The New York Times cannot make up their mind if Dennis Hastert should be despised or laughed at, apparently. Neither can they decide if he is "rumpled and weary" or if he is "healthier and more relaxed" -- they confusingly say both in the very same article. But one thing is sure, their underlying sentiment toward the former Speaker of the House seems to be one of pity. And this article was simply an opportunity to kick someone they think is down.
But Dennis Hastert is neither seeking nor requiring such special attention or emotion to be wasted upon him. Furthermore, he never has. The pity party thrown for him by the Times is a pointless jab at a man who has given his life to the community. Hastert should be celebrated, not pitied. Least of all from as cynical an organization as the New York Times.
Writing in the "Swampland" blog for Time magazine today, Karen Tumulty insisted the U.S. attorney firings deserved"massive commitment of journalistic resources" before going on to cite a study showing that media attention in the past few weeks has skewed heavily towards the non-scandal scandal:
before all our commenters jump on me, let me stipulate: I think the
unfolding U.S. Attorneys story is a huge one, it deserves a massive
commitment of journalistic resources, it is not likely to go away any
time soon and I'm skeptical that Alberto Gonzales is going to survive
it. I also believe that history has shown us many times that the
broadest measures of public interest are a lagging indicator of the
significance of a story. Finally, the blogosphere deserves huge credit
for leading the way on it.
Translation: "the public don't know it yet, but this is an important story, we're going to make it an important story, and, kudos to liberal bloggers for making a fuss over it."
In 1993, Time magazine didn't show the same interest in blowing up the Clinton/Reno firings into a story the public would care about. [continued...]
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.
Among the biggest possible conflicts of interest a newspaper can enter into is to have the same people involved in news coverage running opinion pages. I am proud of the fact that Jeff Johnson, Dean Baquet and I fully separated the opinion pages from the newsroom at the Times. I accept my share of the responsibility for placing the Times in this predicament, but I will not be lectured on ethics by some ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects, or who have suggested that our editorial page coordinate more closely with the newsroom's agenda, and I strongly urge the present and future leadership of the paper to resist the cries to revisit the separation between news and opinion that we have achieved.
What I don't get is why the Times' news reporters even feel the need to influence the paper's editorial page content. Based on Martinez's observation/acknowledgment that the newsroom has an "agenda," those reporters already have their own editorial pages, which just happen to be known as "the rest of the newspaper."
It is always interesting to me how a story can be published as if it is serious work, a story that almost seems plausible until you step back from it to realize that not a shred of proof to support the supposition was ever offered. After you're done reading it you realize that all you ended up with were empty phrases like "some say" or "many are" instead of any statistics, studies or other proof. Such is the case with the Washington Post's story titled, "War Causing Split Among Evangelicals". In fact, writer Julie Sullivan flat out admits that there is no proof for her supposition that “many” evangelical Christians are turning away from the war... but she postulates the premise any way.
No polling data show conclusively that opinion has shifted among conservative evangelicals.
This is only the fourth paragraph (the previous three being one sentence affairs) so you'd think she could just retire the piece right there. But, no we have to start right up with the "some say" routine.
This week, the media greeted Al Gore’s global warming testimony as though Moses had delivered it on stone tablets (Or some secular equivalent). Katie Couric, on her web blog, touted Gore’s “triumphant” return.
The Huffington Post is featuring a post by the man who blasted Hillary Clinton with an edit of the Apple Computer spinoff of George Orwell's anti-authoritarian "1984." The creator of the video is the former Internet communications director for Sherrod Brown's 2006 Senate campaign and until today was employed by Blue State Digital; a company that provides internet technology services to many presidential campaigns, including that of Barack Obama.
The video creator is Philip de Vellis and he explains his reasoning as follows:
I submit that a better headline would be “MSM Kills Journalism With Activist Reporting“.
It is pretty clear to me that the term mainstream media does not imply professional journalism. Sure, they have the money to dress it up and send it out with all the glitz and glamor of the alluring red carpet spectacle that they have become. But underneath all that flash is a lonely band leader churning out the same droning beat, left, left, left, left…
It really doesn’t matter who takes the lead at any given time. They all appear to have gone to the same school that has taught them to put the cart before the horse. Today’s motto, “Lead with your gut and piece together events and words to meet your agenda.”
I didn’t start this article looking for bias in the mainstream media; it found me. Naturally I could cut the Reuters article up and only discuss elements that I thought pertained to my premise but there is no need. This style of reporting stands as a whole. The mainstream media suffers from a group think mentality that suffers greatly from a monosyllabic tendency to hire and utilize only those who agree with one political point of view. It is a sad state of affairs.
Today’s Internet age is putting an end to the hardcover encyclopedia business. Why spend fortunes on a massive (albeit attractive) World Book set when you can get what you need a mouse click away on the Internet? Any student preparing a research paper and searching Google will probably be handed over quickly to the "Wikipedia" on-line encyclopedia system. What’s more – and here’s an offer that presumably can’t be beat – it’s free!
At Wikipedia you won’t find a distinguished body of tweedy old professors poring over every paragraph on the Hanseatic League. It’s actually on the other end of the credibility spectrum. Wikipedia is an "open-source" encyclopedia, a reference source anyone can create. The danger in this system becomes very obvious, very quickly. Recently the comedian and movie star Sinbad had to announce that he was not, in fact, dead of a heart attack at age 50 as his Wikipedia entry claimed. "Somebody vandalized the page," claimed Wikipedia spokeswoman Sandra Ordonez.
The "stranded polar bear" photo continues to grab headlines, even after yet another thorough debunking. In what has become the furry, cuddly symbol of all that is wrong with the climate change debate, the now ubiquitous photo was splashed across news pages worldwide, with captions such as this from the Daily Mail (click for article and image):
They cling precariously to the top of what is left of the ice floe, their fragile grip the perfect symbol of the tragedy of global warming.
See more articles with the same specious claims here, here, and the NYTimes version with photo caption correction appended here.
There was just one problem: the photograph was taken not of polar bears "stranded" on ice - far from it.
I read an interesting article at Michael Yon online about the relationship between the giants in the mainstream media and smaller independents who cover the war from the ground in Iraq. Mr. Yon's insights into the way the press covers the war are every bit in tune as his honest assessment of the war as can only be told from his vantage point as an independent journalist on the ground.
Yon notes that the trend of reporting from the front has changed over time. Journalists in the past would have spent long tours with combat forces on the ground. But terrorism and violence against journalists, both intentional and collateral, has shied many into changing the way they cover the war. Mr. Yon is relaying a new pattern of reporting that has emerged where most of the embeds come to Iraq for a quick tour, see just enough to complete their report and then leave. Many of those reports are done from the safer confines in the compound or on bases with some notable exceptions.
The bold and brilliant Hugh Hewitt doesn't hesitate to ask journalists appearing as guests on his radio show to describe their personal political leanings. Most decline to do so in a self-righteous huff, the typical response being along the lines "that is irrelevant to my reporting, which I play down the middle." There are rare-but-welcome bursts of candor, as when former WaPo political reporter Tom Edsall famously acknowledged to Hugh that he, along with the overwhelmingly majority of his erstwhile WaPo confreres, were indeed Dems and liberals.
I mention this because a few weeks ago, Hugh had as a guest John Harris, one of the founding members of the Politico, the new web-based venture that draws many of its reporters from the ranks of some of the leading MSM institutions. Harris, for example, is the WaPo's former political editor. Hugh posed the who-did-you-vote-for question, and Harris demurred along the lines cited above. After the interview, Hewitt said he suspected that Harris and the rest of the Politco crew were indeed libs. Nevertheless, Hewitt seems to appreciate the Politico's lively and topical reporting. With that as an endorsement, I decided to sign up for the Politco's Daily Digest email, and have been reading and largely enjoying it ever since.
Why is it that sitcoms always go for the cheapest gags? And why is it that those gags are always shibboleths of leftist ideas? Does Hollywood imagine that the left never does anything that can be made fun of? Apparently Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter of the new sitcom "Andy Barker, P.I." don't think so, anyway.
In the pilot episode for the new sitcom from NBC starring former Conan O'Brien sidekick Andy Richter, within the first few segments we get one joke that makes Christians out to be mean-spirited and another that presents Americans in general as being reactionary racists post 9/11. In fact, these two jokes are back to back.
In the pilot episode, the main character rents a storefront in a small strip mall styled complex to open his CPA business. He meets the video store Owner downstairs who takes him on a tour to give him the lay of the land of the other shops in the complex.
On the one hand, I have to give the Washington Post credit for frontpaging today's story on longtime Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe's campaign of police thuggery against opposition leaders.
Yet when I looked through the article, I found no mention that Mugabe is a socialist or leftist, nor was he labeled a dictator.
In fact, the only dictator reference came in a graph that noted that the latest high-profile victim of Mugabe's violence, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, has himself been accused by political rivals of having "dictatorial tendencies."
Los Angeles Times columnist (and longtime political reporter) Ron Brownstein tackles the issue of the Nevada Democratic Party dumping Fox News Channel as a debate partner. He thinks this rejection is similar to how "conservatives deal with mainstream media organizations they consider biased against them." Put aside for a minute the odd notion that Republican Party organizations or politicians would refuse to do debates thrown by liberal networks. As if. In his March 16 column, Brownstein's peddling the old canard that Fox News is exponentially more biased than "mainstream" news organizations:
The situation isn't exactly parallel. For all the howling on the right, it's difficult to argue that mainstream news organizations operate with anything approaching Fox' partisan and ideological agenda. (E-mails: commence now.) But there's no question many conservatives feel as wronged by elements of the mainstream media as Democrats do by Fox.
While Washington Post reporters Dan Eggen and Paul Kane are getting keyboard blisters probing the White House shenanigans around U.S. attorney dismissals by Team Bush, know this: in 1993, the Post published no stories investigating what Bill Clinton, or Hillary Clinton, or their Little Rock henchman, Webster Hubbell, was doing behind the scenes.
About two weeks after the mass firing, on April 3, 1993 the Post front page reported on how Hubbell surfaced for a Senate confirmation hearing, and reporter David Von Drehle thought it was “pretty funny” that the Wall Street Journal would portray him as an “ominous” figure. “The Judiciary Committee can ask Mr. Mysterious all the questions the Journal and others have been dying to pose.” Notice the Post thought it was “funny” anyone had a question to pose. They’d like people to think they’re equal-opportunity investigators, but they certainly don't look that way on U.S. attorney firings.
CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen seems to indirectly respond to my March 14 blog post with a March 15 salvo over at CBS's "Couric & Co." blog. [Scroll below for a NYT story from March 1993 that noted that it was unusual for the AG to be involved in the holdover resignation process]
Some cyber folks, trying to attack the credibility of eminent
professors Stanley Katz and Stanley Kutler, took the time to research
their campaign contributions. I do not know, and don’t necessarily
care, where the two professors I interviewed choose to spend their
Cohen may not care what their political leanings are, but the point is that he was citing these "eminent professors" to give an air of scholarly detachment to a decidedly antagonistic view of the attorney general. As such, it's legitimate to see if those sources are relatively non-partisan scholars dedicated solely to integrity and excellence in the legal profession, or if their political leanings might color their analysis. [continued...]
Why is it every time I see a newspulper headline about Barack Obama I envision the editors in near orgasmic delight over the "multiculturalism" they perceive in Obama, or the "connection" he has with all the peoples of the world? Or the near hero worship of his "clean and articulate" abilities they wallow in, for that matter? And how come I get a corresponding feeling that all I am getting is delightful puffs of air but no substance when I'm done reading the piece that goes with the sweetness and honey that is the headline?
WASHINGTON - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, confessed to that attack and a chilling string of other terror plots during a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a transcript released Wednesday by the Pentagon.
"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Mohammed said in a statement read during the session, which was held last Saturday.
Of course that confession wouldn't be complete without the obvious overture that it was coerced by the CIA who tortured the poor terrorist while vacationing at Guantanamo Bay's seaside resort.
Video clip: Real (3.06 MB) or Windows (2.55 MB) plus MP3 (1.19 MB) Mr. Bozell should also be on FNC's Fox & Friends Thursday morning to discuss the same topic. He's scheduled for 6:13am EDT. That's 5:13am CDT, 4:13am MDT and 3:13am PDT.
Call it confirming the obvious, but a poll released today by the Zogby organization, conducted in conjunction with the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, reveals that a vast majority of Americans believe that the media is biased. 83% of likely voters said the media is biased in one direction or another, while just 11% believe the media doesn’t take political sides.
Of particular significance: "nearly two-thirds of those online respondents who detected bias in the media (64%) said the media leans left, while slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they see a conservative bias."
CBS legal pundit Andrew Cohen is back at it again with a new blog post at Katie's e-sandbox, "Couric & Co.":
always, thank you for taking the time to read my post and to write a
response. The more dialogue and discussion and debate we have on this
topic the better. It is true that Janet Reno, as her predecessors
before her had done, asked for the resignations of U.S. Attorneys. This
is standard operating procedure designed to allow the President to have
in place his own federal prosecutors. What is different about this
current episode is that a Republican White House sought to replace
Republican-appointed federal prosecutors mid-stream who were by all
accounts doing precisely what they had been asked to do. We now know,
from last week’s testimony, why in some cases this was so and the
answers we got make it clear that the reasons were not high-minded or
I wonder if the MSM ever gets tired of trying to make evil look good? And if they aren't trying to make evil look like good, they are trying to soft peddle evil with a they-are-really-just-like-us analysis of evil’s actions. Such is the case today in the Boston Globe wherein writer H.D.S. Greenway equates Iraqi insurgents to being just like America's founding revolutionary generation.
In 'Surge' doomed to final failure, a badly garbled reading of history is foisted upon an unsuspecting reading public that culminates with H.D.S. Greenway boiling down the entire American Revolution to the claim that British soldiers were a "conquering force" in the Colonies and the Colonists were mad at them for it.
The March 13 Washington Post erupted on the front page with the revelation that the White House played a role in the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys. "Firings Had Genesis In White House," screamed the headline. Documents showed that back in 2005, White House counsel Harriet Miers recommended the idea to the Justice Department that all 93 U.S. Attorneys be replaced. Instead, the Bush team dismissed only eight.
But something quite amazing was omitted by those hard-charging Post reporters Dan Eggen and John Solomon digging through White House E-mails for their scandalized front-page bombshell. Didn’t Bill Clinton’s brand new Attorney General Janet Reno demand resignations from all 93 U.S. attorneys on March 24, 1993? Wouldn’t that fact be relevant to the story? Wouldn’t it have the effect of lessening the oh-my-God hyperbole on the front page if the reader was shown that what Bush did was one-tenth as dramatic as what Team Clinton did? Yes, and yes.
Be on the watch for the spin. The Georgia State Supreme Court will be deciding an issue that has been bouncing around the courts since 2005. At stake is the state's attempt to reduce election fraud by requiring that all voters show a government sanctioned picture ID in order to vote.
Seems simple, right? Wrong.
The typical detractors, the ones who usually cry voter fraud whenever their favorite pet candidates lose at the polls, are the same groups that are upset over the ID requirement! They argue that the ID requirement is a poll tax that disenfranchises poor people by requiring that they pay to vote. The illogic being applied here is that ids cost money and that poor people are being disenfranchised because they can't afford the expense.
Here is an example of how the issue has been twisted by your typical activists in the mainstream media:
Unbelievably, disgraced newsreader, Dan Rather, claimed at a recent festival that American journalism "has in some ways lost its guts" and that the MSM has "adopted the go-along-to-get-along (attitude)."
As reported by CNETNews.com, Rather was a keynote speaker at the South by Southwest Interactive festival this past weekend where he gave a 2 hour talk on the shape of journalism and the Internet.
One has to wonder to which "gutless" American media he is referring? Is it the same media that was so weak-kneed as to leak damaging national security information, the same media that just "goes along" to undermine the war effort at every opportunity? Is it the same one that goes out of its way to malign the US and Israeli governments? It is that MSM Rather imagines has somehow gone soft?
The AP is protesting a decision made by U.S. Military officials in Afghanistan claiming an oppression of a free press and saying there was "not a reasonable justification" for erasing an AP photographer's pictures taken of the aftermath of a suicide bombing in Barikaw, Afghanistan. The decision protested by the AP was made March 4th by officers on the scene of a bombing that killed 8 Afghans, wounding 34. But, is the AP correct that this was somehow an outrage against a free press?
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The U.S. military asserted that an American soldier was justified in erasing journalists' footage of the aftermath of a suicide bombing and shooting in Afghanistan last week, saying publication could have compromised a military investigation and led to false public conclusions.
With the recent announcement by CBS that they have made ex-Clinton friend Rick Kaplan the new Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News, it was eyebrow raising that another fawning pal has suddenly been ensconced in a "new" position at an American news service.
This USA Today piece from Wednesday is a pretty important one. That's because it showcases so much of what is wrong with the FORMERLY Mainstream Media, and why the uppercase letters in FORMERLY will almost undoubtedly become larger in the coming years.
You see, many, if not more, reporters in the FORMERLY Mainstream Media don't seem to want to do their basic jobs any more. Their main tasks should be to:
First, objectively decide what is worthy of coverage.
Second, go and observe what happens, and where needed, ask questions about what's happening (the old who, what, where, when why).
Third, take thorough notes of what you have found, observed, and discussed.
Finally, tell your audience what happened in a complete, accurate, thorough, and yet engaging manner.
Anyone who thinks that the above four tasks are "easy" probably isn't doing the job well.
Even though doing the job a reporter should be doing is anything but easy, it would appears that it's too boring. Today's reporters want the excitement of being "advocates":