Linda Greenhouse, the New York Times's former Supreme Court reporter, now writes a twice-monthly column for nytimes.com. But the paper's editors must have found her latest rant on Arizona's tough new immigration law particularly powerful, because it made it into Tuesday's print edition: "Breathing While Undocumented."
Greenhouse, who caused controversy while still a Times reporter when she made her hard-left views on abortion and Guantanamo Bay public at a Harvard commencement address in the summer of 2006, really let it out on Tuesday, with visions of police states and a seemingly inevitable comparison to Nazism.
I'm glad I've already seen the Grand Canyon.
Because I'm not going back to Arizona as long as it remains a police state, which is what the appalling anti-immigrant bill that Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last week has turned it into.
For the second consecutive weeknight, the CBS Evening News on Monday framed Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigrant bill around the fears and charges of its supposed victims. With “ANGER & ANXIETY” on screen below video of signs hostile to the new law (“LAND OF THE FREE! REALLY?” and a Swastika sign with “Achtung! Papers Please”), Katie Couric teased: “Anger in Arizona against a new law allowing police to make you prove you’re in the country legally” – followed by a man who impugned supporters: “They’re just focusing on us because we’re brown.”
Couric soon set up CBS’s story by relaying how “opponents say it will lead to racial profiling” as she didn’t pass judgment on their vandalism when she reported “some of those opponents vandalized the state capitol building, smearing refried beans in the shape of swastikas on the windows.” (Talk about fulfilling a stereotype)
John Blackstone presented arguments in favor of the law, but delivered his story through the eyes of sympathetic, if misinformed, people who see themselves as victims. “Kym Rivera brought her children to a demonstration today against Arizona's new immigration law. Her husband, born in El Salvador was sworn in as a citizen last October,” but “she fears he'll become a suspect when police are searching for illegal immigrants under the new law.” She baselessly asserted: “He worries he'll be asked to leave this country because he was not born here. That he'll be separated from his children, from his wife of 15 years.”
Blackstoned moved on to “19-year-old Junior Perez,” the same guy in the opening tease, who “has heard the assurances that the law is aimed only at illegal immigrants. He's not convinced,” and, corroborating his fear, Blackstone insisted that “in a state where more than 30 percent of the population is Hispanic, many feel the sting of racism in the new law.” Perez charged: “They’re just focusing on us because we're brown. So, it's just devastating.”
The New York Times sometimes takes its politically correct blandishments to humorous extremes, as in Randal Archibold's lead story Saturday, “Arizona Enacts Stringent Law On Immigration.” Check the curious way Archibold referred to a protest against Arizona's new anti-immigration law, then try to imagine how the paper would react if such things had happened at a Tea Party rally:
As hundreds of demonstrators massed, mostly peacefully, at the capitol plaza, the governor, speaking at a state building a few miles away, said the law “represents another tool for our state to use as we work to solve a crisis we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix.”
Achibold didn't go into why he felt obliged to include the modifier “mostly.” For that, one had to check out a local report filed Friday night that included details the Times left out:
Three people were arrested during the immigration rally at the state capitol Friday afternoon.
Two were arrested after they were seen throwing water bottles at police, according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the state police agency.
Evidently, “mostly peacefully” means “somewhat violently” at the New York Times.
This local news clip is even more dramatic, showing a police officer being nailed with a water bottle, one of many hurled in the semi-chaotic "march" that the headline terms a "small riot."
Arizona’s new law hardly earned a friendly reception Friday night from any of the network newscasts, but CBS went the furthest in presenting it from the perspective of its “victims” as anchor Katie Couric, over video of “Veto Racism” and “Stop the Hate” signs, teased: “Tonight, Arizona's controversial new immigration law. Police will now be able to make anyone they choose prove they're here illegally. It triggers demonstrations by both sides and a warning from President Obama.” (Presumably, she meant “prove they’re here legally.”)
Reporter Bill Whitaker suddenly found wisdom in the Catholic Church, plastering “mean-spirited” on screen:
In Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, head of the country's largest Catholic archdiocese, called the law “mean-spirited” and compared it to Nazi repression. Today at a ceremony for new citizens, President Obama criticized Arizona's actions.
On ABC, Diane Sawyer teased: “Tonight on World News, Crackdown. Arizona targets illegal immigrants. The toughest new law in the country. Protesters hit the streets.”
New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer, previously heard insulting California voters for failing to vote for tax hikes, ventured over the border on Tuesday's front page to cover a Republican primary scuffle in Arizona involving Sen. John McCain being challenged from the right by former congressman J.D. Hayworth: “McCain, Facing G.O.P. Foe in Primary, Tilts to the Right.” The online headline: “From Right of Radio Dial, a Challenge to McCain.”
Hayworth was part of the Republican class of 1994, who served six terms in the House until losing in 2006. Steinhauer described Hayworth's defeat in loaded terms: “His loss to Harry E. Mitchell, a Democrat, in his 2006 re-election bid was humiliating, and underscored voter distaste for some of his more boisterous ways.”
From the start, Steinhauer hit the liberal cliches about conservative radio hosts.
J. D. Hayworth is a large man, and to compensate for his indulgences, he hits the elliptical trainer every morning at 4, zipping along to an incongruous soundtrack of Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra and old advertising jingles.
Until recently, he would then repair to a local radio station, where he would spend the better part of the day denouncing, in no particular order, illegal immigrants, all things Barack Obama, those who are insufficiently patriotic and, his favorite mark, one John McCain, the senior senator from Arizona.
Steinhauer feels for McCain, who in her telling is being pushed “starkly” to the right by “far right” meanies like Hayworth, in a piece notable for its sudden sympathy toward John McCain, whose coverage in the Times seems to be determined based on whether a loss by him would help or hurt the conservative movement. As Times Watch has demonstrated, McCain was clearly the Times's favorite Republican in Campaign 2008 – until he became the clear frontrunner and the only likely candidate standing between a historic Democratic presidency involving either the first female or first black president.
An eight-year-old girl, gang-raped by four young boys in Phoenix, then blamed for the rape by her family and shunned: how quickly and heavily will the media respond? Where is President Obama, who can comment on local police matters in Cambridge, Massachusetts? So far, Nexis shows CNN is the first and only network on this story, which should captivate Nancy Grace and Greta van Susteren for weeks, not to mention network morning shows. Here’s a summary from AP:
Authorities said Thursday that four boys ages 9 to 14 took turns raping an 8-year-old girl behind a shed for more than 10 minutes in what Phoenix police are calling one of the most horrific cases they've ever seen.
The outrage over the allegations intensified after police said the girl's parents criticized her after the attack and blamed her for bringing shame on the family.
"The father told the caseworker and an officer in her presence that he didn't want her back. He said, 'Take her, I don't want her,' " police Sgt. Andy Hill said.
...Phoenix investigators said the boys lured the girl to an empty shed July 16 under the pretense of offering her gum. The boys held the girl down while they took turns assaulting her, police said.
Party Affiliation - Let relevance be the guide in determining whether to include a political figure's party affiliation in a story. Party affiliation is pointless in some stories, such as an account of a governor accepting a button from a poster child.
It will occur naturally in many political stories. For stories between these extremes, include party affiliation if readers need it for understanding or are likely to be curious about what it is.
The AP, as readers here know, frequently flouts its own standards when Democrats are involved in legal or personal difficulties in its reporters' original write-ups. That's bad enough. But what's doubly offensive, and sadly no longer surprising, is how its writers seem to actively work to purge party references from other publications' original local or single-state stories about Democratic politicians or officials involved in scandal or other troubles.
In the latest example, it isn't just that the subject's party isn't directly identified. Based on AP's "clever" composition, many readers are likely to conclude that the person in trouble is a Republican.
It's not often during midday cable news broadcasting you get to see raw emotion from one or two of the hosts. However, when President Barack Obama gets snubbed, there are exceptions to the rule.
On MSNBC on April 10, co-hosts Contessa Brewer and Carlos Watson put their disapproval on display for viewers to see while reporting a decision by Arizona State University not to award Obama an honorary degree for speaking at the school's commencement next month.
"In other news, President Obama will be giving the commencement address at Arizona State University on May 13th. But the president will not be getting an honorary degree according to the school. Here's why, quote, ‘While President Obama has already achieved remarkable success including becoming the first African-American president, his greatest work is yet to come. We will be delighted to consider him for an honorary degree once he leaves office at the end of the presidency.'"
Someone forgot to tell the Wall Street Journal's Kelly Evans and Justin Lahart, carried here at the Arizona Republic, that they're supposed to portray the economy in a bad light whenever and wherever possible. I'll get to the pair's report later.
That "bad light" directive seems seared into the minds of the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger and his AP colleagues, as they continue to "cling to recession," and attempt to convince consumers and businesses that if perchance we're not already in one, it's just around the bend.
The AP's persistence has borne dreadful fruit. Relentlessly downbeat reporting during at least the past six years by the wire service's business reporters -- who largely determine what most Americans see, hear, and read about the economy -- is a big reason, if not the most important reason, why most Americans, as seen in the latest consumer confidence report, have a negative economic outlook and are convinced that we are in a recession.
Old Media business reporters have a definitionally-incorrect habit of labeling single industries or economic sectors as being "in recession," when the term, as defined here, can only describe national economies or the world economy. Two examples of this are New York Times reporter David Leonhardt's description of manufacturing as being in recession in February 2007 (laughably incorrect, in any event), and the Times's employment of the term "housing recession" 25 times since October 2006, as seen in this Times search (with the phrase in quotes).
But if I wanted to be consistent with this routine form of journalistic malpractice, I would characterize the newspaper business -- at least in terms of the top 25 in the industry's food chain -- not as being in recession, but instead as going through a deep, dark, painful, protracted depression.
Monday’s NBC psychic crime drama "Medium" featured a plot line in which an Arizona senator and former POW is discovered to be a two-time murderer and a cannibal. While it is safe to assume that the story was written before the Hollywood writers’ strike, and before the rise of John McCain to front-runner status for the GOP presidential nomination, the blatant use of McCain’s personal history, as a politician and Vietnam POW, as grist to feed the murderous plot is obvious.
In Monday’s episode, titled “Aftertaste”, the medium (“Allison DuBois,” played by Patricia Arquette) suspects an ex-POW Arizona state senator is involved in a murder she sees in her dreams. Through a series of psychic flashbacks, she discovers that the senator (“Jed Garrity,” played by Gregory Itzin), as a young Army captain held by the North Vietnamese, proposed to his cellmates that they kill and eat a dying American soldier rather than starve to death. “Garrity” drew the short straw and committed the actual murder himself by strangling the dying soldier.
Apparently, the Arizona Republic cannot discuss the work of globaloney skeptic Robert Balling of Arizona State University without constantly pointing out that his "peers" think he is an idiot that has been bought off by "industries." The paper cannot write a story about his career without constantly suggesting that he is a "fringe" scientist and that he is "criticized" by those who imagine global warming is the biggest threat humanity faces today.
What's more, the Republic finds his personal life filled with "surprising contradictions" because this climatologist has a green lifestyle, as if any global warming critic must automatically believe in poisoning our waters and polluting our skies. Apparently the Az Republic thinks it's impossible that a man can be interested in safeguarding the environment but also believe that global warming is a sham. And, even worse, the Az Republic seems aghast that Rush Limbaugh has quoted from the man's work.
"An Eco-System Runs Through It" trumpets the June 19 front page headline in the San Antonio Express-News. The Anastasia Ustinova story manages to combine two liberal positions together in the guise of protecting the environment, as the sub-head tells readers that "Fencing threatens critters - and eco system."
The story goes on to note that the fence "would cut large swaths through sensitive habitat and harm rare or threatened species." The story reads like liberal environmental literature and even has time to push a non-green liberal cause: preventing border fencing.
Yet once again the left gets confused about the difference of opinion and actual balanced news.
A few days old but a goodie. I've seen in this one report something that's often missing from network treatment of the minimum wage issue: a quantification of how much the government wage mandate affects the bottom line for small businesses, and ends up screwing over the little guy.
Mark Messner, owner of Pepi's Pizza in south Phoenix, estimates he has
employed more than 2,000 high school students since 1990. But he plans
to lay off three teenage workers and decrease hours worked by others.
Of his 25-person workforce, roughly 75 percent are in high school.
"I've had to go to some of my kids and say, 'Look, my payroll just
increased 13 percent,' " he said. " 'Sorry, I don't have any hours for
Messner's monthly cost to train an employee has jumped from $440 to $580 as the turnover rate remains high.
"We go to great lengths to hang on to our high school workers, but
there are a lot of kids who come in and get one check in their pocket
and feel like they're living large and out the door they go," he said.
"We never get our return on investment when that happens."
Barry Hess, the Libertarian candidate for governor in Arizona is so upset with the "blatant and shameless" bias of his state's biggest newspaper, the Arizona Republic that he's embarking on a new effort to run ads--against the newspaper.
Judging from Hess's media bias section on his site, it seems his biggest complaint isn't necessarily about issues and more about that the paper's refusal to give coverage to other candidates besides the Democrat Janet Janet Napolitano and Republican Len Munsil. Still, this is the first time I've ever seen a candidate of any party want to run advertisements against a media outlet.
There is another interesting item in this story as well. Hess had an email exchange with Ken Western, the Republic's editorial page editor. In a reply to Hess after the candidate has expressed frustration with being called a "spoiler" by a Republic reporter, Western explicitly states that Hess should refrain from criticizing reporters since doing so will result in bad publicity for himself. Here's the relevant part of the page:
Over at GetReligion, Mollie Ziegler is giggling (a giggling Ziegler?) over how difficult liberals find it to include the voices of people who believe homosexuality is sinful and wrong into the news. Or at least giggling at the way that it can be explained. Billie Stanton wrote in the Tucson Citizen that the University of Arizona no longer taught the vital importance of balance and objectivity in reporting, which she applied:
When some talented Denver Post reporters covered an anti-gay referendum later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, their bias showed. Repeatedly I demanded rewrites to give the homophobes’ side equal credence.
Stanton made the point in a column in the Tucson Citizen about why she is glad to be on the editorial page. But it just cracked me up. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, certainly, but the question is at least worth asking: how fair of a shake can you give people when you believe their legislative opinion is based on an irrational fear of homosexuality? Of course, I was in college and living in Denver at the time of the vote and remember that things were weird. Our own governor — himself part of an interesting polyamorous family situation — marched in the streets condemning the people of his own state for how they voted.
Sheehan is a Californian whose soldier son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in April 2004.
Along with winning supporters, she has provoked vitriolic reactions as Americans disagree over the war. Sheehan clarified an oft-quoted remark that has brought intense criticism.
When she said, "This country isn't worth dying for," she was referring to Iraq, she said.
"I believe America is worth dying for."
Sadly, that isn't the truth. It isn't even close.
From Lee Kaplan's article "SFSU Hosts a Terrorist" we draw the full quote, in context:
Cindy Sheehan followed this act. Wearing a sweatshirt advertising the website for United for Peace and Justice, Sheehan was interviewed outside just before the meeting by an ABC-TV news reporter. Sheehan said then that military recruiters should not be allowed on college campuses, maintaining they trick naïve 18-year-olds with offers of money and scholarships. Tragically, Cindy Sheehan lost her son Casey who was in the Army and was killed two weeks after arriving in Iraq. She claimed he was promised a job as a chaplain’s assistant although once in the service was placed in a combat role and killed, certainly a moving story – one she exploits to promote venomous anti-Americanism. “George Bush and his neo-conservatives killed my son,” she said tearing up a bit. “America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for.” [italics mine]
She was obviously talking about America not being worth dying for. Iraq was never part of the conversation.