Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Creep Returns

A noted Internet bigot by the name of Alex Seredin, operator of a tourist shop called Peter Pan Gifts in Delray Beach, Florida, slithered out from under a rock recently to growl and snarl and bark like a dog on Israpundit (see the comments).

Alex is upset that I wrote about him on Israpundit and this blog, here and here. This disgusting creep seems to think that the Delray Beach police department are going to come crashing through the walls of this little blog because I wrote about his "kike" rants in Internet newsgroups.

This isn't Nazi Germany, Alex, though I can understand your nostalgic feelings for the good old days.

Alex reminded me of something I've asked before. I'd still like to know why the streets in front of his plastic-flamingo shop aren't filled with picketers handing out leaflets exposing this slimy Internet bigot.


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The Devastating Blow (continued)

The devastating character of Hamas's numbing, crushing "victory" to the Palestinian propaganda apparatus is clear from perusing the Pals' chief Internet organ in this country, the Electronic Intifada. It ran two articles today that are illuminiating.

What you have to keep in mind is that the EI is supposed to show the "nice" face in this country and the West, the "we only want peace" part. It is very slick and very good, the very best the Pals have to offer. And what they offered up today is awfully nice to read, as it basically illustrates a return to the pre-1980s "crush Israel" propaganda model. To which I can only say, "Aw-right!"

The first was "The Hamas Victory: Green Dawn, Red Dusk?" Note this:

Hamas represents a definitive departure from the Oslo model and the humiliating false discourse it propagated. Palestinians rejected that they had to be a "partner to peace"; that they were the ones who had to prove that they were not the terrorists; and that "Israeli security and self-defense" was a legitimate premise in the peace process, necessitating all of Israel's subsequent actions. It is precisely this vocabulary which greased the wheels of the machines which actively sought to extinguish the Palestinian national movement for the past 5 years, and colonized Palestinian lands in the West Bank and Gaza for the past 38.

Well. What more can I add to that except "amen"? Note what I put in boldface. Attaboy, Toufic Haddad. Honesty is the best policy! Oh, and by the way, if I were you I'd be sure to keep up this line in the media. Good work!

We also have Palestine’s New Paradigm by Sam Bahour. After first expressing regret at seeing the Islamists' rise to power, and then whining on for several paragraphs about how miserably victimized the poor, innocent Pals have been over the years, Bahour goes on to express this refreshing sentiment: "If Palestinians must choose between their annihilation and their collective memory, their choice is most likely to be the latter and their time frame, the future."

Yes indeed! The future. Bahour also proclaims Oslo dead: "For the first time since the Oslo Peace Accords, Palestinian priorities are being set independent of foreign agendas." Toufic made much the same point about Oslo, you will note. So now it's unanimous. Oslo is dead. Whew! Now is that a relief or what?

What we see here, from the Pal's "best foot forward" Internet organ, is an end -- at least for the time being -- of all the hypocritical "we want peace" blather that has wowed the media. It's right there for everyone to read, in English.

I keep on saying "for the time being" because I don't know how long all this good fortune is going to last. Stay tuned.


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Monday, January 30, 2006

The Palestinian Insecurity Forces

While still savoring the Hamas defeat of Palestinian statehood that I noted earlier, I've observed the continuation of a longtime, annoying tendency of the media when they describe the Palestinian nuts who roam around Gaza and the West Bank with automatic weapons.

Just take a look at a story in the New York Times today, illustrated with a photo of the bozos on the left, and you'll see what I mean. The headline, caption and story all refer to these goofballs as the "Palestinian security forces."

Excuse me? Study that picture carefully. Do you see any "security forces" there? No, but there should be security forces on the scene -- to take away their guns and, hopefully, give them a good crack across the mouth. This is a picture of crazies with automatic weapons, paid for by your tax dollars.

Oh, and it's not just the Times. Pretty much the entire media, including the Israeli media and not just Haaretz, use the the term routinely.

So thus we have Palestinian "security forces" confronting Hamas. We have -- try to control the gag reflex, please -- a Palestinian "National Security Council," completing the comic book image of this Palestinian "government" as a kind of Groucho Marx joke a la Freedonia in Duck Soup.

What we have here is, yet again, a use of inappropriate terminology to disguise reality. In fact, as has been made abysmally clear in recent years, these "security forces" provide the very opposite of "security" for the Pals and are little more than a cover for terrorism and corruption. They are, if anything, an "insecurity force" that destabilize the region by, among other things, participating in attacks on Israeli civilians -- including, as has been noted several times, suicide bombing attacks.

But as usual the media will ignore logic and continue to call a gang of thugs a "security force." This forgets the principle that you can spray a pig with perfume -- but it's still a pig.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

More on the Hamas Defeat

A segment I just saw on CNN Live Sunday bears out what I've been saying -- the Hamas election victory is one heck of a PR disaster for the Pals! Since this war is waged in the airwaves as much as anywhere, that is a major blow to these cretins.

Remember -- this is CNN. Notorious, horrible CNN. The host was Carol Lin, and her segment began by nothing that Hamas was "already starting to make demands." She cut to the Hamas gang boss al-Zahar, with a green flag behind him, looking like an absolute, certifiable nut. In broken English he list his "demands," which include Israel retreating behind the '67 borders, a geographic link between Gaza and West Bank, etc. The "demands" were listed on screen in a graphic.

The segment then cut to Ehud Olmert walking to a podium, looking all dignified and presidential, and going on to note that Israel was calling on all governments to fight terrorism (or words to that effect). Here's a link but it doesn't capture the completely abysmal, cartoonish public image Hamas projected in the broadcast.

Guys, I'll leave the geopolitical discussions to my elders and betters. But from a strictly propaganda, PR perspective they are really down their in the dirt. Grind 'em down, guys.

UPDATE: Jeffy Jacoby in the Boston Globe has a good analysis on why the Hamas victory is such a terrific thing.

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Barney Gives Up

I'm a little saddened to have to write this, folks, but in the column today by Barney Calame, the Times's "reader representative," we see a man who is thoroughly beaten down by his job. He has given up.

In the past I've used all kind of uncomplimentary terminology to refer to Barney -- such as the Empty Suit or, borrowing a phrase from the American Thinker, "public relations editor" -- but I won't today. It's not necessary. With his column on how space is divided up among departments, which reads as if it were written by an intern for the Times Talk house organ, Barney has abandoned all pretense of being a newspaper ombudsman. His column today pretty well shouts out, "Hey, look at me! I am an Empty Suit."

I won't even bother to list all the topics of genuine concern to readers that Calame hasn't addressed in his column, and won't address, not even to give his customary "everything is fine" conclusion. But at least, were he to do that, he would be filling a rational management function, as spokesman and shill. His column today makes no sense at all.

The Sulzbergers might as well abolish the job -- it is becoming that ridiculous.


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Friday, January 27, 2006

The Hamas Defeat

Husseini and pal

Say, did you read about the enormous, "shocking," overwhelming Hamas defeat at the polls yesterday in the Palestinian elections? I don't know about the geopolitical aspects of Hamas getting all those seats, but one thing is sure -- this is the biggest public relations defeat for the Pal cause since Hamas's spiritual father, Haj Amin al-Husseini, sat down to have tea with Hitler.

That's because one of the bedrock tenets of media bias -- the myth of Palestinian "moderation" -- has been dealt a severe blow. Also the Hamas win has stripped away, at least for the time being, the doubletalk that has insulated the Palestinian leadership from terrorism, no matter how close those ties have been. Oh, the Pals will work hard to come back and counteract this major public relations setback, but for the time being let's savor it.

You can see what I'm talking about by just looking at the New York Times this morning. The extensive package of news stories on the subject, for the first time that I can recall, were pretty well free of the deep-rooted bias that one finds whenever the Palestinians or Hamas are concerned. The lead editorial today predictably laid the blame on Israeli "hard-liners," but did so half-heartedly. (OK, I know, I know, the editorial couldn't resist sanitizing these murderers with the lie that "Hamas grew out of a terrorist organization" -- but let's not quibble.)

One Times story even made what was, for the Times, the extraordinary assertion:

talking to Hamas may help coax it toward eventual partnership in a peace negotiation. The problem, many diplomats and experts say, is that no one even
pretends that there are truly separate wings of Hamas. Its armed forces and its political leaders are married to each other inextricably.
Actually there are people who pretend that there are separate wings of that murder mob -- Times editors, writers and editorial writers. Just a month ago, in an email to a reader, Times deputy foreign editor Ethan Bronner made that distinction for not calling Hamas a "terrorist" group.

Hamas has hired a PR firm and the terrorist apologists will no doubt fight back and re-assert the status quo. You got a general sense of the line the Palestinian propagandists will be using in an op-ed piece that the Times rushed into print today. The piece whimpered that "Hamas's participation in Palestinian politics is not necessarily a bad thing, and resisting it will very likely do more harm than good." In other words, let's let bygones be bygones and legimitize and negotiate with terrorists.

I loved this line: "As a political party, Hamas revealed itself to be disciplined, pragmatic and surprisingly flexible" -- sort of like the party of you-know-who just before 1933. Oh, and "It fielded well-regarded candidates, including doctors and academics." Yeah, "doctors." Goebbels, Mengele......

UPDATE: Soccer Dad has good take on the Times editorial that I mentioned above. Hey, no question -- it's a Times editorial, so it will follow the Template and bash Israel wherever possible. However, I think that all the Times coverage today, read as a whole, shows a definite shift in the direction of reality. A permanent shift? Probably not.

IRIS has two good analyses -- on why the Hamas victory is good for Israel, and how the IDF misread the situation.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Abbas as Lincoln

"Honest Abe" Abbas

Today the New York Times raises the curtain on the Palestinian elections with a predictable sop to terrorism. Mohammed Abbas, who still approves payments to terrorists, is portrayed in loving, almost Lincolnesque terms, and the murder gang Hamas is touted for having an "army."

In a story that reads like a Palestinian Authority press release, Jerusalem Bureau Chief Steven Erlanger touches all the usual bases in this one sentence:
He [Abbas] is a man of logic, not passion; a negotiator, not a politician; a man who sears a business suit, not a military uniform; a man who condemns violence, not incites it; a man who despises personality cults and refuses to put his face up in every office; a touchy man of dark moods. . .
Sort of like... well, sort of like Abe Lincoln, wouldn't you say?

After all, he faces, as Lincoln faced the Confederacy, "Hamas, with an army of 5,000 men." Army? A gang of terrorists is an "army"? With rhetoric like this, Erlanger spits in the faces of every veteran who has risked life and limb in an actual army -- not a murder gang like Hamas.

Such dipsy-doodle rhetoric has become a daily event at the Times, which has gone out of its way, in both its news and editorial pages, to promote a pro-Palestinian view of events. Such is the Times's longstanding policy, and it's getting more and more transparent and ridiculous.


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Monday, January 23, 2006

Palestinian "Thug-of-the-Day" in the Times

For the second day in a row, the New York Times continued its campaign to disinfect Palestinian terrorists and terror groups. This is becoming such a predictable pattern of coverage that I am reminded of the "bums of the month" that Joe Louis used to knock out. What we have here is a kind of Palestinian "thug of the day," scrubbed and turned out neatly for inspection.

Today's "thug of the day" is a lovely young chap named Nasser Joumaa. He is described in tender, almost loving terms: "pale and thin," like a wispy reed of scallion, our young hero is "39 and respected here for his military and political prowess."

Our young hero has a war record, perhaps? After all, he has "prowess." Hmmmm.... let's see. Has he commanded a tank battalion, perhaps, in one of the Gulf Wars (no doubt on the side of Saddam Hussein, not that we care)? That is what I think of when someone talks about "military prowess." (I guess the political prowess must come from.... oh, why be picky?)

No, actually Times reporter Steve Erlanger never discloses our young hero's war record. However, we do get an idea of what he did to get a chest full of ribbons.

Seems that he was "the commander of Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Nablus. He was wanted by the Israelis and" and... and.... well, without even telling us what this young hero was wanted for, Erlanger tells us that this man is not only a war hero, but a man who, in the best John Ford war movie tradition, loves his mother:

He "kept hidden, even as his mother was dying, 15 months ago, from cancer. When her body was laid out in a crowded mosque, however, he slipped in to pay last respects."

Doesn't that make you all choked up? Still, what kind of "battles" do the "soldiers" of the "Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades" carry out? Hmmm..... that's a toughie. Let me think on it. Hey, I got it! They kill Jewish civilians by suicide bombings and firing rockets into civilian areas!

So in other words, in Steve Erlanger's view, what qualifies our young hero for "military prowess" would also qualify, say, a commander of the Einsatzgruppen who dispatched Jewish civilians by firing squad, or someone who tossed in the Zyklon B into the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

No? I exaggerate? Well, then perhaps someone can tell me what other "military activities" the "Al Aksa Brigades" engages in?

That brings me to yesterday's thug-of-the-day, a story on "a man named Hitler" running for a seat in the Palestinian parliament. Not even lovingly taking on the "Hitler" name prevents our loyal pro-Palestinian shill Greg Myre from making an excuse for it. " Mr. Roub said Hitler's slaughter of the Jews was wrong, yet he seems quite willing to keep the nickname," reports Myre, seemingly perplexed by the contradiction.

Duhhh.... could it be that maybe while he allegedly believes Hitler's slaughter of the Jews was "wrong," he believes that Palestinian slaughter of the Jews is right? And has maybe actually, oh, killed a few Jews now and then? Myre doesn't tell us and apparently never asked.

No matter. This man has a "military" record too, and that is what counts. In his case it is that of a glamorous Che Guevara or Pancho Villa, leading the "militant" "Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in this turbulent corner of the West Bank, and has spent the past five years leading his ragtag band of gunmen in frequent clashes with the Israeli military."

Golly, why would a man named "Hitler" be wanted by the Israeli military? Might it have anything to do with....oh, I'll take a wild guess, killing Jewish civilians by suicide bombings or firing rockets into civilian areas?

Again, we don't know. In neither article do Myre or Erlanger even bother to inquire what these two young heros have actually done. That would, after all, spoil the heroic picture.

I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, Times "public relations editor" Barney Calame. Barney has ignored or excused journalistic atrocities such as this in his eight months as a parody of a public editor. So Barney, here's another one for you to ignore!


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Sunday, January 22, 2006

The UN Lies to John Bolton

A reader brings to my attention this fascinating article by Eye on the UN, on the recent controversy surrounding the UN's exhibition of a map that did not contain Israel. US Ambassador John Bolton complained. The UN responding by minimizing the whole thing as a nonevent and weakly apologizing.

Well, it turns out that the UN wasn't being very forthcoming in its response to Bolton. In fact, I think the word is "lie."

The UN's most volumble defender on this was, of course, the Payola Pundit, UN consultant-correspondent Ian Williams, famed for covering the UN while writing pamphlets and performing media training for UN officials. Williams cranked out a shrill defense of his sometime employer -- which employs his wife to write fake news for UNICEF -- in a rant that advised his pals to show sterner stuff:

The UN apologized, but was wrong to do so, both in principle and tactics. Of
course the map did not show Israel. The country did not exist in 1948, which is
the year the map was drawn. What existed was the UN trusteeship of Palestine,
which did exist.

Let's hope the Greeks or Italians do not have an exhibition on Mediterranean civilization with maps of Alexander's or Hadrian's empire. Just imagine how many countries they would have to apologize to, from Afghanistan to Britain, that would not appear on the map.

Well, there never was a UN trusteeship for pre-Israel Palestine -- but why let facts get in the way of a good rant? In any event, that glaring boo-boo did not detract from the central point of the UN spin so loyally parroted by Williams, which was that an old map just happened to be lying around, and that Bolton was making a fuss over nothing.

But as Eye on the UN points out, the no-Israel map was placed there deliberately by the organizers of the hate-Israel "Palestine Solidarity Day," and its use was a longtime tradition designed to show just how lovely it would be if the hated Zionist entity would just disappear.

Eye on the UN notes that the decision -- linked here -- was made at the first "solidarity day" in November 1981:

The Chairman [the ambassador from Senegal]: I should like to draw memberattention to the map and flag now positioned just outside this chamber; they are those of Palestine as it existed in 1948. If there is no objection I shall ask for that map and that flag to be brought into the chamber, where they will remain until the end of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. If there is no objection, it will be so decided.
One of the other jackasses in attendance, a "Mr. Gurirab" from the South West Africa People's Organization, piped up:

I cannot miss this opportunity to note the map that has just been brought into the room, which shows Palestine as it existed in 1947, and the flag, which symbolizes the aspirations and legitimate demands of the Palestinian people. It is therefore my pleasure to be speaking at this point, and I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for directing the Secretariat to bring the flag and the map into the room.
And so it has been since then -- a hallowed UN tradition.

Now, back to the fifth-rate hack who loyally carried water for the UN on this and on many, many other occasions.

As I've said before, the time has come for Bolton to clear up the mystery surrounding the payments that have gone to Williams and the other UN hacks. When the matter was pursued by Accuracy in Media, and later by FrontPage Magazine. the UN stonewalled. It's time for some answers.

Keep in mind that this is no ordinary group of journalists. The UN press corps' coverage is so slavishly deferential to the UN that even defenders of the UN find it embarassing. Commenting upon the recent Kofi Annan press conference tantrum, a good friend of the UN, former UN bureaucrat Samir Sanbar, recently observed:

"A main problem was that the U.N.-accredited press in particular has been so adoring and accommodating for the last seven years that questions reflecting a shift, however limited, seemed disappointing -- even rebellious."

Time to find out how much of that "adoring and accomodating" attitude has been bought and paid for.


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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Hamas Hires Spin Doctor

How's this for "carrying coals to Newcastle": The Guardian yesterderday reported (free registration required) that Hamas has hired a spin doctor to improve its image in the media.

The paper says Hamas is paying this joker $180,000 "to persuade Europeans and Americans that it is not a group of religious fanatics who relish suicide bombings and hate Jews."

Get this:

Mr Aqtash, who says he is not a member of Hamas and does not know where it got the money to pay him but frequently refers to the group as "we", says he has told the leadership it has to change its rhetoric. He says Hamas has not helped itself by celebrating suicide bombings; he advises against celebration. And he has told Hamas leaders not to talk about destroying Israel.

"Abdel Aziz Rantisi [the former Hamas leader killed by Israel two years ago] was on
television saying things that foreigners cannot accept, like we will remove Israel from the map. He should have talked about Palestinian suffering. He should have said we need this occupation ended. Foreigners will accept this," he said.

Yes, and they will. Hey, these people aren't dumb. The western media is of course already sympathetic to terrorist sob stories, as the New York Times story yesterday demonstrated, so this terrorist PR offensive stands every chance of succeeding.


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Friday, January 20, 2006

Elegy for a Suicide Bomber

Get out your barf bag, folks.

Suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Twenty wounded. So how does the New York Times cover this latest Palestinian war crime: From the perspective of the criminal, of course!

The Times today actually devoted more space to toasting the memory of the lowlife who carried out the attack than to the attack itself. And, of course, not one single, solidarity word was said about the maimed and traumatized victims. Jerusalem Bureau Chief Steve Erlanger's revolting, offensive elegy is promoted on the front page with this headline: "A Bombing in Tel Aviv Stuns a Distant Arab Family." Those poor dears. Yes they are shocked, shocked!

"He was known as a simple person, with a good sense of humor," [a pal of the terrorist] added, wiping tears into his gelled hair. "We didn't know of any ties to a political movement."

Reading swill like this, I sometimes wonder whether Erlanger isn't one of those "fake news" reporters you see on Comedy Central. He is so bad it is almost funny.

What's stunning, and not funny, is how the Times seems to outdo itself, with each succeeding issue, to be more offensive to the sensibilities of its reader.

What's also stunningly predictable is the story itself. Time and time again, whenever a deluded young fanatic blows himself up in the service of an execrable cause, naive hacks show up at the door of the family and the family obliges -- describing how "shocked" they are, yet still proud of poor little Abdul's martyrdom."'We grew up together here, we studied together at the same university, that's why I'm so shocked,'" said "Muhammad," quoted by Erlanger.

Perhaps someday the Times will react to a Palestinian atrocity by paying tribute to the innocent people maimed and murdered instead of serving up terrorist spin such as this. Doing so, however, would require a fundamental change in policy.

I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, Times "public relations editor" Barney Calame. Get off your divan, Barney, put on your Empty Suit -- and be sure to ignore this one!

UPDATE: David Gerstman of Soccer Dads reminds me that yesterday's "martyr" attended Al Najah University, which had a lovely display of the Sbarro's bombing, as noted here and here.

Says David: "I suppose it would be indelicate of Mr. Erlanger to ask the 'martyr's' family and pals isn't the university he attended a hotbed of indoctrination?"

Sorry, David. Far too indelicate.

UPDATE: TimesWatch, observing "Erlanger's entry for bad metaphor of the year" -- "Sami Antar also blew a large hole in his circle of family and friends, who did not see this coming" -- comments, "Yes, they are kind of the same thing, aren't they?"


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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Yahoo! Shills for the Ayatollahs of Iran

Yahoo! has been sending around to Middle East "hot spots" a "reporter" named Kevin Sites, who has been sending back naive reports that parrot the pap he has been fed. Today his report is on the happy-go-lucky Christian and Jewish minorities in Iran. The headline: "We Are Citizens of This Country," with a "deck" reading: "In Iran, an Islamic theocracy, Christians and Jews occupy an unusual place. But it's not necessarily uncomfortable."

However, if you look further down, you read that the happy-go-lucky Jews of Iran are not permitted to travel freely or get government jobs. Gee, I guess they're "not necessarily uncomfortable" with being second-class citizens!

As for the Christians -- well, everything is just ducky. No problem there! Christians are just happy as lambs, really integrated, smiling and .... oops! What have we here? Seems Kev missed a whole lot of what is called "persecution." (Kev, if you're reading this, I have a definition for you from Dictionary.com so you can figure out what that word means.)

Aw shucks. Can't win 'em all. But hey, why make readers of Yahoo! "uncomfortable" by telling the truth, when you can serve as PR spokespeople for tinhorn dictators?

UPDATE: David Gerstman of Soccer Dad emails to remind me that Kev here has shown his absence of grey matter several times in the past, as noted here and here and here.

Now that's what I like: Consistency!


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The Palestinian 'Military' in Action

Islamic Jihad today gave a crisp demonstration of a terror group's "military wing" in action -- dispatching a suicide bomber to a Tel Aviv sandwich shop. Almost two dozen wounded according to early reports.

What happened today is terrorism aimed at a civilian, not a military, target. Yet the media, time and time again, has referred to the people who carry out such atrocities as the "military" wing of groups like Hamas, and their tactics as "armed struggle."

As I reported here and here, Steve Erlanger of the New York Times has repeatedly used such disgraceful terminology in his reports -- a practice justified by Times editors.

Times policy on this subject has been rigid. As I reported in an item on Monday, the Times's Craig Smith brushed off a reader who called him to task on his use of the term "military" in describing Hamas terrorism, saying that he was just "parsing words."

In the Times today, Erlanger continued to whitewash Palestinian terror, saying that Hamas "remains committed, over the long term, to an end to the state of Israel and a single state of Palestine including the territory of Israel."

Erlanger doesn't mention that the aim is to establish an Islamic state of the Taliban variety in which minorities would have second-class status. His use of the term "long term" is an Erlanger invention, likening Hamas to a corporation with "long-term" revenue targets.

As can be seen from the group's fanatical, nutty charter, the goal of "liberating Palestine," is not a "long-term" goal. It is the group's only goal.

Honestreporting today has a good analysis of the media fantasy versus Hamas's homicidal reality. But the murder expedition in Tel Aviv today was far more eloquent than any analysis. The dismembered bodies and shrieking bictims show the real character of the terror groups that the media continues to downplay and even glamorize.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hamas, The Times, and Tom Sawyer

Remember the Mark Twain tale of Tom Sawyer and the whitewash? Tom was a canny kid who talked a whole bunch of kids into whitewashing his fence. Great story! Marvelous bit of Americana, and funny. Well, Hamas talked the New York Times into a whole fence-load of whitewashing today -- and it ain't the slightest bit funny.

CAMERA is out early with a full fisking of this truly nauseating Times story on the "Hamas TV" propaganda effort. As you can see from this excellent report by Tamar Sternthal, the Times slapped on coat after coat of whitewash on this murderous gang of killers.

Hamas really knows how to talk Times hacks and other media people into whitewashing but, hey -- with the Times, as I've pointed out time after time after time after time after.....well, as you can see, it is an easy sell!

I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, Times "public relations editor" Barney Calame. Since he came on board nearly eight months ago, this management shill and parody of a newspaper ombudsman hasn't said so much as one word about the Times's coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Come on, Barney! Looking forward to hearing your assurances that all of this bias is not really happening and that everything is under control.

UPDATE: IRIS has a good collection of links to the media's infatuation with Hamas.


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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Latest Fashion in Internet Hate

This is a little off my beat, but a reader brought to my attention the latest fashion in Internet hate:

A video is making the rounds on the Internet from the "La Voz de Aztlan" hate group purporting to show a "Jew" humiliating Mexicans workers. As several readers haved pointed out, this is actually one of several commercial videos that are openly staged by a (rather tasteless) comedian, with the cooperation of the "victims."

The use of a comic video to promote anti-Semitism is a new technique by the haters, but the "Aztlan" group, a kind of Hispanic breed of Farrakhanism, is not. Where are the vigorous condemnations from Mexican-American groups of this viciously anti-Semitic organization?


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Friedman Gets a Reciprocal Wet Kiss From Auletta

Payback time!

The World's Worst Media Columnist, Jon Friedman of Marketwatch, was the subject of a gag-inducing profile in PR Weekly yesterday. And who stepped up to the plate to heap praise on Jon than none other than Ken Auletta of the New Yorker! Here's what Auletta said:

"Jon works harder than most reporters and bares none of the arrogance that usually emotes from [a] media cop. He has the humility to listen... yet he also sometimes displays sharp opinions and is critical of those he interviews, suggesting that he understands that he writes for his readers, not his subjects."

Great guy! You'd never know from reading that, that Friedman is a lightweight known mainly for puff pieces on....... guys like Ken Auletta! Yep, PR Weekly didn't bother to tell us that in May, Auletta was the subject of a puff piece by Friedman that was so nauseating that Jossip likened the story to a certain an unnatural act. (My take on it was a bit more tasteful, but no more favorable.) Friedman called Auletta the "conscience of the media," and that was some of his less lavish praise.

The profile also includes a timeline showing that Friedman spent the years 1991 and 1993 researching a book that, according to Amazon.com, came out in February 1992. Details! Details!

Attaboy, Jon! Knew those puff pieces would come in handy some day, didn't ya? Lucky for you, your puff piece was by some hack who is as clueless as you are!


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The Times Template Robot in Action

The lead editorial in the New York Times today is so mechanical in its use of the Sulzberger Indifference Template that I really think it must have been written by a robot, or perhaps was selected from a list like a Chinese restaurant menu -- one from "Column A" and the other from "Column B."

"A critical question lost in the hubbub over who will succeed Ariel Sharon is whether there will be any valid authority left among the Palestinians when the Israelis sort out their politics," says the Times. Really? I thought that was a central question. If it was "lost" it was misplaced somewhere between the nodes of the brains of Times editorial writers. However, that was the only discordant note in an otherwise by-the-numbers robotic effort.

It's all there. The sanitizing of Hamas, the myth of Palestinian moderation and powerlessness, ignoring Palestinian road map violations, and above all, the central tenet of the Template -- no matter what the problem may be, Israel is to blame.

The robot editorialist, however, showed a flash of humanity as he spat on the memories of the hundreds of Israelis who have been victimized by Palestinian murder squads: "Palestinians will not get anywhere close to a road map showing the way toward their own state if they continue to give hard-line Israeli politicians an excuse to stay away from peace talks."

In other words, it's a perfectly legitimate tactic for Palestinians to systematically murder Israeli civilians. The Israelis just have to hose away the blood and go on talking to the people who use terrorism as a bargaining technique. To do otherwise is just an "excuse" for "hard-line politicians."

Hey, don't get mad. Comparatively speaking, this is nothing. Remember, these are direct descendants of the people who ignored Auschwitz.


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Monday, January 16, 2006

AFP Commemorates "The Fallen"

(Note: I sent out an email on Jan. 17 incorrectly linking to this item. Actually the item on the Times "robotic editorial" is here. Sorry folks!)

Another story I missed: Agence France Presse moved a story on Jan. 10 on what it describes, with typical fealty to inaccuracy, as "the first Eid Al-Adha free of Israeli occupation," -- forgetting about the X-thousand-odd years preceeding 1967, and going downhill from there.

Toward the end we get this tribute to some lovely people who have been massacred by the heartless Zionist enemy:

Palestinians also use Eid to honour their dead, particularly those killed since the uprising began in September 2000, consigning their territory to ever rising poverty.
Many of the fallen are buried in the Martyrs' Cemetery in northern Gaza City.
They include Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Islamist movement Hamas, assassinated in an Israeli air raid in March 2004 and his successor, Abdelaziz al-Rantissi, killed in the same way a month later.
Don't you hate it when marvelous people are assassinated? Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and now the "spiritual leader" Mr. al-Rantissi?


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'Parsing' Words That Mean 'Murder'

A reader has shared with me a revealing exchange of correspondence that he had within the past couple of days with New York Times correspondent Craig S. Smith.

As I noted in an item on Jan. 11 and on many other occasions, Smith and other Times hacks have repeatedly whitewashed Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas, using euphemisms such as "violent resistance" to describe "murder of civilians" and "military wing" to describe "murderers."

The reader, an ex-military officer, justifiably took umbrage at Smith's use of the term "military" to describe "murderers." Here is Smith's response, in full:

Merriam Webster's first definition of the word "military" is, "of or relating to soldiers, arms, or war," which seems to apply aptly enough to the Qassam Brigades. The Times and other newspapers referred for years to the I.R.A. as the "military wing" of Sinn Fein. Everybody, I think, understands what is meant in both cases.

While I understand the nuance you are trying to express by adhering to a narrower meaning of the word, I think such shades of meaning are relevant only to the very small group of people who pore over newspaper articles looking for words to parse. In most cases, such discussions are not very productive. Your e-mail, for example, says that you "take issue with the term 'military' when used to describe Hamas" and that "calling Hamas military," etc. But I did not use the term military to describe Hamas. I used it to describe the Qassam Brigades. Of course, I understand what you meant to say and that is what is important, not my ability to analyze your syntax. My point is that you understood what my article said and that is what is important. I wouldn't spend too much time trying to divine hidden agendas behind the choice of words - there are none.
I'm not sure I have too much to add to Smith here, since the dictionary definition that he quotes at the beginning contradicts the rest of his email. Blowing up civilians in suicide bombings obviously has nothing to do with "soldiers, arms, or war." Also, whether or not the Times used inaccurate terminology to describe the IRA is really beside the point, don't you think?

Well, Smith doesn't -- think, that is. This email -- condescending, factually inaccurate -- speaks volumes about the attitudes that shape the Times's coverage of the Arab-Israel conflict. It really leaves one speechless, doesn't it?

The ex-officer responded, politely pointing out the idiocy of Smith's position, drawing a response: "Point taken."

Don't bet on it.


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The Times Gets Conned

I have to admit that I missed it at the time, but on Friday the New York Times got suckered. Yep, this supposedly sophisticated big-city newspaper fell victim to the oldest con of them all -- the inmate sob story.

The Times ran a story about a former judge who got nabbed with his hand in the till. The newspaper gave a forum for this contemptible criminal without a word from any of the people he victimized or ... well, I'll let a reader continue the thought.

A reader sent me a copy of the email that he sent the Times complaining about this story, and with his permission I'm reprinting it in full -- because this very eloquent letter sums up the depths of the Times's stupidity much better than I ever could:

"It is difficult to express my contempt for your story about the fallen judge.

"You do all the right things--quote the prosecutor, point out that "Rolly" took money from a helpless woman--but that strikes me as just window-dressing designed to give the appearance of balance. In reality, all you did was give real estate to a morally bankrupt guy to lecture the rest of us about the prison system. The article would have been far more fair and balanced had you:

"1) Asked this reptile point-blank whether he deserved his 69-month sentence, and if so, why did he fight against it? You could have asked him whether he deserves the 23 month reduction. Somehow, to me, a little less than 4 years is extremely unjust--what would the reptile say to people who argue that he got off lightly? You could have also asked this reptile whether he was justified in trying to get into the boot camp.

"2) Asked this reptile point-blank whether his partner had valid concerns about exposing the children to someone who committed such an evil act.

"3) Asked this reptile point-blank whether he was going to do anything in restitution for the woman.

"4) Asked this reptile point-blank how much the woman's care suffered because of his deeds. Her life may have no significance to this guy--but her happiness IS important, and it would have been interesting to know if he cared enough to learn about the woman's fate. My guess is that she has suffered significantly because of this reptile.

"5) Gotten the view of people who think that the prison system should be one of punishment over rehabilitation to rebut the views of this reptile.

"6) Asked this reptile whether he bears any responsibility for his inability to see his children and whether his partner should have been forced to tote the children to the place of his incarceration (that's the implication of his statement).

"By the way, many many many judges in this country order women (mostly) to transport their children to state prisons so that ex-spouse prisoners can see their children. Of course, that sounds compassionate, until you think about the fact that the woman could be forced to make a long trip (prisons are often in the middle of nowhere) on her own nickel and must be subjected to the indignity of visiting someone in prison.

"I don't know about you, but I myself quite enjoy my days off, and I would be livid if some judge told me that I had to ruin a day off so that I could tote my children to a prison on my own nickel, to say nothing of the humiliation. (Hey, maybe that would be a good story idea--women forced to take their kids to prison by arrogant judges.) This reptile apparently thinks that he has the right to make that imposition on someone else.

"It is simply amazing. A person commits a thoroughly wicked act, spends less than four years in prison and a halfway house, and then the New York Times gives him a forum to prattle on about the morality of the prison system, with nary a dissenting view on the validity of his preaching. Rolly, obviously, has no moral compass, since he blames his appalling crime on his desire to end it all and psychological issues.

"Perhaps, he was under stress. But the reality is that he made a conscious decision to commit a thoroughly evil act. And then he has the temerity to say "God help them", thereby impugning the morality of jurists who don't steal from invalids and who may take into consideration factors other than the rehabilitation of prisoners. But hey, this guy preaches the party line that we are too mean to prisoners and that it's our fault that so many re-offend, so let's give him real estate.

"Contemptible. Thoroughly contemptible."

There has been no response to this eloquent letter.


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The Anti-Bolton Media Campaign Continues

The mainstream media's villification of U.S. Ambassador the United Nations John Bolton, which began from the moment he was proposed for nomination, is exemplified as much by what you're not reading as much as what you are.

Probably the best example is his letter to the Kofi Annan protesting the dreary Israel-bashing annual "day of solidarity with the Palestinian people," which featured a map without Israel while Kofi proudly beamed for the cameras. Except for the New York Sun, the story was almost completely ignored.

Instead the media continued to beat up Bolton, most recently for not pushing hard enough to revamp its noxious "human rights commission." Typical is this Washington Post story today and a hypocritical editorial by the "defenders of human rights" at the New York Times. Bolton's accomplishments, meanwhile, are almost totally ignored.


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Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Sensitive, Caring New York Times

Calame: Lays it on thick

The Empty Suit, New York Times "public relations editor" Barney Calame, worked very hard this week to achieve his biweekly goal, which is to make the Times appear in a good light. So, in lieu of any number of valid and recent subjects, he reaches back to Kurt Eichenwald's Dec. 19 story on a kiddie-porn purveyor -- one of the only major stories appearing in the Times in which there has been no valid complaint or cries of outrage.

In other words, he devoted a column to one of the few Times stories not warranting the attention of an ombudsman (the purpose of which, presumably, is to deal with stories and situations that have generated reader outrage).

Hey, they don't call him a parody of a public editor for nothing!

Barney could have written about one of the literally dozens of Times coverage atrocities that are detailed in TimesWatch and other blogs. He could have written about how the Times systematically skews its coverage of Bush Administration and Iraq. He could have written about a subject I've hammered away at -- the Times's biased and inaccurate coverage of the Middle East (the last few day's installments are here, here, here and here).

He could have written about the Times's offensive use of bland terminology to whitewash Palestinian terror groups. Only today, in a Week in Review piece by Steven Erlanger, the Times said that the murder gang Hamas engages in "armed struggle" -- typical of the inaccurate, biased terminology the Times uses whenever it writes about Palestinian terrorism.

But if Calame wrote about anything like that, he wouldn't be doing his job -- which is to shill for management. The Eichenwald story was a good and uncontroversial story, so he's all over it like a cheap suit (or perhaps I should say, "cheap empty suit").

Our Times flack lays it on thick, in a piece that reads like something from the "Times Talk" house organ:

"One of the most important articles The Times has published in recent months". . . . "The Times made a vital contribution to reader understanding of the balancing process". . . . "I found that special care and consultation had gone into the balancing process". . . . "an article prepared ethically 'in the broadest possible sense,' to use Mr. Ingrassia's words". . . . "Editors were also sensitive" . . . "Readers were well served by the special care that the reporters and editors at a newspaper with The Times's resources could devote to balancing the humanitarian and journalistic values involved in producing this sensitive and poignant article."

Barney did everything but break down in cry out of the sheer joy of being associated with such journalistic heros.

Another week, another useless column by a man who has turned the theoretically worthwhile function of newspaper ombudsman into a joke. Michelle Malkin put it best: "The NY Times ombudsman is totally worthless."


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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Media Discovers Sharon Treatment Foulup

Today the New York Times finally wrote about a significant news story first reported in the blogosphere -- a possible foulup in the treatment of Ariel Sharon.

As I said in an item the other day, this story was broken by the IRIS Blog. If someone got there first let me know, but I do believe IRIS achieved a world-class scoop days ahead of the MSM. Similarly, IRIS was way, way ahead of everyone else in reporting the gravity of Sharon's medical condition.

The irony is that the Times has a full-time doctor-reporter on its payroll, and other reporters no doubt have the invention known as the "telephone" they can use to call experts, as IRIS did. Why didn't they? I figure it is one of two possibilities: "stupidity" or "incompetence."


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Thursday, January 12, 2006

"Election Role Won't Soften Nazi Anger Toward Jews"

Dumb headline of the day: "Election Role Won't Soften Hamas Anger at the Israelis" in (surprise surprise) the New York Times.

Dig the syntax. They're "angry"! Oh my. So what is the problem, bubbeleh? That Israel exists, maybe?

Note the idiotic assumption that that an "election role" could possibly "soften" the "anger" of a group whose aim has been to wipe Israel off the map. Or as the Times politely puts it, "Its [Hamas's] long-term goal is to establish an Islamic theocracy over Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip." "Long-term"? Since when?

I see that the story does indeed mention that Hamas is tasteless enough to use suicide bombers, although it uses the weasel words "often used." Often as in "when not stopped by the IDF and the security barrier that the Times despises."

Still, if you comb through all the PC baloney, there is a kernel of truth in there, which is that Hamas is a group of fanatical murderers who are working to exploit Palestinian "democracy" much as the Nazis did in 1933. (I can just see the headline. New York Times, 1933: "Election Role Won't Soften Nazi Anger Toward Jews.")


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PA Official Praises Suicide Bombers

Read all about it here in the WorldNetDaily -- an excellent example of the day-to-day Palestinian incitement that the media is too biased, or afraid, to report. (Hat tip: Free Thoughts, a really great Italian blog I just discovered.)


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The Silence on Hate in Florida

Anti-Semitism never grows old!

A reader points out to me that I promised to do a follow-up on an item from about a month ago on a weird situation down in Florida. Seems a prominent merchant in Delray Beach named Alex Seredin has been spewing obscene anti-Semitic hate in Usenet newsgroups for years -- to the utter indifference of the local community where this jackass does business, even getting some favorable publicity in a dimwitted local newspaper.

Seredin runs a souvenir shop on North Federal Highway (the old U.S. 1, ironically) called Peter Pan Gifts. Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? Anti-Semitism never grows old.

Seredin practices virulent anti-Semitism of the old-fashioned variety known and loved by generations past, commonly referring to Jews as "kikes" and "long noses." He recently opined that Jews "have no right to a country except six feet under," and recommended that "Palestinians expel all the bloody kikes." He posts his nauseating hate in Jewish newsgroups, effectively turning them into anti-Semitic podiums.

Oh, you don't believe me? OK, I'll turn over the microphone to the Plastic Flamingo King of Delray Beach for a moment. Here is the full text of a Jan. 10 post:
So, as requested, here's my follow-up to this idiot's public ravings: Nothing. The silence continues in Florida.

Where is the outrage? Where is the media coverage -- particularly in the goofy Tribune Company-owned publication, City Link, that gave his schlock store free publicity? Why aren't outraged citizens -- Jewish and non-Jewish -- passing out handbills and telling visitors to Delray Beach about his nutty ravings?

Kind of makes you wonder whether there'd be the same indifference to a bigot spewing anti-black or even anti-Islamic hysteria. The media coverage would be so thick you could cut it with a knife. Instead, a neo-Nazi nut with a garbage mouth spews hate on the Internet and nobody gives a damn.

Hey, America is the land of the free, and this moron has a right to be a moron. But apparently, in South Florida, we are the "home of the wimps" when it comes to telling bigots to take a hike. Or at least we are when their targets are Jews.


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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Another Big Scoop From IRIS

This one, again beating the pants off the MSM, saying that Sharon's doctors screwed up. Awesome work -- as before -- on this vital subject.

You know, I pay good money for my daily MSM. Isn't it a little weird that I can get better stuff, for free, from blogs?


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A Bigger Job for the UN's Chief Propagandist?

The UN's Israel-basher-in-chief is angling for a promotion

Remember Shashi Tharoor? He's a slimy career bureaucrat who heads the UN's bloated propaganda ministry. His chief claim to fame is that he personally organized an Israel-bashing conference in 2001 featuring the noted anti-Semite Israel Shamir, and more recently gave a podium to the anti-Israel polemicist Ilan Pappe. Well, you'll be pleased to know that Tharoor is up for a big promotion -- and may replace Kofi Annan!

Tharoor has tossed his hat in the ring as the UN's No. 2 man or even secretary general, once Annan's term expires at yearend. That was the word around the UN a few months ago, and there's a new round of reports saying the same thing, the latest of which is this article in a Pakistani newspaper, the Daily Times.

The newspaper names Tharoor as a candidate for either deputy secretary general or the top job itself -- though it says that the Indian government may push someone else for secretary general. The newspaper describes Tharoor as "a credible UN insider to become not only the deputy secretary general but even succeed Annan."

Tharoor is certainly qualified. As I pointed out in my item last May, his Department of Public Information employs a whopping seven hundred full-time propagandists worldwide, four hundred of them in New York alone. And according to the transcript of the UN press briefing at which this issue was raised, Tharoor "has been unable to identify a single post in DPI that he doesn’t think is essential for the continuation of DPI."

Asked about that at the May press conference, a UN spokesman said weakly that Tharoor "has revamped the Department and is trying to maximize its resources within the mandates that are imposed on it by the Committee on Information."

Then came this exchange:

Question: "Were you to have flexibility, would the UN significantly cut back, for example, on the number of employees in DPI?"

UN Flack: "I will get you figures on the DPI post mandated jobs." (Translation: Drop dead.)

The spokesman (a DPI employee, natch) also ducked and weaved in response to a correspondent's assertion that Tharoor "has admittedly himself said that the United Nations has failed and DPI basically, he said, failed in, what you call, containing the bad image the United Nations has. What has he to say about that? That you have such a big staff and a budget, but you have not been able to function properly."

The response: "I think we have been able to function properly. I don’t know where you got that quote from, but we can talk later." (Out of earshot, that is.)

The above is excerpted from my item in May, but I've been following Tharoor's career a lot, so let's see if I can sum up his qualfications: He runs a bloated bureaucracy; he sponsors Israel-bashing "media seminars," he sanitized the minutes of the Israel-bashing conference, he slacks off so much that even UN-lovers can't stand him.

Sounds like a perfect Kofi replacement to me! For his campaign literature, he can excerpt from a CAMERA report on the Ilan Pappe hate-fest that he organized:
"Just like the U.N.’s 2001 Durban Conference Against Racism itself became a racist anti-Israel hate fest, the U.N.’s media seminar this week supposedly promoting sober, factual journalism about the conflict turned into a platform for anti-Israel distortions and incitement."

Hopefully John Bolton will be on the case, and decisively squash this nincompoop's overblown ambitions. Might also be a good idea for our ambassador to do something about Tharoor's little propaganda empire. The word "eliminate" comes to mind.


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The Times Again 'Resists' Reality

The wall picture says it all

It's becoming increasingly obvious that New York Times coverage of the Middle East has a problem with a concept called "reality." That's clear in two adjoining stories today.

One story, by Craig S. Smith, continued the Times's offensive and inaccurate practice of using the heroic word "resistance" to glamorize the vicious terror group Hamas. Craig switches into Hamas-flack mode in the following little riff:

Hamas's organizational discipline, hard political line and promises to prosecute corrupt officials have won it widespread popularity among Palestinians, particularly in Gaza. Indeed, its reputation for violent resistance led to a kind of competition with Fatah over attacks against Israelis.
Can someone please write a polite letter to Craig here, to point out to him that Hamas is a group whose soul purpose is to murder Israeli civilians, primarily by sending suicide bombers to mingle among civilian buses and civilian discos and civilian shopping districts? This isn't "violent resistance," a term that is accurately used only in referring to actions against military personnel. It is "murder."

As it has many times before, the Times's use of language effectively minimizes, and some might say justifies, Hamas terror.

Then we come to the story below on the upcoming Palestinian elections, by Greg Myre, which contains the following Times boilerplate:
Israel annexed East Jerusalem after capturing it in 1967, and considers all of the city its capital, a position that has not been recognized internationally. The Palestinians, in turn, demand the eastern part as a capital for a future state.
You see this language very frequently in Times stories that mention Jerusalem. It gives one the impression that the Palestinians reasonably want only the "eastern part" of Jerusalem, selfishly and illegally denied them by Israel, as capital of a "future state" living side by side with Israel.

But as the photo illustrating the story (above) makes abundantly clear, the goal of both the Palestinians and the majority of Arab public opinion is not just the "eastern part" of Jerusalem but all of Jerusalem, and not just all of Jerusalem but all of Israel. As has been the case for decades, the goal is not a "future state" as much as it is "one fewer states in the region."

In these two stories you have the Times, in both its news and editorial pages, continuing in its policy of slanting its coverage and refusing to recognize reality. It's a matter of policy.

I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, Times "public relations editor" Barney Calame. Since he came on board seven months ago, this management shill and parody of a newspaper ombudsman hasn't said so much as one word about the Times's coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Come on, Barney! Let's see you chide the Times for inaccurately and offensively referring to Hamas as a "resistance" group. (Hey, I can have fantasies too, can't I?)


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Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Times Misquotes the Roadmap

Stevie still can't read

In a front page story in the New York Times today, Jerusalem Bureau Chief Steven Erlanger breaks with Times policy by acknowledging that Palestinians, and not just Israelis, have obligations under the Road Map for Peace. Bravo! Bravo! Only problem he is misquotes the road map to water down Palestinian obligations to fight terrorism.

Erlanger begins, as he has before, by glamorizing the terror group Hamas, thusly: "Legislative elections on Jan. 25 are expected to bring the radical Islamic group Hamas, dedicated to a continuing armed struggle against Israeli occupation, into a significant share of power in the authority."

Once again, Erlanger adopts the terrorists' own terminology to sanitize the group's only method of "armed struggle" -- which is to murder civilians, mostly by suicide bombings in Israel.

This is more than just sloppy phraseology. (Hey, this is the Times. What do you expect?) What we have here is a deliberate Times policy of whitewashing, and thereby justifying, terrorism.

Then we get to the rare road map reference: "One of the road map's first requirements is that the authority disarm all militants, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with Fatah itself."

Yes, the Pals must confiscate weapons. But Erlanger skips over a far more broad and far-reaching requirement to which the PA has agreed.

In addition to confiscating illegal weapons, the road map requires in its first phase that the PA "undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere."

The road map also requires that "Arab states cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror."

In other words, Hamas et al are not to be "disarmed." They are to be dismantled.

This is not a mere semantic distinction. By selectively and incompletely quoting from the road map, Erlanger slants the record to justify the PA's policy of allowing Hamas to participate in the elections, contrary to its Oslo obligations.

Ironically, by not accurately and fully quoting the road map, Erlanger undercuts the thesis of his story, which is that Pals are in disarray and incapable of coming to an agreement with the Israelis.

I am beginning to wonder, as I have before, whether Erlanger has a reading comprehension problem. Or, more likely, he is so biased that he just can't help himself -- if a document isn't sufficiently pro-Palestinian, Erlanger pretends that it is so. He's irrepressible, isn't he?

I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, Times "public relations editor" Barney Calame. Since he came on board seven months ago, this train wreck of a newspaper ombudsman hasn't said so much as one word about the Times's coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The reason for this gaping omission is becoming increasingly obvious. His Jan. 1 column, by brushing off criticism of the Times's wiretap coverage, indicated very clearly that Barney has a political agenda and is not just a spineless management shill.

Come on, Barney! I can't wait for you to devote a padded column to describing the Times "process" of covering the Israel-Palestinian conflict -- along with your usual conclusions that all is well, that there is "no evidence of bias," and that any problems are being addressed.


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Friday, January 06, 2006

Jokes and Fantasies in the Times

Today's joke comes from Neil MacFarquhar of the New York Times, in a story today:
Although Mr. Sharon was the architect of Israel's settlement policy, it was he who decided to dismantle some 25 of the settlements, including all of the small but ideologically fervent outposts in the Gaza Strip that retarded peace prospects during Israel's occupation of the strip.
Yes, no missiles or Hamas or nuthin and hey, did you notice how peaceful the place has been since the Israelis withdrew. Right! Yuk yuk yuk. Come on, can't you take a joke? This guy is funny.

On the editorial page, meanwhile, all is serious and solemn, as the beloved Sulzberger template was hard at work:

... Likud Party, now headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, represents the same old Likud way: inflaming Palestinian tensions through war and continuing settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank.
This, remember, is not a joke. The Times has decided, by editorial fiat, that the entire West Bank is "Palestinian," and that's that.

Similarly, the Times is perfectly serious when it contends that "Palestinian tensions" would simply subside if the "right wing" Likud would stop with this "war" stuff. Stop making war, Likud, damn it! Then all will be peaceful, as we see lately in Gaza.

What we have here is a "Pinch" Sulzberger fantasy. Don't forget: Pinch (Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.), as publisher, runs the editorial page, and these views are his. Pinch's editorialist continues:

The vision pushed forward by Mr. Sharon for the past year has been built around the central tenet of separation: the idea that the Israelis can't live with the Palestinians, so they will separate from the Palestinians and build a wall to make the separation visible and permanent.

Again, it is possible, though not likely, that Pinch & Co. seriously believe that preventing suicide bombers was not the reason for the security fence.

It is possible, though not likely, that Pinch & Co. seriously believe that preventing suicide bombers was not the reason for the security fence. That's what's known as a "lie." Ditto for their statement that the fence is a "wall," because for most of its length it's a fence and not a wall.

But hey, we're talking about the grandson of the publisher (Arthur Hayes Sulzberger) who ignored Auschwitz. What's a couple of fantasies and a lie or two when you have that kind of legacy to carry on?

UPDATE: A reader points out that Steve Erlanger's front page wrapup piece devotes all of one sentence at the very end to the continued violence in Gaza -- and leaves out an important fact. The Pals on Thursday released the kidnappers of a British family after a rampage by terrorists. Not fit to print. Why?


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Thursday, January 05, 2006

How the Media Was Scooped On Sharon

The gravity of Ariel Sharon's medical condition was almost completely ignored by the mainstream media. To read about the seriousness of Sharon's condition you had to read the blogs -- particularly the IRIS blog, which jumped on the story early on and basically scooped the world press.

What's interesting is not that IRIS scooped the media but how it did so, which was by very basic shoe-leather reporting. IRIS obtained a medical opinion, which nobody else in the media bothered to do.

Keep that in mind the next time someone slams the blogs.

UPDATE (1/6): Another scoop from IRIS -- this time that Sharon was poorly served by his doctors. The guy just keeps churning out the scoops. Bravo!


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The Irrepressible Steve Erlanger

Erlanger's 'heroine' Corrie burning American flag

Two stories today by Steven Erlanger, the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, prove that the man is irrepressible. No matter what the situation, he is so biased against Israel that just can't help but slip in inaccuracies and gratuitous remarks displaying his animosity.

In an early version of his piece on Ariel Sharon's illness, which moved over the Times news service to newspapers throughout the country, all is fine -- just straight reporting -- until we come to this gem:

But Kadima was centered on Sharon, who had fought in or masterminded every Israeli war and who, despite a hawkish history, came to accept the inevitability of an independent Palestinian state of limited sovereignty.
Whoa now! "Limited sovereignty"? This was too much for even the Times foreign desk, which excised this inaccurate slap at Sharon from a later version of the story.

But you know our Stevie -- he is so biased that he just can't restrain himself. His accompanying story on the chaos in Gaza is fine -- just straight reporting -- until we come to this:

On Tuesday night, gunmen also nearly kidnapped the parents of an American peace advocate regarded as a heroine by many Palestinians. The woman, Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to stop house demolitions in Rafah in March 2003.

Rachel Corrie was not a "peace activist." She was a field operative for the pro-terrorist International Solidarity Movement, and put herself in harm's way while Israeli troops were uncovering a weapons tunnel near the Egyptian border.

Ironically, Gaza, now an open conduit for weapons and terrorists, is now in dire need of the Israeli operations such as the ones Corrie was trying to disrupt.

The truth about Corrie is hardly news, and her extremist activities -- as evidenced by the widely publicized photo of her burning an American flag (above) -- are hardly a secret. Only a few extremist websites of the Counterpunch variety continue to extol her virtues. Those sites and, of course, the Counterpunch daily edition.

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 more than seven months ago, this parody of a newspaper ombudsman hasn't said 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.


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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Times Resolves a 'Fold' Dilemma

At the New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and other broadsheet newspapers, front-page stories are ranked by the top editors into roughly two categories: "above the fold" and "below the fold," with the latter reserved for articles of distinctly less significance.

So put yourself in the place of Times editors last night. They had a story about a world moving closer to nuclear Armageddon (Iran resuming its nuclear program) and and a story about a Washington lobbyist named Jack Abramoff pleading guilty to criminal charges that threatened to embarrass the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress.

See if you can guess which of the above ran as the lead story -- with a rare three-line headline and accompanying breathless "news analysis" -- which one was shoved below the fold.

I know.... tough decision. Embarrassing Republicans or highlighting the threat from Iran. Must have taken Times editors all of three seconds to make that choice!

Hey, they don't call it the "daily edition of Counterpunch" for nothing.


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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Empty Suit Clarifies His Column

The Suit: No hard feelings

The Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (alias "public editor") Barney Calame, dusted off his web journal this afternoon to make something perfectly clear: There are no hard feelings between the Suit and Times editors. Even though the Times "stonewalled" him on the warantless-wiretap issue, he is still a loyal corporate shill!

As I indicated in a recent item, the Suit threw all pretense of objectivity out the window in his Jan. 1 column and sided with opponents of the war. In his item today, Barney deals with one of the complaints about the story from supporters of the war and -- surprise surprise -- he comes down squarely on the side of Times editors.

Here's what Barney had to say:

"E-mails from many readers have inquired about my thoughts on a possible link between the timing of the article and the recent election in Iraq or the congressional debate on the Patriot Act. To fit the column into the allotted space, I had to cut a paragraph that addressed those two points. For those who are interested, here is that paragraph:
"'Despite the complaints of administration supporters, I'm prepared to accept Mr. Keller's statement that the timing of the eavesdropping exclusive wasn't a Times effort to detract from upbeat assessments of the Iraqi elections or to stir emotions in advance of the congressional debate on the Patriot Act.'"

Hey, they don't call him a parody of a public editor for nothing.

Note that Barney still won't come anywhere near the elephant in the room: whether the Times was irresponsible by publishing that article in the first place. But I have a funny feeling I can guess his opinion on that issue. Am I right, Barney?


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Monday, January 02, 2006

The UN Press Corps's Saudi-Dominated Leadership

Land of the Free: Dominates the UN press group

A reader brings to my attention the roster of the newly elected leadership of the scandal-ridden United Nations Correspondents Association. And as I suppose is suitable for the East River Debating and Terrorist Cheerleading Society, the UNCA leadership is dominated by hacks from rigidly anti-American "news" organs, including not one, not two, but three from Saudi or Saudi-financed publications.

The newly elected president of UNCA is Masood Haider of the Pakistani publication Daily Dawn. But you don't have to go far down in the leadership before you find the first representative of the famously free and open Saudi media, Laura Angela Bagnetto of the Saudi Press Agency. Further down the roster are hacks for the Saudi-financed London rags Al Hayat and Asharq-al-Awsat.

Gee, Saudi Arabia and the UN press corps go together like a soup and sandwich, as they used to say in the old Campbell Soup commercial! Alongside Bagnetto in the top leadership are hacks from Beirut's L'Orient Le Jour and the Maghreb Arab News.

Oh, and let's not forget the new "third vice president" Evelyn Leopold of the Reuters "news agency." In May, Leopold leaped to the defense of chief UN propagandist Shashi Tharoor, when it was revealed that Tharoor had given a forum to the notorious anti-Semite Israel Shamir.

Rounding out the roster are some people who -- well, let's just say that they work for publications that are charmingly free of electronic footprints in this online-dominated world. We have Abdelkader Abbadi of something called "The Independent (New York)" and Lee Love from something called "World Broadcast News." Apparently the former is not the British paper, and the latter -- well, Google won't help me out with that.

Anyway, it is a distinguished roster, and the Saudi and Middle Eastern domination of the top ranks of this association is certainly a nice touch. The UN media is notoriously devoted to acting as unpaid (and paid) shills for the UN. And now, as if that wasn't enough, there's a really sandy, really nauseating country out there with a whole lot of influence on this "journalism organization." So let's hope for bigger and better scandals in the coming year!

UPDATE (1/3): In fairness to the new UNCA president Mr. Haider, I should point out that -- as two readers have brought to my attention! -- he was an early and outspoken internal opponent of a lot of the UN correspondent creepiness that emerged in recent months (originally in Accuracy in Media and FrontPage Magazine I might add). So let's see if he actually does anything about the mess at UNCA.


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New Orleans Postmortem

I'm surprised how little attention has been paid to an outstanding piece in the Jan. 9 issue of the New Yorker. Reporter Dan Baum lays the blame for the Katrina disaster squarely at the feet of the New Orleans police department and says barely a word about the much-maligned FEMA.

Here's his conclusion:
Yes, the levees should have been built stronger or better, the city should have had an evacuation plan for those without cars, the governor should have called for help earlier, and FEMA should have responded more vigorously. But the police owned the failure. However much other agencies pass the buck, cops know they’re responsible for the safety of a city.
Note what I've emphasized. Compare this level-headed report to the hysterical, politicized coverage at the time -- which, it is now clearer than ever, failed to adequately attribute responsibility locally, where it belonged.


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