Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Hara-Kiri Solution

The New York Times today, after weeks of fairly low-key coverage of the Israel-Palestinian dispute, charged into the abyss with an editorial that has a sound solution to the region's problem. That problem being, of course, Israel.

The Times wants Israel to deal with this problem by commiting suicide, utilizing the traditional Japanese method of hara-kiri. You know, taking a sword and cutting yourself in half.

Oh, you think I exaggerate? Well, see for yourself:
Whatever borders Israel fixes are not likely to get international recognition, particularly if those borders leave Palestinians cut in half — in the West Bank and Gaza — and unable to get from one part of their country to another without going through Israel.
Well, we can't have that, so Israel must do the honorable thing and cut itself in half. Thus Palestinians lugging a truckload of Katyushas from Gaza to the newly Judenrein Hebron would not have to dirty their tank tracks with Israeli soil.

Hey, that's what the "international community" will demand -- at least according to the anonymous knuckleheads who write New York Times editorials.

With surreal editorials like this, combined with its Abu Gharib Wrong Man Fiasco, the Times is doing an excellent job of shredding its little remaining credibility on all subjects east of Suez.


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Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Times Op-Ed Page Sanitizes Hamas

The New York Times Op-Ed Page prides itself on its fact-checking. In an essay on the Times website, the op-ed editor says that his staff fact-check each article on all things major and minor, and that "if news articles - from The Times and other publications - are at odds with a point or an example in an essay, we need to resolve whatever discrepancy exists."

Pretty air-tight, wouldn't you say? So perhaps someone can explain to me how the Times's eagle-eyed op-ed editors published today an op-ed piece, from The Economist's Jerusalem correspondent Gideon Lichfield, containing this amazing statement: "If Hamas in fact harbors long-term plans to destroy the Jewish state, as some fear, then such statements are ploys to give it time to build up its strength." [emphasis added]

As "some fear"? Hamas's aim to destroy Israel is not something that people "fear" but is rather an established, off-repeated goal -- stated by Hamas time and time again in every conceivable forum. It is, for example, the central obsession of the Hamas charter--which makes the "fear" pretty dang realistic, wouldn't you say?

Mind you, this sentence is the linchpin of the entire article, which uses the supposedly unsuccessful boycott of Cuba to argue against similar tactics against Hamastan. But his entire thesis is predicated on a false assumption -- that Hamas's goal of destroying Israel is not, in fact, its goal but rather something that exists in the minds of wimpy westerners.

Lichfield himself acknowledges that if Hamas really wants to destroy Israel, "unrestricted foreign aid will make it more dangerous."

This is not just an intellectually dishonest opinion piece -- it is factually incorrect, bad journalism. It is yet another example of the degradation of a once-great newspaper.


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Sunday, March 19, 2006

CJR's Daily Lousiness

I must confess that I had not been reading CJR's daily web product, known by the imaginative name CJR Daily, very much lately -- except to see whether it had covered the New York Times's latest credibility disaster.

So I just perused it today and I have to say that it is worse than I had expected. Practically unreadable, predictably slanted -- this is an offspring of the notoriously left-leaning CJR, after all -- and unsophisticated.

A good example of the Daily's output is this piece knocking the media for not gushing over the move to censure the president, and this one clapping the Los Angeles Times on the back for publishing stuff harmful to the military in Iraq. Attaboy!

Oh, the Daily can be negative when its ideological feathers aren't ruffled, or when a conservative media outlet is doing its job. Take this piece kicking Barron's last month for a story critical of Google's stock price. Hello? That's an investment weekly. Its job is to provide investment judgments of stocks. You'd think a journalism watchdog site would know that. (I suppose the Barron's/Dow Jones conservative editorial posture had absolutely nothing to do with this cheap shot.)

Speaking of which, I saw nothing in the Daily on the recent SEC subpoena of two reporters. Not surprising. They worked for Dow Jones!

The parent CJR is, of course, little more than a thinly disguised variation on The Nation, given that its "chairman" is none other than moonbat and former Nation publisher Victor Navasky. The David M blog has written extensively on the long-hidded CJR-Navasky ties, and I have as well, such as here.

With such underwhelming articles, it's little wonder that CJR Daily has had little impact -- as evidenced by the paucity of comments.

CJR is undisguisedly left-leaning, but CJR Daily is predictably left-leaning and just flat-out bad. Guess it had to figure out some way to differentiate itself!

UPDATE: The Daily did a damn good piece on March 21 skewering the World's Worst Media Columnist, Jon Friedman of Much as I am pleased to read this moron's work being ripped to shreds, as I have on many occasions, I couldn't help but note that his employer is owned by the aforementioned, conservative Dow Jones.

Would the CJR Daily similarly dismember a Maureen Dowd or Frank Rich? Don't bet on it.


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Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Times Eats Crow -- But Still Doesn't Get It

The New York Times today ate a massive feast of crow, in an embarrassing front-page article and editor's note admitting that it had been suckered by a liar who claimed he was the famous "man in the hood" at Abu Gharib.

But while dining on a smorgasboard of black bird, the Times still doesn't get it. This piece, like an earlier unsigned article on the subject, still doesn't acknowledge the distinct possibility -- if not probability -- that nothing this man said was true and, again, obscuring his motive, which was clearly monetary. He is, after all, suing the government.

The story shows the extent to which the Times was sloppy in its reporting:
A lawsuit Mr. Qaissi joined, filed on July 27, 2004, also made no allegation that he was shocked with wires or forced to stand on a box. That allegation appeared only on an amended version of a complaint he later joined, filed last month, which said he had been forced to stand on the box and fell off from the shocks of the electrocution: "They repeated this at least five times."
Unfortunately, this red flag sailed right past the Times reporter who wrote this story, house terrorism apologist Hassan Fattah, who was too gullible and too anxious to embarrass the U.S. military with his "scoop."

Times management will probably try to shift all the blame for this humiliation to Fattah. The issue, however, is not one reporter's sloppiness or gullibility, but rather a system that is all too eager to skew the military and publish anti-American swill without even elementary checking.

P.S. Oh, one interesting aspect of this story is that, so far, it has received virtually no coverage whatsoever from the supposed journalism watchdogs -- a small item on March 13 in the rabidly left-wing Romenesko, and not one word from the atrocious CJR Daily. The latter seems to be scurrying around after trivia, blog-bashing and deviation from left-wing dogma. Massive Timesian malfeasance just ain't on the radar.

More on the daily miracle of CJR in this new item.


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Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Times, in Mourning, Reaches For Incoherence

The New York Times has been in mourning since the Hamas electoral victory, which ripped to shreds one of the central tenets of the Sulzberger Indifference Template. The Myth of Palestinian Moderation looks pretty silly now, doesn't it? Still, the Times is trying hard to cope, and we see that in its editorial today bemoaning the Israeli raid on the Jericho "prison."

No, blaming America and Britain for -- I don't know.... blaming them for murderers being brought to justice? The horror! -- is not completely loony. It is actually quite logical, from the 43rd Street point of view.

First and foremost, whatever the mess, it is Times editorial policy that the Palestinians themselves are never to be held principally responsible. In this instance, as graphically recounted in the Times of London and pretty much everywhere except the New York Times, the Jericho "prison" was a sham. The prisoners lived a life of luxury and turned the prison into a suite of offices for the PFLP, one of the most murderous terror groups. This received little publicity outside Israel until recently, as IRIS noted.

But that is not the sole reason to "blame" anyone for what just happened. The one and only reason is that the Palestinians do not want to punish other Palestinians for murdering Israelis and Jews.

That is the central reason why the Jericho prison was a sham and why the raid was necessary. That is why Mohammed Abbas favored releasing the murderers, just as he had released four dozen terrorists from that same "prison" a couple of months ago -- which the Times almost completely ignored.

Nowhere is this Palestinian amorality mentioned in the Times, still remaining faithful to its Template but looking more and more foolish and incoherent by the day.


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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Times Buries The Truth

In a brief, unsigned article buried deep within the newspaper today, the New York Times admitted that a major "scoop" in the newspaper on Saturday may have been nothing more than a load of ca-ca.

The front-page article, by the Times's house terrorism apologist Hassan Fattah, told the grisly tale of the poor feller who was photographed in a black hood at Abu Gharib. However, Salon last night found that the Times had the wrong guy -- and, as the Times did not point out, that his story had big holes.

Might have been nicer if the piece had run on the front page, particularly given some details that were published in Salon that the Times tastefully omitted. In addition to questioning whether the fellow interviewed by the Times was the one in the photo, Salon also found that other details in the ex-prisoner's story were apparently wrong. That is, the names of prisoners supposedly humiliated at the prison were not correct. Which might well mean that he just made up stuff.

Too bad the Times didn't mention that. I guess saving the paper from embarrassment is a lot more important than admitting that it ran a piece that is looking more and more like a lot of hooey from start to finish.


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Friday, March 10, 2006

Return of the Israel-Bashing-Israeli

There's nothing that Israel-bashers love more than Israelis bashing Israelis -- a natural product of the Israeli democracy that you never see anywhere else in the Middle East. Indeed, you're far more likely to see an Israel-bashing-Israelis in a conference anywhere in the Arab world than you are to see an Arab-bashing-Arab anywhere on Planet Earth.)

That brings me to today's manifestation of this phenomenon, a New York Times op-ed piece by Gershom Gorenberg describing how the bad, horrible, lawless Israelis violated interenational law from the gitgo by daring to allow Jews in the formerly Judenrein West Bank and Gaza.

This typical bit of I-B-I is deftly rebutted today in Israpundit. Nuff said.


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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The LA Mayor's 'Lifetime Record'

One of the journalism's most egregious sins are sins of omission -- reporting on an event or person and, for example, acting like a stenographer. Failing to call a person in power to account when he tells a blatant lie. That happened back on Feb. 10, in a New York Times story on race riots at the Los Angeles County jail.

The article blandly reported Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa saying as follows:
"I feel, as someone who has dedicated his life to trying to bridge communities and promote understanding between racial groups, we obviously all should be concerned about the level of violence and racial nature of the conflicts,'' he said.
This may seem like a politician's bland pap, and it sailed right by me when I read it at the time. But an eagle-eyed reader knew better -- and dashed off an email to the reporter who wrote the story, Randal C. Archibold.

The reader pointed out to Archibold that far from being an advocate of peace and light between the races all his life, that he had once been a member of MEChA. He noted that this is "a racist Chicano separatist organization which advocates the cession of the Southwest from the US to create Aztlan, an entity where all non-Chicanos would be forcibly removed. This flatly contradicts his statement about lifelong commitments to racial harmony."

MEChA's extremist agenda is certainly no secret -- and neither is the mayor's former role in that group.

However, though raising a valid point, this reader received no response to repeated, polite (though forceful) emails -- until March 1, when Archibold finally sent him a snippy response to his question as to whether his association with MEChA should have been mentioned. "No," he said, "Thanks for reading."

This is more than just typical Times arrogance or even bad journalism. It is an example of bad journalism from an arrogant hack who hasn't a clue of how bad he is. Just another day in the life of a once-great newspaper.


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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Portrait of a Humanitarian

The New York Times profiles today a wonderful man named Mahmoud Youssef Barghouti -- decent and kind, smiling and sweet -- a person of fine character and a credit to the other fine fellows at the Hamas murder gang. "Head High, Hamas Member Returns From Israeli Jail" is the headline.

Of course "head held high." What has he got to be ashamed of? As a matter of fact, who exactly is this guy? Why does he warrant a lengthy profile on page three of the Times, lavishly illustrated with photographs -- except for his honored position as a member of a terrorist group?

The author of this pap, Steven Erlanger, doesn't bother to tell us. What he does tell us is that this is a wonderful, wonderful man! A family man:
His daughter, Hanin, 12, was in tears, burying her face in his waist; he lifted his son Basel, 5, a serious boy in a crew cut who stared around him. He hugged his wife, Fadia, brushing his lips along the embroidered brown scarf that covered her hair.

Nowhere do we get a sense that some of the people killed by Barghouti and/or the other fine fellows of Hamas also included a lot of little boys and girls as well. All we know is that this particular loving father owns a grocery store and is innocent!

"He insists he was never involved with the Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing." "Military" in this case being Times-speak for "murderers of civilians, including women and children."

It goes on and on like that, this once-great paper serving in its accustomed role, as shill for terror groups and apologist for terrorists.


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