Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bloviating at Ground Zero

The New York Times, which never ceases to shock and amaze, really outdoes itself today in its coverage of the new design at Ground Zero. The main story, and editorial, are inoffensive enough. But the Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff steps in to prove, once again, that the Times is second to none in producing sanctimonious, politically slanted pap when given half a chance.

"Somber, oppressive and clumsily conceived"? Maybe. The problem is not that Ouroussoff hates the design, but that he uses the occasion to share with us the Nicolai Ouroussoff View of the State of the Civilized World. Well, guess what, folks? I couldn't care less about the Nicolai Ouroussoff View of the State of the Civilized World. Nicolai Ouroussoff can stick the Nicolai Ouroussoff View of the State of the Civilized World where the sun never shines.

Nicolai believes that we live in a "society that has turned its back on any notion of cultural openness." Now, that is patently false. Any society that can appoint a dufus like Nicolai Ouroussoff to the position of New York Times architectural critic is obviously open to pretty much anything.

However, I do see a certain irony in the following: "What the tower evokes. . . are ancient obelisks, blown up to a preposterous scale and clad in heavy sheaths of reinforced glass - an ideal symbol for an empire enthralled with its own power." Again, the "sun never shines" thought comes to mind. But so does this:

Here we have a pompous, bloviating nonentity who is given a forum by one of the American institutions most enthralled with its own power. This twit would be lathered in obscurity were it not for an institution that is accountable to no one, and reflects a skewed point of view shared by only a tiny, elite fraction of the American people. Under the guise of "architectural criticism," readers of the Times are forced to endure a political lecture. I can't think of anything more Fascist than that.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Khalidi Plot Thickens

Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, enmeshed though he is in a plagiarism scandal, seems to be advancing through the halls of academia anyway--another example how mediocrity and advocacy of extremism carry the day in dear old ivy!

Khalidi, a Horatio Alger type who is always advancing himself, is pushing for a new job at Princeton University. The local Princeton Packet, meanwhile, ignored the plagiarism scandal in a story on the subject the other day. Interesting line in the piece: Princeton vice president Robert Durkee "declined to confirm Professor Khalidi's candidacy for the endowed chair at Princeton. He said this particular chair is a floating one." Hmm.... floating in what? Blood?

Meanwhile, Harvard's Alan Dershowitz expounds on this whole plagiarism business in an article in a Boston Jewish paper, reprinted by Campus Watch. Seems that the plagiarism took place in a website that very neatly made it un-plagiarism, after the dirty deed was revealed, by removing Khalidi's byline. Slick work!

But Khalidi's shining moral qualities pale alongside his glorious advocacy of the crushing of the evil Zionist entity. He will be sorely missed at the Madrassa on the Upper West Side. Goodbye, Khalidi! Don't forget to plagiar.... I mean, write!

Is the AP Competing for Title of Top UN Shill?

The Associated Press yesterday pulled off a spectacular coup--it managed to make Reuters look good. According to the Snapshots blog, the AP devoted a 518-word story to the appointment of a new head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency, Karen AbuZayd, without mentioning that her predecessor Peter Hansen was a subject of numerous allegations of anti-Israel conduct.

Even Reuters mentioned that in its story. You have to really try hard to make Reuters look good in any story concerning either the UN or the Middle East. You will note from the link that Reuters is the news agency of choice of the Moonbats at AlterNet. That's no accident.

This is an excellent example of the kind of cluelessness and open bias that characterize so much UN reporting. As I've observed several times, the ethically anorexic UN press corps is notorious for a sycophantic, cheerleading attitude toward the world body--whose flaws the UN media either excuse or, in this instance, ignore completely.

Reuters is one of the worst of the lot, and its UN bureau chief, Evelyn Leopold, shows her fealty to the UN at every opportunity. She rushed to the defense of UN information chief Shashi Tharoor for hosting a media panel that included a notorious anti-Semite.

Could the AP be playing catch-up?

His Title is Safe

Jon Friedman of Marketwatch is clinging tightly to the title of "World's Worst Media Columnist."

In a column on June 24 that I saw at the time but could only bring myself to read today -- I had a light breakfast -- Friedman lists the "Top Ten Media Events" of the year but fails to mention the widely publicized controversy over funding of National Public Radio, its appointment of an ombudsman, etc. etc.

That's not important to this putz. More important is the "open season on Katie Couric," last year's coverage of the Tsunami (which wouldn't be a "media event" even if it took place this year), and James Stewart writing a book about Disney.

"Reading Stewart's book was something like watching a 49-car pile-up on the 405 freeway," says Friedman. In other words, it's a bit like the experience of reading a media columnist who is totally out of his depth.

UPDATE: Apparently I have understated the case. A reader brings to my attention a letter to Romenesko yesterday by the managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, James O'Shea. Seems that in his zeal to write a puff piece on the new poker column in the New York Times, Friedman had pulled a boner.

Friedman said it was "ingenious" for the Times to place the column in the Sports section, and referred to the column as the newspaper's "latest innovation." "For the record," said O'Shea, "Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune has been writing a weekly poker column that runs in the Sports section of the Chicago Tribune for the past 13 months."

Way to go, Jon Friedman! Your title is so secure that--what do you think? Time to, maybe, retire undefeated? I know your readers would be grateful!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Conservative"? Naah.

The Romenesko item has resulted in a good deal of very gratifying pickup in recent days. One came in from the Providence Journal blog, which said the following:

Sweet gig: On Thursday FishbowlDC complains about Jim Romenesko's must-read media-news blog ignoring bloggers (Things You Might Have Missed If You Only Read Romenesko), and yesterday conservative media blogger Mediacrity grumbles about bias and publishes Romenesko's salary. [emphasis added]

Note the label. Must we label people? Can't we be kind to one another? Besides, I view myself as more of an independent, sort of an Andrew Sullivan without the shaved head and without being... well, you know.

The Left's Silence on Judith Miller

The left is always yammering away about "free speech"--except when they don't like what's being said. So it's interesting to look at the reaction--that is, the non-reaction -- of the left to the Supreme Court decision yesterday that could mean jail terms for Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matt Cooper of Time magazine.

Miller has become such a loathed figure on the left, for daring to run stories countering PC conventions, that ordinarily voluble First Amendment types aren't feeling especially righteous today.

I previously discussed the unprincipled attacks on Miller here and here. If you're going to judge a person by his or her enemies--in this case the dimwitted Russ Baker and the Payola Pundit Ian Williams--Miller has got to be pretty damn good.

AlterNet, typically, has only one article on the subject lately, a snooty piece on Miller extracted from Editor & Publisher. "Is the New York Times reporter seeking martyr status in the Plame case to rescue a reputation tarnished by outrageous WMD reporting?" asks AlterNet.

A typical Counterpunch article in February ignored Miller and Cooper completely, focusing its attack instead on Robert Novak--who actually revealed Valerie Plame's name in a column. (This is one of those rare instances in which I agree with Counterpunch, by the way. Why has Novak been left alone?) Miller and Cooper, because of the former's non-PC behavior, proves troubling to the Stalinist jerks who run that dreary publication. So their plight doesn't even warrant a mention.

Miller is one of the few Times reporters who have stood apart from the newspaper's creepy politics. Sure, the newspaper has supported her. But that is no reason for critics of the newspaper not to do the same. It's time for the conservative community to take a stance on this, and put an end to an increasingly bizarre assault on two fine journalists.

UN Celebrates 60th Annivzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

The United Nations celebrated its widely ignored 60th anniversary in San Francisco on Sunday, causing an attack of narcolepsy to cascade throughout the world.

The event was so forgetable that even Kofi Annan didn't come to his own anniversary. Imagine that! I guess, like everybody else, he is treating the event like the birthday of an uncle who the family is shunning because he just got released from prison.

Instead he sent his propaganda minister, Shashi Tharoor, who bloviated as follows on the subject of the US withholding UN dues: "You can't join a club and say you won't pay your dues but you want changes," U.N. Undersecretary-General Shashi Tharoor told The Associated Press. "The U.S. simply has to engage with other countries."

Of course, we absolutely must pay Tharoor's salary. And the seven hundred flacks, bureaucrats and propagandists in his Department of Public Information. Why, without them, the world would lose it's most reliable source of anti-Israel media seminars!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Romenesko on the Hillary Clinton Bandwagon

The problem with blandly accepting the Romenesko "daily line" as gospel is illustrated today, in his "coverage" of the Hillary Clinton/Ed Klein imbroglio. Romenesko lists four stories:

1. Rutten in LA Times suggests "journalists stop writing about Klein's book
2. CNN: "This book makes Kitty Kelley seem like Woodward & Bernstein."
3. "Ed Slime" fires back at Tina Brown in the New York Post
4. Tomasky: "This book isn't simple trash. It may well be libel" (APO)

Whew. Three out of four negatives? I mean, doesn't Jim here find it a little bit offensive that Hillary is trying to crush the book and keep him off news shows? Couldn't he add in just one itsy-bitsy link from, say, Newsmax? Klein "said in an interview the senator threatened the mainstream television networks over the book, saying she would no longer appear on any TV outlet that hosted Klein."

Or maybe put over on the sidebar, where nobody will notice, a link to a blog which was told by Klein, "Because of my book, Hillary and her war machine have called every major television network in the United States and suggested to them that if they have Ed Klein on to discuss his book, they can forget about Hillary being a guest on their network."

Just asking. I mean, I don't want to suggest he should be "fair" or anything like that.

You Call This Propaganda?

The crush-Israel website Electronic Intifada is always good for the latest fashions in that long-running pastime called "Delegitimizing the Hated Zionist Entity." The exaggerated "demographic nightmare"? You read it there first. The nonexistent "Jenin massacre"? You read the phony-baloney dispatches right there. But the piece that ran today left me scratching my head. You call this propaganda?

The writer was from Mississippi, and her main problem with the hated Zionist Entity appears to be that it inconveniences her tremendously. All those teenage soldiers with guns. Her frustration with that is denoted in the title. How uncouth! Shouldn't they be doing something more constructive, like being blown up in suicide bombings by the heroic, dispossessed Palestinians?

Everything in Israel is racist, and her fantasy life conjurs up images of apartheid-era South Africa and the good old days when grandpa lynched nigras. "My cell phone is racist" because it cannot call into the West Bank. But she fixes that by paying "600 shekles" (the correct spelling being racist, so she doesn't use it). On the bus to Jerusalem (those emails about being blown up by so-called "terrorists" on the bus were so annoying) she spies all those teenagers with guns she finds so obnoxious. All so well-dressed. And then, golly, she sees someone "gaunt, somewhat anemic with a patchy beard and frowsy hair - the type you might find on the L train to Brooklyn."

Oh no! A Jew!

After recording this horror, our correspondent arrives in Jerusalem and sees a dispute in an Internet cafe between an Israeli soldier and a "Palestinian"-- she having not been in Israel long enough, apparently, to know that a couple of million Sephardi make snap judgments like that hazardous. She cannot understand the language, but that does not keep her from giving it the requisite spin. Apparently the "Palestinian" "had been anti-Semitic enough to sit at the workstation that another teenage soldier, who had just arrived, really liked."

That's all. Some soldiers with guns, an unkempt Jew on the bus, and an dispute in an Internet cafe in which she imagines the details. That's it. No, not all. She also finds obnoxious "the Israeli proclivity to call everything 'Israeli,'" as in "Israeli Italian" cuisine. (I'll admit, that occasionally makes me want to strap on a suicide belt myself.)

Most of this riff goes on in the writer's mind, but at one point she meets an "Israeli friend" named Phoebe. The latter is annoyed when the writer expresses her revolutionary zeal by ordering "some Israeli tap water in an Israeli glass and another Israeli napkin." Poor Phoebe. When Phoebe expresses PC disagreement with her government's policies, this Mississippi Moonbat replies, "Why do you still believe in all of this?" Yes, why, Phoebe? Why don't you just walk into the sea until it covers your head?

The story ends with an exasperated Phoebe taking a walk. (Memo to Phoebe: Under such circumstances, a crack across the mouth is not considered poor etiquette.)

You really have to wonder how even the most bloodthirsty Israel-hating type could find any solace from this kind of naive rubbish. You'd think that the author could at least have made up something a little more convincing than her own fantasies--which say a lot more about the prejudices of a small-minded Mississippian than they do about Israel.


The Supreme Court decision today, ruling against Judith Miller and Matt Cooper, sucks bigtime. I know a lot of people on the right are going to be cheering this. Don't.

For one thing, the two reporters involved are definitely in the mensch category. Miller in particular has gained the near-universal emnity of the far left. I recently noted the vicious attacks against her by the far-left hacks Russ Baker and Ian Williams for her reporting on Iraq and the UN.

The left, as a matter of fact, will applaud vigorously if Miller winds up in jail for eighteen months as threatened.

It may be fashionable to cheer when reporters go to the pokey, but what that ignores is that the journalists who are are problematic in this business are the drones and hacks who wouldn't stumble over a "confidential source" if one walked up and popped him on the nose. Another thing that is particularly noxious about this Miller-Cooper thing is how the odious old-right talking head Robert Novak has gotten off the hook.

Hardly a day passes without word of a SLAPP suit against some brave journalist, sometimes filed by Nazis or Saudi billionaires or far-left loons. So go ahead and cheer at this decision. Include me out.

Payday at Poynter

Gawker today harkens back to the days when "sweet, earnest, hardworking, nebbishy" Jim Romenesko was "toiling away in his Evanston, Ill., studio apartment. Turns out he makes $150K," says Gawker. "Who's the nebbish now?"

Apparently the answer is, everybody who doesn't work for the Poynter Institute.

Honestly. Maybe I just don't know how these money-losing foundations work, but the politically slanted glorified blogger isn't the only Poynterite who walks away with a decent payday. James Naughton, the ex-Timeser and retired president, pulled down a nifty $181,361 in 2003 for slaving away, doing retired-president stuff. Meanwhile, the actual, non-retired president, Karen Brown Dunlap, was making less than that, $176,824.

Hey, it's right there on the Internet--I'm not making this up. (And by the way, am I the only blogger out there who can locate a 990? Why hasn't any of this stuff come out before?)

I really wish my Daddy had said to me when I was a kid, "Mediacrity, when you grow up, go to work for a money-losing tax-exempt foundation."

Anyway, I see that a couple of Romenesko's pals have spoken up for him in the comments section of the initial item. Look, guys, I'm on his side. I just want our pal Jim to have credibility--which you don't get by being a left-wing partisan. It doesn't do either Jim or his generous employer any good if he displays political bias by ignoring or underplaying controversies and suppressing letters on subjects he wants to go away -- such as the one he received on the UN correspondent scandal he has ignored.

Besides.... maybe one of these days Poynter will wake up to the fact that its well-compensated "nonpartisan media-watcher" isn't so nonpartisan after all. Maybe they'll notice that he doesn't pay much attention to what one commenter describes as "some bogus notion of objectivity." So if I wuz Jim, I'd put my shoulder to that good old-fashioned "objectivity" grindstone, bogus as it surely is.

Of course, if he can always retire and really pull in the dough!

Journalists, Blogs and Trust

I once considered making the title of this blog, "It Takes One to Know One." Apparently I am not the only journalist who has doubts about the ethical virtues of his colleagues.

A new survey shows that 45% of journalists are less trusting of the professional behavior of their own colleagues — up from 34% in 2003.

The same survey found that journalists are increasingly turning to blogs for story ideas and research. "Fully 33% of journalists say they use blogs as a way of uncovering breaking news or scandals," says the article in EMarketer linked above. The blog-hating, politically biased, well-compensated Jim Romenesko might want to keep that in mind.

Another finding, though rather obvious, might be of interest to the Payola Pundit, UN correspondent-consultant Ian Williams, subsidized author Linda Fasulo and the other UN hacks who moonlight at the East River Debating Society, go on expense-paid junkets, or take money from pro-UN foundations. Another finding is that "93% note that they are less trusting of colleagues who are paid to act as spokespeople."

I wonder how they'd feel about the UN correspondent scandal, which is even more wide-ranging than simply being paid as a spokesperson. Most journalists don't even know about it, as it has gone unreported by Romenesko and, of course, Columbia Journalism Review, which for the past year has been secretly run by Williams' employer at The Nation, Victor Navasky.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

An Unmemorable FDR Quote

FDR: Not a Full-Disclosure Kind of Guy

As long as I am on the subject of Andrew Sullivan's blog--and it is a great blog, don't get me wrong--I have to take exception to another item today. He quotes Franklin Delano Roosevelt saying as follows:

"Your government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst, without flinching or losing heart. You must, in turn, have complete confidence that your government is keeping nothing from you except information that will help the enemy in his attempt to destroy us." George W., he concludes, is no FDR.

Pu-lease! FDR was notorious for not coming clean with the public. Historians marvel at how he deliberately misrepresented his views on entering the European war. Good thing, too! He was 100% right to do that. But all this "government keeping nothing from you" stuff, sorry, was just a lot of baloney on FDR's part.

A Good Day's Work For a Good Day's Pay

One of the truly wise men of blogland, Andrew Sullivan, comments on my earlier item on Romenesko's hefty salary as follows:

ROMENESKO'S BIAS: I don't begrudge anyone making a good salary from blogging. Good for Jim Romenesko for getting the Poynter Institute to give him a great salary. He's brought so much attention to Poynter that he deserves every cent. But he is a highly biased, left-wing blogger, who rarely links to blogs who provide media criticism from the right, and omits stories that the left doesn't like. Again: fair's fair, and he can blog as he wishes. His journalistic audience is skewed very left, so he's giving them what they want. But anyone, including Jack Shafer, who thinks this guy's neutral, is dreaming.

I agree with Sullivan in principle. Well, sort of.

Romenesko works for a tax-exempt institution, which is why his salary is public info. The Poynter Institute purports to be a non-ideological media think tank. People contribute to it (not enough, it seems) on the understanding that they are giving money to a politically neutral organization. In that context, I think the big bucks this guy makes is relevant.

So a little less arrogance and a little more fairness, Mr. Romenesko. Earn your pay! Make us proud of you.

The $152,163 Romenesko Question

Interesting item on Friday in the FishbowlDC Blog, "Things You Might Have Missed If You Only Read Romenesko." This addresses something that has become pretty obvious in recent months, which is that the widely read Romenesko online media column, sponsored by the Poynter Institute, is arbitrary and politically skewed in its items, links and letters.

FishBowlDC points out one of Romenesko's shortcomings, which is that he has an "odd hatred of bloggers and loathes linking to blogs." That is certainly true, and I have a theory as to why that is--blogs very often beat the pants off of him, and bloggers are generally paid nothing.

By contrast, Romenesko is doing very nicely. Very nicely. In 2003, the most recent year for which IRS Form 990 figures are available for the Poynter Institute, he was paid the not inconsiderable sum of $152,163, plus $17,024 in benefits and deferred compensation. He was the highest paid employee of Poynter, as a matter of fact.

What do readers of Romenesko get for these generous payments to James P. Romenesko? Well, one gets a daily feed of news items, but with some stuff left out, and letters--with ones he doesn't like left out. Among the latter was a well-reasoned letter on the CJR/Navasky controversy, a subject almost completely ignored by the mainstream media and ignored by Romenesko except for a tiny "sidebar" link most people would miss if they blinked.

Romenesko also completely ignored the UN correspondent payola scandal, even while giving saturation coverage to a similar controversy surrounding Armstrong Williams. This suggests an ideological bias, as does his underplaying of the revelation that the nation's leading journalism review has been secretly run by the publisher of The Nation.

One can imagine how Romenesko would go ballistic if William F. Buckley secretly took control of CJR. Or how he'd hit the roof if Buckley took over the CJR and a National Review guy got caught up in an ethical issue ignored by CJR. In fact, The Nation's UN correspondent, Ian Williams, is at the center of the UN correspondent scandal--and not a peep has come from Romenesko concerning this messy affair.

One thing that makes the CJR/Navasky story significant is that it was broken by a blog--the DavidM blog whose CEO, I trust, makes a good deal less than $152,000 for his media watchdog work.

That might be a good subject for the Poynter Institute to study--if they could afford it. This very generous-paying organization is not exactly a cash cow. In 2003 it took in about $4.7 million in revenues (counting some mutual funds it cashed in at a steep loss). Altogether, during 2003 expenses exceeded revenues by $4.6 million. Golly, seems to me they ought to economize. (I can suggest a personnel cut, if they are interested...)

Compare the generous Romenesko payments to the poverty level wages earned by the elderly Moonbat Alexander Cockburn. Cocky was grossly overpaid the sum of $15,900 in 2003 for his hate-filled ramblings in Counterpunch. I guess venom is not worth as much in the free marketplace of ideas as an incomplete, politically skewed listing of media-news items.

UPDATES: A reply to Andrew Sullivan; Payday at Poynter; Romenesko on the Hillary bandwagon.

For the Mediacrity main page, click here.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Silencing A Saudi Critic in London

Excellent article in Accuracy in Media about a very disturbing lawsuit filed in London against Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of a book entitled Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It. She's being sued by Khalid Salim a Bin Mahfouz, a Saudi billionaire named in the book.

This suit is remiscent of a libel suit filed by the notorious Israeli Moonbat Neve Gordon against Prof. Stephen Plaut of the University of Haifa. Here is one of the several articles I have seen on that shameful effort to prevent free speech.

This kind of lawsuit is known as a "SLAPP" suit, as in "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation." That is defined, in the U.S. at least, as "civil complaints or counterclaims (against either an individual or an organization) in which the alleged injury was the result of petitioning or free speech activities protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution." The defendants are usually not big publications but rather small-time authors or newspaper letter-writers.

Moonbats love SLAPP suits. A few months ago, for instance, Campus Watch, published an article from Tikkun endorsing the Gordon suit and viciously attacking Plaut. You will note that this piece ostensibly favors "academic freedom" -- but only for the Moonbats, not their critics.

SLAPP suits are the quintessential "junk" lawsuit, and it would be nice if the Bush administration had them taken to the trash bin as well.

Palestinian "Weakness" (continued)

The media today, as expected, largely ignored a Friday incident on the West Bank which contradicted the Palestinian excuse that their forces are too "weak" to abide by the Road Map and confront terrorists.

The Palestinian police were confronting terrorists just fine on Friday, because a Palestinian policeman was attacked.

An initial AP account, which noted this anomaly, was subsequently rewritten to completely eliminate that point. The Reuters account was a typical Palestinian snow-job, as described in a post yesterday.

Today, the rest of the media weighed in: The New York Times made note of the Palestinian police action without indicating its significance or how it contradicts Palestinian excuses.

Since the AP buried a sanitized reference to the Palestinian police action way down in its story, most newspapers probably omitted it completely--the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, for instance.

This is, I think, a fairly decent example of how the foreign media in Israel wear blinders when it comes to Palestinian inaction, swallowing whole their excuses and failing to point out anomalies and contradictions.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Reuters in Full Palestinian-Flack Mode

Reuters was in full Palestinian-flack mode today.

Earlier today I posted about how the Palestinians' longtime claim of "weakness" against terrorists was contradicted by their vigorous actions when their own people were attacked. I quoted from this AP story, describing how Palestinian forces swung into action when a police station was attacked.

Here's how Reuters spun it:

In the West Bank town of Jenin, Palestinian police arrested 10 Palestinians in connection with the fatal shooting of a local officer the day before that was symptomatic of lawlessness. To curb violence, Abbas wants to co-opt militants into mainstream institutions rather than try to crush them as Sharon demands, fearing this would risk civil war before Israeli commits itself to talks on Palestinian statehood.

Note how Reuters provides excuses for Palestinian inaction, immediately after describing a case of Palestinian action! Note too how a Roadmap requirement is, yet again, distorted into a "Sharon demand."

UPDATE: In a later version of its story, the AP, which had previously contrasted the Palestinian action with its claims of weakness, watered-down its piece to remove that point entirely.

The "Weak" Palestinian Forces Roused to Action

One of the standard fictions of the Middle East conflict is that Palestinian forces are "too weak" to crack down on terrorism. But as the AP reported today, Palestinian forces were roused to action by an attack on a Palestinian police station. The AP noted the irony:

Abbas fears a broad crackdown on militants would lead to internal unrest and
possibly civil war.
In Jenin, however, Palestinian security forces tried to hunt down and arrest Said Amin, the militant accused of leading the group that carried out Thursday's attack on the police station. After firing on the police station and killing the officer, the group headed to the house of Jamal Shati, a Palestinian lawmaker, and burned his car.

It will be interesting to see if the media picks up on this.

Journalism's PC Police Slimes Judith Miller

Russ Baker, writing in AlterNet, twists himself into a pretzel sliming Judith Miller of the New York Times--in yet another example of how the Moonbat Thought Police disciplines reporters who fail to live up to acceptable standards of political correctness.

Miller had written a piece for the New York Times on June 14, describing a memo concerning a meeting between oil-fot-food contractor Cotecna and Kofi Annan. Cotecna employed his son Kojo, and both went overboard covering up and lying when asked about it by the Volcker panel. The Dec. 4, 1998, memo from the contractor, a guy named Michael Wilson, said that in late November 1998 he had conversations with "the S.G. and his entourage" and was told that his company, Cotecna, "could count on their support."

The guy who wrote the memo was a close pal of Kofi and Kojo, so it came as no surprise that, as the Times reported two days later, he denied what was in the memo. Any competent journalist who was not an ideological partisan would press on with the investigation.

Baker, who describes himself as a "media critic," goes ape over the memo denial, and in the process demonstrates that either he is an amateur who doesn't know what he's talking about, or an ideologue, or both.

The contractor Wilson is distorted by Baker into being the "source" of the story--an "unreliable" source because he had repudiated stuff in the past. Now, if Baker had not dozed through whatever journalism class he might have attended back in grade school, he would know that Wilson was not the source of the story but rather the subject of the story--and it is Journalism 101 that subjects of investigative stories often issue denials.

Hey, that's the way it goes. Maybe Wilson is right, maybe he is wrong. But as far as Baker is concerned, Miller was wrong even to report the memo.

That is not a position that would be taken by a journalist interested in informing the public. It is a position that would be taken by the spokesman for Kofi Annan.

The Baker piece is not journalism as much as it is shilling for the UN, similar to an article recently written by the Payola Pundit Ian Williams. The aim of articles such as this is not to "improve journalism" but to "defend Kofi Annan."

Better call the Columbia Journalism Review and get them on the case! Oh, wait a second. What have we here? Seems Baker is a contributor to the Columbia Journalism Review and also to The Nation--whose publisher, lo and behold, is the secret "chairman" of the CJR. Guess this will go down with the UN correspondent payola scandal as another nonissue for the CJR.

Oh, I almost forgot the funny part. Baker is "currently involved with launching a nonprofit organization dedicated to revitalizing investigative journalism."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Whistleblowers Screaming at the UN

Some staffers of the UN Development Program are screaming and yelling and hollering about one of the honchos there being a little too cozy with John Kerry.

They're circulating a letter that they sent to (oy vay.....) none other than Mark Malloch Brown (shown on the left after a hard day at the office). He's the outgoing UNDP boss who just became Kofi Annan's deputy. Brown recently was exposed for renting an apartment from George Soros under suspicious circumstances, and threw a hissy fit at a press conference when word leaked out. So I'm sure he'll seriously consider the UNDP staffers' letter, copied below, before ripping it into shreds.

The UNDP staffers are circulating their letter on the Internet and a copy found its way into my grubby little hands.

This brouhaha received some attention a few weeks ago in the New York Sun, but has (surprise surprise) received little attention in the MSM apart from that. I wish these guys luck but doesn't the word "banging your head against the wall" seem to apply here?

Here is the letter. I've taken out the typos as best as I can, but some still may be lurking...

"It has been more than two months since we -- a group of concerned UNDP staffers -- lodged a formal complaint with the UNDP Office of Audit and Performance Review (OAPR) that your internal communications chief Justin Leites violated the UN Charter, staff regulations and his oath of office by taking a leading political role in the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign last year.

"To date, you [that is, Mark Malloch Brown] as UNDP Administrator has taken no disciplinary action against Justin Leites for this flagrant violation, which Justin Leiteshimself has not denied and is a matter of public record: A University of Southern Maine web announcement of a discussion with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (Democrat,Connecticut) at Lewiston Auburn College onMonday 25 October 2004 asked those interested in attending to "RSVP toJustin Leites of the Kerry Edwards campaign at 450-3105 or email"

"Earlier Justin Leites himself posted a message on theDemocratic Underground bulletin board that Madeleine Albright would visit and speak at two town hall meetings in Maine on Monday 11 October 2004 on "John Kerry's plan to build a safer, more secureAmerica" and Justin Leites asked would-be attendees to call him "on Saturday (450-3105) or Sunday (223-5249) with any questions orconcerns" before signing off as "Justin Leites, ME Political Director, Kerry-Edwards '04".

"These messages amount to evidence that Justin Leites took a top political position and played a leading part in the Kerry-Edwards campaign in Maine; neither Justin Leites nor you can hide this. Yet your media chief William Orme attempted a cover-up earlier this year by asserting baldly and baselessly to the press that no staff ruleswere broken. And you have reportedly suggested more recently it may be permissible for staff members to campaign politically while on leave.

"This is an incorrect and irresponsible suggestion. Whether he was on leave or not, paid or unpaid while on leave, Justin Leites remained aUN staff member at the material time and was thus subject to its regulations, his oath of office and the UN Charter (including Article100). UN staff regulations are quite clear on this, and are elaborated in [citations deleted]

"Justin Leites became an international civil servant when you brought him in to UNDP in 2000 (without, it may be added, going through proper recruitment procedures), he was still a staff member when you promotedhim in 2002 as your internal communications chief (over the objection of an appointment and promotion board) and he remains a staff member to this day. As far as we know, he has never resigned his UNDP position, the only way he can release himself from his oath of office.

"What disturbs us is that some in UNDP have attempted to get complainants against Justin Leites to reveal their identities eventhough OAPR is supposed to investigate anonymous complaints as well.OAPR knows -- and you yourself have acknowledged -- that UN whistle-blowing safeguards are inadequate and need strengthening; hence we have no alternative but make an anonymous complaint.

"We urge you to stop the cover-up, stop making excuses for Justin Leites, and stop confusing the issue. If you allow, encourage and continue toprotect Justin Leites in his partisan interference in the internal politics of the most powerful country in the world, how can you maintain that UNDP is neutral, independent and impartial in its work, a large part of which consists of offering governance and electoraladvice to smaller and weaker states?

"We are fully aware that Justin Leites is one of your Democratic Party cronies and protégés and you appointed and promoted him without proper internal procedure or approval. However, Justin Leites' recklessconduct has undermined the integrity, independence and impartiality of UNDP and the UN, and put in jeopardy the lives of UNDP and UN staff working in the field. We would remind you that while Justin Leites was zealously campaigning for his and your Democratic Party political masters last October, terrorists seized three UNDP electoral workersin Kabul, Afghanistan, and held them hostage for nearly a month.

"At the time you said your thoughts and prayers were with our captive colleagues and their families, but we question the sincerity of such sentiments in light of your unwarranted shielding of Justin Leites from disciplinary action. Our field colleagues have to work indifficult enough circumstances to have to put up with Justin Leites making their lives even more dangerous.
On the other hand, Justin Leites' electioneering has projected UNDP into the center of the sort of acrimonious Democratic-Republican debate that characterized the bitterly fought 2004 presidential election, as any search on his name among web blogs will show.

"Already, UNDP has earned the dubious reputation as a Democraticpolitical outpost helping to defeat Republican election candidates.You yourself turned your office suite pretty much into a Democratic precinct headquarter last November, with your media chief William Orme supplying minute by minute exit poll results. Such partisanship undercuts the UNDP mission and is contrary to the spirit of the UN.

"We are also appalled and amazed that you, too, Mark Malloch Brown, had similarly violated the UN Charter, staff regulations and your oath ofoffice by taking part in the internal politics of a country. In an interview that appeared in the Guardian newspaper on 12 January 2005, you bragged with juvenile glee that, while a UNHCR staffer, you went back to the UK to stand for election as an SDP candidate in 1983. You must have known that this was in violation of your undertaking and obligations as a staff member, but did it anyway, using by your own admission "an signed, undated letter" as an unethical and legallyinvalid device "just in case I got a seat".
Before your relinguish office as UNDP Administrator, we urge that you stop perpetuating such reckless behavior in furtherance of your selfish, unbridled greed for power.

"We call on you to dismiss JustinLeites from UNDP forthwith for his violation of UN regulations, and issue an immediate public statement making it abundantly clear that you do not condone, much less encourage such behavior. The integrity of the UN and UNDP, the effectiveness of UNDP work, and the lives ofour colleagues demand no less. We fear continuing complicity and inaction on your part will maintain a precedent encouraging more staff members to interfere in a partisan manner at all levels of politics inmember states – an illegal and dangerous practice that will soon destroy our organization. You as Administrator and the Secretary-General's Chief of Staff, of all people -- you who are quickto hold your peers in the UN System to account should know better andshould stop setting and perpetuating such an appalling example. We expect you to do the right thing without further delay."

"12 UNDP Staffers"

So the letter ends. Good luck, guys. But don't too tuckered out holding your breath waiting for a positive response.

Anti-Semitism Promoter to Succeed Kofi Annan?

According to a UPI item today, the UN's propaganda minister, Shashi Tharoor, may be proposed by India as a successor to Kofi Annan, once the latter finally shuffles off under the weight of his ethical problems.

The brainchild behind this trial balloon is, no doubt, the very same self-promoting, overpaid, underworked Shashi Tharoor. Still, when you think about it, you have to admit he would be a perfect candidate to head the East River Debating and Terrorist Cheerleading Society:

  • He promotes anti-Semitism and Israel bashing better than just about anyone east of First Avenue. Remember that he gave a forum to the notorious anti-Semite Israel Shamir in 2001, and only this month topped that off with a hate-Israel media "conference"--and topped that off by sanitizing the minutes.
  • CAMERA observed: "Just like the U.N.’s 2001 Durban Conference Against Racism itself became a racist anti-Israel hate fest, the U.N.’s media seminar this week supposedly promoting sober, factual journalism about the conflict turned into a platform for anti-Israel distortions and incitement." Good work, Shashi Tharoor!
  • He is a bureaucrat nonpareil. Tharoor's Propaganda Ministry--the "Department of Public Information"-- employs a staggering seven hundred bureaucrats, flacks and propagandists, four hundred of them in New York alone. And he has said that he doesn't want to part with a single one of them. Obviously a management genius!
  • He is an expert at manipulating the supine UN press corps, bribing them with writing jobs and "consulting contracts" and gigs hosting a UN fake-news show. Though the controversy that erupted over payments to UN hacks--notably the Payola Pundit, Ian WIlliams--has focussed on the journos, remember who was making those payments, Shashi Tharoor.
  • He has the UN media lapping out of his hand. See how Reuters UN bureau chief Evelyn Leopold rushed to his defense over Tharoor giving a platform to Shamir, who is so anti-Semitic even the Palestinians disowned him.
  • He is incompetent at the vital job of shilling for the UN.
  • He writes books while you pay his salary.
Need I go on? An absolutely outstanding record! Clearly, Shashi Tharoor and only Shashi Tharoor can live up to the ethical, managerial -- and, above all, Israel-bashing -- record of Kofi Annan.

Poverty on Moonbat Row (sniff sniff)

Just $15,900 in 2003? Oh no!

If you ever wondered why there's something a bit "off" about the Counterpunch spewings of Moonbat-in-Chief Alexander Cockburn--that they are, I dunno, a little cheap, a little, scummy, I think I have found the answer. He is paid peanuts! (More than he is worth--but still not a lot.)

In 2003, the most recent year for which such data can be obtained, Cockburn was paid just $15,900 for his retchings in Counterpunch. That's according to the IRS Form 1099 for the Orwellian-named Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, out there in Petrolia, California, which runs the Moonbat journal. Cockburn also resides in Petrolia, which must be quite a hopping place, even if its median IQ may not be too high.

The president of the Institute is a "Joseph Paff," whose address is P.O. Box 165, Petrolia CA 95558. That's all the info I have on this fellow. I wonder who he is? Nothing on him in Google; no news articles that I could find. Maybe some enterprising soul out there can drop me a line with a hint. The VP is Ford Roosevelt of Van Nuys, Calif., grandson of you-know-who, and yes, that rumble you hear at night sometimes is the late president and first lady spinning in their graves. The first name, as in the famed anti-Semite, is apropos you have to admit.

Isn't that pay thing a shame? Seems that money has been a problem for the guy for a while. Remember how back in 1984 he got canned from the Village Voice (as Alan Dershowitz recently recalled) for hiding a $10,000 grant from an anti-Israel organization? Twenty-one years later, he still makes less than half of what the office manager pulls in ($34,475). Golly, doesn't he qualify for food stamps or something? Medicare for sure, but Medicaid too apparently.

Apparently some unnamed person who lives in Oregon City, Oregon makes $59,000 for doing something editorial-like for Counterpunch. He's shy, so he is not named, but his address is given. I do believe that Jeffrey St. Clair, one of the top Moonbats at Counterpunch, lives out yonder. But maybe this is another pea brain from said community.

As for Cockburn, I suggest that we all take up a collection for the Poor Man of Petrolia, the Moonbat who is threadbare both intellectually and financially. Me? Sorry, but I'm plum out of spare change....

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

News from the World of SLAPP Suits

"One of the most-wanted Nazi war crimes suspects in the Simon Wiesenthal Center's 'Operation Last Chance' is suing the man who identified him in the alleged crimes, the center announced on Monday.

"According to the center, 92-year-old Croat Milivoj Asner is suing Alen Budaj for libel in a case that opened in a Zagreb court on Monday. Asner fled from Croatia to Hungary last year after Budaj provided documents identifying him as being complicit in the persecution and deportation of hundreds of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies to concentration camps."

-- Jerusalem Post

Perhaps Counterpunch can file a friend of the court brief? After all, Asner here (I love the name) was on the right side of World War II, against US imperialism and Zionism. I'm sure he agrees with the arguments pushed by the Moonbats nowadays concerning Hiroshima and Dresden and the generally co-equal character of the combatants in WW II.

Come on, Counterpunch, call your lawyer!

These Guys Protected Us From Osama?

Today, Counterpunch staggers over to the railing of the SS Moonbat and vomits forth against its favorite target, the miserable Zionist Entity (perhaps upset that Jews were on the wrong side in World War II). The authors are, suitably, a couple of ex-CIA types named, also suitably, Christison.

Not surprisingly for the authors of a book subtitled, "Telling the Palestinian Story," they tend to, well, skew their argument more than just a little. Thus they live up to the grand tradition of both Palestinian propagandists and the "intelligence" analysts whose great work can be found in lower Manhattan.

One line stands out from amid the usual spin: "In [a particular Zionist stooge’s] enthusiasm for Israel, she failed ever to mention that in the occupied West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, which Israel has controlled for 38 years, more than three million Palestinians enjoy no democracy at all under Israel’s rule."

Hello? What's that little democratically elected dictatorship, the Palestinian Authority, doing tooling around amid all that repression?

Reading this, and thinking back to the Ray McGovern rant the other day, I came to a new understanding why that big hole is in the ground over on Church Street. With schmucks like these in our "intelligence" community, no wonder that hole was put there and no wonder we can't find a guy who did it.

The Times Misses the Point on Islamic Loons

As reported in an earlier item, the New York Times ran a softball piece in its Metropolitan Section today on a bunch of Islamic loons. The story seemed to have only one purpose, which was to demonstrate the "moderation" of the mainstream Islamic groups quoted in the piece.

Well, the New York Observer has come out with a story on the same subject, and it is now obvious that indeed the Times had completely missed the story. It seems that these street-corner nuts have been harassing gays. Not one word appeared on that in the Times piece.

The Observer also makes nonsense of the group's "nonviolence" claims, swallowed whole by the Times, saying that its "commitment to nonviolence seems to be something less than serious. The main moderator [on its website], 'Islamic Revival,' offers images of masked, armed and marching Islamists over the heading 'Support Our Troops' and animations of exploding military vehicles."

In short, the Times was snowed and did a horrific, incomplete job, in its zeal to showcase the "moderate" CAIR and the Islamic cleric quoted in the piece. Compare the superficial, amateurish Times piece with the Observer piece and it is really shocking. This is an excellent example of how political correctness trumps good journalism at the Times.

The Times and the Islamic Loons

The New York Times today published a weird, circuitous examination of a small group of Muslim loons in Queens, in a piece that raises the question, "Why is the Times giving publicity to these jerks?"

The Times piece says that the "Islamic Thinkers Society" "bears a strong resemblance to Islamist movements in England that try to unite Muslims by inciting anger." However, the group appears to exist only on a website and in weekend appearances on a street corner in Queens.

So why give a tiny group of nuts the publicity it is seeking? Simple. The obvious purpose of the Times article is to advance the newspaper's editorial position that "mainstream" Islamic groups are moderate, marvelous, pro-American, lovely people! Thus a small group of extremists is rejected by the "moderate" Council on American-Islamic Relations--the terrorist cheerleaders who have been repeatedly legitimized by the Times and other media outlets.

Thus we have a quote from Mohammad Tariq Sherwani, the imam of the Muslim Center of New York, who "said the group has frequented his Flushing mosque, brandishing fliers with bloody photographs from Iraq and Palestine. [sic] 'We, as leaders, have to help them think. Islam does not believe in any extremism. Islam is not fanaticism. Islam believes in balance.'"

Yeah, right. Incidentally, note the Times displaying its editorial bias by prematurely inaugurating the "State of Palestine."

There could be more significance to this "Thinkers" group, but you won't read about it in the Times.

According to these morons' website, a reporter for the New York Observer named Jessica Bruder is researching an article about these mutts. Hopefully Ms. Bruder will do more than publicize a small group of street-corner dimwits and tell us how great and how violence-rejecting and mainstream etc. etc., is the "mainstream Muslim leadership." If the purpose is to showcase Muslim institutional "moderation," do everybody a favor, Ms. Bruder, and spare us.

(See this update, posted later in the day.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What CJR Isn't Missing

As noted in earlier posts (most recently this one), Columbia Journalism Review has missed the story in which it is center stage--The Nation publisher Victor Navasky's hidden role at the publication.

So what is CJR covering?

Well, it is making pretty dang sure that the New York Times hews firmly to the anti-Bolton line.

Note this item on the CJR Daily website today. It is not enough for the Times to report that critics "say" that Bolton has made disparaging remarks about the United Nations. Good gawd, the SOB has made those remarks! Damn it! Get it straight. "To frame that as a charge hurled by critics leaves the reader unsure as to whether Bolton actually did make 'disparaging remarks' about the United Nations," says CJR Daily.

Meanwhile, an elephant named "Navasky" is sitting in the room, crushing these twits as they babble on about a horribly imprecise and insufficiently politically correct New York Times.

40,000 American Deaths? OK for Counterpunch

One of the more interesting things about Moonbats is their ambivalent, to say the least, attitude toward World War II. It is usually portrayed as a U.S. war of imperialism in which both sides were interchangeable. A good example of this comes in Counterpunch, in an article commemorating the 60th annivesary of the A-bomb test in New Mexico.

The Moonbat journal's Mickey Z. rewrites history with this inane statement: "it was widely known at the time that Japan had been trying to surrender for months prior to the atomic bombing." Yeah, right. So hard to surrender. Got to keep trying. Seems they figured out after Nagaski.

But here's the really odious comment in this wretched piece. If the U.S. had to invade Japan it would have cost a mere "40,000 U.S. soldiers killed, 150,000 wounded, and 3,500 missing." (And, of course, many, many times more Japanese soldiers and civilians dead, which this twerp doesn't even mention.)

This piece is as good an example as can be found of the intellectual vacuity to be found on the left nowadays. Anything that the US does--it really doesn't matter at all--is, prima facie, bad, despicable. Including World War II. So what can I say, Mickey Z, except to give you a hearty "Heil Hitler!"

Ithaca Aftermath

A reader tells me that Moonbat Sandy Wold, whose anti-Semitic column in the Ithaca Journal set off a furor as an example of casual Jew-baiting in the Heartland, has withdrawn the apology that followed her non-apology that followed her....zzzzzzzzzzz

Here's what's interesting: Wold is upset that her apology was trimmed by a few sentences. In other words, edited. Hello? If the Journal editors had competently edited her original rant, they would not have allowed her anti-Semitic comments to be printed in the first place. Instead they just sat and yawned, and ran a dumb editorial defending their lack of professionalism on First Amendment grounds.

Annan Deputy Goes Ballistic Over Soros Article

Ever wonder why the East River Debating and Terrorist Cheerleading Society gets such indulgent treatment in the media? Here's an example of what happens on the rare occasion when a UN reporter gets tough.

Last week, Benny Avni of the New York Sun broke the story of how Kofi Annan's chief of staff Mark Malloch Brown (shown on the left after a festive day at the office) has a stinks-to-high-heaven landlord-tenant arrangement with George Soros. Brown makes $125,000 a year and the rent he supposedly pays to his buddy Soros, though still below market (he pays less than another tenant paid in 2001), is $120,000.

Supposedly he pays for his rent from "savings." Yeah, right. And I'm Santa Claus.

The Sun has been the only mainstream media outlet to cover this story, needless to say. It wasn't picked up by the wire services at the UN or, naturally, the New York Times or any of the other hacks who comprise the spineless UN press corps. NewsMax ran an item on its website, but that was about it.

According to a transcript of the daily UN press briefing yesterday, available online, Brown went ballistic over the New York Sun's effrontery. Asked about his links with Soros, Brown launched into a rant about what a non-story it was and demanded to know the identity of the leaker before answering any further questions:

"So my challenge to you, James, and to Benny, is who gave you this story? What was their motive? What is it that now gives free rein to any amount of bile, unproven but still publishable, with no questioning of the motives of those who provided it? Perhaps when you are ready to answer that question, I'll be ready to answer a few more." He went on to duck and weave and growl in response to follow-up questions from a single reporter. The rest of the hacks just sat there, trembling, upset that one of their number had dared to em

Monday, June 20, 2005

"Sharing Laughs" at CJR

A few days ago the David M blog ran an item describing how the editor of CJR Daily--which has ignored Victor Navasky's hidden role at his website and magazine--"shared some laughs" on the subject at a blog fest the other day.

I suspect that what's got them laughing at CJR is Stephen Spruiell's column in National Review Online last week. Spruiell explored the hypocrisy of CJR condemning "sins of omission" among reporters. Said Spruiell, "People are saying that Navasky’s involvement hurts CJR’s reputation as an unbiased media watchdog. I’m not sure that it hurts as much as when CJR accuses the New York Times of not spinning hard enough for the Democrats."

Hey, if I were the editor of a journalism review and folks were attacking my integrity, and if my publication's credibility were pretty near destroyed--gee, I dunno, I'd find that kinda funny. No?

Moral Equivalency at Reuters

Reuters editors are working overtime to prove their loyalty to the Palestinian cause.

Today, as it has many times in the past, Reuters equates a Mafia-like drive-by murder of an Israeli civilian with the shooting of a Palestinian who entered a closed military zone and wouldn't respond to orders to halt. The headline says it all: "Jewish settler, Palestinian killed on eve of summit."

In one instance: "Islamic Jihad militants in a car opened fire on an Israeli vehicle on a road near a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank, killing a settler and wounding a second Israeli, before fleeing the scene, the Israeli army said."

In the other instance: "two Palestinians had entered a restricted military zone and ignored an order given through loudspeakers to leave. Soldiers fired warning shots and then toward the legs of one of the Palestinians before the two ran off, it said."

One: The unprovoked murder of a civilian. The other: A deliberate provocation of armed troopes, which sounds like an effort to test Israeli military defences.

The difference: To Reuters, absolutely none. Both are lumped together as "further blows to a rocky cease-fire a day before an Israeli-Palestinian summit meeting." Once again, Reuters equates murder by Palestinians with legitimate self-defence by Israeli troops.

The Boston Globe Strikes Out on Navasky

The Nation publisher/Columbia Journalism Review-closet-Moonbat Victor Navasky gets a Q&A with the Boston Globe in yesterday's edition. It's a lovely bit of writing. Navasky, with his beard and everything, is a real doll. You want to just pinch his little red cheeks and ask him to bring us something when he comes down the chimney Christmas Eve. Let's see what our Stalinist Santa has to say:

  • He has written a book. How nice.
  • "The country is in a lot of trouble." Oh my.
  • "If you leave out inconvenient facts, if you stack the deck, it's intellectually dishonest, it has nothing to do with being open about your political values." How true!

The last comment is particularly relevant (aside from its cynical dishonesty concerning that rag he runs) because Navasky says nothing about his hidden role at the Columbia Journalism Review.

You have to figure that either A) The questioner didn't know, or B) The questioner didn't care. Hard to ascertain which is worse. I'd guess "all of the above." The questioner didn't know and if he knew, he wouldn't care. This is, after all, the Boston flagship of The New York Times!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Payola Pundit Puts on His "UN Flack" Hat

The Payola Pundit, UN correspondent-consultant Ian Williams, puts on his "UN flack" hat today, viciously attacking New York Times reporter Judith Miller for daring to publicize an email indicating that Kofi Annan met with his son Kojo and Cotecna, the firm hired by the UN to enforce the oil-for-food rules.

In a piece for something called MaximsNews, the fifth-rate hack--famed for doing PR consulting for the UN while covering the UN for The Nation and other publications--engages in a classic attack-dog PR hit job as he laces into Miller for probing his pal Kofi Annan.

In most respects there's nothing notable about today's piece, which reads as if it were written by a media consultant for the UN--which, of course, is how Williams describes himself on his website, "Ian Williams, Media Consultant." What makes this bit of flackery egregious is that it is illustrated with a photo of Miller with this spelled out in red, "Wanted: For Crimes Against Journalism."

What deliciously ironic hypocrisy.

Here we have an individual who boasts on his website about his work for the UN as a "media trainer" -- training UN officials so they can deal with pesky reporters like Miller. Ian Williams is also delighted to tell us that he is the author of UN pamphlets. Remember, he did all this UN flackery while covering the UN for The Nation and other publications.

To top things off, he is a central figure in the controversy that is now embroiling Victor Navasky, his boss at The Nation, whose hidden role at Columbia Journalism Review raised the question of why CJR never has covered the UN payola scandal. That job was left for Fox News, Accuracy in Media and FrontPage Magazine.

Of course, "MaximsNews" is designed to do little more than flack for the UN and attack US foreign policy in the guise of a fake "news" website. Its "columnists" include none other than Shashi Tharoor, the UN undersecretary who manages the seven hundred flacks at the UN's bloated propaganda ministry or "Department of Public Information."

Imagine a Washington "news" service that runs "columns" by the chief Pentagon spokesman and Pentagon PR contractors and subsidized authors and hacks. You'd be able to hear the howling in Pago-Pago.

According to its website, this drivel-regurgitator is "in partnership" with Ted Turner's UN Foundation and his Better World Fund. Tim Worth, head of the UN Foundation, writes "columns" for MaximsNews. So does Linda Fasulo, who covers the UN for NBC--which didn't prevent her from taking thousands of dollars from the aforementioned foundations to write a puff-job book on the UN.

How much these "partnerships" mean in bucks is not disclosed, but then again, MaximsNews isn't big on disclosure. It doesn't, of course, disclose Williams' UN work. But then again, MaximsNews doesn't have to disclose that Williams has worked long and hard for the UN. All you have to do is hold your nose and read what he writes.

Reuters Buries the Lead--and the Truth

There's an expression in journalism, "burying the lead," meaning you write a story in a way that doesn't disclose what happened until further down in the article. The Reuters "news" service is an expert at "burying the lead"--and the truth--in its reporting on Middle East violence.

Note the story that ran on the wire today, written by the Reuters' Palestinian propagandist Nidal al-Mughrabi, with the passive-voice headline "Israeli, Palestinian militant killed in Gaza attack." As if the two were sharing a foxhole when a shell landed.

The lead paragraph says "A Palestinian gunman and an Israeli soldier were killed in an exchange of fire in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday after militants fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli troops and civilian labourers."

Only in the fifth paragraph do we find out what happened: "Palestinian gunmen launched anti-tank rockets and opened fire at a group of troops and civilians carrying out engineering work along the border."

Oh, so it was an unprovoked attack. It was a murder mission aimed at civilians as well as soldiers. Gee, Reuters, why didn't you say so in the first place?

The reason, of course, is that it is Reuters editorial policy to soft-peddle violence by Palestinian terrorists.

It is also Reuters editorial policy to give terrorists a soapbox whenever possible.

Thus Nidal al-Mughrabi did not feel his job was finished by simply writing a story with an inaccurate, misleading lead paragraph. He got on the phone with the murderers and gave them an opportunity to provide this extraordinarily cynical, cold-blooded statement: "'Calm is in real danger because of the continuation of the Israeli aggression,' senior Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam told Reuters."

So what we have here is a double-header: An unprovoked attack is whitewashed and a terrorist is given a platform. That's Reuters for you--always trying to belt one out of the ball park with every story. Nice going!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

CJR's Hypocritical Double Standard

One thing you have to say about Columbia Journalism Review--it really makes no bones about its ideological agenda, now that word has come out that it is run by The Nation's publisher Victor Navasky.

On Thursday the CJR website posted an item hammering away at one of its favorite subjects--government agencies producing fake news shows. The US Department of Agriculture "has churned out three dozen radio and television news segments since the first of the year that promote a controversial trade agreement with Central America."

The shameless hypocrites at CJR have not said one word about an even worse scandal at the United Nations--as a direct result of the Navasky connection. UN correspondents, including The Nation's UN hack Ian Williams, have been hired to shill for the UN. NBC's UN correspondent Linda Fasulo was paid to write a favorable book about the UN, and others are used by the UN public relations apparatus for everything from media training to anchoring fake news shows.

This is even worse than the USDA thing, from a journalistic standpoint, because the USDA hired people posing as journalists for fake news shows. At the UN, actual UN-accredited correspondents have been caught with their pants down, taking money from the UN and UN-supporting foundations. What's worse--the USDA hiring actors for fake news, or the UN hiring the then-head of the UN Correspondents Assn., Tony Jenkins, to "anchor" a fake news show for the UN?

The correspondent-consultant Williams, a left-wing ideologue who is a leading defender of his sometime employer Kofi Annan, actually boasts about his UN work on his website (he uses his UN work to push for other business here and here on his difficult-to-read website). According to FrontPage Magazine, he even got his wife a job at the UN correspondent association in violation of immigration laws.

The UN payola and illegal hiring scandal surfaced originally in Accuracy in Media and has been picked up by FrontPage and Fox News, but the nation's self-described journalism watchdog, and the mainstream media generally, has not uttered a peep.

You'd think CJR would bend over backwards to avoid even the appearance of bias or conflict of interest. Instead, CJR's atttitude is "Sure we're biased. Sure we're hypocrites. What do you expect? Look who (isn't) at the top of our masthead!"

Friday, June 17, 2005

Moonbat vs. Moonbat

Readers with a strong stomach might find instructive the article in the rat-bag Counterpunch today on an intra-Moonbat struggle over Gilad Atzmon. You know, that's the Israeli "artist" who is certified by the Food & Drug Administration as a substitute for ipecac.

Apparently the Moonbats are all in a tizzy over this dweeb. "Is he really an anti-Semite or just an anti-Zionist who hates Jews?" "Is he really a Holocaust denier or just a guy who denies the Holocaust?" It is funny reading, particularly this corker: "One might not like what he says. . . but shutting him up seems to be very old school left, right out of Stalinism." This in Counterpunch, which practically has a picture of Uncle Joe on the main page. Amazing.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Right Bolton

Perfect Qualifications!

The Senate seems to be having trouble getting off its rump and sending John Bolton to the United Nations. I think I know the problem--they've got the wrong Bolton. Don't send John Bolton to the UN. Send in Joe Bolton, Officer Joe Bolton, the host of a kiddie show in New York back in the fifties and sixties.

He's a nice guy, definitely not a "yeller" and "manage-up" guy like John Bolton, so he will satisfy the Democrats. He carries a club, so he'll satsify the right. Above all, he's familiar with dealing with the Three Stooges, so he's just right for the East River Debating and Terrorist Cheerleading Society.

You read it here first: Joe Bolton for UN Ambassador.

P.S. Officer Joe passed away in 1986, which makes him an even more ideal representative to a moribund international organization.

Wanted: A Competent Propaganda Minister

The UN's Minister of Propaganda is apparently taking some heat internally, at least according to website that follows the UN's internal politics.

The UN Forum complains in an item published today that "the official entrusted with communicating the U.N. viewpoint was either away or ineffective" while poor Kofi Annan was suffering from a dose of bad spin. Boo hoo! I think I may weep.

Mind you, the Forum reflects the UN-bureaucrat point of view, but it does raise some valid points nevertheless. It notes that Tharoor's constant travelling has cost a small fortune, which is a valid point. Beyond that.... well, get this: "The issue is being raised now," says the UN Forum, "because Tharoor's incompetence is threatening the whole Department of Public Information. Already, there are influential voices calling for a closer review of its resources and staffing. . . .[Tharoor] may be the first to jump boat. But why should dedicated talented staff -- and the U.N. -- pay for his failure."

Uhh, buddy, it is not Tharoor's "dedicated staff" of seven hundred hacks, shills and propagandists who pay the freight for this loafer. It is the member state taxpayer, particularly the U.S. taxpayer, who are getting ripped off. Time for an end to a massive, taxpayer-supported, UN propaganda apparatus.

More on the UN Hate-Fest

CAMERA has an excellent, detailed analysis of the annual hate-Israel media extravaganza sponsored by the UN's propaganda ministry, or "Department of Public Information." Says CAMERA: "Just like the U.N.’s 2001 Durban Conference Against Racism itself became a racist anti-Israel hate fest, the U.N.’s media seminar this week supposedly promoting sober, factual journalism about the conflict turned into a platform for anti-Israel distortions and incitement."

In a way, this nauseating spectacle couldn't have come at a better time. Congress is considering withholding funds from the UN. May I suggest.... well, not Exhibit A, but at least Exhibit L?

The Sound of Silence

A few days ago I described how one of the most noxious terrorist cheerleaders and all-around buffoons in academia, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, has been caught with his pants down in a plagiarism scandal. Seems that this jughead swiped from an article a Jordanian academic wrote in 1994. Naughty! FrontPage Magazine and the Solomania Blog broke the story, and as usual there was no media civerage.

A reader points out the contrast between the media indifference to this scandal and the furor that erupted over a similar transgression involving a commencement address by Bryan Le Beau of the University of Missouri. The latter has swept over academia like a tsunami, picked up by the Chronicle of Higher Education and newspapers, while Khalidi has gotten no attention at all. Makes you wonder, this reader notes, what the media is afraid of. Good point.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Greedstein Book Due in July

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are rushing out their book on Deep Throat for a July 6 publication date, according to Editor & Publisher. The book's title will be “The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat.”

Seems the two wealthy, unbelievably greedy journalists are going all-out to pre-empt a competing book by the ailing, now 91-year-old man who handed them their careers on a silver platter. Says E&P: "The family of the 'man,' W. Mark Felt, is also shopping a memoir now, but it will lag far behind, even if they do find a publisher quickly."

Greedstein, as they should be known from now on, have set a new low for ingratitude and general cheesiness. Would it have killed them to let Felt collaborate on their book? You can expect the media-watching establishment, which has launched an avalanche of hype over the whole thing, to give Greedstein a pass over their grasping, deplorable conduct.

UN Sanitizes Hate-Fest Speeches

Tharoor: Out With The Blue Pencil!

In my post earlier today I discussed some of the really stirring press coverage that came out of the UN's annual Israel-bashing media conclave. Well, I see that the UN has issued its own version of events--and that the UN's Department of Public Information has carefully protected the identities of the loons making speeches at this anti-Israel hate-fest.

The official UN account--found on the net here, here and here--makes no mention of the ravings of one of the anti-Israel Israelis in attendance, Shulamit Aloni, who was quoted by a Morrocan newspaper as urging "the international community to pay attention to the Israeli systematic policy of genocide against the Palestinian people."

Her name is not even mentioned in the official UN Propaganda Ministry communique, and neither does it mention the most famous featured speaker--the anti-Zionist loon Ilan Pappe, famous for his advocacy of an academic boycott of Israel, among other things.

Oh, it does repeat some shrill Israel-bashing ravings--but the very choicest nuggets conceal the identity of the raver.

However, even with the sanitizing, it is clear that this was a wondrous meeting, particularly to the extent it exposed Israel-bashing from the media, Israeli media included.

For example (the paraphrases below are taken verbatim from the official UN accounts) :

Gideon Levy of Ha'aretz (his immortal blather here): "The occupation was one of the cruellest occupations in the world. Most of the Israelis did not want to know about this. . . The Israeli reader’s whole political thinking was manipulated towards terrorism and terror. This was a dehumanisation of the Palestinians and it was the biggest crime of the Israeli media."

An unidentified speaker thanked Levy for his courage--in bashing Israel at a UN conference in Cairo? You bet!--and that "She had no respect for Israelis, but now she could respect one Israeli." Isn't that wonderful! All "peace" requires is that you bash Israel!

Another Middle East correspondent used the occasion to take out his bias and wear it proudly on his sleeve. Pierre Luc Brassard, Radio Canada Correspondent in Cairo, "recalled. . .that these were occupied territories, and that all settlements were illegal. He asked if Israeli law was stronger than international law. Some people accused him of being pro-Palestinian, but he was only recalling the rules."

During the festivities, out came the nutters, bowls and bowls filled with nutters. Their identities at this open forum were changed by the UN propaganda apparatus:

A "speaker": said that "Israel was not peace loving. It lived on blood and it wanted to suck the blood of the Arabs. It had taken Palestine by force. The 'Road Map' and the Quartet had not been able to force Israel to respect the peace process, stop its assassinations and closures, or allow the Palestinian economy to be revived. No Arab could forget the massacres in Jenin, Sabra and Chatilla and Deer Yassin. Israel wanted blood, and it was supported by the United States."

Who was the speaker? Now, now.... that's a Shashi Tharoor secret!

As you can see, a wonderful time was had by all. According to the sanitized transcript of the festivities, the Israel-bashing Israelis--particularly the oft-quoted Gideon Levy--served the most vital role, which was to reinforce the anti-Israeli views of all concerned. What better way to serve peace? What better way to spend taxpayer money?

The UN Pappe-Peace-Parley Rolls On

The UN Propaganda Ministry's "International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East" is charging ahead full steam in Cairo, and the peace-loving media in the Middle East is sopping it up! With the boycott-supporting anti-Zionist kook Ilan Pappe heading the anti-Israel-Israeli delegation, the air is filled with talk of love, flowers, kindness, peaceful coexistence--and the really awful, putrid and nauseating qualities of the Zionist entity.

The Moroccan Times spread the warmth in its coverage, which took comfort from the fact that there are Israelis who hate Israel as much as Arabs do. Under the headline, "UN regional seminar on Peace: Israelis condemn Sharon's policy," the newspaper led off its account by joyously reporting that "Shulamit Aloni, former member of the Israeli Knesset and professor of political science in Israel, urged the international community to pay attention to the Israeli systematic policy of genocide against the Palestinian people."

The talking head and frequent op-ed writer Aaron David Miller, picking up on that theme, really hit the nail on the head as he pointed out that the U.S. was nothing more than a tool of the lobbyists for the Zionist entity in Washington: "We in the United States lost control of our own policy, largely to the Israelis," he said, according to the Daily Star in Lebanon.

Yes, as you can see, it was quite an occasion! Peace is clearly spreading in ripples across the sands of the Middle East, one that in the view of the majority of the participants, including the Israeli ones, would be well off without that genocidal Israeli entity.

This annual hate-Israel junket is the brainchild of the seven hundred flacks, bureaucrats and propagandists of the UN's Department of Public Information, known west of First Avenue as the Propaganda Ministry, headed by the often-moonlighting Shashi Tharoor. You'll be pleased to know that the DPI has an office devoted entirely to the crush-Israel cause--the "Palestine, Decolonization and Human Rights Section." True to its mission, in 2001 the DPI brought the notorious anti-Semite Israel Shamir to its annual anti-Israel media conclave.

At the commencement of the festivities, Tharoor read a syrupy message to the attendees from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, saying that "With help from responsible media -- media that refrain from myths, stereotypes and hate propaganda – they can avoid inflaming an already volatile climate." As you can see, Aloni knew precisely what that meant and followed through. So did such advocates of coexistence and kisses and hugging Israelis as the Islamic Republic News Agency of Iran and the Electronic Intifada, the latter next to an article depicting Israeli journalists as "monkeys."

These are your tax dollars at work, folks! Twenty-two percent of the cost of this media extravaganza, from airfares and hotels in Cairo to (probably) honoraria for the Moonbat attendees and facilities and the salaries of UN bureaucrats--hey, if you live in the U.S., one-fifth is your share. Be sure to write your congressman and tell him to free up the U.S. contribution to the United Nations, so we can have more good stuff like this!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The 'Why Oh Why' School of Palestinian Advocacy/Journalism

The story on page one of the New York Times today on the horrible, inexplicable, irrational suffering of poor, innocent, suffering Gazans who live within mortar-fire distance of Neve Dekalim is an outstanding example of the “why oh why” school of Palestinian advocacy in the guise of journalism.

Why oh why are the Israelis so cruel? Why oh why are the Israelis so heartless? It makes no sense—and, damn it, it is against international law! We are told that the “Israeli army wanted to clear a wider buffer zone” because “Islamic militants were firing mortars and homemade Qassam rockets” into Neve Dekalim. But we are immediately told that “such action is considered illegal by much of the world”—and by Israelis too, which seals the deal.

The article quotes B’Tselem, the “Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.” A perfectly objective group in the eyes of the Times—not the Moonbat, terrorist-loving group despised by most Israelis. What we don't hear from are actual Israelis providing the Israeli side of the story, apart from a perfunctory "Israeli officials say." Nor do we hear from the victims of the peace-loving Gazans lionized in this article.

We learn that a “few yards away” lives a fellow named Muhammed. He “was wounded in Nablus in 2000, at the beginning of the second Intifada.” Hmmm…. Interesting. “Was wounded.” How come? Was he, oh I dunno, maybe trying to kill somebody? The reporter, Steve Erlanger, doesn’t ask and doesn’t care and doesn’t raise the issue.

Muhammed is now patrolling to stop “militants” from firing rockets. Yet this same fellow says that one of the groups whose activities he is trying to stop—Hamas—would “take better care of him and his family if he should be hurt or killed than would Fatah, the dominant political faction.” Hmmm…. “hurt or killed” doing what, I wonder? Gee, what does that mean? Could it mean—just to take a wild guess—firing rockets at Neve Dekalim? Again, Steve Erlanger doesn’t ask, doesn’t care, and doesn’t raise the issue.

Did Muhammed, or the hero of the story, the nice man with the beard on page three, sit by and cheer while the “Islamic militants” were firing rockets from his property with the aim of murdering civilians? Again, Steve Erlanger doesn’t ask, doesn’t care, and doesn’t raise the issue.

We know how one of these wonderful, wonderful people feel "when she sees the Israeli flag from her broken house?" It is beyond words, her rage, her shame. But how does she and our other heroes feel about the firing of rockets into Neve Dekalim? Again, Steve Erlanger doesn't ask.... etc. etc. etc.

Erlanger doesn’t raise these issues because he is performing the Times’ usual function in stories such as this -- because doing so would be dispassionate fair journalism, and not advocacy for the Palestinian cause.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Kofi to Pappe-Fest: Play Nicely!

An "International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East" in Cairo, sponsored by the UN's Ministry of Propaganda and featuring anti-Zionist loon Ilan Pappe representing Israel (no kidding! read this), began its festivities today.

UN Minister of Propaganda Shashi Tharoor, who brought the notorious anti-Semite Israel Shamir to this annual bash-Israel junket in 2001, read a speech by Kofi Annan. And let me tell you, it just makes you want to grab the guy and plant a big fat kiss on his sweaty brow, it is so wonderful. Said Annan: "With help from responsible media -- media that refrain from myths, stereotypes and hate propaganda – they can avoid inflaming an already volatile climate."

I can just see Ilan Pappe, sitting proudly in the anti-Israel-Israeli delegation, nodding solemnly and then launching into one of his famous "let's destroy Israel, cut it into pieces and shovel it into the Mediterranean" rants. The crush-Israel website Electronic Intifada was so moved by the Annan statement that it emotionally clasped hands across the waters and published the Pappe-fest platitudes in full, alongside its usual fare on the evils of the Zionist entity and the "three monkeys of the Israeli media." Damn, brotherhood is a wonderful thing! Aren't you glad your tax dollars pay for Shashi Tharoor and his 700 shills, bureaucrats and seat-warmers as they promote Arab-Anti-Israel-Israeli harmony?