Reading this AP article on Evan Bayh's announcement that he won't seek the Dem presidential nomination because he's concluded the odds are too long, I kept searching for the predictable labeling reference. And sure enough it came:
"Bayh has charted a centrist's course throughout his political career."
That sent me scurrying to a favorite source, Project Vote Smart, to check Bayh's ratings from various interest groups. Yes, he's probably less liberal than, say, Barbara Boxer. But check out some of his ratings:
Mickey Kaus, the iconoclastic Democrat who loves picking on Democrats, points to this posting from Lt. Col. Bateman, which asks many pertinent and justified questions about a suspicious Associated Press story about six Sunnis burned to death and four mosques destroyed in the Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriya.
The AP doubled down on the story's veracity (though other press outlets, including Al Jazeera, have yet to confirm it) and insisted the story's main source, Iraqi police captain Jamil Hussein, does in fact exist.
Filling in for Lou Dobbs on Friday night, CNN's Kitty Pilgrim highlighted a case of bias at the “supposedly objective” Associated Press, which led a dispatch about the federal roundup Tuesday of workers at meatpacking plants, by referring to how “hordes of police” had “stormed” the plants, but “the illegal workers arrested may not have been the only victims.” Pilgrim marveled: “That's right, the Associated Press calling illegal aliens -- including some charged with stealing the identities of hundreds of Americans -- it called them 'victims.'"
Indeed, in a Friday morning AP dispatch as posted by Yahoo, "Immigration raids may affect meat prices," the AP's Roxana Hegeman led her Wichita-datelined story: “When hordes of police and immigration officials stormed meatpacking plants in six states this week, the illegal workers arrested may not have been the only victims. Consumers and the industry itself may be feeling the repercussions in a shortage of meatpackers, higher wage costs and, ultimately, higher prices for the beef that lands on America's tables at home and in restaurants....”
Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s drop the partisanship for a second and recognize that the media coverage of Sen. Tim Johnson’s (D-SD) sudden illness has been nothing but disgraceful.
The first reports I heard on this issue came early yesterday on CNBC, and immediately the discussion was about how this could change the balance of power in the Senate. I was disgusted. (Update follows with how the network evening broadcasts covered the story.)
As my daughter and I left the gym in the early evening, she questioned me about the Senator, and how this would impact politics. I was a bit shocked, and asked her where she had heard about his malady. She said that it was on the television in the ladies’ locker room, and the announcers were discussing how this might hurt the Democrats.
Let’s get a grip for a second here, folks. A man is fighting for his life right now, and that should be much more important than how this impacts who will control the Senate. Yet, just moments ago, this was the headline of an Associated Press article: “GOP governor has the power to appoint Senate replacement.” These were the first two paragraphs:
The latest word from AP on hospitalized Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota is that he was disoriented, but did not suffer a stroke or heart attack. Everyone should wish him well. He's about to turn 60, which doesn't seem so old these days, especially for Senators.
AP writer Mary Claire Jalonick adds this sentence near the bottom of the piece: "Johnson, a centrist Democrat, was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and has been one of the more reserved members of the chamber, rarely taking center stage at news conferences." He certainly is low profile, but his lifetime ACU rating is 20, and his last two sessions in the Senate were 11 percent in 2004 and 13 in 2005.
In a column published last night, Eric Boehlert does an excellent job of showing why David Brock's Media Matters
should be regarded as the alimentary canal of punditry; on one end it's
good at regurgitation, and on the other, the finalized product is
consistently something better flushed.
By the next day, even more details had emerged in the AP's story along with a description of why the alleged attacks finally ended.
Synthesize the various versions of the story, and you will have a
horrific story of how Shia gunmen attacked while the Iraqi police and
military stood by, without interfering, as four mosques were destroyed
and as many as 18 people were killed, including six Sunni men pulled
from a mosque and burned alive after being doused with kerosene. Only
the arrival of American military units brought an end to the carnage.
But here's the problem... there is little to no evidence that any of these events took place.
Contrary to the AP's reporting, the Ahbab al-Mustafa, Nidaa Allah,
al-Muhaimin and al-Qaqaqa mosques were never blown up. There is no
evidence uncovered that a single soul, much less 18, were burned in an
"inferno" at the al-Muhaimin mosque. In fact, soldiers from the 6th
Iraqi Army Division found al-Muhaimin completely undamaged.
The Pentagon announced that all four major branches of the military met or exceeded their recruiting goals for the month on November. Normally the media glosses over these stories and relegates them to the rarely read deep recesses of the B section. That is unless the news can be used to embed a story within a story – the sort that poisons the main message with a carefully crafted sub-context that is related to any one of a number of liberal agenda items that are being tossed about in the latest news cycle.
This is the case with the AP’s coverage of the pentagon announcement
As I reported this weekend, Qais al-Bashir from the AP actually identified a source in one of his articles as "not an authorized source". While it was a small step, at least it was a step in the right direction. It did not take long for the AP to revert back to its old tricks of using unauthorized sources for news out of Iraq.
Today's story out of Iraq by Thomas Wagner and Qais al-Bashir features some familiar names...
"The coordinated attack in Tayaran Square involved a suicide attacker who drove up to the day laborers pretending to want to hire them, then set off his explosives as they got into his minibus, Lt. Bilal Ali said. At virtually the same time — 7 a.m. — a bomb exploded in a car parked some 30 yards away."
..... now the WashPost has printed another article on the city, this time an upbeat one. What gives? You guessed it.The second one was reported from Ramadi. Case closed, thank you very much. Unfortunately, it's little solace knowing how few journalists ever leave their safe little hovels in Baghdad hotels or Washington, D.C.
Kaus doesn't think "upbeat" accurately describes the WaPo article, which is actually an AP dispatch by Will Weissert. I agree; I'd call it "even-handed."
But there's a larger point, which is that an actual named AP reporter has reported from something other than a "safe little hovel," and from Ramadi no less.
Why? I have to wonder if AP is responding to the current controversy, by doing things it would probably never admit to doing, and certainly would never attribute to having been done because of outside influence. Specifically:
Despite all the claims of standing by their stories, the AP now admits to the use of unauthorized sources. The infamous Qais al-Bashir posted another sectarian violence story via AP this morning. Al-Bashir offered up the typical Sunni-Shiite blood-letting but this time he was honest about his sources:
On Sunday morning, clashes erupted between Sunni and Shiite militants in Baghdad's mixed western Amil district, a policeman said. One Shiite militiaman was killed and six people — five Sunnis and one Shiite — were wounded, the officer said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
When the "six burning Sunnis" story hit the blogosphere, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal wrote that bloggers had "turned over a rock" at the Associated Press.
In his Best of the Web column today, Taranto turns over a rock himself and discovers a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News trying to scurry away from the light. Will Bunch is upset that conservative bloggers, the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, and CENTCOM blew the whistle on the AP's story.
Now comes the flap over a mosque attack in Baghdad, and a dispute over the news account -- trumpted [sic] on this Daily News front page at top -- that six Sunni worshippers were burned alive. This Huffington Post post does a good job of breaking down the mixed signals on whether this event really happened as reported by the AP. It's clear to me that a) The AP based its article on information from a trusted and previously reliable source, which is no guarantee of avoiding an error but is also the proven and accepted way all over the world that journalists gather news and b) even if the report were wrong, and I'm not convinced that it is, it was in the context of horrific -- and demonstrably true -- escalating violence in Baghdad.
O'Brien, during a more wakeful momentAs alreadynotedhere on NewsBusters, the Senate held a hearing today examining the role of the media in promoting climate alarmism. With others covering the newsmaking part of the discussion, I decided to drop by to observe things from a blogger's point of view.
I went into the hearing expecting it would be more interesting than your typical congressional hearing and wasn't disappointed. Dr. David Deming, a geophysicist from the University of Oklahoma recounted an experience he had with an NPR reporter who hung up on him after he declined to say that he thought global temperature increases were human-caused.
Apparently I was not joined in my assessment of things by CNN "American Morning" anchor Miles O'Brien who fell asleep during the discussion, according to several witnesses. Only a colleague's nudge prevented the slumbering former science correspondent from missing the entire discussion. One would think that O'Brien could have scared up some more interest considering his ongoingfeud with Sen. Inhofe. The two have tangled on O'Brien's CNN show and both have denounced each other from their respective platforms.
Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner weighs in on how the Associated Press can extricate themselves from the Jamil Hussein/burning men story in Iraq. Sound familiar?
What AP appears not to grasp is that the most serious questions about
its credibility are already in the minds of millions of people, thanks
in part to the bloggers, but also to the few mainstream media
organizations that have covered the growing controversy.
What is most puzzling about the AP reaction is its failure to do
the one thing that would instantly put the critics in their place -
produce Capt. Jamil Hussein. If he is in fact an Iraqi police captain,
it is impossible to understand why he cannot be produced and his
"Captain Jamil Hussein" is but one of 14 Iraqi-sounding names of
sources quoted by AP that U.S. military officials say cannot be
verified as credible sources.
By this point, the Associated Press has almost assuredly tried to
contact Jamil Hussein to come on camera, in uniform, in his police
office to prove that he does in fact exist, thereby shutting down this
Just as assuredly, the present silence from the Associated Press on
the matter indicates that they have likely failed to produce their
source for over 60 news stories.
Here comes the 2008 presidential cycle, and on cue, Associated Press reporters are finding "centrists" in the race whose voting records are NOT a 50-50 mishmash of conservative and liberal. This cycle's "centrist" contenders are Hillary Clinton (actually strongly, staunchly liberal) and Evan Bayh (liberal most of the time.)
AP reporter Beth Fouhy stressed that Hillary Clinton won "even the most conservative areas of her adopted home state of New York," but there are drawbacks: "Despite her centrist six-year Senate voting record, Clinton's reputation remains deeply rooted in her polarizing eight years as first lady. Skeptics say she may still be too liberal for many voters, who recall her husband's scandal-plagued presidency and her own audacious effort to reform the nation's health care system."
Writer Tom Zeller manages to muddy the waters without ever directly mentioning the most troubling question of all: whether or not al Qaeda propagandists are using the Western media to foment civil war in Iraq. The closest Zeller comes to acknowledging this vital issue is mentioning the title of the Flopping Aces post that started the controversy, Getting News From the Enemy.
Qais al-Bashir, the AP reporter responsible for the burning Sunnis story, is up to the same old tricks. His article did not make it to the American media but was published in The Guardian. Guess the AP forgot about the Internet.
This time al-Bashir reported on the Baghdad Market bombing. While we know that the bombing did actually happen, the tall tale weaver ran with an inflated casualty count from one of the unauthorized sources from CentCom's list.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Three parked car bombs exploded in central Baghdad on Saturday near a predominantly Shiite area packed with vendors, killing at least 91 people and wounding dozens, officials said.The bombs were about 100 yards apart in the busy al-Sadriyah shopping district and exploded nearly simultaneously, according to police Lt. Ali Muhsin.
In today's Boston Herald, columnist Jules Crittenden calls on the mainstream media to confront the Associated Press over its "shoddy" work:
When a company defrauds its customers, or delivers shoddy goods, the customers sooner or later are going to take their business elsewhere. But if that company has a virtual monopoly, and offers something its customers must have, they may have no choice but to keep taking it.
That’s when the customers, en masse, need to raise a stink. That’s when someone else with the resources needs to seriously consider whether the time is ripe to compete.
The Associated Press is embroiled in a scandal. Conservative bloggers, the new media watchdogs, lifted a rock at the AP.
It would be political malpractice for Democrats to hand the microphone for their weekly radio address to someone whose remarks didn't advance the interests of their party. And sure enough, the transcript of left-wing preacher Jim Wallis's talk of today reveals nothing that wouldn't comfortably fit in the mouth of Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi.
Wallis might coyly call himself "non-partisan," but does that oblige the CNN-AP to follow suit? Yet in its story on Wallis's address, AP-CNN referred to Wallis as "non-partisan" and tried to bolster that view of him by adding that "the religious leader has been openly critical of Democratic politicians." Perhaps as a matter of the Dems' overly-partisan form. But as a matter of substance, Wallis's views are indistinguishable from those of the liberal mainstream of the Democratic party.
What really happened on Flight 300 in Minneapolis surely isn't what what the media originally reported (examples: Associated Press, Bloomberg). Richard Miniter's Pajamas Media's report, other blog reports, and the Washington Times get us as close as we'll probably ever get to the full truth.
OVERVIEW: As we have seen during the past two weeks in the reporting of incidents out of Iraq (the "Ramadi non-Airstrike" covered by Patterico, and the "Burning Six" assembled by Michelle Malkin), that the press will not wait to release a report that fits one of their templates ("Soldiers kill civilians," "Iraq is an incurable mess," "There is heavy bias against Islam," etc.) if the limited facts at hand seem to support that template. By the time the full set of facts catches up, millions of readers and viewers have been misled (and, of course, influenced); corrections, if any, are limited; and the press has moved on to their next story. "Drive-by Media" indeed.
As a convenience to readers, I have converted Miniter's PDF of Pauline's e-mail to HTML, and it is here. It did not convert perfectly, but no text was lost; I strongly recommend a full read, as it makes additional points not raised in this post. The 3.8 mb police report PDF file is not readily convertible.
Here's a portion of what Miniter wrote, (but DO read the whole thing):
NOTE: Skip to the last paragraph to get the media bias-related conclusion/speculation.
The Institute for Supply Management's November report tells us that manufacturing's winning streak is over:
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector failed to grow in November for the first time following 41 consecutive months of growth, while the overall economy grew for the 61st consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.
As I have noted periodically (here, here, and here, among others), the 41-month expansion streak we were in the midst of is one of the longest ever, and enters the record books with other expansions as follows (link is to ISM history going all the way back to 1948; parenthetical values are for the month following the end of each streak, the lowest value it went to during the subsequent contraction, and the number of months it took for the value to get back to 50.0 or higher):
-- October 1962 - December 1966: 51 months (49.1, 42.8, 8)
-- August 1975 - July 1979: 48 months (49.5, 44.8, 7)
-- February 1971 - August 1974: 43 months (46.2, 30.7, 12)
-- June 2003 - October 2006: 41 months (49.5, NA, NA)
-- August 1986 - April 1989: 33 months (49.3, 45.1, 12)
The "police captain" that the Associated Press used as the source for their story about six Sunni men dragged from prayers and burned alive by Shiite militants is not a policeman and does not work for the Iraqi government in any capacity, according to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior.
CENTCOM had warned the AP about Hussein and other questionable sources they were using, but was rebuffed by the wire service organization. The AP's sensational story of the burning Sunnis was cited by NBC as a reason they decided to start calling violence in Iraq a "civil war." The source, "police captain Jamil Hussein," has been quoted in wire service stories since April of this year.
I already linked to Flopping Aces, read his bust of the AP here. Given that, or even aside from it, should this, (registration required) via the AP, be in the main Iraq story in the Chicago Tribune today?
Separately, police and witnesses said U.S. soldiers shot and killed 11 civilians and wounded five on Sunday night in the Baghdad suburb of Husseiniya.
"We were sitting inside our house when the Americans showed up and started firing at homes. They killed many people and burned some houses," said one of the witnesses, a man with bandages on his head who was being treated at Imam Ali Hospital in the Shiite slum of Sadr City. The police and witnesses spoke with Associated Press Television News on condition of anonymity to protect their own security.
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".
With the recent racial slur outburst from "Seinfeld" actor, Michael Richards, we will have to pay close attention to see if Richards gets a softer treatment than Mel Gibson did with his own racial slur laden rant earlier in the year.
But, if this AP report is any indication, it seems sure that "Kramer" won't be as maligned as Mel Gibson.
Let's trot out the AP's deepest, most tiresome wish that Iraq is the new Vietnam once more. And THIS time, all it takes is a Bush state visit to the country once enmeshed in internecine warfare to cause the AP to trot out all the old claims and prosaic comparisons.
In a long, presumptuous story Jennifer Loven, our intrepid AP reporter, makes all sorts of wild comparisons making her piece -- titled Bush Vietnam Trip Revives Iraq 'Quagmire'-- almost a parody of itself.
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush's recent acknowledgment that the war in Iraq was comparable to the Viet Cong's psychologically devastating Tet Offensive in 1968 was hardly the first time a parallel has been drawn between the Iraq and Vietnam conflicts.
Questions about a "quagmire" have haunted the president's Iraq policy since before a single bomb fell on Baghdad.
Organized religion fuels anti-gay discrimination and other forms of bias, pop star Elton John said in an interview published Saturday.
“I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people,” John said in the Observer newspaper's Music Monthly Magazine. “Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.”
“But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion,” he said. “From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate.”
Nobody should be surprised when the MSM takes an anti-American angle on just about anything that is printed in the press today. Surprise is mostly reserved for articles that are fair and objective.
Thus I was typically disappointed when I opened the AP section of Yahoo News and was confronted with “World opinion divided on Saddam sentence”. However, as I read the article I was stunned at how willing the writer was to allow questionable claims to go unchecked by those opposed to the War in Iraq and U.S. foreign policy. (Update - The AP Rolled the article off the wires so I replaced the link with an ABC news copy).
There is rarely a time where a statement by Republicans or President Bush is left to hang without the typical “yeah but” rebuttal. Yet the Associated Press has reached a new low in unprofessional reporting as they allow the following quotes to hang as if they were accepted dogma; which may in fact be the case for the reporter on this story. (all emphasis mine)
This reminds me of something blogger Ace of Spades mentioned to me some time ago about how it's not just the words, it's the pictures. Seemingly without exception, stories about the economy durng the 1990s had images or video of machines producing currency, cash registers ringing, and heavy traffic inside shopping malls. When's the last time anyone saw any of this in a news report about this very good economy?
Without offering any contrary views AP reports that the drop in profits for US Citgo gas stations only hurts Americans.
This half-the-story report was buttressed with a quote from Vance McSpadden, executive director of the Oklahoma Petroleum Association. McSpadden wants to stop Americans from avoiding the Citgo chain of stations -- Citgo gets their imported product from Hugo Chavez' state owned and operated Venezuelan oil companies
Over the Summer, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez went on a world-wide tour of America's biggest enemies telling them and all who would listen how America is the Great Satan and that George Bush is the devil. His whirlwind tour of hate ended at a rostrum in the U.N. where he made himself look the fool in front of the world to the applause of rabid America haters everywhere.