is fear in the halls of the Alabama State House. Your colleague may be wired. Somebody may be watching you. An indictment looms.
After a dozen legislators received subpoenas one day last month in a criminal investigation, an atmosphere of paranoia and anxiety has descended on the gleaming white building that houses the State Legislature, many of its occupants say.
Legislators are sweeping their offices for bugs. Routine horse-trading for votes is stymied, for fear it could be misinterpreted. A wary lawmaker agrees to meet a reporter only in a wide-open parking lot. After-hours get-togethers are off.
The Associated Press's out-of-whack news priorities and seemingly boundless determination to distort never cease to amaze. Hope Yen's Sunday report on VA credit-card charges is yet more evidence that the wire service has lost its way.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Veterans Affairs employees last year racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in government credit-card bills at casino and luxury hotels, movie theaters and high-end retailers such as Sharper Image and Franklin Covey — and government auditors are investigating, citing past spending abuses.
All told, VA staff charged $2.6 billion to their government credit cards.
Yen must "hope" that disgusted readers will stop there, because, thanks to "clever" writing, many readers will believe that $2.6 billion in spending is under investigation, and that the "hundreds of thousands" represents the small tip of a very big iceberg.
An article and related materials published on the Los Angeles Times website on March 17 have been removed from the site because they relied heavily on information that The Times no longer believes to be credible.
The article, titled "An Attack on Tupac Shakur Launched a Hip-Hop War" and written by Times staff writer Chuck Philips, purported to relate "new" information about a 1994 assault on rap star Tupac Shakur, including a description of events contained in FBI reports.
The Times has since concluded that the FBI reports were fabricated and that some of the other sources relied on -- including the person Philips previously believed to be the "confidential source" cited in the FBI reports -- do not support major elements of the story.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich's (D-Ill.) name has cropped up quite a few times in the ongoing trial of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) benefactor Tony Rezko. Yet in their latest coverage, both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times left out Blagojevich's party affiliation. The Sun-Times, however, did take note of the Republican party affiliation of another politico caught up in the maelstrom, William Cellini (see screencap at right, photos via AP/Sun-Times).
The caption for a photo montage accompanying the April 3 article "Levine: Blagojevich knew", reads, "Clockwise from left: Gov. Rod Blagojevich; Tony Rezko; Stuart Levine;Chicago businessman-turned-Hollywood producer Tom Rosenberg; longtime Illinois Republican Party power William Cellini."
Tribune staffers Bob Secter and Jeff Coen also covered the development in a story filed shortly after midnight Eastern time on April 3.
A federal judge on April 1 ordered Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), a veteran liberal legislator and Saddam Hussein stooge, to pay Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) $1 million for an illegally-taped 1996 phone conversation. Even the Associated Press, which we've taken to task numerous times for dropping party labels, noted McDermott's party affiliation. Not so the Seattle Times, McDermott's hometown paper:
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., says Congressman Jim McDermott owes an Ohio congressman $1 million for leaking an illegally taped phone call to the media.
Today's decision may end the dispute that began in 1996 when John Boehner (BAY'-ner) was taped talking about an ethics case involving Newt Gingrich. The tape reached McDermott who gave it two newspapers. He says it's a free speech issue.
Boehner sued and the case has been in the courts for a decade. A federal court ruled McDermott had no right to release the call.
Update at bottom of post: Williams responds (18:24 EDT)
I have to hand it to the AP this time. They actually noted the political party affiliation of another Democrat in legal hot water. So did CNN.com and Reuters.
But for some reason, MSNBC's Pete Williams left out the party affiliation of Louisiana's Rep. William Jefferson (D) in this March 31 item at the First Read blog:
In something of a surprise, the U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear an appeal involving the FBI's unprecedented search of the Capitol Hill offices of Congressman William Jefferson.
A federal appeals court ruled that the FBI wrongly used its own agents look through the material seized to determine what might be covered by congressional privilege. This is a considerable victory for Jefferson, largely validating his objections to the search and giving him certain bragging rights. But prosecutors claim they have sufficient evidence independent of the search. The cash in his freezer, for example, was found well before Jefferson's offices were searched.
Agence France-Presse, in a report on Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania's death row for over twenty-five years for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, referred to the cop killer as a "human rights campaigner." Abu-Jamal, whose birth name is Wesley Cook, had his murder conviction upheld by a panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, but the court also decided that either he must receive a life sentence, or receive a new sentencing hearing.
AFP’s headline for their report read, "US court overturns rights campaigner’s death penalty," and its opening sentence referred to "the death sentence passed against human rights campaigner Mumia Abu-Jamal." In its closing sentence, AFP referenced how Abu-Jamal "became a leading campaigner against the death penalty" while on death row.