“CNN's decision to show video of Iraqi insurgent snipers targeting U.S. troops,” FNC's Brit Hume relayed in his Wednesday “Grapevine” segment, “has gotten it kicked out of one Midwestern hotel chain.” Hume reported how James Thompson, owner of the Stoney Creek Inns in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin, “has dropped CNN and Headline News from the cable lineup in his ten hotels” because “he made a quote, 'judgment of conscience' after seeing the sniper video, which he calls an 'obscenity' that was quote, 'personally offensive and shocking.' He says his company 'will not be a party to propaganda for terrorists.'"
Tim Graham's October 24 NewsBusters item on Congressman Duncan Hunter scolding CNN for airing the video from the point of view of snipers shooting U.S. soldiers and Marines. MRC President Brent Bozell's October 25 column: “CNN, Stenographer to Terror.”
In their coverage of the election returns, MSNBC posted a story this morning at the bottom of which was a brief run down of who won and who lost in Congressional races across the country.
Most of these listings were presented without comment of any kind. Like the race in Arizona:
Arizona: Incumbent Republican John Kyl over Democrat Jim Pederson.
That was pretty straightforward. No bias, no nonsense. Just a who-won/who-lost listing. Of the 23 races they list, only a few have any thing by way of extra commentary. Additionally, out of that few they offered further comment on, all were either benign or complimentary.
...memories of 1980s media bias when it comes to U.S. coverage of Nicaragua.
Fans [of Daniel Ortega] waved a sea of Sandista [sic] flags -- some in the traditional red-and-black stripes of Ortega's 1979 revolution that toppled the corrupt Somoza dynasty...
Somoza was toppled by a broad coalition the goals of which were subsequently hijacked by the Marxist-Leninist Ortega brothers.
During his first presidency, Ortega became a symbol of U.S. fears that a communist wildfire could sweep the Americas in the 1980s.
Ortega is more than a symbol. He's a real guy, and USSR and Cuba-funded civil wars were not a "fear" in the 1980s, but a reality. The civil war in El Salvador, for instance, really happened.
As the seventh leftist leader to win office in recent years in a Latin America increasingly at odd [sic] with U.S. dictates, Ortega's victory represents both a symbolic and a strategic blow to President George W. Bush.
Many political analysts called it a self-inflicted wound, saying United States made the Cold War dinosaur who will lead this desperately poor, banana-exporting, New York-sized nation of 5.5 million into a far more important figure that he is.
As you’ve probably already heard, journalists are insisting that tomorrow’s elections are a referendum on Iraq — so don’t even think about voting based on where the candidates stand on extending or rescinding the effective Bush tax cuts.
On this morning’s Today, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews (a highly opinionated anti-war Democrat who will nonetheless anchor the network’s election night coverage) actually warned voters that if they don't vote Democratic, the President will regard it as a mandate to continue fouling up in Iraq.
“If you go in the voting booth and you say ‘yes’ to the Republican Party, the whole world press, everywhere in the world, they’re gonna report Wednesday morning, ‘Bush does okay in the election.’ If the people vote ‘no,’ the world press will say, ‘Bush’s Iraq policies were rejected.’ And by the way, the President will read it that way. If you vote Republican Tuesday, the President will say, ‘Thank you for supporting my war policy.’ It’s about Iraq, Iraq, Iraq and there’s no real other big issue,” Matthews told co-host Meredith Vieira.
Without offering any contrary views AP reports that the drop in profits for US Citgo gas stations only hurts Americans.
This half-the-story report was buttressed with a quote from Vance McSpadden, executive director of the Oklahoma Petroleum Association. McSpadden wants to stop Americans from avoiding the Citgo chain of stations -- Citgo gets their imported product from Hugo Chavez' state owned and operated Venezuelan oil companies
Over the Summer, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez went on a world-wide tour of America's biggest enemies telling them and all who would listen how America is the Great Satan and that George Bush is the devil. His whirlwind tour of hate ended at a rostrum in the U.N. where he made himself look the fool in front of the world to the applause of rabid America haters everywhere.
Sprinkled throughout the mainstream media today are news reports about the Army Times and similar periodicals running an editorial Monday calling on the President to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Typical was the story carried on NBC5.com, Chicago's NBC affiliate, "Military Newspapers Call For Rumsfeld Removal." The piece begins, "The Military Times Media Group, which publishes the influential Army Times and other military periodicals, said it will be running an editorial Monday urging President Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld."
But wait a minute. Are these publications actually "military newspapers?" The average reader might well interpret that term to mean that they're produced by active duty military personnel. They're not. Although the newspapers are targeted for service members, the Army Times and all the others are private, independent operations. They are subsidiaries of the Gannett Co., which also publishes USA Today.
In "Church Leader Resigns After Gay Sex Claim," today's Washington Post reports on the resignation of the Rev. Ted Haggard as president of the National Association of Evangelicals. His resignation was prompted by an accusation that he'd paid for homosexual sex.
It didn't take long for Post staff writer Alan Cooperman to link the incident to next week's much-anticipated Democratic sweep. The sixth paragraph:
"Although he has avoided endorsing political candidates, Haggard has been a staunch ally of the Bush administration. Some political observers said his resignation was more bad news for Republicans trying to rally their conservative Christian base to turn out for the midterm elections."
"But with a single word — or a single word left out of what was supposed to be a laugh line directed at the president — Mr. Kerry has become a punching bag again, for Republicans and for his own party."
Gosh darn, just that one, single, individual pesky word that was missed opened Monsieur Kerry once again to that infamous Republican attack machine.
Not exactly. Today the newspaper has appended the following correction:
"A Political Memo article yesterday about the fallout for Senator John Kerry over what he called a 'botched joke' referred incompletely to the differences between prepared remarks and what he actually said about the Iraq war to students at Pasadena City College in California on Monday. Mr. Kerry not only dropped the word 'us,' but he also rephrased his opening sentence extensively and omitted a reference to President Bush. Mr. Kerry’s aides said that the prepared text read: 'Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.' What he said: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
Last Monday, Brian Stelter at the TV Newser blog said CBS’s “freeSpeech” commentary segments (an innovation Katie Couric began when she took over the anchor throne on September 5) had “failed” at their stated goal of opening up the airwaves to more than the media elite’s “usual suspects.” Looking at the first 34 “freeSpeech” segments, Stelter calculated that “the vast majority of the guests have national media platforms, like books, columns, magazines, and Senate podiums.”
Three days later, CBS News’s own blog, “Public Eye,” itself wondered if the segment was too insidery. “I think the answer is that it has been a mix,” Evening News Executive Producer Rome Hartman told CBS’s bloggers. “If you look at all 30 or so [segments] that have run — and I haven't counted — maybe a third have been from what you might call ‘pundits.’ The point of the segment is interesting voices from everywhere.”
In another grand example of "journalistic" integrity, USA Today has declared the Iraq war a total failure even as we are still in the middle of it all. With that "truth" reported, I'd like to have their crystal ball to get the next lottery numbers, too.
Now, it is absolutely true to say that the peace in Iraq has been hard to win. It is a fair assessment to say that the Bush administration has made many mistakes in re-building and nation building in Iraq. But, it is not fair to say the efforts in Iraq have been a failure. This project the Bush administration has undertaken will not only take many, many years to develop but it will be many decades to see the full range of effects that the effort at democracy building in Iraq (as Bush duly warned us when he began it all).
For those who already suspect the New York Times has a liberal bias, the Halloween night Times Talk at the New York Historical Society on Manhattan's Upper West Side didn't provide too many scares.
"Writing About Politics in an Age of Contention" featured Editorial Page Editor Gail Collins, Managing Editor Jill Abramson, and Assistant Managing Editor Richard Berke, along with non-Times people Al Hunt, formerly the executive editor for the Wall Street Journal, and Dick Polman, reporter-blogger for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The usual liberal conventional wisdom prevailed, with little disagreement about anything (everyone seemed convinced Democrats would win the House, but warned that Democrats had been sure of victory before).
The Pasadena Star News yesterday reported on a rally for failing California Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Phil Angelides, at which John Kerry warned students in the audience that if they didn't get an education they would have no other alternative than to be forced into the US Armed Forces.
"Kerry then told the students that if they were able to navigate the education system, they could get comfortable jobs - 'If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq,' he said to a mixture of laughter and gasps."
Who doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong? Yet that essential knowledge, generally assumed to come from parental teaching or religious or legal instruction, could turn out to have a quite different origin.
What follows is several slaps at religion, the Times asserting that religion has nothing to do with morals short of serving as "social enforcers of instinctive moral behavior".
But the Times seems not to understand the entire point of morals and the claims religions make about them. Few religions claim to have created morals by their practices and tenets but are merely re-enforcing what God has already given us. So, contrary to what the Times assumes, no religion, Christian ones especially, claims to have somehow invented morals with their religious ideals. They attribute creation of such to God.
Over at the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Blog, I’ve floated an idea I believe could help journalists and editorial writers be more accurate – even when they’d rather not.
I suggested that online versions of newspaper and magazine articles include footnotes.
I conceded that footnotes in the paper version of publications would be distracting and costly, but the major impediment to including them in online editions would probably simply be resistance by the writers themselves. Footnotes are a hassle for writers -- but they do have a way if helping to keep writers honest.
Blogger and Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott had a few thoughts in response:
The New York Times is sure that voters are losing their rights the country over, in essence yelling "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" for voters this year. They have been ballyhooing that voters are being "disenfranchised" all across the country by voting machines and voting law changes -- their biggest worry being ID requirements. The Times points in horror to the continuing effort of the States to nail down who is eligible and a proliferation of new laws assuring that eligibility before casting a ballot claiming this is proof of such "disenfranchisement". Ridiculously, the Times has decided proving you are eligible to vote is a threat to democracy.
Funny how they don't consider people who vote illegally as being any threat to democracy... of course that is because illegal voting benefits the Democrats, their favored party.
A few weeks ago, the BBC complained that one of my Newsbusters pieces unfairly criticized them as horribly biased. Then a recent report emerged wherein Andrew Marr, a BBC staffer, said at an internal seminar that the Beeb had gone too far in pursuit of multiculturalism.
It seems that the BBC is getting tired of these so-called mischaracterizations...
One of the BBC's most senior executives has defended the corporation against accusations that it is "crammed full of soft liberals" obsessed with pushing a politically correct agenda.
In an exclusive interview, Mark Byford, the deputy director-general, has hit back at suggestions that the broadcaster is too sensitive to the feelings of Muslim viewers and that it has an inbuilt anti-Christian bias.
But this claim seems disingenuous after a week were the BBC announced a consideration of allowing Veiled Muslim news presenters and has featured an embedded reporter with the Taleban allowing the Taleban free and unfettered access to a platform from which they can disseminate their anti-British and anti-western propaganda.
On Friday (October 27, 2006), Illinois Democrat Sen. Barack Obama was in Los Angeles for a book signing and a rally for the Democratic Party. The Los Angeles Times heralded his appearances the next day with 1027 words and two photos in a glowing article entitled, "A rising star from Illinois makes some noise in L.A." The piece was displayed prominently on the front page of the 'California' section (page B1). Writer Carla Hall hailed that Obama spoke before a "rapt crowd" and that he "was sent off with a crescendo of applause." She reminded her readers that Obama had "electrified" the 2004 Democratic National Convention as a speaker.
Yesterday (Saturday, October 28, 2006), comedian Bill Cosby was in Los Angeles to speak at an education forum organized by local black leaders. Today, the Times documented the event with 580 words and zero photos in a piece tucked at the bottom of page B3. The title: "More straight talk from Cosby" (by Times staffer Deborah Schoch). (Amid the straightforward reporting that Cosby "chastised" black parents and "chided" teachers, Schoch was able to relay that Cosby was "greeted with sustained applause." But, apparently, things didn't quite reach a "crescendo.")
Writing a lippy account of a Presbyterian service he had recently attended, Stein belches,
"The first thing I noticed about church was how much like PBS it was. The lighting was dim, the speakers talked slowly, the songs were dated, there were a lot of references to reading material and every so often my eye line was interrupted by envelopes asking me to donate money. Also, I kept falling asleep."
And (bold added),
"I'd never realized how much of a death cult Christianity is. When we weren't fixating on how awesome Christ's murder was, we were singing about how terrific it was going to be when we bite it. Chipper up, Christians! There's a lot to live for. They're making more of those 'Narnia' movies."
On Sunday October 15, 2006, the Los Angeles Times published a 1488-word, front-page article entitled, "Displease a Lobbyist, Get Fired," by Times staffer Peter Wallsten. The gist of the piece (if you can't glean it from the title): Lobbyist Jack Abramoff "manipulated the system" and used his influence at the White House to get Allen Stayman, a State Department official who was working against the interests of Abramoff's clients, fired. Wallsten's lengthy piece portrays Stayman as an unwitting government official who was innocently bulldozed for standing in the way of Abramoff and his interests.
However, Wallsten's article left out a big chunk of the story. Wallsten failed to inform his readers that Mr. Stayman, back in the 1990's, resigned from President Clinton's Department of Interior. He stepped down after serious criminal investigations was conducted against him and his department for illegal political activity. Documents show that his office contacted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to "target" Republican lawmakers who were up for reelection in 1998. The bulk of this campaign activity resulted out of an issue on which Abramoff and Stayman clashed.
A month or so ago I would have said that Neal Gabler and I inhabit different planets, but his apparent home has recently been demoted from planetary status. While I'm off searching for another metaphor, let me pass along the latest comment from the decidedly liberal denizen of Fox News Watch that made me reflect on just how distinct a world view we have. In the course of discussing on this evening's show the controversy that erupted this past week over Rush Limbaugh's comments about Michael Fox, Gabler had this to say:
"The media has tread lightly on Rush and his criticism of [Michael J.] Fox. To my mind, Rush is a cancer to America and hatemongers are marginalized, and why the media does not marginalize Rush, I don't know."
The following analysis by author and former Bush 43 White House speechwriter David Frum, which he posted Thursday in his blog on National Review Online under the title "The Cry Baby Party," may express what plenty of NewsBusters readers have sensed during this election campaign (bold-type emphasis has been added):
Let me see if I understand the rules of American politics in 2006:
It's in bounds to write a deliberately deceptive voter initiative to try to inscribe embryo-killing research into a state's law.
It's in bounds for a likeable and suffering celebrity to suggest that such research is poised to deliver a cure that will help him - despite the utter absence of evidence for any such claim.
Amusingly, some of the names they use to define a "Republican Moderate" are Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. They also mention Mike DeWine of Ohio, but the three they focus on are Snowe, Collins and Chafee... these are the people they call "moderate".
Let's take a look at how the ACU rates the conservative voting record of these three in 2005 (0 being least conservative and 100 the most conservative).
Susan Collins - 32 Olympia Snowe - 32 Lincoln Chafee - 12
These three are FAR from being "moderate". They are more like Democrats -- and far left ones at that -- than Republicans and rarely vote with their national Party on any issue. But, to the NYT "moderate" means voting with Democrats, apparently.
Once again taking "tolerance" to the level of societal self-destruction, the BBC has decided that showing the human side of the Taleban is an important story to cover.
They have ridiculously embedded a reporter with the Taleban in Afghanistan. Reporter David Lyon has been reporting from the Taleban and has filed a report filled with laudatory terms and brimming with respect for his subject.
Journalists aren't the hard-charging watchdogs of government that they claim to be, and the romantic notion of reporters saving our democracy is fiction, says Jack Shafer in Slate.
Newspaper people have enormous egos, if you get my drift, and don't mind massaging the big hairy things in public. Yet the press is hardly the sentry and bulwark of society that reporters imagine it to be. I don't mean to disparage reporters who put their lives on the line to file from Iraq, nor the sleuths who sift through databases to uncover wrongdoing by pharmaceutical companies, or any other enterprising reporter. But too many journalists who wave the investigative banner merely act as the conduit for other people's probing, as George Washington University professor and former investigative journalist Mark Feldstein suggests in a paper-in-progress titled "Ventriloquist or Dummy?"
Feldstein cites a 1992 piece by the late Christopher Georges in the Washington Monthly to illustrate his thesis. Georges reviewed about 800 articles by investigative reporters from the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times published over three years and found that "nearly 85 percent of them have been follow-ups or advances of leaked or published government reports." Georges' study is anecdotal since his piece did not name the stories analyzed or describe his methodology, but my hunch is that his conclusions aren't far from the truth.
Terrorists in Iraq know they can rely on CNN to carry their propaganda as if it were straight news, now the Taliban is having success in placing "news" with the publicly funded British Broadcasting Corporation.
A group of active duty soldiers, called a "grassroots group" by some in the media, is speaking out against the war in Iraq and calling on Congress to bring the troops home. Fine with me - they have every right to speak their mind (I know nothing about the military rules - I'm speaking in the realm of First Amendment rights). Having the freedom to speak out is one of the great benefits of living in the United States of America.
BUT it is disconcerting and disingenuous to report this group as a simple grassroots group trying to get their voices heard. The "Appeal for Redress" group is sponsored by three of the most virulent anti-war groups that use their "desire for peace" as a cover for their blatant anti-Americanism. You've heard of these groups - Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Whenever you see Cindy Sheehan or any of her comrades, you will see members of these organizations. VFP and IVAW members include several deserters, conscientious objectors and some "soldiers" that turned out to not be what they portrayed. Some members claim to have witnessed war crimes including the wholesale slaughter of innocent Iraqi women and children. Some members traveled to Venezuela with CodePink to pay homage to Chavez. Some have testified at "global" forums against America, the terrorist state.
When media outlets publish militarily significant information and make it known to a wider audience (something they seem to do with more frequency during Republican administrations), they generally excuse their actions with claims that they are fulfilling an obligation to the public's "right to know."
Aside from the question of whether the public has a right not to know something, another question presents itself: are journalists obligated to be "neutral" observers, even to the point of endangering the lives of fellow Americans?
Marc Danziger raises that question in an editiorial at the D.C. Examiner:
I’ve blogged about the “journalist vs. citizen” thing. Let me explain through an anecdote:
1987, PBS sponsored a colloquium called “Under Orders, Under Fire” as a
part of their great Ethics in America series (many episodes can still
be found at www.learner.org/resources/series81.html). While the episode
was about military ethics, the bombshell was a sidebar on journalism
between Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace.
Jennings was asked what
he would do if he was embedded with forces fighting U.S. soldiers - and
became aware they had set an ambush for him. He replied, from a James
“If I were with a North Kosanese unit that came
upon Americans, I think that I personally would do what I could to warn
“Even if it means losing the story?” he was
asked. “Even though it would almost certainly mean losing my life,”
Mike Wallace, however, disagreed: “I think some
other reporters would have a different reaction,” he said, obviously
referring to himself. “They would regard it simply as a story they were
there to cover.”
Ah, the refined sensibilities of the Associated Press. Far be it from that paragon of journalistic impartiality to insert itself in the controversy over whether George Bush & Co. intentionally murdered thousands of Americans on 9-11 via the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center.
And so it is that the Associated Press preciously entitled its article about the decision of 9-11 conspiracy nut Steven Jones to retire from his BYU professor's post:
"BYU Scholar, Sept. 11 Theorist, Resigns".
A "scholar" and a "theorist." Impressive! Might that be some kind of hybrid between a 'gentleman and a scholar' and a theoretical physicist, perhaps? Now, in fairness, I wouldn't expect the AP to adopt my "conspiracy whack job" nomenclature in its headline - although it would be entirely accurate. But the utter neutrality of "theorist" coupled with the honorary title of "scholar" seems excessive. Would the AP describe David Duke as a "racial theorist," for example?
The lead story for the June 23 New York Times exposed a U.S. terrorist surveillance program involving international bank transfers ("Bank Data Sifted In Secret By U.S. To Block Terror"):
"Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials."