Of course the folks doing the un-singing are the Washington Post, The New York Times, all the usual suspects. Apart from whatever the facts of Finer's latest case are, if you're a soldier pining to be on the front page the best thing to do is commit a crime. Our standard-issue modern reporter isn't interested in lavishing anywhere near the same amount of loving detailed attention on soldiers rescuing their comrades from hell and defeating the human monsters who want to murder you. That's just the same ol' same ol', or maybe they read about it in an old magazine--wasn't that a different war where Americans did that?
In the Style section of Saturday's Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz covered the slightly strange story of the Wall Street Journal editorial page criticizing the New York Times scoop on the SWIFT financial tracking system, when the Journal ran the story as well once the Times decided to publish. But the most interesting part of the story was the new poll:
In a Fox News poll released yesterday, 60 percent of those surveyed said the Times did more to help terrorist groups by publishing the information, while 27 percent said the story did more to help the public. Forty-three percent called what the newspapers did treason. Just over half said government employees were more to blame for leaking the classified information, 28 percent faulted the media for reporting it, and 17 percent said they were equally to blame.
Frank Ahrens and Howard Kurtz make a fairly big deal in the Washington Post (and on page A-2) on Saturday that "USA Today has acknowledged that it cannot prove key elements of a blockbuster May 11 story in which it reported that several telecommunications companies were handing over customer phone records to the National Security Agency."
"We take every error seriously," USA Today Editor Ken Paulson said in an interview. "This was obviously a big story. . . . All we can do is set the record straight."
Reporter Leslie Cauley revealed her unidentified sources to a top editor, Paulson said, and "the sources are credible," adding, "They have a track record with Leslie and she trusts them." But several members of the congressional intelligence committees later contradicted the sources on the question of whether Verizon and BellSouth had provided information to the NSA.
At this point, how many people are interested in hearing more preachy justifications from newspaper editors about their decision to spill the beans on anti-terror programs? Yada yada yada, the sensitive balance between legitimate secrecy needs in time of war and the public's right to know. Yeah, we get it.
But there were Dean Baquet and Bill Keller, editors of the LA and NY Times respectively, with an op-ed this morning humming that tired 'on the one hand, on the other' sing song . Things reached their apotheosis of annoyingness [poetic license in the name of alliteration] when the duo approvingly cited WaPo editor Robert Kaiser editor thusly:
Over the course of the past few weeks – and much to the delight of many conservative new media journalists – no less than seven major news outlets have published rather derogatory articles about Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the highly-successful proprietor of the überleft-leaning blog Daily Kos.
Conspicuously at the same time, most media avoided or downplayed the recently revealed stock fraud allegations surrounding Zuniga’s colleague and co-author Jerome Armstrong – the man that helped Howard Dean’s presidential campaign back in 2004, and is now working for 2008 Democrat presidential candidate Mark Warner.
As this negative media focus came soon after Zuniga’s much-heralded liberal bloggers’ convention, The Yearly Kos, in Las Vegas – where the usual media suspects were writing great praise for the event as well as for Kos himself – some awkward and so far unspoken questions arise:
When Republicans thought about how they could rein in federal spending, one idea was to curb how much federal largesse gets handed out to illegal aliens through fraudulent means. If you are appalled at the thought of denying government money to illegal aliens, money from hard-working taxpayers who play by the rules, then you might fit inside the newsroom at The Washington Post. Their front-page headline today: "Medicaid Rule Called A Threat To Millions."
Reporters Susan Levine and Mary Otto explained that a Medicaid rule takes effect Saturday that requires proof of citizenship before Medicaid recipients collect benefits, even if they have long benefited from Medicaid. The liberal sermonizing started in paragraph three, although there was not a single liberal label for any "advocate for the poor" anywhere in the piece. They're just "critics," not partisans or lobbyists:
My friend Peter Baker is following the President around on the campaign trail. This morning's report from a Missouri fundraiser for Senator Jim Talent contains this technically accurate but deeply dishonest paragraph:
Sharpening his rhetoric as the midterm congressional campaign season accelerates, Bush offered a robust defense of his decision to invade Iraq even though, ultimately, no weapons of mass destruction were found, and drew standing ovations for his attacks on those who question his leadership of the war or the fight against terrorists.
The only merit in this sentence is that it so neatly encapsulates the MSM's storyline on Iraq and the politics surrounding it. And the only thing that allows the Post to publish something like this without abject shame is their years-long ostrich-like refusal to publish anything that doesn't fit.
Howard Kurtz takes his online lamentations of criticism of the breathtaking arrogance of the New York Times into the paper today. The headline is "Piling On the New York Times With a Scoop." From there, you can see Problem Numero Uno. Kurtz, like other media people with blinders on, pretends that the Times is merely an honest broker of information that is "piled on," but can never "pile on" the White House or other conservative targets. If Kurtz wrote about the Times "piling on" Bush again, wouldn't it look tilted? It certainly looks like the media circling the wagons for media buddies on this story.
"Even by modern standards of media-bashing, the volume of vitriol being heaped upon on the editors on Manhattan's West 43rd Street is remarkable," Kurtz writes. But the wildest quote Kurtz runs is Tammy Bruce comparing the Times to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Bush and Cheney were stern, but hardly unsparing.
Washington Post defense reporter Thomas Ricks is one of several Post reporters with Iraq books hitting the market. But the title of his book, coming out in July, sticks out. It's Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. I wonder if Post readers might not think in the day-to-day reporting on Iraq that Ricks is going to display a pronounced bad-news bias. The book description on Amazon suggests "caustic" is a word that fits this book's tone:
The definitive military chronicle of the Iraq war and a searing judgment on the strategic blindness with which America has conducted it, drawing on the accounts of senior military officers giving voice to their anger for the first time.
The criticism of the New York Times for its bank-monitoring story has gotten so bad, says Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz, that "I think those folks would repeal the First Amendment tomorrow if they could," he says, speaking of conservative criticism in the blogosphere and elsewhere.
Kurtz holds the classic MSM belief that First Amendment = New York Times, that you can't have one without the other. Since the New York Times is the very embodiment of one part of the Constitution, it is equal to President Bush, who is merely the embodiment of another part.
Man, I have never seen this kind of Times-bashing before.
There is one heckuva conservative backlash building against the New York Times for publishing that piece about the administration's secret access to banking records in terror investigations.
A train wreck of reporting and editing is displayed in Study Casts Doubt On the 'Boy Crisis' by the Washington Post's Jay Mathews on the front page. It's based on a report by a think tank called Education Sector, and tries to refute years of research showing boys' collective disadvantage in education. The logic of this report is illustrated in the following quote from the report itself, written by Sarah Mead:
The real story is not bad news about boys doing worse; it's good news about girls doing better.
fact, with a few exceptions, American boys are scoring higher and
achieving more than they ever have before. But girls have just improved
their performance on some measures even faster. As a result, girls
have narrowed or even closed some academic gaps that previously favored
boys, while other long-standing gaps that favored girls have widened,
leading to the belief that boys are falling behind.
Got it? Girls narrowed or obliterated gaps that favored boys. They also widened gaps that favored girls. It's time to face facts. Girls are the uber-race. Bow down and accept your fate before girls!
In the closing minutes of MSNBC's "Hardball" on Thursday night, guest host Norah O'Donnell was wrapping up with anti-war liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and anti-war paleoconservative Pat Buchanan. (That should not qualify in any studio as a balanced left-right panel on the war.) MRC's Geoff Dickens noted that O'Donnell couldn't maintain much objectivity as they discussed conservative Sen. Rick Santorum and the new declassified document showing American forces have found 500 WMDs, sarin and mustard gas, in Iraq. Both columnists pounded Santorum -- and O'Donnell laughed at the liberal's gibes, repeatedly.
O'Donnell began the segment by playing a clip of Santorum speaking out:
"Now, that was the Senator Santorum on the Senate floor yesterday. Let me ask both of you, do you think, that if had we found weapons of mass destruction, that the White House would allow Senator Rick Santorum to announce that we’d found them?"
Norah loves Larry. At least, she loves the way Larry Eagleburger phrased things about North Korea. At the same time, Eagleburger made clear there's no love lost between himself and Dick Cheney, taking some surprisingly acerbic shots at the Veep.
The former Bush, Sr. Secretary of State appeared on this evening's Hardball. Guest host Norah O'Donnell interviewed him along with former Clinton defense official Ashton Carter. Carter had in turn written an op-ed in today's Washington Post, which as indicated by its title, If Necessary, Strike and Destroy, advocates blowing the North Korean ICBM off its launch pad if N. Korea persists in its launch preparations.
CBS radio news just ran an item on the departure of Dan Rather. There was a surprising bit of candor in which CBS reported that Rather had "expressed frustration, feeling he'd been shelved by the network."
There was also a bit of - presumably - unintentional humor. We were treated to a clip of the Washington Post's [very liberal] media critic Tom Shales informing us that Rather "was a very activist anchor, and he changed the role of anchor."
If there were great news out of Iraq, which media outlet would be the least likely to report it?
a. An anti-American news network from Qatar
b. A terrorist-run television station in Lebanon
c. The New York Times
d. The Washington Post
If you answered “a” or “b,” you were contradicted by last week’s coverage. Some absolutely magnificent news did come out of Iraq last Thursday, yet, hard as it might be to believe, subscribers to The New York Times and The Washington Post would have been better off visiting the websites of the anti-American television network Al-Jazeera, or the Hezbollah-run television station Al-Manar if they wanted to find out about it.
The following are the surprising opening paragraphs of Thursday’s report by Al-Jazeera.net – a media outlet never shy about its hatred for America or its support for Islamic terrorists – in a story amazingly titled “‘End’ of al-Qaeda in Iraq,” and containing information that neither The Times nor The Post shared with their readers:
Over the weekend in Columbus, Ohio, American Episcopalians elected a female as a new presiding bishop for America, Katherine Jefforts Schori of Nevada. The news media greeted this in typical terms: female bishop (no liberal ideology listed) selected, angering church "conservatives." (Ann Curry did that on NBC this morning.) Dig a little deeper, and find that of course, the new bishop delights the libertine left, as the Washington Post reported Monday:
The Rev. Jennifer Adams, who presides at Grace Episcopal Church, which is deemed "gay friendly" by the Grand Rapids, Mich., branch of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, described Jefferts Schori at the convention as "a woman of integrity, consistency and faith. I have no doubt her election as presiding bishop will be a gift to our church."
Okay, a little bit of nitpicking on a Sunday. Deep in the regional sections of the Sunday Washington Post is the latest breakdown of how the D.C. area Senators and Representatives have voted on important roll calls. It seems the Post headline writer spun it perfectly backwards on the Senate vote on withdrawal of U.S troops from Iraq by the end of 2006. John Kerry thought of pushing it, but Sen. Mitch McConnell put it up for him. The vote was 93 to 6 against withdrawing troops quickly from Iraq. But here's the headline in the Post:
WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ For: 93 / Against: 6
The next sentence explains "The Senate tabled (killed) a Republican amendment to the 2007 defense budget calling on the administration to begin major troop withdrawals from Iraq late this year." Yes, that means 93 Senators voted to table/kill the withdrawal proposal, the opposite of the Post headline.
CBS News scooped the rest of the liberal media in noting the Iraqi government distributed an al-Qaeda memo loaded with pessimism about how time is on the side of the Americans, and recruits are down. While The Washington Times trumpeted the news on its front page, Friday's major liberal newspapers seemed to work very hard to bury that memo and suggest it's quite possible it's dubious in origin.
The New York Times touched on the documents in a front-page story by Dexter Filkins on Zarqawi's replacement, which carried the subhead "Details Include Hints of Group's Disarray." In the fifth paragraph, Filkins noted American officials suggested there were "signs of disruption, and a potential power struggle" inside the group. But the documents were inside the paper, beginning in paragraph 19, and paragraph 21 carried the line about "time is now beginning to be of service to the American forces." But Filkins was careful to note "There was no way to verify the authenticity of the document."
A recent Washington Post article claims “More than 500 children die annually from accidental gunshots: Some shoot themselves, while others kill friends or siblings, often after discovering a gun.”
To understand how a biased or under-educated writer makes an inaccurate and misleading error, we must first clarify the term “child”. Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “childhood” as: “The state or stage of life as a child…the time from birth to puberty.” Oxford defines “puberty” as: “The period during which adolescents reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction, distinguished by the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics.” In terms of age, there seems to be general agreement that this ability to procreate occurs by the age of 15: childhood is over by then.
The Washington Post reports on Friday's front page that Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich, a Republican, fired his appointee to the D.C. area Metro transit authority board after he said on a local public-access cable talk show that we shouldn't "proffer a special place of entitlement within the laws of the United States for persons of sexual deviancy."
Obviously, that special place of entitlement already exists in the political culture: Robert Smith was terminated for calling homosexuality "deviancy," even as he complained it has "nothing to do with running trains and buses." But the Post demonstrated its bias by suggesting that this catering to the gay left qualifies as "centrism." Reporters Lena Sun and Matthew Mosk wrote that Ehrlich for months now "has been working to position himself as a centrist."
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?
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:
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."
Dan Balz's outlook on life may be too sunny and stable to regularly read Markos Moulitsas's Daily Kos. That would explain why Balz fails to describe the far-left venom that powers the Kossacks in his account of their Las Vegas conference, Bloggers' Convention Draws Democrats. If Balz had provided some excerpts from Moulitsas's website, it would help explain why every one of the 20-odd candidates they've backed for national office office has lost. But he doesn't mention that either.
In Friday’s Style section, Washington Post reporter (and former Sports columnist) Jennifer Frey lovingly chronicled a feminist event where "the object of affection is a self-described agnostic, socialist single mother from Chile" – new Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. The other stars of the fete were, predictably, Geena Davis and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, but the South American socialist was all the rage:
Everyone wants a picture, and all of them keep gushing: "We love you!" "We support you!" Perhaps Bachelet is wildly unpopular with the right-wing media in Chile and she's suffered attacks for having her third child while unmarried, but, in this room she seems to be universally beloved.
It's not necessary for reporters to agree that the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a major victory. But they should let their readers know such people, outside the Bush Administration, exist.
In After Zarqawi, No Clear Path In Weary Iraq by the Washington Post's Ellen Knickmeyer, every independent expert downplays the significance of Zarqawi's death. Even a mysteriously identified "longtime participant in the U.S. military hunt for Zarqawi" sees it as upside for the bad guys. Yet at least one of Knickmeyer's named sources is more upbeat in a different outlet, and she omits the passionate political convictions of another.
Washington Post culture critic Philip Kennicott has filed a series of essays for the Style section about images of the war in Iraq, like the images out of Abu Ghraib. He lowered the boom today on the insensitive louts who framed a picture of dead Zarqawi. The headline: "A Chilling Portrait, Unsuitably Framed." Kennicott found the framed picture "bizarre." He lamented that the reaction was cheers from the war supporters, and intimidation of the anti-war crowd, that they had to cheer, too. Kennicott couldn't really bring himself to do much of that. He predicted, unlike the Abu Ghraib images, that this image would not be historical:
So will this image, given a strange dignity by its prominent frame, be a defining image of the war? Not likely. Its primary function is forensic. It proves, in an age of skepticism (heightened by a three-year history of official claims about the war turning out to be false), that Zarqawi is indeed dead. But beyond that, the image has little power. Indeed, as with so many images in this war, it is loaded with the potential to backfire.
If Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and all of al Qaeda’s leaders in Iraq and throughout the world laid down their arms and surrendered to American forces, would the media report it as good news?
Judging from the initial press reaction to the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq by the American military on Wednesday, the answer appears to be no.
In fact, this tepid response to the death of the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq – a man who has at times in the past couple of years been depicted as more vital to this terrorist network than the currently in-hiding bin Laden – suggests quite disturbingly that America’s media are fighting a different war than America’s soldiers.
According to NewsBusters, CNN’s senior editor for Arab affairs Octavia Nasr said the following about Zarqawi’s death on “American Morning” Thursday:
"Some people say it will enrage the insurgency, others say it will hurt it pretty bad. But if you think about the different groups in Iraq, you have to think that Zarqawi's death is not going to be a big deal for them."
However, CNN didn’t always feel that Zarqawi’s death or capture would be so inconsequential. Just days after Saddam Hussein was found in his spider hole, Paula Zahn brought CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher on to discuss a new threat in Iraq. Zahn began the December 15, 2003 segment:
The Washington Post reports that "insurgent" leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in Iraq. Not only that, the group he is a member of, al-Qaeda in Iraq, is labeled an "insurgent group."
There are other groups in Iraq who would fit the label of "insurgent," but by applying them to al-Qaeda, the Post is elevating them to the status of freedom fighters.
-Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the mastermind behind hundreds of bombings, kidnappings and beheadings in Iraq, was killed early Wednesday by an air strike -northwest of Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday.
Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born high-school dropout whose leadership of the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq made him the most wanted man in the country, was killed along with several other people -- including a woman and child -- near the city of Baqubah, the officials said.
In March, I blogged about how some journalists who live in Chevy Chase, Maryland, were taking legal action to force their neighbors, Marc and Marianne Duffy, to tear down their home for violating zoning laws.
Washington Post editor William Hamilton, his wife Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, and former ABC correspondent Jackie Judd had complained about the Duffy renovations, which were erroneously approved by county bureaucrats.
Well, the Duffy's plight is back in the news as they lost another fight in their struggle to save their home.
On June 7, an appeals board affirmed the order issued in March to the Duffys. Buried in Miranda Spivack's article in the June 8 Washington Post is a factoid that goes to show how petty the complaint by Hamilton, Mayer, and Judd was: