The Associated Press imagines itself a “news” organization. Ordinarily, “news” does not convey opinion, but only facts… at least that’s the ideal. That being the general understanding of what comprises news, it is interesting when we at Newsbusters find odd bits of opinion encased inside any particular AP “news” story. But, it is really odd to find a story that is predicated almost entirely on opinion. Such is the case with the AP’s ”Frozen federal tax on gasoline leading to more toll roads, higher state fuel taxes”, a story that bemoans the fact that Federal gasoline taxes have stayed stagnant for 14 years.
Why is the AP worried about stagnant Federal gas taxes? Because the “falling” revenue prevents high spending on roads and bridges by the states. The AP worries that “A cash crunch is fast approaching for the government trust fund that pays to build and repair highways and bridges” and broadly hints that the taxes must be raised to save our roads.
Well before the Media Research Center was conceived in 1987, the Gipper was watching the media's liberal biases and recording his "frustration with the press," Allen noted:
One of the dominant themes is his frustration with the press.
April 22, 1982: “Last night CBS did a special 1 hour documentary (Bill Moyers) on 4 cases of poverty and illness they laid to our ec. program. It was a thoroughly dishonest, demagogic, cheap shot.”
March 11, 1983: “Lou Cannon’s story in the Washington Post. It was a vicious series of falsehoods and I was mad as h—l.” (The lead of the front-page story, written with David Hoffman, was: “The resignation of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Anne M. Burford was carefully orchestrated by White House and other administration officials who had to persuade a ‘stubborn and defiant’ President Reagan, as well as Burford, that her departure was politically essential, administration sources said yesterday.”)
Oct. 30, 1983: “Watched the Sunday talk shows – subject Lebanon & Grenada. The press is trying to give this the Vietnam treatment but I don’t think the people will buy it. They’re still whining because we didn’t take them on a guided tour the 1st day we were on Grenada. No mention of the fact that we’ve flown 180 of them onto the Island today.”
It's quite rare for President Bush to lecture reporters, but he did it Thursday morning to British reporters in a Rose Garden press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. When reporters for Sky News and BBC tried to suggest strongly that Blair was the lamest of ducks, President Bush upbraided them for "trying to do a tap dance on this political grave" and said Blair is a solid, respected leader, unlike some political players (in the press?): "There's a lot of blowhards in the political process, a lot of hot air artists, people who've got something fancy to say."
After reporter Adam Boulton of Sky News pressed Bush if he's "partly to blame" for Blair retiring, a reporter for the program BBC Newsnight really stirred up the president:
QUESTION: Mr. Blair, you outlined some very big policy areas there in your discussions with the president. Is it really possible, do you think, to make significant progress on them in the time that you have left? And, Mr. President, if I could ask you: Is this really still the right man to be talking to?
I want my MTV! Somewhere a soldier or sailor in Iraq or Afghanistan is probably thinking that today. According to the AP, on May 14, the Department of Defense blocked “worldwide” the US troops who use its networks and computers from accessing 12 popular websites that include, YouTube, MTV, MySpace, Blackplanet and Photobucket. The Defense Deparmene which the DoD said“take up a large amount of bandwidth, and others that can open up department computers to hackers and viruses.” (emphasis mine throughout)
US Forces Korea Commander (USFK) Gen. B.B. Bell explained in a memo sent out Friday that the new policy will not impact the military's ability to send and receive email, but the “Department of Defense has a growing concern regarding our unclassified DoD Internet, known as the NIPRNET. The Commander of DoD's Joint Task Force, Global Network Operations has noted a significant increase in the use of DoD network resources tied up by individuals visiting certain recreational Internet sites.”
David German, the AP movie writer, reported that notorious liberal bomb-thrower and fact-fudger, Michael Moore “is under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department for taking ailing Sept. 11 rescue workers to Cuba for a segment in his upcoming health-care documentary 'Sicko.' " The May 10 article seemed very matter of fact, but Moore and his movies were presented from the perspective that the filmmaker is controversial but accurate and is persecuted by his “adversaries.”
The AP indicated that the Treasury Department is investigating Moore because he did not follow the law. The AP obtained a copy of a letter, dated May 2, sent by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which informed Moore that it was investigating potential violations of the US trade embargo which restricts US travel to Cuba. According to an unnamed source affiliated with “Sicko,” this past February, Moore took ill Ground Zero workers to Cuba for “treatment” (my use of irony quotes because Cuba used new and unproven procedures. Emphasis mine throughout):
"This office has no record that a specific license was issued authorizing you to engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba," Dale Thompson, OFAC chief of general investigations and field operations, wrote in the letter to Moore.
... long live citizen journalism!
I ran across this article from the Guardian last week on Lightstalkers, and didn't really get a chance to sit down and read it through until this morning.
Is photography really dead? Andrew Brown, an accomplished English journalist in his own right, says it is. He points to the ease-of-use of modern photographic equipment, and lamenting the fact that it is "so easy" for the Everyman to take a photograph now, claims that the overall quality of pictorial stock is in decline.
In some ways, Andrew seems to be on the right track. It is infinitely easier to take a photograph today than it was, say, 50 years ago. The equipment necessary to take high-quality photographs even through the 1970s was cumbersome, difficult to use, and required a great attention to detail in order to get a professional picture. Of course, the Polaroid camera existed back then for the amateurs, so it's not like "easy to use" is really all that new.
Following the election of conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy to France's presidency, there have been a series of riots from angry protesters upset at his victory. Unfortunately, it's a little hard to know much about the rioters due to the French government's passing a law that makes it a crime to report on riots unless you are a professional journalist:
The French Constitutional Council has
approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of
violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could
lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police
violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French
civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.
The council chose an unfortunate anniversary to publish its decision
approving the law, which came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police
officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer George
Holliday on the night of March 3, 1991. The officers’ acquittal at the
end on April 29, 1992 sparked riots in Los Angeles.
When it comes to the subject of global warming, is science being sacrificed on the altar of political activism? Yes, says the German magazine Der Spiegel (h/t Glenn) in a report that sounds strangely familiar. It's funny how many on the left are now complaining that we "rushed to war" in Iraq are now rushing to implement far more expensive and economy-destroying programs on the subject of global warming--with far less certitude of success. The irony is further compounded when you consider that the main person leading this rush is the guy who would have been president had George Bush not won in 2000.
No United Nations organization currently dominates the headlines as much -- or is as controversial -- as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Critics call the panel politically one-sided and its reports alarmist. Its defenders say the opposite is true. The IPCC will publish its third report on Friday. [...]
There is hardly a newspaper article and hardly a TV or radio program that doesn't conjure up images of "climate catastrophe," prophesy floods of gigantic proportions, droughts and hunger. Indeed, the media have developed something akin to a complete apocalyptic program.
It's the fault of the media, of course, but not exclusively. It's also the fault of a new hero, an environmental activist who likes to introduce himself by saying: "Hello, I was once the next President of the United States of America."
Apparently the entire Republican party has lost its collective mind, as is evidenced by the fact that the GOP's presidential candidates agreed to let a partisan, liberal hatchet-man like Chris Matthews run their first national debate on Thursday evening. Along for the ride were John Harris and Jim VandeHei of The Politico.com, who's questions actually made Matthews' blatantly anti-rightwing interrogatives seem almost unbiased in comparison.
The ten politicians who showed up for the event were Mitt Romney, Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Tommy Thompson, John McCain, Ron Pail, Rudy Giuliani and Tom Tancredo, and before the night was over, none of them had managed to avoid being rhetorically shivved by at least one of the three questioners. Of course, the candidates had nobody but themselves to blame for the shameful, 90-minute display.
Over the past few days, Gates of Vienna discussed a very troubling story about Finnish blogger Mikko Ellila, “who has been summoned by the police for a hearing next week, all because of the content of his blog posts.” Mikko posts in Finnish but contacted several people in English about this, such as the Australian blogger Prodos, who owns the site that hosts the potentially criminal blog. Mikko explained to Prodos why he is going to be questioned by Finnish police:
According to the letter, I am suspected of “hate speech” merely because I have pointed out that Islam is a fascist ideology that advocates killing Jews, atheists, homosexuals etc.
Fellow Finnish blogger Vasarahammer explained more about Mikko's problem:
In case you haven't heard, the entire Senate Democratic caucus sent a letter to the Washington Post complaining about a column that David Broder, the paper's respected moderate liberal columnist wrote criticizing Democratic leader Harry Reid for saying the Iraq war is "lost."
We've talked about it quite a bit here at NB (here and here for some of our coverage) but today's New York Sun makes a point worth posting today:
"The episode illuminates how thin-skinned and intolerant the left is in this country of a press corps that is anything less than completely pliant. It began with the Democratic presidential candidates refusing to participate in a presidential debate that would be aired on the Fox News Channel, a network so reflexively right-wing that its regular paid contributors include Michael Dukakis's campaign manager Susan Estrich, National Public Radio's Mara Liasson, and the 2006 Democratic candidate for Senate in Tennessee, Harold Ford Jr. First they came for Fox News Channel, then they came for David Broder."
That's exactly right. The problem Broder is encountering is that even though he is a liberal, the fact that he has crossed the far left on its most important agenda item (surrendering in Iraq) has made him anathema. Same with Joe Lieberman.
The first regular episode of the latest incarnation of Bill Moyers Journal on PBS featured Comedy Central host Jon Stewart (recently hailed by Moyers as "the Mark Twain of our day") mocking Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for appearing to be a "low-functioning pinhead" and comparing the Bush administration to the mobster characters in the movie Goodfellas. He suggested the White House press corps was a joke, suggesting they're the Washington Generals to Bush's Harlem Globetrotters: "the government is just you know, blowing the doors off the media."
First, the "Daily Show" fake anchor expressed amazement on the Friday night show that Gonzales would be so willing to look foolish and wildly incompetent so that Congress would fail in its attempt to impose oversight:
I haven't had time to read the entire
79 pages of the Army's new OPSEC guidelines, which apparently cover
uniformed personnel as well as civilian contractors and family members,
however I have read this piece and it is cause for concern if some of Noah's characterizations are correct.
U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending
personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a
superior officer, Wired News has learned. The directive, issued April
19, is the sharpest restriction on troops' online activities since the
start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs,
observers say. [...]
On Tuesday, well known Bush hater Frank Rich appeared on liberal Stephanie Miller radio show. (Miller is being given a test run this week on MSNBC in the departed Don Imus’ spot.) Proving that there’s nothing the New York Times columnist can’t use to slam the President, Rich attacked Bush for not telling jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner and members of the media for not rebelling against it:
Frank Rich: "The, uh, the general play where Bush stand up and says he is not going to do his usual comedy routine because of Virginia Tech, that’s outrageous and the press sits there and applauds."
Frank Rich is from Venus; NewsBusters is from Mars.
NewsBusters documents the way that, day-in and day-out, the MSM slants its coverage against conservative principles in general and the Bush administration in particular. Frank Rich looks at the same coverage and complains that the press is too Bush-friendly.
In his p.p.v. New York Times column of today, All the President’s Press, Rich takes the occasion of the recent White House correspondents dinner to complain "how easily a propaganda-driven White House can enlist the Washington news media."
The press has enabled stunts from the manufactured threat of imminent “mushroom clouds” to “Saving Private Lynch” to “Mission Accomplished,” whose fourth anniversary arrives on Tuesday.
No one in the Bush administration ever spoke of "imminent mushroom clouds." Rich flatly misstates the truth. Lynch's criticism of the way the military presented her story was all over the MSM this week. And how incalculably many times over the last few years has the MSM run mocking coverage of President Bush's "Mission Accomlished" moment?
For those that have forgotten, in September, Broder wrote about “vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the left.”
Months later, as California Democrats gathered in San Diego at their annual convention – with their presidential candidates present and accounted for – an anonymous strategist had rather unflattering things to say about bloggers on the left side of the political aisle (h/t Hot Air, emphasis added):
Do you remember that Washington Post guy who somehow managed to wiggle himself into the Scooter Libby trial? Well it looks as though someone from NBC has managed to sneak himself into another high-profile trial:
The murder trial of famed record
producer Phil Spector is set to open this Wednesday in a downtown Los
Angeles courtroom. The legendary rock and roll music producer is
charged with killing actress Lana Clarkston at his Alhambra mansion
February 3rd 2003.
presiding Judge, Larry Paul Fidler, has agreed that cameras will be
allowed in the courtroom and the trial will be televised. Judge Fidler
said that he believed it was time to be able move on from the OJ
Simpson murder trial. "We have to get by that case," he said. "There's
going to come a timethat it will be commonplace to televise trials. If
it had not been for Simpson, we'd be there now," Fidler concluded.
In a typical move, Europeans want to ban something they don’t like. In an English-language article, the Danish Heise Online reported several members of the European Parliament, which is the elected body of the European Union, will submit a draft of a declaration next week that “calls on providers in somewhat vague language to make provisions against "hate pages" part of their standard terms and conditions” with the ultimate goal to “banish racism and hate propaganda from the Internet altogether. This is the same environment in which publishing the satirical Jyllands-Posten Mohammad cartoons (images here)was considered an act of Islamophobia, and therefore hate speech. The draft specifically mentions Islamophobia in the preamble, which would likely mean that anti-terrorism sites like Little Green Footballs,the Brussels Journal and Melanie Phillips, publisher of the book, Londonistan could be labeled "hate speech" (emphasis mine throughout):
The ultimate object of the push by five EU Members of Parliament, Glyn Ford and Claude Moraes of the UK's Labour Party, the Hungarian Liberal Party member Viktoria Mohacsi and the two German European Members of Parliament Bern Posselt (Christian Social Union; CSU) and Feleknas Uca (The Left Party), is to banish racism and hate propaganda from the Internet altogether. The preamble to the declaration mentions anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anti-Romany campaigns. Should the providers refuse to act more forcefully the five initiators of the declaration have vowed to pressure the European Commission into drafting appropriate legislation (the article includes links to the politicians' websites).
A few sources, not the least of which is Michael Barone, are reporting that the Democrats are ignoring important Iraq briefings conducted by General David Petraeus in an apparent effort to stymie efforts in Iraq. It is well known that they are not supportive of the troops in Iraq and the president's "surge" plan they are currently conducting, but whether they like the plan or not, to skip these briefings is an act of blatant negligence that borders on the criminal. So where is the MSM's outrage? Why are we not being told of this Democrat negligence?
To bolster their hypothetical link between concealed carry and workplace violence, Brady Campaign references a paper published by researchers from the University of North Carolina:
As a result of the NRA’s shall-issue laws, companies that have not taken affirmative steps to keep guns out of the workplace and off company property have faced an increased risk of workplace violence. Indeed, a study published in May 2005 in the American Journal of Public Health concluded:
“[W]orkplaces where guns were specifically permitted were 5 to 7 times more likely to be the site of a worker homicide relative to those where all weapons were prohibited.”1
In Fall 2005, Brady Campaign published a report called Forced Entry: The National Rifle Association’s Campaign To Force Business To Accept Guns At Work. It includes the term “CCW” 17 times by the end of page 1 and contains an appendix entitled “CCW License Holders: “Law-Abiding Citizens?”1 This makes it reasonable to infer that this report is just as much an attempt to condemn right-to-carry as it is an argument against permitting qualified employees to bear arms to or at work.
Citing Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, Brady implies that workplace violence is at epidemic levels. It notes:
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos grilled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys on Wednesday, telling him that “something does seem fishy here,” suggesting that the Bush White House was punishing U.S. Attorneys who were not pursuing a GOP-friendly agenda.
But as a White House spokesman back in 1993, Stephanopoulos faced exactly the same question over President Clinton’s decision to fire U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens along with the other 92 U.S. Attorneys. “There is also a tradition of permitting prosecutors to remain on cases until current cases are completed,” a reporter told Stephanopoulos in a March 25, 1993 briefing. Referring to the investigation into House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski for embezzling money from the House Post Office, a reporter asked, “Is there any intention to keep Jay Stephens until the Rostenkowski case is finished?”
From a March 14 Washington Post live chat with Post associate editor Robert Kaiser (h/t Howard Mortman of extrememortman.com). Portions in bold are my emphasis:
Washington: How is the lobbying system not legalized bribery, and
wouldn't ending lobbying by the rich empower the rest of us and
revitalize our democracy?
Robert G. Kaiser: How would you end it? Isn't lobbying a form of speech? Isn't speech protected by the First Amendment?
keep in mind, though many lobbyists do represent rich corporations,
there are also many representing labor unions, teachers, non-profits,
environmental groups, civil liberties advocates and so on. Even
newspapers have lobbyists.
Does Karen Greenberg believe the United States is involved in a war with Islamist terrorists? Judging by her column in today's Los Angeles Times, The military's Gitmo script, you really have to wonder. Greenberg is executive director of the Center on Law and Security at NYU law school. Her bio there [from whence her photo here comes] indicates that she is a former Vice-President of George Soros' Open Society Institute. Her colleague at the Center, NYU prof Stephen Holmes [pictured here], lists as one of his areas of specialization: "the disappointments of democratization after communism." Ah, remember the good old days under Uncle Joe?
In any case, Greenberg recently toured the detention facilities at Guantanamo, and several of her comments make clear her skepticism as to the seriousness of the terror threat. Examples:
WASHINGTON - It turns out that Republicans were right: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did violate C-SPAN's copyright by using its televised footage on her blog promoting Democrats.
Officials for the cable TV network that provides daily gavel-to-gavel coverage of House and Senate proceedings at first said the blog was in violation, then announced it wasn't. On Wednesday, they said that it was but that they're changing their policy so that it won't be in the future.
In a warning to the sanctity of free speech in a democratic nation, France is about to show us what happens when the state is allowed to legally determine who is allowed to be a "journalist", or who is a "legitimate" source of news: You get the criminalization of speech.
The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.
This would, in fact, place the power to silence whistleblowers from being able to expose abuse by government officials into the hands of those very officials in the case of police abuse, for instance.
That's quite an ominous headline over Sheryl Gay Stolberg's story in today's New York Times about the conviction on perjury and obstruction of justice charges of Lewis Libby, former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney -- "A Judgment on Cheney Is Still to Come."
"In legal terms, the jury has spoken in the Libby case. In political terms, Dick Cheney is still awaiting a judgment. "For weeks, Washington watched, mesmerized, as the trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr. cast Vice President Cheney, his former boss, in the role of puppeteer, pulling the strings in a covert public relations campaign to defend the Bush administration’s case for war in Iraq and discredit a critic.