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:
Do you ever have one of those moments when you're reading the newspaper, and you feel like a reporter is just pulling a number out of the air? The way that reporters staunchly suggested without a study that there were three million homeless Americans in the 1980s?The Washington Post gave me that impression with its Monday story on Latinos converting to Islam. How common is it, and who's done a study? The Post warns "precise numbers" aren't available, so it makes what sounds to me like an over-guess:
Across the nation, thousands of Latino immigrants are redefining themselves through Islam, including a few hundred in the Washington region, according to national Islamic groups and community leaders.
The Washington Post's Alan Cooperman reported on protesters who staged a silent demonstration during Mass at a Catholic service in St. Paul, Minnesota. The group of gay activists wore rainbow-colored sashes as they went to receive Communion in protest of Church teachings on homosexuality.
Cooperman's description of a subsequent mishandling of the Eucharist refused to condemn the act as objectively disrespectful of the sacrament:
In an act that some witnesses called a "sacrilege" and others called a sign of "solidarity," a man who was not wearing a sash received a Communion wafer from a priest, broke it into pieces and handed it to some of the sash wearers, who consumed it on the spot.
Elvis Costello in March (on VH-1) at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction concert, before playing with New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint: "I feel very lucky and very proud that music jumped to the aid of New Orleans back in September...But it’s a drop in the bucket for what is needed. There is a lot of things that I could say. I could say something like we are fighting the wrong wars in the wrong countries and not dealing with the people here that are living in this country that are not living right."
Compare that to the Sunday Washington Post mini-review of the new album by Elvis Costello and Allen Touissant, called "The River in Reverse," in which Joe Heim noted: "For creating an album linked so clearly to a city's misery, it's unfortunate that the pair have no plans to donate any percentage of the album's profits to a deserving Katrina charity."
The Washington Post's Michelle Boorstein gave readers of the Sunday paper a peek into the beauty of the traditional Latin Mass held every Sunday at St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church in Washington, D.C.
The ringing of bells. Latin wafting high into the church rafters. Women's heads draped in lace.
is a solemn aura to 9 a.m. Sunday Mass at Saint Mary Mother of God, a
D.C. parish on Fifth Street NW where hundreds of Catholics who long for
ancient ritual gather each week to celebrate what is among the most
traditional and complex of Roman Catholic rites: the Tridentine Mass.
But mostly there is a powerful silence, a seriousness created by the
absence of contemporary church: no responsive readings, no guitars, no
congregants walking to a microphone to read from Scripture or to make
bingo announcements. There is just a centuries-old script, which
dictates the near-constant, intricate movements of the altar servers --
circling the altar, kneeling, pressing hands together, bowing -- as
well as the position of the priest, whose back is to parishioners.
Together, everyone faces East, acknowledging that Jesus is the true
It's old news now: In the election to replace Randy Cunningham, Democrat congressional candidate Francine Busby appears to have told a crowd of supporters that illegal aliens could vote and otherwise aid her campaign against Republican Brian Bilbray.("You don't need papers for voting," she said. "You don't need to be a registered voter to help.") The Washington Post apparently found this too boring to mention in Sunday's Election in California a Cliffhanger by Chris Cillizza on A4.
Busby's comments, circulated in San Diego by radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock, have been widely reported around the blogosphere. Expose the Left posted the news and an audio file on Friday, June 2, as did Michelle Malkin. Many righty blogs linked and commented thereafter, including Wizbang, Powerline,Stop the ACLU and others June 3. The San Diego Union Leader reported the story June 3, including Busby's entertaining explanation that she intended only to say that the under-18 set could work in her campaign. But the Post? Nada. Its story used some of that room instead to falsely describe the Minutemen, in the classic Post Style, as "anti-immigrant." As the old Hertz rent-a-car ads used to say, Not exactly:
In the summer of Gore, most Americans already know the media and environmental wackos are trying to send the nation down the tubes. Now there is new proof. In an article from the June 3 Washington Post, “Fighting Our Flush Fixation,” reporter Elizabeth Williamson tells us how the left is trying to toilet train an entire nation.
The story shows the rising tide of no-flush urinals and green toilets that the left is now trying to make part of our everyday life. These descendants of the low-flush-that-won’t-work toilets “loom as the earth-friendly builder's final frontier.” This is just the latest of the media craze to focus on obscure ways to save energy, rather than dwell on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge of off the U.S. coast.
First it was pajamas. Now it's degenerated into underpants. Perhaps he thinks Underpants Media should be a new blogger compendium.
Washington Post humor writer and journalist Gene Weingarten, who writes a regular commentary called Below the Beltway, gave a commencement speech to graduating journalism students at the University of Maryland.
In today's world, he says, it's getting tougher for journalism majors to find jobs, especially when "the public appears more and more willing to receive its 'news' online from nincompoops ranting in their underpants."
Washington Post film critic Desson Thomson respectfully endorsed Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" Friday, even if he saw it as more a movie about Gore's reinvention that the planet's doom. While he admitted the film was "hagiographic," Gore wasn't wooden, he claimed: "If all college courses had presentations this evocative and sophisticated, no universities would hurt for enrollment."
No, the real Post film critic going goo-goo for Gore was Michael O'Sullivan, who was granted an interview/shoeshine with Gore for the Post's Friday Weekend section:
I begin by reading aloud from an e-mail sent out by the office of Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in response to a letter from a concerned constituent (and film critic pal of mine), urging her senator to support "green" legislation.
There are days when you get up and stare at the front page of the newspaper and you just have to put the paper back down. May 30 was one of those days. After escaping for the long Memorial Day weekend, one returns to the real world Tuesday morning. But those who read The Washington Post are reminded that some people live forever in the world of make-believe.Witness the front-page headline: “Clinton Is A Politician Not Easily Defined: Senator's Platform Remains Unclear."
That is to politics what “The DaVinci Code” is to theology.
Reporters like to think of themselves as brave truth-tellers who can cut through the rhetoric and evasive maneuvering of politicians. But sometimes, they sound like they're trying to assist politicians in their evasive manuevering. Exhibit A is Tuesday's front-page Hillary article in the Washington Post.
It's headlined "Clinton Is A Politician Not Easily Defined: Senator's Platform Remains Unclear." Reporter Dan Balz began by insisting that "Hillary Rodham Clinton has fashioned a political persona that generates intense passions but defies easy characerization." Take a Republican as conservative as Hillary is liberal -- say, Sen. Rick Santorum -- and imagine how liberals would fall down laughing if you characterized Santorum as "not easily defined."
Since it was Memorial Day, the day on which America honors its war dead, it was natural that The Washington Post saw this as the perfect day for...a big profile of a hard-left "anti-war" activist, Stacy Bannerman of Military Families Speak Out. Reporter David Montgomery chronicled her marriage to a National Guard soldier, "the warrior and the antiwarrior," and she won. The husband, back from Iraq, asked: "Soldiers are dying for what reason again?"
The annual Memorial Day concert event on the mall (nationally televised by PBS) topped the left corner of the Style section, but much of the front Style page was devoted to Bannerman’s story, with a huge Post photographer's shot of Bannerman marching for "peace" in jeans and a T-shirt, complete with the www.mfso.org web address. The headline was: "Choose Your Battle: She's a Pacifist. He's A Warrior. But Even In the Shadow of Iraq, Their Love Soldiers On."
NBC's David Gregory wasn't the only liberal reporter who just had to emphasize The Economist magazine's cover calling President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair the "Axis of Feeble." At CJR Daily, Paul McLeary noted it became a hot trend. So why would this bother liberal Columbia Journalism Review folks? Because it's lazy. "Great headline," said McLeary, but "The sad thing is, they all probably thought they were being funny and original, and in a sense they were -- but in lockstep. And that's what strikes us as feeble."
It seems what the media likes in this is how it turns Bush's phrase back on itself, and comments on how both Bush and Blair are lame-duck leaders. But if they are "feeble," er, what about the sub-par politicians who couldn't seem to defeat their attempts at re-election? Here's McLeary's roundup of mentions:
In Thursday's Washington Post, political writer Libby Copeland highlights Lloyd Bentsen's 1988 debate insult of Dan Quayle in an article headlined "The World's Snappiest Comebacks." She reveled in its perfection:
If one will be remembered for a single remark, as the recently departed Lloyd Bentsen is, let it be for the perfect put-down. Most of us never get to experience the joy of excoriating an opponent with a dead-on, devastating riposte. We always think of it too late.
When Bentsen told a baby-faced Dan Quayle, "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy," he was following in the tradition of expert quipsters Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker and Winston Churchill, whose lines are still remembered. Perfect put-downs transcend their settings.
Imagine that Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank were profiling a Democrat who was as steadfastly liberal as Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama is conservative. The column virtually writes itself. We can imagine the liberal described as "putting principle above expediency", "courageous," perhaps even "speaking truth to power."
But when it comes to a conservative such as Sessions, that same adherence to principle is cast in the most negative light. Consider these excerpts from Milbank's column of today, Forget Politics. This Battle Is Personal. which focuses on Sessions' stand on immigration:
"Jeff Sessions sure knows how to nurse a grudge."
"Now he is turning his prodigious anger on legislation."
"A stream of epithets about the legislation flowed from his mouth."
"He argues his points not with the courtly Southern tones of the late senator Howell Heflin (D), his predecessor, but with the harsh twang of a country tough -- which, in a sense, he is."
Today's Washington Post carries the article "Religious Liberals Gain New Visibility." Religious liberals are intensely organizing and alliance-building, "according to scholars, politicians and clergy members."
One of the scholars quoted is Clemson University political scientist Laura R. Olson, who states: "Organizationally speaking, strategically speaking, the religious left is now in the strongest position it's been in since the Vietnam era."
Things must have turned around quickly. Less than six months ago, the same professor wrote in Newsweek: "Yet there are practical reasons to believe that religious progressives on the ground are not well connected either with each other or with the elite-level organizations that share their policy agenda. The religious Left may also be stymied by its diversity and the fact that many of its leaders endorse what might be termed 'scriptural relativism.'
In a piece for last Monday’s Washington Post, the paper's culture critic, Philip Kennicott, noted that this past week, the Katzen Arts Center at American University in Washington simultaneously hosted two events. One was the National Endowment for the Arts’ fortieth-anniversary celebration; the other was a non-NEA-funded exhibition that featured “art as provocation, political commentary, utopian imagination, protest and, sometimes, pure unmitigated rage. It deals with gender, race, war and imperialism.”
Last week, the Minutemen came to town to protest illegal immigration, but The Washington Post shunned them to the inside of the Metro section, to page B-3. Their crowd was estimated at just 150. On Wednesday, the pro-illegal immigration advocates came to Capitol Hill again, and the Post estimated the gathering at about 400. That's also what you might call an inside-the-Metro-section crowd.
Think again. The rally itself made page A-13 today, complete with yet another color photo of American flags in the sun. The story by Karin Brulliard and Krissah Williams was headlined "Immigrant Advocates Take Their Case to Capitol Hill: Activists Lobby Members of Congress, Aides on Legislation." But its most prominent placement was the dominant story on the top of the front page of the Style section by the very protester-friendly David Montgomery. It was titled "An Up-the-Hill Battle: Even Without Citizenship, Immigrants Embrace a Chance to Become Activists," but should have said "Illegal Immigrants" were the lobbyists celebrated.
In April and May, the Washington Post devoted very heavy resources to covering pro-illegal immigration protests. When a contingent of the Minutemen came to Washington for their turn – and a much smaller group it was, estimated by the Post at "about 150 people," awfully tiny by D.C. standards – how would the Post greet their chance to speak? In Saturday’s Post, they did get a small box at the top of the front page, on how they were "fired up over a proposal to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship."
Consider that a remedial shout-out, following behind the massive coverage the amnesty rallies received. But the actual story was on B-3, not even the front of the Metro section.What went on the front of the Metro section instead? To a Minuteman from out of town, it must have looked awfully puzzling. Hogging the attention on B-1, with large color photos, was a story about prom-goers in New Orleans. New Orleans? The story by Annie Gowen was a followup to a A-1 story on Friday, also with color pictures, and it wasn’t until you turned inside the B section that you discovered what on Earth would make proms in New Orleans a D.C. "Metro" story – an 18-year-old girl from Beltsville, Maryland held a local dress drive that provided 2,800 gowns.
The Denver Post reports that among Joe Nacchio's other problems, he was the first Qwest CEO to refuse to help the NSA analyze phone records in the pursuit & deconstruction of terrorist networks. Even as,
"This is a case where (Qwest) showed some independence and courage," said Phil Weiser, a University of Colorado law professor who specializes in telecommunications issues.
In 2002 he chaired the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, a group of industry executives who advised President Bush. He also chaired the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council, an advisory panel on emergency communications networks and homeland security to the Federal Communications Commission.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday's front page that House and Senate Republicans reached agreement on extending "President Bush's deep cuts to tax rates on dividends and capital gains," but the chart they used on the front page was a Democratic talking point. It shows that people with a 2005 income between $10,000 and $50,000 would receive nearly zero, while people making over $100,000 would have much larger returns. The source cited on the page is merely "Tax Policy Center."
But inside, readers learn that this supposedly nonpartisan center is a project of two liberal think tanks:
Middle-income households would receive an average tax cut of $20 from the agreement, according to the joint Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, while 0.02 percent of households with incomes over $1 million would receive average tax cuts of $42,000.
The Washington Post has yet to editorialize on the nomination of Air Force General Michael Hayden to replace Porter Goss as CIA Director, but they’ve already done a fine job of debunking the notion that a uniformed officer has no business running the civilian CIA. Of course, that was when a liberal president picked a liberal admiral to run the agency.
Nearly 30 years ago, the Post sided with President Jimmy Carter when he named Navy Admiral Stansfield Turner, at the time the commander-in chief of Allied Forces in Southern Europe. The Post called objections to Turner’s military pedigree “misguided” and “insulting.” An excerpt of the Post’s February 9, 1977 editorial, headlined "Why Not a Military Man at CIA?" retrieved via Nexis: