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Crafty_Dog
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« on: November 16, 2006, 07:35:13 PM »

Like it says.  We open with a Time Magazine editor apparently getting caught changing the facts.

http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/Time_Magazine_Gets_Caught_Lying.asp
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2007, 10:37:39 AM »

CBS using Al Qaeda as an unattributed source?

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/01/31/lara-logan-and-he...important-to-ignore/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2007, 07:04:37 PM »

AP alters CAIR quote in story about Ayaan Hirsi Aliposted at 7:36 pm on February 10, 2007 by Allahpundit
Send to a Friend | printer-friendly From one of our very best tipsters, RLW, comes a great little catch of which I’m not quite sure what to make. Quote #1:

Quote #2:

The first quote comes from an AP article written by William C. Mann and entitled “Critic of Islam finds new home in U.S.” that moved on the wire at 2:05 a.m. The second is from an AP article by the same author with the same title that moved at 10:14 a.m. I compared the text of the first story to the text of the second side by side in MS Word and the two are completely identical except for the CAIR quote.
It’s possible that Mann collected both quotes from Hooper contemporaneously and changed from the first to the second unbidden, simply because he liked the second one better. Except … Hooper’s making the same point in each. He’s just being more politic about it in the second instance by dropping the word “hate.” You can imagine him saying during their interview, “You know what? I went too far. Let me rephrase that last comment” and then giving Mann the second quote — but if that’s what happened, why did the first quote appear in the story that moved at 2:05?
What we’re looking at here, I suspect (but obviously can’t prove), is Hooper having made the first comment during their interview, then gotten buyer’s remorse when he saw how shrill it looked in print. So he called up the AP hours after the fact and asked them to replace it with a more “nuanced” version — and the AP agreed to do so.
Which brings us to our exit questions. First, am I missing some other obvious explanation? And second, if not, is giving sources a do-over on quotes after a story’s been published standard practice in the industry? I’m asking in earnest. I honestly don’t know the answer.
Update: The AP’s Statement of News Values and Principles says, “For corrections on live, online stories, we overwrite the previous version. We send separate corrective stories online as warranted.” This isn’t a correction, though. Unless Mann mistranscribed it — which is exceedingly hard to believe — he’s simply replacing a harder quote with a softer one. Why?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2007, 09:13:15 AM »

Television Takeover
U.S.-financed Al-Hurra is becoming a platform for terrorists.

BY JOEL MOWBRAY
Sunday, March 18, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Fighting to create a secular democracy in Iraq, parliamentarian Mithal al-Alusi had come to rely on at least one TV network to help further freedom: U.S. taxpayer-financed Al-Hurra.

Now, however, he's concerned. The broadcaster he had seen as a stalwart ally has done an about-face. "Until now, we were so happy with Al-Hurra. It was taking stands against corruption, for human rights, and for peace. But not anymore."

Stories that he believes cry out for further investigation, such as recent arrests of those accused of supporting the terrorists in Iraq, are instead getting mere news-ticker mentions at the bottom of the screen. And Arab voices for freedom, which used to have a home on Al-Hurra, are noticeably absent. "They're driving out the liberals," he complains.

Mr. Alusi is not the only one concerned about the recent changes at Al-Hurra. Ken Tomlinson, the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors--the congressionally-created panel charged with overseeing Al-Hurra, among other government-funded broadcasters--is currently demanding answers about the network's decision last December to broadcast most of a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah.

Sitting up straight and raising his index finger, he states emphatically, "It's the single worst decision I've witnessed in all my years in international broadcasting."





The airing of the Nasrallah speech is a sign of the network's new direction since it was taken over by a longtime CNN producer, Larry Register, last November. Launched in February 2004, Al-Hurra broadcasts three separate feeds: to Europe, Arab nations and one for Iraq. The network is supposed to be a key component of our public diplomacy to the Arab world. Its mission statement calls for it to showcase the American political process, and just as important, report on things that get little attention on other Arabic networks, such as human-rights abuses and government corruption.
Within weeks of becoming news director, Mr. Register put his own stamp on the network. Producers and on-air talent quickly understood that change was underway. Investigations into Arab government wrongdoing or oppression were no longer in vogue, and the ban on turning the airwaves over to terrorists was lifted. For those who had chafed under Mr. Register's predecessor--who curbed the desire of many on staff to make Al-Hurra more like al-Jazeera--the new era was welcomed warmly.

"Everybody feels emboldened. Register changed the atmosphere around here," notes one staffer. "Register is trying to pander to Arab sympathies," says another.

The cultural shift inside the newsroom is evident in the on-air product. In the past several months, Al-Hurra has aired live speeches from Mr. Nasrallah and Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, and it broadcast an interview with an alleged al Qaeda operative who expressed joy that 9/11 rubbed "America's nose in the dust."

While a handful of unfortunate decisions could be isolated, these actions appear to be part of Mr. Register's news vision. Former news director Mouafac Harb, a Lebanese-born American citizen, was not shy about his disdain for terrorists and had a firm policy against giving them a platform. But Mr. Register didn't wait long to allow Hamas officials on the air to discuss Palestinian politics.

At a staff meeting announcing the reversal of the ban on terrorists as guests, Mr. Register "bragged" about his personal relationship with Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar, a top Hamas official, according to someone who was present. Contacted on his cell phone for comment, Mr. Register declined, indicating that he couldn't spare even two minutes anytime in the coming days.





Perhaps it is because Mr. Register is so casual in his attitude to terrorists that interviewers now toss softball questions to fiery anti-Western guests, while also taking digs at one of America's closest Middle Eastern allies, Israel.
The new Al-Hurra was on full display Feb. 9, when riots broke out following Israel's implementation of security measures that limited access to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

In roughly two hours of breathless live "breaking news" coverage--which outdistanced al-Jazeera by 30 minutes--Al-Hurra's Muslim guests vilified Israel, and one spun conspiracy theories about the Jewish state's "plans" to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque. No doubt the Islamic talking heads were egged on by the Al-Hurra anchors asking questions such as, "Do you think that the timing of these actions is as innocent as Israel pretends?" (Translations were provided by a fluent Arabic-speaking U.S. government official.)

This powder keg of a panel included Ikrima Sabri, imam of the Al Aqsa Mosque, who is best known for his tenure as Yasser Arafat's hand-picked mufti of Jerusalem. During the broadcast, Mr. Sabri accused Israel of firing guns and throwing bombs into the mosque, then refusing to allow medical care for the wounded.

Mr. Sabri's propaganda should not have come as a surprise. Just weeks before 9/11, Mr. Sabri delivered a passionate Friday sermon, broadcast nationally on official Palestinian Authority radio. He prayed for the destruction of Israel, Britain and the United States.

If anyone should be savvy about people like Mr. Sabri, it ought to be Mr. Register. With two decades of experience at CNN, including three years running the Jerusalem bureau, he should know that live TV is the wrong venue for firebrands or guests prone to outrageous commentary.

Complicating matters is that once someone is on Al-Hurra live, Mr. Register lacks the basic requirement to stay on top of unfolding coverage; he doesn't speak Arabic. Had Mr. Register been able to understand Mr. Nasrallah's Dec. 7 speech, perhaps he would have rushed to cut away early on. Before the five-minute mark, Mr. Nasrallah told the audience to stop their celebratory gun-firing, explaining, "the only place where bullets should be is the chest of the enemies of Lebanon: the Israeli enemy."





Former Broadcasting Board of Governors member Norman Pattiz understands the perils of turning over the airwaves to the likes of Mr. Nasrallah. Though he wouldn't comment on anything relating to recent months--he left the board last year, before Mr. Register's arrival--Mr. Pattiz said bluntly, "Simply handing a microphone over to a terrorist and letting them spew is not what I would call good journalism."
Though Mr. Pattiz is a well-known Democrat who feuded constantly with Mr. Tomlinson, a Republican, the two men had one area of agreement: Mr. Harb, Al-Hurra's original news director. Sounding remarkably similar to Mr. Tomlinson, Mr. Pattiz said, "The direction Al-Hurra launched in is the direction in which it should continue to go, because it was very successful."

Mr. Alusi, the Iraqi parliamentarian, agrees. "Al-Hurra should have the role of transporting democracy, and to help Iraqis understand freedom," he says. "If you have a good product, you must sell it in a good way. The United States is a very good product."

Mr. Mowbray is working on a book about the struggle for the heart of Islam in America.

Opinion Journal/WST yesterday
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2007, 02:04:42 PM »

http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD150807

Special Dispatch Series - No. 1508
March 20, 2007   No.1508

Islamist Website Instructs Mujahideen in Using Popular U.S. Web Forums to Foster Anti-War Sentiment among Americans
In the past few months, Islamists engaged in "media jihad" have increased their efforts to expose as broad a Western audience as possible to their jihad films, which purport to document the growing success of the mujahideen in Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of this endeavor, they have posted jihad films on popular free video-sharing websites such as YouTube, LiveLeak, and Google Video, hoping that such films will tip public opinion in the West against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan - thus pressuring Western governments to withdraw their troops from these countries.

As part of the campaign to foster anti-war sentiment among Westerners, and more specifically among Americans, a member of the Al-Mohajroon Islamist website with the username Al-Wathiq Billah instructed mujahideen in how to infiltrate popular American forums and to use them to distribute jihad films and spread disinformation about the war.

The following are excerpts: [1]

"Raiding American Forums is Among the Most Important Means of Obtaining Victory in the Fierce Media War… and of Influencing the Views of the Weak-Minded American"

"There is no doubt, my brothers, that raiding American forums is among the most important means of obtaining victory in the fierce media war... and of influencing the views of the weak-minded American who pays his taxes so they will go to the infidel American army. This American is an idiot and does not [even] know where Iraq is... [It is therefore] mandatory for every electronic mujahid [to engage in this raiding]."

"It is better that you raid non-political forums such as music forums and trivia forums... which American people... favor... Define your target[ed forum]... and get to know it well... Post your contribution and do not get into... futile arguments..."


Indicate You Are an American

"Obviously, you have to register yourself using a purely American name... Choose an icon that indicates that you are an American, and place it next to your nickname [in the forum]."

"In my experience, the areas most visited in American forums... [are titled] 'Random Thoughts' and 'What's going on in your mind?'... [The former] takes priority in the American forums, and is highly popular. You should post your contribution there... This should include films of the mujahideen in Iraq, mujahideen publications in English, and images and films of the Americans' crimes, [such as] killing unarmed civilians in Iraq... etc."


"Invent Stories About American Soldiers You Have [Allegedly] Personally Known"

"Obviously, you should post your contribution... as an American... You should correspond with visitors to this forum, [bringing to their attention] the frustrating situation of their troops in Iraq... You should invent stories about American soldiers you have [allegedly] personally known (as classmates... or members in a club who played baseball and tennis with you) who were drafted to Iraq and then committed suicide while in service by hanging or shooting themselves..."

"Also, write using a sad tone, and tell them that you feel sorry for your [female] neighbor or co-worker who became addicted to alcohol or drugs... because her poor fiancé, a former soldier in Iraq, was paralyzed or [because] his legs were amputated... [Use any story] which will break their spirits, oh brave fighter for the sake of God..."


How to Make Americans Feel Frustrated With Their Government

"You should enter into debate or respond only if it is extremely necessary... Your concern should [only] be introducing topics which... will cause [them to feel] frustration and anger towards their government..., which will... render them hostile to Bush... and his Republican Party and make them feel they must vote ton bring the troops back from Iraq as soon as possible."

"Do not... discuss issues pertaining to Arabs or Muslims at all, whether negatively or positively... because this could be a trap for you... In addition, do not ask people to circulate the material [you have posted] in other forums... as these types of requests will expose you..."



[1] http://www.mohajroon.com/vb/showthread.php?t=48233
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2007, 11:24:06 PM »

What Ails Mainstream Journalism
By Alyssa A. Lappen
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 22, 2007

Why do otherwise thorough reporters lose their professional skepticism when covering the Middle East and Islam? This peculiar journalistic phenomenon has puzzled me since I began covering the Middle East and Islam, in lieu of the investigative financial reporting work I had done for most of my career. Indeed, it largely motivated my personal professional shift.


An informal conversation with a part-time journalism professor recently gave me important clues. Our professional dialogue was private; therefore, it would be a gross violation of trust to identify this person in any way, excepting to note that the professor lived and reported from the Middle East for a time and now teaches how to cover current-day religious affairs and relations at a major university.



The professor's classes often cover reporting on the Islamic community in the U.S. today. Therefore, I was keenly interested to determine the professor's familiarity with sacred and historical texts that motivate modern Islamic activity and dogma.



In financial reporting, it goes without saying that one cannot write a major investigative piece on a corporation, industry or economic issue without first reading a great deal. For public companies, this requires extensive review of all Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings--recent annual reports (10-Ks, or F-20s for foreign firms), quarterlies (10-Qs), and changes to business strategy (8-K) or ownership (13-D). A good sleuth also consults the filings of major competitors and customers, in addition to interviewing as many of them as possible.



Only after laying this groundwork will the thorough reporter contact executives at the subject corporation.



A similar procedure--research first, interviews later--applies to private companies. Before 1995, Fidelity Investor chairman Edward C. Johnson III (Ned Johnson) rarely if ever spoke to reporters. Therefore before requesting an interview, I read everything available on the giant money management firm--and talked to more than 140 industry analysts, consultants, competitors, former and then-current Fidelity employees, and so on. The resulting September 1995 Institutional Investor cover story was subsequently emulated by Fortune, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among others.



Likewise, for a May 1989 Forbes report on the world's largest private textile firm, Milliken & Co., which had never previously been profiled, before asking the secretive magnate Roger Milliken for an interview, I spent six weeks filling more than 12 notebooks with every shred of data I could gather from every available source. The late Senator Strom Thurmond, then 86, for example, sent me to Florida U.S. Representatives Sam Gibbons, who, in turn, described Milliken as “a protectionist hog, H-O-G.” And former President Richard M. Nixon replied to an interview request in writing.



Of course, not all my financial stories required so many advance interviews, but a large number did. This point is not boastful. Indeed, without intensive advance work, interviewing hard-to-get, controversial, evasive or famous sources would be wasted opportunities or completely fruitless.



Such exhaustive reportage has often helped to expose corporate, Wall Street or other financial corruption. Similarly, investigative journalists have similarly raked corrupt politicians over the coals.



But when it comes to interviewing Muslim community or religious leaders, mainstream reporters are little inclined to submit them to tough or probing questions. Frequently, the U.S. media present leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim American Society (MAS), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), or Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as “civil rights” activists, “soft-spoken,” regular guys to be taken at face value, “moderate,” “really respected,” and so on.



Corporate executives caught contradicting themselves--lying, in a word--are forced out, one way or another. Such was the case for former Radio Shack CEO David J. Edmondson in 2006, former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, former Tyco CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski, and an endless list of others. Given the recent prevalence of American corporate corruption, in fact, legislators and securities regulators responded with a host of new rules.



On political religious matters, though, reporters don't even check readily available records to verify the claimed moderation of these men and groups. Otherwise, they undoubtedly would quickly find that these organizations are actually all radical--supporting violence and terrorism--and that the supposed men of reason have usually said terribly immoderate things. But unlike the immoderate quotations and deeds of Democrats or Republicans, lesser Muslim radicals than Osama bin Laden or Ayman Al-Zawahiri go largely unnoticed in mainstream broadcasts and reports.



The question is, why don't reporters routinely check on these subjects, as when covering any other public figure?



Consider the above-noted journalism professor, teaching undergraduate college courses on how to cover modern religious communities, especially U.S. Muslim communities. This professor (with financial reporting experience no less) seemed both predisposed to believe the statements of most Muslims and completely oblivious to the inherent journalistic problem with that.



Moreover, lacking familiarity with the Islamic practice of hiding the truth (taqiyya, or kitman)--it would be easy to misapprehend the importance of substantiating and corroborating everything--even “unquestionable” religious precepts.



Probably for this reason, the professor lauded the condemnation of the September 11 attacks by the world's preeminent Islamic university, Cairo's al-Azhar. The teacher had never heard of its author, the respected Islamic scholar Muhammed Sayyid al-Tantawi--and was astonished to learn that Tantawi's Ph.D. thesis, Banu Isra’il fi al-Qur’an wa al-Sunna (The Children of Israel in the Qur’an and the Sunna), consists entirely of Jew-hatred based on sacred Islamic texts.1



The professor, who speaks no Arabic, Farsi or Turkish, evidenced similar naiveté in suggesting that I read Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, by Columbia University's “moderate” Mahmoud Mamdani--although Mamdani, likewise, is no moderate. In the March 2007 London Review of Books, he blasts New Yorkers protesting Sudan's jihad genocide, which prefers to parallel with Iraq's “insurgency and counter insurgency.” And in 2005, Mamdani sounded like Osama bin Laden, when he blamed the U.S. for creating violent political Islam during the Cold War. That year, in Foreign Affairs, Mamdani also falsely equated jihadis and neoconservatives.



The inadequate skepticism of the journalism professor seems representative of attitudes among the vast majority of Western mainstream journalists covering this area. The acceleration of excessive credulity screams from this oxymoron--“The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood”--which Foreign Affairs recently ran instead of a headline on an equally unbalanced “report.”



Another source of gullibility crystallized as the professor admitted almost total ignorance of the Qur'an, Hadith (reputed sayings and deeds of Muhammed), Sira (Muhammed's biography), or such other critical Islamic texts as Al-Akham As-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance) by Ali ibn Muhammed Mawardi (d. 1058); Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat by Ahmad Ibn Lulu Ibn Al-Naqib (d. 1368); or translations of any portion of Ibn Khatir's massive Qur'anic commentary, Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim.



Consider the supreme irony, given how Americans cherish freedom of speech, in contrast to the severe restrictions placed on it by Islam.



Slander, according to al-Naqib, “means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike, whether about his body, religion, everyday life, self, disposition, property, son, father, wife, servant, turban, garment, gait, movements, smiling, dissoluteness, frowning, cheerfulness, or anything else connected with him.”2 According to the latter definition, even the truth can be slanderous if its subject doesn't like it.



Lacking familiarity with these texts before interviewing a devout Muslim on religion or political Islam is akin to a financial journalist profiling a Fortune 500 CEO without reading his annual or quarterly reports, talking to any competitors, without even a rudimentary understanding of Securities and Exchange Commission regulations. The CEO could have stolen and stashed a million shares of stock somewhere, and the reporter would be clueless.



But unacquainted with most important Islamic religious texts and laws, this professor insisted that only Saudi Arabia's strict Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam is responsible for current Islamic terrorism and incitement to jihad--and that the original texts are devoid of radicalism.



In one regard, however, the professor should be greatly lauded--for requesting a “short list” of Islamic histories and important foundational Islamic texts, and promising to read and consider them all.3



If every reporter covering Islam similarly committed to read (or at least consult) Islamic texts and history (with special attention to skeptics) the general ability to pose pertinent and challenging questions would rise exponentially along with understanding how radical Muslims, parading as moderates, have thus far generally deceived them.



NOTES:



1 Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, Banu Isra’il fi al-Qur’an wa al-Sunna [The Children of Israel in the Qur’an and the Sunna], Zahraa’ lil-I`laam al-`Arabi, Cairo. 1986-1987, third printing, 1407/1987, p. 9, pp. 107-126, 129-146, translated to English (forthcoming) in Dr. Andrew G. Bostom, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: from Sacred Texts to Solemn History (2007, Prometheus).

2 Ahmad Ibn Lulu Ibn Al-Naqib (d. 1368), Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, 1991 and 1994, Amana Publications (revised ed., 1994), p. 730.

3 The short list includes the Qur'an (preferably in multiple translations), aHadith, (Sahih Muslim, Sahih al-Bukhari, and others) Ibn Ishaq's Sira (the oldest extant biography of Muhammed), The Laws of Islamic Governance (Muhammed Mawardi--d. 1058); Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat (Ahmad Ibn Lulu Ibn Al-Naqib--d. 1368); Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim (Ibn Khatir's Qur'anic commentary), and historical summaries including The Legacy of Islamic Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims (Dr. Andrew Bostom, 2005, Prometheus); Why I am Not a Muslim (Ibn Warraq, 1995, Prometheus); The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam (Bat Ye'or, Farleigh Dickenson University, 1985); The Decline and Fall of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude 7th-20th Century (Bat Ye'or, 1996, Farleigh Dickenson University Press) Eurabia: The Euro Arab Axis (Bat Ye'or, Farleigh Dickenson University, 2005).
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2007, 09:10:55 PM »

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PRESS IGNORES FBI STUDY SAYING GUN LAWS IGNORED BY COP KILLERS


BELLEVUE, WA – For more than two months, a damning report on a five-year study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about how cop-killing criminals ignore gun laws and where they get their guns has languished in the shadows, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms revealed today.

“The public has a right to know the contents of this report, which was revealed to the International Association of Chiefs of Police last year,” said CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron. “According to the Force Science News, research focused on 40 incidents involving assaults or deadly attacks on police officers, in which all but one of the guns involved had been obtained illegally, and none were obtained from gun shows.”

The study is called “Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers.” Waldron called it a “smoking gun” in terms of revelations about the sources of crime guns. Anti-gun politicians and police chiefs do not want the public to know as they campaign against the so-called “gun show loophole,” he said.

The newsletter quotes Ed Davis, who told the IACP that none of these criminals who attacked police officers was “hindered by any law – federal, sate or local – that has ever been established to prevent gun ownership. They just laughed at gun laws.” The Force Science News is published by the Force Science Research Center, a non-profit institution based at Minnesota State University in Mankato. The newsletter also stated, “In contrast to media myth, none of the firearms in the study was obtained from gun shows.”

“This is a devastating revelation,” Waldron said, “and while Mr. Davis should be applauded for telling the IACP that criminals ignore gun laws, we’re wondering why the IACP has been quiet about this, and why the mainstream press never reported this, and probably never will.

“Force Science News calls the gun show loophole a ‘media myth’,” Waldron said, “and that’s what gun rights activists have been saying for years. It’s time for the IACP leadership to acknowledge that gun laws don’t stop criminals, that they only restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens, and that gun shows are not the ‘arms bazaars for criminals’ as they have been portrayed.”

http://www.ccrkba.org/pub/rkba/press...ce.science.htm
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2007, 04:00:23 PM »

Packet Politics
"Netheads" take on "Bellheads." Look out, Mrs. Clinton.

BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Thursday, March 29, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

The thing I like most about the "Hillary 1984" political ad on YouTube isn't the face, shrouded in a ghastly pixel haze, but the voice. Her voice recedes into a weird, unreal echo. Truth to tell, you could insert any of the faces imploring us now to make them president, and achieve the same effect. (If you're still playing catch-up, go into YouTube.com, search "Hillary"--or just click here--and watch in wonder.)

It took some days after it posted on YouTube for the non-Web media to confer legitimacy on the one-minute, 13-second clip, calling it a potential "conflict" between the Hillary and Obama camps. Days later, after claiming ownership of the video, political pro Phil de Vellis wrote on the Huffington Post that he'd done the ad in a Sunday afternoon on his Mac with "some software." He said there's more where that came from. "The game has changed."

He's right. But it began a long time ago. The change came some 40 years back, when the U.S. defense department bought into a suggestion by electrical engineer Paul Baran, the son of a grocery store owner, that it build a data transmission network based on "packet switching." This was the Internet.

As someone who's on the Web too many hours, I have wondered what changing screens hundreds of times each day to access different gobs of "information" has done to the way our brains order the world, which is known as human consciousness. This "change" is having a material effect on just about everything else; why not on who gets elected president next year?





In 1996, an eon ago, Steve G. Steinberg wrote a prescient article in Wired magazine on the battle between what he called Bellheads and Netheads. This was essentially an argument over the network design of the Web between engineers for the established phone companies, the Bellheads, and the anarchic engineers of the Web, Netheads. It was a war between the old world of circuit-switching and the new world of packet-switching, the one we inhabit today.
This may have been an arcane argument among engineers, but the grander philosophical claims then were justified. What was at stake, as Mr. Steinberg accurately predicted, was "very different visions" of how we communicate. The engineers were changing how we think.

For more than a century, we were conditioned by the world of Lily Tomlin's famous telephone switchboard operator, Ernestine. Ernestine's "switch" was a circuit-switch, which means it connects A directly to B. Conversation or faxed data travels in a predetermined channel.

Packet-switching could hardly be more different. Information departs point A but then breaks into pieces, or packets, and bounces around a shared network almost randomly, then somehow arrives together at point B. The packet is a bundle of electrons, but "packet" is an apt metaphor for how the technology has changed us. Rather than sit still to fully absorb a copper-wire's stiff stream of information, we flip through screens, sorting fragments of data into a final thought or solution.

Like it or not (I dislike a lot of it), this is how most of us now live--and think. Viacom is suing YouTube because YouTubers are extracting five-minute clips of the best parts of "The Daily Show." Why waste 30 minutes?

Today, the Bellheads are long-form TV, traditional political ads, 74-minute CDs, two-hour movies--predetermined A-to-B formats. (Newspapers are in fact a collection of "packets," a subject for another time.) The Netheads are YouTube, shared playlists, remixed videos, the idea of personal choice, and randomly arriving political ads such as "Hillary 1984." That Netheads are chop-shopping "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report" is ironic, but as the Yoda of old-media Walter Cronkite said, "That's the way it is." Prepackaging versus packets. And so in politics.

One of the conundrums of politics now is why Rudy Giuliani's polling lead for the GOP nomination is not just strong but persistent. Conventional wisdom holds it will fall when "conservative" voters learn his full biography and liberal social views. How could they not have heard? An alternative explanation is that voters are "processing" Mr. Giuliani differently.

Packet-switching is what allows us to flip effortlessly through torrents of data on Web screens, holding in mind a basic search goal. By now, this experience has forced more people than ever to think in terms of hierarchies--how to sort through lots of information and assign values, the way we quickly separate the flood of email into levels of importance. By now, we all have an Intel inside.

This may be why Mr. Giuliani is getting away with his social views in the GOP. We've become so adept at assigning value to good and bad information in searches that we can do it for a "flawed" candidate like Rudy Giuliani. Faced with an array of Rudy "packets"--the anti-terror reputation, three marriages, abortion and all the rest--GOP voters have already sorted the data, put anti-terror at the top of the hierarchy and are comfortable giving the social issues relatively lower values. Still relevant, but mid-range. This is how we do work now, every day. Why should it not affect politics?





If it is true that our political thinking is being bent by constant streams of small, value-laden packets of data that we constantly remix into personal hierarchies, then paradoxically the "new" politics of Web sites such as Moveon.org or the Daily Kos are really Old School.
Like Bellheads who originated deep in the last century, the leftwing sites think politics is still straight and simple: "pull the plug" on Iraq, "enact universal health care." For sites on the right, the one answer is the Fence to stopper Mexico. But political reality is more fluid and contingent than ever before. The Big Solution is wholly alien to the packet-switching political mindset now. Nancy Pelosi thought the Iraq vote was a slam dunk; in fact, her caucus broke into a random array of views on Iraq. That final vote has about as much stability as a Web page.

Some say ads such as "Hillary 1984" are democratizing politics. But that's just hardware--more sellers throwing stuff at us. The bigger change is happening inside the public's mental software. No poll can capture how the voting mind is processing the political inbox today. What's not to like about that?

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Thursdays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2007, 11:47:27 AM »

WSJ- Opinion Journal

Little Big Brother

Howard Dean, head of the Democratic National Committee, once again is proving he has unusual views on the media. He says groups that want to hear candidates talk openly should bar the media. "If you want to hear the truth from them, you have to exclude the press," is how he bluntly put it.

On one level, that's not so controversial an idea. Today's "gotcha" journalism certainly makes candidates cautious and fearful that any stray remark will be blown out of proportion by someone in search of a headline.

But Mr. Dean's reasoning for why the media should be shut out of political meetings was revealing. He says the Golden Age of media coverage by Olympian figures such as Walter Cronkite is long gone. "The media has been reduced to info-tainment," he told the Mortgage Bankers Association. "Info-tainment sells. The problem is they reach the lowest common denominator instead of forcing a little education down our throats, which we are probably in need of from time to time." By "education," I take it Mr. Dean is referring to views of the enlightened "progressive" kind.

The Democratic Party's chairman has long expressed a position that federal regulation of the media -- in the form of a new Fairness Doctrine or the breakup of entities such as Fox News -- wouldn't be a bad idea. In 2003, while a presidential candidate, he railed, "Media corporations have too much power... The media has clearly abused their privilege, and it is hurting our democracy."

Of course, some would say having political figures such as Mr. Dean who are overtly hostile to the media holding politicians like themselves to account may also not be good for democracy. Like many liberals, Mr. Dean just hasn't gotten used to a media universe where there are players beyond the Big Three networks and the traditional newspapers whose newsrooms were stuffed almost exclusively with Democrats.

-- John Fund
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2007, 08:36:49 AM »


SOMETHING OF VALUE
How to Sink a Newspaper
Free news for online customers is a disastrous business plan.
BY WALTER E. HUSSMAN JR.
WSJ
Monday, May 7, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

One has to wonder how many of the newspaper industry's current problems are self-inflicted. Take free news. News has become ubiquitous, free, and as a result, a commodity. Anytime you are trying to sell something that becomes a commodity, you have lost much of the value in providing that product or service.

Not many years ago if someone wanted to find out what was in the newspaper they had to buy one. But not anymore. Now you can just go to the newspaper's Web site and get that same information for free.

The newspaper industry wonders why it is losing young readers. Those readers might be young, but many of them are smart, not to mention computer-savvy. Why would they buy a newspaper when they can get the same information online for free?

Newspapers initially created their Web sites with the best of intentions. After all, newspapers are in the information business. And rather than fight the new medium, the Internet, why not embrace it? Wanting to be the leading information providers and thereby have the most popular Web site in the community, they posted all of their news online for free.

Exacerbating the problem with free news was the decision by the newspaper industry, which owns the Associated Press, to sell AP copy to news aggregators like Yahoo, Google and MSN. These aggregators created lucrative news portals where the world could get much of the news that was in newspapers. So readers could now get free news not only on newspaper Web sites, but also from portals and aggregators that had a chance to monetize the content, most of which was created and financed by the newspaper industry.

With local radio and television stations also creating Web sites and posting their news for free, newspapers soon realized that much of the news on the broadcast Web sites had been created by the local newspaper. So, whereas before the newspapers were selling print ads while radio and TV were selling air time, now they were all selling the same medium: their Web sites. Since newspapers share their content with the Associated Press so other members can use it, radio and TV members are using much of that content to compete against the newspapers that created it.





Newspapers have for years been frustrated by radio stations which merely read the stories which are printed in that morning's edition. TV stations often get much of their news from the newspapers, too. But reading it on the air is clearly different from posting it online, placing them in direct competition with newspapers' Web sites.
All of this would be fine if newspapers generated lots of additional revenues from offering free news. But the fact is newspapers generate most of their online revenues from classified advertising, not from news. Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, estimated that newspaper Web sites generated 78% of their revenues from classifieds in 2006.

It turns out that a Web site is a very different medium from a newspaper. While consumers often find pop-up ads a distraction and banner ads as more clutter, readers often seek out the advertising in newspapers.

The Inland Cost and Revenue Study shows that newspapers will generate between $500 and $900 in revenue per subscriber per year. But a newspaper's Web site typically generates $5 to $10 per unique visitor per year. It may be that newspaper Web sites as an advertising medium, and free news, just can't generate the revenue to sustain a valued news operation.

In fact, online revenues for the publicly traded newspaper companies in 2005 varied from 1.7% at Journal Register Co. to 5.7% at Belo Corp. The only company higher was the Washington Post Co. at 8.4%. Yet newspapers typically spend 12% or more of their revenues on their news and editorial operations.

The Wall Street Journal Online now has 931,000 paying subscribers, more than the paying subscribers to all but three U.S. newspapers: USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Our newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, does not offer our news for free on the Web site. We offer free headlines. On a few selected stories, we offer a few free paragraphs, designed to get people to read our paper. We also offer free classifieds.

Recently I had the opportunity to compare our Web site policy with the free news policies of other papers. For the six months ending March 31, 2007, the newspaper industry's circulation was down 2.1% daily and 3.1% Sunday. By contrast, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's circulation was up 1.24% daily and up less than 1% Sunday.

I was able to make another interesting comparison, too, with the Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch. Columbus and Little Rock are both state capitals. Columbus is a larger market, and the Columbus Dispatch's circulation of 217,291 compares with 176,172 for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Up until Jan. 1, 2006, both our paper and the Columbus Dispatch offered news content only by subscription. We even charged the same price, $4.95, for an online monthly subscription, and both of us offered the same style electronic editions.

But Columbus dropped its subscription model on Jan. 1, 2006, and began offering most of its news for free. Its Web traffic and revenues certainly increased. But what happened to its paid circulation?

The six months ending Sept. 30, 2006 was a good comparison, since it compared six months in 2006 when the Columbus Dispatch had free news on its Web site compared with six months in 2005 when it did not offer free news. The Columbus Dispatch's daily circulation was down 5.8% while Sunday was down 1.1% for the six-month period. This compared with our loss of less than 0.4% daily and 1% Sunday.

When I looked at this comparison with Columbus, as well as the newspaper industry's larger losses, it didn't encourage me to change our Web policy to free news.





So what are we doing with our Web site? We have hired a videographer to complement our text coverage in the newspaper. We have added photo galleries to increase the number of photographs beyond what we can publish. We offer an electronic edition where you can search the entire edition by keywords, something you can't do in the print edition. And we offer breaking news email alerts, something else you can't do in print. In other words, we are offering value on our Web site that complements, rather than cannibalizes, our print edition.
Collectively, the American newspaper industry spends $7 billion on news and editorial operations. This includes everything from copy editor salaries to sports travel expenses. In addition, the Associated Press spent about $600 million world-wide in editing and creating news. By offering this news for free, and selling it to aggregators like Google, Yahoo and MSN for a small fraction of what it costs to create it, newspaper readership and circulation have declined.

These declines are accelerating. In 2004 and prior years, industry circulation declines were usually less than 1%. Since March 2005, these declines have been 2%-3% per year. With declining readership comes declining ad revenues, which are followed by layoffs.

The newsroom layoffs are most troubling, as less news with less quality, context and details results in more declines in readership and later, declines in advertising. If the $7 billion spent covering news becomes $6 billion, and later $5 billion, it is not just the newspaper industry that gets hurt. Journalism will be diminished in America with less investigative and enterprise reporting; indeed, less reporting of state houses, city halls, school boards, business and sports. Clearly a lot is at stake.

It is time for newspapers to reconsider the ultimate costs and consequences of free news.

Mr. Hussman is publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2007, 09:24:23 AM »

A Reporter's Fate
The BBC held hostage in Gaza.

BY BRET STEPHENS
Tuesday, May 22, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Dozens of hostages were released in Gaza over the weekend, in the wake of a truce called between the warring factions of Hamas and Fatah. The BBC's Alan Johnston, now in his 11th week of captivity, was not among them.

I last saw Mr. Johnston in January 2005, the day before Mahmoud Abbas was elected to succeed Yasser Arafat as president of the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Johnston was by then the only Western correspondent living and working full time in Gaza, although the Strip was still considered a safe destination for day-tripping foreign journalists. He kindly lent me his office to interview Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, and asked whether I was still editing the Jerusalem Post. He seemed genuinely oblivious to the notion that my by-then former association with an Israeli newspaper was not the sort of information I wanted broadcast to a roomful of Palestinian stringers.

January 2005 was also the last time one could feel remotely optimistic about an independent Palestinian future. Mr. Abbas had campaigned for office promising "clean legal institutions so we can be considered a civilized society." He won by an overwhelming margin in an election Hamas refused to contest. There had been a sharp decline in Israeli-Palestinian violence, thanks mainly to Israeli counterterrorism measures and the security fence. A Benetton outlet had opened in Ramallah, signaling better times ahead.

In Gaza things were different, however, and Mr. Johnston was prescient in reporting on the potential for internecine strife: "This internal conflict between police and the militants cannot happen," one of his stories quotes a Palestinian police chief as saying. "It is forbidden. We are a single nation." Yet in 2005 more Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians than by Israelis. It got worse in 2006, following Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Hamas's victory in parliamentary elections. "The occupation was not as bad as the lawlessness and corruption that we are facing now," Palestinian editor Hafiz Barghouti admitted to Mr. Johnston in a widely cited remark.





When Mr. Johnston was kidnapped by persons unknown on March 12--apparently dragged at gunpoint from his car while on his way home--he became at least the 23rd Western journalist to have been held hostage in Gaza. In most cases the kidnappings rarely lasted more than a day. Yet in August FOXNews's Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig were held for two weeks, physically abused and forced to convert to Islam. Plainly matters were getting progressively worse for foreigners. So why did the BBC keep Mr. Johnston in place?
 Yet the BBC also seemed to operate in the Palestinian Authority with a sense of political impunity. Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti described Mr. Johnston as someone who "has done a lot for our cause"--not the sort of endorsement one imagines the BBC welcoming from an equivalent figure on the Israeli side. Other BBC correspondents were notorious for making their politics known to their viewers: Barbara Plett confessed to breaking into tears when Arafat was airlifted to a Parisian hospital in October 2004; Orla Guerin treated Israel's capture of a living, wired teenage suicide bomber that March as nothing more than a PR stunt--"a picture that Israel wants the world to see."

Though doubtlessly sincere, these views also conferred institutional advantages for the BBC in terms of access and protection, one reason why the broadcaster might have felt relatively comfortable posting Mr. Johnston in a place no other news agency dared to go.

By contrast, reporters who displeased Palestinian authorities could be made to pay a price. In one notorious case in October 2000, Italian reporter Riccardo Cristiano of RAI published a letter in a Palestinian newspaper insisting he had not been the one who had broadcast images of two Israeli soldiers being lynched in Ramallah. "We respect the journalistic regulations of the Palestinian Authority," he wrote, blaming rival Mediaset for the transgression. I had a similar experience when I quoted a Palestinian journalist describing as "riff-raff" those of his neighbors celebrating the attacks of Sept. 11. Within a day, the journalist was chided and threatened by Palestinian officials for having spoken to me. They were keeping close tabs.

Still, whatever the benefits of staying on the right side of the Palestinian powers-that-be, they have begun to wane. For years, the BBC had invariably covered Palestinian affairs within the context of Israel's occupation--the core truth from which all manifestations of conflict supposedly derived. Developments within Gaza following Israel's withdrawal showed the hollowness of that analysis. Domestic Palestinian politics, it turned out, were shot through with their own discontents, contradictions and divisions, not just between Hamas and Fatah but between scores of clans, gangs, factions and personalities. Opposition to Israel helped in some ways to mute this reality, but it could not suppress it.





This is the situation--not a new one, but one the foreign media had for years mostly ignored--in which the drama of Mr. Johnston's captivity is playing out. Initial reports suggested he had been kidnapped by the so-called Popular Resistance Committee; later an al Qaeda affiliate called the Army of Islam claimed to have killed him. More recently, evidence has come to light suggesting he's alive and being held by a criminal gang based in the southern town of Rafah. The British government is reportedly in talks with a radical Islamist cleric in their custody, Abu Qatada, whose release the Army of Islam has demanded for Mr. Johnston's freedom. What the British will do, and what effect that might have, remains to be seen.
For now, one can only pray for Mr. Johnston's safe release. Later, the BBC might ask itself whether its own failures of prudence and judgment put its reporter's life in jeopardy. The BBC's Paul Adams has said of his colleague that it was "his job to bring us day after day reports of the Palestinian predicament." For that act of solidarity one hopes a terrible price will not be paid.

Mr. Stephens is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board. His column appears in the Journal Tuesdays.

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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2007, 12:13:00 AM »


'We Are the Only People Preventing Them From Telling the Story'
In a Memorial Day column, David Carr of the New York Times complains about a U.S. military rule requiring that embedded reporters "obtain a signed consent from a wounded soldier before the image can be published. Images that put a face on the dead, that make them identifiable, are simply prohibited."

Why is it so important to show images of hurt and dead Americans? A fellow Timesman gives away the game:

James Glanz, a Baghdad correspondent who will become bureau chief for The New York Times next month, said that although he and others had many great experiences working with the rank-and-file soldiers, some military leaders seem determined to protect something besides the privacy of their troops.

"As the number of reporters there dwindles further and further because of the difficult conditions we work under, the kind of work they are able to publish becomes very important," Mr. Glanz said. "This tiny remaining corps of reporters becomes a greater and greater problem for the military brass because we are the only people preventing them from telling the story the way they want it told."

Hmm, we thought the job of a reporter was to tell stories, not to prevent others from doing so. Furthermore, is it even possible to imagine a Times correspondent saying his job is to prevent the enemy from telling its story?

And here's an example of the kind of journalism the Times's Baghdad bureau produces. This is from a news account, also in yesterday's Times:

On Sunday, American troops freed 42 Iraqi prisoners from what military officials described as a Qaeda hideout northeast of Baghdad. Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a military spokesman, said some of the captives appeared to have been tortured.

The raid was part of a security effort involving 3,000 additional troops sent to Diyala, a violent province north of the capital with a mixed population of Sunnis and Shiites. Colonel Garver said the hideout had been found because of a tip from an Iraqi, and that all 42 freed prisoners were receiving medical care.

"Some of the rescued stated they had been suspended from the ceiling," he said. "Some of them stated they had been there for four months. One young man stated he was 14 years old."

This is a good story, one that points up the brutality of the enemy and the bravery of American servicemen. Given Glanz's ideas about the press's role, you almost have to wonder how reporter Damien Cave managed to sneak it into the paper.

Well, here's how: The passage we quoted above was paragraphs 11 through 13 of a story titled "Roadside Bombing Kills 2 More G.I.'s in Iraq."

The story is not accompanied by a picture of the two dead soldiers' bodies. Do you wish it were?

=========

Two Papers in One!

" There is one matter on which American military commanders, many Iraqis and some of the Bush administration's staunchest Congressional critics agree: if the United States withdrew its forces from Baghdad's streets this fall, the murder and mayhem would increase."--news story, New York Times, May 27


"It's upsetting to think that Mr. Bush believes the raging sectarian violence in Iraq awaits reigniting. . . . But we have grown accustomed to this president's disconnect from reality and his habit of tilting at straw men, like Americans who . . . don't worry about what will happen after the United States withdraws, as it inevitably must."--editorial, New York Times, May 27
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2007, 02:10:54 PM »

This could go under humor or politics or just left alone, but I'll stick it here for the media perspective.  I saw Al Gore on the PBS News hour yesterday.  I'm no linguist, but when Gwen Ifill tried to pin Gore down on whether we were lied into war, Gore said that Bush made an "explicit implication...",  I couldn't help but wonder where that slip would have been re-broadcast if Bush had fumbled those words.  Probably all over Letterman, Leno, etc., maybe the NY Times.

I found the PBS transcript and emailed the tip to OpinionJournal, who did the following piece ripping Gore pretty badly with it yesterday, and gave me a credit at the end for the tip.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110010147

Assaulted Nuts

Is Al Gore a genuine intellectual, as he would like us to believe, or is he just pretentious à la John Kerry? He has a new book out called "The Assault on Reason," and we suppose reading it would shed some light on the question. But life is short.

Here's an excerpt from an interview Gore gave Gwen Ifill of PBS's "NewsHour":

    Ifill: You write of a "determined disinterest" in learning the truth, on the part of the Bush administration on pre-war intelligence. You accuse the White House of an "unprecedented and sustained campaign of mass deception," very strong words. And you say that President Bush "outsourced the truth." Are you suggesting that President Bush deliberately misled the American people when it comes to the Iraq war?

    Gore: Well, there was certainly a coordinated effort in the White House and in the Department of Defense simultaneously to convey the image of a mushroom cloud exploding over an American city and to link it to a specific scenario, the very strong and explicit implication that Saddam Hussein was going to develop nuclear weapons and give them to Osama bin Laden, and that would result in nuclear explosions in American cities.

"Explicit implication," huh? How do you know it wasn't an implicit explication? Such slipshod thinking leads one to think that Gore does have more in common with Kerry than with, say, Pat Moynihan.
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2007, 08:32:55 AM »

As many of you may know, Robert Murdoch is trying to buy the WSJ.  Here is the WSJ's editorial today:
=======================

An Independent Newspaper
The Bancrofts and a century of "free people and free markets."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

"Don't believe the man who tells you there are two sides to every question. There is only one side to the truth."

So wrote William Peter Hamilton, one of the first men to hold the job of editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, in the early decades of the last century. For editorial writers worth their pay, those are words to live by, and we hope to be living by them for a long time to come.

That's a point worth stressing amid the news that the Bancroft family may soon sell the Journal's parent company to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. or some other bidder. The Bancrofts have been exceptional stewards of this newspaper for more than a century. But capitalism is dynamic, and those of us who extol the virtues of Joseph Schumpeter's "creative destruction" for others can't complain when it sweeps through our own industry. That's what is happening as the Internet breaks up long-time media business models, and Dow Jones is hardly immune. The Bancrofts have every right as owners to sell or not based on their own dictates, and what we say won't matter in any event.





Where we do have a say, however, is on the question of journalistic "independence." There's been a lot of debate lately about what that means. We thought our readers might like to know what it has meant at the Journal, and specifically for these columns, over the decades.
For starters, the Bancrofts are unique in their hands-off ownership. They are often compared as family newspaper proprietors to the Grahams at the Washington Post or the Sulzbergers at the New York Times. But members of those families run those newspapers, exerting influence over the news and opinion operations. In that sense, those newspapers are hardly "independent" of those families.

Everyone knows that the influence of Times Publisher and CEO Arthur Sulzberger Jr. extends to selecting not merely the editorial page editor but columnists, political endorsements and, as far as we can tell, even news coverage priorities. We don't see how this differs from most of what Mr. Murdoch is accused of doing with his newspapers. The same lack of independence also applies to most non-family media companies such as Gannett, a newspaper owner whose make-no-waves corporate ethic turns nearly all of its editorial pages into mush.

By contrast, the Bancrofts have allowed journalists to run the news and editorial shops. That family ethic became a guiding principle under Jessie Bancroft Cox, step-granddaughter of Clarence Barron, and the business leadership of the great Barney Kilgore.

At the editorial page, this has meant that for a century we have been able to adhere to a worldview we now distill to the phrase "free people and free markets." This began, more or less, with the classical liberalism of William Hamilton, who as a Scotsman before emigrating had dabbled in British Liberal Party politics. It has continued through a series of editors who have adhered to those principles despite shifting political fashions and partisan winds.

Over the years this independence has also meant the freedom to challenge prevailing media conventions and political power. Following Hamilton as editor in the 1930s, Thomas Woodlock battled Keynesian economics and the New Deal. The Journal was skeptical of FDR's dalliances with prewar Britain--until the day war began and our short editorial was headlined, "We Have a Duty." The editorial hangs in our office today.

As he campaigned for re-election in 1948, Harry Truman denounced the Journal as the "Republicans' Bible," a line that earned him a rebuke from Editor (of the editorial page) William Grimes because "our loyalties are to the economic and governmental principles in which we believe and not to any political party." In one of his visits to the White House, Editor Vermont Royster was thanked by John F. Kennedy for supporting his free-trade agenda. "Young man," said Royster, "the Wall Street Journal was supporting free trade before you were born." The Journal hasn't endorsed a Presidential candidate since Herbert Hoover, preferring instead to praise or assail the candidates' ideas.

On occasion this has meant the Journal has come under outside pressure, both commercial and political, but the Bancrofts and our publishers have always stood firm. In the 1950s, these columns defended Journal reporters against General Motors for disclosing the car company's tactics against independent auto dealers only weeks after we had defended GM against the government's trustbusters. GM pulled its advertising for a time, only to back down later, and the episode helped the Journal build credibility as independent of advertising interests.

Our former Editor Robert Bartley once told us of being called on the carpet by Henry Kissinger, then the Secretary of State, for opposing détente and arms control with the Soviet Union. Journal Publisher and CEO Warren Phillips accompanied Bartley to the meeting, and started things off by asking Mr. Kissinger what all of his Spengler-pessimism talk vis-à-vis the Russians was about. The anti-détente editorials kept coming, and Bartley and Mr. Kissinger later became friends.

The 1990s were especially controversial with the Journal's reporting about Whitewater and Bill Clinton's ethics, and more than one liberal thought he could mute Bartley's campaign in the wake of the Vincent Foster suicide. But the Bancrofts and Publisher Peter Kann stood up to the pressure.

Perhaps the sternest commercial test has come as we have expanded abroad, especially in Asia. The Journal has been banned or had its circulation restricted in many countries, and a reporter for another Dow Jones publication went to jail in Malaysia. In Singapore, a big market for the Journal, the government made the editorial page the first target of its campaign to curtail Western coverage of its domestic politics in the mid-1980s. While other companies--notably Bloomberg--have surrendered pre-emptively, the Journal has been nearly alone in fighting back. Freedom of the press has improved in Asia as democracy has expanded, and we're proud to continue fighting for freedom and human rights today in China.

We could tell other stories, but the essential point is that our owners have allowed us to speak our mind on behalf of a consistent set of principles. Readers may like, or loathe, those beliefs and our way of defending them. But we like to think this brand of independence is one reason the Journal has attracted such an influential readership. To borrow a phrase from modern business lingo, we hope it is part of our value proposition.

At a dinner honoring their century of Journal ownership in 2002, Bob Bartley expressed his gratitude to the Bancrofts for their support, noting that some of his editorials over 30 years must not have sat well with everyone in the ideologically diverse clan. But Bartley added that his proudest boast was that he ran the only editorial page "that sells newspapers." We can't say what any future owner would do, but we doubt one would be foolish enough to undermine this market appeal.





On January 2, 1951, William Grimes wrote a memorable editorial, "A Newspaper's Philosophy," that summed up our worldview this way:
"On our editorial page we make no pretense of walking down the middle of the road. Our comments and interpretations are made from a definite point of view. We believe in the individual, in his wisdom and his decency. We oppose all infringements on individual rights, whether they stem from attempts at private monopoly, labor union monopoly or from an overgrowing government. People will say we are conservative or even reactionary. We are not much interested in labels but if we were to choose one, we would say we are radical."

Even 56 years later, that still sounds good to us. Whether the Bancroft family sells or not, and no matter who is the buyer, we plan to stand for those beliefs for as long into the future as we are able.
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2007, 08:40:45 AM »

Second post of the morning:
==========================

My Sweet Press Lord
We'll take the Washington Post, please.

BY HOLMAN W. JENKINS JR.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Here's my dream, and it's a not good one. The day comes when a controversialist like Rupert Murdoch bids to buy The Wall Street Journal--and no one cares. That's one of the considerations swirling in a mess that, from any party's perspectives except Mr. Murdoch's, makes the decision faced by the Bancroft family (which controls Dow Jones, our parent company) so vexing. The future of the paper is at risk if we do the deal; it's also at risk if we don't.

Our owners, in the way of other businesses, have not made themselves richer by growing their capital in the Journal. Nonetheless, in their stewardship of the paper, they've let us do what we do without interference, which is something we all cherish. Even those of us who don't find Mr. Murdoch an ogre naturally would treat as dubious any change of circumstance that might portend a change in this, our own very satisfying situation.

Mr. Murdoch's dealings in China have been a concern. This column, tongue in cheek, once assailed him for his "offenses against freedom and democracy," such as dropping the BBC from his Star TV lineup to appease Beijing. But we also let the reader in on a secret: "Mr. Murdoch's judgment about when to trim may not be perfect, but most sensible people want Star TV in China."

In any case, his trimmings in China have been far less egregious than those of Yahoo. With any owner, you take a chance--and the risks include not just errors of commission (inappropriate interference) but errors of omission (letting the business run itself when it really needs a strong hand to alter course and correct its follies).

Much is heard about editorial independence, some of it fusty, some of it exactly to the point. What makes the New York Post such a delight is partly the entertaining suspicion (most of the time probably unwarranted) that hidden agendas and childish rivalries are behind the decision to bash this muckety-muck and spare that. Not for nothing is the Post the favorite read of New York's catty media, social and business elite, and nobody mistakes it for a paper of record. Mr. Murdoch clearly knows what he's doing, fitting a newspaper to its market opportunity. One has a reasonable suspicion that he also understands the very different market position and opportunity of the Journal. (Indeed, we'd like to think he'd end up more hostage to the Journal--its visibility, credibility and power to embarrass--than the paper would ever be to his business and personal interests.)

The flipside is that great newspapers aren't great because nobody is running them. In his wonderful memoir, the journalist and eminent business adviser Peter Drucker wrote: "Every first-rate editor I have ever heard of reads, edits and rewrites every word that goes into his publication. . . . Good editors are not 'permissive'; they do not let their colleagues do 'their thing'; they make sure that everybody does the 'paper's thing.' A good, let alone a great editor is an obsessive autocrat with a whim of iron, who rewrites and rewrites, cuts and slashes, until every piece is exactly the way he thinks it should have been done."

His qualities as a newshound and shrewd businessman mean, in all likelihood, that Mr. Murdoch would prove a responsible proprietor for the Journal, despite hyperventilation at the prospect by some readers and employees. He's certainly equipped by experience to make the necessary judgments to protect the paper's stature while expanding its reach (and has the resources to do so). Though strictly from the perspective of someone who works here, I'd still prefer to be owned by a company exclusively in the news business, one that lives and dies by the reputation of its newsgathering.





Here I confess to a personal bias, related to nothing more than reading the Washington Post over the years, which is that it's an exceptionally brainy newspaper.
Intelligence as a quality is hit or miss in most newspaper writing and editing. At the Post, they seem to have institutionalized it. You rarely find the collapses of critical judgment that seem to be routine at other papers when, say, a trial lawyer appears claiming evidence of racism in the auto dealership industry or at an oil company.

Absent too are the excesses of billboard journalism--the habit of editors casually intruding a noisy paragraph that oversells and distorts the story below, leaving an unsatisfying jumble of facts that don't live up to the assertions at the top.

We don't love everything in the Post or all its reporters, and it has certainly benefited from conservative competition from the Washington Times. It also lacks the leverageable assets that Mr. Murdoch would presumably use to build the Journal's brand and distribution opportunities. But the Post's editorial page has become remarkably more sensible in recent years (although its Web site remains awful and the Style section has gone down the tubes). The company itself is principally in the news business; Warren Buffett sits on the board, guarding against investment misadventure.

A few readers have harrumphed that Mr. Murdoch reputedly would try to shorten the Journal's articles. He's not the only one. Washington Post Executive Editor Len Downie has instructed his crew to write shorter too--and the Post already strikes me as a very well-edited paper: News stories are rounded, complete but not overwritten. They also have a semblance of being written by somebody with a living mind, not just re-executing the media's general template on a given news event (for an everyday example, see the Post's recent contributions on the Chinese pet food scare).

More than that, if you read a lot of newspapers, what sneaks up on you are the outward manifestations of a quiet, non-braggy excellence that should be attractive to anyone looking to ensure the Journal's long-term future. Mr. Murdoch is the only one who has put money on the table. He's not the only one some of us wish would.

Mr. Jenkins is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board. His column appears in the Journal on Wednesdays.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2007, 09:04:34 AM »

I find the WSJ, which I have been reading for 30 years now, to be an outstanding newspaper.  Its editorial page maintains an unparalleled level of intelligent and informed discourse.  So I naturally follow the Murdoch offer and related matters with great concern.
===================

Shake-Up in Newsroom of Journal
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
Published: June 13, 2007
NY Times
The Wall Street Journal, already roiled by a proposed takeover by Rupert Murdoch, will announce today a major newsroom shake-up, including the reassignment and replacement of several top editors, officials there say.


Times Topics: Dow JonesThe reorganization represents a bid by the managing editor, Marcus E. Brauchli, who took the top job in the newsroom just a month ago, to put his stamp on the upper echelons of one of the nation’s most respected and widely read newspapers. A spokesman for Dow Jones & Company, The Journal’s parent company, declined to comment on any planned changes.

The newsroom announcement will come on the day that the Bancroft family, which owns a controlling interest in Dow Jones, is expected to make a new proposal to Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation on safeguarding The Journal’s editorial independence in the event of a sale. The Bancrofts’ goal is to keep the appointment of The Journal’s top editors out of Mr. Murdoch’s hands.

Under Mr. Brauchli’s reorganization, John Bussey, a deputy managing editor who has been based in Hong Kong, will lose that title, according to Journal officials, who insisted that their names not be used because they were not authorized to discuss the changes. He has been offered a position as a columnist, but has not decided if he will accept it and is continuing to discuss his next assignment.

Those officials said Edward Felsenthal, another deputy managing editor who oversees the “soft” sections like Personal Journal and Pursuits, is also expected to lose his title. His next assignment is not clear.

Both men are in their 40’s and had been considered rising stars.

Daniel Hertzberg, the senior deputy managing editor, will become the top editor of The Journal’s Europe and Asia editions, and will be based in Brussels. Mr. Hertzberg, who is in his early 60’s and has been the second-ranking newsroom editor, was once seen as a leading contender for Mr. Brauchli’s job.

William S. Grueskin, the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Online, will be promoted to deputy managing editor of the newspaper, with a broad responsibility over news coverage in both the print Journal and on the Web site. He will also oversee the domestic bureaus.

The shake-up continues a period of transition that began last year and has included the retirements of some of Dow Jones’s longtime leaders — including Peter R. Kann, the chairman and chief executive, and Paul Steiger, The Journal’s managing editor — and could culminate in a sale to News Corporation.

The Bancroft family initially rejected Mr. Murdoch’s $5 billion bid, but later agreed to consider a sale. Many family members, who take great pride in The Journal’s editorial quality, disdain the work of News Corporation media outlets like the Fox News Channel and The New York Post, which they see as politically slanted and overly devoted to celebrity gossip and crime.

In a June 4 meeting with Mr. Murdoch and others from News Corporation, Bancroft family members and advisers said that if they agreed to sell, they wanted to set up a control board with exclusive power to hire and fire The Journal’s top editors.

Mr. Murdoch countered that he would accept a control board like the one put in place when he bought The Times of London in 1981. There, the News Corporation chooses the top editor, who must then be approved by a group of independent directors who are not chosen by the company. But that arrangement is widely seen as having failed to keep Mr. Murdoch from shaping The Times’s news pages as he sees fit.

Since a family meeting Monday, the three family members who sit on the Dow Jones board and their advisers have refined their proposal, which they expect to present to News Corporation today. “The question everyone had is how enforceable it’s going to be, in light of what went on in London,” a family member said.

Family members say the plan will call for a family-appointed board, which would name both the managing editor and the editorial page editor, who would have the power to fill all the positions below them.

The family is not yet prepared to say whom it would put on such a board, but family members said yesterday that they were leaning toward current and former Journal employees — including Mr. Steiger, the former managing editor; the publisher, L. Gordon Crovitz; and Paul Gigot, the editorial page editor — rather than outsiders.

Some critics of The London Times arrangement said that one of its weaknesses was that the independent directors had few connections to journalism, giving them less incentive to stand up to Mr. Murdoch.

The Bancrofts have debated having one board or two: one to pick the leader of the newsroom and the other to choose the editorial page editor. Family members and people close to them said yesterday that it was not clear how the matter had been resolved — in keeping with Bancroft practice, they said, the three family members on the board revealed little detail — but they said they believed that a single board would be the choice.

There had also been some discussion within the Bancroft family of proposing to give the control board some power over newsroom budgets, and again, family members said it was not clear to them what would be in the proposal given to Mr. Murdoch. But members and family advisers have argued that the strongest plan is the simplest one, and that in any case, it would be unrealistic to think that News Corporation would agree to give up financial control.

In the newsroom, the changes at the top will be fairly comprehensive. Alan Murray, an assistant managing editor, will move to the Web site with responsibility for video reports and the relationship with CNBC.

Michael W. Miller, the Page 1 editor, will be promoted to deputy managing editor, and will continue overseeing Page 1, and get other coverage, in particular the “business of life” sections. Michael Williams, editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, will take his place as Page 1 editor of the United States edition. Another deputy managing editor, Alix M. Freedman, will keep her job.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2007, 11:09:31 AM »

Crafty, I have also been a huge fan of the Journal and for me also it is/was always because of the editorial page.  I was first referred there by my college economics professor, Walter Heller, who made us read his contributions there in the mid-1970s.  I peeked around a little further and found that he was only on their Board of Contributors only because of his dissenting view; the the main editorials made far more sense to me.  Heller was chief economist for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and was poised to take that role for Ted Kennedy who nearly beat Jimmy Carter in the 1980 primaries with a platform of gas rationing and national health care.  (Sound like liberals 28 years later)  Meanwhile Robert Bartley and his staff at the Journal were all over the underpinnings and advancement of supply-side economics and writing editorials like the classic 'Keynes is Dead', which claimed that if inflation and unemployment can worsen simultaneously, they could also be solved simultaneously.  They were right.

I assume that Murdoch is a market, media and investment genius and wouldn't buy Dow Jones just to squander the brand names of Barrons and the WSJ. The Journal has always maintained a very real firewall between its newsroom and its editorial page so the changes in the newsroom don't alarm me.
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rogt
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« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2007, 10:39:37 AM »

I find the WSJ, which I have been reading for 30 years now, to be an outstanding newspaper.  Its editorial page maintains an unparalleled level of intelligent and informed discourse.

Are you and I reading the same WSJ?  I've never had any issues with their actual news reporting, but I remember the editorial page mostly for it's deliberate distortion (if not omission) of facts, unconditional defense of right-wing criminality, and open contempt for any restraints on wealth accumulation and priveleges for the wealthy.

Regardless, I don't imagine a sale of the paper to Rupert would have any noticeable effect on the editorial page.  If anything, I would expect the Journal's news articles to gradually become less and less distinguishable from the editorial page, to the point where it's basically the print version of Fox News.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2007, 06:16:58 PM »

[WSJ editorials have] "open contempt for...restraints on wealth accumulation".  Well said, me too!  Smiley
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2007, 09:22:50 PM »

Doug:

In the late 60s-early 70s I thought I was a leftist.  Then in 1975 I went back to college and took my first economics course.  What a revelation!  What I discovered I had been all along was pro-freedom and that , , , drum roll please , , , I was a libertarian.  Free minds and free markets!!!  It was at this point I began reading the WSJ, especially the editorial page.  I remember well the intellectual ferment and excitement of the editorials you describe.  I became a big fan of Jude Wanniski's "The Way the World Works".

I am far less sanguine than you about Murdoch.  In the context of the WSJ, his track record concerns me.

Marc
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milt
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« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2007, 11:36:07 AM »

Doug:

In the late 60s-early 70s I thought I was a leftist.  Then in 1975 I went back to college and took my first economics course.  What a revelation!  What I discovered I had been all along was pro-freedom and that , , , drum roll please , , , I was a libertarian.  Free minds and free markets!!!

Oh come on, Marc!

How about I open a liquor store next to your house?  Or maybe I'll duplicate all the Dog Brothers DVDs and sell them myself.  Then we'll see how much you like free markets.

Or did you mean government "regulated markets?"

-milt
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2007, 11:50:49 AM »

C'mon, libertarian doesn't mean anarchist.  It means govt limited to certain functions (e.g. protection of property rights such as copyright in a DVD.)  Our Founding Fathers were libertarians.  In their essence, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights were and are libertarian.
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G M
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« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2007, 08:53:14 AM »

http://newsbusters.org/node/13761

AP Uses Democrat Talking Points in Fred Thompson Hit Piece
Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 26, 2007 - 23:30.

As Democrats complain about conservative dominance on the radio, the hypocrisy is made crystal clear when America's leading wire service copies talking points directly from one of Howard Dean’s e-mail messages for a hit piece on looming Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson.

Such was identified by Steve Hill of Target Rich Environment who brilliantly outlined the similarities between an e-mail message he received Friday from the Democratic National Committee chairman (complete text with timestamp and e-mail address to follow) with an Associated Press article published Tuesday at CNN.com (emphasis added throughout):

1. DNC talking point: “In his most recent stint in Washington, Thompson worked for a London company lobbying Congress to limit liability claims for asbestos-related illnesses. Over the past three years he’s made $760,000 fighting for the interests of his corporate clients.

“AP/CNN talking point: ”More recently, while Frist led the Senate, Thompson earned more than $750,000 lobbying for a British reinsurance company that wanted to limit its liability from asbestos lawsuits.

2. DNC Talking Point: “And just this month, as part of his role as the ultimate Washington insider, Thompson offered to host yet another fundraising event for Scooter Libby’s legal defense fund. Thompson has been vocal in his support of Libby, saying that he would “absolutely” pardon him.”

AP/CNN Talking Point: “Thompson also helped run the Scooter Libby Legal Defense Fund Trust, an organization that set out to raise more than $5 million to help finance the legal defense of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, who was convicted in March of lying and obstructing Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s identity.”

3. DNC Talking Point: “For years, acting wasn’t the Law & Order star’s profession — it was a hobby. In the real world, Thompson has made a fortune in a decades-long career as a Washington lobbyist.”

AP/CNN Talking Point: “Republican Fred Thompson, who likes to cast himself in the role of Washington outsider, has a long history as a political insider who earned more than $1 million lobbying the federal government.”

4. DNC Talking Point: “Although the folksy-sounding Tennessean recently told USA TODAY that he would run an outsider, just as he did while campaigning as a “country lawyer” in a red pickup during his 1994 U.S. Senate race, his résumé is that of a longtime Washington operative who has crossed ideological lines to represent corporate and foreign clients.”

AP/CNN Talking Point: “That history as a Washington insider is at odds with the image Thompson has sought to convey to voters. When he first ran for the Senate in 1993, Thompson cast himself in the part of the gruff, plainspoken everyman, leased a red pickup truck and drove around Tennessee in his shirt sleeves.”

Amazing similarities, wouldn’t you agree? Now, check out the e-mail message that Steve received Friday for verification (his address has been removed for his privacy):


From: "Howard Dean" <democraticparty@democrats.org>
Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
To: "Steve Hill" < >
Subject: FW: The inside-outsider
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 09:56:59 -0500

Dear Steve,

I wanted to follow up on Tom's email from Tuesday.

As you probably know, we've got a big job here. Right
now it's up to us -- not the 2008 Democratic
candidates -- to take on Fred Thompson, John McCain,
Rudy Giuliani and the rest of the Republican
presidential hopefuls. And that's why we need your
help.

Last year, the 50-state strategy put organizers on the
ground across the country to stand up to the lies and
failures of the GOP. Those organizers were the key to
our unprecedented victories up and down the ballot in
2006.

Unlike many campaigns, our organizers still had a job
when the election was over -- thanks to contributions
from Democrats like you. That sort of support is
crucial to build a party that will fight in every
state for many elections to come, and that support is
what allows us to continue to have organizers working
in your state today.

Just yesterday in Iowa, a DNC-funded organizer was on
the ground distributing facts to reporters after a big
speech by Rudy Giuliani. If we don't continue to
organize and research now, Election Day 2008 could be
one that we'd rather forget.

Don't let that happen -- support our efforts today:

http://www.democrats.org/FundOrganizers

November 2008 may seem like a long time from now, but
Democrats aren't waiting to take our country back.

Sincerely,

Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.

P.S: If you didn't get a chance to read about the real
Fred Thompson, check out the email Tom sent a few days
ago.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tom McMahon

Subject: The inside-outsider

Dear Howard,

Remember the Republican culture of corruption? The
revolving door of Republican politicians moving in and
out of top political offices and Washington D.C.
lobbying firms?

That's Republican presidential candidate Fred
Thompson.

For years, acting wasn't the Law & Order star's
profession -- it was a hobby. In the real world,
Thompson has made a fortune in a decades-long career
as a Washington lobbyist.

And just this month, as part of his role as the
ultimate Washington insider, Thompson offered to host
yet another fundraising event for Scooter Libby's
legal defense fund. Thompson has been vocal in his
support of Libby, saying that he would "absolutely"
pardon him.

As he runs for president, he'll try his hardest to
hide the truth from the American people. And we need
to stop him.

Support our efforts to get the truth out about Fred
Thompson:

http://www.democrats.org/StopTheAct

Here's what the USA Today had to say about Lobbyist
Thompson:

"Although the folksy-sounding Tennessean recently told
USA TODAY that he would run an outsider, just as he
did while campaigning as a "country lawyer" in a red
pickup during his 1994 U.S. Senate race, his résumé is
that of a longtime Washington operative who has
crossed ideological lines to represent corporate and
foreign clients."

In his most recent stint in Washington, Thompson
worked for a London company lobbying Congress to limit
liability claims for asbestos-related illnesses. Over
the past three years he's made $760,000 fighting for
the interests of his corporate clients.

Now Fred Thompson wants the American people to believe
he's the next Ronald Reagan -- a Washington outsider
with Hollywood charisma and conservative appeal. But

Thompson just plays the role of straight-shooting outsider

on TV. In reality, he's as inside as you can get.

He's trying to get to the White House on slick lines
and good acting. Help us stop him:

http://www.democrats.org/StopTheAct

As Fred Thompson tries to go from Washington's K Street

to Pennsylvania Avenue, the stakes of his
candidacy couldn't be higher. In an interview just
last week, for example, he claimed that the Roe v.
Wade decision "was fabricated out of whole cloth," and
that it was the worst court ruling in the past 40
years.

We need to make sure that in 2008, Fred Thompson goes
back to doing his acting on Law & Order -- not in the
White House.

Make a contribution today:

http://www.democrats.org/StopTheAct

While the Democratic presidential candidates hit the
campaign trail, we'll be hitting the Republicans. It's
our job to tell the American people the facts about
opponents like Fred Thompson and to hold them
accountable.

We can't finish that job without you. I hope you'll
join us.

Sincerely,

Tom McMahon
DNC Executive Director

Extraordinary similarities, yes?

In reality, we shouldn’t be too surprised, as the folks at Power Line identified some interesting information about this AP writer, Travis Loller (emphasis added):


Ms. Loller has a rather colorful past as a left-wing activist. Mother Jones described her as a "radical":

Three American citizens, along with nine other foreigners, were deported from Mexico on April 12, 1998 for alleged collusion with the Zapatista rebels (EZLN). The woman, Travis Loller, 26, and two men, Michael Sabato, 30, and Jeffrey Conant, 30, are part of an American relief group called Intercambio de Tecnologia Apropiada (ITA) or, in English, Appropriate Technology Exchange. The Mexican government accused the three of agitating for the rebel army that's been struggling in the southeastern state of Chiapas for over four years in an effort to win basic civil rights and gain land reform for the indigenous Indians in the region.

*********

The three Americans have extensive activist histories, having worked for reproductive rights, the homeless and protests against the Gulf War, the Rodney King verdict and Propositions 187 and 209.

Now, Loller works for the Associated Press, apparently with assistance from the Democrat Party.

Anybody want to talk about the Fairness Doctrine?
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2007, 02:59:21 PM »

I'm pretty sure that both sides do the dirty deed.

Here's a link to the NRSC (National Repubplican Senatorial Committee). All the clips are from FOX News:

http://www.nrsc.org/Multimedia/

FOX is the RNCs mouthpiece just as CNN is the DNCs. The media is biased whatever side you are on.

Fortunately, the intelligent ones amongst us can read between the lines, no?
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G M
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« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2007, 05:13:15 PM »

SB,

Pretty sure? I may have missed it, but i've never seen Fox News do this. Now the dems are pushing the "Fairness Doctrine". I guess talk radio and Fox News are overpowering CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, National Peoples' Radio, all the major newspapers and news magazines, requiring government intervention. cry
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G M
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« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2007, 05:41:50 PM »

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=26019_Outrage-_BBC_Employs_Hamas_Terrorist&only

I'm sure he's a good journalist, what he does in his off time is his business.... rolleyes
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G M
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« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2007, 05:51:18 PM »

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MEDIA MATTERS
Kerry joins 'Fairness Doctrine' chorus
Also wants to bring back equal-time provisions

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: June 27, 2007
10:28 a.m. Eastern




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. (Photo: NBC 'Meet the Press')
John Kerry openly stated his support of the overturned "Fairness Doctrine" that required broadcasters in America to "afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance."

The Federal Communications Commission overturned the rule in 1987 because it failed to accomplish its purpose of encouraging more discussion of controversial issues. More notably, concerns were raised over the constitutionality of the doctrine because many believed it violated First Amendment free speech rights.

"I think the fairness doctrine ought to be there, and I also think equal time doctrine ought to come back," he said on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC.

Kerry's remarks can be heard in a recording posted by the Drudge Report.

"These are the people that wiped out … one of the most profound changes in the balance of the media is when the conservatives got rid of the equal time requirements and the result is that they have been able to squeeze down and squeeze out opinion of opposing views and I think its been a very important transition in the imbalance of our public eye," Kerry argued.

Kerry also favored reinstating the Equal Time Rule, which requires television and radio stations to allocate equal airtime to political candidates.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, recently introduced in Congress a plan to revive the Fairness Doctrine.

Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., said this week she is considering the possibility of bringing it back.

"Well, I'm looking at it, as a matter of fact … because I think there ought to be an opportunity to present the other side," said Feinstein in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. "And unfortunately, talk radio is overwhelmingly one way."
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2007, 07:02:26 PM »

Boo-hoo, poor politicians getting their feelings hurt by talk radio. My god, it's embarrassing to listen to grown adults talk this way.

The Fairness Doctrine reminds me of New Age teachers wanting to get rid of scores in school sports events so that no kids gets their feelings hurt 'cuz they lost. Maybe if Dems would get off their lazy asses and try to put together their own A.M. radio programming they wouldn't complain...but I doubt that's gonna happen.

Jeez, it's enough to make you wanna move to a frickin' desert island sometimes.

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G M
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« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2007, 10:43:33 PM »

The dems have tried. Air America has gone bankrupt how many times now?
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rogt
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« Reply #29 on: June 28, 2007, 12:36:10 PM »

Boo-hoo, poor politicians getting their feelings hurt by talk radio. My god, it's embarrassing to listen to grown adults talk this way.

I assume you're talking about Republicans, since Democrats have been getting trashed by talk radio on a regular basis for so many years now that I imagine they're used to it.

The right-wing radio hosts are acting all hurt and betrayed by Trent Lott, after all they did to defend him!  (When he said "we wouldn't have all these problems today" if Strom Thurmond had been elected president.)  Trent and others loved talk radio when it was working to their advantage, but now that these mass appeals to fear and ignorance are getting in the way of something they want (this immigration bill), now all of a sudden it's a problem.

Quote
The Fairness Doctrine reminds me of New Age teachers wanting to get rid of scores in school sports events so that no kids gets their feelings hurt 'cuz they lost.

Surely you are aware that the Fairness Doctrine was enforced throughout the entire history of the FCC and was only repealed in 1987, so it's nothing new.  Although I do agree that the Democrats are being total pussies by trying to resurrect it now.   Did the idea somehow never occur to them during the past 10+ years during which the right-wingers have dominated AM talk radio?

Quote
Maybe if Dems would get off their lazy asses and try to put together their own A.M. radio programming they wouldn't complain...but I doubt that's gonna happen.

As GM said, they did try this with Air America, and it's fallen pretty flat.  Most of the shows/hosts are downright boring and, let's face, it the Democrat message is about 90% identical to the Republicans' at this point.

IMO, what's needed is not another Fairness Doctrine but stricter limits on media ownership.
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G M
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« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2007, 02:09:34 PM »

I've never been a fan of Lott, even less so with his "Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.” statement. I guess us uppity citizens should just shut up and let our betters in DC doing our thinking for us.

However, funny how those attacking Lott for his Strom Thurmond statement seem to give Robert "KKK" Byrd a pass.

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rogt
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« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2007, 03:06:08 PM »

I've never been a fan of Lott, even less so with his "Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.” statement. I guess us uppity citizens should just shut up and let our betters in DC doing our thinking for us.

However, funny how those attacking Lott for his Strom Thurmond statement seem to give Robert "KKK" Byrd a pass.

I take it from the above that you are a regular listener of Sean Hannity?  I know he uses that nickname a lot.  I don't think Byrd should get a "pass" either, but surely you're not suggesting that this somehow makes what Trent said a-OK.

I listen to right-wing radio fairly often (it's usually a lot more entertaining than AA or NPR), and I hear plenty of callers start out by telling the host "I agree with pretty much everything you say" (a pretty f-d up thing to say so proudly, considering how often what these hosts "say" is pretty vile and racist).  So clearly there are plenty of conservatives willing to let the Hannitys and Savages do their thinking for them.
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G M
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« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2007, 03:17:56 PM »

I can't stand "Savage" for more than 30 seconds. Don't catch Hannity that often. I take "Savage" to be something akin to Phil Hendrie rather than legitimate commentary. I'm curious what exactly Sean Hannity has said that you consider to be racist? I doubt very much the majority of talk radio listeners have the talk show hosts "doing their thinking for them". People who like talk radio tend to read and think and also trend upwards in income from the general population. Check the demos.
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rogt
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« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2007, 04:13:08 PM »

Yeah, I honestly can't think of anything particularly racist from Hannity, as opposed to Savage, Rush, or Glenn Beck.

I know what you mean about Savage.  Seriously though, what would you say about a person who claims to agree with him pretty much 100%?  Whether or not his radio persona is just an act, it's clear that a lot of people see him as validating beliefs they take seriously.

Not to mention that the owners of these stations are Disney (ABC), General Electric (NBC), Clear Channel, etc.  You'd think Imus' infamous "nappy-headed hos" comment was the first time they realized that some of their hosts are right-wing wackos!
« Last Edit: June 28, 2007, 04:24:48 PM by rogt » Logged
G M
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« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2007, 04:35:45 PM »

Imus wasn't/isn't anywhere near politically right. The "nappy headed ho's" comment was a joking hip-hop reference, so i'm not sure how you are putting him into the "right-wing wacko" grouping. I'm still curious what Sean Hannity has said that you consider racist.
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rogt
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« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2007, 04:44:12 PM »

I'm still curious what Sean Hannity has said that you consider racist.

Did you read the first line of my last post?
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G M
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« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2007, 04:47:56 PM »

Sorry, I meant Beck. I'm assuming with Limbaugh, you're referring to his NFL quarterback statement, or is there something else?
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G M
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« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2007, 04:50:43 PM »

I'm multi-tasking right now..... grin
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2007, 06:21:36 PM »

For the record, IMHO

a) Strom Thurmond was a nasty cracker
b) Robert Byrd is a gaseous windbag, a hypcirite and an unprincipled slut
c) Trent Lott is an unprincipled slut
d)  Sean Hannity, after a decent start, has rapidly become an unprincipled slut and partyline hack.
e) I've never heard Savage and only heard Beck once.  His IQ seemed quite moderate.
f) Who is Phil Hendrie?
g) Sometimes Rush is a windbag.  Sometimes he is a partyline hack.  Often he has some good points.
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G M
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« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2007, 07:05:04 PM »

****Phil Hendrie did the funniest stuff on radio i've ever heard. He'd get callers all the time that didn't know it was a joke a bait them into rage.****

Phil Hendrie
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Phil Hendrie
Philip Stephen Hendrie (born September 1, 1952, Arcadia, California) was the host of The Phil Hendrie Show, a comedy talk radio program that was syndicated throughout North America on Premiere Radio Networks and on XM Satellite Radio. While The Phil Hendrie Show became renowned for its unique and controversial guests, those guests were not real people at all—they were fictional characters created and voiced by Hendrie himself.
Hendrie has performed voices on the animated FOX sitcoms King of the Hill and Futurama, and in Team America: World Police. In Spring of 2006, he had a supporting role in the live-action NBC sitcom Teachers.
Hendrie was married in 1997 to radio talk show host Maria Sanchez. Their wedding was held at the Queen Mary and was broadcast live on KFI. Hendrie moved from Minneapolis and then to Miami where he further developed his show. The show then moved to KFI in Los Angeles and was nationally syndicated to approximately 100 radio stations. In February 2005, Hendrie was moved from his flagship station, KFI, to XTRA Sports 570 AM, a sports talk radio station also centered in Los Angeles.
In early 2006, Hendrie announced that he would be ending The Phil Hendrie Show, feeling he had reached the limits of what he could do in "terrestrial talk radio" and expressing a desire to shift his career focus toward acting. His last radio broadcast was June 23, 2006. [1] On December 4, 2006, in a radio interview, he mentioned that he may soon be returning to radio, but the show will not include his character skits. On June 4, 2007, it was announced that Phil Hendrie will return to radio June 25, 2007 from 10 PM to 1 AM PST on Talk Radio Network-FM, with shows airing weeknightly. However, the new show, while more lighthearted than most other talk radio shows about news and politics, does not have any comedic intent like his previous show, and Phil does not performs character voices in the new show.


Hendrie considers his views unique for modern talk radio: on one hand, he is a registered Democrat who vocally supported Bill Clinton, voted for Al Gore over George W. Bush in 2000, both Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale over Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, and Michael Dukakis over George H.W. Bush (although Hendrie claims "I had to hold my nose when voting for Dukakis"). Hendrie is also adamantly pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and pro-amnesty for illegal immigrants. At the same time, he is extremely supportive of the Iraq War as well as the War on Terror. He voted for and supported President George W. Bush in the 2004 election, chiding Democrat John Kerry as trying to be "all things to all people" and cautioning listeners that Bush would in time be viewed as one of the greatest American presidents. These views caused a stir among some of his fans and tended to dominate his show throughout 2002 and 2003. Hendrie eventually started a blog, titled and located at www.georgewbushisgod.com (seemingly to incite those who felt he was moving too far to the right). The blog came down after a few weeks, partly because Phil was tired of squabbling with readers. Hendrie has since renounced using his radio program for political ranting, saying that he didn't want to be "another white man all mad and ready with the answers" in a 2006 live chat with fans.
[edit]New Direction

Phil Hendrie announced his retirement from radio in order to pursue an acting career. His last show aired on June 23, 2006, although his former flagship, KLAC in Los Angeles, continued to air reruns of Hendrie's programming in its original timeslot until November 2006. In addition, until February 2007, News/Talk 610 CKTB (AM), in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, continued to air a show of specially selected Hendrie bits - called 'Phil Hendrie By Demand' - four hours a week on Saturday evenings.
Hendrie played a starring role in NBC's short-lived midseason replacement sitcom, Teachers, in the spring of 2006. He has also completed pilots for 'Three Strikes', and 'Giants of Talk Radio'.
Hendrie has also completed a role in a Will Ferrel film.
Phil also guest starred in two episodes of The Unit that originally aired October 10th and October 31st, 2006. He played the part of a radio talk show host on a military base.
Phil has also guest stared in several episodes of Matt Groening's cartoon show Futurama voicing different members of a hippy family known as the Waterfalls.
The Phil Hendrie Show is downloadable in mp3 format, starting with his October 4, 1999 show, at Phil's official web site. [2]
[edit]Phil in the Blogosphere

Hendrie has maintained several blogs, including www.georgewbushisgod.com and, later, www.herbsewell.blogspot.com (named after one of his more infamous characters, a paroled child molester). Beginning on May 29, 2007, the blog featured an ad proclaiming Hendrie's return to the airwaves on June 25 on the Talk Radio Network. On June 26, 2007, the blog was removed for fear of negative publicity.
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rogt
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« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2007, 07:48:53 PM »

Woof GM,

It's not like I can search around and come up with an instance of Rush, Beck, Savage, or whoever calling somebody a "nigger" or engaging in that kind of overt racism.  They know that's not allowed and of course they're careful to not do it.  It's mostly in the various little songs and fake ads they have, when one of them mimics a Mexican or an Arab, plays a recording of some hispanic politician's speech with mariachi music added in the background, etc.  It's the kind of thing you have to listen to these shows for a while to pick up on.

But regardless, I don't see the right-wing radio hosts or their views as the problem, but that they get to present their spew with no requirement that any opposing views be presented.  Sure they can (and do) take calls from liberals, but this is the "opposing view" being presented completely on the host's terms.  After all, it's their show.

So what if the FD were implemented in such a way that for every hour of right-wing radio, the station were required to broadcast a 10-minute "rebuttal" that the show's host has no control over?  This wouldn't be just one-sided either, i.e. Anne Coulter could have the last 10 minutes of the CNN news hour (or whatever "liberal media" show) to respond to anything she wants.  Obviously (as SB_Mig said) the devil is in the details, but the idea is that nobody gets to spew a bunch of outrageous BS without somebody getting the chance to call them on it at the time.

Rog
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2007, 08:50:51 PM »

Woof Rog, I think you answered yourself with this quote:
Quote
I don't see the right-wing radio hosts or their views as the problem, but that they get to present their spew with no requirement that any opposing views be presented.  Sure they can (and do) take calls from liberals, but this is the "opposing view" being presented completely on the host's terms.  After all, it's their show.

Emphisis on "after all its their show"
When you start requiring rebutal and all else as you suggested then it ceases to become "Their show".
Probably sponsers and the bottom line, MONEY are quite a factor here.
I think it pretty simple that if its worth anything to the person putting out their agenda....say the left,they could do it just as easily as the right simply by doing the same things.......and of course funding it........that is if it means so much to them and their cause.
Beats the crap out of constant whining  "its not fair"  undecided
                                                                                     TG
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Howling Dog
rogt
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« Reply #42 on: June 29, 2007, 02:04:52 AM »

Woof Tom,

Woof Rog, I think you answered yourself with this quote:
Quote
I don't see the right-wing radio hosts or their views as the problem, but that they get to present their spew with no requirement that any opposing views be presented.  Sure they can (and do) take calls from liberals, but this is the "opposing view" being presented completely on the host's terms.  After all, it's their show.

Emphisis on "after all its their show"
When you start requiring rebutal and all else as you suggested then it ceases to become "Their show".

It may be "their show", but it's being broadcast on airwaves owned by the public.  That gives us some say over how it goes.

I don't understand.  The host wouldn't be required to do or say anything different, there would just be a small part of the show devoted to an opposing view over which the host has no control.  Why should any honest person fear this?  If the conservatives have the same right to call "the liberal media" on whatever they want, then what's the problem?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #43 on: June 29, 2007, 06:31:07 AM »

And why not have the NY Times be required to give 15% of its space to different points of view?  As for the small detail about whose point of view goes in that 15%, well no doubt the State can handle that , , , rolleyes  The problem is that experience shows that the FD didn't work very well.  It simply caused the stations to lessen the amount of coverage they gave to controversial subjects. 

As Air America showed, the reason talk radio is what it is, is that America wasn't very interested in the message-- and its not my sense of America that the government should intervene in what people listen to.
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2007, 11:44:54 AM »

Quote
It may be "their show", but it's being broadcast on airwaves owned by the public.  That gives us some say over how it goes.

Absolutely. But that is why ratings exist. Obviously, if a show is popular people want to hear the message. I listen to right wing radio just as I listen to sports radio, pop music, NPR, etc. If I'm not interested in the message or music, I change the station.

The market (i.e. the public) should be the deciding factor, not the government.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2007, 12:43:04 PM »

Opinion Journal of the WSJ:



 A Subject Made for Talk Radio

"There's nothing fair about the Fairness Doctrine," is how Rep. Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican and former talk-show host, put it yesterday before the House voted 309 to 115 in favor of his bill to block any future president or the Federal Communications Commission from reinstating the 1949 Fairness Doctrine, the regulation that for some four decades stifled discussion of controversial issues on the airwaves by requiring broadcast stations to provide "equal time" for opposing commentary.

Democrats, many of whom are sympathetic to muzzling conservative talk radio, were spooked by the power of hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to make their lives miserable. Even Democratic Rep. David Obey put on a brave face as he rose to support the Pence bill. "Rush and Sean are just about as important in the scheme of things as Paris Hilton," he told the House. "I would hate to see them gain an ounce of credibility by being forced by a government agency or anybody else to moderate their views enough that they might become modestly influential or respected."

Mr. Obey is, of course, fooling himself. It was precisely the fear of populist talk radio that compelled over half of Democrats in the House to back the Pence bill rather than court the anger of the airwaves.

If Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't duplicate the Pence bill in the Senate, he'll be missing a great political opportunity. The Senate is a hotbed of pro-Fairness Doctrine sentiment. In recent days, John Kerry, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Dianne Feinstein of California have all touted its revival. "In my view, talk radio tends to be one-sided. It also tends to be dwelling in hyperbole. It's explosive. It pushes people to, I think, extreme views without a lot of information," Ms. Feinstein recently said.

In the language of politicalspeak used by most Members of Congress, what Ms. Feinstein was really saying is that talk radio has gotten too powerful and it's time radio hosts were sent a warning that it's incumbents in Congress who write the rules that determine whether they can stay in business or not.

Mr. Pence's successful effort is just the latest embarrassment the Democratic House majority has suffered at the hands of the Republican minority. "Republicans sure know how to be an effective minority better than the Democrats did," complained Democratic Rep. Zack Space of Ohio.

For now, the Fairness Mongers and their Democratic Congressional allies are clearly on the defensive.

-- John Fund
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G M
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« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2007, 02:06:41 PM »

My biggest beef with the "Fairness Doctrine" is that gov't burecrats will be parsing speech and deciding "what's fair" in response. Political speech isn't binary code. It isn't as simple as a President's speech and the democrat's response.My favorite talk show commentator isn't nationally syndicated, he the closest i've found to representing my point of view so is that "unfair" that he doesn't have a nat'l show?

http://www.850koa.com/pages/shows_rosen.html (A Jewish conservative from New York)
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rogt
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« Reply #47 on: June 30, 2007, 12:29:39 AM »

The market (i.e. the public) should be the deciding factor, not the government.

I agree in thory, but is that what you see happening now?  Of all the AM radio political talk radio stations where I live, one is liberal (Air America, at least), one is mostly middle-of-the-road, and *three* are conservative.  And this is in the SF Bay Area, not Texas.  I'm not sure how the "market" in the most liberal area of the country somehow decided that more than 60% of it's AM talk radio should consist of hard core right-wing shows.

I confess I don't know exactly how we'd decide who would provide the "rebuttals" in my suggested scheme, but do any of you agree that this would be a good thing if done fairly?  I hear all the right-wingers in this forum barking about how dishonest and biased the media is against their views, and I'm offering you the (hypothetical) chance to show everybody what frauds they are on their own shows (and of course vice-versa for the liberals).  What's the problem?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #48 on: June 30, 2007, 01:08:31 AM »

The problem is that no one would agree on what is "fair".  The problem is the government imposing speech.

" I'm not sure how the "market" in the most liberal area of the country somehow decided that more than 60% of it's AM talk radio should consist of hard core right-wing shows."

That's the mystery of it all grin  That you (or I) do not understand it is irrelevant.  To think that we can is what Hayek called "the fatal conceit".

In this case you don't know how what is unfair and unbalanced would be decided; you don't who would decide it; and you don't know who gets to choose who gets represent the other side-- or even that there will only be two sides!-- and you want to put the government in charge anyway.

 rolleyes

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ccp
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« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2007, 12:11:53 PM »

Funny isn't it.  No mention of Pelosi here - just a Republican Presidential candidate shortly after he mentions his run:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/02/us/politics/02thompson.html?ex=1183953600&en=2bad107c149eed63&ei=5099&partner=TOPIXNEWS

What a joke no?  "Fairness doctrine".  It only applies when the left criticizes the right.  There is no fairness on CNN.  The NYT.  MSNBC.
But that is OK - but wait when we speak of conservative talk radion now we are only getting one side of the story.  I am glad the NYT tried to hit Murdoch.  We need more of the press policing themselves. 

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