Why isn't Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, who first broke the "fauxtography" scandal out of Lebanon, among Time's "digital democracy" change agents?
After looking at the weak collection of candidates available to vote for as Time's Person of the Year last week (based on what they did in 2006, which wasn't much), I wrote:
Perhaps YouTube, online forums, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and online media should be the Thing of the Year: The Shadow Media. Of course, Time would be writing about its own likely eventual demise, but it would fit.
That's essentially what Time has done in its mostly (in my opinion) good decision to name "You" as Person of the Year:
..... for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.
Time named as "You" everyone trying to influence the world just a bit from their keyboard. That would include, to a miniscule degree, yours truly, and, again of course, many people who are reading this post.
Oh-so-predictably, two of the three "hard-news" members of the magazine's "15 citizens of the digital democracy" are influencers from the left side; none are from the right -- sorry, libs, a milblogger is not presumptively "conservative" (direct links may not work unless you have already visited Time's web site):
Mickey Kaus, the iconoclastic Democrat who loves picking on Democrats, points to this posting from Lt. Col. Bateman, which asks many pertinent and justified questions about a suspicious Associated Press story about six Sunnis burned to death and four mosques destroyed in the Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriya.
The AP doubled down on the story's veracity (though other press outlets, including Al Jazeera, have yet to confirm it) and insisted the story's main source, Iraqi police captain Jamil Hussein, does in fact exist.
One of the most persistent tics of the passive-aggressive press is its denials of its power, that it doesn't run the country, or at least try to run the country. All that journalism-school boilerplate about how the media is merely a watchdog, or like it's the BASF of democracy, you know, it doesn't make everything, it just makes the secret ingredient that makes everything better? Baloney. Some of us signed up for the media-criticism business because the media want to pretend they're not major players in the political process that make every other actor in the political system try to figure out how to capture the warm glow of media adulation, or at least avoid it like an obstacle course. So when Dow Jones Chairman Peter Kann wrote an editorial on the press (see it over on his company's Opinion Journal), I liked the end the best:
...but my colleague Julia Seymour has got the Airing of Grievances part down for those of us at the MRC's Business & Media Institute.
The camera pans across a sparkling Christmas tree, then zooms in on singer Clay Aiken, who begins to sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”: “... and ransom captive Israel … that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear …”
So which holiday is that about?
ABC’s Kate Snow tiptoed around that question on the November 26 “Good Morning America.”
“We have a special treat for you this morning to get you warmed up for the holiday season,” she said, touting Aiken’s new “holiday” record (title: “All is Well: Songs for Christmas”).
In a new Business & Media Institute analysis, “Good Morning America” was the least likely of the network morning shows to refer to Christmas, mentioning it only about 31 percent of the time.
For creating a story out of nothing and then finger pointing at US society and saying how evil it is, this Dec. 12th CNN story takes the cake. In "Poll: Most Americans see lingering racism -- in others", not only is a somewhat leading poll cited as evidence that America is still rife with racism, but CNN uses comments emailed to them by their viewers as some sort of follow up proof for it!
Very scientific, I know. After all, CNN used science via the Internet and phone lines to conduct this farcical poll, I suppose.
(CNN) -- Most Americans, white and black, see racism as a lingering problem in the United States, and many say they know people who are racist, according to a new poll.
But few Americans of either race -- about one out of eight -- consider themselves racist.
Proving that Time Magazine never understood a single thing about John McCain, Time writer, Karen Tumulty, is all worried about the "cost" of McCain's purported run for the 2008 GOP nomination for the presidency.
The head and sub-head lines alone are so filled with misconstructions, assumptions and laments that one doesn't have to read the rest of the story to know how far off they are in analysis.
John McCain was a straight-talking upstart in the 2000 presidential election. Now he's poised to be the G.O.P. favorite for 2008, but at what cost?
First of all, the "maverick" label is one the press created and drove McCain ever more toward with their fawning attention. This assumption of "front runner" now is also a figment of their imagination.
Then, they belie their supposed objectivity and reveal how much they loved the claimed maverick status of their hero, McCain, by claiming there now is a "cost" to be incurred with his attempt to get the '08 nomination. Tumulty's article reveals her bad feelings that he will have to try harder this time to court the base as opposed to imagining that the independent and moderate vote will catapult him past all comers in a GOP primary -- a woefully mistaken belief from the 2000 run that the press seems to have encouraged for McCain, an encouragement that doomed his candidacy.
As I reported this weekend, Qais al-Bashir from the AP actually identified a source in one of his articles as "not an authorized source". While it was a small step, at least it was a step in the right direction. It did not take long for the AP to revert back to its old tricks of using unauthorized sources for news out of Iraq.
Today's story out of Iraq by Thomas Wagner and Qais al-Bashir features some familiar names...
"The coordinated attack in Tayaran Square involved a suicide attacker who drove up to the day laborers pretending to want to hire them, then set off his explosives as they got into his minibus, Lt. Bilal Ali said. At virtually the same time — 7 a.m. — a bomb exploded in a car parked some 30 yards away."
..... now the WashPost has printed another article on the city, this time an upbeat one. What gives? You guessed it.The second one was reported from Ramadi. Case closed, thank you very much. Unfortunately, it's little solace knowing how few journalists ever leave their safe little hovels in Baghdad hotels or Washington, D.C.
Kaus doesn't think "upbeat" accurately describes the WaPo article, which is actually an AP dispatch by Will Weissert. I agree; I'd call it "even-handed."
But there's a larger point, which is that an actual named AP reporter has reported from something other than a "safe little hovel," and from Ramadi no less.
Why? I have to wonder if AP is responding to the current controversy, by doing things it would probably never admit to doing, and certainly would never attribute to having been done because of outside influence. Specifically:
Despite all the claims of standing by their stories, the AP now admits to the use of unauthorized sources. The infamous Qais al-Bashir posted another sectarian violence story via AP this morning. Al-Bashir offered up the typical Sunni-Shiite blood-letting but this time he was honest about his sources:
On Sunday morning, clashes erupted between Sunni and Shiite militants in Baghdad's mixed western Amil district, a policeman said. One Shiite militiaman was killed and six people — five Sunnis and one Shiite — were wounded, the officer said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
ANSWER: Nothing satisfactory, as far as the company is concerned. Google has responded, but generically, and poorly. Meanwhile, press releases that verge on being pure pap are routinely displayed in Google News results.
Background: This post is the latest relating to attempts that began here to get to the bottom of why all but a very small portion of news items published at Centcom.mil and its affliated sites are NOT being found or displayed by the Google News search engine. More background is here, here, here, and here, but this post should stand on its own for those who are new to the issue.
I received this e-mail from Google News early Thursday evening (link supplied by Google News was made clickable for this post):
Thank you for your note about Google News. We apologize for our delayed response. Dan passed your email on to our User Support team so we can assist you. Please be assured that Google News currently includes the news site you mention. You can find articles from this publication in our results at the following link:
Additionally, please be aware that Google News doesn't currently include multimedia content, such as audio or video files. Google News offers a news service compiled solely by computer algorithms without human intervention. There aren't human editors at Google selecting or grouping the headlines, and no individual decides which stories get top placement. While our news sources vary in perspective and editorial approach, their selection for inclusion is done without regard to political viewpoint or ideology.
While we aim to include as many sources as possible in Google News, we can’t guarantee the addition of all articles and sources that are submitted to us. We appreciate your taking the time to send us your suggestions for how we can improve this service.
How is it journalism is supposed to go: "Who, What, Where, When"?
Isn't that the purported standard for "reporting" on a story? So, should that be true, the just-the-facts-ma'am style of reporting, informing the reader so that he may decide, is obviously as rare as a white Unicorn appearing every 13th month on a blue moon in the newsroom of the Washington Post -- or the Washington comPost as it is lovingly referred to by so many.
Today's ridiculously biased and overly emotive "report" took two people to pen, apparently. Robin Wright and Peter Baker held each other's hands and cried their way through their latest Bush slapping they titled "Bush gropes for new Iraq plan".
Even the headline screams girly "feelings" as opposed to just the facts. Who likes to be groaped, anyway, Robin? Kicking off the report we are treated to overly emotive phrases fit only for an editorial page as opposed to a reporting of facts that one should expect in the news section... and need we say that all the emotions are negative? Since the report is talking about Bush's Iraq policy, could it be any other way for good little robotic denizens of the MSM enclave in Washington?
When the "six burning Sunnis" story hit the blogosphere, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal wrote that bloggers had "turned over a rock" at the Associated Press.
In his Best of the Web column today, Taranto turns over a rock himself and discovers a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News trying to scurry away from the light. Will Bunch is upset that conservative bloggers, the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, and CENTCOM blew the whistle on the AP's story.
Now comes the flap over a mosque attack in Baghdad, and a dispute over the news account -- trumpted [sic] on this Daily News front page at top -- that six Sunni worshippers were burned alive. This Huffington Post post does a good job of breaking down the mixed signals on whether this event really happened as reported by the AP. It's clear to me that a) The AP based its article on information from a trusted and previously reliable source, which is no guarantee of avoiding an error but is also the proven and accepted way all over the world that journalists gather news and b) even if the report were wrong, and I'm not convinced that it is, it was in the context of horrific -- and demonstrably true -- escalating violence in Baghdad.
It is amusing to me that the South was always considered by Democrats as "the people", the salt of the Earth, and the so-called rank and file in the "solid South" when the they had a lock on their votes from 1820 all the way until 1980. The South was the all-American region and the Democrats loved them dearly. Yes, for over 160 years the Democrats counted the Southern states as stalwarts and they loved them like brothers. But, now that the Southern states more often vote GOP they are a "problem" and are filled with Bible- brainwashed racists who pine for a return to slavery as far as the left is concerned.
In traditional union style, the employees of the Inquirer and the Daily News are up in arms over the newspaper's new management and ownership. Their demands? The usual: Permanent pensions despite company fiscal performance and seniority privileges for long-time employees regardless of job performance. From the list of demands:
Seniority. As with most labor unions, the current Guild contract calls for workers with more experience at the company to be protected in case jobs are cut for economic reasons. After a drop in national advertising, the newspapers are considering as many as 190 layoffs company-wide, and they have floated the possibility of up to 150 job cuts in the Inquirer newsroom. The company wants wider latitude in being able to pick who goes; the union says the company has not developed any objective alternative system for choosing who would keep their jobs.
Pensions. Current Guild employees qualify for pensions equal to 1.6 percent of their yearly pay for each year served, within certain limits. While that is less than what teachers and many other public-sector employees earn, Tierney says the pension liability is more than the company can afford at a time when other companies are shifting from traditional pensions to 401(k) plans and other retirement arrangements whose costs are less expensive and easier to predict. The union says the company has not proposed an alternative of comparable value.
If they don't get what they're demanding, then they're threatening to strike. The current publisher plans to continue operating the paper with non-union work. The site that will host the news from the picketing journalists in that event is here.
In today's Boston Herald, columnist Jules Crittenden calls on the mainstream media to confront the Associated Press over its "shoddy" work:
When a company defrauds its customers, or delivers shoddy goods, the customers sooner or later are going to take their business elsewhere. But if that company has a virtual monopoly, and offers something its customers must have, they may have no choice but to keep taking it.
That’s when the customers, en masse, need to raise a stink. That’s when someone else with the resources needs to seriously consider whether the time is ripe to compete.
The Associated Press is embroiled in a scandal. Conservative bloggers, the new media watchdogs, lifted a rock at the AP.
Did you know that Americans don't want to "live next door to a Muslim", or that Americans want all Muslims to "carry special identification", or that it is but "Ignorance" that is seen as a "Key Problem" to these foolish American's "hatred" and misperceptions?
Reuters knew, if you didn't. And they are happy to let us all know about it, too.
It all stems from a Radio host misusing his audience to make a point that Americans are no different than the Germans who turned a blind eye to Hitler's "Final Solution" against Jews during WWII.
What really happened on Flight 300 in Minneapolis surely isn't what what the media originally reported (examples: Associated Press, Bloomberg). Richard Miniter's Pajamas Media's report, other blog reports, and the Washington Times get us as close as we'll probably ever get to the full truth.
OVERVIEW: As we have seen during the past two weeks in the reporting of incidents out of Iraq (the "Ramadi non-Airstrike" covered by Patterico, and the "Burning Six" assembled by Michelle Malkin), that the press will not wait to release a report that fits one of their templates ("Soldiers kill civilians," "Iraq is an incurable mess," "There is heavy bias against Islam," etc.) if the limited facts at hand seem to support that template. By the time the full set of facts catches up, millions of readers and viewers have been misled (and, of course, influenced); corrections, if any, are limited; and the press has moved on to their next story. "Drive-by Media" indeed.
As a convenience to readers, I have converted Miniter's PDF of Pauline's e-mail to HTML, and it is here. It did not convert perfectly, but no text was lost; I strongly recommend a full read, as it makes additional points not raised in this post. The 3.8 mb police report PDF file is not readily convertible.
Here's a portion of what Miniter wrote, (but DO read the whole thing):
It should be no surprise that journalists are making up facts when up-and-coming journalists cheat on tests about that very subject, ethics. Says the New York Times:
Cheating is not unheard of on university campuses. But cheating on an open-book, take-home exam in a pass-fail course seems odd, and all the more so in a course about ethics.
Yet Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism is looking into whether students may have cheated on the final exam in just such a course, “Critical Issues in Journalism.” According to the school’s Web site, the course “explores the social role of journalism and the journalist from legal, historical, ethical, and economic perspectives,” with a focus on ethics.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune is currently investigating how one of its editorial writers has been taking portions of New Yorker magazine editorials and inserting them into his own articles. The Power Line blog raised one of the allegations and has the details.
The "police captain" that the Associated Press used as the source for their story about six Sunni men dragged from prayers and burned alive by Shiite militants is not a policeman and does not work for the Iraqi government in any capacity, according to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior.
CENTCOM had warned the AP about Hussein and other questionable sources they were using, but was rebuffed by the wire service organization. The AP's sensational story of the burning Sunnis was cited by NBC as a reason they decided to start calling violence in Iraq a "civil war." The source, "police captain Jamil Hussein," has been quoted in wire service stories since April of this year.
As reported on Newsbusters by Michelle Humphrey, actor Danny Devito was on ABC's "The View" today and went into a seemingly drunken tirade against President Bush and generally acted the fool on the show.
But, this "apology" is interesting in that ABCNews mentions all the wild statements and strange behavior by Devito on every subject except his Bush bashing. We are left wondering why it was "proper" reporting to mention Devito's seeming inebriation, his mention of partying with actor George Clooney, his slurred speech, his being bleeped, his Clinton White House story and then his "apology" to Barbra Walters.... yet not a single mention of his attack on president Bush.
Staffers for the Washington Post are now being graded, in an attempt to make those in the newsroom feel the same pressure as those in the boardroom. The grading options: “frequently exceeds expectations,” “sometimes exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” “sometimes fails to meet expectations,” or “frequently does not meet expectations.”
Unfortunately, there are no options for "somewhat biased," "hideously biased," or "Pelosi's press agent biased."
“I initiated this because we’ve had complaints over the years from reporters who would be evaluated and feel that their evaluations were inconclusive,” said Peter Perl, assistant managing editor for training and career development.
This morning, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller announced the paper will follow NBC's lead and allow its reporters to refer to the conflict in Iraq as a "civil war."
Keller said in a statement to Editor & Publisher:
"After consulting with our reporters in the field and the editors who directly oversee this coverage, we have agreed that Times correspondents may describe the conflict in Iraq as a civil war when they and their editors believe it is appropriate. It's hard to argue that this war does not fit the generally accepted definition of civil war. We expect to use the phrase sparingly and carefully, not to the exclusion of other formulations, not for dramatic effect. The main shortcoming of 'civil war' is that, like other labels, it fails to capture the complexity of what is happening on the ground. The war in Iraq is, in addition to being a civil war, an occupation, a Baathist insurgency, a sectarian conflict, a front in a war against terrorists, a scene of criminal gangsterism and a cycle of vengeance. We believe 'civil war' should not become reductionist shorthand for a war that is colossally complicated."
Amid all of the media excitement of NBC’s choice to grandly pronounce the ongoing violence in Iraq a “civil war,” some (like MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann) are gleefully touting NBC’s editorializing as a “Walter Cronkite moment,” referring to the then-CBS Evening News anchor’s 1968 editorial declaring that the U.S. had become “mired in stalemate” in Vietnam.
In their desire for a U.S. retreat in Iraq, journalists had previously pronounced Cindy Sheehan’s protesting in Crawford, Texas and Democratic Congressman John Murtha’s calling for a withdrawal of troops to be “Cronkite moments” of the Iraq war, each time apparently hoping that the weight of the media's pessimism finally forces a change in U.S. policy.
Has it at long last begun to occur that John F. Kennedy is fading from the perennial lists of historian's picks of the "top most influential" historical Americans? If this latest survey of Historians is any indication, it just may be.
And it is about time, too… unless you are a hero worshipping journalist like Peter S. Canellos of the Boston Globe who is calling foul in his piece this morning titled, In pantheon, whither JFK?.
The Atlantic Monthly asked 10 eminent historians to rank the 100 most influential Americans of all time, and Kennedy did not make the cut. Worse, he was named on only two ballots.
Only TWO. Gosh, this is a calamity.
Canellos goes on to reveal others on the list, a list that includes the presidents before and after JFK, and informs us why these historians didn't put JFK on the list and why the two who did, did so.
A transcript posted at the blog Think Progress quotes NBC as factoring in a story from now-discredited source Jamil Hussein about Sunni worshippers being burned alive as a major factor in NBC's decision to declare a "civil war" in Iraq [emphasis added]:
The news from Iraq is becoming grimmer every day. Over the long holiday weekend bombings killed more than 200 people in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad. And six Sunni men were doused with kerosene and burned alive. Shiite muslims are the majority, but Sunnis like Saddam Hussein ruled that country until the war. Now, the battle between Shiites and Sunnis has created a civil war in Iraq. Beginning this morning, MSNBC will refer to the fighting in Iraq as a civil war — a phrase the White House continues to resist. But after careful thought, MSNBC and NBC News decided over the weekend, the terminology is appropriate, as armed militarized factions fight for their own political agendas. We’ll have a lots more on the situation in Iraq and the decision to use the phrase, civil war.
A man poured gasoline on himself on November 3rd and on the side of the road on Chicago's Kennedy Expressway he lit himself on fire. It caused a traffic jam, but little else. In fact, no one even knew who the suicide was for several days until a friend of his got a letter sent him by the dead man just before his final day.
And still, few cared.
It turns out this was supposed to be some kind of anti-war statement akin to a Buddhist monk's self-immolation in Saigon during Vietnam. Sadly, this protester didn't seem to know that statements don't mean very much unless someone actually hears them.
The man, an activist named Mark David "Malachi" Ritscher, left a rambling manifesto-like web page purportedly explaining his actions that does little but show his rather unbalanced mental state. As Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper put it, the web message "comes across as intelligent, passionate, bitter, angry, disoriented -- and disturbed".
Reports of burning mosques, like this one from Reuters remain unconfirmed, and may have been fabricated by Sunni militants.
Also, sensationalized accounts of Sunnis being dragged from prayer and burned alive by rampaging Shiites are unconfirmed, and all appear to come from the same source, police Captain Jamil Hussein, whose entire career appears to be issuing statements about Shia violence against Sunnis. Curt at Flopping Aces has researched Hussein and found a remarkable number of atrocity stories for which he is the source.