A Justin Lynch column ("Wartime Press") originally posted at the Weekly Wonk and republished at Time.com with a more foreboding title ("Bloggers, Surveillance and Obama’s Orwellian State") really ends up being an attempted justification by those Lynch quoted for having a close alliance between the government and "journalists" with "professional standards." Thom Shanker, the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times, gets the award for the most Orwellian quote in the litter, which will come after the jump. Its prelude is his belief that "The government really needs to get its message out to the American people, and it knows that the best way to do that is by using the American news media." Excerpts follow.
In a Wednesday story at Reuters ("Bombing near Jerusalem bus stop kills woman, 30 hurt") describing the aftermath of "a bomb planted in a bag exploded near a bus stop in a Jewish district of Jerusalem," reporter Crispian Balmer wrote the following (bold is mine):
Medics said three people were seriously hurt by the explosion, which hit one of the main routes into central Jerusalem in the afternoon, shattering the windows of a nearby bus. A woman in her 60s died in hospital.
Police said it was a "terrorist attack" -- Israel's term for a Palestinian strike. It was the first time Jerusalem had been hit by such a bomb since 2004.
My, my. It's as if the word "terrorist" was invented by the Israelis just for the occasion.
Donny Deutsch was a lonely man on Thursday's "Morning Joe." The only panelist to decry Sarah Palin's inspiring new video designed to galvanize conservative women for the midterm elections, the MSNBC contributor puzzled even his liberal colleagues.
"I actually think it's insulting to a lot of women," thundered Deutsch. "I'm going to tell you why. It's the same reason why every time they do '100 most successful women in business' cover stories."
New York Times writer Andrew Ross Sorkin and Time magazine's Mark Halperin interjected to refute Deutsch, but the determined advertising guru just talked over them: "Listen to me! The American public wants more than 'I protect my cubs.'"
During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the news agency Reuters admitted that one of its pictures of smoke and destruction caused by Israel's bombing of Beirut had been augmented in a Photoshop program by photographer Adnan Hajj.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz yesterday reported Reuters was under fire again yesterday for manipulating photographs in a bias against Israel, this time in the Gaza flotilla story. Natasha Mozgovaya reported Reuters cropped inconvenient truths out of the frame:
The Reuters news agency has been accused of removing images of activists wielding weapons and bloodied and wounded Israeli naval commandos from photographs taken on board a ship headed for Gaza during deadly clashes last week.
Reuters on Monday rejected accusations of biased coverage, adding that it had reverted to the use of "the original set" of images, once the organization realized that the photographs it had published had been cropped....
MSNBC continued its attack on senatorial candidate Rand Paul on Friday. News Live host Lynn Berry brought on the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim to smear the Republican's libertarian leanings as possibly leading towards bigotry. At no time did Berry mention to her audience that the Huffington Post is an extremely left-wing website.
Instead, Grim was allowed to give a rambling diatribe in which he suggested that Paul's philosophy could be linked to racism and the post-Civil War Ku Klux Klan. (The Kentucky politician was questioned, Wednesday, by Rachel Maddow about the effectiveness of parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.)
Grim theorized, "And this thread goes all the way back to the Civil War." He continued, "Now, there was a campaign of terrorism and it was nothing more, nothing less than terrorism, by the Klan." After describing the effects of the end of Reconstruction, Grim opined, "And when that federal protection left, we had an experiment of what will happen if there's no federal protection against discrimination."
On Tuesday, both CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez and ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos lamented the announced retirement of Democratic Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and proclaimed that his reelection would have been a virtual certainty. Rodriguez described it as "a lock," while Stephanopoulos asserted that it was "almost assured."
In reality, A January 25 Rasmussen poll showed Bayh losing to Republican Congressman Mike Pence, 44% to 47%. While Pence has since decided against running, the poll also showed former Republican Congressman John Stutzman, who has formerly announced his candidacy, getting close at 41% to Bayh's 44%. Numbers like that certainly do not suggest Bayh's reelection was anywhere close to being "a lock."
Both Rodriguez and Stephanopoulos made those comments in interviews with Bayh on their respective shows. Only a brief sound bite of the Senator was featured on NBC's Today on Tuesday.
On Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos almost pleaded with Bayh not to retire, claiming that if "centrists" like him leave, "doesn't that make the problem [of partisanship] worse? Why not stay and fix it?" While Rodriguez did not label Bayh as centrist, she did fret over his decision to retire: "What do you say to critics who say you did leave the Democrats high and dry at a time when they can't afford to be losing anymore seats?"
In an obvious attempt to counter the typically anti-Israeli sentiment prevalent throughout the international media whenever Israel defends itself, the Israel Defense Forces launched its own YouTube channel Monday.
As most impartial Americans are aware, old and new media were used against Israel in 2006 to foment international criticism of its attacks on Lebanon not the least of which was a Reuters photographer caught doctoring pictures.
With this in mind, as reported by the Jerusalem Post Tuesday, the IDF plans on being much more proactive this time in making the international community completely aware of what's really going on with Israel's recent military response in the Gaza Strip (video example embedded right):
The outlook for the GOP is so grim that party leaders have readily conceded there is no chance they can regain control of the Senate in 2008, even though Democrats' current majority is slim, 51-49. "If you have an R in front of your name, you better run scared," said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who says the party will do well if it holds its losses to three or four seats.
Democrats and the media -- as if there's a difference! -- are talking about winning a filibuster-proof majority next January which would give a President Obama -- heaven forbid! -- free rein to advance his agenda. Is this possible, or are press members trying to scare Republicans from the polls thereby manufacturing a self-fulfulling prophecy?
Drudge scooped me (arrgghhh!) with two documents related to the Beauchamp/TNR story. I had asked for in a FOIA request submitted more than a month ago to the U.S. Army. Those documents including a transcript of the call between Scott Beauchamp, TNR editor Franklin Foer, and TNR executive editor Peter Scoblic on September 7. I first wrote about the conversation itself previously.
The other document was the Army's official report, which I first discussed with the investigating officer, Major John Cross, on September 10.
Knowing the documents exist is one thing; having them is quite another. Now that they have been posted on the public record, these disclosures should end careers at The New Republic.
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 last paragraph of their Wednesday editorial (my bold) makes the point that the wire service, its defenders, and those who want to see the whole to-do as being about "just one incident," won't see, or won't admit to seeing:
What is clear about all this is that nothing is clear. Maybe there's a Jamil Hussein with the Iraqi police, but he's a sergeant, not a captain. Maybe there's a police captain whose first name is spelled Jamail, not Jamil. Both possibilities have been floated in the blogosphere, but neither has withstood scrutiny.
Editor & Publisher summed it up best when it reported that Jamil Hussein had been lost, then "found," then lost again. Amazing.
Last summer, Reuters, the media outlet that refuses to label terrorists as terrorists, was jolted by the "fauxtography" scandal. Adnan Hajj, a freelance Lebanese photographer, allegedly doctored images of the Israel-Hezbollah war and photographed what appeared to many to be staged scenes of victim rescue and recovery efforts in Qana, a Lebanese village where Israel attacked Hezbollah terrorists. Both were clearly an effort to further inflame a world that had already cast Israel as the villain.
Just as we asked in August if Reuters was "a patsy or collaborator," we wonder the same about the AP. We also wonder if we can trust any AP report from the Middle East. If it can't show us Capt. Jamil Hussein, we're not sure it has anything else we want to see.
This goes to the credibility, and ultimately the business viability, of the entire AP operation.
Why isn't Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, who first broke the "fauxtography" scandal out of Lebanon, among Time's "digital democracy" change agents?
After looking at the weak collection of candidates available to vote for as Time's Person of the Year last week (based on what they did in 2006, which wasn't much), I wrote:
Perhaps YouTube, online forums, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and online media should be the Thing of the Year: The Shadow Media. Of course, Time would be writing about its own likely eventual demise, but it would fit.
That's essentially what Time has done in its mostly (in my opinion) good decision to name "You" as Person of the Year:
..... for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.
Time named as "You" everyone trying to influence the world just a bit from their keyboard. That would include, to a miniscule degree, yours truly, and, again of course, many people who are reading this post.
Oh-so-predictably, two of the three "hard-news" members of the magazine's "15 citizens of the digital democracy" are influencers from the left side; none are from the right -- sorry, libs, a milblogger is not presumptively "conservative" (direct links may not work unless you have already visited Time's web site):
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.
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.
Reports of burning mosques, like this one from Reuters remain unconfirmed, and may have been fabricated by Sunni militants.
Also, sensationalized accounts of Sunnis being dragged from prayer and burned alive by rampaging Shiites are unconfirmed, and all appear to come from the same source, police Captain Jamil Hussein, whose entire career appears to be issuing statements about Shia violence against Sunnis. Curt at Flopping Aces has researched Hussein and found a remarkable number of atrocity stories for which he is the source.
Reuters explains the latest mainstream meme, the public is "numb" to Iraq war deaths:
But with the U.S. military death toll hitting 2,787 on Friday, and with 73 deaths so far in October, it is shaping up to be the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the Falluja offensive two years ago.
Analysts said even local media coverage struggles to overcome the numbing affect of the steady flow of deaths.
What do you get when you ask the Syrian puppet-President of Lebanon what the cause of the recent "conflict" between Hezbullah and Israel was? Well, apparently, it was "da joos!" I should've known!
Notice that Emile choses to use one of the the disputed Qana photographs (possibly even one by disgraced photographer Adnan Hajj) to illustrate his point. I'm sure he won't be getting many questions from the world's laughingstock for bringing that up!
From Emile's speech, which you can read here, we learn that Hezbullah is blameless in the recent conflict, as Zionist oppression is the sole cause of every conflict in the world.
Thanks for the wisdom there, Emile.
There has been quite a bit of debate in the blogosphere surrounding this story (note: link has been deactivated) of several days ago:
An Israeli air strike hit a Reuters vehicle in Gaza City on Saturday,
wounding two journalists as they covered a military incursion, doctors
and residents said.
One of the Palestinian journalists, who worked for a local media
organization, was seriously wounded. A cameraman working for Reuters
was knocked unconscious in the air strike, one of several in the area.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld finally articulated at least a portion of what conservative bloggers have been pointing out for some time - Islamist terror groups have had considerable success in planting and slanting stories within the Western mainstream media:
FALLON NAVAL AIR STATION, Nev. (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday he is deeply troubled by the success of terrorist groups in "manipulating the media" to influence Westerners. "What bothers me the most is how clever the enemy is," he continued, launching an extensive broadside at Islamic extremist groups which he said are trying to undermine Western support for the war on terror. "They are actively manipulating the media in this country" by, for example, falsely blaming U.S. troops for civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said. "They can lie with impunity."
Rumsfeld stopped short of pointing out what became obvious during the Israeli-Hizballah conflict in Lebanon; that the mainstream media's use of local reporters and photographers has virtually ensured its infiltration by terrorist sympathizers. Likewise, Rumsfeld did not mention that the tainted reporting serves the purposes of Democrats running on anti-war platforms.
Reuters claims this armored car was hit by two missiles from an Israeli helicopter.
As you can see, Isreal's new missiles are quite different than the
standard Hellfire and TOW ATGMs of the past, both of which, designed
for tanks, would have minced an armored car such as this one. Ths
armored car is said to have been hit not once, but twice by missiles, and the only apparent damage is a hole that seems to be surrounded by rust. Corrosion, or explosion?
I think it is fairly obvious that if the Israelis did fire two
missiles at this armor car, that the car did not take a direct hit.
Tanks can't survive the ATGMs Israel uses on their helicopters, and
armored cars have much thinner armor than tanks. It would have cut
through one side, detonated, and left a shattered, burning hulk. There
was no explosion, and even a dud would have completely punched through
the vehicle, exiting the other side with a noticable hole. The photo
below shows no such penetration on the opposite side.
Greg Mitchell, the editor of the influential news trade publication Editor and Publisher has recently raised a spiriteddefense
against questions and allegations that news may have been staged in
some instances in the recent Israeli/Hezbollah war in Lebanon, may
sound particularly defensive because of his own guilty history of staging news:
Since the press seems to be in full-disclosure mode these days, I want
to finally come clean. Back when I worked for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.)
Gazette (now the Niagara Gazette), our city editor asked me to find out
what tourists thought about an amazing local event: Engineers had
literally "turned off" the famous cataracts, diverting water so they
could shore up the crumbling rock face. Were visitors disappointed to
find a trickle rather than a roar? Or thrilled about witnessing this
First published as a weekly in 1884 as The Journalist, Editor & Publisher (E&P) is a monthly journal covering the North American newspaper industry.
Since 2002, Greg Mitchell has been the Editor of E&P, and
he writes both an online and print column. While I've never read the
print version, I have occasionally read Mitchell's online Pressing Issues column, and have actually written about what he has had to say twice in the past.
Click. Print. Bang. was a reaction to the mind of Mitchell, as in his column he advocated that the media should attempt to actively undermine (subscriber-only) the current U.S. President:
No matter which party they generally favor or political stripes they
wear, newspapers and other media outlets need to confront the fact that
America faces a crisis almost without equal in recent decades.
Our president, in a time of war, terrorism and nuclear intrigue,
will likely remain in office for another 33 months, with crushingly low
approval ratings that are still inching lower. Facing a similar
problem, voters had a chance to quickly toss Jimmy Carter out of
office, and did so. With a similar lengthy period left on his White
House lease, Richard Nixon quit, facing impeachment. Neither outcome is
at hand this time.
Editor and Publisher magazine sees one of its duties as protecting the reputation of the journalism profession, even if it means bringing up flimsy evidence against the famous WWII Iwo Jima flag-raising picture, saying that photo faced "the same charges heard today, concerning 'staging.'"
But the E&P staff admit that the evidence is "flimsy" and mere "speculation." So why bring up such charges against one the most memorable events from the war? To score a point: "But as with most of the allegations today, the theories about the Rosenthal photo were based on flimsy evidence or speculation."
The pot is calling the kettle black again. Syndicated news agency Reuters, the eponym behind the "Reutergate" (or "Reutersgate" if you follow the Drudge model) photo scandal, now says scandals "rock" the post-war Israeli government.
The president is locked in a sex scandal, the justice minister is quitting over a purported stolen kiss, the prime minister is haunted by a property deal and the country's top general is under fire for stock trading.
Welcome to Israel, after the war.
With a ceasefire in Israel's bitter battles with Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas in effect for nearly a week, Israeli media have turned the spotlight on a series of scandals.
I first raised the question of a possible relationship between the two journalists who corroborated each others accounts of an Israeli drone attack on a civilian convoy fleeing Marjayoun in south Lebanon here. In separatestories for their respective new organizations the brothers, Lotfallah (AP) and Karamallah Daher (Reuters), corroborated each others' accounts of the attack, but neither Reuters nor AP mentioned that they are related, much less twin brothers.
One quick question: Is it appropriate for photographers who are members of a group called Artists Against the War (or translated via google) to be sent into war zones to document the events as they transpire? And, even if Mr. Qusini were not a member of this group, would his objectivity still be called into question by his association with them?
I mean, can we expect someone of that nature to be non-partial in their coverage of events?
Can we trust that they'd be able to tell us the truth about something they're wholly opposed to?
I'd certainly like to hear what you think, whether you're an interested observer, or are a wire photographer. Do memberships in groups like this affect the coverage you would expect from current events?
Libanoscopie, a Lebanese Christian website, quotes a military expert to dismiss Hezbollah's claims of victory over Israel (this is the site that accused Hizballah of putting handicapped children in the building at Qana, then drawing Israeli fire by firing rockets from the roof).
The site is published in French. I've translated below:
Hezbollah's Fictional Victory in Lebanon
After 34 days of fighting, Hezbollah's secretary general [Hasan Nasrallah] is claiming victory, his supporters strolling to their hearts' content on the still smoking ruins of what were, a month ago, a hamlet, a village, a city; now a district where multi-story buildings have been reduced to powder, devastated by a wind that destroyed the major part of its existence.