Saturday, June 25, 2005

Raleigh News & Observer Watch - 6/25/05

Today's N&O runs an AP story concerning a U.S. House vote involving funding for The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the agency responsible for allocating public funds to PBS and NPR.

The House voted to restore some CPB funding cuts but left a few others in place.

Any error and bias in the story? Read on.

We're told:

The corporation's chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, a GOP appointee, has contended that public broadcasting is too liberal.(Bold added)

Tomlinson was appointed to the CPB's board of directors in 2000 by then President Clinton. You can check that at CPB's website here. He was elected chairman by his fellow board members. You can check that here.

The story runs with the CPB/PBS/NPR spin that any government funding cuts mean less Bert and Ernie and what some liberals call "informed broadcasting."

"(CPB) still might end up with less money than in its current budget. The legislation would eliminate $23 million for the Ready to Learn program, which subsidizes children's educational programming and distributes learning materials."

There's no mention of why public broadcasting executives say they'll need to cut Ready to Learn while they have enough funds to sponsor the America-bashing BBC's World News on both PBS and NPR.

Here's the story's closer:

Opponents of the cut say public broadcasting provides programming not available elsewhere.

"Do we want to live in a society where pop culture dictates all that is offered on the airwaves?" said Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.

Pop culture's "all that is offered on the airwaves?"

How about C-SPAN, The History Channel, Arts & Entertainment, The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel, and North Carolina based WCPE-FM, a 24/7 all classical music station available worldwide on the net?

But the story doesn't mention those stations or many others that broadcast similarly worthwhile programing.

Will we ever read a news story in the N&O that gets beyond a CPB "don't let them take Bert and Ernie away" promo and looks instead at why public broadcasting gives us the BBC and so much other leftist tilt?

The N&O's AP story is here.

For more on BBC bias, including anti-American go here and here.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Washington Post's two-speed spin cycle

Did you know the Washington Post has a two-speed spin cycle?

Postwatch compares and contrasts WaPo's treatment of Durbin's abominations and Rove's remarks.

It's a don't miss post and all here.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Senate Democrats now want "consultation"

Senate Democrats want the President to consult with them on any Supreme Court nominee. They say they want a "fair and reasoned confirmation process."

Really? What happened when the President nominated Miguel Estrada for an Appellate Court seat?

With a few exceptions, Senate Democrats claimed they didn't have enough information to give him an up or down vote. So, they wouldn't allow one.

But the American Bar Association had enough information on Estrada to give him its highest rating, Highly Qualified. The vote by the ABA's committee on judicial nominations was unanimous.

For years, the Democrats refused to confirm Justice Priscilla Owen, even though she too had the ABA's highest rating with a unanimous vote.

A senior Senate Democrat, Tom Harkin, said he couldn't vote for Owen becasue she was "a whacko."

Based on their record, expecting Senate Democrats to respond to consultation in a "fair and reasoned" way is like expecting Senator Clinton to take good care of your law firm's records.

NY Times cheers Kelo. Blogger analyzes.

In yesterday's Kelo decision, the U.S. Supreme Court made it easier for a local government to take away a person's property when the government feels it has a better use for the property than the individual. Here's how CNN began it's Kelo report:

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development.

The New York Times editors cheered the Kelo decision which only affects the rights of law-abiding Americans, not terrorists.

But Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters isn't cheering. He's provides background to the decision and eviscerates the Times' editorial. Here's part of what Ed says:

I suppose I should not be surprised that the New York Times argues that the ends justify the means, but the fact that they so baldly buy into this shows just how badly they've slid into the statist mindset. What they endorse is the notion that people must live in their homes at the whim of city governments, who only have to justify their seizure by creating a plan that asserts that another private developer will put their land to better use than the homeowner.

Because of Kelo, it's now much easier for developers, ever generous at campaign time, and local pols to cozy up and declare an individual's property is needed for "the public good."

The Times tries to reassure readers by telling them that Justice Anthony Kennedy said Kelo can't be used just to make a "developer or other private party become richer."

Really? Here are two questions for Justice Kennedy and the Times' editors.

Do you know of a single instance of a developer saying the purpose of his development project involving condemnation of private property was only to make him rich or richer?

Aren't such projects always done to make the community more beautiful, provide employment, encourage tourism and strengthen the tax base?

Ed Morrissey's post is here. He links to the NYT editorial.

The CNN report's here.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

William F. (Bill) Buckley Greatest American post set for Sunday

I'm sorry I didn't get the Bill Buckley post up this week.

Regulars know that Durbin's abominations and some Raleigh News and Observer nonsense needed quick response posts.

The post putting the case for Buckley's place on a Greatest American list goes up by noon Sunday or my name is Howard Dean.

Meanwhile, if you're a Buckley admirer or just someone with a good sense of humor (Could they really be exclusive categories?), I think you'll enjoy a recent post on Buckley's humor. Vistiors have added some great comments.

Rove only said what Dean and Kerry wanted

(Welcome visitors from Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin, Mudville Gazette and other blogs. Look around all you like.)

Some Democrats have worked themselves into a lather over a New York Times report that Carl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, said in a speech Wednesday that "'liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.'"

The Dems are demanding Rove "either apologize or resign."

But their Chairman, Howard Dean, said he wanted a jury trial for Osama bin Laden and wouldn't believe him guilty of planning and ordering the 9/11 attrocities until he was convicted by a jury.

And their most recent presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry, said that the fight against terrorism was "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation."

And don't Sens. Kennedy and Durbin and Reps. Pelosi and Conyers believe Americans won't be able to relax until our military does a better job of handing out Korans and serving rice pilaf at Guantanamo?

Rove just spoke the truth.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Raleigh News and Observer columnist gets facts wrong and leaves others out (Part 2)

I posted here concerning some errors of commission and omission in News and Observer political reporter and columnist Rob Christensen’s June 12 column. This post concerns his June 19 column.

According to Christensen, North Carolina Republican U. S. House Rep. Walter B. Jones, who last week co-sponsored a resolution calling for the President to begin troop withdrawal from Iraq beginning no later than October, 2006, is “now questioning the wisdom of the war.”

“Speaking out against the war is a politically risky move for Jones, a six-term congressman representing a district that includes the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.,” Christensen says.

Jones has a different view of what he’s doing. He expressed it in a June 15 press release which he posted on his web site. Jones said in part:

In recent days there has been considerable press coverage on my position on America’s presence in Iraq. Despite what some media accounts have said, I want to make it crystal clear that I am NOT in favor of any immediate withdrawal nor do I support setting an end date at which time all troops must be out of Iraq.

That doesn’t sound like someone “speaking out against the war,” does it?

Christensen says nothing about Jones’s press statement. But he does use Jones’ sponsorship of the resolution to suggest Vietnam redux: “When U.S. Sen. B. Everett Jordan of Alamance County turned against the Vietnam War, you knew the tide of public opinion was shifting.”

And that may be the point of the column. But if that is the case, Christensen should make it in his own name, not Jones'.

Christensen’s column is here.
Jones’ June 15 press statement is here.
The resolution Jones’ is co-sponsoring, H. R. Res. 55, is here.

Blogger clips preening Byrd

With the release of his autobiography, Sen. Robert Byrd is trying once again to clean up and fluff the facts of his KKK membership. Sunday, The Washington Post lent a hand with a sympathetic page one story.

But blogger Betsy Newmark at Betsy's Page wasn't taken in by Byrd's' "I had no idea" and WaPo's "We understand" pas de deux. Instead, she clipped the preening Byrd. Here's a sample:

"My only explanation for the entire episode is that I was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision -- a jejune and immature outlook -- seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions," Byrd wrote.

Yup, just like joining the Rotary Club. He's just trying to sell his membership as what any ambitious up-and-coming young man would do in the West Virginia of his time. All that racist stuff was besides the point and not really an attraction for young Bobby Byrd.

Yet, he was a leader of the organization. You don't achieve that without being on board with the purpose of the organization. And that was racism, pure and simple. And Byrd flourished in that organization. First he was the "Exalted Cyclops" of his local unit. I kid you not. These names are priceless. Then he became a Kleagle, one of the KKK's leaders in West Virginia.

Betsy's post is here. She links to the WaPo story.

Will the Raleigh News ad Observer review its election endorsement policies?

A Raleigh News and Observer editorial expresses dissatisfaction with the NC General Assembly's budget and tax plans.

Current plans call for increases in both spending and taxes, but not enough to suit the N&O. So it calls for the Governor to ride to the rescue:

When Governor Easley, who should take an active leadership role here, first confronted a multibillion-dollar budget crisis soon after taking office, he set a standard for budget-writing, which was to protect working families. The budget proposals as they now stand are just unacceptable when it comes to meeting that standard, or any standard of common sense and compassion.

At the last election, the N&O enthusiastically endorsed many of the legislators who support the proposals it says are unacceptable by "any standard of common sense and compassion."

Will that cause the N&O to review its election endorsement policies?

The editorial's here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Would you have quessed right?

Instapundit asks if you can quess who said:

"I call on those who question the motives of the president and his national security advisors to join with the rest of America in presenting a united front to our enemies abroad." (Bold added)

He then links to Ed Driscoll's blog where you'll qet the answer at the June 20 Quote of the Day. There's much more at Ed's blog so be sure to look around.

Pundit says Durbin's critics are the problem

In today's Washington Post, pundit Richard Cohen thinks Sen. Durbin's remarks are maybe a bit poorly phrased but certainly nothing we should get upset about. But he does see one big problem:

The practice of the Bush White House and its supporters is to go right at its critics -- to hell with fairness -- and shout them down. This is what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did to John Kerry and this is what the White House itself did to Newsweek. That magazine's story about reported abuses of the Koran at Guantanamo was admittedly wrong on one specific, but we did learn later that the military itself had investigated reports of Koran abuse. There's smoke, if not fire, there.

A few more columns like today's and Cohen will find himself invited to sit with Jimmy Carter and Michael Moore at the '08 Democratic convention.

And he'll belong there.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Raleigh News and Observer columnist gets facts wrong and leaves others out (Part 1)

Raleigh News and Observer political reporter and columnist Rob Christensen's last two columns (June 12 and 19) contain errors of both commission and omission. Today I'll post on his June 12 column; in a few days I'll post on his June 19 column.

Christensen begins his June 12 column with a reference to the U.S. Senate's apology for its failure to ever enact anti-lynching legislation, an action both North Carolina Senators, Elizabeth Dole and Robert Burr, supported. He then discusses lynching and some matters related to it.

Christensen says that because "of opposition from Southern Democrats over the years, the Senate failed to pass about 200 anti-lynching bills." But he fails to mention the legislative form their opposition took: filibusters and threats of them.

He also fails to say that, unimpeded by a filibuster option, the U.S. House of Representatives three times passed anti-lynching legislation which Presidents were willing to sign into law, if only the Senate agreed to the legislation.

But for the use of the filibuster, America would have had anti-lyching and much other civil rights legislation well before World War II. Christensen should have told his readers that.

Christensen did say this: "(North Carolina), a border state with a reputation for moderation, had 68 lynchings, far fewer than most Southern states."

North Carolina a border state? That needs only a one-word response: Virginia.

A "reputation for moderation?" In a discussion of lynching in a state whose history also includes slavery, race riots, and segregation, using the noun "moderation" is inappropriate and insensitive.

North Carolina's history with regard to lynching and race hasn't been "moderate;" it's been terrible.

When telling his readers about NC Democrat Party icon Governor Charles Aycock (1901-05), Christensen says only:

(The Governor) was continuously frustrated by his failure to stop 11 lynchings during his term. He ordered two companies of militia to the town of Emma near Asheville to prevent a lynching and offered rewards for information leading to the conviction of a lyncher.

Christensen tells readers nothing about how, at the turn of the last century, Aycock and N&O editor and owner Josephus Daniels led a white supremacy movement on behalf of the NC Democratic Party. Their goal was to seize power from the then politically dominant alliance of Republicans and blacks who, despite being only a generation removed from slavery, held many public offices and voted in significant numbers, with their vote almost always overwhelmingly Republican.

The strategy Aycock, Daniels, and others devised to seize power had two main thrusts. One involved disenfranchising blacks by legal means when possible, by physical intimidation when necessary. The other involved playing on the racial fears of whites. Aycock ran for Governor under the banner: White Supremacy-Protect Us.

I've one final criticism regarding Christensen's column. It has to do with the column's lead: Free at last from grim past

Perhaps Christensen didn't select it. But whoever did needs to be told the lead just isn't true.

In preparing this post I found Philip Dray's book, At The Hands Of Persons Unknown: The Lynching Of Black America, a reliable and useful history of events that still shock and pain.

Christensen's June 12 column is here.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Downing Street reporter claims he copied, burned and retyped memos. No kidding.

Here we go again. Another MSM story meant to question the credibility of the Bush and Blair administrations is instead raising questions about MSM's competence and integrity.

Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters and Marc at USS Neverdock are on top of the latest twists and turns in the Downing Street memos story, including a reporter's unbelievable claim that he got the original memos from a government source, photocopied them, returned them, had a secretary type copies of the photocopies, and then burned the photocopies.

And then there's the reporter's claim he had the secretary retype the memos not on a computer but on "an old typewriter." I'm not kidding.

Besides reporting, Captain Ed and Marc ask the kinds of questions MSM editors are supposed to ask.

The decision to go to war in Iraq.

In today's Washington Post, national security expert and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace senior associate Robert Kagan offers an informed and carefully reasoned case for the decision to go to war in Iraq. Here's part of what he says:

A more intriguing question is whether a decision not to go to war in 2003 would have produced lasting peace or would only have delayed war until a later date -- as in the 1930s. There is a strong argument to be made that Hussein would have pushed toward confrontation and war at some point, no matter what we did. His Hitler-like megalomania does not seem to be in question. He patiently, brutally pushed his way to power in Iraq, then set about brutally and impatiently making himself the dominant figure in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, using war and the threat of war as his principal tools. In the early 1980s he invaded Iran and fought it to a bloody standstill for the better part of a decade. No sooner had that war ended than he invaded Kuwait. He fancied himself the new Saladin, much as Napoleon and Hitler had fancied themselves the new Caesar.

Many argue that, even if all this is true, Hussein was nevertheless contained through sanctions and no-fly zones and therefore could be deterred. Many advanced this argument before the war, too, even when they believed with as much certainty as the Bush administration that Hussein did have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. And, indeed, although for most Americans the question of whether the war was "worth it" revolves around the failure to discover the stockpiles that most believed he had, nevertheless the key issue, I believe, remains the same as before that failure: whether Hussein could have been contained.

For another fact not in dispute is that Hussein remained keenly interested in and committed to acquiring weapons of mass destruction, that he maintained secretive weapons programs throughout the 1990s and indeed right up until the day of the invasion, and that he was only waiting for the international community to lose interest or stamina so that he could resume his programs unfettered. This is the well-documented, unrefuted -- and unnoticed -- conclusion of both David Kay and Charles Duelfer. Whether Hussein would have eventually succeeded in acquiring these weapons would have depended on other nations' will and ability to stop him.

That is a question to which we will never have a definitive answer, and yet it is critical to any judgment about the merits of the war. The most sensible argument for the invasion was not that Hussein was about to strike the United States or anyone else with a nuclear bomb. It was that containment could not be preserved indefinitely, that Hussein was repeatedly defying the international community and that his defiance appeared to both the Clinton and Bush administrations to be gradually succeeding. He was driving a wedge between the United States and Britain, on one side, which wanted to maintain sanctions and containment, and France, Russia, and China, on the other, which wanted to drop sanctions and normalize relations with him. The main concern of senior officials in both administrations was that, in the words of then-national security adviser Samuel "Sandy" Berger, containment was not "sustainable over the long run."

While Kagan notes that the Bush administration has made mistakes in Iraq, he's clearly not a member of the "It's Nam redux. Blame Bush." club.

You'll find Kagan's article here.