Bizarrely enough, the terror plot in New York City to blow up airport terminals and fuel lines at Kennedy International Airport didn't make the front page -- or even the national news section -- of Sunday's New York Times. Instead, it received a front-page "tease" and topped the Times' Metro section of regional news. By contrast, the Washington Post put the story on the front page, and the Los Angeles Times made it Sunday's lead item.
The story by Cara Buckley and William Rashbaum went to some length to downplay the seriousness of the threat:
"Mark J. Mershon, the assistant director in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in New York, said all four men had 'fundamentalist Islamic beliefs of a violent nature,' although they appeared to be acting on their own and had no known connection to Al Qaeda.
New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim reported on an open house conducted by a New Jersey mosque connected to the Fort Dix Six terrorism investigation in Saturday's Metro section ("Open House At Mosque Of Suspects Proves Tense"). His slant was apparent throughout the story, as the Times once again soft-pedaled the radical Islamic origins behind the terror plot.
"The man sat in the back row of the mosque, his arms folded, unsure whether his hard opinions would change.
"'I'm concerned about the Muslims,' the man, Richard Smekal, 68, said just before an open house at the mosque, the Islamic Center of South Jersey, where four of six men accused of plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix had worshiped.
"It is unclear what role, if any, religion played in the attack Mr. Shnewer and the five other men are charged with planning. (The sixth suspect, Agron Abdullahu, had no apparent connection with Al-Aqsa or the South Jersey Islamic Center.) The authorities have described the suspects as Islamic extremists, but the lengthy criminal complaint summarizing the F.B.I.'s 15-month undercover investigation of the group does not mention where -- or how often -- they prayed. Certainly there is no evidence that they picked up radical ideas at either mosque."
On his must-read "Best of the Web Today" column for Opinion Journal, the online home of the excellent Wall Street Journal editorial page, James Taranto did a nice analysis on Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman:
Despite its huffy, self-righteous editorial page, the New York Times never has been anywhere close to a paragon of moral consistency. The latest example of the Grey Lady's hypocrisy is on the subject of data-mining, a subject which the editorial side of the paper repeatedly condemned last year. Data-mining is basically a fancy way of compiling user data in an advanced manner. According to the Times, data-mining is wrong when it is done to help fight terrorism. When it's done to fatten the wallets of fatcat liberal newspaper execs then it's ok.
Barely a year after their reporters won a Pulitzer prize for exposing
data mining of ordinary citizens by a government spy agency, New York
Times officials had some exciting news for stockholders last week: The
Times company plans to do its own data mining of ordinary citizens, in
the name of online profits.
Can Bill Maher do an entire episode of “Real Time” without attacking President Bush?
For those that can actually bear watching his program on HBO, the answer would be a resounding, “NO!” Yet, in the March 16 installment, Maher came very close.
Having seemingly suffered through more than 55 whole minutes without saying something disgraceful and offensive about the most powerful man on the planet, Maher, who must have been having an allergic reaction to the uncharacteristic civility on display, made up for it in spades during his final “New Rule” rant.
Entitled “Orewell That Ends Well,” Maher repeatedly made the asinine assertion that since 9/11, President Bush has actually stripped Americans of their civil rights (video available here):
Catching up on an item from Monday's The Situation Room on CNN, which has already been covered by conservative talk radio host Mark Levin, CNN's Jack Cafferty condescendingly labeled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as a "glorified waterboy for the White House" as he called for Gonzales to resign over the controversial firing of U.S. attorneys. After asking viewers to email him with their thoughts, Cafferty further called Gonzales a "weasel." Cafferty: "If you look up the word weasel in the dictionary, Wolf, you'll see Alberto Gonzales' picture there."
Below is a complete transcript of Cafferty's comments on Alberto Gonzales from the March 12 The Situation Room on CNN:
ABC’s Rosie O’Donnell has said some pretty disgraceful things on “The View” since her arrival. However, this might be the worst.
On Thursday’s installment, O’Donnell actually said that the only reason al Qaeda terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to any of his actions is because he is being held and tortured by the United States government.
In a warning to the sanctity of free speech in a democratic nation, France is about to show us what happens when the state is allowed to legally determine who is allowed to be a "journalist", or who is a "legitimate" source of news: You get the criminalization of speech.
The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.
This would, in fact, place the power to silence whistleblowers from being able to expose abuse by government officials into the hands of those very officials in the case of police abuse, for instance.
After some very controversial remarks on Wednesday’s edition of The View comedian and neoconservative Dennis Miller appeared on Thursday. After discussing John McCain’s announcement and the recent feud between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Miller joked about Nancy Pelosi’s rapidly blinking eyes, leading Barbara Walters to defend her as "terrific." Miller also debated Rosie O’Donnell on the finer points of the Patriot Act. The exchanges are below.
Joy Behar: "How about Nancy Pelosi, what do you think of her?"
Dennis Miller: "Well, listen. If they pick her as the VP, I’m not going to be able to watch State of the Unions. Because if she is back there like, with the blink- it looks like she was signaling the Carpathia that she hit an iceberg or something."
Yesterday I dismissed the idea that PBS couldn't find anyone conservative to comment on the Bush team's alleged war on the press. Talk-radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt, a long-time host for PBS in Los Angeles, explained on his blog that the Frontline folks at PBS tried to cajole him into an interview for their "News War" four-hour marathon, but he ultimately declined. Here's his story:
Producer Raney Anderson journeyed to California to make the case for why I ought to participate, and I declined. I spent a decade inside the PBS system, and while I think Ms. Anderson is a talented and sincere documentarian, the form is inherently biased as the moment a cut gets made, an editorial choice has been rendered, and I didn't trust a PBS team, however talented, to make those choices about what I have to say about media, new and old.
Several national newspapers praised the four-hour PBS Frontline series beginning Tuesday night titled "News War," on how Team Bush (and Team Nixon before that) undemocratically waged war on the press. There's not much on whether the press was undemocratically waging war on the elected president in those cases. (Who, pray tell, voted for the New York Times to run the country?) The man setting the table for the first two hours is Arun Rath, who the South Asian Journalists Association website jokingly notes "acquired a semi-classical education at Reed College in Oregon ('Atheism, Communism and Free Love')." What a surprise for an NPR/PBS producer.
In a new interview on the SAJA website, Rath explained how he was somehow completely incapable of tracking down conservatives to comment on the show's arrogant liberal thesis, namely that the press is crucial to save democracy from freedom-crushing Republicans:
In a huge blow to America’s ability to defend itself from future terrorist attacks both home and abroad, the European Central Bank has told SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, that it must halt the transfer of personal banking information to American authorities by April.
As reported by Agence France-Presse on February 1 (h/t to Dan at Riehl World View): “The agency, the European Data Protection Supervisor, told the bank to come up with measures ‘to make its payment operations fully compliant with data-protection legislation,’ urging it to ‘take appropriate measures as soon as possible.’”
Hadn’t heard about this? Well, how could you? After all, according to Google and LexisNexis searches, the only major American media outlet to bother reporting this was, coincidentally and quite ironically, the New York Times.
Isn’t that a delicious twist of fate? Yet, the hypocrisy in this goes much deeper.
As NewsBusters has been reporting for the past couple of weeks, a battle is being waged between liberal bloggers and a conservative radio station in San Francisco. Those that are unfamiliar with this issue should read articles covering both sides of the matter here and here.
This week the New York Times took every opportunity to mislead on the nature of the terrorist-surveillance program, triggered by Wednesday's announcement by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) would have jurisdiction over the program that eavesdrops on international calls of people in the U.S. suspected of terrorist ties.
The announcement Wednesday from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) would now approve of surveillance actions under the “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” prompted a return to the bad network habit of describing as “domestic spying” and “domestic eavesdropping” the effort to monitor communication between people inside the United States and suspected terrorists abroad. With “Domestic Spying” on screen, ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson cited “a major reversal today by the Bush administration in the war on terrorism. Two years ago, you may recall, the administration maintained it had the right to spy on people in the United States, without court approval. Today, however, the Justice Department said there will be no such surveillance of people in this country without court approval.” (A look at CBS and NBC follows)
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and frequent guest John Dean discussed the possibility of a Democratic Congress moving to impeach members of President Bush's Cabinet as an alternative to actually impeaching the President or Vice President. After Dean contended that Democrats would need to "find their spine and go toe to toe" with the administration because Republicans "play hardball in a much tougher and more ruthless manner than Democrats," Olbermann brought up Dean's idea of impeaching Bush administration members. Olbermann: "The far end of what you suggest, obviously, would be impeachment, but the merits of that are at best arguable. I think we can probably both recall an occasion in which impeachment actually bolstered a President's popularity. But you wrote recently about impeaching not a President or a Vice President, but members of the Cabinet. How would that work? And is it a practical thing?" (Transcript follows)
As the AP reports (Strip-Searched Muslim Woman Gets Apology), the Dept. of Homeland Security sent an apology letter to a Muslim woman who was strip searched on April 11th, 2006. Naturally, the AP uses the report as an excuse to bash the US government.
The Department of Homeland Security has sent a letter apologizing to a Muslim woman who was detained at the Tampa airport and strip-searched at a county jail.
Safana Jawad, 45, a Spanish citizen who was born in Iraq, was detained on April 11 because of a suspected tie to a suspicious person, authorities said. She was held for two days before being deported to England.
As NewsBusters has reported here and here, there has been a shockingly deafening silence from the American media concerning revelations of former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger’s actions at the National Archives in 2003. In fact, it appears that only Fox News has much interest in a story about a top-level political official stealing and destroying top secret documents from the facility responsible for storing them.
With that in mind, “Your World” invited Ann Coulter on to discuss this issue on Thursday, and the conservative author was not shy (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated). After guest host David Asman gave some background, he asked his guest: “Ann Coulter, where is the outrage? Are you surprised that there is no outrage about this?”
The hubbub raised over six Islamic imams being removed from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis for suspicious behavior is the latest in a string of incidents underlining one consistent thread in the war on terror: Muslim terrorists have never given up on the tried and true idea of hijacking airplanes and blowing them up to kill and demoralize the infidels.
Police and witness reports suggest a list of suspicious activities and remarks. Some of the imams were discussing in Arabic about "bin Laden" and condemning America for "killing Saddam." Imams asked for seat belt extenders for the extremely obese, for no apparent reason. (Did you know such extenders even existed?) The imams spread out at all exits of the plane, two in front, two in the middle, two in the rear. Between the six imams, they had one piece of checked luggage.
Speaking as an alumnus to students at Brown University over the weekend, liberal New York Times reporter James Risen -- best known for breaking open the government's terrorist-surveillance program -- hailed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation as "the best thing to happen in a long time" and cheered that it's "sinking in" with President Bush that his foreign policy is "too radical."
Risen also typically complained of how vital the New York Times is to American democracy. The Bushies have "suppressed dissent throughout the administration," and the climate of fear is "palpable" and "frightening to watch." The press is vital because "there's been almost no congressional oversight." And cable news just rips off the newspapers: "CNN, which is probably the best of them, does almost no original reporting" and the cable networks have "24 hours to fill and nothing to say." In the Brown Daily Herald, reporter Abe Lubetkin wrote:
In light of the big Democrat win last week, United Press International is doing its best to start the ball rolling against our security with a report from the 11th called Leahy aims at restoring habeas corpus.
In this fawning report, UPI paints Leahy as the hero on the white horse "restoring rights" to those poor enemy combatants the evil, evil Bush administration has been so mean to. UPI is overjoyed that Leahy is riding to the defense of terrorists...
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is expected to take over as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and The (Calif.) Daily Journal reports that Leahy is drafting a bill to undo portions of the new law in an effort to restore habeas corpus rights for enemy combatants.
How nice of Leahy to "restore" something they never had in the first place!
The supposed rights of habes for enemy combatants never existed and still doesn't. The only thing that the last few Supreme Court decisions addressed is if enemy combatants can APPLY for habeas protections, NOT that they should automatically have them.
Most people know Ted Rall as the highly acclaimed liberal cartoonist with impeccably bad taste as reported by NewsBusters here. What you might not have known is that he is also an op-ed writer.
With that in mind, on Wednesday, Rall published a rather disgraceful piece of hyperbole and vitriol that quite demonstrated just how far off the reservation this man has strayed. It was titled “Our Long National Nightmare Has Just Begun” (emphasis mine throughout): “I'm tempted, in the aftermath of the widest and most stunning electoral repudiation of Republicanism since Watergate, to mark the Democratic recapture of governorships, the House of Representatives (and probably the Senate) as the beginning of the end of Bush's fascism lite, and thus a long overdue vindication of what I've been saying about him since his December 2000 coup d'état.
Stick with this, folks, because it’s going to get worse:
CNN's Jack Cafferty listed a litany of supposed Bush misdeeds and how Bill Clinton “was impeached for telling a lie” before posing his “Cafferty File” question in the 7pm EST hour of Thursday's The Situation Room: “If the Republicans lose the election Tuesday, what should happen to President Bush?” Naturally, Cafferty's strong suggestion that President George W. Bush deserves the same generated matching e-mails, yet Cafferty expressed astonishment: “It's amazing. 98 percent of the ones that I read -- and I looked at several hundred of them -- said impeach him....There's a lot of anger out there over what this man's done."
Cafferty had charged: “This President has pulled off a power grab in the name of the war on terror the likes of which this country hasn't seen in a very long time. And in the process, people who are a lot smarter than I am suggest that he has broken this nation's laws over and over and over again. From invading a sovereign nation without provocation to torturing prisoners to the NSA spy program, to holding people without a right to a court hearing or a lawyer, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” Amongst the e-mails Cafferty read, one declared: “Of course George Bush deserves to be impeached, and he should also be thrown in jail.” Another writer recommended: “He should be 'legally' water-boarded until he can recite the Bill of Rights and define habeas corpus.”
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" not only to demand that President Bush apologize to American troops over the Iraq War, but he also blamed Bush for inspiring acts of "domestic terrorism" against critics, a la King Henry and Archbishop Thomas Becket, and bizarrely chose to inject racism by making a comparison between Bush supporters attacking the President's opponents and the 1856 caning of anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner by pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks, and at one point even mentioning charges of racist "fear of miscegenation" in the current Tennesee Senate race. As Olbermann concluded his rant, he addressed Bush: "You instructed no one to mail the fake Anthrax [received by Olbermann], nor undermine the FBI's case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Senator George Allen, nor have the First Lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry. No, you did not, sir. And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry's rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?' All you have to do, sir, is hand out enough new canes." (Transcript follows)
Once again taking "tolerance" to the level of societal self-destruction, the BBC has decided that showing the human side of the Taleban is an important story to cover.
They have ridiculously embedded a reporter with the Taleban in Afghanistan. Reporter David Lyon has been reporting from the Taleban and has filed a report filled with laudatory terms and brimming with respect for his subject.
This is a truly shocking revelation by the New York Times ombudsman Byrone Calame (hat tip to Michelle Malkin). In a column published Sunday, Calame – the Times' “public editor” – has reversed a previous position of his concerning the Times June 23 article about secret international banking surveillance designed to uncover the sources of terrorist funding. Now, Calame thinks it was a mistake for the Times to reveal the existence of this program (emphasis mine throughout):
After pondering for several months, I have decided I was off base. There were reasons to publish the controversial article, but they were slightly outweighed by two factors to which I gave too little emphasis. While it’s a close call now, as it was then, I don’t think the article should have been published.
Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone’s private data had actually been misused. I had mentioned both as being part of “the most substantial argument against running the story,” but that reference was relegated to the bottom of my column.
This is quite a reversal for Calame who wrote at the time:
I was dutifully working my way through Robert Kuttner's Boston Globe column of this morning, Cleaning Up the Mess, on the lookout for some outrageous MSM morsel with which to arouse NewsBusters readers.
But all I was getting were Kuttner's "on the one hand, but on the other hand" arguments as to whether it is in Democratic interests to retake one or both houses of Congress come November. His thesis is that America is such a mess thanks to years of Republican misrule that fixing it could be a thankless task for Dems, who might be better off waiting for the deluge of the 2008 presidential elections. For the record, Kuttner does come down on the side of taking power now.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered another of his “Special Comment” rants on Thursday night -- this one his longest yet, clocking in at just over 11 minutes. Olbermann began the diatribe, which concluded the October 5 Countdown, by saying his topic was “lying,” specifically how President Bush is making false claims about Democrats. Olbermann cited how Bush charged that Democrats “don’t think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists” and “think the best way to protect the American people is wait until we're attacked again.” Maintaining that the accusations are baseless, Olbermann asserted: “A President who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying.” But by Olbermann's reasoning that since no Democrat has said exactly what Bush asserted when he made the political points about the implications of Democratic positions, no one should be able to accuse Bush of lying about Iraq since he has never said he lied about Iraq.
Olbermann proceeded to allege that Bush “has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack” through his “terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom -- the Constitution -- a triumph for al Qaeda, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11's.” He accused Bush: "You want to preserve one political party's power. And obviously you will sell this country out, to do it. These are lies about the Democrats, piled atop lies about Iraq, piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaeda.” Olbermann also denounced Vice President Cheney for how he “lives on, in defiance, and spreads -- around him and before him -- darkness, like some contagion of fear.” Sounds more like Olbermann. (Transcript follows)
When the Pope recently accused Muslim extremists of using violence to advance their ends, they responded . . . with violence. Not to compare myself to the Pontiff, but I recently accused a liberal columnist of being consumed with Bush-hatred, and she has now responded . . . by cataloguing the many things she hates about Bush.