Staff writer Marcia Davis is glowing from the start, excusing an episode of depraved indifference to marine life to liberal Alliance for Justice chief Nan Aron's dogged but failed pursuit of derailing Chief Justice John Roberts's nomination earlier this year:
Nan Aron lost the fish this summer.
Aron, the founder of the Alliance for Justice, one of the liberal armies in the war over the judiciary, has lived in her Woodley Park rowhouse for 30 years. There's a small brick pond in the front yard and, much to the delight of the neighborhood children, she filled it with fish over the summer, about 20 goldfish and koi. But summer was also the start of a season of high-stakes judicial battles.
While Aron and her allies were working long hours trying to defeat the confirmation of now Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., her fish disappeared.
"The problem was I was responsible for the fish," Aron says with a bit of self-deprecating humor. "My one responsibility at home was to feed the fish, talk to the fish and protect their safety, and I'd come home and start counting" and realize that there was trouble.
The casualties of war. But when you come from a family of social activists, you can look into an empty pond and find the positive.
"We'll start again next year and hopefully I'll be a little more attentive," Aron says.
Second-degree fishslaughter aside, however, Aron is portrayed by Davis as a sharp, intelligent, workaholic aggressively pursuing the cause of justice, and deeply revered by not only left-wing allies but conservative critics like former Reagan Justice Department official Bruce Fein for her work ethic, all well and good for a Style section profile, I suppose, but it's the closing that's the kicker:
No, I don't mean the Bush Administration, whose unwillingness to apologize for itself drives mainstream media into perpetual indignation.
Michelle Malkin got a response from a reporter--not the Washington Post's--after she asked about issuing some kind of correction following reports about war atrocity claims by Jimmy Massey, which have since been debunked by St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Ron Harris. The reply, from USA Today's Rick Hampson, is a depressing example of indifference to the truth. Malkin quotes him:
I personally have no plans for a follow up. Our story was not so much
about the veracity of Massey's claims -- few if any of those mentioned
in the Post-Dispatch piece were in our story -- as the reaction in a
small, patriotic town to its former Marine recruiter coming back as a
war protester. (We also went into Massey's psychological history.)
Certainly, he had a lot of critics/opponents/skeptics in town even back
then. So I don't expect we'll revisit the subject.
The Washington Post’s new ombudsman Deborah Howell, in only her second article in her new position, chose to defend journalists’ use of unnamed sources. Of late, this has become quite a hot-button issue, as an increasing number of articles from more and more media outlets seem to rely almost exclusively on anonymous suppliers of information, supposedly from within the White House.
In fact, in the past week, two of America’s leading magazines, Newsweek and TIME, published articles about turmoil inside the White House with bold predictions about changes to come within the administration. The latter just Monday claimed that deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, Treasury Secretary John Snow, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are all about to leave the White House in a huge administration reshuffling.
Yet, in both of these reports, not one source was named. This makes the beginning of Howell’s article even more disturbing:
Last evening, NBC’s “Nightly News” began its program with a report from the Pentagon concerning new rules governing the torture of prisoners. In a two minute forty-four second piece, a total of 15 seconds was devoted to demands by Republican leaders of Congress for an investigation into who leaked information about overseas CIA detention centers to the Washington Post.
Brian Williams began the segment by bringing up Abu Ghraib, and passed it off to Jim Miklaszewski at the Pentagon, who, of course, began with stories of Abu Ghraib as pictures of abuse there rolled across the screen. Miklaszewski finished the segment (video link to follow):
When earlier stories began bringing up the topic, it was to knock down the idea that there was a connection between the more extreme variety of Muslim identity and the riots. In today's story (I'm quoting from the dead-tree version), Moore approaches it from a different angle--fearful non-Muslim French:
Regardless of economic data, press accounts are typically negative and pessimistic.
The economy has been growing at a very strong clip since October 2001. Real estate prices are at their highest levels in history, as are homeownership and Americans’ average net worth. Unemployment also is lower than the average during any of the past three decades. Yet Americans are very down, and one third even think the economy is in a recession. Is consistently negative media coverage influencing public attitudes? Might headlines like “Job growth less than expected” and “Jobs come up weak” have something to do with the gloom being felt across the country?
The Labor Department announced unemployment numbers for October on November 4, and despite a decline in this rate and an addition to payrolls, the media reported the gains as “surprisingly meager,” “stalled,” “damped,” and “disappointing.”
The Washington Post published two articles today about the war in Iraq. One made the front-page, the other was relegated to page A16. Curiously, the one dealing with a major offensive along the Syrian border was buried. By contrast, the one dealing with American casualties was on the front-page.
In an article entitled “For Many in Iraq, Death is Quick and Capricious,” Steve Fainaru shared recent casualty totals, while specifically detailing the actions of some of America’s heroes that lead to their unfortunate death:
“The growing number of U.S. military deaths, which reached 2,000 last month and has since risen to 2,035, underscores a grim reality: There are countless ways to die in Iraq.”
This article was not only on the front-page, but was also 1,800 words.
In yesterday’s (Saturday) Washington Post is a brief article in its Metro section, responding to well-attended press conference the previous day in front of the newspaper’s offices.
The press conference accused the Post of violating the privacy rights of certain individuals on the website FreeRepublic.com This exchange, printed by the Post, explains the charge, and thenewspaper’s response to it, so far:
"How in good faith could The Washington Post access a private Internet account without the express permission of the account holder?" Kristinn Taylor, a spokesman for the conservative FreeRepublic.com, asked in a morning news conference in front of The Post's offices in Northwest Washington.
"In response, R.B. Brenner, The Post's Maryland editor, said: ‘As part of our reporting, we needed to verify that the chat room postings were authentic. We were authorized to view them, and it was appropriate to do so under the circumstances.’ [Sic: This was not a "chat room." This was a private e-mail exchange between two individuals.]
Wild guess: Be a conservative partisan. Campaign against the war? Not a problem; welcome to Nonpartisanville.
In today's front-page story Youths in Rural U.S. Are Drawn To Military by Ann Scott Tyson, we learn, as the subhed tells us, Recruits' Job Worries Outweigh War Fears. The story appears to be inspired by a Nov. 1 press release
from the National Priorities Project. What's that? Let's find out and
give the Post's sense of neutrality its proper place. Tyson writes:
Nearly two-thirds of Army recruits in 2004 came from counties in which median household income is below the U.S. median.
Today's Washington Post features an article about the October employment numbers, which are planted firmly between humdrum and "house afire". The economy seems to have absorbed the hurricanes of the past two months, and high energy prices and posted 56,000 new jobs in October.
The Post, though, seems a bit confused about whether that's good news or bad.
Featured at the top of the page today is the headline "October's Job Growth Stalled". The same article is linked lower on the page, in the business section, with the headline "Payrolls Expand in October".
If you click on the Business section you'll find the same article with the headline, "Payrolls expand in Oct., Jobless Rate Dips".
There is no headline in the Washington Post today to tell readers that Virginia Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine has been endorsed for Governor by one Michael Schiavo, the man who campaigned for years to get his wife's feeding tube pulled. It's buried at the end of an article on page B-4. (But wait -- I can't even find the story in my newspaper today.) It may not be a huge story, but it's fascinating placement after the Post has published two front-page articles this week stressing Kaine's Catholicism -- how much he believes it, and promises to never allow it to influence his decisions as Governor.
This, to some extent, is like running for Mayor of Washington D.C. stressing your credentials as an NRA member as a reason to like you, but promising to never overturn the federal city's handgun ban. Isn't stressing the NRA membership a bit irrelevant, then? Wouldn't it make people who belong to the NRA believe you're taking advantage of the positive angle of that membership while campaigning as an empty suit? The Post seems to believe that Kaine's Catholicism makes him sound moral, and perhaps more socially conservative. But stressing his faith is either irrelevant, or a sign of terminal insincerity. (Imagine someone running for governor of Virginia in the 1960s saying he believed in ending segregation, but would make no move to change the laws. Would he get credit for his unimplemented views?) Kaine says he's stressing his faith for "values voters." But he's stressing "I have values, and I promise not to use them."
The Bush administration created a journalistic shield to stall investigation into the CIA leak case until after the 2004 election. So proclaims the Washington Post in a column by E. J. Dionne Jr. on Tuesday, November 1, 2005.
The writer claims that “As long as Bush faced the voters, the White House wanted Americans to think officials such as Libby, Karl Rove and vice president Chaney had nothing to do with the leak campaign to discredit its arch-critic on Iraq, the former ambassador Joseph Wilson.”
The writer claims that to assure a delay in the inquiry the administration had Libby state his information concerning Wilson’s wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame was provided by a number of reporters.
In tomorrow’s (Friday) Washington Post is a front page article entitled “Youths in Rural U.S. are Drawn to Military.” The title is correct. The lede, however, is a single sentence that displays for all to see the bias of the Post against the war and against its volunteer military. It reads:
“As sustained combat in Iraq makes it harder than ever to fill the ranks of the all-volunteer force, newly released Pentagon demographic data show that the military is leaning heavily for recruits on economically depressed, rural areas where youths' need for jobs may outweigh the risks of going to war.”
The second paragraph reads:
“More than 44 percent of U.S. military recruits come from rural areas, Pentagon figures show. In contrast, 14 percent come from major cities. Youths living in the most sparsely populated Zip codes are 22 percent more likely to join the Army, with an opposite trend in cities. Regionally, most enlistees come from the South (40 percent) and West (24 percent).”
As NewsBusters has been reporting the past 24 hours here, here, and here, CBS News released a poll yesterday depicting President Bush’s declining job approval numbers that were based on a sample that was in no way reflective of the country’s population. Just hours ago, some new poll numbers were released by the Washington Post and ABC News, and they too have over-sampled Democrats and Independents.
“An increasingly unpopular war, an ethics cloud, and broad economic discontent have pushed public opinion of the Bush administration from bad to worse, infecting not only the president's ratings on political issues but his personal credentials for honesty and leadership as well.
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. hasn't generated the rabid opposition many in the media would like to see. So now he's being made fun of for not being sufficiently cool.
In today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank takes the judge to task for assorted failings. Alito, we're told, wears a rumpled and ill-fitting suit as he makes the rounds of senatorial offices. We learn that "At Princeton, he skipped the selective eating clubs to join Stevenson Hall, known as a haven for dweebs." While coaching Little League, the judge wore a baseball uniform. He has a picture of former Phillies star Mike Schmidt hung in his appellate chambers. He's gone to a baseball fantasy camp.
You will read the rioters called "gangs of youths", "rioters", "immigrants", and "poor" and that's it.
Yet, the article notes that what sparked the riots was the death of two Muslim youths who decided to hide from a police checkpoint in a power substation, where they electrocuted themselves to death. The article also notes that the Interior Minister, whom the French President is blaming for the riots because he has dared to crack down on a runaway crime problem in France's poor Muslim ghettos, has proposed using government buildings as mosques. The article also says that Muslim leaders are attempting "to persuade local youths -- particularly Muslims -- to refrain from violence".
As reported by NewsBusters here and here, there was a lot about the closed session held in the Senate on Tuesday that the media chose to ignore. However, now that the damage has been done, and public opinions of this issue have been formed, the Washington Post today decided to share some of the facts with its readers.
First, the decision to have a closed session is normally made with the consent of both parties:
“The rule's existence was widely known, and closed sessions had been held by bipartisan agreement as recently as 1999, regarding President Bill Clinton's impeachment. But the notion of one party springing the rule on the other party without warning was so alien that senators could not cite a previous example.”
Former Republican house majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) had a large victory in court yesterday, but ABC and NBC didn’t think it was important enough to include in their evening news broadcasts.
As reported by the Washington Post: "Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) won an early round in his money-laundering and conspiracy trial Tuesday by getting a judge aligned with Democratic candidates and causes removed from the case."
Yet, even though the announcement of DeLay’s indictment on September 28 was headline news, neither ABC nor NBC thought that this legal victory for the former majority leader warranted informing their evening news viewers.
Thanks to the efforts of investigative reporters for WBAL in Baltimore, which has just broken the story, the former third-ranked official for the Democrat Party in Maryland has been outed as the original source for sexual slanders against Baltimore’s Democrat Mayor, Martin O’Malley, who is currently running for Governor.
The original stories in February in the Washington Post blamed the kerfuffel on Joseph Steffen, then an aide to Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich, Jr. The aide was terminated from his position as a result of his name (but not the Democrat’s name) coming out at the time.
Personal note: much of the back story on this subject occurred on FreeRepublic.com, known as FR. I have written on that website, and been a speaker at several rallies in D.C., for that website and its founder, Jim Robinson. My association with the website has lasted over seven years.
Last week four Christian Indonesian girls who were on their way to their Christian high school were attacked by hooded attackers who successfully beheaded three of the girls. However, what most people would consider an outrage, The Washington Post and the the LA Times doesn't even consider newsworthy.
The Washington Post spent most of their ink dealing with the bird flu epidemic, and the LA Times gives this tragic story a two sentence blurb and doesn't even mention that the girls were Christians, thus implying the persecution of Christians isn't important.
Washington Post reporter Kevin Merida writes in the Sunday Style section about an idea he finds odd: why would conservatives feel embattled when they have so much control in Washington? (First question: Kevin, did you read the front page? Have you read the media at all from, say, Camp Cindy or Hurricane Katrina forward?) Merida begins by being stunned at the conservative "beat-down" of Harriet Miers, and visits the American Spectator's annual dinner. "One might presume there would be more celebration over the accumulation of power." In mid-article, he offers new evidence, the MRC's annual Dishonor Awards banquet:
Less than 36 hours after the indictments of I. Lewis Libby were announced, America’s first poll results concerning the matter were released just in time for them to be part of all the Sunday political talk shows tomorrow morning.
As reported by the Washington Post, the results of a new Washington Post/ABC News survey suggest that:
“55 percent of the public believes the Libby case indicates wider problems "with ethical wrongdoing" in the White House, while 41 percent believes it was an ‘isolated incident.’ And by a 3 to 1 ratio, 46 percent to 15 percent, Americans say the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined rather than risen under Bush.”
The poll also puts Bush’s job approval at 39 percent. Yet, one has to wonder about its methodology. As the article indicated, “The survey of 600 randomly selected Americans represents a snapshot of initial reactions to the Libby indictment.” To be sure, 600 is an extremely small sample. Moreover, there is no indication of what the breakdown was of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents surveyed, which is particularly important given the belief by most pollsters that weekend surveys normally produce a greater percentage of Democratic respondents than is representative of the population. Regardless, the article by Post journalists Richard Morin and Claudia Deane made some pretty grave conclusions from this data:
One angle the major media hasn't underlined in the current explosion of Plamegate coverage is the legislative origins of the scandal in the passage of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. As much as liberals like Al Franken love to say they oppose treason, the bill was opposed by a handful of liberals and Democrats. Some nuggets from the Washington Post coverage follow.
President Reagan signed it, and some left-wingers protested from June 24, 1982:
The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the law as a "clearly unconstitutional infringement on the right of free speech." Morton H. Halperin, director of ACLU's Center for National Security Studies, said the organization would provide legal assistance to "those whose ability to speak or write is threatened by this legislation or effort to enforce it by the Justice Department."
Matthew Mosk of the Washington Post today reports on a racist attack lodged by a liberal blogger on Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele (R), an African-American, who is the front-runner in the Republican primary for US Senate in 2006. Mosk also notes how this controversy has touched a Democrat seeking statewide office in Virginia.
A racially charged image of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele on the Web site of a liberal blogger brought recriminations from both Democrats and Republicans yesterday.
The doctored photo of Steele (R) as a minstrel, and accompanying slurs, prompted Virginia gubernatorial candidate Timothy M. Kaine (D) to pull an ad from the site, stevegilliard.blogspot.com . Kaine's campaign had purchased the space through a broker that put his advertising on numerous liberal-leaning blogs.
Yesterday's Washington Post takes a stroll through Kim Jong Il's Pyongyang Potemkin Village and finds happy peasants, dazzled visitors, and "public support" (hat-tip MediaCrity).
In "North Korea Sends a 'Message to the World'-- Secretive State Welcomes Visitors for Month-Long Celebration of Patriotism, Talent," Post reporters JooHee Cho and (from Tokyo) Anthony Faiola write: "North Korea has creaked open its doors for Arirang, a festival that celebrates national pride and, this year, commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Stalinist state's ruling Workers' Party. Performers, who numbered almost as many as the spectators, won furious applause for their coordinated displays of rhythmic gymnastics, flying acrobatics, traditional dancing and military taekwondo routines -- all synchronized to a massive video and laser light show....North Korea has rolled out the red carpet this month in exceptional style. Tour operators, diplomats and analysts describe the gathering of foreigners as the largest since Kim inherited the leadership on the death of his father and North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung, in 1994."
Much to Senator Chris Dodd's consternation on Thursday's Larry King Live on CNN, Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, pointed out a fact rarely mentioned by the mainstream media -- that “most of the analysts at the CIA said that [Joseph] Wilson's findings, when he went to Niger, supported the conclusion that there was some deal with Iraq” for uranium. When Dodd started to counter Woodward, Woodward asserted that “Democrats and the Republicans all signed that report. That is a fact.” Woodward revealed that he had the report “in his pocket”and when King asked why, Woodward answered: "Yes I do because I knew I might be challenged." When King went to an ad break two minutes later, the camera pulled back to show everyone at the table. Woodward then slid forward across the table to Dodd what looked like a few 8-and-half-by-11 sheets of paper with a post-it on top. Dodd ignored it, but in the second before CNN went to black, Senator Lindsey Graham, sitting beside Dodd, picked them up.
The still shot is from a fraction of a second after the papers are released from Woodward's hand. Video excerpt of this event: Real or Windows Media. Dodd says something as he looks toward Woodward. If you can read lips... (Transcript of the earlier exchange follows.)
In wake of the Harriet Miers withdrawal of her nomination to the US Supreme Court, the Associated Press wasted little time in releasing an article trashing conservatives. Terrence Hunt found plenty of people to quote in regards to how "extreme" the Republican party is, but could find no one with any reasonable counter-arguments.
He quotes Democrats as saying: Bush has bowed to the "radical right wing of the Republican Party."
He found Ted Kennedy: "The president has an opportunity now to unite the country. In appointing the next nominee, he must listen to all Americans, not just the far right."
He found Democratic Leader Harry Reid: "The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination. They want a nominee with a proven record of supporting their skewed goals."
Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus surprised yesterday with a slightly negative piece on Joseph Wilson, the U.S. diplomat turned discredited anti-war actvist whose wife Valerie Plame is the center of Patrick Fitzgerald's rinvestigation that has Democrats salivating and Republicans bracing over possible indictments.
But before the Post notes that in retrospect, it wasn't the best idea for Joseph Wilson and wife Valerie to pose for Vanity Fair, or for him to sign up for the Kerry campaign or (as the Post gently put its) "misstating some aspects of the Niger affair," they credit him for making a Bush claim invalid (emphasis added): "Wilson's central assertion -- disputing President Bush's 2003 State of the Union claim that Iraq was seeking nuclear material in Niger -- has been validated by postwar weapons inspections. And his charge that the administration exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq has proved potent."
Sigh. Back on October 12, 2003, then-Post ombudsman Michael Getler wrote:
"On Oct. 4, The Post made an obvious mistake on the front page, reporting that chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay had found 'no evidence for another one of Bush's key claims--that Iraq sought uranium in Niger.' Bush referred to Africa, not Niger, in the now famous 16 words in his State of the Union speech."
The Washington Post downplayed the announcement of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele officially announcing his Republican campaign for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring liberal Paul Sarbanes. It appeared on page B-9. That's not at the top of B-9, either. It's below "Pr. George's Council Keeps Ban on Pit Bulls." Matthew Mosk has a fairly long story (and a picture), and you could argue that official announcement stories are boring, but Steele's story was actually placed further back in the Post Metro section than any other Senate candidate's official announcement story, even the darkest of dark horses. (Oddly, it's the top Metro headline on the home page at washingtonpost.com.) UPDATE: MRC's Ken Shepherd notes that his Maryland edition of the Post had Steele on C-1, as opposed to my edition delivered in Virginia, so factor that in.
Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post pulled no punches in their front-page article this morning about the challenges currently facing President Bush:
“Rarely has a president confronted as many damaging developments that could all come to a head in this week. A special counsel appears poised to indict one or more administration officials within days. Pressure is building on Bush from within his own party to withdraw the faltering Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers. And any day the death toll of U.S. troops in Iraq will pass the symbolically important 2,000 mark.”
Rarely? I guess 9/11 doesn't count, for regardless of what happens this week, it’s got to be a cakewalk by comparison to the days following the first attacks on this country since Pearl Harbor.