I seriously didn’t know what to expect when I saw the New York Times profile on a Muslim woman who has joined the United States Army. Despite my expectations, or lack thereof, I had a pretty good feeling that it would be filled with the typical bombastic innuendo and mischaracterizations of the United States military that I have come to expect from a newspaper that that I admittedly loath to read.
Thus I was not surprised to see the following at the beginning of the From Head Scarf to Army Cap, Making a New Life article.
It helped, Ms. Hamdan thought, that there were so many similarities between Islam and the Army.
"One of his last jokes involved a son sending a prostitute over to his widowed father, in his 90s, still a self-proclaimed ladies’ man. She tells him she is his birthday present and will give him super sex.
'I’ll take the soup,' he says."
It took a few days, but someone at the Times finally figured out that the "joke" wasn't funny. So it gave it yet another try on a December 13 correction:
"The Cost of an Overheated Planet" dominates the front page of the Tuesday Business section, accompanied by a cliched graphic of a Planet Earth with a giant thermometer stuck into it.
Reporter Steve Lohr is no less certain that global warming exists, as he celebrates the head of an energy company who favors federal regulations on carbon dioxide emissions.
"The iconic culprit in global warming is the coal-fired power plant. It burns the dirtiest, most carbon-laden of fuels, and its smokestacks belch millions of tons of carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas.
That great American ambassador and lovely lady Jeane Kirkpatrick has left us, but her passing also causes us to remember her strategic sense and moral clarity. She came to national prominence in Reaganite circles in 1979 with her marvelous Commentary magazine essay on “Dictatorship and Double Standards.” It argued that traditional authoritarian autocracies were both more susceptible to liberalization and more amenable to American interests than totalitarian dictatorships of the left, which came into power with disturbing frequency in the late 1970s, with America as their stated enemy.
She easily explained how the Carter administration and the liberal press romantically saw in the revolutionary left a shared commitment to modernity over tradition, science over religion, an educated bureaucracy over private hierarchies, and futuristic and universal goals over appeals to an archaic and ordered past.
Saturday's New York Times obituary for Jeane Kirkpatrick, President Ronald Reagan's envoy to the United Nations, was written by Tim Weiner and draws on Weiner's background as the paper's liberal defense reporter during the 1990s.
Weiner takes a mostly positive look at Kirkpatrick's life and influence at the U.N., but can't resist inserting his own liberal foreign policy slant.
"At the United Nations, she defended Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the American invasion of Grenada in 1983. She argued for El Salvador's right-wing junta and against Nicaragua’s left-wing ruling council, the Sandinistas."
Well, at least he didn't blame it on Bush. In his column of yesterday, Market Watch's Jon Friedman tells us not to rule out this explanation of CBS Evening News's disappointing third-place finish under Katie Couric's baton:
"America wasn't truly ready for the first solo woman evening-news anchor, let alone someone smart and attractive with pretensions to sounding puckish and hip."
Oh, please. Does Friedman really believe that? From Maureen Dowd [love her or hate her] to Oprah to Katie herself back in her 'Today' days, millions of Americans are comfortable getting their news and views from women opinion-leaders. Katie hasn't flopped because of her sex. She's been unsuccessful because she's done nothing to distinguish herself from her liberal media competitors - with the exception of letting her show's precious few minutes of hard news be crowded out by the awkward "Free Speech" segment.
At first I thought I might have stumbled across a document of some historical interest - an internal memo from the central planning committee of the Soviet Union ordering the apparatchiks to find a way to increase spending in a certain sector of the economy.
Turns out it was just an editorial from today's New York Times. Consumption by the middle-class isn't high enough to suit the Gray Lady's taste, or as it puts it: "There is no question that spending by the middle class has been weaker in the current economic expansion than in previous recoveries."
What really has the Times exercised is this: "In 2005, the top 20 percent of households made 39 percent of all consumer expenditures." Oh, the horror! How dare the most productive members of society, the ones who are creating most of the jobs for the other 80%, spend the most?
"Augusto Pinochet, 91, Dictator Who Ruled by Terror in Chile, Dies" reads the headline to Jonathan Kandell's front-page obituary for the Chilean ruler in the New York Times Monday. A related editorial calls Pinochet "The Dextrous Dictator" (perhaps a play on words, as the Latin root of dextrous is dexter, meaning "on the right side," hardy har har).
Here's the lead of Kandell's obituary for Pinochet today:
"Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, the brutal dictator who repressed and reshaped Chile for nearly two decades and became a notorious symbol of human rights abuse and corruption, died yesterday at the Military Hospital of Santiago."
Was it a planned one-two punch? On Saturday, New York Times columnist Frank Rich declared that "we have lost in Iraq." Today, in The Time Is Now, his Times colleague Bob Herbert flatly calls for surrender. No conditions, no time-table. As Herbert starkly puts it: "it is time to pull the troops out of harm’s way."
Herbert says "it is wrong to continue sending fresh bodies after those already lost." He raises the "moral question" of justifying "the lives that will be lost between now and the final day of our departure." But Herbert ignores another looming moral question: the lives that will be lost if we hastily retreat.
"The expanding outbreak of E. coli poisonings in New York, New Jersey and several other states underscores the need for more rigorous regulation of the whole supply chain for fresh produce . . . Surely it is time to give government regulators the power and resources they need to ensure the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables." - NY Times editorial, Sickened by Fresh Produce, 12/09/06
"[Taco Bell owner] Yum Brands is feeling the financial fallout on Wall Street, as two analysts downgraded its stock, citing the potential effects of customers' food safety concerns. Shares fell $1.36 to $59.72 on Friday. The stock has fallen 5.6% in the last three sessions." - Taco Bell feels fallout from E. coli outbreak, LA Times, 12/9/06
Not an Onion article. I solemnly affirm to Scrappleface: New York Times columnist Judith Warner doesn't want social programs to be judged by how much they cost or whether they work.
Disclaimer notwithstanding, I bet you're still dubious. "Come on, Finkelstein - that can't be right. As liberal as the New York Times might be, there's no way one of its regular columnists would come right out and say that."
The particular government programs that Warner - the Times's family-issues maven - discusses in The Real Value of Public Preschool [subscription] are what she describes as "free" pre-school for three- and four-year olds. And here's what she says:
"I am finding the rhetoric in the debate over universal preschool disheartening. It’s all the usual stuff about cost-benefit and outcomes."
Pro-Muslim New York Times reporter Neil MacFarquhar covers the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's attempt at a Muslim sitcom, "Little Mosque on the Prairie," and manages to get what he considers a sad example of life imitating art almost totally wrong.
"The handsome, clean-cut young man of evidently Pakistani or Indian origin is standing in an airport line, gesticulating emphatically as he says into his cellphone, 'If Dad thinks that’s suicide, so be it,' adding after a pause, 'This is Allah’s plan for me.'
"As might be expected, a cop materializes almost instantly and drags the man off, telling him that his appointment in paradise will have to wait, even though the suicide he is referring to is of the career kind; he’s giving up the law to pursue a more spiritual occupation.
For those of a Republican bent, Election Day wasn't much fun. But that's not to say that defeat doesn't bring with it certain muted pleasures of its own. Such as watching the liberal media take the Dem congressional majority to task as it begins to moonwalk away from various campaign promises. Chief among those pledges was this one, part of the DNC's official 6-Point Plan for 2006:
"We want to close the remaining gaps in our security by enacting the 9/11 Commission recommendations."
One of the most important 9/11 panel recommendations called for Congress to reform its own house when it comes to the oversight of intelligence. This might sound like inside baseball, but it's important. The basic notion is this: intelligence agencies will be most responsive to those congressional committees that control their budgets. The way Congress is currently organized, the various committees on intelligence - those with the most expertise in the area - are effectively toothless. They have no budget control over the intelligence agencies they theoretically oversee. Instead, budgetary control is in the hands of the armed services committees and the appropriations panels' defense subcommittees.
The VRWC is apparently even vaster than we realized.
In a fund-raising email today David Brock, President of Media Matters, the organization that some might consider the left-wing counterpart to NewsBusters, claimed [emphasis added]:
"Media Matters has already exposed more than 6,000 instances of conservative misinformation in just two years -- and not just from right-wing news outlets such as Fox News Channel, but from sources like CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times."
Brock cites two instances in which Media Matters corrected errors at the Washington Post. But might the conservative rot run deeper? Could Paul Krugman be a deep RNC mole? Christiane Amanpour a conservative agent provocateur? E.J. Dionne perhaps a catspaw for Karl Rove?
In a story on the resignation of United Nations ambassador John Bolton, reporter Helene Cooper, for the second time in three weeks, suggests (mockingly?) that defeated Sen. Lincoln Chafee, one of John Bolton's chief Republican critics, is actually a possibility to succeed Bolton as ambassador to the U.N.
Stephen Spruiell of National Review Online caught it first when the story was posted to the Times website Monday, but the story was subsequently changed both online and in print, deleting the Chafee reference.
Cavuto elicited this stunningly out-of-touch statement from Krugman about the situation for the average person and the middle class that is obviously not true (excerpt is at the end of this Hot Air clip):
Cavuto: .... You're saying that it's somehow dramatically worse now than it was 10 years, 20 years ago? Krugman: It is dramatically worse now than it was 10 or 20 years ago.
Horse manure, Paul, and here's the proof. The figures below are from the Census Bureau, and show real (inflation-adjusted) income from 1985-2005 (bottom half of data at linked page):
This was just too delicious for words…but I’ll try. As many of you are aware, most conservatives who study the economy and the markets view the New York Times’ Paul Krugman as being one of the most disingenuous pols on the landscape. Krugman has regularly been shown to flat out lie about economic data in his articles to prove his specious points, and was accused by the Times’ former ombudsman Byron Calame of regularly doing exactly that.
Well, on Tuesday, Krugman got his well-deserved comeuppance as Fox News’ Neil Cavuto called him out for such errors in transmission, and actually called Krugman a liar (must-see video available here):
Here’s what I’m saying that you’re doing: You are lying to people. That’s what I think that you’re doing.
Krugman then actually had the nerve to respond: “I haven’t heard a lie yet.” He mustn’t proofread his work. Luckily, Neil was having none of this:
The article, Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans, is just what you’d expect from hacktivist reporters who spend just as much time furthering an agenda as they do in reporting out of context and sparsely connected facts. The end result is an article that has little to do with being correct let alone honest.
Give New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof credit for a couple things. First, he is as far from an armchair pundit as you can get, having been virtually everywhere and put himself on the line innumerable times. Check his bio. Second, he makes no bones about what he is proposing in Iraq in his pay-per-view column of today. "Cut and walk" isn't my gloss; it's Kristof's headline.
That said, Kristof's column reads like something that might have been written by warm 'n fuzzy Stuart Smalley, the SNL character Al Franken hilariously immortalized before deciding he had serious things to say.
Zeleny quotes Dean: "'The other party made mistakes in the past claiming that elections are mandates. Elections are not mandates. The voters of this country loaned the Democrats the power of the country for two years. Now it’s our job to earn it back again.''
Writer Tom Zeller manages to muddy the waters without ever directly mentioning the most troubling question of all: whether or not al Qaeda propagandists are using the Western media to foment civil war in Iraq. The closest Zeller comes to acknowledging this vital issue is mentioning the title of the Flopping Aces post that started the controversy, Getting News From the Enemy.
While they don't address each other explicitly, you might say that Jeff Jacoby's and Frank Rich's dueling columns on Iraq this morning reflect a civil war among American pundits. On the one hand, Rich of the New York Times, who in Has He Started Talking to the Walls?:
Claims Pres. Bush is "completely untethered from reality."
Accuses him of "flouting democracy at home."
Suggests that "a timely slug" administered to the commander-in-Chief by Jim Webb might have been a good thing; and
Casts as an "illusion" the notion "that America can control events on the ground."
And in this corner, Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe. In Fighting To Win in Iraq, Jacoby catalogues Jim Baker's history of foreign policy flops, including:
The gist: those mean Republicans are trying to tar the rising star of the Democratic party [legally-mandated descriptor] by making malign associations with his moniker. The GOP's latest mischief - letting people know that the middle name of the junior senator from Illinois is "Hussein."
Bunk. Any possible shock value in the Barack Hussein Obama handle has already largely faded. And this being a nation that likes to see itself as open and accepting, I'd say that, should he stay in the race, by election time his name will be an absolute advantage. Predicted opening line at the 2008 DNC Convention - if it comes to that - "I am an American. And my name is Barack Hussein Obama." Cue the wild cheering on the floor as Katie Couric gets all misty up in the booth.
Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC's TimesWatch site and a regular contributor to NewsBusters, was a guest this afternoon on FNC's Your World with Neil Cavuto. Topic: Liberal bias in the New York Times and the impact of its publishing leaked information, specifically the timing of the Wednesday front page story: “Bush Adviser’s Memo Cites Doubts About Iraqi Leader.”
Clay appeared as part of a panel at the top of the 4pm EST show which will re-run at 5am EST Thursday morning.
Video clip (6:05): Real (4.52 MB) or Windows (3.76 MB) plus MP3 (1.76 MB)
Late on Tuesday night, National Review reporter Byron York provided some early grist to challenge strange claims by media critics like William Powers that "journalists are more aggressive under Democratic rule." Somehow, the nation's leading newspapers weren't hustling alongside York as he chased the story of whether Nancy Pelosi would give the reins of the House Intelligence Committee to Rep. Alcee Hastings, who was impeached as a federal judge:
Tomorrow the Washington Post, on its front page, reports the news that Alcee Hastings will not be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. For a story about Nancy Pelosi's decision, the Post piece gets into a number of details about the Hastings case itself. Why? One reason might be that, during the last few months when concerns about Hastings' impeachment and conviction were being raised, the Post never reported the basic facts of the case. A Nexis search for Hastings' name and that of William Borders, Hastings' co-conspirator in soliciting bribes, reveals exactly one recent story — a November 1 column by the Post's Ruth Marcus, who had covered the Hastings story years ago. As Congress buzzed, and Pelosi deliberated, the Post never bothered to tell its readers what the controversy was about.
By the way, if you do the same search for the New York Times, you'll find the same thing — just without the Ruth Marcus column. Which means that perhaps the most interesting so-far-unnoticed aspect of the story is that so much political pressure built up on Capitol Hill while the nation's two leading newspapers were looking the other way.
This morning, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller announced the paper will follow NBC's lead and allow its reporters to refer to the conflict in Iraq as a "civil war."
Keller said in a statement to Editor & Publisher:
"After consulting with our reporters in the field and the editors who directly oversee this coverage, we have agreed that Times correspondents may describe the conflict in Iraq as a civil war when they and their editors believe it is appropriate. It's hard to argue that this war does not fit the generally accepted definition of civil war. We expect to use the phrase sparingly and carefully, not to the exclusion of other formulations, not for dramatic effect. The main shortcoming of 'civil war' is that, like other labels, it fails to capture the complexity of what is happening on the ground. The war in Iraq is, in addition to being a civil war, an occupation, a Baathist insurgency, a sectarian conflict, a front in a war against terrorists, a scene of criminal gangsterism and a cycle of vengeance. We believe 'civil war' should not become reductionist shorthand for a war that is colossally complicated."
The New York Times is trying once again to convince the public that tipping off alleged terrorist front groups about an upcoming government search somehow falls under the umbrella of “the public’s right to information”.
Lawyers for the newspaper tried unsuccessfully to prevent special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald from reviewing telephone records that could be used in helping the government determine who leaked the classified information to the newspaper in the government’s obstruction of justice investigation.
New York Times reporter Robert McFadden covers the much-publicized shooting of three men by undercover cops after a bachelor party at a strip club in Queens for Sunday's edition.
"Hours before he was to be married, a man leaving his bachelor party at a strip club in Queens that was under police surveillance was shot and killed early yesterday in a hail of police bullets, witnesses and the police said. Two of his friends were wounded, one critically, they said.
"Many details of the shooting were not immediately clear, but relatives of the dead man, Sean Bell, 23, and community leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, demanded an investigation into what some called an overreaction by officers that killed a man on his wedding day. "
Reports of burning mosques, like this one from Reuters remain unconfirmed, and may have been fabricated by Sunni militants.
Also, sensationalized accounts of Sunnis being dragged from prayer and burned alive by rampaging Shiites are unconfirmed, and all appear to come from the same source, police Captain Jamil Hussein, whose entire career appears to be issuing statements about Shia violence against Sunnis. Curt at Flopping Aces has researched Hussein and found a remarkable number of atrocity stories for which he is the source.
There is perhaps no better time to speak well of someone than when they pass away. But tributes can be excessive to the point where the truth is utterly lost, and low moments of someone's career are glossed over. When we lose presidents, partisans of one stripe or the other think the celebration risks ignoring or going beyond the facts of history. In today's Washington Post, Marcia Davis's appreciation of departed New York Times managing editor Gerald Boyd, dismissed by the Times in the furor over utterly fraudulent reporting by Jayson Blair, Davis claims no one can challenge Boyd's record as a stickler for accuracy and against racial favoritism. The caption the front page of the Style section didn't mention Blair, but merely: "As he mentored new generations of journalists, Boyd was an unyielding stickler for accuracy." Davis recalled the Blair scandal this way: