A Reuters story written by reporter Vicki Allen begins as follows: "Top U.S. Republican lawmakers on Tuesday called for a congressional investigation into leaks of information used by The Washington Post in an article on the CIA's secret global prison system
Today in Paris, the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF) issued a fatwa, or religious decree, against the participation of Muslims in the 10 days of rioting and arson in France. Typical of the mainstream media coverage of this action, is this report from Reuters:
“One of France's largest Islamic groups issued a fatwa against rioting on Sunday after officials suggested Muslim militants could be partly to blame for violent protests scarring poor neighbourhoods around the country.
“The Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF) quoted the Koran and the Prophet Mohammad to back up the religious edict condemning the disorder and destruction the unrest caused.
“Many rioters are of North African Arab and black African descent and assumed to be Muslims. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and other officials have hinted Islamist militants may be manipulating angry teenagers to defy the French state.”
There was a lot of media excitement today surrounding the rare “closed session” called in the Senate by Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada). In fact, a Google news search identified 684 articles and postings on the subject. For example, Reuters reported:
“Democrats forced the Senate into a rare closed session on Tuesday to protest what they decried as the Republican-led body's inattention to intelligence failures on Iraq and the leak of a CIA operative's identity.
“Invoking a little used rule, Democrats temporarily shut down television cameras in the chamber, cleared galleries of reporters, tourists and other onlookers, forced removal of staff members and recording devices and stopped work on legislation.”
MSNBC, with the assistance of the Associated Press, even reported this event as a huge win for the Democrats, with a sub-headline, “Following unusual closed Senate session, Democrats claim victory.”
Yet, from what I can tell, there was little if any discussion by most media outlets including Reuters, MSNBC, and AP concerning how rarely this rule is invoked, and under what circumstances in American history it has been employed.
Remember all those media predictions about the toxic nature of the floodwaters in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina? Well, it appears that much like their prognostications of casualties, how long it was going to take to drain the city, and the likely devastation to America’s economy, this too was an extraordinary exaggeration.
Here’s a sampling of the press opinions concerning this water made shortly after Katrina hit:
ABC News reported on September 6: "Thousands of hurricane survivors who spent hours trapped in or wading through floodwaters likely exposed themselves to a wide range of bacteria and other contaminants.”
Reuters reported on September 7: “The brew of chemicals and human waste in the New Orleans floodwaters will have to be pumped into the Mississippi River or Lake Pontchartrain, raising the specter of an environmental disaster on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, experts say.”
The Christian Science Monitor reported on September 8: “Chemicals leaking from cars and factories will cause one of costliest environmental cleanups ever.”
Our friends at the American Thinker have found a fabulous piece about falsified Iraq war propaganda at a British website called Sir Humphrey’s. What SH has identified is a series of pictures of “insurgents” in Iraq taken by an Associated Press and Reuters photographer that clearly appear to have been posed or set up. Even better, the same posed vignettes became part of a BBC report about violence in Iraq.
The print media is set to have a field day with William Bennett's comments regarding an outlandish book. (Touched on earlier on Newsbusters by Brent Baker and Dave Pierre.)
Reuters leads off with: "The White House on Friday criticized as 'not appropriate' a comment from former Education Secretary William Bennett that aborting black babies would reduce the U.S. crime rate."
ABC News (running an AP article), leads off with the title: Bennett: Black Abortions Would Lower Crime."
The letter from Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger called on Warner to raise widespread media concerns about the conduct of U.S. troops with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is due to testify to the committee on Thursday.
Schlesinger referred to "a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by U.S. forces in Iraq."
He urged Warner to demand that Rumsfeld resolve these issues "in a way that best balances the legitimate security interests of the U.S. forces in Iraq and the equally legitimate rights of journalists in conflict zones under international law"...
Wilking's pictureDid Reuters photographer Rick Wilking falsely imply that President Bush asked permission to go to the restroom during his trip to the United Nations?
Yesterday, as I noted here at NewsBusters, Wilking took a picture ("destined to become one of the most joked about photos of the month" in the words of Editor & Publisher) of a note allegedly being written by President Bush. Here is the caption which Reuters assigned to the photo according to Yahoo News:
U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war.
With the caption worded as it is, the casual observer (including me last night) is very likely to conclude that Bush was asking Rice for leave to go to the men's room.
Back during the Clinton years, we often heard liberal reporters state that the press and public should stay out of a president's personal life. Fast-forward seven years later to today at the UN when Reuters News Service photographer Rick Wilking snapped a picture of a note President Bush was writing to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which stated: "I think I may need a bathroom break? Is this possible."
As reported here yesterday, the Associated Press thoroughly misrepresented and understated better than expected inflation data that was released by the Labor Department. Today, Reuters botched a report released by the Commerce Department concerning retail sales:
“U.S. retail sales dropped by a larger-than-expected 2.1 percent in August, the sharpest drop in almost four years, after car purchases collapsed from July's near-record level, government data showed on Wednesday.”
Unfortunately, Reuters chose not to inform its readers that the drop in car sales was expected for a number of reasons. First, July was a blowout month for automakers due to huge incentives. Second, August is historically a bad month for the car industry as it prepares to rollout the new model year in September.
On September 3, a question was asked here: “How Will Hurricane-Related Halliburton Contract Be Reported?” Yesterday, Reuters answered this with an article entitled “Firms With Bush Ties Snag Katrina Deals.”
“Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President George W. Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.
“One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.”
A lot of focus was given to Vice President Cheney in this article:
Reuters News Service left little to the imagination of its readers as to who they believe is responsible for the death's associated with Hurricane Katrina. The story, "New Orleans collects dead as officials dodge blame" reads more like an opinion piece than it does a news report.
The opening paragraph is about as sneering and partisan as I have ever seen: "New Orleans began the gruesome task of collecting its thousands of dead on Sunday as the Bush administration tried to save face after its botched rescue plans left the city at the mercy of Hurricane Katrina."
The president was described by his doctors in his annual physical as being in "superior" condition for a man his age.
He takes pride in his six-day-a-week workout regimen and last week he showcased the statistics on his heart rate monitor for a group of reporters who rode with him. The monitor showed he burned 1,493 calories in a two-hour ride, also 17 miles.
When is a baby a baby? Apparently for the media not when in the womb, even if that child is "planned and wanted" as former Clinton Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders was wont of saying. Reporting on the recent birth of Susan Anne Catherine Torres, the daughter of Virginia woman Susan Torres, who suffered a stroke resulting in brain death in May, CBS Early Show correspondents used medical jargon to refer to baby Susan when she was as yet unborn:
CBS The Early Show 3 August 2005 (Wednesday)
Julie Chen, co-host, from Los Angeles studio: "In Virginia, a remarkable delivery, as we noted, a woman who had been brain dead for nearly three months gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday. CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras reports."
Thalia Assuras, narrating taped video, the opening seconds of which were not heard: "...May, the day before Mother's Day, but even in death, the 26-year old gave life again Tuesday by Caesarean section, to one pound thirteen ounce namesake Susan Anne Catherine Torres, a sister for brother Peter."
Jason Torres, husband: "I just hope they see it as the last beautiful act from their mother."
Assuras: "Husband Jason Torres spoke to CBS News in June about his decision to maintain his wife on life support at the Virginia Hospital Center at Arlington, Virginia, until the fetus reached viability. The minimum of 24 weeks in the womb for survivability was surpassed in July."
CBS News isn't alone. The Associated Press and Reuters (yeah, the same guys who call terrorists "militants"), also insisted on the term fetus to describe baby Susan when she was yet unborn.