Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Year-End Flurry of Times Israel-Bashing

Weekend readers of the New York Times are getting a special treat: Two examples of the persistent anti-Israel bias that has turned the New York Times into a daily edition of Counterpunch.

That's no exaggeration, folks. The Times is ringing in the new year by abandoning all pretense of objectivity and resorting to the kind of rhetoric rarely found outside the Cockburn website or The Nation.

The front page of the Sunday Arts & Leisure section, not online at this writing but distributed to New York readers today, is devoted to a lengthy attack on the West Bank security barrier. Times critic Nicolai Ouroussoff heaps abuse on the fence, using overheated rhetoric such as "formula for ghettoization and a symbol of colonialism."

Ouroussoff, who had previously inserted an anti-American rant into a column on Ground Zero (a "society that has turned its back on any notion of cultural openness" and "an empire enthralled with its own power"), again uses an "architecture column" to engage in far-left polemics.

In the time-honored practice of Israel-bashers, he quotes two Israelis to support his view --and lo and behold, both just happen to share his view that the security barrier is a lousy idea. Ouroussoff concludes by climbing up on the soapbox and spouting the following idiocy:

The consequences extend beyond the ghettoization of Palestinians and Israelis. The wall destroys the space for those who once occupied the middle ground: those who refuse to divide the world into good and bad, civilization and barbarity. It threatens to sever the threads, already fragile, that might one day be woven into a more tolerant image of coexistence.
Of course, it also saves lives -- but such trivia doesn't matter to Counterpunch or its daily edition.

The second example of Times Israel-bashing this weekend is a story by Steven Erlanger entitled, "No Buses Roll From Gaza to West Bank, Despite Deal."

This story is faithful to Times editorial policy -- to underplay Palestinian violence and Road Map violations, while overplaying Israeli responses. In this instance, Israelis were understandably reluctant to blithely bus Gazans to the West Bank, at the same time Palestinian officials do nothing about a constant barrage of missiles from Gaza.

Note this phrasing:
The convoy issue is an example of the complicated American-Israeli-Palestinian triangle - the personal involvement required from high-level American officials to achieve even minor agreements, the lack of leverage of the Palestinians, and the way in which Israeli domestic politics and the issue of security causes promises made under American pressure to be delayed and even derailed.

"Issue of security" is Times-speak for "Palestinians trying at every opportunity to murder civilians by lobbing inaccurate missiles."

A pretty good end-of-the year package -- news and arts pages, all united in their purpose of demonizing Israel.

As has been my usual practice, I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, Times spokesman (alias "public editor") Barney Calame. Barney hasn't said a single word about the Times's anti-Israel bias since he came on board seven months ago. Hey, they don't call him a parody of a public editor for nothing!

More on the 'Pro-Israel' UN

A couple of months ago, the Payola Pundit, UN consultant-correspondent Ian Williams, expounded on how horribly the UN had deviated from the bash-Israel line. Williams hammers again at the subject in the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs.

This would not be worth mentioning except for some unintentional humor:

Excoriating Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for pushing some sensible UN refugee agency reforms, Williams has the gall to say that Ros-Lehtinen is doing it for the bucks: "Her position makes her a major recipient of pro-Israel campaign contributions." This from a creep who gained notoriety for doing work for the UN while covering it for various publications.

Williams then asks if Ros-Lehtinen would "be prepared to see green cards issued for [Palestinian refugees] to resettle in Florida?" Williams knows a thing or two about the immigration laws -- and there is a scandal prove it. His wife Anora Mahmudova got a job at the UN correspondent association even though she wasn't allowed to work in the U.S. She is now does fake-news reports for hubby's pals at the UN.

Williams reserves his best laugh line for the end: "These are not the best of times to be Arab, in either the U.S. or the U.N."

Yeah, haven't you noticed? Seems to me that what they need is better press relations -- and I know just the man for the job! Williams boasts on his website that he "helped draft the press-kit for the 2002 Arab Human Development Report for UNDP." I say give that man another UN contract, and all will be well.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Sheehan's Last Rant of the Year

The Gold Star Moron in a typical publicity stunt (9/26/05)

The Gold Star Moron, Cindy Sheehan, ends the year as she began -- braying like a lunatic.

Sheehan, famed for cynically exploiting her son's death in Iraq to advance her extreme political agenda, provides the following rant for the New Year: "Like Michael Moore, I want to be a fly on the wall when Bush and company are hauled out of the White House in handcuffs. Impeachment is not necessary for people ...." etc.

Hopefully somebody will have a can of Raid available.

What's remarkable is not that she is braying, but that the media, most recently Newsweek, continues to serve as a megaphone for this jackass -- even though she has been discredited by stories such as this.


To read the most recent items in this blog, click here!

Terrorist PR in Action

The Hezbollah Spin Starts Here

Yahoo! provides a surprisingly revealing look into the Hezbollah p.r. apparatus in a report online here.

Although most of the story reads like a bad j-school assignment, it does provide an uncommon glimpse at Hezbollah press manipulation. "Lebanon's militant political group Hezbollah (Party of God) has become a global brand name," says the report by Yahoo! staffer Kevin Sites.

In addition to its militia, Hezbollah has a full-scale multimedia operation including a media relations department (ironically, when I arrived there to conduct interviews, I was not allowed to videotape and only managed to take this photo). [photo is above]
Still, Hezbollah's media wing is savvy. It publishes a monthly magazine called Qubth Ut Alla, (The Fist of God) and runs television network Al-Manar (The Lighthouse) and radio station al-Nour (The Light).
Just what the modern-day terrorist requires: Great p.r.! And the western media is certainly obliging.

Moonbat Gets A Taste of Terrorism

A British lady named Kate Burton and her parents have been kidnapped in Gaza. But the media reports have concealed the deep irony at work here. A defender of terrorism has been subjected to terrorism! Aw, what a shame.

Burton has been idenitifed in the media -- such as this piece in Bloomberg -- as a "humanitarian worker with the Gaza Strip-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights." But as pointed out by the NGO Monitor, the media has been parroting a lot of doubletalk.

The group's claimed mission is "To protect, respect and promote the internationally accepted standards of human rights," yadda yadda yadda.

However, as is typical in Eurotrash-funded pro-terror groups, its real agenda is to justifying and promoting anti-Israel terror. Says the NGO Monitor:

Its "actual activities reflect centrality of radical anti-Israel agenda, including promoting claims of 'Israeli war crimes'; inflammatory pictures, and incitement justifying terrorism. In these activities, Al Mezan erases Palestinian terrorism, including missile attacks launched from densely populated civilian centers in Gaza; also ignores Palestinian corruption, and internal violence." (Such as, for example, kidnappings.)

Too bad these two nice people and their dipsy daughter were kidnapped. It's also too bad you won't read about Al Mezan's real character in the media.

UPDATE: Excellent piece on Al Mezan, and Ms. Burton's Stockholm Syndrome, by Melanie Phillips.

Bravo! Bolton Aide Smacks Down Payola Pundit

Gets a Well-Deserved Smackdown

One potentially hopeful sign at the UN -- John Bolton is not going to take UN correspondent sleaziness lying down.

The Payola Pundit, UN consultant-correspondent Ian Williams, reveals in a column in Maximsnews today that he was given a well-deserved tongue-lashing by Bolton's press secretary for a disgusting performance at the famous Kofi Annan year-end press conference on Dec. 21. That's the one in which Annan skewered Times of London correspondent James Bone. As noted in a recent item, the "journalists" in attendance reacted to the tantrum with a combination of cowardice and butt-kissing of Annan.

The worst, predictably, was Williams -- whose columns for left-wing rags such as The Nation have consisted largely of knee-jerk defences of Kofi Annan. So not long after Annan went beserk, Williams took over the microphone and launched a lengthy rant over a red herring having nothing to do with the UN -- the alleged misappropriation of funds by U.S. officers in Iraq.

This was nauseating even by Williams standards -- which are pretty low. As memorably revealed by Accuracy in Media and FrontPage Magazine, Williams is the gold standard of UN-hack sleaze. He has served as a media-trainer and booklet-writer for the UN at the same time as he covered the UN for various publications. He also wangled a cushy UN correspondent association gig for his wife Anora Mahmudova, even though she cannot legally work in the U.S. She is now happily employed by the UN as a "correspondent" churning out fake "dispatches" such as this for UNICEF. Cozy!

According to the press conference transcript (the video, also online, shows the speaker as Williams), the Payola Pundit gave the following little speech to put his wife's boss at ease:

Since you brought it up, I hope you won’t mind me resurrecting the ghost of the oil-for-food programme again. It’s a ghost that seems to have been haunting very, how should I say, discreetly. The oil-for-food website says that the currently -- $10 billion had been handed over to the Iraq Development Fund. And I saw last week newspaper reports that American military officers were taking $200,000 a month in bribes for disposition of those funds to contractors. And I was wondering, in view of the fact that the international monitoring board that was tasked by the Security Council with examining the disposition of those funds, and the US Government inspector who failed to find out what had happened to them, whether there’s been any recent information on what happened to the $10 billion from the oil-for-food that no one seems to care about.

What has that got to do with the UN? Nothing, of course. The purpose was to give Kofi some moral support, by changing the subject from the unpleasantness broached by Bone by knocking the dastardly United States.

But the long-winded hack wasn't finished -- he concluded his remarks with some standard rump-kissing and a softball "question":
But secondly, last year also, perhaps your biggest achievement that no one also mentioned was the “responsibility to protect” being smuggled through, without the delegates being aware of what they were doing, perhaps. But people are still dying in Darfur. Will you -- do you expect to see, before you finish, any sort of ratification or codification of the responsibility to protect, beyond a vague declaration that we will be nice in future, and put some teeth into it in, for example, Darfur.
Annan was visibly relieved by his pal's performance. Will there be more UN work in store for Williams or the missus?

Williams' disgraceful little riff did not go unnoticed. He says in Maximsnews (in an article that, naturally, says nothing about the Kofi tantrum) that he was "later berated by John Bolton's press officer as an 'apologist for the UN,' as he questioned my journalistic integrity."

Good for him! Still, berating of correspondent-polemicists -- while welcome -- is not enough.

It's time to find out how much the UN has been paying journalists and "consultants" and "media trainers" like Williams over the years -- with exact figures, and names, disclosed in detail. Accuracy in Media asked -- and, according to the AIM stories, was stonewalled by UN flacks.

When a hack makes a fool of himself at a press conference, the people who pay the tab at the UN have a right to know if he is just being a fool -- or if he is bought and paid for.

UPDATE: The IRIS blog has a good wrapup on Bolton's accomplishments so far.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Different Kind of 'Lost Weekend'

The Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia says the following about Charles R. Jackson, author of the 1940s best-seller, later a famous movie, The Lost Weekend:

Jackson was born in Virginia and pursued a career in engineering before attending West Point and entering the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in World War II and spent three years in a Japanese prison camp. Upon returning home, he received the Purple Heart and Gold Star for his service, and turned to writing. He published The Lost Weekend in 1944, his first novel. The semi-autobiographical novel chronicled a stuggling writer's five day binge . . .

Now this is all true. Only problem is that they are talking about two different Charles R. Jacksons. There was indeed a Charles R. Jackson who was a Japanese POW. He later wrote a book about his experiences, I Am Alive. He is not the same guy as the talented but dissipated Charles R. Jackson who wrote The Lost Weekend. (I presume the alcoholic-novelist Charles Jackson didn't escape from a Japanese POW camp, travel to New York, publish his book in 1944, and then go back to the POW camp so he could have another book to write down the road.)

To make matters worse, this stupidity is being spread around the Internet, with the above misidentification picked up by a new Internet search engine called NNDB.

I've brought the above to the attention of NNDB and Wikipedia. Let's see how long it takes for these geniuses to fix their mistakes.

UPDATE (1/2): Actually the entry goofed in its description of the military Charles Jackson as well, since the "Gold Star" is a nonexistent decoration. Somebody posted a detailed note pointing out all the mistakes in the "talk" section of the Wikipedia entry, but the entry itself remains uncorrected.

It's interesting how many minor errors there are throughout Wikipedia. Really renders the whole thing totally useless as an "encyclopedia."

Oh No! Romenesko Takes a Pay Cut!

You know that things are tough all over when the famously selective media blogger Jim Romenesko has to take a pay cut!

Yep, so says the IRS Form 990, recently put online by the Internet database, which says that Romenesko's pay in 2004 was $150,600 plus $15,799 in benefits and deferred comp. That's down from the comparable numbers of $152,163 and $17,024 that he got in 2003.

Now, if I were Romenesko I'd be a little teed off. After all, other people mentioned on the 990 got raises -- one senior faculty guy got a $20,000 increase to $147,000. Gee, could it be that the folks at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies realize that Romenesko skews his blog to leave out stuff that doesn't fit in with his ideological bias? Such as, for example, downplaying Victor Navasky's role at Columbia Journalism Review?

Anyway, too bad for the lump of coal in Romenesko's stocking. Hopefully he did better in 2005. Guess we'll have to wait till next year to find out.

As readers of this blog may recall, my item last June on Romenesko's pay was ripped off by a New York Times hack named Ken Belson. This gave Barney Calame, who had just signed on as public editor, an opportunity to show his stuff as a management shill. Barney, you'll recall, explained to me in an email that Belson was just wandering through's 150 million pages and "independently obtained" the salary data.

I don't have Ken's email address, but I do have the email address for his editor Hubert Herring. So to simplify the Times blog-poaching process I'm going to send off a copy of this item to Herring and the Suit.

Here ya go, Hube! Send this off to Ken with my compliments, so that he won't have to expend too much energy when he poaches this item. Then I can complain, and you, Barney, can have another chance to function as a parody of a public editor.

Brooks Misses the Point

David Brooks today praises (in an yearend "award" thing) the September Atlantic Monthly piece on Yassir Arafat, "In a Ruined Country," by David Samuels. "If anybody thinks impersonal forces shape history, consider Yasir Arafat," says Brooks. "He bragged about saving time by shaving only every fifth day, but spent an hour each morning folding his kaffiyeh into the shape of Palestine," etc. etc.

Brooks goes on like that, but ignores the central focus of Samuels' piece -- how it laid bare Arafat's planning and orchestration of the intifada in 2000. While that point was hardly new and had been made by others before, no one had brought together all the facts so well.

Unfortunately this is fairly typical of Brooks. Though his columns are a refreshing change from the rigid left-wing ideology of the other op-ed hacks, he invariably pulls his punches. A William Safire -- or even a Krauthammer or Will -- he is not.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Medieval Carnage in Saudiland: Where is the Media?

An Indian migrant worker, as the result of a squabble at a gas station, has been sentenced in Saudi Arabia to have his eye gouged out. This nauseating, medieval penalty, disgustingly typical of what passes for "justice" for non-Moslems in that loony country, has received not one word of mention in the Western media. (I picked it up from the ever-vigilant IRIS blog.)

Contrast the press indifference to this atrocity to the lavish attention paid to the latest hiccup from the West Bank, or to p.r. stunts like the recent Saudi gift to Harvard and Georgetown University. Notes IRIS:

The big story here is not the brutality of the Saudi justice system. What is never reported is that because non-Muslim testimony has half the weight of a Muslim's in a sharia court, non-Muslims are almost always the losers of disputes. (The same holds true for women.)
In this case, for example, an Indian gas station worker pointlessly testified that the injury he inflicted was in self-defense.This presents enormous potential for abuse, even disregarding corruption and the routine hostility toward the "other" in the Muslim world. This is how the most unbelievable items are routinely stolen from Christians, for example, such as land and houses in the West Bank and Gaza. It is one reason why Christians are fleeing nearly every country with Muslim rule.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Comic Relief at the L.A. Times

Robert Fisk in his element

In what appears to be a light-hearted end-of-the-year prank on its readers, the Los Angeles Times today published an op-ed article on how reporters in the Middle East aren't "telling it like it is." That's not funny. What's funny was the choice of author: Robert Fisk!

Why did the clowns at the LA Times editorial page give a forum to Fisk's predictable, putrid, phoned-in rant? Oops! I just answered my question.

UPDATE: Good fisking of Bozo the Fisk at Soccer Dad, who links to Don Singleton, LGF, and BrothersJudd.

More on the Kofi Annan Hissy Fit

Times of London correspondent James Bone expounds today in the Wall Street Journal on the Kofi Annan hissy fit, concluding sarastically as follows:

Amid the clutter of unanswered questions, one query has the virtue of simplicity: Where is the car? I have been asking this for weeks at the U.N.'s daily briefing. It was this question that triggered Kofi Annan's outburst. He clearly wants me to shut up. I'm afraid, Mr. Secretary-General, that would be the wrong thing for me to do. Every schoolboy knows that.
OK, but I'd guess that Annan knew perfectly well what he was doing. The object of his tirade was not so much Bone but his colleagues in the UN press corps, who are noted for their pro-UN agenda and meek attitude toward the UN bureaucracy. (As I noted in a recent item, Bone's colleagues displayed their yellow streak at the Hissy Fit Press Conference.) So Annan's tantrum was a lot more calculated and a lot less impulsive than it may have appeared.

More Middle East Double Standard at the Times

Today we have an excellent example of two methods by which the New York Times skews its coverage of the Israel-Palestinian dispute: Road Map Schizophrenia, and Oslo Agreement Amnesia. Both are essential elements of Times policy, the aim of which is to demonize Israel and minimize Palestinian obligations and violations of its treaty obligations.

Toward the end of an article on Sharon's health, the Times's Greg Myre mentions plans "for 228 new housing units in the large Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank a few miles south of Jerusalem." He immediately notes that "the stalled Middle East peace plan calls for a freeze on building settlements, but Israel continues to build houses and apartments in existing settlements."

Contrast this kneejerk mention of the Road Map with the Times's stubborn refusal to mention this "stalled peace plan" when it comes to Palestinian obligations to crack down on terrorist groups -- a deliberate pattern of coverage that I have noted several times, such as here and here.

Myre goes on to mention Israeli opposition to Hamas fielding candidates for office, ignoring that Hamas is prohibited from participating by Article III of the Oslo accords.

I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame. Since he came on board nearly seven months ago, this train wreck of a newspaper ombudsman hasn't said so much as one word about the Times's Middle Eastern coverage. Instead he has preferred to shill for management and focus on trivia and "process."

Come on, Barney! I can't wait for you to devote a padded column to describing the Times "process" of covering the Middle East -- along with your usual conclusions that all is well and that any problems are being addressed.

Friday, December 23, 2005

UN Hacks Display Their Yellow Streak

The UN correspondents' mascot

The UN has released a transcript of the press conference at which Kofi Annan threw a tantrum and attacked Times of London correspondent James Bone. What's interesting, and missing from the news accounts, is the totally craven reaction of the other reporters in attendance.

In contrast to the tenacious follow-ups Annan would have received if actual journalists were present at the press conference, the cowed UN hacks obediently dropped the line of questioning raised by Bone. (He was probing Kofi's son's tax-free shipment of a Mercedes to Ghana, using his dad's name to avoid paying the taxes.)

After Annan finished his tantrum, another reporter piped in, "James, are you finished?" and procceded to ask a long-winded softball question about Kosovo, preceding it with the excuse, "I was waiting for this question. I believe that I was even before James Bone."

So it went for the rest of the press conference. The spirit of master-slave conviviality, and solidarity with Annan against Bone, continued unabated.

Instead of hammering away at Mercedesgate, as would any self-respecting reporters, these these hacks tossed their usual softball questions and showed off their ideological bias. One reporter chimed in helpfully about "Ambassador Bolton’s rhetoric on a number of issues" and asked if that contributed to an "atmosphere of intimidation and fear" -- ironic, considering the weak-kneed response of the assembled "journalists" to the bullying of one of their own.

"Mr. Secretary-General, happy holidays," gushed another reporter. "And we know you have made a great effort on the United Nations reform in the 60-year celebration of the United Nations."

After that came a couple of oh-so-gentle references to the tirade against Bone, but they hardly caused a ripple in the room. One correspondent made a meek reference to the tantrum, shyly saying that Bone was a "hard-working journalist trying to get to the bottom of issues of transparency within the Organization."

Annan, still fuming, snidely snapped, "I think James would be happy to know he has a lawyer in the room. Unfortunately, he’s gone, but I’m sure others will tell him."

At the end of the press conference, UN Correspondent Assn. president Jim Varner served up a weak-kneed defense of Bone, but only after obsequiously apologizing: "Sir, I’m sorry. I really have to do this for the record, Sir."

The cowardice shown by the UN media on Tuesday was only the latest example of what has long been very clear: The UN press corps is little more than a craven extension of the UN p.r. apparatus.

UPDATE: Bone expounds on the root causes of the hissy fit in the Wall Street Journal.

A Verdict on Genocide

Today a court in the Netherlands found a Dutch chemicals merchant, Frans Van Anraat, guilty of selling Saddam the chemicals he needed to gas thousands of Kurds in the 1980s. Here's a BBC piece on the verdict.

His trial has been going on for a month and has received, not surprisingly, little attention in the West. In its ruling today, the court specifically found that the murder of the Kurds was genocide. Let's see if this gets the play it deserves in the media tomorrow.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Kofi's Hissy Fit

Payola Pundit schmoozing Mrs. Kofi

As I've reported a bunch of times, picking up from great work by Accuracy in Media and FrontPage Magazine, the UN press corps is a disgrace -- obsequious to the UN powers, corrupt, and unethical. So it was no surprise to read about Kofi Annan's hissy fit yesterday, lashing out at Times of London correspondent James Bone.

Bone's offence was that he's not a cheerleader like most UN correspondents, as epitomized by the Payola Pundit, The Nation's UN consultant-correspondent Ian Williams. Kofi is an honored guest at UN correspondent association black-tie galas, giving hacks like Williams a chance to cozy up to Kofi and Mrs. Annan. In contrast to this pervasive rump-bussing, Bone has been a picture of discourtesy, raising tough questions at press conferences about the UN oil-for-food program and other Kofi mismanagement and corruption.

Well, Kofi clearly has had enough. In response to a question from Bone yesterday, Kofi went ballistic. According to the New York Sun, quoted in the American Thinker:

"Hold on, listen, James Bone," Mr. Annan said. "You have been behaving like an overgrown schoolboy in this room for many, many months and years. You are an embarrassment to your colleagues and to your profession. Please stop misbehaving, and please let's move on to a more serious subject."

He then refused to allow the reporter to get to his question, which was left unasked. Mr. Bone later told the Sun that he wanted to ask a detailed question about inconsistencies in Mr. Annan's testimony before the Volcker commission.

Note the words in boldface, because they are true. Acting like an actual journalist, and not a shill for the UN bureaucracy, is indeed "misbehaving" by UN standards.

It's also true that by not taking money from the UN, not putting his wife on the UN correspondent assn. payroll in violation of the immigration laws, and not hosting a UN-produced fake-news show, Bone does indeed embarrass his colleagues. More power to him.

UPDATE: A transcript of the Kofi Tantrum Press Conference reveals the cowardice of the UN press corps.

UPDATE (12/27): Bone expounds on the root causes of the hissy fit in the Wall Street Journal.

The Times Votes for Hamas

Supplemented bluster with deeds

Triple-header in the New York Times today: An article and editorial on the upcoming Palestinian elections, and a front-page Steve Erlanger piece on the horrible, unjustified, mean and rotten "separation barrier." The three predictable expenditures of wood pulp can be summed up thusly: "Israel -- bad! Why don't you leave those poor, innocent Palestinians alone?"

The Erlanger piece was... well, it was a Steve Erlanger piece. What more can I say? This is the man who feels that Yasir Arafat had a "heroic history." I can just see Erlanger's story memo: "Say [foreign editor] Susan Chira, we haven't done a piece in a few days on how terribly the poor, innocent Palestinians are being treated by Israel. Let's do a nice long story quoting mainly opponents of that awful apartheid wall, with a few underplayed 'flicks' at why it was built in the first place?"

Hey, a story like that sells itself at the daily edition of Counterpunch!

The elections piece focuses on bad, mean, undemocratic Israel objecting to the poor, innocent, democratic Palestinians letting Hamas run in the Palestinian elections. Note the following carefully worded paragraph:

Israel says it will not allow voting in [East Jerusalem] on the ground that the Palestinian Authority is violating the interim peace agreement by allowing the
participation of Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction.

The above is classic Times-speak: characterizing an established fact as a "position" of Israel or the U.S. government.

In fact, it is not an "Israeli position" but a fact that Hamas is prohibited from participating in the election by Article III of the Oslo accords, which says:

"The nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions will be refused, and such nomination or registration once made will be canceled, if such candidates, parties or coalitions:(1) commit or advocate racism; or(2) pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or nondemocratic means."

Honestreporting commented, when the issue first arose a few months ago, that "Hamas clearly falls under both categories ― its official charter (calling for jihad against all Israelis and universal conversion to Islam) is as racist as they come, and its terrorist means are certainly 'unlawful and nondemocratic'. "

That point is covered with vaseline in the article and missed entirely by the editorial. Instead, the typically clueless Times sermonette makes Hamas seem like a dissident co-op board faction instead of a murderous terrorist group. And we get this real gem: "To be sure, the other option, letting Hamas run, is hard to stomach. But it is the lesser evil because any movement, once in power, is compelled to supplement its bluster with deeds."

True. The Nazis certainly "supplemented their bluster with deeds," didn't they?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The 'Munich' Massacre

Two good articles out today on Steven Spielberg's "Munich." It's been getting crummy reviews, and apparently it doesn't hold up historically either.

CAMERA's Snapshots blog and the New York Sun both describe in detail today how "Munich" massacres the truth. (Hat tip: Daily Scorecard.)

As Snapshots points out, Spielberg's choice of screenwriter was odd to say the least. After ticking off a series of distortions, Snapshots notes:

In all of this one sees the biases of Tony Kushner, the radical playwright brought in by Spielberg to reshape the script. Kushner has repeatedly called the creation of Israel a "mistake," blamed Israel for "the whole shameful history of the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people,"and advocated policies to undermine the state.
Nice going. I guess Steve didn't have his thinking cap on when he hired this guy -- or, more likely, he knew just what he was getting.

Why Whitewash Terrorists? Because They Do Nice Things!

Big Al: He also did nice stuff!

In various items, including one earlier today, I've pointed out that the New York Times goes out of its way to be nice to terrorists. Why is that? Well, I have the reason, passed on to me by a very kind reader.

The reason is that they do "other things." Really. I'm serious.

Seems this reader asked the Times foreign desk about a story by Steve Erlanger that referred to Hamas as a "miltary" organization. There were a couple of responses, both making basically the same point. Here's one:

Military doesn't just refer to armed services, according to my dictionary, but also "armed or fit for war." We refer to Hamas as "considered a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union" since they also have many other roles among the Palestinians. The careful language is a signal of just how complicated the situation is, and just how carefully readers of all opinions read our coverage.

I'm saving the worst for last -- this reply from deputy foreign editor Ethan Bronner:

we don't generally designate groups as terrorist. we use the word sparingly because it is loaded and because hamas, like hezbollah, does many things, including run clinics and schools (and now towns like qalqilya) as well as carry out terrorist attacks. if hamas were devoted to nothing other than terror, that might be a different thing.

So instead of calling Hamas and Hezbollah what they plainly are -- terrorists -- the Times waters that down by making that oft-proven fact an "opinion" of third parties. Note also this bogus claim of "complexity" being used as a fig leaf to whitewash Hamas' true nature. What's so "complicated" about groups that murder civilians?

Oh, and I might add that Bronner specifically released the above for public consumption. A day or so after receiving this note from Bronner, my reader -- a conscientious chap -- specifically asked if he could disseminate it. Bronner's response: Yes.

Now, think about all this for just a moment. By that same "logic," Al Capone would not be a racketeer and murderer in Times articles but simply "considered a racketeer and murderer by the U.S. Justice Department" because he ran soup kitchens for the poor during the Depression.

By the same token, Al Qaeda would fall out of the Times terrorist rankings if it set up a nice hot-lunch program for the kids in Baluchistan.

Some people might call the Times's thinking on this point "morally equivocal." I prefer the term "stupid." I actually have another description in mind as well, but this is a family blog.

The 'Hezbollah' That Wasn't There

(UPDATE, Dec. 21: A Times editor explains, in an email to a reader, why the newspaper whitewashes terrorists. Caution: Only for those with strong stomachs.)

The New York Times really pulled out all the stops today, in its reporting of Germany's release of the Hezbollah airplane hijacker who murdered Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem in 1985. The Times has hit new lows just about every day in its coverage of terrorism, but its article today exceeded the most cynical expectations.

The Times reported on the release of the hijacker without mentioning that he was from Hezbollah!

Just as its report the other day on Hamas failed to describe the group's use of "suicide bombing," the Times's rather lengthy story was alone, among all other media outlets, in omitting the hijacker's Hezbollah membership and not even mentioning the group at all.

By contrast, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and even Reuters considered Mohammed Ali Hammadi's Hezbollah membership important enough to mention it in their lead paragraphs. The rest of the world's media at least mentioned the Hezbollah connection, including al Jazeera (albeit qualified as "said to be" a member). Yep, as it did with Hamas, the Times has out-al-Jazeerad al Jazeera.

This is not the first time that the Times, this time by not connecting the group to one of the most notorious hijackings in history, has bent over backwards to whitewash this notorious terrorist group, describing their murder operations --such as slaughtering 241 Marines in 1983 -- as "resistance" and as the work of an "army."

What gives at the Times? Why do they persist, alone among the major media, in withholding pertinent details about terror groups? What's behind this in-your-face bias? I think I may have found a clue. Actually, better than a clue -- an explanation from the Times itself. Click here (if you haven't already......).

UPDATE: See this neat takeout in Soccer Dads on the Times whitewashing machine.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Barney Reveals His Methods

The Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (alias "public editor") Barney Calame, made a rare entry to his cobweb-covered web journal today, setting forth some "fascinating" answers he had gotten from the editor of the Book Review.

What's more interesting than the Sam Tanenhaus's rather humdrum responses is what this reveals of Barney's working methods. Apparently he dashes off emails posing limp questions, and waits around patiently until the Times editors figure out just the right response. Pretty much the opposite of what journalists do when they want spontaneous and frank, as opposed to rehearsed and choreographed, responses.

In this case, Barney emailed Tanenhaus schoolboy-like queries such as "What are the three main qualities you want in a reviewer?" and "What are the three main reasons books get a 'skip' memo [meaning they haven't been selected for review]?"

By giving editors written queries, Barney provides Times editors with plenty of time to mull over responses that properly convey the party line -- just as you would expect from, say, the editor of an internal newsletter. Or, in this case, a public editor who functions as a managemeent p.r. man.

A Journalist Acting Like a Citizen? Of Course Not!

The man himself

We're coming to the end of another fantastic year in media hypocrisy, bias and stupidity. And it couldn't happen if the ostensible watchdogs -- the media columnists and journo reviews, with rare exceptions such as the National Review's Stephen Spruiell -- weren't doing such a crappy job. So, without further ado, here's our first annual Dumb Media Column Award.

The winner is Jack Shafer of Slate, for a column last night that poses the question: Should a reporter act like a good citizen? His answer: Absolutely not!

Shafer's underwear is in a twist over that rarity in the New York Times -- a solid investigative story that doesn't grind any particular ideological axe. Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald went deep into the world of child porno in yesterday's paper, and came up with a detailed and really very good story.

But in the course of this -- horrors! -- Eichenwald believed all that phony baloney stuff we were taught in grade school, and actually acted like a good citizen. He put the protagonist of his story, a teenage kid caught up in the world of kiddie porn, in touch with the authorities.

Well, Shafer devoted an entire shrill, stupid column to raking Eichenwald over the coals for showing a little heart and public-spiritedness. "While I admire Eichenwald's journalistic enterprise and thoroughness" -- very white of you, Jack -- "I'm astonished at how he loses control of his 6,500-word investigation when he appears two-thirds through it to serve not as a reporter but as the legal advocate and protector of the now 18-year-old [Justin] Berry."

Excuse me. "Lose control"? Act as "legal advocate and protector"? Here's the offending passages from the Times story:

"Justin agreed in discussions with this reporter to abandon the drugs and his pornography business." Isn't that terrible? He should have just taken notes and kept his frigging trap shut, in the view of our man Jack.

"After confirming his revelations, The Times urged him to give his information to prosecutors, and he agreed." Oh dear. The scandal! The Times stumbles upon a figure at the center of a kiddie-porn ring, and dares to suggest that maybe this person should do something to prevent dozens of other kids from being victimized.

Shafer believes that what I just described creates a terrible precedent. Dig this: "The analogies aren't perfect, but imagine a Times reporter encountering an 18-year-old who had been thrust into the illicit drug business at 13 as a consequence of his neglectful family and unscrupulous dealers? Would he help the young man leave the drug trade and find him a lawyer at a Washington firm who is 'a former federal prosecutor,' as Eichenwald did Berry? Not likely."

I don't know if it's "likely" or not, but if a reporter helped a kid escape a life of drugs and crime, what the hell is wrong with that?

Says Shafer: "Hasn't the Times put the next reporter assigned to the online pornography story into a nasty jam?" Yeah, a terrible jam. He or she might feel compelled to act like a human being.

This idiotic column prompted a rather namby-pamby response from Eichenwald. Rather than saying, "Yeah, so I acted like a citizen. So what?" Eichenwald pointed out that he needed to help the kid get out of the business in order to do the story. Which is a valid point but does not address Shafer's addled, morally obtuse broader point -- which is, in essence, that reporters toss away their citizenship papers when they sign up for a press card.

If Jack Shafer had been around sixty years ago, he'd probably have raked Ernie Pyle over the coals for failing to show the proper journalistic distance to the GIs he covered in the trenches. Pyle actually shared his rations and cooking stove with the troops. The bum! He should have let them go hungry.

What makes his column last night even more disgraceful is that Shafer is totally AWOL when it comes to the journalistic offenses committed by the Times just about every day.

So let's all give a standing ovation to Jack Shafer of Slate. Put 'er there, pal! You get the booby prize of 2005!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Empty Suit Hits the Books

The Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (alias "public editor") Barney Calame, today tackles an issue that's actually fairly interesting: the favoritism that the Times shows towards its hacks when they write books. As every reader knows, the Times always reviews its staffers' books, almost always favorably. Hell, six of the 61 Times "notable books of the year" were by Times people.

As usual, Barney's padded column addresses an open-and-shut issue by covering it with fog: focusing on "process," serving as conduit for lame excuses by Times bureaucrats, and signing off with a "gee they may wanna look at this and wouldn't that be nice?" fadeout.

First, Barney tackles the practice of the Times always reviewing its people's books. As a publisher quoted by Barney acknowledges, the worst thing that can happen to an author is to be ignored. Times people aren't ignored. Ever.

Well, you'll be happy to know that it isn't happening. As has happened several Times before, Barney follows in the tradition of Groucho Marx, who once asked, "Who are you going to believe, me or your own two eyes?"

It is happening, you say. Well, you're own two eyes are wrong. It isn't happening. Oh yes, it used to happen -- a Times books editor told Barney that "as recently as five years ago, Times writers 'pretty much automatically got reviewed.'" But it ain't happening today. Damn it!

Wait a second. How many Times-writer-author viewed books are not reviewed? I mean, like, none maybe? Shouldn't be too hard to find out. So, you really nailed him on that. Right, Barney?

Wrong. "[The editor] said that these days the section doesn't keep track of how many books by Times staffers are considered or reviewed."

No cub reporter, no Jimmy Olsen right out of j-school, would let himself be brushed off like this. But our Barney isn't a journalist, or even a parody of a journalist. He is a parody of a public editor! And a good one, I might add.

Barney continues in that vein for the rest of the column -- process and more process, with Times editors making carefully crafted excuses and Barney not being impolite enough to question anything they say, no matter how ludicrous.

Those 61 notable books having a bunch of Times people? "The editors said they don't give any special consideration to factors such as an author's staff position at The Times." And that's that. The Times editors have spoken, and Barney says no more.

Obvious examples of bias and conflict of interest -- the letters columns of the Book Review are filled with them -- aren't even mentioned by Barney. Unfair reviews by attack-dog Joe Queenan -- who never met a book he didn't hate and who notoriously was assigned to ridicule Klein's book on Hillary Clinton -- are, of course, not even mentioned.

The only example of a biased Times review cited by Barney is, laughably, a hundred-year storm -- a negative review of Maureen Dowd's recent book that was a rare example of a Timesperson not getting a flowery endorsement.

"Readers," our management shill predictably concludes, "it seems to me, are generally well served by the Book Review screening process."

Though it is absolutely not true that Times authors get special treatment -- despite what you see what your own two eyes -- the Times Sunday Book Review editor says he is considering simply notifying "readers of new books by Times staff." He says "we set the matter aside for various reasons"-- which Barney, of course, doesn't press him to reveal. "Perhaps the time has come to revisit this solution." Replies Barney, "I believe that it has." Barney, as usual, has no opinion, other than to endorse management's.

But what about the daily reviews, which are just as important. Barney? Barney? Aw, sorry, he's gone back to sleep on the divan. Barney's not touching that.

Anyway, that's it for another week. An egregious example of Times bias swept under the carpet. Sleep tight, Barney. You've earned your pay.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Sanitizing Hamas

The Hamas 'Military' In Action--Slaughtering Civilians

UPDATE, Dec. 21: Times editors explain why they whitewash terror groups. The reason: They do nice things! I kid you not.

Hamas won big on Friday in local elections on the West Bank, and that whirling you hear is the washing machine in operation -- the white-washing machine on 43rd Street. Media coverage of the elections uniformly downplayed Hamas's murderous character, but only the New York Times managed to write an entire front-page article on this group's victory without mentioning its claim to fame -- suicide bombings that slaughter civilians.

Yep. This needs to be emphasized: Every single media outlet that I located managed to mention Hamas's record of suicide bombings--except the Times. The Times has previously gone out of its way to whitewash Hamas -- see my item on a Steve Erlanger atrocity last month--and it will happen again. Hey, it's Times policy.

While tastefully omitting any mention of suicide bombings, the Times's Greg Myre turned over the podium to a Hamas "spokesman," who ranted that the election "shows that the Palestinians support reform, resistance and loyalty to the blood of the martyrs."

Myre, not to be outdone, said that Hamas had nominated "well-educated candidates with reputations for probity and piety" -- making them seem more like the College of Cardinals than a terror group that slaughters civilians. They're really good eggs: "Hamas runs many educational and charitable organizations financed with money from outside."

Oh, and all that "terrorism" stuff is just... well, it is just a matter of opinion, that's all. Hamas, Myre said, "is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union." Rest assured that the Times doesn't feel that way in the least.

You see, the Times believes that turning sixty-year-old women into hamburger is a "military" activity. Myre points out that Hamas "also has an active military branch, which it refuses to disarm." How naughty of them!

That's right, folks. In the view of the Times, suicide bombings against buses and discos and Passover seders, and firing inaccurate rockets into civilian areas, are "military" activities, pretty much as you may have experienced in the service. You know: rifle inspection, close-order drill, map exercises, blowing yourself up in discos, that kind of thing. Soldier stuff.

The Times just loves the "military"-- when it can use that word to sanitize Palestinian terrorists. (What's that old expression? "Send a salami to your boy in the disco-bombing army"?)

Meanwhile, over at Reuters, a hack named Mohammed Assadi portrayed Hamas as a cross between the Better Government Association and the United Way, praising its "corruption-free reputation as well as its charity network." However, even Reuters was able to squeeze in a reference to the group's "dozens of suicide attacks against Israel" -- a little bit of trivia that escaped the Times's attention. Ditto for the AP. Ditto for the Chicago Tribune. Ditto for the Washington Post. Ditto, ditto, ditto -- except at the Times and, I suppose, al-Jazeera and other Israel-basing news outlets.

Mind you, I'm not tossing laurels at any of these hacks. The AP, for instance, inserted a gratuitous reference to Hamas's "fierce resistance to Israel's occupation" -- glamorizing murder missions against civilians in places like the Tel Aviv beachfront. But even the AP managed to mention that Hamas is "responsible for dozens of suicide bombings." And only the Times sanitized the Hamas murderers as "the military branch."

As a matter of fact, disregard what I said earlier about al-Jazeera. (Just setting you up for the punch line.) Even the notoriously pro-Palestinian, pro-terrorist al-Jazeera acknowledged that "the group had carried out numerous deadly attacks against Israel" and "carried out several bombings in Israel during more than five years of fighting." Congratulations, Greg Myre and the Times. You've moved out ahead of al-Jazeera in sanitizing terrorists.

As has been my usual practice when the Times bites the big one, I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame. Something else for you to ignore, Barney, while you shill for management and focus on trivia. On Sunday, Barney focused on the Times book review, and did his usual great public-editor parody.

UPDATE: In a dreadful piece in the Sunday paper, Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Steve Erlanger picked up where Myre left off, in what was little more than an extended love poem to Palestinian terrorism. As he has done before, Erlanger pays homage to Yasir Arafat, noting the terror chieftain's "binding charisma" and generally rewrites history, Times style.

"Arafat's decision to recognize Israel and negotiate with it over the 1993 Oslo accords, which allowed him to return from exile, did not produce a Palestinian state." What a pity. Gee, did maybe wave after a wave of terrorism, which turned the whole Oslo process into a joke, have something to do with that?

But Erlanger reserves his most flowery tributes for Hamas, with its "reputation for piety, its social-welfare network and its military wing." Again that word, Times-speak for blowing up civilians. Erlanger then proceeds to rewrite history again, adding that the "military wing" "carried out attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians."

Note the two lies here. "Carried out" -- as if it's history, and not an ongoing process thwarted by the Israeli military. And "soldiers and civilians." Hamas attacks are almost exclusively aimed at civilians, through that "suicide bombing" thing Myre wouldn't mention and Erlanger likewise tastefully leaves out.

It goes on and on like that, with Erlanger slanting his piece into a pro-Palestinian polemic, loyally mentioning the "troubled road map" but not mentioning why it is "troubled" -- the Palestinians won't dismantle terror groups as it requires.

Once again, the Times proves that when its ace Israel-based hacks are on the job, it can actually out-al-Jazeera al-Jazeera, and rewrite history in a manner worthy of Counterpunch.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Hate in the Letters Column

One thing you often hear from editors is that they are trying to "serve their readers" and be "responsive to the community." Unfortunately, sometimes dimwitted editors use that as an excuse to run hate letters by local crackpots. That was the case some months ago in Ithaca, which ran an op-ed piece by a local bigot, and more recently at the New London Day, as CAMERA's Snapshots blog observes.

The Snapshots piece links to a good article describing why editors have no obligation to open their letters columns to hate-pushing idiots.

A reader points out that one of the leading papers in the west, The Oregonian, pulled off a similar stunt by publishing the ravings of a local dope named Douglas J. Willbanks on Dec. 3. Commenting on an innocuous piece about some local's tour of Israel, Willbanks launched a wildly inaccurate tirade -- and the Oregonian blandly printed it:

"As much as I appreciate Nancy Haught's articles about the two trips to Israel, it is still not a complete story. You will never get a complete story by going on Jewish-sponsored trips.

"Part of the reason for this is that Israel prevents such trips from going into the Palestinian territories, where you have to go to see how "the other side" lives as a result of Israeli oppression. And you need to take the time to talk to the Palestinians who live day by day under that oppression.

"It is also extremely important that Americans know that as long as Israel continues to take Palestinian land while killing, beating, humiliating and arresting those Palestinians who resist, our nation's security will be at risk."

The Oregonian later printed responses pointing out the letter was inaccurate garbage, but that's no excuse. Newspapers have an obligation not to open their columns to lies.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Australia's 'Racial' Riots

One of the weirder aspects of the coverage of the riots in Australia, where youths have clashed with people of Meditteranean and Middle Eastern descent, is how the media have characterized the latter as "nonwhite."

For example, the Boston Globe today talked about "racial unrest in Sydney's beachside suburbs" in which "people of Middle Eastern descent were allegedly assaulted by whites in two other cities." The AP, in this report picked up by the New York Times, used similar terminology.
The Australian media seems to be most anxious to press this "racial" point, even when criticizing the rioters.

In a piece entitled, "White Australia Rules," The Age blithely perpetuated this odd racial terminology. In the context of discussing this "racial" issue, the piece notes an "increase in immigration from Mediterranean countries brought much larger numbers of immigrants from Greece and Italy, Malta, Yugoslavia and Lebanon to augment the unskilled workforce." So apparently anyone not from northern Europe is "nonwhite" in this view.

The BBC was not much better in its website, noting that "thousands of young white men attacked people of Arabic and Mediterranean background on Cronulla Beach."

It's important to keep this ridiculously polarized racial terminology in mind when examining Australian coverage of the Middle East.

As Honestreporting observed recently, reporting in the Australian media on the Middle East is systematically biased in favor of the Palestinians. As in the European media, there is a kind of post-colonial guilt syndrome at work here, in which complex conflicts are reduced to "white" and "nonwhite" -- with one being the villain and the other the enemy, depending upon whether you are a hooligan or a left-wing editor.

Branding all Arabs as "nonwhite" and all Israelis as "white" (notwithstanding the fact that at least half the population is Middle Eastern) is yet another reason why Australian and European journos skew their coverage of the conflict.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Today's 'Good News': Universities Get Saudi Millions

Great news today! Say, did everybody see the The New York Times? No? here's a link. A Saudi billionaire named Alwaleed bin Talal is giving millions of bucks to Georgetown and Harvard to establish Islamic studies programs!

"Harvard said it would create a universitywide program on Islamic studies, recruit new faculty members in the field, provide more support for graduate students and convert rare Islamic textual sources into digital formats to make them widely available," said the Times.

Zowie! Just what American universities need: More Islamic studies. And the name of Georgetown's new H.R.H. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding is really catchy. Hey, I'm psyched.

Might have been nice if the Times story didn't read like a press release, and if Islamic and Middle Eastern studies programs didn't become hotbeds of anti-Semitic propaganda -- as Campus Watch has documented. But hey, no reason to get into any of that stuff. Celebrate!

Syria: No Jews Allowed

A reporter is denied entry to a country solely because of his race, color, or religion. Sound like a great story, don't you think? And it is -- and it is happening. But the country is Syria, the reporter is a Jewish gent named Aaron Klein, Jerusalem Bureau Chief of WorldNetDaily -- and the silence has been deafening.

Here's a story on the subject from WorldNet. Klein, who also hosts a nationally syndicated radio show, had planned to enter the country from Jordan, and was refused. The following discussion ensued, according to the article:

Klein spoke to an official from the Ministry of Information in Damascus who declined to provide his name. At first he refused to suggest why Klein had been singled out and prevented from entering the country. Later, however, he asked:
"What religion are you?"
Klein said he refused to answer. "You know what you are," said the official.

Where's the hue and cry from the journalism community? Where's the media? Where's Romenesko? Where's Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press? Where's etc. etc. and etc.? They're all AWOL, and it's pretty disgusting.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The AP's 'Truth' Problem

A story that moved on the AP wire this morning exemplifies a problem that this wire service, which is supposed to be "objective" and stuff like that, has with a concept called "the truth."

The headline: "Israel Continues Crackdown on Palestinians." So what happened? Mass arrests and detentions? In fact, the story says, "Israel rounded up 19 Islamic militants in the West Bank on Friday and pounded the Gaza Strip with artillery fire, pressing forward with a crackdown in the wake of a suicide bombing at a shopping mall this week."

As you can see, this is a "crackdown" not on amorphous "Palestinians" but on "terrorists." After all, Islamic Jihad is a terrorist group by any definition, and has been officially branded as such by the U.S. government. The artillery fire was aimed at launching sites used by terrorists to fire inaccurate missiles into civilian areas. So why not say "terrorists"? It's more accurate and precise than "Palestinians," which implies a massive crackdown on the whole population.

The story goes on to say that the Palestinian Authority has ordered "arrests" -- and that "the action [sic] by the Palestinian security forces fall far short of Israeli demands that Islamic Jihad be dismantled altogether."

Yet the story itself says that the arrests are a charade -- "low-level operatives, university leaders and even high school students" -- and even the dumbest AP intern knows that the "arrested" never stay "arrested" for very long. Also, sustained and effective action against Islamic Jihad and other terror groups is not just an Israeli "demand" -- it is a Palestinian obligation under the first phase of the Road Map for Peace. Why not say so?

Then we have this odd wording: "In other violence, Israeli troops Friday caught a Palestinian teenager who had strapped explosives to his body." No, there was no "violence." What you had here was a thwarted suicide bombing. Why not say so?

What we have here is very simple -- the AP is not telling the truth, because doing so would offend the Palestinians. The problem with this approach is that telling the truth is the AP's job.

Trackposted to: Bloggin' Out Loud, Is It Just Me?, Right Wing Nation, Stuck on Stupid, The Business of America is Business, Liberal Common Sense,, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, TMH Bacon and Southern Yankee

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The UN Press Corps Shafts Bolton -- Again

US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton is proving to be a forthright opponent of UN duplicity on terrorism. But you haven't read about it because the sleazy, co-opted UN press corps has been ignoring it. We have an excellent example of that today.

As I reported in an item last night, Bolton issued an unprecedented statement yesterday blasting the Security Council for failing to condemn the suicide bombing in Netanya, Israel. According to VOA News, he blamed Algeria for quashing the measure. Bolton lashed out at the Council for "failing to speak the truth."

Bravo Bolton! This has never been done before. But apart from VOA News, this forthright action by Bolton received no coverage whatsoever. Not even the wire services picked it up. Nothing in any major newspaper this morning -- nothing in the New York Times, Washington Post or any other major media outlet. That's because it placed Bolton in a favorable light. And that will never do -- not for a UN press corps that is in the pocket of UN bureaucrasts -- accepting UN work assignments and "honoraria" and turning a blind eye toward the hacks that do so.

The coziness of the UN-media relationship was exemplified this past Friday, with the annual UN Correspondents Association dinner. The guest of honor was Kofi Annan and the co-chairs of the event were the far-left hacks Ian Williams and Tony Jenkins -- both of whom were at the center of the UN correspondent payola and immigration law scandals. Williams is the famous Payola Pundit, who took money from the UN while shilling for Kofi in various publications. Jenkins hosts a UN-produced fake news show and has been accused of threatening other correspondents with revocation of their credentials.

Bolton has laudably broken the mold by pressing for organizational reform and strong action against terrorism. Time for him to take action against the UN corrupting the media and producing fake news. One thing you can be sure: If he does anything along those lines, you can bet the UN press corps won't report it.

UPDATE: More on the Bolton record that you won't read about in the media.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Let's See if This Makes the Papers

John Bolton issued a statement earlier today lacerating the UN Security Council for failing to issue a statement condemning the suicide bombing in Netanya. Here's a VOA piece.

Bolton blamed Algeria, VOA said, "for quashing the measure by objecting to a passage urging Syria to close offices of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which claims responsibility for the attack. 'Other governments had questions about particular language. We were perfectly prepared to engage in discussions about constructive suggestions, but Algeria categorically refused to name Syria and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,' he said.

"The U.S. envoy later read the text of the statement to reporters, and lashed out at the Council for what he called 'failing to speak the truth.'" Sounds like the kind of thing one can say about the media, if you ask me.

Let's see if this gets any pickup in the newspapers tomorrow, and how they spin it if they do. Bolton came in for a lot of lumps during the confirmation process, but he's shaping up as just the kind of guy the UN needs to knock heads together -- hard.

Two Must-Read Reports

Accuracy in Media yesterday has a chilling report on efforts by radical Arabs to gain influence over the U.S. media. That can be found here.

Also, historian Judith Klinghoffer recounts how slimy Saudi billionaire "prince" Waleed bin-Talal pulled strings at Fox to water down a news report.

Whitewashing a Terrorist

Media reporting today of the acquittal of terrorist fund-raiser and cheerleader Sami Al-Arian was, as usual in such cases, sensitive and caring. Readers at breakfast could finish their eggs in peace, not knowing that al-Arian had begged a Cleveland audience "to create a Palestine 'from the river to the sea,' concluding: 'Thus is the way of jihad. Thus is the way of martyrdom. Thus is the way of blood, because this is the path to heaven.'"

The above quote is, of course, from FrontPage Magazine. Such comments were tastefully pruned from stories that appeared in the AP, Washington Post and -- to save the predictably worst for last -- the New York Times.

The Times's Eric Lichtblau was not content to simply omit references to the blood-curdling character of this creep's activities. Yep, you can always expect the Times to go that extra mile. It is, after all, Times policy. Instead, Lichtblau droned on and on with quotes from al-Arian's supporters, noted approvingly that al-Arian had worked "in support of Palestinian independence" (Times-speak for "killing Jews") and threw in this hunk of baloney:

"In the mid-1990's," Lichtblau reported, "news coverage of Mr. Arian drew attention to his opposition to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and led some critics to label the University of South Florida as 'Jihad U.'"

That's just factually incorrect. It was, of course, the "Palestine from the river to the sea" rants that put Arian and his academic sanctuary on the map. Misinforming readers -- hey, that's what the Times is all about, nowadays.

As has been my usual practice when the Times bites the big one, I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame. Something else for you to ignore, Barney, while you shill for management and focus on trivia.

Trackposted to: Stuck on Stupid, Basil's Blog, TMH Bacon

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Little Girl's 'Troubles' Put Her in Coma

A really odious bit of journalism in the New York Times today. For an article on a monstrously abused -- as in put her in a coma -- little girl, some brainless boob slapped on this headline:

"Custody and Abuse Cases Swirl Around a Troubled Girl on Life Support." What's wrong with "abused"? What's wrong with "beaten to a pulp"?

"Troubled" implies that this girl, all of 11, was a drug addict or otherwise screwed up, and not the helpless victim of a family of monsters.

The story goes on to dwell too long on the self-serving defense that this child was "troubled" and "self-harming," while failing to explore why her baby sitter failed to drop a dime when she saw the loving auntie "kick [the child] down the cellar stairs three times in a row." Was she waiting for No. 4?

You know, things like this make me wonder: Does anyone actually read this stuff before they run the presses?

A New Word for 'Nut': 'Contrarian'

The Good Old Days: Clark in Iraq

The New York Times rewrote the dictionary today in a puff piece on Ramsey Clark, the nauseating former Lyndon Johnson crony who never met a mass murderer or Third World dictator he didn't like.

"In Defending Hussein, an American Contrarian Seeks to Set the Historical Record Straight" is the title of the gag-inducing story by John F. Burns. Clark, Burns says, is "one of America's more renowned contrarians" -- a word ordinarily used in finance to describe an investor who buys stocks that are out of favor. I've never heard it used to describe despicable shysters who make a habit of defending the mass-murders in Rwanda and Slobodan Milosevic.

Burns mentions Milosevic and a bunch of other mutts, but leaves out the Rwanda killers and, more recently, the Palestinian terrorists sued in a U.S. court by the family of a victim. The main focus of the piece is what a great guy Clark is, and how the poor dear has to pay out of his own pocket when he flies around defending mass-murderers. He ignores how Clark has become a mouthpiece for ANSWER and other far-left groups.

Contrast this sniveling cream puff with the informative piece Christopher Hitchens wrote in Slate just a few days ago.

Interesting how the Times has degenerated to the point that third-rate hackery, such as this swill from Burns, is considered routine -- and how it is no great surprise that you can get better stuff with just a couple of clicks on the web.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Annals of Poaching: Ripoff in Progress!

Poaching: An old and honored pursuit!

I am a vain sort of bloggie, I guess, so I have Google Alerts tells me when anyone on the web mentions this blog. Today, Google Alerts told me that some fellow was stuck for a title for a media "website" was thoughtful enough to take this one! Wasn't that lovely of him?

Get ready for "Mediacrity, the hottest and most talked-about new online content available on this or any other network or service."

It goes on: "As you probably don't even know, Mediacrity is a scathing indictment of all media, and yet, all we do in it is just list their f---g URL's and e-mail addresses and then sit back and let them fall under the weight of their own dishonesty, innaccuracies, distortions and lies."

Good idea! Original too.

Anyway, this person, "M---R---" (I think I'll spare him the publicity) really ought to watch his language (and spelling). Oh--what have we here? Seems that "f-word" thing is his business!

Apparently he runs a thing out there called the "M-- R-- Network." (Creep's name expurgated.) "Each day, M--- R---- personally tests all the porno gifs on his network in order to guarantee total satisfaction to each of his members."

It says at the bottom that the website was last updated in 1999, so I guess the ideas haven't been coming in hot and heavy. Maybe in 2011 he'll come up with another "original idea." Hey, I got one. How about a magazine, M--R--? You can call it "Playboy"!

More Hypocrisy on Payments to Reporters

The orgy of media hypocrisy over payments to Iraqi journalists continues, with sanctimonious editorials in the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.

Here's the Times's pontification:

"The State Department trains Iraqi journalists how to be independent and fair; at the same time, the Defense Department contracts with an organization that secretly pays Iraqi publications to print stories making the American occupiers look good. As often happens with propaganda, when daylight exposes the secret, the stench is overpowering," says the Times.

The WaPo spewed forth similarly.

Fine. If these two papers feel so strongly about the "stench" of paid-off reporters, why hasn't either written a single word about payments to UN correspondents by the UN and pro-UN organizations? Here's some reading matter for the UN media: Click here and here, guys. Those links will bring you to articles in Accuracy in Media and FrontPage Magazine. There's a lot more, but these two organizations broke the story.

Outrageous, isn't it? So why not write about it?

The Empty Suit Watch: Barney Pads and Shills

The Suit: Whew! Another week over!

Today the Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame, devotes the first half of his column to a serious problem at the Times -- how the paper covers itself. In his usual padded, fill-up-the-column-without-saying-anything prose, Barney makes a good point: "the difficulty of covering yourself can shortchange readers."

Barney's suggestion? The Times, he says, should supplement its coverage of stories involving itself by linking to other news sources on the Times website. As if readers with web access don't know how to use Google and are too brainless to find coverage better than the Times's.

What makes this whole thing even sillier is that the real problem is, of course, Calame himself. It is the job of a public editor to backstop coverage of the Times, particularly when one of those frequent Times scandals arise. Instead, Barney functions as a management shill, as he did by piling on Judith Miller, when he does not simply ignore issues of bias, accuracy and ethics that come up every day.

The rest of the padded, padded, padded column is filled out by a leisurely discussion of one of the most obvious examples of anti-Bush bias recently -- a front-page photo array on Nov. 21 of President Bush walking into a locked door. Funny, huh? There were, of course, complaints. "All these reader complaints and suspicions spurred me to explore how the decision was made to run the photo sequence on the front page," says Barney.

Of course. Process! Barney loves to write about process, because that turns over the podium to the self-serving excuses of Times editors. And Barney, of course, swallowed those excuses whole. I'll be coming to that. But first let's briefly explore what a real newspaper ombudsman would have done.

Barney didn't have to indict managment. All he had to say was that this photo spread was excessively large, whatever the excuses offered, and feeds perceptions that the Times is anti-Bush.

Instead Barney acts in full management-shill mode, sides with the editors in kneejerk fashion and blames Bush, saying that Bush's two seconds of joking about it justified the Times turning over a good portion of its front page to embarassing the president. The "president hamming it up," Barney concluded, "validates the news judgment of Times editors that the scene was basically amusing rather than snide, and appropriate for the front page."

Are you surprised? Remember: They don't call him a "parody of a public editor" for nothing.

UPDATE: As blogger Norman Oder points out in his comment below, the Times's coverage of its real estate deals is a whole lot worse than Barney here says it is. That's our Barney!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Case of 'Accidental' Plagiarism

Erlanger: It was all an accident!

An editor's note in the New York Times yesterday demonstrates the lengths to which the Times will go out on a limb for its error-prone, biased Jerusalem bureau chief, Steven Erlanger.

It's not very long, so, what the heck, I'll run it in full:

An article in The Arts on Monday described the films of the Israeli director Amos Gitai, the subject of a retrospective by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. It included two paragraphs, about Mr. Gitai's background and goals, that were virtually identical to a passage in an article by Michael Z. Wise in the August issue of Travel + Leisure magazine.
The Times reporter, who had portions of the electronic version of Mr. Wise's article in his computer, inadvertently mingled them with his own notes from an interview with Mr. Gitai, and then used some of them in the Times article without attribution. The material from the magazine should have been credited to it.

Don't you hate it when that happens? Hell, how many times have you walked into Wal-Mart with a shopping bag from another store and "inadvertently mingled" stuff that you pick off the shelves? I mean, it's an "accident," right? Yet those meanie store detectives nab you in the parking lot and toss you in jail.

Fortunately, Steve works for the Times, where he is a good corporate soldier in the anti-Israel department, as we have noted here and here and here and here and here and.... gee, my wrist is starting to hurt. So it's good to see that the Times is isn't just turning a blind eye to his sloppy, biased reporting. Looks like thievery is OK as well, as evidenced by his being caught with his hand in the till and the Times acceping his "dog ate my homework" excuse.

Attaboy, Stevie! You got away with it again!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Skewed Reporting on a Hate Crime

Williams: An Awfully Sweet Guy!

Today the New York Times devotes gavel-to-gavel coverage -- a front-page article and an op-ed piece -- to one of the burning issues of our day: A cold-blood murderer of four people is about to be executed. Oh no. Save him! Save him! The op-ed piece is typical mushy claptrap, replete with phony analogies to colonial-era executions of burglars, but the front page piece, at first blush, was just ordinarily bad.

Seems the murderer in question, Stanley Tookie Williams, has done a lot of really jim dandy things since he slaughtered four people at a motel and a 7-Eleven store in California in 1981. He has written children books! He has lectured youth groups by phone! Why, maybe he should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (snicker, snicker)! Hey, he has been. I'm serious. Pardon me while I throw up.

Anyway, reading this story I didn't think it was all that execrable, until a reader pointed out something the Times left out: These were hate crimes. According to National Review Online, quoting court testimony, "When an accomplice asked Williams why he had shot [the victim in the 7-11], Williams explained that he didn't want to leave any witnesses. The accomplice would also later testify that Williams told him he killed [the victim] 'because he was white and he was killing all white people.'" Prosecutors also say he referred to the Asian-American victims of his motel slayings as "Buddhaheads."

Golly. Kind of important, don't you think? Gee. Why did the Times leave that out? Did, maybe, the reporter not want to spoil the PR campaign being waged by this creature, who still proclaims his innocence despite an Everest of evidence? Apparently the Times hack who wrote this garbage thought it was more important to paint this cucaracha as having an "intellectual air" than pointing out that he was offing people because of their skin shade. Would the Times extend this same courtesy to a Klansman?

Also, there is no evidence in the piece that any effort was made to contact the families of the victims. Of course, that would have interrupted the sympathetic flow of the narrative. So would reporting that, as the NRO piece points out, Tookie's son "Stanley Williams Jr., 30, is currently serving a 16-year sentence in California for second-degree murder. Sometimes the apple falls very close to the tree indeed."

"I want to live," papa murderer is quoted as saying. Yeah, so did your victims, guy. (Ever hear of the expression "Burn in Hell," by the way?) Throw the switch, Arnie.

As has been my usual practice when the Times bites the big one, I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame. Something else for you to ignore, Barney, while you shill for management and focus on trivia.

The Washington Post also joined the Williams PR bandwagon, in a piece of crud you can read here.

While we're on the subject of hate, by the way, here's an item I did the other day on a noxious Internet hate-spreader -- an Islamofascist who was promoted by a rock-dumb local publication.

Trackposted to: Don Surber, Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Political Teen, TMH's Bacon Bits, Basil's Blog, Random Yak, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, Cao's Blog, Is it Just me?, Stuck on Stupid