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.
Barbra Streisand not yet having weighed in with her advice to the Republican party as to how it might regain power, we'll have to settle for the counsel that WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. generously offers in his column of today, Can the GOP Find Its Center?
His advice boils down to a two-part program: forget about conservatism already, and Be Like Bill.
Dionne begins by proclaiming that "this fall's election defeat . . . revealed that the Barry Goldwater-Ronald Reagan political settlement has expired," by which he apparently means that conservatism as a winning political philosophy has gone the way of the parrot in A Fish Called Wanda. E.J. thus goes on to deride Republican leaders such as John Boehner and Mike Pence who in the wake of the GOP's defeat call for a return to traditional conservatives principles, chief among them that of limited government.
With the final line "Linda Froschauer, president of the National Science Teachers Association, available at the right price," Keith Olbermann of MSNBC Monday named Froschauer his "Worst Person in the World."
How did Ms. Froschauer get labeled a policy prostitute on MSNBC? The organization she heads declined a donation of 50,000 DVD copies of Al Gore's documentary-editorial "An Inconvenient Truth."
Yep. Apparently that movie is so good, people have to be paid to turn down 50,000 copies of it.
As movie producer Laurie David said in an indignant op-ed in the Washington Post (one of four pro-global warming theory articles the Post ran over the last two-day weekend, by my count), the movie's producers donated the 50,000 DVDs "for educators to use in their classrooms."
Sunday's Washington Post Magazine carried a story on how Democrats can close the "God gap" in national politics, or more precisely, it publicized the man trying to close that gap for liberals. It's titled "The Gospel According to Jim Wallis." The subtitle is meant to be amusing: "For Democrats to win back the White House, they may well have to rely on the power of the Almighty. And it's not Bill Clinton." On the opposite page is an illustration of a Christ-like figure pulling open his vestments to reveal a red-white-and-blue Democratic donkey.
The most outrageous part of David Paul Kuhn's article comes right at the beginning, as Wallis presents himself as the defender of the Bible against all those conservative Christians who want to scissor its integrity to bits:
Howard Kurtz concluded his Monday "Media Notes" column in the Washington Post with a story about much-hyped Democratic star Barack Obama, and how smooth he is at courting reporters, especially ones he's previously miffed. Obama recently relied on National Public Radio to sweeten the apology:
Nicklaus Lovelady says he tried to ask the Illinois senator a question at a news conference two years ago, only to have Obama say the event was for professional media only. When Lovelady protested that he worked for the local newspaper, Obama said: "I thought you were a college student. You have such a baby face." That putdown, writes Lovelady, caused a "pretty young thing" he'd been courting to give him the cold shoulder.
On Saturday, the Washington Post effectively demonstrated how the press cherry-pick snippets of speeches that political and business leaders give in order to completely alter their intent (hat tip to NB member crshedd). In an article entitled “Energy Firms Come to Terms With Climate Change,” authors Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin took a few quotes -- one of them actually errant -- out of a 3,610-word speech that Shell Oil President John Hofmeister gave about a month ago to make it look like he’s totally bought into the myth of global warming (emphasis mine throughout):
While the political debate over global warming continues, top executives at many of the nation's largest energy companies have accepted the scientific consensus about climate change and see federal regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions as inevitable. [..]
"We have to deal with greenhouse gases," John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., said in a recent speech at the National Press Club. "From Shell's point of view, the debate is over. When 98 percentof scientists agree, who is Shell to say, 'Let's debate the science'?"
Reports of burning mosques, like this one from Reuters remain unconfirmed, and may have been fabricated by Sunni militants.
Also, sensationalized accounts of Sunnis being dragged from prayer and burned alive by rampaging Shiites are unconfirmed, and all appear to come from the same source, police Captain Jamil Hussein, whose entire career appears to be issuing statements about Shia violence against Sunnis. Curt at Flopping Aces has researched Hussein and found a remarkable number of atrocity stories for which he is the source.
From page one of today's Washington Post, an article by Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin that begins with a reference to "the scientific consensus about climate change" as if the "consensus" were an established fact:
While the political debate over global warming continues, top executives at many of the nation's largest energy companies have accepted the scientific consensus about climate change and see federal regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions as inevitable.
The Democratic takeover of Congress makes it more likely that the federal government will attempt to regulate emissions. The companies have been hiring new lobbyists who they hope can help fashion a national approach that would avert a patchwork of state plans now in the works. They are also working to change some company practices in anticipation of the regulation.
Wednesday's opinion section of The Washington Post carries a piece by Post columnist Eugene Robinson, a former Post reporter and editor of the Style section. Like clockwork, like reporter Paul Farhi yesterday, Robinson merges Michael "Kramer" Richards screaming the N-word at a black heckler with defeated Sen. George Allen's "Macaca" reference, alongside Mel Gibson's drunken anti-Semitic rant:
Look at the two celebrity blow-ups together, and maybe throw in Sen. George Allen's "macaca" moment, too. One thing they teach us is that there are no unguarded moments anymore. Richards's outburst was filmed by someone with a tiny digital camera, Allen's by a young man with a video camera. Footage of their indiscretions and facsimiles of Gibson's drunken-driving police report were disseminated to the world within hours via the Internet. You can't even run anymore, much less hide.
Tuesday’s Post carried a strangely typical story on polygamy today in the bottom right-hand corner of the front page. The headline was "Polygamists Fight to Be Seen As Part of Mainstream Society." Reporter John Pomfret’s story did not offer both sides of the polygamy debate. It aired quite a bit of assertion from polygamy practitioners in Utah, matched only by local law enforcement officials that have largely accepted the practice, prosecuting only crimes around the edges, like sex with child brides. The story features no outraged feminists at the patriarchy in these relationships. There are no religious authorities or academics to take exception to it, or even non-religious critics like Stanley Kurtz of National Review Online. In short, it’s a thinly disguised testimonial packet.
Compare this article to the front-page story Alan Cooperman and Peter Whoriskey wrote last week on the churches maintaining their teachings on homosexuality as a sin, headlined "3 Christian Groups Move to Condemn Gay Sex." That story was much more balanced, with religious traditionalists debating advocates of a Jesus of "radical hospitality" toward gays. Pomfret seems devoted to chronicling the inevitable acceptance of this new trend encroaching on traditional monogamous matrimony:
The Washington Post just cannot leave "macaca" alone. In the middle of today's article about the racist N-word-screaming outburst of former Seinfeld star Michael Richards, and how it might ruin his career (such as it is), reporter Paul Farhi once again highlights the Post obsession/achievement:
"Other prominent people, such as Mel Gibson and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), have inflicted career-threatening wounds by making racially insensitive remarks in recent months."
I don't think it's fair to compare "macaca" to screaming the N-word at a heckler. But the Post has tried very hard to make the two words mean exactly the same thing, and they're not letting up, even after they defeated Allen:
My colleague Dan Gainor has an excellent take on how even in the obituary pages, The Washington Post carries the Left's water.
Even death isn’t a great equalizer at The Washington Post. Two of America’s most well-known economists died in 2006 – John Kenneth Galbraith and Milton Friedman. But there the similarities ended.
Galbraith, who the Post called “a preeminent symbol and source of liberal political thought” was deemed worthy of three news stories totaling more than 4,000 words. Although the Post credited Friedman with “tireless advocacy of unfettered free markets” that “reshaped the nation’s economic policies,” that earned him just 1,169 words and one news story, despite a Nobel Prize.
In 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned for president by promising tax cuts for the middle class. Fourteen years later, his Party ran on a similar “tell the people exactly what they want to hear” motif, this time the mantra being a speedy withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
Though separated by almost a decade and a half, these campaign strategies were quite similar to a now illegal marketing scheme called a bait and switch – whereby a company advertises a product for sale at a cheap price to lure in customers. Unfortunately, the organization’s retail outlets don’t actually have the item in stock forcing anxious shoppers to consider more expensive products that are available.
I Dig a Phony
Much like this advertising scam, the 1992 and 2006 political campaigns had three things in common:
Howard Kurtz gave the lion's share of his Monday "Media Notes" column to MSNBC, which "has seen the future, and it is politics. Delivered with plenty of opinion." Except that opinion is usually liberal, sometimes fiendishly so. Near the end of his piece, Kurtz captures all of the recent MSNBC spin lines, proving these are no fluke, especially MSNBC chief Dan Abrams reciting his horror-movie line about Keith Olbermann's Countdown:
"His program could become a model for the newscast of the future," Abrams says. "It's a mix of straight news reporting with lighter fare and occasionally with some opinion."
As NewsBuster Tim Graham reported Sunday, the media were quite late in bringing up Congressman Jack Murtha’s (D-Pennsylvania) ethics issues, as well as his connection to Abscam in the late ’70s. Instead, such matters waited to come to the front pages until after the Democrats safely regained control of Congress. Quite surprisingly, CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Howard Kurtz (who also writes for the Washington Post) completely agreed that the media dropped the ball on this issue, and grilled his guests about this on Sunday’s program. This segment began:
Since calling for a U.S. pullout from Iraq one year ago, Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha has drawn all kinds of media coverage for his stance. But after the election, when incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed the ex-Marine for next Majority Leader, stories suddenly popped up about Murtha’s relationship with lobbyists, and whether he had helped a company that hired his brother as a lobbyist. And suddenly, television was replaying a 26-year-old videotape from the Abscam scandal in which Murtha was offered a bribe by FBI informants posing as Arab sheiks.
Kurtz then asked the Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page:
This past week saw The Washington Post ask a classically liberal question: Is America more racist or sexist?
Following the lead of this major paper, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked the same question, adding a surreptitious angle. She wondered, "Is the nation, secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
The "Good Morning America" host wasn’t through, however. On Tuesday, she offered the query again. This time, Sawyer added a new spin, "secret genderism." The recipient of the question, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, readily agreed. America is guilty, she asserted, it just isn’t "very secret."
Speaking of The Washington Post, ever wonder how many times the paper mentioned "macaca?" According to MRC President Brent Bozell, the paper featured the phrase no less then 112 times!
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann absurdly linked domestic terrorism to "right-wing blogs."
While Olbermann slimed conservatives, CNN labeled the current low gas prices "a recovery." Why, just a few weeks ago, the falling costs represented a link between "Big Oil" and the GOP. What a difference an election makes!
The man Democrats nominated for Majority Leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer, has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of eight percent (zero percent in 2004, 12 percent in 2005). If you'd rather have the liberal rating, Americans for Democratic Action gave him a 100 in 2004, and a 95 in 2005. This should mean that any objective reporter would describe him as a "liberal." But here's the Friday Washington Post account of his selection, headlined "Political Pragmatism Carried Hoyer to the Top," by Post political reporter Shailagh Murray:
Steny H. Hoyer is a practical moderate and Nancy Pelosi is a liberal idealist, and for more than 40 years they have competed like siblings, all the way to the pinnacle of politics.
Now that the Democrats have picked their Majority Leader in the House the outcome gives us (and her) the first hint that Speaker Pelosi is not the powerhouse she thought she was. Her man, Murtha, lost in a landslide: 149 to 86... a thumpin' to say the least.
In my last report on how the MSM covered this little inter Dem fight I pointed out that they were ignoring how distant were the two positions on pulling out of Iraq that is held by the erstwhile candidates for Majority Leader.
I noted how they refused to portray Murtha's position as "extreme", even as he supports pulling out of Iraq immediately to Hoyer's, who does not. I noted that the MSM did not waste much breath contrasting Murtha's position with the far less volatile position held by Hoyer.
It seems strangely inconsistent that the MSM ignored the Iraq war issue in their stories since they made the entire recent election all about Iraq and how it is a mess and that our soldiers should come home. Yet, a guy who does not want an immediate pull out defeated Murtha and this fact went uncommented upon.