One great thing about liberal journalists blogging is that without the constraints of editorial oversight, they can let their hair down even more than usual, unleashing their biases as fast as their fingers fly over the keyboard.
Time magazine's Joe Klein is no exception. The journalist and formerly anonymous author of "Primary Colors" shared with readers of the "Swampland" blog today his complaints about a Bush administration that "trafficks" in publicity stunts such as the May 1, 2003, carrier landing. Klein went on to complain that Donald Rumsfeld was the worst Secretary of Defense in the history of the Republic who, along with "the spinners who gave us the Abraham Lincoln stunt" should be "emptying bed pans at Walter Reed."
Klein's ire draws from liberal talking points about the four-year old "major combat operations" speech. You know the meme "Mission Accomplished" and an end of "major combat operations" were impossibly rosy scenarios in light of the ongoing insurgency.
But for the record, Klein himself described the war as having been won shortly after President Bush's USS Abraham Lincoln speech.
From the May 19, 2003, Time magazine, emphasis mine:
The Washington Post is tsk tsking the U.S. Army and Walter Reed Army Medical Center today for their uninviting of aging 60s' war protester Joan Baez from appearing in a concert for wounded soldiers with John Cougar Mellencamp last Friday. In a sympathetic article the Post can't seem to understand why the Army wouldn't want an over the hill, anti-establishment activist to appear before our wounded heroes.
But even a look at just some of the quotes in their article -- much less any perusal of all her wild-eyed rants of the last 40 years -- seems to explain pretty clearly why a patriotic American soldier would not find her brand of "entertainment" desirable.
It's hard to believe the Post could be at all confused.
The May 1 edition of "The View" marked the fourth anniversary of President Bush’s famous "mission accomplished" announcement with Rosie O’Donnell’s predictable rants against the war and the administration. The co-host mysteriously claimed Afghanistan had nothing to do with September 11 and downplayed the Al Qaeda threat, claiming it is simply a U.S. government scare tactic. Additionally, Rosie, with the aide of guest co-host Ricki Lake, followed Charles Rangel and Andy Rooney to assert that U.S. soldiers are not patriots, but losers who join out of desperation.
O’DONNELL: Wait, can I just say something? Why do people enlist in the Army?
RICKI LAKE: To get an education, and they're poor-
O’DONNELL: Thank you.
LAKE: -and that’s the only way to get one.
O’DONNELL: The vast majority– Yes, Elisabeth. It’s true!
Because of Tuesday’s testimony by former Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch, the media have renewed the stories about the government “lying” about Lynch’s heroism and only correcting it later, but the conservative blog American Thinker dug up that first article which supposedly gave the details of Lynch’s rescue and found the “government warned against this fight-to-the-death story line… at the time of the initial reporting by the media,” not later.
Writing at AmThinker, Ray Robison said that the Washington Post was the first to publish the super-soldier story, and even though they had been cautioned by the government, they ran with it anyway, adding a little paragraph that mentioned the warning but giving more prominence to the unnamed “US official” (emphasis added throughout; in this post, I changed AmThinker's highlighting and pointed out the AT's "emphasis added" text to differentiate from mine. Follow link to see original form):
Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk, continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her in fighting March 23, one official said...
"She was fighting to the death," the official said. "She did not want to be taken alive."
Several officials cautioned that the precise sequence of events is still being determined, and that further information will emerge as Lynch is debriefed.
Although a quick search of the Web draws up the speech, available here (with video and audio links), rare is the online news service that links to President Bush's remarks on May 1, 2003, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Since the media don't reprint excerpts of the speech nor give readers the links to the original source material, here are some comments from May 1, 2003, that point to President Bush warning Americans of an ongoing struggle to establish Iraqi democracy and counter the threat of terrorism (portions in bold are my emphasis):
Putting aside the obvious question ("Why are you an LA Times reader?") for the moment -- Apparently you'll get closer to the truth of what's happening in Iraq by reading a Times columnist than you will by reading reports from Times reporters actually assigned to deliver that information.
An Iraq success story Once-violent Ramadi, which now enjoys relative calm, shows that Iraqis can achieve peace -- with our help. April 24, 2007
'A FEW WEEKS ago you couldn't drive down this street without being attacked. When I went down this street in February, I was hit three times with small-arms fire and IEDs." Col. John Charlton was describing Ramadi as we drove down its heavily damaged main street, dubbed Route Michigan by U.S. forces. Even though this was an unlucky day — Friday the 13th (of April) — we did not experience a single attack on our convoy of Humvees.
Rubin's piece reads more like one of the Times' liberally slanted "news analysis" pieces then straight reporting, and sounds a lot like the Times' hand-wringing coverage of another protective "wall," the one separating Israelis from Palestinians who threaten suicide bombings. And Rubin brought some Steven Erlanger-style moral outrage to her story -- the horror of waiting in line.
"The unexpected outcry about the proposed construction of a wall around a Sunni Arab neighborhood has revealed the depths of Iraqi frustration with the petty humiliations created by the new security plan intended to protect them.
Ian over at Hot Air posted this early this morning. The portion in bold is his emphasis:
Covering the burial of a Blue Angels pilot who crashed his plane last
weekend, Fox News anchor Shepard commented on the flag draped coffin
shown on screen. Smith compared the showing of this pilot’s flag draped
coffin to the flag draped coffins troops are laid to rest in. He used
the death of a pilot to bash an administration war policy.
SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: “This is a scene we are not accustomed
to see during war times. They don’t allow us to see the victims — uh,
heroes who died for us in Iraq. We don’t get to see their caskets come
back. It’s a wonderful honor to be able to pay tribute to this man in
this way. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were able to do this with the
hundreds upon hundreds who have died for us in Iraq?”
To show the feeding frenzy that is the MSM -- as well as the constant inaccuracy -- reports abounded yesterday with rebukes to Rudy Giuliani from Democratic candidates for the 2008 Presidential election over something they all merely assumed he said at a campaign appearance.
Every single paper out there quoted the stern rebukes of each of the front running Dem. candidates and nearly every source of MSM news, from TV to the internet, repeated what it was that Rudy "said" to force the rebukes.
Unfortunately for all concerned, it appears that Rudy never said the phrase attributed to him.
Yet, not a soul in the MSM (except Fox's Brit Hume) took the time to do the research necessary to fact check and assure the story was correct.
On his blog at National Review, talk-show host and longtime conservative legal eagle Mark Levin reports that New York Times reporter William Glaberson called him for comment, but couldn't seem to abide putting conservative counterpoints in his story on attempts to limit the attorney-client communications surrounding terrorist suspects at Guantanamo: "Apparently my comments didn't fit his scenario." Levin described his conversation with the Times reporter:
I told him that prior to 2004, unlawful enemy combatants held outside the United States had no access to federal courts; that if these lawyers had access to classified information they would be ethically compelled to discuss it with their clients in order to properly and zealously represent them; that they were constantly trying to move the bar by expanding the supposed due process rights of the detainees; and many other things. Of course, none of this made it into his story. I could tell when he interviewed me that he was basically carrying water for the terrorists' lawyers when he took exception to my calling them "defense counsel." I said, "If they're not defense counsel, then what are they?" He had to concede the point, which seemed rather obvious to me.
A few sources, not the least of which is Michael Barone, are reporting that the Democrats are ignoring important Iraq briefings conducted by General David Petraeus in an apparent effort to stymie efforts in Iraq. It is well known that they are not supportive of the troops in Iraq and the president's "surge" plan they are currently conducting, but whether they like the plan or not, to skip these briefings is an act of blatant negligence that borders on the criminal. So where is the MSM's outrage? Why are we not being told of this Democrat negligence?
At 5:00 pm, Saturday, April 2, cable news outlets reported that a Blue Angels jet crashed in Beaufort, SC. Fox News and the local town paper, the Beaufort Gazette, reported the pilot did not make it. CNN reported that there is one fatality but has not specified who that fatality is. The plane appeared to "drop out of the sky," clip a power line and then break up, slamming into pine trees. Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved.
A Fox News anchor called the area "remote," but with a Marine Corps Air Station and a population of 12,950, the area isn't exactly remote. I guess it seems remote to those in major news, especially if they have to drive more than an hour or two.
CNN and FNC covered it live for about an hour and then went to regular programming. MSNBC didn't cover it live at all and ran a pre-recorded "true-life crime story," but it did mention the crash during the commercial breaks. Should MSNBC have covered it live, too? Would the media have devoted more time to the FA-19 crash if it had been commercial or private?
A senior Pentagon official has refuted "Time" magazine's depiction of a "broken" Army. Accusing "Time" of using incendiary language and of hyping the facts, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy Bill Carr made his remarks in the course of his appearance yesterday on the TV show this NewsBuster hosts, and in subsequent written comments.
Sec. Carr was responding to claims made by "Time" in a story by Mark Thompson dated April 5, 2007 entitled America's Broken-Down Army, a headline Carr called "incendiary."
Sec. Carr offered the following refutation of a number of assertions contained in the "Time" article:
TIME: Recruits from the least-skilled category have climbed eightfold, to nearly 4%, over the past two years.
CARR: This refers to the percentage of recruits drawn from the bottom-third of math/verbal aptitude (we refer to them as "Category IV"). For the past 15 years, the Pentagon quality benchmarks have stipulated a ceiling of 4% for CAT IV and Army is within it. As recently as 1980, the Army was bringing in more than half (56%) from the bottom third and ten years later took that Army to war. A decrease from one-in-two, to one-in-twenty today, is hardly consistent with an explosive word like "broken" -- TIME is hyping the facts by hiding the historical context.
"Ron Maloney, a National Guard lieutenant, returns from a 22-month tour in Iraq to his neat, welcoming house on Long Island and tends to his garden. There is a robust-looking lawn, and there are pretty flowers on a vine. The peace and comfort of such luxuries are unfamiliar to so many people outside the United States, he suggests.
You might think that Easter would be an occasion for an MSM outlet like ABC to invite in a serious Christian theologian or minister to discuss issues of death and resurrection. Please. I did say "an MSM outlet." ABC's Good Morning America decided the best way to celebrate Easter today was to devote one segment to an anti-war activist who had organized a "cluster bomb hunt" to parallel the White House's Easter egg hunt, and another segment to a mocking examination of the Easter bunny.
In the first segment, GMA's Kate Snow interviewed Brian Hennessey, organizer of the "cluster bomb hunt" outside the White House to protest the use of the weapons. Small children were shown constructing the mock bombs, and later would be sent out to search for them. Claimed Hennessey "we're not trying to politicize kids in any way." Right. When he later mentioned that the kids' parents would be "looking for weapons of mass destruction which of course aren't there," Snow didn't bother to suppress a laugh. Not surprising. This is the same Snow who a couple weeks ago who was moved to laughter by a painting that depicted Christ and his disciples as dogs.
In some ways, Army Colonel Jack Jacobs [ret.] is the perfect military analyst for an MSM outlet like MSNBC. His Medal of Honor, awarded to him for exceptional heroism in Vietnam [read account here], puts him above reproach. Yet his take on Iraq and other military affairs is anything but a parroting of the Bush administration line.
But while MSNBC might see him as one of their own, there come moments, as today, when Jacob leaves no doubt that he remains altogether a military man, upholding the highest traditions of valor and sacrifice. At about 10:30 AM EDT this morning, he was brought in to comment after the just-concluded press conference by a number of the British sailors and marines who had been held captive by the Iranians. A clearly outraged Jacobs made no effort to hide his contempt for them.
The April 4 edition of CBS’s "The Early Show" covered Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain’s visit to Iraq implying he has a skewed sense of reality. Anchor Russ Mitchell introduced the segment that the Arizona Senator "seems to be stumbling a bit of late" because he "went to Iraq" and "said he saw some progress."
Before playing McCain’s optimistic sound bite, correspondent Martin Seemungal reported that McCain had been in Baghdad for "just a few hours." After playing another positive word from Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind), Seemungal responded that "the reality on the ground is anything but peaceful" and some residents claimed "it took a massive military operation to give the congressmen that sense of security."
In the post-Walter Reed world, the MSM is on the prowl for stories that fit the template -- troops suffering at the hands of an indifferent military health bureaucracy. Yesterday's episode of the Montel Williams show demonstrates what happens when a soldier doesn't stick to the victimization script.
Have a look at this article from the Grand Junction [Colo.] Sentinel, which reports on the appearance on the Williams show of Kelli Frasier, a resident of Clifton, CO in the Grand Junction area. Frasier, who served 11 months in Iraq, was invited onto the show to discuss her experiences in Iraq and once she returned home. According to the article, "Frasier suffers anxiety attacks and bouts of unexplainable anger and has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder." But while Williams was eager to emphasize the problems Frasier has encountered, according to the article:
When she told Williams she was treated well by the Department of Veterans Affairs, he seemed to lose interest and moved quickly to another segment, she said.
Lt. Col. Rick Francona (USAF Retired) is an MSNBC military analyst who also writes for the network's "Hardblogger" blog. But while Francona has plenty of thoughts on how to deal with Iran's hostage-taking and on the notion of setting a withdrawal deadline for U.S. troops in Iraq, a review of Nexis showed zero hits for Francona on MSNBC recently, and only one appearance on NBC's "Nightly News" the day after the British servicement were taken hostage. And even then, he was featured with a sound bite about the Pat Tillman investigation.
WITHDRAWAL DATE FOR IRAQ AIDS THE ENEMY (March 23)
GULF ARABS DRAW A RED LINE AGAINST IRAN (March 19)
The 15 British sailors and Royal Marines were captured on March 23. Francona has written more on Iran specifically and the Middle East in general, it's just not all been posted to MSNBC's Web site. Francona runs his own Web log, Middle East Perspectives, and has a few additional posts in the same time period, including one dated March 25 explaining the long-disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway in which Iran captured its British hostages.
So given Francona's expertise and his being on the MSNBC payroll, he's been pretty busy appearing on air, right?
Well, a Nexis search for "Rick Francona" among MSNBC documents from March 19-April 3 turned up no hits.
CNN correspondent Michael Ware appeared on Monday's "American Morning" and gave a live report from Baghdad on Sen. John McCain's visit to the Iraqi capital. Host Soledad O'Brien asked him during the segment if he had, as suggested in Internet accounts, heckled the presidential hopeful:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question. There was a report that said you were heckling and you were laughing during the senator's press conference. Is that true?
WARE: "Well, let's bear in mind that this is a report that was leaked by an unnamed official, of some kind, to a blog, to somewhere on the Internet. No one is going to put their name forward. We certainly haven't heard Senator McCain say anything about it, or any of his staff have come forward to say anything about it.
CNN Baghdad reporter Michael Ware has had quite a week getting his rips in, and more, about how ineffective (in his view) current military efforts in Baghdad have been -- to the point of obviously crossing the line into blatant unprofessionalism earlier today.
Ware's "the war is failing" stridency flared up last Tuesday, and can be seen at this YouTube video (HT Hot Air) -- Ware starts getting his rips in at about the 1:30 mark after McCain states that some neighborhoods of Baghdad are safe. It appears that Blitzer made sure that McCain didn't get any words to rebut Ware after Ware's rant. Ware's strongest riposte:
“I don't know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad.”
Next, on Thursday, Ware took issue with Joe Lieberman when the Connecticut senator said that "American soldiers are more confident walking the streets of Baghdad." Ware's response is that the insurgents are simply "laying low."
Finally, Drudge is reporting the following exclusive about Ware's conduct at a press conference that apparently took place earlier today:
A rather small section, one small paragraph, in a pretty straight forward story reveals the sheer absurdity and incomprehension that prevails in the Media today and serves to show the emptiness of what passes for thinking and logic about American history in what some feel are our cultural elites. It also shows the bias against things Southern in certain circles these days.
The story, "Confederate General's Painting Sold", is mostly a simple retelling of the facts around the $400,000 acquisition by Colonial Williamsburg of a painting painted by Robert E. Lee's wife to be in the 1830s.
If you are a journalist or blogger who wants to embed in Iraq, good
luck making it through the PAO system. As a pair of prominent bloggers
tell us on the record, getting into Iraq can be all but impossible
thanks to obstacles put in place by the U.S. military's Pubic Affairs
Office, and once there, the PAO seems to delight in making the life of
an embed a living hell.
I wrote last week about embedded journalist Michael Yon being
threatened with expulsion from Iraq by U.S. Army General Vincent
Brooks, in a post called The Silencer.
If the history I cobbled together is correct--and I believe it
is--Brooks has held a grudge against Yon since 2005, when Brooks was
the lead PAO (Public Affairs Officer) for the war, and a former
spokesman for U.S. Central Command known as the "the face of the U.S.
military" during his tenure in that position.
Failed radio mouth and Senatorial candidate from Minnesota , Al Franken, told David Letterman on the set of the "Late Show" that the USA should reconsider approving the Kyoto Protocols because the treaty is good for the economy -- Despite that the ruinous treaty was voted down by a unanimous Senate vote in 1997 for the very reason that it would harm the economy.
To a fawning audience and a rapt host, Franken attacked Bush over the treaty that was voted down before he ever got to office, saying "One of the dumbest things that this president has said -- and that is a high bar -- is that if we abided by the Kyoto agreement, it would be ruinous to our economy. The opposite is true."
The Los Angeles Times and Harper's have a bit of egg on their faces.
The Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed by Kitty Kelley last week claiming that no one in George W. Bush's extended family -- daughters, nieces or nephews -- has served in the military since his father's service in World War II.
The Bush family's supposed lack of military service is the entire focus of the op-ed.
Says Kelley: "The president tells us Iraq is a 'noble' war, but his wife, his children and his nieces and nephews are not listening. None has enlisted in the armed services, and none seems to be paying attention to the sacrifices of military families."
She also says: "The presidential nieces and nephews also have missed the memo on setting a good public example."
The New York Times finally reports on the results of the troop increase in Baghdad, which seems to have brought a measure of safety to some of the most dangerous areas of Iraq's capital – but Kirk Semple and Alissa Rubin's A1 article Wednesday ("Sweeps in Iraq Cram Two Jails With Detainees") ignored that angle in favor of concern over…crowded Baghdad jails.
"Hundreds of Iraqis detained in the Baghdad security crackdown have been crammed into two detention centers run by the Defense Ministry that were designed to hold only dozens of people, a government monitoring group said Tuesday.
No, it's not bias per se, but it is a bit of a pet peeve when the media are sloppy with terminology that relates to the military.
This morning, CNN has been reporting on how Iran may release the female sailor that was captured along with 14 of her comrades. But in doing so, the CNN chyron referred to her as a "troop."
"Troop" is not used in the singular to refer to a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. "Troop" traditionally refers to a unit of soldiers, although in modern usage "troops" may refer to soldiers collectively irrespective of a unit organization.
CNN would be correct to say that Iran has said it will release the female sailor among the 15 captured British military personnel, as the woman in question serves in the Royal Navy.
Inspired by an Esquire magazine interview in which Republican Senator Chuck Hagel mentioned the possibility that some of President Bush's critics may push impeachment at some point, CNN's Wolf Blitzer devoted considerable time on Monday's The Situation Room to discussing the significance of Hagel's impeachment talk, remarking that "it's not good for President Bush, to put it bluntly." Blitzer characterized impeachment talk as "a little bit louder" and, after Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, appearing as a guest, showed disinterest in a Bush impeachment, Blitzer still clung to the possibility, characterizing Dodd's words as "leaving the door slightly open," and remarking, "What I'm hearing is you're not completely ruling it out." (Transcript follows)
According to CNN’s Jack Cafferty, President Bush would jump at the opportunity to use the kidnapping of 15 British soldiers as a pretext to invade Iran. On the Monday edition of "Situation Room," Cafferty asserted that he hoped U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t ask George W. Bush to join a coalition of the willing whose goal it is to free the captives.
Jack Cafferty: "Let’s hope British Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t ask the United States to join a coalition of the willing to invade Iran and get its hostages back. My feeling is President Bush would be on that like a bird on a worm."
The CNN host also saw scary implications in the fact that the U.S. Navy is just off the coast of Iran:
On March 18th, the New York Times published a piece titled "The Women's War". It was a feature of great length (18 pages on the Internet) centered around the plight of several female Veterans of the war in Iraq. It detailed the mistreatment they suffered by the US Military, sexual harassment they received at the hands of army officers, and their PTSDs (post traumatic distress disorders). A shocking expose is what the Times was going for, it is sure. These women certainly deserved better treatment and the story should be well publicized, of course. It might have had more impact but for the fact that the Times knew that one of the subjects featured in the article wasn't even in Iraq and that her story was a complete lie.
Worse yet, the Times published the story knowing full well that one of their subjects had lied to them. Finally, a whole week after their initial story was published on the 18th, on March 25th, the Times published a mea culpa, correcting the story.