Last night's report by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs that a "Beirut burning" photo that was clearly and clumsily doctored with Photoshop editing tools had made it way onto the wires from Reuters has morphed into what must be considered a full-blown scandal that should, by rights, shake the news service and other "Mainstream" Media outlets to their very foundations, and force them to reexamine how they conduct and control their photojournalistic efforts around the world.
Consider just some of what has happened in the 24 hours or so since my NewsBusters post very early Sunday morning:
Reuters has "dropped" the freelance Lebanese journalist after the image in question was shown to be doctored:
The wire service offered perhaps the lamest excuse ever offered in the history of photojournalism for Adnan Hajj, the photographer involved --
"Most Cubans have insisted that they are sure Castro will recover and that the government will function fine until then. But others have privately expressed worries that their leader may be more sick than the world knows."
An email was sent out to Associated Press staffers that praised the work of its photographers during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict. There's even a cash prize of $500 dollars that apparently will get split eight ways. The photographers who took the pictures of dead children in Qana will take part in the reward.
Is this what it takes? If we paid them $500 dollars, maybe photographers in the region would take pictures of terrorists hiding behind human shields.
Last Sunday proved to be one of the most dramatic days in the war between Israel and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. AP’s extensive photo team produced a stunning series of images that day that beat the competition and scored huge play worldwide.
In 1938, the leaders of Europe got together in Munich to, for all intents and purposes, give Czechoslovakia to Germany in exchange for peace in the region. Given the recent events in the Middle East, it quite appears that Israel – though well-intentioned – has performed the same act of appeasement with its enemies, and sadly with the same results.
Take for example the following revelation from an Associated Press article published on July 23:
Syria said it will press for a cease-fire to end the fighting but only in the framework of a broader Middle East peace initiative that would include the return of the Golan Heights.
We're #156! Cuba, that is, in this CIA ranking of per capita income of the world's countries. Cuba trails such economic powerhouses as Guyana, Micronesia and, of course, Niue. But, hey, it's a full $200 ahead of basket-case Angola!
But economic beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Tothe Associated Press, the Cuban economy, with a litle help from designated Fidel-successor Raul, is 'successful.' Here's an excerpt from an AP article of today [hat tip to Drudge]:
"Raul has been deeply involved . . . with the military's successful peacetime efforts to help rescue Cuba's economy following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991."
High on the list of annoying media tics is their tendency to call murderous totalitarian dictators "presidents." That ought to be an honorific reserved for elected leaders. But here's the AP dispatch that ran in Tuesday's Washington Post:
Fidel Castro temporarily relinquished his presidential powers to his brother Raul on Monday night and told Cubans he underwent surgery...
Castro said he was temporarily relinquishing the presidency to his younger brother and successor Raul, the defense minister, but said the move was of "a provisional character."
Not only is this inaccurate, but if one can imagine someone who does not know who Fidel Castro is (I once had a brother-in-law who thought he ruled Jamaica), they might actually think he's a democratic leader from the tone of AP's report.
Honestly, NBers, this one took several reads to believe. In fact, I’ve checked the link numerous times, as well as multiple media websites, and this really was reported by the Associated Press: “Mideast diplomats were pressing Syria to stop backing Hezbollah as the guerrillas fired more deadly rockets onto Israel's third-largest city Sunday.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking: this was buried deeeeep inside the article. Nope. This was actually the first sentence of a wire piece entitled “Arabs Press Syria to End Hezbollah Support.”
Shocking? Certainly. However, the best was yet to come:
Guess we folks at NewsBusters and at our parent organization, Media Research Center, can go home. Our work is done. Not only is the media not controlled by liberals, it's actually . . . dominated by the right wing. For that matter, it has been for decades! If only we had known, we could have saved ourselves all this trouble.
How did I learn this? From Arshad Hasan, of Democracy for America, the group Howard Dean founded at the end of his candidacy, and that has as its stated goal "to rebuild the Democratic Party." Dean's brother Jim serves at its chair.
Arshad was nice enough to send me an email this morning [OK, I signed up for their list], informing me of the exciting news that DFA is working "to take back our media" and that for such purposes will be conducting online 'DFA Night School' sessions to cover the following subjects:
As reported by NewsBusters Wednesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had a fund-raising videoat its website showing flag-draped coffins of American soldiers killed in Iraq. The Associated Press reported Saturday that the DCCC has decided to pull this ad:
Democrats pulled an Internet ad that showed flag-draped coffins Friday after Republicans and at least two Democrats demanded it be taken down on grounds the image was insensitive and not fit for a political commercial.
The ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called for a "new direction" and displayed a staccato of images, including war scenes, pollution and breached levees as well as a photograph of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay doctored to look like a police mug shot.
Without expressing any outrage whatsover concerning the contents of this ad, the article continued:
Why anyone ever bothers using an AP/Ipsos poll result to "prove" anything is beyond me. It has been well documented by multiple sources that this France based polling company habitually over samples Democrats in their polls and this particular poll is no different.
WASHINGTON - Republicans are in jeopardy of losing their grip on Congress in November. With less than four months to the midterm elections, the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that Americans by an almost 3-to-1 margin hold the GOP-controlled Congress in low regard and profess a desire to see Democrats wrest control after a dozen years of Republican rule.
The latest poll from the AP tells us that “Most Americans Plan to Vote for Democrats”. According to the poll, registered voters are tired of a Republican Congress and are willing to reverse control by a margin of 3 to 1.
The AP polled 789 registered voters which side they would vote for and of those questioned, Democrats were chosen 51 to 40 percent.
There’s a problem with such polls though… registered voters do not always vote, ESPECIALLY during mid-term elections. The same problem occurred in 2004 when registered voters were polled and a comfortable lead for John Kerry was projected. If you’re going to poll people for an accurate sampling, poll LIKELY voters. States keep voting records… you find people with a reliable record of voting and you poll THEM. Those are the people who you will see in line on voting day. Just because you’re registered, does not mean you will vote.
Somebody's got it wrong. In explaining the lower-than-projected deficit, President Bush today gave credit to his tax cuts. As reported in this AP article, in a speech Tuesday announcing the good news, "Bush said the improvement is due to tax cuts he pushed in 2001 and 2003" and keeping the lid on domestic spending.
But when the AP weighed in with its own analysis, it was 180 degrees opposite from the president's. Here's what the AP reported as fact:
"Several rounds of tax cuts, including Bush's signature $1.35 trillion tax cut in 2001, also contributed to the return to deficits four years ago after four years of budget surpluses."
Q. When are special interest contributions not special interest contributions?
A. When they're made to a Democratic candidate. And the Associated Press is reporting on the matter.
No political race in my little upstate New York neck of the woods has attracted national attention in a long time - until this year. The retirement of liberal Republican Sherwood Boehlert meant an open seat in New York's 24th Congressional District. The Republicans have held the seat for many years, and continue to hold a registration edge. But in the current political climate, the Democrats apparently believe they have a genuine shot at winning, and as a result are pouring money into the race.
Last week, the media reported rather quickly on charges that conservative author and columnist Ann Coulter had plagiarized material in her writings. Will they be as quick to report that both her syndicate and her publisher believe the charges to be illegitimate?
The syndicator of Ann Coulter's newspaper columns rejected allegations that she had lifted material from other sources, saying a review of the work in question turned up nothing that merited concern.
"There are only so many ways you can rewrite a fact and minimal matching text is not plagiarism," Lee Salem, editor and president of Universal Press Syndicate, said Monday in a statement.
"Universal Press Syndicate is confident in the ability of Ms. Coulter, an attorney and frequent media target, to know when to make attribution and when not to."
Of note: while AP reporter Hillel Italie instantly jumped on the plagiarism charges against "the right-wing pundit", mentioning specific liberal web sites by name where readers could go to investigate the charges, they have failed to do so for a litany of charges made by critics against the equally vocal (but liberal) Michael Moore. Not one of the litany of charges made by sites like MooreWatch.com has been covered by the AP according to Nexis.
Discoverthenetworks.org is a self-described 'guide to the political left.' Go there, enter 'Center for Economic and Policy Research' and what is the FIRST thing that pops up in the entry?
"Prominent supporter of, and apologist for, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez."
When the AP writes an article on Hugo Chavez's 'new socialism.' it is quick to identify the Heritage Foundation as 'conservative' when mentioning that Heritage "found Venezuela's business climate inhospitable and 'repressed' this year, ranking it 152 out of 157 countries -- just above Zimbabwe and North Korea."
In the first sentence, Mark Stevenson of the Associated Press says the liberal candidate for Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is used to being cheated out of elections. Since the conservative candidate, Felipe Calderon, has been announced the winner, liberals/the media have a ready fallback position, the same used against Bush: "He stole the election."
The role of a man cheated out of an election comes naturally to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
In 1994, after narrowly losing the Tabasco governor's race to Roberto Madrazo, he called on his supporters and governed from the streets, undermining Madrazo's already fragile administration.
Just 74 words into its article announcing Ken Lay's death, the AP somehow found it pertinent to report that Lay was "nicknamed 'Kenny Boy' by President Bush."
The MSM has gotten more mileage than a 'Ford Excuse' coasting downhill out of W's 'heck of a job, Brownie' to then-FEMA Director Michael Brown in the wake of Katrina. Looks like they're going to stick with a winning formula, even when it comes to the dead.
AP is of course unsubtly trying to tie Pres. Bush to the Enron scandal. In doing so, AP ignores the fact that the Clinton administration had chummy dealings with Enron. Beyond that, the implication is that Bush only bestows sobriquets on good friends. As the WH press corps well knows, he has nicknames for many of them, including a good number whom no one would confuse for administration fans.
For the long weekend, a few media-bias nuggets I've enjoyed from some of my favorite fellow media observers. In his Thursday "Impromptus" column at National Review Online, there's Jay Nordlinger choking on the cynical tone emerging from the AP in Washington:
Talk about tiresomeness — I’m back on my girl Laurie Kellman, and the Associated Press. Here is how an article of hers began yesterday (and bear in mind that this is a news story, from a wireservice): “The narrow defeat of a proposal to ban flag desecration marks the second time in a month Senate Republicans have lost bids to amend the Constitution in ways designed to inspire social conservatives to vote in the midterm elections.”
That may or may not be true: but it is pure analysis/opinion, friends, not the way to lead a news story (in my opinion — speaking of those).
The article continues in that vein. If Ms. Kellman, and the others, want to work at Mother Jones — or the New York Times! — they should apply there.
A recent Associate Press article notes that the preliminary FBI crime report for 2005 indicates a rise in violent crime. Quoting a college criminal justice professor, the article claims the increase is due to government’s waning support of law enforcement. Even more interesting is their attempt to link this with the National Rifle Association’s increased political power:
Criminal justice experts said the statistics reflect U.S. complacency in fighting crime, a product of dramatic declines in the 1990s and the abandonment of effective programs that emphasized prevention, putting more police officers on the street and controlling the spread of guns.
The folks at the Senate Environment and Public Works committee (GOP side) did quite a job Tuesday on an Associated Press report on positive scientific reception of Al Gore's slide-show film "An Inconvenient Truth." Now, the AP's media relations director, Linda Wagner, has filed a response.
The AP’s methodology was simple, straightforward and clean: We contacted more than 100 of the nation’s top climate researchers, including those who have been vocal skeptics of climate change theory. But we quoted only climate scientists who had actually viewed the documentary or read the book upon which it was based. As we learned in the course of our reporting – and as our story noted – most scientists have not seen the movie or read the book. And those who had seen it or read it were generally positive toward Gore’s scientific presentation.
The Senate Committee Majority’s press release was headlined "AP INCORRECTLY CLAIMS SCIENTISTS PRAISE GORE’S MOVIE." That headline is wrong: The story was completely accurate and met AP’s high standards in every way.
The AP story reported facts. It did not take a position in a debate, whether political or scientific, about global warming.
Associated Press TV reporter Lynn Elber profiled CNN commentator Jack Cafferty on Wednesday, and when she asked him about his sense of personal responsibility -- we're not shown the question, but I'm sensing he was asked about popping off without thinking it through -- "Cafferty, his memory triggered, segues directly into recounting the newscast in which he got a jump on then U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's legal woes."
Said Cafferty: "I thought (anchor) Wolf Blitzer was going to eat his script when I asked if Tom DeLay had been indicted yet, because he hadn't been," Cafferty recalled, adding: "If he hadn't been indicted he probably should have and I hope he goes to prison and sits there for the rest of his life. He's a jerk." Elber then noted: There he goes again, spouting off with the kind of stuff that gets him pilloried on Web sites such as NewsBusters ("Exposing and Combatting Liberal Media Bias.") As in here, or the full Cafferty menu here.
..... But The Associated Press feels compelled to throw cold water on the news.
Wow -- This is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announcement:
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property
located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2006,
according to final estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
..... The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from
personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, equipment and software, and federal government
The original estimate in April was 4.8%, and the revision in May was to 5.3%. Reuters notes that Wall Street economists had predicted a final revision of 5.5%.
Here's the obligatory cold water thrown by the Associated Press in the 5th, 6th, and 7th paras of their first report on the GDP news (cold-water words in bold):
So, where’s the media outcry when liberals resort to “hate speech?” First, Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, drops the “F-bomb” in a profane verbal assault on two employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs at a press event. The AP made a passing reference to the incident, then quickly removed it. No one else in the establishment media saw fit to report the story, or call for an apology (or even an explanation) from Filner.
Now, the website of Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), who charged last March that the Capitol Police harassed her because she is "a female black Congresswoman," uses racial slurs, calling a fellow black female Democrat an “Oreo” and white Republicans "good ol' boy cracker-crats” having a “hootenanny.” Again, where’s the media outcry against the public, political use of these hurtful racial epithets?
New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito broke a tie Monday in a ruling that affirmed a state death penalty law and also revealed the court's deep divisions over capital punishment.
What the AP hypes about Alito’s vote is wrong. Alito didn’t break a tie. His was one of five votes cast by the majority of justices who upheld the Kansas law. Alito’s vote no more “broke a tie” than did the vote of any of the other four justices who formed the majority. And the AP knows that.
The Earth is the hottest it has been in at least 400 years, probably even longer. The National Academy of Sciences, reaching that conclusion in a broad review of scientific work requested by Congress, reported Thursday that the "recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia.
However, as we read on, there seems to be a bit of confusion here in whether or not the earth was this warm 400 years ago or several millennia ago, as the article goes on to revisit these quite recent temperature (historically speaking) records. Now, I ask you to consider, as you read each of these statements on the historical record of warming. Is today's global warming unprecedented?
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- The United States said Thursday that a
U.S. missile-defense system under development has "limited operational
capability" to protect against weapons such as the long-range missile
North Korea is said to be near firing.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt read the newspapers he kept his eye out for what he called “howlers.” They were false or just downright foolish news items that gave him at least a chuckle and sometimes left him howling with laughter. He loved sharing “howlers” with friends.
Generally cast as a moderate, [Gov. Mitt] Romney sounded a theme of social conservatism before delegates at the state convention who are generally more conservative than most Republicans. "The family is the absolute foundation of our culture," Romney said.
OK, so we know what social conservatives believe is "the absolute foundation of our culture."
So which organization put out the headline giving al-Zarqawi's successor credit for the barbaric killings? Did you guess al-Qaeda? That's very reasonable. Al-Qaeda certainly wants to build up al-Zarqawi's successor. What's more, al-Qaeda encourages its members and anyone else to kill American soldiers in Iraq. It's eager to give anyone credit for doing that. But it wasn't al-Qaeda. The headline comes from the Associated Press. Are you shocked? I was.
I long ago decided the AP is an untrustworthy, liberal/leftist agenda driven outfit passing itself off as a news organization. Still, the AP's Al-Zarqawi's successor gets the credit headline shocked me.
What to do? Letters to the editor? Most certainly. We need to let our local editors know they can't fool us any longer with the old "the AP did that" brush off. The editors of our papers pay the AP to do what it does. After we've done that, we need to do more.
We need a national conversation about how to provide our country as quickly as possible with an alternate news media that supports what America supports, civilization.
Other mournful morsels from the article by AP writer Elliot Spagat:
"Fewer parents are walking their children to school in this border city's Linda Vista neighborhood."
"A sense of unease has spread in this community of weather-worn homes." [Nice touch with 'weather-worn'!]
"People rarely leave their houses now to go shopping," Osorio, 37, said as she clutched a bottle of laundry detergent in a barren courtyard. 'They walk in fear.'" [Extra credit, Elliot, for the clutched detergent bottle.]
"Her husband, Juan Rivera, 29, has stopped taking their two children to the park on weekends. 'We want to go out but we can't.'"
"In a blitz that began May 26 . . . It was the latest salvo . . . " [Nice war imagery!]