If, as I am, you're stuck in a seemingly endless winter, here's something to bring a sunny smile to your lips, courtesy of that one-man cavalcade of mirth, Paul Krugman. The New York Times columnist this morning blames the election of George Bush in 2000 on -- ready? -- the MSM! Yes, according to Krugman, Bush
"got within chad-and-butterfly range of the White House because the public, enthusiastically encouraged by many in the news media, treated the presidential election like a high school popularity contest. The successful candidate received kid-gloves treatment — and a free pass on the fuzzy math of his policy proposals — because he seemed like a fun guy to hang out with, while the unsuccessful candidate was subjected to sniggering mockery over his clothing and his mannerisms."
Is there any canard against President Bush more tired than the notion that he ignores the Establishment Clause, or as his liberal critics tend to put it, the "separation of church and state"? Maureen Dowd offered a classic exemplar of the criticism on this morning's Meet the Press, telling Tim Russert that: "W has sort of merged church and state while trying to keep them apart in Iraq."
Russert didn't ask Dowd to substantiate her assertion. But when Bush antagonists are pressed for proof, they typically point to the president's Faith-Based Initiative and the manner in which the W incorporates religious themes in his public pronouncements. But as has been documented, Pres. Bush has in fact invoked religion much less explicitly than many of his predecessors, including liberal icon FDR. In his D-Day prayer, for example, Roosevelt stated, among other things, that "with Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy." I defy Dowd or others sharing her view to provide an example of Pres. Bush coming anywhere close to FDR in suggesting that God is on our side. As for the Faith-Based Initiative, it incorporates a variety of safeguards specifically designed to prevent violation of the Establishment clause, including the following:
This is a tale of two editorials. The New York Times this morning applauds a New Jersey court ruling holding public schools liable when they fail to take measures to stop the taunting or bullying of gay students. Coincidentally, a Boston Globe editorial today applauds a Massachusetts court ruling upholding the right of the Lexington school district to expose elementary school students to children's books -- such as 'Who's in a Family?' and 'Molly's Family' -- that feature same-sex parents. This was done pursuant to a state law law that "requires that all public school districts develop curricula advancing respect for diversity, including for gays and lesbians."
In the Bay State case, parents had claimed that their constitutional rights to free exercise of religion were violated, as were their rights as parents to raise their children as they see fit. The court disagreed, ruling that "options remain for the parents, such as private school or home schooling, so their rights were not abridged." Not only did the Globe declare the judge's ruling "reasonable," it opined that "the earlier most students learn [to 'respect difference'], the better."
The New York Times has published a story scolding Rudy Guiliani for arranging only friendly campaign stops, pointedly carping how he is "Seeing Only Softballs".
Stepping to the Plate, Giuliani Is Seeing Only Softballs
SPARTANBURG, S.C., Feb. 21 -- In a swing through South Carolina this week, Rudolph W. Giuliani chose to campaign at a fire house, which is a little like Derek Jeter meeting with Yankees fans -- a most unlikely forum for hostility, or even much skepticism.
It is curious to me why anyone would expect a candidate to open themselves up to any venues that would present "hostility" this many months away from the elections?
Ace makes a good point about the common practice of media folk thinking that receiving hate mail from leftist nutjobs is the equivalent about receiving a fairness complaint from a regular conservative or libertarian:
Although Allah points out the speciousness (and convenience) of that
claim, let's also note that most of the liberal media's criticism on
the right comes from mainstream Republicans representing the
great mass of right-leaning thought, whereas those who think the WaPo
is a part of the Vast Right Wing Noise Machine are unabashed, unhinged
lefties, "undecided" voters only the sense they're undecided between
Ralph Nader and Hugo Chavez.
It might seem a little jarring in the wake of the religion-bashing bloggers ruining the John Edwards campaign, but the February 18 New York Times Magazine actually contained an article claiming "In the piety primary, the Democrats win hands down." Writer Gary Rosen claimed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are not hard to envision in church among the faithful, but John McCain and Rudy Giuliani would probably be "fidgeting during the hymns and checking their watches." This is not surprising New York Times content. But here's the surprising part: Rosen is the managing editor of the neoconservative journal Commentary. Here's how Rosen began:
Try a quick political thought experiment. First, form a mental picture of the Democratic front-runners for president — Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Now do the same for the leading Republican contenders — John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. Next (and this is the key step), imagine each of them in church, sitting in a pew, head bowed, or better still, at the pulpit, delivering a homily or leading the congregation in worship.
As I discussed here, yesterday's clash between Hillary and Barack Obama was perhaps the most bitter and open infighting between Dem presidential candidates in many an election cycle. Particularly given that it was comments by David Geffen quoted in a column by the New York Times' own Maureen Dowd that touched off the fracas, you would have thought the Times would have gone out of it way to highlight the intra-Dem battle. So . . . how did the New York Times portray the matter in its headline this morning? In Both Parties,2008 Politeness Falls to Infighting.
That's right, this isn't a problem unique to Dems. "Both parties" have suffered a failure of "politeness." Now it's true that over the last couple days, John McCain has taken verbal shots at Vice-President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and also criticized the Bush administration on the environment. But those were substantive critiques of policy. In contrast, Geffen's comments, with which Obama pointedly chose not to disassociate himself, could not have been more personal, calling the Clinton couple liars and Bill "reckless."
The Times furthered the moral equivalency with this helpful chart, documenting the barbs aimed by the respective Dems and Republicans.
NewsBusters' mission is that of exposing and combating liberal media bias, and that's what I spend the great majority of my time here doing. But I hope our readers -- and my editors -- will indulge me when I offer a bit of personal analysis here.
The outbreak of nastiness between the Obama and Hillary camps -- initiated by comments made by Obama supporter David Geffen and quoted by Maureen Dowd in her column today -- is stunning. For the Obama camp to come out this early -- and this hard -- against Hillary has riveted the attention of the political world.
For those who didn't catch it, David Geffen -- certified member of the liberal Hollywood elite, billionaire producer and co-founder of DreamWorks, and former avid and generous Clinton supporter and donor turned major Barack backer -- told Dowd:
"I don’t think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is — and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton? — can bring the country together."
“I don’t think anybody believes that in the last six years, all of a sudden Bill Clinton has become a different person, [in terms of his personal proclivities] . . . I think [Republicans] believe she’s the easiest to defeat.”
Most damning was this: "Everybody in politics lies, but they [Bill and Hillary] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”
The New York Times surprised on Wednesday with a front-page article by James McKinley Jr. suggesting that tougher border security in the form of new barriers and more guards was actually reducing illegal immigration along the Mexican border ("Tougher Tactics Deter Migrants At U.S. Border").
"All along the border, there are signs that the measures the Border Patrol and other federal agencies have taken over the last year, from erecting new barriers to posting 6,000 National Guardsmen as armed sentinels, are beginning to slow the flow of illegal immigrants.
I must admit that I never thought I’d see this kind of a book review at the New York Times. This is especially true given the recent zealotry surrounding global warming, and how much of the media-driven hysteria is based on computer models created to predict future climate events.
Much to my elated surprise, the Times amazingly published an article Tuesday entitled “The Problems in Modeling Nature, With Its Unruly Natural Tendencies.”
I imagine many readers are checking that link about now as they question my veracity. Go ahead. I can take it.
Let’s cut to the chase, shall we (emphasis mine throughout):
It might actually be worth the price of admission to Paul Krugman's column this morning to observe the amusing manner in which the New York Times columnist wriggles around in a trap of his own making regarding Hillary's vote to authorize the Iraq war. On the one hand, he wants her to apologize for it, and so must criticize her for not doing so. On the other, he hastens to make the limits of his criticism perfectly clear. He's not lumping her in with those awful, intransigent Republicans. Certainly not. Krugman wouldn't want to damage the presumptive Dem candidate . . . nor bring down The Wrath of the Clinton upon his hoary head.
And so Krugman spends most of his column, the ostensible purpose of which is to lament Hillary's inflexibility, lambasting Republicans for their unbending nature, all the while being careful to observe that Hillary is, well, perhaps a teeny bit like them -- but not too much, mind you!
President Bush and VP Cheney are "pathologically incapable of owning up to mistakes."
"Karl Rove turned refusal to admit error into a political principle."
"George Bush . . . suffer[s] from an infallibility complex."
"Dick Cheney is a 'megalomaniac.'"
"Senator John McCain . . . appears to share the Bush administration’s habit of rewriting history to preserve an appearance of infallibility."
"As for Rudy Giuliani, there are so many examples of his inability to accept criticism that it’s hard to choose."
In a statement obtained by this NewsBuster, a senior Bush
administration official has disputed a New York Times article, Jailed 2 Years, Iraqi Tells of Abuse by Americans that suggests
that the review process for detainees held by the U.S.
military in Iraq
is inadequate. The Times story is anecdotal, telling the story of Laith al-Ani,
an Iraqi Sunni who was released by U.S.
authorities last month. According to the Times story, "people like
Mr. Ani . . . are being held without charge and without access to tribunals
where their cases are reviewed."
Without responding to the specifics of Mr. Ani's case, the senior Bush
administration official told me that "the facts of our detention system
belie the themes of this article. We follow well-established standards of
review that go well above and beyond what the law requires. And we do so
in the face of a ruthless and determined enemy."
He offered the following overview of the review process:
Would you be proud of yourself if your works were commemorated for helping put in power a murderous Communist who has killed thousands upon thousands of his own people over a 40 some year reign of terror?
When the fights against the Cuban government of Fulgencio Batista began in the late 1950s, Fidel Castro was just one of several guerrilla fighters trying to vie for followers and publicity. Castro was just a nut in the wilderness with few followers, though, until Herbert Matthews and the New York Times came along.
The New York Times generally keeps conservative blogs at arms length, treating them with either how-dare-you criticism, pat-on-the-head condescension or, most notoriously, accusations of CIA stoogery. But
when it comes to liberal bloggers like the ones covering the Lewis
Libby trial, The Times embraces them as they struggle side by side with
the MSM, as shown in Scott Shane's front page story today, "For Liberal Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder." (By contrast, Shane has written two condescendingpieces on conservative bloggers.)
is one group blog covering the trial of Libby, the former top aide to
Vice President Dick Cheney accused of lying to prosecutors during the
investigation of who leaked CIA worker Valerie Plame's name to the
a convoluted trial in which everyone, government officials and
journalists alike, seems to have a faulty memory -- no surprise, since
it involves who may or may not have said what to whom in the summer of
2003. Tom Maguire, a must-read on all matters Plame-related who knows
the ins and outs better than virtually any journalist, wonders if the
Times is watching the same trial he is.
I have been watching the "reportage" on the regrettable incident of a teenaged killer's rampage in a Utah shopping mall with mounting interest. In nearly every story of this crime the fact that this youngster is from a Muslim background is either muted or ignored altogether.
The AP, for instance, avoids identifying the boy as a Muslim in all their stories that I saw. In one, they merely identify the region in Bosnia in which he lived as the "northeastern enclave where up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in 1995" but do not even speculate as to the boy or his family being Muslims. It is all rather dutifully avoided. In another story, the AP doesn't even use the word Muslim at all.
The New York Times political blog "The Caucus" and editor Kate Phillips seemed to sympathize with two bloggers, Andrea Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, who recently quit the John Edwards campaign after coming under fire for bigoted, irresponsible, and vulgar statements they'd written on their own blogs in the past.
Chris Hedges, who served at the Times as a reporter and Middle East bureau chief for a total of 15 years, appeared last Thursday on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," hosted by Stephen Colbert, to discuss his new book, "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America."
You may remember Hedges for being booed off a college commencement stage in the middle of an anti-war rant in May 2003.
Here's a selection of the transcript from the second half of the interview with host Stephen Colbert, who kept up his act as conservative Christian straightman, setting up the dour Hedges to make cracks at Christianity:
"The Dixie Chicks’ big win at the Grammy Awards on Sunday exposed ideological tensions between the music industry’s Nashville establishment and the broader, more diverse membership of the Recording Academy, which chooses the Grammy winners, according to voters and music executives interviewed afterward.
The media can't really deny the economy is doing great. But all good things come to an end,so what the heck, why not float the prospect of a looming recession? That's essentially what The New York Times did in today's paper.
Staff writers Eduardo Porter and Jeremy W. Peters turned to a Clinton economic adviser to suggest that the current economy is driven by a housing bubble similar to the tech bubble that drove the smokin' hot economy of the late 1990s.
“In both situations we had overinvestment, now in housing, then in fiber optics,” the Times reporters quoted Joseph E. Stiglitz, Clinton’s "chief economic adviser from 1995 to 1997."
[I guess those silly 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that have resulted in record tax receipts from a growing economy and its resultant jobs growth have nothing to do with it.]
Porter and Peters persisted in peddling a discredited media meme: it's the housing "bubble" driving the economy, but in fact:
U.S. Tax Revenues Up 9.7% Through Four Months, Deficit Down 57%; U.S. Media Outlets Mostly Ignore the News
There's a good chance you didn't hear about this (original US Treasury report is here):
Both Brian Wesbury at FT Portfolios and yours truly have to confess to being wrong so far this year on revenue growth. We both have been thinking (Wesbury here, BizzyBlog here) that it’s going to come in at 9%, but as you see, through four months it’s actually pushing 10%.
Their sympathetic peers in the entertainment industry awarded The Dixie Chicks five Grammys at Sunday night's awards ceremony, including Song of the Year for "Not Ready to Make Nice," the group's petulant response to critics who disapproved of singer Natalie Maines' remark onstage in London in 2003: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." (Maines is from Texas.)
The Monday story showed the Times once again portraying the Dixie Chicks as free-speech martyrs, while managing to avoid mentioning the scads of free, flattering publicity in the wake of the incident and subsequent fiery comments by Maines that alienated much of her previous fanbase.
Amid unfounded and frivolous charges that the Bush administration and the American Enterprise Institute are involved in pay for play science on Global Warming, it seems Theresa Heinz Kerry previously directed an unrestricted cash gift of up to a quarter million dollars to a nuclear scientist become climatologist, now leading the charge of doom-sayers on Global Warming. Additionally, one scientist recently quoted by the New York Times now appears to be disagreeing with his own extensive research and an exclusive preview of a soon to be published research paper from another Harvard scientist raises serious questions about a key item Global Warming proponents have recently enlisted in their cause.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' inflammatory new campaign bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan will be retained by the campaign after making public apologies for past postings that were controversial, to put it mildly. In a surprise, the New York Times played the story on Friday's front page, albeit under the mild headline "Edwards Learns Campaign Blogs Can Cut 2 Ways").
Marcotte is notorious for a January 7 post on the Duke lacrosse "rape" case, one she later eliminated after it became an issue after her hiring: "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair."
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny again spun in a Democrat direction in his coverage of the fierce arguments over non-binding resolutions regarding Bush's troop increase in Iraq. On Thursday, Zeleny claimed: "Senator John W. Warner, a Virginia Republican who led the bipartisan resolution against the president’s troop buildup plan, went to the Senate floor on Wednesday to read the letter only two days after siding with Republican leaders on a vote that blocked the debate."
As the Internet becomes the driving force of the print media, it’s not surprising to hear newspaper moguls talk about their online strategies. However, when the chairman of the New York Times Company says, “I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years,” one should sit up and take notice.
With that in mind, Haaretz’s Eytan Avriel had a chat with Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., while he was in Davos, Switzerland, during the recent World Economic Forum (h/t Drudge, emphasis mine throughout):
Given the constant erosion of the printed press, do you see the New York Times still being printed in five years?
"I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either," he says.
In a huge blow to America’s ability to defend itself from future terrorist attacks both home and abroad, the European Central Bank has told SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, that it must halt the transfer of personal banking information to American authorities by April.
As reported by Agence France-Presse on February 1 (h/t to Dan at Riehl World View): “The agency, the European Data Protection Supervisor, told the bank to come up with measures ‘to make its payment operations fully compliant with data-protection legislation,’ urging it to ‘take appropriate measures as soon as possible.’”
Hadn’t heard about this? Well, how could you? After all, according to Google and LexisNexis searches, the only major American media outlet to bother reporting this was, coincidentally and quite ironically, the New York Times.
Isn’t that a delicious twist of fate? Yet, the hypocrisy in this goes much deeper.
Reminded by Tim Russert on Russert's Saturday night CNBC show, about how Vice President Cheney predicted U.S. troops would be welcomed as “liberators” by the Iraqi people, New York Times Iraq reporter John Burns corrected Russert's presumption that Cheney was misguided: “The American troops were greeted as liberators. We saw it. It lasted very briefly, it was exhausted quickly by the looting.” Burns added: “I think that the instincts that led to much that went wrong were good American instincts: the desire not to have too heavy of a footprint, the desire to empower Iraqis.”
As for what led to the inaccurate assumption that Iraqi would “stand up” for democracy, Burns contended that journalists made the same error: “I think that the policy makers in Washington, and to be on honest with you the journalists also, to speak for myself, completely miscalculated the impact of 30 years of violent, brutal repression on the Iraqi people and their willingness, in President Bush's phrase, ' to stand up' for themselves, to take authority, to take risks.” Burns also rejected the notion that different U.S. strategies would have prevented the current chaos: “My guess is that history will say that the forces that we liberated by invading Iraq were so powerful and so uncontrollable that virtually nothing the United States might have done, except to impose its own repressive state with half a million troops, which might have had to last ten years or more, nothing we could have done would have effectively prevented this disintegration that is now occurring.”
There's no denying that the recently-released National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is anything but rosy. But the key question is 'where do we go from here?' The answer, for every one of the Dem presidential contenders, is 'home,' at varying rates of speed. In editorializing on the NIE report, don't you think, then, that it would have been appropriate for the New York Times to mention what the report foresaw as the result of a hasty withdrawal?
But the Times had better things to do with its ink, spending most of its editorial spinning the recent military success in Najaf in the most negative possible terms. In doing so, the Gray Lady ignored this key aspect of the report, as described here by CNN:
"The estimate also makes it clear, however, that simply walking away from Iraq may even be worse. If the U.S. makes a 'rapid withdrawal' from Iraq, a move many Democratic lawmakers have called for, the estimate said it could lead to the collapse of the Iraqi Security Forces, potentially plunging the country into a chaotic situation marked by "extreme ethno-sectarian violence with debilitating intra-group clashes."
To ignore this key conclusion, which goes to the heart of the debate raging in Washington today, is no mere negligence on the Times' part. It is nothing short of a journalistic fraud perpetrated on its readers. Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
If it's possible for the New York Times to jump the proverbial shark, they went one better. Given this, it would appear they jumped right out of an ever rising sea due to global warming and landed in a rest home by a beach in Iraq:
No commercial that appeared last night during Super Bowl XLI directly addressed Iraq, unlike a patriotic spot for Budweiser beer that ran during the game two years ago. But the ongoing war seemed to linger just below the surface of many of this year’s commercials.
More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.
You see, those commercials weren't slick messages often containing bottles launched from Madison Avenue and designed to sell products like beer at millions of dollars a pop. They were all metaphors for a nation deflated, if not defeated, and dangerously obsessed with Bush's misguided war.