As the negotiations about whether to sell the Wall Street Journal's parent company appear to be moving along between Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and the Bancroft family, owners of a special class of stock which gives them control over Dow Jones.
Whenever Murdoch is going hard for a media asset, it inevitably sets off concerns among those on the left (such as the employee unions at Dow Jones) that the purchase of an outlet by News Corp. will somehow comprimise its editorial integrity since Murdoch is a very active manager in his properties. Those concerns seem to be less about editorial process and more about political considerations since Murdoch is far from the only active media mogul.
In an editorial today, the Journal pointed out that Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger is heavily involved in managing the New York Times:
[T]he Bancrofts are unique in their hands-off ownership. They are often compared as family newspaper proprietors to the Grahams at the Washington Post or the Sulzbergers at the New York Times. But members of those families run those newspapers, exerting influence over the news and opinion operations. In that sense, those newspapers are hardly "independent" of those families.
In an excellent investigative report last Sunday (may require free registration) that is part of a series on how "how businesses and investors seek to profit from the soaring number of older Americans, in ways helpful and harmful," the New York Times' Charles Duhigg exposed the despicable tactics of elder-scam artists and the "information services" companies that supply them the "sucker lists" they need.
He may not have known that he was simultaneously exposing information that could, and arguably should, damage the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
Duhigg led with the truly sad story of 92 year-old Richard Guthrie:
..... He ended up on scam artists’ lists because his name, like millions of others, was sold by large companies to telemarketing criminals, who then turned to major banks to steal his life’s savings.
"It is unclear what role, if any, religion played in the attack Mr. Shnewer and the five other men are charged with planning. (The sixth suspect, Agron Abdullahu, had no apparent connection with Al-Aqsa or the South Jersey Islamic Center.) The authorities have described the suspects as Islamic extremists, but the lengthy criminal complaint summarizing the F.B.I.'s 15-month undercover investigation of the group does not mention where -- or how often -- they prayed. Certainly there is no evidence that they picked up radical ideas at either mosque."
David German, the AP movie writer, reported that notorious liberal bomb-thrower and fact-fudger, Michael Moore “is under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department for taking ailing Sept. 11 rescue workers to Cuba for a segment in his upcoming health-care documentary 'Sicko.' " The May 10 article seemed very matter of fact, but Moore and his movies were presented from the perspective that the filmmaker is controversial but accurate and is persecuted by his “adversaries.”
The AP indicated that the Treasury Department is investigating Moore because he did not follow the law. The AP obtained a copy of a letter, dated May 2, sent by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which informed Moore that it was investigating potential violations of the US trade embargo which restricts US travel to Cuba. According to an unnamed source affiliated with “Sicko,” this past February, Moore took ill Ground Zero workers to Cuba for “treatment” (my use of irony quotes because Cuba used new and unproven procedures. Emphasis mine throughout):
"This office has no record that a specific license was issued authorizing you to engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba," Dale Thompson, OFAC chief of general investigations and field operations, wrote in the letter to Moore.
While covering media mogul Rupert Murdoch's offer to buy The Wall Street Journal from, New York Times reporter Richard Perez-Pena uncovered a news organization with a political slant: Fox News Channel.
"Two members of the Ottaway family, a minority partner in Dow Jones & Company, released scathing statements yesterday saying that a takeover by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation would ruin Dow Jones and its crown jewel, The Wall Street Journal.
"The controlling Bancroft family said last week that family members representing 52 percent of shareholder votes opposed Mr. Murdoch’s $60-a-share bid, a steep premium for a stock that had recently traded around $36. But their statement was vague, leaving it unclear whether family members objected to the price, to Mr. Murdoch or to a sale on any terms.
If Democrats had accused former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) last year of earmarking funds that could help real estate investments owned by his wife, would the media have reported it?
Probably on the front pages of every newspaper, and as the lead story of all of the evening news programs, right?
Well, the Associated Press published a story Monday about current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) possibly earmarking funds that would benefit her husband's investments around the San Francisco Bay. Yet, the media showed virtually no interest (emphasis added):
After a demoralized Rosie O’Donnell stated the previous day that she gave up on gun control, Barbara Walters, on the April 18 edition of "The View," expressed disappointment in Rosie’s surrender. Rosie, again expressed her frustration with not accomplishing anything in the eight years since the Columbine massacre. Perhaps disarming her bodyguards would be a start.
BARBARA WALTERS: When I'm not on, I watch the program. And, I mean this tragedy that has happened is so terrible, but you Rosie are always so passionate. Right or wrong, you're passionate. You care. And you're one of the people who talked about gun control. And for me to hear you yesterday, because we haven't talked too much about it, numb, saying we're never going to get a gun control law, kind of giving up made me sad. I don't want to see you do that.
Imagine if you will that in September 1996, just days after America launched a missile strike on Baghdad to expand the “no fly zone,” Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich met with Saddam Hussein to discuss foreign policy matters without the permission of President Clinton.
Would the media have vociferously discussed the possibility that Gingrich had violated federal law in doing so?
If the answer is a resounding “Yes,” then why have extremely few press outlets broached this issue as it pertains to current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) recent potentially law-breaking trip to Syria?
To best understand the issue, a little history is necessary. The Logan Act was created in 1799, and reads as follows:
I suppose it's possible she could defensively argue that this refers to Iran's Ahmadinejad or North Korea's Kim Jong-il, but in context it seems NY Post columnist Liz Smith refers to President George W. Bush in her March 29 article "Cruise-ing to WWII":
March 29, 2007 -- 'EVERY SECOND is a door to eternity. The door is opened by perception," said Rumi.
does a nation's elite rid itself of a deranged chief executive or
commander who is bent on leading the country astray? No, we're not
talking here about our own life and times. We're talking Nazi Germany.
Smith's piece was syndicated to other papers, including The Toledo Blade, where NewsBusters reader John Page noticed the item and forwarded it to me. The Blade headline for the Smith item: "Tom Cruise to star in film about Hitler."
February 28, 2007 -- To those who remember the infamous 1981 Brinks heist in Nyack, Judith Clark is a self-indulgent '60s radical serving a well-deserved 75-year prison term for her role in the violent deaths of three heroic law-enforcement officers.
But to the Associated Press, which supplies news to the world, Judith Clark is a "former freedom fighter."
As the Beatles sang years ago, It’s getting better all the time.
Forget about this Sunday's Super Bowl, sports fans. World War III in the arena of cable news is raging on, and the players have started taking prisoners.
As NewsBusters reported here and here, the most recent escalation between heavyweight Fox News and steadily becoming also-ran CNN started when the former took out an ad in Television Week magazine describing Anderson Cooper as “the Paris Hilton of television news.” This was actually a promotion for Fox News’s “On the Record” with Greta Van Susteren.
We report when they get it wrong, and now we can report when they get it right...
And it's about time some American news source describes how well most of Iraq is doing since the US led overthrow of Saddam's regime. It is a fact that escapes too many in the western media who's only goal seems to be to attack America in general and George W. Bush n particular.
WHILE the American political elite is using Iraq as an excuse for fighting internal political wars, a different reality is taking shape in parts of this war-torn nation. Wherever some measure of security is assured - that is to say in more than 80 percent of Iraq - towns and villages long left to die a slow death are creeping back to life.
Nowhere is this slow but steady return to life more startling than in Um Qasr, in the southeast extremity of Iraq on the Persian Gulf. Four years ago, this was a jumble of rusting quays, abandoned houses and gutted buildings. By the spring of 2003, its population had dwindled to a few dozen, along with hundreds of stray dogs. There was even talk of abandoning it altogether.
Yesterday, I noted here the pride of place 'Today' accorded Richard Haas, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, to trumpet his abjectly bleak view of Iraq. Haas confirmed Meredith Vieira's assessment of his position: "You do not believe that there is anything about the situation that is winnable, I take it." He added that Iraq would be seen as a "colossal foreign policy failure."
All this sets the stage nicely for the forthcoming, much-leaked recommendations of the Baker Study Group, which effectively will be calling for a slow-motion retreat and surrender.
Enter John Podhoretz. In his NY Post column of today, Podhoretz excoriates both the Study Group's members and its recommendations. Excerpts:
Clinton pointedly refuted several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.
Item -- Philosophical sympathizer Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in her June 2004 column evaluating the Clinton presidency:
If anyone says Rupert Murdoch's media outlets go easy on conservatives, his New York Post has been willing to run plagiarism challenges brought against Ann Coulter by former University of California, Berkeley professor John Barrie.
Universal Press Syndicate, through which Coulter's columns appear in more than 100 newspapers, said it wants to review a report that detailed instances in which passages of her columns appeared to be lifted from other authors. A plagiarism-detecting software system called iThenticate produced the findings.
"We take allegations of plagiarism seriously. It's something we'd like to investigate further," Universal spokeswoman Kathie Kerr said.
"We'd like to see a copy of the report. We'd like to start looking into it."
Over the course of the past few weeks – and much to the delight of many conservative new media journalists – no less than seven major news outlets have published rather derogatory articles about Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the highly-successful proprietor of the überleft-leaning blog Daily Kos.
Conspicuously at the same time, most media avoided or downplayed the recently revealed stock fraud allegations surrounding Zuniga’s colleague and co-author Jerome Armstrong – the man that helped Howard Dean’s presidential campaign back in 2004, and is now working for 2008 Democrat presidential candidate Mark Warner.
As this negative media focus came soon after Zuniga’s much-heralded liberal bloggers’ convention, The Yearly Kos, in Las Vegas – where the usual media suspects were writing great praise for the event as well as for Kos himself – some awkward and so far unspoken questions arise:
The original source of the whole blogger investigation was an article printed in New York Times blog (disclosing how Armstrong was found by the SEC to have promoted junk stocks and bonds on the web) which never appeared in the print edition and is unreadable without a paid subscription to the web site. After the story came out, The New York Post printed its own story, and in the process taking the scoop. It's starting to seem as though NYT blogger Chris Suellentrop's editors did not deem newsworthy a story which reflected badly on the left-wing blogosphere despite devoting mucho coverage to it this month.
In a stunning example of politics making strange bedfellows, conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation owns Fox News and the New York Post, is rumored to be about to host a fundraising event for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). As reported by the Financial Times: “The decision underlines an incongruous thawing of relations between Mr Murdoch and Mrs Clinton, who in 1998 coined the phrase ‘vast rightwing conspiracy’ to denounce critics of her husband, such as Fox News, the conservative cable channel owned by Mr Murdoch’s News Corporation.”
The article made it clear that this is about Hillary's senatorial ambitions and not those for the White House:
"The National Tracing Center database is an essential resource for law enforcement. Beyond enabling law enforcement to trace the history of a gun linked to a crime, it helps identify patterns of gun theft and trafficking. And that information can help local law enforcement — like the NYPD — in stopping illegal guns before they're used to commit crimes.
Yet the NYPD — along with every other branch of law enforcement in the nation — is being denied the information needed to get illegal guns off our streets: There is no requirement that stolen guns or guns used to commit crimes be reported to the National Tracing Center database.
Today’s New York Post (27 August) carries a story by Niles Lathem entitled “Military ‘Spied’ on Rice.” The good news is that the story ran at all. The bad news is the reporter demonstrated a brass-plated ignorance of how the Able Danger program operated.
The lede from this article says, “Cyber-sleuths working for a Pentagon intelligence unit that reportedly identified some of the 9/11 hijackers before the attack were fired by military officials, after they mistakenly pinpointed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other prominent Americans as potential security risks....”
Able Danger is/was a computer program which does not target or “pinpoint” or “spy” on anyone. The very use of these verbs demonstrates a gross failure to understand Able Danger, and why it is a very powerful investigative tool. To use an example every reporter is well aware of, consider Google News.