"Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans; U.S. Officers' "Phone Sex" Intercepted; Senate Demanding Answers," reads the headline and subhead for an ABCNews.com "Blotter" post by Brian Ross.
Written with fellow ABC staffers Vic Walter and Anna Schechter, Ross's October 9 post aimed to make National Security Agency phone monitoring of calls into and out of Baghdad out to be little more than a voyeuristic game of listening in on Americans talk dirty to each other:
"These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones," said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA's Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.
Kinne described the contents of the calls as "personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism."
The Times told staff in an internal e-mail Tuesday that the paper's flagship Web site will soon become host to news from sister paper the International Herald Tribune and that the Tribune's site will be shuttered. The move will require "hard decisions about jobs at the IHT," and the company is now looking to "reassign or relocate people," according to the memo.
Privately, IHT employees may lose their jobs, but publicly, this is about "growth."
Liberal Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn argued today that while Bill Ayers violent past must be condemned, it is improper to label him as a domestic terrorist (emphases mine):
My view is that one can unequivocally condemn the campaign of destruction and bomb-setting waged by the Weather Underground and still ask whether "terrorism" is or was the right word to describe that form of violent guerrilla protest.
To me, a terrorist is one who attempts to create malleable fear in a population through random acts of mayhem; someone who uses his own amoral unpredictability to magnify the power he is attempting to exert in an effort to create change.
The Dow may be tanking and we could be heading into a global recession in the near future, but there's a green lining to it all, according to Reuters. Mother Earth might get a breather from those dastardly carbon emissions, what with shuttered factories and all.
Here's how the financial news wire teased a story on the afternoon of October 7, a day after the Dow closed below 10,000 for the first time since October 2004:
Economic silver lining? The slowdown in the world economy may give the planet a breather from high carbon dioxide emissions, a leading scientist says.
The October 7 story by Reuters staffer Michele Kambas focused on the recent remarks by Nobel winner Paul Crutzen:
With Virginia as a battleground state in the 2008 election and given Democrat Barack Obama's damaging gaffe earlier this year about rural voters clinging "to guns or religion", a new gaffe by another Democrat should be worthy of media attention. It remains to be seen if the mainstream media will even notice. (h/t Reformed Chicks Blabbing)
Running to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Republican John Warner, former Gov. Mark Warner (no relation) has a healthy lead in recent polls and the admiration of a pliant media. Yet an audio recording of Warner at a Democratic Party gathering caught the candidate disparaging gun owners, home schoolers, and religious conservatives as "threatening to what it means to be an American."
Republican opponent and former Gov. Jim Gilmore has a campaign ad (embedded below the fold) that features the audio:
One of the hottest Internet videos during the mortgage and banking crisis has been a YouTube clip titled "Burning Down the House," which outlines the untold story of how liberal Democrats pressured banks and lenders to throw standards out the window and give money to people who couldn't pay it back.
Try watching it now, however, and you won't be able to, thanks to the growing problem of "flag spam," the practice of abusing online filter systems to squelch political speech with which one disagrees.
We've all seen spammers at work in our e-mail inboxes. Experts estimate that 90 percent of all e-mail messages nowadays are spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail.
Luckily for most of us, the majority of it gets filtered out. That's caused the more sophisticated spammers to change course and target a more vulnerable part of the Internet - the hugely popular Web sites like YouTube, Digg and the blogosphere, where anyone can join the discussion by posting videos, essays, reviews and other content.
Updated below. Last Monday as the U.S. House of Representatives voted down the initial bailout package,both Fox News and CNN sent e-mail alert subscribers numerous alerts about the Dow's dive. The market recovered some the following day, a development that CNN neglected to mention in the same e-mail alerts.
Friday morning, I made a 7:45am appearance on the Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends to discuss how nearly every media outlet is avoiding like the plague any coverage of Illinois Senator Barack Obama's long relationship with ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), the serially criminal voter registration outfit.
So as to better explain why the press, who love Sen. Obama with the intensity of a thousand suns, would be steering clear of reporting on the connections, I cited briefly some basic factual information about Sen. Obama's dealings with ACORN. The media are sitting on this information because they know it would be very damaging to Sen. Obama and his Presidential campaign.
Picking up on an AP story, the Chicago Sun-Times posted the now-infamous video of a group of kids singing about Sen. Barack Obama (paragraph breaks removed):
A video featuring children singing a song in tribute to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is a hit on YouTube, garnering 596,000-plus views in just one version. Obama's critics have ripped the song, comparing it to a video of North Korean children singing to their dictator. Supporters defend it as just cute children singing. Judge for yourself.
Nowhere in the brief Web site posting did the Sun-Times or the AP note that professional Hollywood expertise went into the production of the video. As blogger Bob Owens noted at Confederate Yankee:
Advertising Age magazine reports today that CBS News has gotten "[A] Rude Lesson in Citizen Journalism" with its iPhone application. It turns out the "Eyemobile for iPhone" has become a handy vehicle for amateur pornographers to spam the site:
A visit to CBSeyemobile.com turns up a few photos that walk the line of not-safe-for-work, a jarring juxtaposition with CBS's storied news brand.
What's more, Google is advertising on the clips via AdMob.
In her October 1 ABCNews.com story, "Should Candidates' Sons Serve on the Frontline?", Emily Friedman explored the potential problems that could arise with the sons of presidential candidate John McCain and vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin serving on the front lines in armed conflict:
While Biden, 39, and Palin, 19, are just ordinary troops today, on Nov. 5, the day after the election, one of them will also be the son of the vice president of the United States of America.
A protective Secret Service detail will arrive soon after, along with the "Prince Harry question": Should they stay like any other soldier, or will they have become too tempting a target that endangers them and the other soldiers in their units? Should they be reassigned?
While both CNN.com and FoxNews.com sent e-mail alert subscribers "breaking news" alerts on the Dow's steep slide yesterday in reaction to failure of the bailout package in the House of Representatives, CNN didn't think it worthy of a breaking news text to note the gains made today in the market.
Here are the Fox News text messages sent on September 30 regarding the Dow Jones:
DOW REGAINS NEARLY 500 POINTS ONE DAY AFTER RECORD LOSS (received 4:08 p.m. EDT)
DOW REBOUNDING, UP MORE THAN 300 POINTS A DAY AFTER 778-POINT FREEFALL (received 1:27 p.m. EDT)
Below, in reverse chronological order are the text message alerts I received from Fox News and CNN.com yesterday tracking the Dow's drop.:
Giving a pass to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her failure to cajole enough Democrats to vote for the bailout agreement, Newsweek's Daniel Gross blamed the minority Republican conference, accepting without skepticism the argument that a partisan speech by the San Francisco Democrat caused some Republicans to vote "nay" out of spite alone:
Was the bailout bill killed by malice or by incompetence? It's hard to argue against incompetence, since it has been so rampant, especially on the Republican side of things in Washington. The congressional leadership and the White House clearly lacked the heft-or the energy-to whip recalcitrant members into line.
In a September 29 blog post aimed at "Placing Blame" for failure of the bailout package in the House of Representatives today, Time's Joe Klein began by tossing, "I don't blame John McCain for not rounding up enough Republican votes to get this bailout bill through the House of Representatives."
Klein added a few other reasons he doesn't blame the Arizona senator:
...he's never held a leadership position and therefore doesn't know how to whip votes and finally--well, uh--there is one tried and true method for getting members of Congress to vote aye and McCain opposes it: a sweetener, like say, funding for a bridge in their districts. That is one reason why we have earmarks. McCain is opposed to giving away baubles for the greater good.
Yet he left out one key fact. It was Democratic, not Republican votes that doomed the bailout agreement.
Reporting on a decision by LifeWay Christian Stores to not promote a magazine whose cover story lauded female pastors, Chicago Tribune religion reporter Manya Brachear stacked the deck against the Christian bookseller, failing to speak to a staffer there for an explanation of a policy decision on a magazine the stores carry on their shelves. Yet if she had done her homework, Brachear may have found ample reason that the book store may have had to suspect the editorial judgment and theological conviction of the magazine in question.
In her September 25 post, "Gospel magazine too risque for rack," Brachear found room to quote the publisher of Gospel Today magazine and a female pastor featured in its September/October 2008 issue. Brachear snarked that the decision by Lifeway to put the magazine behind the counter was much like what convenience stores do to racy magazines:
Rev. Kimberly Ray never thought she'd be on the cover of a magazine considered too risque for the racks. But this month, Ray , the head of Angie Ray Ministries and Church on the Rock in Matteson, joined four other female pastors on the cover of Gospel Today magazine.
Because the article broke Southern Baptist rules about women in the pulpit, Lifeway Christian Bookstores, a chain run by the Southern Baptist Convention, pulled its glossy pages from the shelves and tucked it behind the counter where 7-Elevens normally stash Playboy and Penthouse.
Is it just me or does everything seem to be broken?
Our credit markets are scared of their own shadows. Our political system looks oxymoronic. Our balance sheet is drowning in red ink. We are dismissed, laughed at or reviled in much of the world. The Russian Navy is sailing into our hemisphere. No one trusts anyone else, especially in the media, to tell the truth.
It's the perfect moment for me to start a presidential campaign blog!
Yes, folks, no burden is too heavy to bear for the busy Newsweek staffer and MSNBC contributor:
In a Thursday story by Chris Fusco and Dave McKinney that has been linked by Drudge, the Chicago Sun-Times reported on the latest developments relating to what was supposed to be a Barack Obama-sponsored $1.1 million botanical garden in an economically blighted area on the South Side of Chicago -- complete with "a gazebo, a parrot sanctuary, and a walk of fame."
While an Illinois state senator in 2001, Obama, as the Sun-Times reported in July, "gave $100,000 in state money to a campaign volunteer who failed to deliver" on the initial phase of the work or to garner additional community funds, leaving "what was supposed to be a six-block stretch of trees and paths ..... a field of unfulfilled dreams, strewn with weeds, garbage and broken pavement."
Now Illinois' Attorney General is investigating, and has determined where much of the money went -- sort of (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The leftwing blogosphere has a new villain in addition to John McCain and Sarah Palin: Bill Clinton. They have been suspecting that Clinton has not been giving all out support to Barack Obama including his announcement to Larry King that he wouldn't begin campaigning for Obama until after October 9 out of respect for the Jewish High Holy Days. However, the straw that really broke the leftwing camel's back was Clinton's statement today to Chris Cuomo on ABC's Good Morning America defending John McCain's request for a debate delay until after the financial bailout crises is resolved. Here are a couple of things that Bill Clinton said that drove the left absolutely bonkers:
We know he didn't do it because he's afraid because Sen. McCain wanted more debates.
On September 20, Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters posted on a misleading Associated Press/Yahoo poll on racism. The poll asserted that if Barack Obama loses, it will be because of "[d]eep-seated racial misgivings" held by "one-third of white Democrats."
Later that day, NB's Michael Bates criticized the AP's report on the poll for its historically inaccurate claim that the US "enshrined slavery into its constitution."
NB's Lyndsi Thomas got into the neighborhood of the concern I'm about to note on Sunday, when she noted that the pollsters tried to ferret out racism by asking questions that could be seen as purely political and having nothing to do with race.
But it seems to me that the pollsters engaged in a bit of hocus pocus. These three paragraphs from a story explaining AP's methodology carried at the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave me that impression:
At that time, Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom toasted Kim Jong-il, the dictatorial "Dear Leader" of the radical Communist state, on the agreement, which would have removed North Korea for a list of state sponsors of terrorism:
"North Korea: U.S. to take it off the terror list after nuclear declaration. More cognac for the Dear Leader!"
Here's the Newsweek CW for today's online edition:
[Down arrow] By planning to restart nuclear plant, the country shows it's more volatile than Wall Street.
Lamenting that there's no legal recourse against factually inaccurate political advertising, Time's Amy Sullivan scoffed at the notion that voters are smart enough toweigh campaign ads with a grain of salt. But her language seems to suggest not only that American voters are dumb, but that government regulation, not journalistic vigilance, would be the only long-term solution.
In a country with a free press, after all, journalists are able to fact-check campaign advertisements and let voters know when claims are exaggerated or misleading. What does it matter if McCain says Obama would impose a new tax burden on middle-class families or if Obama claims that McCain proposed abolishing the Department of Education? Candidates lie, fact-checkers out them, and voters have all the information they need to make their choices.
Rocky Mountain News staffer Ed Sealover offered readers a 12-paragraph article on how Planned Parenthood is making a killing off of John McCain's choice of running mate. Too bad he downplayed that they're literal killings.
In his September 23 article, "Planned Parenthood gains from Palin e-mail campaign," Sealover noted that the "staunch abortion-rights opponent" is inspiring pro-choice women to give donations to the organization in Palin's name, meaning that John McCain's campaign headquarters will soon be "receiving tens of thousands of thank-you notes."
Sealover briefly noted that Planned Parenthood provides abortion services, although he failed to mention that, although technically a not-for-profit entity, it earns windfall profits by selling abortion services. Reported Penny Starr of CNSNews.com* earlier this year:
Noting that the National Rifle Association has begun a "Push to Tarnish Obama on Guns," CBSNews.com's Brian Montopoli noted, and rightly so, that Sen. John McCain has not been the strongest advocate of gun rights issues. But while Montopoli brought up McCain's 2004 mushy "C+" grade in his September 23 article, neither Obama's nor Biden's "F" grades by the gun rights group were mentioned in the article.
What's more, Montopoli cited Biden's defense of his running mate, on gun rights issues, yet failed in the article to bring up the NRA's disdain for the gun control-pushing Delaware senator:
Obama's running mate Joe Biden, meanwhile, suggested recently that Republicans will use the issue to scare voters away from the Obama-Biden ticket.
"I guarantee you, Barack Obama ain't taking my shotguns, so don't buy that malarkey," Biden said in Southern Virginia. "Don't buy that malarkey. They're going to start peddling that to you. I got two, if he tries to fool with my Beretta, he's got a problem."
The Delaware senator may well own guns, but that doesn't mean he doesn't think bitter Americans in the hinterlands should be able to cling to theirs. Although Montopoli quoted from the NRA in his article, he conveniently left out anything about the civil right's groups concerns about Biden. From an August 29 statement by the NRA:
CNN.com on Tuesday covered for Democrat vice presidential candidate Joe Biden's comment that the Obama campaign ad making fun of John McCain's inability to use a computer "was terrible."
According to CNN's Alexander Mooney, "Joe Biden can rest easy" for making this remark during his interview Monday with "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric because the ad "only ran 6 times" (video embedded right, full report on Couric's interview by my colleague Brent Baker available here).
Well, that's six times more than 1964's "Daisy" ad -- which historians believe helped President Lyndon Johnson defeat Barry Goldwater -- initially aired. In fact, even the liberal Wikipedia views it that way:
Here's the related report from CBS2 in New York (note that this is not a transcript of the video report; the full vid has reax from Congressman Peter King of New York, a spokesman for the disabled who points out that FDR was "disabled," and the McCain campaign):
NewsBusters' primary mission is to expose and combat liberal media bias. That said, every now and then a journalist puts up a patriotic essay or news story that deserves a hearty round of applause.
Such is the case with Dallas-based CBS reporter Hari Sreenivasan, who shared his thoughts on the "Couric & Co." blog after coming back from taking the oath to become an American citizen. Sreenivasan shared that it was in being a journalist that he saw the heart of America (emphasis mine):
The most I've learned about this country and what it means to be an American has been through this craft I've been fortunate enough to practice for a dozen years or so. For work, I've lived in Washington, North Carolina, California, New York, and now Texas. According to the map on my Facebook page, there are probably a half-dozen or so states that I have yet to visit. In the past year and a half or so for CBS, I've been hurled into one disaster aftermath after another, and though it might sound like a political cliché, that is really the easiest place to see the best of America. You don't see it when politicians swoop in for a photo-opportunity; it happens quietly.
As we've reported at NewsBusters, the MSM have scoffed at the McCain campaign charging Sen. Barack Obama with supporting sex ed for kindergarteners. Time's Joe Klein has gone so far as to call McCain a liar for the ad, although the legislation in question would have meant 5-year-olds would be taught about STDs at the same time they were learning their ABC's.
The way the media have complained about the McCain ad, you'd get the impression the media think no one has ever seriously entertained the notion of teaching kindergarteners about sex.
Yet yesterday, ABCNews.com's World View blog reported on a controversy in the United Kingdom over an illustrated sex ed book geared to 6-year-olds. An excerpt from London-based reporter Philip Victor (emphasis mine):