TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as "pizzas" which will now be known as "elastic loaves," state media reported Saturday.
The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.
You may recall the past items I've posted about journalists who think they are exempt from the same behavior that they inflict on the rest of us. CBS News anchor Diann Burns is suing her contractors for skimping on her $3 million house because she is black. Of course the contracter gave her $92,000 in free perks, but she's still upset that they aren't going to fix the rain gutters on the neighboring house so they don't spill water in her yard. Obviously the neighbors are also doing this because she is black.
The punch line is this request to the court:
The filing asks that all attorneys, experts and court personnel involved in the case sign a "secrecy agreement," which would last up to five years after the suit has ended, barring them from talking about aspects of the case publicly or peddling pictures of the interior of the home.
The filing, which will be the subject of a Thursday court hearing, says that the luxury home is Burns' and Watts' "castle and refuge from the daily pressures of life," and that they "will suffer unreasonable annoyance and embarrassment if pictorial or verbal descriptions of the interior of their home" are made public and "may attract curiosity seekers, depriving them of the privacy and peace of the home to which every human being is entitled."
The filing specifically asks a judge to prevent information from being given "to the general public or the media" about the inside of their home...
Next time you see a reporter doing a live stand-up in front of an innocent victim's house, remember how this hypocritical CBS anchor believes that every human being is entitled to privacy and peace in their home.
Don't the press in general and the New York Times in particular take pride in portraying themselves as ever-the vigilant defenders of the First Amendment? But judging by an editorial in the paper this morning, the Times experiences a power loss worse than the one currently gripping Queens when it comes to defending the First Amendment rights of groups it disfavors, in this case the tobacco industry.
Entitled Take the Tobacco Pledge, the editorial urges ratification of The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, known colloquially as 'the tobacco treaty.' Here's how the Times describes its provisions:
Internet giants Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft have come under fire
today from Amnesty International for actively complying with the
authoritarian government of China's attempts to censor the internet
in that country.
These companies came in for withering criticism as part of
Amnesty's campaign to raise awareness of political censorship
throughout the world by highlighting its impact in China where
internet suppression is more widespread and effective largely because
American tech companies are "particularly willing to cooperate
with the Chinese government," the group said in a
"The internet can be a great tool for the promotion of human
rights -- activists can tell the world about abuses in their country
at the click of a mouse. People have unprecedented access to
information from the widest range of sources," the statement
continued. "But the internet's potential for change is being
undermined -- by governments unwilling to tolerate this free media
outlet, and by companies willing to help them repress free speech."
An excerpt from the devastating report (PDF) is after the jump. For a look at web censorship in India, read this from Michelle Malkin.
President Bush is an even greater threat to our civil liberties than that bête noire of the left, Richard Nixon. That's Morton Halperin's conclusion in a Los Angeles Times op-ed of today, Bush: Worse Than Nixon.
Halperin was once a name in the news. In 1969, then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger named Halperin to the NSA. But soon thereafter Kissinger suspected it was the dovish Halperin who leaked to the NY Times the fact that the US was secretly bombing Cambodia. The FBI began tapping his phone, and Halperin was soon gone from NSA. Perhaps Halperin's biggest claim to fame is the fact that Pres. Nixon put him on his 'Enemies List.' A red badge of courage, no pun intended, off which a person can no doubt eat for a lifetime in liberal circles.
Halperin remains active politically, serving as a senior fellow at the 'Center for American Progress.' As detailed by the invaluable Discoverthenetworks, CAP is a George Soros-funded organization founded on the risible notion that American colleges and universities are dominated by . . . conservatives."
"It's hard not to notice the clear similarities between then and now. Both the Nixon and Bush presidencies rely heavily on the use of national security as a pretext for the usurpation of unprecedented executive power.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone of the hit Comedy Central series “South Park” were recently interviewed during MTV Networks Television Critics Association tour as reported by Reuters, and the irreverent duo made some interesting statements about episodes of theirs that have been censored: “The creators of ‘South Park’ lambasted Comedy Central Thursday for removing an episode that lampooned Scientology and Tom Cruise from the network's repeat schedule and for blanking out the image of Muhammad during another.” Parker said, “‘So there are two things we can't do on Comedy Central: show Muhammad or Tom Cruise.’”
The Missoulian was caught cheating their carriers out of money rightfully owed. No one doubts that -- they have settled in the class action lawsuit. But don't bother asking by how much they cheated their own employees, the enforcers of transparency won't talk about it. One might then ask a carrier, but the terms of the settlement are confidential. A good reporter would then turn to the court documents but the newspaper "also took the unusual step of requesting that the entire court file be sealed, which request the court granted."
Bill Keller, editor of The New York Times, was on the PBS "NewsHour" last night to discuss the fallout over the fact that on June 23, The New York Times among other papers, revealed classified anti terrorism programs. Mr. Keller attempted to downplay the revelation as not a big deal because:
"We weighed very heavily and looked in excruciating detail at claims that this was not something that terrorists knew, that this would somehow be useful to terrorists. And the fact is, you know, you can find more useful detail about what the Treasury is doing in the Treasury's own public briefings."
If there is more useful detail on the public record, then why didn’t the Times print that instead? How does the Times know that the terrorists were already aware of the SWIFT program they wrote about? Did they talk to any terrorists to find out? The fact is, as Bill Keller goes on to mention:
Given NewsBusters' goal of exposing outrageous liberal media bias, perhaps I should switch focus from the Katie-less Today to Harry Smith & Co. at the Early Show. I rarely check in on the show, which has languished seemingly forever in last place. But, happening upon it this morning, Smith's bald-faced bias left me breathless.
Smith's guest was Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report. Talk was first of the proposed flag-burning amendment. A snide Smith observed:
"I'm just curious about this. Because somewhere I read in the last couple of days in the entire history of the republic there have only been 200 documented serious incidents of this in the entire history of the United States." Lotta history there, Harry.
Civil War re-enactor Tim VanRaemdonck said he was just staying in character when he wrote "slave" as the occupation of black children on fictitious enlistment papers during Civil War Days at Crossroads Village.
Word reached Crossroads Village manager Garry Pringle, who had two conversations with VanRaemdonck and asked him to leave.
Gosh! Imagine that! A black person being assumed a slave in 1860's Georgia?
There’s an old saying in business: money talks and, well, something that comes out of a male cow walks. In the case of Google, it appears that dollar signs, regardless of the foreign or domestic nature of the currency involved, have been more important than principle in some of its business dealings.
To be more specific, one of Google’s co-founders has admitted that his company caved in to demands from Chinese leaders to censor information available through its search engine to Chinese citizens in exchange for, well, yuan…which is dollars to you and me. As reported by the Associated Press: “Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin acknowledged Tuesday the dominant Internet company has compromised its principles by accommodating Chinese censorship demands.”
As Dorfman said in “Animal House,” boy this is great!
The article continued: “Google's China-approved Web service omits politically sensitive information that might be retrieved during Internet searches, such as details about the 1989 suppression of political unrest in Tiananmen Square. Its agreement with China has provoked considerable criticism from human rights groups.”
Curiously, this seems to go against one of the “Ten things Google has found to be true” as expressed in its corporate philosophy statement: “You can make money without doing evil.”
As previously reported by NewsBusters here, here, and here, Google has been canceling its News relationship with conservative websites for what it has deemed as “hate speech.”
Well, let’s see what Google News doesn’t view as “hate speech,” shall we?
With a hat tip to a NewsBusters reader, Google News Saturday morning posted the following article from Capital Hill Blue: “Republicans Return to Their Homophobic, Right-Wing Base.”
Nice headline, huh? And, according to the reader that gave me this tip, this headline was at the Google News main page when he opened his browser this morning. Must have gone down real nicely with his Wheaties, dontcha think?
For those that don't believe Google News would really include such an article in its news crawl, please click here.
But, the best was yet to come, for the piece began:
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission refused to reconsider on Wednesday its decision to fine 20 CBS Corp. (CBSa.N: Quote, Profile, Research) television stations a total of $550,000 for airing pop singer Janet Jackson's breast flash in 2004.
The decision sets up a likely court battle over the FCC's attempt to crack down on indecent content broadcast on television and radio.
Jackson briefly exposed her breast during the Super Bowl football halftime show, sparking an outrage among some lawmakers and parents groups and provoking regulators to impose the fine on CBS for violating U.S. decency standards.
Could there be a new sheriff on the block at Fox News Watch? Brash lefty Neal Gabler often manages to get the last word, but on last evening's show he was soundly put in his place by National Review editor Rich Lowry, substituting for Cal Thomas.
The topic was the recent press leaks that have compromised a number of highly-classified anti-terrorism programs including the secret prisons for Al-Qaeda members, the monitoring of Al-Qaeda related phone calls and the gathering of phone calling patterns.
Predictably, Gabler was highly critical of the prospect of the government going against those who, by publishing the leaks, potentially cause significant damage to our national security interests:
After successfully putting the kibosh on a "South Park" episode that made fun of scientology and himself, actor Tom Cruise has expanded his censorship efforts overseas where he's succeeded in getting the same episode pulled in the U.K.:
The South Park episode "Trapped In the Closet," which
mocks actor Tom Cruise's rumored homosexuality as well as his belief in
the controversial religion Scientology, has finally been seen by the
English. The episode had been banned from UK broadcaster Channel 4
after Cruise had complained.
According to the World Entertainment News Network, London's National Film Theater screened the episode on Monday, May 15. After the showing, South Park
creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker spoke about the necessity of free
speech. The event concluded with free copies of the episode being
handed out to attendees.
In regards to possible action by the litigious Cruise, a spokesman for
the Theater said, "If we were charging [for tickets] there may have
been legal problems, but it was a free event, so it should be fine."
Patriotic American users of Microsoft's Hotmail service may be surprised when trying to obtain an email address. The company does not allow new users to sign up for a user name containing the word "american."
At first glance, it seemed that Hotmail is taking precaution to limit phishing attempts which often rely on official-sounding addresses to trick recipients into paying money to people posing as governmental entities. However, my quick check showed that names with "canadian," "francais," "german," "australian," "english," and "deutsch," are all allowed.
Since NewsBusters first broke the story about Google News capriciously terminating its relationship with conservative e-zines and web journals, and followed (with the help of writer and software developer Marc Sheppard) with a detailed analysis of the ramifications of such unrestrained power, the blogosphere has been abuzz with this issue.
One of the key players in this sad tale, Frank Salvato of The New Media Journal, posted an interesting response to Google’s banishment at his website that included a list of competing search engines as well as his opinion on the issue: “Google News and Google Search Engine are on a campaign of political correctness that sees them denying access to their service to any website - be it news, opinion or a hybrid of both - that dares to address the subject of radical Islam.” Salvato continued:
The New Media Journal, formerly The Rant.us, has been removed from Google News and Google Search for what has been deemed “hate speech.” Many readers here might be familiar with this conservative e-zine, and, as a disclaimer, I have been a contributing writer there since September 2004.
(Update: I was just informed by the proprietor of MichNews.com, another conservative e-zine, that he was terminated by Google about a month ago for the same reason. And, the Jawa Report was so terminated on March 29, 2005. In all cases, the offending articles appear to have dealt with radical Islam and terrorism.)
This morning, proprietor Frank Salvato realized that none of today’s content had appeared at Google News or was available through Google Search. As such, he sent an e-mail message to the help desk, and received the following response (permission granted to post):
MediaBistro runs an email from NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller sent to liberal journalist Murray Waas, in which Keller claims the Bush adminstration is "declaring war at home on the values they profess to be promoting abroad."
"I'm not sure journalists fully appreciate the threat confronting us -- The Times in the eavesdropping case, the Post for its CIA prison stories, and everyone else who has tried to look behind the war on terror. Maybe we're suffering a bit of subpoena fatigue. Maybe some people are a little intimidated by the way the White House plays the soft-on-terror card.
"Whatever the reason, I worry that we're not as worried as we should be. No president likes reporters sniffing after his secrets, but most come to realize that accountability is the price of power in our democracy. Some officials in this administration, and their more vociferous cheerleaders, seem to have a special animus towards reporters doing their jobs. There's sometimes a vindictive tone in way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries and in the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors. I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values they profess to be promoting abroad."
A new conservative student newspaper, which bills itself as not for
''the faint of heart," hit a snag during its debut this week at
Students running the Northeastern Patriot
distributed about 2,000 copies on Monday, then received a call from
university officials cautioning them that they had to register as a
student organization before distributing another issue or change the
paper's name. The university requires groups with Northeastern in their
name to register.
The authoritarian government of China is well-known for suppressing free speech and sometimes getting American media companies eager to cash in on a huge emerging market to help it do so. Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Time Warner, Fox, and others have soiled their reputations assisting the communist regime's crack downs on dissent.
American media companies don't always back down. Sometimes, however, they're censored directly by the Chinese government itself. Such was the case today when a protestor apparently affiliated with the meditation group Falun Gong managed to get herself close to Chinese president Hu Jintao as he was visiting the White House.
As the woman's voice began shouting out before being arrested by Secret Service agents, Chinese television blacked the screen and muted the audio, according to Matt Drudge. After the event was over, when CNN International (the version of CNN seen outside the United States) began discussing the protestor, its signal was abuptly cut off to Chinese viewers, making some wonder what was going on.
The controversy over Comedy Central's decision to censor its show "South Park" continues to heat up. Late Thursday, the network issued a statement admitting that it did refuse to run a scene which featured a cartoon depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammed.
"In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision," the cable channel said.
That decision has sparked howls of protest from fans and critics, making it the most-searched for term on the blog search engine Technorati (ht Michelle Malkin).
The show's executive producer, Ann Garefino, confirmed that the network censored the scene, stating that she believed it did so out of "fear" of protests or violence.
"We were happy that they didn’t try to claim that it was because of religious tolerance," Garefino said in an interview with Volokh.com.
She was not aware of any particular threats being made against the show or Comedy Central had the deleted scene aired.
Comedy Central's hit show "South Park" just won a Peabody, the highest award given to TV shows. The most recent episode dealt with the controversy surrounding depictions of Mohammad.
In the episode, everyone in the country is terrified that the Fox animated show "Family Guy" is going to show Mohammad. All in the town of South Park are afraid for their lives at the thought of Muslim retribution.
But in the end, Fox chickens out and censors the Mohammad character, covering him up with a black rectangle.
The show's main character, Peter Griffin, is told by his wife Lois that she doesn't want to cook dinner for his ex-girlfriend. Peter responds that maybe they can just have tea, to which the talking dog Brian responds, "You mean like the time you had tea with Mohammad, the prophet of the Muslim faith?"
Today's starters: Keeping with its tradition of political fairness and neutrality, Middle Tennessee State University is continuing its journalism conference (conference called: Self-Inflicted Wounds — Fact and Fiction in Journalism: Fabrication, Plagiarism and Confidential Sources)--kicked off earlier this week by an address from that paragon of objectivity Al Gore--with a panel discussion featuring Mary Mapes. The session is entitled "Rush to Judgment? The CBS Crisis." Any NB readers in the area?
The big media story of the day, as reported earlier by NB's Mark Finkelstein, is that Katie Couric is headed over to CBS. The NYT and LAT both have good good stories the deal and its implications. Why does Couric's leaving warrant attention, asks one blogger. Another says she won't watch "Today" if it hires "View" co-host Meredith Viera.
Foreign Affairs, the Economist, and certainly U.S.News & World Report are titles you'd expect to see at the two State Department newsstands visited by the public, employees, and their kids, but Playboy and Penthouse? Yikes! Or so thought Condoleezza Rice a while back when she began receiving briefings in Foggy Bottom before her confirmation hearings as secretary of state. Alerted by an aide that the skin magazines, partially clad in brown paper covers, were placed beside newsmagazines and close to candy, nuts, and stuffed animals, she said, "I want them out."
A few weeks later, when she took over from Colin Powell, the eviction began. "The secretary wanted them gone immediately," says senior adviser Jim Wilkinson." She didn't understand how a department that claimed to fight for the rights of women worldwide could sell pornography that degrades women." And, he adds, the magazines "could be seen as contributing to a hostile work environment." He teamed with State's internal manager and several State women who had been campaigning against the publications but had gotten nowhere. Now that they have succeeded, some of those women are eyeing other lad mags like Maxim and FHM. But State News's Richard Williams isn't listening. It was no problem banning the XXX fare: It didn't move very fast. "But Maxim," he says, "is a bestseller."
Joel Stein is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times – officially a "humor" columnist, but that’s a matter of debate. A few months ago, he drew attention for baldly stating he did not support the troops in the Iraq war, and that "an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying."
Last week, he decided to mock the Federal Communications Commission for a $3.6 million fine of individual CBS stations for airing a teenager-orgy scene on the Thursday night drama "Without A Trace." But a funny thing happened on the way to the Janet Jackson jokes. He asked CBS for a DVD of the episode: "And, to my shock, I was honestly disgusted."
As has been well-documented by Media Research Center [parent organization of NewsBusters], while MSMers are loath to label anyone or anything 'liberal,' they don't hesitate to brand various entities or individuals 'conservative' or 'right-wing.' Well, folks, I believe we have a new world record in the category.
On tonight's Fox News Watch, in the course of discussing the case of Colorado teacher Jay Bennish - who compared President Bush to Hitler - liberal [there, I said it] Neal Gabler managed to utter the term 'right-wing' four times . . . in 14 seconds. Yes, I checked it by my VCR timer.
According to the Daily Times of Pakistan (hat tip to the American Thinker), former President Bill Clinton stated to reporters in Islamabad last Friday that the publishers responsible for the Muslim cartoons that have started riots around the world should be convicted. Yet, despite this call by a former president to limit the freedom of the press, America’s media have paid virtually no attention to Clinton’s declarations.
As reported by the Daily Times: “Talking to reporters after meeting Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Islamabad, Clinton said he disagreed with the caricatures and that the publication was against religious and ethical norms.”
Could the Nazis take over America? It’s one thing for the ridiculously incendiary notion to be raised in a major magazine by an aging Hollywood lefty.
It’s quite another for it to be raised by writers for the most powerful newspaper in the world. Twice. In the same edition. I don’t know if The New York Times film reviewers Stephen Holden and Caryn James share notes or simply a distain for the Bush administration, but the each managed to link the administration to Hitler’s Nazis in articles appearing on the front page of the “Arts” section.