It started with this post at One Oar in the Water, comparing the LA Times' reporting of an incident at Ramadi to portions of a soldier's e-mail about the same incident.
Since it concerned a story allegedly seriously misreported by the Los Angeles Times, it seemed only logical for yours truly to ask Patterico, the blogosphere's designated LA Times fisker, to investigate further.
Thankfully, he did, and, as usual, he has done a splendid job. The LA Times' "Silent Solomon" Moore (you'll see why he gets the nickname from me when you read the post) does not come off looking good. Or maybe he should be called Solomon "Room Service" Moore.
There is no substitute for reading the whole thing, but here are Patterico's core findings:
We all know about actor Michael Richards' racial epithets at last Friday night's performance at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. But yesterday, this exclusive TMZ.com article revealed that the three-time Emmy-award-winning actor had also hurled anti-Semitic slurs at the Improv comedy club in April of this year. According to the piece, Richards yelled at an audience member, "You f***ing Jew. You people are the cause of Jesus dying." And here's the kicker: Richards' own representative has confirmed that this actually happened. (He said it was part of Richards' act.)
So how did the Los Angeles Times cover this latest revelation in today's paper (Thursday, November 23, 2006)? They didn't. In fact, the name "Michael Richards" appears nowhere in today's edition. Compared to the Mel Gibson episode from July, the Times is treating the angry slurs by Michael Richards much differently. Here's the rundown:
Now that the Democrats have picked their Majority Leader in the House the outcome gives us (and her) the first hint that Speaker Pelosi is not the powerhouse she thought she was. Her man, Murtha, lost in a landslide: 149 to 86... a thumpin' to say the least.
In my last report on how the MSM covered this little inter Dem fight I pointed out that they were ignoring how distant were the two positions on pulling out of Iraq that is held by the erstwhile candidates for Majority Leader.
I noted how they refused to portray Murtha's position as "extreme", even as he supports pulling out of Iraq immediately to Hoyer's, who does not. I noted that the MSM did not waste much breath contrasting Murtha's position with the far less volatile position held by Hoyer.
It seems strangely inconsistent that the MSM ignored the Iraq war issue in their stories since they made the entire recent election all about Iraq and how it is a mess and that our soldiers should come home. Yet, a guy who does not want an immediate pull out defeated Murtha and this fact went uncommented upon.
It has been interesting, to say the least, to watch the MSM twist itself into knots trying to report this story of Pelosi backing the extremist Murtha for Party leadership over the objections of the so-called "blue dog" Democrats who were recently elected to Congress.
Pelosi has decided to ardently back the extreme anti-war activist, John Murtha (Dem, PA), for the Democrat's Majority leader position in a move that has 'baffled" many Democrats, especially those incoming Democrats who ran as conservative alternatives to Republicans -- as well as other incumbent moderate Democrats -- who are instead backing Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer.
Hoyer is well known on the floor not to be quite as extreme as Murtha is on a pull out from Iraq (Hoyer voted to give Bush the OK to go into Iraq in 2002, but he IS for gradual withdraw to be sure), but few Americans will have even heard of Steny Hoyer, he not being much of a "national" figure. On the other hand, anyone who had paid politics much attention knows that Murtha is against the war and is a vocal critic of President Bush. Murtha is well known for his many extreme positions and statements.
A November 6, 2006, Los Angeles Times op-ed by someone named Peter C. Boulay blares the title, "Will Catholicism OK Condoms?" Because of errors in fact and misleading information, the article appears to be just another cheap slap at the Catholic Church by the Times.
The column suggests that the Catholic Church is possibly readying to allow for the use of condoms in "situations in which there is potential for HIV infection." Besides the fact that such an allowance by the Church is quite unlikely, Boulay argues that if the contraception "rule" is changed, the result is a challenge to "the entire contraception doctrine, to the doctrine of papal infallibility and even to the church's abortion rules."
Apparently, the Times' headline wants readers to believe that these "fireworks" just happened on their own. Even the sub-headlines make no mention of Kerry's actual words from Monday. In fact, the Times baselessly drags the GOP into the mix. "New flap in Virginia race; Bush and Kerry battle like it's 2004." "Missouri could be the key." (bold added)
On Friday (October 27, 2006), Illinois Democrat Sen. Barack Obama was in Los Angeles for a book signing and a rally for the Democratic Party. The Los Angeles Times heralded his appearances the next day with 1027 words and two photos in a glowing article entitled, "A rising star from Illinois makes some noise in L.A." The piece was displayed prominently on the front page of the 'California' section (page B1). Writer Carla Hall hailed that Obama spoke before a "rapt crowd" and that he "was sent off with a crescendo of applause." She reminded her readers that Obama had "electrified" the 2004 Democratic National Convention as a speaker.
Yesterday (Saturday, October 28, 2006), comedian Bill Cosby was in Los Angeles to speak at an education forum organized by local black leaders. Today, the Times documented the event with 580 words and zero photos in a piece tucked at the bottom of page B3. The title: "More straight talk from Cosby" (by Times staffer Deborah Schoch). (Amid the straightforward reporting that Cosby "chastised" black parents and "chided" teachers, Schoch was able to relay that Cosby was "greeted with sustained applause." But, apparently, things didn't quite reach a "crescendo.")
Writing a lippy account of a Presbyterian service he had recently attended, Stein belches,
"The first thing I noticed about church was how much like PBS it was. The lighting was dim, the speakers talked slowly, the songs were dated, there were a lot of references to reading material and every so often my eye line was interrupted by envelopes asking me to donate money. Also, I kept falling asleep."
And (bold added),
"I'd never realized how much of a death cult Christianity is. When we weren't fixating on how awesome Christ's murder was, we were singing about how terrific it was going to be when we bite it. Chipper up, Christians! There's a lot to live for. They're making more of those 'Narnia' movies."
On Sunday October 15, 2006, the Los Angeles Times published a 1488-word, front-page article entitled, "Displease a Lobbyist, Get Fired," by Times staffer Peter Wallsten. The gist of the piece (if you can't glean it from the title): Lobbyist Jack Abramoff "manipulated the system" and used his influence at the White House to get Allen Stayman, a State Department official who was working against the interests of Abramoff's clients, fired. Wallsten's lengthy piece portrays Stayman as an unwitting government official who was innocently bulldozed for standing in the way of Abramoff and his interests.
However, Wallsten's article left out a big chunk of the story. Wallsten failed to inform his readers that Mr. Stayman, back in the 1990's, resigned from President Clinton's Department of Interior. He stepped down after serious criminal investigations was conducted against him and his department for illegal political activity. Documents show that his office contacted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to "target" Republican lawmakers who were up for reelection in 1998. The bulk of this campaign activity resulted out of an issue on which Abramoff and Stayman clashed.
Haven't the MSM been suggesting it's only Republicans who engage in mean-spirited tactics in the closing weeks of a campaign? Yet in her column this morning, the LA Times Rosa Brooks dug deep into the dreck, depicting W as a drunk. She writes:
"When it comes to Iraq, being a citizen in George W. Bush's America is like being a passenger in a car driven by a drunk driver."
Shades of the 2000 campaign, when just days before the election a decades-old Bush DUI surfaced, under circumstances giving reason to believe a Gore aide was behind the leak.
Be it her politics - or perhaps her personality - one thing is clear: some big-time MSM women columnists don't dig Hillary. Yesterday I described here how the LA Times Rosa Brooks described Hillary - in the context of her support for legislation authorizing torture in ticking-bomb type cases - as having "hit bottom" and "fallen as low as it's possible to go."
Today Maureen Dowd weighs in - with a vengeance. The central thesis of the subscription-required Obama’s Project Runway is that the Illinois senator needs to decide whether he is content to be the glamor guy basking in Dem adulation, or wants to get serious and run for president. [On a related note, earlier today I posed the question here as to whether Obama is ready for prime time in light of his suggestion on last night's Olbermann that we should encourage Iran and Syria to "take ownership" for the stability of Iraq.]
As reported Friday, a Democrat staffer was suspended last week over possibly being the source of the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate to the New York Times. New reports from the Los Angeles Times and Fox News identified the name of the staffer in question, and that he has ties to Rep. Jane Harman (D-California) who expressed such outrage over the incident (hat tip to Michelle Malkin):
The aide was identified by other congressional officials as Larry Hanauer. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of a pending investigation into the leak, said Hanauer had held positions with the departments of Defense and Homeland Security before joining the professional staff of Democrats on the House intelligence panel about two years ago.
The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) is apparently fed up with all the leaks coming out of Congress, and sent a letter to Harman’s office addressing such concerns:
Despite the harsh headline: Hillary Hits Bottom, Hillary Clinton might actually welcome Rosa Brooks' LA Times column of this morning condemning her for supporting legislation allowing torture in ticking-bomb cases. Call it a 'Sistah Rosa' moment that Hillary can point to as proof she's not too soft on terror to be president.
But I wonder. Is Brooks aware - while bashing the presumptive presidential candidate for supporting legislation permitting torture in narrowly delineated cases - that Hillary is echoing her husband?
Has Brooks read this column by Alan Dershowitz? The Harvard law prof reports on Bill's recent NPR interview in which he said:
It’s always amusing to see media code words and phrases that seem to say one thing but, upon reflection, end up meaning less than at first thought. Phrases like "sources say" would lead one to imagine whole rafts of insiders are affirming a story's bias when really it is just one disgruntled person as the "source", or words like "many" when it is but a very few are used all the time to inflate the importance of a reporter's bias or justify his story.
The L.A. Times used a classic today in the story titled "Some See 'Pink Purge' in the GOP". Notice the word "some"? What exactly does "some" mean? According to the story "some" seems to be the thought of many Christian Republicans.
I experienced an eerie sense of déjà vu this morning while reading an AP article entitled "Iran Blames U.S. for N. Korea Nuke Test." I could swear that I had already read this same blame-America analysis somewhere else. That sent me scrambling back to my report on the piece by LA Times columnist Rosa Brooks, "A Good Week for the Axis of Evil" contained in my NB item of yesterday [but please don't read just yet]. And sure enough, I found language there that closely tracked the statement from Tehran.
So, let's have a little fun. I'll set the two statements out below, and you try to guess. Which was issued by the Men of Mahmoud, and which by a homegrown member of the Blame America Brigades? Answer below.
You remember Rosa Brooks. She's the LA Times columnist who vehemently denies hating George Bush. To judge by her column of today, she has an odd way of proving it. In A Good Week for the Axis of Evil, Brooks lumps Pres. Bush in with the most evil dictators from around the globe, past and present.
After arguing that it's been a good week for "Dear Leader Kim Jong Il," Saddam Hussein and the leaders of Iran and Al-Qaeda, Brooks claims "this week's news was a humiliating setback for the United States' homegrown authoritarians — a.k.a. the Bush administration."
Here's a familiar scenario: new management comes in to a media company and decides it needs to find ways to "re-engage" the audience.
How serious are they? Unless they take my advice (after the cut), probably not too much.
Newspapers are all looking for ways to gain readers, and many have hired consultants to help them. In an unusual twist, The Los Angeles Times is looking to chart its
future by using its own reporters and editors, who rank among the best
investigators in the business.
The Times is dedicating three investigative reporters and half a
dozen editors to find ideas, at home and abroad, for re-engaging the
reader, both in print and online. The newspaper’s editor, Dean Baquet,
and its new publisher, David Hiller, plan to convene a meeting today to
start the effort, which is being called the Manhattan Project. A report
is expected in about two months.
Do you favor tax cuts? If so, you're no better than a congressman wanting to slip the pants off a page. Worse, for that matter. That's the reasoning of Rosa Brooks, L.A. Times columnist. In Grand Old Party of Child Endangerment, Brooks argues that:
"Foley's acts may have damaged the handful of boys unfortunate enough to have attracted his attention, but the damage to children caused by his abuse of power is still far, far less than the damage to American children caused by this Congress' disastrous mismanagement of the American economy."
By "mismanagement," Brooks makes clear she largely means tax cuts:
"Though only the Foley scandal has generated substantial media coverage, the Republican-led Congress has a long record of child endangerment. Recall that from 2000 to 2005, Congress handed out tax breaks for the rich like hors d'oeuvres at a Republican fundraiser. They slashed the estate tax and the capital gains tax, selling these cuts with an advertising campaign that misled ordinary people into thinking the cuts were going to help working Americans, instead of just the rich."
When it comes to the Foley scandal, the MSM is definitely keeping its eyes on the prize: the Democratic takeover of Congress. In this NB item, I described how the New York Times editorialized this morning that it doesn't care what else flows from the scandal. So long as the Dems re-take power, the Foley flameout "will have done its job."
Over at 'Today' this morning, Matt Lauer fretted that the fallout might not come fast enough to swing the election to the Dems. Interviewing Tim Russert, Lauer said "the most cynical scenario, the worst-case scenario for Republicans is that they kept this under wraps because Foley's seat was important to holding control of the House at a time when the entire control issue is up for grabs in the mid-term elections." Matt didn't bother painting a more innocent scenario.
No, this isn't a joke. Of all the possible photos available of Joe Negron, the Florida state representative who has replaced Mark Foley as the GOP congressional candidate in the 16th CD, the top one here is the one the Associated Press chose to accompany its article: FL GOP picks Foley replacement.
Congressmen come and congressmen go. But the Associated Press's liberal bias goes on forever.
UPDATE: Reuters has pulled a similar stunt. Here's the photo it chose to accompany its article on Negron's nomination.
Hat tips to Free Republic members Behind Liberal Lines re AP and bitt re Reuters.
Note: The AP can of course always change the photo accompanying an online article. It's always possible that by the time an NB reader clicks on the link provided above to the AP article, a responsible editor will have done so, perhaps even embarrassed by this NB item exposing AP's bias. But the photo displayed here was the one accompanying the AP article as originally posted. I saved it to our NB server.
When the Pope recently accused Muslim extremists of using violence to advance their ends, they responded . . . with violence. Not to compare myself to the Pontiff, but I recently accused a liberal columnist of being consumed with Bush-hatred, and she has now responded . . . by cataloguing the many things she hates about Bush.
Liberal press critics are quite the paradox. Most such writers like Eric Alterman, Michael Wolffe, and Michael Massing, are pretty sophisticated about the media in non-political matters, but when it comes to politics, they can't help repeating a slightly toned down version of rhetoric you'll find over at the Daily Kos. They deny the press is tilted toward the left (ignoring scores of content studies and surveys of reporters) and yet they cheer when the media chooses to favor the left, as if that's the media's natural role. Which it is, of course--if you're a liberal
This line of thought is far too common among left-wing media critics. In an interview with the Huffington Post, writer Michael Massing provided a textbook example of it, arguing that the press has properly began pushing back against the Bush Administration while also saying that conservative critics are fundamentally wrong in their opinion of the media:
My working hypothesis on all this, which I have mentioned in some of
those articles, is that the more powerful the President, the more timid
the press. There's an inverse relationship between the popularity of
the President and the willingness of the press to challenge him. And
right now, Bush's popularity is very low. I think we're seeing the
press pushing back in a very strong way. If I were writing an article
today about what's been happening, I would say more about how the press
has been pushing back. And I think there's a big appetite for this
among readers. The Bush administration is so beleaguered and has done
so many things that have upset the public that the press sees an
opening and has been moving to take advantage of it.
The bio of Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks couldn't be much more impressive in terms of conventional credentials: Harvard, Oxford, Yale. Adviser to State Department. Kennedy School Fellow.
But despite having her ticket prestigiously punched time and again, her column of today reveals that nowhere has she learned much in the way of nuance or common sense. Her opposition to President Bush's efforts to clarify interrogation rules so as to allow some more forceful techniques is absolute and implacable, utterly failing to acknowledge the realities of terrorism on a scale unimaginable when the Geneva Convention was drafted.
You wouldn't think that someone who wrote a book condemning all religions as dangerous hokum and who favors higher taxes, drug decriminalization and gay marriage would be in danger of becoming the right's favorite liberal. But in the wake of his LA Times column of today, Head-in-the-Sand Liberals, Sam Harris might be on the way to being celebrated by conservatives and castigated on the left.
The column's subtitle really tells the story: "Western civilization really is at risk from Muslim extremists," and Harris' essential point in that liberals refuse to recognize that fact.
The L.A.Times published a story on the 13th that treated Chinese dictator, "Chairman" Mao, as a beloved and "iconic" figure but found no room in their story for any mention of the "great leader's" human rights abuses, tortures or the many murderous pogroms which took the lives of millions of his fellow citizens decade after decade as he ruled with an iron fist.
The story, sporting the title "Mao Is Their Canvas," was a puff piece investigating the secretive artists who painted the massive Mao portrait that hung at Tiananmen Square during and after the dictator's lifetime. Certainly the lives of these "people's artists" was somewhat interesting, but the disturbing thing was how gently the tyrant was treated in the story itself.
Nobody likes a nag. But liberal Dems are in danger of becoming the party of scolds. First there was Tom Frank and his "What's the Matter With Kansas," scolding red-state Americans for being too dumb to realize it's in their interest to vote Democrat. Then the New York Times berated investors for reacting too enthusiastically to good economic news, driving up stock prices.
Now Los Angeles Times columnist Erin Aubry Kaplan in Not So 'Hot,' Arnold lashes Latinos and other minorities for being insufficently outraged over comments that Arnold Schwarzenegger recently made. Arnold, speaking of CA Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, said that Latina women with black blood are "very hot."
In a large color photo above the article is a man dressed in black, as a priest, surrounded by several relics and icons depicting Jesus and other Christian imagery. The caption of the photo reads, "Caretaker: Christ of the Hills Monastery in Blanco, Texas, is empty now. Father Thomas Flower of a San Antonio urban mission says he is looking after the place." Another color photo shows an icon of the Virgin Mary.
"Christ of the Hills," "Monastery," "Father," "urban mission," "monks," "Virgin Mary" ... Another example of abuse in the Catholic Church, right? At first glance, it would appear so. But it isn't.Buried more than halfway through the article is the fact that the monastery was affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and they cut ties with the monks seven years ago. Why are these facts practically hidden in the article? Deception, anyone?
The arrest of the number 2 man in al-Qaeda in Iraq was certainly big news, but apparently not big enough to merit a front-page story in the Los Angeles Times. The story is surreptitiously tucked near the inside fold on page A6 of today's paper (Monday, September 4, 2006).
Meanwhile, the Washington Post, who apparently recognized the importance of the capture, placed the story prominently on the top of its front page (image).
Here in the Information Age, it is customary for a major newspaper to regularly post its contents/articles on its web site. However, it appears an exception has been made in the case of the Los Angeles Times and some op-eds written by television host Bill Maher. The paper has not made two of his recent articles available for viewing outside the actual hard copy of the paper.
In the print edition of yesterday's Times (Friday, September 1, 2006, page B13) was a piece written by Maher entitled, "Praise Allah and pass the hair gel." (More on this below.) However, the article is nowhere to be found at latimes.com or anywhere on the internet. (For you suspicious types, here's an image of the actual article from the paper.)
Lest one think that this episode is an anomaly, this is not the first time we've noticed this. Back on November 4, 2005, the Times published an op-ed by Maher entitled, "Is abortion finito with Alito?"
It can be hard for people working in journalism to publicly talk about the bias that they see in their co-workers every day. There are a number of risks involved when you take sides against the overwhelming majority of people in your industry.
Take a look at this interview with Daniel Hernandez, staff writer for LA Weekly and formerly a journalist at the LA Times. It is an insightful peek behind the curtain of MSM. The LA Times isn't going to be able to write this one off as a crazed conservative. Daniel is an independent thinker and his breadth of writing toes no conservative line.
Forced liberal pity is a common pitfall in well-intentioned journalism, patting your subjects upon the head, regarding others as provincial. I find this highly disrespectful.
I owe The Times lots. They taught me so much. But The Times has a very clear, very rigid tradition on how to report the news.
Shortly after I got there, I started having these long, tortured thought sessions with myself about my participation in the MSM. I saw how the people and places the paper chose to cover were automatically political decisions because for every thing you chose to cover there is something you chose to not cover. I started realizing that the mainstream style on reporting the news that most papers employ is not really concerned with depicting the truth, but concerned primarily with balancing lots of competing agendas and offending the least amount of interests as possible.
I saw how so much was looked at from certain assumptions and subtexts, and a very narrow cultural view. When I raised questions about such things, I was told we were writing for a "mainstream reader," which I quickly figured out is basically a euphemism for a middle-aged, middle-class white registered Democrat homeowner in the Valley. From where I stand today, I had very little in common with this "mainstream reader" and I didn't care to be in this person's service.