On a long drive home from a Indianapolis this weekend, I had the dubious pleasure of listening to a CBS news break at the top of the hour on a talk station and in one of their reports on Saturday's anti-War protests the verbiage used to report the gatherings was so slanted that it was startling and was so obviously intended to make it seem much greater than it really was that it wasn't even funny.
Reporter Jim Taylor started his report saying "A nation says no to war ..." as an introduction to the story of the goings on in Washington.
A "nation" says no? A few protests equates the the whole nation, CBS?
Another classic contrast in media bias is emerging with Saturday’s "anti-war" march on Washington, just six days after the annual March for Life. Already, the Washington Post is showing more love in column inches for the left-wing protest. The Post had no article previewing the pro-life march, but on the front page of Thursday’s Post, in a box promoting its "Faces of the Fallen" pages of the war dead, a promotional blurb:
Actors, Other Activists Plan Mall War Protest
Jane Fonda and Susan Sarandon are expected for Saturday’s anti-war rally and March Metro
The article was inside the Metro section, on page B-6. Reporter Michael Ruane’s story was headlined "Large Rally Planned Saturday on Mall: Organizes Oppose Increase in Troops and Plan to Seek Withdrawal Deadline." That’s a little bland for the hard left, especially when UFPJ’s attitude toward the troops is advertised with their website headline "‘We Have A Haditha Every Day’ -- TAKE ACTION!"
When does a protest that includes a total of approximately 45 people spread over 3 US cities merit national media coverage? When the protest is anti-American and pro-terrorist. That was the case of the “emergency” protests sponsored by Ramsey Clark’s International Action Center decrying the execution of Saddam Hussein. According to the AP, the protests were “small rallies” with “a few dozen activists” in Times Square, 15 “anti-war demonstrators” in Detroit and “five protesters” in Boston. Given the media’s penchant for inflating the attendance at any anti-American event, the number 45 is probably too generous.
Yet Another Poser (Mostly) Gets Through the Media 'Filter'
Yesterday, in his story about Rosemarie Jackowski, the "new folk hero" of the antiwar movement, John Curran of the Associated Press quoted a gentlemen who was arrested with Jackowski in a 2003 protest incident in Vermont:
She's not a loony toon by any means," said Andrew Schoerke, 73, a retired U.S. Navy captain who was arrested with her. "She's a very down to earth, sensible, caring person with some very strong convictions."
But what about her "character witness," Mr. Schoerke?
I did a Google Main search on his name in quotes last night. At the time, the very first item (it has moved down since) was A May 19 column by Mr. Schoerke, "Stop Bush's Next War", which he believes to be Iran, and where he is described as follows -- "Andrew Schoerke, United States Naval Reserve Captain (ret.), lives in Shaftsbury, VT and is a member of vermontpeacetrain." At the very least, he's not just another "unlikely peace activist," as Jackowski is described in the headline.
Vermont Peace Train of Bennington is "a 'grassroots' organization formed by residents of Southwest Vermont in order to promote and practicethe non-violent resolution of conflicts." That's career peace activist-speak.
So that made me wonder if Schoerke has been arrested on other occasions. Googling "ex-Navy officer arrested" (not entered in quotes) -- Surprise, surprise (not), at the very first item, this guy's in the "big leagues":
Did you know that Americans don't want to "live next door to a Muslim", or that Americans want all Muslims to "carry special identification", or that it is but "Ignorance" that is seen as a "Key Problem" to these foolish American's "hatred" and misperceptions?
Reuters knew, if you didn't. And they are happy to let us all know about it, too.
It all stems from a Radio host misusing his audience to make a point that Americans are no different than the Germans who turned a blind eye to Hitler's "Final Solution" against Jews during WWII.
The six Imams removed from the US Airways flight last week after invoking Allah, carrying one way tickets with no baggage and voicing anti-American sentiments held their pray in protest at Reagan Washington National Airport. Reading the reports in the media, you would think that this was a group of clergy members simply expressing their religious freedom.
On Monday, Shahin and a handful of other Muslims bowed down on rugs and prayed in Terminal A near the US Airways ticket counter. Jewish and Christian clergy also said prayers.
A man poured gasoline on himself on November 3rd and on the side of the road on Chicago's Kennedy Expressway he lit himself on fire. It caused a traffic jam, but little else. In fact, no one even knew who the suicide was for several days until a friend of his got a letter sent him by the dead man just before his final day.
And still, few cared.
It turns out this was supposed to be some kind of anti-war statement akin to a Buddhist monk's self-immolation in Saigon during Vietnam. Sadly, this protester didn't seem to know that statements don't mean very much unless someone actually hears them.
The man, an activist named Mark David "Malachi" Ritscher, left a rambling manifesto-like web page purportedly explaining his actions that does little but show his rather unbalanced mental state. As Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper put it, the web message "comes across as intelligent, passionate, bitter, angry, disoriented -- and disturbed".
The network morning shows noticed Indonesian Muslims protesting President Bush, but sadly, once again, they tended to sanitize out the extremists. In this case, protest leaders called for the execution of Bush, but the networks mostly offered Americans quotes from protesters saying they loved America, just hated the president. They left out what Agence France-Presse reported: a protest leader declared through a loudspeaker: "Kill him, kill him...the blood of George Bush is halal," meaning it was not a sin under Islam to kill him. "Not only is it halal, it is obligatory to kill him."
The networks seem to want the American audience to bite on the Democratic line that conservative policies make us unpopular around the world, when people would be much more agreeable under the sorry-we-didn’t-mean-to-be-a-superpower poses of a Gore, Kerry, or Hillary Clinton. Showing protesters who want to execute our president tend to ruin the line of the day. On NBC’s Today on Monday, Matt Lauer led off the show with a plug for their "Hello, Go Home" segment on Bush's visit. MRC’s Justin McCarthy found reporter Kelly O’Donnell’s selected protesters who stressed their love for America, and their hatred for Bush:
A group of active duty soldiers, called a "grassroots group" by some in the media, is speaking out against the war in Iraq and calling on Congress to bring the troops home. Fine with me - they have every right to speak their mind (I know nothing about the military rules - I'm speaking in the realm of First Amendment rights). Having the freedom to speak out is one of the great benefits of living in the United States of America.
BUT it is disconcerting and disingenuous to report this group as a simple grassroots group trying to get their voices heard. The "Appeal for Redress" group is sponsored by three of the most virulent anti-war groups that use their "desire for peace" as a cover for their blatant anti-Americanism. You've heard of these groups - Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Whenever you see Cindy Sheehan or any of her comrades, you will see members of these organizations. VFP and IVAW members include several deserters, conscientious objectors and some "soldiers" that turned out to not be what they portrayed. Some members claim to have witnessed war crimes including the wholesale slaughter of innocent Iraqi women and children. Some members traveled to Venezuela with CodePink to pay homage to Chavez. Some have testified at "global" forums against America, the terrorist state.
Cindy Sheehan became an instant liberal-media celebrity when she held a vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas and demanded to meet with him (a second time) over the death of her son Casey in Iraq. But is the liberal media only about creating the legend and leaving the negative details out? MRC's Justin McCarthy reported that on Wednesday's "Fox and Friends," Melanie Morgan and Catherine Moy, authors of the book American Mourning, said they found Sheehan was paid by John Kerry's campaign in 2004 to speak out against President Bush. Said Morgan:
"We have Federal Election Commission documents. I mean we went to an extensive research, we followed the money, that's how you always figure out what's going on...We found that John Kerry and Michael Moore personally recruited Gold Star family members just within days and sometimes even at the funerals of their sons to come and work for the campaign in order to undermine the candidacy of George W. Bush at the time. It was shocking and, and really offensive behavior and that's exactly what happened to Cindy Sheehan who we tracked down. She went on the payroll of John Kerry's campaign within days after her son's death as well as her daughter Carly. Ultimately, there was a split between the two because she felt that John Kerry wasn't radical enough and didn't have an anti-war agenda that matched hers."
The networks were exquisitely attuned this spring to the unheard voices of illegal aliens "emerging from the shadows" to protest and demand their "rights." But what about the unheard voices of opponents of illegal immigration? On the evening of Wednesday, October 4, a speech at Columbia University in New York City by Jim Gilchrist of the anti-illegal immigration group the Minutemen was squelched by leftist protesters chanting "Minutemen, Nazis, KKK ... racist fascists go away."
Network coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC? In case you hadn't guessed, zero. ABC had a story on a Columbia, Missouri woman donating breast milk to South African orphans. CBS had a story on celiac disease (poor tolerance of glutens) with a Columbia University expert. NBC reported Columbia University professor Edmund Phelps won the Nobel Prize for economics. But nothing on this free speech-trampling event just a few miles from their New York studios. On October 5, the one CNN story was narrated with commentary by Lou Dobbs on his program:
So much for strength (or newsworthiness) in numbers. Inside Wednesday's Washington Post, reporter Michelle Boorstein covered a tiny protest inside the Hart Senate Office Building yesterday, where 35 were arrested. Last week, as many as 35,000 people protested in New York in support of Israel and against Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, featuring speakers like U.S. Ambassador John Bolton and Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel -- which the Post ignored.
The Boorstein article, complete with cover photo of a protester being removed in handcuffs, was strategically placed on A-14, just above the continuation of a heartbreaking article on the first female West Point graduate, a local woman, being killed in Iraq -- also accompanied by a color photo, of the burial. Boorstein reported on the Hart building protest in a typical way, where no one in attendance was the slightest bit liberal: "Dozens of police streamed into the atrium and arrested about 35 people, including Rick Ufford-Chase, who until recently was a top official of the Presbyterian Church (USA)."
On ABC's Good Morning America Thursday, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez's wild remarks at the U.N. about Bush being "the devil" were greeted as an opportunity to humanize Chavez. Reporter Kate Snow reported while he was "applauded for his tirade," he is a "cult hero" who "rarely sleeps, chugs 20 cups of coffee a day, and has a soft spot for Frank Sinatra." While co-host Diane Sawyer expressed concern for how "dangerous" Chavez was, her guest, Washington Post reporter Robin Wright, mostly described him non-ideologically as the "a new kind of leadership" and a "different face for Latin America." As they discussed Chavez and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Sawyer wondered: "Should we be weaning ourselves from that oil?"
If 35,000 people were to show up and rally against a speech President Bush right across the street from him, that would surely be news. Thousands of people, led by a few political figures such as Jesse Jackson, Noam Chomsky, and others protesting a world leader they consider to be a threat should be news if only because of the proximity.
Change the scenario to include thousands of demonstrators against Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, though, and you see another perfect portrait of media bias according to Meryl Yourish (h/t Instapundit):
Can you find a news source for the rally against Ahmadinejad at the
UN yesterday? Correction: Can you find a non-Jewish media source, or a
non-blogger source, for the rally?
In the course of the last few weeks Keith Olbermann's "Special Comments" have become a Countdown staple in which the host plays to his Daily Kos demographic with vitriolic condemnations of all things Bush. I thought Olbermann had reached the nec plus ultra of nastiness with his suggestion a couple weeks ago that the Bush administration represented "a new type of fascism." I might have been wrong. MRC's Brad Wilmouth has comprehensively documented Keith Olbermann's 'Special Comment' of last night. In the course of those comments, Olbermann chose to invoke, of all things, the people's right to overthrow a tyrannical government.
To hear the establishment media tell it, the American public is unanimously against U.S. troops being in Iraq and the war against terror. We hear about every ragtag, fly-by-night anti-war group’s activities, no matter how small the turnout or ineffectual the impact.
Conversely, three Conservative activist groups unite to announce that they’ll converge on Washington, D.C., Sept. 22-23 to show their support for the war in Iraq and the soldiers fighting it, and it’s virtually impossible to find media coverage of the event.
In her Today show debut this morning, Meredith Vieira gave a flash of her ego - but not of her liberal politics. There was the obligatory opening love-in with co-host Matt Lauer in which Vieira claimed "I feel like it's the first day of school and I'm sitting next to the cutest guy." But then there was an interesting exchange that might presage conflicts to come. In what is apparently a Today show tradition, Matt had the crew replay the opening voice-over announcing "Meredith Vieira, live from Studio 1-A in Rockefeller Plaza."
Asked Matt: "Like the way it sounds?"
Vieira: "I do, but it's still 'Matt Lauer' and 'Meredith Vieira.'"
Lauer: "I don't think that's going to change - unless you bump me off."
Attendance at Thursday's pro-illegal alien rally fell way below even the latest low-balling protest organizer estimates. In Friday's Washington Post, reporters Darryl Fears and N.C. Aizenman estimated that "fewer than 5,000" attended the festivities yesterday. The first paragraph was a stunner:
A pro-immigration rally that promised to bring tens of thousands of marchers from across the nation to Washington yesterday managed to draw only a paltry number of demonstrators, raising questions about the movement's tactics and staying power.
Early reports on Thursday's planned Washington march for amnesty for illegal aliens said a million protesters were expected. At the top of the Metro section of Thursday's Washington Post, we learn lowering expectations is under way -- well, not at the top of the story, but in paragraph eighteen: "Organizers initially predicted a turnout of 1 million, but they now are projecting a crowd similar to the one at a rally on the National Mall on April 10. A police official estimated that the demonstration drew at least 100,000 people; organizers pegged attendance about 500,000."
The story's headline is "Rally May Gauge Future of Immigration Movement." The headline inside Metro after the jump is "Non-Latinos Taped To Bring New Energy And Serve As Allies." Neither headline says "Protest Leader Estimates of Attendance Collapsing." Despite the note of disappointing turnout, the Post is still giving prominent pre-protest publicity to what they call the "immigrant rights" movement, as reporters Darryl Fears and Karin Brulliard began the Thursday story:
Washington Post reporter Petula Dvorak (controversial chronicler of supposed rookie protesters) wrote up the beginning of hard-left protests dubbed "Camp Democracy" on Page A-5 Wednesday, even though Dvorak estimated the crowd at only "about 100" military family members and "peace activists." Perhaps the hype comes from its affiliation with Cindy Sheehan’s "Camp Casey" protests against Bush, but Sheehan was not present yesterday. The headline was "Antiwar Message Travels From Texas to Washington." (The story and accompanying photo also topped the Post home page on Tuesday night.)
CNSNews.com reporter Nathan Burchfiel also observed the protests yesterday, and found nowhere near 100 protesters there: "A few dozen anti-war activists faced light rain in Washington, D.C., Tuesday as they gathered to kick off a 17-day protest of the war in Iraq and other Bush administration policies...The opening ceremonies drew fewer than 50 protesters, who gathered under one of five large tents erected to protect a crowd of hundreds from the rain, which is forecast to continue for the first three days of the event."
Don't be too surprised if you start seeing Guy Fawkes masks popping up at leftist demonstrations and political events in the near future. The reason is that the leftists are now deriving their political inspiration from an incredibly simplistic fantasy movie called V For Vendetta which they take completely seriously as is indicated from this title of a recent thread at the Democratic Underground, "The answers to many of our questions can be found in the movie 'V'."
If you are not up to speed on V For Vendetta akaV For Vicodin,it is set in the near future where Britain is ruled by the fascistic regime of High Chancellor Adam Sutler (read "Adolf Hitler") whom the movie makes sure we know is a member of the Conservative Party. The characters of V have the one-dimensional subtlety of a sledge hammer with Sutler never speaking normally but with a vicious snarl. Muslims are portrayed in this movie as among the innocent victims of a hate campaign (also directed against lesbians) where even the ownership of a Koran results in quick execution by the EVIL regime.
Have you heard about the young Muslim man who was forced to change his shirt at JFK Airport because it said "We Will Not Be Silent" in English and Arabic? Here's a piece of the story from Newsday...
An Arab human rights activist says he was prevented from boarding a plane at Kennedy Airport while wearing a T-shirt that said "We will not be silent" in English and Arabic. The incident happened Aug. 12 when Raed Jarrar, 28, was preparing to board a JetBlue flight from Kennedy to Oakland, Calif. Four officials from JetBlue or from a government agency stopped him at the gate and told him he couldn't get on the plane wearing his shirt, Jarrar said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Cindy Sheehan’s latest Washington, D.C. protest is being sponsored by the International Socialist Organization. In "Camp Democracy," Sept. 5-21, Sheehan will broaden her scope from mere anti-war activism to advocating on behalf of other "progressive" movement causes like immigrants’ rights and organized labor, reports CNSNews.com Staff Writer Nathan Burchfiel:
After wrapping up the second annual "Camp Casey" protest in Crawford, Texas, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan will travel to Washington, D.C., to kick off a 17-day protest and conference aimed at ending the war and "righting injustices."
Washington Post reporter Peter Baker highlighted an estimated 700 anti-Bush protesters in Maine in the Sunday Post. The headline was "War Protesters Follow Bush to Maine," which is an odd headline, since the organizing groups were Maine locals from groups like "Seacoast Peace Response." But short of reporting the protest was encouraged by Cindy Sheehan, nowhere in the article could he locate the protesters on the left with any sort of liberal label, despite descriptions like these:
The protesters carried handmade signs with slogans such as "Stop Killing Our Children," "Bring Them Home Now," "We Have Nothing to Fear But Bush Himself," and "Liar, Liar, World's on Fire." In a school field where the group rallied after the march, speakers called for Bush's impeachment and sang specially written songs such as "Where is the Rage?"
Over the last five years, the resurgent radical left has found empowerment in the Democratic Party through what the political scribes antiseptically call the "Internet grass roots." When hawkish Sen. Joe Lieberman lost by four points in the Democratic primary in Connecticut to ultraliberal millionaire Ned Lamont, the media credited this hard left with the upset. In truth, however, the liberal media themselves were a major part of the equation.
"Thousands of people rallied near the White House on Saturday to protest what they described as Israeli aggression in Lebanon and the United States' unwavering support for Israel."
It may not be his normal beat, but Pear proves he has what it takes to cover political stories for the Times -- an apparent deep need to portray any group of Muslims, whether terrorist suspects or anti-war activists, as "diverse": "The diverse crowd included many Arab-Americans and Muslims, college students and families, as well as veterans of prior demonstrations against the war in Iraq."
So, Cindy Sheehan is back in Crawford, and the Associated Press is continuing to act as her publicity agents. They still haven't shown any inclination to address any comments of hers that might be controversial. They still treat her as the grieving mother of a marine, rather than a leftist peace activist.
A year after her first war protest in President Bush's adopted hometown attracted thousands and reinvigorated the nation's peace movement, Cindy Sheehan resumed her vigil Sunday....
"It doesn't say my new address, but I do live here now," said Sheehan, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., and recently bought land in Crawford for war protests. "My name is Cindy and Bush killed my son."
By 6:00 o’clock on Monday evening, an entertainingly motley crew of a hundred or so protestors had gathered across the street from New York Times headquarters at W. 43rd street in midtown Manhattan to protest the New York Times’ revelations of a secret, and successful, anti-terror program involving international bank transactions.
The stated goal of protest cosponsors Caucus for America/conservative message board Free Republic, according to a flier: "To show the New York Times that America has had enough of their irresponsible reporting of classified information that damages our country and helps our enemies!"
Rabbi Aryeh Spero of the Caucus for America did most of the talking (and chant-leading), stepping aside from time to time for others to speak. At one point he was joined on the cab of the Caucus truck by a Bin Laden impersonator cradling his precious copy of the Times.
Does Norah read NewsBusters? Could it be pure coincidence that Hardball's 'What'd You Say?' audio highlights of the week just happened to select the two items we had highlighted here and here? Who knows?
For the record, the two featured soundbites were Joe Biden's
Indian-7/11 slur, and Cindy Sheehan's pronouncement that she would
rather live under Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez than George Bush.
Panelist Tucker Carlson had the best line: "[Sheehan's] a
pathetic figure. It would be a hard moral call whether or not to have
her on. She's almost like a sideshow figure now." Too true.