The front page of Monday’s Washington Post is a topped with a local religion story, as seven Episcopal parishes voted to break with the Episcopal Church USA over the church’s tilt away from the Bible and toward a "progressive" future with gay bishops and gay "marriage" ceremonies. Reporters Michelle Boorstein and Bill Turque describe these dissidents as "conservative" four times in the story (and once in the headline), but there are no "liberals" in the piece, not gay Bishop Gene Robinson and not the top Presiding Bishop, Kathleen Jefferts Schori. In paragraph 17, the reporters do attribute talk of a "leftward drift" to a disgruntled parishioner.
(Perhaps most surprising is the picture: conservative opponents of homosexuality embracing after the decision to split away. Nearly every national newspaper story on gay issues is illustrated by gay plaintiffs, gay protesters, gay parents – and social conservatives go for years without being pictured.)
In the era of Bill Clinton, the liberal media was not shy about locating "Clinton haters." In March of 1994, Washington Post reporter Ann Devroy reported from the front of conservatism, "Bill Clinton’s enemies are making their hatred clear, with a burning intensity and in some case with an organized passion." She listed as haters Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Reagan, and so on. But the Post doesn’t seem to use the term "Bush hater," even when Bush haters are dancing right in front of them.
See Monday’s Style section for a feature on a Bush-hating ballet. Sarah Kaufman’s review of a Kennedy Center performance by the Paul Taylor Dance Company is mildly headlined "Paul Taylor, Hitting Close To Home: At His 'Banquet of Vultures,' George Bush Is the Centerpiece." What a treat, another "antiwar" artist trashing the warmongers, with Bush cast as uncaring about troop deaths, and even committing one himself:
Imagine for a moment you were ABC’s Chief Washington Correspondent, as well as a former member of the Clinton administration who was currently quite opposed to the Iraq war. Further assume that in the months leading up to the recent midterm elections, the Democrat Senate minority leader had been aggressively advocating immediate troop withdrawals from the region, a position you agreed with. Contrary to his previous view of this incursion, when you interviewed this Senator after the elections, he stated that he could actually support an increase in troops.
Given his expressed positions before the elections, and the fact that he was about to be sworn in as the new Senate majority leader, would you aggressively challenge this high-ranking official about his sudden change of heart, or give him a pass? Well, on Sunday’s “This Week”, America got its answer as another pre-election myth was retired, and unceremoniously put out to pasture (must-see video available here, relevant section at minute three, transcript follows).
Washington Post movie critic Stephen Hunter (not a role model for the Politically Correct Movie Critic) cracks today that Will Smith's new movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" unfolds like a lecture from your "old man" about working hard to achieve your dreams.
Hunter calls it "a radically conservative encomium to trying hard, to capitalism, to salesmanship, to Dean Witter, to never saying die, and to reaping the big reward." I don't get what's so "radically conservative" or capitalistic about working hard to achieve. (Don't socialists work hard to achieve their socialistic goals? Hillary?) It sounds to me more like "I can't believe Hollywood made a positive film about a black man in a Dean Witter office."
That great American ambassador and lovely lady Jeane Kirkpatrick has left us, but her passing also causes us to remember her strategic sense and moral clarity. She came to national prominence in Reaganite circles in 1979 with her marvelous Commentary magazine essay on “Dictatorship and Double Standards.” It argued that traditional authoritarian autocracies were both more susceptible to liberalization and more amenable to American interests than totalitarian dictatorships of the left, which came into power with disturbing frequency in the late 1970s, with America as their stated enemy.
She easily explained how the Carter administration and the liberal press romantically saw in the revolutionary left a shared commitment to modernity over tradition, science over religion, an educated bureaucracy over private hierarchies, and futuristic and universal goals over appeals to an archaic and ordered past.
I almost did a double take when reading this editorial knowing it came from the Washington Post. Kudos to the staff of the editorial page for printing something very politically incorrect about deceased former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and acknowledging the horrible truth that Fidel Castro, the aging communist ruler of Cuba, has not been sufficiently denounced.
Castro-worship (and really Fidel is just a cipher for any leftist dictator) is an amusing thing. I once encountered a college professor who was so enamored of him, he even defended Castro's systematic murders and imprisonments of gay Cubans, despite having previously denounced the right for being anti-gay just weeks before. The further irony was, that this guy taught ancient political philosophy and history and yet was forever going on about how wonderful Fidel was.
And now to the excerpt:
It's hard not to notice, however, that the evil dictator leaves
behind the most successful country in Latin America. In the past 15
years, Chile's economy has grown at twice the regional average, and its
poverty rate has been halved. It's leaving behind the developing world,
where all of its neighbors remain mired. It also has a vibrant
democracy. Earlier this year it elected another socialist president,
Michelle Bachelet, who suffered persecution during the Pinochet years.
..... now the WashPost has printed another article on the city, this time an upbeat one. What gives? You guessed it.The second one was reported from Ramadi. Case closed, thank you very much. Unfortunately, it's little solace knowing how few journalists ever leave their safe little hovels in Baghdad hotels or Washington, D.C.
Kaus doesn't think "upbeat" accurately describes the WaPo article, which is actually an AP dispatch by Will Weissert. I agree; I'd call it "even-handed."
But there's a larger point, which is that an actual named AP reporter has reported from something other than a "safe little hovel," and from Ramadi no less.
Why? I have to wonder if AP is responding to the current controversy, by doing things it would probably never admit to doing, and certainly would never attribute to having been done because of outside influence. Specifically:
The late Jeane Kirkpatrick was well-known for distinguishing the difference between authoritarian governments and totalitarian governments. The Washington Post also distinguishes: it's harsher on right-wing authoritarians then on left-wing communist dictators. Coverage of the death of right-wing Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was all focused on the "dictator's dark legacy" and how he'd escaped punishment. But upon the death of Chinese dictator Deng Ziaoping in 1997, the Post emphasized how he opened China to outsiders and liberalized the economy (alongside news events like the murderous crackdown on student dissidents in Tiananmen Square in 1989). The first front-page article did not wonder why no one had brought Deng to "justice."
In a story simply headlined "A Chilean Dictator's Dark Legacy," Monte Reel and J.Y. Smith focused heavily on the left-wing brief against Pinochet, Richard Nixon, CIA infiltration, and fear of communism. Note the absence of any talk of democratization and economic liberalization:
In his Monday "Media Notes" column, long-time Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz was perfectly comfortable separating ideological New Media from "objective" Old Media. Just before a tidbit asserting that "conservative journalist" Richard Miniter is bringing fresh reporting to the Pajamas Media website, which "has leaned heavily to the right," Kurtz defended David Gregory in one of his look-at-me battles with Tony Snow. Kurtz suggested Gregory was not "partisan" in pressing Snow to acknowledge that the Iraq Study Group utterly rejected Bush’s policy with "stay the course is not working" lingo. No liberalism there?
In fact, it’s quite easy for Snow to hear Democratic talking points in Gregory’s question. Congressman Silvestre Reyes summarized what Democrats have been saying as group shorthand in the Saturday Democrat radio address: "Their report confirms what most of us have known for some time: President Bush’s policy of ‘stay the course’ is not working.’"
Proving he's moving on with post-Senate life, George Allen gave an interview to his journalistic tormentor, Michael C. Shear of the WashPost, but Shear plays it cute in Saturday's paper when he pretends not to know who the "referee" is when Allen suggests he was wronged by the refs (including the Post, I have zero doubt):
He declined to talk specifically about the controversies that turned what was supposed to be his warm-up for a presidential campaign into a losing bid to hold on to his Senate seat. "You can't brood and dwell" on the loss, he said.
But it's clear -- especially from the football analogies he uses frequently to describe the sudden turn in his political life -- that Allen regrets the mistakes he and his campaign staff made during the past several months.
How is it journalism is supposed to go: "Who, What, Where, When"?
Isn't that the purported standard for "reporting" on a story? So, should that be true, the just-the-facts-ma'am style of reporting, informing the reader so that he may decide, is obviously as rare as a white Unicorn appearing every 13th month on a blue moon in the newsroom of the Washington Post -- or the Washington comPost as it is lovingly referred to by so many.
Today's ridiculously biased and overly emotive "report" took two people to pen, apparently. Robin Wright and Peter Baker held each other's hands and cried their way through their latest Bush slapping they titled "Bush gropes for new Iraq plan".
Even the headline screams girly "feelings" as opposed to just the facts. Who likes to be groaped, anyway, Robin? Kicking off the report we are treated to overly emotive phrases fit only for an editorial page as opposed to a reporting of facts that one should expect in the news section... and need we say that all the emotions are negative? Since the report is talking about Bush's Iraq policy, could it be any other way for good little robotic denizens of the MSM enclave in Washington?
You can sense that when the liberal media covers the pregnancy of Mary Cheney, there’s a glee there, like when they find an evangelical preacher with a crystal meth problem (although it must be said that in their current glee, Mary is the heroine, and again, the religious right is wrong). Some conservatives have argued that Mary Cheney probably just wants her privacy, and it’s the activists who’ve hijacked the story. But do we know that to be true?
The story broke on Wednesday morning in the gossip column of the Washington Post, and gossips Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger don’t say who told them, but I think it’s fair to bet that Mary Cheney told them. She may have called them up. They might have heard about it, and called her up. But the idea that Mary Cheney doesn’t really want to be a crusader for gay marriage on this story doesn’t match her record of gay-left activism (albeit mixed with her support for the GOP and her terrorist-fighting dad).
Hunting for liberal bias in the press has grown difficult, since liberal reporters have gone from sounding bitterly inflamed to tickled-tummy pleased about the political scene. Their stories about Democrats seem drained of all vinegar. They write like everyone's a friendly guest at their dinner party. Teenagers recounting a pajama party in their diary probably have more spice and attitude. Case in point: Charles Babington and Shailagh Murray writing gently on the WashPost front page Friday about the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton rivalry.
Colleagues say Clinton and Obama appear to genuinely admire each other. So far, they claim to see zero evidence of public rancor. "Everybody gets along just fine," Harkin said. Kennedy described the pair as "extra-dimensional individuals" and asserted in an interview: "There's no sort of pettiness or jealousy that I see. They understand the momentous nature of what the search for the presidency is all about."
Editors at the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post each used the reverential term "wisdom" to define the findings of the Baker-Hamilton commission -- suggesting that the current drift of Bush policy is the opposite, foolishness.
In Wednesday's press conference with James Baker and Lee Hamilton, MRC's Mike Rule noticed Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief of the Los Angeles Times, asked the commissioners: "All of you have considerable experience in helping presidents change course when they find themselves in a blind alley. What do you intend to do from now on to help President Bush embrace the wisdom of all of your recommendations?" McManus noted Bush had "already expressed discomfort with several of them, including engaging Syria and Iran," and threatening the Iraqi government with troop withdrawals.
For those of a Republican bent, Election Day wasn't much fun. But that's not to say that defeat doesn't bring with it certain muted pleasures of its own. Such as watching the liberal media take the Dem congressional majority to task as it begins to moonwalk away from various campaign promises. Chief among those pledges was this one, part of the DNC's official 6-Point Plan for 2006:
"We want to close the remaining gaps in our security by enacting the 9/11 Commission recommendations."
One of the most important 9/11 panel recommendations called for Congress to reform its own house when it comes to the oversight of intelligence. This might sound like inside baseball, but it's important. The basic notion is this: intelligence agencies will be most responsive to those congressional committees that control their budgets. The way Congress is currently organized, the various committees on intelligence - those with the most expertise in the area - are effectively toothless. They have no budget control over the intelligence agencies they theoretically oversee. Instead, budgetary control is in the hands of the armed services committees and the appropriations panels' defense subcommittees.
It is amusing to me that the South was always considered by Democrats as "the people", the salt of the Earth, and the so-called rank and file in the "solid South" when the they had a lock on their votes from 1820 all the way until 1980. The South was the all-American region and the Democrats loved them dearly. Yes, for over 160 years the Democrats counted the Southern states as stalwarts and they loved them like brothers. But, now that the Southern states more often vote GOP they are a "problem" and are filled with Bible- brainwashed racists who pine for a return to slavery as far as the left is concerned.
The VRWC is apparently even vaster than we realized.
In a fund-raising email today David Brock, President of Media Matters, the organization that some might consider the left-wing counterpart to NewsBusters, claimed [emphasis added]:
"Media Matters has already exposed more than 6,000 instances of conservative misinformation in just two years -- and not just from right-wing news outlets such as Fox News Channel, but from sources like CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times."
Brock cites two instances in which Media Matters corrected errors at the Washington Post. But might the conservative rot run deeper? Could Paul Krugman be a deep RNC mole? Christiane Amanpour a conservative agent provocateur? E.J. Dionne perhaps a catspaw for Karl Rove?
On November 29, my NewsBusters op-ed considered the violent downside of withdrawing American troops from Iraq, and how it could lead to a real civil war between Sunni and Shia from all the Muslim nations in the region. It turns out that on the same day, an advisor to the Saudi government, Nawaf Obaid, wrote his own op-ed published by the Washington Post wherein he cautioned that if U.S. troops pull out of Iraq, “one of the first consequences will be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis.”
Sadly, this piece received little media focus as the press pushed harder and harder for a full-scale retreat.
Regardless of the media’s disinterest, Obaid was quite blunt: “One hopes [President Bush] won't make the same mistake again by ignoring the counsel of Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who said in a speech last month that ‘since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited.’" He ominously continued (emphasis mine throughout):
The Washington Post's Michelle Boorstein penned a front page story on two Northern Virginia Episcopal parishes preparing to vote on whether to formally sever ties with the denomination and to submit to the authority of a more conservative Nigerian Anglican bishop.
Boorstein gets off to a biased start by labeling said Nigerian bishop as "controversial." No such label was assigned Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts-Schori, although her theology is far from congruent with historic, orthodox Christianity.
What's more, one of Boorstein's sources, Diana Butler Bass, was presented merely as "a U.S. church historian."
"What will win now? This politicized culture, or that old Anglican, spiritual way of being in the world," Bass told Boorstein, practically casting biblically orthodox Episcopals as rabble rousing radicals within the denomination.
Howard Kurtz takes up his Monday space with another soft-soap interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric and how she is "still gaining acceptance," as Dana Carvey's George Bush used to say about Dan Quayle. The story ends with CBS president Sean McManus fussing she's "under more scrutiny than probably any other person in television history." If that's so, the oppressive scrutiny certainly isn't coming from Kurtz.
The whole story focuses on inside baseball, the nuts and bolts of whether the CBS newscast is more soft news than hard news. Even when Kurtz turned to Couric promoting Michael J. Fox and embryo-killing stem cell research, it's only the reaction inside CBS that seems worth noting:
Jawa Report: Main Insurgent Group, Ansar al Sunna, Decapitated in Iraq
Here they aren't:
Google News Search, sorted by Date, Nov. 27 - Dec. 2, on *Baghdad sniper captured* (NOT in quotes) -- Jawa Report's are the only relevant listings (darn, how did he get into Google News?).
Google News Search, sorted by Date, Nov. 27 - Dec. 2, on "Ansar al Sunna" (in quotes) -- Jawa Report is there. There is a Washington Post report that has the Ansar al Sunna news at the ninth paragraph of a story that is not only primarily about the possible finding of the remains of a downed F-16 pilot, but that also gives no clue in the headline that any additional news is in the article. As of when the search was done (3 PM on Saturday), all other articles listed were either foreign publications or smaller US web sites that track military matters.
I'm confused. Doesn't the MSM abhor the mixing of religion and politics? Isn't it quick to invoke the specter of theocracy and decry the crumbling of the [non-existent] "constitutional separation of church and state"? Well, yes, in general. But there is an exception to the MSM rule. Turns out it's OK to mix religion and politics, when it's Dems in general - and Barack Obama in particular - who are making the merger.
On this afternoon's Hardball, guest host David Shuster played a clip of Obama, in church, explictly calling for his Christian religious faith to "guide us to a new and better politics."
Asked Shuster of CNBC chief political correspondent John Harwood: "Your reaction - mixing religion and politics in that way?"
Harwood: "It's smart. Democrats need to do more of that."
George Will turned heads yesterday with a brutal column on Senator-Elect Jim Webb, scouring him for being rude to President Bush at a reception, and then -- in a critique sure to outrage Webb, the literary lion in his own mind -- assaults Webb's hyperbolic use of English, as in saying the rich are "infinitely" richer than the poor. Will proclaimed Webb is a "subtraction" from civility. But perhaps Will should have used a disclaimer: before the election, Will aided this "subtraction" by scouring Sen. George Allen (he "makes no secret of finding life as a senator tedious") in a Post column seven days before the election. As with the Weekly Standard and their George Allen-bashing cover this fall, when you help make the “Macaca majority,” then you should look in the mirror before despairing over the man you helped usher in.
The Laurie David/Al Gore/Keith Olbermann/Washington Post v. National Science Teachers Association controversy continues, with Science magazine weighing in with facts that don't look so good for Laurie David. (Watch for the drive by media to lose interest in this story any minute now.)
Here's the latest (earlier posts about aspects of this are here, here and here):
According to Science magazine, Laurie David now admits the National Science Teachers Association offered the Gore Gang the opportunity to mail the DVD to NSTA members. What David is mad about is 1) the NSTA didn't offer to provide a letter endorsing the movie (NTSA, according to Science, says it has had a policy since 2001 "prohibiting endorsements of any product or message by an outside organization"), and 2) the NSTA didn't offer to pay the costs for mailing 50,000 DVDs (somewhat understandably, in my view, since it wasn't their idea to mail it in the first place) of David's and Gore's movie.
With each passing day, the media are debunking all the myths they helped foster about what the Democrats would do if they regained control of Congress. This one is beautiful, for it has to do with issues of national security, which was considered very important by voters just three weeks ago. As reported by the Washington Post’s Jonathan Weisman, but buried on page A7 (grateful hat tip to NB member “dscott,” emphasis mine throughout):
It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.
Isn’t that wonderful? Sound like a classic bait and switch? Regardless, the piece continued:
The National Science Teachers Association has now officially responded to Laurie David's Washington Post op-ed (see Noel Sheppard's Newsbusters post on the op-ed here) essentially accusing the group of being captive to corporate interests when it declined a gift of 50,000 "An Inconvenient Truth" DVDs for distribution to classrooms.
It doesn't say so, but presumably the NSTA is also responding to MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann's Monday evening accusation that the NSTA president, Linda Froschauer, is "available at the right price," a statement made by Olbermann in a commentary that appears to have been based on the Laurie David Washington Post op-ed.
Staffers for the Washington Post are now being graded, in an attempt to make those in the newsroom feel the same pressure as those in the boardroom. The grading options: “frequently exceeds expectations,” “sometimes exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” “sometimes fails to meet expectations,” or “frequently does not meet expectations.”
Unfortunately, there are no options for "somewhat biased," "hideously biased," or "Pelosi's press agent biased."
“I initiated this because we’ve had complaints over the years from reporters who would be evaluated and feel that their evaluations were inconclusive,” said Peter Perl, assistant managing editor for training and career development.
Today's KidsPost section of The Washington Post gives young readers an introduction to the anti-artistic agenda of the smoke nazis.
Reporter Susan Levine gave The American Legacy Foundation plenty of ink to promote their cause in today's article "Hollywood Not Yet Kicking Butts."
Basically they think any movie involving fictional characters that smoke should merit an automatic R-rating. A picture showing historical figures who actually smoked, like FDR, is fine and dandy, however.
In contrast, the Motion Picture Association of America was given one paragraph to defend artistic license, and even then most of the graf was centered on reiterating the warning that, yes, smoking is bad for you.
Call me crazy, but how hard is it to find a libertarian or conservative pundit with the other side to be quoted for this article? (post continues after jump)
Late on Tuesday night, National Review reporter Byron York provided some early grist to challenge strange claims by media critics like William Powers that "journalists are more aggressive under Democratic rule." Somehow, the nation's leading newspapers weren't hustling alongside York as he chased the story of whether Nancy Pelosi would give the reins of the House Intelligence Committee to Rep. Alcee Hastings, who was impeached as a federal judge:
Tomorrow the Washington Post, on its front page, reports the news that Alcee Hastings will not be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. For a story about Nancy Pelosi's decision, the Post piece gets into a number of details about the Hastings case itself. Why? One reason might be that, during the last few months when concerns about Hastings' impeachment and conviction were being raised, the Post never reported the basic facts of the case. A Nexis search for Hastings' name and that of William Borders, Hastings' co-conspirator in soliciting bribes, reveals exactly one recent story — a November 1 column by the Post's Ruth Marcus, who had covered the Hastings story years ago. As Congress buzzed, and Pelosi deliberated, the Post never bothered to tell its readers what the controversy was about.
By the way, if you do the same search for the New York Times, you'll find the same thing — just without the Ruth Marcus column. Which means that perhaps the most interesting so-far-unnoticed aspect of the story is that so much political pressure built up on Capitol Hill while the nation's two leading newspapers were looking the other way.