Mr. Mallaby goes on a long diatribe that contradicts itself so many times that an informed reader would get whiplash from the experience. And all those head turing points are attacks against the effectiveness, sincerity, and well-meaning of American policy.
He begins his screed by negatively invoking a Ronald Reaganism, saying "It's not exactly morning in America", after which he regales us on how nothing worthwhile has come from Iraq, "a special Rumsfeldian screw-up".
Anonymous: "There is no liberal equivalent of the Fox News Channel, or Rush Limbaugh, or the Drudge Report." My question to you is what do you think CNN, The New York Times, Washington Post, etc., are--conservative mouthpieces? What makes them any better than Fox?
Brent Bozell's culture column this week focused on two Washington Post articles from black staff writers who were moms horrified by the current state of hip-hop music and its effect on their children. Lonnae O'Neal Parker wrote broadly in "Why I Gave Up On Hip-Hop," but the other seemed very narrow-minded:
Natalie Hopkinson saw it in a different, more racially conspiratorial light. She wrote about how she reacted in horror when a middle-aged white female professor of hers said her five-year-old son Maverick was a fine boy and added, "I just can’t wait to watch him grow up and see his wonderful career as a rap star."
The horror was understandable, but the edge of paranoia creeped into the article. Hopkinson didn’t think the remark was innocent, but "confirmation" of a "conspiracy to destroy black boys," citing an author named Jawanza Kunjufu. (His book by that title is harsher. He calls it "genocide.")
The midterm elections are approaching and some members of the media are revving up their bias. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann recently suggested that President Bush might be as big a threat as the terrorists. This was only a day after referring to conservative talk show hosts who visited the White House as the "Legion of Doom." CNN’s Jack Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove is planning an "October surprise" to salvage the Republicans’ chances in the midterm elections.
The print media have also offered unrestrained attacks from the left. A "Washington Post" report described House Speaker Dennis Hastert appearance as "a cross between Wildford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt." Nothing quite like objectivity, huh? A former "New York Times" bureau chief recently characterized the Christian right as "fascist." Perhaps he’d been chatting with "Newsweek" columnist Jonathan Alter. Alter told Don Imus he hoped the country has seen the last of "values voters."
The "Today" show fawned over Barack Obama, describing him as "electrifying" and a "rock star." This was on the same day that they giddily predicted a "perfect storm" to wipe out the Republicans in the midterms. Another early AM program, CNN’s "American Morning"encouraged author David Kuo to call for Christians to boycott the upcoming election.
Two weeks ago, The Washington Post's Steven Mufson reported a story the front page of the Business section about conspiracy theories floating around the Internet about "Big Oil" lowering gas prices to help the GOP in midterm elections. If that's news to you, you don't know Jack. Cafferty, that is.
Well now a real and open international conspiracy, OPEC, the international oil cartel comprised of mostly shady authoritarian countries, is working hard to raise oil prices by working in concert to limit oil supply.
Mufson wrote up the story for the Post, but it was shoved down to page D3 in today's paper.
On last night’s Hardball, Bill Clinton was depicted as a unifying "Moses"-like figure while Karl Rove was portrayed as a divisive "evil genius." In describing Bill Clinton on a campaign stop at Georgetown University, NBC’s Kevin Corke used biblical terms: "It was as if Moses himself had returned. Former President Bill Clinton, the man some believe could figure prominently in helping to lead Democrats back to the political promised land, was back at his alma mater, Georgetown, for a major speech this week."
And then later in the program the Washington Post's John Harris, painted Clinton's politics as a "unifying" but Bush’s, specifically, Karl Rove’s politics as "divisive" as he and Hardball host, Chris Matthews wondered what the "evil genius," had "up his sleeve."
Wednesday’s Washington Post drew an uproar in rural Virginia when the Style section made unfunny jokes about rural Virginia being a place of drug labs, Cracker Barrel, the NRA, and "freshly killed venison," while Northern Virginia liked urbane things, like "Alfred, Lord Tennyson." Libby Copeland’s syrupy tribute to James Webb in that section Wednesday presented him as a wonderful match for lovers of both venison and Tennyson. The title was "Don’t Call Him Redneck: James Webb Hates the Expression, But Is Very Proud of the Culture."
The most notable part was Webb’s "towel-head" expression for Arabs. In describing screenwriting and typical movie villains to Copeland, Webb said: "Towel-heads and rednecks – of which I am one. If you write that word, please say that. I mean, I don’t use that pejoratively, I use it defensively. Towel-heads and rednecks became the easy villains in so many movies out there." Did someone step in Macaca? Not if the Post is judging.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post endorsed James Webb’s “independent-minded challenge” running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate against Sen. George Allen. If ever an endorsement has seemed less necessary to identify a newspaper’s position on a federal election, I’m not sure what it is. To match the endorsement, Wednesday’s Post had a classic Webb-fanzine story on the front of the Metro section.
The Metro section article was titled “Webb Is Reluctant To Advertise Duty: Veteran Blasts Allen’s Public Comments.” In a typical display of utter shamelessness, Michael Shear and Tim Craig reported “Webb said it is improper to use military service in an overtly political way.” Webb’s quote: “I don’t think it’s right to use someone’s service directly for a political reason.” This article should have been laughed away from the Metro desk. Webb’s biography as a Vietnam veteran and eight-month Navy Secretary under Reagan has been his constant, everyday calling card in this race. The man with the motto "Born Fighting" on every bumper sticker and yard sign? Need we remind the Washington Post of the Webb campaign's first TV ad? It went like this:
GREENSBORO, N.C., Oct. 18 -- President Bush said Wednesday that the current surge of violence in Iraq "could be" comparable to the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War, a succession of battles that became a milestone because it helped turn the American public against the conflict and its political leadership.
What the WaPo won't come right out and say is that it wasn't the Tet Offensive itself that had such a devastating effect upon civilian morale, it was the abjectly incompetent reporting of the event by American journalists.
Is Iraq a terrific issue for anti-war liberal Democrats? Which way is it?
A) "With three weeks until Election Day, Republican candidates are barely mentioning Iraq on the campaign trail and in their television advertisements....It is the Democrats who have seized on Iraq as a central issue. In debates and in speeches, candidates are pummeling Republicans with accusations of a failed war." -- Adam Nagourney and Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times, October 19.
B) "After months of fighting over Iraq, the candidates for Senate barely mentioned the war in their first general-election debate here on Monday, instead arguing over Social Security, health care and the national deficit." -- Jennifer Medina on the Connecticut Senate debate, October 17.
The Washington Post noticed today that Rep. Steny Hoyer made a racial boo-boo on Sunday, that black Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele has "a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party." In 2002, Hoyer denounced Steele as a "token." Did the Post paste it at the top of the front page? No, it’s on B-2. It’s a lot different than the long-running, transparently partisan "Macaca" campaign waged by Michael Shear, Tim Craig and the rest of the Post against Sen. George Allen. (Today’s Nexis count: 92 Post articles, news and editorial, with the word "Macaca." Four of them were news accounts on the front page.)
Ann Marimow’s story couldn’t match the Shear & Craig treatment. Where they dropped "Macaca" in every story they could work it in, Marimow did not remind the Post reader that Steele’s Democratic Senate opponent, Rep. Ben Cardin, fired a junior staffer for blogging about being a "sex object" for Cardin's Jewish friends and alleged that the attempted discipline of a black campaign staffer failed because "he plays the racism card, the magic passport to a different chain of command." (The Post reported the firing on September 15, and Marimow mentioned it vaguely on October 4. That’s about 92 to 2.)
On Oct. 11, the Washington Post's David Brown filed Study Claims Iraq's 'Excess' Death Toll Has Reached 655,000, reporting this year's Lancet pre-election broadside against the war. While Brown noted the earlier study claiming 100,000 deaths was "controversial" and said this one would be too, he failed to cite a single critic attacking it. He did quote outside experts who support the study, and of course one of its co-authors, Gilbert Burnham. Since then the paper's only mention of the study has been in passing, again without any mention of its critics.
This blinkered view of the world was exposed today in a live chat with Post congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman:
Don't they realize they are going to lose bigtime? Then why are they so optimistic? This was the theme of a Washington Post article by staff writer Michael Abramowitz titled, "White House Upbeat About GOP Prospects." The tone of the article reminds one of a great scene from the movie Cinderella Man in which boxer Art Lasky was completely befuddled by the fact that his underrated opponent, James J. Braddock, not only remained standing after a severe beating in the ring but actually looked confident of ultimate victory. An equally befuddled Abramowitz writes:
In keeping the the liberal mantra that the Republican leadership is the most "secretive" ever, the Post seemed worried that the House rules change is somehow a danger to American democracy because the persons chosen by Speaker Hastert to succeed him has not been made public knowledge.
The Post's story over this rules change is filled with foreboding, doubt and dread over a possibility that is remote at best as well as a list that is simply perfunctory.
In Monday's daily political chat at the Washington Post website, reporter Shailagh Murray was defending her Saturday front-pager on hot-looking Democrats. She claimed that it was not biased to say Democrats were better looking this year. The bias was "in the facts," she claimed:
Alexandria, Va.: On the good-looking thing: to do a story like that -- ooh, look at the Democratic hotties! -- in mid-October looks a bit like electioneering (leering electioneering?). When you have a good-looking Republican, the media treat them as automatically devoid of depth. That's why this article came across as tilted.
Shailagh Murray: This year, Republicans are incumbents and Democrats are challengers. That's why I focused on Democrats. Because they're the ones pushing the boulder up the mountain. As I pointed out, Republicans did something similar in 1994, when a lot of their candidates were younger and more fresh faced, less like traditional politicians. I realize that some people see bias in everything we all write, but sometimes the bias is in the facts.
It could have been Speaker Dennis Hastert's team skills or dexterity or experience or ingenuity that is being tested, but no, it's his "mentality."
It takes until the second paragraph for the authors, Michael Grunwald and Jim VandeHei, to make the relevant point that Mr. Hastert is "the beefy former wrestling coach - who's a bit bearlike himself." Just in case that's too subtle, we're later advised: "He looks like a cross between actor Wilford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt, and his unassuming Midwestern public demeanor makes for dull television."
Obituaries aren't the best articles for piling on negatively on the recently deceased, although as Amy Ridenour pointed out, the Washington Post tried that approach with former conservative Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage earlier this month. Compare that to the WashPost obituary for former liberal Rep. Gerry Studds published on Sunday, headlined "Gay Pioneer in Congress."
Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb lauded his work for noble causes: "Gerry E. Studds, the first openly gay person elected to Congress and a longtime proponent of environmental protection, New England fishermen and human rights, died Oct. 14" in Boston, reporting the health details from "Dean Hara, who married Mr. Studds in 2004 shortly after same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts." She touted his work on the environment, "gay rights," and "peace."
In his Monday "Media Notes" column in the Style section of the Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz highlights the success of anti-war/anti-Bush books by liberal reporters -- with those Kos-cuddling titles from "Fiasco" to "Hubris" to "State of Denial" -- but he doesn't use any of those ideological labels. He doesn't even use the L-word for the media outlets that have generated "enormous news coverage" for the liberal books, or the hard-left activists that think that every anti-Bush morsel that gets delayed for a book is a betrayal of the country:
With striking swiftness, a series of books about the Iraq war has exposed deep flaws in its planning and execution, made the Bush administration appear dysfunctional at times and generated enormous news coverage. All are by journalists with access to daily or weekly outlets...
Saturday's Washington Post includes the article "Democratic Faces That Could Launch Thousands of Votes." Authored by staff writer Shailagh Murray, the story states: "By a combination of luck and design, Democrats seem to be fielding an uncommonly high number of uncommonly good-looking candidates.
"The beauty gap between the parties, some on Capitol Hill muse, could even be a factor in who controls Congress after Election Day.
"Democratic operatives do not publicly say that they went out of their way this year to recruit candidates with a high hotness quotient. Privately, however, they acknowledge that, as they focused on finding the most dynamic politicians to challenge vulnerable Republicans, it did not escape their notice that some of the most attractive prospects were indeed often quite attractive."
Now it's not my desire to be mean. And certainly I'm not known for my own good looks.
But it seems to me that a party boasting such attractive folks as Barbara Mikulski, Rosa DeLauro, Janet Reno, Madeleine Albright, Michael Moore and John Kerry hasn't practiced "the politics of beauty" all that much.
In Thursday's daily morning political chat at washingtonpost.com, Post National Political Editor and author John F. Harris professed "astonishment" that anyone would drag the Clinton adminstration's diplomatic legacy into the debate over North Korea. When pressed that obviously, the Clintons' designs on recapturing the White House add modern relevance, Harris still pooh-poohed that "these arguments about things that happened a decade ago can be a distraction to more vital contemporary debates." For those who might not know, Harris has been at times a very receptive water-carrier for Team Clinton. See an old article on that tendency here. Or here.
It's not something you often see talked about but there's basically an unwritten assumption in national political circles that if you're a political liberal and you're also a reporter, you should be willing to be a "team player" and not admit that you even are one.
This point is important, you see, because conservatives are liars bent on "hurting America" (to use Jon Stewart's phrase), so anything that gives them comfort is something you should never do.
That attitude was very much on display in an online chat today with former Washington Post reporter Thomas Edsall. If you recall, Edsall was the one who caused a stir by admitting (to conservative talker Hugh Hewitt) the blatantly obvious fact that liberals dominate the national elite media. Everyone who has any sort of contact with the New York and DC press corps knows this. People who work for Democrats tell me it all the time.
But in the mind of some liberals, most of them journalists, this is something that should never be publicly talked about for fear that if "the little people" get wind of this fact, we won't believe the proposition that journalists are demigods who can invariably see past their personal and group biases. And if we don't believe that line from them, perhaps we'll begin to question the received wisdom we get from them on a daily basis. Maybe then, we might start realizing that what you believe is primarily shaped by the information you take in.
Dante Chinni writes in the Christian Science Monitor that Watergate hero Bob Woodward has an uncanny ability to produce quotes for whatever his line of narrative is at the moment.
As this Michael Ramirez cartoon demonstrates, even the most innocuous statement can be modified for a preestablished narrative.
It's exciting to feel as though you're a fly on the wall when, on July 10, 2001, then-CIA Director George Tenet tells then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that there is a "compelling case" to be made that Al Qaeda is preparing for "the big one." And as a reader of "State of Denial," Woodward's latest book on the Bush administration, there's frustration when you learn Mr. Tenet felt that he was "not getting through to Rice" and she was giving him "the brush off."
But then you wonder: Why didn't I hear this before now? It's 2006. Why hasn't more been made of the fact that Ms. Rice, now secretary of State, brushed off the CIA director's warning only two months before the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001? Those are good questions and they go to the heart of not only problems with "State of Denial," but the shortcomings inherent in the way Woodward puts his books together and the style of journalism he champions.
Tuesday's Washington Post carries one of those editorials disguised as a "news analysis" headlined "Bush's 'Axis of Evil' Comes Back to Haunt United States." The writers displayed their liberal stripes by quoting only Democrats and Clinton staffers. Reporters Glenn Kessler and Peter Baker began:
Nearly five years after President Bush introduced the concept of an "axis of evil" comprising Iraq, Iran and North Korea, the administration has reached a crisis point with each nation: North Korea has claimed it conducted its first nuclear test, Iran refuses to halt its uranium-enrichment program, and Iraq appears to be tipping into a civil war 3 1/2 years after the U.S.-led invasion.
David Broder and Dan Balz wrote a rather lengthy, front-page story for the Washington Post this morning with the cautionary headline “Poll Shows Strong Shift Of Support to Democrats.” However, Broder and Balz chose not to share some key information from this poll with their readers, the most important of which being the political breakdown of those questioned. In fact, the meager percentage of Republican respondents to this survey should have led the Post to headline this article "Poll Shows Strong Shift Of Questions to Democrats!"
The article began: “Democrats have regained a commanding position going into the final weeks of the midterm-election campaigns, with support eroding for Republicans on Iraq, ethics and presidential leadership, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.”
Yet, nowhere did the authors let their readers know that 41 percent more Democrats were questioned for this survey than Republicans. That’s right. The breakdown was:
Everybody's got an opinion about what should've been done, and what needs to be done, about North Korea's nuclear weapons tests - especially, newspapers. An article by Susan Jones of CNSNews.com recaps how papers are blaming Bush and China, and providing foreign affairs advice about how to defuse the situation.
In Tuesday's Washington Post, Peter Marks praises "Get Your War On," a left-wing comedy performance at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Unsurprisingly, the critic from the liberal paper finds invective is a lovely thing, if applied to conservatives:
The show bills itself as 'Hardball.' But in surrounding himself with regulars who are either certified liberals or renegade Republicans, doesn't Chris Matthews prove himself to be a softy, unwilling or unable to take the high heat from true-blue Republican flamethrowers?
Let me say something that might surprise some NewsBusters readers and dismay others. I like Matthews. Not that conservatives are the arbiters of patriotism, but I do consider Chris someone who loves his country and, as misguided as he may be on various policy issues - has its best interests at heart. He's no Keith Olbermann.
That said, although he professes not to be a partisan and will speak to Democrats about "your" - not "our" - party, there can be little doubt that his rooting interest hasn't changed much since the days he was a top aide to Tip.
Shailagh Murray's front-page story in the Washington Post today is called "A Balancing Act in the Upper South." A better title might have been "I'm NARAL-Endorsed, But I'm Hoping You Don't Notice." It's funny how Murray can't seem to locate that endorsement, and she doesn't call McCaskill a pro-abortion liberal, but she is merely in the "mainstream" -- of the liberal Democratic Party:
As a supporter of abortion rights, McCaskill fits into her party's mainstream on the biggest of all lightning rods for cultural conservatives.She responds by mostly not talking about it, and is attempting to define her values more broadly.
It takes a lot of effort to miss 810,000 new jobs. The Labor Department managed it, but at least they corrected the problem. The networks have over-reported job losses and now this huge piece of good news got lost in the shuffle.
The October 8 Washington Post highlighted the incredible revision. “Unemployment is down to 4.6 percent, the lowest in five years, the Labor Department reported, adding with some embarrassment that it had suddenly discovered an estimated 810,000 net new jobs that it had somehow overlooked in the year ended in March,” wrote Steven Pearlstein.