Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

  • Calendar

    July 2020
    S M T W T F S
    « Jan    
  • Recent Posts

  • Tag Cloud

  • Archives

Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Media fact-checking priorities

Posted by Richard on November 21, 2009

It's a tough time in the news business, with lots of layoffs and red ink. So it's especially important for an organization like the Associated Press, which is cutting 10% of its staff, to allocate its limited investigative and reporting resources carefully, based on well-chosen priorities. James Taranto provided an excellent example:

An Associated Press dispatch, written by Erica Werner and Richard Alonso-Zaldivar, compares the House and Senate ObamaCare bills. We'd like to compare this dispatch to the AP's dispatch earlier this week "fact checking" Sarah Palin's new book. Here goes:

Number of AP reporters assigned to story:
   • ObamaCare bills: 2
   • Palin book: 11

Number of pages in document being covered:
   • ObamaCare bills: 4,064
   • Palin book: 432

Number of pages per AP reporter:
   • ObamaCare bill: 2,032
   • Palin book: 39.3

On a per-page basis, that is, the AP devoted 52 times as much manpower to the memoir of a former Republican officeholder as to a piece of legislation that will cost trillions of dollars and an untold number of lives. That's what they call accountability journalism.

I suppose that kind of prioritization of journalistic resources is why the evening news, CNN, MSNBC, NYT, WaPo, etc., haven't dug into the many examples of bogus math and fiscal sleight-of-hand in the ObamaCare bills, like delaying most of the expenditures until 2013 (after the election) so that the CBO's 10-year projection includes only seven years' worth of costs. And they've been too busy with the Palin investigations to notice that both the House and Senate bills contain the regulatory framework that will eventually transform government panels' suggested standards of care, like those much-criticized mammogram and Pap smear recommendations, into the tools for rationing health care

I suppose it's also why you'll have a hard time finding any in-depth coverage of the bogus accounting and reporting of the "stimulus" bill's spending and job creation

This is nothing new. During the campaign last fall, the big media organizations sent scores of reporters to scour Alaska in search of dirt on Gov. Palin. But hardly anyone had time to investigate Obama's relationships with Tony Rezko, the Daley brothers, ACORN, Rod Blagojevich, Emil Jones, and other elements of the Chicago machine (well, to be fair, I think one reporter each from the Chicago Sun-Times and the Washington Times and a couple of semi-pros from Newsmax doggedly dug into these things). 

But some journalists still have the courage to hammer interviewees with challenging, aggressive, well-researched, adversarial questions — at least when the interviewee is a 17-year-old Sarah Palin fan. Speaking Truth to Teenager. (By all means, take Finkelstein's advice and read the blog entry by interviewee Jackie Seals. Fascinating.)

Maybe the courageous Norah O'Donnell's next assignment will be to confront supporters of ObamaCare with tough questions like, "Do you realize that if this passes, you could be sent to jail for not buying an approved health care plan?" And then she'll go to some "Save the Planet" rally and challenge a Gore supporter with, "Are you aware that the Earth's core is 4000°, not a million degrees as Mr. Gore has claimed, and that many of his other claims are equally outlandish and unsubstantiated?"

Somehow, I doubt it. And I'm not holding my breath waiting for 60 Minutes reporters to ambush the perpetrators of the latest climate fraud, either.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Shocker! Mainstream news outlet uses phrase “global cooling”

Posted by Richard on October 27, 2009

It's definitely a "man bites dog" event when a CBS-affiliated local TV news department headlines a story "Global Cooling Causes Fish Kill In Cherry Creek": 

DENVER (CBS4) – A major fish kill was reported Tuesday afternoon in Cherry Creek in downtown Denver.

Dead fish were spotted from Confluence Park upstream to Speer Boulevard.
The fish were small, between two to four inches long. They were floating in the swift current and sloughing off on the banks of the creek.

The Division Of Wildlife said the kill came as a result of global cooling.

I'm sure the DOW really said something about "recent cooling" or the like, referring to the weather, not climate. And I'm certain that legions of climate change watchdogs are contacting CBS4Denver at this moment, and the offending phrase will soon be scrubbed from the story. But it gave me a laugh. Here's the original preserved for posterity: 

Global Cooling Causes Fish Kill 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

MSNBC takes media mendacity to a new level

Posted by Richard on August 21, 2009

It's been increasingly obvious for several years that the majority of the mainstream media are no longer attempting to report the news honestly and fairly, they're attempting to create news and manipulate public opinion.

No outlet has been a worse offender in the past year or so than MSNBC. But their August 18th story about demonstrators near the VFW convention in Phoenix marked a shameful new low even for them (emphasis in 1st pgf from original; later emphasis added): 

On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer fretted over health care reform protesters legally carrying guns: "A man at a pro-health care reform rally…wore a semiautomatic assault rifle on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip….there are questions about whether this has racial overtones….white people showing up with guns." Brewer failed to mention the man she described was black.

Following Brewer’s report, which occurred on the Morning Meeting program, host Dylan Ratigan and MSNBC pop culture analyst Toure discussed the supposed racism involved in the protests. Toure argued: "…there is tremendous anger in this country about government, the way government seems to be taking over the country, anger about a black person being president….we see these hate groups rising up and this is definitely part of that." Ratigan agreed: "…then they get the variable of a black president on top of all these other things and that’s the move – the cherry on top, if you will, to the accumulated frustration for folks."

Not only did Brewer, Ratigan, and Toure fail to point out the fact that the gun-toting protester that sparked the discussion was black, but the video footage shown of that protester was so edited, that it was impossible to see that he was black. The man appeared at a health care rally outside of President Obama’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, Arizona.

Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson has called for the firing of everyone responsible for this blatant piece of propaganda (emphasis added): 

According to the Wilson letter to Capus, in the MSNBC broadcast at 10:45AM on August 18th “your anchors hysterically raised the specter of impending racial violence — while carefully cropping the very video upon which they based their duplicitous charges. Leading audiences nationwide to believe that militant whites were mounting violence against a black President, they deliberately covered up the fact that the individual they were framing was himself African-American.”

The broadcast showed a video of a man with a machine gun [wrong; it was a semi-automatic rifle] at a protest against the government-run health care legislation in Arizona, a state where citizens are permitted to carry firearms openly.

“His face and hands were cropped out so that viewers could not see that the man was black as the broadcasters breathlessly reported that he was a rightwing white militant,” Wilson explained in a statement.

“This simply goes beyond the pale, and has never in my memory been seen in what is supposed to be a legitimate news broadcast,” Wilson said.

ALG has video of both the MSNBC broadcast and a local Phoenix news interview with the gun-toting black man.

The Second Amendment Foundation has also denounced this deliberate dissemination of lies (emphasis added):

“What MSNBC purposely did not reveal with the deliberately doctored video is that the man carrying that sport-utility rifle was an African-American,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “MSNBC knows the man was black, yet all they showed in a brief film clip was a close-up of the rifle against the man’s neatly-pressed dress shirt. It was impossible to tell the man’s race.

“This is a detestable attempt to manipulate public sentiment,” he continued, “in MSNBC’s continuing effort to perpetuate a stereotype of gun owners as white racists. It was even suggested during the segment by MSNBC culture critic Toure that it would not be surprising ‘if we see somebody get a chance and take a chance and really try to hurt’ the president.

“By irresponsibly fomenting this kind of racial divisiveness through the use of carefully-edited video,” Gottlieb stated, “MSNBC is not simply reporting news, it is provoking a reaction. If any harm comes to the president, MSNBC’s hate-mongering should be blamed.

“I wonder,” Gottlieb conclude, “if Keith Olbermann is going to name MSNBC as the worst news network in the world.”

Note: I'm not defending the judgment of the unnamed black man with the rifle and pistol, or his armed friends. Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean it's the right or wise thing to do. In the interview, he seemed quite reasonable and articulate, and his point about conditioning people not to freak out when they see an armed citizen is quite valid. But if that's his goal, he should openly carry that pistol on his hip when he goes grocery shopping, buys gas, and picnics in the park. In my opinion, from a tactical and public relations perspective, just outside a presidential appearance is not a good place to make that particular point.

But that's neither here nor there. The issue here is MSNBC's cynical manipulation of the video footage to convey an outrageous lie in furtherance of their vicious disinformation campaign against those who oppose the Obama agenda and its drive toward socialism. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Bowing to the Saudis

Posted by Richard on June 5, 2009

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann recalled the fuss a couple of months ago over whether President Obama bowed to King Abdullah (I think it's clear that he did, but judge for yourself) and argued that he's really bowing to the Saudis on his current Mideast trip: 

First, he is bypassing Israel. Visiting the Middle East and not going to Israel would be like touring North America and omitting a stop in the United States. It only makes sense if you interpret it as a deliberate slap in the face of Jerusalem and a statement to the Arab world that America's pro-Israeli policy is changing.

But as he goes to Saudi Arabia, the United States State Department, headed by Mrs. Hillary Clinton, has announced that it has accepted the ground rules for media coverage of the Obama visit to the royal family and its domain. Reporters will only be allowed to cover the actual meetings between the Saudis and Obama and will not be permitted to visit the rest of the country or report on anything else they see during the trip. Those reporters who violate these terms are subject to arrest and imprisonment by the Saudi government!!

Hillary and Obama accepted these terms.

Since when does the U.S. government act as the assistant to the Saudi monarchy in charge of controlling the media? And since when would an American president permit this shackling of the media and still proceed with the diplomatic visit without a murmur of protest?

Since when? Since Obama became president determined to appease Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and all of the extremists while slighting Israel and turning his back on democracy.

Diana West found confirmation at Time magazine's Swampland blog, where Michael Scherer published the instructions he received from the State Department:

The Saudi government is permitting journalists accompanying President Obama entry into the country without a visa or the usual customs procedures.  While in Saudi Arabia, therefore, journalists are expressly prohibited from leaving the hotel or engaging in any journalistic activities outside of coverage of the POTUS visit.  Those who do so risk arrest and detention by Saudi authorities.


But wait! West noted that Scherer had updated his post with the following: 

Qorvis Communications, which represents the Saudi Government in the United States, emailed reporters Monday night with an statement saying the announcement of restrictions, which was sent from the State Department, is incorrect. The Qorvis email says that the Saudi Ambassador has said journalists can get visas and will be free to go wherever they would like. I am not yet sure the source of the confusion. Will update when I know.

If that's true, it suggests that folks at the State Dept. are eagerly embracing even more dhimmitude than the Saudis have asked for. No less disgusting. (And by the way, I'm certain that most American journalists are decidedly not "free to go wherever they would like" — non-Muslims who enter Mecca or Medina can be put to death.)

But wait! Now it gets weird. I personally saw the above update on Scherer's post early this morning. I just returned to the post to link to it, and the update is gone (the original post remains). Is it just a glitch? Or did Scherer or Time determine that the Qorvis claim was questionable or false? If so, shouldn't there be another update explaining?

For that matter, isn't this kind of kowtowing to medieval autocrats worthy of being reported in the news, not just noted in a blog post that almost no one will see? 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Paul Harvey, r.i.p.

Posted by Richard on March 1, 2009

We've lost one of the seminal figures and most distinctive voices in the history of broadcast news. Paul Harvey passed away today at the age of 90, ending a remarkable radio career that spanned 75 years.

A sad day. I will miss hearing the r-r-r-rest of the story.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

RMN, r.i.p.

Posted by Richard on February 27, 2009

On November 22, 1858, William Larimer founded the city of Denver. Just a few months later, on April 23, 1859, it had a newspaper:

A cheer went up along Cherry Creek in the night. William Newton Byers, 28, and a crew of three printers cranked out the first edition of the Rocky Mountain News, beating its very first competitor, The Cherry Creek Pioneer, to the streets of Denver by 20 minutes.

Colorado had its first newspaper. 

They've been planning for the 150th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain News for some time now. But they won't get a chance to celebrate it. As I write this, the last edition of the venerable paper — the Friday, February 27, edition, 55 days short of its sesquicentennial — sits to my side. On Thursday, executives of owner E.W. Scripps Co. broke the news to the staff.  

I was somewhat surprised at how much the news saddened me. It's not that it came as a big surprise. There was very little chance that Scripps would find a buyer — the Rocky has been hemorrhaging money for some time.

One thing that really bothers me is the classless way Scripps handled the closing. A one-day notice, even with severance package, just sucks. Considering the millions they've lost in recent years, I think they should have sucked it up, eaten another couple of hundred thousand, and scheduled the paper to shut down after the 150th anniversary edition.

I'm going to miss the Rocky. I've been a subscriber for nearly a quarter century, although I admit I've been spending less and less time reading it lately, as the internet has replaced newsprint as an information source. I'm sorry they couldn't figure out how to adapt to that change financially. But they have a pretty good website, and their online farewell video, Final Edition, is worth a look (although I wish it didn't spend so much time on the entitlement-minded couple). I hope the site remains up. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Newspaper bailout?

Posted by Richard on December 4, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I noted:

When you start handing out free money, expect a long line to form. Wall Street bankers and insurance companies have been joined in the bailout line by student loan debtors (and their creditors), domestic auto makers, states, municipalities, … I'm sure the line will get longer day by day.

The latest candidates for a bailout? Newspapers. They're in trouble all across the country, with waves of layoffs and seas of red ink. According to Michelle Malkin, politicians in at least one state are now talking about a government rescue plan for their struggling papers: 

It was supposed to be a joke. As an endless parade of corporate beggars marches to Washington in search of handouts for their beleaguered industries, some of us in the news business snarked that journalists would be next in line. I launched a Newspaper Bailout Countdown Clock on my blog after The New York Times Company's bonds plunged into junk territory in October. A few weeks later, columnist Jon Fine published a tongue-in-cheek memo in BusinessWeek outlining a federal newspaper rescue proposal.

The jibes were meant to be facetious critiques of for-profit enterprises demanding massive taxpayer expenditures under the guise of preserving the "public interest." But now, in a rather unfunny turn, the newspaper bailout push has actually come to pass.

The Republican governor and the Democratic attorney general of Connecticut went on the record last week in support of government intervention for failing local newspapers. God save us from bipartisanship.

I'm sure tonight there are folks at the Rocky Mountain News hoping this idea gains traction. Owner E.W. Scripps Co. put it up for sale today, and I suspect they'll have a hard time finding a buyer:

The Rocky Mountain News is on the sale block, facing an uncertain future as Colorado's oldest newspaper approaches its 150th anniversary.

The head of Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps, the Rocky's owner, acknowledged in making the announcement Thursday that if a buyer does not step forward in the next four to six weeks that the paper could be closed — a move that could occur as soon as early 2009.

Scripps expects the Rocky to lose $15 million this year, Boehne said.

A buyer would not only have to reverse those losses (in the face of declining ad revenue), but would be saddled with half the $130 million debt of the Denver Newspaper Agency, the production company owned jointly by the Rocky and the Denver Post.

"It's a terrible time to be trying to sell a newspaper," said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank in St. Petersburg, Fla. "There might be some potential buyers, but they might have a hard time getting credit. A couple of years ago I would've said there was a very high chance that Media News would buy it, but they are too stretched right now."

Michael Howard, who joined the Rocky as a reporter in 1965 and served as editor of the paper from 1974 to 1980, said he doesn't "know anyone dumb enough to buy a newspaper right now."

Howard, a descendent of the Howard family that formed half of the former Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, doubted a sale would be successful. He said he believes it was "inevitable we were headed toward a one-newspaper town. It's very sad."

Maybe editor/publisher John Temple should head for Congress, hat in hand. He should probably drive there in a hybrid.

Of course, I'm not for a government bailout of the Rocky. But I've been a subscriber for over two decades, and I do think it's sad. 

Anybody know Rupert Murdoch's private number?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Concealing evidence of Obama’s radicalism

Posted by Richard on October 29, 2008

Speaking of media bias, would a major metropolitan newspaper withhold from the public material evidence regarding the character, beliefs, and associations of a presidential candidate? It's happening right now, according to Andrew McCarthy:

Let’s try a thought experiment. Say John McCain attended a party at which known racists and terror mongers were in attendance. Say testimonials were given, including a glowing one by McCain for the benefit of the guest of honor … who happened to be a top apologist for terrorists. Say McCain not only gave a speech but stood by, in tacit approval and solidarity, while other racists and terror mongers gave speeches that reeked of hatred for an American ally and rationalizations of terror attacks.

Now let’s say the Los Angeles Times obtained a videotape of the party.

Question: Is there any chance — any chance — the Times would not release the tape and publish front-page story after story about the gory details, with the usual accompanying chorus of sanctimony from the oped commentariat? Is there any chance, if the Times was the least bit reluctant about publishing (remember, we’re pretending here), that the rest of the mainstream media (y’know, the guys who drove Trent Lott out of his leadership position over a birthday-party toast) would not be screaming for the release of the tape?

Do we really have to ask?

So now, let’s leave thought experiments and return to reality: Why is the Los Angeles Times sitting on a videotape of the 2003 farewell bash in Chicago at which Barack Obama lavished praise on the guest of honor, Rashid Khalidi — former mouthpiece for master terrorist Yasser Arafat?

At the time Khalidi, a PLO adviser turned University of Chicago professor, was headed east to Columbia. There he would take over the University’s Middle East-studies program (which he has since maintained as a bubbling cauldron of anti-Semitism) and assume the professorship endowed in honor of Edward Sayyid, another notorious terror apologist.

The party featured encomiums by many of Khalidi’s allies, colleagues, and friends, including Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator, and Bill Ayers, the terrorist turned education professor. It was sponsored by the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), which had been founded by Khalidi and his wife, Mona, formerly a top English translator for Arafat’s press agency.

Is there just a teeny-weenie chance that this was an evening of Israel-bashing Obama would find very difficult to explain? Could it be that the Times, a pillar of the Obamedia, is covering for its guy?

McCarthy excerpted at length from the "gentle story" about the event that the Times published in April and put that information into perspective. Read the whole thing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

The media’s dangerous game

Posted by Richard on October 28, 2008

Top technology writer Michael S. Malone is upset by what's happened to his profession:

The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game — with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun — for the first time in my adult life — to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.

You need to understand how painful this is for me. I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I'm cut. I am a fourth-generation newspaperman. …

… I've spent 30 years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor. And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national byline before he earned his drivers license.

So, when I say I'm deeply ashamed right now to be called a "journalist," you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.

Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass — no, make that shameless support — they've gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don't have a free and fair press.

Read the whole thing. There's much more, and Malone has an interesting theory on who's to blame and what motivates them. 



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

A dearth of honest reporting

Posted by Richard on October 27, 2008

I'm getting to it a bit late, but this October 9 column by Orson Scott Card (who is, by the way, a Democrat) deserves your attention. It discusses the source of the housing/financial crisis and the mendacity of the media in reporting it, and it's addressed to "the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America":

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Sen. Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a essay entitled "Do Facts Matter?" ( "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was … the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was … the Republican Party.

There's much more. Read the whole thing. The extent to which the vast majority of journalists are now promoting, protecting, cheerleading for, covering up for, and flat-out lying on behalf of Obama and the Democrats is shameful.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

How I know Palin delivered

Posted by Richard on October 2, 2008

In my not-so-humble opinion, Palin won big. As Vodkapundit noted several times during his drunkblogging, Palin was especially good when she was "off-script." On energy in particular, she articulated McCain's position far better than McCain has. And she challenged Obama's and Biden's records much more effectively than McCain has.

But I realize it's hard for me to be objective about this, especially when I disliked almost everything Biden had to say. And I heard him say numerous things that were flat-out false.

So I'm looking for some objective standard by which to gauge the outcome, and I think I've got one. I watched on NBC. Before the debate, Brian Williams and his talking heads all agreed that this debate was an historic and highly important event.

After the debate, they all agreed that Palin did quite well, that neither candidate made any big mistakes — and that it really doesn't matter because no one cares about vice presidential debates, and it will be completely forgotten in a few days.

If that's the consensus spin of the mainstream media, then I'm pretty certain that Palin did really, really well. Because if she hadn't done well, you can be sure they'd still be talking about how important that debate was.

UPDATE: Was Ifill fair? Well, she wasn't as unfair as she might have been, and I suspect that's because of all the criticism that followed revelations about her upcoming pro-Obama book. But a lot of the questions she asked and the way she asked them made it easier for Biden to answer than for Palin. And she sure gave Biden the last word a lot.

UPDATE 2: According to Ace of Spades, I was right about Biden saying "numerous things that were flat-out false." He enumerated 14 specific instances. And he didn't even mention Biden's huge flubs regarding Article 1 of the Constitution (it's about the legislative branch, not the executive branch) and the role of the Vice President (the veep doesn't just preside over the Senate when there is a tie vote; that's just the only time the veep votes with the Senate).

UPDATE 3: There was one moment when Biden connected with me: near the end, when he recalled losing his wife and daughter (in an automobile accident) and worrying about whether one of his sons would survive. He became genuinely choked up, and my heart went out to him.

But that was the only moment during the debate that Biden seemed like a genuine human being instead of a Washington politico-bot.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ifill in the tank for Obama

Posted by Richard on October 1, 2008

PBS anchor Gwen Ifill will be the moderator for the one and only vice presidential debate. With the assent of both campaigns, she's been given free rein by the debate commission to run the debate as she pleases. But would the McCain-Palin campaign have agreed if they'd been better informed about Ifill? From today's Michelle Malkin column (emphasis added):

In an imaginary world where liberal journalists are held to the same standards as everyone else, Ifill would be required to make a full disclosure at the start of the debate. She would be required to turn to the cameras and tell the national audience that she has a book coming out on Jan. 20, 2009 — a date that just happens to coincide with the inauguration of the next president of the United States.

The title of Ifill's book? "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." Nonpartisan my foot.

Random House, her publisher, is already busy hyping the book with YouTube clips of Ifill heaping praise on her subjects, including Obama and Obama-endorsing Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick. …

Ifill and her publisher are banking on an Obama/Biden win to buoy her book sales. The moderator expected to treat both sides fairly has grandiosely declared this the "Age of Obama." Can you imagine a right-leaning journalist writing a book about the "stunning" McCain campaign and its "bold" path to reform timed for release on Inauguration Day — and then expecting a slot as a moderator for the nation's sole vice presidential debate?

Yeah, I just registered 6.4 on the Snicker Richter Scale, too.

Read the whole thing. Sadly, there is nothing at all remarkable or noteworthy about Ifill's obvious bias, partiality, lack of objectivity, and slanted reporting. Most of the MSM don't even make an effort to conceal it anymore, they're so contemptuous of their political "enemies" and the "bitter clingers" in flyover country. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Sometimes a Victory Column is just a Victory Column

Posted by Richard on August 4, 2008

Bob Herbert can spot subtle signs of racism from a thousand yards with one eye closed, but he apparently has no idea what the Washington Monument and Leaning Tower of Pisa look like. This would be embarrassing for someone capable of embarrassment. Newsbusters has the story (emphasis in original):

The NYT columnist, a guest on today's Morning Joe, expanded on the theory set forth in his column of this past Saturday, Running While Black, that the McCain campaign ad mocking Obama as a Paris Hilton/Britney Spears-type celebrity was actually "designed to exploit" racist anxiety about black men and white women. …

It was in describing the McCain ad that Herbert's symptoms surfaced.

View video here.

BOB HERBERT: You guys have seen the ad a number of times, I am sure, and you have it here in-house.  First thing you see are a couple of images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, right?  And we see an image of Barack Obama right after that, comes quickly right at the beginning of the, you remember that, right?  Do you remember any other startling images right there at the beginning?

Silence on the set.

HERBERT: Alright. There is an image right there in that very beginning of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and there is an image of the Washington Monument. Look at the beginning of that ad again.  And you tell me why those two phallic symbols are placed there [snaps fingers]—pow!—right at the very beginning of that ad.

Over the course of the segment, the rest of the gang tried to gently talk Herbert down from his bad trip, calmly explaining that what he was seeing were in fact images of the Victory Column in Tiergarten Park in Berlin, where Obama chose to give his speech.  But by the end, Herbert was still speaking of seeing "two phallic symbols."  …

Wow. It didn't take long after the 2000 election for Bush Derangement Syndrome to develop and spread. But I'm seeing signs of McCain Derangement Syndrome already, and it's three months before the election. 

So, Sen. McCain, what did years of schmoozing the press, cozying up to your Democratic colleagues, and making nice to everybody but the members of your own party get you, exactly? Certainly not a fair shake (except from Lieberman, who is apparently too fair-minded to be welcome in the Democratic Party of today).

A word of advice, Senator McCain: don't go around offering people cigars. 

UPDATE: It just occurred to me: If the Tiergarten Victory Column is a phallic symbol, what about that tire gauge that Obama was … um, thrusting upon us the other day? 😉 

UPDATE 2: Instapundit finally catches up to me, and has some interesting new links regarding what I shall dub "phallogate." 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Are AP stories warrantied?

Posted by Richard on June 20, 2008

If you read any blogs at all, you've probably heard about the AP copyright kerfuffle. First, the AP went after the left-wing blog Drudge Retort for posting excerpts (33 to 79 words) from AP stories. Now, they want you to pay for permission to post excerpts, and the fee schedule starts at 5-25 words ($12.50). Apparently, the concept of fair use is utterly unknown to them.

They have a whole menu (with submenus!) of usage categories and fees. To check it out, go to this interesting story (which I don't dare tell you about because I might use the same words they do) and click Reuse Options above the headline (which I can't quote because it's more than five words). Select Post on Your Website… (that's four words; can't tell you the other two), and on the submenu, scroll down and select Excerpt for Web Use (whew, only four words in that one). Hey, they offer educational and non-profit discounts!

It must be nice being a really big-time blogger who rates media attention, because you can play turnabout. With a little effort, Michelle Malkin found two instances in the last two months when an AP story quoted something from her blog. Since their stories are published in many places, she's calculated (using their fee schedule) that they owe her and one of her commenters $132,125.

Allahpundit wondered:

What’s their game here, seriously? They’re turning themselves into laughingstocks and blogosphere pariahs while drumming up business for Reuters and AFP. If they’re trying to establish some sort of bright line beyond which excerpts can’t go without triggering infringement, then why not just lay down some reasonable-ish policy — two paragraphs maximum, say — and wait for someone to violate it, then sue to see if a court will enforce it? (Suspected answer: Because the court probably won’t and the AP knows it.) I’m mystified by their thought process.

But commenter Tantor had some really great questions about the AP policy:

If you buy words from a story by AP that turns out to be of defective quality or enemy propaganda presented as truth, what is their refund policy? Do you get your money back if the story is fake? Or maybe free words from some story in the future that is true? How long do you have to wait for a true story to appear?

What about fake photos? If AP foists some photoshopped photos from some terrorist sympathizer on you as absolutely true, do you get your money back?

I’ve got a lot of questions about this.

I believe that in many states there is an implied warranty of "fitness and merchantability" even if the seller doesn't offer an explicit warranty. I hope the people who find that they've bought "reuse" rights to one of the AP's many fake news stories will look into that.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Objective” journalist comes out of closet

Posted by Richard on May 22, 2008

Bob Bidinotto:

In today's campaign news, Linda Douglass, contributing editor to The National Journal, has just joined the Obama campaign as a senior strategist and a senior campaign spokesperson. Drudge headlined this today as "POLITICAL JOURNALIST LINDA DOUGLASS GOES TO WORK FOR OBAMA…"

I think that's completely unfair: It fails to give credit to the many thousands of other political journalists who are working just as hard for Obama, but who aren't even drawing a fat paycheck for their services.

Not only that, it overlooks the fact that Douglass went to work for Obama quite some time ago. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »