On Wednesday, NPR's "Fresh Air With Terry Gross," which airs on hundreds of NPR stations across America, interviewed long-time New York Times foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer on his new book, "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii To Iraq." To Kinzer, every American intervention is a nightmare, one he compared to child abuse:
These interventions abroad, these overthrows of foreign governments, not only plunge whole regions of the world into instability and turn them into places from which undreamed threats emerge years later, but they undermine American security. They are not just bad for the countries where we intervene. You cannot violently overthrow a foreign regime and then expect that that won't have any long-term effect. It's like beating your child every day. You cannot expect that that child is going to grow up normal.
Today the New York Times finally corrects a left-wing myth perpetrated in its pages as fact.
“An article on Feb. 9 about the military's recruitment of Hispanics referred incompletely to the belief of some critics that Hispanics in the Iraq war and blacks in the Vietnam War accounted for a disproportionate number of casualties. Statistics do not support the belief. Hispanics, who are about 14 percent of the population, accounted for about 11 percent of the military deaths in Iraq through Dec. 3, 2005. About 12.5 percent of the military dead in Vietnam were African-Americans, who made up about 13.5 percent of the general population during the war years.”
But that milquetoast correction doesn’t hint at the charged nature of what reporter Lizette Alvarez wrote in the Feb. 9 edition, which simply restated left-wing paranoia as fact:
A Democratic member of Congress assaults a police officer, whips up racial animosity, and then is forced to retract the allegations. The newspaper article on that would surely be a painful read for the politician.
Unless the pol is Cynthia McKinney and the paper is The New York Times. The article – which the representative’s staff is surely framing right now – sets up the left-wing congresswoman as “a brilliant and gutsy crusader for the disenfranchised.”
On April 3, the New York Times reported (Man Hit by Car; Witnesses Say He Was Chased) on a young man who was seriously hurt (and later died) after darting into a busy Harlem intersection. Witnesses to the incident, according to the Times' account, said it appeared the victim was being chased by several young men. No reference to the race of the victim or the young men pursuing him was mentioned.
Today's New York Post Online Edition reports on the same incident: "The NYPD hate-crimes unit is probing a report that a
white NYU student killed by a car in Harlem was fleeing a gang of black
teenagers screaming 'Get whitey!' sources said yesterday."
As Katie Couric announces she is jumping from NBC’s “Today” show, which she’s co-hosted for 15 years, to the anchor slot of the “CBS Evening News,” Edward Wyatt gamely argues in Thursday’s Business Day how Couric actually has roots as a hard news reporter (“Coming Back to Hard News”) and carried those over to her Today show segments, which Wyatt repackages as “tough assignments.”
“But she has showed that she can handle tough assignments with aplomb and has been unafraid to take certain risks.”
Those admirable “risks,” in Wyatt’s view, are composed of Couric putting a condom on a model of a penis, bringing a camera to her own colonoscopy, and criticizing a former Klansman.
Ken Shepherd of the Free Market Project points out that business reporter Michael Barbaro’s initial filing for the paper’s “continuous news desk” used some pretty loaded language in a story on Wal-Mart:
“Wal-Mart Stores, whose voracious, all-in-one retailing model has crippled thousands of competitors over the last 40 years, is turning to an unusual business plan: helping its rivals.”
The print version of Barbaro’s lead leaves out that melodrama: “Wal-Mart Stores, whose all-in-one retailing model has forced scores of competitors to close their doors over the last 40 years, is turning to an unusual business plan: helping its rivals.”
Gabriel Schoenfeld has an essay in Commentary where he says the New York Times broke the law when it reported on the NSA eavesdropping program.
Disclosing classified information, like that given to the New York Times about monitoring Al Qaeda phone calls, is illegal. But there is an avenue for whistleblowers to expose wrongdoing that involves classified info, although it has nothing to do with flashy headlines and self aggrandizing journalists.
As for whistleblowers unhappy with one or another government program, they have other avenues at their disposal than splashing secrets across the front page of the New York Times. The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 shields employees from retribution if they wish to set out evidence of wrongdoing. When classified information is at stake, the complaints must be leveled in camera, to authorized officials, like the inspectors general of the agencies in question, or to members of congressional intelligence committees, or both. Neither the New York Times nor any other newspaper or television station is listed as an authorized channel for airing such complaints.
The New York Times damaged American surveillance efforts.
On the front of Monday’s Arts page stands Felicia Lee’s “Gay Moms And Dads Can Bring The Family,” based on Rosie O’Donnell’s new HBO special on “the first-ever cruise for gay families.”
The piece reads more as pro-gay mainstreaming than a news item, leading off with unusual criticism by a reporter of a question from another reporter.
“Rosie O'Donnell, the former talk show host, actress, lesbian mom and a candid blogger, can certainly duck, weave and bob her way through a conversation. But she was caught off-guard by a reporter at a press event for ‘All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise,’ a new documentary about the first-ever cruise for gay families. Did she intend to raise her children to be gay?, the reporter asked.
Immigration has been the hot topic as of late and it was no different on Sunday’s edition of "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer. In the second segment of the program, Schieffer interviewed "New York Times" David Brooks. Schieffer introduced Brooks as a "proud conservative," and while Brooks may be conservative for "The New York Times"staff, to many conservatives he is reminiscent of John McCain in that he will be critical of conservatives to open doors to liberal media outlets.
Brooks railed against conservative Republicans who want a tough immigration bill accusing them of an unwillingness to "talk reasonably." To back up his point, Brooks points to comments apparently made by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA):
David Brooks: "I was up at a press conference this week where a House Republican said, `You know, we've got to have some people to pick lettuce in this country, so we're not going to have immigrants. Let's make the prisoners do it.’ You want to hit the guy on the head with a baseball bat. We're going to take a largely minority population, forced labor, picking lettuce and cotton. Is this ringing any bells here?"
I remember a conversation I had with a broadcast news executive many years ago.
"Doesn't the fact that 90 percent of your people are Democrats affect your work product?" I asked.
"Oh, no, no," he said. "Our people are professional. They have standards of objectivity and professionalism, so that their own views don't affect the news."
"So what you're saying," I said, "is that your work product would be identical if 90 percent of your people were Republicans."
He quickly replied, "No, then it would be biased."
I have been closely acquainted with newsroom cultures for more than 30 years, and I recognize the attitude. Only liberals can see the world clearly. Conservatives are prevented by their warped and ungenerous views from recognizing the world as it is.
Neela Banerjee’s Monday political memo, "The Abortion-Rights Side Invokes God, Too," certainly helps the pro-abortion lobby Planned Parenthood portray itself as just as religious as any pro-life organization.
"In any given week, if you walked into one of Washington's big corporate hotels early in the morning, you would find a community of the faithful, quite often conservative Christians, rallying the troops, offering solace and denouncing the opposition at a prayer breakfast.
"So you might be forgiven for thinking that such a group was in attendance on Friday in a ballroom of the Washington Hilton. People wearing clerical collars and small crucifixes were wedged at tables laden with muffins, bowing their heads in prayer. Seminarians were welcomed. Scripture was cited. But the name of the sponsor cast everything in a new light: the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. To its critics, Planned Parenthood is the godless super-merchant of abortion. To its supporters, it is the dependably secular defender of abortion rights. But at this breakfast, God was everywhere, easily invoked by believers of various stripes."
When Hillary Clinton charged that the House Republican immigration bill would "criminalize...Jesus himself," there was national-media notice – if not criticism. Even Hillary’s "hometown" newspaper The New York Times reported on March 23 that Senator Clinton intensified her criticism of Republican immigration proposals, albeit on page B-5. But no one in the story criticized Hillary for her harsh attack. Instead, reporter Nina Bernstein noted only critics to Hillary’s left: "Mrs. Clinton had been criticized by some immigrant activists for saying little about the issue until March 8, and then speaking at an Irish-only rally, rather than at a forum more representative of immigrants. But yesterday all seemed forgiven." Bernstein’s story, headlined, "Mrs. Clinton Says GOP Immigration Plan Is At Odds With The Bible," began:
We saw in the 2000 election cycle that one way national reporters protected Democratic presidential contender Al Gore was to ignore wild or embarrassing things he said in public. The RNC and other Gore critics would play up his gaffes, but the media said "what gaffes"? If they did report the remarks, they didn’t find them overstated or wrong.
It’s not exactly 2008 yet, but the same trend looks to be happening with Sen. Hillary Clinton. She can claim that Republicans would need a "police state" to round up illegal immigrants, and then claim that Republicans would "literally criminalize the good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself" in their anti-immigration zeal, and some media outlets didn’t notice either one of these outrages. On the hear-no-Hillary-gaffe list: CBS, NBC, National Public Radio, and USA Today. (Nexis search of "hillary and police state" and "hillary and jesus" through March 29.)
Here is an incomplete exchange printed in the NYT between Dobbs and a representative of the racist and separatist organization known as La Raza, or “The Race.” That translation is omitted by the NYT, replaced instead by the nicer sounding phrase “civil rights organization:"
This followed by just a day a confrontation between Mr. Dobbs and a guest on his own program, Janet Murguia, the president of the Hispanic civil rights group National Council of La Raza, during which he lectured her on immigration policy.
"I want you to look me right in the eye, and I want you to hear me loud and clear," Mr. Dobbs said to Ms. Murguia, who replied, "I'm right here."
To you and me, it's a funny beer ad. To the New York Times, it's cause for a 25-paragraph story slamming Big Beer.
The New York Times's Melanie Warner penned a two-column article today on the complaints of several liberal "advocacy" groups about a Bud Light commercial featuring men on the roof enjoying a beer while pretending to do their wives a favor.
Warner stacked the deck with four liberal critics of the alcohol industry against one representative from The Beer Institute.
So what's the story really about? Turning Big Beer into the next Big Tobacco:
For the last two years, a committee of 28 state attorneys
general has been investigating alcohol advertising as part of an effort to
reduce underage drinking. While the group says it has no plans to sue the companies,
many of the states represented in group were involved in lawsuits that led to a
landmark $256 billion settlement in 1998 against the tobacco companies.
Rachel Swarns is a bit harshly reductive in her take on anti-illegal immigrant House Republicans in her Wednesday reflection billed as a “news analysis,” “Split Over Immigration Reflects Nation’s Struggle.”
“It is almost as if they are looking at two different Americas.
“The Senate Republicans who voted on Monday to legalize the nation's illegal immigrants look at the waves of immigration reshaping this country and see a powerful work force, millions of potential voters and future Americans.
“The House Republicans who backed tough border security legislation in December look at the same group of people and see a flood of invaders and lawbreakers who threaten national security and American jobs and culture.”
Nothing biased here, I just found it amusing as an evangelical Christian who has examined the mainstream media's aversion to religion.
Going through the morning papers today, I noticed this teaser atop the the Sports section for USA Today: "Christ the King No. 1." The corresponding story on page 7C was about the private New York school topping the USA Today Super 25 list for high school girls basketball.
A few days prior, The New York Times headlined a sports article on the same girls team with "Christ the King Lives Up to National Reputation."
As a Catholic, I'm long used to finding the media has a chronic case of schizophrenia on the Catholic bishops conference: they are an oppressive caucus of Nosy Nates if they get involved on social issues like abortion, an emerging threat to the separation of church and state. But if they get involved on the liberal side of the divide -- as the American bishops did on nuclear weapons and economics in 1980s, or when they oppose capital punishment -- they're great moral authorities demonstrating a surge in public opinion. Clay Waters finds that case of the gymnastic splits again today at TimesWatch:
Reporter Nina Bernstein evidently caught the spirit of the weekend protests by illegal immigrants and their supporters in Los Angeles, judging by the positive tone of her Monday article, "In the Streets, Suddenly, An Immigrant Groundswell"....Bernstein gushes in the next sentence: "But if events of recent days hold true, they will be facing much more than that. Rallies in support of immigrants around the country have attracted crowds that have astonished even their organizers. More than a half-million demonstrators marched in Los Angeles on Saturday, as many as 300,000 in Chicago on March 10, and -- in between -- tens of thousands in Denver, Phoenix, Milwaukee and elsewhere..."
There’s some odd wording in Pentagon reporter Thom Shanker’s short piece Tuesday on an unusual ceremony in a Pennsylvania meadow.
“Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld gazed across a rolling meadow on Monday, its grass yellow in late winter's grip, and toward the stand of hemlock trees marking the area where Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001. He then bent and wordlessly placed a medallion at the base of a temporary memorial here.
“Known as the defense secretary's ‘coin,’ the medallion is an elaborately pressed memento that Mr. Rumsfeld hands out to troops he meets in combat zones overseas.
“His visit was his first to the site where passengers of Flight 93 overpowered their hijackers and sent an airliner crashing into the countryside instead of its intended target, the Capitol in Washington. His gesture was intended to link that event, through the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, to the wars started by the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
It’s a tale of two presidential campaigns on page A26 of Sunday’s New York Times.
At the top of the page, Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s “Testing Presidential Waters As Race at Home Heats Up” follows Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen around the state in preparation to running for a second term -- and possibly for president in 2008.
The text box emphasizes Allen’s conservatism:
“A Republican faces the delicate task of tacking right without alienating his base.” Stolberg also references Allen’s “conservative voting record” and the fact that “Fiscal conservatives seem to like him, but social conservatives are uneasy.”
She also notes that 2006 “is looking up for Democrats” and that Allen’s “re-election bid just got tougher than he expected” when James Webb, a Navy secretary under Reagan, got into the Democratic primary.
A "revelatory" article by Elisabeth Bumiller in today's New York Times article is laden with unanswered questions, assumptions and peculiarities.
Beginning with the lede, we get the “theme” of the article – the “erosion” of President Bush’s political capital.
“President Bush said Tuesday that the war in Iraq waseroding his political capital, his starkest admission yet about the costs of the conflict to his presidency, and suggested that American forces would remain in the country until at least 2009.”
On March 11, the Times fronted an interviewed with what it claimed was the infamous "hooded inmate" from Abu Ghraib prison. But Ali Shalal Qaissi, the man they interviewed and pictured on the front page, was not the man in the now-iconic photo, as the Times explained in the March 18 edition.
Donna Fenton, whose alleged struggles with the FEMA bureaucracy were the subject of a sympathetic (and in retrospect, extremely gullible) March 8 profile by reporter Nicholas Confessore, was not the victim of Hurricane Katrina that she claimed to be. Yesterday she was arrested for fraud and grand larceny. The editors' note in the corrections box of the Times explains:
Hillary-hailing reporter Raymond Hernandez makes the front page of Thursday’s Metro section with a story that isn’t about Hillary but nonetheless helps Sen. Clinton reelection campaign -- an expose of her Republican opponent K.T. McFarland (“Questions Arise About Resume Of Challenger To Clinton”).
“When Kathleen Troia McFarland stepped forward as a Republican challenger to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, she was a relatively obscure figure with two intriguing claims to fame: She had worked on President Ronald Reagan's ‘Star Wars’ speech and had been the highest-ranking woman at the Reagan Pentagon.”
Earlier this month, the New York Times wrote about a Katrina evacuee, Donna Fenton. The story focused on the difficulties the woman had encountered in receiving assistance, highlighting her frustrations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Yesterday, the woman, who had falsely claimed to be a Katrina victim, was arrested for welfare fraud and grand larceny. Today's Times reports that story, and notes its previous coverage appeared "more than a month after Brooklyn prosecutors, prompted by suspicious officials at the city's welfare agency, began investigating her."
The big question on the mind of certain New York Times reporters is one that has been repeatedly answered over and over with a resounding “No.” Well we can dream, can’t we?
In an attempt to portray the White House as disorganized, in constant conflict, lost, and on the verge of a “shake up,” Elisabeth Bumiller and Adam Nagourney again show that the NYT is reporting news it wishes to happen, rather than what actually has happened.
“President Bush's suggestion on Tuesday that he may add a new senior figure to his White House team raised questions about the future of two of his closest and most powerful aides, Andrew H. Card Jr. and Karl Rove, as they struggle to put Mr. Bush's White House back on course.”
The Times leads Wednesday with Elisabeth Bumiller’s take on Bush’s lively White House press conference, which the Times headlines “Bush Concedes Iraq War Erodes Political Status.”
“President Bush said Tuesday that the war in Iraq was eroding his political capital, his starkest admission yet about the costs of the conflict to his presidency, and suggested that American forces would remain in the country until at least 2009. In a quick remark at a White House news conference about the reserves of political strength he earned in his 2004 re-election victory -- ‘I'd say I'm spending that capital on the war’ -- Mr. Bush in effect acknowledged that until he could convince increasingly skeptical Americans that the United States was winning the war, Iraq would overshadow everything he did.”
“Some diplomats suggest that if Hamas supports a moribund 2002 Saudi peace initiative, it will somehow ‘recognize’ Israel without having to say so; some suggest that a Hamas offer of another cease-fire may be enough to ‘forswear violence.’ But so far, Hamas is not playing along. It sees the agreements with Israel as a honey trap and recognition of Israel as impossible. In the meantime, Hamas is working on the heartstrings and sense of justice of the West, to keep aid flowing. Hamas's victory also signaled the death of the ‘peace process’ as it has been practiced.”
Today’s “Bush Concedes Setbacks” piece in the NYT by Elisabeth Bumiller contains questionable passages that give her “angle” away.
Here is a slice seemingly right off the editorial page:
“Over all, Mr. Bush's speech was a positive message that conceded some of the setbacks on the ground, a formulation meant to portray the president as not living in a fantasy world about the three-year-long war.”
And all of us out here in American sincerely believe that President Bush actually does float around in a fantasy land regarding his understanding of the war. None of us have access to any other information regarding the status or unfolding of the war effort, save what the New York Times chooses to report, so it is helpful to have this characterization opined at us.
With all the criticism heaped upon it by bloggers, including NewsBusters' very own Clay Waters, the New York Times has finally decided to do a story about bias..... That is, bias by Amazon.com.
Amazon.com last week modified its search engine after an abortion rights organization complained that search results appeared skewed toward anti-abortion books.
It turns out that one of Amazon's helpful search hints is biased in favor of the pro-life position.
Until a few days ago, a search of Amazon's catalog of books using the word "abortion" turned up pages with the question, "Did you mean adoption?" at the top, followed by a list of books related to abortion.
Amazon removed that question from the search results page after it received a complaint from a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a national organization based in Washington.