The WikiLeaksters seem to have inadvertently done history a bit of a favor in the their obsession, with the help of heavy-breathing media mouthpieces like the New York Times, to release classified military documents.
It seems that some of those documents reveal the utter untruthfulness of a core claim of Iraq War opponents, namely that "We now know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
This contention, not nuanced in any way (i.e., not "no stockpiles" or "not that many," but instead absolutely none), is part of leftist folklore. Here are just a few example of so-called "mainstream" or "respected" liberal sources found to have made that exact contention in a brief Internet searches this morning:
When it comes to so-called Super PACs spending money on TV ads targeting swing House districts, the Baltimore Sun seems to care a lot more about who's behind Republican ones than Democratic operations.
Yesterday I noted how Sun staffer Paul West wrote about a PAC running ads against freshman Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil (Md.).
West portrayed the PAC's ads as a clever end-run around campaign contribution limits for Baltimore-area businessman Daniel Schuster.
Opening his October 18 article on a tight House race in Maryland that's garnered national attention, Baltimore Sun's Paul West trotted out the typical liberal lament about corporate money in politics (emphasis mine):
Most readers are probably unaware that the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School who was also the first female surgical intern at Boston City Hospital passed away this weekend.
I would suggest that the coverage is so quiet because Mildred Jefferson was also an important pro-life pioneer.
Though marred by the fact that she consistently characterized Ms. Jefferson as "antiabortion" instead of as "prolife," the obituary by Kathleen Burge at the Boston Globe captured much of the essence of this marvelous woman (bolds are mine):
Only the New York Times could burn through 2,500 words about Japan's economy and not use the word "stimulus." The Old Gray Lady's Martin Fackler did refer to Fed Chair Ben Bernanke's just-announced second attempt to "stimulate" economy, but dodged the central lesson: The government created the Japanese people's malaise, and our government, despite Japan's experience, seems determined to do the same to us.
The Times item is the first in a series, so I suppose Fackler may get around to it in subsequent reports, but it doesn't seem likely.
Here are some paragraphs from Fackler's report that show how intent he and the Times were on not getting to the real root causes of Japan's nearly two-decade malaise (bolds are mine):
To the national establishment press, this appears to be another one of those "It's at the Politico, so we can ignore it" incidents.
Thursday night, before a debate with GOP opponent George Phillips, nine-term New York Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey "had a heated exchange with a local reporter ... that became physical." Quite physical, in fact, to the point where Hinchey "pushed ... (the reporter) backwards into Phillips himself."
Seems like pretty big news, doesn't it? Not based on the results of a Google News search on "Hinchey debate" (not in quotes) done at 8:30 this morning:
Lee Abrams, the eccentric chief innovation officer for Tribune newspapers -- and no stranger to NewsBusters criticism -- has reportedly been suspended for sending co-workers a not-safe-for-work (NSFW) e-mail.
Yet for its coverage of the 10 year anniversary memorial service in today's paper, the Washington Post elected to go with an 11-paragraph article by Newport News [Va.] Daily Press's Hugh Lessig rather than assign a Post staffer to the story.
Michelle Malkin picked up on this vibe yesterday, and it has become more obvious in the intervening day: The establishment press, or at least parts of it, are downplaying the American exceptionalism -- and the exceptional Americans -- involved in the Chilean mine rescue.
Reports early this morning at the Associated Press and New York Times exemplify the point. Times reporters Alexei Barrionuevo and Simon Romero even chose to deliberately cast the rescue in brazenly cynical political terms.
Following up on yesterday's post ("Government/General Motors, UAW Hose Long-Time Members Twice in Two Weeks"; at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) -- What a "revolting" development this is, as reported in the Detroit News:
GM Orion assembly workers to picket UAW over two-tier wage structure
In an unprecedented move, Government/General Motors and the UAW are imposing a two-tiered wage structure involving pay cuts approaching 50% on union members with as many as 10-12 years of seniority. That's right; the Democratic Obama administration and the alleged champions of workers' interests are acting in concert to gut the earnings of hundreds of the union's longtime, dues-paying members.
Does anyone expect any press coverage of this outside of Detroit?
Here's more from the story by Louis Aguilar and Christina Rogers:
It was one thing when the United Auto Workers agreed many years ago to temporary "two-tiered" wage structures at the plants of Detroit's Big Three automakers. After all, it was argued, they'll be brought up to a level of full pay and benefits in several years, and new employees aren't as productive as the veterans.
Wiley Miller's comic strip Non Sequitur is not a conservative strip. Right before the 2008 election, one of his characters was told that making up the news was illegal, and she replied "You don't see Rupert Murdoch in prison, do you?" But Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander reported Sunday that the Post censored Miller's "Where's Muhammad?" Sunday strip for October 3 -- even though there was no image of the Muslim prophet in the art work.
Alan Gardner of The Daily Cartoonist (who has the image) reports the Post was apparently not alone: readers also reported a substituted strip at many major dailies, including the Arizona Republic, Arizona Star, Austin American-Statesman, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, Salt Lake Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Seattle Times, and Syracuse Post-Standard.
The joke caption for "Where's Muhammad?" was "Picture book least likely to ever find a publisher." The Post ombudsman said editors were wrong to pull the cartoon:
Two New York Times reporters were out to lunch, while the Old Gray Lady's layers of fact-checkers were apparently asleep at the switch.
In an item which contained a number of oddities, Times reporters Stephanie Clifford and Catherine Rampell wrote the following:
Over all, full-time work in retail is slightly down. The number of people employed in the retail sector in August fell 4.9 percent, to 14.4 million, from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
My initial reaction was to wonder how a 4.9% drop in employment, which would involve about 700,000 jobs, could be "slight." But in this case, media bias isn't the problem (possible examples of bias will come later).
A look at the same BLS data the Times pair must have used reveals a likely level of sloppiness that should never gotten online, let alone into print (which it did -- on Page B1 in the October 6 paper):
A headline in USA Today on Monday worried, "Elections are likely to trim number of women in Congress." It wasn't until the 15th paragraph of Susan Page's story that the numerous female Republican candidates running in the midterm elections were mentioned.
Instead, the Washington Bureau Chief explained, "The prospects for female congressional candidates have been hurt by a combination of a tough political landscape for Democrats — women in Congress are disproportionately Democratic— and the nation's economic troubles. Hard times historically have made voters more risk-averse and less willing to consider voting for female candidates." [Emphasis added.]
In an accompanying graph, Senator Barbara Boxer in California was listed as an example of a female who could be defeated. The only problem? Boxer's opponent is Republican Carly Fiorina, a woman. [H/T Hot Air.]
You would think someone in the U.S. establishment press would be following Uncle Sam's progress or lack thereof in getting out from under its investment in Citigroup, especially since the government promised that it would be fully divested from the bank holding company by the end of this year. From all appearances, you would be wrong.
It looks like the government may not be able to keep that year-end divestiture promise. For a fair number of news followers to learn that, the UK's Financial Times had to take an interest (link may require registration), and Drudge had to link to it:
US Treasury stumbles selling Citi shares
The US government is in danger of missing its deadline of divesting all of its Citigroup shares by the year-end after a fall in stock market trading volumes prompted authorities to slow down sales in July and August.
The lull could prompt the US Treasury, which has a stake of about 17 per cent in Citi, to consider a share offering instead of selling the stock in small quantities in the market, according to bankers and analysts.
"When Fox News and talk radio host Glenn Beck comes to Washington this weekend to headline a rally intended to 'restore honor' to America, he will test the strength - and potentially expose the weaknesses - of a conservative grass-roots movement that remains an unpredictable force in the country's politics," staffer Amy Gardner argued in the opening paragraph of her August 26 story.
Gardner's article is but one example of the media's skeptical attitude prior to the Beck rally.
Yet just days after two Comedy Central hosts announced mock rallies for October 30 on the Mall, the liberal media are expecting that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert can easily draw a large crowd.
I noted the breathless anticipation of Newsweek's Daniel Stone last Friday. Now it seems that Matea Gold of the Washington bureau of the Tribune Company is also decidedly optimistic. In her 13-paragraph article, accessible at LATimes.com, Gold quoted a few folks who plan on attending and took the Facebook RSVPs on face value as a signal about potential attendance:
A UK Independent item about an unreleased book by historian Frank Dikötter made me think about New York Times columnist NIcholas Kristof. Readers will see why shortly.
Amazon says that Dikötter's "Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962" will be released on September 28. The Independent's Arifa Akbar relays Dikötter's core conclusion that "At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years." This is a significantly higher number than the highest previous estimate of Jung Chang, who asserted in her 2005 book, "Mao: The Unknown Story," that "38 million people were starved and slave-driven to death in 1958-61." The seven million extra deaths would move Chang's 2005 total of "more than 70 million" into the neighborhood of 80 million, padding Mao's lead over Stalin and Hitler as the worst mass murderer in human history.
The Independent's Akbar also writes that "Mr. Dikötter is the only author to have delved into the Chinese archives since they were reopened four years ago." If true, this reflects a startling lack of curiosity.
I hope Nick Kristof is just a little curious, and will peruse what Mr. Dikötter has documented when it becomes available. Perhaps it will move him to reach conclusions a bit different from those he reached when he reviewed Chang's book in October 2005 (bolds are mine):
It's almost tempting to just run a few paragraphs of Kate Zernike's latest item in the New York Times and simply have folks take their rips, but a bit of background would be helpful.
Zernike (pictured at right) is the Times reporter who seems to have made it her mission to somehow singlehandedly discredit what may when all is said and done come to be seen as the most significant grass-roots movement in America in a long, long time. Earlier today, Clay Waters at NewsBusters reviewed Zernike's new book, "Boiling Mad -- Inside Tea Party America," noted that she "evinces little sympathy or feel for conservative concerns," and is intent on "finding racism everywhere she looks in Tea Party land."
In a late March post (at NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), I noted a Zernike item ("With No Jobs, Plenty of Time for Tea Party") which cynically questioned "whether the movement can survive an improvement in the economy, with people trading protest signs for paychecks."
This is the same Kate Zernike Andrew Breitbart memorably called “a despicable human being” after she claimed to have found racism that really didn't exist at CPAC in February.
With that background, the paragraphs that follow from Kate's latest calamity won't surprise anyone too much, but they will as usual disappoint if you're foolishly expecting anything resembling fair treatment (bold as mine):
If a RINO is a Republican In Name Only, let's coin a new acronym for David Brooks: RINYTO: Republican In New York Times Only. For only in the Gray Lady's bailiwick could Brooks be considered much of a Republican.
Take his current column in the Times. Brooks warns Republicans on the verge of regaining power that it would be nothing short of a "tragedy" if they were to oppose . . . more government and higher taxes.
New York Times reporter Robert Pear ought to consider moonlighting as a stand-up comic in the tradition of Steven Wright.
Wright's deadpan delivery is legendary. Pear's deadpan lines in his article about the immense paperwork burden heading the economy's way in the form of requiring IRS 1099 forms to be issued to each and every person paid $600 or more during the course of a calendar year for any and all goods provided or services rendered are remarkable.
Of course, if Pear chooses to get on stage with his act he'll have to come up with a more humorous topic. The nightmare that could be visited upon American business and really the American economy is pretty stunning -- and don't for a minute think that individuals with hobbies that break even or possibly lose money every year and don't ordinarily bother to file tax returns for their activities (because they aren't required to) aren't going to be affected.
What follows are a few of the choice one-liners found in Pear's September 11 article ("Many Push for Repeal of Tax Provision in Health Law") that appeared in the paper's Sunday print edition on Page A25:
The news out of Government/General Motors during the past couple of days hasn't been particularly good.
First, August sales results were disappointing. Second, it become known today that GM will attempt to go public on November 18, a later than originally hoped post-election date chosen to hopefully allow for another reported quarterly profit to boost investors' appetite for its shares.
As so often has been the case during Democratic administrations when unfavorable developments arise, the UK press has seen potential problems with the IPO, while the Associated Press has been acting as if all is well.
In two separate items, AP reporters couldn't even bring themselves to tell readers what the company's real August sales decline was.
In a report yesterday on the industry's awful August, reporters Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher were appropriately gloomy overall, but they massaged GM's reported result (bolds are mine throughout this post):
A recurring rubric at James Taranto's Best of the Web Today column at the Wall Street Journal online is "We Blame George W. Bush," for tongue-in-cheek blaming of the former prez for things palpably beyond his purview. Let's add another item to the list. Dem senator Russ Feingold has blamed his tough re-election race on, yes, W.
Let's think about that. If Bush were such a bad president. If his policies were so disastrous for the country. Wouldn't that boost the chances of an incumbent Dem senator who, like Feingold, had voted against Bush policies every step of the way?
Hey, I don't try to understand Dem reasoning: I just report it. Feingold made his logic-defying allegation on this evening's Ed Show.
Howard Dean pulled off the rare twin-trashing this morning, dumping on both Glenn Beck and the people who respond to his message. He began by calling Beck crazy, saying he has "a few things the matter with him up here, up in the head there." Later, he compounded the calumny, calling Beck a "racist" and a "hate-monger." So who were the hundreds of thousands of people who attended the rally and the millions more who watch and listen to Beck? Why, according to Dean, they're "lost souls."
New York Times columnist Charles Blow had set the vitriolic tone during the show's first hour, accusing Beck of "hiding behind a cross" and participating in a "rhetorical assassination" of Pres. Obama.
This past weekend, intrepid journalists at the New York Post and NorthJersey.com released information they unearthed about proposed Ground Zero Mosque "organizer" Sharif El-Gamal and frontman Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, respectively, that the wire services, the New York Times and the national TV networks would likely have run with by now had the items related to a major church or synagogue.
But since the news has to do with what has turned into the PC crowd's cause celebre and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's personal pet project, you may not see the stories covered anywhere else.
The arguably more important story of the two concerns the tax problems of Mr. El-Gamal (pictured above via the Post) and his company, because they directly related to the GZM's property. The story by Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein went up early Sunday morning:
Those familiar with the Washington Post know that the paper is a staunch defender of a very liberal vision of the separation of church and state. For example, the paper's editorial board was heavily critical of the Supreme Court's Mojave cross ruling.
But when it comes to the supposed dearth of Muslim chaplains at Virginia prisons, Sunday's Metro section went into full hand-wringing mode. "Inadequate Funds for Chaplains," complained a subheader for the page B1 story by staffer Kevin Sieff.
Of course, it wasn't until paragraph 27 that Sieff noted that "[n]either Catholic nor Jewish chaplains have sought funding from corrections officials." As Sieff explained early in his article, "a 200-year-old interpretation of the state constitution... bars Virginia from doing any faith-based hiring" and "is the only state where prison chaplains are contractors, not state employees." Sure, "Muslim chaplains could visit correctional facilities to minister to Virginia's 32,000 inmates," Sieff explained, "but they received no funds from the state" until a $25,000 grant was given to Muslim Chaplain Services of Virginia last July.
File this under "Fascinating Things You Learn When Researching Other Things."
The Associated Press's infamous memo huffing and puffing about how it will henceforth describe the 13-story mosque/community center/kumbaya center that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf would like to have built on a site two blocks away from where the World Trade Center Towers once stood opened with this sentence:
We should continue to avoid the phrase "ground zero mosque" or "mosque at ground zero" on all platforms.
Obviously the publicly announced editorial decision was news, but how about the lack of uppercase letters in "Ground Zero"?
It turns out that both the AP and the New York Times routinely do not capitalize "Ground Zero," making them grammar outliers. Here was one grammarian's take on the matter in 2007 (bolded in final sentence is mine):
Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod says she will meet Tuesday with agriculture secretary
Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA rural development director for Georgia, said today she plans to meet Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss a new job offer.
... Sherrod today spoke in the Sumter County town of Epes at an event hosted by the Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. Ben Jealous, executive director of the NAACP, shared the stage with Sherrod during a panel discussion.
Sherrod said she had no ill feelings toward the NAACP or President Barack Obama.
It the meeting does indeed occur, it will be an interesting test of establishment media credibility, given the accusations leveled at Ms. Sherrod and her husband Charles by Ron Wilkins at the leftist publication Counterpunch several weeks ago. Here are some of the specifics:
On December 8 of last year, at some point before hitting the "print" button, someone at the New York Times decided that a story about what has since become known as the Ground Zero Mosque needed to be reworked.
Earlier that day, the Times published an online powder-puff piece by reporters Ralph Blumenthal and Sharaf Mowjood about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's GZM plans. The pair's story was revised before it went to print, and the online version was changed ("Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero," with a web page title bar that reads "Muslim Prayers Fuel Spiritual Rebuilding Project Near Ground Zero") to mirror it. It's even puffier.
Several bloggers posted about the pair's online original when it appeared. A few, including Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs and Ben Muessig at The Gothamist, excerpted some or all of the key paragraphs shown on the left below (bold in the third paragraph is mine). On the right is how that segment went to print on December 9 (link is to hard-to-read enlarged scan of that day's front page, where the story's opening paragraphs appeared near its bottom right), and how it currently appears online:
Here's yet another example illustrating why one must treat the editorials at the Wall Street Journal as a primary source of hard news during Democratic presidential administrations.
On Monday, President Obama visited ZBB Energy Corp, a maker of high-tech batteries in Menominee, Wisconsin. Helene Cooper at the New York Times, where a larger version of the picture at the right appeared, reported that "The company received a $1.3 million federal stimulus loan, which officials said would triple its manufacturing capacity and could lead to 80 new jobs." Note the word "could."
At least the Times mentioned the existence of ZBB's stimulus loan. In three brief reports citing Obama's visit during the past week, the Associated Press didn't even do that.