The Iraqis have approved their new constitution, but the AP is not real happy about it. Look how quickly they go from good news to bad news in this report:
Draft Constitution Adopted by Iraq Voters
Iraq's constitution was adopted by a majority in a fair vote during the country's Oct. 15 referendum, as Sunni Arab opponents failed to muster enough support to defeat it, election officials said Tuesday. A prominent Sunni politician called the balloting "a farce."
The U.S. military also announced the deaths of two Marines in fighting with insurgents last week in Baghdad, bringing the number of American service members killed in the war to 1,999.
It's almost as though they used the news of the vote as an excuse to rerun the combat death numbers.
In "Bushies Feeling the Boss' Wrath" Thomas M. DeFrank, the New York Daily News Washington bureau chief portrays President Bush as "frustrated, sometimes angry, and even bitter" of late.
And in case you don't get DeFrank's drift from his litany of setbacks for the Bush administration interspersed with anonymous administration sources, the editors at the Daily News were kind enough to offer this unflattering photo of the President, available here.
You'll note the filename 906-w_scowl.jpg. I guess the first 905 takes just wouldn't do?
The way to the media’s heart is to take jabs at Wal-Mart – JibJabs, that is. JibJab.com, the maker of several popular political videos, unleashed an assault on the nation’s biggest retailer that one CNN journalist called “priceless” and another called “hilarious.”
CNN was especially friendly to the team of Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, dwelling on the video in two separate programs. CNN’s Money.com Managing Editor Alan Wastler even called the video company “our friends at JibJab” during the October 22 “In the Money” show. Not to be outdone, anchor Jack Cafferty said, “I love those guys.”
That was how CNN led into a clip of the anti-Wal-Mart attack that features a potbellied shopper filling first a cart and then a house with mountains of retail “crap.” CNN pointed viewers to the video by naming JibJab one of its recommended “Funsites.”
Early a.m. radio blog from the doughnut shop. You have to hand it to NPR and the BBC. Biased they may be, but they are also superb reporting organizations.
This morning, about 4:00 a.m. Eastern time (an hour ago as I write), the BBC ran a long, uninterrupted interview with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. One delicious exchange occurred. After eliciting a highly satisfying put-down of the United States and George Bush from Chavez ("He has emotional problems. We need a new American President..."), the BBC interviewer found his next question blocked by an insistent statement from Chavez (from memory):
Chavez: I am friends with one U.S. representative.
The results of a recent poll by Zogby International were just released, and they show President Bush’s job approval back to where it was in July well before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans:
“President Bush, his job approval rating beleaguered by poor marks in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, rebounded from historic lows this summer to 45% in Zogby International’s latest poll, with job approval numbers bumping back up into the range where they have hovered for most of his second term.
“The survey also found that, while voters do not give the President passing marks on his handling of the Iraq War, half (50%) believe the recently-passed Iraqi constitution is a major step in the right direction for the strife-torn nation that will lead to peace and democracy."
And, Americans are starting to feel better about where the country is heading:
“Bush’s bounce appears to be tied to overall perception of the nation’s direction; three weeks ago, just 40% said the nation was on the right track. This number now stands at 45%.”
Yet, maybe most fascinating about the right-track/wrong-track numbers is their strict partisanship:
“The trend is even more pronounced along party lines. While Republicans are overwhelmingly optimistic about the nation’s direction, with 75% saying the nation is on the right track, among Democrats, this drops to 17%. Independents lag behind the national average at 42%.”
Roe is quickly becoming legally irrelevant. The number of abortions in the United States has fallen dramatically in the last two decades ...
"Fallen dramatically"? Let's look at the same numbers (link) that Planned Parenthood sees, per the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI). In 1985, there were a reported 1,588,600 abortions. In June of this year, AGI reported that there were about 1,290,000 abortions in 2002 (the most recent data available (pdf file)). That is a difference of approximately 18.8%. Is that really "dramatic"?
John Dean, former counsel to president Richard M. Nixon, wrote a column for FindLaw yesterday that is an absolute must read. In it, he gave a thorough analysis of the issues facing special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, while indirectly discrediting the parade of media representatives who have declared in the past couple of weeks that chief White House aide Karl Rove, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, will be indicted next week.
The crux of his argument is that unless Libby and or Rove perjured themselves or suborned perjury, it would be difficult to prove that their actions were not in the interest of national security:
“It is difficult to envision Patrick Fitzgerald prosecuting anyone, particularly Vice President Dick Cheney, who believed they were acting for reasons of national security. While hindsight may find their judgment was wrong, and there is no question their tactics were very heavy-handed and dangerous, I am not certain that they were acting from other than what they believed to be reasons of national security. They were selling a war they felt needed to be undertaken.
“In short, I cannot imagine any of them being indicted, unless they were acting for reasons other than national security. Because national security is such a gray area of the law, come next week, I can see this entire investigation coming to a remarkable anti-climax, as Fitzgerald closes down his Washington Office and returns to Chicago.
“In short, I think the frenzy is about to end -- and it will not go any further.”
On Friday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Lee Cowan filed a story on Congressman Tom DeLay's appearance in a Texas courtroom, which on some counts was balanced, but which glaringly highlighted a Replublican critic of Tom DeLay who referred to him as a "hog." Although Fort Bend Star publisher Beverly Carter has been a longtime critic of DeLay who even endorsed his opponent in last year's election, Cowan simply referred to her as a "Republican precinct chairwoman," thus giving her credibility as a typical local Republican leader.
The story began with Cowan relaying DeLay's criticisms of Judge Bob Perkins for links to the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org, followed by a soundbite of DeLay accusing prosecutor Ronnie Earle of abusing his power. Cowan then proceeded to highlight "some Republicans who aren't buying it" and showed a couple of soundbites from Carter without conveying her anti-DeLay history to provide context. Notably, according to an article in the New York Times that ran on April 17 of this year, Carter admitted to having "got crosswise" with DeLay eight years earlier over his involvement in a local election for sheriff. Cowan did at least provide some balance by next highlighting a woman who "runs a neighborhood program for foster children that DeLay and his wife started years ago" and noted that he is "still plenty popular" in the district. Still, the failure to properly identify Carter gives an impression of greater Republican division in the district than perhaps really exists. A complete transcript of the Friday October 21 story, anchored by Bob Schieffer, follows:
Based on these internal e-mails, it looks like some editors at the Washington Post dead tree edition aren't very happy that the web version of the Post is doing well.
The web version, apparently, is outside their control. It's also growing -- one editor frets it has more readers than the paper version -- and is making money, besides.
More info on the angst is available here.
I’m sick of always saying "my Muslim contact," so from now on I will refer to him as “Alex.” It’s vague enough to keep him protected from the wrath of Islam, and given what he continues to tell the non-Islam world about Islam intentions, he needs protecting.
Alex doesn’t live in America. His observations come from a childhood raised in Islam, carefully studying us from a distant vantage point and applying a genius-level IQ to define what he sees; and what he sees is a nation on the brink, and an enemy ready to shove.
Media Matters, the liberal organization whose stated objective is in "monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation," chided the New York Times (in this post) for failing to identify a "heckler" at a Senate hearing as a former U.S. diplomat. Mary Ann Wright, the former diplomat, reportedly stood up from the audience at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday (October 19, 2005) and shouted at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Media Matters innocently indicated that Wright was a former senior diplomat and former Army colonel who resigned in protest from her diplomat job in 2003 over the Iraq war.
Wright's identity, however, extends well beyond that of a former official in forceful disagreement with the Bush administration. In August 2005, Mary Ann Wright was the "main coordinator" of Camp Casey, Cindy Sheehan's high-profile demonstration outside President Bush's Crawford ranch. In an interview on the far-left show Democracy Now, Wright described setting up "field operations" for the protest, a reference to her days in the Army. "Longtime diplomat Ann Wright is running Camp Casey," reported the show's web site.
It's nothing to do with political bias, but I think PC Magazine columnist John Dvorak's latest column makes an interesting allegation: that the technology media favor Apple products over Windows-based ones. Here's an excerpt:
With 90 percent of the mainstream writers being Mac users, what would
you expect? The top columnists in the news and business magazines fit
this model too. The technology writers fit this model. The tech writers
and tech columnists for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and Fortune
are all Mac users. I could list them by name, but I'd hate to leave one
out. Maybe I'll blog them by name. I could list 50. Readers should thus
not be surprised by the overcoverage of Apple Computer. Every time
Steve Jobs sneezes there is a collective chorus of "Gesundheit" from
tech writers pounding away on their Macs. [...]
What's bad for Microsoft is that the bias against it is subtle—kind of
like any sort of media bias, whether religious or political. As one
critic once said regarding the supposed left-wing slant of the daily
news media, "It's not what they write, it's what they write ABOUT that
matters." Story selection. Microsoft can roll out a dozen cool
products, and the media goes ga-ga over the video iPod—a rather
late-to-market Apple product.
Is Dvorak right or wrong? Please keep the flames to a minimum.
One of the few pieces of major legislation that has recently passed with overwhelming support from both parties was the bankruptcy reform bill, signed into law by President George Bush in April. While a bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress endorsed the bill, the media have lamented the new law’s reforms.
Journalists on NBC, CBS, and ABC have called Chapter 7 bankruptcy a “safety net,” a “new lease on life,” and “a fresh start.” In contrast, as one interviewee put it, there’s “a special place in hell” for those who crafted the reform bill. While not every story took such a hyperbolic tone, the media used the victims of Hurricane Katrina to lobby against a reform they didn’t particularly like.
The networks showed roughly the same interest in bankruptcy after Katrina as they did when the bill was in Congress. The Free Market Project analyzed network news stories between April 1 and October 17, finding six full stories in the weeks surrounding the bill’s passage. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction, as the new law’s effective date approached, the media coverage was seven full stories. The recent stories tied the victims’ welfare to the “obvious choice … to file bankruptcy,” as NBC’s Alexis Glick put it on the October 10 “Today” show.
James O. Clifford, Sr., a retired reporter and editor with UPI and the Associated Press, has an interesting guest column, "Cardinal Law Was Looking For Media Sin In The Wrong Places," in this month's edition of the conservative Catholic magazine, New Oxford Review. Clifford argues that while the national media have rightfully reported aggressively on systemic abuses and coverups among the Catholic hierarchy regarding priestly sexual abuse of children, the media have played down similar concerns within the teaching profession about nationwide problems with student-teacher sexual misconduct in American public schools.
The article can be found teased here, featuring the first five paragraphs. There is a $1.50 charge for reading the full article.
It took ABC Radio's Martha Raddatz only two sentences to report the vote on the Iraqi constitution. In the first, Raddatz allowed as how the referendum probably passed. In the second, Raddatz said (my memory),
"It cannot be denied, however, that thousands and thousands of Sunnis will be living under an Iraqi government they did not want."
Yes, Martha, in elections, that's the way it works. One side wins and one side loses.
In the midst of the recent controversy surrounding Harriet Miers' political leanings, the media seems to have come to its own comfortable determination that Miers is a suitable candidate for the Supreme Court.
In this story by Donald Lambro for the Washington Times, several Republican chairmen are quoted as saying they believe their constituents support Miers. What I want to know is the last time a party chair said, "Yeah, my constituents agree, our president doesn't know what he's doing." This is news? And what about the conservative megasite, Townhall.com's recent poll, that said 86% of the site's viewers don't like Miers? I'm not great at math, but something isn't adding up.
National Black Justice Coalition president and gay activist Keith Boykin was prevented from speaking at yesterday’s Millions More Movement March in Washington, DC. As Boykin was walking to the podium, he was at the last second turned away.
Oddly, this controversy has gone largely unreported. A Google-search suggested the only mainstream outlet that covered this was the Washington Post, though they buried the article on page A16.
At the heart of the conflict is Rev. Willie F. Wilson, the march’s national executive director who apparently made some disparaging remarks about lesbians this summer.
“This is what happened today. After I arrived at the VIP tent shortly after 8 in the morning, my colleague Donna Payne spoke directly to Rev. Willie Wilson backstage, and he informed her that no one from the National Black Justice Coalition would be speaking today. Donna told Rev. Wilson that he was violating our agreement, and Wilson replied that the agreement was void because the Coalition had not responded by Friday. That was not true.”
For those unfamiliar with Boykin, this is a Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School graduate who was part of President Clinton's trade delegation to Zimbabwe in 1997 along with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, and Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater.