There's a certain irony to my column today. The author whose op-ed piece I'm about to criticize grew up hunting and shooting in Iowa, and still owns several guns. I grew up in Jewish neighborhoods in the Bronx and Queens where about the only concealed items were tzitzis - undergarments men wear to remind them of Biblical commandments. I've never owned a gun and my forays into shooting have been limited to Boy Scout camp and one adult session at a trap range - or was it skeet?
It wasn't easy, but I battled my way this morning to the end of Frank Rich's pay-per-view column, Donald Rumsfeld’s Dance With the Nazis. Tempting as it was, I didn't turn the cyber-page despite prose that you might find in the dictionary next to the definition of 'turgid'. Take Rich's description of Donald Rumsfeld's recent remarks: "[a] toxic effort to impugn the patriotism of administration critics by conflating dissent on Iraq with cut-and-run surrender and incipient treason."
My persistence was rewarded with two nuggets from the column's concluding paragraphs. First, as a certified spokesman for MSM sentiment, Rich made clear that in liberal media-land, Iraq is not part of the war on terror. Rich dismissed Pres. Bush's assertion that Al-Qaeda and our foes in Iraq are part of the same “ideological struggle of the 21st century.” Sniffed Rich:"One more drop in the polls, and he may yet rebrand this mess War of the Worlds."Movie titles aside, and messy as it might be, we are indeed engaged in a new kind of world war. And if more proof were needed that the MSM doesn't understand that, here it was.
On Friday night, MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough featured opposite takes on a Friday Washington Posteditorial proclaiming that the recent revelation that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the original leaker of Valerie Plame's identity discredits Joe Wilson's accusations about a White House conspiracy to punish him by ruining his wife's career. On his Countdown show, Olbermann slammed the Washington Post for its "startling conclusions" and attacked the logic of the Post's reasoning. On Scarborough Country, Scarborough hit the New York Times and other media, including "left-leaning TV hosts," for not following the Post's lead and correcting its "character assassination" of the Bush team. Scarborough also delved into the inaccuracy of some of Wilson's claims about his trip to Niger and whether it really contradicted Bush's State of the Union claims about Iraq's efforts to acquire uranium. And while Scarborough presented some balance on his show by allowing one of his two guests to defend Wilson (Rachel Sklar after Wilson critic Christopher Hitchens), Olbermann followed his normal routine of choosing guests who will bolster his anti-Bush views, this time in the form of Wilson/Plame attorney Melanie Sloan. (Transcripts follow)
Saturday's edition of the Times has a pretty misleading article filled with Karl Rove's woe and informing all of us beyond the beltway lifeforms that Rove is now useless to the Party where once he was a kingmaker. At least they are hoping this to be the case.
Where it is misleading is that, as they fill the piece with how Rove is losing influence, they don't balance that claim with the simple fact that nearly every 2nd term president and his team struggles to keep hold of the Party reins as that president's last years in office roll on. It happened to Clinton, too, if the Times will remember?
One would think that Rove has lost his midas touch and that he is now routinely ignored by Party hopefuls and candidates all up and down the line by this piece.
Valerie who? The New York Times seems to need a reminder.
Judging by its sparse coverage, the Times is apparently trying to pretend the Valerie Plame "outing," (which for three years was a matter of national import on its editorial page, news pages, and among its stable of liberal columnists), is no longer even newsworthy, now that the inconvenient truth (Armitage?) is out.
I kept waiting. Dutifully wading through Paul Krugman's subscription-required kvetch over the economy, The Big Disconnect, I figured I'd eventually be rewarded for my perseverence with his proposed solutions - if only to be able to critique them. But the New York Times columnist's economic nostrums never came.
Krugman's basic complaint is that workers haven't shared in the fruits of the extended economic expansion. This is Krugman being late to the MSM party noted here, here, and here. Even so, he chooses to ignore the reporting in his own paper that flatly contradicts his own allegation that "most workers have seen their wages lag behind inflation and their benefits deteriorate." As Ken Shepherd of NB and MRC noted yesterday, the New York Times itself has acknowledged that, as per recently released data, wages are actually increasing at a 7% annual rate even when adjusted for inflation!"
At a recent journalists convention in Israel, the assembled representatives of the world's elite media realized that press's coverage of the recent war in Lebanon has been flawed. And that it was Israel's fault. See NRO's Media blog for details, then read the rest of this article (h/t LGF):
In short, much of the most incendiary
media coverage of this war seems to have been either staged or
fabricated. The big question is why the western media would perpetrate
such institutionalised mendacity. Many ancillary reasons come to mind.
There is the reliance upon corrupted news and picture agencies which
employ Arab propagandists as stringers and cameramen. There is the herd
mentality of the media which decides collectively what the story is.
There is the journalists’ fear for their personal safety if they report
the truth about terrorist outfits. There is the difficulty of
discovering the truth from undemocratic regimes and terrorist
organisations. There is the language barrier; there is professional
laziness; there is the naïve inability to acknowledge the depths of
human evil and depravity; there is the moral inversion of the left
which believes that western truth-tellers automatically tell lies,
while third world liars automatically tell the truth.
But the big answer is that the western media transmit the lies of
Hezbollah because they want to believe them. And that’s because the Big
Lie these media tell — and have themselves been told — about Israel and
its place in history and in the world today has achieved the status of
unchallengeable truth. The plain fact is that western journalists were
sent to cover the war being waged against Israel from Lebanon as a war
being waged by Israel against Lebanon. And that’s because that’s how
editors think of the Middle East: that the whole ghastly mess is driven
by Israel’s actions, and that therefore it is only Israel’s aggression
which is the story to be covered.
The text box: "A group of critics says it has found signs of widespread voting irregularities." The phrase "far-left critics" would have been more accurate, but there's not a single label to be found in Urbina's story.
New York Times reporter David Leonhardt had to make an about-face on the economy in today's New York Times:
What a difference three days make. 72 little hours.
In that time, a New York Times reporter went from tolling the death knell of real wage growth to reporting a 7-percent wage jump over last year after inflation.
"[T]he current expansion has a chance to become the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that fails to offer a prolonged increase in real wages," The New York Times’ David Leonhardt and Steven Greenhouse somberly noted in their page A6 article in the August 28 edition.
Greenhouse and Leonhardt added a political spin to data showing the "median hourly wage" dipping "2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation."
"That situation is adding to fears among Republicans that the economy will hurt vulnerable incumbents in this year’s midterm elections," the correspondents argued before remarking that "wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product."
But new data released on August 30 pushed Leonhardt to admit the death of wage growth he wrote about earlier might be greatly exaggerated.
Now we know, thanks to "Hubris," a new book by Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff and left-wing writer David Corn of The Nation -- someone who bears much responsibility for puffing up the Plame non-story in the first place.
Times legal reporter Neil Lewis reports what everyone who has Internet access already knows -- that Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state under Colin Powell, was columnist Robert Novak's source for the information that Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson/Plame, worked for the CIA.
Stuart Taylor Jr. writes in Slate that the New York Times "still seems bent on advancing its race-sex-class ideological agenda, even at the cost of ruining the lives of three young men" from the Duke lacrosse team.
If you're the New York Times and the story is the alleged gang rape of a black woman by three white Duke lacrosse players—a claim shown by mounting evidence to be almost certainly fraudulent—you tone down your rhetoric while doing your utmost to prop up a case that's been almost wholly driven by prosecutorial and police misconduct.
And by bad journalism. Worse, perhaps, than the other recent Times embarrassments. The Times still seems bent on advancing its race-sex-class ideological agenda, even at the cost of ruining the lives of three young men who it has reason to know are very probably innocent. This at a time when many other true believers in the rape charge, such as feminist law professor Susan Estrich, have at last seen through the prosecution's fog of lies and distortions.
When headlines like this are chosen, one wonders what exactly is going through the mind of the headline writer (most should know that headline writers are often different people than the authors of the article). Regardless, though, the headlines reflect the policy and position of the paper, which may or may not be the same as that of the article's author.
This example of a headline that does not really fit the article comes to us from the August 29th edition of the New York Times topping what is billed as an "essay" about the efficacy or sense of giving dialysis to a patient with brain damage, paid for by the tax payer.
The strongly independent New York Times withholds a story to comply with the government? There must be a catch and there is: the government is not American and the withheld story is bashing terrorists.
If Web readers in Britain were intrigued by the headline “Details Emerge in British Terror Case,” which sat on top of The New York Times’s home page much of yesterday, they would have been disappointed with a click.
“On advice of legal counsel, this article is unavailable to readers of nytimes.com in Britain,” is the message they would have seen. “This arises from the requirement in British law that prohibits publication of prejudicial information about the defendants prior to trial.”
A New York Times editorial and an op-ed piece by one of its house columnists have something interesting in common this morning: stamp-your-feet frustration with the way the world is and an inability to suggest what should be done about it.
In The Falling Paycheck, the Times editorial board complains that real wages aren't keeping up with the economy's continued expansion. "American employees have not shared in the wealth they’ve helped to create," laments the Old Gray Lady. Sure sounds as if the Times subscribes to the 'surplus value' theory of labor. And we know who came up with that.
The New York Times continues its coverage of the world the way they think it ought to be, with the Democratic party in control of the United States Congress. This morning's piece - Issues Await if Democrats Retake House - goes through the issues facing our gallant Dems as they prepare to take back the various House chairmanships that were usurped by Speaker Newt lo these many years ago. The New York Times, of course, is in favor of that happening. So they're willing to make sure that NY Times readers are aware that the potential Democratic committee chairs are "increasingly being portrayed by Republicans as liberal extremists." They aren't liberal extremists, of course. But they're being "portrayed as liberal extremists." John Conyers has a lifetime rating of 5 (out of 100) from the American Conservative Union, Barney Frank and Charles Rangel have 4s, but they're just being "portrayed" as liberal extremists.
"Comrade. Potato production 70% below target for 4th year in row in five-year plan!"
"True, Kommissar. But we have solution. Will implement training and preparation program for workers!"
"Budem - let's drink!"
The ostensible purpose of this morning's New York Times editorial was to exult at the results of a study finding that 4th-grade charter school students performed worse than their public school counterparts, even when controlling for socio-economic background. Like a tiger on the smallest of mice, the Times pounced on this one result to proclaim that it was "Exploding the Charter School Myth." As an unreconstructed supporter of the union-dominated public school oligopoly, the Times naturally welcomes any evidence that there is no reason to alter the existing paradigm.
NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell continued the skewed media reporting of the Middle East by noting the important social work that Hezbollah does and how the rest of the world has a very supportive take on the terrorist organization.
Liberal TV critic Bob Laurence hypothesized that the scant coverage of the kidnaping of two Fox News journalists was due to the frequency of abductions and the network’s "insulting" attitude towards other media outlets. (According to Laurence, nobody, not even terrorists, like FNC.)
A New York Times Editorial appears to be something of a non-CIA rendered intelligence report on what the GOP has in mind for the Fall. I say non-CIA, because it's scary to be sure.
The last thing this country needs as it heads into this election season is another attempt to push the intelligence agencies to hype their conclusions about the threat from a Middle Eastern state.
That’s what happened in 2002, when the administration engineered a deeply flawed document on Iraq that reshaped intelligence to fit President Bush’s policy.
In what would be ironic, were this not the NY Times, they have no problem delivering up scary assessments of the deep dark inner workings of the malevolent GOP, they simply don't want anyone doing it for our enemies, as well.
Talk about your culture clash! A hip hop music site juxtaposes a report on Bill Cosby's condemnation of that musical genre with news of the latest criminal doings of hip hop stars. AllHipHop.com bills itself as 'The World's Most Dangerous Site.' Currently up on the site is an article reporting a recent speech in which Cosby . . . "went on the offensive against rap music."
States the article:
"'They put the word 'nigga' in a song, and we get up and dance to it,' Cosby said.
"The two-hour Coppin State University-hosted event dubbed 'Fatherhood Works,' was the last stop on the entertainer's day-long visit to the city.
"In addition to hip-hop, Cosby expressed his views on teenage pregnancy, re-emphasized the importance of a good education and urged fathers to take a more active role in raising their kids, as he visited three West Baltimore elementary schools and the church."
So here was AllHipHop respectfully passing along Cosby's message. Meanwhile . . . to the right of the Cosby article is a column with links to the latest news from the hip hop world. But while reports of new record deals and other doings were mixed in, much of it read like a 'rap' sheet of an altogether different sort. Examples:
Foxy Brown Misses New Jersey Court Date, Must Attend Next Hearing
Estate of Slain Man In CCC Club Files Lawsuit Against Proof Estate
NY Times theatre critic/playwright George Hunka's "A Sermon on Corporations, Neighborhoods and Loss" celebrates a left-wing performance artist for exposing the evils of large corporations. Hunka, of course, is writing this for the New York Times, part of a modest little enterprise known as the New York Times Co., which had revenues of a mere $3.4 billion in 2005.
"Reverend Billy -- the alter ego of the performance artist Bill Talen, bleach-blond pompadoured and an impressive presence at 6-foot-3 in his pale brown leisure suit -- struts, preaches and sings his way across the Spiegeltent stage at the South Street Seaport, bringing his anticorporatist, environmentalist message to the converted via a sermon and several songs, accompanied by the Church of Stop Shopping gospel choir and a seven-piece band."
What does Maureen Dowd want? Her column of today is the latest evidence of a woman torn between the imperatives of modern feminism and a not-so-secret longing for more traditional domestic arrangements.
The topic of Ring-a-Ding-Bling [subscription required] is marriages in which the husband plays a decided second fiddle to the wife. You might think that Dowd-the-feminist would celebrate marriages in which women play the leading role. But, with one notable exception, she expresses little but scorn for husbands whose wives have the upper hand.
Mo's Exhibit A is the Britney Spears/Kevin Federline couple. Dowd begins by professing that "to make fun of Mr. Spears [would be] too easy — shooting tuna fish in a can, as they say." By referring to Federline as "Mr. Spears" Mo has of course mocked him already. Then, utterly ignoring her own precept, she proceeds to ruthlessly ridicule him, describing his recent attempt at rap music as "even more deliciously atrocious than anticipated," also letting us know that "the hip-hop community reacted with amused disdain."
Having read it a couple times, the answer is inescapably . . . yes. Frank's fundamental thesis is that, since conservatives don't believe in the beneficent powers of government, they are essentially unfit to govern. Or as Frank puts it, bad things happen "when you elevate to high public office people" like Ronald Reagan with a healthy skepticism about government.
"Country music videos flashed on a television set at the Idle Hour, a Music Row bar where a Crock-Pot of beef stew simmered for hungry musicians.
"Sitting at a table in early August, Bobby Braddock, the longtime songwriter, lamented the conservatism of the country music industry that was demonstrated when the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks became a target of fury three years ago after saying she was ashamed that her band and President Bush shared the same home state.
Breaking news from the New York Times: tobacco is bad for you! Of course you didn't know that. Rubes like you [probably the same kind of people dumb enough to have voted for Republicans over the years] likely think tobacco has roughly the same the health impact of bean sprouts washed down with OJ. That's because you've fallen victim to the tobacco industry's "half-century of deception." And the Times is plenty mad about it.
In Tobacco Racketeers Get Off Easy, the Times stamps its editorial feet this morning, frustrated by the judge's rulings in a suit accusing Big Tobacco under racketeering statutes. The judge had earlier denied the $280 billion penalty originally sought, and has now turned thumbs down on "the modest billions sought by prosecutors."
Fulminates the Times: "The prospects for reining in this rogue industry seem limited unless Congress finds the gumption to crack down — or top tobacco executives develop a conscience and decide to get out of the death-dealing business."
In the wake of the recent NSA surveillance ruling by judge Anna Diggs Taylor, two noteworthy and purportedly professional sources of anti-Bush rhetoric, the New York Times Editorial Page and blogger Glenn Greenwald, revealed themselves to be little more than shallow-thinking, un-democratic outcomes-based demagogues, as opposed to political commentators interested in good law, or objective truth.
via Instapundit: ADAM LIPTAK in the New York Times: "Even legal experts who agreed with a federal judge’s conclusion on Thursday that a National Security Agency surveillance program is unlawful were distancing themselves from the decision’s reasoning and rhetoric yesterday. . . . Discomfort with the quality of the decision is almost universal, said Howard J. Bashman, a Pennsylvania lawyer whose Web log provides comprehensive and nonpartisan reports on legal developments."
Talk about your party pooper! Like a disgruntled waiter spitting in the champagne back in the pantry, The NY Times editorial this morning, Hold the Champagne, approaches parody status in its attempt to find the cloud on the silver lining of the economy's good performance.
The Times began by comically scolding investors for "almost certainly overreact[ing], pushing up stocks and bonds as if all was right with the economy" in reaction to the news that inflation had been lower than expected. And if anyone should know about stocks going down, it's the folks at the NY Times who have watched the Times' own share price droop steadily downward over the last year.
Sabrina Tavernise reports from a village in Lebanon for Friday's "A Girl's Life Bound Close To Hezbollah," and honors the mantra of the terrorist group as a "social services network," just like her colleague John Kifner did on Wednesday -- and again, without using the word "terrorism."
"Israel's goal of uprooting Hezbollah from southern Lebanon has frequently been questioned by critics who say the group is deeply woven into society and cannot simply be cut out. An afternoon with the Fadlallah family in this southern Lebanese village shows that the group not only is part of society, but also helps form the shape of life itself.
If not quite from the grave, the decision by one of Jimmy Carter's judicial appointees, striking down the NSA terrorist surveillance program, was an unwelcome blast from past. Call it Carter's Revenge. Malaise Redux. The spirit of Desert One lives.
That this was a political decision more than a legal one is evidenced by the intemperate language of the opinion itself: "There are no hereditary kings in America," harumphed Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court in Detroit, in a case filed by the ACLU. [An exception to Taylor's no-hereditary-kings rule: the Sulzberger dynasty that is . . . the New York Times. Hat tip to NB poster Jack Bauer. See details in comments below.]
On 9/11, the occupants of a hotel right across from the WTC flee their rooms. A hotel security guard informs the FBI that in the room-safe of an Egyptian hotel guest, he found an aviation radio. The radio could be used to communicate with airborne pilots.
The Egyptian, Abdallah Higazy, who is attending college in the US, is arrested, and undergoes tough interrogation, including suggestions that his family could be subjected to investigation by Egyptian security. After offering various implausible stories, the Egyptian admits that the radio is his and that he stole it from the Egyptian air force. He is charged with lying to investigators.
A month later, an airline pilot who had been staying in the hotel returns, looking for his radio. Turn out it was his. The security guard who reported having found the radio in the Egyptian's room had lied to the FBI. It was apparently his twisted means of involving himself in the 9/11 story.
Higazy is freed, never having gone to trial, much less having been convicted of a crime.The security guard is charged with lying to the FBI, convicted and given a prison sentence.
Sounds like the American legal system worked pretty well, doesn't it? Not to Bob Herbert of the New York Times. According to his column of this morning, The Tyranny of Fear [subscription required],
"All the authorities have to do nowadays is claim that a case is linked to terror and they can get away with just about anything. The rule of law is succumbing to the tyranny of fear."