Friday, September 30, 2005

Template Watch: U.S. Presses PA on Gaza

This is the beginning of Template Watch -- a continuing series!

This series will describe news events of the previous day that were important, newsworthy, but unfavorable to the Palestinians -- and thus were ignored by the New York Times, in accordance with the Sulzberger Indifference Template.

Today we have an item that moved over the wires yesterday reporting that the Bush administration was pushing the Palestinian Authority to exert control over Gaza. Even Reuters picked it up -- but you won't read about it in the Times, whose policy is to ignore U.S. statements pressuring Palestinians, while playing up statements even mildly critical of Israel. Here's how Reuters reported it:

The Palestinian Authority must immediately start to exert control over Gaza, a senior Bush administration official said on Thursday, suggesting it was a prerequisite to restarting the "road map" peace process and addressing Palestinian issues on the West Bank.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that renewed violence was "not helpful" to U.S.-sponsored peace efforts, saying "it shows the need for the Palestinian Authority to reorganize its security forces and step forward and take control of the security situation in Gaza." .

Note the fatal flaw of the above -- it says that the Palestinians are failing to do something. Wrong! As far as the Times is concerned, the threat to peace in the Middle East comes from -- and only from -- the warlike, unreasonable Israel and the diabolical Ariel Sharon.

Did Miller Make a Fool of Her Supporters?

I've supported Judith Miller from the gitgo, as a a perusal of this blog indicates. Just look here, here and here. I've supported her right to withhold the name of her source, lamented her jailing, and lambasted her critics on the loony left such as the loathsome hack Russ Baker and the Payola Pundit Ian Williams.

But after reading the amazing New York Times piece today on Miller's release from prison, I'm starting to feel that Miller has made a fool out of me and other people who have supported her.

Simple reason: According to this article, Miller's source gave her permission to testify before the grand jury, voluntarily and without coercion. If that indeed was the case, her going to prison was grandstanding -- just as her left-jackass opponents have been saying.

In late August, the Times piece says, "[her source] Libby told Ms. Miller that she had his personal and voluntary waiver." Late August! Then what was she doing in jail for another month?

It gets worse. The Times piece goes on to say "The discussions [between Miller, the source and their lawyers] were at times strained, with Mr. Libby and Mr. Tate's asserting that they communicated their voluntary waiver to another lawyer for Ms. Miller, Floyd Abrams, more than year ago, according to those briefed on the case." (Emphasis added.)

And then we get this: "Other people involved in the case have said Ms. Miller did not understand that the waiver had been freely given and did not accept it until she had heard from Mr. Libby directly."

Oh, come on! She's sitting in jail for three months because of a "misunderstanding"? And she wanted to hear it from Libby directly? Don't they have telephones in that part of the country?

Apparently, but nobody was in any hurry. "Ms. Miller authorized her lawyers to seek further clarification from Mr. Libby's representatives in late August. . . Mr. Libby wrote to Ms. Miller in mid-September saying he believed that her lawyers understood during discussions last year that his waiver was voluntary."

It gets worse and worse, phonier and stupider. As this glacially slow travesty continues, Miller's lawyer writes back saying in effect, "Come on. You don't really mean that, do you?"

Adding to the idiocy and surrealism of the whole thing, the Times story -- by the people directly involved -- distances itself by quoting people "briefed" on the matter.

The whole thing smells. It's looking more and more as if Miller was in jail just for the reason her jackass critics say -- self-aggrandizement. Assuming this is as bad as it looks, she has set back the cause of investigative journalism by her grandstanding, and given her loony-left critics a ton of ammunition.

Let the Moonbat gloating commence.

UPDATE: The World's Worst Media Columnist, terminally clueless Jon Friedman of MarketWatch, takes time out from writing puff pieces to weigh in on Miller. Only problem is that he has absolutely nothing to say. He begins with an unfunny baseball joke, and goes on to make this candid admission of incompetence: "If you can understand what the hell is going on in this case, you're a lot smarter than I am."

Jon, at the risk of stating the obvious.......

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Terrific Times Editorial!

Read all about it in Soccer Dads -- a really first-rate analysis.

CIA Twits Exposed

One of the insights one can gain from reading the Moonbat retch-factory Counterpunch is that it provides an inside look at the personnel problems that have plagued the CIA. Why has the agency had so many failures in recent years? Are some of the people working there simply incompetent? These are the questions that have been raised since 9/11.

Well, Counterpunch provides a vigorous "yes" answer to these questions, by disseminating the wack-a-doo writings of two top-level ex-CIA analysts named Bill and Kathleen Christison. I wrote about one of their rants a few months ago.

Today, an excellent analysis of these two morons' work, and that of other brain-dead ex-CIA minions, appears on FrontPage Magazine by the always trenchant Steve Plaut. Essential reading!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Times Editorial Misquotes Road Map

An editorial in the New York Times today focuses on the Middle East for the first time since August 31--a period in which Gaza has been turned into a Hamas State and violence has resumed. Let's see if you can guess the target of the editorial:

1. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terrorists who have been firing rockets at Israel.

2. Egypt, which stood by and watched as arms flowed into Gaza, in violation of an agreement with Israel.

3. The Palestinian Authority, whose weakness and complicity with terror has been proven yet again.

4. Ariel Sharon.

Well, I don't have to answer this, do I? The Sulzberger Indifference Template requires only one outcome. The missiles can be flying, the buses can be be exploding, the nightclubs can be turned into slaughterhouses. It doesn't matter. Times editorial policy requires only one outcome: ignore or downplay Palestinian aggression.

Today, the Times hammers away at a favorite theme--members of the "right-wing" Likud party who believe -- because of all the stuff the Times isn't reporting -- that withdrawal from Gaza is a reward for terrorism.

Not a word in the editorial about all those arms flowing in from Egypt or all the rockets being fired--but we do have a reference to the usually-ignored Road Map for Peace. A grossly distorted, inaccurate reference. As part of an attack on Benjamin Netanyahu-- who gets the kind of excoriation the Times rarely directs at Palestinian murders, we get the following:

The so-called road map for peace calls for Israel to work with elected Palestinian officials to create a plan for a negotiated Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. The responsibility of the Palestinians is to clamp down on terrorist activity against Israelis.

No, that is not what the Road Map says. The Road Map requires, as part of its first phase:

Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.

Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained,
targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in
terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.

Calling that "clamp down on terrorism" is like calling an amputation a "manicure." The requirement is to dismantle, confiscate and confront. Absolutely nothing along those lines is happening, or even considered remotely possible at the present time.

The Times also is inaccurate in describing Israel's responsibilities under the Road Map. The Times editorial writers just made it up. Look at the Road Map and see for yourself. Yes, of course such negotiations are required in later phases -- after all that terrorist-dismantling stuff is done. But in the first phase -- I trust that the Times wouldn't contend that we are in the la-la land of the second and third phases -- what the Times is saying is factually inaccurate.

I'm sending a copy of this item to the Times editorial page and corrections email address, and to the New York Times Ombudsman, Barney Calame.

Gail, Barney, the ball is in your court.

UPDATE #1: Maybe a corrective editorial is in order? Corrective articles seem all the rage at the Times nowadays--note this analysis in the American Thinker.

I have a better idea: A refresher course in Journalism 101. The hacks at the Times sure need it. And for some of them -- blog thief Ken Belson and Times factotum Hubert Herring come to mind -- an even better idea might be a refresher course in the "Thou Shalt Not Steal" part of the Ten Commandments.

UPDATE # 2: In an item on his web journal, Barney says that editorial page editor Gail Collins will address the corrections issue in a letter to readers. Goodness. I throb with anticipation!

Meanwhile, let's get cracking with a correction of the Road Map flub, guys.

UPDATE #3: Soccer Dad's take on the editorial is excellent.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

All the Stupidity That's Fit to Print

After reading the Editor's Note today in New York Times grudgingly and dishonestly sliming its way around a correction of its blatantly false report on Geraldo Rivera, I have changed my opinion of the Times.

This is not an arrogant newspaper after all! No, what I had thought was arrogance is actually a very deeply engrained stupidity.

Here we had a situation in which the Times made a mistake. It was obvious--a Times critic said Geraldo "nudged" somebody, and he didn't. OK, not the end of the world. You promptly run a correction. And if you don't promptly run a correction, you belatedly run a correction--and, in an egregious case such as this, an apology. End of story.

Instead, in the Editor's Note today, we get a dog-ate-homework, childishly defiant rationalization that "The editors understood the 'nudge' comment as the television critic's figurative reference to Mr. Rivera's flamboyant intervention."

Oooookay, let's sum up what the Times has accomplished to date from its handling of this one blatant but less than earth-shattering error:

1. It demonstrated its arrogance by refusing to promptly correct an obvious error.

2. It demonstrated a vindictive and petty streak at the highest levels, since executive editor Bill Keller used Geraldo's justified anger as a reason for not correcting this obvious error. So said its Empty Suit ombudsman Barney Calame.

3. It demonstrated the uselessness of the Empty Suit, who only belatedly weighed in, and eased the sting for Times management by needlessly abusing and insulting Geraldo.

4. By turning a mistake into a massive controversy, the Times highlighted the error-prone character of the critic who wrote the piece, Alessandra Stanley.

5. And finally, after the immense furor and a campaign on Fox News by Geraldo, the Times throws the last shovelful of earth on its credibility with an editor's note that is an insult to the intelligence of its readers.

Way to go, New York Times!

UPDATE: Hilarious take on "Nudgegate" in the National Review Online. (I was wondering, too, when Sulzberger was going to deal with that "kick in the face.")

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sheehan Triumphs! She is Arrested

A Smiling Sheehan Enjoying Her Little-Publicized Arrest

Harebrained Moonbat Cindy Sheehan, famed for cynically exploiting her son's death in Iraq to advance her extreme political agenda, gained a public relations victory today (photo). An arrest! An AP story on her PR triumph led off Yahoo news today.

After sitting down in front of the White House and thereby inviting arrest (the cops obliged), "She stood up and was led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, 'The whole world is watching.'" Yeah. That was the point, right?

Let's see how the other yahoos in the media handle this publicity stunt. Will they treat this idiot with the contempt she deserves, or play into her hands? We shall see. It will be interesting to see if the media, particularly the daily edition of Counterpunch (a/k/a the New York Times) picks up this quote from the AP story:
"I would like to say to Cindy Sheehan and her supporters don't be a group of unthinking lemmings. It's not pretty," said Mitzy Kenny of Ridgeley, W.Va., whose husband died in Iraq last year. The anti-war demonstrations "can affect the war in a really negative way. It gives the enemy hope."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A 'Progressive' Objective: Destroy Israel

The New York Times coverage today of the Marching Moonbats in Washington downplayed, predictably, the extremist character of the groups and their nutty, hard-left agenda.

"The protests here and elsewhere were largely sponsored by two groups, the Answer Coalition, which embodies a wide range of progressive political objectives, and United for Peace and Justice, which has a more narrow, antiwar focus," said the Times' Michael Janofsky.

Here is ANSWER's "progressive" agenda, as stated on its website: "From Iraq to New Orleans, Fund People's Needs - Not the War Machine; Stop the War in Iraq; End Colonial Occupation from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti; Support the Palestinian People’s Right of Return; Stop the Threats Against Venezuela, Cuba, Iran & North Korea," yadda yadda yadda.

Hamas, si! Castro, si! Kim Jong Il, si! U.S., no! On the "lucha en Palestine" point, a fave of these Moonbats, there is this: "it is the White House and Congress and both big business parties that wholeheartedly support the funding of the ongoing war against the people of Palestine."

"Progressive"? You bet.

Oh, and United for Peace and Justice has dismembering Israel squeezed into its "narrow" and "anti-war" agenda: "OCCUPATION: WRONG IN IRAQ, WRONG IN PALESTINE." Narrow enough for the Times, obviously.

This may seem, at first blush, to be lousy journalism. It isn't--not if you're the daily edition of Counterpunch.

UPDATE: Accuracy in Media has a special report on the particularly egregious character of the anti-American nutjobs at the demonstration, some of whom are old-style Stalinists standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Iraqi "resistance."

Not a hint of this, naturally, in the Times coverage. "Our media pretend not to understand," says AIM's Cliff Kincaid. No, I think they understand perfectly well. They just are too biased to give a damn.

Calame is a Four-Letter Word

New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame does a more convincing imitation than usual of a newspaper ombudsman today, as he says what was obvious to anybody who has reviewed the facts -- that Geraldo Rivera was screwed by the Times. (The paper falsely claimed he "nudged" a rescue crew in New Orleans, and then refused to run a correction.)

But to offset the sting of his rare, gentle criticism of the paper, Calame begins his item by taking a gratuitous, unecessary, and totally irrelevant swipe at Rivera: "One of the real tests of journalistic integrity is being fair to someone who might be best described by a four-letter word." The title of his column is also an unwarranted insult: "Even Geraldo Deserves a Fair Shake."

Well, I guess that is what you can expect from a management shill and Empty Suit. But really now. "Even Geraldo"? "Four-letter word"? The Empty Suit really doesn't like him. Here's why: He dared to complain publicly about being screwed by the Times.

You see, what Geraldo forgot was that the Times, and its parody of a newspaper ombudsman, expect to be treated with groveling and obsequiousness.

In fact -- and even Barney admits this is a bit much -- the Times executive editor Bill Keller admitted that Geraldo's vociferous reaction was why he was treated so poorly. "Mr. Keller's message unfortunately turns to a line of reasoning that raises, for me, a basic question of journalistic fairness," says Barney, clearly sweating bullets with each word as he states the obvious.

Only thing is that Barney himself, with his cheap-shot headline and unfairly insulting first paragraph, is precisely as unfair as Keller was in this instance. Geraldo isn't a "four-letter" word. The Times's arrogance, bias and unfairness are "four-letter words," and they have destroyed the reputation of what used to be a highly respected newspaper. To reverse that requires a newspaper ombudsman who is worthy of the title, not a management shill who insults a victim of the Times's well-known arrogance.

Calame is clearly reacting to widespread criticism of him by the National Review Online, Michele Malkin and other media blogs. The American Thinker, commenting on today's column, observes that "Shame Works." Something else might be even more effective, from both the standpoint of the readers and the Times' own flagging reputation: Dump Calame.

UPDATE: Good essay on the general uselessness of ombudspeople in Democracy Project.

Power Line, meanwhile, observes: "Calame unfortuntely mixes in additional personal abuse of Geraldo Rivera in documenting the Times's malfeasance -- illustrating why I prefer a simple acknowledgement of wrongoing when you're wrong. The Times is wrong. Why it can't say so is beyond me."

This is an arrogant paper, guy. End of story.

FURTHER UPDATE (9-28): Geraldo tells the New York Post that he won't sue for libel, but he is still -- justifiably -- "simmering about the tone of the ombudsman which, like the 'Editors' Note,' was grudging and disrespectful."

I'm surprised at that one blog I respect opined that the Empty Suit was "courageous" in stating the obvious, and doing so in such an abusive way. Since when does it take "courage" for a guy with an iron-clad contract to make abusive and insulting remarks -- about the enemy of one's employer?

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Word is Spreading: Calame is Worthless

The Empty Suit: Worthless

Terrific item in Michelle Malkin's blog today on the brush-off a reader received from the Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame, when he asked why the Times ignored a particular story.

The title of her item says it all: THE NY TIMES OMBUDSMAN IS TOTALLY WORTHLESS.

Ms. Malkin, as usual, hits the nail on the head:

Why even bother having an ombudsman at the Times? Calame's assistant haughtily suggests that since the office has "no control" over what's printed, then the office has no role whatsover in questioning the paper's sins of omissions. If Calame's office has no jurisdiction over what's left out of the paper, that leaves him only with the task of correcting and criticizing the errors that are left in. But he can't even do that job.

She adds that "since the NYTimes is hemorrhaging money and desperately slashing jobs, the budget-cutters might as well axe Calame's job while they're at it."

Her verdict on Calame: "He's a waste of their money and our time and energy."

Here here! As I've noted before, having a disaster as a "public editor" is not just bad for readers, but doesn't do the Times much good either. This parody of a "public editor" is such an insult to the intelligence that he is just one more liability for this credibility-deficient newspaper.

There's only one solution to the mess the Times created when it hired this do-nothing bureaucrat: Dump Calame!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

US Slams the Pals -- Not Fit to Print

Did you know that the U.S. government yesterday criticized the Palestinian response to the disorder in Gaza? Not if you read the New York Times.

One central tenet of the Sulzberger Indifference Template, the Times policy of handling news concerning the Arab-Israel conflict, has been to promote the myth of Palestinian moderation. To do that, it is essential that this once-great newspaper downplay U.S. criticism that runs counter to this myth. One of the most effective ways of doing that, as I mentioned the other day, is to simply not report stuff.

So unless you follow Voice of America website, you won't know the following:

Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, C. David Welch, says Mr. Abbas has major challenges ahead. "Although President Mahmoud Abbas has taken some steps to assert control, overall Palestinian Authority performance to date has been far from satisfactory. The [Palestinian Authority] must move quickly to establish order and to take steps to dismantle the infrastructure of terror," he said.
Not one word in the Times on this, or any of the other numerous comments by high administration officials that are critical of the Palestinians. For example, in an interview with TIME editors published Monday by the State Department, Condoleeza Rice said that Abbas must disarm the Fatah militias:

"Any functioning democracy has to have one authority and one gun, as Mahmoud Abbas has put it. So I think we will want to work with the international community to address this question. I think it is an extremely important question because I don't, frankly, think Hamas can have it both ways. Now, I think it would be a good start for the Palestinians, by the way, if they would disarm the militias of Fatah. That would be a good start. They have a roadmap obligation to disarm terrorist organizations and militias. But as a starting point, because I understand that there are complications with Hamas and there are questions about how capable they would be of actually insisting on disarmament of Hamas."

Surprised? You would be if you read the Times. You also don't see critical comments by members of Congress, such as the head of the House Middle East subcommittee, Ilena Ros-Lehtinen.

This is more than just bad journalism. By ignoring such criticism, the Times is trying--with some success--to take the heat off the Palestinians. Ironically, the Times' actions--or, I should say, non-actions--actually encourage Palestinian intransigence and thereby undermine the mythological "moderation" the newspaper is trying to hard to promote.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The IHT Screws Up--Bigtime

John Rosenthal's Transatlantic Intelligencer blog discusses a major goof in the International Herald Tribune, which reported inaccurately that Joschka Fischer was stepping down from national politics.

"Did one need another reason to stop taking the NYTimes and its affiliate publications like the IHT seriously as sources of international and, more specifically, European news?" asks John.

Good question. Unfortunately I have yet another. The newly appointed editor of the IHT, who just stepped into the job, is an undistinguished Times bureaucrat named Michael Oreskes, whose most recent assignment was launching the nauseating Times Discovery cable channel.

In case you are like 99.999% of the TV viewing audience that has never even heard of the thing, Times Discovery is predicated on sheer arrogance. Its underlying assumption is that Times readers love the paper so much that they want to see Times reporters on the tube. Thus we are treated to such thrilling sites as Tom Friedman interviewing people for one of his harebrained columns, or a Times reporter riding in a gay rodeo.

With the genius who thought up all this crap now moving to the IHT--well, all I can say is that if you think the IHT has hit bottom, guess again.

Oreskes recently told Jon Friedman of Marketwatch that he wants "analytical scoops." Uh, Mike baby, what people want is "accuracy," maybe with a little "fairness" thrown in.

Unfortunately, it's a bit hard to figure out if something is accurate when you have absolutely no first-hand knowledge of the stuff that's in the newspaper you're editing. Amazingly -- except when you take their legendary arrogance into account-- Times editors have, in Oreskes, picked for this very significant job an individual who has never served overseas.

Apparently the IHT is serving, at least in this instance, as a dumping ground for an undistinguished, manifestly unqualified Times bureaucrat who can't fit in on this side of the Atlantic. That may be great from the standpoint of NY Times internal politics, but not so great for readers who don't want to read stuff that is just plain dumb.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Times Gives Sheehan a Bullhorn

The Gold Star Moron in Action at Union Square

Gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Gold Star Moron, Cindy Sheehan, continued today in the New York Times. The Times continued to function as a daily edition of Counterpunch, serving as an uncritical echo chamber for Sheehan-- replete with photo spread, inaccurate headline, and a tone that was so worshipful as to be almost goofy.

If you thought yesterday's Sheehan puff piece was the worst the Times could do -- well, the Times was out to prove you wrong today.

Here's the headline: "An Antiwar Speech in Union Square Is Stopped by Police Citing Paperwork Rules." You'd think that maybe the parade organizers neglected to dot an i on some form, but no. Actually they "forgot" to get an essential permit known to every New York protester since time immemorial -- a permit for audio equipment.

Having "forgotten" to get this permit, the organizer went ahead and used audio equipment, knowing full well he would be marched off to the can by the NYPD -- with the Times's gavel-to-gavel coverage following in hot pursuit.

The Times, not being satisfied with functioning in a PR capacity in this manner, obligingly and inaccurately describes this rather substantial requirement -- blessed to every noise-weary New Yorker -- as just "paperwork." Score another publicity coup for the Gold Star Moron!

The rest of the Times piece -- well, this is the daily edition of Counterpunch after all. We get this doozy of a mini-editorial: "Many New Yorkers said yesterday that Ms. Sheehan gave them back hope that was lost when war was declared on Iraq."

Yes indeed. I can just see Times hack Shadi Rahimi, press card in hatband, going from door to door in Queens and Bensonhurst to find "many New Yorkers" sighing with relief that the Gold Star Moron was there, giving them "hope." (Note too the implication that New Yorkers were rooting for Saddam -- as was, quite obviously, Shadi Rahimi.)

The piece ends with still more propaganda:
[A demonstrator] said that the arrest of the event organizer, Mr. Zulkowitz, was another example of the "country's suppression of dissent." "We are being railroaded toward a state in which we can't speak up," she said. And they said the demonstrators couldn't use a bullhorn.
They had one: It's called The New York Times.

UPDATE: According to the New York Sun, the organizer of the Cindy circus has been arrested before for not getting proper permits. Obviously he likes being arrested, in the hope that a clueless, biased hack like Shadi Rahimi might be there to write about it. (Priceless publicity in return for a trip to a police station and a desk appearance ticket. Not bad!)

The Sun also reported details excluded by the Times, such as obscenities hurled at the police. It's all part of what Stephen Spruiell calls an "MSM blackout of her loony statements, most recently that the U.S. should pull their troops out of occupied New Orleans."

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sheehan, Fit To Print -- And to Shill

In an item yesterday I described how the New York Times systematically downplays or ignores subjects that don't fit its ideological agenda and preconceived notions -- such as Egypt's failure to abide by its agreement to police its border with Gaza.

Contrast that nonfeasance with the lavish Times coverage of a routine speech yesterday by the Gold Star Moron, Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan, who has made a career of spitting on the memory of her dead son, gets a puff piece with this stop-the-presses headline: "Mother Who Lost Son in Iraq Continues Fight Against War."

Well of course she does! How could she not, as long as the Times gives her ravings unquestioning coverage, and fails to publicize her wacko anti-American and anti-Semitic comments.

Get your vomit bag ready. The Times hack who churned out this garbage hits new heights of calumny with the following: "The church was an appropriate setting for a protest, said the Rev. David W. Dyson, who helped organize the event. Built in 1857, the church was created as part of the abolitionist movement, and tunnels below were twice used to shelter runaway slaves as part of the Underground Railroad."

Simon Legree=George W. Bush? Slavery=the War in Iraq? You bet. This is the Times, after all, a once-great newspaper that is now, at its worse, a daily edition of Counterpunch. And believe you me, the Times is hitting new lows every day.

The Empty Column

New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame has made the transformation of his pathetic Sunday column complete. The Empty Suit has made it official: He is now the author of an Empty Column.

This management shill and parody of a newspaper ombudsman has again put his column on autopilot, turning it over to readers--this time to discuss the phony issue of whether the Times covered poverty in New Orleans. By so doing, he ducked out, yet again, discussing actual ethical transgressions by the Times staff.

As I pointed out the last time Calame put his column on autopilot, "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."

Not that I have anything against letters from readers. Au contraire--they are essential. As a matter of fact, Calame's web journal is designed just for that, to be a message board in which Calame can exchange views with readers. Instead, the Empty Suit has been using his "web journal" to bury controversial items.

A good example is his handling of Paul Krugman's refusal to correct -- in his column, as required by Times policy -- a blatantly erroneous item on the 2000 presidential elections. Calame correctly criticized Krugman for that. But as I noted in an earlier item, he confined his columns to his little-read "web journal"--thereby burying the issue just as Krugman had done.

Krugman made his goof in his print column, the one read by over a million people. When he wouldn't fix his error in print, any newspaper ombudsman or "public editor" worth his salt would have fixed it for him -- in print. But you have to remember that Calame is not a newspaper ombudsman or "public editor." He is an imitation of one -- not a convincing imitation, but an imitation nevertheless.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

'See No Evil' Bias at The Times

One of the most prolific yet easy to overlook forms of bias is just that -- overlooking. Not reporting. Or reporting and underplaying.

The New York Times, in both its news and editorial pages, habitually ignores or underplays stories that do not fit its preconceived notions and biases, especially the Sulzberger Indifference Template for coverage of the Middle East. The disastrous Gaza withdrawal is an excellent example of that.

Since Sept. 12, when Israel forces withdrew, Gaza has been the site of an orgy of looting and violence that has included wholesale violations of Israel's agreements with Egypt to police the border. In keeping with the Template, the Times has reacted by keeping its coverage to a bare minimum -- making it resemble, in its Gaza coverage, a small-town newspaper out in the sagebrush more than a major "newspaper of record."

Here's what the Times has run, and not run, over the past week of anarchy in Gaza:

1. Not a single editorial mentioning the wholesale violations of understandings between the parties.

2. Not a single critical news story.

3. A Sept. 14 story by Steven Erlanger -- "A Gaza Holiday: Looting, Chaos and Bargains in Egypt" -- that treated the whole thing like the running of the bulls in Pamplona. It celebrated the Palestinians' "new sense of freedom" and buried in the eighth paragraph the fact that Egypt was ignoring agreements in which the ink was still wet.

4. A succession of brief wire stories and references in other stories. After its sympathetic Sept. 14 story, the Times did not even bother to assign a staffer to the massive arms smuggling on the border, with all that it implies not just for the future of Gaza, but for peace in the Middle East.

Compare the above to the exhaustive coverage and staffing the Times commits to subjects that fit its ideological agenda, such as the last tiny detail of the Roberts nomination, or any evidence of "Jewish extremism" or its patented sob stories on the poor, poor Palestinians.

That's Times policy, folks: If it contradicts the Template, ignore it or underplay it.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A 'Must Buy' Book

I don't care what you're doing right now -- driving a car, engaged in open-heart surgery or maybe just web browsing. Drop whatever you're doing and buy a book that was just published by Doubleday. The title says it all: The UN Gang: A Memoir of Incompetence, Corruption, Espionage, Anti-Semitism and Islamic Extremism at the UN Secretariat.

This fascinating expose, written by a UN insider, blows the UN wide open. Only disappointment (and mind you, I haven't read the whole book so maybe it is in there somewhere) is that he doesn't touch the corrupt UN-based press corps. But everything else is there: the anti-Semitism and hatred of America, rampant sexual harassment, and even drug-dealing in the UN garage!

The UN's Propaganda Ministry--also a target of this book--is going to go overboard discrediting the author, who is an ex-UN official named Pedro Sanjuan. So I strongly suggest that you go out, buy this book, and above all, spread the word!

The Empty Suit Watch: Coddling Krugman

The Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame wrote an item on his cobweb-covered web journal on Sept. 2 that gently chided Paul Krugman for a glaring error in one of his columns. It seemed as if, miracle of miracles, Calame was actually "representing readers" and not the Times management.

It seemed that way to me, when I read it at the time. But that just shows you the kind of great job Calame is doing. His job, of course, is to mislead the unwary into believing that he is the real thing, and not a shill for the Times management.

As Don Luskin points out in the National Review, Krugman has refused to publish a correction in the print edition fessing up to his goof, which concerned the recount of the 2000 elections. Instead he buried it in on the web.

What does Calame think of that sleazy evasion of responsibility? Luskin wrote Calame concerning Krugman's refusal to properly correct his error, and the response that came from the Empty Suit was this: “I intend to deal with them in the ways that I believe will best benefit the readers of The Times.”

Translation: "Go fly a kite." As he has done before when confronted with an egregious ethical violation by the Times staff, the Empty Suit functions as a do-nothing bureaucratic minion. He is so transparently phony that it really makes you wonder whether Calame is doing too good a job.

His predecessor, Dan Okrent, was lame and somnolent a good deal of the time. But he actually helped the Times' credibility by occasionally pointing out ethical lapses. Calame is so blatantly, unabashedly ineffective that it may well be that his hiring has backfired, and that he is doing the Times more harm than good.

UPDATE: The Empty Suit, reacting to having his nose rubbed in his own ineptness by Dan Luskin, followed up today. The Suit -- without crediting or mentioning Luskin's criticism -- weakly points out that Krugman was violating Times corrections policy. He concludes: "A bottom-line question: Does a corrections policy not enforced damage The Times's credibility more than having no policy at all?"

Golly, Barney, that's a good question! But gee, wouldn't a real "public editor" have an answer to that question? My answer to you is this: "Having a corrections policy that is not enforced does about as much damage to the Times's credibility as having a 'public editor' who is a parody of a newspaper ombudsman. LOTS of damage."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Burning Al Aqsa (And theTruth) in Counterpunch

Counterpunch today has a rant from a character named Ramzy Baroud (no credit line, but I am sure his credentials are extensive!) that illustrate a point I have raised several times. Which is, of course, that Palestinian rhetoric would be barren indeed were it not for an ample arsenal of lies.

Thus we have this gem from Baroud, in the midst of lengthy drivel describing the perils of normalizing relations with the evil Zionist entity:

Muslim nations understood the spiritual connotations of Palestine among their people, and as a result, they have supported the Palestinian struggle as an exclusively Muslim affair that compels unyielding allegiance. The first meeting of the Organization of Islamic Countries in Morocco in 1969 "was held in the wake of the criminal arson perpetrated on August 21, 1969 by Zionist elements against Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied Jerusalem," read the OIC's web site. The bond couldn't have been clearer.

Ah yes, those perfidious Zionists! Damn them to hell for their criminal arson. Except that Baroudy, who wouldn't know a "fact" if it was beaten into his morning eggs, ignores that the Al Aqsa fire was perpetrated by a Christian Ausralian nut. The Palestinian propaganda on this point has been so insistent that it has suckered in people who ought to know better, such as the Wall Street Journal, as this essay in CAMERA pointed out a few years ago.

So lie on, Baroud! Lie on, Counterpunch! It's all you've got, so go with it.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Extra! Extra! The Empty Suit Almost Criticizes the Times!

Off Base, But At Least He's Off the Divan!

The Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame, roused himself from the divan today to almost criticize the Times. Bravo! He is, as usual, way off base. But it is nice to see this management shill almost function as a "public editor," in addition to his usual chore of seeing to it that the wagons are tightly circled against criticism.

Calame's underwear is slightly twisted by the fact that the Times neglected to report the number of poor people in New Orleans. Says Barney, "Indeed, over the past decade Times readers would have been hard-pressed to find a news headline about the poverty in the midst of the city that brings to the minds of many Americans the revelry of Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street."

Uh, Barney old pal, is there anyone in the cosmos who truly thinks that New Orleans consists solely of rich people engaging in a constant Mardi Gras? Yes, the Times (and the rest of the mainstream media) fell down on the job, but for a different reason. As Editor & Publisher recently noted, the New Orleans Times Picayune repeatedly warned that the city was in danger during 2004 and 2005. None of that was picked up by the Times. As a matter of fact, as Timeswatch pointed out a few days ago, Times editorials have frequently opposed strengthening flood control projects.

So Barney is still off base, still spinning his wheels, still avoiding controversial issues except to defend the Times. But at least he got off the divan and made believe he was a public editor for a few moments. Makes you wonder: Was he starting to get a bedsore?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

CJR on Navasky: Off the Charts Arrogance

The Navaskyization of Columbia Journalism Review is complete.

Yep, friends. Mozy on over to the latest (September-October) issue of CJR and you'll see what I mean. First look at the letters section (not online so I can't link to it) and then wander over to a "letter from Israel" that could have been pulled from the pages of the Moonbat rag The Nation, whose editor Victor Navasky was the hidden chairman of CJR for months and months.

CJR begins by addressing its long-festering hidden-Navasky problem in responses to two letters. The first was an outraged missive from a J-school prof named Willy Stern, an investigative journalist of some repute.

CJR's response? Now that's the good part. Basically the magazine's response to this entire affair is "What Me Worry?" I half expected to see a picture of Alfred E. Newman on the cover. CJR's reply is so arrogant and dishonest that it is really off the charts.

Responding to Stern's letter, "the editors" respond by providing a skewed "brief history" that says that Navasky's appointment "was certainly not a secret (it was announced on the school's web site and mailed to 8,059 alumni."

Uh, when was all that announcing and mailing done? Ten months after it happened. This is like saying that the Manhattan Project wasn't a secret in 1944 because it was announced to the residents of Hiroshima in 1945.

Navasky then weighs in with a response to another letter, in which he equates his super-left rag to two apolitical business publications. "I will check previous letters to the editor to see if [a letter writer] or the Stern brothers sounded similar alarms when a CJR editor arrived fresh from overseeing Fortune and Money."

The gall of this is extraordinary. Neither Fortune nor Money push a political agenda of any kind. To twist them into right-wing counterparts of The Nation is amazing.

Then comes the "letter from Israel," which is a hard-left critique of an Israeli press that, in the view of the writer, simply didn't push hard enough to favor the poor, innocent Palestinians.

"By avoiding certain troubling questions, by not looking too far into the future, by never really dissecting Sharon’s deeper motives or long-range strategy, Israel’s press helped turn a poorly articulated national undertaking into an inevitability," says The Nation.... oops, sorry. I mean, says CJR.

Not one word, by the way, on the arguments against disengagement within Israel--that it is a reward for terrorism. However, we do get quite a lot of favorable references to the hideous Israeli Moonbat journalist Gideon Levy, famed for denouncing Israel at a UN event. "He’s a one-man band trying to present the Palestinian perspective in a way that absolutely no one (other than his colleague [Amira] Hass) does," says The Nation... oops, CJR.

The "one man band" said this at the UN parley: "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." This blithering idiot is the Israeli version of Ernie Pyle, in the view of The Nation.... oops.... CJR.

I could go on and on, but that gives the flavor of it. The David M blog, which broke the story months ago, has a good analysis and promises more. David M points out that CJR has been... well, I think the word "lying" is not to strong to describe its shucking and jiving on when Navasky secretly became chairman of CJR.

Looking forward to reading David's blog as always, but let's make no mistake about it: The CJR some of us used to know, the reputable journalism review, is dead as a doornail.

The Times Gets Desperate

Clearly the New York Times is getting desperate for competent personnel to cover Katrina.

According to the credit line at the bottom of a piece that ran yesterday, the Times dispatched blog thief Ken Belson to report from Mississippi. Belson was the fellow who ripped off this blog back in July. Backed up by the Empty Suit, in one of the earliest indications that the latter was making a mockery of the position of "public editor," the Times arrogantly refused to run a correction.

Watch out, Deep South bloggers! Ken Belson is on the loose.

The Geraldo Beef

I know, I know, I'm late on Geraldo Rivera's beef against the New York Times. Hey, I was out of town! Gimme a break. Anyway, a few observations:

1. Like a lot of people, I do not much care for Geraldo Rivera. He showboats too much for my taste. I always found it a bit odd that Fox hired him in the first place. No, I'll amplify that: I don't like the guy.

2. Observation No. 1 is of no relevancy whatsoever, which bring us to...

3. ... which is that the Times screwed this guy, and he deserves a correction. If they don't give him a correction, he should sue the bastards.

Times reporter Alessandra Stanley, one of whose lesser gaffes I previously noted, flat-out lied about Geraldo. She said he "nudged an Air Force rescue worker out of the way so his camera crew could tape him as he helped lift an older woman in a wheelchair to safety."

Hey, I saw the tape. Who hasn't? Fox has broadcast the damn thing constantly. What Stanley reported is not true. I call it a "lie" because anyone who has seen the tape knows it is not true.

I hope Geraldo sues the Times and collects bigtime. This is an arrogant newspaper, as I have pointed out repeatedly. It is arrogant when it comes to bigshots like Geraldo and it is arrogant in its bias and inaccuracies. It arrogantly appoints a do-nothing Empty Suit as "public editor" and, most importantly of all, it arrogantly ripped off this blog!

Geraldo is no saint--as I said, I don't like the guy. He is not the perfect adversary of the Times. But he is 100% in the right.

UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal notes that Stanley has made some serious goofs in the past. Sounds like a case for the Empty Suit! (yeah, right...)
UPDATE 9/16: Geraldo threatens suit! Stick with it, guy.

The "Culture of Lies" In Action at Counterpunch

The Palestinian propaganda apparatus feeds on lies, big and small, on everything from big stuff (there is no Jewish history in the Holy Land) to "little," tactical things, a whole galaxy of lies that add up to one big, fat lie-issimo.

Hey, they got to say something, right? Since the truth doesn't do the Palestinian cause much good, got to trot out those lies!

That brings us to the old, reliable "confiscation" lie, regurgitated today in Counterpunch by William A. Cook. In an article that contrasts coverage of the New Orleans floods to press "neglect" of the plight of the poor, poor, innocent Palestinians (gotta blast those damn Jews at every opportunity!), Cook says:

But who are these "Settlers"? Why expend such media time on 8000 people being evicted from their homes? They are in truth "Squatters," people who knowingly and willingly accept government financial support to move onto land illegally confiscated by the Sharon government under the pretext that it is "annexed" or "appropriated" land available because Israeli law has legalized its theft contrary to international law or the conventions of the United Nations. These people know that they live on Palestinian land the ownership of which can be traced back through centuries.

Wow. This paragraph is so crammed with lies it's a bit hard to untangle. You have an underlying big lie -- "Palestinian land." Gaza, of course, has never been under Palestinian sovereignty. It was under Egyptian administration from 1949 to 1967, and before that was under British rule, and before that under Turkish, and before that...... before that... before that....

But that is just an underlying lie. The primary "lie message" conveyed here is the Confiscation Myth, which holds that those damn Jews go around stealing land from Palestinians at every opportunity. In cribbing the Palestinian bilge on this subject, Cook failed to check the clips. He ought to know that a good lie is not one that can be immediately contradicted, in this case by the Palestinians themselves, and only a few days ago.

As has been widely reported, most recently by an Associated Press piece in mid-August--picked up by such pals of Israel as the Pakistan Observer, 91% of settlements were built on lands that were public lands during the Egyptian administration. The source of this was the Palestinians, in the context of their effort to tackle the evacuated settlements.

Why bother even reading what is produced in a swill machine like Counterpunch, written by crackpots for crackpots? There's no question that the fools and anti-Semites who fall for this crapola could care less about whether it is true or not.

The reason it's a good idea to monitor this garbage was well put the other day by former Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter, in an article in Ynet. In the context of the consistent Palestinian failure to carry out agreements, Dichter spoke of a "culture of lies." Said Dichter, “We must not accept their culture of lies, but we must be familiar with it.”

Amen, brother.

Friday, September 09, 2005

UN Shills Caught Flat-Footed

Humiliated by Volcker Report

Kofi Annan must have breathed a sigh of relief when Hurricane Katrina pushed the Volcker report off Page One. As the Wall Street Journal put it today, the improprieties revealed in the report are so immense that it is plain that "the U.N. is Oil for Food." Press accounts today say that Kofi is hanging on to his job by his fingernails.

In light of the magnitude of this report, it's no surprise that the response of UN shills has been muted.

The UN's biggest defender--the Payola Pundit, UN consultant-correspondent Ian Williams of The Nation--was so humiliated by the report, which decisively contradicts his kneejerk defense of his onetime employer, that he has been hiding under his desk. The best he could do is tell something called the Kansas City InfoZine that "the Volcker Report lacks a sense of proportion."

Yeah, right. Indictments are so one-sided, aren't they? Still, I expect that Williams and the other hacks in the UN press corps, noted for their slavish devotion to the UN and its officials, can be expected to come in with a stirring response. And who knows? If they play their cards right, they too can get nice gigs hosting UN-produced television programs, like former UN correspondent assn. president Tony Jenkins. Or they can get work performing media training for the UN like Williams.

So let's go, guys! The UN's image needs help. Don't be shy. Come out swinging. Besides, if you play nice, a nice UN job may be in your future. If ever there was a need for media training at the UN, it is now.