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.
Five months ago, the Internet’s top search engine Google was accused of banning conservative websites from its news crawl. Last week, the e-behemoth offered to purchase YouTube, the preeminent provider of videos over the Web that has recently been implicated in censorship of its own. With their pending merger, serious questions arise about the future of the most powerful telecommunications medium on the landscape, and who if anyone is trying to control its content.
It could have been Speaker Dennis Hastert's team skills or dexterity or experience or ingenuity that is being tested, but no, it's his "mentality."
It takes until the second paragraph for the authors, Michael Grunwald and Jim VandeHei, to make the relevant point that Mr. Hastert is "the beefy former wrestling coach - who's a bit bearlike himself." Just in case that's too subtle, we're later advised: "He looks like a cross between actor Wilford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt, and his unassuming Midwestern public demeanor makes for dull television."
ABC News has just released this statement explaining how blogger Wild Bill of Passionate America was able to learn the real screen name of Mark Foley's Instant Message correspondent:
On Friday, ABC News published instant messages between a former page and Congressman Foley with the IM screen name of the teenage victim redacted. Immediately, we discovered that in one instance, the screen name of the teen on one IM exchange had not been properly redacted. ABC News immediately took down the posting [version 1], redacted the screen name and re-published the posting [version 2]. We certainly believed that we had taken care of the issue quickly. Last evening, after an inquiry from Matt Drudge, it came to our attention that a blogger was able to access our deleted file [version 1] by typing in a slightly modified web address. To be clear, no one visiting our website would have simply stumbled on the old version. We thank the blogger and Drudge for bringing this to our attention.
ABC news mistakenly released the IM identity of the page who exchanged IM messages with former Rep. Mark Foley. Bloggers Wild Bill from Passionate America and Ms. Underestimated tracked the AOL profile from the unredacted IM message and are reporting that the person is a 21 year old Deputy Campaign Manager for Congressman Ernest Istook in Oklahoma.
The current age of the person would put him at 17 or 18 years of age at the time of the IM exchange although ABC released a statement saying that the messages took place before and after the man's 18th birthday.
I haven’t posted much about the Foley Follies since this scandal erupted because I wanted to get a clearer picture of what exactly was going on.
As October Surprises break there is a tendency for the press and various political entities to hype up the leading story while neglecting the various stories behind the story.
Usually by the time the story has run its course the full picture is brushed aside in the wake of the lead. The damage is done and the press has moved on to the next item of the day.
NewsBusters gives us the opportunity to look beneath the scandal and dissect the way the media approaches these stories in real time. This post is my take.
Foley is gone. That’s good. If any laws were broken then I hope he gets what is coming to him. Lock him up; throw away the key. The same goes for anyone who is shown to have covered it up.
However, the Democrat and MSM attempts to paint this as a full blown Republican scandal is transparent and obvious. I find it hard to believe that these events just happened to unfold in a perfectly timed fashion a month before Congressional elections. Whoa, what are the chances?!
If I was an odds maker I would have bet on this sort of thing happening.
Remember when the AP ran the bogus story about the Crowd booing when President Bush annonunced that Bill Clinton was ill? There was no booing and the report created a firestorm in the blogsphere. Faced with an onslaught from bloggers, the AP was forced to retract the story.
The Guardian's Jonathan Freeland was caught in the reverse when he claimed there was no applause in response to this statement by PM Blair at the Labor Party conference:
"So when Blair said that a withdrawal from Iraq or Afghanistan would be "a craven act of surrender", he said it to silence."
This one’s really good, folks. Writing in Friday’s FrontPage Magazine, Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn Law School Henry Mark Holzer made the case for why the New York Times should be indicted for violating the Espionage Act (hat tip to American Thinker):
It is an article of faith on the Left and among its fellow travelers that the Bush administration stole two elections, made war on Iraq for venal reasons, tortured hapless foreigners, and conducted illegal surveillance of innocent Americans. A corollary of this mindset is that the press, primarily the Washington Post and The New York Times, has a right, indeed a duty, to print whatever they want about the administration—even if the information compromises national security.
Holzer marvelously responded to this absurd notion:
The declassification of parts of the National Intelligence Estimate spells out the ramifications of a major triumph in the War on Terror: the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (the report was finalized in April, before Zarqawi's death). The NIE states:
Al-Qa’ida, now merged with Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s network, is exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new recruits and donors and to maintain its leadership role. • The loss of key leaders, particularly Usama Bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al-Zarqawi, in rapid succession, probably would cause the group to fracture into smaller groups. Although like-minded individuals would endeavor to carry on the mission, the loss of these key leaders would exacerbate strains and disagreements.
Jules Crittenden, writing in the Boston Herald, examines the Associated Press' actions in light of the detention of AP photographer Bilal Hussein, captured by Coalition forces with al Qaeda terrorists and a weapons cache earlier this year:
The Associated Press, the reliable just-the-facts news agency you and I once knew, no longer exists. Amoral propagandists have taken over. It is not only in the disturbing matter of Bilal Hussein, AP photograher and al-Qaeda associate, being held without charge in U.S. custody in Iraq that this is evident. But also in the departure from balanced, nonpartisan coverage that has always been the AP’s promise to us, its customers...
Well sports fans, the plot is getting so thick you can drive a truck over it. TV Newser is reporting that Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time” who went on quite a rant Friday night about being denied his free speech rights by CBS, might be mistaken. According to the New York Daily News (emphasis mine): “‘If I or my representatives got it wrong about how the 'Free Speech' segment of the 'CBS Evening News' is, sorry, our bad,’ Maher said yesterday in a statement. ‘I'm ready, willing and able to speak about the topic I originally suggested.’"
Isn’t that special? In fact, according to Vaughn Ververs at CBS’s “The Public Eye,” the “Evening News” is in no way opposed to addressing religion:
The plot thickens. After Bill Maher claimed on the Friday evening installment of HBO’s “Real Time” that CBS prevented him from discussing religion on the “freeSpeech” segment as reported by NewsBusters, the executive producer of the “Evening News” has now denied this. As reported by TVNewswer (hat tip to reader Tracheostomy):
In an e-mail to TVNewser, CBS responds to Bill Maher:
"Bill Maher was never told that he couldn't discuss religion in a 'Free Speech' segment," Rome Hartman, executive producer of the CBS Evening News, said. "In fact, 'Free Speech' has already addressed religion and we expect others will in the future."
This obviously goes counter to Maher’s statements on Friday:
Following up his performance on “Democracy Now” as reported by NewsBusters, James Meigs, the Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics, penned a great op-ed that was published in Tuesday’s New York Post (hat tip to American Thinker). Meigs comically began (emphasis mine):
ON Feb. 7, 2005, I became a member of the Bush/Halliburton/Zionist/CIA/New World Order/Illuminati conspiracy for world domination. That day, Popular Mechanics, the magazine I edit, hit newsstands with a story debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories. Within hours, the online community of 9/11 conspiracy buffs - which calls itself the "9/11 Truth Movement" - was aflame with wild fantasies about me, my staff and the article we had published. Conspiracy Web sites labeled Popular Mechanics a "CIA front organization" and compared us to Nazis and war criminals.
Makes one wonder what these folks think about Tim “The Toolman” Taylor! After discussing the various conspiracy theorists, including but not limited to the folks at “Loose Change,” Meigs continued (emphasis mine):
In the middle of all the controversy surrounding ABC’s upcoming docudrama “The Path to 9/11,” something very important has been lost: Regardless of the protestations of the left, there were indeed some missed opportunities to capture or kill Osama bin Laden before our nation was attacked. In fact, on March 16, 2004, the NBC “Nightly News” did a report on one such chance the Clinton administration passed on.
What follows is a full transcript of this report, with emphasis given to draw attention to statements that are quite relevant to the current controversy. Those that are interested can watch the video here courtesy of GOP Video.
I guess we all should have expected that mere changes to the story weren’t going to placate Team Clinton, for another letter was sent to ABC President and CEO Robert Iger on Friday, this one asking for “The Path to 9/11” be cancelled. For those that are interested, and can tolerate yet another example of extraordinary political hypocrisy, here it is:
This sad episode in American history continues, folks. Now, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, is requesting that ABC reveal “who funded this $40 million dollar slanderous propaganda.”
Of course, he’s talking about “The Path to 9/11.” What else?
As reported by the left-wing blog Raw Story on Friday: "It's deeply disappointing that ABC would put something on the air that has been proven to have factual inaccuracies about one of the most important events in our nation's history," said Dean in the press release. "ABC should not air this distortion of history."
Why wasn’t Dean so concerned with the reporting of “factual inaccuracies about one of the most important events in our nation's history” back in 2004 when Michael Moore released “Fahrenheit 911”? Why has the Democratic Party’s seemingly universal support for that piece of propaganda as addressed here been totally forgotten by its members?
The following is the actual text of the letter sent to Bob Iger, the President and CEO of ABC, by folks representing former president Bill Clinton et al asking for “The Path to 9/11” to be re-edited (hat tip to TPM Café):
September 1, 2006
As you know, ABC intends to air a two part miniseries, “The Path to 9/11,” which purports to document the events leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. ABC claims that the show is based on the 9/11 Commission Report and, as Steve McPherson, President of ABC Entertainment, has said: “When you take on the responsibility of telling the story behind such an important event, it is absolutely critical that you get it right.”
Undoubtedly, the anger fomenting as a result of a television docudrama about the most serious attacks on America since Pearl Harbor has to be confounding the most seasoned of cynics.
After prominent House Democrats sent a letter Wednesday to Disney President and CEO Robert Iger requesting a re-editing of “The Path to 9/11” even though they admitted that they “have not yet seen this program” (as reported by NewsBusters here), another such request came from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Charles Schumer, and Senator Byron Dorgan on Thursday.
Did you hear that sound Thursday afternoon? That was the Constitution weeping as one of the nation’s major political parties trampled all over the First Amendment. Remember what that is…that right bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers guaranteeing freedom of speech?
Well, if what was reported by NewsBusters here, and the Ostroy Report here (hat tip to Hot Air) are correct, and ABC really has caved into political pressure from Democrats – in particular, former President Clinton – to edit the miniseries “The Path to 9/11,” such rights have changed forever. At the very least, this would demonstrate that these rights – which Jefferson said were inalienable, by the way! – apply differently to Democrats and Republicans.
Once again, here's a dramatic picture of our press, embedded with the enemy as usual.
Notice, however, how many "innocent civilians" this man is surrounding himself with, while firing at Israeli troops.
The Israelis, of course, will not fire back, as the likelihood of them hitting any number of people behind this coward is too high. Our cowardly photojournalist, of course, reports the official terrorist line:—11 "unarmed" Palestinians were injured.
(Note: Content has been re-written now that I've cooled off some.)
RadarOnline.com is reporting that Mary Mapes, the driving force behind what became CBS News's Memogate scandal, has reunited with her old pal Dan Rather. (Hat tip: Jonah Goldberg in the Corner.)
From the Radar item:
Good news, phony document fans! The team that gave you Memogate is back in action.
Former CBS News producer Mary Mapes has rejoined her old running partner Dan Rather at Mark Cuban's HDNet channel. Rather, 74, is starting all over at hi-def cable network with a weekly one-hour show that will translate the day's events into awkwardly-worded homespun similes. It debuts in October...
Looks like CBS got itself a two-fer. Katie's not just an anchor - she's a comedian, too!
The highlight of her extended interview with Harry Smith on this morning's Early Show, touting her debut on tonight's CBS Evening News, was her claim that what the "old media" has to offer in contrast with the new media is . . . "integrity and standards."
Couric is apparently a jokester of the deadpan school, managing to get off the line without dissolving into guffaws. This from the woman about to take over the illustrious Dan Rather Forged Document Chair, named in honor of the hoax perpetrated by the old media and peremptorily exposed by that lacking-in-integrity new media. Is the irony lost on Katie that the opening for her job occured because Dan Rather was sacked over the exposure of his lack of integrity and standards?
At a recent journalists convention in Israel, the assembled representatives of the world's elite media realized that press's coverage of the recent war in Lebanon has been flawed. And that it was Israel's fault. See NRO's Media blog for details, then read the rest of this article (h/t LGF):
In short, much of the most incendiary
media coverage of this war seems to have been either staged or
fabricated. The big question is why the western media would perpetrate
such institutionalised mendacity. Many ancillary reasons come to mind.
There is the reliance upon corrupted news and picture agencies which
employ Arab propagandists as stringers and cameramen. There is the herd
mentality of the media which decides collectively what the story is.
There is the journalists’ fear for their personal safety if they report
the truth about terrorist outfits. There is the difficulty of
discovering the truth from undemocratic regimes and terrorist
organisations. There is the language barrier; there is professional
laziness; there is the naïve inability to acknowledge the depths of
human evil and depravity; there is the moral inversion of the left
which believes that western truth-tellers automatically tell lies,
while third world liars automatically tell the truth.
But the big answer is that the western media transmit the lies of
Hezbollah because they want to believe them. And that’s because the Big
Lie these media tell — and have themselves been told — about Israel and
its place in history and in the world today has achieved the status of
unchallengeable truth. The plain fact is that western journalists were
sent to cover the war being waged against Israel from Lebanon as a war
being waged by Israel against Lebanon. And that’s because that’s how
editors think of the Middle East: that the whole ghastly mess is driven
by Israel’s actions, and that therefore it is only Israel’s aggression
which is the story to be covered.
Mike Hornbrook, a CBC journalist on the ground in Lebanon, has popped in over at Snapped Shot, and informs us that from on the ground in Lebanon, that there are no indications that Hezbullah is handing out counterfeit money:
With all respect to bloggers who sometimes discover things missed by mainstream media, this story about Hezbollah handing out counterfeit $100 bills is completely insane!
Unlike any of them, I am on the ground in Beirut reporting for CBC News and have checked it out. We could not find a single person complaining about phony money. Furthermore, the very idea shows a profound ignorance of Lebanon and Hezbollah. Lebanon is a major banking center, every bank has counterfeit scanners and other tools for detecting counterfeits. Not just the banks either, every money-changer and supermarket also has a scanner next to the cash register. From personal experience I can tell you they check out $100 USD bills very very carefully, phonies would be detected in an instant. This would bring outraged complaints from people in desperate circumstances that would be a huge embarassment to Hezbollah. No such scandal has emerged because the phony money story is itself phony. The people circulating the story are doing it for their own reasons, but as a journalist I can tell you they are absolutely, totally wrong.
I was watching this video from Fox News' Greg Palkot (click on Video and select "Deadly Airstrike") reporting on the Qana incident when something caught my eye. I got a screen shot of the guy with the torn shirt getting UP from the stretcher to show that he was not "stretcher" material like they presented it when I noticed something in the corner of the video. Here's the screenshot...
Everyone is just kinda standing around. Mr. Checkered Shirt is talking on his cellphone. Not a lot of emotion despite the tragedy that has taken place. Even Mr. StretcherMan looks bored. But look at the top right hand corner. There is Mr. White TShirt putting little Zaynab with the pink shirt on display. There is no scene audio to the video - just Greg Palkot reporting.
Writing at TCS Daily, Glenn Reynolds wonders about the net effect of the exposure of the fact that fake news is more common than previously supposed:
In a democratic polity -- or even one that's driven by things like "world opinion" -- faked news poses a real threat to decent decision-making. Worse yet, the likely outcome of widespread fakery will be a tendency on the part of people to simply dismiss news that they don't want to hear. (And we already see enough of that phenomenon as it is). [...]
Once again, as I've said in previous columns, it boils down to whom you can trust. And although it seems that Big Media outfits, which want to make money and be around for the long term, would have a sufficient investment in their credibility not to fake news themselves, or to pass along fake news except in extraordinary circumstances, the evidence of recent weeks is that journalism is rife with fakery, and that we're seeing more of it now mostly because it's easier to spot now that lots of people can examine the evidence and compare notes. [...]
Context is key. And one of the lessons of these various affairs is that neither the photo, nor the purveyor of the photo, should be given unquestioned authority. Instead, we have to think for ourselves, and make up our own minds. Because it turns out that we can't trust, well, much of anyone.
He's right, of course. But realizing the need to think critically is only
part of the solution. Despite the fact that a
great many interactive web participants (bloggers, blog readers, and forum
users) realize the value of not buying into everything you see, many do not.
A still larger group aren't even reading blogs or forums, which presents a
bit of a problem.
Will Thoretz is the company spokesman for VNU Media, the company that owns Editor & Publisher and employs Editor Greg Mitchell, a man that has something of a "truth problem" according to Michael Silence, and seems to be on the wrong side of an example of "journalistic malpractice" according to Stephen Spruiell.
Mary Katharine Ham of Townhall.com attempted to contact Mitchell at Editor & Publisher for comment several times yesterday, but Mitchell has thus far decline to respond. Ham also tried to contact Will Thoretz of Editor & Publisher's parent company, VNU Media, and while she was able to speak to his assistant, Thoretz has not responded to Ham to date.
Color me skeptical, but evidence indicating that one of your editors
has severe ethical issues should demand an immediate response of some
sort, unless, of course, the decision has been made to stonewall the
story and hope it goes away.
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.