In an attempt to salvage some degree of credibility for presidential candidate Barack Obama's assertions about military equipment shortages, Reuters reporter Andrew Gray went back to a long-discredited claim planted by a local Tennessee reporter, and resurrected a Donald Rumsfeld quote that was not relevant to his story topic.
First, Gray went to what Obama claimed, and how the Pentagon responded:
During the face-to-face encounter on Thursday evening, Obama said he had heard from an Army captain whose unit had served in Afghanistan without enough ammunition or vehicles.
Obama said it was easier for the troops to capture weapons from Taliban militants than it was "to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief," President George W. Bush.
"I find that account pretty hard to imagine," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.
"Chavez inspires left but [is] no icon," insists the headline for a February 21 story by Reuters reporter Frank Jack Daniel. Daniel took time to examine what role Chavez could play in rallying Latin American leftists now that the Fidel Castro has kindly retired to let little hermano Raul take the wheel for a while indefinitely.
Daniel practically makes Chavez sound like the Barack Obama of Latin American Marxism: nice image, but still needs more experience:
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's red beret-wearing President Hugo Chavez has inspired a new generation of Latin American leftists but has a ways to go to achieve the heroic status awarded to his iconic friend Fidel Castro.
Consider the opening of this story from Reuters about the latest rash of rioting in Copenhagen:
Danish youths riot for sixth night [Update: make that the seventh straight night]
Gangs of rioters set fire to cars and garbage trucks in northern Copenhagen on Friday, the sixth night of rioting and vandalism that has spread from the capital to other Danish cities, police said on Saturday.
The death of Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyah is a good opportunity to call to mind the Reuters news wire's refusal to call a terrorist a terrorist.
A February 13 story by Tom Perry and Laila Bassam contained the word "terrorist," but only in quotes from sources. The word "terrorism" occurred twice, once in quotes and another when describing a cited source as a "terrorism expert" (emphasis mine).:
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Senior Hezbollah commander Imad Moughniyah, on the United States' most wanted list for attacks on Israeli and Western targets, has been killed by a bomb attack in Damascus, the Lebanese group said on Wednesday.
What does Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and the February 12 "Potomac Primary" have to do with a BlackBerry outage? Beats me, but apparently Reuters writer Wojtek Dabrowski found a way to work the presidential candidate's campaign staff into his Toronto-datelined February 12 story, "RIM reports 'critical' BlackBerry outage.'
RIM's worldwide subscriber base reached about 12 million people by late last year, mainly executives, politicians, lawyers and other professionals who rely on the BlackBerry to send secure e-mails. Sleeker new models are also catching on with students and others outside professional circles.
Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, said, "While the outage did confirm our widespread addiction to BlackBerry service, fortunately it did not cause more than a temporary inconvenience."
The fate of a so-called economic stimulus bill is currently bogged down in the Senate as Republicans and Democrats disagree on how much to spend.
Both sides are playing to the crowd trying to take credit for helping prop up the economy and accuse the other side of trying to block economic aide. It's classic political theater in that way but also in another--left-leaning reporters just can't help but frame things in the way that the congressional Democrats would like them to.
The Associated Press was one of the worst offenders, running a story headlined "Republicans join to block stimulus bill" which waited until the end of the third graf to state the Republican viewpoint that the package was not fiscally responsible. To hear that view, however, you have to wade through more than a few bleeding heart sentences:
Proving once again in good European form that they think nothing American is democratic, good or fair, Reuters gives us a pity party for CAIR who is whining that they "feel left out" of the 2008 presidential elections. With the headline blaring "Some non-Christians feel left out of election," Reuters gives us a tale of woe guaranteed to make Europeans shake their heads knowingly that we Americans are really just Christian nuts out to oppress all minorities. One does wonder, however, how CAIR would like it if Muslims did become a focus of the 2008 elections? In light of current events it is doubtful if such a focus would be favorable to them, so, were I them, I'd be happy no one is paying attention to them!
In a U.S. election campaign where presidential candidates from both major parties have talked openly about their Christian faith, some non-Christians feel shut out or turned off.
Listen, this is a majority Christian nation and anyone wanting to get elected is naturally going to talk as closely as possible to that majority. This country is still over 75% Christian, so it is a logical presumption that citizens whose religion represents only a few percentage points would not be a focus of a politician's efforts!
Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) talks with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) as they wait for President Bush to deliver the final State of the Union address of his presidency at the Capitol building, January 28, 2008. [Reuters]
Remember that touching picture of Yassar Arafat donating his blood to the 9/11 victims that was conveniently published after CNN ran footage of Palestinians cheering and handing out candy to celebrate the destruction in New York? Now France 2 journalist Charles Enderlin says that photo was staged; Arafat never gave blood.
The photos were taken by an AP photographer with a history of biased journalism and given captions that read like “a press release covering talking points.” Power Line's Scott Johnson reported Enderlin's revelation in a January 24 Weekly Standard article (bold mine throughout):
As Joel Pollak recounted online at the site Guide to the Perplexed [ed. link here], Enderlin told his Harvard audience "that Yasser Arafat had faked his blood donation to the victims of the September 11th attacks. Enderlin said the event had been staged for the media to counteract the embarrassing television images of Palestinians celebrating in the streets after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks."
The Jerusalem Post caught another fauxtography scam out of the mideast this week. It appears that Hamas legislators have staged fake power outages to illustrate how oppressed they are for the benefit of journalists. The Journalists were treated to a photo op of the Hamas legislators sitting in their halls of power surrounded by burning candles in rooms with curtains drawn. The scene was set to show how they have had their power cut by the eeeevil Jews. Only problem is, midday sunlight can clearly be seen against the curtains. So, the candles were unnecessary. All they had to do was open the curtains and they would be able to see just fine. Obviously Reuters (and others) allowed Hamas to manipulate the facts. But that didn't seem to bother any of these so-called journalists who were quite happy to go along.
As NewsBusters has been reporting the past couple of weeks, the media have been lambasting former President Bill Clinton for his atrocious behavior on the campaign trail.
On Friday, the wire service Reuters deliciously jumped on the Bill Bashing Bandwagon.
In an article titled "Bill Clinton Again Wagging Finger, Raising Eyebrows," author Deborah Charles began with a mainstream media lede that would have been unimaginable a few months ago (emphasis added throughout):
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.
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:
Reuters, in its headline for a story reporting the death of Philip Agee, a former CIA agent turned traitor, labeled Agee a "CIA whistle-blower" ("CIA whistle-blower Philip Agee dies in Cuba"). As the blog Little Green Footballs put it, Agee was "the traitor who exposed fellow CIA agents to violence and murder by revealing their names" in his 1975 book "Inside the Company: A CIA Diary."
Agee, who had worked for the CIA for 12 years both in the United States and in Latin America, resigned from the Agency in 1968 after expressing "disagreement with U.S. support for military dictatorships in Latin America." Reuters then went on to say that Agee "became one of the first to blow the whistle on the CIA's activities around the world." He died on Monday in Havana, Cuba, where he had settled in the 1980s.
Just a short note to show how unschooled the editors and writers at Reuters are. In a piece on an ad taken out by "a Jewish human rights group," Reuters called the Simon Wiesenthal Center the Simon ROSENTHAL Center! Nice going, Reuters! I suggest you go check it quick because they will be sure to catch the mistake soon... Jewish group asks U.N. for suicide bombings session
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A week after Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack, a Jewish human rights group has taken out a full page ad in the New York Times on Friday demanding that the United Nations formally address suicide bombings. The ad by the Los Angeles based Simon Rosenthal Center features a picture of Bhutto beneath the words "SUICIDE TERROR: What more will it take for the world to act?" and calls on the United Nations for a special session devoted to the issue.
This is the time of year for lighthearted fluff for most news agencies and it is usually a welcome respite from hard news as we all get ready to celebrate the arrival of "Baby New Year." The year-end list is a staple of that happy, fluff and we get them up the wazoo, for sure. The list of "overused words" is one of those that we see every year, as well, and Reuters gives us a list by which they hope we wring out a few overused words and phrases as we ring in 2008. But, I am a bit dismayed over the choice of two of the words and phrases they want us to forget. The first is "post 9/11"and the other one is "surge." The choice of words and phrases in the case of these particular two seems to be made not only with a left leaning bias, but with a bias that leads to the sort of dangerous ignorance that caused 9/11 and the surge in the first place. The ignorance of head-in-the-sand, looking the other way that allowed Islamofascism so so easily sneak up on all of us is rampant with the inclusion of these two in this list.
The wire service began by deliberately mischaracterizing the Cubans as “migrants” instead of calling them “refugees” or even “passengers.” Labeling them “migrants” ignores Cuba's political and economic straitjacket, and more importantly links Cuban refugees to the issue of illegal immigration.
The media are beginning to call everyone who comes to America with the intent to stay, “migrants,” whether here legally or not, which erases any distinctions. People who are anti-illegal immigration often support Cuban refugees remaining in the US, and linking the two issues can reduce opposition to illegal immigration.
While explaining why the Cubans risked their lives coming to the US, Reuters ignored Castro's totalitarian regime (bold mine throughout):
Between railroad tracks and beneath the roar of departing planes sits "tent city," a terminus for homeless people. It is not, as might be expected, in a blighted city center, but in the once-booming suburbia of Southern California.
The noisy, dusty camp sprang up in July with 20 residents and now numbers 200 people, including several children, growing as this region east of Los Angeles has been hit by the U.S. housing crisis.
The unraveling of the region known as the Inland Empire reads like a 21st century version of "The Grapes of Wrath," John Steinbeck's novel about families driven from their lands by the Great Depression.
As a global warming skeptic, when I saw the headline "The Pope Condemns the Climate Change Prophets of Doom," it goes without saying I was as pleased as a child on Christmas Day that had gotten everything he asked Santa for and then some.
My glee accelerated after reading the marvelous beginning of this Daily Mail article (paragraph break removed for space considerations):
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology. The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.
See why I was so thrilled?
Unfortunately, as I reviewed the text of the Pontiff's message, defeat was stripped from the jaws of victory upon realizing the Mail's author had divined intent that might have been absent from the Pope's words:
On December 10, Ontario teenager Aqsa Parvez was murdered by her father, allege Canadian investigators, over her refusal to wear the hijab, the traditional head scarf worn by Muslim women. The story has caught fire on the Web, particularly among bloggers interested in news pertaining to radical Islam.
As horrifying as the story is, it was only given five paragraphs on page A23 of the December 12 Washington Post, and that from a Reuters story. What's more, Post editors served up readers a bland headline that failed to hint that a religious reason was behind the violence: "Canadian Teen Dies; Father Is Charged."
Better stow all potables and sharp objects, for the ratings of America's top four broadcast networks are so bad that one is giving refunds to advertisers while the other three are offering what is known in the industry as "make-goods."
Even better, the problem began before the writers strike.
Honestly, you can't make this stuff up.
As deliciously reported by Reuters moments ago (emphasis added):
As detailed here, "Abu Omar al-Baghdadi" was long-ago outed as a figment of al Qaeda-in-Iraq's imagination, a transparent attempt to give a home-grown flavor to the foreign-controlled AQI operation by claiming that the non-existent Baghdadi, supposedly an Iraqi, was AQI's leader.
I'll be live-blogging the press conference (mostly just the questions from the journalists as we're focused on the bias) and if a video update is warranted, we'll post one shortly after the conference concludes:
10:44 closes press conference, leaves podium.
10:41: Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, says reading Bush's body language he can tell he's "somewhat dispirited." Then he says "the facts have failed you" on things he's telling the American people. Quotes Harry Reid. "Are you feeling troubled... credibility gap?"
10:37: unid'd reporter "Wolf" asks about if Bush's personal relationship with the Democrats in Congress is affecting getting legislation through.
10:35: another unid'd reporter named "Wolf" asks Bush to react to 2008 U.S. presidential race
10:35: reporter asks if he discussed Russian elections with Putin
10:33: unidentified reporter asks Bush if in his conversation with Putin if he asked him to not sell uranium to Iran.
10:30: Baier, Fox News: "What does the vote in Venezuela mean for the U.S.? .... What's your reaction to Chavez opponents winning?"
There's little the MSM likes more than to report the latest thing that's bad for us. Today's news brings a double-header of doom: night shifts and salt.
First, the AP reports that the UN's World Health Organization will soon list working the night shift "as a 'probable' cause of cancer."
Then Reuters informs us that the Center for Science in the Public Interest, arguing that excessive salt in Americans' diets is a major factor in high blood pressure and increases risk for heart disease, is urging stricter regulation of salt by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The surveyor will see you now Journalist and Pollster (Either Or)
As an increasing number of Americans exhibit knowledge of and confidence in the success of the surge in Iraq, pollsters seeking a gloomier picture have turned to their single most reliable focus group for bad news. They have in fact skipped the middle men and women and gone to its very font: the media.
Nearly 90 percent of U.S. journalists in Iraq say much of Baghdad is still too dangerous to visit, despite a recent drop in violence attributed to the build-up of U.S. forces, a (Pew Research Center) poll released on Wednesday said.
One wonders if this is the same 90% of correspondents who admitted to voting for President Bill Clinton twice; certainly a great deal of overlap exists between the two polling samples.
Wash, spin, rinse, spin. Phone, spin, report, spin, poll, spin. The similarities between the work of the mainstream media and a laundry machine are striking. Yet there is nothing about the cycle -- the spin-report-poll-spin cycle -- that does for political events what detergent does for your boxers or briefs.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.