If 'Today' were ever to air the opinions of a think tank co-founded, say, by a former Reagan administration official and free-market economist Milton Friedman, and funded by large corporations, it's inconceivable that the show would fail to identify the organization's conservative leanings.
Yet Today didn't feel the need to do the obverse when relying extensively - for purposes of talking down the economy - on a liberal think tank founded by a former Clinton official and far-left economists and largely funded by Big Labor.
From a New York Times editorial to a Boston Globe political cartoon, the MSM has been beating the drum this week to talk down the economy in the face of more good economic news. The liberal theme du jour has been that wages haven't risen along with corporate profits.
"Last Days on Planet Earth" was the alarming title of ABC's 20/20 special tonight, a show that presented seven frightening scenarios that could lead to our extinction. But the bottom six in the countdown, things like supervolcanoes and asteroid strikes, nuclear annihilation and superbugs (natural and man-made) were only window dressing for the real point of the show; the number one threat to human existence...global warming.
Hostess Elizabeth Vargas trotted out carefully selected environmental scientists to explain the concept to anyone who has been comatose for the past decade or so, leading up to the star of this 20/20 special - Al Gore. Gore sonorously (and soporifically) intoned his orthodoxy, and declared a fatwah against any heretics who might disagree with his conclusions.
Writing at TCS Daily, Glenn Reynolds wonders about the net effect of the exposure of the fact that fake news is more common than previously supposed:
In a democratic polity -- or even one that's driven by things like "world opinion" -- faked news poses a real threat to decent decision-making. Worse yet, the likely outcome of widespread fakery will be a tendency on the part of people to simply dismiss news that they don't want to hear. (And we already see enough of that phenomenon as it is). [...]
Once again, as I've said in previous columns, it boils down to whom you can trust. And although it seems that Big Media outfits, which want to make money and be around for the long term, would have a sufficient investment in their credibility not to fake news themselves, or to pass along fake news except in extraordinary circumstances, the evidence of recent weeks is that journalism is rife with fakery, and that we're seeing more of it now mostly because it's easier to spot now that lots of people can examine the evidence and compare notes. [...]
Context is key. And one of the lessons of these various affairs is that neither the photo, nor the purveyor of the photo, should be given unquestioned authority. Instead, we have to think for ourselves, and make up our own minds. Because it turns out that we can't trust, well, much of anyone.
He's right, of course. But realizing the need to think critically is only
part of the solution. Despite the fact that a
great many interactive web participants (bloggers, blog readers, and forum
users) realize the value of not buying into everything you see, many do not.
A still larger group aren't even reading blogs or forums, which presents a
bit of a problem.
When headlines like this are chosen, one wonders what exactly is going through the mind of the headline writer (most should know that headline writers are often different people than the authors of the article). Regardless, though, the headlines reflect the policy and position of the paper, which may or may not be the same as that of the article's author.
This example of a headline that does not really fit the article comes to us from the August 29th edition of the New York Times topping what is billed as an "essay" about the efficacy or sense of giving dialysis to a patient with brain damage, paid for by the tax payer.
Will Thoretz is the company spokesman for VNU Media, the company that owns Editor & Publisher and employs Editor Greg Mitchell, a man that has something of a "truth problem" according to Michael Silence, and seems to be on the wrong side of an example of "journalistic malpractice" according to Stephen Spruiell.
Mary Katharine Ham of Townhall.com attempted to contact Mitchell at Editor & Publisher for comment several times yesterday, but Mitchell has thus far decline to respond. Ham also tried to contact Will Thoretz of Editor & Publisher's parent company, VNU Media, and while she was able to speak to his assistant, Thoretz has not responded to Ham to date.
Color me skeptical, but evidence indicating that one of your editors
has severe ethical issues should demand an immediate response of some
sort, unless, of course, the decision has been made to stonewall the
story and hope it goes away.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld finally articulated at least a portion of what conservative bloggers have been pointing out for some time - Islamist terror groups have had considerable success in planting and slanting stories within the Western mainstream media:
FALLON NAVAL AIR STATION, Nev. (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday he is deeply troubled by the success of terrorist groups in "manipulating the media" to influence Westerners. "What bothers me the most is how clever the enemy is," he continued, launching an extensive broadside at Islamic extremist groups which he said are trying to undermine Western support for the war on terror. "They are actively manipulating the media in this country" by, for example, falsely blaming U.S. troops for civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said. "They can lie with impunity."
Rumsfeld stopped short of pointing out what became obvious during the Israeli-Hizballah conflict in Lebanon; that the mainstream media's use of local reporters and photographers has virtually ensured its infiltration by terrorist sympathizers. Likewise, Rumsfeld did not mention that the tainted reporting serves the purposes of Democrats running on anti-war platforms.
It goes without saying that Los Angeles has its share of crime and crime problems. Then why would the Los Angeles Times devote a whopping 4,709 words, five photos (plus a small map), and valuable front-page space on its Sunday paper to the story of a murder more than halfway across the country in Tennessee?
Maybe the title of the article reveals the answer. The title is "What Drove the Preacher's Wife?" (by Times staffer Peter H. King). Ohhh. The murder was that of a Christian minister in the "Bible Belt" of Tennessee, and it was allegedly committed by the minister's wife. Maybe now we see why the Times has taken an interest. A murderous Christian?! Front page!
Based upon the facts and previous statements and articles, it appears as though Editor and Publisher Editor Greg Mitchell may have intentionally misled readers when he allegedly came clean regarding a lapse in journalistic ethics early in his career.
The facts seem to indicate he was a 21 year-old paid professional journalist, not the 19 year-old intern he allowed readers to believe. Mitchell has also previously acknowledged relevant facts he managed to get wrong in his mea culpa as highly memorable events.
Given the additional discovery that he has now gone back three years after the fact to alter the article's lede, thereby reinforcing errors that diminish the significance of his lapse, some may find it difficult to conclude Mitchell's misreporting was anything other than an intentional act.
Hallelujah! Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig are FREE AT LAST! I'm so overjoyed to report that Centanni & Wiig have been released, and are now confirmed to be safely in Jerusalem. For extensive reporting, see MsUnderestimated's post.
Thank you, God, for delivering these men from evil.
As bloggers continue to examine alleged instances of post-publication editing by Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell, they appear to have uncovered additional instances where Mitchell may have altered previosuly published work. Blogger Allah Pundit, posting at Hot Air felt that two paragraphs were added after publication to a recent Mitchell piece.
I will swear to you on a stack of Bibles that those two paragraphs weren’t there when the article first went online. I wrote a whole post about it; I read it through several times, specifically looking for instances of Mitchell taking disingenuous shots at bloggers. There were none. It was just a compendium of quotes from the Lightstalkers thread. Today, after reading CY’s post accusing him (or someone) of rewriting that old column, I checked the two about war photographers. And there were the paragraphs about Zombie that I don’t remember reading.
Update: Mitchell had acknowledged his age twice in the previous version of the article and also stated it was a summer internship. Those items are in paragraphs five and six and have not changed. What he did was move it into the lead. You can see that in the old and new versions.
Still, I felt bad about it for years and (obviously) have never forgotten it. On the other hand, I was, at the time, just 19, it was a summer internship, and I'd only been on the job about a month.
One of the many alarming things about the Jayson Blair scandal is that he never grew up, and no one at The New York Times ever seemed to notice. My ethical breach at 19 in Niagara Falls was bad enough. One expects a bit more from a 27-year-old with years of experience in New York.
The New York Times might be thankful that it is not on trial with Dan Abrams serving as prosecutor. The impassioned argument he made against the journalistic value of the Times' lengthy account of the Duke rape case in today's paper, Files From Duke Rape Case Give Details but No Answers, might have sent the paper to the Big House for years to come.
Interviewed by Tucker Carlson, Abrams, who until taking over as head of MSNBC had his own justice-oriented show on the network, came out guns ablazin'.
"I thought it was shameful. I think it was an editorial on the front page of what is supposed to be the news division of the newspaper."
NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell continued the skewed media reporting of the Middle East by noting the important social work that Hezbollah does and how the rest of the world has a very supportive take on the terrorist organization.
Liberal TV critic Bob Laurence hypothesized that the scant coverage of the kidnaping of two Fox News journalists was due to the frequency of abductions and the network’s "insulting" attitude towards other media outlets. (According to Laurence, nobody, not even terrorists, like FNC.)
Greg Mitchell, the editor of the influential news trade publication Editor and Publisher has recently raised a spiriteddefense
against questions and allegations that news may have been staged in
some instances in the recent Israeli/Hezbollah war in Lebanon, may
sound particularly defensive because of his own guilty history of staging news:
Since the press seems to be in full-disclosure mode these days, I want
to finally come clean. Back when I worked for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.)
Gazette (now the Niagara Gazette), our city editor asked me to find out
what tourists thought about an amazing local event: Engineers had
literally "turned off" the famous cataracts, diverting water so they
could shore up the crumbling rock face. Were visitors disappointed to
find a trickle rather than a roar? Or thrilled about witnessing this
"He's a role model for all of Africa," a Kenyan playwright effuses. The story is typically glowing as is much of the coverage Obama has gotten about his trip from the American media.
Yet Charles Thomas, a reporter for Chicago's ABC affiliate WLS-TV who is accompanying the senator, sees less enthusiasm in Kenya than here: "Producer Janet Hundley and I spent all of Wednesday in Nairobi and were somewhat surprised by the lack of 'buzz' surrounding the only African-American U.S. Senator's visit to his ancestral homeland. As the newspapers make little mention of it the television news programs make even less."
Everybody on the blogosphere is on this story today, and have been since Drudge broke it mid-morning. Here's just one entry from
Gaza Militants Claim Fox Kidnapping
Anita McNaught, wife of kidnapped journalist Olaf Wiig Freelance cameraman. Olaf Wiig was kidnapped last week A previously unknown militant group has said it kidnapped two journalists seized nine days ago in the Gaza Strip.
A fax from the “Holy Jihad Brigades” to news agencies demanded the US release “Muslim prisoners” within 72 hours.
MsUnderestimated's site has lots of links to many other of the bloggers out there writing about this. AllahPundit at HotAir has the AP video, and Rusty Shackleford at MyPetJawa are posting up-to-the-minute updates.
(Correction) While the speech appeared on the web the morning of the 22nd, it was apparently given the prior week. - Dan
When Iran met its self-imposed deadline of responding to a UN Resolution by August 22nd, much of the MSM coverage reported Iran's claim that it was ready for serious talks. That's exemplified by an AP article linked at bottom. But the MSM failed to tell the whole story of Ahmadinejad's day.
That sounds suspiciously like the prevailing conventional mainstream media wisdom. If you read the article, however, you'll find that the general actually stated several times that this was really not the correct terminology to be describing the situation in Iraq, and stressed it repeatedly. No matter - statistics and studies have shown that few people read much farther than the headers and the first paragraph of any given news story, and the point is to implant in the reader's brain a framework before they even read the story. Mission accomplished. Click read more for the context the header doesn't provide.
From BOB LAURENCE, TV critic, San Diego Union-Tribune: I'd like to offer a couple of possible reasons for the lack of attention given to the kidnapping of the two guys from Fox:
One is that, sadly, they are far from the first to be kidnapped, injured or killed. They are, alas, only the most recent two of many. The kidnapping or targeting of journalists in Iraq isn't the story it once was.
Who would have thought journalists already have a preestablished mold on how news stories should look? Some business stories are now being written by a computer program after key information is entered in. The program then fits that information into a preestablished mold of how a news story should look. This is meant to free up time for reporters to do more complicated stories.
Read the headline of this AP piece, "Israel Kills 3 Palestinians Near Gaza Border," and you'd be likely to think that it sounds like the typical AP account of any incident involving Israel and the Territories, right?
There is little question that the headline is meant to grab the attention of the reader by implying that Israel had killed 3 Palestinian civilians - otherwise, the copy editor would've used "militants." That headline ( Israel Kills 3 Militants Near Gaza Border ) doesn't sound as "sexy" from a news perspective since shooting terrorists is expected.
To boot, the news agency has established that they're militants, not terrorists. How sensitive of them.
Editor and Publisher magazine sees one of its duties as protecting the reputation of the journalism profession, even if it means bringing up flimsy evidence against the famous WWII Iwo Jima flag-raising picture, saying that photo faced "the same charges heard today, concerning 'staging.'"
But the E&P staff admit that the evidence is "flimsy" and mere "speculation." So why bring up such charges against one the most memorable events from the war? To score a point: "But as with most of the allegations today, the theories about the Rosenthal photo were based on flimsy evidence or speculation."
Amazing what you can find with a little digging and an intense desire to find out what really happened...
Remember the AP congratulatory memo to the staff about the pictures taken at Qana? Here's a portion of that memo...
"Rumors surfaced early Sunday morning that an Israeli airstrike had flattened a house in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. The number of deaths wasn’t immediately known, but the seriousness of the incident was clear. Beirut-based photographer Hussein Malla immediately called AP photographers Nasser Nasser, Lefteris Pitarakis and stringer Mohammed Zaatari and advised them to rush to the scene."
Is the more than 100-year-old profession of photojournalism going to be destroyed in just a few short weeks?
David D. Perlmutter, journalism professor and author of "Visions of War, Photojournalism and Foreign Policy," writes in Editor and Publisher that he is alarmed by what is happening to his beloved profession.
In twenty years of researching and teaching about the art and trade and doing photo-documentary work, I have never witnessed or heard of such a wave of attacks on the people who take news pictures and on the basic premise that nonfiction news photo- and videography is possible.
Perlmutter doesn't exactly know what's happening.
I'm not sure, however, if the craft I love is being murdered, committing suicide, or both.
Here at NewsBusters, we often bring you irrational rants from paranoid lefties who are certain that Chimpy Bush McHitler is trying to become dictator of America, enslave anyone to the left of Pat Robertson, and personally assasinate Pinch Sulzberger.
Now, for a change of pace, here's Val Prieto on some real journalists who actually are living in a totalitarian government. Here's an excerpt but the entire piece is very well worth reading:
Right now there remain at least two dozen independent journalists incarcerated in Cuba simply because they dared speak the truth. Some have been locked away since 2003, still in the infancy of their 15 or 20 year sentences. Truth has made them suffer beatings, torture and malnutrition. Truth has mocked, ridiculed, and subjected them to abject horrors and indignity.
All because they bear witness to the world around them and dare describe it nakedly and without their government’s official veil.
There are many journalists from around the world in Havana. CNN is there. Reuters, the AP. They live comfortably in hotel rooms and work in comfortable in air-conditioned offices full of amenities. They have the copy machine. They have the faxes and computers and printers and scanners. They have staff and editors. What they don’t have is the security to report the truth.
CNN is so exceptional with its shows and journalists, so there must be some other reason why Fox News is ahead. Thus writes Jon Friedman in his "Media Web" commentary at MarketWatch.com.
Friedman rattles off a whole litany of reasons why CNN is exceptional.
CNN, a unit of Time Warner, has invested a lot of its parent's dough to assemble a first-rate global reporting and production staff. It features such reliable and charismatic on-air stars as Nic Robertson and Christiane Amanpour abroad. Peter Bergen is rapidly becoming the most compelling voice when it comes to analyzing the ongoing worldwide terrorism story.
In the U.S., CNN has a very deep bench, too. John King, its long-time top White House reporter (and now a senior national correspondent), stands out in what I've regarded for many years to be television's finest Washington bureau.
Fortune's Andy Serwer, who appears regularly on CNN's breakfast-hour show, is the most analytical business-news commentator around -- and the same goes for the New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin, when the topic turns to legal matters.
Further, the lively "Reliable Sources," anchored by Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, is an hour-long look at journalism's weekly hits and (mostly) misses. The show stands out for its consistent excellence even though it faces stiff competition on Sunday mornings.
Hezbollah has pledged that its fighters south of the Litani will disarm.
Not only is that utterly untrue, one can check thousands of wire stories to confirm the obviously false nature of the statement; though Hezbollah might want the world to believe it. Below is only one example. Pick one for yourself ... and consider informing CNN while you're at it. Evidently their web editors haven't read around very much regarding current events in the Middle East.
I first raised the question of a possible relationship between the two journalists who corroborated each others accounts of an Israeli drone attack on a civilian convoy fleeing Marjayoun in south Lebanon here. In separatestories for their respective new organizations the brothers, Lotfallah (AP) and Karamallah Daher (Reuters), corroborated each others' accounts of the attack, but neither Reuters nor AP mentioned that they are related, much less twin brothers.
After reading something like a recent story in the L.A. Times, one is struck with how little "news" or analysis is often included in the "news" paper, and how much evocative, emotive, fluff has replaced any attempt at informing the reader of what is really going on.
In the story titled, "His Heart Was Full for Lebanon and U.S.", writer ... or maybe I should say "story teller" as that seems more descriptive... Sam Quinones, gave us what amounts to a one sided, propagandistic account of the life of a man killed in Lebanon who so "loved" both the USA and Lebanon.
The subtitle pretty much tells the reader the direction of the story.