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Media, Ministry of Truth Issues
Topic: Media, Ministry of Truth Issues (Read 382315 times)
Re: Media Issues
Reply #500 on:
December 04, 2009, 12:16:33 PM »
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily." --George Washington
Government & Politics
The Scandal That Never Happened
If you have watched only network news for the last two weeks, you may not have heard about the flap over climate change data. It's the biggest scandal to rock the scientific world in quite some time.
As we noted Tuesday, servers from the UK's University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) were hacked into and some 62 megabytes of data were subsequently made public. (We're not discounting the inside whistleblower theory yet.) The data include e-mail communications between noted scientists in the field of global warming, including Phil Jones and Keith Briffa of the CRU and Michael Mann from Pennsylvania State University. The release is so damning that Jones has temporarily stepped down as CRU director, pending an investigation.
In an effort to play up Mann-made global warming, the communications discuss various ways to manipulate, suppress or even destroy data showing the earth's climate to be cooling. Still, Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), insists, "This private communication in no way damages the credibility of the AR4 findings." AR4 is the latest IPCC report.
On the contrary, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), a leading opponent of anthropogenic warming theories, said, "It appears that, in an attempt to conceal the manipulation of climate data, information disclosure laws may have been violated. I certainly don't condone the manner in which these emails were released; however, now that they are in the public domain, lawmakers have an obligation to determine the extent to which the so-called 'consensus' of global warming, formed with billions of taxpayer dollars, was contrived in the biased minds of the world's leading climate scientists." Billions of dollars only scratches the surface of the cost of fighting phantom warming.
Indeed, these revelations should be devastating to the envirofascists' cause. But their accomplices on the nightly news have done their best to ignore the story, focusing instead on a golfer who can't drive straight (roadway, not fairway) and a killer whale that ate a great white shark. (To their credit, newspapers such as The New York Times and Washington Post have devoted numerous stories to the scandal, though the Post laughably editorialized, "None of it seriously undercuts the scientific consensus on climate change.")
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also downplayed the story, saying, "In the order of several thousand scientists have come to the conclusion that climate change is happening. I don't think that any of that is, quite frankly among most people, in dispute." Except, yes, it is.
The importance of the truth can't be overstated, especially in the world of science and particularly with the climate summit at Copenhagen set for next week. To wit, the IPCC study blaming humans for global warming will be the basis for discussions among world leaders on how best to handicap developed industrial economies. The scientists involved in writing that report are the same ones implicated by the scandalous e-mails, leading us to conclude that much of the report -- and therefore the efforts of the world's political leaders -- is based upon lies.
Not that it was ever about the climate, mind you. Political leaders are interested in one thing: power. As Pachauri declared, "Today we have reached the point where consumption and people's desire to consume has grown out of proportion." Their goal is to redistribute our money and limit our consumption.
The scandal has possibly cost Al Gore, the "Profit" of Doom, some cold cash. Gore will be attending the Copenhagen conference and was to offer a handshake and a picture for the bargain price of $1,200. But it appears the Goracle has cancelled the engagement due to "unforeseen changes" in his schedule. If he can't even predict his own schedule, why should we believe his weather forecasts?
NPR Pressures Reporter not to Appear on Fox
Reply #501 on:
December 07, 2009, 08:41:47 AM »
NPR reporter pressured over Fox role
By: Josh Gerstein
December 6, 2009 10:36 PM EST
Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network’s top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network’s political bias, two sources familiar with the effort said.
According to a source, Liasson was summoned in early October by NPR’s executive editor for news, Dick Meyer, and the network’s supervising senior Washington editor, Ron Elving. The NPR executives said they had concerns that Fox’s programming had grown more partisan, and they asked Liasson to spend 30 days watching the network.
At a follow-up meeting last month, Liasson reported that she’d seen no significant change in Fox’s programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, the source said.
NPR’s focus on Liasson’s work as a commentator on Fox’s “Special Report” and “Fox News Sunday” came at about the same time as a White House campaign launched in September to delegitimize the network by painting it as an extension of the Republican Party.
One source said the White House’s criticism of Fox was raised during the discussions with Liasson. However, an NPR spokeswoman told POLITICO that the Obama administration’s attempts to discourage other news outlets from treating Fox as a peer had no impact on any internal discussions at NPR.
Liasson defended her work for Fox by saying that she appears on two of the network’s news programs, not on commentary programs with conservative hosts, the source said. She has also told colleagues that she’s under contract to Fox, so it would be difficult for her to sever her ties with the network, which she has appeared on for more than a decade.
Liasson did not return phone calls seeking comment on the meetings. In an e-mail message, she declined to be interviewed for this article.
NPR spokeswoman Dana Rehm declined to discuss Liasson and her work on Fox.
“It isn’t our practice to comment about internal conversations or about personnel matters, and we’re not going to be changing that policy,” she said. “As part of our ongoing work we have internal conversations about talent appearances all the time that are part of our regular editorial evaluation.”
Rehm added, “There’s no relationship between the White House’s criticism of Fox and any discussions about Fox that we’re having.”
A Fox spokesperson declined to comment on specific questions about Liasson. However, the spokesperson, who asked not to be named, said in an email: “With the ratings we have, NPR should be paying us to even be mentioned on our air.”
The White House aide behind the campaign to denounce alleged bias at Fox, then-Communications Director Anita Dunn, said she had no discussions with NPR executives about the issue. However, in an interview with NPR in mid-October, she said, “We see Fox right now as the source and the outlet for Republican Party talking points.” Dunn recently left the White House communications post.
Liasson is one of the most high-profile journalists to appear as a regular guest commentator on Fox News. A bio of Liasson posted on Fox’s website describes her as a “political contributor” and says she joined the network in 1997.
Fox disputes White House charges that it is a conservative media outlet, saying it clearly differentiates between news programs and commentary from hosts such as Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.
As the White House’s campaign against Fox heated up in October, Liasson’s work on Fox drew fire from Jacob Weisberg, the editor of Slate.
“By appearing on Fox, reporters validate its propaganda values and help to undermine the role of legitimate news organizations,” Weisberg wrote in an Oct. 17 Newsweek column, “Why Fox News Is Un-American.” “Respectable journalists — I'm talking to you, Mara Liasson — should stop appearing on its programs.”
In the past, NPR has caught flak over its personnel appearing on Fox News and has taken some steps to put distance in the relationship.
In February, NPR asked that journalist Juan Williams, who is a political analyst for the radio network, no longer identify himself as such when appearing on Fox’s “O’Reilly Factor.” The request followed a “Factor” appearance in January in which Williams said of first lady Michelle Obama, “She’s got this Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going.”
NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard wrote that she had received dozens of “angry e-mails” about Williams’s remark. However, she said NPR officials were “in a bind” because he is not a full-time NPR employee and instead works on a contract that gives him broad latitude over his non-NPR work. Williams later said he regretted the remark. In recent months, Williams has filled in on occasion as a guest host of O’Reilly’s show. Liasson has not taken such a role.
One source close to NPR executives said their discomfort with the Fox appearances by NPR personnel has been long-standing and has intensified over time.
“This has been a building thing. There has been a concern in the upper regions of NPR that Fox uses Mara and Juan as cover” to defuse arguments that the TV network is populated with right-wing voices, said the source, who asked not to be named.
One complaint from NPR executives is that this very perception that Liasson and Williams serve as ideological counterweights reinforces feelings among some members of the public that NPR tilts to the left. “NPR has its own issues in trying to convince people that, ‘Look, we’re down the middle,’” the source said. “This is a public and institutional problem that has nothing to do with Mara. Obviously, you can’t give Mara a hard time for what’s coming out of her mouth. ... She’s very careful. She isn’t trashing anybody.”
The White House’s more aggressive stance against Fox took shape back in September after officials became concerned that unfair stories were migrating from Fox to other news outlets, including The New York Times. By month’s end, the White House had gone from pointing out inaccuracies on Fox to using an official blog post to denounce “even more Fox lies.”
The anti-Fox campaign became more overt in an Oct. 8 Time story in which Dunn denounced Fox as “opinion journalism masquerading as news.”
White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod later escalated the fight by calling on other news outlets to reconsider their approach to Fox. “They are not really a news organization,” Axelrod said in an Oct. 18 interview on ABC. “It’s really not news, it’s pushing a point of view; and the bigger thing is that other news organizations, like yours, ought not to treat them that way.”
Last month, Dunn declared that the White House’s effort to raise other journalists’ doubts about Fox’s reports had succeeded.
“What was important was the idea that just because something gets aired on them didn't mean that they — that everybody else needed to go chasing it. And I think that if you looked at some of the fake stories that were created that the mainstream media felt they needed to go chase — because, you know, for whatever reason, they were getting pressure to, quote, ‘Why aren't you being balanced?’” she said at a conference sponsored by Bloomberg News. “I think it did — it did help people get a sense of perspective again ... to the extent that, you know, people took a step back and said, ‘Hmm, am I really wanting to go chase those stories?’”
“I kept saying to people, ‘You know, if you're going to go chase those stories, get a second source,’” Dunn said.
Reply #502 on:
December 07, 2009, 09:36:02 AM »
From one who has had my total privacy invaded I find this interesting. When one sees the close up picture of Schmidt one can understand how money can but anything - including lots of girlfriends (he would make a good catch for Susan Boyle):
Google CEO: Secrets Are for Filthy People
Eric Schmidt suggests you alter your scandalous behavior before you complain about his company invading your privacy. That's what the Google CEO told Maria Bartiromo during CNBC's big Google special last night, an extraordinary pronouncement for such a secretive guy.
The generous explanation for Schmidt's statement is that he's revolutionized his thinking since 2005, when he blacklisted CNET for publishing info about him gleaned from Google searches, including salary, neighborhood, hobbies and political donations. In that case, the married CEO must not mind all the coverage of his various reputed girlfriends; it's odd he doesn't clarify what's going on with the widely-rumored extramarital dalliances, though.
Schmidt's philosophy is clear with Bartiromo in the clip below: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." The philosophy that secrets are useful mainly to indecent people is awfully convenient for Schmidt as the CEO of a company whose value proposition revolves around info-hoarding. Convenient, that is, as long as people are smart enough not to apply the "secrets suck" philosophy to their Google passwords , credit card numbers and various other secrets they need to put money in Google's pockets.
Media Issues, Mara Liasson on Fox panel
Reply #503 on:
December 07, 2009, 11:12:41 AM »
Worst part of this story (?) is that Obama through Anita Dunn is the force that caused the scrutiny.
Should the inmates be handpicking the guards at the asylum?
If Fox was guilty of bias, wouldn't critics want more not fewer Mara Liasson's on the panels and more liberals not fewer as guests?
What they really want is to hurt your career and your income if you criticize or affiliate with administration critics.
If I could I would cut back on my donations to NPR.
Meanwhile, no word yet (?) from ABC, CBS, NBC or the news pages of major liberal bankrupt newspapers about the 16 day old largest scandal of our time - climategate.
WSJ: the Rabbit Ears Wars
Reply #504 on:
December 09, 2009, 05:43:02 AM »
You stupidly built a drive-in theater in the desert just as your customers were all deciding to stay home and watch HBO. Fortunately, the theater turns out to be sitting on a mountain of oil.
With a few asterisks, such is the situation of old-style TV broadcasters, whose viewers have fled to cable or satellite but whose spectrum is lusted after by the wireless industry. According to a much-noted study sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association, in the hands of the broadcasters, that spectrum is worth a mere $12 billion. In the hands of mobile phone carriers struggling to meet explosive growth for mobile broadband, it would be worth $62 billion.
To the Silicon Valley types who people the Obama administration, this suggests a rational policy: Pay broadcasters to give up some or all of the airwaves used to send signals to their dwindling rabbit-ear audience. Turn it over to mobile phone folks at a hefty markup.
Blair Levin, a veteran telecom analyst who heads the FCC's broadband efforts, has floated a Hindenburg of a trial balloon by broaching just such a deal with broadcasters. Virtually all agree that any such "grand bargain," to be politically deliverable, must enlist the willing, nay eager, participation of broadcast station owners. No problem—broadcasters would be the biggest winners, right?
Sadly, remember what happened to the original Hindenburg. Broadcasters, who have a keen sense of political realities, note that their broadcast licenses don't actually confer a property right, so whatever deal the FCC struck with them, Congress would certainly rewrite it to make sure Congress got all the money. Broadcasters would receive squat, and probably be vilified as bandits in the process.
"Pipe dream" was the verdict of Colleen Brown, chief of Fisher Communications, owner of 20 stations in the Pacific Northwest.
"Politically they would fall flat on their face," opined Sinclair Broadcasting's Mark Aitken, estimating the agency's chances selling a cash-for-spectrum deal to Congress.
But, hold on. We mentioned asterisks. The FCC and Mr. Levin are correct (and brave) in pointing out the need for a market mechanism to guide spectrum to its highest and best uses. But the FCC is in no position to know whether mobile broadband is that higher and better use. A reason is the regulatory straitjacket, including ownership limits, that for decades has prevented license holders themselves from exploring new broadcast business models.
OpinionJournal Related Stories:
Jenkins: Neutering the Net
Jenkins: The Coming Mobile Meltdown
.For the truth is, broadcast offers impressive economies for distributing rich media content compared to the Internet. An infinity of users can be served by a single bitstream. It doesn't matter how many receivers tune into a TV broadcast. It never gets overloaded.
Consider a small company called Sezmi, now testing in Los Angeles a competitor to cable and satellite TV. Users get a box with a powerful HDTV antenna, allowing them to receive not just traditional over-the-air TV channels but also popular cable networks, broadcast locally using spare capacity leased from TV stations.
A separate broadband connection supplies on-demand movies and even material plucked from YouTube. And to help make the most of limited bandwidth, each also comes with a giant terabyte-sized disk drive capable of storing many hours of programming, automatically downloaded in advance based on a viewer's demonstrated habits and tastes.
All this, of course, would also yield a cornucopia of information with which to deliver the truly individualized advertising that TV ad buyers crave.
Who knows whether Sezmi will pan out technologically, and at the very-much-cheaper-than-cable price the company touts. The FCC quite properly worries about a coming mobile capacity crunch, with all those proliferating iPhones. But throwing spectrum at it won't be the only solution. Greater integration of fixed and wireless will help. Software innovation, cramming more bits into the same frequency, will help. So will usage-based pricing. And as Sezmi shows, local storage can substitute for bandwidth too.
The FCC is looking in the right direction, but we need more than just a "market solution" to liberate spectrum from the current government-approved incumbents. We need a market that can fully explore the potential of all the business models that might contest to find the highest and best use of that resource.
In the meantime, the agency's trial balloon is having a perverse effect, spurring broadcasters to new Potemkin feats to prove they are making full use of their existing spectrum, such as rolling out new digital "subchannels" that nobody watches. Some broadcasters even invoke the 1962 All-Channel Receiver Act and insist a new "golden age of broadcasting" is around the corner—just as soon as the FCC mandates that every smart phone be capable of receiving over-the-air TV signals.
In short, one picture is starting to come in clearly: The spectrum puzzle won't be solved by the clean and simple deal the agency envisioned just a month ago.
NYT Climate Guy Calls it Quits
Reply #505 on:
December 14, 2009, 09:40:07 PM »
It's pretty hard to imagine that Climategate didn't play a role as Revkin was mentioned repeatedly in the outed emails:
Andy Revkin to leave Dot Earth and NYT
His last day will be December 21st, 2009. Dot Earth can be viewed here.
I can’t say I’m surprised. About a month ago, I had an email exchange with Andy on this subject, where he shared with me that he might leave.
While I often disagree with Andy’s postings, I will say that he has been extraordinarily civil to me and also to Steve McIntyre, compared to some others in the same business of writing about climate (you know who you are). He has never not responded to an email I’ve sent him.
He’s been a worthy opponent, let’s hope that whomever replaces him (if there is a replacement, NYT is doing major staffing cutbacks and employee buyouts) has the same or higher standards of conduct.
He cites frustration with journalism and also personal fatigue after routinely working virtually 24/7 in recent years. This I can understand. Keeping WUWT running these days demands similar efforts.
Yale Climate and Media Forum has more details.
On behalf of WUWT and it’s community, please join me in wishing Mr. Revkin good health and success in his next venture. – Anthony Watts
Pravda CBS at work
Reply #506 on:
December 15, 2009, 07:03:42 PM »
Warming Reporters Left Cooling their Heels
Reply #507 on:
December 16, 2009, 08:01:47 AM »
Climate reporter--most of whom regurgitate the AGW party line reflexively--are left standing in line for accreditation in Denmark. The UN can't even get a line of allies registered for their climate conference, but expect to manage a carbon indulgence program?
AP’s Seth Borenstein left out in the cold at Copenhagen for 7 hours thanks to U.N. incompetence
I try to remind people that the U.N. has not succeeded at much of anything during its history. Mostly it just makes pronouncements and consumes cash. When it comes to doing any real work, they fall down on the job, because most of the people that make up the U.N. have never had to do any real work themselves.
So I hope this lesson on the U.N. to Seth Borenstein sinks in. He’ll hardly forget his day in the cold I’m sure.
Temperature and Weather on Dec14th in Copenhagen: Hi 33 °F Lo 31 °F Humidity average 89%, winds averaged 6 mph for a wind chill of 26°F. Overcast.
From the Climate Pool:
Seth’s toes are finally warm. In his security photo he is grinning like a child — and with reason. He’s finally in.
“You have no idea how important water and a bathroom is until you don’t have it,” he said after waiting 7 hours and 20 minutes to enter the Copenhagen climate talks.
Attendees wait in a line to pick up accreditation at the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen, Dec. 14. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
With U.N. security letting in only those cleared last week, hundreds of accredited delegates, journalists and NGO representatives were left to stand for hours in near-freezing temperatures before being let through. “It was crazy,” AP’s Seth Borenstein said. “You couldn’t leave the line. You couldn’t go to the bathroom, you couldn’t eat. Then snowflakes started falling. One woman even said, ‘if lightning strikes me, would they take me out of line?’”
People started handing out food — one gave out tangerines, another croissants. A man screamed “I don’t need food. I need socks! I’m freezing my ass off out here.” At one point, a U.N. official announced the wait would be longer, prompting the crowd to boo and chant “Let Us In!”
An Indian TV crew member interviewing actor Rahul Bose quipped “we’ll just do our interviews out here!” to which Bose mused “when bad things happen in a first-world country, it’s really a disaster!”
Seth himself stepped into the line at 7:55 a.m. and was through at 3:15 p.m., but only after another AP reporter, John Heilprin, “saved my bacon” by persuading a U.N. security guard to go out and fetch him. “John was afraid to go out himself in case they wouldn’t let him back in … the first thing I did when I saw him was give him a big hug. I have never been so grateful to be indoors.” Seth’s neighbors in line? “Oh they’re still out there.”
And it looks like they might stay there. With 40,000 people registered and Bella Center’s capacity only 15,000, the U.N. introduced a new quota system and ordered NGOs to cut down their numbers. Police shut down the Bella Center’s subway stop in a bid to ease the congestion. The situation can only get worse as more than 100 heads of state and government, including President Obama, show up this week with their entourages.
Many among the 3,500 accredited journalists worry they may be “locked down” in the press area and kept away from the conference center’s central atrium where delegates, presidents and premiers would circulate.
UPDATE: At 5 p.m., U.N. officials told everyone still in line that accreditation would close at 6 p.m. and so they should leave until Tuesday morning. Police started pulling people out of the crowd, which shouted back “Shame on the U.N.!” The U.N. then apologized for the inconvenience — a gesture met with more booing and chanting.
Katy Daigle is based in London and covers international news for the AP
And they want the U.N. to run our global carbon system and handle all the money? Hell they can’t even handle the press line.
"False Balance" Follies
Reply #508 on:
December 29, 2009, 12:22:04 PM »
The lack of climate skeptics on PBS's 'Newshour'
I stopped watching commercial network news in the '80s, but still had PBS' MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and its trademark two-side analysis of major news. Gradually after 2002, the lack of global warming skeptic scientists offering rebuttal to their IPCC guests began bothering me, so I wrote and asked about it, starting in 2007. I also started writing to the Media Research Center this year, asking them to include PBS when they criticized broadcast news outlets' lack of balance in global warming stories. Long story short, the PBS Ombudsman answered on 12/17 (here, 2/3rds down the page at the headline "Hot About Warming"), and Tim Graham at MRC's NewsBusters also wrote a nice 12/21 analysis of PBS' response.
What's missing from the PBS response is an outright explanation for its lack of skeptic scientist guests, and Ombudsman Getler's "danger of establishing a false equivalence" observation was a head-snapper for me because it mimics Society of Environmental Journalists board director Robert McClure's opinion in his October 16th reply to me at his web page here (comment #7).
I cannot speak for The News Hour, but I do know that for me and most other journalists covering climate change, there came a time when scientists like Singer and Michaels no longer were credible.
Yes, we *could* have one of them in a story, or on a show, and have a representative of the "other side." But that would be false balance.
Interestingly, McClure wrote in his July 2006 Seattle P-I blog about skeptic Pat Michaels, quoting CNN's Peter Dykstra:
He fills the false journalistic need for balance on the topic...
An isolated observation? From a 2007 PDF file, "ExxonMobil's Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science" at the Union of Concerned Scientists' site:
...journalists' inclination to provide political "balance" leads to inaccurate media reporting on scientific issues. Far from making news stories more balanced, quoting ExxonMobil-funded groups and spokespeople misleads the public by downplaying the strength of the scientific consensus...
From a 2005 Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard page, "Global Warming: What's Known vs. What's Told", first quoting from other Nieman writers, then environment reporter Bud Ward:
"The result of the routine media practice of quoting conflicting 'sides,'" wrote Corbett and Durfee, is "giving equal weight to fringe and nonscientists as much as scientists ... even though the majority of evidence or opinion may fall clearly to one side."
Ward: ..."the old journalism 101 thing about balance" is creating a problem in the coverage of climate change. "Balance in some cases can be the enemy of accuracy..."
From a Competitive Enterprise Institute PDF by David Murray, "The Political Economy of Climate Science, Print Media and Climate Change Coverage", noting Arizona Republic reporter Steve Wilson's November 24, 1995 article quote about ASU professor Robert Balling:
"... greenhouse critics like Arizona's own, Dr. Robert Balling "should continue to be heard, but they should not counterbalance the overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion."
Finally, one with an intriguing twist - from former reporter Ross Gelbspan in another 2005 Nieman Foundation piece, describing the fossil fuel lobby:
For the longest time, this industry's well-funded disinformation campaigns have duped reporters into practicing a profoundly distorted form of journalistic balance. In the early 1990's, the coal industry paid a tiny handful of dissenting scientists (with little or no standing in the mainstream scientific community) under the table to deny the reality of climate change.
Excuse me? What "journalistic balance"? If the NewsHour's ultimate explanation is that they did avoid such a 'distorted form of journalistic balance' for years, did they first check the veracity of accusations against skeptics?
Has any mainstream media news outlet checked the veracity of those accusations of corruption?
Page Printed from:
at December 29, 2009 - 01:20:42 PM EST
Media Issues: PBS News Hour
Reply #509 on:
December 29, 2009, 04:55:43 PM »
"...Lehrer NewsHour and its trademark two-side analysis of major news"
Within the constraints of broadcast TV this was one of the best for me. Used to make a ritual of watching Paul Gigot for 5 minutes on Fridays and getting a good feel for what was going on in Washington that week. After he was promoted at WSJ and replaced at PBS with David Brooks, it became a moderate Obama supporter bantering with a totally partisan leftist for pretend political balance and all value lost for my point of view. I quit watching so I missed the balance lost on climate, but keeping one side off is shameful. I'm glad someone is holding PBS feet to the fire. It would be very interesting if correspondence about this shows up in the climategate emails. Would not surprise me, very much like the Orwellian fight to keep opposing views out of peer review. Shame on the News Hour for succumbing to that pressure. I wonder if there is enough taxpayer dollars involved to qualify for a freedom of information act inquiry into the correspondence around the time balance was dropped.
BTW, I always thought Jim Lehrer was the best in the business at asking both sides good questions and keeping whatever his own views are out of it. The balance was so good that my liberal cousin and I had the same favorite news show while taking the exact opposite lessons from it.
Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 05:00:14 PM by DougMacG
Re: Media Issues
Reply #510 on:
January 02, 2010, 10:10:40 AM »
I liked watching the news hour since it gave me the points and information to do my own poking around if I was so inclined. I often reached the "Politicians justifying their job" conclusion. This is , there was no problem aside from the politicians choosing opposite views on the issue and scooping up various studies and info for the sake of argument. (the don't run with scissors in your hand, and drowning in the 5 gallon bucket type issues).
Re: Media Issues
Reply #511 on:
January 07, 2010, 07:37:00 PM »
Brit Hume: 'Jesus Christ' the 'Most Controversial Two Words You Can Ever Utter in the Public Square'
Thursday, January 07, 2010
By Karen Schuberg
(CNSNews.com) – Brit Hume said he was “not surprised” by the media backlash over his remarks to Tiger Woods on “Fox News Sunday” this week. There is a “double-standard” when it comes to speaking publicly about Christianity versus other religions, he said.
Hume, a Fox News analyst, told CNSNews.com: “There is a double standard. If I had said, for example, that what Tiger Woods needed to do was become more deeply engaged in his Buddhist faith or to adopt the ideas of Hinduism, which I think would be of great spiritual value to him, I doubt anybody would have said anything.”
Last Sunday, Hume suggested the golfer-- who has stated that he is Buddhist -- look to Christianity for help to makeover his personal life. In response to host Chris Wallace’s question asking him to predict the biggest sports story of 2010, Hume speculated that while Woods would recover professionally from his now-public admission of adultery, the comeback of his personal life is currently a question mark.
“Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer.” Hume began. “Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question, and it’s a tragic situation for him.
“I think he’s lost his family; it’s not clear to me if he’ll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal -- the extent to which he can recover -- seems to me to depend on his faith.” Hume said.
The former newsman-turned-commentator continued: “He’s said to be a Buddhist; I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be: ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’”
Hume faced severe media backlash for his Christian words to Woods.
On Tuesday, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann accused Hume of an “attempt to threaten Tiger Woods into converting to Christianity.”
MSNBC anchor David Shuster blasted Hume, saying he had no business mentioning Christianity on a political talk show.
“I do think (talking about Christianity on a political talk show) diminishes the discussion of Christianity,” Shuster said. “My Christian friends have said as much, that it diminishes the discussion of Christianity and faith when you have a conversation out-of-the-blue on a political talk show. This wasn’t the ‘700 Club,’ this wasn’t ‘Theocracy Today.’”
Tom Shales, media critic for the Washington Post , in a Tuesday column, demanded that Hume apologize and called his Christian remarks “even only a few days into January, as one of the most ridiculous of the year.”
When CNSNews.com asked Hume if the media uproar over his comments regarding Tiger Woods and a potential conversion to Christianity caught him by surprise, he replied, “No, I’m not surprised.”
When asked if he would do it again, Hume did not hesitate to respond affirmatively.
“Sure,” he said.
CNSNews.com asked Hume: “Why is Jesus Christ taboo in polite conversation or in the world of politics and media?”
“I think it’s been true for a long time in many cultures. It is certainly true in secular America today that the most controversial two words you can ever utter in a public space are ‘Jesus Christ,’” Hume said.
When asked to speculate about the reasons for the mainstream media’s vitriolic reception of Christianity, Hume initially expressed bewilderment
“I’m somewhat at a loss to explain it because so many of the people who purport to be aghast at such mentions are themselves at least nominally Christian. But there it is,” Hume said.
He added: “I think it is true that for people who are not Christian, Christianity makes a fairly extravagant claim which is that the Son of God -- God made Flesh -- came into this world, lived, suffered terribly, and died for the remission of our sins, and then rose again. This is a huge supernatural event, and a lot of people don’t—have a lot of trouble believing it. But if you do purport to believe it, the implications are pretty staggering. And the result is you may end up talking about it,” Hume said.
Hume also ventured possible practical reasons for the public’s searing distaste for Christianity.
“There is certainly a level of anti-Christian bigotry that may have something to do with the fact that on certain issues, the views of Christians are against theirs on certain matters such as abortion and others, but I can’t account for all of it. It is a striking reality, however,” Hume concluded.
The Rev. Pat Mahoney, a Presbyterian minister and executive director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., said it is important to put Hume’s words on "Fox News Sunday" into context.
“When Brit Hume made the comment, it was not as a newsperson, but it was in a commentary analyst context,” Mahoney said. “He wasn’t reporting on a hard news story. He was sharing 'opinioned' fact which many of the news programs encourage their commentators to do.”
Noting that many journalists feel “awkward” when dealing with matters of Christianity, Mahoney said: “I think really what they are denigrating . . . is (what journalists feel is) a conservative political point of view. That it isn’t so much Christianity per se, but I think it’s how they view Christians,” Mahoney said.
“I think there’s a stereotype among journalists on viewing Christians, that somehow they’re rigid, they’re bigoted, they’re harsh, they’re judgmental, they’re mean-spirited, etc., and that comes forth,” Mahoney added.
“I think (Hume) was trying to reach out to Tiger and offer him hope, and I don’t think Brit Hume should be muzzled on areas of faith when your commentators should be able to freely share [their] opinions on a host of issues,” Mahoney said.
Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in New York City, said Hume was not “imposing” anything.
“He was simply proposing something publicly, and this should be taken at face value,” Donahue said.
Donahue said the double standard reveals itself in the absence of public outrage over atheists who have become “increasingly dogmatic and aggressive and very public and vocal” in expressing their contempt for Christianity.
“That doesn’t seem to bother anybody. It’s always Christianity,” Donahue said.
At heart, the backlash of “hatred” towards Hume’s comments is a reaction against conservative sexual mores, Donahue said.
“So much of it has to do with sexuality of course, because the cultural elites in our society don’t want to be told 'no' by anyone. And when they look at Christianity, particularly the Catholic Church, they see a religion which essentially speaks to virtues of sexual restraint. And that’s really what’s undergirding this,” he told CNSNews.com.
Post Colllapse, I
Reply #512 on:
January 19, 2010, 09:30:29 AM »
Post Apocalypse - inside the collapse of a great newspaper
The New Republic | January 19, 2010 | Gabriel Sherman
On July 2 of last year, Politico broke a startling story: The Washington Post was planning to host off-the-record salons at which sponsors would pay to mingle with D.C. eminences and Post writers. The dinners--the first of which had been advertised in Post fliers as an “exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done”--were to take place at the home of Katharine Weymouth, the Post’s publisher.
Weymouth, granddaughter of legendary Post owner Katharine Graham, had only been on the job for a year and a half. Now she was at the center of a potentially major journalistic scandal. Even though she was on vacation in Europe at the time, she was quick to react. “Absolutely, I’m disappointed,” she told Post media reporter Howard Kurtz. “This should never have happened. The fliers got out and weren’t vetted.” A few days later, Weymouth penned a letter apologizing to readers. But that wasn’t enough to make the matter go away. The paper’s ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, soon published an investigation concluding that Weymouth and other top Post employees had been intimately involved in planning the salons and knew about their off-the-record status. The episode, Alexander wrote, constituted “an ethical lapse of monumental proportions.” (Click here to read what Andrew Sullivan calls the "best new blog.") 
What Alexander didn’t say, and what Weymouth never quite admitted, was that the salons had, in fact, been her idea. Weymouth had wanted to get the Post into the conference business even before she was promoted to publisher, according to two senior executives close to her. “She had floated the [salon] idea several times,” says one of the executives. “There was no enthusiasm on the sales side to pursue it.” But Weymouth was determined to make the dinners happen, envisioning them as the first iteration of a series of ambitious conferences that would attract advertisers and readers.
Last spring, the Post recruited Charles Pelton, a fifty-two-year-old event planner whose firm had helped organize corporate-sponsored conferences for The Economist and The Wall Street Journal. Pelton was given an office in the Post executive suite. According to one source, Pelton was more interested in planning large conferences than salons, which didn’t need his level of expertise and were, moreover, financially irrelevant. (At most, the events would generate around half a million dollars, an amount that wouldn’t contribute any meaningful revenue to the Post’s bottom line.) But, given that it would be easier to plan the salons than the conferences, Pelton decided to start with the smaller events. He did, however, disagree with Weymouth about the venue: He believed her four-bedroom Chevy Chase house was too far outside the city center and not sophisticated enough for a high-level gathering. Instead, he suggested using a downtown restaurant, while another executive proposed the Georgetown residence of Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee. But Weymouth rebuffed both ideas: She wanted the salons held at her home.
After the news of the salons surfaced in July, the events were canceled and the paper scuttled plans to host a larger conference modeled on Davos. Two months later, Pelton resigned. But, by then, the damage from salongate, as it came to be known, was done. Publicly, the Post had been humiliated; privately, the scandal had left the newsroom questioning the judgment of both Weymouth and Marcus Brauchli, the paper’s new editor. Brauchli had been on the job for only a year, and it was soon revealed that he, too, had been involved in planning the dinners. “I’ve been very upset by all this stuff,” one senior Post staffer told me recently. “It’s like, oh God, who are these people?” (Click here to read how Democrats can pass health care--even if Coakley loses.) 
Why had Weymouth been so intent on holding the salons? One theory was that she was simply naïve. “This was inexperience on her part,” says former Post executive editor Len Downie. Another held that her ego was to blame. “I think Katharine wants to relive the glory days of her grandmother,” says one executive, alluding to Katharine Graham’s legendary dinner parties. (When I spoke to her recently, Weymouth declined to revisit the salon episode.) But, whatever the explanation, one thing seemed undeniable: The Washington Post was a desperate paper, and, in pushing the salons, Weymouth had essentially been casting about for anything, large or small, that might help to save it. Over the past year, the Post has folded its business section into the A-section, killed its book review, revamped its Sunday magazine, and redesigned the entire paper and website, while organizationally merging the print and online editions. Hundreds of staffers have left the Post since 2003, thanks to four rounds of buyouts. In 2008, the Post began losing money; in 2009, its advertising revenue dropped by $100 million. All of this while the paper was under siege from new competitors, national and local. “The common storyline is the Post is flailing,” a senior reporter says. “To me, it’s slightly different. It’s throwing everything up there to see what sticks.” “Everybody feels like we’re lurching,” says another reporter. “A company in chaos” is how a third Post staffer describes the state of the paper.
The Post, of course, is not alone; other large newspapers are suffering financially as well. And yet, the Post’s financial decline is only part of the story. Over the past few months, I have talked to about 50 current and former reporters, editors, Web staffers, and business employees. From these conversations, a picture has emerged of a paper suffering an identity crisis. Its peers seem to have coherent strategies for saving themselves: The New York Times is doubling down on journalism in the belief that it can persevere online as the global newspaper of record; The Wall Street Journal remains the country’s definitive chronicler of business; other large papers have tried to distinguish themselves by burrowing into local issues. But the Post seems to be paralyzed-and trapped. It can’t go completely local because the local news in Washington is, in many respects, national; and its status as the paper of record for national politics is under assault from numerous competitors--competitors it isn’t clear the Post can defeat. Meanwhile, the tense, even hostile, relationship between the print and online divisions hasn’t made the paper’s search for a coherent identity any easier. And so, in a new era for journalism, The Washington Post has yet to figure out what it wants to be. The result has been a lot of lurching--some of it (like salongate) embarrassing, much of it merely ineffective, but almost all of it suggesting a newspaper in disarray.
Watergate turned the Post into one of the most famous newspapers in the world. But what brought the Post fame never brought in much money. National and international news weren’t lucrative for the paper. Instead, the Post’s financial performance was fueled by its domination of the local market. Currently, the paper--print and online combined--penetrates 63 percent of local households, which, according to the Post, is the highest percentage among the ten largest metropolitan newspapers.
Looming over this history was also a bit of good luck that may have ultimately backfired: In my conversations with Post staffers, they repeatedly cited Katharine Graham’s prescient purchase of Kaplan, the education and test-prep company, as a source of financial strength that bolstered the Post when the newspaper industry began struggling in recent years. But the success of Kaplan may have also provided a financial cushion that insulated the Post from making changes necessary to survive in a new climate.
While the Post’s most famous editor was Ben Bradlee, it was Len Downie’s seventeen-year tenure as editor that did far more to shape the institution’s culture. “The paper was sexy after Watergate, but it was erratic,” a former senior staffer says. “Len professionalized the newsroom.” Downie’s judgment and earnestness--he famously refused to vote so he wouldn’t have any appearance of political bias and loved stories about tornados and hurricanes--was a source of confidence for Post editors and reporters. “The reason salongate never would have happened with Len,” a former senior editor says, “is that Len would have heard the idea and he would have said, ‘It’s a stupid idea, don’t come to me with this shit. We’re doing journalism here.’”
But Downie and Don Graham--Katharine’s son, who succeeded her as publisher--were slow to adapt, even as the media world was fracturing around them. Much of their strategy was built around bulking up local coverage and expanding deeper into the D.C. suburbs. Graham also famously separated the print and Web departments--sending the online division to Arlington, Virginia.
Beginning in the late 1990s, a debate over the Post’s identity developed in the newsroom, as the Web made it possible to reach readers anywhere, at virtually no cost. On one side was Steve Coll, a brilliant foreign correspondent who had been promoted to managing editor. After New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger strong-armed the Grahams out of the Post’s 50 percent stake in the International Herald Tribune in 2002, Coll led a task force that proposed using up to $10 million from the proceeds of the IHT sale to build up the Post’s national and international coverage. Graham rejected the idea. “Don’s feeling at that time was it wasn’t about the dollars; at that point, the paper was minting money,” a former senior staffer says. “The fear was: If we invest in the national audience, the delicate balance will shift away from the local audience.”
By the early part of this decade, Downie had held onto power too long and stunted the ambitions of the editors coming up behind him. “Len wouldn’t do things they felt needed to be done,” says former Post political reporter Peter Baker, who left the paper for the Times in 2008. “A whole generation of younger editors were smothered by a leadership that was resistant to change.” In August 2005, Coll, who was a newsroom favorite and Downie’s logical successor, announced he was leaving to join The New Yorker as a staff writer. “If Len had decided to retire after 2002, Coll wouldn’t have left the paper,” says a former senior staffer. Explains another: “Particularly as financial pressures grew, editors were spending all their time on thankless budgets, cutting the budgets, going to meetings to try to figure out how to do more with less resources, and figuring out how to reorganize the place under the shadow of a guy who didn’t want these things to happen.” (“I may have been excessively hands-on, though you can never see it in yourself,” Downie told me. “I don’t know if I stifled anyone under me.”)
Like Coll, John Harris was in the ambitious generation of staffers in their forties who chafed under Downie. Harris had joined the Post as an intern in 1985 and risen to become the paper’s national politics editor. In directing the Post’s coverage of the 2006 midterm elections, he saw how radically the Web and cable news had changed journalism. And he knew that the Post was woefully unprepared for these new realities. The Web and print sides rarely collaborated, with print editors disdaining the Web culture.
In October 2006, Harris and White House correspondent Jim VandeHei secretly met with Robert Allbritton, who owns a string of TV stations, to discuss their plans to launch a politics-only Web venture. At the time, Allbritton was planning to start a Capitol Hill newspaper to take on Roll Call and The Hill. Harris and VandeHei convinced him to think bigger. They envisioned a Web-focused organization that would compete not just inside the Beltway for congressional scoops, but with the national political press corps--and the Post itself.
Downie counter-offered and told Harris and VandeHei they could manage a staff of eight to ten if they developed their project in-house. But Harris and VandeHei had plans to staff a newsroom of 100 reporters and editors. In November, they left the paper. Many of the people I spoke with agreed that the decision to let them walk out the door ended up being a disaster for the Post. “What a mistake,” says Baker. “The most obvious indictment is the failure to foresee what opportunities were out there that John Harris and Jim had created.”
In the wake of Harris and VandeHei’s departure, managing editor Phil Bennett installed Susan Glasser to run the paper’s national desk. As a foreign correspondent, and then the well-regarded editor of the Post’s Outlook section, Glasser (who is married to Baker) had established herself as a rising star. And she was one of the few print staffers to embrace the Web. But, as a manager, Glasser’s frequent clashes with her staff roiled the newsroom and spilled into unflattering articles in the Washington City Paper and Washingtonian. Morale plummeted. Her aggressive push for political coverage put the Post in competition for scoops with Politico during the 2008 race, but also angered some staffers who disagreed with her news judgment. “The coverage of Washington became much more inside-baseball coverage,” one former staffer told me. At a newsroom meeting in February 2008, shortly after Hillary Clinton fired her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, reporter Carol Leonnig asked Downie why the Post had run three political stories off the front page--including one on Solis Doyle’s departure and another mentioning it--on the same day. “You might have thought Patti would have been shot,” Leonnig said, according to three people present. “This is what The Washington Post does,” Downie retorted.
Despite defending Glasser to the newsroom, Downie and senior Post management began to recognize a growing problem. In April, Glasser’s eighteen-month tenure on the national desk ended after a panel overseen by human-resources editor Tom Wilkinson investigated her management practices. Days later, Baker quit the Post to join the Times. “I left because of what happened to my wife,” he told me. Baker, who grew up in suburban Fairfax County and idolized the Post, is still raw over his wife’s experience. “I never wanted to go to The New York Times,” he says. “I wanted to work at The Washington Post for the rest of my life. ... Having said that, looking at the way things are today, there’s part of me--I’m glad I’m not there. It would be very depressing.”
The Glasser episode was among the first management decisions for Weymouth, who had been named publisher two months earlier. A lawyer by training, Weymouth was the daughter of Lally Weymouth, one of Katharine Graham’s four children. Despite hailing from Washington royalty, she grew up outside the Beltway bubble on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She studied ballet and went to Harvard and then Stanford Law School. In contrast to her grandmother, Weymouth was relatively unknown on the D.C. social circuit. “Katharine lives in a modest house and drives her kids around in a van,” a senior Post executive says. “And yet, I think she wants the stature that comes with being publisher. I’m not sure how you reconcile all of that.”
Post Colllapse, II
Reply #513 on:
January 19, 2010, 09:30:46 AM »
Unlike her uncle Don, who spent a year in the newsroom as a metro reporter, Weymouth had come up exclusively through the business side of the paper. At most major papers, the business and news departments view each other suspiciously, and the Post was no exception. The business staff felt that the news side condescended to local readers. While the paper raked in money covering local issues, the ethos of the Post newsroom was defined by its national and foreign reporting. “She drank down some of the High Church newsroom criticism,” a former senior staffer says. “The business side thought, ‘They’ve lost touch with their readers; they don’t care about firemen.’” “She missed the year that Don had [in the newsroom] where he got to know editors, but, more than that, he got to know the ethic,” says veteran reporter Walter Pincus. “Literally, she only knew five or six of us.” Downie told me he had wanted Weymouth to join the newsroom and discussed the idea with her on several occasions in the late 1990s and early 2000s--but the timing never worked, given her increasing role on the business side.
A few months into her tenure, Weymouth took a group of senior Post employees to Harvard Business School for a weeklong corporate boot camp. That retreat kicked off a series of high-level strategy meetings at the Post that continued through much of 2008, as Weymouth tried to figure out a way forward for the paper. The financial picture was downright awful. Advertising, already weak, had taken a secondary dive in the wake of the economic crisis. Once again, the question of the Post’s identity was at the heart of the discussions. Should the Post go hyper-local, as was in vogue in newspaper circles? Should it redouble its political coverage to counter the Politico threat? Would the Web or print dominate?
Near the end of 2008, Post president Stephen Hills met with Weymouth and the top brass to deliver his final recommendations. The conclusion was that print was just too valuable to deemphasize. To illustrate the point, according to one participant in the meeting, Hills put up a chart showing that a daily print subscriber represents $500 in revenue for the paper, while a website reader brings in only $6. “In Steve’s presentation, he was completely focused on the print paper,” the participant recalls. “If you sat in these meetings, the biggest problem was the person who runs the business side doesn’t care about the Web. You bring up mobile and he gets uncomfortable. He’d rather talk about if we should deliver to Charlottesville or not.” (Hills did not respond to phone calls. For her part, Weymouth defends the Post’s balance between Web and print. “Print is still the revenue driver now,” she says. “We are conscious that the Web is a critical part of the future. We are navigating our way through this transition.”)
Even as Weymouth was rethinking the paper’s business model, she had also decided that she needed a new executive editor. Some senior staffers I spoke with pointed out that Weymouth and Downie were not particularly close. Her grandmother had named Ben Bradlee; now Weymouth wanted her own pick. At his sixty-sixth birthday celebration in May 2008, Downie told the newsroom staff that he intended to stay until he was 70. He was stung when Weymouth told him shortly thereafter that she was going to seek his replacement. “I was expecting to stay longer,” Downie told me.
Phil Bennett was the most prominent internal candidate; others in the running included then–New York Times deputy managing editor Jon Landman, former Post Style editor David Von Drehle, and Newsweek editor Jon Meacham. Sources told me that Ben Bradlee pushed for foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius to get the job. “She was looking for a magic solution, for a person to cut the budget, shrink the mission of the paper, and make people happy,” recalls one candidate Weymouth interviewed. “They wanted to shrink the paper, close sections. All kinds of ugly stuff. It was a hairy, hairy combination. And it’s kind of an impossible job.”
In the end, Weymouth settled on Brauchli, the then–forty-seven-year-old former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. At the Journal, Brauchli had burnished his image as a winsome foreign correspondent--investing in a nightclub in Shanghai and regaling Journal reporters back in New York with his exploits from the field--before ascending to the paper’s top job. But he lasted less than a year, quitting in the wake of Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of the Journal and reportedly getting millions in severance pay in the process. Soon enough, however, he was a candidate to lead the Post. Part of Brauchli’s appeal was likely that he had begun the process of merging the Journal’s print and online operations--something that Weymouth wanted the Post to do. “I think it was an inspired choice,” Paul Steiger, who preceded Brauchli as managing editor of the Journal, told me. “This is a guy who is a great journalist, who has a great feel for the Web, and he brings to The Washington Post a great feel for finance and economics--things which the Post had, but it needs more of them in the environment of the present or the future.”
Still, his appointment took many by surprise. He was the first outsider to run the paper, and he had virtually no experience in domestic politics or metro coverage, the Post’s core franchises. A few months after Brauchli arrived, some staffers took to calling him “Count Brauchula” and circulated an e-mail containing a photo of Brauchli with red eyes and fangs. In addition, a story spread among Post staff about how he had impressed Weymouth: After Brauchli interviewed with the publisher over breakfast near her home, she offered to give him a ride to the newsroom in her convertible BMW. On the drive downtown, Weymouth supposedly freaked out when a spider jumped into the car. Brauchli calmly removed the bug. As one former senior Post staffer says, “It was the you’re-my-hero moment.” Well, not exactly, Weymouth explains. “It was not relevant on my radar screen,” she told me. “But since you ask, it is true there was a spider.”
One of the biggest challenges facing Brauchli was how to merge the Post’s online and print operations. For more than a decade, the Post’s website had been based across the Potomac in Arlington, while its newsroom was in Washington. Weymouth and Brauchli decided to bring the two divisions together and commissioned a dramatic renovation of the Post’s downtown headquarters. The move did not go smoothly for either side. The newsroom was gutted, and, during the construction this past summer, staffers worked either from their homes or out of makeshift quarters on the third floor and a windowless room on the ground level dubbed “The Gulag”--“a friggin’ sweatshop,” as one senior editor on the print side described it. Meanwhile, from the Web staff came complaints about the print side’s decision to do away with perks like serving online staffers free bagels on Mondays.
But beyond the trivial grumblings were real philosophical divides. Print staffers grouse about the quality of the website. “Why does our homepage look so crappy and cheesy?” one reporter says. “Why is it not as nice as the Times’s page?” Others complain that Web producers don’t appreciate the Post’s august traditions. Some in the newsroom felt the frenzied coverage of the White House party-crasher scandal was driven in part by the millions of hits the story generated. A week after the story broke, Style editor Ned Martel convened a meeting attended by 25 reporters and editors to coordinate coverage of the scandal. “If I were to call a similar meeting on Al Qaeda’s recruitment in the U.S., you know what I would get? I might get two people there,” says a senior print staffer. “You’d have trouble getting support on the Web to mobilize.”
The online side counters that the print staff doesn’t understand the Web. “At the Post, the Neanderthals won,” one former senior Web staffer told me recently. “The overall mentality on the print side is dismissive and dictatorial.” Since Weymouth took over, both the website’s publisher and top editor have quit--and, in a brash challenge to the Post’s dominance in local reporting, the online editor, Jim Brady, is now planning to launch a metro website with backing from the same media empire that owns Politico.
And, when the two sides have collaborated, the results haven’t always been pretty. This summer, political reporters Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza filmed a series of a dozen or so Web videos called “Mouthpiece Theater.” In one episode spoofing Obama’s beer summit with Henry Louis Gates and the Cambridge policeman who arrested him, Milbank joked that Hillary Clinton should drink “mad bitch” beer. The scripts for “Mouthpiece Theater” were e-mailed to Brauchli and other senior editors for approval a few hours before each episode. But, while Brauchli signed off on the “mad bitch” script before the episode was cut, he says he didn’t see the graphics that would be paired with the dialogue. It was a reasonable excuse, since Hillary Clinton’s name never appeared in the script; her face simply flashed across the screen as Milbank said the words “mad bitch.” Still, the bigger problem is why anyone thought the video--as a whole, decidedly unfunny--was fit to be aired, with or without the reference to Clinton. The entire controversy--which ended with Brauchli canceling the series--left the impression that the Post was aimlessly producing Web content in the hope that something, anything, would catch on.
The biggest change prompted by the Web-print merger has been a shift in the way the Post edits. Modeling his new system in part on the Journal’s, Brauchli divided editors into two classes: one that would assign stories and manage teams of reporters; and another, known as the Universal News Desk, that would edit stories continuously. The idea was to help the Post update its website throughout the day. But the system engendered ill will on both sides of the new divide. When Brauchli announced the change at a town hall meeting last spring, many editors slated to be assigned to the Universal News Desk felt that he characterized their new jobs as glorified copy-editing positions. Since then, editors running teams of reporters have often clashed with Universal News Desk editors whom they see as meddling with their assignments. “You’re always in these shitty little arguments about, ‘Why are you talking to my reporters?’” one assigning editor says. Brauchli acknowledges the complaints but says the system will result in a more efficient publishing process. “Change of this magnitude,” he says, “requires time to settle in.”
Brauchli may have rankled some of his employees, but he still has the support of the most famous person in the Post newsroom. Bob Woodward told me that, until this past September, he did not know Brauchli particularly well. Then, on the evening of Friday, September 18, Woodward received a copy of General Stanley McChrystal’s confidential report to the White House, warning that the Afghanistan mission could end in “failure” if more troops weren’t deployed. Woodward e-mailed Brauchli, who immediately wrote back that the two should meet in the morning at the Post. After a series of talks with Pentagon and administration officials, Woodward’s bombshell made it into the paper on Monday morning. “To an old-timer, and I fall in the old-fart category,” Woodward told me, “when you have something new that’s classified, that’s at the center of government debate and business and they don’t want you to publish it--all the machinery the government can muster--and one editor, and that’s Marcus, says, ‘We’re doing this’? It’s more than encouraging.”
The article was also a reminder of the Post’s enduring ability to break important stories--which the paper still does with impressive regularity. (Brauchli pointed out that, shortly before we spoke in early January, the Post had broken several major political stories--the decisions of Senators Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan, as well as Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, not to seek reelection--on the same day.) Meanwhile, the easing of the financial crisis of 2008 has stabilized the paper’s finances. According to multiple sources, the Post returned to profitability in the final three months of 2009. And Brauchli is trying to reestablish support among staffers. He has taken groups of reporters out to dinner, while making himself more of a presence in the newsroom.
But none of these developments, however promising, changes the fact that the Post remains a newspaper in distress--in late October, Brauchli had to physically intervene when an editor punched a writer in the newsroom--and, most importantly, one without a strong identity. And so, the paper’s institutional lurches continue. On November 24, the Post announced that it was shuttering its remaining domestic bureaus to focus its resources in Washington--a sign that, once again, local journalism had won out. Then, in December, the Post printed a news piece on the national debt in partnership with a publication called The Fiscal Times--without disclosing that the organization is backed by financier Pete Peterson, a well-known deficit hawk. Again, the Post found itself at the center of an ethics scandal. And another attempt at experimenting seemed to have backfired.
Weymouth says the changes of the past year--however chaotic--were necessary to save the paper. Her job, she told me, is “to make sure the Post is here for generations to come.” But that Post will look very different from the one her grandmother ran. “It clearly is a smaller paper,” says Walter Pincus. “It’s not going to go back to where it was.”
Gabriel Sherman is a special correspondant for The New Republic.
National Enquirer and John Edwards
Reply #514 on:
January 23, 2010, 08:30:11 AM »
By DAVID PEREL
It took John Edwards two years to tell the truth. I was surprised; I thought it would take longer.
The man who risked the fate of the Democratic Party to satisfy his political narcissism released a statement Thursday finally admitting paternity of Rielle Hunter's daughter. In part, he said: "To all those I have disappointed and hurt, these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry."
His sincerity was as egocentrically superficial as his infamous $1,250 haircut during the 2004 presidential race.
If this seems harsh, it's an analysis borne of two and a half years uncovering the former North Carolina senator's affair while I was editor in chief of the National Enquirer. Throughout the 2008 Democratic primary, I watched him lie, use associates to help him lie, and perniciously abuse public trust while campaigning on restoring a moral core to fill the void of America's diminishing greatness.
In October 2007, after invoking Martin Luther King Jr. in a campaign speech, Mr. Edwards said: "There are much more important things in life than winning elections at the cost of selling your soul. Especially right now, when our country . . . needs to hear the truth from its leaders."
Cut to Aug. 8, 2008, when Mr. Edwards, after being caught visiting his mistress and their baby in the middle of the night by the National Enquirer, admits his affair on ABC's "Nightline" only because he can no longer credibly deny or evade the issue.
In his mea culpa about the affair, when confronted with the issue of paternity and an Enquirer photo of him holding the baby, Mr. Edwards told a national TV audience: "I don't know who that baby is" and insisted that "timing" made it impossible for him to be the father.
Mr. Edwards's admission of paternity is the final vindication for the National Enquirer, which broke the news of his affair with Ms. Hunter in 2007 and continues to pursue the story. A December 2007 Enquirer report featured a photograph of a clearly pregnant Ms. Hunter and detailed information that she was being hidden in a North Carolina gated community by Mr. Edwards's friend and aide Andrew Young.
At the time, as editor in chief of the Enquirer, I directed a several-month operation with reporters and photographers on stakeout in North Carolina to nail down this scoop. We believed the photograph of Ms. Hunter, the checkable facts about her relationship with Mr. Edwards, and the in-process coverup would cause an instant public uproar as the mainstream press verified the article and demanded answers from Mr. Edwards.
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Former Sen. John Edwards
.But the photograph of Ms. Hunter pregnant and a slew of well-documented facts in the Enquirer article did nothing to enervate Mr. Edwards's brazen quest for power or budge the mainstream press from its comfortable seat on the campaign bus. A cursory question about the affair was eventually asked, to which a smug Mr. Edwards responded: "tabloid trash."
And then there was silence. While Mr. Edwards went on to lose the Democratic primary, he still tried to position himself for an important role in the new administration, attempting to barter his way into being named attorney general. He might have made it that far if the Enquirer had given up after its initial exclusive was dismissed by the candidate, the press and the public.
Faced with public and press indifference to a major political exclusive on a leading presidential candidate, many at the Enquirer assumed we were finished with a story that had consumed tremendous resources for little payoff. The investigative team was buoyed when we decided to continue.
Was the decision to stay after Mr. Edwards made out of anger over his lies and their acceptance by the press and public? Was it a high-minded attempt to force the public to acknowledge the dangerous character flaws of a man who was headed for some type of high office? Or was it simply a tabloid instinct to illuminate the crepuscular hiding places where the rich and famous store their secrets? Draw your own conclusions, but ultimately the public good was served in a way that was undeniable.
Months passed. The Enquirer had several after-the-fact confirmations of meetings between Mr. Edwards and Ms. Hunter. We abandoned our normal methodology and did not run articles on these. The breakthrough came early summer of 2008, with information that Ms. Hunter and Mr. Edwards would secretly meet at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Two separate teams of Enquirer reporters and photographers checked into the hotel and were deployed at various points on the property.
Ms. Hunter and Mr. Edwards met on July 21, 2008. Enquirer cameras captured it all on videotape, including early the next morning when Mr. Edwards, confronted by an Enquirer reporter as he left Ms. Hunter's room, ran into the men's room.
Hours later, I posted our new exclusive on the Enquirer's Web site and shortly thereafter published in the Enquirer the photo of Mr. Edwards holding his baby. Still, the mainstream media was reluctant to run the story. Numerous reporters and editors from other outlets called and asked me to release the video footage of that night. I refused. Some were angry. I owed and offered them no explanation about our strategy—until now.
Mr. Edwards had already shown us his willingness to lie in the face of overwhelming evidence. In July 2008, Mr. Edwards knew the Enquirer had him on video and he waited. Behind the scenes we sent him a message—deny the affair and we will release the video and prove you a liar. At the same time an ABC News investigative team pounded him.
When Mr. Edwards realized there was no way out, he tried to control the damage and decided to confess to the affair. He appeared on "Nightline" on Aug. 8, 2008, and admitted only to the affair, knowing the Enquirer had his meeting with Ms. Hunter on video. At points in the interview he offered ridiculous denials about paternity and the photo of him with his child.
It had taken 10 months for the Enquirer to prove Mr. Edwards affair, and once he confessed we knew it still wasn't over. Paternity was the next issue. But again, Mr. Edwards would admit the truth only when it was absolutely necessary.
In late 2008, the Enquirer, confident in our sources, reported definitively that Mr. Edwards was the father of the baby. Again he evaded the question even while our sources told us he was privately arguing over child support with Ms. Hunter, the terms of which he now says have been agreed upon.
Some journalists asked me if the Enquirer had a DNA match of Mr. Edwards and the child. I never answered that question. But the possibility that we had obtained a DNA match may explain why Mr. Edwards never followed through with his plan—according to recent statements by his aide Mr. Young—to fake a DNA test. He knew the possibility of a real one proving his paternity would be produced.
Two years and three months after the Enquirer first reported on his affair with Rielle Hunter, John Edwards released a statement acknowledging paternity of her baby.
Mr. Perel, the editor in chief of the National Enquirer from 2006 to January 2009, directed its coverage of the John Edwards affair.
Saudis own 7% of FOX?
Reply #515 on:
February 15, 2010, 08:55:27 PM »
Not sure of the worthiness of the source, but the issue is worth noting:
Conservative Activists Rebel Against Fox News
Conservative Activists Rebel Against Fox News: Saudi Ownership Is ‘Really Dangerous For America’
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp — the parent company of Fox News — making him the largest shareholder outside the family of News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch. Alwaleed has grown close with the Murdoch enterprise, recently endorsing James Murdoch to succeed his father and creating a content-sharing agreement with Fox News for his own media conglomerate, Rotana.
Last weekend, at the right-wing Constitutional Coalition’s annual conference in St. Louis, Joseph Farah, publisher of the far right WorldNetDaily, blasted Fox News for its relationship with Alwaleed. Farah noted correctly that Alwaleed had boasted in the past about forcing Fox News to change its content relating to its coverage of riots in Paris, and warned that such foreign ownership of American media is “really dangerous.” ThinkProgress was at the speech and observed attendees of the conference murmuring and shaking their heads in disapproval:
FARAH: There’s a flaw, a real compromise in Fox that you need to understand. And if you care about national security, you especially need to be attentive to it. And that is that Fox News parent company is News Corp has a significant ownership by a Saudi prince that many of you will be familiar with because right after 9/11 this prince very famously offered Rudolph Giuliani a big multi-million dollar check to rebuild and Giuliani told him to stick the check where the sun don’t shine because this guy was basically blaming America for what happened on 9/11. Well this guy owns a very significant percentage of the News Corp and has let the world know that he can get things taken off Fox News when he finds them objectionable and has in the past. And I really believe this is really dangerous for America.
ThinkProgess spoke to right-wing author Brigitte Gabriel, another speaker at the conference, who said that Alwaleed was recently interviewed by Fox News’ Neil Cavuto. Gabriel angrily denounced the interview as a “darling high school reunion”: “All of the sudden, Neil Cavuto is interviewing him like a buddy-buddy because he is the boss.” Indeed, in the “rare” interview Alwaleed gave last month, he reaffirmed his “alliance” with the Murdoch family and told Cavuto why he has a personal stake in influencing American politics:
– On continuing America’s dependence on fossil fuels, Saudia Arabian oil: “Saudi Arabia’s strategic alliance with the United States will continue and as a derivative of that, the link with the oil between oil and dollars is there. The bulk of our GDP, the bulk of budget comes from oil and oil is still a dollar based commodity.” As Media Matters has documented, Fox News is a reliable source of misinformation on clean energy, and has aggressively attacked efforts to move America away from a fossil fuel dependent economy.
– On opposing financial reforms, bank responsibility fee: “In a way I’m conflicted because I’m invested in Citigroup but at the more global picture, I’m a big supporter of the United States. I believe taxing the banks right now is not the right thing at all. It’s like you have a patient coming out of an ICU.” Alwaleed owns a $4.3 billion dollars stake in Citigroup, a massive bank that spent millions lobbying against financial reform last year.
With the Citizens United Supreme Court decision essentially freeing corporations to spend unlimited amounts in campaigns, theoretically Alwaleed can pressure the American corporations he owns stock in to spend millions — or even billions — of dollars attacking candidates he opposes. In addition to his powerful Fox News outlet, Alwaleed and other foreign investors have potentially unprecedented power to impact American elections.
War is Existence. Adaptability is Strength. Service is Mastery.
POTH: ABC, CBS contracting
Reply #516 on:
March 01, 2010, 07:15:50 AM »
ABC News is making no secret about what is behind the sweeping staff cuts it now faces: raw survival instinct.
“I just looked out at the next five years and was concerned that we could not sustain doing what we were doing,” said David Westin, the president of ABC News, as he explained the decision last week to jettison up to 400 staff members, a quarter of the news staff, in the coming months.
The same compelling motive already instigated strategic retrenchment at ABC’s broadcast competitors. NBC, the one network with a cable news channel, MSNBC — and, not coincidentally, the only network in a sound position of profitability — has drastically pared down its operations over the last few years. So has CBS, which is losing money already and has cut about 70 jobs this year.
But with news available more places than ever, on cable channels and Internet sites, and with revenue challenged by heavy dependence on shrinking advertising dollars, the future for the news divisions at ABC and CBS remains deeply insecure.
“Long term, it’s going to get harder for these guys to exist as they are currently constructed, with the exception of NBC because it can offload the costs on MSNBC,” Michael Nathanson, an industry analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, said.
The economic problems facing ABC News and CBS News in many ways mirror those faced by newspapers, which have been similarly afflicted by a drop in advertising revenue. The reaction — severe cuts in personnel and other costs — also looks to be the same.
But can you shrink your way to prosperity? Andrew Heyward, the former president of CBS News who is now a news media consultant (NBC News is one client), said of the ABC cuts: “The real issue after this is what is going to drive growth? How do you generate more profit? And this doesn’t address that.”
The easy answer would seem to lie in NBC’s structure, because in contrast to its competitors, that news organization is flush, making an estimated $400 million in profit a year.
“We actually think we have a completely different model,” Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, said. That model: win every significant ratings competition on the broadcast side and rely on MSNBC’s revenue stream of advertising plus cable subscriber fees to subsidize the high costs of news gathering.
The effectiveness of that formula inevitably resurrects predictions that a marriage with a cable news organization is imperative for CBS and ABC. The obvious partner is CNN, and both those networks have been in courtships with it before. To date, the cultural challenges have been insurmountable. CNN, which says last year was its most profitable since its founding in 1980, would seem to have little incentive to rush to the aid of a network. And neither network wants to cede editorial control to CNN.
“If it were easy or obvious, it would have happened by now,” Mr. Heyward said.
But a longtime network news executive, who asked not to be identified because of connections to previous private negotiations involving CNN, said that ABC or CBS was likely to enter into an alliance with a partner like CNN “within the next few years.”
Even Mr. Westin, who said he did not see how a match with CNN “makes sense for us,” conceded: “In general, in business, when there is real decline, consolidation inevitably happens.”
Already, outlines of consolidation are discernible. Several CNN stars contribute to “60 Minutes” on CBS. And CBS executives, mindful that Katie Couric’s contract expires in a little over a year, have talked to Anderson Cooper of CNN about an anchor job, according to two TV veterans informed of the meeting.
In recent months, a handful of ABC News reporters has appeared on the business channel Bloomberg, and the two organizations have tried to jointly hire at least one person, according to two staff members who asked not to be named because they were not authorized by their employers to speak. Those two, and two others, labeled the sharing by ABC and Bloomberg — what one person called flirting — a possible prelude to a broader news-gathering pact.
A Bloomberg spokeswoman said that the company was a client of ABC’s affiliate service and declined to comment on any talks about a broader relationship between the organizations. An ABC spokesman said the current level of cooperation with Bloomberg was “hardly unusual.”
Network news divisions have historically been family jewels for their parent corporations, lending prestige and an aura of public service — as well as a shield against government intrusion. Mr. Heyward called the network evening newscasts a “bastion of serious news coverage at a time when so much of television has become tabloid and trivial.”
Page 2 of 2)
While they have steadily shed viewers, to a cumulative 22 million in 2009, from about 50 million in 1980, the newscasts still amass an audience that dwarfs any show on a cable news channel. In the last five years, the more lucrative network morning shows have also shown declines, Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, said. “What’s occurring in broadcast news is not some sudden crisis. This has been a glacial erosion,” he said.
A survey by the Pew Research Center last year reported that three-quarters of respondents thought the cancellation of the evening newscasts would be an “important loss” to the country. Mr. Rosenstiel said, “None of these news division presidents wants to be the first guy to kill an evening newscast.”
Not that it would be their call. That decision would fall to the networks’ corporate parents. Executives from CBS News and ABC News said the top corporate executives for both networks remained outspoken supporters of the news divisions.
ABC employees were reviewing buyout packages last weekend. Eligible staff members have until March 26 to decide whether to leave. If ABC cannot meet its goal, layoffs will follow.
Mr. Westin said ABC News could no longer afford to support a worldwide staff of about 1,500, with bureaus in cities foreign and domestic, most with traditional TV news work forces: camera operators, sound engineers, tape editors, assignment editors and, of course, correspondents, many with substantial salaries.
More journalists will become jacks-of-all-trades, wielding cameras, microphones and lights, as well as lists of interview questions. More production work will be conducted out of New York. “The ones who fear the most from the cuts are the ones that have a single function,” one ABC staff member said.
Mr. Westin said high-priced and purely cosmetic talent would become an increasingly endangered species. “There have been people in television news — very successful people — who do not write,” he said. “We are going to definitely require more of our journalists.”
Mr. Westin said he did not think the cuts would compromise ABC’s journalism, but not everyone shares his confidence. One veteran ABC News executive said, “Clearly the signal is: It’s not important to create anything new. We simply have to figure out a way to manage it cheaply.”
CBS, similarly, is trying to do the same with less. In an interview after its layoffs in early February, the CBS News president, Sean McManus, said the organization was figuring out how to “utilize our resources in a more efficient way.”
NBC News, meanwhile, remains the envy of the business, largely because of its decision in 1996 to start up a separate cable news channel.
The total work force at NBC News — which includes MSNBC — is 1,100, the size ABC now aspires to be. CBS is believed to have fewer than 1,400 on staff.
So far, Web revenue is a rather small part of the broadcast networks’ bottom lines, although Mr. Westin said ABC’s digital income was “up substantially.”
But if digital revenue cannot offset ad losses, Mr. Heyward suggested there was high ground from the flood if the networks could find a way to make their news stand out.
“The notion of investing more in distinctiveness and less in sameness is critical,” he said. That means more enterprise reporting and less overlapping coverage of news that cable handles, like reporters standing in snow drifts with yardsticks.
But the networks will surely stick it out, he predicted, if only because they do not want to see their competitors win.
“I sometimes compare it to three people in a leaky boat,” Mr. Heyward said. “Each one sees an island shimmering in the distance and starts thinking: I could jump out and swim for the island and maybe I could make it.
“On the other hand, I could drown and make the boat lighter so the other two make it. I think you are going to see everybody staying in the game because everybody knows leaving guarantees a longer lease on life for their competitors.”
Unsafe at any Screed
Reply #517 on:
March 15, 2010, 07:44:11 PM »
Exorcising Toyota’s Demons
Reviewing the history of tort-bar opportunism and media malfeasance should dispel the Great Toyota Panic of 2010.
You know those unseen and undetectable gremlins that hide in Toyota’s electronic throttle controls? Turns out they have it in for elderly drivers. The Los Angeles Times has compiled a list of 56 fatal incidents over 19 years purportedly involving unintended Toyota acceleration, and according to my Overlawyered co-blogger Ted Frank — in a Thursday analysis refined and extended the next day by Megan McArdle of The Atlantic — the age of the driver can be publicly ascertained in a little more than half the instances. That median age turns out to be 60 — that is to say, half the drivers were that old or older. By contrast, only 16 percent of general auto fatalities in 2008 occurred with a driver 60 or older behind the wheel. Whatever is causing Avalons, Highlanders, and Tundras to misbehave is largely bypassing drivers in their twenties and thirties and instead homing in on drivers old enough to remember the Eisenhower era.
For those who’ve been setting up the Japanese automaker as the latest symbol of heartless capitalism, it’s been a bewildering few days. On Wednesday the media jumped hard for the story of a man who frantically called 911 while his Prius ran away on a San Diego freeway (outstandingly gullible CBS News coverage here). Before long observers had begun poking holes in the story, and colorful details on the man’s earlier doings have been emerging all weekend. On Thursday, meanwhile, the New York Times — whose news columns had helped set the tone for the panic with accusatory coverage — ran what was actually a surprisingly good op-ed advancing the possibility that most of the Toyota cases will turn out to be the result of . . . driver error.
Driver error? You could have spent hours watching the stacked congressional hearings, or the breathless, America-in-crisis coverage on NBC, with no inkling that hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake was any sort of major factor. Certainly the impresarios of the Great Toyota Panic — the members of Congress and their staffs, the TV producers, and above all the consumer advocates with their close trial-lawyer ties — were not at all keen to explore that topic.
Through weeks of Toyota-flaying coverage, these voices — united in Demanding That Action Be Taken even if no one could quite say what was wrong with the cars — seldom acknowledged that unintended acceleration in automobiles is a subject with a long history. Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration receives complaints of this sort from owners of all brands of cars; big makers other than Toyota get a goodly share. The volume of complaints ebbs and flows from year to year for reasons that seem to have less to do with cars’ technical features than with media coverage and mass psychology; thus a scare over a given model that grips one country may never reach a second country in which an identical model is sold.
By far the most famous episode of sudden-acceleration panic is the 1986 Audi episode, which took years to fizzle out: Regulators in the United States, Japan, and Canada pronounced that they could find no explanation for the accidents other than “pedal misapplication” or, more bluntly, driver error. The parallels with the Toyota affair — starting, but not ending, with the tendency of acceleration incidents to hit older drivers — are numerous and continue to multiply.
With Audi, as with Toyota, the anecdotes seemed compelling. Attractive families, who spoke well and obviously believed in their cause, had lost loved ones to horrendous accidents. No one, least of all the miserable execs from the automaker, wanted to go on camera to contradict them, even though (as it turned out) their cases often failed to convince juries when things eventually got to court.
With Audi, as with Toyota, massive publicity fed on itself. As the scare went national, the number of reported acceleration incidents soared, partly because newly wary customers began reporting incidents they might otherwise not have bothered to report, partly because families (and lawyers) seized on the acceleration theory to explain older crashes. In both cases, newly filed reports on older accidents ensured that the overall numbers would leap almost overnight in a newsworthy way, thus keeping the cycle going.
With Audi, as with Toyota, the panic was met with far more skepticism in the specialized enthusiast and engineering press — places like Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, and their online equivalents — than in the general press and on Capitol Hill. Not that seasoned automotive writers necessarily were in a rush to dismiss the reports; there’s always a first time with emerging hazards, and problems like misplaced floor mats or sticky pedals might indeed need to be checked out. But the general feeling was that familiar old causes of accidents should be well explored before positing exotic new ones.
And that brought up, in both episodes, the question of why brakes had failed to overcome the car’s forward motion. In all American cars, now as well as then, brakes firmly applied will readily overpower an accelerator at full throttle. In theory a driver might burn out the brakes by hesitant or inconsistent efforts to fight the surge, but seldom if ever were brakes actually found to be burned out in this way after accidents.
With Audi, as with Toyota, the scare targeted vehicles with some of the lowest fatality rates on the road — indeed, vehicles that might often be chosen precisely for their safety by risk-averse buyers. So rare are sudden-acceleration events that the purported risk — even as it touched off a nationwide media frenzy — was smaller than many other risks drivers accept as routine, such as that of choosing a slightly longer commute to work. Indeed, so minute was the supposed risk that if rattled owners at the height of the panic decided to leave a suspect Audi or Toyota undriven in the garage, in favor of using their family’s second vehicle, they were very likely increasing their risk — since that second vehicle was unlikely to be as safe overall as the demon Audi/Toyota.
With Audis, and in other acceleration scares affecting GM and other companies, we know that older drivers are not the only group disproportionately likely to be involved in a runaway. Others include drivers who are short in stature, who are unfamiliar with the vehicle (parking-lot attendants, new buyers), and who are taking off from a stopped position or backing up. Publicly available reports do not yet indicate whether the Toyota crashes fit all of these patterns; McArdle does note, however, that the L.A. Times compilation of fatal accidents seems to contain a striking number of drivers who were immigrants.
Why doesn’t the mainstream press — okay, in particular the networks and liberal newspapers — do a better job of covering these issues? One reason is that — this is unchanged since the 1970s — both are willing to take their lead on coverage from the same trial-lawyer-linked consumer groups that help Henry Waxman to orchestrate his hearings. Indeed, some of the very same figures who pushed Audi’s supposed guilt 25 years ago, such as Clarence Ditlow of the Ralph Nader–founded Center for Auto Safety, have been showcased both in the press and on Capitol Hill in recent weeks, usually with scant mention of their long records of inaccurate pro-litigation advocacy.
That isn’t the only way in which the networks have failed their viewers. The widely recalled low point of the Audi controversy came when CBS’s 60 Minutes ran a grossly unfair hatchet job on the automaker, complete with a bogus simulation rigged up by an expert witness working with lawyers suing Audi. This time around, it was the turn of ABC’s Brian Ross, who used, yes, an expert witness hired by litigators suing Toyota to rig up a supposed simulation of electronic failure. (Toyota promptly showed that you could get the same silly, artificial result by hooking up other automakers’ vehicles in the same way.) Matt Hardigree of Jalopnik called the results “ridiculous” and a “hoax,” while Gawker — noticing some stealthily falsified footage of tachometer results — headlined its coverage “How ABC News’ Brian Ross Staged His Toyota Death Ride” and “ABC News’ Toyota Test Fiasco.”
Alas, this is nothing new. Back in 1993, I wrote a piece for National Review (“It didn’t start with Dateline NBC”) exploring how the famous hidden-incendiary-device scandal that publicly disgraced NBC News was part of a long tradition of less-than-honest network coverage. Ten years later, I reported (in my 2003 book The Rule of Lawyers) that not only did the networks seem to have learned nothing from the Dateline NBC fiasco, they had actually gone back to using some of the same expert witnesses, consumer groups, and staging techniques that had gotten them in trouble in the first place.
These days, online critics — like Gawker and Jalopnik, Ted Frank and Megan McArdle, Michael Fumento and NRO’s Henry Payne — can correct the networks’ misreporting within hours, rather than days or months. Whether or not that comes as any comfort to beleaguered Toyota, it’s a definite improvement for the rest of us.
— Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His book Schools for Misrule, on the influence of legal academia on public policy, will be published next February by Encounter Books.
Re: Media Issues
Reply #518 on:
March 16, 2010, 09:04:08 AM »
Drek Und Drang, about some fairly minor stuff. Too bad the media cannot be subjected to a defamation lawsuit, they do need some accountability since they seem to be unable to do it themselves.
The rollovers with the Explorers, the Audi, and Toyota are all stuff that in retrospect, appears fairly overblown.
A Hard Reset
Reply #519 on:
March 18, 2010, 08:44:43 AM »
It was way overblown, and curiously unreported on.
Watching most of the media dwell on the head count end of the healthcare boondoggle while avoiding most in the way of constitutional analysis, for instance, inspires a similar eye roll. It's like they play an endless game of Mr. Potatohead by reassembling prefabricated pieces into a finished product that looks about like all other amorphous lumps with random features applied to 'em.
Don't know if anyone else caught the jaw-droppingly awful, incredibly ironic, series of words placed in a row by Howell Raines, Jason Blair's former, disgraced editor at the New York Times, but if your brain needs a cognitive dissonance inspired hard reset initiated check out his whiny and inane mewlings:
Everything wrong with modern journalism can be found right there.
Re: Media Issues
Reply #520 on:
March 30, 2010, 10:52:14 AM »
Isn't it amazing how the MSM adores this President?
Here is a guy who *despite" huge majorities in both houses and high approval ratings at the start still could barely muster the votes to get health care passed and could not get Americans to like his plans, could not convince the majority it is a good idea, alienated massive numbers of voters, has succeeded in dividing this country even further, infuriated his political adversaries, had to bribe, and threaten to get just barely enough votes to get this passed, basically only passed because of Pelosi not because of the phoney one and indeed could reasonably argued it passed in spite of him and the fellow radicals - and yet - the msm trumps this up as some sort of major victory, the second coming of the One, a renewed political momentum.
The truth is the phoney one could not have messed up health care any more than he did, the American public sees through his lies and distortions. The majority of the public wants health care change, including me, yet this guy the purported great one had to do what he did to get a still very unpopular bill passed.
This is not much of a victory for the one by any stretch of ones imagination. Yet if one listens to the media one would come away with the impression this guy is so great. What a joke.
Anonymous Source use by NYT/POTH
Reply #521 on:
April 18, 2010, 02:09:29 PM »
To the NYTimes's credit it allowed this piece to be published:
By CLARK HOYT
Published: April 17, 2010
THE Times continues to hurt itself with readers by misusing anonymous sources.
I have received complaints about recent articles in which unnamed sources were allowed to 1) accuse a real estate agent of racial discrimination, 2) provide a letter from a dead man in the midst of a political controversy, and 3) discuss the press strategy of a politician who seeks to manipulate reporters with, among other tactics, off-the-record phone calls.
Despite written ground rules to the contrary and promises by top editors to do better, The Times continues to use anonymous sources for information available elsewhere on the record. It allows unnamed people to provide quotes of marginal news value and to remain hidden with little real explanation of their motives, their reliability, or the reasons why they must be anonymous.
Joe Walsh of Roslindale, Mass., wrote last week that reporters seem to have a ready list of reasons why sources can’t be named — not authorized to speak, ongoing negotiations and the like — that serve only to provide “both the source and the reporter with a veil of integrity.”
Anonymous sources can be invaluable. Notably, they recently helped The Times break a scandal involving Gov. David Paterson of New York. But used casually or routinely, they stir readers’ skepticism.
Consider these recent examples.
¶Last Sunday, The Times profiled Mary Kay Gallagher, a 90-year-old real estate broker in a historic Brooklyn neighborhood. Gallagher was portrayed as tough and civic-minded. According to the article, “some say” she saved the neighborhood from apartment buildings and having its landmark homes cut into boarding houses. But it added, “Others say she unfairly steered minority buyers from the best properties.”
Neither “some” nor “others” were identified. Gallagher defended herself in the article, saying she sold to blacks, to Asians, to Jews and to Republicans. “I don’t think I’m racist,” she said.
Ben Smith, a reporter for Politico — who uses anonymous sources, and has been burned by them — wrote to say he was shocked that The Times would put Gallagher in the position of denying a faceless charge of racism, one that could get her in serious trouble if it were true. Smith, who lives in the neighborhood and knows Gallagher, said, “It strikes me as a classic trick, unworthy of The Times.”
Jodi Rudoren, who edited the article and inserted the language that offended Smith, said the sources were not really anonymous. She said the reporter, Robin Finn, interviewed many people on the record, some of whom described Gallagher as a neighborhood savior and others who said she was hard on minorities. Rudoren said she was trying to summarize these two points of view, not allow anyone to hide. But she said she wished she had stressed that all this happened a long time ago, and she regretted using the word “steered,” given that racial steering in real estate is unlawful.
I do not think even an old charge of racism against a broker can be handled that way. Someone has to stand up, and the allegation has to be reported out. Were there complaints to a licensing board? Were minority buyers kept out?
Philip Corbett, the standards editor, said he was troubled by the allegation. “It’s an extreme example of what I think of as the ‘critics say’ device of reporting, without any specifics of who the critics are or where they’re coming from.”
¶A day earlier, The Times reported that, weeks before he died, Edward Gramlich, a former governor of the Federal Reserve, had written a note to Alan Greenspan, the former Fed chairman, essentially clearing him of charges that he did not heed Gramlich’s warnings of a subprime mortgage meltdown.
The note surfaced as friends of Gramlich were expressing anger at Greenspan for telling the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that Gramlich had not formally raised his concerns about subprime mortgages with the Fed’s board. Was the note real? Where did it come from? Why now? The Times said only that it “was provided” to the paper.
Kurt Luedtke, a former newspaper editor and Oscar-winning screenwriter, wrote that most readers would think the letter was leaked by Greenspan, “but life is strange,” so maybe not. Either way, he said, “this is the sort of anonymity that serves no one.” (Disclosure: Luedtke is a friend and former colleague of mine.)
To me, the article looked like The Times had allowed itself to be used in an attempt to rehabilitate Greenspan’s reputation through the convenient device of a letter whose writer was not available for questioning. Sewell Chan, the reporter, said it was not like that. Without discussing his source, he said he began reporting on the fallout from Greenspan’s testimony and learned about the note from a reluctant source, who read it to him. He said he verified it with a second source, a close friend of Gramlich’s, who said it accurately reflected the dying man’s views. Chan said he did not have space to include the second source.
Richard Stevenson, the deputy Washington bureau chief, said that, without identifying the sources, the paper should have done a better job of describing how it obtained the information. I think the article was misleading in that it suggested The Times had a copy of the note, when all it had was someone reading its contents. Making it the top of an otherwise balanced article contributed to the sense that The Times had been spun.
¶Last week, a front-page article described how Andrew Cuomo, the New York attorney general, seeks to manage the news media through conference call press conferences, where he cannot be seen, and off-the-record calls to reporters. A Cuomo aide was granted anonymity to say the conference calls were “one of the greatest press maximizers.” I am not sure what that means, but it seemed to add nothing to the article. And why was the aide anonymous? “Because he did not want to discuss Mr. Cuomo’s press strategy publicly,” the article said — candid but hardly a valid reason.
Carolyn Ryan, the metro politics editor, said she agreed in retrospect that the quote was unnecessary.
¶Now, here is why all of this matters:
John Albin of Manhattan objected to an article late last month providing new details about Governor Paterson’s involvement in efforts to pressure a woman involved in a domestic dispute with one of his top aides. The article said the governor helped draft a proposed statement for the woman in which she would say there had been no violence in the episode, a contradiction of what she told the police. “Three people with knowledge of the governor’s role” were the sources.
Albin said The Times “should not be hiding behind blind quotes when it comes to accusations that are this serious.” I understand his frustration, but respectfully do not agree. Joe Sexton, the metro editor, said anonymous sources were the only way The Times could get the vital story of this scandal. The paper’s reporting has proved true at every turn — prompting high-level resignations, the end of Paterson’s election campaign and a criminal investigation.
Sexton said he realized it “can take something of a leap of faith for some readers to be comfortable” with anonymous sources in such articles. That leap would be easier if The Times did not squander readers’ trust by using unnamed sources so often and so casually in far less compelling cases.
Re: Media Issues
Reply #522 on:
April 18, 2010, 07:57:03 PM »
Chicago: Muslim who murdered family on orders from "Allah" now the victim, "suffering greatly" in jail
This Chicago Sun-Times story, after being more honest than AP by noting that Larry killed all these people because he believed he had some responsibility before Allah to do so, makes sure to include the standard disclaimer from a local Muslim group -- the kind of thing that is usually as a matter of course appended to any story about a Muslim committing violence in the name of Islam: Islam condemns, Islam forbids, Islam is peace, etc. etc. etc.
The sheer pro-forma aspect of such disclaimers, and their frequent employ, ought to give some people pause. But it doesn't. In any case, it is here once again disingenuous. James Larry murdered his family, according to this Chicago Tribune report, after complaining that his wife was not behaving according to Islamic standards, and saying that the Qur'an was telling him to kill (which it certainly does do -- see 2:191, 4:89, 9:5, 9:29, 47:4, etc.). Now, honor killing, which is also the subject of a blizzard of Islamic disclaimers whenever it appears in the news, is nonetheless relatively common in many Muslim countries, and is effectively encouraged by the fact that honor murderers often are given lighter sentences than other murderers.
Syria recently scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but "the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour 'provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.'"
That's right: two years for murder!
In 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that "Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values."
And a manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2).
In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law.
That's why these honor killings keep happening -- because they are broadly tolerated, even encouraged, by Islamic teachings and attitudes. Yet no authorities are calling Islamic leaders to account for this. But in light of all this, James Larry ought not to be dismissed as a simple madman, and the Islamic community let off with the standard "Islam condemns, Islam forbids" disclaimer. Instead, there ought to be a serious public discussion about how the texts and teachings of Islam are used by Islamic jihadists to justify violence, and how they can be and are used even by violent creepy lunatics like James Larry to justify wanton slaughter. Only then can any effective steps be taken to try to prevent future murders like these.
But nothing like that is going to be done. Even to suggest that it should be done is "Islamophobic." And so instead, more people will be murdered in the future the way James Larry's family was murdered.
"Murder suspect 'suffering greatly,' his lawyer says: Bail denied Wisconsin man accused of killing 4 in his family," by Rummana Hussain for the Chicago Sun-Times, April 17:
The Wisconsin man charged with killing four family members and seriously injuring two other relatives in a hail of bullets as they slept at his sister's Marquette Park home suffers from a "multitude" of mental health illnesses, his attorney said Friday.
James Larry, a 32-year-old Muslim convert who allegedly told authorities he was ordered by "Allah" to carry out the carnage, has been under doctors' care since 2002 and recently received psychiatric treatment in Janesville, Wis., said Julie Koehler, an assistant Cook County public defender.
Koehler said Larry was crying, his head bowed, when prosecutors detailed how he allegedly killed his pregnant wife, Twanda Thompson, 19; son, Jihad, 7 months, pregnant niece Keyshai Fields, 16, and 3-year-old Keleasha Larry, another niece.
"He is suffering greatly," Koehler said, after Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Larry held without bond.
Larry also shot his 57-year-old mother, Leona Larry, and a nephew Demond Larry, 13, before dawn Wednesday. Both remain in critical condition, Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Santini said.
The body count could have been worse, Santini added. He said Torino Hill, a 35-year-old man living in the home's basement, was spared when James Larry's gun jammed and another niece, 12, escaped injury when she ran down the street and called police....
James Larry, who has a lengthy criminal record, admitted his role in the shooting spree, told detectives he knew his wife and 16-year-old niece were pregnant and even led police to the 9mm handgun he allegedly used in the shooting, Santini said.
"That's not the lot, turn left. It's the first vacant lot off the alley on the left," Larry directed officers, according to a police report.
James Larry also allegedly told officers he wished he "had more bullets."
"I wish I had more bullets. Kill me. I threw the gun in a vacant lot by the police station. I'll show you," James Larry said, according to the report.
A relative said that when James Larry looked to the sky and didn't see the moon or the sun before dawn Wednesday, "that meant Allah told him to take his family."
On Friday, several local Muslim leaders and organizations denounced the murders and stressed that the Islamic faith should not be associated with the tragedy.
James Larry's sister Keshai -- the mother of three victims, including the two dead girls -- joined Inner-City Muslim Action Network members and Jewish and Christian leaders later in the afternoon to show solidarity with the religious groups, IMAN's executive director Rami Nashashibi said.
For years, the Marquette Park-based IMAN has been involved in many anti-violence efforts in the neighborhood and is taking an active role in assisting the victims, Nashashibi said.
"We find this type of horrific violence absolutely incompatible with any understanding or any expression of Islam," he said.
Re: Media Issues
Reply #523 on:
April 20, 2010, 01:03:41 AM »
NYC Militia Plot to Kill Cops Foiled
Thank goodness police broke up this evil plot by crazed militia types no doubt influenced by the wild-eyed tea partiers.
Oh, wait, it was the Crips and Bloods, those naughty Democrat constituents? Move along, nothing to see here. Well, I just hope they filled out their Census forms before they all were rounded up.
A massive gang takedown in Queens uncovered a rare alliance between Bloods and Crips and a ruthless plot to assassinate cops, authorities said Friday.
The revelations came as law enforcement unveiled the chilling results of long-running "Operation Under Siege" - 104 suspects, dozens of guns, two slayings and piles of drugs and cash.
The sprawling case was built on wiretaps - including recordings of gang associate Keith Livingston, who blabbed about plans to protect his drug turf by killing cops on patrol.
"He intended to position himself on rooftops and shoot police officers who were compromising his business in Far Rockaway and South Jamaica," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
"Before his deadly plans could be carried out, detectives arrested him and seized a defaced 9-mm. Hi-Point rifle, among other weapons."
Livingston's plot was only one facet of an investigation that began two years ago when police and prosecutors began looking into a drugs-and-guns network in Far Rockaway.
By Friday, they had arrested 104 people, closed two murder cases, and exposed ties between Far Rockaway Crips and the Bloods in South Jamaica.
The Crips, working to lock up the drug trade at four housing projects, bought cocaine, heroin and marijuana from a gang that should have been their enemy.
"The Bloods in South Jamaica aren't loyal to the Bloods in Far Rockaway, who were feuding with the Crips," a law enforcement source said. "That's what made this so unusual."
In fact, some of the Bloods in Far Rockaway were actually part of four Crips sets known collectively as Flocc - the last "c" standing for Crips.
One of the Flocc leaders was charged with shooting at an occupied NYPD car in January during an altercation with members of a Bloods set known as "Klick Klack." The cops were not hurt.
Livingston was arrested in September after he was heard on his cell phone complaining he was fed up with cops on foot patrol along Sutphin Blvd. in South Jamaica.
The officers were part of Operation Impact, an NYPD initiative that floods crime-ridden areas with rookie cops.
"[He] was unhappy with the fact that the police were out there, aggressively doing their job," said Deputy Chief Robert Boyce, head of the NYPD's Gang Division. "He stated that he wanted to shoot a police officer, to get them out of the way, from a rooftop."
Police secured a warrant and arrested Livingston hours later at his home on 160th St., recovering two guns, including the camouflage Hi-Point.
Livingston, charged with gun possession and conspiracy, is being held on $250,000 bail. His lawyer did not return a call.
Last month when nine clowns running around in the woods in Michigan were arrested, including a registered Democrat, it was national news for a week. Now we have 104 violent gangbangers arrested with murder on their minds.
I wonder if anyone has notified Frank Rich and the Southern Poverty Law Center?
Re: Media Issues
Reply #524 on:
April 21, 2010, 11:22:44 PM »
NSFW, but funny!
Re: Media Issues
Reply #525 on:
April 22, 2010, 05:31:04 AM »
ROFLMAO as MEGOIC!
Re: Media Issues
Reply #526 on:
April 22, 2010, 08:27:48 PM »
Sharia comes to South Park.
Re: Media Issues
Reply #527 on:
April 27, 2010, 07:00:59 PM »
Who you gonna believe?
Re: Media Issues
Reply #528 on:
April 28, 2010, 05:10:41 AM »
The right/ conservative show up armed to the teeth and just stand there. The left shows up throws a lot of noisy monkey rage. Some one crossees the no mans land in between with a rock or a bullet, and it is on. I am just wondering when...........
While the oil spilled, a new documentary by Michael Moore
Reply #529 on:
April 30, 2010, 12:16:10 PM »
Joking. A documentary you will never see.
This is starting to look a lot like Katrina, but without a hostile media scrutinizing the slow reaction of the administration.
Journalist Michael Moore has come across footage of Obama and Biden taking separate jets to NY to bitch out other people for not doing their job... while the oil spilled.
Obama dispatched a climate change administrator to the region - 8 days later... while the oil spilled.
Obama wants an investigation and a report on his desk within 30 days... while the oil spilled.
Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 02:09:20 PM by DougMacG
Media Issues, Coverage of the China Apology
Reply #530 on:
May 17, 2010, 11:52:50 AM »
Following up on GM's post from Powerlineblog.com that the US has apologized to China for the Arizona law and other 'human rights abuses', John Hinderacker of Powerline reports that:
"Bill O'Reilly plans to lead off his show tonight with the Obama administration's apology to China for Arizona's new immigration law and other supposed American "human rights violations." I will be on the show at the top of the first hour, at around 5:00 Eastern time."
"UPDATE: Even as the State Department trashes Arizona to other countries, Rasmussen reports that 55 percent of voters favor a law like Arizona's for their state. Could the Obama administration possibly be more out of touch?"
Further update at the link.
Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 06:24:46 PM by DougMacG
Re: Media Issues
Reply #531 on:
May 17, 2010, 05:10:53 PM »
YOU will be on O'Reilly?
How very cool!
We would love an AAR!
Re: Media Issues
Reply #532 on:
May 17, 2010, 06:19:11 PM »
"YOU will be on O'Reilly? shocked How very cool! cool We would love an AAR! grin
No, No, No... I was quoting John Hinderacker of Powerline. I must be more careful with my punctuation! I will update the post with QUOTATION MARKS.
Reuters busted again
Reply #533 on:
June 09, 2010, 08:41:11 PM »
The British-based Reuters news agency has been stung for the second time by charges that it edited politically sensitive photos in a way that casts Israel in a bad light. But this time Reuters claims it wasn’t at fault.
The news agency reacted to questions raised by an American blogger who showed that Reuters' photo service edited out knives and blood traces from pictures taken aboard the activist ship Mavi Marmara during a clash with Israeli commandos last week. Nine people were killed and scores were injured in the clash.
The pictures of the fight were released by IHH, the Turkish-based group that sponsored the six-ship fleet that tried to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.
In one photo, an Israeli commando is shown lying on the deck of the ship, surrounded by activists. The uncut photo released by IHH shows the hand of an unidentified activist holding a knife. But in the Reuters photo, the hand is visible but the knife has been edited out.
The blog “Little Green Footballs” challenged Reuters' editing of the photo.
“That’s a very interesting way to crop the photo. Most people would consider that knife an important part of the context. There was a huge controversy over whether the activists were armed. Cropping out a knife, in a picture showing a soldier who’s apparently been stabbed, seems like a very odd editorial decision. Unless someone was trying to hide it,” the blog stated.
In a second photo the unedited print issued by IHH showed blood along the ship's railing and a hand holding a knife as an Israeli soldier lies on the deck. Both the blood and the knife were missing in the photo that Reuters released.
Reuters on Tuesday denied it intended to alter the political meanings of the photographs.
“The images in question were made available in Istanbul, and following normal editorial practice were prepared for dissemination which included cropping at the edges," the news agency said in a statement. "When we realized that a dagger was inadvertently cropped from the images, Reuters immediately moved the original set as well."
Reuters has yet to respond to charges about the second photo.
This is the second time Reuters has been accused of manipulating photos. In 2006 a Reuters photographer, Adnan Hajj, doctored several photos of the destruction caused by Israel's bombing of Beirut. In one he added smoke to a panoramic picture of South Beirut to make the damage look more severe than it was. In a second photo, he showed a woman whose home had supposedly been destroyed in the same raid, but an investigation revealed that the woman's house had been destroyed prior to the Israeli strike.
Reuters later removed all of Hajj's more than 900 photos from distribution and severed its relationship with him. A photo editor also was fired.
What happened on the Mavi Marmara and who was responsible for the killing and bloodshed on the ship is still a matter of debate. Activists charge that Israeli commandos fired first and provoked the skirmish. Israeli commandos say they were compelled to use deadly force after they were attacked by people on board the ship.
Rabbi Nesnoff.On Kurtz.Hallalueh!!!
Reply #534 on:
June 13, 2010, 12:36:09 PM »
It was intersting to see Rabbi Nesenoff on Howard Kurtz this AM. He defined himself as a liberal NY Jew admired Helen Thomas and did not set out to "ambush her". He also expressed his anxiety over his being attacked rather than Helen Thomas. What I didn't expect was his mention that he will have to re-examine his low Democratic party identification. In other words liberal Jews must have been some of the ones attacking HIM for videoing Helen Thomas. He is now soul searching questioning which party he should be a member of. I say it is about time Liberal Jews wake up. This is further evidence that at least some Jews will wake up and recognize Republicans, Tea partiers are NOT worse than Nazis. They are not the enemy. This was for me a hallulueh moment. The first time I ever saw a liberal Jewish person actually question this on the air!
****Rabbi Nesenoff's 25,000 Pieces of Hate Mail
Submitted by Jason Miller on Tue, 06/08/2010 - 23:26
This photo of Charles Manson was sent to Rabbi David Nesenoff
Before this past weekend, Rabbi David Nesenoff was a virtually unknown rabbi who lives and works on Long Island. When his teenage son finished his high school exams and uploaded a 2-minute video of Helen Thomas expressing her anti-Israel views on the Whitehouse lawn, Nesenoff gained global fame. That 2-minute video on his RabbiLIVE.com website brought Helen Thomas' long career in journalism to an abrupt and embarrassing end.
In addition to the media inquiries, Rabbi Nesenoff has also received some 25,000 messages of hate in the past few days since uploading the Helen Thomas video for worldwide consumption. Tonight, he updated the RabbiLIVE.com website to read:
RabbiLIVE.com reported a story from the White House lawn.
We received over twenty five thousand pieces of hate mail. Emails will be continuously posted TONIGHT.
"Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies." -Elie Wiesel
Nesenoff and his son, the site's webmaster, will post some of the nastiest, hate-filled email messages they received without concealing the sender's name or email address.
The first posting to the site includes the text "Helen Thomas was right" followed by profanity and an apparent threat to the rabbi and his family. The sender also attached a photograph of death row inmate and convicted mass murdering cult leader Charles Manson with a swastika tattoo between his eyes.
This is undoubtedly not what Rabbi Nesenoff expected when he posted the now famous Helen Thomas video.****
Reply #535 on:
June 13, 2010, 12:38:04 PM »
Re: Media Issues
Reply #536 on:
June 14, 2010, 12:07:42 PM »
After some thought and offiers for low rates I re subscribed to the Economist. It has some interesting stuff that I won't find elsewhere but there is clearly a leftist bent.
The authors pretend (IMO consciously or subconsciosly) to be objective and unbiased but they are not. They basically right off the "right" as they call them as basically the party of no and a bunch of quacks. Fox is considered total fringe and Beck though not mentioned by name would be considered wacko.
JUst looking at this issue's cover one can guess what's inside. Look closely at the picture. Anti- illegal Immigration is just a bunch of biggots. Fox news is a fox, etc. In the articles the "right" is always concluded to be wrong headed, a bunch of quacks, or the like. I am afraid this mag is "MSM".
Re: Media Issues
Reply #537 on:
June 14, 2010, 02:31:27 PM »
That's a shame. It used to be a sterling center right publication with a remarkably deep and broad world-wide network. I read it quite a bit 30 some odd years ago.
Re: Media Issues
Reply #538 on:
June 20, 2010, 02:42:43 PM »
I posted this on June 2 on the cognitive dissonance thread while posting of Obama:
"And yes. He does call to mind Jimmy Carter - but like I said - on steroids"
Did anyone hear Hannity say Obama is like "Jimmy Carter on steroids" two nights ago?
I also stated this in our house.
I don't know if coincidence or not.
I do know that some things Katherine or I say do wind up on the air. Far fetched. Yes. But true, as we are being surveillenced as part of an ongoing effort to steal more music lyrics some of them copywritten from Katherine.
Notice how their is a let less new music coming out now since Katherine is not writing anything new. She has been fixing some songs and constantly lines disappear off the computer.
If the music business is this corrupt can anyone imagine Wall Street with its insider trading, hedge funds, etc?
Example of how music crime works?
Reply #539 on:
June 20, 2010, 03:21:21 PM »
I am not sure if this is example of how organized crime in the entertainment industry works or just coicidence.
Below is a copy of that thread around the time I posted it on 06/02/2010.
When I try to print out my entire post of 06/02/2010 the first part, the part where I mention Jimmy Carter "on steroids" does not print.
I cannot get this segment to print:
" The silver lining is that Bamster will set the liberal/progressive agenda back to Woodrow Wilson. The bad news this country is going to be hurt bad till we can climb our way out of this mess. The people going around saying he is doing a good job are deniers. Sorry assholes. You are not going to get your reparations. Maybe you as well as the rest of us will have to work our butts off to get out of this mess. And yes. He does call to mind Jimmy Carter - but like I said - on steroids. It can't be just coincidence the"
The rest of the post prints. This is interesting to me. Because this is exactly one way how Katherine keeps getting lines from her work on the computer ripped off. The one from a song they want disappears altogether or cannot be printed out or copied. They then use just enough of it one cannot sue or they hold on till they can get into the house and get access to the computer HD or the discs and steal or tamper with them. Then you hear the singer coming out with the song with the lyrics in them. Such as Toby Keith, shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, and what is the name of the big douch with the voice of a frog - Trace Adkins. Actually the entire country crew are all doing it. So are many of the pop singers. Lady Gaga is another shoved in front of us with big money. Notice she is on all the networks talk shows. Larry King, O'reilly and all of them. Someone is making deals behind the scenes promoting her as though she is something special.
But I wonder if anyone can print out my complete post. Just curious.
Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness
« Reply #557 on: June 02, 2010, 03:14:16 PM »
The silver lining is that Bamster will set the liberal/progressive agenda back to Woodrow Wilson. The bad news this country is going to be hurt bad till we can climb our way out of this mess. The people going around saying he is doing a good job are deniers. Sorry assholes. You are not going to get your reparations. Maybe you as well as the rest of us will have to work our butts off to get out of this mess.
And yes. He does call to mind Jimmy Carter - but like I said - on steroids. It can't be just coincidence the world's hot spots are exploding into turmoil while the ONE sits at the helm. Remember big mouth Biden said Bamster would be tested? Well what is the One going to do now that Israel may go to war with Turkey, we are closer to war in Korea in my lifetime, Iran is almost with nuclear weapons? I guess he can continue to blame the F* Jews which he all but come out and done (its their faults because of a few housing projects). Or he can blame Bush again which he has continued (to this day) to do. Or of course he blame corporate American or BP. Or he can continue to travel around the world as our fearless leader apologizing to the world for all its problems all the while saying the US is at cause of them. When willl the MSM come out of their delusional state? They will have to. Kicking and screaming yes. But they will eventually have to. But when?
***By Dick Morris 06.2.2010 Published on TheHill.com on June 1, 2010
Conservatives are so enraged at Obama’s socialism and radicalism that they are increasingly surprised to learn that he is incompetent as well. The sight of his blithering and blustering while the most massive oil spill in history moves closer to America’s beaches not only reminds one of Bush’s terrible performance during Katrina, but calls to mind Jimmy Carter’s incompetence in the face of the hostage crisis.
America is watching the president alternate between wringing his hands in helplessness and pointing his finger in blame when he should be solving the most pressing environmental problem America has faced in the past 50 years. We are watching generations of environmental protection swept away as marshes, fisheries, vacation spots, recreational beaches, wetlands, hatcheries and sanctuaries fall prey to the oil spill invasion. And, all the while, the president acts like a spectator, interrupting his basketball games only to excoriate BP for its failure to contain the spill.
The political fallout from the oil spill will, indeed, spill across party and ideological lines. The environmentalists of America cannot take heart from a president so obviously ignorant about how to protect our shores and so obstinately arrogant that he refuses to inform himself and take any responsibility.
All of this explains why the oil spill is seeping into his ratings among Democrats, dragging him down to levels we have not seen since Bush during the pit of the Iraq war. Conservatives may dislike Obama because he is a leftist. But liberals are coming to dislike him because he is not a competent progressive.
Meanwhile, the nation watches nervously as the same policies Obama has brought to our nation are failing badly and publicly in Europe. When Moody’s announces that it is considering downgrading bonds issued by the government of the United States of America, we find ourselves, suddenly, in deep trouble. We have had deficits before. But never have they so freaked investors that a ratings agency considered lowering its opinion of our solvency. Not since Alexander Hamilton assumed the states’ Revolutionary War debt has America’s willingness and ability to meet its financial obligations been as seriously questioned.
And the truth begins to dawn on all of us: Obama has no more idea how to work his way out of the economic mess into which his policies have plunged us than he does about how to clean up the oil spill that is destroying our southern coastline.
Both the financial crisis and the oil come ever closer to our shores — one from the east and the other from the south — and, between them, they loom as a testament to the incompetence of our government and of its president.
And, oddly, to his passivity as well. After pursuing a remarkably activist, if misguided and foolhardy, agenda, Obama seems not to know what to do and finds himself consigned to the roles of observer and critic.
America is getting the point that its president doesn’t have a clue.
He doesn’t know how to stop the oil from spilling. He is bereft of ideas about how to create jobs in the aftermath of the recession. He has no idea how to keep the European financial crisis contained. He has no program for repaying the massive debt hole into which he has dug our nation without tax increases he must know will only deepen the pit.
Some presidents have failed because of their stubbornness (Johnson and Bush-43). Others because of their character flaws (Clinton and Nixon). Still others because of their insensitivity to domestic problems (Bush-41). But now we have a president who is failing because he is incompetent. It is Jimmy Carter all over again.
Who would have thought that this president, so anxious to lead us and so focused on his specific agenda and ideas, would turn out not to know what he is doing?***
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Another Illegal Job Offer Emerges
« Reply #558 on: June 02, 2010, 08:22:08 PM »
Maybe we can hear that Stanley Brand quote again:
Andrew Romanoff details contacts with White House over potential jobs
Updated, 9:39 pm
Former Colorado state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff released a detailed statement tonight detailing his contacts with the White House last fall in which a top aide to President Barack Obama sought to convince him to leave the state's Senate race.
Romanoff said that he received a call in September 2009 from White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina making clear that the White House would be supporting appointed Sen. Michael Bennet in the Colorado Senate Democratic primary.
"Mr. Messina also suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not pursuing the Senate race. He added that he could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions. At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request Mr. Messina's assistance in obtaining one."
(Romanoff'sstatement is available after the jump.)
The three jobs floated to him by Messina via email, according to Romanoff, were: Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and Caribbean for USAID, Director of Office of Democracy and Governance at USAID and director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
Romanoff said he followed up with a phone message in which he declined the potential job offers.
The Romanoff statement comes less than two weeks after questions about what job (if any) was offered to Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak in hopes of driving him from the race against Sen. Arlen Specter.
The White House ultimately released a report from Counsel Bob Bauer in which it was revealed that former President Bill Clinton had approached Sestak about leaving the race but that no formal contact between the Obama Administration and the candidate had ever occurred.
The simple fact that the White House -- via Messina -- made clear that they would be supporting Bennet in the August Democratic primary is not, in and of itself, particularly shocking. White Houses -- no matter which party is in control -- play favorites in primaries and do their level best to clear fields for the candidate they believe is best positioned to hold the seat for their side in a general election.
At issue is whether the White House's statement on the matter accurately portrayed the entirety of the situation.
In a September 27, 2009 Denver Post piece a White House spokesman is quoted saying that "Mr. Romanoff was never offered a position within the administration."
Romanoff, in his own statement tonight, reiterates that point; "At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request Mr. Messina's assistance in obtaining one," he said.
California Rep. Darrell Issa (R), who has led the charge against the White House on the Sestak and Romanoff matters, issued a sweeping condemnation of the Administration in the wake of the Romanoff statement asking "how deep does the Obama White House's effort to invoke Chicago-style politics for the purpose of manipulating elections really go?,".
Republicans will almost certainly attempt to make an issue of the White House's carefully worded statement about its conversations with Romanoff--questioning whether dangling three specific positions is tantamount to a job offer.
Andrew Romanoff statement
I have received a large number of press inquiries concerning the role the White House is reported to have played in my decision to run for the U.S. Senate. I have declined comment because I did not want - and do not want - to politicize this matter.
A great deal of misinformation has filled the void in the meantime. That does not serve the public interest or any useful purpose.
Here are the facts:
In September 2009, shortly after the news media first reported my plans to run for the Senate, I received a call from Jim Messina, the President's deputy chief of staff. Mr. Messina informed me that the White House would support Sen. Bennet. I informed Mr. Messina that I had made my decision to run.
Mr. Messina also suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not pursuing the Senate race. He added that he could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions. At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request Mr. Messina's assistance in obtaining one.
Later that day, I received an email from Mr. Messina containing descriptions of three positions (email attached). I left him a voicemail informing him that I would not change course.
I have not spoken with Mr. Messina, nor have I discussed this matter with anyone else in the White House, since then.
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Re: Media Issues
Reply #540 on:
June 20, 2010, 04:34:14 PM »
CCN reporter mourns Hezzie death
Reply #541 on:
July 06, 2010, 09:09:11 PM »
Recently some big mucky muck of Hezbollah died. I gather some twit reporter at CNN tweeted about her sadness at his death.
No Fly, Photo, Entry, or Reporting Zones
Reply #542 on:
July 06, 2010, 09:23:10 PM »
Respecting the Press and Public Access During the BP Oil Spill
We've heard countless stories of journalists trying to cover the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico being denied access in one way or another. Whether they're trying to fly over the spill to take photos, gain access to the oil-covered beaches, or take pictures of the dead animals washing ashore, a "media clampdown" continues despite federal government assurances that access is "uninhibited."
One BP representative told a Mother Jones reporter that BP could restrict access to the Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge because "it's BP's oil." And many reports indicate that local law enforcement has actually been cooperating with BP to restrict journalists' access to the spill.
It's this kind of news that prompted the ACLU of Louisiana to send a public letter (PDF) to the sheriffs of all Louisiana coastal parishes (or counties, to us non-Louisianans) reminding them of their obligation to respect the First Amendment rights of the media and the public. The letter states:
This letter is to notify you that members of the public have the right under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to film, record, photograph, and document anything they observe in a public place. No one — neither law enforcement nor a private corporation — has the legal right to interfere with public access to public places or the recording of activities that occur there. Nor may law enforcement officials cooperate with private companies in denying such access to the public.
The letter cites other instances where press access has been restricted.
The ocean and coasts have already taken a beating from BP. Local law enforcement shouldn't allow the First Amendment to take a beating too.
Re: Media Issues
Reply #543 on:
July 06, 2010, 10:24:48 PM »
But cameras in public places are like a orwellian police state or something....
Re: Media Issues
Reply #544 on:
July 07, 2010, 12:56:57 AM »
When they belong to Big Brother that is a very distinct question from the one presented here GM.
Re: Media Issues
Reply #545 on:
July 07, 2010, 01:09:35 AM »
So what you are saying is that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public space, right?
Re: Media Issues
Reply #546 on:
July 07, 2010, 05:59:31 PM »
Oh sheezus, do you really need these distinctions drawn? Are you truly comparing photographing an oil soiled stretch of ocean for publication to mounting a camera outside someones door and catching frames all day every day?
Okay, there's this thing called the 1st amendment which prohibits the feds from prior restraint, amongst other infringements. Last I read it, the amendment doesn't speak to 24/7 federal videography, or is this one of those "living constitution" things?
Whatever JDN has must be ketchin'.
Re: Media Issues
Reply #547 on:
July 07, 2010, 06:23:53 PM »
Spin it however you wish, but the legal principle is the same. Say it with me "No reasonable expectation of privacy". I knew you could.
Re: Media Issues
Reply #548 on:
July 08, 2010, 04:37:32 AM »
The press is not 24/7 surveillance either, nor do they have a bunch of guys with guns and tanks to do something to you when you complain........... A video camera checking out a neighborhood for a photo op. is a whole lot different from trying to shoot video thru doors and windows of a private residence too. The Press gets in touble for that- papparazzi is get poppped and and some court action ensues all the time for doing things like that.
Do the same to law enforcement getting equally intolerable and what happens..........
Yes the media is a PITA, but they are also the people's eyes and ears. Yes, Virginia, they are biased but at least their barking let's you know something is happening. The Government can be way more than that, and they are sneaky bastards, and they may be trying to pull a fast one in return for.......?
I am surprised that there aren't any boycott calls yet, BP is only one gas company right.........
Re: Media Issues
Reply #549 on:
July 08, 2010, 09:10:38 AM »
The press is not 24/7 surveillance either
**They sure can be.**
, nor do they have a bunch of guys with guns and tanks to do something to you when you complain
**Where do you live to have tanks do something to you when you complain? Have tanks done something to you in the past?**
........... A video camera checking out a neighborhood for a photo op. is a whole lot different from trying to shoot video thru doors and windows of a private residence too. The Press gets in touble for that- papparazzi is get poppped and and some court action ensues all the time for doing things like that.
Do the same to law enforcement getting equally intolerable and what happens..........
**What does happen?**
Yes the media is a PITA, but they are also the people's eyes and ears. Yes, Virginia, they are biased but at least their barking let's you know something is happening. The Government can be way more than that, and they are sneaky bastards, and they may be trying to pull a fast one in return for.......?
**Someday, someone will make a coherent arguement instead of hysterical tinfoil ramblings on this topic, i'm sure of it.**
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