On the day after President Bush announced a troop surge in Iraq, CNN chose to commemorate an odd "anniversary." As of January 11, it has now been five years since the first terrorist suspects arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The cable network’s "Your World Today" program used this date to highlight the "allegations of mistreatment amounting to torture" at the facility. On Thursday, the hour-long show featured two segments and a news brief on the subject, all heavily focusing on how the camp could be shut down, not whether it should be closed. After an intro piece on the history of the camp, anchor Hala Gorani interviewed Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth and began her questioning with this loaded lead-in:
Hala Gorani: "Well, Human Rights Watch says detaining hundreds of men without charge at Guantanamo has been a legal and political debacle of historic proportions. But what can human rights groups do to shut the facility down or put pressure on governments? Human Rights Watch executive director Ken Roth joins us now live from Washington. That was a quote from you, ‘a legal and political debacle of historic proportions,’ Ken. Did you imagine in 2001, that in 2007 Guantanamo Bay would still be operating?"
Despite the media's fawning over Jimmy Carter and the publication of his new book as reported by NewsBusters here, here, here, and here, the former president has suffered even further embarrassment as another fourteen members of The Carter Center have resigned. As reported by the Associated Press (hat tip to Drudge, emphasis mine throughout):
Fourteen members of an advisory board to Jimmy Carter's human rights organization resigned on Thursday to protest his new book, which criticizes Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories.
The resignations from The Carter Center board are the latest backlash against the former president's book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," which has drawn fire from Jewish groups, been attacked by fellow Democrats and led to the resignation last month of Kenneth Stein, a center fellow and a longtime Carter adviser.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin appeared on Thursday’s "Early Show" to discuss President Bush’s new strategy for Iraq, and, as one would expect, Senator Durbin was highly critical of the plan. However, it wasn’t anything that Durbin or "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith said that was attention grabbing, but the information CBS provided under Mr. Durbin’s name that was perplexing. For example, CBS informed viewers that the senior Senator from Illinois supports the presidential ambitions of his junior colleague, Barack Obama. Other tidbits of information provided by CBS included that Mr. Durbin is in his second term in the Senate and that "Time" rated him as one of the Senate’s ten most effective members.
On the Tuesday edition of "Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer asked Ted Kennedy whether Iraq and U.S. interests would be better off with Saddam Hussein still in power. The CNN anchor spent much of his interview wondering how the Massachusetts Senator would stop President Bush from increasing troop levels in Iraq. However, he only briefly challenged Kennedy on what should be done in Iraq, preferring questions such as, "So, is this Vietnam?" Another example is his query on whether the world's interests would be better served if a dictator such as Hussein were still in power:
Wolf Blitzer:"You voted against that original resolution way back. And you say that was the best vote in your 42 years in the United States Senate. Saddam Hussein was executed, as you know, in the last few weeks. Was the country better off, was the U.S. interests in that part of the world better off under Saddam Hussein?"
UPI is wagging its finger at U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez via a group of "Arab leaders" who are warning the government "to fight anti-Arab bigotry." The whole UPI "report" is nothing but the warnings of these so-called leaders about how filled with bigotry the USA is and how the government must fight it.
With all this hooplah, one would imagine that Arabs are being attacked, mistreated and discriminated against all across the country at an alarming rate. Arab "leader" James Zogby even makes the claim that the government must "reverse this disturbing and increasingly accepted trend of anti-Arab and Muslim bias".
"How can you talk about bombing a country when you won't even talk to them?" said Clark. "It's outrageous. We're the United States of America; we don't do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the military option is off the table - but diplomacy is not what Jim Baker says it is. It's not, 'what will it take for you boys to support us on Iraq?' It's sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships."
When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: "You just have to read what's in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided, but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers."
Perhaps the strident liberalism of Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar is emboldening Barbara Walters? On the Monday edition of "The View," the ABC journalist insisted that America went to war with Iraq without knowing the facts. Walters made her assertion follwing comments from the liberal O’Donnell, who touted the fact that she wore a "No War" t-shirt prior to the 2003 invasion, and co-host Behar’s claim that "they [the Bush administration] lied to us!" The veteran correspondent responded to these statements by sounding like more of an activist and less of a journalist:
Barbara Walters: "We didn't have the facts at that time."
Joy Behar: "That's right."
Walters: "We did not have the facts. And it is true that we have not seen– We have– We- The most brutal pictures we saw were the pictures of Saddam Hussein being hanged. We have not seen some of, some of the terribleness that have happened to our men and women. And I do think, and if you look at the polls, that the tide is turning. What the answer is, nobody seems to know."
Chronicle staff writer, Robert Collier, wants the US to "negotiate" with the radical, Islamist, terrorists and the old guard Saddamists that are vexing Iraq's attempts to move into the 21st century preventing them in their laudable attempt to build a nation answerable to Iraqis of every stripe.
"U.S. must negotiate with insurgents and militias, experts say", Collier breathlessly informs us. His "experts", though, leave much to be desired for reliability.
Collier seems to think the insurgents and terror outfits should be treated as if they are merely interested parties, as if they were the same kind of political party or faction we are used to in the west. Someone has not taken the time to inform Mr. Collier about exactly what these factions want in the Middle East, sadly.
The new year may have just begun, but members of the media are relying on time-tested bias to attack conservatives and Republicans. Chris Matthews recently slimed Fox News host Bill O’Reilly by linking him to such despotic leaders as Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
During the funeral of President Gerald Ford, Katie Couric attacked the Reverend Billy Graham for being "remarkably partisan." A "Time" magazine correspondent slammed the departed Ford for not criticizing the Iraq war publically, calling it "unpardonable."
A groundbreaking study of 1,946 male veterans of World War II and Korea suggests that vets with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are at greater risk of heart attacks as they age.
The conclusion: war is bad for your health.
Wow. Wonder how much taxpayer money was wasted on THAT study!?
At least our veteran's aren't so stupid that they wouldn't have been able to know it all upfront, without a "study".
"It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out," said John Oliveira of New Bedford, Mass., a former Navy public affairs officer and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, I certainly don't want to make light of the problems of coping that our veterans confront upon returning from war. Robert E. Lee once said that it is good that war is so horrible or we'd get too fond of it and he knew whereof he spoke.
People are vastly different and, whereas some may never experience much discomfort or anguish from their war service, others are bothered with the mental images for the rest of their lives. And we, as a society, should be observant and responsive to the needs of our returning heroes even as they advance into old age.
Proving that he can be just as hard on Democrats as Republicans, CNN’s Jack Cafferty savaged the Democratic Party--for going easy on George Bush. Appearing on Thursday’s edition of "The Situation Room," the veteran journalist slammed Dems in Congress for stating that they won’t impeach the President, for refusing to cut funding for Iraq, and generally not standing up to Bush. According to Cafferty, this makes them "no better than the people committing these crimes."
The CNN host began by lamenting the agenda of the incoming Democrats:
Jack Cafferty: "But the Democrats are focused on raising the minimum wage. That’s fine, I guess. They’ve already said they won’t impeach President Bush. They’ve already said they won’t cut funding for the war. And several Democrats are hedging on the issue of independent ethics oversight of Congress. Gee, we don’t need that, do you?...If the Democratic Party refuses to confront this administration in a meaningful way on the issues that are threatening the very survival of our nation, then they’re no better than the people committing these crimes."
In apparent pursuit of their status as the chief news source for Islam in the west, the AP published a puff piece about how wonderful it is for young Americans to participate in the Muslim practice of the Hajj -- a required pilgrimage to Mecca.
Here is how wonderful and instructive it is...
The 20-year-old American tells his hajj pilgrimage stories ... and saw a man drop dead while circling the Kaaba.
Well, how "inspiring" it is to see a man drop dead at a religious function. Is that the sort of thing that should be praised as a civilized expression of religion?
"Dude, I saw it, the guy had the most peaceful smile on his face," (said) Adil Muschelewicz ... Muschelewicz didn't know the cause of the man's death -- exhaustion maybe, he said -- but it became one of the many powerful religious moments that have shaken him during the trip.
"I looked at his face and I looked at the Kaaba, and it was like he was happy, he'd gotten close to God. It just went boom, like this deep bass line in my heart," he said. "It was so emotional. I was by myself, in this wild place I'd never been before."
The Associated Press released an interesting set of statistics (host link stored for future ref) a couple of days ago that I would suppose were designed to suck away any optimism any fools who still support the mission in Iraq might have (bolds are mine):
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Government officials on Monday reported that 16,273 Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police died violent deaths in 2006, a figure larger than an independent Associated Press count for the year by more than 2,500.
The tabulation by the Iraqi ministries of Health, Defense and Interior, showed that 14,298 civilians, 1,348 police and 627 soldiers were killed in the violence that raged in the country last year.
The Associated Press accounting, gleaned from daily news reports from Baghdad, arrived at a total of 13,738 deaths.
Pretty grim, isn't it? And this is for "violence that raged in the (whole) country."
Man, what a downer. I mean, this is an honest-to-goodness Grade A bona fide quagmire.
Oops -- I started digging into US murder statistics, and what I found made me less depressed about Iraq, and more concerned about the US.
As reported here on Newsbusters the Associated Press is refusing to back down from, nor give satisfactory evidence for, its November report that 6 Iraqi Sunnis were burned alive in sectarian violence, a claim heavily disputed seemingly by everyone but the AP.
The AP based their reports of this grisly violence on the word of a single "witness" they named as Iraqi police captain, Jamail Hussein. Unfortunately for the AP, and despite quite a lot of effort by quite a few people, this captain of Iraqi police cannot be located so that the story can be substantiated. The AP, however, continues to claim that he exists despite the paucity of evidence.
Reporting for the Tuesday edition of CNN’s "Newsroom," correspondent Arwa Damon labeled Saddam Hussein’s execution "an act of sheer revenge" and predicted it would have only negative consequences. Damon now joins NBC reporter Richard Engel who last week also described the death of the tyrant as "revenge." Additionally, Ms. Damon characterized the grainy cell phone footage of Hussein’s death as "chilling" and noted that onlookers "taunted" Saddam. The CNN reporter suggested that the execution of the former Iraqi leader would further split the country apart:
Arwa Damon: "With Shia chants defining Saddam Hussein's last moments, it turns his execution into an act of sheer revenge and risks driving even moderate Sunnis further away from the Shia-led government that they already have little faith in to begin with. And so, rather than uniting Iraqis, it appears that Saddam's death is really only further dividing them."
If an Iraqi police captain by the name of Jamil Hussein exists, there is no convincing evidence of it - and that means the Associated Press has a journalistic scandal on its hands that will fester until the AP deals with it properly.
This controversy and the AP's handling of it call into question the credibility, integrity, and smarts of one of the world's biggest, most influential, most respected news organizations, the New York-based Associated Press.
Previewing a segment on the January 1 edition of "Situation Room," a CNN graphic confused the world’s most wanted terrorist with Senator Barack Obama. Anchor Wolf Blitzer teased a piece on the hunt for Osama bin Laden by wondering about "another man feared and hated around the world. That would be Osama bin Laden."Unfortunately, the onscreen graphic asked "Where’s Obama?" Perhaps the cable network was just following the lead of Ted Kennedy, who famously referred to the Illinois Senator as "Osama Obama."
The passing of President Ford has New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof fantasizing about the ignominy that President Bush's obituary will heap on him for his handling of Iraq. In what Kristof claims to be "the holiday spirit," he offers W ten suggestions to rescue his legacy. After all, what says "holiday spirit" more than dreaming about someone's death?
You can read all ten suggestions here if you've anted up to the Times, but for those loath to lard the Times' coffers, let me focus on two of Kristof's recommendations:
"Seriously engage Iraq’s nastier neighbors, including Iran and Syria, and renounce permanent military bases in Iraq. None of that will solve the mess in Iraq. But these steps will suggest that you are belatedly trying to listen and are willing to give diplomacy a chance."
We haven't listened to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Sure we have: he wants to develop nuclear weapons and erase Israel from the map. For starters. And just why should we renounce the prospect of bases giving us the ability to defend American interests in the most volatile region of the world?
Just deserts were dished out to one Saddam Hussein last night. Few deserved it more than he.
There is no reason for me to recount his many crimes against humanity here, but it is a good thing he has paid for his evil -- and paid with his life.
That is all that needs to be said about that...
But, in reading the AP's story by Abdul-Zahra, something else comes to the fore that is vexing to anyone looking for truth in the media. Of course, truth is always in short supply from our friends at al-AP, but with Abdul-Zahra's report we see a constant misuse of the English language.
The last paragraph of their Wednesday editorial (my bold) makes the point that the wire service, its defenders, and those who want to see the whole to-do as being about "just one incident," won't see, or won't admit to seeing:
What is clear about all this is that nothing is clear. Maybe there's a Jamil Hussein with the Iraqi police, but he's a sergeant, not a captain. Maybe there's a police captain whose first name is spelled Jamail, not Jamil. Both possibilities have been floated in the blogosphere, but neither has withstood scrutiny.
Editor & Publisher summed it up best when it reported that Jamil Hussein had been lost, then "found," then lost again. Amazing.
Last summer, Reuters, the media outlet that refuses to label terrorists as terrorists, was jolted by the "fauxtography" scandal. Adnan Hajj, a freelance Lebanese photographer, allegedly doctored images of the Israel-Hezbollah war and photographed what appeared to many to be staged scenes of victim rescue and recovery efforts in Qana, a Lebanese village where Israel attacked Hezbollah terrorists. Both were clearly an effort to further inflame a world that had already cast Israel as the villain.
Just as we asked in August if Reuters was "a patsy or collaborator," we wonder the same about the AP. We also wonder if we can trust any AP report from the Middle East. If it can't show us Capt. Jamil Hussein, we're not sure it has anything else we want to see.
This goes to the credibility, and ultimately the business viability, of the entire AP operation.
WorldNetDaily reported yesterday on the discovery of a State Department document released earlier this year (Here it is, converted to an HTML doc by yours truly for easy reference). State acknowledges, apparently for the first time, something that Scott at Powerline (here and here) demonstrated definitively more than three years ago from other available evidence.
The admission is that State has known for decades that the late Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the head of Fatah, plotted and supervised the 1973 murders of three diplomats: two from the United States (Cleo Noel and George Curtis), and one from Belgium (Guy Eid) who was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time, in Khartoum, The Sudan.
The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat ..... Fatah representatives based in Khartoum partcipated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy.
As 2006 draws to a close, the MRC has once again ranked the most egregiously biased quotes from members of the media. So, who made the cut as "the best of the worst?" Click here to find out.
Christmas may be arriving soon, but NPR chose the week before December 25 as the appropriate time to broadcast an atheist message of holiday intolerance. Showing that radio can still compete with television for extreme examples of bias, the taxpayer-supported NPR also wondered if ailing Senator Tim Johnson’s family "has the right" to ruin the Democratic majority.
The media’s flirtation with Senator Barack Obama doesn’t seem to have lessened their love affair with Hillary Clinton. "Today" show co-host Meredith Vieira told Mrs. Clinton that it’s now "more imperative that we need a village to raise healthy, secure children." The New York Senator also received a very warm welcome on "The View."
This week, Dan Rather appeared on CNN’s "Reliable Source" and claimed that Saddam Hussein was more honest than President Bush. Rather also reiterated his attacks on the Fox News Channel.
Now that times are difficult in Iraq, it’s easy for the media to claim they are simply reporting the bad news that is obvious to everyone. But how did networks such as CNN and MSNBC report more positive events? According to a new study by the MRC, overall, Fox News generated the most balanced coverage of news on the ground, while the other two cable networks consistently emphasized negative stories. FNC also displayed the highest enthusiasm on days such as June 8, when U.S. air strikes killed al-Qaeda in Iraq mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Over on MSNBC, while the anchors generally reported the event as good news, the network also chose that day to broadcast four stories on military deserters. On this seemingly happy occasion, CNN aired two reports on the already heavily hyped Haditha case.
During a presidential news conference on Wednesday, members of the media made it very clear to President Bush that they do not support increasing troop levels in Iraq. Although no such plan has been officially announced, several print and television reporters appeared to be launching a preemptive strike against the idea and in support of a quick withdrawal. During the hour long question and answer session, a "New York Times" reporter made comparisons to Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam. CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod asked how much longer the President will continue to defy the polls, and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell tried to trap Bush into a game of criticizing Donald Rumsfeld. Early in the news conference, Reuters reporter Caren Bohan commenced the media attack on any plan that would increase troop strength in Iraq:
Caren Bohan: "If you conclude that a surge in troop levels in Iraq is needed, would you overrule your military commanders if they felt it was not a good idea?"
Bush: "That’s a dangerous hypothetical question. I am not condemning you, you are allowed to ask what you want. Let, let me wait and gather all the recommendations from Bob Gates, from our military, from diplomats on the ground. I’m interested in the Iraqis point of view, and then I will report back to you as to whether or not I support a surge or not. Nice try."
Somebody needs a hug. Asked by David Gregory on this morning's "Today" whether his dismal poll numbers would deter a presidential run, Kerry responded: "Not in the least. You know, most of those other people haven't had several hundred million dollars worth of negative framing against them."
Aw-w-w. Love Hillary or hate her, but I'd say that over the last 12 years a penny or two's worth of "negative framing" has been laid on her. Yet according to the poll NBC displayed she has a more than 3:1 lead over Kerry.
Kerry did offer a huge ray of hope, informing us that he's "sitting here in Damascus, trying to figure out how we're going to solve the problems of the Middle East."
Why isn't Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, who first broke the "fauxtography" scandal out of Lebanon, among Time's "digital democracy" change agents?
After looking at the weak collection of candidates available to vote for as Time's Person of the Year last week (based on what they did in 2006, which wasn't much), I wrote:
Perhaps YouTube, online forums, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and online media should be the Thing of the Year: The Shadow Media. Of course, Time would be writing about its own likely eventual demise, but it would fit.
That's essentially what Time has done in its mostly (in my opinion) good decision to name "You" as Person of the Year:
..... for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.
Time named as "You" everyone trying to influence the world just a bit from their keyboard. That would include, to a miniscule degree, yours truly, and, again of course, many people who are reading this post.
Oh-so-predictably, two of the three "hard-news" members of the magazine's "15 citizens of the digital democracy" are influencers from the left side; none are from the right -- sorry, libs, a milblogger is not presumptively "conservative" (direct links may not work unless you have already visited Time's web site):
For those who enjoy watching a well-known racist and unapologetic anti-Semite get beat up by a television anchorman, CNN’s “The Situation Room” was the place to be Wednesday. Host Wolf Blitzer invited former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke on to discuss the Holocaust conference in Tehran, and the fireworks started immediately. After being introduced, Duke came right out of his corner, and attacked Wolf (must-see video available here):
Well, first off, Mr. Blitzer, I resent the introduction you made of me. You mentioned the Ku Klux Klan 11 times. That was over 30 -- well, 30 years ago in my life, and since that time I got elected to the House of Representatives, I became -- and I received a full doctorate, I have been a teacher, I have one of the best selling books in the world.
And you interview many former communists in governments all over the world and you don't introduce them by saying former communist and certainly not 11 times. I think you're biased because you're a former lobbyist for AIPAC. You're a Jewish extremist, supporter of Israel, so you want to bias anyone who criticizes Zionism.
Nice way to start an interview, wouldn't you say? Blitzer then asked, “Well, do you hate Jews?” Duke responded:
This one caught me quite off guard: a major American magazine recognizing that all of the problems in the Middle East can’t be tied directly to the never-ending standoff between Israel and the Palestinians. This was even more shocking given the recent suggestions by the Baker-Hamilton commission that the problems in Iraq would be lessened by a resolution of this seemingly extraneous conflict.
Yet, there it was in a Time magazine op-ed by assistant managing editor Lisa Beyer entitled, “The Big Lie About the Middle East,” with a subheading, “Tell James Baker: Arab nations don't care about the Palestinians” (emphasis mine throughout): “In lumping the Iraq mess in with the Palestinian problem--and suggesting the first could not be fixed unless the second was too--the Baker-Hamilton commission lent credibility to a corrosive myth: that the fundamental problem in the Arab world is the plight of the Palestinians.
Ever wonder who the constituency of CNN reporter Jack Cafferty is? Apparently one member of his fan club is far left Democratic Congressman, and 2008 presidential aspirant, Dennis Kucinich. During the Tuesday edition of “The Situation Room,” Cafferty delivered another angry diatribe, labeling Iraq a “hell hole” and, once again, calling the Fox News Channel “the F-word network.” In his “Cafferty File” segment, the CNN reporter discussed the President’s decision to delay any announcements on Iraq. His comments certainly did not esape the attention of Kucinich (video here):