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ccp
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« Reply #450 on: August 25, 2009, 08:46:13 AM »

"Self describes enenmy of capatilism and communist who graduated from Yale (IVy league school - breeder of liberal doctrine) in some ways now that he has profitied handsomely from it sounds like a conservative; see an excerpt of what he wrote in his book below (between the stars).

It is plainly obvious his strategic use of corporate boycotts to cut the feet off his political enemies sounds curiously suspicious of another tactic used by another fabulously wealthy African American - Jesse Jackson.

Except for eco philosophy he now sounds like a capatilist.  It sounds to me this guy should be held up as taching point to all those who subscribe to the purported "horrors" of big money, capatilism in general.  Now that he learned and BENEFITTED handsomely from the capatilist system - he has been transformed from a Communist, black nationist, to one of capatilism biggest proponents.

I know what that tells me.  What does that tell you?  What lesson can the world learn from such a transformation?

Anyone see any hypocrisy from another lib IVY leaguer?

FWIW the Wikepia story with caveats that it is just Wikepia:

Van Jones
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Van Jones


Van Jones as White House Council on Environmental Quality's Special Advisor for Green Jobs, 2009
Born 1968
 
Nationality United States
Education University of Tennessee at Martin
Yale Law School
Occupation Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Environmental Activist
Employer White House Council on Environmental Quality
Known for 2009 Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People
2009 New York Times Bestselling Author
Title Special Advisor for Green Jobs
Van Jones (born 1968) is (since March 2009) the Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).[1]

He is an environmental advocate, a civil rights activist and attorney, and an author. A self-described former communist and black nationalist, Jones was active in the Rodney King protests in 1992.[2] Formerly based in Oakland, California, Jones is the founder of Green For All, a national NGO dedicated to "building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty."[3] His first book, The Green Collar Economy, released on October 7, 2008, was a New York Times bestseller.[4] Jones also founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a California NGO working for alternatives to violence and incarceration.[5]

In 2008, Time magazine named Jones one of its "Environmental Heroes."[6] Fast Company called him one of the "12 Most Creative Minds of 2008."[7]

Contents [hide]
1 Early life
2 Social and environmental activism
2.1 Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
2.2 Green For All
2.3 Other
3 The Green Collar Economy
4 Political Evolution
5 Awards and honors
6 Publications
7 See also
8 References
9 Further reading
10 External links
 


[edit] Early life
Van Jones was born in 1968 in rural West Tennessee. His father was a junior-high-school principal and his mother was a high-school teacher. His grandfather was the leader of the Christian Methodist—formerly Colored Methodist—Episcopal Church.[8] As a child, Jones was, by his own description, “bookish and bizarre.”[8] When his parents gave him Luke Skywalker and Han Solo action figures, instead of arranging them to fight he would have them run for imaginary public offices. His twin sister, Angela, remembers him as “the stereotypical geek—he just kind of lived up in his head a lot.” During the summers, Jones accompanied his grandfather to religious conferences, where he recalls sitting “in these hot, sweaty black churches,” listening to the adults talk, all day and into the night.[8] He graduated from Jackson Central-Merry High School in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1986. After earning his B.A. from the University of Tennessee at Martin, Jones left his home state to attend Yale Law School. In 1993, Jones earned his J.D. and moved to San Francisco.


[edit] Social and environmental activism

[edit] Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
In 1995, Jones started Bay Area PoliceWatch, the region's only bar-certified hotline and lawyer-referral service for victims and survivors of police abuse. PoliceWatch began as a project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, but by 1996 had grown big enough to seed a new umbrella NGO, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

From 1996-1997, Jones and PoliceWatch led a successful campaign to get officer Marc Andaya fired from the San Francisco Police Department. Andaya was the lead officer responsible for the in-custody death of Aaron Williams, an unarmed black man. In 1999 and 2000, Jones was a major leader in the failed campaign to defeat Proposition 21, which sparked a vibrant youth and student movement that made national headlines. In 2001, Jones and Ella Baker Center launched the Books Not Bars campaign. From 2001-2003, Jones and Books Not Bars led a successful campaign to block the construction of a proposed "Super-Jail for Youth" in Oakland's Alameda County. Books Not Bars later went on to launch a statewide campaign to transform California's juvenile justice system. That campaign is still winning major reforms.[9]

In 2005 the Ella Baker Center expanded its vision beyond the immediate concerns of policing, declaring that "If we really wanted to help our communities escape the cycle of incarceration, we had to start focusing on job, wealth and health creation."[9]

In 2005, Van and the Ella Baker Center produced the "Social Equity Track" for the United Nations' World Environment Day celebration, held that year in San Francisco.[10] It was the official beginning of what would eventually become Ella Baker Center's Green-Collar Jobs Campaign.

The Green-Collar Jobs Campaign was Jones' first concerted effort to combine his lifelong commitment to racial and economic justice with his newer commitment to solving the environmental crisis. It soon took as its mission the establishment of the nation's first "Green Jobs Corps" in Oakland. On October 20, 2008, the City of Oakland formally launched the Oakland Green Jobs Corps, a public-private partnership that will "provide local Oakland residents with job training, support, and work experience so that they can independently pursue careers in the new energy economy."[11]


[edit] Green For All
In September, 2007, Jones attended the Clinton Global Initiative and announced his plans to launch Green For All, a new national NGO dedicated to creating green pathways out of poverty in America. The plan grew out of the work previously done at local level at the Ella Baker Center. Green For All would take the Green-Collar Jobs Campaign mission — creating green pathways out of poverty — national.

Green For All formally opened its doors on January 1, 2008. In its first year, Green For All organized "The Dream Reborn," the first national green conference where the majority of attendees were people of color. It co-hosted, with 1Sky and the We Campaign, a national day of action for the new economy called "Green Jobs Now." It launched the Green-Collar Cities Program to help cities build local green economies. It started the Green For All Capital Access Program to assist green entrepreneurs. And Green For All, as part of the Clean Energy Corps Working Group, launched a campaign for a Clean Energy Corps initiative which would create 600,000 'green-collar' jobs while retrofitting and upgrading more than 15 million American buildings.[12]

In reflecting on Green For All's first year, Jones wrote, "One year later, Green For All is real – and we have helped put green collar jobs on the map…We have a long way to go. But today we have a strong organization to help get us there."[12]


[edit] Other
Jones has also served on the boards of numerous environmental and nonprofit organizations, including 1Sky, the National Apollo Alliance, Social Venture Network, Rainforest Action Network, Bioneers, Julia Butterfly Hill’s "Circle of Life" organization and Free Press. He was also a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress and a Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. He recently was a key speaker at the youth conference PowerShift 2009 in Washington, D.C. In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, Jones co-founded a Web-based grassroots organization addressing Black issues called Color of Change. Jones left the organization several years later to move on to other pursuits, such as Green For All.[13]


[edit] The Green Collar Economy
On October 7, 2008, HarperOne released Jones's first book, The Green Collar Economy. The book outlines Jones's "substantive and viable plan for solving the biggest issues facing the country--the failing economy and our devastated environment."[14] The book has received favorable reviews from such environmental activists as Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, Laurie David, Paul Hawken, Winona LaDuke and Ben Jealous.[15]

Jones had a limited publicity budget and no national media platform. But a viral, web-based marketing strategy earned the book a #12 debut on the New York Times bestseller list.[4] Jones and Green For All used "a combination of emails and phone calls to friends, bloggers, and a network of activists" to reach millions of people.[4] The marketing campaign's grassroots nature has led to Jones calling it a victory not for him but for the entire green-collar jobs movement.

The Green Collar Economy is the first environmental book authored by an African-American to make the New York Times bestseller list. [12]


[edit] Political Evolution
Having started his career as a staunch critic of capitalism, by the late 1990s Jones's views were evolving. Today, he has emerged as one of the foremost champions of green business, entrepreneurship and market-based solutions. In his book The Green Collar Economy, Jones wrote:

***[W]e are entering an era during which our very survival will demand invention and innovation on a scale never before seen in the history of human civilization. Only the business community has the requisite skills, experience, and capital to meet that need. On that score, neither government nor the nonprofit and voluntary sectors can compete, not even remotely.

So in the end, our success and survival as a species are largely and directly tied to the new eco-entrepreneurs — and the success and survival of their enterprises. Since almost all of the needed eco-technologies are likely to come from the private sector, civic leaders and voters should do all that can be done to help green business leaders succeed. That means, in large part, electing leaders who will pass bills to aid them. We cannot realistically proceed without a strong alliance between the best of the business world — and everyone else.****

Speaking to the East Bay Express, Jones explained that as a young person he became further politicized in the wake of the Rodney King verdict. Jones was still a law student at Yale Law School at the time. While volunteering as a legal monitor during a peaceful protest in San Francisco following the Rodney King trial, Jones was arrested along with other legal monitors and some protesters. He and the other detainees were released after being illegally arrested; the charges were later dropped and Jones was financially compensated by the City of San Francisco's Attorneys Office for the unlawful arrest.[16] In jail, however, Van Jones said,

"I met all these young radical people of color -- I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, 'This is what I need to be a part of.' I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary. I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th. By August, I was a communist."[17]

In 1994 the group of activists Van Jones was involved with Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), a collective which "dreamed of a multiracial socialist utopia".[17]


[edit] Awards and honors
 This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)

Jones's awards and honors include:

2009 - New York Times Bestselling Author for The Green Collar Economy
2009 - Time 100 Most Influential People, Time Magazine
2009 - selected as one of the Ebony Power 150
2009 - the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award, presented to those who best exemplify selfless and devoted service in the cause of equality.
2009 - "Rolling Stone 100: Agents of Change” (#89); Rolling Stone Magazine[18]
2009 - Eco-Entrepreneur Award, Institute for Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Innovation; Howard University
2009 - Individual Thought Leadership, Energy & Environment Awards; Aspen Institute[19]
2008 - One of 17 “Sexiest Men Living”; Salon.com[20]
2008 - Best Dressed Environmental List (#1 of 30); Sustainable Style Foundation[21]
2008 - Time Magazine Environmental Hero
2008 - designation as one of Essence Magazine's 25 most influential/inspiring African-Americans
2008 - Elle Magazine Green Award
2008 - One of the George Lucas Foundation's "Daring Dozen"
2008 - Hunt Prime Mover Award
2008 - Campaign for America's Future "Paul Wellstone Award";
2008 - Global Green USA "Community Environmental Leadership" Award
2008 - designation as one of the nation's "Plenty 20" in the October/November 2008 edition of Plenty Magazine
2008 - San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Award
2008 - One of Fast Company's "12 Most Creative Minds"
2008 - Puffin/Nation prize for "Creative Citizenship"
2008 - World Economic Forum "Young Global Leader"
2000 - International Ashoka Fellowship
1998 - Reebok International Human Rights Award
1997-1999 - Rockefeller Foundation "Next Generation Leadership" Fellowship
In 2008, Tom Friedman profiled Van in his bestselling book, Hot, Flat & Crowded. Also in 2008, Wilford Welch featured him in the book Tactics of Hope, and Joel Makower highlighted Van's ideas in the book Strategies for the Green Economy.


[edit] Publications
The Green Collar Economy: A Revolutionary Plan to End Global Warming, Beat Poverty, and Unite America HarperOne (2008)
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DougMacG
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« Reply #451 on: August 27, 2009, 10:47:50 AM »

I just posted a story in 'Intel Matters': http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/08/what_made_ksm_talk.asp#more detailing the lives saved from the real intelligence received from the worst characters on the face of the earth.  Meanwhile I listened to NPR, a trusted source where my intelligent liberal friends might be listening, and they interviewed an FBI agent who explained how no real info is ever gotten through enhanced techniques and how 'it says more about us than it does about them', then the host piles on with more liberal drivel opposite to the FACT that real intelligence was obtained from terrorist detainees saving real American lives.

I am happy to go to conservative sites to read conservative opinions but it bugs me to no end that I have to go to right wing sources to find out established facts about the economy and about protecting our country.  What a tragedy that intelligent, liberal and moderate citizens can watch, read and listen to so many trusted sources and not get key facts on big issues.
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ccp
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« Reply #452 on: August 27, 2009, 03:27:48 PM »

Thanks Doug.
I don't believe for one second that "enhanced interrogation techniques" or whatever one wants to call it might not work if other methods fail.

Even the mere "threat" of it should improve outcome.

Now our enemy knows thanks to Bama we use kid gloves only.  So now our enemies know they only need say,
"I want to speak to my lawyer".

I do agree it is a huge problem to know when to use such techniques and when does one know when the enemy is truly ignorant vs. willfully witholding information.  No one wants to harm innocents.  Clearly the three guys in your article were not innocents.

Even the gigantic Democrat/liberal/progressive/socialist Alan Dershowitz was for torture if needed acutely to save lives.

He seems distinctly silent now we have the socialist in office.
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G M
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« Reply #453 on: August 27, 2009, 04:55:56 PM »

Where's Mary Jo Kopechne's Eulogy?
by Henry Rollins
August 27, 2009, 10:57 AM

Not Far Under The Surface. Let’s say I am driving myself and a passenger in my car at night. I accidentally drive off a bridge into the water below. I am able to get out of the submerged vehicle but for some reason, I am unable to free the passenger. I gather two friends, a relative and my lawyer and return to the scene. We are unable to rescue the person trapped in the car. Several hours later, myself nor the two others I took to the site have called the authorities. In fact, it’s two fishermen who find the car the next morning as even then, no one has been called to the scene. The car is removed from the water and it is determined that its occupant is dead. This tragic incident is made international news by my circumstances. I am very well known, a United States senator. My family is incredibly powerful. There are allegations that I had been drinking heavily hours up to the time I got into the vehicle with the passenger. I deny this for the rest of my life. That at no point did I make an attempt to call for rescue would probably be considered by many people to be outrageous and horrible, perhaps a crime that would carry a prison sentence. Can you imagine what the parents of the deceased would be going through when they found out that their 28-year-old daughter died alone in total darkness? I serve no time. Not inconvenienced by the burdensome obstacle of incarceration, I seek to maintain my elected position. I am successful and remain a senator for the next four decades. Would any deed I performed in that time, besides going to prison for the negligent homicide I committed all those years ago, be enough to wipe the slate clean? After my passing, would you fail to mention the incident and the death of this innocent person in reviewing the events of my long and lauded life? You wouldn't forget about her, would you? That would be negligent.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #454 on: August 27, 2009, 06:29:02 PM »

There is no truth whatsoever then to the rumor that Ted Kennedy's service Saturday will be held underwater?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #455 on: August 28, 2009, 09:08:37 AM »

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/27/abc-nbc-refuse-air-advertisement-critical-obamas-health-care-plan/
 
 
ABC, NBC Won't Air Ad Critical of Obama's Health Care Plan
The refusal by ABC and NBC to run a national ad critical of President Obama's health care reform plan is raising questions from the group behind the spot -- particularly in light of ABC's health care special aired in prime time last June hosted at the White House
By Joshua Rhett Miller

FOXNews.com

Thursday, August 27, 2009

 
 
A doctor in the ad by the League of American Voters asks: "How can Obama's plan cover 50 million new patients without any new doctors? It can't."

 
 
The refusal by ABC and NBC to run a national ad critical of President Obama's health care reform plan is raising questions from the group behind the spot -- particularly in light of ABC's health care special aired in prime time last June and hosted at the White House.

The 33-second ad by the League of American Voters, which features a neurosurgeon who warns that a government-run health care system will lead to the rationing of procedures and medicine, began airing two weeks ago on local affiliates of ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS. On a national level, however, ABC and NBC have refused to run the spot in its present form.

"It's a powerful ad," said Bob Adams, executive director of the League of American Voters, a national nonprofit group with 15,000 members who advocate individual liberty and government accountability. "It tells the truth and it really highlights one of the biggest vulnerabilities and problems with this proposed legislation, which is it rations health care and disproportionately will decimate the quality of health care for seniors."

Adams said the advertisement is running on local network affiliates in states like Louisiana, Arkansas, Maine and Pennsylvania. But although CBS has approved the ad for national distribution and talks are ongoing with FOX, NBC has questioned some of the ad's facts while ABC has labeled it "partisan."

"The ABC Television Network has a long-standing policy that we do not sell time for advertising that presents a partisan position on a controversial public issue," spokeswoman Susan Sewell said in a written statement. "Just to be clear, this is a policy for the entire network, not just ABC News."

NBC, meanwhile, said it has not turned down the ad and will reconsider it with some revisions.

"We have not rejected the ad," spokeswoman Liz Fischer told FOXNews.com. "We have communicated with the media agency about some factual claims that require additional substantiation. As always, we are happy to reconsider the ad once these issues are addressed."

Adams objects to ABC's assertion that his group's position is partisan.

"It's a position that we would argue a vast majority of Americans stand behind," he said. "Obviously, it's a message that ABC and the Obama administration haven't received yet."

Dick Morris, a FOX News political analyst and the League of American Voters' chief strategist, conceptualized the advertisement and said its purpose was to "refocus" the debate on health care reform.

"I feel the whole debate on health care reform needed to be refocused on the issue of Medicare," he told FOXNews.com. "Most of the debate had been on issues of socialized medicine and cost. I felt that the impact of the legislation in cutting the Medicare program and enforcing rationing needed to be addressed."

Morris, a onetime advisor to former President Bill Clinton, said he was particularly troubled by ABC's decision not to air the spot.

"It's the ultimate act of chutzpah because ABC is the network that turned itself over completely to Obama for a daylong propaganda fest about health care reform," he said. "For them to be pious and say they will not accept advertising on health care shuts their viewers out from any possible understanding of both sides of this issue."
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DougMacG
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« Reply #456 on: August 28, 2009, 11:13:44 AM »

For my small part, I wrote a complaint email to both networks.  I will not air their network until I hear otherwise.  Free speech when it suits their purposes is the new slogan.
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ccp
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« Reply #457 on: September 01, 2009, 09:06:10 AM »

This could easily have been written by the DNC posing as journalism.  No where does it mention a proposed 500 billion cut to Medicare.  Of course there is the usual, "Republicans have been capitalizing" and of course the obligatory leftist mention of Sarah Palin as confusing our elderly.  Nothing of course about the fact the bill is 1000 pages long, virtually no law makers had read it yet were happy to vote for it, that few in the public were or still are aware of what is even in it or what it means to them individually or us as a nation yet the problem is not with that - it is with the evil opponents of the bill.
Typical left wing media. angry

By KATE PICKERT Kate Pickert – Tue Sep 1, 5:40 am ET
Many observers are puzzled by the level of anger and vitriol senior citizens have been directing toward their besieged elected representatives during recent health-care town halls. But no one can be more surprised, or put in a more uncomfortable position, than the organization that supposedly represents their interests, AARP. The 40 million–member advocacy group, after all, signed on early as a key supporter of President Obama's health-care-reform plan, and now it finds itself on the defensive, scrambling to win back much of its own membership. "A year ago, it seemed obvious that AARP would be for health reform," says the group's legislative-policy director David Certner. "Our membership as far as we could tell was quite ginned up about health-care reform." (See TIME's guide to understanding the health-care debate.)

Since then, members' views have apparently shifted. At least 60,000 AARP members quit the organization between July 1 and mid-August specifically because of its pro-reform stance, and the organization's online message boards are littered with anti-reform posts. (AARP is quick to point out that during the same period, it signed up 400,000 new members.) According to a poll conducted Aug 4-11 by the Kaiser Family Foundation, just 23% of Americans over 65 feel they would be better off under reform proposals and even fewer believe the Medicare program would benefit. While plenty of other groups are united against reform, opposition from seniors, who consistently have the highest voter turnout rates of any age group - especially in midterm elections like the one next year - may prove especially perilous for the reform effort. (Read "The Real Issues of End-of-Life Care.")

AARP's support for Democrats' health-care-reform proposals is critical this year. The group is one of several health-care power players the White House struck deals with in hopes of shoring up support for reform early on. In June, AARP, President Obama and PhRMA, a group representing drug companies, announced they had agreed to a plan to help close the Medicare Part D prescription-drug coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole," which leaves seniors without coverage after their drug costs exceed $2,700 and until they spend $4,350 of their own money. The White House deal, triggered if reform becomes law, would save seniors 50% on name-brand drugs and cost the drugmakers $80 billion. But this boon for the elderly was apparently not enough to sell seniors on reform overall. "Somewhere along the line, we seemed to have veered really off course based on a lot of the misinformation and disinformation that clearly is making its way to the older population in particular," says Certner.


It's not hard to see how seniors got spooked, which to some degree is an indictment of AARP, not to mention the Democrats. Sarah Palin and other conservative opponents have helped fuel rumors that the House health-reform bill calls for the establishment of "death panels" to decide when to cut off medical care for seniors. (This is not true - the House bill includes a provision to reimburse doctors who provide voluntary end-of-life counseling to patients.) Judging by comments at town-hall meetings, the elderly are also fearful that Democratic proposals would take funding away from Medicare to pay for coverage for Americans who don't currently have health insurance. This is not entirely untrue; Democratic proposals call for spending money to help insure the uninsured, alongside targeted reductions in Medicare reimbursements to doctors and hospitals and major funding cuts to Medicare Advantage, which allows seniors to buy private insurance with federal dollars. Most health-policy experts, however, believe these cuts are necessary for the program to remain financially solvent.




See the top 10 health-care-reform players.


Certner, of AARP, says the group agrees with this sentiment, but simultaneously opposes any proposals that would cut Medicare benefits or services. He says Democratic health-reform proposals "can strengthen the Medicare system," by "finding savings through reducing inefficiencies, waste and overpayment." "If that's done correctly, there shouldn't be any harm to the program," says Certner. "But most people hearing about cuts to Medicare have no idea how the cuts are being done." (See five truths about health-care in America.)

Critics might say that AARP has been out of touch with its members, while defenders could say that it is taking a more fiscally responsible view of what needs to be done to fix Medicare for the long-term. But part of the organization's current bind stems from its uniquely hybrid functions and makeup. In addition to being the voice of seniors in Washington, it also offers all Americans over the age of 50 reduced prices for gym memberships, travel and rental cars, while also selling AARP-branded insurance policies; AARP Services, a for-profit subsidiary, earned some $650 million in royalty revenue in 2008, 65% of which came from health-related offerings like insurance. (This dual advocacy/insurance brokerage role has made AARP a lightning rod for criticism over the years, especially in cases when the group lobbied for legislation that would have been a boon to its for-profit operations.) AARP, therefore, has to balance the interests of members aged 50-64 with those of members over 65. Its younger members are among the fastest growing cohorts of the uninsured and pay some of the highest premiums for insurance policies on the open market; these members would be most affected by private health-insurance reform and a public health-insurance option that could reduce costs. AARP's Medicare-eligible members, on the other hand, are focused on preserving that program's benefit levels. (See TIME's video on the struggles of an uninsured woman.)

To try to get its membership back in line with AARP's pro-reform stance, the group is stepping up its communication efforts. A national television advertising campaign got underway in August, 8 million pieces of direct mail related to Medicare and health reform will be sent out after Labor Day and the September issue of AARP Bulletin, which reaches some 40 million households, will include a cover story on health-care myths. The White House is also gearing up for a new message campaign aimed at seniors; it hosted a late-August conference call with advocacy groups with the power to reach seniors, including AARP, to brief them on a new eight-page talking-points memo from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about how reform could help older Americans.

The HHS memo outlines reasons seniors need reform, including increasingly high out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries to pay for drugs and medical services that could be lowered if comprehensive reform brought down the overall growth in health-care spending. The memo also points out ways that comprehensive reform could benefit seniors indirectly - uninsured Americans, who typically get less routine medical care, are sicker once they become eligible for Medicare, increasing costs for everyone in the program, for example. Unfortunately for Democrats, these nuanced points are not easily translated into sound bites, further evidence of why Democrats are currently losing the public-relations battle.

Meanwhile, Republicans have been capitalizing on the moment, suddenly presenting themselves as the defenders of a government health-care program they have spent years attacking. Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele published an Op-Ed in the Washington Post on Aug. 24 titled "Protecting Our Seniors," and the RNC issued a press release on Aug. 28 titled "Real Solutions for Seniors."

Edward Coyle, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, a union-affiliated pro-reform advocacy group that represents some 4 million seniors, says the "solo drum beat" from the opposition has so far successfully drowned out its and AARP's message. "Frankly, the other side has done a better job of raising issues that are of concern to seniors," he says. "I think the right word to use about seniors right now is confused."
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #458 on: September 05, 2009, 11:51:30 AM »

The Omnipresent Leader
They want us to “pledge to be a servant to our president”?

By Mark Steyn

On Friday, I had the rare honor of appearing in the pages of the New York Times, apropos President Obama’s plans to beam himself into every schoolhouse in the land in the peculiar belief that Generation iPod will find this an enthralling technical novelty. As Times reporters James C. McKinley Jr. and Sam Dillon wrote: “Mark Steyn, a Canadian author and political commentator, speaking on the Rush Limbaugh show on Wednesday, accused Mr. Obama of trying to create a cult of personality, comparing him to Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader.”

Oh, dear! “A Canadian author”: Talk about damning with faint credentialization. I don’t know what’s crueler, the “Canadian” or the indefinite article. As to the rest of it, well, that’s one way of putting it. Here’s what I said on Wednesday re dear old Saddam and Kim: “Obviously we’re not talking about the cult of personality on the Saddam Hussein/Kim Jong-Il scale.”

Close enough for Times work.

But, if the Times wants to play this game, bring it on. The Omnipresent Leader has traditionally been a characteristic feature of Third World basket-case dumps: The conflation of the man and the state is explicit, and ubiquitous. In 2003, motoring around western Iraq a few weeks after the regime’s fall, when the schoolhouses were hastily taking down the huge portraits of Saddam that had hung on every classroom wall, I visited an elementary-school principal with a huge stack of suddenly empty picture frames piled up on his desk, and nothing to put in them. The education system’s standard first-grade reader featured a couple of kids called Hassan and Amal — a kind of Iraqi Dick and Jane — proudly holding up their portraits of the great man and explaining the benefits of an Iraqi education:

“O come, Hassan,” says Amal. “Let us chant for the homeland and use our pens to write, ‘Our beloved Saddam.’”

“I come, Amal,” says Hassan. “I come in a hurry to chant, ‘O, Saddam, our courageous president, we are all soldiers defending the borders for you, carrying weapons and marching to success.’”

Pathetic, right?

On Friday, August 28, the principal of Eagle Bay Elementary School in Farmington, Utah — in the name of “education” — showed her young charges the “Obama Pledge” video released at the time of the inauguration, in which Ashton Kutcher and various other bigtime celebrities, two or three of whom you might even recognize, “pledge to be a servant to our president and to all mankind because together we can, together we are, and together we will be the change that we seek.”

Altogether now! Let us chant for mankind and use our pens to write, “O beloved Obama, our courageous president, we are all servants defending the hope for you and marching to change.”

And, unlike Saddam’s Iraq, we don’t have the mitigating condition of being a one-man psycho state invented by the British Colonial Office after lunch on a wet afternoon in 1922.

Any self-respecting schoolkid, enjoined by his principal to be a “servant” to the head of state, would reply, “Get lost, creep.” And, if they still taught history in American schools, he’d add, “Oh, and by the way, that question was settled in 1776.”

To accompany President Obama’s classroom speech this week, the White House and America’s “educators” drafted some accompanying study materials. Children would be invited to write letters to themselves saying what they could do to “help the President.”

My suggestion: “Not tell people what I really think about his lousy health-care plan.”

Well, after the unwelcome media attention, that exercise was hastily dropped.

For the rest of us, the president does not yet require a written test from grown-ups after his speeches, but it’s surely only a matter of time. The New York Times managed to miss my point: Far from “accusing” the president of “trying to create a cult of personality,” I spent much of my airtime on Rush’s show last week “accusing” the president of doing an amazing job of finishing off his own cult of personality in record time. Obama’s given 111 speeches, interviews, and press conferences in which he’s talked about health care, and the more he opens his mouth the more the American people recoil from his “reforms.” Now he’s giving a 112th — to a joint session of Congress — and this one, we’re assured, will finally do the trick. That brand new Chevy may be rusting and up on bricks by the time he seals the deal, but America’s Auto Salesman-in-Chief will get you to sign in the end.

The president has made the mistake of believing his own publicity — or, at any rate, his own mainstream-media coverage, which is pretty much the same thing. They told him he was the greatest orator since Socrates, but, alas, even Socrates would have difficulty playing six sets a night every Open Mike Night at the Soaring Rhetoric Lounge out on Route 127. Even Ashton Kutcher’s charms would wane by the 112th speech.

“Mr. Obama,” wrote Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal, “has grown boring.” Amazing but true. He’s a crashing bore, and he’s become one in nothing flat. His approval ratings have slumped — not just among Republicans, not just among independents, not just among seniors, who are after all first in line for the death panels. But they’ve fallen among young people — the starry-eyed members of the Hopeychangey Generation who stared into the mesmerizing giant “O” of his logo and saw the new Otopia. According to the latest Zogby poll, Obama’s hold on the young is a wash: 41 percent approve, 41 percent disapprove. Zogby defines “young” as under 30, so maybe the kindergartners corralled into his audience this week will still be on side, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

The president’s strategy on January 20 was to hurl all the vast transformative spaghetti at the wall — stimulus, auto nationalization, cap’n’trade, health care — and make it stick through the sheer charisma of his personality. Unfortunately, the American people aren’t finding it quite so charismatic, and they’re beginning to spot the yawning gulf between the post-partisan hopeychangey rhetoric and the budget-busting prosperity-throttling future-beggaring big-government policies.

No wonder the poor chap’s running out of material. At the time of writing, one of his exercises for America’s schoolchildren is to suggest what you’d like him to do in his next speech. Here’s mine: Call in sick, sir. You’ll be doing your presidency a favor.

The president is not our ruler but our representative, a citizen-executive drawn from the people. It is unbecoming to a self-governing republic to require schoolchildren to (to cite another test question) select the three most important words in the president’s speech.

But, if we have to trudge down this grim road, go on, kid, I dare you: “That’s all, folks!”

Oh, wait. You have to rank the three most important words in order:

1) Try
2) Something
3) Else

— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone.
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NWRiZTdhYTA4MmFkYWJkYjliZDA5OWFiMTU0YmU5YTg=
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #459 on: September 05, 2009, 01:57:25 PM »

Woof,
 If you can't shut'em up then shut'em down Obama style with taxes. www.networkworld.com/news/2009/022709-obama-proposes-spectrum-license.html
                                           P.C.
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G M
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« Reply #460 on: September 09, 2009, 09:23:11 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/09/friedman-you-know-whats-kind-of-cool-dictatorship/

Friedman: You know what’s kind of cool? Dictatorship!
posted at 3:36 pm on September 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

One normally expects to see paeans to one-party rule and dictatorships in fringe publications sponsored by International ANSWER or World Can’t Wait.  Usually, the New York Times offers those sentiments in more subtle terms than it does in today’s Thomas Friedman column.  Friedman extols the Chinese form of government while deriding the fact that political opposition keeps Obama from imposing the policies Friedman likes:
Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.
Our one-party democracy is worse. The fact is, on both the energy/climate legislation and health care legislation, only the Democrats are really playing. With a few notable exceptions, the Republican Party is standing, arms folded and saying “no.” Many of them just want President Obama to fail. Such a waste. Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist. But if he’s forced to depend entirely on his own party to pass legislation, he will be whipsawed by its different factions.
Oh, those enlightened Chinese government officials!  When they’re not executing people to harvest their organs, and when they’re not forcing women to have abortions to satisfy their one-child policy, and when they’re not tossing people in prison for political dissent, they have a great energy policy … even though they reject Kyoto and any attempt to hamstring themselves on economically-suicidal cap-and-trade policies.
Actually, considering Friedman’s column, perhaps rounding up the opposition is a net plus for the Chinese in his eyes.
Even putting aside Friedman’s longing for fascism (as long as it supports his policies), Friedman’s entire premise is suspect.  We haven’t enacted government-run health care precisely because we’re not a “one-party democracy.”  Constituents have made their opposition plain to it across the nation, and Democrats understand that Republicans will replace many of their colleagues if they support ObamaCare.  Obama’s approval numbers have dropped precipitously as well, because people dissent from the orthodoxy of the Democratic elites.   That’s what has Friedman pining for Beijing.
Saying “no” to very bad ideas is a perfectly legitimate response, especially when the policies impose government control over private industry to the extent Barack Obama and his radical Congress desire.  The opposition has no responsibility to engage on horrible ideas, although contra Friedman, the Republicans have already offered an alternative to ObamaCare, which Henry Waxman refuses to consider.  Saying “no” to rapid expansion of government power is the rational response to radical policies.
What’s next for the New York Times?  A tribute to Benito Mussolini and running the trains on time as a fair exchange for personal and political liberty?  (via The Corner, which has been savaging Friedman all day)
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #461 on: September 14, 2009, 07:41:08 AM »

 California Bombing Hoax Bought By Germans

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/09/bluewater/

I wonder how a real group could use hoaxes?

FRANKFURT — All of Germany was bamboozled Thursday by a bizarre scheme that tricked the country’s main wire service into reporting an attempted suicide bombing in a California town — an attack supposedly perpetrated by a non-existent rap group called the “Berlin Boys.”
How they did it: A team of publicity seeking hoaxers fooled Germany’s wire service into reporting on a fake suicide bombing in California allegedly perpetrated by German rappers.
1. First the tricksters set up a website for a fake California city called Bluewater and a fake TV station there. On the websites, they listed California telephone numbers — but those went directly to the hoaxsters’ German Skype accounts. They also created a Wikipedia article that confirmed the existence of the station.
2. A hysterical “reporter” from the fake TV station called German newsrooms reporting a suicide attacks, and directed them to the fake websites. German journalists called the phone numbers for “officials” listed on the sites to confirm the stories. Of course, those numbers connected straight to the hoaxsters.
3. The DPA – the German equivalent of the Associated Press – put the story up on its newswire. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office was quickly flooded with phone calls from German reporters trying to confirm the suicide bombing.
4. Within 30 minutes, the DPA took down their story. But the damage was done. Later, the hoaxsters sent out a press release announcing what they did.

The work of German filmmakers peddling a satirical movie called Short Cut to Hollywood, the elaborate hoax involved at least two faked websites, a faked Wikipedia entry and California phone numbers for “public safety” officials that were actually being answered by hoaxsters in Germany using Skype.
The hoax has transfixed this country. It prompted a 1,000-word tome on the website of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany’s most respected newspaper, and even a press conference denouncing the incident by the DPA – the German wire service responsible for first disseminating the news about the “attack.”
The hoax’s effect was felt thousands of miles away, as a flood of concerned phone calls from Germany jammed the switchboards at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office, which has jurisdiction over the supposed bombing site in California.


“This is frustrating and a waste of our resources,” said office spokesman Arden Wiltshire, who was awakened at 5 a.m. Thursday to try and sort out the crisis. Wiltshire worries that dispatchers could have missed important calls to deal with the Germans.
“We’re sorry for what happened; we, too, were victimized,” said Justus Demmer, a DPA spokesman. “What we have learned today is if there’s someone committed to betray you, it’s very hard to stop it.”


The hoax began Thursday when a man identifying himself as California TV journalist Rainer Petersen called Germany’s largest news services to report the rap group’s arrest. He directed journalists to websites for “KVPK News” and the “City of Bluewater.”


The Bluewater website listed California telephone numbers for city services, while the KVPK site hosted faux English-language TV news reports about the bombing.


But Bluewater isn’t a city at all: It’s a large unincorporated swath of land straddling the Arizona-California state line, with the California side patrolled by San Bernardino County’s deputies. The Berlin Boys don’t exist in real life, and neither does KVPK.


That didn’t stop the DPA from running the headline: “Attack in Small California Town.”


That’s when the trickle of calls to the Sheriff’s office became a barrage, prompting dispatchers to wake Wiltshire – something only done for a major crisis, like the shooting of an officer.


The DPA corrected the report about half an hour later, but by then it was too late. The assault on dispatchers paralyzed officials through the night, even after the pranksters sent out a press release that made it clear the whole stunt was an elaborate hoax to promote a short film.
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G M
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« Reply #462 on: September 15, 2009, 08:25:03 AM »

Dan Gainor 
 - FOXNews.com
 - September 14, 2009
ACORN Story Grows But Mainstream Media Refuse to Cover It

This story has everything you could ever want – corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news director’s dream. Imagine the ratings. But almost no one is covering it.


Bruce Springsteen once wrote: “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come).” I doubt he expected that story of love gone wrong would become ideal political commentary for the group known as ACORN.

The small scandal showing an embarrassing video of Baltimore ACORN staffers looking like they were giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel, is now national news. -- This story has everything you could ever want – corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news director’s dream. Imagine the ratings!

Only almost no one is covering it.

This is the news media in the era of Van Jones and President Obama. The major outlets cover what they want and create the themes they want. When they find something inconvenient, they let it pass. They didn’t like the Van Jones story, so they ignored it. The network news media liked the financial entity known as Fannie Mae, so they ignored that scandalous organization for years. ACORN is getting the same treatment.

But it isn’t working any more. The ACORN fiasco has now impacted three offices – Baltimore, Washington and New York – with laugh-out-loud videos reminiscent of the hookers and pimps from the 1970s “Starsky and Hutch” show. Huggy Bear returns! Four employees have been fired, with more likely to come. And the controversy was so laughably bad that the Census Bureau cut off all ties to the group known formally as the "Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." -- They called it the “tipping point” to shed themselves of ACORN. More nuts for someone else, I guess.

And yet. And yet it’s still been ignored by the network news. Nothing on ABC, CBS or NBC. The only thing any one of the three broadcast networks has done appeared in a blog post by ABC’s Jake Tapper. It's hardly worth noting except to show that the networks know about what’s going on. They just don’t care to report it. Only FOX News has bothered to report on the controversy.

The video scandal is only part of the fiasco that is this Saul Alinsky-esque community group. Just last week CNN reported that other ACORN employees were arrested in Florida. “Arrest warrants were issued Wednesday for 11 Florida voter registration workers who are suspected of submitting false information on hundreds of voter registration cards, according to court documents,” said CNN.

That’s typical. The Web site "Rotten ACORN" is devoted to election fraud complaints against the organization. The site’s map shows 14 different states where complaints have been filed. The last time any one of the broadcast networks talked about that was before the 2008 presidential election. That was NBC on Nov. 1. Nothing since.

Yes, the newspapers have taken a passing glance at the video story. The Post wrote about the firings in D.C. The New York Times ran a story by the Associated Press. Nothing more. I am underwhelmed. At least the Times covered it this time. With Jones, the Times waited until he had resigned to report he was under fire.

What’s worse with ACORN is that we’re paying for all this. At least in part. The Washington Examiner writes that they “found that ACORN has received at least $53 million in federal money since 1994.”

For its own part, ACORN naturally blamed someone else. In this case, FOX News, calling itself “their Willy Horton for 2009.” The ACORN state reads like a paranoid’s interpretation of the videos. Here’s Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer, for the group:

“The relentless attacks on ACORN's members, its staff and the policies and positions we promote are unprecedented. An international entertainment conglomerate, disguising itself as a ‘news’ agency (FOX), has expended millions, if not tens of millions of dollars, in their attempt to destroy the largest community organization of Black, Latino, poor and working families in the country. It is not coincidence that the most recent attacks have been launched just when health care reform is gaining traction. It is clear they've had these tapes for months.”

Yeah, all that about under-aged prostitution, corruption and government connections isn’t news. People are just out to get ACORN. No wonder their name symbolizes a kind of nut. Too bad the rest of the media don’t want us to know that.

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The FOX Forum and he can be seen on FOXNews.com’s “Strategy Room.”
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ccp
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« Reply #463 on: September 15, 2009, 08:28:04 AM »

Another example of the MSM trying to protect a guy who is not Abe Lincoln.

As for OBama these outbursts are obviously reflections of the real man coming out despite the denials from the protective MSM.
""ABC has since issued an apology to the White House for quoting words that were never intended to be made public.""  

Why apologize - did anyone ever apologize when this happened to W?  A real journalist might say this is the *real* man behind the facade of the great mediator.

As for Taylor Swift I am of the *opinion* she is a little creep.  All her hit lyrics that she claims she wrote are exactly like songs and parts of song lyrics that Katherine wrote and were taken out of our house by her psychopathic mother or appear to taken via networking into computers or printers hooked up to computers.

Taylor Swift has minimal talent.  She can't sing very good at all, she can't dance and she cannot create music contrary to her claims.  Yet she is a chosen annointed one, apparantly because her father (probably) knows the right people, her stuff sellls to the teeny boppers, and big music is behind her and making money.  As for the West thing it will turn out to be her biggest boon.
And my wife and I sit here and can do nothing while people moved into several homes near us and surveillance the crap out of us.

Our lives are ruined, the peopel robbing us think this all one big funny game and little shits like Taylor Swift who have little talent are collecting awards on the national stage.
****The US president made the uncharacteristically blunt remark during an interview with CNBC, the US business news network, on Monday.

Although Mr Obama delivered the aside during an off-the-record segment of the pre-recorded interview, it was picked up and tweeted by a journalist from a rival network.

The message has since been deleted, but not before it was re-tweeted by many of Mr Moran's more than one million followers, ensuring that it was read across the web.

ABC has since issued an apology to the White House for quoting words that were never intended to be made public.  
(WHY apologize - did anyone ever apologize when this happened to W?)


"In the process of reporting on remarks by President Obama that were made during a CNBC interview, ABC News employees prematurely tweeted a portion of those remarks that turned out to be from an off-the-record portion of the interview," a spokesman said.

"This was done before our editorial process had been completed. That was wrong. We apologize to the White House and CNBC and are taking steps to ensure that it will not happen again."

The White House has yet to comment on the affair, but the president's criticisms of West certainly chime with the public mood.

The rapper has been widely condemned for interrupting 19-year-old country-pop singer Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech at the New York award ceremony on Sunday night to claim that his friend Beyoncé should have won the best female video gong.

In an contrite appearance on the Jay Leno show last night, he said that he planned to apologise to the Swift in person and said he was going to take some time off from the music industry.****
 
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ccp
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« Reply #464 on: September 15, 2009, 08:37:32 AM »

People are occasionally asking if OBama is just affiliated with left wing radical groups or if he is a real believer.
People like Beck who say the latter of course are bieng lalbed "fringe" "right wing nuts" or a new one desperate one from MSNBC, "the fringe of the fringe".

Only a fool or sucker could see realize this guy is a true believer by now. 

Just a refresher from MM to remind us the intimate links between Obama and this corrupt organization.  He actually was doing some of the teaching.

"According to ACORN, Obama trained its Chicago members in leadership seminars".  I wonder if any of these training sessions have footprints?  What kind of training are we talking about?

The ACORN Obama knows
By Michelle Malkin  •  June 25, 2008 12:10 PM

My syndicated column today spotlights the whistleblower report on ACORN, which I’ve been blogging about (here) and which deserves more attention in the media and in Washington–especially in light of the radical activist group’s embrace of Barack Obama. The Consumer Rights League e-mailed to let me know that three GOP congressmen (Hensarling, Feeney, and Royce) have called on Barney Frank (D-Housing Boondoggle) to investigate ACORN’s taxpayer abuses. Snowball’s chance, I know, but conservatives ought to be turning up the heat and using every ounce of energy they have to, well, act like conservatives and push to de-fund the Left.

For excellent background on Obama and ACORN, see Stanley Kurtz’s NR piece here, plus City Journal pieces here and here. Also here and here.

***

The ACORN Obama knows
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2008

If you don’t know what ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is all about, you better bone up. This left-wing group takes in 40 percent of its revenues from American taxpayers — you and me — and has leveraged nearly four decades of government subsidies to fund affiliates that promote the welfare state and undermine capitalism and self-reliance, some of which have been implicated in perpetuating illegal immigration and encouraging voter fraud. A new whistleblower report from the Consumer Rights League documents how Chicago-based ACORN has commingled public tax dollars with political projects.

Who in Washington will fight to ensure that your money isn’t being spent on these radical activities?

Don’t bother asking Barack Obama. He cut his ideological teeth working with ACORN as a “community organizer” and legal representative. Naturally, ACORN’s political action committee has warmly endorsed his presidential candidacy. According to ACORN, Obama trained its Chicago members in leadership seminars; in turn, ACORN volunteers worked on his campaigns. Obama also sat on the boards of the Woods Fund and Joyce Foundation, both of which poured money into ACORN’s coffers. ACORN head Maude Hurd gushes that Obama is the candidate who “best understands and can affect change on the issues ACORN cares about” — like ensuring their massive pipeline to your hard-earned money.

Let’s take a closer look at the ACORN Obama knows.

Last July, ACORN settled the largest case of voter fraud in the history of Washington State. Seven ACORN workers had submitted nearly 2,000 bogus voter registration forms. According to case records, they flipped through phone books for names to use on the forms, including “Leon Spinks,” “Frekkie Magoal” and “Fruto Boy Crispila.” Three ACORN election hoaxers pleaded guilty in October. A King County prosecutor called ACORN’s criminal sabotage “an act of vandalism upon the voter rolls.”

The group’s vandalism on electoral integrity is systemic. ACORN has been implicated in similar voter fraud schemes in Missouri, Ohio and at least 12 other states. The Wall Street Journal noted: “In Ohio in 2004, a worker for one affiliate was given crack cocaine in exchange for fraudulent registrations that included underage voters, dead voters and pillars of the community named Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Jive Turkey. During a congressional hearing in Ohio in the aftermath of the 2004 election, officials from several counties in the state explained ACORN’s practice of dumping thousands of registration forms in their lap on the submission deadline, even though the forms had been collected months earlier.”

In March, Philadelphia elections officials accused the nonprofit advocacy group of filing fraudulent voter registrations in advance of the April 22nd Pennsylvania primary. The charges have been forwarded to the city district attorney’s office.

Under the guise of “consumer advocacy,” ACORN has lined its pockets. The Department of Housing and Urban Development funds hundreds, if not thousands, of left-wing “anti-poverty” groups across the country led by ACORN. Last October, HUD announced more than $44 million in new housing counseling grants to over 400 state and local efforts. The White House has increased funding for housing counseling by 150 percent since taking office in 2001, despite the role most of these recipients play as activist satellites of the Democratic Party. The AARP scored nearly $400,000 for training; the National Council of La Raza (”The Race”) scooped up more than $1.3 million; the National Urban League raked in nearly $1 million; and the ACORN Housing Corporation received more than $1.6 million.

As the Consumer Rights League points out in its new expose, the ACORN Housing Corporation has worked to obtain mortgages for illegal aliens in partnership with Citibank. It relies on undocumented income, “under the table” money, which may not be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Moreover, the group’s “financial justice” operations attack lenders for “exotic” loans, while recommending 10-year interest-only loans (which deny equity to the buyer) and risky reverse mortgages. Whistleblower documents reveal internal discussions among the group that blur the lines between its tax-exempt housing work and its aggressive electioneering activities. The group appears to shake down corporate interests with relentless PR attacks, and then enters “no lobby” agreements with targeted corporations after receiving payment.

Republicans have largely looked the other way as ACORN has expanded its government-funded empire. But finally, a few conservative voices in Congress have called for investigation of the group’s apparent extortion schemes. This week, GOP Reps. Tom Feeney, Jeb Hensarling and Ed Royce called on Democrat Barney Frank, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, to convene a hearing to probe potential illegalities and abuse of taxpayer funds by ACORN’s management and minions alike.

Where does the candidate of Hope and Change — the candidate of Reform and New Politics — stand on the issue? Barack Obama, ACORN’s senator, is for more of the same old, same old subsidizing of far-left politics in the name of fighting for the poor while enriching ideological cronies. It’s the Chicago way.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #465 on: September 17, 2009, 08:42:53 AM »

Bloggers said this photo showed a gargantuan crowd at Saturday's "tea party" protest. But it apparently was taken in 1997 at a Promise Keepers rally.

In the competitive world of Washington protests, crowd size is often a matter of dispute. Organizers usually boast of huge crowds, while police and the news media offer much smaller estimates.

So supporters of Saturday’s “tea party” protests against President Barack Obama were quick to highlight their big turnout. To bolster countless claims on blogs and Facebook, many posted a photograph that showed a gargantuan crowd sprawling from Capitol Hill down the National Mall to the Washington Monument.

But it turns out the photo is more than 10 years old, apparently taken during a 1997 Promise Keepers rally.

On Saturday, estimates about the crowd spread quickly through the conservative blogosphere. Many writers, including author Michelle Malkin, pegged the number of people between 1 million and 2 million. Those reports were largely based on information from people in the crowd.

Malkin, for example, updated her blog at 12:34 p.m. noting that, “Police estimate 1.2 million in attendance. ABC News reporting crowd at 2 million,” and she cited a Twitter post from Tabitha Hale, writer of Pink Elephant Pundit, who was in Washington for the protest.

Many bloggers said the media was unfairly reporting much smaller numbers, and many included the photo.

“I have no doubt that Washington Democrats are well aware of how many people turned out, even as their media outlets try to downplay the event,” said Power Line, a conservative blog that linked to the photograph from Say Anything, another conservative Web site.

“ 'Media’ estimates range from 60,000 to 500,000 to around 2 million (yes, 2,000,000),” wrote John G. Winder for the conservative blog Cypress Times. “Those estimates, the language employed, and the visuals chosen for use in reporting the rally and representing the people gathered, vary greatly based solely on bias.”

In the mainstream media, crowd estimates varied.

The New York Times reported that “thousands” of protesters “filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall,” while Fox News wrote that “tens of thousands” marched on Washington. CNN said “reporters at the scene described the massive crowd as reaching the tens of thousands.”

Pete Piringer, public affairs officer for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Department, said the local government no longer provides official crowd estimates because they can become politicized. But the day of the rally, Piringer unofficially told one reporter that he thought between 60,000 and 75,000 people had shown up.

“It was in no way an official estimate,” he said.

We asked Piringer whether there were enough protesters to fill the National Mall, as depicted in the photograph.

“It was an impressive crowd,” he said. But after marching down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, the crowd “only filled the Capitol grounds, maybe up to Third Street,” he said.

Yet the photograph so widely posted showed the crowd sprawling all the way to the Washington Monument, which is bordered by 15th and and 17th Streets.

There’s another problem with the photograph: It doesn’t include the National Museum of the American Indian, a building located at the corner of Fourth Street and Independence Avenue that opened on Sept. 14, 2004. (Looking at the photograph, the building should be in the upper right hand corner of the National Mall, next to the Air and Space Museum.) That means the picture was taken before the museum opened exactly five years ago. So clearly the photo doesn’t show the “tea party” crowd from the Sept. 12 protest.

Also worth noting are the cranes in front of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. According to Randall Kremer, the museum’s director of public affairs, “The last time cranes were in front was in the 1990s when the IMAX theater was being built.”

It appears that the photo was actually taken in 1997 at a rally for Promise Keepers, a group for Christian men. According to the group’s Web site, nearly 1 million people attended the event. Photos of the Oct. 4, 1997, event that were posted on various Web sites in 2003, 2008 and earlier this year show either the same picture or a similar photo that has identical tents and what appear to be TV screens in the same locations.

Conservative bloggers who originally posted the picture have backed down.

Malkin, like some of her conservative cohorts, retracted the number she had attributed to ABC when the network chastised FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe, whose organization arranged the event, for inaccurately telling the crowd that the news organization had reported the crowd at 1 million to 1.5 million people.

Malkin linked to the ABC story on her site, and changed her blog post headline to “Celebrating the 9/12 rallies; Turnout estimated at 2 million; Update: How many?; FreedomWorks in error.”

Say Anything updated its original post to say that the picture was “of the wrong rally.” An accurate photo “clearly shows that (the rally) didn’t take place on the mall nearly as extensively as the image I mistakenly posted does.” Power Line took the picture down all together.

But because mistakes can still live forever on the Internet and many people who saw the photo on Facebook were unaware it was found to be the wrong picture, we decided to still rate it on the Truth-O-Meter. And Pants on Fire it is.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/sep/14/blog-posting/blogger-claim-photo-shows-millions-tea-party-prote/
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DougMacG
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« Reply #466 on: September 17, 2009, 10:55:49 AM »

Crafty,  You are correct but I would also note the speed that the story got corrected.  I was traveling and noticed and shared the picture of the protest on powerline.  I looked again a very short time later and another powerline poster had issued the correction - right with the original post.  Then they took down the false picture.  Not like CBS and Dan Rather digging in their heels or the NY Times burying corrections much later deep in the paper if at all.

Same goes for this format which lends itself nicely to offering corrections or other takes on anything posted.

I remember reading and repeating a story that Oliver North so long ago testified that he needed his elaborate security system because he had been targeted by a then unknown terrorist - OBL, and that was false, I think the real story was of another terrorist named Abu Nidal.  Anyway I remember being duped and hating it.  Makes me wonder how regular readers of the NY Times must feel on a near-daily basis.
---
From the wit of the tea party crowd, some blogs covering the protest posted photos of protesters pretending to be czars wearing protest t-shirts mocking the glibness administration and their avoidance of senate confirmations for key appointees.  Hope this is received in good humor...
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DougMacG
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« Reply #467 on: September 21, 2009, 11:06:52 PM »

Conservative niches in media profit from the void left by the so-called mainstream media, still they are frustrated by the what they won't cover or expose.  In this particular case the main media was badly outsmarted and humiliated by one who knows their bias and their methods better than they know themselves. 

September 21, 2009
The Story Behind the ACORN Story
By Andrew Breitbart

Everything you needed to know about the unorthodox roll out of the now-notorious ACORN sting videos was hidden in plain sight in my Sept. 7 column, Katie Couric, Look in the Mirror. ACORN was not the only target of those videos; so were Katie, Brian, Charlie and every other mainstream media pooh-bah.

They were not going to report this blockbuster unless they were forced to. And they were. What's more, it ain't over yet. Not every hint I dropped in that piece about what was to come has played itself out yet.Stay tuned.

When filmmaker and provocateur James O'Keefe came to my office to show me the video of him and his friend, Hannah Giles, going to the Baltimore offices of ACORN - the nation's foremost "community organizers" - dressed as a pimp and a prostitute and asking for - and getting - help for various illegal activities, he sought my advice. In the past, Mr. O'Keefe created brilliant social satire that rocked his college campus and even made its way on to the talk-radio and cable-news shows, but the magnitude of his latest adventure had the potential to rock the political establishment.

I was awed by Mr. O'Keefe's guts and amazed by the footage, but explained that the mainstream media would try to kill this important and illuminating expose about a corrupt and criminal political racket, and that the well-funded political left would go into "war room" mode, with 25-year-old Mr. O'Keefe and 20-year-old cohort Miss Giles in the cross hairs. I felt I had a moral obligation to protect these young muckrakers from the left and from the media, and to devise a strategy that would force the media's hand.

Once the American public saw with its own eyes the grotesque, common practices of ACORN's housing offices, Mr. O'Keefe and Miss Giles could no longer be a legitimate focus of media scrutiny. Kill the messenger doesn't work with the American people when they realize that the message is so devastating and honest. I think the video exposed the misuse of public funds and systemic manipulation of the tax code in the name of "helping the poor."

If Mr. O'Keefe dumped the videos on YouTube, the political powers would have killed the expose before it got traction. I half-joked that he should secretly tape pitching the major television networks exclusive use of his videos for their nightly news broadcasts. But a simpler, less controversial method proved as fruitful.

I told him that in addition to launching his compelling and stylized Web videos, we needed to offer the full transcripts and audio to the public in the name of transparency, and to offer Fox News the full footage of each video before each was released.We had to devise a plan that would force the media to see the evidence before they had enough time to destroy these two idealistic 20-something truth seekers. Mr. O'Keefe agreed to post the full audio and full transcript of his video experiences at BigGovernment.com.

Thus was born a multimedia, multiplatform strategy designed to force the reluctant hands of ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post.

Videos of five different ACORN offices in five separate cities would be released on five consecutive weekdays over a full week - Baltimore, Washington, New York, San Bernadino and San Diego. By dripping the videos out, we exposed to anyone paying attention that ACORN was lying through its teeth and that the media would look imbecilic continuing to trot out their hapless spokespeople.

If the media, as expected, pretended that the story didn't exist, they'd have another debacle on their hands comparable to the failure to report the shocking views of the White House's "green jobs czar," Van Jones. If they invested in the story, I told Mr. O'Keefe, they would do ACORN's defense work. I told him the focus needed to be on the message, not the messenger. Otherwise, the mainstream media would attempt to direct attention away from the damaging video evidence.

The best example of this came from ABC's anchor, Charlie Gibson. "I don't even know about it. So you've got me at a loss," he told WLS radio when asked about it. "But my goodness, if it's got everything, including sleaziness in it, we should talk about it in the morning." But he also said that what was seen on these videos was best left for the "cables."

Is this not malevolent arrogance?

That evening, Katie Couric and "The CBS Evening News" cried uncle and did a story. Six days into an underground media sensation that caused the White House to force the Commerce Department to delink ACORN from the census on day two, CBS knew it could sit on the sidelines no longer. Especially since ACORN spokespeople were issuing what to me was clearly lie after lie, and CBS could only assume that more videos were coming.

CNN made the most sustained effort to blame the messenger and make the videos the issue. Producers aggressively called Miss Giles, Mr. O'Keefe and me, imploring us to explain our journalistic tactics. I told them repeatedly that if they offered the videos a fair airing and let their audience decide, we'd agree to a Time Warner grilling. I also said we could have the debate on journalistic ethics after this story played out at a journalism school of their choice.

Instead, the media repeated ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis' growing body of lies, never holding her accountable for her shameless hackery. Jonathan Klein, CNN's president, is emerging as symbol of the mainstream media's last depressing days.

No wonder Jon Stewart delivered a stinging and hilarious rebuke of the real newspeople on his "Daily Show" parodies every night: "Where were the real reporters on this story? ... Where the hell were you?"

High praise to you, Mr. Stewart. It's nice to see there's someone out there in liberal media-land who would recognize there's something terribly wrong on these videos. And yes, there are more to come.

At the very least, filmmaker James O'Keefe and actress Hannah Giles deserve a Pulitzer Prize for their expose of deep corruption and unspeakable immorality at the ACORN housing division. But more important, I won't rest until they receive a grant to continue their partisan artistry from the National Endowment for the Arts.
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« Reply #468 on: September 23, 2009, 11:15:36 AM »

Going to Fox II
John Stossel
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
When I announced last week that I was leaving ABC for Fox, some readers complained about my "bias." I replied: "Every reporter has political beliefs. The difference is that I am upfront about mine."

Look at today's burning issue: President Obama's pledge to redesign 15 percent of the economy. Virtually every reporter calls his health care plan "reform." But dictionaries define reform as "improvement." So before they present any evidence, reporters pronounce Obama's plan an improvement. Isn't that bias?

The New York Times took its bias to an absurd length. Its page-one story on the big anti-big-government rally in Washington, D.C., referred to "protests that began with an opposition to health care. ..."

Apparently, in the Times reporter's and editors' view, opponents of the Obama health care plan oppose health care itself. (The online article was later changed.

Economic-policy reporters usually present the views of supporters of new regulations as objective and public-spirited. For a contrary view, at best they'll ask a Republican or a representative of the regulated business, who is portrayed as self-serving. (Republicans tend to offer a watered-down version of the Democrats' proposals.)

A recent Bloomberg report on President Obama's plans to rewrite financial regulations is typical: "Obama has proposed new regulations overseeing the systemic risk posed by large financial institutions." The reporter quoted White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers in support of the plan. Although there are plenty of reasons to doubt that regulators are competent at judging systemic risk, no skeptical economist was quoted. Readers are led to believe the program is perfectly feasible.

Most reporting on the "stimulus" package has the same flaw. Just to call it "stimulus" is to editorialize, since the idea that government spending can truly stimulate an economy is at best doubtful. Many good economists say it can't be done. After all, the money is taken from somewhere else. But the economists rarely are quoted.

In addition, reporters seem to think they've done their job if they merely describe the intentions behind the proposed "reform." But the burden of proof should be on the sponsors of regulation and spending. They should have to make a convincing case that their new rules are superior to the free market. Who cares about intentions?

Fuel-efficiency standards, intended to save gasoline, give us less crashworthy cars, so more people die. Subsidies to American farmers destroy Third World markets. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac encouraged shaky subprime mortgages and helped cause the housing and financial turmoil.

The long list of bad results that have emerged from well-intended regulation ought to dim reporters' enthusiasm. But it hasn't.

I admit that my guiding political and economic philosophy -- libertarianism -- now shapes my reporting, in this way: It prompts me to ask questions that others don't ask.

I don't claim to be the expert. But some of my colleagues who write about business know nothing about economics. Many are comically hostile to profit -- they dismiss it as "greed" (although they bargain for the highest salaries possible).

On my former ABC blog, some people called me a biased "conservative."

"Your (sic) a shill anyways John. dont (sic) let the door hit you in the you know what."

I'm surprised that the self-described enemies of intolerance can't tolerate even one MSM reporter who doesn't share their statist premises. The interventionist state has been the status quo for generations, so I must be something other than "conservative." "Liberal" is what my philosophy used to be called. It's the statists who are the reactionaries.

Not all the blog comments were hostile:

"Congratulations. The mind boggles at the thought of giving free reign on air to someone who actually understands economics."

"Stossel challenges conventional wisdom, so I hope Fox lets him do that."

I assume Fox will. My points of view on things like immigration, nation-building and the war on drugs differ from those of many at Fox, but libertarians like Judge Andrew Napolitano (http://tinyurl.com/lm2mpy) still seem to thrive there. The alleged "conservatives" are pretty tolerant.

I think they'll tolerate me. See you there next month.

http://townhall.com/columnists/JohnStossel/2009/09/23/going_to_fox_ii?page=full&comments=true
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« Reply #469 on: September 30, 2009, 08:07:33 AM »

I forget exactly where I saw/heard it in the last day or two, but apparently Pravda on the Hudson has admitted that it came very late to the Van Jones story and that the little coverage it gave had the appearance of political favoratism and that it had decided to have someone monitor the opinion media for ideas about stories.
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« Reply #470 on: September 30, 2009, 09:28:25 AM »

I look forward to Stossel on Fox.

"it had decided to have someone monitor the opinion media for ideas about stories."

Suggesting they follow the MSM pack about what to cover.

 
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« Reply #471 on: October 01, 2009, 10:28:02 AM »

By JAMES TARANTO
(Editor's note: This is an abbreviated edition of Best of the Web Today. We're on assignment, returning Thursday.)

Clark Hoyt, "public editor" of the New York Times, has weighed in on his paper's coverage of the Acorn scandal--or rather its lack thereof. Right off the bat, he delivers a half-truth:

On Sept. 12, an Associated Press article inside The Times reported that the Census Bureau had severed its ties to Acorn, the community organizing group. Robert Groves, the census director, was quoted as saying that Acorn, one of thousands of unpaid organizations promoting the 2010 census, had become "a distraction."

What the article didn't say--but what followers of Fox News and conservative commentators already knew--was that a video sting had caught Acorn workers counseling a bogus prostitute and pimp on how to set up a brothel staffed by under-age girls, avoid detection and cheat on taxes.

It is true, as we noted Sept. 14, that the AP article as published in the Times didn't mention that Acorn had been caught in a sex-slavery sting. But that's because the paper cut the latter half of the original dispatch, which did mention it. And there were other AP dispatches on the evening of Sept. 11, such as this one, that led with the sting. Somehow the Times managed to miss those.

Hoyt acknowledges that the Times continued missing the story:

For days, as more videos were posted and government authorities rushed to distance themselves from Acorn, The Times stood still. Its slow reflexes--closely following its slow response to a controversy that forced the resignation of Van Jones, a White House adviser--suggested that it has trouble dealing with stories arising from the polemical world of talk radio, cable television and partisan blogs. Some stories, lacking facts, never catch fire. But others do, and a newspaper like The Times needs to be alert to them or wind up looking clueless or, worse, partisan itself.

It's hard to disagree with that. But Hoyt could have strengthened his argument by noting, as we did Friday, that the Times has followed exactly this pattern with the National Endowment for the Arts scandal: ignoring it altogether until the Obama administration took some remedial action, then reporting it only on an inside page. Oh well, maybe he'll get around to it in a few more weeks.

When the Times waddled in with a report on the sex-slavery sting, it covered it as a political story. Hoyt rightly faults the paper for this:

Finally, on Sept. 16, nearly a week after the first video was posted, The Times took note of the controversy, under the headline, "Conservatives Draw Blood From Acorn, Favored Foe." The article said that conservatives hoped to weaken the Obama administration by attacking its allies and appointees they viewed as leftist. The conservatives thought they had a "winning formula," the article said, mobilizing people "to dig up dirt," then trumpeting it on talk radio and television. . . .
I thought politics was emphasized too much, at the expense of questions about an organization whose employees in city after city participated in outlandish conversations about illegal and immoral activities.

Scrupulously fair, Hoyt did seek the other side of the story--the Times editors' side:

Dean Baquet, the Washington bureau chief, said, "We did not ignore the Acorn story, so I don't think it's fair for people to say we blew it off." . . .
Jill Abramson, the managing editor for news, agreed with me that the paper was "slow off the mark," and blamed "insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio." . . .
Despite what the critics think, Abramson said the problem was not liberal bias.

This seems totally predictable--but wait. On Sept. 10, we wrote (with respect to the Van Jones story) that we thought Hoyt would write something along the lines of: "The Times was a beat behind on this story. To some readers, this suggests liberal bias. I see no evidence of this." We added: "We'll buy Times public editor Clark Hoyt a drink if he doesn't say something to that effect when he weighs in on the Jones story."

But he didn't say he doesn't think the problem was liberal bias. In fact, given Hoyt's history of pooh-poohing liberal bias in his own voice, we'd say he pointedly did not say so in this case. He said Jill Abramson (who, as co-author of "Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas," doesn't have a liberally biased bone in her body--ha ha) didn't think the problem was liberal bias. This is a huge difference.

Clark, we owe you a drink. Just email us to collect.

Here, though, is the most priceless bit of the Hoyt column:

[Abramson] and Bill Keller, the executive editor, said last week that they would now assign an editor to monitor opinion media and brief them frequently on bubbling controversies. Keller declined to identify the editor, saying he wanted to spare that person "a bombardment of e-mails and excoriation in the blogosphere."

The Obama administration, as we noted Wednesday, was supposed to usher in a new era of transparency in government. Instead we find ourselves in a new era of opacity, not only in government but in the media. The New York Times now employs secret agent editors.

Hoyt writes, of the sex-slavery sting, that "most news organizations consider such tactics unethical--The Times specifically prohibits reporters from misrepresenting themselves or making secret recordings." True enough. But even James O'Keefe told the Acorn employees his name. At least in that sense, he was more honest with his targets than the Times now is with its readers.
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« Reply #472 on: October 02, 2009, 10:33:14 AM »

"Close your eyes, and pretend it's still the George W. Bush administration," writes columnist Larry Elder. "In Afghanistan, more American service members died in August than in any month since the war began. His top military commander says that without more troops, we run the risk of losing the war. Iran admits operating a second previously undisclosed nuclear facility. Unemployment stands at 9.7 percent, with consumer confidence lower last month after a brief uptick. An important domestic initiative -- one he campaigned on -- faces a likely make-or-break month in Congress."

Elder continues, "What does the President do? He flies to Copenhagen to personally lobby the International Olympic Committee to bring the Olympics to Crawford, Texas."

Substitute Barack Obama for George W. Bush and Chicago for Crawford and you have the news this week: Obama flew to Copenhagen to lobby the IOC to award the 2016 Olympics to his "home town" of Chicago. The First Lady flew separately to make her own pitch. Just think of the carbon footprint that generated.

Aside from massaging his narcissistic ego, Obama is obviously looking to generate a huge financial windfall for his Chicago cronies, though as we went to press the decision had not yet been made. And anyway, as Elder concludes, "Iran and Afghanistan can wait."
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« Reply #473 on: October 03, 2009, 10:50:27 AM »

Where in the World Is Alexander Podrabinek? Hopefully, Putin Doesn’t Know
Posted By Kim Zigfeld On October 3, 2009 @ 12:18 am In . Column2 04, Blogosphere, Culture, Europe, Free Speech, History, Media, Politics, Russia, World News | No Comments

Where in the world is Alexander Podrabinek [1]? I hope Vladimir Putin never finds out.

Mr. Podrabinek is one of a literally dying breed: Russian journalists who are not afraid to tell the truth even if it gets them murdered. Reuters reports: “New York-based press watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Russia the world’s third most dangerous country for journalists, with 17 killed since 2000 including Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya in 2006.”

Over at my blog La Russophobe, we’ve translated Podrabinek’s column on the valiant Russian website Yezhedevny Zhurnal [2] many times. He’s written about official corruption [3], state propaganda [4], human rights atrocities [5] in the Chechnya region,  persecuted dissidents [6] and opposition leaders, [7] and the essential lack [8] of an original Russian idea.

But now it seems, Podrabinek has gone one step too far.

A few days ago, a new restaurant in Moscow was forced to change its name [9]. Podrabinek wrote a column about the incident, and the reaction was so virulent among the Russian nationalist set, the death threats so clear and credible, that the author has been forced into hiding [10].

The incident couldn’t have been more Soviet in character. The restaurant called itself “Anti-Sovietskaya” — but not because it was opposed to the Sovietization of Russia under proud KGB spy Putin or even to Russia’s horrific legacy of Soviet mass murder.  It called itself that simply because it was located opposite [11] the infamous Sovietskaya Hotel.

But that didn’t matter to Russia’s fire-breathing nationalists, and especially not to the Hitler-youth knockoff called “Nashi” (“Us Slavic Russians”). They descended on the little restaurant as if it was praising the Nazis who destroyed Russia in World War II (rather than criticizing the likes of Josef Stalin, who wiped out at least as many Russians as the Nazis), and soon it was forced to change the name to simply “Sovietskaya.”

That didn’t sit well with Podrabinek, and he wrote about it [12] on Yezhedevny Zhurnal’s virtual pages (translation here [13]). As Reuters reports, he “recalled the prison camps and crimes of Stalinism, and accused the current Russian authorities of trying to burnish the image of the Soviet Union.”

He’s not just blowing smoke. Podrabinek saw the worst of the Soviet system up close and personal. The International Press Institute notes [14]: “He was sentenced in 1978 to five years in Siberia for criticizing the Soviet system, and in 1980 was sentenced to three and a half years at a labor camp for distributing banned literature.”

Nashi, which is directly supported by the Kremlin, publicly accused him of “defiling the honor of veterans of the Great Patriotic War” and announced it would conduct protest activity at his home — clearly stating, in other words, that it knew where he lived. Its spokesman added: “We believe that people who insult veterans should not have the right to live here.”

Then the death threats starting rolling in. On Monday, he announced that he had “received information from reliable sources that at a senior level the decision has been taken to settle scores with me by any means.”

Given the statistics on the murder of Russian journalists and the power and connections of the Nashi fanatics, Podrabinek’s fears are clearly well-founded. The Telegraph reports [15]: “In recent years Nashi waged a campaign against former British Ambassador Sir Anthony Brenton, which he described as ‘psychological harassment bordering on violence’ after he attended and spoke at opposition meetings. His car was followed and he was picketed on trips out of Moscow.”

Ever since Putin first came to power, we’ve seen one critic after another brutally murdered [16] and not a single killing ever solved.  The Kremlin has seized control of every mainstream media outlet and now, even though the vast majority of Russians can’t even go online [17], it is squaring off against the last vestige of critical reporting: Internet websites. Putin is reviving the Soviet state as fast as his limited resources will allow him.

And the world is just letting him do it. Instead of confronting Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama is offering him gifts of appeasement in the form of reduced military confrontation and ignoring the neo-Soviet crackdown. Given Russia’s deep and abiding hatred [18] of America and her values and its willingness to support [19] America’s most lethal enemies, Obama is clearly bequeathing a future conflict with Russia to America’s children just the same way Neville Chamberlain did.

But we must reserve our harshest scorn, of course, for the cowardly denizens of Russia who look the other way as Putin carries out his final solution for the problem of democracy. Their craven silence as sources of information are switched off and propaganda based on outright lies once again overwhelms them is truly nauseating. It is a betrayal of all the heroic Russians who struggled to resist the first Soviet dictatorship and gave their lives doing so.

Little wonder, given this crude backwardness, that Russia doesn’t rank in the top 130 nations of the world for adult lifespan.  Indeed, given Obama’s cowardice, perhaps our best protection against the Russian menace is that they seem hell-bent on driving themselves into extinction.

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

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/where-in-the-world-is-alexander-podrabinek/

URLs in this post:

[1] Alexander Podrabinek: http://ej.ru/?a=note&id=9494
[2] Yezhedevny Zhurnal: http://ej.ru/
[3] official corruption: http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/another-original-lr-translation-into-the-russian-cesspit/
[4] state propaganda: http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/another-original-lr-translation-medvedev-is-the-new-goebbels/
[5] human rights atrocities: http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/another-original-lr-translation-putins-dagestan-disaster/
[6] dissidents: http://lrtranslations.blogspot.com/2007/02/saga-of-larisa-arap.html
[7] opposition leaders,: http://lrtranslations.blogspot.com/2007/02/bukovsky-real-russian-patriot.html
[8] essential lack: http://lrtranslations.blogspot.com/2007/02/imitation-as-russian-national-idea.html
[9] change its name: http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSTRE58K3PD20090921?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnou
[10] forced into hiding: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE58S1G020090929
[11] located opposite: http://www.times.spb.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=29896
[12] wrote about it: http://ej.ru/?a=note&id=9467
[13] here: http://www.finrosforum.fi/?p=5988
[14] notes: http://www.freemedia.at/startpage/singleview/as-ipi-press-freedom-advocacy-mission-arrives-in-russia-journalist-goes-into-hiding-after-receiving-threats/d38392708c/
[15] reports: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/6243970/Russian-journalist-in-hiding-after-receiving-threats.html
[16] one critic after another brutally murdered: http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/putinmurders/
[17] vast majority of Russians can’t even go online: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/reimposing_totalitarian_inform.html
[18] deep and abiding hatred: http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=larussophobe.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.themoscowtimes.com%2Fopinion%2Farticle%2F384367.html
[19] willingness to support: http://www.rferl.org/content/Not_So_Fast/1830363.html
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« Reply #474 on: October 12, 2009, 09:58:02 AM »

By BRIAN STELTER
Published: October 11, 2009
Attacking the news media is a time-honored White House tactic but to an unusual degree, the Obama administration has narrowed its sights to one specific organization, the Fox News Channel, calling it, in essence, part of the political opposition.


Glenn Beck was credited with forcing a White House adviser to resign.

“We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” said Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, in a telephone interview on Sunday. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

Her comments are only the latest in the volatile exchange between the administration and the top-rated network, which is owned by the News Corporation, controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Last month, Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News, and David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Obama, met for coffee in New York, in what Politico, which last week broke that news, labeled a “Fox summit.”

While neither party has said what was discussed, some have speculated that a truce, or at least an adjustment in tone, was at issue. (Mr. Ailes and Mr. Obama reportedly reached a temporary accord after a meeting in mid-2008.) But shots are still being fired, which animates the idea that both sides see benefits in the feud.

Fox seems to relish the controversy.

“Instead of governing, the White House continues to be in campaign mode, and Fox News is the target of their attack mentality,” Michael Clemente, the channel’s senior vice president for news, said in a statement on Sunday. “Perhaps the energy would be better spent on the critical issues that voters are worried about.”

Fox’s senior vice president for programming, Bill Shine, says of the criticism from the White House, “Every time they do it, our ratings go up.” Mr. Obama’s first year is on track to be the Fox News Channel’s highest rated.

One Fox executive said that the jabs by the White House could solidify the network’s audience base and recalled that Mr. Ailes had remarked internally: “Don’t pick a fight with people who like to fight.” The executive asked not to be named while discussing internal conversations.

Certainly, Fox continues to aggressively bolster its on-air talent, most recently with the hiring of John Stossel, the libertarian investigative journalist from ABC News, for its spin-off channel, Fox Business. The business channel is also keen on another administration critic, Lou Dobbs, who met for dinner with Mr. Ailes last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the meeting.

The shift for Fox News — the favorite network of the Bush administration, now the least favored one of the Obama administration — has financial implications for the News Corporation, especially given the network’s status as a growth engine in a perilous time for media companies.

Fox’s programs have drawn record numbers of viewers this year. Through last week, Fox averaged 1.2 million viewers at any given time this year, up from one million viewers through the same time last year. Previously, the channel peaked in 2003, the year the Iraq war started, with nearly 1.1 million viewers.

But controversial comments by the host Glenn Beck have also prompted an ad boycott. And the perception of Fox News as an opposition party has also affected its news correspondents, including Major Garrett, its chief White House correspondent, who Ms. Dunn says is a fair reporter. Mr. Garrett and other Fox correspondents have been directed by Mr. Clemente not to appear on the channel’s most opinionated programs.

Still, Paul Rittenberg, who oversees ad sales for Fox, said the channel existed in a climate where viewers choose cable news channels based on affinity. His channel, he said, stresses in its pitch to advertisers that “people who watch Fox News believe it’s the home team.”

To many Democrats, of course, the “home team” is conservative, a view only compounded by Fox’s at times skeptical coverage of Mr. Obama this year.

“I’ve got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration,” he said in June, though he did not mention Fox by name. He added, “You’d be hard pressed if you watched the entire day to find a positive story about me on that front.”

The White House has limited administration members’ appearances on the network in recent weeks. In mid-September, when the White House booked Mr. Obama on a round robin of Sunday morning talk shows, it skipped Fox and called it an “ideological outlet,” leading the “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace to appear on Bill O’Reilly’s prime-time show and call the administration “the biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington.”

Ms. Dunn called that remark juvenile and stressed that administration officials would still talk to Fox, and that Mr. Obama was likely to be interviewed on the network in the future. But, she added, “we’re not going to legitimize them as a news organization.”

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In an interview, Mr. Clemente suggested that there was an element of “shoot the messenger” in the back and forth. “Sometimes it’s actually helpful to have an organization or a person that you can go up against for whatever reason,” he said.


Fox argues that its news hours — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays — are objective. The channel has taken pains recently to highlight its news programs, including the two hours led by Shepard Smith, its chief news anchor. And its daytime newscasts draw more viewers than CNN or MSNBC’s prime-time programs.

“The average consumer certainly knows the difference between the A section of the newspaper and the editorial page,” Mr. Clemente said.

The White House rejects the news and editorial page comparison, and officials there can rattle off any number of perceived offenses. They date to the month before Mr. Obama formally started his presidential campaign, when one of the network’s morning hosts falsely claimed that he had attended a madrassa, an Islamic school. (The incident happened on what Fox calls an entertainment show, “Fox and Friends”; the mistake was corrected on the air later.)

More recently, Fox hosts have promoted tea party rallies against big government and steered attention toward a number of White House czar appointments. Mr. Beck, in particular, was credited with forcing Van Jones, a low-level White House adviser for environmental jobs, to resign last month. Mr. Beck devoted numerous segments to Mr. Jones and called him a “communist-anarchist radical.”

“If it wasn’t for Fox or talk radio, we’d be done as a republic,” Mr. Beck said in the wake of the resignation.

Mr. Beck, whose 5 p.m. program consistently draws three million viewers, is a “cultural phenomenon now,” Mr. Shine said. But this success has come at a price: he is the source of considerable discomfort for Fox’s journalists, especially for false statements on his program. In August, for instance, Mr. Beck claimed that Mr. Garrett was “never called on” at White House press briefings, but Mr. Garrett had asked a question that day.

Weeks earlier, Mr. Beck labeled Mr. Obama a racist, leading to an advertising boycott by ColorOfChange.org, an advocacy group that Mr. Jones helped found. Dozens of advertisers have distanced themselves from Mr. Beck’s show, causing headaches for Mr. Rittenberg’s advertising team, although he said Fox “hasn’t lost a dime” because the ads were moved to different hours.

Fox has made the channel’s tensions with the White House a story. In August, the network’s top-rated host, Mr. O’Reilly, dispatched one of his opinion program’s producers to ask why the administration seemed “so thin-skinned” at a White House briefing. The deputy press secretary disagreed, and said that Mr. O’Reilly had interviewed Mr. Obama during his candidacy last year. The administration’s aggressive stance suggests that it does not view Fox’s audience as one that can be persuaded. During the presidential campaign, Ms. Dunn said, it booked campaign representatives on Fox to try to reach undecided voters, but by mid-October, the campaign had mostly withdrawn them from the channel’s programs.

“It was beyond diminishing returns,” she said. “It was no returns.”
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« Reply #475 on: October 12, 2009, 10:56:00 AM »

***Attacking the news media is a time-honored White House tactic but to an unusual degree, the Obama administration has narrowed its sights to one specific organization, the Fox News Channel, calling it, in essence, part of the political opposition.***

This statement is patently false.
The White house and the left in Congress are going after "talk radio" as well.
ie:  "fainess doctrine".
The statement would be more accurate to state the White House is out to destroy, defame, or muzzle any news organization that it views as opposition.

And the rest of the media is clearly in the tank for BO.

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« Reply #476 on: October 12, 2009, 12:56:47 PM »

I often hear top of the hour radio news from Fox and find they often let the same liberal spin fall into news stories that we would expect from ABC, NBC, CBS, AP, etc.  A good conservative editor would question the wording and framing of the stories and no one is doing that IMO.

I don't watch the cable shows but see Fox News Sunday.  Of the usual panelists, obviously 2 are right wing.  The others for balance are less flaming in their leftism than typically found on the other Sunday shows.  Chris Wallace is the most balanced of the moderators.  I would compare him to Jim Lehrer in his ability to keep his personal views out of the way and do his job.

Hannity is an opinion show.  I know him only through radio.  Obviously a lighter weight than Rush but  he brings on insightful and relevant guests, right and left.  To have him on prime time must ruffle the lefty feathers but his success, like Rush, is based on the void left by the rest of the media.
----

Crafty,  I am curious to read more about your observation that the WSJ opinion page has changed for the worse since the Murdoch took over.
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« Reply #477 on: October 13, 2009, 06:12:40 PM »

John Stewart lays CNN to waste over their news coverage habits:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-october-12-2009/cnn-leaves-it-there
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« Reply #478 on: October 14, 2009, 12:20:09 AM »

That was DEVASTATING cheesy
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« Reply #479 on: October 16, 2009, 12:01:38 PM »

From the Left: The War on Fox News
The Obama administration is clearly not content to have a majority of American news media in its back pocket. It wants total obedience and has now openly declared war on Fox News Channel, which White House Communications Director Anita Dunn recently accused of being "a wing of the Republican Party." She added that from here forward, "We're going to treat [Fox News] the way we would treat an opponent. ... We don't need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave."

Consider the source, though. Dunn is also on the record saying that one of her "favorite political philosophers" was Mao Tse Tung, who was responsible for more than 70 million deaths in Communist China.

Obamanauts are furious with Fox for being the only major broadcast news outlet that has not toed the party line. Apparently, the administration thinks the way "legitimate news organizations behave" is to out-and-out lie about the opposition, like CBS News with its "fake but accurate" hatchet job on President George W. Bush just prior to the 2004 election, and like the outrageously phony quotes attributed to Rush Limbaugh in recent days (more on that later).

Fox, on the other hand, has recently exposed the corruption of ACORN and the extreme leftism of former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, but this doesn't make it anti-Obama. Rather, it makes Fox pro-information, as the ACORN exposé and Van Jones's public insults about Republicans were real and noteworthy events, though most of the media chose not to report them.

The White House attack on Fox News goes beyond the simple cowardice of the Obama administration. Not only are they afraid to field tough questions from an aggressive news organization but government appointees in high places like Mark Lloyd, the FCC's Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer, are calling for ways to address the "structural imbalance" of talk radio and, presumably, the manner in which FNC does business. For his part, Lloyd is on record as being enamored of Hugo Chavez's "democratic revolution" and his takeover of the Venezuelan media. All aboard for the "Fairness Doctrine."
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« Reply #480 on: October 19, 2009, 10:40:00 AM »

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009...ws-1925819282/

The White House escalated its offensive against Fox News on Sunday by urging other news organizations to stop "following Fox" and instead join the administration's attempt to marginalize the channel.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN that President Obama does not want "the CNNs and the others in the world [to] basically be led in following Fox."

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod went further by calling on media outlets to join the administration in declaring that Fox is "not a news organization."

"Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way," Axelrod counseled ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "We're not going to treat them that way."

By urging other news outlets to side with the administration, Obama aides officials dramatically upped the ante in the war of words that began earlier this month, when White House communications director Anita Dunn branded Fox "opinion journalism masquerading as news."

On Sunday, Fox's Chris Wallace retorted: "We wanted to ask Dunn about her criticism, but, as they've done every week since August, the White House refused to make any administration officials available to 'FOX News Sunday' to talk about this or anything else."

The White House stopped providing guests to 'Fox News Sunday' after Wallace fact-checked controversial assertions made by Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, in August. Dunn said fact-checking an administration official was "something I've never seen a Sunday show do."

"She criticized 'FOX News Sunday' last week for fact-checking -- fact-checking -- an administration official," Wallace said Sunday. "They didn't say that our fact-checking was wrong. They just said that we had dared to fact-check."

"Let's fact-check Anita Dunn, because last Sunday she said that Fox ignores Republican scandals, and she specifically mentioned the scandal involving Nevada senator John Ensign," Wallace added. "A number of Fox News shows have run stories about Senator Ensign. Anita Dunn's facts were just plain wrong."

Fox News senior vice president Michael Clemente said: "Surprisingly, the White House continues to declare war on a news organization instead of focusing on the critical issues that Americans are concerned about like jobs, health care and two wars. The door remains open and we welcome a discussion about the facts behind the issues."

Observers on both sides of the political aisle questioned the White House's decision to continue waging war on a news organization, saying the move carried significant political risks.

Democratic strategist Donna Brazile said on CNN: "I don't always agree with the White House. And on this one here I would disagree."

David Gergen, who has worked for Democratic and Republican presidents, said: "I totally agree with Donna Brazile." Gergen added that White House officials have "gotten themselves into a fight they don't necessarily want to be in. I don't think it's in their best interest."

"The faster they can get this behind them, the more they can treat Fox like one other organization, the easier they can get back to governing, and then put some people out on Fox," Gergen said on CNN. "I mean, for goodness sakes -- you know, you engage in the debate.

What Americans want is a robust competition of ideas, and they ought to be willing to go out there and mix it up with some strong conservatives on Fox, just as there are strong conservatives on CNN like Bill Bennett."

Bennett expressed outrage that Dunn told an audience of high school students this year that Mao Tse-tung, the founder of communist China, was one of "my favorite political philosophers."

"Having the spokesman do this, attack Fox, who says that Mao Zedong is one of the most influential figures in her life, was not…a small thing; it's a big thing," Bennett said on CNN. "When she stands up, in a speech to high school kids, says she's deeply influenced by Mao Zedong, that -- I mean, that is crazy."

Fox News contributor Karl Rove, who was the top political strategist to former President George W. Bush, said: "This is an administration that's getting very arrogant and slippery in its dealings with people. And if you dare to oppose them, they're going to come hard at you and they're going to cut your legs off."

"This is a White House engaging in its own version of the media enemies list. And it's unhelpful for the country and undignified for the president of the United States to so do," Rove added. "That is over- the-top language. We heard that before from Richard Nixon."

Media columnist David Carr of the New York Times warned that the White House war on Fox "may present a genuine problem for Mr. Obama, who took great pains during the campaign to depict himself as being above the fray of over-heated partisan squabbling."

"While there is undoubtedly a visceral thrill in finally setting out after your antagonists, the history of administrations that have successfully taken on the media and won is shorter than this sentence," Carr wrote over the weekend. "So far, the only winner in this latest dispute seems to be Fox News. Ratings are up 20 percent this year."

He added: "The administration, by deploying official resources against a troublesome media organization, seems to have brought a knife to a gunfight."
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« Reply #481 on: October 22, 2009, 10:08:34 AM »



By SETH LIPSKY
Leonard Downie, who stepped down a year ago as executive editor of the Washington Post, was famous for declining to vote as a matter of journalistic principle.

"I decided to stop voting when I became the ultimate gatekeeper for what is published in the newspaper," he once explained. "I wanted to keep a completely open mind about everything we covered and not make a decision, even in my own mind or the privacy of the voting booth, about who should be president or mayor, for example."

This week Mr. Downie is in the news for declaring in favor of government subsidies for the press. He has written a report, commissioned by the Columbia Journalism School, called "The Reconstruction of American Journalism," which recommends legislation and regulatory changes to enable news organizations to operate as nonprofits or hybrids between limited liability companies and charities. The report also recommends that the government use money from various fees to subsidize the news business.

The report focuses on what it calls "accountability journalism." According to the dean of the Columbia Journalism School, Nicholas Lemann, in a note published on the CJR Web site, Messrs. Downie and co-author Michael Schudson make clear that the Internet "has brought the days when privately owned newspapers could be the main bearers of this reporting function to an end."

The authors insist they are not recommending "a government bailout of newspapers, nor any of the various direct subsidies that governments give newspapers in many European countries," even though, they reckon, "those subsidies have not had a noticeably chilling effect on newspapers' willingness to print criticism of those governments." They acknowledge that most Americans distrust government involvement in reporting and say they share it. But they write that this "should not preclude government support for news reporting any more than it has for the arts, the humanities, and sciences, all of which receive some government support."

They say there's been "a minimum of government pressure in those fields," though they note the exceptions, such as when the National Endowment for the Arts came under fire in the 1990s. The authors assert that "any use of government money to help support news reporting would require mechanisms, besides the protections of the First Amendment, to insulate the resulting journalism as much as possible from pressure, interference, or censorship." They propose that the government siphon money into the news business from the Federal Communications Commission's surcharge on phone bills. They suggest the revenues be tapped for a Fund for Local News, which could direct the money to "worthy initiatives in local news reporting."

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Martin Kozlowski
 .The report suggests they would fund "categories and methods" of reporting, rather than individual stories or reporting projects. It likened the way Local News Fund Councils would operate to the ways State Humanities Councils have been in business since the 1970s—nonprofits whose volunteer boards have, in some places, gubernatorial appointees, all serving limited terms. When I asked Mr. Downie for more detail on what he had in mind, he said he envisioned government money more for innovation than continuing operations, though he also suggested that grants could be renewable.

Mr. Downie has stepped onto an exceptionally slippery slope. It's a view I've reached after 20 years working almost constantly to raise private capital for independent, privately-owned newspapers. One was the Forward, the weekly newspaper covering the Jewish beat that was launched in the 1990s on the foundation of the famed Yiddish-language broadsheet known as the Jewish Daily Forward. The other was The New York Sun, which was launched in 2002 to try, among other things, to seize the local beat from which the New York Times was retreating as it sought to become a national newspaper.

Though those were joyous decades in a happy newspaper life, I don't mind saying there were often desperate days. There were weeks at the Forward when its chairman, Harold Ostroff, and I basically covered the payroll with an American Express card. At the Sun, I was once warned by a lawyer that if the investors didn't come through, officers of the company could be held personally liable for any unpaid payroll taxes. (There were no unpaid taxes, and the investors did come through.)

One thing that kept me going was the prospect that at least some of our competitors, who were also losing money, might crack before we did. The notion that any of them might be sustained by government subsidies strikes me as profoundly contrary to a free press. In the event, the Sun folded without government help.

I take no comfort from the analogy the authors of this report draw with government funding for the arts. In New York City, there came a time when the leaders the voters entrusted with their tax money concluded that what was being done with it in the arts was so abhorrent they tried to stop it. This happened in 1999, when Mayor Rudy Giuliani confronted the Brooklyn Museum over its display of a depiction of the Madonna that had been splattered with elephant dung. A federal court wouldn't let the city stop funding the museum.

What would happen today if some modern-day version of Jay Near's "Saturday Press," an anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, racist newspaper issued during the 1920s, were to look for innovative funding by one of these state councils today? Minnesota tried back then to suppress Near's paper as a nuisance. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Near v. Minnesota (1931), protected his freedom from prior restraint. It's one thing for the Supreme Court to say a Jay Near can't be stopped in advance from publishing on his own dime. It would be another to use state power to force the rest of us to pay for it whether we want to or not.

Even if one could get around this sort of thing, I've come to the view that the real protection of press freedom is in the idea of private property. Press freedom in Soviet Russia was lost precisely on this issue when, as American journalist John Reed told the story in his famous book, "Ten Days that Shook the World," a proposal was put on the table to restore the press freedom that had been suspended on the first day of the Bolshevik revolution. Lenin shouted it down with a diatribe about how that would mean restoring to capitalists privately owned printing equipment, paper supplies and ink.

I don't mean to suggest, in any way, that Mr. Downie is a Bolshevik. I do mean to suggest that the best strategy to strengthen the press would be to maximize protection of the right to private property—and the right to competition. Subsidies are the enemy of competition, and as the newspaper industry flails around for a solution, I can't help but think of the hapless Roscoe Filburn.

He was a farmer in Ohio who had the misfortune to be growing wheat during the 1930s, when subsidies were brought in for farmers. With subsidies came restrictions on how much wheat one could grow—even, Filburn learned in a landmark Supreme Court case, Wickard v. Filburn (1942), wheat grown on his modest farm. Years later we have fewer family farms and more industrial farms vying for vast federal subsidies.

Could such a thing happen in news? Speaking as one entrepreneur who has tasted failure in the news business, let me say that if government subsidies for news gathering ever come up for a voter referendum, I hope Mr. Downie, a great editor to be sure, stands on his original principles and stays home.

Mr. Lipsky, a member of the adjunct faculty at the Columbia Journalism School, is the author of "The Citizen's Constitution: An Annotated Guide," which will be published later this month by Basic Books.
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« Reply #482 on: October 25, 2009, 09:02:29 AM »

EVANSTON, Ill. — For more than a decade, classes of students at Northwestern University’s journalism school have been scrutinizing the work of prosecutors and the police. The investigations into old crimes, as part of the Medill Innocence Project, have helped lead to the release of 11 inmates, the project’s director says, and an Illinois governor once cited those wrongful convictions as he announced he was commuting the sentences of everyone on death row.

But as the Medill Innocence Project is raising concerns about another case, that of a man convicted in a murder 31 years ago, a hearing has been scheduled next month in Cook County Circuit Court on an unusual request: Local prosecutors have subpoenaed the grades, grading criteria, class syllabus, expense reports and e-mail messages of the journalism students themselves.
The prosecutors, it seems, wish to scrutinize the methods of the students this time. The university is fighting the subpoenas.

Lawyers in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office say that in their quest for justice in the old case, they need every pertinent piece of information about the students’ three-year investigation into Anthony McKinney, who was convicted of fatally shooting a security guard in 1978. Mr. McKinney’s conviction is being reviewed by a judge.

Among the issues the prosecutors need to understand better, a spokeswoman said, is whether students believed they would receive better grades if witnesses they interviewed provided evidence to exonerate Mr. McKinney.

Northwestern University and David Protess, the professor who leads the students and directs the Medill Innocence Project, say the demands are ridiculously overreaching, irrelevant to Mr. McKinney’s case, in violation of the state’s protections for journalists and a breach of federal privacy statutes — not to mention insulting.

John Lavine, the dean of the Medill School of Journalism, said the suggestion that students might have thought their grades were linked to what witnesses said was “astonishing.” He said he believed that federal law barred him from providing the students grades, but that he had no intention of doing so in any case..

A spokeswoman for Anita Alvarez, the Cook County state’s attorney, who was elected last fall, said the prosecutors were simply trying to get to the bottom of the McKinney case.

“At the end of the day, all we’re seeking is the same thing these students are: justice and truth,” said Sally Daly, the spokeswoman. She said the prosecutors wished to see all statements the students received from witnesses, whether they supported or contradicted the notion of Mr. McKinney’s innocence.

“We’re not trying to delve into areas of privacy or grades,” Ms. Daly said. “Our position is that they’ve engaged in an investigative process, and without any hostility, we’re seeking to get all of the information they’ve developed, just as detectives and investigators turn over.”

If the courts find that Mr. Protess and the journalism school must turn over the student information, they risk being held in contempt if they refuse, said Dick O’Brien, a lawyer who is representing Northwestern.

But if the school gives in to such a demand, say advocates of the Medill Innocence Project and more than 50 similar projects (most involving law schools and legal clinics), the stakes could be still higher, discouraging students from taking part or forcing groups to devote time and money to legal assistance.

“Every time the government starts attacking the messenger as opposed to the message, it can have a chilling effect,” said Barry C. Scheck, a pioneer of the Innocence Project in New York, who said he had never seen a similar demand from prosecutors.

In October 2003, Mr. Protess’s investigative journalism classes began looking at the case after Mr. McKinney’s brother, Michael, brought it to the attention of the Medill Innocence Project — one of more 15,000 cases the project has been asked to consider investigating over the years.

Mr. Protess, who has been on the faculty at Northwestern since 1981 and began leading his investigative reporting students on such cases in 1991, created the Medill project in 1999, the same year he and his students drew national attention for helping to exonerate and free Anthony Porter, an inmate who had come within two days of execution.

The McKinney case took three years and nine teams of student reporters, all of whom have since graduated from Northwestern. In the end, the teams concluded that Mr. McKinney had been wrongly convicted of killing Donald Lundahl, a security guard, with a shotgun one evening in September 1978 in Harvey, a southern suburb of Chicago.

The students said they had found, among other things, that two eyewitnesses had recanted their testimony against Mr. McKinney and could not have seen him commit the killing because they were watching a boxing championship (Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali). The students collected an affidavit from a gang member who, they say, confirmed Mr. McKinney’s alibi that he was running away from gang members when the shooting took place.

The students have also suggested alternative suspects in the case and offered witnesses who said they had heard the others admit their involvement.

In 2006, the students took their findings to the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern’s law school, and by late last year, the claims were being considered by a Cook County Circuit Court judge and were described in an article in The Chicago Sun-Times and on the Medill Innocence Project Web site.

=========

Page 2 of 2)



The students provided their videotaped interviews of critical witnesses and affidavits to the prosecutors, but in June the prosecutors subpoenaed far more — the students’ investigative memorandums, e-mail messages, notes from multiple interviews with witnesses and class grades.

In their quest, prosecutors have raised a central question about the role of the students — suggesting that they should be viewed as an “investigative agency,” not journalists, whose unpublished materials could, under certain circumstances, be protected under a state statute.

“The school believes it should be exempt from the scrutiny of this honorable court and the justice system, yet it should be deemed a purveyor of its inadequacies to the public,” a legal brief from prosecutors said.

Professional journalism groups have said the students are clearly journalists, and offered support for their wish not to reveal their notes. Beth Konrad, president of the Chicago Headline Club, said the club was seeking a discussion with Ms. Alvarez, the state’s attorney.

“We want to know, what was the decision to overreach on this?” Ms. Konrad said.

Donald M. Craven, the interim executive director of the Illinois Press Association, questioned the prosecutors’ motives. “Taken to its logical conclusion, what they’re trying to do is dismantle the project,” Mr. Craven said.

Mr. Protess said his students most assuredly functioned as journalists and, as such, did not wish to become “an arm of the government” by providing their notes and private exchanges.

“It would destroy our autonomy,” he said. “We function with journalism standards and practices to guide our work.”

The notion that students would have been rewarded with better grades for witnesses who confirmed the thesis that Mr. McKinney was innocent is simply false, he said.

“My students are told to uncover the truth, wherever that leads them,” he said. In the last four years, he said, students had twice concluded that the convicts whose cases they were studying were indeed guilty.

Sarah Forte, one of the students who investigated Mr. McKinney’s case and who graduated in 2006, said she was frustrated that prosecutors were making the requests, even as Mr. McKinney, 49, remained in a prison in downstate Dixon.

“Why are they focusing on these unrelated things?” asked Ms. Forte, a defense investigator at the Southern Center for Human Rights who said she went to Northwestern partly to get involved in Mr. Protess’s project. “I cannot even imagine what they think they are going to find.”
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« Reply #483 on: October 25, 2009, 09:21:45 AM »

I actually support the "Innocence Project", but they better be ready for discovery.
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« Reply #484 on: October 25, 2009, 09:42:10 AM »

Why?!?

This smells to me like a matter of trying to intimidate those who raise, , , pardon the expression , , , inconvenient questions and facts.  I'm willing to entertain hearing the other POV, but this smells to me like the prosecutors are being bullies.
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« Reply #485 on: October 25, 2009, 10:17:30 AM »

If they were just writing a story for publication, then the journalist claim should fly. What these projects do goes well beyond that. If you wish to act as an investigator, then everything you do is subject to discovery.
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« Reply #486 on: October 25, 2009, 11:38:54 AM »

So, investigative reporters are subject to discovery?!?
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« Reply #487 on: October 25, 2009, 12:30:35 PM »

“We’re not trying to delve into areas of privacy or grades,” Ms. Daly said. “Our position is that they’ve engaged in an investigative process, and without any hostility, we’re seeking to get all of the information they’ve developed, just as detectives and investigators turn over.”

The students said they had found, among other things, that two eyewitnesses had recanted their testimony against Mr. McKinney and could not have seen him commit the killing because they were watching a boxing championship (Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali). The students collected an affidavit from a gang member who, they say, confirmed Mr. McKinney’s alibi that he was running away from gang members when the shooting took place.

The students have also suggested alternative suspects in the case and offered witnesses who said they had heard the others admit their involvement.

The students provided their videotaped interviews of critical witnesses and affidavits to the prosecutors, but in June the prosecutors subpoenaed far more — the students’ investigative memorandums, e-mail messages, notes from multiple interviews with witnesses and class grades.

**I think it's pretty clear that they are acting as investigators when rather than researching and reporting, they move into taking statements/affidavits and reconstructing crimes for testimonial purposes for the appealate process. They are acting as defense investigators and not mere journalists, no matter what title they seek.**
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« Reply #488 on: October 27, 2009, 11:22:19 AM »

Could this photo op have been any obviously more staged then this?
Hand picked *short* navy personel.
Tall darkly dressed figure against the all white dressed back drop and probably with elevations in his shoes and on elevated podium.
Reminds one of a towering figure of Abe Lincoln, black dressed and at the head of all the shorter generals.
Except he is still no Abe Lincoln who really does belong to the ages.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/oct/26/obama-tells-troops-will-not-rush-afghan-decision/
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« Reply #489 on: November 05, 2009, 02:57:48 PM »

http://reason.com/archives/2009/11/05/the-double-standard-about-jour
Reason Magazine


The Double Standard About Bias in Journalism

Every reporter has a point of view. But some refuse to admit it.

John Stossel | November 5, 2009

I made The New York Times last week. It even ran my picture. My mother would be proud.

Unfortunately, the story was critical. It said, "Critics have leaped on Mr. Stossel's speaking engagements as the latest evidence of conservative bias on the part of Fox."

Which "critics" had "leaped"? The reporter mentioned Rachel Maddow. I wouldn't think her criticism newsworthy, but Times reporters may use MSNBC as their guide to life. He also quoted an "associate professor of journalism" who said my speeches were "'pretty shameful' by traditional journalistic standards." All this because I spoke at an event for Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a "conservative advocacy group."

It is odd that this is a news story. In August, AFP hired me to do the very same thing. I give the money to charity. The Times didn't call that "shameful."

 But in August, I worked for ABC News. Now, I work for Fox. Hmmm.

It reminds me of something that happened earlier in my career.

I was one of America's first TV consumer reporters. I approached the job with an attitude. If companies ripped people off, I would embarrass them on TV—and demand that government do something. (I now regret the latter—the former was a good thing.)

I clearly had a point of view: I was a crusader out to punish corporate bullies. My colleagues liked it. I got job offers. I won 19 Emmys. I was invited to speak at journalism conferences.

Then, gradually, I figured out that business, for the most part, treats consumers pretty well. The way to get rich in business is to create something good, sell it for a reasonable price, acquire a reputation for honesty, and keep pleasing customers so they come back for more.

As a local TV reporter, I could find plenty of crooks. But once I got to the national stage—20/20 and Good Morning America—it was hard to find comparable national scams. There were some: Enron, Bernie Madoff, etc. But they are rare. In a $14 trillion economy, you'd think there'd be more. But there aren't.

I figured out why: Market forces, even when hampered by government, keep scammers in check. Reputation matters. Word gets out. Good companies thrive, and bad ones atrophy. Regulation barely deters the cheaters, but competition does.

It made me want to learn more about free markets. I subscribed to Reason magazine and read Cato Institute research papers. Then Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and Aaron Wildavsky.

My reporting changed. I started taking skeptical looks at government—especially regulation. I did an ABC TV special, "Are We Scaring You to Death?" that said we TV reporters often make hysterical claims about chemicals, pollution, and other relatively minor risks. Its good ratings—16 million viewers—surprised my colleagues.

Suddenly, I wasn't so popular with them.

I stopped winning Emmys.

I was invited on CNN's media program, Reliable Sources, to be interviewed by The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz and an indignant Bernard Kalb. They titled the segment, "Objectivity and Journalism: Does John Stossel Practice Either?" It was in big letters over my head.

Apparently, I had broken the rules.

On the air they told me that I was no longer objective. I was too stunned to defend myself effectively. I said something like: "I've always had a point of view. How come you had no trouble with that when I criticized business?"

In hindsight, I wish I'd said: "Look at the title on the wall, you hypocrites! It shows you have a point of view, too. Many reporters do. You just don't like my arguments now that I no longer hew to your statist line. So you want to shut me up."

But I didn't.

So I'll say it now: Reporters who think coercive government control is generally good and I, who thinks voluntary market forces are generally better, both have a point of view.

So why am I the one called biased?

I like what "Americans for Prosperity" defends. I'm an American, and I'm for prosperity. What creates prosperity is free and competitive markets. That means limited government.

And I will speak about that every chance I get.

John Stossel will soon host Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.
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« Reply #490 on: November 06, 2009, 09:49:37 AM »

What I saw from the OBama statement about the shooting was a man who  was giving another lecture.  Everytime he speaks it is in the form of a lecture.  The lack of true emotion (other than anger when someone should disagree or oppose him), the lack of any real sensitivity does suggest some sort of personality disorder.  The love for himself, the lack of emotion, the manipulative character, the deceitfulness like it is actually part of his nature, the balming others when things go wrong = personality disorder.
Clinton certianly possessed many of these traits.  Whenever I would try to categorize him as a personality disorder (Clinton) I would find that he possessed many of the traits but not quite enough to be categorized as full fledged narcissistic personality disorder.
Yet Clinton did seem to have a sensitivity that OBama clearly does not possess.  Obama is also clearly more of megalomaniac than Clinton ever was.  What is interesting about the following piece is that the author doesn't blame OBama.  He blames his handlers.
Thus there is still denial out there about the true nature, the true objectives of Obama.
Many still appear to be in denial about his true nature, his true agenda.  What will it take to wake the country up I don't know?  If people haven't seen enough to figure it out by now....

Obama's Frightening Insensitivity Following Shooting
A bad week for Democrats compounded by an awful moment for Barack Obama.
By ROBERT A. GEORGE
Updated 9:18 AM CST, Fri, Nov 6, 2009

 Getty Images President Obama didn't wait long after Tuesday's devastating elections to give critics another reason to question his leadership, but this time the subject matter was more grim than a pair of governorships.

After news broke out of the shooting at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas, the nation watched in horror as the toll of dead and injured climbed. The White House was notified immediately and by late afternoon, word went out that the president would speak about the incident prior to a previously scheduled appearance. At about 5 p.m., cable stations went to the president. The situation called for not only his trademark eloquence, but also grace and perspective.

But instead of a somber chief executive offering reassuring words and expressions of sympathy and compassion, viewers saw a wildly disconnected and inappropriately light president making introductory remarks. At the event, a Tribal Nations Conference hosted by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian affairs, the president thanked various staffers and offered a "shout-out" to "Dr. Joe Medicine Crow -- that Congressional Medal of Honor winner."  Three minutes in, the president spoke about the shooting, in measured and appropriate terms. Who is advising him?

Anyone at home aware of the major news story of the previous hours had to have been stunned. An incident like this requires a scrapping of the early light banter. The president should apologize for the tone of his remarks, explain what has happened, express sympathy for those slain and appeal for calm and patience until all the facts are in. That's the least that should occur.

Indeed, an argument could be made that Obama should have canceled the Indian event, out of respect for people having been murdered at an Army post a few hours before. That would have prevented any sort of jarring emotional switch at the event.

Did the president's team not realize what sort of image they were presenting to the country at this moment? The disconnect between what Americans at home knew had been going on -- and the initial words coming out of their president's mouth was jolting, if not disturbing.

It must have been disappointing for many politically aware Democrats, still reeling from the election two days before. The New Jersey gubernatorial vote had already demonstrated that the president and his political team couldn't produce a winning outcome in a state very friendly to Democrats (and where the president won by 15 points one year ago). And now this? Congressional Democrats must wonder if a White House that has burdened them with a too-heavy policy agenda over the last year has a strong enough political operation to help push that agenda through.

If the president's communications apparatus can't inform -- and protect -- their boss during tense moments when the country needs to see a focused commander-in-chief and a compassionate head of state, it has disastrous consequences for that president's party and supporters.

All the president's men (and women) fell down on the job Thursday.  And Democrats across the country have real reason to panic.

New York writer Robert A. George blogs at Ragged Thots. Follow him on Twitter.

Copyright NBC Local Media First Published: Nov 6, 2009 5:16 AM CST
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« Reply #491 on: November 12, 2009, 10:03:50 AM »


The NYTimes actually surprises by acknowledging this:


At Fort Hood, Witness Credits Second Officer

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
Published: November 11, 2009
KILLEEN, Tex. — Sgt. Kimberly D. Munley has been applauded as a hero across the nation for shooting down Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan during the bloody rampage at Fort Hood last week. The account of heroism, given by the authorities, attracted the attention of newspapers, the networks and television talk shows.

But the story of how the petite police officer and the accused gunman went down in an exchange of gunfire does not agree with the account of an eyewitness who had gone to the base’s processing center, where the shooting occurred, to conduct business before being deployed.

The witness, who asked not to be identified, said Major Hasan wheeled on Sergeant Munley as she rounded the corner of a building and shot her, putting her on the ground. Then Major Hasan turned his back on her and started putting another magazine into his semiautomatic pistol.

It was at that moment that Senior Sgt. Mark Todd, a veteran police officer, rounded another corner of the building, found Major Hasan fumbling with his weapon and shot him.

How the authorities came to issue the original version of the story, which made Sergeant Munley a national hero for several days and obscured Sergeant Todd’s role, remains unclear. (Military officials also said for several hours after the shooting that Major Hasan had been killed, although he had survived.)

Six days after the deadly shooting rampage at a center where soldiers were preparing for deployment, the military has yet to put out a full account of what happened.

At a news conference outside the post on Wednesday, Lt. Col. John Rossi refused to take questions about who shot Major Hasan or why the initial reports said it had been Sergeant Munley rather than Sergeant Todd.

“These questions are specific to the investigation and I am not going to address that,” Colonel Rossi said.

Public affairs officials also declined to make Chuck Medley, the director of emergency services at the post, available for questions. It was Mr. Medley, who oversees the post’s civilian police and fire departments, who gave the first account of how Sergeant Munley stopped the gunman.

On Tuesday night, Lt. Col. Lee Packnett, of the Army’s Office of the Chief of Public Affairs at the Pentagon, declined to say whether it was Sergeant Todd who had shot Major Hasan. “It could have been, but the final outcome will be determined by the results of the ballistics tests.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Sergeant Todd’s wife, Lisa, said he had asked the Army to protect his identity in the immediate aftermath of the shootings. Her husband did not consider himself to be the real hero of the day, she said. “They were in this together,” she said.

Neither Sergeant Todd nor Sergeant Munley were made available by the military for this article, but on Wednesday on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” they offered their first public comments on the shooting. They did not give a detailed chronology of what happened, nor did they say who had fired and hit the suspect.

Both are members of the civilian police force at Fort Hood. Sergeant Todd said on the talk show that he and Sergeant Munley had arrived at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center in separate squad vehicles about the same time.

Sergeant Todd acknowledged that he had played a major role in bringing the violence to an end. He said that he had fired at the suspect, kicked his weapon away and placed him in handcuffs. It was the first time in his 25 years in law enforcement and the military, Sergeant Todd said, that he had used his weapon.

“I just relied back on my training,” Sergeant Todd said. “We’re trained to shoot until there is no longer a threat. And once he was laying down on his back, his weapon just fell into his hand and I’m, like, ‘O.K., now’s the time to rush him and secure him.’ ”

The confusion over what happened and the quickness of the military to label someone a hero seemed reminiscent of the case of Pfc. Jessica Lynch in 2003, when the Army initially reported Private Lynch had been captured in Iraq after a Rambo-like performance in which she emptied her weapon and was wounded in battle. It was later learned she had been badly hurt in a vehicle accident during an ambush and was being well cared for by the Iraqis.

On Friday, the day after the Fort Hood shooting, Mr. Medley said Sergeant Munley had encountered Major Hasan, pistol in hand, chasing down a bleeding soldier. It was 1:27 p.m. She fired at him, he turned, they rushed at each other firing and both fell, Mr. Medley said.

“He turned and charged her rapidly firing, and she did what she was trained to do,” Mr. Medley said that day. He added, “She is absolutely a hero.”

===============

(Page 2 of 2)



Several hours later, at a late-night news conference on the post, Colonel Rossi expanded upon the story slightly in speaking to reporters. He said Sergeant Todd had arrived at the scene in the middle of the gunfight and had also fired his weapon.


The eyewitness, however, offered a different account. He said he was walking in a roadway between the main building, known as the Sportsdome, and five smaller buildings. Major Hasan was headed toward the main building, the witness said, when Sergeant Munley came around the corner of a smaller building. Major Hasan wheeled on her and shot her several times, the witness said. It was unclear whether she squeezed off a shot or not, but she fell over backward, disabled with wounds in her legs and one of her wrists, the witness said.

Major Hasan then turned his back on her and began to shove another magazine into his pistol. He did not appear wounded, the witness said. A few seconds later, Sergeant Todd came around another corner of the same building. He raised his weapon and fired several times at Major Hasan, who pitched over backward and stopped moving.

“He shot her, turned away from her and was reloading, when he was shot,” said the witness, who was nearby.

On the Winfrey show, Sergeant Munley, 35, said the incident was confusing and chaotic. “There were many people outside pointing to where this individual was apparently located,” she said. “When I got out of my vehicle and ran up the hill, that’s when it started getting bad and we started encountering fire.”

Sergeant Todd, 42, is a native of California who spent most of his adult life as a military police officer in the Army. He left the military police after 25 years to join the civilian force at Fort Hood. Like most members of the military, he has moved around a lot, serving at four bases in the United States and two in Germany.

Ms. Todd said her husband did not seem upset in the wake of shooting Major Hasan.

“He say’s he’s O.K.,” she said. “And I have to take him at his word.”
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« Reply #492 on: November 12, 2009, 01:02:40 PM »

Media Mush
Too many journalists have been spinning the public — and themselves.

By Clifford D. May

Imagine if, in 1942, the son of German immigrants from the Sudetenland had yelled “Heil Hitler!” and then gunned down several dozen of his fellow soldiers on an American military base. Most reporters probably would not have expressed bewilderment as to the perpetrator’s motive. They’d have simply connected the dots and told the public what happened: An army officer appears to have turned traitor, subscribing to the Nazi ideology and choosing to kill for the Nazi cause.

But that was then, this is now. After the attack at Fort Hood, evidently carried out by the Muslim son of Palestinian immigrants, much of the major media disconnected from reality. On CNN and NPR, the pressing question was whether there are enough “mental-health professionals” in the army. In other words, perhaps the problem was that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist, didn’t have access to . . . a psychiatrist.

On MSNBC, an anchor wondered whether we will ever know for sure whether religion was a “factor” in a massacre initiated with a shout of “Allahu Akbar!” (“Allah is greatest!”) — the international war cry of terrorists who claim to be fighting what they call a “jihad” for Islam. Even the Fox News Channel displayed such chyrons as: “Investigators search for a motive in Ft. Hood killings.”

I know: The intelligence community, the FBI, the military brass — all stumbled badly in connection with this case. But journalists are not supposed to be like government employees. Reporters are supposed to be risk-takers, seeking the truth and telling it — even when the truth is inconvenient and uncomfortable.

That’s what I was taught when I was trained as a journalist, and it’s what I believed during the more than 20 years I spent in the news business, including at the New York Times, which last week ran this front-page, above-the-fold headline: “Told of War Horror, Gunman Feared Deployment.” Are Times readers really to believe that the alleged perpetrator was such a sensitive soul that, to take his mind off the “horror” of war, he shot as many of his unarmed colleagues as he could, reloading while the dying and wounded lay bleeding on the ground?

The second paragraph of this same story reports that Hasan “started having second thoughts about his military career a few years ago after other soldiers harassed him for being a Muslim, he told relatives.” How could professional editors not insist that such a slander of American soldiers — and one so improbable given the deference paid in the U.S. military both to officers and doctors — at least be followed by the standard disclaimer that the charge could not be verified?

This, too, needs to be mentioned: The Times quotes the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s condemnation of the killings, declaring that the organization is “speaking for much of the Muslim community in the United States.” On what possible basis can the Times determine that? Is there any organization that the Times would designate as speaking for much of the Christian community in the United States? How about the Jewish Community?

And how much research would have been required for the Times to learn that the Muslim Public Affairs Council is a controversial group, one that has been sharply criticized for both its ideology and its ties to terrorism by researcher Steven Emerson, Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, Muslim reformer Irshad Manji, and other experts?

Islamic extremism is a difficult issue — but it’s not that difficult. We grasp that an ideology based on the premise that one race must dominate all others is odious and dangerous. Is it such a leap to understand that the same is true of an ideology based on the premise that one religion must dominate all others?

And just as we can imagine why a German might find the dream of Aryan supremacy appealing, we ought to be able to imagine why someone like Hasan could be drawn to the promise of Islamic supremacy.

What I have said above obviously does not imply that all Germans were Nazis during the 1930s and ’40s. On the contrary, some Germans — a minority to be sure — fought Nazism. Similarly, many Muslims reject militant Islamism, and a brave minority are fighting it. They deserve our support.


But it does not help them when we deny the truth: Hateful, medievalist, supremacist, and genocidal ideologies, movements, and regimes have risen up from within the world’s Muslim communities. They are waging a war against the West — and against Muslims who don’t go along with them. Until and unless we acknowledge this, we cannot make sound decisions about how best to defend ourselves, our children, and our civilization. And make no mistake: Right now we are not.

On a recent visit to Pakistan, I met with journalists who told me they were not free to report on the terrorists attacking their Muslim nation. “You can’t be neutral when reporting on the Taliban,” one said. “They don’t believe in neutrality. They think that you, as a Muslim, must work for them. If you don’t, you — and your family — will be in danger.” More than one told me about the TV reporter who conducted a cautious interview with a Taliban commander. He was relieved when it was over, but the terrorist leader, evidently, grew dissatisfied with his performance. The reporter was tracked down, shot dead, and the video was taken from him.

For now, at least, it is not so perilous to be an American journalist. Yet so many self-censor when it comes to radical Islam; so many have succumbed to what Andy McCarthy calls “Willful Blindness”; so many have imbibed the Kool-Aid of multicultural relativism and “political correctness” that they routinely and reflexively candy-coat stories and attempt to spin their audiences.

Michael Ledeen’s excellent new book, Accomplice to Evil, explores the Western reluctance to recognize and confront threats both in the past and in the present. He begins with Baudelaire’s famous line: “The loveliest trick of the Devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.” These days, however, the Devil can relax. Major-league journalists are playing the trick for him.

— Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MzM1NGRhZDJjNDZlYTZjNmExYjM4ZGQwMDdmMDBhNzk=
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« Reply #493 on: November 12, 2009, 03:37:18 PM »

"The Times quotes the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s condemnation of the killings, declaring that the organization is “speaking for much of the Muslim community in the United States.” On what possible basis can the Times determine that? Is there any organization that the Times would designate as speaking for much of the Christian community in the United States? How about the Jewish Community?"

We keep hearing how *most* Muslims do not hold the opinions of the Ft. Hood killer.
He is a fringe of the fringe.

Oh really?  Exactly how does anyone know that?  Has anyone studied this?

Where is the research that proves this?  And does anyone really think that many Muslims are going to admit in the open they sympathize with Jihad?
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« Reply #494 on: November 14, 2009, 09:55:42 AM »

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2009/08/fitzgerald-salam-al-marayati-loyalty-and-patriotism.html#more

Fitzgerald: Salam al-Marayati, loyalty, and patriotism


“Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati is the newest blogger for the popular website The Huffington Post. Here is an excerpt from his first blog: ‘As Muslims, when we take an oath of citizenship or allegiance, it is tantamount to making an oath with God: “And be true to your bond with God whenever you bind yourselves by a pledge, and do not break [your] oaths after having [freely] confirmed them and having called upon God to be witness to your good faith: behold, God knows all that you do.” - Quran 16:91. As Muslim Americans, when we take the oath of allegiance to America witnessed by our families and our friends (and now DHS), we must remain true to our word. It is an Islamic obligation to defend what we are taking an oath to, namely the constitution of the United States of America. That does not equate with supporting the policies of the government. Patriotism is not waving the flag or using it to intimidate others; patriotism is love of country, and when we as Muslim Americans see a danger to our country, such as terrorism or xenophobia, or policies that hurt the image and interests of the United States, it is our American and Islamic responsibility to change toward the betterment of America….’” -- From the Huffington Post, which apparently will now regularly include articles by Salam Al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (see the announcement here)

This is the purest taqiyya, or kitman, or combination of both.

Islam teaches -- inculcates, rather -- the notion that Muslims do not owe any allegiance to non-Muslims, not to their countries, not to their institutions, legal and political, not to anything. Within Islam -- uniquely, among world religions -- such a doctrine has arisen, and has been elaborated, and has been written about, one that is based on both the letter and spirit of the Qur'an and on the example of Muhammad, the Model of Conduct (uswa hasana), the Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil). See the assurances given the Meccans in the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya.

Look at the false equivalences: “terrorism or xenophobia,” with the first referring to real acts of terror by Muslims, following promptings that are found in the texts of Islam (see the Qur’an, see the Hadith, passim) and the “xenophobia” in question merely being, in this case, not “hatred of foreigners” but, of course, the fear and suspicion of those who are adherents of Islam, a fear and suspicion that are entirely rational, and that are felt most by those who have taken the most time to inform themselves about the texts and tenets and history of Islam.
And note how carefully he says that “we must remain true to our word” when we “take the oath of allegiance to America.” Why? It makes no sense to remain true to a word, or an oath, given to an Infidel polity in order to obtain American citizenship or to relieve the suspicions of non-Muslims. Islam is a Total Belief-System that reinforces, through a whole variety of means, again and again the idea that for a Muslim the main thing, possibly the only thing, in life that truly matters is being Muslim, and that loyalty to fellow Muslims and to the teachings of Islam are the only things that matter, not the trivial and the transient, the without-worth because non-Muslim, Infidel polities.

Al-Marayati pretends that Muslims are just full of the patriotism and loyalty that animates other Americans. Is this true? Have Muslims rallied to the cause of fighting against “Muslim extremism” abroad? Have they flocked into the military, imitating the Japanese-Americans of the 422nd Regiment during World War II, the first (or possibly second) most decorated regiment in the entire U.S. military? Or have the handful of Muslims who have served reported how difficult it has been for them, how they have been repeatedly criticized and attacked by other Muslims for fighting “for the Infidel”?

And what has been the behavior of Muslims, and Muslim organizations, in this country? Have they encouraged Muslims to report on that “tiny handful of extremists,” or have they repeatedly refused to do so? Have Muslim organizations, and not only CAIR, exhibited a spirit of cooperation, or have they repeatedly urged Muslims not to voluntarily cooperate but to carefully go through them, and what’s more, have encouraged Muslims to report any and all supposed “anti-Muslim incidents,” all of which are scrupulously investigated, and almost all of which have been found to be baseless, or greatly exaggerated? Have they not encouraged in Muslims themselves, and in a credulous media that believes uncritically Muslim complaints, the idea that Muslims are being “victimized”?

There are a handful of exceptions. These consist of those who, having through no fault of their own been born in to Islam, have decided that they no longer are believers. But they are unwilling, out of fear or filial piety, to declare themselves openly to be apostates, and so signal to the outside world their disenchantment with Islam by identifying themselves as “cultural Muslims” or in some other way as “Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only” Muslims. They are as yet unwilling to wholeheartedly declare that disenchantment and their own falling-away from the faith.

All over the countries of Western Europe, as in the Muslim -dominated lands (Dar al-Islam), one can find the message of Islam clearly set out in the sermons of imams who are either uninhibited or perhaps, in some cases, simply unaware that they are being eavesdropped on by agents of the various Infidel governments. That message is clear: loyalty to Islam and to fellow members of the Umma comes first. And if one goes to Muslim websites (it isn't hard to do) and reads around, one discovers that the universal answer to the question "do I have to obey the laws of Infidel states if I have managed to obtain citizenship in those states" is not a resounding and unqualified "Yes" but, rather, the obvious: obey the laws of Infidel states only insofar as those laws do not contradict the principles of Islam, of the Holy Law of Islam or Shari'a. In other words, "be a good citizen" just so long as what you do does not contradict Islam.

The "loyalty" and "patriotism" that Salam Al-Marayati describes sounds fine. Anyone who knows little or nothing of Islam might be taken in. One might be if one has ignored all the evidence, in both the clearly-stated doctrines of Islam, and in what might reasonably be called the necessary developments from those doctrines -- including kitman ("mental reservation") and taqiyya. These have naturally been developed and are practiced, as we can all see, in every encounter with non-Muslims, when Muslims feel they need to conceal, in order to preserve Islam and Muslims from critical scrutiny, and to delay for as long as possible the widespread understanding of the texts and tenets of Islam.

The passage above should raise eyebrows and more than eyebrows. It is clear that Al-Marayati is determined to misrepresent Islam. It will be interesting to see what protests there are in comments, and how informed those protests are. The level of preparation of those who answer him will be important.

But all you need to do is look at Islam from the inside out -- look at the ample testimonies provided by a growing army of defectors from that other army, the army of Islam. Look at what Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells us in her Infidel about all the ways that Muslims talk about fooling the non-Muslims of the Netherlands. Look at Ibn Warraq, or Ali Sina, or all the many ex-Muslims who have contributed to such websites as the latter's www.faithfreedom.org. Look at the opinion polls, where Muslims in Western Europe support attacks within, and against, the countries and non-Muslim peoples among whom they have been allowed to settle. There they are treated by the innocent and the ignorant with great generosity, which has been repaid with a malevolent determination to relentlessly spread the power and might of Islam, and to undercut, in every way that is deemed effective, the legal and political institutions, the liberties, the social understandings, of Infidel peoples and polities.

One detects in the soft-spoken assurances of Tariq Ramadan the hiss of a slitherer. Read Caroline Fourest, or many others, on his slitherings. And then re-read carefully the excerpt from Al-Marayati above. Then go to www.faithfreedom.org, or answering-islam.org, or to the books of Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or to the articles by many defectors from Islam, or the studies of Islam by the great Western scholars who wrote during the century of flourishing Western scholarship on Islam, roughly from 1870 to 1970, which is roughly when the portcullises came down, to defend the castle of Islam, and the Age of Inhibition began.

When Al-Marayati utters his sly remarks about “love of country” and the “betterment of America,” what do you think he means? What could he possibly mean, if he is a believer in Islam? If you believe in Islam, if you believe in the Message of the Last of the Prophets, then what would be best for America, what would bring about its “betterment”? Surely not more of the same, not more of the same belief that mere men should, through the ballot, decide on the political and legal institutions of this country. Men are, or should ideally be, “slaves of Allah.” And a well-ordered world, according to Muslim doctrine, is that in which the will, not of mere mortals, but of Allah himself, is obeyed. So it is not the will of the people, expressed through elections and representative government, but rather the will of Allah, as expressed in the Qur’an and glossed by the Sunnah, that should prevail. That is surely what Al-Marayati sees as the best hope for this country, the “betterment” for which he, and all of the Believers, will naturally strive. In other words, the entire basis for the American policy is flatly contradicted by the most essential understandings of Islam.

And what does Al-Marayati think of the Constitution of the United States? What, for example, does he think of the First Amendment, and the rights of free speech, and of freedom of conscience, as guaranteed by both the Free Exercise and the Establishment clause? Does Al-Marayati think that anyone in this country who wishes to leave Islam should be perfectly free to do so without any repercussions whatsoever? What does he think about the case of Rifqa Bary? What punishment does he think should properly be meted out to those Muslim men who have, on their own, killed or greatly harmed their own daughters or wives, because they thought their daughters or wives had left Islam, or behaved in a way that brought “dishonor” to the family? And if he thinks such people should be properly punished by the full force of the law, does he also think that people guilty of similar behavior in other countries, such as Jordan or Syria or Iraq or Saudi Arabia, should also be punished? Or does he merely counsel acquiescence in the American legal system because, at present, Muslims cannot change it, and it is more important to outwardly conform -- temporarily -- with the American system so as better to work, over the long term, for changes in America that will lead to what Al-Marayati and those who think and believe like Al-Marayati consider to be the “betterment” of America?

And what could be “better” for America than the onward march of Islam, and an end to all of those elements, including the Constitution of the United States, that flatly contradict the spirit and letter of Shari’a? Just look around the world, look at the vast lands that over the past 1350 years have been conquered by Islam, ordinarily, though not exclusively, through military force. And look at the wiles and guiles that have helped Muslims avoid having to declare, in their mental baggage, as they leave the Lands of Islam (where all the failures of those lands can be intelligently attributed to the teachings of Islam itself), that they are quite different from refugees from the Nazis, who hated the Nazis and Nazism, and refugees from Communism, who hated the Communists and Communism, despite in a sense being “refugees” from the Misrule, in every sense, of Islam.

No, most of those who leave the awful societies of Dar al-Islam take a bit of Dar al-Islam with them. Yet they flee its natural violence, and aggression, and corruption, and political paralysis, and economic paralysis which are natural results both of the Muslim hatred of bida (innovation), and of the Muslim encouragement of an attitude of inshallah-fatalism. They flee an intellectual wasteland, reflected in such things as openness to the world as suggested by the number of translated works, because in Islam, what is pre—Islamic, or what is non-Islamic, is part of one vast and contemptible Jahiliyya -- save in the one area that seems truly to interest Muslims, and that is the area of weapons manufacture. While they are indifferent to pure science, they seem terribly concerned to acquire the ability to rival or surpass the West in the production, or at least accumulation, of weaponry.

There’s much more, but you can elaborate on the theme -- including the moral squalor that the mistreatment of women and of all non-Muslims reveals.

Oh, yes.

What could be better?

What could be worse?
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« Reply #495 on: November 14, 2009, 10:06:03 AM »

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=116054

CAIR boasts of influence on media after Fort Hood
Group treated as voice of Muslims despite fresh evidence of terror ties
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« Reply #496 on: November 15, 2009, 03:50:31 PM »

http://www.nypost.com/f/print/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/moderate_terror_pals_1ptTXHB1ndiDYn9li2RJrL

'Moderate' terror pals
By PAUL SPERRY

Last Updated: 3:43 AM, November 13, 2009

Posted: 1:48 AM, November 13, 2009

Just as security officials overlooked Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's links to al Qaeda cleric Anwar Aulaqi, who exhorts American Muslims to kill US soldiers, so did our leaders long turn a blind eye to a "mainstream" Muslim group's ties to this same 9/11-tied imam and other Islamic extremists.
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« Reply #497 on: November 16, 2009, 10:16:14 AM »

Hostages
  Next Article > 

Michael Yon
16 November 2009

When New York Times journalist David Rohde was kidnapped last year in Afghanistan, the company engaged in a painstaking effort to squash the story. They succeeded in persuading major media who learned of the kidnapping to keep quiet. The cover-up was so good that a New York Times reporter I spoke with in December 2008, while she and I joined Secretary Gates on a trip through Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq and back to the United States, had not heard about the David Rohde kidnapping.

The New York Times openly agrees that publishing such articles increases the peril to the lives of hostages, yet it published details about a British couple being held hostage in Somalia, and thus increased the value of the hostages to the kidnappers.

Some months after Mr. Rohde’s kidnapping started leaking, I published a generic blurb about the case, but made sure none of the information was new.

I knew more than was included in the vignette, but chose not to release it. I did not share what sources had told me: that Taliban members were being paid large sums of money (and that money was being wasted) and that some of the efforts flowed through Dubai. I have not published any other additional information from sources. Shortly after publication, March 13, 2009, I received an e-mail that included this request from a person close to Rohde:

“The NYT has asked for a news blackout while they do what they can for David Rohde's release. All the wires and the big papers are following it. Therefore, while I'm sure you don't mean any harm, I'm not sure your post about him is helpful.”

The person who e-mailed was not from the New York Times.  I removed the blub I had posted to my site. Though no new information was released, I had offered the kidnappers more coverage.

Sources continued sending reports about attempts to repatriate Rohde. I had not sought out this information. It had fallen as it usually does, like rain.

After Rohde returned to the United States and details became public, the Washington Post and others contacted me about my decisions to publish and then remove the vignette. My thoughts were that if the words risked the life of Mr. Rohde, they should not be publicized.

While reading the New York Times’ article about the British couple, I became upset, and wondered why they would implement a black-out for one hostage, but not another.

I shifted my Blackberry over to Twitter and punched out some blurbs, one of which said the following:

“Numerous very well placed sources have told me New York Times/associates paid millions to get Rohde release.”

And:

“NYT is endangering the hostages in Somalia.”

It is important to know that while tweeting those words, I was sitting on an airplane, on a research trip, for an article for the New York Times. An editor had asked for something about Afghanistan, and I chose the topic of biogas, which included trips to Cambodia, Laos, Nepal (twice), Vietnam (this week), and Afghanistan.

The New York Times is one of the best sources on Iraq and Afghanistan. Their war correspondents are the “A-Team” and that included David Rohde. I was happy to write a piece for the New York Times.

The flurry of follow-on stories that picked up on my tweets, such as those by the Huffington Post, focused on ransom for Mr. Rohde, rather than the point about the harm the New York Times’ detailed coverage could cause the hostages.

On November 2, the New York Times posted a public response:

“Several Web sites repeated Monday erroneous allegations that The New York Times had paid a ransom in the case of its reporter David Rohde, held by the Taliban for seven months.”

The New York Times didn’t mention me by name, but the story continued spreading, with people reporting that I accused the New York Times of lying. Nowhere in the “tweets” was ransom mentioned, or anything about lying. I have no evidence that the New York Times misled the public, nor did I say or imply such. The tweet about money was based on what I had been told by reliable sources. Again, this is the tweet:

“Numerous very well placed sources have told me New York Times/associates paid millions to get Rohde release.”

The New York Times rebuttal statement goes on to quote David Rohde:

“American government officials worked to free us, but they maintained their longstanding policy of not negotiating with kidnappers. They paid no ransom and exchanged no prisoners. Pakistani and Afghan officials said they also freed no prisoners and provided no money.

“Security consultants who worked on our case said cash was paid to Taliban members who said they knew our whereabouts. But the consultants said they were never able to identify or establish contact with the guards who were living with us.”

Though it didn’t address the exact amount of money, the New York Times confirmed my tweet about money by acknowledging that “cash was paid to Taliban members.” My sources have said that large sums of money went through Dubai to Pakistan, not to mention the costs paid to consultants and other expenses.

Though my statements were in line with the New York Times’ statements, other outlets continued to state that I was accusing the New York Times of “lying.”  Not the case.

Chris Rovzar, who blogs at New York Magazine, was off mark when he ran this headline: Freelance War Reporter Accuses Times of Lying about Taliban Bribes.

My words said nothing about lying or bribes, and I am not a “freelance” or a “reporter,” though some of the work involves reporting. I contacted Mr. Rovzar and was pleasantly rewarded by his goodwill, candor and willingness to reexamine the words.

Moving on, the New York Times picked up on points about its coverage of the Somalia story when it published:

“Bloggers also accused The Times of hypocrisy in reporting on a British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates while keeping quiet Mr. Rohde’s kidnapping. . .

“The New York Times did not break the story of the kidnapping of Paul and Rachel Chandler, and during our reporting of it The Times consulted Christine Collett, Ms. Chandler’s sister-in-law, to ask her if the family objected to the publication of any information regarding the case. Ms. Collett, who was quoted in the story, said the family had no objection to The Times reporting on the case.”

Reporting with permission from a sister-in-law hardly makes it right. How many everyday people have experiences dealing with kidnappers? In fact, the Rohde case was the first time I realized how sensitive negotiators are to even passing acknowledgment.  How many of us know that even acknowledgment of the kidnapping can lead to harm?  Most people are unaware, but the New York Times knows. Did the New York Times share advice on its recent experiences when it asked Ms. Collett’s permission?

This incident aside, my respect for the New York Times’ reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan is undiminished. It offers world-class coverage, and continues to be on the reading list.

The New York Times and I simply have a difference of opinion on the hostage topic.

I believe that they have been truthful, while understandably guarded on the abduction of David Rohde. It would be wrong to bash a paper that has fielded such an outstanding team in Iraq and Afghanistan. The hostage issue is just one important issue, and all points by all parties seem to have been made and noted.

Finally, it’s time to move on from this distraction to a much larger topic: Afghanistan. Bad signals are coming from the White House.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #498 on: November 19, 2009, 02:29:32 PM »

A bit kitchy cute here and there, but some interesting factoids scattered along the way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILQrUrEWe8
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #499 on: November 25, 2009, 07:21:56 AM »

Although I disagree with this piece's conclusions, I find it intelligent and thoughtful:
===============
Natalie Fenton | Tuesday, 24 November 2009
tags : media, newsThe future of the news
The collapse of a viable business model for the mainstream media raises the question of what we want news for and how it can be delivered.

The production and circulation of independent, quality news is a hallmark of democratic societies with a complex history of commercial practices, regulatory controls and technological innovation. The demise of the existing business model of the local and regional press and of broadcast news in the regions together with the struggle for survival of many national newspapers demands a critical consideration of what we want news for and how it can be delivered.

A recent study by Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media ResearchCentre provides empirical evidence that challenges utopian visions of the internet as a brave new world with everyone connected to everyone else, a non-hierarchical network of voices with equal, open and global access. This latest ‘new’ world of ‘new’ media has not greatly expanded the news that we read or hear or changed mainstream news values and traditional news formats; neither has it connected a legion of bloggers to a mass audience. Rather, as the economic model for traditional news production stumbles and falls in the digital age, professional journalism has become the first casualty, the second, if we’re not careful, and pretty close behind will be the health of our democracy.

The research draws on over 170 interviews with a range of professionals from a cross section of mainstream news media, as well as news sources and new producers online including bloggers and people operating in the realm of alternative news; we added to this, 3 newsroom ethnographies and a content analysis of online news across mainstream news media, online alternative media, social networking sites and YouTube.

We looked at the role of structural factors such as commerce, finance and regulation along with the cultural complexities of journalism, journalistic subjectivities and working practices.

And we found an industry and a practice in trouble.

 

Newspaper circulation and readership levels are at an all time low; there has been a tremendous growth in the number of news outlets available including the advent of, and rapid increase in, free papers, the emergence of 24 hour news and the popularization of online and mobile platforms; a decline in advertising revenue alongside cuts in personnel. With regard to local and international news production, the lack of economies of scale means that it is increasingly commercially unviable.

The Newspaper Society notes that 101 local papers closed down between January and August 2009. In those that are surviving fewer people are doing more and more work. Now I know we may all say that about our jobs, but in journalism what we see is the perfect storm – a history of marketisation, deregulation and globalisation, throw new technologies in to the mix (bringing about yet more speed and space and more need to invest in technical infrastructure). These factors combined have had a negative impact on journalism for the public good and in the public interest.

The working context of news media has increased pressures in the newsroom to fill more space (through the expansion of online platforms), work at greater speed (to fill the requirements of 24 hour news and the immediacy of online communication) with fewer journalists in permanent positions and more job insecurity.

"In the old days you had to get up in the morning and read all the newspapers, listen to the Today Programme [.…] Now, in addition to all of that we also have to keep an eye on websites, blogs of others, just in case stories crop up [.…] As on the Internet what we have to contend with is hugely increased sources of information." (Political Newspaper Editor, National Mid-Market)

"... when you’re under those time constraints, the Internet is fabulous but it’s dangerous as well. And I think that, a lot of the time people get things wrong, particularly on 24-hour news channels, it’s because they’re relying on the Internet." (Political Editor, Commercial Broadcasting)

In this environment there is evidence of journalists being thrust into news production more akin to creative cannibalization than the craft of journalism – as they need to fill more space and to work at greater speed while also having improved access to stories and sources online – they talk less to their sources, are captured in desk-bound, cut and paste, administrative journalism. Ready-made fodder from tried and tested sources takes precedence over the sheer difficulty of dealing with the enormity of user generated content or the overload of online information leading to an homogenization of content as ever increasing commercial pressures add to the temptation to rely not just on news agencies but on all cheaper forms of news gathering.

Given the speed of work, and the sheer amount of traffic and noise that journalists are exposed to every day, it is less easy for ordinary citizens and non-elite sources to make direct contact with reporters in mainstream media. In order for journalists to pick out the important information from the ‘blizzard’ online they are forced to create systems of ‘filtration’ based on known hierarchies and established news values. With so little time at their disposal journalists tend to prioritise known, ‘safe’ sources. So mainstream news on-line has not expanded to include a broader diversity of voices or shifted focus according to information filtered through social media.

And even though there is now a plethora of media outlets, and citizens and civil society can publish media content more easily than ever, there still is a dominance of a limited number of players that control news, information content and public debate. In other words mainstream news matters, maybe more than it ever has done – and most people, most of the time get most of their news from it. Furthermore the organisation of web search tends to send more users to the most popular sites in a winners take all pattern. It seems ever likely that the voices on the web will be dominated by the larger, more established news providers in a manner that, yet again, limits possibilities for increased pluralism.

In some newspapers, the combination of staff reductions and speeded up production schedules mean that only the most established senior, journalists, with the highest level of personal autonomy, have the luxury of leaving the office to talk to people, phoning a number of different people to verify information, or probing for alternative views or contradictions. But its not just the young journalists whose working practices have been transformed:

"They [journalists] don’t even try to talk to you, they just watch breaking news upstairs. I pass them every day when I come in, I pass one of the rooms and I see them watching telly and they’re banging away on the typewriters, all of them [.…] When I first came here [.…] it would be rare for that Lobby not to include some journalists, and sometimes it could be as many as ten or a dozen or twenty. Now, the only people you see in the Lobby are the fellas in the fancy breeches looking after the place [.…] I think it’s the advent of 24 hours news." (Labour MP)

What we’re left with is a contradiction between the transforming potential of new technologies and the stifling constraints of the free market.

The material conditions of contemporary journalism (particularly unprotected commercial practice) do not offer optimum space and resources to practice independent journalism in the public interest. On the contrary, job insecurity and commercial priorities place increasing limitations on journalists’ ability to do the journalism most of them want to do – to question, analyse and scrutinize.

What is the relationship between news media and democracy? A news media that can be relied upon to monitor, hold to account, interrogate power and facilitate and maintain deliberation is critical to a functioning democracy. In a world of one click communication and information overload protecting and enhancing a news media that can aim for this ethical horizon has actually become more important rather than less important. Without it we are left scrambling through the blogosphere, drowning in opinion, with no known serious fact-checking, no requirement to put stories in context, no real way of holding the writer gatherers to account. Where the well resourced and the already powerful are able to shout the loudest, twitter their way to the top of the pile while everyone else whispers in the wind.

How do we preserve it and should government have a role in media structures and behaviour? Any government that truly believes in the basic principles of democracy should be prepared to provide the means by which it can function. This means regulating news media to provide the freedom to operate in the public interest rather than purely for commercial gain. To ignore this is to accept that the market can be relied upon to deliver the conditions for deliberative democracy to flourish. Markets do not have democratic intent at their core. When markets fail or come under threat, ethical practice is swept aside in pursuit of financial stability.

How do we do it? My view is that we need to move towards a system of post-corporate, low profit or not-for-profit news supported by government funding that comes not from the Licence fee but from practices that are popular elsewhere in Europe such as industry levies and the charging of news aggregators that exploit news content.

Natalie Fenton is Reader and Co-Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre and Goldsmiths Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy at the University of London. This article has been republished from openDemocracy.net under a Creative Commons licence.
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