In an effort to continue the ongoing cover-up that the NYT admits the Clinton Justice Department (via Janet Reno) was responsible for, the results of the anticipated Barrett Report by an independent council David Barrett released this week are presented in a biased manner (just look at that headline) that differs from the paper’s overblown coverage of Tom DeLay’s laughable indictments by Ronnie Earl. Here are some background explanations by other media outlets and pundits besides the NYT.
There were no Democrats involved with the Abramoff probe? After reading the latest online NYT assesment of the facts, you'd think that.
Ladies and Gentlemen - we have entered the twilight zone. In their ongoing efforts to obscure the depth and bipartisan nature of the congressional corruption scandal, the New York Times shows itself to be little more than a public relations organ of the Democrat Party. Committing the sin of omission once again, a piece on the Abramoff probe by Anne Kornblut neglects to implicate any Democrats in the scandal, instead focusing on slicing and dicing Bob Ney. The Grey Lady accomplishes this by dumping every allegation made in Abramoff's plea agreement all over the pages, mixed with the filtered responses of anyone who might support him (including his lawyer, who is quoted once with two sentences).
While the liberal media laud John Murtha so vigorously that their hearts almost glow out of their chests like E.T., some reporters have looked back to the larger career of John Murtha. At CNSNews.com (the online news outfit of the MRC), reporters Randy Hall and Marc Morano are relaying new information about Murtha's role in the FBI's Abscam sting -- the big scandal that forgetful reporters now say was the last big congressional scandal before Jack Abramoff's plea bargains.
Members of the press have given extensive and glowing coverage to Rep. John Murtha's criticism of the war in Iraq, but have overlooked a number of other controversies the Pennsylvania Democrat has experienced over the past 25 years. This includes his reported role as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Abscam bribery scandal of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
As has been widely reported by NewsBusters, the media have been actively misrepresenting the burgeoning Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal as being exclusively a Republican problem. Today, Jim Abrams of the Associated Press logged a report dealing with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) assertions Thursday that Republicans have created "one of the most closed, corrupt congresses in history." Yet, in a ten-paragraph article, Abrams devoted six of them to Democratic ties to Abramoff, as well as Republican efforts to craft new legislation dealing with the problem.
Certainly, one has to get past the headline – “Pelosi Wants Probe of 'Corrupt Congress'” – as well as the sub-headline – “House Democratic Leader Pelosi Urges Investigation of Republicans Linked to Lobbyist Abramoff” – and the lede – “House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said Republicans had created 'one of the most closed, corrupt congresses in history' and urged the House ethics committee to investigate GOP lawmakers linked to lobbyist Jack Abramoff " – to find the balance. Yet, once there, the reader is treated to a side of this story that few in the mainstream media dare to disseminate:
A piece by Neil Lewis in today's Grey Lady has a curious pseudo-profile of some of the prosecutors (led by head prosecutor Noel Hillman) who cut the plea bargains and deals in the Abramoff case. Members of the Department of Justice's Office of Public Integrity are highlighted in the piece. It begins with a somewhat misleading lede, which is an indication of the cloudiness to come:
"The plea agreement from the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, which has the potential for a multitude of legal troubles for Congressional Republicans, has been largely the work of a team of career prosecutors in the Justice Department led by an avid surfer and early Bruce Springsteen fan from New Jersey."
You can just feel the media’s euphoria over lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleading guilty to fleecing clients and throwing goodies at legislators. Overnight, Rush Limbaugh could play an audio montage of various anchors and pundits proclaiming it was the biggest scandal to hit Washington in decades. Everywhere you turned, it was “huge,” of “historic proportions.” Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz called it “potentially delicious.” The joy was reminiscent of old Post editor Ben Bradlee’s line about Iran-Contra: “We haven’t had this much fun since Watergate.”
This scandal is big – no questions about that. But by what measure is this story so huge and historic? How does it compare to the House Bank scandal of 1992, which resulted in a number of congressional careers ended? How does Abramoff compare to the related mess at the House Post Office, which led to the eventual conviction of House Ways and Means chairman Dan Rostenkowski?
ABC led Tuesday’s World News Tonight by touting an “exclusive” story from Brian Ross -- an interview with one of the sources for the December 16 New York Times story which disclosed an ongoing secret operation to monitor communication by people inside the U.S. with terror suspect abroad. "Tonight, the whistleblower who spent decades spying for the U.S.," co-anchor Bob Woodruff teased before co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas joined in with an ominous-sounding warning: "He says millions of American may have been monitored illegally. An ABC News ‘Exclusive.'" Three times ABC championed the man as a “whistleblower,” never once suggesting less pure motives, and Ross didn’t raise any questions about damage the leak may have caused.
Woodruff announced: “Targeted by the probe,” of who leaked the secret knowledge, “is a former NSA official who now wants to tell Congress exactly what he knows about the surveillance program.” Ross identified him as Russ Tice and relayed how "Tice now says some of those secret black world programs run by the NSA were operated in ways that violated the law." Ross also passed along how “Tice told ABC News he was one of the Times' dozen anonymous sources" for the “story of the NSA eavesdropping without warrants.” But instead of showing any concern for the disregard of secrecy, as the two sat in an eerily dark setting, Ross empathized with Tice’s plight: "Are you concerned you could be prosecuted and sent to prison for talking to the New York Times and talking to us today?" Not until the very end of the story did Ross note how "Tice lost his job last May after the NSA revoked his security clearances citing psychological concerns.” So, he may just be a disgruntled ex-employee with an axe to grind, not a heroic “whistleblower.” (Transcript follows.)
UPDATE, 1:45am EST Wednesday: Cynthia McFadden introduced the Nightline version of the Ross story by hailing Tice’s “candor,” as she fretted about how he “may now face a government investigation” because of it. In the slightly longer piece, Tice insisted he did not divulge any classified information to the New York Times and Ross noted how Tice reported that intercepting al Qaeda communication has been “a huge success,” so he pressed Tice about “what’s wrong with” the effort to listen in when it could “stop terror attacks?” (Details below.)
NBC’s Tim Russert invited the New York Times reporter who broke the NSA eavesdropping story three weeks ago onto “Meet the Press” this morning. Despite the obvious controversial nature of the guest and the subject matter, Russert asked no truly compelling or interrogative questions of James Risen, and, as a result, produced an interview that not only didn’t challenge Risen about the fortuitous timing of the article’s release, but also offered the viewer no new information concerning this matter.
For instance, Russert chose to ask Risen:
MR. RUSSERT: Amid much speculation as to why the The New York Times held this story, you had written it, you had finished it, you knew it was—what reflected what your reporting had shown. It may have played a role in the election of 2004 if it had been published in October. Why was it held?
However, here’s a list of potentially more provocative and important questions that Russert chose not to ask his controversial guest:
It's always curious when liberal-media types start hailing the brilliance of conservatives when their arguments line up with liberal wishes. Since the Jack Abramoff plea, both Newt Gingrich and National Review Online have suggested it would be nice for House Republicans to find a Majority Leader with a more reformist image. To MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, these people are suddenly brilliant and impressive, as he declared in a "Today" pundit segment on Friday. MRC's Scott Whitlock took it down yesterday.
"Well, Newt Gingrich isn't, maybe, the most popular guy in the country. But he is ruthlessly brilliant. And he knows that this is the time to nail this guy. And he's going out and said, let's get rid of Delay, now. And you've got the National Review, the historically conservative, very impressive magazine all these years for the conservative movement, started by Bill Buckley. That's come out now and called for him to get out of the way. I think the big casualty here, to the delight of the liberals and chagrin of the people who helped build the Republican majorities, Tom Delay looks like victim number one here. I'm not sure the party's going to be the victim by next November. Because one of the great ironies of politics is that when you get the body out of the way, the party that suffered the loss doesn't seem to look so bad."
Today's Washington Post Style section offers a pile of articles worthy of comment. First, Post fashion critic Robin Givhan saddled up for another politicized fashion critique, trashing the fashions of slimy GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Less predictable than Givhan trashing Abramoff (in betting terms, that article was a drop-dead lock) is Tom Shales going postal on NBC's desperate-Episcopal drama "Book of Daniel." His headline calls it "A Mean-Spirited, Unholy Mess."
In short, he concluded: "I cannot recall a series in which a greater number of characters seemed so desperately detestable -- a series with a larger population of loathsome dolts. There ought to be a worse punishment than cancellation for a show that tries this hard to be offensive and, even at that crass task, manages to fail."
Laura Ingraham's radio show started today (she's back from Brazil) with this media bias nugget: while The Washington Post carries as its front page Abramoff headline "Bush To Give Up $6,000 In Abramoff Contributions," paragraph 17 of Jonathan Weisman's story (well inside the paper Post and on page 2 of the online version) carries the better man-bites-dog angle of this story:
All but three of the 24 politicians giving up the funds are Republicans. The three Democrats -- Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Byron L. Dorgan (N.D.) -- have pledged to shed a total of $97,000 in contributions. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Reid has no intention of shedding the $47,000 he has received from Abramoff's lobbying team and tribal clients.
ABC's Terry Moran, a new Nightline co-host who was until recently a dogged attack-questioner of the Bush White House -- and of course, an even more recent attack-questioner of Dick Cheney -- sent a very sensible note to the new World News Tonight blog about the Jack Abramoff scandal and how lobbying has grown because the size of government has grown. Now let's see if he sounds like this on Nightline:
The real reason there's so much power for sale in Washington is that there's so much power in Washington. The British newspaper The Independent said today that President Woodrow Wilson could not have imagined today's $4 billion lobbying industry. They are quite right -- but Mr. Wilson could hardly have imagined today's $1 trillion-plus federal government, whose powers reach into every nook and cranny of American life. When the federal government can influence what happens in your business or your backyard or your bedroom -- you are quite properly going to want to influence it right back. That's not corruption; that's self-government. And while it would be swell if that dialogue happened in a pristine, college-seminar-style setting -- or maybe a private club -- free of the grubbiness of real-world interests, it doesn't. This, after all, is America. And we grub.
Before introducing his guest Byron York, Matthews gave the following segue:
Now The National Review, one of the staunchest defenders, a big conservative magazine has said Delay must go.
The above statement was followed with "we're joined right now by Byron York of The National Review and Katrina Vanden Heuvel of The Nation." There was no mention that The Nation is a liberal magazine or that Katrina Vanden Heuvel is a staunch liberal.
York was asked the first question about the recent scandal involving former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and was hurried and cut off to give his answer. When Vanden Heuvel was asked a similar question, she was given all the time to answer it with a liberal spin. In fact, she praised Sen. Russ Feingold (D) for having "one of the best lobbying and ethics reforms plans". Not so quick, Katrina. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is reporting that Sen. Feingold has received at least $1,250 from Abramoff or his associates. I guess the saying is right, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Of course host Chris Matthews didn't question her, in fact he just completely changed the subject.
Just in case you won’t see these in the Associated Press, the Washington Post or the New York Times, here are two useful tools for use when wading through the Jack Abramoff trial stories.
The first is a list supplied by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called “Democrats Don’t Know Jack???” It lists the forty of forty-five Senate Democrats who’ve accepted cash from Abramoff and/or his clients.
40 Of The 45 Members Of The Senate Democrat Caucus:
Ever since George W. Bush was elected in 2000, the left-wing media have developed a taste to expose episodes of media corruption. No, not their corruption. Conservative media corruption.
The liberal media made loud grunts and noises over columnist Armstrong Williams, who didn’t tell readers of his column that he had a public-relations contract with the Department of Education to sell the “No Child Left Behind” legislation. If a columnist is working for a government program or entity, it’s always best to disclose to readers your involvement, so they can judge your point of view more fully.
The latest example arrived with columnist Doug Bandow’s inexcusable back-door acceptance of cash from Jack Abramoff for columns promoting his clients’ interests. Williams and Bandow both could argue they were only promoting conservative causes they would support anyway. But the exposures of what they wouldn’t disclose had the opposite effect. It emits the odor of corruption. It made them look like they were primarily advancing conservative issues through columns because there was personal profit involved.
National Public Radio released a poll recently with some rather startling results that the media are likely not going to share with the public. After months of focusing America’s attention on “scandals” surrounding Valerie Plame, I. Lewis Libby, Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, and Bill Frist, the nation’s mainstream press outlets must have been very disappointed to see the following numbers concerning the citizenry’s view of politics and ethics. The pollsters asked 800 Americans the following question:
"Now I would like to read you a list of issues and for each one please tell me whether you think George W. Bush or the Democratic Party would do a better job handling that particular issue. Improving ethics in Washington, D.C."
The results? 43 percent answered “George W. Bush,” while 41 percent said “the Democratic Party.”
In an appearance on MSNBC today just after 1 PM Eastern time, Chris Matthews didn't accuse Jack Abramoff of being in the "Republican culture of corruption", but still uses the term:
MATTHEWS: He's cut a deal. The deal means he has to talk and that means if he's plead guilty to bribery that means he's bribed people. (Editor's Note: Thanks Chris for telling us the meaning of bribery) That means he's going to tell people who he bribed and that could be a half-dozen Congressman, it could be more, we've seen reports of more than 20 people involved here, including staffers. Mostly Republicans, not all Republicans who've figured in this story so far. I think it's going to be a big, sleezy story. I'm not sure it's partisan. I'm not sure people are going to see him as part of any Republican culture of corruption.
Matthews then went on to describe Abramoff's looks -- which was kind of scary -- and called him "Satan."
Today's New York Times report of the Jack Abramoff plea agreement is headlined: GOP Lobbyist to Plead Guilty In Deal With Prosecutors. The Times story twice refers to Abramoff as a "Republican" lobbyist and, off course, it brings in Rep. Tom DeLay. The story never mentions the word "Democrat” or names any of the Democrats who received money from Abramoff's lobbying firm
Abramoff didn't work just with Republicans. He oversaw a team of two dozen lobbyists at the law firm Greenberg Traurig that included many Democrats. Moreover, the campaign contributions that Abramoff directed from the tribes went to Democratic as well as Republican legislators.
Today's chat on WashingtonPost.com with Post media writer/CNN host Howard Kurtz began with a burst of hyperbole:
New York, N.Y.: Howard, In the early going, can you predict how big a story Jack Abramoff's guilty plea will be in the coming weeks and months?
Howard Kurtz: Big. Huge. Very large. A story of historic proportions. It may take awhile, but when information starts to dribble out, as it inevitably will, about what Abramoff is telling prosecutors about his dealings with some members of Congress and their aides, we will have an important and potentially delicious case study of corrupt Washington lobbying.
It’s been more than two weeks since the New York Times broke the National Security Agency eavesdropping story, and despite a media barrage on this subject, it appears the nation doesn’t feel the Bush administration is doing anything wrong. A survey released by Rasmussen Reports last week identified:
“Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree.”
Despite the media’s efforts to paint a picture that this program is something newly hatched by the current administration, Americans aren’t buying it:
Katie Couric's just-completed interview with NY Times Reporter James Risen, who broke the NSA surveillance story and is now publishing his book on the matter, 'State of War,' offered a window on the MSM view of the matter. For her questioning of Risen, give a gentlelady's 'C' to Couric, who earned the bulk of her grade by asking:
"Did [the leakers] have any sympathy or understanding about this new climate this country finds itself in and the criticism the Bush administration took prior to 9/11 for not putting the pieces together and figuring out that a terrorist attack was imminent? In other words, did they acknowledge that tough times may call for tough measures?"
The New York Times syndicated cancer has an editorial about the NSA spy story that hit some newspapers today. This time they have outsourced the dishonesty to James Bamford, author of The Puzzle Palace, a 23 year old book on the NSA.
For the agency to snoop domestically on American citizens suspected of having terrorist ties, it first must to go to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA, make a showing of probable cause that the target is linked to a terrorist group, and obtain a warrant.
As we all now know, that is flat out untrue. But who even said the calls intercepted were American citizens? This NSA program looks at calls to terror states or terrorist suspects. How does Mr. Bamford and the NYT know the person placing that call is a US citizen rather than a visitor from abroad?
Imagine you're a guest on the Today show on New Year's Day, and the host asks you to predict the top stories for the year to come.
What are the odds you choose as your two top stories for 2006: job-loss anxiety among white-collar workers, and white-collar crime?
Yet that is precisely what Marcus Mabry, Newsweek's Chief of Correspondents [pictured here], did in his just-completed interview with host Lester Holt.
While acknowledging that the economy is showing signs of strength, Mabry led with unemployment anxiety among white-collar workers as his #1 story for the year to come. He insisted that:
"the confidence of the American worker is at its lowest point in a very long time, particularly white-collar workers. We see anxiety we have not seen since the days of the dot.com bust. What you see is many Americans filled with job insecurity, who are worried about whether they're going to have a job a year from now. We see greater insecurity than in decades."
Without identifying David Cole as the “legal affairs correspondent” for the far-left magazine The Nation, Friday’s World News Tonight on ABC featured his denigration of the probe into who leaked the secret eavesdropping story to the New York Times and his expert declaration that “the President of the United States violated a clear criminal prohibition on warrantless wiretapping.” Reporter Pierre Thomas described Cole as a “constitutional scholar” and the on-screen graphic read: "Prof Georgetown Univ Law School." Cole’s latest piece for The Nation calls Bush an “Emperor.” Thomas did balance Cole with former federal prosecutor David Schertler, but the former homicide prosecutor has no equivalent ties to right-wing politics and did not make a declaration about which side of the dispute is correct.
Substitute anchor Claire Shipman set up the story by mis-characterizing the surveillance of international contacts with those linked to terrorists: "Now to the administration's secret eavesdropping program in which the government monitors domestic conversations without a warrant.” Thomas highlighted how “some constitutional scholars say the NSA spying is illegal and that the New York Times article disclosing it is a public service. They say this investigation is retribution." Cole argued: “On the face of it, there were two crimes committed here. One, a leak by a government official, something that happens almost every day in Washington. The other, the President of the United States violated a clear criminal prohibition on warrantless wiretapping. Yet which one is being investigated?" (More from Cole in The Nation, as well as a full transcript of the ABC story, follows.)
The Chairman Mao book requesting student speaks out to the public through the duped newspaper that is valiantly protecting his fragile identity.
"The fact is that my being panicked about this hole (sic) event led me to unfortunately prop up my story (i.e., fabricate it), for that I have to apologize to you and to my professors. I have spoken to my family about the whole issue and the fact is that they were understandibly (sic) angry. My name has been dishonored within my family and so I will spend the rest of the winter trying to restore even a little bit of it back, at least."
Apparently there is no writing requirement at UMass Dartmouth. As for your dishonored name, you might want to free up the spring too. They're really doing fabulous work with the kids at Darmouth. I'm sure all the doors swing both ways, if my Far Side friends know what I'm talking about.
The newspaper used this for the headline: "When a story is too good to be true" apparently admitting that they wanted Bush to have library stalking gestapo.
The article describes how it happened, too long to reprint here but worth a read if you want to laugh. The reporter didn't even have confirmation of the story from the two main subjects -- the student or Homeland Security -- yet they ran the story anyway. It's the kind of reporting you'd expect from a couple of kids with mom's typewriter.
Associated Press education writer Ben Feller tackles the question of how Bill Clinton's impeachment is being handled in high school textbooks. The quick answer: with quite a bit of euphemism and some sad editorializing.
Middle school texts describe it as "a personal relationship between the president and a White House intern." In high school books, it is Clinton's "improper relationship with a young White House intern," or Clinton "denied having sexual relations" with an intern. Students don't need the bawdy details to grasp the impeachment struggle, said Allan Lichtman, a presidential historian and professor at American University.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 - The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity, according to current and former government officials.
Yes, we know we already reported this exact story, but you didn't return the outrage against Bush we were looking for. Actually, his poll numbers are up (thank you Big Media brother Jersey Journal for finding a way to paint a negative - localize, newspapers, localize.) Let's all just take another shot at this. We'll add a few technical words like "switches", some anonymous sources that may or may not be the same anonymous sources from last time, and it will seem like a whole new article. All the usual suspects can then write hundreds of articles about this article, we'll talk about it on the Sunday talk shows, and with all of your determined help, we can bring down this evil conservative and the majority of Americans who recently elected him. again.
The Associated Press is very good at what it does. It's just a shame that straight news reporting isn't it.
They've run a piece this morning (Lawmakers Hasten to Return Abramoff Gifts) dealing with lobbyist and equal-opportunity crook Jack Abramoff. Regular AP readers will remember that when Abramoff was indicted back in August the AP story mentioned one congressman by name, Republican Tom Delay, and they mentioned him 5 times. Despite the fact that Abramoff has given money to many congresspeople of both party, the Republican Delay got mentioned, and no one else.
Well, they're at it again. (H/T to Michelle Malkin). Today's AP story makes it seem, again, as if Abramoff gave, or steered, contributions to Republicans, and to Republicans alone. They start with a quote from the President:
This week, President Bush said it seemed to him that Abramoff "was an equal money dispenser, that he was giving money to people in both political parties."
Though Bob Schieffer introduced Wednesday's CBS Evening News by using loaded language as he pointed out how, “to protest the President's decision to continue spying on American citizens, a federal judge took the unprecedented step of resigning from the court that issues warrants in such cases,” an event also highlighted by ABC and NBC, unlike those networks, CBS White House correspondent John Roberts informed viewers how “the President got support today from an unusual quarter: Democrat Jane Harman, a key figure on the House Intelligence Committee.” He highlighted how she asserted that “I believe the program is essential to U.S. national security” and, in a slam at the leaker and the New York Times, that the “disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.” Schieffer, however, remained most interested in the resignation. After Roberts wrapped up his story, Schieffer marveled to him: “I want to go back to this federal judge resigning. I must say in all my years in the news business, I've never heard of a federal judge resigning in protest over anything.”
ABC held its “eavesdropping” coverage to an anchor-read brief, but one devoted to the judge, while in a full story on the Patriot Act and Bush's “decision to order spying inside the U.S. without a warrant,” NBC's Kelly O'Donnell highlighted the resignation. (Transcript excerpts follow.)
Substitute co-host Russ Mitchell of CBS’s The Early Show interviewed legal scholar Jonathan Turley about the "spy scandal" on Wednesday in the 7:00 half hour. Mitchell used the interview to have Turley explain why those opposed to the President are legally accurate, and why impeachment proceedings against President Bush may be appropriate. Windows Media or Real Player
From the very beginning, this segment took a negative tone against the President and his administration, and like many interviews and stories, was completely one sided. Mitchell framed the story, as many media outlets do, in a way to give the impression that the government is spying on everyone at all times, "As we said, Capitol Hill is buzzing about the President's admission to spying on Americans without obtaining warrants," but he ignored the limited nature of the program in that it was limited to international communications and one of the parties must have known ties to terror.