Talk about a blatant attempt to mislead with a headline! We have no better example of such an effort than one by the AP today. It is a textbook case of a headline that does not fit the facts of the story.
Here is the headline:
R.I. to recognize gay unions performed in Mass.
Wow! It would be big news, indeed, if legislation had been passed wherein Gay Unions from Massachusetts were to be officially recognized by Rhode Island. And, if one were to read this AP headline and move on, one would be left with the impression that it had. Even the sub head doesn't really tell the whole truth.
State’s attorney general says there’s no reason to deny them recognition
Talk about creating a false dichotomy geared to discrediting a policy! The AP has generated a doosie in theirs titled "Rural America bears scars from Iraq war" and subtitled "Nearly half of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq came from a small town".
Their main thrust is that small towns are somehow seeing their sons fall on the field of battle in "unfair" numbers.
Across the nation, small towns are quietly bearing a disproportionate burden of war. Nearly half of the more than 3,100 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq have come from towns like McKeesport, where fewer than 25,000 people live, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. One in five hailed from hometowns of less than 5,000.
At first blush this might seem to be alarming. But, when one lets that first emotive rush fade and allows a little common sense to be applied to the situation, it doesn't seem so outrageous. The fact is, youngsters from rural areas are simply far more prone to joining the military in the first place and always have been. So it is a natural matter of strict statistics that more from those areas would fall in battle. After all, there are more of them.
So, what we are left with is a naked, emotive effort to cause some sort of outrage over the perceived unfairness of this statistic, even as there is no "fair" or "unfair" component to it. It is simply a fact.
A very interesting piece by Louis Chude-Sokei is featured in the L.A.Times today, titled Redefining 'Black' and centered upon the question of Barack Obama's relative "blackness".
Some of you may have noticed that Barack is not getting the automatic support from African American leaders that many assumed he would get since throwing his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for the presidency and Mr. Chude-Sokei makes an effort to inform us as to why this might be true. Unfortunately, while it has a few good points it misses the mark in too many ways.
The main point, according to Chude-Sokei, is that Obama isn't "black enough" to get the support of the standing Black American leadership because of his White/Hawaiian/African (meaning NOT African American, but real African) heritage.
Brent Bozell's culture column this week centers on those Hollywood sore thumbs called Walden Media, who have made family-friendly and faith-friendly films. Brent told me it was a "V-8 idea," a slap-your-forehead business proposition to serve an underserved market of religious families with children. The new Walden project is the movie "Amazing Grace," as Brent explained:
It is a sad reality: Very few adults, and virtually no child can recognize the name William Wilberforce, the man Abraham Lincoln claimed was known to “every school boy” in America in 1858. Then there’s this: “Amazing Grace” is the most recognizable hymn in the land – but how many people can tell you its origin? To the rescue comes Walden again, with the movie “Amazing Grace,” which tells the true, and beautiful story of William Wilberforce, the brilliant British orator and parliamentarian who fought relentlessly to ban the slave trade in Great Britain and who ultimately succeeded, against all odds, decades before the United States fought a bloody civil war to do the same.
Would you be proud of yourself if your works were commemorated for helping put in power a murderous Communist who has killed thousands upon thousands of his own people over a 40 some year reign of terror?
When the fights against the Cuban government of Fulgencio Batista began in the late 1950s, Fidel Castro was just one of several guerrilla fighters trying to vie for followers and publicity. Castro was just a nut in the wilderness with few followers, though, until Herbert Matthews and the New York Times came along.
On this afternoon's Tucker Carlson show, an MSNBC consultant flatly called President Bush a recovering substance abuser. Guest host Joe Scarborough took things a giant step further, seeming to analogize evangelical Christians with such substance abusers.
Joe Scarborough substituted for Tucker Carlson on the latter's MSNBC show today. Discussing President Bush's upbeat mood, despite congressional opposition and the tough slogging in Iraq, Scarborough asked MSNBC consultant Craig Crawford "what's this guy got to be cocky about?"
Crawford: "I would point to the history of anyone recovering from substance abuse. No, seriously. There is a body of thought that those in recovery, like he is, become very absolute about blacks and whites. There's no middle ground. You either take that substance or you don't."
Scarborough: "As a guy who has grown up in an evangelical church, you could also say that about certain people of faith. A lot of people are more pragmatic, but there're some people that go in those church pews, and it's black or white, right?"
Crawford: "Sure, yeah!"
UPDATE 02-20-07: Joe Scarborough has contacted NB to express his very strong objection to this item, which he described as "deeply offensive and intellectually dishonest," claiming it suggested that he is anti-Christian. Said Mr. Scarborough: "the fact that I mocked Craig Crawford with a laugh for suggesting Bush was a substance abuser and then suggested it might be his faith instead that makes him see the world in black and white does not mean I compared the two. Seeing things in black and white is not a negative [in Christianity]." Added Mr. Scarborough: "The fact I am writing a book about how Christians are slandered by the mainstream media and American culture makes your remarks all the more maddening."
Here is a refreshing change of pace. According to Editor and Publisher, New Mexico Radio station KSFR has made a new policy to eschew usage of newswire stories based on quotes from "unnamed officials" or other unattributed sources.
News director Bill Dupuy sent the following message to his news staff:
Effectively immediately and until further notice, it is the policy of KSFR's news department to ignore and not repeat any wire service or nationally published story about Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or any other foreign power that quotes an "unnamed" U.S. official.
What we have suspected and talked about at length before is now becoming clear. "High administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity," "Usually reliable Washington sources," and others of the like were behind the publicity that added credibility to the need to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.
The University of North Carolina-Charlotte campus newspaper, Niner Online, reports that the Student Government Association is calling to rename the UNCC SGA complex, the "Colbert Complex" after the host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report or as the SGA bill calls him, "the pillar of truth." SGA’s act explains why they think Colbert is important and why anything should be named after him:
Recognizing Stephen Colbert as a pillar of truth in a world of wavering opinions and television personalities, further recognizing Stephen Colbert's noble cause to educate and inform young people of current events and topical political themes…declares all rooms within Cone 369 (SGA Complex) to be officially named 'The Colbert Complex' on behalf of the Student Government Association to honor Stephen Colbert and spread the message of truth across the campus of UNC Charlotte.
I have been watching the "reportage" on the regrettable incident of a teenaged killer's rampage in a Utah shopping mall with mounting interest. In nearly every story of this crime the fact that this youngster is from a Muslim background is either muted or ignored altogether.
The AP, for instance, avoids identifying the boy as a Muslim in all their stories that I saw. In one, they merely identify the region in Bosnia in which he lived as the "northeastern enclave where up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in 1995" but do not even speculate as to the boy or his family being Muslims. It is all rather dutifully avoided. In another story, the AP doesn't even use the word Muslim at all.
Keith Olbermann is a regular guest on the Dan Patrick show during the middle hour. Today, they were discussing the John Amaechi story, and making the inevitable comparisons to Jackie Robinson. Olbermann let loose with this:
Imagine what would have happened if he [Robinson] had hit .197 instead of .297 in 1947. We would have had literal apartheid in this country. That's how important that [season] was.
This is a quote.
Now, I know that 1947 was important, and that Branch Rickey worked hard to make sure that Robinson was a success: waiting until he found someone with a tough temperment, making sure he was seasoned in the minor leagues before being called up, and so on. But to claim that the difference between the civil rights movement and South Africa rested on Robinson's ability to plunk down a couple of extra hits a week is rather, ah, disproportionate, don't you think?
"The Dixie Chicks’ big win at the Grammy Awards on Sunday exposed ideological tensions between the music industry’s Nashville establishment and the broader, more diverse membership of the Recording Academy, which chooses the Grammy winners, according to voters and music executives interviewed afterward.
As we noted here, within minutes of Mitt Romney having announced his candidacy this morning, MSNBC, in the person of Chip Reid, branded him "far right."
David Gregory has now made it a one-two punch. A bit later on MSNBC, Gregory played clips from 1994 of Romney expressing pro-choice and pro-gay rights views. Noting Romney's subsequent change to a pro-life position, Gregory expressed this opinion, in the guise of a question, to his two MSM guests:
"With all respect to Governor Romney, is anybody really going to buy that, buy the timing of that, that that was some genuine change of heart?"
Words don't do justice to the contemptuousness of Gregory's tone. View the video here.
In keeping with their constant quest to saddle the USA with the fault for the growing unrest in he Middle East, the Washington Post has unleashed another article, replete with some efforts to blame-the-USA-first, titled "Across Arab World, a Widening Rift".
In the first paragraph, writer Anthony Shadid illustrates the traditionally intertwined nature of Egypt's Sunni and Shiite communities showing us how they have so easily coexisted in the recent past but quickly gets to the warnings of the danger of the Shiites "rising".
Naturally, this is the fault of the USA who has left Arabs with a sense of "powerlessness and a persistent suspicion of American intentions." The rise of unrest is also blamed on the "United States and others for inflaming it".
Jon Meacham, Executive Editor of "Newsweek" joined the Obama bandwagon on Monday’s "Imus in the Morning" program. Mr Meacham declared that Senator Obama’s presidential candidacy was a good thing because it will make people face their prejudices, not only in terms of race, but against Democrats as well. Meacham further declared Senator Hillary Clinton to be old news. Later, in the segment, Meacham praised John Kerry, particularly his "finest moment" when he denounced the Vietnam war and claimed Senator Kerry’s statement asking "how do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake," is prescient now, and Mr. Meacham regrets that the Democrats are so rough on the Massachusetts Senator.
Their sympathetic peers in the entertainment industry awarded The Dixie Chicks five Grammys at Sunday night's awards ceremony, including Song of the Year for "Not Ready to Make Nice," the group's petulant response to critics who disapproved of singer Natalie Maines' remark onstage in London in 2003: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." (Maines is from Texas.)
The Monday story showed the Times once again portraying the Dixie Chicks as free-speech martyrs, while managing to avoid mentioning the scads of free, flattering publicity in the wake of the incident and subsequent fiery comments by Maines that alienated much of her previous fanbase.
The AP has found a new way to attack TV's 24. They say that because of the depiction of character Jack Bauer's, shall we say, short-cuts in interrogating prisoners his ways have now infected the US Military. Absurdly, the AP is advancing the case, in "Does Jack Bauer Influence Interrogators?", that "there are indications that real-life American interrogators in Iraq are taking cues from what they see on television."
Are they indeed? Says who?
Predictably the AP reports these claims are from the "advocacy group Human Rights First".
Don't believe me? Ask the Boston Globe. Better put, have a gander at the paper's editorial cartoon of today. What does the Globe mean by saying that Mitt Romney "once worshipped at the church of moderation"? No doubt the Globe has in mind Mitt's glory days of 1994, campaigning against Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat.
As the Globe documented here, in 1994, Romney aligned himself with Kennedy on abortion, arguing that it should be safe and legal. He also voiced support for the controversial abortion pill RU-486. And when it came to gay rights, Romney portrayed himself as being an even more ardent advocate for the cause, promising "more effective leadership" than Kennedy on winning "full equality" for gays and lesbians, opposed a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and advocated gays serving openly in the military.
Regular readers know I'm not in the habit of choosing unflattering screencaps, but sometimes devotion to accurately portraying the tenor of an event demands it. Which it does in spades in conveying the vituperation unleashed on MSNBC today in an exchange over the Edwards blogger brouhaha between Dem strategist Julie Roginsky and GOP strategist Brad Blakeman.
Words don't come close to doing justice to the Roginksy vitriol. I urge you to view the video here.
Roginsky began the conversation by asserting that Edwards did the right thing in retaining the two bloggers with a history of making outrageous anti-Catholic statements, as detailed here. She called it a "pragmatic political decision."
Have you ever watched a book-based TV segment in which the hosts never mentioned the book's title? Fox & Friends Weekend pulled off the feat this morning -- presumably because the title of the cookbook in question was a bit too spicy for Fox's taste.
With Valentine's Day looming, Martha Hopkins was in to suggest some sensual dishes to share with one's sweetie. Her claim to expertise? She is co-author of a book entitled . . . "Inter Courses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook." Hopkins treated the Fox hosts to two of her recipes: artichoke hearts and strawberries and whipped cream.
But while the camera flashed on her book sitting on the buffet, items were artfully arranged to obscure its full title. I'm providing a larger-than-normal screencap so readers can see the careful camouflaging. The book title once appeared briefly at the bottom of the screen, and a full image of the book was flashed at the end of the segment. But the two Fox hosts, Kelly Wright and Brigitte Quinn, managed to avoid ever mentioning its title.
This week, Chris Matthews' anti-Bush bigotry spilled over into a profanity laden rant. The "Hardball" host dropped the F-bomb during a live interview with Don Imus.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Paula Zahn connected opposition of illegal immigration to, you guessed it, the Ku Klux Klan. This is the same network, however, that tried to downplay proven religious bigotry by a blogger for the John Edwards campaign.
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spent the week in Syria. She let the despotism of President Bashar Assad go mostly unchallenged.
During other segments, Sawyer chose to ask him about video games and whether he uses an iPod.
Last weekend, the Chicago Sun-Times gave nearly an entire page in their "Controversy" Section to a man who feels America is under attack by a radical, religion that is inseparable from Nazi Fascism. He feels it is a hateful religion that is out to destroy America and everything it stands for and it must be stopped at all costs.
No he did not mean Islamism, amazingly enough, but Christianity.
There are times when people find their lives empty and begin to look for a "new" way of life. Sometimes they find that life in a cult and become brainwashed converts like "Azzam The American", the recent American born al Qaeda mouthpiece, or Johnny Lindh Walker, the young enemy combatant from California who was caught fighting for al Qaeda against US forces. If one looks for something, one usually finds it. And too often when what is being looked for is found, it causes more trouble than it really is due or takes on a larger meaning than reality permits. The saying "Be careful what you wish for comes to mind.
On Wednesday, Ralph Nader continued his media adulation tour, this time stopping by "The Daily Show." Just as with his appearance on "Late Edition," the only tough questioning Nader received was on the issue of the 2000 election and whether he placed George Bush in the White House. Stewart once again made clear exactly why conservatives view him as a not a political humorist, but a partisan, liberal comic. At one point, he told the consumer advocate that he was always right. And when Nader attacked President Ronald Reagan, the Comedy Central host joined right in:
Jon Stewart: "Please welcome back to the program, Ralph Nader! Ralph! Come on! Nice to see you again. Thanks for joining us. So they say they’re going to make a film about you, ‘An Unreasonable Man,’ and they come to you, and you say, ‘I'm in.’"
Ralph Nader: "What are you going to do? ( Laughter ) Everything– You know, you want air bags in cars and seat belts in cars so you lose the freedom to go through a windshield. Reagan didn't like that. He liked the freedom to go through a windshield."
Stewart:: "Exactly. So he was considering you an anti-liberty–."
Nader: "Yeah. Right."
Stewart: "Exactly. Ralph Nader. Tear down that belt. That sort of thing?"
I guess to show he is a real meterosexual, Milbank starts his piece off with an observation on Bremer’s choice of footwear and draws the wild conclusion that it must say something about his mental state.
Jerry Bremer wore black dress shoes instead of his trademark combat boots yesterday as he testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But except for that concession, the former American viceroy of Iraq had lost none of his swagger.
In a flagrant instance of intellectual dishonesty, Media Matters, which might be considered the liberal alter ego of NB, edited Chris Matthews' "fascist" slur of Rudy Giuliani out of its account of yesterday's Hardball.
As I noted here, on yesterday's show, Matthews, discussing Rudy with former congresswoman Susan Molinari, had this exchange:
Matthews: "He got the pee smell out of the phone booths in New York.
Even phone booths that aren't booths, they're just a place to make a
phone call, had that smell about them before. I think I've been to New
York enough times -- he did clean up that atmosphere in New York."
Molinari: "You bet he did. He stopped making excuses for people. . . "
Matthews, interrupting: "Was he a little bit of a fascist?"
There's nothing like the day an Italian-American Republican moves toward announcing his presidential candidacy for musing as to whether he might have a whiff of fascism about him. As reported here, Rudy Giuliani inched closer to running for president today by filing a so-called "statement of candidacy" with the Federal Election Commission, indicating that he would seek the presidency as a Republican should he decide to go forward.
Chris Matthews had Rudy supporter and former congresswoman Susan Molinari as a guest on this afternoon's Hardball. In the course of discussing the way in which Rudy managed to clean up NYC, Matthews and Molinari had the following exchange:
The Laura Ingraham Show this morning had a big discussion about the odd part of Prince's performance of "Purple Rain" during the Super Bowl halftime show last night. Prince is obviously self-impressed with the symbol he used for a name for a few years (the TAFKAP Era, for The Artist Formerly Known As Prince). Not only was there a huge symbol on the stage, it was also the shape of his guitar.
So many people thought putting Prince behind a flapping curtain with a spotlight so you could see him in silhouette playing his odd guitar sent an obvious er, male-genitalia message last night. Was this just a dramatic flourish gone awry? Some sort of Austin Powers hommage? And why would CBS let it slip through their censors after the Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction of 2004? Anyone else think of old Prince lyrics about the "lion in his pocket"?
Ain't technology wunnerful? I mean, it saves all that wear and tear on the VW Mini-Bus, saves the trees that would otherwise be cut down for anti-war signs, the paint, the tye-dying of shirts, the buying of sandals... heck all sorts of things and time can be saved because the World Wide Web has brought technology to leftist activism!
I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
It's also a great thing that those evil, rotten, Nazi, CONSERVATIVES have not discovered the WWW as a place to gather their forces. It's so heart warming that the left can, at long last, use technology for good instead of evil.
Or so it seems the Washington Post imagines the world has been set to rights because today a charming article has appeared in their paper letting us know that hey have found the "perfect example of how antiwar is waged in the Internet age." Or at least so says Jennifer Earl in "Where Have All the Protests Gone? Online".
For the MSM, there's nothing like the occasion of a natural disaster to challenge the faith of religious believers.
On today's Good Morning America, Kate Snow interviewed the Rev. Larry Lynn, Pastor of the Lady Lake Church of God, whose buildings were totally levelled by the tornadoes that recently struck central Florida.
A minute or so into the interview, Snow asked a question that challenged the core of the pastor's religious belief: "How do you reconcile your faith with the enormity of this tragedy?"
"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Pogo comic strip, 1971
Nicholas Kristof has apparently embraced the Walt Kelly view of America. When it comes to the war in Iraq, the only evildoers the New York Times columnist seems to see are Americans.
At the foot of his pay-to-play of column of January 23rd, Kristof invited readers to submit their literary analogies for President Bush and Iraq. In today's columnn, Kristof mentions having received over 400 reader responses.
And which entry does Kristof choose to feature at the column's beginning and that might fairly be taken as his unofficial winner? One that analogizes the various actors in the play to characters from Harry Potter. I set forth below the reader's analogies, followed by a description of the character as culled from their Wikipedia entries.