Bloggers and their readers have "joked" about the New York Times being the official house organ of the Obama White House. Maybe it's not a joke.
Earlier this month (as seen at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), several bloggers caught the Times making significant changes to its initial coverage of Chicago's humiliating loss of its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, and of President Obama's involvement in that loss. The first Times report by Peter Baker was fairly harsh, questioning the President's judgment in getting involved, while citing his slipping poll ratings.
After Times organ grinder -- er, reporter -- Jeff Zeleny got a hold of the story, most of the harshness went away, as did Baker's original story. All of a sudden, at the same URL, there was no reference to tarnished presidential prestige. A dismissive assertion that the embarrassment "would fade in a news cycle or two" appeared. There was also a mention of Obama's 25-minute meeting with Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal that was not in the original. The reference to falling poll numbers also disappeared.
Well, the Times has just pulled a similar stunt in its coverage of President Obama's Wednesday night/Thursday morning visit to Dover Air Force Base. Once again, Jeff Zeleny is involved.
My therapist told me to take two shots at Chris Matthews and call him in the morning . . .
Mike Barnicle is back to looking down his nose at bloggers. After Mika Brzezinski claimed on today's Morning Joe that "blogging isn't journalism," the former Boston Globe columnist declared that "95%, 99% of blogging isn't journalism. It's therapy for the blogger."
The predicate was a provocative one. Willie Geist read from an Esquire interview of Sarah Palin in which she said that—long after the issue had been put to rest—the Anchorage Daily News called her—based on allegations in blogs—to ask whether she was indeed the mother of Trig, her youngest child. Palin took that as evidence of continuing problems in the world of "journalism," prompting Mika and Mike to go off on us members of the pajamahadeen.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
January 23, Gothamist blogger John Del Signore claimed “rape and torture” are “institutional” in the US military, which “at times condoned and encouraged” “atrocities...genocide" and "butchery.” He said the events aren't isolated, they're “the few war crimes we actually know about” and happen with “increasing frequency during prolonged occupations.”
Del Signore profiled a theater class on military techniques taught by Iraq vet and milblogger (Just Another Soldier) Jason C. Hartley. Del Signore's initial remarks seemed like typical lefty snideness, but in the comment section, they quickly descended into rabid anti-military rhetoric (bold mine throughout):
Since the media have promised the anti-war left really do support the troops, wouldn't it be news that an anti-war, self-described "radical leftist" was in court on Friday for angrily keying the car of an Iraq vet because he didn't like the military plates and USMC stickers?
Jay Grodner keyed a $2400 side-to-side gash into Sgt. Mike McNulty's car. When confronted, Grodner berated McNulty, who was getting ready to redeploy to Iraq, with anti-military epithets, even telling the Marine he was too “small” to be a “soldier" (sic).
Milblogger Blackfive wrote about the lack of media coverage (bold mine throughout):
As the mainstream media often accentuate the negative in the Iraq War -- see Newsweek's latest photo essay -- independent journalist Michael Yon's latest photograph (pictured at right) is highly unlikely to grace the cover of any major liberally-biased newsmagazine.
Yet the picture of Muslim and Christian Iraqis working together to affix a cross atop St. John's Church in Baghdad is creating buzz throughout the blogosphere on sites such as Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin, and the Anchoress as a sign of everyday progress -- not just militarily but in the battle for the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people.
Here are some of the Anchoress's thoughts on the matter:
It’s one of those photographs that takes the breath - there is a feeling of cognitive dissonance. Some of us on one side - who perhaps have never understood why we went to Iraq in the first place - may look at this picture and say, “but…but…Iraq is a hell-hole, an unmanageable, unwinnable, place of civil strife, death and occupied people who hate us!”
Some of us on the other side, who - overwhelmed with images of burned flags and screaming mobs - may have forgotten the humanity of the Iraqi people (people we let down once before, and who had reason to distrust us and our commitment) may see these Muslims and Christians raising a cross together, in a language of brotherhood and gratitude, and say, “but…but…all those people are bad people…”
There's a fabulous column by Ed Driscoll (HT to NixGuy in an e-mail) about the evolution of media and reporting from the invention of radio to our current circumstances.
It's the title of Driscoll's work, "Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media," that misses the mark a bit.
Ed has the "stranglehold" part nailed:
By the early 1970s, mass media had reached its zenith (if you’ll pardon the pun). Most Americans were getting their news from one of three TV networks’ half-hour nightly broadcasts. With the exception of New York, most big cities had only one or two primary newspapers. And no matter what a modern newspaper’s lineage, by and large its articles, except for local issues, came from global wire services like the Associated Press or Reuters; it took its editorial lead from the New York Times; and it claimed to be impartial (while usually failing miserably).
A truly extraordinary event occurred on CNN Sunday: Howard Kurtz actually supported President Bush sitting down with milbloggers to discuss what's going on in Iraq.
I kid you not.
When this issue was raised on the most recent installment of "Reliable Sources" - that Bush had a meeting Friday attended by ten military bloggers - it seemed almost a metaphysical certitude the President would be lambasted for catering to the extreme right.
Based on his explanation, it appears he said he wasn't calling milbloggers chickenhawks, he was calling bloggers like Hugh Hewitt chickenhawks and “didn't take the time to clearly define what (he) was talking about.”
He also fell back on popular lefty tactics that are designed to eliminate opposing opinions. In addition to the chickenhawk gambit, McLeary insisted that writers should physically set foot in Iraq and Afghanistan, limiting discussion to only those reporters and bloggers who have been to those countries, unless, of course, the writer has an anti-military or anti-war position. Good thing that NewsBusters' Mark Finklestein has been to Iraq!
Here is the portion of McLeary's email that Q and O posted (bold mine):