Late last night, the New York Times decided to run a story alleging major ballot fraud on the eve of the Iraqi elections through fraudulent ballots from Iran:
Less than two days before nationwide elections, the Iraqi border police seized a tanker on Tuesday that had just crossed from Iran filled with thousands of forged ballots, an official at the Interior Ministry said. The tanker was seized in the evening by agents with the American-trained border protection force at the Iraqi town of Badra, after crossing at Munthirya on the Iraqi border, the official said. According to the Iraqi official, the border police found several thousand partly completed ballots inside. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the Iranian truck driver told the police under interrogation that at least three other trucks filled with ballots had crossed from Iran at different spots along the border.
But there is one problem with the Times article... the single-sourced story appears to be totally false:
The head of Iraq's border guards denied police reports on Wednesday that a tanker truck stuffed with thousands of forged ballot papers had been seized crossing into Iraq from Iran before Thursday's elections. "This is all a lie," said Lieutenant General Ahmed al-Khafaji, the chief of the U.S.-trained force which has responsibility for all Iraq's borders. "I heard this yesterday and I checked all the border crossings right away. The borders are all closed anyway," he told Reuters....
In a potential sign of the changing tide in the media, the New York Times published an article at its website late this evening entitled “Sunni Bastion Now Turning to Ballot Box.” In it, Edward Wong depicted pre-Election Day Iraq as being almost a shining example of democracy in action.
Wong began optimistically: “Along the main boulevard here in Saddam Hussein's hometown, hundreds of campaign posters have flowered where insurgents once tossed homemade bombs at American troops.” By the third paragraph, he was almost exultant: “But turnout in the parliamentary elections on Thursday is expected to be high, reflecting the shift in attitude of many Sunni Arabs toward the American-engineered political process.” By the fourth paragraph:
Free Market Project (FMP) Director Dan Gainor has a piece online at the FMP website detailing how mainstream movie critics and entertainment reporters have uncritically heralded George Clooney's silver screen outing, Syriana, as a true or near-true-to-life account of how American oil companies operate in the Middle East.
Among them, A.O. Scott of the New York Times in his November 23 review: "Someone is sure to complain that the world doesn’t really work the way it does in ‘Syriana’; that oil companies, law firms and Middle Eastern regimes are not really engaged in semiclandestine collusion, to control the global oil supply and thus influence the destinies of millions of people. OK, maybe."
In its usual over-the-top manner, the New York Times has once again treated the destruction of New Orleans due to ravages of Hurricane Katrina as a product of the Bush administration.
The Times's Sunday lead editorial, "Death of an American City," waits until two-thirds of the way down the article to place blame on something other than the federal government: the local and state government officials who run New Orleans and Louisiana. The Times neglects to mention that it is Democrats who primarily run the government in both New Orleans and the State house.
Colunmnist Charles Krauthammer's Weekly Standard essay on the moral defensibility of torture in fighting terror has raised eyebrows, and the New York Times tries to gin up more controversy in a feature on Krauthammer for the Sunday Week in Review.
The story by Anne Kornblut, "He Says Yes to Legalized Torture," includes the text box: "In a controversial article, Charles Krauthammer says that at times, coercion is morally necessary." A sidebar excerpts passages of Krauthammer's article in "the conservative Weekly Standard" interspersed with rebuttals by blogger/author Andrew Sullivan, whom the paper identifies as "also a conservative, who replied in the most recent issue of The New Republic, where he is a senior editor."
While conservative talk radio blazed this week over DNC chair Howard Dean's comments on Iraq, that the idea we're going to win is "wrong," an important question arises: did the average American who does NOT listen to talk radio, but relies on network morning or evening news, hear the same uproar? Are the aware of the brouhaha? Don't bet on it. A quick search of the name "Howard Dean" in Nexis from Sunday to Friday showed no Dean mention on ABC. None on CBS. NBC had this snippet on Wednesday morning from Kelly O'Donnell: "The president dismissed comments from Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean, who compared Iraq to the Vietnam war." That's the closest the networks came.
What if you live in fly-over country and read the national papers online, or bought copies across the country of USA Today, or the New York Times? If you read USA Today last week, you'd know nothing of Dean's comments. The New York Times mentioned them in an A-5 story by Sheryl Stolberg on Wednesday headlined "Democrats Still Search for Plan on Iraq." Dean surfaced in paragraph 13. The Washington Post was rare for putting the story front and center on Tuesday, in a story by Jim VandeHei and Shailagh Murray headlined "Democrats Fear Backlash at Polls for Antiwar Remarks" featuring Dean's comments in paragraph two, on the front page. How about National Public Radio?
A front page New York Times story on the global warming talks in Montreal chose to place all the blame for America’s refusal to move forward with the highly controversial Kyoto Protocol on the Bush administration. In doing so, the Times didn’t inform its readers about the history of this accord, and, in particular, that the Senate in July 1997 voted 95-0 against it. In addition, the Times completely ignored any of the obvious economic consequences to America if it entered into a global warming treaty that did not include China.
Yet, that didn’t deter the Times from identifying a culprit: “In a sign of its growing isolation on climate issues, the Bush administration had come under sharp criticism for walking out of informal discussions on finding new ways to reduce emissions under the United Nations' 1992 treaty on climate change.”
For some reason, New York Times science reporter Andrew Revkin, in Montreal to cover a climate change conference, instead gives prominent coverage to an ongoing rave of young leftwing environmental activists.
Friday's "Youths Make Spirited Case at Climate Meeting" gives a shout-out to the lefties:
"But a stream of participants hiked through the frigid night to a corner building on the far side of Chinatown that pulsed with light and thudding music. Inside, a local nonprofit group called Apathy Is Boring was giving a party. There was no apathy in attendance -- just 300 people, most in their 20's, who had come from as far away as Australia and Los Angeles to pester the 'fossils' -- the legions of gray-suited negotiators who, these young people said, were hijacking their future."
I heard Laura Ingraham notice Thursday that New York Times reporter Sarah Lyall used an L-word in her story on playwright and Nobel Literature Prize winner Harold Pinter's "furious howl of outrage" against America in his Wednesday acceptance remarks. It comes in paragraph five: "The literature prize has in recent years often gone to writers with left-wing ideologies. These include the European writers José Saramago of Portugal, Günter Grass of Germany and Dario Fo of Italy." Actually, these men could all be placed on the "hard left," if Lyall wanted to pick that label. Lyall's story is the top e-mailed story of the last 24 hours, as of 10 PM Eastern. The headline is wimpy in comparison to the howling speech: "Playwright Takes A Prize and a Jab at the U.S.," it says. See if the second paragraph sounds like a little "jab" to you:
After a month of hounding President Bush for low poll numbers, Thursday’s “Early Show” on CBS ignored their own network's poll showing President Bush’s approval rating has improved by five points over the last month. But a month ago, when a CBS poll found lower ratings for the President, the “Early Show” mentioned it two days in a row. CBS’s Bill Plante was quick to point out that among modern Presidents; only Richard Nixon was lower at this point in his second term. The next day, Thalia Assuras touted how “the President’s poll numbers are defining a new low.” However, CBS's polling partner, the “New York Times”, found President Bush’s rising poll numbers important enough to put on their front page above the fold Thursday morning under a headline reading “Economy Lifts Bush’s Support in Latest Poll,” and the poll was also featured on last night's "CBS Evening News” with Bob Schieffer.
A recent report published by the Gallup Organization stated:
“a majority of U.S. investors continue to describe the current economy as being ‘in a slowdown’ or ‘recession’ as opposed to being ‘in a recovery’ or ‘sustained expansion.’”
Regardless of continuously strong economic reports, such bearish assessments have been regularly portrayed by public opinion polls for several years. During this period, economists and politicians – including the Bush administration – have wondered what is responsible for this disconnect between perception and reality.
A detailed look at how unemployment numbers are shared with the public by mainstream media outlets gives us some clues. The Labor Department on Friday announced very strong employment gains for the month of November. In fact, this was the largest number of job creations since April. However, this news was reported to the public in a fashion that largely downplayed its significance. A 3.2 percent annual increase in wages was characterized as employees “basically treading water.” Although energy prices have been steadily declining since September, jobs market stories included references of this still being a “huge concern.” Other news accounts referred to the unemployment rate being “stuck at 5 percent,” as if a 5 percent unemployment rate is a bad thing, while one cable news outlet told viewers to take the numbers “with a grain of salt.”
The New York Times just can't forgive Mel Gibson for making "Passion of the Christ." Editor-columnist Frank Rich assailed it, most amusingly when he predicted it would be "a flop in America" and rather appallingly when he called it "a joy ride for sadomasochists" and accused Gibson of anti-Semitism.
Wednesday's paper dredges up the anti-Semitic charge in a front-page business-section story by David Halbfinger promoted on the "Inside Box" on the front page with this heavy language:
"Mel Gibson, whose 'Passion of the Christ' was assailed by some critics as an anti-Semitic passion play -- and whose father has been on record as a Holocaust denier -- has a new project under way: a nonfiction mini-series for television about the Holocaust."
David Cloud reports on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's talk at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in "Rumsfeld Says the Media Focus Too Much on Negatives in Iraq," but devotes most of his small Tuesday story to anti-administration side issues and rebutting unrelated statements by Rumsfeld.
"Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday that news media organizations were focusing too much on casualties and mistakes by the military in Iraq and were failing to provide a full picture of the progress toward stabilizing the country. 'We've arrived at a strange time in this country where the worst about America and our military seems to so quickly be taken as truth by the press, and reported and spread around the world, often with little context and little scrutiny, let alone correction or accountability after the fact,' he said in a speech at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies."
Saturday's New York Times story from Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Democrats Sense Chance In Ohio for '06 Elections -- Weakened Republicans Still Hold Edge," is the latest in what amounts to an "occasional series" of Times' stories encouraging Democrats in Ohio.
Congressional reporter Stolberg is even more excited about Democratic prospects in Ohio than James Dao (of Marine letter infamy) was during Paul Hackett's unsuccessful run for an open House seat. And before the 2004 election, Dao noted: "The disarray is so great, Democrats contend, that it could hurt President Bush's ability to win Ohio, a pivotal state for the Republicans."
As reported by NewsBusters here, the New York Times’ William Safire made some statements on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on October 30 concerning his view of a changing tide in the media’s opinion of the president. This morning’s panel on NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” proved Safire as being rather prophetic.
To refresh everyone’s memory, Safire said that day: “Now, the wonderful thing about American attention and media coverage, is the narrative has to change. It can't stay the same, or else it's not newsworthy. And so the story will be the comeback.”
No tremendous shock here, but the New York Times has done it again. Specifically, in editorializing against the services of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, the Times has reinforced the perception that it has become an active arm of the liberal and world-elite.
The editorial, "Blocking Reform at the U.N." says that Ambassador Bolton is "threatening to hold up its entire two-year operating budget unless his demands for major reforms are met almost immediately."
The New York Times claims "An American-backed program appears to defy the basic tenets of freedom of the press" as it continues to play catch-up to the Los Angeles Times, which had the dubious honor of breaking the story of the Pentagon-led PR-journalism campaign in support of the U.S. effort in Iraq.
On Friday, NYT reportrs Eric Schmitt and David Cloud file "Senate Summons Pentagon To Explain Effort to Plant Reports in Iraqi News Media." The text box: "An American-backed program appears to defy the basic tenets of freedom of the press."
Yesterday afternoon the Washington Post filed to its website a quick take on Bush's speech to the Naval Academy on Iraq, including the president's emotional quotation from a letter found on the laptop of Marine Cpl. Jeffrey Starr, six months to the day after his death in a firefight in Ramadi.
"Reading from a letter written by a U.S. soldier on his lap-top computer before his death, an emotional Bush said America owes those who have died in Iraq to 'take up their mantle, carry on the fight and complete their mission.'"
By contrast, the Times online story from Christine Hauser made no mention of Starr's letter. Perhaps one reason why: As Michelle Malkin first learned, The New York Times quoted Starr's letter in a story last month, but managed to miss the point, leaving off the very part Starr's family and President Bush found significant.
Don't miss my latest writing for the Free Market Project: Media claims about a “housing bubble” are nothing new. Since before the 9/11 terror attacks, the media have been calling the housing market a “bubble” while predicting an imminent, devastating decline. Not only have they been wrong in forecasting such a top, they have thoroughly mischaracterized what an investment bubble is. Now that the market for homes has finally slowed a bit, the media are declaring the bubble has burst.
A Bubble?: Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has denied the existence of a national housing bubble for several years, but the media have used the term repeatedly.
Strong Gains: The increase in real estate values the past five years has not resembled the rapid rise typically seen in a bubble. In 2000, the national median existing-home value was $139,000. This grew to $215,900 by the third quarter of 2005 – a 55-percent nominal increase but a 34-percent inflation-adjusted gain.
Home Sales Still Going Up: New home sales jumped another 13 percent in October. While sales of existing homes were down 2.7 percent from September, the median national price rose to $218,000, a 16.6 percent increase since October 2004.
You've come to Newsbusters because you want to see a concrete example of liberal bias. Who delivers that better than the New York Times?
This is reality. We're 4 years out from the worst attack since Pearl Harbor, post dot-com crash, we've had more hurricanes than any year since some old man first started keeping track, and we just about had a major U.S. city -- an economically important city -- wiped off the face of the planet. The hurricanes took out oil infrastructure at a time when we can ill afford a disruption in supply.
And yet the economy is, quite simply, running hot.
That would be great, except for the fact that a religious conservative is sitting in the White House. Will the powerful New York Times stand for this? After all, there has been so much invested in making Bush look like a religious idiot.
Perhaps the media's most cherished holiday tradition is the middle-class poverty story, which alleges that hunger and homelessness are now stalking the previously impervious middle class, stories often based on dubious numbers from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Now, clear a place: Heating bills are joining hunger and homelessness at the liberal groaning board.
The Times discovers middle-class needy in Stony Brook, N.Y., in Sunday's Metro section story by Paul Vitello ("Middle Class Gets in Line for Help With Rising Heating Bills").
"The main government assistance office in Suffolk County sits just off a busy road in an office park surrounded by a neighborhood of deep lawns and two-car garages. Everyone for miles around uses that road every day. But until recently, hardly anyone from the neighborhood -- people whose status in the middle class was thought secured unquestionably by homeownership -- ever turned into the office park to seek help inside the county's nondescript building. This year, they have come in from the fear of the cold. They are retirees, young couples, the temporarily unemployed, the two-income families stretched to the limit of second mortgages and credit cards, a slice of the suburban demographic that social workers call 'mortgage rich and pocket poor.'"
A Monday New York Times editorial, "Public Broadcasting's Enemy Within," goes way over the top in its rhetorical assault on Kenneth Tomlinson, the former Corporation for Public Broadcasting chairman who had the audacity to attempt to bring some political balance to PBS, which has long used tax money to fund liberal programming:
"As chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kenneth Tomlinson proved to be a disastrous zealot. Internal investigators found he repeatedly broke federal law and ethics rules in overreaching his authority and packing the payroll with Republican ideologues."
Like some of the other shows, it seemed a little unanimous on CNN's "Reliable Sources" today. They began with a panel of raving leftist New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, liberal historian Robert Dallek, liberal CNN correspondent Bruce Morton, and UPI Pentagon correspondent Pam Hess, who must qualify as the most conservative one on the panel. Krugman muffed it early when host Howard Kurtz asked if Walter Cronkite could galvanize the anti-war movement today by saying we've lost, we should withdraw: "If Walter Cronkite were alive -- sorry, he is alive. If Walter Cronkite were on the news today, if a Walter Cronkite equivalent were on the news, he would -- immediately after that broadcast we just saw, he would have been called a traitor."
Tired of public opinion polls? Well, an article in today’s New York Times might be an indication that Americans have seen enough polls in the past three months, and that a new strategy is necessary to inform them how to think. How does it work? Well, instead of releasing data that supposedly represents a statistical picture of the nation’s views on a subject, make the data significantly more real by putting names and faces to the numbers.
The article in question, entitled “Even Supporters Doubt President as Issues Pile Up,” effectively introduced this strategy in its first four paragraphs:
The big news story from Iraq yesterday was the suicide bombing in Mahmudiya which killed 31 people. The Washington Post story makes it clear what the "insurgents" are really doing:
A suicide attacker steered a car packed with explosives toward U.S. soldiers giving away toys to children outside a hospital in central Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 31 people. Almost all of the victims were women and children, police said.
In homes across this country that subscribe to the New York Times, Americans will wake up on Thanksgiving morning to be told that the land they love is still in some kind of Great Depression. Of course, unemployment is at 5 percent, more Americans own their own homes than ever in history, and the average citizen has a higher net worth – meaning assets minus debt – than ever before, including during the supposed boom years of the late ’90s. Alas, none of that is important to the Times editorial staff...not even on Thanksgiving.
To be sure, this kind of economic mischaracterization is certainly nothing new to the mainstream media. However, stuck in the middle of an editorial about one of the nation’s most cherished holidays, on the very day in question, does make it a little more distasteful than usual:
In reviewing the new George Clooney film “Syriana,” New York Times film critic A.O. Scott files a classic paragraph explaining how this movie may not actually resemble the current political reality, but even if it’s a conspiracy-theory stew of baloney, its heart is in the right place:
“Someone is sure to complain that the world doesn't really work the way it does in ‘Syriana’: that oil companies, law firms and Middle Eastern regimes are not really engaged in semiclandestine collusion, to control the global oil supply and thus influence the destinies of millions of people. O.K., maybe. Call me naïve -- or paranoid, or liberal, or whatever the favored epithet is this week -- but I'm inclined to give Mr. Gaghan the benefit of the doubt. And even if the picture's rendering of current events turns out to be entirely off base, the energy, care and intelligence with which it makes its points are hard to dismiss.” Okay, Mr. Scott, you have it: you're a paranoid liberal. A peek at Metacritic.com shows that critics routinely found it to be liberalism on speed: