A front-page article in today's Los Angeles Times (Saturday, March 10, 2007) trumpets that an "Evangelical Agenda Fight is Heating Up." The piece is by Stephanie Simon, whose slanted coverage we've once cited here. Among the number of problems in Simon's latest piece:
1. In the article, Simon tags James Dobson of Focus on the Family as a "conservative crusader." Fair enough. But the Rev. Jim Wallis, who openly advised Democrats and Sen. Kerry during the 2004 campaign (here), avoids any "liberal" tag. He is simply identified as the "best-known champion of such causes" as "citizenship for illegal immigrants, universal healthcare and caps on carbon emissions." Wallis and some other pastors want to expand the evangelical agenda to include issues such as global warming.
Does Karen Greenberg believe the United States is involved in a war with Islamist terrorists? Judging by her column in today's Los Angeles Times, The military's Gitmo script, you really have to wonder. Greenberg is executive director of the Center on Law and Security at NYU law school. Her bio there [from whence her photo here comes] indicates that she is a former Vice-President of George Soros' Open Society Institute. Her colleague at the Center, NYU prof Stephen Holmes [pictured here], lists as one of his areas of specialization: "the disappointments of democratization after communism." Ah, remember the good old days under Uncle Joe?
In any case, Greenberg recently toured the detention facilities at Guantanamo, and several of her comments make clear her skepticism as to the seriousness of the terror threat. Examples:
Do you think the folks at the Los Angeles Times were a wee-bit excited over the "Scooter" Libby verdict yesterday? Today's paper (Wednesday, March 7, 2007) devoted no less than eight articles, twenty photos, and an unbelievable 8,406 words to the story of the verdict. Unable to contain their glee, columnists harped breathlessly that the verdict "erod[es]" the Bush administration's "already weak credibility on Iraq" and "sullies the integrity of [the] administration." (link)
The media love a "green" story. As Al Gore and Hollywood celebrities champion the practice of carbon offsetting -- donating money toward an energy-saving project while still taking your vacation -- the media buzz in agreement.
"If more people do it over time, it's a good thing," said CBS reporter Russ Mitchell during a carbon offset story on the February 22 "Early Show."
Carbon offsetting is hypocritical because it allows the extremely wealthy, like Al Gore, to still use enormous amounts of energy (1 million miles of global air travel in 2005 and more than 20 times the national average of power usage in 2006), while telling everyone else to conserve energy to save the planet from climate destruction.
That's essentially the tone of a March 5 Los Angeles Times article* that took Democrats to task for their plans for what President Clinton was fond of calling "targeted tax cuts." Apparently they just "cost" the government too much of our money:
WASHINGTON // After years of claiming that Republicans were cluttering
the tax code with provisions that enriched the wealthy, leading Democrats in Congress want to add more tax credits and deductions to benefit narrow groups of largely middle-class constituents.
Among potential beneficiaries: people with elderly parents in nursing homes, new parents, college students, volunteer firefighters and organ donors.
But all these goodies are raising questions about how the Democrats can give away tax revenues while keeping their pledge not to deepen the government's deficit.
According to the official website of Selma, Alabama, Selma is exactly 2,000 miles from Los Angeles. But distance did not stop the Los Angeles Times from making sure you got a really good look at Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (with Bill) when they were there on Sunday. The Times trumpeted their appearance with a huge 42-square-inch, full-color photo on the top and center of today's paper (Mon. March 5, 2007). (See the front-page image here.)
But that's not all. When you turn to the continuation of the front-page article on page A11, you get three more color photos, including an absolutely humongous 60-square-inch picture that spans the entire top of the page! (See the image here. Again, there are two more color photos below the big picture. My scanner couldn't fit it all.) Oh, yeah. The article itself is 1,531 words.
In yesterday's Los Angeles Times, columnist Rosa Brooks' piece is titled "The lunatic right returns." The cause of her current displeasure is the presence of people associated with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth on a Conservative Political Action Conference panel.
Comments Ms. Brooks: "IF YOU HATED IT the first time, you might like the sequel better.
"Remember Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the right-wing goon squad whose defamatory insinuations helped sink John Kerry's presidential campaign? They're back! This afternoon, key Swift boaters George 'Bud' Day, Mary Jane McManus and Carlton Sherwood are holding a little reunion, in the guise of a panel discussion at the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference. The panel topic? 'The Left's Repeated Campaign Against the American Soldier.'"
In January, when Barack Obama made the mere announcement of a presidential exploratory committee, the Los Angeles Times trumpeted the news with a headline, color photo, and text box on the top of its front page. (See the image here.)
So how did the Times cover Sen. John McCain's big announcement Wednesday night (2/28/07) on David Letterman's Late Show? The announcement was buried the next day on the bottom of page A14 within a modest, 485-word article about McCain's fundraising. The article is called, "California titans join McCain's campaign team" (Thu. March 1, 2007), and the "coverage" of the announcement covers a measly 31 words.
Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez has never been shy in taking slaps at the Catholic Church, especially the archdiocese of Los Angeles. And then there was his February 18, 2007, column, in which facts and truth went by the wayside. Wrote Lopez,
Look, I was never a perfect student in Catholic school. But I recall a thing or two about the Christian duty of looking after the neediest amongst us. And if I've learned anything in the last two years, it's that this city has a lot of need.
It's time for [Los Angeles Cardinal Roger] Mahony to lead his army of Christian soldiers down the hill and into the service of their fellow men. I know from experience that one person can make a difference in someone's life. I'd even volunteer, selflessly, to make some introductions.
"24" is just a TV show. But in her Los Angeles Times column of today, America Tortures (yawn), Rosa Brooks cites the actions of the show's characters -- and the American public's reaction to them -- as evidence of the way in which we have become inured to U.S. government-sponsored torture. In doing so, Brooks unwittingly raises another, more interesting issue.
Writes Rosa: "If you need any more evidence that the American public has gotten blasé about torture, consider the hit Fox action drama '24.' The show featured 67 torture scenes during its first five seasons, and most of those depicted torture being used by 'heroic' U.S. counter-terror agents." Note Brooks' placement of scare quotes around "heroic." For the enlightened folks of the liberal media elite, Jack Bauer is no hero -- he is best viewed as a torturer. But Brooks leaves an important question unanswered.
Sen. Barack Obama visited Los Angeles yesterday (Tuesday, February 20, 2007), and the Los Angeles Times wanted to make sure that everyone knew about it. Check out the huge, 38-square-inch, full-color, awash-in-red-white-and-blue, front-page photo on the cover of the Times today. (See it here; btw, I had to reduce the size to fit the page.) Good grief! Oh, yeah. There is yet another flattering photo of Obama inside on page A12; the black-and-white photo of the senator surrounded by fans is very generous as well, covering a large 35 square inches.
One simple question: Can you imagine the Times giving such a fawning, glowing treatment to a McCain, Giuliani, Romney, or Brownback? I didn't think so.
We have reported on the Times' ongoing love affair with Barack Obama and its disparate treatment so far in the 2008 campaign here, here, here, here, here, and here.
So asked James Taranto in his Wednesday “Best of the Web Today” column for OpinionJournal.com. Taranto highlighted a Sunday Los Angeles Times story, “Pilots traced to CIA renditions: The Times identifies three fliers facing kidnapping charges in Germany related to a 2003 counter-terrorism mission,” which though it did not list their real names, identified the aliases and enough information about each to help anyone trying to find them, including how they all live within 30 miles of a certain rural airport. One “drives a Toyota Previa minivan and keeps a collection of model trains in a glass display case near a large bubbling aquarium in his living room,” another “is a bearded man of 35 who lives with his father and two dogs in a separate subdivision” and a third “is 46, drives a Ford Explorer and has a 17-foot aluminum fishing boat” where he lives “in a house that backs onto a private golf course here." (Taranto explained: “In a town of 13,000 the Times identifies in its dateline.”)
Taranto ruminated: “Remember all the outrage when Robert Novak 'outed' Valerie Plame, who apparently worked a desk job at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.? Here the L.A. Times is publishing extensive personal details on three men who have actually done dangerous work defending the country. Where's the outrage?” Good question.
An Iranian state news agency used the Photoshop program to manipulate photos in order to try and back up claims that the US was behind a spate of bombings in southeast Iran , a popular American blog said.
A very interesting piece by Louis Chude-Sokei is featured in the L.A.Times today, titled Redefining 'Black' and centered upon the question of Barack Obama's relative "blackness".
Some of you may have noticed that Barack is not getting the automatic support from African American leaders that many assumed he would get since throwing his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for the presidency and Mr. Chude-Sokei makes an effort to inform us as to why this might be true. Unfortunately, while it has a few good points it misses the mark in too many ways.
The main point, according to Chude-Sokei, is that Obama isn't "black enough" to get the support of the standing Black American leadership because of his White/Hawaiian/African (meaning NOT African American, but real African) heritage.
A February 11, 2007, front-page article by Stephanie Simon in the Los Angeles Times discounts the possible link between induced abortion and breast cancer (ABC). Simon also promulgated the questionable claim that crisis pregnancy centers (CPC's) "gave misleading information" in an undercover investigation conducted by abortion supporter Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) last year. Finally, the story also downplayed Planned Parenthood's role as the nation's leading abortion provider.
Although the focus of the article is the funding of pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, Simon wrote:
U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), an abortion rights supporter, last year asked undercover investigators to contact 23 crisis pregnancy centers; 20 gave misleading information, such as exaggerating the risk of abortion, he reported. In Austin, the diocese hands out a booklet — approved by the state — that suggests a link between abortion and breast cancer, though the National Cancer Institute has found no such connection.
How can a movie studio get its film promoted on the front page of the Los Angeles Times for free? Easy. Make a film about an abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Yesterday (Saturday, February 17, 2007), starting on the front page, the Times devoted a plenteous 1,526 words to an article by Gina Piccalo, "A pedophile priest, in his own words."
Although the Times presents it as a legitimate news article, it weakly disguises the fact that the article is simply a promotion piece for the film, Deliver Us From Evil. Check out the opening sentence from the article:
"Deliver Us From Evil," a documentary about pedophile priest Oliver O'Grady and his devastating California legacy, has earned its filmmaker multiple awards and an Oscar nomination.
Sometimes it’s better to stay in bed and not bother reading the newspaper or watching the political talk shows. This Sunday sadly started out that way as I unfortunately happened upon a Los Angeles Times front-page article entitled “GOP Activists Circling Clinton's Campaign.”
Frankly, the author and the paper’s editors should be ashamed of themselves for placing such biased tripe so prominently in a Sunday edition.
Alas, there it was in all its glory, basically talking about a proverbial vast right-wing conspiracy to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes (emphasis mine throughout):
The Los Angeles Times readily admits that Gov. Mitt Romney is "one of three top-tier candidates" for the GOP nomination. However, when Romney made his official announcement of his presidential bid this past week, the paper did not shower the candidate with the same love they did his Democratic counterparts. "Romney officially launches campaign," from the Wednesday, February 14, 2007, edition of the Times, was shuttled to page A17 with a moderate 747 words. Two medium-sized color photos accompanied the piece.
The Times managed to squeeze the word "conservative" into the coverage on Romney three times, noting that the former governor "hewed closely to conservative orthodoxy in his announcement speech."
The steamy love affair between the Los Angeles Times and Barack Obama shows no signs of letting up. The archives at the Times will show that yesterday's big announcement by Obama was reported today with 1,215 words on page A17 (here, Sunday, February 11, 2007). In truth, there was actually more than this. There was also a 16-square-inch, full-color photo of Obama prominently displayed on the front page (see the image here). Barack is shown waving happily in front of a large backdrop of the American flag. (By the way, nowhere does the word "liberal" appear anywhere in the article!)
Yesterday's Employment Situation Summary from the Bureaus of Labor Statistics told us that reports 111,000 net new jobs were added in January. Additionally, significant upward revisions were made to the previously reported job-increase figures from November (up 42,000 to 196,000 from last month’s revised 154,000) and December (up 39,000 to 206,000 from last month’s originally reported 167,000). So with revisions, there were 192,000 more people working (111+42+39) at the end of January than were thought to be working as of the end of December, and 513,000 more (111+196+206) than three months ago.
It gets better.
In that same Employment Situation Summary released yesterday, the BLS reported on its "Annual Revisions to Establishment Survey Data." Doesn't sound like much, but read the fine print:
In accordance with annual practice, the establishment survey data have been revised to reflect comprehensive universe counts of payroll jobs, or benchmarks. These counts are derived principally from unemployment insurance tax records for March 2006. As a result of the benchmark process, all not seasonally adjusted data series were subject to revision from April 2005 forward, the time period since the last benchmark was established.
The total nonfarm employment level for March 2006 was revised upward by 752,000 (754,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis). The previously published level for December 2006 was revised upward by 981,000 (933,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis).
In other words, BLS "found" well over 900,000 more jobs, most of which (averaging about 63,000 per month) were added between April 2005 and March 2006. This was a time during which the "weak job growth" meme still had life in it. BLS's Annual Revision shows that the meme had no validity during that time.
So how does job growth during the Bush years look after incorporating the Annual Revision? Well, even more "Clintonian" than when I last looked at it a month ago:
Half-serious warning: those with heart conditions are advised to have their medications handy when reading this.
With Democrats in congressional power, are leftists feeling suddenly empowered to express formerly taboo views? First came a column in the Los Angeles Times arguing we have overreacted to 9-11. Now comes Washington Post columnist William Arkin to express contempt for our troops and question how much we really owe them after all.
"I've been mulling over an NBC Nightly News report from Iraq last Friday in which a number of soldiers expressed frustration with opposition to war in the United States. I'm all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army. But I also hope that military commanders took the soldiers aside after the story and explained to them why it wasn't for them to disapprove of the American people."
"These soldiers should be grateful that the American public, which by all polls overwhelmingly disapproves of the Iraq war and the President's handling of it, do still offer their support to them, and their respect."
"Through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform, accepting that the incidents were the product of bad apples or even of some administration or command order."
"We pay the soldiers a decent wage, take care of their families, provide them with housing and medical care and vast social support systems and ship obscene amenities into the war zone for them, we support them in every possible way, and their attitude is that we should in addition roll over and play dead, defer to the military and the generals and let them fight their war, and give up our rights and responsibilities to speak up because they are above society?"
In our continuing calvalcade of coverage of the Biden "clean and articulate" comments, we thought it would be interesting to see how three of the leading liberal newspapers treated the story on their respective front pages this morning.
At the New York Times, the headline on the smallish front-page article brought a dash of downplaying humor to the story: "Biden Unwraps His Bid for ’08 With an Oops!"
But that was better than nothing - which was exactly how much coverage the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times devoted to the story on their front pages.
Now, you might cut the Globe some slack since Beantown was focused on the Turner Broadcasting System marketing stunt for a Cartoon Network television show that littered the city with small battery-powered light screens, igniting fears of terrorism and shutting down much of the city for the day. Even so, the Globe editors found room on the front page for a variety of other stories including one on a pol caught in a sick leave scandal.
Nearly 3,000 Americans killed in a series of attacks on one single day -- the most American civilians ever killed in a single day with coordinated attacks -- was no big deal as far as David Bell writing for the L.A. Times is concerned.
The attacks were a horrible act of mass murder, but history says we're overreacting.
See, they know this because Russia had a bad time of it during WWII.
...imagine that the attacks had continued, every six hours, for another four years, until nearly 20 million Americans were dead. This is roughly what the Soviet Union suffered during World War II, and contemplating these numbers may help put in perspective what the United States has so far experienced during the war against terrorism.
Such a ridiculous comparison. WWII, a standard, symmetrical war, bears little resemblance to this threat we face today. The Russians were under arms facing Hitler. It wasn't a "nice" war, surely, but it was a standard war none-the-less. Hitler invaded and the Russians resisted.
So imagine the look on my face when I picked up the Times this morning to see yet another fawning portrait of Obama today (Mon. Jan. 29, 2007)! This time, the piece is, "Occidental recalls 'Barry' Obama," placed prominently on the top of page B1 spanning 1,456 words. (See an image of the article.) Three photos, including one of a smiling, youthful Obama, accompany the piece. Need I even mention that the article is a pretty positive sketch of its subject?
The Los Angeles Times is continuing its fawning and glowing coverage of Democratic freshman Senator Barack Obama. Only 11 days ago, after Obama announced the formation of his presidential exploratory committee, the Times commemorated the event on the top of its front page with 1,469 words, a color text box, and photos (see this).
Yesterday (Sat. January 27, 2007), the Times published its latest adulatory piece, "Early on, Obama showed talent for bridging divisions." It was on the front page, and it featured a nice, smiling photo of a youthful Obama with more pics inside. (See an image of the piece.) It runs a generous 1,204 words, and let's just say the Obama camp won't be calling the Times to complain. It's a pretty sweet profile. ("Interviews with more than a dozen people associated with the law review, both liberals and conservatives, found no one who did not profess respect for Obama." You get the idea.)
There's no sign that the Los Angeles Times is planning to correct, clarify or explain an embarrassingly negligent passage from this past week. On Tuesday (1/23/07), the Times published a front-page piece called, "Scant evidence found of Iran-Iraq arms link." In alleging that there are few Iranian arms in Iraq, the writers asserted (emphasis mine):
"During a recent sweep through a stronghold of Sunni insurgents here, a single Iranian machine gun turned up among dozens of arms caches U.S. troops uncovered."
As NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein wrote Tuesday, the Iranian government is a Shia government working in opposition to Sunnis in Iraq. (Even the writers of the article appear to know this.) Therefore, it should not be news that there are not a lot of Iranian machine guns turning up among Sunnis. As Mark reported, Keith Olbermann made an utter fool of himself on Tuesday by parroting the Times' line on his show. Asked Mark, "Would you (Keith) be stunned to be told that not much weaponry from Hamas supporters turns up in the hands of the Israelis?"
In a sign of just how much the Internet is changing the way people get their news, the Los Angeles Times rolled out a new strategy Wednesday designed to focus more attention on web-based delivery.
As reported by the Associated Press (h/t Drudge): “The Los Angeles Times Media Group said Wednesday it is reorganizing the newspaper's newsroom into an around-the-clock operation with an emphasis on breaking news on its Web site and offering expanded coverage in its print edition.”
Certainly, one could ask: What took you so long? After all, though most dailies have a web presence that updates news that is reported throughout the day by the nation’s various wire services, most original content is reserved for publication at the start of the new day.
Unfortunately, in an Internet world, this makes such content stale and “old news.” It therefore seems that the LA Times has finally realized what many have known for years:
One phrase you won't find in the AP/Times articles is "pro-life." Why? As Reuters widely reported in 2004 (here), the paper adheres "to a strict Times policy banning the phrase 'pro-life' as offensive to people who support abortion." (The paper appears only to allow the phrase if a person is being quoted using it.) Does the AP have the same policy as well? The AP article alternates between using the words "abortion foes" and "abortion opponents" to label pro-lifers in its article. In their headline and the first paragraph, the Times scrubbed the AP's use of the word "foes" and replaced it with "opponents." What's going on? (By the way: In 2004, this ridiculous policy of banning the phrase "pro-life" resulted in a hilarious episode in which the Times scrubbed the words in an opera review and replaced it with "anti-abortion" - even though the opera had nothing to do with abortion. Read the hilarity here.)