In a stunning example of how the mainstream press manipulates public opinion, as well as a clear explanation as to why the majority of the American people believes that the economy is doing poorly despite mountains of statistical evidence to the contrary, the press today decided to largely ignore one of the biggest one-day declines in energy prices in many months.
As I reported here yesterday, oil prices at the NYMEX dropped by almost three dollars per barrel, with gas prices declining by almost ten cents. Yet, after scaring the American public with regular predictions of economic gloom and doom concerning inflationary fears tied to escalating energy prices the past few weeks, America's two most prominent newspapers -- the New York Times and the Washington Post -- must have decided that good news on the energy front wasn’t deserving of the public’s attention. (cont'd...)
As Clay Waters points out in his previous posting, a New York Timesarticle by Eric Lichtblau sheds some interesting light on warnings issued by the State Department to the Clinton administration back in 1996 concerning Osama bin Laden's move from the Sudan to Afghanistan:
In what would prove a prescient warning, the State Department intelligence analysts said in a top-secret assessment on Mr. bin Laden that summer that "his prolonged stay in Afghanistan - where hundreds of 'Arab mujahedeen' receive terrorist training and key extremist leaders often congregate - could prove more dangerous to U.S. interests in the long run than his three-year liaison with Khartoum," in Sudan.
On the one hand, it is quite shocking that the Times would publish a story so critical of President Clinton.
Yet, maybe most surprising is the continuous reference to America's Public Enemy Number One as "Mr. bin Laden". In fact, thirteen times in this article, Osama is so respectfully referred to.
Are the Times editors compensating for their tremendous discomfort with publishing an article critical of their favorite modern president by raising Osama to a level deserving of the title "Mister"?
Two generally anti-Bush intelligence reporters, Eric Lichtblau and Philip Shenon, have important scoops in Wednesday's paper about anti-terrorist inaction on Clinton's watch. But will network news notice?
First up is Lichtblau's "State Dept. Says It Warned About bin Laden in 1996," buried on A12: "State Department analysts warned the Clinton administration in July 1996 that Osama bin Laden's move to Afghanistan would give him an even more dangerous haven as he sought to expand radical Islam 'well beyond the Middle East,' but the government chose not to deter the move, newly declassified documents show."
Lichtblau explains: "The declassified documents, obtained by the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act request and provided to The New York Times, shed light on a murky and controversial chapter in Mr. bin Laden's history: his relocation from Sudan to Afghanistan as the Clinton administration was striving to understand the threat he posed and explore ways of confronting him. Before 1996, Mr. bin Laden was regarded more as a financier of terrorism than a mastermind. But the State Department assessment, which came a year before he publicly urged Muslims to attack the United States, indicated that officials suspected he was taking a more active role, including in the bombings in June 1996 that killed 19 members American soldiers at the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia."
Times Watch reports on the latest Civility Update from the newspaper that put the anti-Gore "RATS" ad non-controversy on the top of the front page. They're loving a blogger whose site slogan is "Proudly Lowering the Level of Political Discourse." Lefty blogger Lee Papa's one-man show at the New York International Fringe Festival is all the rage to Times critic Margo Jefferson: How do we liberals show we're strong, he asks, and answers firmly: 'We have to rape Republicans. We have to show them this is what liberals are.'…Mr. Papa's ruling metaphor is always some form of aggressive to abusive sex."
TimesWatch notes Jefferson isn't fazed, she's a fan: "I still enjoyed the show. It's just that I enjoy his blog more. As a new fan, I also liked the fact that several members of the Listserv I belong to sent me links to their favorite Rude Pundit columns and discussions of his work that read like short, smart reviews. Those are the kinds of shrewd, passionate fans mainstream theaters would kill to attract."
The New York Times relates a touching story in an editorial about a lady (Victoria Ruvolo) who not only forgave, but powerfully comforted a man who had nearly killed her (Ryan Cushing) when the two met face to face outside the courtroom where Cushing had just entered his guilty plea.
Cushing tossed a turkey through Ruvolo's car windshield last fall. She "needed many hours of surgery to rebuild her shattered facial bones."
According to the Times, Ruvolo cradled Cushing's head as he sobbed and begged for her forgiveness. She told him, "It's O.K.; it's O.K. I just want you to make your life the best it can be."
Curiously couched in the middle of this otherwise fine editorial was this gratuitous paragraph:
Would you think of the group Judicial Watch, do you think of it targeting any specific administration?
The New York Times certainly does. In an article today, the paper would lead us to believe that the group particularly vexed the Clinton Administration, and only criticized the current administration a little, and only on 9/11 matters. Interestingly enough, this characterization is made in the midst of an article that reflects very poorly on the last administration. Here's what the Times said:
"The declassified documents, obtained by the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act request and provided to The New York Times..." [emphasis mine]
Credit the New York Times for getting the biggest Able Danger interview to date.
The August 16th edition of the paper reveals allegations from one of Congressman Weldon's primary sources, a man now identified as Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer. Shaffer stepped forward to add weight to the story he had already told Weldon and staffers from the 9/11 Commission.
As interesting a story as it is, it's incomplete. The Times omits a very important details in the timeline.
In a statement issued last week, the leaders of the Sept. 11 commission said the panel had concluded that the intelligence program "did not turn out to be historically significant." The statement said that while the commission did learn about Able Danger in 2003 and immediately requested Pentagon files about the program, none of the documents turned over by the Defense Department referred to Mr. Atta or any of the other hijackers.
The bloggers at Get Religion (a nicely done conservative blog about religion and the news media) have posted an article for the Notre Dame Journal by Ken Woodward, the longtime religion reporter for Newsweek, exploring how averse the New York Times is in particular to the terminology of partial-birth abortion:
From the outset, the Times determined to avoid using “partial-birth” in its news headlines. A computer search of the newspaper’s database since June of 1995 shows how persistently this prohibition has been enforced. Only once, on a news story published in April 2004, has “partial-birth” appeared in a headline. Instead, the Times has employed whenever possible a selection of opaque substitutes. The most frequently used terms were “type of” abortion and “form of” abortion, abortion “method” or “procedure” or “technique,” or simply a generic abortion “ban” or “curb.” Here is a sample of Times headlines, chosen for their variety of usages and published between 1995 and 2004:
Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote a scathing criticism of President Bush regarding the war in his op-ed on Sunday, "Someone Tell the President the War is Over."I know it's an opinion piece, but his comments are so blatantly biased they shouldn't get a pass. Here's just a sample of what Rice wrote, but the whole article is telling:"Like the Japanese soldier marooned on an island for years after V-J Day, President Bush may be the last person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in Iraq is over.
Safely tucked away on Page 2 of Monday's Business section is Katharine Seelye's "Editors Ponder How to Present a Broad Picture of Iraq," in which some newspaper editors admit they are hamstrung from covering good news in Iraq:
"Some editors expressed concern that a kind of bunker mentality was preventing reporters in Iraq from getting out and explaining the bigger picture beyond the daily death tolls." Associated Press Managing Editor Mike Silverman confesses something the Times and other media organizations have been reluctant to make: Their readership isn't getting the whole story about Iraq.
According to the AP's Silverman, "The main obstacle we face is the severe limitation on our movement and our ability to get out and report. It's very confining for our staff to go into Baghdad and have to spend most of their time on the fifth floor of the Palestine Hotel."
An article yesterday about state and city investigations of a loan made by a Bronx social service agency to the liberal radio network Air America quoted incorrectly from comments made on the air by Al Franken, the host of an Air America program. Referring to Evan M. Cohen, a former official of the network whom Mr. Franken accused of having engineered the loan, from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, Mr. Franken said: "I don't know why they did it, and I don't know where the money went. I don't know if it was used for operations, which I imagine it was. I think he was robbing Peter to pay Paul." (He did not say: "I don't know why he did it. I don't know where the money went. I don't know if it was used for operations. I think he was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.")
Above the fold of today's New York Times was a story by Times reporter Philip Shenon that one would have thought was a news report on Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff's recent troubles. Abramoff was indicted on fraud charges in relation to his involvement in purchasing a fleet of gambling boats in 2000.
It took Mr. Shenon a mere 5 words before Jack Abramoff became of secondary nature to the story: "Jack Abramoff, the once-powerful Republican lobbyist involved in ethics allegations facing Representative Tom DeLay, was indicted in Florida on Thursday on unrelated fraud charges involving his purchase of a fleet of gambling boats from a businessman who was slain amid bitter wrangling over the sale."
Buried on page 3 of today's Metro section (and apparently absent from the national edition entirely) is the NYT's first whisper of the financial scandal at left-wing radio network Air America. The crack NYT staff got to the story less than three weeks after the New York Daily News first picked up on it July 26.
Not that the headline or subhead of the Times' story actually mention "Air America." Instead it reads: "Bronx Boys Club's Finances Investigated -- Officials Look Into Loans Made to a Liberal Radio Network." The two words "Air America" presumably couldn't fit into that 15-word space.
A couple of years ago, there was a bit of a media firestorm, at least on the web, when New York Times' columnist Maureen Dowd was caught removing a portion of a comment that the President made. The omission rendered a clear and straightforward statement as a delusional and misleading one. Eventually the Times was forced to "correct" the quote.
Well, the New York times is "Dowdifying" quotes again, leaving out crucial information with no indication that they're doing so. Only now, instead of merely doing it in a Maureen Dowd opinion piece, which is bad enough, they're doing it in an actual news story. (Big tip of the hat to Michelle Malkin, who's been all over this story.)
As anyone who's been paying attention on the internet knows, the liberal Air America radio network has been operating, in part, on a "loan" of $875,000 from a Bronx Boys and Girls Club. Anyone reading the New York Times did not know it until today, and still doesn't know much. In any event, Franken spoke about the story on the air yesterday, and the Times quoted him. Sort of.
With a little nudge from the White House, Sheryl Gay Stolberg partially corrects her faulty story from yesterday on the John Roberts' nomination.
Congressional reporter Stolberg took quite a bit heat from Rush Limbaugh and others for letting liberal Sen. Rob Wyden of Oregon put words in Robert's mouth regarding the Terri Schiavo case. Stolberg's story on Wednesday let Wyden characterize a private discussion between he and Roberts about the congressional intervention to save the brain-damaged Florida woman, but didn't bother getting the other side's perspective.
Today Stolberg provides the other half of the conversation: "On Wednesday, Ed Gillespie, the chief White House lobbyist for Judge Roberts's Senate confirmation, sent a letter to The New York Times, saying that notes taken by a White House aide during the session reflected a different response: 'I am aware of court precedents which say Congress can overstep when it prescribes particular outcomes in particular cases.'"
Newsbusters's own Vinny Fiore yesterday relayed how the New York Times took some hits at New York Republican Senate hopeful Jeannine Pirro, conveniently failing to remind readers of incumbent Senator Hillary Clinton's ethically-tainted, disbarred husband, while raising Albert Pirro's 11-month prison term for tax fraud. Today the Washington Post followed suit in a piece by staff writer Michael Powell.
But Pirro, 54, comes with her own issues, not least her
husband -- Albert Pirro -- who is a convicted felon, having served 11
months in prison for hiding $1 million in taxable income. He was
accused of claiming dozens of luxury items, from his Ferrari and her
Mercedes-Benz to the salaries of employees who care for their pet pigs,
as business expenses.
There's an old joke about the New York Times that goes something like this; if the world were ending, the headline in the Times would read "World To End," with a sub-head reading "Women And Minorities Hardest Hit." Today's front page calls that to mind, as the center of the front page is devoted to a story on Entrenched Epidemic: Wife-Beatings in Africa...
Jeanine Pirro, the attorney from Westchester County, announced that she is running in next year's Senate race against Senator Hillary Clinton. The New York Times heralded the news with the first of many, if history is a guide, hit pieces against Pirro.
Pirro's husband, Albert Pirro Jr, served time in prison for tax fraud. The Times editorial breathtakingly lectures candidate Pirro that she "should be grateful to Mrs. Clinton for demonstrating that a woman with a controversial husband can still run, win and serve in the Senate in her own right - even if an ex-felon is not exactly the same as an ex-president."
Not a word from the Times that former President William Clinton was convicted for "misleading testimony" in 2001 from Independent Counsel Robert Ray, forcing Clinton to surrender his law license for 5 years, and pay a $25,000 fine. It is common knowledge that what Clinton did was commit perjury before a Grand Jury. It is also common Knowledge that "In April 1999, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright found Clinton in civil contempt of court for his "willful failure" to obey her repeated orders to testify truthfully in the Jones case, and fined him $90,000."
Chutzpah defined, as the most influential newspaper in America criticizes the Bush administration for -- get this -- insufficiently publicizing Iraqi war heroes.
Damien Cave's Sunday piece "Missing in Action: The War Heroes" opens (italics added): "One soldier fought off scores of elite Iraqi troops in a fierce defense of his outnumbered Army unit, saving dozens of American lives before he himself was killed. Another soldier helped lead a team that killed 27 insurgents who had ambushed her convoy. And then there was the marine who, after being shot, managed to tuck an enemy grenade under his stomach to save the men in his unit, dying in the process. Their names are Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester and Sgt. Rafael Peralta. If you have never heard of them, even in a week when more than 20 marines were killed in Iraq by insurgents, that might be because the military, the White House and the culture at large have not publicized their actions with the zeal that was lavished on the heroes of World War I and World War II."
And just what might that "culture at large" consist of? Professor Cori Dauber has a lot to say about the hypocrisy of the Times: "It is beyond nerve for the New York Times to come along at this point in the war and publish a piece tsk-tsking the White House and the military for not publicizing these men and women sufficiently. I love that out, that it's 'the culture at large,' you know, 'the zeitgeist,' no names please. Well which media outlet is more important to defining the zeitgeist than any other? Which media outlet has 650 or so subscribers to its wire service? Which media outlet is read by every television producer in the country before they decide which stories are 'newsworthy?' How many articles did the Times run on Sgt. Smith? On Leigh Ann Hester? On Rafael Peralta I found none."
Today, the New York Times printed an editorial titled "One Mother in Crawford," which depicts the the protest staged by Cindy Sheehan, who's son who was killed in Iraq in April, 2004. Among a litany of charges and observations regarding Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq, the Times built its editorial around the rantings of an obviously distraught woman.
In her Monday White House Letter on Bush's long August vacations in Texas, White House reporter Elisabeth Bumiller remembers a very special anniversary -- one so special that, as Slate's Mickey Kaus notes, only she and a few anti-Bush bloggers remember it:
"One reason for the activity might be the desire to be in purposeful motion on another anniversary of the now-infamous C.I.A. briefing that Mr. Bush received at the ranch on Aug. 6, 2001. That briefing, which informed the new president that the terrorist network Al Qaeda had maintained an active presence in the United States for years and could be preparing for hijackings here, created a political uproar when its contents were eventually made public."
Kaus writes: "Maybe I'm out of touch with the American people, but what I've seen on several recent trips to the 7-11 leads me to doubt that that the anniversary of the August 6, 2001 PDB is on everyone's lips, or anyone's lips, outside of a few diligent anti-Bush bloggers. And even they seem to be on vacation! Is this really a salient memory that that the Bush PR operation needed to counter (as opposed to the general perception that Bush spends an awful lot of time on vacation)? Or is Bumiller so in tune with the fine points of anti-Bush culture that she has mistaken it for reality?"
He goes on to say "it's as painful to read Bumiller trying to pretend to be chummily respectful of the Bushies while sniping passive-aggressively as it is to listen to...NPR anchors try to fake patriotic sincerity on July 4."
The Times also filed several misleading stories about the briefing last year, exaggerating its specificity and significance.
Today's NY Times' editorial covering Cindy Sheehan's "Impeachment Tour" from California to Crawford, Texas, where she hopes to meet again with President Bush for "a more substantive discussion" on the war in Iraq, described Ms. Sheehan's grievances:
"Ms. Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed in Baghdad. She says she and her family met privately with Mr. Bush two months later, and she is sharply critical of how the president acted. He did not know her son's name, she says, acted as if the meeting was a party and called her "Mom" throughout, which she considered disrespectful."
(KRT) - Citing "simple decency," Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison demanded Friday that journalists quit poking around for details on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' adopted children...
Some have also focused on other aspects of his life. On Thursday, the online Drudge Report revealed that a New York Times reporter had made inquiries about the Roberts children, Josephine and Jack, ages 5 and 4.
The newspaper denied assertions by conservative bloggers that it consulted lawyers about trying to unseal the adoption records. Usnik said the paper dropped the matter after learning that the records were sealed.
Hutchison called the newspaper's actions "reprehensible," saying the inquiry crossed the "fine line between legitimate background inquiries and invasion of privacy."
This morning's (Thursday's) New York Times has a front-page "news analysis" of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' world view, with the headline branding Roberts: "An Advocate for the Right."
So for yesterday's TimesWatch, MRC's Clay Waters went back to 1993 to see how the Times assessed onetime ACLU attorney Ruth Bader Ginsburg when Bill Clinton nominated her for the Supreme Court. Sure enough, the June 27, 1993 headline on Ginsburg: "Balanced Jurist at Home in the Middle."
NYT reporter Hassan Fattah touts a left-wing anti-war report on civilian casualties in Iraq, a Wednesday story topped with a headline that betrays none of the politicized controversy over the report. Instead the head lends the hodge-podge "report" (basically a collection of news clippings) a false sense of authority: "Civilian Toll in Iraq Is Placed at Nearly 25,000." As if it's the authorative word on the matter. Yet the researchers are affiliated with far-left outfits like Counterpunch and Peace UK (and, strangely, a lot of music departments all over England). Hardly a scholarly "report."
While Eleanor Clift is heralding Judith Miller as a principled journalist taking a fall to cover for an possibly criminal secret source in her recent column in Newsweek, Howard Kurtz in today’s Washington Post reports that many legal experts believe that Miller’s jail time is the product of her and the New York Times’s stubborness, not a stand on journalistic principle but rather, in the words of legal expert Jonathan Turley, "spoiling for a fight."