Now that Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden to be his running mate, it will be interesting to see how some journalists will distance themselves from their own scathing opinions of Biden in the past. One such case is that of Jonathan Chait, The New Republic editor, who was very downbeat on Biden in a Los Angeles Times article published on February 4, 2007. Of course, back then it was "safe" to be honest about Joe Biden since it looked like his presidential bid was going nowhere. The very title of Chait's article, "Joe Biden’s just a barrel of gaffes," explains the problems the Obama campaign is going to have with the new vice-presidential pick. Back then Chait was very blunt about Biden's problems as a candidate:
...Biden’s charming cluelessness was on display in a recent ABC news interview. The famously verbose senator was asked to state in 25 words or less why Democrats should nominate him. His response was 45 words. I suppose that, by Biden’s standards, coming in at just under twice his allotted length counts as a victory of sorts.
Sometimes simply adding the link to our Editors' Picks sidebar just isn't enough. First reported by Luke Ford and confirmed by ERS News, it looks like LA Observed's Kevin Roderick's didn't actually share two Pulitzer Prizes after all.
You see, there's sharing and then there's sharing. In the first sense, we all "shared" in Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor's Olympic Gold medal. In the second sense, the U.S. women's gymnastics team all shared the team's silver medal.
In 1993 and 1995, the Los Angeles Times "staff" won Pulitzers for the LA riots and the Northridge earthquake, respectively. The Pulitzer awards committee names "staff" as the recipient when contributors number more than three. With a dozen stories listed and over two dozen credited reporters and photographers, the LA Times's Pulitzers were awarded to "Staff," meaning the 25 or so credited participants. Roderick certainly "shares" the Pulitzer in the second sense, that it redounds to the good of the entire LAT, but in purely official terms--you know, the ones that make it alright to claim it on your resume--Roderick did not share the Pulitzers.
The L.A. Times' Rosa Brooks has done it again, taken a serious subject and made an uninformed romp of it. One wonders how the old Georgian lady seen in news photos standing wounded among the ruins of her apartment building, or the Georgian Mother running down the street, infant in her arms, trying to escape Russian tanks might feel about the humor with which Brooks brings to bear upon their plight? But, there it is for all to see in Brooks' "The Cold War, reheated" wherein Brooks puts the funny back in war. It's been too serious for too long for Brooks, apparently. We need the sunny side of ethnic cleansing, brutal invasion, and crushing occupation, don't we?
Oh, and let's not forget the skewed history, incorrect conclusions, and partisan inanities that Brooks blurted out with her little attempt at "Springtime for Gorbachev." Only with this production, Brooks is seriously trying to absolve the U.S.S.R.
[**UPDATE below**] The Los Angeles Times is still fighting for their man, Barack Obama. Last June, when their man's poll numbers looked groovy, the Times proudly trumpeted their presidential poll results with a just-the-facts headline, "Obama holds 12-point lead over McCain, poll finds." But now the paper's candidate of choice is in trouble. A new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll shows John McCain and Barack Obama in a statistical dead heat, with Obama ahead 45% to 43%, within the three point margin of error.
So how does the Times frame the results of their new poll? "Barack Obama's image suffers amid John McCain attacks, poll finds" (see UPDATE below). Apparently, the Times has a hard time acknowledging that people are simply learning more about the candidates, and more are simply deciding that Obama is not their guy. The Times would rather blame Obama's receding lead on "attacks" by McCain.
Yesterday, in a stinging indictment of his Old Media colleagues' la-la-la treatment of the story of John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten asserted that Edwards "may have ended his public life but he certainly ratified an end to the era in which traditional media set the agenda for national political journalism."
I'll get to Rutten's mostly perceptive points in a bit.
That's because recent developments indicate that Edwards may still be believe he can eventually re-enter public life, and they are relevant to Rutten's assertion:
The John Edwards admission yesterday that he did have an affair with his mistress opened up not only the floodgates of coverage which was previously in short supply on this issue in the mainstream media but also of a new candor by that same group. One such example of the latter was the startling praise given to the National Enquirer by Elizabeth Snead of the Los Angeles Times Dish Rag blog:
The National Enquirer tabloid is looking pretty darn legit right about now.
The story of the John Edwards and Rielle Hunter affair has pretty much been theirs and theirs alone since the tab first reported it last October. Recently, they reported that the former senator had been in the Beverly HIlton Hotel with Hunter and that he hid in the men's room of the hotel from their reporters.
Mark August 7, 2008 on your calendars. That was the day that the John Edwards scandal finally "pierced" the Los Angeles Times blogs following an earlier e-mail from Times editor Tony Pierce muzzling his staff (emphasis mine):
Because the only source has been the National Enquirer we have decided not to cover the rumors or salacious speculations. So I am asking you all not to blog about this topic until further notified.
CBS's "The Early Show," reported August 7 that a new stronger strain of the West Nile virus could spread across the country with help from the neglected pools found in foreclosed homes in California.
"Apparently ... as more and more homes are passing into foreclosure and there are many, and many of those homes have backdoor pools, these are being neglected," Dr. Alton Baron of Roosevelt Hospital Center told co-host Maggie Rodriguez. "They're not being maintained and this can become a ripe feeding ground and breeding ground for these mosquito populations."
Baron added that the new strain of the virus "invades the brain and spinal cord" and listed other horrific symptoms including nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, rashes, disorientation, severe muscle weakness, fatigue or even paralysis.
Mosquitoes, which breed in stagnant water, pass on West Nile to animals and humans when they feed off fowl that have the virus in their blood.
Foreclosures in the state of California may have hit a record high, but there are signs of a change-signs "The Early Show" ignored.
Former Chicago Alderwoman Arenda Troutman pleaded guilty yesterday (8/6/08) to felony counts of mail fraud and tax fraud. She faces up to 5 years in prison. The Chicago Tribune reported the story, and the Los Angeles Times published an edited version of the Trib's report.
Can you guess the one word that you won't find in either story? "Democrat." According to Wikipedia, "In 2006, Troutman was active in fundraising for Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and in 2002 was a campaign advisor for Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards."
Los Angeles Times's Tim Rutten is at it again. In an op-ed in today's paper (Wed. 8/6/08), Rutten buttresses a new book by author Ron Suskind and asserts that "Vice President Dick Cheney and his inner circle long have insisted" that Iraq was directly connected to the September 11 attacks.
Rutten's claim is an easy one to debunk. Here's Vice President Cheney in a Meet the Press interview with Tim Russert a mere five days after the September 11 attacks:
RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation? [Sept. 11 attacks]
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No.
Does it get any simpler than "No"?
Cheney's words also strike a major blow to a wild accusation in Suskind's new book.
E-mailer and frequent NB commenter Gary Hall sent me a link to a July 30 LA Times article about how worldwide AIDS deaths are down 10%.
In discussing the improvement, it's hysterical in one sense, but very sad in another, to watch how reporter Thomas H. Maugh II studiously avoided using the word "abstinence" (the A-word), which does not appear even once in his entire piece.
Just to be sure no reader could possibly leave the article thinking that the current administration has contributed to an overall improvement, Maugh pointed to the increased prevalance of AIDS in the US African-American community, and gave antagonistic spokespersons free rein to criticize an alleged lack of urgency without a countervailing response.
First, here's a sample of Maugh's A-word avoidance (noted in bold):
UPDATE, Aug. 6 -- The media fact-checker overview begins here, and continues below the fold:
"..... all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling" Obama refers to is NOT just the 200,000 additional barrels obtainable from the "Pacific, Atlantic and eastern Gulf regions." Republican proposals also include Alaska, shale oil, and tar sands.
Just including Alaska coastal at very conservative extraction assumptions leads to a potential of almost 1 million barrels of oil a day instead of only 200,000.
Fully ramped-up production from shale oil and tar sands at very conservative extraction assumptions would lead to a potential of another 27 million (you read that right) barrels a day.
The L.A.Times's Andrew Malcolm is so over come by Obamamania that he sees connections to his messiah everywhere, even in hospitals separated by hundreds of miles, from patients admitted days apart, with maladies and injuries that are completely dissimilar. And not just with ordinary everyday patients in those hospitals, but with two star studded actors who ended up in hospitals, one in Chicago and one in Tennessee. And guess what? They are both... gasp... OBAMA SUPPORTERS. Yes, I know how shocking it is that two actors can be admitted to hospitals after donating money to the Barack Obama campaign. After all, the mere fact that they gave the messiah money should have been enough of a talisman to have protected them at least until the elections, wouldn't ya think? I mean, isn't their messiah letting them down here?
Malcolm's tenuous connections between these two actors and Obama only serves to highlight his own obsession because the hospital stays of the two actors have absolutely no relation to each other. Actor Morgan Freeman was admitted to a Memphis, Tennessee hospital on August 4 suffering injuries from a car accident near his Mississippi home. Actor and comedian Bernie Mac was admitted to a Chicago, Illinois hospital on August 2 suffering from pneumonia.
If a journalist ever wanted to exhibit her spectacular ignorance and bias, the Los Angeles Times' Johanna Neuman performed with flying colors. In a recent blog post about the surprise congratulatory phone call from the Bush family to Rush Limbaugh's radio show, Neuman offered,
We imagine the reason the tape has not yet popped up on YouTube is that is was singularly lacking in the biting, mean-spirited, politically pointed invective for which Limbaugh is known and loved by millions.
"Mean-spirited"? "Invective"? Of course Neuman provides zero examples to support her claim. Has Neuman ever even listened to Limbaugh's program?
Amazingly (or maybe not), Neuman isn't just some dim liberal blogger. She's a newswriter for the paper's Washington bureau. Good ... grief.
On Friday, NewsBusters wondered how much attention media would pay to the Republican revolt that occurred after Speaker Pelosi adjourned the House for a five week vacation without allowing a vote on offshore oil drilling.
It turns out that if you rely on the evening news programs of the three broadcast networks, you didn't hear about this extraordinary event at all (photo courtesy AP).
And, if you're one of the few people that still reads newspapers, the one thrown on your driveway Saturday morning likely also ignored this story, or buried it well off the front page.
Conceivably the worst of the network offenders was the "NBC Nightly News" which actually addressed the fact that Congress adjourned without a vote on drilling, but completely ignored the GOP revolt that ensued afterwards (from closed captioning):
Posted on the Los Angeles Times's Web site is the story "John McCain ad irritates many in Hollywood." The referenced ad, of course, is the one that uses Britney Spears and Paris Hilton to portray Barack Obama as a shallow celebrity.
Despite the headline citing "many," only two Hollywood types are quoted. "'I didn't think McCain could look silly,' mused Norman Lear. 'But that ad diminishes him and makes him look silly.'" And publicist Howard Bragman criticizes the commercial as "inauthentic."
If there are so many people who are irritated, you wouldn't know it by this article, which mainly conveys how much Hollywood heart Obama. The piece reports McCain used to enjoy some popularity there:
McCain's latest attempt at discrediting his handsome, photogenic young rival particularly galls stars and executives with a memory, because only eight years ago, McCain was a fixture in Hollywood fundraising circles when he tried to raise money from the very people his ad now ridicules.
Let's get this straight: Michael Yon, a journalist who's been over in Iraq about as much as anybody, has declared, "[T]he Iraq War is over. We won." Even the Associated Press has admitted we are "now winning" in Iraq. The New York Times grudgingly concedes a "remarkable change" in Baghdad since a once-powerful Shiite army has lost its grip.
So what's the top-of-the-page headline in Sunday's Los Angeles Times (7/27/08)? "War on terror loses ground." (See an image of the actual paper. The on-line version adds the words "in Pakistan.")
How bad is the pro-Democratic bias at the Los Angeles Times? Here are two more examples ... from just the past 24 hours.
1. Slate's Mickey Kaus published a jaw-dropping item earlier today that the Los Angeles Times has banned its bloggers from writing about the reported affair between Sen. John Edwards and a blonde named Rielle Hunter. Kaus obtained a copy of an e-mail written by Times editor Tony Pierce. Wrote Pierce, "Because the only source has been the National Enquirer we have decided not to cover the rumors or salacious speculations. So I am asking you all not to blog about this topic until further notified."
Kaus reminds everyone that while the L.A. Times and the MSM have been pretty silent on this Edwards story, the New York Times was unafraid in running a front-page article last February that strongly insinuated an adulterous affair between John McCain and a lobbyist. Double standard? Absolutely.
2. The Los Angeles Times really, really, really wanted you to know that Barack Obama gave a speech in Germany yesterday. Check out the humungous front-page, full-color photo (almost 50 square inches; I reduced the size for easier viewing) from today's paper (Fri. 7/25/08).
CNN has admitted to a serious error in a report filed Thursday concerning a Republican student organization at the University of Southern California.
A segment which originally aired at 6:00 AM on "American Morning," and twice after that, used a person not affiliated with the USC College Republicans to suggest the organization is having a hard time drawing support because of a lack of enthusiasm for John McCain.
According to the Los Angeles Times "Top of the Ticket" blog, CNN has apologized (h/t NBer Tom):
The brute dishonesty is that the Times makes no mention of the fact that a spokesman for the prime minister immediately disputed the story and said comments from Nouri Maliki in a controversial interview in Germany's Der Spiegel magazine "were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately." (See CNN's "Iraqi PM disputes report on withdrawal plan," posted yesterday afternoon (7/19/08). HotAir also reports how Der Spiegel changed a key quote in the interview.)
The Los Angeles Times continues to demonstrate that it is simply unable to reliably provide truthful information about the Catholic faith. A June 27, 2008, book review in the Los Angeles Times, by staffer William Lobdell, falsely claims,
The concept of papal infallibility wasn't introduced until 1870, and the only infallible statement issued by a pope was in 1950 when Pius XII declared that Mary, upon her death, was assumed bodily into heaven.
There are two significant errors in this one sentence. First: Lobdell is wrong that the "concept of papal infallibility wasn't introduced until 1870." Although the doctrine was not formally defined until 1870 at the First Vatican Council, its "concept" (as Lobdell would say) can be traced back to the earliest years of the Church.
Remember the Boumediene decisions? The one where the Supreme Court ignored Congress' orders to strip them of jurisdiction? One of the major issues in this case was the fact that the Court trampled all over Congress' ability to determine the limits of judicial oversight. And virtually no mainstream 'news' organ picked up on that fact- nstead they universally trumpeted how the eeevil Bush Adminstraion had been forced to observe the law'. The LA Times, for example, wrote on their front page,
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected for the third time President Bush's policy of holding foreign prisoners under exclusive control of the military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ruling that the men have a right to seek their freedom before a federal judge. The justices said the Constitution from the beginning enshrined the "privilege of habeas corpus" -- or the right to go before a judge -- as one of the safeguards of liberty. And that right extends even to foreigners captured in the war on terrorism, the high court said, particularly when they have been held for as long as six years without charges.
. The article admits that Congress stripped jurisdiction from the judiciary in 2006, writing,
After that setback, the administration went to Congress, still under GOP control, and won a law authorizing trials through military commissions. The law also stripped all the foreign "enemy combatants" of their right to go to court via a writ of habeas corpus.
but clearly agreeing with the idea that foreign, unlawful combatants have more rights than lawful prisoners-of-war.
Readers of the Los Angeles Times could not miss the huge headline on the top of the front page on Wednesday (6/18/08): "Hundreds married on historic day" (print edition). In addition to the enormous headline, a whopping nine photos accompanied the Times's coverage of the first full day of legalized gay marriage in California.
One reader saw a clear case of bias by the Times. Here's his letter to the editor in yesterday's paper (6/20/08):
Re "Hundreds married on historic day," June 18
The only thing missing from this headline is the exclamation point. But the real tipoff was the picture of two women kissing on the front page. It was inappropriate for many reasons, but mostly because it demonstrates a case study in advocacy journalism.
San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci dutifully dusted off the same liberal talking points we hear every four years about Republican nominees: the women in their own party hate them.
In her front page article, Marinucci found no conservative Republican women to defend McCain or critique him from the right, but she found three Republican, including Obama backer Susan Eisenhower, and two Democratic women to slam McCain.
But as might be expected in the liberal media, the largest reason these liberal Republican women won’t vote for McCain was chalked up to "women’s rights," code words for abortion. The article devoted a special section to McCain's stance on abortion. Of course this ignores the fact that millions of socially conservative Republican women backed equally pro-life candidates such as Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney in the primaries.
Yesterday, charges against another Marine officer accused of involvement in the Haditha "massacre" were dismissed. Today's Washington Post printed a story, but it was from Los Angeles Times writer Tony Perry, not a Post staffer. What's more, Perry's 10-paragraph story was printed on page A10 below-the-fold. [Check here for Perry's article* at the Times Web site.]
At least that was nine paragraphs longer than the "Around the Nation" brief that the June 5 print edition of the Post ran to relay news of the acquittal of another Haditha Marine:
Marine Acquitted in Iraq Case
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A military jury acquitted Marine intelligence officer 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson of charges that he tried to help cover up the killings of 24 Iraqis in Haditha.
As we reported last year, a stunning undercover videotape surfaced that appeared to show a staffer at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles advising a woman whom she thought to be a 15-year-old girl to conceal a statutory rape. Even though this eye-opening episode happened right in the backyard of the Los Angeles Times, the paper did not publish a single story about it. Not one.
Yet last week (6/9/08), the Times published a glowing, front-page feature about a 15-year-old "sex ed girl." The impressionable young teen walks the streets of Los Angeles and speaks to other teens about "safe sex." In the most flattering of language, the Times beams, "She has memorized pages and pages of information on sex education and sexually transmitted diseases. She's ready to pass out cards from ... listing services and clinics. She is also armed with condoms." A pair of flattering, smiling photos of the teen accompanies the article.
Any guesses on which organization trained this poor girl?
Andreina is 15. She's been attending Planned Parenthood sex education events since the age of 13.
Using the sexual abuse scandal as a backdrop, a dissident former bishop from Australia, Geoffrey Robinson, has penned a book on the Catholic Church. As a Statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference clearly articulates, Robinson's book is riddled with serious theological and doctrinal concerns. The Conference also concluded that Robinson's book ultimately questions a number of Catholic fundamentals, including: