Item: Less than six weeks after legendary editor Wesley Pruden's retirement, new Washington Times editor John Solomon has begun selling out to politically correct and objectively inaccurate language (additional HTs to NewsBusters' Tim Graham, and to John Haskins in an e-mail). The reason for the Times to even exist is slowly but surely being eliminated.
Accordingly, this parody, sung to the tune of Chicago's 1975 hit, "(America Needs You) Harry Truman" came to mind, in hopes of convincing Pruden to reconsider the virtues of returning, if only for a year:
America needs you, Wesley Pruden Wesley could you please come home? The new guy's really bad, A PC flack gone mad. So Wesley please come back and save the paper we all know and love.
Standard-free journalism on parade all day on NBC's Sunday
Forgotten But Not GoneIt was another do-as-we-say, not-as-we-do day for the National Broadcast Company this past Sabbath.
Over the weekend NBC offered up their latest versions of Tim Russert's Meet the Press and the Chris Matthews Show -- the latter being political television's answer to Jerry Springer. In them we were treated to two more glittering examples of all that is wrong with the Jurassic Press.
That being the woeful lack of journalistic ethics demonstrated by those at the heights of the media mountain, and the utter shamelessness they and their colleagues exhibit upon their being outed as amoral hacks.
During the four weeks preceding February 20, New York Times Company stock had been staging a nice comeback.
Lord only knows that the company's long-suffering shareholders, who before then had seen the share price drop more than 70% since June 2002, a point in time that roughly coincides with the onset of the Old Gray Lady's seemingly intractable case of Bush Derangement Syndrome, welcomed any kind of reversal of fortune.
For a while, they had it. From a intra-day low of $14.01 on January 23, the stock rose over 50%, closing at $21.07 last Wednesday.
But on Thursday and Friday, that climb was halted abruptly, and partially reversed. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% in those two days, and the S&P 500 dipped 0.5%, NYT stock dove almost 9.7%, closing Friday at $19.03.
(See Update below for correction and clarification re Google News.)
This one has an interesting twist relating to Google News that I will get to later.
It should be no surprise that the so-called "newspapers of record" did very little with the news earlier this week that the actiing director of an Iraqi psychiatric hospital had been arrested for allegedly supplying mentally ill patients for use as, for lack of a better description, unwillingly co-opted "suicide bombers."
Iraq Hospital Chief Allegedly Supplied Patients for Bombings
The acting director of a Baghdad psychiatric hospital has been arrested on suspicion of supplying Al Qaeda in Iraq with the mentally impaired women it used to blow up two crowded animal markets in the city on Feb. 1, killing about 100 people.
The Times, in a report (link requires free registration) by Robert F. Worth and Nada Bakri, actually called the recently slain Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniyah a terrorist:
A top Hezbollah commander long sought by the United States for his role in terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of Americans in the 1980s, died Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria, when a bomb detonated under the vehicle he was in, Syrian officials said.
No one claimed responsibility for killing the commander, Imad Mugniyah, who had been in hiding for many years and was one of the most wanted and elusive terrorists in the world.
But, as James Taranto at Best of the Web noted, the Times's headline ("Bomb in Syria Kills Militant Sought as Terrorist") is nowhere near as clear as the first two paragraphs of the article's text, and a related Times online video by reporter John Kifner is much more blunt in its judgment of Mugniyah (Kifner received a reporting credit but not a byline in the print article).
The February 13th New York Times online contained fifteen "Pictures of the Day". Their #1, lead photograph was what you see to the right, with the following description (emphasis added):
Security officials in Lebanon said Imad Mugniyah, 45, a senior Hezbollah military commander, was killed by a car bomb on Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria. Mr. Mugniyah had been accused in a series of bombings, hijackings and kidnappings during the 1980s and 1990s, including the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 American service members. Mr. Mugniyah's father, Fayez, left, and grandfather held each other during a wake in Beirut.
The bad news just keeps coming for the old media, this time for major newspaper publisher the Tribune Company which may see its corporate bonds relegated even lower in the "junk bond" category.
Standard & Poor's Corp. put Tribune Co.'s already junk-rated debt under review for possible downgrade Friday, saying the Chicago-based media company's newspaper publishing group is likely to face further erosion of advertising revenue.
In placing Tribune's corporate credit rating on CreditWatch with negative implications, the debt-rating concern cited "our expectation that the rate of decline in advertising revenue at Tribune's newspaper publications may not improve appreciably and may worsen over the intermediate term."
Yesterday, NewsBusters' Kyle Drennan noted how CBS used the news of two coordinated and related suicide bombings in Baghdad to declare that "the new Baghdad feels a lot like the old Baghdad," and as a platform for a far-left guest to declare that "the surge isn't working."
Drennan's first commenter noted the mentally impaired state of the women who blew themselves up -- something CBS "somehow" failed to report.
CBS was not alone in ignoring or downplaying that important aspect of the story, as blogger Confederate Yankee reports (links are in his original; bold is mine):
Two suicide attacks on pet markets in Baghdad today have left approximately 100 killed and twice as many wounded. Both attacks used women "with Down's syndrome" according the the Daily Mail and less specifically, they were described as "mentally disabled" according to CNN.
Both bombs appear to have been remote detonated. These women probably did not know they were carrying explosives at all, and it would probably be fair to include them among the victims.
I have referred to Mr. Wesbury's work frequently. That's because he has been, as he is today, a sober voice standing up to Old Media-driven economic hysteria with those stubborn things known as facts.
Wesbury first caught my attention when he expressed alarm in late 2005 that 43% of the country thought we were in a recession -- not about to go into one, actually in one. That same poll metric reads 35% today.
Here are some snips from his Wall Street Journal column today, making a number of points about the current economy, and reminding us that inflation has not been relegated to irrelevancy. He doesn't extensively call out Old Media's gloomy economic coverage, but I don't doubt for a minute that he considers it a major negative factor (bolds are mine):
It is hard to imagine any time in history when such rampant pessimism about the economy has existed with so little evidence of serious trouble.
In the wake of Hillary Clinton's 2-1 thrashing in South Carolina at the hands of the politician I typically refer to as BOOHOO (Barack O-bombaOverseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama), the spin from Mrs. Clinton's husband is that it has no more significance than Jesse Jackson's Palmetto State victories in 1984 and 1988.
Here is what Mitchell wrote (link is in original):
The mainstream media is also far too pessimistic, according to Tom Blumer, a blogger for Pajamas Media, a right-leaning Web site. On Tuesday, he quoted a routine dispassionate Reuters report about huge drops in stock index futures before the markets opened. The report, which indicated that the coming trading day might see big losses, amounted to “icing the champagne for the late afternoon,” he wrote — a typical case of the media’s seeking to “party hearty on bad news.”
That day, the Dow fell 465 points after the opening bell, then recovered somewhat as it digested the news of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate cut, closing down 128 points.
For personal and professional reasons, it gives me absolutely no pleasure to say that I saw this coming, and that it came sooner than I thought it would.
Here's the news, assembled from wire reports by the Cincinnati Enquirer, in an article that should be entitled "Ford to Workers: Go Away" (bolds are mine throughout) --
Ford Motor Co. will offer buyout and early retirement packages to 54,000 U.S. hourly workers, or 93 percent of its hourly work force, in an effort to cut costs and replace those leaving with lower-paid workers. Thursday's announcement came as Ford said it narrowed its losses in 2007 but warned that the outlook for U.S. sales in 2008 remains grim.
The Establishment Media hailed the study's lead "finding" -- 935 false statements by Bush Administration officials in the two-year period leading up to the launch of the War. The Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and -- of course -- the New York Times were all exhilarated to once again climb aboard the "Bush Lied - People Died" Express.
In an article (HT Jim Taranto at Best of the Web) describing Ireland's emergence as an European Union powerhouse ("Entrepreneurship Takes Off in Ireland"), reporter James Flanigan of the New York Times simply could not bring himself to specifically identify one of the main reasons for the country's success (bolds are mine):
Ireland is now alive with enthusiasm for entrepreneurs, who seemingly rank just below rock stars in popularity.
..... The relatively new emphasis on entrepreneurs in Ireland is the culmination of nearly four decades of government policies that have lifted the economy from centuries of poverty to modern prosperity.
The change began when Ireland entered the European Union in 1973. In subsequent years, the government rewrote its tax policies to attract foreign investment by American corporations, made all education free through the university level and changed tax rates and used direct equity investment to encourage Irish people to set up their own businesses.
“The change came in the 1990s,” said James Murphy, founder and managing director of Lifes2Good, a marketer of drugstore products for muscle aches, hair loss and other maladies. “Taxes and interest rates came down, and all of a sudden we believed in ourselves.”
So tax rates "changed," eh? And we learn in the next paragraph that "taxes and interest rates came down," as if by some external supernatural force.
Are you noticing a chronic case of word avoidance?
My my, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) is busy these days -- aiding and abetting those who wish to suppress the human right of free speech and expression.
Even though (or is it because?) the vehicle that enabled and emboldened the CHRC's thought police and those who complain to it was the passage of the kind of "non-discrimination" legislation Congress has considered passing for several years, US Old Media could care less.
In February 2007 Rob Wells, a member of the Pride Center of Edmonton, filed a nine-point complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging that Catholic Insight had targeted homosexuals as a powerful menace and innately evil, claiming it used inflammatory and derogatory language to create a tone of “extreme hatred and contempt.”
Catholic Insight responded to these charges in its January 2008 issue, saying the complaint consists of “three pages of isolated and fragmentary extracts from articles dating back as far as 1994, without any context.”
..... The magazine has continually emphasized that, with the respect to homosexual activity, it follows the guidance of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.
Although I doubt it will happen (yet), it seems "logical" that CHRC could say, "OK, you're right, the entire Catholic Church is engaged in 'extreme hatred and contempt.'"
About a week ago, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested in a UK Telegraph column that allowing hospitals to harvest organs from dead patients without their prior consent or their families' post-mortem consent might be a good idea.
Mr. Brown's occasion for bringing up the topic was telling, and perhaps explains why Brown's proposal got very little coverage in the US:
This year will be the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service: a year to celebrate and thank all the staff who run our hospitals, clinics and GP practices; but also a year in which to renew the NHS for the 21st century, because I believe that only by renewal can we make the NHS even more relevant for future decades than it has been in the past.
..... we may need to do more to encourage more of us to donate (organs. In Britain we have 14.9 million people on the organ donor register - which is around 24 per cent of the population. In terms of actual donors (not just people willing to give, but those whose organs are actually used) we have a rate of about 13 donors per million in our population. This compares with about 22 per million in France, 25 per million in America and around 35 per million in Spain - the best in the world.
That is why I want to start a debate in this country about whether we should take steps to move towards a new system designed to enable far more of us to benefit from transplant surgery - one that better reflects survey findings that around 90 per cent of us are in favour of organ donation.
Terri Burke, former editor of the Abilene Reporter-News, has been named executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.
Burke, 56, will begin work at the ACLU of Texas on Tuesday. Her duties will include lobbying, fundraising, administering the organization and communicating with the public.
Burke said her new job seems like a continuation of her work in the newspaper business.
"I wanted to be a journalist because I thought journalism was a way to further the democratic process," Burke said. "At its heart, journalism is about the First Amendment. All my life, I've been interested in those kinds of issues."
I will suggest that no one in Old Media will think of Burke's move as the least bit odd.
Funny, that's not how they saw it in 1998 when the late David Brinkley retired and became a spokesman for a large corporation.
His January 11, 2008 New York Times column ("The Comeback Continent"; HT Tom Maguire via Instapundit) is yet another in a seemingly endless series of attempts by economic statists to convince people in the US that we need to be more like Europe -- specifically Western Europe -- and less like the growth-driven, market-based capitalists that we still largely are.
Here is part of what Krugman wrote in a remarkably fact-free column:
.... tales of a moribund Europe are greatly exaggerated.
..... I don’t want to exaggerate the good news. Europe continues to have many economic problems. But who doesn’t? The fact is that Europe’s economy looks a lot better now — both in absolute terms and compared with our economy — than it did a decade ago.
Though Uncle Sam did run a surplus last month, the year-to-date figures are alarming:
It should be pretty clear that the big news in the above figures is that federal spending during the first quarter of the fiscal year was almost 9% higher than during the first quarter a year ago. If the spending increase had been held to only 5%, this fiscal year's quarterly deficit would have come in virtually the same as last year's.
Yet it took these publications the following number of paragraphs to get to the year-to-date spending news:
USA Today's Emily Bazar wrote a long article Wednesday ("Strict immigration law rattles Okla. businesses") on the early impact of Oklahoma's recently-passed immigration reform legislation, apparently now well-known as "1804," or "House Bill 1804, the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007, arguably the nation's toughest state law targeting illegal immigrants," which became effective November 1.
Bazar's report is dominated by plenty of downbeat anecdotes and dire warnings to relay to her readers from employers and others. Here are a few:
..... workers at the sprawling Greenleaf Nursery were prepping for deadly frosts. They needed to ship plants, erect greenhouses and bunch trees together to protect them against the cold.
But in late October, about 40 employees disappeared from the 600-acre nursery about an hour's drive from Tulsa. "Some went to Texas, some went to Arkansas," nursery President Randy Davis says. "They just left."
Why did the workers, all immigrants, flee? "Those states don't have 1804," Davis says.
I've said this before, but it merits saying again: We'll know that the news we're fed every day by the wire services, "newspapers of record," and TV networks is fair, accurate, and complete when those in search of the full picture no longer have to go to the editorials of the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily to fill in Old Media's yawning information and coverage gaps.
Among the latest pieces evidence that we're not there yet -- Thursday's IBDeditorials.com opinion piece, which had this news from Britain's National Health Service (NHS):
The British have found a way to shorten those long, annoying waits for care and lower the rising costs of their universal access system. They'll let patients take care of themselves.
NationalJournal.com has news (HT Instapundit) about the reality of the October 2006 Lancet report on civilian deaths in Iraq -- a report that was breathlessly and gullibly cited at the time by Old Media outlets and reporters (including David Brown here at the Washington Post).
Here is background for those unfamiliar with the original story:
Published by The Lancet, a venerable British medical journal, the study [PDF] used previously accepted methods for calculating death rates to estimate the number of "excess" Iraqi deaths after the 2003 invasion at 426,369 to 793,663; the study said the most likely figure was near the middle of that range: 654,965. Almost 92 percent of the dead, the study asserted, were killed by bullets, bombs, or U.S. air strikes. This stunning toll was more than 10 times the number of deaths estimated by the Iraqi or U.S. governments, or by any human-rights group.
Two years ago, Old Media, particularly the New York Times, and quite a few chronic sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome (but I repeat myself), attempted to hijack the Sago Mine tragedy in West Virginia before the wakes for the 12 dead miners were even held. They wanted to pin the catastrophe, totally without foundation, on the idea that the administration had created the conditions for the tragedy by starving the budget of the Mine Safety and Health Administration and by putting industry cronies who were deliberately lax in safety enforcement in charge.
The Times even tried to tie the tragedy to Hurricane Katrina, which had occurred a few months earlier.
The claims of negligence and pervasive deteriorating safety conditions were definitively debunked at these posts:
In short, yours truly and Bevan found that coal-mine deaths and injuries had been declining significantly during the previous four years; inspection hours had shown no indications of a safety letup; and the budget for MHSA had not been slashed.
So where is coal-mine safety, and mine safety in general, two years later?
The dispute over Indiana's voter ID law that is headed to the Supreme Court in January is as much a partisan political drama as a legal tussle.
On one side are mainly Republican backers of the law, including the Bush administration, who say state-produced photo identification is a prudent measure intended to cut down on vote fraud. Yet there have been no Indiana prosecutions of in-person voter fraud — the kind the law is supposed to prevent.
On the other side are mainly Democratic opponents who call voter ID a modern-day poll tax that will disproportionately affect poor, minority and elderly voters — who tend to back Democrats. Yet, a federal judge found that opponents of the law were unable to produce evidence of a single, individual Indiana resident who had been barred from voting because of the law.
A subscription-only editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Monday propagated a carefully-worded whopper, but at least made a small change to the paper's insufferable 23-year "There Shall Be Open Borders" mantra (bolds are mine):
A recent paper by the Immigration Policy Center, an advocacy group, notes that "Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years repeatedly and consistently have found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native born." Today, immigrants on balance are five times less likely to be in prison than someone born here.
None of this is to argue that illegal immigration doesn't have costs, especially in border communities and states with large public benefits. In the post-9/11 environment, knowing who's in the country is more important than ever. That's an argument for better regulating cross-border labor flows, not ending them.
The Immigration Policy Center's use of 100 years averages things out quite a bit, doesn't it?