So, did you hear the great news about declining casualties in Iraq last month?
Well, if your outlet of choice is the wire service Agence France Presse, or maybe even Yahoo, you might have heard otherwise.
In fact, as media around the world were hailing October's casualty figures as a great sign from the region, AFP actually published an article Thursday, featured at Yahoo, with the headline "Iraqi Deaths Up in October in Blow to US 'Surge' Policy" with the following opening paragraphs (emphasis added):
You may have seen one of the 19,000 mentions of the "Home-made helicopters from Northern Nigeria." Once the AFP article hit Yahoo! News, it crossed the blogosphere like wild fire. I highly doubt it is true, and if journalists knew the first thing about flight, they might not have been so easily duped.
For starters, let's look at the measurements provided by the journalist.
For a four-seater it is a big aircraft, measuring twelve metres (39 feet) long, seven metres high by five wide.
Seven meters high? That's 23 feet tall. Does the photograph look like the helicopter is over two stories tall and 39 feet long? But the real problem with the story is with the tail rotor -- or lack thereof. France 24 has several more of the photos of this "helicopter", and in the one where the "pilot" is opening the cardboard flap that covers the engine, you can see that there is no axle to turn the tail rotor. The tail rotor, which keeps a real helicopter from spinning the same speed as the main rotor, is purely aesthetic.
The reporter claims this helicopter has "flown briefly on six occasions" at an "altitude of seven feet", but the reporter fails to corroborate this with any other witnesses. In true journalism fashion, the reporter takes a shot at a government for allegedly not supporting the wild ideas of this dreamer:
Although some government officials got very excited when they saw him conduct a demonstration flight in neighbouring Katsina state, Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has so far shown no interest in his aircraft. "No one from the NCAA has come to see what I've done. We don't reward talent in this country," he lamented.... In a country with Nigeria's abysmal air safety record officials may be loath to gamble on one student's home-made helicopter.
Who are the "government officials" who "got very excited"? What were they excited about? What exactly did the reporter expect the government to "gamble on"?
McClatchy Newspapers is taking a somewhat ghoulish, pessimistically-toned look at the poor souls who suffer from our success in Iraq: undertakers. That's right, with less people dying, business is slow for Iraqi undertakers, report Jay Price and Qasim Zein in their October 16 article (accessed via Yahoo News), "As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch.":
NAJAF, Iraq — At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.
A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.
The burials aren't expensive, usually $200 or less, but many people draw their income from them.
Yahoo! users found a Democratic gaffe at the top of the page on Saturday: "Fans are angry after a congressman instructs aides to get inoculated before a trip to a NASCAR race." Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, advised aides to get their shots against several communicable diseases — including hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus and influenza -- before visiting race tracks in North Carolina and Alabama. (Fox News has the story, and MSNBC’s Mike Viqueira offers some defensive skepticism at the First Read blog). Yahoo featured sports columnist Jerry Bonkowski, who was definitely offended:
NASCAR fans have been criticized for a number of things over the years, ranging from perpetuating a redneck stereotype to still showing pride in the Rebel Flag.
On August 26 and September 2, the Washington Post refused to run the weekly "Opus" comic strip by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed out of concerns of insensitivity to Muslims. NewsBusters associate editor wrote about the controversy here and here, and MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell discussed the Post's double standard on religious sensibilities on Glenn Beck's CNN Headline News program.
Weeks after the controversy has subsided, NewsBusters reader Rusty Weiss shot me a message informing me that a classic "Bloom County" strip from Breathed in the September 28 edition of Yahoo Comics is quite appropriate coming on the heels of the controversy (see below fold for the comic strip). Writes Weiss:
Say goodbye to the Great Green Hope. Biofuels are on the endangered list, although the media in America won't tell you that. Reuters reported in its September 26 article that Jane Goodall, the internationally famous primate scientist and environmental icon who presented at Al Gore's Live Earth, added her criticism of vegetable-based biofuels to a growing list experts.
On Wednesday, Goodall, best known for her chimpanzee research and media appearances, said “on the sidelines” of the Clinton Global Initiative that growing crops for vehicle fuels is endangering rain forests in Asia, Africa and South America and adding to anthropogenic global warming (bold mine throughout):
Frustration with CENTCOM's and the military's ability and willingness to get its message out abounded late last year.
Although I'll allow that many things get past me, I have noticed bare improvements at best out of CENTCOM since then.
One blogger in Ohio has now done something about it.
Fortunately, heroic (that IS the right word) onsite milbloggers and others on the ground in Iraq have picked up much of the slack in the meantime. I would attempt to enumerate them here, but I'm sure I'll miss many who don't deserve to be overlooked. Collectively, I believe that they have conferred a degree of balance in the war-related news in two ways.
Although it isn't a blue moon, it might as well be. In this September 3 article, the AP ditched the generally obvious anti-Israel bias and gave rare insight into what it is like to be on the receiving end of Gaza's rockets in Israel. Not only did the AP describe the difficulties and fears the Sderot townspeople endure, but the wire service even made available a photo of Israeli school children sitting under desks during a rocket-attack drill (photo to the right*). The AP usually saves that kind of sympathetic reporting and imagery for the Palestinians.
Surprisingly, the AP named those responsible and labeled them with the “I-word,” Islamic. Even more amazing, AP writer Yaniv Zohar did not blame Israel for the shelling and did not focus on Palestinian children in this unusual article (emphasis mine throughout):
A Palestinian rocket exploded Monday next to a day care center crowded with toddlers in southern Israel, sparking anger and panic in the frequently targeted town of Sderot and bringing warnings of retribution from Israeli leaders.
That's what I thought when I received an e-mail from NewsBusters reader Lori Puente informing me that Yahoo News is listing an article about Katie Couric's upcoming trip to report from Iraq and Syria in the "entertainment news" section.
We've all heard the familiar global warming hysteria. As the earth's temperature increases, glaciers will melt thereby causing the world's seas to rise. Some global warming alarmists have gone so far as to describe how Florida, Manhattan, and England (among other places) will all eventually be under water. Under these scenarios, the cause of global warming is consistently attributed to man's use of fossil fuels.
But what would happen if we had evidence of glaciers melting and massive flooding that occurred 10,000 years ago - long before man burned fossil fuels to any significant degree ? Such evidence would certainly be considered evidence that global warming is a natural phenomenon - as opposed to man-made.
One needs to look no further than the Associated Press's story on the Scott Beauchamp saga to understand why the general public not following the news closely doesn't "get" just how biased and antagonistic towards the war, the military, and American soldiers Old Media outlets are.
In the case of Scott Beauchamp, now that their brethren at The New Republic (TNR) have been caught red-handed publishing made-up stories, John Milburn and Ellen Simon of the Associated Press appear to be doing everything they can to cover for them -- first, with a headline (probably determined elsewhere within AP) that fails to communicate anything resembling the essence of the story, and second, by struggling mightily in their reporting to make it appear that this is a "he said, she said" dispute, instead of a situation where Beauchamp and TNR have been thoroughly discredited.
Here's the headline:
Army denounces articles written by GI
Trouble is, Paragraphs 4 through 7 of the story make it clear that this is no mere denunciation -- it's a complete repudiation that the person the Army is supposedly only "denouncing" agrees with:
The indicted former Newark Mayor and current NJ state Senator Sharpe James sure is mysterious. According to the New York Times, WNBC and via the AP, the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, Philadelphia Inquirer and the UK's Guardian, among others, James seemingly does not belong to a political party. Maybe he belongs to the same non-party as Rep. William Jefferson who was indicted on corruption and bribery charges earlier this year (hat tip to a NewsBusters reader):
Strangely, after a little digging, I discovered that James is a Democrat and that according to the prosecution, some of his alleged expenses included costly trips to Jamaica, Rio de Janeiro and Puerto Rico on the taxpayer's dime, as well as letting a girlfriend buy city property at bargain-basement prices.
More headline editorializing, this time on Yahoo. A June 5 Reuters article titled, “Bush bashes Putin on democracy on eve of G8 summit” sounds like Bush attacked Russian president Vladimir Putin, but the body of the article clearly did not support that view.
The headline told a very different story than the article. Editors not reporters are generally responsible for headlines, and they can greatly influence opinions about the news. The importance of a bias-free headline is that most people don’t read every word of every article; they often just skim the headlines. That meant the people who read just the headline got a very different impression from those who read the entire article (emphasis mine throughout):
"Russia is not our enemy," Bush said after meeting Czech leaders on a visit aimed at highlighting the country's emergence from Soviet domination.
He said he would urge Putin at the summit to cooperate with the U.S. plan to deploy a radar system in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland, but later in a speech took a dig at Moscow's record on democracy. "In Russia reforms that once promised to empower citizens have been derailed, with troubling implications for democratic development," Bush said.
Well, sports fans, it appears the media have figured out a clever way to report the events surrounding antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan this weekend without insulting the political party they are shilling for.
Looking at the major media outlets that have begun to cover this story, the strategy appears to be to report Sheehan’s Daily Kos post from Monday, wherein she stated that she was resigning “as the ‘face’ of the American anti-war movement,” while totally ignoring her Saturday post when she defiantly declared, “I am leaving the Democratic Party.”
Pretty sneaky, wouldn’t you agree?
However, this certainly appears to be the modus operandi as demonstrated by the following articles on the subject published Tuesday which included absolutely no reference to her statements Saturday:
I want my MTV! Somewhere a soldier or sailor in Iraq or Afghanistan is probably thinking that today. According to the AP, on May 14, the Department of Defense blocked “worldwide” the US troops who use its networks and computers from accessing 12 popular websites that include, YouTube, MTV, MySpace, Blackplanet and Photobucket. The Defense Deparmene which the DoD said“take up a large amount of bandwidth, and others that can open up department computers to hackers and viruses.” (emphasis mine throughout)
US Forces Korea Commander (USFK) Gen. B.B. Bell explained in a memo sent out Friday that the new policy will not impact the military's ability to send and receive email, but the “Department of Defense has a growing concern regarding our unclassified DoD Internet, known as the NIPRNET. The Commander of DoD's Joint Task Force, Global Network Operations has noted a significant increase in the use of DoD network resources tied up by individuals visiting certain recreational Internet sites.”
Have you seen the picture on the right showing a Shell station in San Francisco with gas prices in excess of $4 per gallon?
Well, there’s only one problem with it: this isn’t close to indicative of what gas prices are in the Bay Area. Not even close.
Yet, the following was captioned next to this Associated Press picture at Yahoo Thursday (h/t NB reader Brian Mortimer, emphasis added):
High gas prices are posted at a Shell gas station in San Francisco, Thursday, May 10, 2007. With gasoline prices poised to break records at the pump, energy futures prices jumped Thursday as traders noticed a gas supply imbalance in the fine print of Wednesday's government inventory report.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Sadly, the caption didn’t make clear that the prices at this station are high as a form of protest by the owner. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle Thursday (emphasis added):
David German, the AP movie writer, reported that notorious liberal bomb-thrower and fact-fudger, Michael Moore “is under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department for taking ailing Sept. 11 rescue workers to Cuba for a segment in his upcoming health-care documentary 'Sicko.' " The May 10 article seemed very matter of fact, but Moore and his movies were presented from the perspective that the filmmaker is controversial but accurate and is persecuted by his “adversaries.”
The AP indicated that the Treasury Department is investigating Moore because he did not follow the law. The AP obtained a copy of a letter, dated May 2, sent by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which informed Moore that it was investigating potential violations of the US trade embargo which restricts US travel to Cuba. According to an unnamed source affiliated with “Sicko,” this past February, Moore took ill Ground Zero workers to Cuba for “treatment” (my use of irony quotes because Cuba used new and unproven procedures. Emphasis mine throughout):
"This office has no record that a specific license was issued authorizing you to engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba," Dale Thompson, OFAC chief of general investigations and field operations, wrote in the letter to Moore.
It's so easy, the cave men did it? LiveScience.com staff writer, Dave Mosher, wrote an article on Yahoo.com titled "Climate Change, Not Humans, Trounced Neanderthals" about Francisco Jimenez-Espejo, a University of Granada paleoclimatologist who “says a lack of evidence has left climate change weakly supported—until now. 'We put data behind the theory,' he said, filling in a large gap in European climate records when Neanderthals faded out of existence.”
He concluded from a detailed examination of evidence that Neanderthals disappeared from Earth more than 20,000 years ago at least partially because of climate change. As in global cooling.
Yahoo picked up a fluff AP article that distorted Democratic NJ Governor Jim McGreevey’s 2004 resignation. It perpetuated the success of what should have been a politician’s attempt to cover allegations of corruption by using his closeted sexuality to distract an incurious and complicit media. This puff piece kept alive McGreevey’s pattern of announcing something socially startling to draw attention away from the incredible graft, scandal and alleged sexual harassment that would have otherwise defined his administration. When threats to McGreevey's reputation arise, he uses his status as a gay man to deflect unwanted attention, and the AP went along with it by reporting this latest “shocker” and omitting his political affiliation while identifying his opponents’ party (emphasis mine throughout):
Jim McGreevey has gone from altar boy to mayor to the nation's first openly gay governor.
From the moment he stood at a podium in 2004 and announced he was a "gay American" who was resigning because of an affair with a male staffer, people wondered what McGreevey's next act would be.
Now we know: He wants to become a preacher and a teacher.
Web use has become such a widespread phenomenon that for next year's presidential election, Yahoo is set to host the first-ever online presidential debate.
Unfortunately, all of the web media sources it's chosen to partner up with are liberal leaning. David All explains:
When mega-giant Yahoo! decides to play in the political sandbox, I’m going to pay attention. Yahoo! is currently ranked number one in Alexa.org’s Top 500.
So when it was reported this week that Yahoo! had partnered with Slate, Huffington Post, and PBS's Charlie Rose to host the first-ever online Presidential debate, as a conservative Republican, I immediately felt a curling in my stomach [...]
Clarification (Ken Shepherd | 10:26 EDT): The story in question was written for The Hollywood Reporter and the photo was provided by Reuters.
Yahoo News picked up a Reuters article on Yahoo that reports actress Eliza Dushku of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Tru Calling” and “Bring It On” fame has a new show lined up called, “Nurses.”
The article is a tiny little story that isn’t worth much time, except for the accompanying picture. The pic is a file photo from a 2004 John Kerry benefit concert, and a two and a half year old photo with such a visibly identifying background should have sent this photo to the back of the pile.
Potential political bias aside, I think the photo editor should have done Dushku a favor and chosen a different picture because of that outfit alone.
Yahoo News and Reuters want regular people to send them photos from their personal devices. This way, terrorists don't have to merely give propaganda to journalists in Iraq, they can send it directly to the editors back home. Reports the New York Times:
Hoping to turn the millions of people with digital cameras and camera phones into photojournalists, Yahoo and Reuters are introducing an effort to showcase photographs and video of news events submitted by the public.
Starting Tuesday, the photos and videos submitted will be placed throughout Reuters.com and Yahoo News, the most popular news Web site in the United States, according to comScore MediaMetrix.
Reuters said it would also start to distribute some of the submissions next year to the thousands of print, online and broadcast media outlets that subscribe to its news service. Reuters said it hoped to develop a service devoted entirely to user-submitted photographs and video.
Has another Internet giant gotten the Liberal Bias Virus? Well, the Associated Press is reporting that Yahoo is extending its relationship with CBS to offer more of its news clips beginning Tuesday:
Yahoo already shows national and international news from CBS' "60 Minutes" as well as Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and Time Warner Inc.'s CNN.
The latest deal will allow Yahoo to post 10 to 20 local news clips from each of the CBS-owned TV stations covered in the exclusive arrangement. The stations encompass the nation's largest metropolitan markets.
I bet you didn't know that Yahoo was already showing "60 Minutes" and CNN clips. Isn't that special? Of course, not everybody is happy about this:
I don’t even know why I bother but I frequently check out the editorial cartoons on yahoo.com. Sometimes they are funny (yes I do laugh at some of them that reflect poorly on the Republicans because they are usually spot on) but most of the time I feel like I’ve been hit in the gut when I read them. Today was one of those days.
I made the unfortunate choice of clicking on Ted Rall’s editorial cartoon for 9/16/06. It is one thing to ridicule the President politically but another to attack him in a personal manner that hurts his family. The same thing goes for Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Why would anyone think it was appropriate to do an editorial cartoon about the sex life of Madame Secretary? Rall has already depicted Sec Rice in a racist manner so I guess portraying her as a woman of loose morals is no big deal to him.
According to Rall’s little drawing, Rice has slept her way around the world including a one night stand with Chirac. Rall then promotes the sick fantasy that so many Libs are obsessed with by depicting the President of the United States in bed with Madame Secretary. Rall’s caption for that panel is simply nauseating – “Gossips say she is stroking more than George W’s ego during their weekends together at Camp David.”
Internet giants Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft have come under fire
today from Amnesty International for actively complying with the
authoritarian government of China's attempts to censor the internet
in that country.
These companies came in for withering criticism as part of
Amnesty's campaign to raise awareness of political censorship
throughout the world by highlighting its impact in China where
internet suppression is more widespread and effective largely because
American tech companies are "particularly willing to cooperate
with the Chinese government," the group said in a
"The internet can be a great tool for the promotion of human
rights -- activists can tell the world about abuses in their country
at the click of a mouse. People have unprecedented access to
information from the widest range of sources," the statement
continued. "But the internet's potential for change is being
undermined -- by governments unwilling to tolerate this free media
outlet, and by companies willing to help them repress free speech."
An excerpt from the devastating report (PDF) is after the jump. For a look at web censorship in India, read this from Michelle Malkin.
Red Herring reports that Yahoo is planning a new citizen journalism website where users can upload their own videos or camera phone pictures immediately from the location of an incident.
The terrorist attack of the July 7 London bombings is what inspired Yahoo to pursue the venture, as average citizens provided material instantly seen around the world.
Yahoo News, one of the world’s most popular news aggregation sites, plans to launch a citizen video-journalist news service at the end of June that will act as a collection and publication site for news videos generated by the public.
Sources involved in discussions with Yahoo News said the project, which has been in development for months, will introduce an upload capability that will take the PC out of the connectivity loop, so amateur video journalists can upload footage directly from the location of the event.
The authoritarian government of China is well-known for suppressing free speech and sometimes getting American media companies eager to cash in on a huge emerging market to help it do so. Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Time Warner, Fox, and others have soiled their reputations assisting the communist regime's crack downs on dissent.
American media companies don't always back down. Sometimes, however, they're censored directly by the Chinese government itself. Such was the case today when a protestor apparently affiliated with the meditation group Falun Gong managed to get herself close to Chinese president Hu Jintao as he was visiting the White House.
As the woman's voice began shouting out before being arrested by Secret Service agents, Chinese television blacked the screen and muted the audio, according to Matt Drudge. After the event was over, when CNN International (the version of CNN seen outside the United States) began discussing the protestor, its signal was abuptly cut off to Chinese viewers, making some wonder what was going on.