The old gray lady has some explaining to do. Officials at the New York Times have admitted a liberal activist group was permitted to pay half the rate it should have for a provocative ad condemning U.S. Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus.
The MoveOn ad, which cast Petraeus as “General Betray Us” and attacked his truthfulness, ran on the same day the commander made a highly anticipated appearance before Congress.
But since the liberal group paid the standby rate of $64,575 for the full-page ad, it should not have been guaranteed to run on Sept. 10, the day Petraeus warned Congress against a rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Times personnel said.
As NewsBusters reported, the Senate voted Thursday to condemn MoveOn's "General Betray Us" ad, even though most Democrat presidential candidates including Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) opposed the resolution.
With this in mind, it seemed logical that when Clinton was Tim Russert's guest on Sunday's "Meet the Press," and MoveOn's ad came up, the host would have asked the junior senator from New York about this vote, and why she opposed the amendment.
Amazingly, Russert never did.
In fact, as the following partial transcript of this part of the interview demonstrates, Russert not only let Clinton off the hook on this issue, but appeared to assist her in clarifying her point (video available here):
If you thought the controversy over MoveOn's disgraceful "General Betray Us" ad was going away any time soon, think again.
On Sunday, the Times's public editor Clark Hoyt came out strongly against the paper's decision to run this piece of detritus claiming that MoveOn got a price "that it should not have received under Times policies," and that "the ad appears to fly in the face of an internal advertising acceptability manual that says, ‘We do not accept opinion advertisements that are attacks of a personal nature.'"
Hoyt expressed his disagreement with the paper early and often (emphasis added throughout, h/t Pat Campbell):
Liberalism had an absolutely fabulous showing Friday evening as comedienne and former Air America Radio host Janeane Garofalo put on a performance on HBO's "Real Time" that likely left even her parents wondering what they had wrought.
Beginning with her tirade about America's support of Israel being "the detriment of the Palestinian people and the American people," to telling Fox News's Bill O'Reilly to "kiss my fat a**," and concluding with her statement that "George Bush is a war criminal," Garofalo demonstrated just how totally unhinged Hollywoodans have become.
On the eve of the Senate voting overwhelmingly to condemn MoveOn's recent "General Betray Us" ad, Michael Kinsley chose to defend the actions of this far-left group while poking fun at conservatives for being so outraged (h/t NB reader Lee Martin).
In an article published by Time Wednesday, the former "Crossfire" host stated that the ad could be interpreted "merely as questioning the general's honesty, not his patriotism," and that Republicans were suddenly practicing "political correctness" that could turn "discussions of substance into arguments over etiquette."
Byron York over at the National Review's Corner blog is reporting that the Senate has just voted 72 - 25 condemning MoveOn's "General Betray Us" advertisement published by the New York Times last Monday (h/t's to Charles Johnson and Glenn Reynolds).
This raises an interesting question: How will media report this vote?
After all, as York reported, every Republican Senator voted "Yea," while key Democrat leaders - including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Majority Leader Harry Reid - voted "Nay."
New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye reviewed the third in a series of "betrayal" themed ads from the radical leftists at MoveOn.org, the group recently notorious for its infantile "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" ad in the Times that embarrassed even many Democrats.
Mimicking NBC's Matt Lauer on "Today" with Tom DeLay a few weeks ago, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz chose Monday to address a number of political scandals in America, all of them of course dealing with Republicans.
Yet, there was a brewing campaign finance scandal conspicuously absent from Kurtz's list. Need a hint what it might be?
Maybe Glenn Reynolds' comical quip will help: "Hsoot, it's on the tip of my tongue..."
Yep. Nowhere was Norman Hsu to be found. Instead, here's what concerned Kurtz (emphasis added):
Hillary Clinton will have a hard time triangulating her way out of the thanks the Daily Kos gave her for suggesting that General David Petraeus was a liar. There is no doubt about their appreciation of her "services" as can be seen in the very title of the Daily Kos thread, "Thank you Hillary for calling Petraeus a liar!" Appreciation for the "services" rendered by Hillary was duly noted by Daily Kos blogger, gopher747:
Thank you Hillary for calling out Petraeus for what he is, a liar and a distorter of facts.
While I still prefer an Edwards/Obama ticket, I just wanted to show some progressive blogosphere love here for Hillary for her calling a spade a spade here, and subsequently setting the right wing howling.
It certainly won't come as a great surprise that not every advocacy group gets the kind of special treatment from the New York Times that MoveOn received Monday with its "General Betray Us" advertisement.
Not only did this far-left group receive a huge discount, but also it was revealed Friday the Times often rejects ads from conservative organizations.
The New York Times evidently didn't do much vetting on the adolescent, infamous, and deeply discounted anti-war ad from MoveOn.org that appeared in the front section of Monday's paper.
The ad, headlined "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?", cited the Times' own reporting in defense of its argument that Petraeus is a liar.
"Every independent report on the ground situation in Iraq shows that the surge strategy has failed. Yet the General claims a reduction in violence. That's because, according to the New York Times, the Pentagon has adopted a bizarre formula for keeping tabs on violence. For example, death by car bombs don't count."
Huh? Not even the Times anti-war editorial page has gone that far. Here's an excerpt from an article by Times reporter Michael Gordon from September 8, two days before the MoveOn.org ad appeared, that directly contradicts MoveOn.org's claims. As Gordon makes clear, types of deaths may be classified differently, but they are all counted.
CHICAGO (Dow Jones) -- Shares of New York Times Co. hit a new 52-week low Wednesday after the company reported a steep advertising revenue decline in August at the unit that includes its flagship newspaper and the Boston Globe.
Revenue at the publisher's News Media Group dropped 4.6% from the same month a year ago, to $121.5 million. Classified revenue, traditionally considered the most vital component of newspaper advertising, plunged 20% on weakness in real estate, help-wanted and automotive ads.
Appearing on the September 13 edition of "Fox News Live," MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell questioned the deep 60 percent discount that liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org received for its infamous "Betray Us" ad attacking the honor of Gen. David Petraeus.
Bozell noted that "unless the New York Times can explain itself away and show how this was some incredible coincidence" that the paper is in effect "a co-sponsor of that despicable ad."
While Democrats, media, and far-left groups like MoveOn did their level best to smear the good name of Gen. David Petraeus this week, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) stood up on the Senate floor to state what most right-thinking Americans have been feeling.
Speaking specifically about the disgraceful advertisement published Monday in the New York Times referring to General "Betray Us," Hatch called these "dangerous and unwarranted allegations" emanating from MoveOn and other groups like it that "are called the nutroots of our society."
While right-thinking people across the fruited plain cast their anger at MoveOn for its disgraceful ad placed in Monday's New York Times, "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann should be sharing the dishonor.
As adroitly identified at Olbermann Watch Wednesday: "Long before the moveon [sic] ‘Betray Us' advertisement, back on August 16th, the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann began his ‘newscast' in the usual fashion, bellowing the opening spiel."
Taken directly from MSNBC.com's transcript that evening (emphasis added):
Iraqi ethnic cleansing, a "positive thing"? That's what Barack Obama seemed to say on this morning's "Today." The Dem presidential contender spoke with substitute co-anchor David Gregory on the heels of Meredith Vieira's ill-tempered interview of Condoleezza Rice.
See UPDATE at foot: Gen. Petraeus subsequently testified to the importance of Iraq to national security.
In the wake of the odious MoveOn.org ad calling our commander in Iraq "General Betray Us," [read Dean Barnett's excellent take here] you might have thought the last thing a responsible member of the media would do would be to accuse other senior officials of "betrayal."
I did say "responsible." On this afternoon's "Hardball," Chris Matthews accused President Bush of "betrayal" for his handling of Iraq.
The "Hardball" host was fuming over Gen. Petraeus's reluctance to state whether the war in Iraq would make America safer.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: He couldn't say whether what we're doing in Iraq makes America safer or not. He couldn't say whether the lost lives, the misery, the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent are worth the effort in terms of our national security.
The morning shows on CBS and NBC both ignored the embarrassment and discomfort that a new MoveOn.org ad, which vilifies General David Petraeus, is causing Democrats running for the White House. While "The Early Show" and "Today" failed to cover the print advertisement from the liberal group, ABC’s "Good Morning America" at least briefly addressed the subject. The ad in question wondered if four-star general David Petraeus would "betray" the U.S. and also accused him of "cooking the books for the White House."
GMA co-host Robin Roberts took pains to discuss the advertisement, which appeared in the New York Times on Monday, in neutral terms. She claimed it simply "caught everybody’s" attention and caused "a lot of reaction." Explaining the political ramifications, ABC's George Stephanopoulos went further. He asserted the MoveOn ad puts "Democrats on the defensive" and "in a bit of a bind." The "This Week" anchor also provided a reason as to why Democratic '08 contenders haven’t rejected the advertisement. He explained, "They want the support of MoveOn.org, so you saw the presidential candidates saying, ‘Well, we don’t like what they said,’ but they wouldn’t repudiate it."
On the day of the long-anticipated report from General David Petraeus on the “surge,” the CBS Evening News ignored how its latest poll discovered the third straight month of an increase in the percent of Americans who believe the surge has “made things better” in Iraq. As the percentage has gone up, CBS's interest in the result has gone down. In July, anchor Katie Couric led with how only 19 percent thought the surge was “making things better” and a month later, in August, when that number jumped to 29 percent, CBS and Couric gave it just 12 seconds 20 minutes into the newscast..
While Monday's CBS Evening News skipped how the share crediting the surge for “making things better” rose to 35 percent in the survey conducted through Saturday, the newscast found time to highlight three other findings that stressed public opposition to the war and distrust of President Bush. Jim Axelrod relayed how “in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, just four percent think Iraq will become a stable democracy in the next year or two. More than half [53%] say it'll never happen. [On screen: Yes, but it will take longer: 42%] And just five percent think the Bush administration best able to make the right calls on the war. [Congress: 21%; U.S. military commanders: 68%].” A bumper before the first ad break showcased how on “U.S. troop levels in Iraq,” 30 percent said they “should increase/keep the same,” while 65 percent responded they “should decrease/remove all.”
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," correspondent David Wright highlighted an ABC poll which claims a "stunning" 100 percent of Iraqis in Baghdad and Anbar Province view the troop surge negatively. Wright offered this rather amazing statistic during a dour preview of the Iraq progress report that General Petraeus will give to Congress this week. In October of 2002, the veteran journalist highlighted another nearly unanimous poll. Showing extreme naivete, he famously observed on "World News Tonight that in a 1995 Iraqi election, "... Saddam Hussein won 99.96 percent of the vote. Of course, it is impossible to say whether that's a true measure of the Iraqi people's feelings."
While discussing the ABC survey of Iraqi households, Wright didn’t question the fact that not one person could be found who viewed the troop surge positively. After comparing Petraeus’s testimony to that of General William Westmoreland at the height of the Vietnam War, Wright went on to discuss how the poll indicates that Iraqis believe the prospects for the future are "grim at best." He then closed the report by stating the obvious: Unlike ABC, General Petraeus will actually mention signs of progress, in addition to discussing the struggles. "And no doubt we're going to be hearing a starkly different assessment today from this chair by General Petraeus," he concluded.
Stop the presses! ABC's got a scoop: the situation in Iraq isn't ideal.
Trying to pave the way for the rejection of the Petraeus report, today's "Good Morning America" took the tack that the lack of complete calm is proof of the surge's failure.
Co-anchor Kate Snow set the negative tone by displaying a poll finding to the effect a majority of Americans believe the Petraeus report "will try to make things look better" in Iraq rather than portraying the situation "honestly."
Then it was on to a report from Iraq by ABC's Terry McCarthy. Don't miss the video of Snow and co-anchor Bill Weir walking in unison across the GMA stage, crossing a floor-map of Iraq to a video screen displaying McCarthy's report. Their studied maneuver reminded me of a bridesmaid and groom attendant doing their earnest best at a wedding rehearsal.
The leitmotif of McCarthy's report: yeah, things might be better in Iraq, but darn it, they're not perfect.
If CBS's Katie Couric is beginning to believe the surge is working, it seems that even the most liberal media member could be convinced.
With that in mind, Couric was Bob Schieffer's guest on Sunday's "Face the Nation," and after spending some time touring Iraq with Gen. David Petraeus, felt the General will be quite optimistic when he reports to Congress next week.
In fact, after Schieffer asked what Petraeus would say to lawmakers upon his return to Washington, Couric seemed quite impressed with what the General had showed her during her tour (video available here):
Democrats in and out of the media are crying foul over what they see as a nefarious Bush White House plot to artificially bump up its standing by rewriting a report from general David Petraeus on the state of things in Iraq.
In the past few weeks we've heard that the White House won't let Petraeus speak. Then we've heard that he'll only provide input to the September 15th Benchmark report, and the White House will then spin that.
I had the opportunity today to talk with a DoD Legislative Affairs expert who went over the law itself.
Now that the military surge led by General Petraeus is clearly succeeding in lowering the violence level in Iraq, the liberal media cheerleaders for defeat are scrambling for a new strategy to convince Americans that Iraq is a disaster. But what line will they choose? The New York Times has apparently decided that since success on the military end of things is now fairly evident, that it is time to begin chipping away at the political side. To this end, they have once again utilized their favorite tool, the anonymous source, to try to destroy Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Times story, posted on the front page of their web site, is entitled Report Cites Grave Concerns on Iraq's Government.
In a report that is supposed to be about General David Petraeus and his efforts to pacify Iraq by commanding the forces in president Bush's Iraq surge, The New York Times speculates instead about his state of mind and generally tries to tear him down. Times writer John Burns seems to be putting in a bid for his own late night psychic TV show by being able to read the General's mind and divining that he has "flagging spirits" and that he is "rueful." Instead of a serious news report, Burns gives us speculation and a mystic's interpretation.
The most egregious paragraph in the story is the second.
Pressing the talk button on his headset, the slightly built, 54-year-old general, the top American commander in Iraq, said glimpses of the normal life that have survived the war’s horrors have helped to boost his own flagging spirits, especially on days when signs of battlefront progress are offset by new bombings with mass casualties, the starkest measure of continuing insurgent power across Iraq.
Did you notice the lack of quote marks in that paragraph? It is a sure bet that Petraeus never said he had "flagging spirits." More likely, Petraeus pointed to those signs of "normal life" to reveal to Burns that such signs are good signs of an Iraqi people just yearning to live life without all the strife. It is more likely that Petraeus was merely trying to impress upon writer Burns the resilience and strength of the Iraqi people. Yet, Burns interprets this to be a revelation of Petraeus' "flagging spirits" instead because it fits in better with the New York Times' pessimistic opposition to the surge.
With the success of the surge in Iraq becoming more evident with each passing day, a new ailment has gripped the Mainstream Media and the liberals: Surge Derangement Sydrome (SDS). The earliest known case of SDS occurred on April 23 when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded to a question by CNN's congressional correspondent Dana Bash about whether he would believe General David Petraeus if he reported that the "so-called surge" is working:
REID: No, I don't believe him, because it's not happening. All you have to do is look at the facts.