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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #200 on: October 18, 2007, 07:47:05 AM »

I'm not really following this Rog.  Are you saying that there should be a FD here so that the agency gets to respond to EG on her show?

Also, I'm not getting why the hairdresser and family gave up the dog.  Some third part comes to my door wanting my children's dog has got a serious problem.  What kind of parent coughs up their children's dog?  If the agency wants the dog, let them sue.

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rogt
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« Reply #201 on: October 18, 2007, 11:55:08 AM »

I'm not really following this Rog.  Are you saying that there should be a FD here so that the agency gets to respond to EG on her show?

Not necessarily, but IMO the adoption agency should sue Ellen's ass off for damages.  IMHO, Ellen airing this issue (a personal business dispute) on her show is completely inappropriate and defamatory.  Keep in mind that the woman from this adoption agency has received death threats over this, a boycott, etc.

Quote
Also, I'm not getting why the hairdresser and family gave up the dog.  Some third part comes to my door wanting my children's dog has got a serious problem.  What kind of parent coughs up their children's dog?  If the agency wants the dog, let them sue.

IIRC from the article, the agency woman had a cop escorting her, so I don't see what choice they had but to comply.

But the fact is that it wasn't that family's dog.  If anybody's to blame for making the kids sad, it's Ellen for making the mistake of giving them the dog in the first place.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #202 on: October 18, 2007, 03:52:33 PM »

Thanks for the dog story. I'm not much of an Ellen fan or of anyone else in showbiz - still couldn't help wondering how they came to have kids,so I googled it:

Ellen DeGeneres denies adoption reports, Saturday, February 10 2007 ... denied claims that she is planning to adopt a child with girlfriend Portia De Rossi. The talk show host insisted that she has no plans to have children and praised De Rossi for making her life "almost perfect". "We're not adopting and we don't want to have children," she explained. "No babies - neither of us want children.

But also found:
DEGENERES TO ADOPT? Comedian Ellen DeGeneres reportedly has plans to adopt a child with her actress girlfriend Alexandra Hedison. ...pals say they're now ready to seal their romance with a child. ( - oops, wrong 'spouse')

And this:
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi are said to be considering cementing their romance by becoming first-time parents. Although the two stars did not reveal their choice for adoption or for natural birth, comedienne DeGeneres confessed she's been thinking about motherhood - and she's aware she has to act fast. "I think we should do it (have a child) soon... When I'm around babies, I just melt. It's a big responsibility", she told America's People magazine.

I guess they really 'cemented their relationship' when they took the next big step after a kid and added a dog... File it all under media issues. huh
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #203 on: October 19, 2007, 12:00:00 AM »

Why would a cop accompany the agency to enforce a civil contract?!?  Does this make any sense Rog?
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rogt
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« Reply #204 on: October 19, 2007, 10:44:54 AM »

I don't know what discussions went on between the agency and ED before this, but I suspect the agency had reason to believe that the hairdresser would not surrender the dog without a police presence.  But I assume you agree that with a cop present, refusal to surrender the dog was not an option.

You do understand that this was a rescue dog that ED adopted and kept for 10 days, and then gave away to her her hairdresser because the dog didn't get along with her cats?  From the agency's POV the dog was given to a family they know absolutely nothing about other than that they're friends of ED, in clear violation of the contract ED signed.

If this were a case of cops (or anybody) showing up at somebody's house to seize a dog they've had for years and is unquestionably theirs, I'd be with you 100%, but that's  not the case here.  I don't know how long this dog was with the hairdresser before being taken back, but it couldn't have been more than a week or so.

Had this hairdresser ever owned a dog before?  If a friend of mine offered to give me a dog she just adopted 1-2 weeks ago, the first question I'd ask is whether that's OK with the agency she got him from.  Or did Ellen just assure her this wouldn't be a problem, assuming no lowly dog adoption agency would dare question the judgment of an A-list celebrity concerning what's an appropriate home for the dog?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #205 on: October 20, 2007, 08:23:00 AM »

"But I assume you agree that with a cop present, refusal to surrender the dog was not an option."

My question is why a policeman would be there at all?  ED broke her contract with the Agency, but why does this give the agency the right, without a court ruling on the merits, to take a dog from someone who was not party to the contract?  Why would the court compel specific performance as vs. pay damages? etc etc etc. 

Anyone, for me this is all much ado about nothing.  Perhaps it is ED's rather maternal instincts coming out of the closet? cheesy

Back to the subject matter of this thread:

Reid letter sells for $2.1 million on eBay
Limbaugh chastises senator for attempting to 'horn in' on charity effort
Posted: October 19, 2007
2:20 p.m. Eastern


© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

A final eBay bid of $2.11 million secured a letter from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that demanded an apology from radio talk host Rush Limbaugh over his "phony soldiers" comment.
On his show today, Limbaugh announced the winning bidder was Betty Casey, a noted philanthropist and trustee of the Eugene B. Casey Foundation in Gaithersburg, Md.
It was the largest bid ever in an eBay charity auction, breaking the $800,000 mark paid for a Harley Davidson motorcycle bearing the signature of "Tonight" show host Jay Leno.
"The Eugene B. Casey Foundation believes freedom of speech is a basic right of every citizen of this country," the foundation said in a statement on the auction. "Their purchase of the smear letter was to demonstrate their belief in this right, and to support Rush Limbaugh, his views, and his continued education of us."
Meanwhile, Limbaugh chastised Reid for taking credit for the money raised by the letter during comments to colleagues today on the Senate floor posted by Breitbart.tv.
Reid is trying to "horn in" on the effort, said Limbaugh, who pointed out the Nevada Democrat has not apologized for accusing him of smearing troops who opposed the Iraq war.
"Now he has the audacity to climb aboard this, praising the effort, saying he never knew it would get this kind of money," Limbaugh said.
Directing his comments to Reid, Limbaugh said, "It wasn't your letter that raised this money. It was your abuse of power that is responsible for raising this money."
If it were any other letter by Reid, he said, "people wouldn't pay a dime for it."
"This one represents an abuse of power by a U.S. senator, who after besmirching me by name on the Senate floor, gets a hold of my syndicate partner, asking him to confer with me about something he thought improper," said Limbaugh.
'That is why your letter is historic," he continued. It's "a full fledged, undeniable, 100 percent abuse of power."
(Story continues below)
Limbaugh announced last week he would sell the original letter addressed to the head of Clear Channel Communications in order to benefit the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, a charity offering financial assistance to the children of Marines and federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
The No. 1-rated talk host said he wouldmatch the winning bid, and he challenged each of the 41 Democratic senators who signed the letter to match it as well.
Limbaugh said the winning bidder, Casey, has been a listener of his program since its inception.
"We cannot thank her enough for her support of this," Limbaugh said. "I am honored and proud and happy to be matching her $2,100,100."
Reid claimed Limbaugh's use of the phrase "phony soldiers" was an attack on all U.S. troops who oppose the war in Iraq. However, a transcript from Limbaugh's Sept. 26 show suggests the "phony soldiers" remark specifically addressed the case of Jesse MacBeth, an anti-war activist who claimed to have witnessed atrocities as a Purple Heart recipient in the Army Rangers. MacBeth never served in Iraq and was expelled from the military after 44 days in uniform.
The message on the letter's eBay listing said: "This historic document may well represent the first time in the history of America that this large a group of U.S. senators attempted to demonize a private citizen by lying about his views. As such, it is a priceless memento of the folly of Harry Reid and his 40 senatorial co-signers. BID NOW!"
Limbaugh, noting he serves on the board of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, said he would bear all costs of the auction: "Every dollar of your winning bid will go to this charity, which has to date distributed over $29 million."
Clear Channel Chief Executive Officer Mark P. Mays responded to Reid's letter with a defense of Limbaugh's right to express his opinions openly on the airwaves.
Many elected officials, mostly Democrats, expressed their displeasure with talk radio following the defeat of what President Bush called his "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" legislation – a plan characterized by many talkers as "amnesty." There were a number of calls for reinstating the Fairness Doctrine – which has also been called the "Hush Rush" bill.
As WND reported, another Democratic leader, Rep. Henry Waxman of California, angrily denied a report claiming he's investigating Limbaugh and other conservative radio talk-show hosts, but the magazine which made the allegation is not issuing any retraction.
As WND reported, one radio station in Oregon decided to "hush Rush" for a day and replace Limbaugh's talk program with music after receiving some requests from local listeners.

« Last Edit: October 20, 2007, 08:26:09 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
rogt
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« Reply #206 on: October 20, 2007, 01:59:06 PM »

"But I assume you agree that with a cop present, refusal to surrender the dog was not an option."

My question is why a policeman would be there at all? 

In case the hairdresser decided to pull a Crafty and refuse to give up the dog?  Smiley

Quote
ED broke her contract with the Agency

OK then.  So what right to ED or her hairdresser have to bitch about how unfairly they're being treated?  If I rent a car and just give it away to my friend, does the rental agency have no right to take it back because hey, my friend never signed any contract with them?  Your legal reasoning here is not sound IMO.

It's not like ED couldn't have simply gone to the pound and adopted a dog she could pretty much do whatever she wanted with, but she chose to go to this boutique adoption agency where they spend a lot of time trying to find the right homes for their dogs, and naturally they're going to object somebody just giving one of their dogs away to somebody they (the agency) knows nothing about.

That's not to say that all (or even many) adoption agencies are pleasant to deal with.  They can be annoyingly self-righteous and tyrannical, and turn away people who would provide a perfectly good home for a dog because they use the wrong kind of collar or their yard isn't big enough.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2007, 02:15:28 PM by rogt » Logged
G M
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« Reply #207 on: October 20, 2007, 03:07:09 PM »

Are we really talking about Ellen's doggie-drama here?  rolleyes

I don't know the laws of the People's Republic of Kalifornia, but in my state, police officers take great pains to avoid getting involved in civil disputes. There are "civil stand-bys" where cops will stand by as a referee where there is contention between parties, but the only way I as a peace officer would seize a dog was with a court order requiring I do so, aside from it being evidence in a crime or a victim of abuse or a threat to public safety and order.

Were I a citizen of the PRK, i'd be more worried about the state of the CDC. I was in a "Security Threat Group" training class several months ago (STG is the PC term for prison gang) and the instructor discussed how once upon a time the CDC was the model for corrections and dealing with STGs. Now, they are throwing their hands up as the CDC spirals out of control.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #208 on: October 23, 2007, 09:01:56 AM »

GM makes my point on the doggie drama, a subject with which I am done.  Last word yours Rog  smiley
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #209 on: October 26, 2007, 08:08:14 AM »

Apocalypse No
The New Republic's editors seem to have mistaken Vietnam movies for real life.

Friday, October 26, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

"I love chicks that have been intimate with EDS's," he announced to his fellow soldiers sitting in the chow tent in Camp Falcon in Baghdad. "It really turns me on--melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses." The soldiers laughed so hard they almost fell from their chairs. They enjoy running over dogs in Bradley Fighting Vehicles, luring them in and then crushing their bones as they whelp. When a soldier comes upon a mass grave, he picks up a human skull, places it merrily on his head, and marches around.

This is from the now-famous "Baghdad Diaries," in The New Republic, carrying the byline of soldier-writer Scott Thomas. They are an attempt to capture the tragedy and dehumanization of war, how it coarsens men in ways that you, safe in your bed, cannot fathom. They are a lost generation, battered by war, and struggling, with the real weapons of war's survivors--mordant wit, pitiless humor, the final surrender to nihilism--to survive in a world they never made. Do I overwrite? Do I sound like an idiot? I'm just trying to fit in.

To read the Thomas pieces was, simply, to doubt them. And to wonder if its editors had ever actually met a soldier on his way to or from Iraq, or talked to any human being involved in the modern military.

The diaries appear to be another case of journalistic fabulism. This week came word, via the published transcript of a telephone conversation between "Thomas," who is actually Scott Thomas Beauchamp, and his editors. It is actually painful to read. The editors almost plead with him to stand by his work, after months of critics' picking them factually apart. He won't do it. He doesn't want to talk to "the media." He's said enough.





Everyone in journalism thought first of Stephen Glass. I actually remember the day I read his New Republic piece on the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington in 1997, a profile of young Republicans as crude and ignorant pot-smoking alcoholics in search of an orgy. It, um, startled me. After years of observation, I was inclined toward the view that there's no such thing as a young Republican. More to the point, I'd been to the kind of convention Mr. Glass wrote about, and I thought it not remotely possible that the people he painted were real. I also thought: Man, this is way too convenient. The New Republic tends to think Republicans are hateful, and this reporter just happened to be welcomed into the private world of the most hateful Republicans in history.
On the Thomas stories, which I read not when they came out but when they began to come under scrutiny, I had a similar thought, or a variation of it. I thought: That's not Iraq, that's a Vietnam War movie. That's not life as it's being lived on the ground right now, that's life as an editor absorbed it through media. That's the dark world of Kubrick and Coppola and Oliver Stone, of the great Vietnam movies of the '70s and '80s.

If that's what you absorbed during the past 20 or 30 years, it just might make sense to you, it would actually seem believable, if a fellow in Iraq wrote for you about taunting scarred women, shooting dogs, and wearing skulls as helmets. This is the offhand brutality of war. You know. You saw it in a movie.

If you'd had a broader array of references, and were less preoccupied by the media that is the great occupying force in our own country, and you were the editor of the Thomas pieces, you might have said, "Whoa." Just whoa.





I'll jump here, or lurch I suppose, to something I am concerned about that I think I am observing accurately. It has to do with what sometimes seems to me to be the limited lives that have been or are being lived by the rising generation of American professionals in the arts, journalism, academia and business. They have had good lives, happy lives, but there is a sense with some of them that they didn't so much live it as view it. That they learned too much from media and not enough from life's difficulties. That they saw much of what they know in a film or play and picked up all the memes and themes.
In terms of personal difficulties, they seem to have had less real-life experience, or rather different experiences, than their rougher predecessors. They grew up affluent in a city or suburb, cosseted in material terms, and generally directed toward academic and material success. Their lives seem to have been not crowded or fearful, but relatively peaceful, at least until September 2001, which was very hard.

But this new leadership class, those roughly 35 to 40, grew up in a time when media dominated all. They studied, they entered a top-tier college, and then on to Washington or New York or Los Angeles. But their knowledge, their experience, is necessarily circumscribed. Too much is abstract to them, or symbolic. The education establishment did them few favors. They didn't have to read Dostoevsky, they had to read critiques and deconstruction of Dostoevsky.

I'm not sure it's always good to grow up surrounded by stability, immersed in affluence, and having had it drummed into you that you are entitled to be a member of the next leadership class. To have this background in the modern era is to come from a ghetto, the luckiest ghetto in the world, a golden ghetto beyond whose walls it can be hard to see. There's much to be said for suffering, for being on the outside or the bottom, for having to have fought yourself up and through. It can leave you grounded. It can give you real knowledge not only of the world and of other men but of yourself. In some ways it can leave you less cynical. (Not everything comes down to money.) And in some ways it leaves you just cynical enough.





Journalistically, I was lucky enough to work at CBS News when it was still shaped by the influence of the Murrow boys. They knew and taught that "everyone is entitled to his own opinions"--and they had them--"but not his own facts." And I miss the rough old boys and girls of the front page, who'd greet FDR with "Snappy suit, Mr. President," who'd bribe the guard to tell them what the prisoner said on the way to the chair, and who were not rich and important but performed an extremely important social function.
They found out who, what, where, when, why. And they would have looked at the half-baked, overcooked junior Hemingway of Scott Thomas Beauchamp and said, "That sounds like a buncha hooey."

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father" (Penguin, 2005), which you can order from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Fridays on OpinionJournal.com.

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buzwardo
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« Reply #210 on: October 26, 2007, 04:32:17 PM »

Shattered Diarist
Ask Peter Arnett for advice next time.

By James S. Robbins

It was nice to see the Scott Thomas Beauchamp/New Republic scandal back up on the radar screen yesterday. There was never a satisfactory conclusion to the story; it just faded out over the summer. Now it is back in a big way, with the Drudge Report releasing internal Army documents related to the case, and a very revealing transcript of a conversation between Beauchamp, various luminaries from The New Republic, and Beauchamp’s TNR-supplied lawyer.

TNR’s first response to the release was typical of the tone-deafness with which they have approached the entire affair — denouncing the selective leak of official documents. It is always suspect when journalists take a principled stand against leaks. It might be more convincing if TNR pledged never to use leaked information in its reporting ever again, maybe then they’d have some credibility. As it happened, the Army report recommended releasing the findings to the media, while TNR was frantically trying to get Beauchamp to cancel all his press interviews. TNR Editor Franklin Foer said that Scott owed it to the magazine to talk only to them to let them “control the way the story proceeds.” I suppose because they were doing such a great job of controlling it thus far.

The Beauchamp affair should be taught in journalism schools as a case study of how not to conduct damage control. When it quickly became obvious that there were serious problems both with Beauchamp’s “diaries” and with the author himself, TNR should have cut bait. The magazine could quite reasonably have made a statement that they were taken advantage of by someone they trusted, who was married to someone on their staff who presumably vouched for him, and retracted the stories. It would have been embarrassing, but the matter would have concluded. Instead TNR stood by Beauchamp, tying the magazine’s credibility to his, and suffering accordingly. Rather than admitting error and moving on, they invested time, money, and apparently a degree of political capital in fighting a clearly losing cause with no discernable upside even if they had prevailed. It is mystifying — like Dan Rather defending those bogus National Guard documents, or Peter Arnett sticking to the story of the U.S. conducting Sarin gas attacks against captured American troops in Vietnam. How can people who are so successful make such astonishing errors in professional judgment?

Maybe TNR didn’t think there was much there. Unlike the above-mentioned stories the “atrocities” Beauchamp claimed to have documented were unremarkable. Killing dogs? There are justifiable reasons for doing so in combat conditions — if a dog with a backpack is approaching your AFV you had better take it out quickly. As well, packs of vicious or rabid dogs roaming civilian areas need to be controlled. Playing around with a skull from a mass grave? I can see bored privates doing that briefly until their platoon sergeant barked at them to knock it off and keep digging. But the thing that should have given the TNR editors pause if they had any understanding at all of military culture was the tale of mocking a disfigured woman in a mess hall in Iraq (later changed to Kuwait, but whatever, just details, right?) No solider would publicly mock a woman wounded in an attack unless he was looking for a serious ass kicking. This is not how our troops behave. The fact that this alleged incident did not raise a red flag to the TNR editors demonstrated how out of touch they are with the military — or how willing they were to believe the worst about our fighting forces.

The Army’s report on the Beauchamp incident is good reading and confirms what was widely believed, namely that Scott either made up or wildly exaggerated the events he described. It is a shame that all we got to see was the report itself and not the supporting documentation, especially the statements of other soldiers in Beauchamp’s unit. Maybe the next leak won’t be as selective. But the real gold is the transcript of the telephone call, which reveals TNR was in much closer contact with Beauchamp throughout the controversy than they were willing to admit.

Poor Scott comes across as pitiable. He found out that there is a major difference between publishing sophomoric anti-military musings on his sparsely viewed blog and impugning the American Solider in a national opinion journal. “[T]his whole thing it’s…it’s…spun out of control and mutated into something that’s it’s just like…it’s not something that…it’s just insane,” he said. “I’m basically saying, like, I basically want it to end.”

Beauchamp could certainly have ended it by just admitting that his stories were fake. TNR executive editor Peter Scoblic — who went out of his way to mention that he was “not around the office” when the stories were edited and published (did he know this was being taped?) — gave Scott ample opportunity. He pointed out that the magazine stood up for Scott while they have been dragged through the mud, and nevertheless if “certain parts of the story are bullshit, then we’ll end it that way.” He just asked Beauchamp to summon up some personal responsibility and be straight with them.

But why start being responsible now? Beauchamp masterfully avoids giving direct answers. He isn’t talking to anyone about the articles any more. He wants to concentrate on being a Soldier. He won’t talk to the media — TNR included. He has an excuse for everything. He can’t get the copies of the investigative documents TNR wants because he’s busy. “Time is different from time where you are,” he states. If people think his stories aren’t true, well, people will view what he wrote in a lot of ways, that can’t be helped. But are they true or not? “I’m not commenting on the stories,” Beauchamp said. “That’s what I’m saying…I’m not discussing them at all. Um, which is not an admission of anything.” Um, right.

It is amusing to see TNR on the receiving end of Beauchamp’s dissembling. Did they expect gratitude? Forget it. Scoblic’s frustration is evident — he points out that TNR really went to the mat to defend Beauchamp and now he was lumping them in with the rest of the media. TNR did a variety of things for Beauchamp, including “making sure you were okay via a number of pretty high level channels.” (How high? Through whom? Interesting story there I’ll bet.)  When Beauchamp sloughs it all off by saying he is a Soldier and not a writer, he’s going to focus on his duty to his comrades in arms, the next line from Scoblic is “(Unintelligible.)”  Fill in the blank yourself.

It is hard to see how TNR can continue to stand by Beauchamp, or why they should. He certainly cares little about them, and the findings of the official report, leaked or not, give the magazine an opportunity to publicly recant. That is, if they can stomach agreeing with the Army. Or they could stick with the type of tactics that have brought them to their current state of disrepute; denounce the report, say the testimony was coerced, that the Soldiers involved were threatened with reprisal, that Beauchamp is too intimidated to speak, and so forth, which might find an audience with the hard-core conspiracy minded, but will only serve to keep the issue festering until the next revelation.

The bright side of the case study is in illustrating the power of the web to police reporting — to act as a watchdog over the watchdogs. In particular it reconfirms the critical role of the milbloggers. A prescient, award-winning essay by Army Major Elizabeth Robbins (relation by marriage) pointed out that if members of the military were prevented from blogging, this corner of the information domain would be left to the Beauchamps of the world, where they could indulge their biases unchecked. “To silence the most credible voices — those at the spear’s edge — and to deny them this function is to handicap the Army on a vital, very real battlefield,” Robbins writes. “The Army’s reputation is maintained on many fronts, and no one fights harder on its behalf than our young Soldiers. We must allow them access to this fight.” Had milbloggers not intervened, who knows what absurd, fantastic, vicious and wholly contrived events Beauchamp’s fourth and fifth “diary” entries would have contained? And how many people would have believed them?

 — James S. Robbins is the director of the Intelligence Center at Trinity Washington University , senior fellow for national-security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council, and author of Last in Their Class: Custer, Picket and the Goats of West Point. Robbins is also an NRO contributor.
 

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MmU4NzMxZWM3YjRiODgzZDkzNjVhMzNkMmQ3N2RiYWU=
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #211 on: October 29, 2007, 07:53:12 AM »

'Fairness' Is Foul
Liberals vs. the First Amendment.

Monday, October 29, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

It wasn't that hard for Indiana's Rep. Mike Pence to build media and congressional support for his Free Flow of Information Act, which would protect the confidentiality of contacts between reporters and sources. It passed the House this month by an overwhelming vote of 398-21. His next battle will be a lot harder--to permanently ban the Fairness Doctrine, the regulation many liberals are now actively trying to revive in an effort to silence their critics.

Until the FCC scrapped the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, it required broadcasters to provide equal time to all sides of "controversial" issues. In practice, this led to what Bill Monroe, a former host of NBC's "Meet the Press," called "timid, don't-rock-the-boat coverage." On radio, Newsweek's Howard Fineman notes, it "effectively kept partisan shows off the airwaves," so that in 1980 there were a mere 75 talk radio stations. Today there are 1,800.

But the Fairness Doctrine has always had fans in the corridors of power because it gave incumbents a way of muzzling their opponents. The Kennedy administration used it as a political weapon. Bill Ruder, Kennedy's assistant secretary of commerce, explained: "Our strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue." The Nixon administration similarly used the doctrine to torment left-wing broadcasters.

Democrats who have become "Fairness" mongers insist they simply want to restore civility and balance to the airwaves. Al Gore, in a typically overheated speech last year bemoaned "the destruction of [the] marketplace of ideas" which he blamed in part on the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, after which "Rush Limbaugh and other hate-mongers began to fill the airwaves."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein rails against "one-sided programming" that has pushed the American people into "extreme views without a lot of information." She thinks Americans deserve to know "both sides of the story." Isn't it enough that National Public Radio, subsidized by the government, serves as a vehicle for liberal voices in just about every community in the country?

True, commercial radio is dominated by conservatives, but perhaps that's because liberal arguments in their full-throated glory just haven't sold as well. Air America, the liberal talk radio network that debuted in 2004, is in perpetual financial trouble. Then there's the GreenStone talk radio network started last year by feminists Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem. It offered cutting-edge liberal thinking pitched to a female audience--and flopped completely.





Rep. Pence says he knows all about the power of talk radio because he used to host a statewide show in Indiana, where he describes himself as "the decaf Rush Limbaugh." He believes the Fairness Doctrine would "amount to government control over political views expressed on the public airwaves." In June his first effort to impose a one-year moratorium on any revival of the Fairness Doctrine by the FCC passed, 309-115, with nearly half of House Democrats voting in favor.
But a one-year moratorium was an easy vote, because there is no reason to expect the Fairness Doctrine to make a comeback before 2009, when a new president--perhaps a Democrat--appoints a majority of FCC commissioners.

That's why Mr. Pence is proposing the Broadcaster Freedom Act, a bill that would permanently bury the Fairness Doctrine. Because House Democratic leaders are unlikely to allow it to come to the floor for a vote, Mr. Pence has launched a "discharge petition," a device to bypass House committees and move the bill directly to the floor. He needs 218 members--a House majority--to sign the petition. He has collected 185 signatures, but all from Republicans. Democrats are being told by their leadership that signing such a petition would undermine their control of the House.

Mr. Pence, says that "freedom should not be a partisan issue" and that he is optimistic that he can collect the signature of every Republican and then pluck off some 20 of the Democrats who voted for his one-year moratorium last summer (he'd need at least 18).

The stakes are high. "Lovers of liberty must expose calls to restore the Fairness Doctrine for the fraudulent power-grab that they plainly are," writes Brian Anderson, editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.

That's because the attempts to control the airwaves won't stop with so-called equal time rules. Al Franken, the liberal former Air America host who is now running for the Senate in Minnesota, is already slipping into the role of potential legislative censor of his old industry. "You shouldn't be able to lie on the air," he told Newsweek's Mr. Fineman earlier this year. "You can't utter obscenities in a broadcast, so why should you be able to lie? You should be fined for lying."

In fact, you can be "fined" for lying, if the person you lie about successfully sues for defamation. But the First Amendment makes it exceedingly difficult for defamation plaintiffs to prevail, especially if they are public figures--and for good reason. Under a more pro-plaintiff legal regime, "the pall of fear and timidity imposed upon those who would give voice to public criticism is an atmosphere in which the First Amendment freedoms cannot survive," Justice William Brennan wrote in New York Times v. Sullivan (1964).

Justice Brennan used to be a liberal hero. If he were alive today, he would surely be dismayed to learn that liberals seem to have concluded they have no use for the First Amendment.

WSJ
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« Reply #212 on: October 31, 2007, 12:11:54 PM »

 to Eternity
One of the ways in which the media bolster their anti-Iraq narrative is by maximizing the number of U.S. casualties. The figures you hear for the number of deaths--currently approaching 4,000--almost always include noncombat deaths. Roughly 20% of "Iraq war" deaths are from illness, accident, suicide or other "nonhostile" causes.

By this standard, of course, every serviceman in Iraq is doomed, and so are the rest of us. Even for those who perish in combat, war is only the proximate cause of death.

A striking example of "Iraq war" deaths that weren't appeared last week in the New York Times:

The Department of Defense has identified 3,825 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war. It confirmed the deaths of the following Americans on Tuesday:

CAMACHO, Anamarie Sannicolas, 20, Seaman, Navy; Panama City, Fla.; Naval Support Activity.

GRESHAM, Genesia Mattril, 19, Seaman, Navy; Lithonia, Ga.; Naval Support Activity.

The San Francisco Chronicle published news of Camacho's and Gresham's deaths under the headline "U.S. Toll in Iraq," and the text said they had died "in Iraq."

This is false, as the Chronicle's own Web site confirms. The paper has a database with details of all the deaths "in Iraq," and both Camacho's and Gresham's entries show that they "died Oct. 22 in Bahrain during a non-combat related incident." (Nonetheless, the heading on the Chronicle's database pages reads "Portraits of Sacrifice: U.S. Casualties in Iraq.")

To find out how they died, we turn to the Gulf Daily News, an English-language Bahraini paper:

Anamarie Sannicolas Camacho, 20, and her colleague Genesia Mattril Gresham, 19, were shot dead at the Naval Support Activity Base, Juffair, at around 5am on October 22.

Their alleged killer, fellow serviceman Clarence Jackson, 20, is still clinging to life after apparently shooting himself in the head immediately after the murders.

He is now at the National Naval Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland, US, after being transferred to the US from a specialist hospital in Germany. . . .

[Camacho's mother, Jovie] Paulino, who served in the US Air Force for six years, is also angry at the way the navy have handled the shooting.

"I had entrusted my daughter to the navy when she joined and this is what has happened, I just don't understand," she said. "I was in the military and right now I feel so angry and disappointed. She put her life on the line for our freedom and the only thing they should do (in return) is protect her."

Her comments echo that of Ms Gresham's mother Anita, who earlier blamed officials for leaving her daughter exposed to danger from a man she said turned nasty when she tried to cool their "casual" relationship.

Ms Gresham revealed Jackson had a restraining order against him and had been on suicide watch, after he allegedly attacked Miss Gresham less than four months ago.

She was also angry that Jackson was allowed to carry a gun after his alleged attack on her daughter and that officials were not telling her what happened in the run-up to the killings.

If Jackson dies of his wounds, will the Times and the Chronicle list him as another casualty of the "Iraq war" rather than of his own twisted rage?

The incident does illustrate an uncomfortable truth: that romantic entanglements can be harmful to military discipline. This is why servicemen can be prosecuted for adultery, and it is one reason that the military excludes open homosexuals and restricts the roles in which women may serve. This was a horrific and senseless crime. Imagine how disruptive it would have been in a combat unit.

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« Reply #213 on: November 15, 2007, 10:21:42 PM »

An example of the profoundly anti-semitic bigotry affecting so much of the coverage of Israel

rticle in The Spectator.co.uk by Melanie Phillips
The al Durah blood libel
Wednesday, 14th November 2007

 

I am in Paris where I have attended the Court of Appeal special session called to witness the 27 minutes of hitherto unseen footage of the ‘killing’ of Mohammed al Durah which the court had required France 2 to produce. For readers who are unfamiliar with this scandal, I wrote about it here, here and here.

Suffice it to say here that the iconic image of the child Mohammed al Durah, pictured crouching with his father behind a barrel next to a concrete wall in an apparently vain attempt to shelter from the gun-battle between Israel and the Palestinians that was raging around them before he was allegedly shot dead by the Israelis, served to incite terrorist violence and atrocities around the world after it was transmitted by France 2 at the beginning of the second intifada. Yet it is clear to anyone looking at this in detail that the whole thing was staged, not least from the devastating evidence here which shows the boy raising his arm and peeping through his fingers seconds after the France 2 correspondent Charles Enderlin said he! had be en shot dead.

After Philippe Karsenty, founder of the French online media watchdog, Media Ratings, accused France 2 of staging the al Durah ‘killing’ and called for the resignation of both Charles Enderlin and France 2’s News Director, Arlette Chabot, France 2 and Enderlin sued Karsenty for defamation, and won. In a disgraceful piece of judicial cronyism after the gratuitous intervention of the then French President Jacques Chirac, the court decided against Karsenty and in favour of France 2 and Enderlin. Karsenty appealed; the judge ordered France 2 to produce the unscreened footage of this incident; today it did so.

Well, sort of. What it actually produced was 18 minutes out of the 27 it was required to bring forward. From this footage, which according to France 2’s Palestinian cameraman was filmed during an implausible 45 minutes of continuous shooting by Israeli soldiers, there is no evidence that anyone at all was killed or injured -- including Mohammed al Durah who by the end of the frames in which he figured seemed to be still very much alive and unmarked by any wound whatsoever.

The drama of today’s hearing was enhanced by the appearance of Enderlin himself, who until today had not graced this case with his presence. As the film was shown to a packed and overheated (in every sense) courtroom, Enderlin and Karsenty offered rival interpretations of the images on the screen. If Enderlin thought he would thus demonstrate the inadequacy of Karsenty’s case, he was very much mistaken. On the contrary, parts of his commentary were so absurd that the courtroom several times burst into incredulous laughter.

Enderlin offered only a vague, rambling and unconvincing explanation of why he had only produced 18 minutes of footage rather than the 27 he claimed to have received from his cameraman in Gaza (Enderlin himself was not in Gaza when these events occurred). After the hearing Professor Richard Landes, one of the people who had already seen the contested footage, said that two scenes had been cut out which clearly showed that the violence had been staged -- including one in which a Palestinian preparing to throw a missile is suddenly picked up and carried into an ambulance despite showing no signs of injury. This scene, said Landes, was filmed by Reuters, who actually filmed the France 2 cameraman filming it. Yet there was no sign of it today.

What struck me very forcibly about the 18 minutes overall was that, although this was supposed to have been filmed during continuous firing by the Israelis for 45 minutes, much of the footage consisted merely of a violent demonstration by stone throwing youths, many of whom who appeared to be enjoying the exercise. One child was pictured riding a bicycle through the melee. There was no evidence of any of them being killed or injured. From time to time, to be sure, youths were dragged onto stretchers and into ambulances – but there was no sign of anyone actually being shot, no-one falling under fire, no sign of any blood or injuries whatever. The nearest it got to an injury was a sequence in which a young man coyly pulled his shirt open a little to provide a glimpse of a neat red circle on his stomach, which he claimed was a (rubber?) bullet wound. But since he appeared to be in no pain whatever and was grinning throughout his turn for the camera, this seemed an eminently ! implaus ible way for someone who had just been hit by gunfire to behave.

There were many very strange things about this footage which just didn’t add up. When it came to the footage of the ‘killing’ of Mohammed al Durah, the following stood out:

* This sequence was not a continuous narrative but was repeatedly broken up and spliced onto footage of other scenes from the demonstration

* Although the France 2 cameraman had told a German film-maker, Esther Shapira, that he had filmed six minutes of the al Durah father and son under continuous Israeli fire, the footage of them lasted for less than one minute

* There was a camera tripod next to them

* There was no evidence of the boy actually being hit

* At one point, people in the crowd cried out that the boy was dead, while he was sitting up large as life clinging onto his father with his mouth wide open

 


* After he was said to be dead, he moved his arm (the sequence I have already reported which has been available on the web for years).

The Appeal Court is not due to give its verdict in this case until next February. As of today, such are the fresh contradictions and questions thrown up by the showing of this footage it would seem that France 2 has painted itself into a corner from which it will find it increasingly hard to escape.

But this scandal goes far beyond France 2. Soon after it transmitted the 55 seconds which showed the ‘killing’ of Mohammed al Durah, it helpfully sent various news agencies three minutes of the footage of this incident – including the frames in which the ‘dead’ child is seen moving, but which of course it had not broadcast. For reasons which invite speculation, not one of these agencies broadcast it either. Had they done so, there would have been no ‘killing’ of Mohammed al Durah and untold numbers of subsequent deaths would have been avoided.

It is therefore not surprising, but no less shocking, that with a couple of heroic exceptions the mainstream media has until very recently ignored the evidence suggesting that a monumental and deadly fraud was perpetrated here, indicators which have been around for years. As of today, the Karsenty case has been totally ignored by the mainstream French media. It is also deeply troubling that the Israel government ignored this evidence for seven years, that it is only very recently that its press spokesman Danny Seaman said the incident was staged, and that even now certain representatives of the Israel government are playing a most ambiguous role in defending their country against this modern blood libel.

The ‘killing’ of Mohammed al Durah was swallowed uncritically by the western media, despite the manifold unlikeliness and contradictions which were apparent from the start, because it accorded with the murderous prejudice against Israel which is the prism through which the Middle East conflict is habitually refracted. This scandal has the most profound implications not just for the media, not just for the Middle East conflict but for the western world’s relationship to reason, which seems to grow more tenuous by the day.
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« Reply #214 on: November 21, 2007, 10:10:14 AM »

Courage and Journalism
November 21, 2007; Page A18
Among the blessings this fair land can give thanks for tomorrow is a free press. In much of the rest of the world, that's a freedom that remains elusive at best. The men and women who report the news often do so at great personal risk.

Four such journalists were honored in New York City yesterday by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-profit group that promotes the right of journalists world-wide to report without fear of reprisals. The honorees work in four countries on three continents. Each has a harrowing tale to tell. Three have colleagues who were murdered while on the job.

Adela Navarro Bello is the general director of Zeta, a weekly magazine in the border town of Tijuana, Mexico. Zeta covers organized crime, drug trafficking and corruption in Mexico's northern states, including the collusion between police and criminals. The cost of its investigative reporting has been high. Zeta's co-founder and a co-editor were murdered, and Ms. Navarro has received death threats. On a visit to the Journal's offices on Monday, she described the milieu in which she works: "Journalists have been assaulted, murdered or simply disappear."

Pakistan's Mazhar Abbas works for ARY One World Television, one of the TV stations closed down in President Pervez Musharraf's current state of emergency. After his name appeared on the hit list of an ethnic group allied with Mr. Musharraf, Mr. Abbas was among three journalists who found an envelope containing a bullet taped to his car. A recent trend is for the families of journalists also to be targeted.

Dmitry Muratov is founder and editor in chief of Novaya Gazeta, the Russian newspaper for which the late Anna Politkovskaya was working when she was murdered last year. Mr. Muratov's newspaper is known for its probes of high-level corruption, human-rights abuses and the war in Chechnya. "The [Vladmir Putin] government views the country as its personal business enterprise," he told us, "and we are basically trying to expose them." In addition to Ms. Politkovskaya, two other Novaya Gazeta reporters have been killed.

The fourth honoree is Gao Qinrong, who was released recently from a Chinese jail. He served eight years on a series of bogus charges brought after he exposed government corruption in an irrigation project in Shanxi province. Beijing refused to issue him a passport so he was honored in absentia. There are 29 journalists currently in jail in China, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Mr. Muratov spoke for all the winners when he told us, "We do what we can." Such modesty belies their courage and dedication.

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« Reply #215 on: November 27, 2007, 07:55:48 AM »

Political Journal

Fog in Channel; Continent Cut Off
Australia held an election over the weekend, and voters turned out the Liberal Party (which is on the Australian right) in favor of the left-wing Labor Party. Showing its penchant for Angry Left parochialism, the New York Times headlines the story "Ally of Bush Is Defeated in Australia," and the first and third paragraphs were about America rather than Australia:

Australia's prime minister, John Howard, one of President Bush's staunchest allies in Asia, suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the electorate on Saturday, as his Liberal Party-led coalition lost its majority in Parliament.

He will be replaced by Kevin Rudd, the Labor Party leader and a former diplomat. "Today Australia looks to the future," Mr. Rudd told a cheering crowd in his home state, Queensland. "Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward."

Mr. Howard's defeat, after 11 years in power, follows that of José María Aznar of Spain, who also backed the United States-led invasion of Iraq, and political setbacks for Tony Blair, who stepped down as Britain's prime minister in June.

It also followed the victories of pro-American prime ministers in Germany, Canada and France; and the last we heard, Belgium didn't even have a government. But elections in foreign countries are generally not referendums on the American president. The world does not revolve around George W. Bush, even if the world of the Times does.

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« Reply #216 on: November 30, 2007, 12:13:08 PM »

Quote of the Day

"I think CNN does itself a great disservice when it doesn't apply the exact same kind of criteria to both debates. I covered both of them. In the Democratic debate, I don't think there were any questions that were clearly coming from, you know, a Republican point of view. They were generally sympathetic. They were about global warming and health care and education, all kind of Democratic issues. They weren't challenging them. There was one kind anti-tax question, I think, but they weren't challenging the basic principles of the Democratic Party. There were lots of questions last night [at the GOP debate] that were. I think the question about the Bible was mocking. I think one of the abortion questions was clearly not from someone who was pro-life" -- Mara Liasson of National Public Radio on the Republican and Democratic presidential debates sponsored by CNN and Google's YouTube affiliate.

CNN's Bumper Crop

Last week, CNN's Anderson Cooper quipped in an interview with Townhall.com that "campaign operatives are people too" and CNN wasn't worried if political partisans posed questions at the GOP debate he'd be moderating the following Wednesday. "We don't investigate the background of people asking questions [by submitting video clips]. It's not our job," he said.

Yet now CNN's logo has egg splattered all over it as the network scrambles to explain how a co-chair of Hillary Clinton's veterans' committee was allowed to ask a video question on gays in the military at Wednesday's debate. The questioner, retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr, was flown at network expense from California to the debate site in Florida so he could repeat his question to the candidates in person. CNN claims it verified retired Brig. Gen. Kerr's military status and checked his campaign contribution records, contradicting Mr. Cooper's blasé attitudes. But the network still somehow missed his obvious connection to the Hillary campaign which any Google search would have turned up.

CNN later airbrushed Mr. Kerr's question out of its rebroadcast of the debate, indicating that it apparently doesn't think "campaign operatives" are legitimate questioners at the network's debates.

Now it appears that an amazing number of partisan figures posed many of the 30 questions at the GOP debate while pretending to be CNN's advertised "undecided voters." Yasmin from Huntsville, Alabama turns out to be a former intern with the Council on American Islamic Relations, a group highly critical of Republicans. Blogger Michelle Malkin has identified other plants, including declared Obama supporter David Cercone, who asked a question about the pro-gay Log Cabin Republicans. A questioner who asked a hostile question about the pro-life views of GOP candidates turned out to be a diehard John Edwards supporter (and a slobbering online fan of Mr. Cooper). Yet another "plant" was LeeAnn Anderson, an aide to Leo Gerard, president of the American Steel Workers Union and a prominent Edwards backer.

It seems more "plants" are being uprooted with each passing day. Nearly one-third of the questioners seem to have some ties to Democratic causes or candidates. Another questioner worked with Democratic Senator Dick Durbin's staff. A former intern with Democratic Rep. Jane Harman asked a question about farm subsidies. A questioner who purported to be a Ron Paul supporter turns out to be a Bill Richardson volunteer. David McMillan, a TV writer from Los Angeles, turns out to have several paeans to John Edwards on his YouTube page and has attended Barack Obama fundraisers.

Given CNN's professed goal to have "ordinary Americans" ask questions at its GOP debate, how odd that so many of the video questioners selected by CNN turned out to be not just partisan Democrats, but actively hostile to the GOP's messages and candidates.

political journal WSJ
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« Reply #217 on: December 17, 2007, 07:58:37 AM »

The NY Times covers the AP.  Caveat Lector!
===============

Case Lays Bare the Media’s Reliance on Iraqi Journalists
   
By TIM ARANGO
Published: December 17, 2007
Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi photographer who had a hand in The Associated Press’s 2005 Pulitzer Prize for photography before being jailed without charges by the United States military, finally had a day in court last week. But his story, which highlights the unprecedented role that Iraqis are playing in news coverage of the war, is really just beginning.

 
He was held for around 20 months by the military — in Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere, with no right to contest his detention —before being turned over to an Iraqi magistrate, who will act as a one-man grand jury and decide if there is enough evidence to link him to the insurgency. He has not been formally charged with a crime.

The Associated Press has staunchly defended Mr. Hussein, pointing out that his role as a journalist involved getting close to the insurgency. Over the last three years, the American military has held at least eight other Iraqi journalists for periods of weeks or month without charges and released them all, apparently unable to find ties to the insurgency, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent nonprofit organization.

As for Mr. Hussein and his lawyers, “they were not given a copy of the materials that were presented and which they need to prepare a defense,” The Associated Press said in a statement last week, noting that Mr. Hussein was still being detained without formal charges. “The Associated Press continues to believe that claims Bilal is involved with insurgent activities are false.”

A spokesman for the military said that Mr. Hussein had been detained as “an imperative security threat” and that he has persistently been “treated fairly, humanely and in accordance with all applicable law.”

In a lengthy e-mail message, the spokesman said that Mr. Hussein had been named by “sources” as having “possessed foreknowledge of an improvised explosive device (I.E.D.) attack” on American and Iraqi forces, “that he was standing next to the I.E.D. triggerman at the time of the attempted attack, and that he conspired with the I.E.D. triggerman to synchronize his photograph with the explosion.”

The e-mail message did not say whether the photograph in question is the one that Mr. Hussein took in Falluja on Nov. 8, 2004, of Iraqi insurgents firing a mortar and small arms, which was among the 20 from The Associated Press that collectively won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography.

The military spokesman said further: “The Associated Press was informed that the sources had reported Mr. Hussein’s knowing and willing offer to provide a false Iraqi national identification card to an alleged sniper, whom Mr. Hussein knew was wanted” by the military, “in order to assist the sniper in eluding capture.”

For its part, The Associated Press hired a New York lawyer and former prosecutor, Paul Gardephe, to investigate the situation. He published a 46-page report that concluded “there is no evidence — in nearly a thousand photographs taken over the 20-month period — that his activities ever strayed from those of a legitimate journalist.” Mr. Gardephe was in Iraq last week defending Mr. Hussein.

The role of Iraqis as front-line reporters, and the dangers they face working for Western news organizations, is well known. In a few recent examples, in October a journalist for The Washington Post, Salih Saif Aldin, was shot dead in a Baghdad neighborhood rife with sectarian violence. That death occurred three months after a local journalist working for The New York Times was killed in the same area. Of the 124 journalists killed in Iraq since the war began, 102 have been Iraqi, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

And while Western journalists do depend on Iraqi freelancers, several news organizations, including The New York Times, continue to have resident correspondents who leave their compounds to report in Baghdad and beyond.

Several editors and reporters overseeing Iraqi coverage for Western news organizations said they worked hard to vet their local hires for sectarian and political ties that could slant their coverage, and offered extensive training in the rules of Western journalism. But there are no official background checks that can be conducted, as American and European companies routinely do when making domestic hires. Rather, news organizations try to get to know their prospective Iraqi hires in person and then judge them by the work they produce.

“A person is usually recommended by another journalist and brought in for an interview, and you sit down and have a long discussion with that person,” said John Daniszewski, The Associated Press’s international editor. “Like any job applicant in the states, people go through a probationary period. They are given lessons, it’s like an apprenticeship relationship.”

Mr. Daniszewski added, “When you are working side by side, you get to know the person, and if the person seems unreliable, or if you ever see someone not completely honest with you, he is out the door.”
=============

Page 2 of 2)

The reporters and editors said that they often had to filter out obvious sectarian biases from news copy, and, as a matter of policy, would not run statistics like death counts from the field without official confirmation from the military. But, these journalists emphasized, there is a big difference between bias seeping into news copy and insurgents infiltrating news organizations.

According to The Associated Press, Mr. Hussein, a 36-year-old member of a prominent Falluja farming family, had a modest job history before the 2003 United States invasion of Iraq: he worked in a grocery store, an auto parts joint and handed out goods as part of a United Nations assistance program. Photography was his hobby, and an uncle had set up a darkroom for him.

When soldiers and journalists flooded into Falluja in April 2004, Mr. Hussein began working as a driver and helper for The Associated Press. “He said he always wanted to be a professional photographer,” Mr. Daniszewski said. “And we had a need there. We gave him training, equipment and he just did good work.” In April 2006, Mr. Hussein was detained in Ramadi by the United States military, which said it had evidence linking him to the insurgency, but did not press charges.

The situation has not dissuaded foreign news organizations from continuing to lean heavily on local stringers. “They’re essential,” said Marjorie Miller, the foreign editor of The Los Angeles Times. “We couldn’t do our job without them, more so than in any other war we’ve covered.”

David Schlesinger, the editor in chief of Reuters, said, “using local staff is something we do everywhere in the world. But it’s become so dangerous in Iraq, we’re even more dependent on local staff there than in other places.”

In any foreign outpost, Western news organizations rely on locals to get the job done, often as drivers or translators. “The reliance on local staff is nothing new, whether it be in the West Bank, or Gaza or other places,” said Joel Campagna, Middle East program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. “News organizations know how to vet and scrutinize information.”

However, he said, Iraq “is the most dangerous conflict we’ve seen at C.P.J. in our 26 years. In Iraq, the ubiquity and scale of danger has really hampered the ability of journalists to gather news.”

Mr. Hussein is one of more than 24,000 individuals held by the American military worldwide, most in Iraq, according to statistics cited by The Associated Press. But not even the nudging of a giant Western news organization was enough keep him from spending 20 months behind bars without being formally charged with a crime.

“The Iraqi courts seem to be completely overwhelmed,” said Linda A. Malone, a law professor at the College of William and Mary who advised the Justice Department during the trial of Saddam Hussein. “There’s a tremendous backlog. That’s not to say this one might not be a priority. Hopefully that would be the case given the issue of journalistic freedom versus national security.”

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« Reply #218 on: January 09, 2008, 10:44:49 AM »

 
 
     
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The Lancet's Political Hit
January 9, 2008
Three weeks before the 2006 elections, the British medical journal Lancet published a bombshell report estimating that casualties in Iraq had exceeded 650,000 since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. We know that number was wildly exaggerated. The news is that now we know why.

It turns out the Lancet study was funded by anti-Bush partisans and conducted by antiwar activists posing as objective researchers. It also turns out the timing was no accident. You can find the fascinating details in the current issue of National Journal magazine, thanks to reporters Neil Munro and Carl Cannon. And sadly, that may be the only place you'll find them. While the media were quick to hype the original Lancet report -- within a week of its release it had been featured on 25 news shows and in 188 newspaper and magazine articles -- something tells us this debunking won't get the same play.

The Lancet death toll was more than 10 times what had been estimated by the U.S. and Iraqi governments, and even by human rights groups. Asked about the study on the day it was released, President Bush said, "I don't consider it a credible report." Neither did the Pentagon and top British authorities. To put the 655,000 number in perspective, consider that fewer Americans died in the Civil War, our bloodiest conflict.

Skeptics at the time (including us) pointed to the Lancet study's manifold methodological flaws. The high body count was an extrapolation based on a sampling of households and locations that was far too small to render reliable results. What the National Journal adds is that the Lancet study was funded by billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute. Mr. Soros is a famous critic of the Iraq campaign and well-known partisan, having spent tens of millions trying to defeat Mr. Bush in 2004.

But "Soros is not the only person associated with the Lancet study who had one eye on the data and the other on the U.S. political calendar," write Messrs. Munro and Cannon. Two co-authors, Gilbert Burnham and Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins University, told the reporters that they opposed the war from the outset and sent their report to the Lancet on the condition that it be published before the election.

Mr. Roberts, who opposed removing Saddam from power, sought the Democratic nomination for New York's 24th Congressional District in 2006. Asked why he ran, Mr. Roberts replied, "It was a combination of Iraq and [Hurricane] Katrina."

Then there is Lancet Editor Richard Horton, "who agreed to rush the study into print, with an expedited peer review process and without seeing the surveyors' original data," report Mr. Munro and Mr. Cannon. He has also made no secret of his politics. "At a September 2006 rally in Manchester, England, Horton declared, 'This axis of Anglo-American imperialism extends its influence through war and conflict, gathering power and wealth as it goes, so millions of people are left to die in poverty and disease,'" they write. See YouTube for more.

We also learn that the key person involved in collecting the Lancet data was Iraqi researcher Riyadh Lafta, who has failed to follow the customary scientific practice of making his data available for inspection by other researchers. Mr. Lafta had been an official in Saddam's ministry of health when the dictator was attempting to end international sanctions against Iraq. He wrote articles asserting that many Iraqis were dying from cancer and other diseases caused by spent U.S. uranium shells from the Gulf War. According to National Journal, the Lancet studies "of Iraqi war deaths rest on the data provided by Lafta, who operated with little American supervision and has rarely appeared in public or been interviewed about his role."

In other words, the Lancet study could hardly be more unreliable. Yet it was trumpeted by the political left because it fit a narrative that they wanted to believe. And it wasn't challenged by much of the press because it told them what they wanted to hear. The truth was irrelevant.

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« Reply #219 on: January 10, 2008, 08:56:14 AM »

IMHO the Wall Street Journal, especially its editorial page, is an extraordinary newspaper.
=====================


Our Philosophy



The Wall Street Journal has a long tradition of vigorous and independent editorial commentary. As early as 1902 Charles Dow wrote a column called "Review & Outlook," and that title runs today over our editorials in editions on three continents. In the boom of the 1920s, the paper was distinguished by the reporting and commentary of its proprietor, C.W. Barron. In the years after World War II, Bernard Kilgore was the publishing genius who forged the Journal into a national and now international institution. (See "Barney Kilgore Built His Dream.") But it was for editorial writing that his Journal won its first two Pulitzer Prizes, to William Henry Grimes in 1947 and Vermont Royster in 1953. In 1951 Mr. Grimes famously spelled out The Journal's approach to reporting and editorializing in "A Newspaper's Philosophy."

Looking back over this history, what's surprising is not the change of views but their constancy. (See "Journal Editorials and the Common Man.") They are united by the mantra "free markets and free people," the principles, if you will, marked in the watershed year of 1776 by Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence and Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations." So over the past century and into the next, the Journal stands for free trade and sound money; against confiscatory taxation and the ukases of kings and other collectivists; and for individual autonomy against dictators, bullies and even the tempers of momentary majorities. If these principles sound unexceptionable in theory, applying them to current issues is often unfashionable and controversial.

Even regular readers often inquire about how our articles and views manage to appear five days a week, or how many people write the editorials? This is not as simple a question as it seems. When we counted the other day, the full-time budgeted staff of the editorial page numbered 43. This staff is responsible for the editorial and op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal Asia, The Wall Street Journal Europe, the daily Leisure & Arts pages of the domestic Journal and the critical reviews and Taste page for the Weekend Journal, and OpinionJournal.com with its substantial body of original content.

At last count, about 22 of the 43 staff members have written at least one editorial over the last year. But there are many other things to do. Ten are involved in producing the pages (i.e., formatting the electronic images that fill printing plates or computer screens), clerical and business-management tasks. Six are principally involved in arts and cultural reviewing, which on this newspaper are recognized as an opinion function. Eight are mainly involved in the two international editions, both writing editorials and editing feature articles, and two devote most of their time to producing the OpinionJournal.com Web site features.

In New York and Washington, a core group of 12 people is principally involved in writing editorials or our proprietary columns. Another four are principally involved in editing features from outside contributors and letters to the editor. Of course, many editorials and articles are used in more than one edition, often with appropriate customization. And some writers or editors may be doing editorials one day, cultural reviews the next and feature articles the third. Out of this maelstrom, three sets of editorial and op-ed pages across the world get filled every morning. Our tradition has long been to avoid set-piece meetings but to gather come-who-wants informally. This tradition is now giving way to e-mail exchanges, and we've adopted one formal meeting a week for more free-ranging discussion.

But coordination of policy positions is not as difficult as an outsider might think, for we all share a similar world view. The most important coordinators--Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot and Deputy Editors Daniel Henninger and Melanie Kirkpatrick--have worked together for decades. They are guided by the tradition of free people and free markets set out by Charles Dow and elaborated by a long string of editors.

A word is due here about journalistic philosophy, as opposed to political philosophy. The Journal editorial pages are obviously in themselves a substantial journalistic enterprise. But they are dwarfed by the Journal news department: more than 600 reporters on the global news staff and another 900-plus on Dow Jones Newswires. Following the American newspaper practice, the heads of News and Editorial report independently to the publisher, Gordon Crovitz.

We expect our editorial writers to do their own reporting, developing their own sources and seeking news from their own perspective and insights. It may sometimes happen that news sources get calls from both news and editorial departments. Sometimes the dispatches of news and editorial seem to disagree, primarily in reflecting different sets of news sources. While this can be confusing, we do not see that the reader is the loser.

We believe that the ultimate function of the editorial pages is the same as the rest of the newspaper, to inform. But in opinion journalism we have the additional purpose of making an argument for a point of view. We often take sides on the major issues of politics and society, with a goal of moving policies or events in what we think is the best direction for the country and world. We recognize that others may disagree but see little value in equivocation. In stating our own views forcefully, we hope to raise and sharpen the level of debate and knowledge. And we hope that our editorials reflect not merely the passing whim of passing editors, but a body of thought shaped by a century of tradition.
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« Reply #220 on: January 14, 2008, 08:26:51 PM »

WSJ

We Stand Behind Our Stereotype
By JAMES TARANTO
January 14, 2008

There is a school of thought in journalism according to which it is bad form to mention the race or ethnicity of a criminal suspect or defendant unless there is a compelling reason to do so. The idea is that such references gratuitously perpetuate stereotypes while imparting information that is of no use to the reader.

But racial and ethnic groups are not the only ones who take offense at such stereotypes, as the New York Times reports:

Veterans groups have long deplored the attention paid to the minority of soldiers who fail to readjust to civilian life.
After World War I, the American Legion passed a resolution asking the press "to subordinate whatever slight news value there may be in playing up the ex-service member angle in stories of crime or offense against the peace." An article in the Veterans of Foreign Wars magazine in 2006 referred with disdain to the pervasive "wacko-vet myth," which, veterans say, makes it difficult for them to find jobs.
The wacko-vet myth is alive and well. This very passage comes from a 7,000-word front-page piece in yesterday's Times titled "Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles":

The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment--along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems--appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.
Are they depraved on account of they were deployed? In fact, the Times's data are not sufficient to establish a correlation, much less a casual relationship, between stateside homicide and previous service in Afghanistan or Iraq.

To determine whether there's such a correlation, we'd need to know, in addition to the number of war vets charged with homicide, the corresponding figure for the general population, as well as the denominators--i.e., the number of war vets and the size of the population as a whole. A serious analysis would also take into account the demographic characteristics of the veteran population, which is disproportionately young and male.

This the Times does not do. Power Line's John Hinderaker conducts some back-of-the-envelope calculations and finds that if the Times's numbers are correct, "the rate of homicides committed by military personnel who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan is only a fraction of the homicide rate for other Americans aged 18 to 24."

The Times, however, pre-empts this line of argument by acknowledging a defect in its methodology:

To compile and analyze its list, The Times conducted a search of local news reports, examined police, court and military records and interviewed the defendants, their lawyers and families, the victims' families and military and law enforcement officials.
This reporting most likely uncovered only the minimum number of such cases, given that not all killings, especially in big cities and on military bases, are reported publicly or in detail. Also, it was often not possible to determine the deployment history of other service members arrested on homicide charges.
If the numbers aren't comprehensive, what exactly is the Times trying to prove here? This is where things get interesting:

The Times used the same methods to research homicides involving all active-duty military personnel and new veterans for the six years before and after the present wartime period began with the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
This showed an 89 percent increase during the present wartime period, to 349 cases from 184, about three-quarters of which involved Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. The increase occurred even though there have been fewer troops stationed in the United States in the last six years and the American homicide rate has been, on average, lower.
What the Times has discovered, then, is a dramatic increase in the number of news reports in which homicide defendants are identified as servicemen or recent veterans. Does this mean that those who've served their country are more crime-prone now than they were in peacetime? Or does it mean that reporters are more prone to perpetuate the wacko-vet myth than they were during peacetime?

The Times is trying to prove the truth of a media stereotype by references to media reports. It might have proved nothing more than that it is a stereotype.
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« Reply #221 on: January 22, 2008, 06:22:59 PM »

Underwhelmingly Iraqi
One of our favorite sports is mocking the New York Times for the roundabout way in which it tries to avoid acknowledging that al Qaeda in Iraq is connected with al Qaeda everywhere else. Here's a particularly inviting example, from yesterday's paper:

Some critics contend that estimates of insurgents who actually belong to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which American officials say is overwhelmingly Iraqi but has foreign leadership, tend to be overstated. Many insurgents who are lumped into the group, they say, are Sunnis who simply need money or who are angered by the sectarian bias of Iraqi security forces, but who have no wider allegiance to al Qaeda.
If "many" insurgents who are Iraqi are wrongly "lumped into this group," isn't the obvious conclusion that al Qaeda in Meso-whatever is underwhelmingly Iraqi? The Washington Post adds this:

U.S. military officials in Iraq said they now think that nine out of 10 suicide bombers have been foreigners, compared with earlier estimates of 75 percent.
This is further evidence that the New York Times is right, inasmuch as the New York Times is saying the New York Times is wrong.
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« Reply #222 on: January 31, 2008, 09:04:18 AM »

Edwards Yay, Giuliani Eh
Each of the two bye-kus above this item links to an Associated Press story about the respective candidate's decision to withdraw from the race, and the contrast is quite striking. Here is the AP's Nedra Pickler on the lovely and talented Edwards:

Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters' sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.
Wow, how did the AP learn that Edwards's campaign was "scrappy" and that it "steered his rivals toward progressive ideals"? That must've taken some heavy-duty research!

Pickler also credits Edwards with having "waged a spirited top-tier campaign against the two better-funded rivals." It seems that he "burst out of the starting gate with a flurry of progressive policy ideas":

The ideas were all bold and new for Edwards personally as well, making him a different candidate than the moderate Southerner who ran in 2004 while still in his first Senate term. But the themes were eventually adopted by other Democratic presidential candidates--and even a Republican, Mitt Romney, echoed the call for an end to special interest politics in Washington.
Who'd a thunk that "even a Republican" would endorse Edwards's bold new idea of "an end to special interest politics in Washington"?

By contrast, the AP's Devlin Barrett covers the Giuliani withdrawal straight:

Rudy Giuliani, who bet his presidential hopes on Florida only to come in third, prepared to quit the race Tuesday and endorse his friendliest rival, John McCain.
The former New York mayor stopped short of announcing he was stepping down, but delivered a valedictory speech that was more farewell than fight-on.
Giuliani finished a distant third to winner John McCain and close second-place finisher Mitt Romney. Republican officials said Giuliani would endorse McCain on Wednesday in California. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the public announcement.
Barrett notes that the former mayor's distant third-place finish in yesterday's Florida primary "was a remarkable collapse for Giuliani"--ultimately a matter of opinion, we suppose, but one with which it's hard to disagree. In describing Giuliani's background, he has some kind words, but they are much more tempered than Pickler's on Edwards:

Giuliani hung his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on his leadership. His stalwart performance as New York mayor in the tense days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks earned him national magazine covers, international accolades and widespread praise.
Yet, Giuliani was always a Republican anomaly--a moderate-to-liberal New Yorker who backed abortion rights, gay rights and gun control in a party dominated by Southern conservatives.
Now it is true that everyone, even reporters, is human. If you spend a good portion of your life covering politics, you are going to develop feelings about politicians, and if you're not careful, they may slip into your news coverage. What bothers us about this Pickler dispatch--and about many other instances of media bias we've pointed to over the years--is that the reporter doesn't even seem to have bothered to be careful. It may not be possible for a reporter to achieve the ideal of perfect objective detachment, but that's no excuse not to try.

James Taranto WSJ
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« Reply #223 on: February 23, 2008, 09:18:52 PM »

Question:  Let me see if I have the timeline on this correct:  The NYTimes was siiting on its McCain-Lobbyist story at the same time it was endorsing him?  The better to set up a Dem victor?
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« Reply #224 on: March 09, 2008, 06:54:13 PM »

**Here is a nice little example of media bias. Listen to this ISNA infomercial on NPR and contrast it with what is really known about ISNA.**

http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/newvoice/kristasjournal.shtml

ISNA's Lies Unchallenged Again

by Steven Emerson
Counterterrorism Blog
August 11, 2007

In an otherwise important article published by Newsweek this past Wednesday (An Unwelcome Guest), reporters Mike Isikoff and Mark Hosenball detailed a Department of Justice outreach event, cancelled at the last minute because of one of the invitees was a high ranking official with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) - a potentially embarrassing fact since ISNA was recently named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the current trial against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) in Dallas.

The cancelled event was slated for the same day as President Bush's speech at the Islamic Center of Washington D.C., problematic in its own right for several reasons, as I reported at the time, including the presence of Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), also an un-indicted co-conspirator in the HLF case. Recent testimony and evidence in the HLF trial has conclusively linked CAIR's founders with HAMAS, and its American affiliate, the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood.

But back to ISNA; Newsweek put a call into ISNA to ask about its status as un-indicted co-conspirators in the HLF trial, and this is the result:

In a brief telephone interview with NEWSWEEK Wednesday, Magid pointed a reporter to an e-mail statement saying that the ISNA was seeking an immediate retraction of the government's "unfounded allegations" in the Holy Land case. "ISNA is not now and has never been involved in any covert or illegal activity and has never supported any terrorist organizations," the statement read. "Rather, ISNA is an open and transparent membership organization that strives to be an exemplary and unifying Islamic organization … ISNA hereby reaffirms its unqualified condemnation of all acts of terrorism." (emphasis added)
Isikoff and Hosenball, however, let that statement go unchallenged. And this is the same Newsweek that, several months ago, uncritically reported that new ISNA President Ingrid Mattson was, "bringing the moderate viewpoint to the world."

Yet, as I recently reported here, ISNA's sympathy with terrorism, and individual terrorists, runs quite deep.

ISNA has never condemned terrorist groups like HAMAS or Hizballah by name. More notably, in June of 1997, two and a half years after HAMAS was officially designated as a terrorist organization by the United States government (and long after common sense and reality indicated as such), top HAMAS official Mousa Abu Marzook thanked ISNA (and several other U.S.-based Islamist and "civil rights" organizations), writing that ISNA supported him through his "ordeal" – Marzook had been detained at JFK airport in 1995 and arrested and the Israelis were seeking his extradition. Marzook wrote that ISNA's efforts had "consoled" him.

ISNA's magazine, Islamic Horizons, is a hotbed of pro-jihadist literature, and has long championed HAMAS and HAMAS officials, notably Mr. Marzook himself. In the November/December 1995 issue, almost a full year after HAMAS was officially designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, Islamic Horizons published an article titled, "Muslim Leader Hostage to Israeli Interests." That leader was Marzook, characterized by ISNA as:

[a] member of the political wing of Hamas, disliked by the Zionist entity for its Islamic orientation, continues to be held hostage in the U.S. at the whims of his Zionist accusers.
And in the September/October 1997 issues, two and a half years after the designation of Hamas as a terrorist group, Islamic Horizons published an article describing Marzook as:

[j]ailed without trial in New York for-months for alleged ties to organizations seeking Palestinian rights.
The pro-Hamas rhetoric and apologia in Islamic Horizons is off the charts, yet ISNA continues to get a free pass as a "moderate" organization by much of the government and media, who have probably not bothered to pick up a copy of its magazine.

Additionally, evidence has been introduced during the HLF trial which further exposes ISNA's claim of "unqualified condemnation of all acts of terrorism" as lies, at the same time, undercutting HLF's innocent claims that the organization only assisted impoverished widows and orphans, and establish long-standing ISNA ties to HAMAS. Exhibits entered into evidence a few days ago at the HLF trial include an expense voucher from the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an ISNA subsidiary, made out for $10,000 in the name of Musa Abu Marzook, as well as a check drawn on a NAIT account in the same amount made out to Marzook. Another check for $10,000 on the same account was made out to Marzook's wife, Nadia Elashi. Another check for $30,000 was made out to the Islamic University of Gaza (and has Shukri Abu Baker/OLF written on the memo line), a school long known to be controlled by HAMAS, and which counted such notables as former HAMAS leader Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantissi and current HAMAS leader Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar as professors, and the recently deposed HAMAS Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is a former dean of the University.

Beyond the evidence in the HLF trial, ISNA counts among its former leadership such luminaries as convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative Sami al-Arian. According to his own bio:

Dr. Al-Arian has also been an active community leader. He helped establish the largest grass roots organization in the U.S., the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in 1981, and its many affiliates such as the Muslim Arab Youth Association (1977), the Islamic Association for Palestine (1981), Islamic Committee for Palestine (I.C.P), Islamic Community of Tampa (1987) and Islamic Academy of Florida (1992). (emphasis added)
ISNA also granted an official "Certificate of Affiliation" to al-Arian's "charity," the Islamic Concern Project (a.k.a. the Islamic Committee for Palestine/ICP).

Al-Arian was a frequent speaker at ISNA events, which have also hosted speakers such as Abdurrahman Alamoudi, currently serving a 23 year prison sentence for acting as a financial courier for a State sponsor of terrorism, having admitted his role participating in an Al Qaeda-inspired plot to assassinate the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and Mohammed Salah, recently convicted and sentenced for obstruction of justice related to lying about his HAMAS connections in a civil law suit against U.S.-based HAMAS front groups.

ISNA officials can say they "condemn acts of terrorism" all they want, but the evidence supporting their ties to, and true feelings about, terrorist groups like HAMAS and PIJ, is overwhelming. The Department of Justice has started to take note. One can only hope that other branches of the government and mainstream media will follow suit.
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« Reply #225 on: March 12, 2008, 11:24:05 AM »

Spitzer's Media Enablers
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
March 12, 2008; Page A21

The fall of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer holds many lessons, and the press will surely be examining them in coming months. But don't expect the press corps to delve into the biggest lesson of all -- its own role as his enabler.

Journalists have spent the past two days asking how a man of Mr. Spitzer's stature would allow himself to get involved in a prostitution ring. The answer, in my mind, is clear. The former New York attorney general never believed normal rules applied to him, and his view was validated time and again by an adoring press. "You play hard, you play rough, and hopefully you don't get caught," said Mr. Spitzer two years ago. He never did get caught, because most reporters were his accomplices.

 
Journalism has many functions, but perhaps the most important is keeping tabs on public officials. That duty is even more vital concerning government positions that are subject to few other checks and balances. Chief among those is the prosecutor, who can use his awesome state power to punish, even destroy, private citizens.

Yet from the start, the press corps acted as an adjunct of Spitzer power, rather than a skeptic of it. Many journalists get into this business because they want to see wrongs righted. Mr. Spitzer portrayed himself as the moral avenger. He was the slayer of the big guy, the fat cat, the Wall Street titan -- all allegedly on behalf of the little guy. The press ate it up, and came back for more.

Time magazine bestowed upon Mr. Spitzer the title "Crusader of the Year," and likened him to Moses. Fortune dubbed him the "Enforcer." A fawning article in the Atlantic Monthly in 2004 explained he was "a rock star," and "the Democratic Party's future." In an uncritical 2006 biography, then Washington Post reporter Brooke Masters compared the attorney general to no less than Teddy Roosevelt.

What the media never acknowledged is that somewhere along the line (say, his first day in public office) Mr. Spitzer became the big guy, the titan. He had the power to trample lives and bend the rules, while also burnishing his own political fortune. He was the one who deserved as much, if not more, scrutiny as onetime New York Stock Exchange chief Dick Grasso or former American International Group CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg.

What makes this more embarrassing for any self-respecting journalist is that Mr. Spitzer knew all this, and played the media like a Stradivarius. He knew what sort of storyline they'd be sympathetic to, and spun it. He knew, too, that as financial journalism has become more competitive, breaking news can make a career. He doled out scoops to favored reporters, who repaid him with allegiance. News organizations that dared to criticize him were cut off. After a time, few criticized anymore.

Instead, reporters felt obligated to run with whatever he handed them. Consider the report in the wake of a 2005 op-ed in this newspaper by John Whitehead. A respected Wall Street figure, Mr. Whitehead dared to criticize Mr. Spitzer for his unscrupulously zealous pursuit of Mr. Greenberg. Mr. Spitzer later threatened Mr. Whitehead, telling him in a phone call that "You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done." Some months later, after more Spitzer excesses, Mr. Whitehead had the temerity to write another op-ed describing what Mr. Spitzer had said.

Within a few days, the press was reporting (unsourced, of course) that Mr. Whitehead had defended Mr. Greenberg a few weeks after a Greenberg charity had given $25 million to the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation -- a group Mr. Whitehead chaired. So Mr. Whitehead's on-the-record views were met with an unsourced smear implying bad faith. The press ran with it anyway.

In 2005, Mr. Spitzer went on national television to suggest that Mr. Greenberg had engaged in criminal activity. It was front-page news. About six months later, on the eve of a Thanksgiving weekend, Mr. Spitzer quietly disclosed that he lacked the evidence to press criminal charges. That news was buried inside the papers.

What makes this history all the more unfortunate is that the warning signs about Mr. Spitzer were many and manifest. In the final days of Mr. Spitzer's run for attorney general in 1998, the news broke that he'd twisted campaign-finance laws so that his father could fund his unsuccessful 1994 run. Mr. Spitzer won anyway, and the story was largely forgotten.

New York Stock Exchange caretaker CEO John Reed suggested Mr. Spitzer hadn't told the truth when he said that it was Mr. Reed who wanted him to investigate Mr. Grasso's pay. The press never investigated.

Mr. Spitzer's main offense as a prosecutor is that he violated the basic rules of fairness and due process: Innocent until proven guilty; the right to your day in court. The Spitzer method was to target public companies and officials, leak allegations and out-of-context emails to a compliant press, watch the stock price fall, threaten a corporate indictment (a death sentence), and then move in for a quick settlement kill. There was rarely a trial, fair or unfair, involved.

On the substance, his court record speaks for itself. Most of Mr. Spitzer's high-profile charges have gone up in smoke. A New York state judge threw out his case against tax firm H&R Block. He lost his prosecution against Bank of America broker Ted Sihpol (whom Mr. Spitzer threatened to arrest in front of his child and pregnant wife). Mr. Spitzer was stopped by a federal judge from prying confidential information out of mortgage companies. Another New York judge blocked the heart of his suit against Mr. Grasso. Mr. Greenberg continues to fight his civil charges. The press was foursquare behind Mr. Spitzer in all these cases, and in a better world they'd share some of his humiliation.

Instead, remarkably, they continue to defend him. Ms. Masters, his biographer, was on CNN the day Mr. Spitzer's prostitution news broke, reassuring viewers that the governor really was a "lovely" guy. Other news reporters were reporting what a "tragedy" it was that such a leading light in the Democratic Party could come to such an ignoble end.

There's little that's tragic about Mr. Spitzer, unless you consider his victims (which would appear to include his own family). The press would do well to meditate on that, and consider how many violations they winked at and validated over the years. Politicians don't exist to be idolized by the press, at least not by any press corps doing its job.

Ms. Strassel, who covered Eliot Spitzer's investigations, now writes the Journal's Potomac Watch column from Washington.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.

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« Reply #226 on: March 12, 2008, 05:59:40 PM »

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnews/20080312/ts_usnews/areiraqiinsurgentsemboldenedbyantiwarreporting&printer=1

Are Iraqi Insurgents Emboldened by Antiwar Reporting?
By Alex Kingsbury
Wed Mar 12, 2:44 PM ET

Are insurgents in Iraq emboldened by voices in the news media expressing dissent or calling for troop withdrawals from Iraq? The short answer, according to a pair of Harvard economists, is yes.

In a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the authors are quick to point out numerous caveats to their findings, based on data from mid-2003 through late 2007.

Yet, their results show that insurgent groups are not devoid of reason and unresponsive to outside pressures and stimuli. "It shows that the various insurgent groups do respond to incentives and shows that a successful counter insurgency strategy should take that reality into account," says one of the paper's coauthors, Jonathan Monten, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

The paper "Is There an 'Emboldenment' Effect in Iraq? Evidence From the Insurgency in Iraq" concludes the following:

--In the short term, there is a small but measurable cost to open public debate in the form of higher attacks against Iraqi and American targets.

--In periods immediately after a spike in "antiresolve" statements in the American media, the level of insurgent attacks increases between 7 and 10 percent.

--Insurgent organizations are strategic actors, meaning that whatever their motivations, religious or ideological, they will respond to incentives and disincentives.

But before partisans go wild on both sides of the aisle, here are just three of the important caveats to this study:

--The city of Baghdad, for a variety of reasons, was excluded from the report. The authors contend that looking at the outside provinces, where 65 percent of insurgent attacks take place, is a better way to understand the effect they have discovered. Other population centers like Mosul, Basra, Kirkuk, and Najaf were included in the study.

--The study does not take into account overall cost and benefit of public debate. Past research has shown that public debate has a positive effect on military strategy, for example, and, in the case of Iraq, might be a factor in forcing the Iraqi government to more quickly accept responsibility for internal security.

--It was not possible, from the data available, to determine whether insurgent groups increased the overall number of attacks against American and Iraqi targets in the wake of public dissent and debate or simply changed the timing of those attacks. This means that insurgents may not be increasing the number of attacks after all but simply changing the days on which they attack in response to media reports.
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« Reply #227 on: March 19, 2008, 10:31:57 AM »

http://www.pajamasmedia.com/2008/03/npr_is_national_progressive_ra.php

NPR = NATIONAL PROGRESSIVE RADIO
March 16, 2008 12:00 AM
Four short segments of conservative views were enough to flood NPR with angry phone calls and email. So much for “fairness,” writes Pam Meister.
Support Pajamas Media; Visit Our Advertisers
 
by Pam Meister

Imagine you’re a typical NPR listener, tuning in as you sip your Starbucks Café Latte — made with skim milk and a shot of cinnamon — work the New York Times crossword puzzle, and think about how great it is that you don’t have to stop for gas on your way to work this morning because you drive a Prius. Suddenly, you’re jolted out of your comfortable morning routine by the unimaginable: a segment entitled “Conversations with Conservatives.”
Choking on your latte and misspelling “pestiferous” on your crossword, your head begins to spin as Rev. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, discusses the status of evangelical voters. But surely it’s just an anomaly. An early April Fool’s Day joke. Yeah, that must be it! And fortunately, it was only seven minutes.
But the next day, you hear Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, talking about which fiscal policies appeal to Republican voters. And the day after that, radio talk show host and CNN personality Glenn Beck discusses core conservative values. And on the last day of February, you are treated to David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, blathering on about the challenges that Sen. John McCain faces when it comes to proving himself to the conservative base.
If there’s a reason to abolish Leap Year and February 29, then having David Keene spoil your Starbucks experience surely must be it. Who can you call? There has to be someone.
The Washington Times reports that for daring to air the views of conservatives on its morning drive show during the final four days of February, NPR fielded “more than 60 angry e-mails and phone calls … calling the programming ‘shameful’ and a ‘lovefest with radical, right-wing nuts.’ There were only a few … that praised the series as ‘refreshing’ and ‘articulate,’ among other things.”
National Public Radio is funded in part by federal tax dollars. The last time I checked, both liberals AND conservatives are required to pay federal taxes. So what’s wrong with having four seven-minute segments out of the year where conservative ideas are brought forth? You know, throw them a Milk Bone once in a while to pretend you care about them while you spend their money on things like Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion.”
The problem with many liberals is that while they say they espouse tolerance, love for your fellow man, and discussing problems instead of resorting to fisticuffs, when they’re actually expected to “walk the walk,” things get ugly. To them, just listening to conservative ideas is akin to Dracula finding out about a nationwide tainted blood supply. It’s painful when liberals realize that not everyone thinks the way that they do: that there are unenlightened souls out there who don’t recycle, who go to church once in a while, who respect our military, and who don’t think that the sun shines out of Barack Obama’s nether regions. So, being the enlightened, progressive types that they are, instead of listening respectfully to what the other side has to say — and possibly learning something new — they stick their fingers in their ears, chant “I can’t hear you,” and complain to the person in charge about how awful the experience was.
It’s sort of like the people who believe that vandalizing and bombing military recruiting stations is a great way to get their message of peace out to the masses.
They also institute “speech codes” at universities — ostensibly so that no college student will get his widdle feewings hurt — but in reality limiting students’ First Amendment rights in the name of keeping certain “unwanted speech” off campus.
In an ironic twist, the same people want to see the Fairness Doctrine brought back. They think that it’s a way to silence folks like Rush Limbaugh and Neil Boortz, whose very existence means that even driving that Prius isn’t enough to erase the negative feelings that must result from knowing these individuals are adding to the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere simply by existing. Wait a minute, that’s it: Rush Limbaugh causes global warming!
But the knife cuts both ways. Want the Fairness Doctrine? Fine, but be prepared to listen to more conservatives on NPR. In fact, NPR’s ombudsman Alicia Shepard has a wish list that includes “Thomas Sowell, Janice Shaw-Crouse, Shelby Steele, and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr. as possible guests.
“’There are dozens of diverse conservative voices, but NPR and all news organizations need to work much harder to bring them into the conversation,’ Ms. Shepard noted.”
And if they don’t want conservatives on NPR, that’s fine too. Just send conservatives a refund for their portion of the taxes that support it.
Now that’s progressive.
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« Reply #228 on: March 24, 2008, 10:33:57 AM »

The NYTimes tries to cover its *ss, but fails-- the truth is simple: the coverage is less because things are going much better.
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The War Endures, but Where’s the Media?
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By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
Published: March 24, 2008
Five years later, the United States remains at war in Iraq, but there are days when it would be hard to tell from a quick look at television news, newspapers and the Internet.

Readers' Comments
"The fact that the economy and the election are now of major interest to the public is part of the reason for the war being put on the back burner."
AJ, PA
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Media attention on Iraq began to wane after the first months of fighting, but as recently as the middle of last year, it was still the most-covered topic. Since then, Iraq coverage by major American news sources has plummeted, to about one-fifth of what it was last summer, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The drop in coverage parallels — and may be explained by — a decline in public interest. Surveys by the Pew Research Center show that more than 50 percent of Americans said they followed events in Iraq “very closely” in the months just before and after the war began, but that slid to an average of 40 percent in 2006, and has been running below 30 percent since last fall.

Experts offer many other explanations for the declining media focus, like the danger and expense in covering Iraq, and shrinking newsroom budgets. In the last year, a flagging economy and the most competitive presidential campaign in memory have diverted attention and resources.

“Vietnam held the media’s attention a lot better because it was a war with a draft that touched a lot more people; people were sent against their will, and many more Americans were killed,” said Alex S. Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard.

“In a conventional war, like World War II, there’s dramatic change, a moving front line, a compelling narrative,” he said. But after the triumphal first months, Iraq became a war of insurgents vs. counterinsurgents, harder to make sense of, “with more of the same grim news, day after day.”

The three broadcast networks’ nightly newscasts devoted more than 4,100 minutes to Iraq in 2003 and 3,000 in 2004, before leveling off at about 2,000 a year, according to Andrew Tyndall, who monitors the broadcasts and posts detailed breakdowns at tyndallreport.com. And by the last months of 2007, he said, the broadcasts were spending half as much time on Iraq as earlier in the year.

Since the start of last year, the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a part of the nonprofit Pew Research Center, has tracked reporting by several dozen major newspapers, cable stations, broadcast television networks, Web sites and radio programs. Iraq accounted for 18 percent of their prominent news coverage in the first nine months of 2007, but only 9 percent in the following three months, and 3 percent so far this year.

The policy debate in Washington that dominated last year’s Iraq coverage has almost disappeared from the news. And reporting on events in Iraq has fallen by more than two-thirds from a year ago.

The drop accelerated with a sharp decline in violence in Iraq that began at the end of last summer. The last six months have been safer for American troops than any comparable period since the war began, with about 33 killed each month, compared with about 91 a month over the previous year.

“The available news hole got so much smaller because election and economic news took up so much of the space,” said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Center.

There are no authoritative figures for most media coverage before 2007. But a check of several large and midsize newspapers’ archives shows a year-by-year decline in articles about Iraq, and an increase in the proportion supplied by wire services. Experts who follow the coverage say there is no doubt about the trend.

“I was getting on average three to five calls a day for interviews about the war” in the first years, said Michael E. O’Hanlon, a senior fellow on national security at the Brookings Institution. “Now it’s less than one a day.”

He argued that Americans who support the war might not have wanted to follow the news when it was bad, and that Americans against the war are less interested now that the news is better. And the presidential candidates, he said, have shown “surprisingly little interest in discussing it in detail.”

Many news organizations have fewer people in Iraq than they once did, though no definitive numbers are available. Coalition officials have said that although there were several hundred reporters embedded with military units early in the war, the number has been measured in tens in recent months.

Violence against journalists makes reporting on Iraq costly and difficult; executives of The New York Times have said that the newspaper is spending more than $3 million a year to cover Iraq. The risks have forced news organizations to hire private security forces and Iraqi employees who can go places that Westerners cannot safely explore.

From the start of the war through 2005, journalists and their support workers were killed in Iraq at a rate of one every 12 days, according to tallies kept by the nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists. In 2006 and 2007, the rate was one every eight days. Most of those killed have been Iraqis.

“Danger and the expense are gigantic factors,” Mr. Jones said. “The news media have to constantly revisit how much money and risk to expend.”
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« Reply #229 on: May 27, 2008, 11:58:13 AM »

REVIEW & OUTLOOK 
 

Al-Durra Case Revisited
FROM TODAY'S WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE
May 27, 2008

It's hard to exaggerate the significance of Mohammed al-Durra, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly killed by Israeli bullets on Sept. 30, 2000. The iconic image of the terrified child crouching behind his father helped sway world opinion against the Jewish state and fueled the last Intifada.

It's equally hard, then, to exaggerate the significance of last week's French court ruling that called the story into doubt. Not just whether the Israeli military shot the boy, but whether the whole incident may have been staged for propaganda purposes. If so, it would be one of the most harmful put-up jobs in media history.

You probably didn't hear this news. International media lapped up the televised report of al-Durra's shooting on France's main state-owned network, France 2. Barely a peep was heard, however, when the Paris Court of Appeal ruled in a suit brought by the network against the founder of a media watchdog group. The judge's verdict, released Thursday, said that Philippe Karsenty was within his rights to call the France 2 report a "hoax," overturning a 2006 decision that found him guilty of defaming the network and its Mideast correspondent, Charles Enderlin. France 2 has appealed to the country's highest court.

Judge Laurence Trébucq did more than assert Mr. Karsenty's right to free speech. In overturning a lower court's ruling, she said the issues he raised about the original France 2 report were legitimate. While Mr. Karsenty couldn't provide absolute proof of his claims, the court ruled that he marshalled a "coherent mass of evidence" and "exercised in good faith his right to free criticism." The court also found that Talal Abu Rahma, the Palestinian cameraman for France 2 who was the only journalist to capture the scene and the network's crown witness in this case, can't be considered "perfectly credible."

The ruling at the very least opens the way for honest discussion of the al-Durra case, and coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general. French media could stand some self-examination. The same holds for journalists elsewhere.

On that Saturday in 2000, Palestinians faced off against Israeli troops at Gaza's Netzarim junction. Two months before, Yasser Arafat had walked out of the Camp David peace talks. Two days before, Ariel Sharon had visited Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The second Intifada was brewing. The French network's cameraman, Mr. Abu Rahma, filmed the skirmishes and got the footage to the France 2 bureau in Israel. Mr. Enderlin edited the film and, relying only on his cameraman's account, provided the voice-over for the report. He suggested Israeli soldiers killed the boy. He didn't say he wasn't there.

Along with the Temple Mount incident, the al-Durra shooting was the seminal event behind the second Intifada. Israel apologized. But nagging doubts soon emerged, as Nidra Poller recounts here. An Israeli military probe found that its soldiers couldn't have shot the father and son, given where the two were crouching.

Others including Mr. Karsenty asked, among various questions, Why the lack of any blood on the boy or his father? Or why did France 2 claim to have 27 minutes of footage but refuse to show any but the 57 seconds on its original broadcast? Mr. Enderlin said, "I cut the images of the child's agony, they were unbearable."

Under pressure from media watchdogs, and after years of stonewalling, France 2 eventually shared the additional film. It turns out that no footage of the child's alleged death throes seems to exist. The extra material shows what appears to be staged scenes of gun battles before the al-Durra killing. For a sample, check out www.seconddraft.org, a site run by Richard Landes, a Boston University professor and one of Mr. Karsenty's witnesses.

Judge Trébucq said that Mr. Karsenty "observed inexplicable inconsistencies and contradictions in the explanations by Charles Enderlin."

We don't know exactly what happened to Mohammed al-Durra. Perhaps we never will. But the Paris court ruling shows that France 2 wasn't completely open about what it knew about that day. It suggests the Israelis may not have been to blame. It makes it plausible to consider -- without being dismissed as an unhinged conspiracy theorist -- the possibility that the al-Durra story was a hoax.

To this day, Islamic militants use the al-Durra case to incite violence and hatred against Israel. They are well aware of the power of images. Mr. Karsenty is, too, which is why he and others have tried to hold France 2 accountable for its reporting.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.

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« Reply #230 on: May 29, 2008, 08:23:49 AM »

Interesting read. Charles was Canadian graduted from Harvard Medical School and taught psychiatry at Mass General and made significant contributions to the concept of bipolar disorder.
I thought he is in a wheelchair because of multiple sclerosis but it is the result of a long ago auto accident.  I like him because I usually agree with his views.  He has accomplished a lot especially while disabled.  There is no overt evidence he lets his disability get in his way.  In fact one can almost never tell that he is in a wheelchair when he is on the air.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Krauthammer
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« Reply #231 on: May 31, 2008, 04:16:51 PM »

Whitewashing the Thai Jihad   
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, May 30, 2008

In a story Wednesday on a jihadist attack on a wedding party and other jihad activity in Thailand, Agence France Presse added a concluding paragraph that was typical of mainstream media coverage of the Thai jihad and of jihad activity in general. For while AP, Reuters, AFP and the rest never saw a piece of Palestinian propaganda they didn’t like, they also never saw a jihad they couldn’t whitewash.

AFP’s concluding paragraph blandly placed all the blame for the conflict on the non-Muslim Thai government:

More than 3,000 people have been killed since separatist unrest broke out in January 2004 in the south, which was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until mainly Buddhist Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.

All was well, you see, until the Buddhists of Thailand, motivated apparently only by rapacious imperialism, annexed the poor autonomous Malay Muslim Sultanate. AFP does not mention, of course, that the Malay Sultanate at that time was making war against the Siamese during the war between Siam and Burma, and Thailand conquered it in that context -- making it Thai by a right of conquest that has been universally recognized throughout human history (except, of course, when it comes to Israel and to any Muslim land that is conquered by non-Muslims).

Along with this come the media’s allergy to the word “jihad,” and its frequent recourse to the passive voice when discussing what the jihadists did. Sometimes inanimate objects act, apparently of their own accord. For example, in a March story on bombings in southern Thailand, Reuters’ lead paragraph stated: “Bombs killed three men and wounded 21 people in three separate attacks in Thailand’s troubled Muslim far south, police said on Sunday.” Reuters gives no hint as to who is doing the bombing and who are the victims – which in itself is a clear indication that the bombers are not the government or pro-government vigilantes, but jihadists.

The story continues in this vein. Its second paragraph tells us that a bomb was hidden in the car, but with no hint as to by whom. In paragraph 5 we learn that in the three southern provinces, “2,500 people have been killed in gun and bomb attacks since a separatist insurgency erupted in January 2004.” The separatist insurgency just erupted, you see, like a volcano. It was an act of God, a force of nature. Here again Reuters gives the reader no hint as to who the separatist insurgents are, or who killed the overwhelming majority of those 2,500 people. In paragraph 6, we learn how the “suspected militants” set off another bomb, but once again are given no hint as to who these militants are.

Same thing in paragraph 7: unidentified “insurgents” ambush the security forces. In paragraph 8, it’s simply a “bomb,” a random, accidental object, that unaccountably wounded four people. But also in that paragraph we learn that this is all taking place in “the three far south provinces which formed an independent sultanate until annexed by Thailand a century ago.” Reuters and AFP are in step on this: the only background they give suggests that Thailand is entirely responsible for provoking the conflict, and should simply have left the Malay Muslims alone.

Only in paragraph 10 of the Reuters story are we finally told that “Buddhist monks” are among the chief targets of the still-unidentified “militants” -- which should lead the informed reader to identify them as Islamic jihadists and Sharia supremacists. But they come to that identification with no help from Reuters.

In reality, the Thai jihadists are uniquely brutal even by the standards of their jihadist brethren, and are fighting to correct the outrage, as they see it, of non-Muslim rule over a Muslim population in southern Thailand. But the AFP and Reuters stories exemplify the kind of coverage that jihad activity receives from the mainstream media as a matter of course. The perpetrators of jihad violence are not identified, their ideology is never discussed, and the conflicts they provoke are blamed on their victims. This kind of coverage is of a piece with the U.S. government’s new see-no-jihad, speak-no-jihad, hear-no-jihad policy: both appear to be based on wishful thinking. Both seem to emanate from the idea that if we simply do not allow ourselves to notice jihad activity, it will somehow fade away from neglect. If we pretend that Islam is peaceful, violent Muslims will lay down their arms.

The price we will have to pay for these fantasies could be very high.

Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of seven books, eight monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His next book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is coming this November from Regnery Publishing.
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« Reply #232 on: June 06, 2008, 07:23:08 PM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/06/how-todays-media-would-have-covered-d-day/

Contrast the media from then to now.
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« Reply #233 on: June 17, 2008, 11:38:07 PM »

I didn't like Tim Russert very much professionally due to my heavy conservative bias, but he was the second best in the business to Jim Lehrer IMO and his show was the giant of the political shows so I defer to Thomas Sowell who is far smarter than me for a wonderful tribute to this legend who died WAY too young.

Tim Russert (1950-2008) by Thomas Sowell

Only with Tim Russert's sudden death at the age of 58 has his true stature as a landmark journalist become as widely recognized as it has long deserved to be.

To ask who will replace him as host of "Meet the Press" is to confront the reality that there is no one comparable on the horizon. Those of us who have followed "Meet the Press" since the long ago days of Lawrence Spivak know that Russert was the best of some very good hosts.

What made Tim Russert special was not some trademark catchword or contrived persona. What you saw was what you got-- a down to earth guy who came on the air having thoroughly researched the subject and having a keen insight into politics and politicians.

He didn't flaunt his knowledge. He was one of the few very smart people who seemed to feel no need to impress others that he was smart. But, if you knew the subject that he was talking about, you realized that he had really done his homework.

There was something else that set Tim Russert apart from many other journalists, whether print journalists or broadcast journalists: His agenda was bringing out the facts.

He didn't let the politicians he interviewed get away with slippery statements and inconsistent positions. But it was not "gotcha" journalism. It was not trying to filter or slant information to promote some political or ideological agenda.

No doubt Tim Russert had his own opinions. He had, after all, been on the staff of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and on the staff of former New York governor Mario Cuomo.

But, whatever Tim Russert's political opinions were then or later, that was not what his program was about. He was there to serve the audience by bringing out the facts about the political world, a world where spin is the usually name of the game.

Often critics who complain about media bias argue as if what is needed is to be "fair" to "both sides." But what is far more important is to be honest with the audience-- who are seeking information and understanding about the real world, not about the ideology or the agenda of the journalist.

This is not to denigrate opinion journalists, who have a valuable role to play, just as reporters like Tim Russert do. But, with both opinion journalists and reporters, the question is whether you play it straight with the audience, instead of filtering out inconvenient facts in order to manipulate the audience in favor of some agenda.

In short, the issue is honesty rather than "fairness." The question is whether journalists put their cards on the table. Russert put his cards on the table-- and they were high cards.

A small personal note: A few months ago, an old friend said that he would like to get a videotape of my interview on "Meet the Press" back in 1981. I dug up an old videotape in my garage but, after several summers in a hot garage, it was not in very good shape.

As a long shot, I decided to write to "Meet the Press," to see if they would sell me another copy of the interview, if it was still available.

This interview took place back in the days when Bill Monroe was the program's moderator. But, since the only name I knew of at "Meet the Press" was Tim Russert, I addressed a note to him, figuring that one of his secretaries might get back to me with the information.

Instead, I received a DVD of that interview and a brief, handwritten note from Tim Russert, with a transcript of the interview thrown in.

How people treat those who cannot do them any good or any harm reveals a lot about their character. For me, Tim Russert scored high in that department as well.
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« Reply #234 on: June 18, 2008, 09:13:07 AM »

From various media entities, including those from the "evil" Fox News, it seems that everyone that knew Tim Russert personally liked him and respected his journalistic professionalism. Having said that, how many cops and military personnel died in the line of duty while the MSM ran endless clip memorializing Mr. Russert. Not slamming him, just pointing out the self-centeredness of the MSM.
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« Reply #235 on: June 22, 2008, 02:55:58 PM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/22/the-new-york-times-reveals-the-name-of-ksms-interrogator-over-the-cias-wishes/

New York Slimes
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« Reply #236 on: June 22, 2008, 04:04:56 PM »

I saw that as part of reading their interrogation article-- which I hope to get around to posting later on the "Intel" or "Legal Issues" thread.  What $#%@#$% scum they are at the NYTimes!!! angry angry angry
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« Reply #237 on: June 23, 2008, 03:06:07 PM »

Smearing Judge Kozinski
June 23, 2008; Page A15
Even scandals now operate at Internet speed. Ten days ago, it looked as if an investigative reporter had uncovered a pornographic Web site operated by a federal judge. By last week, the case instead showed how easily privacy is breached online, how mainstream media botch a story, and how bloggers can redeem journalism by reporting facts.

It's not every day that a judge's wife uses a blog to defend her husband as not a pornographer. The Los Angeles Times scoop charged that the chief judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Alex Kozinski, had posted sexually explicit material online. His wife, lawyer Marcy Tiffany, then wrote a lengthy letter defending her husband that was published on the L.A.-based blog Patterico.com. "The fact is, Alex is not into porn – he is into funny – and sometimes funny has a sexual character." She complained that the L.A. Times article used "graphic descriptions that make the material sound like hard-core porn when, in fact, it is more accurately described as raunchy humor."

Indeed, Judge Kozinski is well known for taking the law very seriously, but himself not at all seriously. He was born in Romania, came to California when he was 12, and at 18 went on "The Dating Game" and won. At 35, he was the nation's youngest federal appeals court judge. More recently, he applied to and won a gossip blog's "judicial hottie" contest ("I have it on very good authority that discerning females and gay men find graying, pudgy, middle-aged men with an accent close to Gov. Schwarzenegger's almost totally irresistible," he wrote in his application.)

There's even a law review article entitled "Humor, the Law, and Judge Kozinski's Greatest Hits." In his spare time, Judge Kozinski once served as the videogame reviewer for The Wall Street Journal. He sends an occasional blast email of slapstick jokes to friends. Full disclosure: I have been known to laugh out loud at them.

The L.A. Times claimed that Judge Kozinski posted the images and videos in question onto a Web site. Instead, this content – almost all emailed to him by others – existed on a file server never meant to be accessible by the public. You can now find the images online through a Google search, and you will know pornography when you see it, or when you don't see it, but in any case you can judge. For example, what the L.A. Times described as a "video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal" (which got upgraded to a "bestiality" video by the San Francisco Chronicle), was in fact a big hit on YouTube, watched some 500,000 times. It shows a rancher urinating in a field, then being surprised by a donkey chasing him around. Silly, but not pornography. The Wonkette blog dismissed the pictures and video as "the sort of naughtiness you'd find in the dirty birthday cards section at Spencer Gifts."

Still, Judge Kozinski felt compelled to recuse himself from hearing an obscenity case just getting under way in Los Angeles, and also requested an ethics investigation. "Those of us who know him know that he could have tried this case fairly, but the public would have thought the court system had lost its marbles if Kozinski had stayed on the case," said law professor Stephen Gillers. That's true, given the misleading coverage in the mainstream media around the world. The New York Daily News headline was "Trial (& Titillations) End for Kinky Judge."

A subplot was how the L.A. Times got its bad scoop. The source was Cyrus Sanai, a Beverly Hills lawyer whose hyperlitigious antics drew the wrath of several judicial opinions, which Judge Kozinski supported. Mr. Sanai figured out that by adding "/stuff" to the address of Judge Kozinski's Web site, he could access a subdirectory that contained the cartoons and videos. Mr. Sanai admits he shopped the story for months, to several news organizations (including The Wall Street Journal, he says), before the L.A. Times ran with it – timed to wreak havoc with the obscenity trial. For Mr. Sanai, dipping into Judge Kozinski's files and hoping to embarrass him was "part of a litigation strategy."

Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig in his blog objected that "the real story here is how easily we let such a baseless smear travel – and our need is for a better developed immunity (in the sense of immunity from a virus) from this sort of garbage." He compared Mr. Sanai's accessing of the Kozinski family home computer to breaking and entering: "Some disgruntled litigant jiggers the lock, climbs into the window, and starts going through the family's stuff."

All's well that ends well. Within a week of citizen-journalist bloggers establishing this as a nonscandal, it was left to the humor site The Onion to put a fine point on the absurdity of the accusations. It published a fake person-on-the-street interview, soliciting this quote responding to Judge Kozinski having to recuse himself from the obscenity trial: "Well, good luck finding a judge that doesn't run a bestiality site." In this case, the Onion earned its tongue-in-cheek tagline as "America's Finest News Source."

Write to informationage@wsj.com
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« Reply #238 on: June 24, 2008, 04:23:52 AM »

The Bush Paradox
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By DAVID BROOKS
Published: June 24, 2008
Let’s go back and consider how the world looked in the winter of 2006-2007. Iraq was in free fall, with horrific massacres and ethnic cleansing that sent a steady stream of bad news across the world media. The American public delivered a stunning electoral judgment against the Iraq war, the Republican Party and President Bush.

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David Brooks

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The Conversation
Times columnists David Brooks and Gail Collins discuss the 2008 presidential race.

All Conversations » Expert and elite opinion swung behind the Baker-Hamilton report, which called for handing more of the problems off to the Iraqi military and wooing Iran and Syria. Republicans on Capitol Hill were quietly contemptuous of the president while Democrats were loudly so.

Democratic leaders like Senator Harry Reid considered the war lost. Barack Obama called for a U.S. withdrawal starting in the spring of 2007, while Senator Reid offered legislation calling for a complete U.S. pullback by March 2008.

The arguments floating around the op-ed pages and seminar rooms were overwhelmingly against the idea of a surge — a mere 20,000 additional troops would not make a difference. The U.S. presence provoked violence, rather than diminishing it. The more the U.S. did, the less the Iraqis would step up to do. Iraq was in the middle of a civil war, and it was insanity to put American troops in the middle of it.

When President Bush consulted his own generals, the story was much the same. Almost every top general, including Abizaid, Schoomaker and Casey, were against the surge. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was against it, according to recent reports. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki called for a smaller U.S. presence, not a bigger one.

In these circumstances, it’s amazing that George Bush decided on the surge. And looking back, one thing is clear: Every personal trait that led Bush to make a hash of the first years of the war led him to make a successful decision when it came to this crucial call.

Bush is a stubborn man. Well, without that stubbornness, that unwillingness to accept defeat on his watch, he never would have bucked the opposition to the surge.

Bush is an outrageously self-confident man. Well, without that self-confidence he never would have overruled his generals.

In fact, when it comes to Iraq, Bush was at his worst when he was humbly deferring to the generals and at his best when he was arrogantly overruling them. During that period in 2006 and 2007, Bush stiffed the brass and sided with a band of dissidents: military officers like David Petraeus and Raymond Odierno, senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and outside strategists like Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute and Jack Keane, a retired general.

Bush is also a secretive man who listens too much to Dick Cheney. Well, the uncomfortable fact is that Cheney played an essential role in promoting the surge. Many of the people who are dubbed bad guys actually got this one right.

The additional fact is that Bush, who made such bad calls early in the war, made a courageous and astute decision in 2006. More than a year on, the surge has produced large, if tenuous, gains. Violence is down sharply. Daily life has improved. Iraqi security forces have been given time to become a more effective fighting force. The Iraqi government is showing signs of strength and even glimmers of impartiality. Iraq has moved from being a failed state to, as Vali Nasr of the Council on Foreign Relations has put it, merely a fragile one.

The whole episode is a reminder that history is a complicated thing. The traits that lead to disaster in certain circumstances are the very ones that come in handy in others. The people who seem so smart at some moments seem incredibly foolish in others.

The cocksure war supporters learned this humbling lesson during the dark days of 2006. And now the cocksure surge opponents, drunk on their own vindication, will get to enjoy their season of humility. They have already gone through the stages of intellectual denial. First, they simply disbelieved that the surge and the Petraeus strategy was doing any good. Then they accused people who noticed progress in Iraq of duplicity and derangement. Then they acknowledged military, but not political, progress. Lately they have skipped over to the argument that Iraq is progressing so well that the U.S. forces can quickly come home.

But before long, the more honest among the surge opponents will concede that Bush, that supposed dolt, actually got one right. Some brave souls might even concede that if the U.S. had withdrawn in the depths of the chaos, the world would be in worse shape today.

Life is complicated. The reason we have democracy is that no one side is right all the time. The only people who are dangerous are those who can’t admit, even to themselves, that obvious fact.

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« Reply #239 on: June 24, 2008, 05:51:24 AM »

***Some brave souls might even concede that if the U.S. had withdrawn in the depths of the chaos, the world would be in worse shape today.***

Don't expect any real honesty like this from BO.
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« Reply #240 on: June 24, 2008, 08:50:54 AM »

***Some brave souls might even concede that if the U.S. had withdrawn in the depths of the chaos, the world would be in worse shape today.***

Don't expect any real honesty like this from BO.


Or any other opponent of the war....
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« Reply #241 on: June 25, 2008, 05:37:42 PM »

- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

The Times, It Ain’t a-Changin’
June 25, 2008 - by Bruce Bawer

Just imagine the world picture of somebody whose primary — or even (God forbid!) sole — source of news is the New York Times.

In particular, imagine that person’s image of Islam — and of the problems and issues surrounding the growing presence of Islam in the West today. At the Times — as at other important news organizations — the slant on Islam has been shaped almost exclusively by apologists like Karen Armstrong (author of Muhammed: A Prophet for Our Time) and John Esposito (director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University). In March, the New York Times Magazine published a long essay by another major apologist, Harvard law professor and Times Magazine contributing writer Noah Feldman, who took (shall we say) an exceedingly generous view of sharia law and its proponents. Last Sunday, the magazine ran a [1] new piece by Feldman, arguing that Muslims are Europe’s “new pariahs” and that the only real problem related the rise of Islam in Europe today is — guess what? — European racism.

It’s a familiar claim, to put it mildly, and Feldman served up the usual rhetoric, conflating the nationalist bigots of Belgium’s Vlaams Belang party with people like the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, whose views on the Islamization of Europe are rooted in liberal values. Feldman dismissed as “prejudice” concern about first-cousin marriages among Muslims — never mind that almost all such marriages are forced, that the overwhelming majority involve rape and abuse, and that those who have campaigned hardest against them are not “racists” but women’s rights advocates. Feldman deep-sixed the catastrophic rise in rape, gay-bashing, and other crimes by young European Muslim males, the extensive abuse of European welfare systems that is helping to destroy them, and the broad-based cultural jihad which ultimately seeks nothing less than the replacement of democracy with sharia. Feldman insisted that “a hallmark of liberal, secular societies is supposed to be respect for different cultures, including traditional, religious cultures — even intolerant ones.” That’s easy to say about things happening on the other side of an ocean from your Ivy League office. I’d like to see Feldman tell this to gay people in Amsterdam, where ten years ago they felt safer than anyplace else on earth and where Muslim youths now beat them up in broad daylight in the middle of town. Or why doesn’t he try this line on Jewish children in France, who according to a French government report can no longer get an education in that country because of severe harassment (and worse) by Muslim classmates? Feldman further equated Islamic and Roman Catholic views of gays and women — as if the Church’s “rejection of homosexuality and women priests” could be compared to the execution of gays and the wholesale subordination of women to the will of men. Feldman scored Europeans for failing to treat immigrants “as full members of their society” — yet while such prejudice does indeed exist, somehow immigrants from places like Vietnam and Chile nonetheless persevere and thrive (in the U.K., Hindus are more economically successful than the average Brit), while Muslims don’t. The difference has to do not with European prejudice but with Islam.

Since 9/11, the kind of brazen sugarcoating of Islam that Feldman served up last Sunday has become a convention in the Times and other mainstream media. Routinely, news organizations suppress, downplay, or misrepresent developments that reflect badly on Islam; they go out of their way to find stories that reflect (or that can be spun in such a way as to reflect) positively on it; and they publish professors and intellectuals and “experts” like Feldman, who share the media’s determination to obscure the central role of jihadist ideology in the current clash between Islam and Western democracy and to point the finger instead (as Feldman does) at European racism.

Yet while a number of media consumers are wise to this policy regarding Islam, relatively few realize that it’s a fresh variation on a well-established tradition. This tradition — which may be fairly characterized as one of solicitude, protectiveness, and apologetics when reporting on totalitarian ideologies, movements and regimes — involves habitual practices that can be attributed partly to institutional stasis, passivity, and timidity, partly to a desire to maintain access to this or that tyrant, partly to profound failures of moral insight and responsibility, partly to inane notions of “fairness” and “balance,” partly to an unwillingness to face aspects of the real world that need to be acknowledged and dealt with, and partly to an inability to grasp (or, perhaps, to face the fact) that the status quo has changed.

To get an idea of what I’m talking about, let’s examine some highlights from the history of the Times — not only America’s most famous newspaper, but the one from which the nation’s media have, to an extraordinary extent, taken their lead for generations. These highlights do not even begin to tell the whole story of the Times’s treatment of totalitarianism over the decades, of course, but they point to something chronic, unhealthy, and dishonest at the heart of the Gray Lady’s editorial sensibility that has yet to be effectively addressed - and that has its counterparts in countless less prominent media on which the Times has long exerted a major influence.

First case in point: Walter Duranty, the Times’s Moscow correspondent during much of the Stalin era. The celebrated British author Malcolm Muggeridge once commented that “no one…followed the Party Line as assiduously” as Duranty did; Tim Rutten, in a 2003 Los Angeles Times article, called Duranty “an active agent of Soviet propaganda and disinformation - probably paid, certainly blackmailed, altogether willing.” Author of a novel, One Life, One Kopeck (1937), that was pure Communist cant and a non-fiction book, The Kremlin and the People (1941), that another old Moscow hand, Louis Fischer, described as a “Song of Praise” for Stalin, Duranty was an unswerving Kremlin apologist: he praised a 1932 law that forbade peasants to leave their collective farms, insisted (to Trotsky’s consternation) that the false confessions extracted at Stalin’s show trials were true, and condemned the Berlin Airlift. It was Duranty who coined the term “Stalinism” and who, rationalizing Stalin’s brutality, first said “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Duranty claimed to want to bring about “Russian-American…understanding” — which is to say that he used the word “understanding” in exactly the same way that it’s often used now vis-à-vis Islam. (What’s being encouraged, of course, isn’t understanding at all but its opposite — a determination not to understand, see, or acknowledge certain facts. In the 1930s, Britons who were desperate to avoid war with the Nazis also spoke about “understanding” in this way - refusing to recognize that there are some things that, once properly understood, must be actively resisted and destroyed.)

Duranty’s position afforded him immense power to shape the American public’s image of the Soviet Union. As Muggeridge biographer Ian Hunter put it in 2003, Duranty was “the most influential foreign correspondent in Russia,” a man whose articles were “regarded as authoritative” and “helped to shape U.S. foreign policy.” While Stalin was shipping people to the Gulag, Duranty’s rosy dispatches were taken by many American leftists as confirmation that the USSR was indeed a veritable workers’ paradise.

His crowning disgrace was his reporting on the Ukraine famine of 1932-33. It began when Stalin, out to forestall a counter-revolution, forced Ukrainian peasants onto collective farms, seized the 1932 crops, confiscated food, grain, and livestock, made it a crime to supply villages with food, and put grain supplies under armed guard while children starved nearby. The historian Robert Conquest has described the Ukraine during this period as “one vast Bergen-Belsen”; in the end, the famine — which many experts and governments, including America’s, officially regard as an act of genocide — killed about a quarter of the Ukraine’s population. (Most estimates of the death toll range from seven to ten million.) Yet Duranty denied that Ukrainians were starving. Reports he filed from the region appeared under such headlines as “Soviet Is Winning Faith of Peasants” and “Abundance Found in North Caucasus.” His biographer, S.J. Taylor, has summed up his spin as follows: “He spoke of happy workers, plentiful harvests, congenial conditions. Any talk of famine, he said…was ‘a sheer absurdity.’” Though in a few articles he came somewhat closer to telling the truth (apparently having seen conditions so horrible that even he felt, if only momentarily, the pull of conscience), he soon reverted to full denial mode. That his colossal misrepresentations were deliberate is proven by records of a private conversation he had with a British official in 1933, in which he admitted that “as many as 10 million people may have died directly or indirectly from lack of food in the Soviet Union during the past year.”

While Duranty presented Soviet lies about the Ukraine as the unvarnished truth, others risked life and limb to get the facts out. A 1932 report by Andrew Cairns outlined in detail the catastrophe Stalin had brought about, but Stalin’s supporters on the British Left made sure it was never published. Arthur Koestler, who spent the winter of 1932-33 in the Ukraine, described entire villages that perished of starvation; and Muggeridge’s own admiration for Stalin dissolved in the face of what he described in the Guardian as “one of the most monstrous crimes in history, so terrible that people in the future will scarcely be able to believe it ever happened.” (The result of Muggeridge’s exposés? Thanks to Stalinists in high places, he was unable to find work in Britain.) Perhaps most intrepid of all was a young Welshman, Gareth Jones, who published at least twenty articles in the U.S. and Britain about the famine. Because, unlike Duranty, he had no impressive institutional credentials, Jones’s articles drew little notice; yet one of them, which appeared in the Manchester Guardian, so unsettled the Kremlin that the Soviet Press Censor, Constantine Oumansky, gathered together all the Western correspondents in Moscow and persuaded them — apparently with little difficulty — to write articles calling Jones a liar. Duranty came through like a trouper: in a piece headlined “Russians Hungry, But Not Starving,” he savaged Jones’s reportage. Taylor calls Duranty’s mendacity about the famine “the most outrageous equivocation of the period. Yet the statement seems to have pacified almost everyone.”

Duranty’s Moscow dispatches add up to an appalling legacy, and the Times was intimately implicated in every last bit of it. A State Department document that was declassified in 1987 revealed that in 1931 Duranty admitted to a U.S. embassy official in Berlin that “in agreement with The New York Times and the Soviet authorities,” his articles consistently reflected “the official opinion of the Soviet regime.” Throughout his long tenure at the Times, there were critics — most but not all of them marginal (Time Magazine decried him as “the No. 1 Russian apologist in the West”) — who pilloried the Times for printing Duranty’s disinformation. Yet Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger dismissed all criticism of what he called Duranty’s “faithful and brilliant work at Moscow.” Sulzberger’s successors, moreover, while acknowledging the validity of the criticism, have invariably done so in tame, vague, and thoroughly inadequate terms. To this day, moreover, the Times has stubbornly resisted calls to return the Pulitzer that Duranty won for a 1931 series of articles singing the praises of the economic policies that laid the famine’s foundations.

Indeed, just as Duranty not only lied about the famine but slandered those who told the truth about it, so Times editor Bill Keller, in a remarkably callous 2003 response to a Ukrainian group that sought to have Duranty’s Pulitzer rescinded, compared the petitioners to the dictator who had slaughtered so many millions of their people, suggesting that revoking the award “might evoke the Stalinist practice to airbrush purged figures out of official records and histories.” When a member of Gareth Jones’s family wrote to Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., in 2003, asking him to return Duranty’s award, Sulzberger — whose family’s newspaper had been instrumental in airbrushing Jones from history — didn’t even bother to reply. And when the Pulitzer board decided that same year not to rescind the prize, Sulzberger released a statement alluding to “defects” and “lapses” in Duranty’s work — weak language indeed to describe the covering up of a holocaust — and offering a few feeble, euphemistic words of “sympathy” for “those who suffered as a result of the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine.”

In the end, as Taylor has written, “fewer words were actually published” in the Western press about the Ukrainian famine “than the number of men, women, and children who had perished.” The New York Times and its man in Moscow deserve an enormous share of the responsibility for this, given the extent to which the American press followed the Times’s lead. (Indeed, many U.S. papers’ Soviet coverage consisted largely or entirely of syndicated Times articles.) Since the U.S. and British governments exerted little or no pressure on Stalin to end the Ukrainian famine, frank and vivid reporting about the famine in the Times might have forced their hands. Taylor notes that of all those who witnessed “the greatest man-made disaster ever recorded,” only Duranty “had sufficient prestige and prominence to exert an influence”; had he “spoken out loud and clear…the world could not have ignored him.” Andrew Stuttaford, writing in National Review in 2001, agreed: “Had he told the truth, he could have saved lives.”

Yet the obloquy is not Duranty’s alone. Sulzberger and his editors understood very well what kind of game their man in Moscow was playing. It was a game of access and of influence. The Times, to be true to its image of itself, simply had to be assured that if, for example, Stalin wanted to give an exclusive interview to only one Western newspaper, he would choose the Times; and in order for the Times to retain that predominant position, it had to play ball (just as CNN, decades later, would play ball with Saddam’s regime in order to be able to keep operating out of Baghdad). Sulzberger and company knew, too, that for the Times to retain its authoritative image on the American Left, it couldn’t challenge the Left’s image of Russia too aggressively. What’s more, they may have thought they were serving a cause they perceived as greater than truth — namely, the cause of peace and solidarity between Russia and the West. Similar motives appear to shape the relationship of the Times and other media today to the complete truth about Islam and to the contemporary Gareth Joneses who have sought to tell it. Duranty endeavored to cover his bases on Stalin, moreover, in the same way that many journalists today seem to be trying to cover their bases on Islam. As Muggeridge explained it, Duranty attempted to write in such a manner that, whether “the famine got worse and known outside Russia” or, alternatively, “got better and wasn’t known outside Russia,” he would be able in either case to point to what he’d written at the time and claim that he’d gotten the story right. In short, he embodied cautious, cynical careerism at its worse.

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« Reply #242 on: June 25, 2008, 05:38:49 PM »

Not only did the Times give America a fraudulent picture of the Soviet Union in the 1930s; its coverage of the Holocaust in the next decade suggests a determination both to maintain an appearance of impartiality and to preserve an illusion that Hitler’s regime was not as monstrous as it really was. Hitler’s destruction of the Jews was so blatantly evil that to write about it in a civilized and responsible manner meant taking sides; but that was apparently too much for the Times to ask of itself. Though it was already well established by 1942 that the Nazis intended to exterminate European Jewry, as Laurel Leff notes in her 2005 book Buried by the Times, the newspaper’s European correspondents “would not be the ones to disclose this information.” Though the Times (then as now) prided itself on covering even relatively minor international news, it managed not to report the decimation of the Jewish populations of whole cities and countries. When the State Department confirmed the murder of approximately two million Jews in German-occupied areas, the Times ran the story on page ten. When the Times did run stories about the Holocaust, moreover, it deliberately obscured the fact that the victims were being killed because they were Jews. It even avoided using the word “Jews,” routinely referring to the victims as “refugees” or identifying them by nationality. And it repeatedly served up the fiction that they had been killed because they were opponents or perceived opponents of the Nazi regime.

Leff’s exhaustive account of this ignominy makes it clear that the Times considered it more important to seem objective than to tell the whole truth about Nazi genocide. In a letter written at the time, Sulzberger explained that he had to remain “disassociated from active participation in any movement which springs from the oppression of the Jews in Germany” so as not to compromise “the unprejudiced and unbiased position of the Times.” In other words, he was holding up as a journalistic ideal a neutral stance toward the extermination of millions. Amoral though this insistence on “objectivity” was, however, even it seems to have been largely a cover for something else — namely a simple failure of institutional courage. Reading Leff’s book, one gathers that if those in power at the Times chose to systematically mute the facts about the Holocaust, it was largely for no more profound reasons than that they, like their counterparts today who sugarcoat Islam, didn’t want to endanger their position in the cultural elite, or even risk, say, a modicum of discomfort at the occasional dinner party. It was more important to them to maintain their own status, not to mention the newspaper’s reputation, than to fully and honestly report the facts about a historically unprecedented act of monstrous evil.

One also has the impression that the Holocaust-hiders then, like the whitewashers of European Islam now, felt that, all in all, it was best to soft-pedal horrors — almost as if denying the terrible truth, or at least drastically diminishing it, would somehow make it less real or less horrible. Michael Marrus (quoted by Leff) speaks of reporters’ “unwillingness to break established patterns to help the Jews” — which strikingly echoes an observation by Harrison Salisbury (quoted by Taylor) that Duranty was “incapable of reporting something that broke the pattern he had established.” Indeed, it can seem that for the Times, when it comes to the very biggest and most disturbing stories, the “news that’s fit to print” was, and is, often the news that best fits the paper’s pre-existing picture of the world. In this sense, the Times is not a liberal newspaper at all, but deeply conservative, determined above all to provide its largely comfortable and affluent readers with a consistent, predictable picture of the world that doesn’t challenge their own worldview in any significant way or make them feel obliged to deal with things they’d prefer not to deal with. Certainly a loyalty to “established patterns” is a factor in the refusal by the Times and other media today to report honestly on the dramatic changes in European society wrought by the continent’s ongoing Islamization.

At both the Holocaust-era and present-day Times, one senses a dread over appearing to take the side of European Jews — whether the Jews are being exterminated by Germans (as they were then) or tormented by Muslims (as is the case today). Leff’s conclusion is striking: “When confronted with the facts of mass murder, journalists reacted as if they had no understanding of what those facts meant.” She quotes an observation by Saul Friedlander about “the simultaneity of considerable knowledge of the facts and of a no less massive inability or refusal to transform these facts into integrated understanding.” This is a remarkably apt description of the Times’s approach to Islam in the West today: the facts, the anecdotes, the statistics, all add up to a clear, coherent picture of what some of us have called cultural jihad or soft jihad; but the Times, and the innumerable news organs around the world that follow its lead and/or share its mindset, categorically decline to add the pieces up. In the 1940s, reporters recognized the reality of the Holocaust even as they refused, or on some level were unable, to accept it; a similar psychological process seems to be in operation today with regard to Islam. As Seth Lipsky noted in a cogent review of Leff’s book, its importance “is in helping us to understand what happened so that we can…avoid the same mistakes now that a new war against the Jews is under way and a new generation of newspaper men and women are in on the story.”

One should also mention, in this context, the very special relationship between The New York Times and Fidel Castro. William F. Buckley, Jr., put it memorably: Fidel Castro got his job through the The New York Times. To be more specific, he got it through the Walter Duranty of mid-century, Herbert Matthews, who fell head over heels for Castro much as Duranty did for Stalin. Glenn Garvin put it this way in Reason in March 2007: “Matthews was the first American reporter to interview Fidel Castro and the last to recognize the man as a ruthless and slightly mad totalitarian murderer.” At the time when Matthews was portraying him as a romantic guerrilla hero who enjoyed broad popular support and represented a serious threat to the government of Fulgencio Batista, Castro was in reality a washout with a ragtag group of no more than eighteen followers; but Matthews’s landmark front-page article of Sunday, February 24, 1957 (in which he called the revolutionary “overpowering,” a “man of ideals, of courage, and of remarkable qualities of leadership”), gave him a new lease on life and established the still potent Castro myth.

As was the case with Duranty and Stalin, moreover, Matthews’ articles and private confidences strongly influenced State Department views of Castro; and his rhapsodies about the Cuban, like Duranty’s hymns to the Georgian, were echoed throughout the Western media. Matthews insisted repeatedly that Castro was not a Communist, and he smeared reporters (just as Duranty had smeared Gareth Jones) who disagreed. As Duranty had excused Stalin’s crimes with the blithe sentiment that “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs,” so Matthews justified Castro’s abuses by saying that “A revolution is not a tea party.” And though Castro’s victory, in which Matthews was proud to have played a part, led to the murder of countless Cubans by firing squads, the reporter was ready to play down such uncomfortable details, excuse them, and even misrepresent them — in the same way that Duranty had done with the Ukraine famine. Just as Duranty defended Stalin’s show trials and the executions that followed, so Matthews dismissed Castro’s post-Revolution bloodbaths, calling Cuba “the happiest country in the world” (a lie that has lived on for decades in PC circles). In one editorial, Matthews referred to Castro as a “friend”; Castro, in a personal note professing his “deep and lasting affection,” addressed Matthews as “Mi Querido Amigo.”

And with Matthews, as with Duranty, the Times was a willing accomplice. In 1959, when Castro visited the Times offices in New York to “thank the Times for its role in the revolution” — as Matthews’s biographer, Anthony DePalma, put it – Sulzberger was there to “welcome” him, and “Castro thanked Sulzberger and several editors profusely.” (Castro would visit the Times’ offices twice more, in 1995 and 2000.) In a memo written shortly after the revolution, Matthews told Sulzberger that Castro “really wants advice and guidance and constructive criticism from sources he knows to be friendly, such as The New York Times.” Eventually, the Times stopped running Matthews’s pieces on Cuba — not because they were too heavily slanted toward Castro, but because Matthews was so public about his friendship with the dictator. What mattered to the Times, in short, was not maintaining objectivity but preserving an illusion thereof. “It is bad enough,” Buckley later wrote, “that Herbert Matthews was hypnotized by Fidel Castro, but it was a calamity that Matthews succeeded in hypnotizing so many other people, in crucial positions of power, on the subject of Castro.” Indeed. The lingering influence of Matthews’s idolization of Castro — who executed political rivals and put homosexuals in concentration camps — could be observed, as Garvin notes, in such nauseating spectacles as Dan Rather’s chumminess with the dictator in a 60 Minutes interview, Barbara Walter’s hosting a dinner party for him, and Diane Sawyer’s greeting him with a kiss.

This overview would not be complete without at least a brief mention of Times Indochina correspondent Sydney Schanberg, who was immortalized by actor Sam Waterston in the film The Killing Fields. In a 1975 article, Schanberg looked forward to the fall of the Lon Nol government in Cambodia, writing that “for the ordinary people of Indochina . . . it is difficult to imagine how their lives could be anything but better with Americans gone.” This line was quoted in 2003 by Myron Kuropas, who went on to cite Schanberg’s backhanded defense of the genocidal Khmer Rouge:

Was this just cold brutality: a cruel and sadistic imposition of the law of the jungle which only the fittest will survive? Or is it possible that, seen through the eyes of the peasant soldier and revolutionaries, the forced evacuation of the cities is a harsh necessity? Perhaps they are convinced that there is no way to build a new society for the benefit of the ordinary man, hitherto exploited, without literally starting from the beginning; in such an unbending view people who represent the old ways and those considered weak or unfit would be expendable and would be weeded out.

The weasel words “harsh” and “unbending” aside, this passage amounts to a reprehensible attempt to justify pure evil on what we would today call multicultural grounds. Similar language was used to defend Stalin and Hitler. Indeed, to read Duranty, Matthews, Schanberg, and the Times’ Holocaust-era European correspondents is to be struck by how much alike they all sound. Whether they were in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Castro’s Cuba, or Pol Pot’s Cambodia, these reporters evinced the selfsame fascination with tyrants and offered the selfsame justifications for tyranny. This mentality is still on view today in the pages of the Gray Lady, as one after another of Duranty’s heirs continue to try to sell the line that Islam is a religion of peace, that “jihad” means spiritual struggle, that only a minuscule minority of Muslims in the West want to exchange democracy for sharia, and that the only real problem with Islam in Europe is European racism.

The Times should have learned a valuable lesson or two from its past. But it’s making exactly the same mistakes today with Islam in the West that it did with Stalinism and Hitlerism, ignoring and discrediting the testimony of honest observers while giving legitimacy to tyranny’s sympathizers and apologists. The Times’s power is such that it might play an immensely positive role in educating its readers about the situation before them and helping them to recognize where their own responsibilities lie. Instead it’s pursuing an editorial policy that bids fair to be every bit as disastrous as was its approach to Stalin, the Holocaust, and Castro. And a large segment of the mainstream Western media is following its example.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-times-it-ain%e2%80%99t-a-changin%e2%80%99/

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[1] new piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/22/magazine/22wwln-lede-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine&pagewanted=p
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« Reply #243 on: June 27, 2008, 08:06:18 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/27/kurtz-what-happened-to-american-journalism-on-obamas-gun-ban-flip-flop/

A perfect example of the MSM's bias and corruption.
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« Reply #244 on: June 28, 2008, 11:20:56 AM »

Indeed!!!  I try to stay focused on what the success of what I perceive to be the mission, but there are moments when I wonder if the America of our Founding Fathers will survive.   cry cry cry
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« Reply #245 on: July 08, 2008, 08:11:00 AM »

Signaling a generational change at one of the nation’s most influential newspapers, the new publisher of The Washington Post on Monday selected an outsider as the paper’s top editor.

Marcus W. Brauchli has spent most of his career as an editor and overseas correspondent at The Wall Street Journal.

Marcus W. Brauchli, a former top editor of The Wall Street Journal, will become the executive editor of The Post on Sept. 8, at a time of great upheaval in the industry. At age 47, he is young enough to remain in place for many years, working alongside the publisher, Katharine Weymouth, who is 42 and has been in her job for five months.

He will succeed Leonard Downie Jr., 66, who has led The Post’s newsroom for 17 years, guiding it to numerous accolades, including six Pulitzer Prizes this year, the most in its history.

But Mr. Brauchli (pronounced BROW-klee) and Ms. Weymouth take the helm at a time when The Post, like the newspaper industry as a whole, is buffeted by budget cuts, a shrinking newsroom, falling advertising revenue and declining circulation.

“I don’t think it’s a case of her wanting to shake the place up as much as her having to,” said Benjamin C. Bradlee, a former executive editor who is a vice president of the Washington Post Company. “She feels the urgency to change and adapt, and thank heaven.”

The Post is trying to meld its print and online news operations — something The Journal has already done — and that task is high on the priority list of Ms. Weymouth, the first Post publisher with direct control of its Web site. The two operations have been kept apart to a degree that is rare in the industry — the Web site even has a separate newsroom, in Virginia — which has bred duplication and turf wars.

In a statement, Ms. Weymouth said that Mr. Brauchli’s experience at The Journal would “help us navigate the new world of media.”

Her decision to pass over candidates within The Post and hire Mr. Brauchli comes shortly into a tenure that has already made clear that she intends to shake up the venerable but financially troubled paper. She is in the fourth generation of her family to head the paper that her great-grandfather, Eugene I. Meyer, bought in 1933, and is considered the likely successor to her uncle, Donald E. Graham, 63, as chairman and chief executive of the Post Company, which also owns Newsweek magazine and the Kaplan educational business.

But her choice of Mr. Brauchli is a surprising one at a paper best known for its political coverage and inside-the-Beltway savvy. Some editors and reporters at The Post say that changing the leadership in the midst of a hard-fought presidential campaign is an unorthodox and potentially disruptive move.

Mr. Brauchli has little experience in Washington, but at The Journal he helped oversee coverage of presidential campaigns and served as a foreign correspondent. Former colleagues say he has no trouble adapting to new territory.

“He has one of the quickest minds, and he has the ability to accumulate an enormous amount of information and very quickly become sophisticated on any topic,” said Stephen J. Adler, editor in chief of BusinessWeek and a former Journal editor.

It is not clear what role will be played by The Post’s second-ranking editor, Phillip Bennett, who has the title of managing editor and was a candidate for the top job. People who have discussed the matter with Post executives — and who insisted on anonymity to avoid upstaging those executives — said that an arrangement with multiple managing editors was under consideration.

The other serious contenders for executive editor were Jonathan Landman, the deputy managing editor of The New York Times; Jon Meacham, the editor of Newsweek; and David Ignatius, a Post columnist and former editor.

When Mr. Brauchli became the managing editor of The Journal, the top newsroom position there, in May 2007, he was a popular choice among his colleagues. Seven months later, the paper was taken over by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, and Mr. Murdoch and the publisher he installed, Robert Thomson, pressed for an array of changes in the content of The Journal and the way the newsroom was organized — changes that much of the newsroom opposed.

Mr. Brauchli resigned in April to become a consultant to the News Corporation, saying, “I have come to believe the new owners should have a managing editor of their choosing.” Mr. Thomson then took his place. Some of Mr. Brauchli’s former colleagues were bitter that he did not fight the changes made by The Journal’s new owners, but many others said his position was untenable from the start.

Mr. Brauchli left The Journal with a severance package that news reports valued at several million dollars; it is not clear whether joining The Post changes the terms of that package, if at all. He declined to comment for this article, as did Ms. Weymouth.

===========

At The Post, he takes on a set of serious challenges. Since 2000, the paper’s weekday circulation has declined to 673,000, from about 800,000, but is still the seventh-highest among American newspapers. Its Web site draws more than nine million unique visitors monthly, according to Nielsen Online, making it the third-highest for a newspaper Web site.


 But like all newspapers, The Post has been unable to convert that heavy Web traffic into enough dollars to outweigh the loss of print advertising and circulation revenue. The Post has responded to the economic pressures by reducing its news staff from more than 900 people early in this decade to about 700, and executives there expect it to shrink further in the next few years.

The newspaper division of the Post Company, which consists mostly of The Post itself, reported an operating profit of just $1.2 million in the first quarter, on revenue of $206.1 million, down from $14.9 million in profit a year earlier.

On the whole, the Post Company is less threatened by the industry’s transformation than most of its newspaper brethren, because it is far less reliant on newspapers, bolstered by its Kaplan educational unit and its broadcast and cable television holdings. It reported earnings of $39.3 million in the first quarter, down 39 percent from a year earlier, despite an 8 percent increase in revenue, to $985.6 million.

The company’s stock is down 42 percent from its peak in 2004, reflecting a broad decline in the industry.

Ms. Weymouth is the granddaughter of Katharine Graham, the longtime Post publisher, and daughter of Lally Weymouth, a Newsweek editor and correspondent on foreign affairs. She practiced law for a number of years before joining the Post Company in 1996 as an in-house lawyer, and most of her experience with the company has been in advertising.

Several people she has worked or consulted with — most of them requested anonymity to avoid alienating her — describe Ms. Weymouth as very smart and determined to move quickly to adapt to the challenges posed by the Internet. And they say she is less deferential to some of The Post’s traditions than her predecessors were.

She talked for a time of getting an office in the newsroom, which would be seen at some papers as a breach of the traditional separation of the business and news operations, but company officials say that idea has been shelved.

Soon after taking over, Ms. Weymouth began conferring with a number of people inside and outside the company about possible editors. Casting a wide net quickly made it a fairly public process, at a time when Mr. Downie and the paper insisted publicly that there were no immediate plans for him to leave — and it was seen by some of his loyalists as putting pressure on him to go.

But those who have discussed the succession with her said that Ms. Weymouth recognized her lack of news experience and wisely sought the advice of a wide range of people.

“It was pretty un-Graham-like to be so public, but it was what she needed to do,” said one of the contenders who lost out to Mr. Brauchli. “She sees that the industry’s in crisis.”

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« Reply #246 on: July 10, 2008, 09:20:17 AM »

Rehabbing The D.C. Snipers
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, October 17, 2007 4:30 PM PT

Media Bias: Why would two Muslim men travel 3,000 miles to kill random people in the nation's capital a year after 9/11? CNN investigated and found Islamic terror had nothing to do with it.


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Related Topics: Media & Culture


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In its special marking the fifth anniversary of the sniper attacks, the network downplays the religious angle to the story in a reprise of its original shameless coverage.

When news of the snipers' identity first broke, CNN anchors were so determined to avoid making the obvious connection to radical Islam that they called the lead sniper, a Muslim convert, by his old name. Police were looking for John Allen Muhammad, but CNN insisted on referring to him as John Allen Williams.

Jailhouse sketches, including this one containing references to 'jihad,' 'holy war' and 'infidels' were entered into evidence in the 2003 trial of convicted D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo. His attorneys said they were evidence of indoctrination by Malvo's accomplice, John Allen Muhammad. But the only drawing shown in a new one-hour special on CNN shows Malvo shedding tears.
Now the network has completely scrubbed Islam from the picture, offering child abuse (boo-hoo) and spousal revenge as alternative motives for the snipers' bloody rampage.

Nowhere in its one-hour special — promoted as "The Minds of the D.C. Snipers" — is Islamist brainwashing even hinted as a motivating factor behind their serial assassinations. Yet the evidence is overwhelming that they were on a jihad.

In their own words, Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo traveled across the country to terrorize Washingtonians on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — first by picking off random people and then by blowing up school buses using plastic explosives loaded with ball bearings.

Their plan was to ramp up their shootings to 25 a day before moving on to explosives, killing scores of children. Thankfully, they were caught before they could put phase two into effect.

Muhammad and Malvo, now in prison in Virginia, still managed to kill 10 and wound three — including an elementary school kid shot in the back — while paralyzing the nation's capital for three full weeks.

The jailhouse drawings of the younger sniper, Malvo, tell it all:

• One sketch of Osama bin Laden exalts him as a "Servant of Allah."

• A self-portrait of him and Muhammad is captioned: "We will kill them all. Jihad . . . Allah Akbar!"

• A sketch of the burning Twin Towers has as its caption: "America did this. You were warned."

• A poem scribbled alongside an American flag and star of David drawn in cross hairs reads: "Our minarets are our bayonets, Our mosques are our baracks, Our believers are our soldiers."

• The Quran (Surah 2:190) is quoted as follows: "Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you and slay them wherever ye catch them." Also: "Islam the only true guidance."

• The White House is drawn in cross hairs, surrounded by missiles, with the warning: "Sep. 11 we will ensure will look like a picnic to you," and "you will bleed to death little by little."

• Another warning reads: "Islam. We will Resist. We will conquer. We will win."

Somehow CNN's "special investigations unit" managed to overlook this pile of courtroom evidence. It showed only one drawing — a self portrait of Malvo shedding tears.

CNN maintains that Malvo, an alleged victim of negligent parents, now has remorse for his victims — even though he wrote in one notebook: "They all died and they all deserved it. We will not stop. This war will not end until you are all destroyed utterly."

CNN also omitted the fact that while Muhammad and Malvo were in county jail awaiting trial, their lawyers insisted they be fed Islamic "halal" meals, such as veggie burgers, instead of ham sandwiches. They also got copies of the Quran.

According to Knight Ridder and others reporting at the time, the director of a shelter where the two men stayed for a spell in Washington state tipped off the FBI that Muhammad "might be a terrorist."

That incident mysteriously disappeared from an interview that CNN host Soledad O'Brien conducted with the same source for the special.

The revisionism and sanitization of Islam continued with O'Brien's interview with Muhammad's ex-wife, who insisted that jihad and hatred of America had nothing to do with her husband's cold-blooded killings.

Her head covered with a hijab, Mildred Muhammad claimed that she and she alone was the target of his attacks, and that the dozen-plus victims were an attempt to cover up the real target. CNN bought her story, even packaging it as an exclusive.

But a simple check of local news stories at the time would have revealed that neighbors reported seeing Muhammad visit with his former wife and children at their Maryland town house before and during the shootings. One neighbor said he even jogged with him.

Police even staked out her house in the hope he would visit again.

By leaving out all these facts — never even mentioning that the subjects of its investigation had converted to Islam — CNN committed professional malpractice.

Its "special investigation" is nothing more than a politically correct whitewashing of the truth aimed at pleasing Muslim groups like CAIR, which has argued that "there is no indication that this case is related to Islam or Muslims."

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« Reply #247 on: July 10, 2008, 09:32:35 AM »

Just like the MSM's recent coverage of honor murders in the US. Funny how the "M" word is avoided like the plague.  rolleyes
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« Reply #248 on: July 14, 2008, 10:05:30 PM »

Terrorist Telephone
By JAMES TARANTO
July 14, 2008
WSJ

An article in Friday's New York Times drew lots of attention from those who like to wring their hands about U.S. "torture" of terrorists, but to our mind it's awfully thin:

Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book. . . .
The book, "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals," by Jane Mayer, who writes about counterterrorism for The New Yorker, offers new details of the agency's secret detention program. . . .
Citing unnamed "sources familiar with the report," Ms. Mayer wrote that the Red Cross document "warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted." Red Cross representatives were not permitted access to the secret prisons where the C.I.A. conducted interrogations, but were permitted to interview Abu Zubaydah and other high-level detainees in late 2006, after they were moved to the military detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. . . .
The book says Abu Zubaydah told the Red Cross that he had been waterboarded at least 10 times in a single week and as many as three times in a day.
The book also reports that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, told the Red Cross that he had been kept naked for more than a month and claimed that he had been "kept alternately in suffocating heat and in a painfully cold room."
To sum up: The New York Times reports that a new book reports that unnamed sources reported to the author that a report exists that says terrorists reported being tortured.

That is, not only are we being asked to take the word of terrorists--whose training material instructs them to claim they have been tortured--but we are being asked to trust terrorists' claims that are reaching us fifth-hand (or fourth-hand if you spend $27.50 for the book). It's a big game of telephone.

And we thought the New York Times was against listening to terrorists' phone conversations.
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« Reply #249 on: July 18, 2008, 09:24:29 AM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...008071602562_pf.html

3 Anchors to Follow Obama's Trek Abroad

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 17, 2008; C02



The three network anchors will travel to Europe and the Middle East next week for Barack Obama's trip, adding their high-wattage spotlight to what is already shaping up as a major media extravaganza.

Lured by an offer of interviews with the Democratic presidential candidate, Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric will make the overseas trek, meaning that the NBC, ABC and CBS evening newscasts will originate from stops along the route and undoubtedly give it big play.

John McCain has taken three foreign trips in the past four months, all unaccompanied by a single network anchor.

Obama has "proven adept at generating excitement," says David Folkenflik, media correspondent for National Public Radio. He said the anchors hope "a little bit of that excitement will rub off on their newscasts if they can convey an American phenomenon abroad, if that's what it turns out to be. Senator McCain is not as magnetic a figure in that way."

Jim Geraghty, a columnist for National Review Online, said Obama's paucity of foreign travel as a presidential candidate makes the trip a natural draw for news organizations, while "McCain has been around forever, and he's probably been to all these places before." But, he says, "the networks will be acting as a PR wing for the Obama campaign if they treat any of these photo ops as truly newsworthy breakthroughs."

The plan is for Williams, Gibson and Couric interviews to be parceled out on successive nights in different countries, giving each anchor a one-day exclusive. (Correspondents could have done the interviews instead, but a certain competitiveness sets in once one or two anchors agree to go.) The Washington Post is withholding the scheduled locations for security reasons.

Some 200 journalists have asked to accompany Obama on the costly trip, which will include stops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the campaign will be able to accommodate only one-fifth that number. No itinerary has been announced.

The senator from Illinois has been drawing far more media attention than his Republican rival from Arizona. With this week's Newsweek cover story on Obama's religious beliefs, he has been featured on Time and Newsweek covers 12 times in the past three years, compared with five for McCain. This week's New Yorker includes a 14,600-word piece on Obama's political rise in Chicago. Obama and his wife, Michelle, were recently on the cover of Us Weekly and were interviewed -- with their young daughters, which Obama later said he regretted -- by "Access Hollywood."

When McCain visited Britain, France and Israel in March and met with their leaders, no network anchors tagged along. NBC and ABC sent correspondents; CBS did not. None of the evening newscasts covered his trip to Canada last month. And McCain's swing through Colombia and Mexico two weeks ago was barely covered, although NBC and ABC sent correspondents.

The upcoming Obama trip, by contrast, has already generated stories about how large his crowds will be and whether German authorities will allow him to speak at the Brandenburg Gate. "Europe Awaits Obama With Open Arms," the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.
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