Sunday's Book World section in the Washington Post features a review by Brookings Institution fellow Daniel Byman of the new book by Post reporter Thomas Ricks, titled Fiasco: The American Military Adventure In Iraq. The review is headlined "The March of Folly: A damning new book by a Post Pentagon reporter shows how Iraq fell into chaos." Byman seemed to be writing to get himself into the dust-cover hoorah blurbs:
In his compelling and well-researched book, Thomas E. Ricks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post, painfully but clearly reveals an important truth about the Iraq debacle: It has a thousand fathers.
Along the way, Cooper states as fact the usual misleading clichés about Bush’s “go-it-alone approach” to diplomacy and war.
“For the past year, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has worked assiduously to resurrect the importance of traditional diplomacy and building consensus among world leaders after America’s go-it-alone approach to Iraq.”
Can you imagine the Today show or other MSM program airing a segment offering advice to men on how to train their wives to display better behavior . . . by treating them like zoo animals? A segment illustrated with footage of hyenas, baboons and other members of the wild kingdom undergoing training? Don't bother to answer.
Yet, incredibly, that's just what the Today show did this morning. Oh, with one small difference. It was a how-to . . . for wives who want to train their husbands.
'Today' introduced the segment this way: "One woman discovered she could train her husband the way they train animals at the zoo.Does your husband act like a sea lion, or a baboon, or a hyena?"
“The United Nations said Wednesday that its top officials in New York and its officers on the ground in Lebanon made numerous calls on Tuesday to the Israeli mission and the Israeli military to protest repeated firing on its outpost in Lebanon where four unarmed observers ended up being killed.
“Jane Holl Lute, the assistant secretary general for peacekeeping operations, said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council that over the six-hour period in which the United Nations’ warnings were being conveyed to the Israelis, the observation post at Khiam, in southern Lebanon, continued to come under fire.
“The firings persisted even after rescuers reached the hilltop site, she said, and in all it was subjected to 21 strikes, 11 of them aerial bombardments and at least 6 artillery rounds.
“She described the observation post as ‘well known and clearly marked’ and added that no Hezbollah activity was reported in the area.”
Isn't it generally assumed that when two countries are at war, that it is the right and duty of those countries actually in the conflict to decide when that war might be over and how it is prosecuted? Certainly other nations might attempt to diplomatically intervene to help resolve the crisis but, when all is said and done, isn't it still the duty of the warring parties to arrive at their own conclusions?
Not according to The New York Times. The Times has pronounced it the duty of the "World Powers" to end Israel's security measures in Lebanon as if neither Israel nor Lebanon have a thing to say about it.
Naturally, it's all the USA's fault that they couldn't agree on a policy, too.
Tim Russert and Tom Friedman don't think you're paying enough at the gas pump, in fact they seemed downright giddy about the prospect of increasing the gas tax as a way to end America's "oil addiction." Appearing on this weekend's CNBC's Tim Russert program the New York Times columnist was asked for his solutions to America's energy crisis.
Friedman warned: "Tim if we don't find an alternative to fossil fuels to fulfill their dreams, we're going to burn up, choke up, heat up and smoke up this planet so much faster than even Al Gore predicts," and then he issued this clarion call for green technology: "Green, my fellow Americans, is the new red, white, and blue. That's my motto." Then Friedman, egged on by Russert, went even further by calling for a "miracle tax," on gas.
“The consensus here is that Iran, Syria and Hezbollah were all taken aback by the ferocity of Israel’s response to the capture of two soldiers; the seizure seemed to fall within the unspoken rules of limited engagements. Similar operations had prompted prisoner exchanges in the past, the current demand by Hezbollah for ending the fighting.”
“Ferocity” is an interesting word to use for Israel's response to what was not only a kidnapping (not “capture”) of two soldiers, but the killing of three other soldiers (previous news accounts said eight soldiers) in that same unlawful incursion into Israel. Israel's response was ferocious only in comparison to giving in to demands by the terrorist group Hezbollah.
In January, in response to the Sago Mine tragedy, editorials at The New York Times charged that the Bush Administration had let mine safety deterioriate and had let up on its mine inspection efforts. A few minutes of looking at the government's own statistics by yours truly (here and here) and others showed that deaths and injuries had both decreased substantially during the Bush administration, even after considering workforce reductions, and that on a per-mine and per-miner basis, there had been no slacking off on inspections.
Now The Times, that former national media powerhouse that seems intent on becoming Manhattan's quaint little alternative newspaper, has done it again. In an article about IRS reductions in estate tax auditing, it shows that it doesn't understand something you and I instinctively know -- when there's less work to do, you need fewer people to do it. It also didn't do the basic research that would have shown that the reductions are not only justified, but that they should have begun several years ago.
And this will sound familiar to Times watchers: They think they have this incredible scoop because some of the people being let go leaked internal documents:
Who says The New York Times has lost touch with reality? A recent puff piece by TV reporter Bill Carter on MSNBC’s “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann honors him as the "centerpiece" and "great growth story" of MSNBC. He’s up “30 percent” in the 25-to-54 demographic. How significant is this? Since Olbermann came to TV as a sportscaster, let’s just say this is like celebrating a .200 hitter for having the best batting average on a last-place baseball team.
The Times shoe-shine carried the headline “MSNBC’s Star Carves Anti-Fox Niche,” yet in his report Carter had no choice but to place that grandiose statement in its proper perspective: “Olbermann’s show remains little more than a dot in the rearview mirror of Fox News” - followed by this spin - “Even from that far back, he seems to have been able to honk his horn loud enough to raise hackles at Fox.” What followed was a supportive recycling of Olbermann’s trash talking about Fox headliner Bill O’Reilly, and Olbermann’s constant naming of O’Reilly as the “Worst Person in the World.”
She describes the divide between the Shiites in the vulnerable South and the more cosmopolitan Lebanese of the North and uses the term "folk hero" in a description of the leader of the terrorist group Hezbollah:
"For the south, which suffered for more than a decade under Israeli occupation, Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, is a folk hero who helped drive out the Israelis. But many middle-class Lebanese who have worked for the past decade to generate an economic revival are tired of war and resent Hezbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12."
Bill O'Reilly's down to his last strike. As noted here, on his radio and TV shows yesterday, Bill propounded the theory that the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in the current Middle East conflict for fear of alienating their liberal Jewish readers. As Bill put it, liberal Jews "are all the papers have left" when it comes to significant market niches.
While Bill singled out the NY Times as the paper most loath to offend its liberal Jewish readers, he also mentioned the Boston Globe by name on his radio show. As discussed here, the NY Times came out this morning guns ablazin', so to speak, for an immediate cease-fire.
Turns out the Boston Globe has done the same thing. Excerpts from its editorial of today, While Lebanon Burns:
Back to the drawing board for Bill O'Reilly. As noted here, on his radio and TV shows yesterday, BOR propounded the theory that the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in the current Middle East conflict for fear of alienating their liberal Jewish readers. As Bill put it, liberal Jews "are all the papers have left" when it comes to significant market niches.
BOR particularly singled out the New York Times as a paper reluctant to take any positions that could be construed as contrary to Israel's interests. As of this morning's NY Times editorial, No More Foot-Dragging, that theory might be 'inoperative.' For the Times, in flat contradiction of Israeli desires, is now calling for an immediate cease-fire:
Bill O'Reilly got his show off to a surprising start this afternoon, with a novel theory as to why the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in criticizing Israel for its role in the current conflict. During his opening monologue O'Reilly theorized that the papers are fearful of turning off liberal Jewish readers.
As per Bill's hypothesis, papers such as the NY and LA Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post have been taking big hits in readership and profitability. With Fox News Channel's ED Hill in the studio, O'Reilly continued: "liberal Jewish readers are all [those newspapers] have left" as a significant market segment. If the papers were to be too critical of Israel, it could alienate their last remaining readership niche.
Don't the press in general and the New York Times in particular take pride in portraying themselves as ever-the vigilant defenders of the First Amendment? But judging by an editorial in the paper this morning, the Times experiences a power loss worse than the one currently gripping Queens when it comes to defending the First Amendment rights of groups it disfavors, in this case the tobacco industry.
Entitled Take the Tobacco Pledge, the editorial urges ratification of The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, known colloquially as 'the tobacco treaty.' Here's how the Times describes its provisions:
Well, sports fans, The Terrorist…er, I mean The New York Times is at it again. One of America’s allies purchased a variety of weapons last year, and now that it is being attacked by a shared enemy, has asked that the shipment of these arms be sped up to allow it to better defend itself.
Sadly, The Times felt it was important to report this shipment Saturday – on the front page no less – so everyone – including the sworn enemy that is currently attacking our ally – would be fully aware (hat tip to Michelle Malkin):
The New York Times op-ed page has a feature today called 'A First Step Back From the Brink.' As the Times describes it:
"With chaos threatening to engulf Lebanon, the need to resolve the conflict in the Middle East has rarely seemed so urgent. The Op-Ed editors went to seven experts with experience in the region, asking each of them what should be the first step toward defusing the crisis."
The Times did accord Richard Perle the opportunity to make the case that 'Israel must see the current fighting through to a conclusion that is unambiguously a defeat for Hezbollah and Hamas.' But most if not all of the other contributors call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, including Judith Kipper of the Council on Foreign Relations who wants to negotiate with Hezbollah and Hamas and describes them as 'political parties and social welfare organizations', albeit with 'military wings.'
Howell Raines is the former executive editor of the New York Times who left in disgrace after he oversaw his paper's handling of the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal. Now that he's no longer in the media, he can preach about journalism, give speeches, and write a book. The book he is promoting is called "The One that Got Away: A Memoir," an allegory about his life using fish metaphors.
At the Aspen Institute, Raines said newspapers should no longer write at the "sixth-grade level," but instead try to write in a more sophisticated style. He also discussed how Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch perpetuates the myth of a "liberal conspiracy in the news business."
As President Bush speaks today at the NAACP convention for the first time, political reporter Adam Nagourney found the G.O.P.'s black outreach failing in Tuesday's "Republicans Coming Up Short in Effort to Reach Out to African-American Voters."
"There has been no end to speculation about what the party was up to. Was it simply a ploy to improve the party’s image with moderate white voters? Did the White House see an opportunity to make small though significant changes in the American political system by pulling even a relative few black voters into its corner in important states like Ohio? (Yes, and yes.)
"But as Mr. Bush is tentatively scheduled to speak at the N.A.A.C.P. convention in Washington this week -- after five years of declining to appear before an organization with which he has had tense relations -- it seems fair to say that whatever the motivation, the effort has faltered.
"The asymmetry in the reported death tolls is marked and growing: some 230 Lebanese dead, most of them civilians, to 25 Israeli dead, 13 of them civilians. In Gaza, one Israel soldier has died from his own army’s fire, and 103 Palestinians have been killed, 70 percent of them militants.
There are likely many conservatives around the country that have felt the New York Times has been shrinking for decades…in relevance, that is. However, now the “paper of record” is literally shrinking. As reported by Reuters (with a hat tip to Drudge): “The newspaper will be narrower by 1 1/2 inches.” “The narrower format, offset by some additional pages, will reduce the space the paper has for news by 5 percent, Executive Editor Bill Keller said in the article.”
Of course, Keller didn’t comment on whether this five percent reduction in “news” will result in a much-needed decline in liberally-biased viewpoints, bashing of Republicans, or the release of top secret intelligence information to America’s enemies here and abroad.
Regardless, this appears to be a growing trend in the print media:
The Shiite anti-Israeli terror group Hezbollah crossed from Lebanon into Israel on July 12, killing eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two others. Israel is responding with force, unleashing targeted air strikes against Hezbollah positions in Lebanon in an effort to get the kidnapped soldiers back.
The New York Times' coverage of Israel's counterattack has been generally fair, or at least more balanced than usual -- the prospect of wide-scale war appears to have clarified somewhat the paper's often-wishful thinking about the true aims of Israel’s foes.
One major annoying tic that remains is the paper's use of the term "captured" to describe kidnapped Israeli soldiers, when it comes to covering the June kidnapping by Hamas of Gilad Shalit at an Israeli Defense Forces outpost, and the two kidnapped soldiers resulting from the incursion by Hezbollah. "Captured" is a phrase used by anti-Israeli leftists like ANSWER and implies these soldiers were prisoners of war captured on the field of battle, not abducted over a border by a terrorist group.
Most NewsBusters readers have likely not heard of Women’s Wear Daily, but the Raw Story tipped me off to a truly delicious piece written by Jacob Bernstein that will definitely require all coffee cups and drinking vessels down: “If you falsely yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater and everyone tramples each other to death, you get sent to jail. So what should be done with Ann Coulter, who has argued that The New York Times should have been blown up by Timothy McVeigh and that Times executive editor Bill Keller should be executed by firing squad?”
The article continued:
This was the question one Times source asked on Friday after an employee at the paper of record received an envelope with an X scrawled through it and a suspicious powder inside. "This thing makes all of Ann Coulter's comments a little less funny," said the source. "I wonder if she considers herself at all responsible when lunatics read her columns and she says that we should be killed."
So, a representative of WWD sent an e-mail message to Coulter’s AOL account asking such quesions, and, according to the article, actually received this hilarious response:
The Senate prepares to take up a bill to allow federal financing of research on stem cell lines that are derived from embryos now in cold storage at fertility clinics and slated for destruction. And New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg lies in wait, ready to pounce on the vote as yet another imminent Republican crackup, in Sunday’s “Senate Appears Poised for a Showdown With the President Over Stem Cell Research.”
“The president’s mind has not changed; his chief political adviser, Karl Rove, reiterated the veto threat this week. That keeps Mr. Bush in good stead with the religious conservatives who make up an important part of his base, but at odds with other leading Republicans, including Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, who is a heart-lung surgeon and has pushed to bring the measure to a vote.”
A piece in today’s NYT lets slip a canard that has been increasingly accepted as an article of faith among many talking heads and television news cycles, and reveals that the United States forces are actually helping Iraqis by being there.
And dang it all if it isn’t the Sunnis pleading for the Americans to remain steadfast and strong this time. While this is not necessarily an encouraging development, it does dampen previous notions that the US forces are viewed strictly as occupiers, bloodthirsty killers or as incompetent and unnecessary, and are instead looked upon by the oppressed and victimized as a protecting force (along with the Iraqi police and army).
"It is a liberal editorial page and a liberal editorial board that reflects core values the paper has had for a long time. But I would challenge anyone, if you look at our news reports on those big issues of the day -- tax policy, foreign affairs -- to say it is a liberal newspaper. It is objectivity they strive hard to do." -- New York Times Editorial Page Editor Gail Collins, in an interview with Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher, July 14.
A Friday editorial, "Chained to the Ballot," applauds a U.S. District judge for keeping former House majority leader Tom DeLay on the ballot for the upcoming congressional election, calling DeLay’s failed attempt (he will appeal the ruling) a "gambit" and "final power play," as well as "bait-and-switch politicking."
"The former House majority leader Tom DeLay, master practitioner of tooth-and-claw politics, finds himself in a predicament. He’s been cast adrift somewhere between Texas and Virginia after a court struck down his parting Congressional gambit.
You may wonder whom exactly the New York Times defines as "heroes," but in this instance they say it is U.S. military veterans. It is a salute to all those soldiers who manage to stay alive despite the actions of the New York Times to give tips to terrorists on how best to fund roadside bombs.
Since you've survived our onslaught, we'll give you a job fair.
Presented by The New York Times Job Market in partnership with leading veterans organizations and government agencies, Salute Our Heroes™ will again provide former servicemen and women and spouses of active-duty military personnel with unprecedented job opportunities and career seminars.
On Tuesday night’s “O’Reilly Factor,” host Bill O’Reilly and guest Laura Ingraham had a marvelous time tearing apart The New York Times (video link to follow). During the discussion, Ingraham pointed out something that many Americans now feel about the Old Grey Lady:
Well, I think that they truly believe that America is the single biggest danger to the modern world.
I don't think, Bill, that they believe that they have a dog in this terrorism fight. I think they think it's a fight between two groups of fundamentalist, the fundamentalists who are the Islamists. They don't much care for them.
But then the fundamentalists in the Bush administration, who have this messianic view of the world that they can make the world in their own image. And I think they're more petrified of the Bush fundamentalism, as they refer to it, than they are the Islamists.
Yikes. That about says it. O’Reilly then asked a pivotal question: