Here’s everything Reuters and the NY Times are telling readers at nytimes.com (3:30 p.m. eastern, Jun. 13) about today's press conference Israel's Defense Minister Amir Peretz held concerning the explosion last week that killed seven Palestinian civilians ("Israel Denies Role in Deadly Gaza Beach Blast")
Israel on Tuesday denied responsibility for an explosion on a Gaza beach last week that killed seven Palestinian civilians and led militant group Hamas to call off a 16-month truce.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz told reporters the explosion was not caused by the Israeli Defense Forces but did not provide an explanation for what might have caused the blast, which killed several members of the same family.
Major General Meir Califi, who headed the army's investigation into Friday's incident, said Israel's shelling of Gaza had stopped by the time the beach explosion occurred.
"The chances that artillery fire hit that area at that time are nil,'' Califi told a news conference.
Hamas, which heads the Palestinian Authority after winning elections earlier this year, has blamed Israel for the explosion, which came on a day of heavy shelling of Gaza.
Israel frequently fires artillery rounds into the coastal strip in response to Palestinian rockets fired at Israel.
There has been a surge in violence between Israel and the Palestinians since the beach explosion, the immediate aftermath of which was caught on film and showed an 8-year-old girl desperately searching for her dead father.
An investigator from international rights group Human Rights Watch told reporters in Gaza earlier that evidence pointed to Israel having fired the shell, but he had to leave the door open to the possibility that the explosion was caused by something else.
In the ongoing left-wing saga of “They Stole The Election From Us,” New York Times columnist Bob Herbert (hat tip to Raw Story) wrote Monday another gratuitous piece about how George W. Bush swiped the 2004 election from John Kerry.
This stuff is really delicious. But, I caution the reader to not have food or drink in his or her mouth while reviewing this information, for uncontrollable laughter can erupt at any moment and without warning:
“Republicans, and even a surprising number of Democrats, have been anxious to leave the 2004 Ohio election debacle behind. But [Robert F. Kennedy Jr.], in his long, heavily footnoted [Rolling Stone] article (‘Was the 2004 Election Stolen?’), leaves no doubt that the democratic process was trampled and left for dead in the Buckeye State. Kerry almost certainly would have won Ohio if all of his votes had been counted, and if all of the eligible voters who tried to vote for him had been allowed to cast their ballots.”
Now, remember folks…the key, much as it was in Florida, is to count all the votes. Of course, most of us remember what that looked like. Comically, the article continued: “No one has been able to prove that the election in Ohio was hijacked.” Actually, Bob, this is a great point you make. Why is it lost on you?
The writers of The New York Times apparently think that every day's a good day to bash the Bush administration. And any hook will work, whether it's factually correct or not. Today's example comes from yesterday's Times, and Niall Ferguson. He's got a long piece about the burgeoning Federal debt.
Well, I'm all in favor of concern about the debt, because I'd rather have a lower debt than a larger. (I rather suspect that, as a matter of policy, the New York Times would not agree with me on the proper means for lowering the debt, but we'll leave that aside for the moment.)
So, what exactly is Ferguson's take?
Since becoming president, George Bush has presided over one of the steepest peacetime rises ever in the federal debt. The gross federal debt now exceeds $8.3 trillion. There are three reasons for the post-2000 increase: reduced revenue during the 2001 recession, generous tax cuts for higher income groups and increased expenditures not only on warfare abroad but also on welfare at home. And if projections from the Congressional Budget Office turn out to be correct, we are just a decade away from a $12.8 trillion debt — more than double what it was when Bush took office. [emphasis mine]
To paraphrase Douglas Adams, "this is obviously some strange usage of the word peacetime that I wasn't previously aware of." Even if you want to describe the 1990s as "peacetime" despite the fact that we had troops active in Iraq (and Somalia and Bosnia), it is difficult to comprehend how someone could describe the period since 9/11 as "peacetime." After the United States was clearly attacked, we have responded militarily, removing the governments of two different nations in the past 5 years, with all of the military costs that those operations have required. There's no legitimate usage of the word "peacetime" in that context. The only reason that you would use that word is to make a false comparison that makes the Bush administration's performance look worse than it has been.
How unusual to see something like that in the New York Times...
At National Review Online today, Byron York wrapped up his coverage of the Yearly Kos convention by noting that one thing was missing in the coverage of Markos Moulitsas, the nation's top foamy-mouthed leftist blogger at the center of the Daily Kos:
While his writings—and the controversies they have caused—are an old topic in the blogosphere, they have remained largely unexamined in major media outlets. For example, one of Moulitsas’s most famous statements, involving the brutal murders of four American contractors in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004—“I feel nothing over the death of mercenaries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.”—has been the target of extensive criticism on conservative blogs and in conservative media outlets, but, according to a search of the Nexis database, has never been mentioned in the Washington Post. (It was quoted, once, in the New York Times, deep in a September 2004 feature story on bloggers.) Nor has it been reported in any major newsmagazine or been the topic of conversation on any major television program.
The same is true for other things Moulitsas has written. For example, in January of this year, Moulitsas reflected on the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror:
Media reporter turned columnist David Carr quotes the now-notorious comment out of Ann Coulter’s new book regarding the media-lionized “Jersey Girls” who lambasted Bush for failing to stop 9-11, then huffs in his Monday column:
"That typical Coulter sortie was hardly a misstep on some overamped talk show. That doozy of a sentence was written, edited, lawyered and then published.”
Howard Kurtz reviews the latest Ann Coulter publicity salvo in his Monday Media Notes column, but fails to ask: why would the harsh remarks of this mere author be seen by the networks as more earth-shaking then, say, the shrillness of Hillary Clinton? Ann Coulter is not about to run for president, so why are her remarks bigger news than when Hillary opens a rhetorical can of fanny-whack?
Kurtz also reports that New York Times columnist Tom Friedman drew the ire of General Motors for his column suggesting GM was dangerous to America, but the Times acted like it had no stomach for anyone attacking them in letters to the editor:
GM withdrew a letter to the editor after the paper insisted the automaker not call Friedman's column "rubbish," suggesting instead "we beg to differ" and, when that didn't fly, "not so."
As I noted yesterday, while most Americans were celebrating the military success that killed the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, there were still some in the media trying to spin the development in a negative light. That trend continued on the CBS "Evening News" with Bob Schieffer last evening. In one segment, Schieffer interviewed two critics of the war in Iraq, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and CBS News Analyst Michael Scheuer. Scheuer had also appeared earlier in the day on "The Early Show."
Schieffer focused on Friedman first, inquiring what Friedman thought about the development:
The NY Times’ Carl Hulse says goodbye and good riddance to Rep. Tom DeLay, the former Republican House majority leader resigning his seat in Congress today, with “Defiant to the End, Delay Pats Himself on the Back and Bids the House a Torrid Goodbye.”
“Representative Tom DeLay personifies the word ‘unapologetic.’
Reporter Dexter Filkins has an exceedingly strange take on the death by air strike of terrorist leader Zarqawi, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis: “By finally eliminating Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the American military and its Iraqi allies have killed the man who put a face on the Iraqi insurgency. The question now looming over Mr. Zarqawi's death is how large a blow it deals to the guerrilla movement he helped drive to such bloody limits.
Don Surber has a faux New York Times story (more faux than usual) about how the Times would cover a New York Yankees game in the manner they cover Iraq.
Bias? In the NYT? What if John F. Burns were recalled from Baghdad to cover this week's Yankees-Red Sox series? Wouldn't that be fun? Here is how I imagine that report of Game 1 at Yankee Stadium would go:
Fans came trickling into Yankee Stadium amid fears that their hometown team would implode. Only 55,246 fans attended the game.
Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina was in trouble early as Covelli "Coco" Crisp opened the game with a double for the Sox of Red.
The higher paid Yankees were futile as they tried to deal with the insurgent Crisp. Their battle plan was wrong, and coaches in the field admitted as much off the record. Although the next three batters each struck out, Mussina was a tired, overpaid pitcher, ill-equipped to deal with the flexibility of the speedy Crisp.
Republican Brian Bilbray won the special election in California's 50th Congressional District to replace Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, beating Democrat Francine Busby by four points. Yet just as he did in yesterday’s online filing, chief political reporter Adam Nagourney’s off-lead story on Thursday’s front page hails the result as a victory…for the Democrats.
Andrew C. McCarthy writes in National Review that when the New York Times reported on the foiled terrorist plots in Canada, they took great pains not to mention the terrorists were Muslim.
Not only were all those arrested Muslims. The reported evidence against them fits to a tee the shopworn pattern of Islamic terrorism repeated for much of the last two decades. Young men were radicalized at the local mosque and its companion school by elders preaching from the Koran.....
Nonetheless, the rigorous media practice in Phase One is to suppress any reference to Islam, the single thread that runs through virtually all modern terrorism—from New York, to Virginia, to Bali, the Djerba, to Baghdad, to Mombassa, to Tel Aviv, to Nairobi, to Dar es Salaam, to Ankara, to Paris, to Riyadh, to Amman, to Sharm el-Sheikh, to Aden, to London, to Madrid, and, now, to Toronto.
A wacky group of conspiracy theorists who think 9/11 was an inside job on the part of the Bush administration met in Chicago over the weekend, and got a respectful hearing from Times Metro reporter Alan Feuer.
“500 Conspiracy Buffs Meet To Seek the Truth of 9/11” made Page 1 of the Metro section, and that very headline gives the conspiracy-mongers the undeserved accolade of truth-seekers when they’re actually just crawling for scraps of evidence “proving” that Bush, not radical Islamic terrorism, was responsible for 9/11.
Everyone has heard of the "killings at Haditha," even though the military investigation of what happened there is still underway. Has anyone heard of the "killings at St. Lo" in July, 1944? A comparison of the New York Times coverage of those two events is instructive.
A Google News search of Haditha + killings + New York Times yields 891 hits as of Sunday noon. The articles on this subject in the Times are driving the national and international news in all media on this subject. The Times and its reporters are cited in most of these articles.
But what did the Times run about the killings at St. Lo in July, 1944?
It ran no stories, front page or otherwise, on St. Lo when it occurred. (Operation Cobra was intensive bombing by the US Air Force, in support of the effort to break out of St. Lo, and move against the Germans across France.)
The full headline deck to Friday's lead story from Baghdad by Richard Oppel Jr. is certainly provocative:
"Iraqi Accuses U.S. Of 'Daily' Attacks Against Civilians -- Premier Assails Troops -- New Government Vows Its Own Inquiry in Deaths of 24 in Haditha."
"Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki lashed out at the American military on Thursday, denouncing what he characterized as habitual attacks by troops against Iraqi civilians.
"As outrage over reports that American marines killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha last year continued to shake the new government, the country's senior leaders said that they would demand that American officials turn over their investigative files on the killings and that the Iraqi government would conduct its own inquiry.
New York Times columnist and best-selling foreign-policy author/guru Thomas Friedman appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday, mostly to address the administration's Iran initiative. But MRC's Brian Boyd also noticed Diane Sawyer turned to Friedman's harsh but very green Wednesday column beginning with the sentence: "Is there a company more dangerous to America's future than General Motors?"
Sawyer: "[B]oy, did you cause a stir yesterday with your column saying that it's time for Toyota to take over General Motors because General Motors has offered what to subsidize gas for people who in effect buy gas-guzzlers?"
"The roadside blast in Baghdad on Monday that killed two CBS News crew members and seriously wounded a third has deepened concerns among television network executives about the risks their crews face trying to cover the Iraq war, some arguing that television reporters may be even more exposed than those in print journalism."
Near the end, Carter lets two news executives take some timely blasts at conservatives, and radio host Laura Ingraham in particular:
Can you imagine the visage of Adolf Hitler being incorporated as a kitsch pop item and celebrated as a "kind of George Washington, James Dean" icon in the mainstream press?
Probably you can’t. But left-wing mass-murderers get an irony pass in both the media and pop culture. Chairman Mao's image is almost as ubiquitous as that of Che Guevara (another left-wing killer, albeit on a less grand scale). A Sunday Week in Review story by David Barboza ("Chameleon Mao, the Face of Tiananmen Square") celebrates Mao's image without acknowledging the millions of murders under his long reign.
Anyone who pays even scant attention to the news cannot have helped but see that CBS news correspondent, Kimberly Dozier, was severely injured by one of those insidious IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) that have been responsible for so many of the casualties to coalition forces and common Iraqi citizens in Iraq over the last few years.
Ms. Dozier is certainly brave enough for taking the call to go to Iraq and attempt to learn what it is like there and to file her stories from that turbulent region. There is certainly no reason to laugh at her injuries. It is also sad that members of her news crew were killed by the same explosion. We see the names of those men in every report about this incident. Cameraman, Paul Douglas, and sound man, James Brolan, lost their lives in pursuit of the story that day. Brave souls all, regardless whether you think their work is ultimately good or bad.
The Sunday before Memorial Day, reporter Kate Zernike allowed Sen. John Kerry to refight his own personal Vietnam War against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ("Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss"). The Times puts the battle on the front page, and judging by the respectful tone of the story, seems to think the pro-Kerry forces vanquish the Swift Boat Veterans.
"John Kerry starts by showing the entry in a log he kept from 1969: 'Feb 12: 0800 run to Cambodia.' He moves on to the photographs: his boat leaving the base at Ha Tien, Vietnam; the harbor; the mountains fading frame by frame as the boat heads north; the special operations team the boat was ferrying across the border; the men reading maps and setting off flares."
Here's more proof that John Kerry's thinking hard about running for president again. On the front page of the Sunday New York Times, reporter Kate Zernike insists Kerry is now getting ready to really attack Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as a pack of liars, and Kerry devotees are raising money and have hired a researcher to back up Kerry's version of events, even on problematic claims like his "Christmas in Cambodia" tale. Zernike buries the lede in paragraph nine:
Mr. Kerry, accused even by Democrats of failing to respond to the charges during the campaign, is now fighting back hard. "They lied and lied and lied about everything," Mr. Kerry says in an interview in his Senate office. "How many lies do you get to tell before someone calls you a liar? How many times can you be exposed in America today?"
NBC's David Gregory wasn't the only liberal reporter who just had to emphasize The Economist magazine's cover calling President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair the "Axis of Feeble." At CJR Daily, Paul McLeary noted it became a hot trend. So why would this bother liberal Columbia Journalism Review folks? Because it's lazy. "Great headline," said McLeary, but "The sad thing is, they all probably thought they were being funny and original, and in a sense they were -- but in lockstep. And that's what strikes us as feeble."
It seems what the media likes in this is how it turns Bush's phrase back on itself, and comments on how both Bush and Blair are lame-duck leaders. But if they are "feeble," er, what about the sub-par politicians who couldn't seem to defeat their attempts at re-election? Here's McLeary's roundup of mentions:
C-SPAN on Saturday night (May 27) aired the Sunday, May 21 commencement remarks, by New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., at the State University of New York at New Paltz where he was honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters. As reported Monday by Clay Waters, on NewsBusters and the MRC's TimesWatch site, in picking up local Hudson Valley newspaper accounts, Sulzberger delivered a left wing rant in which he presumed liberal policy goals are more noble than conservative ones as he offered an “apology” for the nation his generation has left to the next generation:
“You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, whether it's the rights of immigrants to start a new life; or the rights of gays to marry; or the rights of women to choose. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drove policy and environmentalists have to fight relentlessly for every gain.”
Jim Rutenberg nabs a front-page byline in Friday's New York Times with his news analysis, “G.O.P. Draws Line in Border,” in which he pits “compassionate” conservatives like Bush who favor some form of amnesty for illegal immigrants against those “doctrinaire” meanies who actually want to enforce and strengthen America's border and immigration laws.
“The negotiations between the White House and Congress that will follow the Senate's passage on Thursday of an immigration bill could decide not just how the nation confronts illegal immigration but also what strain of conservatism the Republican Party carries into the midterm elections and beyond.
Jason DeParle, assigned by the New York Times to cover the “conservative beat,” reported Thursday that faculty at Georgetown University are hotly rebelling against former Bush Pentagon official Douglas Feith, a "war criminal," in his new gig as a professor at Georgetown University. The headline was sedate: “Faculty’s Chilly Welcome For Ex-Pentagon Official.”
The typically left-wing professoriate at Georgetown may be up in arms, but you would be crestfallen if you believed liberals would be called "liberals" or "leftists" in the DeParle piece, even as Feith is identified as a “neoconservative” favoring war on Saddam Hussein.
New York Times reporter Robert Pear tapped out another article for Thursday’s editions highlighting "conservatives" versus opponents who are merely "Democrats." In fact, Pear used "fiscal conservative" today more times than the New York Times has used the term "fiscal liberal" in 25 years.
The headline read: "Fiscal Conservatives Heighten Fight Over Pet Projects." Pear began: "A battle for the soul of the Republican Party flared up in Congress this week as fiscal conservatives heightened their attack on pet projects stuffed into spending bills with the consent of House leaders."
Overall, as Pear trailed Rep. Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, as he attempted to keep a lid on spending, his story used "fiscal conservatives" four times, not counting the headline. Meanwhile, his opponents were only identified by party affiliation, among them, "Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio," sticking up for tomato money, and "Mike Thompson, Democrat of California," defending federal spending on the "health benefits of wine."
Times music writer Kelefa Sanneh tosses ice on the liberal media’s celebration of the Dixie Chicks in Thursday’s “It’s Dixie Chicks vs. Country Fans, but Who’s Dissing Whom?”
The female country music trio are best known lately for dissing President Bush at a London concert in 2003, and since then have picked fights with the overtly patriotic country singer Toby Keith. But kudos from liberal media outlets like the Times and Time magazine have proven easier conquests than radio stations, where there first two singles have struggled to get airplay and have tumbled down the charts.