Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Times Lectures Its Moronic Readers

Today we get a belated response to the furor that arose when a New York Times op-ed page editor put anti-Bush words in an op-ed piece -- drawing an infuriatingly lame "explanation of process" response from the Empty Suit, public editor Barney Calame.

Without deigning to mention the article in question, Op-Ed Page editor David Shipley patiently explains to his moronic readers that yes, children, Times pieces are edited. Apparently readers don't understand that. They are really stupid, and they have a lot of "questions," says Shipley. Not accusations of bias -- "questions."
Not surprisingly, readers have lots of questions about the editing that goes on. What kind of changes do we suggest - and why? What kind of changes do we insist on - and why? When do we stay out of the way? And the hardy perennial: do we edit articles to make them adhere to a particular point of view? I thought I'd try to provide a few answers.
He then provides those answers, again, patiently, just as Barney did, and explains "process,"while again ignoring the valid questions that had been raised about the "process" that put anti-Bush sentiments in the article of a non-anti-Bush contributor.

Put words in a contributor's mouth? Really. So childish as to not worth a response, or even a mention. So immature--confusing editing with inserting an editor's opinion! "Now to some people, this may sound surprising, as if we're putting words in people's mouths. But there's a crucial distinction to be made between changing a writer's argument - and suggesting language that will help a writer make his point more effectively,"says Shipley.

Only one problem with this non-excuse excuse: The Times put words in a contributor's mouth. That's just not seriously in dispute. Shipley is apparently a practitioner of what might be called the "Groucho Marx School of Argumentation." As Groucho once said, "What are you going to believe, me or your own two eyes?"

The Times is confident in its arrogance. Its laughable "reader's representative" had spoken, and speaketh no more, so there is nothing to worry about on that front. What you really have to wonder, reading Shipley's piece, is whether he actually believed that he was going to convince even so much as a single reader.

Elsewhere on the op-ed page, we learn that the Empty Suit "on vacation until Aug. 14." But don't fret. Even though its do-nothing management shill is on vacation, the Times is clearly getting along fine in his absence. The position is still filled. The desk is occupied. The divan is ready for his return.

By the way--for those who might be wondering-- there's 21 months before the 66-year-old Calame's contract expires. You can bet these 21 months are going to be relaxing, enjoyable years for the Times, and frustrating years for Times readers who are childish enough to believe that accusations of bias deserves answers, not evasions and irrelevant explanations of "process."

UPDATE: The Snapshots blog observes that Shipley is full of beans in saying that op-ed pieces are edited for factual misstatements. The blog notes that a Palestinian propagandist was allowed to spew blatant lies in an op-ed article last October.

Two-for-One Terrorist Apologia in the Times

Readers of the Sunday New York Times today can enjoy, while sipping their morning coffee, a special treat: not one but two dreadful, offensive articles justifying terrorism.

Article No. 1 appears on the front page and is by Amy Waldman, filling in on the terrorism-apologist beat for Hassan Fattah. Picking up where the always-unreadable Hezbollah sympathizer Fattah left off, her article engages in a protracted process of guessing as to the "seething unease" that filled the breasts of the brave young men who slaughtered 56 Britons on 7/7. Well, rest assured she guesses in a way that is consistent with the Times policy of functioning as terrorist apologists, not even mentioning the degree to which radical Islam inculcates hate in its followers.

Waldman explains that the three murderers "turned their backs on what they came to see as a decadent, demoralizing Western culture. Instead, the group embraced an Islam whose practice was often far more fundamentalist than their fathers', and always more political, focused passionately on Muslim suffering at Western hands."

In other words, their acts of murder were justified. Shame on you if you believed differently. And if you made the mistake of finishing your breakfast this morning before completing this nauseating pap, shame on you again. Of course their "transformation" (into monsters) had "positive elements," she reports. Yes indeedy, there is a silver lining in every cloud. Did you ever read how Zyklon B from Auschwitz built up the Ozone Layer? Here we have similar delightful tidings spread before us. The radical Islam that sent them reaching for the dynamite kept these young fellows from drugs. Goody!

However, the main thing is that we have answers! Yes, the wrong answers, but answers. We have the answers that terrorists want dumb reporters like Waldman to provide, which is "the sense of injustice at events both at home and abroad that is far more widespread among Muslims than many Westerners recognize," plus what she delicately describes as "rigid and deeply political form of Islam that increasing numbers of educated European Muslims are gravitating to."

Though flawed by terminating with a preposition, this sentence comes closest to the "H" word -- as in hate -- omitted from this report. As is Times editorial policy, it is inconceivable that the Times would dare to accurately report that it was actually "seething hate" that drove these murderers.

Article No. 2 is an op-ed piece by Alan Cowell that poses the question, "Two Faces of Terrorism: Is One More Evil Than the Other?" Cowell doesn't have the guts to actually answer his own question and say, "Yes, absolutely! One form of turning civilians into body parts is totally justifiable!" So instead he just drops hints through innuendo and offensive remarks throughout his rambling and pointless article.

Thus we get: "In its broadest definition during most of the 36 years of the I.R.A.'s war, armed struggle was depicted as a means to national self-determination - sanctified during the second half of the 20th century by anti-colonial struggles. Liberation movements, from the African National Congress in South Africa to the Palestine Liberation Organization, claimed international legitimacy as the custodians of national aspirations."

This is the cowardly way of saying, "The Palestine Liberation Organization, founded before the 1967 war for the express purpose of destroying Israel, is an anti-colonial liberation movement."

We then get: "Leaders once dubbed terrorists - from Nelson Mandela to Yasir Arafat - became national and internationally accepted figures."

This is the cowardly way of saying, "Yasir Arafat, the Nelson Mandela of his oppressed people, was once unfairly dubbed a terrorist like Mandela, but we know now that he was never a terrorist and in fact he became an internationally accepted figure."

He does write one declarative sentence, however. Picking up from the Waldman apologia, Cowell says, "If there is an anger among many British Muslims, whose extremists provided the crucible of the London bombers, it relates directly to Britain's involvement as an ally of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq. Short of defusing that anger, Mr. Blair cannot hope to undermine the enemy within..." Again, the same point Waldman made. The terrorists are justified in their murders by "anger" at British "involvement as an ally of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq."

These are, Cowell, tells us -- continuing to read the mind of the dead terrorists -- "legitimate" political aspirations. He then puts in a plug for the romantic, liberating IRA and PLO: "The last thing any Western government wants is to permit jihadists to be seen - by however small a minority - as the voice of Islam in the way the I.R.A. or the P.L.O. assumed the mantle of national spokesman and liberator."

Well, there is some truth to that, I suppose, if one adheres to the precept that death is the great liberator. However, Cowell is too caught up in his own deep-rooted biases to appreciate the unintended irony of his pro-terrorist essay.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

What's Wrong With Journalism

If you want to know what's wrong with journalism today, check out the controversy that's brewing over a veteran reporter for the Miami Herald, Jim DeFede, who was fired for breaking the Florida law against tape-recording a conversation without the consent of both parties.

Editor & Publisher explains that the law "includes a provision that says, 'consent is not required for the taping' of someone 'who does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.'" The guy who was taped was a public official in an on-the-record interview.

Corporate newroom types like to do stuff like this because that way they can say, "Look at how pure we are." That way they can get away with egregious ethical violations and bias.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Good News For a Change

Today's good news: Yemenite Islamist Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad to rot in jail for funneling money to Hamas and Al Qaeda. Seventy-five years in federal prison. No parole (abolished a few years ago). No "time off for good behavior." Above all, no possibility of release for political reasons.

Get this: "We love the United States because they are against the unjust people like Saddam Hussein," said the terrorist murderer before being hauled off to a small cell somewhere out west.

How about that for way of winning hearts and minds?

Oh, and Israeli Ministry of Justice take notice. I repeat: No possibility of release for political reasons.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Empty Suit (Computer) Responds!

A Well-Programmed Computer

As noted in several posts earlier this month, the New York Times public editor, Barney Calame, shrugged at a ripoff of this blog by a Times reporter, before going back to sleep on the divan. In the course of that, I received two actual replies from the Empty Suit himself -- even though, I have to admit, they were written in such a mechanical style that they might have been generated by a computer.

Well, today I received two identically worded emails, both in response to emails I sent him almost a month ago -- and both of which he has already blown off.

Note the warmth, the humanity. With a computer like this, why bother with a high-priced, do-nothing Empty Suit serving as a de facto Times PR man?

Both emails read as follows:

"Thank you for your comments.

"Everything sent to this mailbox is read by either me or my associate, Joseph Plambeck. If a further reply is appropriate, you will be hearing from us shortly. Don't forget, when referring to a specific article please include its date, section and headline. "

"If you do not wish your message to be published or relayed to other editors and reporters, be sure to let us know.
-- Byron Calame
Public Editor"

Well, obviously they are read carefully! No question about that. My automatically generated computer-composed email responded as follows:

"Thank you very much for your email. Everything sent to this mailbox will be read by a computer program that will send back to you a computer-generated email, while I doze off on the divan and wait for my contract to run out.

"While you are waiting for me to wake up, I suggest that you read this enlightening article in the National Review Online: on the Empty Suit, Barney Calame. You can then proceed to the posts below referenced by NRO media critic Steve Spruiell. Thank you again for your interest in Mediacrity, and please excuse me while I go back to sleep:

your friend,

The Mediacrity Blog"

To which I received two reponses identical to the one quoted, and to which my computer is generating (when I finish this post) another automated response identical to the one above.

I don't know about you, but all this emailing is tiring! I'm taking a snooze on the divan.

The Sulzberger Template (again)

The New York Times today keeps up its 1.000 batting average, achieving a perfect score evading the truth in its editorials on the Middle East. As noted this morning in Backspin, today's editorial on the Palestinian "police" adheres perfectly to the Sulzberger Indifference Template by blaming Israel and ignoring Palestinian failings.

The editorial ignores the conclusions of a study, published by the Times, which said that structural reforms were required to turn a motley collection of gunmen into an actual police force. It also doesn't mention that the "policemen" have long participated in terrorist activities, which explains why Israel would be insane to give them armored vehicles, as recently proposed.

One aspect of the Times template is on full display here, which is the soft-peddling of Palestinian terrorism. The intifada -- i.e., systematic murder of Jews -- is described by the Times here as "ill-advised," which is actually milder than the invective tossed at Israel by the congenitally Israel-bashing Times.

Backspin commented today:
The Times editorial board's commitment to blame Israel has now overridden the very news item it comments on. Times editors are showing their true colors here -- it's not a question of subjective perspective, it's an institutionalized bias that grants legitimacy only to information that conforms to their fixed position.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Atlantic on Arafat

The piece in the latest issue of The Atlantic on Yassir Arafat--In a Ruined Country: How Yasir Arafat Destroyed Palestine, by David Samuels-- is a must-read. I can't post a link -- it is available online only for subscribers -- but I suggest you go out and get it. The article is a thorough examination of Arafat that cuts through all the lies and spin that have been propagated over the years, particularly by the horror-show named Deborah Sontag of the NY Times.

Though couched in what might be described as Moonbat-speak, its reporting is thorough, particularly on such matters as Arafat's orchestration of the 2000 Intifada, his use of terrorism and bribery. It is, of course, no secret to anyone who has followed this story that Arafat started the Intifada. That's old news. However, for a MSM outlet -- one generally sympathetic to the Pals --- to recognize it is very important.

On the attitude of Europeans toward the creation of the Palestinian Authority, Samuels says this:
For the diplomats of the European Union, whose dream of creating a new kind of political organization that would rival the United States for global influence was burdened by the historical guilt of colonialism and the Holocaust, the image of the Jew as oppressor that Arafat offered the world was both novel and liberating; the State of Israel would become the Other of a utopian new world order that would be cleansed of destructive national, religious, and particularistic passions.

And this, on the intifada:
The second intifada also began with the intention of provoking the Israelis and subjecting them to diplomatic pressure. Only this time Arafat went for broke. As a member of the High Security Council of Fatah, the key decision-making and organizational body that dealt with military questions at the beginning of the intifada,[Mamduh]Nofal [former military commander of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine] has firsthand knowledge of Arafat's intentions and decisions during the months before and after Camp David. "He told us, 'Now we are going to the fight, so we must be ready,'" Nofal remembers. Nofal says that when Barak did not prevent Ariel Sharon from making his controversial visit to the plaza in front of al-Aqsa, the mosque that was built on the site of the ancient Jewish temples, Arafat said, "Okay, it's time to work."

Tons of stuff like this--Arafat's corruption, his lies, and above all his use of terrorism. There's this insight:
Absent the formal police-state structure that existed in Iraq and still exists in Syria, the reality of Palestinian social and political life under Arafat can best be described not as totalitarian but, rather, as an extreme kind of political narcissism, in which millions of people were reduced to tokens in the fantasy life of the man they had been educated to think of as their father.

An imporant story. Not perfect by any means, but overall, because of its dead-on portrayal of Arafat, a must-read.

Alessandra Stanley Falls On Her Bayonet

Today's jaw-dropper is Alessandra Stanley's review of the new FX series on Iraq, Over There. With a flick of her wrist, she obliterates an entire genre of motion pictures.

The point of Stanley's review is that explicit combat scenes, portrayed during the war, set "Over There" apart.
During World War II, many war movies were made long before its outcome was known: "Mrs. Miniver," "Casablanca" and "In Which We Serve" were released in 1942. Back then, wartime films focused on survivors and civilians struggling on the home front; neither Hollywood nor the War Department wanted to demoralize audiences with too graphic a depiction of what their servicemen were likely to endure.
That's simply not true. Dozens of movies made during World War II depicted combat sequences. Now, the second part of what she says is true. World War II combat movies were notorious for their unrealistic portrayal of combat. Still, they existed.

With a stroke of her word processor, she wipes out Sahara, Objective Burma, Guadalcanal, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, The Story of GI Joe and many, many others. They were far more numerous than "home front" films like Mrs. Miniver.

Though not depicting blood and gore and guts, these movies sometimes were quite graphic in showing the tragedy and horror of war. GI Joe, based on the writings of Ernie Pyle, is a good example.

What astonishes me is that this woman is a New York Times popular culture critic, and she --and the dozens of editors who read her piece -- are so abysmally ignorant of the history of motion pictures.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Guardian Cringes Before Blogger

A must read--here. I see that, along the way, the blog in question was ripped off by a newspaper in Britain.

Envoy is 'Promising' -- Even if He is a Jew

Just like its brethren at the Electronic Intifida, the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs likes to coat its anti-Israel polemics in a layer of syrup. Also like the EI -- which recently inserted, and then swiftly pulled back, a Nazi-like graphic -- the Washington Report sometimes goofs up and lets the anti-Semitism slip by.

A good example comes in an item online today, by none other than the Payola Pundit Ian Williams (above, left), the fifth-rate hack and UN correspondent-consultant, famed for taking money from the UN while writing about it for The Nation and other organs. The subject of the piece is a recent Arab Human Development Report issued by the UN Development Program. Like most Ian Williams UN puff pieces, it reads more like a press release than a news article. That figures. Williams boasts on his website that, among other flack work and media training for the UN, he "helped draft the press-kit for the 2002 Arab Human Development Report for UNDP." (Williams conveniently "forgets" to disclose this rather significant conflict to the readers of WRMEA.)

Clearly his latest swill will help Williams get more UNDP work. In his piece he lauds UNDP for standing up to "U.S. and Israeli pressure." (That's a common theme in Williams' cloud-cuckoo world. The brave UN and its heroic bureaucrats are always standing up to "US and Israeli pressure.") He goes on to lay it on thick praising the report -- and believe you me, when Ian Williams likes something the UN does, he lets you know it.

But then -- oops! -- we get this little nugget:
In the absence of any progress on Middle Eastern peace, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been busy appointing envoys. Firstly, he appointed former World Bank president James Wolfensohn as his special representative for the Gaza pullout. This could be promising. Wolfensohn has not let his Jewish origins hinder him from trenchant criticisms of Israeli malpractices, and has the stature to highlight any egregious acts of bad faith.
Yeah, well you know how those damn Jews are. Always guilty of dual loyalty. Got to hand it to Williams, though. At least he's in touch with his feelings. (Healthier that way, psychologists say.)

Still, this little anti-Semitic gem does present a problem for the Washington Report, which tries to be respectable. Oh well. Forgive them, please. As I said about EI, it's hard to churn out Israel-bashing swill day after day, steam pouring out of your ears, without slipping up and forgetting to pour on the Karo.

Monday, July 25, 2005

EI Denazifies Its Propaganda

In an item the other day I described how the crush-Israel website Electronic Intifada used a graphic straight out of Nazi propaganda to illustrate an article on the Forward. Thus the EI unwittingly let its deep-rooted Jew-hatred slip through its usual syrupy obfuscations and code words.

Well, the increasingly inept polemicists who run EI apparently read this blog, as they yanked out the Sturmer-style photo montage of a dollar bill with a Star of David superimposed on it. The EI item now is illustrated by a plain-vanilla Israel-bashing one (above, left). If you look carefully, you can see "Pushing Palestine Out of Sight" superimposed on the Forward graphic. Clever!

Hey, don't be mad at these guys. Imagine how you'd feel if you were a Jew-hating EI hack, steam pouring out of your ears, working hard to suppress your hate as you churn out crush-Israel propaganda that is spun for a wider audience. It's a tough job! Occasionally you foul up, and your true feelings shine through.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Empty Suit Upstages Himself

Puts His Column on Autopilot

The New York Times Public Editor, Barney Calame, after a grand total of three times in print, devotes an entire Sunday column today to reader letters. It is easily the very best column produced on his watch. But if I were Calame, I wouldn't be too proud of that. What makes it good is that he didn't write it.

Basically, Calame put his increasingly pathetic column on autopilot, while he goes back to sleep on the divan. Though all of the letters raised serious questions that deserve answers, none are forthcoming from Calame. He thus transformed "reader participation" into a hollow "letting off steam" exercise. (By contrast, his predecessor resorted to this form of padding after nine sometimes provocative columns -- and always commented on the letters.)

Every biased and inept journalist loves reader letters. They are a thousand times better than the Public Editor roasting your tootsies. That's why the distant rumble you heard this morning was from Times editors breathing a sigh of relief. They're off the hook for another week.

It's really pretty disgraceful. One reader wrote in as follows:

"In the final paragraph of 'When an Explanation Doesn't Explain Enough' (July 17), you refer to 'the mistaken perceptions of some readers.' Were they really mistaken? It seems to me that your explanation of this situation confirms the suspicion of 'an unusual number of readers' that 'a Times editor had tried to put words in the mouth of the reserve Army officer, Capt. Phillip Carter, without his consent.' After all, isn't that exactly what happened?"
Good question. In fact, the same point was raised by the National Review's Stephen Spruiell in his media blog. So what about it? Any response?

You'd think he'd say something like, "no, this isn't what happened," or "yes, you have a point." You know. Dialogue with the readers you are supposed to "represent." Nope, silence -- even though his column on that day was patently illogical.

So it goes throughout this week's column -- sharp questions, silent contempt from the Empty Suit. As he says on his cobweb-covered website, "if a reply is appropriate, you will hear from us shortly." No reply appropriate today! The Great Oz had spoken, and he sayeth no more.

The purpose of a public editor is to represent the public, not to shill for management and then silently shrug when readers point out that he has goofed up. But make no mistake about it. Calame is doing precisely the job that the Times management wants. Or to be more precise -- not doing the job. He hasn't even bothered to use his "web journal" since June.

As I explained in a recent item, Calame told us from the gitgo that he views himself as a technocrat who provides nuts-and-bolts explanations of "process." Which is ducky-- if you are among the 1% of readers who give a damn about "process." But if you are among the 99% of readers who care about substance, you are out of luck. A reader addressed that today:

"Explaining how [an editorial goof] happened is helpful, but I believe readers are entitled to know more," says one of the letters.

True, but you're not going to know more -- not from an empty suit and management shill who is a parody of a public editor.

Eyes Wide Shut in Blogland

Today's Quiz: If you were running a journalism blog, what would you write about over the past month? Please pick two:

1. Judith Miller
2. Terrorism coverage
3. Google Moon
4. David Akin's blog on hiatus

If you picked 3 and 4 -- well, you obviously are a devoted reader of a particularly insipid "journalism blog" called the Ijournalist. Way to go, Ijournalist! And they say journalists don't know good stories when they see 'em. Nonsense!

Someone brought this dufus to my attention because Ijournalist has a distinction that is worth noting. Whoever runs it is the only person on the planet who believes that the New York Times found out about Romenesko's salary by slogging through the 25 million IRS filings on Guidestar! I'd say his IQ is well up into the double digits, wouldn't you?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Oops! EI Lets Its Inner Nazi Shine Through

As I've observed in previous items (such as this and this), the bozos who run the crush-Israel website Electronic Intifada are growing increasingly inept in their central purpose, which is to coat the dismemberment of Israel in a thick layer of propaganda honey. Try as they may, the venom keeps slipping out.

Thus in an article out today, a non-Palestinian EI Moonbat-contributor strikes a syrupy tone as he stumbles through an inconherent analysis of an article in The Forward on divestment. (You will note that he attends Bir Zeit University on the West Bank. Thus we have the irony, which is lost on this twit, that the hated Zionist entity allows a sworn enemy like him into the West Bank to attend school.)

Anyway, it's the kind of pseudo-intellectual tripe that might put you to sleep, were it not for the illustration at the top of the piece (above). EI being EI -- well, they just couldn't resist illustrating the article with an anti-Semitic photo montage showing a Star of David transposed on a dollar bill. It's straight out of Julius Streicher's Der Sturmer, or the Palestinian media for that matter.

Yep, you can take the Jew-baiting out of the rhetoric, but it's hard to purge anti-Semitism entirely when it is so much a part of your worldview (or perhaps I should say Weltanschauung). Oh well. Maybe next time. March on, EI! (Or perhaps I should say, "goose step on!")

UPDATE: As commenter Manker observes, EI has denazified its propaganda.

Reuters 'Witnesses' Are Back

It's back to normal at the Reuters "news" service. Just two days after wiping egg off its face for relying on Palestinian "witnesses" who turned out to be fabricators, Reuters again passes on the dissembling of Palestinian "witnesses" who have been proven to be liars, time and time again.

This time, Reuters parrots the Palestinian "bystander canard," claiming that a Palestinian killed in a shootout with Israeli troops was a "bystander." The accounts of notoriously unreliable unnamed Palestinian "witnesses" and "medics" is given equal weight to the Israeli military's assertion that the casualty was an armed combatant.

As happened the other day, Reuters serves as a conscious, willful conduit for terrorist dissembling. A responsible news organization, knowing that Palestinian "witnesses" often spin fairy tales, would either disregard them completely or treat them skeptically and always publish the names of the "witnesses" and "medics."

Another reason to call the editor of your local paper and tell him to dump Reuters.

An Adventure in Bad Reading

Reading a New York Times editorial on the Middle East is always an adventure. What technique will the Times editorialists use to bash Israel? Which combination of distortions, cliches and sanctimony will be used to advance the Sulzberger Indifference Template?

Today's editorial, "Midsummer Mideast Madness," focuses on two of the Template's bedrock principles, No. 3: Promote the Myth of Palestinian "Moderation," and No. 1, "Whatever The Problem, Blame Israel." A corollary of the latter is the Template sub-principle that "Sharon Is a Thug Who Does Stuff Because He's Mean and For No Good Reason."

Thus in a discussion of infighting between the "extreme" Hamas and the "moderate" Fatah and Palestinian Authority, we have the following:

This really is a textbook case in the myriad ways that extremists can hijack an entire population. No reasonable person can doubt that the Hamas attacks hurt the Palestinians more than the Israelis. That is exactly the kind of violence that has given the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, the ammunition to destroy the Palestinian police force, freeze the movement of ordinary Palestinians throughout the occupied territories and seal disputed land behind Israel's new security fence.
The Palestinian population is moderate and peace-loving, as is the Palestinian Authority. Thus what is daintily referred to as "Hamas attacks" (translation: "Palestinians murdering Jews") is really counter to the interests of the "moderate" Palestinian population.

Since that assumption is a lot of hooey -- Hamas, and its murderous tactics, have widespread popular support -- we thus have the title of the editorial, the "Madness" bit. In fact, terrorism is perfectly logical for a radicalized population that 1) Hates Jews, 2) Believes with some justification that terrorism offers political rewards, and 3) Has seen its tactics supported by much of the world (as well as, of course, the United Nations).

Recognition of that reality would undercut the Template Principle No. 3, which is inviolable.

In contrast to the moderate and peace-loving Palestinian population, Sharon is a heavy-handed thug who does things for no reason, except maybe sadism. And, of course, the Palestinian "police" are just peace-loving men twirlingnight sticks and not thugs who engage in terrorism -- as is the reality.

Look how many Template themes we have in just three sentences!

Next comes another Template sub-principle: There are extremists on both side and they are both equally bad. In both its editorial and news pages, the Times equates Palestinians who murder civilians with Israelis who peacefully demonstrate: "Meanwhile, Israel's extremist right wing is doing its own hijacking."

Hamas and demonstrators against the Gaza disengagement are exactly the same. Both sides are crazy. Fortunately we have the Times editorial board, the same editorial board that ignored Auschwitz, the same editorial board that has white-washed terrorism for years. Three cheers for the Times editorial board!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hurry! Hurry! Get Your Copy! The UN's 2003 Yearbook!

The following communique was issued today by the Ministry of Propaganda of the East River Debating and Terrorist Cheerleading Society:

"The fifty-seventh volume of the Yearbook of the United Nations, covering the year 2003, has been published by the Department of Public Information (DPI). This unique publication, which chronicles all the major activities undertaken in the United Nations system, is the primary comprehensive and authoritative reference work on the United Nations and is widely consulted by diplomats, government officials, scholars, journalists and others with a serious interest in international and United Nations affairs."

Wow! It only took the seven hundred flacks, propagandists and bureaucrats a year and a half to produce this yearbook. Get yours soon! A steal at only $150.

Romenesko Shows His True Colors

Media blogger Jim Romenesko shows his political stripes today, as he gives prominent display to the kooky Russ Baker, an obscure journo who is trying to get attention by viciously attacking Judith Miller. (He infamously compared Miller's prison stay to a "book leave.")

Romenesko--who has made a fetish of ignoring significant media stories that don't fit his political biases, such as the UN Correspondent Scandal -- today prominently links to a polemic Baker wrote for an ultra-left website called In it, Baker attacks a Times editorial on Miller.

Basically Baker just regurgitates his old grievance, which is that Miller failed to adhere to his standards of political correctness in her reporting on the UN and Iraq. Thus he puts himself, ironically, on the same side as Times critics on the right (as well as fourth-rate hacks like the UN consultant-correspondent Ian Williams, who hates Miller's tough reporting on his sometime employer, the UN).

This unprincipled, cynical hack is, by the way, a contributing editor at Columbia Journalism Review. To pile an irony on that irony, Baker bills himself as an "investigative reporter" who has founded an "organization dedicated to revitalizing investigative journalism."

Oops! Typo. I think he meant to say, "dedicated to denigrating real journalists."

The Truth is Stabbled Multiple Times

Late on Wednesday, the Reuters "news" service, citing unidentified "witnesses," reported that a Palestinian boy had been stabbed multiple times by Israeli "settlers" on the West Bank. The report was obediently picked up by the New York Times and plastered throughout the world.

Reuters said "the 12-year-old was ambushed by several settlers near his home at Qaryot village outside the Palestinian-ruled city of Nablus. He was stabbed 11 times, medics said." Reuters went on with this helpful editorial commentary: "Palestinians who seek statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have complained of frequent harrassment and attacks by settlers during 4-1/2 years of fighting."

Thank you, Reuters! Fine job. Really good job of.... oh, wait a second. Here we have a later story from Ha'aretz, saying as follows: "senior Palestinian figures told Israel Defense Forces figures the boy was likely murdered within the context of a clan feud." One of my fellow contributors to Israpundit has a good take on what happened.

OK. Let's calm down and watch this incident and see how it plays out. If indeed the kid was murdered as part of a clan feud, as would appear to be the case, this needs to be followed up. All too often Reuters and other media outlets have allowed themselves to become an organ of Palestinian propaganda, quoting Palestinian "witnesses" spinning fairy tales. Time to see some accountability. The time for excuses and apologies is past. Time for some tangible consequences for Reuters.

If indeed Reuters was an accomplice in a blood libel, it seems to me that Israelis have a right to ask their government what is being done to call Reuters to account -- just as Americans would be upset if there were "journalists" in Iraq, accredited to the US millitary, functioning as propagandists for terrorists and endangering the lives of our troops.

UPDATE: Palestinian police have arrested a Palestinian suspect in this murder. See Honestreporting's thorough article on this scandal. This disgraceful episode highlights the deep-rooted bias, and lack of professionalism, that is endemic among the foreign press corps in Israel.

A reader emails a cogent observation on the modus operandi involved here, and the Times' shockingly credulous handling of a wire story that was dubious on its face:

"What I cannot understand is Greg Myre's low radar for nonsense. I mean to say, eleven stab wounds? this had all the hallmarks of Arab clan revenge murder. This is not to say that there have not been Israeli settlers who have shot Arabs. Only that Myre was way out of line not to ask more questions before rushing into print. After all, I do not know of any cases of Israelis stabbing Arabs to deats. But there have been many, many cases of Arabs stabbing both Arabs and Jews to death."

Time is overdue for readers to send a message to their local newspapers: Dump Reuters!

Journalistic 'Norms'

From a Washington Post chat with Geneva Overholser, Chair in Public Affairs Reporting, Missouri School of Journalism:

Q. With the proliferation of things like blogs, is a definition of "journalist" even possible?
Geneva Overholser: This is definitely one of the stickiest questions in this whole subject. . . .I've been told that the best way to go about this is not to attempt to define who is a journalist, but rather to consider (in any given instance) whether the material at hand is journalism. Easier to see, for example, whether the information was gathered in the interest of the public, whether it conforms to journalistic norms, etc., than whether the one gathering it is a journalist.

"Norms etc."? OK. In just the past couple of weeks we've seen:

1. A Sunday magazine piece whose soul purpose is to burnish the public image of the dictator of Syria.

2. An article that makes the wacky claim, in the face of all evidence, that the London bombers were targeting Muslims.

3. A columnist claims Hezbollah terrorists respect the Israel-Lebanon border.

None of this tendentious swill adhered to "journalistic norms." All appeared in the New York Times.

I'd suggest that Ms. Overholser omit "journalistic norms" from her definition, lest she exclude the large proportion of journalism that is dumb, unprofessional, and biased -- violating all the norms of journalism -- while still being, just barely, "journalism."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

CJR Editor Goes Bananas

Popped His Cork

I missed a fascinating exchange in Buzzmachine last week, in which CJR Daily Managing Editor Steve Lovelady went bananas when asked to talk rationally about media coverage of Iraq.

Lovelady was invited by Buzzmachine's Jeff Jarvis to engage in a debate with journalist Mark Yost, who criticized media coverage of Iraq. Lovelady responded by viciously attacking Yost, and by saying to the perfectly courteous Jarvis, without any provocation, "What an intellectually dishonest schmuck you are."

Read the full exchange. A fascinating insight into the kind of rigid ideologues who have ruined what had once been a respected, nonpartisan journalism review.

CJR Laments (and practices) 'Sloppy Attribution'

Good take in David M today on the brazenly hypocritical CJR Daily website.

In an article on "citizen journalists," CJR cited "four articles whose bylines clearly state the author's name but leave it unclear which high school the author attends." David notes that is a"trivial error when compared with, say, leaving Victor Navasky's name off your publication's masthead when he is in fact running the publication, and only fixing it when exposed by one of those pesky citizen journalist bloggers."

Actually, the CJR has hardly fixed even that. In an earlier item, David observed that the print edition of Columbia Journalism Review has buried Navasky, publisher of The Nation, way way down on its print masthead. Since CJR has acknowledged that Navasky has an editorial role at CJR, and since the magazine certainly reads as if he does, that bit of dissembling is as pathetic as it is dishonest.

UPDATE: One I missed actually--CJR editor goes bananas.

Your Tax Dollars at Work: UN Literary Lion Goofs Off

The UN's Minister of Propaganda, Shashi Tharoor, had a higher priority than prepping for the UN's widely ignored 60th Anniversary procedings. That priority was, of course, Shashi Tharoor. So says the UNInsider newsletter, which chronicles the latest nonfeasance of the UN bureuacrat, whose massively overstaffed Department of Public Information is best known for organizing anti-Israel hate-fests featuring anti-Semites and for giving cushy freelance gigs to sleazy UN correspondents.

The Insider goes on to post the following rhetorical questions:
Which is more important: the 60th anniversary commemoration by the General Assembly of the U.N. Charter, or the launching of a book by Kofi Annan's aide Shashi Tharoor? Why would the head of the "U.N. Department of Public Information and Communications" hardly bother with mobilizing delegates in time for an official celebration, but make every effort to ensure that every delegate had received notice of his signing a new book on Union Square, New York? Does Mr. Tharoor's book represent the position of the U.N. Secretary General, as rules and regulations stipulate, or is it his own free wheeling set of views? How come the head of one of the largest departments has time to produce so many books, and isn't that done at the expense of staff management and staff morale? Is he entitled to use his U.N. title to promote a personal venture? How come the launching coincided with a DPI gathering of editors of main international newspapers? Did he clear the material of the book with the Department of Administration and Management, Office of Human Resources, as stated in staff rules? Is there any accountability for failure to deliver a work program while advancing one's own agenda? Questions abound. But then, whom would you ask?
Well, I suppose you can ask is the U.S. Congress, which is debating what to do about UN dues. Member state tax dollars, after all, pay this loafer's salary. The US share for the East River Debating and Terrorist Cheerleading Society is about $330 million out of a humungous total budget of $1.5 billion. Time for the UN shedding some of its extra fat, of which the eminently expendable Tharoor is only the most arrogant, in-your-face example.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

BBC's Crush-Israel Comrades

The Electronic Intifada crush-Israel website can often counted on for enlightenment of the "oops" variety. Today was no exception.

A story ran in EI today by a noxious Palestinian "journalist" and blogger named named Leila El-Haddad. Way down in her rant is the following: "I made it home in time to meet with a colleague from the BBC who was here on assigment for a radio program. 'I just heard a 14-year-old boy was shot at Abo Holi, but the IDF hasn't yet confirmed it,' she said." Ahh, the BBC. Always hungry for the last morsel of Palestinian propaganda, and with "colleagues" from the EI to help them along and exchange information.

Toward the end of her piece, El-Haddad goes into a kind of lyrical spasm of hate: "Suddenly, all I could think about was Tom Hurndall. And Rachel. Iman al-Hams. And young Nouran Deeb. And her mother's tears. and her father's silent anguish. And the lies. the terrible lies."

Yeah. Now, about that "taxicab incident." Hmm... nothing in Reuters. BBC? Nothing I could find. A pro-Zionist rag called the People's Daily Online says: "Ragheb al-Masri was shot in the head when he was sitting next to the taxi driver who tried to cross a roadblock ignoring Israeli soldiers' orders, they said."

Oops! Left that out, didn't you, Leila?

This one is much better, from the Palestinian Authority's International Press Center: "The boy, identified as Raghib abdul-Rahman al-Masry, was seriously injured when soldiers fired at hundreds of residents trying to cross the checkpoints to get back to their homes. He was taken to al-Aqsa Hospital in Dir al-Balah, where he died of his wounds." Wow! Much better. Massacre! Massacre! Jeningrad!

Yes, all the lies. Terrible lies. Carry on!

Annals of Loyalty

Top item in Romenesko last night was about the editor of a money-losing magazine called Fast Company, a guy named John Byrne. This dedicated guy, loyal to his staff, just persuaded a rich sap named Joe Mansueto to sink in a few million bucks and save the magazine.

Well, Romenesko says the dedicated, loyal John Byrne just told Mansueto -- who saved his bacon about five minutes ago -- to drop dead. Byrne has taken a nice, safe job at Business Week.

Wow. I don't want to use the "R" word in two consecutive items, but all I can say is that this has been a D-Con kinda night.

Monday, July 18, 2005

My Delayed Reaction to Matt "The Rat" Cooper

It took me two full days to react to how Matt Cooper, after weeks of omerta like an old-fashioned Mustached Pete, suddenly makes a mockery of the whole "I'm-a-brave-journalist-won't-reveal-my-sources" thing by spilling the beans on Karl Rove on Meet the Press and in an article in Time.

Yeah, I know, he was forced to testify before the Grand Jury. However, I am not aware of any subpoena that forced him to testify before Meet the Press or Time Magazine. Coop's attitude seems to be, "Well, I was forced to rat out Karl Rove, so I might as go the whole-hog Sammy Gravano route while Judy Miller rots in jail."

The whole thing makes me want to... well, you get the picture.

More on the Calame-ity

The Empty Suit: We Were Warned!

The National Review's Stephen Spruiell today has an excellent follow-up to my "Empty Suit" series on Barney Calame, the New York Times' train wreck of a public editor. It seems that my last item failed to describe how Calame, who is proving to be a management shill disguising as an "independent ombudsman," fouled up his column yesterday.

The July 17 column described how the Times committed a production error that put words in the mouth of an op-ed page contributor. However, in making excuses for the Times, Calame skirted the central issue -- which was that the production error was an indication of anti-Bush bias.

Calame blew off the observation of many readers who saw bias in the added language, trivializing their valid concerns. Said Spruiell:

"Calame does not explain the tone of the inserted language — only the process of how the editors made it up, the author vehemently objected, and yet it got into print anyway. Missing is why the editors inserted the particular phrases that they did." He further notes that Calame's column reduced "a rather serious foul-up to a minor production goof."

Good observations. Re "process": In Calame's inaugural column back on June 5 -- it seems more recent because he has done so little -- he promised to focus on process. He said,
A bit more of a nitty-gritty newspaperman, I hope to raise the blinds at The Times in some new ways to allow readers to get a clearer view inside the newsroom process. Greater transparency, I believe, can help you as readers better understand the news judgments that shape each day's paper -- and hold The Times's news staff more accountable.
Think about it for a second. Is Calame trying to fulfill a genuine reader need, or is this just a lot of (albeit skillful -- I didn't notice it) bureaucratic doubletalk.

Do you really want to "get a clearer view of the newsroom process"? Is that what is needed here? As a matter of fact, it isn't.

When the Times screws up, people don't say, "Gee, that's interesting. Can you explain how did that happen?" No. They want the Public Editor to say, in the pages of the Times,"The Times screwed up. It doesn't matter how it happened. I shouldn't happen again." That is the purpose of a public editor or ombudsman, after all.

You've got to hand it to Calame. He laid things out skillfullky. Calame didn't come out and say that he was not going to hold the Times accountable when it screws up. But by emphasizing side issues of "transparency," he revamped his job description to skirt the core issues of political bias and poor journalism.

Bottom line: Calame told us that he was going to act as a kind of semi-retired assistant managing editor who makes reader complaints "go away" -- basically his old job at the Wall Street Journal. He promised to be an empty suit, and he is carrying out his promise.

UPDATE: As originally posted, this entry referred to the errant July 17 column as the "July 3" column. Please forward all complaints to my own personal "empty suit" ombudsman, who will send you back a cordial automated response.

That Press Conference

I'm not sure who's more to blame for that horrific press conference this afternnon with President Bush and Prime Minister Singh of India -- the president, for allowing only four questions, or the U.S. media for asking dumb "gotcha" questions on Karl Rove and the Supreme Court.

I mean, I know that Karl Rove is more important than, say, the India-Pakistan standoff over Kashmir, with its threat of nuclear war and all that.

Flash! Editor Talks to Friedman (Four Days Ago)

Returned His Call!

The World's Worst Media Columnist today features an interview with an editor of Time magazine, Jim Kelly. And boy did they talk. He's not a tight-lipped guy like the big, bad Norm Pearlstine! ("We spoke so much, as a matter of fact, that I was out of breath (and questions) by the time we wrapped up a marathon phone interview," Friedman recounts.)

Only one catch: the interview was four days ago. Guess that explains why there's no mention of Matt Cooper's article on his grand jury testimony, which was on the front page of the New York Times today. Or anything else you didn't read about four days ago.

Mediacrity Question of the Day: Are Jon Friedman's editors as incompetent as he is?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Counterpunch Needs Those Clicks!

Moonbat organ Counterpunch today pays Stephen Plaut the ultimate honor -- a full-bore attack! Unfortunately, the force of the assault was blunted by the fact that it was little more than personal payback, as was not disclosed in the piece. The author is a drone at Georgetown University named Andrew Rubin, retaliating for a cogent essay by Plaut in FrontPage Magazine a few days ago, describing how Rubin has built his entire dubious career on shilling for Edward Said. Not a word on that in Rubin's rant.

I have a theory as to why Counterpunch would run such a silly piece of drivel that is so intellectually dishonest that it doesn't come clean on the author's personal motivation. I think it's little more than an attention-getting revenue-boosting scheme, aimed specifically at increasing hits on Counterpunch's Google Ads.

This is a big thing at Counterpunch, by the way. In its June 18-19 edition, just preceding an article on the jury system, the Moonbat rag ran the following appeal for clicks:

But first, Four Clicks A Day Is All We Ask

These google ads on our web pages: you don't click on them, do you? So here's an editorial plea. We want every CounterPuncher-that means you--to click on one of the ads three or four times a day. That's all you have to do. The hidden agenda? It's simple. Every time you click, CounterPunch gets about 25 cents. Right now, because you DON'T click, our ad revenue each day is in the low two figures, and that's not right. We need the money so we need you to click.

The above language was duly recorded by my faithful Google Desktop on June 18. But if you go back today, poof! It's not there! Instead we have a slightly rewritten (Google got mad, maybe?) appeal for clicks.

These Google Ads

Those ads at the bottom of the page? A few of of our readers have written in, saying they introduce a sordid spirit of commercialism into OUR site. That's the whole idea! We need the money. You look at an ad, we make a little bit. It all adds up. Right now, only a few diehard fans of sordid commercialism are doing so. We need more. Close your eyes and think of CounterPunch.

Isn't that helpful of this rag -- to suggest that readers put advertising revenues in its coffers by inflating the "click count" with "eyeballs" of people not actually interested in the link, but doing it just to help out Counterpunch? Why, at the bottom of a Cockburn rant just this weekend, an appreciative reader writes in to say "I have no money to support you directly. I am pleased to be able to do my bit in this easy, and often quite funny. Just four clicks a day keeps imperialism at bay." Just doing it for the cause. Not interested in the ad, just mechanically clicking away, inflating ad costs for the Google advertisers.

Hey, I'm not a lawyer or anything, but is this ad-revenue-boosting scheme -- forgive my use of the term for this Jew-baiting rag -- kosher? I do know that GoogleAdSense's "Standard Online Standard Terms and Conditions" say, under Prohibited Uses," that "You shall not, and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to directly or indirectly generate queries, impressions of or clicks on any search results, links and/or Ad(s) through any automated, deceptive, fraudulent or other invalid means...." But then again, not being a lawyer or anything, I don't know if what Counterpunch is doing falls afoul of that. It ought to, though.

I mean, I know Cockburn is grievously (and justifiably) poorly paid for his drivel. Still, what he is doing here just doesn't seem fair to people who pay for those ads. How would you feel if you bought a GoogleAd and found yourself paying extra bucks because Cockburn was encouraging his Moonbat followers to keep their mouse buttons clicking? Doesn't smell right, does it? But then again, it's pretty hard to read Counterpunch without throwing up as it is.

Overpaid UN Factotum Screams Foul

Kofi Annan's hot-tempered deputy, George Soros "tenant" Mark Malloch Brown (shown at left in happier days), blows a gasket today in London's Daily Telegraph concerning all those nasty people who work for him who organized a boycott of a party in his honor.

"Even as luminaries ranging from Bono, the U2 singer, to President Bill Clinton and Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State, heaped videogram accolades on Mr Malloch Brown at the party, 'guerrillas' within the UN were mounting a bitter personal attack," said the Telegraph. Poor dear! But a well-compensated one. I'll be coming to that.

The Telegraph piece appears to be a delayed reaction to an item in this blog on July 8. Though the piece refers to "their [UN staffers'] weblog" (and I think the staffers do have a blog somewhere) the only link given anywhere is to this one. Oh well. That's OK with me. At least the Telegraph isn't a blog thief like the sleazeballs at the New York Times. If anyone has the URL of the UN staffers' blog, let me know in a comment or email and I'll be happy to post it.

In any event, one jarring fact emerges from this Telegraph article. It had been reported that Brown was paying most of his $120,000 salary in rent to his old pal Soros. Not true. Brown, a real public relations genius, reveals that functioning as a glorified valet for Kofi Annan is worth $240,000 to the UN.

The thing still stinks to high heaven -- and now we know that the guy is raping the UN treasury. Thanks for letting us know!

The Empty Suit Watch: Calame Hits Another Softball

Calame: Avoids Controversy

Since the New York Times Public Editor, Barney Calame, last stirred himself from his deck chair to write a column on July 3, the Times has been awash in some of the most significant controversies of its entire existence. Among them:

A Times reporter went to jail for concealing a source, causing a firestorm of controversy about the whole issue of anonymous sources; Times stories about the controversy, and Karl Rove in particular, have come under fire; its coverage of the London blasts have included an apologia for terrorists; a Sunday magazine piece glamorized the dictator of Syria. The Timeswatch website, which chooses its battles carefully,wrote 32 critiques since July 3.

So what does Calame tackle in today's column? He writes about a minor production goof. Seems the Times went back and forth with some guy who wrote an op-ed piece, an editor suggested some changes that were rejected, the changes got in because of a production error. That's all. No big deal. I just described it in one sentence.

Calame focuses on this trivial incident -- which, not coincidentally, puts the Times in a favorable light -- as part of his practice of serving as a spokesman for Times management who does not even attempt to fill the role of an independent ombudsman.

That has been his practice in previous columns (not to mention his slimy role in fronting for the Times Business Section in ripping off this blog--or as Michelle Malkin put it, "All the News that's Fit to Poach"; see David M's take on that).

Calame began his column today by saying: "Upholding the journalistic integrity of The New York Times requires a lot of care." That is more than just pompous blather as well as, arguably, the "funniest sentence ever printed in the NY Times," as Michelle Malkin correctly observed today. It also sums up how Calame views his job.

UPDATE: Apparently, as a result of my customary restraint, my description of Calame's July 17 column failed to note that it was incomplete and generally a joke. Hat tip: the National Review Online Media Blog.

Also, I went back and realized that Calame told us weeks ago that he was going to be an empty suit! Details in this update.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Dueling Terrorist Cheerleaders

In today's terrorist cheerleader news:

The crush-Israel website Electronic Intifada today runs a dispatch entitled "Hamas: 'We are committed to ceasefire,'" quoting Hasan Yousuf, Hamas's spokesman in the West Bank, as saying the following: "We are still committed to the ceasefire. We are not interested in any escalation."

Meanwhile, the killjoys at Reuters, in an article by their terrorist cheerleader Nidal al-Mughrabi, reported as follows: "Hamas vowed revenge against Israel on Saturday after seven of its gunmen were killed in an upsurge of violence..." blah blah blah. "Revenge, revenge," shouted thousands of mourners in Gaza" blah blah blah... "When Palestinian blood is shed, there is no protection for Zionist blood," said Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah, blah blah blah.

Damn. Reuters, EI, I'm disappointed in you. Next time, get your stories straight!

Terrorism Apologia at The Times

Hassan Fattah of the New York Times, who wandered cluelessly through the streets of Leeds and could only find "tolerant" Muslims, today returns to those same streets. He now shifts gears from Mr. Sunshine to the equally loathsome role of sympathetic conduit for the lies and spin of terrorist killers.

According to Fattah, the people who just slaughtered innocent Londoners have "grievances." Speaking of one terrorist murderer, a friend remarks: "He was sick of it all, all the injustice and the way the world is going about it. . . Why, for example, don't they ever take a moment of silence for all the Iraqi kids who die?" That is, he explains, a "double standard." We also learn that they don't like their leaders and..... well, that' s it. Them's the "grievances."

Wow! Well, you have to admit, that would send most people straight to the dynamite, don't you think? Seems that the terrorism was not a product of the "drug problem" or "rising crime," as Fattah indicated in his previous piece. Now we've come to the heart of the matter--the terrorists had "grievances" after all. This is, by the way, Fattah's characterization, thereby giving an official New York Times imprimatur to terrorist dissembling and spin.

Having recited these "grievances," Fattah goes on to lend them substance in this extended riff: "They did not agree with what Mr. Tanweer had done, but made clear they shared the same sense of otherness, the same sense of siege, the same sense that their community, and Muslims in general, were in their view helpless before the whims of greater powers. Ultimately, they understood his anger."

So it goes, paragraph after paragraph of swill like this, the New York Times willingly allowing itself to become a mouthpiece for Islamic killers. In the end, the reader learns nothing new, such as, for example, any links between prominent Muslim clerics and the killers. One such "group has not enjoyed much success here, despite the grievances of young men like Mr. Dutt and his friends," says Fattah.

One thing is for sure: If there was any link between organized groups and the killers from Leeds, we won't find about it from the terrorist shill Hassan Fattah. We'll find out from one of the journalists the Times has on its payroll.

UPDATE: Backspin quotes James Taranto of Opinionjournal addressing the "why they hate us" question. He also describes how it is possible to report on terrorist motivations without becoming a shill for terrorists:

"It's not that the query is inherently objectionable; understanding what motivates the enemy is obviously helpful in wartime. But the people who ask this question almost never genuinely seek to understand; rather, they have their own axes to grind against the U.S. or the West...

"Now and then a terrorist actually takes the trouble to explain his motives. London's Daily Telegraph reports on the trial of the man who allegedly (and now confessedly) murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh."

Taranto noted that the Van Gogh killer told the Dutch court: "I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion," he told its three-strong panel of judges. "I can assure you that one day, should I be set free, I would do the same, exactly the same."

The killer then turned to the victim's mother and said: "I don't feel your pain. I have to admit that I don't have any sympathy for you. I can't feel for you because you're a non-believer."

Backspin comments:

This had nothing to do with Israeli "occupation" of "Palestinian lands," America's "unilateral invasion" of Iraq, "torture" of prisoners at Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, the widening "income gap," or any of the other litany of complaints that the terror apologists trot out. Islamist terrorism arises from religious fanaticism and hatred, plain and simple.
UPDATE: Fattah does it again. He's clearly the Times emissary to terror-land.

Friday, July 15, 2005

He's Baaaaack......

World's Worst

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the otherwise excellent Marketwatch website, there he is -- the undisputed World's Worst Media Columnist, Jon Friedman. Friedman returns from a two-week absence to reclaim his title, cranking out an interview piece about a man who wouldn't be interviewed.

Halfway through "Time Inc.'s Pearlstine Shows the Strain," we learn that it is really Friedman who is showing the strain. Norman Pearlstine and he "talked for only a minute or two." (Well, which is it? One minute or two minutes? Never mind....) That might explain why the story consists entirely of padding about what a great guy Pearlstine is and how he's been knocked for handing over Matt Cooper's notes, etc., etc..

"There was no point for me to probe more deeply," said Friedman. Yeah, well you can't interview a dial tone, can you? The shmuck pads on bravely, making the best of things: "He spoke guardedly in terse sentences, refusing to go beyond the official public statements that he had already issued through his employer."

Well, no real surprise there, ongoing litigation and all. Besides, the guy is the top editor at Time Inc., and he's probably busy with any number of things. But Friedman's got a column to write and he's got to pad it and, well, you can't really blame him for some harmless padding.

But this is the World's Worst, remember. So he gives us this utter crock:

It wasn't so much that Pearlstine didn't say anything of substance that made such an impression. What struck me was how he so thoroughly discouraged any questions. It was as if he was experiencing a painful, private moment in public. He reminded me of a pitcher who is forced to stand on the mound by himself after allowing a big home run. How did Pearlstine sound on the phone Thursday? He sounded stricken.
Whoa! Whoa! Is this guy for real? If anybody's "standing on the mound after a big home run" it's Friedman, who was on vacation when the big news broke and has got a big fat nothing.

And what's this "stricken" malarkey? Guy, the man had nothing to say to you. That means he is "smart," not "stricken." Besides, put yourself in his place. How would you feel if you'd picked up the phone and the World's Worst Media Columnist was on the other end of the line?

Navasky Still Mum on CJR Role

The Nation's publisher, Victor Navasky, weighs in on the Judith Miller fiasco in an unremarkable piece today. What's more interesting is the online bio linked to the article, which is silent on his hidden control of The Nation's ideological comrade, the Columbia Journalism Review.

As David M noted the other day--my take on it is here-- CJR continues to keep Navasky off its masthead.

Gee, you'd think they were ashamed of it, or something.

The Sulzberger Indifference Template

The New York Times editorial today on the Gaza disengagement, "Aimless in Gaza," follows what I would describe as the "Sulzberger Indifference Template" for editorials on Israel. The godfather of this Template was Arthur Hayes Sulzberger (left), publisher of the Times from 1935 to 1961 and co-founder of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism. He was grandfather of the current publisher.

When you read Times Middle East editorials, remember that the newspaper is an ancestral property of the Sulzberger family, whose historic indifference to Israel and Jewish concerns has been well documented. The Times' disgraceful refusal to cover the Holocaust was recently recounted in a book, and Arthur Hays Sulzberger's hostility to Israel has resonated through generations of Times editorial writers.

So on to today's manifestation of the Sulzberger Indifference Template:

1. Whatever The Problem, Blame Israel . This is the cornerstone of the template. These editorials always maintain a pretense of even-handedness ("the failure of Israeli and Palestinian leaders"), but the message of the editorials is almost invariably that Israel gets the lion's share of the blame for whatever happens to be going awry at any particular point in time ("Sadly, most of the blame for the current paralysis lies with Mr. Sharon").

2. Ignore Palestinian Flouting of the Road Map. One essential feature of the Times's editorial and news coverage (most recently here) has been to ignore the Palestinian failure to act against terror groups, as required by the first phase of the Road Map for Peace.

3. Promote the Myth of Palestinian "Moderation." Having ignored Palestinian Authority inaction, failures, incitement and ties to terror groups, the Times today goes on to chide Israel for failing to support the Palestinian Authority and its "moderate" chairman. ("Demonstrating to the Palestinians that they haven't really won anything is far, far less important to Israel's well-being than strengthening the authority and credibility of moderate Palestinian leaders like Mr. Abbas.")

4. Whitewash Terror Groups. In accordance with its view that the Palestinians don't have an obligation to confront terror groups as required by the road map, the Times believes that these murder gangs are "opposition groups" that do all sorts of good stuff and need to only say, "We won't do it no more." (Mohammed Abbas "faces a rapidly strengthening opposition movement, Hamas, which is building popular support through its extensive network of social welfare programs while refusing to follow Mr. Abbas's lead in renouncing terrorism.") Not disarming, not disbanding. "Renouncing" is good enough for the Times.

5. Palestinian Failures Are Caused By Israel. The Times excuses Palestinian inaction in Gaza thusly: "With Israel taking a chilly 'that's for you to work out' approach to the logistics of the transfer, Mr. Abbas has begun responding in similar tones."

6. The U.S. Must Pressure Israel. The Times, like a stern and disapproving mother, knows better than Israel what is in that country's best interests -- which is, of course, to "do more" for the Palestinians. That is always couched in terms of Israeli leaders acting against the best interests of their own people and, of course, the world at large. Thus, after the "in similar tones" baloney noted in No. 5, the Times continues: "That is a luxury neither side can afford, and the rest of the world can't either. Ms. Rice and Mr. Wolfensohn need to spend the next month getting the two sides working together constructively on a smooth transfer that builds a basis for a wider peace." Any U.S. comments even mildly critical of Israel therefore need to be highlighted and exaggerated.

7. Ignore U.S. Criticism of the Palestinians. The corollary to the above is that the frequent U.S. comments criticizing the Palestinian Authority need to be ignored.

8. Israeli skeptics are nuts. This is a favorite theme of Tom Friedman, and is reflected in numerous editorials as well. Israelis who have oppose further Oslo-like concessions, including the entire Likud party, are "right-wing" and "nuts" (a term Friedman has used often) and must be described in exaggerated, hysterical terms. Whenever possible they should be likened to Hamas or other Palestinian extremists. The logical basis for opposition to Israeli concessions, such as their tendency to encourage Palestinian terrorism and intransigence, should be ignored or derided.

Over all, what appeared today was a typical Times editorial--condescending, detached from reality, one-sided. The same mentality that kept Auschwitz off the front pages is continuing to burn bright on 43rd Street.

I'll update the Template as warranted. After all, it is a dynamic template, one that the Times is always improving -- in pursuit of its beloved goal of bashing Israel at every opportunity.

UPDATE: The Snapshots blog has a thorough examination of the "Israel is bad, Palestinians are good" Times editorial policy.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

UN Adopts Crush-Israel Action Plan

With all the untidiness going on in the world today, it is so easy to forget all the important work that is going on behind the scenes. And if you're the United Nations, nothing is more important than delegitimizing Israel.

Why only yesterday, you'll be delighted to learn, an annual crush-Israel parley in Paris adopted an "Action Plan by Civil Society" with the commendable aim of wiping the Zionist entity off the face of the earth! This annual hate-Israel meeting was completely ignored by the media--except by the New York Sun--because, well, it doesn't put the UN in the best light. So stuff like this is swept under the rug. But it happens all the time--and you foot the bill.

The language used in the concluding communique of the "International Conference in Support of Middle East Peace" was a bit more, shall we say, dishonest than the straightforward terminology I've used above. But that indeed was the sum and substance of the final plan adopted by this annual UN-paid Paris junket bringing together terrorists, their supporters, assorted kooks and Moonbats.

Here's how the concluding announcement begins:

Civil society organizations committed to ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories and to achieving the Palestinians’ still unrealized rights, including the right of self-determination, today identified the coming year to inaugurate a global campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end the occupation and comply with international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions..."

....yadda yadda yadda.

Note the code word "unrealized rights"and "self-determination." That is Pal-speak for, "line up single file, and don't stop till you've reached Cyprus." Isn't Pal-speak adorable?

As you'll recall, this was the gathering in which the UN's chief propagandist, Shashi Tharoor, told the New York Sun that Israel was to blame -- and not his seven-hundred-person, taxpayer-funded propaganda operation -- for the fact only anti-Israel Israelis were invited to such gatherings.

After all, you need a few actual Israelis ready to sell their country down the river. Israeli traitors are particularly useful when your idea of peace is letting suicide bombers safely traverse the Green Line:

As this week marked the first anniversary of the landmark advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the illegality of Israel’s “annexationist apartheid wall”, the settlements and occupation, and the consequences of that illegality, participants joined with their colleagues around the world to rededicate themselves to “bringing down the wall.”
And let's not forget all the other monstrous acts of the Zionist oppressor, all carried out for no reason at all:

But events on the ground in the OccupiedPalestinianTerritories continued to deteriorate, with land confiscation, house demolitions, escalating violence at checkpoints and on roads, closures, curfews, a renewed Israeli policy of assassination, and plans for new settlement projects, their text said. Participants were especially concerned about the consequences of Israel’s planned “disengagement” from Gaza, which would alter the form but not the essence of occupation and control. Clearly, the “disengagement” from Gaza was not designed to end the occupation, but was a ploy to legitimize Israel’s annexation of wide swathes of territory in the West Bank, it

Pretty bad, all that happening, with Palestinians being so innocent and oppressed. So here is what the hate-Israel conventioneers put together in their annual Paris soiree: A three-pronged plan of "boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel."

Do read the concluding statement, which goes on and on like that -- drawing approving huzzahs from the crush-Israel website, Electronic Intifada, in an article taken directly from the UN without changes. Hey, they have the same goal after all. Gotta crush Israel, and most important gotta talk about it in Paris.

Hard to figure out what's more fun--actually crushing Israel or planning the crushing, particularly when all that planning stuff is taking place on the banks of the Seine, the tab picked up by the East River Debating and Terrorist Cheerleading Society.

Be sure to tell your representative in Congress that you want to be sure that Kofi Annan's reform plan -- you know, the one that doesn't touch the annual crush-Israel soiree and dozens of events just like it -- goes ahead full blast. (And you can bet these Paris junketeers are only too happy with the concept of "blast"!)

"He Was Good to His Mother"

To put the Hassan Fattah brand of psuedo-journalism into perspective, Daniel Pipes expounds on "how Islamic killers dissemble" in his weblog.

Noting a previous entry in his blog from 2003, Pipes notes that cynical spin, of the kind the clueless Fattah gobbled up whole for the New York Times, is commonplace in the aftermath of terrorist attacks. Pipes notes "the common pattern whereby family and friends of those accused of Islamist murder invariably respond with astonishment and praise the accused."

This is yet another subject for the Empty Suit, the Times's AWOL Public Editor Barney Calame, to not deal with in his cobweb-covered weblog and once-in-a-blue-moon column.

Navasky Still AWOL

. . . from the masthead of Columbia Journalism Review. So says an update in David M.

Still no mention in CJR Daily or the magazine itself, notes David, except for a lame note on the Nation publisher that was posted online by the J-school dean, Nicholas Lemann. Why the silence, asks Dave?

Well, it is becoming increasingly clear that Victor Navasky's coming out of the closet doesn't really change anything. As CJR Daily managing editor Steve Lovelady's public rants have made clear, CJR has abandoned any pretense of ideological neutrality. Thus the Navasky role in the increasingly strident and rigid CJR has no news value. The mainstream media seems to be saying, "Sure, CJR is a left-wing journal of opinion. So what else is new?"

No surprise that Russ Baker, the wacko who has been viciously attacking Judith Miller in Moonbat outlets and The Nation, is a contributing editor of CJR.

It really should call itself, The Nation Journalism Review.

Lovelady Digs His Hole Deeper

The exchange between far-left CJR Daily managing editor Steve Lovelady and his critics continues in the Romenesko "letters" column.

One sidelight reveals Romenesko's bias. He takes the unusual step of inserting a response from Lovelady directly within a letter from a critic named Mike Henkins (see 7/13, 5:18 p.m., letter).

With every response, the increasingly hysterical Lovelady buries himself deeper in a hole. The guy is proving himself to be an ideologue with a massive chip on the shoulder. In other words, just what you'd expect from the editor of a left-wing online organ pretending to be an independent journalism review.

More Terrorism Blindness

Backspin observes that a "world terrorism map" in a German newspaper--similar to the one in the Brit cage-liner The Sun -- omits terrorism in Israel. I note that it also omits Islamic terrorism in Kashmir.

Again, the message is that Islamic/Arab terrorism is considered acceptable when used as part of an ongoing political dispute. That and the usual anti-Semitism and racism is more than sufficient to make Germans, Brits and other Europeans blind to terrorism when the victims are Jews and Hindus.

If the Park Hotel massacre took place among Aussie vacationers in Bali, and if Parliament House attack took place in Rome and not New Delhi, you can bet it would be considered "terrorism"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Finding a Silver Lining in Mass Slaughter

The New York Times's Mr. Sunshine, Hassan M. Fattah, lets a smile be his umbrella as he wanders cluelessly into Leeds, from which came the four London bombers. Fattah is assigned by the Times to wander cluelessly into Muslim areas and say nice things about Muslims, and he does not disappoint.

Oh my. Contrary to what he reported on July 10, it seems these really were Islamic terrorists and not, say, sheepherders demanding higher lamb prices! But not to worry. The Muslims of Leeds are good people. Tolerant people. And they are shocked, shocked that the four emerged from their tolerant community!

But Fattah just can't resist putting in a pitch for the old, phony "they kill because they're poor" line of baloney. You'll be pleased to know that "there may be a silver lining of sorts." And what is that "silver lining," you ask?"
"Both the Muslim and non-Muslim community here will have to deal with issues that we have been sweeping under the carpet," [a convert to Islam named] Mr. Talbot said. "Our crime rate amongst young people is disproportionate, and there's a higher percentage of kids going into prison for drugs. As a community, we're not bringing this up. Religion has nothing to do with it, so the question is, what does?"

Uh.... what does? Better question: What has the "crime rate in Leeds" got to do with the terrorist bombings in London? Plenty, or so Fattah implies. This line of spin goes unchallenged by the Times' Mr. Sunshine, acting as usual as an unquestioning conduit for the most egregious, cockamamie pap that is told to him. In this case, that four Islamic nuts went down to London to kill people as a reflection of a "disproportionate crime rate" and not because hate has found a cozy home in the "tolerant" Islamic community of Britain.

UPDATE: Turns out the clueless Fattah was hoodwinked by his interviewees, who used assumed names borrowed from Bollywood stars. See this in Polipundit. These guys wouldn't even give their correct names. What other lies did they tell?

Department of Whaa?

The National Journal's Blogometer website contains a rather opaque item on my contretemps with Barney Calame and the other thieves and scoundrels of the New York Times. I posted an earlier item taking exception to same, but I am now advised that my discombobulation was misplaced.

So I am replacing my previous item with this one, and I would like to forward to Blogometer the words of the great Will Strunk: "If you have something to say, say it out loud."

Old rock lyrics don't fulfill the above mandate.

CJR Editor Denounces Iraq "Lies"

In an email exchange today and last night on the Romenesko "letters" section, CJR Daily Managing Editor Steve Lovelady shows his left-wing stripes, ranting about "the lies at the heart of the Iraq invasion and the grim reality of the current occupation." See letter posted at 7:56 p.m., July 12.

This drew a response from other journalists, including this rejoinder from Logan Anderson, Weekend/Business editor, Lynchburg News & Advance:

Anytime someone dares to call into question the motives of the media, we can count on Lovelady to come to the defense of the far-left extreme -- anyone out there remember the Eason Jordan affair? Easongate was all the fault of the "wacko neo-fascist bloggers," or so Lovelady would have had us believe in the dozens of posts he made in cyberspace.

It's a good exchange. What it shows, by the way, is that the "liberal media" is anything but monolithic, and that a lot of journos out there are disgusted by CJR's hypocritical and false assertions of "independence."

Lovelady, of course, had previously issued a dishonest response to concerns about the CJR's new "chairman," The Nation publisher Victor Navasky.

Obviously CJR had an ideological affinity for the far left before Navasky arrived on the scene.

Time for its editors to come clean about their organ's open ideological bias. It's not a journalism review. It's just another far-left opinion journal. It is in most respects a clone of The Nation, with whom it shares contributors, including the bizarre Russ Baker. He's the twit who likened Judith Miller's stint in federal prison to a "book leave."

Very much the kind of bilge you find in the Nation--and what had once been a reputable jouranlism review.